Friday, September 13, 2013

Being Pedantic

If there is one occupational hazard that threatens a good number of the text-critical guild, it is that of being pedantic. Squabbling over commas, dots in the margin, spelling, and one another's work (or lack thereof), we have seen it all.

I caught myself out when looking at these words in Rev 18:18 (as in the current Nestle Aland edition):
ἀστραπαὶ καὶ φωναὶ καὶ βρονταί
[lightning and sounds and thunder]

Regardless of the question of the correct word order (and I thing P47 and the koine Byzantine branch have a strong shout here), I noticed how the word order variants are listed in the apparatus of NA28:

1 4 5 2 3
5 4 1–3
1 4 5

And I thought, Is this tendentious? Why is the first one not listed as 1 2 5 4 3, with just the final two nouns swapped? Or the second as 5 2 1 4 3? Actually, the possibilities are quite numerous. Perhaps the last one should be 1 4 3? And by then I caught myself sinking down in the morass of pedanticism and tried to repent immediately ...


  1. You may have a good point about not squabbling or being pedantic, but I was far too distracted by your error in typing a "g" for a "k" in the sentence "and I thing* P47 and the koine Byzantine branch have a strong shout here"

  2. maybe it is a kind of tc haiku

  3. I would bet that the numbers given represent a fair amount of debate with those working on the aparatus. I personally think the clearest representations would have been

    1 2 5 2 3
    5 2 1-3
    1 2 5

    but then the original is

    1 2 3 2 5

    so part of the problem is that there is not optimal solution here without changing the rules of the representation.


  4. I think that's something we need more of in tc.

    haiku, that is.

    open challenge: post your best tc poetry


  5. haiku:

    the scribes - they did it
    cross-pollination committed
    fix through conjecture

    1. Ryan,

      I think you left out a "we mustn't" to finish up your l. 3. (Hehehe!)