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Re: [textualcriticism] How many copies did a scribe use when making a new manuscript

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  • Fadie A. Fahmy
    I think, some considerations controled the process, as it depends, mostly, on some social causes, like: whether the
    Message 1 of 16 , Jan 18, 2009
      I think, some considerations controled the process, as it depends, mostly, on some social causes, like: whether the manuscript was made for ecclesiastical or personal reasons? whether the manuscript was created to be an archytype or just for the ordinary using? whether the manuscript was made by the order of an important person (e.g Constanitne?), or just a reader? and so on!
       
      So, i don't think it's the case in which we have a single rule. But generally, i don't see that there was a proplem in using more than one MS in preparing a new MS.
       
      Cheers!
      ______________
      Yours In Christ,
      Fadie A. Fahmy
      www.textual-criticism.com



      From: Ivan KArel <ivankarel@...>
      To: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 11:41:44 AM
      Subject: Re: [textualcriticism] How many copies did a scribe use when making a new manuscript

      This is a good question.
       
      As Iam a layman but concern to this study, can I develop the question as :
       
      1. If there are many manuscripts in his desk why he prefer one manuscript.
       
      2.The accuracy of the transmission based on one manuscript.
       
      Thank You.
       
      Ivan Karel.
       
      Accountant-Jakarta

      Eddie Mishoe <edmishoe@yahoo. com> wrote:

      I recently read an article in which the author contends that scribes would only use "one manuscript" when making a new manuscript/copy. This seems odd to me. I have always envisioned scribes using multiple older manuscripts/ copies while making a new copy. Is there any evidence that scribes generally used only "one manuscript" when making a new copy?

      Eddie Mishoe
      Pastor



    • yennifmit
      Dear Eddie, ... I don t know what a typical scribe would presume about the exemplar. A typical scribe would be well aware that textual variations occur because
      Message 2 of 16 , Jan 19, 2009
        Dear Eddie,

        --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com, Eddie Mishoe <edmishoe@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > Thanks, Tim.
        >
        > The reason I had a hunch this "one exemplar" was inaccurate was
        > because of all the second and third century Church Fathers who
        > mention the variants in all the mss. They seem to be agitated with
        > the many variants. Why would one scribe, in light of all this
        > complaining, presume he had a ms that was without variant?

        I don't know what a typical scribe would presume about the exemplar. A
        typical scribe would be well aware that textual variations occur
        because there would be evidence of them in the exemplar. Just about
        every sizable manuscript I have seen bears evidence of correctors at
        work. For example, you find a correction in the first couple of lines
        of Hebrews in P46, our oldest copy of this Epistle.

        My opinion (and that is all it is) about the typical 3rd century act
        of producing a copy of an exemplar is this:

        1. Someone would decide he/she wants a copy of some book, say Paul's
        letters.
        2. He/She either copies it him/herself or commissions a scribe to do
        it. (The pay rate was about a chicken or shirt for one day of work.
        Source: verbal communication, Peter Parsons, Oxford University.)
        3. The copyist gets hold of an exemplar, possibly from the nearest
        Christian community that has one.
        4. The copyist starts copying. When he/she comes across nonsense or a
        place where a correction has been made then he/she needs to decide
        what to put into the copy. If the exemplar has nonsense, then the
        copyist may try to think of what it should have said. If the choice is
        between two readings (typically one inline and one above the line),
        then the copyist would choose one or perhaps conflate the two. At
        other times the copyist would creates his/her own errors, which would
        eventually produce their own efforts at correction if any reader of
        the copy ever bothered to attempt to fix them.

        This simple mode of copying, which I presume would be the most common
        way to produce a copy, involves no comparison of exemplars.

        The typical scenario would differ once most copying of scriptures was
        done in scriptoria. There, some effort would likely be made to get a
        good quality exemplar from which to make copies. It would probably
        have lots of corrections in it made by comparison with other
        manuscripts. I imagine that anyone making a copy from that exemplar
        would know which were the scriptorium's preferred readings to use when
        making a copy. There are instances where it looks like someone making
        a copy has conflated two such readings. I remember reading about an
        example from Codex Sinaiticus which has "blah blah A or B blah blah"
        (my paraphrase, A and B are numbers). The exemplar possibly had A and
        B as alternative readings.

