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GTh 3.1-3 and Romans 10.6-8

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  • Mike Grondin
    Chris Skinner has been good enough to send me a copy of his recently-published essay The Gospel of Thomas s Rejection of Paul s Theological Ideas (full cite on
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 17, 2011
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      Chris Skinner has been good enough to send me a copy of his recently-published
      essay The Gospel of Thomas's Rejection of Paul's Theological Ideas (full cite on
      request). In it, he examines a possible parallel also examined by Simon Gathercole
      and Peter Nagel (cites on request), but not discussed here, I think. What struck me
      about this particular part of Chris's essay was a quote from Gathercole's paper.
      Before getting to that, however, here's the translations used by Chris:
       
      GTh 3.1-3: Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the kingdom is in the sky,'
      then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then
      the fish will preced3e you. Rather, the kingdom is within you and it is outside you."
       
      Rom 10.6-8: ... the righteousness that comes from faith says, 'Do not say in your
      heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring Christ down) or "Who will
      descend into the abyss?" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does
      it say? 'The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart.'
       
      (I've trimmed Chris's presentation somewhat. He has the entirety of GTh 3 and
      includes Rom 10.5, but I think the parts missing here are inessential.)
       
      Now one of the primary points of connection is, as Chris writes, "Like Nagel, he
      [Gathercole] observes that all of the pre-Pauline interpretations of Deut. 30.13
      (including the LXX, Baruch, and Philo) retain 'a contrast between "up in heaven"
      and "across the sea"', while Paul and Thomas both 'contrast the heaven above
      with what is below'. ... Gathercole writes:
       
      > Paul calls it the 'abyss', and presumes that it is the region where
      the dead reside:
      > it is the place from which you might at least imagine 'bringing Christ
      up from the
      > dead'. Thomas calls it the region 'under the earth', where the
      fish are.
      > These are the same place - not across the sea ... but in the
      tehom under the earth,
      > where people sleep with the fishes. [emphasis mine - MWG]
       
      Well, of course, Thomas does not call  it "the region 'under the earth'", and certainly
      not in GTh 3.1-3. Apparently, this is an attempt to create a connection between
      "in the abyss" and "in the sea", and to set up the Godfather allusion to follow.
      Admittedly, the Pauline and Thomasine texts agree on "in" versus "across", but
      beyond that, Gathercole presses the case too far, IMO. What do you all think?
       
      Mike Grondin
      Mt. Clemens, MI
    • Andrew Bernhard
      ... from the ... the earth, ... Well, of course, Thomas does not call it the region under the earth , and certainly not in GTh 3.1-3 . . . What do you all
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 18, 2011
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        > Paul calls it the 'abyss', and presumes that it is the region where the dead reside:

        > it is the place from which you might at least imagine 'bringing Christ up from the

        > dead'. Thomas calls it the region 'under the earth', where the fish are.

        > These are the same place - not across the sea ... but in the tehom under the earth,

        > where people sleep with the fishes. [emphasis mine - MWG]

         

        Well, of course, Thomas does not call  it "the region 'under the earth'", and certainly

        not in GTh 3.1-3 . . . What do you all think?

         

         

        I think you’ve been looking at the Coptic text to the exclusion of the Greek. :-) Saying 3 in P.Oxy. 654, line 13 does include the Greek words for “under the earth.” Unfortunately, there is no full satisfactory reconstruction for the complete text of lines 12-14 because the Greek and Coptic don’t correspond exactly . . .

         

        Best,

        Andrew

         

      • Bob Schacht
        ... Also keep in mind that these terms are not strictly geographical, as we think of them. Some of them, e.g. under the earth, may be more metaphysical than
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 18, 2011
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          At 11:12 PM 7/18/2011, Andrew Bernhard wrote:


          > Paul calls it the 'abyss', and presumes that it is the region where the dead reside:
          > it is the place from which you might at least imagine 'bringing Christ up from the
          > dead'. Thomas calls it the region 'under the earth', where the fish are.
          > These are the same place - not across the sea ... but in the tehom under the earth,
          > where people sleep with the fishes. [emphasis mine - MWG]
           
          Well, of course, Thomas does not call  it "the region 'under the earth'", and certainly
          not in GTh 3.1-3 . . . What do you all think?
           
           
          I think you�ve been looking at the Coptic text to the exclusion of the Greek. :-) Saying 3 in P.Oxy. 654, line 13 does include the Greek words for �under the earth.� Unfortunately, there is no full satisfactory reconstruction for the complete text of lines 12-14 because the Greek and Coptic don�t correspond exactly . . .

          Also keep in mind that these terms are not strictly geographical, as we think of them. Some of them, e.g. 'under the earth,' may be more metaphysical than geographical. So we've got a mix of geographical and metaphysical connotations that takes us as much into "cosmology" as it takes us to "geography."

          Bob in AZ
        • Mike Grondin
          ... Dang. I hate when that happens. But in my defense, Skinner s essay glossed over this difference. His exposition of the matter in question starts at the
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 19, 2011
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            Andrew Bernhard corrects me as follows:
            > I think you've been looking at the Coptic text to the exclusion of the Greek. :-)
            > Saying 3 in P.Oxy. 654, line 13 does include the Greek words for “under the earth.”
             
            Dang. I hate when that happens. But in my defense, Skinner's essay glossed over this
            difference. His exposition of the matter in question starts at the bottom of p.224 (of
            Paul and the Gospels, to which Skinner contributed his essay) with the translations
            as I gave them (the Thomas stuff obviously from the Coptic). He then briefly considers 
            Nagel and Gathercole in turn. With respect to Nagel's position, he writes:
             
            "... Thomas ... changes Deuteronomy's 'beyond the sea' to 'in the sea' (... though the
            Greek Oxyrhynchus fragment reads 'of the sea' ...)"
             
            There's no mention of "under the earth" in the discussion of Nagel's position, but then
            it pops up suddenly without explanation when Skinner turns to Gathercole. Following
            the Gathercole quote I gave earlier, Skinner remarks:
             
            "Thus, it seems that both Thomas and Paul have changed not only the preposition but
            also the concept associated with location 'sea'."
             
            What's confusing, of course, is that claims are being made about "Thomas" in this
            section of Skinner's essay as if there were no manuscriptal differences germane to the
            matter at hand, when in fact there are. As I see now, those differences can be picked
            out by careful reading, but they're glossed over in the general discussion.
             
            Mike G.
            p.s.: Andrew's and Bob's messages on this topic appear to have been sent twice,
            probably due to a temporary glitch at Yahoogroups.
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