Sunday, May 11, 2014

Article and Reviews in TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism vol. 19 (2014)

Several new reviews have been published in the current volume of TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism vol. 19 (2014). As the associate editor I can say that we are working with several submitted articles, but we warmly welcome more! See here on how to submit.


Nathan Thiel, The Old but New Command in 1 John 2:7-8? A Proposed Emendation
Abstract: In 1 John 2:7, the author of the epistle says that he is not writing the recipients a new command, but in the very next verse he seems to do an about face, now writing that the command is indeed new. According to most interpreters, this reversal can be attributed to the creativity of the author. This essay argues, in contrast, that the paradox is accidental, introduced through a primitive error in textual transmission. It proposes that 1 John 2:8 originally began πάλιν γράφω ὑμῖν (“Again I am writing to you”) and that ἐντολὴν καινήν (“new command”) was mistakenly imported into v. 8 early on in the letter’s textual history. By emending the text, we are able to resolve the grammatical and contextual anomalies of the present reading.


Ariel Feldman, The Rewritten Joshua Scrolls from Qumran: Texts, Translations, and Commentary (Marcus Sigismund, reviewer)
Kim Haines-Eitzen, The Gendered Palimpsest: Women, Writing, and Representation in Early Christianity (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer)
Margaret Jaques (ed.), Klagetraditionen: Form und Funktion der Klage in den Kulturen der Antike (Matthias Millard, reviewer)
Timothy M. Law, Origenes Orientalis: The Preservation of Origen’s Hexapla in the Syrohexapla of 3 Kingdoms (Martin Meiser, reviewer)
Ryan D. Wettlaufer, No Longer Written: The Use of Conjectural Emendation in the Restoration of the Text of the New Testament: The Epistle of James as a Case Study (Jan Krans, reviewer)
Andrew T. Wilburn, Materia Magica: The Archaeology of Magic in Roman Egypt, Cyprus, and Spain: New Texts from Ancient Cultures (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer)


  1. Nathan Thiel, very convincing ; you have to work, now, on Jn 4, 1-2, with those people : ho Kúrios, hoi Pharisaîoi, Iesoûs, hoi mathetaí, and Ioánnes ; with (v. 1) this Iesoûs doing something – that ho Kúrios knows that hoi Pharisaîoi have heard about – (v. 2) he is not doing…

  2. After reading the article, I am further convinced that conjectural emendation is not the answer for an evangelical critic. The most pressing reason being the available manuscript evidence is mostly ignored and the possible emendation is solely a figment of the imagination. The author does not prove that the text we have is corrupt, just that something he made up is better. Obviously, for those who hold to any form of documentary approach, such emendation is unnecessary.

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  4. I was going to post this privately to Jan Krans, but then decided it would be more appropriate to do it publicly, and thought that this would be a good venue.

    I'd like to thank Jan for his thorough review of my book. I take it as a compliment, really, that he would even take it up. From his review, it is clear that he read the book closely and with exceptional care. As the author, I feel both gratified and respected. And, of course, though he was on my side going into it, it's nice to have him agree with my main conclusions!

    Reviewing his critical comments, I'm not sure which was more strikingly apparent to me: my weaknesses as a historian, or his great strengths. Either way, I am grateful - as I think we all should be - that we (as a field) have people like Krans who are able to bring that degree of diligence to the historical investigation. His corrections and additions really improve my work.

    Finally, giving Elliott a run for his money, I should mention Kran's 2-page (!) list of errata. I am personally embarrassed, of course at many of those errors. Most of them are quite obvious and should have been caught (by me). The only semblance of a defense I will make is to say that, I hope you can trust me, I did devote many hours to editing and removing those types of mistakes, and so their persistence is certainly not for a lack of effort on my part but, I'll confess, a simple lack of competence.

