- Does anyone have _The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The International
Edition_ (pub. May '07)? If so, I'd like to know if the translation of GTh
differs from that in _The Nag Hammadi Library_ (1988).
That's my major question, but here's an editorial comment: in one of
the Amazon reviews, Robinson is quoted as writing in this book that
`The Nag Hammadi Scriptures is a collection of *thirteen* papyrus
codices ..." (emphasis mine). Yet in _The Secrets of Judas_, which
I've recently obtained in paperback and which was published in 2007,
he writes that the discoverer's claim that there were 13 books in the
jar is incorrect - that there is no evidence for more than 12, and in
fact that the discoverer probably got the number 13 from loose talk
which included the erroneously titled "Codex XIII". Robinson even
takes Roger Pearse to task for suggesting that a 13th codex might
be floating around. Taken on top of what Robinson wrote about
this issue back in 1979, in the Introduction to the Brill facsimiles, I
have to say that the various pronouncements of Robinson seem to
have been themselves largely responsible for the misinformation
and uncertainty he derides in others.
Mt. Clemens, MI
- From further investigation, it appears that in the book in question,
Robinson is counting the Tchacos codex (which contains the
Gospel of Judas) as a thirteenth codex. But compare what he
is quoted as writing in the book in question:
`The Nag Hammadi Scriptures is a collection of thirteen papyrus
codices - bound books, not scrolls - that were buried near the city
of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt most likely in the second half of
the fourth century CE.'
... with the following from _The Secrets of Judas_ (rev ed, p.44)
"The place where it [the Tchacos codex] is reported to have been
discovered is much farther down the Nile [than the Nag Hammadi
discovery], nearer where the Oxyrhynchus manuscripts ... were
discovered a century ago. And yet the association with Nag Hammadi
is too good to let go of easily. Michel van Rijn comments, *without
any information to go on*: [emphasis mine]
'The manuscript was dug up at [or] near Nag Hammadi ...'
Did Robinson receive new information in between these two books,
or has he dropped his scruples? In any case, he should not have
described the so-called "Nag Hammadi Scriptures" in such a way as
to imply that they were buried *together* in the same location.
- From the table of contents available online at Amazon, it's clear
that _The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: International Edition_ is
largely the work of Marvin Meyer. I didn't take the trouble to get
an exact count, but it appears that over half the tractates have
been translated or co-translated by him - including the Gospel
of Thomas. Since he didn't indicate otherwise in my recent
correspondence with him, I think it's safe to assume that his
Thomas translation in this book suffers from the same defect
(mishandling of 'rwme') as his other Thomas translations over
the years. Likely, too, that his translations of other tractates
may be similarly "manless". The NH Copts must be turning in
their graves (:-)
- --- In email@example.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
> From the table of contents available online at Amazon, it's clear
> that _The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: International Edition_ is
> largely the work of Marvin Meyer. I didn't take the trouble to get
> an exact count, but it appears that over half the tractates have
> been translated or co-translated by him - including the Gospel
> of Thomas. Since he didn't indicate otherwise in my recent
> correspondence with him, I think it's safe to assume that his
> Thomas translation in this book suffers from the same defect
> (mishandling of 'rwme') as his other Thomas translations over
> the years. Likely, too, that his translations of other tractates
> may be similarly "manless". The NH Copts must be turning in
> their graves (:-)
Mike: is there a quick way to reference the Thomas logia which
use "rwme" for man (in a non gender specific way) and the logia of
Thomas which use any equivalent of "man" in a gender specific
(masculine) way only ? .... Maurice
> Mike: is there a quick way to reference the Thomas logia whichThe short answer is 'no'. The long answer is that which of the
> use "rwme" for man (in a non gender specific way) and the logia of
> Thomas which use any equivalent of "man" in a gender specific
> (masculine) way only ? .... Maurice
usages of 'rwme' are gender-specific is a matter of individual
judgement. I've loaded a file to our Files Section that indicates
what various translators have done with 'rwme'. The name of
the file is 'gender.pdf', located at:
This file is actually the worksheet that I used to compare the
seven translations that I surveyed and wrote about. There's a
bit of quirkiness to it that I'd have to explain, but hopefully the
basic information is intelligible. The first 31 rows are occurrences
of 'rwme' that Lambdin translated as 'man/men' (neither he nor
Blatz apparently tried to distinguish the two senses of 'rwme',
except in the one case where they differ). The next four
rows are redundant occurrences of 'rwme' that shouldn't be so
translated (and nobody did). The final eight rows are a control;
they show what each translator did with the Coptic word for 'woman'
or 'female', as an indication of even-handedness, or lack thereof.
