Monday, April 30, 2007

Up-date on Martyrs in Turkey

I have posted a longish letter: "A letter to the Global Church from The Protestant Church of Smyrna" as an up-date to an earlier post bible-publishers-killed-in-turkey. It contains some gruesome details, some severe encouragement, and some notes for prayer.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Dan Wallace on Luke 1:34 in the Old Latin b (via Hypotyposeis)

Dan Wallace discusses Luke 1:34 in the Old Latin b over at Parchment and Pen (via Hypotyposeis). Below the post is an obituary by Wallace over Bruce Metzger posted on the 18th February.

Παράδειγμα ἐν ᾧ δύναται βοηθεῖν ἡμῖν τὰ βυζαντιακὰ χειρόγραφα

[If accented letters in the following are not clear, try FIREFOX.
I have tagged the following as Lucida Grande
to avoid IE glitches with Polytonic Greek, thank you, BillyG.
I did not see Arial Unicode MS or Palatino Linotype listed,
and Times Roman and Arial (plain)
do not usually have combined Polytonic accents.
Personally, I prefer New Athena Unicode, freely downloadable.]

Καιτοὶ φιλῶ τὴν Βατικάνην μεμβράναν [B],
ἐνιότε δεῖ ἡμᾶς ἐπανορθῶσαι αὐτὴν
τοῖς βυζαντιακοῖς χειρογράφοις.

οὔτως γε δοκεῖ μοι.

Παραδείγματος χάριν ἔχομεν-
κατὰ Λουκᾶν ιθ´ 29-30

B, א, L NesAl

... ἀπέστειλεν δύο τῶν μαθητῶν ______ λέγων Ὑπάγετε
A, W, f1, 28, 565, 700, Tisch, Byz
... ἀπέστειλεν δύο τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ εἰπών Ὑπάγετε

ἡ χαλεπωτέρα ἀνάγνωσίς ἐστιν ΑΥΤΟΥ ΕΙΠΩΝ
ὡς ἔχει τὰ βυζαντιακὰ καὶ ἔνια τῶν Καισαριακῶν χειρογράφων.
ἡ ἀνάγνωσις «είπών» χαλεπωτέρα ἐστιν ἢ «λέγων»
καὶ ἡ «δύο μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ» ἐστιν κρείσσων
ἐν τῇ Ἑβραϊκῇ ἢ ἐν τῇ Ἑλληνικῇ

ὧστε δοκεῖν με ὅτι ὁ Λουκᾶς ἔγραψε -
... ἀπέστειλεν δύο τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ εἰπών Ὑπάγετε ,

τάχα ἐρώτημα ἕν ἐστιν -
ἆρα οὕτως πράσσω «λογικὴν κρίσιν» (reasoned criticism/eclecticism)
ἢ ἐκ περισσοῦ «πρόρριζον κρίσιν» (radical criticism/eclecticism);
τί δοκεῖ ὑμῖν;

μὴ ἔχων ὧδε τὴν ἔκδοσιν τοῦ Κιλπατρικ «BFBS Καινὴ Διαθήκη ('58?)»
οὐκ οἶδα εἰ Κιλπατρικ ἀνέγνω τοῖς βυζαντιακοῖς ἐν τοῦτῳ τῷ τόπῳ.

καὶ εἰ δεξαίμεθα «εἰπών» ἐν τῷ κατὰ Λουκᾶν ιθ´ 30
ἴσως ἂν δεξαίμεθα «εἰπών» ἐν τῷ κατὰ Λουκᾶν ε´13.

κατὰ Λουκᾶν ε´13
καὶ ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα ἥψατο αὐτοῦ λέγων·
θέλω, καθαρίσθητι·
καὶ εὐθέως ἡ λέπρα ἀπῆλθεν ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ.

[[εἰπών Α, K, M, N, U, Γ, Δ, Λ, Π, Ψ, βυζ, f1, 2, 28, 157, 565, 700, 1071, 1424, Tisch]]

[[λέγων א, B, C, D, L, W, Θ, 33, 124, 579]]

Ναί, καὶ ὧδε τὰ βυζαντιακά μοι ἀρέσκει.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Google Books

Mischa Hooker has compiled a list of books relevant to the study of Scripture within Google Books. It includes a range of books on NT textual criticism. (HT Stephen Carlson)

Up-date: A similar project by Bob Buller (and Danny Zacharias) is also found here: Free Books in Biblical Studies and Related Fields (HT: not sure, mentioned on several blogs)

The earliest mss of the Greek OT

If you go to Robert Kraft's directory here you can see a whole range of images of the earliest fragments of the Greek OT. It would be useful if someone compiled an index of the biblical texts on this page.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Greek Bible: Later Transmission, Revision and Reception