    Krans does close by suggesting that a second edition could be produced to correct these deficiencies. Personal embarrassment is something I can live with, but I do feel terrible for the other more diligent scholars, connected to my book as editors, supervisors or contributors, whose good names are dishonored by my deficiency and so for their sake alone I might be tempted by Krans' suggestion. To be honest though, the suggestion reminds me of my Grandmother on the day when - in a famous story in my family - she went to the hospital to give birth unaware of the fact that she was carrying twins! Despite the main work for for publication being done a couple years ago now, faced with the prospect of going through it again I feel like she must have when, exhausted from the labour of giving birth to her first baby and lying fully spent on the bed, she heard the doctor suggest "care to do that again?" (And yes, in case you're wondering, my wife and mother of my two children is as I type mocking me for making that comparison.)

    All said, I'm very thankful to Krans for his review, I hope the good parts he highlights can be a help to other readers, and maybe even the bad parts too, if only as an example of what to avoid!

    Ryan Wettlaufer

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  6. Having now read Ryan's book and Jan's review, I'm not sure where the anonymous comment here is coming from, as a reaction to either to either the book or the review. The pluses of Ryan's book is that he does treat in detail both material and theological concerns about conjectural emendation. Those can't be done justice in a short book review, particularly in one that summarily agreed with the conclusion.

    For me, the main minus of the book is that Ryan chose depth over breath and discussed only a handful of conjectures in any great detail. This, I suppose, is like wishing he had written a different book. I just wish the examples chosen were stronger, and I'm not sure that the ECM publication of James was a good enough hook to focusing on that text. (On the merits, I see-sawed over the Jas 3:1 case, ultimately coming down against the conjecture, because my difficulty is the switch from the second person plural to the first person, and I don't think the conjecture helps.)

  7. Ryan,

    Just loved that comment.


  8. Krans: "I for one would challenge the reader to substantiate the omni-
    present claim that the nature of the Basel New Testament project by Froben and Erasmus was influenced in any way by the imminent publication of the Complutensian edition."

    Although I willingly defer to Jan Krans' expertise in this matter, I yet wonder how the Erasmian comment "praecipitatum verius quam editum" then applies, if not affected "in any way" by the matter of the Complutensian. Further light on this matter would be welcome.

  9. Maurice: Thanks for your question. As I see it, Erasmus was well aware of the shortcomings of his first edition (1516); the expression “praecipitatum verius quam editum” (“rushed [into print] rather than edited”) comes from him, in 1517. He also complained, during the printing already, about the workload in Froben’s shop. My point is twofold. (1) Haste and workload can be perfectly understood without a Spanish connection. Erasmus had a habit of working fast. Afterwards he usually was both proud of it and regretted some of the consequences. Moreover, there was a Jerome edition to be printed simultaneously with the Novum Instrumentum. Finally, Froben can very well have sensed a "ready market" for a New Testament edition with a Greek text, no more, no less. (2) So far, I have looked in vain in sixteenth-century sources for any information that (a) the Spanish project was known to Froben and (b) there was a sense of competition or even a race.
    I also noticed that the story is omnipresent in secondary literature, that is, from around 1800 onwards (I could give more information but that is more suited for an article), first as a conjecture (if I may still use that word), and then gradually as a standing narrative. Only a few scholars are aware of its mythical character.
    The only thing I do is to point to this state of affairs, and to look and to ask for some direct evidence.

  10. Stephen Carlson, I think that Anonymous’ comment is about too to Nathan Thiel’s paper, dealing with emendation too…

    Anonymous”, can you find another texts where πάλιν has to be translated as “toutefois”, “yet” (but “again” by the KJV…) ?…

    Nathan Thiel, what is fascinating is that all our manuscripts – even those with κενήν instead of καινήν in v. 7, a scribal attempt to correct the linguistical issue – have the same ancestor, a faulty copy (made by the 2, 1 τεκνία, the 2, 7 ἀδελφοί, ἀγαπητοί ?), to share the letter with other communities !