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Re: [GTh] Re: Son of Man

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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 14 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 15 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 16 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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