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Re: [GTh] Re: The gospel of Thomas and Christian Wisdom

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  • Michael Grondin
    [Andrew Criddle] ... Thanks, Andrew. A few comments: Judging from the article, the heretical practice of sortilege or sacred lots seems to have been
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 11, 2005
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      [Andrew Criddle]

      > From Metzger's article on 'Sortes Biblicae' in the Oxford
      > Companion to the Bible ...

      Thanks, Andrew. A few comments:

      Judging from the article, the heretical practice of "sortilege" or "sacred
      lots" seems to have been practiced both formally and informally. As informal
      practice, one would open the bible (or Homer or Virgil) at a random page and
      read the first passage that hit one's eye, trying to glean from it something
      related to one's future - or some piece of advice. Taking this a step
      further, some folks evidently thought to write a brief "fortune cookie" type
      statement ("You will be saved from danger", "Expect a great miracle", etc.)
      on each page of, say, Mark. Metzger doesn't say whether these
      "interpretations" were related to the particular contents of the page on
      which they were written (though one can imagine that to be so), nor is there
      any indication that the numbers involved (one each on 69 pages of Mark,
      e.g.) correspond to the numerical possibilities of throwing dice.

      As to Steve's hypothesis, it doesn't seem very likely to me. Even if the
      number of sayings could be reduced to 108 (which is certainly possible),
      there's the matter of content. One would think, for example, that the
      compiler of such a collection would have included only relatively short
      sayings, eschewing lengthy logia like the banquet parable. On the other
      hand, if he himself had been using "sortilege" to select his contents, it
      would be unlikely that he would have ended up with the canonical sequence
      64-66. Also, many logia don't easily lend themselves to "fortune" or
      "advice" type interpretations - which would presumably have been the
      selection criterion for the compiler - if that had been what he was up to.
      Which is not to say that I don't think that the compiler had SOME selection
      criteria. It's just that I don't think that it was this.

      Mike Grondin
      Mt. Clemens, MI
    • Tom Saunders
      Don t these represent a willful misreading of what seems to be a simple reference to the possibility that an individual GTh saying may have been randomly
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 11, 2005
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        "Don't these represent a willful misreading of what seems to be a simple
        reference to the possibility that an individual GTh saying may have been
        randomly chosen, by some users at some times, to shed light on a given
        question or problem? I see no implication that Davies "links" GTh to the
        structure or tradition of the Yi Jing, or that anyone has."

        Let me address the second part of the statement above first. I await reading what Davies says. I have what Elaine Pagels writes about the impression of a Buddhist Priest concerning the GThom, and can see myself an almost undeniable relationship to Oriental thought concerning something like the I-Ching fundamentals, and the GThom. It has to do with form and action.

        It is like doing martial kata, (moving forms), reading Chinese 'wisdom poetry,' and applying the wisdom or movement to real life, or the Tao, meaning Logos. As an instrument it is clear the GThom is meant to serve much of that same purpose. Like the Oriental workings of the I-Ching, and the other ways forms are presented, the actual form takes place in the structure of the act of performing the units within the form. In other words there is no discernible form to the way the GThom is written, because its form occurs in the action of its doing or understanding. Martial forms work the same way.

        By the time the Mandaeans would have had an influence on Jesus teachings the workings of the I-Ching and the Oriental method of study of forms would have been well known. Martial forms, or kata, 'quien' in Chinese had been installed in the time of Confucious, but in the 1st Century famous martial artists are known to have campaigned to share knowledge in foreign lands, and are known to have traveled the Silk Routes. It is not out of the question the concepts of learning forms in an Oriental manner, was understood in ancient Judea. The Theraputae movement would have been a natural link to the Orientals of the 1st c. who also sought to share knowledge.

        If the form of the GThom has any of the influence from this form of teaching, they modified it, as they did with the faults of humanity. Confucious saw similar faults in man but he tended to use a dualistic model to compare them. The Gnostics see the faults of man differently, separate from what can be the perfect man.

