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GTh 58

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  • George
    GTh 58: Blessed id the man who (has suffered, labored, toiled, struggled, is troubled;) he has found life. Mike, above I have combined all of the common
    Message 1 of 12 , Oct 15, 2011
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      GTh 58:

      "Blessed id the man who (has suffered, labored, toiled, struggled, is troubled;) he has found life."

      Mike, above I have combined all of the common translations of the Coptic word in this saying, which is most often rendered as "suffered." On your Interactive site, you have indicated a preference for "is troubled" as the best literal translation. I wonder if you can expand on this choice a little.

      Where the word comes up again as a verb, it is in GTh 107 where the shepherd seeks the one sheep and, as you have it literally, "having been troubled," tells the sheep that he cares for him more than the ninety-nine. Most translators have something like, "after he had toiled," or "after he had gone to the trouble." Well, that may be, but I personally like the suggestion or hint in "having been troubled" in GTh 107 and "is troubled" in GTh 58 of an inner struggle or inner questioning that might lead to a new vision of something.

      As for GTh 58, when I read, "blessed is the man who has toiled," I think how mundane is that message. Good advice, certainly, but how unlike it is to most other sayings in Thomas which are provocative and anything but ordinary. The other option, "blessed is the man who has suffered" seems to stray a bit from the idea of being troubled. Besides, I don't think that Thomas ever promotes the idea that suffering in itself will lead to wisdom. He does say in GTh 69b that "blessed are the hungry," but their hunger is not an end in itself.

      The word, "troubled" as a noun comes up in GTh 2, apparently translated from a different Coptic word. Here the word seems to point quite emphatically to an inner questioning or struggle. I wonder if you, Mike, (or any of the readers) could expand on the difference between these two Coptic words. What is the difference between being troubled in the one case (GTh 107) and being troubled in the other (GTh 58)? Please excuse my ignorance of Coptic.

      Thanks,

      George Duffy
      Corvallis, OR
    • Mike Grondin
      Thanks for your question and comments, George. The two Coptic words in question are featured on my keywords page
      Message 2 of 12 , Oct 15, 2011
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        Thanks for your question and comments, George. The two Coptic words in question
        are featured on my keywords page http://www.gospel-thomas.net/keywords/trouble.htm.
        Checking Lambdin's dictionary, I see that the range of meanings is very similar. Both
        can occur as nouns or as transitive or intransitive verbs. As a general rule, I tried to use
        different English words for different Coptic words, but I didn't do so in this case, for
        no reason that I can now remember. Either of the words 'distressed' or 'disturbed'
        seem to do well for 2.2 and 2.3. 'Trouble' seems to do well for 2ICE, except for 97.3,
        which is awkward. The prefix 'E-' of 'E-2ICE' should mean 'to', so maybe the verb EIME
        should be something like 'pay attention' in that context. ('pay-attention to-trouble' or
        'attend to-trouble'?) I don't know how other translators get 'notice AN accident' or
        'notice A problem' out of it, since there's no indefinite pronoun, and apparently no
        suggestion that 'E-' should be 'EY-' (which would be an indefinite pronoun.)
         
        Mike
      • George
        Since Coptic was not the original language of GTh, this is mere speculation, but it occurred to me that although the word, trouble may be used appropriately
        Message 3 of 12 , Oct 16, 2011
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          Since Coptic was not the original language of GTh, this is mere speculation, but it occurred to me that although the word, 'trouble' may be used appropriately in both GTh 2 and GTh 58, the Coptic word in GTh 2 has a less ambiguous meaning. Whether one translates it as 'troubled' or 'distressed' or 'disturbed' there seems to be no question that it's referring to an inner struggle, on the mind level, rather than an outward effort of the body.

          Perhaps the author of GTh 58 deliberately chose a word with a broader meaning (toiled, struggled, is troubled, or suffered) precisely to make the saying more ambiguous or hide the meaning and make the reader/hearer work a little for it. The aphorism then becomes like a parable. The parable is formulated to say one thing, often a quite mundane sounding thing, but on closer look, reveals a more subversive, philosophically challenging message.

          So on the level of the mundane, GTh 58 says, "Blessed is the man who has toiled..." -- good advice, standard everyday wisdom. Working hard pays off. But within the translation, "Blessed is the man who is troubled," is the additional suggestion that questioning the way of the world, looking deeper, not being satisfied by easy answers, might merit a significantly greater blessing.

