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1447Re: [lxx] Re: Lucian's LXX

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  • James Miller
    Nov 10, 2004
      Finally, 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
      groups, etc).


      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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