Monday, May 20, 2019

Paulson Review of THGNT

I’m driving cross country today but, through the magic of Blogger, here is a review of the THGNT from Greg Paulson for you. Here’s the conclusion:
In spite of these lingering queries, there is no doubt that the THGNT possesses many quintessential hallmarks of a hand-sized critical edition. The edition, which boasts high quality collaboration among some of the discipline’s foremost text-critics and scholars, is a most welcome addition to the market. The apparatus cites pertinent manuscripts to elucidate the editors’ decision-making process and includes other editorial features that greatly assist the reading experience, such as paragraphing, accents, and breathing marks. In sum, the editors have achieved their goal of creating an edition that is easy to use. They have removed some of the cumbersome barriers of other critical editions and offered a stream-lined approach to delving into the text—even though users will have to get accustomed to the edition’s distinctive aspects like its orthography and an alternate order of books. The edition’s sleek page design, void of cross-references and other marginal features, containing a minimal apparatus and simple paragraphing, seem especially advantageous for those who want to read through the Greek text with as few distractions as possible—and for that purpose, it is heartily recommended

Thursday, May 16, 2019


For months now I have not been able to comment on this here blog using Google Chrome (PC). I’ve mostly just used other browsers or just refrained from commenting as much. But recently several other people have noted that they’ve been having trouble too, but some with different browsers.

So, with the irony of the request noted, would readers be willing to leave a comment and let me know which browsers/OS you are having trouble with? I don’t know if I can fix it, but more info will help me look for a solution. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Crowdsourcing a marginal note at Luke 22:43–44


Luke 22:43–44 in GA 1424:
Luke 22:43–44 in GA 1424
I admit that abbreviated minuscule script is a bit outside my normal time range. Most of the time I’m not too bad at it, but it helps if you already know what you’re looking at. That being said, I was looking at the Lukan Gethsemane Scene in 1424 earlier, and noticed it has three marginal notes. I was able to make out two of them (rather I should say, enough of two of them), which are interesting enough on their own. They both seem loosely to derive from older patristic sources (Epiphanius? though a catena of [Pseudo-?]Titus of Bostra attributes a longer note to Chrysostom, of which one of the notes in 1424 appears to be an abbreviated form—GA 39 contains the text; The text of Luke 22:43–44 is on f. 203r, and the beginning of Chrysostom’s comments is at the 6th line of the commentary at the top of the page, but the comments relevant to this section are marked with a symbol and appear on f. 203v.).

Listing them in order of appearance on the page from top to bottom, the first is:

Text: διὰ τὴν ὑπερβολὴν | τῆς θαυμασιότητος | δοξολογῶν αὐτὸν | ὁ ἄγγελος ἐφαί|νετο· οἷα λεγειν· | σή ἐστιν ἡ ἰσχὺς | δέσποτα σὺ γὰρ ἴ|σχυας κατὰ θα|νάτου ἐλευθέρω|σας τὸ γένος ἀνθρώπων:

[rough translation:] “Because of the excess of astonishment, the angel appeared glorifying him, because he said, ‘Yours is the strength, O Master, for you are strong over death, setting free the race of mankind.’”

At the bottom of the page, a third note identifies Luke 22:43 as a fulfilment of Deuteronomy 32:43:

Below: square brackets relate to the text itself; round brackets are my suggested clarifications. Neither are perfect, as I admit that this type of hand is getting near the limits of my competency.

Text: [something]: ὤφθη δὲ αὐτῷ ἀγγέλος ἀπ᾽ ὀυρανοῦ ἐνϊσχύων αὐτόν: οὐχ ὢς δε ὁ [κυριον?]· ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα πληρωθῇ τὸ [it starts to get hard to read here, but ἐνισχυ]σάτωσαν αὐτὸν πάντες ἄγγελοι θεοῦ.

[rough translation]: [something]: “But an angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening him”: But not (strengthening him) as Lord (or, not his divine nature?), but in order to fulfil that [which was spoken(or written) (by Moses?)]: “Let all the angels of God strengthen him.”

The second note, ironically the shortest and probably easiest, is the one that I’m having trouble with. I’d rather not spend more time trying to sort it out, so I though I’d ask for the wisdom of our readership. Can anyone decipher the full note easily? I can see letters here and there. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s οὐκ split over the last two lines. I can see ἀστερισ[κος?] on the first/second line. It probably begins with τα Putting it all together would take me more time than I’d like to spend though. For context, Luke 22:43–44 are marked with asterisks in this manuscript, and my guess is that this note might be a text-critical remark, or at least I would think it’s an explanation of the asterisks. This manuscript does have marginal notes like this elsewhere that reveal a knowledge of textual variants.

Feel free to correct my rough transcriptions and translations of the other two notes as well, but I’m mainly asking about the second note, pictured below. I’ll try to check back and update/give credit.

Thank you much!
The second note:
GA 1424, marginal note at Luke 22:43–44.
EDIT: Thanks to Peter Montoro who sent me what I think is a reasonable proposal for parts of it, then he and I together put the rest of it together: τὰ ἔχοντα τοὺς ἀ|στερισκούς· ἔν τι|σιν ἀντιγράφοις οὐ | κεῖται:

Rough translation: “The things that have the asterisks: they do not lie in some copies.”

Fun fact: in 1986, these verses were used as part of a medical diagnosis:

William D. Edwards, Wesley J. Gabel and Floyd E. Hosmer, “On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ,” Journal of the American Medical Association 255.11 (1986), 1455–1463, esp. p. 1456.

