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GTh 48

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  • George
    Consider these two very similar sayings: GTh 48 Jesus said, If two make peace with each other in this one house, they will say to the mountain, Move away,
    Message 1 of 13 , Apr 3 4:13 PM
      Consider these two very similar sayings:

      GTh 48
      Jesus said, "If two make peace with each other in this one house, they will say to the mountain, 'Move away,' and it will move away."

      GTh 106
      Jesus said, "When you make the two one, you will become the sons of man, and when you say, 'Mountain, move away,' it will move away."

      For you Coptic experts, let me ask you if the following rendering of GTh 48 works grammatically:

      Jesus said, "If two make peace with each other in this *house of oneness*, they will say to the mountain, 'Move away,' and it will move away."

      I, of course, have simply changed, "one house" to "house of oneness." I wonder if this is an acceptable translation. "House of one," strictly speaking, might be better, but the concept of oneness might well have been intended. I say this because in the almost identical GTh 106 version, oneness, or the union of two into one, is very much the focus of the saying.

      In its present form, GTh 48 seems to be saying that there is tremendous power in two making peace in a dwelling, a family, a tribe or possibly a country or religion. GTh 106 doesn't limit this power to any of these groups. It seems to be available to anyone. So perhaps a limited understanding of the writer's employment of the word, "house" might be questioned. One other use of the word is found in the familiar GTh 71:

      Jesus said, "I shall [destroy this] house, and no one will be able to build it [...]"

      The John 2:19-21 version tells us that this was not a reference to the temple, but to the body of Jesus. However, the body of Jesus explanation doesn't seem to work in GTh 48. A better explanation for me would be that the word "house" is a symbolic structuring of an all encompassing belief system. Based on what he says in this gospel as a whole, the belief system that Jesus wants to destroy in GTh 71 is one that is opposed to unity, to forgiveness, to peace, in short, opposed to his core teachings. On the other hand, the house or belief system, mentioned in GTh 48, supports his teachings and harbors great power. So, we have here the same word used to suggest two opposing belief systems, one enormously powerful, the other worthy of destruction.

      Whether or not you accept my house as belief system theory, my question is really about the acceptable translation of "one house" as "house of oneness." This small adjustment then clarifies its meaning: If two make peace with each other in the belief that they are truly one is spirit, then they will experience power. Making this adjustment also brings it into alignment with GTh 106 and other familiar Thomas sayings about making the two one. This seems to be a major theme of this gospel.

      So GTh 48 has nothing to do with worldly structures, but about a mental structure that shelters a belief in the fundamental unity of all life with its creator. Thanks.

      George Duffy
      Corvallis
    • M.W. Grondin
      [George Duffy wrote:] ... Sure, but it seems to me that L48 is already pretty clear about that. I don t see how house of one(ness) would make that any
      Message 2 of 13 , Apr 3 11:34 PM
        [George Duffy wrote:]
        > ... my question is really about the acceptable translation of
        "one house" as "house of oneness."
        > This small adjustment then clarifies its meaning: If two make
        peace with each other in the belief
        > that they are truly one is spirit, then they will experience
        power. Making this adjustment also
        > brings it into alignment with GTh 106 and other familiar Thomas
        sayings about making the two
        > one. This seems to be a major theme of this gospel.
         
        Sure, but it seems to me that L48 is already pretty clear about that. I don't see how
        "house of one(ness)" would make that any clearer. If it helps, the literal isn't "this one house",
        but rather something like "this house alone", or so I've translated the Coptic word that
        follows 'house'. In any case, you and others may be interested in a new online mechanism
        that I've been developing lately (which is why I haven't written much here this past month).
         
