Monday, November 18, 2019

Another 101 Papyri Missing from the EES

EES has announced that 120 pieces of papyri are missing from a limited number of folders(!) We know that hitherto 13 pieces have been located in the Museum of the Bible in Washington, another 6 in the collection of Andrew Stimer, but there is another 101 pieces to track down!
     Below I cite the statement from the chairman of the EES to the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) on its annual general meeting on 16th November (HT: Brent Nongbri):

Chairman’s statement to EES members

The following statement was provided to members of the EES during the Society's AGM on 16th November 2019:
Investigation of the Society’s collection of papyri from Oxyrhynchus, which is estimated to hold some half a million fragments, has to date identified around 120 pieces which appear to be missing, almost all from a limited number of folders; it is possible that a few more cases may emerge. So far 13 of the missing pieces have been located in the Museum of the Bible in Washington and another 6 in the collection of Mr Andrew Stimer in California, and both collections are returning these texts to the EES. The EES is working with the University of Oxford and the police to establish how the papyri located in these and any other collections came to be removed and sold. While the police investigation is in progress, the EES cannot comment further on these matters, but will report on developments as and when it is possible.
Meanwhile the editorial team is working as usual to prepare new volumes of The Oxyrhynchus Papyri for the Graeco-Roman Memoirs of the EES. Because the investigation has delayed editorial work, we regret that the forthcoming volume LXXXV, due in 2018/19, is now expected in early 2020. The EES is also working with Oxford University to enhance the current accommodation of the collection and to determine how best to ensure its care and publication into the next generation.

Friday, November 15, 2019

A Previously Unidentified Folio of 093?

Earlier this week, I was working on Acts in the forthcoming textual commentary for the Tyndale House Greek New Testament, and I believe there is another page of 093 that the INTF does not currently recognise. Oddly enough, this is not the first time someone at Tyndale House working on Acts has stumbled across a previously-unknown page of a Greek New Testament manuscript.

According to the online Liste at the INTF, 093 is housed at the Cambridge University Library in the Cairo Genizah collection as “Taylor-Schechter Coll. 12.208”. That is slightly imprecise, but the print edition of the Liste (at least the first edition, which is the one I checked) correctly notes that 093 is two folios, each with its own shelfmark. The LDAB entry rightly gives them as Taylor-Schechter 12.208 and Taylor-Schechter 12.189. The manuscript itself is rather interesting. It is a palimpsest in which 6th-century Greek text (of Acts 24–25 and 1 Peter 2–3) was overwritten with Hebrew.

If you’ll hold that thought, we’ll hop over momentarily to the other side of the Atlantic.

As it turns out, the University of Pennsylvania also has a collection of manuscripts that came from the Cairo Genizah in their Center for Advanced Judaic Studies Library. Their online catalogue describes one manuscript, Halper 114, as an “Early midrash on Genesis 40:18-41:3; 46:28-47:1”. Note the following, however:
The hand may be identical to that of the ancient palimpsest copy of compendium of Midrash Rabbah Genesis, Cambridge T-S 12.208 and 189....
Another online catalogue at UPenn has a slightly longer set of notes (and I note that they do give a description for the undertext: “Palimpsest of Book of Acts(?) (Sixth century?)”) and includes the following:
Fragmented Greek characters, disposed vertically in 3 lines within center margins, along joint on hair side; no other Greek characters visible to naked eye, none visible on flesh side; some additional characters seem to appear with digital enhancement, but currently impossible to make out text; the identification with the Cambridge TS 12.208 and 189 bifolia is tentative, given ruling differences (Halper 30-32 lines; Cambridge 28-29 lines), and paucity of identifiable text, notwithstanding kinship between Hebrew texts.
I would suggest that it is not impossible to make out the Greek undertext, only very difficult. Still, I did some playing around, and I think I have found bits of Acts 21:13–14 in one of the more legible sections. As far as I know (and with my sincerest apologies to the INTF if this is not the case), the INTF does not currently recognise Halper 114 as part of 093 or as part of any other Greek New Testament manuscript.

[These images and the content of Center for Advanced Judaic Studies Library, Halper 114: Early midrash on Genesis 40:18-41:3; 46:28-47:1 are free of known copyright restrictions and in the public domain. See the Creative Commons Public Domain Mark page for usage details,]

Section of Halper 114, without my edits.

Section of Halper 114, with my very rough drawing on enough undertext for a preliminary identification
I can also see ε[ι]πο[ντες] after I stopped drawing in red there as well, but I admit I didn’t spend as much time on it as I could have.

My proposals:

  1. It would be great if Halper 114 could be digitised with MSI so that the undertext can be read and edited (and I hear CSNTM has MSI capabilities now!).
  2. It would be great if someone at the INTF could verify if Halper 114 is indeed a previously-unidentified (or at least previously-unrecognised in the Liste) folio of 093.
Finally, here we have another application of Head’s Rule, that “the best place to look for ancient manuscripts is in a library”.

New Issue of TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism

The new volume 24 (2019) of TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism  has just been published. It is one of our most packed volumes ever with seven great articles, a review article and several reviews.

In case you have a scholarly article on textual criticism in the making, consider submitting it to TC.

Happy reading!

 Volume 24 (2019)


Jennifer Wyant, Giving Martha Back Her House: Analyzing the Textual Variant in Luke 10:38b
Abstract: In Luke 10:38, a certain woman named Martha welcomes Jesus and offers him hospitality while her sister Mary listens at his feet. Although the story is familiar, the text itself contains a number of complex text-critical issues. This paper will focus on Luke 10:38b, which contains a difficult, though often overlooked, text-critical challenge. The issue centers on whether or not Martha welcomed Jesus “into her house” (εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτῆς). Many early manuscripts from different textual traditions (i.e., א, A, D) include the phrase. A few early manuscripts, however, omit the phrase (𝔓45, 𝔓75, B) leading the editors of NA28, Bruce Metzger, and others to conclude in favor of the shorter reading, arguing that εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτῆς was a later addition to the text, since the verb appears to need an additional phrase. In this paper, I argue that εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτῆς is more likely reflective of an earlier tradition for three reasons: (1) the unlikely addition of a prepositional phrase following the verb, (2) the scribal habits of 𝔓45 and 𝔓75, and (3) theological and culture concerns surrounding Martha as homeowner. This analysis will show ὑπεδέξατο αὐτόν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτῆς is more likely to represent an earlier tradition.
An-Ting Yi, A Fresh Look at Codex Regius (L019) and Its Transcription in the IGNTP Edition of John
Abstract: By comparing the newly available, high-resolution images of Codex Regius (L019) with the IGNTP edition of John, this article shows that there is room for improvement in the transcription of the edition. The improvements include corrections and additions to the transcribed text, the scribal corrections, and the segmentation in the manuscript. In particular, further clarification is needed with regard to the use of capitalization in the current transcription. The comparison also suggests that the reasons for such shortcomings can partially be attributed to the limitation of the inferior material that the IGNTP collators had to work with.
Mikeal C. Parsons and Gregory M. Barnhill, Textual Criticism and Lukan Studies: The (Dis)Connection Between the Two
Abstract: This article proposes that scholarship on Luke’s Gospel and the pursuits of textual criticism are mutually beneficial to one another, and thus each would benefit from greater attention to the other. We demonstrate this proposal through three areas of inquiry: (1) the disconnection of recent developments and discussions in textual criticism on the text of Luke from many interpreters and exegetes of Luke; (2) the way in which select commentators of Luke have handled text-critical issues and their relationship to the standard critical edition of their era of scholarship; and (3) the promise of attention to individual early manuscripts and witnesses to the early text of Luke for addressing exegetical and theological issues. With few exceptions, commentaries on Luke since the late nineteenth century have been influenced primarily by the critical text available, but not as often by the most recently scholarly developments in textual criticism. This article suggests that greater attention to “narrative textual criticism” on the part of Lukan exegetes, specifically considering early manuscripts and witnesses to the text of Luke as early “reception history” and interpretations of Luke, could enrich the task of the history of interpretation of the Third Gospel.
