Friday, November 08, 2013

Textual History and the Reception of Scripture in Early Christianity

SBL Press recently announced the following volume:
Johannes de Vries and Martin Karrer, editors, Textual History and the Reception of Scripture in Early Christianity: Textgeschichte und Schriftrezeption im frühen Christentum (Septuagint and Cognate Studies 60; Atlanta: SBL, 2013).

According to the publisher’s description, “The essays in this volume summarize an international research project on early Christian citations from Israel’s scriptures. These quotations are not only theologically significant but are also part of the textual history of the Septuagint and adjacent textual traditions of the Greek and Hebrew Old Testament. The essays discuss relevant manuscripts (Bible codices, papyri, etc.) up to the fifth century, signs and marginal notes (e.g., the diplé) that were used in the ancient scriptoria, and the specifics of the reception history in early Christianity from Matthew to 1 Peter and from the apostolic fathers to Theophilos of Antioch.” The front matter, including “Table of Contents” and the “Introduction,” are available at:

The volume is one product of a working group based at Wuppertal. Other results include a publically-accessible database (,) which, according to the Introduction, “lists the New Testament quotations and the related texts from the Septuagint / Hebrew Bible based on the oldest available manuscripts (papyri and main codices up to the 4th and 5th century). It integrates the notations of the quotation markers (introductory formulas, diplés) and lists the parallels to the quotations from those scriptures additionally incorporated into the great codices of the 4th and 5th centuries (Barn., 1/2Clem., Herm.). The original authors and editors of the main codices are represented in separate lines. The net result is a comprehensive tool for examining the origin of the Biblical canon, one which helps elucidate the textual development as it began with the oldest witnesses and concluded with the latest (sometimes Medieval) emendations.” (p. 7). This promises to be a very useful and time-saving database.

A notable conclusion (with considerable implications) reached by the working group is that “the New Testament had less of an influence over the Septuagint than the earlier scholars had assumed. The transmission of the books of the Septuagint and the New Testament occurred, in large measure, independently to at least the 5th and 6th centuries” (p. 8).


  1. Notable conclusion, indeed.

  2. Thanks looks interesting. I especially like the title of Ronald H. van der Bergh, ‘The Textual Tradition of the Explicit Quotations of the Twelve Minor Prophets in Codex Bezae’s Acts: A Preliminary Investigation’.

  3. Hi,

    Interesting. One question.

    Do the authors include a discussion about how the New Testament section of Romans 3 was brought into the GOT text of Psalm 14?


    Steven Avery
    Bayside, NY

  4. Peter, what can I say? I like genitive chains. Or rather, I like chains of genitives. :D

  5. Steven,
    That's a good question. One thing I've noticed in my reading of the LXX is that interpolations from a distant context are pretty common. Two that I can think of are excerpts from Jeremiah in Hannah's Song, and the fulfillment of Joshua's curse of Jericho directly following his pronouncement thereof.