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Re: [GTh] GTH 77- Cross saying?

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  • Achilles37@aol.com
    If I may interject something briefly here... ... There is a possibility (which no one ever seems to consider) that the wood/stone saying has another meaning
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 13, 2001
      If I may interject something briefly here...

      John Rumple wrote:

      > In POxy 654, the saying is very different, and has
      > no connotation whatsoever of pantheizing.

      There is a possibility (which no one ever seems to
      consider) that the wood/stone saying has another
      meaning besides a Pantheistic (or Panentheistic)
      one and besides a reference to the cross and
      resurrection. Specifically, that meaning would be
      idolatry. Sayings about wood and stone often
      appeared in the context of idolatry.

      For example, Jeremiah 2:27 reads as follows:
      "They say to wood, 'You are my father,'
      and to stone, 'You gave me birth." (Masoretic text)

      Now if we were to follow this passage from
      Jeremiah with the last portion of Coptic Thomas 77
      (and I freely admit that I'm using the Coptic version
      of the saying here because its order better suits
      my purpose), we would have:

      "They say to wood, 'You are my father,'
      and to stone, 'You gave me birth."
      "Split a piece of wood and I am there.
      Lift up the stone and you will find Me there."

      As I say, a context of idolatry is another possibility
      and this example was intended to raise that
      possibility rather than prove the point. But you can
      perhaps see how the second half of Coptic Thomas
      77 (Greek Thomas 30) might have been at home in a
      discussion of idolatry.

      John also wrote:

      > --Also, in POxy 654, the stone-wood saying is attached
      > to #55, not #77,

      Perhaps you meant #30 here rather than #55.

      Regards,

      - Kevin Johnson
    • Rick Hubbard
      [Kevin wrote]: There is a possibility (which no one ever seems to consider) that the wood/stone saying has another meaning besides a Pantheistic (or
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 13, 2001
        [Kevin wrote]:

        There is a possibility (which no one ever seems to
        consider) that the wood/stone saying has another
        meaning besides a Pantheistic (or Panentheistic)
        one and besides a reference to the cross and
        resurrection. Specifically, that meaning would be
        idolatry. Sayings about wood and stone often
        appeared in the context of idolatry.

        As long as "possibilities" are being entertained, not just by
        Kevin, but by Tom, Frank and John], consider the chance that 77.2
        has nothing at all to do with theological or philosophical
        constructs. It may not be much more than an expression of
        personal ubiquity and persistence. In some other context (meaning
        in a circumstance where the saying was not attributed to Jesus),
        it would mean precisely that.

        Umpteen years ago Mighty Mouse TV cartoon shows opened with a
        little jingle that went as follows:

        He's here,
        He's there,
        He's everywhere....so beware.

        This ditty sounds no different to me than GTh 77.2. No one is
        likely to take these phrases seriously because Mighty Mouse is
        hardly a reputable character (or even a real character). By
        contrast, we are tempted to confer profound significance upon a
        nearly identical statement just because the speaker is alleged to
        have been Jesus. We surmise that, if Jesus said it, then it MUST
        have some religious significance. It is unlikely that this is
        something Jesus said. Whether he did or not, there is no need to
        suppose it is anything more than an expression of someone's
        intent to endure.

        Rick Hubbard
        Humble Maine Woodsman
      • Achilles37@aol.com
        ... That possibility, of course, always exists. But there is some evidence against it. First of all, we are speaking of the Gospel of Thomas, which is a
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 15, 2001
          Rick Hubbard writes:

          > As long as "possibilities" are being entertained...
          > consider the chance that 77.2 has nothing at all
          > to do with theological or philosophical constructs.

          That possibility, of course, always exists.

          But there is some evidence against it.

          First of all, we are speaking of the Gospel of
          Thomas, which is a collection of sayings attributed
          to Jesus. A collection of sayings attributed to
          Jesus is (I would believe), by definition, a
          collection of theological constructs, whether
          those constructs were ultimately derived from the
          historical Jesus or from someone else.

          Besides this, there is the fact that the Gospel
          of Thomas is a respectable source of some of the
          earliest versions of Jesus sayings we now possess
          as recognized repeatedly, for example, by that
          body of scholars known as the Jesus Seminar.

          Then there is the fact that this particular
          saying is one of the few sayings in the Gospel
          of Thomas that has indeed been preserved in Greek.
          This saying can therefore be dated with physical
          certainty to a point in time considerably earlier
          than approximately 85% of the other sayings in
          the Coptic Gospel of Thomas.

          > Umpteen years ago Mighty Mouse TV cartoon
          > shows opened with a little jingle that went
          > as follows:

          > He's here,
          > He's there,
          > He's everywhere....so beware.

          > This ditty sounds no different to me than GTh 77.2.

          Are you saying that Mighty Mouse read the Gospel
          of Thomas? Actually, I would argue that the use
          of wood and stone in GThomas was significant and for
          the reason I gave - the context of idolatry (in
          favor of this view is the obvious fact that the
          Oxy. context of this saying speaks of "gods.") But
          even if you believe that this is a reference to
          the cross and resurrection, the examples
          are still significant. Which itself is a further
          argument against a purely Pantheistic (or
          Panentheistic) interpretation.

          Consider the details of the "horses" and "bows" in
          Thomas 47. One could argue that these details are
          insignificant. Or one could note that horses and bows
          were often associated as symbols of war (Is. 5:28;
          Jer. 6:23; Hos. 1:7; Zech. 9:10; Rev. 6:2).

          > We surmise that, if Jesus said it, then it MUST
          > have some religious significance.

          True. Unless you believe that Jesus spoke about
          things that were religiously insignificant. In
          that case, he has had a rather large effect for
          someone who words were insignificant.

          > It is unlikely that this is something Jesus said.

          .. because... what? Because this particular saying
          is not preserved as such in the canonical gospels?
          Because its meaning is not immediately evident
          or because it does not seem particuarly profound?
          The Gospel of Thomas does not generally provide
          context. For example, what would we make of saying
          35 in the Gospel of Thomas (binding the strong man)
          if we lacked the canonical parallels which give it
          context? The fact that context for a saying is lacking
          is not a reason to dismiss a saying out of hand
          as insignificant or inconsequential, especially if
          further research can provide a possible or probable
          context.

          Regards,

          - Kevin Johnson
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