Why haven't Goodacre, Gathercole, and I accepted Martijn's claims?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Ken Olson
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Why haven't Goodacre, Gathercole, and I accepted Martijn's claims?

Post by Ken Olson »

mlinssen wrote: Fri Jul 29, 2022 1:32 am
Ken Olson wrote: Thu Jul 28, 2022 11:00 pm
mlinssen wrote: Thu Jul 28, 2022 2:37 pm I spent 5 minutes on Google and quickly drew my verdict: Eusebius is our source to Ignatius, so all this must be completely fake - and indeed it's the alleged "first use of the word catholic".
At least I now know where it comes from - LOL

[Snip]

When will Christians demand honesty, sincerity and truth from their scholars and academics?
What will it take for the likes of you, Gathercole and Goodacre to stand up and shout?

"Thank you for sharing your research Martijn"

Sorry Ken, I have nothing but praise and respect for you, and you deserve nothing but from my point of view. But what does it take to turn all this around - what does it take to simply do the right thing?
I'm going to give this a serious answer. If you want other people to accept your arguments, you need to state them clearly to give others a chance to examine them them. Clarity involves things like defining your terms and stating your conclusion and giving the premises and the reasoning that led to your conclusion (i.e., true premises and a truth-preserving series of deductions leading to a true conclusion).

In this specific case, what is 'all this', the Ignatian correspondence, or just Smyrnaeans, or what? And what logical thought process did you go through to determine it came from Eusebius? And what does it have to do with the NHL? You seem to think this is all obvious. It is not.

I gather that in a lot of your posts, you are examining when a word, symbol, or concept is first found attested in surviving manuscripts. You seems to make a jump from [earliest use attested in surviving manuscripts] to [absolute earliest use] without making it explicit how you get there. There is a tendency in a lot of your writings to state a position and then mock those who don't agree with you as incompetent or dishonest. Making your logic explicit and understandable might be more helpful.

To put it another way: How do you know the things you claim to know?
Thanks Ken!
Proper questions, some good points

I'm a bit surprised by your view that I take a position and then expect people to agree - I was under the impression that I present objectively verifiable data, look at that from both sides of a coin, and then make an informed decision

As example of that would be viewtopic.php?p=125462#p125462 which is a typical TL;DR post.
A much more concise one would be viewtopic.php?p=119209#p119209.
A really concise one is viewtopic.php?p=119091#p119091

Are those in line with what you see as my "default" behaviour described above?
I will again try to give this a serious answer, though I may well come to regret it.

No, I didn't have those particular posts in mind when I wrote that you state a position and then mock those who disagree with you. The thee you linked were all posted in February 2021 or later, after the point I decided to stop replying to your posts on the synoptic problem because you dismissed by points in three posts (and more later) and simply made strong counter-assertions. I didn't see the point in engaging you further.

But I can give you an example of what I'm talking about from the second of the posts you link, the one on Luke 11.27-28:

27 As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

I think those verses were composed by Luke as a substitution for Mark 3.31-35/Matt 12.31-35, which he had already used in one of his Markan blocks at Luke 8.19-21. Mark Goodacre devotes an entire chapter to Thomas 79 and Luke 11.27-28 in Thomas and the gospels (pp. 97-109).

At one point, I decided to give you a chance and read some of the papers you posted on Academia.edu and I took a look at the 72 Logia of Thomas and Their Canonical Cousins and I was particularly interested, when I got to your discussion of Thomas 79, in how you were going to answer Goodacre's case on Luke 11.27-28 // Thomas 79. What I found was no mention of Goodacre but this:

The splitting of logia by the gospel-writers, such as logion 79, is a solid case for them copying Thomas and not the other way around. Thomas joining Luke 11:27-28 with Mark 13:17 or Matthew 24:19? Good luck with arguing that case.

The idea that Thomas put together two sayings related by catchwords (which the majority of scholars hold) is to be dismissed as unworthy of consideration. But instead of serious consideration I found stuff like this:

Goodacre, who is sharp enough, must know by now that Thomas is the original. Naturally, he can't say that. But it is telling that he doesn't say anything about some things that are truly untold and unheard of, like the wonderful Zizanion. Goodacre, so full of verbatim agreement, misses out on this alien anomaly?

Impossible

viewtopic.php?p=125009#p125009

You think Goodacre actually knows that you are right that Thomas is the original and just won't admit it.

