Thursday, May 31, 2007
Arie asked for comments on the article. For some reason my reply to the discussionlist is bouncing back so I have to reply offlist to Arie. Anyway, Kim's article (and the dating of P46) was discussed on the old TC-list, and the particular thread was started by no other than the founder of the new textualcriticism discussionlist, Wieland Willker:
... followed by several other messages in the thread.
Here is a picture of Alexandrinus (02) for this verse:
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
From the Blurb: 'Spanning the entire manuscript era, from the 2nd to 16th centuries, this lavishly illustrated history traces the evolution of Bible manuscripts - from the first Greek fragments unearthed in Roman Egypt to some of the last vernacular Bible produced in Renaissance Europe before the total dominance of printing.'
After a brief and helpful introduction (by SM), the book consists of 142 lovely full colour photographs of manuscripts held in the British Library. "Bible Manuscripts" means actually "Christian Bible Manuscripts" (since Hebrew Manuscripts have their own book in the series). Of Greek New Testament ones there are some fairly predictable majuscules (e.g. P5, P18, 01, 03) and a few minuscules (699, 640, 113). The vast majority of manuscripts offered (reflecting something of the weight of material in the West and hence in the British Library) are Latin (although Old English, Old Saxon, Syriac, French, Serbian, English, Dutch, German, Catalan, and Church Slavonic are all represented, as is the Harley Trilingual Psalter in Greek, Latin and Arabic), and the majority of the photographs, as is common in these sorts of collections, are of pages with decorations, canon tables, portraits etc. and not always a lot of text. So the collection is more useful and interesting for thinking about the history of the influence and interpretation of the Bible than about the text itself.
Two things I learned (among others):
- the Apocalypse produced a high proportion of interesting illustrations (certainly compared to the proportion of Greek manuscripts, since here it is the least well represented portion of the New Testament - perhaps the situation in relation to the Apocalypse in Latin manuscripts and Latin lectionaries is different [does anybody know?]).
- London, British Library, Add. MS 5111 contains two leaves of 'an extraordinary deluxe manuscript of the Four Gospels' - perhaps 6th century, gold ink, beautiful decorations etc. But this manuscript has never been used in any edition of the Greek NT and is not listed in any normal list of NT manuscripts. I never knew it existed until now. And the reason for such careless neglect?
The book is published as one aspect of the current British Library exhibit on Sacred Texts from Christianity, Judaism and Islam: "Sacred: Discover what we share", which is an interesting (!) angle to take. I am not quite sure why "Sacred: Discover the differences" wasn't chosen.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
Peter M. Head, ‘The Gospel of Judas and the Qarara Codices: Some Preliminary Observations’ Tyndale Bulletin 58.1 (2007), 1-23.
Peter J. Williams, ‘P115 and the Number of the Beast’ Tyndale Bulletin 58.1 (2007), 151-153.
I seem to have heard of these chaps somewhere before.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
2. Rick Brannon is blogging on manuscripts of the Pastoral Epistles: intro and 0259 and 0262 (this last with a photo and a strange comment about me).
3. Stephen Carlson has written on conjectural emendations proposed for 1 Cor 4:6, discussing James C. Hanges, “1 Corinthians 4:6 and the Possibility of Written Bylaws in the Corinthian Church,” JBL 117 (1998): 275-298; and 1 Cor 15:31-32, discussing Dennis R. MacDonald, “A Conjectural Emendation of 1 Cor 15:31-32: Or the Case of the Misplaced Lion Fight,” HTR 73 (1980): 265-276.
Friday, May 18, 2007
The Editio Critica Maior has seen at least two fundamental developments take place within the period of publication of the first four fascicles (1997-2006). These two developments are related, fundamental to the Editio Critica Maior, and important for understanding future plans within NT textual criticism.
