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Re: [John_Lit] architriklinos once more

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  • Yuri Kuchinsky
    ... Yes, Jack, this is what I meant by pre-canonical . ... Yes, in theory, this is how it s supposed to be. But, in practice, it seems like often it s not the
    Message 1 of 39 , Jul 4, 2002
      On Wed, 3 Jul 2002, Jack Kilmon wrote:

      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: "Yuri Kuchinsky" <yuku@...>
      > To: "John Lit-L" <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Wednesday, July 03, 2002 1:04 PM
      > Subject: Re: [John_Lit] architriklinos once more
      > > Well, it seems to me like the Peshitta may be preserving a pre-canonical
      > > text here -- in line with the Diatessaronic versions. After all, the
      > > master of the house is not the same as the servant of the house...
      > I must admit that I never liked the term "pre-canonical" since it is
      > so ambiguous. Does it mean a text written BEFORE the Canonical texts,
      > like in the 40's or 50's CE, or written BEFORE the canonicals were
      > canonized...and which canon? 2nd century, 3rd century? Eusebian?
      > Carthage, Hippo? Is it a metaphor for a more authentic or original
      > reading than is in the canon?

      Yes, Jack, this is what I meant by "pre-canonical".

      > I'll go on that basis:
      > Like the earliest hominid fossils to palaeoannthropologists,
      > 'Pre-canonical texts" are the holy grails of New Testament scholars,
      > professional and amateur alike.

      Yes, in theory, this is how it's supposed to be. But, in practice, it
      seems like often it's not the case...

      > Short of a "Dead Sea Scroll-like cache," the only "caves" we can
      > search are the extant manuscripts looking for linguistic clues and
      > this is a very dark cave with winding and twisting passageways that
      > often suddenly fall off to abysses.

      But, of course, just because something is difficult, it doesn't mean that
      it shouldn't be tried.

      > The Diatessaron and harmony tradition MIGHT preserve some more
      > original syntax but as far as the earliest wordage, an impossible
      > task.

      I don't think that's the case.

      > There are those who believe the Peshitta and Old Syriac texts preserve
      > "pre-canonical" readings, yet these versions were translations of the
      > Alexandrian, Western and Byzantine GREEK texts of their times,

      I don't think it's so very helpful to lump together the Old Syriac texts,
      and the Peshitta. The Peshitta was obviously late. The Old Syriac, OTOH,
      has nothing to do with the Alexandrian and Byzantine texts; it's all
      Western text.

      You seem to take it for granted that all early texts were in Greek. I
      don't make this assumption.

      > perhaps with some tweaks from Tatian because of that powerful
      > influence of the Diatessaron in early Syriac Christianity.

      As I say, the role of Tatian in all this may well be exaggerated. I've
      posted about this subject extensively on TC-List, and provided many refs.

      > Syriac, however, is late EASTERN Aramaic and not the Middle WESTERN
      > Aramaic that Jesus and his "ear witnesses" would have spoken and
      > transmitted for translation into Greek. The medieval gospel harmonies
      > are not so much a "cave" as a "coal mine" with shafts in all
      > directions. Since there was a tendency by many translators to
      > resurrect "archaic" language to add to the "sanctity" of the texts (a
      > good example is Shem Tob's Matthew),

      But I don't think it's such a "good example", since there are still some
      legitimate disputes about the origins of Shem Tob's Matthew, about which
      you are well aware.

      > I would have no idea where to drill. My linguistic competence lies in
      > Latin, Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew and that is not enough to explore
      > this mine. I struggle with Old and Middle English, take eons to get
      > through German texts, know NO Dutch, French (well, maybe a tad),
      > Armenian, Arabic or Persian.
      > Even if it was possible to show that the PG had a vorlagen traceable
      > directly to Tatian,

      But, myself, I doubt that Pepys had "a vorlagen traceable directly to
      Tatian". As Boismard argues, this text is closest to Justin's Harmony. For
      those who don't read French, here's my summary,


      > what does this prove? In the end, you have the unrecorded
      > semi-authenticated Aramaic words of Jesus and some narratives that
      > first appear in translation imbedded in the GREEK New Testament. The
      > bottom of the cave and the coal mine is still the GREEK texts of the
      > New Testament and we are left only to determine which text type,
      > Western Caesarean, Byzantine, Alexandrian or the Gideon's "no tell
      > motel" special edition. Even those extant texts and fragments that
      > have "canonical parallels" like Thomas and Egerton are "outfielders."
      > The use of "Jesus" instead of "the LORD," or the "LORD Jesus" appears
      > to some to be a genuine "Tatianism."

