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Is 'kingdom' Exclusive?

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  • Michael Grondin
    Over at Judy s Research Blog, Judy Redman has recently posted a humorous and thoughtful piece on Dynamic Equivalence in Translation
    Message 1 of 13 , Jun 11, 2009
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      Over at Judy's Research Blog, Judy Redman has recently posted a
      humorous and thoughtful piece on "Dynamic Equivalence in Translation"
      http://judyredman.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/dynamic-equivalence-in-translation

      ... which is the subject of this note. Among other things with which I
      would take issue, Judy writes:

      "When I started work on my PhD, I had as a working title "The parables of
      the Realm in the Gospel of Thomas and their parallels in the canonical
      Synoptic Gospels". This arose out of my commitment to inclusive language
      translations and one of the academics who attended my preliminary
      presentation seminar suggested that this wasn't a good enough reason to
      drop the word "kingdom". I now talk about the "parables of the Reign in the
      Gospel of Thomas" because in Thomas it is quite clear that although the
      term MeNTERO (from eReRO - king) is used, the emphasis is clearly on the
      act of reigning rather than on the sphere in which the reigning is taking
      place. The fact that it also satisfies my desire for inclusivity is a
      definite bonus."

      Now I have no problem with using 'reign' instead of 'kingdom', but I can't
      really see that (1) 'kingdom' is exclusionary of women, and (2) even if it
      were, that the translational principle of "dynamic equivalence" is a good
      one. With respect to (1), the historical use of that English word obviously
      hasn't prevented either female subjects or female rulers. But more to the
      point, perhaps, Coptic Thomas refers several times to "the kingdom of
      the Father", so the ruler of this "kingdom" was evidently thought of as
      "male" in some sense. How does one get rid of the word 'Father'? And
      if one doesn't get rid of that word, why quibble that the word 'kingdom'
      suggests a male ruler? Isn't this carrying gender neutrality too far?

      With respect to (2), I suspect that the principle of "dynamic equivalence"
      is a device to make ancient Yeshuines (including Jesus) look better than
      they might if one used (the formal equivalents of) their actual words.
      Insofar as this may be an attempt to "update" ancient religious views so
      that they appear to be more relevant to modern concerns than they actually
      are, I would object that it isn't the place of the translator to take sides
      in the area of religious belief, even (and especially) if one is of the
      same faith as the text being translated. And this, of course, applies to
      the similar process of the Jesus Seminar (which DeConick avoided).

      To put the matter differently, if Jesus used the Aramaic equivalent of
      'kingdom', then even if (as Judy claims) he wanted an inclusive society,
      the implication seems to be that he didn't see a contradiction between
      his language and his vision. So why should we? Of course the concept
      of 'kingdom' has undergone change over time, what with the rejection
      of the old "divine right of kings", and it may well be that that provides a
      rationale for rejecting the standard translation (on the grounds that the
      "divine right of kings" may have been essential to J's concept), but that
      rationale is not one that Judy used.

      There are other things in Judy's piece with which I would take respectful
      issue, but I'll leave it at this for now, hoping for a response from her
      and from others interested in these questions.

      Cheers,
      Mike Grondin
    • Ariadne Green
      Hi all, We have the same problem in our language with gender specific pronouns and nouns like brotherhood and mankind which we all assume by now are
      Message 2 of 13 , Jun 11, 2009
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        Hi all,
        We have the same problem in our language with gender specific pronouns
        and nouns like "brotherhood" and "mankind" which we all assume by now
        are inclusive of women. And if we consider the fact that Jesus made
        two references in Thomas that the Kingdom of the Father was like a
        woman, we can more easily adopt a view that Jesus intended
        inclusiveness. One of my favorites is: Jesus [said], "The Father's
        kingdom is like [a] woman. She took a little leaven, [hid] it in
        dough, and made it into large loaves of bread. Anyone here with two
        ears had better listen!" And in consideration of Logion 114 which I
        consider to be one of the original sayings, not a later addition,
        because I imagine Jesus was capable of adding sarcasm to his dialogue
        to make a point, Mary's participation, equality and discipleship was
        not in question. "Reign" denoting rulership in substitution of
        "Kingdom" makes little sense in any of the sayings when I try to wrap
        my brain around it. When I read the sayings, I conceptualize the
        Kingdom as the consciousness of God's creative field. If we
        substitute "consciousness" for "Kingdom" in all the sayings pertaining
        to the Kingdom, I think it helps us to understand the mystery a great
        deal better as well as what Jesus was trying to convey.
        Ariadne Green
      • Judy Redman
        ... First, I need to state that my blog is a place where I think out loud to a certain extent. It is not my last and final work on any given issue, so the
        Message 3 of 13 , Jun 11, 2009
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          Mike says in response to my blog post:

