RE: [textualcriticism] David Trobisch - Paul's Letter Collection
- Unfortunately, it seems to be generally ignored.
<<I grew up with a picture of Paul traveling through Asia and Europe, founding congregations, counseling and teaching the men and
women who had given their life to Jesus. If he could not visit them, he sent letters. When Paul died, his letters were kept as
treasures. Each church that had received one of his letters saved it, had it read during worship services, and exchanged copies of
the letter with other congregations close by. Later the congregations tried to complete their collection.
But this view does not match the uniformity of manuscript evidence.
I will have to explain this more closely. Today, before a book is published, the author presents a manuscript to the publisher. The
publisher very often will suggest changes and will have the manuscript edited by professional editors. After author and publisher
agreed on the final version, one single manuscript only is forwarded to the printer. This manuscript becomes the ancestor of the
whole edition or, in other words, this manuscript is the archetype of the text tradition.
The view I grew up with does not suggest that there was any archetype of the letters of Paul. There were several collections and
different editors combined these collections at different places until all known letters were included.
Let me sum up the two points I wanted to make so far. First, the complete manuscript evidence can be interpreted to testify to an
edition of thirteen letters of Paul with the order Romans 1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians 1
Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians 1 Timothy 2 Timothy Titus Philemon. Second, it is very unlikely that two editors would arrange the
letters of Paul in this way independently of each other.
These two assumptions lead me to conclude that the canonical edition of the fourteen letters of Paul as it is presented in the New
Testament today goes back to one single copy of thirteen letters of Paul, and that only the letter to the Hebrews was added at a
later stage of the text-tradition.>>
Trobisch has expanded on this idea of a canonical edition of the letters of Paul, extending it to a canonical edition of the New
Testament itself. See _The First edition of the New Testament_ (Oxford U.P., 2000). I have seen web articles in which Trobisch
suggests that this canonical edition was published around 150 CE possibly by someone like Polycarp, and that it quickly became the
standard, replacing all other collections, leaving almost no trace behind.
This concept was briefly discussed on this list, but was met with universal scorn. Still, it seems that many text critics who post
here seem to cling to the romantic ideas that Trobisch was taught as a youth: that individual letters or books were cherished and
shared, then over time collected together by various churches, eventually accreting into the collection(s) we have today. The
problem is that we should expect much greater variety of titles and relative order of individual texts within collections than we
actually seem to have. I am not even a 'believer' yet I have to admit there is a certain logic at work there.
Perhaps the early Christianity the produced the collected books of Paul, or the NT itself, that we have today, was more monolithic
than we generally suppose. Either that or one particular publishing house published a collection that, whether individual churches
accepted all of the books in the collections or just a subset, filled a need so well that it dominated Christian literature to the
exclusion of all alternate collections.
Are there any good, comprehensive monographs on the subject of the possible *early* publication history of the NT and its
sub-collections e, a, p & r?
5 miles from the Center of the World, Ohio USA
[mailto:sentto-12544309-4527-1235750235-dhindley=compuserve.com@...] On Behalf Of idou747
Sent: Friday, February 27, 2009 9:00 AM
Subject: [textualcriticism] David Trobisch - Paul's Letter Collection
I was wondering... what the general consensus about the hypothesis and argument put forward in the book "Paul's Letter Collection"
by David Trobisch, that Paul himself may well have assembled and published his own writings?
Yahoo! Groups Links
- Dave (and list),
Dave Hindley wrote: "This concept was briefly discussed on this list, but was met with universal scorn."
I briefly responded concerning this matter a while ago, but I definitely hope I did not give any impression of being scornful. As I said then, David Trobisch is a respected scholar and friend of mine, but there are some problems with some of his theories which is important to consider (note that I say "theories").
>Still, it seems that many textcritics who post here seem to cling to the romantic ideas that Trobisch was taught as a youth ...
I am not interested in "romantic ideas" unless they can explain the data we have. One observation I mentioned last time this was discussed is the fact that different parts of the NT reflect a distinct history of transmission; We have one textual history for e.g., Revelation, which is very different from e.g., Matthew, Romans, or Jude, etc. If there was one canonical edition that was the archetype of the extant textual evidence we would expect a more homogenous textual history for the different sections and books of the NT. There are other problems with this particular thesis (one canonical edition of the NT) which I will not go into now.
As for the adopted codex format, the wide use of nomina sacra, the homogenous titles of the books in various sections, etc. reflects the early spread and wide availability of good standard copies.
Dave Hindley "that individual letters or books were cherished and shared, then over time collected together by various churches, eventually accreting into the collection(s) we have today."
There are many possible models, it is not necessary to set the "one canonical edition-theory" against an "individual books-collection theory," and maybe that is not what you are doing, but it is good to clarify. When you say "collection(s)" in singular or plural, maybe you are implying that there are some subcollections within the larger collection? I think the data confirms the fact that the subcollections (Gospels, Pauline letters, Catholic Epistles; or even sub-sub, like 1-2 Peter) generally were brought together earlier on in transmission.