Pasi Hyytiäinen, Evolving Gamaliel Tradition in Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis, Acts 5:38–39: A Novel Application of Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM)
Abstract: This article challenges the common scholarly conviction that Acts in Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis (D05) represents a single cohesive textual tradition, arguing instead that D05 should be understood as an evolving text, consisting of multiple textual layers without any trace of unified editorial activity. The Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM), together with detailed internal considerations, is used to show that it is possible to differentiate intermediary variants in Acts 5:38–39 between the shorter readings in B03 (Codex Vaticanus) and the longer ones in D05. Such intermediary textual stages are also found among the so-called Western readings, revealing how Gamaliel tradition gradually grew over time as new pieces were added to the text from various sources. These findings challenge the notion of the Western text as a definable textual entity.
Charles E. Hill, A Neglected Text-Critical Siglum in Codex Vaticanus and Its Import for the Matthean Text1
Abstract: This paper concerns a little-known text-critical siglum used by the scribes of Codex Vaticanus 1209. It is a short, s-shaped sign placed within the text and repeated in the margin, beneath which the scribe (in the vast majority of the cases in which it is used) wrote an alternative reading. Where it is used as such, as in the Gospel of Matthew, it almost certainly implies the use of a second exemplar. This paper introduces the siglum and its use in Vaticanus (and possibly elsewhere), catalogues its New Testament occurrences, and explores what these readings might tell us about the assumed second exemplar of Matthew. Finally, it offers recommendations for future critical editions of the text of Matthew.
Zachary J. Cole, The Chester Beatty Old Testament Papyri and the Communal Reading of Christian Scripture
Abstract: It is widely understood that many, if not most, early Christian manuscripts were produced for use in communal reading. Recent studies show that this view is supported by scribal number-writing techniques, which appear to be constrained by the need for clarity in pronunciation. Specifically, early New Testament scribes used alphabetic numerals in their body texts but only when these would be unambiguous to a would-be reader. This study examines the number-writing techniques found in the Chester Beatty Old Testament papyri and finds that they abide by the same principles of number writing as their New Testament counterparts (with one notable exception), a fact which sheds further light on the use of scriptural texts in early Christianity.
Katja Kujanpää, Job or Isaiah? What Does Paul Quote in Rom 11:35?
Abstract: Romans 11:35 is almost unanimously treated as a quotation from Job 41:3. Although it differs significantly from preserved Greek and Hebrew readings of that verse, few have questioned this attribution. In this article, I will argue that Rom 11:35 has nothing to do with Job but is a verbatim quotation from Isaiah. Scholars have mostly ignored the fact that Rom 11:35 agrees word for word with a Greek textual variant, a remarkably well attested plus in Isa 40:14. In the previous verse in Romans, Paul quotes Isa 40:13. I will demonstrate that it is improbable that the New Testament has influenced the textual transmission of the Greek Isaiah. Instead, the plus was probably in the version of Isaiah known to Paul. Moreover, I will suggest that the plus represents the original translation, offer a completely new reconstruction of its textual history, and thereby call into question the text-critical decision that Joseph Ziegler made in his edition of Isaiah. The final part of the article offers some observations concerning the scholarly discussion on Rom 11:35 and its attribution to Job and seeks to answer the question of why the plus has not been considered in detail before.

Review Articles

Andrew Smith, Examining A Critical Examination of the CBGM: A Review Article
Abstract: A review article on A Critical Examination of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method in New Testament Textual Criticism by Peter J. Gurry.


