A blunt copy-paste from my continuing work on Thomas; The Commentary got published at logion 55 yet I progress in the meantime: this concerns Thomas logion 57. Draft, still needs a final edit
. All hyperlinks are lost of course, formatting undone, footnotes, etc. I have tried to restore it to a basic format
A gentle cave canem: if you are not familiar with my work, if you haven't read a paper from the Thomas in Context Series, if you haven't even glnced at the Commentary, if you haven't gone through the Translation: in those case, this will look "completely bonkers" to you, and I fully understand that given those circumstances. If you want to dismiss it all, fine by me - but if you want to evaluate this theory below then I can tell you that the 500+ pages on the first 55 logia confirm that Thomas is not about CHristianity, not about Jesus, not about anything the like.
Instead, Thomas is about self-seeking, he doesn't even speak of Christ but only of I(H)S, he rejects religion in general and is vehemently anti-Judaic.
In short, Thomas is about liberation and self-salvation, and he guides the reader through his Quest that starts with logion 8
Is that absolutely unconventional, unlike anything ever written on Thomas? To a certain extent indeed, yet there are more than enough works that approach Thomas from a Zen perspective, a Buddhist perspective, and a non-dual perspective in general: Thomas is most definitely about non-duality, and logion 74 is the core logion to that - but only if you undo the silent emendations and read it as Koepke and I, completely independent of one another, translated it:
74. said he : oh slaveowner there-are many of the going-round within the*(F) separation there-is-not anyone However in the*(F) sickness
Still here? Then enjoy, and I appreciate the feedback
The ⲍⲓⲍⲁⲛⲓⲟⲛ is quite a different story, as once again we have a word that doesn’t exist: nowhere on the face of the earth is this word used, and its other appearance is in Matthew 13:25: ζιζάνια. Zizania appears to be the name for a plant now, but that only came into being via the greatest botanist of all times, Carl Linnaeus - who applied his system of binomial nomenclature to his Species Plantarum in 1753, and there is where we encounter zizania for the first time ever: a wild rice, indigenous to North America and Asia:
The genus, Zizania, was named by Gronovius in Leyden, Holland from a plant collected in Virginia by John Clayton in 1739 (Aiken et al. 1988). Linnaeus in 1753 provided the binomial Zizania aquatica from the Clayton specimen. There are four species of wild rice: Z. palustris L., Z. aquatica L., Z. texana Hitchcock, and Z. latifolia (Griseb.) Turcz. ex Stapf. The first three are native to North America and the last is native to Asia.
There is one other occurrence, in Apocalypse of Moses 16.1-5 also known as ‘Life of Adam and Eve’:
1 And the devil spake to the serpent saying, Rise up, come to me and I will tell thee a word 2 whereby thou mayst have profit.” And he arose and came to him. And the devil saith to him: 3 “I hear that thou art wiser than all the beasts, and I have come to counsel thee. Why dost thou eat of Adam’s tares and not of paradise? Rise up and we will cause him to be cast out of paradise, even 4 as we were cast out through him.” The serpent saith to him, “I fear lest the Lord be wroth with 5 me.” The devil saith to him: “Fear not, only be my vessel and I will speak through thy mouth words to deceive him.”
This text has received some very optimistic dating, and Wikipedia will suffice there:
While the surviving versions were composed from the early 3rd to the 5th century AD,: 252 the literary units in the work are considered to be older and predominantly of Jewish origin. There is wide agreement among scholars that the original was composed in a Semitic language: 251 in the 1st century AD.: 252
Whenever I see the phrase ‘wide agreement among scholars’ I consider myself forewarned, and it can’t be a coincidence that we see this dating game displayed above: “from” 3rd to 5th CE yet considered to be 1st CE - naturally there is a story there. And that story begins with Fred. C. Conybeare. ‘On the Apocalypse of Moses’ The Jewish Quarterly Review, vol. 7, no. 2, 1895, pp. 216–235. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1450231
. Observe page 219 where the story starts: ‘From the MS. No. 1,631 (198a-212 a) of the library of Etschmiadzin, written A.D. 1539’:
And she began to say as follows: “God, who loveth man and is merciful, fashioned me and your father Adam; and placed us in the garden of delight, to govern and rule over all things which grew therein. But from one tree he commanded us to abstain, from the same; the which Satan beheld, (to wit) our glory and honour ; and having found the serpent the wisest animal of all which are on the whole earth, (Ch. xvi.) he approached him and said to him5’: ‘I behold thee wiser than all animals, and I desire6 to reveal unto thee the thought which is in my heart and to unite (with) thee. Thou seest how much worth God has bestowed on the man. But we have been dishonoured; so hearken unto me and come, let us go and drive him out of the garden, out of which we have been driven because of him
That is completely different from the text that we have, isn’t it? The footnote points to the following text:
6 The Greek Text of Ceriani (D) has “And I associate with thee. Why dost thou eat of the tares of Adam and not of the garden ? Arise, and we will cause him to be expelled from the garden, as we also were expelled through him. The serpent said.” etc
Ceriani? But how many MSS are there then? A paper by S Lachs sheds light on the nature of the underlying MSS: Lachs, S. T. ‘Some Textual Observations On The Apocalypsis Mosis And The Vita Adae Et Evae’ Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Period, vol. 13, no. 1/2, 1982, pp. 172–176. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/24658016
. Observe the first page there, page 172:
The Apocalypsis Mosis and the Vita Adae et Evae are two works of a larger cycle of Adam legends. These two texts have survived in Greek, Latin, Slavonic and Armenian, but each is flawed by lacunae and textual obscurities1.
