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RE: [GTh] Concerning Logion 98

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  • Michael Mozina
    I would equate the powerful one here with self/ego or self indentity . By killing one s own ego , and killing one s religious belief systems, one finds
    Message 1 of 7 , Aug 9, 2002
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      I would equate the "powerful one" here with "self/ego" or "self indentity".
      By killing one's own "ego", and killing one's religious belief systems, one
      finds humility. We become as children again and can more readily find the
      kingdom. The notion of one striking the death blow in their "(own) house",
      does seem consistent with this intepretation.

      I'm not sure the notion of "dry gulching" really applies here, though you
      might think of it as sneaking up on one's own ego and using the sword to
      poke at one's own belief systems.

      [Michael Mozina]
      [copy of Tom's note deleted by editor]
    • Tom Saunders
      Mike Mazina writes: I m not sure the notion of dry gulching really applies here, though you might think of it as sneaking up on one s own ego and using the
      Message 2 of 7 , Aug 10, 2002
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        Mike Mazina writes:


        I'm not sure the notion of "dry gulching" really applies here, though you
        might think of it as sneaking up on one's own ego and using the sword to
        poke at one's own belief systems.

        I would not discount this idea. Although there is a point where Thomas' sayings depart from the literal meanings, the literal is still there and must be considered. Either way I think the logion is pointing to the aspect of inner development as opposed to just murder.

        Tom Saunders
        Platter Flats, OK


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • fmmccoy
        ... From: Tom Saunders To: Sent: Friday, August 09, 2002 4:30 PM Subject: [GTh] Concerning Logion 98 ... a
        Message 3 of 7 , Aug 13, 2002
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Tom Saunders" <tom@...>
          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Friday, August 09, 2002 4:30 PM
          Subject: [GTh] Concerning Logion 98


          > Said Jesus, "the kingdom of the father, she is like a man wanting to kill
          a man powerful. He drew the sword in his (own) house; he stuck her into the
          wall so that his hand will be strong inwardly(?) then he slew the powerful
          one."
          >
          > This particular saying has been a mystery to me for years. It is of great
          interest to me because I have dedicated my adult life to the study martial
          arts. Certainly, there are major considerations as to training, and how to
          use the sword, within saying 98. There are other chilling aspects.

          (snip)

          > If we can reject the cowardly aspects of the act of dry gulching, we can
          picture societies of the first century who had to, out of necessity, live by
          the sword. Rather than saying 98 being a license to kill, I think what it
          really means is in reference to personal development. The Kingdom is
          like..... the preparation it would take to self train, and more in reference
          to the actual act of self training, in regard to the kingdom. I am sure
          during the time Thomas was written killing was so common it had to be
          accepted as a fact of life, far more than we would be willing to today. One
          can hope for the best.
          >
          > I hope this examination of logion 98, helps to draw a picture of the
          social circumstances in the time of the GThom., and the cultural picture the
          author must have had in those times. I am sure it reflects a certain
          cultural frame of reference which can help elucidate meaning to the other
          sayings.


          Dear Tom:

          I enjoyed reading your post.

          There were areas in Palestine and adjacent regions where law and order was
          either absent or present only sporadically. Various bandit groups lived in
          them, surviving by pillaging and looting. Some were patriotic groups trying
          to oust the Romans, but others were criminals by choice or by economic
          necessity.

          The parable seems to have such a lawless area in mind, with the man in the
          house trying to strengthen his hand so he can drive his sword through the
          local warlord leading one of these groups.

          On a "deeper" level, though, I suspect, the parable might allude to
          Caananite religion.

          Particularly important is "The Caananite Poem of Baal" as given in Thespis
          by Theodor H. Gaster.

          One thing to note is that Mot (Death) is portrayed as a powerful man So
          (XLVIII), he proclaims, "How shall he (i.e., Baal) go on insulting me?
          Why, the Thunderer (Hadd) is scared out of his wits! Those that fight with
          me are [always la]id low; [as with] a butcher's [kni]fe [I smite them that]
          would smite me."

          Another thing to note is that it is the virgin Anat who finally slays him,
          and she does so with a sword (LXII), "She seizes the godling Mot; with a
          sword she rips him up."

