Friday, September 21, 2018

Tregelles’s Mustard Seed

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In his delightful book American Greek Testaments: A Critical Bibliography of the Greek New Testament as Published in America, Isaac Hall has this to say about the importance of S. P. Tregelles:
The University Presses of Oxford and Cambridge have issued many a work of which the English nation is justly proud, and for which the Christian world is grateful; but since the noble edition of Mill, no work of either press has done more to bring back from Germany to England her former pre-eminence in New Testament critical study [than WH’s]. In the greatest contribution to that end hitherto, not to say the greatest work of this nature in England for a century and a half, the University Presses had scarcely any share. That was the work of Dr. Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, accomplished in the face of the wealth and power that mostly clung to blind tradition; in toil almost single-handed, in privation, and later with the disadvantage of failing eyes, under far too much misappreciation, perverse opposition, and even obloquy — until his mustard seed had grown to a great herb in which the fowls of the air might build their nests. But had Tregelles lived to see the present day, no man would more heartily have rejoiced than he, to see this cap-stone put by Westcott and Hort upon his building. The present state of things in England bears testimony, indeed, to Tregelles’s labors, but it bears equal testimony to the numbers that, conspicuously or humbly, have entered into those labors. It belongs to all human progress that “one soweth and another reapeth;” and in this instance, surely, there is abundant cause that “ he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.” (p. 58)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Evaluating Ehrman’s Comparative Argument for Textual Unreliability

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We have discussed at some length on this blog the value (or lack thereof) of what I called the comparative argument for the reliability of the NT text. In particular, we discussed Bart Ehrman’s three objections to it and why I found one of them significant. In this post, I want to return to that same objection, but this time I’m going to stack it against one of Ehrman’s own reasons for thinking the NT textual tradition is unreliable or at least not reliable enough.

Ehrman’s Argument

Here is Ehrman in his NT introduction:
In the earliest centuries, the vast majority of copyists of the New Testament books were not trained scribes. We know this because we can examine their copies and evaluate the quality of their handwriting, and we can assess how accurately they did their work. The striking and disappointing fact is that our earliest manuscripts of the New Testament have far more mistakes and differences in them than our later ones. The earlier we go in the history of copying these texts, the less skilled and attentive the scribes appear to have been.*
And here is his objection to the comparative argument as applied to the number of manuscripts:
Second, and more important: just because we are WORSE off for other authors than for those of the New Testament does not in itself mean that we can trust that we know what the NT authors wrote. I am a lot stronger than my five-year old granddaughter. But I still am not able to bench-press a half-ton truck. Yes, but you are MANY TIMES stronger than her! It doesn’t matter. I’m nowhere near strong enough. We have far more manuscripts of the New Testament than for any other ancient writing. But that doesn’t mean that we can therefore know what the originals said. We don’t have nearly enough of the right kinds of manuscripts.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Jerome’s Bibliology and the Greek Additions to Esther

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Jerome of Stridon translated the Hebrew text into Latin in the late fourth and early fifth century. The book of Esther is in Jerome’s canon, as it was in most early Christians’, but there was the additional question about its text form, since the Greek version is some fifty-per-cent longer than the Hebrew. When he comes to the book of Esther, he composed a preface to the book and prefaces before each of the Greek additions, all basically indicating what was translated from the Hebrew and what came from the common edition, i.e. the Latin translation of the Seventy. He moved these additions to the end of the book, and in the preface to Addition F, he says he put the obelus, that is a spear, beside them.

Two Examples from Jerome’s Letters

Evidently, the matter is more complicated in Jerome’s actual practice. In Ep. 49(48).14, writing a defense to Pammachius (ca. 393–394), who perceived Jerome in his books against Jovinian to be elevating chastity above marriage, Jerome launched into a discussion of what is “good.” From Exod 3:14 (“I am who I am”), he settles on this principle, “If you compare every created thing (assumed to be good) with God, it has no existence.” In support of the converse, he then cites Esther Add C22: as Esther says, ne tradas hereditatem tuam his, qui non sunt, uel idolis scilicet uel daemonibus. If God, “who is who he is,” is good, then “those who are not” are evil idols and demons. They exist, but because they are lost (periit) to God, they are said not to be.

Be that as it may, for our purpose, Jerome appeals to Esther Add C22 to establish a theological point about what is good and what is not good in categories of “who is” and “those who are not.” In fact, he uses Add C22 to establish the opposite point of Exod 3:14. Perhaps, one could argue that he’s only using Add C22 illustratively and not as authoritative scripture. But that appears to be a stretch here.

