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Re: number of NT MSS.

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  • Robert B. Waltz
    ... I m not the one to answer this, but I must ask for a point of clarification. Are you asking for the *actual* number of manuscripts, or the *nominal*
    Message 1 of 32 , Sep 8, 1997
      On Mon, 8 Sep 1997, "Ronald L. Minton" <rminton@...> wrote:

      >I am trying to determine the number of extant NT mss.
      >Aland TEXT sometimes (as I do) uses 5400 as a round number. I understand
      >why his p. 83 totals only 4102; there are some mss. that are Gospels/Paul,
      >Aland TEXT, p. 81 indicates 5197
      >Aland TEXT, p. 82 indicates 5269, but he may be omitting some combinations
      >which are really only one mss. or some others I am unaware of.
      >I do not have it readily available, but I have read that in 1994, Aland
      >_Kurzgefasste Liste der grieschen Handschriften des Neuen
      >Testaments_, gives a total of 5656. Is this correct and is it accurate?
      >Thanks for any help anyone can offer.

      I'm not the one to answer this, but I must ask for a point of

      Are you asking for the *actual* number of manuscripts, or the
      *nominal* number? The two aren't the same.

      For example, the uncials 070, 0110, 0124, 0178, 0179, 0180, 0190,
      0191, 0193, 0202 are all (regarded as) one manuscript, but they
      have separate numbers. This works both ways: For a while 0121
      was applied to two different manuscripts (one of them now merged
      with 0243). And a series of ostraca are merged under one number.

      And does one count the harmony 0212 as a manuscript?

      Before one can say how many manuscripts there are, one must
      determine the meaning of the phrase "how many manuscripts." :-)

      And, of course, the number is constantly changing.

      If it were me, though, I'd go with the number in the _Kurzgefasste
      Liste_. It is, if nothing else, the most current.


      Robert B. Waltz

      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)
    • Maurice Robinson
      I will not be replying in detail to the diatribe regarding my own position (even though I could provide answers, which, if not persuasive to all concerned,
      Message 32 of 32 , Sep 14, 1997
        I will not be replying in detail to the diatribe regarding my own position
        (even though I could provide answers, which, if not persuasive to all
        concerned, would at least reflect a reasonable application of praxis
        within the "normal" parameters of NT textual criticism in a manner which
        Evensen's non-logical faith-position does not attempt to do).

        My non-reply comes about for various reasons, some of which should sound
        quite familiar to the regular readers of the tc-list:

        (a) I was requested to provide a one-word comment rather than discuss the
        issues. I did precisely that.

        (b) "It would take me more than a month of research to prepare an adequate
        response", and I certainly would not want to be speaking off the top of my
        head, or I might make other typos like leaving the -um off "argumentum"
        (the hyphens were there to keep the Latin terms together).

        (c) "We textual scholars have better things to do with our time".

        (d) I leave for my sabbatical in Muenster next Wednesday and will be
        occupied with more pressing and significant matters of research beyond
        rehashing points of my theory to those who really do not care an iota
        about such; also my current occupation with packing luggage for such an
        extended stay precludes much more time to be spent on the computer.

        Yet for the record, I happen to _agree_ with Petersen on the following
        items (written to Waltz), even if Petersen might not think I do:

        >The textual critic should have *no* personal investment in whether the
        >"original" is "veil" or "power" in I Cor. 11:10; nor should the textual
        >critic care (from a personal or theological point of view) whether the
        >"Great Commission" is part of the original text of Matthew or not.
        > .......................
        >A textual critic, however, begins with "I don't know what is going on;
        >let me assemble the evidence and see if it points in a direction; it
        >may, or it may not." And if the evidence points in a particular
        >direction, that direction should have *no* relevance for the critic's
        >life (otherwise he/she will be tempted to shape the evidence to fit
        >his/her beliefs).

