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sloppy lectionary scribes? a correction

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  • James Miller
    I ve gotten some good leads on further materials for researching lectionaries from the book recommended by Peter Head. In response to one of my previous
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 7, 2008
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      I've gotten some good leads on further materials for
      researching lectionaries from the book recommended by
      Peter Head.

      In response to one of my previous queries, Steve
      Puluka indicated that lectionary scribes are thought
      by text critics to have been sloppy, stating that
      "there is a basic assumption that lectionary witnesses
      are automatically late and the copyist is not as
      faithful as the 'normal' biblical text witnesses." I
      responded by saying that I did not understand text
      critics to be particularly concerned about the level
      of textual fidelity evidenced in the work of
      lectionary scribes. I countered that text critics
      would be unlikely to be concerned about the level of
      textual fidelity evident in the work of lectionary
      scribes, the more crucial issue for text critics being
      the relevance the text tradition those scribes were
      transmitting might have to the text-critical aim of
      restoring the autographs (the lectionaries do not, in
      the view of text critics, have much relevance to that
      aim since they are thought to contain a late text
      type).

      On reading over an article on the Greek lectionaries,
      however, I have discovered that prominent text critics
      have, in fact, asserted that lectionary scribes were
      more careless in their work than scribes who
      transmitted continuous-text witnesses. Such a
      prominent (thought now dated) figure as Kenyon
      asserted in his "Handbook" essentially the point Steve
      made in his response to my post. The author of the
      Greek lectionaries article provides a statement
      disputing Kenyon's assertion regarding the alleged
      sloppiness of the lectionary scribes and seems, along
      with the author of that statement (Riddle), to differ
      with Kenyon's assessment.

      But the fact of the matter is that I was wrong in
      suggesting that text criticism considers the precision
      or sloppiness of the lectionary scribes a matter of
      little or no importance. On the contrary it is an
      issue that has been raised by prominent figures in the
      field and is one that has been the object of at least
      some disputation among text critics.

      I will summarize this note by offering personal
      apologies to Steve if it seemed as though I was being
      dismissive of his contributions. I would also like to
      associate this correction with the topic I introduced
      for discussion here, in case someone searching the
      archive should run across the erroneous inference I
      made in my earlier post.

      Sincerely,
      James

      PS I hope to continue discussing the lectionaries here
      but there may be a hiatus for a few weeks since I will
      leave the country soon for 3 - 4 weeks.


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