Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: [Synoptic-L] Alternating Primitivity (Method)

Expand Messages
  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic Cc: GPG; WSW In Response To: Ron Price On: Method From: Bruce Let me take a moment out from present discussion to remark that we are at least
    Message 1 of 14 , Mar 21, 2008
      To: Synoptic
      Cc: GPG; WSW
      In Response To: Ron Price
      On: Method
      From: Bruce

      Let me take a moment out from present discussion to remark that we are at
      least clarifying a difference. I had acknowledged an interest in the
      directionality of the whole passage, whereas Ron has been concentrating on
      words. I had added that I find the whole passage a more reliable indicator
      than any of its words. We then had:

      RON: It is only a more reliable indicator if the objective is to assess
      which of the two versions was the source of the other. When one sees
      evidence that a third source might have been behind the other two, then one
      has to break the material down into those parts which indicate that Matthew
      kept more faithfully to the source, and those parts in which Luke kept more
      faithfully to the source.

      BRUCE: No; it is more reliable if it is more reliable, regardless of what
      any modern person thinks or does not think about it. Reality (and probity)
      are not created backward, least of all by people sitting down at their
      computers. But generally, Ron is operating on the assumption that there IS a
      "source," whereas I have not yet seen evidence (either in the present
      conversation or previously) that convinces me of this conclusion. I
      therefore approach Ron's examples to see if the dominant indication in the
      whole Synoptic territory (which I take to be Mt > Lk) is refuted or in any
      way modified by them; if something *requires* the hypothesis of an outside
      source.

      One can say, it's just a difference. But here, it seems to me, is one of the
      angles on that difference. My working assumption is capable of refutation in
      the course of considering the evidence. If I encounter an unmistakable Lk >
      Mt indication, then I am going to have to do *something* to my working
      assumption. I think the case is otherwise with those who "break the material
      down into those parts in which Mt (or Lk) kept more faithfully to the
      (presumed) source." One can always reach a determination about priority as
      between any two different words in any two parallel passages. Since (as I
      see it, with rueful experience to remind me if I am tempted to see it
      otherwise) it is very rare that we can guess *all* the microdecisions
      correctly, the result will usually be a mixture of Mt primitivity and Lk
      primitivity determinations, and the final conjectured text will be composed
      of those elements. Thus Documenta Q, which does exactly this, and in
      stupefying detail (by the way, that series HAS resumed; I recently got my
      copy of the latest). But given our fallibility in this matter, our results
      are almost always going to be a mixture of Mt and Lk, even if the reality
      was that one or the other was prior. And so the working assumption of a
      source behind both Mt and Lk is never going to get refuted.

      I'm not comfortable with that, methodologically. And in a practical sense, I
      note it in passing as one reason why it is difficult to dislodge, from the
      "prior source" position, anyone who has previously taken up that position.
      Whatever pair of passages we select (though I would be happier if it were an
      Mt/Lk pair), if we faithfully discuss every single difference between them,
      we are usually going to get a mixture, and thus we are usually going to get
      a volume of Documenta Q coming out the other end.

      Maybe Ron could contribute to present discussion the passage or passages
      that convinced him of the need for a third source hypothesis in the first
      place? At present, we are proceeding on incompatible assumptions. They do
      overlap, and I plan to continue in the area of the overlap. But the real
      question here, it seems to me, is the prior assumptions and people's reasons
      for reaching them in the first place.

      My own assumptions are not those of the FG Hypothesis; rather, they involve
      accretional and not integral Gospels. If this is correct, it considerably
      redefines the Synoptic Problem. To my eye (as far as I have gone, which is
      much less than all the way, but I was asked this at SBL/2007, and there is
      no reason not to mention it here as well), it favors the FGH in the sense of
      giving it less work to do, and letting it deal only with those parts of the
      problem where it is already most effective. Ron began by pointing out some
      (to him) less than satisfactory arguments by Michael Goulder, whose book
      defends an undiluted Mt > Lk position. We might disagree over just where
      those occur, but I think most readers will agree that Michael's book does
      work harder, or labor less convincingly, at *some* points than at others. My
      emerging hypothesis dilutes the FGH position, and at points (or so it seems
      to me) where the pure FGH could use some help.

      I think the end result will be to strengthen FGH, though not necessarily to
      the point of eliminating all third sources whatever (that is, I disagree
      with the FGH strategy which sees Q, in any form, as its enemy). My present
      guess (though it is a little premature to mention it) is that more than
      Matthew, Mark, and Luke will be necessary in order to give a complete
      account of the formation process that led to those texts. What that tertium
      quid may turn out to be, I don't know, but I have a notional category ready
      for it if it, or pieces of it, should begin turning up.

      This, as I said, is just by way of clarification. I will return to specific
      points when I get another minute.

      Bruce
    • Chuck Jones
      Bruce, I agree with you that looking at an entire passage is the most reliable indicator of directionality. So, if analysis shows that sometimes the
      Message 2 of 14 , Mar 21, 2008
        Bruce,

        I agree with you that looking at an entire passage is the most reliable indicator of directionality.

        So, if analysis shows that sometimes the directionality of entire passages flows from Mt to Lk and sometimes it flows from Lk to Mt, then this alternativing primitivity is in fact the evidence for an independent source.

        I'm surprised you've not seen an incident of Lk > Mt. The Lord's prayer flows from Lk to Mt. As do the beautitudes. As does, per an earlier post from me, the parable of the Great Banquet.

        Rev. Chuck Jones
        Atlanta, Georgia

        E Bruce Brooks wrote:
        I had acknowledged an interest in the directionality of the whole passage, whereas Ron has been concentrating on words. I had added that I find the whole passage a more reliable indicator than any of its words.
        snip
        If I encounter an unmistakable Lk > Mt indication, then I am going to have to do *something* to my working assumption.


        .





        ---------------------------------
        Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • E Bruce Brooks
        To: Synoptic Cc: GPG, WSW In Response To: Chuck Jones On: Instances of Lk Mt From: Bruce Thanks to Chuck for his comment, which, for the benefit of certain
        Message 3 of 14 , Mar 21, 2008
          To: Synoptic
          Cc: GPG, WSW
          In Response To: Chuck Jones
          On: Instances of Lk > Mt
          From: Bruce

          Thanks to Chuck for his comment, which, for the benefit of certain
          overlapping lists to which I am copying this note of my own, I will venture
          to repeat:

          CHUCK: I agree with you that looking at an entire passage is the most
          reliable indicator of directionality. / So, if analysis shows that sometimes
          the directionality of entire passages flows from Mt to Lk and sometimes it
          flows from Lk to Mt, then this alternating primitivity is in fact the
          evidence for an independent source. / I'm surprised you've not seen an
          incident of Lk > Mt. The Lord's prayer flows from Lk to Mt. As do the
          beatitudes. As does, per an earlier post from me, the parable of the Great
          Banquet."

