- Problem: What is the probability of the 32 sayings in a row, in Thomas, not having any Mark sayings, if they are random? And Is there a general equation that calculates that for other similar cases?

Defining some variables:

T == Total Number of Sayings, (=114 for Thomas)

N == Total number of Instance Sayings, (=114-24=90 sayings with no Mark Parallels in Thomas)

G == Largest group of Instance, (=32 Sayings in a row with no Mark Parallels in Thomas)

The probability of no Mark on any particular saying is T/N, and the probability of 32 in a row, with only one chance to do it, is very close to,

R == (N/T)^(G), [= (90/114)^32]

And, at a maximum, you get T-G chances, so the Probability of G in a row is, at a maximum,

P >= (T-G)*R == (T-G)*(N/T)^(G), [ = 82*(90/114)^32 = .0425 = 1 in 24], Equation #1

But that assumes you get T-G separate chances that don't overlap, and it's clearly less than half, in the case of absence of Mark Parallels, since in most cases you continue a streak for at least 2 sayings. Experimentally, it's more like a factor of 4. Close enough. What else in Biblical scholarship is 98% certain?

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For example, in the case of the three Mark parallels in a row in Thomas, is that unusual? What's the chance it would have at least 3 in a row?

T == Total Number of Sayings, (=114 for Thomas)

N == Total number of Instance Sayings, (=24 sayings with Mark Parallels in Thomas)

G == Largest group of Instance, (=3 Sayings in a row with Mark Parallels in Thomas)

From Equation #1,

P >= (T-G)*R == (T-G)*(N/T)^(G) = (114-3)*(24/114)^3 = 1.04

So, the probability is slightly better than one. You'd expect to find one at least one case of three Mark's in a row. The probability of four in a row is...

P >= (114-4)*(24/114)^4 = .00016, so it would be very unusual to find 4 Mark's in a row, and we don't.

.....

Another example, the 10 John Parallels/Cf's in a row at the end of Mark, ignoring the even longer shot of it being the last 10 (other than the disputed resurrected Jesus claimed to be added at the end of Mark.)

T == Total Number of Sayings, (=125 Sayings in Mark)

N == Total number of Instance Sayings, (=26 John Parallels/Cf's in Mark)

G == Largest group of Instance, (=10 Sayings in a row with John Parallels/Cf's in Mark)

From Equation #1,

P >= (T-G)*R == (T-G)*(N/T)^(G) = (125-10)*(26/125)^10 = .000017, over 99.998% of the time, you wouldn't see 10 in a row.[Richard V.]

- Hi Jack,Sorry you are feeling poorly. Hope you feel better soon.Whatever the outcome of these discussions, I just wanted to say that I much admire the fact that, as a historian, you picked up two historical references to two very, very early Chritian documents in Papias (The Matthean Logia and Mark's Notes) and have proposed that one was our Book of Q and the other the Gospel of Thomas.Quite an original idea, and well worth exploring.It's been been both interesting and stimulating trying to test out your intriguing proposal.Thanks.When you get back to this, I have a question.- Since the Matthean Logia is said to have been written down in Aramaic (actually, Papais calls it "Hebrew".) wouldn't back translating the Q parallel sayings in Thomas not also yield the sort of results you've found in the Markan sayings?Best Regards,Ron McCannSasakatoon, Canada PS Couldn't find a listing for a Kilmon in the phone book. Does yourr son go by a different name or like many of the younger set, does he use only a cellphone?