Thursday, November 04, 2010

New Dissertations from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

The Center for New Testament Textual Studies and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary announce details on two tc dissertations.


Yesterday, Min-Seok Jang successfully defended his PhD dissertation entitled "A Reconsideration of the Date of Papyrus 46." Jang (BA Yonsei University; MDiv Korea Baptist Theological Seminary; ThM NOBTS) compared 15 characteristics of p46 to a large number of papyri. In addition to the 80 papyri examined in previous p46 research , Jang examined 154 documentary papyri, 108 literary papyri, and 48 reformed documentary papyri, all categorized into five periods ranging from the second half of the first century to the second half of the third century. He concluded that p46 appears to have more in common with the papyri produced between A.D. 75 and A.D. 200 than with papyri from the later period. A narrower range between A.D. 100 and A.D. 150 is possible, but problematic.

Last week, David Champagne (BS Florida State University; BS Mississippi College; MA NOBTS; ThM NOBTS) passed his PhD comprehensives and has now begun work on his dissertation tentatively entitled, "An Analysis of Superscription and Subscription Traditions in New Testament Manuscripts."

16 comments:

  1. Bill Warren is the supervisor for both dissertations.

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  2. This sort of preposterously early dating make their authors seem more sensation seeking than rational.
    There is no evidence for Christians in the Fayum (P46s reputed provenance) before the third century.

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  3. Hmm. In the second one, the one about subscriptions, are there any special investigations of the notion that there are relationships among versions and MSS that feature a note stating that Mark was written in Latin?

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

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  4. Can anybody help me how to secure a copy of that dissertation on P46? I am also doing a research along that line. Thanks.

    Edgar

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  5. Jim, thanks for posting! I wish all ETC-bloggers could add tags as you do!

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  6. Edgar, get back to me in mid-December and I'll see about getting you a copy then if it is for research purposes. The dissertation will be available through the standard dissertation services here in the USA by late spring, although some of the data had to be left on file at the CNTTS due to the limitations of that format and so would have to be obtained directly from us here.

    paz, Bill Warren

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  7. Thanks a lot, Bill. Will get in touch with you then in December.

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  8. I think it is important to note that Jang's actual conclusion is not automatically preposterous.

    Jang's conclusion was not that P46 was produced in 75. Rather, it was that P46 has noteworthy features more in common with earlier manuscripts (75-200) than later manuscripts 250-300. And that a narrower range was 100-150, but he cautioned against it.

    Interestingly, Jang did not include manuscripts from A.D. 50-75 for obvious reasons. But I suppose that he could have argued that P46 might have had significant characteristics in common with manuscripts from that time frame as well, without implying P46 as having been produced that early.

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  9. Truth disclosure: I haven't read the thesis, and I'm poorly informed about P46. I hope my question is not unfounded.

    Doesn't the situation in the Fayum cut both ways?

    The exponential growth of Christianity among Copts in the Fayum in the third century would explain why Coptic manuscripts were being produced in that period. But why would Christians in the Fayum be producing Greek manuscripts?

    Is it not possible, perhaps probable, that Greek speaking missionaries would bring their (older) Greek manuscripts with them, and that Coptic versions were produced from them?

    Is there any evidence in p46 that it was actually produced in the Fayum and not imported?

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  10. "Is there any evidence in p46 that it was actually produced in the Fayum and not imported?"

    One of the difficulties in answering this question is the fact that the seven outermost sheets of P46 are no longer extant. Had those been preserved, perhaps we would be lucky to read a colophon about this manuscript and its provenance--but even this is also unsure. What complicates the matter is the fact that this manuscript, together with the other manuscripts in the cache, was not “discovered” in an archaeological site but in antiquities dealers in downtown Egypt. It would have been a totally different ballgame had this was recovered in actual sites, so that the geography itself will lend some evidence as to its date, and many other forensic issues. While it is commonly associated with Fayyum, there remains no conclusive evidence pointing to that direction.

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  12. Edgar, of course you are right about the lack of provenance other than "Egypt"

    The problem is that we have very little material evidence of Christians in Egypt, or elsewhere, that can be dated before 200. Bagnall has recently published a study on this suggesting that this absence strongly implies an absence of Christians in Egypt at least, before then (a very methodologically sound, though a bit doctrinaire conclusion).
    It is very unlikely one could overturn a preponderance of (admittedly negative) evidence on paleographical grounds only.

    As to the Fayyum, it hardly matters if the cache to which P46 belongs comes from there or somewhere further south. The point is that such an early find of a Christian presence in Egypt in the second, let alone the late first century, would be a sensation. Again, it is very hard to sustain such a claim on paleography alone.

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  13. "It is very unlikely one could overturn a preponderance of (admittedly negative) evidence on paleographical grounds only... The point is that such an early find of a Christian presence in Egypt in the second, let alone the late first century, would be a sensation. Again, it is very hard to sustain such a claim on paleography alone."

    Gregg, unless we develop other more viable alternative to palaeographical analyses in dating manuscripts, chances are we have, for the meantime, to be contented with palaeographers' assessment (unless the colophon of a manuscript has also survived). Conversely, Bagnall's work only "indirectly" address the problem of dating and provenance of manuscript unearthed in Egypt, and his conclusion must equally be taken with a grain of salt.

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  14. G.W. Schwneder said: "There is no evidence for Christians in the Fayum (P46s reputed provenance) before the third century"
    Firstly: It is not known where P46 came from - but in any case the Faymum is just one of the reputed findsites, the other being Aphroditopolis, a find site proposed back as early as 1931 by Schmidt.
    Secondly: Even if it were established P46 did come from the Fayum, there is a reasonable amount of evidence of Christians in the Fayum before the 3rd century, such as P.Lips.inv.170 of 2nd century (believed to be from Soknopaiou Nesos) and P.Alex.240 of 2nd or 3rd century (from Arsinoe)
    Not having read the new thesis I don't know its merits, but I wouldn't rule it out on the basis of provenance

    Matthew Hamilton

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  15. Christianity in 2nd-cent. Fayum cannot be surmised from two LXX fragments bought on the market and assigned paleographical dates.
    P.Lips.inv. 170, aka van Haelst 0224 = Rahlfs 2014 = Aland AT86, need not come from the Fayum; it has been given dates in the 3rd or 4th cent. As for "P.Alex.240" (a non-standard way of referring to this papyrus), or PSI 8:921 aka van Haelst 174 = Rahlfs 2054 = Aland AT77, its provenance is not guaranteed.

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  16. I don't suppose we'll get that far without having a look at the dissertation itself (or hearing a presentation by the author at a conference ???), especially since it must deal with issues of provenance and Bagnall's recent challenge etc. (on which I actually agree with Gregg that it is both important and doctrinaire - hopefully more on Bagnall at SBL next week).
    Three things in the quoted abstract would make me cautious:
    a) the selection of 15 characteristics;
    b) the large numbers of comparative papyri;
    c) the lack of clarity about the outcome.

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