Saying 86 // Matt. 8.20 puns
- The puns came to me last summer as I was studying GThom and using my trusty Online Bible, which gives the Strongs number for every word so you can double-click away. Basically, the word for a bird�s nest is �qen� which is a pun on �Cain� the son of Adam and also on �Cainan� the son of Enosh ! So, it puns in Hebr. and Aram both. The allusion is to the Book of the Generations of Adam, beginning in Gen. 5:1. Cainan (= "possession") is derive from roots qen and qanan, both of which mean "bird nest." �Enosh� is the Aramaic parallel of the Hebrew Adam, of course, and so Cainan is the "Son of Man" who, unlike birds and foxes, has no �nesting place� or qanan. In Gen 4.12 the Lord curses Cain and makes him a "nestless" vagabond. I believe the saying has more to it, which I�m still working on.
What intrigues me is that this is the only SoM saying in GThom, and it also happens to be in the very first position among SoM sayings in Matt. It is also apparently the only SoM saying with wordplay. All of this suggests authenticity and importance within the community, and I am even exploring the possibility that it is the only authentic SoM saying, and that the others were using �SoM� derivatively as circumlocution for �I,� without any titular significance per se� I have a few theories I�m working on here.
A significant clue, to my mind, is that this saying fits so well with the others in the collection of esoteric GThom sayings, but in the synoptics it is rather denatured, as if it has been misunderstood, or possibly was narrativized on purpose in order to �de-Thomasize� it. (I found many examples of this in my GThom study last summer.) Again, in Matthew it is in the very first position of the several dozen SoM sayings, surely unlikely as mere coincidence, in view of its being the only wordplay-esoteric saying and the only SoM in GThom.
Luke in 9.57 sort of follows Matthew�s tactic and makes this an advisory parenesis which tends to distract the audience from, or simply fails to understand (due to linguistic ignorance?) the original puns. Luke also happens to cite the Adamic geneology (3:38) "Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God."
I am pretty sure this doubled punning really exists and isn�t my imagination, and that it refers to the patriarchal origins myths. These themes were soon picked up by Sethians and in Testament of Abraham, as I recall. I�ve looked at several books and articles which I thought should discuss the wordplay angle (eg Fitzmyer on Semitic Background of the NT, and Borsh on the Son of Man in Myth and History) but haven�t found any acknowledgement of it.
Am working on the klino issue which Eric raised, and thanks also to Jack for the transliteration . � J.
Below is cut-and-paste from the Strong�s entries. (Hebrew fonts are included.)
07018 Nnyq Qeynan kay-nawn'
from the same as 07064, Greek 2536 Kainam; ;n pr m
AV-Cainan 5, Kenan 1; 6
1) son of Enosh and father of Mahalaleel
07064 Nq qen kane
contracted from 07077; TWOT-2042a; n m
AV-nest 12, room 1; 13
1a) nest (of bird)
1b) cells (like nests in Noah's ark)
07077 Nnq qanan kaw-nan'
a primitive root; TWOT-2042; v
AV-make...nest 5; 5
1) to make a nest
1a) (Piel) to make a nest
1b) (Pual) to be nested
2536 Kainam Kainan kah-ee-nan'
of Hebrew origin 07018 Nnyq; ;n pr m
AV-Cainan 2; 2
1) the son of Enos, #Ge 5:9
2) son of Arphaxad and ancestor of Christ, #Lu 3:36
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