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Re: [GTh] 112 in Thomas

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  • Michael Grondin
    ... As you know, I quite agree with this intuition, Andrew, though it seems difficult to prove with any certainty. I don t agree that there s any indication
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 9, 2005
      > ... I do think there are some deliberate significant numerical
      > relations in Thomas even if the above is not one of them.

      As you know, I quite agree with this intuition, Andrew, though it seems
      difficult to prove with any certainty. I don't agree that there's any
      indication that 42 and 43 go together (contra the Patterson/Robinson
      translation, 43 starts with the disciples asking "Who are you to say THESE
      THINGS to us?", not "Who are you to say THIS to us?"), but thinking of #1 as
      part of the prologue seems promising. If so, however, maybe the principle is
      that if a purported saying starts with "And he said ...", then it should be
      considered part of the (or a) preceding saying. I note, for example, that #8
      also starts out with "And he said ..." (though it doesn't seem to go with
      #7). That would give you 112 sayings based on just the one principle,
      without having to join 42 and 43 on a different principle. There are a few
      other "orphans" lacking any of the standard GTh intro-devices (101, 93, 74,
      65, 27) which also seem suspicious, unless we're willing to attribute their
      lack of text-standard framing to authorial/scribal "fatigue" or just plain

    • Michael Grondin
      To Andrew C: In further response to your note, I thought I d mention some of the many numerical coincidences of the Coptic text (too many, really, for me ...
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 11, 2005
        To Andrew C:

        In further response to your note, I thought I'd mention some of the many
        numerical "coincidences" of the Coptic text (too many, really, for me
        personally to conclude that they were the result of random chance):

        > ... I was unable to find significance in 114.

        Well, it's 6x19. Not significant in itself, I think, but with the addition
        of 6 more lines, you'd have 120 - which (in addition to its inherent
        significance) reminds one of the "60 per measure and 120 per measure" of the
        sower saying. The first "perfect number" 6 keeps coming up again and again,
        and it may thus be no accident that the last six lines from the Apocryphon
        of John are written on the top of the first page of Thomas, and that the
        first six lines from the Gospel of Philip are written on the bottom of the
        last page of Thomas. But that's not all. Semantically, the text speaks of
        keeping the sabbath (the 7th) as a sabbath - i.e., a day of rest. This
        emphasizes the work (or "motion", to allude to another saying) to be done on
        the first six days. Syntactically, you may recall that I mentioned a couple
        years ago that the Thomas text is composed of 24 "blocks" of text of various
        lengths (the shortest being the single-liner #42), but I don't know whether
        I mentioned at the time that the first block contains 66 lines. As it turns
        out, when one divides the 24 blocks into four groups of six each, the last
        six blocks also contain 66 lines. The relative sizes are these:

        Group 1 = blocks 1-6 = 280 lines
        Group 2 = blocks 7-12 = 190 lines
        Group 3 = blocks 13-18 = 132 lines
        Group 4 = blocks 19-24 = 66 lines

        Notice that the Group 3 contains 2x66 lines. Group 1 has a nice size as
        well. Admittedly, the Group 2 doesn't have a nice, neat size to it, but I
        think it's important to realize that if it was randomness at work here, it's
        scarcely imaginable that there would be nearly this much "coincidence".
        Rather, nice, neat numbers would be the exception rather than the rule.

        When we look at the gross size of Thomas (668 lines), and consider that
        Block 12 is a two-liner (logion 71) that virtually begs to be removed ("I
        will destroy this house, and no one can built it up again."), it doesn't
        seem overly speculative to suppose that the authors might have had in mind a
        net size of 666 lines. But there's still more, for that same Block 12 occurs
        at lines 469-470, and in another seemingly-inexplicable "coincidence",
        Blocks 2-12 begin with the suggestive lines 67-68: "I have cast fire upon
        the world, and look, I watch over him (i.e., the world)". Admittedly,
        there's a word that dribbles onto line 69 ("until he burns"), but that seems
        like small potatoes compared with the evident "framing" of 400 lines of
        text, from line 69 thru line 468. This comprises 10 blocks (2-11), and I
        cannot think but that the authors may have consciously fashioned this group
        of text as "the world".

        Now I recognize that in pursuing this line of thought, one has to cast aside
        for the moment any consideration of the Greek Thomas, and of any theories
        that one might have about how GTh came into being. Those questions can be
        entertained later. The first step, it seems to me, is to recognize that the
        Copts did something to the text as they received it. And what they did seems
        to have to do with arranging or transcribing the text in neat numerical
        patterns. They may also have added or removed stuff to make those patterns
        come out right, and if we can determine what that stuff was, so much the
        better when we eventually return to assessing the *original* Thomas.

        Back to the puzzle: if "the world" and its end-saying (#71) are removed from
        the whole, what's left? Thirteen blocks comprised of 4x66 lines (Block 1 =
        66 lines, blocks 13-18 = 2x66 lines, blocks 19-24 = 66 lines). Overall,
        then, we have these 264 lines on the one hand, and 404 (11 blocks) on the
        other ("On the day you were one, you became two"?). The right and the left?
        Is "what is dead" (the 404 lines comprising the world) - or some of it -
        supposed to be "eaten" by the other side, so that "the left" doesn't know
        what "the right" is doing? And is this "eating" supposed to result in a
        symmetry of top and bottom, inside and outside, that saying #22 refers to?
        Or should we stop ourselves from going in this direction, admitting what
        seems inescapble - that the Copts may have arranged the text in these neat
        patterns - but refusing the possibility of any implication to be wrung out
        of that - no implication, for example, that the writers might have gone
        further still, or that the reader (arguably seeking to become a member of
        "the perfect" to whom the 7th tractate of Codex II is addressed) might have
        been expected to do something with the text other than to read and ponder

        > ... 112 is a very significant number.
        > It is 4 times 28, 4 being a significant square and 28 a perfect number
        > particularly associated with 7 and with speculation about the mystical
        > body of Christ.
        > It is 16 times 7, 16 being another significant square and 7 a highly
        > significant number in Greek Christian and Jewish tradition. (see eg
        > the Book of Revelation)

        Yes, I think that the seventh is part of the picture as well, both
        positively and negatively. Negatively, to "keep the sabbath" may be to
        arrange things in groups of sixes up till the end. Positively, it's
        evidently associated with "rest" - but in that rest (perhaps "the day of the
        harvest"?) things become known - such as "the place of life" known by the
        seven-day-old "child", or the "Father" known to those who keep the 7th as a
        "day" of rest. This may be the "day" on which the "60 and 120 per measure"
        come into place from the "small seed" that falls onto "ground prepared for
        it" by the student/aspirant who does the appropriate "work" in the first six
        "days" (or stages of construction). At that point, presumably, "I will
        reveal my mysteries to those who are worthy of them." Just "know what is
        before your face, and what is hidden from you will become visible to you."
        (Apologies for mixing syntactical facts with semantic allusions, but I do
        think that the puzzle talks about itself.)

        Mike Grondin
        Mt. Clemens, MI
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