Significance of the Gospel of Thomas if the Canonical Gospels are late?

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Re: Significance of the Gospel of Thomas if the Canonical Gospels are late?

Post by Ben C. Smith »

mlinssen wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:59 am
Ben C. Smith wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:42 am
Secret Alias wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:32 am Not according to Justin as you well know. IS = 'man' and 'savior.'
Yes, we know. I am speaking of the manuscripts themselves, not of a church father's apologetic interpretation of the contents of those manuscripts.
Thank you Ben, that's quite a lot of work!
I'm familiar with the so-called nomina sacra, and was just trying to get to the point that these two don't stand for Jesus - without presuming a whole bunch

Under Absolute Thomasine priority, IS or IHS would just mean simply that... although it does seem fair to assume that I(H)S came first, Jesus later, and that one came before the other.
Is it also fair to assume that ΘΥ came before θεοῦ, ΠΡΑ before πατέρα, and ΑΝΩΝ before ἀνθρώπων? If so, what do those shorter words mean? If not, why not?
But what about the oldest MSS?
The Oxyrhynchus fragments of Thomas rank among the earliest manuscripts which evince the nomina sacra. (There are possibly earlier fragments which are too brief and happen not to have any.) I listed the manuscripts above precisely because they are customarily dated to around the same time as the Oxyrhynchus fragments if Thomas:
  • Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1 (Thomas), circa 200.
  • Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 654 (Thomas), middle of or late century III.
  • Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 655 (Thomas), early century III.
  • Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 657 (Ƿ13, Hebrews), early century III.
  • Schøyen 2648 (Joshua), circa 200 (link).
  • Chester Beatty II (Ƿ46, Pauline epistles), circa 200.
It is difficult to tell which of these fragments came earlier and which came later. Their ranges and/or margins of error overlap.

I deliberately selected manuscripts which use ΙΣ or ΙΗΣ for the Hebrew hero Joshua (Ἰησοῦς in Greek) so that you can see that no one is filling out the abbreviation arbitrarily: we know how יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, Joshua, was transliterated into Greek.
They don't have Jesus in full, I presume - so it's more likely, I think, that the word was IS or IHS and came to be pronounced IESus, IESis, but more likely IESos
What does the overstroke on top of ΙΣ or ΙΗΣ in the Thomasine manuscripts from Oxyrhynchus mean? If these forms are nomina sacra, then the explanation is trivial: nomina sacra typically bear overstrokes.

Why, for that matter, are there two forms, ΙΣ and ΙΗΣ? If these are nomina sacra, then the explanation, again, is trivial: all nomina sacra are abbreviations, some by contraction and some by suspension; and both ΙΣ and ΙΗΣ are extant all over the manuscripts as valid contractions.

Why, in the same Thomasine papyri from Oxyrhynchus, do the mysterious terms ΘΥ, ΠΡΑ, and ΑΝΩΝ appear, all with overstrokes? If these are nomina sacra, then the explanation, once more, is trivial: all of these terms are attested as nomina sacra (for θεοῦ, πατέρα, and ἀνθρώπων, respectively) in early Christian manuscripts.

Nomina Sacra in Thomas.png
Nomina Sacra in Thomas.png (91.8 KiB) Viewed 3681 times
mlinssen wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:06 amGoing by the earliest MSS, Jesus wasn't an existing word....
Sure it was. Jesus is just an English version (via Greek and Latin) of the Hebrew name Joshua.
Last edited by Ben C. Smith on Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Significance of the Gospel of Thomas if the Canonical Gospels are late?

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Notice the overstroke:

IS in Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1.png
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Re: Significance of the Gospel of Thomas if the Canonical Gospels are late?

Post by mlinssen »

Hi Ben, I'm not looking for MSS with IS or IHS, and the superlinears in Coptic are usually used to stress vowels: the Superlinear Stroke, or Syllable Marker, divides syllables.
Then there's the long Superlinear Stroke, at the end of a sentence that represents the missing N.
And then there's, finally, the long Superlinear Stroke for IC and such

Papyrus was scarce, and on coins and in stone we see abbreviations used all the time: they save space, time and energy. But to answer your question: ΘΥ naturally didn't come before θεοῦ, nor ΠΡΑ before πατέρα, nor ΑΝΩΝ before ἀνθρώπων. There was the word, and then there was the abbreviation, and not the other way around
nomina sacra typically bear overstrokes.
Can't do that LOL. IC typically bears a long Superlinear, yes.

