Re: tc-list The ultimate goal of textual criticism
- It seems to me that the basic issue is that textual criticism can only
answer relative questions (reading A is to be preferred to reading B), but
questions about the nature of autographs or archetypes are at least framed
in absolute terms (reading X is the best/original/most ancient reading).
This takes us back to the question of whether we would be able to
recognize an autograph if we had it. It seems to me that, at best, we
would be able to say it is the best version of the text available to us,
but that is all. Of course, there is the criterion of stability: to what
extent does further research additional manuscript finds, etc. lead us to
revise a give reading? Thus, I can imagine a kind of a convergence
criterion, but there is no a priori reason to suspect that readings will
converge to a common archetype in anything like a gradual fashion, so we
are left with relative weightings, after all.
gjw@... / http://www.wnetc.com/home.html
"A faith which destroys reason destroys itself and the humanity of man."
- On Mon, 20 Sep 1999 20:38:02 -0500 "Robert B. Waltz"
>[ ...Lots of nice agreement, not that that helps any :-)... ]But it makes us feel good. :-)
>I'm missing something here. I never said that *any* text-type wasAgreed, you did not. But it seems an either/or hypothesis. If all texts
>dominant at an early date.
were local in nature, then how would dominance be rapidly achieved, even
with the Arab conquest, since an amalgam of "local text" MSS should have
dominated the Empire if there was no one dominant text. Even allowing the
Arab conquest to remove two or three "localities," this would not under
normal transmissional processes wipe out the otherwise-extant amalgam
permeating the remainder of the Empire in such a way as to allow the
rapid growth and dominance of a single remaining local text.
>But I maintain that, *if* all areas had a local text (and thelocal texts
>assumption is that they would, even though different areas might have
>that were practically identical), and if all but one of those areasBut how would this be accomplished _quickly_ under the slow "process"
>were wiped out, we would expect that local text to become dominant.
view of transmission?
>Thus, one would expect the local text-type of Byzantium to be theExcept that one hardly has to wait till the 12th century to find this
>dominant one in later centuries. Doesn't matter what its earlier
dominance already existing. Basically the history after the 10th century
is irrelevant to the point.
>One could even make an Old Testament analogy. Prior to the Flood,Certainly. But I was talking transmission and neither archetype nor
>most people were not descended from Noah. After it, if one believes
>the Biblical account, they all were descended from Noah. Doesn't
>mean Noah was the first man, just the first man to survive. Archetype,
>not autograph. :-)
>The following example refers specifically to Sinai, but it couldSo far as I know, all extant MSS were copied from older exemplars. :-)
>This is where data on manuscript origins would be really interesting.
>However, I believe that you are making an unwitting assumption here.
>The assumption being that most manuscripts were copied from old
>exemplars. The evidence seems to indicate, if anything, the contrary.
_How_ old is another question, but they still are all in a line of
transmission which stretches back for centuries. The problem is reflected
in the Lake, Blake, and New study of the MSS at Sinai, Jerusalem, and
Athos, which was somewhat frustrating to them since they saw no real
signs of genealogical connection between the existing MSS preserved in
each individual location (whether they were overly-pessimistic on this
point is another matter). This implied clearly that the lines of
transmission stemmed from what were apparently earlier exemplars which
similarly preserved their relative genealogical autonomy, even within a
basic Byzantine Textform. How far back this relative autonomy went, of
course, no one knows.
>So suppose someone showed up from Constantinople (not impossible byWait a minute -- first you have to explain how those isolated Sinai monks
>any means, even *after* the Arab conquest; immigration controls are
>a modern invention) with a nice fancy new manuscript of the Kx
>recension, in this beautiful minuscule script, with accents and
>breathings and spaces between words and Eusebian apparatus and all
>that great stuff. And your alternative is to copy from something
>like Sinaiticus, and try to add the accents yourself, and figure
>out what all those correctors wrote. Which do you pick?
who were totally used to uncial MSS became attracted to and adopted the
minuscule script (which only arises relative to NT MSS in the 8th
century), long after the Muslim conquest of that region. And what would
make them decide to abandon their centuries-long practice of copying in
uncials (which for those who used such were _easier_ to read than
minuscule (ask modern student collators), just as later on the minuscule
became easier to read than uncial for those trained in such). And why
would they use an upstart "new" MS of (say) Kx type as the basis for all
their new copying endeavors when it differed so radically from what they
had been supposedly been used to for centuries? Tradition is a difficult
thing to overcome, but with a change of script added as well, it would
seem well-nigh impossible.
>Unless you're an early version of Hort, you're likely to pick theActually, I think the Sinai monks might well have been early versions of
Hort, and would prefer the older uncials to which they had been used
rather than any "new" and upstart differing text, especially assuming
relative isolation caused by the Arab conquest as a preserving factor
within their tradition.
>So texts of this type could easily become widespreadIf so, then what precisely did the Arab conquest damage in regard to MS
>*even in a place where the Byzantine text wasn't originally dominant.*
transmission? Are you suggesting that MSS of a given texttype could flow
_in_ to the isolated areas, but that those of a different texttype would
not flow _out_?
>Now this is just a hypothetical; I don't know what happened. ButThe Byz MSS do dominate the collection at Sinai, as well as at Jerusalem.
>one can't argue from Byzantine manuscripts (and not all recent
>manuscripts at Sinai are Byzantine!) that the Byzantine text was
Whether such dominance existed from ancient times is a different matter,
but quite clearly the Byztxt was dominant in those locations for most of
the time following the Arab conquest.
>For that matter -- where and when was Sinai founded? I will admitThere are histories, but separating pious tradition from actual fact
>that I don't know. But I doubt it was founded from Alexandria. That's
>not based on textual theories; it's based on the fact that Egyptian
>monks tended to go into the desert, not to Sinai, to meditate.
>Sinai seems, from what little I know, to have been a Byzantine
might be difficult.
Probably no real reason to reject at least the Justinian-era foundation
for some form of monastic activity in that area, and (if various
traditions be correct) it may be likely that those MSS (including Aleph)
which were found in that monastery may well have been there from close to
the time they were written. But again, all is speculation on these
Maurice A. Robinson
Professor of NT and Greek
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina