tc-list Comments on the MT
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
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@...
- On Sat, 2 Oct 1999 03:54:57 -0700 "Mr. Gary S. Dykes"
>the P&R "Pierpont and M. Robinson" textscentury" of research >and studies (page liv). Thus they base, apparently,
> the editors claim that their text is the culmination of "over a half
their labors upon their >predecessors (Burgon, Scrivener, Pickering, et
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 foris
>the P&R edition leaves the whole text as an unknown, as far as certainty
>concerned. The user is simply told that the text agrees with aAnother clarification: the text claims to represent the "Byzantine
>"majority" of later MSS.
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
>Editorial responsibility was also sidestepped when the editorsThe decision to exclude accents and breathings was deliberate, and is so
>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.
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
>Reuben Swanson's 6 volumes (Matthew through Galatians)The last Swanson volume I have is Acts. When did Gal become available?
>any evaluation of a text-type MUST begin from the sources,Fully agreed, which is why we consulted not only Von Soden, but
>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.
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 EnglishPlease 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" suchActually you mean the Pericope Adulterae. The Johannine Comma plays no
>as the Johannine comma.
significant role in Von Soden's work.
>Once I possess a good, fully verified text, I can then share my faithwith 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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