        Now, consider the idea of the 'robbers' in the GThom. Prophecy would be to predict them coming, when and where, etc. The GThom says they can be defeated, or avoided when you read into the sayings about robbers, Th-21, and 35. Prophecy would be to predict, but the GThom is advocating changing the outcome of the encounter, or changing the situation of the encounter.

        This is different from the I-Ching which would fix the question, when will the robbers come?

        The twist of the GThom which would excite the Oriental is the GThom is overcoming the ideas of fixed fate, and advocates at least in form a free will not bound by pre-destiny.

        Tom Saunders
        Platter Flats, OK











        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • sarban
        ... From: Michael Grondin To: Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2005 3:55 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: The gospel of
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 11, 2005
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2005 3:55 PM
          Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: The gospel of Thomas and Christian Wisdom


          <SNIP>

          On the other
          > hand, if he himself had been using "sortilege" to select his contents, it
          > would be unlikely that he would have ended up with the canonical sequence
          > 64-66.

          With respect to the sequence here it may possibly be worth noting
          that in Matthew 64 comes immediately after (65-66) and although
          Luke has 63, 64 and (65-66) in the same order as Thomas they are
          very widely separated

          (63 = Luke 12 16-21
          64 = Luke 14 15-24
          65-66 = Luke 20 9-17)

          However in the Diatessaron they are all relatively close together
          in the right order

          (63 is in Diatessaron chapter 28
          64 is in Diatessaron chapter 30
          65-66 is in Diatessaron chapter 33)

          Andrew Criddle
        • Michael Grondin
          ... As with so much of what Tom writes, the reasoning here is badly muddled. On the one hand, he can t stop himself from thinking of everything in terms of
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 12, 2005
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            Tom Saunders writes:

            > It is like doing martial kata, (moving forms), reading Chinese 'wisdom
            > poetry,' and applying the wisdom or movement to real life, or the Tao,
            > meaning Logos. As an instrument it is clear the GThom is meant to serve
            > much of that same purpose. Like the Oriental workings of the I-Ching, and
            > the other ways forms are presented, the actual form takes place in the
            > structure of the act of performing the units within the form. In other
            > words there is no discernible form to the way the GThom is written,
            > because its form occurs in the action of its doing or understanding.
            > Martial forms work the same way.

            As with so much of what Tom writes, the reasoning here is badly muddled. On
            the one hand, he can't stop himself from thinking of everything in terms of
            martial arts, and so he has to draw some obscure comparisons between bodily
            movements and "acts of understanding", which are apples and oranges. On the
            other hand, he plays on the ambiguity of the word 'form', sometimes using it
            one way, sometimes another; sometimes applying it to one thing, sometimes to
            another. If one ends up being very confused, it is not the fault of your
            receiver.

            In a key sentence, Tom claims that "there is no discernible form to the way
            the GThom is written". In the primary sense of the word 'form' ("the shape
            of something, its outward or visible appearance" - OAD) this is patently
            false. But at this point, Tom is using another sense of the word 'form'
            (where it means 'structure'). What he's saying, then, is that GTh has no
            discernible structure (or order) to it - which mostly everyone would admit,
            without all the mumbo-jumbo intended to connect that rather obvious claim to
            martial arts "forms".

            As opposed to most commentators, however, I would claim that GTh DOES have a
            structure to it - or at least the Coptic version does. (We can't tell about
            the Greek version.) It's just that we've been looking at it wrongly. The
            structure isn't evident unless we look at the manuscript itself, because the
            structure seems to be basically syntactical. There is an apparent tie-in to
            the sematic aspect, but one can't tell from reading a translation, for
            example, that the first part of saying #10 ("I have cast fire on the world,
            and look - I am watching over it") occurs on lines 67-68 of the manuscript,
            that what precedes it is a single textual "block" of 66 lines, and that what
            follows it is exactly 600 lines of text (divided into 400 + 200) - some or
            all of which may or may not be "the world", but is surely of a size
            mysteriously-convenient to *represent* "the world".

