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Re: [GTh] #95 & #109

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  • Tom Saunders
    I think Bill and all the others in this particular discussion are missing two distinct facts that can serve to clear up the mystery of monitary wealth. First
    Message 1 of 25 , Mar 7, 2002
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      I think Bill and all the others in this particular discussion are missing two distinct facts that can serve to clear up the mystery of monitary wealth. First there are more references to the concept of wealth than just 95, and 109.
      (100) "They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to Him : "Caesar's men demand taxes from us." He said to them : "Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give Elohîm what belongs to Elohîm, and give Me what is Mine."

      There is also the rich man that filled his storehouse so he would not want, but then died before he could save his soul. The point is the moral implications of money was so arbitrary at the time that the early Christians probably did not know how to deal with it. Even as late as Thomas Aquinas (Christian History Mag. this month) recognized the evil of money changers. It is a sin to take money without rendering a fair service, being a shylock.

      In Mathew 25 there is another reference to money in the Parable about the servent with the money given him by his master. Things did not go as planned. I think the concept of personal wealth and how it effected different people just served to confuse anyone who was trying to figure out the moral implications of wealth in repidly changing economies. Now and then. "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle........"

      In the Temple of Jesus time you could not spend money in the temple that was not 'temple money." You changed your money at the door and got ripped off by the Tony Sopranos of the time. Inside were Tony's guys that sold you 'temple fair." The needy, and those that really needed help could not get in. (History Channel's Christian History series)

      I think the sentiment in these days might go like, "if you have money do not be a shylock. Do not fill your storehouse with evil."

      Tom







      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • David C. Hindley
      ... that Thomas were, say (as just one example), recording snippets from the life of Jesus -- one s first task would be to try to iron out apparent
      Message 2 of 25 , Mar 7, 2002
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        Bill Arnal said:

        >>I would certainly regard this as a possibility if I felt
        that Thomas were, say (as just one example), recording
        snippets from the life of Jesus -- one's first task would be
        to try to iron out apparent contradictions in such a
        portrait. The problem with this suggestion here, however
        immediately plausible it may be (and it is, I think), is
        that, first, I see Thomas as a literary work, and so imagine
        that the author would have consciously filled in the blanks
        for us if indeed he were presenting a consistent "take" on
        interest.

        The other reason I'm hesitant to accept this interpretation
        (at least HERE, in Thomas) is because this example is not
        the ONLY case where Thomas uses metaphors or images in
        self-contradictory ways. The same is true of "wealth,"
        "poverty," "drunkeness," and a bunch of others.<<

        Snippets can be made use of out of their original context,
        and literary use of such snippets may involve relationships
        not inherent in the original accounts.

        What strikes me about many of the Thomas sayings and
        parables, as well as some of the canonical sayings and
        parables, are that they seem to have the same sort of folksy
        earthiness reminiscent of country life. Only a few, if any,
        seem to require a town/city (versus a village) context.

        These seem to be platforms upon which to anchor commentary.
        But where did they come from? I am not ready to say "Well,
        it must be Jesus." Neither, it appears, does your mentor
        Kloppenborg-Verbin, based upon the seminar of the prior
        year. At least he is being cautious with that kind of
        speculation.

        Since you have evidently engaged in quite a bit of research
        into the economic life of the peasant society of
        Galilee/Judea, I am interested in your perspective about the
        relevance for this. I believe there is a chapter or so in
        your book about this, so maybe I should take a look. You may
        already have there answered my question, but perhaps a
        lurker or two would like to be keyed in.

        Respectfully,

        Dave Hindley
        Cleveland, Ohio, USA
      • Rick Hubbard
        [Bill wrote:] This contradiction in the use of imagery is a point I ve also noted, and I think it has significance, [snip] This is an approach I took to Thomas
        Message 3 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
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          [Bill wrote:]
          This contradiction in the use of imagery is a point I've also noted, and I
          think it has significance,
          [snip]
          This is an
          approach I took to Thomas in a long-ago article in HTR (1995?), in which I
          attempt a preliminary stratification of the text, partly on this basis.

          For those who wish to read this article which I definitely encourage) it is
          "The Rhetoric of Marginality: Apocalyptisim, Gnosticism, and Sayings
          Gospels." _Harvard Theological Review_ 88:4 (1995)471-494.

          [Bill wrote:]
          On the other hand, it occurred to me later that Thomas involves these sorts
          of contradictions WAY too often for the phenomenon to be just an accidental
          by-product of different layers of tradition.
          [snip]
          I've written an
          article on this as well, much more recently, but unfortunately it's still in
          press. I MIGHT have even posted a version of it to this list. (I don't
          remeber.)

          A version of Bill's article is in fact still posted on the GThomas
          discussion group's home page at:
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gthomas/files/reviews/ThomRhet.htm

          Bill's remark below serves as an appropriate point of departure for those
          who may wish to explore his thesis in further detail.

