Evangelical Textual Criticism

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Housekeeping note

In our constant pursuit of excellence in the fulfilment of the mission of our blog it would be really helpful to have posts from all our blog members once in a while. Here are some suggestions if you are not feeling inspired (which would seem to apply to quite a few of us):
  • here is something interesting I thought/observed/noticed/made up/found on Wikipedia
  • here is an article/book/video that I wrote/read/found on the internet
  • here is a book review I wrote 
  • here is something I heard about and wanted some help in thinking through
  • here is a summary and a couple of critical comments on a recent journal article
  • here is a photo and discussion of one of my favourite books, something interesting in my personal library
  • here is a different blog discussing something interesting/wrong/stupid/correct on textual criticism
  • here is a footnote on some point of textual criticism
  • here is a bibliography I used for a lecture the other day - helpful to everyone and you may get some suggestions
  • here is a picture of my cat, Bible, lecture notes, favourite manuscript
  • here is another reason to prefer the longer/shorter reading at Mark 1.1
  • here is a video of my lecture to three hundred students
  • here is how I learnt to do that cross-out thingy with letters
  • here is a Taylor Swift song that is relevant to textual criticism
  • here is a picture of Australia beating England at cricket (perhaps better to save that for a more unusual event, like four text critics playing croquet or something)
  • here is a definition of "evangelical" for use by evangelical textual critics
  • here is a definition of "textual" for use by evangelical textual critics
  • here is a definition of "criticism" for use by evangelical textual critics
  • here is a definition of the word "is"
  • here is something of genuine comedic value which is more likely to make you laugh than cry
  • here is something you can only do with a computer that is of interest to textual criticism
  • here is something you can only do without a computer that is of interest to textual criticism
  • here is something about the Old Testament
  • etc.
Space them out - not all at once (you can schedule posts into the future, kind of spooky I know)

Just a note that there are around one hundred posts for this blog that are still in the "draft" state. You may well have some treasures hidden away in there. I have done a little bit of checking some of the ones under my name and either up-dating them for posting or deleting them. In a month or two I will probably do a more ruthless cull. Be warned. I can't stand untidiness in any form.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Bibliography of Greek New Testament Manuscripts (3d ed.)

The third edition of A Bibliography of Greek New Testament Manuscripts by J. Keith Elliott, with the assistance of the Institut romand des sciences bibliques (IRSB) Université de Lausanne, has been published by Brill. This is a must-have tool.

ISBN13: 9789004289239

E-ISBN: 9789004289680

Format: Hardback

Price: €115 / $149
Publisher's description

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dirty manuscripts

Two interesting links to discussions of dirty manuscripts.

discusses dirty medieval books, including fingerprints, leaves and twigs, sand, pins, paint, and cat paws (with nine photos illustrating these). Final paragraph:
While we are perhaps inclined to regard dirt as an unwanted addition to the medieval book – which is an object that should be spotless, after all – the bits and pieces shown here act as historical clues that shed light on how a book was produced or used. There is an interesting parallel to be drawn with the concept of “damage”. This, too, is often seen as a flaw when encountered in a precious medieval book, while, in fact, it may offer crucial information about how the object was used (see this post). Dirt is an intrinsic part of the historical artefact that is the medieval book and deserves to be studied as such.
It is exciting to find a scribal fingerprint - it always evokes in me a sense of connection. I found a really good one last year in the Codex Climaci Rescriptus. To this list I would add wax which is often found in biblical and liturgical manuscripts and can reveal patterns of usage (and I seem to recall it is mentioned negatively in a monastic rule), see some good examples here; as well as glue, which is often found on small fragments re-used in bindings (cf. e.g. here).

Dr. Brice Jones discusses a piece of papyrus featuring “brown lumps of organic material” (a bit of Homer’s Illiad: P. Oxy 4633): “Toilet Papyrus”: A Papyrus of Homer Used as Toilet Paper

For more background: AnneMarie Luijendijk, ‘Sacred Scriptures as Trash: Biblical Papyri from Oxyrhynchus’” Vigiliae Christianae 64 (2010), 217-254.

