- 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 someMessage 1 of 6 , May 26, 2004View SourceDear 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 theI try and go where the data and logic leads me - and not be blinded by the
> JesusMysteries list, where data is routinely manipulated to fit a theory.
conceptual filters that are derived ultimately from the Gospel of Mark.
> Although there's some interesting insights in your presentation, I believeYou misrepresent me - I do not believe that there was any person called
> that almost all of your conclusions are mistaken (including your favorite
> fantasy - that Simon Peter was a woman).
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
> 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, onthe
> other hand, the two servants represent two covenants (which covenantsmight
> be thought to be "beaten" in some metaphorical sense), then (a) thevineyard
> is clearly earthly, and (b) the two covenants should be those of Abrahamand
> 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. TheyIn the dream vision the Shepherds are men and therefore stand for angels.
> simply aren't "angels" in our sense of the word (see below)
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 serveoccurences,
> two masters"), 64 (the banquet), and 65. It's overstroked in all
> not just in 65. I would agree that the overstroke indicates specialThank you for the extra information. The issue of the over stroke is a
> 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".
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
> > the parable since Noah, Moses and Jesus represent the three successiveThis is a fair comment but, as mentioned above, for some reason the covenant
> > covenants between Yahweh and man.
> Not true. You've left out Abraham.
of Abraham was not important to them.
> Nor are theythe
> "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
> events in question were intended to take place in some other-worldlyrealm.
> In the ancient world, an extraordinary man could be thought of as being anheavens
> "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
> 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.
- ... From: Stephen To: GThomas Sent: Monday, May 24, 2004 6:02 AM Subject: [GTh] The rule of theMessage 2 of 6 , May 26, 2004View Source
----- Original Message -----
From: "Stephen" <stephen@...>
To: "GThomas" <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, May 24, 2004 6:02 AM
Subject: [GTh] The rule of the Shepherds - part 2
> 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?
> 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...
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
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
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
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.
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Maplewood, MN USA 55109
- ... From: Stephen To: Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2004 11:20 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] The rule of the ShepherdsMessage 3 of 6 , May 28, 2004View Source
----- Original Message -----
From: "Stephen" <stephen@...>
Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2004 11:20 AM
Subject: Re: [GTh] The rule of the Shepherds - part 2
> > In this interpretation, the husbandmen are identified as being the
> > angels. However, husbandmen and shepherds are two radically different
> > groups of people, i.e., settled people versus nomads and growers of
> > versus herders of animals. So, you need to provide a justification for
> > making this identification--which, on the face of it, appears unlikely
> > 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.
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
Rather, this needs to be established by presenting evidence to back-up such
> Within those frameworks the
> Shepherds and the husbandmen are exact equivalents - two groups of
> agricultural workers who do not own the asset they control.
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
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
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
>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.
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
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
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.
> 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
> the vineyard is the same in both allegories, just as the flock and the
> vineyard represent the same thing.
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.
> 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.
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.
> 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
> at the level of the scripture itself. It lifts the parable into the
> realm where servants and Shepherds are angels.
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
However, it appears that, in the Enochian perspective, the angels do not
stick to heavenly realms but, rather, sometimes do enter into our mortal
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.
> > 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
> > 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
> of the son takes place in the vineyard. We are just told that the owner
> sent the servants and the son.
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?
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Maplewood, MN USA 55109