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Re: [GTh] The rule of the Shepherds - part 2

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  • fmmccoy
    ... From: Stephen To: GThomas Sent: Monday, May 24, 2004 6:02 AM Subject: [GTh] The rule of the
    Message 1 of 6 , May 25, 2004
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Stephen" <stephen@...>
      To: "GThomas" <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, May 24, 2004 6:02 AM
      Subject: [GTh] The rule of the Shepherds - part 2


      > The second part of the Shepherds essay - this concerns the evidence in
      Thomas for the link with the Shepherds myth.
      >
      > Stephen Peter
      >
      > ---------------------------
      >
      > The Shepherds myth and the parable of the vineyard owner
      >
      > The central importance of the Shepherds to Christianity is evident in the
      parable of the vineyard owner. The version in the Gospel of Thomas is
      saying 65 -
      >
      > ==========
      > He said: A good man had a vineyard. He gave it to husbandmen that they
      might work it, and he receive its fruit from their hand. He sent his
      servant, that the husbandmen might give him the fruit of the vineyard. They
      seized his servant, they beat him, and all but killed him. The servant came
      (and) told his master. His master said: Perhaps they did not know him. He
      sent another servant; the husbandmen beat the other also. Then the master
      sent his son. He said: Perhaps they will reverence my son. Those husbandmen,
      since they knew that he was the heir of the vineyard, they seized him (and)
      killed him. He that hath ears, let him hear. (Thomas 65)
      > ==========
      >
      > This parable is derived from the same myth as the Book of Enoch. The
      parable takes place at the divine level as can be seen from the list of
      characters -
      >
      > - The good man is Yahweh.
      > - The husbandmen are the Shepherd angels.
      > - The servants are the angel-men Noah and Moses
      > - The son is Jesus, the Son of God.
      >
      > The vineyard parable moves on from the Book of Enoch by replacing the
      Messiah, who in Enoch is a sheep and hence a man, with the divine Son of
      God. In the vineyard parable the son is killed while in Enoch the Messiah
      is triumphant.
      >

      Dear Stephen Peter:

      This is an interesting interpretation of Thomas 65. What I perceive to be
      its most attractive feature to it is that the two servants in Thomas 65,
      just as there are two angel-men, Noah and Moses, in Enoch.

      I strongly suggest that, in this interpretation, God be referred to as the
      Father rather than as Yahwen. This title of Yahweh for God does not
      appear in GThomas. Further, it has connotations that are alien to the
      theological perspective of the Thomas community. On the other hand, Father
      is a title for God in GThomas and, as the owner of the vineyard, God has a
      son and, so, is a Father.

      In this interpretation, the husbandmen are identified as being the Shepherd
      angels. However, husbandmen and shepherds are two radically different
      groups of people, i.e., settled people versus nomads and growers of crops
      versus herders of animals. So, you need to provide a justification for
      making this identification--which, on the face of it, appears unlikely to be
      correct.

      >
      > It is important to note that all the characters are divine. This suggests
      >that the action does not take place on earth but in a higher heaven.
      >

      It is true that, in this interpretation, all the explicit characters are
      divine.

      However, there appear to be implicit characters in this interpretation who
      are human beings.

      I am referring to the vineyard. If, as appears to be necessitated under
      this interpretation, it corresponds to the flock given custody to the
      Shepherd angels, then it represents human beings. More particularly, since
      the sheep of the flock represent Israelites in Enoch, it represents the
      Israelites.

      As a result, I strongly suggest that you re-think this hypothesis that the
      action does not take place on earth but in a higher heaven.

      > There are several separate pieces of evidence that link the parable to the
      dream vision in the Book of Enoch -
      >
      > - There is a clear and striking parallel between (i) the man giving his
      vineyard into the charge of husbandmen who then refuse to give him the
      proceeds, and (ii) the Lord of the sheep giving his flock into the hands of
      shepherds who then proceed to abuse it.
      >
      > - There is an explicit link between the Shepherds and the vineyard in
      Jeremiah in a line spoken by Yahweh -
      >
      > ==========
      > Many shepherds have ruined my vineyard, they have trampled down my field;
      They have made my desirable field become a wilderness, a desolation.
      (Jeremiah 12:10)
      > ==========
      >

      This ruining of the vineyard by the shepherds in Jer. 12:10 corresponds to
      the abuse of the flock by the shepherds in Enoch, so the author of Enoch
      probably took the vineyard to represent the sheep of the flock, i.e., the
      Israelites. So, I think that this makes it even more unlikely that the
      action in Thomas 65 takes place in a heavenly realm rather than on earth.

