3892Re: [textualcriticism] Variants again, can you tell I'm frustrated
- Aug 1, 2008
There is no basis upon which to assert that the number of variants is "enormous." This is exactly why I'm getting frustrated.
If I were to assert that the number of variants was "extremely low," it could not be refuted?
What I'm trying to urge TC writers and communicators to do is to be more responsible, more scholarly. The popular books currently being presented to the (m)asses are not concerned with presenting an accurate picture of the number of variants. They present only one dimension (as your reply inadvertently did) of the EOV (effect of variants). And unfortunately, those who ought to be in the know are using the same numbers in the same way (enormous) as the secular writers are portraying them.
Calculating variants is strictly a mathematical proposition. There is nothing relating to "art" when it comes to identifying a variant at this phase of TC. But when variants are presented, they are invariably presented as if they were enormous. Or, as you have attempted to communicate, and rightly so, the ever-growing number of variants results from the embarrassment of riches of the mss evidence.
But MSS with these variants move THE TEXT in different directions. While the total number of variants moves upward (this is true by definition), the greater our ability to identify the original text in problem passages likewise improves (moves upward toward 100%).
No liberal or secular scholar, out of a sense of academic honesty and necessity, points out that WITH the growing number of variants comes the greater degree of certainty in passages that were once suspect of containing a non-original reading.
I'd take a billion more variants tomorrow since with that I would more than likely eliminate one more word/phrase/passage from the list of passages that are likely not original. If these variants continue to come our way, we will hypothetically be able to one day reconstruct the original with surety. This is why variant numbers are important. One category moves higher and higher, while another category moves closer and closer to the original.
Hope this helps, and I appreciate your interaction.
My grandfather, who is almost bald, still has an 'enormous" number of hairs (billions perhaps). Do you see the point here?
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