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Greek Numbers and the Names of Jesus

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  • Mike Grondin
    [The] supralinear mark [over abbreviated forms] is not derived from any regular abbreviation technique in pre-Christian Greek or Latin tradition. Yet, with
    Message 1 of 22 , Feb 8 2:21 PM
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      "[The] supralinear mark [over abbreviated forms] is not derived from any
      regular abbreviation technique in pre-Christian Greek or Latin tradition. Yet,
      with only a very few exceptions, it is standard in the words treated as nomina
      sacra in Christian manuscripts. It may be significant, however, that a similar
      mark was placed over Greek letters when they were used to represent numbers,
      a feature more typical in documentary that formal literary texts. In the latter type
      of texts, numbers are usually written out as words. But the use of letters (with
      this horizontal stroke) for numbers is often found in Christian literary texts,
      including copies of biblical writings, which shows that Christian scribes were
      well aware of the device. ... this pre/non-Christian use of the supralinear stroke
      to signal that letters represent numbers may be a clue to the origin of the
      nomina sacra." (Larry Hurtado, The Earliest Christian Artifacts, p.112)
       
      As mentioned before on this list, Hurtado believes that the earliest designation
      for Jesus in Christian texts was IH, which was the number 18 in the Greek number
      system. The reason for this, he believes, is that eighteen is also the numeric value
      of a Hebrew word meaning 'life', and that some Christians familiar with Jewish
      exegetical techniques must have hit on this as a fitting designation for Jesus.
      (Hurtado doesn't say so, but it seems likely that this tied in with a basic dispute
      about whether "life" was achieved by following The Law, or "believing in" Jesus.)
       
      Some miscellaneous points:
      1. The elementary Greek NT grammars that I've consulted indicate that when
      letters were used as numbers, they were followed by an apostrophe. This
      implies that they were not overstroked, but Hurtado is familiar with the
      documentary evidence, so I assume that he must be right, and that the use
      of the apostrophe occurred in circumstances other than those with which he's
      concerned. Still, there's a question hanging there. (Note that when it was obvious
      that a group of letters was a number, it evidently required neither overstroke nor
      apostrophe. See the page-number IA (11) at the top of P.Oxy. 1.)
       
      2. Consistent with what Hurtado says about literary texts, both the Greek and
      Coptic versions of Thomas represent numbers by their names, not by their
      letter-designations (which would be analogous to our numerals).
       
      3. With respect to IH, although it wasn't used in Coptic Thomas and appears
      not to have been in the Greek version(s), I'm persuaded that the Thomasines
      were familiar with it - and with its connection to the Hebrew word for 'life'.
      Indeed, the theme of (eternal, spiritual) "life" is rampant throughout Thomas,
      from the incipit ("the living Jesus") into saying 1 ("will not taste death"), and
      on down through 114 ("living spirits"). Jesus is "the living one" (as is also
      "the Father", of course), and his disciples are urged to become one with the
      living one (insofar as humanly possible), by coming to understand the (hidden)
      meaning of the words contained in the text, and by following them.
       
      4. What about the abbreviated name IS used in Thomas? Though not a number
      itself, it is the number 210 when read from right to left, as in Hebrew writing.
      Furthermore, there are numerical connections between 18 and 210 (and its root 21)
      which I believe would have been apparent to anyone with a modicum of numerical
      knowledge. Among other things, 18=3x6, 21=3x7, and the numerical value of the
      full name IHSOUS was 888. This seems to me to argue that the use of IH and IS
      might have arisen about the same time, based both on numerical speculation about
      the supposed divine meaning of the name IHSOUS, and on the desire to follow
      Jewish practice of not uttering the full name of the godhead. As Hurtado says,
       
      "The contracted forms (IS, etc.) are attested about as early [as the suspended
      form IH] and became by far the most favored way of writing Jesus' name."
      (ibid, p.113)
       
      5. Finally, what about the abbreviated form IHS that appears three times in CGTh
      and is also attested in the Greek fragments? Unlike IH and IS, it isn't a number when
      read forwards or backwards; it had a value, of course (as did all Greek and Hebrew
      words), but its value (218) would have been SIH in Greek. Furthermore, I don't see
      any particular significance to that number, nor any particularly suggestive connections
      to 18, 21, or 210. Not to say that there couldn't have been something going on with
      that name as well, but at this moment in time it isn't apparent to me.
       
