Wednesday, May 06, 2009

About the Textus Receptus Criticalis (TRC).

A little bit of info on the TRC.

The TRC is an attempt at a new collation of at least the synoptic gospels, in order to provide functionality as an electronic tool for textual reconstruction, concordance and other applications, as an aid to further research on the so-called "synoptic problem." In addition, it is laid out in a database format for importation into Jet DBMS, for the express purpose of experimentation with sophisticated Structured Query Language queries.

The basic notion that started it was the beginning insight that every Greek text since Erasmus has been a collation of manuscripts. To best collate the Greek scriptures, then, it seemed logical to collate the collations, as each collator(s) produced what they each believed to be the most likely Greek text that would be closest to a hypothetical original; however later actual codexes and papyrii were included in our new collation.

The native format is in MS-Excel, mainly for the purposes of concordancing and proof-reading/correction. Therefore, an arbitrary order for the text was decided upon first, based rigorously on the NA/27 and UBS4 manuscript order. All other collated texts are re-arranged to fit this order of words. The texts for such codexes as Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, (Bezae is not shown), etc., should not be seen then as being in anything but an arbitrary order, and definitely not a guide to what the manuscripts actually record.

The reason this order was established first is because of Excel's "auto-filter" feature, which the readers can research for themselves. In order to align all the Greek and other texts across each column, certain principles were devised, the first principle being that each text must be normalized to minimize any differences between the texts, so all diacritics that may have existed in the e-texts have been removed (and the entire corpus reduced to lowercase), and all texts are maintained in unicode. Greek words that occur at the same location, but may differ, are aligned by whatever method reduces dissimilarities, e.g., if one text uses one conjunction and another uses another conjunction, then the words are aligned, and autofiltering can show the similarities and differences for each word in each place it occurs in the corpus. There is also the concept of conceptual similarity, which I won't delve into with this blog post, but will expand upon in an article posted to a wiki page at a later date.

Finally, the intent is to produce a new Greek text which belongs to DIAGroup, and can be filtered and otherwise manipulated to test whatever text critical principles we wish to explore. The final product, or products, will not reflect more than the standard reasoned eclecticism principles, but actual textual choices will be made when producing the desired collations, based on our collective level of scholarship. If anyone should be interested in participating with DIAGroup, the blogs and wiki all have several mechanisms through which the interested can contact us.

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