Evangelical Textual Criticism

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Art of Isopsephism in the Greco-Roman World

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New publication: R. Ast & J. Lougovaya, 'The Art of Isopsephism in the Greco-Roman World' in Ägytische Magie und ihre Umwelt (ed. A. Jördens; Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2015), 82-98. Available here.

Since Greek letters are used to represent numbers, it is possible to assign numerical values to various words and names (as presumably in Rev 13.18), and to relate words representing equal numerical values to each other. This is isopsephism - assigning equal numerical value. Not only within the NT, but also some of the earliest Christian graffiti seems to feature an interest in this practice, see a much earlier post on a graffito in Smyrna. So this new publication will be of interest to people working on manuscripts, amulets, and numerical aspects of NT exegesis.

For an isopsephistic tool (which calculates the numerical value of whatever Greek words or phrases you enter), go here.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Greek Manuscripts of Robert Curzon

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Up-dated 28.3.15
There are two really good posts over at the BL blog on Greek manuscripts collected by Robert Curzon: Part One, and now Part Two. A couple of years ago I read Curzon’s very entertaining account of his travels and manuscript collecting in his Visits to the Monasteries of the Levant (London: Century, 1986; orig. 1849).
Since Curzon left detailed notes about the acquisition written in the manuscripts themselves, it is possible to connect the particular manuscript with both the narrative account and the monastic setting from which they were “acquired”. Most of the 42 Greek manuscripts have now been digitised by the British Library, and both posts introduce a large number of Greek Bible manuscripts.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Date of Majuscule 0305 - Suggestions?

Currently the Liste gives a wonderfully ironic date for majuscule 0305 (Matthew 20) of -100 to -1 (here).

The total absence of any discussion piqued my interest, and, thanks to the resources of the BnF I found an online image! The whole frame with multiple fragments contains mainly Coptic stuff, hence its listing under Copt. 133.2.

Our fragment is number 3 at the top right, showing the left hand margin of Mt 20:22-23. Note that the total column width is only about 8 letters.

I am not very good at dating this particular script, but I will kick off by stating that on first sight I would be happy with anything between the 6th and the 9th century, and more likely younger than older. So let’s do a little online, democratic, scholarship here. Suggestions? Parallels?

Surely we can get closer than somewhere in the first century BC.

New article on CBGM

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Tommy Wasserman, 'The Coherence Based Genealogical Method as a Tool for Explaining Textual Changes in the Greek New Testament' Novum Testamentum 57 (2015) 206-218.

Abstract: This article discusses the advantages of the the Coherence Based Genealogical Method (CBGM), not only as a tool for reconstructing the text of the New Testament, but also for surveying the history of readings and for explaining textual changes. The CBGM promises to detect readings, which have emerged several times independently in the textual tradition. The method is applied to selected examples in 1 John 5:6 and Jude 4, which are relevant to the issue of “orthodox corruption,” as raised by Bart D. Ehrman. The results speak against deliberate textual changes as effects of early Christological controversies in these particular passages. Rather the textual changes reflect other typical behaviour on the part of the scribes throughout the history of transmission.

Congratulations Tommy

Monday, March 23, 2015

Video of the Opening of the Bible Museum in Munster

I found this in an old draft post which I never posted. In addition to the general interest, it contains a very full and frank interview with Kurt Aland which is worth listening to.