Thursday, June 07, 2007

"Mark and Matthew. Texts and Contexts"

Recently, I have been invited to an international conference organized by Aarhus University and McMaster University on the topic, "Mark and Matthew. Texts and Contexts." The conference will take place over two consecutive years in Aarhus, Denmark (2008) and Hamilton, Canada (2009), and I have been asked to contribute a paper in Denmark on the following specific topic:

"Implications of Text Criticism for Understanding the 'Original' Texts"

This paper is to be delivered in connection with another paper (I do not know who will read it): "Text-Critical Problems in Mark and Matthew: Recent developments." The two papers go under the heading "Reconstructing the Artefacts: Text-Critical Aspects of the Study of Mark and Matthew."

At this point I don't know exactly what to do, and therefore I take the opportunity to invite readers to post and discuss suggestions in the comment section to this post.

8 Comments:

Timo Flink said...

Hi Tommy,

May I suggest you take an issue with M.C. Williams' "Two Gospels from One. A Comprehensive Text-Critical Analysis of the Synoptic Gospels". I'm sure it would give you a lot to think about :)

Peter Cooper said...

Hi Tommy,

Sounds like an interesting paper. I'm sure you have read Eldon Jay Epp's essay 'The Multivalence of the Term "Original Text" in New Testament Textual Criticism." HTR 92 (1999), pp. 245-81. Epp surveys the use of the word ‘original,’ then he looks at the shift in TC away from ‘the quest for the original text.’ Epp looks at Bart Ehrman’s use of ‘the text as a window,’ as well as David Parker’s ‘The Living Text.’ Epp also relates ‘original text’ to the concept of canon, and explores the boundaries of TC. Epp’s essay will give you lots of references to articles which should be relevant for your paper.

God bless,

Pete C

Tommy Wasserman said...

Thanks Timo! This book apparently did not fall to the taste of Peter Head. I remember that it was not exactly dealing with textcritical issues and that the title, suggested by the publisher, was in fact misleading.

Thanks Pete C! Yes, I have read Epp's essay as well as Ehrman's and Parker's works. I think I will have to read some more essays by Epp in the collected Brill volume.

Any more suggestions?

I think a new tool to be published in the ANTF series will be helpful, dealing with readings in the Synoptic parallells, but I don't know when it will be released.

Eric Rowe said...

The recent Oxford book, The Use of the New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers, edited by Gregory and Tucket, features a chapter by William Petersen called, "Textual Traditions Examined: What the Text of the Apostolic Fathers Tells Us about the Text of the New Testament in the Second Century.” He takes a position of what I would call extreme skepticism that any of our extant witnesses to the NT text preserve a forms of the texts that closely resemble the originals.

There is also a full book of essays addressing the 2nd Century text, called, The New Testament Text in Early Christianity, edited by Christian-B. Amphoux and J. Keith Elliott. I haven't read all the essays in it. But as I recall they were generally rather more optimistic than William Petersen. ETC's own Maurice Robinson was one of the contributors to that one.

holmic said...

Actually, I find the proposed title ("Implications of Text Criticism for Understanding the 'Original' Texts")a bit ambiguous. Are the conference organizers looking for a paper on (a) how TC helps us to "understand" (i.e., exegete/interpret)the Gospel texts, or (b) implications of TC for how we define (or determine what we mean by) the term "original" text?

Tommy Wasserman said...

Holmic: "Are the conference organizers looking for a paper on (a) how TC helps us to "understand" (i.e., exegete/interpret)the Gospel texts, or (b) implications of TC for how we define (or determine what we mean by) the term "original" text?"

I agree that the title is ambiguous. Perhaps I can use this in the paper... I think they mean b). They are aware of Parker's Living Text, and they wish to problematize the textual issues. What do we mean by the "original Matthew/Mark"?

P J Williams said...

If the title is ambiguous then there's a case for renegotiating it.

Tommy Wasserman said...

ER: "He [Petersen] takes a position of what I would call extreme skepticism that any of our extant witnesses to the NT text preserve a forms of the texts that closely resemble the originals. There is also a full book of essays addressing the 2nd Century text ..."

Eric, thanks for the references. I have read Petersen's essay. Apart from the more "optimistic" contributions that you point to, Larry Hurtado has written a very good essay partly responding to Petersen, Koester and others, "The New Testament in the Second Century: Text, Collection and Canon," in Transmission and Reception: New Testament Text-Critical and Exegetical Studies, in the Text and Studies series (vol. 4) edited by Childers and Parkers. I was sent this fine volume and another volume in the same series as a prize from Gorgias Press as part of their Book Grant program for PhD students.