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RE: [Synoptic-L] Counting Pericopes

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... OK, I do not have a copy of UBS3 at hand, and I apologize for thinking that you were dealing with an English text. Do I understand then that the text is
    Message 1 of 9 , Aug 3, 2011
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      At 08:21 PM 8/3/2011, E Bruce Brooks wrote:
      >To: Synoptic
      >In Response To: Bob Schacht
      >On: Counting Greek
      >From: Bruce
      >
      >By way of counting the physical extent of the Gospels as written out in
      >Greek, I had suggested, for those who choose not to invest in 2 copies of
      >the Sinatiticus facsimile, or can't find their copy of the Tischendorf
      >transcript, the use of what I called UBS3. My proposal 2 was to "count lines
      >in this typeset edition." This drew the following rather curious response:
      >
      >BOB: A-a-a-ck! Length in English in a printed edition??? I am worried that
      >this procedure will NOT fairly represent the original Greek.
      >
      >We seem to be in farcical mode. By UBS3 I mean what is called on its title
      >page The Greek New Testament. Third edition. United Bible Societies. One
      >must turn that page for the copyright data, which is: C 1966, 1968, 1975. I
      >went on to note that, of this typeset edition, "This is crude (and the
      >omegas are not wide enough for my comfort), . . ." thus contrasting them
      >with my previous description of the Vaticanus scribe's habit, which
      >luxuriates whenever it comes to an omega. There was never any question of
      >counting an English text.

      OK, I do not have a copy of UBS3 at hand, and I apologize for
      thinking that you were dealing with an English text. Do I understand
      then that the text is printed in Greek, but with a standardized font?
      And each line of printed text corresponds to an actual line in the original?
      If both of these statements are true, then for present statistical
      purposes, the counts should be OK. Furthermore, if true, does UBS3
      also show the beginning/end of pages in the original? If so, then the
      number of lines per page could also be counted, so that we could
      discern the number of pages required for each pericope.

      >(At least the UBS omega is wider than the UBS iota, which puts it way ahead
      >of the absurd suggestion of counting Greek letters, which implicitly assigns
      >the same bulk to each letter).

      I am not convinced that the "bulk" issue is critical, for present
      purposes, so I do not regard the suggestion as absurd.

      >I proceeded to report the line counts for the nine (9) pericopes
      >distinguished by the UBS3 edition. I gave the count for each of the nine
      >separately, and then noted the distribution: two of the nine were clustered
      >very close together at the high end: 15.2 and 15.6. This drew the following:
      >
      >BOB: This is interesting, although due to the small sample, somewhat
      >suspect. How many cases at these two high values?
      >
      >Answer: As I should have thought the preceding list made insuperably clear,
      >each of these numbers reports one pericope. The nine points together
      >represent the nine pericopes counted. ...
      >
      >PS: I can't do graph paper in E-mail, but for those who possess such a
      >thing, here are the nine pericope lengths from Mk1, in ascending numerical
      >order, for easy transfer to said paper:
      >
      >3.25, 4.2, 6.2, 7.6, 10.4, 11.5, 12.4, 15.4, 15.6 (total: 9 pericopes)

      Thanks. This clarifies your work perfectly. As for defining clusters,
      I also like to look at the *gaps* in the sequence.
      The two largest gaps are 3.0 (between 12.4 and 15.4) and 2.8 (between
      7.6 and 10.4). This separates the 9 into 3 clusters:
      Short: 3.25, 4.2, 6.2, 7.6 (4 pericopes)
      Medium: 10.4, 11.5, 12.4 (3 pericopes)
      Long: 15.4, 15.6 (2 pericopes)

      Presented in this fashion, the "short" periocopes are the most
      frequent category, and the long pericopes are the rarest.

