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

Re: [GTh] 99 Sheep, The Valintinian Explaination

Expand Messages
  • sarban
    ... From: Tom Saunders To: Sent: Monday, November 24, 2003 9:07 PM Subject: [GTh] 99 Sheep, The Valintinian
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 26, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Tom Saunders" <tom@...>
      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, November 24, 2003 9:07 PM
      Subject: [GTh] 99 Sheep, The Valintinian Explaination


      > The "Gospel of Truth" offers an explanation of the parable of the "Lost
      Sheep." This Gospel is thought to have been written by Valentinus (100-180
      C.E.).
      >
      > Th-107. Jesus said, "The (Father's) kingdom is like a shepherd who had a
      hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the
      ninety-nine and looked for the one until he found it. After he had toiled,
      he said to the sheep, 'I love you more than the ninety-nine."
      >
      > Certainly if a parable is a story with a point the Thomas version leaves
      the reader to explain the point or resolve the mystery of its meaning.
      Versions of the parable are contained in Matthew and Luke, but in both cases
      the mystery is at least in part explained. Matthew adds that the Father
      will not abandon the 99 and let them perish........
      >
      > Mt 18- 12,14. "How think ye? if any man have a hundred sheep, and one of
      them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and go unto the
      mountains, and seek that which goeth astray?
      > 13. And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth
      over it more than over the ninety and nine which have not gone astray.
      > 14. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven, that one
      of these little ones should perish."
      >
      > Line 14 in Matthew may be a later addition to the parable which would have
      mirrored Thomas without this addition. The question is when would this
      redaction have taken place, pre, or post the Vanlintinean explanation in the
      "Gospel of Truth?" Did the addition of line 14 to Matthew come about as the
      result of Valentinus' explanation?
      >
      > Luke offers a similar view of the parable as Valentinus with the addition
      of Luke 15-8,10 which is the story of the woman who lost the coin, cleaned
      her house and rejoiced at finding the lost item. Compare Luke to the
      Valintinus' explanation and we see they conclude similar explanations on the
      value of saving lost souls.
      >
      > Lk 15- 4,7. "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, and having lost one
      of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after
      that which is lost, until he find it?
      > 5. And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
      > 6. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and his
      neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep
      which was lost.
      > 7. I say unto you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven over one
      sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who
      need no repentance."
      >
      > Valentinus explains: ("Gospel of Truth")
      >
      > "He is the shepherd who left behind the 99 sheep which were not lost. He
      went searching for the one which had gone astray. He rejoiced when he found
      it, for the ninety nine is a number that is in the left hand which holds it.
      But when the one is found the entire number passes to the right (hand). As
      that which lacks the one- that is, the entire right (hand) - draws what was
      deficient and takes it to the left hand side and brings (it) to the right,
      so to the number becomes one hundred. It is the sign of the one that is in
      their sound; it is the Father. Even on the Sabbath, he labored for the
      sheep which he had found fallen into the pit. He gave life to the sheep
      having brought it up from the pit in order that you might know interiorly -
      you the sons of interior knowledge - which is the Sabbath, on which it is
      not fitting for salvation to be idle, in order that you may speak from the
      day from above, which has no night, and from the light which does not sink
      because it is perfect."
      >
      > Clearly the Valentinian explanation shows us two things. One, Valetinus
      draws on several Thomas sayings in his explanation. Th-27 b, ...."if you do
      not recognize the Sabbath as the Sabbath....," and Th- 62 "Jesus said, "I
      disclose my mysteries to those [who are worthy] of [my] mysteries. Do not
      let your left hand know what your right hand is doing."
      >
      > Secondly, to have drawn this explanation without the Gospel of Thomas as a
      guide the author would have to have derived the explanation from Mark, Luke,
      and Matthew, either contradicting or redacting their explanations of the 99
      Sheep and related parallels Valentinus makes in his explanation. I find
      this unlikely. I think it shows Valentinus had the GThom, and used the
      parable of the 99 Sheep from that text, and Matthew and Luke's parables were
      later redacted with explanations from the more mysterious Thomas. All
      (including Valentinus) would have had reason to add an explanation to the
      mystery of the parable as we see it in the GThom.
      >
      > Can anyone in the group add to my contention (or destroy it) that
      Valentinus had the GThom, and the GThom's '99 sheep' parable was the
      earliest version of the parable?
      >
      > Tom Saunders
      >
      > Platter, OK
      >
      I'm not sure that Th-27b or Th-62 lie behind the passage in 'Gospel of
      Truth' The reference to the Sabbath probably refers to Matthew 12:11
      and parallels about rescuing a sheep on the Sabbath.
      The use of left and right hand in the counting technique alluded to in
      'Gospel of Truth' does not seem particularly relevant to the idea of secrecy
      between right and left hands.
      In general the richly allusive technique of the 'Gospel of Truth' makes it
      difficult to be sure of precise sources, Thomas might be being used but I'm
      not really convinced. If you could suggest other passages where the 'Gospel
      of Truth' plausibly uses Thomas I might be more persuaded.
      If there is a parallel between the reference to the Father in the Matthaean
      version and the 'Gospel of Truth' I think it is more likely that Matthew was
      used by the 'Gospel of Truth' than our present version of Matthew was
      affected by the 'Gospel of Truth' Father in Heaven is a favorite usage of
      Matthew.