      But, myself, I'm not so interested in "genuine Tatianisms". My main
      interest in the pre-canonical text of Jn.

      > The Peshitta, Curetonian and Sinaitic Old Syriac texts use d'$mry)
      > "Lord" while the PG does use "Jesus." Could this show a link to
      > Tatian? Even so, it does not show that the PG is "more original" or
      > "pre-canonical." We cannot, however, look at the Middle English "Hym
      > that was chief of the Fest" in the PG, compare it to Persian and Dutch
      > Diatessarons and declare it "more primitive" since we highly suspect
      > the Persian and Dutch versions are not direct lines from Tatian and
      > the PG MIGHT be. The inter-linguistic trajectories of all three of
      > these texts are too convoluted and culturally removed.

      Well, it seems like there's some problem with this logic...

      The whole idea behind comparing _three Diatessaronic witnesses_ was to
      identify some close textual parallels between them. These parallels, when
      found, should count as the _proof_ that in fact these three texts are
      faithful representations of an underlying mid-second century text. But, of
      course, the canonical text cannot be dated as early as this. So what
      exactly is wrong with this reasoning?

      > Perhaps you can fill me in on the Persian and Dutch parallels and
      > comment on the lexical, syntactic and idiomatic aspects and compare it
      > to the Old Latin.

      Yes, this would be the next logical step. But before going into fine
      meanings of various words, it seems like we need to address the basic
      logic of my analysis, so that there's no misunderstanding about these
      basic methodological issues. Is it a sound logic?

      After all, in my analysis so far, I've been following in the footsteps of
      such masters of Textual Criticism as Plooij, Quispel, and Boismard. And
      Petersen follows exactly the same basic methodology; after all, he was a
      student of Quispel. Nobody accused these scholars of building castles out
      of the thin air. So is Jack Kilmon now saying that these scholars were all
      wrong in doing what they were doing?

      > I can allow this discussion since the basis for it is John 2:1-11 but
      > I do not want John-L to become a forum for PG discussion.

      Well, just like I said. Everyone's so very busy looking for those "Holy
      Grails" of pre-canonical texts, except that if they are found the subject
      may be dropped soon enough...



      Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

      The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
      equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian
    • heronblu
      ... Michael, I am more of a student than a scholar of the fourth gospel. Nevertheless, even (maybe, especially) students have opinions, too. It would indeed
      Message 39 of 39 , Jul 9, 2002
        --- In johannine_literature@y..., michael Hardin <michael1517@y...>
        > For some time now I have been studying the usage of
        > words with 'double meanings' in 4G. I am curious to
        > know if others have also found the 'author's' use of
        > words that have a double meaning to be of value . . . .

        Michael, I am more of a student than a scholar of the fourth
        gospel. Nevertheless, even (maybe, especially) students have
        opinions, too. It would indeed be an interesting and controversial
        study to tabulate and classify the most obvious ones. The most
        frequent reason I can see for the double (and sometimes more)
        meanings is in support of the Johannine technique I call "dialogues
        with dummies." The poor sap who is shown as questioning Jesus almost
        always misunderstands what Jesus is telling him and, regarding words
        with more than one possible meaning, only gets the infelicitous one
        and is blind to what Jesus is actually saying. Jesus is then given
        the opportunity to explain further for the benefit of the intended
        audience. (The dummy is almost never shown as ever getting the
        point.) I think this goes so far as to include instances in which
        both meanings have to be in the listener/reader's mind in order to
        have any hope of following Jesus. Perhaps the most obvious example
        is John 3:3. Nicodemus interprets *gennhth anwthen* as meaning
        only "born again." The usually excellent NAB makes the opposite
        error, interpreting the words as meaning only "born from above." A
        proper understanding, in my opinion, requires that Jesus be
        understood as meaning both things. One must be reborn in the Spirit
        in order to see the kingdom of God.

        To say the same thing with different words, I think that the author
        wants his or her audience to think and not to merely swallow dogma.
        He is as much as saying that just as Jesus is more than appears on
        the surface, Jesus' message is more profound than surface appearances
        might lead one to believe.
        Yours in Christ,
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