(I didn't complete these rows for the last three translations,
because by that point the pattern had become obvious.)
The column called 'chg?' indicates whether or not I had decided to
change the translation appearing in _The Fifth Gospel_ (called
'Patt-Rob' in the worksheet) for inclusion on my site, by changing
whatever Patt-Rob had to 'man' or 'men'. I suppose, then, that if the
'chg' column for a given row (i.e., a given occurrence of 'rwme') says
'yes', and if both Layton and DeConick have a gendered word in that
row, then that would represent a consensus between the three of us
that that's a gendered occurrence of 'rwme'. One caveat though: I
really didn't put a lot of thought into those cases; rather, what I did
was to change Patt-Rob if there were masculine pronouns involved
(indicated by 'yes' or 'implied' in the 'he/his' column).
The cases I _have_ thought about indicate that the decision isn't
often clear-cut, and that one's theory of translation enters into it
as well. Do we translate what they wrote, or what they _would
write_ if they were writing it today? I'd be happy to discuss any
of these cases, or to hear your views on the subject.
- Mike wrote:
>My own feeling is that we are not responsible for the sexism (or not) of ancient writers. That most of them in the early centuries of the common era were male chauvinists is a given. While I try to use non-gender-specific language in my own writing, I would never change (or even interpretively "steer") an ancient text to make it more acceptable to current politically-correct standards. Since "rOme" ("rwme") is used in the Sahidic NT to mean both "man" and "human being" (see Bruce Metzger's lists, p. 5), we should let context and common sense be our guide. The reality, of course, is that saying it is easier than doing it.
> The cases I _have_ thought about indicate that the decision isn't
> often clear-cut, and that one's theory of translation enters into it
> as well. Do we translate what they wrote, or what they _would
> write_ if they were writing it today? I'd be happy to discuss any
> of these cases, or to hear your views on the subject.
- Don wrote:
> Since "rOme" ("rwme") is used in the Sahidic NT to mean bothI agree with you there, Don. But you know, since you joined the
> "man" and "human being" (see Bruce Metzger's lists, p. 5), we
> should let context and common sense be our guide. The reality,
> of course, is that saying it is easier than doing it.
group on August 3rd, you missed a series of notes that I wrote
back in May about the "manless" translations of Meyer and Patterson.
In particular, I reported on a brief email exchange with Meyer, in which
he wrote this:
"I translate ROME as person because it corresponds to the Greek
As I learned, and as you know, and as Meyer _should_ know,
ROME was also used to translate anEr/andros (used of males).
Unless he was being disingenuous with me, Meyer has been
following this incorrect principle for over a decade, and probably
influencing others (Patterson? Bethge?) to do the same.
In his defense, Meyer pointed out that Coptic has a word for 'male',
namely 2OOYT (hoout). This is true but irrelevant, since Meyer
never translates 2OOYT as 'man/men', even in Th.114.2, where
it would make more sense than his literal but awkward "you males".
As a result, the words 'man'\'men' never appear in his translations
- except by mistake (e.g., two places in TCG). This is surely
contrary to the intentions of the original writers, as judged by
translators such as Layton and DeConick, who have attempted
to distinguish truly gendered occurrences of 'rOme' from those
which are essentially ungendered.