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Re: tc-list Reply to Parker's review

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  • DC PARKER
    Having been away since the beginning of August, I have only just read this reply. I am disappointed to note that Dr Comfort brushes aside two of my three major
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 2, 1999
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      Having been away since the beginning of August, I have only just
      read this reply.

      I am disappointed to note that Dr Comfort brushes aside two of my
      three major complaints in the last paragraph. Particularly, he treats my
      criticism of the lack of dots as though it were of no consequence. He
      also overlooks the fact that I have been able to indicate that he
      reproduces typographical errors of the editiones principes - such as in
      P22. On the other hand, I am pleased to see in the reply a list of MSS
      which they had actually studied.

      However, I have had my say about all that in the review, and have no
      intention of repeating myself.

      I am also disappointed that Comfort chooses to attack the IGNTP
      John papyrus volume, of which I was a co-editor, in this rather
      adversarial context, apparently in the conviction that attack is the best
      form of defence. Even if the IGNTP volume is atrocious, Comfort's
      work is not therby any better.

      He has chosen to make a long list of errors in IGNTP. As editor of
      that, rather than as reviewer of Comfort's book, I reply to his
      comments.

      > But before I proceed with an item-by-item critique, I need to make
      some > general criticisms about the IGNTP volume. First, the IGNTP's
      > reconstructions of where there are lacunae in the papyri are more
      often > than not filled in with wording from the Textus Receptus.

      That is partly true. Indeed, since I made this observation in a private
      communication to Dr Comfort, I can even claim precedence over him in
      the discovery of the fact. But the phrase 'more often than not' is an
      exaggeration. We usually changed the TR to fit the line length
      available and what the papyrus might have read, in orthography and
      abbreviations. It is just that we miscalculated in a couple of places.

      > Second, the IGNTP editors provided transliterations of
      manuscripts as > they recently saw them in either manuscript form or
      in photograph form. > This prompted them to disagree with the
      {i}editio principes{xi} of nearly > every manuscript...

      We discussed this extensively in committee as a matter of principal
      and as editors with regard to every witness. Sometimes, we felt that
      earlier editors had been too sanguine in what they could read at the
      edge. Sometimes, we did supply missing bits - see e.g. P60. But we
      felt that it was our duty to record what WE could see, not what other
      people had seen. The whole point of the notes, indicating all our
      departures from earlier editors, is that IT ALLOWS THE USERS TO
      MAKE UP THEIR OWN MINDS.

      > Third, the format for P66 and P75 in the IGNTP volume has
      several > problems. There is no or little representation of punctuation,
      nomina > sacra are scarse (this is important when showing
      corrections), > explanations of corrections in P66 are extremely difficult
      to follow, and > there is no indication of line lengths (cf. B. Aland's
      work). By > contrast, the {i}Complete Text{xi} has a format that is
      reader-friendly, > with thorough explanations of corrections in
      marginal notes.

      We only provided a collation of P66 and P75, not a transcription.
      Since our apparatus does not contain nomina sacra except where
      necessary (e.g. 19.25 DEF for P66), or punctuation, this is factually so,
      but not a problem. With regard to indications of line length, our
      apparatus indicates the number of letters in a lacuna, without restoring
      the text - so we do show the available space.


      > And now--on to the items.
      >
      > 15. For P5
      >
      > In John 1:34, their text reads O UIOS TOU QU instead of O
      EKLEKTOS TOU QU > -- the only reading that fits the line length and
      the reading first > proposed by Grenfell and Hunt (see also NA27)
      >

      Yes, this is a place where we put in the TR, and I think it's wrong.

      > In John 16:15, their text reads UMI instead of UMEI -- the letter
      before > the iota could not be a mu; it must be an eta (cf. the scribe's
      spelling > of the same word, appearing three times in 16:20--it always
      has EI)
      >

      We disagreed with the ed. pr. view of this very difficult line. To say
      the letter before > the iota could not be a mu; it must be an eta
      is far too confident. On balance, we felt happier with our reading.

      > In John 16:17, their text mistakenly reads EN TWN MAQHTWN,
      when it should > read EK TWN MAQHTWN
      >
      Yes, that's right. We'd spotted that one too.

      > In John 16:20, they missed the correction on LUPHQH --I think we
      got it > right, but it needs more research.
      >
      That puzzled us until after the volume came out. But we accept that
      there is a correction there.

      > In John 16:23, their text adds OTI OSA against Grenfell and Hunt's
      text
      > and against the space of the line length
      >
      No - this line length is still possible.

