Friday, August 28, 2009

More on New Manuscripts of the NT

The Institute für neutestamentliche Textforschung (INTF) has published a new update of the Kurzgefasste Liste (090820).

The number of papyri is 125. Peter reported recently on the new fragment P. Oxy 4934 containing 1 Peter 1:23-2:5; 7-12. This is P125. The most recent fragment of Hebrews, P126, is not included in this update since it was registered after 20 August .

The list of uncials now reaches up to 0320.

0319 = Codex Sangermanensis (St Petersburg), a copy of Codex Claromontanus known as Dabs1
0320 = Codex Waldeccensis (Marburg), another copy of Codex Claromontanus known as Dabs2

The list of minuscules reaches 2897. Images of 2892, 2893, 2895-2897 (MSS in the Van Kampen collection in Orlando, Florida) can be viewed at the CSNTM website. Greg.-Aland 2894 is a manuscript in the Getty Museum that I sent in for registration in Münster a while ago.

The list of lectionaries reaches up to L2438.

Papyrus 126: A New Fragment of Hebrews

Today Claire Clivaz announced on the textual criticism discussion list that a new papyrus manuscript, PSI 1497, has been registered as P126. The fragment contains Heb 13:12-13, 19-20 and is dated to the fourth century,

Editio princeps:

Papiri Greci e Latini, Firenze : Le Monnier : Istituto papirologico
"G. Vitelli", vol. 15, 2008, p. 171-172.

Clivaz also reminded of the conference «Egyptian New Testament Papyri among Others» that will take place at the University of Lausanne, in October 22-24, where she will hold a lecture that includes information about this new papyrus.

More information about the conference in this flyer.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Leaf from Codex Sinaiticus Update

As I reported from the Codex Sinaiticus conference in July, Father Justin, librarian at St Catherine's monastery, announced in his presentation on the new finds of 1975 that most probably a new leaf of Codex Sinaiticus has recently been discovered in the binding of another codex by a scholar who is working on the bookbindings of the monastery.

Father Justin showed two different images of the new discovery. This second, if I remember correctly, is an enhanced image revealing more clearly the text from Joshua 1:11 (the text may have been enforced). On this poor photo at least the following text is visible:

τρεις η
μεραι και υμεις δι
αβαιν[ετε το]ν Ιορ

At this point it is unclear if and when the fragment will be removed from the binding. It may await future technological advancements.

Father Justin's presentation was one of the best during this conference. Just like our Peter Head he really knew how to handle his Power Point. Father Justin has a very interesting background. He is actually an American, son of Baptist missionaries. Read an interview with Father Justin in Biblical Archaeology Review on-line, "An American Monk in Sinai."

Dan Wallace reports from Father Justin's visit to Dallas in April here.

The person who can be seen sitting in the panel to the right is the archbishop of the monastery, Archbishop Damianos, who had just spoken about "The Shepherd of Hermas and its inclusion in Codex Sinaiticus: almost Scripture." He spoke in Greek and the English translation appeared on the screen.

Other links to the discovery of a new leaf:

Has a New Fragment of Sinaiticus Been Found
Codex Sinaiticus on CNN
Codex Sinaiticus Online

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Six Steps How to Deliver a Successful Paper

1. Preparation on the platform in Cambridge

2. Preparation on the train to London

3. Preparation in the hotel lobby in London

4. Preparation on the floor

5. Preparation in bed

6. Delivery

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Beyond Free-Variation: Scribal Repertoires in Egypt from the Old Kingdom to the Early Islamic Period

I just heard about this conference in Oxford on 14-16 September.
‘Beyond Free-Variation’ is devoted to the micro-analysis of Egyptian scribal texts and the variation found therein, be it palaeographic, orthographic, or linguistic. The conference aims to raise questions and identify problems related to variation across boundaries of time and period, including ancient Egyptian, Demotic, Coptic, Greek, Latin, and Arabic. By adopting such a comparative and diachronic approach, our overarching aim is to address the stability, or instability, of scribal conventions over time, across languages, and political/cultural changes.
There are no papers on biblical texts (so far as I can see), but some of the papers do discuss some interesting issues. There is a conference web site, and here are some abstracts.

