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Saying 7

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  • Judy Redman
    Seeing there has been a bit of a lull in the conversation, can I have opinions, please? I have been working on some sayings at the beginning of the Gospel of
    Message 1 of 11 , Apr 27, 2010
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      Seeing there has been a bit of a lull in the conversation, can I have opinions, please? I have been working on some sayings at the beginning of the Gospel of Thomas, including saying 7, that very strange one about the lion:

       

      Jesus said, "Blessed is the lion which becomes man when consumed by man; and cursed is the man whom the lion consumes, and the lion becomes man." (Lambdin)  or the man becomes lion (as is suggested by Nagel, Nordsiek, DeConick and others who believe that this order is a copying error)

       

      How does the following sound?

       

      In my reading, I discovered the following:

      Early Christian symbolists made the lion a symbol of God incarnate: its strength in front symbolising Christ’s divine nature, and its weakness behind symbolising Jesus’ humanity (see J. Romilly Allen, "Lecture VI: The Medieval Bestiaries  (The Rhind Lectures in Archaeology for 1885)," in Early Christian Symbolism in Great Britain and Ireland before the Thirteenth Century (ed. unknown; (London: Whiting & Co., 1887), 334-393, p 8). In representations of the story of Daniel in the lions' den (Dan. 6) the lion is conceived as a ‘type’ of God's redemption of His chosen people. ("lion" The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Ed. E. A. Livingstone. Oxford University Press, 2006. Oxford

       

      So, if the lion is Jesus, is it possible that what this is saying is that when a human being takes Jesus into him/herself voluntarily (possibly a Eucharistic reference), then Jesus is blessed? Those, however, who do not take Jesus in voluntarily will be cursed at the end of the age when they are consumed by Christ’s second coming – for them Christ is not redeemer? This seems to me to fit with the notion in S3 that the kingdom is within you, not outside etc. It requires a rather non-standard understanding of Christ’s role at the end of the age, and probably works somewhat better with the emendation proposed by Nagel et al.

       

      What problems can you see with this interpretation? And is it any worse than any other interpretation of this saying that you’ve seen?

       

      Regards

       

      Judy

       

      --

      Judy Redman
      PhD Candidate, School of Humanities
      University of New England
      Armidale 2351 Australia
      ph:  +61 2 6773 3401
      mob: 0437 044 579
      web: 
       http://judyredman.wordpress.com/
      email: 
       jredman2@...
       

       

    • Jordan Stratford
      ... The lion is the beast - the lower or hylic self. When consumed by the man (in this case, the template or ideal, the expression of the individuated,
      Message 2 of 11 , Apr 28, 2010
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        On 27-Apr-10, at 11:25 PM, Judy Redman wrote:

        What problems can you see with this interpretation? And is it any worse than any other interpretation of this saying that you’ve seen?

        The lion is the beast - the lower or hylic self.  When consumed by the "man" (in this case, the template or ideal, the expression of the individuated, pneumatic self) the lower self is redeemed.  However, if the lower self consumes the higher, then the higher self is debased.  A similar teaching is in the Tripartite Tractate.

        Jordan



      • Rick Hubbard
        Hi Judy- There is no question that this is one of the most obtuse of all the GTh logia and I commend you for tackling it. I really have nothing in the way of
        Message 3 of 11 , Apr 28, 2010
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          Hi Judy-

          There is no question that this is one of the most obtuse of all the GTh
          logia and I commend you for tackling it.

          I really have nothing in the way of "opinion" to offer, except to say that
          what I have read from recent commentators has left me mostly un-persuaded. I
          am especially skeptical of claims about scribal error.

          What I do have, on the other hand, is a general question:

          With regard to early Christian symbolism, I am virtually uniformed so
          perhaps a quick "primer" would be helpful. About when did the lion first
          enter into the early church tradition as a symbol of God incarnate? If it
          was very, very early could it have been **so** early that such symbology was
          present even in the earliest decades of the Common Era?

          The outline of your hypothesis, at least as I understand it, seems plausible
          but it will be interesting to see how you work in churches' lion symbol to a
          convincing exegesis of L 7 (although I am certain you are up to the task).

