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Re: [textualcriticism] Geography fallacy again

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  • K. Martin Heide
    Wieland Willker wrote: In Metzger s TC book, Ehrman has added a new chapter called The Rise and Development of the NT text types . In the sub-chapter The
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 5, 2005
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      Wieland Willker wrote:
      In Metzger's TC book, Ehrman has added a new chapter called "The Rise and Development of the NT text types". In the sub-chapter "The Alexandrian text" he makes two assumptions, which are not clear at all. 
      
      1. the good text of P75 et al. is the result of the "conscientious control" by "Christian scholars of Alexandria". This, I think is a myth. At least we don't know. Ehrman's own Ph.D. student K. Haines-Eitzen has made it probable that the early papyri were not the scholarly product of learned scriptoria but rather private creations. 
      
      2. He assumes that Codex Vaticanus and Sinaiticus have been written in Alexandria. Again there is no decisive evidence for this. 
      
      He really seems to think that "Alexandrian text" means a text created in Alexandria. P66 and P75 have probably not been written in Alexandria. But we just don't know this. 
      
      Ehrman: "In light of the striking similarities in text between the 4th CE B and the early 3rd CE P75, it is clear that the Christian scholars of Alexandria worked assiduously to preserve an accurate form of text."
      
      This, IMHO, is more wishful thinking than corroborated by evidence. This chapter paints an anachronistic picture created by Hort and Zuntz, but I am not sure if it is really true. 
      Which "Christian scholars"? Not even Origen was really interested in preserving a pure line of the NT text. At least there is no evidence for this. 
      
      I call it geography fallacy when "texttype" designations and real geography is mixed. E.g. let's say a certain reading is supported by 01,B, 33, 579, 892. Then calling this is a local phenomenon of Egypt is falling into the geography fallacy. All these MSS are of the "Alexandrian" **texttype**, but we don't know where these MSS have been written. 
      
      Best wishes
          Wieland
             <><
        

      Dear Wieland,

      some thoughts in addition to that, and a little caveat:

      In light of the importance of Alexandrinian scholarship (classical texts), the tradition which assigns the emergence of the Septuagint to Alexandria, and Origen's Hexapla, I find it difficult to
      see Ehrman's thesis only in terms of a "Geography fallacy". I agree that we do not know who worked on these texts, and we do not know if they had only come to Egypt or were produced there ...

      Origen could move on two trails (if not on more): We know that even in his commentaries on the
      Old Testament and the Septuagint, he quite often preferred smooth readings etc., even when he knew quite well from his textcritical Hexapla-work that there were better readings ...
      (see Neuschäfer, Bernhard: Origenes als Philologe,  Schweizerische Beiträge zur Altertumswissenschaft Band 18, Basel 1987)

      Last not least, the Coptic version(s) are the only versions which preserved the Alexandrinian texttype (more or less, with minor "western" variations) after the 3/4th century. So, at least in later times the Alexandrinian texttype gets a geographical connection. They certainly did not come to Egypt, but were produced there.

      best wishes, Martin


    • Wieland Willker
      ... Everything you write is correct. I agree with you. It is certainly POSSIBLE that P75 et al. are the result of scholarly activity. But we have no evidence
      Message 2 of 8 , Jul 6, 2005
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        Martin wrote:
        > ... Alexandrinian scholarship ... Origen ... Coptic version(s) ...
        > Alexandrinian texttype


        Everything you write is correct. I agree with you.

        It is certainly POSSIBLE that P75 et al. are the result of scholarly activity. But we have no evidence for that.
        It is equally likely, and I personally find it more probable, that P75 is just a faithful copy of a very early ancestor, which was very close to the original. The only scholarly activity I can envision, is that perhaps the initiator of B/03 chose from the available copies a good one, like P75. But perhaps this was just happenstance.

        The Coptic version(s) are of the Alexandrian texttype. Correct. But does that mean that every MS that belongs to the Alexandrian texttype is from Egypt?

        A connected problem is this:
        The Alexandrian texttype is the texttype closest to the original. Therefore any MS that is close to the original will be assigned "Alexandrian". But then, what does this help? Does that mean that we find MSS close to the original only in Egypt? Certainly not.
        I wrote in my commentary: "Overall it appears to me that the concept of "texttypes" is disintegrating today. It is not really helpful. It does not really help in deciding textcritical matters nor is it helpful in explaining the history of the text. I think the labels like "Alexandrian" or "Caesarean" will remain, used as textcritical jargon, but texttypes as well defined entities will be difficult to sustain."

        PS: I agree with Scott Charlesworth.
        Regarding Metzger's 4th, one can note a certain "rush" in producing the new entries and Ehrman admitted this. But he has an open ear ...

        Best wishes
        Wieland
        <><
        ------------------------------------------------
        Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
        mailto:willker@...-bremen.de
        http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie
        Textcritical commentary:
        http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie/TCG/index.html
      • Frederick
        ... What makes you say that?
        Message 3 of 8 , Jul 6, 2005
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          <willker@c...> wrote:
          >Not even Origen was really interested in preserving a pure line of
          >the NT text.

          What makes you say that?
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