Friday, January 08, 2016

TC Journal Vol. 20 Packed with Articles and Reviews

The journal TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism was founded by James Adair in 1996 as one of the first electronic journals devoted to Biblical Studies.

 In 2010 the journal was relaunched after some time of inactivity, when Jan Krans, Tim Finney, Thomas Kraus, Heike Hötzinger and I formed a new editorial board. Subsequently, Juha Pakkala joined the board. Since then, we have been able to publish six complete volumes, and, the latest one, vol. 20, marks the 20-year anniversary of the journal (and the 5-year anniversary of its relaunch).

Volume 20 is packed with articles and reviews (see contents below). Several new articles from a panel on the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM) were published just before New Year.

The editors would like to welcome new submissions from readers of this blog! 

Volume 20 (2015)


Rebekka Schirner, Augustine’s Explicit References to Variant Readings of the New Testament Text: A Case Study
Abstract: This article analyzes a sample of passages where Augustine explicitly refers to different Latin versions of the New Testament text, and intends to expand Amy Donaldson’s list of patristic references to New Testament variants. It also takes into consideration the evidence available to us today (manuscripts and quotations of Latin church fathers). In doing so, it offers insights into Augustine’s way of dealing with variants and also provides a comparison between the material available to Augustine and the data extant today.
Charles Quarles, ΜΕΤΑ ΤΗΝ ΕΓΕΡΣΙΝ ΑΥΤΟΥ: A Scribal Interpolation in Matthew 27:53?
Abstract: Since the seminal work of Adalbert Merx, Willoughby C. Allen, and Erich Klostermann, a growing number of scholars have asserted that the prepositional phrase μετὰ τὴν ἔγερσιν αὐτοῦ in Matt 27:53 is an early scribal interpolation and an example of the orthodox corruption of Scripture. However, this claim is based on a misunderstanding of the internal evidence and exaggerated claims regarding the external evidence. This article provides a careful and detailed analysis of the internal and external evidence and concludes that the prepositional phrase was contained in the earliest text of Matthew that can be reconstructed from the currently available data.
Peter Malik, The Earliest Corrections in Codex Sinaiticus: Further Evidence from the Apocalypse
Abstract: Previous research into the scribal corrections of Codex Sinaiticus—also labelled as “S1”—has yielded fruitful results, especially regarding distribution of the scribal correcting activity and the textual affinities of corrections. The present article extends our knowledge of this aspect of Sinaiticus by examining scribal corrections in the book of Revelation, especially with regard to their nature, authorship, and textual affinities. It is argued that the palaeographical and textual evidence suggests that, unlike other previously studied portions of Sinaiticus, the text of Revelation was most likely never subjected to a secondary review in the scriptorium.
John Granger Cook, Julian’s Contra Galilaeos and Cyril’s Contra Iulianum: Two Witnesses to the Short Ending of Mark
Abstract: A Syriac MS (British Museum Add. 17214, fol. 65a–65b) preserves an excerpt from Julian’s Contra Galilaeos and Cyril’s response (the Contra Iulianum), which indicates that both authors either did not know the longer ending of Mark (16:9–20) or regarded it as spurious. The evidence has apparently been overlooked in studies of the longer ending of Mark. If the argument is sound, then Julian should be added to the apparatus criticus of Mark as a witness to the short ending (16:8). Cyril should be reevaluated as a patristic father who probably knew MSS that omitted the longer ending, but, unlike Jerome and Eusebius, did not assert that fact about the MSS in the surviving text.

