Tuesday, October 25, 2005
The dog that didn't bark
In some contemporary discussion of textual criticism of the NT one could easily get the impression that the text was in a state of considerable fluidity. One possible counter to this is the existence of locations in the text where there are fewer variants than we might expect (Conan Doyle's 'dog that did not bark). I raised the example of Matthew 27:9 in http://rosetta.reltech.org/TC/vol08/Luz2003rev.html. If Luz is right that early scribes corrected Matthew 13:35 to preserve the truth of the text, why did so few do this in Matthew 27:9? Similarly, no scribes seem to have found the negative added in Matthew 2:6 problematic. Is there a case for studying non-assimilation and non-harmonization as phenomena? Can we establish that it is in fact a tiny minority of texts that may have been found difficult by early scribes that any of them ever deliberately altered? Can we find evidence against the assertion that scribes changed the text to try to maintain the appearance of its factual correctness?