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8345Re: AW: [textualcriticism] Late Byz variants in James

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  • Mr. Buck
    Jul 15, 2014

      First of all let me say that I appreciate the work you are doing. When your text of 1 John came out I studied it diligently and your collation of the Johannine Comma was very helpful. Keep up the good work!

      Now in regards to the text of the Hebrew Scriptures, yes--it is clear that the Masoretic Text (all 5000 extant manuscripts of which date to the 9th century or later) is a recension. But the 1000 or so mss that have been dug up from the Judean Desert show that in a dozen different ways, manuscripts of the first and second century BCE already bore characteristics that showed up a millennium or two later in the manuscripts of the Masoretic text (which continues to be copied to the same exacting standards of a millennium ago). So by the same token, readings which are found across the board beginning in the 9th century and increasing into the following centuries in the Byzantine manuscript could reasonably have existed in manuscripts of the first and second centuries CE.

      Analogous to the early church writers, take the Germanic language family, which had its own runic alphabet called Futhorc. Until recent decades this language was unattested in any manuscripts or inscriptions prior to the 3rd or 4th century. Yet we had the witness of (granted, medieval manuscripts of) Julius Caesar testifying to the existence of the Germanic peoples and their language in the 1st century BCE. It would have been utterly foolish to refuse to admit to the existence of Germans literate in their own language any earlier than the 4th century, just because that's the earliest dated examples we happened to have on hand--as if the German runic alphabet just sprung into existence from nothing at that date.

      Foolish indeed, because in recent decades, runic inscriptions have been found which have pushed that date one, then two, now even three centuries closer to the evidence passed down by Julius Caesar. 

      This is exactly what has happened to the phrase EPI THN GHN from Luke 44. Up until the mid-19th century, it was considered a Western/Byzantine reading attested in Codex Bezae but missing from every other early manuscript. Then--surprise! It was found in the original hand of that bastion of neutrality, Codex  Sinaiticus. Then along came a few more testaments to its omission, like p69 and W, to ensure that its presence in Aleph was just a fluke. But what about the patristic evidence? Justin, Irenaeus, and Tatian all testified to its presence in the 2nd century, and there was a lot of early back-and-forth about how it was missing in Egyptian copies but otherwise well known, even to a 4th-century Roman emperor. It would have been really stupid to claim, on the basis of a shared omission in a majority of Alexandrian mss, that EPI THN GHN couldn't have been in the earliest manuscripts.

      Now, we have 0171, arguably the earliest extant manuscript of Luke 22, and there it is in plain view--EPI THN GHN.

      Now, Luke is much better attested in the early manuscripts than is James--which is why the Claremont Profile Method is based on three chapters of Luke rather than three chapters of James. It is therefore very unreasonable to pick James as an example of a book which is riddled with Byzantine readings which sprang into existence in the medieval period, when we have the testimony of early writers that they in fact existed many centuries earlier.  Transfer that claim to Luke, and you would find your argument evaporating in the face of contrary evidence.

      Daniel Buck

      Von: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
      Gesendet: Dienstag, 15. Juli 2014 04:56
      Betreff: [textualcriticism] Late Byz variants in James
      I finished my analysis of the Byzantine variants in the Epistle of James.  In James there are thirty-nine (39) Byzantine variants that first appear in a Greek manuscript only in the 9th century or later. The number of those that have no witness of any kind prior to the 9th century is sixteen (16).  I think either of these qualifies as MANY, especially because the situation is much the same with other New Testament books.

      You can download a detailed PDF of those James variants.  In case you are wondering, I did not cite Coptic manuscripts, because as far as I can tell, the main Coptic manuscripts for James are dated X-XII century.  If somebody reads this who is a Coptic specialist, I would love to be more certainly informed.  The different variants are found in different Coptic fragments, and I don't know the dates of most of the 1 or 2-page fragmentary ones.


      If you want to read my pdf of the whole Epistle of James with variant footnotes, that is http://bibletranslation.ws/trans/jameswgrk.pdf
      David Robert Palmer

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