          BRUCE: The matter of the Banquet is presently pending; thanks again to Chuck
          for bringing it up a few days ago. As to the two parts of the Sermon on the
          Mount that Chuck here refers to, they turned up (along with alternating
          primitivity) as the arguments for Q found most cogent by members of this
          list, when I ventured to survey the question some years back. As far as my
          own limited reading goes, they are very much in the forefront of attitudes
          toward Q in general. It seems to me that if someone with a few K to spare
          were going to get five people together for a weekend with the mandate of
          settling the Q matter once and for all, those items would be high on the
          agenda for Saturday. The parable or topos of the Great Banquet might well
          have a spot also, perhaps between lunch and afternoon break. Plus maybe a
          few more. Quite apart from the vigorous affection in which the Beatitudes
          and the Lord's Prayer are held in NT circles, these places also strike the
          wandering philologist as ones where, at least at first glance, it is much
          easier to argue for a sequence Lk > Mt than for the reverse. So I would
          agree that the matter is much better dealt with on that ground, and would be
          glad to contribute my few pence to such a discussion, in good time.

          But it seems to me that courtesy, or due process, or something like that,
          suggest that we keep up with Ron's Twelve list until what can be gotten out
          of it has been gotten out of it. And then, if someone likes, turn to what to
          me also are these weightier and more probative matters.

          May I thus take a raincheck? Or, should it so eventuate, a suncheck?

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst

          http://www.umass.edu/wsp
        • E Bruce Brooks
          To: Synoptic Cc: GPG, WSW In Response To: Chuck Jones On: Implications of Alternating Primitivity From: Bruce CHUCK: So, if analysis shows that sometimes the
          Message 4 of 14 , Mar 22, 2008
            To: Synoptic
            Cc: GPG, WSW
            In Response To: Chuck Jones
            On: Implications of Alternating Primitivity
            From: Bruce

            CHUCK: So, if analysis shows that sometimes the directionality of entire
            passages flows from Mt to Lk and sometimes it flows from Lk to Mt, then this
            alternating primitivity is in fact the evidence for an independent source.

            BRUCE: Strictly speaking, there are other possibilities. For instance, it
            can also happen that one or both of the texts is accretional, so that
            instead of A vs B, you have A1, A2 vs B1, B2. If then we had material
            created in the following absolute order:

            A1, B1, A2, B2

            and if the quality of "lateness" is apparent in the texts, as you move to
            the right, then to the analyst thinking of the material as solely composed
            of A and B, and unaware of the accretional dimension, it will sometimes seem
            that A is earlier (eg, A1 is earlier than both B1 and B2) but sometimes also
            that B is earlier (eg, B1 is earlier than A2). This is not necessarily
            evidence for a Text C, may be, and in this case it is, a warning that either
            A or B or both are not integral texts.

            C remains a possibility, but it seems worth bearing in mind that it is not
            the only possibility.

            [For those who would like a real world example of an accretional text, and a
            few instances of the interaction of two accretional texts in real time, I
            might venture to say that a good many theological libraries have on their
            shelves E Bruce and A Taeko Brooks, The Original Analects, Columbia 1998, or
            if not, I understand that there are a few HB copies left. For the
            back-and-forth examples, see especially Appendix 3. Those examples are
            especially clear because they are not parallel (two texts purporting to
            describe the same thing, as is the case with the NT Gospels), but
            adversative (two texts arguing back and forth, each being obviously the
            antagonist of the other, and the logic of the argument serving to
            sequentialize the various pieces of it in real time). I do not apologize for
            mentioning easy examples; they are good practice for looking at the harder
            examples].

            Bruce

            E Bruce Brooks
            Warring States Project
            University of Massachusetts at Amherst

            http://www.umass.edu/wsp
          • Ron Price
            ... Bruce, It is not any particular passage that convinces me that a non-synoptic source is required. Firstly there are so many authentic-looking sayings in
            Message 5 of 14 , Mar 22, 2008
              Bruce Brooks wrote:

              > Maybe Ron could contribute to present discussion the passage or passages
              > that convinced him of the need for a third source hypothesis in the first
              > place?

              Bruce,

              It is not any particular passage that convinces me that a non-synoptic
              source is required. Firstly there are so many authentic-looking sayings in
              the synoptics, and I am highly sceptical of the FT soft-line presumption
              that oral tradition could have preserved them over several decades until the
              publication of Matthew's gospel. Secondly the presence of many doublet
              sayings in Matthew (in contrast with hardly any in Mark) in my opinion cries
              out for a second source in addition to Mark in order to explain Matthew's
              repetition of so many sayings. Thirdly the straightforward interpretation of
              Papias' testimony about the 'logia' is that there once did exist a
              stand-alone collection of sayings attributed to Jesus.

              Ron Price

              Derbyshire, UK

              Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
            • E Bruce Brooks
              To: Synoptic Cc: GPG In Response To: Ron Price On: Method From: Bruce I can only agree with Ron s opinion, expressed during his recent three notes responding
              Message 6 of 14 , Mar 22, 2008
                To: Synoptic
                Cc: GPG
                In Response To: Ron Price
                On: Method
                From: Bruce

                I can only agree with Ron's opinion, expressed during his recent three notes
                responding to several of mine, that the discussion between us has gone about
                as far as it can, due to differences of approach. As his detailed responses
                to my comments on particular passages repeatedly show, for him a version of
                Q is an accomplished physical fact, whose wording and order are fully known,
                and which can therefore be dealt into the consideration of Synoptic Gospel
                passages on an equal basis with the extant texts. That's not true for me. I
                have still to be convinced of exactly what work needs to be done, in
                Synoptic theory, by an unknown third source. Meanwhile, I prefer to work
                only with extant texts. This difference leads to divergent readings of the
                extant texts. Those who agree with Ron (or with any other version of the
                general Q idea) may find his analyses more cogent than I am presently
                prepared to, and for them, there is no need of me contributing further from
                another angle altogether.

                All I can usefully do at this point, then, is to thank Ron for introducing
                the subject, since it is always fun to look again at these familiar yet
                sometimes strange passages, and to make a final general response from the
                methodology side. This note is that response. I can do it responsorially:

                Ron [in response to a request for a few passages that had convinced him of
                the need to posit a lost source]: It is not any particular passage that
                convinces me that a non-synoptic source is required. Firstly there are so
                many authentic-looking sayings in the synoptics, and I am highly sceptical
                of the FT soft-line presumption that oral tradition could have preserved
                them over several decades until the publication of Matthew's gospel.

                Bruce: I would agree that relying on "oral transmission" for verbally exact
                results is unrealistic. But as I noted a bit ago, I have grave doubts that
                the criterion of "authenticity" can at this stage be anything but circular.
                I think that relying on our impressions of authenticity can all too easily
                reduce itself to relying on our most vivid childhood memories. I have my own
                such memories, and I treasure them, and I recently drove 2,000 miles to
                revisit the site of some of them, but I don't consider them part of the
                toolkit.

                Ron: Secondly the presence of many doublet sayings in Matthew (in contrast
                with hardly any in Mark) in my opinion cries out for a second source in
                addition to Mark in order to explain Matthew's repetition of so many
                sayings.

                Bruce: I agree that the Matthean doublets need a look. Not having yet given
                them a very systematic look myself, I don't feel able to rely with
                confidence on what Ron says the outcome of that look would be. Doubtless
                just my own backwardness and culpable lack of energy, but there it is.

                Ron: Thirdly the straightforward interpretation of Papias' testimony about
                the 'logia' is that there once did exist a stand-alone collection of sayings
                attributed to Jesus.

