Re: Didymus the Blind's Gospels-Text and Careful (?) Scribes
If the question were, "Exactly how did Didymus' Gospels-text develop?" then your answer that "The whole matter is, in fact, a rather difficult one," would be well-received. But my question is less ambitious: it's more like, "Could Didymus' Gospels-text emerge from a transmission-stream in which the Alexandrian Text, and the Alexandrian Text alone, was transmitted by careful copyists?" Wouldn't you conclude that the answer has to be "No"? For if only a text very closely resembling the text of B was carefully transmitted, then Didymus' Gospels-text would very closely resemble the text of B -- but instead, his Gospels-text agrees with the Byzantine Text instead of B 47.5% of the time his Gospels-text disagrees with one or the other.
It is as if the text of the Gospels in Egypt enters a tunnel in the early third century, and when it enters the tunnel, it resembles the text of P75 and B; when it exits, in the time of Didymus, it agrees with RP-2005 almost as often as it agrees with B (at points where RP-2005 and B disagree). We might not be able to discern what happened, but we can see what *didn't* happen: the text did not remain the same; it was changed. A lot. Careful, mechanical copyists using only exemplars containing the Alexandrian Text could not produce such results. Right?
Yours in Christ,
James Snapp, Jr.
--- In email@example.com, Mike Holmes <holmic@...> wrote:
> The main point I wished to make in the previous note was in the final sentence: "The whole matter is, in fact, a rather difficult one." We have, in Didymus's text, a "snapshot" representing a specific point in time. That snapshot can be analyzed in order to determine its relationship (or lack thereof) with other known texts or textual traditions. But I don't think we can determine much, if anything at all, regarding *how* Didymus's text came to have that character at that particular point in time. We can hypothesize about how it may have come to have the character it has, or about what sort
of scribes did or did not copy the manuscript from which Didymus took his citations, but I don't think we have much in the way of usable evidence that will enable us to do much more than that. So I'm skeptical about any claims about what sort of scribal activity led to Didymus's text.
> On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM, james_snapp_jr <voxverax@...> wrote:
Yes, but consider the question with an accent: how could anyone claim that the text of that copy [i.e., Didymus' Gospels-text, as much as it can be reconstructed] was produced by careful, meticulous copyists *and* that the Alexandrian Text was *the* ancestral text that they perpetuated? A change in 47.5% of the readings seems unlikely to be caused by the careful correction of one carefully made copy of the Alexandrian Text using another carefully made copy of the Alexandrian Text. Either the copy that disagrees 47.5% of the time with its great-grandfather was not carefully made (or, its grandfather or father was not carefully made), or else the Alexandrian
> > Text is not *the* ancestral text being used by the scribes. In the
> > transmission-stream between B-and-P75's-ancestor and Didymus' Gospels-text, there can be careful scribes, or there can be the constant use of the Alexandrian Text. But a shift of 47.5% of the readings from Alexandrian to Byzantine precludes one or the other of those things. Doesn't it?
> > Yours in Christ,
> > James Snapp, Jr.