            Now I know that one "coincidence" doesn't mean anything, but such
            syntactical coincidences multiply far beyond the ability of randomness to
            account for them, IMO. And they aren't confined to GTh, as I've pointed out
            before. The first and preceding text in Codex II (The Apocryphon of John)
            contains exactly 1100 lines plus the end line "Jesus Christ, Amen". The
            subsequent text (The Gospel of Philip) contains exactly 1232 lines - which
            doesn't seem to be significant in itself, but when added to GTh's 668, the
            result is an even 1900 lines, and when that is added to AoJ's 1100 lines,
            the cumulative size of the three texts is exactly 3000 lines. To my way of
            thinking, this suggests that the scribal author of Codex II consciously
            transcribed the three texts in a way that made the line-counts come out to
            some predetermined figure (I do not see any such pattern in the remaining
            four texts of Codex II). The same kind of detailed examination of the
            manuscript indicates (as I've argued at greater length elsewhere) that
            attention was also given to the syntactical structure _within Thomas_. Since
            commentators don't pay attention to such things, however, it will inevitably
            appear to them that the Coptic Thomas has no structure.

            Postscript: Anyone wishing to confirm my factual claims about the Coptic
            Thomas, or to pursue this line of inquiry, are welcome to download and/or
            print my page-by-page pdf-file presentation
            (http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/gtbypage_112702.pdf).

            Mike Grondin
            Mt. Clemens, MI
          • Andrew Smith
            ... sacred ... informal ... page and ... something ... cookie type ... miracle , etc.) ... page on ... is there ... the ... possible), ... contents, it ...
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 16, 2005
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              --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@c...> wrote:
              >
              > Judging from the article, the heretical practice of "sortilege" or
              "sacred
              > lots" seems to have been practiced both formally and informally. As
              informal
              > practice, one would open the bible (or Homer or Virgil) at a random
              page and
              > read the first passage that hit one's eye, trying to glean from it
              something
              > related to one's future - or some piece of advice. Taking this a step
              > further, some folks evidently thought to write a brief "fortune
              cookie" type
              > statement ("You will be saved from danger", "Expect a great
              miracle", etc.)
              > on each page of, say, Mark. Metzger doesn't say whether these
              > "interpretations" were related to the particular contents of the
              page on
              > which they were written (though one can imagine that to be so), nor
              is there
              > any indication that the numbers involved (one each on 69 pages of Mark,
              > e.g.) correspond to the numerical possibilities of throwing dice.
              >
              > As to Steve's hypothesis, it doesn't seem very likely to me. Even if
              the
              > number of sayings could be reduced to 108 (which is certainly
              possible),
              > there's the matter of content. One would think, for example, that the
              > compiler of such a collection would have included only relatively short
              > sayings, eschewing lengthy logia like the banquet parable. On the other
              > hand, if he himself had been using "sortilege" to select his
              contents, it
              > would be unlikely that he would have ended up with the canonical
              sequence
              > 64-66. Also, many logia don't easily lend themselves to "fortune" or
              > "advice" type interpretations - which would presumably have been the
              > selection criterion for the compiler - if that had been what he was
              up to.
              > Which is not to say that I don't think that the compiler had SOME
              selection
              > criteria. It's just that I don't think that it was this.
              >

              It's interesting that a proposal that GThomas was compiled by putting
              together excerpts found by sortilege is a version of the dependency
              argument, which is anathema to Steve Davies.
              I don't have GTCW to hand, so I can't check, but I don't think that
              Steve was proposing that Thomas was composed as an oracles text, but
              that it perhaps owed its survival to its use as an oracles text. I'd
              better check that.

              Andrew
            • Michael Grondin
              ... Hi Andrew- This note is partially to respond to what you say above, partially to raise another issue with respect to the second edition of GTCW that you ve
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 16, 2005
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                Andrew Smith wrote:

                > It's interesting that a proposal that GThomas was compiled by putting
                > together excerpts found by sortilege is a version of the dependency
                > argument, which is anathema to Steve Davies.
                > I don't have GTCW to hand, so I can't check, but I don't think that
                > Steve was proposing that Thomas was composed as an oracles text, but
                > that it perhaps owed its survival to its use as an oracles text. I'd
                > better check that.

