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Re: Initial and Archetype (Questions about "bridge data")

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  • Jay Rogers
    ... retranscribed and distributed for church-use. ... extant copies appear to descend. ... document. ... reconstruct based on comparing existing mss. ...
    Message 1 of 33 , Mar 7, 2009
      --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com, "James Snapp, Jr." <voxverax@...> wrote:
      > Eddie M.:
      > I'm late replying to this -- still decompressing from reading Voobus' History of Syriac Gospels. But here's a quick answer:
      > (1)  The "original" = the text as it existed before it began to be retranscribed and distributed for church-use.
      > (2)  The "archetype" = the reconstructed ancestral text from which all extant copies appear to descend.      
      > (3)  An "extant copy" = an existing transcription of the text of the document.
      > EM: ... "The archetype then would be a document we ARE ABLE to reconstruct based on comparing existing mss."
      > That's right.  (Though you'd think that we would first create sub-archetypes of the text-types.  So where are the publications of those sub-archetypes?!  Somehow there's been a leap from twigs to trunk, with just a glance at the branches in between.)
      > EM:  "The original can NOT be reconstructed because emendation is needed due to a lack of verifiable ms evidence in the late first
      > century and early second century [during which time some argue many changes were introduced."
      > No; I'd say the original text can be reconstructed.  Hort was not saying anything innovative when he explained how to bridge the gap between the archetype-text and the original text:  look for points in the text that are magnets of difficulty in the extant MSS, and where no reading explains its rivals, propose conjectural emendations to remove the effects of primitive corruption.  
      > There are some theoretically possible factors that complicate the issue, such as the possibility of more than one copy of a work being made by the author or co-authors before the work was retranscribed and distributed for church-use.  But the terms still work, however frizzy they become when charged by speculation.
      > Yours in Christ,
      > James Snapp, Jr.

      A while back, James Snapp alerted me to the Irenaeus (c.200) fragment that contains a passage from Mt 3.


      and a useful explanation:


      and a blog entry by Stephen Carlson


      and a comment by Dan Wallace:
      As well, there are several other kinds of witnesses to the text of the New Testament that have been ruled out of court. No one considers them any more, but they should be given their due. For example, P.Oxy 405, if I recall, is a late second century/early third century papyrus that includes a quotation from Matt 3. At the time of its discovery, it was the oldest manuscript to witness to the text of the New Testament. But it doesn’t get mentioned because there is no classification for it.

      Now are the questions:

      Why is this ruled out of court for TC and who, exactly, rules it out?

      Who, if anyone, is doing work on these verboten "other witnesses" to the NT text?

      Has anyone attempted to compile a bibliography of articles and works that deal with this data?

      How useful is patristic evidence in supplying "bridge" material -- that is, data that forms an intermediary grid between the autographs and the earliest fragmentary manuscripts?

      This is something that has always baffled me. It seems to me that there are enough citations in the early patristic material -- the Didache, Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Ignatius, etc. -- all presumably written between 90 and 115 -- to solve the question of how much the text changed early on and about when this occurred.

      * From an extreme liberal perspective, these works were written very close to the date of the biblical autographs -- within 10 to 35 years.

      * From an extreme conservative perspective the patristic texts were written within 30 to 55 years of the NT autographs.

      From either perspective, we have an early corroborating textual witness the likes of which doesn't exist with too many other ancient documents.

      Later on, Irenaeus and Tertullian give the background biographies of these bishops and describe something about how the apostolic writings were transmitted through them and other first century bishops.

      Granted, it depends on how much credence one wants to give the second century apologists. However, even with a healthy level of skepticism, one should be forced to admit that these "bridge" documents between the autographs and the

      Granted too, the patristic writings have been transmitted and copyist errors crept into these manuscripts as well. But the variants between their quotations and the biblical texts suggest that there was no attempt at a recension of their materials to match what was the standard text of the NT at a later time -- for example, during the recensions at the time Lucian of Antioch, after the Nicene Council, or Jerome's Vulgate. So it may be safe to assume here that what you see and what you get is what was actually then and there.

      I asked a few months ago about the Irenaeus fragment that is supposedly contemporary to Irenaeus himself. It seems to me that fragmentary evidence like this can tell us a great deal about the integrity of the text up until this point. Not only can it be compared to the biblical text, but to later manuscripts of Irenaeus to determine (in general) whether these later manuscripts an be used with a degree of reliability.

      It also seems plain to me that even a layman with a very limited knowledge of Greek (alphabet, phonics, basic vocabulary) can compare the "majority text" of Greek NT with these citations and determine how the NT of 90-115 compares to the documentary evidence we have between 115 and 325.

      Maybe I am being naive here, but it seems that this study of "bridge data" could end up being the coup de grace for liberal criticism on the fringe.
    • tvanlopik
      Further investigation of quotations of and allusions to the NT text in 1Clem as provided in the Codex Alexandrinus (A) is welcome. But is to optimistic to
      Message 33 of 33 , Mar 21, 2009
        Further investigation of quotations of and allusions to the NT text in 1Clem as provided in the Codex Alexandrinus (A) is welcome. But is to optimistic to consider the job can be finished quickly. Of course it is possible to compare the parallels of the NT text of A with the text in 1Clem as is provided in the text and apparatus of Funk/Bihlmeyer/Schneemelcher´s Die Apostolischen Vaeter, 1970. On pp. 154-157 the quotions and allusions are indexed. But there is more.

