Evangelical Textual Criticism

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ulrich Schmid's question

Following a lively exchange between Ulrich Schmid and Maurice Robinson relating to the UBS/IGNTP edition of the Byzantine text of John, Ulrich asked the following question:

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"?

50 comments:

  1. I have to admit that, as I see it, Dr. Robinson's objection to eclectic texts is one that would really only hold water for someone in the byzantine priority camp. Anyone else would almost necessarily believe that all of the varying MSS only reflect the texts of the autographa more or less accurately, with none of them being perfect, thus meaning that the best attempt for that lost text must be through something eclectic, which could, at least in theory, be closer to that ideal than any extant MSS.

    I do see problems with eclectic texts in some situations altogether apart from Dr. Robinson's issues. One particular place where I think eclectic texts are quite problematic is in the texts of Greek translations of the OT (call them the LXX if you must).

    Septuagintal scholars often try to avoid the misconceptions that could go along with labeling their text, "The Septuagint", by instead calling it the "Old Greek," by which they intend to speak of the Greek version of this or that OT book that existed before the major recensions of the 2nd century AD and later (A, S, Th, Hexapla, Lucian).

    The problem is that, for many books of the OT and apocrypha, the situations in which they were translated are completely unknown (I think this is the case for all but the Pentateuch and Ben Sira). For most of these books the first Greek translations were private enterprises; and it's highly possible, if not probable, that many of the books had multiple completely independent Greek translations. Add to this that some of the translations produced would have had copies made that were later corrected toward some Hebrew version of the book, in effect making more independent translations (at least at the points of correction).

    For all of these books, what really is the "Old Greek"? Aren't our current eclectic texts reflecting something that never really existed in antiquity? I don't imagine that I can come up with a better idea than publishing an eclectic text like Gottingen, since we don't have the means of separating out each distinct OG version into its own text. But I do think that scholars using Gottingen have to keep in mind that, for most books of the Bible, what they're reading is probably nothing more than a mish-mash of multiple Old Greek texts that once existed side-by-side, and that we can only access through MSS that (for the most part) were produced after the later recensional works tried to reign in this complexity, coupled with quotations found in authors from the earlier period (NT and Apostolic Fathers).

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  2. 2 related questions for Dr. Robinson:
    1) Do you believe that there is any one MS of any part of the NT that agrees 100% with the Robinson-Pierpont text, down to the letter?
    2) If the answer is yes, can the same be said for all 27 books of Robinson-Pierpont?

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  3. maurice a robinson11:26 pm, August 17, 2007

    Ulrich: 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"...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"?

    I can only offer a limited observation to Ulrich's complaint, but I hope my point will be clear:

    I would suggest that there is a very major difference between an "eclectic text" created on the basis of a consensus of texttype-specific MSS -- whether Alexandrian, Western, Caesarean, or Byzantine is immaterial -- and an "eclectic text" created on the basis of individual readings that have been selected on various grounds from MSS representing widely differing textual traditions or origins.

    Not only do the latter variety of texts fail to reflect any given texttype, but they present as putatively "original" a resultant text which is so composite in nature that it is far less likely to represent any presumed "original" than would any texttype-specific consensus-based text (following whatever texttype one might consider "best").

    I thus hope that the distinction is clear, and that it can be seen that this is not merely a "Byzantine-specific" observation (as per Rowe).

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  4. maurice a robinson11:32 pm, August 17, 2007

    Rowe: 2 related questions for Dr. Robinson: 1) Do you believe that there is any one MS of any part of the NT that agrees 100% with the Robinson-Pierpont text, down to the letter?

    Not very likely, except perhaps in the shortest epistles. Probably not at all outside of those short books.

    (The second question thus becomes irrelevant).

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  5. As we discuss this whole issue, it may be useful to spell out some definitions along the way, since some degree of clarity re definitions and assumptions will be crucial to understanding one another.

    E.g., what is meant by "the manuscript tradition"? If one defines it as "all copies subsequent to the autograph" [yes, this is a problematic term, but humor me for a moment for the sake of this point], then--given my assumption that all scribes made mistakes as they copied (relatively harmless ones, perhaps, but mistakes nonetheless)--one could say that "the autograph itself never existed in the manuscript tradition."

    So, to summarize: let us strive to make transparent our working definitions and assumptions as we dialogue on this topic.
    thanks,
    Michaek

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  6. A) Rowe asked:
    Rowe: 2 related questions for Dr. Robinson: 1) Do you believe that there is any one MS of any part of the NT that agrees 100% with the Robinson-Pierpont text, down to the letter?

    Robinson answered:
    Not very likely, except perhaps in the shortest epistles. Probably not at all outside of those short books.

    Question: does this mean that the Robinson-Pierpont text "never existed in the manuscript tradition"? And if the answer should be 'yes,' is it of any significance?

    B) Robinson wrote:
    I would suggest that there is a very major difference between an "eclectic text" created on the basis of a consensus of texttype-specific MSS -- whether Alexandrian, Western, Caesarean, or Byzantine is immaterial -- and an "eclectic text" created on the basis of individual readings that have been selected on various grounds from MSS representing widely differing textual traditions or origins.

    Not only do the latter variety of texts fail to reflect any given texttype, but they present as putatively "original" a resultant text which is so composite in nature that it is far less likely to represent any presumed "original" than would any texttype-specific consensus-based text (following whatever texttype one might consider "best").

    Question: what are the grounds or bases for the claim that an eclectic text "is far less likely to represent any presumed "original" than would any texttype-specific consensus-based text"? I'm not (at least at this point) challenging the claim, simply asking for the grounds and/or reasoning and/or assumptions upon which the claim is based.

    thanks,
    Michael (trying to spell my name correctly this time ...)

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  7. Eric Rowe:

    "2 related questions for Dr. Robinson:
    1) Do you believe that there is any one MS of any part of the NT that agrees 100% with the Robinson-Pierpont text, down to the letter?
    2) If the answer is yes, can the same be said for all 27 books of Robinson-Pierpont?"

    Allow me to challenge Maurice:
    ad 1) I can imagine this to be the case for 2 and 3 John and, perhaps, Jude, since these are very short writings. But I don't expect this to really happen.
    2) Since there are only 60 mss known today, that contain all 27 books of the NT, the chance is virtually nil.

    Maurice Robinson

    "I would suggest that there is a very major difference between an "eclectic text" created on the basis of a consensus of texttype-specific MSS -- whether Alexandrian, Western, Caesarean, or Byzantine is immaterial -- and an "eclectic text" created on the basis of individual readings that have been selected on various grounds from MSS representing widely differing textual traditions or origins."

