Wednesday, September 24, 2008

3. How to Track Down a Conjecture - A Note on Method

This is the third instalment of a series on conjectures in the Nestle editions. See the sidebar for other posts.

In a comment on my posting on 1 Thes 2:16, Peter Head asks whether there are any short-cuts in tracking down the source of a given conjecture in the NA apparatus, compared to the following steps:

1. get a basic idea of the era of the person;
2. check the older detailed commentaries that are likely to discuss this sort of thing;
3. locate the original source in a good library.

The discussion is important enough to be given a separate posting. The general problem is the following. The Nestle editions indicate numerous conjectures in their critical apparatus, but the information consists of only two elements: a reading and a name. How does one proceed to find out which author is meant, and what the original source for the conjecture is (assuming that the author proposed it in a written source)?

Well, I agree with Peter’s method, but I do have some preferences and some short-cuts. Most of the following, by the way, applies just as well to conjectures that did not make it into the Nestle apparatus, but which are mentioned without proper references in commentaries and articles.

To begin with, I already have a detailed list of any conjecture’s first appearance in any Nestle edition, which gives me a first terminus ante quem. Besides, in many cases it is not very hard to guess the author (‘Erasmus’; but try e.g. John 20:17 ‘Lepsius’/‘Lipsius’ or 2 Tim 3:10 ‘v. Wyss'), and for many authors, the source is not hard to guess. In the case of Erasmus, for instance, his Annotationes are the obvious place to go, and there indeed his opinion on Col 1:15 (see NA25) and Jas 4:2 is found.

The key term for the most important short-cut is ‘collections’. It may be true that especially older German commentaries (KEK (Meyer), KNT (Zahn), HNT (Holtzmann)) discuss many conjectures, but one fares much better with special sources of collected conjectures.

The first collection to mention is Wettstein. If the conjecture occurs in Wettstein’s 1750-1751 edition (or in the list found in the 1730 Prolegomena), the possible period becomes much shorter, of course, and in most cases, the author can be identified with confidence. The second collection is from the same century, namely Bowyer’s Critical Conjectures (various editions up to 1812), as important as Wettstein, with even the advantage that Bowyer regularly gives a - rudimentary - reference (he actually gives one if he happens to have one).

The other collections are found in the second half of the nineteenth century. Monographs, dissertations, and articles by scholars in the ‘Dutch School’ are very useful. First came the general books by van Manen and van de Sande Bakhuyzen. Later, dissertations by Franssen, van de Beke Callenfels, de Koe and Baljon gave more detailed discussions of conjectures on individual books of the NT. Together with a series of articles by Baljon, these detailed discussions eventually formed a collection covering the entire NT (except Acts and Revelation).

Needless to say, one would have to have some command of the beautiful Dutch language in order to use these sources (just as Latin for Wettstein and English (and German!) for Bowyer). And we all know that references in those times were not always very clear, but in many cases they are just sufficient to track down the source.

For 1 Thes 2:16, for instance, I now notice that I could have used one of the articles by Baljon (or van Manen’s book) as well, but I had already noted Lünemann’s reference in my files.

A good library is indeed essential, or actually several good ones. Luckily, the Netherlands is a small country. The Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung turned out to be available in microform at the Nijmegen Radboud University. Sometimes nowadays one can be even more lucky and find books and articles on Google Books or, to name just the two most important sites. The future may be bright for this type of research.

Now that the short-cuts are discussed, the necessary roundabout routes should be mentioned as well. The most important problem is that the information on conjectures and their authors in the Nestle editions is not always reliable. Conjectures can have earlier authors (but how could one possibly know that?), they can have been withdrawn, or proposed quite differently by the authors that are mentioned, etc. Besides that, the Nestle editions often mention only one conjecture for a given textual problem, whereas the nature of conjectural emendation (and the scholars’ indépendance d'esprit) more often than not leads to several efforts worthy of attention. Historical research of NT conjectural emendation is intricate, to say the least.

