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1448Re: [lxx] Re: Lucian's LXX

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  • Robert Kraft
    Nov 10, 2004
      Sorry, I don't really have time to respond in detail at this point, but perhaps a
      few quick observations can carry the discussion until after Thanksgiving, when a
      different set of pressures will encompass me (and us). For now, it's getting ready
      for the San Antionio SBL circus.

      1. I think a major factor in the discussion is technological -- the fact that while
      there might conceptually be a unified "Bible" (or "OT" or "NT") prior to the
      success of the printing press, in actuality it would be rare to actually possess or
      even see such an item, and thus difficult to create and/or transmit a homogeneous
      "text" of the sort this discussion assumes. How many "pandects" (entire Bible MSS)
      have survived, and of what dates? How many separate MSS of the entire NT? Of the
      LXX/OG? And as we move back behind the development of the mega-codex in the 4th
      century, towards a mini-codex and scroll world, how does this affect the

      2. Classification of LXX/OG MSS for textcritical purposes has gone on for a very
      long time, and although there are arguments about which labels are most appropriate
      (as also in NT text criticism), it is generally pretty clear which MSS represent
      which "families." I've always felt it unfortunate that the editors of the "Larger
      Cambridge LXX" refused to group the MSS they cite -- presumably in the interests of
      fostering objectivity -- despite the fact that such grouping was already fairly
      well established for much of their evidence.

      3. Creating appropriate labels was easier when the primary starting point was the
      great uncials of the 4th-5th centuries, and the comments of people such as Jerome.
      The discovery of hundreds of papyri and parchment fragments from earlier times has
      called for rethinking of this whole procedure (see Eldon Epp, among others, on the
      situation in NT TC circles). Barthelemy's work on Devanciers d'Aquila further
      opened up various doors relative to LXX/OG studies, including the meaning of the
      "Lucianic" (or "Antiochene") label, with which we still must struggle in attempting
      to establish a more satisfactory approach.

      4. On the lectionary problems, I have nothing to offer beyond what has already been
      said. For LXX/OG, I suspect that a lectionary based approach will simply complicate
      an already very complex situation, which doesn't mean that I don't think it is worth
      pursuing. In NT TC, it has been and is being pursued with significant benefit.
      Since lections presumably were derived from more consecutive biblical texts in the
      first place, I'm not ready to argue that lectionaries produced the text type(s)
      they represent, but they certainly would have been instrumental in preserving and
      propogating such text, and thus are an important ingredient at least in the
      identification, and probably also in the "standardization," of the "Byzantine" TR.

      Now back to revising my theories about the continuities and discontinuities between
      Greek book production in early Judaism and in earliest Christianity!


      > 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
      > standardization.
      > > 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
      > framework.
      > > 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).
      > James
      > 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.
      > Yahoo! Groups Links

      Robert A. Kraft, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania
      227 Logan Hall (Philadelphia PA 19104-6304); tel. 215 898-5827
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