Trees, crosses, and outstretched hands.

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robert j
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Re: Trees, crosses, and outstretched hands.

Post by robert j » Thu Nov 12, 2020 3:19 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 2:36 pm
robert j wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 2:27 pm
But I think the 4 examples you have cited here can be seen as misleading in this context because none of those citations describe punishments conducted by the Romans. And as you acknowledge there is no reason to assume the instruments used in those citations were cross-shaped, and that "A straight vertical stake is certainly one of the more common options from ancient times."
They would perhaps be misleading in other contexts, but in this context, the purpose of which is to establish the antiquity of the use both of the verb (σταυρόω) and of the noun (σταυρός) specifically as a punishment (rather than merely as a palisade or a tool or such)? ...
Of course, no problem with that.
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 2:36 pm

.... I stand by every word, and I think you may have missed the bit of context which these instances are illuminating. To exclude them would be the oddity, not to include them.
Granted, I haven’t read all the entries in this thread, nor even most of the recent ones. The context I am referring to is the broad title of your Thread (Trees, crosses, and outstretched hands) and your association of the punishments in those specific 4 citations with a “cross” (typically seen as Roman-style) and in the broader discussion of the letter Tau in Barnabus, a patibulum, etc.

I certainly stand by my criticism and objections. I don’t have a problem with those citations in this context, per se. Only that those 4 citations can certainly be misleading in this context without at least a footnote clarifying that the use and connotation of the terms in those ancient texts do not imply a punishment on a cross-shaped instrument.

Your thread. I’ve expressed my point of view and will leave you to it.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Trees, crosses, and outstretched hands.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Nov 12, 2020 3:27 pm

robert j wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 3:19 pm
Granted, I haven’t read all the entries in this thread, nor even most of the recent ones.
That would explain it, then. Thanks.
The context I am referring to is the broad title of your Thread (Trees, crosses, and outstretched hands) and your association of the punishments in those specific 4 citations with a “cross” (typically seen as Roman-style) and in the broader discussion of the letter Tau in Barnabus, a patibulum, etc.
The context for my response was what appeared to be (and still appears to be) a claim that the Greek word σταυρός, before Christianity, meant a peasant's tool or a stake for a palisade, the implication being, it seemed, that Christians were the ones who (figuratively?) turned it into an implement of execution. I was not 100% certain that this was the claim, so rather than just respond, "Nuh uh," I stated very carefully that both the noun σταυρός and its corresponding verb denoted a form of lethal punishment long before the Christianity of Barnabas, which was the text under discussion at the time. I also added that the use of a patibulum predates Barnabas, but I did not attach a time value to that particular claim. Then I was asked for evidence of my own claim, and I gave it.

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Re: Trees, crosses, and outstretched hands.

Post by robert j » Thu Nov 12, 2020 4:25 pm

Ben, Thanks for the explanation.

I do have one last question here.
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:54 am

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 2.18.1 (English translation slightly modified from that of C. H. Oldfather): 1 When he had made all his preparations for the war he despatched messengers to Semiramis, who was already on the road, accusing her of being the aggressor in the war although she had been injured in no respect; then, in the course of his letter, after saying many slanderous things against her as being a strumpet and calling upon the gods as witnesses, he threatened to nail her to a cross [αὐτὴν σταυρῷ προσηλώσειν] when he had defeated her.

For this translation of the 1st C. BCE Greek story by Diodorus Siculus about the legendary, very ancient Assyrian queen Semiramis --- Do you believe that the translation of σταυρῷ as the specialized “cross”, rather than the more general “stake”, introduces a hard to justify bias to the text?

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Re: Trees, crosses, and outstretched hands.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Nov 12, 2020 4:58 pm

robert j wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 4:25 pm
For the cut-and-paste translation of the 1st C. BCE Greek story by Diodorus Siculus that you cited about the legendary, very ancient Assyrian queen Semiramis --- Do you believe that the translation of σταυρῷ as the specialized “cross”, rather than the more general “stake”, introduces a hard to justify bias to the text?
Probably? It does not usually matter except in cases of close historical argumentation, and for those cases one needs to refer to the original languages anyway. That is why I routinely include the original terms behind the key English words or phrases, if not the original text of the entire passage.

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Re: Trees, crosses, and outstretched hands.

