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12:27 AM
First, @Davïd, thank you for the discussion. I am not necessarily seeking a "last word," but rather seeking to be understood and to further understand things for myself. I do realize we cannot continue to drag the discussion on.
Second, I have not handled (physically) any ancient manuscripts (the most I have done is examine a few online). My concentration is Systematic Theology, not New Testament studies (Text Critical matters are a side interest, related theologically of course to Bibliology), so I admit some professional deficiencies in the realm of direct handling/reading/collating of manuscripts.
However, perhaps I have an answer for "why" we differ, one which also may make my deficiency somewhat irrelevant. When I say we have no "history of the text" I am not referring to the manuscripts themselves, but the textual stream, and more importantly manuscript stream behind the text in an extant manuscript as carried to it by non-extant manuscripts.
In other words, in most cases, especially of the early mss., we don't possess the Vorlagen (capitalized, with proper plurality ;), nice Ngram link!) as an extant document to even examine. Not having this, there is no way to surmise "circumstances" behind the arising of an accidental variant itself.
We don't know if they were copying visually or audibly, nor what the lighting conditions, distractions, mental capabilities, condition/accuracy of its own Vorlagen, etc., were behind the copying in which the variant might have arose, but which the later extant manuscript testifies to.
So we have no data except a later copy to go off of, which in all but the rarest of cases where it may be noted, is not going to tell us anything useful about the scribal conditions of its Vorlage. The unknown number of Vorlagen used for the initial copy of Sinaiticus for the four passages in question are non-extant (as far as we know, and even if extant, are likely not able to be definitively identifiable as a Vorlage).
So no matter what can be deduced about the scribal conditions for the initial penning of Sinaiticus based off its manuscript and whatever history is known from other documentation, that still does not tell us about the scribal conditions of its Vorlagen, and the Vorlagen's Vorlagen, etc., back to the original manuscript.
Hence, I do not believe my assertion is a non sequitur, as it certainly does follow that if we don't have an extant document to examine in which an accidental variant arose the first time, we certainly don't have the slightest knowledge of the scribal conditions under which that accident might have occurred.
And later copies may have included a variant from a Vorlage intentionally, so the variant is introduced into our extant text with a discernible (perhaps) "purpose," but that still does not necessarily tell us if the initial arising of the variant in the Vorlage was by accident or not, and especially if so, the circumstances of its accidental arising.
Now I have conceded that in the case of the Mark 9:29 passage, given the nature of the variant in relation to the other passages, the possibility that any accidental omission arising for the first time in a text like Sinaiticus is essentially nil. The omission is most certainly intentional, most probably from merely copying its Vorlagen, though possibly with an intentional omission of its own introduced at some point.
But we still don't know for sure why the Vorlagen have it omitted. It may be: (1) matching the original text and a faithful transmission of that, (2) all the Vorlagen were intentionally changed (because of conditions noted in my thesis?), (3) one ancient Vorlagen had an "accidental" omission, which then caused other mss. to be questioned regarding the proper inclusion or not of "fasting" (so a mixed accidental/intentional).
I'm sure there are other scenarios. For most of these four verses, the oldest extant Greek testimony we have is still mid 4th c. (Sinaiticus), so there is roughly 200 years of non-extant manuscript lines for variants to have arose under scribal conditions that we do not know.
@Davïd So perhaps that is why we differ on the nature of accidental variants.
 
 
7 hours later…
7:41 AM
@ScottS Thanks for that full replyl, Scott. I think you nailed the nub of our disagreement (if one can, indeed, "nail" a "nub") in this statement:
@ScottS "Not having this, there is no way to surmise "circumstances" behind the arising of an accidental variant itself." What I am saying (trying) is that we DO have this (evidence of textual transmission) and there IS a way to "surmise". There are 1,000s of ancient mss, and patterns emerge!
But I'll leave it there. (No - really - I will! :) I hope our exchange has been productive - I think it has!
 
 
6 hours later…
1:17 PM
Could be. Or Jesus could say "wives" to mean other wives. It's sin to look at others' wives with lust. It's not sin to see women in general. Just like it's adultery to fuck someone else' wife, but it's not adultery to have concubines like David and Abraham, for example. I am not saying it's true. I am saying that it could be what Jesus mean and from the verse, we can't know which one. — Jim Thio 7 hours ago
@Caleb, ^^^ flagging for f word.
 