I am looking for the source: the beginning. Where is the word Jesus, or Greek Jhsous (I'm lazy, sorry) in the earliest MSS?
IS or IHS can only be an abbreviation of a longer word, and if there isn't a longer word, then IS is the word.
Because it is, you see: Thomas invented the word, IS / IHS. It stands for something, and Mark copied it when he created his own Gospel. Naturally, questions arose about that as well - questions arose about pretty everything that he wrote, but also this

And the great spin / debunking machine of the Church at some point came up with the nomina sacra story, and everyone swallowed it whole. But IS isn't a nomen Sacrum, it simply is the name of the character of the text of Thomas, and it stands for something.
And that isn't Jesus. It can't be Ben, because an abbreviation exists only as a smaller copy of a longer word. And why would one want to abbreviate the alleged word IHSOUS anyway? There must be a text Ben, there must be a couple of very early texts that have a mix of IHS and IHSOUS - shouldn't there?

And in that Wikipedia list of yours, only Oxy 847 has both IS and IHS. As does the text of Thomas - which is highly interesting, given the fact that Oxy 847 is a GoJ!
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Re: Significance of the Gospel of Thomas if the Canonical Gospels are late?

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mlinssen wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:00 pm Hi Ben, I'm not looking for MSS with IS or IHS, and the superlinears in Coptic are usually used to stress vowels: the Superlinear Stroke, or Syllable Marker, divides syllables.
I am not talking about the Coptic. I am talking about the Greek fragments from Oxyrhynchus. Do you see the overstrokes above ΙΣ and ΙΗΣ in the Greek, just like there is an overstroke above ΘΥ, ΠΡΑ, and ΑΝΩΝ in the Greek?
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Re: Significance of the Gospel of Thomas if the Canonical Gospels are late?

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Ben C. Smith wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:32 am It seems pretty clear to me that both ΙΣ and ΙΗΣ (to use the Greek forms) are nomina sacra for Ἰησοῦς.
Not necessarily.

Ben C. Smith wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:32 am ... both IC and IHC are abbreviations ...
Not necessarily.

Ben C. Smith wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:32 am it is just that they are abbreviations for the Greek name we drag through the Latin and transliterate as Jesus in English.
Not necessarily.

Ben C. Smith wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:32 am In the Oxyrhynchus fragments of Thomas we also find ΘΥ for θεοῦ, ΠΡΑ for πατέρα, and ΑΝΩΝ for ἀνθρώπων; these are standard nomina sacra, and so are both ΙΣ and ΙΗΣ for Ἰησοῦς, used even when the "Jesus" in question is actually the Hebrew hero Joshua (Joshua and Jesus are the same name in Hebrew and in Greek). ...
The "Jesus" in question would have been Ἰησοῦς, / Iēsous (in Greek, of course), and the Hebrew hero would have been Yeshua

Ben C. Smith wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:32 am Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς = nomen sacrum used of Joshua/Jesus/Yehoshua/Yeshua.
Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς = nomen sacrum used of Yehoshua/Yeshua doesn't mean it was always (or even often) used for the Christian Ἰησοῦς, / Iēsous
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Re: Significance of the Gospel of Thomas if the Canonical Gospels are late?

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MrMacSon wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 4:24 pmThe "Jesus" in question would have been Ἰησοῦς, / Iēsous (in Greek, of course), and the Hebrew hero would have been Yeshua
As I have explained before (you must have forgotten), Jesus and Yeshua are the same name. There is no difference in the Hebrew, the Greek, or the Latin of the period; they are different in English, and that phenomenon has a long, long history. But I am not concerned with the English, except insofar as it is necessary to communicate, because English is not the language in which the relevant texts were penned.
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Re: Significance of the Gospel of Thomas if the Canonical Gospels are late?

