"Gimme What's Mine"
- Almost all commentators are agreed that L100.4 was a later
addition to L100. But who did it and why? This message suggests
some answers to those questions, based on textual evidence
in Coptic Thomas which has hitherto been ignored.
In order to follow the discussion, it's suggested that the reader
bring up the following file in a separate window, to facilitate
flipping back and forth between this message and the image:
To the right of each line, you will see a number that represents
the number of letters in that line. (These counts are present in
the page-by-page pdf available on my website, but not in the
saying-by-saying presentation.) Adding up these numbers, it
will be apparent that the entire saying contains 119 letters. Of
these 119, the latter part of line 602 (without the word 'AYW'),
i.e., "Gimme what's mine", is composed of 19 letters. So then
of course, if that clause is removed, the saying is 100 letters.
What to do with the 'AYW' left hanging? It gets moved up to
line 601, fitting naturally between "give to Caesar" and "give
to God". But there's more. Take the 'N' from the end of line
599 and move it down to join the rest of the phrase to which
it belongs ("the taxes"). The result of these moves is this:
line 598: 26 letters (as is)
line 599: 24 letters (25-1)
line 600: 24 letters (23+1)
line 601: 26 letters (23+3)
It's evident, then, that without L100.4, the Coptic version of
the saying was composed of 100 letters arranged chiastically
over four lines. Was that an accident? I think not. ISTM rather
that it was the Copts who added L100.4 to what they knew to
be a "perfectly-formed" saying (in their language), for reasons
which we don't yet know. I'm pretty sure, however, that it wasn't
for reasons so far adduced by scholars (who, through no fault
of their own, remain ignorant of the letter-counting practices
of the designers of Coptic Thomas).
BTW, although I've favored one translation of L100.4 over
another herein, it should be remembered that the subsaying
could also mean "Give me _he who_ is mine". Under whatever
translation, however, it's grammatically different in Coptic
from the Caesar and God clauses - which is another indication
that it wasn't intended to be considered as intimately tied to them.
Some readers may recall that in an earlier message, I mentioned
the possibility of a 10-line 4-tiered structure containing 210 letters
in all, one line of which would contain 19 letters. Although in fact
L100.4 came up in a seach for such a line, there is no strong
indication that that 19-letter clause is what could be expected
to be the top line of such a structure, so the possible structure
remains just a possibility.