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[GTh] Re: The Prologue and Chiastic Studies

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  • Maurice
    Hello Mike .... Just a thought at large .... In your last Post (in replying to Rick s comments on Re The Prologue and Chiastic Studies) you refer to Occam s
    Message 1 of 16 , Jan 13, 2010
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      Hello Mike ....

      Just a thought at large ....

      In your last Post (in replying to Rick's comments on Re The Prologue and Chiastic Studies) you refer to Occam's Razor in doubting a Coptic precursor to Thomas (which is my bias too but for different reasons) ... and then you go on to refer to the Maalot Psalms and the value of God's name (presemedly YHVW) as being 42.

      Of interest, the issue of the value of God's name is discussed (seemingly in a reasonable way for novices like me) by someone called Benjamin on the MAGDELENE Blog dated May31, 2007 at (http://magdelene.wordpress.com2007/05/) who suggests that the name of God can in fact have several values ... viz 45 letters, 52 letters, 63 letters or yet 72 letters (depending on how one views it) ... and if so, is this not a word of caution for anyone who might read too much into Germatria and the like when using this method as an "exact science" ????

      Maurice
    • Rick Hubbard
      Hi Maurice- Glad to see you are staying engaged in this conversation (the focus of which seems to be less clear by the day, BTW). In any case, your observation
      Message 2 of 16 , Jan 13, 2010
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        Hi Maurice-

        Glad to see you are staying engaged in this conversation (the focus of which
        seems to be less clear by the day, BTW). In any case, your observation that
        "gematria and the like" is not useful as an exact science should resonate
        pretty well for well informed "moderns" but I suspect maybe that was not so
        true in the ancient world. There seems to be a fair abundance of texts from
        antiquity in which gematria and gematria-like techniques were used. I guess
        our objective as students of these texts is to try to tease out just what it
        was they were trying to communicate. That effort bends the mind, to be sure.

        All this is compounded when we encounter texts that may not have expertly
        assembled for one reason or another (émigrés trying to write in a non-native
        language, for example). Some things just don't always come across to
        classically trained readers so maybe there is a tendency to try to read
        things into texts that aren't really there (although I don't think, however,
        that is the case in investigations into possible numerical structuring in
        Coptic Thomas). Years ago I heard (or maybe read) about a classic example of
        what happens when folks with less-than-perfect control of a second language
        try to communicate:

        The story was set in Italy during the Second World War during the allied
        invasion of the peninsula. An army unit moving supplies to the north by
        pack-mule came into a little village and was greeted by a man who pointed
        cheerfully to a freshly painted sign hanging on a post. The sign read:

        TOTI
        EMUL
        ESTO

        I'd wager that it would take a pretty sharp wit to figure this out, but
        according to the story even a couple of GI's who were skilled in Latin and
        an Italian translator couldn't do the job. It would be too easy just to tell
        you the answer, so I'll let you take a run at deciphering it on your own.

        The point is, sometimes we tend to make things way to complicated when we
        try to untangle "meaning" from texts.

        Regards,

        Rick

        ||-----Original Message-----
        ||From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On
        ||Behalf Of Maurice
        ||Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 6:14 PM
        ||To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
        ||Subject: [GTh] Re: The Prologue and Chiastic Studies
        ||
        ||
        ||
        ||
        ||Hello Mike ....
        ||
        ||Just a thought at large ....
        ||
        ||In your last Post (in replying to Rick's comments on Re The Prologue and
        ||Chiastic Studies) you refer to Occam's Razor in doubting a Coptic
        precursor to
        ||Thomas (which is my bias too but for different reasons) ... and then you
        go on
        ||to refer to the Maalot Psalms and the value of God's name (presemedly
        ||YHVW) as being 42.
        ||
        ||Of interest, the issue of the value of God's name is discussed (seemingly
        in a
        ||reasonable way for novices like me) by someone called Benjamin on the
        ||MAGDELENE Blog dated May31, 2007 at
        ||(http://magdelene.wordpress.com2007/05/
        ||<http://magdelene.wordpress.com2007/05/> ) who suggests that the name of
        ||God can in fact have several values ... viz 45 letters, 52 letters, 63
        letters or
        ||yet 72 letters (depending on how one views it) ... and if so, is this not
        a word of
        ||caution for anyone who might read too much into Germatria and the like
        ||when using this method as an "exact science" ????
        ||
        ||Maurice
        ||
        ||
        ||
        ||
        ||
        ||
      • Michael Grondin
        Hi Maurice, First let me fix your link: http://magdelene.wordpress.com/2007/05/ (The link in your note didn t work, because the slash after com was missing.)
        Message 3 of 16 , Jan 13, 2010
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          Hi Maurice,

