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The Byzantine Text and the Survival-Rate of Ancient MSS

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  • voxverax
    Tony Zbaraschuk: Not to quibble, but Eusebius was instructed to produce 50, not 300, codices for Constantine. Unless Eusebius hired scribes from different
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 15, 2005
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      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
      century.

      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
      Indiana (USA)
      www.curtisvillechristian.org
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