From: Edward Hobbs (EHOBBS@WELLESLEY.EDU)
Date: Sat Jun 10 2000 - 19:56:34 EDT
Dear Randy, Carl, and B-Greek Colleagues:
My own response to Randy's Text-Critical/Conjectural Emendation
posting re: Carl's correction of his own sentence struck me as
neither humorous nor tongue-in-cheek, but as a shrewd and quite
revealing application of principles used regularly in our trade,
one which also shows the possible limitations of the "authorial
intention" theory. I confess being edified, and a little delighted,
that such a trifle could be made revelatory about our methods in
As for Carl's original "slip," I doubt that anyone had any uncertainty
as to what was meant. (My own emendation was to omit the "un-"
Thanks for the correction Carl. In my hasty reading, two conjectural
emendations occurred to me: change "like" to "hate" (less likely) or
change "unworthy" to "worthy." Your "any" to "no" hadn't crossed my
mind at all.
My only reason for responding is that unravelling your original
statement did serve as an interesting little textual exercise. My best
guess was that, as you chose your word in the last part of the
sentence, you were thinking that you had written "hate" rather than
"like." On this reasoning, it would seem that my first conjecture
might be better, but, further reflection leads to the conclusion that
the beginning of the sentence, rather than the end, is more likely to
reflect the text as it stood originally in your mind. Then, as you
assumed the role of scribe in your typing, you made the easier slip
and added the privative prefix to the originally intended "worthy"
near the end.
But your own emendation renders all this fine reasoning somewhat
absurd, carrying, as it does, a certain authority that is yours as the
author. UNLESS, that is, your emendation really does NOT reflect the
original text as it existed in your mind but rather reveals the
conclusions you reached as an, in this case rather blush-faced,
textual critic of your own scribal work in rendering your own original
thought. In that case, you would have little advantage over the rest
of us attempting to reconstruct the original. In fact, the objectivity
of your selection from among several possible emendations might very
well have been compromised by a natural desire to reflect minimally on
your scribal accuracy. Or could the thought have existed originally
apart from any specific words so that the text of your first email
actually IS the original text? In that case, no emendation is
necessary, just the imputation of a simple error to the author. No
theological problem, since inspiration is not in view here and since,
at any rate, theological discussions are not allowed on this list.
Now I'm 15 minutes further behind on the day's to-do list, but at
least I had a little fun trying to put you at least 5 minutes further
behind (less ahead?) on your own.
At 7:05 AM -0400 6/9/00, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>I'd like to think that any question that really focuses on Biblical
>language or a Biblical Greek text that someone finds puzzling is
>of a response.
That should, of course, be: "that NO question that really focuses on
Biblical Greek language or a Biblical Greek text that someone finds
puzzling is unworthy of a response." I really wouldn't want to be
misunderstood about that.
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