    1) We are now talking about "eclectic" texts in the proper sense, not about a manuscript that has been lightly adjusted on orthographical grounds, right?

    2) Because of the text-type model you entertain you seem to feel entitled to expose those who do not follow slavishly any of the alleged text-types you mention as bad eclectics, while you seem to accept every pure adept of any of those text-types as a good eclectic. Thus eclecticism is fine as long as it is confined to any of the alleged text-types.

    3) One of the problems with such a position is that it is a rather convenient one for those who hold a Byzantine priority position, since they seem to be able to hide behind the shades of the cloud of witnesses. More than 80% of all extant witnesses form the pool of the Majority Text tradition. One is almost tempted to expect, that among the literally thousands of majority text mss still extant today there must be at least one that really reflects the majority at any given place. But that is not the case! According to Text und Textwert (Katholische Briefe) there is not one manuscript extant today that witnesses to the majority readings at all of the 98 Teststellen. Hence a Byzantine priority position that is based on the majority principle proposes a text is empirically non-existant in one single manuscript (we are not talking about orthographicals at that point!) extant today. That's a very poor result. So many "texttype- specific MSS" and not one that actually reflects that consensus.

    4) On the far other end we have the so called Western texttype, a few bilinguals and a very short number of Latin (and Syriac?) witnesses, very elusive as a group and only extant for 19 books of the NT (at best). A "consensus of texttype-specific MSS" is hard to reach despite the fact that they are comparatively very few in number. How hard it is to defend anything Western in toto as likely to be original you can gather from reading the publications of Amphoux, Read-Heimerdinger, and Rius-Camps.

    5) I know of nobody who has defended the so called Cesarean text in toto.

    6) The so called Alexandrian texttype does not reflect the original version of the letter to the Romans.

    In short: The "consensus of texttype-specific MSS" is a nice theoretical token but it can hardly be applied thoroughly to real life situations, even if on subscribes to these textypes, which I do not in every detail. I never thought I would be so decisively "eclectic". And we have not touched the issue of texttypes, yet.

    Ulrich Schmid

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  8. At what level of granularity must an eclectic construct be validated? Does it seem at all problematic to accept a reconstruction which, in some cases, cannot be shown to have existed in a single MS at the level of one verse?

    Some specific examples would be helpful. Robinson lists in his Byz priority paper Mt 20:23, Luke 6:26, Mark 11:3, and John 6:23 as verses which are not found in any one manuscript in the form in which the UBS reconstructs them (footnote 16).

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  9. maurice a robinson3:15 am, August 18, 2007

    Apart from all the lengthy responses questioning my position (which anyone has as much right to do as I to question theirs), let me boil it down to what I think is the one key issue, hinted at by Mike Holmes, which in reality involves one's view of transmissional history:

    The key involves the question broached long ago by Colwell, regarding the "Origin of Texttypes." Either (1) the original text -- whatever its form -- preceded and was substantially different from all existing texttypes currently known to us; or (2) the original text more likely reflected one of the currently existing texttypes, and the remaining textual streams reflect deviations therefrom; or (3) the possible rejection of all textual groupings and classification; or (4) no "original text" and no claim to be able to recover anything resembling such.

    Most current critical text advocates apparently assume the first option as their presuppositional model. I assume the second model (a view not originally my own but inherited from my early association with Kenneth W. Clark). Muenster currently seems to be opting more for the third model, while Epp and perhaps other opt for the fourth.

    It is apparently from this primary issue that the differing theories and methodological approaches tend to spring -- not from whether one holds to reasoned or rigorous eclecticism, nor whether as a result of careful consideration one holds to some "priority" system, whether Alexandrian (WH), Byzantine (RP) or Western (Amphoux/Heimerdinger/Camps) .

    All other issues mentioned (such as whether any given Byzantine MS reads identically to RP2005 in 2Jn or such) are not only irrelevant to the main point but irrelevant to my own position. My concern is with texttype-specific consensus rather than any attempt to locate "the" MS or MSS that somehow "represents the autograph" in absolute individual perfection.

    Focusing on aspects such as that (e.g. Ulrich's sharp comments) simply miss the main point.

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  10. Maurice Robinson:
    "The key involves the question broached long ago by Colwell, regarding the "Origin of Texttypes." Either (1) the original text -- whatever its form -- preceded and was substantially different from all existing texttypes currently known to us; or (2) the original text more likely reflected one of the currently existing texttypes, and the remaining textual streams reflect deviations therefrom; or (3) the possible rejection of all textual groupings and classification; or (4) no "original text" and no claim to be able to recover anything resembling such."

    So according to Maurice, the point levelled against modern critical editions, namely that they produce a text that "never existed in the manuscript tradition," works only from the theoretical position as described under 2) above.

    Thus "manuscript tradition" does not stand for what it appears to stand for at face value, but for a certain theory of the manuscript tradition, namely that it neatly falls into texttypes and that one of the currently existing texttypes reflects the original text. In essence then the charge should be reformulated like "...never existed as one of the currently known texttypes".

    Are there other positions from where to level the charge "...never existed in the manuscript tradition" conceivable? Or to put it differently: What do others associate with such a verdict?

    Ulrich Schmid

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  11. Hort spent many paragraphs of his Introduction on the basic questions entertained in this thread. The basic logic and method of Hort's genealogical method is irrefutable, and allows for correction and editing of the best representation of the purest line of text that is firmly established in history. After all, all MSS are to some degree related genealogically. Hort recognized the problem of early mixture and made allowances for further adjustment to his method, which has since been totally abandoned by textual critics.

    I leave you with Hort's erudite warning (paragraph 373):

    "There is no royal road to the ascertainment of the true texts of ancient writings. Investigation of the history and character of documentary ancestries would indeed be out of place for the text of the New Testament if the documentary evidence were so hopelessly chaotic that no difference of authority could carry much weight as between readings all having some clearly ancient attestation." [BREAK: Apparently the prevailing view today disagrees with Hort on this point, SO...END BREAK.] "The consequent necessity of always judging chiefly by Internal Evidence of Readings would undeniably save much labour. But it would introduce a corresponding amount of latent uncertainty. The summary decisions inspired by an unhesitating instinct as to what an author must needs have written, or dictated by the supposed authority of 'canons of criticism' as to what transcribers must needs have introduced, are in reality in a large proportion of cases attempts to dispense with the solution of problems that depend on genealogical data. Nor would there be a material increase of security by the assignment of some substantial weight to documentary evidence, so long as it were found or thought necessary to deal with each passage separately, and to estimate the balance of documentary evidence by some modification of numerical authority, without regard either to genealogical affinities as governing the distribution of attestation or to the standard of purity which this or that document or group of documents habitually attains. [BREAK: With some notable exceptions, this would seem to rule out most early papyri which habitually represent mixture to a degree less demonstrable in later MSS...END BREAK.] Under all these circumstances the absense or neglect of the most essential kinds of textual evidence would leave a real precariousness of text which could be avoided only by an enormously increased exhibition of alternative readings."

