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Re: [GTh] Block Sizes

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  • Ron McCann
    Hi Mike, Thanks for the following material on your Blocks. Its of great help. I m still working on it and will get back to you on that subject later. Meantime,
    Message 1 of 13 , Mar 2, 2006
      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the following material on your Blocks. Its of great help.
      I'm still working on it and will get back to you on that subject later.

      Meantime, on your general Design Theory of Thomas:-

      We have been looking at seeming "displacements" of sayings or parts
      of sayings in Coptic Thomas and how these changes seem to have have
      arithmetical or over-all structure/design significances.

      I'm wondering about "deletions" and "additions"- that is, where the
      scribe has accidentally or by some as yet impenetrable design dropped
      material from the Greek version or added material to it. I dealt with
      the apparent deletion
      in the Coptic translation of the line "and nothing buried that will
      not be raised" from the very end of the Greek version of Logion 5-
      suggesting that it was modified in form, and then tucked back in
      (ultimately "displaced") to the end of Logion 6B, because the Greek
      version of 6B does not have it
      there. So it's an "addition" to the Greek 6B version.I assumed this
      was simple scribal error. I quess my question is- are these changes
      maybe not accidental, and part and parcel of the proposed Coptic
      scheme to rearrange and restructure Thomas along some grand design?
      Do you find any mathematical or other reason why they should have
      intentionally done this?

      In keeping with this "deletion" theme, there is another one, which
      again, to me, appears like it was a copyist or scribal error, but
      might have been deliberate. Once again, can you show any mathematical
      or other reason why whe might conclude that the scribe did this deliberately to
      satisfy proposed "design requirements"? Logion 3 B (lines 3,4,5) in
      the Coptic, while in all other respects is pretty close to the Greek
      version omits completely the line which in the Greek version reads "
      Whoever knows himself will find this, and ...)." ("This" referring to
      the "Kingdom", in the line just previous.). This should be present in
      the Coptic version after the line "Rather the Kingdom is within you
      and it is outside you." and before the line commencing "When you know
      yourselves you will be knows and you will understand..." , but it is
      not there. As near as I can tell, it hasn't been "displaced" to
      anywhere else. It's just gone.

      Finally, back to the subject of "displacement" again. You have made
      much of logion 111 and how it supports your "design theory". As In
      recall part of your argument was to refute the view that 111B
      was just a readers comment on 111 that was accidentally incorporated
      into the text by some copiest- a well recognized category of scribal
      error. Much turns on whether the usual translation
      of " Does not Jesus say ...?" is accurate. Your own translation has a
      more "neutral" " Because Jesus speaks thus...", which doesn't
      necessarily compel us to the conclusion that it's a reader's note
      accidentailly incorporated into the text. With respect, even Bentely
      Layton translates it as
      "Doesn't Jesus mean....? I think that part of your argument must
      fail. This is indeed a readers note that *appears* to be
      "accidentally" inserted into the text after 111A.
      But that doesn't end the matter.
      The problem is that the comments/question, if you look at it closely
      and compare, doesn't really relate to 111A, except by us "really
      reaching". It really doesn't belong there as any sort of explicative
      comment on 111A.
      "Doesn't Jesus mean that the world is not worthy of a person who has
      found the self (or himself)?"
      really doesn't fit as a comment to 111A. Check that word usage of "world" in B.
      It *would* be a good, and certainly much better fit if it was a
      comment on either L110, or L80. and was found originally after either
      one of those. Particularly 80. Try it. You'll see what I mean. I
      think it has been moved- another "displacement", and if Mike is
      right, a displacement to satisfy the demands of the design theory at
      the existing location- as his evidence suggests.
      Because the fragments of the Greek version do not contain any of
      these logions, a displacement is not provable using it.
      Might I add that I haven't been able to find any "accidental" way or
      any ordinary reasons to account for the "displacement" of 77B from
      it's old location in P.Oxy to it's new place in the Coptic.
      So I think you really might be onto *something* here, Mike, although
      it seems gawd-awful complicated and gives me a headache just thinking about it.