          Anyway, this sort of deliberate opposition of images strikes me as
          one of Thomas' key redactional characteristics, and a decidely
          under-recognized one at that.

          Rick Hubbard
          Humble Maine Woodsman
        • Rick Hubbard
          [Bill Arnal wrote:] ... said, if you have money, do not lend it at interest, but give it to one from whom you will not get it back of GoT 95 versus son
          Message 4 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
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            [Bill Arnal wrote:]

            >>This contradiction in the use of imagery [i.e., "Jesus
            said, 'if you have money, do not lend it at interest, but
            give it to one from whom you will not get it back" of GoT 95
            versus son finding a treasure, and loans it out at interest
            of GoT 109) is a point I've also noted, and I think it has
            significance,

            [David Hindley wrote:]
            But is it really a contradiction? Lending at interest is
            forbidden in the torah - but only between Jews. It was
            perfectly "legal" to lend (with interest) to Gentiles. The
            two sayings may well refer to two different, and unstated,
            contexts: inter-ethnic charity (GoT 95) and unexpected
            bounty/change in status (GoT 109).

            Agreed. The two sayings may arise from different social circumstances. The
            issue, however, is that they are clearly juxtaposed in Thomas AND that
            juxtapositions in Thomas are not isolated to the practice of usury. It seems
            to me that Bill has identified a characteristic feature in GTh that invites
            much closer scrutiny. Throughout GTh there are contradictory assessments
            about poverty, wealth, commercial enterprise, political power, and other
            social behaviors. In my opinion, Bill is right when he confers significance
            to this phenomenon.

            I am eager to see Bill's revised article on this subject (where will it be
            published, Bill?). In particular, I am interested in whether there are any
            correlations between the strata identified in the 1995 HTR article and the
            refined dichotomies which he presumably discusses in his forthcoming paper.



            Rick Hubbard
            Humble Maine Woodsman
          • William Arnal
            ... I m not sure what you re getting at here. Of course, I agree with this statement (above) as it stands, but don t quite see how you would apply this to the
            Message 5 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
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              David Hindley wrote:

              >Snippets can be made use of out of their original context,
              >and literary use of such snippets may involve relationships
              >not inherent in the original accounts.

              I'm not sure what you're getting at here. Of course, I agree with this
              statement (above) as it stands, but don't quite see how you would apply this
              to the sayings at issue. IF your point is that both (contradictory) sayings
              could have been spoken by Jesus, in different contexts, and not originally
              have contradicted each other, well, I agree that this is possible, though
              (as per below), I also have no reason to think that everything (or anything,
              for that matter) that Thomas attributes to Jesus was really spoken by him.

              >These seem to be platforms upon which to anchor commentary.
              >But where did they come from? I am not ready to say "Well,
              >it must be Jesus." Neither, it appears, does your mentor
              >Kloppenborg-Verbin, based upon the seminar of the prior
              >year. At least he is being cautious with that kind of
              >speculation.

              We might be talking past each other again. Did I seem to imply that Thomas
              sayings must or should go back to Jesus? No, like you and like Kloppenborg,
              I can't see Thomas as testimony to the historical Jesus -- it, like the
              canonicals, is a theological-literary production, I assume.

              >Since you have evidently engaged in quite a bit of research
              >into the economic life of the peasant society of
              >Galilee/Judea, I am interested in your perspective about the
              >relevance for this. I believe there is a chapter or so in
              >your book about this, so maybe I should take a look. You may
              >already have there answered my question, but perhaps a
              >lurker or two would like to be keyed in.

              I'm still not sure what your question is!

              Bill
              ___________________________
              William Arnal
              Department of Religion
              University of Manitoba

              "Well, I can see I'm not in Paris"
              -- Ernest Hemingway, on landing in Winnipeg



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            • William Arnal
              ... Not much revised at all, actually. The version that s posted in connection with this list is essentially the final version. The things was originally
              Message 6 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
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                Rick Hubbard wrote:

                >I am eager to see Bill's revised article on this subject (where will >it be
                >published, Bill?).

                Not much revised at all, actually. The version that's posted in connection
                with this list is essentially the "final" version. The things was originally
                written for last year's meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies,
                in Edmonton, Alberta, in connection with a larger session on Rhetoric in the
                NT organized by Willi Braun. After it was all over, Willi decided to publish
                the papers in a forthcoming volume from Wilfrid Laurier University Press. I
                have no idea when this will be completed, or when it's likely to see the
                light of day.

                >In particular, I am interested in whether there are >any
                >correlations between the strata identified in the 1995 HTR article and >the
                >refined dichotomies which he presumably discusses in his forthcoming
                > >paper.

                No! I haven't. This is an issue I'm afraid to touch, at least for the
                moment.

