Re: [GTh] Logion 68 (B)
----- Original Message -----
From: "sarban" <sarban@...>
Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2003 5:52 PM
Subject: Re: [GTh] Logion 68 (B)
> > Maurice wrote:
> > > First, it is pretty clear that the (A) part of the logion refers to a
> > > time fixation ... "when" you are persecuted. Why would the (B) part of
> > > the logion lead off with a "place" fixation?
> > Why not? In biblical writings, it wasn't unheard of to say that the
> > where such-and-such had happened would be erased from the face of the
> > God blotted out Sodom and Gomorrah, e.g. In NT times, and in the
> > view, it was Jerusalem. More generally, in #68 and Lk and Mt, it's
> > you (the believers) have been persecuted.
> I have doubts about interpreting the passage as a prophecy of judgment.
> It would be rather alien to Thomas's general thought. One possibility is
> that true persecution is inward and spiritual and hence not in an
> identifiable physical location. (This would link to the reference in
> Thomas 69 to being "persecuted in their heart".) Another possibility is
> that the Coptic is a clumsy translation of something like the saying
> attributed to Jesus in book 4 of the Stromateis of Clement, "Blessed are
> those who are persecuted on my account for they will have a place where
> they will not be persecuted."
THE MEANING OF "PLACE" IN THOMAS
Let us look at 68b. "Wherever you have been persecuted they will find no
Judging by Michael's interlinear text, the Coptic word translated as "Place"
is related to the Greek word "topos". He indicates that this Coptic word
is also found in 4, 24, 60, and 64.
Let us look at the occurrence of this Coptic word in 24, "His disciples said
to Him, 'Show us the *place* where You are, since it is necessary for us to
This is very peculiar in that the disciples presumably are in the same place
as Jesus. How else are they able to speak to him? Why, then, do they
presume that the *place* where he is located is someplace else--in another
locale which they must seek to find?
ISTM that, we should understand, even though Jesus is bodily in the same
place as his disciples, his inner self is in another place altogether. In
this case, the *place* that the disciples want Jesus to show them is not the
place where they he and they are bodily located, but another place
Next, let us turn to the occurrence of this Coptic word in 4, "The man old
in days will not hesitate to ask a small child seven days old about the
*place* of life, and he will live."
Here, the place appears to be a realm of eternal life. If you know about it
and enter into it, you will live, i.e., have eternal life. Jesus already
exists there in his inner self (24), so he is the "living Jesus" (Preface),
i.e., the eternally existing Jesus.
Next, let us turn to the occurrence of this Coptic word in 64, "Businessmen
and merchants will not enter the *Places* of My Father."
Here, I suggest, the basic idea is that *the* Place (the place of life of 4
and the place where (the inner) Jesus is located in 24) is where the Father
of Jesus resides and it is divided into a number of places. Businessmen and
merchants will not be able to enter these places and, so, are barred from
Next, let us turn to the occurrence of this Coptic word in 60, "You too,
look for a *place* for yourselves within Repose, lest you become a corpse
and be eaten."
Here, I suggest, "Repose" is *the* Place and the "place" the disciples are
to look for is one of the places within *the* Place. One who finds and
enters into one of these places will be "living", i.e., have eternal life,
and, so, will not have to fear becoming a "corpse".
Next, let us turn to the occurrence of this Coptic word in 68, "Wherever you
have been persecuted they will find no *Place*."
Here, I suggest, the basic point is that, no matter where you are bodily
located, those who persecute you will not be able to find either *the*
Place or any of the places within it.
To summarize, in GTh, the Coptic word translated as "place" appears to be
related to the Greek word "topos". There apparently is one *the* Place,
with it being divided into a number of places. It is a realm of the Father
and a realm of eternal life. One does not enter it in a bodily sense.
Rather, one enters it with one's inner self. Even while he was on earth,
the inner self of Jesus was in *the* Place. Some people are barred from
entry into *the* Place and its places and these include businessmen,
traders, and persecutors.
As respects Gen. 28:11:
He took one of the stones of the place (topos) and set it under his head,
and slept in that place (topos).
Philo states (Som. i, 127-128):
It is of importance to know that the divine 'place (topos)' and the holy
land is full or incoporeal 'words (logoi)'; and these words are immortal
souls. Of these words, he takes one, choosing as the best the topmost one
(i.e., the Word),occupying the place which the head does in the whole boy,
and sets it up close to his understanding; for the understanding is, we may
say, the soul's head. He does so professedly to sleep upon it, but in
reality to repose on the divine Word and lay his whole life, lightest of
Here, "topos" is used--the Greek equivalent of the Coptic word
in Thomas that is translated as place.
