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Re: [GTh] A New Tack on Translating RWME

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  • Michael Grondin
    ... Well, at first glance it doesn t seem to alter the meaning that much. A cornerstone is the foundation of a building, while a keystone is the top stone of
    Message 1 of 11 , May 1, 2008
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      Ariadne wrote:
      >I have been following your post on Meyer's translations and agree for the
      > most part. It seems to me that he has taken other liberities that stray
      > from the literal translations. For instance, logion 66. Jesus said, "Show
      > me the stone that the builders rejected: that is the keystone." I thought
      > the translation is "cornerstone" not "keystone" and it has been a while
      > since I read Patterson and Meyers explaination as to why they used
      > keystone and couldn't find it again. Do you know what their explaination
      > for their translation? It alters the entire meaning.

      Well, at first glance it doesn't seem to alter the meaning that much.
      A cornerstone is the foundation of a building, while a keystone is the
      top stone of an arch, holding the two sides of the arch in place. Both
      suggest a stone which is indispensable and must be of the right size.
      A corner-stone would be laid first, however, and there seems to be no
      reason why the builders would set it aside. A keystone, on the other
      hand, would be chosen from among stones set aside as being the
      wrong size while the arch was being built, only to be used at the end
      to fit exactly into the remaining opening. That's the reasoning, anyway,
      as I recall. Analogically, I suppose that a keystone would represent
      Matthew's position that Christ was the completion of the Law, while
      a cornerstone would seem to suggest an entirely new building
      (Christianity) made out of the scraps left over from another building
      (Judaism). Maybe that's what you mean by altering the entire meaning.

      Mike G.
    • ariadne
      Hi, Jesus may have been restating Psalm 118 verse 22, or he could have been referring to the building of the sacred temple, the temple of Solomon. The temple
      Message 2 of 11 , May 1, 2008
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        Hi,
        Jesus may have been restating Psalm 118 verse 22, or he could have been
        referring to the building of the sacred temple, the temple of Solomon.
        The temple represented a structure of concise measurement used for
        initiation rites aimed at attaining consciousness of the Godhead. Ancient
        masons carefully constructed the temple according to a sacred form of
        mystical architecture consisting of exact measurements and cubical
        proportion. The structure was both an art and a science arising from
        mystical secrets. The temple represented the structure of God. Each stone
        supporting the structure was specifically chosen, and many would naturally
        be rejected and judged as not supporting its design. "The stone which the
        builders rejected" refers to the legend concerning the building of King
        Solomon's temple, where the rejected stone became the cornerstone of the
        temple, the Temple of God and indwelling place of His Holy Shekinah.

        The stone that was rejected was a metaphor for some aspect of God that had
        been rejected again and again, something perhaps within us all that has
        been ignored. Humanity itself was therefore suffering from its own
        ignorance, having discarded a significant piece of understanding of the
        nature of God. Jesus comments on this ignorance when he says, “Show me
        the stone the builders rejected, it is the cornerstone.” He would not
        have been referring to himself as most theologians interpret the same
        passage in Matthew.

        If the Shekinah, the cornerstone would be the feminine aspect of God, the
        divine manifest at the foundation of life.

        The keystone is the last wedge-shaped piece of an arch regarded as binding
        the whole and would not have had as much significance.
        Your thoughts?
        Ariadne
      • mottrogere3
        Hi Adriadne, (my thoughts on the subject) I have always questioned the translation of H6438 (pinnah) as corner . The context in the OT really means a high
        Message 3 of 11 , May 2, 2008
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          Hi Adriadne, (my thoughts on the subject)

          I have always questioned the translation of H6438 (pinnah)
          as "corner". The context in the OT really means a high place;
          perhaps the peak of a pyramid or the 4 high corner stones on a
          building or tower that are likely to fall. Builders are likely to
          reject a "lithos/stone" that is "rounded" for placement at the top of
          a structure.