Firstly, this relates to the method by which the external witnesses were evaluated prior to the determination of the published text, the A-text (Ausgangstext), the text which stands at the outset of the transmission history. Specifically the edition has come to use a distinctive new method, the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method, which has been progressively developed over the last decade or so while work on the ECM was moving forward. We shall explain this method more fully later on, for the moment I simply want to note that it has been progressively applied. The James instalment, published in 1997, states only that ‘the text is established on the basis of all the evidence presented’ (11*), and doesn’t mention any new method at all.
- Proof that this method was not originally applied to James is provided in the Peter instalment: The text of the Letter of James was critically examined once more in the light of the new findings of external criteria. The earlier textual decisions were mainly confirmed, although sometimes weakened. Yet the new findings did not support a variant reading over the primary line text except in one instance (2:4/2-4), where the d reading (kai\ ou0 diekri/qhte) should be preferred to the a reading (ou0 diekri/qhte). [p. 24* note 4]
The Peter instalment, published in 2000, utilises a new method, without giving it such a clear title, based on ‘coherent groupings of genealogical significance among the witnesses’ (p. 23*). The 1 John instalment (2003) then explicitly appeals to ‘the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method’ (‘Preface’). In the final instalment (2&3 John Jude, 2005) this method is used and even abbreviated to CBGM (e.g. 37*-38*).
Secondly, this relates to the behind-the-scenes mechanisms for storing and manipulating the raw material, the transcriptions of manuscripts which form the ultimate data on which the edition is based. The 1 John instalment (2003) is the first to mention the ‘conversion of manually recorded manuscript collations to completely computerized transcriptions’. These transcriptions ‘were checked for discrepancies with the aid of the Collate program’ (‘Preface’, XVI). Wachtel and Parker explain that is was only after the launch of the first instalment, and at the same SBL meeting in San Francisco, November 1997, that they became acquainted with Peter Robinson’s work on The Canterbury Tales ‘a truly amazing electronic edition in which the user could interact with transcriptions and critical apparatus and images of the manuscripts, along with commentary and interpretative data’ (K. Wachtel & D.C Parker, ‘The Joint IGNTP/INTF Editio Critica Maior of the Gospel of John: Its Goals and their Significance for New Testament Scholarship’ [SNTS 2005; on-line], 1.). The use of the Collate software for the entering and analysing and presenting of the textual data must have been initiated then at some intervening point.
It is obvious from these two points that the ECM project has actually been a project in transition. Initiated using traditional data-handling techniques (i.e. manually recorded manuscript collations) it has become a much more technologically equipped project, with a special commitment to the Collate software and the comparison of complete collations (with promised access to images). From a method perspective as well it was initiated using traditional text-critical method and argument, but has now adopted an innovative new method (CBGM).
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I am sorry that this is again a fairly small excerpt. I shall see what I can do in terms of finding a full page. But while I am looking what do you make of this?
Monday, May 14, 2007
Over the last few years an international group of scholars has been developing a set of conventions for marking up ancient documents in XML for publication and interchange. The EpiDoc Guidelines started from the case of inscriptions, but the principles are also being applied to papyri and coins, and the aim has always been to produce standards consistent with those of the Text Encoding Initiative, used for all literary and linguistic texts.
Following on from the interest we have seen in EpiDoc training events (including recent sessions in Rome and San Diego) and the success of the London EpiDoc summer school over several years now, we shall be holding another week-long workshop here at King's College London, from the 11th-15th June this year.
• The EpiDoc Guidelines provide a schema and associated tools and recommendations for the use of XML to publish epigraphic and papyrological texts in interchangeable format. For a fuller description of the project and links to tools and guidelines see http://epidoc.sf.net/.
• The Summer School will offer an in-depth introduction to the use of XML and related technologies for publication and interchange of epigraphic and papyrological editions.
• The event will be hosted by the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London, which will provide the venue and tuition. The school is free of charge, but attendees will need to fund their own travel, accommodation, and subsistence. (There may be cheap accommodation available through KCL; please inquire.)