So, according to Philo, there is a divine place (topos). It is filled with
the words of God, including *the* Word of God. These are immortal souls.
One who enters this divine place can find repose by resting on *the* Word of
Compare GTh 24a, "His disciples said to Him, 'Show us the *place* where You
are, since it is necessary for us to seek it.'"
Possibly, here, Jesus is *the* Word and the place where he (in the sense of
his inner self--what Philo calls a soul) is to be found is Philo's divine
place--the place of Gen. 28:11.
Also compare GTh 90, "Jesus said, 'Come unto me, for My yoke is easy and My
lordship is mild, and you will find repose for yourselves.'"
Possibly, here, Jesus identifies himself as being *the* Word and invites us
to come into this divine place, the place of Gen. 28:11, so that we can find
repose on him there.
Regarding the "place (topos)" of Gen. 28:11, Jacob declares in 28:17b (LXX),
"How fearful is this place (topos)! This is none other than the House
(Oikos) of God!"
If, as suggested, *the* Place in Thomas thought is the place of Gen 28:11,
then, this means, the Thomas idea that *the* Place is divided into a number
of places can also be expressed as the idea that *the* House of God is
divided into a number of dwellings.
Compare John 14:2-3, where Jesus tells his disciples, "In my Father's
house (oikia) are many residences (pollai). But, if not, would I have told
you that I go to prepare a place (topos) for you? And if I go and prepare a
place (topos) for you, I am coming again and will receive you to myself,
that where I am, you also may be."
So, possibly John 14:2-3 is closely related to Thomas thought concerning
*the* Place and its places--with the place (topos) that Jesus will prepare
for his disciples either being his Father's house or else one of the
dwellings in it.. This is especially likely if, in John 14:2-3, Jesus
speaks as *the* Word of God. In this case, the return that Jesus refers to
is not his Parousia (his second coming at the climax of time) but a
non-bodily return to his disciples in which he will lead them (in the sense
of their inner selves) to the place he has prepared, so that they can be
with him, reposing on him.
1809 N. English Apt. 15
Maplewood, MN USA 55109
- Frank McCoy wrote:
> To summarize, in GTh, the Coptic word translated as "place" appears to beNot _related_; it IS the Greek word 'topos'. There is in fact a Coptic word
> related to the Greek word "topos".
('MA') which is also translated 'place' and occurs 19 times. In general,
TOPOS and MA are synonyms, but in 68B the two are used together in an odd
sort of way:
"TOPOS won't be found in the MA where you were persecuted."
(Or: "They won't find TOPOS in the MA where they persecuted you.")
Note that here, TOPOS occurs without a singularizing particle. In 4, it's
"THE place of Life". In 24, it's "THE place where you (JS) are". In 60, it's
"A place for yourselves". In 64, it's "THE places of my Father". But in 68,
it's simply TOPOS; no 'a', 'the', or even 'any'. Furthermore, within the
range of English synonyms for TOPOS that I'm familiar with, there's no word
that seems to capture both the unsingularized usage in 68B and the
singularized usage in the other four occurrences. 'Area' or 'space' don't
seem to quite do it, so it remains a minor translational problem.
In general, one should be alert to the fact that Coptic uses many Greek
"loan-words". Sometimes also (as in this case), the Thomas text employs both
a Greek word and its Coptic equivalent.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
Sent: Saturday, November 01, 2003 3:34 PM
Subject: Re: [GTh] Logion 68 (B)
> In general, one should be alert to the fact that Coptic uses many Greek
> "loan-words". Sometimes also (as in this case), the Thomas text employs
> a Greek word and its Coptic equivalent.
> Mike Grondin
The 1959 Coptic text and English translation of Thomas,
(published E J Brill, editors A Guillaumont, H-CH Puech,
G Quispel, W Till & Yassah Abd Al Masih), explicitly
marks Greek loan-words.
This was the original English translation of Thomas
as far as I know it is not on-line.
> Does the existence of Greek loan words indicate that Thomas might havebeen originally written in Greek?
