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Directionality Determinations

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic Cc: WSW In Response To: Ron Price On: Directionality Determinations From: Bruce It is conceivable that this topic is wearing out its welcome, but:
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 3, 2006
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      To: Synoptic
      Cc: WSW
      In Response To: Ron Price
      On: Directionality Determinations
      From: Bruce

      It is conceivable that this topic is wearing out its welcome, but:

      BRUCE: I think the sovereign principle in directionality questions,
      articulated by Metzger and attributed by him (perhaps a bit too generously)
      to Griesbach, is that "that version is original which can be most readily
      seen as giving rise to the other." . . . [This principle] opens judgement to
      all the evidence.

      RON: I don't see how you come to this conclusion. The focus is solely on the
      process of "giving rise to", i.e. on how the author of the later text might
      have edited the earlier text. There is no mention of assessing the
      plausibility of the behaviour of the author in producing the earlier text.
      This is why I say the principle is too narrow.

      BRUCE: "Giving rise to" is precisely the whole question: we are trying to
      identify, and then to make our identification plausible by giving a scenario
      for, the later of two related texts or readings. For that purpose, the
      Metzger formulation is too narrow if it excludes what I have been trying to
      include in it. What is REALLY too narrow is something like the very
      frequently cited principle "lectio brevior potior," which judges primality
      solely on wordcount. Or any of its Latin cousins, even the more often useful
      "lectio difficilior." They remind your of your prior experience with texts,
      they point to recurring situations, but they also tend to rule out other,
      and also recurring, situations. They focus you too much on only one sector
      of the evidence. If instead we include in our assessment the whole of the
      situation, even things like an author's (or a scribe's) propensity to
      abbreviate (or an earlier author's propensity to write in a pithy original
      form), or the development of a social taboo (or the rise of a widely
      discussed topic), or the emergence of a new doctrine which invalidates part,
      but only part, of a previously valid maxim, then we can make a better
      judgement about just how potior a given brevior may be.

      It is this latitude of inclusion which I find in, or allowable in terms of,
      Metzger's version of the basic guideline (and which I find enjoined, not
      without asperity, in Housman).

      If it is after all not there, if Metzger himself took a narrow view of his
      own maxim, then I am prepared drop the reference to his book and take the
      credit for it myself. We can rename it appropriately. Meanwhile, before we
      start making plans for that ceremony, Metzger I think is still living, and
      might be consulted on this point. Does anyone have his E-dress? Or perhaps
      our historians of methodology can help us out here.

      Discussion of the formal organization of Thomas or Q, or for that matter
      Mark or Luke, in all of which an associational principle of construction
      seems to be sometimes visible, a discussion to which Ron next proceeds,
      might more efficiently be undertaken under a subject line which better
      suggests that content. We may be missing wider participation on account of
      obsolete thread names. That is why I have changed the present one.

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      http://www.umass.edu/wsp
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