Friday, December 09, 2005

ETC Annual Achievement Awards: Nominations

Up-date: I'm just posting this again to keep it near the top. (There may be some sensible way of doing this, I'm just going to try to give it a date about three days in advance and see if that works).

As the end of the year approaches we invite our readers (yes, all three of you) to engage in a bout of critical reflection on the major text critical achievements of 2005. We invite nominations for awards in the following categories:

1. Best contribution to biblical textual criticism.

2. Best discussion of an individual manuscript.

3. Worst treatment of textual criticism in a biblical commentary.

4. Best evangelical contribution to biblical textual criticism.

5. Most arcane detail published in any text critical discussion.

6. Funniest item connected to textual criticism of the Bible.

7. Evangelical Textual Criticism Hall of Fame / Life-time achievement Award.

Nominations can be submitted (over the next 8 days) as comments or by email.


  1. 1. Aside from the meeting in the Board Room, the most significant development in textual criticism of the NT was the joint agreement between the IGNTP and the INTF in March of this year to work together on an editio maior of John.

    2. Would that be Jongkind on Sinaiticus?

    3. The worst treatments are surely the non-existent ones (quite a few commentaries fit this bill).

    4. 'Best evangelical contribution...' I suppose here will mean 'best contribution by an evangelical'. It is perhaps easier for the e-adjective to go with a whole way of approaching a discipline than with an isolated contribution.

    5. There are too many candidates. I think we need to factor in the length of discussion relative to the obscurity of the subject. Ideally the arcane subject will have managed to take up many pages in a prime journal.

    6. The fact that people have still continued reading the Da Vinci Code this year.

    7. David Gooding.

    8. Should we not also have a competition for the most delayed text-critical publication? Any nominations?

  2. PJW suggested:
    8. Should we not also have a competition for the most delayed text-critical publication? Any nominations?

    In order to spare any potential personal embarrassment (I hope you are not trying to be cheecky here PJW) it is pretty clear that this should go to J.R. Royse, whose revision of his 1981 PhD is 'forthcoming'.

  3. Any new manuscripts this year?

  4. Not sure of any new manuscripts.
    0311-0315 are forthcoming in JTS.

    Haven't heard anything of Dan Wallace's Istanbul Mark palimpsest recently.

    We already had P118 last year.

    There are some Oxynrynchus NT mss forthcoming, but probably not 2005.

    Some new tiny bits of P66 identified (slight correction to 2005 NovT article also 'forthcoming').

  5. Can someone summarise the achievements of David Gooding in this field?

  6. I have discovered one new uncial manuscript this year, ed. pr. "forthcoming" hopefully during 2006 (no big surprises in this MS, Byz. text).

  7. David Willoughby Gooding (1925-present) is an extremely learned biblical scholar who is relatively unknown in academic circles. He is widely known in Russia, where some of his popular books have sold over half a million copies.

    His main work was in the textual criticism of the Septuagint and includes the following major publications:

    Recensions of the Septuagint Pentateuch (1955).

    The Account of the Tabernacle (Texts and Studies, New Series: Vol 6, 1959; revised 1978).

    The text of the Septuagint: its corruptions and their emendation, by Peter Walters (formerly Katz), edited by D.W. Gooding (1973).

    Relics of ancient exegesis: a study of the miscellanies in 3 Reigns 2 (Cambridge University Press, 1976).

    He has also written a number of significant articles on the Greek text of Reigns and made an important contribution to the four-way debate over the original text of the David and Goliath narrative (Emanuel Tov, Dominique Barthélemy, Johan Lust and David Gooding in The Story of David and Goliath: textual and literary criticism: papers of a joint research venture (OBO 73; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1986).

    While Gooding’s work has not been at the centre of academic discussion of the Septuagint, and he has ploughed his own furrow to some extent, his research exemplifies a learned and judicious caution which has often been lacking in theories of the OT text. While he does not have an unquestioning commitment to the MT he has often called into question far-reaching reconstructions based on speculative retroversion of the Septuagint. His contribution to the book on David and Goliath is an example of this, as is his review of James D. Shenkel’s, Chronology and recensional development in the Greek text of Kings (HSM 1; Harvard University Press, 1968), reviewed in JTS 21 (1970) 118-31.

    Gooding, while less prolific than Metzger, is someone of similar learning. The work of both is marked by a documentary approach and by caution. Both have been open about having theological convictions and for Gooding this clearly entails a belief that specific words were given by God (verbal inspiration). I don’t know the Metzger corpus well enough to know if he has ever expressed himself in these terms.

