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Vaticanus & Byz in James

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  • Ben & Mandy Pehrson (HF)
    Dear TC group, After working on a few specific TC problems in James, I am starting to work through some more foundational TC issues for this epistle and would
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 26, 2005
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      Dear TC group,

      After working on a few specific TC problems in James, I am starting to work
      through some more foundational TC issues for this epistle and would
      appreciate some input.

      As much as I am thankful for Vaticanus, I need to ask if B has possibly been
      followed too blindly in the Catholics after seeing the results of Kurt
      Aland's test collation tool. After all, the earlier Nestle text merely
      accepted where two of three other critical editions agreed, two of which
      (Westcott-Hort and Weiss) had clear preferences for B. For the 98 test
      passages in the Catholic Letters, B has the following statistics based on
      Aland's tool:

      1 agreement with the Byzantine text
      9 agreements with the Byzantine text where it has the same reading as the
      critical text (NA26)
      80 agreements with the critical text (where the Byzantine reading is
      different)
      10 special/different/unique readings

      (**I recognize that this adds up to 99, not 98, but these are the numbers
      given in Aland and Aland, The Text of the New Testament. Does anyone have
      an explanation or an update for these numbers that often seem just a little
      off the mark from the total number of test passages used?)

      These are striking statistics, especially considering the numbers for other
      Alexandrian codices such as Sinaiticus (23, 6, 63, 16), Alexandrinus (18, 6,
      62, 13), and 1739 (15, 7, 67, 14). Even Vaticanus itself is nowhere else so
      thoroughly in support of the critical text than in the Catholics.

      What do others think of the following method as one way of assessing
      readings supported by Vaticanus? In short, the goal is to use the MSS that
      are closest to B to assess if their differences from B are at some places a
      more viable reading than B. This could be done by:

      1. Identify which MSS are closest to Vaticanus. This is done for us
      already using the 98 test passages in the Catholics in Aland's "Text und
      Textwert." For MSS having a significant number of extant variation units,
      here are the MSS that have over 50% agreement with B for the test passages:
      1739 (62%), 1852 (61%), 04 (59%), 044 (58%), 02 (56%), 01 (55%), 1243 (55%),
      1881 (53%), 1846 (53%), P74 (50% -- only 5 of 10 extant variation units in
      common with B).

      In studying James, I would want to complete a full collation of the MSS for
      that specific epistle. My own test collation in James has been done using
      only the 69 variation units where the Byzantine tradition is unified enough
      for use of the Byz symbol in the Editio Critica Maior for James edited by
      The Institute for New Testament Textual Research. Unfortunately, I do not
      have access in my current location to the test passages used by Aland, so
      these percentages should not be compared to the percentages above. However,
      it will be interesting to note some significant changes in ranking: 01
      (77%), 04* (66%), 1739 (64%), P74 (61% -- only 19 of 31 extant variation
      units in common with B), 945 (59%), 02 (57%), 1175 (57%), 04C2 (56%), 04C3
      (56%), 1852 (55%), 1243 (54%), 025 (52%), and 2344 (51%). Notice how the
      following MSS are much higher ranked for affinity to B in James than in the
      whole of the Catholics: 01, P74, 945 (only 41% agreement with B in
      Catholics), 1175 (only 31% agreement with B in Catholics), and 025 (only 33%
      agreement with B in Catholics).

      2. Using MSS that show the highest affinity to B, identify variation units
      where the reading supported by B is not supported by those MSS that are
      closest to B. If a full collation has been done, not only can one evaluate
      the significance of these MSS where they differ from B, one can also look at
      each individual MS that agrees with B for this particular variant and
      consider the value of its affinity to B.

      3. Evaluate these variation units using the normal canons of criticism, but
      also taking into consideration the variation between B and those MSS that
      are most like B.

      My own biggest objection to this method is that all the early MSS (and
      especially B) are so unique from the other extant MSS, that perhaps the
      percentages of agreement are not high enough to warrant any strong
      conclusions for instances when the MSS differ. Secondly, even if the
      affinity between MSS were significant enough to be useful, say, if they were
      close enough to be considered a family, any particular disagreements within
      this family could have arisen from different causes, so I'm not sure if this
      method can shed much light on the subject.

      Even if one believes that B is the best witness to the "original" text, it
      would be useful if we can develop some additional tool for tempering blind
      adherence to this MS, at least in the Catholics where the critical text is
      almost simply the reading of B.

