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Re: Collation against MT vs. TR

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  • Maurice Robinson
    ... I again would differ slightly. Hodges is the stemmatician. Farstad basis his position squarely on providential preservation as a primary criterion. Even
    Message 1 of 1714 , Dec 6, 1995
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      On Wed, 6 Dec 1995, Dale M. Wheeler wrote:

      > > Isn't that the point? H&F believe in an omnipotent God who has
      > > providentially preserved the text and that conviction has led them to
      > > try proving the "Majority text" position with their stemma, etc.
      > I'm not trying to defend H&F or their theory here, but this again is another
      > misconception about their view. There are those who start from providential
      > preservation of the text, but H&F do not.

      I again would differ slightly. Hodges is the stemmatician. Farstad
      basis his position squarely on providential preservation as a primary
      criterion. Even with his stemmatic approach, I think Hodges still makes
      far too much of the "theological argument" regarding providential
      preservation than should be the case. It is far easier to simply
      acknowledge that, IF providential preservation has occurred, it is
      reflected in the sheer quantity of data preserved in MSS, Versions and
      Patristic writings. No questions should be begged as to "which texttype"
      or "which MS" reflects the one and only "providentially preserved" autograph.

      Pickering, however, especially takes pains to declare that ONLY the
      "majority text" is the true text, and that precisely because it is the
      majority -- that is why I object to his hypocrisy in arguing for a 5%
      minority reading in Acts 12.25, merely because the majority in that case
      "cannot be correct" since it violates his theological views regarding
      inerrancy. He can't have it both ways.

      Further objection can be made to even Hodges' approach when he declares
      openly that readings with 80% or more support MUST be original on the
      basis of statistics, and then turns around and defends at least 30
      readings in Revelation which possess only 19% support versus the
      remainder. Neither statistics nor theological presuppositions can
      absolve them from gutting their own theoretical position by their
      methodological practice.

      > The real issue in interacting
      > with their work is whether they are correctly using stemmatics and whether
      > their stemmatic reconstructions are valid, nothing more and nothing less.

      I would suggest their own internal methodological contradictions as the
      place to begin, not with their stemmatics. I do object to the stemmatic
      approach as they implement it, because (as I have interacted with them in
      private correspondence) they automatically accept both Von Soden's
      stemmatic data in the Pericope Adultera and Hoskier's stemmatic groupings
      in the Apocalypse, both of which are questionable (Hoskier deliberately
      arranged his groupings to help "prove" that the autograph of Revelation
      was trilingual -- Greek, Latin, and Syriac! Von Soden left no real data
      to prove the validity of his m-groups in the Pericope Adultera).

      Also, they misuse stemmatics in that they consider agreement in reading to
      be evidence of relationship whereas a proper stemmatic approach (cf. Dom
      Henri Quentin, for example), would establish stemmatic interrelationships
      on the basis of shared agreement in plain and clear error. If the
      classical approach is rejected, I have little doubt that any stemmatic
      relationships claimed based upon mere agreement of reading will be
      invalid. You have the point correctly stated below, but the fact is that
      H/F DO base their stemmatic conclusions precisely on the "community of
      agreement" principle and make NO attempt to seek out "community of error"
      (which would require detailed study of Hoskier's collation data beyond
      what H/F chose to do):

      > At the heart of Hodges' criticism of the way "stemmatics" is done nowadays
      > in NT TC is that the maxim used is "community of agreement implies community
      > of origin." But normally the maxim is "community of error implies community
      > of origin." The latter is more difficult for most of us to track since the
      > "blemishes" of the papyrii and uncials are not readily visible in the NA
      > footnotes (even less so in UBS).

      Again, the hard data is there in Hoskier. The problem is that no one
      wants to dig it out and seriously deal with it. I hope eventually to
      have a student do a thesis or dissertation utilizing Hoskier to attempt a
      new stemmatic grouping based solely upon the agreement in error principle.

      > I'm not sure that Pickering should be lumped in with H&F anymore either. He
      > has, as far as I can tell, rejected the stemmatic argument.

      Although he should not be lumped in with H/F, Pickering has not actually
      rejected the stemmatic approach, but has chosen to follow other subgroups.
      E.g., in the Pericope Adultera, he favors Von Soden's m7 group, where H/F
      favor the m6 group; in Revelation, he favors the Mc group rather than
      H/F's Ma group. He supplements the stemmatic approach with his
      theological interpretative criteria and also lays great stress on the
      "reading which best explains all of the other readings" approach. He thus
      ends up a blend of electicism, stemmatics, and theological bias -- which
      in my opinion is no way to do textual criticism.

      > I was under the
      > impression that he had moved closer to Maurice's position...but maybe not.

      As described above -- not. *8-) As last related to me during a visit this
      Fall, he basically has decided for the remainder of the NT (outside of the
      Revelation and Pericope Adultera) to favor the Kr subgroup, which is a
      very small group of about 200 later Byzantine MSS from about the 12th-14th
      centuries. His rationale for favoring such is based upon a "continual
      purification" model of MS transmission, in which he assumes (wrongly) that
      "the later the MSS, the closer they will return to the autograph."

      My own position would be closer to that of Scrivener in that I could
      personally dispense with all MSS after the 10th century, with my basic
      theory remaining unaffected. I do argue that the Byzantine text in the
      later MSS does reflect a "restoration" of the autograph by natural
      processes of cross-comparison and correction, but the result of this
      process (which began shortly after the legitimization of Christianity
      under Constantine) was already mostly complete by the end of the 5th

      > At any rate, while I think that he would still agree (??) with H&F on much
      > philosophically, I don't think his conclusions can be used to define or
      > understand their position. I must admit that I'm not totally current on all
      > the moving around, but I think this is fairly accurate. Maurice, I'm sure,
      > would know.

      I definitely do not think H/F and Pickering see eye to eye on much
      anymore, just as I do not see eye to eye with either party (for the
      record, I have never in any way been dependent upon them in the
      development of my own views, nor have I ever been a member of their
      "Majority Text Society"; my own text-critical training came from Kenneth
      W. Clark in the period 1972-1977, and I progressed from there).

      Maurice A. Robinson, Ph.D.
      Associate Professor of Greek and New Testament
      Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
      Wake Forest, North Carolina
    • Julian Goldberg
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      Message 1714 of 1714 , Feb 4, 1997
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