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Re: [Synoptic-L] NT Count

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  • Ron Price
    ... Bruce, Anthony Kenny in A Stylometric Study of the New Testament (p.14), quoting as his source Friberg and Davison , gives the total number of words in
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 16, 2007
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      Bruce Brooks wrote:

      > I recall to have seen a wordcount for this or that book of the Greek NT, but
      > not one for the whole NT canon. Can anyone supply a figure, or a reference?

      Bruce,

      Anthony Kenny in "A Stylometric Study of the New Testament" (p.14), quoting
      as his source 'Friberg and Davison', gives the total number of words in the
      Greek NT as 138019.

      Ron Price

      Derbyshire, UK

      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
    • Joseph Weaks
      Of course, such a total count is only a ballpark figure. And while it is a Text Criticism subject, I think more interesting would be to hear from scholars
      Message 2 of 9 , Mar 16, 2007
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        Of course, such a total count is only a ballpark figure. And while it
        is a Text Criticism subject, I think more interesting would be to
        hear from scholars their "margin of error" guess. In other words, how
        confident are you that the your particular text has a tendency to
        include or exclude to what extent?

        ie. I would put the GNT between 136,500 and 139,000 words.

        A statement as such would reveal the opinion that it's likely we've
        included more words than we should than less words than would be
        accurate.
        The width of someone's range would quite telling.

        (Of course in statistics, we only really should speak of ranges with
        degrees of certainty. Here, I suppose I'm assuming a high degree of
        certainty.)

        Joe




        On Mar 16, 2007, at 1:56 PM, Ron Price wrote:

        > Bruce Brooks wrote:
        >
        >> I recall to have seen a wordcount for this or that book of the
        >> Greek NT, but
        >> not one for the whole NT canon. Can anyone supply a figure, or a
        >> reference?
        >
        > Bruce,
        >
        > Anthony Kenny in "A Stylometric Study of the New Testament" (p.14),
        > quoting
        > as his source 'Friberg and Davison', gives the total number of
        > words in the
        > Greek NT as 138019.
        >
        > Ron Price
        >
        > Derbyshire, UK


        --------------------------------
        Rev. Joseph A. Weaks
        Minister, Raytown Christian Church,
        Raytown, MO
        Ph.D. Cand., Brite Divinity School
        TCU, Ft. Worth, TX

        The Macintosh Biblioblog http://macbiblioblog.blogspot.com
        "All things Macintosh for the Bible Scholar"
      • Ron Price
        ... Joe, That s an interesting estimate of the range. In my opinion there was a very clear tendency to *add* text, and although this is already reflected to
        Message 3 of 9 , Mar 17, 2007
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          Joseph Weaks wrote:

          > Of course, such a total count is only a ballpark figure. And while it
          > is a Text Criticism subject, I think more interesting would be to
          > hear from scholars their "margin of error" guess. In other words, how
          > confident are you that the your particular text has a tendency to
          > include or exclude to what extent?
          >
          > ie. I would put the GNT between 136,500 and 139,000 words.

          Joe,

          That's an interesting estimate of the range. In my opinion there was a very
          clear tendency to *add* text, and although this is already reflected to some
          extent in your range, with your lower limit 1500 words below the 138000 or
          so of NA27, and your higher limit 1000 words above, I would suggest it's too
          high. Textual Critics tend to be cautious in rejecting sections of biblical
          text. Therefore I think 138000 should be taken as the absolute upper limit
          for the total word count of the originals.

          My own estimate of the total NT Greek words, excluding words in each book
          judged not to have been written by the main author of that book (which
          criterion of course goes beyond Textual Criticism), is approx. 133350 (about
          half of the discrepancy results from removing the additions of the Johannine
          Redactor). This is based on analysis carried out over several decades. Given
          the criterion proposed above, I would be fairly confident that the true
          value is between 133000 and 134000 Greek words.

          Ron Price

          Derbyshire, UK

          Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
        • Ken Olson
          Since the MSS are written in scriptura continua, won t the count vary a bit by how the editor separates the words in addtion to what readings one allows into
          Message 4 of 9 , Mar 17, 2007
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            Since the MSS are written in scriptura continua, won't the count vary a bit by how the editor separates the words in addtion to what readings one allows into the text?