        > I just can't imagine this. Erasmus used 6 mss for his translation,
        > and I thought that was painfully too little. I realize a
        > translation is different than a copy, but both tasks are trying to
        > preserve the ancient text.

        Erasmus was a renaissance man rushing to produce an edition of the
        Greek New Testament. Your average 3rd century copyist probably knew
        about textual variations but was, in my opinion, chiefly concerned
        with producing a decent copy of a single exemplar with a minimum of fuss.

        Best,

        Tim Finney
      • yennifmit
        Dear Fadie, I agree with you that the copying process was influenced by many factors and that there is no single rule. However, when you think of the thousands
        Message 3 of 16 , Jan 19, 2009
          Dear Fadie,

          I agree with you that the copying process was influenced by many
          factors and that there is no single rule. However, when you think of
          the thousands of times that New Testament manuscripts were copied, one
          might begin to ask what were typical practices and how they would
          affect the outcome.

          Much depends on scribal psychology. E.g.

          1. What would a typical scribe do when faced with nonsense in the
          exemplar? Consult another exemplar or make his or her conjecture about
          what the text should be?

          2. What would a typical scribe do when faced with a choice of readings
          in the exemplar? Choose the reading of the first hand or that of a
          corrector?

          3. How often would a typical scribe notice errors in the exemplar?

          4. How often would a typical scribe make his/her own errors.

          I use "typical" here knowing that what an individual scribe did would
          be influenced by a miriad of circumstances, including his/her
          abilities, location, and era.

          Returning to Ivan's original questions, Bruce Metzger concluded that
          scribes didn't start using desks until the eighth or ninth centuries.
          Concerning the accuracy of transmission based on one manuscript, that
          is something I would like to know. (See 4, above. It may be possible
          to get an estimate using extant manuscripts.) If all copies lived in
          isolation then the fact of scribal error would produce a chaotic mess.
          However, I believe that cross-checking, as evident from the ubiquitous
          corrections, is a strong regulator that has kept the tradition intact.

          Best,

          Tim Finney

          --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com, "Fadie A. Fahmy"
          <fadie4m@...> wrote:
          >
          > I think, some considerations controled the process, as it depends,
          mostly, on some social causes, like: whether the
          manuscript was made for ecclesiastical or personal reasons? whether
          the manuscript was created to be an archytype or just for the ordinary
          using? whether the manuscript was made by the order of an important
          person (e.g Constanitne?), or just a reader? and so on!
          >
          > So, i don't think it's the case in which we have a single rule. But
          generally, i don't see that there was a proplem in using more than one
          MS in preparing a new MS.
          >
          > Cheers!______________
          > Yours In Christ,
          > Fadie A. Fahmy
          > www.textual-criticism.com
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > ________________________________
          > From: Ivan KArel <ivankarel@...>
          > To: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
          > Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 11:41:44 AM
          > Subject: Re: [textualcriticism] How many copies did a scribe use
          when making a new manuscript
          >
          >
          > This is a good question.
          >
          > As Iam a layman but concern to this study, can I develop the
          question as :
          >
          > 1. If there are many manuscripts in his desk why he prefer one
          manuscript.
          >
          > 2.The accuracy of the transmission based on one manuscript.
          >
          > Thank You.
          >
          > Ivan Karel.
          >
          > Accountant-Jakarta
          >
        • Fadie A. Fahmy
          Yes Tim, i agree that the typical  act was to use a single MS, as there s no reason for using more generally . But this answer, i see, till now,
          Message 4 of 16 , Jan 20, 2009
            Yes Tim, i agree that the "typical" act was to use a single MS, as there's no reason for using more "generally". But this answer, i see, till now, is theoretical. Alexandrian scribes were textual critics! So, why the "typical" habit in Alexandria wasn't the using of more than 1 MS in producing any MS? However, i like to ask Eddie's question practically: Do we have any available evidence could state a "typical" habit about the number of MSS, the scribe used to produce his MS? if so:
             
            1- Do we have any abnormal positions evidenced?
            2- Does the answer applies to all the ancient societies,and, consequently, the available local text-types, as a "typical" act?
             
