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Greek/Coptic Saying 3

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  • abernhar
    Hello everyone, I have recently been comparing saying 3 in the Greek and Coptic. In one place in the Greek, the text reads: [if they say t]hat it [is] beneath
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 31, 2002
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      Hello everyone,

      I have recently been comparing saying 3 in the Greek and Coptic. In
      one place in the Greek, the text reads: "[if they say t]hat it [is]
      beneath the ground." The parallel Coptic has "if they say that it is
      in the sea." In his 1969 _Journal of Theological Studies_
      article, "Textual Criticism of the Gospel of Thomas," M. Marcovich
      comments:

      "I think all the difficulties disappear if we bear in mind that the
      Hebrew word tehom, which implies both 'a bottomless pit' or 'a great
      deep,' and 'ocean' or 'floods of water' is usually translated in the
      LXX either as abussos or as thalassa. Thus (P.Oxy. 654) translated
      tehom as 'underworld, the depth of the earth,' and (the Coptic)
      as 'sea.' . . . If this is true, it might suggest to us the
      following: (1) that logion 3 (at least) was originally written in
      Hebrew; and (2) that (P.Oxy. 654) and (the Coptic) definitely
      represent two different recensions."

      Both of Marcovich's conclusions seem questionable to me, but I would
      be interested if others disagree with me.

      1. As I am currently no expert on Hebrew, I wonder if anybody could
      help me figure out how plausible Marcovich's explanation is that the
      Greek and the Coptic translated the same Hebrew word differently.
      First of all, the Greek hasn't used abussos, which Marcovich cites as
      one of the two common translations in LXX. It has instead hupo thn
      ghn, which I guess might be considered roughly the same thing. The
      Coptic, however, does use thalassa, the other word Marcovich says is
      a common LXX translation. In any case, upo thn ghn seems a peculiar
      translation given the context. thalassas would seems a word much more
      closely associated with "fish" ixthues that upo thn ghn.

      2. As for the different recensions, I don't doubt that the Coptic and
      P.Oxy. 654 might have been from different recensions but not on the
      basis of the explanation Marcovich has just given. It seems his
      suggestion would require that the whole Gospel of Thomas would have
      to have been written originally in Hebrew. If a Hebrew version of
      saying 3 had originally circulated independently, it would have had
      to be translated twice (in different ways) and then placed into the
      Gospel of Thomas twice (but in the exact same place). This doesn't
      seem particularly likely to me.

      I don't know if I'm articulating myself particularly clearly in this
      email. I suppose in essence that what I'm saying is that, although
      Marcovich's proposal seems intriguing at first, not all the piece fit
      together very neatly in the big picture. Some just seems wrong here.

      Any thoughts?

      Thanks,
      Andrew
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