          Rick






          ||-----Original Message-----
          ||From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On
          ||Behalf Of Judy Redman
          ||Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 2:25 AM
          ||To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
          ||Subject: [GTh] Saying 7
          ||
          ||
          ||
          ||Seeing there has been a bit of a lull in the conversation, can I have
          opinions,
          ||please? I have been working on some sayings at the beginning of the Gospel
          of
          ||Thomas, including saying 7, that very strange one about the lion:
          ||
          ||
          ||
          ||Jesus said, "Blessed is the lion which becomes man when consumed by man;
          ||and cursed is the man whom the lion consumes, and the lion becomes man."
          ||(Lambdin) or the man becomes lion (as is suggested by Nagel, Nordsiek,
          ||DeConick and others who believe that this order is a copying error)
          ||
          ||
          ||
          ||How does the following sound?
          ||
          ||
          ||
          ||In my reading, I discovered the following:
          ||
          ||Early Christian symbolists made the lion a symbol of God incarnate: its
          strength in
          ||front symbolising Christ's divine nature, and its weakness behind
          symbolising
          ||Jesus' humanity (see J. Romilly Allen, "Lecture VI: The Medieval
          Bestiaries (The
          ||Rhind Lectures in Archaeology for 1885)," in Early Christian Symbolism in
          Great
          ||Britain and Ireland before the Thirteenth Century (ed. unknown; (London:
          ||Whiting & Co., 1887), 334-393, p 8). In representations of the story of
          Daniel in
          ||the lions' den (Dan. 6) the lion is conceived as a 'type' of God's
          redemption of His
          ||chosen people. ("lion" The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian
          Church. Ed.
          ||E. A. Livingstone. Oxford University Press, 2006. Oxford
          ||
          ||
          ||
          ||So, if the lion is Jesus, is it possible that what this is saying is that
          when a human
          ||being takes Jesus into him/herself voluntarily (possibly a Eucharistic
          reference),
          ||then Jesus is blessed? Those, however, who do not take Jesus in
          voluntarily will
          ||be cursed at the end of the age when they are consumed by Christ's second
          ||coming - for them Christ is not redeemer? This seems to me to fit with the
          notion
          ||in S3 that the kingdom is within you, not outside etc. It requires a
          rather non-
          ||standard understanding of Christ's role at the end of the age, and
          probably
          ||works somewhat better with the emendation proposed by Nagel et al.
          ||
          ||
          ||
          ||What problems can you see with this interpretation? And is it any worse
          than any
          ||other interpretation of this saying that you've seen?
          ||
          ||
          ||
          ||Regards
          ||
          ||
          ||
          ||Judy
          ||
          ||
          ||
          ||--
          ||
          ||Judy Redman
          ||PhD Candidate, School of Humanities
          ||University of New England
          ||Armidale 2351 Australia
          ||ph: +61 2 6773 3401
          ||mob: 0437 044 579
          ||web: http://judyredman.wordpress.com/
          ||email: jredman2@... <mailto:jredman@...>
          ||
          ||
          ||
          ||
          ||
        • Judy Redman
          Hi Jordan, This is an interesting concept and one with which I m not familiar. I am used to the lion being a symbol of at least nobility. Can you tell me
          Message 4 of 11 , Apr 29, 2010
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            Hi Jordan,



            This is an interesting concept and one with which I'm not familiar. I am
            used to the lion being a symbol of at least nobility. Can you tell me approx
            where in the Tripartite Tractate or a bit more about the wording, please?



            Judy



            --

            Judy Redman
            PhD Candidate, School of Humanities
            University of New England
            Armidale 2351 Australia
            ph: +61 2 6773 3401
            mob: 0437 044 579
            web: http://judyredman.wordpress.com/
            email: <mailto:jredman@...> jredman2@...




            From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
            Jordan Stratford
            Sent: Wednesday, 28 April 2010 11:54 PM
            To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [GTh] Saying 7







            On 27-Apr-10, at 11:25 PM, Judy Redman wrote:



            What problems can you see with this interpretation? And is it any worse than
            any other interpretation of this saying that you've seen?



