Re: [gthomas] #9 Purpose of GOT
Thanks for pointing out the geometrical significance of the series 3-6-10.
As you may know, symbolism - especially mathematical symbolism - is one of
my own favored tools of interpretation. In fact, I've myself drawn
attention to the triangular nature of early Xian leadership structures
evident in the transfiguration scene and the three "pillars" in Jerusalem.
But you seem to have built the 30-60-100 thingy from Mark up into a general
theory about the nature of GoT which it simply doesn't seem to support.
>I intend to demonstrate that the Gospel of Thomas is designed to drawThis assumes, of course, that GThom is not only later than those synoptic
>attention to certain features of the synoptic Gospels. The method used
>with Thomas is that of Intentional Inexactitudes. Which is to say that
>when one finds a disagreement between the Gospel of Thomas and the
>synoptic Gospels one should examine the nature of the disagreement in
>order to determine the exact purpose of the text in question.
gospels (Mark in this case) the features of which it was intended to draw
attention to, but also that the GThomists had knowledge of those earlier
synoptic gospels. That's not necessarily objectionable in itself, but the
one example you employ (logion 9) doesn't make that case at all. There's no
indication that Thom's 60-120 was intended to draw attention to Mark's
30-60-100. At most, they seem simply to have been using different
symbolism. Mark could have as easily been written after Thom as vice versa.
A general theory needs at least one clear piece of data to support it, and
the fact that you haven't got even that minimal amount of evidence is
demonstrated by the questions you yourself raise about this example at the
end of your note:
>Could this in fact be the message, this structure based upon the triangle?The message of what? Mark? He's the one that uses the 30-60-100 (Matt
evidently having gotten it from him). But what makes you think that this
piece of symbolism is part of some "message"?
>If so, then what does it reveal? Perhaps it is pointing to theUgh. There's no indication at all that Mark might have had such a thought.
>existence of another way to structure perception.
I don't even know what that means myself.
>A key perhaps to the system employed in the encoding of these secrets"These texts"? But the only text using the 30-60-100 symbolism is
>into these texts.
Mark/Matt. You haven't established a connection with any other text. "These
secrets"? What secrets? "The system"? Who says there's any "system"?
>Might this not [be the] key hidden by the priests, the key to the templeitself?
No, this might not be any such thing. You're way off base here. GThom does
mention the "keys of knowledge", but that has no evident connection with
the Temple. Why would you think that the Temple has a "key" to it? You've
gone way beyond the data. Stick with Mark. That's where the 30-60-100
occurs, and if it's connected with anything, it would be something in Mark.
But bear in mind that it might be just a nice piece of symbolism that
occurred to "Mark" with respect to the sower parable and nothing else.
Now here's a theory about what the 60-120 of GThom might mean (with no hint
of any connection to Mark's 30-60-100, BTW). Scholars have divided GThom
into 114 sayings, many of which are similar to other sayings, either
physically separated or contiguous. Furthermore, the number 114 is open to
question. There are some sayings which are divided into parts that have no
apparent connection with each other, except that they fall under the scope
of a single "Jesus said". It has occurred to me, then, that, given my own
working hypothesis that GThom is a sort of jigsaw puzzle, the underlying
structure might be one of 120 sayings (some of which will have to be pulled
out from others), composed of two paired sets of 60 each. Sixty is such a
nice symbolic number, being the product of 5 (the number of original
disciples, "five trees in Paradise", "five will come to be in a house") and
12 ("the Twelve", the "pleroma"[?], and, incidentally, the number of books
in the jar found at Nag Hammadi). I also note that the sower parable is #9
according to our reckoning, and that the number 9 was taken by some in
ancient times to symbolize a beginning. But I'm also aware that symbolism
is slippery as an eel - both as to meaning and as to intentionality - and
thus has to be systematically shown to be integral to the meaning of a
given text or passage, and not just an accidental or incidental feature of
it. It won't do to just suggest a possibility - possibilities are a dime a
dozen. The hypothesis suggested has to have some plausibility to it, in
that it fits with other facts of which we're relatively certain. It's part
of the scientific method that we not extend hypothesis too far beyond the
data, i.e., the "known facts". Of course, we can do what we want in the
privacy of our own minds, but even there, the more closely we adhere to the
scientific method, the more likely it is that our hypotheses might be true.
The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying