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Re: [GTh] Paralleomania (Revisited)

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  • Adrian
    Hi Rick, There does indeed seem to be a subjective logic with which textual parallels are typically identified by scholars (including _The Complete Gospels_)
    Message 1 of 16 , Jun 15, 2010
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      Hi Rick,

      There does indeed seem to be a subjective logic with which textual parallels are typically identified by scholars (including _The Complete Gospels_) and I have not come across any (including Patterson's _The Gospel of Thomas and Jesus_) who set out an empirical basis for their identifications. Parallels have a kind of self-evidential existence, and we argue less about their identification than we do about what their existence means.

      Some kind of empirical classification system for identifying and quantifying the degree to which two texts are similar could be useful, and if we could empirically determine directionality! Sounds like a project that could have wider applications, and one I am keen to be involved in. But I think Rick is right in that the classification of text needs to be operating on many different levels linguistic levels, and the task is perhaps fraught with risk from some of those factors you have noted (textual integrity, how representative is the extant copy of what we have of what was in circulation). I think we also need to put some considerable doubt on just how delicate that analysis can be when we are dealing with texts which are translations (like Coptic Thomas from a Greek 'original') due to the lack of equivalence (which can affect clausal construction and cohesive qualities).

      Have more to say re: your 3 questions.
      Adrian Millar
    • Maurice
      ... I think we also need to put some considerable doubt on just how delicate that analysis can be when we are dealing with texts which are translations (like
      Message 2 of 16 , Jun 15, 2010
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        --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Adrian" <millaradrian@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi Rick, etc., etc .... and ending with :

        " I think we also need to put some considerable doubt on just how delicate that analysis can be when we are dealing with texts which are translations (like Coptic Thomas from a Greek 'original') due to the lack of equivalence (which can affect clausal construction and cohesive qualities)."


        Hello Adrian ....

        In your closing statement (above), you leave the impression that Coptic Thomas necessarily came from "a Greek original" ... (likely the Grenfell and Hunt discovery of the late 1800s at Oxyrhynchus) which many would share your belief in, but which others would challenge as having come from a Syriac (Aramaic ?) original for several reasons including semantics, ethymology and "tournures de phrase" etc.

        If you have a moment could you expand a bit on the idea of a necessary Greek original for Coptic Thomas, and might you know or have views as to if the Coptic came from the "Grenfield and Hunt Greek version" (as opposed to some other / lesser known Greek version) what might have motivated the translators of Coptic Thomas to completely omit the logion making reference to "Jesus said: "Thou hearest with one ear, [but the other thou has closed]."

        Regards and thanks,

        Maurice Cormier
      • Michael Grondin
        ... That s a new one on me, Maurice. It sounds like the Grenfell-Hunt antiquated wording alright, but I can t locate it. Is it perhaps an early (and erroneous)
        Message 3 of 16 , Jun 16, 2010
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          > ... what might have motivated the translators of Coptic Thomas
          > to completely omit the logion making reference to "Jesus said:
          > "Thou hearest with one ear, [but the other thou has closed]."

          That's a new one on me, Maurice. It sounds like the Grenfell-Hunt
          antiquated wording alright, but I can't locate it. Is it perhaps an
          early (and erroneous) reconstruction of the first part of L.33?
          (If so, then of course it wasn't omitted from the Coptic. Anyway,
          there are far less questionable differences between the Coptic
          and Greek, so this isn't crucial to your point, but can you provide
          a link to your source? In general, though, I think the G-H reconstructions
          haven't been considered reliable since the Coptic text was found.)

          Mike G.
        • Michael Grondin
          Hi Ian, Thanks for confirming my suspicion about the saying in question. ... It s not clear to me why you would want to rule out the possibility that the
          Message 4 of 16 , Jun 16, 2010
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            Hi Ian,

            Thanks for confirming my suspicion about the saying in question.
            But your last sentence leaves me puzzled:

            > I am also of the opinion that the Greek is the original, and that
            > it was as similar as can be with the Oxyrhynchus fragments.

