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RE: [GTh] NBX, WBX, ETC

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  • Michael Mozina
    RH I m not sure exactly when Mike first began to talk about certain ... IMO you might consider the idea that this purpose might have be related to the idea
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 10, 2009
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      RH>>I'm not sure exactly when Mike first began to talk about certain
      > signals of systematic arrangement that he has identified in CGth,
      > but I confess that I was initially skeptical about the whole
      > business. Eventually I conceded that, yes, perhaps there **is**
      > some evidence of an orderly compositional structure in the text.
      > At that time I hypothesized that **if** the text **was** assembled
      > according to some preconceived design concept, that perhaps the
      > text was used for ceremonial purposes by some particular community.


      IMO you might consider the idea that this "purpose" might have be related to
      the idea of early evangelism where disciples went far and wide to "spread
      the good news". It would have been rather handy to have such a list if one
      was "on the road" as an evangelist, and there are stories of Jesus sending
      his disciples to teach in various villages. Of course this might even
      suggest that if it is a very early document, it could even be "original
      material" which predates the formalized Gospels of various communities.
      It's a fairly radical idea perhaps, but it seems to fit the evidence to some
      degree, at least IMO.


      [Michael Mozina]
      _____
    • Michael Grondin
      Hi Mike, You seem to be getting off track. That s natural, given the wide and intense interest in the _original_ GTh, but the design features we re talking
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 10, 2009
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        Hi Mike,

        You seem to be getting off track. That's natural, given the wide and
        intense interest in the _original_ GTh, but the design features we're
        talking about occur only in the _Coptic_ GTh, as far as can be determined.
        Nor do they seem to be geared toward orality, since someone hearing
        the words spoken wouldn't have been aware of any numerical design
        based on number of letters, etc. But this doesn't reflect back on the
        _original_ GTh. The question is rather "What were the Copts up to?"
        They were evidently doing something with their source text. But why?
        One possibility is that they were designing features which they thought
        would be "pleasing to God", with no intention that anyone other than
        themselves should detect them. Or perhaps they intended that these
        special features would be hidden from outsiders, but would be made
        known to insiders. The latter explanation is appealing for several reasons,
        not least that GTh refers several times to "hidden things" becoming
        known by, or revealed to, the true Thomas disciple. And as we know,
        one of the appeals of secret groups is that they claim to have secret
        esoteric knowledge unavailable to outsiders.

        Cheers,
        Mike G.
      • Rick Hubbard
        Hi Michael- Your suggestion that the purpose of the Gospel of Thomas was to meet some proselytizing requirement puts you in the company of lots of other
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 10, 2009
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          Hi Michael-

          Your suggestion that the "purpose" of the Gospel of Thomas was to meet some
          proselytizing requirement puts you in the company of lots of other folks.
          Inevitably, when questions about the "purpose of the Gospel of Thomas" is
          asked, answers similar to yours are the conventional responses. Leaving
          aside the matter of whether or not this majority response is correct, I can
          only say that the question I am trying to ask is more related to form, not
          to function. Of course that question itself is subject to multiple
          qualifiers: **if** there exists in CGth some formal structure (such as NBX,
          WBX or something else) can we identify that structure? **If** we can
          identify such structures, can we infer some motive on the part of the CGth
          composer for arranging the text in a particular way?

          As an aside, and as a kind of preliminary report, I'll just mention that so
          far I have found in CGth about 413 instances of 3 letter words that are
          candidates for the "middle term" in a chiastic structure such as the one
          that Mike has identified in the incipit. However, lest excitement build too
          quickly, no more than 37 of those occurrences seem (at least preliminarily)
          to qualify as analogies to the pattern in the prologue (based on a
          preliminary examination of the words that precede each of the candidates).
          I'll need to do a bit more analysis to see if any of the remaining 37
          "middle terms" are surrounded by a series of words that exhibit the
          structure of the chiasm at the beginning of the text. I should also say that
          even if this particular analysis does not demonstrate the pattern we are
          looking for, there remains the possibility of other chiastic elements being
          present around middle terms of 4, 5 or even 6 letters. Determining that will
          of course take considerable time to accomplish.

