Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Didache as textual witness

Peter Malik has published on the Didache as a textual witness in the SJNTS (Student Journal for New Testament Studies). It will be interesting to see how this new journal develops and whether the idea of a student journal will prove successful.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

James Kelhoffer Proposed Professor in Uppsala

James Kelhoffer, Associate Professor at Saint Louis University, has been officially proposed as Professor and Chair in New Testament Exegesis in Uppsala (job description in English). However, some other candidates for the post have appealed the decision, as often happens, so the formal appointment has been somewhat delayed.

In any case, the chair has been vacant for a very long time, after the predecessor Kari Syreeni left in 2007, so it is indeed very good news for New Testament exegesis in Sweden, and of course particularly in Uppsala, that the chair will soon be occupied again.

Many readers of this blog will know that James Kelhoffer's dissertation subsequently published by Mohr Siebeck is of great interest to text-critics as it examines the Long Ending of Mark:

Miracle and Mission: The Authentication of Missionaries and Their Message in the Longer Ending of Mark (WUNT Reihe 2/112; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000).

James has been to Sweden many times for long and short periods and has had much contact through the years, especially with the Department of Biblical Studies in Uppsala. I know from experience that he already speaks some Swedish (and reads it even better). I have met him on various conferences, including SNTS 63d meeting that took place in Lund 2008 (reported on here).

Last year, in April, he gave an invited lecture on “Suffering as Defense of Paul’s Apostolic Authority in Galatians and 2 Corinthians 11″ in the Advanced Exegetical Seminar in New Testament. This piece was published as an article with the same name in Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok 74 (2009): 127-143.

James has an academic homepage here with CV and publications. His publications, including two full length monographs in the WUNT series, are available for download (sic), but hurry up! I assume these pages (under SLU.EDU) will disappear when Kelhoffer takes up his new post in Uppsala. From these pages you can also find very positive bookreviews by Elliott, Holmes, Hurtado, and others of Kelhoffer's Miracle and Mission.

Update: I just learnt that some candidates have appealed to have the decision changed (which I assume is highly unlikely in this case), so the formal appointment has been delayed. I have updated the original post accordingly.

Monday, June 28, 2010

"A Scribal Solution to a Problematic Measurement in the Apocalypse"

In the recent issue of New Testament Studies Juan Hernandez of Bethel University offers "A Scribal Solution to a Problematic Measurement in the Apocalypse" [Rev 21:17].

Orthographic variation within the manuscripts of the Greek NT is seldom a cause célèbre beyond the ranks of diehard textual critics. Even among these most will concede that orthographic irregularities amount to little more than evidence of scribal incompetency or inconsistency in their spelling practices. To find the same word both spelled correctly and misspelled within a single manuscript by the same scribe is not uncommon. It approaches the norm. The critical editions of our Greek NTs have therefore opted, on good grounds, to exclude textual variants displaying non-standardized spelling. To include them would make it impossible for anyone to use the critical apparatuses in a meaningful way. The deluge of senseless errors would drown out variants of demonstrable textual significance.

This "abstract" that appears online is in reality, however, only the introduction to this short study, and to give you a sense of what Hernandez' contribution is about, I must cite the next paragraph:
On occasion orthographic variations are more than spelling errors. They are meaningful textual variants. Their appearance in the guise of misspelled words, however, causes them to be overlooked. Their exclusion from the critical apparatus of the Greek NT leads to their exclusion from text-critical discussions and from contributing to the advance of scholarship. The singular reading χιλος, appearing in codex Sinaiticus’ text of Rev 21.17, is one such variant.
Juan is one of our habitual readers – he tells me checking the blog is one of his morning rituals. Last month we featured an interview with him, "How Can You Be a Textual Critic and Not Lose Your Faith?"

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Jesus Did Not Die on Cross Says Scholar"

Gunnar Samuelsson is in the news again. This time in The Telegraph.

Samuelsson has frequently been misunderstood by media as saying that Jesus did not die on the cross (not in The Telegraph though), but that is not what he is saying ... Now, he told me, he only gives live interviews, so he is able to clarify his position to journalists. Hear him out, four example, on DRadio Wissen (German and English).

There is also a brief piece on Samuelsson's thesis in History of the Ancient World.

