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Re: [GTh] Detective Work & The Scientific Method

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  • 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 1 of 7 , Feb 14, 2013
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      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 2 of 7 , Feb 15, 2013
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        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 3 of 7 , Feb 15, 2013
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          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 4 of 7 , Feb 16, 2013
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            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
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