      Thanks!
      Bob Schacht
      Northern Arizona University


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: Synoptic (GPG) In Response To: Bob Schacht On: UBS3 From: Bruce BOB: OK, I do not have a copy of UBS3 at hand, and I apologize for thinking that you were
      Message 2 of 9 , Aug 3, 2011
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        To: Synoptic (GPG)
        In Response To: Bob Schacht
        On: UBS3
        From: Bruce

        BOB: OK, I do not have a copy of UBS3 at hand, and I apologize for thinking
        that you were dealing with an English text. Do I understand then that the
        text is printed in Greek, but with a standardized font? / BRUCE: Yep

        BOB: And each line of printed text corresponds to an actual line in the
        original? / BRUCE: Nope. There is no such thing as "the original," if we
        possessed Mark's holograph, we would be way ahead, but we don't and we
        aren't. UBS3 is in succession to WH, which is also a critical text. The
        bottom of each page is devoted to text variants; only the top half is text
        proper. UBS3 also has pericope markers (whereas NA27, another possible
        choice for this rough assay, does not). Amusingly, the pericope divisions in
        WH are not the same as those in UBS3; WS recognizes only 8 in Mk1, versus
        the UBS 9. We could of course have appointed a committee to adjudicate these
        differences, but that would have delayed the experiment about nine months,
        and it isn't worth it. UBS3 is likely to be owned by more persons (I never
        see the theology students pull WS out of their pocket to look something up),
        so I picked UBS3.

        UBS3 is printed in continuous text, and there are (as I mentioned) many
        shortcomings for our purpose. It includes verse numbers in the text, which
        of course no early manuscript has, and its spacing between words varies,
        since the test is right-justified.

        BOB: If both of these statements are true, then for present statistical
        purposes, the counts should be OK. Furthermore, if true, does UBS3 also show
        the beginning/end of pages in the original? / BRUCE: Again, there is no
        "original." UBS8 is not a transcription of any ancient manuscript. It is a
        reconstruction of the original Greek, but it never had a handwritten form
        (unless we consult the Westcott papers looking for the pencil original, and
        I bet it wasn't all that neatly written out).

        BOB: If so, then the number of lines per page could also be counted, so that
        we could discern the number of pages required for each pericope. / BRUCE: I
        think this misconstrues the whole operation. There is no standard page size
        for the early codices, so even if we knew the bulk of a given amount of
        Greek (and we can perhaps hope to get a very rough idea of this, in relative
        terms, from the present experiment), we would not directly know how many
        pages it would take up. We would also need to know the page size, which is
        not given, and not directly discoverable. Not only do page sizes vary, in
        the early papyri, but number of columns varies, and some scribes write
        bigger than others. So even for a known page size, the amount of text that
        could be gotten onto it is still not a constant.

        We have the same problem in Chinese: some bamboo strips are very short, some
        are long, and others are very long. It has been suggested that official
        ones, or official copies of canonical texts, or texts later to become
        canonical, used a constant size (with about 40 characters per strip), and
        something like that is probably at work, even in pre-Imperial times, but it
        isn't perfectly regular, and so it won't really do to make firm predictions
        from. I mentioned the unstable roll of strips; these texts DO seem to work
        with a standard size strip, since the point of instability seems to come at
        about the same character count, very roughly 2500 characters (in Chinese all
        characters take the same space to write, unless the scribe is feeling
        creative, in which case they don't exactly).

        So the most we can hope for from the present experiment is an idea of the
        relative size of pericopes, assuming that WH and UBS3 after them have gotten
        rid of the obvious interpolations, and chosen the correct readings from the
        blizzard of possible readings. How contentious that still is may be sensed
        in Metzger's commentary to UBS3. Do the rights and wrongs cancel out,
        leaving our results to be on average meaningful? No, they don't. So we add
        that to the uncertainty factors. I still think it is worth trying, but
        perhaps the community disagrees. I presume we will know by 5 Am, meaning 3
        hours from now.

        E Bruce Brooks
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      • David Mealand
        I would suggest putting in a symbol e.g. a hash # after the ref, the title, and the count. This makes it easier to shift text to table of data, using the hash
        Message 3 of 9 , Aug 4, 2011
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          I would suggest putting in a symbol e.g. a
          hash # after the ref, the title, and the count.
          This makes it easier to shift text to table
          of data, using the hash to separate columns.

          Also I suggest one more item at least: a single
          letter such as n for narrative, h for healing,
          p for parable, a for apophthegm, s for saying etc.