We are pleased to announce our next project seminar, "The Greek Bible: Later Transmission, Revision and Reception," 1 May, 2007, Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge.
Those who are available are most welcome to attend.
Tentative Programme
09:30-10:30 Prof. Natalio Fernández Marcos (Greek Text of the Complutensian
10:30-11:00 Coffee
11:00-12:00 Response to NFM's paper
12:00-12:45 Prof. W. J. van Bekkum (Greek materials for a Piyyut Dictionary)
12:45-14:30 Lunch
14:30-15:15 Dr James Aitken (Jewish Reception of Greek Proverbs)
15:15-16:00 Dr Michael van der Meer (Greek Isaiah and the Papyri)
16:00-16:30 Tea
16:30-17:15 Mr Timothy Law (Lucianic Text of Reigns)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Birmingham DSS conference

Here are details of a Birmingham (UK) conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls. The line up of speakers is significant, though there is not much on the Bible.

The Dead Sea Scrolls: Texts and Context

29 October–1 November 2007

University of Birmingham, UK

The aim of this conference is to offer a critical interdisciplinary reassessment of the relationship of the texts to each other, to the site and the wider ancient Jewish context.

Confirmed Speakers and Titles

Prof. George Brooke
Title: Room for Interpretation: Space and Place in Sectarian Use of the Scriptures
Prof. Philip Davies
Title: What History can we get from the Scrolls, and How?
Prof. Torleif Elgvin
Title: Temple Mysticism and the Temple of Men
Prof. Hanan Eshel
Title: How Can We Learn Political History from the Scrolls?
Prof. Heinz-Josef Fabry
Title: Priests at Qumran – A Reassessment
Prof. Florentino García Martínez
Title: Cave 11 in Context
Prof. Martin Goodman
Title: Constructing Ancient Judaism from the Scrolls
Dr. Charlotte Hempel
Title: Thinking the Unthought. The Case of MMT
Prof. Michael Knibb
Title: Landscape in the Hodayot
Prof. Jodi Magness
Title: Archaeology and the Caves at Qumran
Prof. Sarianna Metso
Title: Processes of Creating Legal Traditions in the Essene Community and Its Wider Context
Prof. Lawrence Schiffman
Title: From the Cairo Genizah to Qumran: The Influence of CD on the Study of the Qumran Scrolls
Prof. Michael Stone
Title: The Scrolls and the Literary Landscape of Second Temple Judaism
Dr. Joan Taylor
Title: Dio - according to Synesius - on the Essene Landscape
Prof. Geza Vermes
Public Lecture: Personal Reflections on 60 Years of Scrolls Scholarship

Multispectral Imaging of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri

In an earlier post, we discussed the possibility that scholars from BYU had uncovered a new ending to Mark's gospel. The report turned out to be an unfortunate error on the part of a journalism student. The Oxyrhynchus Project has posted images and flash animations which document the type of results which were reached, here.

The results are impressive. I wonder to what degree similar results could be reached with a high resolution scan and a program like photoshop. I have used these to edit a bit of a Bohairic psalter with results similar to what I am seeing here. Unfortunately, there are no images of the work done on the carbonized papyri.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Motivations for Scribal Variants

Last week at the Birmingham Colloquium, the motivation for creating scribal variants was a recurrent theme. As far as I can remember, all the contributors managed to avoid the following two quotes (either in support or refutation), the first of which is more famous than the second. As our TC virtual-pub quiz for the week: Which scholars are responsible for the following two quotes?

i) 'It will not be out of place to add here a distinct expression of our belief that even among the numerous unquestionably spurious readings of the New Testament there are no signs of deliberate falsification of the text for dogmatic purposes.'

ii) 'The current enthusiasm for manuscript variations as contributions to the history of theology has no solid foundation.'

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A. J. Brown on 2879 and L2436 in NovT: The Gospel Commentary of Theophylact and a Neglected Manuscript in Oxford

Among the articles in the new issue of Novum Testamentum, Andrew J. Brown’s piece on “The Gospel Commentary of Theophylact and a Neglected Manuscript in Oxford” attracts our attention. The abstract reads:
“A notable manuscript of Theophylact’s commentary on the Gospels, formerly owned by William Grocyn and Thomas Linacre, has belonged to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, for 470 years. The same volume also contains two leaves from a Gospel lectionary. Long overlooked by textual critics, this codex has at last attained its place as Greek New Testament minuscule 2879 and lectionary 2436. In editing the Greek New Testament text from 1514 onwards, Erasmus made considerable use of Theophylact manuscripts at Basle, whereby the work of Theophylact became a major ingredient in the formation of the Textus Receptus. There remains a need for a reliable critical edition of Theophylact’s commentaries.”

Book Notes in Novum Testamentum

In the Book Notes section of the recent Novum Testamentum 49 (2007), 205-208, two books from Brill on textual criticism are briefly and positively reviewed by J. K. Elliott:

Bart Ehrman, Studies in the Textual Criticism of the New Testament (Leiden: Brill, 2006);

Thomas J. Kraus and Tobias Nicklas (eds.), New Testament Manuscripts: Their Texts and Their World (Leiden: Brill, 2006).