• The summer school is targeted at epigraphic and papyrological scholars (including professors, post-docs, and advanced graduate students) with an interest and willingness to learn some of the hands-on technical aspects necessary to run a digital project (even if they would not be marking-up texts by hand very much themselves). Knowledge of Greek/Latin, the Leiden Conventions and the distinctions expressed by them, and the kinds of data and metadata that need to be recorded by philologists and ancient historians, will be an advantage. Please enquire if you're unsure. No particular technical expertise is required.
• Attendees will require the use of a relatively recent laptop computer (Win XP+ or Mac OSX 10.3+), with up-to-date Java installation, and should acquire a copy of the oXygen XML editor (educational discount and one-month free trial available); they should also have the means to enter Unicode Greek from the keyboard. Full technical specifications and advice are available on request. (CCH may be able to arrange the loan of a prepared laptop for the week; please inquire asap.)
Places on the workshop will be limited so if you are interested in attending the summer school, or have a colleague or student who might be interested, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible with a brief statement of qualifications and interest.
Dr Gabriel BODARD
(Epigrapher & Digital Classicist)
Centre for Computing in the Humanities
King's College London
7, Arundel Street
London WC2R 3DX
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 1388
Fax: +44 (0)20 7848 2980
Thursday, May 10, 2007
ETC readers will probably be interested in the argument (although he can't quite bring himself to commit to the correct [!] view of Galatians 2.20). Any takers?
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Image to Interpretation: An Intelligent System to Aid Historians in Reading the Vindolanda Texts (Oxford Studies in Ancient Documents; Oxford: OUP, 2006)
From Blurb: "This book details the development of what appears to be the first system constructed to aid experts in the process of reading an ancient document, exploring the extent to which techniques from Artificial Intelligence can be used to develop a system that could aid historians in reading the stylus texts."
[HT: What's New in Papyrology]
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
The librarian first introduced us briefly to the library and its holdings. Then we had the chance to look specifically on some significant Latin manuscripts on display, picked out by Professor David Parker.
The first manuscript, which David Parker presented to us, is the most significant in the collection; the Gospels codex known as "The Hereford Gospels" (Hereford, Cathedral Library, MS P. I. 2 ). This is an eighth century illuminated Gospel book written in insular minuscle script, with large illuminated initials. Interestingly, it contained also a very old report on a legal decision on some matter not directly related to the manuscript itself, but in which the judge decreed that the decision should be written up "in the copy of the Gospels at Hereford Cathedral" - showing that this was already a famous manuscript then!
On the picture we see Parker (in the middle) and two colleagues examining the manuscript; we could all tell that the librarian (you can see her in the background) was a bit nervous when we stood around this most valuable manuscript and she was constantly standing close watching us and the manuscripts on display very carefully. Not many are allowed to touch this particular gem. An anonymous person has made wonderful replicas of the illuminated pages available here. (Apparently, he or she was only allowed to look and take photographs but not touch the manuscript.)
The next manuscript, a Gospel Harmony of Clement of Llanthony, dated to the 13th century, was presented by the doctoral student Cherish Ahlgren who is writing a dissertation on the subject. On the image to the right Cherish is carefully turning the pages of the codex.
A JBL article on the Gospel Harmony of Clement by Rendel Harris is available in JSTOR (free for SBL members via the SBL-site) here.
A third manuscript was presented by the main organizer of this colloquium, Dr. Hugh Houghton (holding the MS on the picture), who had the specific expertise on this codex, which contains two works relating to Augustine. First his Tractatus in euangelium Iohannis, and then the biography by Possidius, Vita S. Augustini.
A manuscript with the same contents produced in England at roughly the same time is in the Bodleian Library. See description here (Ms. e Mus. 6).
In sum, the excursion was as nice, interesting, and well organized as the whole colloquium, not least thanks to Hugh Houghton. More pictures from the colloquium are available here.
Update: Thanks to Hugh for updating me on the "juridicial note" in the Hereford Gospels! (I have revised the original post accordingly.)