In Ep. 130.4 (ca. 414 AD), he says, “Demetrias cried like Esther to the Lord (Esth Add C27), ‘You know that I hate the sign of my high estate’—that is to say, the crown which she wore as queen—’and that I hate it as a filthy rag’.” Here, Jerome compares the virtue of Demetrias, a chaste woman, with the virtue of Esther, and once again, Jerome uses a passage from the Greek additions to Esther not found in the Hebrew. One could suggest here that Jerome uses Add C27 for a simple example of piety and not for doctrine. That is, in this case, Jerome is appealing to the edificatory nature of this passage, not any perceived authority.

Conclusions

Jerome’s bibliology includes canonical, apocryphal, and useful-edificatory books (cf. Prologue to Solomonic Books and elsewhere). The latter category consists of books neither canonical nor apocryphal; that is, books neither authoritative for doctrine nor the dangerous works of heretics. Does Jerome’s use of the additions to Esther fit this category in a similar way to how he treats Judith and Tobit? It seems his appeal to C27 does, but his use of C22 does not so easily fit.

More work needs to be done here, but we should pause before immediately claiming Jerome was pro Hebraica Veritas only or exclusively. His views are more complicated than appear at first blush.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Alex Joffe on Why (Some) Academics Don’t Like the Museum of the Bible

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Over at Mosaic, Alex Joffe writes this about some of the criticism of the Museum of the Bible:
For academics, [at] issue [is their] loss of public authority over the Bible. The intellectual monopolization of the Bible by academics in the post-World War II era coincided with the gradual collapse of biblical literacy in America, along with many mainline [Protestant] denominations. With this went an important part of the language of American identity, conversation, and consensus. The Bible in the public square was taken over by professors.

Inevitable or not, this was not healthy in social or political terms. Invocations of the Bible, religion, or God in politics today—[whether] earnest, banal, or grotesque—are condemned instantly. And yet this [habitual condemnation] cuts Americans off from not only a vernacular but from history; [for instance], the national, personal, and spiritual agony that Abraham Lincoln expressed in his second inaugural address is explicable only by reference to the Bible. . . .

Academics have hardly been faithful stewards of the Bible any more than of other forms of canonical knowledge; efforts to reclaim the Bible on the part of faith were also inevitable. If these also lead to more earnest engagement with the Bible as literature, tradition, and [a source of] morality on the part of academics and intellectuals, all the better. Unfortunately, I see the opposite occurring; [such] reclamation will be met with further academic criticism, which will only increase the distance between academia and society, heightening mutual suspicion and alienation, and setting up at least one side for a nasty surprise. . . .

The families and church groups visiting the Museum of the Bible are unlikely to be troubled by [issues of provenance] or converted to one denomination or another, but they might have elements of their faith, in the Bible and in America, reaffirmed. They are also likely to come away interested in Biblical history and archaeology. Many will go on to the Air and Space Museum for other sorts of reaffirmations, in technology and the human imagination, or to the National Gallery, filled with silent tributes to religious faith and to beauty itself. None of these is an unalloyed good, but that is the nature of museums. The good that one comes away with depends in part on what one goes in with.
On Twitter, Candida Moss says the reality is otherwise:
I’m not entirely sure there is an either-or here. Couldn’t the motive be both?

The element Joffe doesn’t mention here is personal animus toward the Greens, their Christian faith, or their win at the U.S. Supreme Court. Donna Yates, for example, wrote back in July 2017 that, “I had fantasies during the Hobby Lobby birth control case of taking them [the Greens] down with antiquities and told everyone I knew ‘you know they are terrible antiquities collectors too…’ but that wasn’t the story at the time.” Or, here is Joel Baden saying he thinks historic Christian faith is morally bankrupt.
Baden has also said that he tells his students that “all good academic writing comes from a place of anger.”

It’s hard to believe that the MOTB gets a fair hearing from critics who feel this way. That doesn’t mean that all the criticisms themselves are unwarranted, of course. Bad motives can lead to good questions and the museum has had clear problems with provenance. But it’s not silly to wonder if some of the critics are motivated by more than issues of proper provenance.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Peter Rodgers Reviews James Voelz on Mark