In regard to the latter volume, to which I and several other co-bloggers (Head, Holmes and Jongkind) have contributed, Elliott remarks that an older article by Stuart Pickering “The Significance of Non-Continuous New Testament Textual Materials in Papyri” seems not to have been noted in the articles that are relevant to that discussion, among which he includes my own study on P78. I do indeed refer to Pickering's article (see my final citation), but I agree in so far that Pickering's important article could have received more attention in the volume.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

μηχανὴ φθείρουσα βλάπτει ἐμπόριον χριστιανὸν ἐν Γάζῃ

Ἐν Γάζῃ τῇ πρώτῃ ἡμέρᾳ [15-4-2007] θέντες μηχανὴν φθείρουσαν ζηλωταὶ μυζλιμιν [مظلمين بالاسلام] ἔβλαψαν καὶ ἔκαυσαν ἐμπόριον τῶν ἁγίων γραφῶν χριστιανὸν.

ἐν τῇ παρελθόντι χρόνῳ ἠπείλουν τοιοῦτοι ζηλωταὶ τοὺς χριστιανούς τοῦ ἐμπορίου καὶ τῆς Γάζης. δοκεῖ μοι ὅτι ὁ τοῦ νῦν κόσμος ἀνάγκην ἔχει ἀναμνησθῆναι τοιαύτας ἀπειλὰς εί οίκοδομηθήσεται ἐλευθερία καὶ πνευματικὴ ἐλευθερία ἐν τῇ μέσῃ ἀνατολῇ.

οὐχ εὗρον τι περὶ τούτου ἐν τῇ BBC.
εὗρον διὰ Γοογλε

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Anecdote from Birmingham

The wonderful conference in Birmingham is now over and I have just stopped by in Cambridge to visit Peter Head and his family and then continue to the airport at London Stansted. I will try to summarize more papers when I get home, but here is a small anecdote told by the now retired papyrologist at the British Library, Walter Cockle (on the picture), whom I met at the colloquium.

At breakfast he told us about a professor in Edinburgh, Wallace Lindsey (I hope I remember the name), who died tragically in a traffic accident. Among his belongings, within a book, was found a documentary papyrus. The scholars at the university had to write to Cockle and ask him where it could have come from (they seemed to be worried). He could tell them that it was part of the Oxhyrhyncus papyri and that it had been given to the university, since they had helped finance the excavations. Apparently, Wallace Lindsey had used this papyri as a bookmark! There was not much control in those days in their library.

By the way, Cockle told me that it was he who had cleaned and prepared P78 for vol. 34 of the Oxyr. Papyri, an item on which I have written an essay.

Bible Publishers Killed in Turkey

Three people who worked to publish Bibles for Turkey's tiny Christian population have been killed. According to reports (here is the BBC report) they were bound hand and foot and their throats had been slit.

