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Re: [GTh] Body vs Flesh

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  • sarban
    ... From: jmgcormier To: Sent: Friday, June 24, 2005 3:10 AM Subject: [GTh] Body vs Flesh ... The words used in
    Message 1 of 11 , Jun 24, 2005
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "jmgcormier" <cobby@...>
      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, June 24, 2005 3:10 AM
      Subject: [GTh] Body vs Flesh


      > I wonder if some of the Coptic translator members of the group could
      > clarify the distinction between the Coptic word for "flesh" and the
      > Coptic word for "body" for me.
      >
      > Clearly, in English, the two words are interchangeable. In fact Oxford
      > defines "flesh" as "body". Although different words are used in Coptic
      > (as in English) for the two, is it as likely in Coptic that the two
      > words are interchangeable (or does the redactor of Thomas have
      > separate meanings for the two words), and if so, why would he not
      > simply stick to one of the two words in T 112, 29, 80 etc.
      >
      The words used in Coptic Thomas for 'body' and ''flesh' are both
      originally Greek SWMA for 'body' and SARX for 'flesh'.

      In Greek IIUC the two words have different, but overlapping fields
      of meaning, and I would suspect the same is true in Coptic Thomas.

      Andrew Criddle
    • Michael Grondin
      ... Actually, no. Flesh is a mass noun - a name of material like snow , water , dirt , etc. Body is a count noun - which means that it makes sense in
      Message 2 of 11 , Jun 24, 2005
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        Maurice wrote:

        > Clearly, in English, the two words are interchangeable.

        Actually, no. 'Flesh' is a mass noun - a name of material like 'snow',
        'water', 'dirt', etc. 'Body' is a count noun - which means that it makes
        sense in locutions involving counts, like "There were seven bodies", whereas
        mass nouns require helper words when used with numbers, as in "seven pieces
        of flesh" or "seven puddles of water". It's rather like the relationship
        between snowballs and snow. The same distinction held between SWMA and SARX,
        I believe (as in Paul's talk of a resurrection body not composed of flesh).

        Regards,
        Mike Grondin
      • jmgcormier
        ... Andrew … Thank you. Overlapping fields of meaning is an interesting comment, although you seem to be teetering a bit as to if it applies to the Coptic
        Message 3 of 11 , Jun 25, 2005
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          --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "sarban" <sarban@s...> wrote:

          > The words used in Coptic Thomas for 'body' and ''flesh' are both
          > originally Greek SWMA for 'body' and SARX for 'flesh'.
          >
          > In Greek IIUC the two words have different, but overlapping fields
          > of meaning, and I would suspect the same is true in Coptic Thomas.
          >
          > Andrew Criddle

          ---------------------------------------------


          Andrew …

          Thank you. "Overlapping fields of meaning" is an interesting
          comment, although you seem to be teetering a bit as to if it applies
          to the Coptic version or not.

          I do not believe it has ever been demonstrated just what the
          root source of Coptic GoT really is. Several obvious possibilities
          do exist, however. For example:

          1) There are telltale signs that the original could have been
          Hebraic / Aramaic. This, of course, is likely because Aramaic was no
          doubt the vernacular of Jesus and GoT is an ensemble of quotes
          from "Jesus"… (Interestingly, by the way, The Catholic Encyclopedia
          talks of an Aramaic version of Thomas … but having been originally
          published in the 1920s (before the Nag Hammadi find), we can assume
          that the "Thomas" gospel referred to was "Acts of .." or "Infancy
          Gospel of …" et alia)

          2) There is then the Grenfell & Hunt find which suggests that Thomas
          was originally a Greek document.

          3) Some even believe (many of the late daters) that Thomas is a
          Coptic original.

          4) Its roots lie elsewhere.

          Regardless of one's persuasion, (except for possibility # 3) copying
          and translating were necessary stops along the road through GoT's
          odyssey . My original post has to do with the likely journey of
          Gospel of Thomas from its original form to that of the Nag Hammadi
          Coptic. If the GoT translation odyssey went from Aramaic to Greek
          and then into Coptic (and more recently into living languages), each
          translator along the way would have had to be an expert in the work
          of his predecessor if your "overlapping fields of meaning" are at
          issue in the science of translation. Let me give you an example as
          to just what I mean:

          In Matt 19:24, Jesus is quoted as saying that it is easier for a
          camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a wealthy man
          to enter the Kingdom of God. This has been taught for centuries as
          an actual saying of Jesus. BUT … is this what Jesus really said ? (I
          personally doubt it). In Aramaic, the word for camel is "gamla".
          Since Aramaic words have many meanings in themselves, the
          word "gamla" can also mean a "heavy rope" or "cable". Do we not
          likely have an instance here where Jesus really said "It is easier
          for a cable to go through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy man
          to enter the Kingdom of God" ? After all, "camels" have nothing to
          do with needles ... Similarly, in GoT 101, the Aramaic word "sanah"
          is translated as "hate" ... … but, having several meanings, sanah
          can also mean "leave behind", "separate", and again "detatch" (and
          thus, should not necessarily be translated as "hate" which is
          contrary to Thomas logions # 25 and # 101). Yet again, in Thomas
          logion #8 the Aramaic for "little fish" (al nazrani) can also
          mean "Christians", etc etc. So the point of my last post is (from
          personal experience as a translator) that « Every translator is
          necessarily a traitor » (No offence to anyone on the list …)

          Sooooo , coming back to the original question I was raising in my
          last post, … even though the Coptic uses two different words
          for "body" and "flesh" (SWMA and SARX) in Coptic logion 87, this
          dosen't mean that the original Aramaic version used two different
          words ... indeed, the Aramaic might have used one single word which
          like the examples above might have two or more different meanings
          (or a totally different meaning) in the two instances where "body"
          is used in logion 87. Thus, the later Coptic translator (or even the
          Greek one in between, if the odyssey went that route) could have
          simply taken whatever Aramaic word was originally used in logion
          #87, and decided to translate that word as "body", viz "Wretched is
          the body that depends on a body" when in reality, the original may
          have meant to convey (in Aramaic) "Wretched is the soul that depends
          on the body" or some other like message … and this, of course, is
          what I am trying to discern !