        What it is, basically, is a dictionary of English words that occur in two or more sayings in my
        interlinear, each word linked to a compact display (often a single screen) of the sub-sayings
        in which that word occurs. It's not complete yet, but for L48, one could look up 'two', 'peace',
        'house', 'move', and 'alone', to see how the same Coptic (or Greek) word is used in that and
        other sayings. (I haven't done 'one' yet, but L48 won't be there, cuz the Coptic word for 'one'
        doesn't occur in L48.) I think this system is an enormous improvement over trying to follow
        the indices that I now have with each saying (to say nothing of trying to find a word in a large
        logion!) See how you like it, and whether it's helpful. I'd welcome comments and suggestions.
         
        Mike Grondin
      • steve oxbrow
        From Steve Oxbrow.We do have in all ancient languages a severe paucity of texts on which to base our translation. Even in Greek and Latin one can query the
        Message 3 of 13 , Apr 4 5:49 AM
          From Steve Oxbrow.
          We do have in all ancient languages a severe paucity of texts on which to base our translation. Even in Greek and Latin one can query the best dictionary or lexicon. One in particular, the quote on Herodotos that "the Egyptians make their bread from SPELT" which we know is a mistranslation but it is Herotodos who accused of being in error not De Selicourt(?). In fact the error is compounded by Liddle and Scott who simply refer back for their source to the same line in histories and one other in the Illiad, hardly reliable. In this case we do now have the advantage of archaeology to settle the argument. With GTh we are left to sort it all out amongst ourselves.  
        • Rick Hubbard
          Hi All- There s not much I can say directly to George s question, but I can pass on Plicsh s translation of L.48: Jesus says, If two make peace with one
          Message 4 of 13 , Apr 4 4:03 PM

            Hi All-

             

            There’s not much I can say directly to George’s question, but I can pass on Plicsh’s translation of L.48:

            “Jesus says, ‘If two make peace with one another in one and the same house, (and then) they will say to the Mountain, “Move away”, it will move away’.”

             

            FWIW, Hedrick translates the same text this way:

            “If two make peace with one another in this single household, they will say to the mountain, ‘Go away’ and it will move”.

             

            It looks to me as though both see OYwT acting in a strictly emphatic mode (just a guess).

             

            BTW, Mike: NICE WORK!

             

            Rick Hubbard

             

             

             

             

             

            From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of M.W. Grondin
            Sent: Monday, April 04, 2011 2:34 AM
            To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [GTh] GTh 48

             

             

            [George Duffy wrote:]

            > ... my question is really about the acceptable translation of "one house" as "house of oneness."

            > This small adjustment then clarifies its meaning: If two make peace with each other in the belief

            > that they are truly one is spirit, then they will experience power. Making this adjustment also

            > brings it into alignment with GTh 106 and other familiar Thomas sayings about making the two

            > one. This seems to be a major theme of this gospel.

             

            Sure, but it seems to me that L48 is already pretty clear about that. I don't see how

            "house of one(ness)" would make that any clearer. If it helps, the literal isn't "this one house",

            but rather something like "this house alone", or so I've translated the Coptic word that

            follows 'house'. In any case, you and others may be interested in a new online mechanism

            that I've been developing lately (which is why I haven't written much here this past month).

             

            What it is, basically, is a dictionary of English words that occur in two or more sayings in my

            interlinear, each word linked to a compact display (often a single screen) of the sub-sayings

            in which that word occurs. It's not complete yet, but for L48, one could look up 'two', 'peace',

            'house', 'move', and 'alone', to see how the same Coptic (or Greek) word is used in that and

            other sayings. (I haven't done 'one' yet, but L48 won't be there, cuz the Coptic word for 'one'

            doesn't occur in L48.) I think this system is an enormous improvement over trying to follow

            the indices that I now have with each saying (to say nothing of trying to find a word in a large

            logion!) See how you like it, and whether it's helpful. I'd welcome comments and suggestions.

             

            Mike Grondin

          • George Duffy
            ... Thanks Mike for your work on the mechanism for tracking individual words. That would be most useful. Before I reply to your statement, above, I should
            Message 5 of 13 , Apr 4 8:17 PM
              Mike Grondin wrote:

              Sure, but it seems to me that L48 is already pretty clear about that. I don't see how
              "house of one(ness)" would make that any clearer. If it helps, the literal isn't "this one house",
              but rather something like "this house alone", or so I've translated the Coptic word that
              follows 'house'.

