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Re: tc-list Comfort's new book

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  • Jean Valentin
    ... OFF TOPIC!!! (Pls, I don t want my mailbox to be submerged by dogmatic discussions) Jean V. _______________________________________________________________
    Message 1 of 30 , Dec 31, 1969
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      >As I read a segment of your message I wondered if you
      >would elaborate upon the term "infallible" in relation to Biblical
      >literature and
      >also share your perspective on the concept of inspiration.
      OFF TOPIC!!!
      (Pls, I don't want my mailbox to be submerged by dogmatic discussions)

      Jean V.


      _______________________________________________________________
      Jean Valentin - 34 rue du Berceau - 1000 Bruxelles - Belgique
      tel. 32-2-280.01.37
      e-mail : jgvalentin@...
      _______________________________________________________________
      "Ce qui est trop simple est faux, ce qui est trop compliqué est inutilisable"
      _______________________________________________________________
    • dd-1@juno.com
      Denny Diehl here ... The book can be obtained through CBD. The price is $24.95, List $40 something. There was a sale a month ago for $21.95. The address is:
      Message 2 of 30 , May 5, 1999
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        Denny Diehl here

        >>P. Comfort's new book, "The Complete Text of the Earliest NT
        >>Manuscripts" has arrived and it is really a tremendous thing!

        >Could you give complete references please? Especially publishing
        >house...

        The book can be obtained through CBD. The price is $24.95, List
        $40 something. There was a sale a month ago for $21.95.

        The address is: www.christianbook.com
        ___________________________________________________________________
        You don't need to buy Internet access to use free Internet e-mail.
        Get completely free e-mail from Juno at http://www.juno.com/getjuno.html
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      • Jim West
        ... The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts, Comfort, Philip W., and David P. Barrett, eds. ISBN: 0-8010-2136-7Price: $49.99cTrim Size: 6 x
        Message 3 of 30 , May 5, 1999
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          >Dear Jim,
          >
          >Could you give complete references please? Especially publishing house...
          >
          >Thanks a lot.
          >
          >Jean V.

          The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts,
          Comfort, Philip W., and David P. Barrett, eds.
          ISBN: 0-8010-2136-7Price: $49.99cTrim Size: 6 x 9Pages: 656
          Baker Book House


          best,

          Jim


          +++++++++++++++++++++++++

          Jim West, ThD
          Petros Baptist Church- Pastor
          Quartz Hill School of Theology- Adjunct Prof. of Bible

          fax- 978-231-5986
          email- jwest@...
          web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
        • Dr. Ulrich Schmid
          ... Jim, could you, please, comment on Maurice detailed analysis arriving at the opposite conclusion with respect to the quality of Comfort/Barrett s
          Message 4 of 30 , May 20, 1999
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            On May 5, 1999, Jim West wrote:

            > P. Comfort's new book, "The Complete Text of the Earliest NT Manuscripts"
            > has arrived and it is really a tremendous thing!
            >
            > mss include p1 - 104 (with some lacunae), and some other early uncials. The
            > book offers the mss in P order. Some photos are included as well as a fine
            > introduction. 649 pp. of great resources for the textual critic and NT
            > scholar.
            >
            > The transcriptions are really excellent and are exact!, including
            > abbreviations within the papyri themselves.


            Jim,

            could you, please, comment on Maurice' detailed analysis arriving at the
            opposite conclusion with respect to the quality of Comfort/Barrett's
            transcriptions.


            ------------------------------------------
            Dr. Ulrich Schmid
            U.B.Schmid@...
          • Jim West
            ... The ms I examined were different than those looked at by Maurice. My main interest is the major papyri . When I looked at those I did not discover the
            Message 5 of 30 , May 20, 1999
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              At 09:30 AM 5/20/99 +0200, you wrote:

              >
              >could you, please, comment on Maurice' detailed analysis arriving at the
              >opposite conclusion with respect to the quality of Comfort/Barrett's
              >transcriptions.

              The ms I examined were different than those looked at by Maurice. My main
              interest is the "major papyri". When I looked at those I did not discover
              the egregious errors pointed out by Maurice. I still suggest that Comfort's
              book is a very useful tool- but Maurice is correct in his notion that the
              "minor" papyri need a more thorough look.

              Perhaps C/B were more focused on the more interesting papyri while spending
              less time on the others. Who knows but them.

              In any event, I do think that Maurice is being a little hard on them.
              Percentage wise the C/B book contains less scribal errors than most of the
              Byzantine mss---- and yet Maurice seems to have no problem with them. For
              example- the C/B book contains much more accurate transcriptions than it
              does inaccurate- but Maurice doe not bother to point these out. In fact,
              the bulk, the vast majority of the book is quite accurate. So perhaps
              something else is afoot here in Maurice's comments? It is well known that
              Comfort and Robinson do not see eye to eye... I do not think that the few
              errors (and they really are a VERY small number of errors in respect to
              percent) make this book less useful- though it must be used with care- as
              must any ms of the biblical text. Certainly it is no dishonor to make
              errors. Most of us do.

              Best,

              Jim

              +++++++++++++++++++++++++
              Jim West, ThD
              email- jwest@...
              web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
            • Bruce Morrill
              ... Maurice has been most helpful in detailing the problems he found. Can you specify which of the major papyri you have found worthy of our trust, so that
              Message 6 of 30 , May 20, 1999
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                On Thu, 20 May 1999, Jim West wrote:
                > The ms I examined were different than those looked at by Maurice. My main
                > interest is the "major papyri". When I looked at those I did not discover
                > the egregious errors pointed out by Maurice. I still suggest that Comfort's
                > book is a very useful tool- but Maurice is correct in his notion that the
                > "minor" papyri need a more thorough look.

                Maurice has been most helpful in detailing the problems he found. Can you
                specify which of the major papyri you have found worthy of our trust, so
                that the rest of us can similarly benefit from your time?

                Bruce Morrill bruce@...
              • Jim West
                ... Let me understand what your asking. You wish me to list the texts where the transcription of comfort is the same as the mss he is transcribing? Ok-
                Message 7 of 30 , May 20, 1999
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                  At 07:55 AM 5/20/99 -0500, you wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  >Maurice has been most helpful in detailing the problems he found. Can you
                  >specify which of the major papyri you have found worthy of our trust, so
                  >that the rest of us can similarly benefit from your time?
                  >
                  >Bruce Morrill bruce@...

