Sorry for my absence, its been getting busy around hear, especially with the Christmas season upon us! So let me rospond
mwh wrote:The civilized tone of our discussion is something you can take full credit for! You've given me no cause for annoyance.
Thanks for the compliment
mwh wrote:But we can’t go back-projecting a before-the-fact discrete textual entity recognizable as "the byz text" on that basis. It's anachronistic even to refer to them as "byz readings"; that shorthand formula in itself misleadingly implies the preexistence of the byz text.
I think this is a miss-communication somewhere... Byz readings, in the context of this discussion, and in general, refer to readings that are the same or similar to the later Byzantine manuscripts which are extant. I've always used the term "byz reading" to point forward, rather than backward, for the simple fact that we don't have an early papyrus in Egypt (or elsewhere for that matter) that is completely byzantine, and I think we all agree with that. However, I would think that if we were to ever find any early Manuscripts from the east they would likely be purely, or almost purely byzantine. If they were not, than the Byzantine priority would simply fall apart.
My evidence for early byzantine manuscripts in the east is the shear quantity of Byzantine type manuscripts in the later centuries and that there are a number of distinct "lines of transmission" within the byzantine textform. These lines differ enough to warrant a distinction, but do not show the divergence that we see in the early Egyptian manuscripts. My conclusion on these facts are that these byzantine "lines of transmission" could not have been created from an archetype that was in existence after the 8th century. (most extant Byzantine manuscripts start to appear around the 9th century). I think its safe to assume that these lines of transmission did indeed come for a purely byzantine manuscript. My 8th century date is also a very
conservative time frame, as we're not entirely sure how far back these transmissional lines extend (due to a dearth in extant evidence in the early centuries). We then find Byzantine readings among the old Egyptian papyri that are clearly from a different textual tradition than the later byzantine texts. Why is this so? Is it possible that, in the east, there was a relatively pure line of transmission, where as in Egypt there was a jostling of readings that never did get figured out?
mwh wrote:A manuscript only partially exhibiting "byz" readings does nothing to strengthen the case for byz priority (contrary to what you say of P75 and B).
By this reasoning, any full text could never be supported since every single one of them are only partially supported by a number of readings. None of them are supported in the whole, that would mean we have the autographs, which clearly we don't. And, as a presupposition, I don't believe we need the autographs to know what they said.
So, I disagree with this statement. If there were no byz readings from the early centuries, than there would be no case at all for any of the later minuscules. However, we do have a large number of readings from early manuscripts and patristic sources that do in fact include byzantine readings). What would be interesting is to compile a list of the readings and the father who quoted it, and where he was overseeing when he quoted it. We might be able to come up with a more coherent history of transmission in the East.
When you say "one could infer that these readings were copied from somewhere" I hope you're not implying they were copied from a byz text.
Its at least a possibility, which of course does not necessarily mean it happened, but in Egypt, I would would say that these readings came from manuscripts that had mixture. It is however, my assumption
, that the originals would have been byzantine-like (which is of course, our discussion), and, if they were, then its only a matter of course that we find byzantine-like readings in Egypt. Of course, we could say the same thing about the Alexandrian text, but if we consider the whole of the manuscript tradition, the byzantine text has a huge advantage, where did the later minuscule text come from? We cannot ask this of the Alexandrian readings, because the don't exist much past the 5th century, there is no later witness to them.
mwh wrote: But you may reject the principle—which certainly doesn't apply in all cases—and no doubt the whole situation is more complicated.
Your right, I do reject this principle in general, we cannot judge a reading by its length, especially since most text critical scholars would say that intentional changes were few and far between. If intentional changes are few, that would mean that most variants are unintentional. In my experience, and I'm sure most will attest, words and phrases are more often ommited accidentally than they are created. So now you have a "general canon" that is effective for only a minority of readings!
Let us also consider the consistency of the Byzantine manuscripts. It shows plain and simple that scribes can be fairly accurate. There is a larger number of Byzantine manuscripts (around 5000), and a larger time frame of their existance (9th century to printing in the 16th, thats 750 years). When we compare this with the just 300 Egyptian manuscripts over a period of 300 year, we find that there really is no consistency in their readings, INTF has gone as far as to deny the Existance of an Alexandrian text type. Put simply, the text in Egypt is wild, a shortened version of the text in the west.
By now, your likely asking within yourself, what does consistency matter if we only have late manuscripts of the Byzantine type. My reasoning is this, we have byzantine readings interspersed in a rough Alexandrian transmission, and in early patristic writings (presumably in the east, but I've yet to do the research to determine this, consider it a prediction of early eastern byzantine readings). We have numerous lines of transmission in the Byzantine text that point to some form of a byzantine archetype that existed long before the extant byzantine manuscripts. And finally we have a consistancy in the extant byzantine manuscripts that shows that accurate transmission over long periods of time is most certainly possible. It really does make a decent case for a Byzantine priority.
mwh wrote:(Perhaps you're actually right in suggesting that the Egyptian texts "were considered inferior": that doesn't mean they were inferior.)
This of course begs the question... Why were they considered inferior?Markos:
This is one of the reasons I've moved away from the modern eclectic text. Its method of determining the text is way too subjective. You'll often find readings where one canon competes against another, or you end up determining a reading by vague internal notions. I would even scrutinize some of the guidelines such as "shorter reading is preferred" or "more difficult reading preferred." These imply that intentional change to the text was the norm, and that the original text was riddled with factual errors and grammatical mistakes.
anyway, I know its a long post, but it is indeed a complicated subject. Hopefully I was able to share my thoughts in a clear manner