                Hi Andrew-

                This note is partially to respond to what you say above, partially to raise
                another issue with respect to the second edition of GTCW that you've
                recently published. With respect to the above, I quite agree with you.
                I considered the possibility of creation-by-sortilege simply as one of
                several scenarios wherein sortilege *might* have been involved. In the end,
                I rejected all of them.

                The question I want to raise about the second edition of GTCW is whether it
                includes Appendix I ("The Structure of Thomas") from the original edition.
                It was this section particularly (and more specifically, its last sentence)
                which inspired my own attempt to solve the problem that Steve set forth
                there:

                "I look forward to the time when someone unambiguously uncovers the secret
                to Thomas' order or, indeed, to the time when we can conclude that the
                sayings are essentially random, for that seemingly discouraging result would
                in fact be a negative conclusion of considerable interest and significance."
                (GTCW, 1983, p.155)

                What I have uncovered so far in some 15 years of on-again off-again
                effort indicates to my satisfaction (and I'm not easily satisfied, believe
                me) that the *Coptic* Gospel of Thomas was a sort of "puzzle" which
                represented the world (and its chaos), and that it was intended that
                the "disciple" rearrange that "world" in order to form some kind of
                textually-perfect "new world" (which would include, for example, the joining
                of the set of questions in #6A with the set of answers in #14). This task,
                which was probably part of the training to become "a perfect one", required
                an intimate knowledge of the sayings - but also the development of a
                peculiar way of interpreting them, according to which they were
                referring to themselves (as well as to the outside world).

                As astonishing as it seems (and we have never seen the like), numbers of
                lines, occurrences of the names 'IS' and 'IHS', and even letters, evidently
                served as guides for the re-structuring of the text. As Jesus (represented
                by the first of three occurrences of 'IHS' in the text) is made to say to
                Thomas in #13, "You've gotten drunk from the bubbling spring _which I have
                measured_". It seems that this last phrase was intended to be taken
                literally - not that the author of the text was Jesus, but that the text was
                "measured" in some way to allow it to be restructured (as in 111A's "The
                heavens and the earth will be rolled up _in your presence_").

                My task here is not to argue for this view, because arguments are to no
                avail. The claim is extraordinary, and so, too, must be the evidence. I will
                only mention here one piece of textual evidence that I came across in the
                last several days. It's related to saying 107, that has to do with a
                shepherd searching for a 100th sheep that's gone astray. When he finds it,
                he says that he loves it (or wants it) more than the 99. Now as it happens,
                the 100th occurrence of the name 'IS' is at the tail end of saying 111, in
                what I've always feared (and commentators agree) might be a scribal addition
                ("Because JS speaks thus: whoever-falls upon-it himself, the world isn't
                worthy of him"). The reason I say that I "feared" it might be a scribal
                addition, is that it would pretty much ruin either my theory or the
                possibility of proving it if it was. Now I'm convinced that it isn't - and
                I'll tell you why. The number of letters in sayings 111 and 112 is 180, with
                120 in saying 111 and 60 in saying 112. (I need hardly remind you of the "60
                per measure and 120 per meaure" thingy). But more than that - saying 111 is
                itself divided into two parts. The first part (which contains the 99th
                occurrence of 'IS') is composed of 70 letters. The second part - the
                apparent "scribal addition" which contains the 100th occurrence of 'IS' - is
                composed of exactly 50 letters. As a result, we have 111A+111B+112 =
                70+50+60 = 180 letters. In my opinion, this well-ordered three-part
                structure cannot be accounted for by randomness, nor (thankfully) is 111B a
                scribal addition. It's an integral part of the structure. (It is, perhaps,
                an instance of what the Gospel of Philip refers to as hiding something of
                great value in a container of little value.)

                For a long time, I've referred to my theory as a "working hypothesis". With
                the clearing away of this piece of possible contrary evidence, I now feel
                confident of calling it a 'theory', since it now STM to be both probable and
                provable. I'm confident that the text hasn't been scribally altered in such
                a way that would eliminate any possibility of _our_ solving the puzzle. What
                remains to do (and of course this is no easy task) is the actual putting
                together of the puzzle, as the original "disciples of the perfect" would
                have done it. Nothing less could possibly convince anyone else of this
                astonishing theory - which owes its impetus (though not its substance) to
                Appendix I of Steve's GTCW.

