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Re: [GTh] "Perfection" amidst the Chaos

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  • 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 1 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.

      Mike Grondin
    • fmmccoy
      ... From: Grondin To: Sent: Tuesday, November 05, 2002 6:46 PM Subject: [GTh] Perfection amidst the Chaos
      Message 2 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"
        > is, in the sense that a box of puzzle-pieces is "perfect". The
        > 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
        > each piece have a certain specific configuration to fit together properly
        > the end. What this means is that every line - indeed every letter - must
        > 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
        > 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
        > the first line of the block contains only the beginning of a saying, and
        > 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
        > 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.
        > 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
        > 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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