Re: Future subjunctive
- On Thu, 1 Feb 1996, James R. Adair wrote:
> On Wed, 31 Jan 1996, Maurice Robinson wrote:This is certain, but in that case almost any Pauline verse will have
> True, it's a Pauline word, but it is used in an unusual manner (a hapax
> in conjunction with PARADW and SWMA! :-) )
three words in close conjunction which ends up hapax. (The more words
multiplied in a search request, obviously the fewer "hits" there will be).
> so I can imagine a scribeAs Metzger noted in his commentary, even the reading KAUXHSWMAI would be
> might have wondered what exactly Paul was trying to say.
problematic. Fact is, neither reading is hermeneutically simple; only
that "boast" is a far more "normal" Pauline word in any context than is
"burn" (which elsewhere occurs in Paul only in "it is better to marry than
to burn", if I recall correctly).
> I'm obviously missing something here. My contention is that many scribesEven though there are numerous cases of individual MSS showing itacistic
> would have taken KAUQHSWMAI as equivalent to KAUQHSOMAI, just a phonetic
> variant (obviously some didn't, hence the -OMAI readings).
confusion of all types, in general such confusion (producing an
"ungrammatical" form) does not occur in the primary MSS of a single
texttype consistently, let alone in a single peculiar reading.
Especially in the age of the minuscules, scribes might be more expected to
correct grammatical anomalies, presuming an error in their exemplars, but
in this case they made no correction, but allowed the anomaly to stand
without alteration. This type of situation speaks rather strongly toward
the originality of the anomalous form, even if we (and the vast majority
of scribes) did not know how to regard the word.
Since the scribes did not correct an apparent anomaly (which admitted of
easy correction by changing the -W- to -O-), and since virtually
everywhere else in the NT texttypes as a whole are generally precise on
grammatical form and orthography, I cannot believe that the Byzantine
reading reflects mere itacistic confusion. Something more is involved.
> What are youWith no other examples of Future Subjunctives in all of Greek literature,
> saying about KAUQHSWMAI, that it is really a future subjunctive, that it
> is blatantly erroneous, of something else?
I would find it difficult to argue that Paul deliberately created a
future subjunctive here in a context difficult enough of interpretation
even with "correct" grammatical forms. I have no grammatical "solution"
to this anomalous form, but I do believe the data fully supports that
-SWMAI would be the original form. Look at the evidence: both the
Alexandrian and the Byzantine reading end in -SWMAI; some which have the
basic Byzantine reading "correctly" read -SOMAI; and why would more than
a few dozen scribes at most deliberately or even accidentally change
-SOMAI into -SWMAI, and then have such change not only remain uncorrected
by subsequent scribes (especially in the more "grammatical" age of the
minuscules), but also for such a peculiar reading to utterly dominate the
manuscript tradition. I might be well prepared to defend what is the
Byzantine reading on transcriptional grounds, but from an exegetical
standpoint, I have no definite conclusion.
> By the way, I think you, I, and Carlton Winbery all agree that KAUQHSWMAIThat correctly reflects my opinion. Metzger in his Textual Commentary,
> is the middle term in this equation. The question is whether there is a
> lineal descent from KAUXHSWMAI to KAUQHSWMAI to KAUQHSOMAI or whether
> both of the other terms derived independently from an original
> KAUQHSWMAI. In either case, the certainly grammatical KAUQHSOMAI is not
> original, ne c'est pas?
however, seems to suggest that KAUQHSOMAI is the "true" Byzantine
reading, which most Byzantine MSS have corrupted into KAUQHSWMAI. If
Metzger were correct here, I would then conclude that the Alexandrian
KAUXHSWMAI would be even a later development from the "corrupted" form.
In either case, I still would not consider the Alexandrian reading to be
> Why conclude this and not rather that the Byzantine text was a local textFollowing the Streeter model of local text theory (which I believe is in
> tradition that happened to have been the one that was accepted, for
> whatever historical or theological reasons, by the majority of the
the main correct), the local texts would originate from a basic text
which was permeating the entire geographical spectrum. What would
distinguish the local text from the base text would be the creation of
purely localized variations, which variations would not spread by an
normal transmissional means far beyond their original localities.
Even were such local text MSS to arrive at different localities, those
copying them would immediately or within one or two copying generations
end up comparing and cross-correcting the "foreign" exemplar with one from
their own locale, which for the most part would eliminate the "outside"
local nature of subsequent copies.
Over a lengthy period of time (speaking in terms of centuries), and
especially with the freer communication and exchange of MSS following the
legitimization of Christianity under Constantine, the same tendency would
become more universalized. Rather than ONE local text growing and growing
to dominate the field (which is transmissionally implausible in the
extreme, given the situation of monks and copyists during most centuries),
it is far more likely that the ongoing process of cross-comparison and
correction would inexorably tend to bring all MSS slowly back to the
original "universal" base text which existed before the localized variants
were created, which "universal" base text could only be the autograph.
It is far easier to view transmissional history from this type of a
perspective than to create more and more implausible historical scenarios
which would attempt to turn a "local text" into a dominant text --
something Streeter never suggested nor envisioned.
> I would venture to suggest that the text-type current inBy this analogy, there should never have been the problems in the Old
> Constantinople would carry more sway than others, much as the bishops of
> Rome and later Constantinople carried more sway than their "equals"
Latin text, with all its multifarious versions and alterations. Rome's
use of the Latin should have been so influential that Jerome would never
have needed to be commissioned to produce order (the Vulgate) out of chaos
(the Old Latin texts).
