Saturday, April 27, 2019

Conflations (Part 2)


            Today we continue our consideration of conflations.
            Without Hort’s use of conflations as evidence that the Byzantine Text is derivative of the Alexandrian and Western text-types in his 1881 Introduction, he would have had a much harder time making a case for the overthrow of the Textus Receptus.  As we saw in Part 1, three of the eight examples of conflation presented by Hort are not necessarily actual conflations; the longer reading in Mark 6:33, Luke 9:10, and Luke 24:53 is capable of plausibly accounting for the origin of its shorter rivals?  
            What about the remaining five – found in Mark 8:26, Mark 9:38, Mark 9:49, Luke 11:54, and Luke 12:18?  As an exercise, let’s consider Luke 12:18: 
            B:  τὸν σειτον καὶ τὰ ἀγαθά μου
            P75*:  τὸν σιτον μου καὶ τὰ ἀγαθά μου
            P75c Àc L f1 157:  τὸν σιτον καὶ τὰ ἀγαθά μου 
            579:  τὸν σιτον καὶ τὰ ἀγαθά μου
            À* D 435 Old Latin:  τὰ γενήματά μου
            39 and other Old Latin:  τοὺς καρπούς μου
            346:  τὸν σιτον μου καὶ τὰ γενήματα μου
            Byz:  τὰ γενήματα μου καὶ τὰ ἀγαθά μου
 
            It should be immediately obvious the first Western reading (read by À* D) is accounted for by the Byzantine Reading: from τὰ γενήματα μου καὶ τὰ ἀγαθά μου, the route to τὰ γενήματά μου is simple:  a parableptic drift from the first τὰ to the second τὰ.  The Alexandrian reading as attested in B P75c Àc L f1 157 and 579 is accounted for in another way:  as a slight stylistic refinement, replacing τὰ γενήματα μου with τὸν σιτον μου (as in P75*) or τὸν σιτον.  It should be noticed that the copyist of P75 first wrote τὸν σιτον μου before the μου was removed.
            As for the reading in minuscule 39, supported by some Old Latin copies, this is a typical Western simplification-via-harmonization, using verbiage from the preceding verse. 
            Thus once again, while Hort’s theory that the Byzantine reading is the result of the creativity of a scribe who had two exemplar with two rival readings – one Alexandrian, one Western – cannot be refuted, neither can the theory that the Alexandrian and Western readings emerged from the Byzantine reading.
            But while Hort’s theory cannot be refuted, is it as plausible as the alternative scenario in which the Byzantine reading is original?  If a scribe had one manuscript that read τὰ γενήματά μου (my produce) and another manuscript that read τὸν σιτον μου καὶ τὰ ἀγαθά μου (my wheat and my goods), and the scribe wanted to combine them so as to preserve them both readings, the resultant collision would mention (1) wheat, (2) produce, and (3) goods.  But somewhere along the line, Hort’s scribe must have forgotten that he was attempting to preserve both readings; he could have simply written two sentences or clauses – “I will store there all my wheat; I will store  there all my produce and goods” – but he did not.  Hort’s proposal seems more complicated, and less plausible, than the explanation that the Byzantine reading here is original, and its Western rival is the result of an accidental omission, and its Alexandrian rival, the result of a stylistic introduction of τὸν σιτον in place of τὰ γενήματα.    

             Suppose, however, that Hort’s theory is true in all eight examples of conflation that he provided.  (Suppose, too, that the Byzantine readings in Matthew 26:70, John 10:31 and John 18:40 are added to the list.)
            This would not imply that the Byzantine Text is derivative of the Alexandrian and Western Text.  If we were to picture a conflation as the collision of two cars that became intertwined in the wreck, then it need not imply anything more than that one car was a short reading that agreed with either the Alexandrian or Western Text before it collided with its rival reading (in either an Alexandrian, or Western, exemplar) and, thus combined, became a longer reading.    
            To rephrase this as a question:  as Hort presents the rival shorter readings, why should either reading be considered exclusively Alexandrian, or exclusively Western?  If it is an early Byzantine reading, then the longer reading that supplants it is merely an example of mixture, and instead of looking at the effects of a deliberate revision or recension when we look at conflations, we are looking at sporadic accidents – the incidental effects of one form of the text driving into a locale where another form is dominant. 
            There is thus nothing about conflations that moves forward Hort’s theory of a Lucianic recension.  Plausible alternative explanations of the evidence exist, in which the Byzantine reading accounts for its truncated rivals; in addition, there is no reason to assume, if any of Hort’s eight conflations are indeed conflations of earlier readings, that neither component-reading already existed in an early form of the Byzantine Text.
           