              Thanks Mike for your work on the mechanism for tracking individual words.  That would be most useful.  Before I reply to your statement, above, I should first correct a minor error on my part.  I meant to type "one in spirit" not "one is spirit."  That out of the way, let me say that although my question was concerned with the linguistic possibility of "house of oneness," being an option for "one house," I also was trying to nail down, if that's possible, the precise meaning of the word, "house."  The use of the word in this saying seems to have some relationship with its use in GTh 71.  In the former Jesus presents the "house" as a locale for possible peace.  In the latter, he presents "house" as something worthy of destruction.  If you say house is either a dwelling, family, religion etc., GTh 48 may make sense, but not GTh 71.  If you say house is the body, GTh 71 may make sense, but not GTh 48, except as a broad concept.  If this Jesus was a non-dualist, as I suspect he was, he would not only be teaching good advice and moral values, but a whole belief system quite distinct from dualism.  He would teach the value of looking for the oneness in a seeming world of separation or "making the two one" and he would further teach, as in GTh 48, that only within that belief system structure would one find genuine peace.  And so, in GTh 71 Jesus will destroy the opposite, dualistic belief system by his teaching, so that no one may build it up again or believe in it

              You are right, Mike, in understanding that GTh 48 is still about making peace and the power of making peace, regardless of whether we have "one house" or "house of oneness"  The difference is that with the former use, we have a puzzling "house" locale that doesn't seem to be particularly relevant.  With the use of "house of oneness" we have the intriguing possible teaching that all peace is ultimately found within the mind of the seeker, as understood by Jesus.  Now of course, all this will sound strange to anyone brought up in the West.  But in the East, non-dualism is a respected philosophy.  To a non-dualist, the external world has no reality, except as an illusion in the mind on man.  By understanding Jesus as a non-dualist, some of the more obscure sayings in Thomas seem to make sense.

              In regard to the word in GTh 48 that literally means "alone," I noticed that in the four other places in the text where this word is used, only in one saying (GTh 76) is it used without the Coptic word for "one" used with it.  As Rick says, these two words are probably employed together to express the emphatic mode.  So we have in GTh 4 and GTh 22 the literal "one alone" translated as "one and the same."  Then in GTh 23 we have "one alone" translated as "single one."  But only in GTH 48 do we simply have "alone" translated as "alone."  So it seems to me curious that in GTh 48, we don't have the literal word for "one" as we do for GTh 4, 22 and 23.  Perhaps it's implied.  Thanks.

              George Duffy
              Corvallis, OR  

               




            • M.W. Grondin
              Hi George, I m glad to see that the dictionary of multi-saying words is already providing some background info needed for sound textual analysis. I had been
              Message 6 of 13 , Apr 5 12:42 PM
                Hi George,
                 
                I'm glad to see that the dictionary of multi-saying words is already providing some
                background info needed for sound textual analysis. I had been developing it on my own
                computer, but when your first note on this subject came in, I saw that I had already
                included several words from L48, so I decided to put what I had online and see how it
                worked out. So far, so good, though I confess that even with that, I have no idea what
                "this house" refers to in either L71 or L48 (the only two places where that phrase occurs),
                or even whether it was intended to have a referent at all.
                 
                What does seem clear, however, is that, in spite of (or consistent with?) the "making
                the two one" theme of GTh, there's plenty of dualisms. Here's a few:
                 
                L3: those who know themselves vs. those who don't
                L11 et al: the dead vs. the living
                L14: what goes into one's mouth vs. what comes out
                L16: peace vs. dissension; father vs. son
                L21: homeowner vs. thief
                L23: the chosen vs. the unchosen
                 
                Obviously, a complete list would be quite long. There's no lack of dualism in GTh
                that I can see, nor any suggestion that all is illusory.
                 