Up-date: A letter to the Global Church from The Protestant Church of Smyrna

Dear friends,
This past week has been filled with much sorrow. Many of you have heard by now of our devastating loss here in an event that took place in Malatya, a Turkish province 300 miles northeast of Antioch, the city where believers were first called Christians (Acts 11:26).
On Wednesday morning, April 18, 2007, 46 year old German missionary and father of three Tilman Geske prepared to go to his office, kissing his wife goodbye taking a moment to hug his son and give him the priceless memory, "Goodbye, son. I love you." Tilman rented an office space from Zirve Publishing where he was preparing notes for the new Turkish Study Bible. Zirve was also the location of the Malatya Evangelist Church office. A ministry of the church, Zirve prints and distributes Christian literature to Malatya and nearby cities in Eastern Turkey.
In another area of town, 35 year old Pastor Necati Aydin, father of two, said goodbye to his wife, leaving for the office as well. They had a morning Bible Study and prayer meeting that some other believers in town would also be attending. Ugur Yuksel likewise made his way to the Bible study. None of these three men knew that what awaited them at the Bible study was the ultimate testing and application of their faith, which would conclude with their entrance into glory to receive their crown of righteousness from Christ and honor from all the saints awaiting them in the Lord's presence.
On the other side of town, ten young men all under 20 years old put into place final arrangements for their ultimate act of faith, living out their love for Allah and hatred of infidels who they felt undermined Islam. On Resurrection Sunday, five of these men had been to a by-invitation-only evangelistic service that Pastor Necati and his men had arranged at a hotel conference room in the city. The men were known to the believers as "seekers." No one knows what happened in the hearts of those men as they listened to the gospel. Were they touched by the Holy Spirit? Were they convicted of sin? Did they hear the gospel in their heart of hearts? Today we only have the beginning of their story. These young men, one of whom is the son of a mayor in the Province of Malatya, are part of a tarikat, or a group of "faithful believers" in Islam. Tarikat membership is highly respected here; it's like a fraternity membership. In fact, it is said that no one can get into public office without membership in a tarikat. These young men all lived in the same dorm, all preparing for university entrance exams. The young men got guns, bread knives, ropes and towels ready for their final act of service to Allah. They knew there would be a lot of blood.
They arrived in time for the Bible Study, around 10 o'clock. They arrived, and apparently the Bible Study began. Reportedly, after Necati read a chapter from the Bible the assault began. The boys tied Ugur, Necati, and Tilman's hands and feet to chairs and as they videoed their work on their cellphones, they tortured our brothers for almost three hours*
[Details of the torture--* Tilman was stabbed 156 times, Necati 99 times and Ugur's stabs were too numerous to count. They were disemboweled, and their intestines sliced up in front of their eyes. They were emasculated and watched as those body parts were destroyed. Fingers were chopped off, their noses and mouths and anuses were sliced open. Possibly the worst part was watching as their brothers were likewise tortured. Finally, their throats were sliced from ear to ear, heads practically decapitated.]
Neighbors in workplaces near the print house said later they had heard yelling, but assumed the owners were having a domestic argument so they did not respond.
Meanwhile, another believer Gokhan and his wife had a leisurely morning. He slept in till 10, ate a long breakfast and finally around 12:30 he and his wife arrived at the office. The door was locked from the inside, and his key would not work. He phoned and though it had connection on his end he did not hear the phone ringing inside. He called cell phones of his brothers and finally Ugur answered his phone. "We are not at the office. Go to the hotel meeting. We are there. We will come there," he said cryptically. As Ugur spoke Gokhan heard in the telephone's background weeping and a strange snarling sound. He phoned the police, and the nearest officer arrived in about five minutes. He pounded on the door, "Police, open up!" Initially the officer thought it was a domestic disturbance. At that point they heard another snarl and a gurgling moan. The police understood that sound as human suffering, prepared the clip in his gun and tried over and over again to burst through the door. One of the frightened assailants unlocked the door for the policeman, who entered to find a grisly scene. Tilman and Necati had been slaughtered, practically decapitated with their necks slit from ear to ear. Ugur's throat was likewise slit and he was barely alive. Three assailants in front of the policeman dropped their weapons. Meanwhile Gokhan heard a sound of yelling in the street. Someone had fallen from their third story office. Running down, he found a man on the ground, whom he later recognized, named Emre Gunaydin. He had massive head trauma and, strangely, was snarling. He had tried to climb down the drainpipe to escape, and losing his balance had plummeted to the ground. It seems that he was the main leader of the attackers. Another assailant was found hiding on a lower balcony.
To untangle the web we need to back up six years. In April 2001, the National Security Council of Turkey (Milli Guvenlik Kurulu) began to consider evangelical Christians as a threat to national security, on equal footing as Al Quaida and PKK terrorism. Statements made in the press by political leaders, columnists and commentators have fueled a hatred against missionaries who they claim bribe young people to change their religion. After that decision in 2001, attacks and threats on churches, pastors and Christians began. Bombings, physical attacks, verbal and written abuse are only some of the ways Christians are being targeted. Most significant is the use of media propaganda. From December 2005, after having a long meeting regarding the Christian threat, the wife of Former Prime Minister Ecevit, historian Ilber Ortayli, Professor Hasan Unsal, Politician Ahmet Tan and writer/propogandist Aytunc Altindal, each in their own profession began a campaign to bring the public's attention to the looming threat of Christians who sought to "buy their children's souls".
Hidden cameras in churches have taken church service footage and used it sensationally to promote fear and antagonism toward Christianity. In an official televised response from Ankara, the Interior Minister of Turkey smirked as he spoke of the attacks on our brothers. Amid public outrage and protests against the event and in favor of freedom of religion and freedom of thought, media and official comments ring with the same message, "We hope you have learned your lesson. We do not want Christians here."
