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Re: [GTh] Re: Son of Man

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  • Steven Ring
    Hi Michael, Syriac and Aramaic nouns don t really take the article anything like the way they do in English, rather in an English translation, the article
    Message 1 of 26 , Oct 2, 2008
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      Hi Michael,

      Syriac and Aramaic nouns don't really take the article anything like the
      way they do in English, rather in an English translation, the article
      (definite or indefinite) can normally be worked out from the Aramaic
      context. The definite article would normally be attached to an Aramaic
      noun in an English translation, unless there are signs in the context
      that this would be inappropriate. Where we would insist on the
      indefinite article in English, there are less direct ways of doing the
      same thing in Aramaic. I have put an example below..

      If GT started from, or was transmitted through the Syriac language, it
      may not be very secure to build an argument on the article appearing in
      a subsequent English translation!

      Best regards,
      Steven.

      Aramaic can express ideas like a single instance of something or a
      particular kind of something which, depending on the context, would
      demand the indefinite article when translated into English. An adjective
      or a number can be associated with a noun to convey the indefinite
      article, for example;
      'naphsha kina' = 'upright man' This would normally attract the
      indefinite article in a translation, 'an upright man' if the context was
      trying to distinguish him from the others using the adjective 'kina' =
      'upright'
      'nasha _h_ad' = 'one man' or 'a man' i.e a particular man in a group of men.
      There are also other, more subtle ways to convey the indefinite article
      idea in Aramaic using the absolute state of a noun.

      Michael Grondin wrote:
      >
      > Paul writes to Maurice:
      > > I agree with your important observations on "son of man" in Thomas.
      > > L.44 could have employed the term but does not. L.86 observes the
      > > irony that animals have homes but people do not. L.106 usage is not
      > > messianic. Apparently the author is unfamiliar with "son of man" as a
      > > messianic title.
      >
      > I would say rather that the author has used 'sons of Man' (capital 'M') as
      > a designation for both Jesus and his disciples. In L.86, for example, it
      > surely would have been seen as patently false that people in general
      > don't have homes. But itinerants don't, and that seems to have been
      > the recognized life-style of Jesus and his early disciples, and one that
      > was recommended in GTh. (L.42 can be read as "Become itinerant.")
      >
      > In Thomas, the definite article 'the' apparently tells us when the authors
      > were thinking of human beings, and when they were thinking of this special
      > class of (holy) itinerants. In L.28.3, for example, it's just 'sons of
      > men',
      > so that's anybody. But in saying in L.106 that "You will become sons
      > of Man"
      > (capitalization indicating presence of definite article), it's doubly
      > apparent that what's being talked about is becoming something that one
      > is _not_ to begin with. But since everyone is a child of small-m man to
      > begin with, being a child of big-m Man must be something else. This is
      > reinforced by the theme that when one is born, he/she is "two", but that
      > by "making the two one", one becomes a "son of Man". If "the two" be
      > identified as materiality versus spirituality, then the GTh advice is
      > plainly to choose the spiritual over the material, rather than attempt to
      > satisfy both. A natural result of this advice would be to have no fixed
      > home, but rather to become an itinerant preacher (the speaking against
      > whom, since that person would presumably be a voice of the holy spirit,
      > would be unforgiveable, ala L.44.)
      >
      > What would be important to know, in terms of this analysis, is whether
      > Aramaic or the Syriac family had a definite article, or something that
      > functioned as such. Hopefully, Steven or Jack can advise.
      >
      > Mike Grondin
      > Mt. Clemens, MI
      >
      >
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    • Michael Grondin
      ... Thanks for the information, Steven. No, I wasn t arguing from an English translation. I never do. In Coptic, the letter p attached to a masculine noun
      Message 2 of 26 , Oct 2, 2008
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        > If GT started from, or was transmitted through the Syriac language, it
        > may not be very secure to build an argument on the article appearing
        > in a subsequent English translation!

        Thanks for the information, Steven. No, I wasn't arguing from an English
        translation. I never do. In Coptic, the letter 'p' attached to a masculine
        noun
        like 'rwme' ('man') represents the definite article 'the'. But if the noun
        isn't
        qualified by a who-phrase (as in, e.g., 'the man who came to dinner'),
        then the definite article functions as an untranslated capitalizer. Thus, in
        my
        note, whenever I used 'Man' instead of 'man', the capital 'M' indicated that
        the word in that context was 'p-rwme', and that it was unqualified.

        The difference between Coptic and Greek, which had the definite article,
        and the Syriac languages (also Latin, I think), which didn't, may account
        for some interesting twists of interpretation. It seems fairly clear,
        however,
        that what the GThom authors were trying to say was that anyone could
        become a "son/child of Man", which apparently for them meant an
        itinerant preacher/healer on the model of Jesus.

        Regards,
        Mike
      • Paul Lanier
        ... middle Aramaic you quoted, start to move the meaning of the Aramaic idiom bar nasha = son of man away from the semantic range previously indicated,
        Message 3 of 26 , Oct 2, 2008
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          --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, Steven Ring <steven.ring@...> wrote:
          >
          > It is not clear to me that the interesting 1 Enoch translations from
          middle Aramaic you quoted, start to move the meaning of the Aramaic
          idiom 'bar nasha' = 'son of man' away from the semantic range previously
          indicated, i.e. 'one', 'someone' 'anyone' and 'human being'. In
          Christian circles there are other factors at play which we should
          perhaps bear in mind. These make it almost irresistible for Christians
          not to identify 'son of man' in some way or other with the Son, as the
          second person in the trinitarian theological system. Personally I think
          this theological factor has interfered with the way the idiom, 'son of
          man' has come to be understood.