            The lion is the beast - the lower or hylic self. When consumed by the "man"
            (in this case, the template or ideal, the expression of the individuated,
            pneumatic self) the lower self is redeemed. However, if the lower self
            consumes the higher, then the higher self is debased. A similar teaching is
            in the Tripartite Tractate.



            Jordan
          • ronmccann1@shaw.ca
            Don t know if this helps, much, since I don t recall any other evidence in Thomas that the Thomas users were concerned with the devil/satan, but 1 Peter 5 v
            Message 5 of 11 , Apr 29, 2010
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              Don't know if this helps, much, since I don't recall any other evidence in Thomas that the Thomas users were concerned with the devil/satan, but 1 Peter 5 v 8,9  portrays Satan as a devouring lion. It reads:-
               
              "Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour."
               
              But even when we plug that concept into the saying, it's still just as obscure, unless you postulate a broken Chiasmos.
               
              Apart from  a "Lion of the Tribe of Judah" reference in Revelation 5, v 5, that seems to be the only other NT "lion" reference.
               
              Ron McCann
              Saskatoon, Canada
               
            • Michael Grondin
              ... That seems to be a definite weak spot in this interpretation, since it s hard to see how the Thomasines could have conceived Jesus as being blessed (or
              Message 6 of 11 , Apr 29, 2010
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                Judy wrote:
                > So, if the lion is Jesus, is it possible that what this is saying is
                that
                > when a human being takes Jesus into him/herself voluntarily
                (possibly
                > a Eucharistic reference), then Jesus is blessed?
                 
                That seems to be a definite weak spot in this interpretation, since
                it's hard to see how the Thomasines could have conceived Jesus
                as being blessed (or fortunate) by being consumed by humans.
                 
                > Those, however, who do not take Jesus in voluntarily will be
                cursed at
                > the end of the age when they are consumed by Christ's second
                coming
                > - for them Christ is not redeemer?
                 
                Except that the idea of a future second coming (parousia)
                doesn't seem to have been part of Thomasine thought.
                 
                Now for a couple surveys:
                 
                A. Lions in the NT
                2 Tim 4.16-17:  At my first defense ... the Lord stood with me ...
                and I was delivered out of the lion's mouth.
                 
                1 Pet 5.8:  Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring
                lion, seeking someone to devour.
                 
                Rev - 6 references:
                4.7: (one of four living creatures around the throne)
                5.5: ... the lion of Judah has triumphed ...
                9.8: (the teeth of the locusts were like the teeth of lions)
                9.17: (the horses of the 4 horsemen had the heads of lions)
                10.3: (the angel cried out in a loud voice, like the roar of a lion)
                13.2: (the beast from the sea had a mouth like a lion)
                 
                What seems to be common to all these usages is ferocity. Rev revels
                in the destruction of unbelievers, so it attributes fierceness to Jesus
                (the apparent instigator of that destruction) via the "lion of Judah" phrase.
                One can't maintain, then, that there were _no_ Christian voices using
                the lion as a positive symbol, but in the NT it's limited to Revelation.
                 
                B. Lions in the Nag Hammadi library (not incl Plato & Sextus)
                Apocryphon of John (II,1, III,1, and IV,1)
                "... it changed into the form of a lion-faced serpent. ...
                And she [Sophia] called its name Yaltabaoth."
                 
                Hypostasis of the Archons (II,4)
                "What [Sophia] created ... became an arrogant beast, resembling a lion."
                 
                On the Origin of the World (II,5 and XIII,2)
                (1) (Yaltabaoth, "lion-like in appearance")
                (2) "... 'Ariael' is what the Perfect call him, for he was like a lion."
                (3) Sabaoth, the son of Yaldabaoth, built a throne with 8 shapes on each
                of its four corners, in the forms of lion, calf, human, and eagle
                 
                Obviously, these are three versions of the same myth, but it's striking
                that all three occur in Codex II along with Thomas. Could the folks
                who associated the illegitimately-conceived inferior god of matter
                Yaltabaoth with a lion have swallowed severe dissonance with that view
                in GTh 7? Seems unlikely. Note in particular the reference to "the
                Perfect" above. Presumably, that's the same group of folks to whom
                the Book of Thomas the Contender (II,7) is addressed. That seems
                to establish a connection between Thomasine and more properly
                "Gnostic" schools of thought that, again, would seem to count against
                the suggested possible interpretation of GTh 7.
                (BTW, there's no reference to 'lion' in the Tripartite Tractate.)
                 
