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Byzantine Textform

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Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:35 pm

So, I received the 2005 edition of Robertson/peirpont GNT in the mail last Monday, and I must say that I am extremely happy with it :) The book has solid binding, has a beautiful appearance, and its well laid out. With that being said, this in not a review, rather I wanted to bring up a discussion of textual criticism of the New Testament, I'm not sure if this is the place for it, but if it is, lets discuss :)

I think that the Majority (more accurately the Byzantine Manuscripts) are of a superior text, closer to the autographs then the current critical editions.

τι νομιζετε;
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby Markos » Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:51 pm

uberdwayne wrote:...I wanted to bring up a discussion of textual criticism of the New Testament, I'm not sure if this is the place for it, but if it is, lets discuss :)


Hi, uberdwayne,

Do you think it is possible to fully address this question without bringing theology into it, or at least addressing the question of whether one chooses to address this question with or without an a priori assumption that rules out the supernatural in the production and preservation of these texts?
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Thu Oct 03, 2013 4:15 pm

Markos wrote:Do you think it is possible to fully address this question without bringing theology into it ...


Markos,

This isn't b-greek. The tendency among b-greek people to assume that what can or cannot be discussed on b-greek spills over into other forums is unfortunate. Some of us are here because we cannot live with the restrictions against exegesis, textual criticism, cultural issues, literary criticism, theology, ... the list goes on, things you cannot discuss. I spent more time figuring out if I could ask a question than I did formulating the question itself. This gets old fast.
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:30 pm

uberdwayne wrote:So, I received the 2005 edition of Robertson/peirpont GNT in the mail last Monday, and I must say that I am extremely happy with it :) ...
I think that the Majority (more accurately the Byzantine Manuscripts) are of a superior text, closer to the autographs then the current critical editions.

τι νομιζετε;


I spent a number of years reading and occasionally participating in the old TC forum which disappeared about the same time as many other scholarly forums. It seems that scholars discovered all at the same time that this kind of activity wasn't doing anything for their career.

My current policy is to read all the texts of the NT and not fuss over which is the original reading. I read a UBS3-NA27, SBLGNT, Robinson-Pierpont, Hodges-Farstad (rarely), Westcott-Hort. I don't have a hard copy of all of these but I keep R-P close at hand, read it just as often as UBS3-NA27. Right now I am reading Acts in Codex Bezae (Ropes edition). I prefer to read a hard copy without paragraph headings but I still use UBS3 because of the readable font. The paragraph breaks in synoptic gospels represent a lot of assumptions about the "synoptic problem" which is why I like to avoid having my reading broken up into pericopes dictated by the two source markan priority framework which I don't follow.
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby Markos » Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:44 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:
Markos wrote:Do you think it is possible to fully address this question without bringing theology into it ...


Markos,

This isn't b-greek. The tendency among b-greek people to assume that what can or cannot be discussed on b-greek spills over into other forums is unfortunate. Some of us are here because we cannot live with the restrictions against exegesis, textual criticism, cultural issues, literary criticism, theology, ... the list goes on, things you cannot discuss. I spent more time figuring out if I could ask a question than I did formulating the question itself. This gets old fast.


Yes, I agree Clayton. All those restrictions on B-Greek never made sense to me, and time and time again just when a thread would start to get to the heart of the matter the thread would actually be shut down, not only because theology was brought in, but as you say, any methodological considerations were even raised. That's certainly not my idea of a public forum, and Textkit has never had that ethic.

But I guess what I would say is that is impossible for me to totally divorce my views on textual criticism from my theological convictions, and I just wonder if that is the same for other folks.
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:10 pm

Markos wrote:Do you think it is possible to fully address this question without bringing theology into it, or at least addressing the question of whether one chooses to address this question with or without an a priori assumption that rules out the supernatural in the production and preservation of these texts?


I see this question in a similar vein as the origins debate. You must, of necessity make a presuppositional stance before you start evaluating the evidence. In the case of creation/evolution, you either believe God exists, or you don't, and that will shape the way you perceive the evidence.

How does this apply to TC?

We are bound to make a similar presuppositional stance before we start evaluating the evidence. Either God had his hand in the continual preservation of the NT, or He did not (Scripture itself seems to indicate He had special interest in His text). If He did, we ought not to treat it like any other book of antiquity(even though Wescotte and Hort stated otherwise), but rather, treat it as a book that God himself has propagated (I am very cautious when I tell someone that this, or that reading should not be in the text). I believe he did, and with that being said, to answer your question, I do not think its possible to discuss TC fully, or accurately, without some sort of appeal to theological concerns.

Don't get me wrong, I'm by know means a KJVo, and as Daniel Wallace points out about certainty, I don't claim absolute certainty in the particulars. I simply presume that the exact wording is indeed available to us today within the manuscript tradition, and that we come much closer to it with a "Byzantine Text" than the modern critical editions based on an Alexandrian text type.

Theologically though, I believe that often too much emphasis is put on textual variants. I believe, regardless of what edition/translation you read, the Spirit is ultimately responsible for your spiritual growth and He points things out in scripture that He needs to show you. Consider 1John 2:27

1Jn 2:27 καὶ ὑμεῖς τὸ χρῖσμα ὃ ἐλάβετε ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ ἐν ὑμῖν μένει, καὶ οὐ χρείαν ἔχετε ἵνα τις διδάσκῃ ὑμᾶς· ἀλλ᾿ ὡς τὸ αὐτὸ χρῖσμα διδάσκει ὑμᾶς περὶ πάντων, καὶ ἀληθές ἐστι καὶ οὐκ ἔστι ψεῦδος, καὶ καθὼς ἐδίδαξεν ὑμᾶς, μενεῖτε ἐν αὐτῷ.


