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tc-list Fwd: POxy655 again

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  • Bruce Prior
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    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31, 1999
      >From: "Craig A. Evans" <evans@...>
      >To: "Bruce Prior" <n7rr@...>
      >Subject: POxy655 again
      >31 August 1999
      >I heard Jim Robinson's presentation in Helsinki/Lahti, at the 1999
      >International SBL meeting in July. He discussed this alleged original
      >reading, preserved in POxy655 and apparently attested in the original form
      >of Codex Sinaiticus. He sees it as further evidence of a primitive cluster
      >of early Q tradition. POxy655 attests, Robinson believes, a "scribal error"
      >in Q, which has now been carried over into Matthew and Luke. The original
      >reading of Sinaiticus, so Robinson's proposal goes, harks back to the
      >original form of the saying, later corrupted in the copies of Q used by the
      >Matthean and Lukan evangelists.
      >I have at least four problems with Robinson's published studies (which he
      >mentions in the email and which are duly noted in the footnotes of the 1999
      >HTR article): (1) Not one of the key letters for the proposed "they do not
      >card" is actual visible in POxy655. Therefore, it is an overstatement to
      >claim that this reading is attested by this papyrus. The reading is
      >certainly possible, but it is far from certain. (2) Robinson implies that
      >scholars have been irresponsible in neglecting POxy655's important
      >contribution to the question of the original reading of Q. I don't think
      >so; several studies have appeared, beginning with Bartlet's 1905 study
      >(which Robinson refers to, almost dismissively) and including studies by
      >Robert Kraft, Joseph Fitzmyer, and others. (3) Robinson's HTR article
      >leaves one with the impression that T.C. Skeat's ultra-violet study of the
      >variants (and particularly erasures) of Sinaiticus is recent news. It is
      >not; Skeat published his findings in 1938. (4) Finally, in my opinion
      >Robinson makes a great deal of weight rest on a reading that is in fact not
      >clearly attested. A whole series of conclusions are drawn from what might
      >not actually be the reading of POxy655. In the end, Robinson could be
      >correct on all points: that POxy655 does support "they do not card," that
      >Sinaiticus does attest this reading, that it is the original reading of Q
      >later corrupted in the editions utilized by Matthew and Luke, and that this
      >is further evidence of the existence of a written Q, which also contains
      >primitve clusters of material. However, I think it is important that
      >readers, especially nonexperts, realize just how tenuous this whole line of
      >reasoning is. Robinson speaks with more confidence and assurance than the
      >ambiguous and fragmentary evidence warrants.
      >One last point, Robinson's reference to "right wing charlatans," who from
      >time to time argue for a first-century date of NT papyri, is unkind and
      >discourteous. He is of course referring to Carsten Peter Thiede who has
      >argued that P64 (the Magdalene Papyrus) dates to 70 AD (and he may also
      >have in mind Jose O'Callahan who argued similar with reference to 7Q5 as a
      >fragment of Mark). Whether one agrees with Thiede or not (and I don't), I
      >don't think that makes him a charlatan.
      >I have begun writing an article covering some of these points. I should
      >finish it in a few weeks. Where I submit it I have not decided yet.
      >If you want to circulate this note, you have my permission.
      >Craig A. Evans, Director
      >Graduate Program in Biblical Studies
      >Trinity Western University
      >Langley, British Columbia
      >Craig A. Evans, Director
      >Graduate Program in Biblical Studies
      >Trinity Western University
      >Langley, British Columbia

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