Evangelical Textual Criticism

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dan Wallace in JETS

The most recent issue of JETS contains the plenary lectures on the text and canon of OT and NT from last year's ETS conference (see previously here). The NT papers are both excellent. I'll make some comments on one paper here:
Daniel B. Wallace, 'Challenges in New Testament Textual Criticism for the Twenty-First Century' JETS 52 (2009), 79-100.

This is not a technical discussion, and only one or two actual manuscripts or variant readings are mentioned in the paper, which has more the tone of a pep talk for evangelicals to get more acquainted with the issues posed by the discipline. He begins with Bart Ehrman and then
Dan discusses three 'postmodern intrusions into NT TC'.
The first of these is the Ehrman/Epp/Parker redefinition of the goal of NT TC away from determining the wording of the original text, their approach is anchorless, isolationist, and self-defeating, and 'the quest for the wording of the autographa is still worth fighting for' (p. 85).
The second is 'epistemological skepticism' - just because we can't know something certainly (e.g. the date of P52 or the correct text of ancient writers) doesn't mean we can't know anything.
The third is a focus on community/collaboration - which unlike the other two Dan welcomes in terms of various collaborative projects involving lots of acronyms: IGNTP, INTF, UBS, CSNTM.

He then discusses the role of theology in NTTC. Dan notes that theological issues have played a prominent role recently. He makes four points:
First, this blog is a symbol of the importance of theological issues in textual criticism (a good acknowledgement except for the unfortunate fact that he refers to us by the wrong url as www.evangelicaltextualcriticism.com which goes basically nowhere and at the moment doesn't even refer back to here - I guess they'll find us if they really want to).
Second, the prominence of discussion of the orthodoxy of the variants - in Dan's words: "no viable variant affects any cardinal doctrine" (which is commendably cautious).
Third, Dan thinks that those who reject inerrancy because we don't have the autographs are illogical (perhaps here he could have more carefully distinguished between the autographic text and the autographic manuscripts, for more of Dan on this see here).
Fourthly, Dan argues that the incarnation provides a methodological model for historical work in NT TC (not with any explicit reference to Peter Enns [for background see Enns]).

Finally Dan proposes some Desiderata:

Knowledge of documents: we ought to know them better, discover more, make digital photos, collate them and analyse them.

Closing gaps: evangelicals ought to contribute to this field, especially in the versions (like Pete Williams); apologists ought not to make exaggerated statements (as if!); and we ought to teach church members the real facts about the Bible to innoculate them against losing their faith by reading Bart Ehrman (slight paraphrase).

It is a good read, with some interesting details about various things. Most of it I basically agree with. Just a couple of quotes I was not sure about:

1. "Although the second-century MSS are all fragmentary, they attest to most of the NT books and over 40% of the verses of the NT." (p. 87) This figure seems way too high for me. Perhaps a typo for 0.4%. [Up-date: See comments for discussion: it is not a typo, but is not really a serious claim.]

2. The CSNTM has "discovered somewhere between 40 and 50 NT MSS" (p. 96; in fact recently Dan has upped this figure to 75 new mss - WSJ article and Dan on WSJ article). I continue to be fascinated by the number of new mss which the CSNTM claims to have discovered (and which we have often noted with delight on this blog). I might have missed it, but as far as I can tell we are still waiting for a single scholarly publication which actually discusses or demonstrates even one of these new discoveries. Nor, as far as I can see, are any of the images of these 75 mss available on the CSNTM website. Maybe a bunch of you, sworn to secrecy, are even now working away on these new discoveries. Let me know. [Up-date: See comments for discussion: new figure is 77 which is explained by Dan in comments; I was right on no scholarly publications yet, wrong on no images: 2881 and 2882 are on-line at CSNTM and more coming]

3. The CSNTM has "discovered the only biblical majuscule in Constantinople, a fragment of Mark that may be as old as the third century" (p. 96). I seem to recall Dan saying in a comment to this blog that this could be sixth or seventh century.

