Friday, July 28, 2017

A Text-Savvy Issue of Novum Testamentum

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The latest issue of Novum Testamentum contains two articles of interest:

Eldon J. Epp, ‘Text-Critical Witnesses and Methodology for Isolating a Distinctive D-Text in Acts’, pp. 225–96.

Abstract:
Within the past decade, a few leading New Testament textual critics have challenged two major, long-standing convictions by urging that we should speak no longer (1) of “text-types” or (2) of two textual streams in the Acts of the Apostles. Certainly the term “type” is too rigid and definitive to describe our textual groups, and “textual clusters” is more appropriate. The present essay concerns whether dual texts can be identified certifiably in Acts, thereby distinguishing a “D-Textual Cluster” from an alternate cluster headed by Codex Vaticanus (B) and Codex Sinaiticus ( א). It is clear that all D-Text Primary witnesses are mixed texts that, over time in various ways, have been conformed and assimilated to the increasingly dominant B-Cluster, as well as to the ascending Byzantine text.A fresh method, however, is proposed and illustrated at length (1) to identify a tightly cohesive group of Primary witnesses to a D-Textual Cluster, which (2) reveals that these D-Text readings virtually always are opposed by the א-B-Cluster. The result is a strong testimony to the early existence of dual textual streams in Acts that stand firmly over against one another.The fresh aspect of the method involves, for each variation -unit, (1) identifying the Primary witnesses available for a given reading; (2) counting the number supporting a presumptive D-Text reading; (3) counting those that do not; and (4) calculating the percentages of witnesses agreeing and not agreeing to the readings in question. Three or more Primary witnesses must be present in a variation-unit to be included. The global figures show that available Primary D-Text witnesses agree with one another 88% of the time on readings in 425 variation-units, while 97% of the time these readings are opposed by both א and B together.


Garrick V. Allen, ‘Textual History and Reception History: Exegetical Variation in the Apocalypse’, pp. 297–319.

Abstract:
This article explores the possibility of examining reception history within the textual history of the New Testament, focusing on the book of Revelation. Both intentional alterations located in particular manuscripts and reading practices gleaned from slips of scribal performance are indicative of reception. Attempts to facilitate a certain understanding of a locution constitute acts of reception embedded in Revelation’s early textual history. The article concludes by analysing the social dynamics of the milieus in which exegetical textual alterations were tolerated, suggesting that the work of informal scribal networks provides modern researchers access to evidence for reception.

It’s a bit rare to see an entire journal issue comprised solely of text-critical studies. Given the length of one of the articles, however, this is perhaps not unexpected! (Fun fact: NovT author guidelines suggest that the manuscripts ‘should typically not exceed 8,500 words’, a suggestion which the editorial board tends to take [in my experience at least] rather seriously.) I hope to say more on the latter [edit: Allen's] article shortly. For now, enjoy the hefty meal from Leiden.

9 comments :

  1. Eldon Epp is one of few scholars who can get away with a 70+ pages article! Btw, his handout to this material as it was presented at the SNTS in Montreal was a booklet in color.

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    1. Doesn't surprise me. He's a perfectionist through and through. And he always produces these colour offprints of his articles. It's quite remarkable, actually.

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    2. I have several offprints in black and white too, but in the last years they have been in color.

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  2. I couldn't believe the page-length of that Epp essay. Then I saw that most of it is data and it made me feel a little better. I'm interested in your thoughts on it Pete. I had some too but I need to re-read it to see if I misunderstood it or not.

    Anyway, welcome to the blog, Dr. Malik! It's good to have another Pete on board.

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    1. I think I was a bit unclear there: I meant Garrick's essay. But I do have some thoughts on Epp's article as well. (I'm not convinced, but it's very articulate.)

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    2. And thanks very much for the warm welcome, Pete(r) :)

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    3. Ah, I see. I need to read Garrick's still although I think I heard it at some point maybe. I felt the same about Epp's paper. I might have some thoughts on it.

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  3. Was that your first blogpost Peter? Yes, welcome!

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    1. I think so. I may have had a guest post or two before, though. And thanks! :)

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