γυμνὸς or γυμνοὶ in Clement's Letter to Theodore?

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Ken Olson
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γυμνὸς or γυμνοὶ in Clement's Letter to Theodore?

Post by Ken Olson »

Greek palaeographer Agamemnon Tselikas produced a transcription of the Greek text of the Letter of Clement to Theodore that notably differed from that of R. Morton Smith and others who had read γυμνὸς γυμνῷ, 'naked man [sg.] with naked man' in line 67 (line 13 of page 3 in AKMA's transcription) of the letter in the manuscript. Tselikas read the words as γυμνοὶ γυμνῷ, 'naked men [pl.] with naked man'.

Tselikas' reading raises a number of interpretive issues: First, is Tselikas' reading correct? Second, if Tselikas' reading is correct, what would it mean that R. Morton Smith gave the wrong reading? Third, how would Tselikas' reading affect the interpretation of the text if it were adopted? I intend to deal only with the first question here: Is Tselikas reading correct? The later transcriptions of Paananen and Viklund (2015) and A. K. M. Adam (2018) prefer Smith's reading of γυμνὸς γυμνῷ, 'naked man with naked man'.

One factor brought in support of Tselikas' reading is the placement of the accent in the first of the two words. It is not over the Omicron, but over the final letter. Therefore the final letter must be a vowel, not a consonant, and we ought to prefer the reading γυμνοὶ, in which the final letter is an Iota, to γυμνὸς, in which the final letter is a Sigma. This makes sense when looked at by itself, but a look at line 67 (AKMA's 3.13) in the manuscript complicates matters considerably:
Clement - Letter To Theodore - Page 3  Enlarged.png
Clement - Letter To Theodore - Page 3 Enlarged.png (417.15 KiB) Viewed 466 times
Tselikas reads line 67 (the sixth line from the bottom) as κοπή. Τὸ δὲ γυμνοὶ γυμνῷ καὶ τἆλλα περὶ ὧν ἔγραψας οὐκ εὑ

Reading the manuscript along with Tselikas' transcription, there are seven accents in line 67. The accent on the final letter in κοπή actually touches the Eta (the full word is περικοπή, but the first part of the word is on the previous line), the accent on the Omicron in Τὸ is to the right of the letter, as is the accent on the Epsilon in δὲ. The accent on γυμνοὶ or γυμνὸς is either over the final Iota or to the right of the Omicron (i.e., over the Sigma). The accent on the final letter of καὶ is again to the right of the Iota, as is the accent on the final Iota in περὶ. Perhaps most relevant, the accent on the word ἔγραψας is not placed over the vowel Epsilon, but over the consonant Gamma to the right of it.

It seems that, except for the first accent on the Eta in (περι)κοπή, the scribe has placed the accents to the right of the vowels with which they belong rather than over them, including one case, ἔγραψας, in which the scribe has placed the accent over the consonant to the right of the vowel with which it belongs. This renders the argument that we should read γυμνοὶ instead of γυμνὸς in line 67 because the accent is over the final letter suspect, as the scribe has generally placed the accents in the line to the right of the vowels with which they belong, not over them.

A broader study of the comparanda might aid in our determination of the correct reading.

Bibliography:

Adam, A.K. M., Fragment of the Letter of Clement to Theodore Containing the Secret Gospel of Mark: A Study Edition (2018)

https://akma.disseminary.org/wp-content ... etMark.pdf

Smith, Morton. Clement of Alexandria and the Secret Gospel of Mark (Cambridge:
Harvard University Press, 1973).

Tselikas, Agamemnon, in ‘Did Morton Smith Forge “Secret Mark”?’ Biblical Archæology (14 October, 2009)

Paananen, Timo S., and Roger Viklund, ‘An Eighteenth-Century Manuscript:
Control of the Scribal Hand in Clement’s Letter to Theodore,’ Apocrypha 26
(2015): 261-297. Note: The authors claim that Tselikas' transcription contains 14 errors (see n. 112).

Best,

Ken
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Re: γυμνὸς or γυμνοὶ in Clement's Letter to Theodore?

Post by SaosSidirountios »

From what I see in the photo of the text above, Tselikas got it right and Morton Smith wrong. There is no "naked man to naked man" in the text. The authors of this text corrects a spelling mistake made by the person to whom he writes and states that "naked men" is wrong and "naked man" is right.