Yet another footnote, what does it point to?
1 For a description of the MSS see L. S. A. WELLS in R. H. CHARLES, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, Vol. II (Oxford, 1913), pp. 123 ff. The Greek citations in this study are from C. TISCHENDORF’S text, Apocalypses Apocryphae (Leipzig, 1866) based on ABC, Beg. and end of D, and A. CERIANI, Monumenta Sacra et Profana, Vol. I (Milan, 1868), pp. 21 ff. containing the text of D. For the Armenian citations--F. CONYBEARE, “On the Apocalypse of Moses,” JQR VII (1895), pp. 216-235 (English translation).
Off to Charles then, even deeper into this proverbial rabbit hole; page 124 if you please - emphasis mine:
$3 The MSS.
Six MSS are at present known of the Apoc. Mosis:
A Venice. Thirteenth century. Tischendorf
B Vienna. Twelfth to fourteenth centuries. Tischendorf
C Vienna. Twelfth to fourteenth centuries. Tischendorf
D Milan. Eleventh century. Ceriani.
E1 Paris. Fifteenth century. Fuchs
E2 Montpellier. Fuchs
The names are those of Ceriani, Tischendorf, and Fuchs. I owe my knowledge of the different readings of E1 and E2 to the great kindness of Dr. Fuchs, who placed all his notes at my disposal. The knowledge of the other MSS. is derived from Tischendorf, Apoc. Apocryphae, 1866, and Ceriani, Momunenta, v. i.
It will be observed that all these MSS, are more or less fragmentary with the exception of C. This, however, is often obscure. A, though nearly complete till xxxvi, is rightly regarded by Fuchs as very untrustworthy, and is much spoilt by glosses, Apoc. Mos. xvi. 2, xiv. 2, xxiv. 3, xxviii. 3, xxxii. 4, even while it preserves some good readings, especially xxii. 2 (‘judgement’), and retains Apocalypse in xiii, which I believe to be original, and elsewhere lost through influence of Latin version.
D, where it is to be had (i-xvi,xxxvi-xliv) seems the safest to follow; but it appears, especially at the end, to aim too much at clearness and classical Greek, and I have often found myself suspecting that the less easy and more clumsy sentences of C had a closer affinity with the original text ; even though conscious that in so doing I have been compelled to depart from the precedent set by Dr. Fuchs, whose work marks an epoch in the study of this literature, and to whom I owe much.
Besides D, like B, though to a less extent, is not above filling up the gaps from the Scriptures (cf. Apoc. Mos. IX. 2, &c.), and altering phrase or word to correspond with a biblical text (Apoc Mos. viii. 1-2, &c.).
E, like B, is often redundant and diffuse. Its chief interest lies in its very near relationship to the Armenian Version, with which it often agrees against all the others; if not the source of that translation, it is very closely related to it. In the following translation, I have taken D and C as the chief guides, but, where they are unsatisfactory, have often thought it wiser to follow one of the others. Cf. xxvi. 4 (AB), xxix. 5 (E)
I agree with Fuchs that the construction of the true text is ‘schwierig’ and largely guesswork, but have adopted no reading without comparing all MSS.
‘schwierig’ and largely guesswork? Six different MSS? And the only one that contains ‘zizanion’ “is not above filling up the gaps from the Scriptures (cf. Apoc. Mos. IX. 2, &c.), and altering phrase or word to correspond with a biblical text (Apoc Mos. viii. 1-2, &c.)”? And dates to 11th CE to boot? And we haven’t even seen the word yet, in the original manuscript? I don’t even have to see it, after all this goose chasing.
This is one of the deeper rabbit holes, again costing me a day or so, but it’s all part and parcel of research into Thomas - yet let it be without a doubt that this word was invented by either Thomas, or Matthew. But Matthew’s is for later on - let’s continue with the logion, which will be repeated for convenience: ‘IS said: the reign of king of the father, she is comparable to a human, has he therein a good seed; his enemy came within the night, he threw-sowed a Zizanion upon the good seed’.
