Monday, May 17, 2010

New Dissertation in TC on the Pericope of the Adulteress

A new dissertation in New Testament textual criticism has seen the light at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen written by John David Punch under the supervision of Jan G. van der Watt, and with the title "The Pericope Adulterae: Theories of Insertion and Omission."

The dissertation, over 400 pages, includes this summary:

While the majority of the scholarly world seems to be settled in accepting the fact that the Pericope Adulterae (John 7:53-8:11) is a non-Johannine interpolation, numerous questions remain unanswered in regards to the pericope, such as who penned these words, where the story originates from, and when was it inserted/omitted/re-inserted into the Fourth Gospel. In addition to this, there are mild debates that continue in regards to Greek manuscripts, the influence of lectionary practice, and the relevancy of the Patristic witnesses. Further, there is a minority who still argue for the inclusion of the Pericope Adulterae in the Fourth Gospel. Though there is a majority viewpoint, issues related to John 7:53-8:11 appear to be far from settled.

The present work does not argue for either side, but instead tests a hypothesis of several theories relating to the insertion or omission (and subsequent re-insertion) of the passage from the Gospel of John. Such theories are proposed in relation to collation of internal and external evidence both for and against the inclusion of the pericope. No particular theory is advocated for; instead each theory is evaluated based upon the evidence presented in this work and suggestions for further work are offered.

Chapter 1 presents an introduction to the Pericope Adulterae itself, along with a brief summary of the history of biblical interpretation and the history of such interpretation in relation to the Gospel of John in particular. Five theories of omission/insertion are then highlighted, setting the foundation for the work that will follow. These theories are categorized as Redactional Insertion, Ecclesiastical Insertion, Liturgical Omission, Accidental Omission, and Ecclesiastical Suppression.

Chapter 2 summarizes the history of research regarding John 7:53-8:11, beginning with the nineteenth century developments in textual criticism that broke away from Textus Receptus. This summary is not exhaustive, but rather highlights the major movements in the research of this passage up to the present day, detailing scholars who have either had a profound impact on textual criticism, written major works relating to the Pericope Adulterae, or written multiple works on the subject.

Chapter 3 presents a working translation and exegesis of the pericope. The translation is offered with comparison to the numerous variants associated with the passage; the exegesis is offered based upon the traditional location of John 7:53-8:11 immediately following John 7:52 and preceding 8:12.

Chapters 4 and 5 discuss the internal evidence of the literary context, style, and vocabulary of the Pericope Adulterae. In Chapter 4, comparison The Pericope Adulterae: Theories of Insertion & Omission is made between the pericope and the immediate context of John 7-8 as well as the larger context of the Gospel of John. This includes discussion of various themes common to the Tabernacles Discourse and to the Gospel of
John as a whole. Further, issues of transition between John 7:52 and 8:12 are evaluated. In Chapter 5, suggested “non-Johannine“ and “Johannine“ style and vocabulary are discussed, in addition to arguments relating to hapax legomena, Lukan and/or Synoptic influence, and the relationship between the Pericope Adulterae and Susanna.

Chapter 6 presents the external evidence of the Greek papyri/manuscripts, manuscripts in additional languages, and the Patristic Witnesses. Evaluation is made in regards to both the presence and absence of John 7:53-8:11 in numerous manuscripts and in the works of various Church Fathers. Further, several theories traditionally offered in response to the external evidence, such as Source Theories, Lectionary Text Theories,
Majority Text Theories, and Multiple Edition Theories, are discussed as well.

Chapter 7 discusses each of the theories presented in Chapter 1. The five theories presented include Redactional Insertion, suggesting that a later Johannine redactor or community inserted the pericope at a later date; Ecclesiastical Interpolation, suggesting that later scribes not related to the Johannine redactor or community inserted the pericope; Liturgical Omission, suggesting that due to lectionary practice and manuscripts the pericope was omitted; Accidental Omission, suggesting that multiple copies of the Gospel of John were released, one without the pericope and one with the pericope; and Ecclesiastical Suppression, suggesting that the Church omitted the pericope out of fears that it could be misinterpreted and/or misapplied. Each theory is treated individually, though at times theories overlap with one another. Further, each is evaluated based upon the evidence presented in Chapters 4-6. Following this evaluation, suggestions for further study of the Pericope Adulterae are offered.

Although the author said in the summary that "[n]o particular theory is advocated for" it is nevertheless clear that in the end he favors #5 Ecclesiastical Suppression, as he concludes his examination on p. 359, right before the final heading "Proposed further study":
Ultimately, theory #5 accounts for the internal and external evidence in a less complex fashion than the four other theories suggested. There are questions that remained unanswered and the theory is likely unproveable, but arguably there does not appear to be a better theory that has been suggested to date that accounts for all the evidence.

I have not read in any detail, but I assume it was suitable to treat this theory as the the concluding one, being able to account for all the evidence, after difficulties with the other theories had been laid out.

The dissertation is freely available here.

A presentation (in Dutch) of the author and the thesis is found here (on p. 6). This is my attempt to translate Dutch (updatethanks to Jan Krans who made some corrections in the comments):

"John David Punch has studied theology at the University of Pretoria, Literature and Biblical Studies at Birmingham Theological Seminary, and Science and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alabama. Punch has been involved in church work and worked as youth pastor; he has been a member of the Briarwood Presbyterian Church Youth Ministry Staff and worked as Park Street Church Minister to Youth in Boston USA. The promotion [=research leading to the promotion] was supervised by the Research Institute for Religious Studies and Theology."

Congratulations to the new doctor!


Jan Krans said...

Re. the translation from the Dutch:
"leading the Briarwood Presbyterian Church Youth Ministry Staff" should be "was a member of the ..."; "as Park Street Church Minister to Youth" should be "worked as ..."; "takes place at the Research Institute for Religious Studies and Theology" should be "was supervised by ..."
The last one is admittedly a bit odd, but "promotie" in Dutch can include the research leading to the promotion itself.

Jan Krans said...

The author states that he will not argue for any particular theory, but nevertheless arrives at a conclusion that does argue for a very particular one. That inconsistency strikes me as odd, or worse: it does not sound entirely honest. Perhaps it is the result of the long process involved in any dissertation, but I somehow am inclined not to believe that. It feels more like a compromise between the candidate and the supervisor.

Tommy Wasserman said...

Jan, thanks for help with the translation, I will change in the main post.

On your second comment, that was my impression too.

Tommy Wasserman said...

... I mean that the author arrives at a conclusion that does argue for the fifth theory.

JDP said...

While I would like to prove one theory, I had to settle for an attempt to demonstrate that several theories are possible, with some being more probable than others. By doing so, I hope to have demonstrated that more discussion regarding John 7:53-8:11 is required. There is no intention to be dishonest and this is not so much a compromise between the candidate and the supervisor as it is the realization that no theory can sufficiently account for all of the evidence under the current rules of textual criticism. However, if internal evidence is allowed to speak on equal footing with the external evidence, then perhaps theory #5 can be proven. Until it is agreed upon that such rules can be modified for this passage, no theory can be highlighted. All four additional theories are probable, but each requires more explanation to account for the evidence. Despite what seems to be an overwhelming amount of evidence against the passage, there is a surprising amount of evidence for it.