            It's not clear to me why you would want to rule out the possibility that
            the differences between the Greek fragments and the Coptic text
            were due to differences between the fragments and the hypothetical
            Greek source (HGS), but in any case, doing so would of course
            necessarily imply that the HGS would have the same differences with
            the Coptic as do the fragments, including:

            1. Difference in the form of Thomas' name in the Prologue.
            (The Coptic form of the name apparently suggesting Syriac origin.)

            2. Coptic missing the last clause of the Greek L.2.

            3. Coptic missing major parts of the Greek L.36.

            4. Displacement of part of Gk L.30 to Coptic L.77

            The last three of the above could be (though you've ruled it out)
            differences between the HGS and the fragments, but it seems
            unlikely that the first could be.

            Regards,
            Mike G.
          • Adrian
            Greetings Maurice, Thankyou for your comments and question on the necessary Greek original for the Gospel of Thomas. I retract that suggestion on the basis
            Message 5 of 16 , Jun 17, 2010
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              Greetings Maurice,

              Thankyou for your comments and question on the necessary Greek original for the Gospel of Thomas. I retract that suggestion on the basis that is was my assumption.

              I think the debate over questions of what constitutes evidence of preserving some primordeal pristine original, beit Greek, Syriac, Aramaic, or whatever, underpins my suggestion that we need to establish an agreed methodogy for testing hypotheses about the original language, structure and content of the Gospel of Thomas.

              I will suggest, however, that there are perhaps unsurmountable difficulties, two off the top of my head: the small evidence base of sources (NH Codex II and 3 Oxyrhynchus fragment sources + Hyppolytus pehaps), and the necessary consideration for the creative potential of the copyists and translator(s) in producing these extant copies and those that went before them.

              Kind regards,
              Adrian Millar
            • Adrian
              Hello Rick, Sorry to take so long to follow up. Your post was though provoking. In reply to your questions Rick wrote: First, what value (if any) would derive
              Message 6 of 16 , Jun 17, 2010
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                Hello Rick,

                Sorry to take so long to follow up. Your post was though provoking.

                In reply to your questions

                Rick wrote: "First, what value (if any) would derive from a more detailed way of citing parallels?"

                The value derivable from a more detailed way of citing parallels depends upon the quality of the analysis underpinning the assignment of 'parallelism', which is dependent upon the answer to your second question.

                Rick wrote: "Second, what is the catalogue of properties that should be assessed when textual correlations are proposed?"

                This is where the going gets tough. I propose we begin with establishing the extra-linguistic features from material evidence(for example, date of the extant copies, choices of writing materials and tecniques, provenance of the extant copies, method of preservation of extant copies prior to discovery). These features assist in analyzing the context of situation for the creation of the extant texts. The advantage of beginning here I think is in that it delimits the impact of the copyists' context of situation upon his or her linguistic choices (language group and dialect choices, graphology, idiomatic and grammatically constrained expressions).

                Secondly, I propose we analyze the texts at the lexico-grammatical levels. We begin at the word level, tagging each item as being utilized in the word group or phrase, tag the word groups and phrases as they function within each clause, tag the mood, modality, and polarity of each clause.

                We then tag the process types, participant types, and circumstance types as they function within each clause. It is also at this level that we need to come to an agreement on the pool of synonyms likely available to the copyist of each text, especially important when analyzing texts differing in language group choice.

                We then tag clauses in terms of how they are grammatically arranged into clusters of clauses (hypotactic and paratactic categories, embeddings, use of ellipsis).

                Thirdly we compare this data for our proposed parallels and quantify features in common and not, and measure them against an agreed standard for variation and directionality (if possible!) - this is no doubt the most controversial element of what i propose, and i do not claim to have a standard developed ready to roll; but i am very interested.

                More to come on rhetorical discourse issues, but have a 'living' child demanding I take to the park!


                Kind regards,

                Adrian Millar
              • Richard Hubbard
                Hi Adrian In general, at first reading anyway, the approach you suggest strikes me as being more complex than is necessary but I m not quite ready to make my
                Message 7 of 16 , Jun 18, 2010
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                  Hi Adrian

                  In general, at first reading anyway, the approach you suggest strikes me
                  as being more complex than is necessary but I'm not quite ready to make
                  my own proposal for such an undertaking since I have a **lot** more
                  reading to do before I can even begin to identify where the weak points
                  are in present methodology.