Post by mlinssen » Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:54 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:54 am
mlinssen wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 1:19 am
Do you have pointers to texts there? I'm unfamiliar with the Greek verb
Sure. The following are not exhaustive, of course. I have arranged them roughly in chronological order from Herodotus to century II, since we do not know exactly when Barnabas wrote, but sometime in century II is the latest possibility:
I knew that when you said that, quite the list would follow LOL
Herodotus, Histories 3.125.1-4: 1 But Polycrates would listen to no advice. He sailed to meet Oroetes, with a great retinue of followers, among whom was Democedes, son of Calliphon, a man of Croton and the most skillful physician of his time. 2 But no sooner had Polycrates come to Magnesia than he was horribly murdered in a way unworthy of him and of his aims; for, except for the sovereigns of Syracuse, no sovereign of Greek race is fit to be compared with Polycrates for magnificence. 3 Having killed him [ἀποκτείνας] in some way not fit to be told, Oroetes then crucified [ἀνεσταύρωσε] him; as for those who had accompanied him, he let the Samians go, telling them to thank him that they were free; those who were not Samians, or were servants of Polycrates’ followers, he kept for slaves. 4 And Polycrates hanging in the air fulfilled his daughter’s vision in every detail; for he was washed by Zeus when it rained, and he was anointed by Helios as he exuded sweat from his body.
"Put-on-stauros", ἀν-ε-σταύρωσε, impaled would be just as fine a translation there, no clues to a cross whatsoever here - or is there?
Xenophon, Anabasis 3.1.17: 17 “And yet if we submit and fall into the king’s hands, what do we imagine our fate is to be? Even in the case of his own brother, and, yet more, when he was already dead [τεθνηκότος ἤδη], this man cut off his head and his hand and crucified [ἀνεσταύρωσεν] them; as for ourselves, then, who have no one to intercede for us, and who took the field against him with the intention of making him a slave rather than a king and of killing him if we could, what fate may we expect to suffer?”
Definitely impaled as the only translation, it's pretty hard to crucify disjointed limbs, whereas putting each on a pole is far more plausible - or is it?
Polybius, Histories 1.86.3-4 (English translation from Evelyn S. Shuckburgh): 3 Hannibal pitched his camp on the side of the town nearest to Carthage, and Hamilcar on the opposite side. 4 When this was done they brought the captives taken from the army of Spendius and crucified them in the sight of the enemy. / 3 κατὰ μὲν οὖν τὴν ἀπὸ Καρχηδόνος πλευρὰν προσεστρατοπέδευσεν Ἀννίβας, κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἀπέναντι ταύτης Ἀμίλκας. 4 μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα προσαγαγόντες πρὸς τὰ τείχη τοὺς περὶ τὸν Σπένδιον αἰχμαλώτους ἐσταύρωσαν ἐπιφανῶς.
"(Put-)on-stauros", ἀν-ε-σταύρωσε, impaled would be just as fine a translation there, no clues to a cross whatsoever here - or is there?
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 2.18.1 (English translation slightly modified from that of C. H. Oldfather): 1 When he had made all his preparations for the war he despatched messengers to Semiramis, who was already on the road, accusing her of being the aggressor in the war although she had been injured in no respect; then, in the course of his letter, after saying many slanderous things against her as being a strumpet and calling upon the gods as witnesses, he threatened to nail her to a cross [αὐτὴν σταυρῷ προσηλώσειν] when he had defeated her.
προσηλώσειν means, to the best of my knwoledge, "affix". Having a hard time quickly finding a pointer to that
4Q169, fragments 3-4, column 1, lines 6b-8a: 6b And concerning what he says: «He fills] his cave [with prey] and his den with spoils» (= Nahum 2.13), ~ its interpretation concerns the Angry Lion 7 [who filled his cave with a mass of corpses, carrying out rev]enge against those looking for easy interpretations [דורשי החלקות], who hanged living men 8a [from the tree, committing an atrocity which had not been committed] in Israel since ancient times, for it is [hor]rible for the one hanged alive from the tree.
I thought we limited the scope of our little discussion to the Greek word σταυρός - at least I did, as my comment was about "the stauros in T", which could very well mean the vertical line, the stake
Seneca the Younger, Moral Essays 6.20.3a, to Marcia on consolation: 3a I see before me crosses not all alike, but differently made by different peoples: some hang a man head downwards, some force a stick upwards through his groin, some stretch out his arms on a gibbet. I see cords, scourges, and instruments of torture for each limb and each joint. / 3 Video istic cruces non unius quidem generis sed aliter ab aliis fabricatas: capite quidam conversos in terram suspendere, alii per obscena stipitem egerunt, alii brachia patibulo explicuerunt; video fidiculas, video verbera, et membris singulis articulis singula nocuerunt machinamenta.
Likewise. I don't doubt the use of crucifixion, but do doubt that putting people on a σταυρός meant anything else that implaing prior to Christianity (in any form). Latin here, so out of scope
Lucian, The Consonants at Law
Like Josephus, too late. Likewise for Artemidorus Daldianus and Pseudo-Manetho
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 1:36 pm
I wasn't quite clear there, what I mean is the numerical value of the TLA in Hebrew
Ah, I see. Thanks for clarifying. In that case, why does the ΙΗΣ not appear in Sinaiticus as such? The Greek name for the number does, written in full (δεκαοκτὼ καὶ τριακοσίους, eighteen and three hundred), but the payload in the text is ΙΝ. What is your take on that?
I feel that starting over would be best here.
When reading Barnabas, it seems to me that he "overheard" a Hebrew saying that "it is so striking that Genesis already refers to Jesus with the number of his servants representing Him": the 318 there points straight to IHS in Hebrew (which doesn't get spelled out n the occassion).
Now, Barnabas takes that literal (imaginary) quote, goes home and consults the Tanakh himself - naturally, in Greek.
So he reads the 318, quickly digs the 18 being a 10 and an 8 representing I and H (etha), but scratches his head (among others) about the 300 as that points to Tau. Then he remembers the Gospel of Thomas (oh yeah I'm letting it all go now LOL) that explicitly speaks of:
say(s) IS : he-who hate his father not with his(F) mother he will be-able make-be Disciple not to I and not he hate his(PL) brother with his(PL) sister not he carry of his Stauros within my(F) manner he will come-to-be not he make-be Worthy-one to I
and then he looks at the T and sees the vertical I represent the stauros, the stake - it's frfetched but the best he can do

Yet what is really in the text? Your translation is really off, that in Perseus is off - or I need new glasses, that is very well possible:

The papyrus says (capitals for what I read besides your quote)

μαθετε οτι τους δεκαοκτω PRO
TOUS KAI DIASTE
MA POIHSAS LEGeI
TRIAKOSIOUS TO
δεκα οκτω εχεις IN

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... 08.01.0629 has:

μάθετε, ὅτι τοὺς δεκαοκτὼ πρώτους, καὶ διάστημα ποιήσας λέγει τριακοσίους. τὸ δεκαοκτὼ (ι δέκα, η ὀκτώ:) ἔχεις Ἰησοῦν

and you have: (http://www.textexcavation.com/greekbarnabas9-12.html)

μαθετε οτι τους δεκαοκτω, Ι δεκα, Η οκτω· εχεις Ιησουν

so you're missing a piece there. But even Perseus doesn't coincide with the papyrus you show in viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3149&start=70#p114423, and what I don't see there is what I put in round brackets.
So, what the text literally says, is

μάθετε, ὅτι τοὺς
δεκαοκτὼ πρώ
τους καὶ διάστη
μα ποιήσας λέγει
τριακοσίους τὸ
δεκαοκτὼ ἔχεις
IN

disciple, so-that the
eighteen fi-
rst and - inter-
val produced - said
three hundred the
eighteen holds
IN

And then it gets really interesting, doesn't it?

