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Re: the 2NH: Texts and Manuscripts

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  • Jeremy Duff
    Thank you Brian. ... The key word here is document - you are arguing that the various of these pieces of external evidence need a written pre-synoptic text
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 1, 1998
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      Thank you Brian.

      Can I respond to the bits I'm unsure of (quotes are from Brian E. Wilson):

      >The GH and MWQH ("Mark-without-Q Hypothesis" - alias Farrer Hypothesis),
      >on the other hand, do not posit any document prior to what they see as
      >the earliest gospel. They are helpless to give any explanation of the
      >four pieces of "external evidence", as I call them, and therefore do not
      >fit them.

      The key word here is 'document' - you are arguing that the various of these
      pieces of external evidence need a written pre-synoptic text to satisfy
      them, and that the GH and MWQH do not posit any such texts.

      If that is your point, surely it is a little shaky. For while say the GH
      (which I do not support) does not discuss a pre-Matthew written source, it
      certainly could do without making any change to the hypothesis, except for
      satisfying your external criteria. For one could posit a written source used
      only by Matthew, which would fit the external criteria and yet be redundant
      from the point of view of synoptic relationships. In essence this is the
      point I think Mark G. was making over what Synoptic theories are trying to
      solve - they are framed to account for synpotic relations, which is not
      quite the same as synoptic sources when you are talking about the first gospel.

      Thus while your discussion of codex form and nomina sacra etc. is important,
      I can't see that it really counts in favour of the 2NH and 2DH and against
      the GH and MWQH.

      >The main thrust of the exposition of the 2NH on the web is that the Two
      >Notebook Hypothesis is compatible with the internal evidence of all the
      >observed patterns in the synoptic gospels themselves

      I understand that.

      >The other two characteristics are (1) that
      >about half the numbers in early Christian writing in Greek are in cipher
      >form, and (2) that, apart from cipher numbers, none of the usual
      >abbreviations frequently used in non-Christian documentary manuscripts
      >in Greek in the first century CE are found in the Christian manuscripts.

      I don't understand (1) - looking say at the photographs of P75 I don't see
      any ciphers?
      I don't really understand (2) - which abbreviations are you meaning?

      Finally, I am sure that you must be aware of the hypthesis that the codex
      form arose from the use of it by Paul (cf. 2 Tim 4.13; Skeat and others).
      Does your hypothesis connect with this?

      Sorry if all my questions are about MSS and seem to be avoiding the details
      of the texts of the Synoptics.


      Jeremy
    • Brian E. Wilson
      Jeremy Duff wrote in a reply to Brian Wilson (SNIP) - ... The GH which I considered in my talk did not posit a pre-Matthew written source. If this hypothesis
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 1, 1998
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        Jeremy Duff wrote in a reply to Brian Wilson (SNIP) -
        >For while say the GH (which I do not support) does not discuss a pre-
        >Matthew written source, it certainly could do without making any change
        >to the hypothesis, except for satisfying your external criteria. For
        >one could posit a written source used only by Matthew, which would fit
        >the external criteria and yet be redundant from the point of view of
        >synoptic relationships. In essence this is the point I think Mark G.
        >was making over what Synoptic theories are trying to solve - they are
        >framed to account for synpotic relations, which is not quite the same
        >as synoptic sources when you are talking about the first gospel.
        >Thus while your discussion of codex form and nomina sacra etc. is
        >important, I can't see that it really counts in favour of the 2NH and
        >2DH and against the GH and MWQH.
        >
        The GH which I considered in my talk did not posit a pre-Matthew written
        source. If this hypothesis is altered to include a pre-Matthew written
        source, then it becomes a different hypothesis - say "GH2". But GH2 is
        not GH. GH2 is closer to the 2NH than GH, since GH2 posits a pre-
        synoptic source whereas GH does not. And so on with the MWQH. You
        cannot have it both ways. Either you dispense with hypothetical
        documents (like Farrer dispensing with Q), or you don't. At least
        Goulder is consistent in resolutely sticking to no hypothetical sources,
        documentary or oral. I admire his integrity and far-sightedness at this
        point. He knows that once a hypothetical source is admitted, for
        whatever reason, the whole point of the Farrer Hypothesis dispensing
        with Q is lost. I do not agree with the suggestion that he is foolhardy
        here.
        (Also, Brian Wilson had written ... )
        >The other two characteristics are (1) that about half the numbers in
        >early Christian writing in Greek are in cipher form, and (2) that,
        >apart from cipher numbers, none of the usual abbreviations frequently
        >used in non-Christian documentary manuscripts in Greek in the first
        >century CE are found in the Christian manuscripts.
        (... on which Jeremy Duff comments - )
        >I don't understand (1) - looking say at the photographs of P75 I don't see
        >any ciphers?
        Fascinating! It was actually as a result of carefully taking two sheets
        of P75 in my hands (one at a time) at the Bodmer Library at the tiny
        village of Cologny near Geneva in Switzerland, last July, that my
        attention was first drawn to the occurrence of cipher numbers in early
        Christian writing in Greek! Each sheet of papyrus was held between two
        panes of glass edged with white tape (and watched with eagle eye by a
        member of the Library staff). The first sheet of papyrus was the end of
        Luke and the beginning of John, and the second was the following passage
        in John. On the recto of the second sheet (John 1.33-48), on line 8 was
        the Greek SANOIDUOAUTOUMATHTAILALOUNTOSKAI with the full word DUO for
        the word "two" in Jn 1.37. Line 6, however (John 1.35), read
        TOUBKAIEMBLEYAJTWIUPERIPATOU with the fourth letter B as a cipher form
        (with superscript bar on the manuscript to show that it is a cipher
        form) for the number two. In fact only one centimetre apart on the same
        page, we have DUO, the word in full, and B, the cipher form, for the
        same number - "two" and "2" as we might represent these in English. It
        was really very startling to see this.

