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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Maurice Robinson and the Byzantine Textform

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RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
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Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
Ron's: I think the problem is that there is an enormous amount of plain superstition within the evangelical movement and by superstition I mean faith that is not based on a revelation from God.



I think a superstitious reverence has come about mainly because of the eloquent wording and sentence layout of the KJV. But I find I Cor. 2:1 a challenge,

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God (NKJV)

The koine Greek obviously does not have the polish of the KJV.David Bercot contends that the Romans used to scoff at the language employed in the scriptures. This is probably another thread, but it seems to me that God does not need eloquence to convey the message of His grace; in fact, to dress up the language may actually hinder what God is saying.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2010/8/10 18:59Profile
ccchhhrrriiisss
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 Re:

Good points, all!


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Christopher

 2010/8/10 19:52Profile
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Joined: 2005/11/17
Posts: 370
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 Re:

Oh come on, ccchhhrrriiisss, we now you have more to say about this topic! Where's your defense of the Alexandrian texts, or even, *cough *cough, the NIV?? ;-P

Just kidding, brother.


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Denver McDaniel

 2010/8/10 20:27Profile
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 Re: eclectic texts

I know that this topic will not be 'everyone's cup of tea', as we say over here, but for those who see the significance of the discussion Robinson makes a telling point in his interview...

"An additional problem affecting modern critical editions is a form of eclecticism that even in short passages of text (single NT verses or less) introduces a sequence of words that can be demonstrated as having no actual existence in any ancient MS, version, or patristic quotation prior to their modern (19th or 20th century) creation..."

Bible translators start by deciding on a Greek Text that they are going to translate. An eclectic text is a version of the Greek text that has been 'gathered out' of various manuscript families. (that word eclectic is almost the same as elected) In the face of variations the scholars try to create a form of words which, in their minds, will account for all the variations found. The text behind the ASV, RSV, NIV, ESV etc is an eclectic text.

Robinson makes the point that in order for their theory of textual transmission to hold true they have to create a 'form of words' for which there is actually no historical evidence. To put that simply as an illustration...

If we have one manuscript family that says... the fruit was red
and another that says... the fruit was yellow...

then the original, says the theory, must have said... the fruit is orange.

This is a ridiculous over-simplification but it should give some idea of what happens with an eclectic text, except that Robinson is talking about word order rather than single words. The issue here is that the order of words in a Koine Greek sentence is not as fixed as in English. However, when words are matched up in the sentence by their case endings the order of the words can become VERY significant. John 1:1 is a classic example of the vital importance of word order. However in an eclectic text. like the NU, the need to create a starting text which will explain all the variations that they think have arisen from it means that they must invent an 'original' form of words. As Robinson says this sometimes creates Greek sentences which have never been found in any Greek manuscripts.

If you start your translation work based on an invented text you will see why that puts down a somewhat shaky foundation for what is going to follow.


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Ron Bailey

 2010/8/11 4:29Profile
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 Re:

The eclectic method may not be perfect, but it is the only method that makes sense. Since we have over 5,000 manuscripts, with none of them being in perfect agreement, the eclectic method must be used. And the nature of it means we are trying to recreate as close as possible the original text based on the evidence at hand. Which means the final product of what is created won't have any perfect historical parallel. But it is hoped what is created is closer to the original autographs than anything we presently have, as nothing has such parallel. If there are a lot of variants within a short space, it only shows the assumptions of the eclectic method are correct, that somebody somewhere made a change or copyist error for some reason, which means we need to reinvent the wheel, and attempt to reconstruct something that accounts for these differences.


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Jimmy H

 2010/8/11 6:41Profile
RobertW
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 Re:

Quote:
As Robinson says this sometimes creates Greek sentences which have never been found in any Greek manuscripts.



If this is true it would mean that the Word of God as given in the autographs did not survive beyond the apostolic era. That is impossible. It seems to me what needs to be done is a look not at individual words but at complete whole phrases. I think one must look at the manuscripts as if one or the other is right and not seek to create a text in which many variations are somehow included. We end up with a mess if were not careful I think.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2010/8/11 8:11Profile
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 Re:

But the problem Robert, is even if we had the autographs, how would we know it? If you've ever looked at a critical aparatus (like the NA27, or UBS4), you'll quickly see that while there is a lot of similarity between texts, none are close to being in perfect agreement. And a lot of the times, all we have is highly fragmented texts, and small pieces of paper. If I'm not mistaken, there is no ancient copy that is perfectly preserved, anywhere.

So what do we do?


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Jimmy H

 2010/8/11 9:42Profile
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 Re:

What we have here in the Byzantine Textform and the NU textform is essentially two different scenarios for history. The Robinson Pierpoint scenario can be found here.

http://rosetta.reltech.org/TC/vol06/Robinson2001.html

Take some time to read through Robinson's thinking. I am convinced that this isa much more likely scenario than that of Wescott and Hort.


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Ron Bailey

 2010/8/11 10:01Profile
RobertW
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 Re:

Quote:
So what do we do?



Begin with a copy text and make adjustments only as necessary. I think this is a better approach than starting off with the notion that everything is up for grabs. We risk too many speculations.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2010/8/11 10:35Profile
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 Re:

Jimmy, if I remember right, you have a fairly good background in Greek and have studied textual criticism before? If so, then I will clarify for the other readers.

The idea is not that "eclecticism" in the raw sense can be altogether avoided. At some level, we have to combine two or more different manuscripts to arrive at a whole. But how we choose to arrive there is very different, and in my mind critical.

Westcott-Hort says we have all these different texts (and in the Alexandrian family, there is no clear transmissional history...it's just a grab bag), and none match, so let's combine them all to arrive at something inclusive of all likely variations (how they arrive at what they call "likely" is a mystery, considering their starting assumptions). The result (by design) is a hodge-podge, mish-mash that really can have no resemblance to the autographs. By their reasoning, they have GUARANTEED that what we have in the NA, or UBS, or whichever, IS NOT "autograph-like."

Robinson, and those who follow a Byzantine priority, say what started with the autographs was copied exactly to the next generation, to the next, to the next, etc. Over time and geography, some variations crept in due to copying errors, etc., but we must trace back, as best we can, the transmissional history. We know there IS a history, so let's try and find it. That is the only way we can arrive at something "autograph-like". It may not be exact (of course, there is no way of knowing, even if it were), but at least there is a hisory involved, and the possibility is there. The text produced ACTUALLY has ancient counterparts (with an s, as opposed to W-H and the Alexandrian folks, where they have guaranteed the opposite.


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Denver McDaniel

 2010/8/11 10:50Profile





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