Again though, don't get me wrong, we must be balanced, it's still important to determine as best as possible what the original wording of the autographs are. And despite what I believe about God supernaturally preserving His text, I believe He has left us with some "natural" breadcrumbs to determining the original.

Interestingly enough, a common attack levied against byzantine scholars, such as Maurice Robinson, Wilbur pickering et el, is that they are too theological in there arguments (its certainly an element, but they have plenty of scholarship to back up their claims). There seems to be a very sharp bias against the Byzantine textform.
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:32 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:My current policy is to read all the texts of the NT and not fuss over which is the original reading.


I like my new RP, its a clean and uncluttered text, and, If you read my post, I prefer the Byzantine textform. However, I find I'm still using my UBS3 reader because my vocabulary is sub par :( Hopefully it picks up, because its starting to fall apart lol.

The thing I like about the RP text is the apparatus at the bottom, it gives an idea of the kinds of "viable" variants between the RP and the NU. Which means, you have a representative from both an alexandrian and a byzantine textbase. All this to say that, the two most differing texts line up more often than not, and the variants usually leave us with the same sense in the text. If someone were to read both at different times, there's no doubt the conclusion would be that the books are essentially the same! don't get me wrong though, I still think TC is still an important discipline, I just don't think we need to be dogmatic about our choice of GNT editions.
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby Markos » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:13 pm

Again, lower criticism is a big, can-of-worms-opening topic, but let me ask you (ὑμεῖς) a very limited question.

R.P. Gal 1:11 wrote:
Γνωρίζω δὲ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν ὑπ' ἐμοῦ ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν κατὰ ἄνθρωπον:


N.A. 27 Gal 1:11 wrote:
Γνωρίζω γὰρ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν ὑπ' ἐμοῦ ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν κατὰ ἄνθρωπον:


Can you think of any reason why anyone would want to change the δέ to γάρ, or vice-versa?
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:45 pm

Markos wrote:

R.P. Gal 1:11 wrote:
Γνωρίζω δὲ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν ὑπ' ἐμοῦ ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν κατὰ ἄνθρωπον:


N.A. 27 Gal 1:11 wrote:
Γνωρίζω γὰρ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν ὑπ' ἐμοῦ ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν κατὰ ἄνθρωπον:


Can you think of any reason why anyone would want to change the δέ to γάρ, or vice-versa?


A place to start is reviewing Levinsohn's treatment of discourse connectors in non-narrative. One difference between δέ to γάρ, δέ is used as an adversative. δέ introduces something new whereas γάρ provides support for what has already been said.
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:21 pm

Markos wrote:Again, lower criticism is a big, can-of-worms-opening topic, but let me ask you (ὑμεῖς) a very limited question.

R.P. Gal 1:11 wrote:
Γνωρίζω δὲ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν ὑπ' ἐμοῦ ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν κατὰ ἄνθρωπον:


N.A. 27 Gal 1:11 wrote:
Γνωρίζω γὰρ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν ὑπ' ἐμοῦ ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν κατὰ ἄνθρωπον:


Can you think of any reason why anyone would want to change the δέ to γάρ, or vice-versa?


I don't see any real significant difference in the meaning between the two, in my opinion, γάρ makes its relation to the previous passage explicit, where as δὲ could have this idea implied. Perhaps a scribe copying the passage unknowingly made the γάρ distinction subconsciously, thus writing it down. At the same time though, maybe in the scribes daily use of Greek, he preferred δὲ over γάρ, and so, unconsciously put it in the text. Either way, there doesn't appear to be any significant difference between these two. Especially since context brings both uses to the same level.

Whats interesting, especially in the epistles, is how often you see textual variants involving ἡμείς and ὑμείς
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:00 pm

In the present context we have two sentences introduce by γὰρ:

10 Ἄρτι γὰρ ἀνθρώπους πείθω ἢ τὸν θεόν; ἢ ζητῶ ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσκειν; εἰ ἔτι ἀνθρώποις ἤρεσκον, Χριστοῦ δοῦλος οὐκ ἂν ἤμην. 11 Γνωρίζω γὰρ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν ὑπ᾿ ἐμοῦ ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν κατὰ ἄνθρωπον·


Are the two γὰρ sentences parallel, both brought in to support something that precedes verse 10?
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:12 am

Are the two γὰρ sentences parallel, both brought in to support something that precedes verse 10?


It could be, but I think that the second γάρ brings a really odd support to verse 10. Perhaps its supporting an earlier point from verse six. Paul recognized "ὃτι οὓτως ταχέως μετατίθεσθε ἀπὸ τοῦ καλέσαντος" and he supports that by showing the true gospel, hence "γνωρίζω." Even this is a bit awkward, as hes not really supporting it, he's attempting to correct it. Infact, verse 6-10 appear to be the reason he's writing to the Galatians in the first place.

The other solution is it could be possible that the alternative "δε" is indeed original. This makes sense as, clearly, Paul is introducing the next thought in this epistle, that is, the gospel he preaches originates from "ὁ άφορίσας με." He then spends the rest of the chapter proving it. Paul is essentially displaying the superiority of his Gospel, then in chapter 3, he lays into them!