It appears that this was an organized attack initiated by an unknown adult tarikat leader. As in the Hrant Dink murder in January 2007, and a Catholic priest Andrea Santoro in February 2006, minors are being used to commit religious murders because public sympathy for youth is strong and they face lower penalties than an adult convicted of the same crime. Even the parents of these children are in favor of the acts. The mother of the 16 year old boy who killed the Catholic priest Andrea Santoro looked at the cameras as her son was going to prison and said, "He will serve time for Allah." The young men involved in the killing are currently in custody. Today news reported that they would be tried as terrorists, so their age would not affect the strict penalty. Assailant Emre Gunaydin is still in intensive care. The investigation centers around him and his contacts and they say will fall apart if he does not recover.
The Church in Turkey responded in a way that honored God as hundreds of believers and dozens of pastors flew in as fast as they could to stand by the small church of Malatya and encourage the believers, take care of legal issues, and represent Christians to the media. When Susanne Tilman expressed her wish to bury her husband in Malatya, the Governor tried to stop it, and when he realized he could not stop it, a rumor was spread that "it is a sin to dig a grave for a Christian." In the end, in an undertaking that should be remembered in Christian history forever, the men from the church in Adana (near Tarsus), grabbed shovels and dug a grave for their slain brother in an un-tended hundred year old Armenian graveyard.
Ugur was buried by his family in an Alevi Muslim ceremony in his hometown of Elazig, his believing fiance watching from the shadows as his family and friends refused to accept in death the faith Ugur had so long professed and died for.
Necati's funeral took place in his hometown of Izmir, the city where he came to faith. The darkness does not understand the light. Though the churches expressed their forgiveness for the event, Christians were not to be trusted. Before they would load the coffin onto the plane from Malatya, it went through two separate xray exams to make sure it was not loaded with explosives. This is not a usual procedure for Muslim coffins.
Necati's funeral was a beautiful event. Like a glimpse of heaven, thousands of Turkish Christians and missionaries came to show their love for Christ, and their honor for this man chosen to die for Christ. Necati's wife Shemsa told the world, "His death was full of meaning, because he died for Christ and he lived for Christ… Necati was aa gift from God. I feel honored that he was in my life, I feel crowned with honor. I want to be worthy of that honor."
Boldly the believers took their stand at Necati's funeral, facing the risks of being seen publicly and likewise becoming targets. As expected, the anti-terror police attended and videotaped everyone attending the funeral for their future use. The service took place outside at Buca Baptist church, and he was buried in a small Christian graveyard in the outskirts of Izmir. Two assistant Governors of Izmir were there solemnly watching the event from the front row. Dozens of news agencies were there documenting the events with live news and photographs. Who knows the impact the funeral had on those watching? This is the beginning of their story as well. Pray for them.
In an act that hit front pages in the largest newspapers in Turkey, Susanne Tilman in a television interview expressed her forgiveness. She did not want revenge, she told reporters. "Oh God, forgive them for they know not what they do," she said, wholeheartedly agreeing with the words of Christ on Calvary (Luke 23:34). In a country where blood-for-blood revenge is as normal as breathing, many many reports have come to the attention of the church of how this comment of Susanne Tilman has changed lives. One columnist wrote of her comment, "She said in one sentence what 1000 missionaries in 1000 years could never do."
The missionaries in Malatya will most likely move out, as their families and children have become publicly identified as targets to the hostile city. The remaining 10 believers are in hiding. What will happen to this church, this light in the darkness? Most likely it will go underground. Pray for wisdom, that Turkish brothers from other cities will go to lead the leaderless church. Should we not be concerned for that great city of Malatya, a city that does not know what it is doing? (Jonah 4:11)
When our Pastor Fikret Bocek went with a brother to give a statement to the Security Directorate on Monday they were ushered into the Anti-Terror Department. On the wall was a huge chart covering the whole wall listing all the terrorist cells in Izmir, categorized. In one prominent column were listed all the evangelical churches in Izmir. The darkness does not understand the light. "These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also." (Acts 17:6) Please pray for the Church in Turkey. "Don't pray against persecution, pray for perseverance," urges Pastor Fikret Bocek.
The Church is better having lost our brothers; the fruit in our lives, the renewed faith, the burning desire to spread the gospel to quench more darkness in Malatya - all these are not to be regretted. Pray that we stand strong against external opposition and especially pray that we stand strong against internal struggles with sin, our true debilitating weakness. This we know. Christ Jesus was there when our brothers were giving their lives for Him. He was there, like He was when Stephen was being stoned in the sight of Saul of Tarsus.
Someday the video of the deaths of our brothers may reveal more to us about the strength that we know Christ gave them to endure their last cross, about the peace the Spirit of God endowed them with to suffer for their beloved Savior. But we know He did not leave their side. We know their minds were full of Scripture strengthening them to endure, as darkness tried to subdue the un-subduable Light of the Gospel. We know, in whatever way they were able, with a look or a word, they encouraged one another to stand strong. We know they knew they would soon be with Christ. We don't know the details. We don't know the kind of justice that will or will not be served on this earth.
But we pray-- and urge you to pray-- that someday at least one of those five boys will come to faith because of the testimony in death of Tilman Geske, who gave his life as a missionary to his beloved Turks, and the testimonies in death of Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel, the first martyrs for Christ out of the Turkish Church.
Reported by Darlene N. Bocek (24 April 2007)