          The Septuagint translates H6438 to Greek "gonia" (G1137). I also
          understand that "gonia" has sharp edges or points like a "penta-gon"
          or an "octa-gon". The KJV NT folks translated "kephale gonia"
          as "head of the corner" (Mar 12:10) rather than keystone. Keystone
          implies a completion which shuts and locks the door or bridge such
          that it will not collapse.

          I agree that there is a different meaning for "keystone" then what Ps
          118:22 or the NT implies when using "gonia".

          Hmmmm--- "the rejected masculine lithos" becomes the head of what was
          the feminine "gonia". #114 restated? Actually, I do not take much
          credence in Greek gender as Greek words were invented long before the
          NT authors used them and Jesus did say he made all things new. And
          as I understand, the Coptics borrowed from the Greek

          Roger Mott
          Loveland, Co.
        • Judy Redman
          ... It is not possible to build much of a case about what gender Greeks considered something to be based on the gender of Greek words, unless they are proper
          Message 4 of 11 , May 4, 2008
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            Roger says:
            >
            > Hmmmm--- "the rejected masculine lithos" becomes the head of
            > what was the feminine "gonia". #114 restated? Actually, I
            > do not take much credence in Greek gender as Greek words were
            > invented long before the NT authors used them and Jesus did
            > say he made all things new. And as I understand, the Coptics
            > borrowed from the Greek

            It is not possible to build much of a case about what gender Greeks
            considered something to be based on the gender of Greek words, unless they
            are proper names. English is the only language with which I am familiar
            that bases the gender of nouns on the gender of the objects they represent.
            Greek nouns that name inaninmate objects can be masculine, feminine or
            neuter - that doesn't mean that Greeks thought of tables, chairs, books etc
            as being male, female or genderless.

            Coptics borrowed many words from Greek, mainly to express concepts that
            didn't exist in Egyptian thought, but not always. They didn't always carry
            the gender of the word across from the Greek though.

            Judy

            --
            "Politics is the work we do to keep the world safe for our spirituality" -
            Judith Plaskow, Phoenix Rising, 2000

            Rev Judy Redman
            PhD candidate, Postgraduate member of Council & Uniting Church Chaplain
            University of New England Armidale 2351
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          • CJED5@aol.com
            [Mike,] thank you for posting this! It s answered the questions I had about Meyer s translation, although my personal jury is still out on his rationale.
            Message 5 of 11 , May 5, 2008
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              [Mike,] thank you for posting this! It's answered the questions I had about
              Meyer's translation, although my personal jury is still out on his rationale.

              I'm not an expert in Greek by any means, but have been looking into how to
              translate 'anthropos' recently. 'Anthropos' when used of an individual
              always refers to a male individual, alhough it is also used to refer to a group of individuals of either sex. It reminds me of the Old English use of the
              word 'man, originally 'human', while wapman was a male human (weapons-man) and
              wombman a female human. In the same way, 'man' referring to an individual is
              used solely to apply to a male human.

              I recall that Michael Marlowe discussed the translation of anthropos ... ah,
              here it is!
              (http://www.bible-researcher.com/anthropos.html)

              [J.S. Chandler]
            • Michael Grondin
              ... Thanks for your note, J.S. (and please sign your notes - that s the protocol, and I don t know if the name I put on it agrees with you.) The Marlowe piece
              Message 6 of 11 , May 5, 2008
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                > [Mike,] thank you for posting this! It's answered the questions I had
                > about
                > Meyer's translation, although my personal jury is still out on his
                > rationale.

                Thanks for your note, J.S. (and please sign your notes - that's the
                protocol, and I don't know if the name I put on it agrees with you.)
                The Marlowe piece is great. It covers the area I had intended to
                cover in the second part of this note, when thinking about it last night,
                and with much more expertise than I have at my disposal. Marlowe
                answers the questions I would have posed, without knowing the answers.