This is where one of the TC canons were likely invoked. "The harder reading is to be preferred." Its clearly a majority reading with support from some of the uncials, so why do we invoke the "harder reading"? γὰρ appears twice in close succession before this verse, so its at least possible that the copiers may have gotten "γάρ" on the brain. I understand its not concrete, but when external criteria is close like this, there isn't much else that is concrete.

Internally, it makes sense as δὲ, and externally it has a lot of support (f35, P46, sinaiticus, A,RP,HF,OC,TR,CP)(apparatus from Wilbur pickerings GNT). γαρ may have external support as well, but it lacks the internal support necessary to make it original.

so, as it stands, I think it should be "δέ"

Bartholomew, is that you in the "Galatians" discussion group on bgreek?
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:30 pm

Perhaps the Byzantine reading γνωριζω δε is preferable. In the Alexandrian text we see four verses all starting with γὰρ.

Gal. 1:10 Ἄρτι γὰρ ἀνθρώπους πείθω ἢ τὸν θεόν; ἢ ζητῶ ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσκειν; εἰ ἔτι ἀνθρώποις ἤρεσκον, Χριστοῦ δοῦλος οὐκ ἂν ἤμην. 11 Γνωρίζω γὰρ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν ὑπ᾿ ἐμοῦ ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν κατὰ ἄνθρωπον· 12 οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐγὼ παρὰ ἀνθρώπου παρέλαβον αὐτὸ οὔτε ἐδιδάχθην ἀλλὰ δι᾿ ἀποκαλύψεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. 13 Ἠκούσατε γὰρ τὴν ἐμὴν ἀναστροφήν ποτε ἐν τῷ Ἰουδαϊσμῷ, ὅτι καθ᾿ ὑπερβολὴν ἐδίωκον τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐπόρθουν αὐτήν,

You can end up getting a headache from attempting to make sense out of Paul's discourse structure. Not sure if there is much gained by all the quibbling over how to represent the flow of Paul's argument. The general point he is making seems clear enough.

EDIT: I went back again and studied Levinsohn's (Discourse Features NT Greek 2nd ed. 2000, pages 112-113) discussion of δε and γὰρ in non-narrative text. γὰρ introduces supporting material that strengthens some aspect of the argument which immediately precedes. δε is much less clear. It introduces something new that develops from what came before. This is vague. It needs to embrace scenarios where the material introduced is contrastive, adversative, backgrounded, or none of these.
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:26 pm

δε is much less clear


I don't think that it is necessarily "less clear", I'm beginning to see δε as the workhorse of conjunctions. It seems to be used where other conjunctions could be used which would make it, in a sense, generic. Any meaning that comes to δε would be implicit from the context, whereas γαρ, for example, has its inherent meaning explicit in the word itself, and because it is more specialized, it gets used in fewer places but where explicitness is required.
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby Markos » Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:42 pm

Dwayne, you have your copy of Robinson-Pierpont 2005, which lists all the departures from NA 27 in the lower apparatus. As you do your reading, take note of the differences. Does there seem to be any discernible pattern? Are these the types of changes--in either direction--that one would INTENTIONALY make if one wanted to alter the meaning of the text, or do most of the changes seem more likely to have been unintentionally made at an early level when perhaps the transmission was being done partly from memory?

Is the preference for the Alexandrian text-type based on the same type of controversial evolutionary methodology that has produced controversial reconstructions like the documentary hypothesis and the Q. source?

Does that fact the Robinson-Pierpont text has been submitted to the public domain for free use while NA remains copyrighted factor into one's decision of which text to prefer?

Have you (ὑμεῖς) read Riplinger's New Age Bible Versions?
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:01 am

Χαιρε Φιλε μου Μαρκε!

Forgive me for disappearing last week, I was tremendously busy with some extraneous life-with-kids-and-a-wife stuff. But now things are back to normal; so, Moving on...

Markos wrote:...take note of the differences. Does there seem to be any discernible pattern?

Its hard to say at this point, as I've not really been paying a whole lot of attention, but to comment on a few things I did notice. Consider 1 john 4:2-3. In the NA, it does not have the phrase "εν σαρκι εληλυθοτα" but RP and TR have it. Now some have argued (Gail Riplinger, Sam Gipp and Peter Ruckman to name a few) saying that the NA's rejection of this phrase is advocating a view that Jesus did not exist in a "fleshly" form. The problem here is that in verse 2, the one immediately preceding this verse, this phrase has unanimous support. So, concerning the "shoddy" scribe who "removed" it from verse 3, did he forget to remove it from the previous verse? I would think that this is very unlikely, which shows that this was not an intentional lifting of the phrase to merit a change in doctrine. Either, this was an accidental omission, or perhaps they were looking to "economize" the space of very expensive parchment/Vellum.

or perhaps...

The phrase wasn't there to begin with and was added to clarify the point (maybe combating some form of heresy)! Either way, we'd be hard pressed to find this as an intentional change to the text for the purpose of promoting a false view of Christ.

We also find a "more orthodox reading" in NA and WH, compared to Byz, in John 1:18 where they call Jesus the only begotten God, and Byz calls him the only begotten Son. This should throw for a loop those who say the alexandrian text is purposely degrading the nature of Christ. It clearly is not, so, based on these variants, it would be hard pressed to say that variants were purposely created on a consistent basis!