        If you look at the INTRODUCTION GENERALE to the printed edition of P75,
        Professor Victor Martin explicitly states, "Les nombres sont le plus
        souvent ecrits en chiffres" (page 17). I am sure if you check through
        the photographs, you will find that he is not mistaken. Considerably
        more numbers are in cipher form, than in word form, in P75 as a whole. I
        have found many cipher numbers in P75, in Luke and in John. The cipher
        form of the number "99" in Lk 15.4,7 is particularly interesting since
        in both occurrences the old Greek letter koppa (not the same as kappa,
        and not a letter used in words in the NT) is employed to represent
        ninety, the nine being represented by theta, both letters yoked under a
        superscript bar to show that it is a cipher number.

        (Jeremy Duff continued - )
        >I don't really understand (2) - which abbreviations are you meaning?
        >
        The AQHNAIWN POLITEIA ("On the Constitution of Athens") attributed to
        Aristotle has survived on a manuscript dated at the end of the first
        century CE. In the printed edition by F. G. Kenyon (Oxford, 1891 - sic)
        2nd edition, at the very of the begining of the book, Kenyon gives a
        helpful list of abbreviations in use in the manuscript. The point is
        that these abbreviations (apart from the last one, which is for a word
        particularly common in the Constitution - XRONOJ ) are just the
        abbreviations used very commonly indeed in non-Christian documents
        intended as "working copies" or "official documents" written in Greek in
        the era we are considering. In this connection, E. G. Turner writes
        about the "developed system of abbreviations by suspension of a large
        part of the word, or by a symbol" in his book "Greek Manuscripts of the
        Ancient World" (London, 1987) 2nd edition, page 15. Professor Alan
        Millard has also written various articles on this topic, and is
        intrigued to know why the Christian manuscripts do not use the normal
        method of abbreviating Greek words, even though they have apparently
        abbreviated words with superscript line in the Nomina Sacra forms. The
        usual abbreviations in non-Christian writing are nowhere found in early
        Christian writing in Greek, with the exception of numbers in cipher
        format.

        (Jeremy also commented - )
        >Finally, I am sure that you must be aware of the hypthesis that the codex
        >form arose from the use of it by Paul (cf. 2 Tim 4.13; Skeat and others).
        >Does your hypothesis connect with this?
        >
        I am aware of C. H. Roberts' hypothesis in his very famous lecture to
        the British Academy given in 1954. He does not maintain that Paul
        originated or spread the use of the parchment/papyrus codex for books.
        Roberts' 1954 hypothesis is actually summarized in C. H. Roberts and T.
        C. Skeat, "The Birth of the Codex" (Oxford, 1983) pages 54-55. This
        summary runs to over 400 words, but does not even mention Paul.