          First let me fix your link: http://magdelene.wordpress.com/2007/05/
          (The link in your note didn't work, because the slash after 'com' was
          missing.) This blog entry defines a handful of "Gnostic Words", the
          relevant one being "Gematria". It seems odd to me that the writer
          mentions a 45-letter name of God, which I've never heard of, and
          fails to mention the 42-letter name of God which I've seen referenced
          in several sources other than the Joffe article I mentioned. (BTW,
          I have no idea what the letters are - no doubt Hebrew.)

          > In your last Post ... you refer to Occam's Razor in doubting a Coptic
          > precursor to Thomas ...

          No, not that I doubt it per se, but that there's no need to postulate one
          unless it's required by a theory, and I don't see that it's required. It
          just seems to push the source-question one step backward, without
          adding any clarity. We'd still have the same questions about the
          (supposed) earlier Coptic source that we have about the extant
          Coptic source, but it'd be even tougher to answer them, because
          we'd have no idea what that earlier Coptic source might have looked
          like. Not to say, of course, that the scribe who penned Codex II didn't
          have a prototype of Coptic Thomas in front of him as he wrote.
          He probably did, but presumably such a prototype would not have
          differed in any significant way from what he wrote down. Nor do I
          think, BTW, that a scribe (qua scribe) could have been responsible
          for the numerical features that have so far been discovered.

          > ... and then you go on to refer to the Maalot Psalms and the value of
          > God's name (presemedly YHVW) as being 42.

          No, not that "the value of God's name" is 42, but that _the number of
          letters_ in one of names that Kabbalists created for God was 42.
          Exactly when this happened is a mite murky, but Joffe argues
          that God was given a 42-letter name in order to ward off disasters
          associated with the number 42. (This appears in Christian writings
          in Revelation, and may be reflected in Matthew's list of 42 generations.)
          In Thomas, I think a good case can be made that logion 42 ("Become
          passers-by") was perceived as the method by which one could avoid
          the disasters associated with L11.1 ("This heaven will pass away, and
          the one above her will pass away").

          Mike
        • Maurice
          ... A GERMATRIA IN ITS OWN RIGHT , I WOULD SAY ... (Maurice) In any case, your observation that ... WELL, FOR CERTAIN, WE ALL CONFRONT AND LARGELY INTERPRET
          Message 4 of 16 , Jan 13, 2010
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            --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Rick Hubbard" <rhubbard@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi Maurice-
            >
            > Glad to see you are staying engaged in this conversation (the focus of which
            > seems to be less clear by the day, BTW).


            A GERMATRIA IN ITS OWN RIGHT , I WOULD SAY ... (Maurice)



            In any case, your observation that
            > "gematria and the like" is not useful as an exact science should resonate
            > pretty well for well informed "moderns" but I suspect maybe that was not so
            > true in the ancient world. There seems to be a fair abundance of texts from
            > antiquity in which gematria and gematria-like techniques were used. I guess
            > our objective as students of these texts is to try to tease out just what it
            > was they were trying to communicate. That effort bends the mind, to be sure.
            >
            > All this is compounded when we encounter texts that may not have expertly
            > assembled for one reason or another (émigrés trying to write in a non-native
            > language, for example). Some things just don't always come across to
            > classically trained readers so maybe there is a tendency to try to read
            > things into texts that aren't really there (although I don't think, however,
            > that is the case in investigations into possible numerical structuring in
            > Coptic Thomas).