          >
          > "When I started work on my PhD, I had as a working title "The parables
          > of
          > the Realm in the Gospel of Thomas and their parallels in the canonical
          > Synoptic Gospels". This arose out of my commitment to inclusive
          > language
          > translations and one of the academics who attended my preliminary
          > presentation seminar suggested that this wasn't a good enough reason to
          > drop the word "kingdom". I now talk about the "parables of the Reign in
          > the
          > Gospel of Thomas" because in Thomas it is quite clear that although the
          > term MeNTERO (from eReRO - king) is used, the emphasis is clearly on
          > the
          > act of reigning rather than on the sphere in which the reigning is
          > taking
          > place. The fact that it also satisfies my desire for inclusivity is a
          > definite bonus."
          >
          > Now I have no problem with using 'reign' instead of 'kingdom', but I
          > can't
          > really see that (1) 'kingdom' is exclusionary of women, and (2) even if
          > it
          > were, that the translational principle of "dynamic equivalence" is a
          > good
          > one. With respect to (1), the historical use of that English word
          > obviously
          > hasn't prevented either female subjects or female rulers. But more to
          > the
          > point, perhaps, Coptic Thomas refers several times to "the kingdom of
          > the Father", so the ruler of this "kingdom" was evidently thought of as
          > "male" in some sense. How does one get rid of the word 'Father'? And
          > if one doesn't get rid of that word, why quibble that the word
          > 'kingdom'
          > suggests a male ruler? Isn't this carrying gender neutrality too far?

          First, I need to state that my blog is a place where I think out loud to a
          certain extent. It is not my last and final work on any given issue, so the
          opportunity to do some more thinking out loud with some interaction is very
          welcome.

          Second, there's a lot in this, and we could get a very long way from Thomas,
          but:

          Within the English-speaking world, a kingdom is a realm that is normatively
          ruled by a king. It is only ruled by a queen when there is no male
          available. This is why there have been so few English queens who actually
          ruled the country (two Marys, two Elizabeths and an Ann). Princess Anne was
          only second in line to the English throne until Elizabeth and Phillip had a
          second son, when she became third in line, and when the third boy was born,
          Anne became fourth in line. If an English ruler has five daughters and then
          one son, that son immediately becomes first in line for the throne and
          becomes king on his ruling parent's death, even if he happens to be too
          young to make sensible judgement calls while his oldest sister is old
          enough. The wife of a ruling king automatically becomes queen, but the
          husband of a ruling queen only ever gets to be a prince. The whole notion of
          "kingdom" is premised on males being better equipped to rule than females
          purely on the basis of their gender. That women are able to be subjects is
          irrelevant, IMHO - it's about who is able to be in charge and under what
          conditions and kingdom is an inherently sexist term for those of us who are
          part of the British Commonwealth.

          I also think that who happens to be in power at the time is irrelevant when
          naming what it is they have power over. We would never consider calling the
          UK the United Queendom because it happens to have a female monarch at the
          moment, and to have had one for more than half a century. So the fact that
          it is "the Father" who rules is not important, especially since "the Father"
          is the *title* of the ruler.

          However, as I said, I am now not avoiding kingdom because it suggests a male
          ruler, I am avoiding it because it suggests a sphere of domination, rather
          than the act of ruling and I think that Thomas is much more interested in
          *how* the Father rules than *where* the Father rules and there is no way of
          indicating this while using the word kingdom.
          .

