Re: The Future of TC
- 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
(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.