      Ron McCann,
      Saskatoon, Canada

      At 01:39 AM 26/02/06, Mike wrote:
      >Hi Ron,
      >
      >As you may have realized by now, what I've been calling 'blocks' (and
      >perhaps should call 'textual blocks') is different from the notion of a
      >group or cluster of sayings. In fact, the concept of a textual "block" is
      >applicable to any text, and so I've defined it in terms of "complete
      >thoughts", rather than sayings. Whenever a new thought begins a new line, it
      >constitutes the beginning of a textual block. That block continues until
      >another new thought begins another new line. Textual blocks can be of any
      >size - even as small as a single line (e.g., saying 42).
      >
      >You have drawn my attention, however, to a source of confusion I hadn't
      >anticipated. Since the only "blocks" I've mentioned so far have been the 24
      >sayings-blocks, it may be natural to assume that that's the only kind of
      >thing I have in mind. Not so. Consider line 577:
      >
      >"He who has ears, let him listen."
      >
      >This is a complete thought which is independent of the saying that contains
      >it, and since that's all there is on line 577, that line constitutes a
      >textual block in itself. In fact, this little segment may be much more
      >important than it seems, because it immediately follows line 576, which is
      >24 squared - and 24 is not only the number of letters on line 577, but also
      >a number that shows up in several different contexts that look significant -
      >such as the number of letters in saying 42. (BTW, line 577 is the only
      >"ears" segment that appears on a line by itself. And they're all
      >syntactically different - no two identical.)

      (material snipped)

      >Regards,
      >Mike
    • Michael Grondin
      ... I believe that the larger design was a trilogy composed of ApJohn (1100 lines + 1), GTh (668 lines -2) and GPh (1234 lines). If block 12 of GTh (lines
      Message 2 of 13 , Mar 2, 2006
        [Ron]:
        > I quess my question is- are these changes
        > maybe not accidental, and part and parcel of the proposed Coptic
        > scheme to rearrange and restructure Thomas along some grand design?
        > Do you find any mathematical or other reason why they should have
        > intentionally done this?

        I believe that the larger design was a trilogy composed of ApJohn (1100
        lines + 1), GTh (668 lines -2) and GPh (1234 lines). If block 12 of GTh
        (lines 469-470) is removed as its contents suggest ("I will destroy this
        house and no one will be able to build it up again."), GTh is 666 lines and
        GTh + GPh = 1900 lines, and the trilogy is 1100 (ApJohn) + 1900 = 3000
        lines.

        This line-count evidence is confirmed by letter-counts. The total basic size
        of GTh is probably 16848 letters (one can't be entirely sure because of the
        lacunae). Block 12 is two lines of 24 letters each. Removal of that block
        results in a net size of 16800 letters - which is both 24x700 and 80x210 -
        the gematria value of 'IS'. Needlesss to say, I regard the combined evidence
        of line and letter counts to be quite beyond coincidence.

        In answer to your question, then, I think that one must assume that there
        are no scribal changes to the design of CGTh, and no errors other than those
        that have evidently been caught by a proof-reader and corrected above the
        line. All differences from the Greek were apparently intentional, even if it
        isn't yet possible to explain all of them.

        > You have made
        > much of logion 111 and how it supports your "design theory". As In
        > recall part of your argument was to refute the view that 111B
        > was just a readers comment on 111 that was accidentally incorporated
        > into the text by some copiest- a well recognized category of scribal
        > error. Much turns on whether the usual translation
        > of " Does not Jesus say ...?" is accurate. Your own translation has a
        > more "neutral" " Because Jesus speaks thus...", which doesn't
        > necessarily compel us to the conclusion that it's a reader's note
        > accidentailly incorporated into the text. With respect, even Bentely
        > Layton translates it as "Doesn't Jesus mean....? I think that part
        > of your argument must fail. This is indeed a readers note that
        > *appears* to be "accidentally" inserted into the text after 111A.
        > But that doesn't end the matter.