            WELL, FOR CERTAIN, WE ALL CONFRONT AND LARGELY INTERPRET OUTSIDE OBSERVATIONS WITH OUR INTERNAL BIASES .... I FIND THIS ESPECIALLY TRUE WHEN IT COMES TO SPIRITUAL OBSERVATIONS. FOR EXAMPLE WE ALL IGNORE (WILLINGLY ? OR AT LEAST UNCOUNSCIOUSLY) THAT THE NEW TESTAMENT MILIEU WAS LARGELY ONE WHERE GREEK DUALITY VALUES WERE PERVASIVE. THOMAS AND THE NEW TESTAMENT, ACCORDINGLY, ARE RIFE WITH DUALITY CONCEPTS ( T61 "two" shall rest on a bed ... no doubt, one man with a spirit self in the company of this same man in the company of his material self = 2 selves in total etc. etc) AND EVEN JESUS SOMETIMES DESCRIBING HIMSELF AS "I" ON THE ONE HAND (his spiritual self) AND OTHERTIMES AS "the Son of Man/Adam" (his material self.) WE DONT ALWAYS GRASP FIRST HAND THAT WHEN JESUS USES "I", HIS SPIRITUAL SELF SPEAKS (I say to you)... AND ,OF COURSE, EVERY TIME HE USES "THE SON OF MAN ..." HE IS REFERENCING HIMSELF TO HIS EARTHLY (second) SELF .... (The Son of Man has no place to lay his head and rest (A MATERIAL TEMPORAL ACTION BY A MATERIAL TEMPORAL SELF)... and again "Matthew 11:19 "the Son of man came eating and drinking ..."SPIRITS JUST DONT EAT AND DRINK SINCE THEY ARE IMMATERIAL ...." Sooooo, if we are not "aware" of the duality reality when reading early (Greek) texts,for example,... indeed (as you point out) we can sometimes " ...read things into texts that aren't really there". ACCORDINGLY, THEN,WE CAN MISS IMPORTANTLY NUANCES AND MEANINGS IN TEXTS WHICH LEAD US ASTRAYIN OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THEM. SOOO, LETS BE CAREFUL IN THOMAS WHEN READING AND ABSORBING THINGS LIKE "JESUS SAID" ... THE WORD "JESUS" DOESN'T EVEN APPEAR IN THOMAS' LOGIA LEAD-INS BUT OUR MIND BELIEVES IT TO BE THERE 114 TIMES ... ALL OF WHICH WOULD MAKE IT MORESO DIFFICULT TO A CHIASTICIST (if that's a word) TO MAKE SENSE OF THOMAS BY WAY OF NUMERICAL STRUCTURING.

            HAVING SAID ALL OF THIS, I STILL CAN'T WAIT TO READ THE FINAL RESULTS OF MIKE'S RUN AT NBXS AND OTHERS STRUCTURES IN THE GOT. ..... MUCH LIKE YOUR OWN "TOTI EMUL ESTO" MESSAGE WHICH I HOPE TO CRACK BEFORE MIDNIGHT. (THIS COULD EVEN BE FUN)

            MAURICE



            OH! ... BYTHE WAY, I NOTICED THAT I MESSED UP IN MY LAST POST RE THE URL SOURCE OF THE 4 DIFFERENT NUMERICAL VALUES FOR 'GOD'. SO HERE IS WHAT THE AUTHOR OF THE NOTE (Benjamin) HAD WRITTEN ....