                  Let me understand what your asking. You wish me to list the texts where the
                  transcription of comfort is the same as the mss he is transcribing?

                  Ok- presuming this is what you want,
                  take a look at
                  p75- Lk 3:18-19
                  p75- Lk 9:1
                  p75 Lk 13:28-30

                  Every single letter is precisely the same here (in this small sampling) in
                  comforts book as it is in P75. Examples could be listed for every single
                  page of the manuscript.

                  Get Comfort's book. Its a treasure in spite of a few mistakes. Again, the
                  correct passages FAR outweigh any errors- just as the Alexandrian texts far
                  outweigh in value the Byzantine.

                  Best,

                  Jim

                  +++++++++++++++++++++++++
                  Jim West, ThD
                  email- jwest@...
                  web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
                • Robert B. Waltz
                  ... You re willing to certify the accuracy of the transcription based on checking six verses? No wonder there is controversy about the book s value. :-) This
                  Message 8 of 30 , May 20, 1999
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                    On 5/20/99, Jim West wrote, in part:

                    >Let me understand what your asking. You wish me to list the texts where the
                    >transcription of comfort is the same as the mss he is transcribing?
                    >
                    >Ok- presuming this is what you want,
                    >take a look at
                    >p75- Lk 3:18-19
                    >p75- Lk 9:1
                    >p75 Lk 13:28-30
                    >
                    >Every single letter is precisely the same here (in this small sampling) in
                    >comforts book as it is in P75. Examples could be listed for every single
                    >page of the manuscript.

                    You're willing to certify the accuracy of the transcription based on
                    checking six verses? No wonder there is controversy about the book's
                    value. :-)

                    This is simply not an acceptable sample; it's too small to tell
                    us anything.

                    Note that this is not a comment on the accuracy of the book; I haven't
                    seen it and cannot comment. However, Robinson has supplied a significant
                    list of mistakes. Given that this is a published book, not a manuscript,
                    we have the right to expect accuracy.

                    Given the large number of errors already listed, we would need to
                    see hundreds of verses tested before we could certify it as
                    generally accurate. Saying that it is accurate here and there
                    is simply anecdotal evidence.

                    >Get Comfort's book. Its a treasure in spite of a few mistakes. Again, the
                    >correct passages FAR outweigh any errors- just as the Alexandrian texts far
                    >outweigh in value the Byzantine.

                    This analogy simply doesn't hold water. The accuracy of a transcription
                    can be proved: You compare the transcription with the original. The
                    accuracy of a text-type can only be assumed -- particularly since that
                    text-type does not exist in any extant manuscript.

                    Note that I am not disagreeing with the premise that the Alexandrian
                    manuscripts are more accurate than the Byzantine (though Robinson
                    would :-). I am simply stating that this is completely irrelevant.

                    At this point, I cannot see that anything has been offered on this
                    list to refute Robinson's criticisms.

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

                    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)
                  • Jim West
                    ... No- but I dont have the time or desire to list hundreds of passages where the transcription is accurate to refute 12 examples of where it is not. My
                    Message 9 of 30 , May 20, 1999
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                      At 09:49 AM 5/20/99 -0500, you wrote:
                      >On 5/20/99, Jim West wrote, in part:

                      >
                      >You're willing to certify the accuracy of the transcription based on
                      >checking six verses? No wonder there is controversy about the book's
                      >value. :-)
                      >

                      No- but I dont have the time or desire to list hundreds of passages where
                      the transcription is accurate to refute 12 examples of where it is not. My
                      original comments about the book were simply intended to describe its value-
                      not to critique the whole bloody thing.

                      >This is simply not an acceptable sample; it's too small to tell
                      >us anything.

                      Then get the book and count them all yourself.

                      >
                      >Note that this is not a comment on the accuracy of the book; I haven't
                      >seen it and cannot comment. However, Robinson has supplied a significant
                      >list of mistakes. Given that this is a published book, not a manuscript,
                      >we have the right to expect accuracy.

                      Given the fact that listers evidently have more free time than I, I suggest
                      they get the book themselves and do their own comparisons.

                      >
                      >Given the large number of errors already listed, we would need to
                      >see hundreds of verses tested before we could certify it as
                      >generally accurate. Saying that it is accurate here and there
                      >is simply anecdotal evidence.

                      Large number of errors? Percentage wise what amount of errors have been listed?

                      >
                      >>Get Comfort's book. Its a treasure in spite of a few mistakes. Again, the
                      >>correct passages FAR outweigh any errors- just as the Alexandrian texts far
                      >>outweigh in value the Byzantine.
                      >
                      >This analogy simply doesn't hold water. The accuracy of a transcription
                      >can be proved: You compare the transcription with the original. The
                      >accuracy of a text-type can only be assumed -- particularly since that
                      >text-type does not exist in any extant manuscript.
                      >

                      Ok- then get the book- go thorugh it line by line with the mss you have at
                      hand, and make your own decision. Why believe Robinson or me? Do the work
                      yourself.

                      >Note that I am not disagreeing with the premise that the Alexandrian
                      >manuscripts are more accurate than the Byzantine (though Robinson
                      >would :-). I am simply stating that this is completely irrelevant.

                      Just as it is completely irrelevant to judge the value of a book by a few
                      errors rather than by the many correct passages. You got my point.

                      >
                      >At this point, I cannot see that anything has been offered on this
                      >list to refute Robinson's criticisms.

                      Thats because my purpose isnt to refute Robinson. The book does that
                      itself. His few listed errors simply do not make the book useless. So
                      again, get it and see for yourself.