                Bruce: I am with those who find Papias anything but straightforward, and I
                prefer to bracket his testimony, such as it may prove to be, until I make a
                decently careful survey of the texts he is talking about. The texts, after
                all, are earlier evidence than Papias. I am not sure, for example, whether
                Papias is reporting early hearsay about Gospel origins, or at least in part
                making his own inferences from the texts, such as we ourselves might also
                make. On consulting the extent evidence, I seem to see things *in* the texts
                which tend to challenge Papias's report *of* the texts, and accordingly I am
                unwilling to make Papias an assured starting point. Ron has gone as far as
                any one person I know of, to reify Papias's assertion of a Semitic sayings
                source. We looked at it a while ago. I am still inclined to have
                reservations about it. In any case, I don't feel comfortable accepting it as
                a given before we (or anyway, I) have finished giving Ron's twelve Mt/Lk
                passages, or any other subset of Mt/Lk passages, a decent scrutiny on their
                extant merits.

                Ron [on my suggesting that the sequence shrub, shrub/tree, tree suggests the
                order Mk > Mt > Lk for the Mustard Seed parable]: On the surface this
                sequence might seem plausible. But it's not convincing. Matthew's use of
                both "shrub" and "tree" is most neatly explained as his combination of the
                former from Mark and the latter from the early sayings source.

                Bruce: Absent an assured "early sayings source," I find it not only
                plausible BUT convincing. I don't see how, given these passages, one would
                be driven to posit an external source. If the three Mustards are
                intelligible, superficially or otherwise, as an evolutionary sequence, then
                we would seem to have at least a workable explanation. If no such
                explanation were possible, THEN a lost source might need to be posited. But
                only then. Or so it seems to someone approaching the matter de novo.

                Ron [as a final methodological comment]: I have found it surprising that
                you're never prepared to assess one phrase against another to see which is
                more *probably* original. This is the essence of source criticism and you
                always seem to bypass it. Nor does it help throwing in questions to which
                you know no answer. Nor does it help to point out that a case can be made
                for changes in either direction. The question remains in any individual
                case: which direction of change is the more probable?

                Bruce: For me, Ron's last line is the fundamental principle of philology,
                operative both in the text critical area and in what used to be called the
                "higher criticism." It turns out to go back to Tischendorf, as was
                ascertained some time back, both on and off this list. The earlier version
                is the one from which the others may most rationally be seen as derived. But
                why reduce the application of the Tischendorf principle to only the word
                level?

                To me, then, the flaw here is the term "source criticism," as a label for
                one-word considerations, plus the disposition to regard "source criticism"
                as the only tool one needs for the job. Others might concentrate on
                "redaction criticism," or limit themselves to "form criticism," or awe the
                rest of us into an abashed silence by invoking Religionsgeschichte. In all
                its varieties, I find this sort of thing self-stultifying. "Source
                criticism" is not a methodology, it is one tool in the methodological kit.
                One should be aware of sources or possible sources (as in determining
                directionality between extant sources, whether or not they turn out to imply
                a non-extant source), AND of authorial intent, AND of the literary character
                of the material being studied, AND of theological implications, AND of puns
                in Aramaic, AND or allusions or echoes from Greek literature, AND of where
                this text might be coming from in real life, AND of who the writer thought
                he was talking to, AND of what he has himself already written, AND of the
                text-critical status of the word or passage in question, AND of what else in
                that or other texts falls into the same generic category. All at once, and
                as far as possible. Few people are capable of keeping track of all that,
                hence the need for collaboration, for conferences, for journals, for this
                E-list.

                [Guy came to the house today to work on the backup editorial computer. He
                unzipped his little traveling toolkit. If it had held only a socket wrench,
                I would have begun to fear for the life of the backup editorial computer. To
                my relief, there were all sorts of other gizmos in there as well. I think
                that this is how professionals operate. Do some carpenters specialize in
                drilling, and others in planing, and others in rabbeting?]

                If for some weird science fiction reason I had to choose only one tool for
                passages like this, it would certainly not be one which limits me to
                single-word directionality determinations. Not that they are invalid, but
                that they are risky. The amount of relevant but excluded data is too great,
                and the chance of error is correspondingly too high. At least it is too high
                for me. I welcome such considerations along with others, but I am not
                prepared to join Ron in confining the discussion to that species of evidence
                alone. There is too much other evidence, with which a successful theory of
                one passage is going to have to deal eventually. That evidence should be
                left in play throughout, in the interest of a faster and more adequate final
                result.

                Or so it looks from here.

                Bruce

                E Bruce Brooks
                Warring States Project
                University of Massachusetts at Amherst

                http://www.umass.edu/wsp
              • Ron Price
                ... Bruce, And thank you for your responses. ... Then at the very least the variety of literary forms in Matthew is surely worth investigating to see whether
                Message 7 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
                  Bruce Brooks wrote:


                  > All I can usefully do at this point, then, is to thank Ron for introducing
                  > the subject,

                  Bruce,

                  And thank you for your responses.

                  > ....... I have grave doubts that
                  > the criterion of "authenticity" can at this stage be anything but circular.

                  Then at the very least the variety of literary forms in Matthew is surely
                  worth investigating to see whether it supports the existence of a second
                  source (in addition to Mark) behind that gospel.

                  > ....... I am with those who find Papias anything but straightforward,

                  On the whole you may have a point. But I am referring to one particular
                  statement of his which not only looks feasible as history, but which may
                  also hold the key to the biggest gap in contemporary NT models of the birth
                  of Christianity, namely that between the Aramaic-speaking Jesus movement in
                  Jerusalem and the Greek gospels.

                  > One should be aware of sources or possible sources (as in determining
                  > directionality between extant sources, whether or not they turn out to imply
                  > a non-extant source), AND of authorial intent, AND of the literary character
                  > of the material being studied, AND of theological implications, AND of puns
                  > in Aramaic, AND or allusions or echoes from Greek literature, AND of where
                  > this text might be coming from in real life, AND of who the writer thought
                  > he was talking to, AND of what he has himself already written, AND of the
                  > text-critical status of the word or passage in question, AND of what else in
                  > that or other texts falls into the same generic category. All at once, and
                  > as far as possible. Few people are capable of keeping track of all that,
                  > hence the need for collaboration, for conferences, for journals, for this
                  > E-list.

                  In principle I agree entirely. But in practice it is just not possible in
                  email discussion to mention all these aspects, even for discussion of
                  phrases, let alone your preferred pericope level or higher. The best we
                  achieve is to have as many as possible of these various aspects in mind when
                  discussing any particular passage, so as not to find ourselves arguing for a
                  point of view which would be ruled out by some aspect not expressly
                  mentioned.

                  Ron Price

                  Derbyshire, UK

                  Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
                • Chuck Jones
                  Bruce, Are you suggesting that there was development of these texts other than that which is documented in variant readings in the ancient MSS? Rev. Chuck
                  Message 8 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
                    Bruce,

                    Are you suggesting that there was development of these texts other than that which is documented in variant readings in the ancient MSS?

                    Rev. Chuck Jones
                    Atlanta, Georgia

                    E Bruce Brooks wrote:
                    CHUCK: So, if analysis shows that sometimes the directionality of entire
                    passages flows from Mt to Lk and sometimes it flows from Lk to Mt, then this
                    alternating primitivity is in fact the evidence for an independent source.