                Bill
                ___________________________
                William Arnal
                Department of Religion
                University of Manitoba

                "Well, I can see I'm not in Paris"
                -- Ernest Hemingway, on landing in Winnipeg



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              • David C. Hindley
                ... I guess I was questioning the literary or theological priority that you put on the shared word interest over socio-economic factors that might explain
                Message 7 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
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                  Bill Arnal asks, quizzically:

                  >>I'm still not sure what your question is!<<

                  I guess I was questioning the literary or theological
                  priority that you put on the shared word "interest" over
                  socio-economic factors that might explain two apparently
                  contradictory statements about lending money. Your heart of
                  your interest in Thomas apparently has more to do with the
                  finished product rather than the origin of its source(s).
                  The latter is where my interest lies.

                  My comments about peasant economy were to suggest that quite
                  a few sayings/parables in Thomas have such a setting in
                  mind. The implication, which I did not state but was
                  alluding to, is that the sayings/parables (whatever their
                  origin) drawn upon by the author(s) and/or editors of Thomas
                  may have alluded to a wide range of situations. However, the
                  way that the author(s) and/or editors of Thomas chose to
                  associate them (by pairing them in order to emphasize
                  oppositions based upon keywords like "interest") may, then,
                  be secondary to their origins.

                  >>Neither saying, however, specifies to WHOM the
                  interest-bearing loans are given, a critical datum, and one
                  that clearly cannot be taken for granted, if one wishes to
                  read the sayings as you've suggested. Indeed, in neither
                  case is the motif of "interest" required by the story, or by
                  the story's basic point: in the first, you can just say,
                  give without expecting to receive; and in the second, you
                  can just say, and the man had lots of money, and (e.g.)
                  engaged in commerce, or some such thing. Which suggests to
                  me that the "interest" here is important and central to the
                  author, since its appearance is not just dictated by the
                  structure of the stories themselves.<<

                  You reasoned that since there are no overt statements in
                  these sayings about the context of the lending activity,
                  then such contexts "cannot be taken for granted." I would
                  disagree. Few statements, especially if they are trying to
                  make a rhetorical point, expressly state all their premises.
                  The author/speaker often intends for context to be assumed
                  by the reader/hearer's imagination, so as to get them
                  personally involved in the conclusion (as in the enthymeme).

                  The use to which such sayings were put by a later author,
                  such as the author of Thomas, may deliberately (and I would
                  think probably did, in this case) ignore or modify those
                  original contexts, if only to make a new, and different,
                  point.

                  Since you have apparently invested a large amount of time
                  and resources reading on the subject of peasant economy (and
                  I agree with almost everything you said in _Jesus and the
                  Village Scribes_), I had hoped you would have a greater
                  appreciation for the implied circumstances of some of these
                  sayings. Or do they only help us understand why and how
                  Galilean village scribes preserved sayings traditions, such
                  as Q?

                  I do not think that it is an uncritical assumption to
                  understand GoT 95 as a critique of Jewish landowners or
                  government retainers who lend to fellow Jews at interest (a
                  practice that the literary and papyri evidence clearly shows
                  was happening in the 1st century CE) which by extension
                  means the saying was suggesting that such people lend money
                  at interest to Gentiles (a practice also known from literary
                  evidence), and understand GoT 109 to be a representation of
                  the joy someone might feel to be unexpectedly released from
                  a subsistence existence (specifically, as a freeholding
                  peasant farming a family plot) to the much more secure
                  position of a wealthy man with money to lend to Gentiles.

                  The message of these two sayings seems to have been an
                  examination of just who was one's brother was supposed to be
                  and how one treated him: Charity voluntarily extended to
                  fellow-Jews vs economic exploitation extended to Gentiles.
                  It clearly suggests a reversal of normal roles between Jews
                  and Gentiles. Perhaps this is not, today, a politically
                  correct position for the original author(s) of these sayings
                  to have had, but it does appear to me to be what he/they was
                  thinking.

                  Respectfully,

                  Dave Hindley
                  Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                • Jim Bauer
                  I was just digging around in Strong s exhaustive concordance trying to find a line of scripture which I think relevant to this discussion. It was the line,
                  Message 8 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
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                    I was just digging around in Strong's exhaustive concordance trying to find
                    a line of scripture which I think relevant to this discussion. It was the
                    line, spoken to Peter(?), "Go, sell all that you have and come follow me."
                    The idea is that encouraging people to give away their money and join a
                    group led by a wandering itinerant wisdom teacher may be part of some
                    general ascetic slant on the part of the authors of Thomas. I didn't find
                    the passage I wanted but instead found the following. Matthew 13:44, which
                    parallels Thomas very strikingly:
                    "The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found
                    and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys
                    that field."