      >
      > - The two servants in the Thomas story gave the gospel writers a problem
      in their version of the parable because they were interpreted as being
      prophets and there were more than two prophets. Yet it is explained by the
      dream vision in which there are two and only two men who change into angels.
      >

      Yes, I agree that this is strong support for the interpretation of the
      parable of the vineyard which you propose--for there were not just two
      prophets, but a larger number of them: with the Thomas community apparently
      believing that there had been 24 prophets (Thomas 52).

      Still, it is the case that, in terms of first century CE Judaism, it would
      have been natural to interpret the two servants as being two prophets.

      For example, in the DSS Commentaries on Hosea, we read, some people "cast
      His commandments behind them which he sent (by the hand of) his sevants, the
      Prophets, and they listened to those who led them astray."

      So, the interpetation you propose is subject to the counter-argument that
      the two servants in Thomas 64 are two prophets sent by God.

      Still, I think that an argument could be made that early Christians did
      consider the angels to be servants of God. For example, it is said in
      Hebrews 1:6 (RSV), it is stated, "Of the angels he says, 'Who makes his
      angels sinds, and his servants flames of fire.'"

      So, to summarize, I think this is the strongest point to your intepretation
      of Thomas 64. This explains why there are two servants. Also, while
      prophets were considered servants of God, suggesting that these two servants
      should be prophets, yet, it is the case, angels were also considered
      servants of God--at least by some early Christians. So, in balance, the
      evidence more strongly supports the hypothesis that the two servants were
      two angel-men, i.e, Noah and Moses, rather than two prophets.

      > - In the Coptic Thomas manuscript there is a superlinear stroke over the
      two servants. This indicates divine status and shows that the two were
      indeed believed to be angels.
      >
      > - Interpreting the servants as Noah and Moses leads to a deeper meaning of
      the parable since Noah, Moses and Jesus represent the three successive
      covenants between Yahweh and man.
      >

      These two arguments are weak. You need to demonstrate that, in the Coptic
      Thomas, wherever there is a superlinear stroke, it is an indication of
      divine status. However, you fail to do this. Also, you need to demonstrate
      that the Thomas community believed in there being the three covenants
      between God and man. Again, you fail to do ths.

      To conclude: You present an intriguing interpretation of Thomas 65. It's
      strongest point is the correspondence between the two servants in Thomas 65
      and the two angel-men in Enoch. It's weakest point is that it appears
      unlikely that the husbandmen should be identified as being the Shepherd
      angels.

      Also, I suggest that you do more thinking on what the vineyard
      represents in Thomas 65. You hypothesise that it represents a heavenly
      realm. Yet, an Enochian intepretaion of 65 seems to indicate that the
      vineyard represents the Israelites. So, if, as you propose, the rest of the
      parable ought to be interpreted along Enochian lines, shouldn't the
      vineyard be interpreted along Enochian lines as well and, so, taken to
      represent the Israelites?

      I hope you find this helpful.

      Regards,

      Frank Mccoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 15
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109
    • Stephen
      Dear Michael, Thank you for having the patience to read and comment on my note even though you clearly disagree vehemently with the contents. I have some
      Message 2 of 6 , May 26, 2004
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        Dear Michael,

        Thank you for having the patience to read and comment on my note even though
        you clearly disagree vehemently with the contents. I have some comments on
        the points you raised -

        > In general, your series of three notes more properly belongs on the
        > JesusMysteries list, where data is routinely manipulated to fit a theory.

        I try and go where the data and logic leads me - and not be blinded by the
        conceptual filters that are derived ultimately from the Gospel of Mark.

        > Although there's some interesting insights in your presentation, I believe
        > that almost all of your conclusions are mistaken (including your favorite
        > fantasy - that Simon Peter was a woman).

