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Anaphora in Thomas

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  • Randall Helzerman
    It strikes me that the various sayings in GTh exhibit dramatically different styles of anaphora. For example, GTh 7:1 says: Fortunate is the lion that the
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2002
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      It strikes me that the various sayings
      in GTh exhibit dramatically different
      styles of anaphora. For example, GTh
      7:1 says:

      "Fortunate is the lion that
      the human will eat, so that the
      lion becomes human."

      There are many different ways that this
      could have been expressed:

      "Fortunate is the lion that the human will eat,
      so that _it_ becomes human."

      "Fortunate is the lion that the human will eat,
      so that _the_animal_ becomes human."

      "Fortunate is the lion that the human will eat,
      so that _the_beast_ becomes human."

      etc. etc. But rather than use a pronoun or another generic-type
      noun to express the anaphora, this sentence just repeats the
      antecedent noun phrase "the lion". 7:2 continutes this pattern:


      "And foul is the human that the lion will eat, and the
      lion will become human."


      Contrast this with, say, GTh 40:

      "A grapevine has been planted away from the father.
      Since it is not strong, it will be pulled up by
      its root and will perish".

      In this saying, a pronoun is used as the anaphor.
      It is perfectly imaginable that the author of
      this saying might have said:

      "A grapevine has been planted away from the father.
      Since the grapevine is not strong, the grapevine
      will be pulled up by the root and will perish".


      Other sayings which like 7 seem to exhibit this
      antecedent-repetitious form of anaphora to variying
      degrees are sayings:


      8 ("the big fish" repeated twice, "the wise fisherman"
      repeated twice)

      11 ("two" repeated twice)

      16 ("father against son, and son against father", etc)

      22 ("outer" repeated twice, "inner" repeated twice)

      56 ("whoever" repeated twice, "carcass" repeated twice)

      Other sayings seem to exhibit this pattern but perhaps less
      strikingly so.

      I have two questions, and a wild-eyed hypothesis. First, the
      questions:

      1. Has there been any study done of anaphoric patterns in
      the Gospel of Thomas?

      2. Is this pattern of anaphora distinctive enough that we can
      assign it to a single voice/source?


      And now, the wild-eyed hypothesis:

      3. On the face of it, it seems like sayings which use this pattern of
      anaphora are more concerned with animals (fish, lions, humans)
      and sayings which do not use this pattern are more concerned with
      plants (vine, mustard seed, crop ripening, seed being sown) and
      other agricultural endeavors.

      Is the pronoun-anaphoric Thomas a "country Thomas" and the
      antecedent-anaphoric Thomas a (for lack of a better phrase)
      a "city Thomas?" (or perhaps a "farmer Thomas" vs. a "fisher
      Thomas"). Both of them could be a Thomas from Galilee.
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