37 comments:

  1. Thanks for this Peter. Although you make me regret living in small town Ontario, isolated from seminary libraries.

    I have recently been perusing this blog as a relative of mine became enamored with Ehrman and deserted the faith. I have to say I didn't realize how interesting the discussions are. It makes me wish I was 18 all over again choosing my degree subject.

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  2. > "Although the second-century MSS are all fragmentary, they attest to
    > most of the NT books and over 40% of the verses of the NT." (p. 87)
    > This figure seems way too high for me. Perhaps a typo for 0.4%.

    I think he really means 40%. He has a separate article posted at:

    http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=6229

    His list of 2nd Century Papyrus are:

    P52 (100-150)
    P90, P104 (2nd century)
    P66 (c. AD 175-225)
    P46,P64+67 (c. AD 200)
    P77, P103, 0189 (2nd or 3rd century)
    P98 (2nd century?)

    Based on INFT dates, plus 3 others he thinks are also likely 2nd century:

    P4 (2nd century)
    P32 (late 2nd century)
    p72 (late 2nd early 3rd)

    P72 + P46 would get you close to 40% by themselves. The rest would be overlap or noise.


    If you excluded p66, p46, p4, and p72, then your coverage numbers would indeed be quite small.

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  3. Peter - thanks for the great summary. I wasn't aware of this article otherwise.

    Paul - don't feel too bad about small town ontario; I too am from small town ontario, a town of 6000 on the shores of georgian bay, 3 hours from the nearest scholarly library. Yes, that can get trying, but on the other hand, I bet you and I both have much better swimming than toronto!

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  4. Thanks Ryan.

    Actually I am on the Niagara Peninsula so I am halfway between Toronto and Buffalo. :(

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  5. Paul: I read this in a print copy. Past issues see to be available on line but perhaps not the current issue. Someone else may be able to find it.

    Bob: thanks for that. That is helpful. None of these specifics are in the article. I think "all fragmentary" lead me to think of the fragmentary material (the others I would exclude on date grounds). You can see in that list that only three are by general consensus actually/securely second century (P52, P90, P104). The rest, including the big non-fragmentary mss (e.g. P46, P66, and P72) are borderline/uncertain. I accept that including these would get you somewhere closer to40%.

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  6. P72 is the second century? That was a surprise.

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  7. I did not see any mention of P72 in Wallace's short article. He does have a comment on P75: "The original editors of P75 also thought this manuscript should be dated late second to early third century".

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  8. I have managed to add a good link to our blog from www.evangelicaltextualcriticism.com so people who go there will find the blog.

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  9. Friends, thanks for the dialogue about my article in JETS. I should have clarified my point better about the second-century papyri. In the article I said, "We have as many as a dozen manuscripts from the second century alone.... Although the second-century MSS are all fragmentary, they attest to most of the NT books and over 40% of the verses of the NT."

    What I should have said was "Although the potentially second-century MSS..." but I thought that wording would be a bit cumbersome. I was hoping that readers would see the article before 'second-century' as anaphoric and thus would recognize that I was saying that there are possibly a dozen, but not certainly a dozen. So sorry for the misunderstanding! In the on-line essay that discusses these potential second-century MSS, I note that "there are at least ten and as many as thirteen NT MSS that are possibly or definitely from the second century." I do not say in that essay that I believe that all of these are from the second century (I only mention four that I would give as probably from the second century, and I specifically discuss Comfort and Barrett's dating of papyri as tending to be too early).

    Regarding the previous issue that the blog post raised--viz., how many MSS CSNTM has posted on its site or discussed--the claim was made that zero scholarly discussions of any of these new finds has been made AND no pictures of the MSS have been posted. That is not the case.