                Regards,
                Mike Grondin
                The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
                http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/sayings.htm
                The Coptic Gospel of Thomas in Context
                http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/index.htm
              • Andrew Smith
                Mike, Yes, Appendix 1 is included in the new GTCW. In the new intro, Steve briefly assesses the contribution of GTCW to Thomas studies and comments Is thomas
                Message 7 of 9 , Jan 17, 2005
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                  Mike,

                  Yes, Appendix 1 is included in the new GTCW. In the new intro, Steve
                  briefly assesses the contribution of GTCW to Thomas studies and
                  comments "Is thomas in its origin or its structure divisible into four
                  sections, as suggested in the first appendix? Frankly that is an idea
                  that nobody supports.

                  I remember that you handed out a summary of your hypothesis at the SBL
                  a while ago. did you receive any response to it? The 120+60 is
                  certainly interesting.

                  Best Wishes

                  andrew
                  --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@c...> wrote:
                  > Andrew Smith wrote:
                  >
                  > > It's interesting that a proposal that GThomas was compiled by putting
                  > > together excerpts found by sortilege is a version of the dependency
                  > > argument, which is anathema to Steve Davies.
                  > > I don't have GTCW to hand, so I can't check, but I don't think that
                  > > Steve was proposing that Thomas was composed as an oracles text, but
                  > > that it perhaps owed its survival to its use as an oracles text. I'd
                  > > better check that.
                  >
                  > Hi Andrew-
                  >
                  > This note is partially to respond to what you say above, partially
                  to raise
                  > another issue with respect to the second edition of GTCW that you've
                  > recently published. With respect to the above, I quite agree with you.
                  > I considered the possibility of creation-by-sortilege simply as one of
                  > several scenarios wherein sortilege *might* have been involved. In
                  the end,
                  > I rejected all of them.
                  >
                  > The question I want to raise about the second edition of GTCW is
                  whether it
                  > includes Appendix I ("The Structure of Thomas") from the original
                  edition.
                  > It was this section particularly (and more specifically, its last
                  sentence)
                  > which inspired my own attempt to solve the problem that Steve set forth
                  > there:
                  >
                  > "I look forward to the time when someone unambiguously uncovers the
                  secret
                  > to Thomas' order or, indeed, to the time when we can conclude that the
                  > sayings are essentially random, for that seemingly discouraging
                  result would
                  > in fact be a negative conclusion of considerable interest and
                  significance."
                  > (GTCW, 1983, p.155)
                  >
                  > What I have uncovered so far in some 15 years of on-again off-again
                  > effort indicates to my satisfaction (and I'm not easily satisfied,
                  believe
                  > me) that the *Coptic* Gospel of Thomas was a sort of "puzzle" which
                  > represented the world (and its chaos), and that it was intended that
                  > the "disciple" rearrange that "world" in order to form some kind of
                  > textually-perfect "new world" (which would include, for example, the
                  joining
                  > of the set of questions in #6A with the set of answers in #14). This
                  task,
                  > which was probably part of the training to become "a perfect one",
                  required
                  > an intimate knowledge of the sayings - but also the development of a
                  > peculiar way of interpreting them, according to which they were
                  > referring to themselves (as well as to the outside world).
                  >
                  > As astonishing as it seems (and we have never seen the like), numbers of
                  > lines, occurrences of the names 'IS' and 'IHS', and even letters,
                  evidently
                  > served as guides for the re-structuring of the text. As Jesus
                  (represented
                  > by the first of three occurrences of 'IHS' in the text) is made to
                  say to
                  > Thomas in #13, "You've gotten drunk from the bubbling spring _which
                  I have
                  > measured_". It seems that this last phrase was intended to be taken
                  > literally - not that the author of the text was Jesus, but that the
                  text was
                  > "measured" in some way to allow it to be restructured (as in 111A's "The