@Davïd The exchange is productive, and I'm glad I could illuminate where we disagree. One last full reply. I do understand what you have been saying, and I do not disagree that we have 1,000's of documents and have discrened "patterns" through examining those. Be we do disagree on the value, significance, and interpretation of those facts, which is why I always note that the differences between majority/non-majority text positions resides in the presuppostions evaluating the evidence.
The "patterns" discerned give us the possible "reasons" of a variant. But as you previously noted, the patterns do not give "any rationale for why any one of them should be applied in THIS case," or generally, to any particular case.
But as Metzger/Ehrman stated, most of the variants arose so early (first 200-300 years), that we don't possess the particular documents to examine for where many particular variants first arose, so we cannot actually apply the pattern knowledge to the document in which the initial variant arose. We are dealing with documents that largely already have a corrupted Vorlage history behind them, which itself has influenced what patterns have been found to exist, that is
the later documents will evidence more scribal "decisions" having to be made based off whatever level of knowledge the scribe has about other existing readings. Hence why a later corrector of Sinaiticus noted the majority text readings into three of the four places (not Act 10:30), which addition still does not inform one which is the correct reading.
But further, we have the issue that our early data samples are highly skewed, representing primarily only the Alexandrian stream of documents, since we possess few of the manuscripts from Asia Minor dated 4th c. or earlier. So we have hundreds if not thousands of pieces of important data missing about the textual history.
And unfortunately, it would be some of the most important data missing for helping to determine variation, since conservatively 63% (17 of 27; maybe 21 of 27, 77%) of the original documents (from which initial copies would have been made and early copies could be cross checked to) were first in the area of the Balkans and Asia Minor, near Byzantium and what would become the Greek speaking Eastern church.
This is all of Paul's writings but Romans, Revelation (probably also John's 4 other writings), Luke/Acts (recognized as to the Greeks), and Peter's 1st epistle (probably 2nd also). Additionally, the center of church activity moved to Asia Minor during the first century; note the progression from Jerusalem (Act 8:1-4), to Antioch (11:19-26, 13:1-3), to Asia (19:1, 8-10), where John targeted the book of Revelation to (Ch. 1-3).
So for the early (first centuries) period of variants arising, we (1) have very few particular documents to examine and apply our patterns to, (2) what we do have is a skewed data sample, (3) which sample is both (a) not from the important region where most of the originals were initially, and (b) having non-extant Vorlage readings behind them that (per Metzger/Ehrman) likely had the variants arise, so they are not the particular samples needed to determine initial cause of variation.
Therefore, with a number of documents missing (from both regions, Egypt and Asia Minor) in which most variants likely initially arose, we have no data samples to examine to determine what conditions accidental variations arose, and even lack a body of knowledge on early intentional but initial variations. So the value of the patterns is lessened by not have the particular cases for early variation to examine.
Those facts, to me, severely limit the value and significance of the patterns for many particular cases in point (that we do not have to examine). So our disagreement runs at a deeper level of presuppositions behind the text (not to mention possible disagreement about Divine action in preservation).
Okay, I'm done, really ;).
 
 
2 hours later…
3:09 PM
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Q: What is the new covenant made with Jews/Israel in Jeremiah 31:31

Blessed GeekJeremiah 31 verses 31-33, talks about a new covenant forged explicitly with Jews/Israel and only with Jews/Israel, and none other. I'm quoting the passage in Hebrew and providing the phrase literal translation, so that we would not have to deal with the inaccuracies and inadequacies of English t...

▲ Is this question on topic?
 
@PaulVargas my vtc is for 'too broad'
 
Hey @Davïd Do you live in Buffalo? I always thought you were living in Edinburgh, Scotland.
@JackDouglas I see. Thank you. :-)
 
3:55 PM
@ScottS Ha! B-) Thanks for taking the time, Scott - exemplary clarity and industry!
@PaulVargas I do live in Scotland - my minimal "profile" is absolutely accurate! I have nothing to do with Buffalo, and never have.
 
4:20 PM
@Davïd I'm so sorry! :'( I think I was confused. — I was seeing some projects in github.com (openscriptures).
 
 
1 hour later…
5:30 PM
@PaulVargas Perhaps presented in a slightly biased fashion, but seems completely on topic to me. The sub-questions are ultimately asking about the interpretation of various points made in the one verse, and interpretation is exactly what this site is about.
 

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