III. Pauline Letters
IV. Catholic Letters
Now, the recently completed Catholic Epistles, although initially published in eight separate fascicles, is basically containable in a single physical volume (649 pages in my calculation); but the rest of them are not going to be. You would have to think that the Gospels, although ostensibly a single "volume", will no doubt require at least two physical volumes each (perhaps Mark may be able to be presented in a single volume); and probably something similar could be said for Acts (i.e. at least two physical volumes); while Paul’s letters will certainly also need to be published in up to six volumes, with Revelation requiring perhaps two. This would mean the total might be nineteen physical volumes - NINETEEN. And I am not counting the additional volumes of supplementary studies and textual commentary which are also promised.
By way of comparison, the Catholic Epistles take up 43 pages in NA27 (out of 680 pages in total); if this was representative and proportional we might expect the whole NT to take up 680/43 or 16 volumes. But the Catholic Epistles were chosen (I seem to remember this) partly because there are fewer manuscripts and fewer harmonistic type variants so the whole show is simpler in the Catholic Epistles. There are almost four times as many manuscripts of John than of the Catholic Epistles! So perhaps nineteen is an underestimation.
Anyway, I'm going for nineteen: you heard it here first, the ECM will take up NINETEEN physical volumes. Or do you have a better estimation?
Monday, May 07, 2007
Friday, May 04, 2007
City of the Sharp-nosed Fish: Greek lives in Roman Egypt
320pp. Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN: 978 0 297 64588 7
Mary Beard has written a review of the book in the Times Literary Supplement (and published on artlblogger here). Here is an extract of the very positive review:
"Parsons, who recently retired from the Regius Chair of Greek at Oxford, has been involved with the Oxyrhynchus project for almost half a century. His aim in City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish is to use the surviving scraps of papyrus to provide a guide to the life and letters of this ancient city for the non-specialist as much as for the professional Classicist. (The original germ of the book came from a “Commentary” in the TLS in 1998.) He writes with tremendous verve and wit, and with memorable turns of phrase. I liked, for example, the idea of Egypt being the “California of opportunity” to the Ancient Greeks. The sheer elegance of his style tends to make the reconstruction and synthesis he has attempted look effortless. In fact, it depends on truly phenomenal learning and expertise. It is hard enough to decipher the handwriting of these documents, let alone to work out how any particular fragment might fit into a bigger picture, and then to explain it to a general audience, as he does, without dumbing down."
There is another review in New Statesman here.
Here are two links with more on Oxyrhynchus:
The homepage of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri Project at
And a more "popular" introduction at the webpages of BBC (in connection with an old programme) at:
On the BBC pages there is a quiz to test your knowledge about Oxyrhynchus, I got the score 7/10 (before reading the pages), try to beat me, good luck!
This book has probably the most opaque and inappropriate title and subtitle combination in the history of mankind.
Basically the title is opaque and the subtitle is completely inaccurate.
I am sorry to have to say this, but I really need to get this off my chest so that I can review the actual contents of the book. Having read the book I think that Two Gospels From One means that two gospels, i.e. Matthew and Luke, are derived in some fundamental and literary way from one other gospel, i.e. Mark. There have been other ways to talk about this (‘Markan Priority’, ‘the two source hypothesis’ spring to mind), but for some unexplained reason the title attempts a new and obscure way to suggest this.
But my utter astonishment must be reserved for the subtitle, A Comprehensive Text-Critical Analysis of the Synoptic Gospels. Now let's think about this for just a moment:
- ‘comprehensive’ normally means ‘complete; including all or nearly all elements’;
- ‘analysis’ normally means ‘a detailed examination of the elements or structure of a substance, etc.’;
- ‘text-critical’ normally means pertaining to ‘the process of attempting to ascertain the correct reading of a text’; and
- ‘the Synoptic Gospels’ normally mean Matthew, Mark and Luke (the quotations come from the Concise Oxford Dictionary, but I have been assured that they also work in American).
So I was disappointed to find that this book actually contains an examination of the Nestle-Aland apparatus to 173 verses of Mark, which yields results that are then applied to the relationship between Matthew and Mark in these same 173 verses, with a view to making a contribution to the study of the synoptic problem, specifically the question as to whether Mark or Matthew should be regarded as having literary priority in relation to the other.
