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RE: [textualcriticism] Frequency of variants for different NT books

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  • Steven Avery
    Hi, David, we basically largely the same points in two overlapping posts. Note the seven problems in the previous post in trying to pin down the general
    Message 1 of 11 , May 6 8:17 AM
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      Hi,

      David, we basically largely the same points in two overlapping posts. Note the seven problems in the previous post in trying to pin down the general question of variant statistics.   I left those on the bottom of this post.

      (If anybody wants to improve those categories, please do so, I think that question has been under-whelmingly studied in the past.)

      David Inglis
      Steven, thanks for the reply, but I don�t think the links are going to be much help with what I�m trying to do. In particular, any site that is not looking at mss, but instead at what people have selected as �their� preferred variants (which is what the CT/MT/RT do) is going to miss a lot of detail.

      Steven
      This is definitely the case, but that still remains a good starting point.  And should give representative proportions, book-by-book, which was a major part of your original request.  Remember, you were surprised the abundance of Matthew on one Wiki site, but that looks like simply the aberration of working with a partial study.

      David Inglis
      Also, unless the site gives me details at the ms level, instead of editions, then it�s not going to help. For example, Gary�s site (and other similar ones) don�t mention Lk 22:17-20,

      Luke 22:17-20 (AV)
      And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

      Steven Avery
      The Western non-interpolations, from Bezae and Latin western evidences, will always be a bit of a fly in the ointment (as will Bezae in Acts as I mentioned).  Note though, that a Critical Text comparison that uses Westcott-Hort might not miss this one, depending on how they interpret the W-H double brackets. And if the comparison works with earlier CT editions before NA-26 then they will be covered well.

      Note also, though that three are a total of less than 10 of these western omissions that were seriously considered even by Hort.

      David Inglis
      because the MT variant is used in almost all Greek editions, and I really need to take all the versions into account as well, so I need to look at mss.

      Steven
      And I think what you are really saying is you want to look at Codex Bezae as == in significance to Vaticanus and Bezae.  Historically afaik that has three aspects.

      1) Hortian fascination with western non-interpolations

      2) Western text aficionados like Francis Crawford Burkitt & William Lawrence Petersen

      3) Ehrmanesque (along with Daniel Wallace) continued Bezae fascination -- manifested on selected variants like Mark 1:41 

      When you ask about going to the ms level you surely are not asking to look at all cursives, and probably not even all uncials?  You simply are following the modern lead of considering Bezae differences as especially significant.

      We should remember that three manuscripts Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Bezae, are of special significance in the theories of modern textual criticism. The question of whether you want your study to follow that lead should not be ignored, since it has a lot to do with any purported objectivity in approach.  (You could expand the three to the "five great uncials" or "five old uncials" (Burgon) and include Alexandrinus and Ephraemi, the basic question would remain.)

      David Inglis
       I think my ideal would be all non-accidental translatable variants in all mss,

      Steven
      Again, I doubt that you really mean "all mss", not when the apparatus does its best to ignore variants that are principally in the Byzantine tradition yet are not present significantly in the Alexandrian tradition.

      David Inglis
      but I suspect I�ll have to create such a list myself. I�ll probably start with Wieland Willker, as I always find him very useful

      Steven
      And I am curious what you plan to add to the existing lists other than :

      a) lesser variants that are visible on LaParola or another apparatus, especially if there are multiple variants in a verse
      b) Codex Bezae "Western" specialties

      Shalom,
      Steven Avery

      ===================================================================

      SEVEN DIFFICULTIES IN COUNTING VARIANTS

      1) multiple variants in a verse - poorly covered in most counts

      2) "significant" variants has no fixed definition (translatable is a higher number, less subjective)

      3) source material extensiveness varies - all major editions, all major manuscripts, all known manuscript differences, etc.

      4) counting of variants varies, especially in inclusion/omission

      5) punctuation differences are handled variously

      6) source material obscurity
      "Sometimes writing is hard or impossible to read. Also, a number of scribes and correctors may have been at work, making it difficult to discern who is responsible for what." - Tim Finney

      7) versional variants
      "Another class of uncertainty relates to translation from a version back to Greek so that all witnesses can be compared on the same footing; sometimes it is hard to tell which Greek text stands behind a translation of the same passage".- Tim Finney

      And since the apparatus is driven by the Greek manuscripts, it would be easy for versional variants to be ignored in any study.  Similar to (7) can be for ECW variants that do not have direct, significant Greek ms support.