    Here are the facts: Two of the MSS have been catalogued by Münster a couple of years ago (2881, 2882). All the images of both have been on the site for even longer, along with a collation of each. We have discussed two others (both part of one of the Orlando, Florida MSS) in two "TC Notes," both by Jeff Hargis (both MSS are now catalogued by Münster as 2892 and 2893). We will soon be posting the images. We have also posted some of the images of ALL the Albania MSS (at least 24 MSS and as many as 30 are considered to be not-yet-catalogued by Münster). We discussed four MSS that we discovered in the summer of 2008 in Kozani, Greece, but did not photograph them. (Apparently, we will not be allowed to either.) We also mentioned that 14 MSS are under negotiation, though no real discussion of these has taken place. And of course we have repeatedly mentioned the majuscule in Constantinople (there are a couple of other MSS in Constantinople that we discovered, too, which we will be discussing in due time). This means that we have discussed/shown images specifically of at least 47 uncatalogued MSS.

    On top of this, ten newly discovered MSS will soon go on line (nine of which I discussed on-line briefly). Altogether, we have discussed at least (though usually very briefly) 56 uncatalogued MSS, and have noted another 14. This brings the count to 70. Add the two Constantinople MSS that we have not yet discussed, one Cambridge MS concerning which we have neither discussed nor put images on our site (but will soon do so), and this brings the number to 72. We also posted four leaves of a lectionary that was later discovered to be part of lectionary 1967 at Duke. In addition, four other uncatalogued MSS will soon have images up. Also, we discovered another MS in the back of one of the uncatalogued Albania MSS. And the collation of a MS that we do not have permission to post will also be put on-line. This brings the total to 77 uncatalogued MSS. I don't think it's fair to say that CSNTM has been silent on all of these matters, though we certainly could do a better job of informing scholars of the exact details. We are terribly understaffed and under-funded, however, which means that we must focus on our initial task of digitally photographing the MSS.

    Dan Wallace

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  10. DW: "This brings the total to 77 uncatalogued MSS."

    I can only say EXCELLENT! Keep up the good work! I am quite proud to be able both to endorse the important work of the centre, and to give a few tips of where there might be uncatalogued MSS.

    Concerning the Cambridge MS you mention, I suppose it is one of those six MSS described by Peter Head in the TC Journal in 2003, or is it another one?

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  11. Thanks for the encouraging note, Tommy--and also for your help in pointing us to where the MSS might be! How's your article on that lectionary going? (We didn't count that one, by the way.) But no, the de Hamel MSS were not counted since these were already catalogued by the time we photographed them.

    Dan Wallace

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  12. DW:"How's your article on that lectionary going?"

    Slowly. There are just too many deadlines to keep ut with these days. Right now the commentary on Hebrews is the focus, then an SBL paper and then two requested articles, including one for the second ed. of The Text of the NT in Contemoporary Research.

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  13. I had the honor of working with Dan last year. He sent me a list of ‘second century’ manuscripts and asked me to calculate how many of the verses of the NT are attested in these early manuscripts. The actual number is 43 percent. If anyone is interested in receiving a few files that show how I arrived at this number, just send me a request at greek@happytears.com.

    By the way, the list of ‘second century’ manuscripts that Dan sent me had this note next to the ‘second century’ manuscripts: “(MSS that are possibly prior to 200 are in italics; the rest are in regular type). Of the 12 manuscripts on Dan’s list, 8 were in italics and 4 were in regular type.

    Brett Williams

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  14. Sorry, that was me, reposting a comment that was attached to the previous post but which obviously relates to this one.

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  15. Good Pete, can you then give us some more information on the minuscule? (I post this request here, since you are so active here).

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  16. Thanks Dan for the comments. They were helpful, esp. on the images (I'll update the blog a little).
    On the second-century comment I think I'll stick with 0.4% (at least for the moment - I'm not sure your category of mss that might just possibly be dated into the second century is that helpful).
    On the other comment I spoke of "scholarly publications" and you point to posts on the CSNTM web-site. I don't regard these as equivalent, however informative. On the images then we have access to two complete manuscripts and samples of 24 others, is that right?

