Re: Byzantine Text -- uses in textual criticism
- "kmchess97" Ken wrote:
> Is there any concrete factual data that can help me determinewhich,
if any of the above are correct? Each view appears to have some
element of speculation..perhaps there is no way to avoid that? <
Speculation is an unavoidable by-product of partial study. The fact
is, after centuries of textual criticism and thousands of catalogued
manuscripts, we are still very ignorant as to the exact makeup of
the text of the autographs. Since this is an unacceptable situation
to most textual critics, their efforts are expended in getting as
close to the archetype as possible, with speculation filling in the
gaps between the facts.
Hort was the first to successfully push the idea that the Byzantine
readings were all the result of textual conflation and pious
editing, and therefore of no use critically. Proto-Byzantine
readings in the earliest papyri have since laid to rest the first
part of his assertion, as Sturtz has shown. Further ms discoveries
(such as, for example, an early papyrus of the Pericope Adultera)
could serve to further undermine confidence in Hort's theories.
On the other hand, a discovery like 2427, should doubts as to its
authenticity be resolved in its favor, might serve to undermine the
Byzantine Priority position. Byzantine advocates, however, would
point out that the apparent 1000-year gap between 2427 and its
nearest possible exemplar only strengthens their contention that mss
of the early 2nd millennium represent immediate archetypes even
older than those of the Alexandrian codices.
The important thing to remember is that 99.9% of all manuscripts
have been lost, and to precisely divide the fraction that remains
into more-authentic and less-authentic copies of the originals is
going to be fraught with speculation, no matter who does the
dividing. And (with the exception of John 7:53-8:12 and the
Apocalypse in Greek), only a fraction (currently approaching ½) of
the remaining .01% of Greek mss, and a much smaller fraction of the
thousands of mss in the other ancient languages, has ever been fully
collated for any particular passage of the Scriptures. As more
information comes in, the elevated role of speculation in textual
criticism must give way either to documentation, or to dogma.
- Dear Daniel,you have written"The important thing to remember is that 99.9% of all manuscripts have been lost, and to precisely divide the fraction that remains into more-authentic and less-authentic copies of the originals is going to be fraught with speculation, no matter who does the dividing."Could you explain how was established the percentage (99.9%) of the lost manuscripts or the sum of all manuscripts? Do you know who has done this?SincerelyViktor Golinets
Viktor Golinets, M.A.
Institut für Semitistik
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- On Sat, Sep 10, 2005 at 10:38:48PM +0200, Viktor Golinets wrote:
> Dear Daniel,I think he's using a figure of speech here -- "99.9%" means "the vast
> you have written
> "The important thing to remember is that 99.9% of all manuscripts have been lost, and to precisely divide the fraction that remains into more-authentic and less-authentic copies of the originals is going to be fraught with speculation, no matter who does the dividing."
> Could you explain how was established the percentage (99.9%) of the lost manuscripts or the sum of all manuscripts? Do you know who has done this?
One possible benchmark is Eusebius' comment that Constantinte wanted
300 copies of the Scriptures made for the churches in Constantinople.
We have two that _might_ be survivors of this batch (Vaticanus and
Sinaiticus, with more doubt in the latter case). 2/300 is perhaps
closer to 99.67% than 99.9%, but the relative merit of the statement
"History will be kind to me. I intend to write it."
--Sir Winston Churchill
- Tony Zbaraschuk:
Not to quibble, but Eusebius was instructed to produce 50, not 300,
codices for Constantine.
Unless Eusebius hired scribes from different locales to make some of
the codices, it seems unlikely to me, despite the stuff Skeat pointed
out in his 1999 essay on the subject, that Vaticanus and Sinaiticus
were both produced under Eusebius' supervision; their scribes have
different approaches to nomina sacra in the NT. If one or the other
/is/ one of Eusebius' production-pieces, then we're looking at a 1-in-
50 (2%) survival-rate of a 50-piece set of deluxe parchment codices
sent (or originally intended to be sent) to Constantinople in the
fourth century. Not that this really says anything about the likely
survival-rate of papyrus copies made in Asia Minor in the second
I think the important thing to remember, when one is gauging the
value of the Byzantine/Majority Text, is that the transmission-stream
was not uniform, and that several special factors -- material,
location/climate, disposition of scribes, relic-stature of a MS (such
as Codex Vercellensis), ability of MS-owners to read Greek, degree of
Roman persecution in a particular area, and so forth -- must be taken
into consideration. When they are taken into consideration, the
transmission-stream may be effectively considered chaotic -- not
altogether chaotic, and not at all times, but chaotic enough, often
enough, early enough, to render a simple consideration of the number
of MSS of a particular text-type meaningless as a gauge of the
originality of that text-type.
Yours in Christ,
James E. Snapp, Jr.
Curtisville Christian Church