Suppose a scholar believes that the surviving text of a classical Greek play contains alterations introduced into the...

JeremyG on May 4, 2019

Please explain

Could you please explain why E is the correct answer and why the others are incorrect? Thank you.

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Ravi on May 4, 2019


Happy to help. Let's take a look at the answer choices.

The question says, "Suppose a scholar believes that the surviving text
of a classical Greek play contains alterations introduced into the
original text by a copyist from a later era. Which one of the
following pieces of evidence bearing upon the authenticity of the
surviving text is most analogous to the kind of evidence mentioned in
the last paragraph of the passage?"

This is essentially an analogy question, and it's probably the hardest
question in this entire section. We need to first be able to analogize
the different components of the hypothetical in the question.
"Scholar," "surviving text," "classical Greek play," "alterations,"
and "copyist from a later era" are all things we need to find
analogies for in the passage.

So, who's the scholar? The scholar is Steele. Steele (the scholar)
believes that the surviving copy of our DNA (the surviving text of a
classical Greek play) of the original DNA contains alterations
introduced to the original DNA by the virus (a copyist from a later

Steele presents evidence of "signature" of past events that are
"written all over the genes" as evidence that suggests that in the
past, information has been transferred into DNA in the reproductive

(E) says "vocabulary in the surviving text that is typical of the
later era and not found in other texts dating from the classical

It's important to note that from the last paragraph, we know that
evolutionary evidence is circumstantial evidence, so it only provides
indirect support. In the analogy, we know that a scholar is attempting
to prove that a given text contains alterations. In looking at (E), we
see that the divergent vocabularies in the text provide support for
the assertion that the text has been altered, but they don't do this
in a direct way (the divergent vocabularies indirectly support this).
This closely mirrors what's going on in the analogy between the
question stem and the last paragraph, so this is the correct answer.

(A) says "a copy of the original, unaltered text discovered in a
manuscript independently known to date from the classical period"

(A) is way too direct for it to match the circumstantial evidence
mentioned in the passage. For instance, if we were to find a copy that
we know has been unaltered and then see that it's different from the
other text, then we know with certainty that the other text has been
altered. This is too strong and does not match the analogy, so it's

(B) says, "a letter in which the copyist admits to having altered the
original text in question"

(B) isn't perfect evidence; however, it isn't circumstantial evidence,
and that's the type of evidence we're looking for. (B)'s evidence is
flawed due to the fact that it relies on the copyist's claims, and
these claims may or may not be true. The fourth paragraph's evidence
exists independently of human claims, and this evidence can be
considered to indirectly support a claim, whereas (B)'s evidence is
built around claims made by a human, so it's out.

(C) says, "an allegation by one of the copyist's contemporaries that
the copyist altered the original text"

(C), just like (B), relies on the claims of an individual. We're
looking for evidence that exists independently of human claims. (C)'s
evidence relies on a human claim, so it's out. It doesn't match the
structure of the analogy.

(D) says, "an account dating from the playwright's time of a
performance of the play that quotes a version of the text that differs
from the surviving version"

The problem with (D) is that its evidence is way too weak. (D)'s
evidence puts too much reliance on the account having everything
correct. Were the lines memorized correctly in the play? Did the
person who recorded the play remember everything correctly? IWe also
must trust that the altered version of the text in question is the one
that we are researching and not the one that was performed. There are
a large number of variables in play with (D). It relies way too much
on human accuracy, so we can get rid of it since it doesn't match the
analogy for the evidence from the fourth paragraph.

Does this make sense? Let us know if you have any more questions!

JeremyG on May 5, 2019

Thank you that's very helpful!

Ravi on May 5, 2019

@JeremyG, happy to help! Let us know if you have any other questions!