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In a recent Catholic Biblical Quarterly, the blog’s own Peter Rodgers has reviewed the first volume of James Voelz’s commentary on Mark. It’s not often that a commentary review mentions textual criticism (or has warrant to!), but when the commentary is by Voelz and the review is by Rodgers, we get lucky. Here’s the relevant portion:
Textual critics will welcome Voelz’s full treatment of variant readings for each section. His “spiral method” for making judgments on readings (p. 25) appears to give equal weight to both external and internal criteria in making judgments on textual matters. His preference for manuscript B (Vaticanus), however, leads him to prefer this manuscript as “a strong witness to the characteristics of Marcan Greek” (p. 25). This procedure normally serves well but must not be followed slavishly. For example, Mark’s use of “immediately,” a persistent Marcan peculiarity, should have overridden V.’s omission of the particle on the strength of B and allies (see 7:35). His commendable willingness to depart from NA28 should have allowed him to entertain or at least mention the conjecture in 8:26, “don’t say anything into the Village, which alone honors another strong feature of Marcan usage: the use of “into” (εἰς) where “in” (ἐν) is expected. Moreover, the recently developed “Coherence-based Genealogical Method,” together with the salient features of Marcan usage, should give pause to anyone who wishes to emphasize one manuscript (even one so excellent as B). To do so is ultimately to neglect the complexity of the whole manuscript tradition.
You can read the rest in CBQ 80 (2018): 540–542.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Africanus–Origen Correspondence and the Form of Greek Daniel

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As often happens in research, while investigating one topic, one becomes distracted by another. In several of my pursuits, the book of Daniel keeps surfacing, and I keep blogging on it. In this post, I tie together a couple of loose threads on the textual form of the book of Greek Daniel.

Order of Sections in Greek Daniel

In a previous post, I noted different orders of the sections/pericopes of the book of Greek Daniel according to B, Q, and Syh. B and Q represent (though with different paratextual features) what appears to have become the dominant order in MSS: Sus–Dan–Bel et Draco, and Syh represented Dan–Sus–Bel–Draco, all set off with separate titles, even though the opening title of the book was “Daniel according to the Seventy” in this same MS. In a post from last week, I commented on Ra 967 in conjunction with my research on Esther but did note that the order of pericopes for Daniel are as follows: Dan–Bel et Draco–Sus, though we can’t be certain whether there were pericope divisions or titles since the joins between Dan–Bel and Draco–Sus in the MS are in lacunae. This MS appears to be the only one that has this order of the sections, and one wonders whether it was because the 2nd/3rd century scribe wanted to place Susanna next to Esther, but I speculate here.

Enter: The Africanus-Origen Correspondence

The Africanus-Origen correspondence probably occurred around 248 AD. This is not the place to launch into all the debates over certain matters in this correspondence (e.g. Origen’s views of the Seventy and Hebrew texts), but there are a couple of places where these letters appear to provide a clue as to the order of the sections of Greek Daniel. First, in Ep. Or. 7, Africanus says, “Now above all these, this pericope (περικοπή) [Susanna] together with the other two at the end (ἐπὶ τῷ τέλει) does not circulate in the [book of] Daniel having been received by/among the Jews.” He does not name Bel et Draco, but he knows of these pericopes at the end of the book and mentions “two other” pericopes–not one.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

More Digital Humanities stuff: Digital Papyrology

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About a week ago, Pete Williams posted an advertisement for a postdoc in a digital humanities project on Mark 16 based in Lausanne. Needless to say, digital humanities are a very prospective field of research, and textual critics have already begun to rely on some of the first fruits of this line of enquiry. For instance, few people conducting NT text critics could now imagine their lives without the New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room (NTVMR). For those of us dabbing into papyrology and manuscript studies, the same holds true regarding the multitude of essential online resources and databases. In this vein, our blog readers might be interested in the recently published two-volume book Digital Papyrology (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017–18). The first volume, entitled Methods, Tools and Trends (2017) was solely authored by Nicola Reggiani, whereas its (thinner) 2018 sequel Case Studies on the Digital Edition of Ancient Greek Papyri presents a collection of essays edited by Reggiani himself.

Although Reggiani did not intend this to be a handbook or an introductory text-book, it can definitely serve that purpose (and much more). The wide range of topics discussed include digital bibliographies, catalogues, word-indices, online imaging, publication and editing—and everything in between. There is a great wealth of useful information presented here, but what I particularly appreciate is that Reggiani goes beyond merely outlining what’s out there. The various digital tools are scrutinised and contextualised, such that the reader might get a basic critical outlook instead of just a ‘dry’ description of what’s available. The analysis is embedded in a wider discussion concerning what the digital papyrology actually is and what it is becoming.

Until quite recently, conducting papyrological research without being physically present in a highly specialised research library would have been impossible. Today, the comprehensive digitisation of editions coupled with online publication of manuscript images, as well as the actual digital editing that’s taking place, are shifting the paradigm rapidly. A critically acute overview and analysis of the methods and tools that are part and parcel of this shift is thus most helpful. The helpfulness of this work is enhanced further still by the fact that  both volumes are freely available online as eBooks thanks to the Open Access initiative—in keeping with the ethos of this increasingly more inclusive field and its increasingly more widely available tools of trade. Hopefully we’ll see more of this in the days to come. (N.B. Pasquale Orsini’s forthcoming book on Greek and Latin palaeography is also supposed to be an Open Access publication.)