                  I can however give some general hints about how I think the process
                  works now. So far as I have been able to determine, there are 3 distinct
                  phases (or steps) involved, although I doubt whether researchers are
                  actually aware that they working systematically.

                  Phase 1 is the SELECTION phase. This is simple enough. Place two texts
                  side by side and objectively identify their features. Minimally these
                  features include: Scope (where the text begins and ends for each
                  pericope); Language (e.g., Greek Coptic, Hebrew or Klingon); Vocabulary
                  (lexical inventory); Grammar (inflectional and conjugational
                  properties); Syntax (the arrangement of the vocabulary into meaningful
                  structures) and compositional integrity (the presence of uncertain,
                  emended or doubtful readings).

                  Phase II is the ANALYTICAL phase. This is nothing more than an empirical
                  comparison of the two texts' Features. It is simply a series of
                  questions in this format: 'Does "Feature X" of "Text A" match "Feature
                  X" of "Text B"?' The answers will **always** be Yes or No.

                  Phase III is the ASSESSMENT phase. This is where the rubber meets the
                  road. Here one begins to make judgments about the significance of the
                  data accumulated in the preceding phase and to consider features that
                  are not innate in the texts themselves (e.g., form-critical traits,
                  provenance extra-textual directionality, ideological characteristics and
                  thematic reference).

                  As I said at the outset, I'm not quite sure where the weak spot is in
                  this process (or that I have even described it correctly) however I
                  suspect what it boils down to is that inadequate attention is given to
                  phase II (there is a rush to get to the ASSESSMENT phase, in other
                  words)

                  More on this at a later date, but at the same time maybe we need to
                  think about whether the bulk of the conversation should be carried on
                  off-list.

                  Rick Hubbard
                • Maurice
                  Hello Rick and Adrian …. … re your off-list suggestion (below) , I certainly hope that the two of you don t decide to go underground with your most
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jun 20, 2010
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                    Hello Rick and Adrian ….


                    … re your "off-list" suggestion (below) , I certainly hope that the two of you don't decide to "go underground" with your most interesting and fascinating discussion.

                    Having done a good deal of translation professionally over the years, I am not certain that your 3-phase process about text comparisons is quite complete just yet, but perhaps I can help you a bit with Rick's sense in stating that "I have a **lot** more reading to do before I can even begin to identify where the weak points are in present methodology."

                    May I submit that translations are often much more than a simple conveyance of meaning as some people might imagine. For example, a simple STOP sign (one word) might reasonably be translated into another language by the use of another single word. (Arrêt, Halt, Fermata, Parada, Uppehall, Opshtel etc). Having said that, a "sentence" or a logion requires a bit more than the mere transposition of a single word in one language to be expressed and passed on in another language … What in turn it requires is "subjectivity" (which I suspect you may be getting at in your SELECTION PHASE when you speak of Grammar, Syntax etc. .

                    One major problem which will be encountered at this stage is to both understand and translate just what the original scrivener "meant to say" when he / she wrote the original (or heard the original quote) being translated, notwithstanding the actual translation presented in any subsequent parallels written before or even after. For example, just about every translation of Thomas translates "sanah" by the word "hate". Bad choice … "sanah" can indeed mean "hate", but it can also mean "leave behind" or "not return to" . Upon rereading Thomas #6, 43, 55 and 68, (to one who understands the deeper meaning of Thomas and not to a mere translator who might not), it becomes obvious that "sanah" should not be pervasively translated by the word "hate" but rather sometimes by the expression "leave behind" as in "Do not tell lies, and do not return to your former ways ... or the things which you have left behind." (i.e … do not do what you "now hate"). Think of it … "55 – "Whoever does not hate his father and mother cannot become my disciple…". I rather suspect ther true meaning is / was "- Whoever does not "leave behind" his father and mother for my sake" and take up his cross in my way will not be worthy of me …" In fact, in this same Logion the word "Saliba" (cross) should also be looked at very closely in this respect … because indeed, "saliba" in Aramaic (the source of the logionno doubt) moreso implies the idea of "difficulty" or "strength" (or yet "personal demand on one's self") than it does wooden cross or "crucifix". (i.e. one "carries a cross" as one carries a difficulty) the truer meaning of Logion 101 then, is much likelier" -"Jesus said: He who does not leave behind his (earthly) father and mother cannot become a disciple of mine, and he who does not leave behind his earthly brothers and sisters while accepting personal demands and difficulties on himself (as I am doing) will not be worthy of me."