                  > heavens and the earth will be rolled up _in your presence_").
                  >
                  > My task here is not to argue for this view, because arguments are to no
                  > avail. The claim is extraordinary, and so, too, must be the
                  evidence. I will
                  > only mention here one piece of textual evidence that I came across
                  in the
                  > last several days. It's related to saying 107, that has to do with a
                  > shepherd searching for a 100th sheep that's gone astray. When he
                  finds it,
                  > he says that he loves it (or wants it) more than the 99. Now as it
                  happens,
                  > the 100th occurrence of the name 'IS' is at the tail end of saying
                  111, in
                  > what I've always feared (and commentators agree) might be a scribal
                  addition
                  > ("Because JS speaks thus: whoever-falls upon-it himself, the world isn't
                  > worthy of him"). The reason I say that I "feared" it might be a scribal
                  > addition, is that it would pretty much ruin either my theory or the
                  > possibility of proving it if it was. Now I'm convinced that it isn't
                  - and
                  > I'll tell you why. The number of letters in sayings 111 and 112 is
                  180, with
                  > 120 in saying 111 and 60 in saying 112. (I need hardly remind you of
                  the "60
                  > per measure and 120 per meaure" thingy). But more than that - saying
                  111 is
                  > itself divided into two parts. The first part (which contains the 99th
                  > occurrence of 'IS') is composed of 70 letters. The second part - the
                  > apparent "scribal addition" which contains the 100th occurrence of
                  'IS' - is
                  > composed of exactly 50 letters. As a result, we have 111A+111B+112 =
                  > 70+50+60 = 180 letters. In my opinion, this well-ordered three-part
                  > structure cannot be accounted for by randomness, nor (thankfully) is
                  111B a
                  > scribal addition. It's an integral part of the structure. (It is,
                  perhaps,
                  > an instance of what the Gospel of Philip refers to as hiding
                  something of
                  > great value in a container of little value.)
                  >
                  > For a long time, I've referred to my theory as a "working
                  hypothesis". With
                  > the clearing away of this piece of possible contrary evidence, I now
                  feel
                  > confident of calling it a 'theory', since it now STM to be both
                  probable and
                  > provable. I'm confident that the text hasn't been scribally altered
                  in such
                  > a way that would eliminate any possibility of _our_ solving the
                  puzzle. What
                  > remains to do (and of course this is no easy task) is the actual putting
                  > together of the puzzle, as the original "disciples of the perfect" would
                  > have done it. Nothing less could possibly convince anyone else of this
                  > astonishing theory - which owes its impetus (though not its
                  substance) to
                  > Appendix I of Steve's GTCW.
                  >
                  > Regards,
                  > Mike Grondin
                  > The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
                  > http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/sayings.htm
                  > The Coptic Gospel of Thomas in Context
                  > http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/index.htm
                • Michael Grondin
                  ... Nor do i. All previous attempts to find order or structure in Thomas (including Steve s) have looked at it the way it is now, and they ve looked at it in a
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jan 17, 2005
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                    [Andrew Smith]:
                    > Yes, Appendix 1 is included in the new GTCW. In the new intro, Steve
                    > briefly assesses the contribution of GTCW to Thomas studies and
                    > comments "Is thomas in its origin or its structure divisible into four
                    > sections, as suggested in the first appendix? Frankly that is an idea
                    > that nobody supports.

                    Nor do i. All previous attempts to find order or structure in Thomas
                    (including Steve's) have looked at it the way it is now, and they've looked
                    at it in a superficial, English-translation kind of way. On the one hand,
                    they haven't gone deep enough to look at syntactical details like line and
                    letter counts, and on the other hand, they haven't considered the
                    possibility of moving stuff around. It's like Th113 says: "The Kingdom of
                    the Father is spread out upon the [textual] earth, but men don't see her."

                    > I remember that you handed out a summary of your hypothesis at the SBL
                    > a while ago. did you receive any response to it?

