Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

GTh as hermeneiai?

Expand Messages
  • Rick Hubbard
    Several weeks (or months) ago, Mike Grondin provided a lengthy and detailed description of certain “numerical symmetries” that seem to be present in the
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 23 2:26 PM
    • 0 Attachment
      Several weeks (or months) ago, Mike Grondin provided a lengthy and detailed
      description of certain �numerical symmetries� that seem to be present in the
      Coptic MSS of GTh (NHC II,2). Although his observations seemed to be
      accurate enough, I confess I could not comprehend **why** the copyist/scribe
      would have gone through all that trouble. I therefore filed the whole matter
      away as an inexplicable oddity.

      Recently Mike�s investigation came back to my mind when I read an intriguing
      paragraph in the appendix to Metzger�s _The Text of the New Testament_. (New
      York/Oxford: Oxford University Press,1992). In a discussion of noteworthy
      features of certain NT MSS, Metzger mentions the phenomenon of �hermeneiai�
      that are present in some MSS (notably p55, p59, p65, p76, p80, 0145,0210,
      0256 as well as codex Bezea).

      Although I gather there is no real consensus about the function/purpose of
      these marginal hermeneiai, Metzger seems to suggest that they are
      predecessors to the medieval *Sortes sanctorum* that were eventually
      anathematized by the Roman church.

      According to Metzger, the �hermeneiai� were instruments of divination that
      could have been used in conjunction with the rolling of dice. �A number
      would be selected. . . and the pages of the gospel codex would be turned
      until the sentence that corresponded to the number was found.� [p 267]

      All this is thought provoking. Consider this:

      Each of the 69 + hermeneiai witnessed in the NT MSS are prefixed with the
      Greek word ERMENHIA (used also in the incipit to GTh �Whoever finds the
      meaning [ERMENHIA] will not taste death...�).

      Moreover, the GTh incipit implores the reader to �find� the ERMENHIA. This
      **may** imply some intentional (and perhaps, systematic) search.

      The question becomes whether Mike has tumbled across evidence that GTh is
      one gigantic �hermeneiai!�


      Rick Hubbard
      Humble Maine Woodsman
    • David C. Hindley
      ... could have been used in conjunction with the rolling of dice. “A number would be selected. . . and the pages of the gospel codex would be turned until
      Message 2 of 7 , Sep 23 8:17 PM
      • 0 Attachment
        Rick Hubbard says:

        >>According to Metzger, the "hermeneiai" were instruments of divination that
        could have been used in conjunction with the rolling of dice. �A number
        would be selected. . . and the pages of the gospel codex would be turned
        until the sentence that corresponded to the number was found.� [p 267]<<

        While I do not want to speak for Mike G., I do remember this coming up in
        the past in connection with Mike's proposed re-numbering plan. I had
        suggested that there could be a relationship with the "Homer Oracle" found
        in PGM VII.1-148 (I read of it in _The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation_,
        volume one, ed. Hans Dieter Betz, pp 112-119). According to a footnote by
        the translator, Hubert Martin Jr:

        "The so-called Homer oracle, a list of 216 isolated and disconnected Homeric
        verses, is in fact a manual designed to provide the reader with an oracular
        response to a personal inquiry. ... the inquirer rolls three dice or
        knucklebones, each of which has its six surfaces numbered from one to six
        and is used to select a number from one of the three vertical number columns
        to the left of the Homeric verses ...; one die thrown three times would
        achieve the same purpose. The three numbers selected by this process
        established a horizontal number column that indicates which verse is to be
        consulted; e.g., a roll of 1, 3, 6 on the dice would guide the inquirer to
        no. 18. As is true with oracles in general, most of the responses provide
        ambiguous answers which leave the exact interpretation up to the reader."

        Actually, each verse is preceded by a combination of three numbers. The "no.
        18" mentioned above refers to consecutive numbers given to each verse by the
        translator to aid the reader in ready reference. Example:
        [ 1] 1-1-1 But on account of their accursed bellies they have miserable woes
        (Od. 15.344)
        [ 2] 1-1-2 neither to cast anchor stones nor to attach stern cables (Od.
        9.137)
        ...
        [18] 1-3-6 I also care about all these things, woman. But very terribly (Il.
        6.441)
        et cetera

        The final sentence in this footnote suggests "For additional discussion on
        this special type of divination, see T. Hopfner, "Astragalomanteia," PRE.S 4
        (1924) 51-56, esp. 54-55; cf. Franz Heinevetter, _Wurfel- und
        Buchstabenorakel in Griechenland und Kleinasien_ (Breslau, 1912).