                I was also intending to survey 'eating' in GTh, but I think now that
                I'll leave that to another time, as it would disrupt the focus of the
                above surveys, which seem to me to lean heavily toward negative
                connotations of lion symbolism.
                 
                Regards,
                Mike
              • Michael Grondin
                Can other usages of the Coptic word ouwm ( eat ) in Thomas shed some light on the meaning of L.7? That s what this note will attempt to answer. (As usual with
                Message 7 of 11 , Apr 30, 2010
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                  Can other usages of the Coptic word ouwm ('eat') in Thomas shed
                  some light on the meaning of L.7? That's what this note will attempt
                  to answer. (As usual with my usage-surveys, I don't know in advance
                  where this might lead.)
                   
                  The Coptic word in question is used 13 times in 8 sayings (taking
                  L.6A and L.14 to be a single saying.) The following are my own
                  translations:
                   
                  L.7: (as previously quoted, two occurrences)
                   
                  L6.1d: "What edibles should we abstain from?"
                  L14.4-5: "Eat what is set before you. ... For what goes into your
                  mouth won't defile you, but what comes out of it will."
                   
                  L9.4: [The thorns] choked the seed(s) and the worm ate them.
                   
                  L11.3: "When you were eating what is dead, you were making it alive."
                   
                  L60.3: [Why a man with a lamb?] "So that he may kill it and eat it."
                  L60.4: "While it's living, he won't eat it."
                  L60.6: "Find a place of repose for yourselves, so that you don't
                  become corpses and get eaten."
                   
                  L61.2: Salome said ... "... you ate off of my table."
                   
                  L76.3: "Seek after his imperishable treasure where no moth can get
                  in to eat and no worms can get in to destroy."
                   
                  L102: "Woe to the Pharisees, for they're like a dog laying in a manger
                  of oxen; he neither eats nor lets the oxen eat."
                   
                  Looking over this list, it seems to me that L11.3 and L14.5 are most
                  relevant to L7. The two of them together seemingly suggest that what
                  is eaten takes on the character of the eater, rather than vice versa, as
                  in Jewish dietary laws. L14.5 denies that there is any food that can
                  defile the consumer of it, i.e., that the consumer of a food doesn't take
                  on the character of the food, while L11.3 strongly implies the positive
                  side, viz., that a food takes on the character of the eater. STM that
                  this is consistent with the somewhat-differing views of DeConick
                  and Valantasis. So if the "lion", then, in L7, is blessed/fortunate to be
                  consumed by Man, then I would think that it must represent something
                  which is inherently less than Man before being "eaten". Evidently, that
                  rules out the possibility that it might represent Christ or any other
                  divine entity.
                   
                  Mike Grondin
                • Jack Kilmon
                  From: Michael Grondin Sent: Friday, April 30, 2010 12:39 PM To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [GTh] Saying 7 Can other usages of the Coptic word ouwm
                  Message 8 of 11 , Apr 30, 2010
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                    Sent: Friday, April 30, 2010 12:39 PM
                    Subject: Re: [GTh] Saying 7

                    Can other usages of the Coptic word ouwm ('eat') in Thomas shed
                    some light on the meaning of L.7? That's what this note will attempt
                    to answer. (As usual with my usage-surveys, I don't know in advance
                    where this might lead.)
                     
                    The Coptic word in question is used 13 times in 8 sayings (taking
                    L.6A and L.14 to be a single saying.) The following are my own
                    translations:
                     
                    L.7: (as previously quoted, two occurrences)
                     
                    L6.1d: "What edibles should we abstain from?"
                    L14.4-5: "Eat what is set before you. ... For what goes into your
                    mouth won't defile you, but what comes out of it will."
                     
                    L9.4: [The thorns] choked the seed(s) and the worm ate them.
                     