      Andrew Criddle
    • sarban
      ... From: Stephen To: Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2003 6:16 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] 99 Sheep, The
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 26, 2003
      • 0 Attachment
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Stephen" <stephen@...>
        To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2003 6:16 PM
        Subject: Re: [GTh] 99 Sheep, The Valintinian Explaination


        > Tom,
        >
        > Thanks for an interesting post.
        >
        > Although I am no expert I am not sure that many scholars would now
        subscribe
        > to the view that the Gospel of Truth was written by Valentinus. Not that
        > this point is important to your argument.
        >
        > Irenaeus in 'Against Heresies' Book 1 gives us more information about how
        > the Valentinians interpreted the lost sheep -
        >
        > "Moreover, that Achamoth wandered beyond the Pleroma, and received form
        from
        > Christ, and was sought after by the Saviour, they declare that He
        indicated
        > when He said, that He had come after that sheep which was gone astray.(16)
        > For they explain the wandering sheep to mean their mother, by whom they
        > represent the Church as having been sown. The wandering itself denotes her
        > stay outside of the Pleroma in a state of varied passion, from which they
        > maintain that matter derived its origin. The woman, again, who sweeps the
        > house and finds the piece of money, they declare to denote the Sophia
        above,
        > who, having lost her enthymesis, afterwards recovered it, on all things
        > being purified by the advent of the Saviour. Wherefore this substance
        also,
        > according to them, was reinstated in Pleroma."
        >
        I would say here that the usage together of the parable of the lost sheep
        and the parable of the lost coins makes it likely that Luke 15 is the source
        for the account in Irenaeus.

        Andrew Criddle
      • fmmccoy
        ... From: Tom Saunders To: Sent: Monday, November 24, 2003 3:07 PM Subject: [GTh] 99 Sheep, The Valintinian
        Message 3 of 4 , Nov 27, 2003
        • 0 Attachment
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Tom Saunders" <tom@...>
          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Monday, November 24, 2003 3:07 PM
          Subject: [GTh] 99 Sheep, The Valintinian Explaination


          > The "Gospel of Truth" offers an explanation of the parable of the "Lost
          Sheep." This Gospel is thought to have been written by Valentinus (100-180
          C.E.).
          >
          > Th-107. Jesus said, "The (Father's) kingdom is like a shepherd who had a
          hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the
          ninety-nine and looked for the one until he found it. After he had toiled,
          he said to the sheep, 'I love you more than the ninety-nine."
          >

          Hi Tom!

