Thursday, July 28, 2011

Baljon (1898) on PA: State of Art and state of confusion

J.M.S. Baljon

In 1898, J. M. S. Baljon attempted to give the public a corrected, lean and mean version of Tischendorf's epic 8th edition Greek NT.  Tischendorf's original major critical edition was under-printed and overly expensive, as well as being massively cluttered with patristic citations which, unfortunately as Tregelles had shown, were simply carried over from previous collators and so were both unreliable and useless (for accurate patristic citations Tregelles' GNT is preferred).
Baljon's solution was to drop the bulk of the superfluous notes and present the readings of the main Uncial MSS and important minuscules and versions.

Interestingly, Baljon's approach to the Pericope de Adultera (John 7:53-8:11) reflects both the state of the art, and the state of confusion surrounding the passage at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries.

Facsimiles of the relevant pages of Baljon's Greek New Testament regarding the PA can be found here: Baljon on the PA  < - - click here.
"The edition of J. M. S. BALJON is in the main an abridgment of Tischendorf's octava maior. He avails himself, however, of later discoveries, such as the Sinai-Syriac Palimpsest for the Gospels, and the Syriac version published by Gwynn for the Apocalypse. In Acts, Blass's restoration of the so-called Forma Romana is regularly indicated. No other edition, for one thing, shows more conveniently where recent scholars recognize glosses or other interpolations, or propose transpositions or conjectural emendations and such like. So far, therefore, it may be commended to those who do not possess an edition with a more copious critical apparatus. But even Baljon's New Testament fails to realize the ideal of a practical edition."
In Baljon we see a repeat of earlier editors' approach to the textual problem (such as that of Tregelles, Wordsworth,  and Tischendorf): He simply presents a recap of the discussions in almost impenetrable Latin as a three-page footnote, then presents the two best attested textual versions of the passage, (1) that of the TR (Traditional Byzantine text), and (2) that of Codex Bezae (4th cent. bilingual MS D/d).
 His detailed apparatus for the text itself is however helpful, and represents a clearer but earlier precursor to the apparatus of von Soden (1913), who later extensively collated the Byzantine MSS themselves in this passage.  von Soden's apparatus, while providing a more detailed view of the Byzantine text-type, suffers from a complex and cumbersome system of notation which is most difficult to interpret.


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