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  17. Peter, I'd like to know what you consider a scholarly publication. Is it something that has been published in a journal? Are you saying that an essay posted on the Internet cannot be scholarly? Why? Is it because it is brief? Not peer-reviewed? Also, are you saying that an officially catalogued number by INTF does not count as scholarly? It seems to me that you're parsing your words here; your concern was whether CSNTM had actually demonstrated that we have actually discovered uncatalogued MSS or photographed them. I think I amply demonstrated that, even noting that INTF had acknowledged four MSS by giving them new numbers and that at least 24 of the Albania MSS would be getting new Gregory-Aland numbers.

    As for the potential second-century MSS, I was actually following Eldon Epp's lead, in a fairly recent article, on giving the benefit of the doubt to the earlier dates, BUT I did not at all say that these MSS "might just possibly" be second century. There was more substance to the argument, since I explicitly noted that Comfort and Barrett listed other MSS as potentially belonging to the second century--MSS that I did not list.

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  18. Dan Wallace: "We are terribly understaffed and under-funded, however, which means that we must focus on our initial task of digitally photographing the MSS."

    I think Dr. Wallace's statement here is especially important. He's saying that the current level of funding and (therefore) available man-hours just doesn't leave much time for research and the writing of articles in the traditional academic outlets. It makes sense because more time spent doing this means less time taking pictures. Instead, many hours are being put towards the primary focus of CSNTM (digital photography), which will hopefully allow both current and future scholars to produce these articles. But this organization is still young; I think it has not yet grown to the size at which we should expect both photography and academic publications (in the traditional sense, anyway) on all MSS discovered. I wonder if INTF has functioned or functions under these expectations. Also, I don't know the exact numbers but there is the thorny issue of negotiating the rights to make images and/or publications of the MSS available to the community, which has been mentioned elsewhere.

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  19. "Instead, many hours are being put towards the primary focus of CSNTM (digital photography), which will hopefully allow both current and future scholars to produce these articles."

    Sounds fair to me. I prefer the CSNTM try and dig out as many new MSS as possible, and let others who do not have the means or possibility to travel around the world, to sit at their desks at home and transcribe, collate, analyse and think.

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  20. Re: scholarly publication. Of course I accept that some intelligent things are posted (occasionally) on web sites and stated in blogs. But I don't count them as scholarly publications no. Why not? Because they are not scholarly publications that is why. There is no scholarly vetting/peer review and general assumption about scholarly worthiness; there is no permanence, no method of reference, etc. This is not a mystery: check http://informationr.net/ir/6-4/paper111.html or more simply: http://www.library.drexel.edu/resources/tutorials/scholpubs.html

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  21. Re: second century manuscripts. Obviously dating manuscripts is an interesting, potentially significant, and difficult thing to do. But my interest here is basically one of apologetic strategy (that is the context in which you mention this in your article, arguing against Ehrman). Ehrman said there were centuries before the earliest manuscripts; Wallace says, no that is not the case, second century manuscripts attest most of the books in the NT and 40 % of the verses. That is, to my way of thinking, an over-statement of the facts designed to put a more positive apologetic spin on things than the raw data actually allows.

    My view on this sort of thing, which I thought you (i.e. Dan) shared, is that apologetic over-claiming in our field is a problem. It might win short-term gains but is a flawed long-term strategy (since it shows apologetically minded writing to be tendentious in its scholarship, and it eventually shows up for people in a disconnect between sober/cautious historical research and Christian apologetics).

    Anyway, that is my current thinking and I like to think I am open to correction.

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  22. I hope I/we are all able to tackle these discussions in the spirit of Prov 27.17 (famously mis-printed in a book I saw recently as "ironing sharpens iron").

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  23. "You can see in that list that only three are by general consensus actually/securely second century (P52, P90, P104)."