                    BRUCE: Strictly speaking, there are other possibilities. For instance, it
                    can also happen that one or both of the texts is accretional, so that
                    instead of A vs B, you have A1, A2 vs B1, B2. If then we had material
                    created in the following absolute order:

                    A1, B1, A2, B2

                    and if the quality of "lateness" is apparent in the texts, as you move to
                    the right, then to the analyst thinking of the material as solely composed
                    of A and B, and unaware of the accretional dimension, it will sometimes seem
                    that A is earlier (eg, A1 is earlier than both B1 and B2) but sometimes also
                    that B is earlier (eg, B1 is earlier than A2). This is not necessarily
                    evidence for a Text C, may be, and in this case it is, a warning that either
                    A or B or both are not integral texts.

                    C remains a possibility, but it seems worth bearing in mind that it is not
                    the only possibility.




                    .





                    ---------------------------------
                    Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • E Bruce Brooks
                    To: Synoptic Cc: GPG, WSW In Response To: Chuck Jones On: Text History From: Bruce CHUCK: Are you suggesting that there was development of these texts other
                    Message 9 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
                      To: Synoptic
                      Cc: GPG, WSW
                      In Response To: Chuck Jones
                      On: Text History
                      From: Bruce

                      CHUCK: Are you suggesting that there was development of these texts other
                      than that which is documented in variant readings in the ancient MSS?

                      BRUCE: That is exactly what I am suggesting.

                      And there are two kinds. First, consider Lachmann's NT reconstruction; the
                      first really modern one. He very correctly said that he was aiming, not to
                      reconstruct the author's original, but only the most accurate text that was
                      exemplified by his manuscripts, which themselves did not go back further
                      than the 4th century. Lachmann even insisted on leaving in his text what
                      looked to him like scribal errors *in the text that his earliest copyists
                      were looking at,* since they went back earlier than he could generally
                      follow. That left 3 centuries for scribal corruptions to have happened, to
                      which the available manuscripts in the nature of things could not witness.
                      That long gap has been narrowed somewhat by the subsequent discovery of
                      earlier manuscripts, but nobody would say it is reduced to zero. I hold,
                      with Metzger and a few others, that the so-called Western Non-Interpolations
                      are passages which, for liturgical reasons, were added by some very early
                      scribe to the common ancestor of both Bezae and Vaticanus (etc). These are
                      scribal corruptions of the kind that text criticism can catch, if it has
                      early enough manuscripts or their uncontaminated descendants. From them we
                      can posit a copy which had features that are directly attested by *no*
                      surviving manuscript; the early copy is entirely inferential. This is
                      pushing about as hard as one can, on the manuscript evidence. What if we had
                      no Bezae? Then there would be an even larger gap between the "author's final
                      text" and the earliest point that can be reached by comparison of extant
                      manuscripts. We must thus always reckon with the possibility that there is a
                      substantial gap between the author's final text (the archetype) and the
                      earliest point we can reach through manuscript comparison. That inability
                      is just chance; we might possess a verifiable author's holograph, but
                      usually we don't. This is a familiar situation with Latin secular texts, for
                      example, and people just make the best of it. They are well experienced in
                      making the best of it, thanks to the text critics of this and earlier
                      centuries. The error, as it seems to me, lies in thinking that *all*
                      manuscript changes are scribal corruptions, of the kind that manuscript
                      comparison is well adapted to handle.

                      2. Suppose we possessed the author's holograph; the archetype. But there is
                      also textual evolution that may *precede* the archetype, the text as it was
                      handed over to the copyists. How could this be so? Consider modern
                      parallels: What author among us has never had a second thought about the
                      content or arrangement of a book, an SBL paper, or a Synoptic E-mail
                      message? Who has not used a plane trip to interlineate last-minute
                      felicities into the draft of a lecture? Or crossed out the lead paragraph
                      and substituted a whole new page? I think we need to allow the same sort of
                      possibility for the Gospel texts, during the period when they were being
                      composed, or perhaps more often, in these and comparable cases, while they
                      were still closely held. My best guess is that Mark (for example) was not
                      written simply for general publication, like some modern book, but rather
                      for the guidance of a particular early congregation. Its intended hearers
                      were built into the conditions of its emergence as a set of pastoral notes.
                      And as it was used that way, and time passed, and conditions changed (one
                      well-known change is that people were losing heart about the Second Coming),
                      additions might be made to that house text in order to deal with them. There
                      are a couple of places in Mark where Jesus is made to say specifically (and
                      to underline his assurance with the pregnant term "verily") that not
                      *everybody* will die before he comes, and that the original promise will, at
                      least technically, be kept *within the generation of his original hearers.*
                      It helps this supposition that most of the Markan "verily" passages in
                      question meet all the texts of an interpolation. But these are probably not
                      scribal corruption interpolations, such as the liturgically motivated
                      addenda to Luke, of which we *barely* know through manuscript comparison;
                      they are more likely to be authorial patches or improvements; shoring up a
                      functional text *while it was still functioning* in its original context of
                      addressing the needs of a particular group of converts. (I will be
                      addressing this question in more detail in a paper at next month's SBL/NE
                      meeting, and is it all that far from Atlanta GA to Newton MA? Surely not).

                      Meanwhile, as matter for reflection, consider how works of music in our own
                      time remain fluid under their composer's hand long after they were first
                      "finished" in the sense of being consecutively performable. Mozart adapted
                      or inserted arias during opera rehearsals to meet the needs of a given
                      soprano, or the substitution of the lead tenor. Rachmaninoff, after
                      observing audience reactions, cut his Second Piano Sonata considerably, so
                      much so that later on Horowitz, thinking he had cut too much, got permission
                      to restore some of the cuts. (Rachmaninoff also cut his Second Symphony
                      after audiences found it too long, and having heard both versions, I find
                      that the audiences were right). Here is audience interaction at a very high
                      level. But there are all sorts of levels. I think that anybody who has ever
                      performed in public will probably agree that one readily senses whether the
                      thing is going over or not, and spontaneously adjusts to close the gap
                      between the presentation and the audience's receptivity to the
                      presentation - or for that matter, expands to accommodate audience
                      enthusiasm. All this is common knowledge and experience. For a systematic
                      look at the ways texts can grow in the course of becoming complete in the
                      library cataloguer's sense of complete, I venture to suggest the Text
                      Typology pages at

                      http://www.umass.edu/wsp/philology/typology/index.html

                      The idea of those pages is that if we get used to what we really already
                      know, so as to bring it up fully into our analytical consciousness, we may
                      be better set to consider alternatives for texts whose history, including
                      their pre-publication compositional history, we do not directly know.

                      Respectfully suggested,

                      Bruce

                      E Bruce Brooks
                      Warring States Project
                      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                    • Chuck Jones
                      Bruce, Thanks for the thoughtful commentary. While you raise an interesting, legitimate point, I am not certain how we can proceed in literary analysis based
                      Message 10 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
                        Bruce,

                        Thanks for the thoughtful commentary. While you raise an interesting, legitimate point, I am not certain how we can proceed in literary analysis based on possibilities for which there is no evidence. It seems to me we must analyze the literature we have, recognizing it limits our results.

                        (A hobby horse of mine is that I am not at all persuaded by attempts--usually in within Pauline studies--to solve literary and theological issues by hypothesizing interpolations that have no textual evidence. But that's for another list, another day.)

                        Chuck

                        E Bruce Brooks wrote:
                        To: Synoptic
                        Cc: GPG, WSW
                        In Response To: Chuck Jones
                        On: Text History
                        From: Bruce

                        CHUCK: Are you suggesting that there was development of these texts other
                        than that which is documented in variant readings in the ancient MSS?