                      Jim

                      +++++++++++++++++++++++++
                      Jim West, ThD
                      email- jwest@...
                      web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
                    • Dr. Ulrich Schmid
                      ... I m quite confused about your reply, Jim. A) On the one side you confess that you only looked at the major papyri (without specification!) and on the
                      Message 10 of 30 , May 20, 1999
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                        Jim West wrote:
                        > At 09:30 AM 5/20/99 +0200, you wrote:
                        >
                        > >
                        > >could you, please, comment on Maurice' detailed analysis arriving at the
                        > >opposite conclusion with respect to the quality of Comfort/Barrett's
                        > >transcriptions.
                        >
                        > The ms I examined were different than those looked at by Maurice. My main
                        > interest is the "major papyri". When I looked at those I did not discover
                        > the egregious errors pointed out by Maurice. I still suggest that Comfort's
                        > book is a very useful tool- but Maurice is correct in his notion that the
                        > "minor" papyri need a more thorough look.
                        >
                        > Perhaps C/B were more focused on the more interesting papyri while spending
                        > less time on the others. Who knows but them.
                        >
                        > In any event, I do think that Maurice is being a little hard on them.
                        > Percentage wise the C/B book contains less scribal errors than most of the
                        > Byzantine mss---- and yet Maurice seems to have no problem with them. For
                        > example- the C/B book contains much more accurate transcriptions than it
                        > does inaccurate- but Maurice doe not bother to point these out. In fact,
                        > the bulk, the vast majority of the book is quite accurate.

                        I'm quite confused about your reply, Jim.

                        A) On the one side you confess that you only looked at the "major papyri"
                        (without specification!) and on the other side you make confident claims ("the
                        vast majority of the book is quite accurate"), as if you have checked all the
                        transcriptions throughout the C/B book. What do I have to make out of this?

                        B) I'm delighted to learn that - for the sake of comparison - you studied ALL of
                        "the Byzantine mss", for, according to you, "the C/B book contains less scribal
                        errors than most of" them. Even more amazing: You identified the direct
                        "Vorlage" of every single Byzantine manuscript in order to exactly ascribe every
                        single reading in every single Byzantine manuscript to either it's "Vorlage" (or
                        "Vorlagen" respectively) or it's scribe, having committed THE "scribal error".
                        (Sorry, I couldn't resist. Your point here is utterly unsound.)

                        >So perhaps
                        > something else is afoot here in Maurice's comments? It is well known that
                        > Comfort and Robinson do not see eye to eye...

                        I think it's fair to ask you not to use ad hominem arguments. They usually don't
                        compensate lack of real argument, and certainly not lack of hard evidence.

                        >I do not think that the few
                        > errors (and they really are a VERY small number of errors in respect to
                        > percent) make this book less useful- though it must be used with care- as
                        > must any ms of the biblical text. Certainly it is no dishonor to make
                        > errors. Most of us do.

                        Probably all of us do make errors. The point is: How many errors in what type of
                        publication? If we are dealing with a reference tool, the amount of errors
                        certainly plays a vital role. What is the C/F book intended to be?

                        Here is a real life example (food for thought):

                        A Latin manuscript C from the 9th century was edited in the 19th century, in
                        other words: It was transcribed by a scholar of modern times with modern times
                        standards of even reporting corrections, different hands, etc.
                        The body of text consists of about 40.000 words.
                        I performed a spot-check on the edition with a microfilm of the pertinent
                        manuscript.
                        The spot-check covered aproximately 10 percent of the text.
                        The result was that on an average 2.8 errors per page in the edition occured,
                        adding up to a total of about 380 errors for the whole body of text.
                        That's not much.
                        It's less than 1 percent.

                        However, another scholar using the 19th century edition performed a comparison
                        of this (edition of the) 9th century witness (C) with a 6th century witness (F)
                        of the same text.
                        On the basis of a list of deviating readings he concluded that C could not have
                        been a direct copy of F.
                        Whether he was right or wrong doesn't matter for the moment, the sad truth is
                        that more than 50 percent of the readings in his list hit on errors in the
                        edition of witness C.
                        In every single case the two witnesses do NOT deviate, only their modern
                        transcriptions.

                        That's disturbing, isnt it.



                        ------------------------------------------
                        Dr. Ulrich Schmid
                        U.B.Schmid@...
                      • Jim West
                        ... Dunno. I read the book- compared the whole of P75- and some other mss. that I have copies of- and found it extremely reliable. I did not write down any
                        Message 11 of 30 , May 20, 1999
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                          At 06:05 PM 5/20/99 +0200, you wrote:
                          >Jim West wrote:

                          >A) On the one side you confess that you only looked at the "major papyri"
                          >(without specification!) and on the other side you make confident claims ("the
                          >vast majority of the book is quite accurate"), as if you have checked all the
                          >transcriptions throughout the C/B book. What do I have to make out of this?

                          Dunno. I read the book- compared the whole of P75- and some other mss. that
                          I have copies of- and found it extremely reliable. I did not write down any
                          results because I am not writing a review of the book. My response is based
                          on an overall perception.

                          >
                          >B) I'm delighted to learn that - for the sake of comparison - you studied
                          ALL of
                          >"the Byzantine mss", for, according to you, "the C/B book contains less
                          scribal
                          >errors than most of" them. Even more amazing: You identified the direct
                          >"Vorlage" of every single Byzantine manuscript in order to exactly ascribe
                          every
                          >single reading in every single Byzantine manuscript to either it's
                          "Vorlage" (or
                          >"Vorlagen" respectively) or it's scribe, having committed THE "scribal error".
                          >(Sorry, I couldn't resist. Your point here is utterly unsound.)

                          My point has been missed. My point is this- the Byzantine family of mss is,
                          on the whole, less reliable than the Alexandrian- just as the majority of
                          Comfort's book is reliable, in spite of the few errors.


                          >Probably all of us do make errors. The point is: How many errors in what
                          type of
                          >publication? If we are dealing with a reference tool, the amount of errors
                          >certainly plays a vital role. What is the C/F book intended to be?

                          Yes- the amount of errors do play a role. And the errors of Comforts book
                          are far fewer than his accurate transcriptions.

                          >However, another scholar using the 19th century edition performed a comparison
                          >of this (edition of the) 9th century witness (C) with a 6th century witness
                          (F)
                          >of the same text.
                          >On the basis of a list of deviating readings he concluded that C could not
                          have
                          >been a direct copy of F.
                          >Whether he was right or wrong doesn't matter for the moment, the sad truth is
                          >that more than 50 percent of the readings in his list hit on errors in the
                          >edition of witness C.
                          >In every single case the two witnesses do NOT deviate, only their modern
                          >transcriptions.
                          >
                          >That's disturbing, isnt it.