                    L11.3: "When you were eating what is dead, you were making it alive."
                     
                    L60.3: [Why a man with a lamb?] "So that he may kill it and eat it."
                    L60.4: "While it's living, he won't eat it."
                    L60.6: "Find a place of repose for yourselves, so that you don't
                    become corpses and get eaten."
                     
                    L61.2: Salome said ... "... you ate off of my table."
                     
                    L76.3: "Seek after his imperishable treasure where no moth can get
                    in to eat and no worms can get in to destroy."
                     
                    L102: "Woe to the Pharisees, for they're like a dog laying in a manger
                    of oxen; he neither eats nor lets the oxen eat."
                     
                    Looking over this list, it seems to me that L11.3 and L14.5 are most
                    relevant to L7. The two of them together seemingly suggest that what
                    is eaten takes on the character of the eater, rather than vice versa, as
                    in Jewish dietary laws. L14.5 denies that there is any food that can
                    defile the consumer of it, i.e., that the consumer of a food doesn't take
                    on the character of the food, while L11.3 strongly implies the positive
                    side, viz., that a food takes on the character of the eater. STM that
                    this is consistent with the somewhat-differing views of DeConick
                    and Valantasis. So if the "lion", then, in L7, is blessed/fortunate to be
                    consumed by Man, then I would think that it must represent something
                    which is inherently less than Man before being "eaten". Evidently, that
                    rules out the possibility that it might represent Christ or any other
                    divine entity.
                     
                    Mike Grondin
                    The genuine Jesus sayings in Thomas have roots in the same Aramaic and "edibles: are "teachables."
                     
                    Jack Kilmon
                     
                  • Judy Redman
                    Thanks for your two surveys, Mike. I will give them some thought. It s actually something of a side-track to the work I m supposed to be doing on S8. Judy --
                    Message 9 of 11 , Apr 30, 2010
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                      Thanks for your two surveys, Mike. I will give them some thought. It’s actually something of a side-track to the work I’m supposed to be doing on S8.

                       

                      Judy

                       

                      --

                      Judy Redman
                      PhD Candidate, School of Humanities
                      University of New England
                      Armidale 2351 Australia
                      ph:  +61 2 6773 3401
                      mob: 0437 044 579
                      web: 
                       http://judyredman.wordpress.com/
                      email: 
                       jredman2@...
                       

                       

                      From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Michael Grondin
                      Sent: Saturday, 1 May 2010 3:39 AM
                      To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [GTh] Saying 7

                       

                       

                      Can other usages of the Coptic word ouwm ('eat') in Thomas shed

                      some light on the meaning of L.7? That's what this note will attempt

                      to answer. (As usual with my usage-surveys, I don't know in advance

                      where this might lead.)

                       

                      The Coptic word in question is used 13 times in 8 sayings (taking

                      L.6A and L.14 to be a single saying.) The following are my own

                      translations:

                       

                      L.7: (as previously quoted, two occurrences)

                       

                      L6.1d: "What edibles should we abstain from?"

                      L14.4-5: "Eat what is set before you. ... For what goes into your

                      mouth won't defile you, but what comes out of it will."

                       

                      L9.4: [The thorns] choked the seed(s) and the worm ate them.

                       

                      L11.3: "When you were eating what is dead, you were making it alive."

                       

                      L60.3: [Why a man with a lamb?] "So that he may kill it and eat it."

                      L60.4: "While it's living, he won't eat it."

                      L60.6: "Find a place of repose for yourselves, so that you don't

                      become corpses and get eaten."

                       

                      L61.2: Salome said ... "... you ate off of my table."

                       

                      L76.3: "Seek after his imperishable treasure where no moth can get

                      in to eat and no worms can get in to destroy."

                       

                      L102: "Woe to the Pharisees, for they're like a dog laying in a manger

                      of oxen; he neither eats nor lets the oxen eat."