                Mike G.
              • George Duffy
                Mike, I don t pretend to be an expert on non-dualism. It s not an easy philosophy to wrap you re brain around. We accept without question the perception that
                Message 7 of 13 , Apr 6 1:19 PM
                  Mike,

                  I don't pretend to be an expert on non-dualism.  It's not an easy philosophy to wrap you're brain around.  We accept without question the perception that what we experience with our five senses is true.  We accept as reality that state of affairs where everything is fundamentally separate.  That's what our senses tell us and what science tells us.  Well, not exactly, there are a some scientists who now question the whole dualism assumption, at least on the sub atomic level.  Hinduism has a school of philosophy called Advaita Vedanta, based on the study of the ancient Vedic literature.  Not all Hindus ascribe to it, though.  Buddhism and Taoism also embrace a form of nondualism.  It seems to be a philosophy that has many interpretations and varieties.  I don't know precisely where the Gospel of Thomas fits in here or what precise form of dualism it represents.  I only know that I see here a non-dualist thinker behind these strange aphorisms and parables.

                  I look at something like GTh 22:4-7 and I wonder how a dualist could possibly write or utter that.  A non-dualist looks at the world of opposites and separation and all the edges, between this phenomena and that phenomena, dissolve in his mind.  Another way of understanding this (although one can't really understand it, only experience it) is that his mental focus is no longer on the differences between things, personalities, bodies, but on the love and peace he feels when he stops clinging in his mind to physical limits or identities of any kind.  Allowing this to unfold brings him a profound appreciation of oneness.  People who have experienced this call it enlightenment.  Jesus apparently called it the Kingdom or the Kingdom of God.  

                  Now, anyone trying to convey a real sense of this, cannot simply outline it as I tried to do here.  The sayings in Thomas have often been compared to classic Zen koans.  One famous koan goes like this: :If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."  The "Buddha on the road" is a metaphor.  It's not about killing the Buddha, but about abandoning an attachment to processing everything through a Buddhist meat grinder and expecting only what a good little Zen student should expect.  In other words, it's about abandoning the analytical mind completely (although my explanation probably falls way short).  I chose it, though, as a comparison to GTh 71 and GTh 10 which say:   Jesus says: "I will [destroy this] house, and no one will be able to build it [again]." (and)  Jesus says: "I have cast fire upon the world, and see, I am guarding it until it blazes."  In these aphorisms, the destruction of the house and the casting of the fire upon the world are metaphorical expressions.  There was no real violence implied, anymore than there was in the Zen koan.  Every saying in Thomas with the possible exception of GTh 12 and GTh 114 (probably inauthentic) has some degree of metaphor working in it.  And the metaphor has a message of its own:  What you see here is not real -- look deeper.

                  All the examples of "dualisms" that you site, Mike, are components of a metaphorical whole.  For example, in GTh 11 the "dead" is a metaphor for this illusory world of separation.  In GTh 56 Jesus calls the world a corpse.  So in GTh 11, what is dead is dead, but what is living ( a metaphor for the true Self), this will never die.  The true Self will never die because it was never born.  It exists in perfect union with the Father, as part of the Father.  There is no space and time because to a non-dualist separation itself is impossible.    In 19.1 "blessed is he who came into being before he came into being" suggests the same thing.  He is blessed because he realizes that he is not a body and not born of woman, but alive in the eternal now.  Maybe you're thinking, "how can anyone take this seriously," but non-dualists do take it seriously and who can say that Jesus, or at least the Jesus of Thomas, wasn't such a teacher.  I should add that I'm not suggesting that Jesus was necessarily a Hindu or Taoist nor that he acquired this viewpoint from them.  I don't know where it came from.  But a non-dualism perspective seems to shed light on these sayings, for me, as nothing else does.  Thanks.