                          It is very distrubing. Equally disturbing is the notion that the baby
                          should be tossed out with the bathwater. My rather general statements about
                          the Byzantine mss are clearly inaccurate- as are all generalities. My point
                          in intentionally stating something so clearly inaccurate was to evoke a
                          mental image: if the Byz mss should not all be lumped together and
                          considered inaccurate for a few readings, why should Comfort's book? If
                          Bart doesn't like the introduction to the book- why does the rest of the
                          book thereby become worthless? If Comfort makes a few errors (I defy anyone
                          to find any manuscript of any book- ancient or modern, WITHOUT an error of
                          grammar, fact, or typography), then why should the whole of his book be
                          demonized as useless?

                          My point, in sum, is that even though there are errors, the book is still
                          very important and very useful. It is not infallible. And neither is the
                          Bible. Yet folk use the Bible every day as a guide for truth. Comforts
                          book too can be a very useful guide to the mss of the papyri.


                          Best,

                          Jim

                          +++++++++++++++++++++++++
                          Jim West, ThD
                          email- jwest@...
                          web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
                        • Robert B. Waltz
                          This will be my last post on this. But this is just too baldly wrong to be permitted. ... I think Dr. Schmid saw your point, and refuted it twice. There are
                          Message 12 of 30 , May 20, 1999
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                            This will be my last post on this. But this is just too baldly wrong
                            to be permitted.

                            On 5/20/99, Jim West wrote, in part:

                            >My point has been missed. My point is this- the Byzantine family of mss is,
                            >on the whole, less reliable than the Alexandrian- just as the majority of
                            >Comfort's book is reliable, in spite of the few errors.

                            I think Dr. Schmid saw your point, and refuted it twice.

                            There are several points here:

                            1) You are confusing accuracy of text with accuracy of copying.
                            Most of us would agree that the Byzantine text is not as good
                            a representative of the original New Testament text as is
                            the Alexandrian text. But this does not mean that a Byzantine
                            manuscript is a poorer *copy* than an Alexandrian; it is simply
                            a poorer *manuscript.* The Byzantine manuscripts are often
                            better copies -- that is, they represent their exemplars
                            more accurately. A simple glance at an edition of, say,
                            Aleph or Theta will prove that a manuscript can be very
                            valuable and *still* be a lousy copy.

                            2) Let's ignore that. Even so, you are making an argument based
                            on a non sequitur. The nature of the Byzantine text has nothing
                            to do with Comfort's book. The Byzantine text could be exactly
                            identical to the autograph, and Comfort's book would be
                            unaffected. Comfort either is or is not an accurate transcription
                            of the papyri. Appealing to the Byzantine text simply confuses
                            the issue.

                            [ ... ]

                            >Yes- the amount of errors do play a role. And the errors of Comforts book
                            >are far fewer than his accurate transcriptions.

                            This also raises two questions:

                            1) How do you know?, and

                            2) So what?

                            Every edition ever made (I venture to suggest) is more accurate than
                            not -- that is, the number of places where it accurately reflects
                            the text of the manuscripts exceeds the number of places where it
                            differs. By that standard, the Textus Receptus is an accurate copy
                            of the United Bible Societies text. (I'm serious; it *is* -- if
                            you accept the trivial standard that it's right more often than
                            wrong.) But I've seen Merk's edition roundly condemned for its
                            inaccuracies -- even though, testing Merk, one finds it to be
                            about 95% accurate overall, and better than that for the Old
                            Uncials.

                            When using an edition, we have a right to question its accuracy.
                            What we have seen so far is a researched set of information about
                            its inaccuracy, and anecdotal evidence about its accuracy. I find
                            this very disturbing. Particularly since the book comes from
                            Comfort. (I say this because, in my experience, Comfort is about
                            as brainless a critic as there is. His only criterion is age,
                            and yet he accepts age uncritically....)
                            Bob Waltz
                            waltzmn@...

                            "The one thing we learn from history --
                            is that no one ever learns from history."
                          • Nelson D. Roth
                            Jim: As a more-than-casual reader of the TC-List I have found the list to be quite inforative in many respects. As I read a segment of your message I wondered
                            Message 13 of 30 , May 20, 1999
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                              Jim:

                              As a more-than-casual reader of the TC-List I have found the list to be quite
                              inforative in many respects. As I read a segment of your message I wondered if you
                              would elaborate upon the term "infallible" in relation to Biblical literature and
                              also share your perspective on the concept of inspiration. The quote that I'm
                              referring to follows:

                              > My point, in sum, is that even though there are errors, the book is still
                              > very important and very useful. It is not infallible. And neither is the
                              >Bible. Yet folk use the Bible every day as a guide for truth. Comforts
                              > book too can be a very useful guide to the mss of the papyri.

                              Hope this doesn't take us too far off the list.

                              Nelson Roth
                            • Prof. Ron Minton
                              ... Here is a comforting solution: Have Maurice Robinson do a thorough critique of the Comfort text and have Baker re-issue it (free to all who had to pay
                              Message 14 of 30 , May 20, 1999
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                                On Thu, 20 May 1999, Jim West wrote:
                                > Get Comfort's book. Its a treasure in spite of a few mistakes...


                                Here is a comforting solution: Have Maurice Robinson do a thorough
                                critique of the Comfort text and have Baker re-issue it (free to all who
                                had to pay something for the trial edition). For his work, which will be
                                as hard as putting together the original text, Baker will split the
                                rewards to give Robinson one third.

                                Ron Minton
                              • Prof. Ron Minton
                                ... Jim, Judging by the way you defended Comfort s book for its accurate copying, you should prefer the BYZ because its scribes seem much more careful and
                                Message 15 of 30 , May 20, 1999
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                                  On Thu, 20 May 1999, Jim West wrote:
                                  > Get Comfort's book. Its a treasure in spite of a few mistakes...
                                  > just as the Alexandrian texts far outweigh in value the Byzantine.