        Those who at least attempt to understand my theory of Byzantine-priority
        will also realize that the "personal faith" issue has NO bearing on which
        text I support (and I freely acknowledged that my position originally was
        within the "reasoned eclectic" model, which similarly was unrelated
        text-critically to my own personal faith).

        In the same manner, the theory regarding Byzantine-priority and a history
        of transmission model was first developed before engaging in praxis with
        the data of the variant units and modifying the theory whenever the data
        required. There was _no_ "patent cutting of the evidence to fit
        pre-conceived theories of textual transmission", whether one prefers to
        think so or not.

        It is true that, once the theory became established and was set into
        place, the evaluation of data did take place within the framework and
        perspective of that theory; but the theory itself did not depend on a
        preliminary "cutting of the evidence".

        I, along with many of the eclectic critics, happen _not_ to think that a
        versional or patristic reading standing alone without Greek MS support is
        likely to be original. This is no reason for objection regarding bias in
        methodology, but the method instead reflects a reasonable conclusion held
        by many different textual theorists and practitioners.

        So even if one considers "veil" to have been in the actual main text of
        some now non-extant Greek MS which found its way into the main text of a
        number of Latin MSS, this still does not overturn the point that no known
        Greek MS extant today (or even mentioned patristically) seems ever to have
        had such a reading in its main text. Similarly, there is no reason why a
        true marginal gloss in a now-lost Greek MS may have been the source of the
        reading in the Latin copies.

        The argumentum-ex-silentio (correct this time, but still with my favored
        misplaced hyphens) is just as severe regarding the speculation that one,
        some, or many Greek MSS "must" have had such a reading for it to have
        spread among the Latins, when in fact the alteration may have been made
        directly into the first Latin copy bearing it by a scribe who asked
        someone "what is this _exousia_ supposed to mean?".

        Merely because one does not choose to accept certain degrees of evidence
        within his own approach to NT textual criticism does not invalidate the
        method. (Seems like some time ago the discussion went this very direction
        in regard to conjectural emendation, which many of us similarly reject due
        to the amount of evidence preserved to us).

        I will acknowledge that my response regarding Helge's (admittedly)
        non-scientific, non-logical views regarding the text are strong, but
        "absurd", "ridiculous" and "non-sensical" are correct terms to use when
        describing non-logical positions. ("Crock" I will grant may be
        pejorative, though any offense taken should be from Helge, who has not
        complained either publicly or privately to me about that post; if so, I
        will recant).

        For those who have not seen the type of language which normally comes from
        the TR/KJV-only crowd, my comments come out as tame indeed, especially
        regarding an illogical, absurdist "faith-based" position claiming some
        affinity with legitimate textual criticism. Such a position I utterly
        reject. Helge, to his credit, does _not_ write like a Waite, a Riplinger,
        or a Ruckman (names which to those in normal text-critical circles are
        unknown), and this at least is to the good; if he wrote like them, I would
        wager not one person on this list would bother replying.

        Petersen further asks:

        >Should I note this vocabulary, and use it the next time I hear the
        >Byzantine text being projected back into the early centuries, *without
        >any manuscript, versional, or patristic support*?

        Feel free, since it seems this objection previously was stated fairly
        strongly, but without the same words (which perhaps you wanted to say in
        the first place). My answers will remain the same in any case.

        One point of final agreement:

        >I am a very dumb man, and--esp. on this list--have never been sure who is
        >a textual critics and who is not.

        I confess I fit the first part of that statement quite well, and am in
        agreement with the second part.

        >against Evensen: "With absolutely NO evidence regarding the supposed
        >'thousands of MSS' which perished"; but is this not the same argument I
        >used against Robinson, pointing out the empirical dearth of evidence for
        >the Byzantine text before the fourth century?

        As stated in my one word response: NOT. But as promised at the beginning
        of this post, I am not going to bother with the detailed response for the
        reasons stated.

        Maurice A. Robinson, Ph.D. Professor of Greek and New Testament
        Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Wake Forest, North Carolina
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