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Re: [GTh] Design Theory

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  • 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 1 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
      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
      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 2 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.

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