                                  Jim,
                                  Judging by the way you defended Comfort's book for its accurate copying,
                                  you should prefer the BYZ because its scribes seem much more careful
                                  and accurate copiers than the leading ALEX copies :)

                                  Ron Minton
                                • Dave Washburn
                                  Jim, ... The point is not whether the book has transcriptional errors; the point is that we don t know where they are, and a scholar who depends on a book with
                                  Message 16 of 30 , May 20, 1999
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                                    Jim,
                                    > >That's disturbing, isnt it.
                                    >
                                    > It is very distrubing. Equally disturbing is the notion that the baby
                                    > should be tossed out with the bathwater. My rather general statements about
                                    > the Byzantine mss are clearly inaccurate- as are all generalities. My point
                                    > in intentionally stating something so clearly inaccurate was to evoke a
                                    > mental image: if the Byz mss should not all be lumped together and
                                    > considered inaccurate for a few readings, why should Comfort's book? If
                                    > Bart doesn't like the introduction to the book- why does the rest of the
                                    > book thereby become worthless? If Comfort makes a few errors (I defy anyone
                                    > to find any manuscript of any book- ancient or modern, WITHOUT an error of
                                    > grammar, fact, or typography), then why should the whole of his book be
                                    > demonized as useless?

                                    The point is not whether the book has transcriptional errors; the
                                    point is that we don't know where they are, and a scholar who
                                    depends on a book with this kind of inaccuracies in it may, and
                                    probably will, end up with some erroneous conclusions that render
                                    all his/her work, if not useless, then severely flawed. As a
                                    researcher who uses reference works profusely, I naturally expect
                                    those works to have been proofread at least several times, checked
                                    against the primary sources, and corrected to the highest possible
                                    accuracy before being released on the unsuspecting research
                                    community. At the very least I expect an errata page to correct the
                                    errors that were discovered post-printing. If this hasn't been done
                                    then, yes, for all practical purposes it does render the book virtually
                                    unusable, because we don't know where the errors are or how
                                    badly they are going to affect what we're doing with the book. For
                                    those of us on a severely limited budget (i.e. me) this kind of book
                                    with this percentage of transcriptional errors would be, frankly, a
                                    poor investment. Knowing what I know from Maurice's post, I
                                    wouldn't give the book a second glance.

                                    Dave Washburn
                                    http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur
                                    A Bible that's falling apart means a life that isn't.
                                  • Troy DeJongh
                                    ... In a way, this discussion reminds me of computer book publishing. Typically, very popular computer science texts with many source code examples are in
                                    Message 17 of 30 , May 20, 1999
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                                      Dave Washburn wrote:
                                      >
                                      > The point is not whether the book has transcriptional errors; the
                                      > point is that we don't know where they are, and a scholar who
                                      > depends on a book with this kind of inaccuracies in it may, and
                                      > probably will, end up with some erroneous conclusions that render
                                      > all his/her work, if not useless, then severely flawed. As a
                                      > researcher who uses reference works profusely, I naturally expect
                                      > those works to have been proofread at least several times, checked
                                      > against the primary sources, and corrected to the highest possible
                                      > accuracy before being released on the unsuspecting research
                                      > community. At the very least I expect an errata page to correct the
                                      > errors that were discovered post-printing. If this hasn't been done
                                      > then, yes, for all practical purposes it does render the book virtually
                                      > unusable, because we don't know where the errors are or how
                                      > badly they are going to affect what we're doing with the book. For
                                      > those of us on a severely limited budget (i.e. me) this kind of book
                                      > with this percentage of transcriptional errors would be, frankly, a
                                      > poor investment. Knowing what I know from Maurice's post, I
                                      > wouldn't give the book a second glance.
                                      >
                                      > Dave Washburn
                                      > http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur


                                      In a way, this discussion reminds me of computer book publishing.
                                      Typically, very popular computer science texts with many source code
                                      examples are in their umpty-umth printing before 99% of the typos and
                                      errors are eliminated. Several prolific authors offer $1.00 per
                                      legitimate error/typo, plus an acknowledgement in the errata (either on
                                      the book's or author's web page or in the book itself). This seems
                                      like a good idea for publishing works like Comfort's as well, except
                                      for the fact that many scholarly volumes only _have_ one printing
                                      because of the significantly smaller audience. :-)

                                      On a slightly different note, I remember a time when I picked up a copy
                                      of Metzger's _The_Text_of_the_New_Testament:_Its_Transmission,
                                      _Corruption,_and_Restoration_ from my local Barnes and Noble, and I
                                      had to return it because every other page was missing in the first
                                      few chapters. The clerk at the return counter got a kick out of
                                      that, given the book's title. :-)

                                      --
                                      Troy DeJongh http://pobox.com/~troyd
                                    • Nelson D. Roth
                                      From: Jean Valentin To: Sent: Wednesday, January 20, 1999 7:03 PM Subject: Re: tc-list Comfort s
                                      Message 18 of 30 , May 20, 1999
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                                        From: Jean Valentin <jgvalentin@...>
                                        To: <tc-list@...>
                                        Sent: Wednesday, January 20, 1999 7:03 PM
                                        Subject: Re: tc-list Comfort's new book


                                        > >As I read a segment of your message I wondered if you
                                        > >would elaborate upon the term "infallible" in relation to Biblical
                                        > >literature and
                                        > >also share your perspective on the concept of inspiration.
                                        > OFF TOPIC!!!
                                        > (Pls, I don't want my mailbox to be submerged by dogmatic discussions)
                                        >
                                        > Jean V.

                                        I was just wondering since you had initially mentioned it?!
                                      • Wieland Willker
                                        I think generally speaking a book like this is outdated. What we need is a transcription of the manuscripts in DIGITAL FORM. On a website (preferred) or on a
                                        Message 19 of 30 , May 21, 1999
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                                          I think generally speaking a book like this is outdated.
                                          What we need is a transcription of the manuscripts in DIGITAL FORM.
                                          On a website (preferred) or on a CD. Improvements and corrections can then
                                          be made very easily.
                                          I think that these transcriptions are only of value if they are EXTREMELY
                                          accurate, otherwise you have to refer to the originals or photos.

