Monday, January 17, 2022

Pluritext Conference Proceedings (and a Little Backstory)


Some of you may remember times when people actually attended conferences in person. I hear that some living humans, in fact, met at SBL last November, an achievement I highly applaud (and, as a Central European, observe with a sense of remote envy).

Anyway, perhaps some of our readers might be familiar with the Project Pluritext, which, sadly, went through some bleak times owing to the criminal conviction of Jan Joosten. (In fact, I’m not sure the Project still exists at this point, as its website appears to be down.)  In Novemeber 2018, the Project organised a lovely conference entitled ‘Scribal Activity and Textual Plurality’, bringing together a rather diverse battery of scholars working on scribal matters in various traditions. I was rather surprised to have received an invitation (I guess strange things begin to happen once you’re old enough), which I readily accepted. As one might expect, I was asked to present on scribal activity and textual plurality in the New Testament. My paper mainly dealt with general matters such as what sort of textual pluriformity one might encounter in the NT and how it normally came about. It was kind of the organisers to allocate generous time slots for the Q&A, hence I was able to receive helpful feedback from some of my fellow presenters.

Oddly enough, this presentation proved to be something of a prophetic enactment of the age to come: due to the family circumstances (my daughter was to be born soon), I had to opt out from presenting in the beautiful Parisian surroundings and present from via Skype instead (yes, Skype was a thing back then). As of now, this mode of presentation seems to be something of a new normal, and one wonders whether the tide will ever swing back once the pandemic subsides.

With a bit of an understandable delay, the proceedings were finally published last year. And, as it turns out, this blog announcement, too, is rather late, but who cares – we’re in the midst of a global pandemic and the notion of time has taken on a whole new semantic layer.

The proceedings were published as a special issue of the Henoch journal, including a revised version of my paper, cheekily entitled ‘The More the Merrier? Scribal Activity and Textual Plurality in the New Testament Tradition’

I hope you enjoy perusing this publication. As always, any critical comments welcome.

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