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Re: [GTh] Paleo-Thomas

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  • fmmccoy
    In some past posts, I have advanced the hypothesis that GThomas can be divided into three strata: (1) Proto-Thomas, the earliest strata and a gospel that
    Message 1 of 12 , Dec 11, 2002
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      In some past posts, I have advanced the hypothesis that GThomas can be
      divided into three strata: (1) Proto-Thomas, the earliest strata and a
      gospel that contained what is now GTh 2-10, 31-48, 61-65, and 89-99, (2)
      Pre-Thomas, the intermediate strata and a gospel that contained what is now
      GTh 1, 25-30, 53-60, 66-79, and 105-111, and (3) the Latest Strata, the
      latest strata that consists of what is now GTh 11-24, 49-52, 80-88, 100-104,
      and 112-114. The locale for the Thomas community is hypothesised to be
      Tyre, with Proto-Thomas reflecting the perspective of upper class Gentile
      Tyrians, Pre-Thomas reflecting the perspective of middle to lower class
      Jewish Tyrians, and the Latest Strata reflecting the perspective of middle
      to lower class Gentile Tyrians.

      In this post, I propose the additional hypothesis that Proto-Thomas and
      Pre-Thomas were combined into a single gospel, to be called Paleo-Thomas:
      with GTh as we now have it consisting of Paleo-Thomas and the Latest Strata.
      Further, a copy of Paleo-Thomas made its way by ship from Tyre to
      Egypt--where it was heavily redacted by an Egyptian Christian community and
      circulated in Greek language.

      I was led to this hypothesis by the observation that the Oxyr papyrus
      fragments, written in Greek and circulating in Egypt, contain, as far as I
      can tell, *only* material from Proto-Thomas and Pre-Thomas. That is to say,
      they are devoid of any Latest Strata passages. Further, while the order of
      the passages in these fragments closely follows the order of the GTh
      passages, some have radically different wording and there is some shifting
      of material (e.g., part of GTh 77 is shifted into GTh 30).

      The simplest explanation ISTM, is that Proto-Thomas and Pre-Thomas were
      combined into one single document at Tyre. There was little or no redaction
      done. This is the hypothesised Paleo-Thomas. Then this gospel took two
      diverging developments. In the first development, a copy of it was sent to
      Egypt, where it was heavily redacted into the document that survives only in
      Greek language papyrus fragments. In the second development, at Tyre, it
      was expanded by the addition of the Latest Strata material. Then, a copy of
      it went to Egypt, where it was translated into Coptic--a copy of which we
      possess.

      Does anyone else have an explanation as to why the Oxyr. papyrus fragments
      apparently contain only passages from the hypothesised Proto-Thomas and
      Pre-Thomas?

      Frank McCoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 17
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109
    • Randall Helzerman <rahelzer@ichips.intel
      ... Maybe the fragments don t contain them because they are, um, fragments? :-) How can you argue that the missing parts didn t contain substantially the same
      Message 2 of 12 , Dec 11, 2002
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        Frank McCoy asks:

        > Does anyone else have an
        > explanation as to why the Oxyr.
        > papyrus fragments apparently
        > contain only passages from the
        > hypothesised Proto-Thomas and
        > Pre-Thomas?

        Maybe the fragments don't contain them because
        they are, um, fragments? :-)

        How can you argue that the missing parts
        didn't contain substantially the same content
        as the coptic text?

        (Note that for this argument to be used
        as evidence for your stratification,
        it must be independent from your arguments
        for that stratification.)

        -Randy Helzerman
      • fmmccoy
        ... From: To: Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2002 9:20 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] Paleo-Thomas ... Dear Randy
        Message 3 of 12 , Dec 12, 2002
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: <rahelzer@...>
          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2002 9:20 AM
          Subject: Re: [GTh] Paleo-Thomas


          > Frank McCoy asks:
          >
          > > Does anyone else have an
          > > explanation as to why the Oxyr.
          > > papyrus fragments apparently
          > > contain only passages from the
          > > hypothesised Proto-Thomas and
          > > Pre-Thomas?
          >
          > Maybe the fragments don't contain them because
          > they are, um, fragments? :-)
          >
          > How can you argue that the missing parts
          > didn't contain substantially the same content
          > as the coptic text?