See earlier reports here and here.

Update: Here also in Croatian news.

Update 2: We are being cited by this Dutch newssite.

Update 3: Samuelsson in Pravda and AOL News.

Deppe on Mark 1.1

Ekaterini G. Tsalampouni reports the contents of the latest issue of Filologia Neotestamentaria including:

Dean B. Deppe, "Markan christology and the omission of hyiu theu in Mark 1:1", FN 21 (2008), 45-64.

I look forward to reading this as soon as I can get my hands on a copy (or find it here).

Previously noted here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Roman Archaeologists Find Oldest Images of Apostles in a Catacomb

Reuters reports (22 June):
Archaeologists and art restorers using new laser technology have discovered what they believe are the oldest paintings of the faces of Jesus Christ’s Apostles. The images in a branch of the catacombs of St Tecla near St Paul’s Basilica, just outside the walls of ancient Rome, were painted at the end of the 4th century or the start of the 5th century.

Archaeologists believe these images may have been among those that most influenced later artists’ depictions of the faces of Christ’s most important early followers. “These are the first images that we know of the faces of these four Apostles,” said Professor Fabrizio Bisconti, the head of archaeology for Rome’s numerous catacombs, which are owned and maintained by the Vatican.

Images and more here.

Has SBL Said Farewell to Reason?

Ronald S. Hendel, Professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, has recently published an opinion piece in the current Biblical Archaeology Review, “Farewell to SBL: Faith and Reason in Biblical Studies”, (available online here). According to Hendel, SBL "has changed its position on the relationship between faith and reason in the study of the Bible."

Here is an excerpt:
The problem is that the SBL has loosened its own definition of Biblical scholarship, such that partisan attacks of this type are now entirely valid. When I learned of the new move to include fundamentalist groups within the SBL, I wrote to the director and cited the mission statement in the SBL’s official history: “The object of the Society is to stimulate the critical investigation of the classical biblical literatures.”3 The director informed me that in 2004 the SBL revised its mission statement and removed the phrase “critical investigation” from its official standards. Now the mission statement is simply to “foster biblical scholarship.” So critical inquiry—that is to say, reason—has been deliberately deleted as a criterion for the SBL. The views of creationists, snake-handlers and faith-healers now count among the kinds of Biblical scholarship that the society seeks to foster.

Hendel concludes with his personal "farewell to the SBL" – he has let his membership lapse.

Subsequently SBL has published an official reply to Hendel on the SBL website, "Discussing Faith and Reason in Biblical Studies," specifically offering clarifications on four of Hendel's claims (as SBL understands them):

1) The SBL has diluted its standards of critical scholarship, as evidenced in the 2004 change to the Society mission statement.

2) ASOR and AAR stopped meeting with the SBL “due to petty disputes among the leaders of these groups.”

3) Since the AAR decision to discontinue joint meetings, the SBL has loosened its standards as to the types of organizations that can be included at the SBL Annual Meeting.

4) The current SBL environment, which includes instances of proselytizing activity as well as veiled theological denunciations of certain individuals or groups, is hostile to a critical approach to biblical studies.

Finally, SBL invite members to respond to the issues to this e-mail address suggesting the following type of issues for discussion:

* To what extent do you believe that the Society successfully balances its commitment to scholarly integrity while maintaining an atmosphere in which all voices may be heard (specific, first-hand examples are encouraged)?

* Should the Society establish a standards-based approach to membership? That is, should there be a set of minimum standards, qualifications, or achievements for SBL membership?

* If you favor a standards-based approach, what specific standards would you advocate for SBL membership?

Joseph Kelly (kolhaadam) sums up the story providing a lot of links to other bloggers' responses (Jim West, John Loftus, Doug Magnum, Jim Davila, John Hobbins, Michael Bird, Carl Sweatman, Stephen Carlson, Robert Cargill and Chris Brady). Apparently, there is now also a Facebookgroup urging that the SBL should put the word "critical" back into their purpose statement.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kreuzer, 'Papyrus 967' (LXX 4)

For general orientation to this series of posts see here (with forward links).

