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Re: [GTh] But I have said - GTh46.2

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  • Paul Lanier
    ... Thanks for this, Mike. The Coptic in L.37 supports your preference for translating kouei (BM#164) as small. Luckily this saying contains three words
    Message 1 of 11 , Apr 15, 2009
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      --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
      > we need the Greek word/words in question.

      Thanks for this, Mike. The Coptic in L.37 supports your preference for translating kouei (BM#164) as "small." Luckily this saying contains three words directly relevant to your point:
      - kouei BM#164 "small," "few"
      - Sere.SEm = SEre BM#33 "sons," "daughters," "children"
      - SEm BM#195 "small," "little"

      Also interesting is this saying's comparison of disciples who are "like children," as opposed to disciples "being small" (LL. 22, 46). This saying employs four technical terms apparently shared by GMk9.42-47:
      - GTh22 Small, Eye, Hand, Foot
      - GMk9.42-47 Small, Hand, Foot, Eye

      Since these two sayings are in different languages, I delay discussing the exact Coptic and Greek definitions for now. The immediate point is that both employ a cluster of terms whose meaning appears obscure in GTh and more accessible in GMk. This suggests Thomas, the more difficult variant, may be earlier. If so Mark has reframed it, providing a meaning related to sin which appears to differ radically from the meaning in Thomas (whatever that is!).

      GTh37 Blatz-NTA (1991) Small, Children, Son
      37.1 His disciples said: On what day will you be revealed to us, and on what day shall we see you? 37.2 Jesus said: When you unclothe yourselves and are not ashamed, and take your garments and lay them beneath your feet like the little [kouei BM#164 "small," "few"] children [Sere.SEm = SEre BM#33 "sons," "daughters," "children" + SEm BM#195 "small," "little"] (and) trample on them, 37.3 then [you will see] the Son [SEre BM#33 "son"] of the Living One, and you will not be afraid.

      Since GTh37 includes a double emphasis on "small," I am wondering if "newborn" is the intended meaning. L.4 equates "ou.kouie en.SEre.SEm" (MG "a small little boy") with "ef.hen.saSef en.hoou" (MG "he being of seven days"). If so then perhaps L.37 saying refers to the developmental condition of a candidate for initiation who is ready for baptism (rebirth).

      Proceeding on to LL. 46 and 78 with this understanding, these two logia may fit into a somewhat loose grouping that employs similar terminology. This grouping revolves around the common use of terms co-occurring with John the Baptist: great, small, kingdom. The passage from 1Co is included because it shares two terms (offspring, begot) that also occur in this set.

      - GTh78 ~JB , great
      - GTh46 JB, begotten, small, kingdom
      - GMt11.7-11 JB, greater, least, kingdom
      - GLk7.24-28 JB, begotten, greater, least, kingdom
      - 1Co4.14-17 offspring, guides, fathers, begot

      Matthew and Luke use the same Greek terms for "greater" (meizon) and "least" (mikroteros), while Paul and Luke use related terms for "begotten" (gennetois) and "begot" egennesa. So if these represent technical terms their usage is consistent in this small set of passages, and it does not seem that any distinction is made among Matthew, Luke or Paul.

      - GTh78 ~JB [later interpretation], great [megistanos MG "powerful ones"]
      - GTh46 JB, begotten [jpo BM#155 "to beget," "acquire"], small [kouei BM#164 "small," "few"], kingdom [mentero BM#115 "kingdom," "reign"]
      - GMt11.7-11 JB, greater [meizon G3187 "greater," "elder," "stronger"], least [mikroteros G3398 "small," "young"], kingdom
      - GLk7.24-28 JB, begotten [gennetois G1084 "begotten," "born"], greater [meizon G3187 "greater," "elder," "stronger"], least [mikroteros G3398 "smallest," "youngest," "least"], kingdom [basileia G932 "kingdom," "kingship," "rule"]
      - 1Co4.14-17 offspring [tekna G5043 "offspring," "children"], guides [paidagogous G3807 "tutors," "guides," "trustworthy slaves"], fathers [pateras "fathers," "forefathers"], begot [egennesa G1080 "to be begotten"]

      This set also reflects the distinctive usages of "kingdom" in GTh, GMt, and GLk. Mark and Luke use exclusively "kingdom of God," while Matthew employs "kingdom of the heavens." In Coptic Thomas it is simply "kingdom," however in Grk. GTh3 "kingdom of God" occurs. This suggests the original usage in Thomas, "kingdom," may have caused difficulties after the Jewish War, when reference to "kingdom" would likely have offended to Romans. Thus Mark amplified this to "kingdom of God." Mark's usage was retained by Luke and apparently also inserted into a Greek manuscript of GTh. However Matthew opted for "kingdom of the heavens." The simplest explanation here is that Q introduced "kingdom of the heavens" and that Luke opted to follow Mark usage while Matthew followed Q.