On Epiphanius:

K. Holl, Epiphanius, Bände 1-3: Ancoratus und Panarion [Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller 25, 31, 37. Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1:1915; 2:1922; 3:1933]: 1:153-161, 169-233, 238-464; 2:5-210, 215-523; 3:2-229, 232-414, 416-526. Retrieved from:

See also Dirk Jongkind’s post about Luke 22:43–44 in the Tyndale House Greek NT.

Friday, May 10, 2019

XVIII. International Conference on Patristic Studies at Oxford

Every four years the International Conference on Patristic Studies meets at Oxford. This year it meets from August 19–24, and I’ve made plans to participate.

Dr. Francesca Barone (Chargée de recherche au CNRS) and I have organized a workshop entitled, “Early Christians and the Books at the Edges of the Canon” [proposal PDF]. The papers to be presented in the workshop are as follows:
Alessandro De Blasi: Gregory Nazianzen’s poem I 1, 12: On the Genuine Books of the Holy Scripture 
John Meade: Origen and the Disputed Books: A Reappraisal of the Evidence for an Origenic Recension of Books Outside the Hebrew Canon 
Francesca Barone: The Book of Esther in John Chrysostom’s Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae  
Edmon Gallagher: Jerome’s Use of the Deuterocanonical Literature 
Claudine Cavalier: Between the Sages and the Fathers: Esther, a key book
I plan to combine some of my interests in this paper: Origen’s work as grammarian and the disputed books. Here is the abstract of my paper:
In the first half of the third century, Origen created a six-columned synopsis, the Hexapla (perhaps more columns were added as needed for books like Psalms), for those books that were extant in Hebrew, the Seventy, and the Three Jewish revisers (Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion). Debatably, from this work, Origen published a corrected edition of the version of the Seventy. This revised version of the Seventy went through further corrections at the hands of Pamphilus and Eusebius (cf. the many colophons bearing their names in these contexts). But did Origen make a revised edition of the Greek version for the disputed books? In this paper, I will survey the evidence for Origen’s recension of the disputed books for which there seems to be evidence: Baruch, Sirach/Ben Sira, Wisdom of Solomon, and Judith. After surveying the relevant data, I analyze the evidence of a revision of Sirach/Ben Sira further before drawing some preliminary conclusions about Origen’s textual work on this book and others like it.
The overall program for the conference appears to be full of very interesting papers. I look forward to gathering with friends and colleagues in Oxford. It will be my first visit there, and I could not be more excited about it.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Markan Priority, Messianic Secret, and the Textus Receptus

I’ve just finished reading David Parker’s essay in the new book The Future of NT Textual Scholarship (more on that here). Even though I disagree with the main thrust of Parker’s work in the Living Text of the Gospels, there are few text critics I enjoy reading more than him. He always gets me thinking about things in fresh ways or from new angles. And very often he is asking the right question even when I don’t agree with his answer.

Here is a case in point from the essay just mentioned, and I’d love to hear from people who are better versed in the history of Gospel scholarship than I am. On pages 398–399, Parker writes:
The result [of using 4th/5th c. manuscripts for critical editions] represented a huge change from the Textus Receptus. Gone were the Johannine Comma, the Pericope Adulterae, the Longer Ending of Mark. Gone too were so many harmonisations and alterations in the text of Mark that the new editions produced what by comparison with the Textus Receptus was a new version of the Gospel. A new approach to the Synoptic Problem and the influential theory of the Messianic Secret were just two developments that would never have been possible using the Textus Receptus.
Now, I would not have thought that certain views of the Synoptic problem or Wrede’s messianic secret theory weren’t possible using the TR. But that could well be due to my ignorance. Even if that’s an exaggeration, it does get me thinking about the degree to which certain prominent views in NT studies over the last 150 years wouldn’t be possible (or would be far less compelling) if we were all still using the TR. What say our readers on this question?

Friday, April 26, 2019

Pauline Authorship according to British New Testament Scholars

Here’s a nice, concrete graph from a survey that Paul Foster took of attendees at the 2011 British New Testament Conference. What I like is that these data allow me to avoid having to say “most/many/some scholars think that Paul did/didn’t write...” in my classes. Instead I can show some hard numbers. Here is Foster’s explanation:
The survey was not rigorously scientific; only those who felt inclined returned their forms. My estimate is that approximately 70 percent of the audience participated. For each of the thirteen Pauline letters and also for Hebrews respondents were asked whether they considered each letter to be written by Paul, or not, or whether they were undecided. There were approximately 109 respondents, although two more cast an opinion only in relation to 2 Thessalonians, and one or two decided not to record their opinions in relation to the Pastoral Epistles. (p. 171)
This is limited to mostly British NT scholars, so it cannot simply be taken as representative of all NT scholars. But it certainly beats my own vague, general impression.

(Feel free to use the graphic but make sure that Paul Foster gets credit for the data collection.)

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Upcoming Textual Criticism Events at Oxford

The University of Oxford has planned two events in May relevant to Old Testament textual criticism. On May 14-15, John Screnock and Jan Joosten will convene “Horizons in Textual Criticism Colloquium: Translating and Transcending Textual Criticism.” There’s a great line up of presenters for this one.

On the evening of May 14, Oxford also has planned a public forum, The Origins of Biblical Texts, the first of a six-part series entitled, The History of the Bible from Qumran to Today. All are welcome.
Naturally, I’m interested in both of these events and wish I could attend them. If you are in the Oxford area, you should attend and report on how they went here in the comments  :-).