Friday, October 30, 2009
A while back, I posted on an eBay seller who was in the business of dissecting and selling Coptic manuscripts (here). He was advertising the manuscripts as 11th century when they likely date from the 17th-19th centuries. He is currently attempting to sell a 9 meter long "Propably (sic) pre 8 Th (sic) Century ... ANCIENT CHRISTIAN COPTIC UNCIAL MANUSCRIPT BIBLE LEAF" (here). I was unable to read the "Coptic" and suspected the text was Syriac, but could not decipher anything for some reason, so I asked an expert. Prof. J. F. Coakley described the manuscript as follows:
"Looks as if someone has stitched together 20 or 30 sheets of vellum and written gibberish Syriac in gold paint on them. Presto - an ancient ms. scroll."
The seller guarantees that his products are "% 100 original," and this item can be yours for only 40,000 US dollars (OBO). The seller actually has a large number of papyri which may be quite ancient on his website, although I would suggest that buyers solicit a scholarly opinion before purchasing anything. The seller is clearly not intending to deceive, but rather misrepresents his manuscripts out of ignorance. I would renew my suggestion that eBay solicit a team of independent experts who can identify, date and catalog images of any written texts which potentially predate the invention of the printing press.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
The translation has been prepared in such a way as to highlight instances where the text of P46 diverges from the most recent critical edition of the Greek New Testament. [i.e. NA27]
That, the attention paid to corrections, and the use of the same line layout as the manuscript, could make this quite a useful tool for students and others. I have had only a brief look, but you can find it on this page: click on the link under the photo.
Similar translations for P45 and P47 will appear in due course.
The general theme is:
"Die Bibel im Spannungsfeld zwischen Forschung, Medienrummel und Fälschungsverdächtigungen"
In the first lecture Heide will discuss falsifications and authentic archaeological finds from Old Testament times (9.30AM)
The second lecture is on the general trustworthiness of the New Testament textual transmission (11.30AM)
The third lecture will treat the so-called "Jesus tomb," the entombment and the resurrection of Christ.
More details here.
Since May 2008 Martin Heide is research fellow of the DFG-Projekt "Testament Abrahams" at Phillips-Universität Marburg – Centrum für Nah- und Mittelost-Studien – Fachgebiet Semistik. He is working on a critical edition and translation of the Arabic and Ethiopic versions of the Testament of Abraham. We very much look forward to this edition.
In December 2008 Martin completed his second thesis and had his habilitation in Semistik, received the venia legendi and became Privatdozent (roughly equivalent to Associate Professor).
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
"Textual Dilemma: Studies in the Second-Century Text of the New Testament"
From the abstract:
This present research deals with hundreds of individual textual problems in order to further the discussions on the second-century text of the NT. I will study a text-critical problem in Jn 1,34 that is yet to achieve a consensus. I will argue that John the Baptist probably declared of Jesus that he is ὁ ἐκλεκτός τοῦ θεοῦ on the basis that such a reading best explains the rival readings.
Secondly, the text of Jude has been revised by two recent works that disagree on Jude 5, 13, 15, and 18. I will present my study of these textual locations and conclude that they should read ἅπαξ πάντα ὅτι ̓Ιησοῦς, ἀπαφρίζοντα, πάνταϛ τοὺϛ ἀσεβεῖϛ, and ὅτι ἔλεγον ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐπ ̓ ἐσχάτου τοῦ χρόνου, respectively. Again, scribal tendencies produced numerous rival readings into the NT textual tradition.
The bulk of the research is devoted to the orthographic Koine/Attic variations in the NT textual tradition. I will study 712 textual locations for which 373 textual locations attest two rival forms of the same word, eithoer Koine or Attic, orthographically. Based on the Greek usage on the extra-biblical non-literary and literary sources of the first two centuries, I will conclude that sometimes scribes Atticised the original Koine readings to their Attic equivalents, and in other times they modernised the spelling of the older Attic forms to their later Koine equivalents on the basis of the development of Greek during the second century. This research lays the foundation for further studies of early scribal habits in this respect. Based on my findings, I will present 94 textual changes, some probable, some tentative, to the critical text of the NT.