          Dear Randy Helzerman:

          Here are what I understand to be the three main fragments: (1) 654--which
          contains all or part of GTh 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. (2) 1--which contains
          all or part of GTh 26, 27, 29, 30, 31, 32, and 33, and (3) 655--which
          contains all or part of GTh 36, 37, and 39.

          Now, in GTH 1-39, the hypothesised Paleo-Thomas (which consists of the
          postulated Proto-Thomas and Pre-Thomas) is found in 1-10 and in 25-39.

          In the first segment of ten sayings (i.e., GTh 1-10), seven (i.e., 70%) of
          the sayings are found in the fragments. In the second segment of 15 sayings
          (i.e., GTh 25-39), ten (i.e., 67%) are found in the fragments. In the
          segment of 14 sayings *not* assigned to Paleo-Thomas (i.e., GTh 11-24), none
          (i.e., 0%) are found in the fragments.

          Why is it that roughly 2/3 of the sayings in *each* of the two segments of
          the postulated Paleo-Thomas are found in the fragments, whle not a single
          saying is found in the segment not assigned to Paleo-Thomas? While I grant
          that this might be a statistical fluke without meaning, I think it more
          likely that it is meaningful.

          Randy, you also state:
          > (Note that for this argument to be used
          > as evidence for your stratification,
          > it must be independent from your arguments
          > for that stratification.)
          >
          :Could you amplify on this statement? Why must it be completely
          independent?

          Frank McCoy
          1809 N. English Apt. 17
          Maplewood, MN USA 55109
        • Randall Helzerman <rahelzer@ichips.intel
          ... I don t know if that is the right question to ask. It seems to me that the question should be did the _entire_ documents, of which the Poxy fragments are
          Message 4 of 12 , Dec 13, 2002
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            Frank McCoy Asks:

            > Why is it that .... not a single
            > saying is found [in the Oxyr.
            > fragments] in the segment not
            > assigned to Paleo-Thomas?

            I don't know if that is the right
            question to ask. It seems to me
            that the question should be
            "did the _entire_ documents, of which
            the Poxy fragments are fragements of,
            contain nothing which is not assigned
            to Paleo-Thomas?" right?

            I think its likely that the original documents
            which the Poxy fragments are from contained
            substantially the same contents as the coptic
            Thomas. Here's how I would argue for that.
            First, notice something interesting about the
            Poxy. fragments (as described by you below):

            > Here are what I understand to be the three main fragments:
            > (1) 654--which contains all or part of GTh 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
            > and 7. (2) 1--which contains all or part of GTh 26, 27, 29,
            > 30, 31, 32, and 33, and (3) 655--which
            > contains all or part of GTh 36, 37, and 39.

            Notice that the statements on the fragements are:
            1. substantially the same as their corresponding coptic statements.
            2. in substantially the same order as their corresponding coptic
            statements.

            (I use the weasle-word "substantially" because there are differences
            in both order and content, but these are minor).

            Since the _remaining_ Poxy. fragments contain substantialy the same
            content in substantially the same order as the coptic, why wouldn't
            it be reasonable to conclude that the _missing_ parts of the
            greek gospel would _also_ contain substantialy the same content in
            substantially the same order?


            > Randy, you also state:
            > > (Note that for this argument to be used
            > > as evidence for your stratification,
            > > it must be independent from your arguments
            > > for that stratification.)
            > >
            > :Could you amplify on this statement? Why must it be completely
            > independent?

            Suppose you wanted to make the following argument:

            1. the original document, of which the Poxy fragments are fragments
            of, contained only/mostly Paleo Thomas
            2. therefore, paleo thomas is a stratum of Thomas.

            Obviously, you can't use your conclusion (statement #2) to
            argue for its premise (statement #1) or you'd have a circular
            argument.

            Randy Helzerman
          • Tom Saunders
            Randy presents.... Notice that the statements on the fragements are: 1. substantially the same as their corresponding coptic statements. 2. in substantially
            Message 5 of 12 , Dec 14, 2002
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              Randy presents....

              Notice that the statements on the fragements are:
              1. substantially the same as their corresponding coptic statements.
              2. in substantially the same order as their corresponding coptic
              statements.

              I have to agree that this indicates Thomas was copied faithfully over time. I think those that copied it must have had every reason to think it was the real thing.

              Crossan ("Birth of Christianity") provides some justification for thinking that Thomas was a product which corresponded with a central authority in the very beginnings of Christian writing. He points out that even the Coptic version of Thomas has signs (abbreviations) which correspond to Q, and the 'Sayings Tradition" which seem to have been composed under a literary model.