                    In the case of Logion 101, however, because it is pretty clear that the meaning of "sanah" is indeed "hate" (hate your earthly /material / carnal mother as oppose to your spiritual / godly (monakos mother) etc. the word "hate" is seemingly appropriate.


                    The difficulty which your model will then have to take into account, will be the subjectivity of the "original text" being translated, and the translation bias which the schrivener may have built into it from his own (subjective) perspective, let alone that of the later translator or "elucidator" (is that a word ???). The above, of course, are not unusual realities in religious texts …. Viz, for example Matt 19:24 wherein for centuries, translators from the Aramaic have had Jesus saying: "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." In Aramaic the word "gamla" is indeed a word often used to signify a camel. However, it is also a word which is commonly used to describe a "cable" or a "large rope". While one must respect and accept the toil and expertise of early translators in their work, it seems much more likely (to me at least) that Jesus' intended message in the above passage from Matthew was to suggest that it is more difficult for a "cable" or "large rope" to be threaded into the eye of a needle than it is for a "camel" to pass enter or be threaded through it.

                    A second major difficulty which your model will then have to somehow take into account, is what is commonly called "polish" in the translation trade. Simply translating texts "verbatim" (word for word) is not usually acceptable for learned translators today. No doubt early on, translators would have been pressured for similar renditions. For this reason, translators are (today especially) expected to "get to the true meaning of the original text" and not simply indicate what the text "says" …. Big difference ! This means that your model is going to have to identify early on what the bias language or belief system of the translator is, and take it into account when he / she officially translates the text. (very difficult indeed) … if the text was meant to be food for thought to Christians, Islamists, Jews, etc etc. Accordingly, what was the "slant of choice" used by the translator to make the text warm and inviting to such individual "target listeners" ….

                    Using Logion 23 as an example ( Jesus said, "I shall choose you, one out of a thousand, and two out of ten thousand, and they shall stand as a single one."), a Christian translator could well reason that these are words consistent with several New Testament renderings wherein Jesus suggests that "Many are called and few are chosen" or again "it is very difficult to enter the Kingdom of God …" . He /she might then want to polish this logion with some sort of slant in a Christian direction and without due regard for the original intent of the scrivener. Having said this, the essence of logion 23 is very likely Mandean, and not Jewish or Christian or otherwise. The reason for this is that in Mandean mythology, there existed a uthra or angel who "weighs souls" at death's gate in order to determine if those arriving were worthy of entering the Kingdom. His name was Abathur, and tradition has it that only "one in a thousand and two in ten thousand" makes it past him and achieves "liberation" from the material world to the hereafter. The above logion is thus a very likely reminder (and target statement) of this belief which emphasizes the paucity of souls entering "the Kingdom" to or for Mandean (and not Christian or Jewish or Islamic) audiences.

                    My suggestion is thus also that the Gospel of Thomas is rife with such translation difficulties, and that again here, your model is going to have to find a way to vacuum both the original and target texts to show if parallels truly exist between them …

                    Clearly, a Lotta Hard Work Ahead for you both, and Good Luck in treading the labyrinth which is Thomas. ! Keep us all posted !


                    Maurice Cormier


                    -------------------------------------------------------------
                    Original Message ....


                    Hi Adrian

                    In general, at first reading anyway, the approach you suggest strikes me
                    as being more complex than is necessary but I'm not quite ready to make
                    my own proposal for such an undertaking since I have a **lot** more
                    reading to do before I can even begin to identify where the weak points
                    are in present methodology.

                    I can however give some general hints about how I think the process
                    works now. So far as I have been able to determine, there are 3 distinct
                    phases (or steps) involved, although I doubt whether researchers are
                    actually aware that they working systematically.