          >
          > With respect to (2), I suspect that the principle of "dynamic
          > equivalence"
          > is a device to make ancient Yeshuines (including Jesus) look better
          > than
          > they might if one used (the formal equivalents of) their actual words.
          > Insofar as this may be an attempt to "update" ancient religious views
          > so
          > that they appear to be more relevant to modern concerns than they
          > actually
          > are, I would object that it isn't the place of the translator to take
          > sides
          > in the area of religious belief, even (and especially) if one is of the
          > same faith as the text being translated. And this, of course, applies
          > to
          > the similar process of the Jesus Seminar (which DeConick avoided).

          If you read my post again, you will see that I drew a distinction between
          translation for preaching/teaching and translation for research. If you try
          to evaluate the ancient Yeshuines using today's standards, they were
          hopelessly sexist, but if you evaluate them by the standards of the
          societies in which they lived, some of what they were doing was radically
          egalitarian. The Coptic speakers were also rather limited in that they don't
          appear to have had a word like "realm" or "reign" that denotes the sphere
          over which a person ruled that didn't involve RO. Who got to be the ruler
          may not have had such gender-based rules. I don't know because Egyptian
          history is not my thing. Did Cleopatra get to be queen because there were
          no men left standing, or was she simply the previous ruler's oldest
          offspring?
          >
          > To put the matter differently, if Jesus used the Aramaic equivalent of
          > 'kingdom', then even if (as Judy claims) he wanted an inclusive
          > society,
          > the implication seems to be that he didn't see a contradiction between
          > his language and his vision. So why should we?

          Did he use the Aramaic equivalent, though? How do we know? And did he have
          any other choice? We are working in Thomas with a Coptic text and in the
          synoptics with a Greek text. Is there a Greek equivalent for "realm" - ie a
          word for the sphere in which a king/queen ruled that did not include the
          root word for king? I don't have easy access at the moment to a sufficiently
          detailed Greek dictionary to know this and I have no Aramaic. OTOH, does it
          matter so much in other languages? In Coptic, you have eReRO and eReRW
          ruling a MeNTERO. In Greek you have basileios and basilissa ruling a
          basileia. Maybe it would be less of an issue if you had a king and a kingess
          ruling a kingdom. My point is that if we are using our text as something on
          which the people we are communicating with might try to base their lives, it
          is more important for our translation to be consistent with Jesus' actions
          than with his words because we can't really determine what effect his words
          in their original language might have had on his audience but we do have an
          idea of what effect our words in our language might have on our hearers. If
          all we are doing with our text is analysing the words on the page, then
          there is a stronger argument for more formal equivalence, although I think
          that in either case, there needs to be footnoting indicating other options.
          :-)

          > Of course the concept
          > of 'kingdom' has undergone change over time, what with the rejection
          > of the old "divine right of kings", and it may well be that that
          > provides a
          > rationale for rejecting the standard translation (on the grounds that
          > the
          > "divine right of kings" may have been essential to J's concept), but
          > that
          > rationale is not one that Judy used.

          I think the divine right of kings is a newer concept than Jesus' day,
          although of course Israel did have the idea that kings were appointed by God
          - and then they ditched kings as a generally bad thing, just as God had told
          Samuel they would be. :-) Certainly the dynasty that used the term "divine
          right of kings" was the Stewarts (James and Charles I & II) and they
          basically argued that since they were appointed by God, everything they said
          was of God and no-one had any right to argue with them. This was exactly the
          kind of attitude that God had words with Samuel about, I think.

          Judy

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

          Rev Judy Redman
          PhD candidate & 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@...
        • Jack Kilmon
          ... From: Michael Grondin To: Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 11:55 AM Subject: [GTh] Is kingdom Exclusive?
          Message 4 of 13 , Jun 13, 2009
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            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
            To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 11:55 AM
            Subject: [GTh] Is 'kingdom' Exclusive?


            > To put the matter differently, if Jesus used the Aramaic equivalent of
            > 'kingdom', then even if (as Judy claims) he wanted an inclusive society,
            > the implication seems to be that he didn't see a contradiction between
            > his language and his vision. So why should we? Of course the concept
            > of 'kingdom' has undergone change over time, what with the rejection
            > of the old "divine right of kings", and it may well be that that provides
            > a
            > rationale for rejecting the standard translation (on the grounds that the
            > "divine right of kings" may have been essential to J's concept), but that
            > rationale is not one that Judy used.
            >
            > There are other things in Judy's piece with which I would take respectful
            > issue, but I'll leave it at this for now, hoping for a response from her
            > and from others interested in these questions.
            >
            > Cheers,
            > Mike Grondin


            Parenthetically, Mike, the Judean Aramaic word for "kingdom" is malkutha, a
            feminine noun. Malka, "king," of course is masculine.