      Mike Grondin
    • Bob Schacht
      ... Does this have any connection to GJohn s living waters ? Bob Schacht Northern Arizona University
      Message 2 of 22 , Feb 8 2:45 PM
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        At 03:21 PM 2/8/2012, Mike Grondin wrote:
        ...Indeed, the theme of (eternal, spiritual) "life" is rampant throughout Thomas,
        from the incipit ("the living Jesus") into saying 1 ("will not taste death"), and
        on down through 114 ("living spirits"). Jesus is "the living one" (as is also
        "the Father", of course), and his disciples are urged to become one with the
        living one (insofar as humanly possible), by coming to understand the (hidden)
        meaning of the words contained in the text, and by following them....

        Does this  have any connection to GJohn's "living waters"?

        Bob Schacht
        Northern Arizona University

      • Mike Grondin
        ... No doubt, Bob. In a very direct way. Th108.1 ( whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me ) connects with Th13.5, where Jesus identifies Thomas* as
        Message 3 of 22 , Feb 8 5:19 PM
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          > Does this have any connection to GJohn's "living
          waters"?
          No doubt, Bob. In a very direct way. Th108.1 ("whoever drinks from my
          mouth will become like me") connects with Th13.5, where Jesus identifies
          Thomas* as the (prototype of) one who has "drunk from my mouth":
           
          "Because you drank, you've become intoxicated from the bubbling spring
          I've measured out."
           
          "Bubbling spring" looks to be analogous to "living waters", but in any
          case, the "waters" both here and in GJn appear to be a metaphor for the
          words of Jesus. Of course, John emphasized in his gospel and letters
          that's it's not just "water" that's important, but "blood" as well. That was
          probably directed against Docetists, but could have equally well served
          against the Thomasines, whose lack of interest (or disbelief) in the death
          and supposed resurrection of Jesus would have irked John no end.
           
          Mike
          *this thematic closeness between Thomas and Jesus may have been
          suggested by, but is certainly reinforced by, the numeric values of their
          names in Greek: IS (210=2x105) v. Thwmas (1050=10x105).
        • chaptim45
          As far as numerology goes, I would add a comment on L107, the story of the shepherd who loved his wayward sheep more than the ninety-nine. The parallel of this
          Message 4 of 22 , Feb 9 7:01 AM
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            As far as numerology goes, I would add a comment on L107, the story of the shepherd who loved his wayward sheep more than the ninety-nine.

             

            The parallel of this story that is found in the _Gospel of Truth_ 32-33 delves into some numerology about this parable:

             

            "He [Jesus] is the shepherd who left behind the ninety-nine sheep which had not strayed and went in search of that one which was lost. He rejoiced when he had found it. For ninety-nine is a number of the left hand, which holds it. The moment he finds the one, however, the whole number is transferred to the right hand. Thus it is with him who lacks the one, that is, the entire right hand which attracts that in which it is deficient, seizes it from the left side and transfers it to the right. In this way, then, the number becomes one hundred. This number signifies the Father."

             

            In other words, the number 100 "represents the Father", since when counting on the fingers of the hands "99" is counted on the left hand, and then with the next finger, "100", the counting is resumed on the right hand.  The number 99 then is "deficient" and therefore incomplete. 

             

            This helps explain why the lost sheep was the most valued of them all, because finding him brings knowledge of the Father and completeness.

             

            Tim Staker

            Chaplain

            Indianapolis

             

          • chaptim45
            Mike, I find it ironic that in L13.5 that Jesus denies being a teacher, while saying that he is merely one who is tending the spring. Because if the water
            Message 5 of 22 , Feb 9 7:16 AM
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              Mike,

              I find it ironic that in L13.5 that Jesus denies being a teacher, while
              saying that he is merely one who is tending the spring. Because if the
              water symbolizes his words from his mouth, and these words are
              'intoxicating', then how is this not being a teacher? I am not sure.

              Tim Staker
              Chaplain, Indianapolis
            • Mike Grondin
              Hi Tim, I d be very much interested to know what translation you re using for the Gospel of Truth. It doesn t quite match either that in the NHL or that of
              Message 6 of 22 , Feb 9 9:08 AM
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                Hi Tim,
                 
                I'd be very much interested to know what translation you're using for the
                Gospel of Truth. It doesn't quite match either that in the NHL or that of
                Bentley Layton in The Gnostic Scriptures. Not sure how much of the difference
                in translations was due to there being two copies of GT in the NH library.
                 