          Anyone who might doubt the possibility of the above as a likelihood
          have but to re-read logion #7 where translators ever since Peuch can
          yet to this day unanimously agree on how it should be translated.
          Hmmmm ! (Personally, I have to side with Doresse's translation
          because of what the logion must necessarily mean in a doctrinal
          sense, which I wont go into ...)

          Again, thank you for your comment, Andrew, (which at least seems to
          allow for my theory to still apply). Indeed, if my theory is wrong,
          how then are we to explain what the author of Thomas means at the
          tail end of logion # 87 when he refers to " … the soul that depends
          on these TWO". In other words, what does he mean by "the TWO" when
          his translation mentions only a "body". No one has two bodies ...
          right ?


          Regards,

          Maurice
        • jmgcormier
          ... like snow , ... makes ... bodies , whereas ... in seven pieces ... relationship ... and SARX, ... of flesh). ... Thank you Mike. Yes, of course, but this
          Message 4 of 11 , Jun 25, 2005
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            --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@c...>
            wrote:
            > Maurice wrote:
            >
            > > Clearly, in English, the two words are interchangeable.
            >
            > Actually, no. 'Flesh' is a mass noun - a name of material
            like 'snow',
            > 'water', 'dirt', etc. 'Body' is a count noun - which means that it
            makes
            > sense in locutions involving counts, like "There were seven
            bodies", whereas
            > mass nouns require helper words when used with numbers, as
            in "seven pieces
            > of flesh" or "seven puddles of water". It's rather like the
            relationship
            > between snowballs and snow. The same distinction held between SWMA
            and SARX,
            > I believe (as in Paul's talk of a resurrection body not composed
            of flesh).
            >
            > Regards,
            > Mike Grondin


            ----------------------------------------------


            Thank you Mike.

            Yes, of course, but this is my very point. "How does the redactor
            (or more likely the translator – if we can prove there ever was one)
            see the distinction ? You see, in the Coptic version, GoT does not
            seem to respect this …

            If "flesh" is a mass noun as you describe it, and "body" is a count
            noun why would Jesus (logion #28) claim that he appeared to them "in
            the flesh"? Is the scrivener telling us that Jesus is like "the blob
            from outer space" (no skin, no bones).

            Unless he (or she – again the scrivener) was a Dosithean or a
            Sadducee, he / she is certainly not in line with the NT evangelists
            who talk of a "bodily" Jesus who ate, slept, drank and was (in a
            bodily manner) crucified ….

            Maurice
          • Michael Grondin
            ... I don t agree. (See response to your argument below). ... Obviously not - but this doesn t follow from the premise anyway. In fact, the phrase in question
            Message 5 of 11 , Jun 26, 2005
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              Maurice wrote:

              > "How does the redactor [or translator] see the distinction
              > [between flesh and body]? You see, in the Coptic version,
              > GoT does not seem to respect this .

              I don't agree. (See response to your argument below).

              > If "flesh" is a mass noun as you describe it, and "body" is a count
              > noun why would Jesus (logion #28) claim that he appeared to them
              > "in the flesh"? Is the scrivener telling us that Jesus is like "the blob
              > from outer space" (no skin, no bones).

              Obviously not - but this doesn't follow from the premise anyway. In fact,
              the phrase in question is "in flesh", not "in THE flesh," but I don't see
              that either phrase implies that Jesus appeared as a formless blob of flesh.
              STM it's just a way of saying that he appeared (or was incarnated) in human
              form. If he had been made to say "I appeared in flesh and blood", would you
              still come to the odd conclusion that it was being implied that he was
              formless?

              > Unless he (or she - again the scrivener) was a Dosithean or a
              > Sadducee, he / she is certainly not in line with the NT evangelists
              > who talk of a "bodily" Jesus who ate, slept, drank and was (in a
              > bodily manner) crucified ..

              The reasoning in this paragraph seems to depend on the conclusion of your
              previous paragraph, so there's no need to address this separately.

              Regards,
              Mike
            • Judy Redman
              ... Oxford ... Coptic ... I hope it s not too late to respond to this, but, ISTM that it s not quite this simple. In T112, the two words in question are SARX
              Message 6 of 11 , Jul 3, 2005
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                Maurice asked:

                > > I wonder if some of the Coptic translator members of the group could
                > > clarify the distinction between the Coptic word for "flesh" and the
                > > Coptic word for "body" for me.
                > >
                > > Clearly, in English, the two words are interchangeable. In fact
                Oxford
                > > defines "flesh" as "body". Although different words are used in
                Coptic
                > > (as in English) for the two, is it as likely in Coptic that the two
                > > words are interchangeable (or does the redactor of Thomas have
                > > separate meanings for the two words), and if so, why would he not
                > > simply stick to one of the two words in T 112, 29, 80 etc.
                > >

                and Andrew responded:

                > The words used in Coptic Thomas for 'body' and ''flesh' are both
                > originally Greek SWMA for 'body' and SARX for 'flesh'.
                >
                > In Greek IIUC the two words have different, but overlapping fields
                > of meaning, and I would suspect the same is true in Coptic Thomas.

                I hope it's not too late to respond to this, but, ISTM that it's not
                quite this simple.