      None of these should prevent a comparative book-by-book comparison of any system that is standardized between books (which DTL almost gave you in my earlier post). They all account for the difficulty of any statement about variants that does not give the methodology. 

      There are nuances, however, even in trying for a book-by-book comparison. e.g. if Codex Bezae is given a prominent spot of inclusion in the methodology similar to Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, that could radically change the variant situation in Acts.
       

      Steven Avery
      And I used this site for a little checking the other day, it uses two different measures, but is very helpful for comparing the Critical Text with the Received Text and Majority Text, which will give the great bulk of significant variants.

      Analytical-Literal Translation
      Textual Variants in the The New Testament
      Gary F. Zeolla
      http://www.dtl.org/alt/main/variants.htm

      500+ translatable variants in Mark
      300+ significant variants in Luke

      You could probably get a good picture by going through each chapter, and coming up with a general significant-->translatable ration.  What is good about this site is that it should give a fairly standard concept of "signficant" within its own numbers.  Significant can be in the eye of the beholder, and has no objective definition.

      And this post might give some help too.

      [textualcriticism] Re: TR vs CT variants
      Steven Avery March 25, 2008
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/textualcriticism/message/3602  

    • David Inglis
      Steven, thanks for the reply. At the moment I AM interested in all mss, whether papyrus, uncials, etc., in all languages. This is because I m interested (among
      Message 2 of 11 , May 6 3:08 PM
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        Steven, thanks for the reply. At the moment I AM interested in all mss, whether papyrus, uncials, etc., in all languages. This is because I’m interested (among other things) in how particular variants may have spread geography. I really want to actually ignore whether a variant is classified as Western, Alexandrian, etc., and what Westcott, Hort, or anyone else may have thought, until AFTER I’ve grouped the variants according to the criteria I’m testing out. Only after that do I want to start thinking about whether Bezae (or any other ms) is particularly significant, what other people thought, etc. to see whether there are any correlations or not.

         

        David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA

         

        From: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com [mailto:textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Steven Avery
        Sent: Monday, May 06, 2013 8:17 AM
        To: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: RE: [textualcriticism] Frequency of variants for different NT books
         

        Hi,

        David, we basically largely the same points in two overlapping posts. Note the seven problems in the previous post in trying to pin down the general question of variant statistics.   I left those on the bottom of this post.

        (If anybody wants to improve those categories, please do so, I think that question has been under-whelmingly studied in the past.)

        David Inglis

        Steven, thanks for the reply, but I don’t think the links are going to be much help with what I’m trying to do. In particular, any site that is not looking at mss, but instead at what people have selected as ‘their’ preferred variants (which is what the CT/MT/RT do) is going to miss a lot of detail.


        Steven
        This is definitely the case, but that still remains a good starting point.  And should give representative proportions, book-by-book, which was a major part of your original request.  Remember, you were surprised the abundance of Matthew on one Wiki site, but that looks like simply the aberration of working with a partial study.

        David Inglis

        Also, unless the site gives me details at the ms level, instead of editions, then it’s not going to help. For example, Gary’s site (and other similar ones) don’t mention Lk 22:17-20,


        Luke 22:17-20 (AV)
        And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

        Steven Avery
        The Western non-interpolations, from Bezae and Latin western evidences, will always be a bit of a fly in the ointment (as will Bezae in Acts as I mentioned).  Note though, that a Critical Text comparison that uses Westcott-Hort might not miss this one, depending on how they interpret the W-H double brackets. And if the comparison works with earlier CT editions before NA-26 then they will be covered well.

        Note also, though that three are a total of less than 10 of these western omissions that were seriously considered even by Hort.

        David Inglis

        because the MT variant is used in almost all Greek editions, and I really need to take all the versions into account as well, so I need to look at mss.


        Steven
        And I think what you are really saying is you want to look at Codex Bezae as == in significance to Vaticanus and Bezae.  Historically afaik that has three aspects.

        1) Hortian fascination with western non-interpolations

        2) Western text aficionados like Francis Crawford Burkitt & William Lawrence Petersen

        3) Ehrmanesque (along with Daniel Wallace) continued Bezae fascination -- manifested on selected variants like Mark 1:41 

        When you ask about going to the ms level you surely are not asking to look at all cursives, and probably not even all uncials?  You simply are following the modern lead of considering Bezae differences as especially significant.