                I'm not quite sure, either, what kind of hand-counting the author had in mind.
                Perhaps the left-hand was for counting units and the right-hand tens? I would
                think it would be more natural for the left-hand to keep track of tens while the
                right hand (being more dexterous) counted units. But maybe they did it the other
                way round, because the left of anything (including the left hand) was considered
                inferior to the right.
                 
                This also reminds me of a couple other Thomas sayings: 62.2 ("Don't let your
                left [hand?] know what your right [hand?] is doing") and 67 ("Whoever knows 
                all except for one thing, lacks everything.") [my loose translations]
                 
                In the three-tiered structure of Greek and Hebrew numbers, the first number
                of the tiers was 1, 10, and 100, respectively, so that 10 and 100 were at the
                same level within their tiers as the Monad, but had greater power, one might say.
                 
                With respect to the number 100 representing "the Father", this accords well
                with what was done with Greek words and names in Coptic Thomas. The
                number of instances of such words and names, and even the total number
                of letters in them, were multiples of 100.
                 
                Mike
              • Mike Grondin
                ... Well, Jesus doesn t exactly say that he isn t a teacher. What he says is that he isn t Thomas s teacher [anymore?]. In light of L108.1, the implication
                Message 7 of 22 , Feb 9 9:20 AM
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                  [Tim]:
                  > I find it ironic that in L13.5 that Jesus denies being a teacher,
                  while
                  > saying that he is merely one who is tending the spring. Because if
                  the
                  > water symbolizes his words from his mouth, and these words
                  are
                  > 'intoxicating', then how is this not being a teacher? I am not
                  sure.
                   
                  Well, Jesus doesn't exactly say that he isn't a teacher. What he says
                  is that he isn't Thomas's teacher [anymore?]. In light of L108.1, the
                  implication seems to be that Thomas has become like Jesus, and is
                  therefore at a stage where he no longer needs teaching. Seems like
                  something that would be common in any kind of mentoring relationship
                  then or now.
                   
                  Mike
                • chaptim45
                  ... the ... of ... difference ... library. I m using Robert M. Grant s translation of the Gospel of Truth. There s no verse numbering there, but it is the
                  Message 8 of 22 , Feb 9 12:32 PM
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                    "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:

                    > Hi Tim,
                    >
                    > I'd be very much interested to know what translation you're using for the
                    > Gospel of Truth. It doesn't quite match either that in the NHL or that of
                    > Bentley Layton in The Gnostic Scriptures. Not sure how much of the difference
                    > in translations was due to there being two copies of GT in the NH library.

                    I'm using Robert M. Grant's translation of the Gospel of Truth.  There's no verse numbering there, but it is the 18th paragraph down.  It's at http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/got.html 

                    Patterson Brown lists it as verse 32 in his translation of the Gospel of Truth at http://www.metalog.org/files/valent.html

                    I like the tie-ins with GThom 62.2-- and especially GThom 67 about lacking one thing = left hand being deficient.

                    > With respect to the number 100 representing "the Father", this accords well
                    > with what was done with Greek words and names in Coptic Thomas. The
                    > number of instances of such words and names, and even the total number
                    > of letters in them, were multiples of 100.

                    Awesome! I did not know this. Thanks, Mike.

                    Tim Staker

                    Chaplain, Indianapolis


                     

                  • chaptim45
                    Mike, Thanks for the clarification. I see now that Jesus was using the singular second person possessive with Thomas, saying I (am) your(sing.)
                    Message 9 of 22 , Feb 9 12:38 PM
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                      Mike,

                      Thanks for the clarification. I see now that Jesus was using the
                      singular second person possessive with Thomas, saying "I (am)
                      your(sing.) teacher/master not". That makes much more sense!

                      Tim Staker
                      Chaplain, Indianapolis
                    • Mike Grondin
                      ... I see from following this link that the translation is from Grant s Gnosticism, (which I don t have), as quoted in Willis Barnstone s The Other Bible
                      Message 10 of 22 , Feb 9 1:33 PM
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                        [Tim]:
                        > I'm using Robert M. Grant's translation of the Gospel of
                        Truth. 
                        > There's no verse numbering there, but it is the 18th
                        paragraph down. 
                        > It's at
                        href="http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/got.html">http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/got.html 
                         
                        I see from following this link that the translation is from Grant's Gnosticism,
                        (which I don't have), as quoted in Willis Barnstone's The Other Bible (which
                        I do happen to have). Checking the Barnstone book, I see that a footnote has
                        been left out of the online presentation, which seems to account for the
                        differences I saw in two other translations. Where Grant has "This number
                        signifies the Father," he adds the following footnote:
                         
                        > Literally, "the sign of that which is their sound is: this is the
                        Father."
                         
