Monday, January 31, 2011

The Ancestors of Aleph/B: Synoptics

Now that we've collated all the probable accidental errors for the Synoptics, and grouped them by column-width, we can arrange them also by probable age based on the same factor, and compare the independent early history of each gospel in the hands of the Alexandrians, and in particular the Caesareans.

The following chart-pieces can be clicked on to enlarge, and you can navigate back using the back-button in your browser.

Luke (20 - 25 chars per line)

It appears that Luke took a uniquely bad beating during the earliest copying phase, when wider columns were popular.   These omissions were not so much the result of bad copying (all copyists make these errors), but rather a result of little or no systematic proof-reading techniques, and lack of experience with the kind of errors most commonly found.    This discovery is not particularly surprising, given that Luke would be most popular among Gentile converts and Jews of the Diaspora, where professional scribal technique would be lacking, and a learning-curve would be in operation.

Matthew and Mark have only suffered half as many losses in this period, probably due to the greater experience and care Jewish-Christian copyists were able to exert on the task.

Matthew (17-19 chars per line)

Next, in an intermediate period, while the Gospels were still being copied independently in double or triple columns, Matthew now takes a savage beating from the same loose environment lacking adequate error-correction techniques.   The others suffer moderate losses at the hands of different copyists.   All of this could have been accomplished in a single manuscript in which either different sources were used for each gospel, or different scribes copied the sections.

Mark and Luke (14-16 cpl)

Mark now gets hit hard in this later period, involving MSS with 3 to 4 columns per page.  Luke also suffers significant damage at this time, probably early in the 3rd century.  Matthew, probably due to better error-checking, suffers only moderate damage during the same phase.   These differences must now be traced to either individual scribes or correctors responsible for each gospel, since they will now most likely be bound together in single books containing all four gospels.

Mark (11 -13 chars per line)

Mark now takes one last pounding, at the hands of some scribe or lazy corrector, while being copied from a MS having 4 columns per page, like Codex SinaiticusLuke's Gospel also takes significant collateral damage in this line of transmission.

It may be significant that these two gospels are usually physically adjacent and in the middle of the book, in copies of the four gospels.  One can picture a corner-cutting corrector or scribe only proof-reading the first part of the book (Matthew) and possibly the last (John), so that an overseer might be fooled into believing the entire MS has been properly corrected.

Finally, minor omissions of unknown date and circumstance also accumulate in the gospels, on a smaller scale.

The picture is interesting, but tells a sad story, in which Gospels like Luke and Matthew, immensely popular once they were published, took an early beating at the hands of inexperienced scribes using inadequate error-correction techniques.

Conversely, and perhaps more importantly, the damage that Mark suffered seems to have mostly occurred in the later period of multiple-column manuscripts.

It seems that someone in Caesarea, or perhaps Alexandria,  mistakenly took an older copy of Mark for a more accurate text.  But this text was already badly mutilated from its own recent history of inadequate correction.   The reputation of this copy seems to have been acquired from a misplaced trust in its source, perhaps Origen or some other bishop.  This lapse in judgment led to several manuscripts like Sinaiticus and Vaticanus being produced with an inferior text of Mark. 

This same copy was also probably the source of the missing ending of Mark, which had likely lost its last page.

It is somewhat ironic that many textual critics imagine that the Alexandrian text of Mark is a relatively older and purer form of the text, when it appears to have suffered most of its damage in the latest era of its peculiar textual transmission history.   This text apparently originated sometime in the early 3rd century, when MSS were being copied in narrower columns.   As far as accidental omissions of significant parts of the text, the Aleph/B text of Mark is probably the worst surviving text known.

Luke has also suffered serious damage in the Alexandrian stream of transmission, but being a much larger book, this damage is perhaps less on a percentage basis, than that suffered by Mark


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Text manipulation in Codex Sinaiticus (Mark's Ending)

The following is a chart tabulating the letter-counts for the columns preceding and following (Scribe A) and those actually of the four pages on the 'cancel-sheet' (two folios, 4 page surfaces) which were inserted by 'Scribe D'  to replace the original pages:

Click to Enlarge, Backbutton to return.

Note that: The letter-counts are based on the text as transcribed on the Codex Sinaiticus Homepage (British Museum), but we have subtracted all marginal notes (which were added independently later), and also the peculiar symbols of Scribe D (the ">" arrow used to fill rows to make the page look fuller.).   Still counted as a character was the "dots" indicating verse and paragraph divisions, because these are assumed to have been copied from the original master-copy, and are not the invention of either scribe.