So today on 28 October I arrived in a cold Joensuu (it was 30 degree's Celsius in Israel). First I met Professor Lauri Thurén, who has been Flink's supervisor, and we had lunch together. In 3.15 AM (sharp) we went into a large hall together, where the audience were sitting; first the candidate, then the chairman Thurén, and finally I, and the examination began.
Before (30 secs before 3.15 PM):
I had prepared some 17 pages of material (introduction, general statement, summary, critical questions, concluding statement), from which I chose, and I can tell you that I made Flink sweat, but I know the Finnish like that (sauna), and, eventually, I recommended the Faculty of Theology to pass the dissertation and grant Flink the degree of Doctor of Theology.
After the sauna (ca. 5.15 PM):
I will perhaps come back with some more details on what was said this afternoon, but now I am off to "karonka" (festivities) in a few minutes. I am blogging this from a very nice Finnish hotel, Cumulus. One of the first things the lady in the reception told me was that the evening sauna was ready. Perhaps after the feast...
(In the photo from the left: Thurén, Wasserman, Timo Flink and his wife)
The Syriac omits the translation phrase entirely (with one exception: 15.22); the Greek witnesses vary considerably in the spelling of the various terms. Occasionally there is evidence of some knowledge of the language (e.g. the shift from KOUM to KOUMI [or vice-versa] at 5.41; or the readings with BANH- at 3.17 [although this would be Hebrew]). Possibly these could qualify as the places where the textual tradition of Mark varies the most.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
"An example of how much time it took for books to deteriorate is provided by a codex described as Nos. 144 + 411. This codex can be dated with reasonable certainty to the first years of the tenth century AD. For its upper pastedown were used fragmentary leaves taken from disused codices and containing colophons dated AD 856 and 868. These two codices had therefore fallen into a state of disrepair in about half a century."
Catalogue of Coptic Manuscripts in the Pierpont Morgan Library (Louvain: Peeters, 1993), L, fn. 30.
J. P. Morgan purchased what are now known as the Hamuli codices. Many of these manuscripts were recovered in almost perfect condition in 1910, and now are the best examples of the bindings used in ancient codices from this period. Ironically, we probably owe the survival of these manuscripts to a persecution which occurred under Fatimid caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah in 1012/1013, as monks appear to have hid them in a stone cistern in anticipation of their monastery's impending destruction. A Fayumic colophon in a Bohairic manuscript (P.Vat.Copt. 68 f.162v) dated to 1014 suggests as much (Depuydt, cxvi).
Monday, October 19, 2009
The translation is aided by open-source editing. Conseqently, when news of the translation project reached The Colbert Report, some fans inserted their host so that Gen 1:1 was changed to, "In the beginning, Stephen Colbert created the heaven and the earth." Someone else apparently changed "Pharisee" to "liberal." This changes have been corrected.
The founder of Conservapedia, Andy Schafly, says that "translations like the New International Version have added socialist ideals to the Good Book." Schlafly thinks a conservative Bible should be masculine, and not use inclusive language. It should also avoids terms like laborer or comrade, and it should put a free market spin on the sayings of Jesus. For example in Mark 10:25 where the KJV has "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God" the Conservative Bible replaces "a rich man" with "a man who cares only for money."
However, the Conservative Bible Project has drawn a massive amount of criticism from all camps, including biblical scholars. Douglas Moo at Wheaton College, one of the scholars behind the New International Version, is very skeptical about the Conservative Bible Project: "Silly is probably as kind as I could be about it," . . . "Any serious people working on Bible translation know that you have to leave as much ideology at the door as possible to do a good job."
The Tennessean reports that "the most radical change in the Conservative Bible might be dumping two passages of familiar Scripture." However, these are not radical changes from the viewpoint of New Testament textual criticism since they are the Long Ending of Mark, and the Pericope of the Adulteress. Schafly refers to the lack of attestation in the best manuscripts. On the other hand he explains that the adultery story should be cut because it portrays Jesus as being soft on sin; "It's a liberal addition, put in by people who wanted to undermine the reality of hell and judgment."
