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Re: How many Variants per category

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  • mjriii2003
    Eddie Mishoe, According to the sixth edition of Warfield s An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, 1899 (Preface, 1886), Warfield
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 2, 2008
      Eddie Mishoe,

      According to the sixth edition of Warfield's An Introduction to the
      Textual Criticism of the New Testament, 1899 (Preface, 1886),
      Warfield mentions over 200,000 variants among at that time over 2,000
      known Greek MSS.

      http://books.google.com/books?output=html&id=lSOSAZ3uN44C&jtp=21

      Our present knowledge is based upon over 5,000 known Greek MSS. The
      question of significant/insignificant variants is still negligible
      whether one cites W-H, Metzger, Robinson, or Wallace.

      Malcolm
      ________________


      --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com, Eddie Mishoe <edmishoe@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > Dr. Finney:
      >
      > Thank you for your reply. The more data I can acquire
      > the better.
      >
      > I think I found the origin of the 200,000 to 400,000.
      > It may come from John Mills in 1707 edition of the
      > GNT. In his critical apparatus, he has some 30,000
      > variants listed, but this includes versions and church
      > fathers.
      >
      > I also read, but have yet to verify, that the total
      > number of "words" in ALL Greek MSS, ALL
      > versions/translations, and ALL church father
      > quotations approaches 1 billion. Now, are the (worst
      > case) 400,000 variants to be compared to 1 billion?
      >
      > Also, your numbers seem different than Dr. Daniel
      > Wallace's numbers with regard to meaningful variants.
      > If I understood you correct, you offer 10,000 such
      > variants, whereas Dr. Wallace has 1,400 meaningful and
      > viable variants. Of the 1,400, he contends that no
      > cardinal doctrine is affected by these.
      >
      > Dr. Kruger notes that Dr. Ehrman mentions 400,000
      > variants, but is only able to find a handful of
      > "significant" variants that change our view of early
      > Christianity. Several have responded to his claims of
      > these passages, such as Christ being angry, or dying
      > "apart from" God.
      >
      > Dr. Wallace also gives a pie chart in Reinventing
      > Jesus, but it appears his pie chart is not intended to
      > be to scale.
      >
      > Oh well, off to find more sources. It amazes me how
      > many scholars quote the number 200,000 to 400,000
      > without knowing its source or validity.
      >
      > Eddie Mishoe
      > Pastor
      >
      >
      >
      ______________________________________________________________________
      ______________
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      >
    • James Snapp, Jr.
      Eddie, Recently at the TC-Alternate list I noted the following: How many variants exist among the Greek manuscripts of the books of the New Testament?
      Message 2 of 12 , Apr 3, 2008
        Eddie,

        Recently at the TC-Alternate list I noted the following:

        How many variants exist among the Greek manuscripts of the books of
        the New Testament? Estimates have ranged from 30,000 to 50,000 to
        200,000 to 300,000 to 400,000.

        Dr. Tommy Wasserman's book "The Epistle of Jude: Its Text and
        Transmission" meticulously presents the extant Greek attestation of
        Jude's text. Wasserman's reconstructed text of Jude consists of 461
        words. Wasserman lists 1,271 textual variants (I think. Some of
        these are "defective," which means that they cannot be reconstructed
        with certainty.) If we work with the unproven premise that variants
        were created at the same rate in other books that they were created
        in Jude, then if we apply the ratio of 461-to-1,271 to the total
        number of words in the NT (put at 137,490 by Morgenthaler, as cited
        by Metzger on p. 1 of "Lexical Aids for Students of NT Greek"), then
        the total number of variants = 379,067. Or to loosen up the math a
        bit, we could estimate that the number of variants in a given book
        will be 2.75 times the number of words in the book.

        So, it initially looks like the total number of textual variants in
        the Greek NT is in the neighborhood of 380,000. One thing that I'm
        not sure about, though, is whether or not it's sensible to count the
        *authentic* readings as variants. When most folks talk about
        variants, they mean variations from the original text, even though
        technically a contested genuine reading is also a variant. If we
        subtract from 380,000 the *authentic* 137,490 words, with their
        authentic spelling, in their authentic word-order, then the number of
        inauthentic readings seems to drop to 242,510.

        Now, that unproven premise that I mentioned is probably incorrect.
        We should probably expect the rate of variants in the Gospels to be
        much higher than in Jude, since the Gospels have many more witnesses.
        So let's figure in, oh, another 75,000 variants. Depending on
        whether or not the authentic variants are counted, the total number
        of variants in the Greek witnesses to the NT text might be about
        455,000 or (subtracting the authentic readings) 317,510.

        (Btw, I don't mean to imply that I agree with Morgenthaler's word-
        count; I just used it because it was handy for the calculation.)

        Yours in Christ,

        James Snapp, Jr.
        Minister, Curtisville Christian Church
        Tipton, Indiana
        www.curtisvillechristian.org/BasicTC.html
      • Daniel Buck
        ... Not one doctrine is established or disestablished from the 6-7% in dispute.
        Message 3 of 12 , Apr 3, 2008
          "Gene Brooks" <gbrooks@...> wrote:

          >>92 to 93% of the text is agreed as autograph for everyone.
          Not one doctrine is established or disestablished from the 6-7% in
          dispute.<<

          A couple of considerations here.