          Thanks, Mike.

          George Duffy

          --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
          >
          > Thanks for your question and comments, George. The two Coptic words in question
          > are featured on my keywords page http://www.gospel-thomas.net/keywords/trouble.htm.
          > Checking Lambdin's dictionary, I see that the range of meanings is very similar. Both
          > can occur as nouns or as transitive or intransitive verbs. As a general rule, I tried to use
          > different English words for different Coptic words, but I didn't do so in this case, for
          > no reason that I can now remember. Either of the words 'distressed' or 'disturbed'
          > seem to do well for 2.2 and 2.3. 'Trouble' seems to do well for 2ICE, except for 97.3...
          >
          > Mike
          >
        • Christopher W. Skinner
          George, Just thought I d pop in with a reminder. Though I am personally convinced that Thomas was originally composed in Greek, there is still significant
          Message 4 of 12 , Oct 16, 2011
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            George, 

            Just thought I'd pop in with a reminder. Though I am personally convinced that Thomas was originally composed in Greek, there is still significant debate among scholars as to the original language in which GTh was composed (e.g., Greek, Coptic, Syriac, Aramaic). Thus, your opening statement, "Since Coptic was not the original language of GTh" probably needs to be qualified. 

            Best,

            Christopher W. Skinner

            On Sun, Oct 16, 2011 at 4:58 PM, George <4egroeg2@...> wrote:
             



            Since Coptic was not the original language of GTh, this is mere speculation, but it occurred to me that although the word, 'trouble' may be used appropriately in both GTh 2 and GTh 58, the Coptic word in GTh 2 has a less ambiguous meaning. Whether one translates it as 'troubled' or 'distressed' or 'disturbed' there seems to be no question that it's referring to an inner struggle, on the mind level, rather than an outward effort of the body.

            Perhaps the author of GTh 58 deliberately chose a word with a broader meaning (toiled, struggled, is troubled, or suffered) precisely to make the saying more ambiguous or hide the meaning and make the reader/hearer work a little for it. The aphorism then becomes like a parable. The parable is formulated to say one thing, often a quite mundane sounding thing, but on closer look, reveals a more subversive, philosophically challenging message.

            So on the level of the mundane, GTh 58 says, "Blessed is the man who has toiled..." -- good advice, standard everyday wisdom. Working hard pays off. But within the translation, "Blessed is the man who is troubled," is the additional suggestion that questioning the way of the world, looking deeper, not being satisfied by easy answers, might merit a significantly greater blessing.

            Thanks, Mike.

            George Duffy


            --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
            >
            > Thanks for your question and comments, George. The two Coptic words in question
            > are featured on my keywords page http://www.gospel-thomas.net/keywords/trouble.htm.
            > Checking Lambdin's dictionary, I see that the range of meanings is very similar. Both
            > can occur as nouns or as transitive or intransitive verbs. As a general rule, I tried to use
            > different English words for different Coptic words, but I didn't do so in this case, for
            > no reason that I can now remember. Either of the words 'distressed' or 'disturbed'
            > seem to do well for 2.2 and 2.3. 'Trouble' seems to do well for 2ICE, except for 97.3...
            >
            > Mike
            >


          • George
            Thank you, Christopher. I agree. George
            Message 5 of 12 , Oct 16, 2011
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              Thank you, Christopher. I agree.

              George


              --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Christopher W. Skinner" <christopherwskinner@...> wrote:
              >
              > George,
              >
              > Just thought I'd pop in with a reminder. Though I am personally convinced
              > that Thomas was originally composed in Greek, there is still significant
              > debate among scholars as to the original language in which GTh was composed
              > (e.g., Greek, Coptic, Syriac, Aramaic). Thus, your opening statement, "Since
              > Coptic was not the original language of GTh" probably needs to be
              > qualified.
              >
              > Best,
              >
              > Christopher W. Skinner
            • Bob Schacht
              ... Does this make it the GTh version of The unexamined life is not worth living, (by Socrates, in Plato,
              Message 6 of 12 , Oct 16, 2011
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                At 01:58 PM 10/16/2011, George wrote:

                [snip]

                ...So on the level of the mundane, GTh 58 says, "Blessed is the man who has toiled..." -- good advice, standard everyday wisdom.  Working hard pays off.  But within the translation, "Blessed is the man who is troubled," is the additional suggestion that questioning the way of the world, looking deeper, not being satisfied by easy answers, might merit a significantly greater blessing.