                    The material here is recognizably similar to the version in Thomas, but
                    Thomas seems more complete, more complex, adds more detail. One argument
                    often made about Thomas as a possible source of original sayings/historical
                    Jesus material for the Bible is that the canonical ones seem to have been
                    fleshed out, that Thomas is more primitive. Yet in this case it seems like
                    the opposite happened and loss of components has actually made it more
                    adaptive to its audience. As in Matthew 13:52, it seems a mixture of "what
                    is new and old". Ideas only survive if they are selected-for, so possibly
                    the saying had to be pared down to make it acceptable to a Gentile audience,
                    which in turn allowed it to survive as a creed (Christianity) and not a cult
                    (Gnosticism and related ideas).

                    (45) continues with a similar theme:

                    "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a man in search of fine pearls, who,
                    on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and
                    bought it."

                    I am particularly impressed between the resemblance's here between this
                    scripture and the Gnostic "The Hymn of the Pearl". I am not well acquainted
                    enough with this particular scripture to objectively comment on this
                    particular bit of speculation.

                    #47 repeats a theme from Thomas--a net being cast into the sea by a wise
                    fisherman--but at a different location in the text. In Thomas this
                    particular parable, #8, is removed from the two sayings, #95 and #109, which
                    were originally being discussed here. In this case it does seem to resemble
                    the idea that Thomas was put together somewhat randomly, or perhaps that the
                    author of Matthew deliberately chose to cluster these sayings purely as a
                    literary device.

                    Jim Bauer
                  • William Arnal
                    ... Okay, I ve got it now. What I d say in response is this: at the very least, my comments on the interest mtoif were focused on Thomas as a finished
                    Message 9 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
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                      David Hindley wrote:

                      >I guess I was questioning the literary or theological
                      >priority that you put on the shared word "interest" over
                      >socio-economic factors that might explain two apparently
                      >contradictory statements about lending money. Your heart of
                      >your interest in Thomas apparently has more to do with the
                      >finished product rather than the origin of its source(s).
                      >The latter is where my interest lies.

                      Okay, I've got it now. What I'd say in response is this: at the very least,
                      my comments on the "interest" mtoif were focused on Thomas as a finished
                      product, and were made without prejudice to the earlier significance,
                      sources, context, etc. of these two sayings. I am not UNinterested in the
                      question of the origin of Thomas' sources; I just wasn't addressing that in
                      my comments.

                      >My comments about peasant economy were to suggest that quite
                      >a few sayings/parables in Thomas have such a setting in
                      >mind. The implication, which I did not state but was
                      >alluding to, is that the sayings/parables (whatever their
                      >origin) drawn upon by the author(s) and/or editors of Thomas
                      >may have alluded to a wide range of situations. However, the

                      Yes, I have no problem with this.

                      >way that the author(s) and/or editors of Thomas chose to
                      >associate them (by pairing them in order to emphasize
                      >oppositions based upon keywords like "interest") may, then,
                      >be secondary to their origins.

                      Again, I completely agree. In fact, I might be inclined to state this even
                      more emphatically: what the author/editor did with these sayings is PROBABLY
                      secondary to their origins, and probably recasts this import considerably.

                      >You reasoned that since there are no overt statements in
                      >these sayings about the context of the lending activity,
                      >then such contexts "cannot be taken for granted." I would
                      >disagree. Few statements, especially if they are trying to
                      >make a rhetorical point, expressly state all their premises.
                      >The author/speaker often intends for context to be assumed
                      >by the reader/hearer's imagination, so as to get them
                      >personally involved in the conclusion (as in the enthymeme).

                      Fair enough, though I'm not sure how well this observation applies in this
                      case. Again, I was talking about the import of the sayings IN THOMAS, and
                      not their original point. I would think that UNLESS the wording and context
                      really make a particular external but supposedly implicit interpretive move
                      "natural" (e.g., if there were much talk about Jew-Gentile distinctions in
                      Thomas; and if the sayings in question more flatly contradicted each other
                      [as in, "Jesus said, do not lend moeny at interest" and "Jesus said, lend
                      money at interest"]; etc.), it's most safe to avoid invoking such a thing
                      FOR THE TEXT IN QUESTION (I'm not shouting, just underlining). I don't know
                      if that's very clear.

                      >The use to which such sayings were put by a later author,
                      >such as the author of Thomas, may deliberately (and I would
                      >think probably did, in this case) ignore or modify those
                      >original contexts, if only to make a new, and different,
                      >point.

                      Yes, again. I think our "disagreement" here is really just a function of my
                      having originally misunderstood your point.

                      >Since you have apparently invested a large amount of time
                      >and resources reading on the subject of peasant economy (and
                      >I agree with almost everything you said in _Jesus and the
                      >Village Scribes_), I had hoped you would have a greater
                      >appreciation for the implied circumstances of some of these
                      >sayings.

