Monday, October 15, 2012

New Book Shakes the Foundations of Coptology and New Testament Textual Criticism

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At exactly 09:00 this morning, the curtain which divides the Coptic materials in the archives of the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung (Münster) ripped in half from top to bottom.  INTF librarian, Eike Andreas Cser-Tarnai, said, "We have not seen anything like this happen since the publication of the 25th edition of the Nestle-Aland critical edition.  Such cosmic events usually coincide with dramatic advances in biblical scholarship."  INTF Coptic guru, Siegfried Richter, later noted that the time and date corresponded to the official launch of Christian Askeland's new monograph John's Gospel: the Coptic translations of its Greek text (official de Gruyter page).  Richter further stated, "This book will be an influential text for Coptic Bible scholarship for years to come, encouraging scholars to cite Coptic witnesses only where the Greek text can be firmly and scientifically established.  It's no wonder that the International Association of Coptic Studies awarded this work its 2008-2012 award for excellence for best PhD dissertation (cf. photo)."

11 comments :

  1. Great news Christian! May the revolution begin!

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  2. Shakes the foundations or lays the foundations?

    Congratulations, Christian.

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  3. And I knew you when! Congratulations Christian. Take care, Brad

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  4. Congratulations Christian! In future, I'll be able to claim that I own the computer screen you used for your PhD here at Tyndale House :)
    Was nice to see you in Munster...

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  5. Heartily congratulations Christian! I have already referred to your forthcoming revolutionary thesis in my article on Mark 1:1!

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  6. Very nice! Now, if Christian could give a short summary for those of us too busy with other works at the moment :)

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  7. Tommy, how did Christian's work affect your work on Mark 1:1?

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  8. Excellent news, Christian! Congratulations on this well deserved achievement.

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  9. Thanks, everyone!!! We are still trying to fix the curtain here at the INTF.

    Timo,
    The book argues that apparent agreements between the Coptic and Greek can often derive from three sources which have nothing to do with the historic Greek translational source: linguistic equivalence, translation technique and versional transmission. The book considers these issues in the context of the various Coptic translations of John, focusing on the Sahidic. I also discovered a new Coptic translation (in pure Middle Egyptian) and identified some new Fayumic witnesses.

    If I remember correctly, Tommy's article was interested in the dating of the PPalau Ribes 181-183 which contains Mark-John-Luke in that order. Scholars have dated this MS to the 5th century, although I suggest that their arguments for this early date are problematic. This is an important question, as this manuscript has essentially been thought of as the Codex Sinaiticus of the Coptic world, at least with regard to the gospels.

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  10. Thanks, Christian. So, if I understand you correctly, looking the Coptic text tells us only so much of the actual Greek Vorlage. Interesting, indeed.

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