Evangelical Textual Criticism

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Byzantine text of John

The UBS edition of the Byzantine text of John has now gone live at the site http://www.iohannes.com/, where IGNTP material on John will be hosted. The editors, and especially Rod Mullen, are to be warmly congratulated.

22 comments:

  1. That's great news. I thought this would be several more years in coming.

    I see the Latin resources are about to go online as well.

    So what's left in the John project? And after John, what's next for IGNTP?

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  2. After John, probably Paul. There's still much left of John to do, esp. the Editio Maior Johannes.

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  3. Will the IGNTP put their exhaustive collations of John 18 in an online apparatus as well? If so, when might we expect that?

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  4. Has anyone checked whether there are any differences to Robinson-Pierpoint Byzantine text?

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  5. Of course, since this project does not present an eclectic base text, but only transcriptions of MSS, there will be many places of variation in each MS from the Robinson-Pierpont consensus text. They appear to have used MS 35 for the base text.

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  6. maurice a robinson9:00 pm, August 14, 2007

    Timo: Has anyone checked whether there are any differences to Robinson-Pierpoint Byzantine text?

    I just received my copy today (thank you, Simon Crisp!), and cannot fully comment until I have had ample opportunity to examine the printed volume.

    However, I can comment on the base text (MS 35, late Kr Byzantine subtext):

    Had this project been mine, I would not have selected a Kr MS as the base, but would have chosen a strong minuscule representative of the dominant (Kx) Byzantine tradition.

    I suppose the Kr MS 35 was chosen for the same reason that the "fam. 35" Kr subgroup was selected in ECM to represent their "Byz" symbol: choosing Kr as the most recent form of the Byzantine text -- even though not representative of the more dominant Byzantine "majority".

    Given that nearly everyone -- Pickering excepted -- including the current editors (pp. v-vi) considers the Kr to be a limited lectionary-related recensional product of the late 11th century and beyond, the base text of this edition thus could mislead the readers (including the Orthodox for whom this project was commissioned), who might be anticipating a more precise representation of what tended to dominate within the Byzantine tradition.

    Of course, it always is nice to have any manuscript-based text-plus- apparatus, and this is no exception.

    However, the readers expecting to find a clear presentation of the dominant Kx Byzantine Textform in this edition will be disappointed. Instead, they will have to attempt to discern which MSS are representative of Kx or any other Byzantine subtype when consulting this volume.

    Unless I missed something in scanning the introductions and apparatus, I do not see where the differing Byzantine streams are clearly identified among the ca.70 MSS collated for this edition -- a situation which leaves the intended readers in somewhat of a quandary.

    At least one can note that the various Byzantine subgroups do not differ all that much in regard to their overall common text; and that of course remains a plus.

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  7. Thank you Maurice. I wonder what the UBS was thinking :) It would be interesting to know the reaction of the Orthodox Church to all this.

    Anyways, this just brings to my mind some problems with the ECM. The CBGM assumes that there was only a limited amount of changes here and there from exemplars to copies and that we can therefore build stemmatic trees quite confidently. I hope that the ECM editors do not do the same thing as the UBS editors did. This would not show up easily as it's an eclectic edition, but underneath something like that may still take place. Who knows what twists and twarts that may produce ...

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  8. Timo Flink:

    "Anyways, this just brings to my mind some problems with the ECM. The CBGM assumes that there was only a limited amount of changes here and there from exemplars to copies and that we can therefore build stemmatic trees quite confidently. I hope that the ECM editors do not do the same thing as the UBS editors did. This would not show up easily as it's an eclectic edition, but underneath something like that may still take place. Who knows what twists and twarts that may produce ..."

    This passage remains cryptic to me. Can somebody, preferably Timo himself, please explain. Thank you.

    Ulrich Schmid

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  9. maurice a robinson2:43 pm, August 15, 2007

    Agreed, something is not exactly clear in Timo's last statement.

    One other comment regarding the edition (which perhaps Ulrich can answer, since he was part of that team):

    "Anonymous" noted that "this project does not present an eclectic base text," but is instead founded on MS 35 for that purpose. Yet, MS 35 was not followed fully as a base text, but was altered in 22 stated places (some being matters of orthography, some matters of following correctors, etc.; "User Guidelines," p. xl).

    Thus, de facto the base text does end up being "eclectic" to that extent rather than diplomatic.

    Swanson's volumes (more particularly the recent ones) simply present Vaticanus as the base text without emendation. This would seem to be the proper model for a diplomatic edition. If MS 35 is supposed to be the base, then why not reproduce it precisely, warts and all?

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  10. Why are the abbreviations Kr and Kx used for Byzantine Text streams? Those letters seem arbitrary to me, though I'm sure they're not.
    Also, when scholars speak of the separate Byz. streams like that, do the labels apply across all books of the NT?