  8. Now that Dirk, Peter H and Tommy have all identified new Greek mss, some other members of the blog team may begin to feel left out.

    Tommy, do you have any more details of where the editio princeps of your ms will appear? Would we be right in presuming that the ms contains Jude?

  9. PJ wrote:

    " ... clearly entails a belief that specific words were given by God (verbal inspiration). I don’t know the Metzger corpus well enough to know if he has ever expressed himself in these terms."

    Well someone should run this question by B.Ehrman and M.Holmes. I suspect the answer will be negative. I never heard Metzger referenced with the E word until fairly recently. But the E word has become very elastic in the last several decades which is why you fellows have appended the qualifier Historic.

    Looking for a definition of Historic E. I would be tempted to use Bernie Ram's book:

    The Evangelical Heritage: A Study in Historical Theology 
    Kevin Vanhoozer Bernard L. Ramm Bernard Ramm
    Paperback. Baker Book House, 2000-07-01

    However I would have to pull it out and read it again since Ramm might not meet the criteria which is under discussion here.

  10. Obviously the phrase 'historic evangelical' is itself somewhat plastic. However, it serves to define in two ways: broadening and narrowing. It broadens the group to one which historically understands itself to be in essential continuity with major figures of the Reformation (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli) in such a way that the main theological boundaries would be Solus Christus, Sola Sciptura and Sola Fide. This group is particularly marked by its soteriology and its understanding of the authority of Scripture. More recent attempts to make major boundaries out of eschatology or issues like temperance, or even the advocating of one particular Bible translation are seen to be in discontinuity with the breadth of this movement (much though it may be good to be passionate about such issues).

    It narrows by excluding many views now held by those who designate themselves evangelical, which do not find sufficient precedent within the movement to be called 'historic', e.g. Open Theism.

    The above definition is slightly unsatisfactory in that it may be uncertain whether a critical position adopted in the early nineteenth by an evangelical, but not attested previously, is 'historic'. On a whole range of other things, however, the 'h' adjective does just the trick.

    One of the tasks that I hope this blog will inspire will be a critical reflection on attitudes to textual criticism within this movement and on what is the most fruitful approach for someone who identifies with this movement to take in the present.

  11. Pete W. asked about more details about the new uncial. Out of respect for my co-writer I will have to come back later with more information, and I hope you will not feel left out.

  12. Tommy, we quite understand, and will await patiently until the publication.

  13. I have never read Metzger specifically affirm verbal inspiration. But I also wouldn't expect him to, nor would I exclude him from the label "evangelical" on the basis of avoiding that affirmation (would anyone say F. F. Bruce was not an evangelical?). I do know that after leaving Princeton Metzger became an emeritus professor at Gordon Conwell. What I can say about his writings is that he consistently exhibits the same level of respect for evangelicals, even majority text advocates, that he does for non-evangelicals. This is more than can be said even about some people who DO affirm verbal inspiration.

  14. Thanks, Eric. On this blog we are certainly not interested in excluding people from the label 'evangelical', nor in creating a new category called the 'historic evangelical'. In the blog description 'historic evangelical' goes with 'theology'. Some theology can be described as 'historic evangelical' and some not.

    (PS Metzger is actually my favourite textual critic.)

  15. So a choice between Metzger and Gooding would reflect a choice between:

    a) claiming a mainstream critic for the "historic evangelical" cause, although he may never have articulated any allegiance to such a label/worldview

    b) acknowledging a distinctive contribution even though he is 'relatively unknown in academic circles'.

    Any other nominations?

  16. Of course you can always use such a prestigious nomination to make someone better known :-)

  17. "All three of you"
    Well, there are more than three of us now. I was sent here (rather indirectly, with help from Google) by Wieland Wilker via his tc-list on Yahoo.
    Just a note for those who have read through the OT or NT in the OL (does the 1611 edition of the KJV count?), when quoting in French, German, Latin, Greek, or Syriac, it asways helps the rest of us a great deal when you take the couple extra minutes to give an English translation of the pertinent portion of the quote.

  18. Thanks for the helpful comment. I think that we'll try to translate Latin and Syriac, and to bear in mind intelligibility. Translating all Greek could be tedious, but if fellow bloggers want to do that I'm sure it would be of benefit.