    Current methodological practice claims textual safety in achieving what Hort could not through the "enormously increased exhibition of alternative readings."

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  12. maurice a robinson5:42 pm, August 18, 2007

    Ulrich: The point levelled against modern critical editions, namely that they produce a text that "never existed in the manuscript tradition," works only from the theoretical position as described under 2) above.

    That's why there are different theories, plain and simple.

    The issue goes back to whether one's theoretical perspective is primarily based on external criteria, internal criteria, or a combination of the two.

    Following that, the theory is further refined in view of the the interpretation and application of the various specifics that could exist within each class of criteria.

    Ulrich: Thus "manuscript tradition" does not stand for what it appears to stand for at face value

    Sure it does. The data (the MSS, versions, and fathers) exist. That is the "manuscript tradition". Everything beyond that becomes a matter of theory, method, and praxis, all attempting to offer a specific interpretation of the data presented in the manuscript tradition.

    Obviously, given all the variables that could exist on the basis of everything stated above, it is no wonder that there are differing theories of NT Textual Criticism in existence, and that advocates of any particular system will hold strongly to their respective position.

    Ulrich: In essence then the charge should be reformulated like "...never existed as one of the currently known texttypes". Are there other positions from where to level the charge "...never existed in the manuscript tradition" conceivable?

    This still reflects a misunderstanding regarding theory and application. The answer is "certainly", and any text produced, for example, by a rigorous eclectic could easily be subject to such a charge, even from those within the "reasoned eclectic" camp.

    Equally, a different but parallel issue could be raised by a "best MS" documentarian, e.g., a post-Hortian might say: "Since no other MS exists in relative purity such as is found in B, all other MSS and texttypes as well as printed editions created on differing criteria necessarily represent a faulty text."

    To conclude this post, along with the citations from Hort by "anonymous", I should mention a few articles from non-Byz advocates that reflect the same point I have been trying to make (citing from memory, thus without full bibliographical citation, but easily locatable):

    Epp, "The Eclectic Method...Symptom or Solution"

    Colwell, "Hort Redivivus"

    K. W. Clark, "Today's Problem with the Critical Texts"

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  13. James Snapp, Jr.7:08 pm, August 18, 2007

    Greetings Ulrich,

    I'll briefly approach your questions in sequence:

    (a) The objection that the eclectic text of NA-27 "never existed in the manuscript tradition" is not itself a strong objection at all, if it is applied to very large segments of text. Any text-compiler aspiring to avoid repeating copyists' errors would have to avoid the errors that appear in MSS -- errors distinct to each text-type, and errors distinct to individual MSS and groups of MSS. Since there are impurities in every branch of the family tree, so to speak, any reconstruction without those errors would end up looking like none of the branches.

    On the other hand, when we consider small series of textual variants, the objection seems to have some weight. Using the family-tree analogy again: if the various small branches emanate from, say, five or six branch-arms that themselves emanate from the tree-trunk, then if we limit our reconstruction of the text to readings that can be traced to these branch-arms, we'll have a stronger basis for each reading than if we were to rely on twigs from the uppermost branches.

    The NA-27 text, however, does not rely entirely on the branch-arms. When one considers the small series of variants which Dr. Robinson has listed as examples of discontinuity, the variants appear to be taken from all over the tree -- from the branch-arms in many cases, but from the twigs in other cases.

    Regarding the Alexandrian text in particular, it seems at times as if the editors of NA-27 have assumed that an Alexandrian archetype will fall into place if the readings of B+p75+Sah are "corrected" via a comparison to, say, Aleph, L, Psi, and Delta. This step seems to have been carried out only where the "correcting" MSS do not have Byzantine readings. So, sometimes the variants in the lower branch-arms are adopted, and sometimes the variants in the twigs are adopted. Okay. But when NA-27 goes from branch to twig to branch to twig to branch to twig, in the course of a couple of lines of text, an implausible transmission-history seems to be implied, so that we have to assume that the earlier witnesses are highly erratic representatives of their text-type in these cases, while the younger witnesses are better representatives of their text-type despite being mixed.

    (I should probably explain that I don't define the "twigs" as necessarily late, just manifestly later than the archetypes of the text-types.)

    (b) An edition that does not fall under Dr. Robinson's verdict cannot be constructed unless the contents of individual witnesses (such as the early uncials) are adopted, chunk by chunk. Imho that's not a good idea. But the valid aspect of his objection could be surmounted if, besides the usual canons, text-compilers kept in mind -- more than they seem to have done when compiling the NA-27 text -- not only the question of which reading best explains the others, but also the question of how, during transmission, the archetypal text made it to the twigs but not to the branches.

    (c) We can't empirically know that any reconstructed text "never existed in the manuscript tradition." But we can gauge probabilities.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.
    www.textexcavation.com/marcanarchetypescans.html

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  14. Not to miss the importance of the first comment in this sequence, I'm glad that there's someone else who does not like the term 'Septuagint'. I think the term is useless for NT scholars, though it may be used by OT scholars.

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  15. Ulrich: In essence then the charge should be reformulated like "...never existed as one of the currently known texttypes". Are there other positions from where to level the charge "...never existed in the manuscript tradition" conceivable?

    Maurice: This still reflects a misunderstanding regarding theory and application. The answer is "certainly", and any text produced, for example, by a rigorous eclectic could easily be subject to such a charge, even from those within the "reasoned eclectic" camp.

    Ulrich: I seem to have been unclear. I was not thinking of bashing accross "camps". I am rather interested in understanding the rhetorical force, the strategy, and the substance behind making the point that such and such a (modern) text "never existed in the manuscript tradition". It smacks like"it must be dead wrong", because, hey, it "never existed in the manuscript tradition." Something that never existed has a very week claim to authority. Is that the more or less immediate association, an association that is very likely intended by those who raise the point?

    At face value it sounds like an objective statement. And that's what makes its rhetorical force. But what is the substance of this statement? The claim behind it actually is, we know the entire manuscript tradition. Otherwise the statement would be unsubstantiated. Do we really know the entire manuscript tradition? I even doubt that we know the extant manuscript tradition. But we certainly don't know the lost parts of the tradition. And, most emphatically, we don't know the archetype(s) (autographs, originals, etc.).