          Hi Steven,

          I completely agree theology has distorted 'son of man' by using the
          phrase as a title rather than an idiom for 'human being.' In the NT
          this peculiar usage begin with Mark, but I think it has strong roots
          in 1 Enoch. That is the way I read the context in 1 Enoch, but I agree
          it is not always clear. For example:

          * When they see that Son of Man Sitting on the throne of his glory (62:5)

          * And he sat on the throne of his glory, And the sum of judgement was
          given unto the Son of Man (69:27)

          * And he (i.e. the angel) came to me and greeted me with His voice,
          and said unto me ' This is the Son of Man who is born unto
          righteousness, And righteousness abides over him (71:14)

          In these 'son of man' carries attributes later applied to Jesus.
          Interestingly, it is not clear that 'messiah' is one of those attributes.

          I do think it is interesting that some very early
          church fathers apparently approved of 1 Enoch. I would suggest their
          doctrines of hell are difficult to derive from the NT, but obvious in
          1 Enoch. And of course Jude 14-15 parallels 1 Enoch 1:9. All of this
          indicates 1 Enoch was authoritative for some early church leaders.

          This leads me to wonder how doctrines of 1 Enoch became authoritative
          for some communities. Was 1 Enoch authoritative for some Jewish
          Christian communities, but not for Thomas? And why would that be? Did
          early Jewish Christians who held 1 Enoch authoritative, but who never
          met Jesus, adapt Enochian theology? Even Paul uses several Enochian
          themes. But not apparently 'son of man.' I would suggest Paul was
          unfamiliar with that designation (although his opponents may have used
          it, if the Enochian 'son of man' title derives from a Qumran community
          of righteousness). LXX repeatedly renders 'son of man' as 'uie
          anthrwpou,' so Paul must have been familiar it. Paul's title for
          Jesus, of course, is 'Christos.'

          regards,
          Paul Lanier
        • Paul Lanier
          ... M ) as a designation for both Jesus and his disciples. In L.86, for example, it surely would have been seen as patently false that people in general don t
          Message 4 of 26 , Oct 2, 2008
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            --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
            >
            > I would say rather that the author has used 'sons of Man' (capital
            'M') as a designation for both Jesus and his disciples. In L.86, for
            example, it surely would have been seen as patently false that people
            in general don't have homes. But itinerants don't, and that seems to
            have been the recognized life-style of Jesus and his early disciples,
            and one that was recommended in GTh. (L.42 can be read as "Become
            itinerant.")

            Thanks, Mike, for this, and also for your convincing observation on
            p-rwme (post 8247). Back to the drawing board!

            regards,
            Paul Lanier
          • Steven Ring
            Hi Paul, In the vast literature surrounding the DSS, I remember reading somewhere that the book of Enoch (amongst other DSS messianic works) plays upon the
            Message 5 of 26 , Oct 3, 2008
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              Hi Paul,

              In the vast literature surrounding the DSS, I remember reading somewhere
              that the book of Enoch (amongst other DSS messianic works) plays upon
              the imagery and terminology of the OT book of Daniel. Anyway, in my
              view, this could explain the interpretive elements around 'son of man'
              in the further quotations you cite. In other words, in the post-Daniel
              but still pre-Christian period, the author of 1 Enoch explores who this
              person described by Daniel might be. The gospels also employ the imagery
              of Daniel and Isho` directly quotes Daniel in his teaching, e.g. in
              Mt24, so 1 Enoch and the gospels come from a similar Aramaic cultural
              context.

              So, coming to the quotations you mentioned. These appear to me to be
              closely linked to ideas in Daniel and not any attempt in Aramaic to turn
              'son of man' into a proper noun associated with a specific person.

              The subject of the use of 1 Enoch in early Christianity is a very
              interesting one and I agree, it appears to have been an influential
              text. In slow-time I will have a look around to see if there is any
              evidence of 1 Enoch leaking into the Syriac tradition. It would not
              surprise me if such evidence does exist, but I have never seen anything
              published on that subject. The clincher in this case would be to find
              precise quotations from surviving DSS Aramaic book of 1 Enoch embedded
              in a Syriac patristic text. This would be further evidence, (and I have
              already found plenty anyway) that the Syriac tradition preserves
              primitive Semitic Christian texts from the pre-AD 70 period.

              Best regards,
              Steven.

