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tc-list Comments on the MT

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  • Mr. Gary S. Dykes
    Associates, MT (not Masoretic Text) editions (H&F Hodges and Farstad , and the P&R Pierpont and M. Robinson texts) are useful for a variety of reasons, but
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 2, 1999
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      Associates,

      MT (not Masoretic Text) editions (H&F "Hodges and Farstad", and the P&R
      "Pierpont and M. Robinson" texts) are useful for a variety of reasons, but
      both lack solid apparatuses. The P&R text presents itself as the result of a
      "carefully-constructed theory of textual transmission, remaining within
      normal text-critical practice and principles." (page xli from the P&R intro.
      Further the editors claim that their text is the culmination of "over a half
      century" of research and studies (page liv). Thus they base, apparently,
      their labors upon their predecessors (Burgon, Scrivener, Pickering, et al).
      Perhaps guilty of "fame via association"! Burgon's works and Scrivener's
      were normally both heavily validated with excessive references to the actual
      MSS, these direct source observations supported their theories. The P&R
      editors claim to build upon these theories, assuming that they are in
      concord with their predecessors. (Or that they WERE in concord).

      The H&R editors present their work as "a contribution" (page xliii) to the
      ongoing MT studies. A small apparatus is given, which basically is designed
      to show the contrasts between the "MT" MSS and the other MSS (notably the
      "Egyptian MSS").

      Both works are also valuable because we find in their introductions their
      basic philosophies laid out, at least their philosophies back when they
      wrote their introductions.
      As all students of the Greek NT will note, the lack of witnesses for the P&R
      edition leaves the whole text as an unknown, as far as certainty is
      concerned. The user is simply told that the text agrees with a "majority" of
      later MSS. Editorial responsibility was also sidestepped when the editors
      chose not to include breathings and accents or punctuation marks. But they
      do show word divisions, and chapter divisions, kind of an odd methodology. I
      am not saying it is bad, just odd.

      Again I find both volumes useful, but not for establishing the text (though
      the H&F edition does present a few variants). Since both works exhibit their
      basic textual philosophies, we readers can analyze these, and learn from and
      modify them, if desired. As Waltz (and many others) has pointed out, a good
      in-depth analysis of the Byzantine text-type needs to be forwarded. I
      believe this is happening in several ways.

      The IGNTP uses numerous MT minuscules in its apparatus (of LUKE). Of its 128
      continuous text manuscripts, there appears to be roughly speaking, about 30
      solid "MT type" minuscules and uncials used, though this is just a quick
      estimate. Reuben Swanson's 6 volumes (Matthew through Galatians) uses
      numerous "MT type" witnesses as well. Any good student can thus view and
      organize data presented in these works. I realize this is only a slow
      beginning, but any evaluation of a text-type MUST begin from the sources,
      the various manuscripts involved. Texts without sufficient apparatuses
      cannot give the needed evidence, including the NA editions, which only show
      a few variants of some MSS occasionally.

      Von Soden's work needs to be translated into English, but his work on the MT
      (his K groups) was largely based upon his observing of external criteria,
      that is the liturgical apparatuses, and some basic "identifiers" such as the
      Johannine comma. I may be wrong, but it seems that he did not fully base his
      categorizing of the K groups solely upon their textual variation/agreements.
      If so, this needs to be done, which is what the IGNTP provides and Swanson's
      work also does.

      My own work on I Corinthians, gives (probably excessively) ample room for
      the "MT type" witnesses. Of the 16 chapters and standard 437 verses of I
      Corinthians, I have (and am still doing the research) analyzed for each MS
      used, over 230 variations in the Greek text of the thousands of variants
      which are noted. Analysis also is being done on the breathing and accents in
      the later MSS, as well as much study of the possible provenances of each
      witness. Codicological data is also being examined (at least as much as a
      film can exhibit, though I have actually worked with one actual parchment
      MS). Each witness used is introduced, and intensely analyzed in the
      introduction to the Greek and English texts. Including the evidence from MSS
      of 4 versions.