        Indeed, you go on to say that 111.3 appears to have been displaced, which is
        in fact support for my view. You also reckon without the letter-sizes
        (70+50+60 for 111.1-2, 111.3, and 112, respectively). Without 111.3, the
        remainder is 70+60 = 130, which isn't nearly as suggestive as 60 (L112) and
        120 (L111). As to the translations, I don't see that anything turns on that.
        Yes, it's different from the other sayings in appearing to be a scribal
        note, but maybe that's another reason (besides the presence of IS100) it
        could have been regarded as a lost sheep that went astray. I can tell you
        that before I calculated the letter-counts, I knew that 111.3 had to be
        explained, because any change initiated by the scribe himself would throw
        off the whole design (which I assume was the work of a group, not just the
        scribe). Happily, the letter-counts confirmed for me that the appearance was
        deceiving.

        > ... I think you really might be onto *something* here, Mike, although
        > it seems gawd-awful complicated and gives me a headache just thinking
        > about it.

        Me too. It probably would take a team of experts from various fields to
        unravel it, but so far I'm the only one that I know of working on it - and I
        only do it by fits and starts. I've tried to interest others, but have so
        far been unsuccessful.

        Regards,
        Mike
      • Ron McCann
        Hi Mike. Thanks for the reply. Some comments follow. I m still flying the landscape of Coptic Thomas, looking for your blocks and other anomalies which might
        Message 3 of 13 , Mar 3, 2006
          Hi Mike.
          Thanks for the reply. Some comments follow.
          I'm still flying the landscape of Coptic Thomas, looking for your
          blocks and other anomalies which might tend to either support or
          challenge your thesis. All I've spotted to-day are another bunch of
          crop-circles. (wink, grin)

          At 03:00 PM 02/03/06, Mike wrote:
          >[Ron]: (quoting me:-
          > > I quess my question is- are these changes
          > > maybe not accidental, and part and parcel of the proposed Coptic
          > > scheme to rearrange and restructure Thomas along some grand design?
          > > Do you find any mathematical or other reason why they should have
          > > intentionally done this?
          >
          >I believe that the larger design was a trilogy composed of ApJohn (1100
          >lines + 1), GTh (668 lines -2) and GPh (1234 lines). If block 12 of GTh
          >(lines 469-470) is removed as its contents suggest ("I will destroy this
          >house and no one will be able to build it up again."), GTh is 666 lines and
          >GTh + GPh = 1900 lines, and the trilogy is 1100 (ApJohn) + 1900 = 3000
          >lines.

          Yeah, I've got that. My question was too broad. I am wondering
          specifically about those
          L5-6 addition/deletion/displacements I mentioned, and whether your
          line/letter math for those specific lines shows a mathematical
          rationale for making those changes from the Greek version.


          >This line-count evidence is confirmed by letter-counts. The total basic size
          >of GTh is probably 16848 letters (one can't be entirely sure because of the
          >lacunae). Block 12 is two lines of 24 letters each. Removal of that block
          >results in a net size of 16800 letters - which is both 24x700 and 80x210 -
          >the gematria value of 'IS'. Needlesss to say, I regard the combined evidence
          >of line and letter counts to be quite beyond coincidence.
          >
          >In answer to your question, then, I think that one must assume that there
          >are no scribal changes to the design of CGTh, and no errors other than those
          >that have evidently been caught by a proof-reader and corrected above the
          >line. All differences from the Greek were apparently intentional, even if it
          >isn't yet possible to explain all of them.

          Thanks. So I suppose they buried it very shortly after the final work
          was completed.