        The question is to investigate the assimilation or harmonization in A of the text of Clemens with the NT text in the mind of the scribe. Otherwise: are the NT quotations of 1Clem in A from 95 AD or perhaps changed by the scribe(s) of A in the 5th century.

        First of all we need to know more about the scribes of A. According to Kenyon there are five: two of the OT and three of the NT. According to Milne and Skeat: two of the OT and one of the NT. 1Clem and 2Clem are written by the scribe of the second part of the OT. (Kenyon/Adams, Der text der griechischen Bibel, 1961, pp. 41, 64; Kenyon/Adams, Our Bible an the ancient manuscripts, 1958, pp. 121, 199)

        Determination of the harmonizing or assimilating activities in A, especially by the scribe of 1Clem, will be served by comparison of the NT quotations in 2Clem (145 AD), but also the quotations in the NT of OT texts (LXX) as provided in A should be involved in the investigation. Already a lot is done in the field of NT quotations of the LXX text in general. E.g., see: Michel, Der Brief an die Hebraeer, 1975 (Meyer's Komm.), pp. 151-158.(By the way on A: pp. 156-157, bibliography on pp. 157-158.)

        Funk/Bihlmeyer, p. XI mentions: The New Testament in the Apostlic Fathers by a Committee of the Oxford Society of Historical Theology, Oxford 1905. That work, also referred to by Vogels, Handbuch der neutestamentlichen Textkritik, 1923, p. 153, is I suppose a 'must' for the scholar who want to investigate the NT quotations of 1Clem in A.

        Teunis van Lopik
        Leidschendam, the Netherlands

        --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com, "Jay Rogers" <jrogers@...> wrote:
        > --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com, "James Snapp, Jr."
        > <voxverax@> wrote:
        > >
        > > "It also seems plain to me that even a layman with a very limited
        > > knowledge of Greek . . . can compare the "majority text" of Greek NT
        > with these citations and determine how the NT of 90-115 compares to the
        > documentary evidence we have between 115 and 325."
        > >
        > > Yes; observing the text in what Burkitt called the "dark age of the
        > NT" -- the period from the writing of the NT books to the
        > production-dates of the earliest substantial MSS and substantial
        > quotations (the kind of thorough quotation one finds in a commentary, as
        > opposed to by-the-way citations) -- could yield a useful comparison of
        > the Majority Text, the "Western" Text, and the "Alexandrian" Text to the
        > earliest-perceptible text. To make the comparison more substantial you
        > might want to include more second-century witnesses.
        > >
        > > Yours in Christ,
        > >
        > > James Snapp, Jr.
        > >
        > On the question: Have the quotations of the NT in the earliest patristic
        > manuscripts been systematically compared to the earliest NT manuscripts
        > themselves?
        > The several objections are valid as anyone with even a cursory knowledge
        > of the church fathers can attest:
        > 1. That the church fathers were sometimes paraphrasing "off-the-cuff."
        > 2. That scribal errors entered into those manuscripts as well.
        > However, the existence of these variants among the church fathers seems
        > to indicate that few (if any) sought to correct their habit of
        > paraphrasing by bringing the text into line with a direct quote. Even
        > so, this could be useful if the correction was made early on.
        > In other words, the existence of a variant by a patristic witness not
        > found in any NT manuscript, in and of itself, ought to give some idea of
        > the integrity of the extant texts of the church fathers.
        > 3. The patristic manuscript evidence is not early enough.
        > Codex Alexandrinus contains 1 Clement. That is fairly early -- 5th
        > century. Who has compared the NT quotes (and allusions) in 1 Clement to
        > the actual NT text in Alexandrinus?
        > This seems the place to start. It wouldn't take too long to compare.
        > Then where to go from there?
        > 1. Compare patristic data from the same codices that also contain the
        > NT.
        > 2. Compare the earliest patristic manuscript evidence with closest
        > copies from the same time period.
        > 3. Compare the earliest patristic manuscripts with the earliest NT
        > manuscripts.
        > 4. Compare the future "critical edition" of the church fathers' quotes
        > with the most recent critical edition of the NT.
        > 5. And any combination of the above.
        > None of the above methods is without inherent problems as noted, but it
        > would give a consensus of some kind. From there several things could be
        > determined.
        > 1. How closely the church fathers agree with either the TR and the
        > "Majority Text."
        > 2. Which manuscript tradition the church fathers most reflect.
        > 3. Which individual manuscripts are supported by which quotations by
        > which church fathers.
        > 4. Which church fathers support which manuscript family tradition.
        > 5. What are some regional generalizations -- that is, would Ignatius and
        > Clement of Alexandria be more inclined toward an Alexandrian reading
        > while Clement of Rome and Justin be more inclined toward a western
        > reading, etc.
        > This last idea seems useful in tracking when and where the text families
        > branched off. I am of the persuasion (without having done any real TC
        > myself) that the western text might have a lot more integrity in light
        > of patristic quotations due to the sheer fact that the Alexandrian
        > family had a "climate advantage" to preserve older fragments and
        > manuscripts. I am just using common sense here, the data might
        > contradict me. But from what I have read, some seem to think the Western
        > tradition is bolstered by the church fathers.
        > Obviously with the paraphrased material, there is going to be great
        > discontinuity, but even with the textual variants in the patristic
        > material (original and scribal) there might be some idiosyncratic things
        > that jump out that textual critics were not aware of before.
        > Criticize these ideas please. Am I putting this in the right order of
        > priority? Has this already been done?
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