Further Up-date:

Dear Friends,
We are amazed at how quickly the Global Church communicated the message of our friends' deaths. Thank you for your continued prayers for Semsa, Susanne and the Church in Turkey.

We need to make a couple corrections on the letter we sent out.

First, if you forward the letter again, due to sensitivity issues please take all the details of the torture off, replacing it with "They were brutally tortured for 3 hours" and ask your friends who you have forwarded the previous email to do the same. Also, later in the article where it says their throats were slit "from ear to ear, practically decapitated" we are not sure of the actual size of the cuts, so please delete those words from the letter as well. We won't know actual details until autopsy reports are made public; news reports and articles we were basing our information on were possibly exaggerated.
Second, my faulty estimating mistake put the word "thousands" when in fact there were only about 800 people at Necatiâ's funeral.
Third, I made mistakes in names. Susanne Geske (not Susanne Tilman), and Tilmann not Tilman.
If you can make those changes, and pass on the information I'd appreciate it.
As a wonderful follow-up, we know for a fact that three people in the last week have committed their hearts to Christ in response to the sufferings our friends went through: John 12: 24-25 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains only a single seed. But if it dies it produces many seeds. The man who loves His life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Darlene Bocek
for The Protestant Church of Smyrna

Up-date (3.5.07):
Some sources claiming to be close to the three murdered Christians are disputing the accuracy of the following report. I do not have permission to quote the whole letter at this stage. But the main point is clear: "Brothers Tilmann, Necati, and Ugur were murdered in a bloodthirsty way. This is a fact. But there are also some inaccurate claims about this massacre and one of these is the extent of the torture."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Birmingham day 1

Tommy has already mentioned this, but the main evening presentation on the first day was from Ulrich Schmid, ‘Scribes and Variants: Towards a Sociology/Typology of Both’

It was a good paper, quite long to summarise, within some visual help and outline on a powerpoint. Here are some notes.

In the Introduction UBS started with Paul Maas' definition of textual criticism, noting that scribes themselves received relatively little attention (other than as the source of variants). More recently attention has been given to scribal habits (e.g. Colwell, Royse), and to the theological intentionality behind supposed scribal choices (Ehrman, Kannaday etc.)

1. Scribes as Authors
UBS argued that with Ehrman, and his student Kannaday, a new concept emerges: "scribe as author", a concept that is central to their work, but not really controlled. Epp's work on Bezae, a complete book on one manuscript dealing with one NT book and discussing a tendency – anti-Judaic bias of scribe/text - which could be illustrated by 40% of variants. But by contrast with such a controlled examination Ehrman in Orthodox Corruption attempted to discuss evidence from 22/27 NT books, and dealt with a complex issue - ‘Effect of Early Christological Controversies on text of NT’ – across the whole NT. So the discussion of anti-adoptionist variants deals with 59 passages of variation from 18 books of NT.
UBS noted that this discussion is based on a very general harvest of variants; with no interest in detectable tendencies in actual witnesses; with over-confident claims about conscious scribal tendencies, and a frequent appeal to the idea that ‘some scribes modified’ things (although classical method suggests that agreement in reading implies agreement in ancestry not agreement in scribal choice).
The problem is even more evident in W. Kannaday, Apologetic Discourse, p65ff re Mark 1.2f. He refers to a variety of ‘some scribes’ in his list of witnesses to thereading ‘the prophets’, but we know (TuT) that there are 1,515 witnesses for this reading – can’t be intentional for all scribes.
For Kannaday (and Ehrman) scribal activity is likened to editorial activities (Matt & Luke cf. scribes of Mark) and even authorial activity. Cf. cover illustration about author from 15th C miniature – any books on display, process of writing a book – excerpting geographical information from many sources.

But no evidence has actually been deduced from mss themselves. The new method of scribes as authors is the product of discussing only variants (not at all mss or classical background).

2. Who does what and when to a manuscript? Towards a typology of literary production/reproduction
In dialogue with Kim Haines-Eitzen UBS proposed a basic typology:

1. Authorial stage
2. Editorial stage: desire to get material out to the public, selection, sub-division, re-working material for audience etc.
3. Manufacturing stage: sheets, pens, ink, ruling, transcribing etc.
4. User’s stage – reading, correcting, sharing, loaning etc. makes content popular and produces demand for more copies – new audiences etc.

But KHE has a kind of 'Scribes only' view of things: the scribes who copied were also the users and they formed networks of usage for the literature: implies that scribes responsible for stages 2-4. This ‘Scribes Only’ perspective does not correspond to the evidence. Church Fathers (users) were not responsible for the scribal production.
Initiative for early Xn book production lies with interested early Xns. Perhaps some were Xn scribes; others hired scribes, sponsorship of some wealthy individuals (same people more likely to be predominant users as well)

E.g. Marcion of Sinope
Wealthy; donor to churches; 200,000 sestertius (handed back from church in Rome); responsible for an edition; many copies from the start – the restored edition of the true Pauline Gospel etc. This provides motivation for Marcion to spread these copies about as quickly and as far as he was able. Text fairly stable between Tertullian and Epiphanius: titles, order of letters, same text: this presumes a jump-start of a large number of copies AND a degree of editorial control over the process.