Monday, April 13, 2015

New Book on Codex Sinaiticus

Codex Sinaiticus: New Perspectives on the Ancient Biblical Manuscript 
The volume arising from the major conference on Codex Sinaiticus in the summer of 2009 (see blogs here for the programme and here and here for “highlights”), is advertised in the most recent British Library catalogue for publication in June 2015, as follows:

There is an interesting mix of papers and contributions on both LXX and NT (including two papers on Hermas), with four papers on the modern history of the various portions, including archival work in Sinai and in the British Library and a first-hand report on the New Finds, and five papers on various aspects of the Codex Sinaiticus Project: conservation, photography, transcription etc.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Scratching the plural out of prayer - Mt 6:5

This is a story about how difficult it can be to get the data right even before starting to ponder the original wording of a text.

These are the opening words of Mt 6:5 as in Tregelles and NA28:

Καὶ ὅταν προσεύχησθε, οὐκ ἔσεσθε ὡς οἱ ὑποκριταί,
And when you pray, you must not be as the hypocrites

The majority reading is as follows:

Καὶ ὅταν προσεύχῃ, οὐκ ἔσῃ ὥσπερ οἱ ὑποκριταί,
And when you (singular) pray, you (singular) must not be as the hypocrites

I am only interested in the two verbs, whether they are singular or plural.
In the apparatus of NA28 we learn that, among others, Codex Sinaiticus (א*) supports the singular verb, though with a minor variation, as indicated by the round brackets. In Appendix II we learn that א* actually reads προσευχη ουκ εσεσθε. That is, a singular verb προσευχη followed by the plural εσεσθε. The second corrector supports the text.

There are sorts of things wrong here. First of all, why is א* given as support for the double singular reading as, arguably (having one of each), it can be forwarded as support for the double plural reading?
Moreover, I don't think the reading of א* is accessible. Have a look at the images:

Normal light:

Striking light:

The transcribers of Sinaiticus on the Codex Sinaiticus website get it right, as usual. Here corrector Ca is made responsible for the intralinear correction of προσευχη to προσευχησθαι (itacism for προσευχησθε), the remainder of the text as visible on that line is the work of the first corrector (אa [or 1]), while the erased text of א* is unreadable. As you can see on the image, a rewriting starts from the third letter onwards, where we have indications of something being scratched off the parchment before the current writing. The parchment is rough till the end of the line and even torn at the final epsilon of εσεσθε.
What can we say about the erased text of א*, except that it was erased quite efficiently? The original version had something that started with προσευχησ-. It seems clear to me (and Tischendorf) that the omicron of ουκ is created out of a lunar sigma Ϲ. But is there space on the line to have the version with the two plural verbs? I don't think so, since it would require an extra two letters to be accommodated on the line which is already wider than average. That means that if the first version had two plural verbs, the first of these (and only the first) was already corrected in scribendo, that is before the next line was written.
For once, Tischendorf is not much of a help in suggesting that perhaps the original error was made from -σθε to -σθε. Though this is possible, it means, again, that the error was caught and mended before the writing of the next line, and only after almost the whole line had been filled up. His scenario requires that in addition to messing up the original line, the scribe also messed up the correction, by forcing the first verb into a singular (even though originally he had it right).

Whatever the underlying error we should represent the testimony of Sinaiticus as follows:
א*: προσευχησ[illegible] ...
אa: προσευχη ουκ εσεσθε ως οι
אca: προσευχησθαι (read προσευχησθε; remainder of the line untouched).
Interestingly, this suggest that א* may have intended to write the double plural before messing up, and that (I am slightly increasing the speculation value), whilst clearing the mess, the same scribe but now in the guise of the first corrector, messed up again.
Anyway א* is closer to the text of NA28 than to the variant in the apparatus, despite what the apparatus tells you, אa can be read as supporting either wording but should probably figure as a separate reading, and אca [or] 2] supports indeed the reading as given in the text.