Significant Spaces in P46

I was looking at Kenyon's edition of the text of P46 (1935), as one does, and I noticed that the edited text marks out certain spaces. For the first page of Hebrews the following have a large space:
  1. v1: PROFHTAIS (space) EP ESXATOU
  2. v2: EN UIW (space) ON EQHKEN
  3. v3: TOUS AIWNAS (space) OS WN
  4. v5: TWN AGGELWN (space) UIS MOU
  5. v6: EIS UN (space) OTAN DE
Looking at the facsimile however (as one does), it becomes apparent that the perception of the editor as to what is significant for punctuation has been at work here, since there are other spaces equal or larger, that are not signalled. So I measured the spaces in this page and then put them in order of width:

  1. v6: EIS UN (4.8mm) OTAN DE
  2. v1: POLU (3.7mm) MEROS
  3. v2: HMEIN (3.3mm) EN UIW
  4. v2: EN UIW (3.2mm) ON EQHKEN
  5. v1: POLUMEROS (3.1mm) KAI
  6. v2: TOUTWN (2.8mm) ELALHSEN
  7. v3: TOUS AIWNAS (2.8mm) OS WN
  8. v1: PALAI (2.5 mm) O QS
  9. v3: DI AUTOU (2.5 mm) KAQARISMON
  11. v5: TWN AGGELWN (2.2mm) UIS MOU
  12. v1: PROFHTAIS (2.1mm) EP ESXATOU
  13. v2: KLHRONOMON (2.1mm) PANTWN
  14. v3: AUTOU (2.0mm) FERWN
  15. v4: TOSOU (2.0mm) TWN
What does this show? I wasn't sure so I looked at the introduction. Here is what Kenyon says:

Pauses in sense are occasionally indicated by slight space-intervals between words. Prof. Sanders has indicated a large number of such intervals, but most of them have, I think, no significance. Some are due to flaws in the papyrus (as at junctions of kollemata), some to the scribe's habit of leaving a slight space after an abbreviation, some seem to be purely accidental or hardly perceptible. I have thought it best to indicate them only when they are plainly intentional and denote a pause in the sense. Only an examination of the facsimile will show exactly what the facts are. They suggest at any rate some perception by the scribe of the sense of what he was writing. (p. xiv)
This is interesting. It suggests that correspondence with what Kenyon thought was 'a pause in the sense' was one critical factor in identifying the significant spaces, which suggests that this is not a particularly objective measure. Of course there is wisdom to be gained from constant and thoughtful exposure to manuscripts and Kenyon's opinions are obviously thoughtful and experienced. But if one wanted to study P46 in order to understand the "perception by the scribe of the sense of what he was writing", one would need to do a lot of careful thinking (and even perhaps some measuring). Indeed, although Kenyon said that "only an examination of the facsimile will show exactly what the facts are", his comment that some spaces are not significant because they are due to flaws in the papyrus would suggest that only an examination of the manuscript itself will show exactly what the facts are.

I think it would be a good study to look at the use of space for 'pauses in sense' in P46, but there would be quite a few method issues to think through.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

J. K. Elliott on Stephanus' 3d Edition (1550)

In the current issue of New Testament Studies 55.3 (2009): 390-95, J. K. Elliott has a short study on "Manuscripts Cited by Stephanus."


The third edition of Stephanus' Greek New Testament (ΤΗC ΚΑΙΝΗC ΔΙΑΘΗΚΗC ΑΠΑΝΤΑ: Paris, 1550), known as the editio regia, is held in high regard in English Protestantism. It was this text which underlay the English translation (by W. Whittingham and others) published in Geneva in 1557 that greatly influenced the Geneva Bible published three years later. In effect, Stephanus' edition was the Textus Receptus of the Greek New Testament for over three hundred years.

In his description of Stephanus' third edition of the Greek New Testament (1550) Elliott also includes a helpful table to identify the fifteen witnesses cited in the margin of the edition. Elliott also gives examples of a number of inaccuracies in the edition, some of which were noted already by Wetstein 1730. In this connection he points out that Scrivener had noticed that Codex Bezae was sometimes only loosely cited. I think this particular problem applies not only to Bezae in Stephanus' edition. In fact, in Jude I know that there are not only errors in the four or five MSS that Stephen cited there, but many interesting and significant variants in those MSS are not indicated at all.