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Reading Religion’s Review of The Biblical Canon Lists

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James E. Walters tweeted at me that his review of The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity: Texts and Analysis (OUP, 2018) has been posted at Reading Religion. You can read his review here. He thinks the book is generally good and useful:
This volume provides an accessible collection of “lists” of biblical books from early Christian and Jewish sources. The lists are provided in original texts (primarily Greek and Latin, though also one Syriac and one Rabbinic Aramaic) and also translation. Each list is also accompanied by a brief introduction as well as thorough notes on issues of translation and interpretation. As such, the editors have compiled a very useful collection of texts that will be of intrinsic interest and value to anyone who works on questions of canon formation in early Christianity (and to a lesser extent in early Judaism).
His concluding paragraph is also positive, though he notes some concerns:
With these concerns in mind, this book is a valuable compendium of sources and summaries of scholarship pertaining to the history of the formation of the biblical canons. In addition to texts and translations (most of which are taken from previous publications), the entries include convenient references to previous studies of each canon list included, so this book can serve as a valuable reference to students and researchers at all levels.
Walters expressed concern over how Ed Gallagher and I (1) treated the dating of the Muratorian Fragment in ch. 1 (“the careful reader will note that in the first chapter the Muratorian Fragment is generally supplied as evidence for ‘early’ canonical status for various books”), even though he said our treatment of the problem of date in the section on MF in ch. 4 of the book was “even-handed and diplomatic”; (2) our definition of “canon list” (but more precisely, “The editors then immediately claim that this definition fits ‘most of the lists’ in the volume, an admission that already clues the reader into the fact that some of the included lists may not necessarily meet these criteria.”); (3) our inclusion of Josephus’s statement on the 22 books in his Against Apion; (4) the inclusion of chapter six on whole bible MSS left Walters puzzled, “Thus, it remains unclear exactly how this chapter contributes to the volume.”

Walters’s review was generally positive, and there is no need to respond to each of his concerns here, except only to note that in the book we did mention many of them ourselves. For example, regarding Josephus on p. xiii, we said:
Our description of a canon list as the list of books that an author or council considered canonical should be nuanced when considering certain lists. We have included a passage from Josephus often labelled the first Jewish canon list, but anyone reading the passage will be disappointed to find that Josephus fails to list the books, and his account—while it affords us a great deal of certainty on the majority of writings that made up his collection of twenty-two sacred books—is not so precise that we can have complete assurance that we know the contents of his canon.
And on p. 63, we said:
Since Josephus does not list the exact contents of the books in his canon list, we only list his headings and brief descriptions of the types of works within the twenty-two books. Scholars have attempted to reconstruct Josephus’s list, and these conjectures are presented below...
Apparently, our cautions won’t satisfy everyone, but thank you, James, for writing a thoughtful and fair review of our book!

Friday, September 07, 2018

New Article: Quantifying Variants in the Apostolos

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In the latest issue of NTS, Greg Lanier has an article expanding on my work estimating the number of variants. He takes a deep dive into the data from the ECM of the Catholic Letters and now Acts to try a way of quantifying the variants in the most important witnesses.

Here is the abstract:
This article interacts with Peter J. Gurry’s recent estimate of the total textual variants in the Greek New Testament (NTS 62 (2016)) by (i) employing a different (and complementary) method using data from the Editio Critica Maior and (ii) producing an estimate that is narrowly confined to the ‘key’ manuscript witnesses for Acts and the Catholic Letters (a mix of majuscules and minuscules, both Byzantine and non-Byzantine). The results prove more useful for framing the development and distribution of textual variants in this group of key witnesses.
I wrote before, “There is more that can be done with these data and hopefully I and others will explore some of those in the future.” While I stumbled over some of the things done with the data here, this is the kind of additional work I had in mind. In particular, I want to highlight the three points that stood out to me.

First, he uses places where there is no variation in the ECM volumes to help calculate manuscript agreement. This is important because the CBGM only uses places where there is some disagreement to calculate the overall agreement. From this, he can say that about 15% of the 12,356 “textual units” in the Apostolos (Acts + Catholic Letters) have no variation in the ECM. With a larger collation set (like Tommy’s work on Jude), this diminishes, of course, but this is valuable especially because CBGM comparisons only compare “textual units” where there is some variation (i.e., variant units). In other words, they leave out all the places where there is no variation in the collated witnesses. (There is a good reason for this in the CBGM, by the way, but that’s another subject.)

