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Re: [GTh] Body vs Flesh

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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