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Re: [GTh] Paleo-Thomas

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  • 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 1 of 12 , Dec 14 9:46 AM
      > 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 2 of 12 , Dec 14 1:05 PM
        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 3 of 12 , Dec 14 1:55 PM
          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 4 of 12 , Dec 14 2:23 PM
            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 5 of 12 , Dec 14 9:44 PM
              [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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