            I think it's a very important topic in investigating the important witnesses.
             
            Best Regards!
             
            Fadie
             
            ________
            In Christ,
            Fadie A. Fahmy
            www.textual-criticism.com



            From: yennifmit <tfinney@...>
            To: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 5:37:58 AM
            Subject: [textualcriticism] Re: How many copies did a scribe use when making a new manuscript

            Dear Fadie,

            I agree with you that the copying process was influenced by many
            factors and that there is no single rule. However, when you think of
            the thousands of times that New Testament manuscripts were copied, one
            might begin to ask what were typical practices and how they would
            affect the outcome.

            Much depends on scribal psychology. E.g.

            1. What would a typical scribe do when faced with nonsense in the
            exemplar? Consult another exemplar or make his or her conjecture about
            what the text should be?

            2. What would a typical scribe do when faced with a choice of readings
            in the exemplar? Choose the reading of the first hand or that of a
            corrector?

            3. How often would a typical scribe notice errors in the exemplar?

            4. How often would a typical scribe make his/her own errors.

            I use "typical" here knowing that what an individual scribe did would
            be influenced by a miriad of circumstances, including his/her
            abilities, location, and era.

            Returning to Ivan's original questions, Bruce Metzger concluded that
            scribes didn't start using desks until the eighth or ninth centuries.
            Concerning the accuracy of transmission based on one manuscript, that
            is something I would like to know. (See 4, above. It may be possible
            to get an estimate using extant manuscripts. ) If all copies lived in
            isolation then the fact of scribal error would produce a chaotic mess.
            However, I believe that cross-checking, as evident from the ubiquitous
            corrections, is a strong regulator that has kept the tradition intact.

            Best,

            Tim Finney

            --- In textualcriticism@ yahoogroups. com, "Fadie A. Fahmy"
            <fadie4m@... > wrote:

            >
            > I think, some
            considerations  controled the process, as it depends,
            mostly, on some social causes, like: whether the
            manuscript was  made for ecclesias tical or personal reasons? whether
            the manuscript was created to be an archytype or just for the ordinary
            using? whether the manuscript was made by the order of an important
            person (e.g Constanitne? ), or just a reader? and so on!
            >
            > So, i don't think it's the case in which we have a single rule. But
            generally, i don't see that there was a proplem in using more than one
            MS in preparing a new MS.
            >
            > Cheers!_____ _________
            > Yours In Christ,
            > Fadie A. Fahmy
            > www.textual- criticism. com
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > ____________ _________ _________ __
            > From: Ivan KArel <ivankarel@. ..>
            > To:
            rel=nofollow ymailto="mailto:textualcriticism%40yahoogroups.com">textualcriticism@ yahoogroups. com
            > Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 11:41:44 AM
            > Subject: Re: [textualcriticism] How many copies did a scribe use
            when making a new manuscript
            >
            >
            > This is a good question.
            >
            > As Iam a layman but concern to this study, can I develop the
            question as :
            >
            > 1. If there are many manuscripts in his desk why he prefer one
            manuscript.
            >
            > 2.The accuracy of the transmission based on one manuscript.
            >
            > Thank You.
            >
            > Ivan Karel.
            >
            > Accountant-Jakarta
            >


          • Jack Kilmon
            Hi Joe: It was a common practice for a lector to read aloud an exemplar manuscript to a number of scribes at once, each making a copy. Sort of an ancient
            Message 5 of 16 , Jan 20, 2009
              Hi Joe:
               
              It was a common practice for a lector to read aloud an exemplar manuscript to a number of scribes at once, each making a copy.   Sort of an ancient Xerox. One scribe could hear KAIIRIS and the scribe sitting next to him would hear and write  KAIIEREIS as in the case of Rev 4:3 in Codex Sinaiticus vs Codex Alexandrinus.  The same with EKSOU vs  EXOU for Matt. 2:6.  On listening, I would know which.  There is a site that gives these examples and others but I don't remember at the moment.  I usually like to cite valuable sites (pun intended).
               