Elliott further says that "modern readers may find it useful to examine (with care) Stephanus’ apparatus for access to and information on the readings of the now lost manuscripts cited (8a-10p, 3r, and perhaps 50a-8p)." In my own work on Jude I did that with 8a - a lost MS that could be accessed only through Stephanus' apparatus. I could conclude that this now lost MS shared most of its readings with 1846. Elliott also suggests that Stephanus' edition could be consulted for readings not found in modern editions.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Uncatalogued MSS on the CSNTM Website

Jeff Hargis, field director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) has announced on the textual criticism discussion list that two additional uncatalogued manuscripts have been posted on the CSNTM website.

During the 2008–2009 expedition season, CSNTM photographed two previously uncatalogued manuscripts in the United Kingdom. The first, Fragment B at Christ’s College in Cambridge, is an eleventh century, two-leaf minuscule from John’s gospel. The second is a tenth century, 284-leaf gospels minscule manuscript held in a private collection. Both of these manuscripts are now posted in the “Manuscripts” portion of the website.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Top 20 Keywords Driving Traffic to This Site

The top 20 keywords driving traffic to this site from search engines (updated monthly on Alexa) are:

codex sinaiticus online
textual criticism
devil bible
codex sinaiticus
the devil's bible
bart ehrman interview mp3
alexandrian witnesses
wallace ehrman debate
peter head textual
misquoting jesus
swedish seminaries
greek new testament online
sbl tov scribal habits
charles agousi
"textual criticism" programs
randy harris oxy
maurice robinson
p-39 for sale
coptic keyboard askeland

We note that Codex Sinaiticus and textual criticism have now surpassed the devil's bible. Christian Askeland has moved into the top-20 with a coptic keyboard. Peter Head is sitll associated with something textual. I suppose randy harris is Rendell Harris, but who is charles agousi?

'the word of power': Hebrews 1.3 (P46 et al)

One of the potential dangers in eclectic texts is that the mechanisms used for indicating variants may mislead readers into isolating variants that are actually in close relationship with each other (and you do see this a lot even in scholarly writing). Take Hebrews 1.3 in NA27 as an example.
The omission of AUTOU is indicated separately from the addition of DI AUTOU - and in any case they relate to different editorially indented (participial) clauses, which could lead you to think that these are basically separate variants, the origins of which could be described and discussed separately.
But some attention to the witnesses for these variants, or an examination of some of the manuscripts, will help show that they are related.
Lacking AUTOU: P46 0243 6 1739 1881* pc
Having DI (E)AUTOU: P46 0243 1739 1881 (and others)

Take a look at P46 at this point:

P46 doesn't omit AUTOU and then add DI AUTOU. It reads DI AUTOU instead of AUTOU. Nor in fact, based on P46, do we really know whether DI AUTOU is linked with FERWN (the preceding verb) or POIHSAMENOS (the following verb) - there is no indication either way. Either way it is difficult to construe, and suggests an odd change of subject.
Perhaps one could even argue that this reading is the harder reading, and ought to be presented as the A-text. If this is printed as the main text, then you would only have a single variant marker leading to two major alternative readings: a) the difficulty of the change of subject leads to the simple modification to DI EATOU in one textual tradition; and b) the deletion of the tricky DI in the other.

Help with the Codex

This is not very new news, but always makes me laugh.

Interesting Russian Site

I've stumbled across an interesting site, that many of you may already know about, but which I had not noticed before. evidently plans to have a significant collection of primary texts available, including all the major biblical versions. Currently their Peshitta is in a form where letters do not have ligatures, but, nevertheless to have these texts available is significant. They also have Rabbinic material. Not all links work, though I was able to get through to parts of the Tosephta. Anyway, it would be good to encourage this site, because if they deliver what it looks like they aim to, it will be excellent.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Catalogue of Greek Medieval and Renaissance MSS in the US, pt. 1

Recently, I came across "Catalogue of Greek Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Collections of the United States of America" edited by Nadezhda Kavrus-Hoffmann, four installments of which have been published thus far in the journal Manuscripta (Brepols).