Tommy Wasserman said...

"However, if internal evidence is allowed to speak on equal footing with the external evidence, then perhaps theory #5 can be proven. Until it is agreed upon that such rules can be modified for this passage."

I am afraid there won't be universal agreement on any rules. It will always be a weighing of probabilities, where some will place more weight on internal evidence, other on external. Your conclusion on p. 359 to me sounded like a typical decision in favor of the fifth theory after such weighing. It is the best we can do.

My point is that a reader may get confused, because he/she may read in the metatext, between the lines, that you are in effect arguing for #5, while at the same time saying that you do not argue for any of the theories. I would have advised you to be as cautious as you should, while at the same time admit that you are arguing (and include that in the summary).

Nevertheless, that is a minor point. And again: congratulations!

Peter Kirk said...

In a post on my blog I have summarised this one and discussed some of the implications of the suggestion that "the Church omitted the pericope out of fears that it could be misinterpreted and/or misapplied".

maurice a robinson said...

Not yet having had time to read the dissertation as downloaded, but noting the summary:

While agreeing that various forms of ecclesiastical suppression could be involved (as per Augustine) at certain times and localities, my primary contention remains that the passage was omitted for liturgical reasons, namely to satisy lectionary-based factors related to the Pentecost gospel reading.

Nazaroo said...

I'm glad some of the ice is breaking off the formerly popular position that it is an insertion.
I wonder if Mr. Punch has looked strongly at the structural evidence from John itself that we have spent the last 5 years analyzing on our PA website here:

I also think the motives in varies stages of the transmission should be carefully distinguished. There is no one answer that suits all 'ages'.

I agree with Dr. Robinson that the earliest strata of omission is liturgical, while the resurgence/continuance of the omission in the early 4th century was probably political (i.e.Constantine/Augustine).


Ryan said...

Jan Krans wrote:

"The author states that he will not argue for any particular theory, but nevertheless arrives at a conclusion that does argue for a very particular one. That inconsistency strikes me as odd, or worse: it does not sound entirely honest. Perhaps it is the result of the long process involved in any dissertation, but I somehow am inclined not to believe that. It feels more like a compromise between the candidate and the supervisor."

I'm not sure I'd go there with you. I mean, yes, your interpretation is certainly possible, but I don't think it's necessary, and I'm not sure I see (yet) any solid reason to think it is so.

Judging solely from what text is given in the summary, the author says he will not "advocate" for any one theory. To me, this means you will not present a thorough-going defense or affirmation of any one theory.
At the same time, no one, of course, is completely unbiased, and if the author claimed he could survey all 5 theories without privately favouring one of them, I would be inclined to think he was either lying or fooling himself. The honest thing to do, therefore, would be to admit your bias; say something like "the truth is, I do think theory 5 is the best, but I'm going to try to give a balanced survey and examination of all of them."

As I read it, that kind of admission is really all we get in his concluding remarks that reveal his appraisal of theory 5.

All he says is
"Ultimately, theory #5 accounts for the internal and external evidence in a less complex fashion than the four other theories suggested. There are questions that remained unanswered and the theory is likely unproveable, but arguably there does not appear to be a better theory that has been suggested to date that accounts for all the evidence."
and that strikes me as little more than an honest admission of preference, not a thorough going defense or affirmation of the theory. I mean, if it is supposed to be a thorough-going advocation of that theory, it's not a very strong one!
In other words, I could be wrong here, but I think the author was being honest, and not misleading.

Peter M. Head said...

I was not at all persuaded by some of the bits I read in the chapter on the external evidence. The author interprets a perfectly normal punctuation dot in P66 as if it was a textual marker of the omission of the PA (p. 265).

Peter M. Head said...

Oh dear. He does the same thing with Sinaiticus on p. 270. A normal punctuation dot is interpreted as signifying the scribe knows about the PA.

Peter M. Head said...

While claiming distance from PA conspiracy theorists the author claims that P44, P75, Sin and Vat all provide evidence for the existence of the PA through, you guessed it, dots.

Peter M. Head said...

Who examined this thesis?

JDP said...

The marks may be scribal notations. This is debatable, but possible. Hence, the uncertainty of the theory.

Reviewers: Eynikel, van Resnburg, Joubert, Wijsen, van der Watt.

Timo Flink said...

Peter, just a question. Are we sure that they are punctuation marks? As I read the pages, it seems to me that the author was trying to make an argument that they could be something else, namely, text-critical markings because of reasons he gives. Whether he is correct or not I cannot say, but should we dismiss his arguments entirely?

Peter M. Head said...

No it is not debatable, it is nonsense. Just look at the discussion and look at a photo. On this basis the scribe of P66 knew 248 additional passages he chose not to include in his severely truncated version of John's Gospel.

Lang Family said...

nonsense? wow

Peter M. Head said...

Hmmmmmmmm. I'm not trying to be Mr Nasty here. I'm sure there is a lot of excellent work in other parts of the thesis. However, the portions I read on the external evidence look to be written already with a view to establishing option #5 and the author takes extremely idiosyncratic (or nonsensical) positions on the manuscript evidence.

Maybe the author's views on the punctuation of P66 can be defended. I don't see how they could be.

Peter M. Head said...

In response to Timo: I don't reject the arguments out of hand. I look at a photo of the page of the manuscript and then I reject them.

Nazaroo said...

I'm glad Mr. Head is so sure of himself.

We examined the dots on all four extant MSS of John, p66, p75, Aleph and B, and found that they largely don't correspond to any known grammatical convention.

Often they break up clauses, or separate coordinated sentences.

Often they fall outside of where full stops are reasonably certain, while those places lack dots.

Some of the dots are accompanied by a space, indicating the original copyist made them, and probably found them in his exemplar. They may have originally demarcked line-ends in the exemplar.

Some have conjectured breathing pauses, but they are too irregular for that, and they often don't mark pauses in sense that would be suitable for public reading.

In some of the MSS, there is a combination of two or more layers of dots: One by the original scribe, another by a diothortes or later corrector.

In some MSS, the copyist has used the same marks his own way, while at the same time copying marks from his master-copy without attempting to distinguish them by form.

In these cases, the meaning of some of the marks, as well as their actual origin can never be known.

Calling the dots collectively "ordinary", when they don't conform to a uniform practice and do exhibit heterodox sources and purpose is at the least very disengenious.


Nazaroo said...


Those dots which are found in p75 seem to indicate verse divisions[!], which doesn't bode well for the dating of that manuscript.


Peter M. Head said...

Hi Nazaroo. Who is "we"?

Peter M. Head said...

Nazaroo said: "Those dots which are found in p75 seem to indicate verse divisions[!], which doesn't bode well for the dating of that manuscript."

Not sure what the problem would be here. Scribes used dots for punctuation. Punctuation often comes at the end of a unit of thought (or even a sentence). Versification (from 1551) used both the available punctuation and the inherent sense of passages.

Peter M. Head said...

Nazaroo suggested that I shouldn't call the scribal punctuation dots "ordinary" because "they largely don't correspond to any known grammatical convention".