3. Kinds of Variants – a case for redactional variants and readers’ notes
Here UBS made a case for the idea that readers' notes could have been incorporated in to the text of the NT in some mss. He looked at the situation of the End of Romans: Aland – 14 diff endings in the mss tradition and discussed 16.25-27. This passage must be the product of "Purposeful creation" – not created by a scribe ‘on the fly’ – reasoning, resources, preparation, judgement. It was created by a reader/editor. Via appeal to Dahl, Krans, Holmes and Tetzel he proposed that redactional variants do exist within the NT textual tradition. They can be identified particularly by the use of a different hand: Readers’ notes ought to be composed in a distinct type of hand (documentary cf. book hand) For an example he looked at P75 a note on the lower margin for Luke 17.14 – different hand: using phrasing from Mark 1.42f//Matt 8.3.
This is an interesting use of the parallel passage; some other similar tendencies (e.g. in Bezae, without inter-textual referencing). Perhaps also Matt 27.49: spear incident in some ancient witnesses (01, 03 04), mostly treated as harmonisation to John 19.34 at this point – marginal note crept into the text at precisely this point.

Are there passages where readers’ notes have impacted entire textual tradition?

Not everything we find in the mss is the mere product of scribes
It is useful to distinguish various stages in the process of literary production/reproduction (editorial, manufacturing, user stages)
Conceptualise the mechanics of transmission
Do not separate the variants you are studying from the actual evidence of the mss.

Textual criticism continues at Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen has now announced here the 3 people they are appointing to replace Simon Gathercole and myself on our departure (they advertised 2 positions, but decided on the day to appoint 3). I'm delighted that textual criticism will continue at Aberdeen in the work of Tomas Bokedal (earlier featured here on ETC). Jutta Leonard-Balzer with her range of languages (Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian) and Jane Heath with her background as a Classicist will also, I'm sure, have something to offer to those interested in TC. I'm very pleased with these appointments and offer my congratulations to them all. I currently have the pleasure of the company of Tomas and his wife Anna, who are staying with us for a few days while they make arrangements for their move.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Birmingham day 2

Unfortunately I arrived too late to hear Ulrich Schmid's opening paper, "Scribes and variants - towards a typology/sociology of both," which I heard was excellent. Also I haven't been able to upload my paper on for some technical reasons.

Anyway, the first paper was read by Richard Goode, "King or God? Towards an Anthropology of Texts," and the summary below is from my notes (so please remember that it represents my understanding of the paper and not exactly what was said).

Goode first described the recent development in TC for the last 30 years with new data and, significantly, new ways of interpreting data. Then he went on to a test case, the Papyrus Egerton 2 and the tribute dispute, which has parallells in the canonical Gospels and the Gospel of Thomas.

The question is: Who should we give tribute to? The Synoptics and Thomas suggests "Caesar" (as counterpoint to God), whereas Pap. Eg.has "kings." Several scholars have commented on this reading. Pickering, e.g., says that it represents a kind of generalizing, because the Church is negotiating its message to a wider environment (different social and ethnic contexts), for which "kings" makes more sense.Other scholars suggest that "kings" was used in the east. This suggests an impact of a sociocultural context, even if the initial point is retained.

However, Goode pointed to an interesting feature in the MS, namely that the word "kings" is actually a nomen sacrum (BALEUS = overstrike). There is a number of other common NS in this fragment, but this unique example involving BASILEUS has been dismissed as abberrant. Goode pointed to the fact that in another part of the MS, PATERA is contracted as NS at one point where it refers to the heavenly father, but uncontracted in a later context, i.e., this (same) scribe knew what he was doing all the time. So why was BASILEUS treated as nomina sacra? Does it represent an attempt to ascribe divinity to kings? Should we give tribute to the Christian God or to the former god (assuming two competing theocracies). Then the reading suggests a theological influence.

Goode admitted that this might be too speculative, and he threw it out not to persuade anyone, just to prove the point that it is important to look at the social aspect, to throw more light on it. This variant reading highlights the problem to identify and classify "theological" / "social" influence on readings. Much variation has to do with social factors. The environment of the text is intrinsically social and theological. The scribe is increasingly being described as HUMAN not as a copying machine. Each MS is a fingerprint of a HUMAN. Here an anthropological understanding can help us with the frame, the context to textual variation. Early Christian textuality is rooted within a social/symbolical universe. Any MS copy is the product of its textuality. We need to penetrate this symbolic universe. A community's textuality will provide the boundaries and norms by which a manuscript is produced. This is a negotiation between the text and textuality.


This is to give you a taste from my first actual day. After several other papers read by Klaus Wachtel, Bill Warren and Peter Head (the latter may perhaps blog something for us). A catalogue with abstracts is available here.

In the afternoon we went to an excursion to Hereford Cathedral to see some amazing manuscripts and the Mappa Mundi (a medieval world-map). The ancient cathedral library proved to be one of two surviving chained books library in Britain (and that other one had actually been moved to the same location in Hereford, into the cathedral museum). In the evening the party stopped at a nice restaurant, the Fox Inn to have a nice meal. I had an "Aberdeen Angus Steak." I wonder whether Pete Williams have tasted those up in Aberdeen.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Quotation marks

Does anyone know whether there has been any study of the history of use of quotation marks in English Bibles? It seems that they were resisted for longer in Bibles than in other works, but are now compulsory, a fact which has both advantages and disadvantages.

