Re: [GTh] Design of the Coptic Prologue and Title
- Fascinating, Mike. Where would Thomas studies be without you? I hope
Thomas scholars appreciate all that you have done as much as this amateur.
Of course you realize what you have done? In addition to my looking for
Aramaic syntactic and lexical interference in canonical and non-canonical
Greek "Jesus said.." stuff...and now Coptic, I have a whole new area.
Syntactic chiastic structure....brilliant!
----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
Sent: Sunday, January 21, 2007 12:46 AM
Subject: Re: [GTh] Design of the Coptic Prologue and Title
>I hadn't intended to write another note on this subject,
> since I thought I had said everything that could be said
> about the structure of the Prologue. How wrong I was!
> I didn't look at it carefully enough the first time round.
> It turns out that not only is the Prologue divisible into
> three segments of words of 21 letters per segment,
> but these three segments also have a syntactical
> chiastic structure that's unmistakeable and symbolically
> significant. That I didn't notice this on first analysis was
> probably caused by my jumping too quickly ahead of
> the game, to look for other sayings which were divisible
> into equal segments of whole words. (I found a few, but
> about what you'd expect from randomness.)
> What is a "syntactical chiastic structure"? Well, since
> I've coined the term myself, I'll be glad to tell you. I
> assume that most folks here are familiar with chiastic
> structures, i.e., segments of a text that take the form
> ABCBA - sometimes shorter or longer, and sometimes
> with a double-middle, but having the feature of doubling
> back on themselves from a midpoint. The thing is, in the
> usual chiastic structure, the elements are related to each
> other semantically - the first B contains a word or thought
> which is echoed in the somewhat-different second B, etc.
> Syntactically, however, the related segments are almost
> always of different length. What occurs in the Prologue
> of the Coptic Thomas, however, is the opposite kind of
> chiastic structure. The related elements are of the
> _same length_, but have a different meaning. This I call
> "syntactical chiastic structure" as opposed to the usual
> kind of chiastic structure that's semantically-based.
> Without further ado, then, I present the syntactical chiastic
> structure of the Prologue to the Coptic Thomas, with break
> points indicated by a slash (and using Stephen Carlson's
> transliteration scheme):
> (1) NAEI NE N.$AJE / EQHP ENTA.IS
> These are the-words / hidden which-IS
> (2) ET.ON2 JO.OU / AUW / A4.S2AISOU
> who-lives spoke-them / and / he-wrote-them
> (3) N6I DIDUMOS / IOUDAS QWMAS
> viz. Didymos / Judas Thomas
> Assuming that the above comes out fairly close to the
> way I formatted it, it can be seen that segment 1 contains
> two sub-segments of sizes 11 and 10 letters, segment 2
> contains three sub-segments of sizes 9, 3, and 9, and that
> segment 3 contains two sub-segments of sizes 10 and 11.
> In all, there are seven sub-segments in the Prologue with
> sizes arranged in chiastic order: 11-10-9-3-9-10-11.
> Arranged hierarchically, it looks like this:
> It's of some importance that the number of segments (3)
> times the number of sub-segments (7) equals the length
> of each segment (21 letters). This would be an incredible
> coincidence if it were a coincidence, but of course it isn't.
> The Prologue was obviously designed very carefully to
> feature the numbers 3, 7, and 21, and those in turn gain
> significance as being factors of 210, the numerical value
> of the sacred name 'IS'. (Recall also that 210 is the product
> of the sizes of the three names Didymos Judas Thomas.)
> (In case anyone is wondering about the title, it divides the
> same way as segment 1, i.e., into two sub-segments of
> sizes 11 and 10, respectively. So if segment 1 be considered
> the beginning of the beginning, then the end (title) is like that
> in this respect.)
> I won't get into speculation about the implications of all
> this, but I will add that long ago on this list I hypothesized that
> certain gross letter-counts (total number of letters in CGTh,
> the number of letters in Greek words, and the net number
> of letters other than that) indicated that the Coptic authors
> were counting letters. IMO, the above result is at least
> partially confirming evidence of that. Sorry it took so long
> for me to finally get around to analyzing the Prologue.
- In his paper on Luke 11//27-28//Thomas 79:1-2, Goodacre lists five foil
comments and questions from anonymous individuals in Luke:
5. 14:15 <outbind://91/#_ftn1> 
He goes on to state, "Now foil comments and questions are common in the
Synoptics and they are common in Thomas too (e.g. 91, 99, 100 and 104).
The distinctive features of the five cases listed above is that these
are the only places in the Synoptic tradition where a teaching is
introduced by foil comments from anonymous individuals, always with tis.
This feature comes at least five times in Luke and it is probably due to
his own redaction, especially since three of the occasions (9.57, 13.23
& 14.15) there is a contrast with Q/Matthew. It only occurs twice in
Thomas (Thom. 72, Thom. 79) both times parallel to Luke."
It is noteworthy that four of these five Lukan examples are foil
comments. Only one is a foil question, i.e., Luke 13:23. So, it is an
oddball and does not belong with the other four.
Now, when we look at the other four, which are all foil comments, we
find that each is a part of a Lukan passage with a parallel in Thomas:
1. Luke 9:57 is a part of 9:57-58 which, in turn, has a parallel in
2. Luke 11:27 is a part of 11:27-28 which, in turn, has a parallel
in Thomas 79
3. Luke 12:13 is a part of 12:13-15 which, in turn, has a parallel
in Thomas 72
4. Luke 14:15 is a part of 14:15-24 which, in turn, has a parallel
in Thomas 64
The implication is clear-there is a reversed literary relationship
between the four Lukan passages of 9:57-58, 11:27-28, 12:13-15 and
14:15-24 and their parallels in Thomas so that either (1) Thomas is
utilizing Luke by moving backwards through it from 14:15 to 12:13-15 to
11:27-28 to 9:57-58 or else (2) Luke is utilizing Thomas by moving
backwards through it from 86 to 79 to 72 to 64.