                Does this make it the GTh version of "
                The unexamined life is not worth living," (by Socrates , in Plato, Dialogues, Apology)? is that the sense of the passage you were reaching for?

                Bob Schacht
                Northern Arizona University

              • Mike Grondin
                ... Well, yes, but the verb EIME takes a prefixal E- before its direct object. Unless it has xe , that is, ( to know/understand/realize that so-and-so).
                Message 7 of 12 , Oct 16, 2011
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                  (Correcting myself):
                  > 'Trouble' seems to do well for 2ICE, except for 97.3, which is
                  awkward.
                  > The prefix 'E-' of 'E-2ICE' should mean 'to'...
                   
                  Well, yes, but the verb EIME takes a prefixal 'E-' before its direct object.
                  Unless it has 'xe', that is, ('to know/understand/realize that' so-and-so).
                  (Of the 6 instances of EIME in CGTh, 5 employ 'xe'.)
                   
                  > I don't know how other translators get 'notice AN accident' or
                  'notice A problem'
                  > out of it, since there's no indefinite pronoun, and
                  apparently no suggestion that
                  > 'E-' should be 'EY-' (which would be an indefinite
                  pronoun.)
                   
                  Er, that should be 'indefinite article'. Sorry. And just to be clearer, 'EY-' would
                  actually be an abbreviation for 'E-OY-', where 'OY' (or 'OU' if one prefers)
                  would be the indefinite article. But I have not seen that emendation suggested.
                   
                  Since GTh58 is the focus of discussion, though, here's some translations:
                  (DeConick): "Whoever has suffered is blessed."
                  (Plisch): "Blessed is the man who has struggled."
                  (Lambdin): "Blessed is the man who has suffered..."
                   
                  The lesson I glean from this for my own translation is that it may be incorrect
                  to have the verb in the present tense as I do. I'll have to check that verbal
                  prefix 'NTA2-'. In the meantime, I'd suggest not relying on present tense.
                   
                  Finally, it should be noted that none of the instances of 'trouble' in the Coptic
                  version have an extant version in the Greek fragments. The only logion that's
                  there is Th2, but the Greek version goes directly from 'find' to 'be amazed',
                  without the intervening Coptic step of being troubled, distressed, whatever.
                   
                  Mike
                • George
                  I would answer your question this way, Bob: In Plato and before Plato, the dictum, Know thyself drove philosophic enquiry and inspired generations of Greek
                  Message 8 of 12 , Oct 16, 2011
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                    I would answer your question this way, Bob: In Plato and before Plato, the dictum, "Know thyself" drove philosophic enquiry and inspired generations of Greek philosophers. This was the advice enshrined on the temple of Delphi, so it had an almost divine sanction or status. Compare GTh 3b:

                    "When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father..."

                    The Jesus of Thomas follows in this tradition, but I think with an expectation, perhaps not as Plato would define it, that realizing this knowledge will reveal a oneness with God, which this saying suggests is a great wealth.

                    Taken as a whole, I think the Gospel of Thomas promotes the idea of a spiritual power that is revealed to those individuals who align their thinking with Jesus. This seems to involve "making the two one" or experiencing the unity hidden in a world of dualities (see GTh 22b). Of course, it's teaching is much more extensive than that, and I'm not telling you anything that you don't already know.

                    My point is that the parables of Jesus seem fashioned to reveal this spiritual power, not just an intellectual power, to the reader who is willing to let go of his usual assumptions of reality. This is clearly a spiritual power as pointed to in GTh 17: 'what has never occurred to the human mind.'

                    So, Bob, I think the Jesus of Thomas would say that not only is the unexamined life not worth living, but the unexamined life which does not lead to a life changing experience of spiritual power is not worth living. It's the suggestion in GTh 58 that the man who is troubled, presumably about basic assumptions of reality, is blessed because he's now willing to consider the same insight or philosophy of Jesus.

                    All the best,

                    George Duffy

                    --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, Bob Schacht <bobschacht@...> wrote:

                    > Does this make it the GTh version of "The unexamined life is not
                    > worth living," (by
                    > <http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Socrates/>Socrates, in Plato,
                    > Dialogues, Apology)? is that the sense of the passage you were reaching for?
                    >
                    > Bob Schacht
                    > Northern Arizona University
                    >
                  • chaptim45
                    George, Thank you for your thoughtful insights on this logion. I particular like this unique Beatitude that Thomas Gospel gives us. The Coptic word for
                    Message 9 of 12 , Oct 18, 2011
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                      George,

                      Thank you for your thoughtful insights on this logion.