The article further refers to Jennifer Knust of Boston University who has been studying the origins of the adultery story for years. She points out that it was liberal scholars who began to question its authenticity in the 1800s: "It was the liberals who wanted to take the story out and the conservatives who wanted to keep the story," she said. I don't know if Knust really said that the story was universally accepted until the 1800's, as the article says, because that is of course not true. It is safer to say that it was generally accepted in the West, although it did survive also in the Greek tradition. Jennifer and I have written an article due for publication in Harvard Theological Review on these issues, specifically on the subject of what Jesus wrote on the ground. See here.
Probably, many conservatives today will like to keep this story in their bibles. However, Dan Wallace is not one of them. He has said that modern translation's inclusion of the story is the result of "a tradition of timidity." See more about this debate in the article in Christianity Today "Is Let Him Who Is Without Sin Cast the First Stone 'Biblical'?" See also Dan Wallace comments on the Conservatibe Bible Project on his blog.
Today I am trying a new feature on the blog, mostly for fun. It is the first poll ever: "Should the Pericope of the Adulteress be included in our bibles?"
Friday, October 16, 2009
During the summer I had the opportunity to visit the New Acropolis museum in Athens. It is a great place, certainly when compared with the old one up on the Acropolis. For those of you who will go there sooner or later, there is an interesting inscription in the first major gallery (here, at the right hand side; sorry, I don't have a picture of the actual inscription). The inv. no. is EM 8123, is published as IG II² 2894, and is dated to the end of I AD.
The eight lines of this dedication in Greek to Apollo start off with mentioning the Latin name of the donor. His praenomen is Τιβεριος which is, naturally, abbreviated as τιβ. The interesting feature is that there is an overstroke over these three letters. There is no need to set these letters apart from the other text, as the praenomen occupies a line on its own (the first line within the enclosing wreath). I have seen the overstroke used for abbreviated names in more Greek inscriptions, always indicating Latin praenomina.
It is interesting to see that the overstroke for abbreviated names is a known feature in the first century and is part of the context in which nomina sacra came into existence. I think this phenomenon affects the balance of probabilities of two notions, but without settling the issue:
1) It is likely that the nomina sacra were 'designed' in a Graeco-Roman context.
2) The origin (or original idea) for the nomina sacra started with the name ιησους in the form ιης (with overstroke).
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Among the many interesting issues raised were: 'which came first, the text or the manuscript?', 'to what extent has NT studies worked with a modern concept of authorship projected back onto the past?', 'what is the impact of the fact that the ways in which the authors imagined their work quickly disappeared in the face of new innovations?', 'where can we place the distinction between authorial stage and transmission history, for example, for the fourth gospel?', 'to what extent do digital editions imitate and illustrate the textual fluidity of the tradition?'
David wasn't really trying to answer these questions, more just help people realise that they are questions.
Two best tips: a) look at Tischendorf, not just NA27; b) have a look at Wasserman on Jude to see what you get from a complete collation of all the available evidence for a NT book.
Monday, October 12, 2009
At 1 Peter 2:3 P 125 reads Christos (Christ, abbreviated x[c ) rather than chrastos (good). This is the reading of P 72. Chapa lists the following support for the reading: P72 K L 049 33 69 614 1241 1243 1852 2298 2464 al. A full listing is found in the ECM IV Part 1, 126. The variant Christos is supported by our two oldest witnesses to 1 Peter and by a substantial number of manuscripts. It is further to be noted that these two papyri from
different places in Egypt give different abbreviations of Christos( P72 reads xpc, P125 appears to read xc,)
Bedore the discovery of these two papyri it would not have been feasible to argue that Christos was what the author of 1 Peter wrote. But these papyri anchor the reading to a much earlier date, strengthening on external grounds the argument that this was the original reading. This proposal is further strengthened when we consider that the term Christos (on its own without Jesus) is employed by the author of 1 Peter in a rich and diverse manner. We note the following:
1:11 the Spirit of Christ (within the prophets)
1:11 the suffering destined for Christ and the subsequent glory
1:19 the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish
2:21 because Christ also suffered for you
3:15 in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord
3:16 your good conduct in Christ
3:18 for Christ also suffered for sins once for all
4:1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh
4:13 you are sharing in Christ's sufferings
4:14 if you are reviled for the name of Christ
5:1 a witness of the sufferings of Christ
5:10 the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ
5:14 Peace to all of you who are in Christ
It is noteworthy that the reading Christos, if original at 2:3, occurs in a clear allusion to Psalm 34 (LXX 33), a psalm that is quoted or echoed several times in the letter. The reading, then, gives a Christological interpretation of Psalm 34. This should not surprise the careful reader of 1 Peter, since elsewhere the author has given a Christological reading of O.T. texts. Notably in 2:21-25 we find a number of phrases from Isa.52:13-53:12, the fourth Servant Song, applied to the death of Christ. Here we find what J.H. Elliott has termed "a theological formulation that is as creative as it is singular in the N.T." (Elliott, 1 Peter, 2000, 504). Similarly we note in 1 Peter 3:15 the change in the wording of Isa.8:12-13 from Theon to Christon. , clearly a Christological alteration. It is not surprising, then, to find a similar thoughtful theological reflection on Psalm 34 in 1 Peter. Christos in 1 Peter 2:3 is not a patristic but a petrine pun.