          > > You have made
          > > much of logion 111 and how it supports your "design theory". As In
          > > recall part of your argument was to refute the view that 111B
          > > was just a readers comment on 111 that was accidentally incorporated
          > > into the text by some copiest- a well recognized category of scribal
          > > error. Much turns on whether the usual translation
          > > of " Does not Jesus say ...?" is accurate. Your own translation has a
          > > more "neutral" " Because Jesus speaks thus...", which doesn't
          > > necessarily compel us to the conclusion that it's a reader's note
          > > accidentailly incorporated into the text. With respect, even Bentely
          > > Layton translates it as "Doesn't Jesus mean....? I think that part
          > > of your argument must fail. This is indeed a readers note that
          > > *appears* to be "accidentally" inserted into the text after 111A.
          > > But that doesn't end the matter.
          >
          >Indeed, you go on to say that 111.3 appears to have been displaced, which is
          >in fact support for my view.

          Yes. That was my point for going on. I must raise a flag on one
          point, however. If the
          displacement was from the end of logion 80, it makes calling the
          displacement a "scribal error" ludicrous. This is as much a
          leapfrogging as the displacement of 77B. If, however, it originally
          belonged immediately after 110, then we cannot rule out a
          copiest-slip - an accidental scribal
          displacement to the end of 111. So it's not as firm as one might like.

          The correlation of known displacements/additions/deletions to lines
          where your mathematical
          vodoo (that you do so well!) calls for them to be placed, is encouraging.
          Trouble is, I've run out of these. That just about exhausts what can
          be used from the surviving
          P.Oxy fragments. Had we the whole Greek version we could have
          examined and run all such changes and correlations, and maybe got a
          much,much better idea of the design, and what these Copts were doing
          with, and to, original Thomas. As it stands, I don't see much hope.

          (material snipped)

          > > ... I think you really might be onto *something* here, Mike, although
          > > it seems gawd-awful complicated and gives me a headache just thinking
          > > about it.
          >
          >Me too. It probably would take a team of experts from various fields to
          >unravel it, but so far I'm the only one that I know of working on it - and I
          >only do it by fits and starts. I've tried to interest others, but have so
          >far been unsuccessful.

          Well, I guess I can *pretend* to be Crick to your Watson, and we can
          kick the ball around a bit longer, but I fear this may turn out to be
          like an Abbot and Costello episode, with me the clueless, short, fat
          fellow. (grin). I think others may be asking "What is the prize that
          justifies this hunt?" They may also be asking "What kind of nut-bars
          put this scheme together (16,800 letters and three "gospel"???) and
          why should we bother chasing something so absurd and aparently
          pointless?" What do we gain?
          For all we know, this may be utterly idiosyncratic, inconsequential,
          just an odd concantenation of coincidences or even a deliberate red-herring.
          And it seems very unlikely we have enough information to crack it,
          let alone confirm it's truly "there".
          It's not the sort of work most people would be lining up to get into.

          Best,

          Ron
        • Michael Grondin
          ... I assume that you re not serious about looking for the sayings-blocks, since I know that you have the pdf file and they re clearly marked there. I may get
          Message 4 of 13 , Mar 3, 2006
            [Ron]:
            > Hi Mike. Thanks for the reply. Some comments follow.
            > I'm still flying the landscape of Coptic Thomas, looking for your
            > blocks and other anomalies which might tend to either support or
            > challenge your thesis.

            I assume that you're not serious about looking for the sayings-blocks, since
            I know that you have the pdf file and they're clearly marked there. I may
            get into this in more detail later on, but I assume also that you're aware
            of the broad structure that I believe to be present in the blocks, with
            lines 67-68 ("I have cast fire upon the world, and behold! - I watch over
            it.") actually seeming to "overlook" the remainder of the text - as seems to
            me, a textual "world" of 600 lines, apparently divided between an "earth" of
            400 lines, and an additional 200 lines that may represent two heavens of 100
            lines each. I assume you also know that the association of the number 600
            with the cosmos is sanctioned by the fact that the gematria-value of the
            word KOSMOS is (and was known to be) 600. Of course, I don't present this as
            conclusive evidence of anything in itself, but rather as yet another highly
            suggestive textual feature that seems much too neat for coincidence, and MAY
            constitute a starting-point from which one can get a grip on this thing.