                        BRUCE: That is exactly what I am suggesting.

                        And there are two kinds. First, consider Lachmann's NT reconstruction; the
                        first really modern one. He very correctly said that he was aiming, not to
                        reconstruct the author's original, but only the most accurate text that was
                        exemplified by his manuscripts, which themselves did not go back further
                        than the 4th century. Lachmann even insisted on leaving in his text what
                        looked to him like scribal errors *in the text that his earliest copyists
                        were looking at,* since they went back earlier than he could generally
                        follow. That left 3 centuries for scribal corruptions to have happened, to
                        which the available manuscripts in the nature of things could not witness.
                        That long gap has been narrowed somewhat by the subsequent discovery of
                        earlier manuscripts, but nobody would say it is reduced to zero. I hold,
                        with Metzger and a few others, that the so-called Western Non-Interpolations
                        are passages which, for liturgical reasons, were added by some very early
                        scribe to the common ancestor of both Bezae and Vaticanus (etc). These are
                        scribal corruptions of the kind that text criticism can catch, if it has
                        early enough manuscripts or their uncontaminated descendants. From them we
                        can posit a copy which had features that are directly attested by *no*
                        surviving manuscript; the early copy is entirely inferential. This is
                        pushing about as hard as one can, on the manuscript evidence. What if we had
                        no Bezae? Then there would be an even larger gap between the "author's final
                        text" and the earliest point that can be reached by comparison of extant
                        manuscripts. We must thus always reckon with the possibility that there is a
                        substantial gap between the author's final text (the archetype) and the
                        earliest point we can reach through manuscript comparison. That inability
                        is just chance; we might possess a verifiable author's holograph, but
                        usually we don't. This is a familiar situation with Latin secular texts, for
                        example, and people just make the best of it. They are well experienced in
                        making the best of it, thanks to the text critics of this and earlier
                        centuries. The error, as it seems to me, lies in thinking that *all*
                        manuscript changes are scribal corruptions, of the kind that manuscript
                        comparison is well adapted to handle.

                        2. Suppose we possessed the author's holograph; the archetype. But there is
                        also textual evolution that may *precede* the archetype, the text as it was
                        handed over to the copyists. How could this be so? Consider modern
                        parallels: What author among us has never had a second thought about the
                        content or arrangement of a book, an SBL paper, or a Synoptic E-mail
                        message? Who has not used a plane trip to interlineate last-minute
                        felicities into the draft of a lecture? Or crossed out the lead paragraph
                        and substituted a whole new page? I think we need to allow the same sort of
                        possibility for the Gospel texts, during the period when they were being
                        composed, or perhaps more often, in these and comparable cases, while they
                        were still closely held. My best guess is that Mark (for example) was not
                        written simply for general publication, like some modern book, but rather
                        for the guidance of a particular early congregation. Its intended hearers
                        were built into the conditions of its emergence as a set of pastoral notes.
                        And as it was used that way, and time passed, and conditions changed (one
                        well-known change is that people were losing heart about the Second Coming),
                        additions might be made to that house text in order to deal with them. There
                        are a couple of places in Mark where Jesus is made to say specifically (and
                        to underline his assurance with the pregnant term "verily") that not
                        *everybody* will die before he comes, and that the original promise will, at
                        least technically, be kept *within the generation of his original hearers.*
                        It helps this supposition that most of the Markan "verily" passages in
                        question meet all the texts of an interpolation. But these are probably not
                        scribal corruption interpolations, such as the liturgically motivated
                        addenda to Luke, of which we *barely* know through manuscript comparison;
                        they are more likely to be authorial patches or improvements; shoring up a
                        functional text *while it was still functioning* in its original context of
                        addressing the needs of a particular group of converts. (I will be
                        addressing this question in more detail in a paper at next month's SBL/NE
                        meeting, and is it all that far from Atlanta GA to Newton MA? Surely not).

                        Meanwhile, as matter for reflection, consider how works of music in our own
                        time remain fluid under their composer's hand long after they were first
                        "finished" in the sense of being consecutively performable. Mozart adapted
                        or inserted arias during opera rehearsals to meet the needs of a given
                        soprano, or the substitution of the lead tenor. Rachmaninoff, after
                        observing audience reactions, cut his Second Piano Sonata considerably, so
                        much so that later on Horowitz, thinking he had cut too much, got permission
                        to restore some of the cuts. (Rachmaninoff also cut his Second Symphony
                        after audiences found it too long, and having heard both versions, I find
                        that the audiences were right). Here is audience interaction at a very high
                        level. But there are all sorts of levels. I think that anybody who has ever
                        performed in public will probably agree that one readily senses whether the
                        thing is going over or not, and spontaneously adjusts to close the gap
                        between the presentation and the audience's receptivity to the
                        presentation - or for that matter, expands to accommodate audience
                        enthusiasm. All this is common knowledge and experience. For a systematic
                        look at the ways texts can grow in the course of becoming complete in the
                        library cataloguer's sense of complete, I venture to suggest the Text
                        Typology pages at

                        http://www.umass.edu/wsp/philology/typology/index.html

                        The idea of those pages is that if we get used to what we really already
                        know, so as to bring it up fully into our analytical consciousness, we may
                        be better set to consider alternatives for texts whose history, including
                        their pre-publication compositional history, we do not directly know.

                        Respectfully suggested,

                        Bruce

                        E Bruce Brooks
                        Warring States Project
                        University of Massachusetts at Amherst






                        ---------------------------------
                        Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • gentile_dave@emc.com
                        CHUCK: Are you suggesting that there was development of these texts other than that which is documented in variant readings in the ancient MSS? BRUCE: That is
                        Message 11 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
                          CHUCK: Are you suggesting that there was development of these texts
                          other
                          than that which is documented in variant readings in the ancient MSS?

                          BRUCE: That is exactly what I am suggesting.

                          Here I might add my own argument for this position -

                          I like to make an analogy to evolutionary biology. New varieties arise
                          by mutation. Assuming the mutation survives, a question can be asked. -
                          "How long before every member of the population carries this mutation?"
                          There are a number of factors at work and with certain assumptions you
                          can write exact equations, but here two factors are important.



                          1) The smaller the population, the shorter the time until full
                          replacement. It takes less generations for the trait to be passed to a
                          population of few individuals than one with many.

                          2) The strength of selective pressure will influence how fast
                          replacement takes place. Mutations that provide substantial advantage
                          will achieve full replacement faster than those that only provide
                          marginal advantage.



                          Now relating this to texts. Scribal errors and deliberate changes,
                          however motivated, might be described as mutations to the original text.
                          Early on in the history of Christianity there were far fewer adherents,
                          and one would therefore imagine far fewer copies of any given text. In
                          this environment any changes would be expected to achieve full
                          replacement in a shorter time frame than in later periods. Also, given
                          that the early history of Christianity was more diverse, and involved
                          more changes than in later periods, we would expect selective pressures
                          on documents to have been greater then than later. In later ages a text
                          variant acceptable in one century would almost certainly be acceptable
                          in the next. In the early history, decade to decade changes in attitude
                          would have put more pressure on the texts.

