Monday, September 04, 2017

What are text-types?

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Do text-types exists or not? Tregelles and others thought not, CBGM folk don’t like the term either, but most scholars in the 20th century were perfectly fine with it.

Martini (1977) surprised me with the following analysis of what text-types are:

“(a) A distinctive text-type is primarily not a group of manuscripts, but a set of readings.

(b) This set is limited; it does not cover all the readings of the NT. This view is entirely different from the silent presupposition which seems to be common today in textual treatments of the New Testament.”

And what surprised me more is that Martini is analysing Westcott-Hort at this point.

Martini, Carlo M. “Is There a Late Alexandrian Text of the Gospels?”. New Testament Studies 24 (1977-78): 289.

9 comments :

  1. I would say something like this:

    A specific pattern of readings around which a particular group of MSS tends to cluster with a reasonable degree of concurrence; this, even if not all readings of individual MSS precisely match the pattern in all respects. Such also remains distinct and distinguishable from patterns shared among other clusters of MSS, even if some readings remain common within one or more of the varying patterns.

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    1. MAR, having defined how to identify and distinguish text-types, what are they historically? In other words, what is the pattern a pattern of?

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    2. Historically they would reflect the transmissional processes at work (scribal, recensional, or other). These would lead to various degrees of clustering in relation to a particular pattern of generally shared readings. The MSS so clustered would more closely associate with their neighbors than to MSS that follow differing patterns of reading.

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    3. Paolo Trovato9/05/2017 9:42 pm

      But is there a difference between these "various degrees of clustering" and the groups or families of traditional genealogical textual criticism (which can be more or less clearly isolated)? Or they are two different ways of naming the same thing?

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    4. I would say the difference is that clustering does not require a stemmatic approach, but is primarily concerned with the resultant groupings. Perhaps Stephen Carlson also should weigh in on this matter.

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  2. By his point (b) does Martini mean that each book of the NT, or each set of books of the NT (Gospel, Acts-General Epistles, Paul, and Revelation), has its own set of text-types? Or does he mean something else?

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    1. I understood this to mean that some readings are not associated with any texttype. This would include most singular readings, as well as orthographic changes, defective spellings, and genealogically-insignificant readings in general.

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  3. I think Dr. Robinson has the right idea; text-types are best defined in terms of shared MSS and patterns of readings together. The patterns of readings may be understood as the "shared errors / innovations" used to construct early group branches in a stemma. The main difference is that if the classification of text-types is a strictly pre-genealogical process, then the judgment of which group readings are "errors" or "innovations" is left undecided until later.

    So in short, I would describe text-types as subtrees of an unoriented stemma, where the leaves of each subtree are that text-type's MSS, and the top edge of each subtree is defined by that text-type's characteristic readings.

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  4. Paolo Trovato9/07/2017 8:45 pm

    Today I was able to read again Martini (1977), which is OMHO a superb performance. Indeed he never says explicitly what text-types are according to him. On the contrary, he notes that Hort uses the notion of text-type in a quite peculiar way: “What I would like to emphasize here is that in this way [i.e. in Hort’s way. Note of PT] a new concept of a text-type is brought forward, which presents the following characteristics: “(a) A distinctive text-type is primarily not a group of manuscripts” etc. etc.

    In the following pages, where Martini tries to identify the text-type (I would say, the family) from which Didimus draws his quotations of John, he seems to use “text-type” in a very traditional way (e.g., p. 295: “The newly discovered papyri are witnesses to the persistence, in the fourth century, of a type of text, which is neither koine nor Western, and which has very much in common with the old Egyptian MSS”).

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