No. Nor does it indicate that the Coptic GTh was translated from Greek. The
use of Greek loan-words was simply a feature of the Coptic language at the
time - due no doubt to the enormous influence of Greek throughout the
region. By way of comparison, English borrows words from all over the
place - thereby adding 'burro' (Spanish) and 'bureau' (French) to what I
believe is our native 'burrow'. We don't normally think much of it, but it's
not clear to me that the average literate Copt of the time would have been
so blind as we are to the existence of foreign words that creep into the
native language. The situation may be more like the French - who seem to be
quite cognizant of English words that enter into their vocabulary. But this
is just my impression; perhaps Maurice or another French-speaker can correct
Mt. Clemens, MI
- Does the existence of Greek loan words indicate that Thomas might have been originally written in Greek?
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@c...>
> > Does the existence of Greek loan words indicate that Thomas mighthave been originally written in Greek?
>Greek. The use of Greek loan-words was simply a feature of the Coptic
> No. Nor does it indicate that the Coptic GTh was translated from
language at the time - due no doubt to the enormous influence of Greek
throughout the region. By way of comparison, English borrows words
from all over the place - thereby adding 'burro' (Spanish) and
'bureau' (French) to what I believe is our native 'burrow'. We don't
normally think much of it, but it's not clear to me that the average
literate Copt of the time would have been so blind as we are to the
existence of foreign words that creep into the native language. The
situation may be more like the French - who seem to be quite cognizant
of English words that enter into their vocabulary.
But this is just my impression; perhaps Maurice or another
French-speaker can correct me there.
> Mike Grondin
> Mt. Clemens, MI
I would say that this is a pretty fair appraisal, Mike. As you
know, in the English speaking world, the dictionary publishers seem to
be the true guardians of the language ... enforcing this "role" by way
of what they thus allow to creep into "accepted use". It seems that
"usage" is the principal criterion for inclusion ("arm candy" for
example to describe a young "lady" hanging onto the arm of a "sugar
daddy" ... I just love that one ...).
In the French language, however, life is not so simple. It is not the
dictionary publishers who decide which words will creep into the
language and which ones will not, but rather it is the "Academie
Francaise" which historically has does the official deciding. This
body of learned linguists allows and rejects words based on a bit more
than mere usage, and often carry out painstaking work and study before
accepting or rejecting words be they French or "creeper in" words
from other languages. For example, the closest one can come to the
word "marketing" in French is the word "commercialization". Soooo ...
because "marketing" (in English) is more than mere
"commercialization", the Academie allows for "marketing" to be of
correct usage in French. In contrast, the French word "entreprenneur"
has no equivalency in English (except prehaps for the word "promotor")
so "entreprenneur" simply becomes an o.k. word for the Dictionary
publishers and thus becomes "accepted" for usage.
My own bias is that usage will ultimately decide which words we use,
but in fairness to the French system, if nobody (or no "body") is
watching for word creepage into a language, pretty soon (not sure at
which point) the language in question loses much of its authenticity.
As for Copt and Greek, I am not sure how hostile the Copts might have
been to "word creepage". As you know, Greek became very widespread
after Alexander's conquests and as a minimum, I expect neighbouring
languages made use of it "as required" ... especially in the case of
technical words where their might not have been equivalencies. In
fact, western languages still do this now (e.g. "Pyromaniac" is
widespread in both English and French usage, although the "pyro" part
comes to us from Alexandrian/Greek origins. However, as a follow-up,
the English more readily uses "fire bug" to describe a "pyromaniac"
because (I think) it better describes the idea (an arson
"enthusiast") and is mor colorful. Don't hold out on the Academie
following suit with some "fire bug" equivalent word, however ... well,
at least not in the near future I suspect.
- --- In email@example.com, "jmgcormier" <cobby@n...> wrote:
>>My own bias is that usage will ultimately decide which words weuse, but in fairness to the French system, if nobody (or no "body")
is watching for word creepage into a language, pretty soon (not sure
at which point) the language in question loses much of its
"Language is what language does," as the movie character Forrest Gump
might say. The koine of the 1st century CE was quite different than
the Attic of classical Greek times (slightly simpler grammer, full of
new words created from a variety of sources - not all of which were
of "pure" Greek origin).
The upper classes were quite aware of this, as they were tutored in
Attic literature and spoke that form of the language among
themselves. I cannot recall the source off hand (I am on vacation in
Texas) but one critic quotes (in English translation) a writer from
around the 1st century who was very critical of other elites who
stooped to speak or make use of elements of the Greek koine dialect.
Of course, that kind of attitude among the elite classes does not
stop his baker or lower level retainer or slave from using the
somewhat simpler and more "colorful" koine for everyday business.
Cleveland, Ohio USA