    If we don't know the entire manuscript tradition, how can one confidently claim that such and such a (modern) text "never existed in the manuscript tradition"?

    This is (inter alia) what crosses my mind, when I read the point discussed above. I am so perplexed by the confidence some people have to issue such a statement. Perhaps, I am the only one to be caught that way.

    Ulrich Schmid

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  16. I am also a bit perplexed by the argument.

    I agree that the argument is powerful when applied to small sections of the text such as those discussed by Dr. Robinson. But I find it less convincing when the argument is applied to large stretches of the text. I do not exactly know why I am perplexed, except to say that I am somewhat underwhelmed by the argument. Maybe there are some logical steps that are not being stated in the formulation of the argument? Or maybe I am just not intelligent enough to jump from the premise to the conclusion? Or maybe the argument is simply an unwarranted extrapolation when it moves from the level of the small unit to a much larger stretch of text.

    The thing that really intrigues me about the argument is whether it contains an element of 'providential preservation' thinking within it. Now, of course, Majority Text advocates bristle at the suggestion that such thinking is involved in their textual view (and I respect their protest - I don't think it is involved, generally), but I wonder if the idea has somehow subconsciously insinuated itself into this particular idea.

    What I mean is this. The argument almost seems to take the form: The original text MUST have been preserved in one of the main branches of the manuscript tradition. My question is, why? Why can't some of the original words have been ALTOGETHER lost and not be extant in any mss (leading to the necessity of cj's in places)? I really see no theoretical problem with the need for conjecture, myself. Is this argument just another form of the conjectural emendation debate?

    Altogether I am still uncertain about precisely what this argument is trying to say. I think it needs to be stated in a much more explicit, fleshed out and testable form so that it can be evaluated more closely.

    On the other hand, it is obvious why the modern critical text has been forced to follow such a patch-work text that really seems so pick-and-mix that it is nothing more than a fantasy text.

    The reason why the critical text is in the state it is, I think, might be explained like this: Hort's genealogical theory was eventually seen to be hopelessly theoretical to the point of being irrelevant. As Colwell put it: 'sixty years of study since W&H indicate that it is doubtful if it (Hort's genealogical method) can be applied to NT mss in such a way as to advance our knowledge of the original text of the NT' (Colwell's Genealogical Method). Hort's wordy theorising was simply a front, a smokescreen, for his establishment of Vaticanus (virtually) as the original text of the NT. (If only nttc were so easy as to pick a ms and pronounce it pure!)

    With increasing ms discoveries, however, the fragmentaion and fraying of the Alexandrian text resulted in confusion ('they agreed not amongst themselves'). See Colwell's extended examples again in the same essay - it is a stunning demolition job similar to Dr. Robinson's. So eclecticism became the rule.

    I think the argument about uber-eclecticism is much more powerful when it is applied AGAINST Alexandrian mss generally than when it is used as some sort of proof of Byzantine purity.

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  17. maurice a robinson8:32 pm, August 19, 2007

    Apparently the problem has been exacerbated by various posters elevating a contention that essentially deals with minor stretches of text into some claim that the issue involves the overall text of the NT or even a given book. If so, that is not nor has ever been my point.

    Apart from a strict diplomatic edition, no printed text is or should be expected to be 100% identical to any given MS. The presumed closeness to the autograph or archetype in the text of any given edition is a matter of theory, praxis, and methodological results, which necessarily vary according to presuppositional views going back to matters stated previously, basically involving concepts regarding a history of transmission.

    The point I have been making in relation to transmissional probabilities relates specifically to short stretches of text which, as published in the NA/UBS editions, can be demonstrated to have no known existence among Greek MSS, Lectionaries, Versions, or Patristic quotations -- in contrast to what generally would appear in consensus-based texts or archetypal reconstructions (regardless of texttype) over the same short stretches of text.

    As Andrew Wilson was careful to point out: "the argument is powerful when applied to small sections of the text".

    And as James Snapp Jr was equally careful to state, in regard to matters of transmissional likelihood (emphasis mine): "we can gauge probabilities."

    If indeed the NA/UBS text can be shown to have zero support from MSS, versions, and fathers over numerous extremely short stretches of text -- and repeatedly so throughout the NT -- then, on balance, the "gauging of probabilities" between that text and its underlying methodology versus any other texttype-based, family-specific, or other consensus-oriented text becomes a clear matter for serious consideration.

    Again, as Wilson has noted, this observation does not establish Byzantine or any other "purity" in and of itself; however, it does tend to call in question the results obtained by whatever method(s) have been used in order to create the current NA/UBS critical text.

    In this sense, Wilson's description of the current critical text is apt: "a patch-work text that really seems so pick-and-mix that it is nothing more than a fantasy text."

    Note: I do have a forthcoming article (Proceedings of the Bingham Colloquium 2005) dealing with 105 whole verses in the NA edition that from the NA apparatus alone can be demonstrated to have zero support from any known evidence as regards the precise form in which they are currently printed in that edition. The references previously noted in this thread by "anonymous" (Mt 20:23, Lk 6:26, Mk 11:3, Jn 6:23) are part of those 105.

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  18. maurice a robinson8:55 pm, August 19, 2007

    A few unfinished matters which were too lengthy for the previous reply....

    Ulrich: Something that never existed has a very week [sic] claim to authority. Is that the more or less immediate association.

    Answer: Yes.

    Ulrich: If we don't know the entire manuscript tradition, how can one confidently claim that such and such a (modern) text "never existed in the manuscript tradition"?

    As Mr Snapp said, we can gauge probabilties -- and when the probabilities appear strong (whether pro or contra a given text), then I do think we can make various claims with some degree of reasonable confidence.

    Wilson: The thing that really intrigues me about the argument is whether it contains an element of 'providential preservation' thinking within it....I wonder if the idea has somehow subconsciously insinuated itself into this particular idea.

    Quite frankly, I don't see how it could, or why it should. One could just as easily claim "providential preservation" for a single MS or a differing texttype (which is why I wrote a careful disclaimer at the end of my preface against such assertions when attempting to establish a presumably Byzantine archetype).

    Wilson: The argument almost seems to take the form: The original text MUST have been preserved in one of the main branches of the manuscript tradition.

    This would be a poor choice of wording. Rather, it goes back to balance of probabilities once more (and requiring a certain level of rejection of the other three potential models for NTTC that I stated earlier). If the #2 model (which I hold) is presumed to be the more likely, then indeed, the original text would seem more likely to have been preserved in one of the main branches of the manuscript tradition than any competing theoretical construct.

