Tuesday, August 01, 2006

TC Alternate List

I've just received notice of the TC Alternate List. It is too early to see whether this will take root or whether there is general appetite for a list in addition to Wieland Willker's one.

The blurb is as follows:

"This is an alternate Textual Criticism group for people with a wider set of views and more diverse backgrounds than just 'university scholarship'.

This group allows discussion of other related topics, like theology and doctrinal issues, as well as humour and politics.

Anonymity is allowed. Credentials are not required or desired. All participants should and will be judged based upon the content of their posts only. Please stick to one name only."


  1. I wouldn't expect this to amount to much -- this is basically an alternate list set up by someone who was annoyed that no one took him seriously. Stick with the original list.

    Tony Zbaraschuk

  2. I had thought of making a pre-emptive judgement. It seems to me that there are two potential problems and one advantage with the list so proposed.

    The allowance of 'doctrinal' considerations, but with no further qualification, is probably going to be frustratingly broad. One person may have a doctrinal belief that says that the Aramaic is the original and the Greek comes from it, etc. (which outside of Aramaic sections of the OT is unhelpful). Almost any dogma in Christendom could be invoked. If doctrinal considerations are to be discussed they should probably be more closely defined (Catholic, Orthodox, Neo-Orthodox, Evangelical, etc.). A second problem could be that, if one is not going to take 'university scholarship' seriously, it could lead to talking nonsense without any means of being corrected. Of course, scholarship from outwith the University system has always contributed to TC.

    However, if properly moderated it could be useful for a 'lower level' TC list to provide a safer forum for those just beginning to learn TC to try out ideas and learn without getting sat on by those who know considerably more. Perhaps B-Greek serves a similar function. If such is the function of the list it should probably be entitled something like 'TC learners list'.

  3. It's not unheard of for a moderated list to have an 'off-topic' sister list to allow members to vent on topics the moderator won't let through.

    These work best when they are also moderated, but by nature they are going to stray across a wide variety of rabbit trails branching off the original topic. Moderation is always necessary to prevent the sort of abuse to which such lists are particularly subject.

  4. There were at least a dozen attempts to start an alternative to the b-greek list and as far as I know none of them survived for long. b-greek itself didn't survive either it morphed into something totally unlike what it was in the 90s.

  5. I take a completely different point of view to that of Tony and Peter. That is, the purpose of a blog or internet group like those hosted by Yahoo is to allow (relatively) unfettered discussion. The TC list hosted by W. Willker has 300 people on the list, but few feel free to post because of the unwelcoming atmosphere and the almost control-freak mentality it exudes. If any discussions start to get juicy, they are slapped down and people are threatened with being banned.

    This reluctance to participate particularly applies to people who have an interest in the subject but have views that differ from the standard UBS view of the textual world, or people who want to learn more about the subject.

    Maybe an alternate list will serve the needs of people who expect more from the internet than that it simply be a tool of the MSM (mainstream media monopolies).

  6. Andrew Wilson's comment is completely accurate. For example, any view of the history of the text from the Byzantine-priority viewpoint is strictly moderated if not disallowed altogether. It is as if Aland is moderating the list, and Epp wants to post sections of his Interlude papers....ain't gonna happen!

  7. Andrew and Jonathan,

    I don't know if you participated on the old TC-list, but I remember that Wieland did, and perhaps that gave him some useful experience in this regard; unfortunatly, at the end of its lifetime, there were an increasing number of endless debates over controversial issues (e.g. the TR/KJV-only, Aramaic original to NT books, etc.), which caused many good scholars to leave the list one by one becuase of the poor quality of the contributions (I hope this does not happen on the new list). As a novice in textual criticism in the last decade and a member of the old TC-list I learnt tremendously much and made good contacts with other scholars and listers, but personally I was careful not to present unsustained arguments; I rather posted questions or purely bibliographic references.

    It can be very tiresome with those heated debates including personal remarks. Certainly I think the controversial issues need to be discussed, but unmoderated? NO THANKS! Anyway, I don't have anything against the new list, as long as I don't have to receive its messages in my mailbox.

  8. AW:
    ". . . few feel free to post because of the unwelcoming atmosphere and the almost control-freak mentality it exudes."

    Actually, I would revise the above statement to say that few ARE free to post, etc. What would happen if everyone could post as "they" felt was graphically demonstrated when Weiland left for vacation with no one to keep the store. Under moderation, those who do attempt to join the discussion soon learn what it takes to get--and stay--in it, and so much the better for everyone on the list.

    All the same, I think the alternate list is an excellent idea for those who like things the other way. Long may it thrive.

  9. It is a moderated forum, with a lot of spillover from the "new list."

    Now the question arises, what will happen when a disgruntled poster isn't able to get published on either list?

  10. "control-freak mentality": I also appreciate the moderation of discussion on Wieland´s list. He once saved me from sending a very embarrassing private post to the whole list!