                In T112, the two words in question are SARX and PSYCHE/PSUCHE
                (depending on which school of transliteration you went to). Lambdin
                translates them as 'flesh' and 'soul'.

                T80 uses SWMA 'body' which is compared with KOSMOS 'world'.

                T29 uses SARX 'flesh' and PNEUMA 'spirit'

                All of these are words that have been adopted from the Greek and one
                imagines that they have the same sorts of meanings as they have in the
                Greek.

                T87 is translated by Lambdin as "wretched is the body (SWMA) that is
                dependent on a body (SWMA) and wretched is the soul (PSUCHE) that is
                dependent on these two"

                but if you look at Mike's interlinear translation you will see:

                "a wretched one is he, the body which depends on a body, and a
                wretched one is she, the soul which depends on these, the two."

                If I read the key to editorial signs correctly in my copy of GThom,
                the word which is translated 'the two' begins with two letters that
                are 'paleographically ambiguous', so perhaps it's the translation of
                'these two' that's problematic (not that I can suggest anything that
                makes better sense, just off the top of my head).

                Is it perhaps something like:

                Wretched is the body that is (simply) dependent on a body (ie does not
                recognise any spiritual aspect) and wretched is the soul that is
                dependent on a body that depends only on a body - the two of them (ie
                both the body that ignores its spirit and the soul that is dependent
                on this kind of body)?

                My Coptic is still not sufficiently sophisticated to enable me to know
                if this is a reasonable explanation, but that's what struck me when I
                read it in conjunction with Maurice's first post.

                Judy

                --

                Rev Judy Redman
                Uniting Church Chaplain
                University of New England
                Armidale, NSW, 2351, Australia
              • fmmccoy
                ... From: Judy Redman To: Sent: Sunday, July 03, 2005 9:31 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] Body vs Flesh ... Hi
                Message 7 of 11 , Jul 3, 2005
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                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Judy Redman" <jredman@...>
                  To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Sunday, July 03, 2005 9:31 AM
                  Subject: Re: [GTh] Body vs Flesh



                  > In T112, the two words in question are SARX and PSYCHE/PSUCHE
                  > (depending on which school of transliteration you went to). Lambdin
                  > translates them as 'flesh' and 'soul'.
                  >
                  > T80 uses SWMA 'body' which is compared with KOSMOS 'world'.
                  >
                  > T29 uses SARX 'flesh' and PNEUMA 'spirit'
                  >
                  > All of these are words that have been adopted from the Greek and one
                  > imagines that they have the same sorts of meanings as they have in the
                  > Greek.
                  >
                  > T87 is translated by Lambdin as "wretched is the body (SWMA) that is
                  > dependent on a body (SWMA) and wretched is the soul (PSUCHE) that is
                  > dependent on these two"
                  >
                  > but if you look at Mike's interlinear translation you will see:
                  >
                  > "a wretched one is he, the body which depends on a body, and a
                  > wretched one is she, the soul which depends on these, the two."
                  >
                  > If I read the key to editorial signs correctly in my copy of GThom,
                  > the word which is translated 'the two' begins with two letters that
                  > are 'paleographically ambiguous', so perhaps it's the translation of
                  > 'these two' that's problematic (not that I can suggest anything that
                  > makes better sense, just off the top of my head).
                  >
                  > Is it perhaps something like:
                  >
                  > Wretched is the body that is (simply) dependent on a body (ie does not
                  > recognise any spiritual aspect) and wretched is the soul that is
                  > dependent on a body that depends only on a body - the two of them (ie
                  > both the body that ignores its spirit and the soul that is dependent
                  > on this kind of body)?
                  >
                  > My Coptic is still not sufficiently sophisticated to enable me to know
                  > if this is a reasonable explanation, but that's what struck me when I
                  > read it in conjunction with Maurice's first post.


                  Hi Judy!

                  My Coptic is basically non-existent, so I depend upon others for
                  translations. I do find Mike's interlinear translation extremely valuable,
                  because it enables me to see the underlying Coptic words and to see where
                  else in Thomas one might find a particular Coptic word. As a crutch, it
                  enables me to hobble around, even though I can't keep up with the
                  able-bodied like yourself.

                  Gosh, I think you're on the right track in intepreting T87, but I suspect
                  that it might be more accurate to interpret it to roughly mean this,
                  "Wretched is the body of spirit that is dependent upon a body of flesh.
                  Wretched is the soul that is dependent upon these two."

                  This manner of interpreting T87 arises out of a line of interpretation
                  beginning with T112, next moving to T29, then moving to T7, and finishing at
                  T22.:

                  THE THREE BASIC ASPECTS OF A HUMAN BEING

                  Let us look at T112, "Jesus said, 'Woe to the flesh that depends on the
                  soul; woe to the soul that depends on the flesh.'"

                  Each human being has a body of flesh and a soul (psyche). Both are mortal.
                  So, neither can gain eternal life through the other. Hence, sorry is the
                  state of the body of flesh that is relying on the soul to gain eternal life
                  and sorry is the state of the soul that is relying on the body of flesh to
                  gain eternal life.

                  Next, let us look at T29. "Jesus said, 'If the flesh came into being because
                  of spirit (pneuma), it is a wonder. But if spirit came into being because of
                  the body, it is a wonder of wonders. Indeed, I am amazed at how this great
                  wealth has made its home in this poverty.'"

                  A human being also has, besides the soul and body of flesh, a spirit. It is
                  potentially immortal, which makes it a great wealth in comparison to the
                  mortal body of flesh.

                  So, I suggest,, there are three basic aspects to a human being in Thomas
                  thought: (1) a spirit (pneuma), a soul (psyche), and a body of flesh. The
                  spirit is potentially immortal, while the soul and the body are mortal.