      > In John 16:25, their text misses the apostrophus (or hook) between
      the > double gammas of APAG'GELW --an important feature for dating
      manuscripts, > according to Turner.
      >
      We don't "mis" it. We don't think it's there.


      > In John 20:11, their text fills in the lacuna with TR's MNHMEION
      with no
      > ancient manuscript support, contra MNHMEIW.
      >
      This isn't a space question, so we are consistent.

      > In John 20:12, their text says that there are three lines missing--there
      > are only two (see our transcription).
      >
      I think that a confusion arose in my own mind, counting from the
      extant tau onwards in the previous line. Two must be right.

      > In John 20:14, an article is added before IHS from the TR, with no
      > ancient MSS support.
      >
      Again, no space question.

      > In John 20:15, EQHKAS AUTON comes from the TR, with no
      ancient manuscript
      > support.
      >
      Ditto

      >
      > 16. For P22
      >
      > In John 15:26, IGNTP text has PRS for the nomen sacrum, but the
      scribe > wrote PS -- there is no room for a rho, and the scribe penned a
      very > broad pi (see next line in photograph)--we did not make a
      mistake here, > as Parker posited.
      >
      Disagree. It's a hard papyrus, which we had a good look at, and I'm as
      confident as is reasonable that we're right.

      > In 16:1, we followed ed. pr. but now think IGNTP is probably right in
      > reconstructing it as SKAND]ALISQHTE
      >
      There's no doubt about this one. As I wrote, ed. pr. and Comfort
      reading is a typo.

      > In 16:28, we will fix the bracketing on the nomen sacrum for PATROS.
      >
      > In spite of their explanation, their reconstruction of the lines of P22
      > is very misleading. There is no way the scribe would have left so
      many > words unfinished at the end of the right margin. They should
      have > reconsctructed it the way we did, following ed. pr.
      >
      We don't know where the lines began, because there are no margins.
      Our solution was simply to put the beginning of what survives as the
      beginning of a line. we state this in a note on page 41!

      > 17. For P28
      > In John 6:8-9, the word ESTI is lacking a final nu. The same line is
      > reconstructed with EN WDE from the TR.

      Fits the available space, so consistent.

      Furthermore, the editors of IGNTP > show their mistrust of Grenfell
      and Hunt's reconstruction of letters > running along the margin--see,
      for example, the extant text at the end of > l. 17, beginning of l. 19, end
      of l. 22 in the IGNTP text and cf. ed. pr. > , which was followed by CT.
      Thus, IGNTP has at least three errors here.
      >
      Don't understand. Does Comfort refer to recto or verso? Anyway,
      see above on reading what we could see.

      > 18. For P39
      > I am baffled why the IGNTP editors would disagree with the ed. pr.
      of > this manuscript eight times! But, again, most of these come from
      their > mistrust of the original readings done by Grenfell and Hunt,
      especially > in places where the manuscript has pieces chipped off
      and/or is broken > along the margins. This accounts for seven errors
      in the IGNTP as I see > it--all involving the moving of a bracket (see
      the differences they note > between IGNTP and ed. pr. and cf. CT,
      which follows ed. pr.). Several of
      > these letters still show: the alpha of ELALHSEN (8:20),

      No alpha there - Comfort has misread a mark as ink.

      the epsilon of > EPIASEN (8:20),

      Ditto

      and the tau of TH (8:21).

      We decided that couldn't be ink either - compare the strands of
      papyrus with the photo of the verso!

      Overall, we felt that the first editor had read letters that weren't there
      rather often -hence our 'baffling" number of disagreements with him.

      > In 8:14, they used TR to reconstruct line with ERCOMAI KA]I
      versus H as > found in ed. pr. and CT.
      >
      Seemed O.K. to us - see above.

      > Parker is right: we need to move the bracket one letter on ELEGON
      >
      > 19. For P45
      > In John 4:52, the IGNTP text is reconstructed using TR: KAI EIPO]N
      OTI > E[CQES --this differs from CT, 174.
      >
      No space problem.

      > Concerning John 11:32 and 54, this will call for more research.
      >
      Why? If Dr Comfort wants to go to Dublin and pay my air fare to join
      him, I'll show him.

      >
      > We were very reluctant to reconstruct the beginning and ending
      lines of
      > folio 17, recto and verso, because there are only the very slightest
      > tracings of letters there--the reconstruction in the IGNTP is very
      > daring.