        You misrepresent me - I do not believe that there was any person called
        Simon Peter. It is Mark who makes the equation of Peter with Simon,
        probably because he is trying to place the original leader of the Jesus
        movement, Cephas/Peter, into a list of the Twelve which does not include his
        name. My identification of Cephas/Peter with the Magdalene is based on data
        not fantasy - connections between the two in the gospels and connections
        between the 'rock' and the 'tower' in multiple sources outside of the
        gospels. It is the use of the rock and the tower that led me to consider
        the dream vision in the first place before I noticed any possible connection
        with the vineyard owner parable.

        >
        > 1. The two servants cannot be Noah and Moses, because what is said about
        how
        > the tenants treated them doesn't match how Noah and Moses were treated.
        Noah
        > was not beaten within an each of his life, nor was Moses beaten. If, on
        the
        > other hand, the two servants represent two covenants (which covenants
        might
        > be thought to be "beaten" in some metaphorical sense), then (a) the
        vineyard
        > is clearly earthly, and (b) the two covenants should be those of Abraham
        and
        > Moses, not Noah and Moses.
        >

        I have simply pointed out the connection between the two angel/men in the
        dream vision and the two servants in the parable. It is the people who
        invented the myths who thought there was some reason to distinguish Noah and
        Moses with angelic status. We have to respect the sources and not say that
        they were wrong and should have used Abraham instead of Noah.


        > 2. The tenants are not the "shepherd angels" of the Enoch vision. They
        > simply aren't "angels" in our sense of the word (see below)

        In the dream vision the Shepherds are men and therefore stand for angels.
        Even great men such as Abraham, David and Elijah are represented as animals.


        > The Coptic word HeMHAL occurs in three sayings: 47 ("a servant can't serve
        > two masters"), 64 (the banquet), and 65. It's overstroked in all
        occurences,
        > not just in 65. I would agree that the overstroke indicates special
        > importance for the role of "servant", but it's not clear what that
        > importance was. Perhaps the authors thought of themselves and their
        > followers as "servants". In any case, you're jumping to a conclusion here.
        > You'd have to show that the "servants" in 47 and 64 were also "angels".

        Thank you for the extra information. The issue of the over stroke is a
        relatively minor point in the augment. It is possible that the over stroke
        of the servant started with 65 and then was copied to the other uses but I
        agree that not much weight should be placed on this point.

        >
        > > - Interpreting the servants as Noah and Moses leads to a deeper meaning
        of
        > > the parable since Noah, Moses and Jesus represent the three successive
        > > covenants between Yahweh and man.
        >
        > Not true. You've left out Abraham.
        >

        This is a fair comment but, as mentioned above, for some reason the covenant
        of Abraham was not important to them.

        > Nor are they
        > "angels" in the sense that we normally think of that term, since we don't
        > think of angels as being flesh-and-blood. Thus, we can't take the ancient
        > writings and transpose our own sense of "angel" on them to conclude that
        the
        > events in question were intended to take place in some other-worldly
        realm.
        > In the ancient world, an extraordinary man could be thought of as being an
        > "angel", and therefore there was no necessary dichotomy between "man" and
        > "angel" such as is central to your analysis - and that of other
        > Jesus-mythers. (In addition, anything supposedly taking place in the
        heavens
        > was actually a reflection of earthly events.)

        I think I know what 'angel' means - a divine visitor, a son of god. When
        Moses descends from meeting God his face is glowing so much that he has to
        be veiled. In Enoch we are told that when Noah was born he also glowed.
        These are divine beings.

        I cannot help thinking that you are trying to fudge the issue here by
        implying that there was no distinction between angels and men. There
        clearly was even though a few individuals crossed over the boundary.

        Stephen Peter
      • Stephen
        Frank, Thank you for your comments. Some comments in reply - ... Shepherd ... be ... The justification for making the identification is contained in
        Message 3 of 6 , May 26, 2004
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          Frank,

          Thank you for your comments. Some comments in reply -

          >
          > In this interpretation, the husbandmen are identified as being the
          Shepherd
          > angels. However, husbandmen and shepherds are two radically different
          > groups of people, i.e., settled people versus nomads and growers of crops
          > versus herders of animals. So, you need to provide a justification for
          > making this identification--which, on the face of it, appears unlikely to
          be
          > correct.

