In Appendix One, listing the various early Christian manuscripts, Hurtado distinguishes those written on papyrus, those written on vellum, those written on parchment, and those written on leather. The first is obvious, but distinguishing the others is more tricky. In his list of OT texts he notes only those which are parchment and those which are leather. In his NT and Early Christian text list he distinguishes various manuscripts as written on either vellum or parchment. From the list:
- 0171 is vellum
- 0162 is parchment
- 0189 is parchment
- 0220 is vellum
- 0232 is parchment
- 0308 is parchment
- POxy 1828 (Hermas) is parchment
- 0212 (Dura Europos Harmony) is parchment
- PVindob G 39756 (Apoc of Peter?) is parchment
The Encylopedia Britannica (on-line) says re parchment and vellum that 'the terms have been used interchangeably since the Middle Ages'. And I confess that I have not carefully distinguished the two in my thinking and teaching. Nor does Hurtado hint at any distinction when it comes up in the book (e.g. p. 5, 209). So this raises a series of questions:
- Granted that LH probably hasn't investigated this by autopsy, I assume he may have copied the term that was used by the editor of the piece. So does this list accurately distinguish between vellum and parchment?
- Is it really possible to make this distinction? [E.g. by visible hair marks]
- If it is possible does the distinction have any implications in terms of costs, location, etc.?
- Has anybody ever attempted something so thoroughly artefactual as this?
I confess to being shamefully ignorant on this matter. I'm sure some of you will know more than me about this. For an attempt to distinguish between parchment and vellum in terms of production, artefact, and textual result, note the following (cited from here; for a similar explanation see here or try wikipedia):
Parchment is made from the split skin of the sheep. The grain, or wool, side of the skin is made into skiver, a strong leather; the flesh, or lining, side of the skin is converted into parchment, provided the skin is suited to this exacting purpose. If not, the lining side is usually made into the less expensive chamois or suede.
Vellum is usually calfskin prepared by a lengthy exposure in lime, scraped with a rounded knife and finally rubbed smooth with pumice stone. As a rule, vellum is made from the entire skin, not split as is parchment made from sheepskin. Vellum is also made from goat, lamb, and deerskin, and can usually be distinguished from parchment by the grain and hair marks producing a somewhat irregular surface.
In many European manuscript books executed by monks upon parchment and vellum a difference between the hair side and the flesh side of the pages is noticeable, the latter being somewhat whiter in appearance. The difference is more pronounced in earlier books as later parchmenters used more chalk and pumice on the hair side than was the custom earlier. In order to make these differences less obvious to the reader, scribes would organize the sheets, prior to writing, so that one spread consisted of hair sides, and the next spread of flesh sides, alternating throughout the manuscript.