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Studies in the text of Acts (was: Languages for specific biblical books in TC)

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  • Perry L. Stepp
    ... In a Ph.D. seminar on Textual Criticism, we ve just finished (yesterday) working through a series of monographs, most concerned with the Western text of
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 20, 1997
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      Ken Litwak wrote:

      > Going back to D, I know the question of the text of Acts is very
      > complex, based on what readng I've done. I'd be interested in what
      > othes think the most likely "solution" to this problem might be. Since
      > trying to find Lukanisms in D seems to have not borne adequate fruit,
      > some other approach to assessing the value of the readings of D seems in
      > order but I haven't figured out a way, though I'm interested in
      > Osborne's view (I think that's the right name). Thanks.

      In a Ph.D. seminar on Textual Criticism, we've just finished (yesterday)
      working through a series of monographs, most concerned with the 'Western'
      text of Acts. My observations:

      1.) James Ropes's offering in *The Beginnings of Christianity* provides a
      very detailed (if dated) overview of all the pertinent textual material.
      His thesis--that the Western text was the product of an intentional
      rewriting of a fairly laconic earlier text (something like the text behind
      B) to fit the needs of a primitive canon--while not ultimately proven, is
      certainly interesting and suggestive. I thought Ropes's monograph was the
      best of the bunch, but I'm the one who reviewed it, so I'm biased.

      2.) Parker's *Codex Bezae: An Early Christian Manuscript and Its Text*
      provides an extremely detailed study of the physical characteristics of
      Bezae--the person who reviewed it referred to it as "an autopsy." The
      detail is mind-numbing, the argument is difficult to follow, and the
      reconstruction of the history of D seems to be a reach, at times.

      3.) Epp's *Theological Tendency* provides a solid foundation for the later
      work of Ehrman, Parsons, et. al. This is a terribly valuable work,
      although Epp's not always consistent with his methodology.

      4.) Wilcox's *Semitisms of Acts* doesn't seem to lead anywhere: Daryl
      Schmidt has published an article--I think in NT Studies--on the
      difficulties of attempting to categorize Semitisms, Septuagintalisms, etc.
      The article focuses on Revelation, as I recall, but I think he's published
      a similar paper on Acts. Or possibly he delivered it at a meeting--I can't
      recall.

      5.) Strange's *The Problem of the Text of Acts*, which I haven't
      completely digested yet, offers a series of fascinating suggestions for how
      the two texts originated. I'm not as taken with his central thesis--that
      both texts came from Luke, published posthumously (spelling?) by his
      friends. Luke wrote a history of the early Church, circulated it privately
      to a small group of friends, then annotated one copy (via marginal notes,
      etc.) according to his friends' suggestions. When he died, both copies
      ended up in print: the pre-Western text includes the marginal
      notes/comments, the pre-Alexandrian text doesn't.

      Strange follows many of the same ideas as Harry Gamble (*Books and Readers
      in the Early Church*), and makes many fascinating suggestions that are
      tangential to his thesis. I need to spend some time with this book.

      6.) A. Klijn suggests that the pre-Western text was not recensional, it is
      rather a gathering of traditional material coming from certain communities
      in the Church. It and the pre-Alexandrian texts of Acts arose from
      different milieu, possibly Jewish vs. Gentile or urban vs. rural.

      It was an interesting session.

      PLStepp

      ************************************************************
      Pastor, DeSoto Christian Church, DeSoto TX
      Ph.D. candidate in New Testament, Baylor University

      "A system of morality which is based on relative
      emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar
      conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing
      true."
      Phaedo 69b
      ************************************************************
    • Matthew Johnson
      ... [snipped] ... [snipped] ... I am glad to see so many members of this list agree with me that this is a good book. My praise for this book might have
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 30, 1997
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        On Sun, 20 Apr 1997, Perry L. Stepp wrote:

        > Ken Litwak wrote:
        >
        > > Going back to D, I know the question of the text of Acts is very
        [snipped]
        >
        > In a Ph.D. seminar on Textual Criticism, we've just finished (yesterday)
        > working through a series of monographs, most concerned with the 'Western'
        > text of Acts. My observations:
        >
        [snipped]
        >
        > 2.) Parker's *Codex Bezae: An Early Christian Manuscript and Its Text*
        > provides an extremely detailed study of the physical characteristics of
        > Bezae--the person who reviewed it referred to it as "an autopsy." The
        > detail is mind-numbing, the argument is difficult to follow, and the
        > reconstruction of the history of D seems to be a reach, at times.

        I am glad to see so many members of this list agree with me that this
        is a good book. My praise for this book might have sounded a bit
        exaggerated, but I praise it so highly because what you refer to as
        "mind-numbing detail", I consider the bare minimum to properly
        evaluate the quality of the copying work.

        Even this might sound exaggerated, and of course, this level
        of detail is not possible with many of the much smaller fragmentary
        manuscripts. But Parker's example remains an ideal even in those
        cases, as did Colwell's work.

        >
        > 3.) Epp's *Theological Tendency* provides a solid foundation for the later
        > work of Ehrman, Parsons, et. al. This is a terribly valuable work,
        > although Epp's not always consistent with his methodology.

        Parker has the same complaint about Epp's work, and offers some
        promising corrections. But even Parker finds much useful in
        Epp's work.
        >

        Matthew Johnson
        Waiting for the blessed hope and the appearance of the glory of our
        great God and Saviour Jesus Christ (Ti 2:13).

        PS: Is anybody on this list working on a similarly detailed work on
        minuscule 1739?
      • Robert B. Waltz
        On Wed, 30 Apr 1997, Matthew Johnson wrote, in part: [I m going to ignore the question of the relationship between D and d, even though
        Message 3 of 3 , May 1 8:21 AM
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          On Wed, 30 Apr 1997, Matthew Johnson <mejohnsn@...> wrote, in part:

          [I'm going to ignore the question of the relationship between D and d,
          even though it seems obvious to me that the two are closely related --
          perhaps not translated from each other, but clearly assimilated --
          to get to the question I know more about.]

          >PS: Is anybody on this list working on a similarly detailed work on
          >minuscule 1739?

          What are you hoping for? We obviously can't compare its Greek and
          Latin sides. :-)

          But are you interested in a study of 1739, or of 1739 and its relatives?
          Birdsall's dissertation was a fairly comprehensive look at 1739, 0121,
          6, 424**, and 1908 in Paul. You should also study Zuntz on 1739.

          Gamble had something to say about it in Romans, but I don't agree
          with his conclusions (he completely ignored the relatives of 1739,
          which to my mind invalidates his conclusions).

          French scholars (Duplacy, Amphoux) have done extensive work on the
          Catholic Epistles, including studying Family 1739.

          The groups who are working on the text of Acts have also reached
          some conclusions, but I don't know what they are except that they
          have established the existence of a Family 1739 there also.

          Finally, I have been working on 1739, off and on, for about five
          years now. At the moment I amlooking at 1739's closest relatives in
          Paul (0243 and 1881, neither of which was known to Birdsall).
          It will be a while before I get all this material into shape, but
          you can see an outline of the information at my web site (URL
          below). I won't claim it's all you'll want, but it's what I could
          put together in a few hours. Look in the section on the minuscules,
          then go to the entry on 1739 and family 1739.

          -*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

          Robert B. Waltz
          waltzmn@...

          Want more loudmouthed opinions about textual criticism?
          Try my web page: http://www.skypoint.com/~waltzmn
          (A site inspired by the Encyclopedia of NT Textual Criticism)
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