      Such detailed attention, is not practical for most editions of a complete
      Greek NT, just the introduction for my work on I Corinthians contains over
      250 pages, the text adds an additional 350 pages (the actual text and
      translation with detailed apparatuses). I try to also include images, and
      all charts of statistics are fully printed (thanks to Excel). But for me
      personally the work is of great import. When done I will have my own
      personal in-depth aid to the text of I Corinthians. I also did Romans and I
      and II Thessalonians, in earlier "practice" works. Once I possess a good,
      fully verified text, I can then share my faith with authority and
      confidence, which partial or haphazard apparatuses cannot generate. Though
      I am only using about 60 Greek witnesses, they are a carefully chosen
      reflection of various time periods and manuscripts from various geographical
      locales and known text-types. My collations are all original, not based upon
      the work of others. Swanson and I have coordinated our efforts to a certain
      degree, we use many of the same witnesses (in the Pauline corpus). Thus
      these manuscripts will be exposed in two editions (at least of the Pauline
      corpus), and can be better evaluated for accuracy. I have also tried to use
      a number of manuscripts which have never been used before in any known Greek
      texts. And I have supplied Reuben with several of them for his next exciting
      project, which I am not at liberty to disclose.

      Slowly but surely the MT type MSS will become known entities, not some
      mysterious letters in a Kr (et cetera) group. I am aware that V. Dearing is
      still deep into his work, and C. Osborn of Texas is hopefully still at work,
      these scholars and others potentially offer more optimism for better textual
      clarifications. I hope my research makes a contribution. I know that
      numerous MSS have been made known, especially via the collations of
      Scrivener, Hoskier, Lake and several others. It is well known that the
      Nestle editions practically ignore the "MT type" witnesses, and their
      collations of them are not detailed enough, as they often just select a few
      predetermined test passages. Thus, they too sidestep some editorial
      responsibility, but this is in complete agreement with their known
      philosophy of the various text-types and their values. They do give a
      variety of evidences supporting their favored text, which can only be seen
      by using a variety of their "supplemental" publications, not truly in just
      their handbook editions.

      at your service,
      Mr. Gary S. Dykes yhwh3in1@...
    • Maurice A. Robinson
      On Sat, 2 Oct 1999 03:54:57 -0700 Mr. Gary S. Dykes writes: [re:] ... century of research and studies (page liv). Thus they base,
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 12, 1999
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        On Sat, 2 Oct 1999 03:54:57 -0700 "Mr. Gary S. Dykes"
        <yhwh3in1@...> writes:

        [re:]
        >the P&R "Pierpont and M. Robinson" texts

        > the editors claim that their text is the culmination of "over a half
        century" of research >and studies (page liv). Thus they base, apparently,
        their labors upon their >predecessors (Burgon, Scrivener, Pickering, et
        al).

        Two points of clarification:

        (1) Although the work of predecessors (from all textual schools) is
        normally utilized in any research, the "half-century" specifically noted
        is stated (on the same page and in the same sentence!) as having
        commenced with William Pierpont's initial text-critical studies in 1933
        (he is now in his mid-80s).

        (2) Also, Pickering does not reach the scene until approximately 1977,
        _after_ the joint association of Robinson with Pierpont in their common
        endeavor; thus Pickering is hardly a "predecessor" (not to mention that
        our theory differs significantly from his, and we do not follow his
        method or specific inclinations regarding the NT text).

        >As all students of the Greek NT will note, the lack of witnesses for
        >the P&R edition leaves the whole text as an unknown, as far as certainty
        is
        >concerned. The user is simply told that the text agrees with a
        >"majority" of later MSS.

        Another clarification: the text claims to represent the "Byzantine
        Textform" rather than a mere numerical "majority". The lack of an
        apparatus is compensated by the open acknowledgment of Von Soden's Kx and
        other Byzantine subgroups as the basis for its establishment. Further, a
        specific intent of the R/P edition was to parallel that of Westcott and
        Hort, which latter edition similarly presented no apparatus in their main
        text beyond bracketed and marginal readings (the R/P text includes
        bracketed readings where Byz is divided on an include/omit matter, but
        not marginal subvariants, which were handled sufficiently in the H/F
        edition).

