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Re: The Future of TC

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  • James Snapp, Jr.
    Dear Dave M. Nielsen: It happens that in The Bible as Book: The Transmission of the Greek Text, -- the same book that I recently mentioned to draw attention
    Message 1 of 10 , Feb 21, 2009
      Dear Dave M. Nielsen:

      It happens that in "The Bible as Book: The Transmission of the Greek
      Text," -- the same book that I recently mentioned to draw attention
      to a chapter by John J. Brogan – Bruce Metzger offers a chapter on
      precisely the topic you have asked about: the future of New
      Testament Textual Studies.

      Metzger lists several things under the heading of "Items and Topics
      That Await Investigation," including:

      (1) Lectionaries: we need a full history of the lectionary text, and
      we need a critically established lectionary text, based on full
      collations.
      (2) Unavailable MSS should be analyzed, such as the "New Finds" from
      St. Catherine's Monastery.
      (3) Physical aspects of MSS – features such as the number of lines
      per page, the arrangements of Canons, decorations, and ruling-
      patterns – may have the potential, when identified and compared, to
      establish distinct steps in the text's transmission.
      (4) Thorough study of patristic observations about variant readings.
      (5) A study of the orthography of proper names in Greek MSS of the
      OT and NT.

      I don't think I qualify as an established scholar, having had nothing
      published, but here is where I think the energy of a new recruit to
      NTTC-studies could be most productively invested, and yield relevant
      and significant work:

      (1) The study of the Syriac Gospels' relationship to the "Western"
      Greek text, /book-by-book/.

      (2) The study of the Syriac Gospels' relationship to the Diatessaron.

      (3) The study of Syriac patristic quotations.

      Here are some reasons to make Syriac studies as an area of expertise:

      (a) The Sinaitic Syriac has been around for a while, but I feel that
      more could be done with it. It might be interesting to find out
      which papyri (and which versional witnesses) it most frequently
      agrees with, book by book. This is a major witness, and it's
      surprising that a high-quality, up-to-date presentation and analysis
      of its text is not already in great demand.

      (b) If you aspire to compile and translate Syriac patristic writings,
      you will not need to worry about running out of things to do.

      (c ) Important work could fall into the lap of Syriac specialists.
      You never know when some monks somewhere will organize their library
      and discover some important Syriac MS, such as Syr. Gr. Pat. 1.
      Someone needs to be ready to study newly-discovered Syriac texts, and
      someone else needs to be ready to evaluate the first someone's work.

      (d) There are essentially two Greek texts being promoted in the
      scholarly marketplace today: the NA-text and the Byzantine Text. If
      someone, building on the foundation laid by A. Voobus, would
      *demonstrate* when the Peshitta was produced, it could make the
      choice between the two substantially easier. Or harder, depending on
      what was demonstrated.

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.
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