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[gthomas] Re: "Jesus Says"

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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 1 of 12 , Jun 17, 1999
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      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 2 of 12 , Jun 17, 1999
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        >"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 3 of 12 , Jun 17, 1999
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          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
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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 4 of 12 , Jun 22, 1999
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            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 5 of 12 , Jul 1 10:14 AM
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              "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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