Ant: [textualcriticism] Re: Byzantine Text -- uses in textual criticism
- 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