            But if Hort’s argument from conflations does not imply that the Byzantine Text is posterior to the Alexandrian and Western text-types, what about his next point, specifically, that the non-use of distinctly Byzantine readings by patristic writers before the 300s implies that the Byzantine Text did not exist until then?  We shall, God willing, look into that claim soon.
            First, however, let’s briefly test Hort’s claim that conflations are a special characteristic of the Byzantine Text:  “We do not know of any places,” Hort wrote, “where the α group of documents [i.e., Codex B and its allies] supports readings apparently conflate from the readings of the β and δ groups [i.e., Western and Byzantine] respectively, or where the β group of documents [Western representatives] supports readings apparently conflate from the readings of the α and δ groups respectively.” 
            While this might seem to mean that representatives of the Alexandrian and Western text-types do not have conflations, that is not what it means.  It only means that conflations of Western and Byzantine readings are not detectable in the Alexandrian Text, and that conflations of Alexandrian and Byzantine readings are not detectable in the Western Text.  But consider the following:

Matthew 3:12
            Byz:  και συνάξει τον σιτὸν αυτου εις την αποθήκην
            L 157:  και συνάξει τον σιτὸν εις την αποθήκην αυτου
            B:  και συνάξει τον σειτὸν αυτου εις την αποθήκην αυτου
            Here the reading in Vaticanus (B) looks like a combination of the Byzantine reading (with αυτου after σιτὸν) and the reading in L (with αυτου after αποθήκην) – as if a copyist had one exemplar which read “and shall gather his wheat into the barn,” and another exemplar read “and shall gather the wheat into his barn,” and the scribe combined them so as to read, “and shall gather his wheat into his barn.”

Matthew 24:38
            Byz:   εν ταις ημέραις ταις προ του κατακλυσμου
            D:  εν ταις ημέραις εκείναις προ του κατακλυσμου
            B:  εν ταις ημέραις εκείναις ταις προ του κατακλυσμου
            Here the reading in B looks like a combination of the Byzantine reading (without εκείναις) and the reading in D (without ταις) – as if a copyist had one exemplar which read “in the days which were before the flood,” and another exemplar read “in those days before the flood,” and the scribe combined them so as to read, “in those days which were before the flood.”

Matthew 26:22
            Byz:  εκαστος αυτων
            B À L:  εις εκαστος
            D Θ:  εις εκαστος αυτων
            Here the reading in D looks like a combination of the Byzantine reading (without εις) and the reading in B (without αυτων) – as if a copyist had one exemplar which read “each of them,” and another examplar which read “each one,” and the scribe combined them so as to read, “each one of them.”    

Mark 1:28
            Byz:  ευθυς    
            W 579:  πανταχου      
            B C:  ευθυς πανταχου
            Here the reading in B looks like a combination of the Byzantine reading and the reading in Codex W – as if a copyist had one exemplar which read “immediately,” and another exemplar which read “everywhere,” and the scribe combined them so as to read “immediately everywhere.”  [Codex W was not discovered until after Hort wrote.]

John 13:24
            Byz:  Σίμων Πέτρος πύθεσθαι τίς αν ειη περι ου λέγει.
            D:   Σίμων Πέτρους πύθεσθαι τίς αν ειη ουτος περι ου λέγει.
            B C L 33:  Σίμων Πέτρος και λέγει αυτω Ειπε τίς εστιν περι ου λέγει.
            À:  Σίμων Πέτρος πύθεσθαι τίς αν ειη περι ου ελεγεν και λέγει αυτω Ειπε τίς εστιν περι ου λέγει.
            Here the reading in À looks like a combination of the Byzantine reading (not, it should be observed, the Western reading in D, for D’s ουτος is nowhere to be found in À here) and the reading in Codex B – as if a copyist had one exemplar which said that Simon Peter gestured to the beloved disciple to ask who it might be of whom He was speaking, and another exemplar which said that Simon Peter gestured to the beloved disciple and told him to say who it was of whom He was speaking, and the scribe combined both readings, so as to write that Simon Peter gestured to the beloved disciple to ask who it might be of whom He was speaking, and told him to say who it was of whom He was speaking.

