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[gthomas] Re: "Jesus Says"

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  • Andrew Bernhard
    Dear Professor Patterson, I have a question about the translation of the Gospel of Thomas in _The Fifth Gospel_. Why is the Coptic pege ( said ) translated as
    Message 1 of 12 , Jun 16, 1999
      Dear Professor Patterson,

      I have a question about the translation of the Gospel of Thomas in _The
      Fifth Gospel_. Why is the Coptic pege ("said") translated as the past
      tense "said" twice in saying 37, but translated as the present tense
      "says" elsewhere throughout the text (e.g. saying 38, 39, 40, etc.)?

      Thanks,
      Andrew Bernhard

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    • Mike Grondin
      ... ... wherein #114 reads I will draw her in... (said by Jesus, not Peter). But why not simply I will lead her... ? Nothing gruesome about that. Of course,
      Message 2 of 12 , Jun 16, 1999
        Steve Patterson writes (or wrote):

        > On the translation in general... The SQE
        >15 had some rather gruesome translational problems in the ET (e.g. in GTh
        >114 Peter is heard to say of Mary, "I will drag her to make her male"),
        >which Jim and I, together finally with Hans-Martin Schenke, tried to clear
        >up. The final product will appear in SQE 16. In the meantime, we have,
        >together with Bethge, published this ET in a volume entitled The Fifth
        >Gospel: The Gospel of Thomas Comes of Age (Trinity, 1998). ...

        ... wherein #114 reads "I will draw her in..." (said by Jesus, not Peter).
        But why not simply "I will lead her..."? Nothing gruesome about that. Of
        course, 'SOK' CAN mean 'draw' or 'pull in', as in #8. But it can also mean
        'lead', as in #3 and #34 (leading a blind man). Why should #114 have been
        so difficult, when there seems to have been no corresponding difficulty
        with the same verb in #3 and #34?

        Mike
        ------------------------------------
        The Coptic GThomas, saying-by-saying
        http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068/sayings.htm

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      • odell mcguire
        ... Andrew, I agree with much of what you say and it needed saying. But I still think IH- LEGEI is better translated Jesus says
        Message 3 of 12 , Jun 17, 1999
          Andrew Bernhard wrote:

          > Before reading too much into the Greek present tense, legei, one should
          > consider the following;
          >
          > 1. The Greek fragments do use the past tense eipen in the prologue -
          > "These are the hidden saying that the the living Jesus spoke (eipen)."
          >
          > 2. It is not only Jesus who speaks (legei) in the present tense in the
          > Greek fragments, but also his disciples. In saying 37 (POxy
          > 655.col.i.17), "His disciples say (legousin) to him..."
          >
          > 3. The Coptic has the past tense - I'm no expert in Coptic but I can
          > appeal to the authority of Fitzmeyer. See his comments on POxy 654.5
          > for a discussion of this very issue.
          >
          > In short, I'm saying that I think the "legei" is the historical present
          > and thus should probably be rendered into English as "Jesus said" to
          > avoid leading people to unjustified interpretations. However, it should
          > also be noted that the edition of the Greek Fragments of Thomas found in
          > Kloppenborg, Meyer, Patterson, and Steinhauser's _Q-Thomas Reader_ has
          > elected to translate Ihsous legei with "Jesus says."
          >
          > Best wishes,
          > Andrew
          >
          > ------------------------------------------------------------------------

          Andrew,

          I agree with much of what you say and it needed saying. But I still think
          IH- LEGEI is better translated >Jesus says< because the historical present
          is frequently used in English with almost exactly the same weight as this
          use in Greek. It rhetorically vivifies the speaker. Why should I or any
          reader attach a different tense meaning to >Jesus says< than >Aristotle
          says< or >Darwin says< or even >Groucho says<? --oops! But literalists
          don't read Thomas anyway, I don't think. In short, I do think a switch to
          the past from the historical present when translating Greek into English is
          a little patronizing. I don't mean to imply that *any* Greek present should
          be left to stand, but the historical present should.

          Best, Odell, Lexington, VA
          omcguire@...


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        • Mike Grondin
          ... without a ... pexe- is the prenominal form of the infinitive, which is to say that it s attached to a noun, as in pexe-IS ( said-Jesus ). While
          Message 4 of 12 , Jun 17, 1999
            >"the verb can also be expressed in its past tense. When Logia appear
            without a
            >narrative framework, a translation in the present tense is preferable."

            'pexe-' <peje> is the prenominal form of the infinitive, which is to say
            that it's attached to a noun, as in 'pexe-IS' ('said-Jesus'). While they
            can be expressed in the present tense, verb-forms of this type are normally
            expressed in the past tense. On the other hand, 'pexe-' is unusual within
            its type, by virtue of the fact that the noun to which it's attached is a
            subject, rather than an object (as is usual). So, for what it's worth, I
            personally could accept either 'says' or 'said', though I think Bethge's
            "preferable" is questionable.