And this:

Listen, you can purchase e.g. Goodacre's Thomas and the Gospels, https://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Gospels-T ... 0802867480
Break down that $ 37.47 into a page price and you'll sit at 15.8 $-cent per page. And the book you'll get will be mediocre at best, half of which is just mere filling, among others talking about verbatim agreements between Thomas and the Synoptics (duh, really?!). The other half will pretend to demonstrate direction of dependence but in essence it will do nothing more than point out verbatim agreement, and a bit of rhetoric is deployed to fool the gullible into believing the claims made by Goodacre in the Intro. But it will be a total waste, not only of your money, but most importantly of your time.
And if anyone else but Goodacre had published it, it would have been binned on the spot and perhaps no one would have even deemed it worthy of a review

[Snip]

Let me throw in my own unprecedented masterpiece (I'm in a generous mood today!), the Complete Thomas Commentary, Prologue through logion 51, which will be available to you in 3-6 months ... for free.
A guesstimated 500 pages, so you'll save 500 * 15.8 $-cent = $ 79.34! LOL

Then I read your case for Thomas 'From Adam to John the Baptist" being a reference to the book of Chronicles which begins with Adam and ends with ... who, Zedekiah? But he had a brother named John and allowed the prophet Jeremiah to be lowered into in mud/filth (Jeremiah 38.6), hence John the Dipper. If one first assumes that the saying must be talking about the beginning and end of the book of Chronicles, you might end up with some such rationalization like that. I can't imagine any other reason to think that's where John the Baptist came from.

Oh, and you are not assuming the authenticity of the works of Josephus until further notice.

I kind of stopped reading your Academia.edu stuff at that point, and stopped commenting on your Thomas posts. You make confident assertions and mock those who think otherwise. You are constantly praising your own work and disparaging that of others. But a large part of your arguments are arguments from ignorance (I'm right because I have not been proved wrong) and personal incredulity ('Good luck with that!", which is maybe the argument from snark).

I recently looked at your paper on the Mustard Seed and found this:

Likely, very and highly likely, of all the utterly failed interpretations by all superficial interpreters, this parable is the most wrongly interpreted one of all. With everyone busying themselves with interpreting the mustard grain as well as the branch, nobody noticed that there is no relation between the two at all. And there is one single name that pops up, among all the so very esteemed parable- and Thomas-interpreters, of the person that fails so immensely incredibly hard at seeing what is right in front of him by dismissively rejecting the two words that matter most in this parable, and Thomas as a whole; "tilled soil": John Dominic Crossan

.

There are three or four pages of this kind of polemic (You name names!). No one wants to read that kind of stuff. And no one is persuaded that his or her argument is wrong by having it dismissed or mocked.

My guess is that the scholars you've sent your work to just stop reading when they see the polemic, the mockery and dismissal of alternate views and extreme departures from what is usually held (Josephus, John the Baptist) not backed by adequate argument (or backed by wild speculations, to put it another way). They are not willing to put in the effort to wade through all that to see if you've possibly made some good points somewhere in there. (I certainly don't want the job). I think it gets binned on the spot, to use your idiom.

If you want to be taken seriously, what I would suggest is that you limit the scale of your claims. Take one case (or maybe up to three) from Thomas and seek publication in a peer-reviewed journal. You would have to cut out all the polemic and make an effort to state opposing positions as strongly as possible before explaining, with convincing reasons, why they are wrong. You may need an editor to help you with that.

I will make an exception for your literal Thomas translation. I think that is useful, so thank you for your research there.

Best wishes,

Ken

ETA: I have changed the title of the thread from 'Why has Martijn not been thanked for his research by Goodacre, Gathercole, and me?' as Martijn has now posted to say that 'Thank you for sharing your research, Martijn" is, in fact, the sole response that he has received from Simon Gathercole and Mark Goodacre. I believe the new title is appropriate to the existing content of the thread.
Last edited by Ken Olson on Sat Aug 20, 2022 3:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why has Martijn not been thanked for his research by Goodacre, Gathercole, and me?

Post by mlinssen »

Thanks Ken.
Mark and Simon did thank me for my research, by the way

"you dismissed by points in three posts (and more later) and simply made strong counter-assertions"

So I countered you but you didn't counter me back? Did you not do so because I came in too strong, because my arguments were too strong? You are being unusually ambiguous here

I had hoped that you would take just one of my cases, split hairs over all the arguments used, and counter at least some of them

Instead I get the usual "oh but you disagree with everything that is commonly held".
You could have argued for instance why it's perfectly fine for Mark to not even comment on the Zizanions of Matthew. Just one word Ken, do tell me where Matthew got it from please - I can tell you where Thomas got it from

Yes there are polemics in my writings, for sure. A significant amount?

I'll copy the the first paragraph of my Publication List here for you,

https://www.academia.edu/57161277/Publi ... 022_August

I have published 1,630 pages on Thomas (excluding Koepke and this paper), and an additional 645 pages of Discussion content - please consult the series and descriptions given below in order to get a brief overview

I'm sincerely disappointed Ken. You covertly admit that my peculiar cases are certainly not what you accused me of, yet you use the vague excuse that they're too old to engage with?

