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Re: [GTh] Design Theory

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  • Michael Grondin
    ... I tend not to agree that it was the person who actually penned tractate 2 of codex II that was responsible for the design of it. However, that issue is
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 17, 2006
      [John Moon]:
      > Were [secret numberings] in the original or in the Coptic Thomas only,
      > placed there by the scribe writing the document down?

      I tend not to agree that it was the person who actually penned tractate 2 of
      codex II that was responsible for the design of it. However, that issue is
      both undecidable and relatively unimportant, so I prefer to talk about
      what's in the two versions, and not pack any unnecessary assumptions into
      our questions.

      > If we assume the text was originally Greek, it may well be in the
      > original Greek text.

      That's jumping ahead of the game a bit, but I will say that I consider this
      to be a distinct possibility, for two reasons: (1) a priori, evolutionary
      development (from simpler to more elaborate design as one moves from one
      version to another) strikes me as more likely than Coptic de novo
      creativity, and (2) I cannot help but think that the separation of L6A from
      L14 (the four questions and answers about fasting, etc) is part of the
      "puzzle", and hence an indication that POxy 654 (which includes L6) shares
      that nature. On the other hand, it seems clear that the Copts moved 77B from
      its position in saying 30 for the specific purpose of positioning part of it
      on line 496 (the third perfect number). So certainly not ALL of the design
      features of CGTh were present in the Greek version. The question is how
      many - if any. To my mind, it's best not to spend a lot of time and effort
      on that question until we know more about the Coptic design.

      Mike G.
    • Ron McCann
      At 12:06 AM 18/02/06, Mike wrote: (snipped material) ... I m not sure Mike, that you can hang you hat on or rely too much on the 6A and 14 question and answer
      Message 2 of 7 , Feb 18, 2006
        At 12:06 AM 18/02/06, Mike wrote:

        (snipped material)
        > (2) I cannot help but think that the separation of L6A from
        >L14 (the four questions and answers about fasting, etc) is part of the
        >"puzzle", and hence an indication that POxy 654 (which includes L6) shares
        >that nature....

        I'm not sure Mike, that you can hang you hat on or rely too much on the 6A and
        14 question and answer displacement in support of your thesis.
        Although we cannot
        be sure, (because no L14 has survived in P.Oxy) L6 in it's entirety
        has survived as a single logion
        in it, with both the same question and answer as is found in Coptic
        GThomas L6. This
        suggests this postulated displacement "split" between 6A and 14
        probably existed in the Greek text, each logion standing complete and alone.

        Secondly, this "displacement", rather than intentional may have been
        accidental. The Nag
        Hammadi text is a codex consisting of pages. I don't know if it has
        been determined whether
        the Greek fragments were from pages also once bound in a codex, or
        not. But assuming
        they were, there is an possible explanation as to how the question in
        6A got separated
        by the answer in L14.

        At some point in the copying and recopying of the greek GoT, the part
        of the logion we
        call 16 A ends up at the bottom of the page. The top of the next page
        would have the
        answer now found in 14 and the logions that follow it. There is no 6B
        at this stage.
        The codex gets unbound at one point in the copying process and the
        pages separated. When reassembled, a page's-worth of logions (or
        perhaps more) gets accidentally inserted between
        the page ending with 6A and the page beginning with L14. Later,
        someone notices that
        the question posed in 6A hasn't got an answer, and decides to supply
        one from another known
        sayings of Jesus.- doesn't quite fit- but, hey, it's a valid saying
        of Jesus, so it will do.
        This gives us a relatively simple, and uncomplicated explaination for
        the "displacement"
        that requires no elaborate "scheme" to explain.
        In the Coptic version, there appears to be a bit more material
        intervening than would fit on one page,
        but we don't know about the Greek version. Was it a single page? Or
        does it take more room to say the same thing in Coptic than it does
        in Greek? I know that the French version of something translated from
        English, is invariably much much longer (takes more words and
        letters) than the English.
        In any event I fail to see that the 6A-14 "displacement" would be of
        much use, or would be of much value as evidence in support of your thesis.
        Unlike Andrew, I don't think this exploration is "bonkers", and
        "fingers-crossed" that the other evidence isn't some sort of ephemera
        or natural artifact or accidental by-product of the
        sayings-collection process, I'd encourage you to keep at it.

