Monday, May 24, 2010

Luck on Conjectural Emendations

G. Luck, 'Conjectural emendations in the Greek New Testament' in M. Sanz Morales, M. Librán Moreno (ed.), Verae Lectiones: estudios de crítica textual y edición de textos griegos. Exemplaria classica: Vol. Anejo 1. Huelva: Universidad de Huelvá, 2009, pp. 169-202

This book (which includes other interesting chapters on the textual criticism and editing of Greek literature is reviewed over by David Butterfield at BMCR , including an appreciative paragraph on Luck's chapter:
Probably the most impressive article in the collection is the spicilegium of emendations upon the Greek New Testament gathered by Georg Luck, who fairly observes that the 20th century has seen something of a return to the 'Mumpsimus' style of conservatism to which a religious text instinctively allures its readers. His treatment merits careful attention from scholars given to knee-jerk rejections against modern conjectural emendation, whose antipathy subsides significantly if the conjectural nature of a reading is obscured by its occurring in an anonymous 'witness'. Luck discusses 32 passages from the NT, typically supporting a previous conjecture but in three cases (Mt. 16:2b-3, Lk. 14:5, Acts 17:26) offering his own afresh. His treatment of the various loci that have been typically acknowledged as problematic is masterly in its lucidity and logic. I find Luck's arguments convincing in twenty cases, and worthy of serious investigation in eleven other instances; at Acts 17:26, however, the vulgate: ἐξ ἑνός can easily understand ἀνθρώπου in reference to Adam.
Up-date: Stephen Carlson had already noted the article and listed the passages it deals with:
In the article, Luck discusses conjectures at Matt 6:28-9, 7:25, 8:30, 16:2b-3; Mark 9:23, 10:40, 12:4-5; Luke 6:1, 14:5; John 1:18, 7:52, 19:29; Acts 5:17, 16:12, 17:26, 20:28; Rom 9:5; 1 Cor 2:4, 2:13, 4:6, 12:13b; Gal 2:1; Phil 2:1-6, 2:30; Philem 9; Heb 11:4, 11:37; James 4:2, 4:5; 1 Pet 3:18-19; Rev 7:16, and 15:3.

14 comments:

  1. I look forward to hearing Jan Krans' opinion about this study, if/when he has read it.

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  2. In the new edition of Ehrman/Holmes, there will be a contribution by me on NT conjectural emendation. Luck's article was useful to me for one general and one specific point. The general one is the typical divide between NT textual critics and classical scholars, the latter generally taking conjectural emendation as part and parcel of textual criticism (and having a knowledge of Greek that allows them to be sufficiently confident in their judgements). The specific one, if I remember well - I am in Florence right now, not engaged in textual criticism, though I just bought a book on Salutati - is Luck's criticism of Metzger and Kilpatrick, who adopt the tactic of dismissing the conjecture they present as the most widely supported one, in order to declare the entire undertaking unnecessary by implication. For the rest, read my article and/or come to the SBL International Conference in Tartu. BTW, I thank Stephen Carlson for help in obtaining the article.

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  3. Thanks Jan, enjoy Firenze! (though I thought you were always engaged in conjectural emendation, at least between the pizzas and cappuchinos.)

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  4. I'm sorry I won't be in Tartu for ISBL this year, not only for the scholarly interaction but also because I will likely miss out on jokes for the next year (like emendations with pizza).

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  5. MY SBL Int'l paper will discuss the conjecture at Gal 4:25.

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  6. I was impressed with Georg's depth of research right from the start in that even though I am just a lowly doctoral student in a northern canadian small town writing a dissertation on new testament conjectural emendation - none of which has seen publication yet, he managed to track down even me over two years ago now. I figured then that if his research could track down leads that insignificant, there wasn't much he would miss!

    I read early versions of his article, and found it very helpful. Even more helpful, Georg generously read and critiqued every chapter of my first draft. I'll finish this month, and the final product is immeasurably better for his input. All that to say, I'm glad his work on this subject is finally seeing publication, and I hope it is read widely in our field.

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  7. Can anyone list his proposals here? No arguments needed, just the proposals.

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  8. I can't answer Timo's request I'm afraid. But BMCR has another review of Margarethe Billerbeck, Mario Somazzi, Repertorium der Konjekturen in den Seneca-Tragödien. Mnemosyne Supplements 316. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2009. This lists 10,000 conjectures!!! (http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2010/2010-05-52.html). The reviewer comments:
    "Only a very few of the 10,000 conjectures, of course, have any chance of winning general acceptance or appearing in the text of a critical edition. If conjecture were an independent activity aimed solely at correcting the text, like the work of a police detective solving crimes, one would have to conclude that it is a low-yield pursuit. But in fact conjecture is only one outcome of the whole philological enterprise, of intensive engagement with all aspects of a text including word choice, style, metrics and so on."
    There are also interesting comments on electronic publishing of such a collection.

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  9. Thank Peter for the reference to the Seneca project. For the NT, my estimate now is 15,000, but I do not have any hopes of collecting them all. However, with the VU University project, something like the electronic publication mentioned by Fitch will become a reality for the NT.

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  10. Could someone help me get the Luck article? I just turned in a thesis that includes discussion of the James 4.5 passage.

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  11. Wieland links to a pdf of the article: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/textualcriticism/message/5916

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