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mlinssen wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:59 am
... these two [nomina sacra] don't stand for Jesus - without presuming a whole bunch

Under Absolute Thomasine priority, IS or IHS would just mean simply that... although it does seem fair to assume that I(H)S came first, Jesus later, and that one came before the other.
The nomina sacra coming first doesn't mean 'Absolute Thomasine priority' either (and Thomas not being prior doesn't mean the nomina sacra weren't used more generally than, say, for Ἰησοῦς, / Iēsous before the Christian Iēsous / Jesus, either).
mlinssen wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:59 am But what about the oldest MSS? They don't have Jesus in full, I presume - so it's more likely, I think, that the word was IS or IHS and came to be pronounced IESus, IESis, but more likely IESos
--------------
mlinssen wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:59 am I'm not after a presumed meaning, Secret Alias. Unless you have a very sound story full of etymology and such, I like those a lot :)
not-so-Secret Alias has recently published on this - 'The Jewish Myth of Jesus', [the] Journal of Higher Criticism 15/2 (summer 2020), pp. 4-28.
An excerpt [nb. all the IS, IHS, or IH 'nomina sacra' in the article have a superlinear (superscript) over them, but that hasn't reproduced here in the copy 'n' paste from the Kindle version), -

.
... the name ‘Jesus’ doesn’t appear as a name for the main protagonist in the gospel in our earliest surviving manuscripts. Of course, those who study the historical Jesus want us to believe they are dealing with simple facts – even the actual truth. But the bare facts are that his name is – for all intents and purposes - never written out as Ἰησοῦς in the earliest Christian manuscripts.

Let’s be honest about this one thing. In order for us to have certainty that the main character of the gospel was a historical individual we have to make the mental jump from IS or IHS or IH – the actual names which appear in the manuscripts - to ‘Jesus.’ We’ve been doing it for centuries. Yet when we look at the process with open eyes, we can’t avoid seeing any longer that IESOUS doesn’t appear as his name. We’ve just cleared away what’s actually there. What appears in the ancient manuscripts is IS, IHS, and IH. IH and IHS are utterly meaningless terms. On their own, they are little more than literary gobbledy-gook. But IS – that is, ΙΣ with a super script above it – is by far the most widely-attested name for the Savior. If we stop ourselves from reading ‘IESOUS’ and see IS for what it is – i.e. as a well-attested divine appellation – IS represents a unique challenge to our assumed name, Jesus.

What is required for us is to stop ourselves and prevent our old habits from bubbling up into our minds[?] ΙΣ is all there is. We don’t need to play mental gymnastics to read this as ‘Jesus’ any longer. Justin Martyr, our oldest historical Christian witness tells us repeatedly that the main character of the gospel appeared in the Pentateuch as the angel ‘Man’. In fact, Justin Martyr explicitly tells us the Savior of the gospel is properly named Man.

With this knowledge we can start the process of our disembarking from the ‘Jesus-train’ once and for all. So let’s summarize the evidence – (a) by far the most common name for the main character of the gospel in early Christian manuscripts is ΙΣ [which] (b) is the standard Greek transcription of the Hebrew word for ‘man’ - that is ish - and, as 'we' have started to show, (c) our earliest Christian source tells us the main character’s name is ‘man.’

The word for man in Hebrew is ish, spelled aleph yod shin. Yet various Hebrew manuscripts point to the likelihood that at one time man and fire were spelled the same way – that is, aleph shin. On the other hand the third century Church Father Origen explicitly ‘spells out’ the Hebrew word for man - ish – with the Greek letters iota sigma. The standard Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible – the LXX – spells out various names which begin with this Hebrew word for ‘man’ – that is IS.

As such, even though historical Jesus people won’t want to admit it, the reality is that there is a very persuasive argument that ‘Jesus’ wasn’t the name of the main character of the [first or earliest] gospel[s]. His actual name is the nominative form of the most common nomen sacrum. We no longer need to play tricks with the manuscripts.

But let’s take things one step further. Mothers didn’t name their children IS. To this end, the main character of the gospel had a name which couldn’t possibly be the identity of a historical individual. Everything depends on us ‘training ourselves’ to read IESOUS in place of what the manuscripts actually say – IS. How did we learn to ‘fake it’? I strongly suspect that the mental gymnastics here were mandated to avoid the tradition associated with Justin Martyr, Marcion, Valentinus and most of second century Christianity. Where the name ‘Man’ was retained so too was the understanding that he was not a mortal man. Those who preserved this name saw him for what he was – a god, even the second god of Israel, mediator between humanity and the higher divinity. That’s why it is so important for us to stop adding letters to the nomen sacrum IS. Jesus wasn’t the name of the main character of the gospel. Irenaeus explicitly denies this possibility. He says there are those who read the nomen sacrum as Ἰησοῦς and they are wrong ...