          The justification for making the identification is contained in scripture.
          Both the flock and the vineyard are used as metaphors for the Israelites.
          They establish two allegorical frameworks. Within those frameworks the
          Shepherds and the husbandmen are exact equivalents - two groups of
          agricultural workers who do not own the asset they control. Also we see
          that they both behave in the same way - by abusing the trust that owner of
          the agricultural asset has placed in them. That abuse takes a slightly
          different form in each framework for the simple reason that a vine is not
          the same as a sheep.

          The equivalence goes further because we are told, for example in Isaiah 5
          and in Jeremiah 12:10, that the owner of the vineyard is Yahweh. In Enoch
          the Lord of the sheep is also clearly Yahweh. So the owner of the flock and
          the vineyard is the same in both allegories, just as the flock and the
          vineyard represent the same thing.

          Then in Jeremiah 12:10 we have the explicit link - 'the Shepherds have
          ruined my vineyard'.

          Given these connections I do not personally see how there can fail to be a
          link between the vineyard parable and the Shepherds.

          The importance of the detail of the two men/angels Noah and Moses
          corresponding with the two servants in the parable is that it establishes
          the link at the level of the Book of Enoch Midrash on scripture rather than
          at the level of the scripture itself. It lifts the parable into the angelic
          realm where servants and Shepherds are angels.


          >
          > Also, I suggest that you do more thinking on what the vineyard
          > represents in Thomas 65. You hypothesise that it represents a heavenly
          > realm. Yet, an Enochian intepretaion of 65 seems to indicate that the
          > vineyard represents the Israelites. So, if, as you propose, the rest of
          the
          > parable ought to be interpreted along Enochian lines, shouldn't the
          > vineyard be interpreted along Enochian lines as well and, so, taken to
          > represent the Israelites?

          We are not actually told in 65 that the abuse of the servants and the murder
          of the son takes place in the vineyard. We are just told that the owner
          sent the servants and the son.


          >
          > I hope you find this helpful.
          >
          Yes, thank you for all the points you made including the ones not mentioned
          in this reply.


          Stephen Peter
        • fmmccoy
          ... From: Stephen To: GThomas Sent: Monday, May 24, 2004 6:02 AM Subject: [GTh] The rule of the
          Message 4 of 6 , May 26, 2004
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            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Stephen" <stephen@...>
            To: "GThomas" <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Monday, May 24, 2004 6:02 AM
            Subject: [GTh] The rule of the Shepherds - part 2

            (snip)

            >
            > The same parable of the vineyard is also found in the gospels of Mark,
            Mathew and Luke. The earliest of the Gospel versions is that of Mark -
            >
            > ==========
            > And he began to speak to them by parables. A certain man planted a
            vineyard, and set a hedge about it, and digged a place for the wine vat, and
            built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.
            And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive
            from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. And they caught him, and
            beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent to them another
            servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent
            him away shamefully handled. And again he sent another; and him they
            killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some. Having yet
            therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last to them, saying,
            They will reverence my son. But those husbandmen said among themselves,
            This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours.'
            And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. What
            shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the
            husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. And have you not read
            this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of
            the corner: This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
            (Mark 12:1-11)
            > ==========
            >
            > The Mark version adds details from the analogy of the vineyard in Isaiah
            5. The Thomas version is simpler and this is the first clue that the Thomas
            version is earlier than Mark. More importantly the Thomas version has the
            structure of three rising to a climax that would be expected in an original
            parable - the two servants who are beaten followed by the son who is killed.
            This same underlying structure is also evident in the Mark version although
            it has been corrupted by the insertion of extra servants in the confused
            phrase "and again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others;
            beating some, and killing some". Even before the Gospel of Thomas had been
            discovered it had been deduced that the Mark version was derived from an
            earlier parable that only had two servants!