Markos wrote: documentary hypothesis and the Q. source


Sorry Markos, although I have a bit of knowledge regarding this, I havn't studied it deeply enough to give a satisfactory response.

Markos wrote:Does that fact the Robinson-Pierpont text has been submitted to the public domain for free use while NA remains copyrighted factor into one's decision of which text to prefer?


I don't think it should, otherwise we'd have to throw out an aweful lot of decent resources! I understand the KJVo crowd sees the lack of copyright on the KJB as a sign of its prowess, but this argument is silly and should be abandoned all together. At the very least though, it does show that the scholars and publishers are willing to relinquish monetary benefit to disperse what they think most cloesly matches the Word of God!

On the other hand, if someone claims that something is very close to the autographs, as the NA committee believes, then wouldn't the text be public domain anyway seeing it was written some 2000 years ago? Surely copyright law doesn't extend that far back! But I digress.

Markos wrote:Have you (ὑμεῖς) read Riplinger's New Age Bible Versions?


I've considered buying it, but a number of genuine scholars have shown numerous citations which are heavily pulled from context. Also, some of her logic is questionable at best, such as her "acrostic algebra." And from what I understand, she has a very conspiratorial view of modern translations, which I don't believe corresponds with what I know about some of the people involved in these translations. Again, I havn't actually read the book, but reviewers outside the KJVo crowed tend to speak against it.

Do you think its worth buy and reading (all 700 pages)?
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby Markos » Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:08 pm

uberdwayne wrote: ...based on these variants, it would be hard pressed to say that variants were purposely created on a consistent basis!


This tends to be my working hypothesis, that the Byzantine Text is the original and the Alexandrian variants were produced accidently when the text was produced partly by memory. I've never heard the theory that this was done to save parchment. That would not explain things like minor variances in word order and different tenses and prepositions. If you have ever tried to reproduce a text from a memory, these are exactly the types of inadvertent changes you are likely to make, and the resultant text will be shorter.

Markos wrote:Have you (ὑμεῖς) read Riplinger's New Age Bible Versions?

Do you think its worth buy and reading (all 700 pages)?


Yes, it is a good read. Needless to say, I don't agree with her on all the details, but she raises a number of compelling points. A similar book that you can read on line is:

http://www.basicchristian.org/mediawiki ... icated.pdf

ἴθι πολλὰ ἐν Ἰησοῦ χαίρων!
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:25 pm

I've never heard the theory that this was done to save parchment.


It may not even be the case, I realize that this isn't exactly solid, but there's no way to know for sure why we have the differences between these to streams of texts. One thing that is interesting though, is that the Alexandrian manuscripts represent a very localized text to the Egypt area.
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:06 pm

anyone have any thoughts on Mark 1:2?

RP - ῾Ως γέγραπται ἐν τοῖς προφήταις
WH - Καθὼς γέγραπται ἐν τῷ Ἠσαΐᾳ τῷ προφήτῃ

By saying Isaiah the prophet in the WH text, would it be considered an error, because its also partially from Malachi? The current thought process behind this is that a scribe changed it to "in the prophets" because he knew it had both references and thus considered "in Isaiah" to be an error, justifying the change to "in the prophets."

That is the current explanation of the choice of readings, however, I think there's another equally plausible scenario:

If the original reading was "῾Ως γέγραπται ἐν τοῖς προφήταις" it could be possible that a scribe, wanting to make the reference clearer, changed it to "ἐν τῷ Ἠσαΐᾳ τῷ προφήτῃ" possibly missing the Malachi reference because of Isaiah's popularity. Seeing as prophets is plural, the scribe may have seen Isaiah as in the collection of major prophets. This variant would have been propagated because, as I believe, scribes would have been less likely to purposely add or change things, and would have simply copied the text which lay before them.

τι νομιζετε;
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby mwh » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:31 pm

εγωγε νομιζω οτι you're right on this, it could plausibly be diagnosed either way.
Your general thesis that the byzantine recension is closer to the original, however, is very hard to sustain, very hard to account for in transmissional terms.
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby Markos » Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:44 pm

mwh wrote:Your general thesis that the byzantine recension is closer to the original, however, is very hard to sustain, very hard to account for in transmissional terms.


λέγε πλέας λόγους, παρακαλῶ.

[would you care to expand on this?]
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:14 pm

Markos wrote:λέγε πλέας λόγους, παρακαλῶ.

Yeah... What he said! :D
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby mwh » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:51 am

Well, let me just say I'd like to see a course of transmission outlined that enabled the byzantine mss to be the most authoritative.
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:33 am

hello MWH,

whats your first name, so I can address you with courtesy? :)

MWH wrote:I'd like to see a course of transmission outlined that enabled the byzantine mss to be the most authoritative.


I don't think that a "course of transmission" can truly be outlined for any text-family as there are very few, if any, indications of which manuscript was copied from which. We simply don't know! The critical text (CT) is in the same situation, as, according to Robinson and Pickering, the sampling of Older Alexandrian witnesses are far too few to make any real determination.

What we do know, however, is that there are a number of 5th century manuscripts with definite byzantine readings (which means their examplars are earlier), and we also have quotations from Iraneus for example, from the long ending in mark (170AD). And Jerome (347AD) who mentions that many manuscripts contain the pericope adulterea. This doesn't directly prove byzantine priority in the strict sense, but what it does do is show us that some clearly byzantine readings (in this case specifically the pericope adulterea and the Markan long ending) did in fact exist at a time contemporaneously and earlier than our early Alexandrian witnesses. Even Hort admitted to the Byzantine's early existance, as does Metzger. Keep in mind also, that most early Alexandrian texts are generally found in a small geographic location (Egypt) indicating some form of local variants among the Earliest Papyri.

