Re: [GTh] Toughest logion (13)
- Dear Wade,
As is probably obvious, I'm far from convinced that the "three words"
of logion 13 are the "divine name" - at least not in Hebrew (I'll get to
that below). One thing I would like to see clarified, though: I take it that
when April refers to the "divine name" as "secret" and "unutterable", what
she means is not that it doesn't occur in the Tanakh (for it does, at Exod
3:14), nor that it was such a tongue-twister that it couldn't be uttered if
one had a mind to, but that when that portion of Exod was being read aloud,
the three-word "name" was skipped over in silence. Is that right? And would
that have held for the Greek Septuagint as well as for the Hebrew Masoretic
text? That is, were public readers of the Greek version similarly barred
from uttering the words in question? (This will have some importance below.)
> I don't know that we can assu[m]e a particular rhetorical form here orLet me pause here to reiterate one of the difficulties with April's theory.
> not, but I don't think we need to for the argument. The point is that
> while there may have been other things Jesus could have told Thomas
> that would have been blasphemous, that is not enough to explain the
> passage. Thomas says that "If I tell you one of the words which he told
> me, you will pick up stones and throw them at me; a fire will come out
> of the stones and burn you up."
At first glance, it seems that what Thomas is made to assert is that if he
tells the other disciples *any one* of the three words, they'll stone him.
Under April's theory, Thomas' assertion would have to be understood as a
claim that if he tells the other disciples *the first* (or third, reading
from right to left) of the three words, they'll stone him - on the grounds
that the first (or third) word is a synecdoche (per Hindley) for the entire
thing. That having been said, I'll continue on with your interesting point:
why would they stone THOMAS for repeating a blasphemy of JESUS?
> Assuming that it would be blasphemous for Jesus to say "I am the light..."The weakness of this argument, as I see it, is that it assumes that Thomas
> (Logion 77), surely it would not have been a stoning offense for Thomas to
> say "Jesus said 'I am the light...'" It would be the claim that is
> blasphemous, not the words. In fact the folk would be perfectly within
> their right to pat Thomas on the back, say "thank you good fellow," and
> commence the stoning of Jesus. However Thomas says that if he says one of
> the words they will stone *him*. This fits with Jesus having said the
> Divine Name because simply saying the Name of God is a stoning offense.
> If Thomas says "Jesus said [The Divine Name]" the people are perfectly
> within their right to commence stoning Thomas. In the logion 77 situation
> the claim may be blasphemous, but in the latter situation all you have to
> do is say the words itself.
would have had to have repeated the words of Jesus verbatim in order to
convey to the other disciples what Jesus had said to him. Why could he not
have said, "He (Jesus) uttered the unutterable name"? On the contrary side,
there's a reason available for the other disciples stoning Thomas - namely,
that he might have said something which they took to be blasphemous *with
respect to Jesus*. It all turns on what we assume to have been in the
author's mind as to the beliefs of the other disciples mentioned in 13 -
were they thought to be Hebrews or Christians? If Christians, then an
offense against the repute of *Jesus* would have been considered
blasphemous. Such an offense might be, for example, a claim that Jesus had
not risen "in the flesh" - a view commonly ascribed to Thomists, but
considered heretical (read 'blasphemous') in orthodox circles. April,
however, regards the other disciples as Hebrews, I think, and it's difficult
for me to reconcile that view with the strong anti-Judaic sentiments
expressed elsewhere in the text.
> Finally, a member of a Jewish community of the first century (or second,If by "Jewish community", you mean a group of ethnic Jews who had pretty
> even) would be well aquainted with this law and that the Divine Name can
> be expressed as three words as in the Exodus passage. This passage
> would therefore communicate something to such a person without much
> ambiguity - namely that Jesus is claiming to be Yahweh.
much left their old beliefs behind, I guess I could agree with that. Let's
assume that they retained a memory of, and reverence for, the "divine name",
in spite of having jettisoned almost every other vestige of Judaism. This
may be the appropriate time to mention what I promised earlier in this
note - a non-Hebrew version of the "divine name" which occurs in the text.
At 61.3, Jesus is made to say to Salome (in parte), ANOK PE PET-$OOP ("I am
he-who-exists"). This is tempered by the following clause "from
he-who-is-the-same", but on my theory of intentional rearrangement, the
separation of any part of the text from its immediate context wouldn't be
surprising. Furthermore, it would satisfy my intuition that whatever the
"three words" are, they must be in the text. The presumed relationship to
the Hebrew is that IF the Greek version of the "divine name" was considered
just as "unutterable" as the Hebrew, then it would seem that a presumed
Coptic equivalent would be likewise "secret" and "unutterable". To one who,
like Thomas, had become like Jesus, "what is hidden will be revealed", and
here the presumed Coptic equivalent of the "divine name" is hidden from
immediate view (i.e., within the confines of #13), only to be later
revealed to Salome in a saying the positioning of which (61) is almost
exactly halfway between 13 and 108. What I'm saying, then, is that my own
intuitive biases do provide some support for associating the words ANOK PE
PET-$OOP with the "three words" - whether in whole or in part being not yet
clear to me.
> Well, a transformation into the divine is basically what April thinks isLess expensive, I hope <g>. But here again, although I generally agree with
> being suggested here. A bit later she says "What then does Thomas
> understand that the other disciples do not? That Jesus is Yahweh, the
> Name of God, and thus is God's manifestation or kavod. Furthermore
> Jesus proclaims that Thomas has undergone a mystical transformation.
> As in Logion 108, he has drunk the divine drink and so has been deified."
> (Seek to See Him, p. 113.) That seems to be the goal of the mystical
> experience for the Thomas community. The development of that point
> of view is a large part of that book. It will be developed further in
> April's next book (tentatively) titled The Original Gospel of Thomas:
> A History of the Gospel of Thomas and its Community).
April, "transformation into the divine" is problematic in light of the
text's separation of "the divine" into Father, Mother (= the HS, presumably)
and Son. All are made of the same spiritual "stuff" -and hence may be
regarded in some sense as being a single one, but yet many locutions seem
inconsistent with that - as in #61, where J is made to say "I was given from
the things of my Father". It seems that we have to posit a background
theology of both sameness and difference. Thus, if the "three words" are as
supposed in April's theory, it seems that the "divine name" cannot be
presumed to be that of "the Father" alone (as in Judaic theology?), but
rather a corporate name for various conjoined spiritual entities. That may,
however, not be an undesirable result, since one wouldn't expect to find an
unalloyed Judaic concept in Thomas - at least to my way of thinking.
- Michael Grondin wrote:
That having been said, I'll continue on with your interesting point:
> why would they stone THOMAS for repeating a blasphemy of JESUS?<snip>
Uttering the name of God was blaspheme, whether you were the first
to say it or simply repeating another--according to the Rabbis, it
was the only blaspheme (San.7.6).
We find in the Community Rule:
"If any man has uttered the [Most] Venerable Name even though
frivolously, or as a result of shock or for any other reason
whatever, while reading the Book or blessing, he shall be dismissed
and shall return to the Council of the Community no more."(1QS VI.27-
VII.1, G.Vermes' rendering).
In the list of rules and consequences in 1QS VI.25-VII.18, it is the
only one punished by immediate expulsion.
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