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Re: [GTh] Paleo-Thomas

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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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