- To: Synoptic
In Response To: Ron Price
On: Directionality Determinations
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