Friday, October 09, 2009
All are welcome: 2:30pm in the Runcie Room, Faculty of Divinity
Thursday, October 08, 2009
There are three new manuscripts since the last update of August:
P 126 Florenz, Istituto papirologico "G. Vitelli", PSI 1497
Date: fourth century
with Heb 13,12-13; 19-20
ed. pr. in Pubblicazioni della Società Italiana: Papiri Greci e Latini 15, Firenze 2008, 171-2.
See our earlier report on this papyrus here.
2898 Paris, Bibl. Nat., Gr. 82, fol. 1-41.51-305.
with the Gospels
2899 Città del Vat., Bibl. Vat., Vat. gr. 647 (the number is in error in the PDF, but corrected in the digital Liste)
with Paul and Catholic Epistles
Date: XIV (there is an error in the PDF update, but corrected in the digital Liste)
The number of papyri is now 126.
The list of uncials now reaches up to 0320
The list of minuscules reaches to 2899
The list of lectionaries reaches to L2438. To my knowledge this new uncial lectionary that we reported on last year has not yet been registered (don't forget to read the comments for the idenfication of the fragments as a lectionary).
The digital Kurzgefasste Liste is on-line here in the Virtual Manuscript Room of Münster. The VMR has been up for a while, but mainly for testpurposes. Today the "Handschriftenliste 1.0" was released:
Die Darbietung der Handschriftenliste wurde neu strukturiert. Man kann die Handschriftenliste nach Objekt-ID, nach aktuellen Gregory-Aland-Nummern und nach ehemaligen GA-Nummern selektieren. Wenn eine Handschrift im NT.VMR vorhanden ist, können die Bilder direkt aus der Liste heraus im Viewer angezeigt werden.
Ulrich Schmid, currently in charge of the Liste says that the presentation will be constantly augmented, both in terms of content and functionality. The design and usability of the interface will improve over time, but as it stands in can now be used and tested by the public.
In the Virtual Manuscript Room a number of MSS can be viewed, at this point mainly papyrus witnesses. There is a tool for manuscript indexing (read more here and especially here).
If you want to contact the website authors, Martin Faßnacht or Ulrich Schmid, you can click on the logotype of the INTF (Universität Münster Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung) and you will be able to e-mail in your suggestions of improvements, reports of errors, etc. Such feedback is very welcome
In the sidebar on this blog you can reach the VMR in Münster and in Birmingham. I hope links will be added also in the respective VMR:s.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Regarding Hebrews and the LXX, Karrer has published an essay, "The Epistle to the Hebrews and the Septuagint," in Septuagint Research. Issues and Challenges in the Study of the Greek Jewish Scriptures (eds. W. Kraus and G. Wooden; SBL.SCS 53; Atlanta / Leiden, 2006), 335-353.