I agree that scribal punctuation practices vary a lot, both within one mansucript and across the early manuscript tradition. No problem there. My approach would be to try to understand and follow the punctuation/delimitation indications each scribe presents. Most of the time they make perfect sense as punctuation; sometimes if you do this you will be baffled.

Things not to do in this situation:
i) magnify the baffling dots with a XC430 high intensity electronic microscrope and find a hidden code in Aramaic (or Chinese, or pictograms)
ii) attribute the baffling dots to aliens
iii) use the few baffling dots to reinterpret a perfectly ordinary dot in a way which supports a view you hold on other grounds.

Timo Flink said...

Nazaroo, could you please clarify how the "we" (whatever that means) arrived to the conclusions you present. A paper or an article somewhere we could read and critic?

Ulrich Schmid said...

One of the problems with suggesting that a theory might be a possibility within a scholarly work, is that other less-informed persons will then cite you and shift the possibility to a probability. Nazaroo's posts here in response to JDP's dissertation exemplify this.

Christian, this case is even more disturbing, for the "scholarly work" (JDP's dissertation, that is) itself exhibits signs of being less-informed on matters of manuscript analysis.

E.g., look at Punch's discussion of P75 on pp. 268-9. He states: "...there are umlaut (sic) and spaces sprinkled across the pages (Metzger, 1981:68)".

Metzger (Manuscripts of the Greek Bible, 68), of course, does not mention "umlaut". Instead, he mentions "diaeresis", i.e. two dots ON TOP of the vowels iota and ypsilon.

It is so telling (and alarming) that after Payne's ill-famed umlaut designation for two dots IN THE MARGINS of Codex Vaticanus apparently any pair of dots in a manuscript can be labelled umlaut.

Punch then goes on: "It is uncertain whether these markings form a set of pause or breathing marks for public reading, mark passages omitted or skipped over in this public reading, or indicate variants knowingly omitted."

It is simply hilarious to find diaeresis (via umlaut) morphed into markings potentially indicating "variants knowingly omitted." This is TC-list style "street knowledge" entering serious academic platforms, which I find highly disturbing.

Punch is not done yet. He detects an "unusual hole in the middle of the page, ...which prevents a further detailed analysis of the section."

What is he insinuating with the qualifier "unusual"? As a non-native speaker I may be overly sensitive, but to me it sounds like a deliberate cause related to tampering with the text might be quite conceivable.

In any case, physical damage of five consecutive folios in P75 leaving many holes is bad. But the pattern of the five folios suggests normal damage and nothing else. Moreover, there is enough text left of Jo 8:12 to fill in the missing portions right after 7:52. What other "detailed analysis" has Punch in mind?

On p. 269 Punch seeks to distance himself from "conspiracy theorists" who use "such oddities" to "further fuel discussions that someone deliberately removed the Pericope Adulterae, at times by destructive measures."

The problem is that his distancing is not effective, because Punch is obviously not equipped to counter such theorists with qualified analysis of manuscript data. From that perspective - and that is the only one I can imagine - there is a real benefit to the "unusual hole" in P75, i.e. it spares us of yet another unqualified analysis.

Nazaroo said...

Christian Askeland said above...
"One of the problems with suggesting that a theory might be a possibility within a scholarly work, is that other less-informed persons will then cite you and shift the possibility to a probability. Nazaroo's posts here in response to JDP's dissertation exemplify this."

My two posts did nothing of the kind.
I don't elevate any possibility to a probability in response to JDP's work.

My opinions regarding the dots, spaces and other marks in p66, p75, aleph and B are based on my own investigations, and PREDATE JDP's article by several years.

My articles and contributions have been posted on our public website and made available free to all for a long time, and the dates are posted, as well as the record in the Google Archives.

In my own work, I came to the conclusion that the various dots in these MSS are just that: "various", and are mixed in the extant MSS, just as their sources are mixed.

I have concluded rightly that there is no one cause or theory that adequately describes the dots.

So I could not have inadvertently turned a possibility mentioned in JDP's article into a "probability" (oh noes!)

The sky is not falling, because someone you don't know or accredit has read and commented on a work placed in the public domain for review.

Chicken Little can be left slumbering for now.


The White Man said...

"Are squid people and text-critical dot theories tenable? Personally, I do not think so."

Actually, of the two Vaticanus text-critical dot theories that have been advanced on this forum, I had thought at least one of them to be tenable.

Peter M. Head said...

Sadly then we might wonder about the unattributed relationship between the arguments of Punch and the arguments of Nazaroo - cf. this page which proposes the same argument as Punch.

Peter M. Head said...

This is not good news.

JDP said...

All I had hoped to do with this dissertation was to restart some discussion about the Pericope Adulterae. I guess that's happening. Unfortunately, the discussion seems to be taking a turn for the worst. Yes, several theories required a debatable approach to the external evidence (which is why no particular theory can be fully substantiated). So let's debate, but only with the evidence instead of taking pot shots at each other.

JDP said...

Yes, some theories are debatable. This is acknowledged and serves as the reason that no theory is completed supported. Yes, I see some theories as more tenable as others, but once again, this requires debatable interpretation of the evidence. But all theories require some debatable interpretation of the evidence. Even those theories that suggest that the PA is a later interpolation interpret the evidence in a way that could be questioned.

I had hoped that my dissertation my ignite more conversation about the Pericope Adulterae. It looks like that is happening. Unfortunately, the discussion has turned into an opportunity for people to take pot shots at each other.

Nazaroo said...


I'd like to take a shot at a preliminary review of your work if I may:

Here are my initial observations and impressions:

(1) Good introduction to the Textual/historical problem. This thesis is quite long, and may be one of the more exhaustive attempts at giving the reader a picture of the situation.

(2) Score 75% on the discussion of the textual history of this passage. No previous writer has adequately done this, from a neutral or at least open position. Hats off. My only critique of this, is that a (yet) more thorough familiarity with the literature should have resulted in a more directed and focussed history of criticism. I'm open for a discussion of the details on that.

(3) I won't comment on chapter 3 & 4 yet, only to say congrats on recognising the need to discuss both the text/variants and the interpretation thoroughly to parse the textual question. I'll skip ahead to ...

(4) Chapter 5 - Style and vocabulary: A thorough discussion of what has been done in the past can't be avoided here, and you have certainly reviewed all of that in immense detail. Again, you have also discussed fully the weaknesses of various arguments, which is all excellent. This is an immense amount of work, and your chapter here should function as a useful reference for other researchers. My only complaint is that the historical development and dynamics of change in the advances in understanding and methodology was not clearly laid out for the reader. We can discuss that too.

I'll skip chapter 6 too, as this will inevitably cause contention. The textual evidence is best admitted to be complex. How could it be otherwise, spanning two millenia of textual transmission and deliberate manipulation?

(5) Chapter 7 is quite good, discussing all the current ideas and theories with the amount of detail really required for this most important passage in John. Full marks for you attempts to be even-handed with all this as well. The inconclusiveness is no 'black mark' on your thesis, since the situation is indeed murky and full of politics.

(6) Perhaps one of the most useful features of all will repeatedly turn out to be the extensive bibliography, spanning some 50 pages! Well done here. Nice to have all this in one place.