                    Phase 1 is the SELECTION phase. This is simple enough. Place two texts
                    side by side and objectively identify their features. Minimally these
                    features include: Scope (where the text begins and ends for each
                    pericope); Language (e.g., Greek Coptic, Hebrew or Klingon); Vocabulary
                    (lexical inventory); Grammar (inflectional and conjugational
                    properties); Syntax (the arrangement of the vocabulary into meaningful
                    structures) and compositional integrity (the presence of uncertain,
                    emended or doubtful readings).

                    Phase II is the ANALYTICAL phase. This is nothing more than an empirical
                    comparison of the two texts' Features. It is simply a series of
                    questions in this format: 'Does "Feature X" of "Text A" match "Feature
                    X" of "Text B"?' The answers will **always** be Yes or No.

                    Phase III is the ASSESSMENT phase. This is where the rubber meets the
                    road. Here one begins to make judgments about the significance of the
                    data accumulated in the preceding phase and to consider features that
                    are not innate in the texts themselves (e.g., form-critical traits,
                    provenance extra-textual directionality, ideological characteristics and
                    thematic reference).

                    As I said at the outset, I'm not quite sure where the weak spot is in
                    this process (or that I have even described it correctly) however I
                    suspect what it boils down to is that inadequate attention is given to
                    phase II (there is a rush to get to the ASSESSMENT phase, in other
                    words)

                    More on this at a later date, but at the same time maybe we need to
                    think about whether the bulk of the conversation should be carried on
                    off-list.

                    Rick Hubbard
                  • Michael Grondin
                    Maurice, I don t pretend to speak for Rick, but my impression is that his project does not address your interests, which seem to be in uncovering the original
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jun 20, 2010
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                      Maurice,

                      I don't pretend to speak for Rick, but my impression is that
                      his project does not address your interests, which seem to
                      be in uncovering the original words of Jesus (good luck with
                      that.) Since there's no Aramaic text, there's no Aramaic stuff
                      to find parallels with, hence back-translating into Aramaic
                      doesn't seem to have any relevance to Rick's project.

                      I did want to question you about one statement you made, and
                      also to suggest that you and others follow the practice of citing
                      the source of quoted material. Your statement was this:

                      > ... tradition has it that only "one in a thousand and two in ten
                      > thousand" makes it past [Abathur] and achieves "liberation"
                      > from the material world to the hereafter.

                      DeConick cites Mandaean Prayers, 90, but her quote is this:

                      "He chose one out of a thousand, and from two thousand,
                      he chose two." (TOGTT, p.119 - not clear who "he" is)

                      Two out of 2000, not two out of 10000. Are you citing a
                      different passage, or are you going from memory?

                      Mike G.
                    • Richard Hubbard
                      Maurice s comments are exactly why I m hesitant to engage in discussions on-list about the way in which correlated texts are decreed to be parallels: in
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jun 21, 2010
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                        Maurice's comments are exactly why I'm hesitant to engage in discussions on-list about the way in which correlated texts are decreed to be parallels: in general, discussions about methodology go far beyond the interests of this list and it is all the more so when the parameters of the dialogue are not established.

                        Now, more specifically, Maurice misses the point of my earlier (preliminary) remarks. First, "translation issues" are completely irrelevant to the SELECTION phase. At this point one simply describes the features of the texts. If both texts are written in the same language that fact is noted. If they are **not** written in the same language, to designate one as a translation of the other prejudges the relationship between the two texts (in other words, it **pre-supposes** a relationship). Moreover, if the two texts **are not** written in the same language it seems to beg the question of whether it is appropriate to call the texts "parallels" in the first place. This, for example:

                        |One major problem which will be encountered at this stage is to both understand and
                        |translate just what the original scrivener "meant to say" when he / she wrote the
                        |original (or heard the original quote) being translated, notwithstanding the actual
                        |translation presented in any subsequent parallels written before or even after.

                        As I've said- more on this later.