        We should remember that three manuscripts Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Bezae, are of special significance in the theories of modern textual criticism. The question of whether you want your study to follow that lead should not be ignored, since it has a lot to do with any purported objectivity in approach.  (You could expand the three to the "five great uncials" or "five old uncials" (Burgon) and include Alexandrinus and Ephraemi, the basic question would remain.)

        David Inglis

         I think my ideal would be all non-accidental translatable variants in all mss,


        Steven
        Again, I doubt that you really mean "all mss", not when the apparatus does its best to ignore variants that are principally in the Byzantine tradition yet are not present significantly in the Alexandrian tradition.

        David Inglis

        but I suspect I’ll have to create such a list myself. I’ll probably start with Wieland Willker, as I always find him very useful


        Steven
        And I am curious what you plan to add to the existing lists other than :

        a) lesser variants that are visible on LaParola or another apparatus, especially if there are multiple variants in a verse
        b) Codex Bezae "Western" specialties

        Shalom,
        Steven Avery

      • yennifmit
        David, This might interest you: tfinney.net/Views/index.xhtml N.B. this is a draft. I m only up to Mark in the discussion. The data matrices, distance
        Message 3 of 11 , May 7 9:02 PM
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          David,

          This might interest you:

          tfinney.net/Views/index.xhtml

          N.B. this is a draft. I'm only up to Mark in the discussion. The data matrices, distance matrices, CMDS results, and DC results shown in the "Data sets and analysis results" table are not likely to change. (Although more rows are being added to the table as data becomes available.)

          I am convinced that Streeter's theory of local texts is a useful hypothesis for explaining these analysis results. It seems to me that many of the analysis results point to four ancient varieties of the text:

          (1) "Alexandrian"
          (2) "Byzantine"
          (3) "Western"
          (4) "Eastern"

          Cf. the CMDS result for Mark based on UBS4 data:

          http://www.tfinney.net/Views/cmds/Mark-UBS4.15.SMD.gif

          What one labels these clusters is problematic. I follow the TC convention of using scare quotes to say "These are just labels, to be taken with a pinch of salt." My preference is to use group medoids (identified through PAM analysis) as labels because a medoid is the most central member of its group (if the group has more than two members).

          Streeter's theory is unpopular these days for a number of reasons:

          1. More than one flavour of the text is found in the papyri, showing that there were multiple varieties circulating in Egypt in the second and third centuries. (Or else that there were no distinct varieties early on.)

          2. Streeter's "Caesarean" text, as represented by Theta and 565, is now regarded with suspicion.

          3. Other arguments that others can supply.

          However, despite these things, I think that a theory of local texts should be reconsidered. Here is why:

          1. The principle of least effort. Why send for an exotic exemplar (what you make a copy from) when you can get one next door? If the average copyist acted according to the principle of least effort then local texts would tend to arise.

          2. There is a distinct cluster that is a good match to what Streeter called "an Eastern type." (E.g., in Mark, the Sinaitic Syriac, Armenian, Georgian, P45, W in chs. 5-16, Family 1, Origen). Other witnesses, such as 28, 700, Family 13, the Palestinian Syriac, have points of contact with this variety. Theta and 565 do too, but have a "Western" component as well.

          3. My PhD research on early copies of the Book of Hebrews. That research shows that separate analyses of textual and spelling variation produce similar results -- the same MSS tend to collocate for both types of data. I put that down to scribes typically using local spelling practice and local exemplars.

          4. The collocation of early versions (Cop, Syr, Lat) and early varieties ("Alex", "East", "West") in CMDS maps. There is one absentee variety ("Byz") and one absentee early Christian population centre (Asia Minor) if Cop/Alex = Egypt; Syr/East = Eastern end of the Mediterranean; Lat/West = Rome, Gaul, North Africa. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide whether those two absents should be connected.

          Could what stands behind the Byzantine text be the ancient text of Asia Minor? Conflations and smoothing could be a surface layer of "improvement" on top of an ancient variety. Harnack says that Asia Minor was the major Christian population centre in the second century. I would expect that region to have had many copies of its own textual flavour. If Asia Minor did have its own variety of the text in the second century, what happened to it? Why would Asia Minor's second century text be the only one not to be preserved in later textual streams? One thing to consider: The CMDS map for Mark (UBS4) places Jerome's Vulgate (vg) about midway between a group of Old Latin texts and the "Byzantine" cloud. Jerome says (Letter to Damasus, written about 380) that he used old Greek copies to revise the Latin.

          There. I said it.