                      Ouch! But the problem here is that I can't for the life of me really figure
                      out what the context of Thomas -- as a text! -- might be. I assume that the
                      sayings that appear in Thomas (at least the ones the author didn't compose
                      himself) do derive from a Galilean, peasant, rural context. But I'm not at
                      all confident that Thomas as a document SHARES that context. Maybe so, maybe
                      not. Even if it does, the text strikes me as having such a "spiritualizing"
                      religiosity as to make the links between its theology and context
                      extraordinarily difficult to make out. To put this as sharply as possible: I
                      think Thomas can indeed tell us a great deal about peasant ideology and
                      context; but I do not think (or at least, have yet to be convinced) that
                      peasant ideology and context can tell us a lot about Thomas (in its final
                      form)!

                      >The message of these two sayings seems to have been an
                      >examination of just who was one's brother was supposed to be
                      >and how one treated him: Charity voluntarily extended to
                      >fellow-Jews vs economic exploitation extended to Gentiles.
                      >It clearly suggests a reversal of normal roles between Jews
                      >and Gentiles. Perhaps this is not, today, a politically
                      >correct position for the original author(s) of these sayings
                      >to have had, but it does appear to me to be what he/they was
                      >thinking.

                      As I say, I have no difficulty with this interpretation as it applies to the
                      "original" context of the individual sayings. But for me to be convinced
                      that it applies to Thomas, as a literary work, I would want to see some
                      evidence that Thomas assumes and cares about the Jew-Gentile distinction.

                      Bill
                      ___________________________
                      William Arnal
                      Department of Religion
                      University of Manitoba

                      "Well, I can see I'm not in Paris"
                      -- Ernest Hemingway, on landing in Winnipeg



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                    • mwgrondin
                      ... But Dave, the person who finds the treasure in Th109, and who then proceeds to lend money at interest, is not the one who originally owned the family plot,
                      Message 10 of 25 , Mar 10, 2002
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                        --- Dave Hindley wrote:
                        > I do not think that it is an uncritical assumption to
                        > understand ... GoT 109 to be a representation of
                        > the joy someone might feel to be unexpectedly released from
                        > a subsistence existence (specifically, as a freeholding
                        > peasant farming a family plot) to the much more secure
                        > position of a wealthy man with money to lend to Gentiles.

                        But Dave, the person who finds the treasure in Th109, and who then
                        proceeds to lend money at interest, is not the one who originally
                        owned the family plot, and evidently is not a peasant. For all we
                        know, this buyer might have been a Gentile.

                        Regards,
                        Mike
                      • David C. Hindley
                        ... who then proceeds to lend money at interest, is not the one who originally owned the family plot, and evidently is not a peasant. For all we know, this
                        Message 11 of 25 , Mar 10, 2002
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                          Mike Grondin says:

                          >>But Dave, the person who finds the treasure in Th109, and
                          who then proceeds to lend money at interest, is not the one
                          who originally owned the family plot, and evidently is not a
                          peasant. For all we know, this buyer might have been a
                          Gentile.<<

                          You are right that I assumed the ethnicity of the subject of
                          the story was a Jew. In a way, you have uncovered a problem
                          in my way of interpretation of these sayings. Ironically, it
                          is the same problem I complained that others were doing.
                          <oops!>

                          I am not sure I understand what you mean when you say the
                          man who finds the treasure was "not a peasant."

                          109) Jesus said, "The Kingdom is like a man who had a
                          [hidden] treasure in his field without knowing it. And
                          [after] he died, he left it to his son. The son did not know
                          (about the treasure). *He inherited the field and sold
                          [it].* And the one who bought it went plowing and found the
                          treasure. He *began* to lend money at interest to whomever
                          he wished."

                          First, the son who inherited the field went on to sell it.
                          Generally, in this period (1st century CE) peasants had a
                          propensity to sell land and elites to buy or otherwise
                          acquire control over it. That tells me that the seller (the
                          inheriting son) was likely not himself an elite/wealthy
                          landowner, although still a freeholder. Where his father's
                          treasure came from is a puzzle. It would seem that the son
                          was not as affluent as the father was.

                          Using what we do know about the economics of that time (and
                          I am basing this on what I am currently reading, David A.
                          Fiensy, _The Social History of Palestine in the Herodian
                          Period_, 1991, and Jack Pastor, _Land and Economy in Ancient
                          Palestine_, 1997) I reconstruct the following scenario:

                          The father, facing confiscation of his good land, tries to
                          hedge his future prospects by hiding money in the poor lands
                          he expected to retain (possibly part of ancestral lands),
                          but ultimately did not survive the transition, never having
                          the chance of telling his son about the treasure. Loss of
                          status by an elite family often accompanied changes in
                          government. The best land was often confiscated from the
                          retainers of the former rulers and turned into royal
                          estates.

                          Another possibility is that the father acquired the treasure
                          by brigandage, and was thus himself a poor peasant who had
                          nothing but crappy land to farm. He is caught and executed
                          before telling his son what he secreted.

