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In History of the Pauline Corpus in Texts, Transmissions, and Trajectories , Chris S. Stevens examines the Greek manuscripts of the Pauline texts from P46 to Claromontanus. Previous research is often hindered by the lack of a systematic analysis and an indelicate linguistic methodology. This book offers an entirely new analysis of the early life of the Pauline corpus. Departing from traditional approaches, this text-critical work is the first to use Systemic Functional Linguistics, which enables both the comparison and ranking of textual differences across multiple manuscripts. Furthermore, the analysis is synchronically oriented, so it is non-evaluative. The results indicate a highly uniform textual transmission during the early centuries. The systematic analysis challenges previous research regarding text types, Christological scribal alterations, and textual trajectories.
In Stanzaic Syntax in the Madrashe of Ephrem the Syrian, which focuses on madrāšê V and VI in the Paradise cycle, Paul S. Stevenson looks at Ephrem’s poetic art from the point of view of a linguist. This study goes beyond the traditional levels of analysis, the clause and the sentence, and examines the structure of whole stanzas as units. The result is a surprisingly rich tapestry of syntactic patterning, which can justly be considered the key to Ephrem’s prosody. The driving force behind Ephrem’s poetry turns out not to be meter or sound play, but a variety of syntactic templates, which include even vertical patterning of constituents.
Using the VU University syntactically analyzed, hiearchically structured database of ancient languages, the authors compared the Masoretic text of Kings to the Syriac Peshitta translation. The core question in this comparison is: which deviations between the two texts are related to the requirements of the distinct language systems, which are related to other aspects of the translation process, and which are related to the transmission history of the translated text? Though linguistic and text-historical approaches differ in method and focus, research into ancient biblical translations must take both into account. On the basis of a synoptic matching at clause level, corresponding phrases within the clauses are matched, and corresponding words within phrases. A choice out of a wealth of detailed differences thus brought to light are discussed at the syntactic level at which the phenomenon best fits: word, phrase, clause and above the clause.