    The word "MUST" would be too absolute a term when dealing with matters that are ultimately more a matter of theory than of commonly shared fact.

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  19. Thanks for clearing up my misunderstandings, Dr. Robinson. I'm liking what I'm hearing much more the more I think about it.

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  20. I believe I am one of the posters who applied an argument to long stretches of text that Dr. Robinson intended with regard only to short stretches of text. My misunderstanding was based on the previous discussion regarding the role of MS 35 in the byzantine John text for IGNTP. In that discussion Dr. Robinson had a complaint about the IGNTP equivocating between a diplomatic edition and an eclectic one. While it would have to be granted that the book of John is a long stretch of text, Dr. Robinson's point about it was not the same as the argument under discussion here. It was however that earlier discussion that led immediately into this discussion via Dr. Schmid's prompting. My apologies to Dr. Robinson for creating confusion about his views.

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  21. Dr. Robinson,
    I look forward to seeing what those 105 verses are when the article is published. But some of those verses are likely to find explicit support - however tenuous - when you look at witnesses beyond those listed in NA27. For instance, we discussed 2 John 12 a number of months back, but the ECM shows that the UBS version of the verse has support in minuscules 1844 and 1852 (if you discount the all vs. alla variant, which I think is reasonable).

    However, it _does_ seem something of an irony that the reading preferred for the whole of the verse by the editors of the UBS is supported explicitly only by witnesses from the 16th and 13th centuries, respectively.

    Casey Perkins

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  22. Now that we are past the misunderstanding that Dr. Robinson's argument against an eclectic text that has no MS support might apply over whole books, which was not his intention, I still want to question how it applies to short segments of text.

    1) Why distinguish between short segments of text and whole books? What objective criteria determine when a length of text without any MS support for its exact wording is short enough that it must be considered a poor candidate for the text of the autograph?

    2) Allow me to hypothesize a new type of eclectic text that meets Dr. Robinson's criterion that every short segment of text has some MS support. However, with this text every different text-type is still reflected by alternating between different text-types for each short segment. One may fully reflect something byzantine. Another may reflect something Wester. Another Alexandrian. And another Caesarean. Would this eclectic text be any more acceptable than something like NA27? If not, then doesn't that mean that the limitation of Dr. Robinson's argument to short segments of text is not a real criterion for its application?

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  23. maurice a robinson5:14 am, August 20, 2007

    Anon (Perkins): some of those verses are likely to find explicit support - however tenuous - when you look at witnesses beyond those listed in NA27.

    The issue with the 105 verses revolves around the witnesses explicitly cited and exclusively relied upon for establishing the base text of NA27 by its editors.

    In those 105 verses, it is demonstrable that the stated support in any single verse for one or more variant units is wholly cancelled out by the stated support for the remaining one or more variant units that appear in the same verse. The situation becomes dramatically worse if segments transcending the (purely artificial) verse-number boundaries should be examined.

    If (by very remote chance) any witness ever should turn up for such verses that provide actual support of the NA27 text, this would be a matter of mere coincidence, reflecting data clearly unknown to or set aside without consideration by the NA27 editors at the time of original compilation of their base text (else such would have been stated as the basis for their "txt" reading).

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  24. maurice a robinson5:50 am, August 20, 2007

    rowe: Why distinguish between short segments of text and whole books? What objective criteria determine when a length of text without any MS support for its exact wording is short enough that it must be considered a poor candidate for the text of the autograph?

    The matter still goes back to transmissional probabilities. Let me try stating it somewhat differently:

    The question to be asked is: under what theory of transmission can one reasonably or successfully account for merely a short portion of text utterly failing to retain some sort of "textual continuity" amid the massive number of Greek, versional, and patristic witnesses that exist for the NT -- witnesses that span the entire range of textual/transmissional history? And this not once, but at least dozens of times?

    If readers of a given verse in NA27 under such question nevertheless can find in the apparatus a clear and certain reading of that short portion of text among existing witnesses, particularly those that are texttype-specific (i.e., in each cited case out of the 105 there does exist some sort of Alexandrian, Western, or Byzantine consensus among the various witnesses, even if the texttype-specific readings happen each to follow their own course) -- then why should a non-consensus form of text be proffered by the NA27 editors as the putative "original" when such reading is wholly unattested within the "manuscript tradition"? -- and not once or twice, but repeatedly throughout the text of the NT as printed?

    Again, what plausible theory of transmission can account for those short stretches of text within NA27 that simply lack all tangible support?

    I for one cannot fathom any, and am far more content to accept short-segment readings that clearly have some sort of "transmissional reality" standing behind them rather than what amounts to oft-repeated conjecture as an indefensible basis for "autograph" or "Ausgangstext" originality.

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  25. maurice a robinson6:08 am, August 20, 2007

    rowe: Allow me to hypothesize a new type of eclectic text that meets Dr. Robinson's criterion that every short segment of text has some MS support.

    Quite obviously the hypothesis Rowe proffers (cut-and-paste assemblage from various texttype-related segments) would not be generally accepted by anyone, and would be recognized at once for the "block mixture" it would represent.

    And of course some MSS (e.g. , W/032) exist with that type of mixture. How do critics of any stripe approach such when they encounter it? Very simply, by appealing to "transmissional reality", and evaluating the respective blocks within the textype-specific groupings perceived to exist in such MS.

    Again, the issue devolves into what is transmissionally more plausible -- and quite frankly, Rowe's "cut-and-paste" model, applied within a single book, would end up in the aggregate under the same condemnation.

    My contention is that some sort of transmissional reality needs to exist before any sort of "autograph plausibility" can be postulated or claimed. Thus, within what I would see as possible criteria would be either my own texttype-specific model, or a "best MS" model, or even a "best small group of MSS" model. Any of these would meet the transmissional criterion in a manner far better than what is found in either NA27 or Rowe's cut-and-paste model.

    Rowe: If not, then doesn't that mean that the limitation of Dr. Robinson's argument to short segments of text is not a real criterion for its application?

    Not at all, unless one is wholly missing the point.

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  26. I'm afraid I am missing the point. Or perhaps I was until your last two posts.

    You asked, "under what theory of transmission can one reasonably or successfully account for merely a short portion of text utterly failing to retain some sort of "textual continuity" amid the massive number of Greek, versional, and patristic witnesses that exist for the NT -- witnesses that span the entire range of textual/transmissional history?"

