"Itís remarkable to me that the top cut of the fragment occur[s] almost exactly
between lines on both recto and verso. It could happen, of course, but the probability
seems quite remote. One would normally expect to find, I would think, that one side
or the other had a top portion of its lettering cut off, or that the bottom portion of the
previous line was visible. But to the naked eye that does not appear to be the case."
To which Stephen Goranson of Duke added:
"Also, the same word appears in line one on both sides."
As I then wrote in a
Sep 29th note to the GThomas e-list:
"I hadn't noticed this latter point myself, but Goranson is correct. The word
(or rather, phrase) in question is 'TA-MAAY', i.e., 'my mother'. This isn't a
common noun, still less a common noun-phrase, so the chances of its
appearing at precisely the same vertical position on both the recto and verso
of a page (let alone fragment) is very small indeed. When combined with the
unlikelihood of it happening by random that a cut between lines of one side
(presumably the recto) of a page would also happen to divide lines on the other
side of the page, the probability of this fragment being genuine are remote in
the exteme. (Note that if two features are independent of each other under the
assumption of non-intentionality - which these two are - their joint probability
is multiplicative. If, for example, the probability of feature A being random is
5%, and that of independent feature B is likewise 5%, their joint probability
of occuring without intentional design [would be] 0.25%.)"
In the ensuing discussion, the only factor that seemed to make any difference
was that IF the fragment came from a treatise wherein Jesus was talking a lot
about his mother, then the chance of 'my-mother' occurring in exactly the same
position on both sides of a page would increase - though not to the point of being
likely. Furthermore, no such treatise has ever been found.
- Michael W. Grondin, 09 Jan 2013.