Part I
Vol. 49,2 (2005):165-245

Part II
Vol. 50,1 (2006): 21-76

Part III
Vol. 51,1 (2007): 61-130

Part IV.1
Vol. 52,1 (2008): 65-174

Part IV.2
Vol. 52,2 (2008): 207-324

This is a wonderful resource that updates a lot of material in Kenneth W. Clark's catalogue of GNT MSS in the US. In the following series of blogpost I will briefly list and comment on the GNT MSS that appear in the installments. First however, I would like to cite from the introduction (in part I):

The need for cataloguing Greek medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the collections of the United States of America has long been felt. There exists no comprehensive survey for these materials apart from Kenneth W. Clark’s specialized catalogue of Greek New Testament manuscripts, in which Clark observed then, even for this subset, that “America’s acquisitions [had] outrun her cataloguing.” The same state of affairs still obtains. Although Seymour de Ricci’s Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Faye and Bond’s later Supplement record a greater number and broader range of Greek manuscripts, regardless of their genre, they did not encompass them all and their information was brief and is now much out of date. Very few libraries today, even the major ones, have complete and reasonably up-to-date published catalogues of their holdings based on original research, and even fewer libraries provide descriptions of the Greek manuscripts in their collections (165-166).


The catalogue will be issued serially in parts and arranged in geographical order. This first part of the catalogue begins in New York City with the Greek manuscripts of Columbia University, containing nineteen manuscripts and fragments. The next issue will contain the manuscripts of the New York Public Library. The collections of the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York University, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Union Theological Seminary of New York City will follow. Subsequent installments appearing in geographical progression will include manuscripts from collections in Boston and Cambridge, Madison (N.J.), Philadelphia, Washington (D.C.), Chicago, Maywood (Ill.), Ann Arbor, and Durham (N.C.). The final installment will include miscellaneous smaller collections dispersed throughout the country (171).

Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Med/Ren Frag. 49

"The Gospel of Matthew, fragment (not in Aland) Greece, Mt. Athos (?), s.xiii–xiv"

In 2006 I noted the existence of this fragment with Matt 3:16-4:21 and after correspondence with the INTF we could identify it as a leaf from Gr.-Al. 2491. This means that the MS is located in four different places (Berlin, Bern, Durham and New York). In light of this identification the entry in the catalogue needs some minor revision as does Aland's Kurzgefasste Liste.

According to the notes in the internal library file, the fragment was taken from a manuscript copied in a monastery at Mt. Athos. Another note attributed to Dr. Junkelmann, dated 1936, reads: "the Prussian State Library, Berlin, also acquired some leaves of this set." An anonymous note in the folder reads: "The other leaf presented to Dr. Chickering, Jamaica High School, 18 October 1938."

Well, 36 folios are still in Berlin, another 24 folios are in Bern, whereas two folios are in the US, in Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library and in Duke University Library. I suspect that "the other leaf presented to Dr. Chickering" is the one in Duke that contains Matt 22:31-23:10.

The liste dates 2491 to the 12th cent. whereas Kavrus-Hoffmann dates it to the late 13th or early 14th cent.

Plimpton MS 2
= Gr.-Al. L1562 (lesk); 11th cent. (Liste); mid-12th cent. (Kavrus-Hoffmann)

Plimpton MS 11
= Gr.-Al. L1120 (lesk; former L1636); 13th cent. (Liste); second half of 13th or early 14th cent.

Plimpton MS 12
= Gr.-Al. 2460; 12th cent. (Liste); second half of 13th or early 14th cent. These are two leaves with Matt 12:36-50 and 14:3-21 from a Gospel MS divided between three locations. Apart from Columbia Univ. Library, the Zosimaia School Library, Ioannina (Greece), holds 195 fols., and the Bibelmuseum in Münster holds eight fols. with Matt 18:32-22:9.

Regarding the script and dating Kavrus-Hoffmann says:

The script is medium-sized, somewhat rigid, slightly leaning to the right archaizing minuscule, typical for the second half of the thirteenth to the beginning of the fourteenth century. The archaizing features are the following: some letters (majuscule epsilon and lambda, tall tau, closed form of theta, and a ligature majuscule epsilon-phi) are slightly enlarged; there is a high percentage of majuscule and semi-majuscule forms (alpha, epsilon, eta, kappa, lambda, pi, and sigma) reintroduced into the minuscule; majuscule lambda descends below the line; and majuscule kappa has a form similar to that of Theodore Hagiopetrites. Use of hyphens also indicates a later than twelfth-century date, although Murphy refers to this fragment as an early example of hyphenation.

