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Re: [Synoptic-L] NT Count

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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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