## "Perfection" amidst the Chaos

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• One of the implications of the word-puzzle hypothesis for GThom is that it has to be regarded as perfect in a sense as it stands now - perfect that is, in
Message 1 of 1 , Nov 5, 2002
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One of the implications of the word-puzzle hypothesis for GThom is that it
has to be regarded as "perfect" in a sense as it stands now - "perfect" that
is, in the sense that a box of puzzle-pieces is "perfect". The puzzle-pieces
are, of course, not "perfect" in the same sense that the completed puzzle
will be perfect, but every piece is necessary, and it's necessary also that
each piece have a certain specific configuration to fit together properly in
the end. What this means is that every line - indeed every letter - must be
exactly as it is now (unless the scribe made an inadvertent error). There
must be a specific number of lines in the text, and each line must contain
exactly the right letters and other markings (i.e., overstrokes and
inter-letter strokes). We should not, then, second-guess the text or
"correct" it (i.e., remove the "weeds") until "the day of the harvest" -
which is evidently a certain point in either the solution of the entire
puzzle, or in the development of individual sets of lines (always 6 or a
multiple thereof?).

If this view is correct - and Th13 ("you've gotten drunk on the bubbling
spring I've MEASURED out") hints that it is - then we need to pay attention
to syntactical features normally ignored as being incidental to a text. We
need to pay attention to "blocks" of text, e.g.. As it turns out, GThom
contains exactly 24 "blocks" of text, where what I mean by a "block" is that
the first line of the block contains only the beginning of a saying, and the
last line of the block contains only the end of a saying (whether the same
one or another). GThom's 24 blocks may represent the "24 prophets who spoke
of you in Israel", since we would expect puzzle-features to echo ideas
within the text. The whole, however, gives the appearance of chaos, and it's
presumably the job of the "twin" of Jesus (namely the reader who pays
faithful attention to J's words) to bring perfect order out of this chaos -
as the jigsaw-puzzle solver brings perfect order out of the chaos of a
jumble of pieces - and as the Barbeloites presumably thought of the Logos
Jesus as bringing order out of the chaos of the (material of the) cosmos. In
my next note, I'll say something about how these blocks reveal an overall
structure to the text, but for the time being, here's a list of them for
anyone to check:

1. lines 1-66 (sayings 1-9)
2. lines 67-148 (sayings 10-19)
3. lines 149-177 (sayings 20-21)
4. lines 178-193 (saying 22)
5. lines 194-279 (sayings 23-41)
6. line 280 (saying 42)
7. lines 281-318 (sayings 43-47)
8. lines 319-354 (sayings 48-54)
9. lines 355-435 (sayings 55-64)
10. lines 436-455 (sayings 65-67)
11. lines 456-468 (sayings 68-70)
12. lines 469-470 (saying 71)

13. lines 471-548 (sayings 72-88)
14. lines 549-570 (sayings 89-94)
15. lines 571-577 (sayings 95-96)
16. lines 578-591 (sayings 97-98)
17. lines 592-597 (saying 99)
18. lines 598-602 (saying 100)
19. lines 603-608 (saying 101)
20. lines 609-634 (sayings 102-107)
21. lines 635-637 (saying 108)
22. lines 638-645 (saying 109)
23. lines 646-647 (saying 110)
24. lines 648-668 (sayings 111-114)

As may be noted, there are 9 single-saying blocks. But also within the
larger blocks are instances of single (male) or double (female) lines which
can be separated from the surrounding text without loss of sense. My guess
is that some of the 24 blocks (which evidently represent the 24 dead
prophets of Israel) will be broken up into sub-blocks, or shortened by the
removal of these "single ones" (who came from heaven and will return there -
remember the saying?)

Mike Grondin
The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/sayings.htm
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