Re: [GTh] Line Numbers
- In the theory that the Coptic text of GTh is a word puzzle, it is posited
that line numbers are important in enabling one to solve the postulated word
In this regard, I have stumbled on something might be relevant to this
I am referring to Thomas and the Evangelists (p. 25), where Hugh Montefiore
and H.E.W. Turner state, "A tradition preserved by Victor of Capua (and
possibly supported by a passage in Epiphanius) described the Diatesaron (the
Fourfold Harmony) as a Diapente or Five-fold Harmony. He follows Baumstark
in identifying this source with the Apocryphal Gospel of the Hebrews. The
Stichometry of Nicephorus Callistus assigns to this document a length of
2,200 lines. For purposes of comparison the same author estimates Matthew
as 2,500 lines and a Gospel of Thomas (possibly though not certainly to be
identified with our document) as 1,300."
Here, we find, there apparently had been a version of GTh circulating with
an estimated number of 1,300 lines.
As the 1,300 lines for this version of GTh is an estimate rather than an
exact figure, and as our Coptic version of GTh has 668 lines, this leads me
to wonder if GTh circulated with standardized lines, with the Coptic version
having exactly half the number of lines of the other (Greek?) version.--for
668x2 is 1,336.
If GTh did have standardized lines, with the Coptic version having exactly
half the number of lines of the other version, then this is compatible with
the idea that GTh is a word puzzle, with it originally being a (Greek?) word
puzzle of 1,336 lines, but with a Coptic version of the word puzzle, perhaps
markedly different in some respects from the other version, later developed
with exactly half as many lines. However, in and of itself, this by no
means proves such an idea or, even, gives it inherent plausibility.
Still, it might be worthwhile to check out the sources.
1. Victor of Capua, Praef. in evang. harm. I (PL 68, 253)
2. Epiph, Haer., 46.1.9
3. Nicephorus Callistus, Chron. (PG 100. 1060), quoted by Vielhauer in NT
Apok., p. 88. In an appendix, Vielhauer is idenified as a P. Vielhauer. In
an abbreviation table, PG is said to be "Migne, Patrologia Graeca, Paris".
1809 N. English Apt 15
Maplewood, MN 55109
- In a message dated 2/2/05 12:03:52 PM, FMMCCOY@... writes:
> As the 1,300 lines for this version of GTh is an estimate rather than anObservation,
> exact figure, and as our Coptic version of GTh has 668 lines, this leads me
> to wonder if GTh circulated with standardized lines, with the Coptic version
> having exactly half the number of lines of the other (Greek?) version.--for
> 668x2 is 1,336.
The two made one, would make 1336 lines of another document into the 668
assuming the original was fragmented into 1136 lines and condensed into 668
This would continue the theme of the two made one throughout.
Could the puzzle then be to expand the Coptic, in order to get the original?
As I recall there was a previous observation that Thomas would fit nicely
has anyone tried that with Mark.
The Idea that it could be Keyed not only as noted to the AOJ.
What if these verses some of which have canonical parallels, could be keyed
based upon the solution?
That is the Coptic Scribe may say, This belongs in the Gospel account, and
was not used.
Here, this was used, but this was not.
Notes or Shorthand for how to read the Gospels, and include the absent
The Odd ordering that appears in some instances to make no sense or as I ve
heard seems to be
May be a result of trying to order these Sayings in a way that they could
actually fit, in more than one document.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Frank McCoy writes:
> If GTh did have standardized lines, with the Coptic version having exactlyWe should probably keep that size of 1300 lines in mind, as something
> half the number of lines of the other version, then this is compatible
> the idea that GTh is a word puzzle, with it originally being a (Greek?)
> puzzle of 1,336 lines, but with a Coptic version of the word puzzle,
> markedly different in some respects from the other version, later
> with exactly half as many lines.
perhaps useful later on, but I really don't think that the Coptic version
could have been half the size of a Greek version - at least insofar as the
POxy fragments are representative of the Greek version. The fragments
contain SOME material not in the Coptic (in the form of additional words in
a couple of sayings), but not a whole lot.
And to John - control yourself, man! Stay down to earth. Learn from Frank's
conservative approach. Stick with what we KNOW (or at least have good reason
to believe) is involved here.
- Indeed Then let me raise Simply the question,
I merely raise the question, If there is a direct 2 to 1 ratio, Is it
intentional, and if so,
What does that mean?
Frank seems to suggest that its intentional.
I merely formed the question which seems to be the direction he is going.
The open question would be WHY.
1) is it intentional?
2) why is it intentional?
3) a) what does that mean?
b) what did it mean to the Coptic scribe.
c) what might that mean to the reader
If the answer to question One is, Its not intentional, but rather
Then the question is answered.
If it is not coincidental?
Then it raises many questions, which IM sure you can better
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Some further thoughts on the 1300-line figure, Frank.
1. After writing my earlier note, it occurred to me that maybe the line-size
of the Greek text was about half that of the Coptic. I discovered that
there's interesting but confusing differences between the three sets of
fragments designated POxy 1, 654, and 655. According to Layton's critical
edition, scholars have determined that POxy 1 came from a codex, but that
654 and 655 came from rolls. The typical line-length in POxy 654 seems to be
about the same as the Coptic - maybe a little more - but since the Thomas
material was apparently copied onto the back of something else (some kind of
land survey), it may be discounted for that reason. The typical line-lengths
of POxy 1 and POxy 655, on the other hand, appear to be substantially
smaller than the Coptic - not half, I would say, but maybe about 3/4 (say
about 18 letters per line versus 24 in the Coptic). But remember, this is a
different language. When I made my interlinear, for example, it soon became
evident that it generally took significantly more letters to express the
same thought in English than in Coptic. So maybe the Greek text did have
1300 lines of generally smaller size than the Coptic.
2. The 1300-line figure is supported by certain indications of what the text
might look like AFTER it's been restructured or rebuilt. One plausible
possibility at this point is that the FINAL structure may represent the
twelve apostles + Jesus, and that each of these 13 segments has the same
nice, round number of lines. If so, then the typical line size of the Coptic
text as it now stands (which is BEFORE the thing is torn apart and rebuilt)
may be about half of what it'll be at the end. The average line-length in
the Coptic text is 25.25 letters (16848/667 - lines 9 and 668 counted as
one), but if - for the sake of argument - the final structure has, say,
exactly 13 letters per line, then the number of lines would approximately
double. (And if it turns out that there's the equivalent of 18 lines to be
set aside for some reason or other - perhaps because they're "weeds" - the
approximate becomes exactitude.) That's a hell of a lot of IF's, and we'll
only know for sure at the end, but 1300 isn't inherently implausible, IMO.
(BTW, this may be of no importance, but line 280 contains 13 syllables, and
"bad" numbers like 11 and 17 seem to figure prominently. I think it has to
do with GPh's talk about how "good" and "bad" are really brothers of each
- Is it possible the order and numerical values
reflect the pentameter and stanzas of an oral
tradition, a poem, maybe even a song?
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- Dave Renfro writes:
> Is it possible the order and numerical valuesBasically, no - in my opinion. In the first place, I believe that the Gospel
> reflect the pentameter and stanzas of an oral
> tradition, a poem, maybe even a song?
of Thomas was always intended to be a secret document shared only among
initiates. It probably used elements from oral tradition, and they may have
counted (Coptic) syllables to create some kind of "rhythm", but IMO any such
"rhythm" was based on the numbers they wanted to use, rather than the other
- Frank McCoy wrote:
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