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

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  • 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 1 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
    • 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 2 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
      • 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 3 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
        • 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 4 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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          • 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 5 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
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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
              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 6 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
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                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






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              • 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 7 of 14 , Mar 24, 2008
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                  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 8 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
                    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 9 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
                      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)






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                      [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 10 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
                        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
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