‘Man’ was a traditional name given to a class of angels in Judaism. The ishim – i.e. Men – occupied the sublunar realm. Indeed one of the strongest identifiable characteristics of the Christian and pre-Christian communities was their desire to live their earthly existence as angels. The Greek name of this community – the Essenes – has been interpreted by at least a few scholars as deriving from the name Ishim.



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Re: Significance of the Gospel of Thomas if the Canonical Gospels are late?

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mlinssen wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:00 pm Hi Ben, I'm not looking for MSS with IS or IHS, and the superlinears in Coptic are usually used to stress vowels: the Superlinear Stroke, or Syllable Marker, divides syllables.
Then there's the long Superlinear Stroke, at the end of a sentence that represents the missing N.
And then there's, finally, the long Superlinear Stroke for IC and such
As I mentioned above, I was referring to the Greek. I am aware that Coptic uses overstrokes for various purposes, I am not completely sure what those purposes are, and the Coptic manuscript is later than all three Greek manuscripts anyway. Therefore I was pointing out that ΘΥ, ΠΡΑ, and ΑΝΩΝ all bear overstrokes in the Oxyrhynchus fragments of Thomas, and coincidentally they are also all abbreviations of longer words. But, then, what about ΙΣ and ΙΗΣ? They both also bear overstrokes in those same fragments. And Greek script does not use overstrokes like Coptic does; any kind of stroke in Greek besides an accent is a scribal marker of some kind, with the exception of a weird stroke which sometimes represents a final nu in some manuscripts. So what could that mean? Could it mean that both ΙΣ and ΙΗΣ are also abbreviations of longer words?
Papyrus was scarce, and on coins and in stone we see abbreviations used all the time: they save space, time and energy. But to answer your question: ΘΥ naturally didn't come before θεοῦ, nor ΠΡΑ before πατέρα, nor ΑΝΩΝ before ἀνθρώπων. There was the word, and then there was the abbreviation, and not the other way around.
Excellent, because there was also a word Ἰησοῦς, conjugated in Greek as Ἰησοῦ for the genitive and the dative and as Ἰησοῦν for the accusative, before ΙΣ (genitive and dative ΙΥ, accusative ΙΝ) and ΙΗΣ (genitive and dative ΙΗΥ, accusative ΙΗΝ) are attested.
I am looking for the source: the beginning. Where is the word Jesus, or Greek Jhsous (I'm lazy, sorry) in the earliest MSS?
I cannot speak to all of the available manuscripts, but I will give you some examples I currently have access to.

1

Let us start with papyrus Fouad 266, dated to the first century BC:

Image

The page image, to which I have manually added the photo of the fragment, comes from Zaki Ali, Three Rolls of the Early Septuagint, Genesis and Deuteronomy, pages 108-109. Obviously the fragment is not in the best shape, but I can easily make out the tops of the final four letters of ΙΗΣΟΥΣ, right where we would be expecting the name Joshua/Jesus in this text:

Deuteronomy 31.2-3: 2 And he said to them, “I am a hundred and twenty years old today; I am no longer able to come and go, and Yahweh has said to me, ‘You shall not cross this Jordan.’ 3 It is Yahweh your God who will cross ahead of you; He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them. It is Joshua/Jesus [יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, Ιησοῦς] who will cross ahead of you, just as Yahweh has spoken.”

Papyrus Fouad 266, column 65, fragment 96 (Deuteronomy 31.2-3):

XX 2 [καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς ἑκατὸν καὶ εἴκοσι]
XX [ἐτῶν ἐγώ εἰμι σήμερον οὐ δυνήσομαι ἔτι]
XX [εἰσπορεύεσθαι καὶ ἐκπορεύεσθαι יהוה δὲ]
08 [εἶπεν πρό]ς μ[ε οὐ διαβήσῃ τὸν Ιορδά-]
09 [νην τοῦτ]ον. 3 יהוה [ὁ θεός σου ὁ πορευ-]
10 [όμενος π]ρὸ προσώπ[ου σου αὐτὸς ἐξο-]
11 [λεθρεύσε]ι τὰ ἔθνη τ[αῦτα ἀπὸ προσώπου]
12 [σου κ]αὶ κατακλη[ρονομήσεις αὐτούς]
13 [καὶ ]ησοῦς ὁ πορε[υόμενος πρὸ προσώ-]
XX που σου καθὰ ἐλάλησεν יהוה.

