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Re: [textualcriticism] Re: Evaluating the Alexandrian Text

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  • A. Dirkzwager
    I don t want to take a position in the debate about the Alexandrian text here. With the patristic evidence however there is a problem. The text of the writings
    Message 1 of 37 , Dec 10, 2011
      I don't want to take a position in the debate about the Alexandrian text here.
      With the patristic evidence however there is a problem. The text of the writings of the fathers has been edited on the base of manuscript evidence, like that of the Bible. So the text of biblical quotations we read in our editions of the fathers can be the result of the taste of the editor. The text of the quotations in the manuscripts can have been adapted to the "normal" Bible of the scribe, who lived centuries later than the author of the text he was copying.
      It isn't always so, but the real possibility exists.
      There are of course studies about these matters (eg. Aalders on Tertullianus). But not all the authors have been treated that way.
      However the patristic evidence remains very important, like the evidence of early translations, if used with care.

      Arie

      A. Dirkzwager
      Hoeselt, Belgium
      www.dirkzwagerarie.be



      Op 9/12/2011 18:26, joewallack schreef:
       


       In addition, the patristic evidence of the 100's and 200's does not generate a lot of support for the Alexandrian Text; "Western" readings tend to be supported instead. Cyprian's text is Western, not Alexandrian. Tertullian's text is not Alexandrian. Hippolytus' text is not Alexandrian. Even Clement's text -- which one would expect to be Alexandrian, since he worked in Alexandria -- has non-Alexandrian elements, like a fortress into which so many foreign rocks have been catapulted that they have been used to build the walls. (Just consider Clement's quotation from Mark 10 in his "Who Is The Rich Man?" -- does that look Alexandrian?? And, in the 300's, even one grants (as Dr. Ehrman contends) that Didymus used a form of the Alexandrian Text in Egypt in the late 300's, that does not erase Basil's use of a form of the Byzantine Text in Caesarea at about the same time -- or Chrysostom's in the late 300's -- or Wulfilas' in the mid-300's.


    • james_snapp_jr
      Dear Joe: Regarding the attempt to illustrate scribal tendencies by examining Matthew s use of Mark: as I said already, this is not a legitimate comparison,
      Message 37 of 37 , Jan 1, 2012
        Dear Joe:

        Regarding the attempt to illustrate scribal tendencies by examining Matthew's use of Mark: as I said already, this is not a legitimate comparison, because Matthew was an author, consciously using Marcan material as source-material; Matthew was not operating as a copyist. This should be obvious.

        cJW: "Where intent is limited to copying, I would agree that omission is more likely than addition."

        Great; we agree. (I'd say /generally/ more likely -- the ratios are not overwhelmingly one-sided. And I'd say that one of the very points where scribes got into trouble was when they veered from their strict duty to duplicate the contents of their exemplars. But /generally,/ yes.)

        JW: "Regarding "Matthew" tending to shorten "Mark's" stories, I hear that but I don't see it."

        That's because you've just looked in Mark chapter 1. And even there, you've overlooked places where Matthew moved Marcan material to other parts of his account (instead of conveniently keeping it all in sequence).

        Try the presentation at http://www.textexcavation.com/synopticlistedinventory.html , which will allow you to see out-of-sequence parallels, as well as verbal similarities in the Greek text -- things that you just can't do at the Five Gospels comparison-site you mentioned. Select 10 or 12 places throughout Matthew where Matthew's account is paralleled in Mark, and see whether it is Matthew or Mark who has more words within that episode.

        Here are a few episodes to consider:
        The Healing of a Leper: http://www.textexcavation.com/synhealleper.html
        The Healing of a Paralytic: http://www.textexcavation.com/synhealparalytic.html
        The Gadarene Demoniac: http://www.textexcavation.com/synexorcismgadarene.html

        Of course three other episodes could be cherry-picked that would show the opposite results. But if you go all the way through the parallels between Matthew and Mark, and look at the word-counts (which are listed at the site, episode-by-episode), you will see that although Matthew's episode is sometimes longer (especially when he adds material from another source), usually the longer episode is in Mark. Which implies that when Matthew is using Marcan material, Matthew is usually condensing Marcan material, even though he sometimes supplements the material he has condensed. This should be indisputable, since it is a simple matter of counting words.

        JW: "Is this directly relevant to Scribal editing of source texts? Yes it is."

        No; it isn't. Writing a book using source-materials is a different task than reproducing an already-written text.

        Getting back to Mark 16:9-20 --

        JW: "Since "Matthew" is longer than "Mark" anyway you look at it and preferred, the tendency would be to edit "Mark", the shorter text, to "Matthew", the longer text, and therefore addition here would be more likely than subtraction."

        And thus the tendency would be not to make just any addition, but an addition that looks like what we see in Matthew: an ending in which the frightened women are met by Jesus, and recover their resolve to report to the disciples, who believe the women and therefore proceed to Galilee. But that's not what we have in Mark 16:9-20, is it. We have, instead, a sudden restart in 16:9, followed by scenes in or near Jerusalem, even though this creative editor/composer you posit (or, rather, Kelhoffer posited) had the means, motive, and opportunity to use Matthew to create a harmonious and smoothly-transitioning conclusion. Do you really not see the difficulty?

        Yours in Christ,

        James Snapp, Jr.
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