What is not readily apparent is the direction of the dependency. Is
Luke following Thomas or is Thomas following Luke?
A clue comes from these two observations:
1. Luke 9:57-58 has a parallel in Matthew 8:19-20
2. Luke 14:15-24 has a parallel in Matthew 22:1-10
As a result, when: (1) A = a Lukan passage with a parallel in both
Thomas and Matthew and when (2) B = a Lukan passage with a parallel only
in Thomas, this is what we have for the four Lukan passages which are
1. 9:57-58 = A
2. 11:27-28 = B
3. 12:13-15 = B
4. 14:15-24 = A
This is a chiastic ABBA sequence, suggesting that Luke, in creating his
four passages containing foil comments by anonymous individuals,
deliberately did so utilizing a source chiastic format.
In this case, Luke used Thomas and Matthew as his sources for creating
his four passages containing foil comments by anonymous
individuals-utilizing Matthew for 9:57-58 and 14:15-24 and utilizing
Thomas for all four.
Indeed, in strong support of this suggestion, there is evidence that
Luke did use Mark, Matthew and Thomas as sources and did, on occasion,
utilize them in a source chiastic fashion.
For example, let us take Luke 11:24-12:12.
When we have:
A = A group of three Lukan passages, the first of which has a parallel
Mt, the second of which has a parallel in Th, and the third of which has
parallel in Mt and with the two Matthean parallels being in reverse
B = a Lukan passage with parallels in Mt, Mk, and Th and with a doublet
Chapter 8 of Lk
C = a Lukan passage with a parallel in Mt
D = a Lukan passage with no parallels
E = A Lukan passage with a parallel in both Chapter 23 of Mt and Th
F = A group of three Lukan passages, each of which has a parallel in
23 of Mt
then this is how Lk 11:24-12:12 looks:
1 11:24-32 A <outbind://91/#_ftn2> 
2 11:33 B <outbind://91/#_ftn3> 
3 11:34-36 C <outbind://91/#_ftn4> 
4 11:37-38 D
5 11:39-41 E <outbind://91/#_ftn5> 
6 11:42-44 F <outbind://91/#_ftn6> 
7 11:45 D----------mirror plane
6' 11:46-51 F <outbind://91/#_ftn7> 
5' 11:52 E <outbind://91/#_ftn8> 
4' 11:53-12:1a D
3' 12:1b C <outbind://91/#_ftn9> 
2' 12:2 B <outbind://91/#_ftn10> 
1' 12:3-12 A <outbind://91/#_ftn11> 
The implication of this elaborate, even baroque, schema is that Luke
used Mk, Mt and Th as sources and that he deliberately constructed Lk
11:24-12:12 the way he did so that it would have a source chiastic
Since Lk 11:27-28 is a part of this source chiastic structure, the
implication is that Luke based it on Th 79.
To conclude, there is a source chiastic structure to the four Lukan
passages with foil comments which implies that Luke used Th 79:1-2 in
writing Lk 11:27-28. This is also implied by a more elaborate source
chisastic structure found in Lk 11:24-12:12.
St Paul, MN
<outbind://91/#_ftnref1>  Pp. 9-10
<outbind://91/#_ftnref2>  The first Lukan passage with a Matthean
parallel is Lk 11:24-26//Mt 12:43-45, the Lukan passage with a Thomasine
parallel is Lk 11:27-28//Th 79:1-2, and the second Lukan passage with a
Matthean parallel is Lk 11:29-32//Mt 12:28-32, so that the two Matthean
parallels are in reverse order: (1) Mt 12:33-35, (2) Mt 12:28-32
<outbind://91/#_ftnref3>  The three parallels are Mt 5:15//Mk
4:21//Th 33:2-3 and the doublet is Lk 8:16
<outbind://91/#_ftnref4>  The Matthean parallel is 6:22-23
<outbind://91/#_ftnref5>  The Matthean parallel in Mt 23 is 23:25-26
and the Thomasine parallel is 89
<outbind://91/#_ftnref6>  The three Lukan passages with Matthean
parallels in Mt 23 are Lk 11:42//Mt 23:23, Lk 11:43//Mt 23:6, and Lk
11:44//Mt 23:27--which coupling the IQP does take to be valid, despite
the verbal differences
<outbind://91/#_ftnref7>  The three Lukan passages with Matthean
parallels in Mt 23 are Lk 11:46//Mt 23:4, Lk 11:47-48//Mt 23:29-31 and
Lk 11:49-51//Mt 23:24-26
<outbind://91/#_ftnref8>  The Matthean parallel in Mt 23 is 23:23
and the Thomasine parallel is 39.
<outbind://91/#_ftnref9>  The Matthean parallel is 16:11b
<outbind://91/#_ftnref10>  The three parallels are Mt 10:26//Mk
4:22//Th 6:5-6 and the doublet is Lk 8:17
<outbind://91/#_ftnref11>  The first Lukan passage with a Matthean
parallel is Lk 12:3-9//Mt 10:27-33, the Lukan passage with a Thomasine
parallel is Lk 12:10//Th 44, and the second Lukan passage with a
Matthean parallel is Lk 12:11-12//Mt 10:19-20, so that the two Matthean
parallels are in reverse order: (1) Mt 10:27-33, (2) Mt 10:19-20
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