634Re: [textualcriticism] Re: provenance study
- Apr 1, 2005bucksburg wrote:
"K. Martin Heide" wrote:
> I'm wondering if anybody yet did a provenance study, that means:
with the help of collections such as "Repertorium der griechischen
Papyri" by Aland etc., did put together all the evidence we have of
all the uncials of the first millenium AD, studied their provenance,
so that we virtually could have a "map" of where this and that text
had been used etc. Of course, much material comes from Egypt, but not
all of it.
I think that would be great, but it's asking a lot. We seem to do well
just to agree on the century a manuscript was copied, or when the
various corrections were added. But to try to find out where a
manuscript was originally copied, much less how it got to its present
location, is hopeless for most mss. If they were purchased from an
antiquities dealer, we can't even be sure where they spent the last
few hundred years.
So, if we don't know where, for instance, Vaticanus was before it
showed up in the Vatican Library, then we aren't going to know who
corrected it, and where; the best we can do is demonstrate
paleographically that the corrections must have pre-dated its
discovery at the Vatican. Whether those corrections were made in
Alexandria, Sinai, or Constantinople, who can say? Some have
theorized that Aleph and B were 2 of the 50 copies of the Scripture
commissioned by Constantine. Certainly the same scribe appears to have
worked on both mss, certainly they are both very professionally done
in the original hand, and must have cost a fortune to produce (just a
photofacsimile of B will set you back some $6800). But really, we have
no idea where they were made and the thousands of differences between
the two argue pretty strongly that they were not part of the same
original publication project.
I have a burning question that may not be any easier to ask. Let's
start with Codex Sinaiticus, which reposed for untold centuries in a
Greek Orthodox monastery. Why, with so many hands correcting Aleph
over the centuries, did no one ever finish the job? I would think
that the long ending of Mark would certainly have been one of the
first things to be added by those Byzantine scribes, but to this day
that part of the codex is still blank. Same story with Vaticanus,
which was probably in Byzantine hands until at least the 12th or 13th
It's rather ironic that the oldest MS we can place in Alexandria–the
codex which bears its name-–is also the earliest accepted witness to
the Byzantine text-–including the long ending of Mark. That alone
should demonstrate the futility of your quest.
I have some other proposals for the two, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus:
Skeat („The Codex Sinaiticus, The Codex Vaticanus and Constantine“ in: JThS 50 (1999), pp. 583-625) thought, both were made for Constantine; though well argued, it may be they were only in shape similar to those which Constantine actually received from Eusebius, but in their text form early Byzantine (Brooks, James A.: The New Testament Text of Gregory of Nyssa , Atlanta 1991, p. 267 ).
Let's look at copies of the Old Testament:
As it seems, and Tov has brought this point recently up again ("A Qumran Origin for the Masada Non-Biblical texts?", DSD 7(2000), p.57-73), there seems to have been a sort of reference copy kept in the temple - or at least, in Jerusalem, which, at the time of the first century, must have been the (proto) masoretic text. A reference copy for what? For the everyday bibles which were in use all over the place,
like the Qumran scroll Isaiah (1Q Isa) and others, often labelled "vulgar", which have a smoothed orthography, syntax, etc. and are somewhat more "user-friendly" , etc. Everyday-Bibles were allowed to render the text more freely, whereas the reference-copies should stick closely to the text which was thought to be close to the original. Only a certain amount of divergence, of course, was allowed.
Now, can we apply that to the New Testament? Thousands and thousands of copies left the scriptoria in the fourth century, after Constantine raised Christianity to the state religion. The text of these copies became more and more smoothed: first the gospels, becoming "Byzantine" already in the 4/5th century, then the epistles, which became "Byzantine" only in the later centuries, etc. Some copies like the Vaticanus and the Sinaiticus seem to have been used not so much in church service than for ... what? They may have served as reference copies for hundreds of years.
Similar, the minuscule 1739 seems to have been made for the same purpose.
Of course, these are proposals and suggestions; but perhaps some have thought already in these veins, or can add and/or criticize ...
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