Re: Future subjunctive
- On Sat, 3 Feb 1996, Carlton Winbery wrote:
> I would add that on internal groundsI continue to differ, as previously, but have no need to rehash my
> the explanation of the readings at I Cor. 13:3 is KAUXHSWMAI then
> KAUQHSWMAI then KAUQHSOMAI. When you consider intrinsic evidence this is
> most likely. When you consider transcriptional probilities this is more
reasons further on those points.
> The argument that the Byzantine scribes would not have allowedAgain, I think not. The issue is what scribes did. You are correct in
> the future subjunctive to stand had they known other mss that had either of
> the other readings begs the question.
that "What scribes did was copy mss." Most of them could care less about
what the rest of the MSS in the world read; they were interested only in
their own copy, and in making it conform as closely as possible to their
exemplars. That is why the copies scribes made were regularly read by an
outside proofreader (diorthwths), as well as by the scribe himself/herself.
The matter comes to this: if scribe A made an error and changed -X- to
-Q-, producing a questionable reading of "burnt", as well as a
grammatically questionable "future subjunctive" (or whatever you wish to
call it), this is something that a corrector would spot, even without
comparing it with an exemplar. The appearance of the "future subjunctive"
alone would cause the corrector to instantly reach for the exemplar to
see if it stood so there. And if it did, there likely would be a check
against another exemplar. Had the reading been perfectly sensible, like
KAUXHSWMAI, not an eyebrow would have been raised.
But look at it from the wider perspective. This was but one scribe in
one situation, supposedly creating the erroneous reading. Now this event
has to be repeated identically in numerous scattered monasteries and
churches, with little or no correction ever being made back to the easier
and more sensible original KAUXHSWMAI (contrary to the supposed tendency
of most scribes), and as a final result this erroneous reading ends up
permeating the entire Byzantine tradition, comprising 95%+ of all the MSS!
This whole scenario boggles the imagination and probably would be
dismissed by most historians as pure fiction. Add to this the very early
dissemination of the "erroneous" Byzantine reading in the entire Old Latin
tradition, as well as in Latin fathers, and the fiction becomes almost a
fable (the Greek Ante-Nicene fathers are basically silent on this passage;
Chrysostom of course quotes the Byzantine reading).
> To assume that they would not have let stand this reading for so long (if aThe appeal is made from the basis of a transmissional history, with
> reasonable argument) speaks also against such a reading being original. I
> think the effort to argue for the originality of the future subjunctive is
> made primarily on the assumption that the Byzantine text more closely
> represents the original text.
analysis of alternative historical scenarios, such as examined above with
regard to the hypothesis that KAUXHSWMAI might be original. My own decision
to advocate Byzantine-priority follows a proper methodology, and
certainly is not based upon mere a priori assumption that the Byzantine
Textform is more likely original. That might be a conclusion drawn from
the bulk of the evidence, coupled with a historical reconstruction of
transmission, but it is not by any means axiomatic.
Would modern eclectics (such as yourself) argue so vociferously for what
plainly seems to be an "easier" reading here had KAUXHSWMAI in fact been
the Byzantine and KAUQHSWMAI the Alexandrian readings? I think not,
since Metzger flip-flops continuously on this score in his Textual
Commentary. There is just as much "primary assumption" made by the
eclectics in favor of Alexandrian witness (Aleph/B) and early papyri
(when convenient) as you allege toward the Byzantine-priority position.
If the modern eclectics would at least prepare a reasonable model for
historical transmission which would explain the rise of all the texttypes
from the original text they hypothesize in their critical editions, and
also explain the rise and utter dominance of the traditional Byzantine
Textform within a solid historical framework, a great deal of good would
be accomplished. The problem is that they cannot so do, given the basic
presuppositions of eclectic methodology. So they remain in a text-critical
quagmire, uncertain of what the original text was and unable to explain
how it developed during transmissional history into all the other forms
now known to exist (in this paragraph I am merely paraphrasing Epp from
his "Requiem for a Discipline" and "Twentieth-Century Interlude" articles
in JBL, so please do not think this is merely a prejudiced Byzantine
opinion -- I would like to make Eldon J. Epp happy *:-).
Maurice A. Robinson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Greek and New Testament
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina
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