1447Re: [lxx] Re: Lucian's LXX
- Nov 10, 2004Finally, a direct response.
On Wed, 10 Nov 2004, Wieland Willker wrote:
> James Miller wrote:
> > My supposition is that the text of the miniscules should
> > be the same as that of the lectionaries, and that it was
> > standardized and thus became a majority owing to its
> > official sanction by the church and the fact that it was the
> > text read out at public worship.
> This is definitely wrong. The Byz text did not arise out of the
> lectionary text, it was the other way round. The lectionaries have a
> distinct text, which is basically Byzantine, that is correct, but it is
> a very late text.
> The Byzantine text originated not in the 10th CE, but at the end of the
> 3rd CE. The earliest substantial copies we have are Codex W/032 and A/02
> (both 5th CE). The origin of the Byz text is one of the great mysteria
> in NT TC. There is much speculation, but no facts.
According to my sources, "the Byzantine text-form simply did not exist in
the second and third centuries, although many of the variants that were to
be found in it had already come into existence . . . The Majority text as
a full-fledged form of text, distinguishable from the Egyptian and
'Western' does not appear in history until about AD 350. NT citations
that are closer to the TR than to the Egyptian and 'Western' texts first
appear in a group of writers associated with the church of Antioch:
(list). But even so, these fathers had a NT only about 90% along the way
to the full Byzantine text of the later Middle Ages. The earliest Greek
MS to reflect this text is from Alexandria (Codex W, ca. 400--Luke 8:14 -
14:53 only) and is only about 85% Byzantine, while the earliest full
witnesses to it are uncials from the 8th and 9th centuries (list)--and
even these reflect a slightly earlier stage of the text finally found in
the TR." (Fee, "Studies and Documents" p 187) Confusing use of the labels
"Byzantine," TR and "Majority" but they seem largely synonymous and
interchangeable for Fee. Perhaps the basic concepts are too squishy to be
used in any categorical way.
On the lectionaries, from the same volume and author, we read "There are
presently 2,193 known lectionary MSS, the earliest fragments dating from
the 6th century and complete MSS from the eighth." (p 5) Now, in the case
of lectionaries, are we talking about text *form* ("these are texts
written not in regular canonical sequence, but in accordance with the
designated daily and weekly lessons" p 5) or text *type*? You and I seem
to agree, and ABD happens to exonerate us, that the lectionary is of the
Byzantine text type. Fee seems to want to think mainly of form when
addressing the lectionaries here though--he doesn't even mention the text
type. Seems to me like some rather obvious dots are not being connected.
You don't have to look very far in the literature to run across the
conventional lament that "the lectionaries have not received adequate
attention" (my paraphrase). There's a long-standing assumption among
scholars--most likely related to certain Protestant biases--that the
lectionary texts are of little interest since they will show mainly
accretions from later church practice. Whether the text is relatively
late or early, they still need to be taken more into consideration and
their text type(s) classified and collated against those now conjectured.
My assumption is that this will reveal heretofore unappreciated aspects of
textual transmission--i.e., that the majority text (NT) is uniform and
abundant because of its relation to the liturgical text sanctioned by the
church and familiar through recitation at public worship. Maybe I'm
wrong, but only more serious engagement with the lectionary MSS is going
to demonstrate that. So far, only arguments from silence can be made on
both sides. But I think my arguments are more provocative--and
scholarship loves provocativeness, doesn't it? (when it comes from someone
with the requisite credentials, anyway). To simplify, what I'm suggesting
is that perhaps the 6th century witnessed a *change* in the way the
ecclesiatical text was formatted: from being a continuous text more like
our modern NT's, its form was changed to reflect the course of readings
for the liturgical year. But the type (Byzantine) remained consistent. I
admit that more analysis and study is required to exonerate this notion.
But I also hold that noone arguing against it is on any better footing.
> From your answers regarding my question about a majority text of the LXX
> I take it that there is no such thing, not even a lectionary text of the
> LXX. This is very interesting since it is a significant difference to
> the NT. It cries for an explanation.
The OT lectionary text is the Prophetologion. It is highly uniform like
the Majority text type, but encompasses something like less than 10% of
our current OT. I still think the answer to the fact that there is no
cognate to the Majority NT text for the LXX lies in the fact that the
great bulk of the OT was not used liturgically, while the great bulk of
the NT was. There was thus no overarching social or political force (such
as the church represented from 300 to 1500) acting to standardize the text
as a whole--as what we now think of as the "Old Testament."