Siegfried Kreuzer, 'Papyrus 967' in Die Septuaginta - Texte, Kontexte, Lebenswelten: Internationale Fachtagung veranstaltet von Septuaginta Deutsch (LXX.D), Wuppertal 20.-23. Juli 2006 (ed Martin Karrer & Wolfgang Kraus; WUNT 219; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008), 64-82.

P967, discovered in 1931 in Aphroditopolis is a significant pre-hexaplaric text of the 2nd century CE. It originally covered the text of Ezekiel, Daniel (including Susanna and Bel and Dragon) and Esther. Its form is also a valuable witness to the conditions of codex development at the time.

Two hands are observed in the papyrus: one for Ezekiel and one for Daniel and Esther. Due to the nomina sacra, P967 is considered a Christian codex, however this is not always a good criterion since that is also a Jewish phenomenon.

Of interest is the chapter divisions in the text by Greek capital letters, which are believed to be original - not a later addition.

Moreover, Ezekiel's chapter 37 does not follow 36, but it follows 38. Also 36 has a shorter text (minus 36:23-38). The transposition makes resurrection taking place at the end of time, after Gog and Magog! (p. 73) Kreuzer favours the explanation that the minus would mean that a later addition is found in the Hebrew text (p. 74). Moreover, the LXX mss which agree with the MT against P967 represent a later revised text, with P967 attesting the OG.

The next transposition is Dan 7 and 8 coming immediately after ch. 4. This places the two visions from the time of Belshazzar before his death in ch. 5.

In Dan 7:13, the "son of man" Aramaic text agrees with Theodotion's version (εως του παλαιου των ημερων). P967, however, confirms the LXX text (ως παλαιος ημερων). The Son of man form and the ancient of days form apply to the same person. This is probably the original text, not a Christian change, while Theodotion's version seems to be a revision towards the Aramaic text.

Kreuzer's article is very valuable, not only for its discussion of the text-historical development of the Biblical text, but also for the photographs of the papyrus provided.

Μυρτώ Θεοχάρους

Monday, June 21, 2010

Two New Articles in Novum Testamentum

Peter Rodgers recently mentioned two new reviews in the current issue of Novum Testamentum, Volume 52, Number 3, 2010.

There are also two articles in the area of New Testament textual criticism:

Roy E. Clampa, "A Note on Problems with the Representation of 1 John 1:7 in Codex Alexandrinus," pp. 267-271

J. K. Elliott, "Supplement III to J.K. Elliott, A Bibliography of Greek New Testament Manuscripts," pp. 272-297

The latter update to Elliott's bibliography contains lots of information and leads to uncatalogued Greek New Testament MSS. There is so much to discover out there!

I should also mention that this blog is now included in Elliott's ample bibliography: contains items of news and opinion on aspects of textual criticism including manuscripts.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hauspie on Calques in LXX Ezekiel (LXX 3)

For general orientation to this series of posts see here (with forward links).

Katrin Hauspie, 'The Idiolect of the Target Language in the Translation Process: A Study in the Calques in the LXX of Ezekiel' in Die Septuaginta - Texte, Kontexte, Lebenswelten: Internationale Fachtagung veranstaltet von Septuaginta Deutsch (LXX.D), Wuppertal 20.-23. Juli 2006 (ed Martin Karrer & Wolfgang Kraus; WUNT 219; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008), 205-213.

Although Hauspie's English was difficult to follow, her study of calques in LXX Ezekiel questions the stereotypical way of viewing translation technique in a particular LXX book. She manages to demonstrate the independence of the translator, even in places where the Hebrew seems to be determining the Greek phrasing.

She examines three grammatical constructions: (a) the use of the nominative αὐτός for the Hebrew הוא. Hauspie shows that αὐτός is not a stereotypical rendering of הוא but is used to denote emphasis; (b) ἐν with dative rendering -ב instrumenti. LXX Ezekiel uses ἐν only when the verb and the complement denoting instrument are in a loose relationship; (c) objective
clause by τοῦ with infinitive. Hauspie shows that τοῦ never occurs after modal verbs, as in proper Greek style, for the constructed infinitive preceded by -ל in the MT.

Hauspie's study shows that even in apparent "literalistic" translations, there is more freedom and conformity to the norms of the target language than meets the eye.