      So I think here is more evidence suggesting that both Mark and Q depend on Thomas, and that the extant Coptic version more closely resembles original Thomas than the P.Oxy. fragments do.

      I will be exploring more precisely the usage of "child," in GTh, GMk, GMt, GLk, and Paul in an upcoming post.

      Regards, Paul

      KINGDOM

      GTh: Cop. mentero BM#115 "kingdom," "reign," also Grk. basileai "kingdom" (L.3) or basileia ton t(he)u "kingdom of God" (L.27)
      GMk, GLk: Grk. basileaia ton theou "kingdom of God"
      GMt: Grk. basileia ton ouranon "kingdom of the heavens"

      PASSAGES

      GTh78 Blatz-NTA (1991) ~JB, Great
      Jesus said: 78.1 Why did you come out into the field? To see a reed shaken by the wind? 78.2 And to see a man clothed in soft raiment? [Look, your] kings and your great [megistanos MG "powerful ones"] men, 78.3 these are the ones who wear soft clothing, and they [will] not be able to know the truth.

      GTh46 Blatz-NTA (1991) JB, Begotten, Small, Kingdom
      Jesus said, 46.1 From Adam to John the Baptist there is among the children [jpo BM#155 "to beget," "acquire"] of women none higher than John the Baptist, for his eyes were not destroyed (?). 46.2 But I have said: Whoever among you becomes small [kouei BM#164 "small," "few"] will know the kingdom [mentero BM#115 "kingdom," "reign"] and will be higher than John.

      GMt11.7-11 (ESV) JB, Greater, Least, Kingdom
      Mat 11:7 As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
      Mat 11:8 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.
      Mat 11:9 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
      Mat 11:10 This is he of whom it is written, "'Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.'
      Mat 11:11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least [mikroteros G3398 "small," "young"] in the kingdom [basileia G932 "kingdom," "kingship," "rule"] of heaven is greater [meizon G3187 "greater," "elder," "stronger"] than he.

      GLk7.24-28 (ESV) JB, Begotten, Greater, Least, Kingdom
      Luk 7:24 When John's messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
      Luk 7:25 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings' courts.
      Luk 7:26 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
      Luk 7:27 This is he of whom it is written, "'Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.'
      Luk 7:28 I tell you, among those born [gennetois G1084 "begotten," "born"] of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least [mikroteros G3398 "smallest," "youngest," "least"] in the kingdom kingdom [basileia G932 "kingdom," "kingship," "rule"] of God is greater than he."

      1Co4.14-17 (ESV) Offspring, Guides, Fathers, Begot, Kingdom
      1Co 4:14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children [tekna G5043 "offspring," "children"].
      1Co 4:15 For though you have countless guides [paidagogous G3807 "tutors," "guides," "trustworthy slaves"] in Christ, you do not have many fathers [pateras "fathers," "forefathers"]. For I became your father [egennesa G1080 "to be begotten"] in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
      1Co 4:16 I urge you, then, be imitators [mimitai G3402 "imitators"] of me.
      1Co 4:17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child [teknon G5043 "offspring," "child"] in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.
    • Paul Lanier
      ... Hi Ron, Mike: I think there are two other possibilities that explain, in general, why Thomas tends toward some flavor of realized eschatology, but Luke
      Message 2 of 11 , Apr 15, 2009
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        --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, Ron McCann <ronmccann1@...> wrote:
        >
        > It's probably safe to assume that Luke saw it as some kind of an end-time saying and chucked it in > with the other ones he had on the subject in those several verses on the topic.

        Hi Ron, Mike:

        I think there are two other possibilities that explain, in general, why Thomas tends toward some flavor of realized eschatology, but Luke emphasizes future:
        1 - Luke follows Mark in reframing "kingdom" as future;
        2 - Luke follows Mark's amplification of "kingdom" as other than Roman kingdom. This seems like a natural way to avoid trouble!

        I think too there is partial dependence of later Thomas on the synoptics, just as there is partial dependence on early gnostic themes. Both introduced more developed themes not originally presented.