                        I don't know what to make of this, but it bears looking into.
                         
                        [Mike]:
                        > With respect to the number 100 representing "the Father", this accords
                        well
                        > with what was done with Greek words and names in Coptic Thomas.
                        The
                        > number of instances of such words and names, and even the total
                        number
                        > of letters in them, were multiples of 100.
                         
                        [Tim]:
                        > Awesome! I did not know this. Thanks, Mike.
                         
                        Well, if you pass it along to anyone else, please attribute it to me, since I was
                        the one who discovered it. Hopefully, it'll be included in a paper I've been
                        trying to write for some time now.
                         
                        Mike
                      • chaptim45
                        ... Father. ... Interesting. Perhaps the sound of a sheep or the approximation used in Coptic. In Greek, I believe they used bh (= 28?) but that is far
                        Message 11 of 22 , Feb 10 6:05 AM
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                          --- "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:

                          > > Literally, "the sign of that which is their sound is: this is the
                          Father."
                          >
                          > I don't know what to make of this, but it bears looking into.

                          Interesting. Perhaps the sound of a sheep or the approximation used in
                          Coptic. In Greek, I believe they used "bh" (= 28?) but that is far from 100.

                          --- "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
                          > Well, if you pass it along to anyone else, please attribute it to me,
                          > since I was the one who discovered it. Hopefully, it'll be included
                          > in a paper I've been trying to write for some time now.

                          I look forward to your paper when it is published. And yes, I will keep your name attached to your work, as is appropriate.

                          Tim Staker
                          Chaplain, Indianapolis
                        • Mike Grondin
                          ... Well, BH isn t the number 28, or any number at all, actually. (A number can t have more than one letter from each tier.) 28 would be KH. As to numeric
                          Message 12 of 22 , Feb 10 3:41 PM
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                            With respect to Grant's footnote in GosTruth:
                            > Literally, "the sign of that which is their sound is: this is the
                            Father."
                            Tim writes:
                            > Interesting. Perhaps the sound of a sheep or the approximation used
                            in
                            > Coptic. In Greek, I believe they used "bh" (= 28?) but that is far
                            from 100.
                            Well, BH isn't the number 28, or any number at all, actually. (A number can't
                            have more than one letter from each tier.) 28 would be KH. As to numeric value,
                            BH would have a value of 10 (2+8), which is suggestive, but so is the numeric
                            value of BA (2+1=3). I looked into the Egyptian spirit named 'BA', but that doesn't
                            seem to fit, so what I'm doing now is transcribing and translating the portion of
                            GosTruth in question. I'll let you know when it's done, but at the moment it appears
                            that what the author was trying to say wasn't that the number 100 represents the Father,
                            but that the shepherd is the Father, and that the letters of the sheep-sound-word
                            (whatever that is) somehow indicate that. (Hunch: if there's mention of a triune
                            godhead in GosTruth, the sheep-sound-word is probably BA.)
                             
                            Thanks,
                            Mike
                          • Mike Grondin
                            Hi Tim, Sorry to say I ve had to give up trying to untangle the GosTruth segment in question. I can see why the translations are different there. The only
                            Message 13 of 22 , Feb 11 10:23 PM
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                              Hi Tim,
                               
                              Sorry to say I've had to give up trying to untangle the GosTruth segment
                              in question. I can see why the translations are different there. The only
                              thing that's clear to me is that GosTruth does have the standard Christian
                              triune godhead - father, son, holy spirit. In the paragraph about the lost
                              sheep, it seems to be talking about the Son as shepherd. What's confusing
                              is that it talks about the sheep first, then it starts talking about counting.
                              Just after it says that the count becomes 100, there's the sentence in question
                              about the sign of some sound being somehow associated with 'the Father'.
                              Is it going back to the sound of the sheep? Or is it talking about the sound
                              of the number 100, which would presumably be that of the letter rho (R)?
                               