              Paul Lanier wrote:
              >
              > --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com <mailto:gthomas%40yahoogroups.com>,
              > Steven Ring <steven.ring@...> wrote:
              > >
              > > It is not clear to me that the interesting 1 Enoch translations from
              > middle Aramaic you quoted, start to move the meaning of the Aramaic
              > idiom 'bar nasha' = 'son of man' away from the semantic range previously
              > indicated, i.e. 'one', 'someone' 'anyone' and 'human being'. In
              > Christian circles there are other factors at play which we should
              > perhaps bear in mind. These make it almost irresistible for Christians
              > not to identify 'son of man' in some way or other with the Son, as the
              > second person in the trinitarian theological system. Personally I think
              > this theological factor has interfered with the way the idiom, 'son of
              > man' has come to be understood.
              >
              > Hi Steven,
              >
              > I completely agree theology has distorted 'son of man' by using the
              > phrase as a title rather than an idiom for 'human being.' In the NT
              > this peculiar usage begin with Mark, but I think it has strong roots
              > in 1 Enoch. That is the way I read the context in 1 Enoch, but I agree
              > it is not always clear. For example:
              >
              > * When they see that Son of Man Sitting on the throne of his glory (62:5)
              >
              > * And he sat on the throne of his glory, And the sum of judgement was
              > given unto the Son of Man (69:27)
              >
              > * And he (i.e. the angel) came to me and greeted me with His voice,
              > and said unto me ' This is the Son of Man who is born unto
              > righteousness, And righteousness abides over him (71:14)
              >
              > In these 'son of man' carries attributes later applied to Jesus.
              > Interestingly, it is not clear that 'messiah' is one of those attributes.
              >
              > I do think it is interesting that some very early
              > church fathers apparently approved of 1 Enoch. I would suggest their
              > doctrines of hell are difficult to derive from the NT, but obvious in
              > 1 Enoch. And of course Jude 14-15 parallels 1 Enoch 1:9. All of this
              > indicates 1 Enoch was authoritative for some early church leaders.
              >
              > This leads me to wonder how doctrines of 1 Enoch became authoritative
              > for some communities. Was 1 Enoch authoritative for some Jewish
              > Christian communities, but not for Thomas? And why would that be? Did
              > early Jewish Christians who held 1 Enoch authoritative, but who never
              > met Jesus, adapt Enochian theology? Even Paul uses several Enochian
              > themes. But not apparently 'son of man.' I would suggest Paul was
              > unfamiliar with that designation (although his opponents may have used
              > it, if the Enochian 'son of man' title derives from a Qumran community
              > of righteousness). LXX repeatedly renders 'son of man' as 'uie
              > anthrwpou,' so Paul must have been familiar it. Paul's title for
              > Jesus, of course, is 'Christos.'
              >
              > regards,
              > Paul Lanier
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
              >
              >
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            • Jack Kilmon
              ... From: Michael Grondin To: Sent: Thursday, October 02, 2008 2:42 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: Son of Man
              Message 6 of 26 , Oct 3, 2008
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                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
                To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Thursday, October 02, 2008 2:42 PM
                Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: Son of Man


                > Paul writes to Maurice:
                >> I agree with your important observations on "son of man" in Thomas.
                >> L.44 could have employed the term but does not. L.86 observes the
                >> irony that animals have homes but people do not. L.106 usage is not
                >> messianic. Apparently the author is unfamiliar with "son of man" as a
                >> messianic title.
                >
                > I would say rather that the author has used 'sons of Man' (capital 'M') as
                > a designation for both Jesus and his disciples. In L.86, for example, it
                > surely would have been seen as patently false that people in general
                > don't have homes. But itinerants don't, and that seems to have been
                > the recognized life-style of Jesus and his early disciples, and one that
                > was recommended in GTh. (L.42 can be read as "Become itinerant.")
                >
                > In Thomas, the definite article 'the' apparently tells us when the authors
                > were thinking of human beings, and when they were thinking of this special
                > class of (holy) itinerants. In L.28.3, for example, it's just 'sons of
                > men',
                > so that's anybody. But in saying in L.106 that "You will become sons of
                > Man"
                > (capitalization indicating presence of definite article), it's doubly
                > apparent that what's being talked about is becoming something that one
                > is _not_ to begin with. But since everyone is a child of small-m man to
                > begin with, being a child of big-m Man must be something else. This is
                > reinforced by the theme that when one is born, he/she is "two", but that
                > by "making the two one", one becomes a "son of Man". If "the two" be
                > identified as materiality versus spirituality, then the GTh advice is
                > plainly to choose the spiritual over the material, rather than attempt to
                > satisfy both. A natural result of this advice would be to have no fixed
                > home, but rather to become an itinerant preacher (the speaking against
                > whom, since that person would presumably be a voice of the holy spirit,
                > would be unforgiveable, ala L.44.)
                >
                > What would be important to know, in terms of this analysis, is whether
                > Aramaic or the Syriac family had a definite article, or something that
                > functioned as such. Hopefully, Steven or Jack can advise.
                >
                > Mike Grondin
                > Mt. Clemens, MI

                Hi Mike:

                In Biblical and Judean Aramaic, in addition to the absolute and construct
                state there is a determined state. The emphatic -a is postfixed rather than
                prefixed as in the hebrew "ha-" as an aleph or a heh to act as the definite
                article. In later dialects...to a lesser degree in Judean..and Steven can
                talk about Syriac...the post-fixed determinative lost its "definite
                articleness" in some cases to become the normal state of the noun. Son of
                Man = Bar Nash; THE Son of Man = Bar Nasha.

                Jack Kilmon
              • Judy Redman
                Mike you say ... Isn t this a bit too definitive? I think you need to say that when there is no who-phrase, the p (or t for a feminine noun) *may* function or
                Message 7 of 26 , Oct 3, 2008
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                  Mike you say
                  >
                  > Thanks for the information, Steven. No, I wasn't arguing from
                  > an English translation. I never do. In Coptic, the letter 'p'
                  > attached to a masculine noun like 'rwme' ('man') represents
                  > the definite article 'the'. But if the noun isn't qualified
                  > by a who-phrase (as in, e.g., 'the man who came to dinner'),
                  > then the definite article functions as an untranslated
                  > capitalizer. Thus, in my note, whenever I used 'Man' instead
                  > of 'man', the capital 'M' indicated that the word in that
                  > context was 'p-rwme', and that it was unqualified.

