Galilee or Judea?
Thanks for your insights. I think the original is without doubt Galilee, which goes against what (for example) the NET has. As I see it (see https://sites.google.com/site/inglisonmarcion/Home/luke/fame-in-galilee ) for details) Lk 4:14b-15 is an interpolation, added after Nazareth and Capernaum were swapped in Lk, and Galilee was then changed to Judea to avoid Jesus preaching throughout Galilee twice. In this case, as in others, I think that looking just at the verses in question (or even at the immediate context) doesn’t provide anything like sufficient information to be able to decide which variant reading is original.
David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA
There also is a fundamental question as to whether textual paradigms are neutral.
Simple example: lectio difficilior or "procliviori praestat ardua" or the harder reading.
is one controversial (at least in application) textual paradigm that is used to determine or approximate the original autographic text. Yet the more difficult reading can be uncomfortably hard, or even a blunder. e.g. It could be a geographical blunder, like Nazareth in Judea.
(Note: I'm giving an example that is not in the Critical Texts, we only see it in Sinaiticus. I'm doing this deliberately, so that we do not get side-tracked into a debate on the validity of the text in the actual example.)
An evangelical may look at it in much the same way as Alfred Watts, in his superb analysis of scribal habits (emphasis added):
Expositor (1885 - originally published 1883)
Textual Criticism Illustrated from the Printing Office
And equally free from doubt are my deductions as to the facility with which awkward readings come in by accident, so that I must take upon me to plead with those I am addressing to abandon the paradox that " the unlikeliest reading is the likeliest," and to be content with substituting the more moderate canon, " A difficult reading must be dismissed with more hesitation than an easier one." The "Procliviori praestat ardua" is certainly not to be relied upon as a universal rule, and a far sounder result would often be reached by regarding as the foremost of all probabilities that of the Evangelist or Apostle having written an intelligible and fairly constructed sentence.
This paper includes an early scientific study of scribal habits, are area that is popular today. (It also gives some interesting counterpoint to the Burgon view of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus).
William Thomas Whitley (1861-1947) summarized the Watts analysis in the Princeton Theological Review:
Princeton Theological Review
A Study in Textual Criticism
William Thomas Whitley
The three fundamental canons on which the favorite New Testament text of to-day is constructed, do not come out well when tested by the methods of compilers deliberately and leisurely comparing their sources, and utilizing them with the vantage of personal knowledge.
It may be pleaded on their behalf that for one or two deliberate and leisurely revisions undertaken by Lucian or Euaebius, there have been hundreds of hasty transcriptions as a mere piece of business, and that the canons do apply to such eases. But Mr. Alfred Watts, after his fifteen years' experience in a printing office, asserts without any misgiving that when transcribers go out of their way to make as editors one change for the better,
they go on in their own way as copyists to make twenty or fifty changes for the worse. He supplies also pages of examples to show the easy occurrence of omission, and the comparative rarity of the opposite vice. He sums up a careful examination of sixty pages of proofs, in which he finds 101 words changed, 256 dropped, eight added and fourteen doubled.
The paper by Watts, who worked in printing, discusses how certain types of accidental errors are extremely common.
Let's go back to our analysis of Nazareth in Judea. Our textual analyst with an evangelical perspective starts from a comparatively high view of the origin of the Bible text. And he might consider Nazareth in Judea as being unintelligible, at least in the logical, historical, geographical sense. And he would then lean the variant arising from a mental error of the scribes who formed the minority text,. And consider lectio difficilior as having no application. This would fit with the Watts scientific analysis.
Yet, a textual critic from an atheist or skeptic or mythicist background would be very happy to apply the textual canon of the more difficult reading to "Nazareth in Judea". And offer it as one very significant consideration, perhaps if there was a bit more textual evidence, like Vaticanus, it would be in our versions today, as is the "synagogues of Judea" of Luke 4:44 where the mass of manuscripts have:
And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.
Just like Luke can be thought of making an error, or imprecision, in Luke 4:44, the textual critic with a low view of scripture origin could very easily think of Luke having erred in Luke 1:26. And the error was simply picked up later by the scribes who corrected all the errors from the original authors. The probabilities perspective of Watts would not be accepted.
Can a textual analyst be truly neutral between the two perspectives on apostolic or original writer error?