                        Rick Hubbard

                        |-----Original Message-----
                        |From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com]
                        |Sent: Sunday, June 20, 2010 4:14 PM
                        |To: Richard Hubbard; gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                        |Subject: Re: [GTh] Paralleomania (Revisited)
                        |Importance: Low
                        |
                        |
                        |
                        |
                        |Hello Rick and Adrian ....
                        |
                        |... re your "off-list" suggestion (below) , I certainly hope that the two of you don't
                        |decide to "go underground" with your most interesting and fascinating discussion.
                        |
                        |Having done a good deal of translation professionally over the years, I am not certain
                        |that your 3-phase process about text comparisons is quite complete just yet, but
                        |perhaps I can help you a bit with Rick's sense in stating that "I have a **lot** more
                        |reading to do before I can even begin to identify where the weak points are in present
                        |methodology."
                        |
                        |May I submit that translations are often much more than a simple conveyance of
                        |meaning as some people might imagine. For example, a simple STOP sign (one
                        |word) might reasonably be translated into another language by the use of another
                        |single word.
                        |(Arrêt, Halt, Fermata, Parada, Uppehall, Opshtel etc). Having said that, a "sentence"
                        |or a logion requires a bit more than the mere transposition of a single word in one
                        |language to be expressed and passed on in another language ... What in turn it
                        |requires is "subjectivity" (which I suspect you may be getting at in your SELECTION
                        |PHASE when you speak of Grammar, Syntax etc. .
                        |
                        |One major problem which will be encountered at this stage is to both understand and
                        |translate just what the original scrivener "meant to say" when he / she wrote the
                        |original (or heard the original quote) being translated, notwithstanding the actual
                        |translation presented in any subsequent parallels written before or even after. For
                        |example, just about every translation of Thomas translates "sanah" by the word
                        |"hate". Bad choice ... "sanah" can indeed mean "hate", but it can also mean "leave
                        |behind" or "not return to" . Upon rereading Thomas #6, 43, 55 and 68, (to one who
                        |understands the deeper meaning of Thomas and not to a mere translator who might
                        |not), it becomes obvious that "sanah" should not be pervasively translated by the
                        |word "hate" but rather sometimes by the expression "leave behind" as in "Do not tell
                        |lies, and do not return to your former ways ... or the things which you have left
                        |behind." (i.e ... do not do what you "now hate"). Think of it ... "55 - "Whoever does
                        |not hate his father and mother cannot become my disciple...". I rather suspect ther
                        |true meaning is / was "- Whoever does not "leave behind" his father and mother for
                        |my sake" and take up his cross in my way will not be worthy of me ..." In fact, in this
                        |same Logion the word "Saliba" (cross) should also be looked at very closely in this
                        |respect ... because indeed, "saliba" in Aramaic (the source of the logionno doubt)
                        |moreso implies the idea of "difficulty" or "strength" (or yet "personal demand on one's
                        |self") than it does wooden cross or "crucifix". (i.e. one "carries a cross" as one carries
                        |a difficulty) the truer meaning of Logion 101 then, is much likelier" -"Jesus said: He
                        |who does not leave behind his (earthly) father and mother cannot become a disciple
                        |of mine, and he who does not leave behind his earthly brothers and sisters while
                        |accepting personal demands and difficulties on himself (as I am doing) will not be
                        |worthy of me."
                        |
                        |In the case of Logion 101, however, because it is pretty clear that the meaning of
                        |"sanah" is indeed "hate" (hate your earthly /material / carnal mother as oppose to
                        |your spiritual / godly (monakos mother) etc. the word "hate" is seemingly appropriate.
                        |
                        |
                        |The difficulty which your model will then have to take into account, will be the
                        |subjectivity of the "original text" being translated, and the translation bias which the
                        |schrivener may have built into it from his own (subjective) perspective, let alone that
                        |of the later translator or "elucidator" (is that a word ???). The above, of course, are
                        |not unusual realities in religious texts .... Viz, for example Matt 19:24 wherein for
                        |centuries, translators from the Aramaic have had Jesus saying:
                        |"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a
                        |rich man to enter the kingdom of God." In Aramaic the word "gamla" is indeed a word
                        |often used to signify a camel. However, it is also a word which is commonly used to
                        |describe a "cable" or a "large rope". While one must respect and accept the toil and
                        |expertise of early translators in their work, it seems much more likely (to me at least)
                        |that Jesus' intended message in the above passage from Matthew was to suggest
                        |that it is more difficult for a "cable" or "large rope" to be threaded into the eye of a
                        |needle than it is for a "camel" to pass enter or be threaded through it.
                        |
                        |A second major difficulty which your model will then have to somehow take into
                        |account, is what is commonly called "polish" in the translation trade. Simply
                        |translating texts "verbatim" (word for word) is not usually acceptable for learned
                        |translators today. No doubt early on, translators would have been pressured for
