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Re: [GTh] A New Tack on Translating RWME

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  • 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 1 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 2 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
        ph: +61 2 6773 3739
        fax: +61 2 6773 3749
        web: http://www-personal.une.edu.au/~jredman2 and
        http://judyredman.wordpress.com/
        email: jredman2@...
      • 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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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