                  Isn't this a bit too definitive? I think you need to say that when there is
                  no who-phrase, the p (or t for a feminine noun) *may* function or maybe even
                  *often* or *usually* funcitons as an untranslated capitalizer, depending on
                  the context. It is certainly possible to use prwme and tpolis in a sentence
                  that would be translated "the man visited his brother in the city". To
                  translate this as "Man visited his brother in City" would clearly not be
                  sensible.

                  I think that the problem here is that both translations appear to be
                  possible and even in regular use in particular places and times, so the
                  reader needs to make decisions about which is the right one in the
                  particular context. Although I have not had time to look at the texts in
                  question, it would seem to me entirely possible that Thomas might sometimes
                  use it as a title and sometimes to indicate "a human being". And, of
                  course, what we decide makes more sense in any given context will depend on
                  our particular understandings of what kind of text Thomas is - gnostic,
                  mystic etc.

                  Judy

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

                  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-personal.une.edu.au/~jredman2 and
                  http://judyredman.wordpress.com/
                  email: jredman2@...
                • Michael Grondin
                  ... Agreed. From within Thomas, I m reminded of L.78.1 ( Why did you come out to the wilderness? ). ... If we re talking about p-rwme , then I think Man ,
                  Message 8 of 26 , Oct 3, 2008
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                    Hi Judy, you wrote:

                    > I think you need to say that when there is no who-phrase, the p
                    > (or t for a feminine noun) *may* function or maybe even *often*
                    > or *usually* funcitons as an untranslated capitalizer, depending
                    > on the context.

                    Agreed. From within Thomas, I'm reminded of L.78.1 ("Why did
                    you come out to the wilderness?").

                    > I think that the problem here is that both translations appear to be
                    > possible and even in regular use in particular places and times, so the
                    > reader needs to make decisions about which is the right one in the
                    > particular context. Although I have not had time to look at the texts in
                    > question, it would seem to me entirely possible that Thomas might
                    > sometimes use it as a title and sometimes to indicate "a human being".

                    If we're talking about 'p-rwme', then I think 'Man', 'Humanity', 'Human
                    beings', even 'the human being' are pretty much interchangeable, but
                    not '_a_ human being', which I wouldn't use for that.

                    > And, of course, what we decide makes more sense in any given context
                    > will depend on our particular understandings of what kind of text Thomas
                    > is - gnostic, mystic etc.

                    Oh, I don't know about that. I think one can make these decisions based
                    on thematic consistency with other sayings whose meaning is pretty clear,
                    without having any particular understanding of what kind of text Thomas is.
                    At least, that's what I think I'm doing (:-)

                    Regards,
                    Mike
                  • Judy Redman
                    Mike, ... I was actually thinking about son of man, but you re right. I don t think p-rwme can be *a* human being. ... Sorry - what I was trying to say (I m
                    Message 9 of 26 , Oct 3, 2008
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                      Mike,
                      >
                      > > I think that the problem here is that both translations
                      > appear to be
                      > > possible and even in regular use in particular places and times, so
                      > > the reader needs to make decisions about which is the right
                      > one in the
                      > > particular context. Although I have not had time to look
                      > at the texts
                      > > in question, it would seem to me entirely possible that
                      > Thomas might
                      > > sometimes use it as a title and sometimes to indicate "a
                      > human being".
                      >
                      > If we're talking about 'p-rwme', then I think 'Man',
                      > 'Humanity', 'Human beings', even 'the human being' are pretty
                      > much interchangeable, but not '_a_ human being', which I
                      > wouldn't use for that.

                      I was actually thinking about son of man, but you're right. I don't think
                      p-rwme can be *a* human being.

                      >
                      > > And, of course, what we decide makes more sense in any
                      > given context
                      > > will depend on our particular understandings of what kind of text
                      > > Thomas is - gnostic, mystic etc.
                      >
                      > Oh, I don't know about that. I think one can make these
                      > decisions based on thematic consistency with other sayings
                      > whose meaning is pretty clear, without having any particular
                      > understanding of what kind of text Thomas is.
                      > At least, that's what I think I'm doing (:-)

                      Sorry - what I was trying to say (I'm fighting a head cold and not thinking
                      as clearly as I might) is that we bring particular assumptions about a text
                      to the text and they influence how we translate it because, I think, they
                      can influence what we see as pretty clear meanings. At the most general
                      level, as was pointed out in the Thomas and Tatian thread, people who
                      assume that Thomas is dependent tend to see as obvious that any verbatim
                      bits demonstrate that Thomas follows the synoptics, when all that can really
                      be said is that the passages are the same. I'm not accusing you of doing
                      this, Mike, just saying that we need to be very careful to examine our
                      preconceptions when we need to make choices about translation and, indeed,
                      in deciding which passages are actually thematically consistent.

                      Judy
                    • rj.godijn
                      ... verbatim ... really ... Hi Judy, I realize your post wasn t really about synoptic-thomas relationship, but I really must respond to what you are saying
                      Message 10 of 26 , Oct 4, 2008
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                        --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Judy Redman" <jredman@...> wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        > At the most general
                        > level, as was pointed out in the Thomas and Tatian thread, people who
                        > assume that Thomas is dependent tend to see as obvious that any
                        verbatim
                        > bits demonstrate that Thomas follows the synoptics, when all that can
                        really
                        > be said is that the passages are the same.

