Tuesday, August 14, 2018

INTF’s New Blog

Against Pete Head’s advice, the INTF has started a blog. Here is the first post from Greg Paulson:
The INTF has set up a new blog! Although we have featured blogs on our site before (as “Personal Blogs”), our newly implemented Liferay portlet called “Blog” aims to create a centralized portal for offering regular updates on the happenings of the institute and its projects as well as other things that are related (at least tangentially) to New Testament textual criticism.

Just to offer one tidbit before our next post, in case you were unaware, there is a paleography database (compiled by Marie-Luise Lakmann) that may be useful for those of you who are transcribing Greek manuscripts: http://intf.uni-muenster.de/NT_PALAEO/. To get started, click on “Suche” on the left-hand column.
Welcome to the blogosphere! I have added them to our blogroll in the sidebar. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Text-Critical Seminar at SNTS in Athens 2018

Today I am flying home from Athens where I have participated in the 73rd SNTS meeting including three sessions in the text-critical seminar. This was the fifth and final year of the seminar, chaired by me, Claire Clivaz and Ulrich Schmid, and the theme of this year was NTTC in exegesis.

We had three wonderful presentations followed by responses and fruitful discussions by the sixteen or so participants and I think the presenters got some very useful feedback. 

Tommy Wassermans foto. Jennifer Knust kicked off on Wednesday with a brilliant paper on textual criticism as exegesis discussing Lachmann’s idea of recensere sine interpretatione, Origen on John 1:28 (Bethany/Bethabara) among other things followed by a stimulating response by Claire Clivaz, wherein she coined the term “Lachmannian utopia,” among other things.

Tommy Wassermans foto.
Next on Thursday, Klaus Wachtel gave an instructive presentation on the interactive commentary on ECM of Acts in the NT.VMR with an example in Acts 3:13, followed by a response by Mike Holmes, who also brought up the conjecture in Acts 13:33.

Tommy Wassermans foto.On the last day of the SNTS meeting in Athens (Fri), we had Juan Hernandez Jr. present on ”The Apocalypse in Light of Recent Advances: A Return to J. Schmid’s Studien to Contextualize Current Text-Critical Trends.” The paper presented and evaluated Josef Schmid’s work on Revelation which has now been translated into English by Juan, Garrick Allen and Darius Müller (Juan is holding the book in the picture), and concluded by briefly looking to the future.

This was followed by a response by myself where I posed several questions to the presenter about Schmid’s work in particular in light of recent advances in research on Revelation through Text und Textwert, monographs and articles by Juan himself, Darius Müller, Peter Malik, and many others.

Tommy Wassermans foto.A highlight was when Juan stood up and read out loud for us a paragraph from the new translation which answered one of the questions.

This session as the two others went great and I have had good feedback from many participants in the seminar who thought we had great sessions. The best thing with the meeting though is to meet wonderful colleagues (here I am with Jennifer Knust and Claire Clivaz).

And, now I can announce that our seminar was accepted for renewal for another five years with me, Claire Clivaz and Hugh Houghton as chairs.

These are the themes for the coming period:

1)    Significant manuscripts and scribal habits (2019) – joint session(s) with papyrology
We will begin with a focus on the physical manuscripts and their scribes. We have agreed with the papyrology seminar to arrange a joint seminar (or sessions) on significant New Testament MSS at the meeting in Marburg.

2)    The Latin Bible (2020)
This will coincide with the publication of the Oxford Handbook to the Latin Bible, and enable us to invite distinguished guests as well as contributions from existing members.

3)    New Testament editions (2021)
This topic is evolving so fast that there is no doubt that we will have new topics and novelties to discuss in 2021.

4)     Digital developments and challenges (2022)
The same remark can be made here, based on the successful seminar on this topic in 2017, which has led to new standards being adopted for digital data in this field. Moreover, we expect to see several new digital projects developed in NTTC in the next years.

5)    NTTC and Reception History (2023)
This topic acts as a link between the study of the text and its significance for those working in other areas of New Testament scholarship.

So, I hope I will see some of you colleagues out there in Marburg next year!

New Reader’s LXX on Sale

For readers who haven’t heard, Greg Lanier and Will Ross have a new, two-volume reader’s Septuagint coming out this fall called Septuaginta. You can learn more about the edition (which follows Rahlfs) at the book’s website: lxxre.wordpress.com. See below for a preview of the page layout. Right now, the publisher is running a pre-order sale on both volumes for just $65. That’s 40% off retail.

I know Greg and Will have been working on this for about four years now, so a big congrats on finishing a massive project that will be a welcome aid to many!

Page Layout

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Museum of the Bible and Repatriation (GA 2120)

Yesterday, the Museum of the Bible (MOTB) posted a Facebook Live video featuring Brian Hyland, Associate Curator of Medieval Manuscripts. Hyland introduces GA 2120, a 12th-century minuscule of the Gospels. The Greens acquired the manuscript in 2010, and it was donated to the MOTB in 2014. Since then, it came to light that the manuscript was “lost” (=stolen) from the University of Athens. Representatives from the University of Athens contacted the MOTB about it, and the manuscript will be repatriated later this year in October.

Hyland gives an overview of the modern history of the manuscript back to Spyridon Lampros, who owned it before his daughter Lina Tsaldari gave it to the University of Athens in the 1960s. He includes some of the more recent history as well, including an estimate of when it was taken from the University of Athens (between 1987 and 1991), when it resurfaced at Sotheby’s (3 December 1998), and evidence of the identity of one of its modern owners.

