If I may jump in on a few small factual matters without disrupting your
> Looking at pp 32-33, they do seem to be written on both sides of the
> same piece of papyrus ...
Nope, not according to the preface (p.xv) of the facsimile edition. The
outermost stack of sheets had vertical fibers down, horizontal fibers up
and folded inward. The fiber-direction arrow on p.31 is vertical, so it was
the outer side of p.32. This can be confirmed by matching the deterioration
on the two sides of the sheet. Facing pages in the facsimile edition are
the same as facing pages in the codex, so that if one opened the codex
at the place in question, p.32 (horizontal fibres) would be on the left and
p.33 (vertical fibres) would be on the right.
> ... and the vertical lines on p 32 seem to be more prominent, while the
> horizontal ones are more prominent on p 33 ...
It looks that way to me, too, but looks must be deceiving, since the
fiber-direction arrows at the top of pages 32-33 indicate horizontal
for page 32 and vertical for page 33.
> So far as I know, no one has seriously challenged the supposition
> that a single hand is present throughout the Thomas MS ...
With one exception - and it's an odd one. In his critical edition (p.4),
Layton mentions a "Scribe B" as being responsible for just eight
lines, viz., the first 8 lines on p.47. There's quite a visible difference
in the letters themselves and the spacing between them at that point.
> The writer or copyist simply kept writing characters until s/he reached
> the end of the column and began again on the next line, regardless of
> whether the end of the line came in the middle of a word or the middle of
> a morph/syllable.
I would question that. Almost all the cases I looked at were morph/syllable
breaks. The ones that weren't clearly that weren't clearly not that either.
(Some depend on pronunciation of multiple vowels, which is beyond me.)
There also seem to be a significant number of cases where a line n is (1)
shorter enough than the lines above it to allow the first letter of line
be put onto line n, or (2) longer enough than the lines above to allow the
last letter of line n to be put onto n+1, and yet the scribe/copyist didn't
Also seeming to count against this view is another pair of contrasting
phenomena that occur throughout the text: (1) apparent attempts to squeeze
letters in at the end of a line (see line 1 of the text), and (2) apparent
attempts to space letters out at the end of a line (see line 3).