                        Hi Judy,

                        I realize your post wasn't really about synoptic-thomas relationship,
                        but I really must respond to what you are saying here.

                        Scholars who argue for Thomas' dependence on one or more of the
                        Synoptics for some of the parallels between Thomas and the Synoptics do
                        not necessarily do this because of a canonical bias, they do this
                        because the redactional work of one or more of the evangelists can be
                        found in Thomas. Obviously it is not always that easy to determine what
                        is redactional and therefore it is often possible to come up with
                        alternative solutions. Even Stephen Patterson (who favors an
                        independence view) agrees that Markan, Matthean or Lukan redaction can
                        be found in Thomas in about 10 places (a proponent of the Farrer
                        hypothesis would add many more to this list). This should not be
                        brushed away so easily. The question of course remains what explains
                        these instances? Patterson would favor late scribal harmonization or
                        perhaps secondary orality.

                        Finding Thomas to be influenced by one or more of the Synoptics also
                        does not mean that one considers every parallel between them as a sign
                        that Thomas is secondary. It can very well be the case that some of the
                        sayings in Thomas are prior to their synoptic parallel. Given the
                        popularity of the Synoptic Gospels in the second century it would not
                        be at all surprising that some of their sayings were then added to the
                        Thomas collection.

                        Having said all this I must agree that some (evangelical or
                        conservative) scholars are biased against Thomas and will favor Thomas'
                        dependence on the Synoptics. The positive and uncritical manner in
                        which they responded to Nicholas Perrin's work nicely illustrates this.
                        However, this is to be expected, and should not lead to the counter-
                        reaction of assuming independence without good evidence.

                        Regards, Richard Godijn
                      • Judy Redman
                        Hi Richard, ... I realise this. What I wanted to do was raise awareness of the ways in which the perspective from which people approach a text, the questions
                        Message 11 of 26 , Oct 4, 2008
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                          Hi Richard,

                          You say:
                          >
                          > Scholars who argue for Thomas' dependence on one or more of
                          > the Synoptics for some of the parallels between Thomas and
                          > the Synoptics do not necessarily do this because of a
                          > canonical bias, they do this because the redactional work of
                          > one or more of the evangelists can be found in Thomas.
                          > Obviously it is not always that easy to determine what is
                          > redactional and therefore it is often possible to come up
                          > with alternative solutions. Even Stephen Patterson (who
                          > favors an independence view) agrees that Markan, Matthean or
                          > Lukan redaction can be found in Thomas in about 10 places (a
                          > proponent of the Farrer hypothesis would add many more to
                          > this list). This should not be brushed away so easily. The
                          > question of course remains what explains these instances?
                          > Patterson would favor late scribal harmonization or perhaps
                          > secondary orality.

                          I realise this. What I wanted to do was raise awareness of the ways in
                          which the perspective from which people approach a text, the questions they
                          bring to it, if you like, can influence the way they interpret it. So, if
                          you approach Thomas asking "what evidence can I find that Thomas is
                          dependent on the synoptic material?" you will potentially reach different
                          conclusions to the ones you will reach if you ask "are there any passages in
                          Thomas that are similar to and/or the same as those in the synoptics and if
                          so, what might that mean?" The answer you give, especially to the first
                          question will be further influenced by whether or not you have anything
                          invested in the outcome. That is, if you want the answer to be "lots of
                          evidence" you are more likely to include tenuous evidence. If you want it
                          to be "none at all", then you will discard anything that could reasonably be
                          considered tenuous.

                          > Finding Thomas to be influenced by one or more of the
                          > Synoptics also does not mean that one considers every
                          > parallel between them as a sign that Thomas is secondary. It
                          > can very well be the case that some of the sayings in Thomas
                          > are prior to their synoptic parallel. Given the popularity of
                          > the Synoptic Gospels in the second century it would not be at
                          > all surprising that some of their sayings were then added to
                          > the Thomas collection.

                          I think it is possible to go back further than this, though, and say that
                          the fact that there are parallels between Thomas and the synoptics does not
                          mean that Thomas is necessarily influenced by one or more of the synoptics.
                          It may be that the influence went in the other direction, or that they
                          shared a common source for that particular passage. Of the material that I
                          am studying (ie the parables of the kingdom/reign in Thomas that have
                          parallels in the synoptics) only one is close to verbatim - the parable of
                          the mustard seed - and it is an anomally. It is the only one in Thomas that
                          compares the kingdom/reign to an object rather than to a person.

                          >
                          > Having said all this I must agree that some (evangelical or
                          > conservative) scholars are biased against Thomas and will
                          > favor Thomas'
                          > dependence on the Synoptics. The positive and uncritical
                          > manner in which they responded to Nicholas Perrin's work
                          > nicely illustrates this.
                          > However, this is to be expected, and should not lead to the
                          > counter- reaction of assuming independence without good evidence.

                          No, indeed. Good evidence is essential, but I think you get good evidence
                          by asking the right questions in the first place. That's certainly true
                          when you're questioning eyewitnesses.

                          Judy
                        • Paul Lanier
                          ... influence how we translate it because, I think, they can influence what we see as pretty clear meanings. Hi Judy, I agree, and would add that two biases
                          Message 12 of 26 , Oct 4, 2008
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                            --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Judy Redman" <jredman@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > we bring particular assumptions about a text to the text and they
                            influence how we translate it because, I think, they can influence
                            what we see as pretty clear meanings.