              Codex vs. scroll is another sign of an effort to institutionalize a literary form, at least with a structural symbolism. The first sayings that correspond to the earliest known Jesus sayings represent a stratification. The problem is how you justify the rest of Thomas? Did it too come from different sources?

              Using the 'T' model, all those sayings that correspond with Q are T-1, including the parables, and all the others are T-2. We must consider that T-1 was written from a source which was not conceptualized for the same purpose as Thomas, but perhaps similar. T-1 is not the mystery that T-2 presents. Thomas started out as a conception outside but perhaps similar to the purpose of Q.

              How does T-2 correspond to its parallels, its parallels having been composed from different sources with different criteria, at presumably different times, by different people? It may not be possible for that scenario. One possibility is that T-2 was composed within the same time period by/with all its other sources. This would mean the sources had to have been developed in the Apsotle's Village and other early Christian communities developed before 43 C. E.

              The next possibility is that T-2 was developed by combining parts of T-2 with all its counterparts in different places and times. As we know that Papias did not have all the complete sources in 110 C.E. we can assume that Thomas had to have come from the earliest possible sources of its counterparts, or was written from a collection of sources but we know texts were scattered. Not likely.

              It is likely that original texts were destroyed in 70 when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. T-2 has sources, (parallel sayings) that simply cannot have evolved from itinerant development, as these sources would have to have been gathered from a very wide range of sources after the destruction of Jerusalem. Thomas therefor almost has to have been composed T-1 + most of T-2 by the death of James the Just, unless the saying about him was written before his death. Most likely if this is true Thomas was the author.

              I think Crossan is right about Q reflecting dissent among the first Christians, and some of Acts reflects there may have been. This may be the motive for combining T-1 to T-2(+) in developing Thomas. (Thomas wrote Thomas so he could hit the road like Philip.) This argues for a very early Thomas which almost has to be, otherwise you have to explain how it developed in a scattered Christian environment suddenly oppressed to larger and larger degrees. This includes greater internal threats as well as huge outside threats.

              There are most certainly indications of a varied ideology between all the Gospels. I think it is likely that after the first writings done while the Apostles were together in Jerusalem the differences Peter and others experienced drove them to start their own followings using their own criteria. I do not think this had to be a bitter parting, and may have been at least somewhat a goal from the start for some. This happened before 43 C.E.

              I think that any who had early Thomas would have seen it as a real treasure, authentic, and very dangerous from the earliest of time. Due to increasing ideological differences, especially over control of the church, not to mention the Holy Spirit, Thomas was secret from all but a select secular group. From that point it was probably not even known but from a select few that expanded independently of those that split, even as early as Paul's time. Lucky for us it got to Egypt, Luxar was an end town of the silk routes.

              Tom Saunders
              Platter Flats, OK

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Michael Grondin
              The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/sayings.htm ... From: Tom Saunders To:
              Message 6 of 12 , Dec 14, 2002
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                The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
                http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/sayings.htm
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Tom Saunders" <tom@...>
                To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Saturday, December 14, 2002 05:33 AM
                Subject: Re: [GTh] Paleo-Thomas