The behavior of Scribe D (the person who substituted the pages) is fairly straightforward.    For the first three columns, he simply copies the pages he has removed, rightly noting that the previous Scribe A (author of the rest of the NT minus a couple of pages) has already done some of the work of compressing the text for the purpose of creating nearly a whole blank column of space.

He has already carefully calculated that the best course for handling Luke's verses will be to squeeze them into SIX of the last columns on the 'cancel-sheet' (folio 77-5 recto last 2 columns, and the 4 columns of the other side, 77-5 verso).  This will gain him about a half a column.

Now he calculates the remaining approximately SIX columns of Mark, and to leave the last column nearly empty (but avoiding leaving a whole column), he crams about 60 letters into the last column of folio 77-4 recto.  He has actually been too extreme here, and now must write the final FIVE columns of Mark rather sparsely to make sure he spills over a little into the last blank column before Luke.

A glance at the column heights explains why he chose this route.  He did not have enough material to stretch Luke to fill an entire SEVENTH column, and even if he had done this by some real spreading,  He would have only had just enough space for Mark, filling all the previous columns, without the Long Ending (Mark 16:9-20).   This may indeed have been exactly what Scribe A had originally done.

However, Scribe D, likely the Overseer and Corrector of the scriptorium, knew this would be highly unsatisfactory, and wished to at least leave a nearly blank column to tip off future users and enable them to copy in the Ending if they chose to.   Scribe D then, was aware of the Long Ending.  Even though he did not allow sufficient space for it, due to his desire to keep the look of the manuscript professional and standardize the book-seams, he did feel compelled to make sure that at least the option was available and the problem highlighted.

In this strategy, Scribe D mimicks almost exactly the behavior of the scribe of Codex Vaticanus, who also leaves just enough space to allow for Mark's Ending, but in that case he also left a rather awkward completely blank column between Mark and Luke.  It seems clear that our Scribe D had seen that solution before and wanted to improve it by extending Mark into the blank column, and give the appearance of a normal manuscript.

We only need try to reconstruct what the original Scribe A had done on the pages now lost, which ought to explain how the 'need' for a substitution arose.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Missing Byzantine MSS in a Nutshell

Often the Hortians raise the issue of why there seem to be few Byzantine MSS for the whole period between the 4th and 9th centuries.

Not only is it suggested that the origin of the Byzantine text-type itself should be bumped centuries later commonly supposed, but that its dominance, even its very existence ought to be questioned, right up to the 8th century.

Recently, a whole new theory, or rather conjecture, has been proposed, in which two previously unheard of "recensions" have supposedly taken place, one in the 9th, and one in the 11th century.   This anonymous idea is to be based on a seemingly unavailable "doctoral thesis" by one Timothy Ralston from DTS.

Dr. Ralston

 The alleged 'evidence' of these new recensions is supposed to be found in examining 9th and 11th century MSS themselves, and proposing a timeline and readings belonging to each of these two centuries, then contrasting them to the TR.  The fact that the standard readings of the Majority text go back to the 5th century and earlier is apparently no barrier to the argument that these readings could have merely floated about, apparently unattached to a "text-type" until adopted by official editors very late in the game.

Our own alternate theory is that having come from the Great White North, Ontario Canada, Dr. Ralston's brain may still be partially frozen, somewhat like the "Ice-Age Man", and need more thawing out before he should attempt constructing a history of the Byzantine text.

The Real Explanation

Another, more practical expert, Dr. Maurice Robinson, has kindly cataloged for us the extant NT manuscripts by century.  This allows us to plot the quantities now known, against the expected numbers and shape of curve for a normal copying process:

Click to Enlarge

The result is a surprising discovery:  The actual "curve" has a huge 'bite' out of it.   This disturbing result can be centered on a specific era or span of centuries:

Click to Enlarge

To get a grip on why this is so unusual, and what it means, we need to review briefly how things actually should work.

An Analysis of MS Transmission

For this purpose, we can put aside questions of text, and just talk about physical numbers of MSS, and the process that generates them.   MS generation can be modeled along the lines of a simple 'stock market' system.   That is, its a basic process with a small amount of positive feedback, allowing for a limited 'runaway growth'.   This is a classic Fibonacci series, like rabbit population growth.