                  THE TWO BASIC CLASSES OF HUMAN BEINGS

                  In Thomas thought, while a human being apparently has three basic aspects,
                  there apparently are two basic classes of human beings.

                  Let us look at T7, "Blessed is the lion which becomes man when consumed by
                  man; and cursed is the man whom the lion comsumes, and the lion becomes
                  man."

                  Here, the man who consumes the lion in the beginning of this passage and the
                  man who consumes the lion in the ending of this passage are two different
                  men. The first is the inner man and it is the spirit. The second is the
                  outer man and it is the body of flesh.

                  In this case, in T7, the lion represents the third major aspect of a human
                  being, i.e., the soul.

                  So, I suggest, T7 can be roughly paraphrased, "Blessed is the inner man
                  (i.e., the spirit) which absorbs the soul, and the soul becomes a part of
                  the inner man (i.e., spirit). Cursed is the inner man (i.e., spirit) which
                  is absorbed by the soul, with the soul, in turn, being absorbed by the outer
                  man (i.e., the body of flesh)."

                  In this case, what it tells us is that the potential immortality of the
                  spirit can be actualized by it maintaining its identity--which occurs when
                  it absorbs the soul. Conversely, it loses its potential immortality if it
                  loses its identity by being absorbed by the soul, which, in turn, is
                  absorbed by the body of flesh.

                  In this case, further, there are two basic kinds of human beings. First,
                  there are the saved: whose spirits have absorbed their souls. At the death
                  of the mortal body of flesh, the spirit continues to live and, indeed, has
                  eternal life. Second, there are the cursed: whose spirits have been
                  absorbed by their souls, with the souls, in turn, being absorbed by their
                  bodies of flesh. At the death of a body of flesh, since the spirit has
                  become a part of this body of flesh, the spirit dies as well.

                  THE TWO TYPES OF BODIES

                  In Thomas thought, one not only has the body of flesh, but another body as
                  well--this apparently being the body of the spirit.

                  Particularly important is T22. "Jesus saw infants being suckled. He said to
                  his disciples, 'These infants being suckled are like those who enter the
                  Kingdom.' They said to Him, 'Shall we then, as children, enter the Kingdom?'
                  Jesus said to them, 'When you make the two one, and when you make the inside
                  like the outside and the outside like the inside and the above like the
                  below, and when you make the male and the female and and the same, so that
                  the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in
                  place of an eye and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a
                  foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then you will enter [the
                  Kingdom].'"

                  This refers to a type of rebirth in which the human being becomes, for a
                  second time, a child. This rebirth involves a new body different from the
                  old body. So, there are eyes in place of an eye and a hand in place of a
                  hand and a foot in place of a foot. Finally, such a rebirth with a new body
                  is necessary before this human being can enter the Kingdom.

                  Compare John 3:5-3:7, "Amen. Amen. I say to you, unless someone is born of
                  water and Spirit, he is not able to enter into the Kingdom of God. The
                  thing having been born of the flesh is flesh and the thing having been born
                  of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that, I said, it is necessary for
                  you to be born again."

                  Here, if, "The thing having been born of the flesh is flesh and the thing
                  having been born of the Spirit is spirit.", should be understood, more
                  fully, as meaning, "The thing having born of the flesh is (a body of) flesh
                  and the thing having been born of the Spirit is (a body of) spirit.", then
                  this passages relates how, for one to enter the Kingdom, and must be reborn
                  by the Spirit: this being a second birth in a new type of body, i.e., a body
                  of spirit.

                  So, I suggest, in T22, the rebirth a human being must undergo to enter the
                  Kingdom, a re-birth in a new type of body, is a rebirth in the body of
                  spirit. Unlike the body of flesh, the body of spirit has no up or down, no
                  inside or outside, and no male and female. Therefore, in this rebirth, these
                  twos become ones. Still, the body of spirit is like the body of flesh in
                  that it has spiritual equivalents to fleshly eyes, fleshly hands, and
                  fleshly feet. So, in this rebirth, there is the fashioning of spiritual eyes
                  in place of a fleshly eye, of a spiritual hand in place of a fleshly hand,
                  and of a spiritual foot in place of a fleshly foot: in short, the fashioning
                  of spiritual likenesses in place of their fleshly likenesses.

                  This rebirth, it is noteworthy to mention, involves one's transformation
                  from the cursed type of humanity (i.e., the humans whose spirits have merged
                  into their souls, with their souls, in turn, merging into their bodies,
                  thereby becoming nothing but bodies of flesh) to the blessed type of
                  humanity (i.e., the humans whose souls have merged into their spirits,
                  making their entire non-fleshly selves pure spirit). Thus, it is a
                  transformation from one who faces death to one whose spirit will eternally
                  live. When this transformation is complete, then one can, with one's (body
                  of) eternally living spirit, enter the Kingdom.

                  THOMAS 87

                  We are now ready to look at T87, "Wretched is the body that is dependent
                  upon a body, and wretched is the soul that is dependent upon these two."

                  Wretched is the body of spirit that is dependent upon a body of flesh, for
                  it then becomes a part of that body of flesh and, so, shares in its death.
                  Wretched is the soul that is dependent upon these two because it shares in
                  the death of both of them.

                  Judy, does sound like a reasonable intepretation to you? I'd appreciate
                  your feed-back.

                  Frank McCoy
                  1809 N. English Apt 15
                  Maplewood, MN USA 55109
                • jmgcormier
                  ... not quite this simple ... ... is dependent on a body (SWMA) and wretched is the soul (PSUCHE) that is dependent on these two but if you look at Mike s
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jul 3, 2005
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                    --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Judy Redman" <jredman@p...> wrote:

                    > I hope it's not too late to respond to this, but, ISTM that it's
                    not quite this simple ...
                    >
                    > (snip ... snip ...)