My final point, is that there is no "explanation of the rise and virtual dominance of the byzantine textform." (see appendix to the Byzantine textform) it isn't just a majority, but a sweeping majority. I'm not saying that its right because its a majority, but all these points come together to bring a compelling case for the byzantine's superiority.

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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby mwh » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:49 am

Many thanks, Uberdwayne (and I'm Michael). That's a much fuller and better response than I was expecting (or deserve)! Of course it's true that various so-called "byzantine" readings show up in fairly early MSS, but that doesn't mean that the "byzantine" text (or text type) as a whole had any discrete early existence, merely that those particular readings are certifiably old. As you say, it's impossible to draw up neat and tidy stemmas, and the further back you go, the messier it gets, especially for the "byzantine" text type, a hopelessly ill-defined entity in the pre-byzantine period. Yes we know the longer Mark ending was current early, but there's no warrant for assigning it to a before-the-fact byzantine text.

Your argument from the eventual dominance of the byzantine carries little weight, it seems to me. Bad can drive out good.

In general I think the conventional "family" and "type" classifications are too rigid, and I look for a model of greater flexibility and interpenetration. The papyri have brought very valuable correctives, and continue to do so. There's a most interesting Acts papyrus in a recent Oxyrhynchus Papyri volume, for example, as you may know, which should shake things up a bit.

But this is not really my territory, and it could be that you're right and I'm wrong
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:51 pm

Michael,

mwh wrote:There's a most interesting Acts papyrus in a recent Oxyrhynchus Papyri volume


Do you know more about this? I've not seen or heard anything about it, and I'd be interested to.

On another point. One thing that should be discussed further are the implications of the Alexandrian texts and their small geographic location. The question becomes, are the early papyri Alexandrian because they are original or because they were found in Egypt? We do know that none of the NT writings were produced anywhere near Egypt, neither were they addressed to the Egyptians, so to account for the Alexandrian text-type we have to assume that copies were made, then carried to Egypt, from which subsequent copies would've be made. The Egyptian text would have been copied from an archetype, not the originals, so any variants in the archetype would have been propagated without reference to the originals due to geographic location. This has to be so, it is not likely that a scribe would travel such distance to check his readings. It's also certain that the churches which received the originals would have been reluctant to let them go beyond their intended audience.

We then see a huge advantage of the early Byzantine scribes (pre 200AD, where most variants were created), namely, to refer back to the originals which would have been relatively close geographically.

Now the only way to know for certain, is to find early manuscripts from the Byzantium region, which as you know, has been very difficult. I think geography is often neglected when it comes down to creating an edition of the Greek New Testament.

This is my opionion: that the Alexandrian text reflects a localized archetype (not a recension) rather than the originals.

How does this theory fair?
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby mwh » Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:51 am

Uberdwayne (or is it Dwayne?),

Sorry I can't give you a precise reference to the Oxy. pap. offhand, but if you have access to the recent volumes you'll find it. It will no doubt filter down to the NT crit. sites if it hasn't already. As I think I said, this is not really my territory.

You makes some good points. But we know so pathetically little about the earliest phases of diffusion and transmission. I certainly agree the early papyri are Alexandrian not because they're the originals but because they're Alexandrian–-except that I'd rather say Egyptian than Alexandrian, since none of them are from Alexandria so far as we can tell. Also, they're far from uniform, so we can hardly speak of "the Alexandrian text." What we have is copies of copies of copies … -- inevitably localized to a certain extent, as variants took a while to get further disseminated (if they ever did), but each copy differing to a greater or lesser degree from its exemplar. The originals are the only archetype. When you speak of the Alexandrian text as a "localized archetype" rather than a "recension," I'd query the applicability of either term, as well as their mutual incompatibility; this on top of hypostasizing "the Alexandrian text." I don't see any reason to postulate some master-copy that controlled subsequent transmission in that particular area. Rather, texts in circulation were copied from one another and sometimes collated with others, resulting both in new variants and in the wider distribution of existent variants.

So the question comes down to whether texts of Egyptian provenance are likely to be textually closer to the originals than texts of Byzantine provenance. It's unfortunate that we have no early texts from Byzantium to enable a direct comparison. But we know that the church got off to an early start in Egypt and was very strong, and that texts made their way from Egypt to Byzantium en route to us. The weakness of your thesis, it seems to me, lies in the absence of any hard evidence in its favor and also, to my mind, in such evidence as there is. I see fluidity. I see a process of transmission marked by inevitable textual degeneration as inferior readings and additions crept in. It seems to me perilous to argue that later Byzantine copies are textually closer to the original than earlier copies from Egypt. It's unrealistic to imagine that Byzantine scribes and scholars will have been able "refer back to the originals." I'm certainly not saying that the Egyptian texts should always be preferred to the byzantine ones. The byzantine net went wider, and will have captured authentic readings already lost to texts from Egypt. But to maintain that the byz text is more authoritative just because it's byzantine, or just because it became dominant in the later period, … well, it just doesn't seem to hold water to me.