                          We have surviving evidence of the evolution of the texts from later
                          periods, and based on this it is reasonable to assume that the changes
                          in earlier periods were more substantial, and we do not, in fact, have
                          the original texts. In most cases of course, this means the text is
                          lost. In a few cases, however, with the synoptics, evidence of a lost
                          variant of one text may survive in another.

                          Some examples -

                          Recently we noted that the narrative portions of "Q" stand out in a
                          statistically significant way. They contain long passages of exact
                          agreement, also they occur outside of the two main blocks where Luke
                          located his non-Markian material. I think this indicates there were
                          earlier versions of Luke without the narrative bits of "Q", and this
                          represents assimilation to the text of Matthew. Additionally we can note
                          that some of these involve John the Baptist and we know Marcion had a
                          version of Luke without Some John the Baptist material.

                          A second such addition would be Mark 3:22-30. This material breaks up
                          references to the family of Jesus, and thus looks as if it could be an
                          insertion. There would be a motivation for this as well, if we read the
                          text without these lines. His family thinks he is insane, and he appears
                          to disown them. Luke follows neither the order nor the text of Mark
                          here. He groups this with his "Q" material and follows Q and/or Matthew
                          for the text. There is no reason a priori that Luke has to do both of
                          these things together. He could for example have left it in Mark's
                          position, and followed the Q text, or the other way around. But this
                          combination of actions supports the idea that Luke never even saw this
                          text in his copy of Mark, and this is a late addition.

                          One final example:

                          One surviving version of Luke 3:22 reads "You are my son, today I have
                          fathered you". Normally it is argued that "You are my son, the beloved,
                          with you I am well-pleased" is the original. This argument rests on the
                          idea that Luke would hardly have altered Mark and said "today I have
                          fathered you", while at the same time adding a birth narrative. However,
                          if we suppose a lost version of Mark also read "today I have fathered
                          you", and Luke merely preserved Mark's text, then we have a logical
                          progression of textual changes. The original text of Mark then would
                          have echoed Psalm 2 "I will proclaim the decree of Yahweh. He said to me
                          'You are my son, today I have fathered you'". This also might be echoed
                          in Mark 1:38 - "Let us go elsewhere...so I can proclaim the message
                          there too, for this is why I came". And of course being 'fathered' at
                          the baptism is at home in Mark's gospel where there is no birth
                          narrative.

                          Dave Gentile

                          Riverside, IL











                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • E Bruce Brooks
                          To: Synoptic Cc: GPG, WSW In Response To: Chuck Jones On: Methodology From: Bruce CHUCK: While you raise an interesting, legitimate point, I am not certain how
                          Message 12 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
                            To: Synoptic
                            Cc: GPG, WSW
                            In Response To: Chuck Jones
                            On: Methodology
                            From: Bruce

                            CHUCK: While you raise an interesting, legitimate point, I am not certain
                            how we can proceed in literary analysis based on possibilities for which
                            there is no evidence. It seems to me we must analyze the literature we
                            have, recognizing it limits our results.

                            BRUCE: Evidence in one text is not "no evidence." Let me illustrate.

                            (1) As we read the newspaper (to borrow an example from Metzger), we
                            spontaneously correct misprints in the newspaper. If we see "thesef" we do
                            not need a whole second edition of the paper, identical save that this word
                            appears as "these," to judge that the compositor has let her finger rest
                            improvidently on the F key (its home key) before thumbing the spacebar. The
                            whole layout of the standard keyboard could probably be recovered with a
                            fair degree of accuracy by collating fifty thousand errors of this sort.
                            It's not as good as salvaging an actual 20th century keyboard, but it's not
                            mere speculation either. It has a basis in evidence.

                            (2) Suppose we have two manuscripts B and C, containing the same passage,
                            but B is longer by a sentence. The existence of the difference focuses our
                            attention on this situation, and we therefore are compelled to decide
                            between them. C is shorter. Do we follow an "iron rule" and rule it
                            preferable? Not if we have read Griesbach, who seems to have formulated the
                            "lectio brevior" guideline in great detail. Griesbach does in fact lay it
                            down that the shorter reading is better, since (as he says) scribes do
                            abbreviate. But he they proceeds to give even more examples of cases where
                            scribes do NOT abbreviate, but expand. Whence we get the opposite rule,
                            sometimes also cited, that the longer reading is preferable. The truth of
                            the matter, fully evident in Griesbach's examples (for which see Metzger
                            Text of the New Testament 3ed p120), is that neither the longer nor the
                            shorter reading is a priori preferable. We have no recourse, in this or any
                            other case, save to examine, on their merits, the two particular passages.

                            We might, as one possibility, find that the sentence found only in B is also
                            *interruptive* in B; that it does not articulate well with what comes before
                            and after it, and that when it is experimentally removed, the material
                            before and after it joins together in a satisfactory sequence. Then the line
                            standing only in B is very likely to be an interpolation, and we rule in
                            favor of C as preserving the original reading.

                            Or, to take the opposite possibility, suppose that the line in B makes the
                            context work concinnitously, but that the sequence in C is bumpy and
                            unsatisfactory. Then text C is somehow defective, and its defect is cured by
                            the existence of the B line. In this case, a line has been lost from C and
                            can be confidently supplied from B. Here, it is B that preserve the original
                            reading.

                            ONE TEXT EQUIVALENTS

                            Now suppose we had only text C. If it reads satisfactorily, there is no need
                            to pay further attention to it. If it reads problematically, such that the
                            connection at one point is faulty, then we can conjecture that a word, or a
                            line, or a page, has dropped out, but we have no way to restore the missing
                            material, or even to estimate its extent. The cure here is either
                            conjectural emendation (and there are famous cases where conjectural
                            emendation has succeeded), or simply to indicate a lacuna and move on. We
                            recognize a problem by considering the nature of the text, and solve it, or
                            mark it, as best we can.

                            Or, suppose we had only text B. If it reads satisfactorily, there is no need
                            to pay further attention to it, and in all probability, no attention, in
                            fact, would ever have been called to it. But if there is an inconcinnity, a
                            sense of non sequitur, a feeling of resumption after disturbance, as we read
                            the text, we may find on inspection (and inspection is implicitly called
                            for) that one sentence is causing all the trouble, and that if we remove it,
                            the text is fine. In this case, we judge that we are dealing with an
                            interpolation, identify the line in question as such, remove it from our
                            idea of the original, and pass on. We do not have the support of an
                            independent manuscript containing the text as we have conjectured it, but we
                            do have a solution, and a solution based on the evidence in the text.

                            MORAL

                            Divergent manuscript readings serve to focus attention on passages that may
                            be problematic, whether from scribal dropouts or from scribal additions or
                            from a host of other things. Divergent readings help to accelerate the
                            process of discovery by focusing attention on problem places. But we *solve*
                            those passages, once we have been led to consider them, not by the fact of
                            the difference, which of itself only identifies that a problem exists. We
                            solve them by considering the local merits of each single text. Those
                            determinations are such as could also be made (though if a line has dropped
                            out, not equally well made) by sufficiently careful attention to the
                            evidence within the single text.

                            It is the evidence of the single text that decides the problem. That
                            evidence is thus not properly "no evidence." It is just this sort of
                            evidence that is ultimately relied on by text criticism. Noting the
                            attestation of the several readings in other manuscripts merely gives the
                            history of dissemination of the correct and/or the incorrect readings. It
                            does not of itself say which reading *is* the correct one; at most, it puts
                            you in good company. The attestation pattern may itself be used as a
                            substitute for local judgement, and if the preferred pattern includes
                            Vaticanus, the result may often be successful. But it is ultimately local
                            judgement that establishes Vaticanus in the first place as something worth
                            betting on, when you have no other ideas in a given case.