          It may well be that some of these categories
          tend to be longer or shorter than others.

          David M.




          ---------
          David Mealand, University of Edinburgh


          --
          The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
          Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
        • E Bruce Brooks
          To: Synoptic (GPG) In Reponse To: David Mealand On: Counting Mark From: Bruce Thanks to David for the link to Sinaiticus; the site seems overmanaged but I
          Message 4 of 9 , Aug 4, 2011
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            To: Synoptic (GPG)
            In Reponse To: David Mealand
            On: Counting Mark
            From: Bruce

            Thanks to David for the link to Sinaiticus; the site seems overmanaged but I
            haven't spent much time with it. Maybe the current count could be done
            there, with more relevance to at least one specimen of scribal practice in
            Greek.

            DAVID: I would suggest putting in a symbol e.g. a hash # after the ref, the
            title, and the count. This makes it easier to shift text to table of data,
            using the hash to separate columns. / BRUCE: I have pretty much given up on
            formatting E-mail; too many unpredictable things happen to it on the way.
            For instance, my lists of pericope counts so far (sent with each pericope
            reported on its own line) have come back to me collapsed into one paragraph.
            Much harder to read. Anybody wanting to process the information can probably
            recover or improve the formatting by copying that paragraph (or whatever
            they got) into a new E-mail to themselves, or into a word program (it is
            sent as plain text, not HTML), and move it around to their hearts' content,
            or into Excel. What goes through the grinder of the Yahoo server comes out
            unpredictably, but perhaps not unrecoverably.

            DAVID: Also I suggest one more item at least: a single letter such as n for
            narrative, h for healing, p for parable, a for apophthegm, s for saying etc.
            It may well be that some of these categories tend to be longer or shorter
            than others. / BRUCE: It may indeed; see my previous suggestion (in another
            context) that genre may be a major stylistic determinant, and length is
            certainly one aspect of style. I thought of doing something like that, but
            refrained, since (a) I didn't want to take the nine months necessary to
            negotiate agreement with the community on how many genres there are; and
            perhaps more importantly, as far as my own research methods go, (b) I
            preferred to see what groupings the length statistics themselves suggested,
            rather than impose my expectations and perceptions from the outset. This is
            the device of learning from the data. The count doesn't take very long to
            do, and only twice that to check, and it is not going to be published, it is
            a lab experiment. One thing I am keeping my own eye on is precisely that
            coordination of length and type. But in a word, than accept Bultmann's ideas
            about genre (not that he would call it that), I would rather know how many
            genres Mark thought he had.

            But thanks for the sensible suggestion. Now all we need is someone to do
            some counting in their UBS3 and mail in the results, and we might be in a
            way to learn something. Not that we yet know exactly what, but that's the
            point of experiments, no?

            E Bruce Brooks
            University of Massachusetts at Amherst
          • Bob Schacht
            ... Oh, please. I should not have used the word original, of course. I was thinking, of course, of our earliest codex copies. After all, the original purpose
            Message 5 of 9 , Aug 4, 2011
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              At 11:10 PM 8/3/2011, E Bruce Brooks wrote:
              >To: Synoptic (GPG)
              >In Response To: Bob Schacht
              >On: UBS3
              >From: Bruce
              >
              >BOB: OK, I do not have a copy of UBS3 at hand, and I apologize for thinking
              >that you were dealing with an English text. Do I understand then that the
              >text is printed in Greek, but with a standardized font? / BRUCE: Yep
              >
              >BOB: And each line of printed text corresponds to an actual line in the
              >original? / BRUCE: Nope. There is no such thing as "the original,"...

              Oh, please. I should not have used the word "original," of course. I
              was thinking, of course, of our earliest codex copies.
              After all, the original purpose of this exercise was to explore the
              relationship between pericope length and papyrus codex pagination,
              and for that purpose, our earliest codex copies will do just fine.

              The fact that there is no correspondence between UBS lines and lines
              in codex copies hampers the utility of our experiment for the
              original purpose. It helps, however, to establish variability in the
              length of pericopes.