      No it's not - I'm confident that we got this right. I couldn't understand
      why Kenyon ignored them.
      >

      > 20. For P52
      >
      > In John 18:38, the word ECHLQE in IGNTP is lacking final nu.

      = TR
      >
      > Parker's other comments about two readings in P52 are debatable.
      >
      Actually, I'm confident about these two.

      > 24--29. For P66 and P66c
      >
      > In the IGNTP reconstruction of the text of P66, the editors
      designated
      > hundreds of lacuna for portions of text that come up to the margin of
      the
      > page...

      Again, note that we went with what we could see

      There follows a long list of suggested corrections to IGNTP collations
      of P66 and P75. It is too long to go through quickly, and so I sahll nor
      reply to them here.

      I am baffled why Dr Comfort failed to point some of these things out
      when he was working on P66 for IGNTP. Perhaps he only found them
      out later.

      > 31-40. Parker asserted that he would be pretty worried if anyone
      could > point to half a dozen clear errors in the IGNTP transcription of
      the
      > Johannine papyri. Well, the truth of the matter is that the IGNTP
      volume
      > has a multitude of errors.

      I refute that. I accept a couple of places where there is an oversight of
      a correction in P5, but nobody has yet found an error in any of our
      transcriptions of what is IN a papyrus. Comfort has listed a multitude
      of objections above, but in every place except the P5 correction which
      I have mentioned, and some restorations and ancillary material, there
      is no error on our part. Every reading which he criticises is the
      product of deliberate reflection. I cannot of course speak for his
      animadversion on P66 and P75 until I have studied them.

      > We would urge a second, corrected printing of the Johannine papyri
      in the > IGNTP

      We intend to provide a list of errata in the majuscule volume.

      We would urge the IGNTP editors to rethink
      > their disagreements with the original editors of several (though not
      all)
      > of the manuscripts,
      to make use of Aland's work, and to display P66 and
      > P75 with nomina sacra and punctuation.

      We are happy to stay with our policy of printing what we see. We
      have no intention of making a transcription of P66 or P75. We will deal
      later with the criticisms concerning P66.


      The ultimate goal is to provide as
      > accurate as possible transcriptions of the Greek NT manuscripts to
      aid
      > the work of NT textual criticism.

      No, our ultimate goal is a critical edition of John's Gospel.

      > Finally, we think it is very disheartening that Parker
      essentially asks > us to give up on this project. Why? Because he
      posits that it has errors > and will always have errors because of the
      process involved in producing > it.

      If you look closely at my review, you will see that that is not what I
      said. I expect that it is disheartening, but reviewers are supposed to
      express what they consider to be accurate and fair opinions.


      DR DC PARKER
      READER IN NEW TESTAMENT TEXTUAL CRITICISM AND PALAEOGRAPHY
      DEPT OF THEOLOGY
      UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM
      TEL. 0121-414 3613
      FAX 0121-414 6866
      E-MAIL D.C.PARKER@.BHAM.AC.UK
    • Stephen C. Carlson
      ... [...] ... I would agree that the lack of dots is a serious concern about the book, and I am not entirely satisfied that publishing difficulties should
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 2, 1999
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        At 11:34 AM 8/5/99 -0500, Barrett, David wrote:
        >Recently, Dr. D. C. Parker presented a review of {i}The Complete Text of
        >the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts{xi} (hereafter referred to as CT),
        >editors Philip Comfort and David Barrett, for the online TC journal.
        [...]
        >11. We were told by our publishers before the project began that they did
        >not want to place dots beneath uncertain letters. We explain this in the
        >introduction.

        At 12:29 PM 9/2/99 GMT, DC PARKER wrote:
        >I am disappointed to note that Dr Comfort brushes aside two of my
        >three major complaints in the last paragraph. Particularly, he treats my
        >criticism of the lack of dots as though it were of no consequence.

        I would agree that the lack of dots is a serious concern about the
        book, and I am not entirely satisfied that publishing difficulties
        should prevent any presentation of this information, even though
        the preferred form of placing dots under the letters is not
        available. For example, if it is possible to use both bold and
        normal print, then the bold print can be used for letters without
        dots and the normal print for letters with dots or lacunae.

        Although I do not doubt that the decision not to include the
        underdots was driven by the publishers, not the editors, I am
        not entirely convinced that "Publishing constraints required
        their omission from the outset" (p. 15) is really the case for
        technical reasons, because the printed text includes overbars
        for the nomina sacra. I do not understand why the publishers
        would refuse the underdots but allow the overbars; they seem
        equally feasible.

        Stephen Carlson
        --
        Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
        Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
        "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
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