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Trees, crosses, and outstretched hands.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:57 am

mlinssen wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:54 am
"Put-on-stauros", ἀν-ε-σταύρωσε, impaled would be just as fine a translation there, no clues to a cross whatsoever here - or is there?
As I mentioned to Robert, many of the most ancient references to the punishment may well be a kind of staking or impalement. But this is what I was responding to:
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 1:36 pm
mlinssen wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:42 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 7:40 am
A σταυρός can indeed be a stake. When described as a tau, though, the patibulum is included.
A stauros, before there was any Christian context, or content for that matter, was a pole or a stake, sometimes used by peasants or shepherds as a tool, but mostly used in palisades
Fortunately, for our purposes, crucifying people (σταυρόω in Greek, cruci figo in Latin) on a cross (σταυρός in Greek, crux in Latin) as a lethal form of punishment (and also as a form of displaying the victim after death by other means) long, long predates the Christianity of Barnabas, and the use of the patibulum predates it, so we need worry only about the interpretation which Barnabas laid upon the punishment.
It looked like you were associating the use of the Greek terms only with tools or palisades before Christianity came along; so I wanted to make sure that we were all on the same page. The list I gave demonstrates two separate things: first, that those Greek terms bespoke a punishment long before Barnabas, and second, that the use of the patibulum predates Barnabas. There is and was no attempt to imply that every single reference involves a patibulum. Even most of them, especially the earlier ones, may not. But the patibulum was indeed in use, and both Barnabas and Lucian make unmistakeable reference to it.
4Q169, fragments 3-4, column 1, lines 6b-8a: 6b And concerning what he says: «He fills] his cave [with prey] and his den with spoils» (= Nahum 2.13), ~ its interpretation concerns the Angry Lion 7 [who filled his cave with a mass of corpses, carrying out rev]enge against those looking for easy interpretations [דורשי החלקות], who hanged living men 8a [from the tree, committing an atrocity which had not been committed] in Israel since ancient times, for it is [hor]rible for the one hanged alive from the tree.
I thought we limited the scope of our little discussion to the Greek word σταυρός - at least I did, as my comment was about "the stauros in T", which could very well mean the vertical line, the stake
Certainly. I included this one because it is referring to the same event as Josephus chronicles: the crucifixion of 800 Pharisees under Alexander Jannaeus (and because the title of this entire thread is about trees).

The point here is that people were being punished on vertical stakes with their arms stretched out on a crossbar long before Barnabas. Barnabas is not making up a new form of punishment; he is referring to one already in use. This much is noncontroversial. (For our purposes Barnabas could even be the first person on the planet to have applied the Greek word σταυρός to this form of punishment, but he did not himself invent the punishment.)
I feel that starting over would be best here.
When reading Barnabas, it seems to me that he "overheard" a Hebrew saying that "it is so striking that Genesis already refers to Jesus with the number of his servants representing Him": the 318 there points straight to IHS in Hebrew (which doesn't get spelled out n the occasion).
So your three Hebrew letters are yod, het, and s(h)in (יחש), right? What does that mean in Hebrew, and how does it point to Jesus?
Yet what is really in the text? Your translation is really off, that in Perseus is off - or I need new glasses, that is very well possible:

The papyrus says (capitals for what I read besides your quote)

μαθετε οτι τους δεκαοκτω PRO
TOUS KAI DIASTE
MA POIHSAS LEGeI
TRIAKOSIOUS TO
δεκα οκτω εχεις IN

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... 08.01.0629 has:

μάθετε, ὅτι τοὺς δεκαοκτὼ πρώτους, καὶ διάστημα ποιήσας λέγει τριακοσίους. τὸ δεκαοκτὼ (ι δέκα, η ὀκτώ:) ἔχεις Ἰησοῦν

and you have: (http://www.textexcavation.com/greekbarnabas9-12.html)

μαθετε οτι τους δεκαοκτω, Ι δεκα, Η οκτω· εχεις Ιησουν

so you're missing a piece there.
LOL. That is from my own typing out, by hand, a standard text of Barnabas back before the Apostolic Fathers were readily available online; I have clearly skipped a line, quite obviously through homeoteleuton instigated by the double δεκαοκτώ. That is actually hilarious to me, so thanks for that, and it is not the first time I have been caught in a scribal error of exactly the kind which plagued the ancient scribes. (I typed out, in Greek, all of the Apostolic Fathers except for the Shepherd back in the day.)

Now, we can see that Sinaiticus lacks the individual letters and numbers. Why do you think that is?

