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Re: [Synoptic-L] two L passages (17:20-21)

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic Cc: WSW In Response To: Dave G On: Method From: Bruce I agree largely with Dave s corrections to my statement on methodology, and I note that part
    Message 1 of 10 , Jun 13, 2009
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      To: Synoptic
      Cc: WSW
      In Response To: Dave G
      On: Method
      From: Bruce

      I agree largely with Dave's corrections to my statement on methodology, and
      I note that part of the agreement consists in the position, implicit in his
      last post, that we get ideas from the evidence, not the other way round.

      As for internal vs external evidence, I shouldn't have seemed to exclude the
      latter. Again, my longer comment shows an appreciation of its importance,
      but the short statement should certainly have acknowledged it more openly.
      The standard "drill" (as my colleague Dennis Grafflin calls it), the cockpit
      check, includes both. If there is any sequence, though, I think the internal
      evidence ought to come under the microscope first. If we have an external
      attestation for, say, the Shu document Kang Gau (this is a Chinese example,
      and a much vexed one), we cannot evaluate that attestation meaningfully
      until we have discovered, from the internal difference inspection and
      directionality determinations, that there are two layers in the Kang Gau,
      and that our 04c attestations only apply to the earlier or A portion,
      whereas the later or B portion is not externally witnessed until early in
      the 03c.

      This seems like a bitsy technical matter, and of course it is. Nevertheless,
      it is not a frivolous one. The implications for Chinese legal history are
      profound.

      It is a common error to think that a datable witness for part of some text
      certifies the whole of that text (or the corpus of which it is a part) as
      existing prior to that date. It does not. An external witness attests only
      what, in fact, it attests. I have been trying to keep this difference in
      mind in my recent suggestions about the evolution of the Thomas logia. In
      the famous case of the Dau/Dv Jing witness at the Gwodyen 1 tomb (c0288),
      the witness conspicuously fails to substantiate the existence at that time
      of the last segment of the DDJ, and thus, in effect, goes to prove not only
      that the DDJ was an accretional text, but that it was still accreting in the
      early 03c. This result I had predicted - from internal evidence - some years
      before the discovery of the Gwodyen 1 tomb and its contents, and long before
      the open publication of its contents.

      Such is the importance of keeping in mind exactly what an external witness
      does certify. Doing so is especially important with an authority text like
      Mark, or any of the Shu, since it is exactly such texts that are most liable
      to be extended as the years pass, and as new crises arise to which the
      authority text is expected to speak. Those US citizens who still have
      trouble with this concept may usefully refer themselves to that ultimate,
      and ultimately extensible, authority document, the US Constitution.

      Or for Massachusetts residents, the MGCA ("Massachusetts General Code,
      Annotated"). The code itself is of modest compass; not all that much greater
      than is envisioned for archaic China by some of the more wildly
      anachronistic Shu texts. It is the annotations that run the thing into many
      volumes, and that also keep track of the text growth (and in this case, also
      text obsolescence) process, a thing which no practicing lawyer would dream
      of going into court without checking.

      When the text sciences catch up with the legal sciences in these matters, we
      will have witnessed a revolution in the text sciences. Hopefully by next
      Friday.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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