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Some Things I'd Change in Watson's Paper

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  • Mike Grondin
    Why am I still mulling over Francis Watson s online paper on the GJW fragment, you ask? Well, two reasons: (1) I m still working on my proposed page
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 8, 2012
      Why am I still mulling over Francis Watson's online paper on the
      GJW fragment, you ask? Well, two reasons: (1) I'm still working
      which focuses on the development of his paper as indicated by
      online activity, and (2) I don't think the ink test will be decisive,
      and if that's so (and if Bagnall doesn't change his mind about
      authenticity), then King's HTR paper will probably be published,
      and Watson and others will respond to that in print.
      Now I think I know some of the changes that Watson would make
      to his paper if it does come down to his getting it ready for hard-copy
      publication. He will no doubt update his treatment of line 6, for example,
      to reflect developments that occurred after he wrote. Indeed, given the
      carefulness (peer review, et al) that goes into a published paper, it might
      well be that everything I mention below will be changed for the better.
      But in case not, here's one major and three minor items:
      (1) Much has been made of the supposed split of the word NA-EI,
      with the EI occurring on BJW line 1. Watson writes:
      > Line 1 of the new gospel fragment opens with the letters EI AN,
      > King plausibly suggests that EI represent the last two letters of
      > ... The letters NA will therefore have been found at the end of
      > preceding line.
      Unfortunately, that is something that Watson cannot say. It surely
      cannot be a conclusion (as indicated by the word 'therefore'), since
      King's suggestion doesn't imply that the missing letters NA occur at
      the end of the preceding line. In fact, King would no doubt say that
      they occur on the same line - i.e., to the left of EI. Now it may be
      suspicious that the torn left edge of the fragment is just to the left of
      EI, but that's all that can be said. We cannot say, as some have, that
      the GJW fragment has the same line-split of NA-EI as do lines 49:35-36
      of Gos.Thom., because to do that is to assume that the fragment is not
      part of a larger page, hence to beg the question.
      Now for the picky stuff:
      (2) Inconsistent use of the acronym 'GTh'.
      Through most of the paper, Watson uses 'GTh' to designate Coptic
      Thomas (AKA Gos.Thom.) But at one point, he reveals the inherent
      ambiguity of the acronym:
      > The author or compiler of GJW is evidently dependent on
      > the one extant manuscript of the Coptic GTh ...
      So does 'GTh' refer to generic Thomas (the work) or the Coptic
      manuscript witness?
      (3) Use of line numbers. (applies to Bernhard and others as well):
      In his critical study of Codex II, Layton uses a colon in line numbers
      (e.g., 50:1 instead of 50.1). The problem with using dots instead of
      colons is that a line number can be easily confused with a sub-logion
      number, particularly since the word 'line' is often left out. There is,
      for example, a sub-log 50.1. So if we refer to 'GTh 50.1', are we
      referring to the sub-log or to line 50:1?
      (4) I would leave out the whole last paragraph of Watson's paper, and
      word the rest of the postscript in such a way that it doesn't appear to
      imply that anyone who disagrees with him about Secret Mark would
      also have to disagree with him about GJW.
      Mike Grondin
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