Re: [GTh] Question about preferred rendering of the Coptic particle ngi-
- 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
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. (:-)
- I am not following this carefully, but ...
> EIMHTI has been a thorn in my side for a long time. Unless it beI am sure you're right about this, Mike. Given that the Copts didn't always
> as a single word, the nice count of 500 becomes an ugly count of 501 or
> 502, and intentionality looks less probable. Unfortunately, the
> 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
> 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
> in how _Greek writers_ (or modern-day Greek experts) handled EI/MH/TI,
> how _Coptic writers_ handled it.
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 theIt's of course a little difficult to be sure about this because what we have
> CD and (after some trouble using the "Find" function) discovered to my
> delight that it's always presented therein as a single word, albeit
> two different ways: in GMt, Rev, and Romans, it's EIMHTEI, but in GMk,
> Acts, and GJn, it's EIMHTI, just as its one occurrence in CGTh (L.35).
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
Sorry - just an observation, no conclusions.