Special Feature: The Coherence Based Genealogical Method

The following introduction and four articles are based on papers delivered in the panel session “The Genealogical Method” of the New Testament Textual Criticism section of at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, San Diego, 22 November 2014.
TC Editors, Editorial Introduction
Abstract: An introduction to the articles in the special feature including a short summary of Dirk Jongkind's contribution to the original panel discussion, which is not included here.
Klaus Wachtel, The Coherence Method and History
Abstract: The categorical distinction between manuscripts as artifacts and the texts they carry is a cornerstone in the theoretical framework of the Coherence­Based Genealogical Method (CBGM). As a consequence a textflow diagram shows a structure that integrates states of text and must not be confused with an outline of actual historical procedures or a stemma of manuscripts. The structure reflects the degrees of agreement between texts (pre­genealogical coherence) and philological assessment of the relationship between the variants found in them (genealogical coherence). Abstracting from the relationship between actual manuscripts has been criticized as unhistorical. However, the ability of the CBGM to cope with contamination hinges on this abstraction.
Georg Gäbel, Annette Hüffmeier, Gerd Mink, Holger Strutwolf, Klaus Wachtel, The CBGM Applied to Variants from Acts: Methodological Background
Abstract: The reconstruction of the initial text by means of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method is carried out on the basis of assessments of the genealogy of variants at each variant passage. The resulting relationships between variants of the same passage are graphically represented by so-called local stemmata. The construction of these is done in phases proceeding from secure cases which hardly need any discussion to those whose analysis requires genealogical data.
Klaus Wachtel, Constructing Local Stemmata for the ECM of Acts: Examples
Abstract: A series of examples relating to the guidelines set out in The CBGM Applied to Variants from Acts: Methodological Background. These examples are also referenced in Annette Hüffmeier's The CBGM Applied to Variants from Acts.
Annette Hüffmeier, The CBGM Applied to Variants from Acts
Abstract: This contribution illustrates use of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM) to develop and weigh external evidence in a new way. The CBGM tries to control the subjective element of applying external criteria (e.g. “best quality witnesses”) by taking into account how all included witnesses relate to one another in terms of coherence. Each variant is assessed impartially regardless of its appearance in a certain group of manuscripts or its apparent importance. As a rule, this approach assumes a scribe did his best to produce a fair copy of an exemplar. He did not distinguish between more or less interesting variants, and often we can only speculate about the reason why a variant arose. Illustrative examples from editorial work with Acts reveal important insights that are generated when the results of coherence analyses are balanced with everything else known about the textual transmission of the New Testament, especially on the basis of the internal criteria of Transcriptional Probability.
Tommy Wasserman, Historical and Philological Correlations and the CBGM as Applied to Mark 1:1
Abstract: This article demonstrates how the traditionally accepted philological principles of textual criticism and the editors’ view of the textual history of the NT exert considerable control in the application of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM). The article focuses on the textual variation in Mark 1:1 (involving the words υἱοῦ θεοῦ, “Son of God”) as a test case in order to probe the initial stages of the method, that is, the evaluation of so-called pre-genealogical coherence, followed by preliminary genealogical assessments (based on the particular editors’ view of the textual history), and the construction of local stemmata. The method allows variants to be both counted and weighed in terms of their genealogical significance, depending on the overall textual relationship between the witnesses that attest them, as well as their philological nature. In regard to Mark 1:1, it is easy to explain by palaeographical consideration how the nomen sacrum (ΥΥ ΘΥ) could have been omitted, but some scholars have expressed doubt that this would happen in a book's opening lines. The present evaluation of pre-genealogical coherence shows that the shorter reading without υἱοῦ θεοῦ (“Son of God”) has imperfect coherence—the variant is attested by a number of unrelated witnesses, and the variant has clearly emerged several times in the history of transmission, probably by accident (and several witnesses have been corrected). This evaluation and a preliminary genealogical assessment supports the longer reading in Mark 1:1.
Stephen Carlson, Comments on the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method
Abstract: Despite the term “genealogical” in the name Coherence-Based Genealogical Method, researchers should not expect the CBGM to provide a proposed history of the text through its manuscripts. This puts a premium on the use of internal evidence to establish the initial text.


Lincoln H. Blumell, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (Malcolm Choat, reviewer)
P. Doble and J. Kloha (eds.), Texts and Traditions: Essays in Honour of J. Keith Elliott (Tobias Nicklas, reviewer)
Robert Hanhart (ed.), Septuaginta (Marcus Sigismund, reviewer)
James M. Leonard, Codex Schøyen: A Middle Egyptian Coptic Witness to the Early Greek Text of Matthew’s Gospel: A Study in Translation Theory, Indigenous Coptic, and New Testament Textual Criticism (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer)
AnneMarie Luijendijk, Forbidden Oracles? The Gospel of the Lots of Mary (Brice C. Jones, reviewer)
Eric F. Mason and Troy W. Martin (eds.) Reading 1-2 Peter and Jude: A Resource for Students (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer)
Joseph E. Sanzo, Scriptural Incipits on Amulets from Late Antique Egypt (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer)
W. Andrew Smith, A Study of the Gospels in Codex Alexandrinus: Codicology, Palaeography, and Scribal Habits (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer)
Markus Vinzent, Marcion and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels (Paul A. Himes, reviewer)


  1. Thanks Tommy, that is a helpful reminder.

  2. Having just read Carlson, I believe he raises several valid concerns. Additionally, he raises a concern of mine, albeit incidentally, that ultimately we still rely significantly on internal criticism to determine which texts are closer to the 'initial text' and then use that determination to decide which manuscripts contain the 'initial text'!


