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8907Re: [GTh] Re: Inter-Christian Polemic in GJn?

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  • Michael Grondin
    Aug 11, 2009
      Hi Maurice,

      I'm not a Coptic expert, but I guess I'm the closest thing we've got
      to one here, so I'll try to clear up some of the questions you raise
      about L.68. Let's start with the sentence you quoted from Bird:

      "Plisch is very circumspect about dating and though he recognizes
      that logia 68 is post-Bar Kochba revolt, it does not mean that the
      whole document is."

      Bird used the wrong word here. By saying that Plisch "recognizes" that
      L.68 is post-Bar Kochba, he's implying that it's an agreed-upon fact
      that L.68 is post-Bar Kochba. Of course, it's no such thing. According
      to DeConick (TOGTT, p. 222 - get this book), H.M. Schenke believed
      it to be so, but others - DeConick included - date it to the Jewish revolt
      of the 60's, when the Christians fled to Pella. I think that the reason why
      it's believed that L.68.2 is related to one of these two revolts is that
      Jerusalem is assumed to be a place of persecution for Christians,
      and in both revolts Jerusalem was left in ruins. After the Bar Kochba
      revolt it was in fact renamed, and Jews were forbidden to enter it.
      Perhaps that could be seen as favoring the later revolt, since there
      was no longer any place called 'Jerusalem', but that hasn't settled
      the issue.

      > ... could anyone fluent / proficient in Coptic offer comments on the
      > seemingly corrupt verb tenses in this logion and also corroborate
      > if the oft translated word "wherever" might not better be translated
      > as "whenever"...

      DeConick implies that a number of Coptic experts think that 68.2 is
      corrupt, but not because of the 'wherever'. Although 68.1 says
      "You're blest WHEN you're hated", 68.2 has no temporal words in
      it. It uses Greek TOPOS and the Coptic equivalent MA - both
      designating place, not time.

      As to who the 'they' is in "they hate you" and "they persecute you",
      these are passive constructions. Since there was no true passive
      in Coptic, the passive was expressed by using an unreferenced
      'they'. It should be read as "you're hated" and "you're persecuted",
      respectively. (There's notes to this effect in my interlinear for L.68)

      > ... the last sentence of the logion is not given in the same tense
      > as the first sentence. That is, ("when you are hated" /present tense,
      > or possibly in a figurative sense "future" tense) versus "you have been"
      > persecuted (past tense) and they ... "will find" no place (future tense).

      I don't see any problem with two adjacent sentences having different
      tenses. I'm pretty sure I could find a lot of examples like that in just
      about any written work. Reading it as follows may help:

      "Don't worry when you're hated. Remember that wherever you've
      been persecuted in the past, that place no longer exists."

      Might be a little felt oddity, but not all that badly muddled, I think.

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