Jesus in Luke 22:36 asked his followers to sell their clothes and buy a machaira, a large long knife. In my thesis I argue that this naked person in Mark 14:51-52 could left without clothes because before the conflict he did follow what Jesus said and did sell his clothes to buy a knife. Is my explanation making any sense to anyone?
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Ken Olson
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Re: γυμνὸς or γυμνοὶ in Clement's Letter to Theodore?

Post by Ken Olson »

SaosSidirountios wrote: Fri Mar 15, 2024 1:43 pm From what I see in the photo of the text above, Tselikas got it right and Morton Smith wrong. There is no "naked man to naked man" in the text. The authors of this text corrects a spelling mistake made by the person to whom he writes and states that "naked men" is wrong and "naked man" is right.

Is my explanation making any sense to anyone?
I'm not following you, no. Could you translate the full sentence and then explain it?

Τὸ δὲ γυμνοὶ γυμνῷ καὶ τἆλλα περὶ ὧν ἔγραψας οὐκ εὑρίσκεται.

I would understand it as: 'But the naked men with naked man and the other things about which you wrote are not found.' I take the two words γυμνοὶ γυμνῷ to be what Theodore wrote to ask about and Clement is saying they are not found in the text of the secret gospel.

Are you taking the two words separately, with Clement saying γυμνοὶ is not found in the text but γυμνῷ is? Could you explain a bit more how that reading works and what the significance of γυμνῷ being in the dative is? I realize there are options other than the 'with' I used, but I'm not seeing how your reading works.

Best,

Ken
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Re: γυμνὸς or γυμνοὶ in Clement's Letter to Theodore?

Post by SaosSidirountios »

Sorry.
The author of this sentence means: "The word naked-men (γυμνοὶ is plural ) you wrote is wrong. Instead you should write -of the naked man- (γυμνῷ singular dative). And the other things you did write cannot be found (this could also be: the others things you did write do not exist anywhere)."

γυμνῷ -of the naked man- Something that belonged or something else (a report, a story, some information) about a naked man.

I hope the above are understood if in a read you exclude anything I mention inside the margins. Let me know.
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Ken Olson
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Re: γυμνὸς or γυμνοὶ in Clement's Letter to Theodore?

Post by Ken Olson »

SaosSidirountios wrote: Fri Mar 15, 2024 4:42 pm Sorry.
The author of this sentence means: "The word naked-men (γυμνοὶ is plural ) you wrote is wrong. Instead you should write -of the naked man- (γυμνῷ singular dative). And the other things you did write cannot be found (this could also be: the others things you did write do not exist anywhere)."

γυμνῷ -of the naked man- Something that belonged or something else (a report, a story, some information) about a naked man.

I hope the above are understood if in a read you exclude anything I mention inside the margins. Let me know.
Thank you, I wonder, first, when you say 'the word you wrote is wrong, you should write' do you mean Clement was correcting Theodore about what word was actually in the secret gospel? That is what I understand you to be saying but I may be wrong.

Second, that reading seems highly interpretive - how do you get 'The word naked-men (γυμνοὶ is plural ) you wrote is wrong. Instead you should write -of the naked man- (γυμνῷ singular dative)' out of an article with a word in the nominative and a word in the dative Τὸ γυμνοὶ γυμνῷ . The English translation uses a lot of words that don't seem to represent anything in the Greek. How would Theodore have known that Clement was telling him that γυμνῷ was the correct reading?
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Re: γυμνὸς or γυμνοὶ in Clement's Letter to Theodore?

Post by Peter Kirby »

Ken Olson wrote: Fri Mar 15, 2024 2:42 pm Could you translate the full sentence and then explain it?

Τὸ δὲ γυμνοὶ γυμνῷ καὶ τἆλλα περὶ ὧν ἔγραψας οὐκ εὑρίσκεται.

I would understand it as: 'But the naked men with naked man and the other things about which you wrote are not found.' I take the two words γυμνοὶ γυμνῷ to be what Theodore wrote to ask about and Clement is saying they are not found in the text of the secret gospel.