    1. We've been relying implicitly—and often illicitly—on internal critical work to justify manuscript-critical decisions for as long as I can see evidence. And often there are theological and historical-critical factors in play that we refuse to acknowledge as well. It is a virtue of CBGM—and I hear Carlson saying as much contra Jongkind—that it brings internal critical work into the open and allows us to inspect texts internally to ask about their variations without the pretense of following the real history of manuscript transmission absent all the missing rungs.

    2. Matthew,
      Yes, we have been relying on internal evidence at least since Lachmann. My point was that the CBGM seems to allow internal evidence outweigh external evidence and then based on those decisions determine the initial text!
      The article by Tommy seems to show a much more balanced approach in the pre-genealogical coherence. If this is the case with Meunster than I stand corrected.
      Finally, while relying on internal evidence more heavily seems to be the current majority position, do not forget that for many of us, we would still prefer external evidence be given priority and internal evidence limited to when manuscript evidence is inconclusive.
      The greatest value in a critical edition is not to be considered a new "Received Text" but in the manuscript evidence provided in the apparatus.


  3. Also, the article by Wasserman, is the most helpful written to date explaining the process used at the beginning of the CBGM. In fact, it is the first time that I have come away from an article on the CBGM's workings that actually give me hope that this process will lead to a better critical text.


  4. Thanks Tim, that is all I hoped for with that piece.

    1. Dr. W.,
      A real struggle for me with the CBGM, is not when multiple manuscripts, even later ones, appear to descend from the A text but when CBGM indicates that a manuscript like 81 contains more text derived from A than 01, for example, in the Catholics. This is true even while I acknowledge that it is the text and not the manuscripts that contain them which are related to A.

      Any help??? Any advice on what to read?
      In any case, I really do appreciate you and the other scholars who participate here!


    2. What is it that you struggle to understand? 81 has a slightly higher ratio of "prior readings", and as you point out, that does not mean that the manuscript 01 is descended from 81; we are talking about stages of the text. In all the local stemmata in the Catholic Letters, 81 is more often found higher up in the stemma so to speak.

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  6. Tommy, thanks for mention and interacting with my work. I think, however, that your summary of my argument for the second Vorlage behind Mark 1.1 would have been more accurate if you had noted that Scribe D, whom I credit with the correction, made (in my view at least) only made 10 corrections in the Marcan portion of Sinaiticus. In my books, 50% of corrections with a textual shift like that is not insignificant. Actually, the fact that two scribes were responsible for various corrections in the Marcan portion is one of the main points of the article, which is, admittedly, a bit too long. I must admit, then, that I remain a believer even after your cogent refutation :)

  7. Peter, I am not sitting with the data in front of me, but if I recall (and we can skip percentages), we are talking about a conclusion based on a sample of four corrections, which went in various directions. I noted that the sample was far too small to draw any conclusion about a Vorlage. This is from my memory, and I am getting older so you can remind me if I am wrong.

    1. It's 5 I think (don't have in front of me either). But the point was that it's 5/10 (= corrections by Scribe D) is a different proportion than 5/50 (= all the S1 corrections by both scribes).

  8. Yes, it might have been five, but in addition these corrections went in somewhat different directions. I think the conclusion was based on very thin ice, so to speak, and might have been different depending on a single correction.

    1. Yes, I would agree that the conclusion would have been different depending on a single correction. But we have more corrections and, more importantly, there's evidence for the 2nd Vorlage in our NT portions of Sinaiticus (as shown by Jongkind [Luke and Paul], and as hinted by Milne & Skeat. I might have some footnotes with references in the BASP article).

  9. I am sorry but I think the sample in this case was far too small to draw any conclusion at all.

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