Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [GTh] Is 'kingdom' Exclusive?

Expand Messages
  • 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 1 of 13 , Jun 17, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      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 2 of 13 , Jun 17, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        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 3 of 13 , Jun 17, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
          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 4 of 13 , Jun 18, 2009
          • 0 Attachment
            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 5 of 13 , Jun 18, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              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
            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.