Two other noteworthy words are present, namely ‘good’, ⲉ(ⲧ)ⲛⲁⲛⲟⲩϥ, and ‘throw-sow’, ⲥⲓⲧⲉ: the fish in logion 8 was good (until it was ‘chosen’!), and so were the seed and the heaven in logion 9, and in that same logion 9 we encountered ⲥⲓⲧⲉ as well: and now, in this logion 57, we once again encounter both - also for the last time that any one of them occurs. And we have here un unmistakeable link between logion 9 and 57, and the good seed in logion 9 now gets countered by an enemy who applies the exact same action, yet this time it is an explicit one as a Zizanion is throw-sown. If the sower reaches deep down, into where the kingdom is, and ejaculates - then what does his enemy here do but the exact same? Yet what does Thomas mean by a Zizanion?
The enemy comes in the night, not even the evening: he goes under cover of darkness, a word that is present in logion 24 and 61: this is not a man of light (logion 24) and he likely thus is divided (logion 61) - and this is the first time that we look ahead in Thomas, and I am not sure that we should. Yet this man, this enemy, exerts the exact same pivotal action as the sower, and he explicitly targets the good seed of that same sower - and all that in the dark: is he his evil twin perhaps? There is a word for that in the context of Thomas, and it is slaveowner, ϫⲟⲉⲓⲥ. In the context of my interpretation that is the Ego, and it would fit perfectly to see him as the evil counterpart of you - and then the Zizanion would be “the dark opposite” of the good seed, perhaps. Not even LSJ offers anything on the topic of ζιζάνιον, yet if we treat it like a regular Greek word then the ending is the diminutive of a word like ζιζάν - which also doesn’t exist. The LSJ contains 4,301 words that end with ιον, 1,310 of which are diminutives - and 27 of those end with νιον. Only three candidates remain in the very end, as they most closely resemble our word here:
ἀκάνιον is the diminutive of ἄκανος (‘pine-thistle’)
ἠθάνιον is the diminutive of ἠθμός (‘a strainer, Eur.; of the eyelashes, Xen.’)
πῠάνιον is the diminutive of πύανος (‘mixture of various kinds of pulse, cooked sweet’)
When we apply those patterns to ζιζάνιον, we get the following posibilities:
ζιζάνος (ἀκάνιον is the diminutive of ἄκανος)
ζιζμός (ἠθάνιον is the diminutive of ἠθμός)
ζιζάνος (πῠάνιον is the diminutive of πύανος)
The first and last pattern are identical, so there are two options left: either ζιζάνος or ζιζμός. Needless to say, none of those exist either - and I could have saved myself a lot of trouble by simply looking at all the Greek words that contain ζιζ, as there are only three of those:
ζιζάνιον - Zizanion
ζιζουλά - jujube
ζίζῠφον - a tree, the fruit of which is the jujube, Zizyphus vulgaris
So actually, there is only one word, as evidently the tree and its fruit (does that ring a bell somewhere?) belong together: ζίζῠφον. When looking at the Latin name Zizyphus perhaps the average reader will be reminded more quickly of Sisyphus than by envisioning Σίσῠφος, yet both words point to the same: the mythical Sisyphus who
In Greek mythology, Sisyphus or Sisyphos (/ˈsɪsɪfəs/; Ancient Greek: Σίσυφος Sísyphos) was the founder and king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth). Zeus punished him for cheating death twice by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down every time it neared the top, repeating this action for eternity. Through the classical influence on modern culture, tasks that are both laborious and futile are therefore described as Sisyphean (/sɪsɪˈfiːən/).
The epitome of (un)doing one’s work by doing one’s work; a massively fruitless endeavour from start to end, and even meant to be as such. A giant tour de force requiring immense effort, with the inevitable outcome that the status quo remains exactly that: status quo. And of this perpetual process, our protagonist is dealt a single diminutive - by his enemy, undoubtedly the Ego, his very Nemesis. Forever undoing what we achieve or actually having us do his work for him by simply keeping us busy. This enemy is dropping his Sisyphean stone onto the (presumably) fertile soil of our Seeker where he so carefully cultivates his good seed in such a toilsome way; and even in its diminutive form it is a challenge, a distraction, a blemish and precisely meant as such: a provocation that can hardly go unanswered. How to deal with that? The protagonist of this logion has the right answer to it:
The human did not permit~ them to pluck the Zizanion; - Action
he said to them: Lest perhaps you go to pluck the Zizanion and you pluck the wheat with him: - Interlude
(etc, and the Explanation continues)