                    > T87 is translated by Lambdin as "wretched is the body (SWMA) that
                    is dependent on a body (SWMA) and wretched is the soul (PSUCHE) that
                    is dependent on these two" but if you look at Mike's interlinear
                    translation you will see:
                    >
                    > "a wretched one is he, the body which depends on a body, and a
                    > wretched one is she, the soul which depends on these, the two."
                    >
                    > If I read the key to editorial signs correctly in my copy of GThom,
                    > the word which is translated 'the two' begins with two letters that
                    > are 'paleographically ambiguous', so perhaps it's the translation
                    of 'these two' that's problematic (not that I can suggest anything
                    that makes better sense, just off the top of my head).
                    >
                    > Is it perhaps something like:
                    >
                    > Wretched is the body that is (simply) dependent on a body (ie does
                    not recognise any spiritual aspect) and wretched is the soul that is
                    > dependent on a body that depends only on a body - the two of them
                    (ie both the body that ignores its spirit and the soul that is
                    dependent on this kind of body)?

                    ------------------------------------------------------------

                    Judy ... thank you ever so much. I believe that "now, we are finally
                    cooking with gas ..." i.e. doctrinally, with minor adjustments, the
                    logion now makes sense. (Well, at least to me it does) The nub of
                    the difficulty, of course, is that we are working with a three
                    tiered translation if not a four tiered one... Aramaic to Coptic to
                    English, or probably even Aramaic to Greek to Coptic to English.

                    The main difficulty as I have been involved / working with this sort
                    of thing, is always that Aramaic words tend to have several (at
                    times quite varying) meanings. This means that without the original
                    Aramaic to work from (remember all of Jesus' sayings should normally
                    have been in Aramaic "red letter") a translator from the Coptic into
                    any living language works at the mercy of either (or both of) an
                    earlier Aramaic to Greek or an Aramaic to Coptic translator. If the
                    Copt knew no Aramaic (i.e. if he translated from the Greek for
                    instance)he would have had no way to double check the true meaning
                    of what he was translating, and could possibly have translated a mis-
                    translated original word. This, of course, would have been a serious
                    difficulty for he/she who translated the final product into a living
                    language ...

                    Would you perhaps be so kind as to give me your opinion on a
                    similar "non sensical as such" comment in Logion # 6.

                    "Do not tell lies, and do not do what you hate ..."

                    To me, it is non sensical to suggest to someone not "do what you
                    hate". After all, being human, we all tend to ONLY do that which we
                    like. (So why bother to tell one's followers to "not do what you
                    hate")

                    IN ARAMAIC, the word for "hate" (sanah) also means to "leave behind"
                    or to "sever from". Might it be you opinion (as it is mine) that
                    this particular phrase in logion #6 would have originally been (in
                    Aramaic) something like ... "Do not go back to the ways you have
                    left behind ..." or again "If you have chosen to change your sinful
                    ways, do not backslide, but be steadfast in your new resolve ..."

                    Maurice Cormier
                  • Judy Redman
                    Maurice, ... The other thing we are working with is having only one (more or less) complete version of the text, plus a few fragments. With the four canonical
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jul 4, 2005
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                      Maurice,

                      > Judy ... thank you ever so much. I believe that "now, we are finally
                      > cooking with gas ..." i.e. doctrinally, with minor adjustments, the
                      > logion now makes sense. (Well, at least to me it does) The nub of
                      > the difficulty, of course, is that we are working with a three
                      > tiered translation if not a four tiered one... Aramaic to Coptic to
                      > English, or probably even Aramaic to Greek to Coptic to English.

                      The other thing we are working with is having only one (more or less)
                      complete version of the text, plus a few fragments. With the four canonical
                      Christian gospels, we have many copies of any given text, which makes it
                      somewhat easier to check what might be the most sensible things to put into
                      lacunae in the text and whether things that don't make sense are truly odd
                      or simply the result of a copyist's error.
                      >
                      > The main difficulty as I have been involved / working with this sort
                      > of thing, is always that Aramaic words tend to have several (at
                      > times quite varying) meanings.

                      This, of course, is a problem when translating from any one language into
                      another. Words that in one language only have one meaning can have several
                      in another, and regional colloquialisms and idiom can also cause problems.
                      My daughter is currently learning German and she gets my dictionary and
                      looks up words to translate English idiom directly into German, which she
                      then tries out on her German teacher. Sometimes I tell her the correct
                      German idiom and sometimes I just let her go. Her teacher gets a good laugh
                      at times!!!


                      You ask:

                      > Would you perhaps be so kind as to give me your opinion on a
                      > similar "non sensical as such" comment in Logion # 6.
                      >
                      > "Do not tell lies, and do not do what you hate ..."

                      My immediate reaction, before looking at the Coptic text, is that it has
                      echoes of Paul at his most dense in Romans 7 v 15 says: "I do not
                      understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very
                      thing I hate." (RSV). This is part of an extended piece on sin and the law,
                      where he says that even though we know from the law what is good and right,
                      and want to do what is good and right, because of our fleshly human nature,
                      our sinful passions (v5), we cannot do this all the time, but instead we
                      sin.

                      "So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at
                      hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my
                      members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me capitve to
                      the law of sin which dwells in my members" (vv 21-23)


                      > IN ARAMAIC, the word for "hate" (sanah) also means to "leave behind"
                      > or to "sever from". Might it be you opinion (as it is mine) that
                      > this particular phrase in logion #6 would have originally been (in
                      > Aramaic) something like ... "Do not go back to the ways you have
                      > left behind ..." or again "If you have chosen to change your sinful
                      > ways, do not backslide, but be steadfast in your new resolve ..."