                  George Duffy
                  Corvallis, OR

                  On Tue, Apr 5, 2011 at 12:42 PM, M.W. Grondin <mwgrondin@...> wrote:


                  Hi George,
                   
                  I'm glad to see that the dictionary of multi-saying words is already providing some
                  background info needed for sound textual analysis. I had been developing it on my own
                  computer, but when your first note on this subject came in, I saw that I had already
                  included several words from L48, so I decided to put what I had online and see how it
                  worked out. So far, so good, though I confess that even with that, I have no idea what
                  "this house" refers to in either L71 or L48 (the only two places where that phrase occurs),
                  or even whether it was intended to have a referent at all.
                   
                  What does seem clear, however, is that, in spite of (or consistent with?) the "making
                  the two one" theme of GTh, there's plenty of dualisms. Here's a few:
                   
                  L3: those who know themselves vs. those who don't
                  L11 et al: the dead vs. the living
                  L14: what goes into one's mouth vs. what comes out
                  L16: peace vs. dissension; father vs. son
                  L21: homeowner vs. thief
                  L23: the chosen vs. the unchosen
                   
                  Obviously, a complete list would be quite long. There's no lack of dualism in GTh
                  that I can see, nor any suggestion that all is illusory.
                   
                  Mike G.



                • Bob Schacht
                  ... Another way of understanding this is to give up the notion that GThomas has a single point of view, or overall coherence. There probably had to be some
                  Message 8 of 13 , Apr 6 2:51 PM
                    At 01:19 PM 4/6/2011, George Duffy wrote:
                    I look at something like GTh 22:4-7 and I wonder how a dualist could possibly write or utter that.  A non-dualist looks at the world of opposites and separation and all the edges, between this phenomena and that phenomena, dissolve in his mind.  Another way of understanding this (although one can't really understand it, only experience it) is that his mental focus is no longer on the differences between things, personalities, bodies, but on the love and peace he feels when he stops clinging in his mind to physical limits or identities of any kind. 

                    Another way of understanding this is to give up the notion that GThomas has a single point of view, or overall coherence.
                    There probably had to be some kind of inclusion criteria so that they knew what sayings to include and which alleged sayings to exclude. But these inclusion criteria don't need to imply any philosophical coherence on any subject whatever.

                    Bob Schacht
                    Northern Arizona University

                  • M.W. Grondin
                    Sorry, George, but aside from the heavy use of metaphor in GTh, I can t say that I agree with much of anything else you wrote. The dualisms that I see in
                    Message 9 of 13 , Apr 6 9:17 PM
                      Sorry, George, but aside from the heavy use of metaphor in GTh, I can't say that 
                      I agree with much of anything else you wrote. The dualisms that I see in Thomas
                      seem to me more often than not to be prescriptive - i.e., to indicate to the audience
                      what they should believe and/or do in order to get through this lifetime spiritually alive,
                      so as to be prepared for the hereafter. According to the general interpretation you suggest,
                      it isn't possible for a person (or their soul) to spiritually "die". But there are places in GTh
                      that give every appearance of suggesting exactly that, and I'm inclined to consider that to be
                      the most plausible interpretative context for a significant number of Thomas sayings.
                       
                      Mike Grondin
                    • George Duffy
                      I came to my conclusions slowly, Bob, but the more time I spend with these sayings, the more they seem to open up to a non-dualist interpretation. I have to
                      Message 10 of 13 , Apr 6 9:35 PM
                        I came to my conclusions slowly, Bob, but the more time I spend with these sayings, the more they seem to open up to a non-dualist interpretation.  I have to say, too, that I think there is more coherance in this text than there is in any of the NT gospels, which seem so worked over that clarity about what Jesus really believed seems impossible.

                        Regards,

                        George Duffy

                        On Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 2:51 PM, Bob Schacht <bobschacht@...> wrote:


                        At 01:19 PM 4/6/2011, George Duffy wrote:
                        I look at something like GTh 22:4-7 and I wonder how a dualist could possibly write or utter that.  A non-dualist looks at the world of opposites and separation and all the edges, between this phenomena and that phenomena, dissolve in his mind.  Another way of understanding this (although one can't really understand it, only experience it) is that his mental focus is no longer on the differences between things, personalities, bodies, but on the love and peace he feels when he stops clinging in his mind to physical limits or identities of any kind. 