          Best,

          Tim Finney

          --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com, "David Inglis" <davidinglis2@...> wrote:
          >
          > Steven, thanks for the reply. At the moment I AM interested in all mss, whether papyrus, uncials, etc., in all
          > languages. This is because I'm interested (among other things) in how particular variants may have spread geography. I
          > really want to actually ignore whether a variant is classified as Western, Alexandrian, etc., and what Westcott, Hort,
          > or anyone else may have thought, until AFTER I've grouped the variants according to the criteria I'm testing out. Only
          > after that do I want to start thinking about whether Bezae (or any other ms) is particularly significant, what other
          > people thought, etc. to see whether there are any correlations or not.
          >
          >
          >
          > David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA
          >
          >
          >
          > From: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com [mailto:textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Steven Avery
          > Sent: Monday, May 06, 2013 8:17 AM
          > To: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: RE: [textualcriticism] Frequency of variants for different NT books
          >
          > Hi,
          >
          > David, we basically largely the same points in two overlapping posts. Note the seven problems in the previous post in
          > trying to pin down the general question of variant statistics. I left those on the bottom of this post.
          >
          > (If anybody wants to improve those categories, please do so, I think that question has been under-whelmingly studied in
          > the past.)
          >
          > David Inglis
          >
          > Steven, thanks for the reply, but I don't think the links are going to be much help with what I'm trying to do. In
          > particular, any site that is not looking at mss, but instead at what people have selected as 'their' preferred variants
          > (which is what the CT/MT/RT do) is going to miss a lot of detail.
          >
          >
          > Steven
          > This is definitely the case, but that still remains a good starting point. And should give representative proportions,
          > book-by-book, which was a major part of your original request. Remember, you were surprised the abundance of Matthew on
          > one Wiki site, but that looks like simply the aberration of working with a partial study.
          >
          > David Inglis
          >
          >
          >
          > Also, unless the site gives me details at the ms level, instead of editions, then it's not going to help. For example,
          > Gary's site (and other similar ones) don't mention Lk 22:17-20,
          >
          >
          > Luke 22:17-20 (AV)
          > And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will
          > not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake
          > it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the
          > cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
          >
          > Steven Avery
          > The Western non-interpolations, from Bezae and Latin western evidences, will always be a bit of a fly in the ointment
          > (as will Bezae in Acts as I mentioned). Note though, that a Critical Text comparison that uses Westcott-Hort might not
          > miss this one, depending on how they interpret the W-H double brackets. And if the comparison works with earlier CT
          > editions before NA-26 then they will be covered well.
          >
          > Note also, though that three are a total of less than 10 of these western omissions that were seriously considered even
          > by Hort.
          >
          > David Inglis
          >
          >
          >
          > because the MT variant is used in almost all Greek editions, and I really need to take all the versions into account as
          > well, so I need to look at mss.
          >
          >
          > Steven
          > And I think what you are really saying is you want to look at Codex Bezae as == in significance to Vaticanus and Bezae.
          > Historically afaik that has three aspects.
          >
          > 1) Hortian fascination with western non-interpolations
          >
          > 2) Western text aficionados like Francis Crawford Burkitt & William Lawrence Petersen
          >
          > 3) Ehrmanesque (along with Daniel Wallace) continued Bezae fascination -- manifested on selected variants like Mark 1:41
          >
          >
          > When you ask about going to the ms level you surely are not asking to look at all cursives, and probably not even all
          > uncials? You simply are following the modern lead of considering Bezae differences as especially significant.
          >
          > We should remember that three manuscripts Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Bezae, are of special significance in the theories
          > of modern textual criticism. The question of whether you want your study to follow that lead should not be ignored,
          > since it has a lot to do with any purported objectivity in approach. (You could expand the three to the "five great
          > uncials" or "five old uncials" (Burgon) and include Alexandrinus and Ephraemi, the basic question would remain.)
          >
          > David Inglis
          >
          >
          >
          > I think my ideal would be all non-accidental translatable variants in all mss,
          >
          >
          > Steven
          > Again, I doubt that you really mean "all mss", not when the apparatus does its best to ignore variants that are
          > principally in the Byzantine tradition yet are not present significantly in the Alexandrian tradition.
          >
          > David Inglis
          >
          >
          >
          > but I suspect I'll have to create such a list myself. I'll probably start with Wieland Willker, as I always find him
          > very useful
          >
          >
          > Steven
          > And I am curious what you plan to add to the existing lists other than :
          >
          > a) lesser variants that are visible on LaParola or another apparatus, especially if there are multiple variants in a
          > verse
          > b) Codex Bezae "Western" specialties
          >
          > Shalom,
          > Steven Avery
          >
        • David Inglis
          Tim, thank you. I spent most of my morning (well, 2 hours at least) reading through your methodology and the results. It s amazing stuff, and must have taken a
          Message 4 of 11 , May 8 4:13 PM
          • 0 Attachment

