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The Study Of Scribal Habits

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Chapter Summary

The habits of Church Fathers in citing Scripture should be known as a prerequisite for the careful use of Patristic evidence. This chapter tries to find a way to characterize the habits of scribes that will avoid both any question-begging assumptions about scribal behavior and any controversial presuppositions about the history of the text. It presents an analysis of the nature of copying. For each reading of a manuscript there are two possibilities: the reading was present in the scribe's Vorlage; or the reading was not present in the Vorlage. Because of the lack of immediate relevance of incorrect readings to the quest for the authentic text, there has been (it seems) a failure to explore the problem of scribal habits for the text of the New Testament in the best possible case, namely, where the Vorlage of an extant manuscript is also known to be extant.

Keywords: extant manuscript; nature of copying; Patristic evidence; scribal habits; Scripture; Vorlage



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