              Jack
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Jovial
              Sent: Sunday, January 18, 2009 9:20 AM
              Subject: Re: [textualcriticism] Re: How many copies did a scribe use when making a new manuscript

              We all notice variants just from having read one manuscript and saying to ourselves , " That's not how it reads in other MSS."  But I doubt anyone could look at 5 MSS at the same time and not get confused and make even more mistakes as a result.  Of course, I'd say it would be illogical to conclude that ALL scribes had the same habit of either using one or multiple MSS.  Everyone is not alike.  Trying to draw any conclusions from any such theory is just barking up the wrong tree.
               
              Joe Viel
               
               
              ----- Original Message -----
              Sent: Friday, January 16, 2009 5:30 AM
              Subject: Re: [textualcriticism] Re: How many copies did a scribe use when making a new manuscript

              Thanks, Tim.

              The reason I had a hunch this "one exemplar" was inaccurate was because of all the second and third century Church Fathers who mention the variants in all the mss. They seem to be agitated with the many variants. Why would one scribe, in light of all this complaining, presume he had a ms that was without variant? I just can't imagine this. Erasmus used 6 mss for his translation, and I thought that was painfully too little. I realize a translation is different than a copy, but both tasks are trying to preserve the ancient text. By the way, neither of those books you mentioned have I read.

              Eddie Mishoe
              Pastor

              --- On Thu, 1/15/09, yennifmit <tfinney@reltech. org> wrote:
              From: yennifmit <tfinney@reltech. org>
              Subject: [textualcriticism] Re: How many copies did a scribe use when making a new manuscript
              To: textualcriticism@ yahoogroups. com
              Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009, 9:03 PM

              Hi Eddie,

              I have the same weakness, but found this:

              Alistair Stewart-Sykes, 'Ancient Editors and Copyists and Modern
              Partition Theories: The Case of the Corinthian Correspondence, '
              Journal for the Study of the New Testament 61 (1996), 53-64.

              He is talking about the practical difficulties that would be faced by
              someone trying to produce what we now have as I and II Corinthians
              from copies of letters sent by Paul. His arguments relate to rolls
              (AKA scrolls); the difficulties would be less pronounced if copies
              were kept in a codex (i.e. book with pages).

              See also Bruce M. Metzger, "When Did Scribes Begin Using Writing
              Desks?" in _Historical and Literary Studies: Pagan, Jewish, and
              Christian_ (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968), pp. 123-37. This includes
              plates of ancient pictures of scribes showing their postures and
              paraphernalia.

              Best,

              Tim Finney

              --- In textualcriticism@ yahoogroups. com, Eddie Mishoe <edmishoe@.. .>
              wrote:
              >
              > Tim:
              >
              > You have hit on one of my weaknesses. I read a lot of material but
              fail to take appropriate notes as to who said what. I have absolutely
              no idea which article/book I read that in. Although it was very
              recent, I am sorry to say I just don't know who I was reading at the time.
              >
              > Eddie Mishoe
              >
              > Pastor
              >


            • Eddie Mishoe
              If my memory serves me correctly, I have read where several early mss are of the Alexandrian text-type but have Western readings in some passages or verses.
              Message 6 of 16 , Jan 20, 2009
                If my memory serves me correctly, I have read where several early mss are of the Alexandrian text-type but have Western readings in some passages or verses. This would tell me that the scribe had at least 1 Alexandrian ms and 1 Western ms (or his exemplar came from such a combination). That some mss have portions of a book, sometimes just a few passages here and there, of readings from two different text-types would seem to argue that at least these scribes had multiple mss in front of them as they were producing a new ms, right?