                      I have no Aramaic at all, so I wouldn't like to attempt an educated opinion
                      on it. The Coptic word in question appears to have only one meaning - to
                      hate, and the text at this point seems to have no problems. I don't have
                      access to Crum's dictionary at the moment and it sometimes lists extensive
                      extra options that aren't in the back of Lambdin's text or my concise
                      dictionary.

                      However, your suggestion makes sense, both in view of what I suggested from
                      Romans, and also in the context of the logion itself. The disciples are
                      asking for some nice easy rules that they can follow so that they and
                      everyone else will know that they are good followers of Jesus but Jesus
                      turns around and asks them to do something different and significantly more
                      difficult - something that, moreover, will not necessarily make them look
                      good in the eyes of others. Reminds me of some of the material in Matthew
                      23 - the "woe to you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites" bit.

                      Judy

                      --
                      " Let us forever remember that the sense for the sacred is as vital to us as
                      the light of the sun." - Abraham Joshua Heschel, 1944

                      Rev Judy Redman
                      Uniting Church Chaplain
                      University of New England
                      Armidale 2351
                      ph: +61 2 6773 3739
                      fax: +61 2 6773 3749
                      web: http://www.une.edu.au/campus/chaplaincy/uniting/
                      email: jredman@...
                    • Judy Redman
                      Frank, You ve presented a lot of material to digest! ... [cut] ... Yes, this seems about right. Strong s Greek Lexicon takes the King James Version of the NT
                      Message 10 of 11 , Jul 5, 2005
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                        Frank,

                        You've presented a lot of material to digest!

                        >
                        > THE THREE BASIC ASPECTS OF A HUMAN BEING
                        >
                        > Let us look at T112, "Jesus said, 'Woe to the flesh that
                        > depends on the soul; woe to the soul that depends on the flesh.'"
                        >
                        > Each human being has a body of flesh and a soul (psyche).
                        > Both are mortal.
                        [cut]
                        >
                        > Next, let us look at T29. "Jesus said, 'If the flesh came
                        > into being because of spirit (pneuma), it is a wonder. But if
                        > spirit came into being because of the body, it is a wonder of
                        > wonders. Indeed, I am amazed at how this great wealth has
                        > made its home in this poverty.'"
                        >
                        > A human being also has, besides the soul and body of flesh, a
                        > spirit. It is potentially immortal, which makes it a great
                        > wealth in comparison to the mortal body of flesh.
                        >
                        > So, I suggest,, there are three basic aspects to a human
                        > being in Thomas
                        > thought: (1) a spirit (pneuma), a soul (psyche), and a body
                        > of flesh. The spirit is potentially immortal, while the soul
                        > and the body are mortal.

                        Yes, this seems about right. Strong's Greek Lexicon takes the King James
                        Version of the NT and numbers all the significant words according to which
                        Greek word they are translating (it does the same for Hebrew words in the
                        OT). [You can find the Index to the Greek Lexicon at
                        http://www.cscholar.com/obs/stg/index.htm%5d

                        Strong defines the words we are talking about as follows:

                        4983 soma so'-mah from G4982; the body (as a sound whole), used in a very
                        wide application, literally or figuratively:--bodily, body, slave.

                        [so, mortal - we transliterated it SWMA because the 'o' is a long one - the
                        Greek omega]

                        4561 sarx sarx probably from the base of G4563; flesh (as stripped of the
                        skin), i.e. (strictly) the meat of an animal (as food), or (by extension)
                        the body (as opposed to the soul (or spirit), or as the symbol of what is
                        external, or as the means of kindred), or (by implication) human nature
                        (with its frailties (physically or morally) and passions), or (specially), a
                        human being (as such):--carnal(-ly, + -ly minded), flesh(-ly).

                        [so, mortal]

                        5590 psuche psoo-khay' from G5594; breath, i.e. (by implication) spirit,
                        abstractly or concretely (the animal sentient principle only; thus
                        distinguished on the one hand from G4151, which is the rational and immortal
                        soul; and on the other from G2222, which is mere vitality, even of plants:
                        these terms thus exactly correspond respectively to the Hebrew H5315, H7307
                        and H2416):--heart (+ -ily), life, mind, soul, + us, + you.

                        [so, mortal]

                        [2222 zoe dzo-ay' from G2198; life (literally or
                        figuratively):--life(-time). Compare G5590].

                        4151 pneuma pnyoo'-mah from G4154; a current of air, i.e. breath (blast)
                        or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively, a spirit, i.e. (human) the rational
                        soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or
                        (superhuman) an angel, demon, or (divine) God, Christ's spirit, the Holy
                        Spirit:--ghost, life, spirit(-ual, -ually), mind. Compare G5590

                        [so, immortal]

                        Soma (body) is (I am fairly sure) sarx (flesh) plus psuche
                        (spirit/breath/animation). The dualism that Paul used was soma vs pneuma -
                        the soma is perishable and the pneuma is the soul, that which unites with
                        Christ to become the one spirit (see 1 Cor 6, for example).


                        >
                        > THE TWO BASIC CLASSES OF HUMAN BEINGS
                        >
                        > In Thomas thought, while a human being apparently has three
                        > basic aspects, there apparently are two basic classes of human beings.
                        >
                        > Let us look at T7, "Blessed is the lion which becomes man
                        > when consumed by man; and cursed is the man whom the lion
                        > comsumes, and the lion becomes man."
                        >
                        > Here, the man who consumes the lion in the beginning of this
                        > passage and the man who consumes the lion in the ending of
                        > this passage are two different men. The first is the inner
                        > man and it is the spirit. The second is the outer man and it
                        > is the body of flesh.