            Regards,

            Jack Kilmon
          • Paul Lanier
            ... Hi Ariadne, My take on L.114 is that it addresses a change in some early community toward exlusively male hierarchy. Hence the retort of L.114, which I
            Message 5 of 13 , Jun 13, 2009
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              --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, Ariadne Green <ariadne@...> wrote:
              > Mary's participation, equality and discipleship was not in question.

              Hi Ariadne,

              My take on L.114 is that it addresses a change in some early community toward exlusively male hierarchy. Hence the retort of L.114, which I agree is sarcasm.

              Regards, Paul
            • Paul Lanier
              ... Hi Mike, I agree with your basic point, but I would add that shift to gender-neutral terminology is not dynamic equivalence. Dynamic equivalence (=
              Message 6 of 13 , Jun 15, 2009
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                --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
                > I suspect that the principle of "dynamic equivalence" is a device to make ancient Yeshuines (including Jesus) look better than they might if one used (the formal equivalents of) their actual words.

                Hi Mike,

                I agree with your basic point, but I would add that shift to gender-neutral terminology is not "dynamic equivalence." Dynamic equivalence (= Nida's "functional equivalence") is the translational use of modern language to convey the original sense of a text. An example is Good News for Modern Man (there's that pesky gender-specific language again...). Peckler's book, Dynamic Equivalence, has does not even use the word "gender." See also review by Robert L. Thomas at http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj1g.pdf, also Grudem and Thacker, "Key Issues Regarding Bible Translation," at http://www.genderneutralbibles.com/seven.php.

                Replacing gender-specific phrasing does not clarify. It obscures sitz im leben. This renders historical reconstruction even more difficult than it already is. The New Testament makes various claims which it bases on supposedly actual events. So let us reconstruct with precision those events, or else discard the claims!

                To a first century Galilean, "kingdom" denotes political dominance. Whether Jesus sought to re-establish the Jewish Temple-state (as his death by Roman crucifixion indicates), or reinterpret "kingdom" as inner rather than outer (as later gospel accounts relate), is still an open question.

                The deeper issues here are perennial in Western religion: a yearning for certainty; an effort to wrest truth out of words deemed ultimately and eternally authoritative; and a drive to convince others to modify their behaviors accordingly. As usual, these produce an urge to create yet another theological argument seeking to redefine terms in ways with which the original authors would disagree. Better to openly admit we simply do not agree with many of the static social values promoted in the New Testament.

                Regards, Paul
              • Michael Grondin
                ... I m sure you re right, Paul, but I think that Judy s justification for invoking the term is that the _original sense_ of the kingom parables was reign
                Message 7 of 13 , Jun 16, 2009
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                  > ... I would add that shift to gender-neutral terminology is not "dynamic
                  > equivalence." Dynamic equivalence (= Nida's "functional equivalence")
                  > is the translational use of modern language to convey the original sense
                  > of a text.

                  I'm sure you're right, Paul, but I think that Judy's justification for
                  invoking the term is that the _original sense_ of the "kingom parables"
                  was 'reign' (though that seems problematic to me). Aside from that,
                  wouldn't the treatment of idiomatic expressions that don't make sense
                  in English be a paradigm of "dynamic equivalence"? One example
                  that springs to mind from GTh is "break his eyes" from L.46. I believe
                  that this is usually understood as "lower his eyes", as a lower-caste
                  person would normally have done to a person of a higher caste.
                  But if this is a clear case where dynamic equivalence is called for,
                  MeNTERO (and its Greek and Aramaic equivalents) looks not to be.

                  > To a first century Galilean, "kingdom" denotes political dominance.
                  > Whether Jesus sought to re-establish the Jewish Temple-state
                  > (as his death by Roman crucifixion indicates), or reinterpret "kingdom"
                  > as inner rather than outer (as later gospel accounts relate), is still an
                  > open question.

