Notes on the Use of the Word 'ARNA'
- I've been thinking off and on the past five months on the use in Copticwritings of the Greek loan-word 'ARNA'. It first popped up because ofits use in the JW (Jesus' Wife) fragment. Having basically accepted theforgery hypothesis, I wondered why the forger had used it. It does occurtwice in CGT (see http://gospel-thomas.net/keywords/renounce.htm), butI had translated it as 'abdicate'. I now think that's a mistake, but be that asit may, is that the way the alleged forger understood it? If so, why did hechoose that particular word? (Don't look for an answer to this questionbelow, because I never did come up with one.)The second factor that piqued my interest in the word ARNA was theattempt by a correspondent to logically join ARNA with the name MARIAMthat immediately follows it in the fragment. My correspondent wanted toclaim that what was intended was something like "the disciples denied(ARNA) that Mariam was worthy of it" [whatever 'it' is]. Now the Kingteam had considered this possibility and rejected it, on the grounds thatif that was what was intended, the name MARIAM would have beenpreceded by a direct-object marker (in this case, 'M'), which it wasn't.They concluded that it was intended that ARNA be the end of the previoussentence. This is possible because ARNA can be transitive or intransitive(i.e., have a direct object or not). Both of these possibilities can be seenin CGT, where in L110, the word is transitive, in L81.2, not.It was in fact this grammatical duality of ARNA that had led me, sometwenty years ago or so, when I was working on the word-by-word versionof CGT, to decide on 'abdicate'. As I mentioned above, though, I nowthink that was a wrong decision. The three translations of CGT on my websiteall have 'renounce', while in the Sahidic NT, the occurrences of ARNA arepretty uniformly translated (at least in the KJV) as 'deny'. Checking theGreek word ARNEOMAI, from which ARNA came, I find 'deny, disown,refuse.' Nary an 'abdicate' anywhere. So while 'abdicate' has the nicety ofbeing complete in itself when ARNA has no direct object, it doesn't reallycapture the general sense of ARNA, so it's most probably better to conformto the widely-accepted practice of furnishing a dummy direct-object in theform of '(it)' whenever ARNA doesn't actually have a direct object.The question that bothered me most, though - and which pushed me to theextreme measure of doing some actual work! (research the Sahidic NT, in thiscase) - was whether ARNA was or was not used in constructions of the form'X denied that P' (where P is a proposition). For example, was it grammaticallyacceptable in Coptic, as my correspondent assumed, to write 'X denied thatMary was worthy'? And if, so, how would it have been written? (An 'xe' e.g.?)The short answer is that I was unable to find an example of the suggestedconstruction in the Sahidic NT. Admittedly, I didn't look at all the lettersof Paul, but I did check Romans, in addition to the gospels, Acts, and Rev.There were cases of ARNA both with and without a direct object, but nocases of the type I was looking for. True, a person is sometimes said todeny a proposition, but the statement of the proposition comes earlier,before the ARNA clause. The ARNA clause merely says that the persondenied (it), the 'it' being the proposition. So it appears that my hopefulcorrespondent was on the wrong track. My rough (often indecipherable)list of NT occurrences of ARNA is appended below, but this is the endof the accompanying narrative, so proceed only at your own risk.Mike GrondinMt. Clemens, MI---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Jn 1.20: (JB) didn't deny? (MpF-arna = Mpef-arna)(interesting case)Mt. 10:33: whoever denies me before men, I will deny him before my father(petna-aparna ... mmoi, ti-na-aparna Mmoy)Lk 12.9: (petna-arna ... mmoi, ce-na-arna Mmoy)(not in Mk or Jn)Mt 16.24: if anyone will follow me, let him deny himself (marey-aparna mmoy)Mk 8.34: (maref-arna Mmof)(Lk 9.23)(not in Jn)Mt 26.34: before the cock crows, you'll deny me thrice (k-na-aparna Mmoi)(Mk 14.30)Lk 22.34: (Wan-tK-aparna mmoi)Jn 13.38: (emp[e]k-aparna mmoi)Mt 26.35: I won't deny you (Nti-na-aparna Mmok)Mk 14.31: Nti-na-arna Mmok)(not in Lk or Jn)Mt 26.70: he denied openly (ay-arna M-pe-Mto ebol)(Mk 14.68)Lk 22.57: (ay-arna) Jn 18.25: a ph arna (?)Mt 26.72: again he denied, with an oath (ay-arna)(Mk 14.70)(Jn 18.27)(Lk doesn't use arna for 2nd denial)Mt 26.75: you'll deny me three times (k-na-aparna Mmoi)(Mk 14.72)(Lk 22.61)(not in Jn)Acts 3.13, 14: you denied him (atetN-arna Mmoy)Acts 4.16: [a miracle has been done and] we can't deny [it] (not poss for us e-arna to deny)Acts 7.35: this is Moses whom they denied him (Ntau-arna Mmoy)Rev 2.13: you haven't denied my faith (Mpek-arna N-ta-pistis)Rev 3.8: you haven't denied my name (Mpek-arna M-pa-ran)