                Eddie Mishoe
                Pastor


              • Tony Zbaraschuk
                ... Not necessarily, particularly with very early papyri. It s also possible that there were many variations in the early tradition and that some of them were
                Message 7 of 16 , Jan 20, 2009
                  On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 09:19:41PM -0800, Eddie Mishoe wrote:
                  > If my memory serves me correctly, I have read where several early mss
                  > are of the Alexandrian text-type but have Western readings in some
                  > passages or verses. This would tell me that the scribe had at least
                  > 1 Alexandrian ms and 1 Western ms (or his exemplar came from such a
                  > combination).

                  Not necessarily, particularly with very early papyri. It's also possible
                  that there were many variations in the early tradition and that some of
                  them were later selected into the Western type and others into the
                  Alexandrian type. (I'm being very loose here.) I don't think we can be
                  sure the types we generally call "Western" and "Alexandrian" were separate
                  entities in the second or third centuries.

                  > That some mss have portions of a book, sometimes just a few passages
                  > here and there, of readings from two different text-types would seem
                  > to argue that at least these scribes had multiple mss in front of
                  > them as they were producing a new ms, right?

                  Only in a very general sense. You could have a case where a manuscript
                  was produced from a single exemplar, and (maybe much) later corrected
                  against an exemplar with some different readings. Then another copy
                  of the corrected manuscript might exhibit readings of the type you
                  describe, but not itself have been produced by a scribe having multiple
                  MSS in front of him. (I would not be at all surprised if this sort
                  of thing happened more often than we have evidence for, but it's easy
                  to come up with plausible scenarios, and much less easy to get
                  solid evidence that it _must_ have happened one particular way.)


                  Tony Z
                • Bob Burns
                  Which scribes are we talking about, Jewish, Christian, which era, which region? ... would only use one manuscript when making a new manuscript/copy. This
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jan 21, 2009
                    Which scribes are we talking about, Jewish, Christian, which era, which
                    region?


                    --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com, Eddie Mishoe <edmishoe@...>
                    wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > I recently read an article in which the author contends that scribes
                    would only use "one manuscript" when making a new manuscript/copy. This
                    seems odd to me. I have always envisioned scribes using multiple older
                    manuscripts/copies while making a new copy. Is there any evidence that
                    scribes generally used only "one manuscript" when making a new copy?
                    >
                    > Eddie Mishoe
                    > Pastor
                    >
                  • Jack Kilmon
                    Sure, Eddie. Certainly there were single scribes that may have copied a mss and perhaps had two exemplars from different text types. I would think that any
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jan 22, 2009
                      Sure, Eddie.  Certainly there were single scribes that may have copied a mss and perhaps had two exemplars from different text types.  I would think that any two mss were probably variants.  A single scribe producing just one manuscript, however, is the least expedient and efficient process, however.  A lector reading from an exemplar for 6 scribes would be the most efficient manner to produce multiple mss for sale from a scriptorium.  A scribe working alone on one mss from one or two exemplars would be more prone to errors of parablepsis (dittography, haplography) while the multiple scribes listening to a lector, more prone to hearing errors.  Of course, the mss used by the lector could also have had parableptic errors explaining why we see certain errors repeated in certain text types.
                       
                      Jack
                       
                      Jack Kilmon
                      San Antonio, TX
                       
                       
                       
                      ----- Original Message -----
                      Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 11:19 PM
                      Subject: Re: [textualcriticism] Re: How many copies did a scribe use when making a new manuscript

                      If my memory serves me correctly, I have read where several early mss are of the Alexandrian text-type but have Western readings in some passages or verses. This would tell me that the scribe had at least 1 Alexandrian ms and 1 Western ms (or his exemplar came from such a combination). That some mss have portions of a book, sometimes just a few passages here and there, of readings from two different text-types would seem to argue that at least these scribes had multiple mss in front of them as they were producing a new ms, right?

                      Eddie Mishoe
                      Pastor


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