thankyou very much for replying.
Fri Sep 8, 2006 2:22 pm (PST)
I see no reason that all of the principles of textual criticism could
not be applied to your project. I should think that they are simply
principles regarding the manner in which MSS reproduction was
accomplished and the pitfalls which would have been encountered in the
process. I would recommend that you first determine what the original
language was and use the texts in that language as a base.
Determining what the original language was in this case would really be just unscientific speculation. We know that the language was some kind of Middle Indic prakrit, but none of the extant versions are in precisely the same language, although the Pali and Gandhari versions (if there is a Gandhari version of this story) would be the most closely related to whatever the original language was. In fact even the notion of an 'original' language is questionable in this circumstance; hypothetically I believe the most likely explanation is that the various versions of the story do not come from one source text, but a fairly loose shared oral tradition. I also believe that the story is mythic rather than historical, but nevertheless its mythic meaning is valid if interpreted rightly. Also, we don't have so many manuscripts and versions as I think you have available for bibilical studies, we have only about half a dozen, whereas in the examples I read about in the wikipedia article in some cases there were more than eighty.
the older texts are to be preferred to the later though this is not
always the case since errors in copying (or even deliberate alteration
in some instances).
Again, determing which texts are older is very hard and complex. The Indian literary tradition was originally oral, and so what we now call one 'text' probably has many originally seperate units that probably have different ages of composition. With some recensions we may be able to prove even about a 1800 year period of composition if you count the final product as one entity.
If you can determine that certain texts are
independent of others (i.e., that they do not derive from the same text
family) then you can establish some controls for variants.
Yes, we may be able to do this. Many scholars since Frauwallner have believed that the Mahasanghika group, the Mulasarvastivada and the Sthavira group (incl. the Sarvastivadin) are the three relatively most independent sources. There are Indic language versions of both published.
relegate translations from the original to the status as witnesses to
the text from which they were translated and therefore as secondary in
importance to the original language texts though not therefore lacking
Yes, I agree. We have to use the Chinese quite alot because some of the Indic texts on which the translations were based are no longer available.
Never simply "count heads" to see how many support one reading or
another. The evidence must be weighed. Also, lend primary authority to
the MSS themselves before applying any internal criteria.
I saw an introductory book about Biblical TC on Amazon called "
A Student's Guide to Textual Criticism of the Bible: Its History, Methods and Results
- Paul D. Wegner; Paperback"
. Would anyone be able to tell me whether this one is more about the *results* of TC applied to the Bible or more about the *methods*. Although I'm curious about the results of TC applied to the Bible, my priority is to apply it to solving problems in my own religious tradition, so I'd be more interested in a book which focusses on the *methods and techniques* more than the particular conclusions about the Bible. If you think this one would not be suitable for what i'm after, can your recommend another one?
I really appreciate your help.
Thankyou very much,
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