            Tim, thank you. I spent most of my morning (well, 2 hours at least) reading through your methodology and the results. It’s amazing stuff, and must have taken a lot of effort. Thank you for having done it. Having said that, I wonder if there’s any way you could do the following:

            1.       Have an ‘interactive’ version of your rotating GIF, so that people could zoom in and/or slow it down, in order to look at the details;

            2.       Create ‘blocks’ for the different ‘sections’ of the synoptics i.e. three sondergut blocks, three ‘double tradition’ blocks, and a ‘triple tradition’ block (7 in all) and see how the variants in each block group together.

            Then, something else that may or may not show anything. I got to thinking about accidental (as opposed to deliberate) variants. My hypothesis is that accidental variants in documents in any one group are likely to obscure the grouping effect (assuming that accidental variants are essentially random), and that removing them from the analysis would therefore tend to sharpen the results. Also, if an accidental change produces a nonsense variant, it is likely that the nonsense variant would (in later mss) be changed to one or more sensible variants at the same variation site, possibly all different to the original. So, if it was possible to include the mss date as a factor in the analysis we might be able to see that several different variants at the same site might actually be part of the same group. Am I making any sense?

             

            Anyway, it’s fascinating stuff, and I look forward to any more insights that may come out of it.

             

            David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA

             

            From: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com [mailto:textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of yennifmit
            Sent: Tuesday, May 07, 2013 9:02 PM
            To: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [textualcriticism] Re: Frequency of variants for different NT books

             

             

            David,

            This might interest you:

            tfinney.net/Views/index.xhtml

            N.B. this is a draft. I'm only up to Mark in the discussion. The data matrices, distance matrices, CMDS results, and DC results shown in the "Data sets and analysis results" table are not likely to change. (Although more rows are being added to the table as data becomes available.)

            I am convinced that Streeter's theory of local texts is a useful hypothesis for explaining these analysis results. It seems to me that many of the analysis results point to four ancient varieties of the text:

            (1) "Alexandrian"
            (2) "Byzantine"
            (3) "Western"
            (4) "Eastern"

            Cf. the CMDS result for Mark based on UBS4 data:

            http://www.tfinney.net/Views/cmds/Mark-UBS4.15.SMD.gif

            What one labels these clusters is problematic. I follow the TC convention of using scare quotes to say "These are just labels, to be taken with a pinch of salt." My preference is to use group medoids (identified through PAM analysis) as labels because a medoid is the most central member of its group (if the group has more than two members).

            Streeter's theory is unpopular these days for a number of reasons:

            1. More than one flavour of the text is found in the papyri, showing that there were multiple varieties circulating in Egypt in the second and third centuries. (Or else that there were no distinct varieties early on.)

            2. Streeter's "Caesarean" text, as represented by Theta and 565, is now regarded with suspicion.

            3. Other arguments that others can supply.

            However, despite these things, I think that a theory of local texts should be reconsidered. Here is why:

            1. The principle of least effort. Why send for an exotic exemplar (what you make a copy from) when you can get one next door? If the average copyist acted according to the principle of least effort then local texts would tend to arise.

            2. There is a distinct cluster that is a good match to what Streeter called "an Eastern type." (E.g., in Mark, the Sinaitic Syriac, Armenian, Georgian, P45, W in chs. 5-16, Family 1, Origen). Other witnesses, such as 28, 700, Family 13, the Palestinian Syriac, have points of contact with this variety. Theta and 565 do too, but have a "Western" component as well.

            3. My PhD research on early copies of the Book of Hebrews. That research shows that separate analyses of textual and spelling variation produce similar results -- the same MSS tend to collocate for both types of data. I put that down to scribes typically using local spelling practice and local exemplars.

            4. The collocation of early versions (Cop, Syr, Lat) and early varieties ("Alex", "East", "West") in CMDS maps. There is one absentee variety ("Byz") and one absentee early Christian population centre (Asia Minor) if Cop/Alex = Egypt; Syr/East = Eastern end of the Mediterranean; Lat/West = Rome, Gaul, North Africa. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide whether those two absents should be connected.

