Apparently I didn’t make my point very well. I wasn’t suggesting that scholars are “inventors” at all. The fact of that matter is that WHAT inventors and scholars do is indeed quite different, but HOW they do it is not that much dissimilar at all.
Think about this: in the decade or so after the GTh MS was discovered, it was conventional to refer to elements in the text by “Plate “Number” and “Line Number”. In around 1959, Peuch and Guillamont introduced the fore-runner of the saying numbering system that is in current use. If I recall, there was even one number system that divided the text into 118 sayings. Almost 4 decades later, Patterson and Robinson (under the auspices of the Berlin Working Group for Coptic Gnostic Writings) introduced an even more granular version of the saying numbering system, which has become widely adopted. None of these efforts proceeded from a particular “predefined notion of a better way” but emerged from much trial and investigation, I’d bet.
Another example that comes to mind is the evolution of Coptic grammars, There is a significant difference between Lambdin’s grammatical categorieS (circa 1983) and those used in Layton’s (circa 2002). The difference is significant enough that yet a third grammar by Brankaer actually has a table in the back that correlates Lamdin’s and Layton’s categories. The transition to more “modern” grammatical terminology didn’t happen easily I’d bet.
I suppose I could keep going, but I just want to reiterate my original point that continual examination and re-examination of a text is methodologically no different than trying too move from wahyt is known toward what is not-yet-known.
] On Behalf Of Mike Grondin
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2013 11:52 PM
Subject: Re: [GTh] Detective Work & The Scientific Method
While there may be some commonalities between the processes of
invention and investigation, it's probably more confusing than anything
else to mention the two in the same breath. Besides, those who work
with Judaeo-Christian texts and documents probably won't appreciate
any suggestion that they're "inventors". (:-)
Jack - you ask:
> What sense comes from word counts for a translated document, particularly translated
> TWICE, Aramaic to Greek to Coptic, and THREE times if counts are done in English?
Well, in the first place, no one in their right mind would think that anything
could be learned from counting the English words. More importantly, though,
my focus is different from yours. I'm not trying to figure out what the historical
Jesus might have said. What I'm trying to figure out is what the originators of
Coptic Thomas did to the text as they received it. As I understand it, that means
that I'm doing redaction criticism, not text criticism (assuming "text" encompasses
all manuscripts of a given work). By counting the occurrences of Greek loanwords
in CGT, for example, I've been able to determine that the Coptic originators
designed their text to contain 500 occurrences of such words. A similar feature
would not have been possible in a Greek or Aramaic ms., e.g., so this is something
that would not have been found in other mss., hence wasn't a feature of the original
text. By counting the occurrences of the sacred names IS and IHS, I've been able
to determine that CGT was designed to contain a number of them that alludes to the
numeric value of IS (105 vs. 210). This may tell us why the Coptic version of a
saying has the name of Jesus and the Greek not, or vice versa. In general, though,
this all tells us something about both CGT and its designers - among other things,
that CGT isn't just a translation from another language (assuming its source was Greek
or Syriac), and that its designers were much more careful and numerically-minded than
we might otherwise infer (their counting involving not only words, but just about everything
else - sayings, lines, even individual letters.) Which in turn leads to other questions, and
hopefully ultimately sheds some light on the Holy Grail of this quest that Steve Davies
set out 30 years ago - namely, to determine whether or not there was some intended
order to the sayings of Thomas, and, if so, what it was.