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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 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 2 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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