    I'm curious as to why the latest scholarly consensus (UBS4) excludes p4 from this list.

    As I understand the story, the fragments of p4 were used as stuffing in the binding of a codex of Philo dated as mid-3rd century. Assuming that an old, worn-out papyrus used in this way was at least 50-100 years old, that would put p4 solidly in the second century; as early as 100 according to Comfort, in one quote I read.

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  24. RE: p72 versus p75

    In case it wasn't clear p72 was a typo, as Dr Wasserman quickly noted.

    I find I always have to double check my references to p72, p74, and p75 (as well as p45 and p46 -- for some reason I never confuse p47).

    At least I didn't claim Dr. Wallace thought p74 was 'possibly second century';).

    bob

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  25. Please take this post as an educational opportunity for me. The ‘burden of proof’ always lies with me because I want to know the truth.

    For those interested, here is the list used to calculate 43 percent of NT verses attested in second century mss. Those with (in italics) are not certainly in the second century, but some or all could be (see comment below about paleographers dating). I include the dates, by Metzger, since I specifically ask Dr. Head about these two.

    P4/64/67
    P32 (in italics)
    P46 (in italics) [AD 200 by Metzger]
    P52
    P66 (in italics)
    P75 (in italics) [early century 3 by Metzger]
    P77 (in italics)
    P90
    P98 (in italics)
    P103 (in italics)
    P104
    0189 (in italics)

    May I ask this question to Dr. Head: How precise is paleography? Would you insist that P46 must be AD 200+ not AD 200-? (200+ means dated 200 or after; 200- means dated 200 or before)

    Does early third century, in the paleography world, exclude AD 200- (say AD 195), given the number of years on both sides of a dated ms? For example, let’s arbitrarily pick an early century 3 dated; how about 220? Would you insist that P75 must be on the side 200+ and can not be on side 200- (AD 195, or even 190?)? I am not speaking for Dan, but I am asking what your concern really is. Dan, to my knowledge, has always been very (too?) conservative in dating ms. I can assure you Dan was not exaggerating 40 percent for apologetic effect. As he said, he could have worded it a bit more clearly. But I would have a hard time if someone challenges these mss and their dates (paleographers often are comfortable with a 25 to 50 year leeway on both sides) such that a case could not reasonably be argued for a very late second century date for both P46 (say AD 185) and P75 (say AD 195).

    Dr. Head, you said, “Ehrman said there were centuries before the earliest manuscripts; Wallace says, no that is not the case, second century manuscripts attest most of the books in the NT and 40 % of the verses. That is, to my way of thinking, an over-statement of the facts...” Can you give me the FACTS on P46, for example, that would preclude it from having a late second century date?
    What FACTS do you have that require P75 to be third century and simply can not be in the very late second century? By the way, I would hardly call Dan’s use of these percents as being exaggerated. I feel confident he would not try to smuggle in Aleph to the second or third century.

    Incidently, 0.4% translates into about 319 NT verses. P46 contains a little over 1,700 verses, and P75 adds just about 1,400. So, as you can see, if evidence can be brought forward that requires us to exclude these two manuscripts, a significant change occurs in the total percent, significantly reducing my 43 percent.

    Let me again state that I am not currently a part of CSNTM (although I have hopes of doing more work for them in the future; Dan is a humble and godly man) and I do not speak for organization, nor for Dan.

    Brett Williams
    (Bob, I too may have made some typos in my numbers above, but I think we can extend grace to all of us in such cases.)

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  26. Peter, you make a valid point that we ought not exaggerate the situation for short-term gains. However, Brett Williams, who did the mind-numbing work of counting distinct verses that were represented in the potential second-century documents, also makes a valid point. I would say that most scholars would date both P46 and P66 on the edge of the second century. P75 is not nearly as confidently asserted. But P46 and P66 contain a substantial amount of verses, certainly more than .04% of the text. And my fundamental point against Ehrman was that it was incorrect to claim that we have to wait centuries before we see any copies of the NT. Even putting probable early third century MSS in the mix (e.g., P75) is still before 'centuries.'

