Twelve Conclusions

The following are the twelve conclusions from Andrew Wilson's Filologia Neotestamentaria 2011 study into the validity of the canons of transcriptional probability, all borne out by the evidence from singular readings, but virtually all standing in contrast to the received wisdom about scribal tendencies:

  1.  Scribes of all eras tend to omit rather than to add.
  2.  Brief omissions are not an exception to any rule but, in large part, the rule itself.
  3.  Among longer omissions, roughly one third have no detectable mechanical cause.
  4.  Ad hoc correction played a significant role in the expansion of the text over time.
  5.  There is very little evidence among singular readings for lectio difficilior potior.
  6.  Sub-singular readings also provide little support for the Harder Reading canon.
  7.  Colwell’s, Royse’s, Head’s, Hernandez’s and Hurtado’s studies show little evidence of the Harder Reading canon in action.
  8.  The common sense case for this canon lacks acqaintance with the realities of scribal corruption.
  9.  Scribes tended to produce a harsher text rather than a more polished text, largely due to their tendency to omit.
  10.  Correctors, on the other hand, heavily tended to produce a fuller, more polished text.
  11.  Scribes tended to disharmonize in shorter variation units, but to harmonize in longer variation units.
  12.  Correctors disproportionately remedied disharmonizations, resulting in a more harmonized text after correction.
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