    A theory of transmission history that could explain that might be as follows:
    1) Every extant MS has its own transmission history of multiple generations going back to the autograph.
    2) Each time a book was copied a certain percentage of the characters in the exemplar differed from what was written in the new MS.
    3) In every instance of copying this mix of changes was totally unique and distributed across the MS in an essentially random way.
    4) If you take 2 MSS that are only 5 generations removed from an autograph, and even if the entire transmission history of both of these MSS involved copyists with 99% accuracy, then they would each differ from the autograph in about 5% of their total characters. And 5% of that proportion (i.e. 0.025%) will be points where both MSS differ in some way from the autograph. Thus, at those points the autograph will not be preserved in either.
    5) Extending this concept over the entire MS tradition for the NT, the possibility of finding any single point (i.e. a single character) without any MS support at all would be virtually zero. But comparing strings of 100 characters in a row for exact representation of the autograph (instead of a single character as above) would increase the likelihood of no MS having the exact string. Given the great number of witnesses, such a string is unlikely at any given point. But out of the entire 400,000 letters of the NT, even such unlikely 100-letter strings may well occur 100 times or so.

    This model is, of course, oversimplified. One major factor it ignores is the very important phenomenon of MSS being corrected. Allowing for that would further decrease the likelihood of any short strings from the autograph being without MS support. However, it also ignores other important factors, such as the intrusion into the tradition of major changes, which would increase the likelihood of such strings existing. Maybe more importantly, many text critics (not me--but I'm only speaking for the sake of argument anyway) believe the first century or so of NT transmission was very fluid, with hardly any MS copies being made by scribes who even cared to produce something exactly like their exemplars. Imagining such a scenario would vastly increase the likelihood of short character strings from the autograph being without any exact MS support.

    I agree that we must consider theories of transmission. But I can't go so far as to say with you that I "can't fathom" one that would justify the phenomena you have identified in NA27. Particularly, for people who are pessimistic about early transmission, that phenomenon would be expected.

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  27. Doesn't P75/B prove that from the earliest of times some copyists had it in their mind to make a strict copy? The Fathers and the rest of the Papyri generally show such rigid copying to have been in the minority, but nevertheless it did exist.

    There must be a re-entry of genealogical thought into the field of NT textual criticism. One might say that it is still firmly present, that all texttypes are but older combinations and mixtures of the annihilated original text that we see exhibited in the early papyri.

    On the other hand, P75/B show that strict copying did take place in the earliest of times, and that older MSS, in this case B, may in fact be strict copies of texts far earlier than the supposed 4th century origin of the major texttypes. Pondering such a scenario gives real hope to the field of NT textual criticism, and should cause us to reconsider the value of genealogical processes in our field of study.

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  28. Neither P75 nor B would qualify as "the earliest times". The time period that I have seen subjected to the most extreme pessimism is the period before Justin. P75 may date to only shortly later than that, and if it were corroborated by another MS of similar age, your point may stand. But B is not nearly as old.

    Also, when you say "some copyists had it in their mind to make a strict copy," at issue is how many are "some". If the great majority of scribes prior to 175 or so did not have that goal (and I'm only speaking for the sake of argument), then it would have had a big impact on the reliability of our extant witnesses.

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  29. If P75 doesn't represent a specimen of the earliest documentary MS evidence still surviving, what does? Every appearance is that P75 is a strict copy, and that B is also a strict copy in the same family line as P75. This shows that a strict copy process did exist, although obviously in the minority in Egypt, as early as our present documentary MS evidence allows, and also allows us to speculate that "stable" MSS as early as the 4th century and later may in fact be strict copies of strict copies.

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  30. "If P75 doesn't represent a specimen of the earliest documentary MS evidence still surviving, what does?"
    See my last post.
    P75 is full century later than the autographa.
    Although we do have a handful of MSS from that range of the late second century or so, we don't have any from the period in question.

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  31. "Every appearance is that P75 is a strict copy"
    A strict copy of what?
    What evidence are you looking at when you say "every appearance"?
    If we don't know anything about its exemplar and we don't have any other MSS of similar age that are like it textually, I don't see any way to make this claim.

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  32. Maurice Robinson:
    "Apparently the problem has been exacerbated by various posters elevating a contention that essentially deals with minor stretches of text into some claim that the issue involves the overall text of the NT or even a given book. If so, that is not nor has ever been my point."

    Thanks, Maurice, that is very helpful. But it's not just posters that seem to have used such a claim in a global way, but my reading of Jenny Read-Reimerdinger's 2002 book on 'The Bezan Text od Acts' very much points in that direction too. The fact that you cited her in that respect with approval (I would guess so) in your edition made me wonder as to what your position actually is.

    Ulrich Schmid

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  33. You can ask your question to Barbara Aland, who writes, "There is an equally substantial number of manuscripts representing a 'strict' text, which transmit the text of an exemplar with meticulous care (e.g., p75) and depart from it only rarely" (Text, p. 64).

    The study of scribal habits is a long-standing science, with which you apparently are either unfamiliar or the conclusions of which you reject outright. Currently I cannot tell which is true.

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  34. Anonymous. If Barbara Aland were in this discussion I would ask her. But I asked you, since you had made the claim, and indicated that you had specific evidence (not just a reference to another expert). I have made no claims about my level of familiarity with the literature. Nor is it necessary. Nor did I present the view I was reciting as though it were my own--in fact I already said that it wasn't. But, since you are so familiar with the literature, you are well aware that I was presenting a concept that has been advocated in important published works of several important figures in NT TC, whose own familiarity with the status quaestionis need not be questioned.

    All I was doing was presenting a theory of transmission that would account for an eclectic text containing verse-length text strings without any MS support, and that for no purpose other than to point out that such theories are fathomable.

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  35. maurice a robinson6:05 pm, August 20, 2007

    Regarding Rowe's proffered "theory of transmission history that could explain that", I believe the proffered theory has some severe flaws.

    rowe: 1) Every extant MS has its own transmission history of multiple generations

    Granted.

    rowe: ...going back to the autograph.

    Well, "ultimately" going back to the autograph; but that would hold for all MSS within all texttypes. But this claim does not appear to recognize recensional or other deliberate alteration as a source of non-autographic corruption, which I think is a very different matter than readings caused by scribal error (you do, however, include the caveat regarding the "intrusion into the tradition of major changes").

    rowe: 2) Each time a book was copied a certain percentage of the characters in the exemplar differed from what was written in the new MS.

    Certainly some errors would occur in the normal process of copying. But are you asserting that, once an error is made in one MS, that such would likely never be corrected? Your further caveat obviously recognizes such normally would not be the case. I previously have suggested that proofreading and correction do appear to represent a stabilizing factor in the general transmission of the NT text.

    rowe: 3) In every instance of copying this mix of changes was totally unique and distributed across the MS in an essentially random way.