    As to the Internet not having any scholarly publications on it, I would have to disagree. CSNTM has not been particularly interested in getting new MSS noted in scholarly journals because of the time-lag. Some journals are seeing the light and are only Internet publications (e.g. TC Journal). As to the view that "there is no permanence, no method of reference," I think that has largely been the case, but it doesn't have to be. And more and more journals (including JBL) are recognizing that on-line essays can be bona fide scholarly pieces. But you are quite right that this has been a huge problem. One of the things that David Parker asked CSNTM to do was to make sure that the links to the MS images did not change. I think we're moving into a world in which accessibility has become more important than some of the advantages of print media. But the Internet needs to have better standardization and permanence in order for it to replace print media as the primary source for knowledge.

    Dan Wallace

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  27. Re Brett's question: how precise is palaeography? It is not precise at all. There is no precision at all. There are lots of different problems: some hands are hard to date anyway for various reasons (few datable examples, few distinctive features, etc. [P46 would be one]); others do fit into a reasonably well tracked trajectory, e.g. P64/67. So both of these might be offered the same general date: around AD 200; but for one of these (i.e. P46) we might need to think of a larger potential range of possible dates (125-350), and for the other (P64/67) a narrower range (150-250). [I generally think 100 years is a reasonable span.] So firstly you can't generalise as to the range appropriate to all palaeographically dated manuscripts. (IMOO)
    Secondly, relatively few of the NT papyri have had substantial palaeographical discussions of their dating.
    Thirdly, more fundamentally, given that the dates are imprecise and uncertain, what is the point of talking only about the extent of the possible range on the early side? I think we should live with /think about/ either the consensus (such as it is) or with the possible range. I think living with only the earliest side of the possible range looks like it is often apologetically motivated.

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  28. Peter said, "I think living with only the earliest side of the possible range looks like it is often apologetically motivated." I guess Eldon Epp is apologetically motivated then. In his article, “Are Early New Testament Manuscripts Truly Abundant?” in _Israel’s God and Rebecca’s Children: Christology and Community in Early Judaism and Christianity: Essays in Honor of Larry W. Hurtado and Alan F. Segal_, ed. by David B. Capes, April D. DeConick, Helen K. Bond, and Troy A. Miller (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2007) 77–107, Epp says as many as 15 MSS are from the second century (80, table 6.2)), although he later changes that to 11 when he discusses "the mere eleven manuscripts that have survived from the period up to and around 200 C.E." (88). I was, as I said earlier, taking my cues from Epp, but few would charge him with 'apologetically motivated'--at least not with right-wing apologetic motivations!

    Dan Wallace

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  29. Interesting discussion.

    My response hits on a bit of a different point. Peter keeps referencing the "apologetic impulse" and I think it's worthwhile to state exactly what that would be in this case. As far as I can see, Ehrman, et al., would exaggerate the gap (between the act of composition and our earliest attestation of it) in order to increase uncertainty (i.e. uncertainty that the text we can reconstruct accurately coveys the text that was composed). The opposing apologetic impulse (and not having read Wallace's article, I won't say this is necessarily part of his motivation, but I have met others for whom it is, so let's just speak of them) would be to play down that gap in order to decrease uncertainty.

    My problem is that I don't think the level of certainty really changes much at all with the size of the gap, whether it is played up or down.

    The only way we have, I think, of evaluating the certainty of the text is the admittedly-somewhat-circular method of judging the text itself.

    The composed text could have experienced corruption in even its second copy, which could have been made very shortly after the composition act. If such an early archetype experienced corruption, then all subsequent copies would preserve that corruption. In that case there would be a degree of uncertainty in our reconstruction even if that gap period was shrunk all the way down to just the one month that elapsed between the composition and that second copying.