(7) The indexes are also a very important part of making your thesis accessible and easy to use. I wish more authors took the time to plan and give their work useful features.

High scores, when compared with the usual crappy quotations from Metzger endlessly cut and pasted all over the net.

More review to come,

Nazaroo said...


First a general comment:

This section is anything but "(pseudo)scholarly": It is a really first-rate and deep discussion of many of the vocabulary questions. Something of a 'coup de grace'.

3.2 orthros(ou). An excellent and thorough 3 page discussion on this word, providing a wealth of material for future commentators. Full marks.

3.3 paraginomai. Great, informative talk, which will be of assistance to those at intermediate-level Greek, seeking more nuance.

3.4 laos/oxlos. An excellent and deep introduction to the usage of these words in the Gospels, NT, & LXX. Hats off. Very compelling.

3.5 kathizo. Subtle nuances of usage, again useful for those wishing to master Koine, and are wondering as to the weight of stylistic variation vs. meaning.

3.6 hoi grammateis kai hoi pharisaioi.

This is your best section to this point: a three-page masterpiece, filling out a very complex background on many levels of culture, context, religion and literary purpose. What a model.

I have left off commenting on 3.1, in part because I think some things were missed in this section. A future discussion can await that.

Generally, Sections 1-3 of this chapter are a tour-de-force, a scholarly and balanced response with excellent references and a good grasp of the issues, and more than adequate answer to the stylistic objections of the 19th century, beginning with Samuel Davidson.

Congrats on a great piece, which ought to be well-quoted and useful for students of both NT Greek and TC.


Anonymous said...

hand meet sock?

Peter Kirk said...

See my observations on this comment thread here. Not, I am sorry to say, a ringing endorsement of the evangelical scholars commenting on this post.

Tommy Wasserman said...

Dear all,

I have removed some of the comments which contained, or, better, could be perceived by some as containing ad hominem remarks (cf. Peter Kirk's concern - and I have replied on Peter's blog). This is always open to interpretation, but perhaps it is better then to remove more than less, and then you can repost comments and stick to what is really relevant for this interesting discussion.

Peter M. Head said...

I don't quite get the force of your comment. You refer to satire, ad hominem arguments, and guilt by association. None of these are banned on the blog when they are appropriate. And in fact I only see satire in two comments. Satire can be an effective argumentative weapon (although not often when used by Americans).

Also we should be clear that there is no theological requirement for people who comment on this blog. People with real names are especially welcome. Others are too. I have no idea who Nazaroo is, how many other names they have, whether he/she/they are a Christian, an evangelical, or even a Southern Baptist.

I agree that some part of the issue arises in the comments to this post because of the dissonance between the scholarly conventions of the normal PhD (generally reflected in this blog) and what is found in some sections of the PhD to which the original blog-post linked. I confess to having been shocked at what I read.

I have wondered whether I should withdraw the word "nonsense" I used in one of the comments. But I cannot - the argument (or better simple assertion) I referenced there (on p. 265, p. 270 of this thesis) is actually nonsense in the OED sense of "Insubstantial or worthless matter". It is worth nothing. It is nonsense. I simply cannot consider it just some debatable issue as to whether a perfectly ordinary punctuation mark at these points is a secret mark of omission.

Tommy Wasserman said...

Nazaroo has now posted a rather positive mini-review of the work here in the comments. I have not yet read the dissertation myself, but I am only glad if parts of the work will prove to contain balanced arguments and sound conclusions.

However, I am afraid that other parts of the work give the impression of being seriously flawed - some examples have been mentioned and this is such a pity because it overshadows what is good.

Without going into more details about Punch's work, this leads me to a more general issue - the necessity of good supervision, which benefits both the author and his/her future readers. It is the responsibility of the university and the formal supervisor, to bring in external expertise.

There is a benefit with systems like e.g., the British or Finnish, where there are examining readers, but it is of course better to call in assistance (external supervisors) early on in the process, especially if the main supervisor feels that this is not his/her own area expertise.

Tommy Wasserman said...

PMH: "And in fact I only see satire in two comments."

Probably I have removed these now...It is not easy to remove comments, because then other comments may loose their sense.

Pete, don't feel guilty about the word "nonsense" because you argue for your serious critique (and besides, I left one remark against Mr. Head...since the rest of the comment sticked to the subject).

Peter M. Head said...

Just taking a deep breath and counting to ten.

Christian Askeland said...

PK: "And then the “scholars” have rejected Punch’s theory on the grounds that they suspect some kind of association with people like Nazaroo."

I think that you have misrepresented my comment which has now been deleted by the morality police. Rather, I suggested that when scholars define absurd arguments as possibilities, they create space for "conspiracy theorists" (to use a term from Punch's dissertation). Punch would distance himself from these "conspiracy theorists" (cf. his dissertation pp. 269, 272.) My "attack" was not ad hominem or guilt by association, but rather a concern about method and content.

Tommy Wasserman said...

Pete, good, and six more comments and we break the 50 wall again!

Tommy Wasserman said...

CA: "my comment which has now been deleted by tthe morality police."

yes, that would be me :-) I feel that we ETC-bloggers can afford more deletions ... you can delete my comments (or if you can't I must change that setting)!

"My 'attack' was not ad hominem or guilt by association, but rather a concern about method and content."

That's good, I deleted a couple of comments according to a safety principle ... You can repost the relevant critique.

Peter M. Head said...

one ...

Wieland Willker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JDP said...

A few points:

1. While I appreciate Nazaroo's comments and probably agree with him on some points, we are not in cahoots with one another and there are likely things with which we disagree. Anyone who suggests that I am covertly (or dishonestly as someone stated) trying to prove something is giving new meaning to the expression "conspiracy theorist.

2. The body of work does not stand or fall on what is admittedly a debatable interpretation of scribal marking and/or punctuation. This is only one observation in the dissertation.

3. Finally, Peter Head is demonstrating a principle that I also reference in the dissertation: there is a tendency to only look at the external evidence and to write off all the internal evidence. Further, any suggestions that the external be reconsidered are met with sharp criticism and claims of pseudo-scholarship.

Peter M. Head said...

... two ...

Tommy Wasserman said...

That was quite a long breath Pete.

Peter M. Head said...

You only did that to get to fifty.

... three ...

Chris Keith said...

As someone who has written some of the most recent work on PA, I feel like I should chime in here. I haven’t thus far because (1) despite the text criticism in my work (The Pericope Adulterae, the Gospel of John, and the Literacy of Jesus, New Testament Tools, Studies, and Documents 38, Brill, 2009), it is ultimately an interpretive and socio-historical study (so I wondered whether I should comment in a thoroughly text-critical forum) and (2) as the recent recipient of a blistering and—in my opinion (of course) completely unfair and at points false (at other points helpful)—review by J. Keith Elliott in JTS, I’m conscious of not wanting simply to blast Dr. Punch after he’s finished his dissertation. Nevertheless, since I’ve also had dealings with Nazaroo (he/she/they reviewed my 2008 CBR article on his/her/their website), I feel compelled now.

So, here are my comments:

To Nazaroo—As I’ve mentioned in private correspondence to you, an anonymous identity simply is not going to carry weight in a discussion where everyone else has to own their comments.