Μυρτώ Θεοχάρους

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Two Reviews in Novum Testamentum

Two new reviews appear in the latest Novum Testamentum:
Roger Bagnall, Early Christian Books in Egypt by me (Peter Rodgers) and
Roger Bagnall (ed), The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology by J Keith Elliott

The Dove in Spiritual Form? P4 in Luke 3:22

The substitution of πνεύματι (πνι) for σωματικῷ in Luke 3:22 in P4 is interpreted by Bart Ehrman as a case of “orthodox corruption.” The text of P4 reads:

και καταβηναι το πνα το αγιον πνι ειδει ως περιστεραν επ αυτον

When “the Spirit is said to descend upon Jesus in ‘spiritual’ (πνεύματι εἴδει) rather than ‘bodily’ form,” Ehrman says, it “undercuts a potentially Gnostic construal of the text because there is now no ‘real’ or ‘bodily’ descent of a divine being upon Jesus” (Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament (Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 143.

However, shouldn't we rather expect the adjective πνευματικῷ (“spiritual”), as more natural here being the opposite of σωματικῷ (“bodily”), rather than the noun πνεύματι (πνι).

In 1 Cor 15:46-47 various forms of πνευματικός are written with nomina sacra (πνκος/ πνκον) in P46 (curiously not in 1 Cor 15:44). Similarly, the adjective is written with nomina sacra in 1 Pet 2:5 (πνατικος/ πνατικας) in P72.

Is there any other way of translating the passage in P4?

The first editor of the complete text, Jean Merrell, suggested πνι was a dittography (πνα πνι). That explanation is difficult because of the intervening το αγιον and the two distinct forms πνα πνι.

On the other hand, this scribe created at least one nonsense dittography elsewhere, in Luke 3:27 the scribe substituted τοῦ οὐ Ῥησαῦ for τοῦ Ῥησά.

What do you think about this passage?

Exhibition at the National Library of France: Qumrân. Le secret des manuscrits de la mer Morte

There is an exhibition now to the 11 July at the National Library in Paris, "Qumrân. Le secret des manuscrits de la mer Morte."

There is some pedagogical material with nice images in French here (background to the Qumran site) and here (about the textual history of the Bible, esp. the Hebrew Bible and LXX), and here (about the role of the Qumran community in the 1st century C.E.). And here is a quiz especially for young visitors with answers on the last page.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

'if Jesus had given them rest' Heb 4.8 in P46

The use of the nomen sacrum IHS at Heb 4.8 suggests that P46 might be interpreting this verse in terms of "Jesus" rather than "Joshua" (an option discussed in the commentaries, e.g. Ellingworth). It seems that readers of P46 would have taken it this way (cf. earlier in Hebrews 2.9; 3.1; but also present as a three letter nomen sacrum throughout Romans, which immediately precedes Hebrews in P46), by way of contrast "Moses" is never contracted in P46. This view has the advantage of not needing to introduce a new subject for 4.8b.

I suppose the alternative is to think that the scribe of P46 was well acquainted with LXX MSS which already use nomina sacra for rendering IHSOUS = Joshua in OT texts. I'm not sure that can be documented for the period of P46.

Up-date: See here for a late second century papyrus codex of Joshua featuring three letter nomina sacra IHS for Joshua (right hand page, line twelve).

Monday, June 14, 2010

2 year fellowship at the K.U. Leuven

This could be of interest to some of our readers:

The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven announces a 2 year research fellowship, starting in October 2010, to work on a project entitled "The Tree of Texts: Towards an empirical model for text transmission and evolution". This project will be carried out at the Faculty of Arts, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Caroline Macé.


The candidate has a PhD or a Master degree (with research experience) in a field of study related to computer sciences applied to the humanities. The candidate should be able to design a database, apply statistical tools, and draw mathematical models. Some experience in digital philology would be an advantage, but at least an interest in textual scholarship is required.

Description of the work

The first step in the research process will consist in creating a data base where data coming from different manuscript traditions in different languages will be gathered and structured.

The data will be analysed according to the following questions: what types of variations occur, can these types be divided into subtypes, do all these variations occur in all types of texts / manuscripts, are some variants reversible and others irreversible, are there indisputable (objective) criteria to distinguish between "original" (or primary) readings and "derived" (or secondary) readings, etc.

