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(Fwd) from Robert Shedinger: Re: [Synoptic-L] Approaches to Diatessaron

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  • Mark Goodacre
    The following message did not get through to the list because the software was not recognising a minor variant in Robert s Email address; this has now been
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 26, 2000
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      The following message did not get through to the list because the
      software was not recognising a minor variant in Robert's Email
      address; this has now been fixed (Bear in mind that I have to keep a
      "subscribers only" policy to block the spam etc.). Mark.

      Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2000 23:06:34 -0400
      From: Robert Shedinger <rsheding@...>
      Reply-To: rsheding@...
      Organization: Temple University
      Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Approaches to Diatessaron

      I certainly do not disagree with most of what Larry says here. But it
      seems to me that textual critics normally assume that the earliest or
      best reading in a particular text can always be found among the
      variants documented in the usual textual sources (Greek Mss, versions,
      patristic citations, etc.). But is it not possible that some original
      readings may have disappeared from the textual tradition so early that
      they no longer exist in these later witnesses? Moreover, it is very
      unusual for a critical edition to adopt any reading into its text that
      has no Greek support. But why do we assume that the best reading
      necessarily must survive in the Greek Mss tradition to which the early
      versions and patristic citations give only secondary support? My gut
      instinct (and at this point it is only a gut instinct, not a fully
      worked out thesis) is that the original text of the Gospels diverged
      more from our critical editions than many scholars allow for. And not
      just textual scholars, but literary critics as well who frequently
      talk about what Matthew or Mark wrote in a certain place as if our
      critical editions always preserve precisely what they wrote. Our
      critical editions can probably do no better than get us a late third
      century text, but the Diatessaron and the versional traditions related
      to it (Old Syriac, Old Latin) may be able to get us back to the
      mid-second century. I cannot take credit for this idea. William
      Petersen has made the argument in several places, and even Helmut
      Koester has commented on the naivety of textual criticism in this
      regard (See his "The Text of the Synoptic Gospels in the Second
      Century" in Gospel Traditions in the Second Century: Origins,
      Recensions, Text, and Transmission, ed. W. L. Petersen (University of
      Notre Dame Press, 1989), 20.

      Robert Shedinger
      Luther College

      ------- End of forwarded message -------
      Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
      Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
      University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
      Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

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