        Ron McCann
        Saskatoon
      • Michael Grondin
        ... I m not. It s just that I consider the 6/14 situation suspicious - not so much that it couldn t have happened in the first instance, but that it wasn t
        Message 3 of 7 , Feb 18, 2006
          [Ron]:
          > I'm not sure Mike, that you can hang you hat on or rely too much on the 6A
          > and 14 question and answer displacement in support of your thesis.

          I'm not. It's just that I consider the 6/14 situation suspicious - not so
          much that it couldn't have happened in the first instance, but that it
          wasn't corrected by the Copts - who STM to have been both very careful
          (witness the secret numbering of lines, e.g.) and yet not averse to moving
          stuff around (e.g. 77B) if need be. But maybe they just moved and/or altered
          what they needed to and left the rest as it was.

          > ... [the] postulated displacement "split" between 6A and 14 probably
          > existed in the Greek text, each logion standing complete and alone.

          Exactly.

          > Secondly, this "displacement", rather than intentional may have been
          > accidental.

          Yes, it may have been. Your scenario is quite plausible up to this point.

          > Later, someone notices that the question posed in 6A hasn't got
          > an answer, and decides to supply one from another known
          > sayings of Jesus.- doesn't quite fit- but, hey, it's a valid saying
          > of Jesus, so it will do.

          This explanation at least has the virtue (to my mind) of accounting for the
          similarity of the material above and below 6A (5.2 and 6.5 - "Nothing hidden
          will fail to appear" - being exactly the same in the Coptic - which is
          unusual). But it seems to require us to believe that the "corrector" was so
          unfamiliar with the rest of the text that he didn't notice that L14 had the
          answers to the four questions, and that all he had to do was to move L14
          after 6A, instead of creating a new "answer". Surely he would either have
          already known about L14, or would have learned of it as he continued on. So
          I guess the scenario requires that (1) the addition of 6B was made by a
          copyist/scribe as he was writing, (2) that he had not read the thing in
          advance (or hadn't remembered L14), and (3) that when he came upon L14 later
          in the course of his writing, he decided that it was too late to do anything
          about it.

          > In any event I fail to see that the 6A-14 "displacement" would be of
          > much use, or would be of much value as evidence in support of your thesis.

          You're right that the displacement in itself is evidence of nothing. It's a
          suspicious circumstance, that's all. The above scenario is certainly
          possible, but because it seems to require that the "corrector" was acting in
          a specific way that strikes me as questionable, and because 5.1 says what it
          does about something hidden being revealed, I don't think it's satisfying
          enough to remove the suspicion.

          Regards,
          Mike
        • Ron McCann
          Hi Mike. ... I seems to me that since the error appears to have been made in the Greek version, the prelimilary question is why didn t the Greeks correct it?
          Message 4 of 7 , Feb 20, 2006
            Hi Mike.
            At 01:34 AM 19/02/06,on the subject of the 6A and 14 displacement you wrote:

            >I'm not. It's just that I consider the 6/14 situation suspicious - not so
            >much that it couldn't have happened in the first instance, but that it
            >wasn't corrected by the Copts - who STM to have been both very careful
            >(witness the secret numbering of lines, e.g.) and yet not averse to moving
            >stuff around (e.g. 77B) if need be. But maybe they just moved and/or altered
            >what they needed to and left the rest as it was.