              The utility of counting characters, rather than artificial lines,
              despite your disparaging remarks, would enable us to use any of the
              most ancient Biblical codices (Gospel or not) in establishing the
              average number of Greek characters per page of papyrus-- even though,
              as P46 shows us, there may be considerable variation around that average.


              >UBS3 is printed in continuous text, and there are (as I mentioned) many
              >shortcomings for our purpose. It includes verse numbers in the text, which
              >of course no early manuscript has, and its spacing between words varies,
              >since the test is right-justified.
              >
              >BOB: If both of these statements are true, then for present statistical
              >purposes, the counts should be OK. Furthermore, if true, does UBS3 also show
              >the beginning/end of pages in the original? / BRUCE: Again, there is no
              >"original." UBS8 is not a transcription of any ancient manuscript. It is a
              >reconstruction of the original Greek, but it never had a handwritten form
              >(unless we consult the Westcott papers looking for the pencil original, and
              >I bet it wasn't all that neatly written out).
              >
              >BOB: If so, then the number of lines per page could also be counted, so that
              >we could discern the number of pages required for each pericope. / BRUCE: I
              >think this misconstrues the whole operation. There is no standard page size
              >for the early codices, so even if we knew the bulk of a given amount of
              >Greek (and we can perhaps hope to get a very rough idea of this, in relative
              >terms, from the present experiment), we would not directly know how many
              >pages it would take up. We would also need to know the page size, which is
              >not given, and not directly discoverable. Not only do page sizes vary, in
              >the early papyri, but number of columns varies, and some scribes write
              >bigger than others. So even for a known page size, the amount of text that
              >could be gotten onto it is still not a constant.

              I never suggested that it was a constant. And pardon me, but I have
              not "misconstrued the whole operation," which I set up in response to
              Ron Price's suggestion that there was a relationship between the
              physical size of papyrus pages, quires, etc. with the text. In my
              reformulation of Ron's idea, I was specifically interested in
              exploring the relationship between papyrus page size and pericope
              length. And of course there was no "standard" page size, but there
              will be central tendencies (i.e., averages) that may be useful.

              Again, you point to lots of variability. Of course. As you have
              pointed out, there is considerable variability in this regard, which
              is why we need means and standard deviations of appropriate samples
              to explore the relationship between page size and pericope length.

              Bob Schacht
              Northern Arizona University


              >So the most we can hope for from the present experiment is an idea of the
              >relative size of pericopes, assuming that WH and UBS3 after them have gotten
              >rid of the obvious interpolations, and chosen the correct readings from the
              >blizzard of possible readings. How contentious that still is may be sensed
              >in Metzger's commentary to UBS3. Do the rights and wrongs cancel out,
              >leaving our results to be on average meaningful? No, they don't. So we add
              >that to the uncertainty factors. I still think it is worth trying, but
              >perhaps the community disagrees. I presume we will know by 5 Am, meaning 3
              >hours from now.
              >
              >E Bruce Brooks
              >University of Massachusetts at Amherst
              >
              >
              >
              >------------------------------------
              >
              >Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-lYahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • E Bruce Brooks
              To: Synoptic (GPG) In Response To: Bob Schacht On: Counting From: Bruce BOB: which is why we need means and standard deviations of appropriate samples to
              Message 6 of 9 , Aug 4, 2011
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                To: Synoptic (GPG)
                In Response To: Bob Schacht
                On: Counting
                From: Bruce

                BOB: which is why we need means and standard deviations of appropriate
                samples to explore the relationship between page size and pericope length. /
                BRUCE: Always assuming that mean and standard deviation are themselves the
                appropriate measures for the data in question. The sample distributions I am
                so far seeing don't strongly suggest that. We can see if any more data come
                in (it's a little late, but there is no point adopting a draconic
                interpretation of the previously announced deadline). I still favor the 100%
                sample method, and the variability of the chapter samples so far seems to
                make that reasonable: there is a sort of centerish point in each chapter
                sample, but that centerish point migrates quite a bit between one chapter
                and the next (though the total size of the range stays nearly constant).
                Exactly what happens (to mention only one alternative) when one tries to pin
                down the mean of a Cauchy distribution.

                E Bruce Brooks
                University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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