Re: Copying parameters for early NT MSS

>Date: Tue, 26 Apr 94 11:10:15 PDT
>From: Vincent Broman <broman@np.nosc.mil>
>Subject: Re: Copying parameters for early NT MSS
>Finney@csuvax1.murdoch.edu.au asked several questions evidently
>intended to help create a probabilistic model for NT MS propagation....

>> What was the expected life of a MS (years)?
>A well used copy could wear out in a few decades, [...]

A related question: Is there any evidence that we should expect that the
manuscripts that we have --that is the manuscripts which have survived--
are _preferentially_ the bad or "buggy" manuscripts?

What I mean is something like the following.  Suppose you are a monk at St
Catherine's in the fifth century and you have some work to do (preparing a
new manuscript, whatever).  You have two manuscripts to choose from: The
first, call it X, which is known to be a reliable, virtually mistake-free
copy and a second, call it S, which is known to contain multiple errors;
not bad enough to trash --something's better than nothing-- but it's
missing an entire book, for heaven's sake!

So, which of these two manuscripts are you more likely to use (and so
--inadvertently-- contribute to its wear and tear) and which are you more
likely to leave undisturbed to collect dust on a shelf in the storeroom?

Now clearly this is not a perfect model.  But, still, would it be
reasonable to expect that very good, clean exemplars would _tend_ to get
"used up" more quickly than less perfect texts?

>> How many copies of the NT MSS were made altogether?
>A lot more than survived to the present. [...]

Just as a note, a standard arguement for this, of course, is that out of
the >~5000 GNT manuscripts known to exist, only one or two can be shown to
be a direct copy of another existing manuscript.

Nichael                                                                 __
ncramer@bbn.com                                      Be as passersby. - IC