                        I am not sure that I quite follow your reasoning here, but if it is based on
                        the first sentence of the above para, there is a problem, since the first
                        man *eats* the lion, whereas the second man *is eaten by* the lion. Your
                        first sentence suggests that the man is doing the eating in both cases.

                        > In this case, in T7, the lion represents the third major
                        > aspect of a human being, i.e., the soul.
                        >
                        > So, I suggest, T7 can be roughly paraphrased, "Blessed is the
                        > inner man (i.e., the spirit) which absorbs the soul, and the
                        > soul becomes a part of the inner man (i.e., spirit). Cursed
                        > is the inner man (i.e., spirit) which is absorbed by the
                        > soul, with the soul, in turn, being absorbed by the outer man
                        > (i.e., the body of flesh)."

                        ISTM that the lion might represent something bad. The lion is blessed when
                        it becomes man by being consumed by the man ie the man-nature overcomes the
                        lion-nature and the man is cursed when he is eaten by the lion and the lion
                        becomes man ie the lion-nature overcomes the man-nature. Lion may well
                        represent soma and man psuche here, or simply animal and human
                        characteristics of human beings.

                        >
                        > In this case, what it tells us is that the potential
                        > immortality of the spirit can be actualized by it maintaining
                        > its identity--which occurs when it absorbs the soul.
                        > Conversely, it loses its potential immortality if it loses
                        > its identity by being absorbed by the soul, which, in turn,
                        > is absorbed by the body of flesh.
                        >
                        > In this case, further, there are two basic kinds of human
                        > beings. First, there are the saved: whose spirits have
                        > absorbed their souls. At the death of the mortal body of
                        > flesh, the spirit continues to live and, indeed, has eternal
                        > life. Second, there are the cursed: whose spirits have been
                        > absorbed by their souls, with the souls, in turn, being
                        > absorbed by their bodies of flesh. At the death of a body of
                        > flesh, since the spirit has become a part of this body of
                        > flesh, the spirit dies as well.

                        I don't have any problem with a dualism that has two types of people - I
                        just think that it is probably more likely that the dualism is about those
                        who have allowed their baser, animal natures to overcome their higher, human
                        natures, that part of them that is able to unite with the Divine. I think,
                        without being able to back it up with references, that this is more in line
                        with the kind of thinking in existence at the time.

                        >
                        > THE TWO TYPES OF BODIES
                        >
                        > In Thomas thought, one not only has the body of flesh, but
                        > another body as well--this apparently being the body of the spirit.
                        >
                        > Particularly important is T22. "Jesus saw infants being
                        > suckled. He said to his disciples, 'These infants being
                        > suckled are like those who enter the Kingdom.'

                        [cut]

                        > This refers to a type of rebirth in which the human being
                        > becomes, for a second time, a child. This rebirth involves a
                        > new body different from the old body. So, there are eyes in
                        > place of an eye and a hand in place of a hand and a foot in
                        > place of a foot. Finally, such a rebirth with a new body is
                        > necessary before this human being can enter the Kingdom.

                        I am not sure that this logion is about rebirth, but rather about being
                        nourished by Jesus. The infants are being suckled and what strikes me about
                        suckling infants is that they recognise their mother as the source of
                        nourishment and then take it in unquestioningly because it is from the
                        source they trust, and the milk turns into their bodies, which allows them
                        to grown eventually into mature adults. Another way of understanding it
                        might well be to say that Jesus is telling his disciples that in order to
                        enter into the Kingdom, they need to take in his teachings and allow the
                        teachings to transform them so that there is no discernable difference
                        between their internal and external personas. If this were the case, then
                        the new body parts would be those that followed Jesus teachings rather than
                        the disciples own unregenerated inclinations.
                        >
                        > This rebirth, it is noteworthy to mention, involves one's
                        > transformation from the cursed type of humanity (i.e., the
                        > humans whose spirits have merged into their souls, with their
                        > souls, in turn, merging into their bodies, thereby becoming
                        > nothing but bodies of flesh) to the blessed type of humanity
                        > (i.e., the humans whose souls have merged into their spirits,
                        > making their entire non-fleshly selves pure spirit). Thus,
                        > it is a transformation from one who faces death to one whose
                        > spirit will eternally live. When this transformation is
                        > complete, then one can, with one's (body
                        > of) eternally living spirit, enter the Kingdom.

                        I agree that there is a transformation from cursed type of humanity to
                        blessed type. (But then, religious systems seem to be largely about
                        delineating who is in the in crowd and who is in the out crowd - the main
                        differences seems to be what your in and out *of*, and how you get to be
                        there.

                        > THOMAS 87
                        >
                        > We are now ready to look at T87, "Wretched is the body that
                        > is dependent upon a body, and wretched is the soul that is
                        > dependent upon these two."
                        >
                        > Wretched is the body of spirit that is dependent upon a body
                        > of flesh, for it then becomes a part of that body of flesh
                        > and, so, shares in its death. Wretched is the soul that is
                        > dependent upon these two because it shares in the death of
                        > both of them.
                        >
                        > Judy, does sound like a reasonable intepretation to you? I'd
                        > appreciate your feed-back.