            > My question was too broad. I am wondering specifically about those
            > L5-6 addition/deletion/displacements I mentioned, and whether your
            > line/letter math for those specific lines shows a mathematical
            > rationale for making those changes from the Greek version.

            Dunno. Haven't looked into it yet. It'd be great to find a rationale, but if
            one couldn't be found, that wouldn't necessarily mean anything, since the
            rationale might be something not immediately obvious.

            > I must raise a flag on one point, however. If the displacement
            > [of 111.3] was from the end of logion 80, it makes calling the
            > displacement a "scribal error" ludicrous. This is as much a
            > leapfrogging as the displacement of 77B. If, however, it originally
            > belonged immediately after 110, then we cannot rule out a
            > copiest-slip - an accidental scribal displacement to the end of
            > 111. So it's not as firm as one might like.

            From my point of view, it doesn't matter whether it was displaced or not. It
            fits in its location as an integral part of the triadic structure of 111-112
            as far as letter-counts is concerned, and that - plus the fact that it
            _doesn't_ fit as far as content is concerned - indicates to my satisfaction
            that it was not something that a scribe would have thought to pen in at that
            point on his own accord. That it relates to logion 80, however, is of great
            interest, since I feel that there must have been some reason for the
            inclusion of very similar sayings at a distance from each other.

            > That just about exhausts what can be used from the surviving
            > P.Oxy fragments. Had we the whole Greek version we could have
            > examined and run all such changes and correlations, and maybe got a
            > much,much better idea of the design, and what these Copts were doing
            > with, and to, original Thomas. As it stands, I don't see much hope.

            The hope lies in the Coptic manuscript. We can only catch a glimpse of a few
            things they've done from the POxy fragments, but that's at least enough to
            indicate that the Coptic version wasn't a simple translation from the
            Greek - and that's a pretty important result in itself, since that
            assumption is still widespread.

            > I think others may be asking "What is the prize that
            > justifies this hunt?" They may also be asking "What kind of nut-bars
            > put this scheme together (16,800 letters and three "gospel"???) and
            > why should we bother chasing something so absurd and aparently
            > pointless?" What do we gain?

            The "nut-bars" who put this together may have been a group of Hellenistic
            Jews who were familiar with the apparent mathematical design of portions of
            Psalms. I'll get into that when I start discussing Laura Joffe's paper in
            detail. As to "what's the prize?", I don't quite know how to answer that,
            because of course one can't know what a process of discovery will yield, and
            everybody has different ideas of what's important. For myself, I'm fairly
            well convinced that we don't yet know the true nature of the Gospel of
            Thomas, or the reason why it was arranged the way it was. If I'm right about
            that, I consider that to be a pretty good "prize". I've always been driven
            by Steve Davies' lament in Appendix I of GTCW that he looked forward to the
            day when it could be shown either that GTh was truly a random collection of
            sayings, or that there was some underlying rationale for its order. That may
            not be a question of interest to everyone, but catch-word theorists have
            spent a good deal of time on it.

            > For all we know, this may be utterly idiosyncratic, inconsequential,
            > just an odd concantenation of coincidences or even a deliberate
            > red-herring.

            A definite "no" to the last two. The textual evidence so far adduced - even
            the connection between L42 and L11.1 _alone_ - should have been enough to
            convince the skeptical mind that these features were not "an odd
            concatenation of coincidences". Coincidence simply doesn't rise to that
            level. As for "deliberate red-herring", that's unimaginable. No one would go
            to that trouble simply to produce a "red-herring". I think you must have
            been discouraged when you wrote this. When I get discouraged (which is
            often, since almost nobody seems to understand or appreciate this stuff), I
            focus on the textual evidence and ask myself whether I'm still really
            convinced that it could not have been the result of randomness or
            coincidence. If so, then trudge on - you're on the right track.