Plimpton MS 14 (cover folio)
Lectionary, fragments (not in Liste), 11th cent.

According to Kavrus-Hoffmann the fragment found in the cover of another book contains a lection from Luke 24:47-49, but when I transcribed it I identifed the text as ranging from Luke 24:43-50. I will discuss this MS further in a coming blogpost.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Parker, 'Variants and Variance'

It will no doubt be of interest to readers of the blog to know that David Parker is giving a plenary lecture entitled 'Variants and Variance' at the British New Testament Conference in Aberdeen, on 4 September. Details of the conference are here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

'God spoke to our fathers': Hebrews 1.1 (P12 and P46)

In Hebrews 1.1 there is an interesting variant cited in NA27: '... God spoke to OUR fathers in the prophets...'. The support for this reading is given as: P12vid.46c pc ar t v vgmss syp; Cllat (sorry, can't do superscripts). That is an interesting collection of witnesses which amounts to:
  • Two NT papyri (one apparently supporting this reading [hence vid], the other in a correction [hence c])
  • Some other Greek witnesses (unspecified, probably minuscules - since uncials would probably be cited if they agreed with P46; could be tracked down if necessary, but won't do that for now).
  • Three Old Latin witnesses: ar t v; some manuscripts of the Vulgate (number and identities unspecified);
  • The peshitta;
  • Clement [of Alexandria] somewhere preserved in a Latin translation.
The two NT papyri are both interesting. The first, P12, is not a NT manuscript at all. It is a Christian letter of the third century, with a citation from Heb 1.1 above the central of three columns. This is rather fragmentary, but here is a picture of the relevant portion:

This is a bit tricky and I'm not really sure there is much of the supposed HMWN visible here; but it is not a good photo so I suppose I'd be marginally inclined to believe that the original editors did see the letters they claimed (they certainly did not know this reading from any other manuscript - also
NTTranscripts agrees with the HM[W]N and disagrees with the final word suggesting, as one would expect, that they have looked at it carefully)). It would be nice to have a new picture with the papyrus properly flattened out and spaced correctly (maybe there is one somewhere?). The original editors (Grenfell & Hunt, P. Amherst III, 1900) read this as:


The correction in P46 is much clearer:

Friday, August 07, 2009

New fragment of 1 Peter (P. Oxy 4934)

The most recent volume of The Oxyrhynchus Papyri (vol 73), includes one new NT manuscript: P. Oxy 4934. This contains (portions of) 1 Peter 1.23-2.5 & 7-12 on papyrus, dated late III - early IV. Here are some photos (with link to the Oxy web-site):

Codex Sinaiticus Project: Some Observations

1. One of the purposes of the Codex Sinaiticus Project (for some previous discussion see here) is to make images available on-line but one can only view them within the structures offered (which are cumbersome for many purposes) and one can't actually download any images - so it is hardly open access to the material. The CSNTM approach here is far superior for being less encumbered and more downloadable.

2. Both of the two transcribers (Tim Brown and Amy Myshrall) have said that the best part of their work (in producing an electronic transcription of the entire manuscript) consisted in their having access to the actual original manuscript pieces on location in their four libraries. The transcribers recognise the unique value of the actual artifact (and indeed the scholarly necessity of consulting the actual artifact to check certain readings is reinforced within the project - the electronic media and even the high quality digital images cannot replace the actual codex).

3. The Codex Sinaiticus Project has enabled 'the virtual unification of the whole codex' in one web site. This is true, but as a user there is a sense in which ones experience of the codex is distinctly fragmented, especially compared with using the Lake facsimiles. This fragmentation occurs on both micro and macro levels: on the page level the framing restricts what is actually visible on screen; and in particular the distinctive eight-columned openings cannot be presented at all. Moving around and zooming in on particular location is possible, but is sometimes delayed. And on the whole codex level the handling of the facsimile volumes offers a much more significant parallel to handling the actual manuscript than does the virtual experience on-line.