                  I don't think the first alternative has much going for it, and I wonder
                  about the second. Would it include the view that what he was after was
                  an earthly, but spiritual-based collective the members of which would
                  constitute a de facto "kingdom" obeying the supposed commands of
                  a heavenly "king"?

                  As to your other comments not quoted, makes a lot of sense to me.

                  Mike Grondin
                • Paul Lanier
                  Hi Mike, ... That is the stated justification. However in the brief quote you provide, Judy refers to inclusivity twice. And in the rest of her blog there is
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jun 16, 2009
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                    Hi Mike,

                    I have a few short replies:

                    > Judy's justification for invoking the term is that the _original sense_ of the "kingom parables" was 'reign' (though that seems problematic to me).

                    That is the stated justification. However in the brief quote you provide, Judy refers to inclusivity twice. And in the rest of her blog there is the assertion: "we have sufficient evidence to believe that Jesus/God intended us to have a gender-inclusive community. " So gender inclusion, the added bonus, also looms large as its own issue. Moreover "kingdom of the father" becomes "reign of the father," which is explicitly gender-specific. Unless we are going to replace "father" with "parent."

                    > I don't think the first alternative [Jesus as insurrectionist] has much going for it

                    I shall carry on bravely the tradition of Brandon and Eisenman! Seriously, I will have a post on this after I complete a thorough analysis of a pattern I ran across. It may not persuade many but it will hopefully result in some head-scratching.

                    > Would it include the view that what he was after was an earthly, but spiritual-based collective the members of which would
                    constitute a de facto "kingdom" obeying the supposed commands of
                    a heavenly "king"?

                    I like that. I do think this is a later development, though. For example, "Christ" seems to have been a theme of Paul rather than Jesus.

                    Because I think Thomas precedes both Mark and Q, I would argue the monastic phenomenon precedes the congregational. Yet if Jesus and his friends were anti-Roman agitators, the goal of his collective community movement would have been the overthrow of Roman authority. The extreme efforts to which gospel authors strove to reinterpret Jesus' crucifixion as caused first by Jewish, and only later Roman agents, argues for a need to reinterpret Jesus' actual role. But in Thomas both direct Zealot influence, and reinterpretation of Jewish/Roman agents, seems missing.

                    Regards, Paul
                  • Michael Grondin
                    Hi Judy, In your recent followup blog entry, you wrote: ... if Crum is to be believed, Coptic speakers didn t have the option of an alternative to MeNTERO to
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jun 17, 2009
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                      Hi Judy,

                      In your recent followup blog entry, you wrote:

                      "... if Crum is to be believed, Coptic speakers didn't have the option
                      of an alternative to MeNTERO to talk about the concept that we name
                      "kingdom", so the writer of Gos Thom didn't deliberately choose a term
                      which has masculine overtones - that was the only option available to
                      express the desired concept."

                      If your reference to Crum means that he didn't list 'reign' in his English
                      index, then OK, but that's not the whole picture. In fact, the claim that
                      there wasn't an alternative doesn't hold up. I had to do some actual work
                      to find that out, thank you very much, but I've got one word for you:
                      hegemonia. That's the word that was used in both the Greek and Coptic
                      versions of Lk 1:3 ("... in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar
                      ..."). So the Copts did have an alternative to MeNTERO if what they meant
                      was 'reign' (the noun) instead of 'kingdom'. And of course the Greeks had
                      that same alternative as well.

                      Some responses to selected points in your list message:

                      > ... the fact that it is "the Father" who rules is not important,
                      > especially since "the Father" is the *title* of the ruler.

                      But there was a reason for the title. And of course Thomas mentions a
                      heavenly "Mother" as well, which is apparently the Holy Spirit. I rather
                      like the symmetry of that. In fact, though "the Father" rules, you can
                      speak poorly of "him", but you better not mess with "the Mother"! (L.44)
                      (There's also the thing about MeNTERO being of feminine gender,
                      but I get the impression that you don't think that that counts for much.)

                      > ... I am now not avoiding kingdom because it suggests a male
                      > ruler, I am avoiding it because it suggests a sphere of domination,
                      > rather than the act of ruling and I think that Thomas is much more
                      > interested in *how* the Father rules than *where* the Father rules
                      > and there is no way of indicating this while using the word kingdom.