So, just to get this off my chest, it is not ‘comprehensive’, it is not a ‘text-critical analysis’ and it doesn’t deal with ‘the synoptic Gospels’.
Perhaps I am out of line here. After all, I wrote a book entitled Christology and the Synoptic Problem: An argument for Markan Priority, because the subject of the book was the use of christological data in the synoptic problem and I constructed an argument for Markan priority. I write articles with titles ranging from ‘On the Christology of the Gospel of Peter’, through ‘Singular Readings in the Early Fragmentary Papyri of John: Some Observations on the Habits of New Testament Copyists’, to ‘The Gospel of Judas and the Qarara Codices: Some Preliminary Observations’. I may veer to the functional extreme, I don’t know. But this title is patently out of line, it is false advertising. Even more shocking that it comes from an evangelical Christian publisher whose primary mission ‘is to develop and distribute—with integrity and excellence—trusted, biblically based resources that lead individuals to know and serve Jesus Christ.’ So where is the ‘integrity’ here? How does this invite ‘trust’? Just not good enough I’m afraid.
Introduction by Philip Rousseau; essays written by Daniel Boyarin, Catherine Burris, Catherine Chin, Gillian Clark, Catherine Conybeare, Kim Haines-Eitzen, Caroline Humfress, Chrysi Kotsifou, John Lowden, Claudia Rapp, Daniel Sarefield, and Mark Vessey. (HT: What's New in Papyrology)
From the very beginning Christianity was a religion of books—a lived, but also a written faith. The essays in this collection focus on the ways in which books were produced, used, treasured, and conceptualized in the early Christian centuries (AD 100–600). During this crucial period, just after the New Testament writings were composed, Christianity grew from the religion of a tiny minority in the eastern Roman Empire to the religion of the empire itself, and beyond. To no small extent, this success was based on the power of its books.
Written by experts in the field, the essays in this volume examine the early Christian book from a wide range of disciplines: religion, art history, history, Near Eastern studies, and classics. Topics include theories of the book, book production and use, books as sacred objects, and problems of gender, authorship, and authority.
By examining Christian books from multiple perspectives, this book invites readers into the entire “bookish” world of early Christianity: a world of writing and reading practices, of copying and exchanging texts, of persuading and debating with books, and of representing holiness and power through codices of the law, the scriptures, and the lives of the saints. Essays cover a wide geographical range and discuss texts written all across the Mediterranean world—in Greek, Latin, Coptic, Syriac, and Hebrew. All ancient texts are translated into English, some for the first time.
Intended for general readers, students, and scholars alike—anyone with a serious interest in early Christianity—this work brings together exciting currents of new research. It also opens up fresh questions and lines of inquiry in the study of this perennially important and fascinating subject.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
According to the BBC photographic images can be requested during this period. The necessary forms for photographic requests can be found here.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
I just received today a copy of (some of) the collected essays of Neville Birdsall (J. Neville Birdsall, Collected Papers in Greek and Georgian Textual Criticism [Text and Studies, 3rd series, vol. 3; Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2006]. A splendid collection (though it is to be regretted that understandable space considerations precluded the republication of his magnificent essay in the Cambridge History of the Bible). The one essay I had not previously seen was his 1984 inaugural lecture at the University of Birmingham, and I promptly read it with much interest. It is very much worth a thoughtful read.
In light of Dirk Jongkind's posting of 23 April on theologically motivated variation, the following comment by Birdsall caught my eye. In discussing features which set NT textual criticism apart from that of other ancient languages (the first is its language), Birdsall writes:
"Second of the peculiarities of the text of the New Testament is that which arises through the use of these documents as the standard of reference in theological discussion. Changes came about which were intended as elucidations of the true meaning of the text, or to guard against false meaning being imported into the interpretation of the text. This has often been denied, but in my view the evidence cannot be gainsaid. The changes are not great, their reasons can readily be perceived: but they are there and we can trace the development of doctrine in them." (p. 6) For an essay delivered in 1984, the phrasing of some of his statements is remarkably prescient.