4. I hope that the Codex Sinaiticus Project will produce a facsimile (photographic) reproduction of the available material. I hope that the images will be made available in some way as well.

Tim Finney on Analysis of Textual Variation

Tim Finney has emailed to say that he has finished the fifth chapter of his electronically published book entitled Analysis of Textual Variation. The book, he claims, is a step in the direction of creating a method whereby a quantitative assessment of the question of the reliability of the scribal copying process of the Bible could be made. (Update: Tim writes: "
Unfortunately, the part of the book which is to address such things remains in my head!") It also contains extensive discussions of various statistical and analytical models applied to the textual criticism of the Bible (with special attention to the Epistle to the Hebrews).

Here are the chapter headings:

1. Introduction
2. Encoding textual variation
3. Dissimilarity
4. Exploratory multivariate analysis
5. A survey of textual space
(Up-date: I have removed the links after advice from Tim, since his regular up-dates can result in lost links or presumably to old links linking to old versions; so use the PURL link above)

5. A survey of textual space

I'm sure Tim would love some interaction on the book, and I wonder about the best way to facilitate that. We could certainly host a review session, or a chapter-by-chapter discussion. What do you think?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

IGNTP blog on editing John

The International Greek New Testament Project has begun a blog on the editing of the Gospel of John.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Black Day for Theology in Sweden Follow-up

After reading my blogpost A Black Day for Theology in Sweden, Colin Hansen of Christianity Today contacted me because he wanted to do a follow-up article on the situation of our seminary and of theological education in general in Sweden. I and our principal Pekka Mellergård sent him comments and answers to his questions (although I was in the middle of three conferences). Hansen's article, "Seminaries in Peril. Government evaluation threatens training of Swedish pastors" has now been published (27/7) and is available in the Christianity Today online.

See also other reactions to my original post here, here, here and here.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Review of Holmes' Apostolic Fathers

Timothy Sailors, who presented in the Working with Biblical Manuscripts unit at the SBL Int. in Rome recently has written a review in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2009.07-08 of Michael W. Holmes (ed.), The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations. 3rd edition. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007. Pp. xxv, 806. ISBN 9780801034688.


Many of the critical observations in this review apply equally to other editions of the Apostolic Fathers (including the Loeb edition), though in some areas, Holmes offers marked improvements upon these. The serious student will still need to consult Lightfoot for fuller discussions and textual evidence.18 Moreover, more detailed introductions will have to be sought elsewhere: either in the Loeb edition, in the (recent or recently augmented) Sources chrétiennes volumes, or in commentaries on individual Apostolic Fathers (especially those in the Kommentar zu den Apostolischen Vätern series). Holmes has nevertheless met the need for a reliable, single-volume critical edition of the Greek texts of the Apostolic Fathers with English translations. His revision commends itself in many ways as the standard hand edition of this corpus.

Caucasian Albanian Palimpsests of Mt Sinai

Wolfgang Schulze has announced (in a new comment to an old post that I accidently deleted and could not retrieve) that the full edition of the Caucasian Albanian Palimpsests from St Catherine's Monastery (Mt. Sinai) has now been published by Brepols:

Jost Gippert, Wolfgang Schulze, Zaza Aleksidze and Jean-Pierre Mahé, eds., The Caucasian Albanian Palimpsests of Mount Sinai. Monumenta Palaeographica Medii Aevi/Series Ibero-Caucasica 2. 2 vols., XXIV+530 pp.; Turnhout: Brepols 2009.

Background from Schulze's homepage:

In 1996, the Georgian scientist Zaza Aleksidze – while doing documentary work in the St. Catherine monastery on Mt. Sinai – discovered two Georgian palimpsest manuscripts (conventionally labelled N/Sin-13 or M13 and N/Sin-55 or M55) that contain in their lower, heavily washed layer texts in Albanian script (see Aleksidze & Mahé 1997, 2002 for a detailed presentation of the manuscripts and a preliminary discussion of the language of the lower layers, for a presentation of the Sinai project). Meanwhile, the pioneering work of Aleksidze has been continued by Jost Gippert (Frankfurt) and Wolfgang Schulze (Munich). For the time being, nearly the totality of the readable folios of both manuscripts has been deciphered and interpreted. Aleksidze’s assumption that we have to deal with a rather old lectionary used in the Holy Service turned out to be correct. For copyright reasons, I cannot go into the details of the whole corpus (see the projected publication in Aleksidze & Gippert & Mahé & Schulze (forthcoming)). Hence, I have to restrict myself to more general remarks.

