Textual Criticism (RelSt [ClasSt, JewSt] 735, Fall 2008, Robert Kraft)

Tuesdays, 6-9 pm, Cohen (Logan) 204

Quick Links:

Jay Treat's Pages from the Web on Text, Manuscripts, Paleography

Wieland Willker's Bible-Links Page


09se -- Orientation

16se -- "3 Corinthians"

23se -- Polycarp-Barnabas

30se -- Barnabas papyrus ; Psalm 151

07oc -- Barthelemy's contributions to LXX/OG research

[14oc -- "fall break"]

21oc --

28oc --

04no (election day) --

11no --

18no --

25no (SBL Boston) --

02de --

General Description:

This is an introduction to the textual criticism of ancient texts – covering theory as well as specific applications, such as how to read and interpret text critical apparatuses and their evidence.  Primary attention will be given to texts preserved in Greek and Latin, including translations from Hebrew to Greek (especially Jewish scriptures in Greek) and between Greek and Latin.  Jewish and Christian texts, scriptural and others, will be examined as well as various classical writings.  Working knowledge of Greek is necessary; some Latin and/or Hebrew would be helpful but not crucial.

The goal of textual criticism is to collect and evaluate available information relating to the symbolic presentation (especially wording) and associated meaning(s) of a text in an attempt to shed light on its various stages of transmission and re-presentation, from the earliest ascertainable form onward throughout the lives of the preserved witnesses.Quest for "the original" is but one of many possible byproducts.

Initial Reading Suggestions:

Maas, Paul. Textual Criticism (Textkritik 1957\3; ET B. Flower 1958, repr 1967; Oxford University Press) ISBN 0-198-14318-4    

The Wikipedia article also describes various approaches and problems: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textual_criticism
Also valuable as a starting point is Jim Marchand's outline in What Every Medievalist Should Know (WEMSK), now online at http://www.the-orb.net/wemsk/textcritwemsk.html

And some informal notes from the MEDTEXTL (Medieval Text List) on related subjects.


This will be a "work-seminar" in which each student chooses projects that will require detailed knowledge of textcritical conventions and approaches relating to the students main areas of interest. For example, one project should deal with aspects of texts for which more than a score of witnesses exist, such as:
Another project should explore a text or texts for which no more than a handful of direct witnesses exist, such as:

Selected Readings and Exhibits Relating to Special Situations:

On the highly specialized and technical vocabulary of LXX/OG editions --


On the complex situation involving translation(s), recensions, etc. --

On recensional activity on a sub-set of a larger corpus --

On recensional activity in a text with limited witnesses --

On Christian editing of Jewish and other texts --

On textual confusion caused by faulty archetypes

On the textcritical impact of papyri evidence

On the influence of commentarial treatments --

Some samples of interesting problems with names --

Daniel 11.30 on the "Kittim" ("Theod" = Κ?τιοι, OG = ?ωμα?οι)

more to come

Sample Images of Possible Interest:

Textual Editions --

Textual Modeling --

//updated 13oc2008//