                        I think you might be trying to push the text a little too far, but you also
                        need to remember that I am only recently come to the Gospel of Thomas - my
                        expertise and experience until recently has been in the canonical Christian
                        scriptures. If I were trying to get this kind of thing across with the
                        Coptic vocabularly available, I think I would have been using sarx to
                        indicate the body of the flesh, but I am not a native Coptic speaker !!! :-)

                        One of the things I get uneasy about is that it is very easy to forget that
                        the text we are working with here is based on only one copy in Coptic and a
                        few fragments in Greek (which differ somewhat from the Coptic text but are
                        close enough to make it pretty certain that they are the same document).
                        The chances that the Nag Hammadi document is the original document are very
                        slim, so there is a definite possibility of copyists' errors having been
                        introduced. The text we have is not perfect. There are lacunae, traces of
                        unidentified letters, ambiguous letter traces, blank spaces where we
                        wouldn't expect them, corrupt words, crossings out by 'an ancient copyist" -
                        not necessarily the same person as the one who made the copy, and at least
                        in the edition in NHCodex II, there are examples of text added or deleted by
                        the editor as a result of conjecture. It is a *good* ancient manuscript,
                        but there is a lot of room for error, not the least because the writers of
                        the time just wrote letter after letter with no spaces between words and
                        thought nothing of putting a couple of letters from a word at the end of one
                        line and the rest of them on the next line (or even the next page).

                        As I said in response to Maurice, when we talk about the text of the
                        canonical Christian scriptures, we have quite a few copies of very old MSS,
                        which allows us to compare various versions of difficult passages and have a
                        much better idea of whether the difficulties are intentional or the result
                        of human error. (This, of course, has its own set of problems) With Thomas,
                        we don't have this, so we really need to take into consideration the
                        possibility that there is a mistake in the manuscript. I therefore think
                        that when we get to passages that almost defy interpretation, we really need
                        to take into consideration that either the copyist has made a mistake and/or
                        the editor might have made an error in deciding where the word breaks should
                        come.

                        And that translating Coptic into English is interesting. In my last Coptic
                        exam, the lecturer wrote a sentence for the class to translate. My
                        translation was significantly different to the sentence she had written, so
                        she asked me to justify it. I had divided one particular word differently
                        to the way that she had intended, so I had read a different noun with
                        different inflections to those she had intended, but they were legitimate
                        and made sense in the context. I therefore got full marks for my
                        translation, even though I had not understood what she had intended to
                        convey! I don't have any suggestions about this particular passage, mind
                        you.

                        I like simple, rather than complex, which is why I am interested in your
                        posts about sources without Q, although I haven't had a chance to read them
                        through carefully.

                        Regards

                        Judy

                        --
                        " Let us forever remember that the sense for the sacred is as vital to us as
                        the light of the sun." - Abraham Joshua Heschel, 1944

                        Rev Judy Redman
                        Uniting Church Chaplain
                        University of New England
                        Armidale 2351
                        ph: +61 2 6773 3739
                        fax: +61 2 6773 3749
                        web: http://www.une.edu.au/campus/chaplaincy/uniting/
                        email: jredman@...
                      • fmmccoy
                        ... From: Judy Redman To: Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2005 6:58 AM Subject: RE: [GTh] Body vs Flesh (snip)
                        Message 11 of 11 , Jul 7, 2005
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                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: "Judy Redman" <jredman@...>
                          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                          Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2005 6:58 AM
                          Subject: RE: [GTh] Body vs Flesh

                          (snip)

                          (Frank McCoy)
                          > > THE TWO BASIC CLASSES OF HUMAN BEINGS
                          > >
                          > > In Thomas thought, while a human being apparently has three
                          > > basic aspects, there apparently are two basic classes of human beings.
                          > >
                          > > Let us look at T7, "Blessed is the lion which becomes man
                          > > when consumed by man; and cursed is the man whom the lion
                          > > comsumes, and the lion becomes man."
                          > >
                          > > Here, the man who consumes the lion in the beginning of this
                          > > passage and the man who consumes the lion in the ending of
                          > > this passage are two different men. The first is the inner
                          > > man and it is the spirit. The second is the outer man and it
                          > > is the body of flesh.

                          (Judy Redman)
                          > I am not sure that I quite follow your reasoning here, but if it is based
                          on
                          > the first sentence of the above para, there is a problem, since the first
                          > man *eats* the lion, whereas the second man *is eaten by* the lion. Your
                          > first sentence suggests that the man is doing the eating in both cases.

                          Hi Judy!

                          Ouch! I apologize for being losing my focus and making a very sloppy error.

                          Here is, hopefully, an explanation without as egregious a gaffe.

                          There are three mentions of "man" in T7. In the first two mentions, the
                          "man" is the "inner man" of the spirit. In the last mention, the "man" is
                          the "outer man" of the body of flesh. As for the "lion", it is the psyche.

                          Compare II Cor. 4:16, where Paul states, "Therefore we do not lose heart,
                          but if indeed our outward man is being decayed, yet our inward man is being
                          renewed day by day. Here, I suggest, the outward man is the body of flesh,
                          while the inward man is the spirit.

                          Let us now turn to the first part of T7, "Blessed is the lion which becomes
                          man when consumed by man;...".

                          Here, the psyche is absorbed by the spirit, thereby becoming (a part of)
                          this inner man. This psyche is blessed because it, thereby, shares in the
                          potential immortality of the spirit.

                          Next, let us turn to the last part of T7, "And cursed is the man whom the
                          lion comsumes, and the lion becomes man."

                          This relates to a two-step process. In the first step, the inner man of the
                          spirit is absorbed by the psyche. In the second step,. the psyche, in turn,
                          is absorbed by the outer man of the body of flesh, thereby becoming (a part
                          of) this outer man. This inner man of the spirit is cursed because it ends
                          up becoming (a part of) the outer man of the body of flesh, which is mortal,
                          and, therefore, this inner man of the spirit loses its potential for being
                          immortal.

                          (snip)

                          (Judy)
                          > I like simple, rather than complex, which is why I am interested in your
                          > posts about sources without Q, although I haven't had a chance to read
                          them
                          > through carefully.

                          Yes, Ockham's razor definitely comes into play here. Why postulate Q when
                          it is unnecesary to do so?

                          Regards,

                          Frank McCoy
                          1905 N. English Apt. 15
                          Maplewood, MN USA 55109
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