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  11. Don't worry Ulrich. I was thinking too much ahead without a clear mind. I'm doing doctoral studies in textual criticism and I was analysing some problems I think I found in the ECM of Jude (looking some genealogical charts Gerd Mink graciously send me). The thought just crossed my mind that the similar mixup in my thinking regarding the UBS text might inadvertly slip into the construction of the global stemmata if a user of the volume isn't careful with what he's actually reading (though now Maurice is saying that it actually is an eclectic edition, a little bit so). Since we don't have the ECM for John, you all can just forget what I wrote and wait for the ECM to come (when will that happen, anybody know?)

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  12. In answer to the third message, the answer is yes. The manuscript work on John 18 is complete, but I do not know that publication is imminent.

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  13. maurice a robinson2:32 am, August 16, 2007

    eric rowe: Why are the abbreviations Kr and Kx used for Byzantine Text streams?

    Von Soden's nomenclature, but not arbitrary within his system. K stands for KOINH = the "common" or Byzantine text.

    Kr is the late "recensional" form of the K stream.

    Kx is the major "undesignated" category not otherwise designated by specific terms (e.g. K1, Ka, Ki, etc.).

    rowe: Also, when scholars speak of the separate Byz. streams like that, do the labels apply across all books of the NT?

    Assuming a scholar accepts von Soden's designations (not all will necessarily do so), then no. The various minor substreams of K are not present everywhere. Kx and Kr do tend to transcend the entire NT except in Revelation, where matters are quite different.

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  14. Thanks Dr. Robinson. Could you say more about what Kx is?
    Is it actually a family of MSS that are more closely related to one another than to the rest of Byz? Or is it a catch-all for any MSS that don't qualify for the other Byz subgroups?

    I gather from your earlier label of it as "the dominant Byzantine tradition" that it is the former. If that is the case, why would it be "undesignated"?

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  15. Maurice Robinson:

    "Thus, de facto the base text does end up being "eclectic" to that extent rather than diplomatic.

    Swanson's volumes (more particularly the recent ones) simply present Vaticanus as the base text without emendation. This would seem to be the proper model for a diplomatic edition. If MS 35 is supposed to be the base, then why not reproduce it precisely, warts and all?"

    The Byzantine edition of John does not claim to be a diplomatic edition. It has a completely different rationale. So, why compare it to Swanson's "New Testament Manuscripts"?
    I simply don't understand the point. What am I missing?

    Ulrich

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  16. maurice a robinson6:05 pm, August 16, 2007

    eric rowe: Could you say more about what Kx is?

    Von Soden chose more to say what MSS did not comprise Kx than vice versa. Basically, Kx is simply the bulk of the Byzantine MSS which tend to share an overall consensus text that does not deviate into any characteristic minority subgroup lines.

    rowe: Is it actually a family of MSS that are more closely related to one another than to the rest of Byz?

    I don't know whether it should be called a "family," since that would be too delimiting. Rather, those MSS which reflect in their overall text the primary consensus pattern of Byzantine readings would be a better designation.

    rowe: why would it be "undesignated"?

    Von Soden's choice, leaving the Kx bulk of Byzantine MSS in that category as the default catch-all.

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  17. maurice a robinson6:17 pm, August 16, 2007

    Ulrich: The Byzantine edition of John does not claim to be a diplomatic edition. It has a completely different rationale....What am I missing?

    The editors seem to make a strong point that the base text of this edition was not some "eclectic" compilation, but that MS 35 was chosen to serve as the base text.

    This certainly seems to imply a diplomatic primary text. Yet if so, why did the editors think it necessary not to follow MS 35 precisely and simply provide pertinent variants to that MS from the ca. 70 witnesses throughout, rather than needlessly alter the text of the base MS in some 22 places (and still report variants to such)?

    Of course, as I noted earlier, I would have chosen a different type (Kx) of MS for the base, so this is only a question regarding procedure and nothing more.

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  18. Maurice Robinson:
    "The editors seem to make a strong point that the base text of this edition was not some "eclectic" compilation, but that MS 35 was chosen to serve as the base text.

    This certainly seems to imply a diplomatic primary text. Yet if so, why did the editors think it necessary not to follow MS 35 precisely and simply provide pertinent variants to that MS from the ca. 70 witnesses throughout, rather than needlessly alter the text of the base MS in some 22 places (and still report variants to such)?"

    I don't think the editors make a VERY strong point against an eclectic base. They rather argue in favour of a manuscript as base because of the purpose "to illustrate the breadth of the Byzantine textual tradition from individual witnesses" (Introduction iv).

