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Re: Future subjunctive

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  • Maurice Robinson
    ... This is certain, but in that case almost any Pauline verse will have three words in close conjunction which ends up hapax. (The more words multiplied in a
    Message 1 of 1714 , Feb 2, 1996
      On Thu, 1 Feb 1996, James R. Adair wrote:

      > On Wed, 31 Jan 1996, Maurice Robinson wrote:

      > True, it's a Pauline word, but it is used in an unusual manner (a hapax
      > in conjunction with PARADW and SWMA! :-) )

      This is certain, but in that case almost any Pauline verse will have
      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 scribe
      > might have wondered what exactly Paul was trying to say.

      As Metzger noted in his commentary, even the reading KAUXHSWMAI would be
      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 scribes
      > would have taken KAUQHSWMAI as equivalent to KAUQHSOMAI, just a phonetic
      > variant (obviously some didn't, hence the -OMAI readings).

      Even though there are numerous cases of individual MSS showing itacistic
      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 you
      > saying about KAUQHSWMAI, that it is really a future subjunctive, that it
      > is blatantly erroneous, of something else?

      With no other examples of Future Subjunctives in all of Greek literature,
      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 KAUQHSWMAI
      > 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?

      That correctly reflects my opinion. Metzger in his Textual Commentary,
      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 text
      > tradition that happened to have been the one that was accepted, for
      > whatever historical or theological reasons, by the majority of the
      > church?

      Following the Streeter model of local text theory (which I believe is in
      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 in
      > Constantinople would carry more sway than others, much as the bishops of
      > Rome and later Constantinople carried more sway than their "equals"
      > elsewhere.

      By this analogy, there should never have been the problems in the Old
      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 was
      > one that was younger by a century or two than the Alexandrian, Western,
      > and probably other no-longer-extant text-traditions.

      On what basis can the Byzantine Textform be argued to be "younger" than
      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. The
      > 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.

      Without getting far into the nature of OT text criticism (since this is
      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 textual
      > 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.

      This goes beyond even the rigorous eclectics such as Kilpatrick and
      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, secondary
      > readings proliferate,

      I agree with this, and the evidence of individual MSS of all texttypes
      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) the
      > Byzantine text-type more than the earlier ones, particularly the Alexandrian.
      > But that opens up a whole new set of questions!

      Again, I would suggest that any Byzantine readings which are supposedly
      "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
    • Julian Goldberg
      The complete Hebrew Scriptures (Hebrew Bible) or TANAKH (Torah-Law, Neviim-Prophets, Ketuvim-Writings) based on the Masoretic Hebrew text with vowels and
      Message 1714 of 1714 , Feb 4, 1997
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