Second, Lanier tabulated how many variants are actually found in each variant unit. This is important because it offers one good metric for how much work editors have to do. The reason is that deciding between ten different readings is usually a lot more work than deciding between two. Lanier found that in the Apostolos, about 64% of all variant units have just two readings. Another 27% have three and the remaining 9% have four or more. In other words, the vast majority of decisions in the ECM are between three or fewer variants. Gerd Mink had run the same numbers for James in 2004 with similar results, but now we have them for the rest of the Apostolos. I think this may be one of the most helpful stats in the article

Finally, Lanier plotted the rate of variation per word across the 28 chapters of Acts and found that, among his 16 key witnesses, the rate increases slightly toward the end (see figure). He says, “The data, of course, cannot tell us why this is the case, but it is nevertheless helpful empirical confirmation in the aggregate (for sixteen witnesses) of what textual critics have hypothesised for Acts within individual witnesses” (p. 568). I would suggest that scribal fatigue is the most obvious explanation. As scribes got further into Acts, fatigue set in and they copied a little worse than they did at the start of the book. (This, of course, does not mean that they made no mistakes at the start of books as in, oh, I don’t know, say Mark 1.1 for example.)

Variation rate across Acts
Update: See Lanier’s blog post for a bit on how he crunched the data.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Rahlfs 967 of the Kölner Papyri of the Institute of Ancient History at the University of Cologne

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Ra 967, p. 197
I am researching the reception history of Esther in early Jewish and Christian sources and have come to Rahlfs 967 (2nd/3rd), a papyrus MS containing (with lacunae) Ezekiel (pp. 10–61), Daniel (pp. 62–93r), Bel et Draco (pp. 93v–95), Susanna (pp. 96–98), and Esther (pp. 99–109).

What I didn’t know previously is that the pages of this MS are divided between five different collections. The Verzeichnis (2004; pp. 98–103) lists the following (hyperlinks are to the images online of which I’m aware):
1. Chester Beatty IX + X: pp. 10–17 (upper half); 71–83 (upper half); 102–109 (upper half) (images of the pages from Dublin can be viewed at the CSNTM).
2. Princeton, Univ. Libr., P. Scheide 3: pp. 20 + 22, 23–28, 30–32, 34–37, 40–45 (upper half).
3. Kӧln, IfA, P. Colon. theol. 3–40: pp. 10–17, 20, 22, 71–77, 79–83 (lower half); 90, 92–101 (upper half); pp. 18–19, 21, 29, 53–70, 84–89 (whole) (see images at Kölner Papyri of the Institute of Ancient History at the University of Cologne).
4. Madrid, CSIC (Fonds Photiaded), P. Matr. bibl. 1: pp. 10, 33, 38–39, 46–52.
5. Montserrat, SBO, P.Monts./II Inv. 42. 43: p. 78 (lower half), p. 91 (upper half)
For my purpose, I wanted to see how Esther began and ended in this MS; that is, I was interested to learn about its paratextual features. Unfortunately, there are no visible paratextual features (e.g. title or inscription) except the page number (p. 197) at the beginning, and the end of Esther is not extant in the MS.
Ra 967, p. 196


Of some interest is the placement of Esther after Susanna (p. 196), which contains a subscription: Daniel: [pe]ace to the one who wro[te] and to those who re[ad] amen. In other MSS, the order is Sus–Dan–Bel et Draco, but in this MS, Sus is placed at the end of the book and may have been intended to be joined to Esther, another virtuous woman. Who knows? No other Greek MS has this order. The order Sus–Esth is attested in Syriac MSS.

Both of these images are from the Kölner Papyri collection, and I’m grateful to curator Prof. Dr. Charikleia Armoni for answering my query and directing me to the digitized images and also being willing to send me higher resolution images upon request.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Postdoc in Lausanne on Mark 16

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A 4 year postdoctoral position is being advertised in Lausanne to work on the new project there on Mark 16 led by Claire Clivaz. Further details are here. It is a digital humanities post and is located in the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (which obviously interprets its remit broadly!).

Monday, September 03, 2018

Tragedy at the Brazil National Museum

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Sunday night, the 200 year old Brazil National Museum in Rio de Janeiro caught fire and burned down. The Guardian reports
Brazil’s oldest and most important historical and scientific museum has been consumed by fire, and much of its archive of 20 million items is believed to have been destroyed.

The fire at Rio de Janeiro’s 200-year-old National Museum began after it closed to the public on Sunday and raged into the night. There were no reports of injuries, but the loss to Brazilian science, history and culture was incalculable, two of its vice-directors said.
Photo of the fire from the BBC
Compounding the tragedy are reports that the museum had recently finished a deal with the government for funds that included a fire prevention project. Most of the accounts coming in are that only a tiny portion of the on-site collection survived. It seems that in recent years, the museum has been starved for financial resources and in bad need of upkeep.