The graph here shows net MS production: the new MSS made, minus the number of MSS worn out or destroyed.   There is potential for 'negative growth' for short bursts, when production can't keep up with destruction.  Most of the time however, production will outstrip losses.

In this case, over shorter periods MS production capacity will be relatively constant, controlled by the # of production centers and resources.      Regulating Factors will include seasonal harvests (for papyri), scheduled slaughtering (for parchment), and available scribes.

One effect of constant capacity over short periods will be that fluctuations in production (as a % of total MSS) will gradually diminish as the total numbers of
 MSS increase.
click to enlarge

Just as in the simple Stock Market model, short term fluctuations and instabilities are absorbed and averaged out by longer term trends, in our case the steady increase in the total number of MSS.

In the long term however, the number of production centers and the quantity of MSS produced will increase alongside the expanding Christian population. This is a simple 'market driven' process, of supply and demand, limited by opportunity and resource management, and periodically affected by outside uncontrolled forces, like drought, short bursts of persecution, discovery of production centers or caches of MSS, and killing of key skilled personnel such as copyists. However, these short-term instabilities in production and catastrophic bursts of MSS destruction will have a typical 'stock-market' morphology. Recently, scientists have analyzed the stock-market in terms of Catastrophe Theory and similar models, in order to spot signs of instability and predict follow-up trends.

 For our purposes, the point of interest is the tell-tale 'Saw-Tooth' shape of the market plot. Whenever there is a local short-term burst of instability in the model (which could be either production failure or destruction of MSS in our case), a Saw Tooth fingerprint will appear in the long-term trend plot:

Click to Enlarge

 What is important to realize is that the typical kinds of 'catastrophe' have a distinct shape, which is determined by the nature of the feedback mechanisms of the model. It is not arbitrary but predetermined by the 'market' forces. In our even simpler case, deviations from this pattern of overall steady exponential growth are very difficult to produce.

Back to the Problem of the 'Big Bite'

Lets look again at the hole in the expected exponential growth curve:

This can only imply one of two basic situations.  Either,

(1) MSS were systematically and universally destroyed over a long period, from about 400 A.D. to about 900 A.D., or else,

(2) The MSS were all selected at the end of this period (about 900 A.D.) and selectively destroyed by age-range as the criterion. In this case, it would be a conscious, perpetrated and massive act of vandalism.

Since there was no selection made based upon the content or text-type, but rather age alone, it could not have been a deliberate act of forced 'recension' or revision, with the non-conforming MSS being destroyed.   Although there is a natural and gradual increase in the percentage of MSS containing key readings (like the Pericope de Adultera, Jn 7:53-8:11), this is just what we would expect in a natural, unguided and unselective destruction of MSS independent of their textual affinities or content.

The idea of two late, official 'recensions' (9th and 11th century) is a fantasy that contradicts the textual data regarding variants and their century by century support.  For instance, we have shown that a check of the surviving manuscripts with John 7:53-8:11, shows a gradual increase in the percentage of MSS that contain the verses  (see our simple chart of MSS with the PA).

But the problem of the missing manuscripts remains to be explained:

Dr. Maurice Robinson is painfully aware of this problem, and must conjecture a wholesale 'procedure' that involves recopying and DESTROYING the exemplars. This is to account for the existance of a huge number of manuscripts from all over the empire from the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, centuries onward, while there are virtually no surviving MSS for the previous 5 centuries.

A handful (less than a few hundred Greek uncials and fragments) simply won't adequately cover this relatively recent period.  The gradual dominance of Latin for instance, would only account for lower numbers of Greek MSS later on, not earlier.   But if there was a 'destruction process' operating over 5 centuries, it would explain the handful of survivors, that escaped.

But a sudden catastrophe or policy of destruction, if it came at the very end of the 8th century would have prevented the massive quantities that survived immediately afterward.   Such a relatively instantaneous process would have left two marks in history:
(1)  A record of the catastrophe, in the form of a protest and historical evidence.

(2)  A dearth of MSS to use as masters, and a long-lasting shortage of MSS of all ages afterward.
The answer seems to be in a much simpler problem and solution, uniquely attached to the Eastern Byzantine Empire:   A lack of quantities of good vellum and parchment resulted in a strategy of re-scraping, recycling, and reusing worn out manuscripts, giving their pages a second 'life', by a fresh recopying of the texts in a new form.