            Dear Stephen Peter:

            Who said, prior to the discovery of GThomas, that the Markan version of the
            parable of the vineyard was derived from an earlier parable that had only
            two servants? Is this person Dodd or Jeremias? Can you cite the work in
            which this argument is made?

            Certainly, that the GThomas version of this parable is simpler than the
            GMark version is strong evidence that the GThomas version is earlier.

            Still, I think that a case can be made that the GMark version of the parable
            is more primitive.

            In particular, the GMark version of the parable shows a strong influence
            from the Dead Sea scrolls.

            Particularly important is the DSS fragment, 4Q500, which is thusly
            translated by Craig Evans in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran Cave
            4 (in Eschatology, Messianism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, pp. 91-110):

            3...a wine vat (bu)ilt among stones...
            4....to the gate of the holy height...
            5...your planting and the streams of your glory...
            6....the branches of your delight...
            7...your vine(yard...).

            He identifies the "gate of the holy height" with the temple: which was built
            on the top of the holy height of Mount Zion; the "wine vat built among the
            stone" with the altar: which was built in the midst of the stones
            constituting the temple; and "the streams of your glory" with "the water
            channel that streams forth from the altar."

            This readily relates to the Markan version of the parable of the vineyard,
            where the vineyard is enclosed by a hedge and has a wine vat and a tower.
            The vineyard is Jerusalem. The hedge around it is the city walls. The wine
            vat is the altar at the temple and the tower is the temple itself.

            Also important is the DSS Commentary on Hosea, where, we read, some people
            "cast His commandments behind them which he sent (by the hand of) his
            sevants, the Prophets, and they listened to those who led them astray."

            This readily relates to the Markan version of the parable of the vineyard,
            where servants are sent by the owner to the tenants of the vineaysrd, but
            are abused--with some even being killed. In this case, the owner of the
            vineyard is God, the tenants are the rulers of this vineyard (i.e.,
            Jerusalem), and the servants who are abused and killed at the vineyard
            (i.e., Jerusalem) are prophets sent by God. Compare Matthew 23:37, where
            Jesus declares, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning
            those sent to you!"

            Also important is DSS 4Q174, where it is stated, "*(I will be) his father
            and he will be my son (2 Sam. vii, 13)*. He is the Branch of David....As it
            is written, *I will raise up the tent of David that is fallen (Amos ix,
            11)*. That is to say, the fallen tent of David is he who shall arise to
            save Israel."

            This readily relates to the Markan version of the parable, where the owner
            of the vineyard (i.e., God) has a son. This is the Davidic Messiah, who
            will have God as his Father and, so, be His Son. This Son is the heir of
            the vineyard. That is to say, he is the ligitimate heir to David's throne.
            However the tenants of the vineyard slay him. That is to say, the rulers of
            Jerusalem (i.e., the Romans and the members of the Jerusalem Sanhiedrin), in
            order to stay in power, cause this tent of David to fall. However, the Son
            is raised from the dead in glory, becoming the cornerstone That is to say,
            the slain Davidic Messiah, the fallen tent of David, will be raised by God
            from the dead to a glorious heavenly status.

            So, the Markan version, in its entirety, is interpretable in terms of the
            Dead Sea scrolls. It tells a coherent tale of how God establishes Jerusalem
            (the vineyard) and lets it out to husbandmen (i.e., its human rulers). God
            sends His servants (i.e., the prophets) to Jerusalem, but its rulers abuse
            them and even kill some of them. Then God sends His Son, the Davidic
            Messiah, to Jerusalem to claim David's throne. However, the rulers of
            Jerusalem kill him. Then, God raises him from the dead and sets him in
            heavenly glory.

            Since the Qumran community was destroyed by the Romans in 68 CE, the
            apparent influence of the DSS on the Markan version of the parable of the
            vineyard means that it probably dates to 68 CE or earlier. That is to say,
            since most would date GMark to c. 70 CE, this means that it probably is
            pre-Markan and could even be quite primitive.

            This conclusion is supported by the fact that, in the Markan version of the
            parable, the tower is not destroyed. Since the tower appears to represent
            the temple, this suggests that this version of the parable arose earlier
            than the destruction of the temple in 70 CE.

