## Re: number of NT MSS.

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• ... 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,
>etc.
>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
clarification.

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
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)
• 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

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.

>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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