Tuesday, December 07, 2021

CSNTM 2022 Text & Manuscript Conference


Readers may have heard that CSNTM is hosting its inaugural Text & Manuscript Conference May 19-20, 2022. The theme is Pen, Print, & Pixels and will feature plenary presentations throughout each day with optional breakout sessions. Full schedule and registration are at conference.csntm.org.

Plenary Speakers

  • Hugh Houghton, “The Importance of Catena Manuscripts of the Greek New Testament”
  • Dirk Jongkind, “On Singular Readings and Knowing When the Time Has Come for Better Tools”
  • Jan Krans, “New Testament Conjectural Emendation: Folly or Duty?”
  • Holger Strutwolf, “The ECM of Mark: Philology in the Digital Era”
  • Kathleen Maxwell, “From the Coronis to the Blütenblattstil: The Decoration of the Greek Gospel Book”


  • Juan Hernández, “The Significance of the Corrections of the Apocalypse in Codex Sinaiticus”
  • Timothy Mitchell, “Exposing Textual Corruption in the Wider Circulation of the New Testament Writings During the Greco-Roman Era”
  • Peter Montoro, “Two Way Traffic on the Transmissional Highway? Considering Chrysostom’s Exegesis as an Explanation for the Reading of GA 104 in Romans 2:26”
  • Ryan Giffin, “Philippians in P46: Interesting Departures from the Standard Critical Text”
  • Craig Evans, “How Long did the NT Autographs Survive? A Review of the Evidence”
  • Christian Askeland, “Digital Images, Ancient Manuscripts, and Intellectual Property”
  • Jeremiah Coogan, “Marginal Matthew: τὸ ἰουδαϊκόν in Medieval Manuscripts and Modern Editions”
  • Edgar Ebojo, “‘Now the end is near’: Pen and Phenomena at the Line-ends of P46”
  • Keith Elliott, “The Editio Critica Maior of Mark: Translation from German into English”
  • William Warren, “From Ink to Exegesis: The Importance of Non-original Variant Readings”
  • Grant Edwards, “Between Codex and Colophon: Ancient Book Format and the Limitations of Paleography”
  • James Prothro, “A Theology of Textual Criticism? Searching for a Framework”
  • Georgi Parpulov, “Levels of Style in Byzantine Calligraphy”
  • Peter Gurry, “Textual Criticism in Early Protestant Bibles”

Monday, December 06, 2021

Last Two Videos on NT Textual Criticism and Askeland on GJW


I’ve now uploaded the last two guest lectures from my Fall TC course. The first is from James Snapp on Mark 16 and the second is Richard Brash on whether Cornelius Van Til’s theology leads to KJV-onlyism or its kin.

By way of commentary, I should note that James and I had a good Q&A after his talk but Zoom was unfortunately a bit out of sync. Personally, I was surprised to hear James say that he does not think Mark 16.9–20 is Mark’s originally intended ending. In other words, both he and I agree that we do not have Mark’s intended ending. Where we differ is that he thinks that vv. 9–20 are still from Mark and were in the first published copy. By his definition, then, they are original. I’m guessing that if that was news to me, it may be news to some of James’s followers too. But James can chime in if he wants to clarify/correct me here.

Finally, apologies to Christian Askeland whose video on Coptic translations I forgot to download in time from Zoom and is now gone forever. As a consolation, you can go read Christian’s new article on lessons from the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife at the TCI website.

Thanks to all my guests this semester!

Thursday, December 02, 2021

God rest ye merry Gentlemen


I should think that some textual critics will enjoy this short musical interlude.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

On the Comma Johanneum in printed editions, “Which TR?” and working from inaccurate data


A long-ish post, but only because I care about data and getting it right.

One of the criticisms of Textus Receptus (henceforth, TR) advocacy is the question, “Which Textus Receptus?” (See the article by Mark Ward here). Instead of dealing with that question seriously, some TR defenders seem to brush it off as irrelevant.

For example, one TR advocate recently claimed that even though there are ‘minor’ differences between editions of the TR, all of them have the Pericope Adulterae (John 7:53–8:11), all of them have the Longer Ending of Mark (Mark 16:9–20), all of them have the doxology on the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:13), all of them have the Comma Johanneum (1 John 5:7–8), and all of them have the Ethiopian’s confession at Acts 8:37.

Unfortunately, that statement is simply not true. Familiarity with the editions of the Textus Receptus themselves demonstrates as much.