        It seems the "hermeneiai" were similar in function to the numbered lines
        from Homer in the "Homer oracle" (PGM VII).

        Respectfully,

        Dave Hindley
        Cleveland, Ohio, USA
      • rob perry
        Greetings, and back at you G Thomas Group. The number system that is in use in Thomas and most other religious texts, (Essene, Hebrew, Christian, Chinese,
        Message 3 of 7 , Sep 24 12:30 PM
        • 0 Attachment
          Greetings, and back at you G Thomas Group.
          The number system that is in use in Thomas and most other religious texts, (Essene, Hebrew, Christian, Chinese, Hindu, Muslim, etc., is the same, and is used the same.)

          Aleph ox 1 creative root
          Beth house 2 self conscious, concentration
          Gimel camel 3 subconscious, memory
          Daleth door 4 creativity
          Heh, window 5 reason
          Vau, nail 6 intuition
          Zain, sword 7 discernment, cutting away
          Cheth, fence 8 "reducing down to one idea"
          Teth, Serpent 9 suggestion
          Yod Hand 10 giving
          Kaph, Grasp 20 receiving
          Lamed goad 30 learning, value
          Mem, water 40 suspended thought
          Nun, fish 50 ideas, creative
          Samech, 60 verification, inner debate
          tentpeg
          Ayn, eye 70 limitation, ignorance, humor
          Peh, mouth 80 awakening, discovery, beyond pile of words
          Tzaddhi
          fishhook 90 meditation, gathering of ideas on self, universe
          Qoph, back 100 time sense of moving on, series, "put behind you"
          of head
          Resh, face 200 Face (was head), appearance of hypothesis
          Shin, tooth 300 Decision, judgment
          Tav, Mark 400 Result, mark, accomplishment, administrative ability,

          Now, take these numbers and apply them to text. Use multiplication, subtraction, adding, and division. For example number 103 has the numbers
          4 x 25 plus 3, written in the text.
          Every single religious text has this pattern of use.

          Rob Perry
        • Tom Saunders
          Hi Rick, Dave and Fellow Knucklebonners, Play knucklebones with me and I promise you will be giving your money to somebody who will not give it back. I like
          Message 4 of 7 , Sep 24 1:19 PM
          • 0 Attachment
            Hi Rick, Dave and Fellow Knucklebonners,

            Play knucklebones with me and I promise you 'will be giving your money to somebody who will not give it back.' I like this theory. How do you divide the GThom into 6 columns? Perhaps the copy I keep requesting that has 666 lines.

            Tom Saunders
            Platter Flats, OK


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Andrew Smith
            Stevan Davies once wrote a paper suggesting that GThomas was used as an oracle, hence its lack of order and organisation. See
            Message 5 of 7 , Sep 25 9:53 AM
            • 0 Attachment
              Stevan Davies once wrote a paper suggesting that GThomas was used as
              an oracle, hence its lack of order and organisation.

              See http://www.misericordia.edu/users/davies/THOMAS/ORACLES.HTM

              Best Wishes

              Andrew

              Andrew Smith
              Bardic Press
              http://www.bardic-press.com
            • Tom Saunders
              Stevan Davies once wrote a paper suggesting that GThomas was used as an oracle, hence its lack of order and organisation. I would suggest that the oracle
              Message 6 of 7 , Sep 25 1:34 PM
              • 0 Attachment
                "Stevan Davies once wrote a paper suggesting that GThomas was used as
                an oracle, hence its lack of order and organisation."

                I would suggest that the oracle idea is a bust. I think saying 3, of Thomas and the corresponding saying in the GMary rule out the use of oracles, "34) Beware that no one lead you astray saying Lo here or lo there! For the Son of Man is within you."

                The use of oracles probably suggests an outside or external being or force that can dictate or predict future events. What we see in Thomas is not that kind of internal and external relationship. We see a methodology or suggestion of self power in the universe, and a suggestion that you do not go looking for the kingdom but you wait to see it.

                I think the Thomas list is more a list of 'precepts' rather than an oracle.

                Tom Saunders
                Platter Flats, OK



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Michael Grondin
                ... I ve been negligent in not responding to this sooner, but a certain tangent to the recent discussion of #98 has furnished me with an example of the kind of
                Message 7 of 7 , Oct 20, 2003
                • 0 Attachment
                  Back on Sep. 23, Rick Hubbard wrote:
                  > The question becomes whether Mike has tumbled across evidence
                  > that GTh is one gigantic “hermeneiai!”

                  I've been negligent in not responding to this sooner, but a certain tangent
                  to the recent discussion of #98 has furnished me with an example of the kind
                  of thing that I see in GThom, and that is illustrative of the difference
                  between my working hypothesis and the hypothesis of GTh as oracle-text.