          I think that Valentinus is correct in interpreting this parable in terms of
          a Greek hand numbering system. In this numbering system, the only time
          there is a complete shift from one hand to the other is in going between 99
          and 100.

          Why else, other than in reference to this hand numbering system, would the
          parable have 99 sheep needing the one errant sheep to bring their total to
          the hand-changing 100?

          The 99 sign is made with the left hand, which had negative connotations back
          then, while the 100 sign is made with the right hand, which had positive
          connotations back then.

          In Th 107, the *99* sheep, being on the left hand, represent the Cosmos--a
          place with negative connotations. The errant sheep, since it is the *100th*
          sheep, is on the right hand and, so, represents the Kingdom--a place with
          positive connotations. This errant sheep is larger than the others because
          the Kingdom is greater than the Cosmos. The shepherd is a human being. He
          toils to find the errant sheep, i.e., the Kingdom. When he finds it, he
          declares, "I love you more than the other 99". That is to say, he declares,
          "I love you more than the Cosmos."

          (Tom)
          > Certainly if a parable is a story with a point the Thomas version leaves
          the reader to explain the point or resolve the mystery of its meaning.
          Versions of the parable are contained in Matthew and Luke, but in both cases
          the mystery is at least in part explained. Matthew adds that the Father
          will not abandon the 99 and let them perish........
          >
          > Mt 18- 12,14. "How think ye? if any man have a hundred sheep, and one of
          them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and go unto the
          mountains, and seek that which goeth astray?
          > 13. And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth
          over it more than over the ninety and nine which have not gone astray.
          > 14. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven, that one
          of these little ones should perish."
          >
          > Line 14 in Matthew may be a later addition to the parable which would have
          mirrored Thomas without this addition. The question is when would this
          redaction have taken place, pre, or post the Vanlintinean explanation in the
          "Gospel of Truth?" Did the addition of line 14 to Matthew come about as the
          result of Valentinus' explanation?

          (Frank)
          I think you are correct in seeing Matt 18:12-14 as being later than Th 107.

          As pointed out above, the whole point of the errant sheep being the 100th
          sheep depends upon a Greek hand numbering system. Further, once this is
          understood, then Thomas 107 becomes a parable of the Kingdom in which the
          errant 100th sheep represents the Kingdom. Indeed, it explicitly starts
          out, "The (Father's) Kingdom is like".

          So, I think that Thomas 107 is the original version of the parable.

          What then, is the relationship between Thomas 107 and Matthew 18:12-14?

          Well, as I pointed out in a recent post, Thomas 44 and 99 and their Synoptic
          gospel parallels suggest that Matthew knew both Mark's gospel and Thomas'
          gospel and that Luke knew Mark's gospel, Thomas' gospel, and Matthew's
          gospel..

          So, I think, Matthew knew about Thomas 107. Indeed, I think, Matt.18:12-13
          (the parable itself) is a Matthean re-writing of Thomas 107 amd Matthew
          18:14 is Matthew's invention, designed to let us know how his rewritten
          version of the parable is to be interpreted.

          In this case, Matthew's most major alteration is the deletion of "The
          (Father's) Kingdom is like". The reason for this, as is made clear in
          18:14, is that Matthew wants the parable to concern the Father rather than
          His Kingdom.

          His second major alteration is that he drops the word "largest/greatest" as
          an adjective for the errant sheep. The reason for this, as is made clear in
          18:14, is that Matthew wants the parable to concern "these little ones".

          The net effect of these two major alterations is that the parable is
          transformed from a parable about seeking and finding the Kingdom into a
          parable about how God wants to save everyone, even those who go errant.

          He does make some other, more minor, changes to Thomas 107 as well. For
          example, he makes a shift from declarative sentences to questions, he adds
          the phrase "on the hillsides", he deletes the reference to toiling, and he
          changes "care for/love you more" to "rejoices over it more".