                              Knowing when I'm licked, I decided to take another crack at a spreadsheet
                              showing the Greco-Coptic number system (there's one on my website,
                              but it's complicated by the inclusion of font info). File now loaded to:
                               
                               
                              See if this is helpful, and/or if there's any mistakes in it.
                               
                              Mike
                            • chaptim45
                              Mike, Looks like you were up late working on this. Kudos to you. ... starts talking about counting. ... question ... Father . TIM: Makes me wonder if it is
                              Message 14 of 22 , Feb 12 12:20 PM
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                                Mike,

                                Looks like you were up late working on this.  Kudos to you.

                                "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:

                                > What's confusing is that it talks about the sheep first, then it starts talking about counting.
                                > Just after it says that the count becomes 100, there's the sentence in question
                                > about the sign of some sound being somehow associated with 'the Father'.


                                TIM:  Makes me wonder if it is an interpolation by a numerologist.


                                > Is it going back to the sound of the sheep? Or is it talking about the sound
                                > of the number 100, which would presumably be that of the letter rho (R)?


                                TIM: And although "ba" in Greek makes 3, I am pretty sure Greeks thought of the sheep's sound was "bh" (as you indicated is 10). 
                                Here's two examples that are often cited:

                                o d' hliqios wsper probaton bh bh legwn badizei (The fool goes about like a sheep saying "bh bh") Cratinus Frg 43 (in Dionysalexandros)
                                and
                                 thyein me mellei kai keleyei bh legwn badizein  (He is going to sacrifice me, and he tells me to say "bh")  Aristophanes Frg 642 

                                Of course, there are lots of dissertations written to disprove the "bh" sound (which I think tells us more about the author than the actual material), but these are still two separate sources that allude to using the onomatopoeia for sheep.

                                Another translation by Attride MacRae reads: "It is the sign of the one who is *in* their sound; it is the Father."  I put emphasis on the "in", because 10 fits in 100.  I don't have access to the Coptic right now, so you will have to check and see if this is a proper rendering.

                                Also, maybe the "sound" may not literally be a noise, but represents something else. In the Gospel of Truth the word "sound" also means the spiritual aspect as opposed to a physical body.  In one place GTruth says,

                                "When the Word appeared, the one that is within the heart of those who utter it - it is not a sound alone, but it became a body"


                                "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
                                > Knowing when I'm licked, I decided to take another crack at a spreadsheet
                                > showing the Greco-Coptic number system (there's one on my website,
                                > but it's complicated by the inclusion of font info). File now loaded to:
                                >
                                > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gthomas/files/GkNumSys.pdf
                                >
                                > See if this is helpful, and/or if there's any mistakes in it.
                                > (also relevant: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gthomas/files/CopAsc1.gif)


                                TIM: Looks really good to me!  I am assuming that episemon is the same as digamma. Thanks for all your work on the number system.

                                Tim Staker
                                Chaplain
                                Indianapolis
                              • Mike Grondin
                                Hi Tim, Many thanks for the latest of your thoughtful responses on this topic. ... I agree with you on this now. In addition to the sources you cite, the vowel
                                Message 15 of 22 , Feb 12 4:33 PM
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                                  Hi Tim,
                                  Many thanks for the latest of your thoughtful responses on this topic.
                                   
                                  > ... although "ba" in Greek makes 3, I am pretty sure Greeks
                                  thought of
                                  > the sheep's sound was "bh" (as you indicated [has a value
                                  of] 10).
                                   
                                  I agree with you on this now. In addition to the sources you cite, the vowel in the sheep-
                                  sound (as I recall it) sounds more like the 'a' in 'bad' than in 'bah', and secondly, I seem
                                  to recall that Stephen Carlson discussed here some years back that the sound of eta had
                                  changed over the centuries, and so might have had that sound at that point in time.
                                   
                                  > Another translation, by [Attridge & MacRae?] reads: "It is the
                                  sign of the one who
                                  > is *in* their sound; it is the Father." I put emphasis on
                                  the "in", because 10 fits in 100.
                                   
                                  OK, but try this on for size:
                                      1. The 'sign' of the sound BH is a letter representing 10 (the value of BH).
                                      2. The letter representing 10 in Greek was 'I', so
                                      3. ... 'I' is "the sign of the sound", but
                                      4. ... in Roman numerals, 'I' represents the number one, and
                                      5. ... the number one represents the Monad, i.e., 'the Father'.
                                   