            Also, as Evans (Ibid., p. 99, note 18) observes, this usage of the
            corner-stone saying from Psalm 118 in the Markan version of the parable
            appears to be based on an Aramaic word-play between ha-ben (the son) and
            ha-'eben (the stone). This suggests that the Markan version of the parable
            was originally in Aramaic which, in turn, supports the idea that it goes
            back to Palestine and, so, might be quite primitive.

            That the Markan version of the parable appears to be pre-68 CE and appears
            to go back to Palestine suggests that it is earlier than the GThomas version
            because most would date GThomas to the early second century CE.

            The bottom line: That the GThomas version of the parable is simpler than the
            GMark version is strong evidence that the GThomas version is earlier.
            However, this is off-set by evidence that the GMark version is pre-68 CE
            and by the conventional dating of GThomas to the second century CE. The net
            effect is that it is a judgment call, pure and simple, as to whether which
            version is more primitive.

            >
            > Mark has extra servants because the person who wrote the Mark version did
            not understand that the two servants were supposed to represent the
            men-angels Noah and Moses. He thinks that they represent the prophets. But
            there were many more prophets than two and some met with death as well as
            physical abuse. So the author tries to improve the parable to make it more
            closely reflect what he thinks it should mean.
            >

            This scenario is highly speculative because it is based on the premise that
            the GThomas version is earlier. As mentioned above, this might be the case,
            but it is not safe to assume that this is the case.

            > Mark ends his parable by adding a conclusion not found in the Thomas
            version. The husbandmen will be destroyed and the vineyard shall be given
            to others. He goes on to add the saying about the cornerstone that is taken
            from Psalm 118. The question is why does Mark add this cornerstone saying
            to the parable? It does not appear to have any direct relevance to what has
            gone before. Both Mathew and Luke also add the cornerstone quotation at
            this point but then they are both copying Mark.
            >

            Still, as pointed out above, when the Markan version of the parable is
            interpreteed in terms of what is found in certain Dead Sea scrolls, then the
            saying about the cornerstone that is taken from Psalm 118 is integral to it.
            So, I think you are incorrect in asserting that it does not appear to have
            any direct relevane to what has gone before.

            In conclusion, you are reasonable in maintaining that the GThomas version of
            the parable of the vineyard is earlier that the GMark version.because it is
            simpler.

            However, by the same token, there is evidence that the GMark version dates
            to pre-68 CE and originated in Palestine. Conversely, GThomas is
            conventionally dated to the early part of the second century CE. These two
            things suggest that, rather, it is the GMark version that is earliest.

            So, to make the case stronger that the GThomas version of the parable is
            earlier than the GMark version, I suggest that you look for evidence that
            indicates a post-70 CE dating for the GMark version and for evidence that
            GThomas was written earlier than most assume.

            Regards,

            Frank McCoy
            1809 N. English At. 15
            Maplewood, MN USA 55109
          • fmmccoy
            ... From: Stephen To: Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2004 11:20 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] The rule of the Shepherds
            Message 5 of 6 , May 28, 2004
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              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Stephen" <stephen@...>
              To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2004 11:20 AM
              Subject: Re: [GTh] The rule of the Shepherds - part 2


              (Frank McCoy)
              > > In this interpretation, the husbandmen are identified as being the
              > Shepherd
              > > angels. However, husbandmen and shepherds are two radically different
              > > groups of people, i.e., settled people versus nomads and growers of
              crops
              > > versus herders of animals. So, you need to provide a justification for
              > > making this identification--which, on the face of it, appears unlikely
              to
              > be
              > > correct.

              (Stephen Peter)
              > The justification for making the identification is contained in scripture.
              > Both the flock and the vineyard are used as metaphors for the Israelites.
              > They establish two allegorical frameworks.

              (Frank McCoy)
              Yes, in the Jewish scriptures, the Israelites can be symbolized by both a
              flock and a vineyard. You make a good point here.

              Yes, they can establish two allegorical frameworks: one in which there are
              shepherds for the flock (i.e., the Israelites) and the other in which their
              are husbandmen for the vineyard (i.e., the Israelites).

              Further, in the Enochian narrative, there are shepherds for the flock (i.e.,
              the Israelites) and these shepherds are angelic beings.