                      Well, I don't know about that. Thomas has an interest in where the
                      kingdom is (it's spread out all over), how it grows (like a mustard
                      seed, or like leaven), and how its subjects should or do act. I can't
                      say as I recall anything much offhand that could be considered
                      "how the Father rules".

                      As to much of the rest of what you wrote about translation, I find
                      it difficult to respond, since you seemed to go back and forth
                      between scholarly and religious translation processes, and
                      of course any response to the two would be quite different.

                      Best,
                      Mike G.
                    • Judy Redman
                      Hi Mike, You say ... OK. This is interesting. Hadn t thought about looking there. Thanks. My reference to Crum was that if you look up realm instead of
                      Message 10 of 13 , Jun 17, 2009
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                        Hi Mike,

                        You say
                        >
                        > In your recent followup blog entry, you wrote:
                        >
                        > "... if Crum is to be believed, Coptic speakers didn't have the option
                        > of an alternative to MeNTERO to talk about the concept that we name
                        > "kingdom", so the writer of Gos Thom didn't deliberately choose a term
                        > which has masculine overtones - that was the only option available to
                        > express the desired concept."
                        >
                        > If your reference to Crum means that he didn't list 'reign' in his
                        > English
                        > index, then OK, but that's not the whole picture. In fact, the claim
                        > that
                        > there wasn't an alternative doesn't hold up. I had to do some actual
                        > work
                        > to find that out, thank you very much, but I've got one word for you:
                        > hegemonia. That's the word that was used in both the Greek and Coptic
                        > versions of Lk 1:3 ("... in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius
                        > Caesar
                        > ..."). So the Copts did have an alternative to MeNTERO if what they
                        > meant
                        > was 'reign' (the noun) instead of 'kingdom'. And of course the Greeks
                        > had
                        > that same alternative as well.

                        OK. This is interesting. Hadn't thought about looking there. Thanks. My
                        reference to Crum was that if you look up 'realm' instead of 'kingdom' you
                        also get MeNTERO.

                        >
                        > Some responses to selected points in your list message:
                        >
                        > > ... the fact that it is "the Father" who rules is not important,
                        > > especially since "the Father" is the *title* of the ruler.
                        >
                        > But there was a reason for the title. And of course Thomas mentions a
                        > heavenly "Mother" as well, which is apparently the Holy Spirit. I
                        > rather
                        > like the symmetry of that. In fact, though "the Father" rules, you can
                        > speak poorly of "him", but you better not mess with "the Mother"!
                        > (L.44)

                        Mike, this is also interesting. How do you get this? S44 talks about PNEUMA
                        and I can't quickly see how you are linking the mother and the Holy Spirit.


                        > (There's also the thing about MeNTERO being of feminine gender,
                        > but I get the impression that you don't think that that counts for
                        > much.)

                        Well, no. I don't think that the gender of words, especially those that
                        represent inanimate objects, means much in any language that has synthetic
                        genders. :-) Doesn't even mean much in English

                        >
                        > > ... I am now not avoiding kingdom because it suggests a male
                        > > ruler, I am avoiding it because it suggests a sphere of domination,
                        > > rather than the act of ruling and I think that Thomas is much more
                        > > interested in *how* the Father rules than *where* the Father rules
                        > > and there is no way of indicating this while using the word kingdom.
                        >
                        > Well, I don't know about that. Thomas has an interest in where the
                        > kingdom is (it's spread out all over), how it grows (like a mustard
                        > seed, or like leaven), and how its subjects should or do act. I can't
                        > say as I recall anything much offhand that could be considered
                        > "how the Father rules".

                        I think that the Coptic text has some subtleties that aren't present in the
                        synoptics which we tend not to notice because we are heavily influenced by
                        two millennia of familiarity with the synoptics.

                        >
                        > As to much of the rest of what you wrote about translation, I find
                        > it difficult to respond, since you seemed to go back and forth
                        > between scholarly and religious translation processes, and
                        > of course any response to the two would be quite different.

