Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Textual Critics' Report Card (Part 2) - Updates

We have added Wordsworth, Tischendorf's 8th edition, Alford, and von Soden, and cleaned up Nazaroo's previous chart (see his previous post here):

Click to Enlarge:

Also, by treating Matthew 27:35 as a probable interpolation (int.) on other textual grounds (i.e., its not supported by any credible text-type), we have been able to re-evaluate the scores for better accuracy, with some expected results:


Hodges/Farstad and Robinson/Pierpont now score highest, with Scholz being penalized slightly for relying upon the Latin support without sufficient warrant.

The caution and experience of Bloomfield, Wordsworth, Duncan, Griesbach and Schott continue to keep them in good stead.    All these critics score nearly 90% or above on correctly detecting homoeoteleuton errors (and avoiding a false h.t. positive).

Borderline Failures:

Tischendorf's 7th edition gains some points, but still scores him barely enough for a passing grade, catching about half the potential h.t. readings correctly.  he could have scored higher by flipping a coin!

Alford likewise scores dismally, having bought into the "ancient MSS are best" theory, but his good sense prevents him from total failure.

Shabby Performances:

Tregelles, Lachmann and Merk remain in the high 30s, for the following reasons: Tregelles' caution and good sense prevent his faulty method from leading him into the worst blunders.   Lachmann's poor theory is thankfully hindered by ignorance of actual variant readings, and Merk's indiscriminate favoring of the Vulgate helps him squeak out of a few more mistakes than expected.


Tischendorf's 8th edition is quite a face-plant, losing over 30 points from his previous attempt.  F.H.A. Scrivener's and E. Miller's assessment of Tischendorf's abandonment of caution in favor of the readings of his newly discovered Aleph are amply confirmed.

Von Soden is a sad failure, with his trust in 19th century canons leading him into darkness and grave errors in spite of his careful collation of the Byzantine minuscules.

Nestle/Aland and Hort score slightly better, their irrational preference for the shorter text actually giving them the correct answer on one false positive.

Generally speaking, the Roman Catholic editors score higher by simply relying on the Vulgate rather than having a superior method or skill.
Hort and the Germans score the worst, buying into Lachmann's naive theories about how to correct and publish a critical text.


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