Friday, November 25, 2005

Timpanaro on Lachmann

Sebastiano Timpanaro, La genesi del metodo del Lachmann, (Florence, 1963), translated into German as Die Entstehung der Lachmannschen Methode (Hamburg, 1971) should be available in February 2006 as The Genesis of Lachmann's Method (University of Chicago Press). Further details available here.

More wisdom from the past?

"It will not be necessary endlessly to make the point that readings which we judge to be superior taken by themselves are only to be preferred to others if they are supported by at least a few ancient witnesses. I pay no attention to readings which are supported by no adequate witness, but only by late and worthless ones. However, the more internal indications of its excellence a reading displays, the fewer the witnesses necessary to establish it. In practice, therefore, it can happen that a reading exhibits so many and such obvious indications of its worth that two witnesses, provided that they belong to different types and families, or even a single witness, are enough to support it."

This seems sensible in general, don't you think?
What are the most compelling readings supported by only a single witness?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Jongkind on Sinaiticus

A report on Dirk Jongkind's Cambridge PhD thesis, 'Studies in the Scribal Habits of Codex Sinaiticus' is in the Tyndale Bulletin 56.2 (2005) pp. 153-56. Jongkind has developed innovative ways of distinguishing between what the three scribes of Sinaiticus had in their exemplar and the habits of the scribes themselves.

Conjectural emendation

In TC some of the insurmountable gaps between scholars have to do with a very different appreciation for some of the witnesses to the text of the NT (Codex B, the Majority text, vg, quotations in church fathers etc.). Transcriptional reasoning seems much less problematic, at first glance. The purest form of transcriptional reasoning is done by those who suggest conjectural emendations (cj) to the text.
I have noticed Evangelical scholarship tends to be quite reluctant to allow for cj.
Let me raise a question here: is cj compatible with a high view of Scripture? Personally I cannot see why not. In my article "Paul's Use of Scripture in 1 Corinthians 1-4 and Conjectural Emendation in 4:6." (Analecta Bruxellensia 9 (2004): 102-122) p. 108-115 I have suggested 10 criteria for evaluation of a conjectural emendation. I would appreciate your response. Here they are:

  1. The emendation does justice to the style or the idiom of the author, or at least more justice than the traditional reading.
  2. The emendation solves the problem in the text.
  3. The emendation does not introduce new difficulties or riddles.
  4. The extant readings are – either directly or indirectly – explicable as corruptions of the emended reading.
  5. Few early witnesses are available for the passage.
  6. The reconstruction of the original text has been contested in an early stage.
  7. The development from the conjectured original of at least one of the extant readings could have taken place in an early stage.
  8. The emendation requires only a minor intervention.
  9. Textual critics are not removing or softening elements in the traditional text that offend their logic, culture or ideology.
  10. The derivation of the traditional reading from the emended one may not require procedures that were not current in the earliest formative stage of the NT text.

Gie Vleugels

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Eph 1.1 Up-date

D.A. Black (dbo) links to a paper of his on Eph 1.1 (found here) which discusses the textual problem (including conjectural readings, see page 61, note 5). He also refers to a paper of his on conjectures in Matthew (no reference yet).

Further Reflection on Ehrman

I've been thinking a little bit more about the Wright vs. Ehrman exchange at SBL. I think that it is probably worth observing that Ehrman was in fact the only person who maintained that there was a logical link between any doctrine of inspiration and the need to have particular words from God for such a doctrine to work. Thus, though in other respects he may seem the furthest from the classic evangelical position, in this respect he was the closest.

I'm now a third of the way through his book Misquoting Jesus. He has had to suffer what many an author has experienced, which is to find that the publisher has managed to put the Hebrew on the cover upside down. Fortunately, it is only the background and so it does not stand out too badly. The Hebrew is obviously a Dead Sea Scroll (CD?), but, unusually, nothing is said about the cover design.

I disagree with much of the general picture that Ehrman is painting, in particular the quantity of change that he suggests went on in the text early on (e.g. suggestions that there may have once been versions of John that lacked 1:1-18 or ch. 21). However, there is good coverage of much material. He emphasises the importance of written scripture for early Christians (even if they couldn't all read it) and affirms that 1 Tim. 5:18 does cite Luke 10:7 as scripture (p. 31).

Strangely he seems to think that since Galatians was written to a number of churches Paul must have made multiple copies so that there was no single autograph (pp. 58-60). I find it rather unlikely that the letter carrier would actually carry multiple copies when the letter could be reproduced locally. Do we have any evidence of multiple copies of letters being carried by a single individual?

SBL Final Report

The last SBL session on NT TC was on Monday 21 November. It featured Holger Strutwolf, who has replaced Barbara Aland as director of the INTF in Münster. His paper 'The Transmission of the New Testament between Christian Philosophical School and Scriptoria: Some Observations concerning the "Sitz im Leben" of Christian Textual Traditions' argued that in the second century there were two styles of copying the text, a looser and a tighter style, and that the looser style was to be connected with Christian philosophical schools, which were prepared to emend the text, because these schools were modelled on pagan philosophical schools which did such things to secular texts. During the question time he also expressed support for Trobisch's theory that there was a single canonical edition of the NT made during the second century.

The next paper was by William L. Petersen (Penn State - world expert on the Diatessaron) arguing that Second Clement shows that the text of parts of the NT that it cites were not verbally fixed during the second century.

The third paper, by Thomas J. Kraus, treated 'manuscripts' of the Lord's prayer. Apparently there are a number of texts of this that are not usually listed in manuscript lists: early versions of the Lord's prayer on amulets, pieces of wood, pottery, papyrus, parchment, and even inscribed on stone. These show considerable variety amongst themselves (and are not strict textual witnesses). A number of the texts show some of the Lord's prayer alongside parts of Psalm 90.

I had to leave before Juan Hernández, Jr, spoke on 'Scribal Tendencies in the Apocalypse: Starting the Conversation'.

The membership of this blog has initially been made up entirely from evangelicals involved in academic study of textual criticism who were known to the founder, P.J. Williams. It is sincerely hoped that in due time we may be able to have a wider membership. Those with appropriate expertise and theological convictions who wish to be considered for membership should contact Dr Williams at p dot j dot williams at abdn dot ac dot uk. Those applying for membership must indicate that they have read either the OT or the NT in its original language(s), and should give e-mail details of an academic and a pastoral referee, a summary of their academic and/or ministry involvement, a statement of their doctrinal commitment (which may be by reference to various classic evangelical statements of faith, e.g. 39 Articles, Westminster Confession), and an indication of their area of interest within textual criticism. Non-members who wish to comment are not expected to be evangelical, but they are requested to respect to the blog's ethos. The blog's primary language is English, but French and German are also acceptable.