Re: [textualcriticism] xx "omited in" yy, or yy "omits" xx. Does anyone else see this terminology as a problem?
- David, your suggestion that we "change to saying that something is either present or is not, e.g. “xx is not present in yy, zz” or “xx is present in all but yy, zz,” or “xx is only present in yy, zz,” or some other similar variation," is a good one, and no, you are not the only one to think this is an issue.Mike Holmes
On Wed, May 1, 2013 at 11:55 AM, David Inglis <davidinglis2@...> wrote:
As I understand it, it is standard TC practice to refer to a ms ‘omitting’ text where said text is present in some other variant or version. To my mind this brings up a number of problems:
1. General use of the word ‘omit’ suggests that something has been forgotten, or not stated, or that there is something else that could have been written, said, etc. In addition, in common usage it implies (to me, at least) a deliberate act, such as in a court: “Why did you omit the fact that …”
2. Whether or not a deliberate act is involved, the general use of ‘omit’ not only indicates that what has been omitted exists somewhere else, but that the “somewhere else” is superior as a result.
3. Because of this general usage, our unconscious, automatic, reaction (by System 1, in case anyone knows what I mean by that) to the use of the word ‘omit’ prejudices us in favor of the “somewhere else,” before we even hear or read any details of the difference. Effectively, ‘omit’ anchors our thought process so that we are biased against the omission, even before having thought about it.
Given the above (and I would be more happy to hear from anyone who doesn’t agree), how did it get to be standard TC practice to refer to a text ‘omitting’ something in comparison with one or more other texts. In particular:
1. When did this become standard practice?
2. Who gets to decide what the ‘standard’ is against which something is decided to be an ‘omission?’
3. At what point does the balance shift, e.g. what % of witnesses need to ‘omit’ something before the terminology changes, and we start to say that the other witness ‘add’ something instead?
I don’t know whether there are any real answers to the above questions, but if there are I would like to hear them. Given what I see as the problems, can I make a plea that everyone in the TC world immediately stops using ‘omit’ (not going to happen, obviously!), and change to saying that something is either present or is not, e.g. “xx is not present in yy, zz” or “xx is present in all but yy, zz,” or “xx is only present in yy, zz,” or some other similar variation. Is this just me, or does anyone else even see this as an issue?
David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA