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Re: [Synoptic-L] Date of reconstructed texts

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic Cc: GPG, WSW; Eldon Epp In Response To: Dave Gentile On: Date of Reconstructed Texts From: Bruce I think Dave s clarifications are very helpful.
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 11, 2008
      To: Synoptic
      Cc: GPG, WSW; Eldon Epp
      In Response To: Dave Gentile
      On: Date of Reconstructed Texts
      From: Bruce

      I think Dave's clarifications are very helpful. Just a note to his last

      DAVE: One problem with this, it that even once an "LCA" is explained, I
      think many are convinced that the LCA is the autograph. Whereas I would
      argue this is quite unlikely to be the case.

      BRUCE: At least the two are different in principle. I might take the subject
      back out of biology and bring it back into the province of the textual
      sciences. For LCA, I would suggest substituting A for "Archetype." This
      means, the ancestor of the manuscripts we actually have. It is indeed not
      the same (though even text critics will sometimes take this shortcut) as the
      author's final manuscript, which I would like to call F (for "final").

      [Lachmann, very properly as I think, did not claim that his critical edition
      represented the authors' autographs. He thought that it represented the
      texts as they were at the earliest date to which manuscript comparisons take
      us, that is, the archetype in the above sense. This, Lachmann thought, was
      the 4th century, not the 1st. It seems that only in certain spots and places
      can we say that the 4th century text (by and large, Vaticanus) can be
      attested one or two centuries earlier].

      We could then ask Tim's question this way: Is the archetype behind Mark the
      same as the one behind, say, Luke, and if not, which one is older?

      I think Peter (to whom also thanks) has already spoken to this, so
      presumably Tim's question has been answered as well as it is going to be at
      this date. I note Peter's comment that the century of the papyri hasn't made
      all THAT much difference in our sense of the texts in question. Eldon Epp in
      1974 (JBL; but see now also the 2004 update notes appended to the reprint in
      Epp Perspectives, Brill 2005) pointed to an "interlude" in progress on this
      subject; I take it he was referring to the same fact. All in all, it begins
      to seem that our sense of the respective archetypes is probably about as
      good as it is going to get, and that further progress in Synoptic (or NT)
      understanding, if in fact it can be achieved, is going to have to come from
      better processing of what we now have.

      [Which surely does not include letting the Western Non-Interpolations back
      into the text; on this retrograde movement I fully share Metzger's evident


      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst



      I have left uncorrected a scribal, or in this case very probable authorial,
      error in Dave's quoted paragraph. For the fifth quoted word [it], read
      rather "is." The substitution of t for the intended s is not likely to be a
      matter of phonological compatibility; it is in all probability an
      anticipation of the next letter scheduled by the authorial mind to be
      written by the authorial finger, namely the t of "this." I mention this not
      because it is difficult, but because it is possible to reach this conclusion
      without a second manuscript of Dave's message which is identical with the
      one he sent save for reading "is that" rather than "it that."

      Manuscript variants are very helpful to call our attention to problem
      places, but the variants of themselves do not solve the problems to which
      they point. The problems are solved by the same sort of experienced
      judgement that we apply to problem passages where, as in this case,
      manuscript variants do NOT exist, and where we become aware of the problem
      not by collation, but simply by noticing the irregularity.

      Second moral: not all imperfections in a text are the work of later scribes.
      The author is also part of the text formation process.
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