If you won't even engage with and counter those then who will?
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Re: Why has Martijn not been thanked for his research by Goodacre, Gathercole, and me?

Post by mlinssen »

Ken Olson wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 11:12 am At one point, I decided to give you a chance and read some of the papers you posted on Academia.edu and I took a look at the 72 Logia of Thomas and Their Canonical Cousins and I was particularly interested, when I got to your discussion of Thomas 79, in how you were going to answer Goodacre's case on Luke 11.27-28 // Thomas 79. What I found was no mention of Goodacre but this:

The splitting of logia by the gospel-writers, such as logion 79, is a solid case for them copying Thomas and not the other way around. Thomas joining Luke 11:27-28 with Mark 13:17 or Matthew 24:19? Good luck with arguing that case.

The idea that Thomas put together two sayings related by catchwords (which the majority of scholars hold) is to be dismissed as unworthy of consideration. But instead of serious consideration I found stuff like this:
Yes, that is what I assert, and you even quote that right here - so I'm puzzled about the immediately following sentence and its start
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Re: Why has Martijn not been thanked for his research by Goodacre, Gathercole, and me?

Post by Ken Olson »

mlinssen wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 1:57 pm You could have argued for instance why it's perfectly fine for Mark to not even comment on the Zizanions of Matthew. Just one word Ken, do tell me where Matthew got it from please - I can tell you where Thomas got it from
Please do.
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Re: Why has Martijn not been thanked for his research by Goodacre, Gathercole, and me?

Post by mlinssen »

Ken Olson wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 6:04 pm
mlinssen wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 1:57 pm You could have argued for instance why it's perfectly fine for Mark to not even comment on the Zizanions of Matthew. Just one word Ken, do tell me where Matthew got it from please - I can tell you where Thomas got it from
Please do.
Will you tell me where Matthew got it from when I tell you where Thomas got it from?
I just have to ask, given the fact that I have given you all of this material, in all its forms, and you have done nothing but circumvent it in every possible way. Which truly surprises me

So please Ken, when I provide my elaborate, kind, academic, well argued and certainly non polemic exposition of why and how Thomas invented Zizanion - will you give me your best?
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Re: Why has Martijn not been thanked for his research by Goodacre, Gathercole, and me?

Post by Giuseppe »

About only the John the Baptist/Josephus thing:
Has the consensus confuted the arguments of Rivka Nir against the autenticity of the Baptist Passage in Josephus? To my knowledge, no.
Ken Olson
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Re: Why has Martijn not been thanked for his research by Goodacre, Gathercole, and me?

Post by Ken Olson »

mlinssen wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 6:50 pm
Ken Olson wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 6:04 pm
mlinssen wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 1:57 pm You could have argued for instance why it's perfectly fine for Mark to not even comment on the Zizanions of Matthew. Just one word Ken, do tell me where Matthew got it from please - I can tell you where Thomas got it from
Please do.
Will you tell me where Matthew got it from when I tell you where Thomas got it from?
I just have to ask, given the fact that I have given you all of this material, in all its forms, and you have done nothing but circumvent it in every possible way. Which truly surprises me

So please Ken, when I provide my elaborate, kind, academic, well argued and certainly non polemic exposition of why and how Thomas invented Zizanion - will you give me your best?
I will examine the possibility you suggest and other possibilities on the table. Maybe your theory will be the best option. But I'd have to see it first.

Best,

Ken
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Re: Why has Martijn not been thanked for his research by Goodacre, Gathercole, and me?

Post by mlinssen »

Ken Olson wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 10:50 pm
mlinssen wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 6:50 pm
Ken Olson wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 6:04 pm
mlinssen wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 1:57 pm You could have argued for instance why it's perfectly fine for Mark to not even comment on the Zizanions of Matthew. Just one word Ken, do tell me where Matthew got it from please - I can tell you where Thomas got it from
Please do.
Will you tell me where Matthew got it from when I tell you where Thomas got it from?
I just have to ask, given the fact that I have given you all of this material, in all its forms, and you have done nothing but circumvent it in every possible way. Which truly surprises me

So please Ken, when I provide my elaborate, kind, academic, well argued and certainly non polemic exposition of why and how Thomas invented Zizanion - will you give me your best?
I will examine the possibility you suggest and other possibilities on the table. Maybe your theory will be the best option. But I'd have to see it first.

Best,

Ken
Excellent. You are aware of the fact that the Apocalypse of Moses is not one of those possibilities?

See viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7537&p=125021&hilit ... on#p125021

The TL;DR version of that is that the MS in question dates to the 11th CE - hardly an admissable witness, wouldn't you agree?
Solid research though, I like to think. Or good detective work, or both
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The Zizanion of Thomas: Sisyphus

Post by mlinssen »

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,[2]: 252  the literary units in the work are considered to be older and predominantly of Jewish origin.[3] There is wide agreement among scholars that the original was composed in a Semitic language[2]: 251  in the 1st century AD.[2]: 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/).[2]

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)
robert j
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Re: The Zizanion of Thomas: Sisyphus

Post by robert j »

I really didn’t intend to think much about gThomas for a while, but this question brought out the farm-boy in me. So, just a biologically targeted approach to the question --- what does the term ζιζάνιον (zizanion) mean as found in the parable of ‘the weeds and the wheat’ in Matthew (13:24-30) and in Thomas (logion 57)?

Such parables are told in the context of rural agrarian people. And regardless of the depth of figurative spiritual messages intended, I think the parables are most effective if they make sense on a literal level.

The two possibilities under consideration ---

The conventional understanding ---

The term ζιζάνιον (zizanion) means in these texts what was once a very problematic weed in grain fields Lolium temulentum. Commonly known as darnel ryegrass, or just darnel. Often translated as tares. Sometimes called poison darnel because the species can sometimes contain a symbiotic fungal endophyte that confers many benefits to the ryegrass, but can be toxic to (and deter) animals and insects that might eat the plant or the seed.

This species has been documented from ancient archeological sites as a contaminant of wheat seed. This ryegrass is especially problematic in wheat because the seedlings and immature plants resemble the wheat plants, making it very difficult to control by hand weeding and giving the plant another name, false wheat. But when the plants are mature, the visual difference is easily determined. The seed of this ryegrass is about the same size as ancient wheat kernels, thus making it very difficult separate the harvested seed of the wheat from the ryegrass. All in all, a very problematic and undesirable weed in grain fields for many reasons.

All indications are that cultivated wheat and darnel ryegrass evolved together over millennia, both mutually influenced by agricultural practices.


An alternative proposed by Linssen---

mlinssen wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 5:01 am A blunt copy-paste from my continuing work on Thomas ... this concerns Thomas logion 57. Draft, still needs a final edit. ...

... what does Thomas mean by a Zizanion?

... 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 ...

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 ...

...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

There is a species of jujube tree native to the eastern Mediterranean, so it’s possible on that account. But how would the seed of this tree work on a literal level in the parable?


The Parable

Matthew 13:24-30
Thomas 57

Darnel Ryegrass


Jujube

He put before them another parable, saying, "The kingdom of the heavens has become like a man having sown good seed in his field.
And while the men are sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds (ζιζάνια) in the midst of the wheat, and went away. (Matthew)

IS said, "The Father's kingdom is like a person who has good seed. His enemy came during the night and sowed a weed (zizanion) among the good seed. (Thomas)
And when the plants sprouted and produced fruit, at that time the weeds (ζιζάνια) also appeared. (Matthew)Wheat and darnel have a very similar germination period and life cycle.Jujube seeds require a long period of germination.
And the servants, having approached the master of the house, said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds (ζιζάνια)?' (Matthew)
And he said to them, 'An enemy did this.' And the servants said to him, 'Then do you desire that having gone forth, we should gather them?' (Matthew)
And he said, 'No, lest gathering the weeds (ζιζάνια), you would uproot the wheat with them. (Matthew)

The person did not allow them to pull up the weed (zizanion), but said behold, ‘Lest perhaps yourselves depart, because if (you) pluck the weed (zizanion) you pluck the wheat with it.' (Thomas)
Wheat and darnel look very similar before maturity, with darnel sometimes called “false wheat”. With the two species of grass growing together, it would be difficult to visually distinguish the weed from the wheat. And even if one could distinguish, it would be somewhat tricky to remove one from the other by hand with their fibrous root systems entangled. Jujube seedlings would be easy to distinguish from wheat, and with a young taproot, relatively easy to remove by hand from the wheat
Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the harvesters, "First gather the weeds (ζιζάνια) and bind them into bundles in order to burn them; then gather together the wheat into my barn." (Matthew)

Indeed on the day of the harvest the weeds (zizanion, pl.) will be revealed outwardly. They pluck them and they burn them. (Thomas)
At maturity, darnel would be tall enough to bundle, and easy to distinguish from the wheat at that stage. Burning the mature darnel would be necessary to destroy the seed and reduce further infestation.Jujube seedlings would be very easy to distinguish from wheat long before harvest, and would look quite different even at first emergence.

And no need to burn them, as no seed would be produced in the first season.

There is an easy choice here from this perspective.
Last edited by robert j on Wed Aug 17, 2022 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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