                            Hi Judy,

                            I agree, and would add that two biases apply to any historical
                            reconstruction: the bias of the historian, and the general social
                            paradigms of the intended readers. I think most historians would agree
                            there is no such thing as a truly objective history. Recognizing the
                            bias of the historian and her or his culture is a necessary basis for
                            interpretation of the historian's work.

                            Of course, by the law of accretion, texts which elaborate on a simpler
                            text are probably later. This can lead to a reasonable presumption of
                            dependency.

                            It is of course possible (although far less likely) that an elaborated
                            text is the earlier one. I would suggest that sort of argument is more
                            of an apologetic, because it seeks to preserve doctrine by proposing
                            how a much less likely event could still have occurred.

                            regards,
                            Paul Lanier
                          • rj.godijn
                            ... ways in ... questions they ... So, if ... different ... passages in ... synoptics and if ... first ... anything ... be lots of ... want it ... reasonably
                            Message 13 of 26 , Oct 4, 2008
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                              --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Judy Redman" <jredman@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Hi Richard,
                              >
                              > You say:
                              > >
                              > > Scholars who argue for Thomas' dependence on one or more of
                              > > the Synoptics for some of the parallels between Thomas and
                              > > the Synoptics do not necessarily do this because of a
                              > > canonical bias, they do this because the redactional work of
                              > > one or more of the evangelists can be found in Thomas.
                              > > Obviously it is not always that easy to determine what is
                              > > redactional and therefore it is often possible to come up
                              > > with alternative solutions. Even Stephen Patterson (who
                              > > favors an independence view) agrees that Markan, Matthean or
                              > > Lukan redaction can be found in Thomas in about 10 places (a
                              > > proponent of the Farrer hypothesis would add many more to
                              > > this list). This should not be brushed away so easily. The
                              > > question of course remains what explains these instances?
                              > > Patterson would favor late scribal harmonization or perhaps
                              > > secondary orality.
                              >
                              > I realise this. What I wanted to do was raise awareness of the
                              ways in
                              > which the perspective from which people approach a text, the
                              questions they
                              > bring to it, if you like, can influence the way they interpret it.
                              So, if
                              > you approach Thomas asking "what evidence can I find that Thomas is
                              > dependent on the synoptic material?" you will potentially reach
                              different
                              > conclusions to the ones you will reach if you ask "are there any
                              passages in
                              > Thomas that are similar to and/or the same as those in the
                              synoptics and if
                              > so, what might that mean?" The answer you give, especially to the
                              first
                              > question will be further influenced by whether or not you have
                              anything
                              > invested in the outcome. That is, if you want the answer to
                              be "lots of
                              > evidence" you are more likely to include tenuous evidence. If you
                              want it
                              > to be "none at all", then you will discard anything that could
                              reasonably be
                              > considered tenuous.

                              RG: Absolutely! I think we can all agree on this. We should simply be
                              looking for the model that best accounts for the data (with the
                              strongest constraints - something typically neglected in New
                              Testament Studies). Why should we 'want' any kind of answer? That is
                              of course completely unscientific. Coming from experimental
                              psychology I must say that the common desire to find certain answers
                              in this field has been quite shocking for me. While many seem to want
                              Thomas to be late and secondary others seem to want Thomas to be
                              early and independent of the canonical Gospels. Both groups appear to
                              be neglecting (perhaps downplaying is a better word) part of the
                              evidence (which gives away my position - if that was not already
                              clear - that part of it is early, pre-synoptic, and part of it is
                              late, post-synoptic)


                              >
                              > > Finding Thomas to be influenced by one or more of the
                              > > Synoptics also does not mean that one considers every
                              > > parallel between them as a sign that Thomas is secondary. It
                              > > can very well be the case that some of the sayings in Thomas
                              > > are prior to their synoptic parallel. Given the popularity of
                              > > the Synoptic Gospels in the second century it would not be at
                              > > all surprising that some of their sayings were then added to
                              > > the Thomas collection.
                              >
                              > I think it is possible to go back further than this, though, and
                              say that
                              > the fact that there are parallels between Thomas and the synoptics
                              does not
                              > mean that Thomas is necessarily influenced by one or more of the
                              synoptics.
                              > It may be that the influence went in the other direction, or that
                              they
                              > shared a common source for that particular passage. Of the
                              material that I
                              > am studying (ie the parables of the kingdom/reign in Thomas that
                              have
                              > parallels in the synoptics) only one is close to verbatim - the
                              parable of
                              > the mustard seed - and it is an anomally. It is the only one in
                              Thomas that
                              > compares the kingdom/reign to an object rather than to a person.

                              RG: It is not just verbatim agreement that suggests influence, it is
                              finding an evangelists redaction in Thomas. Thus, if there is
                              evidence that in a certain pericope one of the evangelists has
                              redacted one of his sources and that piece of redaction is also found
                              in Thomas then the data can best be accounted by the hypothesis that
                              Thomas has somehow been influenced by that evangelists Gospel. This
                              cannot be explained by a common source.

                              One further point: you can have influence without having any verbatim
                              agreement. It just becomes harder (if not sometimes virtually
                              impossible) to detect. That is why we start with the strongest cases
                              and look at those instances where there is verbatim agreement and
                              (this is very important) when one author's redaction can be found in
                              the other Gospel.