I don’t know much about what the collection housed by way of Bible-related artifacts, but Pete Williams shares this on Twitter:
The Twitter user known as Incunabula also shares that the museum’s library, containing nearly half a million volumes, was also engulfed.
If anyone knows of any particular Christian or Bible-related artifacts in the collection, let us know in the comments.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Craig Evans on Mark Fragment

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Craig Evans was recently interviewed by the Veracity Hill program and in it he tells his side of the story about P.Oxy. 5345 (formerly “First-century Mark”). In terms of new info (at least I think it’s new), he says that his info on it came by way of Dan Wallace [update: he misspoke] and he doesn’t know what all the “hubub” is about. It’s just a case of a papyrologist changing his mind and anyway a 2nd/3rd-century fragment of Mark is still the earliest for Mark and that’s great.

He also responds to “two or three smart alecks” in the blogosphere who have critiqued his view of autograph survival and mentions in passing that he’s working on a book on Jesus and the manuscripts. The discussion of manuscripts starts after the 46 minute mark with the pericope adulterae and the ending of Mark.



Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Text of Acts - Differences between Tyndale House Edition, ECM, and NA28

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[warning: long post, you may want to skip to the conclusion at the end]

A little while ago I posted an analysis of all differencesbetween the NA28 and the Editio Critica Maior of Acts. I have now made a comparison between the Tyndale House Edition and the ECM, not knowing what I would find. Since the ECM and the Tyndale House Edition were prepared at the same time without knowledge of one another, it is also interesting to see how close they are to NA28.

I have kept things simple and will not comment on the 152 places where ECM-Acts gives a split guidance. Since the THGNT does not do split guidance (though it has diamonds in the apparatus), all these places can be counted as differences in a maximalist view. In each of the two and three-way splits the THGNT has one of the options of the ECM. This time I have also ignored brackets in the NA28 text, so as not to drown this overview with too many categories. I have noted brackets in NA28 and diamonds in the apparatus of the THGNT, though with no claim of being complete. I hope the tables are exhaustive, but improvements are always welcome.

1        THGNT and ECM Differ; NA28 Agrees with Neither

There is one place where each of the three versions has a different text:

Acts
THGNT
ECM
NA28
Omit  (with ♦ for Τίτου)
Τίτου
Τιτίου

This variant concerns the tricky business of the name of the man who owned the house next door to the synagogue. The ECM includes the singular omission by Alexandrinus of the preceding ονοματι in the variant unit, which, I think, distorts the way the external evidence is read. Together with D-05 this is the earliest evidence for just Justus, amply supported by the Byzantine tradition. The main transcriptional issue is whether the -τι  of ονοματι  was read as standing for the name ‘Titus’ or not (which in Latin would be abbreviated as ‘Ti.’).

2        THGNT and ECM Differ; NA28 Agrees with ECM

A much bigger group is formed by places where the THGNT (having started with Tregelles) disagrees with both ECM (which presumably started with NA28) and NA28. 
Some of the differences in the list are orthographic, yet they are ‘unusual’ orthographic variants—there are many other orthographic differences not listed here. I found the following 40 instances:

