Wilbur N. Pickering

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Wilbur N. Pickering.
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Wilbur Norman Pickering.
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:"The uncritical assumption that 'oldest equals best' was an important factor, and became increasingly so as earlier uncials came to light. Both Codex Vaticanus and Codex Bezae were available early on, and they have thousands of disagreements between themselves, just in the Gospels (in Acts, Bezae is wild almost beyond belief). If 'oldest equals best', and the oldest MSS are in constant and massive disagreement between/among themselves, then the recovery of a lost text becomes hopeless. Did you get that? Hopeless, totally hopeless! However, I have argued (and continue to do so) that 'oldest equals worst', and that changes the picture radically. The benchmark work on this subject is Herman C. Hoskier's Codex B and its Allies: A Study and an Indictment (2 vols.; London: Bernard Quaritch, 1914). The first volume (some 500 pages) contains a detailed and careful discussion of hundreds of obvious errors in Codex B; the second (some 400 pages) contains the same for Codex Aleph. He affirms that in the Gospels alone these two MSS differ well over 3,000 times, which number does not include minor errors such as spelling (II, 1). [Had he tabulated all differences, the total would doubtless increase by several hundreds.] Well now, simple logic demands that one or the other has to be wrong those 3,000+ times; they cannot both be right, quite apart from the times when they are both wrong. No amount of subjective preference can obscure the fact that they are poor copies, objectively so. They were so bad that no one could stand to use them, and so they survived physically (but had no ‘children’, since no one wanted to copy them)."
Books: [[The Identity of the New Testament Text]]
Books: [[The Identity of the New Testament Text]]
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Current revision

Wilbur Norman Pickering.

"The uncritical assumption that 'oldest equals best' was an important factor, and became increasingly so as earlier uncials came to light. Both Codex Vaticanus and Codex Bezae were available early on, and they have thousands of disagreements between themselves, just in the Gospels (in Acts, Bezae is wild almost beyond belief). If 'oldest equals best', and the oldest MSS are in constant and massive disagreement between/among themselves, then the recovery of a lost text becomes hopeless. Did you get that? Hopeless, totally hopeless! However, I have argued (and continue to do so) that 'oldest equals worst', and that changes the picture radically. The benchmark work on this subject is Herman C. Hoskier's Codex B and its Allies: A Study and an Indictment (2 vols.; London: Bernard Quaritch, 1914). The first volume (some 500 pages) contains a detailed and careful discussion of hundreds of obvious errors in Codex B; the second (some 400 pages) contains the same for Codex Aleph. He affirms that in the Gospels alone these two MSS differ well over 3,000 times, which number does not include minor errors such as spelling (II, 1). [Had he tabulated all differences, the total would doubtless increase by several hundreds.] Well now, simple logic demands that one or the other has to be wrong those 3,000+ times; they cannot both be right, quite apart from the times when they are both wrong. No amount of subjective preference can obscure the fact that they are poor copies, objectively so. They were so bad that no one could stand to use them, and so they survived physically (but had no ‘children’, since no one wanted to copy them)."

Books: The Identity of the New Testament Text

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