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Re: [GTh] "Perfection" amidst the Chaos

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  • fmmccoy
    ... From: Grondin To: Sent: Tuesday, November 05, 2002 5:46 PM Subject: [GTh] Perfection amidst the Chaos
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 10, 2002
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, November 05, 2002 5:46 PM
      Subject: [GTh] "Perfection" amidst the Chaos

      (snip)

      > 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.

      (snip)

      > 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)


      Hi Mike!

      This is pretty nifty. I think you've made an important discovery here.

      What I'd like to point out in this post is that, in terms of the three
      strata hypothesis, the sayings at the beginning of each of these blocks
      form meaningful patterns.

      To review, in the three strata hypothesis, GThomas can be divided into three
      strata: (1) an earliest strata which is composed of a document to be called
      Proto-Thomas, (2) a later strata which is composed of a document to be
      called Pre-Thomas, and (3) an even later stata to be called the Later
      Strata. Proto-Thomas consists of units 2-10, 31-48, 61-65, and 89-99.
      Pre-Thomas consists of units 1, 25-30, 53-60, 66-79, and 105-111. The
      Latest Strata consists of 11-24, 49-52, 80-88, 100-104, and 112-114.

      Using the convention of Proto-Thomas = A, Pre-Thomas = B, and Latest Strata
      = C, these are the strata that begin each of the 24 blocks:

      1. lines 1-66 (sayings 1-9) Saying 1 = B
      2. lines 67-148 (sayings 10-19) Saying 10 = A
      3. lines 149-177 (sayings 20-21) Saying 20 = C
      4. lines 178-193 (saying 22) Saying 22 = C
      5. lines 194-279 (sayings 23-41) Saying 23 = C
      6. line 280 (saying 42) Saying 42 = A
      7. lines 281-318 (sayings 43-47) Saying 43 = A
      8. lines 319-354 (sayings 48-54) Saying 48 = A
      9. lines 355-435 (sayings 55-64) Saying 55 = B
      10. lines 436-455 (sayings 65-67) Saying 65 = A
      11. lines 456-468 (sayings 68-70) Saying 68 = B
      12. lines 469-470 (saying 71) Saying 71 = B
      13. lines 471-548 (sayings 72-88) Saying 72 = B
      14. lines 549-570 (sayings 89-94) Saying 89 = A
      15. lines 571-577 (sayings 95-96) Saying 95 = A
      16. lines 578-591 (sayings 97-98) Saying 97 = A
      17. lines 592-597 (saying 99) Saying 99 = A
      18. lines 598-602 (saying 100) Saying 100 = C
      19. lines 603-608 (saying 101) Saying 101 = C
      20. lines 609-634 (sayings 102-107) Saying 102 = C
      21. lines 635-637 (saying 108) Saying 108 = B
      22. lines 638-645 (saying 109) Saying 109 = B
      23. lines 646-647 (saying 110) Saying 110 = B
      24. lines 648-668 (sayings 111-114) Saying 111 = B

      Here is the sequence: BA CCC AAA BA BBB AAAA CCC BBBB

      This breaks down into two sub-sequences, each beginning with a BA set:
      (1) BA + 3 of the same strata + 3 of the same strata (BA + CCC + AAA)
      (2) BA + (3 of the same strata + 4 of the same strata) + (3 of the same
      strata + 4 of the same strata) (BA + (BBB + AAAA) + (CCC + BBBB))
      As can be seen, the second sub-sequence is but a more complex version of the
      first.

      Also, note that, excluding the two introductory BA sets, there are 6 (the
      perfect number) sets--a CCC set, an AAA set, a BBB set, an AAAAset, a CCC
      set, and a BBBB set. Further, there are two A sets (an AAA set and an AAAA
      set), two B sets (a BBB set and a BBBB set) and two C sets (a CCC set and a
      CCC set).

      My gut reaction is that all these mathematical regularities cannot be mere
      coincidence. Rather, the person who wrote the Coptic text of GThomas was
      aware of how the original Greek version of GThomas was assembled out of two
      documents and some later material and demonstrated his/her awareness of this
      by setting up the beginning of each block of the Coptic text in such a
      fashion as to make the two meaningful sub-sequences shown above.

      I can think of no other explanation. Can you?