On Dr. Punch’s study—I haven’t read its entirety, but can already note, with Jan Krans and Tommy, that it appears that he is saying he will not advocate a position and then does. My question, however, is Why would one not advocate a position? My understanding of things is that a critical survey, which seems more like what you’ve done here, Dr. Punch, is fine for a MA or MTh thesis, but doctoral work should make a clear argument. So, if you think your position #5 is the best reading of the evidence, then when you come to revising for publication, I would simply state upfront that you’ll be arguing that way and then proceed to do so.

Second, my own argument is that PA is not originally Johannine but that the interpolator was a careful reader of GJohn. In my mind, this changes the weight internal evidence can carry. Does internal congruity necessarily demonstrate Johannine authenticity? If one admits that it could also demonstrate a careful interpolator who could have shaped the story to fit its Johannine context, then all the stylistic and internal similarities do not necessarily provide fodder for a Johannine authenticity argument. I feel like Dr. Punch needs to demonstrate clearly why this argument is less persuasive than his favoring of Johannine authenticity, and not just because it’s my argument and the most recent monograph on the topic (which seems to be dismissed on pp.303–4 but employed throughout in supporting Johannine connections).

Third, as minor issues, I do not “claim” to tabulate 36 possible interpretations of the writing on the ground. I do tabulate 38 of them, providing extensive footnotes, and I start that on p. 12, not p. 10 (p. 10 is a blank page). Also, I do not disagree with Jennifer Knust, as Dr. Punch claims on p.312, but actually agree with her against Ehrman.

Lastly, and I really do hate to say this, I feel as if Dr. Punch ripped his chart on 292–3 out of my book (pp. 120 – 21). He claims it is similar to mine, but, save for small alterations like changing my “CE” to “AD” or “9th” to “ninth,” etc., it is verbatim the chart from my book. (He’s actually miscopied MS 115 as 114 in his chart.)

Despite my criticisms, Dr. Punch clearly has succeeded in his goals of stirring further discussion of PA. Also despite my criticisms, Dr. Punch in general was very favorably inclined towards my own study despite some of his own disagreements, and I’m happy for its accurate representation otherwise. Most importantly, congratulations on completing your doctorate, Dr. Punch. This entire discussion is simply part of the game of putting your work out in public.

Nazaroo said...

Delightful to hear from Chris Keith:

In this case I agree with him that although the Johannine internal evidence from the PA favours Johannine authorship, it is not clinching by itself, as one could expect a brilliant forger to effectively mimick John.

However, it should be needless to add, that if this is the case (and that is precisely what the Johannine internal evidence discussed shows), then a simple scribal insertion by a copyist, or even by an editor or recensionist is simply out of the question.

Its forgery or authentic Johannine community work, but not scribal shenanegans.

Scribal shenanegans on the other hand, do explain its much later insertion in Luke, at the 2nd last verse of John (F1), and in the wrong place among MSS and versions in attempts to add it to copies already missing the verses.

These other cases don't need any special pleading, because the PA has by that point already been crafted for insertion into John(or Luke if that can be credibly shown).

These other later editors/copyists are merely working in an already dysfunctional situation in which the passage has already been either forged for placement or dropped from John.

What evidence would unambiguously clarify whether the Johannine internal evidence from the PA indicates forgery, or omitted Johannine material?

The answer is simple: The rest of John must be inspected for knowledge of the PA.

We've investigated that question already on our website.


Peter M. Head said...

... four ...

Peter Kirk said...

Wow, what a lot of new discussion while I have been out today.

Peter, you asked about theological requirements. I realise that not all who comment here are evangelical Christians. However, I know you are, and I thought the contributors to this blog were which would include Christian Askeland. In a follow-up comment on my own blog I named you and Christian plus Ulrich Schmid as the offenders here. I don't know if Schmid is a Christian and I apologise if I suggested this wrongly about him.

Christian, thanks for your explanation. My words about "conspiracy theorists" were not directed at you, but at Peter Head who used these words. But even the most respectable scholarly work can be taken out of context and distorted to support strange conspiracy theories. Does that invalidate the work?

As JDP hints, it is those who imply that he is working together with Nazaroo, despite their denials, who are the ones putting forward conspiracy theories here.

P.J. Williams said...

Chris raises the interesting view that an interpolator tried to imitate parts of Johannine style.

My question is what clear evidence do we have of imitation of another's style from antiquity?

Peter M. Head said...

A point of information would be that Dr Punch introduces the idea and terminology of "textual criticism 'conspiracy theorists'" four times in his discussion of the early manuscripts (p. 269 [2x], p. 272 note 283, and p. 273).

... five ...

Wieland Willker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniel Buck said...

As a point of information, it was Nazaroo's PA website, not Metzger's book, that first provided images of the Horizontaldoppelpunkten in Codex Colberto-Sarravianus, which have now come to play a role in at least one textual criticism dot theory.

At 10:57 PM on December 02, 2008, the following comment was posted to this blog:
There is a website with a plate containing unmistakable umlauts in this codex but I have a feeling it's about to be debunked. It's halfway down this page:

Where, then, when they were all but specifically asked for, were the cries of 'hilarious', 'nonsense', and 'conspiracy'?

A rhetorical question.

Peter M. Head said...

... six ...

Tommy Wasserman said...

I have made some further comments on Peter Kirk's blog:

Peter M. Head said...

The rational Dr Wassermann supports the irascible Head in using the word "nonsense".
... seven ...

Tommy Wasserman said...

Who is this "Dr Wassermann" you keep talking about.

Tommy Wasserman said...

The same scholar appeared several times in your review of the ECM in TynB. I'd like to meet him.

Peter M. Head said...

must be your big brother. Ooops.

Peter M. Head said...

Proper textual critics pay attention to spelling don't they.

Peter M. Head said...

At least now I get the Headd comment.

Tommy Wasserman said...

It takes a while for some of us :-)

Anonymous said...

If Peter is a He(wer of woo)d, that would make Tommy a Carrier of Water.

Nazaroo said...

RE: Alleged "sources", "borrowing" etc.

A comment on a comment:

C.Keith:"Lastly, and I really do hate to say this, I feel as if Dr. Punch ripped his chart on 292–3 out of my book (pp. 120 – 21)."

This should not be blown out of proportion: The "chart" is really just a point-form list of variants and MS support, almost identical to published lists and tabulations from Metzger and some 2 dozen other previous TC scholars.
Little creative activity is involved, and in fact both charts (Keith's & Punch's) have a serious error, listing MS 1333c as having the PA "at the end of Luke", when this manuscript does nothing of the kind. It comes really as a preface to John, with an accompanying note identifying it as belonging to John, not Luke.

We know that Dr. Punch has not been "sourcing" us very closely, since both us and Dr. Maurice Robinson have gone out of our way to correct such errors, and this was covered in our review of Dr. Keith's 2008 article, which he acknowledges reading above.

The chart borrowing has the appearance of a minor quibble, and as Dr. Keith knows full well, he himself freely accessed a large amount of material at our website over the years, and acknowledged the same in a low-key fashion in various publications.

We thank Dr. Keith for his acknowledgement, and hardly expect that any scholar would want to associate themselves directly with our website, so any acknowledgement of our existance whatever must be considered an act of bravery.

On this very example then, Dr. Punch's low-key acknowledgement of our resource site is typical of the best recent scholarship and as brave as any.

Which brings to another related claim, Dr. Punch's use of our resources (in a post to follow)


Nazaroo said...

"Borrowing" from Nazaroo website?

As the author of many of the articles and commentary posted on our website, I am uniquely qualified to comment on the spectre raised by some here, re: any alleged "borrowing" from us by Dr. Punch.

The only area even giving any credible appearance of borrowing would be in the analysis of the Internal Vocabulary Evidence (e.g., Dr J.D. Punch:2010, ch.5,pp.153-232).

First of all, the close similarity in vocabulary lists is completely unavoidable if one is to deal with evidence from previous investigators, and deal with it in the order it appears (verse by verse). Dr. Punch has chosen to be thorough, and the result is predictable.

Second, the similarity in content under various headings is also unavoidable, since the basic facts of grammar and usage (based on lexical/historical research) will also be the same, although expanded, as research accumulates.

Third, any similarity in phraseology here and there, is either unavoidable, or else a very small tip of the hat to sources, which is much appreciated. This is no different than the scores of scholars who paraphrase Metzger regularly with or without acknowledgement, and is simply the nature of things.

If Dr. Punch shows any detailed awareness of our work at all, it would be it seems from our longstanding public critique of Samuel Davidson's 1848 vocabulary list. We wrote that back in the 1980s, and it has been in the public domain ever since, in pamphlets, articles, letters, and emails, and forums.

One version with a long history of rewrites, is found here:

But a fair comparison shows that we only spent an average of about a half-page on each proposed word/phrase, and left it to others to flesh out details.

On average, Dr. Punch's work presents 3-5 pages on each variant, with a wealth of new material presented, and a far more adequate discussion than we ever offered on Davidson's original case.

In additions, Dr. Punch's work is stamped with a scholarly even-handedness and reserve that we don't even pretend to desire emulating. His work is an entirely different category and order of scholarship than ours.

I might also add there are frequent differences in our view of the meaning, significance, and weight of various linguistic evidence and arguments. Researchers here wishing to avoid extremism would do well to prefer Dr. Punch's approach to mine.

I would make any special claim in this area re: linguistic discovery. I am not anything but one of the more recent of many, many pioneers here in PA studies, going back to the 1700s.

I do not know Dr. Punch in any way, nor have I previously communicated with him on any level prior to reading about his article.

I am utterly convinced, and completely satisfied that Dr. Punch, while he may have been aware of our site and may have noted a few of our webpages, has not plagarized our work, or inappropriately used our researches in way whatsoever.

We have been publishing under the Commons Copyright Free Distribution licence for many years, and the whole point of publishing on the net is to make scientific and historical data freely available to the public.

We are pleased that at least some textual critics think that the most important textual variant in the history of the NT is worth writing about.


Bill said...

Dr Head,

I've not commented here before, but I have followed the discussions off and on. I just completed a semester of NTTC at Dallas Seminary under Dan Wallace. So I am by no means an expert, but I do enjoy the field. Also, I have read a number of your articles (Dan requires it) as well as articles by a number of other gentlemen I've seen here including Wasserman, Robinson, and others.

I do have an opinion to offer, but it does not concern TC at this point. One particular contributor to this particular posting has been suggested to be the original author of the thesis in question regarding the PA. I'm referring, of course, to the anonymous Nazaroo.

I think it might be productive - to whomever runs this blog - to require actual names. Nazaroo has a rather colorful history posting on numerous novice (and below) level boards such as CARM and Theology Web. He also has a Wikipedia entry of his name that states: Nazaroo - a legendary hero whose sworned dedication to exposing the truth about textual criticism of the scriptures is well known among the 20th and 21st century Christians of the English-speaking West.

I think legend probably sums it up. Legend can, after all, be defined as "a popularized myth of modern times" and that about summarizes it. (He also seemingly cannot decide whether he is a 'he' or a 'we.'

So perhaps the banishment of those who hide behind such cowardice (what does he have to fear?) and requiring regular names would be a productive start.

I would also note that Nazaroo - on such novice level discussion boards - has both tried to argue for the authenticity of I John 5:7 and actually cited a chart including the asinine musings of Gail Riplinger as a scholarly source.

Hence, I don't pay much attention to what he has to say. I think it would be wise of ETC to do the same.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Feeding trolls again.

Nazaroo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peter M. Head said...

I deleted the previous comment from N because it was very troll-like - teasing to get a reaction.
This subject may soon have run its course. Even before I get to ten.

... eight ...

Chris Keith said...

Oh goodness. I can't believe I'm actually going to respond to this. I feel like counting "nine" for Dr. Head as his apocalypse arrives.

Dear Nazaroo,

First, I did not claim I own the information in my chart. I claimed that Dr. Punch appears to have taken the organization and language of the chart verbatim while claiming it is only "similar." And this is not a minor quibble--there are reasons intellectual property is copyrighted and reasons why scholars observe particular citation conventions.

Second, I "freely accessed" information on your website because it was "freely available" on the internet and your site popped up when I googled PA. I acknowledged that I have consulted your website in two locations--in my response to your review of my 2008 article on your website and in the introduction of my monograph, where I cite it--along with Ehrman's appearances on Comedy Central shows and a Wikipedia article--as evidence of PA's popular-level appeal. These have not been in a "low-key fashion" (as if I'm afraid to say so out loud in public) but simply where it has been appropriate. You have been professional towards me thus far and so I have been professional towards you as well, but I do not appreciate you insinuating that I am deeply dependent upon your website for my research. I am not ashamed, as you hint one might be, of having looked through the information on PA you have helpfully collected, along with MS images as well, in a handy location. Nevertheless, I did not even know about your website until I was 4/5 of the way through my program, and I most certainly did not use your ideas, publications, website, or anything else of yours in making any of my own arguments, which is why I do not otherwise refer to you--in addition to the facts that engaging website discussions in a doctoral thesis or monograph is not appropriate and, even if it was, I am not sure how to cite an anonymous person according to the SBL Handbook of Style.

If you want to argue with the good folks at ETC on all things PA, then, by all my means, do so. Please do not do so, however, by roping me into the fray and insinuating to everyone that somehow I am covering up the fact that I have had dealings with your website by saying "as Dr. Keith knows full well." I have done no such thing. Quite to the contrary, I think I have dealt openly, kindly, and favorably with you despite the facts that I do not agree with your main argument about PA and I did not have the protective cover of anonymity in responding to your criticisms of my work on your website and you did when making them.

I believe I'll retire from this post now and slink back into silence before the apocalypse of Dr. Head's inevitable "ten" appears.

Nazaroo said...

Dear Dr. Keith:

I wholeheartedly assent to all you have posted immediately above.

My previous post, I believe if read carefully, does not imply your article was heavily dependant upon material from my site. A careful read of the review of your article onsite will also confirm I have made no such claim.

Your work is your own, and obviously we differ significantly in reconstructing the early history of the PA.

I post this to remove any lingering confusion others reading not so carefully may have retained in this matter.

Best wishes,

Peter M. Head said...