> Your suggestion "that there was no political or social force driving a
> standardization of the text" is not really convincing to me because it
> was originally the LXX that was tried to get standardized (Origen's
> Hexapla, Lucian).
How about the fact that the driving force for that effort was apologetic?
Origen wanted to have a textual base from which argumentation for
Christianity visa vis Judaism could be more legitimately made. And what
about the fact that the effort was essentially dropped after Origen's
death? You seem to be envisioning textual standardization as hinging on
personal valor or something. It seems unwise to me to ignore forces in
the larger social fabric when attempting to account for textual
> If really Lucian is responsible for the origin of the Byzantine text of
> the NT (we don't really know that), and he also did an LXX recension,
> why did his NT supplant everything (99% of all MSS are now basically
> Byzantine), but his LXX failed to make that impact? Perhaps the
> authority of Origen was too strong?
If we don't really know Lucian is responsible for the origin of the
Byzantine text, what's the point of speculating about his, and Origen's,
personal roles in the process? Attribution in ancient authors and texts
should not be taken as modern scholarly citation or copyright attribution.
A text could become associated with someone's name or reputation for a
range of reasons that don't fit well into current scholarly notions of
attribution. Part of the problem here may be that scholarship (that
dealing most closely with MSS anyway) has not properly appreciated
attribution in ancient authors and is seeking to adapt it into a foreign
> Btw. how many of all LXX MSS are now basically Lucianic? Have all the
> 1500+ MSS been test-collated to check their type? How much do we know
> about LXX texttypes and groups? I am wondering if this has ever been
> checked systematically?
I don't know of any such widescale classification. The best place to find
out about LXX textual families that I know of is in the manuscript "keys"
to the Goettingen editions. Each scholar tries to interrelate the MS
evidence with which s/he has dealt and to give a list of textual families.
This could, theoretically, lay the groundwork for widescale categorization
of the texts into a few families or types like you seem to seek. And that
was the impetus for Rahlfs and other scholars of his era in starting this
and other such projects. So far as I can tell, this project is still in
very rudimentary stages--the whole of the project seeming to be at
something of a standstill and with many volumes still to be published.
Bob is probably the one to speak more authoritatively to status of that
project and the stage at which textual classification stands, though.
Let's hope he offers something.
Anyway, my supposition is that, were this project (Goettingen) to be
finally completed and something like the widescale categorization of MSS
and text types you're expecting to be done, we'd still be left with the
sort of squishiness and incompleteness we see in NT circles, where the
endeavor is relatively much further advanced (e.g., "TR," "Majority" and
"Byzantine" being used interchangeably, the lectionaries not having been
carefully examined to determine their place textually against the other
PS Further questions worth reflecting on. The fathers (Asterius,
Cappadocians, Chrysostom, Theodoret) Fee speaks of as having used a
Byzantine text were ecclesiatical authorities, right? Are we to imagine
(if we presume that the NT text now contained in their works has not been
later modified) that these people were going into their private libraries,
grabbing a NT off the shelf, and sitting down to jot down some thoughts?
Alot of these works are sermons delivered at public worship, presumably
based on a text that was also read out publically just prior to the
sermon. Did someone just go grab a NT from somewhere for this reading, or
ask to borrow one from an attendee, or was it from a book that was used
specifically for such public readings at worship? I'm presuming we'd
agree that, by this era, we're not speaking of informal or impromptu
gatherings at someone's house for some prayer. Isn't it sort of presumed
that this is a full-blown, so-called "high church" setting? And if there
were such texts--lectionaries is how I would call them--can we not assume
that church officials would know them well, and even use or paraphrase
this text in works that were not public sermons? I'm willing to submit
that a connection remains to be made between the text as found in these
authors and that in the later lectionaries. It may well differ in some
ways. But I think there can be little doubt that we're dealing with a
lectionary tradition in these fathers. And I hold it unwise in the
extreme to exclude this and other lectionary elements prima facie from
considerations of textual standardization and development in general. It
seems to me that such an oversight is being made, and that some of your
assumptions on the issues we've been discussing hinge on this oversight.
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