Code: Select all

μάθετε ὅτι τοὺς δεκαοκτὼ πρώτους καὶ διάστημα ποιήσας λέγει τριακοσίους. τὸ δεκαοκτὼ                  ἔχεις ΙΝ
μάθετε ὅτι τοὺς δεκαοκτὼ πρώτους καὶ διάστημα ποιήσας λέγει τριακοσίους. τὸ δεκαοκτὼ (ι δέκα, η ὀκτώ) ἔχεις Ἰησοῦν
But even Perseus doesn't coincide with the papyrus you show in viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3149&start=70#p114423, and what I don't see there is what I put in round brackets.
That is correct. What you put in round brackets is not present in Sinaiticus, our oldest copy of this portion of the epistle of Barnabas, as we can see.
So, what the text literally says, is

μάθετε, ὅτι τοὺς
δεκαοκτὼ πρώ
τους καὶ διάστη
μα ποιήσας λέγει
τριακοσίους τὸ
δεκαοκτὼ ἔχεις
IN

disciple, so-that the
eighteen fi-
rst and - inter-
val produced - said
three hundred the
eighteen holds
IN
Your translation is a little hard to follow. What do you think the meaning of this passage is, overall? What is being said? How, for example, is "interval produced" functioning in the sentence?
And then it gets really interesting, doesn't it?
In what way?

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Re: Trees, crosses, and outstretched hands.

Post by mlinssen » Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:31 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:57 am
So, what the text literally says, is

μάθετε, ὅτι τοὺς
δεκαοκτὼ πρώ
τους καὶ διάστη
μα ποιήσας λέγει
τριακοσίους τὸ
δεκαοκτὼ ἔχεις
IN

disciple, so-that the
eighteen fi-
rst and - inter-
val produced - said
three hundred the
eighteen holds
IN
Your translation is a little hard to follow. What do you think the meaning of this passage is, overall? What is being said? How, for example, is "interval produced" functioning in the sentence?
I would think so, but that is what it reads, literally translated.
"He first said 18 and, having produced a pause, 300. The 18 holds IN" is a slightly less wooden translation

The mystery is in "IN holds 18" - with the N being the odd one out there

That is distracting from the first argument, but we'll get back there I think

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Re: Trees, crosses, and outstretched hands.

Post by mlinssen » Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:16 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:57 am
Now, we can see that Sinaiticus lacks the individual letters and numbers. Why do you think that is?
Well, if we assume Sinaiticus to be earlier, I can well imagine how someone tried to make sense of this hallucinating phrase "18 holds IN" by at least exemplifying how the I (10) and the 8 (H) would fit

But clearly, Barnabas is ruining a perfect opportunity to use the Hebrew numerical system and relate 318 to IHS, yod het shin - or am I being very silly in trying to think so?

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Re: Trees, crosses, and outstretched hands.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:21 am

mlinssen wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:31 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:57 am
So, what the text literally says, is

μάθετε, ὅτι τοὺς
δεκαοκτὼ πρώ
τους καὶ διάστη
μα ποιήσας λέγει
τριακοσίους τὸ
δεκαοκτὼ ἔχεις
IN

disciple, so-that the
eighteen fi-
rst and - inter-
val produced - said
three hundred the
eighteen holds
IN
Your translation is a little hard to follow. What do you think the meaning of this passage is, overall? What is being said? How, for example, is "interval produced" functioning in the sentence?
I would think so, but that is what it reads, literally translated.
Well, what I am referring to is that, for example, you have a noun ("disciple") where the Greek has a verb (μάθετε, plural imperative), "so that" in a context where ὅτι would usually just be plain "that" (without the meaning of intent or purpose suggested by "so that"), "produced" for ποιήσας (which is ambiguous as to whether ποιήσας would be the participle or a past tense verb), and "holds" translating the second person singular, which in English is "hold," without the final s, so I was not sure how literal you were being.

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Re: Trees, crosses, and outstretched hands.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:23 am

mlinssen wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:16 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:57 am
Now, we can see that Sinaiticus lacks the individual letters and numbers. Why do you think that is?
Well, if we assume Sinaiticus to be earlier, I can well imagine how someone tried to make sense of this hallucinating phrase "18 holds IN" by at least exemplifying how the I (10) and the 8 (H) would fit
I can definitely see how adding the clarification makes sense, yes.
But clearly, Barnabas is ruining a perfect opportunity to use the Hebrew numerical system and relate 318 to IHS, yod het shin - or am I being very silly in trying to think so?
That depends on the answer to my previous question. What does yod het shin mean in Hebrew, and how does it then relate to Jesus? That part is unclear to me at present.

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