                              Examples would obviously help here (although the literature is filled
                              with good examples), but I will save these for a later time when my
                              work load is reduced (I am teaching two new courses for a cognitive
                              neuropsychology masters) and I have more time to go into specifics.


                              >
                              > >
                              > > Having said all this I must agree that some (evangelical or
                              > > conservative) scholars are biased against Thomas and will
                              > > favor Thomas'
                              > > dependence on the Synoptics. The positive and uncritical
                              > > manner in which they responded to Nicholas Perrin's work
                              > > nicely illustrates this.
                              > > However, this is to be expected, and should not lead to the
                              > > counter- reaction of assuming independence without good evidence.
                              >
                              > No, indeed. Good evidence is essential, but I think you get good
                              evidence
                              > by asking the right questions in the first place.

                              RG: Agreed, but I'm curious as to what you mean by 'asking the right
                              questions'? What kind of questions do you have in mind?

                              Richard
                            • Judy Redman
                              Richard, ... JR: Indeed. But if you come from within a theological framework that has been built on a particular set of texts and that is likely to be called
                              Message 14 of 26 , Oct 4, 2008
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                                Richard,

                                > RG: Absolutely! I think we can all agree on this. We should
                                > simply be looking for the model that best accounts for the
                                > data (with the strongest constraints - something typically
                                > neglected in New Testament Studies). Why should we 'want' any
                                > kind of answer? That is of course completely unscientific.

                                JR: Indeed. But if you come from within a theological framework that has
                                been built on a particular set of texts and that is likely to be called into
                                question if a particular non-canonical text is found to be "more authentic"
                                (whatever that means), then you have quite a lot invested in finding that
                                the problematic text is "less authentic", whereas if you are researching to
                                discredit the prevailing theological framework, you are invested in finding
                                the problematic text "more authentic".

                                > > > Finding Thomas to be influenced by one or more of the
                                > Synoptics also
                                > > > does not mean that one considers every parallel between them as a
                                > > > sign that Thomas is secondary. It can very well be the case that
                                > > > some of the sayings in Thomas are prior to their synoptic
                                > parallel.
                                > > > Given the popularity of the Synoptic Gospels in the
                                > second century
                                > > > it would not be at all surprising that some of their sayings were
                                > > > then added to the Thomas collection.
                                > >
                                > > I think it is possible to go back further than this, though, and
                                > say that
                                > > the fact that there are parallels between Thomas and the synoptics
                                > does not
                                > > mean that Thomas is necessarily influenced by one or more of the
                                > synoptics.
                                > > It may be that the influence went in the other direction, or that
                                > they
                                > > shared a common source for that particular passage. Of the
                                > material that I
                                > > am studying (ie the parables of the kingdom/reign in Thomas that
                                > have
                                > > parallels in the synoptics) only one is close to verbatim - the
                                > parable of
                                > > the mustard seed - and it is an anomally. It is the only one in
                                > Thomas that
                                > > compares the kingdom/reign to an object rather than to a person.
                                >
                                > RG: It is not just verbatim agreement that suggests
                                > influence, it is finding an evangelists redaction in Thomas.
                                > Thus, if there is evidence that in a certain pericope one of
                                > the evangelists has redacted one of his sources and that
                                > piece of redaction is also found in Thomas then the data can
                                > best be accounted by the hypothesis that Thomas has somehow
                                > been influenced by that evangelists Gospel. This cannot be
                                > explained by a common source.

                                JR: Having spent quite a lot of time recently reading psychological
                                eyewitness literature, I am no longer convinced that all the differences
                                that have been attributed to redaction actually are due to redaction ie a
                                deliberate decision by an editor to make additions, subtractions etc..
                                Quite a number could as easily be attributed to the sorts of changes that
                                can be expected when eyewitnesses retell their stories over time. Then, I
                                think, a common source is still a tenable explanation.

                                > One further point: you can have influence without having any
                                > verbatim agreement. It just becomes harder (if not sometimes virtually
                                > impossible) to detect. That is why we start with the
                                > strongest cases and look at those instances where there is
                                > verbatim agreement and (this is very important) when one
                                > author's redaction can be found in the other Gospel.
                                >
                                > Examples would obviously help here (although the literature
                                > is filled with good examples), but I will save these for a
                                > later time when my work load is reduced (I am teaching two
                                > new courses for a cognitive neuropsychology masters) and I
                                > have more time to go into specifics.

                                JR: I am in a similar situation - too busy to produce specific examples.

                                > > >
                                > > > Having said all this I must agree that some (evangelical or
                                > > > conservative) scholars are biased against Thomas and will favor
                                > > > Thomas'
                                > > > dependence on the Synoptics. The positive and uncritical
                                > manner in
                                > > > which they responded to Nicholas Perrin's work nicely illustrates
                                > > > this.
                                > > > However, this is to be expected, and should not lead to the
                                > > > counter- reaction of assuming independence without good evidence.
                                > >
                                > > No, indeed. Good evidence is essential, but I think you get good
                                > evidence
                                > > by asking the right questions in the first place.
                                >
                                > RG: Agreed, but I'm curious as to what you mean by 'asking
                                > the right questions'? What kind of questions do you have in mind?

                                JR: Simply the kinds of things you've mentioned - instead of asking "What
                                evidence do we have for dependence/independence?" we should ask "What
                                differences and similarities do we see in these texts and what is the best
                                explanation for the available data?"