            Mike

            The Coptic GThomas, saying-by-saying
            http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068/sayings.htm

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          • Andrew Bernhard
            Hi Odell, It seems we now both understand each other and just have a simple disagreement about how to translate the historical present. I m not convinced
            Message 5 of 12 , Jun 17, 1999
              Hi Odell,

              It seems we now both understand each other and just have a simple
              disagreement about how to translate the historical present. I'm not
              convinced that we do usually use the historical present in the same
              manner as the Greeks _in our writing_ (there is no doubt that we do in
              our speech). The historical present is often corrected in translations
              of the canonical gospels and I see no reason that it shouldn't be in
              Thomas. I still think translating the historical present as a present
              can lead to unjustified interpretations, but competant scholars have
              seen it both ways. Bethge (althogh inconsistently) has seen fit to
              correct the Coptic to "Jesus says," while Attridge has corrected the
              Greek to "Jesus said"!

              Andrew

              odell mcguire wrote:
              >
              > Andrew Bernhard wrote:
              >
              > > Before reading too much into the Greek present tense, legei, one should
              > > consider the following;
              > >
              > > 1. The Greek fragments do use the past tense eipen in the prologue -
              > > "These are the hidden saying that the the living Jesus spoke (eipen)."
              > >
              > > 2. It is not only Jesus who speaks (legei) in the present tense in the
              > > Greek fragments, but also his disciples. In saying 37 (POxy
              > > 655.col.i.17), "His disciples say (legousin) to him..."
              > >
              > > 3. The Coptic has the past tense - I'm no expert in Coptic but I can
              > > appeal to the authority of Fitzmeyer. See his comments on POxy 654.5
              > > for a discussion of this very issue.
              > >
              > > In short, I'm saying that I think the "legei" is the historical present
              > > and thus should probably be rendered into English as "Jesus said" to
              > > avoid leading people to unjustified interpretations. However, it should
              > > also be noted that the edition of the Greek Fragments of Thomas found in
              > > Kloppenborg, Meyer, Patterson, and Steinhauser's _Q-Thomas Reader_ has
              > > elected to translate Ihsous legei with "Jesus says."
              > >
              > > Best wishes,
              > > Andrew
              > >
              > > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
              >
              > Andrew,
              >
              > I agree with much of what you say and it needed saying. But I still think
              > IH- LEGEI is better translated >Jesus says< because the historical present
              > is frequently used in English with almost exactly the same weight as this
              > use in Greek. It rhetorically vivifies the speaker. Why should I or any
              > reader attach a different tense meaning to >Jesus says< than >Aristotle
              > says< or >Darwin says< or even >Groucho says<? --oops! But literalists
              > don't read Thomas anyway, I don't think. In short, I do think a switch to
              > the past from the historical present when translating Greek into English is
              > a little patronizing. I don't mean to imply that *any* Greek present should
              > be left to stand, but the historical present should.
              >
              > Best, Odell, Lexington, VA
              > omcguire@...
              >
              > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
              >
              > eGroups.com home: http://www.egroups.com/group/gthomas
              > http://www.egroups.com - Simplifying group communications

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            • Patterson, Steve by way of Mike Grondin
              Dear Thom-Folk: The Berlin group thought that the verb connoted drawing or pulling. I make it policy never to argue with their knowledge of the Coptic
              Message 6 of 12 , Jun 22, 1999
                Dear Thom-Folk:
                The Berlin group thought that the verb connoted "drawing" or "pulling." I
                make it policy never to argue with their knowledge of the Coptic language.
                In this case, their problem was with the English language. I suggested
                "draw her in" as the appropriate way to capture their sense of the word in
                English.
                Yours,
                Steve P.

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Mike Grondin [mailto:mgrondin@...]
                Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 1999 8:09 PM
                To: GThomas@egroups.com
                Subject: [gthomas] Re: Dragging Mariam


                Steve Patterson writes (or wrote):

                > On the translation in general... The SQE
                >15 had some rather gruesome translational problems in the ET (e.g. in GTh
                >114 Peter is heard to say of Mary, "I will drag her to make her male"),
                >which Jim and I, together finally with Hans-Martin Schenke, tried to clear
                >up. The final product will appear in SQE 16. In the meantime, we have,
                >together with Bethge, published this ET in a volume entitled The Fifth
                >Gospel: The Gospel of Thomas Comes of Age (Trinity, 1998). ...

                ... wherein #114 reads "I will draw her in..." (said by Jesus, not Peter).
                But why not simply "I will lead her..."? Nothing gruesome about that. Of
                course, 'SOK' CAN mean 'draw' or 'pull in', as in #8. But it can also mean
                'lead', as in #3 and #34 (leading a blind man). Why should #114 have been
                so difficult, when there seems to have been no corresponding difficulty
                with the same verb in #3 and #34?

                Mike-
                The Coptic GThomas, saying-by-saying
                http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068/sayings.htm




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              • Jim Gambrill
                ... What was the German translation of the Coptic? Jim ... eGroups.com home: http://www.egroups.com/group/gthomas http://www.egroups.com - Simplifying group
                Message 7 of 12 , Jul 1, 1999
                  "Patterson, Steve (by way of Mike Grondin )" wrote:
                  >
                  > Dear Thom-Folk:
                  > The Berlin group thought that the verb connoted "drawing" or "pulling." I
                  > make it policy never to argue with their knowledge of the Coptic language.
                  > In this case, their problem was with the English language. I suggested
                  > "draw her in" as the appropriate way to capture their sense of the word in
                  > English.

                  What was the German translation of the
                  Coptic?

                  Jim

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