Thursday, August 04, 2016

Kurt Aland against Voting in the ECM

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This is from Aland’s 1970 article “Novi Testamenti Graeci Editio Maior Critica: Der gegenwärtige Stand der Arbeit an einer neuen grossen kritischen Ausgabe des Neuen Testamentes,” NTS 16 (1970): 163–77 which layed out the rationale for the ECM:
It is one of the editors—K. Aland—who is responsible for the editing of this text. Of course, all major issues will be advised by the circle of editors and co-editors. But it seemed impossible to determine the text in a voting system by majority decision. This is indeed fashionable [modern] (and in the hand editions of the Bible Societies even understandable), but such a procedure contradicts not only all philological principles but it also leads in all experiences to an average text. (p. 166)
If I have my chronology right, this was written when Aland was already part of the UBS committee. Unfortunately, he doesn’t explain what makes the difference between a hand-edition and a major critical edition such that a committee is good for one and not the other. It seems a bit inconsistent.

Aland (second from right) with the UBS committee.

11 comments :

  1. I guess its this way:
    "Hand-edition": All Nestle-Aland-Editions and of course also the UBS-Editions.
    "Major critical edition": The Editio Critica Maior, thats beenig published by the INTF.

    One should not forget that the cited article is from 1970. Aland died in 1994. I guess there might be some more actual statements on this topic available (even from the late Kurt Aland or his wife Barbara Aland).

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  2. He is against voting, not a group of 'editors and co-editors'. So this vision is completely fulfilled in the ECM.

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    1. Peter,
      How is the idea of not voting achieved? Is there not still an editorial committee who at least the initial level determine the assumed ausgang text that is then compared with the results of the CBGM as the process continues? Does the committee not function by voting or do they use some other method, i.e. A different member for different books?
      Thanks,
      Tim

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    2. These are good questions. The internal workings of the group of editors for the Catholic Epistles has not been made public. But they all worked at the same institution, followed the same method, and produced results without voting.

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  3. I should clarify, what looks like an inconsistency to me is not Aland’s original vision for ECM vs. today’s ECM but rather his rejection of voting vs. his participation in the same for the UBS. Why is it okay for one but not the other?

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    1. Did he say it was "okay"? The quotation only has "understandable," which seems to be a grudging concession. Clearly, he preferred to work on a project where he wouldn't be out-voted, but he thinks that there's something in the nature of a hand-edition that would make a second-best option for him "even understandable." I can offer speculation as to why it would be, but I don't see an inconsistency, beyond the ordinary fact we often have to make compromises when working on group projects.

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    2. Probably so. But "contradicts all philological principles" and "leads in all experiences to an average text" is pretty severe.

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  4. Peter, I guess, the only person who can answer your question is Barbara Aland or Holger Strutwolf. All other participants that have been working together with Kurt Aland during that time are no longer with us. Some more useful information can be found here: https://www.academic-bible.com/en/home/scholarly-editions/greek-new-testament/greek-new-testament/

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  5. Anon, I suppose the only person who really can is K. Aland himself. Perhaps he has done so in his writing elsewhere.

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  6. Peter Gurry: "what looks like an inconsistency to me is not Aland’s original vision for ECM vs. today’s ECM but rather his rejection of voting vs. his participation in the same for the UBS. Why is it okay for one but not the other?"

    Probably because when the UBS edition was originally proposed, it began as primarily a British/USA project, and the format for such already had been established before the Editorial Committee was finalized. Thus, if K. Aland wanted to participate on the Committee, he had to accept the format already in place, even if he didn't particularly concur with such.

    It therefore becomes of significant interest to note that subsequent editions of UBS find the makeup of the Editorial Committee slowly shifting from American/British dominance to Continental European as time goes on.

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  7. Does the blackboard in the photo show the genesis of the UBS rating system?

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