        I realize that is a very broad generalization. But I think that sort of development is to be expected among early competing Jesus communities. Early textual instability has long been recognized for Mark, and there seems to be decent support for it in Thomas as well. Of course it depends on analysis of technical terms and thematic parallels, both of which are less obvious than direct parallels.

        Regards, Paul
      • Michael Grondin
        Ron - I agree with you that the GTh logia that seem to refer to end-times are few and far between. In fact, I don t think L61.1 is the strongest example,
        Message 3 of 11 , Apr 17, 2009
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          Ron -

          I agree with you that the GTh logia that seem to refer to end-times are
          few and far between. In fact, I don't think L61.1 is the strongest example,
          although DeConick takes it to refer to "the End" (TGOTT, p.200). To my
          mind, though, a stronger example is L57's "day of the harvest". I think
          it's stronger because it's not so easily susceptible to an interpretation
          in terms of individuals, rather than humanity as a whole.

          On the other hand, I recognize that some sayings indicate the opposite
          at least as strongly, perhaps even more so. A good example is L.51,
          wherein it's stated that the "new world" has already come. How can that
          be reconciled with the above? One possibility I'm attracted to is the
          DeConick model, which allows for eschatological emphasis to have been
          altered over time, such that what we find in CGTh is possibly the fading
          remnants of traditional end-time thinking, coupled with an emerging
          contrary view which had become ascendant. In particular, notice that
          L.51 is a disciples' question, which to DeConick indicates a later
          development, while L61.1 and L57 are simple Jesus-statements.

          Interestingly, one of the Q-and-A sayings has seemed to serve as one
          basis for the theory that (later?) GTh envisioned a different kind of
          end-times, viz., one in which "where the beginning is, there the end will
          be", i.e., a kind of rolling-back of history caused by (presumably) the
          adoption of an ascetic life-style by the masses, resulting in progressively
          fewer children until the world's population shrinks back to "the Garden".
          As I recall, this was a view expressed by Steve Davies, and I think it
          gets its plausibility actually more from other Thomasine writings (T. the
          Contender, and the Acts of T.) than from GTh, though again there's
          some stuff in GTh for that view. (A little something for everyone?)

          Now on this "realized eschatology" thingy, my sense is that lumping
          different things together and trying to reach a judgement on all of
          them at once is counter-productive. In particular, I don't see that
          much of a difference between the third century Thomas and the way
          the canonicals were developing on the question of when the kingdom
          would come, but I do see a big difference on the question of whether
          there would be a parousia. The Synoptics at least were stuck with the
          notion that Jesus was the messiah. Since he hadn't accomplished
          what a messiah was supposed to do, it was necessary that he come
          back "in power" to finish the job. The Thomasines don't seem to have
          ever had this problem, but even if they did, they had the advantage
          over the church in that their Jesus-gospel apparently continued to
          develop after the canonical gospels had been pretty much locked-in.

          Mike Grondin
          Mt. Clemens, MI
        • Michael Grondin
          ... Thanks for noting that important point about Greek Thomas, Paul, but Coptic Thomas occasionally has kingdom of the heavens also. ... Other than that, the
          Message 4 of 11 , Apr 17, 2009
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            > Mark and Luke use exclusively "kingdom of God," while Matthew
            > employs "kingdom of the heavens." In Coptic Thomas it is simply
            > "kingdom," however in Grk. GTh3 "kingdom of God" occurs.

            Thanks for noting that important point about Greek Thomas, Paul,
            but Coptic Thomas occasionally has "kingdom of the heavens" also.
            (See 114, e.g.) That contravenes your suggestion:

            > This suggests the original usage in Thomas, "kingdom," may have
            > caused difficulties after the Jewish War ...

            Other than that, the deluge of data kinda obscured the theses for me.

            Cheers,
            Mike
          • Paul Lanier
            ... Woops! You re right. L.114 is very late but there are other instances of kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God. I will need to rearrange my position!
            Message 5 of 11 , Apr 17, 2009
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              --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
              > Coptic Thomas occasionally has "kingdom of the heavens" also.

              Woops! You're right. L.114 is very late but there are other instances of "kingdom of heaven" and "kingdom of God." I will need to rearrange my position!

              > Other than that, the deluge of data kinda obscured the theses for me.