                                          Best wishes
                                          Wieland
                                          --------------------
                                          PS: I have transcriptions of the Egerton papyrus and the Secret Gospel of
                                          Mark at:
                                          http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/ww_tc.html
                                        • M A Robinson
                                          ... I would consider P66 and P75 major papyri, and I did point out C/B errors in regard to those MSS as well. There are other errors which still could be
                                          Message 20 of 30 , May 21, 1999
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                                            On Thu, 20 May 1999 07:45:41 -0400 Jim West <jwest@...> writes:
                                            >At 09:30 AM 5/20/99 +0200, you wrote:

                                            >The ms I examined were different than those looked at by Maurice. My
                                            >main interest is the "major papyri". When I looked at those I did not
                                            >discover the egregious errors pointed out by Maurice.

                                            I would consider P66 and P75 "major papyri," and I did point out C/B
                                            errors
                                            in regard to those MSS as well. There are other errors which still could
                                            be listed, though I deliberately kept the list to a minimum. Add to the
                                            list if you like a few more examples from "major papyri":

                                            P66 - Jn. 3:2 (leaf 6 verso, line 5): C/B read hO QU [sic!], but the
                                            photo clearly shows the normal hO QS.

                                            P66 - Jn 7:41 regarding ELEGON, 2nd occurrence: note in C/B mentions
                                            first corrector adding ELE supra linea, but fail to notice that 2nd
                                            corrector erased the ELE in that position and inserted it into the main
                                            line of text\ when changing the ALLOI {ELE}GON into OI DE ELEGON.

                                            P66 - Jn 13:23, hO IS -- C/B fail to note that hO is supplied by a
                                            corrector who squeezed it in tightly between HGAPA and IS.

                                            P66 - Jn 13:30 - C/B EXHLQEN in photo appears to be EXELQEIN (sic).

                                            P66 - Jn 13:34, C/B read INA KAI, while photo shows clearly INA K/ (K
                                            with slash as abbreviation for KAI, which C/B normally note with a
                                            specific character).

                                            P46 - Col. 2:1 C/B have EORAKAN TO PROSWPON MOU, while the photo clearly
                                            has EORAKAN MOU TO PROSWPON MOU.

                                            P90 - Jn 19:3 (verso, line 5) C/B have HR]X[ONTO PROS AU, while it should
                                            be HR]X[ON]TO PROS AU, since the photo clearly shows TO PROS AU present.

                                            How many more examples of error in the C/B volume are necessary to
                                            establish the point?

                                            >Perhaps C/B were more focused on the more interesting papyri while
                                            >spending less time on the others. Who knows but them.

                                            Even were this the case (and it isn't, since in line with their theories,
                                            C/B consider all pre-4th century papyri as important and thus
                                            "interesting"), there is no excuse for errors in a book which purports by
                                            its very nature to give an exact transcript of the text of the earliest
                                            MSS of the NT.

                                            >In any event, I do think that Maurice is being a little hard on them.

                                            Hard? I would prefer the terms "fair" and "precise".

                                            >Percentage wise the C/B book contains less scribal errors than most of
                                            >the Byzantine mss---- and yet Maurice seems to have no problem with
                                            them.

                                            Apples and oranges; irrelevant and non-sequitur. The nature of the
                                            aggregate Byzantine Textform has no relation to this point. Were I
                                            intending to produce an exact and accurate transcript of any single
                                            Byzantine MS, it had better be _exact_ or my transcription would lose all
                                            credibility. I would have had precisely the same criticism had C/B
                                            produced a book containing erroneous transcriptions of several
                                            12th-century Byzantine MSS.

                                            >For example- the C/B book contains much more accurate transcriptions
                                            than
                                            >it does inaccurate- but Maurice doe not bother to point these out. In
                                            >fact, the bulk, the vast majority of the book is quite accurate.

                                            I noted that at least 98% of the book was exactly correct. The problem is
                                            that _you_, the reader, has to guess which parts belong to that 98% and
                                            which do not. Without comparison against the photographs or _editio
                                            princeps_, I can not discern which parts are accurate. I do know that
                                            unless I compare every line against some other source, I cannot be
                                            certain at any given point that C/B have reproduced accurately the
                                            precise text of any given MS.

                                            >So perhaps something else is afoot here in Maurice's comments? It is
                                            well known
                                            >that Comfort and Robinson do not see eye to eye...

                                            Unless you have stopped beating your wife, Jim, I would avoid _ad
                                            hominem_ imputation of motives. Most modern eclectics (reasoned and
                                            rigorous) would differ sharply from Comfort's theory, methodology, and
                                            text-critical preferences (which he has espoused strongly in several
                                            previous publications); but all this is irrelevant to the point at issue.


                                            Had this book been _accurate_ (as I had hoped it would from all the
                                            pre-publication blurbs) in those places where I did my initial spot
                                            checks, I would have praised it as strongly as you did initially, and it
                                            would have been a welcome resource for the textual critic of whatever
                                            persuasion. The book instead had egregious errors scattered throughout as
                                            I reported (as well as others such as those listed above which were not
                                            mentioned in my brief comments).

                                            >Certainly it is no dishonor to make errors. Most of us do.

                                            Sorry to differ, but in a work which purports to present an exact
                                            transcript of specific MSS, the errors _do_ matter. The Westcott-Hort
                                            text cannot be used as an exact transcript of Codex Vaticanus, even
                                            though there may only be a few hundred differences between the two,
                                            probably less than 2%..

                                            You wrote to Ulrich,

                                            >My point has been missed. My point is this- the Byzantine family of mss
                                            is,
                                            >on the whole, less reliable than the Alexandrian- just as the majority
                                            of
                                            >Comfort's book is reliable, in spite of the few errors.

                                            > My point in intentionally stating something so clearly inaccurate was
                                            to
                                            > evoke a mental image: if the Byz mss should not all be lumped together
                                            and
                                            > considered inaccurate for a few readings, why should Comfort's book?