          I think Matt 18:14 definitely was written before Valentinus.

          (Tom)
          > Luke offers a similar view of the parable as Valentinus with the addition
          of Luke 15-8,10 which is the story of the woman who lost the coin, cleaned
          her house and rejoiced at finding the lost item. Compare Luke to the
          Valintinus' explanation and we see they conclude similar explanations on the
          value of saving lost souls.
          >
          > Lk 15- 4,7. "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, and having lost one
          of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after
          that which is lost, until he find it?
          > 5. And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
          > 6. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and his
          neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep
          which was lost.
          > 7. I say unto you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven over one
          sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who
          need no repentance."

          (Frank)
          If ( as suggested above) Luke used, as sources, GMark, GTh, and GMatt, then
          Luke was aware of both Th 107 and Matt. 18:12-13.

          In this case, Luke's first sentence (What man of you, having a hundred
          sheep, and having lost one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in
          the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?) is
          primarily based on Matthew's second sentence and the beginning of his third
          sentence (If any man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be
          gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and go unto the
          mountains, and seek that which goeth astray? And if so be that he find
          it,...). However, the last phrase in it (until he finds it) is based on Th
          107 (until he found it) rather than on Matt. 18:12 (And if he happens to
          find it). He also makes a minor editorial change from Matthew's "the
          hillsides" to "the wilderness".

          Luke's last sentence (And, having come to the house, he calls together
          friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice together with me, because I
          found my sheep, the one having been lost.') has no parallel in either Th 107
          or Matt. 18:12-13. It is Luke's own invention and is a thinly disguised
          adaptation of Luke 15:9b (She calls together friends and neighbors, saying,
          'Rejoice together with me, because I found the drachma which I
          lost.')--which comes a special source known only to Luke. The reason for
          Luke doing this is to make the moral of the parable of the lost sheep match
          that of the parable of the lost drachma. This is why Luke adds 15:7, which
          is his own invention.

          Luke's middle sentence (And, having found (it), he puts it on his shoulders,
          rejoicing.) is also his invention. Only Luke has the man taking the sheep
          to his home, so he alone must have the man putting the sheep on his
          shoulders so that he can carry it.

          What I propose, then, is considerable editorial freedom exercised first by
          Matthew and then by Luke in rewriting the parable, so that the basic meaning
          of the parable underwent two radical shifts: (1) from the original meaning
          in Th107 to a second meaning in Matt. 18:12-13 and (2) from the meaning in
          Matt. 18:12-13 to a third meaning in Luke 15:4-6. Further, each of these
          two gospel writers adds an explanatory gloss (Matt 18:14 and Luke 15:7) that
          is his own invention and is designed to give the meaning of the parable as
          he has rewritten it.

          According to the Q hypothesis, Matthew 18:12-13 and Luke 15:4-6 come from a
          postulated gospel called Q. In the scenario suggested above, there is no Q.
          Perhaps, then, the reason that we have no copy of Q or, even, any definitive
          mention of it in early Christian literature, is that there never was a Q.

