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Re: [GTh] 112 in Thomas

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  • 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 1 of 2 , Jan 11, 2005
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      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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