This is not ΙΣ or ΙΗΣ; this is the full Greek name of the Hebrew hero Joshua/Jesus.

2

Next up, two papyrus fragments, the older of which dates to a few years BC:

Image

These come from volume 2 the Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum.

3

There are two ossuaries bearing the Greek name Ἰησοῦς (well, one of them has Ἰεσοῦς, a not unheard of misspelling of Ἰησοῦς) which date to century I:

Image

Image

These come from volume 1 of the Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae & Palaestinae.

4

The earliest of the Chester Beatty papyri, Chester Beatty Papyrus VI, which dates to early century II, contains parts both of Numbers and of Deuteronomy:

Image

Here are the verses in question:

Numbers 26.65: 65 For Yahweh had said of them, “They shall surely die in the wilderness.” And not a man was left of them, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua [יהוֹשֻׁעַ, Ιησοῦς] the son of Nun.

Numbers 32.11-12: 11 “‘None of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob; for they did not follow Me fully, 12 except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua [יהוֹשֻׁעַ, Ιησοῦς] the son of Nun, for they have followed Yahweh fully.’”

Deuteronomy 3.28: 28 “‘But charge Joshua [יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ, Ἰησοῦ] and encourage him and strengthen him, for he shall go across at the head of this people, and he will give them as an inheritance the land which you will see.’”

So this manuscript uses ΙΣ, ΙΗΣ, and ΙΗΣΟΥ for the Hebrew hero Joshua/Jesus. (ΙΗΣΟΥ is a dative of ΙΗΣΟΥΣ, and it has to be the dative here because it is depending upon the verb ἔντειλαι, from ἐντέλλω, which takes the dative for the person being enjoined/charged/commanded.) Thus it responds to the following query of yours:
There must be a text Ben, there must be a couple of very early texts that have a mix of IHS and IHSOUS - shouldn't there?
I came across another possible example in Nomina Sacra in the Greek Papyri of the First Five Centuries, by A. H. R. E. Paap:

Image

This manuscript apparently uses both ΙΥ and ΙΗΣΟΥ for either the genitive or the dative of ΙΗΣΟΥΣ, but I do not have access to it to check manually.

Overall, however, there are not relatively many manuscripts which use both the plene version and the nomen sacrum for a given item, because why would there be? Why would we expect a scribe to abbreviate inconsistently? It happens, but it is hardly going to be the default.

5

I have already shown you the following, but I want to put them here again to show how seamlessly they fit:

Image

Both Ƿ46 and Schøyen 2648 evince ΙΗΣ where we would expect either the name of the hero Joshua/Jesus or the name of an associate of Paul.

So, just like the words θεοῦ (which is in the genitive), πατέρα (which is in the accusative), and ἀνθρώπων (which is in the genitive) existed before the abbreviations ΘΥ, ΠΡΑ, and ΑΝΩΝ came to be used for them, respectively, so too the words Ἰησοῦς, Ἰησοῦ, and Ἰησοῦν existed before the abbreviations ΙΣ, ΙΥ, and ΙΝ came to be used for them. We have early examples of both the full name and the abbreviated form being used of Moses' henchman Joshua/Jesus in early texts. And most if not all of these abbreviations bear an overstroke, which means nothing alphabetically or grammatically to the Greek script.

The fragments of Thomas from Oxyrhynchus fit right in:

Image

Image
And why would one want to abbreviate the alleged word IHSOUS anyway?
That is a fair question, and there is plenty of debate about why the nomina sacra came to be. The same question can be asked for the words God, Spirit, Lord, Israel, Man, Jerusalem, Savior, Father, Mother, David, and Son. Why would one want to abbreviate these words?
I'm trying to argue that it can't be an abbreviation for Jesus, as Jesus came later, and IS / IHS earlier. ....