Amy Anderson and Wendy Widder, Textual Criticism and the Bible (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer)
Lonnie D. Bell, The Early Textual Transmission of John: Stability and Fluidity in Its Second and Third Century Greek Manuscripts (An-Ting Yi, reviewer)
Ryan B. Bonfiglio, Reading Images, Seeing Texts: Towards a Visual Hermeneutics for Biblical Studies (Michael Sommer, reviewer)
Christopher de Hamel, Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer)
Cambry G. Pardee, Scribal Harmonization in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew Burks, reviewer)
Jac D. Perrin Jr., Family 13 in St. John’s Gospel: A Computer Assisted Phylogenetic Analysis (An-Ting Yi, reviewer)
Hieronymus, Biblia Sacra Vulgata. Lateinisch-deutsch. Vol. 3: Psalmi – Proverbia – Ecclesiastes – Canticum canticorum – Sapientia – Iesus Sirach (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer)
Hieronymus, Biblia Sacra Vulgata. Lateinisch-deutsch. Vol. 5: Evangelia— Actus Apostolorum—Epistulae Pauli—Epistulae Catholicae—Apocalypsis— Appendix (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer)

Monday, November 11, 2019

ETC blog lunch at ETS and a list of ETS TC sessions

For a few years, we've been having an informal lunch at ETS to get together and talk about manuscripts with a group of people who might not be staying for SBL. The ETS lunch is much less formal than the ETC Blog Dinner at SBL. We usually gather around lunch time, walk over to somewhere that has fast food and get something cheap and easy.

Peter Gurry is usually the one who organizes an ETC lunch, but because he won't be there this year it has (unfortunately) fallen to me. One problem is that I didn't go to ETS/SBL when they were in San Diego a few years ago, and Google Maps isn't being particularly helpful to me for finding a good place for a group to eat quickly and cheaply. Since I have no idea what would be a good solution there, here is what I propose:

1. Please don't suggest places in the comments—save recommendations for when we're there. If you suggest things in the comments, then I have to look them up on the map and see if they work, and without being there and being able to see the layout of everything, it just isn't good for how my brain works. Thank you for understanding.

2. We meet outside the room: Third Floor – Mission Beach BC at 11:50 AM on Thursday, 21 Nov. after this paper, which is in that room: John J. H. Lee (McMaster Divinity College) The Earth and Its Works Will be Disclosed, or Not? – A Text-Critical Analysis of 2 Pet 3:10. I figure many of us will be there at that time already.

3. We can quickly decide where to go from there.

Let us know in the comments if you plan to be there so we can look out for you.

I tried to find the sessions relevant to textual criticism and canon formation and list them here. Please do mention any that I missed in the comments. Locations are as given in the ETS online program book.

Wednesday, 20 Nov.
9:00 AM-12:10 PM New Testament Synoptic Gospels I Lobby Level – Marina Room
9:50 AM—10:30 AM Sarah Harris (Carey Baptist College) The Lukan Major Textual Variants included in the THGNT

Wednesday, 20 Nov.
2:00 PM-5:10 PM Septuagint Studies Second Floor – Gaslamp D
2:00 PM—2:40 PM Aaron W. White (First Presbyterian Church, South Charleston, Ohio) More Than A Counselor: A Possible Origin of the Longer Reading in Codex Alexadrinus Is. 9:5b
2:50 PM—3:30 PM Darlene M. Seal (McMaster Divinity College) Prophetic Dialogue: Shepherd Allusions in Old Greek Zech 9–14 and Their Role in the Discourse
3:40 PM—4:20 PM August H Konkel (McMaster Divinity College) Septuagint Text Criticism to Show Theological Development and New Testament Interpretation

Thursday, 21 Nov.
8:30 AM-11:40 AM New Testament Canon, Textual Criticism, & Apocryphal Literature Third Floor – Mission Beach BC
8:30 AM—9:10 AM Chris S. Stevens (McMaster Divinity College) Paul as Publisher of His Corpus and What That Means for Canon Formation
9:20 AM—10:00 AM Sylvie Raquel (Trinity International University) To Forgive or Not To Forgive? A reevaluation of Luke 23:34a.
10:10 AM—10:50 AM Benjamin Laird (Liberty University) The Early Canonical Reception of Hebrews in Western Christianity
11:00 AM—11:40 AM John J. H. Lee (McMaster Divinity College) The Earth and Its Works Will be Disclosed, or Not? – A Text-Critical Analysis of 2 Pet 3:10

[ETC blog lunch lunch here.]

