Request: help with Colwell's quantitative analysis

From: Perry L. Stepp (
Date: Thu May 01 1997 - 04:00:23 EDT


I'm looking at Colwell and Tune's article on quantitative analysis ("Method
in Establishing Quantitative Relationships between Text-Types of New
Testament Manuscripts," 56ff in Colwell, *Studies in Methodology in Textual
Criticism of the New Testament*). It occured to me, as I read the article,
that I'm not totally clear on part of the method. I thought I understood
it, but now I'm wondering.

Colwell says: "the quantitative definition of a text-type is a group of
manuscripts that agree more than 70 per cent of the time and is separated
by a gap of about 10 per cent from its neighbors" (59). I'm fine with the
70 percent agreement, but I'm not sure how to discern the 10 percent gap.
Looking at the percentages, how does one use the 10 percent gap to
delineate one group from another? What am I missing?

If anyone out there has a copy of Colwell's *Studies* and is willing to
explain the 10 percent gap (preferably via reference to Colwell's charts),
I'd *really* appreciate it.

Grace and peace,

Perry L. Stepp

Pastor, DeSoto Christian Church, DeSoto TX
Ph.D. candidate in New Testament, Baylor University

"A system of morality which is based on relative
emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar
conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing
                    Phaedo 69b

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