Applications (CV + motivation letter) and inquiries can be sent to

Should internal or external evidence come first?

It's a while since I read B.B. Warfield's Textual Criticism of the New Testament, but this week I'm looking at it again because I am interested in his definition of text. I noticed that he divides textual evidence into (a) external; (b) intrinsic (internal) evidence; (c) transcriptional (internal) evidence (p. 9). This is basically what Metzger does in his own Introduction. This set me wondering how far back this division goes. In Westcott and Hort's Introduction it appears that (b) and (c) generate an assessment of (a). Who is the first to lay (a), (b), and (c) out in that order?

Gruen on the Letter of Aristeas (LXX 2)

For general orientation to this series of posts see here (with forward links).

Erich S Gruen, 'The Letter of Aristeas and the Cultural Context of the Septuagint’ in Die Septuaginta - Texte, Kontexte, Lebenswelten: Internationale Fachtagung veranstaltet von Septuaginta Deutsch (LXX.D), Wuppertal 20.-23. Juli 2006 (ed Martin Karrer & Wolfgang Kraus; WUNT 219; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008), 134-156.

In this article Gruen uses the Letter of Aristeas not in order to extract historical information about the LXX, but as a window upon the mentality of the Jewish diaspora resident in Ptolemaic Alexandria.
He accepts the relatively comfortable and untroubled existence of the Jews at the time as a self-governed political entity. Jewish writings available to us betray their intellectual ability and education in Greek literary modes and conventions.
In the Letter of Aristeas, Gruen notes that the story of the translation provides only a frame for the narrative, but the author's aims are deeper. The Letter, similar to the wider literary scene in Alexandria, is subtly subversive with undertones of cynicism and oblique mockery directed towards royal pretentiousness. Gruen compares the Letter with the writings of other Jewish authors, as well as pagans who worked in Egypt, and detects a similar agenda. He concludes that Jews, like their pagan counterparts in Alexandrian literary circles, had integrated enough in the Hellenistic culture and possessed the self-assurance needed to praise the king in their writings, but also tease and mock him.
Gruen's approach is a helpful reminder of the fact that the translation of the Seventy-Two is not the central concern of the Letter of Aristeas, but simply an element which helps its wider purposes. Moreover, the social standing of Alexandrian Jews at the alleged time of the translation (mid 3rd century) may not have been identical to that of the time of the composition of the Letter (2nd century). Nevertheless, this is the closest window we have into that world and Gruen's contextual reading of the Letter adds another dimension to our understanding of Alexandrian Jewish diaspora.
Myrto Theocharous

"Crucifixion in Antiquity" – The Swedish Thesis in Its Third Printing

Was the cross a cross? For less than a month ago I reported on Gunnar Samuelsson's thesis, "Crucifixion in Antiquity" including a few glimpses of the examination, an abstract and a summary of some significant points.

Since then, the dissertation has caused quite a stir, at least here in Sweden, and there has been major coverage in the media. The dissertation has recently gone through a a second and even a third printing, which is soon sold out! The person handling orders at the institution is worried about her vaccation, so the author has asked me to instead refer international correspondance to him directly: gunnar[dot]samuelsson[at]telia[dot]com.

The monograph will be sent to Mohr Siebeck with the aim to be published in the WUNT Series.

"Crucifixion in Antiquity: An Inquiry into the Background of the New Testament Terminology of Crucifixion"
ISSN: 1102-9773
ISBN: 978-91-88348-35-7

Update: Chrys Caragounis has written the first review that I have seen. It is not positive. Read it here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ten New Manuscripts – One Seventh-Century-Majuscule

As we have reported previously, a team from CSNTM led by Dan Wallace has recently come home from an expedition to Greece and Romania. In a special newsletter they report that at least ten new MSS have been discovered ("new" in the sense of not being registered in the official registry of Greek New Testament MSS, the Kurzgefasste Liste).

One of these MSS is a seventh-century majuscule, which is something quite rare!

Do not miss Dan Wallace's story, The Road Less Traveled - for a Good Reason! – about the team's adventures on a "road" in Romania, where there were more animals than vehicles filling the lanes, and with potholes as deep as six to eight inches and as wide as four or five feet. Apparently, the bumper on their rental SUV fell off at some point.