            Could what stands behind the Byzantine text be the ancient text of Asia Minor? Conflations and smoothing could be a surface layer of "improvement" on top of an ancient variety. Harnack says that Asia Minor was the major Christian population centre in the second century. I would expect that region to have had many copies of its own textual flavour. If Asia Minor did have its own variety of the text in the second century, what happened to it? Why would Asia Minor's second century text be the only one not to be preserved in later textual streams? One thing to consider: The CMDS map for Mark (UBS4) places Jerome's Vulgate (vg) about midway between a group of Old Latin texts and the "Byzantine" cloud. Jerome says (Letter to Damasus, written about 380) that he used old Greek copies to revise the Latin.

            There. I said it.

            Best,

            Tim Finney

          • yennifmit
            Hi David, Some responses are interspersed below... ... To do this you need to install R on your computer. (Download from http://www.r-project.org/.) Then
            Message 5 of 11 , May 9 7:49 AM
            • 0 Attachment
              Hi David,

              Some responses are interspersed below...

              >
              > I wonder if
              > there's any way you could do the following:
              >
              > 1. Have an 'interactive' version of your rotating GIF, so that people could zoom in and/or slow it down, in order
              > to look at the details;

              To do this you need to install R on your computer. (Download from http://www.r-project.org/.) Then download my R scripts and data files from the Views site. (It would probably be a good idea to use the directory structure found at the Views site, especially data/, dist/, scripts/, cmds/, dc/.) Some instructions which may help are at section 1.2 of tfinney.net/ATV/index.html. Once everything is in place, you will be able to produce CMDS maps which can be manipulated (rotation, zooming) through mouse movements.

              >
              > 2. Create 'blocks' for the different 'sections' of the synoptics i.e. three sondergut blocks, three 'double
              > tradition' blocks, and a 'triple tradition' block (7 in all) and see how the variants in each block group together.

              The data sets can be sliced by, e.g., selecting particular variation units. The data sets based on the INTF's Parallel Pericopes volume (INTF-Parallel) might be amenable. It sounds like an interesting concept but one that someone besides me will have to pursue.

              >
              > Then, something else that may or may not show anything. I got to thinking about accidental (as opposed to deliberate)
              > variants. My hypothesis is that accidental variants in documents in any one group are likely to obscure the grouping
              > effect (assuming that accidental variants are essentially random), and that removing them from the analysis would
              > therefore tend to sharpen the results.

              The noise of random effects does obscure relationships. Being able to remove accidental agreements would make relationships clearer. The problem is knowing how to identify which agreements are accidental. One must beware not to introduce bias. I therefore prefer to do the minimum possible amount of vetting before analysis, apart from rejecting distances derived from too few variation sites. There is already a fair bit of selection built into the data sets as many readings are dropped because they are nonsense, orthographical variations, or not thought worth including.

              > Also, if an accidental change produces a nonsense variant, it is likely that the
              > nonsense variant would (in later mss) be changed to one or more sensible variants at the same variation site, possibly
              > all different to the original.

              I agree. I think this mechanism is responsible for the genesis of many variations.

              > So, if it was possible to include the mss date as a factor in the analysis we might be
              > able to see that several different variants at the same site might actually be part of the same group. Am I making any
              > sense?

              Yes. However, there are some complicating factors. (1) Manuscript dating is very rubbery. Plus or minus 50 years is not an unreasonable rule of thumb for palaeographical dating. (I'd like to see some of the NT papyri carbon dated to see whether the palaeographical dates are any good. It only takes about one square centimetre of papyrus.) (2) The date of a manuscript is not the date of the readings it carries. Some, yes; many, no. (3) There is the survival problem. The further back one goes, the less one has as a proportion of what once existed. My guess is that we have between one hundredth and one thousandth of the NT manuscripts that existed in the second and third centuries. Trying to see patterns in the development of readings given such a sparse sample may be problematic. Nevertheless, readings are tenacious so we are likely to have many of the most popular ones despite the gaps in the record. The INTF's CBGM (coherence-based genealogical method) works by looking at readings at every variation site and choosing which readings gave rise to which.

              The thought has occurred to me that if dates were included, one might be able to see some kind of general progression in, say, a time animation of a CMDS map. (Witnesses would fade in and out as the animation clock went through their dates. I can imagine such a thing but wouldn't like to try making it.) There would be general convergence towards the Byzantine cloud later on. The Egyptian cluster would dominate at the beginning, largely due to most early papyri being from Egypt.

              Best,

              Tim Finney
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