                       

                      Looking over this list, it seems to me that L11.3 and L14.5 are most

                      relevant to L7. The two of them together seemingly suggest that what

                      is eaten takes on the character of the eater, rather than vice versa, as

                      in Jewish dietary laws. L14.5 denies that there is any food that can

                      defile the consumer of it, i.e., that the consumer of a food doesn't take

                      on the character of the food, while L11.3 strongly implies the positive

                      side, viz., that a food takes on the character of the eater. STM that

                      this is consistent with the somewhat-differing views of DeConick

                      and Valantasis. So if the "lion", then, in L7, is blessed/fortunate to be

                      consumed by Man, then I would think that it must represent something

                      which is inherently less than Man before being "eaten". Evidently, that

                      rules out the possibility that it might represent Christ or any other

                      divine entity.

                       

                      Mike Grondin

                    • Judy Redman
                      Rick, I haven t been able to find out just how early the lion/Christ link was. The end-point for Early Christianity tends to shift between 300-400 CE and 1200
                      Message 10 of 11 , Apr 30, 2010
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                        Rick,

                         

                        I haven’t been able to find out just how early the lion/Christ link was. The end-point for Early Christianity tends to shift between 300-400 CE and 1200 CE, depending on who you are.

                         

                        Judy

                         

                        --

                        Judy Redman
                        PhD Candidate, School of Humanities
                        University of New England
                        Armidale 2351 Australia
                        ph:  +61 2 6773 3401
                        mob: 0437 044 579
                        web: 
                         http://judyredman.wordpress.com/
                        email: 
                         jredman2@...
                         

                        Rick says:

                        What I do have, on the other hand, is a general question:

                        With regard to early Christian symbolism, I am virtually uniformed so
                        perhaps a quick "primer" would be helpful. About when did the lion first
                        enter into the early church tradition as a symbol of God incarnate? If it
                        was very, very early could it have been **so** early that such symbology was
                        present even in the earliest decades of the Common Era?


                        ||-----Original Message-----
                        ||From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On
                        ||Behalf Of Judy Redman
                        ||Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 2:25 AM
                        ||To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                        ||Subject: [GTh] Saying 7
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||Seeing there has been a bit of a lull in the conversation, can I have
                        opinions,
                        ||please? I have been working on some sayings at the beginning of the Gospel
                        of
                        ||Thomas, including saying 7, that very strange one about the lion:
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||Jesus said, "Blessed is the lion which becomes man when consumed by man;
                        ||and cursed is the man whom the lion consumes, and the lion becomes man."
                        ||(Lambdin) or the man becomes lion (as is suggested by Nagel, Nordsiek,
                        ||DeConick and others who believe that this order is a copying error)
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||How does the following sound?
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||In my reading, I discovered the following:
                        ||
                        ||Early Christian symbolists made the lion a symbol of God incarnate: its
                        strength in
                        ||front symbolising Christ's divine nature, and its weakness behind
                        symbolising
                        ||Jesus' humanity (see J. Romilly Allen, "Lecture VI: The Medieval
                        Bestiaries (The
                        ||Rhind Lectures in Archaeology for 1885)," in Early Christian Symbolism in
                        Great
                        ||Britain and Ireland before the Thirteenth Century (ed. unknown; (London:
                        ||Whiting & Co., 1887), 334-393, p 8). In representations of the story of
                        Daniel in
                        ||the lions' den (Dan. 6) the lion is conceived as a 'type' of God's
                        redemption of His
                        ||chosen people. ("lion" The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian
                        Church. Ed.
                        ||E. A. Livingstone. Oxford University Press, 2006. Oxford
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||So, if the lion is Jesus, is it possible that what this is saying is that
                        when a human
                        ||being takes Jesus into him/herself voluntarily (possibly a Eucharistic
                        reference),
                        ||then Jesus is blessed? Those, however, who do not take Jesus in
                        voluntarily will
                        ||be cursed at the end of the age when they are consumed by Christ's second
                        ||coming - for them Christ is not redeemer? This seems to me to fit with the
                        notion
                        ||in S3 that the kingdom is within you, not outside etc. It requires a
                        rather non-
                        ||standard understanding of Christ's role at the end of the age, and
                        probably
                        ||works somewhat better with the emendation proposed by Nagel et al.
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||What problems can you see with this interpretation? And is it any worse
                        than any
                        ||other interpretation of this saying that you've seen?
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||Regards
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||Judy
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||--
                        ||
                        ||Judy Redman
                        ||PhD Candidate, School of Humanities
                        ||University of New England
                        ||Armidale 2351 Australia
                        ||ph: +61 2 6773 3401
                        ||mob: 0437 044 579
                        ||web: http://judyredman.wordpress.com/
                        ||email: jredman2@... <mailto:jredman@...>
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||
                        ||