Thursday, 21 Nov.
3:00 PM-6:10 PM New Testament Canon, Textual Criticism, & Apocryphal Literature Para-textual Features of Early Christian Manuscripts Third Floor – Mission Beach BC
3:00 PM—3:40 PM Dirk Jongkind (Tyndale House, Cambridge) Marking Scripture in New Testament Manuscripts
3:50 PM—4:30 PM Stanley E. Porter (McMaster Divinity College) The New Philology and Its Implications for Contemporary Manuscript Study
4:40 PM—5:20 PM Elijah Hixson (Tyndale House, Cambridge) Scribal Awareness of Textual Variants
5:30 PM—6:10 PM Charles E. Hill (Reformed Theological Seminary) The Capitulatio Vaticana The First Numbered Chapter System for the Bible

Thursday, 21 Nov.
8:00 PM–9:00 PM ETS Presidential Address Second Floor – Seaport ABCDE
Michael J. Kruger (Reformed Theological Seminary) 2 Peter 3:2, the Apostolate, and a Bi-Covenantal Canon

Friday, 22 Nov.
1:00 PM-4:10 PM New Testament Backgrounds, Canon, and Textual Criticism Third Floor – Hillcrest A
2:40 PM—3:20 PM Daniel L. McConaughy (California State University Northridge) Syriac Witnesses to Acts Fifteen from Patristic Citations and Biblical and Lectionary MSS
3:30 PM—4:10 PM Jonathan C. Borland (New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary) In the Presence of Two or Three (Greek) Witnesses: A Look at Par. Nat. Gr. 194/Gregory-Aland 304

Friday, November 08, 2019

ETC Blog Dinner SBL 2019

Dark days in San Diego for the ETC blog!!! The Hard Rock Café in San Diego has closed somehow in relation to the opening of the Hard Rock Hotel. I, however, am pleased to announce that our blog will host a dinner at BASIC Bar/Pizza.  We will have our own room, a pizza buffet, salad, copious pitchers of soda and of course the normal ruckus of festivities—all for the bargain price of $21 (inclusive of tip and tax). It’s important that as many people as possible pay in advance, since we have to arrange the buffet in anticipation of our guests. We need a significant number to reserve the space, so please RSVP now!

Monday, 25 November 2019 at 7:30pm
Basic Pizza | 410 10th Ave | San Diego, CA 92101

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Myths and Mistakes Now Available

A new book on textual criticism is now available!


The New Testament is important, and defending it is important, but what we’ve noticed is that occasionally well-meaning defenders rely on other well-meaning defenders. If left unchecked, this can lead to a chain of citations that go back to resources now-outdated with plenty of opportunity to make mistakes along the way.

One problem is that it’s really hard for any one person to be up-to-date on everything. There’s no way around it—that’s difficult. That’s why this book is a co-edited multi-author volume and not a monograph. We thought that this sort of project is better done by a team of people, each of whom can do one thing well, than by one person trying to do all the things well.

So what is the book? It’s a self-corrective written by people who value the New Testament and think it should be defended, written for people who value the New Testament and want to defend it. We’ve taken some common mistakes about manuscripts and textual criticism that show up in “Why Trust the New Testament” talks, explained why these common mistakes are mistakes or otherwise poor arguments and tried to show what a better way might be.

Over at The Gospel Coalition, Justin Taylor has blogged some of our “Key Takeaways,” which we put at the end of each chapter. Of course, the chapters explain why we assert what we assert here, but Taylor’s post is a great example of what kinds of things the book aims to explain.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Dead Sea Scroll Detectives Airs Tonight (U.S.)

With apologies to Pete Head for the double post today, I thought U.S. readers may like to know about the following episode of NOVA airing tonight on PBS.

Since the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947, these fragile parchment relics have intrigued scholars, religious leaders, and profiteers alike. The 2,000-year-old scrolls include the oldest-known versions of the Hebrew Bible and hold vital clues about the birth of Christianity. While certain scrolls have survived intact, others have been ravaged by time—burnt, decayed, or torn to pieces—and remain an enigma. Now, scientists are using new technologies to read the unreadable, solve mysteries that have endured for millennia, and even discover million-dollar fakes. (Premiering November 6, 2019 at 9 pm on PBS)
More info here