Such an explanation accounts for the repeated problems of war, famine, and disease which interfered with vellum and parchment production.  It simultaneously accounts for the undocumented 'destruction' (a mere habit of recycling because vellum was precious).  It also accounts for the surprising number of palimpsests and hidden uncial texts underlying minuscule MSS.

If such a practice of recycling was widespread, as a result of ever-increasing demands for vellum in a world where ever-increasing production was simply unsustainable, another expected symptom and glaring fact is explained.

The peak of the "Golden Age" of the Church was not the 9th, 10th, or 11th century, but rather the 4th, 5th and 6th.   Where are all the wonderful works of the prolific early fathers, commentators, debaters of the most productive and creative period the Church has ever experienced?

The same problem and the same answer await us.  The vellum was sorely needed to produce more copies of the Gospels, for an ever-expanding Church, and we strongly suspect that secular writings, the writings of the early church fathers, government documents, and anything else that used up precious vellum and took up needless space would have been cannibalized to meet the needs of New Testament manuscript production, on a "most useless first" basis.

It is probable that the some 10,000 Latin copies of the Gospels hide palimpsests of hundreds or even thousands of Uncial Greek copies and other documents, no longer of the same value or use in an Empire that was losing the ability to converse in Greek, as the Greek-speaking world rapidly contracted from war and the winds of change.


Friday, January 21, 2011

D.A. Carson on Inerrancy (Video)

Here is the sharpest concise bit of brilliancy on inerrancy we have seen in a long while.

This is fresh stuff from the new "Ehrman Project", which already has a lot of interesting videotaped interviews with notable experts and apologists, such as Daniel Wallace etc.

The Ehrman Project


Kevin Bauder on the KJV Bible

 Over on the Original KJV Only Debate Blog, Kevin Bauder's recent statements regarding the KJV have been posted, here:

Bauder on the KJV

We recommend the reader to that post to read the full commentary.  Here we only want to examine a few pertinent points. The host poster introduces these comments with the following words:
"Kevin Bauder, who is no friend of King James Onlyism, nevertheless explains why he thinks the King James Bible is the best available translation and the one he chooses to use. ..."

In a remarkable summary of his current position,  Mr. Bauder himself makes the following statement:
"...Worse, the comparison of versions has made the Word of God into a consumer commodity. In order to attract the purchasing public, every new translation, paraphrase, and amplification has to have its own signature features. Its publisher must convince readers of the in-sufficiency of all previous versions. The purchase of a Bible becomes akin to the selection of a designer tie or perfume. One chooses a version like one chooses a flavor of soda. How can the transitory nature of modern versions not cast aspersion upon the enduring nature of God’s Word, and, consequently, of His character?"
The first thing we may do is appreciate the candor and honesty of these observations.   Its clear from his many criticisms of KJVOnly claims that he is not attacking modern versions on ideological or religious grounds.   He has obviously used many modern translations with positive results, and knows their value.

But his observation here is remarkable on at least two counts:

(1)  He is surely right that there has been a real shift in attitude and respect toward the word of God generally, as a result of the proliferation of modern versions and the devaluing of previous translations and even competing modern versions by sellers desiring to maximise sales.

(2) But if putting down "out of date" translations (like the KJV) has resulted in a net loss of respect for, and faith in the "word of God" as represented by the Bible, how much more damage must deleting hundreds of verses, and filling every modern version with hundreds of footnotes casting uncertainty upon the words and phrasing of Holy Scripture have done to the authority and trust in God's word? 

If Kevin Bauder can concede the damage plainly done by free-market competition in Bible translations, and consumerism, will he be able to see that the same problem results from uncontrolled editing of the text, combined with terse and confusing footnotes?


Friday, January 7, 2011

The Ancestors of Aleph/B: Luke

As we have done previously with Matthew and Mark, so we now show the proposed column-widths of the ancestors of Aleph/B for Luke.

First off, we may note the remarkable coincidence in multiples of line-length with the largest omissions:
Click to Enlarge: Backbutton to return

Now consider the widest column-widths as likely to be the most ancient, and we can put the stages of accumulation of omissions in a sensible order:

Again, with the wider columns, there is more variation in letter-counts, so that we cannot be sure if we have three different exemplars and their omissions, or if these could have all occurred in the work of a single copyist from a single exemplar.   However, the sheer number of omissions suggests that this is an accumulation from several copying generations.

Again, these very popular column-widths argue strongly for exemplars with this style of column, and place the omissions in the early to mid 3rd century.

