sister threads on textual criticism
=========================The spur to enhancing and organizing this material was the ongoing concerns of a contra. Some of the quotes from Martin Litchfield West are so excellent that the contra was fishing around for some criticism of West. I realized then that this realm is so rich that I should put together a section, emphasizing West yet including many related "textual criticism" issues.
King James Only Version (Discussion) - June, 2019
Martin Litchfield West (1937-2015)
Martin Litchﬁeld West
23 September 1937 – 13 July 2015
elected Fellow of the British Academy 1973
by Robert Fowler
Fellow of the Academy
Three Tributes Given by Jane Lightfoot, Alan Cameron and Robert Parker in memory of2000 Balzan Prize for Classical Antiquity
Born in 1937 (*1937 - †2015), a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, West is considered one of the world's leading classical philologists. His masterly critical editions include Hesiod's works, Greek lyric, orphic poetry and all of Aeschylus' tragedies. His Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient offers a decisive and well-balanced contribution to the age-old debate over the "originality" of Greek culture and its indebtedness to other cultures. His groundbreaking studies on early Greek music are also noteworthy.
Martin West is rightfully considered an irreplaceable, indeed unique figure in the world of Greek studies. He combines the methods and techniques of traditional philology with comprehensive studies going far beyond the call of his discipline.
Martin Litchfield West - OM, DPhil (Oxon), DLitt (Oxon), FBA
23 September 1937 -13 July 2015
https://www.asc.ox.ac.uk/sites/stag.../Memorials/Martin West Memorial Addresses.pdf
M. L. West (1937–2015)
Guardian Obituary - Aug, 2015
Telegraph Obituary - July, 2015
(Note that on the previous page he effectively discards the oldest manuscript fascination, which is behind Vaticanus primacy, this is covered below.)
Textual Criticism and Editorial Technique (1973)
Martin Litchfield West
Since the normal tendency is to simplify, to trivialize, to eliminate the unfamiliar word or construction, the rule is praestat difficilior lectio 3... When we choose the 'more difficult' reading, however, we must be sure that it is in itself a plausible reading. The principle should not be used in support of dubious syntax, or phrasing that it would not have been natural for the author to use. There is an important difference between a more difficult reading and a more unlikely reading.
3 The principle was clearly enunciated by Clericus, Ars Critica (Amsterdam 1696), ii. 293. For earlier hints of it see S. Timpanaro, La Genesi del metodo del Laachmann (Firenze 1963), p. 21 n. 1.
Clericus is Jean le Clerc.
Ars Clerica (1696)
Jean le Clerc
Sebastiano Timpanaro (1923-2000) is available in English, and while the extract I include only brushes onto lectio difficilior, it gives us a good window into Timpanaro and his subject here of Erasmus. (We can look more later for the history of lectio difficilior aspect.)
The Genesis of Lachmann's Method (1963-Italian, 2005-Englis) - edited and translated by Glenn W. Most
But, even if only in passing, Erasmus had already arrived at the use of the concept of archetype for the purposes of emendatio. In his Adagia he proposed a correction to a proverbial expression cited in Aristotle’s Metaphysics, and observed, “The agreement of the manuscripts will not seem at all astonishing to those who have even a modicum of experience in assessing and collating manuscripts. For it very often happens that an error of one archetype, so long as it has some specious appearance of the truth, goes on to propagate itself in all the books that form as it were its descendants, ‘and the children of its children and those who are born later.”’ ...
In any case, the importance of the passage of Erasmus we have cited consists not in his application of the term archetypum to a lost common copy—as we have seen, at least Merula had preceded Erasmus in giving this meaning to the term, even if with a somewhat cautious wording; and probably Erasmus too considered legitimate the other meanings commonly given it in the Humanist period — but rather in his energetic affirmation of the right to correct a reading that appears erroneous without allowing oneself to be intimidated by the consensus codicum [consensus ot the manuscripts) (as, even after Erasmus, Pier Vettori allowed himself to be, as we saw just now): it was not the case that each and every copyist committed the same error independently of the others, by an improbable phenomenon of polygenesis spreading through the whole tradition; instead, it was a single copyist who was responsible for the error, and subsequent copyists repeated it because it was an insidious error, one with an appearance of truth (fucus), so that it did not occur to them to correct it. Erasmus was certainly thinking of an ancient archetype in that passage from the Adagia, since he is not embarrassed by the fact (which he notes expressly) that Alexander of Aphrodisias had already read the presumed error (Grk-0upas) in his copy of Aristotle. But, in general, he shows that he believes it to be impossible for “crude” errors such as meaningless expressions or lacunas to spread through the entire manuscript tradition: subsequent copyists would have noticed these and would have tried to heal them. Erasmus’s conception of textual transmission was almost too unmechanical—it was appropriate only for certain traditions." p. 49-51
The editio princeps of the Greek New Testament, edited by Erasmus, was one of that great Humanist’s least successful editions, for he prepared it in haste and based it on Byzantine manuscripts of little value.1 But here too that phenomenon occurred that we described at the beginning of chapter 1: most of the subsequent editions reproduced the text of the editio princeps, with some contamination. One of these editions, the so-called tcxtus receptus, published by Elzevier of Leiden (1614, 1633), had an enormous diffusion and was adopted by the Protestant churches.2** From then on it was indeed permitted to amass variants at the foot of the page—John Mill collected more of them in his Oxford edition of 1707 than anyone else did—but every attempt to introduce modifications into the text, even if on the authority of the oldest manuscripts, encountered the theologians’ fierce opposition: “If someone [.. .| would dare to change even a little word or a single letter or one stroke of a letter by the application of critical judgment, then at once with their cries of protest they tear him apart as impious, and with great fierceness they accuse him of heresy,” wrote Wettstein (1730: I 58)—and he himself had had firsthand experience of these theological furors.
2. Gregory 1900-1909: 2.937-41 (still fundamental). There is a more concise but very clear exposition in Hundhausen in Wetzer-Welte 1882-1903: 2.608-9. Metzger 1968 (1964): chapters 3 and 4 (see also the addenda at the end of the second edition) are
rich in information and very up to date, but the author does not characterize the individual personalities of the New Testament critics of the eighteenth century distinctly enough, and, as chapters 6 and 7 demonstrate, he does not always have a clear understanding of the principles and methods of more recent textual criticism; to a certain extent his historical exposition is thereby also impaired.
p. 58-59, we can sense some overlap and also the divide between New Testament criticism and overall textual criticism, see Footnote 2 on p. 58 as well with the criticism of Metzger.
Metzger 1968 (1964): B. M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. 2nd ed. Oxford, 1968 (1st ed. Oxford, 1964).
========================Jan Krans may find some hints in:
Beyond What is Written (2006)
Theodoras Beza and New Testament Conjectural Emendation (2003)
Facebook - harder reading - lectio difficilior