                                  (Because of their historical situation, there can be little doubt that Coptic writers
                                  of the time were familiar with Latin as well as Greek.)
                                   
                                  > I don't have access to the Coptic right now, so you will have to
                                  check and see if this
                                  > [as above] is a proper rendering.
                                   
                                  Unfortunately, I'm not expert enough to unravel the sentence in question, but I can share
                                  the Coptic I looked at. Although I do happen to have the Facsimile Edition of Codex I,
                                  some of the letters are rather illegible, so it seemed best to go from what's shown in  
                                  Attridge's critical edition of Codex I. I don't have that book myself, but it's on Google
                                  Books, so I found the appropriate page and made an image of it. Now uploaded at:
                                   
                                  Here's the Google Books URL I used, which may or may not work for anyone else:
                                   
                                  [Mike]:
                                  >
                                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gthomas/files/GkNumSys.pdf
                                  > See if
                                  this is helpful, and/or if there's any mistakes in it.
                                  > (also relevant:
                                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gthomas/files/CopAsc1.gif)

                                  TIM:
                                  > Looks really good to me!  I am assuming that episemon is the
                                  same as digamma.
                                   
                                  Yep, and as I now learn, also 'wau' and 'stigma':
                                   
                                  Whereas it was originally called wau, its most common appellation in classical Greek is digamma,
                                  while in its numeral function it was called episēmon during the Byzantine era. Today the numeral
                                  sign is often called stigma, after the value of a Byzantine Greek ligature ... which shares the same
                                  shape and was used as a textual ligature in Greek print until the 19th century.
                                   
                                  > Thanks for all your work on the number system.
                                   
                                  Well, I won't say that it hasn't been tedious at times, making charts and all,
                                  but it's satisfying in the end, because it feels like something that needs doing.
                                   
                                  Regards,
                                  Mike
                                • Stephen Carlson
                                  ... Yes, according to W. Sidney Allen s study of Greek pronunciation, the sound of eta evolved over the centuries, from the vowel in English bad (pre-6th
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Feb 12 4:47 PM
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                                    On Sun, Feb 12, 2012 at 7:33 PM, Mike Grondin <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
                                    > ... although "ba" in Greek makes 3, I am pretty sure Greeks thought of
                                    > the sheep's sound was "bh" (as you indicated [has a value of] 10).
                                     
                                    I agree with you on this now. In addition to the sources you cite, the vowel in the sheep-
                                    sound (as I recall it) sounds more like the 'a' in 'bad' than in 'bah', and secondly, I seem
                                    to recall that Stephen Carlson discussed here some years back that the sound of eta had
                                    changed over the centuries, and so might have had that sound at that point in time.

                                    Yes, according to W. Sidney Allen's study of Greek pronunciation, the sound of eta evolved over the centuries, from the vowel in English "bad" (pre-6th cen. BCE), to "bed" (5th cen. BCE) to "bade" (2nd ce, BCE) to "bead" (2nd cen. CE), its modern value.  Other researchers tend to push these changes earlier.
                                     
                                    Stephen
                                    --
                                    Stephen C. Carlson
                                    Graduate Program in Religion
                                    Duke University
                                  • Bob Schacht
                                    ... Who among us has been around sheep (and lambs) very much? I used to be in proximity to them for much of my fieldwork, but that was decades ago. However, as
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Feb 12 5:59 PM
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                                      At 05:47 PM 2/12/2012, Stephen Carlson wrote:


                                      On Sun, Feb 12, 2012 at 7:33 PM, Mike Grondin <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
                                      > ... although "ba" in Greek makes 3, I am pretty sure Greeks thought of
                                      > the sheep's sound was "bh" (as you indicated [has a value of] 10).
                                       
                                      I agree with you on this now. In addition to the sources you cite, the vowel in the sheep-
                                      sound (as I recall it) sounds more like the 'a' in 'bad' than in 'bah', and secondly, I seem
                                      to recall that Stephen Carlson discussed here some years back that the sound of eta had
                                      changed over the centuries, and so might have had that sound at that point in time.


                                      Yes, according to W. Sidney Allen's study of Greek pronunciation, the sound of eta evolved over the centuries, from the vowel in English "bad" (pre-6th cen. BCE), to "bed" (5th cen. BCE) to "bade" (2nd ce, BCE) to "bead" (2nd cen. CE), its modern value. ...