The history of the Greek MSS reflects clearly an era of uncontrolled
popular transmission, up to around AD 200; however, there was no Greek
Jerome commissioned or needed to restore textual uniformity and/or order
out of the Greek MSS (claims regarding Lucian for the NT text lack all
historical verifiability as well as plausibility).
The Greek MSS, without official "control" or "sponsorship" of a single
unified text, somehow by the normal processes of copying and correcting
MSS, ended up with a basically unitary Textform in the Byzantine text.
Yet there clearly are sufficient sub-groups within the Byzantine Textform
and variations within individual Byzantine MSS to demonstrate that NO
controls were ever sought or imposed in regard to that text. As I state
in the introduction to my Greek NT edition, the reason for this is simple:
barring a formally-commissioned revision in the manner or Jerome, the
results of which are then dogmatically imposed by formal decree, "only a
common pre-existing archetype will permit order ever to come out of
> And if the Byzantine text was based on a local text, it wasOn what basis can the Byzantine Textform be argued to be "younger" than
> one that was younger by a century or two than the Alexandrian, Western,
> and probably other no-longer-extant text-traditions.
the other texttype traditions? Certainly not from the arguments essayed
by Westcott and Hort (conflation, harmonization, smoother readings, etc.),
since each and every one of these allegations can be shown not to
characterize the Byzantine text any more than in the leading witnesses of
the other texttypes.
Assuming that the Byzantine Text can be defended in any given portion of
text on internal grounds (much as I have done for the 1Cor13:3 reading as
well as the alleged harmonization reading earlier discussed), if such
defense were to be extended sequentially from variant to variant within a
pericope, a chapter, or an entire book, the cumulative result of continued
defense of individual Byzantine readings would point directly to the
originality of the Byzantine Textform as an entity. I maintain that such
a variant-by-variant defense CAN be performed successfully, in which case
internal evidence alone argues for Byzantine-priority as well as the the
subsequent and secondary nature of the Alexandrian, Western, and other
texttypes. As Colwell did say from within an eclectic perspective, "Hort
has put genealogical blinders on our eyes."
> A parallel from the text of the OT might be in order here. TheWithout getting far into the nature of OT text criticism (since this is
> present-day Masoretic Text (also an MT!) seems to be a collection of
> different types of text, some fuller (Jeremiah, Samuel) and others less
> full (Kings, Esther) than other mss of their day. Whether this situation
> reflects different local texts (Cross) or texts from different strata of
> society (Talmon) is immaterial for the present discussion. The point is
> that the text-types preserved in the MT were originally local
> (geographically or sociologically) texts, not official.
not germane to my discussion and also reflects a VERY different historical
and transmissional situation), I would note that, insofar as the
transmission of the purely Massoretic pointed text goes (being within the
same centuries as the main manuscript transmission of the Greek NT text),
the critical Leningrad B19a text -- even though Ben Asher -- basically
reflects the Hebrew equivalent of the "Byzantine" text, since the Ben
Asher and Ben Chayyim traditions vary little more than do the Kx and Kr
traditions. In this case, the pertinent OT transmissional example
supports the parallel Byzantine-priority model for the Greek NT.
> Conjectural emendation is certainly not in vogue in NT textualThis goes beyond even the rigorous eclectics such as Kilpatrick and
> criticism. However, I believe that NT text criticism should take a cue
> from their OT counterparts on this issue and at least consider emendation
> for difficult passages such as the ones W-H mention.
Elliott, and seems like a moving back in time to the era of W-H. I am
perfectly willing to allow the labels "difficult" and "peculiar" to stand
with regard to certain readings (and this even in the Alexandrian or
Western texts), even if I cannot resolve them with certainty. In light of
the wealth of MS, Versional, and Patristic date which we have, personally
do not see any need for conjecture or suspecting "primitive error" as did
> Of course, it is more frequently the case that easier, secondaryI agree with this, and the evidence of individual MSS of all texttypes
> readings proliferate,
supports such an assumption. However, the "easy" readings never appear to
dominate any single texttype, let alone the entire transmissional
tradition. Yet if they were so much "easier" to the scribes, why then did
they not act en masse in accordance with the "general tendency" which has
been alleged to them? Only in the case of specific readings within the
Byzantine Textform where that Textform happens to disagree with the
currently-favored eclectic text are allegations as to the "general
tendency of scribes" made to explain away the Byzantine reading as a thing
Scholars should carefully study ALL the variant readings found among all
MSS and notice how very many are "easier" or "harmonizing" or "fuller" or
"expansions," etc., and then compare the total result with the amount
alleged against the Byzantine Text. Had the scribes in any way acted
consistently with their alleged expectations, the Byzantine text as an
entity would be the smoothest, most harmonious, and easiest text known to
man -- but it would also be significantly different from that which now
exists under the Byzantine rubric, since the Byzantine scribes left far
too many "difficult" places utterly untouched.
> readings that seem to characterize (in general) theAgain, I would suggest that any Byzantine readings which are supposedly
> Byzantine text-type more than the earlier ones, particularly the Alexandrian.
> But that opens up a whole new set of questions!
"characteristic" abound in almost equal number with the Alexandrian or
Western MSS. I would further suggest (quite seriously) that, with profit,
W-H's description of the supposed characteristics of the Byzantine Text
could be simply applied to the MSS of the Alexandrian texttype and vice
versa with no significant changes. I yet have to see a clear
demonstration of an Alexandrian reading which "must" be correct, for
which the Byzantine text would have no defense on internal,
transmissional, or transcriptional grounds.
Maurice A. Robinson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Greek and New Testament
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina
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