          1. Every time an ancient koine mss of any appreciable size is
          unearthed, it adds to the number of listed variants; the older the
          ms, it seems, the more unique it is. Eliminate all pre-5th century
          mss, and that number of agreement climbs up to the high 90's,
          approaching 99% by the eighth century.

          2. How about the doctrine (teaching) of Jesus that certain kinds of
          demons can only be expelled by prayer and fasting? From being
          reiterated in the majority of mss, it is eliminated in the eclectic
          text. This despite the fact that the corpus is divided, with mss of
          all three textual families and four versions taking opposite sides on
          the question. Even arm and geo exhibit a rare disagreement here.

          Daniel
        • Eddie Mishoe
          Of the approximately 138,000 words in the GNT, it is interesting to note that one can reach the 400,000 variants by using the same 138,000 words. Here is how
          Message 4 of 12 , Apr 4, 2008
            Of the approximately 138,000 words in the GNT, it is
            interesting to note that one can reach the 400,000
            variants by using the same 138,000 words. Here is how
            that would happen visually.

            Use any base text you like; it is irrelevant, other
            than it must be a complete GNT. Just to cover all
            bases, let's do two experiments: one using the
            Majority Text, the other using the Critical Text.

            Let's use John 1.1a as an example:

            EN ARCH HN hO LOGOS (base text)
            1. ARCH HN hO LOGOS (EN omitted)
            2. EN ARCH hO LOGOS (HN omitted)
            3. hO LOGOS HN EN ARCH (word order)
            4. hO LOGOS EN ARCH HN (word order)
            5. LOGOS HN EN ARCH (hO omitted)
            6. HN EN ARCH LOGOS (2 variants, hO omitted, word
            order)
            7. ARCH HN hO LOGOS (EN omitted)
            8. HN hO LOGOS ARCH (2 variants, EN omitted, word
            order)
            9. EN ARCH hO LOGOS (HN omitted)
            10. EN ARC HN hO LOGOS (omitted letter in ARCH)
            11. EN ACH HN LOGOS (omitted letter in ARCH and
            omitted hO)
            etc.

            As you can see, I can exceed the 400,000 variants
            without the need to ever use another word other than
            those in the GNT. By the above permutations, I could
            exceed millions of variants... all without using any
            word outside the GNT. Of course, how hard would it be
            to reconstruct the 'original' text in this instance.

            Since most variants fall into the categories of
            "insignificant," I'm wondering if there is a better
            way to present the data so as to give people an
            accurate estimate of the reliability of the mss
            evidence.

            I think Dr. Daniel Wallace's statement that there are
            about 1,400 meaningful and viable variants, but not
            one of these affects any cardinal doctrine, is on the
            right track. And he also adds that this 1,400 means
            99% of the original GNT has been reconstructed.




            Eddie Mishoe
            Pastor


            ____________________________________________________________________________________
            You rock. That's why Blockbuster's offering you one month of Blockbuster Total Access, No Cost.
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          • Greg Sahlstrom
            I recently read a 1966 article that estimated New Testament textual variants as perhaps 300,000. More recently estimates of 300,000 to 400,000 appeared in
            Message 5 of 12 , Apr 4, 2008
              I recently read a 1966 article that estimated New Testament textual
              variants as perhaps 300,000. More recently estimates of 300,000 to
              400,000 appeared in Bart Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus". Yet, books
              I've read have largely based their estimates of variants on
              multiplying estimates that were based on John Mill's listing of
              variants in 1707. Of the 300,000 - 400,000 variants in manuscripts
              (or whatever the current total might be), I read that these represent
              perhaps 10,000 places in the New Testament. Does anyone have sources
              of newer information that include some sort of verification of the
              numbers (more than educated guesses)?

              Greg Sahlstrom
            • Michael Marlowe
              ... Eddie, thanks for this. I think it shows how useless this kind of number-crunching can be--especially in a linguistic field of study like TC--and how
              Message 6 of 12 , Apr 5, 2008
                Eddie Mishoe wrote:

                > Let's use John 1.1a as an example:
                >
                > EN ARCH HN hO LOGOS (base text)
                > 1. ARCH HN hO LOGOS (EN omitted)
                > 2. EN ARCH hO LOGOS (HN omitted)
                > 3. hO LOGOS HN EN ARCH (word order)
                > 4. hO LOGOS EN ARCH HN (word order)
                > 5. LOGOS HN EN ARCH (hO omitted)
                > 6. HN EN ARCH LOGOS (2 variants, hO omitted, word
                > order)
                > 7. ARCH HN hO LOGOS (EN omitted)
                > 8. HN hO LOGOS ARCH (2 variants, EN omitted, word
                > order)
                > 9. EN ARCH hO LOGOS (HN omitted)
                > 10. EN ARC HN hO LOGOS (omitted letter in ARCH)
                > 11. EN ACH HN LOGOS (omitted letter in ARCH and
                > omitted hO)
                > etc.
                >
                > As you can see, I can exceed the 400,000 variants
                > without the need to ever use another word other than
                > those in the GNT. By the above permutations, I could
                > exceed millions of variants...


                Eddie, thanks for this. I think it shows how useless this kind of
                number-crunching can be--especially in a linguistic field of study like
                TC--and how misleading statistics can be when they are presented without
                exact and complete information about how they were generated.

                Michael Marlowe
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