                            Thus, in effect, Westcott and Hort, or a rule of thumb that derives from
                            their colossal labors. But I give them full marks for recognizing that there
                            are cases, albeit seemingly few of them, where Vaticanus itself stands a
                            little off to one side of the line of descent from the archetype. They did
                            this by considering the merits of the local situation. So should we.

                            Bruce

                            E Bruce Brooks
                            Warring States Project
                            University of Massachusetts at Amherst

                            http://www.umass.edu/wsp/philology/typology/index.html (still recommended)
                          • Chuck Jones
                            Bruce, Excellent thoughts that challenge long-held assumptions of mine. I have always placed much weight on the text critical principle of preferring the more
                            Message 13 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
                              Bruce,

                              Excellent thoughts that challenge long-held assumptions of mine.

                              I have always placed much weight on the text critical principle of preferring the more difficult reading, the thinking being that a scribe is more likely to smooth a passage than make it more difficult.

                              This is the main reason I have been reluctant to buy into emending texts in the absence of textual variants: we become the very scribes that we've been cautioned about!

                              But I have another, much more significant issue with proposing variant readings in the absence of manuscript evidence. The absence of variant manuscript evidence is evidence for the absence of variation!

                              For example, a significant number of Pauline scholars believe that I Thess. 2:15-16 is a later interpolation, despite the absence of textual variants. So here is what had to have happened. One scribe inserted the passage into one copy of I Thess. And then all of the other copies of I Thess. had to perish from the earth while this one copy became the single progenitor for all manuscripts of I Thess. from that day forward. I have a pretty big problem with the plausibility of that scenario.

                              Not sure how this contributes to our discussion, which I am much enjoying.

                              Rev. Chuck Jones
                              Atlanta, GA

                              E Bruce Brooks wrote:

                              CHUCK: While you raise an interesting, legitimate point, I am not certain
                              how we can proceed in literary analysis based on possibilities for which
                              there is no evidence. It seems to me we must analyze the literature we
                              have, recognizing it limits our results.

                              BRUCE: Evidence in one text is not "no evidence." Let me illustrate.

                              (1) As we read the newspaper (to borrow an example from Metzger), we
                              spontaneously correct misprints in the newspaper. If we see "thesef" we do
                              not need a whole second edition of the paper, identical save that this word
                              appears as "these," to judge that the compositor has let her finger rest
                              improvidently on the F key (its home key) before thumbing the spacebar. The
                              whole layout of the standard keyboard could probably be recovered with a
                              fair degree of accuracy by collating fifty thousand errors of this sort.
                              It's not as good as salvaging an actual 20th century keyboard, but it's not
                              mere speculation either. It has a basis in evidence.

                              (2) Suppose we have two manuscripts B and C, containing the same passage,
                              but B is longer by a sentence. The existence of the difference focuses our
                              attention on this situation, and we therefore are compelled to decide
                              between them. C is shorter. Do we follow an "iron rule" and rule it
                              preferable? Not if we have read Griesbach, who seems to have formulated the
                              "lectio brevior" guideline in great detail. Griesbach does in fact lay it
                              down that the shorter reading is better, since (as he says) scribes do
                              abbreviate. But he they proceeds to give even more examples of cases where
                              scribes do NOT abbreviate, but expand. Whence we get the opposite rule,
                              sometimes also cited, that the longer reading is preferable. The truth of
                              the matter, fully evident in Griesbach's examples (for which see Metzger
                              Text of the New Testament 3ed p120), is that neither the longer nor the
                              shorter reading is a priori preferable. We have no recourse, in this or any
                              other case, save to examine, on their merits, the two particular passages.

                              We might, as one possibility, find that the sentence found only in B is also
                              *interruptive* in B; that it does not articulate well with what comes before
                              and after it, and that when it is experimentally removed, the material
                              before and after it joins together in a satisfactory sequence. Then the line
                              standing only in B is very likely to be an interpolation, and we rule in
                              favor of C as preserving the original reading.

                              Or, to take the opposite possibility, suppose that the line in B makes the
                              context work concinnitously, but that the sequence in C is bumpy and
                              unsatisfactory. Then text C is somehow defective, and its defect is cured by
                              the existence of the B line. In this case, a line has been lost from C and
                              can be confidently supplied from B. Here, it is B that preserve the original
                              reading.

                              ONE TEXT EQUIVALENTS

                              Now suppose we had only text C. If it reads satisfactorily, there is no need
                              to pay further attention to it. If it reads problematically, such that the
                              connection at one point is faulty, then we can conjecture that a word, or a
                              line, or a page, has dropped out, but we have no way to restore the missing
                              material, or even to estimate its extent. The cure here is either
                              conjectural emendation (and there are famous cases where conjectural
                              emendation has succeeded), or simply to indicate a lacuna and move on. We
                              recognize a problem by considering the nature of the text, and solve it, or
                              mark it, as best we can.

                              Or, suppose we had only text B. If it reads satisfactorily, there is no need
                              to pay further attention to it, and in all probability, no attention, in
                              fact, would ever have been called to it. But if there is an inconcinnity, a
                              sense of non sequitur, a feeling of resumption after disturbance, as we read
                              the text, we may find on inspection (and inspection is implicitly called
                              for) that one sentence is causing all the trouble, and that if we remove it,
                              the text is fine. In this case, we judge that we are dealing with an
                              interpolation, identify the line in question as such, remove it from our
                              idea of the original, and pass on. We do not have the support of an
                              independent manuscript containing the text as we have conjectured it, but we
                              do have a solution, and a solution based on the evidence in the text.

                              MORAL

                              Divergent manuscript readings serve to focus attention on passages that may
                              be problematic, whether from scribal dropouts or from scribal additions or
                              from a host of other things. Divergent readings help to accelerate the
                              process of discovery by focusing attention on problem places. But we *solve*
                              those passages, once we have been led to consider them, not by the fact of
                              the difference, which of itself only identifies that a problem exists. We
                              solve them by considering the local merits of each single text. Those
                              determinations are such as could also be made (though if a line has dropped
                              out, not equally well made) by sufficiently careful attention to the
                              evidence within the single text.

                              It is the evidence of the single text that decides the problem. That
                              evidence is thus not properly "no evidence." It is just this sort of
                              evidence that is ultimately relied on by text criticism. Noting the
                              attestation of the several readings in other manuscripts merely gives the
                              history of dissemination of the correct and/or the incorrect readings. It
                              does not of itself say which reading *is* the correct one; at most, it puts
                              you in good company. The attestation pattern may itself be used as a
                              substitute for local judgement, and if the preferred pattern includes
                              Vaticanus, the result may often be successful. But it is ultimately local
                              judgement that establishes Vaticanus in the first place as something worth
                              betting on, when you have no other ideas in a given case.

                              Thus, in effect, Westcott and Hort, or a rule of thumb that derives from
                              their colossal labors. But I give them full marks for recognizing that there
                              are cases, albeit seemingly few of them, where Vaticanus itself stands a
                              little off to one side of the line of descent from the archetype. They did
                              this by considering the merits of the local situation. So should we.

