I've located the Laura Joffe material I was referring to. The article in
question is "The Answer to the Meaning of Life, the Universe and the
Elohistic Psalter", JSOT 27.2 (2002) 223-235. It was online at one point,
and fortunately I printed it out, because now it can't be gotten without a
subscription to online JSOT ( http://jot.sagepub.com
). This is the abstract
for the paper:
"This article asks why the Elohistic Psalter (Pss. 42-83) was commissioned.
It is suggested that the Elohistic Psalter was constructed in order to
invoke a 'magic triangle' (comprising God's name, the number 42, and a
blessing) for some apotropaic purpose. It is argued that this theory gains
credence from two areas: first, the importance of numerical organization of
large groups of Psalms; and second, the history of the number 42, which in
biblical times was a number of disaster, and in later Jewish tradition
became associated with a protective name of God."
Joffe also published an earlier paper in SJOT (Scandanavian Journal of the
OT) 15 (2001) called 'The Elohistic Psalter: What, How and Why?' which I
I should say also that all of my claims about the syntax of CGTh can be
publicly checked. I have a pdf file at
the Coptic ms line-by-line and page-by-page, with English translation under
each Coptic word, and each line and 'IS' numbered. I based this on a close
examination of the photostats in the facsimile edition of the NH codices and
checked it against Bentley Layton's critical edition. I believe that the
accuracy of my rendering compares favorably with his or anyone else's (the
critical edition leaves out the word 'AUW' in 50:09, for example).
I suspect that my talk about numbers and syntax both swims before the eyes
and introduces some degree of cognitive dissonance in the reader. We have a
model in mind wherein the scribe was free to write pretty much what he could
fit on each line. Whether that model is true in general or not, it's
evidently not applicable to the Coptic ms. Imagine the scribe coming to the
end of saying 41 on the standard model. It could have been anywhere within a
line. The chances of it being at the end of a line are unlikely, but
possible - since some sayings (23 of them, to be exact) do end at the end of
a line. OK, so the unlikely happens, let's say. Then it also happens that
the 'IS' on line 280 is the 42nd in the text, and by happy coincidence 42 +
280/10 = 70, which is the number of the line on which the scribe has
coincidentally written the word PARAGE in the same position as on line 280.
Mind you, PARAGE isn't a common word in the text; it occurs only three
times: at the end of lines 280 and 70, and split between lines 69 and 70. If
you're calculating the probability of coincidences as we go, you're probably
close to zero already. But then the number of letters in saying 42 plus 11.1
= 70, and you add in a few more things about the divisibility of sayings 42
and 11.1, and it boggles the mind. Either the Holy Spirit was guiding the
scribe's hand, or our standard model of scribal activity simply doesn't
apply to the Coptic ms. We have to entertain the distinct possibility that
the Coptic scribe was closely following a prototype which had been designed
with certain syntactical features in mind.
BTW, this isn't the only piece of evidence of intentional design, but it'll
do for starters.