It’s really great to see the MOTB doing the right thing here. They realised that they have an item that was taken illegally from its former owner, and they are making it right as well as they can in the situation.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Giveaway: Liturgy and the Living Text of the New Testament

Gorgias Press has just released the latest volume of papers from the Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament with the title Liturgy and the Living Text of the New Testament. To help get the word out, Gorgias has offered to give away a free copy to one of our lucky blog readers. Enter to win by any of the means listed at the bottom of this post.

Description: The textual history of the New Testament is a dynamic tradition, reflecting differing readings, interpretations and uses of its canonical writings. Twenty years after the publication of D.C. Parker’s celebrated volume The Living Text of the Gospels, the papers in this collection provide further insight into the lives of the New Testament text. One especially important focus for the New Testament as “living text” is its use in Christian worship: individual chapters examine the importance of liturgical manuscripts in Coptic and Greek traditions, alongside consideration of broader themes related to the lectionary text. Several famous biblical passages are the subject of extended treatment, including the Pericope Adulterae, Jesus’ teaching on the Temple in Mark, and the Lukan genealogy. The contributions represent original research by an international range of scholars, first presented at the Tenth Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament.

Book webpage

Update: Congrats to Jeff C. for winning!

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Monday, July 30, 2018

David Smith: Why GA 1411 Should Not be GA 1411: On Classifying Catenae Manuscripts

The following is a guest post from David C Smith. David and I worked together a few years ago in Athens with CSNTM. He is completing a ThM at Dallas Theological Seminary and is a Deacon in the Anglican Church in North America. His masters thesis, entitled “A Study of the Text and Paratext of the Catena on Luke in GA 1441,” should be completed this summer. Here is some of the fruit of that work.


The question of Catenae Manuscript classification has been raised by some as the details and purpose for composition have been more clearly understood. I wish to contribute some data to the conversation that has come from my work on GA 1411, a relatively unexplored and unanalyzed MS from the National Library of Greece. I was fortunate enough to digitally preserve this artifact with my good friend Andrew Bobo as we worked for CSNTM in the summer of 2015.

The purpose and use of catenae manuscripts has been explained more fully in the NTTC world by scholars such as William Lamb, Hugh Houghton, and David Parker. Lamb in particular has argued that these manuscripts were not primarily written as witnesses to the New Testament, but were written as educational textbooks in the medieval Byzantine scholastic context. Much of his argument is based on situating these manuscripts in their historical context, and in turn showing how this understanding of the compositional purpose of catenae manuscripts explains the high amount of variance in not only their biblical text but in their patristic commentary. In addition, this explanation of their purpose calls into question their use as witnesses of the New Testament alongside other continuous-text manuscripts, which are clearly written to transmit the NT text.

For many reasons, not much work has been done on the Greek catenae manuscripts as artifacts to see if the actual details of the manuscripts support this conclusion from Lamb and others. That is, if we were to examine the textual and paratextual details of a given catenae manuscript, would the phenomena of the artifact be best explained by the theory that they are educational textbooks/anthologies?

My master’s thesis at Dallas Theological Seminary is a study of GA 1411 to attempt exactly this. I am trying to observe the details and phenomena of this manuscript to judge whether or not Lamb’s explanation best fits.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Mark Ward on Engaging KJV-Onlyists

We don’t normally talk KJV-Onlyism on this blog, the reason being that such discussions tend to be fruitless (a point I hope is not demonstrated in the comments).

But, today I read an article by Mark Ward who, I understand, used to be KJV-only himself but has moved away from that. The article is “3 Ways to Graciously Engage KJV-Only Believers” and it is indeed gracious. If you have friends or family who are KJV-only, you will want to read it.

I want to highlight Mark’s second point, which, though it surprised me, is probably right.

2. Don’t Talk about Textual Criticism

I suggest you take a step back: you must refuse to talk about textual criticism with KJV-only Christians.

I’m not saying it’s worthless to teach the truth on the topic; many writers have done so admirably. But now’s probably not the time.

God calls few Christians, KJV-only or not, to learn Koine Greek. This means comparatively few people on any side of the KJV debate have ever examined the evidence. Instead, most people in the church have formed their textual critical views secondhand from authorities they trust. This is natural and not necessarily bad: we all outsource complex judgments to people whose expertise we would have trouble proving exactly.

This means your disagreement with the average KJV defender is not actually about textual criticism, but about which authorities are worth trusting: Carson vs. Ruckman, White vs. Waite. You won’t get him to trust responsible authors by having him read their attacks on his viewpoint; you’ll do this by giving him other edifying books by those who’ve produced our modern evangelical Bible translations, hoping he’ll sense intuitively that they are not his enemies. This is your long game.

But your short game needs to give up on textual criticism. As Dan Wallace has labored to show, only a tiny percentage of textual differences are both meaningful and viable. The difference between “the star came to rest” over baby Jesus and “the star came and stood” over him is not worth a fight.

Graciously agree to disagree with a KJV devotee’s preference for the TR and move on.
I knew a guy in seminary who graciously pastored a KJV-only church. He was a doctoral student and was taking textual criticism with Dan Wallace at the same time as me. He was not himself KJV-only but he realized that pastoral wisdom meant playing what Mark calls the “long game.” He loved the people in his church and wanted to move them to maturity; but he also wanted to do it in the way that best served them and I always admired him for that.

What other strategies have folks used successfully in helping KJV-onlyists?