        The co-authors then proceed (pages 56-61) to say that they no longer
        want to hold to the hypothesis given in "The Codex", but rather to put
        forward a new hypothesis that the first codex book originated in Antioch
        in Syria as a sort of proto-gospel which may have also introduced the
        Nomina Sacra. No mention of Paul in this hypothesis.

        I am also aware that T. C. Skeat wrote an article "The Origin of the
        Christian Codex" in "Zeitschrift fur Papyrologie und Epigraphik" (102,
        1994), pages 263-268, and that Skeat begins this with the words, "In
        "The Birth of the Codex" published in 1983, my co-author, the late C. H.
        Roberts and I put forward, in a very tentative manner, two alternative
        hypotheses to explain the extraordinary predilection of early Christians
        for the codex form of book as opposed to the roll." Skeat then goes on
        to put forward a hypothesis in which, as far as I can see, Paul is not
        mentioned at all, and which is very different again from previous
        hypotheses of Roberts and Skeat.

        For the time being, I would rather hold on to the rest of my ideas,
        especially dates, concerning the origin of the codex book and what I see
        as the other three characteristics of early Christian writing in Greek.
        I hope the article will be finished soon, and perhaps accepted for
        publication. I am conscious that the above is possibly not quite what
        should be discussed on this List. Apologies for the length of this
        posting!

        Best wishes,
        BRIAN WILSON

        E-MAIL: brian@... TELEPHONE: +44-1480-385043
        SNAILMAIL: Rev B. E. Wilson, HOMEPAGE:
        10 York Close, Godmanchester, http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk
        Huntingdon, Cambs, PE18 8EB, UK
      • Mark Goodacre
        ... Nor do I, and I think that Brian is astute to see the extent to which Michael Goulder is attempting to follow through his own agenda to its logical
        Message 3 of 3 , Oct 1, 1998
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          On 1 Oct 98 at 14:38, Brian E. Wilson wrote (most omitted):

          > The GH which I considered in my talk did not posit a pre-Matthew written
          > source. If this hypothesis is altered to include a pre-Matthew written
          > source, then it becomes a different hypothesis - say "GH2". But GH2 is
          > not GH. GH2 is closer to the 2NH than GH, since GH2 posits a pre-
          > synoptic source whereas GH does not. And so on with the MWQH. You
          > cannot have it both ways. Either you dispense with hypothetical
          > documents (like Farrer dispensing with Q), or you don't. At least
          > Goulder is consistent in resolutely sticking to no hypothetical sources,
          > documentary or oral. I admire his integrity and far-sightedness at this
          > point. He knows that once a hypothetical source is admitted, for
          > whatever reason, the whole point of the Farrer Hypothesis dispensing
          > with Q is lost. I do not agree with the suggestion that he is foolhardy
          > here.

          Nor do I, and I think that Brian is astute to see the extent to which Michael
          Goulder is attempting to follow through his own agenda to its logical
          conclusion. However, I disagree that "once a hypothetical source is admitted,
          for whatever reason, the whole point of the Farrer Hypothesis dispensing with Q
          is lost". Q is hypothesised in order to explain the non-Markan agreements
          between Matthew and Luke. If it becomes possible to explain the data on the
          assumption that Luke has used Matthew as well as Mark, then it is natural to
          dispense with Q. In other words, the argument is not against the idea of
          hypothetical sources in themselves but against the notion of creating a
          hypothetical source in order to explain agreements that are better explained on
          the assumption of direct dependence by Luke on Matthew.

          The situation in respect to Luke's use of Mark (with apologies to
          neo-Griesbachians) is analogous. We do not hypothesise a source to explain the
          agreement between Mark and Luke when we find it plausible that Luke has taken
          over the material directly from Mark. The difficulty is that many think it
          unlikely that Luke has taken over material directly from Matthew. And that is
          why we need constantly to go back to the arguments usually given for Matthean
          and Lukan independence, arguments that do not, in my opinion, hold water.

          Mark
          -------------------------------------------
          Dr Mark Goodacre M.S.Goodacre@...
          Dept. of Theology, University of Birmingham
          Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre

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