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On the Syntax of the Prologue

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  • Michael Grondin
    The purpose of this note is to examine some syntactical features of the prologue/incipit to the Coptic GTh which are consistent with the Intentional Design
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 12, 2006
      The purpose of this note is to examine some syntactical
      features of the prologue/incipit to the Coptic GTh which
      are consistent with the Intentional Design Theory (IDT)
      I've long maintained for CGTh - as opposed to the view
      that CGTh is simply a translation from some other language,
      wherein apparent design elements are nothing more than
      the result of random coincidence.

      As is well-known, the prologue of CGTh differs from the
      prologue of the Greek P.Oxy. 654 in that the former contains
      'DIDYMOS IOUDAS QWMAS' while the latter contains just
      'DIDYMOS QWMAS' ('Q' representing 'th', BTW). The 3-name
      version is of Syriac origin, and so those who, like Robinson,
      maintain that CGTh is a translation of a Greek version (albeit
      evidently not one represented in the POxy fragments!) are at
      once faced with explaining why the Copts would change the
      Greek version of the name into the Syriac one. But I leave
      that aside, because I think I know why the Copts preferred
      the Syriac version of the name. My suggestion is that they
      preferred it because its number of letters tied in with numbers
      associated in their text with the name of Jesus. The abbreviation
      they used most often for 'Jesus' was 'IS', which had a numeric
      value of 210 (I=10, S=200). The name 'DIDYMOS IOUDAS
      QWMAS' has 7x6x5 letters, the product of which is 210.

      In CGTh, 'IS' is used 102 times, the alternative 'IHS' 3 times.
      The total number of occurrences of the sacred name is thus
      105, which is half of 210 and also a kind of "magic number"
      in its own right, being the product of the first three odd primes
      other than one: 3x5x7. The number 210, then, is the product
      of the first four primes (again, not including 1): 2x3x5x7. And
      these were facts known and appreciated in antiquity.

      (As to the Greek fragments, a quick survey indicates that POxy
      654 uses 'IHS' throughout, while POxy 1 and 655 use 'IS'. Why
      the difference is beyond me, but it should be remembered that
      the three sets of Greek fragments come from three different
      manuscripts, not from the same one.)

      Turning from what might be called "the triple-powered name"
      (ala a phrase in ApocJn, the text preceding CGTh) to the
      full wording of the prologue, it can be seen that the 63 letters
      of the prologue can be arranged into either of two symmetrical
      patterns, based on real divisions between Coptic words:

      1. 30+3+30: the word 'AYW' ('and') occurs precisely in the
      middle, so that we have two 30-letter pieces of text on either
      side of it.

      2. 21+21+21:
      > These are the-words hidden which-IS
      > who-lives spoke-them, and he-wrote-them
      > namely, Didymos Judas Thomas

      The second pattern STM to be the primary symbolic one,
      although it may have been thought nice and/or necessary
      to have TWO patterns. In any case, both patterns exhibit
      the tripling motif, while the second one features the number
      seven, tripled to tie in (deliberately, I think) with the number
      210 of 'IS'.

      The Prologue as seen here thus ties in nicely with what
      I've previously written about saying 42 (=2x21), namely
      that it was intentionally positioned at line 280 so that its
      end-of-line keyword PARAGE ('pass-away') would connect
      with the identical end-of-line keyword PARAGE at line 70,
      to form the numerical relationship 280-70=210. All of which
      favors the IDT, since the combination of these features
      involving the same set of numbers could hardly have been
      random. The value of the sacred name 'IS' as 10 times triple
      seven was apparently on the minds of the Coptic designers
      as they set about the work of fashioning their own version
      of the Gospel of Thomas.

      Mike Grondin
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