                      I particular like this unique "Beatitude" that Thomas' Gospel
                      gives us.

                      The Coptic word for "toiled" is "2ise" (note: 2=hori),
                      which could be interpreted in several different ways,
                      and the choice affects the meaning of the whole logion.

                      Blatz and Lambdin render the word as "suffered", which is
                      somewhat similar to the way the word is used in L97 where
                      it refers to a jar's broken handle and means "accident", "trouble"
                      or "misfortune". The meaning of the logion would then be that
                      "life" is found in our sufferings. Or, perhaps it could be
                      understood that life is found in the survival of what we suffer.
                      Neither idea, though, is common to Thomas' theology-- unless the
                      "suffering" is connected to the "trouble" of when one is "disturbed"
                      in their seeking (L2), which is what George was pointing out.

                      Patterson-Robinson translate the word as "struggled". This meaning
                      is similar to usage of the word "2ise" in L4, where the fisherman
                      picks out the biggest fish from his net without "a struggle". This
                      is a profound idea which speaks to how we as human beings can find
                      meaning in the struggle of life. In common parlance, "it's the
                      journey, not the destination".

                      The word can also be rendered "labored" or "toiled"-- that latter
                      of which the SV translators chose. We find this meaning also in
                      L107, where a shepherd "labors" desperately seeking his lost sheep.
                      The idea of a spiritual search (L60, L92, L94), even an ardent
                      seeking (L2, L107), is central to Thomas' theology. That's why
                      I'd lean toward voting for "labored" or "toiled" to render the
                      Coptic word "2ise" in this instance.

                      Thomas' Gospel comes out of the Jewish Wisdom tradition, which
                      values the search for Wisdom. In Job 28:20, Job asks, "Where then
                      does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell? It is hidden
                      from the eyes of every living thing, concealed even from the birds
                      in the sky" (Job 28:20-21; cf L3). It takes some effort to seek
                      what is hidden, to search for Wisdom, to look harder, to see past
                      the facade of the material world in order to glimpse the Kingdom
                      Jesus speaks about (L113).

                      Those are some of my thoughts on L58.

                      Tim Staker
                      IU Health Chaplain
                      Indianapolis, IN
                    • George
                      Thank you Tim for your ideas about all this. I must admit that my preference for is troubled in GTh 58 depends partially on the present tense translation of
                      Message 10 of 12 , Oct 19, 2011
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                        Thank you Tim for your ideas about all this. I must admit that my preference for "is troubled" in GTh 58 depends partially on the present tense translation of Mike's. The present tense here seems to suggest a more emphatic sense of inner turmoil than does "has troubled." However, Mike is apparently rethinking this, so we may be stuck with "has troubled." I don't suppose the passive "has been troubled" is acceptable? Probably not. Anyway, with that in mind, I would go, I think, with 'struggled' here. More than 'toiled,' it lends itself better to the ambiguity, I was writing about, between inner and outer struggle.

                        I still question the appropriateness of "suffered" in this saying as it seems to be a secondary characteristic of struggle or toil. One *may* suffer as a result of struggle, but the one word should not be substituted for the other.

                        My reading of GTh 97 leads me to think that it's not so much an illustration of the value of suffering as it is the futility of clinging to possessions/assumptions on the road of life and stubbornly refusing to question (taking the trouble to question)the soundness of these possessions/assumptions. The woman was foolish and she paid for it. She had nothing at the end of her journey to reward her for her labor. This seems to me a perfect metaphor for what happens to anyone who invests in meaningless values and refuses ever to question the soundness or security of that investment. My guess is that originally the parable was introduced by "the kingdom of *man* was like...." and a scribe, thinking that the one word, 'man,' must be a mistake, changed it to 'father.' Actually, there is a lacuna here in the manuscript. The word, 'father' is generally placed in brackets, as [father], so even here the phrase could be 'son of man.' It seems to me that it's not unthinkable that Jesus would want to illustrate a condition opposite to the kingdom of the father for contrast.

