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Re: [textualcriticism] Textual Criticism On the Decline

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  • Daniel Buck
    Jeremias (do please sign your posts), Never having been a PhD candidate in Ghana, I won t attempt to pick apart your abstract. But I would suggest that one
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 1, 2012
      Jeremias (do please sign your posts),

      Never having been a PhD candidate in Ghana, I won't attempt to pick apart your abstract. But I would suggest that one tantalizing way to interest a beginning student in the study of OTTC would be to start with the universally familiar story of Goliath. Most people don't know that there is a major textual element in the story. The MT is united in giving Goliath's height at "six cubits and a span" while many Greek mss as well as 4QSam(a) and Josephus read "four cubits and a span." The illustrators of Bible story books often appear to read an even higher number. There are so many elements to the question:

      - Did Jewish scribes 'translate' the number to accommodate a shorter Jewish cubit?
      - Was this part of a gematriac restructuring that would provide three 'sixes' in the cubits, shekels of iron, and shekels of brass (the only three measurements associated with Goliath)?
      - Was this (if 'six' were original) part of an attempt to de-mythify the account by giving Goliath a physically attainable height?

      This is a whole different world from that of NTTC, but it strikes so close to home that it is truly a shame that it's being so ignored.
      Daniel Buck

      From: jeremias.engmann <jeremias.engmann@...>
      To: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 8:17 AM
      Subject: [textualcriticism] Textual Criticism On the Decline

      Dear TC Listees,

      I am completely new to SBL and would therefore greatly appreciate your critique of my proposed abstract (below) before I send it to them.

      An unexamined life (like an uncritiqued work) is not worth living--or presenting.

      Many thanks,
      Philip Engmann,
      PhD cand. University of Ghana, Legon.

      Once bitten, forever smitten
      A call to the preservation and growth of OT TC in future generations—What is the best method of presenting OT TC methods to a beginner?

      Global under-representation, decline and African dearth of OT TC

      It is the view of this paper that the study of Old Testament textual criticism (OT TC) globally, is relatively under-represented and worse still, is on the decline. In particular reference to the African continent, it seems ironical that in the birthplace of Origen, who `originated' OT TC, there seems to be almost a dearth of OT TC studies, and apart from activity in South Africa, the discipline seems to be practically unheard-of.

      Objective of this paper

      There are several reasons which account for this under-representation of OT TC in general, but this paper addresses the presentation of OT TC to a beginning student with the objective that he or she when `once bitten' would not be `twice shy', but would remain `forever smitten', i.e. this paper suggests a paradigm shift from a focus on academically correct presentations with a view to completing a given syllabus, to one whose main focus is to stimulate the student to longevity of pursuit of further studies in this field. More specifically, this paper offers a comparative analysis of the various literary OT TC methodological presentations available, and suggests which presentation may perhaps be most useful to a beginner not only in terms of academic scientific presentation and content, but also in terms of interest stimulation and clarity of presentation for easy beginner assimilation and subsequent promotion of the discipline.

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