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240 Evidence of E a r

by S. R. Driver
240 Evidence of E a r l y Versions on New Test. Text. the Versions alone, without any help from Manuscripts, may be seen from the instance of Crowfoots labours on the Cure-tonian, which resulted in the production of a Greek text in many places agreeing with no Manuscript whatever. The whole subject is a wide one. Enough will have been said to show that very useful and important evidence may be got both from Versions and Patristic quotations, but that many precautions have to be taken before we can say that we have clear signs of a v a r i a lectio. The most indispensable requisite is that the supposed v a r i a lectio should have Manu-script authority of some kind, and the farther such Manuscript authority is from the possibility of any intimate relationship to the witnesses under consideration, the greater does the value of the evidence become, and the more such independent authorities for a reading, whether Manuscripts, Versions, or patristic quotations increase, the nearer may we feel we are getting to the attainment of the original text of the New Testament. NOTE. In reading the above abundantly illustrated and cautiously balanced estimate of the use of Versions and Fathers, it will be well to bear in mind the broad steps in the argument by which their value is established. It is a cardinal principle of modern textual criticism, that in order to recover the true text of any ancient document, it is necessary first to know its history. Especially is this the case with a text so complicated as that of the New Testament. But to the history of this text Versions and Fathers give the key. The text of M S S . is perfectly definite, but it is neither dated nor localized. It is just this dating and localizing which, in spite of their greater indefiniteness, is sup-plied by the Versions and Fathers. By their means the ground is mapped out: the succession of the different texts in point of time and their distribution in space are determined: and so the reconstruction of the text proceeds, not upon mere counting of numbers nor upon a subjective weighing of probabilities, but upon a firm basis of history. [ W. S.] Chapter Home  | TOC

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240 Evidence of E a r l y Versions on New Test. Text. the Versions alone, without any help from Manuscripts, may be seen from the instance of Crowfoot's labours on the Cure-tonian, which resulted in the production of a Greek text in many places agreeing with no Manuscript whatever. The whole subject is a wide one. Enough will have been said to show that very useful and important evidence may be got both from Versions and Patristic quotations, but that many precautions have to be taken before we can say that we have clear signs of a v a r i a lectio. The most indispensable requisite is that the supposed v a r i a lectio should have Manu-script authority of some kind, and the farther such Manuscript authority is from the possibility of any intimate relationship to the witnesses under consideration, the greater does the value of the evidence become, and the more such independent authorities for a reading, whether Manuscripts, Versions, or patristic quotations increase, the nearer may we feel we are getting to the attainment of the original text of the New Testament. NOTE. In reading the above abundantly illustrated and cautiously balanced estimate of the use of Versions and Fathers, it will be well to bear in mind the broad steps in the argument by which their value is established. It is a cardinal principle of modern textual criticism, that in order to recover the true text of any ancient document, it is necessary first to know its history. Especially is this the case with a text so complicated as that of the New Testament. But to the history of this text Versions and Fathers give the key. The text of M S S . is perfectly definite, but it is neither dated nor localized. It is just this dating and localizing which, in spite of their greater indefiniteness, is sup-plied by the Versions and Fathers. By their means the ground is mapped out: the succession of the different texts in point of time and their distribution in space are determined: and so the reconstruction of the text proceeds, not upon mere counting of numbers nor upon a subjective weighing of probabilities, but upon a firm basis of history. [ W. S.] << Chapter >> Home | TOC
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