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tc-list J. K. Elliott review of ECM

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  • James R. Adair
    J. K. Elliott has written a review of the _Novum Testamentum Graecum Editio Critica Maior_, vol. IV, installment 1: _James_, edited by Barbara Aland, Kurt
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 8, 1998
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      J. K. Elliott has written a review of the _Novum Testamentum Graecum
      Editio Critica Maior_, vol. IV, installment 1: _James_, edited by Barbara
      Aland, Kurt Aland, Klaus Wachtel, and Gerd Mink, the first review to
      appear in TC 3 (1998). For those who don't know, Elliott is the leading
      proponent of the school of New Testament textual criticism known variously
      as rigorous or thoroughgoing eclecticism, so his comments on the volume
      (produced by reasoned eclectics) should provoke some comment on this list.

      At a meeting of the New Testament Textual Criticism section of the Society
      of Biblical Literature at the recent annual meeting in San Francisco, this
      critical edition of James was officially presented by the editors, and
      several critiques/responses to the volume were offered. Both the
      presentations by the editors and the critiques offered in response to the
      volume will appear shortly in TC 3.

      As always, members of this list, and others interested in textual
      criticism, are invited to submit articles to me for possible inclusion in
      TC.

      Jimmy Adair
      General Editor of TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism
      -------------------> http://purl.org/TC <--------------------
    • Robert B. Waltz
      On Thu, 8 Jan 199, James R. Adair ... A good prediction. :-) I m going to comment on some of Elliot s main points. 1.
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 9, 1998
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        On Thu, 8 Jan 199, "James R. Adair" <jadair@...>
        wrote:

        >J. K. Elliott has written a review of the _Novum Testamentum Graecum
        >Editio Critica Maior_, vol. IV, installment 1: _James_, edited by Barbara
        >Aland, Kurt Aland, Klaus Wachtel, and Gerd Mink, the first review to
        >appear in TC 3 (1998). For those who don't know, Elliott is the leading
        >proponent of the school of New Testament textual criticism known variously
        >as rigorous or thoroughgoing eclecticism, so his comments on the volume
        >(produced by reasoned eclectics) should provoke some comment on this list.

        A good prediction. :-)

        I'm going to comment on some of Elliot's main points.

        1. Elliot observes that there is no introduction to explain the
        principles on which the text was determined. This is a fair criticism,
        although the nature of the text and its editors allow us to make a
        fair guess.

        It should be remembered, though, that this is only the first volume.
        One may hope we will see a better introduction once the volumes on
        the Catholic Epistles are finished.

        2. Elliot also observes that this supposedly new text is in fact
        almost identical to the UBS/GNT/NA text. This, again, is a fair
        criticism; for a text that is allegedly of high value, I would
        like to see more differences from UBS. (At least the changes are
        reasonable; I think ECM is correct in James 2:3, and a good case
        can be made for the reading in 1:22.)

        On the other hand, how important is the *text* of ECM? Does anyone
        still consult the text of Tishchendorf or von Soden? For a volume
        that is primarily a collection of variants, a critical text almost
        does more harm than good; it can bias the reader. I think the IGNTP
        policy of printing a non-critical text has merit (though I might
        be tempted to print the reading found in the majority of manuscripts
        cited, so as to reduce the size of the apparatus).

        I am more concerned that Elliot goes off on a "tangent" to criticise
        the letter ratings ({A}, {B}, {C}, {D}) used in the UBS edition. While
        I agree with his thesis that these are not actual indicators of the
        certainty of the text (in at least one case -- Jude 1 -- I personally
        have adopted a reading the UBS committee rated {A}), they *are* useful
        as an insight into the minds of the committee. This can be helpful
        to us in making our own critical decisions. In any case, how is the
        apparatus of UBS4 relevant to the ECM?

        At the same time, Elliot praises the elimination of the square brackets
        around doubtful readings. With this I generally agree; I think the
        brackets are a bad way to indicate doubt. However, I think something
        should be done to indicate where the editors think a variant has
        equal or significant value. WH did this in the margin; ECM marks
        such readings with a bullet. Despite what Elliot seems to think,
        I consider this a valuable notation. (In fact, in my own work I go
        even farther: One bullet indicates a variant with a significant
        likelihood of being original; two bullets indicates a reading where
        text and margin have effectively equal value.)

        3. At no point does Elliot tell us anything about the apparatus
        of the edition. His entire attention is devoted to the text. But
        the text is the *least* important part of this edition to scholars.
        What I want to know is, How useful is the apparatus? What manuscripts
        are cited? What versions? What fathers, and with how much detail?
        How easy is it to use the apparatus?

        Sigh... Gripe mode off. :-)

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

        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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