    Again, this seems to claim too much: namely, that once the "mix" exists, recovery and restoration becomes impossible. The manuscript record does not appear to support such a hypothesis.

    Even if (in your hypothetical example) there might occur some 5% level of change between copy and exemplar (which I think high in relation to any particular archetype, absent deliberate recensional or "editorial" alteration) -- on what transmissional grounds would such a MS then become likely to serve as the mother of all other descendants within that family or texttype, assuming such change to have occurred subsequent to the intial archetype?

    Again, scribal familiarity with a given text, spurred on by at least semi-regular comparison and correction, would seem to preclude most later corruptions or alterations ever from gaining the ascendancy within the process of "normal" transmission.

    rowe: comparing strings of 100 characters in a row for exact representation of the autograph (instead of a single character as above)

    The analogy is incorrect, primarily because "the autograph" is the X-factor -- being unknown except by working with the existing manuscript, versional, and patristic data. TC has to work backward toward the autograph, and simply cannot work forward from that which remains to be established on text-critical grounds.

    If instead one were "comparing strings of 100 characters in a row" with the intent of finding an "exact representation" of a likely familial or texttypical archetype, then the analogy would hold (and that is my point).

    rowe: out of the entire 400,000 letters of the NT, even such unlikely 100-letter strings may well occur 100 times or so.

    On the contrary, should one attempt to determine a familial or texttypical archetype on the basis of various 100-letter strings, it would be the rare case indeed where, e.g., a basic Alexandrian archetype would be utterly indeterminable, thereby forcing conjecture -- and of course the situation would be even less so as regards the Byzantine.

    Again, the problem involves NA27 in its main text departing totally in such short segments of text from all actual MS continuity (regardless of single MS, texttype, family, or archetype), in favor of a putative "autograph" or "Ausgangstext" reading from which all other readings are then claimed to derive -- thereby asserting as a main text reading something that cannot be demonstrated ever to have existed within transmissional history.

    It would seem that the best term for this phenomenon would be "sequential conjecture".

    rowe: ...the first century or so of NT transmission was very fluid, with hardly any MS copies being made by scribes who even cared to produce something exactly like their exemplars.

    I would suggest that this claim fails in part because it assumes (in opposition to Hort, who considered the scribes mostly "angels") that the first-century scribes were all or mostly "devils" -- bent on changing that which they were copying into something significantly different; remoulding the text into their own image, as it were.

    I would rather suggest (and our earliest papyri tend to support such, as per Royse and others) that in general, most of these scribes were far more careful in their task than has been alleged -- even while some individual scribes in various locations may have been more or less "editorial" in their alterations.

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  36. maurice a robinson6:16 pm, August 20, 2007

    Ulrich: my reading of Jenny Read-Reimerdinger's 2002 book on 'The Bezan Text od Acts' very much points in that direction too. The fact that you cited her in that respect with approval (I would guess so) in your edition made me wonder as to what your position actually is.

    I cite Heimerdinger on one side as well as David Parker on the other (not to mention numerous others, some in regard to their statements which could be used in support of my position, others to the contrary).

    Obviously my textual position does not line up with either party, and it would be quite difficult to restrict my citations only to those who might concur with my position without exception.

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  37. For the benefit of this list, perhaps Eric Rowe will be kind enough to mention the "important published works of several important figures in NT TC" who support the claim with evidence (against Colwell) that p75 is not a strict copy of its exemplar.

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  39. Anonymous, I never claimed to know of anyone "who support the claim with evidence (against Colwell) that p75 is not a strict copy of its exemplar."
    I'm also certain that of all the people who have posted their thoughts here, mine are the thoughts in which any reader should be the least interested. But, for those who want to see what I did and did not say, my comments are still here to be checked. Reading what I wrote will be as enlightening as any repetition of it that I could make at this stage.

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  40. Maurice Robinson:
    "I cite Heimerdinger on one side as well as David Parker on the other (not to mention numerous others, some in regard to their statements which could be used in support of my position, others to the contrary).

    Obviously my textual position does not line up with either party, and it would be quite difficult to restrict my citations only to those who might concur with my position without exception."

    You are, of course, free to cite whoever you want. But, if you cite with approval (or without qualification), you run the risk of being associated with such positions. Allow me to cite from the Preface to your "Byzantine Textform 2005" (v, note 7):

    "Jenny Read Heimerdinger, The Bezan Text of Acts... states, 'The current editions of the Greek New Testament...[present] a hypothetical text that has been reconstructed by selecting variant readings from different MSS... There is no evidence whatsoever that the current text ever existed in the form in which it is edited' (51); thus, researches and search programs 'rely for their text on a printed edition whose text doe not exist in any extant manuscript and which is reconstructed by textual critics' (64n7)."

    You delivered this as a blow against "modern eclectic patchworks", whereas in this sweeping and unconditioned way Read-Heimerdinger speaks out against every modern edition that does "not exist in any extant manuscript and which is reconstructed by textual critics", thus including your own RECONSTRUCTED Byzantine Textform that does not exist in any EXTANT manuscript (at least for the Catholic Epistles).

    Given the rhetorical context of your presentation how should readers come to think that you would not exempt your own product from Read-Heimerdinger's verdict?

    Ulrich Schmid

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  41. maurice a robinson2:40 pm, August 21, 2007

    Ulrich: But, if you cite with approval (or without qualification), you run the risk of being associated with such positions.

    Seriously, Ulrich....do you think anyone in the world (Heimerdinger included) would think that by my citation of her statement that somehow I agree with or am associated with her position regarding the Western text? She simply reflects an illustration of the basic point I was making, and whether or not she deals with a text as a whole (which in fact I think she does -- with justification -- in relation to Acts), this does not change my stated position which reduces the focus to the short-sequence stretches in the current critical text that have zero support among the witness base.

    Within this discussion I also cited Clark, "Today's Problems with the Critical Text," which basically makes the same claim as Heimerdinger some 40 years earlier. So also did I cite Epp, "The Eclectic Method -- Symptom or Solution," in which Epp comes down firmly on the "symptom" side, and raises the same point regarding artificiality of the current critical texts as something not optimal or even "good" in and of itself.

    My position simply happens to agree in relation to their basic point, even though none of them might share my position or vice versa. Citation in this case is merely to demonstrate that others have seen similar problems in regard to the manner of construction and resultant text of NA27.

    Either way, I hardly think anyone is going to assume that I happen to share the views of those I cite, or that those cited would at all accept my position. This is no different from what is done in any scholarly publication, as can easily be demonstrated.

