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Thomas logion 71. Response. Re-submitted

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  • Ruairidh Boid
    On the term house in Thomas 71. Reply to J.M.G. Cornier Using the word house for the Jerusalem Temple is normal usage in Hebrew and Aramaic. Compare the
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 18, 2007
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      On the term "house" in Thomas 71. Reply to J.M.G. Cornier

      Using the word "house" for the Jerusalem Temple is normal usage in Hebrew
      and Aramaic. Compare the Hebrew phrases [bifne ha-bayit] meaning "when the
      Second Temple was standing", literally "in the presence of the house' or
      [bime bayit sheni] "in the time of the Second Temple", literally "in the
      time of the second house". This is because the formal name of the Jerusalem
      Temple is [bet ha-mikdash] literally "the house of the Sanctuary", that is,
      the building which is or contains or bounds or defines the Sanctuary. The
      term "Sanctuary" (Mikdash) is the term used in the Torah in the verse "Make
      me a Sanctuary and I will dwell in it". The stone building is the body of
      the Sanctuary, for want of a better analogy. In Hebrew and Aramaic of the
      period a word corresponding to the English word "building" is available, but
      is not the natural term unless the context is either the act of building or
      the building considered as a monument. The building made out of stone might
      well have been right in front of Jesus when he said this (whether in John's
      version or Thomas's), but he was not thinking primarily about architecture.
      The word "temple" is misleading. Any apparent obscurity here is only due to
      thinking in English (or French).

      The Greek word "naos" is ambiguous in referring to both a building and the
      sanctuary. This point is relevant here.

      The Greek of the New Testament and related texts usually follows standard
      Hebrew technical terminology, even to the point of sounding artificial. This
      point is relevant to Thomas, here and elsewhere.

      The suggestion made by J.M.G. Cornier won't work. The term "House of Israel"
      [bet yisra'el] is a fixed phrase. The usage of "bayit" on its own would be
      impossible. The reason is that the word must have a qualifier if it is to
      refer to people. The qualifier need only be "his", but there has to be
      something: otherwise you're talking about a structure.

      Ultimately any part of what is now the New Testament or related texts such
      as Thomas is blurred to the understanding without a thorough grounding in
      the Torah and in the Hebrew literature of the first and early second
      centuries, and this means not only having read it, but having learnt its
      techniques of argument and manner of
      expression. This statement is not intended as a slight on any members of
      this forum, since no one person can do everything. It is more a comment on
      one of the inadequacies of current scholarship on the New Testament and
      related texts, with the consequent disadvantage to informed readers.

      I haven't forgotten my promise to answer the question put to me as to what
      language I thought Thomas had been written in, but I don't want to do this
      till ready to give a reply backed up by systematic argument.

      Ruaridh Boid

      Dr. Ruairidh (Rory) Bóid
      Honorary Research Associate
      Centre for Studies in Religion and Theology
      School of Historical Studies
      Monash University
      Home E-mail irmboid@...
      Monash E-mail Ruairidh.Boid@...
      Postal address:
      3 Goathlands St.
      Balaclava 3183
      Victoria
      Tel / Fax: +61 - 3 - 9527 8047
    • jmgcormier
      Thank you both Dr.Bóid and Mike Grondin for your insightful contributions on my question regarding Thomas 71. If indeed The Greek of the New Testament and
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 19, 2007
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        Thank you both Dr.Bóid and Mike Grondin for your insightful
        contributions on my question regarding Thomas 71.

        If indeed "The Greek of the New Testament and related texts usually
        follows standard Hebrew technical terminology, even to the point of
        sounding artificial" and if "the word temple is misleading" (both
        quotes Dr Boid), then I will have to find another way of resolving
        why the discrepancy still seems so real to me in a dogmatic sense
        (body vs "what have you") between John and Thomas. Perhaps others
        can make equally insightful contributions.

        Had your (Dr Boid)note not arrived when it did, I might have been
        tempted to argue on Mike's closing comment (his Post of one day
        earlier) about "One possibility is that the Temple was no longer
        relevant (because it was no longer in use) when L5 reached the form
        in which we find it" ... that if Thomas was written as an integral
        manuscript at one specific point in time (this, of course being
        contrary to the "manuscript evolutionists'" views about Thomas) that
        given Jesus' suggestion to his Disciples in Logion 12 (because James
        died c. 62 C.E. and the temple was only destroyed 8 years later in
        70 C.E.) that Jesus, in suggesting that the disciples "go to James"
        for proper advice, Jesus would have been suggesting a chronological
        impossibility ... thus throwing Thomas' reliability into a bit of
        doubt.

        Again, thank you both for your valuable insights ...


        Maurice
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