There will be a session devoted to the subject of LXX and NTTC at the SBL in New Orleans on Monday 23 November, 9:00–11:30:
New Testament Textual Criticism (The Two Bibles: The LXX and NTTC),
Leonard J. Greenspoon: “If I forget thee…: Remembering, and Forgetting, in ‘Scriptural Citations’ (20 min)
Martin Karrer and Ulrich Schmid: LXX Citations in their NT Versions
Kristin De Troyer: Quotations of "the Septuagint" in the NT
William Adler, Respondent
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Christian is writing his dissertation in Cambridge under Peter Williams' supervision. He has just finished a review of Coptic biblical scholarship and is now writing another chapter on Graeco-Coptic language contact. He has also started a chapter on the Sahidic versions of John's gospel, which I assume is the nucleus of his study. There will apparently be three other chapters with various lists and summaries. I had quite a number of such lists in my own dissertation so I know what Christian is talking about. Christian hopes to have his work finished before June. We very much look forward to that!
If you have the chance to attend the SBL Annual Meeting in New Orleans, do take the opportunity to listen to Christian's paper on a Coptic MS of John believed to omit the final chapter. This paper is presented in the program unit Christianity in Egypt: Scripture, Tradition, and Reception, on 11/21/2009, 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM, Room: Esterwood - SH.
Was there a Coptic Translation of John’s Gospel Without Chapter 21?
The narrative discourse of John’s gospel has compelled many, if not most, modern Johannine scholars to assert that chapter 21 was a later addition. Until recently, there was no published evidence for a text of John’s gospel lacking this final chapter. At least two scholars have argued that a Sahidic manuscript in the holdings of the Bodleian library offers such evidence (Bodleian MS. Copt.e.150(P)). This paper will examine the testimony of this fragment, and will attempt to estimate its value in the discussion of the history of the biblical text. The presentation will also explore the paleographic and codicological aspects of the manuscript and its relevance to the study of the fourth gospel.
Current PhD students in New Testament in Cambrige are found here, where you will also find Peter William's second PhD student, Jim Leonard, our most recent ETC blogmember.
Monday, October 05, 2009
Skousen has examined the textual variants among the earliest BOM sources. He presents a corrected text that aims to approach as nearly as possible that dictated by Joseph Smith to Oliver Cowdery and others in the late 1820s. Unfortunately, the textual variants are not provided in a textual apparatus at the bottom of each page, but are found in an appendix. Skousen presents the text in "sense-lines," breaking up the text in phrases and clauses.
I must admit that I am not very familiar with Mormon Studies, but I suppose that a project like this, published by YUP, is highly signficant for this area of study. In the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, vol. 15/1, available on-line here, there was a more extensive "interim review" of Skousen's work by five Mormon Studies scholars.
Here is a recent reader's review, reflecting the reception of the book in LDS circles.
Friday, October 02, 2009
- In the inner margin of NA the numbered kephalaia are given as 'most widely used in the manuscripts' (p. 78*). These are often interesting and sometimes illuminating, and sometimes very relevant to textual criticism (e.g. on the pronoun of Romans 8.2; cf. Romans keph. 11). Right here (at Heb 2.9) the placement of the number is interesting in the sense of 'strange'. (Assuming for the moment that this placement is accurate to the placement in most manuscripts [which in any case I cannot check].) It is strange because it breaks up Hebrews' interaction with Ps 8: the final clause of Ps 8.7 is in view in Heb 2.8c as not yet seen; whereas the two preceding clauses of Ps 8.6 are in view in Heb 2.9a-b as now seen (this also confirms the decision to follow the shorter text of Ps 8.7 in the citation in Heb 2.7). So this particular chapter division is interesting in the sense of being profoundly unhelpful.
- The reader marks of P46 (see my earlier post) are interesting in 2.9 as signalling a pause between DIA TO PAQHMA TOU QANATOU and the following clause (from Ps 8) DOXH k.t.l. This could be read as associating the 'lower than the angels' directly with Jesus' death; and separating the 'crowning' as subsequent (with plenty of modern commentators). I take the crowding of ESTEFANWMENON (unusually given the whole page) as a kind of punctuation too - ending this clause at the end of the line and leaving the OPWS clause to a new line.
- Hebrews' use of Ps 8 is clearly very interesting and purposeful. In my own thinking about it I see Hebrews as really crediting the title of the Psalm as significant (EIS TO TELOS): he knows from this that it is eschatological, hence his approach to this section is to differentiate precisely between what is already and what is not yet - this is not an arbitrary reading but a LXX-canonical reading that Hebrews is pursuing (of the LXX clearly, not a Hebrew Bible).