            "Yod-Vav-Dalet Heh-heh Vav-vav Heh-heh comprises the "Fifty-Two Letter Name of God," and in Gematria the word Ben (Bet [2] + Nun [50] = 52). The word Ben (son) is thus representative of the "Fifty-Two Letter Name of God."
            Yod-Vav-Dalet Heh-Alef Vav-Alef-Vav Heh-Alef comprises the "Forty-Five Letter Name of God," which corresponds in Gematria to the word Adam (Alef [1] + Dalet [4] + Mem [40] = 45). The word Adam (man) therefore symbolizes the "Forty-Five Letter Name of God."
            Yod-Vav-Dalet Heh-Yod Vav-Alef-Vav Heh-Yod comprises the "Sixty-Three Letter Name of God."
            Yod-Vav-Dalet Heh-Yod Vav-Yod-Vav Heh-Yod comprises the "Seventy-Two Letter Name of God," which according to some is related to what is called the "Name of Seventy-Two Names."
            Of course I have barely touched on this topic, and there are still a few Gematria techniques which I have not listed at all. This is purely because I am address more extensive details in this short message, but I hope I have been able to shed some light on this intriguing topic."

            Signed Benjamin
          • Michael Grondin
            Hi Rick, ... Did I perhaps contribute to this by bringing into consideration the relationship between L11.1 and L42? If so, I can only say that I felt I had to
            Message 5 of 16 , Jan 14, 2010
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              Hi Rick,

              In your note to Maurice, you write:

              > Glad to see you are staying engaged in this conversation (the focus
              > of which seems to be less clear by the day, BTW).

              Did I perhaps contribute to this by bringing into consideration the
              relationship between L11.1 and L42? If so, I can only say that I felt
              I had to in order to explain - in response to the question of who was
              responsible for Coptic Thomas - why it is that I believed that whoever
              it was must have been schooled in Jewish lore. That pretty much
              leaves out anyone not ethnically Jewish, though of course they must
              have been religiously Christian (or Yeshuine, if you will).

              > All this is compounded when we encounter texts that may not have
              > expertly assembled for one reason or another (�migr�s trying to write
              > in a non-native language, for example).

              I suggested originally that the designers might have come to the
              monasteries on the Upper Nile from either Alexandria or Judaea.
              In light of your objection that they must have had a good knowledge
              of Coptic, would Alexandria fit the bill? We know there was a large
              Jewish population there at just about any time period, and presumably
              the educated class was fluent in at least Coptic and Greek. Since the
              LXX was around, Jewish scriptures could be studied without having
              to know Hebrew. We also know that from to time there were mob
              disturbances in Alexandria that drove different groups of folks "out to
              the country" so to speak, to seek refuge. Does this scenario satisfy
              your criterion? I'm happy with it if you are. (I believe there was a book
              on this subject a few years back. I seem to recall that the title was
              "Jews No More", but now I can't locate it on amazon. Oh well.)

              > TOTI
              > EMUL
              > ESTO

              > I'd wager that it would take a pretty sharp wit to figure this out,

              Or, in my case, dumb luck, since I'm not real good at puzzles.

              > according to the story even a couple of GI's who were skilled in Latin
              > and an Italian translator couldn't do the job.

              (Extra hint: Because Latin and Italian are irrelevant.)

              Best,
              Mike
            • Michael Grondin
              ... Here it is. The correct title is No Longer Jews: The Search for Gnostic Origins (Carl B. Smith, 2004). It isn t directly relevant to Coptic Thomas, but
              Message 6 of 16 , Jan 14, 2010
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                > (I believe there was a book
                > on this subject a few years back. I seem to recall that the title was
                > "Jews No More", but now I can't locate it on amazon. Oh well.)

