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Re: tc-list The ultimate goal of textual criticism

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  • Dave Washburn
    ... Since both are codices and somewhat fragmentary, I m not sure we can say with absolute confidence that these gospels are all the actual codices ever
    Message 1 of 40 , Sep 5, 1999
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      Bob Waltz wrote:
      > First off, let's please distinguish between gospels and Paul. The gospels
      > were clearly intended for publication; even if only one or two copies
      > were made of AMk, the hope was still that it would be disseminated.
      >
      > And the Gospels *did* achieve independent circulation. P66 contained
      > only John. P75 contained only Luke and John. It is likely that many of
      > the other gospel papyri contained only one gospel.

      Since both are codices and somewhat fragmentary, I'm not sure we
      can say with absolute confidence that these gospels are all the
      actual codices ever contained. True, it is possible that some
      manuscripts only contained one or two gospels; the question then
      becomes "why?"

      > In Paul, the situation is completely different. The documents were
      > for public use, yes, but had a particular destination. They weren't
      > intended for actual *publication.* It wasn't until they were collected
      > that an actual public edition seems to have been contemplated. To
      > the best of my knowledge, there is only *one* Pauline manuscript which
      > can be shown to have contained only a single book of the Pauline
      > corpus: P13. And that's a double special case, because P13 is a
      > scroll and Hebrews was a disputed book. There is no evidence that,
      > say, Galatians was ever published separately. (Note the term
      > *published.*)

      I don't see how this has anything to do with the question. What
      you're actually saying is that the paulines in fact did have
      autographs. Also, the last part of Colossians indicates that Paul
      intended his letters to be circulated at least somewhat, which
      sounds an awful lot like "publication" of a sort to me. If the
      commentaries are correct that Ephesians was a cyclical letter,
      surely Paul would have assumed the churches to whom it was
      circulated would have made copies and likely disseminated them.
      That also sounds a lot like publication. It would appear then, that
      the matter is not nearly as cut-and-dried as Bob wants to make it.

      > Thus every manuscript of the gospels presumably goes back to a
      > single stopping point. (It may not be the autograph, because it
      > could, say, be taken from a scribe's fair copy of Mark's autograph.
      > But it is a stopping point consisting of Mark only.)
      >
      > In Paul, in all likelihood, there is no such "single stopping point"
      > for each book. The common starting point is *not* the autograph of
      > Romans and the autograph of 1 Corinthians and the autograph of
      > 2 Corinthians (the last of which never even actually existed). It
      > is the manuscript in which they were all assembled. Or, at least,
      > this is a reasonable assumption.

      How is it reasonable? The fact that the letters were ultimately
      assembled has nothing to do with the question of autographs, at
      least not as far as I can see. The goal of TC is still to discover
      exactly what was in those autographs, so I'm not sure I see the
      point here.

      > I don't know how we can "prove" this textually. But there is always
      > that first disseminated document. Which may or may not be the
      > autograph. And if it is *not* the autograph, we have no way to
      > move beyond it except by emendation.

      But there may be a difference between a first disseminated
      document and an autograph. Suppose Paul sent 1 Corinthians to
      its recipients with the goal of its ultimately being read by other
      people and churches as well. Someone in that church takes it and
      makes a copy to send to the Christians in the next town, but to
      save space or whatever he uses nomina sacra where Paul had
      spelled things out. Is this the first disseminated document, or is
      the letter as it came from Paul? I would argue for the latter, and
      include the former in the textual history of the letter. I don't see
      how we can look at it any other way.

      > Functionally, it's like (say) Beowulf. There is *one* copy.
      > All we can do is reconstruct that copy as best we can, and then
      > decide whether to emend from there.
      >
      > I get the feeling this bothers people. It shouldn't. If you think
      > of it from a church standpoint, you're reconstructing the work
      > the church canonized. It didn't canonize 2 Corinthians 8; it
      > canonized *Paul*. And if you look at it from a secular standpoint,
      > or when examining a secular book, well, you're reconstructing
      > an actual edition.

      Again, I don't see the point. The church canonized a certain
      corpus of letters it determined to be from Paul, but that has little or
      nothing to do with the quest for the autographs as he originally sent
      them out. (Incidentally, the form-critical stuff about 2 Corinthians is
      open to fierce and heated debate, but it's secondary and I won't
      pursue it.) Reconstructing an edition is well and good if that's what
      you want to do, but the goal of TC is still supposed to be the text of
      the autograph as it came from the author's hand.

      > And the earliest known edition, be it added. If it isn't the
      > autograph, it's as close as you can get.

      How do you know? If the earliest known edition is what was
      canonized in the fourth century and we have some copies that are
      earlier than that, then it would seem that we have a fairly good
      chance, at least in places, of getting at least 2 centuries closer to
      the autograph than the earliest known edition. I really don't see the
      logic here.

      > This isn't new, either. Remember, Lachmann set out to reconstruct
      > the fourth century text, not the original text....

      That was Lachmann's problem, not mine.

      Dave Washburn
      http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur
      "Ich veranlassenarbeitenworken mein Mojo."
    • Maurice A. Robinson
      On Mon, 20 Sep 1999 20:38:02 -0500 Robert B. Waltz ... But it makes us feel good. :-) ... Agreed, you did not. But it seems an either/or hypothesis. If all
      Message 40 of 40 , Sep 22, 1999
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        On Mon, 20 Sep 1999 20:38:02 -0500 "Robert B. Waltz"
        <waltzmn@...> writes:

        >[ ...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 was
        >dominant at an early date.

        Agreed, you did not. But it seems an either/or hypothesis. If all texts
        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 the
        >assumption is that they would, even though different areas might have
        local texts
        >that were practically identical), and if all but one of those areas
        >were wiped out, we would expect that local text to become dominant.

        But how would this be accomplished _quickly_ under the slow "process"
        view of transmission?

        >Thus, one would expect the local text-type of Byzantium to be the
        >dominant one in later centuries. Doesn't matter what its earlier
        >history was.

        Except that one hardly has to wait till the 12th century to find this
        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,
        >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. :-)

        Certainly. But I was talking transmission and neither archetype nor
        autograph.

        >The following example refers specifically to Sinai, but it could
        >be anywhere....
        >
        >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.

        So far as I know, all extant MSS were copied from older exemplars. :-)
        _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 by
        >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?

        Wait a minute -- first you have to explain how those isolated Sinai monks
        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 the
        >Kx manuscript.

        Actually, 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 widespread
        >*even in a place where the Byzantine text wasn't originally dominant.*

        If so, then what precisely did the Arab conquest damage in regard to MS
        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. But
        >one can't argue from Byzantine manuscripts (and not all recent
        >manuscripts at Sinai are Byzantine!) that the Byzantine text was
        >dominant there.

        The Byz MSS do dominate the collection at Sinai, as well as at Jerusalem.
        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 admit
        >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
        >foundation....

        There are histories, but separating pious tradition from actual fact
        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
        points.

        ==============================================
        Maurice A. Robinson
        Professor of NT and Greek
        Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
        Wake Forest, North Carolina
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