    One of the main stated reasons for selecting 35 is that it employs a fairly standardized orthography (incl. breathings and accentuation), when compared to the standards we are used to, of course. Thus it comes as no surprise that the "User Guidlines" (xli) tell us that "(m)anuscripts display a wide variety of itacistic readings and other spelling variants. These too have been regularised". It therefore comes with little surprise
    that ten itacistic/spelling variants in 35 have been dealt with by the same token. ONLY ten I hasten to add, five of which actually refer to the same unfamiliar krabbaton. Had they been left to stand in the base, there would have been little reason to regularise them away from the other 50+ witnesses. Hence an overflow of orthographic itacistic readings would have flooded the apparatus. [You may be glad to learn that the Majuscule Edition provides exactly that]

    The next eight readings involve corrections in 35, corrections of singular/nonsense readings. One could argue that they might serve as a useful remainder to us moderners used to immaculate base texts in modern editions that NO single real life ms witness is error free. And I, personally, like that idea very much. But, hey, what edition do we have that has nonsense readings in the base except by mistake. [Swanson does not claim to be an edition in the proper sense, BTW] Looking at the corrections from a different angle, let me point out that the scribe of 35 and its corrector (who actually might have been the scribe himself) produced a very good copy of the Byzantine text of John. BTW there are different philosophies about what constitutes a good copy. Is it a good first hand or a well corrected first hand? (P66 and the widely differing assessments of Colwell and Royse come to mind).

    The last four of the list of 22 should not be classified under change of base, Maurice. That's a mistake on your part. Read the passage carefully again and check the four readings in the edition and you will realize.

    In short: I don't think it is fair to press the editors of the "Gospel of John in the Byzantine Tradition" on the issue of diplomatic edition. They never claimed to deliver that, nor did they hide their treatment of the base.

    Ulrich Schmid

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  19. maurice a robinson5:33 pm, August 17, 2007

    Ulrich: In short: I don't think it is fair to press the editors of the "Gospel of John in the Byzantine Tradition" on the issue of diplomatic edition. They never claimed to deliver that, nor did they hide their treatment of the base.

    On the contrary, I think that is precisely what is claimed on p. iii (emphasis added):

    "...it was decided to use a specific manuscript as the base text rather than risk the methodological pitfalls of creating an eclectic text that never existed in the manuscript tradition or relying upon an existing eclectic text."

    In the end, the result of this edition is a specific base MS whose primary text admittedly has not been followed throughout, but has been "adjusted" in terms of orthography, readings, and corrections -- resulting in a base text that properly must be termed "eclectic" -- since it represents in reconstruction a precise form of text "that never existed in the manuscript tradition".

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  20. The lectionary witnesses L1077 and L1082 are listed as having eight lacunae of identical length and verses. Is this accurate, or was this a "scribal error" in preparing the witness list? Or perhaps one is a copy of the other?

    Anybody know the explanation?

    Thanks.

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  21. Maurice Robinson:
    "In the end, the result of this edition is a specific base MS whose primary text admittedly has not been followed throughout, but has been "adjusted" in terms of orthography, readings, and corrections -- resulting in a base text that properly must be termed "eclectic" -- since it represents in reconstruction a precise form of text "that never existed in the manuscript tradition"."

    You're fighting a straw man, Maurice. In the first place, it would have been nice, had you conceded your misreprentation of the facts (list of 22 deviations). Secondly, the corrections in 35 are in that very manuscript and therefore that precise form of text existed in that very, albeit "eclectic", manuscript. Thirdly, do you really frame 10 orthographical adjustments affecting six morphems as producing an eclectic text? By that token every edition that I know of is eclectic. Or do you want to exempt your own edition from that charge?

    BTW- I would be genuinely interested in discussing the point that is repeatedly raised against so-called eclectic editions, namely that they produce a text that "never existed in the manuscript tradition" (see, e.g., The New Testament in the Original Greek. Byzantine Textform 2005, v, footnote). To what level of detail is this a charge that can be taken seriously? How should an edition be constructed that does not fall under this verdict? How can we ever know that any reconstructed text "never existed in the manuscript tradition"?
    [Blogmasters, feel free to take this question to the main level]

    Ulrich Schmid

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  22. maurice a robinson11:05 pm, August 17, 2007

    Ulrich: You're fighting a straw man

    Somewhere things I have said must not be coming through properly.

    All I have said is that if one is claiming a specific MS as "the" base text, then this necessarily implies a true diplomatic edition. If so, then the text of that MS (warts and all) should be followed, with all other readings (including orthographical differences and corrections) relegated to the apparatus. Nothing more.

    In reality, would it have been all that difficult simply to follow MS 35* precisely, and then in the 22 places noted offer whatever is neceessary in the apparatus?

    Since such is not the case, the statement on p.iii ("it was decided to use a specific manuscript", quoted earlier) should have been reworded. That's all. Simply state up front that the base text, while generally or primarily following that found in MS 35, has been "adjusted" at several points, as detailed in the explanation following.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

    Ulrich: By that token every edition that I know of is eclectic. Or do you want to exempt your own edition from that charge?

    I don't know what that has to do with the point I raised. I already stated that if a diplomatic base text were intended, then my preference for this edition would have been to follow a different type (Kx) manuscript as a base.

    On the other hand, my own real preference would be to take several Kx MSS, and use their consensus as the eclectic construct for the base text.

    To make it clear: I am not objecting to the edition itself, but to the wording in the Introduction.

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