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RE: [GTh] Re: GTh 20: The Parable of the Mustard Seed and GTh 21:The Parable of the Children in the Field

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  • Rick Hubbard
    If there was a way that I could configure this computer to prevent me from typing certain words unless I confirmed about six times that I really wanted to use
    Message 1 of 9 , Jun 7, 2001
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      If there was a way that I could configure this computer to prevent me
      from typing certain words unless I confirmed about six times that I
      really wanted to use them, then two of those words would be "original"
      and "originality." Inevitably, when I use those words in the context
      of literary comparisons, I get into trouble. The following response
      from Jack Kilmon regarding my remarks to Frank McCoy about Gth 20 and
      "parallels" in Mk is a perfect example.

      [Jack wrote:]
      My take on GoT 20 and the Markan parallel is that the Markan parallel
      more "original" and actually redacted down in GoT.

      I did not mean to imply that both Mark and the Gth compiler shared a
      common written source and that the version of either Thomas or Mark is
      closest to that "original." Instead, I meant to argue that Thomas and
      Mark each had access to what were probably oral traditions about Jesus
      and that the construction of the similtude in Gth more closely
      approximates the oral form than does the version in Mk. It is a widely
      accepted principle that narratives and sayings associated with Jesus
      that circulated in the oral tradition tended toward being shorter
      rather than longer, and so, when one sees two written versions of what
      appears to be the same saying, the one that is shortest probably is
      closer to the oral version (assuming of course, that there was only
      one oral version. It is possible that there may have been more than

      Your persistent argument that there is evidence of Aramaic linguistic
      artifacts behind the written versions of the Jesus logia, is, as you
      well know, not universally accepted. Since I do not know Aramaic, I
      certainly have no business debating the merits of your hypotheses. I
      will observe, however, that it is not necessary to identify any
      "Aramaic Original" behind the sayings of Jesus in order to recover
      what is closest to Jesus' actual utterances.

      While it is very likely that Jesus spoke Aramaic, there remains the
      very real possibility that he also spoke Greek. One must not ignore
      the tremendous Hellenistic cultural influence that had existed for
      generations in the western Mediterranean basin (e.g., Palestine).
      Jesus lived in that cultural environment, and if we are to accept the
      accounts of the canonical gospels he seemed to travel through portions
      of it regularly and to discourse with its residents. If so, it seems
      likely that he would have had to have some competency in Greek. This
      does nothing to prove that he knew Greek, but the observation is
      sufficient to leave open that possibility.

      One of the arguments made by those who postulate an "Aramaic Jesus,"
      is that the region where he lived was a cultural and linguistic
      archipelago. In this enclave, Aramaic remained as the dominant
      language and the traditions of the Judean religion were paramount. If
      I understand correctly, this means that the enclave must have
      successfully resisted the Hellenistic cultural influences that
      engulfed virtually all of the remainder of the western Mediterranean
      and that the linguistic and religious heritage of the enclave remained
      largely unaffected.

      Again, the merits of that hypothesis is not something I can comment on
      directly, but I can relate something from my own experience that may
      be analogous to the "enclave phenomenon" that seems to be a
      foundational part of the "Aramaic Jesus" argument. I grew up on the
      Flathead Indian Reservation in Western Montana. It seems to me that
      there are a few intriguing parallels between the acculturation process
      that occurred in Palestine and in the Mission Valley, where the
      reservation was located. In both cases, the indigenous populations
      were inundated by new languages. In Palestine, it was Greek. In
      Montana, it was English. American culture was introduced into this
      area by the Jesuits and by commercial representatives of the Hudson
      Bay Company beginning around the middle of the 19th century. By the
      time I was born, roughly one hundred years later, virtually all
      Indians spoke English, but a large number of continued to speak Salish
      as well. The native language was spoken primarily in homes, at
      cultural gatherings, in the tribal government and in the context of
      religious practices. However, in the course of day to day activities,
      English was the routine language.

      The analogy between the two is this: In both cases (Palestine and
      Montana), we can observe that the cultural traditions of the two
      indigenous populations were subjected to overwhelming outside
      influences. In the latter case, it is known for certain that, while
      the language of the native population continued to be used and the
      traditional religious practices were still followed (in spite of the
      most vigorous efforts of missionaries), the Native Americans regularly
      used the language of the culture that had surrounded them. It seems to
      me therefore very likely that the situation in Palestine was similar.
      Certain enclaves in the region, perhaps including where Jesus lived,
      also managed to retain and keep alive their language and religious
      traditions, but as a matter of survival, they also used the Greek
      language. If that is true, then Jesus may have been as fluent in Greek
      as he was in Aramaic.

      This of course does virtually nothing to deny the argument that an
      Aramaic original lies behind the Jesus logia. But it does, to a
      degree, reaffirm the possibility that Jesus *did* speak Greek and that
      therefore it is not essential that reconstruction of an Aramaic
      Original to his sayings is the only certain means by which his
      "authentic words" can be recovered.

      Rick Hubbard
      Humble Maine Woodsman
    • David C. Hindley
      ... me from typing certain words unless I confirmed about six times that I really wanted to use them, then two of those words would be original and
      Message 2 of 9 , Jun 7, 2001
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        Rick Hubbard laments:

        >>If there was a way that I could configure this computer to prevent
        me from typing certain words unless I confirmed about six times that I
        really wanted to use them, then two of those words would be "original"
        and "originality." <<

        Yes you can.

        Presuming that your e-mail software's built-in editor (or the WP you
        use as an e-mail editor) performs a spell check before sending the
        message, just find the way into your spell checking dictionary and
        erase the entries for "original" and "originality." Then it will
        always prompt you with a dialogue box seeking confirmation when it
        encounters these words, offering you alternative words, etc. If you
        say "yes accept this word" it will probably ask you again in a
        different way just to be sure.

        I may well do that sort of thing myself with words like "merely,"
        "simply," "obviously," and other words often used in a dismissive
        sense, just to prevent me from falling into the trap of dismissing
        evidence contrary to my pet hypotheses for the sake of convenience.


        Dave Hindley
        Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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