                        Regards,

                        George Duffy
                      • Mike Grondin
                        While mulling over GTh58, I thought it would be interesting to see how various translators had handled the four occurrences of the word hise (looks like
                        Message 11 of 12 , Oct 21, 2011
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                          While mulling over GTh58, I thought it would be interesting to see how various
                          translators had handled the four occurrences of the word 'hise' (looks like '2ICE',
                          probably pronounced HEE-seh). In the displays below, the first two instances
                          are as nouns, the second two as verbs. What I didn't expect was every one of
                          the translators used four different English words! (Thus masking connections
                          that may have been intended.)
                           
                          For 'hise' as a noun, we have 'difficulty', 'accident', 'misfortune', 'effort', and
                          'problem'. For 'hise' as a verb, we have 'suffered', 'laboured', 'struggled', and
                          'toiled'. No 'trouble' except in Lambdin's translation, where the Coptic verb is
                          transformed into a noun phrase! 'Troubled' does show up in 2.2-3, for the other
                          Coptic word we were talking about. Everyone translates it as such there, except
                          Patterson, who has 'dismayed'.
                           
                          As to my translation of GTh58, although I haven't yet investigated it in detail,
                          it appears to be in error, based on how these translators have it. I don't see that
                          it makes any great difference in the meaning of the saying, however, whether the
                          person is "troubled" now or has been in the past. In either case, it's the "trouble"
                          that has caused him/her to discover the kingdom (whatever that means).
                           
                          Lambdin (NHL):
                          008.3: ... he chose the large fish without difficulty
                          097.3: ... she had noticed no accident
                          -------
                          058.0: Blessed is the man who has suffered
                          107.3: When he had gone to such trouble ... [as noun!]
                           
                          Blatz (New Testament Apocrypha):
                          008.3: ... he chose the large fish without difficulty (same as Lambdin)
                          097.3: ... she had not noticed the misfortune
                          -------
                          058.0: Blessed is the man who has suffered (same as Lambdin)
                          107.3: After he had laboured ...
                           
                          Patterson et al (Fifth Gospel):
                          008.3: ... he chose the large fish effortlessly [i.e., without effort]
                          097.3: ... she had not noticed a problem
                          -------
                          058.0: Blessed is the person who has struggled
                          107.3: After he had toiled ...
                           
                          DeConick (TOGTT):
                          008.3: ... [he] chose the large fish without difficulty (same as Lambdin)
                          097.3: ... she had not noticed a problem (same as Patterson)
                          -------
                          058.0: Whoever has suffered is blessed. (same as Lambdin)
                          107.3: After he had laboured ... (same as Blatz)
                           
                          Cheers,
                          Mike G.
                        • Mike Grondin
                          Relative to the question of the tense of the first verb in L.58, I ve done a survey of the usages of the Coptic verb-prefix Ntax. and its variants in CGTh. The
                          Message 12 of 12 , Oct 23, 2011
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                            Relative to the question of the tense of the first verb in L.58, I've done a survey
                            of the usages of the Coptic verb-prefix Ntax. and its variants in CGTh. The
                            results are at http://gospel-thomas.net/keywords/Nta2.htm. My conclusion is that
                            nowhere else did I translate that verb-prefix in the present tense, and so it should
                            not be such in L.58. (The abbreviation 'CTbe' in two of the sub-logs should be
                            read as 'came-into-being'.) Bottom line is that I intend to change 'is-troubled' in
                            L.58 to 'has-been-troubled'. Not only is that consistent with what the expert
                            translators have done, but it's consistent with what I myself did elsewhere.
                             
                            As to what might be a better English translation for the Coptic noun/verb xise,
                            I haven't been able to come up with one that (1) can serve as both noun and verb,
                            and (2) fits in all the places where xise occurs. ('Labor', 'toil', 'struggle', e.g., meet
                            the first criterion, but not the second. Most if not all alternatives (such as the pair
                            'to suffer' and 'suffering') fail to fit the saying about the woman with the jar.)
                             
                            Admittedly, different English words can be used in the four contexts, as other
                            translators have done, but my preference is to stay within the confines of the
                            standardized methodology that I originally adopted for the interlinear. What I
                            am considering is using a different English word in 2.2-3, on the grounds that
                            the same English word shouldn't be used for two different Coptic words, lest
                            a syntactic connection be implied that isn't present in the manuscript. (Any
                            intended semantic connections will be preserved.)
                             
                            Cheers to all,
                            Mike Grondin
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