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tc-list Text-Type of Old Syriac

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  • Douglas F. Salmon
    I am concerned by a statement I recently read in Wikenhauser s, New Testament Introduction (ET, 1958) : In recent times, however, competent textual critics
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 2, 1998
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      I am concerned by a statement I recently read in Wikenhauser's, New
      Testament Introduction (ET, 1958) :

      "In recent times, however, competent textual critics (Burkitt, Lake,
      Kenyon, and others) have insisted that the Old Syriac Gospel text does not
      belong to the Western form" (p. 142).

      This is contrary to the usual discussions of the Western witnesses I am
      familiar with, e.g. most recently Eldon J. Epp listed the Old Syriac
      version as a witness in his article on "Western Text" in the Anchor Bible
      Dictionary. My question to the list is: Are there scholars today who
      _DON'T_ feel that the Old Syriac is a witness to the Western text-type.

      Doug Salmon
      dfsalmon@...
    • Robert B. Waltz
      ... Most of the statements I ve seen on this subject have in fact been old. (So, for instance, Baarda s essay in Ehrman & Holmes, _The Text of the New
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 2, 1998
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        On Mon, 2 Mar 1998, "Douglas F. Salmon" <dfsalmon@...> wrote:

        >I am concerned by a statement I recently read in Wikenhauser's, New
        >Testament Introduction (ET, 1958) :
        >
        >"In recent times, however, competent textual critics (Burkitt, Lake,
        >Kenyon, and others) have insisted that the Old Syriac Gospel text does not
        >belong to the Western form" (p. 142).
        >
        >This is contrary to the usual discussions of the Western witnesses I am
        >familiar with, e.g. most recently Eldon J. Epp listed the Old Syriac
        >version as a witness in his article on "Western Text" in the Anchor Bible
        >Dictionary. My question to the list is: Are there scholars today who
        >_DON'T_ feel that the Old Syriac is a witness to the Western text-type.

        Most of the statements I've seen on this subject have in fact been old.
        (So, for instance, Baarda's essay in Ehrman & Holmes, _The Text of the
        New Testament in Contemporary Research_, does not address the question.)

        But I'm going to be aggressive and ask, How would one *know*?

        The Old Syriac certainly has readings characteristic of the "Western"
        text. It also has readings *not* associated with that text -- e.g.
        the omission of the ending of Mark in the Sinai manuscript.

        So before one can answer the question, one must offer a definition
        of the "Western" text. The text of D? The text of the old latins?
        _Which_ old latins? Or is it the consensus of the above?

        And what is a text-type anyway? And how does one determine if a
        version belongs to it?

        This is not a case of being obtuse. Various people on the list have
        different definitions of a text-type -- or at least have different
        feelings about what is and is not a text-type. So until we know
        how *you* define the term, we can't give an answer.

        Speaking solely for myself, I suspect the Old Syriac does belong to
        a distinct text-type. However, this is based on sketchy information
        and on analogies to Paul and the Catholics. I do not consider
        this an established conclusion. Particularly since I don't read
        Syriac. :-)

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

        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)
      • Roderic L. Mullen
        Burkitt s position, in his edition of the Curetonian Syriac Ms of the Gospels (one of the two Old Syriac manuscripts), was that it is an inconsistent witness
        Message 3 of 4 , Mar 2, 1998
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          Burkitt's position, in his edition of the Curetonian Syriac Ms of the
          Gospels (one of the two Old Syriac manuscripts), was that it is an
          inconsistent witness to the Western text form. -Rod Mullen

          At 08:22 AM 3/2/98 -0700, you wrote:
          >I am concerned by a statement I recently read in Wikenhauser's, New
          >Testament Introduction (ET, 1958) :
          >
          >"In recent times, however, competent textual critics (Burkitt, Lake,
          >Kenyon, and others) have insisted that the Old Syriac Gospel text does not
          >belong to the Western form" (p. 142).
          >
          >This is contrary to the usual discussions of the Western witnesses I am
          >familiar with, e.g. most recently Eldon J. Epp listed the Old Syriac
          >version as a witness in his article on "Western Text" in the Anchor Bible
          >Dictionary. My question to the list is: Are there scholars today who
          >_DON'T_ feel that the Old Syriac is a witness to the Western text-type.
          >
          >Doug Salmon
          >dfsalmon@...
          >
        • William L. Petersen
          ... The question is not a simple one. It would be best to go back and see to what from Burkitt, Lake and Kenyon, Wikenhauser is referring. One problem is (as
          Message 4 of 4 , Mar 3, 1998
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            Doug Salmon wrote:

            >I am concerned by a statement I recently read in Wikenhauser's, New
            >Testament Introduction (ET, 1958) :
            >
            >"In recent times, however, competent textual critics (Burkitt, Lake,
            >Kenyon, and others) have insisted that the Old Syriac Gospel text does not
            >belong to the Western form" (p. 142).
            >
            >This is contrary to the usual discussions of the Western witnesses I am
            >familiar with, e.g. most recently Eldon J. Epp listed the Old Syriac
            >version as a witness in his article on "Western Text" in the Anchor Bible
            >Dictionary. My question to the list is: Are there scholars today who
            >_DON'T_ feel that the Old Syriac is a witness to the Western text-type.
            >
            >Doug Salmon
            >dfsalmon@...

            The question is not a simple one. It would be best to go back and see to
            what from Burkitt, Lake and Kenyon, Wikenhauser is referring.

            One problem is (as Bob Waltz pointed out) that there is no definition as to
            what the "Western Text" is. Is it Bezae? Is it the Vetus Latina? Is it
            the Vetus Syra itself? This lack of a definition makes any "tight"
            categorization of the Vetus Syra difficult.

            A second problem is: even if one had such a definition ("the Western Text
            = Codex Bezae"), then what would it take to "be" Western? 90% agreement?
            50% agreement? And agreement in what? Variants? Harmonizations? All
            readings?

            A third problem is: what part of the gospels are you talking about?
            Certain pericopes are "more" in agreement with Bezae (if that is the
            standard of reference), and others are less.


            If one takes (as I do) agreements among at least two of the following (but
            the more the better) as a "marker" (artificial designator of; the point at
            which I deem something worthy of a closer look) for the Western text--

            -non-Alexandrian, non-Byzantine,
            -deviating readings in Codex Bezae,
            -deviating readings in the Vetus Latina,
            -deviating readings in the Vetus Syra,
            -deviating early Patristic readings (pre-250 or so),
            -deviating readings from early apocryphal works (also roughly pre-250), and
            -deviating readings in Diatessaronic witnesses

            --then the Vetus Syra is obviously, by definition, "Western," for it has
            significant agreements with all of these witnesses.

            --Petersen, Penn State University,
            Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies.
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