Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

3895Re: [textualcriticism] Variants again, can you tell I'm frustrated

Expand Messages
  • Daniel B. Wallace
    Aug 2, 2008
    • 0 Attachment
      Eddie, I just saw this thread and noticed that you mentioned my blog post on the number of variants. you said that the math didn't work, but you gave no specifics. May I ask you to clarify this? Also, you stated, "By the way, just about every known Greek ms is available in a word
      processing software." I don't know where you get this information, but it's demonstrably not true. Part of the reason we don't know the exact number of variants is because the vast majority of GNT MSS do not have published collations. And almost every time a new MS is discovered, a few more variants are added to the pool.

      A little patience and charity on your part, without the diatribe, would be most helpful at this stage.

      Daniel B. Wallace, PhD
      Executive Director
      Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts

      ----- Start Original Message -----
      Sent: Fri, 01 Aug 2008 23:00:25 +0200
      From: "A. Dirkzwager" <dirkzwager@...>
      To: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [textualcriticism] Variants again, can you tell I'm frustrated

      > Dear Eddie,

      I don't understand the importance of the list or the number you are
      looking for.
      Textual criticism is an art, not a modern science that works with
      numbers, "objective" criteria etc.
      The amount of differences in the manuscripts is enormous but that is due
      to the enormous amount of textual witnesses for the NT. And there are
      still lots of work to do to discover all the "variants" in the known

      You ask "A variant against what?" Against *all* the other readings, not
      against a standard text, for that does not exist. Every reading is a
      variant reading, if there is another reading of the same text.

      If I am giving a silly answer, I have not understood your question.
      Please clarify what you want to ask then.


      A. Dirkzwager
      Hoeselt, Belgium

      Eddie Mishoe schreef:

      I give up. It is impossible.

      No two scholars calculate or define "variants" the same way. It gets
      even worse when you ask, "A variant against what?"

      I've now read: Epp, Fee, Wallace, Aland, Elliott, Metzger, Ehrman,
      Comfort, the "living text" scholar (can't remember his name),
      Robinson, and many other articles by "unknowns." Anyway, I am so
      disappointed that nobody can clarify this, explain it, agree upon it,
      give us the actual numbers, compared to what, etc.

      I can see us all not agreeing on what is a 'meaningful' variant, or
      other tertiary issues. But the simple fact that we can not produce a
      list of variants in such a way as to confirm or deny the wild numbers
      thrown around (75,000, 100,000, some as high as "a half a million,"
      etc.) is wrong.

      Since the famous Luke project has been completed. I'm assuming there
      are some pretty accurate numbers there as to how many variants are in
      a particular chapter. I'd be happy with taking that information and
      extrapolating it out to give us an accurate number (making necessary
      adjustments) of the whole GNT. Somebody ought to be able to get
      within a couple of thousand. And here's the good news. It doesn't
      even have to be CORRECT. It just needs to be the BEST VARIANT COUNT
      we can surmise based on the available data.

      This is my final plea for help. If you want me to read a book or an
      article, I've probably done it. But I'm willing to read it again.

      I was sent a blog by a friend (a blog written by Dr. Daniel Wallace
      of Dallas Theological Seminary on a web site called Reclaiming the
      Mind.). I'll be honest, I got excited as I watched him straighten out
      Dr. Geisler's take on this subject. But, then he got into the math or
      calculations. I got very frustrated when I reworked the math 20 times
      and his formula didn't work. I noted one lady even responded to him,
      "The math seems off, but thank you..."

      I gave this blog to some of my mathematically inclined parishioners
      (one taught math at Va. Tech). All three concluded that there
      appeared to be problems with the formula as stated. Unfortunately,
      they asked me a few questions that might have helped them with some
      assumptions but I was not up to the challenge (I didn't know the

      Then again, maybe I'm just going crazy.

      Any help would be appreciated. I promise never again to bother the
      members of this list with a question on variants again. Remember, I'm
      only looking for a mathematically demonstratable formula that
      produces the currently known total variant count in extant Greek NT
      mss. Why am I satisfied with the Greek NT mss ONLY, because I can
      assure you trying to include Church Fathers and Ancient Versions is
      still light years away.

      By the way, just about every known Greek ms is available in a word
      processing software. We don't have to "eye ball" this. We just need a
      person who can align these texts and highlight Variants (however they
      are determined. I'm at the point in my life where if someone will do
      that, I'll count them. It will take me years, but I'll do it, God

      Eddie Mishoe

      ----- End Original Message -----
    • Show all 23 messages in this topic