Re: Collation against MT vs. TR
- On Wed, 6 Dec 1995, Dale M. Wheeler wrote:
> > Isn't that the point? H&F believe in an omnipotent God who hasI again would differ slightly. Hodges is the stemmatician. Farstad
> > 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.
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
> The real issue in interactingI would suggest their own internal methodological contradictions as the
> with their work is whether they are correctly using stemmatics and whether
> their stemmatic reconstructions are valid, nothing more and nothing less.
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 nowadaysAgain, the hard data is there in Hoskier. The problem is that no one
> 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).
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. HeAlthough he should not be lumped in with H/F, Pickering has not actually
> has, as far as I can tell, rejected the stemmatic argument.
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 theAs described above -- not. *8-) As last related to me during a visit this
> impression that he had moved closer to Maurice's position...but maybe not.
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 muchI definitely do not think H/F and Pickering see eye to eye 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.
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
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