Now, the CSNTM does have a good reason for making such hard efforts on their travels in order to find and photograph both known and unknown manuscripts. To continue with this endeavour they will need our support – one way is to join the "Circle of friends."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Karrer & Kraus on the Septuagint (LXX 1)

For general orientation to this series of posts see here.

Martin Karrer & Wolfgang Kraus, ‘Umfang und Text der Septuaginta: Erwägungen nach dem Abschluss der deutschen Übersetzung’ in Die Septuaginta - Texte, Kontexte, Lebenswelten: Internationale Fachtagung veranstaltet von Septuaginta Deutsch (LXX.D), Wuppertal 20.-23. Juli 2006 (ed Martin Karrer & Wolfgang Kraus; WUNT 219; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008), 8-63.

Several modern translations of the so-called "Septuagint" are underway and others have recently been completed. It was the German translation which gave rise to research projects on Septuagint related issues. Martin Karrer and Wolfgang Kraus discuss how the popularization of the "Septuagint" brings to the fore some "open questions" such as that of Christian Theology. The authors argue that Christian theology is restricted when one is dependent on the Hebrew canon alone, since NT authors did not reject the "apocrypha and pseudepigrapha" but regarded it all as Scripture. This is an erroneous position inherited from Luther's reformation of the canon, according to Nikolaus Walter, one of the initiators of the Septuaginta Deutsch (LXX.D), the German translation. (p.10)

Hanhart assumes a Jewish canon already in the 2nd century BCE, but others like Heinz-Josef Fabry question this position (pp. 12-13). According to Fabry, the idea of text-groups, as seen in mss from the Judean desert, throws into question the concept of one authoritative canon for all groups (pp. 14-15). In the light of these, the authors suggest that the statement in Sirach's prologue (vv. 24-25) is representative of only one group. Moreover, the Letter of Aristeas seems to be defending the authority of the translation of one particular community, the Alexandrian community, as derived from the Hebrew text in Jerusalem, and equally inspired, not subservient to the Hebrew (pp. 19-20).

A discussion of the LXX collection and whether it represents an older form than the MT follows. Various LXX passages and their reception in the NT are also examined. Finally, the authors note how different canons and orders in different church traditions today leave open the question on how a published Septuagint should look like, as well as the question of how double versions for single books should be represented.

In my opinion, while the authors succeed in drawing out the implications of how modern translations of the "Septuagint" may affect the understanding of Christian Theology, no clear distinction is made between the discussion of textual variations and the discussion of canon. Often the two are treated as one and the same.

One wonders whether Christian theology would be significantly affected by the availability of apocryphal/deuterocanonical books to the public — perhaps contemporary theology, but not NT theology. A variety of literature may have been influential on the thinking of NT writers without necessarily possessing the status of Scripture in their mind. The task of the NT scholar has always involved the recognition of such influences from both Jewish and pagan writings regardless of canonical status.

Moreover, modern readers of the "Septuagint" should not be fooled into thinking that what they hold in their hands was what the NT writers had access to. The multiplicity of Greek versions available at the time, as well as Aramaic versions (oral or written), would have been just as influential in Palestine and elsewhere.

Finally, while Qumran has revealed a variety of textual readings, one should not downplay the ancient concern for accuracy and uniformity in translation and copying, reflected in Aristeas' propaganda, in Philo and increasingly in revisions of Greek mss towards a proto-Masoretic text, culminating with Aquila. The modern Septuagint reader should be aware that what they hold in their hands is a still disentangled collage of ancient Greek readings from various times and places which remains to be sorted. Sadly, knowledge of these complexities will not accompany most purchases of modern "Septuagints".

