Re: Copying parameters for early NT MSS

ncramer@bbn.com asked:
> 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?

No evidence, but strong logical grounds to expect it.
Well made copies from reputable sources would likely be worn out
much faster than ill-favored copies.  This point has been exaggerated
by some to imply that the famous MS finds of the last two centuries
are all rubbish-heap rejects.  Other considerations should moderate
this expectation.

The deluxe purple copies may have survived because they were too
expensive to touch on any but ceremonial occasions or because they
were prepared for VIPs who did not do much Bible reading.
Those copies which survived the great persecutions and bible-burnings
may be those that were courageously protected by Christians because they were
the best copies available.  A MS like Bezae may have been neglected but
not lost for centuries because its text was thought to be too strange,
but was rehabilitated later on account of its evidence of antiquity.

Still, I think the early remnants we have are not typical bibles,
but samples out on the tails of the probability distribution.

Vincent Broman,  code 572 Bayside                        Phone: +1 619 553 1641
Naval Command Control and Ocean Surveillance Center, RDT&E Div.
San Diego, CA  92152-6147,  USA                          Email: broman@nosc.mil