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Re: Future subjunctive

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  • Maurice Robinson
    ... If the horse isn t already dead *:-) I of course would be pleased to move on to other topics as well. ... So long as the copying and cross-correction were
    Message 1 of 1714 , Feb 3, 1996
      On Sat, 3 Feb 1996, James R. Adair wrote:

      > I'm going to respond to a couple of points, then I plan to let the topic
      > rest for now. I think perhaps we've ridden this particular horse far enough!

      If the horse isn't already dead *:-) I of course would be pleased to
      move on to other topics as well.

      > I have a problem with your historical conclusion here. Why should we
      > believe that continuous copying and correcting of mss from different
      > locales would restore the text to a state approximating its original form?

      So long as the copying and cross-correction were being performed in
      relatively distinct areas and situations without an imposed control, one
      would expect nothing more to arise than the various "local texts".
      Transmissionally, the situation would continue to devolve more and more
      away from the autograph in such a process, and this fits in quite well
      with the "uncontrolled popular text of the second century" concept of
      Colwell, as well as with the "local text" theory of Streeter.

      The Old Latin MSS would provide the best analogy, since they tended more
      and more toward chaos as their transmissional history progressed.

      Once either controls were imposed (for which I see no historical
      evidence) or when increased communication became possible in a
      church-state relationship after Constantine, it would be natural that MSS
      which differed from one another would be compared with one another during
      the copying process and cross-correction would occur. By no "normal"
      means of transmission in such a model would any of the local texts be
      able to gain the ascendancy, but rather all competing local texts would
      slowly "mellow out" to a common pre-existing text which permeated the
      bulk of the tradition. Thus, without formal controls, a process would
      occur which would inevitably result in the elimination of local text
      differences and which would tend back to the common text which originally
      had existed.

      > By the same rationale, one could argue that as a result of the theological
      > disputes from Nicea to Chalcedon, Constantinople, and beyond the church
      > was able to reconstruct and restore the doctrinal system of the early
      > church.

      This analogy breaks down since there was definite forward progress in
      doctrinal theology which occurred at each of these historical points, and
      one cannot go backward from a known historical innovation to thereby
      reconstruct previous theology. On the other hand, when scholars wanted
      to restore Jerome's original Vulgate text, they did go backward,
      systematically eliminating all the known alterations and corruptions
      which occurred during the various revision periods (these of course were
      historically known revisions), and I think that would reflect a closer
      analogy to the situation, except that there was no systematic project to
      reconstruct the autograph text during the era of Byzantine MS transmission.

      > I for one don't believe that is what happened.

      Nor does anyone from the eclectic school *:-) Obviously, presuppositions
      rather than history or methodology causes the dichotomy between the
      differing approaches and their conclusions. Were I to grant the eclectic
      presuppositions, I would hold precisely the view you do (which in fact is
      what I once held before I began detailed study into the situation).

      > just because Jerome was able to produce a
      > single, consistent text, does that mean that it reflected the original
      > readings, either Latin or Greek? I don't think so.

      Nor do I. A revision of the text during the transmissional period by a
      single person or even by a committee would at best produce only a useful
      and adequate version of the text. Even though most of that text would
      reflect the autograph, the chances of it fully equaling the autograph
      are slim. On the other hand, the "process" view of text-restoration done
      apart from formal control and formal revision would stand a far better
      likelihood of reverting back to the autograph, and this is what I have
      been maintaining in the discussion. There is nothing implausible about
      such a scenario.

      > have transpired in the transmission of the text. Thus, I don't think any
      > text-type, Byzantine or Alexandrian, can be established as preferable on a
      > historical basis. I realize that this position calls into question to
      > some extent the value of external evidence in evaluating textual variants.

      One of the strongest assertions Kenneth Clark made to me was that the
      original text HAD to be located in one specific texttype. He did not know
      which one, of course, but he was dead certain that this had to be the
      case. Otherwise (as he noted), we would have to believe that the
      transmission of the text was like the Isis-Osiris legend, in which the
      original text was chopped into numerous pieces and scattered to the winds,
      and we -- like lamenting Isis -- must attempt to pick the pieces out one
      by one from the various MS repositories they now inhabit.

      His further complaint was that, given any critical edition of the text,
      when compared with any select group of known MSS, one will soon discover
      that what the critical editors are attempting to pass off as the autograph
      is in fact a text which is not found in any single MS or texttype (even as
      a reconstructed entity). Indeed, one cannot often find even ten verses in
      a row in the current critical editions which read that way in any known
      MS. (of course, an edition of the Byzantine text can easily demonstrate
      numerous sequential verses without variation in almost all MSS comprising
      that texttype).

      Clark admitted that he and Colwell had considered the Alexandrian text to
      be the texttype closest to the autograph; however, Clark changed his
      opinion on that score after he and Colwell abandoned as hopeless their
      project to reconstruct the Alexandrian texttype in a planned edition.
      Clark still maintained that the original text must be localized in a
      single texttype, and admitted that the Byzantine was the only real
      remaining candidate (draw your own conclusions from that). One of the
      last things Clark told me before his death was that he would like to have
      another lifetime to reconstruct his entire textual theory, and that his
      inclinations toward the authenticity of the text which in fact was that
      traditionally perpetuated would be able to be well supported. Basically
      he told me he was far too old for that (he died shortly thereafter), but
      encouraged me to pursue that goal (which I mention merely so you can see
      some of where I am coming from text-critically).

      > In light of my earlier comments, I believe that what you suggest is exactly
      > what must be done: each reading must be evaluated one by one, with more
      > emphasis placed on internal than on external evidence.

      I will concur with this, but with the reminder that eclectic methodology
      which proceeds without a well-defined history of transmission of the text
      will prove ultimately unfruitful and unsupported. If apart from such a
      transmissional history I could argue favorably for every single Byzantine
      reading (as mentioned previously), this would not be anywhere near as
      convincing as having first a solid transmissional history as the working
      hypothesis on which to base conclusions.

      > readings in one witness or tradition will need to be compared to other
      > readings in that witness/tradition to see if any patterns emerge that
      > would indicate a theological or transcriptional Tendenz.

      Yoder's work on Codex Bezae in Acts is a good model of that approach. I
      think it valid when dealing with single MSS or with families and minor
      textual grouping, but I have serious doubts as to whether it can be
      applied on the texttype level, even to the Alexandrian text. As for the
      autograph text (whatever it might be), it obviously from the point of
      composition had its own "tendency" as well -- one which cannot be blamed
      on copyists or revisers.

      > However, no
      > appeal should be made to the "superiority" of one family of mss over
      > another, since this appeal just begs the text-critical question.

      No a priori assumption of superiority should be made; only a conclusion
      of such after a careful study of all the data. Modern eclecticism still
      errs greatly in their presupposition of what comprises the "best" MSS,
      and from there the "best text" etc. What is dearly needed for almost all
      textual scholars is to divest themselves of all such presuppositions
      which they adopted axiomatically, and begin to evaluate the evidence
      wholly afresh, and thereby to construct a new and different methodology
      which will do more than simply repeat the same slogans and canons of
      criticism.


      =========================================================================
      Maurice A. Robinson, Ph.D.
      Associate Professor of Greek and New Testament
      Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
      Wake Forest, North Carolina
      <mrobinsn@...>
      =========================================================================
    • 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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