Are you taking the two words separately, with Clement saying γυμνοὶ is not found in the text but γυμνῷ is? Could you explain a bit more how that reading works and what the significance of γυμνῷ being in the dative is? I realize there are options other than the 'with' I used, but I'm not seeing how your reading works.

Best,

Ken
One hypothesis may be: "But the 'naked people with naked man' and the other things about which you wrote are not found."

Any explanation would have to be speculative, but one possibility (supplying more than what is said) is that there is a reference here to the scene where Jesus is arrested, a reference implied to be coming from the voice of Clement (as something that was previously written about by Theodore). The clarification from Clement would be that there is no reference to "γυμνοὶ γυμνῷ" (even though there is a reference to γυμνὸς in Mark 14:52). So this reference to γυμνὸς in Mark 14:52 is part of the gospel (mentioned here in the singular as γυμνῷ in the letter's rejected wording), but any additional reference to "γυμνοὶ γυμνῷ" (i.e., the plural also) is neither part of the gospel nor part of the secret gospel.

It's possible that what is referenced here is a scene of a group of people having sex in the garden of Gethsamane that is broken up, with people running off naked (along with the mentioned naked man), when the authorities arrive.

If more detail is required to understand this suggestion, one of many possibilities is that Theodore was supposedly asking about something like this (Mark 14:51-52): "A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, naked people fled with the naked man leaving his garment behind." But this particular wording is not part of the suggestion.

Although this is speculative, I believe it is the only passage in canonical Mark with the word mentioned (in any case or number).
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Re: γυμνὸς or γυμνοὶ in Clement's Letter to Theodore?

Post by andrewcriddle »

Peter Kirby wrote: Fri Mar 15, 2024 6:03 pm
Ken Olson wrote: Fri Mar 15, 2024 2:42 pm Could you translate the full sentence and then explain it?

Τὸ δὲ γυμνοὶ γυμνῷ καὶ τἆλλα περὶ ὧν ἔγραψας οὐκ εὑρίσκεται.

I would understand it as: 'But the naked men with naked man and the other things about which you wrote are not found.' I take the two words γυμνοὶ γυμνῷ to be what Theodore wrote to ask about and Clement is saying they are not found in the text of the secret gospel.

Are you taking the two words separately, with Clement saying γυμνοὶ is not found in the text but γυμνῷ is? Could you explain a bit more how that reading works and what the significance of γυμνῷ being in the dative is? I realize there are options other than the 'with' I used, but I'm not seeing how your reading works.

Best,

Ken
One hypothesis may be: "But the 'naked people with naked man' and the other things about which you wrote are not found."

Any explanation would have to be speculative, but one possibility (supplying more than what is said) is that there is a reference here to the scene where Jesus is arrested, a reference implied to be coming from the voice of Clement (as something that was previously written about by Theodore). The clarification from Clement would be that there is no reference to "γυμνοὶ γυμνῷ" (even though there is a reference to γυμνὸς in Mark 14:52). So this reference to γυμνὸς in Mark 14:52 is part of the gospel (mentioned here in the singular as γυμνῷ in the letter's rejected wording), but any additional reference to "γυμνοὶ γυμνῷ" (i.e., the plural also) is neither part of the gospel nor part of the secret gospel.

It's possible that what is referenced here is a scene of a group of people having sex in the garden of Gethsamane that is broken up, with people running off naked (along with the mentioned naked man), when the authorities arrive.

If more detail is required to understand this suggestion, one of many possibilities is that Theodore was supposedly asking about something like this (Mark 14:51-52): "A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, naked people fled with the naked man leaving his garment behind." But this particular wording is not part of the suggestion.

Although this is speculative, I believe it is the only passage in canonical Mark with the word mentioned (in any case or number).
As I said in another thread I think the issue has to be about the correct version of the pericope Clement has just quoted. I think it particularly unlikely that Gethsemane is involved. The letter says
To you, therefore, I shall not hesitate to answer the questions you have asked, refuting the falsifications by the very words of the Gospel. For example, after "And they were in the road going up to Jerusalem" and what follows, until "After three days he shall arise", the secret Gospel brings the following material word for word:

"And they come into Bethany. And a certain woman whose brother had died was there. And, coming, she prostrated herself before Jesus and says to him, "son of David, have mercy on me". But the disciples rebuked her. And Jesus, being angered , went off with her into the garden where the tomb was, and straightway, going in where the youth was, he stretched forth his hand and raised him, seizing his hand. But the youth, looking upon him, loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with him. And going out of the tomb they came into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days Jesus told him what to do and in the evening the youth comes to him, wearing a linen cloth over his naked body. And he remained with him that night, for Jesus thaught him the mystery of the Kingdom of God. And thence, arising, he returned to the other side of the Jordan."