What I'm after is a model more respectful of the transmissional dynamics evidenced by the papyri than what's out there right now, where new evidence tends to be too readily slotted in to an established classification system based on excessively rigid notions of transmissional actualities, after the classic pattern elucidated by Kuhn in his Structure of Scientific Revolutions. A paradigm shift, in a word. NT criticism in general strikes me as behind the curve on this; which surprises me, given all the excellent work done by NT critics however much they disagree. If we could only start afresh from the ground up on the basis of the evidence we now have, discarding all previous preconceptions, I fancy a rather different picture would emerge. But perhaps that's only my fancy.
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:06 pm

Hi Michael,

Here's a recent quote in an email I received from Wilbur Pickering...

"Not there is the following: Wherever P75 and Codex B disagree, one of them is always with the Byzantine text, about even on both sides. This means that the Byzantine text already existed and was being consulted in the year 200."

Now, I haven't had a chance to verify this, and will at some point, but assuming its true, there are some major implications here. What are your thoughts?
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:21 pm

uberdwayne wrote:RP - ῾Ως γέγραπται ἐν τοῖς προφήταις


I know its a bit cheesy quoting myself, but there's something else to mention about this variant. I believe I found further evidence to support the byzantine reading. I've been studying the Old testament canon recently, and the term "Prophets" has been used in many archaic writings to refer to a division of the tenakh. In fact, we find that there are three divisions in the old testament, the second being "Nevi'im" or prophets! Its a historical fact that the 12 minor prophets where collected into a single book, and that the major ones where seen in the 2nd division with the the single collection of Minor prophets. So it is very much possible that he is referring to this division within the Hebrew scriptures when he quotes the two sources. I think my position that the scribe tried to point more directly to Isaiah (perhaps to help the readers, or maybe show off his knowledge) well not being fully aware of the location of the other half of the quote, is strengthened by the historical evidence.
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby mwh » Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:15 am

uberdwayne wrote:Hi Michael,

Here's a recent quote in an email I received from Wilbur Pickering...

"Not there is the following: Wherever P75 and Codex B disagree, one of them is always with the Byzantine text, about even on both sides. This means that the Byzantine text already existed and was being consulted in the year 200."

Now, I haven't had a chance to verify this, and will at some point, but assuming its true, there are some major implications here. What are your thoughts?


Hi Uberdwayne,

I've taken myself off these boards for the time being. They're just too distracting. But I may look in now and again, and I feel I owe you a reply to this.

"This means that the Byzantine text already existed and was being consulted in the year 200."
Really? The argument is quite fallacious, isn't it? All that this evidence shows is that the particular readings in question, along with others, were already in existence. It certainly doesn't show that any textul entity recognizable as "the Byzantine text" already existed. The way I see it, there were different readings floating around, variously competing for dominance, and among them were many or most or all of the readings which eventually formed "the Byz. text." If either of these two manuscripts consistently agreed with the Byz text, that would count for something. But surely there's no evidence here (or elsewhere?) that the Byz text was formed at such an early date. To imagine that it was already in the world to be "consulted" is a rather ugly petitio principii. I don't see there's any warrant for hypostatizing it until it actually appears.

What do you say? (I'll check back.)
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby Markos » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:23 pm

N.A. 27 Acts 19:10b:
...οἵτινες παραγενόμενοι εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἀπῄεσαν.


R.P. Acts 19:10b:
...οἵτινες παραγενόμενοι εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν ἀπῄεσαν τῶν Ἰουδαίων .


This is typical of the overwhelming majority of the differences between the two texttypes, where the differences are almost always minor, and almost never affect the meaning, and for which there is almost never an obvious motivation for an intentional change. As such, these differences are almost never discussed by Metzger et al. (He instead focuses on the few variants which more significantly affect meaning and for which there SEEMS to be a motive for the change.) Not only does this verse not appear in his Textual Commentary, but this variant is not even noted in the N.A. 27 apparatus.

And without question in this instance the Byzantine reading is the more difficult reading. To sandwich the main verb inside a prepositional phrase is by no means unheard of in Koine, but it is unusual and even a but jarring in this instance. Metzger would say, if he were fair, that no one would change the more ordinary syntax if that had been original.

uberdwayne wrote:...an email I received from Wilbur Pickering...


I'm duly impressed! Could you ask Pickering about my theory that the Alexandrian text comes from a copy inaccurately reproduced partly from memory, as opposed to the result of intentional changes a la Riplinger et. al.?
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby Shenoute » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:32 am

mwh wrote:
uberdwayne wrote:
mwh wrote:There's a most interesting Acts papyrus in a recent Oxyrhynchus Papyri volume
Do you know more about this? I've not seen or heard anything about it, and I'd be interested to.
Sorry I can't give you a precise reference to the Oxy. pap. offhand, but if you have access to the recent volumes you'll find it.

It is in P. Ox. 74, 2009. If you're still interested and do not have access to it, I can copy the most relevant paragraphs here.
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:07 pm

Shenoute wrote:It is in P. Ox. 74, 2009. If you're still interested and do not have access to it, I can copy the most relevant paragraphs here.


σε ευχαριστω. I would love to see it, though I'm not sure if copying the relevant material would be infringing on copyright laws.
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby Shenoute » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:21 pm

Here it is. I don't think that the bits I quote are long enough to infringe on copyright laws but I will of course remove it if need be.

The papyrus contains Acts 10.32-5, 40-45 ; 11.2-5, 30 ; 12.1-3, 5, 7-9 ; 15.29-31, 34-6, (37), 38-41 ; 16.1-4, 13-40 ; 17.1-10.