                          That the buyer discovers it when the inheriting son did not
                          suggests that he discovered it while trying to plough/work
                          the land. This would imply that the inheriting son did not
                          do so, or he would likely have found his father's treasure
                          himself. This in turn suggests that the son was not used to
                          working poor land, so I am inclined to think his father was
                          a dispossessed elite of an old order. The inheriting son,
                          then, unaware of the treasure his father secreted, and
                          facing the prospect of farming poor land as a common
                          peasant, throws up his hands and gives up farming entirely,
                          likely moving to a town or city to become a retainer for the
                          elite classes, or worse.

                          That the buyer only begins to lend money at interest after
                          discovering the treasure suggests that he was also not
                          already an elite/wealthy landowner. But why would a peasant
                          buy crappy land? According to James C. Scott, peasants in SE
                          Asia will invest quite a lot of physical effort and capital
                          just to eke a little more productivity out of land and meet
                          family subsistence needs. This includes buying or leasing
                          additional sub-par land that requires more intense farming
                          effort than the other land he already owns or leases. Scott
                          notes that the less land a family owns, the more they are
                          willing to pay for more. [_The Moral Economy of the
                          Peasant_, 1976, pg. 13-14] If there is any correspondence
                          between these cultures, the inheriting son saw a good
                          opportunity to unload the land, and ran with it.

                          But to get back to your other point, yes these could well
                          have been Gentiles. I guess that the nationality of the
                          subjects of the stories hinges on where these stories
                          originated (e.g., from the Jesus movement in rural Galilee,
                          as many seem to think, or maybe borrowed for rhetorical
                          purposes from oral/written lore of Gentile origin, as I
                          think). It also hinges on how the author or editors of
                          Thomas intended these stories to be understood by the
                          readers and hearers of the book, and here I would think that
                          he intended the stories to be understood in a Jewish
                          context, which also presumes that the readers & hearers
                          would have a minimal awareness of Jewish land tenancy
                          practices.

                          Respectfully,

                          Dave Hindley
                          Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                        • mwgrondin
                          ... Well, I said that he was _evidently_ not a peasant, since he had money to buy the land. The price of the land, however, was evidently not nearly as great
                          Message 12 of 25 , Mar 10, 2002
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                            --- Dave Hindley wrote:
                            > I am not sure I understand what you mean when you say the
                            > man who finds the treasure was "not a peasant."

                            Well, I said that he was _evidently_ not a peasant, since
                            he had money to buy the land. The price of the land, however,
                            was evidently not nearly as great as the value of the treasure.

                            > The father, facing confiscation of his good land, tries to
                            > hedge his future prospects by hiding money in the poor lands
                            > he expected to retain (possibly part of ancestral lands),
                            > but ultimately did not survive the transition, never having
                            > the chance of telling his son about the treasure. ...
                            > Another possibility is that the father acquired the treasure
                            > by brigandage, and was thus himself a poor peasant who had
                            > nothing but crappy land to farm. He is caught and executed
                            > before telling his son what he secreted.

                            But Dave, you're forgetting that the father _didn't know_ about
                            the treasure! Looks like you'll have to redo this part of your
                            elaborate construction. I'd say you're right, however, about
                            the nature of the land, the Coptic word suggesting wilderness or
                            undeveloped land, as in Th78 ("Why did you come out into the
                            field?") and Th21 ("[My disciples] are like little children
                            dwelling in a field that isn't theirs.") The problem with the
                            word 'field' is that it's an open question whether it would be
                            developed or undeveloped, whereas the Coptic word and the Greek
                            underlying it apparently could only have meant undeveloped land
                            (hence when the buyer in Th109 "comes plowing", he's doing
                            something that the original owners hadn't done to that piece
                            of land). In simplistic terms, I think the moral of the story
                            isn't "Don't sell your land", but rather "Use the land you got."

                            M.
                          • tsgnosis
                            Hi Dave, This, to me, is the danger of taking too intellectual an approach to the Gospel of Thomas. According to the logion, the father did not know he had a
                            Message 13 of 25 , Mar 10, 2002
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                              Hi Dave,

                              This, to me, is the danger of taking too intellectual an approach to
                              the Gospel of Thomas. According to the logion, the father did not
                              know he had a treasure, so he couldn't have hidden it himself.

                              This logion seems to speak more of the treasure hidden within all of
                              us. When we go 'plowing' within, we find the treasure to which this
                              logion refers. Unfortunately, neither the father nor the son made the
                              effort.

                              Mike's translation from the Coptic actually says the person who
                              bought the land "Did he begin to give money (at interest) to those he
                              loves." This seems reasonable enough, that he would share the wealth,
                              since we have a fine example of this in Jesus. What I'm curious about
                              is the (at interest). Mike, could you shed some light on this?