                                Judy

                                --
                                Rev Judy Redman
                                Uniting Church Chaplain
                                University of New England
                                Armidale 2351 Australia
                                ph: +61 2 6773 3739
                                fax: +61 2 6773 3749
                                web: http://www.une.edu.au/chaplaincy/uniting/ and
                                http://blog.une.edu.au/unitingchaplaincy/
                                email: jredman@...
                              • jmgcormier
                                Hello Richard .... In your post # 8255 on Thomas vs the Synoptics, you point out Even Stephen Patterson (who favors an independence view) agrees that Markan,
                                Message 15 of 26 , Oct 5, 2008
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                                  Hello Richard ....

                                  In your post # 8255 on Thomas vs the Synoptics, you point out "Even
                                  Stephen Patterson (who favors an independence view) agrees that
                                  Markan, Matthean or Lukan redaction can be found in Thomas in about 10
                                  places (a proponent of the Farrer hypothesis would add many more to
                                  this list)"

                                  Might it be possible for you (in just a few words) to capsulize for
                                  those of us who are unfamiliar with Farrer the essential jist of his
                                  hypothesis ????

                                  Maurice Cormier
                                • Judy Redman
                                  Hi Maurice, Wikipedia (which in this case is quite reliable) says (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farrer_hypothesis): The Farrer theory (also called the
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Oct 5, 2008
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                                    Hi Maurice,

                                    Wikipedia (which in this case is quite reliable) says
                                    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farrer_hypothesis):

                                    "The Farrer theory (also called the Farrer-Goulder hypothesis) is a possible
                                    solution to the synoptic problem. The theory is that the Gospel of Mark was
                                    written first, followed by the Gospel of Matthew and then by the Gospel of
                                    Luke.

                                    "It has mainly been advocated by English biblical scholars. It is named for
                                    Austin Farrer, who wrote _On Dispensing With Q_ in 1955, but it has been
                                    picked up by other scholars including Michael Goulder and Mark Goodacre.

                                    "The Farrer theory has the advantage of simplicity, as there is no need for
                                    hypothetical sources to be created by academics. Instead, advocates of the
                                    Farrer theory argue, the Gospel of Mark was used as source material by the
                                    author of Matthew. Lastly, Luke used both of the previous gospels as sources
                                    for his Gospel."

                                    And if you are interested in a summary of the multiplicity of theories about
                                    the sources of the gospels, you can visit Stephen Carlson's blog which has
                                    colour-coded summaries, complete with diagrams.

                                    http://www.hypotyposeis.org/synoptic-problem/2004/09/overview-of-proposed-so
                                    lutions.html

                                    Incidentally, whilst searching for something succinct on google, I came
                                    across a site that offers the following:

                                    "For over seven years, our Farrer Hypothesis term paper experts have helped
                                    university students worldwide by providing the most extensive, lowest-priced
                                    service for Farrer Hypothesis thesis papers and research paper writing.
                                    Regardless of your deadline, budget, specifications, or academic level, we
                                    can provide immediate help for your Farrer Hypothesis essay, term paper,
                                    book report, research paper, dissertation, thesis, or university
                                    coursework."
                                    (http://www.essaytown.com/topics/farrer_hypothesis_essays_papers.html)

                                    Judy

                                    --
                                    Rev Judy Redman
                                    Uniting Church Chaplain
                                    University of New England
                                    Armidale 2351 Australia
                                    ph: +61 2 6773 3739
                                    fax: +61 2 6773 3749
                                    web: http://www.une.edu.au/chaplaincy/uniting/ and
                                    http://blog.une.edu.au/unitingchaplaincy/
                                    email: jredman@...


                                    > -----Original Message-----
                                    > From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                                    > [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of jmgcormier
                                    > Sent: Monday, 6 October 2008 8:29 AM
                                    > To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                                    > Subject: [GTh] Re: Thomas vs Synoptics
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Hello Richard ....
                                    >
                                    > In your post # 8255 on Thomas vs the Synoptics, you point out
                                    > "Even Stephen Patterson (who favors an independence view)
                                    > agrees that Markan, Matthean or Lukan redaction can be found
                                    > in Thomas in about 10 places (a proponent of the Farrer
                                    > hypothesis would add many more to this list)"
                                    >
                                    > Might it be possible for you (in just a few words) to
                                    > capsulize for those of us who are unfamiliar with Farrer the
                                    > essential jist of his hypothesis ????
                                    >
                                    > Maurice Cormier
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > ------------------------------------
                                    >
                                    > Gospel of Thomas Homepage: http://home.epix.net/~miser17/Thomas.html
                                    > Interlinear translation:
                                    > http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/x_transl.htm
                                    >
                                    > ------------------------------------
                                    > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                  • rj.godijn
                                    ... Hi Maurice, I agree with Judy that wikipedia gives a good description here. Mark Goodacre s website http://www.ntgateway.com/Q/ is an excellent place to
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Oct 5, 2008
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                                      --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "jmgcormier" <cobby@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > Might it be possible for you (in just a few words) to capsulize for
                                      > those of us who are unfamiliar with Farrer the essential jist of his
                                      > hypothesis ????
                                      >
                                      > Maurice Cormier
                                      >

                                      Hi Maurice,

                                      I agree with Judy that wikipedia gives a good description here. Mark
                                      Goodacre's website http://www.ntgateway.com/Q/ is an excellent place to
                                      learn more about this source hypothesis.

                                      Richard
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