            Best,

            Ken

            Kenneth A. Olson
            MA, History, University of Maryland
            PhD Student, Religion, Duke University
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Ron Price
            To: Synoptic-L elist
            Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2007 12:33 PM
            Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] NT Count


            Joseph Weaks wrote:

            > Of course, such a total count is only a ballpark figure. And while it
            > is a Text Criticism subject, I think more interesting would be to
            > hear from scholars their "margin of error" guess. In other words, how
            > confident are you that the your particular text has a tendency to
            > include or exclude to what extent?
            >
            > ie. I would put the GNT between 136,500 and 139,000 words.

            Joe,

            That's an interesting estimate of the range. In my opinion there was a very
            clear tendency to *add* text, and although this is already reflected to some
            extent in your range, with your lower limit 1500 words below the 138000 or
            so of NA27, and your higher limit 1000 words above, I would suggest it's too
            high. Textual Critics tend to be cautious in rejecting sections of biblical
            text. Therefore I think 138000 should be taken as the absolute upper limit
            for the total word count of the originals.

            My own estimate of the total NT Greek words, excluding words in each book
            judged not to have been written by the main author of that book (which
            criterion of course goes beyond Textual Criticism), is approx. 133350 (about
            half of the discrepancy results from removing the additions of the Johannine
            Redactor). This is based on analysis carried out over several decades. Given
            the criterion proposed above, I would be fairly confident that the true
            value is between 133000 and 134000 Greek words.

            Ron Price

            Derbyshire, UK

            Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • E Bruce Brooks
            To: Synoptic In Response To: Many On: NT Wordcount From: Bruce Thanks to those who have kindly responded to the NT count question. There actually seem to be
            Message 5 of 9 , Mar 17, 2007
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              To: Synoptic
              In Response To: Many
              On: NT Wordcount
              From: Bruce

              Thanks to those who have kindly responded to the NT count question. There
              actually seem to be two questions here, and I should have distinguished more
              carefully which one I was asking. I guess I would be interested in the
              answers to both. Here are the two:

              1. How large is the RT, the New Testament with which NT scholars have to
              deal, perhaps in part by eventually excluding some of it (eg, John 21, the
              Pericope Adulterae, the Bezae expansions in Acts) as scribal additions, but
              still, how much is there to be dealt with *before* one starts dealing with
              it?

              2. How large is the resulting pruned NT according to the current state of
              text critical thinking? ie, minus the above named dubious segments, the
              Eastern Interpolations (as I should like to name them), and so on? Here
              various states of thinking are liable to be reported, and various treatments
              of bracketed and double-bracketed material are possible.

              I should think that the high figure so far provided (from computer count,
              and thus according to the current best sense of Greek word division) is good
              for an answer to Question 1. As to Question 2, it would seem to depend on
              who is doing the bracketing, and how many brackets are being counted by the
              counting program. The most austere view of the text-critical questions, and
              the counting method which excludes all brackets, will together yield the
              lowest figure for the NT documents as they entered the scribal-copying
              process, and thus the lowest figure so far reported.

              Yes?

              Bruce

              E Bruce Brooks
              Warring States Project
              University of Massachusetts at Amherst
              http://www.umass.edu/wsp
            • Ron Price
              ... Ken, What you say is quite true, but surely this would be a very small variation, and it would tend to cancel out over a large number of words - unless
              Message 6 of 9 , Mar 18, 2007
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                Ken Olson wrote:

                > Since the MSS are written in scriptura continua, won't the count vary a bit by
                > how the editor separates the words in addtion to what readings one allows into
                > the text?

                Ken,

                What you say is quite true, but surely this would be a very small variation,
                and it would tend to cancel out over a large number of words - unless there
                is a systematic bias with some editors.

                If anyone is really interested I could provide the sums in letters, which
                would bypass that particular problem.

                Ron Price

                Derbyshire, UK

                Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
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