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The Profile Method for Classifying and…
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The Profile Method for Classifying and Evaluating Manuscript Evidence (1982)

by Mr. Fredrick Wisse

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If only they taught textual critics about necessary and sufficient conditions!

This book represents one of the great triumphs of twentieth century New Testament Textual Criticism (that is, the reconstruction of the original readings of the Greek Bible based on comparison of late, corrupted manuscripts). There are thousands of Greek manuscripts of the Gospels, and just sorting through them was an almost impossible task. And yet, to use them properly required having some sort of idea of how they were related -- where they stood on the great (and unknown) family tree of manuscripts.

The Claremont Profile Method was an attempt to do that. A couple of scholars, Wisse (the author of this book) and McReynolds, took three chapters of Luke, determined the readings of (almost) all the manuscripts, and set up a classification scheme based on shared readings.

The good news is, this allowed roughly 90% of the manuscripts to be classified accurately and completely as related -- and then set aside. They belonged to groups such as "Kx" or "Kr" or "Πa," which could be represented by one or two members of the class, with the rest ignored.

It's the other 10% of manuscripts that are the problem. These are mixed manuscripts, or manuscripts that belong to one of the types that is not part of the "Byzantine" text-type that includes the vast majority of New Testament manuscripts. The Claremont Profile Method has no way at all to deal with these manuscripts with unusual profiles. The infamous example of this is the case of the manuscripts B and D, which belong to separate text-types (in other words, they divided in the very first stages of the history of the textual transmission). The Claremont Profile Method classifies them as the same type -- not because they're closely related but because they are so utterly unrelated to the Byzantine text. (The technical term for this is "long branch assimilation.")

And Wisse never quite figures out what happened, because he doesn't realize that, for a profile to describe a group, it takes more than just a group profile. Necessary and sufficient conditions.

I'm nitpicking. This book remains invaluable, because it accurately assesses most manuscripts of Luke. You just have to remember that, for manuscripts of "Group B," or "Mixed," or even "Kmix," there is probably more to say than what the Claremont Profile Method says about them. ( )
  waltzmn | Dec 6, 2013 |
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In Memoriam Ernest Cadman Colwell
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PREFACE -- The development of the Profile Method has been integrally connected with the International Greek New Testament Project (IGNTP).
Chapter I

THE ROLE OF MINUSCULES IN NEW TESTAMENT TEXTUAL CRITICISM

Of all the spectacular developments in NT textual criticism since Tischendorf the least advertised has been the phenomenal increase in the number of known minuscules.
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Wikipedia in English (785)

Categories of New Testament manuscripts

Claremont Profile Method

Codex Basilensis A. N. IV. 2

Codex Basiliensis A. N. IV. 1

Codex Daltonianus

Codex Ebnerianus

Codex Ephesinus

Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus

Codex Montfortianus

Codex Petropolitanus (New Testament)

Codex Sangallensis 18

Codex Tischendorfianus IV

Codex Zacynthius

Codex Zittaviensis

Family Π

Family K1

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