Finally, we have the left-overs:  Short omissions that could have actually happened at any time, and are unlikely to involve column-widths as a partial cause.  These skips were probably accomplished alone the same line, rather than as a skip to the next line down.


Again, the best interpretation of the column-format evidence is that there were between 4 and 6 generations of copying plagued by poor correction between the earliest copy of Luke and the closest common ancestor of Aleph/B.

Thus, the common omissions of Aleph/B, far from indicating the same source (i.e., a 'pure', Neutral text), clearly indicate different origins, but similar causes, and therefore, must involve many errors in transcription, building up over several copying generations.

It is ironic but true, that although these omissions can sometimes indeed be traced several generations earlier than their popular representatives (Aleph/B), they remain errors.   They bring us no closer to the original text than any similar set of early haplography errors would, built up during that period of wilder copying and less systematic proof-reading that obviously took place in the late 2nd and early 3rd century. 

Nor can the text(s) constructed from such clumsy readings really take us any further back than the late 2nd or early 3rd century, when these mistakes arose in great numbers, in the Alexandrian stream of transmission.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

SBL GNT & Hort (review cont.)

Luke: Omissions

Comparing the SBL-GNT with Hort

Here we continue reviewing the SBL GNT text, and comparing it with the Westcott/Hort text of 1882.  Of course its no real surprise that in all significant omissions of more than one word, SBL pretty much follows Hort.

Again we have highlighted omissions with obvious homoeoteleuton features using  Light GREEN.

versechrwhole/half-verses omittedWHSBL
1:2822ευλογημενη συ εν γυναιξινOmOm
1:2916ιδουσα διεταραχθη OmOm
2:4213εις ιεροσολυμαOmOm
4:419αλλ επι παντι ρηματι θυOmOm
4:522ο διαβολος εις ορος υψηλον (h.t.)OmOm
4:819υπαγε οπισω μου σαταναOmOm
ιασασθαι τους συντετρ
ιμμενους την καρδιαν
5:3824και αμφοτεροι συντηρουνται (h.t.)OmOm
6:4523θησαυρου της καρδιας αυτου (h.t.)OmOm
7:3110ειπεν δε ο κς OmOm
8:4331ἰατροῖς προσαναλώσασα ὅλον τὸν βίονOm[in]
8:45a13και οι μετ αυτουOmOm
8:45b24και λεγεις τις ο αψαμενος μουOmOm
8:486θαρσει (h.a.)OmOm
8:5419εκβαλων εξω παντας καιOmOm
9:1011τοπον ερημον OmOm
9:5418ως και ηλιας εποιησενOmOm
και ειπεν ουκ οιδατε οιου πνε
υματος εστε υμεις ο γαρ υιος τ
ου ανθρωπου ουκ ηλθεν ψυχας α
νθρωπων απολεσαι αλλα σωσαι (h.t.)
10:3816εις τον οικον αυτηςOmOm
11:215ο εν τοις ουρανοις OmOm
11:241γενηθητω το θελημα σου ως
εν ουρανω και επι της γης
αλλα ρυσαι ημας απο του πονηρουOmOm
αρτον μη λιθον επιδωσει αυτω ει OmOm
γραμματεις και φαρισαιοι υποκριταιOmOm
11:5421ινα κατηγορησωσιν αυτου (h.t.)OmOm
12:3916εγρηγορησεν αν και (h.t.)--Om
17:910αυτω ου δοκω (h.t.)OmOm
17:2414εν τη ημερα αυτου (h.t.)OmOm

δυο εσονται εν τω

αγρω ο εις παραλη

φθησεται και ο ετ
ερος αφεθησεται (h.t.)
18:2418περιλυπον γενομενονOmOm
19:4520εν αυτω και αγοραζοντας (h.t.)OmOm
20:137ιδοντες (h.t.)OmOm
20:2313τι με πειραζετεOmOm
την γυναικα και ουτο
ς απεθανεν ατεκνος (h.t.)