          Rick Hubbard



          ||-----Original Message-----
          ||From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On
          ||Behalf Of Michael Mozina
          ||Sent: Friday, July 10, 2009 2:56 PM
          ||To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
          ||Subject: RE: [GTh] NBX, WBX, ETC
          ||
          ||
          ||
          ||RH>>I'm not sure exactly when Mike first began to talk about certain
          ||> signals of systematic arrangement that he has identified in CGth,
          ||> but I confess that I was initially skeptical about the whole
          ||> business. Eventually I conceded that, yes, perhaps there **is**
          ||> some evidence of an orderly compositional structure in the text.
          ||> At that time I hypothesized that **if** the text **was** assembled
          ||> according to some preconceived design concept, that perhaps the
          ||> text was used for ceremonial purposes by some particular community.
          ||
          ||IMO you might consider the idea that this "purpose" might have be related
          to
          ||the idea of early evangelism where disciples went far and wide to "spread
          ||the good news". It would have been rather handy to have such a list if one
          ||was "on the road" as an evangelist, and there are stories of Jesus sending
          ||his disciples to teach in various villages. Of course this might even
          ||suggest that if it is a very early document, it could even be "original
          ||material" which predates the formalized Gospels of various communities.
          ||It's a fairly radical idea perhaps, but it seems to fit the evidence to
          some
          ||degree, at least IMO.
          ||
          ||[Michael Mozina]
          ||_____
          ||
          ||
          ||
        • Rick Hubbard
          Hi Mike (Grondin) FWIW, I concur with your suggestion about the insider/outsider dichotomy. I m not sure if you have ever had a chance to read it or not, but
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 10, 2009
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            Hi Mike (Grondin)

            FWIW, I concur with your suggestion about the insider/outsider dichotomy.
            I'm not sure if you have ever had a chance to read it or not, but the
            introduction to Malina and Rorhbaugh's _Social Science Commentary on the
            Gospel of John_ (Fortress, 1998) has an excellent, but basic, discussion on
            not only insider/outsider societies, but also on the ways that language is
            used by insiders to, if not "hide" from outsiders, at least differentiate
            themselves.

            Given the absence of narrative context in GTh, and the possibility that what
            we see now reflects a multitude of traditions, it is quite obviously
            difficult to extract a whole lot of information about the social setting of
            the collection HOWEVER, an intensive examination of the structure and
            language of **C**Gth may tell us something about the context in which it
            reached its current form.

            Or not.

            Rick

            ||-----Original Message-----
            ||From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On
            ||Behalf Of Michael Grondin
            ||Sent: Friday, July 10, 2009 3:54 PM
            ||To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
            ||Subject: Re: [GTh] NBX, WBX, ETC
            ||
            ||
            ||
            ||Hi Mike,
            ||
            ||You seem to be getting off track. That's natural, given the wide and
            ||intense interest in the _original_ GTh, but the design features we're
            ||talking about occur only in the _Coptic_ GTh, as far as can be determined.
            ||Nor do they seem to be geared toward orality, since someone hearing
            ||the words spoken wouldn't have been aware of any numerical design
            ||based on number of letters, etc. But this doesn't reflect back on the
            ||_original_ GTh. The question is rather "What were the Copts up to?"
            ||They were evidently doing something with their source text. But why?
            ||One possibility is that they were designing features which they thought
            ||would be "pleasing to God", with no intention that anyone other than
            ||themselves should detect them. Or perhaps they intended that these
            ||special features would be hidden from outsiders, but would be made
            ||known to insiders. The latter explanation is appealing for several
            reasons,
            ||not least that GTh refers several times to "hidden things" becoming
            ||known by, or revealed to, the true Thomas disciple. And as we know,
            ||one of the appeals of secret groups is that they claim to have secret
            ||esoteric knowledge unavailable to outsiders.
            ||
            ||Cheers,
            ||Mike G.
            ||
            ||
            ||
            ||
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