                        |similar renditions. For this reason, translators are (today especially) expected to "get
                        |to the true meaning of the original text" and not simply indicate what the text "says"
                        |.... Big difference ! This means that your model is going to have to identify early on
                        |what the bias language or belief system of the translator is, and take it into account
                        |when he / she officially translates the text. (very difficult indeed) ... if the text was
                        |meant to be food for thought to Christians, Islamists, Jews, etc etc. Accordingly, what
                        |was the "slant of choice" used by the translator to make the text warm and inviting to
                        |such individual "target listeners" ....
                        |
                        |Using Logion 23 as an example ( Jesus said, "I shall choose you, one out of a
                        |thousand, and two out of ten thousand, and they shall stand as a single one."), a
                        |Christian translator could well reason that these are words consistent with several
                        |New Testament renderings wherein Jesus suggests that "Many are called and few
                        |are chosen" or again "it is very difficult to enter the Kingdom of God ..." . He /she
                        |might then want to polish this logion with some sort of slant in a Christian direction
                        |and without due regard for the original intent of the scrivener. Having said this, the
                        |essence of logion 23 is very likely Mandean, and not Jewish or Christian or
                        |otherwise. The reason for this is that in Mandean mythology, there existed a uthra or
                        |angel who "weighs souls" at death's gate in order to determine if those arriving were
                        |worthy of entering the Kingdom. His name was Abathur, and tradition has it that only
                        |"one in a thousand and two in ten thousand" makes it past him and achieves
                        |"liberation" from the material world to the hereafter. The above logion is thus a very
                        |likely reminder (and target statement) of this belief which emphasizes the paucity of
                        |souls entering "the Kingdom" to or for Mandean (and not Christian or Jewish or
                        |Islamic) audiences.
                        |
                        |My suggestion is thus also that the Gospel of Thomas is rife with such translation
                        |difficulties, and that again here, your model is going to have to find a way to vacuum
                        |both the original and target texts to show if parallels truly exist between them ...
                        |
                        |Clearly, a Lotta Hard Work Ahead for you both, and Good Luck in treading the
                        |labyrinth which is Thomas. ! Keep us all posted !
                        |
                        |
                        |Maurice Cormier
                        |
                        |----------------------------------------------------------
                        |Original Message ....
                        |
                        |Hi Adrian
                        |
                        |In general, at first reading anyway, the approach you suggest strikes me as being
                        |more complex than is necessary but I'm not quite ready to make my own proposal
                        |for such an undertaking since I have a **lot** more reading to do before I can even
                        |begin to identify where the weak points are in present methodology.
                        |
                        |I can however give some general hints about how I think the process works now. So
                        |far as I have been able to determine, there are 3 distinct phases (or steps) involved,
                        |although I doubt whether researchers are actually aware that they working
                        |systematically.
                        |
                        |Phase 1 is the SELECTION phase. This is simple enough. Place two texts side by
                        |side and objectively identify their features. Minimally these features include: Scope
                        |(where the text begins and ends for each pericope); Language (e.g., Greek Coptic,
                        |Hebrew or Klingon); Vocabulary (lexical inventory); Grammar (inflectional and
                        |conjugational properties); Syntax (the arrangement of the vocabulary into meaningful
                        |structures) and compositional integrity (the presence of uncertain, emended or
                        |doubtful readings).
                        |
                        |Phase II is the ANALYTICAL phase. This is nothing more than an empirical
                        |comparison of the two texts' Features. It is simply a series of questions in this format:
                        |'Does "Feature X" of "Text A" match "Feature X" of "Text B"?' The answers will
                        |**always** be Yes or No.
                        |
                        |Phase III is the ASSESSMENT phase. This is where the rubber meets the road. Here
                        |one begins to make judgments about the significance of the data accumulated in the
                        |preceding phase and to consider features that are not innate in the texts themselves
                        |(e.g., form-critical traits, provenance extra-textual directionality, ideological
                        |characteristics and thematic reference).
                        |
                        |As I said at the outset, I'm not quite sure where the weak spot is in this process (or
                        |that I have even described it correctly) however I suspect what it boils down to is that
                        |inadequate attention is given to phase II (there is a rush to get to the ASSESSMENT
                        |phase, in other
                        |words)
                        |
                        |More on this at a later date, but at the same time maybe we need to think about
                        |whether the bulk of the conversation should be carried on off-list.
                        |
                        |Rick Hubbard
                        |
                        |
                        |
                        |
                        |
                      • jmgcormier
                        Hello Mike .... Perhaps you might ask DeConick to double check her source as well. Mine is from the Nag Hammadi Library (the Pistis Sophia) as per the Book of
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jun 21, 2010
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                          Hello Mike ....