Myrto Theocharous

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Recent Septuagint Research coming to ETC

Martin Karrer & Wolfgang Kraus, Die Septuaginta – Texte, Kontexte, Lebenswelten: Internationale Fachtagung veranstaltet von Septuaginta Deutsch (LXX.D), Wuppertal 20.-23. Juli 2006 (WUNT 219; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008).
This 772 page book publishes 45 papers from a conference in 2006 which marked the completion of a German translation of the Septuagint (the Septuaginta Deutsch). These papers, from many of the leading scholars in the field, cover a wide range of state-of-the-art topics under several broad section headings: The Septuagint as a text collection; the milieu and context of the Septuagint, lexicography and grammar, writings and groups of writings (the broadest and vaguest section title), the influences of the Septuagint.
In coming weeks I am hoping to bring regular blog posts on some of the papers published in this book from Myrto Theocharous, a devoted follower of this blog, who is finishing up a PhD on the Septuagint here in Cambridge and has kindly agreed to offer some summaries and reflections on papers from this book. I hope it will be informative for all of us, stop us from being (really only) an ENTTC blog, and perhaps attract some interesting discussion about the perennially fascinating issues concerning the Septuagint.

Martin Karrer & Wolfgang Kraus, ‘Umfang und Text der Septuaginta: Erwägungen nach dem Abschluss der deutschen Übersetzung’ pp. 8-63.

Erich S Gruen, 'The Letter of Aristeas and the Cultural Context of the Septuagint’ pp. 134-156.

Katrin Hauspie, 'The Idiolect of the Target Language in the Translation Process: a Study of the Calques in the LXX of Ezekiel' pp. 205-213

Siegfried Kreuzer, 'Papyrus 967' pp. 64-82.

Martin Rosel,
‘Schreiber, Übersetzer, Theologen. Die Septuaginta als Dokument der Schrift-, Lese- und Übersetzungskulturen des Judentums’ pp. 83-102.

Benjamin G. Wright, ‘The Septuagint and Its Modern Translators’ pp. 103-114.

Jan Joosten,
‘To See God: Conflicting Exegetical Tendencies in the Septuagint’, 287-299.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Advices and Resources: Syriac NT Bibliography

I have just added Peter William's Syriac NT bibliography under "Advices and Resources" in the right sidebar.

Stephen Carlson: CE on the sly

Stephen Carlson has an interesting post on Conjectural Emendations on the Sly citing Gal. 5.1 as an example. Carlson notes that whereas most reject Hort's emendation of Ἐπ’ for Τῇ at the head of Gal. 5.1, nonetheless, most translations of Gal. 5.1 commit a "sly" conjectural emendation by translating the clause as if they were adopting Hort's reading. My only qualm is that I think that Τῇ ἐλευθερίᾳ fits quite well as a "dative of interest" (see Dan Wallace, GGBB, pp. 142-43). If we take the dative as something like for the benefit of or in the interest of, then it makes good sense as "for the benefit of freedom" or "in the interest of freedom" that "Christ has set us free". In addition, I wonder if the expression is perhaps a contracted version of epi te that Paul uses in Phil. 3.9 to indicate "on the basis" and if that can shed light on Gal. 5.1.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Kreinecker on Coptic resurrection accounts

Our fellow blogger Jim Leonard has reviewed Christina Kreinecker's book on the Coptic accounts of the resurrection (4 gospels and 1 Cor. 15) in RBL. This is the published version of her Salzburg doctoral dissertation. Kreinecker has also been involved in preparing transcriptions of Sahidic mss of John for the IGNTP.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Codex Bezae Digitization

As we reported several years ago (here), a transcription and translation of Codex Bezae is already on-line at this site compiled by Sylvie Chabert d'Hyères (I don't know about the quality of this material), but now, due to a large donation, we can hope for a digitization of the codex following the paths of Codex Sinaiticus.

The Telegraph now reports that the former businessman Dr Leonard Polonsky has donated a neat sum of £1.5m that will be used by Cambridge University Library to first create an infrastructe and then start digitising the vast collection of 600-year-old institution.

The first stage of the digitization project is called "Foundations of Faith" which, as the name suggests, will focus on the religious collections, among which we find some of the world's most ancient Qur'ans, the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Collection (some 193,000 fragments of MSS), and Greek New Testament MSS, including Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis.

Perhaps the excellent scholars at Tyndale House could offer the library their expertise in this process. Speaking about the Cambridge scholars, I recall when I went with Peter Head on a racewalking tour to see Cambridge, and we passed the university library, he told me that the staff there were not to keen on letting people see Codex Bezae nowadays (although they had a good eye to Pete). Apparently, a former professor in Cambridge has left his physical marks on the manuscript, as he has intimately showed the manuscript to his classes during many years (Pete can fill in the details).

