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tc-list Re: Textual Harmonies between Text Types

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  • Nelson D. Roth
    Recently I viewed a series of debates which dealt with, among other issues, the degree of textual harmony that exists between the recognized text types. One
    Message 1 of 8 , Aug 11, 1998
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      Recently I viewed a series of debates which dealt with, among other issues,
      the degree of textual harmony that exists between the recognized text types.
      One participant mentioned that it had been documented, by Dr. Daniel B.
      Wallace, of Dallas Theological Seminary, that the textual harmony between the
      Western, Byzantine, Alexandrian, etc. types was as high as 98%.
      I've read various attempts to provide reasonable estimates of the harmony that
      exists. This is my first exposure to a reference of textual harmony so high.
      Can anyone provide additonal information regarding this figure.

      Blessings,

      Nelson Roth, Dayton, TN, USA
    • Robert B. Waltz
      ... Oh, joy. I get to play the mathematical curmudgeon again. :-( The problem here is almost certainly with definitions. What is textual harmony ? I can see
      Message 2 of 8 , Aug 11, 1998
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        On Tue, 11 Aug 1998, "Nelson D. Roth" <nroth@...> wrote:

        >Recently I viewed a series of debates which dealt with, among other issues,
        >the degree of textual harmony that exists between the recognized text types.
        >One participant mentioned that it had been documented, by Dr. Daniel B.
        >Wallace, of Dallas Theological Seminary, that the textual harmony between the
        >Western, Byzantine, Alexandrian, etc. types was as high as 98%.
        >I've read various attempts to provide reasonable estimates of the harmony that
        >exists. This is my first exposure to a reference of textual harmony so high.
        >Can anyone provide additonal information regarding this figure.

        Oh, joy. I get to play the mathematical curmudgeon again. :-(

        The problem here is almost certainly with definitions. What is
        "textual harmony"?

        I can see several ways of defining this term. One is to start with
        texts of the three types, determined by some method, and compare
        them word by word.

        I'll give an example. Take Galatians 1:1-3. Let us arbitrarily
        define "The Byzantine Text" as the reading of K, "The Western
        Text" as the reading of D, "The Alexandrian Text" as the
        reading of Aleph, and "The Proto-Alexandrian (P46/B) Text"
        as the reading of B.

        I'll use the Munster NT auf Papyrus volume for my evidence,
        since I understand this to include all non-orthographic variants.

        Galatians 1 contains 20 words. There are no variations.

        Galatians 2 contains 10 words. There are no variations.

        Galatians 3 contains 12 words. There is one variation:
        Aleph has HMWN KAI KURIOU; B, D, and K have KAI KURIOI HMWN.

        Thus we have 42 words. The proto-Alexandrian, Byzantine, and Western
        texts agree on all of these, or 100% of the time.

        The Alexandrian text agrees on 41 of 42 words, so it agrees
        with the others 98% of the time (97.6%, to be exact).

        Using this method, if one speaks only of text-TYPES, a 98%
        agreement rate seems possible. Note that text-types, which
        are composite, will present many fewer variants than the
        manuscripts which compose those types. (BTW -- no, I did
        *not* cook this example. It's just that I happened to have
        the data from that particular page of the NT auf Papyrus
        before me, so I used it - and lo and behold the numbers
        worked out.)

        Note that this is not to defend this method. But it is a method. :-)

        Scholars who offer a lower figure for the agreement rate are probably
        basing their results on *places at which variation actually occurs,*
        or, better yet, on places where variations occur which are supported
        by at least two significant manuscripts. This sort of calculation
        can lead to much lower rates of agreement -- perhaps as low as 20-30%
        agreement between the Alexandrian and "Western" texts.

        To speak of "the degree of textual harmony" without defining the
        term is meaningless. The number requires a context. (And, frankly,
        this is an area where textual critics have been incredibly lax.)

        Curmudgeon mode off.

