A New Approach to Textual Criticism: An Introduction to CBGM

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Lee | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Apr 7 2018 2:27 AM

A New Approach to Textual Criticism: An Introduction to the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method by Wasserman and Gurry

Would like to have this in Logos. It introduces a modified (and the most current) approach to NT textual criticism.

Posts 3486
Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 7 2018 3:12 AM

A very interesting resource indeed. The assumptions that have governed textual criticism have long needed to be thoroughly re-examined. 

Posts 9593
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 7 2018 6:23 AM

https://www.amazon.com/New-Approach-Textual-Criticism-Coherence-Based-ebook/dp/B076PRQZDZ/ 

Fair warning: not Kindle-Paperwhite compatable; for me, ipad only.


Posts 1380
Forum MVP
Reuben Helmuth | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 7 2018 8:06 AM

Denise:
 not Kindle-Paperwhite compatable

Yeah, a kindle edition that’s not kindle compatibl, get that!

Oh well, trying to get it into PBB anyway...

Posts 9593
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 7 2018 10:43 AM

Reuben Helmuth:

Oh well, trying to get it into PBB anyway...

Good idea ... I must have the only reader (ipad Kindle) where I can't see any way to adjust the font size.

Lee suggested a great book ... easy to follow, and good discussion on how mss's relate. Lots of diagrams, statistics, etc.

And it is humorous as well. Badly summarizing, "We've changed God's Every-Word-Inspired for the catholic epistles and Acts, with the remainder to follow." (I did a minor substitution there). It's the old KJB spiritual conumdrum faced by Iraneus and later Jerome.


Posts 2669
Doc B | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 7 2018 1:44 PM

Lee:
Would like to have this in Logos

Yes

Along with some CBGM tools or integration with web tools.

My thanks to the various MVPs. Without them Logos would have died early. They were the only real help available.

Faithlife Corp. owes the MVPs free resources for life.

Posts 2192
David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 7 2018 2:30 PM

From:   Pages 7 to 11 of the Introduction - Yes, Let's get this into Logos ASAP 


A New Approach To Textual Criticism - An Introduction To The Coherence Based Genealogical Method
Tommy Wasserman and Peter J. Gurry

SNL Press Atlanta ISBN 97808841-42669 © 2017 Society of Biblical Literature

1. Introduction

[Page 7]

1.3.3. Rejection of Text-Types

The two previous changes are the easiest to quantify. However, the CBGM has also introduced several far-reaching changes in how the editors view and describe the history of the text. The most significant and, for that reason, controversial is that it has convinced the editors to abandon the concept of text - types traditionally used to group and evaluate manuscripts.

[Page 8]

For more than two centuries, New Testament scholars have spoken about the Alexandrian, Western, Byzantine (or Eastern or Syrian), and sometimes Caesarean texts. An early pioneer, J. A. Bengel (1687-1752), took on the task of sorting out the wealth of source materials in order to reconstruct the earliest text of the New Testament. He divided the textual witnesses into groups that he called "nations" and "families:' J. S. Semler (1725-1791) and J. J. Griesbach (1745-1812) refined Bengel's scheme by connecting these textual groupings to geographical areas where the text might have been revised (apart from the normal copying). The divisions were as follows: Alexandrian (used by Origen), Western (Latin translations); and Eastern (used by Antiochian and Constantinopolitan churches). Griesbach added the fourth-century Codex Vaticanus, as well as additional Alexandrian church fathers, to the Alexandrian group.

Scholars have largely followed this division into three major groups, or text-types, to use the term established through the work of E. C. Colwell in the second half of the twentieth century. Although few scholars today associate these text-types with distinct locales, most still do associate them with distinct levels of importance. The Alexandrian is typically considered the most reliable text-type, with the Western, Caesarean, and Byzantine generally following in that order.

If one reads Bruce Metzger's well-known textual commentary that accompanies the UBS, the notion of text-types is absolutely essential to his explanation of the history of the New Testament text and, with it, to the practice of textual criticism itself. The UBS committee's own explana¬tions for its decisions are so regularly couched in these categories that it is hard to imagine Metzger's commentary without them. Their importance is well captured by Eldon Epp, who says that "to write the history of the NT text is to write the history of text types, and concomitantly to write also the history of the criteria for the priority of readings,"!'

For many, the practice of New Testament textual criticism can hardly be conceived of without these comfortable categories. But this is pre¬cisely what the editors using the CBGM have done. They have replaced the relationships and value of text-types with the relationships and value of individual witnesses-well over one-hundred of them in the Catholic Letters. Because the computer can keep track of all these witnesses and their place in the transmission, there is no need to group them into a few text-types and relate these groups. More importantly, by focusing on indi¬vidual witnesses, they completely bypass the difficult problem of defining text-types and their boundaries (see §2.3.1 below);"

[Page 9]

One exception here is that the editors still recognize the Byzantine text as a distinct text form in its own right. This is due to the remarkable agreement that one finds in our late Byzantine manuscripts. Their agree¬ment is such that it is hard to deny that they should be grouped. In fact, the editors using the CBGM do group them together, subsuming them in the apparatus under the symbol Byz. On the other hand, the editors want to avoid the term text-type to describe the Byzantine text because it brings with it the notion of a textual revision (or recension), a notion that persists in spite of the attempt to redefine text-types as a process." In other words, the Byzantine textual tradition should be regarded as the result of a long process, albeit one that produced a distinct text form preserved in a huge group of similar manuscripts.

