Peter Kirby wrote: ↑Thu Feb 08, 2024 10:53 am
This certainly changes things.
But is it too much to suggest this doesn't kill the idea?
We know of many examples of eta -> iota correction of the name of Christ.
I would suggest that it's less audacious / speculative a suggestion than the very common Meier take on the TF, for example.
As I understood it, in the OP you were asking about the possibility of the reading chrestos rather than Christos for Ant 20.200 (not that and the TF), right?
No, I don't think it kills the idea because it's imaginable that during the course of transmission it went from chrestos to a NS to Christos. But it would be a lot more plausible if we had a witness from the early AMW group of manuscripts that had the reading chrestos. That is, it would still be imaginable, but it would be a lot more credible if we actually had a manuscript that had chrestos (forgive me if I'm belaboring the obvious).
I take it you are now asking if conjecturally emending the text (i.e., suggesting a reading which has no manuscript attestation) of Ant. 20.200 from Christos to chrestos is less audacious speculative than Meier's conjectural emendation of the TF.
It's very hard to measure how audacious a particular conjectural emendation is (I seem to recall a very good quotation from Housman on this, but I would need some time to locate it). I am suggesting a single conjectural emendation that would remove the entire TF from the Antiquities, whole Meier is suggesting three emendations. My proposal is based on the principle that there are parts of the TF that Meier and other scholars admit Josephus could not have written, but that there is no part that Eusebius could not have written. I think many think I'm making the more audacious proposal because I'm eliminating more words from the text of Antiquities. But I think once admit that the text has been extensively altered (Meier is removing about a third of it by word count - 29 of 89 words IIRC) we've admitted that there are two hands at work - the hand that wrote the Antiquities and the hand of the interpolator and we're trying to decide which of those is more likely to have written the other 60 words.
For many scholars (e.g., Rubio and Mason; Schwartz actually states it) there is an unstated assumption that we should attribute as much of the Testimonium as we can to Josephus. So if we found that some of it is Eusebian, we should still attribute the parts that could be Josephan or Eusebian to Josephus. (I can give examples if you like)
I think your instance might be arguably less audacious than Meier's, but possibly still less strong than either the inauthenticity or authenticity theories. Your proposal is that we can save the text by changing just one letter. Alice Whealey suggested a similar one letter emendation of the Testimonium in her book - changing the word 'truth' to 'strange customs'. She quietly drops this proposal in her subsequent (post me) work, because it seems to acknowledge that there is, in fact, part of the Testimonium which she thought could not reasonably be attributed to Josephus, and that goes against her strategy of arguing for complete authenticity.
So, yes, a one letter change is less audacious than throughly re-writing a text to suit your taste, but it might still very well make the proposal less credible than alternative proposals.
PS I looked at the dates of the earliest manuscripts of Eusebius Ecclesiastical History,
which quotes Ant. 20.200, to see if they might have an early attestation of the nomen sacrum, but none are earlier than the 10th century, so I don't think they would help to establish early circulation of the nomen sacrum. The Latin and Syriac translations of the HE are earlier, but they won't tell us anything about the transmission of nomina sacra in the Greek text (at least not without making additional assumptions, which would undermine the simplicity of the case).