                                            Following your analogy, since the Byzantine Textform and the Alexandrian
                                            MSS tend to agree on approximately 90% of their text, you would have no
                                            problem using the Byzantine Textform exclusively for all your research
                                            and study, since for the vast majority of the text we both agree that
                                            100% agreement with the original exists, and a small amount of
                                            "inaccuracy" really doesn't matter, correct? Of course not.

                                            I stand by my initial comments.

                                            ==============================================================
                                            Maurice A. Robinson, Ph. D.
                                            Professor of Greek and New Testament
                                            Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
                                            Wake Forest, North Carolina, USA
                                          • M A Robinson
                                            ... It is not a matter of like , but of facts versus errors. The case obviously becomes cumulative if there are clear errors of fact in the introduction as
                                            Message 21 of 30 , May 21, 1999
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                                              On Thu, 20 May 1999 12:27:26 -0400 Jim West <jwest@...> writes:

                                              >If Bart doesn't like the introduction to the book- why does the rest of
                                              >the book thereby become worthless?

                                              > why should the whole of his book be demonized as useless?

                                              It is not a matter of "like", but of facts versus errors. The case
                                              obviously becomes cumulative if there are clear errors of fact in the
                                              introduction as well as clearly identified errors in the transcriptions.
                                              The errors in the introduction might not nullify the transcriptions, nor
                                              would the errors in the transcriptions nullify the introduction. But when
                                              a pattern of error tends to emerge in both cases, I would have serious
                                              concerns about the accuracy of the whole. To this end Dave Washburn's
                                              concise summary statement is quite well expressed:

                                              >The point is not whether the book has transcriptional errors; the
                                              >point is that we don't know where they are, and a scholar who
                                              >depends on a book with this kind of inaccuracies in it may, and
                                              >probably will, end up with some erroneous conclusions that render
                                              >all his/her work, if not useless, then severely flawed. As a
                                              >researcher who uses reference works profusely, I naturally expect
                                              >those works to have been proofread at least several times, checked
                                              >against the primary sources, and corrected to the highest possible
                                              >accuracy before being released on the unsuspecting research
                                              >community. At the very least I expect an errata page to correct the
                                              >errors that were discovered post-printing. If this hasn't been done
                                              >then, yes, for all practical purposes it does render the book virtually
                                              >unusable, because we don't know where the errors are or how
                                              >badly they are going to affect what we're doing with the book. For
                                              >those of us on a severely limited budget (i.e. me) this kind of book
                                              >with this percentage of transcriptional errors would be, frankly, a
                                              >poor investment.

                                              On a positive note, let me say there are two good uses to which this book
                                              can be put:
                                              (1) It will serve excellently in the classroom as a tool by which to
                                              train beginning collators before they tackle the more
                                              difficult-to-decipher photographs first-hand. The book does reflect the
                                              scribal habits which appear in the MSS themselves, with extra errors from
                                              C/B typical of the same types of scribal blunder. So long as no one uses
                                              the book to make "exact" collations of an ancient MS and then use those
                                              results as sufficient to establish a reading, then no harm will be done
                                              (the danger is that this is precisely what most people will assume the
                                              book is intended for).

                                              (2) Students also can then be asked to collate the text against the
                                              photographs or _editio princeps_ of the various MSS and compile a list of
                                              all the differences between C/B and the actual MSS or editor's original
                                              readings. Eventually this would result in the deisred list of errata
                                              necessary for proper scholarly use of the volume.


                                              ==============================================================
                                              Maurice A. Robinson, Ph. D.
                                              Professor of Greek and New Testament
                                              Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
                                              Wake Forest, North Carolina, USA
                                            • M A Robinson
                                              On Thu, 20 May 1999 15:55:21 -0500 (Central Daylight Time) Prof. Ron ... will ... Thank you for the suggestion, Ron, but I will demur, since there is no time
                                              Message 22 of 30 , May 21, 1999
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                                                On Thu, 20 May 1999 15:55:21 -0500 (Central Daylight Time) "Prof. Ron
                                                Minton" <rminton@...> writes:
                                                >On Thu, 20 May 1999, Jim West wrote:

                                                >Here is a comforting solution: Have Maurice Robinson do a thorough
                                                >critique of the Comfort text and have Baker re-issue it (free to all
                                                >who had to pay something for the trial edition). For his work, which
                                                will
                                                >be as hard as putting together the original text, Baker will split the
                                                >rewards to give Robinson one third.

                                                Thank you for the suggestion, Ron, but I will demur, since there is no
                                                time available for such an extensive project, and insufficient
                                                inclination to do such (though a list of errata may well be limited
                                                enough so as not to become a major publishing burden if issued as a
                                                supplement, should anyone be inclined to compile such) .

                                                I do suspect Baker will _not_ be inclined to offer any free reissues to
                                                anyone, however, especially with a limited and specialist-oriented market
                                                for this book.

                                                ==============================================================
                                                Maurice A. Robinson, Ph. D.
                                                Professor of Greek and New Testament
                                                Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
                                                Wake Forest, North Carolina, USA.
                                              • Robert B. Waltz
                                                ... This brings up the strong suggestion that somebody make up a web site containing these lists of corrections. As noted, the good thing about this volume is
                                                Message 23 of 30 , May 22, 1999
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                                                  On 5/21/99, M A Robinson wrote, in part:

                                                  >(2) Students also can then be asked to collate the text against the
                                                  >photographs or _editio princeps_ of the various MSS and compile a list of
                                                  >all the differences between C/B and the actual MSS or editor's original
                                                  >readings. Eventually this would result in the deisred list of errata
                                                  >necessary for proper scholarly use of the volume.