                > Randy presents....
                >
                > Notice that the statements on the fragements are:
                > 1. substantially the same as their corresponding coptic statements.
                > 2. in substantially the same order as their corresponding coptic
                > statements.
                >
                > I have to agree that this indicates Thomas was copied faithfully over
                time. I think those that copied it must have had every reason to think it
                was the real thing.
                >
                > Crossan ("Birth of Christianity") provides some justification for thinking
                that Thomas was a product which corresponded with a central authority in the
                very beginnings of Christian writing. He points out that even the Coptic
                version of Thomas has signs (abbreviations) which correspond to Q, and the
                'Sayings Tradition" which seem to have been composed under a literary model.
                >
                > Codex vs. scroll is another sign of an effort to institutionalize a
                literary form, at least with a structural symbolism. The first sayings that
                correspond to the earliest known Jesus sayings represent a stratification.
                The problem is how you justify the rest of Thomas? Did it too come from
                different sources?
                >
                > Using the 'T' model, all those sayings that correspond with Q are T-1,
                including the parables, and all the others are T-2. We must consider that
                T-1 was written from a source which was not conceptualized for the same
                purpose as Thomas, but perhaps similar. T-1 is not the mystery that T-2
                presents. Thomas started out as a conception outside but perhaps similar to
                the purpose of Q.
                >
                > How does T-2 correspond to its parallels, its parallels having been
                composed from different sources with different criteria, at presumably
                different times, by different people? It may not be possible for that
                scenario. One possibility is that T-2 was composed within the same time
                period by/with all its other sources. This would mean the sources had to
                have been developed in the Apsotle's Village and other early Christian
                communities developed before 43 C. E.
                >
                > The next possibility is that T-2 was developed by combining parts of T-2
                with all its counterparts in different places and times. As we know that
                Papias did not have all the complete sources in 110 C.E. we can assume that
                Thomas had to have come from the earliest possible sources of its
                counterparts, or was written from a collection of sources but we know texts
                were scattered. Not likely.
                >
                > It is likely that original texts were destroyed in 70 when the Romans
                destroyed Jerusalem. T-2 has sources, (parallel sayings) that simply cannot
                have evolved from itinerant development, as these sources would have to have
                been gathered from a very wide range of sources after the destruction of
                Jerusalem. Thomas therefor almost has to have been composed T-1 + most of
                T-2 by the death of James the Just, unless the saying about him was written
                before his death. Most likely if this is true Thomas was the author.
                >
                > I think Crossan is right about Q reflecting dissent among the first
                Christians, and some of Acts reflects there may have been. This may be the
                motive for combining T-1 to T-2(+) in developing Thomas. (Thomas wrote
                Thomas so he could hit the road like Philip.) This argues for a very early
                Thomas which almost has to be, otherwise you have to explain how it
                developed in a scattered Christian environment suddenly oppressed to larger
                and larger degrees. This includes greater internal threats as well as huge
                outside threats.
                >
                > There are most certainly indications of a varied ideology between all the
                Gospels. I think it is likely that after the first writings done while the
                Apostles were together in Jerusalem the differences Peter and others
                experienced drove them to start their own followings using their own
                criteria. I do not think this had to be a bitter parting, and may have been
                at least somewhat a goal from the start for some. This happened before 43
                C.E.
                >
                > I think that any who had early Thomas would have seen it as a real
                treasure, authentic, and very dangerous from the earliest of time. Due to
                increasing ideological differences, especially over control of the church,
                not to mention the Holy Spirit, Thomas was secret from all but a select
                secular group. From that point it was probably not even known but from a
                select few that expanded independently of those that split, even as early as
                Paul's time. Lucky for us it got to Egypt, Luxar was an end town of the
                silk routes.
                >
                > Tom Saunders
                > Platter Flats, OK
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                > --------------------------------------------------------------------
                > Gospel of Thomas Homepage: http://home.epix.net/~miser17/Thomas.html
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                >
                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                >
                >
              • Michael Grondin
                ... time. Not so. Randy s substantially the same covers a number of significant differences. The evidence from POxy, as well as Hippolytus, indicates that
                Message 7 of 12 , Dec 14, 2002
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                  [Randy]:
                  > Notice that the statements on the fragements are:
                  > 1. substantially the same as their corresponding coptic statements.
                  > 2. in substantially the same order as their corresponding coptic
                  > statements.
                  [Tom]:
                  > I have to agree that this indicates Thomas was copied faithfully over
                  time.

                  Not so. Randy's "substantially the same" covers a number of significant
                  differences. The evidence from POxy, as well as Hippolytus, indicates that
                  Thomas was _not_ "copied faithfully".

                  Mike Grondin
                  p.s. Apologies for my previous note, which resulted from hitting the Send
                  key prematurely.
                • Jim Bauer
                  ... Mike, How not faithfully are you talking about, & how does this fit in with your puzzle hypothesis? Are you talking about not faithful copying in the
                  Message 8 of 12 , Dec 14, 2002
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                    > Not so. Randy's "substantially the same" covers a number of significant
                    > differences. The evidence from POxy, as well as Hippolytus, indicates that
                    > Thomas was _not_ "copied faithfully".
                    >
                    Mike,

                    How "not faithfully" are you talking about, & how does this fit in with your
                    puzzle hypothesis? Are you talking about "not faithful" copying in the
                    Greek, as well as the Coptic? & if the text needs to be rearranged re your
                    puzzle hypothesis, how free were the translators to move things around?
                    Also, to what extent do you have to "not faithfully" copy something before
                    it's moved from the category of "scribal error" to outright "redaction"?