And these words follow the text, "And James and John come to him" and all that section. But "naked man with naked man" and the other things about which you wrote, are not found.

And after the words,"And he comes into Jericho," the secret Gospel adds only, "And the sister of the youth whom Jesus loved and his mother and Salome were there, and Jesus did not receive them." But many other things about which you wrote both seem to be and are falsifications. Now the true explanation and that which accords with the true philosophy...
Clement quotes one addition in Mark chapter 10 says naked with naked does not occur and then quotes another addition later in chapter 10. I.E. Clement is throughout discussing additions in the section about Jesus going to Jerusalem, not additions to the narrative of events after Jesus arrives in Jerusalem.

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Re: γυμνὸς or γυμνοὶ in Clement's Letter to Theodore?

Post by SaosSidirountios »

Hi Ken, Andrew and Peter.

Could you please bring here the entire Greek text of this letter, as published by anyone, and not just a photo of the manuscript? If this page has not been published, could you please bring a better photo? Are there more than one published critical editions of this text? Did Tselikas published an edition of the whole page? If so, could you please bring them all? I did not examine this letter from the original before, I had just seen what Morton Smith and some others said about it many years ago. This manuscript does not look to me like a forgery produced by anyone who was not very skilled in ancient Greek. I find it unlikely any modern scholar could have produced anything like this, unless he employed a skilled highly trained Greek writer. For sure it is not a mediaeval or ancient manuscript. From what I understood in the past, there is no men having any sex here.

Peter said: One hypothesis may be: "But the 'naked people with naked man' and the other things about which you wrote are not found." Yes, this can also be valid but the final "which you wrote are not found" makes it clear that γυμνοὶ is a mistake.

If any Clemens is the author of this text he clearly corrected any Theodore to whom he possibly wrote. Please note that according to my research in the past, which has not been published anywhere and is not included in my thesis, much of the works widely accepted as originally produced by Clemens of Alexandria are not originally his. There are masses of pseudepigrapha produced in the course of several centuries, which all claimed to be original works of Ancient Fathers. Their producers knew that nobody or very few will read such works unless they presented them as original works made by important ancient writers. The motives behind the creation of such "fake" texts varied. There was a massive industry during Early Christianity and Byzantium which produced tons of pseudepigrapha and interpolations. My preliminary investigation shows that the main corpus of interpolations, alterations, additions and moderations were made during the first Byzantine centuries. I have created a large archive (few thousands of pages) with selected material coming from most Early Christianity texts, which will help in solving the mystery of their originality. However, I cannot complete this work just by myself and I want to pass my archive to any group of scholars who may want to investigate it. An entire team of scholars (historians, paleographers, experts in Early Christian Greek language), should get involved, much funding and a few decades of collective work is required to start understanding how Early Christianity texts evolved. Josephus also is the same case, much of Josephus was not written by any Josephus. Many Early Christianity and Early Byzantine texts we have accepted as original are not original. The existing work on pseudepigrapha covers only a very small portion of such works.
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Re: γυμνὸς or γυμνοὶ in Clement's Letter to Theodore?

Post by SaosSidirountios »

So, apart from the transcription produced by Tselikas, is there a critical edition of this text available anywhere?
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Re: γυμνὸς or γυμνοὶ in Clement's Letter to Theodore?

Post by StephenGoranson »

SaosSidirountios wrote above, Sat Mar 16, 2024 5:37 am, in part:

"much of the works widely accepted as originally produced by Clemens of Alexandria are not originally his."
and
"Josephus also is the same case, much of Josephus was not written by any Josephus."

Those are two bold claims, but not specific.
Perhaps consider starting two new threads in which you give an example of a widely-accepted passage of writing of Clement and of Josephus and explain why you assert that they did not write those texts.
Or just one thread, either on Clement or on Josephus.
Without any example(s), there is nothing to examine.
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