[textualcriticism] "Ehrman vs. Ehrman ?" - a correction (Royse)
- Hi Folks,
In an earlier post I contrasted two quotes that contradict, writing that both were from Bart Ehrman, even to the point of saying "Ehrman vs. Ehrman".
Misquoting Jesus: the story behind who changed the Bible and why (2007)
Bart D. Ehrman
Moreover, in the early centuries of the church, some locales had better scribes than others. Modern scholars have come to recognize that the scribes in Alexandria which was a major intellectual center in the ancient worldwere particularly scrupulous, even in these early centuries, and that there, in Alexandria, a very pure form or the text of the early Christian writings was preserved, decade after decade, by dedicated and relatively skilled Christian scribes.
Modern scholars recognize.... the scribes in Alexandria ,,, particularly scrupulous, ... early centuries ... in Alexandria ... decade after decade
The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis (1995)
Scribal Tendencies in the The Transmission of the Text
... the case of P75 shows clearly that at least some scribes were capable of care. Nonetheless,
the other substantial early papyri show just as clearly that as a rule early scribes did not exercise the care evidenced in later transcriptions.
The second quote, the accurate historical quote, is actually not from Bart Ehrman. Ehrman was the editor of the book in which the quote appears, however the second quote is from the paper by James Ronald Royse, who has done pioneering study in the papyri - scribal habits question.
My apologies for the citation error.
Whether it lessens the Bart Ehrman difficulty is not at all clear, since the quote and background of Royse is so strong. In a couple of posts, Bart Ehrman never addressed the papyri scribal issue, the dubious claim of decade after decade, particularly scrupulous scribes. Instead, Bart vaguely referred to his study on another topic, the text of Didymus.
However, it should be made 100% clear that the two quotes above were not directly both Bart Ehrman.
Ironically, Daniel Wallace uses the Bart Ehrman quote to try to support his Alexandrian Critical Text NT defense -- as a reasonably pure BIble.
Second Century Papyri
... the Alexandrian stream of transmission, a stream that most scholars would regard as the best group of witnesses to the original text of the NT. Even Ehrman has said as much: Modern scholars have come to recognize that the scribes in Alexandria were particularly scrupulous, even in these early centuries, and that there, in Alexandria, a very pure form of the text of the early Christian writings was preserved, decade after decade, by dedicated and relatively skilled Christian scribes (Bart D. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus: The Story behind Who Changed the Bible and Why ..
And then, in a reverse back-flip, Bart Ehrman goes against his own quote above, properly pointing out that the papyri are not reliable or consistent. Here is an example from a discussion in a Bart Ehrman debate with James White. (This is reported on an Islamist site, the report looks straightforward.)
Bart Ehrman exposes James Whites bogus argumentation
P75 (late 2nd /early third century) and codex Vaticanus are very similar so White claims there was no primitive corruptions. Ehrman tells us this is a bogus argument!
Ehrman tells us the fuller picture; there are manuscripts of similar dates as P75 which differ significantly from codex Vaticanus!
That would be major variations even within those particularly scrupulous Alexandrian scribes.
Even I am amazed at how easily modern writers can take two sides of the same issue, depending on what is convenient for the current positioning.
Consistency, the jewel.