    Ulrich: Given the rhetorical context of your presentation how should readers come to think that you would not exempt your own product from Read-Heimerdinger's verdict?

    I would hope by carefully reading the remainder of my Preface and Appendix....

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  42. Maurice Robinson:
    "Ulrich: But, if you cite with approval (or without qualification), you run the risk of being associated with such positions.

    Seriously, Ulrich....do you think anyone in the world (Heimerdinger included) would think that by my citation of her statement that somehow I agree with or am associated with her position regarding the Western text?"

    Come on, Maurice, you divert. Nowhere in the context of your citation of Read-Heimerdinger nor in the point I was making concerning your citation, there is anything remotely connected to Jenny's "position redarding the Western text". Therefore, anyone associating you with this position would be way off the mark.

    In the context you set up and the selection of text from Read-Heimerdinger you've presented, it's all and only about a "printed edition whose text does not esist in any extant manuscript and which is reconstituted by textual critics" (her words as cited in you edition). In this unnuanced version, the statement fires against all modern editions including The Byzantine Textform 2005, I'm afraid. You cannot have her sweeping and strong claim without it backfireing on you too.

    That's what it is about, and not about Western text or whether or not modern texts are artificial (re Epp) etc.

    Ulrich Schmid

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  43. maurice a robinson6:55 pm, August 21, 2007

    Ulrich: That's what it is about, and not about Western text or whether or not modern texts are artificial (re Epp) etc.

    Obviously we see matters differently, Ulrich, and the situation thereby reduces down to a strightforward methodology within the framework of a given theory. What might not seem clear from your perspective might shine brightly from mine, and vice versa.

    Rather than continue to spin wheels over what seems more a matter of semantics, I note what I also quoted in my preface from Parker (here abridged), from which anyone can draw their own proper conclusions:

    "Textual critics, under the guise of reconstructing original texts, are really creating new ones....I do not mean that the texts we are creating are necessarily superior to earlier creations. It is more significant that they are the texts we need to create." (emphasis added).

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  44. Probably any reconstruction of the original text will not be present in the extant MS tradition, and thus the need for textual criticism in the first place.

    Professor Robinson should be commended at least as being faithful to his own position. I've looked at his text of Jn 7:53-8:11, and to my knowledge, he never departs from the K5 group of 250 or so MSS. I was actually seeking to show a place where even his text was not in any number of extant MSS over a few short verses.

    I think he should receive some commendation for being consistent in his own pessimistic view about the eclectic text, that it does not have a sound footing, as he puts it, in transmissional history. Is "transmissional" even a word? His text has the advantage of being very present in the MS tradition, even if its archetype was only created between ca. 250-350, although of course his position is that it goes back much further, even to the original text archetype itself.

    Jonathan C. Borland

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  45. maurice a robinson4:48 am, August 22, 2007

    jcb: Probably any reconstruction of the original text will not be present in the extant MS tradition, and thus the need for textual criticism in the first place.

    While true, this once more strays from my main point regarding short-sequence portions of text with zero support and moves back into the somewhat fruitless discussion of the more extensive segments of text that (admittedly) will slowly lose support as individual MSS here and there happen to err or otherwise deviate.

    jcb: I've looked at his text of Jn 7:53-8:11, and to my knowledge, he never departs from the K5 group of 250 or so MSS. I was actually seeking to show a place where even his text was not in any number of extant MSS over a few short verses.

    Please extend the "experiment" to any portion of the R-P NT text, even where Byz is divided severely. The R-P text as published for any single verse throughout the NT, or even multiple verses in sequence in most of the NT will always have existing MS support behind such (reflecting quite naturally some sort of "Byzantine consensus", with varying levels of MS support).

    >Is "transmissional" even a word?

    I have used it continually. It had best be a "real" word. :-)

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  47. Professor Robinson,

    I thought Jn 7:53-8:11 presented the most major Byzantine divisions within so short an amount of text that if the RP2005 text was not eclectic there, it certainly would not be anywhere else. Am I wrong in this assumption?

    I would also ask if you have presented evidence against the conclusions of Hodges and Farstad that m5, the group RP2005 seems to follow exclusively in the Pericope Adulterae, over against m6, "shows marks of revision," (HF1985, Intro, p. xxvi). One slight probability favoring m6 and the PA in general, according to the HF1985 editors, is the vocative GUNAI (Jn 8:10), which is absent from the m5 group and thus RP2005.

    The HF1985 editors also remark concerning EPOREUQH (Jn 7:53) of m5 (and thus RP2005), "It is an obvious contextual harmonization with the same verb in 8:2 and was probably thought to improve the style" (xxvi).

    Regarding EIPON (HF1985) and LEGOUSIN (RP2005) in Jn 8:4, the HF1985 editors state, "The present tense is then a contextual harmonization with the same tense of AGOUSI in the preceding verse, since AGOUSI and LEGOUSIN belong to the same sentence" (xxvii).

    They further say that TAUTHN hEUROMEN (HF1985) in Jn 8:4 "has an overwhelming claim to originality," for the "scornful use of the demonstrative pronoun is a clear Johannine trait . . .," and that hAUTH hH GUNH KATELHFQH (RP2005) merely changed to an aorist the hAUTH hH GUNH KATEILHPTAI reading which "would easily be worked up from the GUNAIKA . . . KATEILHMMENHN of verse 3" (xxvii-xxviii).

    There are 15 other places where they argue against the m5 (or RP2005) reading in the PA. Of course they did not have the advantage of your exhaustive collations, either.

    It's been a long time since I read your "Preliminary Observations" paper, but I can't remember if you presented your intrinsic and transcriptional arguments for the readings of m5 (or its connected streams) in that paper. I'm currently overseas and don't have access to the paper, unfortunately.

    Jonathan C. Borland

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  48. maurice a robinson4:22 pm, August 22, 2007

    jcb: I thought Jn 7:53-8:11 presented the most major Byzantine divisions within so short an amount of text that if the RP2005 text was not eclectic there, it certainly would not be anywhere else. Am I wrong in this assumption?

    Not wrong, but I didn't want to leave the impression that a substantial Byzantine manuscript underpinning in the remainder of the NT somehow might be absent outside of that pericope.

    As for all the questions regarding the textual streams and individual variants within the Pericope Adultera, I will abstain, since these clearly go beyond the intent of this thread (and besides, classes have resumed over here, so time for detailed discussion is at a premium).

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  49. maurice a robinson2:59 pm, August 23, 2007

    pmh: Is 48 comments a record on ETC?

    Yours made it 49... :-) Now we have 50. Time to call a halt to this thread, methinks.

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