British Library: More manuscripts online

No comments:
The British Library Medieval Manuscripts blog reports that seventy-five more manuscripts are on-line. These seem to be the last group in the current project (hopefully they will get more funding to keep up the good progress). In this batch are a mountain of patristic and ecclesiastical manuscripts including homilies and such, and the following biblical ones. I’ll copy in excerpts here:

Burney MS 34, Catena on the Octateuch (Rahlfs 424), and additional theological texts. Italy, N. E. (Veneto?), mid-16th century.

Burney MS 48, Commentaries of St John Chrysostom on the Pauline letters, followed by the Catholic Epistles (Gregory-Aland 643; Scrivener act 225; von Soden α 1402, X40), in two volumes, Burney MS 48/1 and Burney MS 48/2. 11th-12th century.

Burney MS 408, Palimpsest, the upper (14th-century) text being homilies of St John Chrysostom on Matthew and John, and the lower fragments of a 10th century Gospel lectionary (Gregory-Aland l 338).

Egerton MS 2610, Four Gospels (Gregory-Aland 700). Canon tables in architectural frames in gold and colours (ff 3v-4r, 5v-6r, 7v-8r, 9v-10r). 4 miniatures of Evangelist portraits in colours on gold grounds (ff 12v, 91v, 144v, 230v). Large headpieces in colours and gold, with foliate patterns and birds (f 13r), and 4 large initials in colours and gold, at the beginning of the Gospels (ff 13r, 92r, 145r, 231r). Initials in gold. Simple head- and tailpieces in gold. Chrysography. 11th century.

Egerton MS 2783, Four Gospels, imperfect (Gregory-Aland 714). 12th-13th century. 7 full-page miniatures in colours on gold grounds of the symbols of the Evangelists and Evangelist portraits (lacking a portrait of Luke) (ff 13r, 13v, 106r, 106v, 166v, 264r, 264v). Canon tables in red in frames, with foliate decoration (ff 5r-9v). Large headpieces in red with foliate patterns. Large initials in red with penwork decoration. Small initials in red. Simple headpieces in red. Text and rubrics in red. 18th century binding of brown stamped leather, with blind tooling and gold edges. On the inside of each cover there is a portion of a 13th-century manuscript of the Sententiæ of Peter Lombard.

Harley MS 5785, Gospel Lectionary (Gregory-Aland l 151), with ecphonetic notation.  12th century. 3 evangelist portraits in colours and gold of Matthew, Mark, and Luke (ff 66v, 143v, 187v). 18 headpieces in colours and gold with animals, birds, and/or floral and foliate motifs (ff 1r, 67r, 104r, 144r, 202v, 234r, 246r, 274r, 281r, 298v, 313r, 320v, 325v, 328v, 332r, 340r, 344r, 353r). 1 very large initial in colours and gold (f 289v). Major initials in colours and gold, some with anthropomorphic designs (e.g. 3v). Titles in gold capitals written over red. Marginal notations in red.

Harley MS 5796, New Testament (Gregory-Aland 444; Scrivener evan. 444, Act. 153, Paul 240; von Soden δ 551). 1st half of the 15th century. Headpieces with geometric and foliate decoration and initials with foliate decoration in gold and/or colours (ff 2r, 44r, 73r, 121r, 163r). Titles in display capitals in gold or red (ff 2r, 44r, 73r, 121r, 163r). Rubrics, decorated initials and scholia in red.

Royal MS 1 B II, Old Testament: Major and Minor Prophets of the Septuagint version (Rahlfs 22). 1st quarter of the 12th century. Headpieces, initials and titles in carmine ink.

Royal MS 2 A VI, Psalter (Rahlfs 175). 12th century. Illuminated headpieces at the start of Psalms 1 and 77 (ff 22r, 154r).