            > And it seems very unlikely we have enough information to crack it,
            > let alone confirm it's truly "there".
            > It's not the sort of work most people would be lining up to get into.

            No, but I believe that if the techniques ("micro-textual analysis"?) and
            results we've been talking about were widely known, there would be some
            academic group somewhere that would take it up (with a grant, no doubt). But
            wait til I discuss the Joffe paper (which I assume you haven't read). I
            think some things will start to fall into place. At least CGTh may no longer
            appear to be sui generis (which is what I think you mean by
            "idiosyncratic"). I've always seen that as a big problem for acceptance of
            the theory, and I think Joffe's paper goes a long ways toward diminishing
            that problem.

            Best,
            Mike
          • David Hindley
            Mike,
            Message 5 of 13 , Mar 4, 2006
              Mike,

              <<The textual evidence so far adduced - even the connection between L42 and L11.1 _alone_ - should have been enough to convince the
              skeptical mind that these features were not "an odd concatenation of coincidences". Coincidence simply doesn't rise to that level.
              As for "deliberate red-herring", that's unimaginable. No one would go to that trouble simply to produce a "red-herring". I think you
              must have been discouraged when you wrote this. When I get discouraged (which is often, since almost nobody seems to understand or
              appreciate this stuff), I focus on the textual evidence and ask myself whether I'm still really convinced that it could not have
              been the result of randomness or coincidence.>>

              Sure it does. The question really is: "What, exactly, makes *those* characteristics significant?" Nothing is self evident. Anyone
              who has spent time with discourse analysis has realized that the "structure" of sentences or thematic blocks has as many variations
              as there are analysts. How do *you* know that the numbers/relationships that you take as significant (the number 42, prime numbers,
              etc) were really significant, or even evident, to the Copts of the first few centuries of the Christian era?

              You state that those who reject the significance of the characteristics you noted (the "facts") are guilty of the "severe fallacy of
              denying facts based on general or a priori reasoning." However, you may have fallen into the fallacy of assuming what needs to be
              proved!

              You may be best served by giving the project a vacation and returning to it in a month or so. It is so easy to get so wrapped up in
              a project that it affects our objectivity. Giving prized projects some space periodically seems to help the brain "reboot," and it
              is amazing what jumps out at me when I use the technique at work (although there I can only put projects on the back burner for a
              couple days or a week) or with my own hypotheses.

              Respectfully,

              Dave Hindley
              Cleveland, Ohio USA
            • David Arbuckle
              Mike, I have an unrelated question to all of this. I wondered if you have ever seen the original coptic text. Not photographs of it, but the actual copy that
              Message 6 of 13 , Mar 4, 2006
                Mike,

                I have an unrelated question to all of this.

                I wondered if you have ever seen the original coptic
                text. Not photographs of it, but the actual copy that
                was found at Nag Hammadi. I wonder if you could
                comment on its condition and what it is like.

                where it is kept, and who is control of it.

                dave [arbuckle]
              • Michael Grondin
                ... No, I haven t. ... It s in very good condition relative to the other tractates of Codex II, probably due to its good fortune of being the second of the
                Message 7 of 13 , Mar 4, 2006
                  [Dave Arbuckle]:
                  > I wondered if you have ever seen the original coptic
                  > text. Not photographs of it, but the actual copy that
                  > was found at Nag Hammadi.

                  No, I haven't.

                  > I wonder if you could
                  > comment on its condition and what it is like.