In the end, one of the remarkable results in tracking down conjectures is that most riddles remain for the period after, say, 1890. More recent books and articles are of course easier to find, but the manner in which the conjectures found their way into the Nestle apparatus can at times be very obscure. I sometimes speculate about someone simply writing a letter to Eberhard Nestle, or to Paul Wilhelm Schmiedel who then informed Nestle. In any case, there is still a lot of work to be done here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

2. Did God’s Wrath Come? - Ritschl on 1 Thes 2:16

This is the second instalment of a series on conjectures in the Nestle editions. See the sidebar for other posts.

In 1 Thes 2:14-16 we find Paul uttering very harsh words against ‘the Jews’. He writes about ‘... the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all men 16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they may be saved – so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God’s wrath has come upon them at last!’ (RSV).

An important part of the historical exegesis of these verses is the assumption made by various commentators, or by historians of early Christianity, that the transmitted text contains an interpolation. Their proposals vary from the end of verse 16 only, to 1 Thes 2:15-16, or even 1 Thes 2:13-16 entirely (if for a moment we exclude those who suggest that the entire epistle is not Pauline).

At 1 Thes 2:16 NA27 mentions two conjectures. The second one, by ‘Rodrigues’, will be discussed at another occasion. The first one concerns the omission of ἔφθασεν δὲ ἐπ᾽ αὐτοὺς ἡ ὀργὴ εἰς τέλος in verse 16b, and was proposed, according to Nestle-Aland, by ‘Ritschl’. But which Ritschl is it? The famous theologian Albrecht Ritschl (1822-1889), his son Otto Ritschl (1860-1944), also theologian, or the classical scholar Friedrich Ritschl (1806-1876)? And where did this Ritschl propose the conjecture? Such questions on authors and sources are frequent indeed for anyone interested in the conjectures mentioned in the Nestle editions.

In this case, the author of the conjecture turns out to be Albrecht Ritschl, and its source is his review of Baur’s Paulus (1845)1, in Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung 1847. The extended review is found in no. 124 (June), cc. 985-990; no. 125 (June), 993-100 (the entire issue); no. 126 (June), cc. 1001-1008 (the entire issue); and no. 127 (June), cc. 1015-1016; the conjecture itself occurs on c. 1000.2

Some background is necessary to understand what is going on. Well, Ritschl, in general, finds Baur’s approach to the history of the earliest Christians far too schematic. Baur, says he, has a fixed view of Paul’s opposition against Jewish Christians, and does not distinguish sufficiently between Jews and Jewish Christians. Moreover, in the case of 1 Thessalonians, he denies Paul a really apocalyptic mind-set. Baur declares letters or parts of letters authentic or inauthentic with these criteria only in mind. One by one, Ritschl addresses Baur’s arguments against the authenticity of 1 Thessalonians, such as those derived from 1 Thes 2:15-16:
Dass die folgenden Aeusserungen des Paulus gegen die Juden (V. 15. 16) nicht aus der Apostelgeschichte entnommen sein können, wie der Hr. Vf. [Baur] meint, ist erwähnt, und bei der nachgewiesenen Verschiedenartigkeit der Beurtheilung, welche die Judenchristen von Paulus erfahren, können wir uns über den Ausbruch seines Eifers gegen die Juden nicht wundern, wenn wir bedenken, dass gleichzeitige Erfahrungen in Corinth ihm diese Vorwürfe entlocken konnten. Für den von Hrn. Dr. Bauer [sic] beanstandeten Ausdruck λαλῆσαι ἵνα σωθῶσιν finden sich nicht nur in der Apostelgeschichte, sondern auch 2. Cor. 2, 17; 4, 13; Col. 4, 4 Parallelen.3