          (Tom)
          > Valentinus explains: ("Gospel of Truth")
          >
          > "He is the shepherd who left behind the 99 sheep which were not lost. He
          went searching for the one which had gone astray. He rejoiced when he found
          it, for the ninety nine is a number that is in the left hand which holds it.
          But when the one is found the entire number passes to the right (hand). As
          that which lacks the one- that is, the entire right (hand) - draws what was
          deficient and takes it to the left hand side and brings (it) to the right,
          so to the number becomes one hundred. It is the sign of the one that is in
          their sound; it is the Father. Even on the Sabbath, he labored for the
          sheep which he had found fallen into the pit. He gave life to the sheep
          having brought it up from the pit in order that you might know interiorly -
          you the sons of interior knowledge - which is the Sabbath, on which it is
          not fitting for salvation to be idle, in order that you may speak from the
          day from above, which has no night, and from the light which does not sink
          because it is perfect."
          >
          > Clearly the Valentinian explanation shows us two things. One, Valetinus
          draws on several Thomas sayings in his explanation. Th-27 b, ...."if you do
          not recognize the Sabbath as the Sabbath....," and Th- 62 "Jesus said, "I
          disclose my mysteries to those [who are worthy] of [my] mysteries. Do not
          let your left hand know what your right hand is doing."
          >
          > Secondly, to have drawn this explanation without the Gospel of Thomas as a
          guide the author would have to have derived the explanation from Mark, Luke,
          and Matthew, either contradicting or redacting their explanations of the 99
          Sheep and related parallels Valentinus makes in his explanation. I find
          this unlikely. I think it shows Valentinus had the GThom, and used the
          parable of the 99 Sheep from that text, and Matthew and Luke's parables were
          later redacted with explanations from the more mysterious Thomas. All
          (including Valentinus) would have had reason to add an explanation to the
          mystery of the parable as we see it in the GThom.
          >

          (Frank)
          I don't think that Matthew and Luke thought of Thomas 107 as a mystery. I
          think they did understand it. However, I also think that, they felt, on a
          deeper level of the parable, the errant sheep is not the Kingdom but a
          sinner and its finding is not the finding of the Kingdom but the repentence
          of the sinner. So, Matthew radically rewrote Thomas 107 to reflect what he
          believed to be its deeper level of meaning and Luke, even though he, in
          turn, modified Matthew, did accept Matthew's judgment that, on a deeper
          level of the parable, its meaning regards a sinner who repents.

          Also, while I agree that Valentinus knew of Thomas 107, I think that he also
          knew of the Matthean and Lukan versions of the parable as well.

          Let us re-look at the first two sentences in your citation of Truth
          31:35-32:30, "He is the shepherd who left behind the 99 sheep which were
          not lost. He went searching for the one which had gone astray. He rejoiced
          when he found it, for the ninety nine is a number that is in the left hand
          which holds it."

          Valentinus appears to be aware of Thomas 107, for it is only there that the
          man is said to be a shepherd.

          He also appears to be aware of Luke 15:4-6: for his "He rejoiced" appears
          to be based on Luke's "rejoicing" rather than on Thomas' "I love you more"
          or Matthew's "he rejoices over it more"

          Valentinus also appears to be aware of Matthew 18:11 ("For the Son of Man
          has come to save the lost."): for, in the context of Truth 31:25-32:30, the
          "He" who is the subject of this passage and goes out to find the lost sheep
          is Jesus

          Valentinus' apparent usage of Matthew 18:11 indicates that his Gospel of
          Truth is *very* late compared to the others. Most scholars deem Matthew
          18:11 to not be original to Matthew's gospel, but to, rather, be a later
          addition to it. In support of this idea that 18:11 comes from a later
          redacter of Matthew, 18:11 undercuts Matthew's own interpretation, in 18:14,
          that the man seeking the lost sheep symbolizes the Father.

          So, I suggest, the scenario is this: (1) Thomas writes Thomas 107, (2)
          Matthew writes Matthew 18:12-14, (3) Luke writes Luke 15:4-7, (4) a redactor
          adds Matthew 18:11 to Matthew's gospel, and (5) Valentinus writes the Gospel
          of Truth.

          (Tom)
          > Can anyone in the group add to my contention (or destroy it) that
          Valentinus had the GThom, and the GThom's '99 sheep' parable was the
          earliest version of the parable?

          (Frank)
          As can be seen above, we have some differences, but on these two basic
          points we are in agreement: for I, too, think that Valentinus was aware of
          Thomas 107 and think that Thomas 107 is the earliest version of the parable.

          Regards,

          Frank McCoy
          1809 N. English Apt. 15
          Maplewood, MN USA 55109
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.