                Here it is. The correct title is "No Longer Jews: The Search for
                Gnostic Origins" (Carl B. Smith, 2004). It isn't directly relevant to
                Coptic Thomas, but it suggests a Jewish-Egyptian locus, and
                specifically the Jewish Revolt under Trajan (115�117 CE), for the
                development of so-called Gnosticism - which would presumably
                include such NH texts as the Apocryphon of John. My own line of
                thinking is that the Roman (and popular) response to this Jewish
                revolt in Alexandria (among other places) might have driven some
                ethnic Jews down-country (i.e., "up" the Nile, since the Nile flows
                toward northern Egypt) to the monasteries, which were at that time
                under only very loose control of Alexandria. This would make
                sense of Theodoret's (Haer. Fab. 13) reference to the Barbeloites
                (authors of Ap.John) as "Borborians", or "mud-people", i.e., probably
                getting their subsistence from cropland the irrigation of which was
                obtained naturally by the annual flooding of the Nile.

                http://www.amazon.com/No-Longer-Jews-Gnostic-Origins/dp/1565639448/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263488578&sr=1-1

                Mike
              • Richard Hubbard
                Hi Mike- First, in answer to your question about whether your effort to bring into discussion the relationship between L11.1 and L42 evoked my comment about
                Message 7 of 16 , Jan 14, 2010
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                  Hi Mike-

                  First, in answer to your question about whether your effort to bring into discussion the relationship between L11.1 and L42 evoked my comment about the focus of the conversation becoming "less clear by the day", the answer is no. I was merely expressing a sense that we (meaning you, Maurice and I, since no one else is corresponding) seem to be talking past one another at times. That's not anyone's fault, of course- we just seem to all be attending to our own perspectives.

                  Second, I should withdraw my conjectures about Coptic Thomas' ancestral lineage. As you say, "It seems to complicate the theoretical picture without serving any real purpose." There is, now that I think the matter over a little more closely, zero evidence upon which to make conclusions about Thomas' "paternity". Having said that, then speculation about the linguistic fluency of the composer is also probably a moot issue, although I will say that it does make sense that the "whoevers" were indeed familiar with Jewish lore.

                  With respect to the "riddle" of the sign:

                  TOTI
                  EMUL
                  ESTO

                  Maurice was right next to the solution when he wrote:

                  "....MUCH LIKE YOUR OWN "TOTI EMUL ESTO" MESSAGE WHICH I HOPE TO CRACK BEFORE MIDNIGHT"

                  He had already **partially" re-arranged the letters on the sign. All he needed to do after that was this:

                  "TO TIE MULES TO"

                  And he would have had it nailed.

                  I included this little story in the conversation partly to have a little fun, but mostly to illustrate how we can sometimes look at a text (written or otherwise) and never really comprehend what we are seeing simply because that which we see does not conform to our own conventions.