... nine ...

Nazaroo said...

Getting back to the original article by Dr. Punch, there is one obvious error in the discussion of textual evidence, and apparently a stubborn one at that:

We find the late 12th cent. COMMENTARY "Codex X" still being referred to as if it were an ordinary continuous-text MS.

On pg 279 (under section 2.11 Later Grk MSS) Dr. Punch references "codex X" as follows:

" There are, however, additional later
manuscripts such as Y, X, Θ, Ψ, 0141, 0211, 22, 33, 157, 213, 397, 799,
1241, family 1424, and 2768, that clearly omit the passage with no marks
identifying knowledge of the pericope; all are ninth century or later."

...and again on pg 279-280:

"Others such as X and Ψ, resemble the Alexandrian manuscripts (Metzger,
1992:xxix), and therefore may have related reasons for omissions (Hodges,

This error in citing "codex X" as if it were an Uncial MS was first noted by Dean Burgon in 1882, yet has had a difficult time being acknowledged in any Greek apparatus.

Yet even the NETBIBLE, notorious for its support of the Alexandrian text-type finally corrected this error, by simply omitting "X" from its online footnotes on the PA, back in 2007.

This is the kind of error in reportage which obviously prejudices the textual case and the impression of the textual evidence.

However, the relevant portions of "codex X" can be freely viewed online here for verification that it is in fact a late commentary which only discusses portions of the Gospels that were read publicly from the Lectionary:

best wishes,

Wieland Willker said...

Codex X/033 is a continuous text manuscript. I have collated it for the online commentary. It is only debatable if it should be considered an uncial manuscript, but that doesn't matter much.
It is noteworthy that X is only about 50% Byzantine in John, comparable to 33.

I posted some comments on the manuscript here.

Wieland Willker said...

There actually is an error in the external evidence: 565 is listed as omitting the PA.
565 is a member of f1 in John and has therefore the PA at the end of the Gospel. The last page of the manuscript is missing, but the introductory comments (as in 1) are still present.
This error is also in the Text & Textwert analyses of John, but it does not appear that Punch utilized these.

Wieland Willker said...

p. 334, regarding Origen's silence in his com. on John:
"Against this argument, it should be noted that he does comment on every verse from 7:40 to 7:52 and then continues directly from 8:12 in the same manner."

I am wondering what this means, since AFAIK Origen's commentary is not extant for these portions, but starts in book 19 with Jo 8:19.

"Origen's commentary is designed to follow the public reading traditions of the early lectionary system."

the early lectionary system?
What is this? How do we know?

Nazaroo said...

Dear Mr. Willker:

The issue of "Codex X" still remains confused, dispite your helpful comments:

Willker: "Codex X/033 is a continuous text manuscript."

This is at best misleading. X remains a composite document, in 3 gospels 60-70% commentary, with parts of John interposed between longer commentary sections, which is the main function of the final document.

We may call the description of its composition the "two document fact" since at least 2 documents (probably 3, possibly up to 5) were used.


We may ignore the inclusion of Mark, since that appears /not/ to be a part of the "commentary" sections (no accompanying commentary.)

As already noted, Mark seems to have been included simply to complete the 4 gospels or to preserve an ancient copy.

The others as you are aware (and the photos show), are not physically continuous, but broken up between long commentary sections.

Matthew & Luke:

It may be that Matthew / Luke themselves have been indeed copied from "continuous-text" MSS. That is irrelevant as to citing "codex X" as if it were a "continuous-text" Uncial /itself/ in any apparatus for or against the inclusion of the PA. So lets move right to JOHN.


Nazaroo said...


You yourself have conveniently documented the obvious fact that the copy of JOHN used to provide the accompanying text and the copy of JOHN used by the commentary author were not the same:

Mr.Willker: "p. 104 Jo 19:14 is cited in the text as "it were the third hour". Several other witnesses read so, too. The commentary has "it were the sixth hour", noting explicitly the difference between Mark and John."

That is, the commentator is using a different copy of John from the one that has now been embedded into this block-copied composite document.

Evidence from the commentary itself is worthless and unsurprising, since we know already that Chrysostom and friends never quote the PA when commenting only on passages which are read publicly during services.

Turning to the supposed "continuous text" of John accompanying the commentary, we find that is also worthless, for it is separated precisely at the spot where the PA might have accidentally been included, had this not contradicted the plan of the compiler.

Its hardly any surprise that this compiler of several documents did not include the PA, whether or not it was found in the copy he used to provide text for the commentary.

It was known to be controversial, & not read in its "continuous-text" order during the popular Easter/passover.

Including it might have made for a "complete" copy of John to be preserved, but that was not the main goal of the compiler, and it is doubtful that even this compiler is the copyist of this copy.

It is more likely that someone has made a copy of a copy, and added Mark to the extant copy, putting the compiler yet one further step back from our copyist.

You divert the issue to whether or not this is an "Uncial". That is settled forever, since it is obviously *not* an Uncial, but just a miniscule with some "uncial-like" stylisms used to distinguish text and commentary in a useful but artificial manner, as Tregelles noted 140 years ago.

Codex X is in no way a "continuous-text" MS, but is simply a copy of a late composite document of disparate sources, one being a 5th century commentary made from a different JOHN than the one now combined with it.

All we can know of the copy of JOHN actually included with the commentary is that it was added later (6th cent?).

And the most important point of all, we cannot know anything about whether or not this lost copy of JOHN had the PA, unless we try to deduce it from the extant text indirectly.

Examining the text, it appears to be basically Byzantine, and we may guesstimate a 50/50% chance it had the PA.

The compiler of "codex X" or his exemplar gives no clue or reason to assert anything strongly one way or another re: this now lost copy of JOHN of unknown date.

With this more detailed look, its obvious it can't be intelligently cited in any apparatus as evidential value re: the authenticity of the PA.

What the evidence of "codex X" *does* show is that there once was a commentary on John, that probably didn't discuss the PA, and that there once was also an unknown copy of John unrelated to it, which is now preserved second-hand with a possible lacuna (i.e. the PA).

This "evidence" doesn't belong in an apparatus, but in a footnote on Medieval copying.


Wieland Willker said...

Please show one instance where the Gospel text in X is not continuous (except for the missing folios). Codex X is a commentary manuscript and the commentary is not continuous. But the Gospel text is continuous.
This is all clear and straightforward. There is no confusion.
The PA is not in the text.

Nazaroo said...

I want to respond directly to WW's last post, because his questions are serious and important.

But first let me recap the essential issue, to show how the 'confusion' element enters.

There are three key questions:

(1) What exactly is "codex X"?

(2) Is it relevant evidence re: the PA? And if so, how?

(3) How should it be cited in an apparatus, if at all?

Lets take question 1:

(1) What exactly is "codex X"?

For our needs, this has two parts:

a) W.Willker: "Codex X is a commentary manuscript".

Willker's expression here is both concise and precise enough. This introduces the problem. To go any further, a detailed description of its physical features and contents is required.

b) NAZ: "Codex X *contains* a near-complete 'continuous-text' copy of John."

