Tuesday, November 29, 2005
I would strongly encourage those experienced in TC who are not members of Wieland's list to consider joining it.
Should the printed text (including text in apparatus) of a text-critical edition be based solely on the documentary evidence (= external) or on internal evidence (intrinsic + transcriptional) as well? If internal evidence is to be excluded, references to parallel passages (as in the NA app. with Col. 1:14) should also be left out.
Monday, November 28, 2005
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus...”
Without this reference there is nothing in Ephesians to address the letter. In fact, it would seem to be one of the least personal and more theological of the letters as it does not address problems.
Romans 1:7, 2 Corinthians 1:1 and Philippians 1:1 all use the same grammatical construction (ousin en ...) which suggests that it is a Pauline construction... or the type of construction that a scribe would insert thinking that it had been left out. (Note Romans 1:7 is also textually suspect, albeit much less so than Eph. 1)
Saturday, November 26, 2005
The first variant in NA27 is the addition of και, but the Peshitta does not support this variant as claimed. The Peshitta necessarily introduces 'and' in rendering certain types of appositional construction.
The second variant allegedly omits και. Can Augustine (in Latin) really be cited for such a detail?
To what extent is there a genetic connection between the various witnesses cited for each variant in verse 1?
Friday, November 25, 2005
This seems sensible in general, don't you think?
What are the most compelling readings supported by only a single witness?
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
In TC some of the insurmountable gaps between scholars have to do with a very different appreciation for some of the witnesses to the text of the NT (Codex B, the Majority text, vg, quotations in church fathers etc.). Transcriptional reasoning seems much less problematic, at first glance. The purest form of transcriptional reasoning is done by those who suggest conjectural emendations (cj) to the text.
I have noticed Evangelical scholarship tends to be quite reluctant to allow for cj.
Let me raise a question here: is cj compatible with a high view of Scripture? Personally I cannot see why not. In my article “Paul’s Use of Scripture in 1 Corinthians 1-4 and Conjectural Emendation in 4:6.” (Analecta Bruxellensia 9 (2004): 102-122) p. 108-115 I have suggested 10 criteria for evaluation of a conjectural emendation. I would appreciate your response. Here they are:
- The emendation does justice to the style or the idiom of the author, or at least more justice than the traditional reading.
- The emendation solves the problem in the text.
- The emendation does not introduce new difficulties or riddles.
- The extant readings are – either directly or indirectly – explicable as corruptions of the emended reading.
- Few early witnesses are available for the passage.
- The reconstruction of the original text has been contested in an early stage.
- The development from the conjectured original of at least one of the extant readings could have taken place in an early stage.
- The emendation requires only a minor intervention.
- Textual critics are not removing or softening elements in the traditional text that offend their logic, culture or ideology.
- The derivation of the traditional reading from the emended one may not require procedures that were not current in the earliest formative stage of the NT text.
(firstname.lastname@example.org – http://www.etf.edu/)
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
I'm now a third of the way through his book Misquoting Jesus. He has had to suffer what many an author has experienced, which is to find that the publisher has managed to put the Hebrew on the cover upside down. Fortunately, it is only the background and so it does not stand out too badly. The Hebrew is obviously a Dead Sea Scroll (CD?), but, unusually, nothing is said about the cover design.
I disagree with much of the general picture that Ehrman is painting, in particular the quantity of change that he suggests went on in the text early on (e.g. suggestions that there may have once been versions of John that lacked 1:1-18 or ch. 21). However, there is good coverage of much material. He emphasises the importance of written scripture for early Christians (even if they couldn't all read it) and affirms that 1 Tim. 5:18 does cite Luke 10:7 as scripture (p. 31).
Strangely he seems to think that since Galatians was written to a number of churches Paul must have made multiple copies so that there was no single autograph (pp. 58-60). I find it rather unlikely that the letter carrier would actually carry multiple copies when the letter could be reproduced locally. Do we have any evidence of multiple copies of letters being carried by a single individual?
[Addition on 3 Jan 2006: my review of Misquoting Jesus is available here.]
The next paper was by William L. Petersen (Penn State - world expert on the Diatessaron) arguing that Second Clement shows that the text of parts of the NT that it cites were not verbally fixed during the second century.