Going by the earliest MSS, Jesus wasn't an existing word....
IS or IHS can only be an abbreviation of a longer word, and if there isn't a longer word, then IS is the word. ....

And that isn't Jesus. It can't be Ben, because an abbreviation exists only as a smaller copy of a longer word.
The Jewish ossuaries and papyri demonstrate that Ἰησοῦς already existed as a name. There are also some ostraca and a scad of literary evidence from Philo, Josephus, and many others (which I have not even touched in this thread). Ἰησοῦς existed as a name, and it existed as the Greek rendition of יְהוֹשׁוּעַ.
And in that Wikipedia list of yours, only Oxy 847 has both IS and IHS. As does the text of Thomas - which is highly interesting, given the fact that Oxy 847 is a GoJ!
My sources are and have been the list of NT manuscripts in the Synopsis Quattuor Evangeliorum, Zaki Ali in Three Rolls of the Early Septuagint: Genesis and Deuteronomy, the Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum, the Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae & Palaestinae, A. H. R. E. Paap in Nomina Sacra in the Greek Papyri of the First Five Centuries, the first few volumes published by Bernard P. Grenfell & Arthur S. Hunt of The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, and a handful of articles I have saved to my external hard drive about this topic. I never mentioned papyrus Oxyrhynchus 847, nor did I use any list which contains it (except for the Oxyrhynchus volumes, of course, but I did not consult that one), whether from Wikipedia or from elsewhere.

Ben.
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Re: Significance of the Gospel of Thomas if the Canonical Gospels are late?

Post by mlinssen »

And Greek script does not use overstrokes like Coptic does
Thank you very much again Ben, that is fine detailing. I'll accept the 1. and 2. as evidence that Ἰησοῦς did exist prior to 0 CE as a name, one of which must be Joshua, according to Deuteronomy. The other one likely was pronounced JESOUS - trying to be somewhat phonetical here.
The others? Too late, sorry. 1st CE can still be 99 CE.

I'll have to look up the Deuteronomy translation, quick Greek scan raises question marks

The Joshua one is a fine example, Fouad266 - never knew that, thank you.
Fine detective work! I'll mull on it

... and regarding the Superlinears ...
It is odd how those are absent in Greek, isn't it? While being typically Coptic? Isn't it?
It would almost seem that, together with deriving the "Nomen Sacrum", the superlinears got adopted

Which would point to a Coptic source for Ⲓ̅Ⲏ̅Ⲥ̅ - or would it?
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Re: Significance of the Gospel of Thomas if the Canonical Gospels are late?

Post by davidmartin »

Ben
Other dominical sayings in the gospel seem just as extreme to me. Hate your father and mother?
I would understand that to be a 'shock saying' meant to put the mind in turmoil
I think in all these cases the saying isn't meant to be taken literally but to jar
the mind into thinking outside of it's usual confines
Is this unusual in Jewish teaching? I don't know

The trouble is when the shock saying is misinterpreted as literal when the guy who said it doesn't get chance to explain himself :)
I think we are dealing with sophisticated spirituality that the canonical gospels try to over simplify

But I see you presented some good arguments as well and it certainly makes this saying probably unprovable which was the original with no smoking gun to convincingly prove either way. I can't argue with these other evidences you brought in

what i present as the smoking gun is the very fact that the authors of matthew and mark chose this saying to introduce Hell. It is hell that is the foreign concept to the saying if the GoT is the original, and if you can show that this is true then it casts doubt on who has the original
version of the saying

The obscurity of the sayings in the GoT actually helps here because the fact something doesn't make logical sense just fits in with many other of the sayings. It's par for the course. And when things are that flexible the introduction of unexpected motif's is problematic to present as evidence of originality. The GoT is like that as a whole. There's more mileage in zooming out a bit, which is where hell comes in

If the authors/redactors of matthew and mark believed in hell, it's very believable for them to add their belief whenever they thought they had the chance to. If the GoT people hated the idea of hell, you'd think they'd mention it or suggest an alternative. It's a big enough topic - why?
If GoT was oblivious to hell and had no idea such a thing was being said, then that explains it quite nicely
It also explains why the gospel of John never mentions it or Mark (except in this one place), or Paul for that matter, because it was never original and so neither do matthew or mark preserve the earliest version of this saying
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