        >Editorial responsibility was also sidestepped when the editors
        >chose not to include breathings and accents or punctuation marks. But
        >they do show word divisions, and chapter divisions, kind of an odd
        >methodology. I am not saying it is bad, just odd.

        The decision to exclude accents and breathings was deliberate, and is so
        stated in the Introduction, nor is this any different than Schmidtke's
        edition of the minuscule 579, as footnoted in our introduction. There
        originally was a desire to publish the text completely in
        Sinaiticus/Vaticanus-type uncial script without word division, including
        nomina sacra where applicable (suggested originally to me by K W. Clark
        in the late 1970s). This was opposed by the publisher (who understandably
        desired to sell more than a few copies to the bulk of readers who were
        not used to reading undivided uncial script); thus that portion of the
        plan was not carried out. Note that there are no "KEFALH A'" type
        references within the printed form of the text: only drop-cap chapter
        numbers and individual verse numbers for reference purposes. The chapter
        divisions are accompanied by an (unfortunate) space left between the
        chapters, but back then I admittedly did not know enough about desktop
        publishing to insist on any alterations; should a new printed edition
        appear, I would aim for some improvements (though likely not as regards
        accents and breathings, except perhaps in words which otherwise would be
        confused).

        >Reuben Swanson's 6 volumes (Matthew through Galatians)

        The last Swanson volume I have is Acts. When did Gal become available?
        What price?

        >any evaluation of a text-type MUST begin from the sources,
        >the various manuscripts involved. Texts without sufficient apparatuses
        >cannot give the needed evidence, including the NA editions, which only
        >show a few variants of some MSS occasionally.

        Fully agreed, which is why we consulted not only Von Soden, but
        Tischendorf, Nestle 26/27, IGNTP Lk, other printed editions, various
        published collations from Scrivener, Geerlings, et al., as well as
        transcriptions and collations of MSS from series such as Studies and
        Documents in preparing our text. Even Swanson, which was not in print
        during our time of research, has subsequently been used as a check on our
        data. Our intent, however, was not to publish a Byzantine
        text-cum-apparatus, but only a base Byzantine Textform.

        >Von Soden's work needs to be translated into English

        Please begin, and convert all his evidence into Greg.-Aland numbers as
        well. Then maybe others can start correcting his errors regarding
        individual MS citations from fresh collations. (This is another work
        which I doubt I will ever see in my lifetime).

        [re: Von Soden's use of]
        >the liturgical apparatuses, and some basic "identifiers" such
        >as the Johannine comma.

        Actually you mean the Pericope Adulterae. The Johannine Comma plays no
        significant role in Von Soden's work.

        >Once I possess a good, fully verified text, I can then share my faith
        with authority and
        >confidence, which partial or haphazard apparatuses cannot generate.

        I am not going to begin another round of fruitless debate with Mr Dykes.
        However, I find this statement absurd, even from his own perspective,
        wherein apparently only at this present time out of all history can
        Romans and 1 Corinthians now be used for evangelistic purposes solely
        because he now knows "the" text of those two books with some sort of
        certainty. I suspect Luther and the Reformers would cringe at such a
        thought. This is still the "theological argument", just turned
        topsy-turvy. Apparently the rest of us manage to do just fine
        theologically with a text (regardless of texttype) which might not happen
        to be so securely "established" (as if such needs to be). Textual
        criticism of the Greek NT by definition deals with the minutiae of the
        text, not with its main thrust, and there is no reason to suppose that
        the 85-90% of the text (which is otherwise unquestioned by anyone) should
        be considered unreliable for theological purposes, nor the text where
        variation occurs as wholly unsuitable for evangelistic purposes; should
        it be otherwise, we would be left with a text devoid of any theological
        significance or usefulness whatsoever.

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

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