John 16:4
            Byz:  ινα οταν ελθη η ωρα μνημονεύητε αυτων
            L:   ινα εαν ελθη η ωρα αυτων μνημονεύητε
            B 157:  ινα οταν ελθη η ωρα αυτων μνημονεύητε αυτων
            Here the reading in B looks like a combination of the Byzantine reading and the reading in Codex L – as if a copyist had one exemplar which read “that when the hour may come you shall remember them,” and another exemplar which read “that when their hour may come you shall remember,” and the scribe combined them so as to read, “that when their hour may come you shall remember them.”

Ephesians 2:5
            Byz:  και οντας ημας νεκρους τοις παραπτωμασιν
            D:  και οντας ημας νεκρους ταις αμαρτιαις
            B:  και οντας ημας νεκρους εν τοις παραπτωμασιν και ταις αμαρτιαις
            Here the reading in B looks like a combination of the Byzantine reading and the reading in D – as if a copyist had one exemplar which read, “and we who were dead in trespasses,” and another exemplar which read, “and we who were dead in sins,” and the scribe combined them so as to read, “and we who were dead in trespasses and sins.”

Colossians 1:12
            Byz:  ικανώσαντι  
            D:  καλεσαντι  
            B:  καλεσαντι και ικανώσαντι  
            Here the reading in B looks like a combination of the Byzantine reading and the reading in D – as if a copyist had one exemplar which read, “qualified” and one exemplar which read, “summoned,” and the scribe combined them so as to read, “qualified and summoned.”

Second Thessalonians 3:4
            Byz:  και ποιειτε και ποιησετε
            F G:  και εποιησατε και ποιειτε
            B Sah:  και εποιησατε και ποιειτε και ποιησετε
            Here the reading in B (supported by the Sahidic version) looks like a combination of the Byzantine reading and the reading in F and G – as if a copyist had one exemplar which read, “and you are doing and will do,” and another exemplar which read, “and you did and are doing,” and the scribe combined them so as to read, “and you did and are doing and will do.    

Jude v. 3
            Byz:  της κοινης σωτηρίας
            B P72 1739:  της κοινης ημων σωτηρίας
            6 1881:  της κοινης υμων σωτηρίας
            1611 2138:  της κοινης ημων ζωης
            1505:  της κοινης υμων ζωης
            À 044:  της κοινης ημων σωτηρίας και ζωης
            Here the reading of À looks like a combination of the reading of B (and most non-Byzantine MSS, with ημων) and the reading of the Harklean Group – as if a copyist had one exemplar which read, “pertaining to our common salvation,” and another examplar which read, “pertaining to our common life,” and the scribe combined them so as to read, “pertaining to our common salvation and life.”

            So:  do apparent conflations mean that the text-type in which they are embedded is late?  No.  They do not, for three reasons:
(1)  Some apparent conflations may be cases where an original longer reading has been shortened by scribes in two different ways. 
(2)  In other cases, they may be merely combinations of a reading found in an established local text, and a reading from a manuscript representing a different, or invasive, text-type; no impetus is created for the idea that either text-type is late – only that the conflation is. 
(3)  Whatever conflations imply via their presence in the representatives of the Byzantine Text, they also imply via their presence in representatives of other text-types.  The picture is one of competing local texts existing in the second and third centuries, occasionally crashing, with the wreck-reading tending to be pushed into the Byzantine text – naturally more frequently, if its area of dominance was larger and growing – but sometimes into the Alexandrian and Western domains. 



Readers are invited to double-check the data in this post. 
Wilbur Pickering’s book The Identity of the Text of the New Testament was especially helpful when researching this post.




1 comment:

Maurice A. Robinson said...

The "Conflation or Confusion" appendix in Pickering is helpful; the material therein was contributed decades ago by myself and Pierpont, as well as Peter Johnston, and Pickering himself.