                  Best Regards,

                  Rick




                  |-----Original Message-----
                  |From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com]
                  |Sent: Thursday, January 14, 2010 12:02 PM
                  |To: Richard Hubbard; gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                  |Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: The Prologue and Chiastic Studies
                  |Importance: Low
                  |
                  |Hi Rick,
                  |
                  |In your note to Maurice, you write:
                  |
                  |>> Glad to see you are staying engaged in this conversation (the focus
                  |>> of which seems to be less clear by the day, BTW).
                  |>
                  |Did I perhaps contribute to this by bringing into consideration the relationship between
                  |L11.1 and L42? If so, I can only say that I felt I had to in order to explain - in response
                  |to the question of who was responsible for Coptic Thomas - why it is that I believed
                  |that whoever it was must have been schooled in Jewish lore. That pretty much
                  |leaves out anyone not ethnically Jewish, though of course they must have been
                  |religiously Christian (or Yeshuine, if you will).
                  |
                  |>> All this is compounded when we encounter texts that may not have
                  |>> expertly assembled for one reason or another (émigrés trying to write
                  |>> in a non-native language, for example).
                  |>
                  |I suggested originally that the designers might have come to the monasteries on the
                  |Upper Nile from either Alexandria or Judaea.
                  |In light of your objection that they must have had a good knowledge of Coptic, would
                  |Alexandria fit the bill? We know there was a large Jewish population there at just
                  |about any time period, and presumably the educated class was fluent in at least
                  |Coptic and Greek. Since the LXX was around, Jewish scriptures could be studied
                  |without having to know Hebrew. We also know that from to time there were mob
                  |disturbances in Alexandria that drove different groups of folks "out to the country" so
                  |to speak, to seek refuge. Does this scenario satisfy your criterion? I'm happy with it if
                  |you are. (I believe there was a book on this subject a few years back. I seem to recall
                  |that the title was "Jews No More", but now I can't locate it on amazon. Oh well.)
                  |
                  |>> TOTI
                  |>> EMUL
                  |>> ESTO
                  |>
                  |>> I'd wager that it would take a pretty sharp wit to figure this out,
                  |>
                  |Or, in my case, dumb luck, since I'm not real good at puzzles.
                  |
                  |>> according to the story even a couple of GI's who were skilled in
                  |>> Latin and an Italian translator couldn't do the job.
                  |>
                  |(Extra hint: Because Latin and Italian are irrelevant.)
                  |
                  |Best,
                  |Mike
                  |
                  |
                  |
                  |
                  |------------------------------------
                  |
                  |Gospel of Thomas Homepage: http://home.epix.net/~miser17/Thomas.html
                  |Interlinear translation: http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/x_transl.htm
                  |
                  |------------------------------------
                  |Yahoo! Groups Links
                  |
                  |
                  |
                • Richard Hubbard
                  Hi Mike and All I m not sure if this book is relevant enough to your (or my) interest to warrant purchase but I note that it is on ABE books (new) for $10 less
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jan 14, 2010
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                    Hi Mike and All

                    I'm not sure if this book is relevant enough to your (or my) interest to
                    warrant purchase but I note that it is on ABE books (new) for $10 less
                    than at Amazon.

                    Rick

                    |-----Original Message-----
                    |From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com]
                    |Sent: Thursday, January 14, 2010 12:48 PM
                    |To: Richard Hubbard; gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                    |Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: The Prologue and Chiastic Studies
                    |Importance: Low
                    |
                    |>> (I believe there was a book
                    |>> on this subject a few years back. I seem to recall that the title
                    was
                    |>> "Jews No More", but now I can't locate it on amazon. Oh well.)
                    |>
                    |Here it is. The correct title is "No Longer Jews: The Search for
                    Gnostic Origins" (Carl
                    |B. Smith, 2004). It isn't directly relevant to Coptic Thomas, but it
                    suggests a Jewish-
                    |Egyptian locus, and specifically the Jewish Revolt under Trajan
                    (115-117 CE), for
                    |the development of so-called Gnosticism - which would presumably
                    include such NH
                    |texts as the Apocryphon of John. My own line of thinking is that the
                    Roman (and
                    |popular) response to this Jewish revolt in Alexandria (among other
                    places) might
                    |have driven some ethnic Jews down-country (i.e., "up" the Nile, since
                    the Nile flows
                    |toward northern Egypt) to the monasteries, which were at that time
                    under only very
                    |loose control of Alexandria. This would make sense of Theodoret's
                    (Haer. Fab. 13)
                    |reference to the Barbeloites (authors of Ap.John) as "Borborians", or
                    "mud-people",
                    |i.e., probably getting their subsistence from cropland the irrigation
                    of which was
                    |obtained naturally by the annual flooding of the Nile.
                    |
                    |http://www.amazon.com/No-Longer-Jews-Gnostic-
                    |Origins/dp/1565639448/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263488578&sr=1-1
                    |
                    |Mike
                    |
                    |
                    |
                    |
                    |
                    |------------------------------------
                    |
                    |Gospel of Thomas Homepage: http://home.epix.net/~miser17/Thomas.html
                    |Interlinear translation:
                    http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/x_transl.htm
                    |
                    |------------------------------------
                    |Yahoo! Groups Links
                    |
                    |
                    |
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