                  The first thing that I want to say is that in looking over GThom, I do
                  indeed find many sayings that seem to be oracular in nature, which is to say
                  that they're ambiguous enough to serve in a process of divination. But I
                  also find many sayings that do not appear to have this quality. (What I have
                  in mind is a sort of "horoscope quality", i.e., general and ambiguous enough
                  that they could be interpreted to fit many different real-life situations.)

                  More to the point, however, is that my working hypothesis is not that the
                  sayings were intended to be numbered differently (though that may be true),
                  nor that some of them were intended to be picked out as oracles as the text
                  now stands, but that the text was intended to be rearranged - indeed, that
                  some stuff may have been intended to be discarded entirely. When this has
                  been done, it may be that the resultant text - or a contiguous subset of
                  it - is oracular in nature, but that is not my focus, nor do I have any
                  strong intuitions about it one way or another at this point. What I think is
                  that the reader was intended to make the text "perfect" in some sense. What
                  the shape of that "perfection" is is not yet clear to me.

                  "The text was intended to be rearranged." That is the radical possibility
                  which I propose, and which simply hasn't occurred to anyone, because we have
                  no known examples of it. And yet it stares us in the face in sayings 6 and
                  14. Logion 6 consists of a series of questions which are answered in logion
                  14. There's no plausible way around that fact. That 14 was intended to
                  answer 6 is clearly indicated not only by its contents, by also by its
                  opening words, which are that "JS said TO THEM" - with no "them" in sight.
                  The "them" in question (the disciples) aren't there, because they're off in
                  saying 6 asking the questions that 14 answers. Was the separation of 6 and
                  14 originally a scribal error? IMO, it was not, for if it was, it would have
                  had to have been uncorrected in at least two texts that followed the
                  original error, since the POxy fragments have the same "mistake" as the
                  Coptic.

                  This much I've said before, but now our recent discussion of #98 has led to
                  a new insight on this matter. One of the discussants mentioned #35 ("It
                  isn't possible for anyone to go into the house of the strong and take it/him
                  by force, unless he bind his hands. Then he will move out of his house.") I
                  would now like to suggest that 6A (the questions) has been "bound" in
                  precisely this way, and that as a result, it has been removed from its
                  "house" (i.e., 14). (Parenthetically, this answers a question I've puzzled
                  over for some time, viz., was 6A intended to be moved over to 14, or 14 over
                  to 6A? I now think the former must be the case.)

                  The "bindings" that I have in mind for 6A are the identical statements (in
                  Coptic, if not in translation) "Nothing hidden will fail to appear", which
                  occurs at the end of #5 and near the end of #6. Logion 5 must, I think, be
                  taken as a lead-in to what follows in logion 6. Note particularly the use of
                  the _singular_ 'you' in logion 5. There is no disciple in view to whom these
                  words are addressed. Rather, they're addressed, I think, to the reader:

                  "Know what's in front of YOUR face, and that which is hidden from YOU will
                  be revealed to YOU."

                  This is not obvious to us when we read it in English, but in Coptic there's
                  a difference between the singular 'you' and the plural 'you'. That
                  difference would have been obvious to the native reader. When Jesus is made
                  to utter pronouncements containing the word 'you/your' with no disciples in
                  sight, it's invariably the plural 'you'. But here in logion 5, it's singular
                  in all three occurrences. Why? What is it that's in front of the reader's
                  face at that point? Apparently, that the response given to the questions in
                  6A (i.e., "Do not lie.") is not the answer to those questions. What's
                  "hidden" at that point is the real answers; they're "hidden" because they're
                  off in #14. Evidently, #14 is the "house" of 6A, and the "strong" (6A) has
                  been removed from its "house" by having its "hands" (i.e., both ends of it)
                  "bound" by the identical phrase "Nothing hidden will fail to appear". But
                  now "Jesus" appears in #5 to "free the captive" - or rather, to tell the
                  reader that he/she should "free the captive". The reader is thus not left
                  clueless as to how to rearrange the text - "Jesus" helps him. (Which
                  would have been the pious way of understanding the fact that some
                  of J's purported sayings refer to others. This is not to deny the existence
                  of the normal level of meaning, but to add another.)

                  If this suggested combination of Christian ideology with authorial genius
                  was at first glance opaque to the ancient mind, how much more so to the
                  modern, where what might be subtle syntactical clues are typically assigned
                  to scribal sloppiness? If my intuitions are correct, however, GThom lives up
                  to its promise to give the world "that which has never occurred to the mind
                  of man" - in spades.

                  Mike Grondin
                  The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
                  http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/sayings.htm
                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.