Re: [GTh] GTh 58
Thank you for your thoughtful insights on this logion.
I particular like this unique "Beatitude" that Thomas' Gospel
The Coptic word for "toiled" is "2ise" (note: 2=hori),
which could be interpreted in several different ways,
and the choice affects the meaning of the whole logion.
Blatz and Lambdin render the word as "suffered", which is
somewhat similar to the way the word is used in L97 where
it refers to a jar's broken handle and means "accident", "trouble"
or "misfortune". The meaning of the logion would then be that
"life" is found in our sufferings. Or, perhaps it could be
understood that life is found in the survival of what we suffer.
Neither idea, though, is common to Thomas' theology-- unless the
"suffering" is connected to the "trouble" of when one is "disturbed"
in their seeking (L2), which is what George was pointing out.
Patterson-Robinson translate the word as "struggled". This meaning
is similar to usage of the word "2ise" in L4, where the fisherman
picks out the biggest fish from his net without "a struggle". This
is a profound idea which speaks to how we as human beings can find
meaning in the struggle of life. In common parlance, "it's the
journey, not the destination".
The word can also be rendered "labored" or "toiled"-- that latter
of which the SV translators chose. We find this meaning also in
L107, where a shepherd "labors" desperately seeking his lost sheep.
The idea of a spiritual search (L60, L92, L94), even an ardent
seeking (L2, L107), is central to Thomas' theology. That's why
I'd lean toward voting for "labored" or "toiled" to render the
Coptic word "2ise" in this instance.
Thomas' Gospel comes out of the Jewish Wisdom tradition, which
values the search for Wisdom. In Job 28:20, Job asks, "Where then
does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell? It is hidden
from the eyes of every living thing, concealed even from the birds
in the sky" (Job 28:20-21; cf L3). It takes some effort to seek
what is hidden, to search for Wisdom, to look harder, to see past
the facade of the material world in order to glimpse the Kingdom
Jesus speaks about (L113).
Those are some of my thoughts on L58.
IU Health Chaplain
- Thank you Tim for your ideas about all this. I must admit that my preference for "is troubled" in GTh 58 depends partially on the present tense translation of Mike's. The present tense here seems to suggest a more emphatic sense of inner turmoil than does "has troubled." However, Mike is apparently rethinking this, so we may be stuck with "has troubled." I don't suppose the passive "has been troubled" is acceptable? Probably not. Anyway, with that in mind, I would go, I think, with 'struggled' here. More than 'toiled,' it lends itself better to the ambiguity, I was writing about, between inner and outer struggle.
I still question the appropriateness of "suffered" in this saying as it seems to be a secondary characteristic of struggle or toil. One *may* suffer as a result of struggle, but the one word should not be substituted for the other.
My reading of GTh 97 leads me to think that it's not so much an illustration of the value of suffering as it is the futility of clinging to possessions/assumptions on the road of life and stubbornly refusing to question (taking the trouble to question)the soundness of these possessions/assumptions. The woman was foolish and she paid for it. She had nothing at the end of her journey to reward her for her labor. This seems to me a perfect metaphor for what happens to anyone who invests in meaningless values and refuses ever to question the soundness or security of that investment. My guess is that originally the parable was introduced by "the kingdom of *man* was like...." and a scribe, thinking that the one word, 'man,' must be a mistake, changed it to 'father.' Actually, there is a lacuna here in the manuscript. The word, 'father' is generally placed in brackets, as [father], so even here the phrase could be 'son of man.' It seems to me that it's not unthinkable that Jesus would want to illustrate a condition opposite to the kingdom of the father for contrast.
- While mulling over GTh58, I thought it would be interesting to see how varioustranslators had handled the four occurrences of the word 'hise' (looks like '2ICE',probably pronounced HEE-seh). In the displays below, the first two instancesare as nouns, the second two as verbs. What I didn't expect was every one ofthe translators used four different English words! (Thus masking connectionsthat may have been intended.)For 'hise' as a noun, we have 'difficulty', 'accident', 'misfortune', 'effort', and'problem'. For 'hise' as a verb, we have 'suffered', 'laboured', 'struggled', and'toiled'. No 'trouble' except in Lambdin's translation, where the Coptic verb istransformed into a noun phrase! 'Troubled' does show up in 2.2-3, for the otherCoptic word we were talking about. Everyone translates it as such there, exceptPatterson, who has 'dismayed'.As to my translation of GTh58, although I haven't yet investigated it in detail,it appears to be in error, based on how these translators have it. I don't see thatit makes any great difference in the meaning of the saying, however, whether theperson is "troubled" now or has been in the past. In either case, it's the "trouble"that has caused him/her to discover the kingdom (whatever that means).Lambdin (NHL):008.3: ... he chose the large fish without difficulty097.3: ... she had noticed no accident-------058.0: Blessed is the man who has suffered107.3: When he had gone to such trouble ... [as noun!]Blatz (New Testament Apocrypha):008.3: ... he chose the large fish without difficulty (same as Lambdin)097.3: ... she had not noticed the misfortune-------058.0: Blessed is the man who has suffered (same as Lambdin)107.3: After he had laboured ...Patterson et al (Fifth Gospel):008.3: ... he chose the large fish effortlessly [i.e., without effort]097.3: ... she had not noticed a problem-------058.0: Blessed is the person who has struggled107.3: After he had toiled ...DeConick (TOGTT):008.3: ... [he] chose the large fish without difficulty (same as Lambdin)097.3: ... she had not noticed a problem (same as Patterson)-------058.0: Whoever has suffered is blessed. (same as Lambdin)107.3: After he had laboured ... (same as Blatz)Cheers,Mike G.
- Relative to the question of the tense of the first verb in L.58, I've done a surveyof the usages of the Coptic verb-prefix Ntax. and its variants in CGTh. Theresults are at http://gospel-thomas.net/keywords/Nta2.htm. My conclusion is thatnowhere else did I translate that verb-prefix in the present tense, and so it shouldnot be such in L.58. (The abbreviation 'CTbe' in two of the sub-logs should beread as 'came-into-being'.) Bottom line is that I intend to change 'is-troubled' inL.58 to 'has-been-troubled'. Not only is that consistent with what the experttranslators have done, but it's consistent with what I myself did elsewhere.As to what might be a better English translation for the Coptic noun/verb xise,I haven't been able to come up with one that (1) can serve as both noun and verb,and (2) fits in all the places where xise occurs. ('Labor', 'toil', 'struggle', e.g., meetthe first criterion, but not the second. Most if not all alternatives (such as the pair'to suffer' and 'suffering') fail to fit the saying about the woman with the jar.)Admittedly, different English words can be used in the four contexts, as othertranslators have done, but my preference is to stay within the confines of thestandardized methodology that I originally adopted for the interlinear. What Iam considering is using a different English word in 2.2-3, on the grounds thatthe same English word shouldn't be used for two different Coptic words, lesta syntactic connection be implied that isn't present in the manuscript. (Anyintended semantic connections will be preserved.)Cheers to all,Mike Grondin