                          Perhaps you might ask DeConick to double check her source as well.
                          Mine is from the Nag Hammadi Library (the Pistis Sophia) as per the Book of Yew (Book 4, Chap 132 .... viz)

                          "The Saviour answered and said unto Mary: "I say unto you: They will find one in a thousand and two in ten-thousand for the accomplishment of the mystery of the First Mystery. This will I tell unto you when I have explained to you the expansion of the universe. For this cause, therefore, I have rent myself asunder and have brought" (... no two from two thousand here .... )

                          As for the Mandaens and other related texts, (if you're up to a little homework sometime) you might want to also check out various Mandean (laity) and nazorean (priestly class) texts... in particular, the Diwan Abathur ....


                          Cheers !

                          Maurice

                          --------------------------------------------------------------

                          --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Maurice,
                          >
                          > I don't pretend to speak for Rick, but my impression is that
                          > his project does not address your interests, which seem to
                          > be in uncovering the original words of Jesus (good luck with
                          > that.) Since there's no Aramaic text, there's no Aramaic stuff
                          > to find parallels with, hence back-translating into Aramaic
                          > doesn't seem to have any relevance to Rick's project.
                          >
                          > I did want to question you about one statement you made, and
                          > also to suggest that you and others follow the practice of citing
                          > the source of quoted material. Your statement was this:
                          >
                          > > ... tradition has it that only "one in a thousand and two in ten
                          > > thousand" makes it past [Abathur] and achieves "liberation"
                          > > from the material world to the hereafter.
                          >
                          > DeConick cites Mandaean Prayers, 90, but her quote is this:
                          >
                          > "He chose one out of a thousand, and from two thousand,
                          > he chose two." (TOGTT, p.119 - not clear who "he" is)
                          >
                          > Two out of 2000, not two out of 10000. Are you citing a
                          > different passage, or are you going from memory?
                          >
                          > Mike G.
                          >
                        • Michael Grondin
                          ... Well this is baffling. The material I quoted from your earlier note was in a paragraph where you were talking about _Mandaean_ tradition. Now you quote
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jun 21, 2010
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                            Maurice wrote:
                            > [My source] is from the Nag Hammadi Library (the Pistis Sophia)
                            > as per the Book of Yew (Book 4, Chap 132 .... viz)

                            Well this is baffling. The material I quoted from your earlier note was
                            in a paragraph where you were talking about _Mandaean_ tradition.
                            Now you quote from the Pistis Sophia, which is NOT a Mandaean text?
                            And in the same breath you mention another book the connection of
                            which to either one is totally unclear? This doesn't make any sense.

                            > As for the Mandaens and other related texts, (if you're up to a little
                            > homework sometime) you might want to also check out various
                            > Mandean (laity) and nazorean (priestly class) texts... in particular,
                            > the Diwan Abathur ....

                            No, it's not up to others to find the source of your quote, it's up to you
                            to give it. Even more so since the accuracy of the quote has been
                            brought into question, because if the quote is inaccurate, no one will
                            ever find it. And just to remind - you said it was from _Mandaean_
                            tradition, so you will need to cite a _Mandaean_ text. If it's online,
                            and you can find the quote in question, just provide a link to it and
                            we'll all be happy. Either that or admit that you misquoted.

                            Mike
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