P. Ox. LXXIV, 2009, p. 6-14 wrote:(...)
The papyrus offers a strong challenge to this view, leading rather to the recognition that if a text could exist in one free version, it could exist in many. The fact is that P offers a new free version. Although it differs greatly from Codex Vaticanus, it also presents a strikingly different version from that found in Codex Bezae. Like Codex Bezae, it is longer than Codex Vaticanus, and like Codex Bezae its wording often varies from Codex Vaticanus. But its variation from it are by no means identical with those of Codex Bezae.
(...)
[Follows a comparaison of Acts 16, 27-30 in CB, CV and P. I have only typed the text found in P.]
27 εξυπνος δε γενομενος ο δεσμοφυλαξ και ιδων ανεωγμενας τας θυρας πασας [σ]πασαμενος μαχαιραν ηθελησε[ν] εαυτον κατακ[.]σαι νομιζων εκπεφευγεναι τους δεσμιους
28 εφωνησεν δε αυτον Παυλος λεγων μη ταρασσου απαντες γαρ εσμεν ενθαδε
29 φωτα δε αιτησας εισεπηδησεν και εντρομος υπαρχων επιπεσων τω Παυλω και Σιλεα
30 προαγων αυτους εξω τους λοιπους ασφαλισας προελθων εφη κυριοι τι με δει ποιειν [ι]να σωθω
(...)
On the evidence presented here and in the commentary, it is hard to see how the bipolar concept of a two-text form of Acts can continue to be maintained.
(...)
It is worth setting out some of the main questions that will need asking in further research.
1. Most striking is the question of the relationship between P and Codex Bezae. Do they represent two versions independently derived from a form of text more similar to the initial text ? Are they both derived from a more free form of text but, inevitably for a free text, showing many differences from each other ? (...)

2. It is a question that is closely related to the first. How are the two texts of 05 and P related to the text of 03 ? Is one closer to it than the other ? (...)

3. What are the distinctive characteristics of P ? One is evident, namely, the habit of abbreviating or even omitting material : (...) A second feature is changes in word order : (...)

4. What is the character of the distinctive readings that are new to us from P ? Why are they new to us
? Are they similar in character to the readings it shares with 05 ? Again, this is too large a task to be attempted here, except to make the general observation that it is not infrequent for these readings to contain strong echoes of material found elsewhere in the Acts.
(...)
5. A new historical question to be asked concerns the context in which the form of the text in P arose. The fact that it is dated to such a similar period as Codex Bezae (...) is perhaps surprising, given the general assumption that texts tended to be treated more freely in the early stages of their existence. Perhaps we should be looking for a different explanation.
(...)
Last edited by Shenoute on Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby Markos » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:26 pm

Majority Text 1 Cor 8:3:
εἰ δέ τις ἀγαπᾷ τὸν θεόν, οὗτος ἔγνωσται ὑπ' αὐτοῦ.


P46 and Clement 1 Cor 8:3:
εἰ δέ τις ἀγαπᾷ, οὗτος ἔγνωσται.


Here is an instance where N.A. and Westcott-Hort don't always follow the Alexandrian witnesses and therefore don't really give one a sense of what a full-fledged Alexandrian textform would be. Here all the critical texts follow (correctly, of course, in my opinion) the Byzantine text instead of going with the shorter and presumably more difficult reading of a few early witnesses. Metzger claims that in this instance the shorter reading is secondary, "the result of formal assimilation to ver. 2." Since v. 2 is

1 Cor 8:2: εἴ τις δοκεῖ ἐγνωκέναι τι, οὔπω ἔγνω καθὼς δεῖ γνῶναι:


I have no idea what Metzger means. Is he saying that because in verse 2 the verbs lacks a direct object, a scribe would omit the all important direct object (God!) in verse 3, thus completely changing the meaning of the verse to make it a little closer in form to the previous verse? Why in this case does not Metzger see the references to God as "pious expansions," as he does elsewhere in rejecting the Byzantine text?

And if (as of course I also believe) the τὸν θεόν WAS omitted from P46, how do we account for this? It is on the surface very bizarre, really changing the whole meaning of the verse, and it's hard to imagine accidental omission here. It does show the tendency to make omissions which result, whether accidently or intentionally, in what can only be called a heretical text. Riplinger (p. 581) calls this a "New Age reading," and I'm not sure I can disagree with her on this one. And if P-46 can do such a bizarre thing, should we not mistrust the other Alexandrian witnesses as equally suspect?
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:34 am

Thank you for posting!

This is very interesting indeed. Its most notable differences are the expanded text which differs quiet obviously from both Alexandrian and Byzantine sources... So much so that I wonder if this could be considered Alexandrian. Such an early text in Egypt, yet its not Alexandrian! Does anyone know how this would fare against the Western texttype? If it does fare... How on earth did it end up in Egypt and at such an early time? In fact... How on earth did a clearly NOT Alexandrian text-type end up in very early Egypt?

Either way, this is definitely very interesting.
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby mwh » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:19 pm

Hi Uberdwayne,

Just looked in to see what you had to say to my thoughts that you requested on the W.Pickering email, but you haven't responded. What do you make of his fallacious reasoning? Surely he can't usually argue as badly as this?