      My other purpose in choosing the Byzantine variation units for my test
      collation was to begin to evaluate which Byzantine readings in James may be
      possible candidates as primary readings. In the introduction to the Editio
      Critica Maior, the following observation is made:

      "It should be noted that in James the undivided witness of the Byzantine
      text [undivided witness = unified enough to use the Byz symbol] differs from
      the primary line text in only 69 of more than 800 instances of textual
      variation. Research on the Byzantine text of James must proceed primarily
      from [this] list of readings. Elsewhere the Byzantine is generally
      identical with the primary line text. Thus it is, apart from these 69
      passages, an important witness to the early text." [brackets mine]

      This is a very important observation, but the proposal that I wish to test
      in challenge to this statement is that the Byzantine reading even in some of
      these 69 passages might also represent the early text, especially if there
      is other strong external and internal evidence, and particularly if
      Vaticanus has perhaps been given too much weight in its favor.

      Thanks for any input you all can offer me in this study,

      Benjamin
      P.S. Does anyone have a list of the test passages used in "Text und
      Textwert"?


      Ben & Mandy Pehrson
      SIL P.O. Box 118
      Ukarumpa, EHP 444
      PAPUA NEW GUINEA

      ben-mandy_pehrson@...

      Wycliffe Bible Translators
      P.O. Box 628200
      Orlando, FL 32862-8200

      www.wycliffe.org
    • Wieland Willker
      Your proposed method is certainly interesting. Some remarks: 1. Perhaps you might want to wait with the collations for a little while. Probably in the near
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 27, 2005
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        Your proposed method is certainly interesting. Some remarks:
        1. Perhaps you might want to wait with the collations for a little
        while. Probably in the near future James will be added to the Muenster
        online transcriptions and then you will have several MSS already in
        full.
        http://nttranscripts.uni-muenster.de/

        2. you wrote:
        > we can develop some additional tool for tempering blind
        > adherence to this MS, at least in the Catholics where
        > the critical text is almost simply the reading of B.

        The text in NA and ECM has been created using the full arsenal of
        textcritical methods (reasoned eclecticism plus Mink stemmatics in the
        ECM). They are not following B "blindly". They actually are quite
        sympathetic to the Byzantine text in the Catholics. That B comes out
        that good is, because it IS just so good a text.

        3. I would like to add that people should not carry over the results on
        the Byzantine text in the Catholics to the rest of the NT. At least in
        the Gospels the situation is quite different. The readings of the
        Byzantine text in the Gospels are of quite another quality and quantity.


        Best wishes
        Wieland
        <><
        ------------------------------------------------
        Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
        mailto:willker@...-bremen.de
        http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie
        Textcritical commentary:
        http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie/TCG/index.html
      • Ben & Mandy Pehrson (HF)
        Dear Wieland, ... Yes, I completely agree. In my attempt to reevaluate the readings in James supported by Byz over against B, I in no way mean to suggest that
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 7, 2005
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          Dear Wieland,

          You wrote:
          > The text in NA and ECM has been created using the full arsenal of
          > textcritical methods (reasoned eclecticism plus Mink stemmatics in the
          > ECM). They are not following B "blindly". They actually are quite
          > sympathetic to the Byzantine text in the Catholics. That B comes out
          > that good is, because it IS just so good a text.

          Yes, I completely agree. In my attempt to reevaluate the readings in James
          supported by Byz over against B, I in no way mean to suggest that B is not
          an exceptionally good text. When I hypothesize that B may have been
          followed "blindly," I am suggesting this as a possibility only on a small
          scale, perhaps affecting our judgement of only a few readings. Since the
          Byzantine text is generally such a good text in the Catholics, and since the
          exceptional quality of B-especially in the Catholics-may tempt any of us to
          favor it over other well-supported readings at any particular variation
          unit, it seems reasonable to me to look at the places where the two are at
          variance and make sure that the Byz reading is getting a fair hearing,
          especially where other internal and external factors give significant
          support to the Byzantine reading.

          Regarding the use of Mink stemmatics in the ECM, could you clarify this
          point for me or point me in the right direction? This is not made clear to
          me in the Introduction to the ECM volume on James. Also, only two changes
          are suggested for James in the ECM from the NA27, and since the NA27 has
          remained unaltered from the NA26, I am unsure of how Mink stemmatics is
          involved in determining the critical text.

          Grace & peace,
          Ben

          Ben & Mandy Pehrson
          SIL P.O. Box 118
          Ukarumpa, EHP 444
          PAPUA NEW GUINEA

          ben-mandy_pehrson@...

          Wycliffe Bible Translators
          P.O. Box 628200
          Orlando, FL 32862-8200

          www.wycliffe.org
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