Sunday, January 29, 2012

"The Modern Critical Period: From Griesbach to the Present"

"The Modern Critical Period: From Griesbach to the Present" Metzger & Ehrman pp. 165-194

Johann Jakob Griesbach (1745-1812) p. 165 "further developed Bengel's and Semler's grouping of manuscripts in recensions. At first, he was inclined to divide the extant materials into five or six different groups; he afterward limited them to three: the Alexandrian, Western, and Byzantine recensions." Griesbach came up with 15 canons of textual criticism which served as specific guidelines for determining whether one reading of a passage should be preferred over another. Thse canons are very specific and detailed. Use of these canons tended to direct scholars toward readings of passages which were found in early texts, such as the Codex Vaticanus, which had not been published and studied at the time of Griesbach.

p. 170 "The first recognized scholar to break totally with the Textus Receptus was the celebrated classical and Germanic philologist of Berlin Karl Lachmann (1793-1851), who published an edition of the Greek Testament that rests wholly upon the application of textual criticism in the evaluation of variant readings. Lachmann is famous for his editions of ancient classical authors, including Propertius, Catullus, Tibullus, Lucretius, as well as medieval epics and lyrics such as the Nibelungenlied. Walther von der Vogelweide, and Wolfram von Eschenbach. He demonstrated how, by comparison of manuscripts, it is possible to draw inferences as to their lost ancestors or archetypes, their condition, and their pagination. In his most famous work, that on Lucretius, he showed that the peculiarities of the three chief manuscripts all derive from a single archetype, containing 302 pages of 26 lines each, and thus he was able to make various transpositions in ther eceived text." Lachmann spent 5 years working with majuscule manuscripts and in 1831 published a list of passages in which he considered the Greek text current in the East by about A.D. 380 differed from the Textus Receptus.

p. 172 "The man to whom modern textual critics of the New Testament owe most is without doubt Lobegott Friedrich Constantin von Tischendorf (1815-74), who sought out and published more manuscripts and produced more critical editions of the Greek Bible than any other single scholar. Between 1841 and 1872 he prepared eight editions of the Greek Testament, some of which were reissued alone or with German or Latin versions, as well as 22 volumes of texts of biblical manuscripts. The totla number of his books and articles, most of them relating to biblical criticism, exceeds 150."

Tischendorf in 1869-72 released a two volume Greek New Testament which had an apparatus assembling all the variants readings which he and other scholars had found.

Various other scholars pursued collations of evidence with an eye to publication of an authoritative New Testamnet text. Among these two most influential were Westcott and Hort. p. 177 "Westcott and Hort distinguished four principal types of text: the Syrian, Western, Alexandrian, and Neutral."

p. 177 "The latest of these four forms of text is the Syrian, which is a mixed text resulting from a revision made by an editor or editors in the fourth century who wished to produce a smooth, easy, and complete text. This conflated text, the farthest removed from the originals, was taken to Constantinople, whence it was disseminated widely throughout the Byzantine Empire. . . The Textus Receptus is the latest form of the Syrian text."

p. 178 "The so-called western type is both ancient and widespread. It is preserved in certain bilingual majuscule manuscripts, notably Codex Bezae of the Gospels and Acts and Codex Claromontanus of the Epistles, the Old Latin version(s), and the Curetonian Syriac."

p. 179 "The Alexandrian text, according to Westcott and Hort, is preserved to a greater or lesser extent in Codex Ephraem, Codex Regius, Codex 33, and the Coptic versions (especially the Bohairic), as well as the quotations of the Alexandrian fathers Clement, Origen, Dionysius, Didymus, and Cyril." This text uses a "delicate philological tact" and attains a good degree of "polish" in its usage.

p. 179 "The Neutral text, as its question-begging name implies, is, in the opinion of Westcott and Hort, the most free from later corruption and mixture and the nearest to the text of the autographs. It is best represented by Codex Vaticanus and next by Codex Sinaiticus."

p. 180 "Scholars today generally agree that one of the chief contributions made by Westcott and Hort was their clear demonstration that the syrian (or Byzantine) text is later than the other types of text."

Westcott and Hort's work was not uniformly accepted. Metzger and Ehrman bring up the arguments of John W. Burgon (1813-88) who condemned this new edition of the Greek New Testament. p. 181 "As an ardent high churchman, he could not imagine that, if the words of Scripture had been dictated by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God would not have providentlally prevented them from being seriously corrupted during the course of their transmission. Consequently, it was inconceivable to Burgon that the Textus Receptus, which had been used by the Church for centuries, could be in need of the drastic revision that Westcott and Hort had administered to it."

p. 183 "The overwhelming consensus of scholarly opinion recognzies that their [Westcott and Hort's] critical edition was truly epoch-making. They presented what was doubtless the oldest and purest text that could be attained on the basis of information available in their day.

Another approach to scholarship was taken by (p. 183) "Bernhard Weiss (1827-1918), professor of New Testament exegesis at Kiel and at Berlin, [who] edited the New Testament in Greek (3 vols., Lepzig, 1894-1900; 2nd small ed., 3 vols., 1902-5). Primarily an exegete, Weiss brought to his task an extensive and detailed knowledgeof the theological and literary problems of the text of the New Testament . . . Weiss discriminated among readings in accordance with what he deemed to be the most appropriate meaning in the context." Despite the different methodology, Weiss came up with nearly the same conclusions as did Westcott and Hort. p. 184 "The importance of Weiss's text is not only that it represents the mature opinion of a great exegetical scholar who had given years of detailed consideration to the meaning of the text but also that the results of his subjective methodology confirm the results of scholars who followed a different procedure, sometimes regarded as more objective because it started from teh grouping of the manuscripts themselves."

The chapter culminates in very recent history, discussing the development of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament as well as the United Bible Society's edition. In their most recent editions both Nestle-Aland and UBS have the same text, though differences in their apparatus. The textual study clearly builds on the foundations discussed in this chapter.

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