The Acts papyrus, important though it is, did not come as much of a surprise to me. The fluidity of the text was already evident from the extant witnesses, and to see the tradition as binary was never plausible. It could perhaps be compared with other narrative texts such as the Life of Aesop or the Alexander Life (where again the narrative parts were subject to more variation that the spoken parts). Or Acts of Martyrs (Christian or pagan). The text of Acts evidently circulated in a variety of forms (each different to a greater or lesser degree from all the others)--a good example of multiformity. I'd think more in terms of individual textual instantiations.

I don't think we should get too hung up on such essentializing and question-begging labels as "the Alexandrian text," which falsifies the picture inasmuch as it suggests internal uniformity and at the same time sets up potentially unreal boundaries vis-a-vis other "text types" -- as I suggested in my earlier posts. Certainly this papyrus gives a text more idiosyncratic than others from Egypt, but there's also the Syrian (not so very far away) and in any case it fits well with my overall view of the transmission. And 5th cent. is not so very early.

WHat do you think?

Best,
Michael
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:56 am

Hi Michael,

Sorry I havn't responded, let me do so now :D

I quote you from an earlier post:

mwh wrote:...and that texts made their way from Egypt to Byzantium en route to us.


If this were true, it would appear that the text from Egypt was rejected because, although you don't prefer the "text-type" model, there is a marked difference between the texts found in Egypt and the ones found in Syria. It appears that the entirety of Alexandrian-like texts start to die off at the end of the 4th Century. Why is this so? Certainly some scribes would have access to the "oldest and best!"

Visiting the "text-type" model There is a definite cohesion in the Byzantine Manuscripts. Consider Kx, Kr, Π, and a number of other "Byzantine-types" The differences within and between these subgroups are relatively few. However, when collating a number of Alexandrian texts, there is a greater deal of divergence, hence the difficulty of "pinning down" a text-type for the Egyptian manuscripts (differences between vaticanus and siniaticus for example). So I partly agree with you, there really should be further classification and subgrouping for the Alexandrian witnesses. The reason this can't happen, though, is the relative dearth of Alexandrian witnesses, and the unavailability of pre 2nd century manuscripts from other parts of the Mediterranean world. Simply, an Alexandrian "Baseline" cannot accurately exist with current extant evidence.

Now.... Concerning Dr. Pickerings remarks. I think, based on this evidence, it is ambitious to say that the "Byzantine text already existed and was being consulted in the year 200." Undoubtedly, A byzantine adherent (like myself, I might add) would nonetheless believe that the text-type was around that early, however the evidence that Dr. Pickering shows us can only conclude that Byzantine Readings existed in the year 200 and I think its no stretch to say that these Byzantine Readings were likely "consulted". Based on this evidence by itself, we'd be hard pressed to say that the "Byzantine Text" existed that early (Of course, it is possible he is using "Byzantine Text" and "Byzantine Reading" synonomously). It would be better to say that Byzantine Readings existed that early. No worries though, I am not changing my position, I'm only bringing the conclusion of Dr. Pickering's statement to a level which more closely matches the same objective evidence he provided.

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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby mwh » Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:41 am

Thanks Uberdwayne. You make some fair points (though you shouldn't rely on scribes' ability to recognize "the best" when they find it). But you persist in referring to "the text from Egypt" when you yourself acknowledge the considerable amount of "divergence" within it. And I'd argue that however many MSS we had we wouldn't be able to establish an "Alexandrian Baseline," because there never was any such thing. Among byantine MSS of course particular groupings are to be found.

You seem to have conceded my objection to Dr Pickering's argument: it's a petitio principii (though you might resist so calling it). To jump from a "byzantine reading" to a "byzantine text," or to use the two synonymously (which I trust he would not do), would be a gross error of logic. If you wish to privilege the byzantine text-type(s) of course you remain free to do so, but I have to say it seems no more than wishful thinking to me.

All best,
Michael
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Re: Byzantine Textform

Postby uberdwayne » Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:48 am

Michael,

I am enjoying the tone and polite manner of our discussion, without the need of denigrating remarks! Let your posts be an example of how debate should be done! :D

mwh wrote:it's a petitio principii (though you might resist so calling it)

Yes Michael, I would resist calling it petitio principii. I think more simply stated, Dr. Pickering's conclusion is overstated. the conclusion was pushed further then the evidence would allow, that is that the whole Byzantine text was consulted between P75 and Codex B. At most we can say that there are Byzantine readings, not the entire text type, in the differences and one could infer that these readings were copied from somewhere. More evidence may be found elsewhere, but from the example of P75 and Codex B, it certainly helps the Byzantine priority, it is nonetheless, incomplete and is not conclusive in the whole matter.

mwh wrote:though you shouldn't rely on scribes' ability to recognize "the best" when they find it


True enough, though I don't believe any point I made on my last post relied on this statement. The main point was that the Egyptian texts die off without any real explanation. Perhaps they were considered inferior. (That would be a better way of putting it :wink: )

mwh wrote:But you persist in referring to "the text from Egypt" when you yourself acknowledge the considerable amount of "divergence" within it.


Right! Only because I'm finding it hard to give a term to my thoughts on the "Alexandrian Text-type". "The text from Egypt" to me seems better at referring to the situation, that these manuscripts are found in Egypt, which is completely independent of the type of text they contain. (perhaps "manuscripts from egypt" would have been better) Two things that are noteable though, is that these Manuscripts are markedly different than what we have in the Byzantine, Western, and Ceasarean (I realize the dispute with this "type") traditions, and they typically show a shorter text, ergo, they get lumped into their own "type." Rightly or wrongly so.

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