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Re: tc-list J. K. Elliott review of ECM

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  • 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 1 of 2 , Jan 9, 1998
      On Thu, 8 Jan 199, "James R. Adair" <jadair@...>

      >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

      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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