        At least till the next time someone uses an undefined term. :-)

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

        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
        What is meant by textual harmony ? Is it the same as percentage of agreement at points of variation ? It would be hard to imagine a 98% level of agreement
        Message 3 of 8 , Aug 11, 1998
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          What is meant by "textual harmony"? Is it the same as "percentage of
          agreement at points of variation"? It would be hard to imagine a 98% level
          of agreement between the text types you mention. Perhaps the 98% figure
          refers to the level of agreement WITHIN families such as Fam.1 and Fam.13?
          --Rod Mullen

          At 11:13 AM 8/11/98 -0400, you wrote:
          >Recently I viewed a series of debates which dealt with, among other issues,
          >the degree of textual harmony that exists between the recognized text types.
          >One participant mentioned that it had been documented, by Dr. Daniel B.
          >Wallace, of Dallas Theological Seminary, that the textual harmony between the
          >Western, Byzantine, Alexandrian, etc. types was as high as 98%.
          >I've read various attempts to provide reasonable estimates of the harmony that
          >exists. This is my first exposure to a reference of textual harmony so high.
          >Can anyone provide additonal information regarding this figure.
          >
          >Blessings,
          >
          >Nelson Roth, Dayton, TN, USA
          >
        • Ronald Minton
          ... To me, 98% agreement among text-types is reasonable for the entire NT text, but I would guess 90% at most among places where there are actual variants. I
          Message 4 of 8 , Aug 11, 1998
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            On Tue, 11 Aug 1998, Nelson D. Roth wrote:

            > Recently I viewed a series of debates which dealt with, among other issues,
            > the degree of textual harmony that exists between the recognized text types.
            > One participant mentioned that it had been documented, by Dr. Daniel B.
            > Wallace, of Dallas Theological Seminary, that the textual harmony between the
            > Western, Byzantine, Alexandrian, etc. types was as high as 98%.

            To me, 98% agreement among text-types is reasonable for the entire NT
            text, but I would guess 90% at most among places where there are actual
            variants.
            I have found such percentages hard to nail down since text-types are
            difficult to identify in many passages because leading manuscripts
            which we identify the family with are not in agreement.


            Prof. Ron Minton
            rminton@... (417)833-9581
            5379 North Farm Road 179
            Springfield, MO 65803
          • Troy DeJongh
            ... At the risk of telling the members of this list something they probably already know, the paper where Wallace makes this statement is located at:
            Message 5 of 8 , Aug 12, 1998
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              Nelson D. Roth writes:
              >
              > Recently I viewed a series of debates which dealt with, among other issues,
              > the degree of textual harmony that exists between the recognized text types.
              > One participant mentioned that it had been documented, by Dr. Daniel B.
              > Wallace, of Dallas Theological Seminary, that the textual harmony between the
              > Western, Byzantine, Alexandrian, etc. types was as high as 98%.
              > I've read various attempts to provide reasonable estimates of the harmony that
              > exists. This is my first exposure to a reference of textual harmony so high.
              > Can anyone provide additonal information regarding this figure.
              >
              > Blessings,
              >
              > Nelson Roth, Dayton, TN, USA
              >

              At the risk of telling the members of this list something they probably
              already know, the paper where Wallace makes this statement is located at:

              http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/91b2.htm

              (Search for the word "percent").


              Additionally, a list of 13 of Wallace's papers on NT TC is at:

              http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/soaptoc.htm


              --
              Troy DeJongh troyd@... http://www1.euler.com/~troyd
            • Robert B. Waltz
              ... [ ... ] ... Well, *I* didn t know it. Thanks for the link. ... The problem here is in Wallace s definition of a variant. He includes *everything*. Scribal
              Message 6 of 8 , Aug 12, 1998
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                On Wed, 12 Aug 1998, Troy DeJongh <troyd@...> wrote:

                >Nelson D. Roth writes:
                >>
                >> Recently I viewed a series of debates which dealt with, among other issues,
                >> the degree of textual harmony that exists between the recognized text types.
                >> One participant mentioned that it had been documented, by Dr. Daniel B.
                >> Wallace, of Dallas Theological Seminary, that the textual harmony between the
                >> Western, Byzantine, Alexandrian, etc. types was as high as 98%.
                >> I've read various attempts to provide reasonable estimates of the harmony that
                >> exists. This is my first exposure to a reference of textual harmony so high.
                >> Can anyone provide additonal information regarding this figure.

