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Re: [Synoptic-L] NT Count

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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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