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GEgyptians and GThomas

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  • Peter Kirby
    ... From: Jim Bauer To: Sent: Tuesday, September 03, 2002 2:34 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] GTh 61 ... Salome ...
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 13, 2002
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Jim Bauer" <jbauer@...>
      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, September 03, 2002 2:34 PM
      Subject: Re: [GTh] GTh 61

      > After reading this, I spent a good deal of time running searches on
      > children" & the closest I could come was the Gospel of the Egyptians,
      > Jesus tells Salome that there will continue to suffering "as long as women
      > bear children". I do recall seeing the phrase you quoted on one of Peter
      > Kirby's pages, www.earlychristianwritings.com, but Kirby doesn't really
      > the source. I believe he's a list member, & would he care to comment?

      I actually do give the source as Montague Rhode James in The Apocryphal New
      Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1924), pp. 10-12. MR James in turn gives
      the source as Clem. Alex. Strom. iii. 9. 64, 66.


      [64] "Whence it is with reason that after the Word had told about the End,
      Salome saith: Until when shall men continue to die? (Now, the Scripture
      speaks of man in two senses, the one that is seen, and the soul: and again,
      of him that is in a state of salvation, and him that is not: and sin is
      called the death of the soul) and it is advisedly that the Lord makes an
      answer: So long as women bear children.

      "66. And why do not they who walk by anything rather than the true rule of
      the Gospel go on to quote the rest of that which was said to Salome: for
      when she had said, 'I have done well, then, in not bearing children?' (as if
      childbearing were not the right thing to accept) the Lord answers and says:
      Every plant eat thou, but that which hath bitterness eat not."

      And here is the translation of the relevant passages in Clement of
      Alexandria as given by JEL Oulton.


      64. It is probably therefore with reference to the consummation that Salome
      says: "Until when shall men die?" The Scripture uses the word "man" in two
      senses, the outward man and the soul, and again of him who is being saved
      and him who is not; and sin is said to be the death of the soul. That is why
      the Lord gave a cautious answer-" As long as women bear children," that is,
      as long as the desires are active. "Therefore, as through one man sin
      entered into the world, and through sin death came to all men, in that all
      sinned, and death reigned from Adam to Moses," says the apostle. By natural
      necessity in the divine plan death follows birth, and the coming together of
      soul and body is followed by their dissolution. If birth exists for the
      sake of learning and knowledge, dissolution leads to the final restoration.
      As woman is regarded as the cause of death because she brings to birth, so
      also for the same reason she may be called the originator of life.

      66. But why do they not go on to quote the words after those spoken to
      Salome, these people who do anything rather than walk according to the truly
      evangelical rule? For when she says, "I would have done better had I never
      given birth to a child," suggesting that she might not have been right in
      giving birth to a child, the Lord replies to her saying: "Eat of every
      plant, but eat not of that which has bitterness in it." For by this saying
      also he indicates that whether we are continent or married is a matter for
      our free choice and that there is no absolute prohibition which would impose
      continence upon us as a necessity. And he further makes it clear that
      marriage is co-operation with the work of creation.

      Those who read Latin can find the ANF translation here.


      The original Greek, unfortunately, is not easily accessible. I have a Loeb
      edition of Clement of Alexandria, but it does not include the Stromata.

      A notice in Butterworth's LCL volume might help explain the confusion about
      Clement of Alexandria's dates: "The date of his birth can be fixed roughly
      at 150 A.D." It is possible that someone misunderstood the date of birth
      for a date of death.

      The period of 192-202 is generally given as the time in which Clement
      flourished at Alexandria and wrote his important works. Butterworth writes:
      "He became a presbyter of the Church, and taught in Alexandria for more than
      twenty years, succeeding Pantaenus as head of the School. On the outbreak
      of persecution under Severus in 202 A.D. he left Alexandria, never to
      return." (p. xii)

      Of course, the only thing that can be said with certainty about the
      Christian books mentioned by Clement of Alexandria, pending further
      evidence, is that they were written in the first or second century.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "fmmccoy" <FMMCCOY@...>
      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thursday, September 05, 2002 6:55 AM
      Subject: Re: [GTh] GTh 61

      > If so, then the earliest evidence for GEgyptians dates to late in the
      > century CE.
      > This being so, to date it any earlier than the late second century CE is
      > pure speculation without a shred of evidence to back it up..

      How does such an approach to dating documents affect our estimate of the
      period in which the Gospel of Thomas was composed?

      Peter Kirby
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