                              Bruce

                              E Bruce Brooks
                              Warring States Project
                              University of Massachusetts at Amherst

                              http://www.umass.edu/wsp/philology/typology/index.html (still recommended)






                              ---------------------------------
                              Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.

                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • E Bruce Brooks
                              To: Synoptic Cc: GPG, WSW In Response To: Chuck Jones On: Methodology From: Bruce CHUCK: I have always placed much weight on the text critical principle of
                              Message 14 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
                                To: Synoptic
                                Cc: GPG, WSW
                                In Response To: Chuck Jones
                                On: Methodology
                                From: Bruce

                                CHUCK: I have always placed much weight on the text critical principle of
                                preferring the more difficult reading, the thinking being that a scribe is
                                more likely to smooth a passage than make it more difficult.

                                BRUCE: Maybe *more* likely, but still not excluding the likelihood that the
                                *less* likely option may also occur. Housman has a wonderful refutation of
                                this mistake, and I will defer to him. A conveniently abridged version of
                                his 1921 paper is at
                                http://www.umass.edu/wsp/philology/front/housman/01.html. I think the
                                relevant part is actually on the third of those four pages, but all of it is
                                worth reading. I would add only that a typing error (I earlier invented the
                                case of "thesef") is more difficult than the reading "these" but this does
                                not make it preferable. It makes it wrong. Most accidental slips tend to
                                produce impossible readings, but their impossibility is no warrant for their
                                correctness. In short, no shortcut is safe, and no rule of thumb can
                                substitute for the use of all the fingers. And sometimes of the other hand,
                                or in really bad cases, of a knee or two. This stuff is not always easy;
                                sometimes it is recalcitrant.

                                CHUCK: This is the main reason I have been reluctant to buy into emending
                                texts in the absence of textual variants: we become the very scribes that
                                we've been cautioned about!

                                BRUCE: There are certainly dangers, and caution is certainly needed, and any
                                erudition one happens to possess (via concordances or in propria persona)
                                comes in handy too. But I can only repeat my previous point: the evidence
                                *in the text* is still evidence. If you have a splinter in your right hand,
                                you don't check your left hand to be sure that is really *is* an
                                interpolation; you reach for the tweezers.

                                The scribes were sometimes careless; that we can remedy by trying to be
                                careful. One tool of the philologist is to know when you are too tired to do
                                the work; you keep routine chores on hand for those moments. The scribes
                                were sometimes piously inventive; that we can try to avoid by keeping a
                                decent emotional distance from the thing we are working on. (Keeping one's
                                literal "philological hat" on the hatstand, and donning it while doing the
                                work, may be useful to some in establishing and maintaining this separate
                                persona). And as always in the historical enterprise, if despite our best
                                efforts we make a mistake, others are there to point it out to us. Our
                                individual shortcomings are doubtless inevitable, but collectively, we may
                                be pretty good.

                                CHUCK: But I have another, much more significant issue with proposing
                                variant readings in the absence of manuscript evidence. The absence of
                                variant manuscript evidence is evidence for the absence of variation!

                                BRUCE: A nice phrase. I have used s similar one myself, in arguing for the
                                validity of the "argumentum ex silentio." It goes like this: There are many
                                reasons why writers might not refer to something. But if that something in
                                fact did not exist in a particular period, the only evidence that fact is
                                capable of leaving in the texts is the *silence* of the texts.

                                In the end, I think it remains true that, if it is conceded (and
                                Rachmaninoff, off in his corner, is nodding assent) that a work may expand
                                or contract while still under its author's hand, then the unanimity of the
                                manuscripts may merely mean that none of them has varied from the author's
                                final version. It does not mean that the author's final version was not
                                preceded by the author's *prefinal* versions, full of erasures, insertions,
                                second thoughts, third thoughts refuting second thoughts ("stet"), and the
                                whole array. Have you even seen one of Beethoven's sketchbooks? Or Emily
                                Dickinson's? (The latter are held by the Amherst library, and I can show
                                them to you when you come up for Don Wyatt's talk on Thursday). There is a
                                whole philological education available there, just for the looking.

                                CHUCK: For example, a significant number of Pauline scholars believe that I
                                Thess. 2:15-16 is a later interpolation, despite the absence of textual
                                variants. So here is what had to have happened. One scribe inserted the
                                passage into one copy of I Thess. And then all of the other copies of I
                                Thess. had to perish from the earth while this one copy became the single
                                progenitor for all manuscripts of I Thess. from that day forward. I have a
                                pretty big problem with the plausibility of that scenario.

                                BRUCE: Again the fallacy of the scribe. The scenario would depend on how
                                many copies were in existence when the insertion was made. And maybe there
                                was only one; maybe 1Th was still in the custody of the recipient church,
                                and (as we have reason to believe) was read occasionally to that
                                congregation for edification and encouragement. If the resident reader felt
                                that some local strengthening was called for, then he (probably he) might
                                had added the lines in question, and his addition got copied into the text
                                when the Pauline Epistles were gathered - by what agency we seem not to
                                know, but we know that it happened, long before the end of the 1c - into the
                                Corpus Paulinum. That change, and that prior perhaps marginal improvement,
                                were made on the holograph, and thus on the thing from which all other
                                copies were made. Some junior philologist in the 4th century might
                                conceivably have detected a difference of tone, in the inserted lines, and
                                excised them out of a sense of tidiness and scruple; this would produce
                                manuscript variants. But the variant would still be rooted in the mind of a
                                4c philologist. It would, if you come to think of it, have no better
                                standing than the opinion of a 21c philologist, not to be sure tampering
                                with the physical manuscript, but publishing in some modern footnote.

                                Also relevant to the idea of an addition in 1Th is the idea that 2Th is a
                                much larger subsequent suppletion of 1Th. Relevant in turn to both these
                                problems is the oft mentioned possibility that 1Co has been conflated,
                                probably by the church originally holding them, out of two or more
                                originally separate Pauline letters, so as not to put that church in TOO bad
                                a light when their originally private possessions were made available to all
                                of Christendom. And this possibility in turn surely gains relevant evidence
                                when it is noticed that similar doubts have been expressed about other
                                undoubted Paulines, such as Romans. As these things are presently done,
                                those debates tend to blaze up as so many separate fires on the battlefield;
                                footnotes in so many separate commentaries. I think they also need to be
                                looked at as a single phenomenon, not disposed of one by one (as Schnelle,
                                for example, does) as "insufficiently persuasive." I always recommend the
                                question: What's the big picture? The big picture here may be that the
                                recipient churches tended to strengthen the message of what was at that time
                                their only authority text, and that at the time of collection for
                                publication, further and perhaps frantic changes were introduced out of
                                consideration for the pending loss of privacy.

                                Nothing proves itself, but at minimum, I find this possibility viscerally
                                intelligible. What do I do myself, if I see somebody coming up the walk?
                                Answer: I use my four seconds of grace to pick up at least some of my notes
                                off the floor, whether they concern 1Th or any other matter, in the interest
                                of presenting an image of decency and civility, however counterfeit and
                                mendacious it may be, to my caller.

                                If the Corinthians had the same thought, I am 100% in sympathy with the
                                Corinthians. I feel their pain.

                                Bruce

                                E Bruce Brooks
                                Warring States Project
                                University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                                http://www.umass.edu/wsp/philology/front/housman/01.html
                              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.