    In other words, uncertainty would still exist no matter how small the gap was. Likewise, if the composed text has managed to be preserved, then it would be so preserved regardless of how large the gap was.

    We can talk about the size of the gap making it more or less likely that such preservation occurred, but to my mind such likelihoods are secondary to the basic fact of whether or not the text was actually preserved.

    That fact cannot be known with certainty, but I think we can get close-enough through analysis of the text itself.

    And after a few centuries of scholarship, what has that analysis shown? As textual critics, we have virtual consensus on the vast majority of variants, don't we? Yes, there is always disagreement, but isn't it true that *most* of us agree on *most* variants? Only a minority of cases elude substantial resolution. And in some of those cases, people like myself think the composed text has actually been lost and should be conjecturally emended. But notwithstanding that, isn't the overall conclusion the same?

    Bottom line, no matter if the gap was as big as several centuries, as Ehrman says, or as small as a few decades, as the conservative apologetic impulse (CAI) says, neither appears to me to change two essential truths:
    1) either option would still be more than enough time for some primitive corruption, and thus uncertainty, to occur
    and
    2) subsequent analysis of the text yields the virtual consensus that the great majority of the text survived that corruption.

    It's not like if Ehrman manages to increase that gap, we are suddenly going to disagree on more variants, or if the CAI manages to shrink that gap, we are suddenly going to agree on more.

    Bottom line, in regards to papyrology I think this dating discussion is exceedingly interesting. But in regards to the theological question of certainty in the text, I think it is a red herring.

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  30. Dear Professor Wallace,

    It would seem you have understood Epp's table incorrectly. You have summed the numbers found in the "Cumulative Totals" column. This is simply a running total that already includes the four manuscripts attributed to the second century given in the second row. Thus, it is only eleven manuscripts and not fifteen.

    Kind regards,

    Abdullah David.

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  31. Peter,

    Nice summary of Wallace's article. I appreciate the dedication of this blog to NTTC; it is refreshing to see this discipline represented on the blogosphere.

    Two comments:

    1) To suggest that Wallace is theologically motivated in his dating of the papyri, I think, is incongruous with the spirit of his article. His article basically scolds evangelicals for theologically motivated scholarships and ends with an exhortation to "pursue the truth at all costs." Moreover, I've read Epp on the dating of these papyri and he is in one accord with Wallace in regards to this dating and so I think your perspective here is unlikely.

    2) I'm not sure why there are numerous comments over this point of minutia. While it certainly would be convenient for evangelicals and apologists to have an earlier dating, the fact is, even if the papyri are late, it doesn't really matter because the arguments in Wallace article are still valid.

    Best Regards,

    Rob Kashow

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  32. Abdullah David,

    I don't think I've misunderstood Epp's table or point. For one thing, he says explicitly that there were about 11 MSS written " from the period up to and around 200 C.E." For another, his table has four MSS from the second century, then seven MSS from the 2nd/3rd century. That equals 15. If he had 11 MSS from the second and four from the 2nd/3rd, I would agree with you that I was misreading the cumulative point.

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  33. Rob said: "To suggest that Wallace is theologically motivated in his dating of the papyri, I think, is incongruous with the spirit of his article. His article basically scolds evangelicals for theologically motivated scholarships and ends with an exhortation to "pursue the truth at all costs." "
    I agree with you. That in fact is why I am teasing away at that incongruity. Because I completely agree with Dan on the wider issue.

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  34. I also agree with Ryan's point.

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  35. It seems to me that Epp's way of stating things is more cautious.

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  36. Dear Anon (Professor Wallace?),

    I am afraid you are incorrect. I would urge you to re-read the table carefully.

    Kind regards,

    Abdullah David.

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  37. Dear Abdullah,

    It's not my reading of Epp that's incorrect but my simple math skills. Even in my last comment, I added 4 + 7 and came out with 15! Good grief! I guess it's no more 36 hour days for me! Thanks.

    Dan Wallace

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