              Even further, in the GThomas version of the parable of the vineyard, there
              are husbandmen for the vineyard.

              However, this does not necessitate that, in the GThomas version of this
              parable, the husbandmen are angelic beings and the vineyard consists of the
              Israelites.

              Rather, this needs to be established by presenting evidence to back-up such
              a hypothesis.

              (Stephen)
              > Within those frameworks the
              > Shepherds and the husbandmen are exact equivalents - two groups of
              > agricultural workers who do not own the asset they control.

              (Frank)
              Here, you are assuming what needs to be demonstrated, i.e., that the
              shepherds of the Enochian perspective and the husbandmen of the GThomas
              version of this parable are exact equivalents. This is only possible if the
              husbandmen represent angelic beings, but you have not demonstrated that this
              is so.

              Further, any equivalence (whether it be exact or inexact) between the
              shepherds and the husbandmen does not arise out of them both being
              agricultural workers who do not own the assets they control. To lump
              nomadic herders into the category of sedentary agricultural workers is
              incorrect.

              So, I think your argument is weak here. At this point in your line of
              reasoning, you could make a much stronger case if you could produce
              evidence that, in the GThomas version of this parable, the vineyard really
              does represent the Israelites and the husbandmen really do represent angelic
              beings.

              (Stephen)
              >Also we see
              > that they both behave in the same way - by abusing the trust that owner of
              > the agricultural asset has placed in them. That abuse takes a slightly
              > different form in each framework for the simple reason that a vine is not
              > the same as a sheep.

              (Frank)
              Yes, both the shepherds in the Enochian perspective and the husbandmen in
              the GThomas version of the parable of the vineyard abuse the trust that the
              owner has placed in them. Again, you make a very good point.

              However, I suspect that you are incorrect in saying that this "abuse takes a
              slightly different form in each framework."

              Rather, I think it more likely that this abuse takes a radically different
              form in each framework.

              In an earlier post, you state, "The Lord of the sheep then appoints seventy
              shepherds over the sheep. The shepherds are clearly inspired by the
              shepherds in the book of Jeremiah. Each shepherd is to pasture the sheep
              for one day so that the reign of the shepherds will be seventy days -
              standing for the seventy years in Jeremiah. The lord of the sheep numbers
              those sheep marked out for destruction so that the shepherds might destroy
              them. But the Lord of the sheep knows that the shepherds will exceed their
              instructions and will destroy many more of the sheep than marked. So he
              appoints a man/angel to secretly watch the shepherds and keep a record of
              their deeds."

              So, in the Enochian perspective, the abuse of the trust of the owner by the
              shepherds is that they destroy many more of the sheep than marked.

              Since, in the hypothesis you propose, the shepherds of the Enochian
              perspective correspond to husbandmen of the GThomas version of the parable
              of the vineyard and the sheep of the Enochian perspective correspond to the
              vineyard of the GThomas version of the parable, if they are truly parallel,
              then, in the GThomas version of the parable, the husbandmen abuse the trust
              of the owner by destroying a part of the vineyard.

              However, in the GThomas version of the parable of the vineyard, the abuse of
              the trust of the owner by the husbandmen does not involve the destruction of
              a part of the vineyard. Rather, it takes two other forms:
              1. they injure the two servants sent by the owner and they slay the son of
              the owner
              2. they do not give the owner the produce they owe him.

              So, IMO, it appears that the nature of the abuse of the trust of the owner
              by the shepherds radically differs from the nature of the abuse of the trust
              of the owner by the husbandmen.

              (Stephen)
              > The equivalence goes further because we are told, for example in Isaiah 5
              > and in Jeremiah 12:10, that the owner of the vineyard is Yahweh. In Enoch
              > the Lord of the sheep is also clearly Yahweh. So the owner of the flock
              and
              > the vineyard is the same in both allegories, just as the flock and the
              > vineyard represent the same thing.

              (Frank)
              Your argument, IMO, is weak here.