                This weekend, I came to realize that my analysis in this series of notes
                was still incomplete. It occurred to me to ask two questions about
                Meyer's Anthropos Principle (i.e., that RWME corresponds to, or is
                synonymous with, ANTHROPOS). The first was, "Even if it's false, what's
                the translational impact?" The second was, "Even if it were true, what
                would the translational impact be?" Both of these questions need to
                be answered in order to come to a proper judgement about Meyer's
                translations (and others that appear to depend on the Anthropos Principle.)
                I'll look at these two questions, and describe how I approached them.

                "Even if the AP is false, what's the translational impact?" The reason
                this question arises is that it's possible that a translation derived by
                applying the AP might be _no different_ from a translation which was
                derived from a case-by-case examination of the 35 occurrences of
                RWME in Coptic Thomas. Even though the application of the AP
                would certainly yield inaccurate results if used on a broad range of
                Coptic writings, the particular usages of RWME in Thomas might be
                such that the application of AP against _them_ might yield accurate
                results accidentally. (This is an application of the "Blind Pig Principle",
                namely that even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while. Or is that
                the Blind Squirrel Principle?)

                While it's true that I _felt_ that certain RWME-contexts in Thomas
                were male-gendered rather than gender-neutral, feelings aren't
                tools of cognition, so the thing to do seemed to be to look at the
                Greek NT parallels of Thomas' RWME-sayings. Frankly, I was
                disappointed at the results; in every case in which there was a
                word in the Greek that corresponded to RWME (other than cases
                like 'someone' or 'no one'), it was ANTHROPOS, not ANHR.
                Especially pertinent was L72 (the Divider saying) where Jesus
                addresses someone in a salutation that even Meyer renders in
                male terms as 'mister'. In the Greek, however (Lk 12:13), the
                salutation employs ANTHROPOS, while the person addressed
                is referred to only as 'someone in the crowd'. Could it be that
                what such a salutation really meant (but contra Meyer's translation
                of it) was 'Oh human!' rather than 'Oh man!'? If so, then it would
                seem at least plausible that a case-by-case examination of
                RWME-usages would yield the same results as applying AP,
                unsound though AP is.

                At this point, I thought to ask the second question, "Even if AP
                were true, what would the translational results be?" In other words,
                even if RWME corresponded to ANTHROPOS, was it true, as Meyer
                implied, that ANTHROPOS should always be translated in a gender-
                neutral way? Here, the Marlowe piece that J.S. Chandler provided a
                link to gives a negative answer from a general viewpoint. Not having
                that kind of expertise myself, the best way I could think of to answer
                the question was to see whether the Greek translators on the Jesus
                Seminar translation panel agreed with Meyer and Patterson in their
                translational elimination of 'man'. I was pleased to find that they didn't.

                Although there was an overall attempt by the Jesus Seminar to go
                to what is called 'inclusive language', the translation of Thomas
                sayings involving RWME differed in three cases from the translation
                of parallel Greek passages involving ANTHROPOS. I previously
                mentioned L78.2, where Meyer and Patterson have 'person'
                dressed in fine clothes, but the JSem Greek translators have 'man
                dressed in fine clothes. Add to that 86.2, where the Meyer-Patterson
                translation changes singular to plural to yield 'human beings' [have no
                place to lay their heads and rest'], but where the JSem Greek translators
                have 'son of Adam'. And 63.1, where the JSem Greek translators have
                'rich man', but Meyer-Patterson has 'rich person'. (At least, that's the way
                it is in _The Five Gospels_. In _The Complete Gospels_, however,
                which I thought was the same, 'rich person' has unaccountably been
                changed to 'rich man' in the Thomas translation. Not the doing of
                Meyer and Patterson, I assume.)

                What this shows, I think, is that the Greek translators on the JSem
                translational panel didn't agree with Meyer and Patterson on a
                radical program of translating every occurrence of ANTHROPOS
                in gender-neutral terms, _even though_ those other translators
                were interested in eliminating gender-bias. This in turn agrees
                with what Marlowe has to say, so I think it's fair to conclude that
                what Meyer takes as an implication of the Anthropos Principle
                is in fact - and independently of the Principle - unsound as well.

