Linssen on GThomas 9 --- “the Judaic religion … will not yield any fruit.”

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robert j
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Linssen on GThomas 9 --- “the Judaic religion … will not yield any fruit.”

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Linssen on the rock in Logion 9 ---

… befitting Thomas and his fierce rejection of any and all things religious, especially Judaic. The Rock of monotheism, the Judaic religion: that also will not yield any fruit whatsoever. (p. 118)

Note: All citations from Linssen in this post are from his Commentary on Logion 9 of GThomas, on pages 110-124, here ---
https://www.academia.edu/46974146/Compl ... n_content_

The relevant portions of the Parable of the Sower in GThomas ---

The one who sows came forth. He filled his hand and he cast …

Some others fell upon the rock (πετρα), and they did not take root downward to the earth, and they did not put forth heads upward to the heaven. (Thomas, Logion 9)

Linssen wrote ---

This time it is not the path that proves fruitless, but the Rock: the Greek loanword πετρα … the word is in singular, not plural, 'the rock'. (p. 116)

… the only reason that Thomas has the singular here, preceded by the definite article, is to point to the God of Judaism, it is this what he means with that: "some fell to Judaism". (p. 116)

Linssen’s argument here is a dead-end. The Greek feminine noun πέτρα (petra) is occasionally used in the plural form. But petra is mostly used in the singular form because it means a large mass of rock such as bedrock, a cliff face, a rock ridge, a large rock outcrop, a boulder, a rock cave, rock building material; and figuratively for being firm, steadfast, or hard-hearted. This Greek loan-word in GThomas being in the singular form clearly does not carry the significance that Linssen suggests.

Continuing with his argument for the rock as a polemic on Judaism, Linssen attempts to establish that the rock in Logion 9 was intended by the author of Thomas to represent Judaism, and the God of the Jews ---

And this is how subtle Thomas goes about, and of course he has his reasons:

Deuteronomy 32:4 The Rock: his work is perfect, for all his ways are just. A God of faithfulness who does no wrong, just and right is he. Samuel 22:32 For who is God, besides Yahweh? Who is a rock, besides our God? Isaiah 44:8 Don't fear, neither be afraid. Haven't I declared it to you long ago, and shown it? You are my witnesses. Is there a God besides me? Indeed, there is not. I don't know any other Rock."

And so on. There are 117 occurrences in the Tanakh of the word 'rock' … The Psalms hold the most, with David singing to his beloved and cherished Rock … (p. 116)

So then, focusing here on the occurrences of rock in the Hebrew text, since Linssen’s arguments from the scriptures are based on the Tanakh.

In the scriptures, most of the occurrences of the relevant Hebrew terms for rock, tsur and sela, like the Greek petra in the LXX, are used for common rock, ‘doing’ the things that rock does --- a cliff face, a rock outcrop as a locale or landmark, a place to hide among the rock, standing on rock, and such.

Certainly tsur and sela are used several times in the Hebrew text to describe and characterize Yahweh. It’s no surprise that the solidity of rock provides a common way to conceptualize the reliability and strength of God in the scriptures.

These two verses provide another good example of how Yahweh is characterized in the Hebrew text as rock. But also note all the other ways in which Yahweh is also characterized and described ---

He (David) said, “Yahweh is my rock (sela) and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock (tsur), in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior, You save me from violence.” (2 Samuel 22:2-3, Hebrew text)

And note that both the Hebrew tsur and sela are appropriate for our attention in this discussion, as demonstrated in the 2 Samuel verses above.

Rock plays a different role in the following verse --- the word of Yahweh shatters rock. Certainly not self-destruction ---

“Is My word not like fire?” declares Yahweh, “and like a hammer that shatters rock (סָֽלַע׃, sela)?” (Jeremiah 23:29, Hebrew text)

And here, rock is used as a negative concept of spiritual hardness set against Yahweh ---
.
Yahweh … they refused to accept discipline. They have made their faces harder than rock (מִסֶּ֔לַע, sela), they have refused to repent … they do not know the way of Yahweh … (Jeremiah 5:3-4, Hebrew text)

And in these verses, rock refers not just to Yahweh, but also to other gods as well ---

Indeed, their rock (tsur) is not like our Rock (tsur); even our enemies themselves judge this … (Deuteronomy 32:31, Hebrew text)

And He (Yahweh) will say, ‘Where are their gods (אֱלֹהֵ֑ימוֹ, elohim), the rock (צ֖וּר, tsur) in which they took refuge?” (Deuteronomy 32:37, Hebrew text)

Deuteronomy 32:37 here is especially problematic for Linssen’s argument. Yahweh is calling other gods “rock”.

Linssen again, with his interpretation of “some others fell upon the rock” from Logion 9, the Parable of the Sower ---

… to point to the God of Judaism, it is this what he means with that: "some fell to Judaism". And that, according to Thomas, leads nowhere as well, and proof of that is in further development of the failed Action … (p. 116)

The portion of the parable where seed is sown on rock is easily understood on a literal level --- crops don’t grow on rock. And a lesson is not difficult to glean on a figurative level. Those with hardened hearts and minds will not be receptive to the seed of wisdom, as reflected in this use of rock in the scriptures ---

Yahweh … they refused to accept discipline. They have made their faces harder than rock (sela); they have refused to repent. (Jeremiah 5:3, Hebrew text) **

Are there even deeper levels of meaning for the failed sowing on the rock? Perhaps.

But Linssen has not adequately established an anti-Judaic intent for the rock in Logion 9 in GThomas.


robert j




** sela is translated as petra in the Greek LXX in Jeremiah 5:3
robert j
Posts: 905
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:01 pm

Re: Linssen on GThomas 9 --- “the Judaic religion … will not yield any fruit.”

Post by robert j »


The one who sows came forth. He filled his hand and he cast …

… Some others fell upon the rock (πετρα), and they did not take root downward to the earth, and they did not put forth heads upward to the heaven. (Thomas 9)

To accompany his lackadaisical and failed attempt to establish the rock in logion 9 as representing the Judaic religion and the God of the Jews, Linssen spends almost half a page inventing an anti-Judaic scenario. Linssen reveals what, apparently, he would have preferred to see in the Coptic text of Thomas.

From the second part of Linssen's flight-of-fancy ---

(note: the [brackets] and the underlining are mine) ---

… 'buy heads-of-grain upward to heaven', "buying your way into heaven" is what the double entendre could be here, and it would be a very good one in the eyes of Thomas, who fiercely rejects buyers and traders - and religion. But, unfortunately, the [text] says differently … but it would have been a pun well befitting Thomas and his fierce rejection of any and all things religious, especially Judaic. The Rock of monotheism, the Judaic religion: that also will not yield any fruit whatsoever. Worse, it will not even allow "them" to root, and "uprooting" is a very familiar and destructive Tanakh event. (p. 118)

[--- see bottom of page 117 and the top of page 118 ---
https://www.academia.edu/46974146/Compl ... on_content ]


… he who has an ear, let him hear … (Thomas 24)
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