                      • Rick Hubbard
                        JUDY: I actually think that the scientific method is not the most useful way of approaching the analysis of ancient texts in that it starts with an hypothesis
                        Message 11 of 11 , May 1, 2010
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                          JUDY: I actually think that the scientific method is not the most useful way
                          of approaching the analysis of ancient texts in that it starts with an
                          hypothesis which you need to test. I think that having an hypothesis when
                          you approach an ancient text is problematic, because you tend only to see
                          things that support your hypothesis and to interpret things in ways that
                          support your hypothesis. I think it's much better to start with a question
                          like "how are these two texts related?" or "what is this piece of text
                          saying?" which doesn't put fences around your potential conclusions.

                          RICK: Sentence two, above, gets at the heart of the matter, IMO. There is
                          the danger that at all points during the analysis of a text (whether an
                          actual **written** text or one of a more "metaphorical" nature) one tends to
                          wear the presuppositions of the hypothesis as lenses through which one
                          observes the subject at hand. A case in point, with respect to looking at
                          written texts, is the discussion we have been having about the choice of
                          reading the word "usurer" or "good man" in the damaged portion of the MS
                          that is the beginning of L 65. If we step back and look at Patterson's (and
                          Kloppenborg's) overall approach to Thomas it is clear that they are working
                          as social historians. As such, they have in their minds certain conclusions
                          about the historical context in which the sayings collection developed and
                          so it is perhaps understandable (or inevitable?) that they would propose
                          reading "usurer" rather than "good man" because that reading best "fits"
                          with their presuppositions.

                          It seems to me that the propensity to interpret what we see according to the
                          lenses we choose to look through invariably shapes our conclusions about the
                          subject matter, whether the subject matter is, as I said, a written or
                          "metaphorical" text. I think I have mentioned this example before (years
                          ago) but when I lived "out west" there was a wonderful range of hills in the
                          center of the valley where I lived (and they are no doubt still there). I
                          spent a great deal of time in those hills- they were my text that I read
                          whenever I was walking through them From my "reading" I had developed a
                          certain understanding about the hill's "meaning." Now, down the street from
                          where I lived was a big-shot home-builder/land-developer. He had his own
                          interpretation of the meaning of those same hills. He had in fact exerted
                          much time and money describing the hills as he saw them by creating sets of
                          highly detailed plans and conceptual drawings for an upscale housing
                          development. Clearly, our interpretations were radically different. Who
                          could judge which reading was correct?

                          BOB: <snip> I think it is often a most excellent idea to have a hypothesis
                          to test when approaching the issues posed by ancient texts. It can lead to
                          clarity of thought, and pushes one to be more precise in one's arguments.

                          This is the proverbial "other side of the coin". It is virtually impossible
                          to investigate a text (or any subject for that matter) unless one
                          pre-defines, at some level, what one hopes to see. When I misplace my car
                          keys (a more or less regular occurrence) and begin looking for them I see
                          many other things during my search but I ignore them all because what I want
                          to see are my car keys. So, when we look at sets of texts in search of
                          "relationships" how likely is it that we are going to see anything other
                          than relationships? But, on the other hand if we are just browsing, not
                          looking for anything in particular, how likely is it that we would recognize
                          the most obvious word-for-word connections between two otherwise unrelated
                          texts?

                          Hypotheses are, of course, a necessary part of "the Path to Truth and
                          Beauty" or less noble sounding destinations such as the general advancement
                          of collective understanding. It seems to me, then that the prudent thing to
                          do is to be keenly aware of what the hypothesis is and to be willing to
                          modify it as circumstances warrant. Not doing so could result in overlooking
                          a misplaced twenty-dollar bill while searching for a set of car keys.

                          Rick Hubbard
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