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Re: [textualcriticism] Re: TC and scribal error

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  • Tony Zbaraschuk
    ... One cannot, of course, be _certain_; one can only deal in relative plausibilities. This is the normal course of human events outside of mathematics and
    Message 1 of 31 , Oct 31, 2005
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      On Tue, Nov 01, 2005 at 03:56:56AM -0000, Jean-Francois Racine wrote:
      > James,
      >
      > Not a long time ago, the definition of text criticism you provided
      > made no problem to me, i.e., to discover the original form of a work.
      > Still, as one thinks about it, how can one know that one has found the
      > original form of a text since there is no original text hidden in a
      > safe box somewhere to which one can compare the result of his/her
      > educated guesses.

      One cannot, of course, be _certain_; one can only deal in relative
      plausibilities. This is the normal course of human events outside
      of mathematics and logic.

      > Similarly scribal error makes sense only if one suscribes to the
      > notion of an original text which can be retrieved with certainty.

      It is, I think, a reasonable assumption in most cases that the
      author of a text intended it to be read in the form he wrote it.
      There are, of course, other possible solutions (is Ephesians a
      specific letter or a chain letter? were there two editions of
      Luke/Acts or Mark?), and there is always the possibility even of
      the original scribe making a solecisim or a slip of the pen, but it
      still seems to me that the job of fixing copyists' errors and
      trying to reconstruct, as best one can, what the original writer
      wrote is a worthwhile task.

      > In
      > that context scribal error is a deviation from the original. Yet, if
      > one does not have the original or cannot distinguish it among the mss
      > and variants, how does one know that one is dealing with a scribal error?
      > Perhaps is it more realistic to assume that the objective of textual
      > criticism is to reach the most ancient state of a text?

      It might be helpful to think in terms of mathematical asymptotes: the
      goal is to reach as closely as possible to the original form of a
      text, while being aware that the last bit of distance is likely to
      require the most effort and may be impossible.

      In other words: do what you can, and don't bang your head into the
      wall over impossibilities.


      Tony Z
      --
      "History will be kind to me. I intend to write it."
      --Sir Winston Churchill
    • Peter Head
      Thanks again Stephen - that is a good job and a good reply, The photo and caption in Secret Gospel are useful here (in support of your case - clearer than the
      Message 31 of 31 , Dec 6, 2005
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        Thanks again Stephen - that is a good job and a good reply,

        The photo and caption in Secret Gospel are useful here (in support of your
        case - clearer than the photo in your book actually) and it does look like
        5A is the front page of the book = f.1.r.
        Together with the information you provided that:
        one of whose lines reads "MONAXOU KAI ARXIMANDRITOU."
        That certainly fits with Smith's catalogue description.
        No names noted as yet, and also 'tacit withdrawals' on your side!

        My 'tacit withdrawal' of the alternative proposal was more of a strategic
        withdrawal (I'd rather try to disprove your identification than to have to
        prove the alternative). But now I'm willing to acquiesce (surrender) to the
        proposed identification of 5A = f.1.r. [I'd be even happier to know that
        someone had seen the relevant names on this sheet as well of course, but as
        a working hypothesis this does seem to be the only viable option on the table]

        Presumably your confidence that the upper text is Madiotes comes from the
        order of treatment in Smith's catalogue.

        Cheers for now

        Peter


        At 02:52 PM 12/5/05, you wrote:
        >At 10:28 AM 12/5/2005 +0000, Peter Head wrote:
        > >What you are saying is that you considered various possibilities for the
        > >identification of the page in the photo 5A, including the one I have
        > >proposed (but which you did not adopt). But I wonder whether there is ANY
        > >positive evidence for the identification you adopt?
        > >
        > >According to Smith the Madiotes sheet is:
        > >a) f.1.r: i.e. the opening sheet of the whole book
        >
        >The page is either f.1.r (rightside-up) or f.17.v (upside-
        >down). The orientation of the handwriting at the top of
        >the page would indicate that, unless it is upside-down, it
        >is the f.1.r page.
        >
        >Further confirmation of the orientation of the book comes
        >from Smith's caption for the picture (SECRET GOSPEL, p.
        >37) states: "The endpaper, here turned down, was a page
        >from a Georgian manuscript. . . . The leather edge of the
        >binding is seen at the left; the bound, modern Greek
        >manuscript, at the right." The word "down" is appropriate
        >if the page is f.1.r; it is inappropriate if the page is
        >f.17.v. The consistency of Smith's numbering of the pages
        >in his catalog with his description of the orientation of
        >the MS in his photo means that the page must be f.1.r.
        >
        >Further corroboration, should that even be necessary, comes
        >from the content of the second hand (both as listed in the
        >catalog and from the top-down in the MS), which is assigned
        >by Smith to "the monk Dionysios, Archimandrite", one of whose
        >lines reads "MONAXOU KAI ARXIMANDRITOU." [Negatively, for
        >the f.17.v. identification, none of the content shown in the
        >photo corresponds to "Luke, son of the blessed Panagiotos,
        >the tailor (ampatzes)."]
        >
        >In light of the tacit withdrawal of the alternative proposal,
        >which had confounded not only recto and verso but also Greek
        >and Latin letters, I see no reasonable basis to question the
        >identification of the page as f.1.r.
        >
        >Stephen Carlson
        >--
        >Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
        >Weblog: http://www.hypotyposeis.org/weblog/
        >Author of: The Gospel Hoax, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1932792481

        Peter M. Head, PhD
        Sir Kirby Laing Senior Lecturer in New Testament
        Tyndale House
        36 Selwyn Gardens Phone: (UK) 01223
        566607
        Cambridge, CB3 9BA Fax: (UK) 01223 566608
        http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Tyndale/staff/Head/Staff.htm
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