Sunday, July 10, 2011

1st Jn 2:23 and 3:1 - early Byzantine h.t.?

We have been graced with a recent clarification of Dr. Maurice Robinson's position on two possible h.t. cases, due to some discussion on TC-Alt list.
 As a result of an initial communication, Mr. Scrivener had indicated Dr. Robinson's position as follows:

"Dr. Robinson has also rejected 'Byzantine homoeoteleuton errors' as an explanation for key shorter Byzantine readings. Collation data and
transmissional factors have convinced him for instance that longer non-Byzantine readings like 1st Jn 2:23 and 3:1 are certainly false."

In a second  communication with Mr. Scrivener, Dr. Robinson has stated thus:
"Without proper disclaimers, it becomes quite unwarranted to cite what might be only a previous exploratory hypothesis in a manner that confuses such with the more settled conclusions based on later research and published as such.
This particularly applies to ...the previously hypothesized possibility -- and it never was more than such that was being explored -- regarding the likelihood of presumed "primitive Byzantine error" (particularly supposedly caused by homoeoteleuton, as with 1st Jn 2:23 and 3:1). For reasons now considered transmissionally impossible (in view of collation-based data), such earlier speculations have been rendered invalid and the concept totally abandoned."
It seems then, that these two Variation Units have been disqualified as possible h.t. errors by the data found in the extant MSS.   Dr. Robinson is convinced that the variants could not have arisen due to an initial h.t. error, and suggests that a reconstruction of the textual history for these variants (and MSS) based on such an idea is impossible and/or would be extremely implausible.

Obviously if true, the claim would have important ramifications for other instances of possible h.t. error.  The first thing to examine then, is the textual data, to get a sense of why Dr. Robinson has taken his position:

1st John 2:22-24 including 2:23b, (TR, Scrivener's text):
                                                 22 τις εστιν ο ψευστης
ει μη ο αρνουμενος οτι ιησους ουκ εστιν
O Xριστοσ ουτος εστιν ο αντιχριστος ο αρ-
νουμενος  τον πατερα και τον υιον 23 πας ο
αρνουμενος τον υιον ουδε τον πατερα εχει
ο ομολογων τον υιον  και  τον πατερα εχει
24 υμεις ουν ο ηκουσατε απ αρχης εν υμιν
μενετω εαν εν υμιν μεινη ο απ αρχης ηκου-
σατε και υμεις εν τω υιω και εν τω πατρι 
μενειτε ...
Clearly the potential for h.t. errors here is incredibly strong, if the longer text were original.  The UBS2/4 apparatus here is non-existent, so we have to turn to Tischendorf's 8th  to pick up something of the MS spread:

ο ομολογων τ. υι. και τ. πατ. εχει according to אABC(4th-5th cent.) P(9th cent.) al35 fere cat vg (et.  harl ) cop (in sah lacuna est, adest verovox extrema τον πατερα) syr-utr arm aeth Or-1,301 and 4,281,282 Eus-ps22 Cyr-hr115  Cyr-ioh797 Thphyl; item ο (Melet Cyr-ose add δε)
ο ομολογων τ. υι. και τ. πατ. ομολογει (Cyr-bis ομολ και τ. πατ.) Melet ap Epiph-868 Cyr-ioh924 and ose57; item qui (m add autem) confitetur filium, et filium et patrem (Leif et pa. et. fil.) habet m6 Cyp-265,296 Leif-220 Hil-907 etc. ..
Stephen (= Gb Sz) omits according to K (9th cent.) L (9th cent.) al plu (9 ap Scri, 7 ap Mtthaei) Oec

Hodges/Farstad (Maj. text 2nd ed. 1985) simply list the omission as Ε vs. M, avoiding the full Gothic Siglum, and acknowledging that the Byzantine MSS are also split on this reading, although the majority of them appear to omit the verses.  They follow the omission however, since they are publishing the Majority text.

Here it looks like almost all the early Uncial support goes to the inclusion.  This is not a mere Aleph/B phenomenon then, but a problem that would seem to  require better early MS support if we are to take the omission itself as genuine.

(to be continued)

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