                                      Who among us has been around sheep (and lambs) very much? I used to be in proximity to them for much of my fieldwork, but that was decades ago. However, as I recall the sound, one should not attempt to confine the bleating of sheep to just one vowel sound. I am pretty sure that I heard the 'a' as both bad and bah. The difference may have been in age, with lambs tending towards the 'a' in bad, but older sheep towards the 'a' in bah (would that be a "schwa", BTW?) The point being that it is OK for the metaphor if there is some ambiguity in the vowel quality. However, I should never be confused with an expert in sheep phonology.

                                      Bob Schacht
                                    • Mike Grondin
                                      Based on what Stephen and Bob wrote, BA is back in the picture. One thing we ve left out of account, though, is how the Copts would have pronounced the
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Feb 12 11:25 PM
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                                        Based on what Stephen and Bob wrote, 'BA' is back in the picture. One thing
                                        we've left out of account, though, is how the Copts would have pronounced
                                        the letter-groups under consideration. According to both Layton's and Lambdin's
                                        grammars (the latter with some hesitation), 'BH' would have been pronounced
                                        <bay> in Coptic. They differ on how 'BA' would have been pronounced, but
                                        both are within the range of a sheep-sound: according to Lambdin, it would
                                        have sounded like <bah>, as in Greek, while for Layton the Coptic 'A' sound
                                        was like the 'a' of 'bad'.
                                         
                                        Is it plausible that the author of GosTruth would have regarded 'the Father'
                                        as triune? Seems so. On p.24 of Codex I, we find this (Attridge/MacRae tr.):
                                         
                                        "The Father reveals his bosom - Now his bosom is the Holy Spirit. -
                                        He reveals what is hidden of him - what is hidden of him is his Son ..."
                                         
                                        Mike G.
                                      • chaptim45
                                        We ve been talking about Greek, but I ve also been trying to find the onomatapaeia for the sound of sheep in Coptic, which may be different than Greek. I
                                        Message 19 of 22 , Feb 14 7:09 AM
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                                          We've been talking about Greek, but I've also been trying to find the onomatapaeia  for the sound of sheep in Coptic, which may be different than Greek.  I have not been successful. The closest I've come is the sound for a donkey. In a book on Apuleius' Golden Ass, I found a footnote that states that

                                          `ia' or `io'  is Coptic onomatopoeia for hee haw. And `hwhw' was demotic for "bray".  (Source:  Auctor and Actor, by John J. Winkler, p315 footnote).

                                          I just thought some folks would like to know.

                                          As for the Gospel of Truth, I have to agree with Mike that the passage sure sounds trinitarian. 

                                          I like the Gospel of Truth's version of the lost sheep because it includes the notion that the sheep fell into a pit, something that is not found in the parallel stories in the canonical gospels-- or in Thomas L107, where it would have fit very well with the idea of the shepherd having to "toil" to retrieve the wayward sheep.

                                          Tim Staker

                                          Chaplain, Indianapolis

                                        • Bob Schacht
                                          ... Have you ever heard a donkey bray? Sounds like a rusty and very loud water pump. I would render it somewhat like HAW--EE-HAW--EE--HAW...etc. The EE
                                          Message 20 of 22 , Feb 14 10:08 AM
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                                            At 08:09 AM 2/14/2012, chaptim45 wrote:


                                            We've been talking about Greek, but I've also been trying to find the onomatapaeia  for the sound of sheep in Coptic, which may be different than Greek.  I have not been successful. The closest I've come is the sound for a donkey. In a book on Apuleius' Golden Ass, I found a footnote that states that

                                            `ia' or `io'  is Coptic onomatopoeia for hee haw. And `hwhw' was demotic for "bray".  (Source:  Auctor and Actor, by John J. Winkler, p315 footnote).
                                            Have you ever heard a donkey bray? Sounds like a rusty and very loud water pump. I would render it somewhat like

                                            HAW--EE-HAW--EE--HAW...etc. The "EE" sounded like it might have been on inhaling, while the HAW was on the exhale. On my first trip overseas, on my first archaeology dig, in the first week on site, I was awakened early one morning by that racket, but could not see the donkey in question. A caller on Click and Clack claimed it was the sound of an "amorous" donkey, but I never saw a donkey bray while engaged in amorous activity.

                                            I seem to be becoming this list's expert on barnyard sounds. Surely some of you have equal or different or better experience!