Further, it is also clear that there are unique "Western" readings in Acts, but the mutual agreement of their attesting witnesses is relatively poor. They disagree with one another at the same level as with non-West¬ern witnesses. Therefore, the ECM editors are reluctant to identify the witnesses as belonging to a text-type and prefer to speak instead about a "Western' cluster of variants" (rather than witnesses), a stratum of the New testament textual transmission that requires other methods than the CBGM to further explore because (1) the Greek witnesses attesting to Western readings lack coherence and (2) these readings are attested partly by versional witnesses.

[Page 10]

The rejection of the concept of text-types as a means of understanding the history of the text is significant. What fruit this will bear in the long term remains to be seen. It also remains to be seen whether New Testament scholars more generally will accept the CBGM as a viable replacement to text-types. The issues are important and will, no doubt, be debated for some years to come. For our purposes, it is enough to note that the CBGM has led the editors of the NA28/UBSs to reject and replace what has been a fundamental concept in New Testament textual criticism.

1.3-4. Renewed Appreciation for the Byzantine Text

As just noted, the editors still accept a Byzantine group even if they do not view it as a traditional text-type. In fact, they do much more than merely accept it; they have reevaluated it and concluded that it should be given more weight than in the past. Particularly since the work of Westcott and Hort in the late nineteenth century.!" the Byzantine manuscripts have been disparaged by a majority of New Testament textual critics as the least valuable for recovering the "original text" when considered as a whole. But when the CBGM was first used on the Catholic Letters, the editors found that a number of Byzantine witnesses were surprisingly similar to their own reconstructed text. This unexpected discovery encouraged a second look and led to a renewed appreciation for these manuscripts and their shared text. This, in turn, led them to revise all their earlier decisions where they had chosen against this shared Byzantine text. As a result, ten of twelve changes between their first use of the CBGM on the Catholic Letters, the editors found that a number of Byzantine witnesses were surprisingly similar to their own reconstructed text. This unexpected discovery encouraged a second look and led to a renewed appreciation for these manuscripts and their shared text. This, in turn, led them to revise all their earlier decisions where they had chosen against this shared Byzantine text. As a result, ten of twelve changes between their first use of the CBGM on the Catholic Letters and their second use are in favor of the Byzantine text, and they now consider it to be "an important witness to the early text" overall. The situation in Acts is similar. There were fifty-two changes to the critical text. In thirty-six cases the changes were made in conformity with the Byzantine text and in only two cases against the Byzantine text. Further, in 105 of the 155 passages where the editors leave the decision open about the initial text, the Byzantine witnesses attest to the reading deemed to be of equal value to variant a (= NA28). In twenty of the 155 passages the Byzantine witnesses side with variant a. As with the rejection of other text-types, the full impact of this shift must await work on the rest of the New Testament, but even now the changed appreciation is substantial when seen in light of nearly all of the last century of text -critical work on the New Testament.

[Page 11]

Posts 2344
Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 7 2018 2:39 PM

Doc B:

Yes

Along with some CBGM tools or integration with web tools.

Yes  It would be crazy good if Logos pulls this off!

Posts 2344
Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 7 2018 2:51 PM

David Ames:

From:   Pages 7 to 11 of the Introduction - Yes, Let's get this into Logos ASAP 

[Page 10]

...

But when the CBGM was first used on the Catholic Letters, the editors found that a number of Byzantine witnesses were surprisingly similar to their own reconstructed text. This unexpected discovery encouraged a second look and led to a renewed appreciation for these manuscripts and their shared text. This, in turn, led them to revise all their earlier decisions where they had chosen against this shared Byzantine text. As a result, ten of twelve changes between their first use of the CBGM on the Catholic Letters, the editors found that a number of Byzantine witnesses were surprisingly similar to their own reconstructed text. This unexpected discovery encouraged a second look and led to a renewed appreciation for these manuscripts and their shared text. This, in turn, led them to revise all their earlier decisions where they had chosen against this shared Byzantine text. ...

Transmission problem or in the original?

Posts 39
Phil Quigley | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 7 2018 4:45 PM

Yes, let's do this, Faithlife. 

Posts 2192
David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 7 2018 4:57 PM

Lee:

Transmission problem or in the original?

Transmission problem - doubled copy of parts of the page.  Had pasted a section in twice and 'tried' to fix it but missed some.  

Posts 2344
Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 11 2019 8:53 AM

Bump for 2019.

Electronic version available... SBL publication... hope it becomes available soon.

Additionally, hoping for A Critical Examination of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method in New Testament Textual Criticism by Gurry, which delves into hard-core details.

Posts 9593
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 11 2019 9:46 AM

Lee:

Bump for 2019.

Electronic version available... SBL publication... hope it becomes available soon.

Additionally, hoping for A Critical Examination of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method in New Testament Textual Criticism by Gurry, which delves into hard-core details.

At $85-105 a clip, a Logos edition would be nice. Also, no Kindle available (Gurry).

Gurry is interesting, especially another up-coming volume on Westcott/Hort:

Peter J. Gurry, Ph.D. (2017), University of Cambridge, is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Phoenix Seminary. He has published several articles on textual criticism and is the author with Tommy Wasserman of A New Approach to Textual Criticism: An Introduction to the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (SBL). He is currently editing a collection of letters between B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort on their monumental edition of the Greek New Testament.


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