This expression makes two necessary distinctions: (1) 'continuous-text' is in single-quotes to make clear that we are only categorizing the *type* of text it contains, not the quality, accuracy, or value of that text. (2) Codex X is itself NOT a 'continuous-text' MS, nor is it a simple copy of one. Key features of that text and info about it have been lost because of how Codex X has presented that text.

This second part b) of the question is precisely where the 'confusion' element enters, and that is why Mr. Willker's less precise expression is inadequate:

Mr.Willker says, "But the Gospel text is continuous.";

But he uses 'continuous' as if it were an ordinary adjective implying something about the text itself, whereas what is needed is to make clear that categorizing the text-type as "continuous-text" does not and should not imply anything about the contents or quality of its readings, or even what we may be able to know about them from the physical form of the text given by codex X.


Tommy Wasserman said...

WW: "Codex X is a commentary manuscript and the commentary is not continuous. But the Gospel text is continuous. This is all clear and straightforward. There is no confusion. The PA is not in the text.

Wieland, I think most of us find this straightforward enough, but I think perhaps Nazaroo has different definitions of "continuous text" or "text-type." In fact I do not understand his reply.

I suggest we end this futile discussion. It is not leading anywhere.

Nazaroo said...

Yes. The last thing we want is to expose the dishonesty in the way the "evidence" is being handled. [/sarcasm]

The text of John in Codex X is *NOT* continuous, if by that we mean what any reasonable person would assume by such an expression.

Just as the text of the commentary is not continuous, that is not physically contiguous, but interspersed in blocks with the text of John, so equally is the text of John not physically contiguous, but interspersed in blocks with the text of the commentary.

Each text is physically chopped up into sections and placed alternately in blocks, A/B/A/B throughout the manuscript.

Just where we would like to know if the text of JOHN actually was contiguous in the original exemplar, (i.e., running continuously from 7:52 to 8:12), the text has been physically chopped up and placed in separate blocks.

Thus we can never know whether the Gospel used by the compiler had the PA or not.


Nazaroo said...

Manuscript # 33 - is listed incorrectly as 9th cent. in UBS-2. Although the O.T. portions may be 9th century, the NT portions are by a later hand dated to the 10th or 11th. (See both Gregory, & Scrivener).

If Codex X is comparable to 33, this again links its production to the 10th/11th century.

This may hint at when the text/commentary combo was put together (i.e., post-11th cent.).

Mr.Willker may want to associate Codex X with 33 because 33 omits the PA, although this is the exception for this period, not the rule, even for mixed texts.

From the 10th century onward, over 90% of copies contain the PA.

Assuming textual evidence trumps internal evidence, the exemplar behind the text of John in Codex X likely had the PA.


Tommy Wasserman said...

Nazaroo: “The text of John in Codex X is *NOT* continuous, if by that we mean what any reasonable person would assume by such an expression.”

Reasonable or not, Wieland used the standard definition in the field of textual criticism. Things get very complicated indeed when individuals come up with their own reasonble definitions of whatever terms, otherwise properly defined in standard handbooks, e.g., “continuous text MSS” (as opposed to e.g., lectionaries) or “text-types …”

Having said that, not all commentary MSS have a continuous text of the NT. Some commentary MSS in fact just have excerpts of the NT, and therefore many of them are not registered as continuous text MSS in the official registry of NT MSS – some have been registered but then deleted. (But that is of course not the case with Codex X, as Wieland pointed out – it has the complete text and is registered as a continuous text MS in the official registry.)

Nazaroo said...

"Oh Ace, you make me laugh!" - girl in Ace Ventura When Nature Calls

Dear Mr. Wasserman:

The issue was never about how the manuscript has been classified by a bunch of self-appointed German critics, or any minor quibble about what the definition of a "continuous-text" MS is. Your appeal to authority is misplaced, and you have misunderstood the topic of the debate.

But for what its worth, its not *us* who have misunderstood the meaning or significance of the classification of X as a 'continuous-text MS'. We have understood it perfectly well and uphold the 'standard' definition, which is this:

This designation means simply that a manuscript contains a text which has not been edited or modified so that the sections can be used as "stand-alone" lections.

*non*-"continuous-text" MSS divide the text into sections which are then modified at the beginning and end of each section, so that each can function as an independant story unit, and be read in isolation publicly in church.

The purpose of the classification is *not* to indicate how complete the MS is as a copy, nor even to indicate whether the text has been divided up into sections physically, or marked off. Nor is the designation intended to indicate the quality of the text-type, other than whether or not it exhibits this special editing feature.

The reason for the interest in alterations at the beginning and end of each section is that the presumption is that the gospels were originally "continuous-text" in this sense, and that the 'pericopizing features' are in fact secondary.

The classifcation of Codex X as "continuous-text" implies nothing more or less than the absence of these specialized features at the beginning and ending of each standard section (well-known from the Lectionary tradition). It does not indicate (as the language of W. Willker, P. Head, and T. Wasserman wrongly suggests) anything else about the quality or text-type contained in the manuscript.

This (distracting) side-issue being finally dealt with once and for all, lets move back to the real topic at hand.


Tommy Wasserman said...

Nazaroo: “The classifcation of Codex X as ‘continuous-text’ implies nothing more or less than the absence of these specialized features at the beginning and ending of each standard section (well-known from the Lectionary tradition).”

Thank you, Codex X is, as you say (and Wieland said), a “continuous-text MS.”

Nazaroo: “It does not indicate (as the language of W. Willker, P. Head, and T. Wasserman wrongly suggests) anything else about the quality or text-type contained in the manuscript.”

I wonder who and where someone said that the fact that Codex X is a “continuous-text MS” has anything to do with “the quality or text-type contained in the manuscript” – I certainly did not. However, I did point out that Nazaroo, apart from “continuous-text” also used “text-type” in an idiosyncratic way. It is very difficult, or impossible to discuss any text-critical matters when there is no agreement about basic definitions and nomenclatura to be used in the discussion. I am reminded again why I do not subscribe to the several various texual criticism discussion groups available. One ends up in futile and time-consuming discussions.

The attitude reflected in this statement is something that speaks of itself:

“The issue was never about how the manuscript has been classified by a bunch of self-appointed German critics, or any minor quibble about what the definition of a ‘continuous-text’ MS is. Your appeal to authority is misplaced, and you have misunderstood the topic of the debate.”

Hmm, this makes me wonder about the definition of "self-appointed".

However, I have had it with this discussion.

The White Man said...

I've found the discussion to be very enlightening. Silly me, I didn't realise that a 'continuous-text manuscript' didn't necessarily exhibit a continuous text.

Now I know better.

Steven Avery said...

Hi Folks,

While I agree with lots of what Nazaroo shares on the PA, I think his whole continuous text argument misses the point.

If a codex includes all (or most all) of the Gospel of John, preferably in something like normative order, and excludes the Pericope Adultera, it clearly is apparatus evidence against the PA. This is basic sound logic whatever your definition of the nature of the manuscript, and how text and commentary are interspersed.

Even a lectionary or early church writer section that "jumps over" a verse section like the heavenly witnesses or the PA, is proper considered an omission evidence, although in some cases the apparatus may want to use (brackets).

This was a fascinating thread above, and I really felt it got a smidgen derailed on a non-issue of semantics.

Steven Avery
Queens, NY