In sum, the two manuscripts consist of roughly 180 folios (recto/verso), in parts heavily distorted and only fragmentary. They show the Aluan text in horizontal lines crossed by the upper layer of Georgian text in vertical lines (see for images). The Aluan text is strongly washed out. Its characters have (in major parts) merged with the Georgian letters of the upper layer. The original Albanian text was written in two columns (22 to 23 lines per page) which 15 to 20 characters per line. In addition, smaller characters were used to add commentaries relevant for the use of the lectionary in the Holy Service. At the end of M13 n63, the scribe seems to have added a ‘personal note’.

The bulk of the lectionary is preserved in M13, whereas M55 is much smaller and more fragmentary in nature. It is not quite clear whether both manuscripts had been written at the same time. Perhaps, M13 is older stemming from the 5th or 6th century, whereas M55 has been written in the 8th century (see Aleksidze 2002). Nevertheless, it comes clear that both manuscripts originally represented a single ‘book’ which contained passages from the New Testament as well as at least one passage from the Old Testament.

Earlier, Schulze and Gippert have published an article, "Some Remarks on the Caucasian Albanian Palimpsests" in Iran and the Caucasus, Volume 11, Number 2, 2007 , pp. 201-211(11) in which they summarize their results of the analysis of the text (as far as they had examined it by then) and concludes, among other things, that the translators relied upon corresponding Old Armenian sources. At the same time, however, it can be shown that the texts in parts deviate from surviving Old Armenian Bible texts, so that Georgian, Greek, and Syriac sources must also be taken into account.

Also read our earlier report on this and related projects connected to the Georgian version and MSS here.

ITSEE Workshops: XML publishing, metadata, collaborative editing

The Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editions, Birmingham, is hosting three workshops from September 22 to September 25.

1. Tuesday 22 September: ‘SDPublisher: a new and different XML publishing system’. This workshop will present a hands-on introduction to SDPublisher, the new XML publishing system developed by people associated with ITSEE and Scholarly Digital Editions: see
2. Wednesday 23 September: ‘The Virtual Manuscript Room: linking resources and scholarship on the web’. This workshop will introduce the concepts behind the Virtual Manuscript Room project, and their implementation in the project, with particular emphasis on the use of metadata in the project to link together manuscript images, transcripts and resources related to them.
More details of both workshops can be found at

The third is a two day workshop, on the subject of "Tools for Collaborative Scholarly Editing over the Web", on Thursday 24 and Friday 25 September. The first day, "Actions: the State of the Art" on Thursday 24 September, will be open to all: in this, representatives of projects around the world will give presentations on what they have done, are doing, or plan to do, to develop tools for collaborative scholarly editing over the Web. The second day, 'Problems and Futures' on Friday 25 September, will be a series of discussions on, firstly, three key emerging problem areas (intellectual property/scholarly authority; sustainability and interoperability), and, secondly, on the possible shapes of scholarly editing in the world to come. Attendance at this second day will be by invitation only, with numbers restricted. More details of this workshop can be found at

Attendance at all workshops is open to all (with the restriction to invitees for the Friday 25 September). We have funding from the JISC (the Virtual Manuscript Room) and from the European Science Foundation (through the InterEdition project) and so are able to offer the workshops without charge. We are interested in hearing from anyone who would like to present work they are doing in relation to collaborative editing tools on Thursday 24th, and from anyone who believes that they have something to contribute to the discussions on Friday 25th.

Limited cheap accommodation is available close to the workshop venues (in the Orchard Learning Resource Centre, Selly Oak) for those who act quickly. We may be able to offer assistance with travel and accommodation, particularly to people giving presentations on Thursday 24th and taking part in the discussions on Friday 25th.

To register, or learn more, please contact either Peter Robinson (the workshops leader) or Richard Goode (the workshops organizer), details here. (via European Society for Textual Scholarship and the Society for Textual Scholarshi email)