- I actually quite like to see the NA27 note about the conjecture to omit the OPWS clause (the deletion of all conjectural emendations is one aspect of NA28 that I am not looking forward to). It is a signal to me that scholars have found the clause awkward and so it is a stimulus to think it through carefully (I confess that I am unlikely to follow proposed conjectural emendations without any external evidence). They are also interesting for the history of scholarship (over to Jan for more ...).
- P46 already reads XARITI QEOU here, which suggests that if in fact XWRIS QEOU is the original text, the alteration to XARITI took place pretty early and established itself fairly readily as the manuscript reading. (Although of course even if you don't think XWRIS QEOU is original we must all acknowledge it as an ancient reading preserved for a millenium in manuscripts no longer extant and then appearing in some late uncials and early minuscules) I don't have the strength right now to defend this reading (read the brilliant treatment in B.D. Ehrman, Orthodox Corruption, 146-150 for a compelling argument at this point).
I understand that the CSNTM staff already has some experience working with the The Traveller’s Conservation Copy Stand. In this report from June by Daniel Wallace you can see the copy stand in action in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library; a.k.a. the BSB) where the CSNTM staff took up the challenge to photograph the oversized majuscule Gregory-Aland 0142. They had then been able to borrow the tool from the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung.
The Traveller’s Conservation Copy Stand was first developed by a team of the Conservation Department of the University Library Graz (read more here). From 2006 the department is linked to a cross-department research center, VESTIGIA, at the University of Graz. For more information see the webpage of VESTIGIA Manuscript Research Centre of the Graz University.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Andrew of Caesarea and the Apocalypse in the Ancient Church of the East: Studies and Translation
In this connection I should mention Juan Hernandez' recent work on Andrew of Caesarea as a text-critic. Hernandez spoke at the SBL in Boston on this subject).
Finally, I should say that Andrew of Caesarea's commentary often accompanies the text of Revelation in Greek New Testament MSS. Since the Book of Revelation has had a quite distinct history of transmission, there are many MSS containing only Revelation out there, and I suspect that many such codices are still unknown to the scholars of textual criticism.
Codex Upsaliensis Graecus 8 was probably brought to Sweden in the late seventeenth century after being bought from the monastery of El Escorial. The codex is a miscellany, hence the title. It does not contain New Testament text but, nevertheless, much can be learned from this study, not least in the area of codicology. Here is a summary of the contents by the reviewer:
Summary of Contents and Aims.
This is a serious scholarly work which the receptive reader will find hugely rewarding. Its author opens the debate with a comment from Walt Whitman about contradiction: 'I am large, I contain multitudes'. The epigram brings home the question of consistency and contradiction in scholarship, and the need to accept sometimes the resistance of material to conformity. It also gives the book its attractive title. Bringing together contradictions and multitudes is indeed the main focus of this book.
The study is divided in five parts altogether, an Introduction and the Appendices forming the bookends of them. The Introduction of the book discusses the parameters of Codicology, Philology and affiliated disciplines. It asks what can a book tell us about its contents. It is also concerned with the nature of composite books and miscellanies. The main body of the book has three parts, after which we are given twenty-two very interesting previously unpublished Greek texts as an Appendix. The first part of the book is dedicated to codicological description and analysis. After the explanation of some technical terms as they relate to the particular Codex, there is an analytical description of seventeen codicological units. The second part of the book starts off with a discussion of how to assort and categorize this material. The following categories emerge: narrative texts, rhetorical texts, philosophical and theological texts, practical texts, all with several sub-categories. The third part, entitled 'Taking a Closer Look' does exactly that. Three texts from the Codex are selected for detailed treatment. The first text is medical, the second mathematical and the third diplomatic, thus showing the diversity present in the Codex.
The study also draws attention to the fine collection of MSS held in Uppsala, Codex Argenteus, Codex Caesareus Upsaliensis, an eleventh century Gospel Book from Echternach, Luxembourg. Here I should add that there are eleven Greek New Testament MSS in Uppsala. The most valuable are G-A. 441, 442 and 1852. In most of the Catholic Epistles these MSS have a very early text.