                        Oh, indeed. Although I don't like the way you've named the distinction. :-)
                        One of my colleagues uses "confessional" and "phenomenological" to
                        distinguish between scholarly approaches to the canon. There is a lot of
                        what I would call "devotional" interpretation which is not scholarly, but
                        the fact that someone comes to a text with the expectation of hearing God
                        speak through it does not, IMHO, mean that they cannot do this from a
                        scholarly perspective. I was taught to do textual analysis precisely so
                        that I could determine what the text might legitimately be understood to be
                        saying, rather than what the Church might *want* it to be saying.

                        However, I am very well aware that the questions you bring to your study of
                        a particular text will inevitably influence the way you look at it and
                        therefore what you will find in it.

                        The reason that I go back and forward between faith-based and secular
                        translations/interpretations is I think we need to remember in looking at
                        Thomas that, regardless of how contemporary scholars view it, for the people
                        who wrote it and read it, it was a religious text that gave them instruction
                        on how to live/believe if they were to be true followers of Jesus. I
                        therefore think that we need to look at *why* particular words might have
                        been used in determining what English equivalent we might use.

                        Judy
                      • Michael Grondin
                        Hi Judy, 1. Correction: my citation should have been Lk 3:1, not 1:3. 2. Hope you took my thank you very much in the humorous vein it was intended. Sometimes
                        Message 11 of 13 , Jun 17, 2009
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                          Hi Judy,

                          1. Correction: my citation should have been Lk 3:1, not 1:3.

                          2. Hope you took my "thank you very much" in the humorous vein
                          it was intended. Sometimes written humor backfires. Probably
                          needed a smiley face.

                          3. As to the linkage to the HS that I suggested, it basically derives
                          from all parts of S101. The most memorable part, of course, is
                          S101.3, where J is made to say that "my true mother gave me Life",
                          which I take to mean spiritual life. But also important is the first two
                          parts of S101, where there are evidently two sets of parents in view,
                          viz., one's material parents, which one is instructed to "hate", and
                          one's spiritual parents, which one is instructed to love. (The alternative
                          interpretation that there's only one set of parents in view, doesn't seem
                          viable to me.) So who is this heavenly, spiritual mother if not the Holy
                          Spirit? Other suggestions I've heard go beyond what's in Thomas.
                          I would also throw S105 into the mix, because I believe that it's a
                          reference to a heavenly father and mother, although DeConick's
                          interpretation is certainly plausible as well. With respect to S44, I
                          suspect that the real reason why speaking against the HS was said
                          to be such a sin was that it was perceived to be akin to someone
                          insulting your mother. In certain male groupings then as now, them's
                          fightin' words.

                          Cheers,
                          Mike
                        • CJED5@aol.com
                          UK. United Kingdom, regardless of sex of ruler. Similarly, principality . I ve been wondering about the tricky issue of when an apparently gendered word is
                          Message 12 of 13 , Jun 18, 2009
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                            UK. United Kingdom, regardless of sex of ruler. Similarly,
                            'principality'. I've been wondering about the tricky issue of when an apparently gendered word is employed metonymically to signify a concept or object which has no direct sex connotation.

                            Perhaps more relevantly in this context, though, is where you find both vertical polysemy and metonymy confusing the issue nicely. I mean, for
                            example, in the case of a word such as 'dog'. This means both a generic dog and a male dog (the opposite of a bitch) - the vertical polysemy; 'dog' is also used metonymically ('it's dog eat dog in Coptic linguistics!')

                            In translation I guess whether a word is inclusive, or 'right' is inevitably going to depend a little on the translator's interpretation of the function and intent of the word in that context.

                            (This discussion has really got me questioning other texts I'm reading and translating. Thanks)

                            Jed


                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Ariadne Green
                            Hi Jed, I think that the UK as the United Kingdom perhaps isn t the best example because it was under a monarch s rule for centuries and a queen was only
                            Message 13 of 13 , Jun 18, 2009
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                              Hi Jed,
                              I think that the UK as the United Kingdom perhaps isn't the best
                              example because it was under a monarch's rule for centuries and a
                              queen was only crowned if there was no male heir to the throne.
                              However, The Magical Kingdom (Disneyland) and the animal kingdom are
                              examples of inclusiveness. I agree the context of the word is most
                              valuable in interpreting the meaning.
                              Ariadne
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