Friday, August 14, 2009

'the word of power': Hebrews 1.3 (P46 et al)

One of the potential dangers in eclectic texts is that the mechanisms used for indicating variants may mislead readers into isolating variants that are actually in close relationship with each other (and you do see this a lot even in scholarly writing). Take Hebrews 1.3 in NA27 as an example.
The omission of AUTOU is indicated separately from the addition of DI AUTOU - and in any case they relate to different editorially indented (participial) clauses, which could lead you to think that these are basically separate variants, the origins of which could be described and discussed separately.
But some attention to the witnesses for these variants, or an examination of some of the manuscripts, will help show that they are related.
Lacking AUTOU: P46 0243 6 1739 1881* pc
Having DI (E)AUTOU: P46 0243 1739 1881 (and others)

Take a look at P46 at this point:





P46 doesn't omit AUTOU and then add DI AUTOU. It reads DI AUTOU instead of AUTOU. Nor in fact, based on P46, do we really know whether DI AUTOU is linked with FERWN (the preceding verb) or POIHSAMENOS (the following verb) - there is no indication either way. Either way it is difficult to construe, and suggests an odd change of subject.
Perhaps one could even argue that this reading is the harder reading, and ought to be presented as the A-text. If this is printed as the main text, then you would only have a single variant marker leading to two major alternative readings: a) the difficulty of the change of subject leads to the simple modification to DI EATOU in one textual tradition; and b) the deletion of the tricky DI in the other.

11 Comments:

Andrew Wilson said...

This would be obvious if we had a Swanson volume on Hebrews!

maurice a robinson said...

One important question in this regard that perhaps only the Münster people can answer:

How does the Münster-based CBGM program deal with this situation -- as a single variant unit? or as two separate units?

And if the latter, what then happens when the textual "flow" differs between the two units (as one would assume it necessarily must, given the shift in external support)?

The White Man said...

TWRHMATITHSDUNAMEWS--wouldn't that be "the word of the power?"

The White Man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim Finney said...

Zuntz likes the reading of P46. See his Disquisition.

Anonymous said...

Peter Head
"One of the potential dangers in eclectic texts is that the mechanisms used for indicating variants may mislead readers into isolating variants that are actually in close relationship with each other..."

I don't think the example provided indicates a "danger in eclectic texts". It has more to do with (a) choices of constructing variation units and (b) perhaps to a lesser extent problems in pocket editions giving only a selection of variation units.

Ulrich Schmid

Peter M. Head said...

Thanks Ulrich,
I wasn't meaning to be critical of the production, more to alert users of potential problems (which I have seen). The 'potential' for danger is with those who use it without a bit of broader background. We ought to look at the NA and see the tip of a very large ice-berg.

Peter M. Head said...

Also it is somewhat interesting, because some people like to count variants. But how many variants are there in NA27 in Heb 1.3? Even with a particular edition and a single verse reasonable people might give different answers, anywhere between 2 and 6.

Anonymous said...

Peter Head
"Also it is somewhat interesting, because some people like to count variants. But how many variants are there in NA27 in Heb 1.3?"

Sorry, for being pedantic, Peter, but you are talking about variation units (points of variation), right?

Counting those in a pocket edition and expecting to receive solid absolute numbers is a fairly hazardous enterprise. Just look at the number of variation units in James as displayed in available editions: NA27 has 214 (I've surely miscalculated the figure) and ECM has 761. Add your own counts from GNT4, von Soden, etc. and try to explain the differences.

It occurs to me that somebody should write an essay, perhaps of book length, about what you should not do with such and such an edition, even if you (think you) can count.

Ulrich Schmid

Peter M. Head said...

I agree Ulrich - a user's guide to NA would be excellent.
I'm not too bothered about counting things, only to point out that it is difficult to do even when you think you have something to count.

Peter M. Head said...

The general issue is raised in passing in David Parker's blog: http://igntp.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/18-5-and-a-movable-jesus/ where he points out that something that NA28 signals as two variation units could rather be regarded as integrally related.