                [ ... ]

                >At the risk of telling the members of this list something they probably
                >already know, the paper where Wallace makes this statement is located at:
                >
                > http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/91b2.htm
                >
                > (Search for the word "percent").

                Well, *I* didn't know it. Thanks for the link.

                This allows us to quote the actual context:

                >There are approximately 300,000 textual variants among New Testament >manuscripts. The Majority Text differs from the Textus Receptus in
                >almost 2,000 places. So the agreement is better than 99 percent. But
                >the Majority Text differs from the modern critical text in only about
                >6,500 places. In other words the two texts agree almost 98 percent of
                >the time.

                The problem here is in Wallace's definition of a variant. He includes
                *everything*. Scribal errors. Singular readings. Apparently even
                orthographic variants. It would even appear that different readings
                at the same point of variation might count.

                But as far as divergences go, he is counting only two: The UBS
                text and the Hodges & Farstad text.

                So this leads to two observations:

                First, Wallace is comparing apples and oranges.
                Second, Wallace is using an absurd definition of a variant.

                Conclusion: This number is meaningless.

                If the original poster wishes to offer his definition of harmony,
                no doubt we can offer some sort of answer as to what degree of
                harmony occurs. But this demonstrates, once again, the danger
                of inadequately defined terms.

                Mumble, mutter, mumble.... :-)

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

                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)
              • Troy DeJongh
                Message 7 of 8 , Aug 18, 1998
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                  Nelson D. Roth writes:
                  >
                  > Recently I viewed a series of debates which dealt with, among other issues,
                  > the degree of textual harmony that exists between the recognized text types.
                  > One participant mentioned that it had been documented, by Dr. Daniel B.
                  > Wallace, of Dallas Theological Seminary, that the textual harmony between the
                  > Western, Byzantine, Alexandrian, etc. types was as high as 98%.
                  > I've read various attempts to provide reasonable estimates of the harmony that
                  > exists. This is my first exposure to a reference of textual harmony so high.
                  > Can anyone provide additonal information regarding this figure.
                  >
                  > Blessings,
                  >
                  > Nelson Roth, Dayton, TN, USA
                  >

                  For the benefit of the other members of this list, the paper where
                  Wallace makes this statement is located at:

                  http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/91b2.htm

                  (Search for the word "percent").


                  Additionally, a list of 13 of his papers on NT TC is at:

                  http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/soaptoc.htm


                  --
                  Troy DeJongh troyd@... http://www1.euler.com/~troyd
                • Troy DeJongh
                  Please disregard the message below. I was assuming it was in the bit bucket when I resent a modified version of the message below several days ago. I don t
                  Message 8 of 8 , Aug 18, 1998
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                    Please disregard the message below. I was assuming it was in the bit bucket
                    when I resent a modified version of the message below several days ago. I
                    don't know why "the lost version" just showed up now...

                    --
                    Troy DeJongh troyd@... http://www1.euler.com/~troyd


                    On Tue, 18 Aug 1998, Troy DeJongh wrote:

                    > Nelson D. Roth writes:
                    > >
                    > > Recently I viewed a series of debates which dealt with, among other issues,
                    > > the degree of textual harmony that exists between the recognized text types.
                    > > One participant mentioned that it had been documented, by Dr. Daniel B.
                    > > Wallace, of Dallas Theological Seminary, that the textual harmony between the
                    > > Western, Byzantine, Alexandrian, etc. types was as high as 98%.
                    > > I've read various attempts to provide reasonable estimates of the harmony that
                    > > exists. This is my first exposure to a reference of textual harmony so high.
                    > > Can anyone provide additonal information regarding this figure.
                    > >
                    > > Blessings,
                    > >
                    > > Nelson Roth, Dayton, TN, USA
                    > >
                    >
                    > For the benefit of the other members of this list, the paper where
                    > Wallace makes this statement is located at:
                    >
                    > http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/91b2.htm
                    >
                    > (Search for the word "percent").
                    >
                    >
                    > Additionally, a list of 13 of his papers on NT TC is at:
                    >
                    > http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/soaptoc.htm
                    >
                    >
                    > --
                    > Troy DeJongh troyd@... http://www1.euler.com/~troyd
                    >
                    >
                    >
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