                    Jim Bauer
                    Havre, MT
                  • BitsyCat1@aol.com
                    In a message dated 12/14/2002 14:49:38PM, tom@cherokeetel.com writes:
                    Message 9 of 12 , Dec 14, 2002
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                      In a message dated 12/14/2002 14:49:38PM, tom@... writes:

                      << Not so. Randy's "substantially the same" covers a number of significant
                      differences. The evidence from POxy, as well as Hippolytus, indicates that
                      Thomas was _not_ "copied faithfully".

                      We are talking about a matter of degree here. Can you determine as to why
                      scribes would make alterations? What were they trying to do with these
                      differences?
                      >>

                      John observes

                      Perhaps the essential concepts and Sayings list could be maintained and
                      Placed in Puzzle form by using Clever wording? Remaining faithful to the
                      meaning on the surface and yet using cleverness to hide a Second meaning.(
                      And keys to a secret)
                      For example the idea of the moving stone in Saying 77 I believe. That
                      might be considered a Coptic only (clever way of hiding part of a Puzzle)
                      Merely by choosing the right set of words in a particular order?

                      In such an Instance there might be an allusion to the Stone that is moved
                      away.
                      ( which would occur in the Gospel accounts).

                      The Coptic Writer knew these things and perhaps used carefully chosen
                      words and concepts to paint word pictures to be discovered within the Text.

                      The Question would be I suppose, is was this clever word play within
                      the Greek
                      or Original Text or did it actually come into being within the Coptic
                      Compilers
                      Pen?
                      Regards John Moon
                      Crescent DR
                      Springfield, TN

                      johnmoon3717@...
                    • Randall Helzerman <rahelzer@ichips.intel
                      ... I suppose it is incumbent upon me to clarify what I meant by substantially the same . I ll try to do it ostensively. Two other texts which I would
                      Message 10 of 12 , Dec 14, 2002
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                        Mike Grondin writes:

                        > Not so. Randy's "substantially the
                        > same" covers a number of significant
                        > differences.

                        I suppose it is incumbent upon me to
                        clarify what I meant by "substantially
                        the same". I'll try to do it
                        ostensively. Two other texts which
                        I would consider to be "substantially
                        the same" would be the KJV version of
                        the bible and the NIV version of the bible.

                        Even though there are some significant
                        differences between the NIV and the KJV
                        in both content (e.g. the ending of Mark)
                        and in order (e.g. the location of the
                        woman-caught-in-adultery story),
                        not to mention differences in
                        spelling, grammar and wording, I would
                        say the two texts are substantially the
                        same in both content and order. The
                        differences between them are no more
                        than what you'd expect of two translations
                        produced centuries apart from two
                        different originals.

                        Same for the Poxy. and the N.H. witnesses.
                        They were produced centuries apart, in
                        two different languages, so we'd naturally
                        expect significant differences. But
                        I think it would be fair to say they
                        are substantially similar in both content
                        and order, don't you?

                        -Randy Helzerman

                        P.S. In my original post, I was making a
                        rather narrow point--that the differences
                        which are between the Greek & Coptic
                        witnesses are not the right kind of
                        differences to prove that GTh is stratified.
                        Surely this is a rather uncontroversial
                        point?
                      • Tom Saunders
                        Mike says, Not so. Randy s substantially the same covers a number of significant differences. The evidence from POxy, as well as Hippolytus, indicates that
                        Message 11 of 12 , Dec 14, 2002
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                          Mike says,

                          Not so. Randy's "substantially the same" covers a number of significant
                          differences. The evidence from POxy, as well as Hippolytus, indicates that
                          Thomas was _not_ "copied faithfully".

                          We are talking about a matter of degree here. Can you determine as to why scribes would make alterations? What were they trying to do with these differences?

                          Tom Saunders
                          Platter Flats, OK


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Michael Grondin
                          ... Giving my short answer first, I think that the differences were largely due more to adaptation than anything else. Adaptation to the time and place of its
                          Message 12 of 12 , Dec 14, 2002
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                            [Tom]:
                            > Can you determine as to why scribes would make alterations?
                            > What were they trying to do with these differences?

