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"Gimme What's Mine"

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  • Michael Grondin
    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,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 22, 2009
      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:

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gthomas/files/images/L100.gif

      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.

      Cheers,
      Mike G.
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