                        Another way of understanding this is to give up the notion that GThomas has a single point of view, or overall coherence.
                        There probably had to be some kind of inclusion criteria so that they knew what sayings to include and which alleged sayings to exclude. But these inclusion criteria don't need to imply any philosophical coherence on any subject whatever.

                        Bob Schacht
                        Northern Arizona University




                      • George Duffy
                        I sometimes think, Mike, that either the author of Thomas was a non-dualist or completely deranged. I m inclined to think the former is true. But his
                        Message 11 of 13 , Apr 6 9:43 PM
                          I sometimes think, Mike, that either the author of Thomas was a non-dualist or completely deranged.  I'm inclined to think the former is true.  But his metaphors are certainly amazing and challenging.

                          Regards,

                          George Duffy

                          On Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 9:17 PM, M.W. Grondin <mwgrondin@...> wrote:


                          Sorry, George, but aside from the heavy use of metaphor in GTh, I can't say that 
                          I agree with much of anything else you wrote. The dualisms that I see in Thomas
                          seem to me more often than not to be prescriptive - i.e., to indicate to the audience
                          what they should believe and/or do in order to get through this lifetime spiritually alive,
                          so as to be prepared for the hereafter. According to the general interpretation you suggest,
                          it isn't possible for a person (or their soul) to spiritually "die". But there are places in GTh
                          that give every appearance of suggesting exactly that, and I'm inclined to consider that to be
                          the most plausible interpretative context for a significant number of Thomas sayings.
                           
                          Mike Grondin



                        • timster132@aol.com
                          I m beginning to believe that the text of Thomas s Gospel is the best interpreter of Thomas Gospel. With the oneness theme that runs through GThom ( one ,
                          Message 12 of 13 , Apr 7 6:00 PM
                            I'm beginning to believe that the text of Thomas's Gospel is the best interpreter of Thomas' Gospel. With the "oneness" theme that runs through GThom ("one", "alone", "two into one", "single one", "single"), I feel it must be one of the interpretative keys that is present in the text for the text. It is not as prevelent as the Genesis key is in GThom, but don't you think there is enough to consider it so?
                             
                            Tim Staker
                            Chaplain
                            IU Health
                            Indianapolis
                             

                                Posted by: "George Duffy" 4egroeg2@... george97330
                                Date: Wed Apr 6, 2011 9:35 pm ((PDT))

                            << I came to my conclusions slowly, Bob, but the more time I spend with these
                            sayings, the more they seem to open up to a non-dualist interpretation.  I
                            have to say, too, that I think there is more coherance in this text than
                            there is in any of the NT gospels, which seem so worked over that clarity
                            about what Jesus really believed seems impossible.

                            Regards,

                            George Duffy >>
                          • George Duffy
                            Do I think there are enough interpretive keys in Thomas of the two into one variety? Possibly, but it s damn hard slogging through them. As for the NT
                            Message 13 of 13 , Apr 8 1:01 AM
                              Do I think there are enough interpretive keys in Thomas of the "two into one" variety?  Possibly, but it's damn hard slogging through them.  As for the NT keys, they're there, but watered down, explained away, patched together pointlessly, dumned down and downright contradicted.  Is it any wonder that Christians have made such a muddle of things.

                              Regards,

                              George Duffy

                              On Thu, Apr 7, 2011 at 6:00 PM, <timster132@...> wrote:


                              I'm beginning to believe that the text of Thomas's Gospel is the best interpreter of Thomas' Gospel. With the "oneness" theme that runs through GThom ("one", "alone", "two into one", "single one", "single"), I feel it must be one of the interpretative keys that is present in the text for the text. It is not as prevelent as the Genesis key is in GThom, but don't you think there is enough to consider it so?
                               
                              Tim Staker
                              Chaplain
                              IU Health
                              Indianapolis
                               





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