                  It's in very good condition relative to the other tractates of Codex II,
                  probably due to its good fortune of being the second of the seven (the
                  surrounding texts - ApocJn and GPh - are in much worse shape). The sizes of
                  lacunae (gaps in the text caused by erosion of the papyrus - usually at the
                  top and bottom of a page) are small enough so that most of them can be (and
                  have been) confidently filled in, though of course I wish they all could be,
                  since the two or three remaining unresolved lacunae are enough to introduce
                  an element of uncertainty into total letter-counts for the text.

                  > where it is kept, and who is control of it.

                  In the Coptic Museum in Cairo.

                  thanks,
                  Mike
                • Michael Grondin
                  ... I ve reproduced the material you quoted, Dave, because I m unsure to which portion of it you re responding with this comment. I _think_ you re responding
                  Message 8 of 13 , Mar 4, 2006
                    [Mike]:
                    > The textual evidence so far adduced - even the connection between L42 and
                    > L11.1 _alone_ - should have been enough to convince the
                    > skeptical mind that these features were not "an odd concatenation of
                    > coincidences". Coincidence simply doesn't rise to that level.
                    > As for "deliberate red-herring", that's unimaginable. No one would go to
                    > that trouble simply to produce a "red-herring". I think you
                    > must have been discouraged when you wrote this. When I get discouraged
                    > (which is often, since almost nobody seems to understand or
                    > appreciate this stuff), I focus on the textual evidence and ask myself
                    > whether I'm still really convinced that it could not have
                    > been the result of randomness or coincidence.>>

                    [Dave Hindley]:
                    > Sure it does.

                    I've reproduced the material you quoted, Dave, because I'm unsure to which
                    portion of it you're responding with this comment. I _think_ you're
                    responding to the claim that "Coincidence simply doesn't rise to that
                    level." If so, I'd be happy to discuss that, since as you know almost all
                    our historical judgements are based on probability. If you knew, for
                    example, that a certain proposition had a 99% chance of being true, and only
                    a 1% chance of being false, I suspect that you wouldn't hesitate to assent
                    to it. Probably, in fact, quite a few of the propositions that you believe
                    about the history of Christianity have something less than a 99%
                    probability. Sometimes we even reach judgements on the basis of something
                    being more probable than not - and that's only 51% vs 49%. I realize,
                    however, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence (thanks,
                    Carl Sagan), and so I'm prepared to defend the claim that the probability
                    that the combination of independent but interlocking textual features of
                    CGTh to which I've drawn attention was the result of randomness is so low
                    that, were it most any other proposition, it would be rejected out of hand.

                    As I said, I'd be happy to test the case on just one of the textual features
                    in question - namely, the relationship between L42 and L11.1. If it suits
                    you, we can discuss that and you can perhaps cite a case of similar
                    independent but interlocking elements from another text, which is known
                    to be the result of randomness. I won't repeat the salient syntactical
                    features connecting L42 (line 280) and L11.1 (line 70 + most of line 69)
                    at this point, but if you want to pursue it, I'd certainly be willing to do
                    so.

                    > The question really is: "What, exactly, makes *those* characteristics
                    > significant?" Nothing is self evident.

                    I don't think I agree with that. (Surely if what you say is true, then the
                    phrase "self-evident" would lack meaning, because it couldn't be applied to
                    anything.) I believe that it's self-evident, for example, that a scribe
                    _could have_ copied verbatim from an exemplar - line for line and letter for
                    letter. I think it's also self-evident that he _could have_ been instructed
                    to do so. Because these things are self-evident, any generality about how
                    scribes _usually_ operated is irrelevant.

                    > Anyone who has spent time with discourse analysis has realized that the
                    > "structure" of sentences or thematic blocks has as many variations
                    > as there are analysts. How do *you* know that the numbers/relationships
                    > that you take as significant (the number 42, prime numbers,
                    > etc) were really significant, or even evident, to the Copts of the first
                    > few centuries of the Christian era?