                                            Bob Schacht
                                            Northern Arizona University


                                            I just thought some folks would like to know.

                                            As for the Gospel of Truth, I have to agree with Mike that the passage sure sounds trinitarian. 

                                            I like the Gospel of Truth's version of the lost sheep because it includes the notion that the sheep fell into a pit, something that is not found in the parallel stories in the canonical gospels-- or in Thomas L107, where it would have fit very well with the idea of the shepherd having to "toil" to retrieve the wayward sheep.

                                            Tim Staker

                                            Chaplain, Indianapolis


                                          • Mike Grondin
                                            Hi Tim et al, How could we all have forgotten ABBA, the Aramaic word for father ? It appears three times* in the NT: Gal 4.6: ... because you are sons, God
                                            Message 21 of 22 , Feb 14 3:20 PM
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                                              Hi Tim et al,
                                               
                                              How could we all have forgotten ABBA, the Aramaic word for 'father'?
                                              It appears three times* in the NT:
                                               
                                              Gal 4.6:  "... because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his
                                              Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'"
                                               
                                              Rom 8.15: "... you have received a spirit of adoption as sons, by
                                              which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'"
                                               
                                              Mk 14.36: "And he was saying, 'Abba! Father! All things are possible for
                                              you; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what you will.'"
                                               
                                              Seems to me not at all unlikely that this early Christian 'cry' was one of the
                                              reasons for GosTruth connecting the sheep sound 'BA' to 'the Father' -
                                              perhaps the major one. The numeric value of BA (3) would then have
                                              served as reinforcing the validity of that connection in light of the Trinity.
                                               
                                              Mike Grondin
                                              *translations my loose NASB; in each case, 'father' = PATHR (Coptic 'eiwt')
                                            • Mike Grondin
                                              Judging from lack of response, my last note on this thread appears to have satisfactorily concluded our inquiry into GosTruth. It really was quite
                                              Message 22 of 22 , Feb 17 11:04 AM
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                                                Judging from lack of response, my last note on this thread appears to have
                                                satisfactorily concluded our inquiry into GosTruth. It really was quite
                                                extraordinary that we were able to delve beneath the text to get into the very
                                                mind of the author! It was surely more difficult for us than it would have been
                                                for the original readers, since they wouldn't have had the trouble we had
                                                figuring out what the sheep sound was in their language. Would the word
                                                'ABBA' also have readily occurred to them (as it didn't to us)? That's a
                                                question that'll probably always remain a mystery.
                                                 
                                                By stumbling on the correct interpretation of the sentence in question, we were also
                                                able to do something we couldn't do from the Coptic alone, namely to determine
                                                that the translation "This number [100] signifies the Father" is wrong. It was the
                                                sheep-sound (BA), not the number 100, that "signifies the Father" (i.e., ABBA).
                                                 
                                                As to the number 100, however, I've got a couple final notes. First, I've
                                                to respond to some suggestions and add something I left out.
                                                 
                                                Second, I've revised an image of L.100 originally posted back in July of
                                                '09 in connection with the message below, but this time explicitly showing
                                                how it can be transformed into a chiastic structure containing 100 letters:
                                                 
                                                This latter may require some explanation. I've believed for some time that
                                                the designers of Coptic Thomas arranged it so that (1) L.107 (the lost sheep)
                                                would point to L.100, and (2) L.100 would have a structure appropriate to its
                                                representing the beloved lost sheep. Back on 7/22/09, I posted this:
                                                 
                                                This was followed by an interchange with Rick Hubbard:
                                                 
                                                To what I wrote back then, I would now add another couple things:
                                                (1) One of the reasons for believing that L.107 points to L.100 is that it would
                                                have taken the reader (like the shepherd) some trouble to find L.100. The sayings
                                                weren't numbered, so the reader would have had to do that.
                                                (2) One thing I didn't notice until I put together the image of the transformed L.100
                                                is that when the N is moved from the end of line 599 to the beginning of line 600,
                                                line 600 then begins with NN which is a representation of the number 100 (50+50).
                                                 
                                                Cheers to all,
                                                Mike
                                                *apropos another thread about Chris Skinner's new book, I notice that at the end
                                                of msg 8872, I welcomed him to the list. He was just moving to Mount Olive, his
                                                John-Thomas book (on which discussion ensued) then newly out.
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