                              Laura
                            • David C. Hindley
                              ... about the treasure! Looks like you ll have to redo this part of your elaborate construction. I was concentrating on the fact that
                              Message 14 of 25 , Mar 11, 2002
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                                Mike Grondin notes:

                                >>But Dave, you're forgetting that the father _didn't know_
                                about the treasure! Looks like you'll have to redo this part
                                of your elaborate construction.<<

                                Details, details! <g>

                                I was concentrating on the fact that the text *also* says
                                that the son knew nothing of the treasure. Why did the
                                author repeat that the father and the son both did not know
                                of it? It still seems as if the story is meant to form a
                                neat contrast: wealth to poverty to wealth.

                                The delay in response was due to my feeble attempt to try
                                and look at the Coptic, but I have "two" many distractions
                                competing for my attention (ages 9 & 2).

                                I noticed the word forms in your interlinear sounded funny:

                                The-kingdom * she-is-comparable * to-a-man * who-had-he *
                                [t]here * in *his-field * a-treasure * hid[ing] * [he-bein]g
                                * not-knowing * about him

                                I take it "she" is the field and "he" is the treasure.
                                "Hidden" is partly conjectural (unless it is the only
                                possible word that fits). The word you translate
                                "not-knowing" is in the word index, with the meaning "to
                                know (obj)".

                                I am still curious whether the statement that is usually
                                translated "without knowing it" could be also rendered
                                something like "without disclosing it." Is a meaning like
                                this possible, based upon your knowledge of Coptic?

                                Respectfully,

                                Dave Hindley
                                Cleveland, Ohio, USA

                                PS: John Moon pointed out, off list, that read the way it is
                                usually rendered, GoT 109 could be thought of as a lesson
                                about a heir who is unaware of the riches if his inheritance
                                and sells it, only to see another benefit from it's riches.
                                The "replacement theology" found in the canonical gospels
                                comes to mind, yet it does not seem that this was what the
                                editor of Thomas wanted to emphasize, as I cannot think of
                                any overtly anti-Jewish sayings in the entire book. Bill
                                Arnal, for his part, (seems to have) considered the emphasis
                                of 109 (when compared to 95) to be loan interest!
                              • William Arnal
                                ... Not at all. In fact I m not sure why you d say this. The saying *mentions* interest, and I noted that this (apparently) contradicts another saying in
                                Message 15 of 25 , Mar 12, 2002
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                                  David Hindley wrote:

                                  >any overtly anti-Jewish sayings in the entire book. Bill
                                  >Arnal, for his part, (seems to have) considered the emphasis
                                  >of 109 (when compared to 95) to be loan interest!

                                  Not at all. In fact I'm not sure why you'd say this. The saying *mentions*
                                  interest, and I noted that this (apparently) contradicts another saying in
                                  valuation of interest. That's all. It doesn't mean that I think that
                                  interest is the central point of this saying.

                                  Bill
                                  ___________________________
                                  William Arnal
                                  Department of Religion
                                  University of Manitoba

                                  "Well, I can see I'm not in Paris"
                                  -- Ernest Hemingway, on landing in Winnipeg



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                                • Grondin
                                  ... I assume that the author wanted to make it clear to the reader that the son was ignorant also. But as to why the story requires both father and son, I
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Mar 12, 2002
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                                    Dave Hindley writes:
                                    > I was concentrating on the fact that the text *also* says
                                    > that the son knew nothing of the treasure. Why did the
                                    > author repeat that the father and the son both did not know
                                    > of it?

                                    I assume that the author wanted to make it clear to the reader that the son
                                    was ignorant also. But as to why the story requires both father and son, I
                                    don't know. Seems to me that it must be of some importance, but what?

                                    > I noticed the word forms in your interlinear sounded funny:

                                    > The-kingdom * she-is-comparable * to-a-man * who-had-he *
                                    > [t]here * in *his-field * a-treasure * hid[ing] * [he-bein]g
                                    > * not-knowing * about him
                                    >
                                    > I take it "she" is the field and "he" is the treasure.
                                    > "Hidden" is partly conjectural (unless it is the only
                                    > possible word that fits). The word you translate
                                    > "not-knowing" is in the word index, with the meaning "to
                                    > know (obj)".

                                    The root word in the verbal phrase means 'to know' (or 'to be aware of'),
                                    but the prefix 'NAT' is a negation, transforming it into its opposite 'to be
                                    ignorant of', lit., 'to not know'.

                                    > I am still curious whether the statement that is usually
                                    > translated "without knowing it" could be also rendered
                                    > something like "without disclosing it." Is a meaning like
                                    > this possible, based upon your knowledge of Coptic?

                                    Not that I'm aware of.