          A third thing to note is that, in 98, the Kingdom is said to be a "she".
          "She" is like a man who strengthens his hand before slaying the powerful one
          with a sword.

          Viewed this way, the parable can be seen as likening the Kingdom to the
          virgin Anat--who, like a man with a hand hardened and strengthened through
          training, was able to slay the powerful man (i.e., Mot (Death)) with a
          sword.

          From this perspective, the key point is that, if the poweful man is a
          Mot-figure, then he probably symbolizes death--for Mot is Death.

          In this case, then, the point of the parable is that the Kingdom is the
          slayer of Death, so that (s)he who receives her and enters into her will
          have eternal life.

          In this case, the sitz im leben for this parable is an area where there was
          still knowledge of the old Caananite religion.

          Certainly, rural Galilee is a possibility. The old ways died out gradually
          among the people of the land and worshipping of some of the old
          Caananite deities as an "insurance policy" for good crops might still have
          been going on in some areas. (Note: Too, in fifth century BCE papyri
          from Elephantine, written by Jewish mercenaries in Egypt, there are
          references to an Anath-yahu: who might have been worshipped by them as a
          consort of Yahweh. I suspect, but am not sure, since I am working with
          English translations rather than the actual texts, that the name of
          Anath-yahu might be a Jewish version of the Caananite name of Anat. If so,
          then these Jewish mercenaries did worship Anat under the name of
          Anath-yahu).

          Another possibility is Phoenicia, which was the part of the old Canaan never
          absorbed into Jewish territory. Here, the old ways certainly did live on.

          In this case, then, the parable supports the hypothesis that the Thomas
          church was located in the Phoenician city of Tyre.

          Frank McCoy
          1809 N. English Apt. 17
          Maplewood, MN USA 55109
        • Grondin
          ... That s an accident of the language. All Coptic nouns were gendered. Further, the relationship to the Anat story seems merely coincidental. Pretty much
          Message 4 of 7 , Aug 13, 2002
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            [Frank McCoy]:
            > A third thing to note is that, in 98, the Kingdom is said to be a "she".

            That's an accident of the language. All Coptic nouns were gendered.
            Further, the relationship to the Anat story seems merely coincidental.
            Pretty much everybody who personalized death made it a strong male
            figure. So what? If Anat was in mind, why isn't the assassin female?

            Mike Grondin
            The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
            http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/sayings.htm
          • fmmccoy
            ... From: Grondin To: Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2002 2:48 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] Concerning Logion 98 ...
            Message 5 of 7 , Aug 13, 2002
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              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
              To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2002 2:48 PM
              Subject: Re: [GTh] Concerning Logion 98


              > [Frank McCoy]:
              > > A third thing to note is that, in 98, the Kingdom is said to be a
              "she".
              >
              > That's an accident of the language. All Coptic nouns were gendered.
              > Further, the relationship to the Anat story seems merely coincidental.
              > Pretty much everybody who personalized death made it a strong male
              > figure. So what? If Anat was in mind, why isn't the assassin female?

              Mike:

              The whole argument is based on "she" having significance. As the "she" is
              purely accidental, due to Coptic gendering all sorts of things and objects
              that are sex-less, the whole argument becomes sense-less. Oh well, win
              some, and lose some.

              Frank McCoy
              1809 N. English Apt. 17
              Maplewood, MN USA 55109
            • Tom Saunders
              Mike writes: That s an accident of the language. All Coptic nouns were gendered. Further, the relationship to the Anat story seems merely coincidental. Pretty
              Message 6 of 7 , Aug 13, 2002
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                Mike writes:
                That's an accident of the language. All Coptic nouns were gendered.
                Further, the relationship to the Anat story seems merely coincidental.
                Pretty much everybody who personalized death made it a strong male
                figure. So what? If Anat was in mind, why isn't the assassin female?

                I noticed the sword was gendered as 'her' also. I have to agree with Mike on the Anat parallel. If there are intentional parallels in Thomas I think they are in line with the other Gospels.

                As there was a Christian following in Damascus at the time of Paul, I see one in Tyre just as likely based upon the fact it is so close to Jerusalem. However, the influence of the Apostle's village during this era might rule out the community being strictly Thomist. Communities further east where there would not have been this kind of influence would make more sense as a exclusive Thomas community.

                Tom Saunders
                Platter Flats, OK




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