The third paper, by Thomas J. Kraus, treated 'manuscripts' of the Lord's prayer. Apparently there are a number of texts of this that are not usually listed in manuscript lists: early versions of the Lord's prayer on amulets, pieces of wood, pottery, papyrus, parchment, and even inscribed on stone. These show considerable variety amongst themselves (and are not strict textual witnesses). A number of the texts show some of the Lord's prayer alongside parts of Psalm 90.
I had to leave before Juan Hernández, Jr, spoke on 'Scribal Tendencies in the Apocalypse: Starting the Conversation'.
Monday, November 21, 2005
I have enjoyed using the Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible (http://www.logos.com/products/details/1981). It is less expensive to buy in the US and Canada than on the other side of the ditch. The SESB is the only electronic Bible software that currently has the critical apparatus in it, if I am correct. Logos is working on one, though. It also has the LXX and Vulgate as well as the major Bible versions in French, German, Dutch, and English, rather than the lesser known ones you tend to get with the other software.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Bart clearly came across as the only one who knew about textual criticism and his premises were not challenged. The audience was about 500 and there was a lively debate in which various people were involved from the floor, including David Parker (against Tom) and Voelz (against Bart). Tom was the only one who defended anything like a traditional Christian approach to the Bible, though he explicitly distanced himself from speaking about 'God's words' as a designation of Scripture. The whole panel seemed agreed that verbal inspiration was moribund and only a belief maintained by the 'ultra-conservative'. Historically, of course, it is mainstream.
Overall I think that it is a pity that some of the premises of the discussion were not challenged, but I think that classic evangelicals have to do a bit more work on honing arguments before such a public debate would be at its most profitable.
[Update 3 Jan 2006: my review of Misquoting Jesus is now available here.]
Saturday, November 19, 2005
I had the privilege of giving the opening paper at the SBL textual criticism section. No one came up with a 'show stopper' question to my paper 'A re-evaluation of the role of the Early Versions in New Testament Textual criticism', but obviously it's hard for me to come up with an objective evaluation of what I said.
The following paper was by Luc Herren, Muenster, on the new digital Nestle-Aland (28th edition). It sounds like they will have a complete edition out in about 2 years. The digital edition will also offer links to a dictionary and allow access to detail such as spelling and the original layout of the page in the manuscripts.
Thereafter Klaus Wachtel, Muenster, explained what had made him change his mind on the Byzantine text. Essentially he thinks there are some early elements in it. He also argued for the abolition of the category of 'text-type' (though he had to compress his paper and so this bit wasn't explained fully).
Robert Shedinger was ill, so Amy Anderson read his paper 'Silencing the Syriac Tradition: Evidence and Rhetoric in the Early Versions of Bruce Metzger and Arthur Voeoebus.' I didn't come across many people who agreed with the paper.
I made it to the paper anounced earlier on Barth's take on the transmission of Scripture, but arrived slightly late. The material didn't seem very relevant and, at least for me, was on the incomprehensible side.
Let's hope that Bart is more worth listening to than Barth.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Before the preface is an extensive quotation from Tregelles, Account of the Printed Text, 186, which I quote for edification:
'Let it never be forgotten, that just as it is the place of a Christian to look to God in prayer for his guidance and blessing in all his undertakings, so may he especially do this as to labours connected with the text of Scripture. The object sought in such prayer is not that the critic may be rendered infallible, or that he may discriminate genuine readings by miracle, but that he may be guided rightly and wisely to act on the evidence which the providence of God has preserved, and that he may ever bear in mind what Scripture is, even the testimony of the Holy Ghost to the grace of God in the gift of Christ, and that thus he may be kept from rashness and temerity in giving forth its text. As God in his providence has preserved Holy Scripture to us, so can He sic vouchsafe the needed wisdom to judge of its text simply on grounds of evidence...'
The strong appeal to preservation by Tregelles is interesting, particularly the way preservation is related to evidence.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Some years ago I wrote briefly on this, but I remain troubled by the lack of a decent explanation for the shorter reading:
Luke clearly presents the last supper (22.14-22) as a passover meal (vv. 7, 15), and describes traditional passover rituals (including two separate cups: vv. 17, 20). The interpretation of the bread and wine (in 19b, 20) is as follows:
‘This is my body which is given for you.’
‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.’ This whole passage is omitted in some manuscripts (Codex Bezae, the Old Latin and the early Syriac versions), and thus by some English translations (notably REB). As a consequence, differences of opinion concerning the authenticity of this text have resulted in different views of Luke’s theology (note to Ehrman). In this case, however, the omission is limited to only one branch of Western texts, and the vast majority of manuscripts (both early and of diverse provenance, including P75 and the major uncials) include the long version, and thus recent commentators have regarded its overwhelming attestation as ‘the decisive argument in favour of the Long Text.’
 Jeremias, Eucharistic Words, 159. The commentaries by Marshall and Fitzmyer support this; the remaining problem is to explain why the text was omitted: Jeremias suggested that the text was abbreviated in the interests of secrecy, since being a liturgical text the rest would have been well known; Metzger suggests that confusion caused by the mention of two cups led to the omission (A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (London: UBS, 1975) 174).
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
1.30 p.m., 19 November 2005, Room 103-C, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia
Katherine Sonderegger, Virginia Theological Seminary, 'The doctrine of Inspiration and the Reliability of the Text in Barth'.
So Australian text-critics will be pleased to hear that Australia beat Uruguay 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out to earn a place at the World Cup Finals next year in Germany (the first time since 1974), where there are many more NT mansucripts of all types.
BBC Report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/4435400.stm
Let's hope we are drawn in the same group as Ingerland.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Brevior lectio, nisi testium vetustorum et gravium auctoritate penitus destituatur, praeferenda est verbosiori. Librarii enim multo proniores ad addendum fuerunt, quam ad omittendum.
'A shorter reading, unless it stands completely without the support of ancient and important witnesses, is to be preferred to a more verbose one. Copyists were much more inclined to add than to omit.'
My question is this: what was the basis on which Griesbach maintained that copyists were far more likely to add than to omit? Was it simply his impression, and if so on the basis of how many manuscripts and variant readings? Had there been work on scribal habits within the editing of Classical texts at the time? Or is it rather simply a statement of what Griesbach thought to be intrinsically more likely?
Friday, November 11, 2005
This involves a panel review of Bart D. Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus (HarperCollins, 2005) and N.T. Wright's The Last Word (HarperCollins, 2005)
Kim Haines-Eitzen, Cornell University, Presiding. Panelists: John Dominic Crossan, Dale Martin, N. T. Wright, Bart Ehrman
I wonder how much textual criticism we will get from Crossan, Martin and Wright?
We ought to get some reports from this session on this blog. Any volunteers?
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Monday, November 07, 2005
Saturday, November 05, 2005
One of my own favourites is Wieland Willker's Bible pages.
Friday, November 04, 2005
It seems to me that the answer is a) that we don't like using the word 'heresy' since W. Bauer ... blah blah blah ...; b) that it is being done with respect to LXX at the moment; c) that we did have commentaries based on a single manuscript tradition for three hundred years (and most of them aren't very interesting on the detailed exegetical material); d) that it would be very interesting to have a series of textual commentaries on important manuscripts - treating them seriously as an artifact and representation of the text in its/their own time; BUT that e) if you want to comment on Paul you need to comment on the text you think Paul originally wrote. You might take P46 as your starting point and then vary from it, but effectively then you are still commenting on an eclectic text. The more disciplined you were in commenting on the manuscript itself, the less sure you would be that you are commenting on Paul.
I have this insane idea for biblical studies. Why is it when scholars write a commentary on a NT book that they inevitably use either UBS4 or NA27? The fact is that no extant manuscript conforms to the text of UBS4 or NA27 so they are writing a commentary on a manuscript that does not physically exist.
Let me qualify that: (1) I believe that it is worthwhile to comb the various witnesses and try to establish what is probably the original autographs; (2) I'm not advocating the superiority of any one particular textual witness like the Western Text or anything like that. But why doesn't someone take, say, the earliest manuscript on Galatians (p46, ca. 200 I think) and write a commentary on that manuscript and argue in the footnotes passages where they think other readings are to be preferred.
I put this forward because, although I believe in the eclectic approach, at the end of the day there will always be an element of doubt as to our ability to reconstruct the original autographs with any certainty. Alternatively, p46 is a real manuscript not an imagined one, and the question that can be asked is to what degree does p.46 legitimately represent the original autograph. Is using a real manuscript (as opposed to a hypothetical one) as a template for the text of a commentary an act of textual critical heresy; or am I onto something?