There remains one problem, that is, one difficulty felt by Ritschl himself, and in this context his conjecture can be found:
Die einzige Stelle, welche nach meiner Meinung gegen den Ursprung des Briefs Verdacht erwecken könnte, sind die Schlussworte dieses Absatzes, ἔφθασε δὲ ἐπ᾽ αὐτοὺς ἡ ὀργὴ εἰς τέλος, welche kaum eine andre natürliche Erklärung zu finden scheinen, als durch ihre Beziehung auf die Zerstörung Jerusalems. Allein weil von diesem Punkte aus der ganze Brief nicht verstanden werden kann, so will ich lieber annehmen, dass die Worte Glossen seyen, als dass ich ihnen ein Gewicht in der Bestimmung der Abfassungszeit gegenüber allen sonstigen Merkmalen der Echtheit im Briefe einräume.

So here it is. The method in this case is clear: there is no reason to assume that the epistle itself was not dictated by Paul, except for one obvious anachronism: 2:16b assumes the destruction of Jerusalem, and can for that simple reason not be Pauline. In this respect, and in this respect only, Baur’s observations were correct.4 The simple solution is the assumption of a gloss, which of course depends on the combination of Pauline authorship at the one hand, and the interpretation of 2:16b as alluding to 70 CE. Note also that Ritschl sees no problems in Paul’s other words in 2:15-16. The general context has to be kept in mind: Ritschl’s defence, against Baur, of the epistle as authentically Pauline.

To my knowing, Ritschl did not repeat his conjecture at a later occasion. Once, decades later, he discussed the same words, but, without any reference to his former conjecture, explained them as entirely Pauline.5

The conjecture has an impressive reception history,6 and in my view deserves serious attention. But that is not the scope of this posting.

1. Ferdinand Christian Baur, Paulus, der Apostel Jesu Christi. Sein Leben und Wirken, seine Briefe und seine Lehre. Ein Beitrag zu einer kritischen Geschichte des Urchristenthums, Stuttgart, Becher & Müller, 11845.
2. The source was found thanks to references in Lünemann’s commentary (KEK 10, 21859, p. 68, referring to ‘Hall. A. Lit. Z. 1847. Nr. 126’) and in Schmiedel’s commentary (HNT 2, 21893, p. 21, referring to ‘Halle’sche allg. Lit.-Ztg. 1847 I 1000’).
3. Ritschl’s reacts to Baur’s ideas on these verses as found in Baur, Paulus, pp. 482-483.
4. Baur, Paulus, p. 483: ‘Und wovon kann, nachdem die Juden fortgehend das Maaß ihrer Sünden voll gemacht haben, ἔφθασε δὲ ἐπ᾽ αὐτοὺς ἡ ὀργὴ εἰς τέλος natürlicher verstanden werden, als von dem durch die Zerstörung Jerusalems über sie gekommenen Strafgericht?’
5. See Albrecht Ritschl, Die christliche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und Versöhnung, vol. 2, Der biblische Stoff der Lehre, Bonn, Adolph Marcus, 21882, p. 142. Ritschl now sees ἡ ὀργὴ εἰς τέλος as a prophetic utterance imitating some typical Old Testament prophecies. His conclusion, however, remains somewhat forced: ‘Hiedurch ist erklärt, warum Paulus sich ein Urtheil dieses Inhaltes [‘such a judgement’] für die Gegenwart gestattet, und zugleich ist der eschatologische Sinn des göttlichen Zornes bewahrt.’
6. 1 Thes 2:16c is of course the object of an extensive article by Tjitze Baarda (in Dutch), ‘Maar de toorn is over hen gekomen’, in T. Baarda e.a., Paulus en de andere joden. Exegetische bijdragen en discussie, Delft, Meinema, 1984, pp. 15-74. Baarda mentions James Moffatt, Rudolf Knopf, James Parkes and John W. Bailey as supporters of Ritschl’s conjecture. On pp. 22-30 Baarda discusses all kinds of interpolation proposals, far more than those recorded in the Nestle apparatus, and rejects them all. For Ritschl’s conjecture, Baarda refers to various sources that mention the Allgemeine Literaturzeitung, but in the end (p. 62 n. 47 to p. 23) echos van Manen’s words: ‘Ik kon het blad zelf niet inzien’ (‘I was not able to consult the journal itself’).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