              Me too. I am exploring the thesis that GMk and Q both depend on original GTh. I am looking for distinctive usages of technical terms (kingdom, child, small, and some others). This is, I think, made more complex by what appears to me to be insertion of later corrections into GTh to harmonize with the synoptics. Of course it may be that original GTh included all three usages of "kingdom." But the very distinctive usages by Mark and Luke ("kingdom of God") as opposed to Matthew ("Kingdom of the heavens") suggests polarization between the Mark-Luke trajectory and Matthew. That in turn would suggest an earlier shared usage, such as "kingdom" in original GTh. But I agree, in the case of "kingdom," the usage in Thomas is mixed.

              Thank you for attempting to hold me to the same very high standards of this board!

              regards, Paul
            • Ron McCann
              Hi Mike, Thanks for the thoughtful response, Mike. I agree [L.57] is a stronger example, and when first I encountered it, I designated it as a clear
              Message 6 of 11 , Apr 17, 2009
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                Hi Mike,

                Thanks for the thoughtful response, Mike.

                I agree [L.57] is a stronger example, and when first I encountered it, I
                designated it as a clear Apocalyptic Saying. It has a single attestation
                in Matthew's Gospel ( From Special Matthew) where it is unquestionably
                presented as such, and the only significant variation is that in Thomas
                no mention of the wheat being gathered into the barn, is made. I think
                the original parable was simply about why God allows evil men and good
                men to co-exist and why he does nothing about it right now- it would
                uproot the intended and desired growth and development of the good men.
                So wait until the desired crop is fully matured- harvest day. Matthew
                may have changed it to an end-time separation of the sheep from the
                goats, or the good fish from the bad on Judgment Day. That does not mean
                we should be reading it that way in Thomas or that it was intended to be
                read that way. I guess the question is what "the day of the harvest"
                meant to the Thomasines.

                I think the Thomas crowd also believed that a selection process for
                entry to the Kingdom was involved. But since the Kingdom was here, the
                sorting and selection for admission or entry to it was now going on. And
                just like in the Matthew examples some would be found acceptable, and
                some not. The spiritually mature or spiritually ready presumably get
                admitted. The Wise Fisherman who nets the fish, selects the Fine Big
                Fish ( mature, developed) and throws the smaller back. The Wise man of
                understanding comes quickly when the crop is ripe (mature) and plies the
                sickle. The Man who sowed good seed discards the weeds and gathers his
                wheat. For the Thomasines, the Day of the Harvest might have meant that
                day in which the individual is actually selected and taken into the
                Kingdom. It's hard to say. But your point is taken.

                I think Deconick's approach makes a lot of sense too. As expectations of
                Judgment Day and the Parousia faded, as well they might have by the end
                of the First Century and the beginning of the Second, thinking
                Christian's may have gravitated to the "Kingdom is already here" sayings
                of Jesus and focused their speculations on how to enter that kingdom in
                the here and now, whereas the groups of Christians adhering to the old
                Messianic/Parousia/Judgment Day scenario re-entrenched, stayed the
                course, eventually becoming the modern Church. My point is that late or
                early, there was a bifurcation with the Thomas crowd apparently on the
                leading edge of "Realized Eschatology" exploration, speculation and
                innovation, and going their own way.

                Davie's idea is indeed interesting, but my own view on this logion and
                others like it is that the Thomasines envisioned the process of entry to
                the Kingdom as a return to the Pre-Fall state of Adam and Eve and a
                consequent re-entry to Eden, and further, that they believed this was
                accomplished one by one, individually.
                In Thomas, individual, rather than collective "salvation" seems the
                focus, and it's up to the individual, him or herself, to win entry to
                the Kingdom.

                I take your point about lumping too many things together- and perhaps I
                have here- using Realized Eschatology to describe the Gospel of Thomas
                position on the Kingdom. You are right. It might be more useful to
                divide those elements up and look at each of them individually. My
                problem with Thomas, is that we can get so easily get lost in the
                minutia and the non-homogeneous and sometimes conflicting material that
                we miss spotting the common overarching themes. So from time to time, I
                try to stand back and try to view the sweep and thrust of Thomas and a
                whole to see if I can discover what, in at least broad and general
                terms, we can say about the beliefs the people this gospel served had in
                common, and how these might have differed from the emerging Church's- no
                easy task given the complexity of the material. So although my
                conclusion is a generality, and only operates in overview, the
                conclusion seems well grounded and useful- although, like any other
                proposal about Thomas, some specific sayings can be found that argue
                against it..

                Thanks Mike. You always get me thinking.

                Ron McCann
                Saskatoon, Canada
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