      Frank McCoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 17
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109
    • Grondin
      ... Thanks for your response and encouragement, Frank. I have no intuition about whether the strata and sub-sequences that you mention will work out. I m
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 10, 2002
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        > This is pretty nifty. I think you've made an important discovery here.

        Thanks for your response and encouragement, Frank. I have no intuition about
        whether the strata and sub-sequences that you mention will work out. I'm
        pretty sure that small sayings or portions of sayings will be moved around
        to make the initial structure "perfect", but what impact this will have on
        your sequences in the final analysis, I have no idea.

        I did want to correct my remarks on "perfect numbers". I said that the third
        perfect number was quite large, and that was my recollection, but my
        recollection turns out to be faulty. As I now understand it, the first five
        perfect numbers are 6, 28, 496, 8128, and 130816. I don't see the Thomas
        puzzle making use of any of these numbers other than 6 and 28. With respect
        to 28, although 280 is a multiple of it, it's also 4x70, and the number 70
        may be the controlling factor there. On the other hand, the total number of
        characters in the text (16800, not counting saying 71) = 28x600, which is a
        nice combination of 6 and 28, and also the size of the cosmos (earth plus
        two heavens?) that Jesus is said to be "watching over" at line 68. I have a
        feeling that the number of characters per line (which varies from 18 to 31,
        averaging about 25.25) will be "smoothed out" to an invariable number, but
        it's still way too early even to guess whether such a hypothetical standard
        line-size might be 28 letters (in which case the extra 68 lines would
        entirely disappear), or something smaller, like 24 or 25. Time will tell.

        The situation at this point is that there are a significant number of
        astonishing "coincidences", but we still lack the "smoking gun" that would
        convince the impartial observer that these "coincidences" are plausible
        evidence of authorial intentionality. The fact, for example, that a word
        (PARAGE) which occurs only three times in a text of this size, should occur
        twice at precisely the same location on two different lines, and that those
        lines should be the 70th and 280th lines of the text, is to my mind
        extremely statistically unlikely. And how likely is it that there would be
        an accidental "seam" at line 68, wherein Jesus is said to be watching over
        the world, just above an even 600 lines of remaining text? Or that the
        shortest saying of the collection should just happen to occupy a single
        line - as opposed to the much more probable case of its being split between
        two lines? And that that single line should just happen to have a nice
        line-number of 280, rather than any of hundreds of others where we'd have to
        do contortions to find some meaning to the number? One can cite a whole
        litany of such unlikely coincidences, and yet, without the "smoking gun",
        most impartial observers will be unable to accept that these are intentional
        features of the text. So the smoking gun is what I'm looking for right now.

        Regards,
        Mike Grondin
      • fmmccoy
        ... From: Grondin To: Sent: Tuesday, November 05, 2002 6:46 PM Subject: [GTh] Perfection amidst the Chaos
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 23, 2005
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Tuesday, November 05, 2002 6:46 PM
          Subject: [GTh] "Perfection" amidst the Chaos


          > 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?).

          Why should even the markings be a part of the puzzle? We've already got
          letters, lines, and sayings--although, as already mentioned, the assumption
          is made, but is not demonstrated, that the scribe divided Thomas into
          sayings, just as we do.

          > 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.

          I agree that this postulated division of Thomas into 24 blocks by the scribe
          appears to be real.
          .
          24 is 6x4, but it is also 12x2. What, then, is the numerological
          significance of 24? If if is related to the 24 prophets who spoke to the 12
          tribes of Israel, is it not as 12x2 rather than 6x4? This gets back to the
          very basic question, raised in the first post, as to whether the scribe took
          6 and 28 to be the most significant numbers or, rather, took 12 and 7 to be
          the most significant numbers.

          >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?

          Here, the hypothesis is raised that single lines are male lines and double
          lines are female lines. No evidence is produced to support this
          idea--which, on the face of it, is nothing but wild speculation. Who said
          that single lines were male and double lines are female? Nobody, to my
          knowledge. What I want to see is a list of people in the Roman Empire who
          claimed that single lines are male and double lines are female, but such a
          list of people is not given above. I would be particularly impressed by
          any alleged Barbeloites who made such a claim.

          Frank McCoy
          1809 N. English Apt. 15
          Maplewood, MN USA 55109
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