            I seems to me that since the error appears to have been made in the Greek
            version, the prelimilary question is why didn't the Greeks correct
            it? Correction
            would seem to be ludicriously simple. Move Mohammed to the mountain in
            a fresh copy. If the "Question" in 6A is tucked in to Logion 14 as it's opening
            line(s), nothing much is disturbed. The 6B (2-6) "Answer" has it's own
            "Jesus said", and just converst to a pronouncement saying rather than
            a dialogue,
            14 already has it's "Jesus said" more or less. And is just a
            sayings-collection, after all.
            Nothing should rise or fall on where the full 14 get's placed.
            Yet this correction doesn't appear to have been made in the Greek
            copy- as near as we
            can tell. Why?
            I think it depends on when it was first noticed. And I think that
            displacement could easily
            go unnoticed. The 6A-14 spliting and displacement doesn't exactly
            "leap out at you", once
            the "faux" answer has been supplied- in fact- I think I had read
            through Thomas at least a
            dozen times before I spotted it, and most readers today don't 'twig"
            and go blithefully along
            interpreting 6 by supposing the 6B material is and answer to the 6A
            question. One of the
            reasons for this is that 14 has it's own "introductory" "Jesus said"
            flagging it as a different
            numbered logion in it's own right. There is not a great conceptual
            difference between "Jesus
            said" and Jesus said to them"- the latter being what's used in 14.
            It's only when you focus
            on that "them" and ask "Who are those "thems"?" that it becomes
            evident that some
            introductory part of this logion may be missing.
            A casual reader, even a copy-proof-reader could easily miss it and
            miss the connection to 6A,
            even without the 6B "faux"answer penned in.
            But that sidesteps the question. Surely SOME greek reader would have
            spotted it. Why not
            pen a new copy correcting it then?
            That may depend on just how many original copies were made and went
            out and how practical
            or useful such a correction would be then. If a lot of copies had
            been made or gone out, the only
            practical thing to do was to leave it, and "save" the correction for
            some later or newer
            edition. Eventually, I suppose, the error was forgotten.
            It appears that some historians believe that Alexandria (where the
            P.Oxy copy likely originated, IMO) was a publishing centre in
            antiquity, where not only was it policy that any traveller
            with a written work surrender it for a time so the Library could make
            a copy, but an industry
            in copying books for sale had sprung up and was being pursued. When
            the Roman General's
            ships in the Alexandrian harbour caught fire and set fire to parts of
            the city and the
            "library", evidence seems to indicate that what burned was not the
            library but a huge harbour
            warehouse containing thousands of scrolls bound for sale/export.
            It may simply have been too late to correct it, once the error was discovered.
            So then why didn't the Copts correct it?.
            Once again, did they even "see" it?
            And if they saw it, did they even "dare" change it? This was probably
            considered an ancient
            and sacred text by the Copts at the time they did the Nag Hammadi
            translation, and one supposes they would be reluctant to make
            changes. Consider what would happen to-day if such an
            error was spotted in Luke. People wouldn't exactly clamour that their
            Gospels be changed. Even our modern translators and scholars don't
            stick their necks out and correct the error, in their own works.

            Mike further responded ( to my point that after the accidental
            displacement an answer to
            the question posed by 6A had to be found and penned in.)

            >This explanation at least has the virtue (to my mind) of accounting for the
            >similarity of the material above and below 6A (5.2 and 6.5 - "Nothing hidden
            >will fail to appear" - being exactly the same in the Coptic - which is
            >unusual). But it seems to require us to believe that the "corrector" was so
            >unfamiliar with the rest of the text that he didn't notice that L14 had the
            >answers to the four questions, and that all he had to do was to move L14
            >after 6A, instead of creating a new "answer". Surely he would either have
            >already known about L14, or would have learned of it as he continued on. So
            >I guess the scenario requires that (1) the addition of 6B was made by a
            >copyist/scribe as he was writing, (2) that he had not read the thing in
            >advance (or hadn't remembered L14), and (3) that when he came upon L14 later
            >in the course of his writing, he decided that it was too late to do anything
            >about it.

            material snipped.

            >You're right that the displacement in itself is evidence of nothing. It's a
            >suspicious circumstance, that's all. The above scenario is certainly
            >possible, but because it seems to require that the "corrector" was acting in
            >a specific way that strikes me as questionable, and because 5.1 says what it
            >does about something hidden being revealed, I don't think it's satisfying
            >enough to remove the suspicion.