                                    Regards,
                                    Mike
                                  • dchindley
                                    ... *mentions* interest, and I noted that this (apparently) contradicts another saying in valuation of interest. That s all. It doesn t mean that I think that
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Mar 13, 2002
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                                      --- In gthomas@y..., "William Arnal" <warnal@h...> wrote:

                                      >>Not at all. In fact I'm not sure why you'd say this. The saying
                                      *mentions* interest, and I noted that this (apparently) contradicts
                                      another saying in valuation of interest. That's all. It doesn't mean
                                      that I think that interest is the central point of this saying.<<

                                      Sorry, I did not mean to impute an idea to you.

                                      Out of curiosity, could you provide a brief summary of the criteria
                                      you used to base your published (1995?) analytical breakout of GoT
                                      mentioned in earlier posts? I have not yet had a chance to find a
                                      copy of the journal it is in, but am interested in what would have
                                      been written there.

                                      Thanks!

                                      Dave Hindley
                                      Cleveland, OH (USA)
                                    • Rick Hubbard
                                      [Dave asked:] Out of curiosity, could you provide a brief summary of the criteria you used to base your published (1995?) analytical breakout of GoT mentioned
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Mar 14, 2002
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                                        [Dave asked:]

                                        Out of curiosity, could you provide a brief summary of the criteria
                                        you used to base your published (1995?) analytical breakout of GoT
                                        mentioned in earlier posts?

                                        I did my best to try to summarize Bill's article last summer. Although there
                                        is always the danger that I have missed something altogether, or that I have
                                        mis-stated Bill's position, the "breakout" of the strata is close to
                                        accurate (at least). Here's the link:
                                        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gthomas/message/3998

                                        Rick Hubbard
                                        Humble Maine Woodsman
                                      • William Arnal
                                        ... Thanks for this, Rick. I wasn t able to reply to Dave s original message yet because any copies of the article I have are back at the office, and I m at
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Mar 14, 2002
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                                          Hey all:

                                          >[Dave asked:]
                                          >
                                          >Out of curiosity, could you provide a brief summary of the criteria
                                          >you used to base your published (1995?) analytical breakout of GoT
                                          >mentioned in earlier posts?
                                          >
                                          >[and Rick replied]
                                          >
                                          >I did my best to try to summarize Bill's article last summer. Although
                                          > >there
                                          >is always the danger that I have missed something altogether, or that >I
                                          >have
                                          >mis-stated Bill's position, the "breakout" of the strata is close to
                                          >accurate (at least). Here's the link:
                                          >http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gthomas/message/3998

                                          Thanks for this, Rick. I wasn't able to reply to Dave's original message yet
                                          because any copies of the article I have are back at the office, and I'm at
                                          home today. But this saves me the necessity of a (belated) reply.

                                          Bill
                                          ___________________________
                                          William Arnal
                                          Department of Religion
                                          University of Manitoba

                                          "Well, I can see I'm not in Paris"
                                          -- Ernest Hemingway, on landing in Winnipeg



                                          _________________________________________________________________
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                                        • David C. Hindley
                                          ... summer. Although there is always the danger that I have missed something altogether, or that I have mis-stated Bill s position, the breakout of the
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Mar 14, 2002
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                                            Rick Hubbard said:

                                            >>I did my best to try to summarize Bill's article last
                                            summer. Although there is always the danger that I have
                                            missed something altogether, or that I have mis-stated
                                            Bill's position, the "breakout" of the strata is close to
                                            accurate (at least). Here's the link:
                                            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gthomas/message/3998 <<

                                            I must have missed this one! Well, at least I now have
                                            something to do over the weekend. Still have to find the
                                            article, though.

                                            Thanks again!

                                            Respectfully,

                                            Dave Hindley
                                            Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                                          • Michael Mozina
                                            ... sayings must or should go back to Jesus? No, like you and like Kloppenborg, I can t see Thomas as testimony to the historical Jesus -- it, like the
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Jun 19, 2002
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                                              William Arnal Wrote on 3/08/02:

                                              >>We might be talking past each other again. Did I seem to imply that Thomas
                                              sayings must or should go back to Jesus? No, like you and like Kloppenborg,
                                              I can't see Thomas as testimony to the historical Jesus -- it, like the
                                              canonicals, is a theological-literary production, I assume.

                                              I'm at work at the moment, and I can't seem to locate your posts about the
                                              oral traditions of Thomas. I'll look again at home for these posts since I
                                              am very curious about your analysis of this issue.

                                              I did however run across this comment of yours about the origins of Thomas,
                                              and I'm curious if you wouldn't mind giving me me a short explanation of
                                              *WHY* you can't see this as a testimony to the historical Jesus, and instead
                                              "assume" it's a theological-literary production. From my vantange point,
                                              Thomas seems very randomly slapped together and I don't see much of an
                                              underlying "production" to it. The randomness of these sayings, as opposed
                                              to grouped "themes", seems to lend credence to the notion that these were
                                              recorded at different times as the author happened to pen them down, rather
                                              than this list representing a well thought out "production" per se.

                                              [Michael Mozina]
                                              [sig added by ed. Contributors should sign messages.]
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