το υπερ υμων διδομενον τουτο
ποιειτε εις την εμην αναμνησιν
ωσαυτως και το ποτηριον μετα
το δειπνησαι λεγων τουτο το
ποτηριον η καινη διαθηκη
εν τω αιματι μου το
υπερ υμων εκχυνομενον
22:3114ειπεν δε ο κυριος OmOm

ωφθη δε αυτω αγγελος απ ουρανου ενισχυων αυτον
και γενομενος εν αγωνια εκτενεστερον προσηυχετο εγενετο δε ο ιδρως αυτου ωσει θρομβοι αιματος καταβαινοντες επι την γην
αυτον ετυπτον αυτου το προσωπον και (h.t.)OmOm
22:6810η απολυσητε OmOm
αναγκην δε ειχεν απολυε
ιν αυτοις κατα εορτην ενα (h.t.)
23:2315και των αρχιερεων (h.t.)OmOm
γραμμασιν ελληνικοις και ρω
μαικοις και εβραικοις ουτος (h.t.)*
24:117και τινες συν αυταιςOmOm
24:12ο δε πετρος αναστας εδραμεν επι το μνημειον και παρακυψας βλεπει τα οθονια κειμενα μονα και απηλθεν προς εαυτον θαυμαζων το γεγονος[[DB[ins]
και λεγει αυτοις ειρηνη υμιν[[DBOm
24:40και τουτο ειπων επεδειξεν αυτοις τας χειρας και τους ποδας[[DB[SB]
24:4221και απο μελισσιου κηριου (h.t.)OmOm
24:4612και ουτως εδει OmOm
24:5125και ανεφερετο εις τον ουρανον (h.t.)[[DB[SB]
24:5219προσκυνήσαντες αὐτὸν (h.t.)[[DB[SB]

VUs=50SBL - W/H = 92% agreement in Luke43om46/50

Again Dr. Holmes (the editor of the SBL GNT) appears oblivious to homoeoteleuton type errors, following Hort's text slavishly on these counts.  He is of course perfectly capable of making his own textual judgments, and does so on three ocassions, but these choices seem almost arbitrary, and are certainly not based on any recognition of homoeoteleuton features.  Its as if such features did not exist, or were irrelevant to textual critical choices generally, (as is typical of Hortian critical editions).

Interestingly, when Hort avoids following an omission outright, and instead prefers double-brackets, so does Holmes on three occasions, as if Hort's judgment, (after the wreckless ignoring of homoeoteleuton 95% of the time), were something to be given any credence, on the few ocassions when Hort exercises 'caution'.  


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

RE: Cross-Discipline Breakthroughs

While "Naz" is cross-pollinating us with Evolutionary theory, I just have to tell you the latest physics news:

Some very clever people (mathematicians naturally) have finally figured out what to do with Penrose's Twistors, and can now apply them to solve complex calculations in QED.

For the real goods, go here: The Reference Frame - (Luboš Motl Pilsen), to get up to speed on it.

Here's a few diaphrams to whet your appetite:

N. Arkani-Hamed a , J. Bourjaily a,b , F. Cachazo c , and J. Trnka a,b

a School of Natural Sciences, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ 08540
b Department of Physics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544
c Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Waterloo, Ontario N2J W29, CA

Abstract: Recently, an explicit, recursive formula for the all-loop integrand of planar scattering amplitudes in N =4 SYM has been described, generalizing the BCFW formula for tree amplitudes, and making manifest the Yangian symmetry of the theory. This has made it possible to easily study the structure of multi-loop amplitudes in the theory. In this paper we describe a remarkable fact revealed by these investigations: the integrand can be expressed in an amazingly simple and manifestly local form when represented in momentum-twistor space using a set of chiral integrals with unit leading singularities. As examples, we present very-concise expressions for all 2- and 3-loop MHV integrands, as well as all 2-loop NMHV integrands. We also describe a natural set of manifestly IR-finite integrals that can be used to express IR-safe objects such as the ratio function. Along the way we give a pedagogical introduction to the foundations of the subject. The new local forms of the integrand are closely connected to leading singularities — matching only a small subset of all leading singularities remarkably suffices to determine the full integrand. These results strongly suggest the existence of a theory for the integrand directly yielding these local expressions, allowing for a more direct understanding of the emergence of local spacetime physics.

- Rogue Physicist

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Genealogy and Genetics

Real life mimics real life. Thats what scientists continually discover. No scientific discipline can afford to isolate itself from its cognate fields.

Textual Criticism, in adopting the concepts and methods of genealogy, must also turn to other related fields to instruct itself, improve itself, and most importantly, maintain a balanced and humble view of its own current state of progress.