HT: Paleojudaica.

CSNTM Expedition 2010 to Greece and Romania

This year's CNSTM expedition when four people, Jeff Hargis, Peter Gurry, Dan Wallace and Noah Wallace, travelled to Rome and Greece to photograph Greek NT MSS in Romania and Greece is just over. Although it started with serious problems with cancelled flights due to the Islandic volcano, and continued with the riots in Athens, it apparently turned into a great success in the end. The community of textual criticism is now eagerly waiting to hear about the new findings. We have already learnt about one previously uncatalogued lectionary, and a bird just whispered in my ear that we can expect many more such MSS, including more news about the pericope of the adulteress, which has been discussed recently on this blog.

If you want to follow and support the important work of CSNTM you can join its Circle of Friends – read more here.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

SBL Atlanta Preliminary Program

The Blog world is alight with the news that the preliminary program book for SBL is now available here. Someone will probably make a list of all the TC options.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Theses in Textual Criticism

In this post I would like to collect information about doctoral theses in New Testament textual criticism. My plan is to continuously update the post to become a useful resource, to which there will be a link in the right sidebar under "advice and resources" (we will see if we can update the other resources there too). Therefore I invite collaboration in the comment section to this post (which will help me edit this post in the future).

So I am looking for information about (1) ongoing dissertation work; (2) completed theses in New Testament textual criticism (priority to more recent ones, e.g., from the 90's and onwards); (3) availability (preferably with links). If this is successful, we will end up with a "Virtual Thesis Room" for textual criticism.

In the first "release" of the post I would like to bring the attention to British theses online. It is important to bear in mind the specific character of this thesis system, where the subsequent publication of a thesis is usually in a vastly-improved version taking into account the comments and suggestions of various qualified readers and editors, correcting errors and making the thesis much more considered, readable and accurate. From this aspect, it is not desirable to go back to the original thesis. On the other hand, I can think of several advantages of accessing the original thesis:

1) It may be available online free of charge and so widen the access to research considerably (whereas the published version may be very expensive);

2) It may be identical to the published version (not so usual, but it happens);

3) It may contain much more material, not entirely necessary for the argument, but yet very valuable for other purposes;

4) It may take many years before the thesis is published (e.g., James Royse's work, where the very signficant thesis was published after 25 years).

EThOS – British Theses Online
Already last year ("Freebies Online") I mentioned EThOs, a service from the British Library providing access to British theses online. There are several interesting theses in New Testament textual criticism available for immediate download (after registration). These include:

"The contribution of discourse analysis to textual criticism : a study of the Bezan text of acts."
Author Heimerdinger, J G.
Awarding Institution
University of Wales.Bangor,
Year of Award 1994

"The New Testament Text of St. Cyril of Alexandria"
Author Cunningham, Arthur
Awarding Institution
The University of Manchester
Year of Award 1995

"Codex 1582 and Family 1 of the gospels : the Gospel of Matthew"
Author Anderson, Amy Sue.
Awarding Institution
University of Birmingham
Year of Award 1999

"Codex Sinaiticus, its correctors, and the Caesarean text of the Gospels"
Author Myshrall, Amy Catherine.
Awarding Institution
University of Birmingham
Year of Award 2005

"A textual commentary on Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians"
Author Kloha, Jeffrey John.
Awarding Institution
University of Leeds
Year of Award 2006

"Augustine's citations and text of the Gospel according to John"
Author Houghton, H. A. G.
Awarding Institution
University of Birmingham
Year of Award 2006

eTheses Birmingham
The theses from Birmingham are also available from the eTheses Repository of Birmingham University (e.g., Houghton's dissertation here, where the theses are introduced with a more elaborate title page than EThOS).

Edinburgh Research Archive
Theses from Edinburg University are available in Edinburgh Research Archive. For example:

"Jesus Began to Write: Literacy, the Pericope Adulterae, and the Gospel of John"
Author: Keith, Chris
Issue Date: 2008

In this archive you can also find several online articles and essays in New Testament textual criticism by Larry Hurtado.

Thanks to Hugh Houghton for valuable advice on this post.