                            Giving my short answer first, I think that the differences were largely due
                            more to adaptation than anything else. Adaptation to the time and place of
                            its retranslation, that is. Let's say, for example, that a Syriac version of
                            Thomas found its way to Alexandria, and fell into the hands of someone
                            skilled in both Syriac and Greek. One thing such a person _might_ have done
                            was merely to translate the text from Syriac into Greek, more or less
                            faithfully. But the limited evidence we have doesn't seem to support that
                            scenario. What it seems to show is that the earlier text, though left much
                            the same, was nevertheless significantly altered to fit the needs and
                            interests of the group which had received it and now claimed it as its own.

                            In addition to the differences between the POxy fragments and the Coptic
                            version, consider the saying which Hippolytus attributed to the Naassenes,
                            in the first known reference to a gospel 'according to Thomas':

                            "He who seeks me will find me in children of seven years upward, for there,
                            hidden in the fourteenth aeon, am I revealed."
                            (Hennecke/Schneelmelcher, _New Testament Apocrypha_, v.I, p.280)

                            Assuming that Hippolytus' quotation was substantially correct, the part
                            about "hidden in the fourteenth aeon" must have been meaningful and
                            important to the Naassenes, but not to others who handled this gospel. We
                            don't know, of course, whether the Naassenes added it to some earlier
                            version in another language, or whether it was dropped when and if the
                            Naassene version was translated into other languages - or both. What we do
                            know is that similar significant differences turn up between the Greek
                            fragments and the Coptic version. It seems likely that there must have been
                            cases of faithful translation from one language into another, but we don't
                            have one, and we don't know whether that's a statistical fluke due to the
                            small number of extant texts, or not.

                            I'm not sure whether a _scribe_ could have made such alterations. I guess I
                            tend to think of a scribe as a copyist, and it seems that copyists would not
                            have had the freedom to make alterations. So I'll take the question to be:
                            "Why would a translator/redactor ('T/R') make alterations (to the source
                            text)?" In the first place, I think we have to assume that the T/R would
                            have seen a great deal in the source text that he liked, and that he would
                            thus have preserved the core meaning of the text, as he understood it. If
                            there were, however, details that he didn't like, or which weren't relevant
                            to his own community, he may well have left them out. Similarly, he may have
                            taken the occasion to add material, for a variety of reasons, not least to
                            tack on certain ideas that were important to his own community, but weren't
                            addressed in the text. So why would a T/R change the text? Trying to collect
                            all the possibilities under one heading, I would say: in general, to adapt
                            it for the use he had in mind for his own community.

                            The situation can be contrasted with the distribution of the NT. There is
                            one class of texts that were apparently tightly controlled, as they show
                            little difference between one exemplar and another. On the other hand, the
                            so-called "Western" class of texts show quite a bit of variation. Which of
                            these patterns would we likely find for Thomas, if we had more exemplars?
                            Well, its own ideology seems to count against its having been
                            tightly-controlled by a central authority, and that is borne out by the
                            limited evidence available to us, so I would say that it would be likely to
                            exhibit the "Western" tendency. I'm also reminded of the comment of Papias
                            (as quoted by Eusebius) that everyone translated the logia of Matthew (which
                            I take to be a sayings-source) "as best they could". I think what's _behind_
                            that comment - i.e., what Papias likely actually observed - was simply that
                            there were versions of this Matthean sayings-source in different languages
                            that had significant differences in content. He may have _assumed_ that the
                            reason for this was the difficulty of translation, but it seems more likely
                            that it was due to differences between the using environments. Had Papias
                            considered this possibility, he might have been loathe to admit it in any
                            case. So I take his statement to be reflective of an actual historical
                            situation, but his suggested cause of that situation to be unlikely in
                            general.

                            All of which doesn't exactly answer the question, because we don't know the
                            exact answer to the question. We would have to know what the source text
                            looked like, to determine what changes were made to it by the T/R in
                            question. But we don't know, for example, whether the POxy fragments
                            represent the source text from which the Coptic T/R was working, and we
                            don't know what the source text for the POxy fragments looked like. In order
                            to begin to determine _why_ a given T/R did what he did, we first have to
                            determine _what_ he did, but that's exactly what we don't know for any
                            individual case. About the only thing we do know is that there were
                            significant (but not extreme) differences between versions of the text in
                            different languages - thus that its transmission must have allowed for a
                            significant (but not extreme) degree of translational/redactional freedom
                            from one community to the next.

                            Mike Grondin
                            Mt. Clemens, MI
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