Turning to the field of the evolutionary genetics of man is immensely instructive for textual criticism. Here we find uncannily similar theories and ideas regarding geneaology undergoing rapid change. It does not matter for our purposes whether we believe in the complete 'evolutionary model' of early man, or the reconstructed history attached. The rock-bottom data, genetic relationships themselves, are real enough, and tell us how closely related two people may be, or two nations. This is quite similar to the case of text-types in NT Textual criticism. Observe the following remarkable alternative models for genealogical trees describing the descent of mankind:
(for original article go here: Discover Magazine Article)

Click to Enlarge: Backbutton to Return here

(1) The Candelabra Model

The first model, the "Candelabra" model, was the early model conjectured by geneticists regarding Mankind. It was simple and logical, and convenient, but unfortunately, it contradicted the detailed evidence that began to surface in the actual genetic data. The problem was, all current populations show extensive mixture of genetic material, and not the expected isolation and distinction that the simple 'bushy tree' (Candelabra) would demand.

This corresponds to the early and naive 'textual families' model suggested by Selmer, Bengel, and modified by the concept of "Recensions" by Hug, Griesbach, etc. in our field of Textual Criticism. In this field too, the model was too simple to account for the detailed data found in collating the actual manuscripts.

(2) MultiRegional Evolution (Recension and Mixture)

Next naturally came the 'MultiRegional Model', in which all the data was explained as continual or repeated cross-pollination or mixture all along the time-line. For a long time this model held attraction for its apparent ability to account for the data.

Similarly, in NT Textual Criticism, this idea was adopted to explain the mixture in every actual manuscript. No lines were 'purely genealogical', but all contained 'mixture' and cross-pollination. Reconstruction of historical dependence had to be painstakingly solved variant by variant, manuscript by manuscript.

(3) The Replacement Model (an imposed 'Standard' text-type)

When it became apparent that the previous model was not adequate to explain the homogeneity and conformity of genetic lines among diverse groups, a new model, the "Replacement Model" was developed. Here the reason for conformity was explained as 'natural selection' eliminating less successful lines and lucky survivors becoming dominant. This was the status quo theory up until 2009 in Evolutionary propaganda (i.e., the public position).

Naturally NT Textual Criticism unconsciously followed the same pattern; in its finalized form, Westcott/Hort proposed that ALL later manuscripts were descended from a single, secondary line, fabricated by editing, mixture and conflation of earlier text-types. The uniformity of the Byzantine text was thus accounted for in a hypothetical "recension-process" which won a Darwinian competition but which was declared a bad candidate for the original text. With very little modificaton (see our previous Westcott/Hort stemma) the above Replacement Model gives the new look of the NT TC reconstruction.

It is interesting that Mr. James Snapp Jr.'s excellent diagrams, while elegant in their artistry, are almost identical topologically to the Replacement Model above: See for instance his pictoral representations here: James Snapp on Textual Transmission

James explains as follows:
"Here is the full Textual Araneum (Web-structure), which I present to give some idea of how the influence of the various text-types spread, and how they have affected both English and non- English translations. This arrangement shows the "genealogy" of the various branches of the manuscript evidence."

(4) The Assimilation Theory (readings from origins leak through)

Now further analysis has required that even the Replacement Model must be abandoned in favor of another modification, in which connections are re-established with early roots, to explain how significant quantities of the earliest genetic material could have survived in such a small and impoverished sample with such a narrow basis.

In the same way, textual critics have grudgingly acknowledged that the Byzantine text does indeed have many very early readings (2nd cent.), and that these must probably go back to the original copies. The problem is that current critical texts don't reflect the last 50 or even 100 years of advance in insight, but still just repackage the Westcott/Hort text, which is crap. What needs to be done is to acknowledge that the Byzantine text-type is one of the most powerful and valuable sources of early readings for the NT, and it needs to be re-enthroned on a newer, more stable platform based on current knowledge of the text.


Geneticists cannot even at this late stage be at all certain of actual genealogical relationships and a developmental history, even with their vast array of scientific instruments, techniques and technological and theoretical brilliance, and even while relying on the cold hard evidence of genetic data.

How can textual critics have the gall to claim any confidence in the certainty of their own reconstructions? These by nature must be equivalent to crude crayon drawings, and vague romantic notions, next to the big boys of science.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year, and Congrats!

Congratulations to all the posters, contributors and commentators here at the KJVOnly2 blog.

We have managed to bust 1,000 views by interested people, which must be a first. That makes us about twice as popular as Nazaroo's own blog, and possibly more than his and Mr. Scrivener's combined (snicker).

But I think the popularity has to do with the subject matter and the high quality of the articles being posted.

Keep up the good work!

Looking forward to a productive new year.

Joe Layman