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A Text-Critical Study of the Epistle of Jude.

A Text-Critical Study of the Epistle of Jude. By Charles Landon. pp. 172. (Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Supplement Series, 135.) Sheffield Academic Press, 1996. ISBN 1 85075 636 8. 30 [pounds sterling] /$45.

This doctoral dissertation, submitted to the University of Stellenbosch, is a thorough-going eclectic's approach to the textual problems of Jude. It consists of a thirty-four page introductory chapter discussing eclecticism, ninety-five pages of analysis of variants, a two page conclusion, and three appendices. These appendices are: a list of the readings preferred, a list of the times that the author agrees and disagrees with the manuscripts which he cites regularly, and the Greek text which he has reconstructed. Finally, there is a bibliography and an index of references.

The first chapter shows clearly the genesis of the book, for it is the kind of general survey which is often seen as necessary to a dissertation. Landon sketches a view of twentieth-century textual criticism that is at once too broad and too partial. There are several reasons for this. In terms of scope, it is because he is trying to do two things: to set out his method, which he sees as firmly in the Kilpatrick/Elliott tradition, and to prepare the ground for one aim of the study, which is to examine the degree to which the fourth edition of the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament is consistent in adhering to its editorial principles. Both enquiries are of value, but to attempt them together does not help Landon to find his way. This chapter is the least valuable part of the study. It is not clear that he has read widely enough to understand the differences at stake. In particular, what he presents about the second century text as distinctive to J. K. Elliott is probably one of the few things on which absolutely everyone is agreed, that is, its instability (pp. 21, 23). Generally, what is written in this chapter covers a number of textual problems, and is rarely directly relevant to the text of Jude.

We turn with higher hopes to the main part of the book, the study of ninety-five variation units. We had better begin by getting some blemishes out of the way, by dealing with the inscription and subscription. Lander applies eclectic method to this, apparently under the conviction that both are `original' to the text. He also rejects the forms that include the word [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] on the grounds that `the writer's theology is not "early Catholic"' (p. 47; see also p. 140). That this piece of confusion should have got through all the book's stages of readership is surprising. Other signs of limited knowledge follow. The suggestion that Al is an error, `being misheard as 01 by a copyist during dictation' (p. 109) suggests a limited knowledge of antique and Byzantine copying techniques. The theory that the writer left the destination blank in v. 1 is rejected on the grounds that space would also have had to be left where Sodom and Gomorrah are mentioned in v. 7--an absurd remark. Note one confusing error: at Variation Unit 12.3 [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] should be read for the first [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]

After these, let us evaluate the study more positively. The most valuable contribution is that Landon uses rhetorical analysis of the book to good effect. In particular, Jude's use of triads, the selection of conjunction, and the choice of tense are guides in the selection of the best variant. Given the great care with which Jude is composed, there are a number of other ways in which the Kilpatrick/Elliott approach may be put to good use. For example, the author's preference for [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] with participles encourages one to believe in Landon's claims on behalf of [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in verse 18. On other occasions, an Atticism may be removed. In addition, there is 2 Peter to be considered. Here, two rules have to be observed. One is that Jude seems to have been sometimes harmonized to 2 Peter, and thus the text which keeps them least like each other is to be preferred. At the same time, the text of Jude has to be one from which 2 Peter might have resulted. The two rules are not always compatible.

What about the manuscripts? First, their selection. The number of witnesses cited is quite small: only P72 ?? A B K L [Psi] 049 are cited at every variant. Four more (P74 P78 C P) are cited frequently. Other witnesses, even those which are occasionally followed in a reading, are only cited as occasion serves. All this information is derived from various apparatus critici. It is disappointing that Landon has not studied some of them at first hand. But he does pay enough heed to the dictum `Knowledge of documents should precede final judgement of readings' to observe the tendency in P72 to `orthodox corruption', in ?? to introduce the article (p. 124), and in [Psi] to introduce compounds (pp. 80 f.).

Second, their character. Lander claims that `assumptions about impressive MSS have in the present work been replaced by arguments for impressive readings' (p. 134). But he manages to agree with P72 in fifty-seven out of ninety-five readings, with A in 69, and with B in 70. What is even more striking is that Lander follows either P72 or B in 10 out of the 21 readings in which he departs from the UBS text. It seems perverse of him not to accept that his criteria have led him to give his approbation to the text of these witnesses.

This work could have done with some judicious pruning, for some of the discussions of variants are too wordy and consequently lack focus. With that and without the introduction, and with some sharper criticism by readers, it would have made a good journal article. In its present form, it is over-exposed, for the good things in it are spread too thinly.
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Author:Parker, D.C.
Publication:The Journal of Theological Studies
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Apr 1, 1998
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