Pursuing Veritas

apostle-paul-preaching-on-mars-hillSimplicity of Attribution: The criteria of attribution simplicity states that when the wording of any reference may be explained on the basis of a known source, attribution to that source remains preferable to claiming oral tradition or unknown sources.[i] This does not mean a rejection of the possibility of attributing a citation to oral tradition or lost sources, but rather that the possibility of literary sources—those extant or known but lost—should be exhausted before attribution to non-extant traditions.[ii] In the words of Bruce Metzger, “It is generally preferable, in estimating doubtful cases, to regard variation from a canonical text as a free quotation from a document known to us than to suppose it to be a quotation from a hitherto unknown document, or the persistence of primitive tradition.”[iii]

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