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Re: [gthomas] Gospel of Thomas, Saying 61

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  • Victor Goldini
    ... Interesting that Grondin s Interlinear Translation shows # 61, when he should come to be destroyed, he will be full of light. When, however, he should
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 23, 2000
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      --- James Bean <santmat@...> wrote:
      >
      > This is a saying attributed to Jesus from the Gospel
      > of Thomas, a new
      > translation of Saying 61:
      >
      > Therefore I say: If someone becomes like God, he
      > will become full
      > of light. But if he becomes one, separated from
      > God, he will be
      > full of darkness. ("The Fifth Gospel," Patterson,
      > Robinson, Bethge,
      >
      > Trinity Press International)
      >
      > What kind of "Light" is this Saying talking about?
      > In my view the Gospel
      > of Thomas is in the tradition of contemplative or
      > mystical Christianity
      > and the "Light" of Thomas referred to here is not
      > metaphor but mystical.

      Interesting that Grondin's Interlinear Translation
      shows # 61, "when he should come to be destroyed, he
      will be full of light. When, however, he should come
      to be divided, he will be full of darkness." The
      Scholar's Translation shows, "if one is whole, one
      will be filled with light, but if one is divided, one
      will be filled with darkness." How does one reconcile
      these differences?

      Vic

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    • Michael Grondin
      ... Although your interest lies with the divine light aspect, a few corrections to your citation are in order. In the first place, this is not the entirety
      Message 2 of 5 , Oct 23, 2000
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        Victor Goldini wrote:
        >Interesting that Grondin's Interlinear Translation
        >shows # 61, "when he should come to be destroyed, he
        >will be full of light. When, however, he should come
        >to be divided, he will be full of darkness." The
        >Scholar's Translation shows, "if one is whole, one
        >will be filled with light, but if one is divided, one
        >will be filled with darkness." How does one reconcile
        >these differences?

        As I wrote to James offlist:
        ---------------------------
        Although your interest lies with the "divine light" aspect, a few
        corrections to your citation are in order. In the first place, this
        is not the entirety of #61, but rather only the last part (61.5 in
        standard numbering). More importantly, you've left out the very
        important symbols in the original that indicate translator
        insertions. Th61.5 actually appears as follows:

        "Therefore, I say: If someone becomes <like>* (God), he will become
        full of light. But if he becomes one, separated (from God), he will
        become full of darkness."

        *The manuscript reads, "If someone is destroyed..."
        (translator's footnote)

        The insertion by the translators of the phrases '(God)' and '(from
        God)' is unjustified, IMO. In any case, it's interpretation, and not
        part of the translation proper. ...
        -----------------------------------

        The following exchange then occurred:
        ------------------------------------
        [James B]:
        > It sounds like you might not care for the Fifth Gospels
        > translation, what they've done with certain sayings.

        Unfortunately for me, what I care for doesn't always prevail. The
        Patterson/Robinson/Bethge translation is a modification of that of
        the Berlin Working Group for Coptic Studies, which appears in the
        highly-respected SQE (Synopsis Quattuor Evangeliorum). The SQE
        contains translations of the gospels, and is sponsored by a religious
        organization, so my guess is that there would be a bias toward making
        Thomas sound orthodox wherever possible. Like Paterson Brown's
        translation, I like it because it generally adheres very closely to
        the literal meaning, but where it deviates, it does so rather badly.
        One has to pay close attention to the material in parentheses (not
        only in this translation, but others as well), cuz that's where the
        translator has inserted his own material. In most cases I've looked
        at in various translations, the inserted material reveals translator
        bias more than anything else. I guess we should count our blessings
        that the scholars are at least conscientious enough to use some
        device to indicate where strict translation ends and interpretation
        comes into play (altho there is still, of course, some element of
        interpretation involved in the choice of words, e.g., 'suffered' in
        #58 instead of 'troubled').
        ------------------------------

        As to your (Vic's) question about the word 'whole' in the "Scholar's
        Translation", instead of 'destroyed', note that the word 'whole' is
        enclosed in pointed brackets, i.e. '<whole>'. This device is sometimes used
        when the translator feels that the copyist has made an error, or when some
        material is, or appears to be, missing. The explanation in "The Five
        Gospels" is this:

        "Pointed brackets enclose a subject, object, or other element implied by
        the original language and supplied by the translator." (pg.XX)

        The Coptic word in question looks rather like this: 'WHy'. At 61.3, J is
        made to say (in the SVT): "I am the one who comes from what is whole",
        where the Coptic word for 'whole' looks something like this: 'WHW'.
        Apparently, the SVT translators felt that the copyist made a mistake in
        61.5. The very next letter is 'y' and the copyist may have been thinking
        ahead and inadvertantly wrote that letter after 'WH' at that point in the
        manuscript instead of properly completing the word as 'WHW'. Personally, I
        hold out the possibility that the mistake was intentional, and that the
        reader may have been intended to "destroy him" by changing the 'y' (which
        is the prototypical masculine grammatical element in Coptic) to 'W'. But
        whether regarded as intentional or not, the assumption that a mistake was
        made favors the SVT reading. <whole> The sense and symmetry of the saying
        seems to be lost otherwise.

        Mike

        The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
        http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068/sayings.htm
      • Lorna Wilson
        LLW rely to James questions on light in GT (61): My studies to GT are limited so ... I assume GT influenced by 4G and wisdom literature..if so, I would like to
        Message 3 of 5 , Nov 1, 2000
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          LLW rely to James questions on light in GT (61):
          My studies to GT are limited so ... I assume GT influenced by 4G and wisdom
          literature..if so, I would like to make the following observations regarding
          use of "light" in 61.

          Compare Jn. 1:4, "in him was life and the life was the light of men" and
          Prov. 20:27, "the human spirit is the lamp of the Lord."
          These two vv. establish a link between "life and light", light in 4G implies
          the revelation which reveals the "life" that is in Jesus.
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