                Mike Grondin
                Mt. Clemens, MI
              • John Moon
                I have an observation, Could the lack of male dominance in the translation be a subtle or not so subtle left over from assuming that Gospel of Thomas must be
                Message 7 of 11 , May 6, 2008
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                  I have an observation,

                  Could the lack of male dominance in the translation be a subtle or not
                  so subtle left over from assuming that Gospel of Thomas must be in
                  fact a gnostic text?

                  That is, because the gnostics might have used certain forms ( Later)
                  removing the male oriented original intent. (Due to their beliefs
                  systems)

                  The translators would be inclined to translate and remove the male
                  orientation, which likely was the case in the original Greek copy( Or
                  Aramaic).

                  Either way I ask this?


                  How it is translated today( say by removing the male dominance Of
                  ANTHROPOS, and other words within the text).


                  WOuld that be how it was written or originally intended.

                  That is we may( and others may want to make it culturally acceptable,
                  and bring certain bias to the text which might never have occurred
                  when it was originally written.

                  I would say "How " it is translated should be focused in on the
                  timeline.

                  If it would not have been said or written in that day and time? It
                  should not be translated in a way that differs from that text and
                  it's Sitz im leben.

                  Therefore, in the society and time in which it occurred. Which is the
                  most likely translation?

                  I would suggest that it would be male,but I ask openly.


                  Regards,

                  John Moon
                  Springfield,Tenn.
                  John Moon



                  On May 5, 2008, at 10:06 AM, Michael Grondin wrote:

                  > What this shows, I think, is that the Greek translators on the JSem
                  > translational panel didn't agree with Meyer and Patterson on a
                  > radical program of translating every occurrence of ANTHROPOS
                  > in gender-neutral terms, _even though_ those other translators
                  > were interested in eliminating gender-bias. This in turn agrees
                  > with what Marlowe has to say, so I think it's fair to conclude that
                  > what Meyer takes as an implication of the Anthropos Principle
                  > is in fact - and independently of the Principle - unsound as well.



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Michael Grondin
                  ... Absolutely not. Neither Meyer nor Patterson think it s a gnostic text. Their translation(s) derive from two (unsound) principles: 1. That RWME corresponds
                  Message 8 of 11 , May 6, 2008
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                    John Moon asks:
                    > Could the lack of male dominance in the translation be a subtle or not
                    > so subtle left over from assuming that Gospel of Thomas must be in
                    > fact a gnostic text?

                    Absolutely not. Neither Meyer nor Patterson think it's a gnostic text.
                    Their translation(s) derive from two (unsound) principles:

                    1. That RWME corresponds to ANTHRWPOS, and that
                    2. ANTHRWPOS should always be translated as gender-neutral.

                    On the other side of the issue, Doresse thought (late 50's) that Thomas
                    was gnostic, yet he retained 'man' in his translation (_The Secret Books
                    of the Egyptian Gnostics_). Grant and Freedman (_The Secret Sayings
                    of Jesus_, 1960) also took Thomas to be gnostic, yet they used the
                    Schoedel translation, which retains 'man'.

                    Though I'm not sure exactly what you're getting at with your other
                    questions, I think we can rule out that any version of Thomas ever had
                    a special vocabulary. Of course we can only speculate about an
                    Aramaic or Syrian version, but the Coptic RWME and the Greek
                    ANTHRWPOS have an ambiguity to them which is also present in
                    the English word 'man'. Sometimes it's a generic or species-related
                    meaning, as in 'Anthropology is the study of Man' or (from Thomas)
                    'Man is like a wise fisherman'. Sometimes it's used to refer to individuals
                    who happen to be male. As to how one _should_ translate Coptic Thomas,
                    that question would lead to an interminable debate which would, I think,
                    come down in the end to one's point of view.

                    Mike Grondin
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