                    Irrelevant, since the whole of the Copts of that era aren't the folks in
                    question. The folks in question are a small group that produced the NH
                    codices. But we know almost nothing about them, and we don't even know if
                    the proposed numerical design of CGTh was theirs or was adopted from one
                    already present in the Greek version - which would have had to have been
                    suitably altered for a change in language, of course. Why wasn't there a
                    tractate in the NH corpus discussing theoretical mathematics? Dunno - any of
                    several reasons, I suppose. For one, they only hid the stuff that was being
                    cracked down on. For another, both Pythagorean mathematics and mystical
                    Judaism seem to have been mostly secret studies. As to the number 42, I'll
                    have more to say about that when I discuss Joffe's paper.

                    > You state that those who reject the significance of the characteristics
                    > you noted (the "facts") are guilty of the "severe fallacy of denying
                    > facts based on general or a priori reasoning." However, you may
                    > have fallen into the fallacy of assuming what needs to be proved!

                    Well, first, the remark you quote is from an offlist exchange that
                    you initiated a couple days ago. Worse than breaching confidentiality,
                    however, is that your paraphrase preceding the quotation is inaccurate.
                    The full statement was this:

                    "As I indicated already in a note to the list, if anyone thinks that some
                    general model of how scribes worked overrides the specific evidence
                    that in THIS case the scribe didn't work that way, he's guilty of the severe
                    fallacy of denying facts based on general or a priori reasoning."

                    As to begging the question, I'd know better than most if I'd done
                    that, since my training is in logic. As I see it, what I've done is to
                    present the textual features as I found them to be (and anyone is more than
                    welcome to check them) and concluded that the possibility of these
                    independent but interrelated (n.b.) features having resulted from randomness
                    is so low as to seriously jeopardize that assumption.

                    > You may be best served by giving the project a vacation and returning to
                    > it in a month or so. It is so easy to get so wrapped up in
                    > a project that it affects our objectivity. Giving prized projects some
                    > space periodically seems to help the brain "reboot," and it
                    > is amazing what jumps out at me when I use the technique at work (although
                    > there I can only put projects on the back burner for a
                    > couple days or a week) or with my own hypotheses.

                    This is good advice in general. I'm a great fan of giving the subconscious
                    mind time to work on a problem on its own, and believe me there've been many
                    many times when I just left this stuff alone for awhile and let my
                    subconscious mull it over, but I always come back with the same basic
                    intuitions, so the subconscious must be agreeing with the conscious. I
                    simply can't see what might be wrong with my assessment of the probability
                    of intentionality behind CGTh. Of course the proponent of a theory always
                    has a hard time being objective about it - I'm no exception. What would most
                    help, though, is adequate peer review. Even if it didn't change my basic
                    judgements, it would at least help to identify weaknesses in the case,
                    eliminate objectionable and/or confusing ways of expressing it, etc.
                    Unfortunately, such peer review hasn't yet been forthcoming, in my
                    estimation. Generalities are no substitute for specific, detailed criticism.

                    Mike Grondin
                  • Andrew Bernhard
                    ... features ... do ... Alright, I m probably going to regret this, but go ahead and try to convince me from the relationship between L42 and L11.1 that your
                    Message 9 of 13 , Mar 5, 2006
                      > As I said, I'd be happy to test the case on just one of the textual
                      features
                      > in question - namely, the relationship between L42 and L11.1. If it suits
                      > you, we can discuss that and you can perhaps cite a case of similar
                      > independent but interlocking elements from another text, which is known
                      > to be the result of randomness. I won't repeat the salient syntactical
                      > features connecting L42 (line 280) and L11.1 (line 70 + most of line 69)
                      > at this point, but if you want to pursue it, I'd certainly be willing to
                      do
                      > so.

                      Alright, I'm probably going to regret this, but go ahead and try to convince
                      me from the relationship between L42 and L11.1 that your design theory is
                      plausible (and clarify what "L" stands for). I don't have time to go digging
                      through archives so you'll have to restate your case. Please be succinct and
                      clear.

                      Andrew
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