Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [GTh] Detective Work & The Scientific Method

Expand Messages
  • Jack Kilmon
    From: Rick Hubbard Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2013 4:14 AM To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com Subject: RE: [GTh] Detective Work & The Scientific Method Hi Mike;
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 14, 2013
    • 0 Attachment
       
       
      Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2013 4:14 AM
      Subject: RE: [GTh] Detective Work & The Scientific Method
       


      Hi Mike;

       

      Yep, lots of wisdom in what “Archy” says. Nothing beats the old “let’s see what happens if we do this” strategy. While 999 times out of 1,000 not much happens, sometimes a few observations emerge that prove useful for the next “let’s see what happens if we do this” adventure. And on, and on, and on it goes.

       

      In real life consider the origin of WD40, a product used in just about every household and business in America. As the story goes, the guy who invented it was trying to develop a water displacement product to protect missiles from corroding because of standing water. His 40th experiment produced WD (Water Displacement” 40 (40th formula). I guess it is still used for its original intended purpose but it now used for everything from a fix-anything lubricant to treating fishing lures. The latter uses came about from “let’s see what happens if we do this” experiments.

       

      So, I’m wondering, how much “residual” or “collateral” information about the Gospel of Thomas has resulted from “let’s see what happens if we do this” inquiries? Some of you own work immediately comes to mind (word counts, sentence analysis etc.). Anything else come to mind?

       

      Rick Hubbard

       

      Don’t forget retroversion to Aramaic.  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?

      Jack Kilmon

       

       

       

       

       

      From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Mike Grondin
      Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2013 1:56 AM
      To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [GTh] Detective Work & The Scientific Method

       




      Ran across the following the other night in a mystery novel (Lawrence

      Sanders, McNally's Secret, the thoughts being attributed to the main

      character, "playboy sleuth" Archy McNally, p.229):

       

      > I learned a long time ago that in any investigation it

      was goofy to devise

      > a theory early on and then try to fit the facts to your

      hypothesis. You

      > find yourself disregarding important evidence simply

      because you can't

      > cram it into your harebrained idea. The best method, by

      far, is to collect

      > as many facts as possible, even the most trivial, and

      let them form their

      > own pattern. Logic beats conjecture every

      time.

       

      Perhaps overly stringent, but it was a pleasant jolt to find something in my

      light reading that was relevant and had a lot of truth to it.

       

      Mike Grondin




    • Mike Grondin
      Rick - While there may be some commonalities between the processes of invention and investigation, it s probably more confusing than anything else to mention
      Message 2 of 7 , Feb 14, 2013
      • 0 Attachment
        
        Rick -
         
        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.
         
        Mike Grondin
      • Rick Hubbard
        Hi Mike 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
        Message 3 of 7 , Feb 15, 2013
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi Mike

          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.


          Rick Hubbard

          From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Mike Grondin
          Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2013 11:52 PM
          To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [GTh] Detective Work & The Scientific Method

          



          Rick -

          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.

          Mike Grondin
        • Mike Grondin
          Hi Rick Thanks for clarifying your remarks. A couple of follow-up comments on modern-day numbering relative to GThomas: 1. Numbering of Nag Hammadi codices:
          Message 4 of 7 , Feb 15, 2013
          • 0 Attachment
            
            Hi Rick
             
            Thanks for clarifying your remarks. A couple of follow-up comments
            on modern-day numbering relative to GThomas:
             
            1. Numbering of Nag Hammadi codices: Scholars may have made two
            mistakes here, one minor, one major. The minor one is that Codex II
            should probably have been designated Codex I, since its contents and
            cover engraving seem to indicate it was originally considered the gem
            of the collection. The major mistake was to designate the separate tractate
            Trimorphic Protenoia as Codex XIII. It wasn't a codex as it was found
            in the jar. Continuing to label it a codex has just forced folks into saying
            that there were 13 books in the jar, not the 12 there actually were
            (TriProt was tucked into Codex VI).
             
            2. Sub-saying numbering of CGT: The earliest place I can find this is
            in The Five Gospels (1993). The system has gained widespread usage
            elsewhere, including The Fifth Gospel (1998)*, as you way. In spots,
            the numbering seems rather arbitrary, but it's definitely something that
            was needed.
             
            Regards,
            Mike
            *The only difference being the number of parts of L21 (11 v. 10).
          • Rick Hubbard
            Just as a follow-up on Mikes observations about numbering , the history of GTh s segregation into saying and sub-sayings is somewhat interesting (to me at
            Message 5 of 7 , Feb 16, 2013
            • 0 Attachment
              Just as a follow-up on Mikes observations about "numbering", the history of GTh's segregation into saying and sub-sayings is somewhat interesting (to me at least). As I mentioned in a previous post, Pahor Labib's numbering scheme was the first attempt I know of to segregate the text for the purpose of reference. It used a combination of "Plate Number" plus the line number and completely ignored anything to do with "context". The plate number was actually the photograph number so that, for example what we conventionally call GTh1 would have been cited as 80.14-19. Hence the first printed edition of the Gospel of Thomas that I purchased in 1969 still retained Labib's schema as well a set of parenthetic divisions proposed by Guillaumont, Puech, Quispel, Till, al Masih and Quecke (who were incidentally editors of the copy I bought back then). The latter divided the text into 114 discrete sections and had become the accepted convention by the time the Brill critical edition was published in 1989.

              There were at least three other numbering schemes that preceded the one I mention above. The trhee differed not only in the number of sayings (112, 113 and 113) but also at the location in the text where the divisions were to be placed. Just for the sake of example, what we know these days as GTh 59 was designated 60, 58 or 64 depending on which scholar's work was being studied.

              Then of course there is the edition of the Gospel of Thomas rendered into Greek with a French translation and commentary by Kasser that appeared in 1961. The "retoverted" text (Coptic into Greek) was not the only unique feature of the book; it also divided Thomas into 250 "versets". By comparison the most recent division segregates the text into 315 or 316 units (if each sub saying is counted as a separate division).

              Rick Hubbard
            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.