                                                  This brings up the strong suggestion that somebody make up a web site
                                                  containing these lists of corrections. As noted, the good thing about
                                                  this volume is its compact collection of all the data. By supplying
                                                  a compact collection of errata, we might actually make it useful. :-)
                                                  -*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

                                                  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)
                                                • Carlton Winbery
                                                  Maurice replied to this bit of tripe; ... What we have gotten from Maurice is an informative look at the problems that make a purported exact transcription
                                                  Message 24 of 30 , May 22, 1999
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                                                    Maurice replied to this bit of tripe;
                                                    >>So perhaps something else is afoot here in Maurice's comments? It is
                                                    >well known
                                                    >>that Comfort and Robinson do not see eye to eye...
                                                    >
                                                    >Unless you have stopped beating your wife, Jim, I would avoid _ad
                                                    >hominem_ imputation of motives. Most modern eclectics (reasoned and
                                                    >rigorous) would differ sharply from Comfort's theory, methodology, and
                                                    >text-critical preferences (which he has espoused strongly in several
                                                    >previous publications); but all this is irrelevant to the point at issue.
                                                    >
                                                    What we have gotten from Maurice is an informative look at the problems
                                                    that make a purported "exact transcription" of some important mss useless
                                                    if used by itself in an effort to establish the text. He, as always, cites
                                                    exact evidence and has drawn a clear conclusion from it that cannot be
                                                    ignored. As far as making a list of errata to make the book useful in all
                                                    phases of TC, why should anyone do that? It falls to the authors and
                                                    publishers to furnish such a list if they want us to use their book. If
                                                    anyone were to go to that much trouble, they could more easily publish
                                                    their own book without the weight of the problems in this one.

                                                    Thanks again to Maurice for using his capabilities to inform us all.


                                                    Dr. Carlton L. Winbery
                                                    Foggleman Professor of Religion
                                                    Louisiana College
                                                    winbery@...
                                                    winberyc@...
                                                    Ph. 1 318 448 6103 hm
                                                    Ph. 1 318 487 7241 off
                                                  • Jim West
                                                    ... Carlton has obviously chosen to ignore, for whatever reason, the evidence of Comfort s competence that I have been offering for a bit now. Why? And be
                                                    Message 25 of 30 , May 22, 1999
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                                                      At 03:56 PM 5/22/99 -0500, you wrote:

                                                      >What we have gotten from Maurice is an informative look at the problems
                                                      >that make a purported "exact transcription" of some important mss useless
                                                      >if used by itself in an effort to establish the text. He, as always, cites
                                                      >exact evidence and has drawn a clear conclusion from it that cannot be
                                                      >ignored. As far as making a list of errata to make the book useful in all
                                                      >phases of TC, why should anyone do that? It falls to the authors and
                                                      >publishers to furnish such a list if they want us to use their book. If
                                                      >anyone were to go to that much trouble, they could more easily publish
                                                      >their own book without the weight of the problems in this one.
                                                      >
                                                      >Thanks again to Maurice for using his capabilities to inform us all.
                                                      >

                                                      Carlton has obviously chosen to ignore, for whatever reason, the evidence of
                                                      Comfort's competence that I have been offering for a bit now. Why? And be
                                                      sure, I am not impunging your motives or the like. I am asking an honest
                                                      question. So please answer. What do you make of the places where Comfort
                                                      has accurately transcribed the text? Why dont yo mention those examples?

                                                      Jim

                                                      +++++++++++++++++++++++++
                                                      Jim West, ThD
                                                      email- jwest@...
                                                      web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
                                                    • Vincent Broman
                                                      ... Hash: SHA1 ... The entmp.org site would be a natural, except that it hasn t been maintained for the last few years. I could put stuff up on my WWW site,
                                                      Message 26 of 30 , May 24, 1999
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                                                        Hash: SHA1

                                                        > This brings up the strong suggestion that somebody make up a web site
                                                        > containing these lists of corrections.

                                                        The entmp.org site would be a natural, except that it hasn't been
                                                        maintained for the last few years. I could put stuff up on my
                                                        WWW site, if someone else does the maintainance effort.
                                                        I'm afraid shepherding responsibilities have crowded a number of
                                                        things off my to-do list in the last year.


                                                        Vincent Broman San Diego, California, USA
                                                        Email: broman at sd.znet.com (home) or spawar.navy.mil or nosc.mil (work)
                                                        Phone: +1 619 284 3775 Starship: 32d42m22s N 117d14m13s W
                                                        === PGPv2 protected mail preferred. For public key finger me at np.nosc.mil ===

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                                                        WVvdg8N+lpchOhUhGbrc02c=
                                                        =+z1M
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                                                      • Phil Long
                                                        I am looking at the UBS4 revised text for Acts 17:13, and notice that for the first variant E is cited, and for the third variant E is again cited. Since
                                                        Message 27 of 30 , Oct 27, 1999
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                                                          I am looking at the UBS4 revised text for Acts 17:13, and notice that for the first variant E is
                                                          cited, and for the third variant E is again cited. Since there is no superscription I do not know
                                                          if one is a marginal or corrected reading and the other is the text reading. I realize there are
                                                          two E texts (07 = e / 08 = a), but that not be a factor here. I am not all that familier with E,
                                                          other than whay Aland / Metzgar have to say.

                                                          I looked at a copy of UBS3, and the citation of E does not appear for the first variant. Can anyone
                                                          explain why UBS4 has E cited twice?

                                                          Phillip J. Long
                                                          Asst. Prof. Bible & Greek
                                                          Grace Bible College
                                                          Grand Rapids, MI
                                                        • Robert B. Waltz
                                                          ... There is only one manuscript E extant for Acts; it s E/08. The reason it s cited twice is simple: It s a typographical error. :-) According to NA27, the
                                                          Message 28 of 30 , Oct 27, 1999
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                                                            On 10/27/99, Phil Long wrote:

                                                            >I am looking at the UBS4 revised text for Acts 17:13, and notice that for the first variant E is
                                                            >cited, and for the third variant E is again cited. Since there is no superscription I do not know
                                                            >if one is a marginal or corrected reading and the other is the text reading. I realize there are
                                                            >two E texts (07 = e / 08 = a), but that not be a factor here. I am not all that familier with E,
                                                            >other than whay Aland / Metzgar have to say.
                                                            >
                                                            >I looked at a copy of UBS3, and the citation of E does not appear for the first variant. Can anyone
                                                            >explain why UBS4 has E cited twice?

                                                            There is only one manuscript E extant for Acts; it's E/08. The reason it's
                                                            cited twice is simple: It's a typographical error. :-)

                                                            According to NA27, the correct reading of E is the short reading
                                                            tous oclous. In other words, it has the Byzantine reading, not the
                                                            Alexandrian.

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

                                                            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)
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