Acts
THGNT
ECM
NA28
1.11
βλέποντες
ἐμβλέποντες
[ἐμ]βλέποντες
2:31
ἅδου (with )
ᾅδην
ᾅδην
4:9
σέσωσται
σέσωται
σέσωται
4:22
εγεγόνει
γεγόνει
γεγόνει
4:37
παρά
πρός
πρός
6:3
οὖν
δέ
δέ
7:11
εὕρισκον
ηὕρισκον
ηὕρισκον
7.13
Αὐτοῦ
Τοῦ ωσήφ
[τοῦ] Ἰωσήφ
7:31
ἐθαύμασεν
ἐθαύμαζεν
ἐθαύμαζεν
7:43
Ῥεφάν
Ῥαιφάν
Ῥαιφάν
7:51
ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν
καρδίαις
καρδίαις
8:18
τὸ ἅγιον (with )
omit
omit
10:11
δεδεμένον καί
omit
omit
10:19b
ζητοῦσιν (with )
ζητοῦντες
ζητοῦντες
11.23
τοῦ θεοῦ
τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ
[τὴν] τοῦ θεοῦ
12:6
προσαγαγεῖν
προαγαγεῖν
προαγαγεῖν
13:6
βαρϊησοῦς
βαριησοῦ
βαριησοῦ
13.14
ἐλθόντες
εἰσελθόντες
[εἰσ]ελθόντες
13.31
Εἰσιν (with )
Εἰσιν νῦν
Εἰσιν [νῦν]
14:8
ἐν Λύστροις ἀδύνατος
ἀδύνατος ἐν Λύστροις
ἀδύνατος ἐν Λύστροις
15:4
Ἱεροσόλυμα
Ἰερουσαλήμ
Ἰερουσαλήμ
15:25
ἐκλεξαμένους (with )
ἐκλεξαμένοις
ἐκλεξαμένοις
16.28
Παῦλος
ὁ Παῦλος
[ὁ] Παῦλος
16:40
ἐκ (with )
ἀπό
ἀπό
17.22
Παῦλος (with ♦)
Παῦλος
[ὁ] Παῦλος
20:4
ἄχρι τῆς Ἀσίας (with )
Omit
Omit
20:28
κυρίου (with )
θεοῦ
θεοῦ
20:30
ἑαυτῶν
αὐτῶν
αὐτῶν
21:5
ἐξαρτίσαι ἡμᾶς
ἡμᾶς ἐξαρτίσαι
ἡμᾶς ἐξαρτίσαι
21:6
ἐνέβημεν
ἀνέβημεν
ἀνέβημεν
22:8
πρὸς ἐμέ
πρός με
πρός με
22:13
πρὸς ἐμέ
πρός με
πρός με
22:26
ἑκατόνταρχος 
ἑκατοντάρχης 
ἑκατοντάρχης 
23:20
μέλλων
μέλλον
μέλλον
23:22
πρὸς ἐμέ
πρός με
πρός με
25:10
ἠδίκηκα (with )
ἠδίκησα
ἠδίκησα
26:1
ὑπέρ
περί
περί
26:29
κἀγώ    
καὶ ἐγώ
καὶ ἐγώ
27:8
Λασέα
Λασαία
Λασαία
27:16
Κλαῦδα
Καῦδα
Καῦδα

A few remarks. Contrary to ECM, I do not think 15:4 is an orthographic variant. There is quite some literature on the differences between Ιερουσαλημ and Ιεροσολυμα and variation between these two is surprisingly rare.

Perhaps one of the bigger differences is 20:28. Hurtado has a study (Texts and Artefacts, chapter 4) showing that this is one of a string of variants between κυριος and θεος in Acts. It is only here that the THGNT and the ECM have a difference of opinion.

The only variant where a whole phrase is at stake is at 20:4. Normally I would be inclined to go with the earliest evidence and omit ἄχρι τῆς Ἀσίας. However, there is a narrative difficulty that puts pressure on this phrase, and that is that in 20:16 we learn that Paul had no intention of spending time in Asia. At this point in 20:4, the journey has not reached Troas yet. That makes the insertion of this phrase difficult to explain. In addition, with the phrase there are two references to Asia if we count the noun Ἀσιανοί further down. It is a tight call though.

3        THGNT and ECM Differ; NA28 Agrees with THGNT

The group of readings where ECM has changed NA28 but has not been followed by THGNT consists of the following 25 readings.

THGNT
ECM
NA28
1:10
ἐσθήσεσι λευκαῖς
ἐσθήτι λευκῃ
ἐσθήσεσιν λευκαῖς
1:26
αὐτοῖς
αὐτῶν
αὐτοῖς
2:3
καὶ ἐκάθισεν (with )
ἐκάθισέν τε
καὶ ἐκάθισεν
2:20a
-
before ἐλθεῖν
-
2:20b
ἡμέραν
τὴν ἡμέραν
ἡμέραν
4:4
ὡς
ὡσεί
[ὡς]
5:26
ἦγεν
ἤγαγεν
ἦγεν
5:33
ἐβούλοντο
ἐβουλεύοντο
ἐβούλοντο
7:25
ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ (with )
ἀδελφούς
ἀδελφοὺς [αὐτοῦ]
8:31
ὁδηγήσει
ὁδηγήση
ὁδηγήσει
9:8
οὐδέν
οὐδένα
οὐδέν
9:12a
ἐν ὁράματι
omit
[ἐν ὁράματι]
10:9
ἐκείνων
αὐτῶν
ἐκείνων
13:11b
ἔπεσεν
ἐπέπεσεν
ἔπεσεν
13:33
αὐτῶν
omit
[αὐτῶν]
14:10
Φωνῇ
τῇ φωνῇ
Φωνῇ
15:37
τόν Ἰωάννην
Ἰωάννην
τόν Ἰωάννην
16:13
ἐνομιζομεν προσευχήν
ἐνομιζετο προσευχή
ἐνομιζομεν προσευχήν
16:17
κατακολουθοῦσα
κατακολουθήσασα
κατακολουθοῦσα
19:14
τινος
τινες
τινος
20:21
Ἰησοῦν
Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν
Ἰησοῦν
23:5
ὅτι
omit
ὅτι
23:10
γινομένης
γενομένης
γινομένης
23.23
Τινὰς δύο
Δύο τινὰς
[τινὰς] δύο
28:5
ἀποτινάξας
ἀποτιναξάμενος
ἀποτινάξας

An interesting choice was made by ECM at 9:8 to prefer οὐδένα over οὐδέν. To me, οὐδένα before ἔβλεπεν shows clear influence of μηδένα θεωροῦντες in the previous verse, so that this is just a simple harmonisation to the immediate context.

