Text of Matt 11:9 cont'd (longish)

Sterling (et al.?), this is fun. 

OK, I'll try to express myself clearly too!  ;-))  (Note:  please infer 
appropriately happy emotica at appropriate spots -- all of what I say is meant 
to be friendly!)
> I presume that you're talking about the possibility of "Q-Mt" and
> "Q-Lk", where Matthew and Luke each had slightly different copies of Q. 
> This is indee highly probable.  

I guess that I am doing that, but my point was different:  Given your model of 
scribal decision-making, it seems that the _scribes_ of Q could make (must have 
made) the same sorts of decisions that you presume for scribes of Matthew.  My 
point was that especially in precanonical (or not yet Scriptural) texts this 
sort of "freedom" is actually likely.  So I'm not trying to raise the specter 
(or "deus" if you prefer) of Matthew and Luke using different recensions of Q, 
just thinking in response to reading your posting, that what those "different 
recensions" should mean to us is a fluid text of Q.

But methodologically it is very
> difficult to control.  

I agree, but that still seems to be waht your model of scribes requires.

 Since we know
> nothing about Q-Mt, and do not know how to offer any control of such a
> discussion, I leave it out of the equation.  

This seems a bit strong:  on one level, Q-Mt is more or less the Q verses used 
by Matthew minus known Matthean editorial or dictional preferences.  What we are
now calling Q-Mat is to me more or less what you have meant whhen you wonder 
what Matthew did with HIS TEXT OF Q.  Thus Q-Matt MEANS the form of Q known to 
Matthew.  You do refer to such a beast quite frequently, directly or by 
implication, and so you (and all of us) must, I suppose.  

I'll be the first to admit
> that anyone's model of synoptic relationships is too simple to be
> "real"--after all, "map is not territory."  Models are fictions, but
> remember Picasso on art?  Art is "a lie that tells the truth."   

Right, right, right -- I am not opposed to models.  When I said, "we cannot know
that," this wasn't my deeply imbedded pyrrhonism emerging (we can't even know 
for certain that we can't know for certain), but more a surface-level judgment. 
Again, if scribes have the freedom you describe, and I agree with you that they 
may well, especailly, again, in copying Q, then I really mean that with only two
witnesses to Q, and these two in disagreement (meaning now the notional texts of
Matthew and Luke that we still need to reconstruct in part), we are stuck.

> But what is our alternative?  Arbitrariness?  The "damage" that this
> method does is to guarantee that our reconstruction will not be 100%
> accurate.  But no method can guarantee that.  This method, in fact, is
> helpful by making us very conscious of the fact that our reconstruction
> is a scholarly artifact, and can in no way claim to be exactly "Q".

Maybe it's "arbitrary" to employ preferences systematically??  At least 
arbitrary in any given instance, not presumably as a method over all.
> If I understand you correctly, then we're unintentionally at odds here.
> I'm saying that scribes rarely accomodate Matthew to Mark or Luke, so
> those three instances of TOU QEOU in Matthew are probably Matthew's own. 
> If, in those locations, we have a few scribes who write TWN OURANWN
> instead of TOU QEOU, then we could suspect those scribes of accomodating
> their text to Matthew's usual formula, right?  TOU QEOU would be the
> "more difficult" reading since it is contrary to Matthew's style, and
> would therefore be preferred, given what we know about scribal
> accommodation of texts.
> This doesn't help us with Matthew 11:9 since there is some difficulty
> agreeing about which reading is the "more difficult."  I submit that
> IDEIN PROFHTN is more difficult in terms of language because it
> continues the ambiguity, but PROFHTN IDEIN is more difficult in terms of
> structure because it destroys the parallelism.  How do we adjudicate?

Do we have evidence that scribes are alert to parallelism and/or to maintaining 

> So all it would require is one Egyptian scribe to
> change IDEIN PROFHTHN to PROFHTHN IDEIN because he (less likely "she")
> disliked the ambiguity of the question.  The opposite theory, that
> Matthew wrote PROFHTHN IDEIN, requires many scribes--it would take more
> than one to explain the diversity and geographical spread here, unless
> one supports a consipracy theory--to make the change to IDEIN PROFHTHN
> simply because they a) liked Luke's text better, and/or b) wanted to
> continue the parallel construction from the previous verses, all at the
> expense of introducing ambiguity back in.  Which is more probable?

What makes me nervous is that we know so little about the transmission of the 
text before ca. 200 ce, and that what we know shows relatively unstable texts.  
Still, I admit that when we need to print something (as a text of Matthew or of 
Q) then we have to use the sorts of probabilities that you bring to bear so 

>  Would it not be fair to say that most of
> the scribes had the attitudes of clerks rather than poets?  Dare we use
> that observation to make text-critical judg(e)ments?

I like this formulation.

All for now, I've got a student here.


Philip Sellew
Classical & Near Eastern Studies            voicemail:  612-625-2026
University of Minnesota                     FAX:        612-624-4894