            Well, I think I given you a partial answer to some of this which
            explains why the
            displacement was not noticed or if noticed, not corrected by the Greeks and
            probably left intact by the Copts. but in invoking the similarities
            between L 5(B)(2-3)
            and L 6 (B) (5-6) you open a brand-new can of worms, and I guess I
            should (reluctantly)
            address it.
            Logion 6 is truly a dog's breakfast of screw-ups IMO. It is not only
            that material was
            accidentally displaced "out", but material seems to have been
            accidentally "displaced" from it's proper place in Logion 5. and
            inserted "in" logion 6. This appears to be a Coptic error, not
            one by the greeks and it's all about those "concealed-revealed " lines.
            "Everybody knows" by now that Logion 5 in the Coptic Gospel of
            Thomas, although it has
            the line "For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed,
            (just as Logion 5 in the
            P.Oxy) lacks the following line- "And there is nothing buried that
            will not be raised."- that is found in
            the P.Oxy. version. It's "missing" in the Coptic. The Jesus Seminar,
            and others postulate
            this as a deliberate deletion by the Copts as it's wording, the words
            used, seems to incorporate Pauline Resurrection Theology which is
            conspicious by it's absence in Thomas. This was
            distateful, so they took it out. So the JS pops it back in to their
            translation (albeit in square
            brackets.).
            But is it actually GONE or have we got another accidental
            displacement on our hands?
            The latter, I suggest.
            If we look at Andrew Bernhart's P.Oxy L6B and compare it to the
            Coptic L6B, they are not
            quite identical. In the POxy version the logion ends with the line
            "For there is nothing hidden
            that will not be made clear." In the Coptic versions, it duplicates
            the P.Oxy last line,
            but then adds "and there is nothing covered up that will remain
            undisclosed." In other words,
            in Coptic L6B a further line has been added which is not in the P.Oxy version.
            And what a line!
            It's a "softened", but still recognizable version of the missing line
            in L5- "And nothing
            buried that will not be raised."
            Put that back in Coptic L5 B, where that line is missing, and Coptic
            L5 becomes a virual
            duplicate of P.Oxy L5. This simple shift also results in Coptic L6B
            becoming truly identical to
            P.Oxy L6B.
            My best guess is that the offensive line, which immediately follows
            the line- "there is nothing hidden
            that will not be revealed- was initially taken out, to be "softened"
            to eliminate the wording
            which seemed to invoke the unwanted Pauline Resurrection Theology,
            and once softened
            was replaced, NOT where it should be, but accidentally at the end of
            the identical line
            then found at the end of Coptic L6B- an easy mistake to make since
            the two lines are
            identical.
            So again, we have what appears to be "accidental" rather than
            "intentional" line displacement.
            What then, is left "suspicious" about L5 and L6?
            For these reasons, I don't see that you can make any mileage out of
            this L5 and L6 stuff for your Design Thesis.
            My apologies to this list for the length of this post.

            Ron McCann
            Saskatoon, Canada.
          • Michael Grondin
            Hi Ron, Thanks for your thoughtful analysis. I ll just respond to part of it here. ... Yes, I m quite sure they noticed it. The reason I m rather certain about
            Message 5 of 7 , Feb 20, 2006
              Hi Ron,

              Thanks for your thoughtful analysis. I'll just respond to part of it here.

              > ... why didn't the Copts correct it? ... did they even "see" it?

              Yes, I'm quite sure they noticed it. The reason I'm
              rather certain about this is that in addition to what I've pointed out
              about the careful relationship they constructed between L42 and L11.1 (and
              between lines 70 and 480), there's evidence that they went through the
              whole thing with a fine-toothed comb. As you know, the Coptic of the time
              employed a number of Greek loan-words. It occurred to me to count those
              words, and so I did. There's 501 occurrences of Greek words and names in the
              text - which could mean nothing, except they're composed of 2401 letters!
              One of those words is the single-letter word 'W' (in "Oh, man, who made me a
              divider?" in saying 72). Coincidentally (?), saying 72 occurs at a dividing
              line - the first saying of the second group of 12 blocks of the text. I
              could say a lot more about that situation (being as how omega is an "end"),
              but I'll let you mull over the simple facts first.

              > And if they saw it, did they even "dare" change it? This was probably
              > considered an ancient and sacred text by the Copts at the time they
              > did the Nag Hammadi translation, and one supposes they would be
              > reluctant to make changes.

              Reluctant, perhaps, and yet they DID make some changes. Among other things,
              they evidently moved what is now 77B from saying 30, and my surmise is that
              its positioning partially on line 496 was no accident, due to the
              significance of the number 496 as the 3rd perfect number. (BTW, I don't
              recall noticing this until the other day when I was writing that note;
              previously, I didn't have a clue why they might have moved 77B. One thing
              that's kept me going down this road is that such results keep popping up
              unexpectedly. Not enough to prove the theory, but enough to indicate that it
              isn't a blind alley.)

              That's all I have time for right now. Hopefully, food for thought.

              Regards,
              Mike
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