              To strengthen it, IMO, you need to establish that the vineyard in Isaiah 5
              corresponds to the vineyard in Jeremiah 12:10 and that both vineyards
              correspond to the vineyard in the GThomas version of the parable of the
              vineyard. Further, since the flock of the Enochian perspective represents
              the Israelites, to strengthen your argument, you also need to establish
              that, in each of these three cases, the vineyard represents Israelites
              rather than something else, e.g., the city of Jerusalem.

              (Stephen)
              > Then in Jeremiah 12:10 we have the explicit link - 'the Shepherds have
              > ruined my vineyard'.
              >
              > Given these connections I do not personally see how there can fail to be a
              > link between the vineyard parable and the Shepherds.

              (Frank)
              There are some missing premises in your argument here. That there is
              linkage between shepherds and a vineyard in Jer. 12:10 does not necessitate
              that there is a link between the Enochian picture of shepherds herding a
              flock and the picture, in the GThomas version of the parable of the
              vineyard, of husbandmen tending a vineyard. Indeed, it doesn't even make
              such a linkage likely.

              As a result, I classify your argument here as unfounded speculation.

              In order to make it a strong argument, you need to make explicit the missing
              premises and to give evidence to support each one of these missing premises.

              Further, if, as your argument apparently necessitates, there is a link
              between Jeremiah 12:10 and the GThomas version of the
              parable of the vineyard, then one would expect the husbandmen of the GThomas
              version of the parable of the vineyard to ruin the vineyard. However, they
              do not do this.

              So, on the face of it, there is no link between Jeremaiah 12:10 and the
              GThomas version of the parable of the vineyard.

              (Stephen)
              > The importance of the detail of the two men/angels Noah and Moses
              > corresponding with the two servants in the parable is that it establishes
              > the link at the level of the Book of Enoch Midrash on scripture rather
              than
              > at the level of the scripture itself. It lifts the parable into the
              angelic
              > realm where servants and Shepherds are angels.

              (Frank)
              Even if (for the sake of argument) one grants that the two servants in the
              parable correspond to Noah and Moses as men/angels, this necessarily lifts
              the parable into the angelic realm only if, from the Enochian perspective,
              angels stick only to heavenly realms and, therefore, do not enter into our
              mortal realm.

              However, it appears that, in the Enochian perspective, the angels do not
              stick to heavenly realms but, rather, sometimes do enter into our mortal
              realm.

              For example, in an earlier post, you state, "Two versions of the
              proto-Gnostic myth exist in the Book of Enoch. The first is the story of
              the Watchers in Book 1. In this myth the angels, the Children of Heaven,
              look down on Earth and lust after the daughters of men. Under their leader
              Semjaza they descend to the earth and take wives. From these wives are born
              monstrous giants. The rebel angels also teach mankind forbidden knowledge
              such as the art of making weaponry, jewellery and cosmetics along with
              magic, plant lore and astrology."

              I view your contention that the action in the GThomas version of the
              parable of the vineyard takes place in a heavenly plane to be the weakest
              part of your total argument. That. angelic beings, in the Enochian
              perspective, do sometimes enter into our mortal realm is but another
              indication, IMO, of its weakness.

              (Frank)
              > > Also, I suggest that you do more thinking on what the vineyard
              > > represents in Thomas 65. You hypothesise that it represents a heavenly
              > > realm. Yet, an Enochian intepretaion of 65 seems to indicate that the
              > > vineyard represents the Israelites. So, if, as you propose, the rest of
              > the
              > > parable ought to be interpreted along Enochian lines, shouldn't the
              > > vineyard be interpreted along Enochian lines as well and, so, taken to
              > > represent the Israelites?

              (Stephen)
              > We are not actually told in 65 that the abuse of the servants and the
              murder
              > of the son takes place in the vineyard. We are just told that the owner
              > sent the servants and the son.

              (Frank)
              Arguments from silence, by their very nature, tend to be weak. So, I view
              this as a weak argument.

              To make it a strong argument, you need, IMO, to present evidence that, in
              the GThomas version of the parable of the sower, the abuse of the servants
              and the murder of the son take place somewhere else than the vineyard.

              Do you have such evidence?

              Regards,

              Frank McCoy
              1809 N. English Apt. 15
              Maplewood, MN USA 55109
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