The great commentaries of the past, thinking of say Lightfoot on Galatians (probably the greatest commentary in the history of NT scholarship), understood that an important part of the commentator's job is to establish (and publish) a critical text alongside the commentary. NT scholars today generally relinquish this job to NA27 and Metzger's Commentary (perhaps thinking that by-and-large the text critical task is complete, or else that the whole field is a bit too complicated) and invest their time and energy in different aspects of the commentators task.
So I'd be all in favour of a series of textual commentaries. Publishers would love it; RAE points for everyone; they would be permanent contributions to scholarship (if done well); helpful for Wirkungsgeschichte; honouring to the memory of the scribes; full of detailed pictures and charts. But I think they would be a lot of work. Sign me up for a little fragment.
What do the rest of you silent co-bloggers think?
Evangelical text critics believe that the Original Text of the NT was without errors due to a belief in the inspiration of Scripture. Many non-evangelical text critics do not hold to such a position, but not simply because of unbelief in the doctrine of inspiration.
The reason such people hold to the idea that the 'original NT text' may have contained errors is that they have become increasingly disappointed by efforts to satisfactorily ascertain what the original NT text was.
The fault largely lies, I believe, at the feet of the lectio difficilior canon. Because of the lectio difficilior canon, the text critic is frequently confronted with a situation of textual stalemate. On the one hand, s/he is told to prefer the reading that makes better sense in terms of the author's intent, theology and context - the superior reading. On the other hand, the lectio difficilior canon dictates that s/he should prefer the inferior reading. The result - unless other factors decide the matter - is textual gridlock.
I believe that the lectio difficilior canon is the real cause of the problem here. Most standard proofs of lectio difficilior involve 'cherry picking' an instance or two where scribes tried to relieve the NT of a difficulty or improve its sense. Others appeal to 'common sense' ("a scribe would be assumed to have removed difficulties rather than to make them") which is really begging the question, isn't it? (See Scrivener for these two approaches, vol. 2, p. 247; read the entire page).
Can anyone think of a way in which it would be possible to put the lectio difficilior canon to the test?
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
"Peter" was rather dismissive:
Well in my view, Warfield did nothing significant in the field of textual
criticism. Perhaps he did clarify some points of evangelical theology in
relation to the original text, but that was nothing new.
P.J. Williams was rather more positive:
I would agree that Warfield did little by way of research within textual criticism. However, he has had a profound effect on attitudes to textual criticism in the current evangelical constituency. ... If we look at effect on church constituency then Bengel, Warfield and Burgon seem to me to have had the biggest effect ...
Challenged to provide more evidence on this he wrote:
Measuring Warfield's effect is very difficult, since even if he had published nothing on textual criticism it is certain that many within his constituency would have reached the same conclusions that he did. However, Warfield was the premier theologian of the early twentieth century among the Reformed evangelical constituency, and his favourable, though qualified, acceptance of the scholarly consensus of his day as far as textual criticism was concerned undoubtedly would have persuaded many minds against a more reactionary stance. There is discussion about the relationship between Warfield and the popularity of the doctrinal qualification of the scriptures as 'inspired as originally given' (or similar formulations). I haven't done my homework to see how much is in this.
Well, all that is interesting background to my discovery today of A.T. Robertson's book, An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament (London: H&S, 1925).
Robertson dedicates his book 'To the Memory of B.B. Warfield' and describes the great help he had received from Warfield's book (of the same title) until it went out of print. He tried to get Warfield to revise it, but Warfield refused on the basis that he was teaching Dogmatic Theology. 'No one else outside of Hort ... had so clearly and fully set forth the principles of textual criticism that the student could readily grasp the science and apply it.' Then he says that Warfield had urged him (i.e. Robertson) to revise the book. Which eventually he did, although in the end he had to write a new book.
So there is some evidence of the influence of Warfield on someone holding a similar position on Scripture (not presumably on other subjects since Robertson was a Southern Baptist, so no dancing), and who was a rare example of an evangelical scholar engaging in the scholarly endeavour.
PS. There is a rather interesting comment in the preface:
My task would have been greatly simplified if Gregory had carried out his purpose of preparing a new edition of Tischendorf's Novum Testamentum Graece (1869) instead of going to the front and losing his life.
That was a fine exhibition of patriotism for his adopted country (Germany) on the part of a man of seventy, but not the least of the tragedies of the world war.
He later says that he cherishes the hope
'that some one who reads these words may take up the task that Gregory dropped and carry it on to completion.'