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

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• 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 1 of 14 , Mar 21, 2008
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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.

.

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• 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 2 of 14 , Mar 21, 2008
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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
• 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 3 of 14 , Mar 22, 2008
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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
• ... 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 4 of 14 , Mar 22, 2008
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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
• 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 5 of 14 , Mar 22, 2008
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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
• ... 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 6 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
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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
• 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 7 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
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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.

.

---------------------------------
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• 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 8 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
• 0 Attachment
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
• 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 9 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
• 0 Attachment
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]
• 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 10 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
• 0 Attachment
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

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]
• 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 11 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
• 0 Attachment
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

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)
• 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 12 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
• 0 Attachment
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

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]
• 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 13 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
• 0 Attachment
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

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
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
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