Perhaps the most ‘controversial’ reading in this table is 13:33, where ECM has a ‘conjecture’ (according to the Commentary). Frankly, I am not sure if this is a true conjecture. It is only so if we accept the variation unit as given in ECM. However it may well be that the question of τέκνοις αὐτῶν and the presence/absence of ὑμῖν should be dealt with separately.

4        THGNT and NA28 Differ; THGNT and ECM Agree

There is one final list to produce so that we can make a three-way comparison between THGNT, ECM, and NA28, and that is the list where THGNT and ECM agree in their deviation from NA28. I have found 27 of these.

Acts
THGNT
ECM
NA28
1:15
ὡς
ὡς
ὡσεί
2:5
ἐν
ἐν
εἰς
2:33
-
-
[καί]
3:13a
-
-
[ὁ θεός]2
3:13b
-
-
[ὁ θεός]3
5:31
-
-
[τοῦ]
7:7
δουλεύσωσιν
δουλεύσωσιν
δουλεύσουσιν
7:22
-
-
[ἐν]
9:12b
-
-
[τάς]
9:21
ἐν
ἐν
εἰς
10:40
-
-
[ἐν]
11:22
-
-
[διελθεῖν]
12:11
-
-
[ὁ]
14:3
-
-
[ἐπί]
15:4
ὑπό
ὐπό
ἀπό
15:17
-
15:41
-
-
[τήν]
16:11
οὖν
οὖν
δέ
16:12[1]
πρώτη τῆς μερίδος
πρώτη τῆς μερίδος
πρώτη[ς] μερίδος τῆς
16:27
-
-
[τήν]
16:28
φωνῇ μεγάλῃ
φωνῇ μεγάλῇ
μεγάλῃ φωνῇ
19:15
-
-
[μέν]
20:5
προσελθόντες
προσελθόντες
προελθόντες
20:6
οὗ
οὗ
ὅπου
25:18
πονηράν
πονηράν
πονηρῶν
27:8
ἧν πόλις
ἧν πόλις
πόλις ἧν
27:23
-
-
[ἐγώ]

In the list of differences between ECM and NA28 the following is given as one variant, though I have split it up into a word order variant and the issue of the article before Paul, the latter is included above under section 2.

Acts
NA28
ECM
THGNT
16:28
μεγάλῃ φωνῇ [ὁ]
φωνῇ μεγάλῇ ὁ
φωνῇ μεγάλῃ

Interestingly, in over half of the differences between ECM and NA28 (27 out of 52) the THGNT agrees with the ECM.

5        Conclusion

[drum roll]
Time for one last table, the number of differences between THGNT, ECM, and NA28.

By ignoring all the brackets in NA28 and all the split readings in ECM, I have followed the same procedure as the list given in ECM-Acts I, 34*–35* where the differences between ECM-Acts and NA28 are found. That list gave 52 differences, besides the 152 split guidance readings. ECM-Acts and THGNT differ 76 times (section 1 + 2 + 3). And the total number of differences between THGNT and NA28 is 68 (section 1 + 2 + 4). There are orthographica included in the list, but the THGNT has many further differences as to iota subscript, -ει- for -ι-, and unassimilated prepositions that are not part of the comparison.

Number of differences
THGNT
ECM
NA28
THGNT

76
68
ECM
76

52
NA28
68
52


In terms of the percentages as used in the CBGM, the differences are fairly minimal. The text of Vaticanus, the witness most closely aligned with the ECM text, is recorded as agreeing in 6997 out of 7250 variant units, 96.51%. If we assume that 7250 is about the maximum number for any complete witness, then THGNT agrees with ECM in 7174 out of 7250, which is 98.95%.

Looking over the various lists quickly, it is surprising how few ‘big’ differences there are between the three editions. This is unlike some variants in the gospels. The tables above show that (unless one has a preference for the Textus Receptus, Codex Bezae, or the Byzantine text) there isn’t that much at stake in Acts.


[1] The reading of NA28 is given incorrectly in ECM, which omitted the final τῆς of NA28.