I have seen I think at least one TR advocate respond with the No True Scotsman argument, redefining “Textus Receptus” to include only the editions that do have these passages (thus excluding Erasmus’ first two editions). That objection doesn’t work for three reasons:

1. Martin Luther himself used Erasmus’ second edition for his German translation of the New Testament, which lacked the Comma Johanneum. Even though later Lutherans added it after his death, Luther himself still rejected it. Additionally, the 1537 Matthew’s Bible places it in brackets in smaller type, which does indicate textual uncertainty.

Source: my own copy of the 1537 Matthew's Bible facsimile.

2. By my count there are not two but (at least) six editions of the TR that lack the Comma Johanneum (and if you argue that ‘canon’ extends to the very form of the text, an argument could be made for more editions that have a form of the Comma Johanneum but with a number of variations from the form of the Comma Johanneum in Scrivener’s TR as republished by the Trinitarian Bible Society, which seems to be the standard TR now).

Thursday, November 25, 2021

SBL Presentation on “Archaic be Mark” (GA 2427)



At the SBL Annual Meeting in San Diego I gave a presentation on Archaic Mark (GA 2427), "tying up some loose ends." This paper was originally slotted for another day, but since the session was turned into a virtual one it was moved to Friday, and so I know some friends (like Jeff Cate) missed it.  

However, I have now made a new recording of a longer (and therefore more relaxed) presentation of the paper which you can access on the IGNTP New Testament Textual Criticism youtube-channel here where there is a special playlist for SBL 2021. In case anyone else who presented in NTTC would like to upload a recording, you can contact Hugh Houghton who maintains the channel. Below is my conference abstract.

“‘Archaic Mark’ Revisited: Tying Up Some Loose Ends”

The Gospel manuscript known as the “Archaic Mark” (Greg.-Aland 2427) in the Goodspeed Collection of the University of Chicago (MS 972) is now known as a modern forgery and has been removed from NA28. An important breakthrough was made in 2006 by Stephen C. Carlson who identified Philipp Buttmann’s 1860-edition as the textual Vorlage, whereas the final verdict on the case including an evaluation of the physical and chemical make-up, the palaeography and iconography was published by Margaret M. Mitchell and her team in 2010. However, there are still some loose ends of the story. In this paper I will examine the codicology, palaeography, text and iconography of both Archaic Mark and a related manuscript in St Petersburg tracing them back to the same batch of parchment from which the two manuscripts were made, likely in a workshop in Athens around 1914, and likely involving the work of two prominent artists and friends. In this connection, I will also discuss the sometimes thin line between authenticity and forgery, in particular if we distinguish the text from the artifact.

Friday, November 12, 2021

2021 SBL Blog Dinner @ Hard Rock Cafe


Sunday, 21 November 7:00 pm through 9:00; Cost: $56.89 (ouch!)  

Buy tickets ahead of time through Eventbrite, seating is limited.

Inflation is tearing a hole through restaurant profit margins.  In a prior instance, we saved money at a pizza venue only to learn that their reserved room was half the size which they promised.  Apologies in advance to those will struggle to afford the cost for this higher-end two course meal, which includes drinks, a legendary onion ring tower appetizer and a high-end entrée (ribs, steak, salmon or super-duper burger).  We have two vegetarian alternatives, either a salad or veggie burger.

Please purchase tickets by Wednesday, 17 November.  Seating is limited to 35, although we can upgrade to a larger room if we have a strong early response.  Purchasing your tickets in advance ensures our room reservation and saves loads of time at the restaurant.

Everybody is welcome, not just evangelicals or textual critics.

New Book by Ed Gallagher on the Septuagint’s Place in History and Theology


I’m not sure how I missed this new book by Edmon Gallagher called Translation of the Seventy: History, Reception, and Contemporary Uses of the Septuagint. John Meade probably told me about it 10× and I wasn’t listening forgot. So let me remedy that by highlighting the book. I have only just ordered a copy so can’t opine on it but I expect it to be good given his previous work on the subject. Here’s the blurb:

Hardly any text shaped early Christian theology more crucially than the Septuagint. But what meaning does that have for today? Many Christians have argued that God provided the Septuagint as the church's Old Testament. But what about all the differences between the Septuagint and the Hebrew Bible? And what about the extra books of the Septuagint, the so-called Apocrypha or deuterocanonical literature? Written with students in mind, Translation of the Seventy explores each of these issues, with a particular focus on the role of the Septuagint in early Christianity. This fresh analysis of the New Testament’s use of the Septuagint and the complex reception of this translation in the first four centuries of Christian history will lead scholars, students, and general readers to a renewed appreciation for this first biblical translation.