1. Seven or Eight Beatitudes: Wellhausen on Mt 5:5

This is the first of a series of short posts on conjectural emendations found in the Nestle editions (mostly in the apparatus only). In each post, I will give the source of the conjecture, and a short evaluation. Some other aspects can be discussed as well, such as its transmission history, within the Nestle editions or elsewhere.
Needless to say, comments, suggestions and questions to the series are welcome.
See the sidebar for other posts in the series.

In its apparatus NA27 mentions a conjecture on Mt 5:5: the omission of the entire verse is proposed by Wellhausen.

Why would Wellhausen want to rob us of the Beatitude of the meek (μακάριοι οἱ πραεῖς, ὅτι αὐτοὶ κληρονομήσουσιν τὴν γῆν)? In order to understand what Wellhausen intended with his conjecture, one has to know where he proposed it. In this case, the source is not hard to find: Julius Wellhausen, Das Evangelium Matthaei übersetzt und erklärt, Berlin, Reimer, 1904. There, on p. 15, he writes:
5,10 wäre die achte Seligpreisung. Mt vermehrt aber die drei Seligpreisungen bei Lc nicht deshalb, um sie auf acht, sondern um sie auf sieben zu bringen; ebenso wie er es bei den Bitten des Vaterunsers macht. Er hat auch sieben Gleichnisse in Kap. 13 und sieben Weherufe in Kap. 23. Eingeschoben ist nun nicht der allerdings inhaltlich leicht wiegende Vers 10; denn er soll den Übergang zu den beiden volgenden Versen machen. Sondern vielmehr Vers 4, denn er ist mit Haut und Haar (τὴν γῆν) aus Ps. 37,11 übernommen, und er hat in den Hss. eine schwankende Stellung – was öfters ein Zeichen der Interpolation ist.
It is clear from this citation that verse 4, in Wellhausen’s text, is the Beatitude of the meek, verse 5 in the modern critical text. Wellhausen follows the numbering of the Vulgate, in which verses 4 and 5 are transposed. This already shows the ‘schwankende Stellung’ mentioned by Wellhausen. The verses are also found transposed in D (05) and 33 (see NA27).
The reasoning that leads to the conjecture is typical. Wellhausen detects a rule according to which Matthew prefers the number seven in literary composition. This rule is then made so important that it leads to emendation of places where it is not found to be confirmed. Wellhausen’s sample, however, seems to be rather small. One may therefore ask how firm his rule was in the first place, if emendation has to be applied to make it work.
Moreover, the conjecture suggests that the Beatitudes in their current form do not betray a balanced composition, an idea that does not hold water when careful exegesis is done.

In conclusion: Wellhausen’s conjecture is completely unnecessary, and should not even have been mentioned in the Nestle editions. Its only interesting aspect is to remind us that Matthew does not hesitate to recast a line from the Psalms in order to compose the Beatitudes. It reflects a time in which scholars tended to find glosses at the most unexpected places (which of course does not mean that interpolations never occurred ...).

One more aspect of the conjecture deserves some attention: in NA26 it was indicated as to be applied to verse 6. It is hard to see why such an error was made. Perhaps the above-mentioned frequent transposition of verses 4 and 5 played a role. Interestingly, we have here one of the few cases in which NA26 introduced a fresh conjecture in its apparatus, compared to NA25.
The error has been corrected in NA27, though initially not in its Introduction, in which Wellhausen’s conjecture is used as an example (pp. 12*.54*).
Finally, Bowyer (Critical Conjectures, 41812, p. 62) records (Johannes) Piscator’s opinion, according to which verses 5 and 6 should be inverted.