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Re: [GTh] Question about preferred rendering of the Coptic particle ngi-

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  • Michael Grondin
    Hi again Rick, As a followup to my previous note, it occurred to me that you might be trying to count words within Coptic Thomas, and if that were so, it might
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 15, 2009
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      Hi again Rick,

      As a followup to my previous note, it occurred to me that you might be
      trying to count words within Coptic Thomas, and if that were so, it might
      be helpful to offer some comments. Before getting to those, though, I'm
      pleased to report that I've just now uncovered a small factoid of very
      great importance (though its importance won't be immediately obvious):
      Horner's Coptic NT has 'EIMHTI' ('if not', 'unless', 'except') as a *single
      word*. The importance of that is that it's the last piece of evidence that
      needed to be nailed down to establish that CGTh contains exactly 500
      occurrences of Greek words and names.

      EIMHTI has been a thorn in my side for a long time. Unless it be regarded
      as a single word, the nice count of 500 becomes an ugly count of 501 or
      502, and intentionality looks less probable. Unfortunately, the authorities
      seemed to be arrayed against me. Lambdin has it in his Glossary
      of Greek Words as 'EI MH TI'. Layton has it as 'EI MHTI' in his list of
      Words Borrowed from Greek. Trying to figure out which was right, I even
      went so far as to pose the question on the B-Greek elist (via the good
      offices of Jeffrey Gibson). Unfortunately, no one there seemed to know the
      answer. Then it occurred to me as I was mulling over my answer to your
      question about the Coptic word 'enchi' (eN6I), that the answer didn't lie
      in how _Greek writers_ (or modern-day Greek experts) handled EI/MH/TI, but
      how _Coptic writers_ handled it. So I turned to the Horner NT on the Coptic
      CD and (after some trouble using the "Find" function) discovered to my
      delight that it's always presented therein as a single word, albeit spelt
      two different ways: in GMt, Rev, and Romans, it's EIMHTEI, but in GMk, GLk,
      Acts, and GJn, it's EIMHTI, just as its one occurrence in CGTh (L.35).

      Taking a quick look at the Greek NT now, it appears that in at at least a
      few cases, the equivalent Greek was 'EI MH' (no 'TI'). That's a surprise.
      Will have to check into this further. But maybe you can save me the
      trouble, since you've already done a great deal of work on a Greek lexicon
      for the NT.

      Now on to the general issue of counting. Unlike counting the Greek words
      and names in CGTh, I think it's going to be difficult counting Coptic words
      (which is why all my efforts failed a-borning). The letter-counts,
      however, are suggestive. The overall letter-count that I've come up with is
      16850 - with a probable error factor of plus or minus no more than 2.
      (There are a couple of unresolved lacunae, but it's fairly clear how many
      letters must have been in the gaps.) Of course, conventional wisdom has
      it that this talk of counting letters is fool's business, but I think it's
      been
      justified by its results. With respect to the 16850, for example, were 50
      letters to be removed, the result would be 16800, or 80x210. Furthermore,
      suppose we separate from that figure the 2400 letters that go to make up
      the 500 Greek words and names: the result is now 14400, which may be
      a reflection of the number 144,000 mentioned in Revelation three times
      (7.4, 14.1, 14.3). (See also 21:17, which mentions the number 144
      in re the "new Jerusalem", presumably because the number 12 was
      looked on as representing fullness or completion, so that 144 would
      represent the fullness of fullness, or something like that.)

      Clearly, 144,000 is a good number in Rev. It's the size of the
      saved remnant of Israel (which to a Christian mind would be Christian
      Jews). I think it's distinctly possible that the Copts who designed CGTh
      identified with that number and thus built it into the document - with the
      2400 letters in Greek words/names perhaps representing "saved"
      Gentiles. (That, of course, leaves the problem with the extra 50 or
      so letters, but I'm confident that that'll be resolved in time.)

      I might also mention that Rev's famous number 666 seems to have
      been 668 in a few mss.

      There's a few other things that might be said, but already this note has
      exhausted me, so the rest'll have to wait. (:-)

      Cheers,
      Mike G.
    • Judy Redman
      I am not following this carefully, but ... ... I am sure you re right about this, Mike. Given that the Copts didn t always borrow their Greek unaltered, if
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 21, 2009
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        I am not following this carefully, but ...

        Mike writes:
        > EIMHTI has been a thorn in my side for a long time. Unless it be
        > regarded
        > as a single word, the nice count of 500 becomes an ugly count of 501 or
        > 502, and intentionality looks less probable. Unfortunately, the
        > authorities
        > seemed to be arrayed against me. Lambdin has it in his Glossary
        > of Greek Words as 'EI MH TI'. Layton has it as 'EI MHTI' in his list of
        > Words Borrowed from Greek. Trying to figure out which was right, I even
        > went so far as to pose the question on the B-Greek elist (via the good
        > offices of Jeffrey Gibson). Unfortunately, no one there seemed to know
        > the
        > answer. Then it occurred to me as I was mulling over my answer to your
        > question about the Coptic word 'enchi' (eN6I), that the answer didn't
        > lie
        > in how _Greek writers_ (or modern-day Greek experts) handled EI/MH/TI,
        > but
        > how _Coptic writers_ handled it.

        I am sure you're right about this, Mike. Given that the Copts didn't always
        borrow their Greek unaltered, if you are looking at what the Copts did with
        the MSS, it's what *they* did with the words that you need to worry about.
        They simply borrowed Greek words and used Coptic grammatical conventions
        with them. Layton says "Despite the large amount of Greek vocabulary in
        Coptic, little influence of Greek syntax is evident" (A Coptic Grammar,
        second edition, p 12)

        > So I turned to the Horner NT on the
        > Coptic
        > CD and (after some trouble using the "Find" function) discovered to my
        > delight that it's always presented therein as a single word, albeit
        > spelt
        > two different ways: in GMt, Rev, and Romans, it's EIMHTEI, but in GMk,
        > GLk,
        > Acts, and GJn, it's EIMHTI, just as its one occurrence in CGTh (L.35).

        It's of course a little difficult to be sure about this because what we have
        to do is to work backwards from MSS that have words separated to help us to
        work out how words were viewed in the times when all the letters were run
        together. There have been slippages in English in word separation in my
        lifetime, so I don't know that we can necessarily assume that it didn't
        happen in the time between when NH was written down and when the Horner NT
        texts were written. Given that these MSS are centuries newer than the
        originals and that people who wrote things down without spacings between
        words may well have had a different concept of what constitutes a word to
        ours, anyway.

        Sorry - just an observation, no conclusions.

        Judy
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