[Originally posted 8 February 2006]
eep the mind perfectly still, place the fingers on the home keys, and begin typing. Whatever emerges—that’s mindscum. Today's episode of mindscum features the Byzantine Majority Text, or maybe the Beatles' 1964 Australian Tour—it’s sort of hard to tell the difference. The vitriol that has been thrown is sort of amazing, when you think about it. How much difference is there, say between the Textus Receptus and Ringo Starr? or between Jimmy Nicol and the Byzantine Majority Text? And if they can all be added together, do we really gain anything? Nicol I can’t help but feel sorry for—where do you go from here? asks a reporter. Well, Ringo’s going to join them in Brisbane, and then it’s off to oblivion for me says Jimmy. And he disappears from the scene, a handsome guy with a drumset and no future. Still, it beats being a Spinal Tap drummer, I suppose.
But the Byzantine Majority Text—there’s a losing concept. Let’s count the readings, and see how many variants it takes to fill the Albert Hall. Create your own New Testament. Wanted: three thousand Greek calligraphers to write new version of the gospels; must be able to follow copy with ninety-five percent fidelity…. Who comes up with these things? Of course we could fall back on the Textus Receptus, the Mr. Ed of the textual world. Sure we know who created it, and when, and on what basis—but hey, Erasmus got it straight from the horse’s mouth, or maybe from the Holy Ghost. Would he lie?
Throw the two into a pit and let them fight it out—two doddering old lamplighters on their last legs, throwing punches into the air and hoping for the best. Pitiful, just pitiful, as Jed Clampett might have observed. Like watching the Old Globe text duke it out with Pope’s—is there some point to this? Where is Dr. Gonzo when you need him?
I wonder if Jimmy Nicol and Pete Best ever got together. Them two, Andy White, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr could get together and form an all ex-Beatles drummer band. It would probably have as much validity as the Byzantine Majority Text. At least you could dance to it.