                    Ah, yes. That was back in November of 2002 in Toronto. It was my first SBL
                    meeting. In the weeks preceding that trip, I had written a series of notes
                    to our group, spelling out some of the textual details I had uncovered
                    (including how to account for the half-blank line 9, which was another
                    stumbling-block for my theory). For the meeting, I reprinted those notes and
                    put together a page-by-page interlinear (which is now a pdf on my site). I
                    made a half-dozen copies of these two items, and handed them out to a few
                    individuals. (I think I gave one to April DeConick, one to Ismo Dunderberg
                    for Risto Uro, a third to an unknown guy from a French-Canadian University
                    that was hosting a Thomas conference, one to John Turner, and one to a guy I
                    was having conversations with at the time about publishing an interlinear by
                    Andrew Bernhard and myself.) Unfortunately, this was shortly after the
                    anthrax scare associated with 9/11, so the recipients were probably
                    suspicious of materials given to them by a guy they didn't know. Although my
                    email address was on the documents, I never heard from anyone about it.

                    Among the many incidents at that SBL meeting that still stick in my mind are
                    two tangentially related to the Thomas puzzle. The one is the seminar where
                    April DeConick spoke. It wasn't so much meeting her and her husband (an
                    occasional contributer here) as the talk of another speaker, who happened to
                    mention a 68-day initiation period for one of the ancient mystery cults. 68
                    days? It naturally leapt into my mind that Thomas has 668 lines, with "the
                    world" represented by the last 600 (minus lines 469-470). Does the first
                    block of 66 lines, plus 469-470, represent the reader himself, a "house" to
                    be "destroyed" before he can be "perfected"?

                    The second incident was at a seminar on the Apocryphon of John. As you know,
                    this was undoubtedly the most important text in the Nag Hammadi collection,
                    so far as the originators were concerned. (Steve is currently doing a book
                    on it, BTW.) Not only does it precede the Gospel of Thomas in Codex II -
                    which is clearly the "Queen of the codices" - but it appears as the first
                    item in two other books as well. The three versions differ significantly
                    from each other, however. Codex II contains what's called the "long
                    recension" - most notable for its 100 lines of strange names associated with
                    body-parts of the Adam-figure that the "rulers" are creating. Anyway, long
                    story short, I asked the speaker about the rather strange title of the
                    Apocryphon of John in Codex II (whereas the other two versions have the
                    standard order of "The Apocryphon According to John", the title in Codex II
                    is "According to John, the Apocyphons". There's a difference of order, and
                    apparently of number as well.) The speaker (a French guy) didn't seem to
                    know what I was asking about. For a long, agonizing moment, there was total
                    silence in the room - something that NEVER happens at these seminars. I was
                    embarassed. Eventually he (and later, John Turner, in private conversation)
                    came up with an explanation, but which I found unconvincing. Because the
                    line-counts of the first three texts in Codex II tie so neatly together
                    (1100+668+1232 = 3000), I believe that the title of AoJ (which occurs at the
                    end of AoJ, just before GTh) was altered to reflect a relationship between
                    these texts - as the size of AoJ in Codex II was tailored to match the
                    cumulative sizes of the other two texts. (I know - this sounds like a
                    conspiracy theory. I try not to go too far beyond the facts, but the facts
                    are themselves astonishing. They suggest something sui generis in the known
                    world of ancient manuscripts.)

                    > The 120+60 is certainly interesting.

                    If you like that, here's another one: the sacrum nominum name 'IHS' occurs
                    three times in GTh, in three separate blocks of text ("where there are three
                    gods, they are in God"?). The sizes of these blocks are 82 lines (block 2),
                    16 lines (block 4), and 22 lines (block 14) - a total of 120 lines. Five
                    such groups would, of course, total 600 lines (which I believe represents
                    the cosmos, which in turn equals an "earth" of 400 lines, plus two heavens
                    of 100 lines each). Interestingly, it's at the very end of block 1 (with a
                    size of 66 lines) that the 60 and 120 are mentioned, and those yields are
                    said to come from seeds falling on "the good earth (KA2)" - which I think
                    begins just below block 1. (In the re-structuring of a "new world", the
                    earth (KA2) and the heavens will be "rolled up".)

                    Regards,
                    Mike Grondin
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