Anonymous posting on textual criticism

From: Edward Hobbs (
Date: Thu Oct 26 1995 - 16:07:51 EDT

From: IN%"" 26-OCT-1995 12:30:27.87
Subj: Textual Criticism

<Actually, due to the work of Colwell, Clark, Streeter, Royse, and Head, it
<has been shown that due to various factors scribes were more likely to omit
<than to add to the text.

The Anonymous Poster has struck again!

This statement is nonsense. Colwell was my teacher. Clark was my friend.
Royse was my student (I was on his dissertation committee, one of three, and
the only text-critic). And Streeter's writings on this subject were my
bread and butter long before I took my Ph.D., almost half a century ago.
The ONLY one of them who argued that scribes tended to add rather than omit was
my student Jim Royse (at that time also teaching philosophy at San Francisco
State, where he may still be), who over-generalized the results of his
extremely limited study of a few papyri. If several dozen more
dissertations on the issue, studying some uncials, above all post-300CE
uncials, were to show the same, we would have to rethink this question.

May I also remind the List that scribes copied MUCH other material than New
Testament documents! There actually is (believe it or not!) a discipline
called Textual Criticism among classicists. Some of you might wish to read the
great works on this issue by A. E. Housman (who, in his lifetime, was NOT known
as the poet who wrote "A Shropshire Lad".. One of my many favorite statements
by Housman is: "To do textual criticism, you must have brains, not pudding, in
your head." Scribes didn't suddenly develop new habits when the documents
before them were "Christian."

Further, the List might consider that we have a well-trained Textual Critic
(New Testament, too!) on this List: Larry Hurtado. It might be worth while
listening to his words. At least in comparison with an Anonymous Poster, his
credentials are good!

Edward Hobbs

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