Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Dating of the Umlauts

In the comment section of the previous post (on "Asceticism") I mentioned the so-called "Umlauts" in Codex Vaticanus. Wieland Willker has set up a very valuable section on his website that deals with the Umlauts.

There he discusses a number of issues, e.g., the dating of the Umlauts over which there is disagreement among scholars. Leaving aside the "material" side of the problem (that has to do with the nature of the ink, etc), I assume that a complete survey of the textual support for each variant (at least at the un-ambiguous places where we can identify a particular textual variant) could bring us a step closer to the question of the nature and,in extension the dating of the Umlauts even if I realize that the evidence may be open to different interpretations.

In any case, besides Payne, Canart, Niccum and Miller, I know that one scholar in America is working on a thesis on the subject. Moreover, I know that C.M. Martini is working on a new study of Codex Vaticanus, but I don't know to what extent it will deal with the Umlauts. Are there any others out there?

8 Comments:

Peter M. Head said...

I have been working with a learned colleague on the Umlauts. Not quite finished yet.

maurice a robinson said...

In relation to Tommy's comment: the "one scholar" (at least the one that I know of) in the US who carefully has been examining all the umlauts and attempting a comprehensive text-critical classification of what they appear to represent on a per-book/section basis is nearly finished with his dissertation. I presume it will be interesting.

Tommy Wasserman said...

The "one scholar" is indeed the same that Maurice knows very well. Since he has been working on the project over a long time now, I did not know where he was in the process. I am delighted to hear that it is nearly finished, although I can never remember his full name.

It will be interesting to hear what he says about the dating.

James Snapp, Jr. said...

Gary Dykes wrote a little essay, "Digging Deeper With the Umlauts" or something like that, in which, as I recall, he proposed that in some cases the umlauts provide the earliest evidence for Byzantine readings. The essay can be downloaded from his website.

Yours in Christ,

James Snapp, Jr.
Minister, Curtisville Christian Church
Tipton, Indiana (USA)
www.curtisvillechristian.org/MarkOne.html

Tommy Wasserman said...

JS: "the Umlauts provide the earliest evidence for Byzantine readings"

That is what I thought of when I vaguaely implied when I talked about the different interpretation of the evidence. If there are relatively many "Byzantine readings" to which the Umlauts refer, is that a sign that the Umlauts are of a later date or is it rather the "Byzantine readings" that are of earlier date? I am aware that this is a very sweeping question, but in principle I suppose this might be a matter of controversy.

maurice a robinson said...

Tommy: If there are relatively many "Byzantine readings" to which the Umlauts refer, is that a sign that the Umlauts are of a later date or is it rather the "Byzantine readings" that are of earlier date?

Given that any variant designated by an umlaut would have to represent a departure from the basically Alexandrian text of Vaticanus, it would seem obvious that the variant readings thus indicated would have to be either Byzantine, Western, or a shared Byzantine + Western (add also "Caesarean", should that strike your fancy).

Therefore I would not make too much out of whatever implication might be forced by necessity in relation to whatever the umlauts might signify beyond a knowledge of the existence of non-Alexandrian variant readings.

Tommy Wasserman said...

MAR: "Given that any variant designated by an umlaut would have to represent a departure from the basically Alexandrian text . . . the variant readings thus indicated would have to be either Byzantine, Western, or a shared Byzantine + Western (add also 'Caesarean', should that strike your fancy)."

It would be very interesting if many of the readings were places where the Alexandrian text is split. I haven't studied the places so I can't tell.

Moreover, the Byzantine text itself developed over time, for example there is the later Kr recension. So, if there are many such readings it might imply a later dating for the Umlauts.

My assumption is that the nature of the variants (that are un-ambiguous) may say something about the dating. But it is necessary to survey the whole pattern of readings, not just to pick a few.

Dating said...

It will be interesting to hear what he says about the dating.