Why an interlinear translation?
Simply put, my theory of the nature of GTh requires rearranging its parts in some manner as yet unknown. Anticipating a time when the proof of this theory might be presented, I want to be able, if at all possible, to make it accessible to that very large group of people who are interested in the Gospel of Thomas, but unacquainted with the Coptic language. This, and not any great desire to create an interlinear translation for its own sake, is the reason that I have tried to make the English translation conform to the original layout of GTh as closely as possible.

Of necessity, any "free" or non-literal translation, no matter how praiseworthy it might be on its own terms, hides almost all of the syntactical features of the original text. This distortion can be partially remedied by including the original language along with the translation, as long as the original layout is preserved. Unfortunately, what almost invariably happens is that the translator (or editor) makes the Coptic line-structure follow the English, rather than vice-versa! This makes it difficult for the researcher, even if (as in Bentley Layton's otherwise-fine treatise) special markers are used to indicate line-endings in the original text. It seems to me that any translation seeking to be useful for scholarly research should include the original language, in its original format (though this does not in general require a facsimile).

One text I look to as a model of a scientifically-adequate translation is Søren Giversen's Apocryphon Johannis, published in 1963. This was one of the earliest translations of a Nag Hammadi manuscript, and one of the best. In the translation section of his book, Giversen has put one page of the Coptic text, line-for-line, on the left-hand side. On the right, he has put his English translation, generally following the same line structure as the Coptic. Combined with extensive commentary, the result is the finest example of the scholar/translator's art I have run across in the course of my research. -MWG, rev 02/14/97