I have a few specific questions:

Which was the first English Bible to have them?
What is the earliest analogy to the English quotation mark to be found within biblical manuscripts?
Are there languages in Roman script, whose Bibles are still resisting them?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Off to Birmingham; invitation to respond to my paper

Today I am off to Birmingham for the Fifth Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament. First bike to the train station, then train, then bus, then plane, then train, then bus, then legs ... and if I am lucky I will be in time to hear the conclusion of Ulrich Schmid's opening paper on Monday evening. At least I hope they will save a sandwich or two for me from the evening reception that follows ...

On Wednesday I will read a paper with the title "Theological Creativity and Scribal Solutions in Jude." I came up with the title long before I wrote the paper. When I was a doctoral student I first wrote a full length article on a subject, then prepared a distilled version in the form of a paper for a conference. Now I am just finishing the paper actually on the same day that the conference begins, and there is no article (yet).

Anyway, a draft of the paper with handout will be uploaded at as soon as possible (hopefully during Monday), and you are welcome to post responses to the paper in the comment section of this post. Here is the abstract (I have just added the last sentence which is not printed in the abstract of the official programme):

"The Epistle of Jude contains only twenty-five verses, and yet the number of text-critical problems are numerous and complicated. Therefore, it is not surprising to find certain peculiar readings in the manuscript tradition of Jude, which reflect the ability of the scribes to create intelligent solutions to difficulties and cruxes in their exemplar. The paper presents several such examples of theological thinking, which are of importance, not only for our knowledge and evaluation of individual manuscript witnesses, but also for exegesis in general and the history of interpretation in particular. The paper especially focuses on two examples of "developed misreadings," which may at first sight be regarded as insignificant errors, but which at closer inspection proves to be of theological significance."

If I have occasion in Birmingham to read the responses I might make changes in the last minute (probably with a ball pen). I will make changes in any case. Tomorrow I will read it to myself to see just how much I have to cut off (it seems to be too long for ca. 20-25 minutes). Also, some of the other papers, especially Bill Warren's Tuesday paper on the need for criteria in determining scribal motivations in variant readings, might affect some slight changes—it is good to relate to what others have said during the conference.

If I am very lucky and find a computer with Internet connection I might even blog a few lines from the conference.


In line with the earlier question about a Text-Criticism section at ETS 2008, I have a parable to share that may lead to another, related Greek section at ETS 2008.

Ἆρά γε τιμῶμεν τὰς ἡμῶν γραφάς;

τίνι ὁμοιοῦται ὁ λόγος; παραβολή·

ἄνθρωπός τις ἀπὸ τῶν Ἰνδωνησίων ἦν σόφος τοῦ Κωρᾶν,
ἀποδημήσας δὲ εἰς τὴν Κάϊραν (ἐν τῇ Αἰγύπτῳ)
συνήντησε φίλῳ σοφῷ Γαλλικῷ ἀπὸ τῆς Πόλεως τοῦ Φωτός (Πάρις)
καὶ ὡμίλουν τῇ Ἀραβικῇ γλώσσῃ.

Ἕτερος δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς Μώσκουα, Ἰουδαῖος ράββει,
ἦλθεν εἰς τὰς Ἀθήνας
ἐν αἷς συνήντησεν ἄλλῳ ράββει ἀπὸ τῶν Καλῶν Ἀνέμων (Βουαίνος Ἀέρες)
καὶ ὡμίλουν τῇ Ἑβραϊκῇ γλώσσῃ.

λοιπὸν δὲ εὐαγγελικός τις ἀπὸ τῆς Πόλεως τῆς Μεχίκω
ὁδοιπορῶν εἰς τὰ Ἱεροσόλυμα
συνήντησεν ἄλλῳ Χριστιανῷ ἀπὸ τῶν τῆς Βρεττανίας νήσων.
πλὴν ὡμίλουν τῇ Ἀγγλικῇ μόνον,
μήτε τῇ Ἑβραϊκῇ μήτε τῇ Ἑλληνικῇ δυνάμενοι.

τίς οὖν τούτων πλεῖον (ἢ ἦσσον) ἠγάπα τὰς ἰδίας γραφάς;

Naturally, there is more than one way to apply the parable, but some of the main point should come through clearly enough.

A potential question for us becomes, would we like to have a section at ETS 2008 to discuss points of Greek, in which at least one of the papers would be delivered in Greek (ancient, koiné, Ἑλληνική) ? It would be one way in which to join in solidarity with the chain of scribes with whom we spend so much time.

We would, of course, invoke the rules of the "Third Sophistic": K.I.S.S., 'keep it simple, stupid', the opposite of the Second Sophistic. Plain, clear speech would be preferable to flowery, elegant waxing. And even very simple language use could raise the bar in our field.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Textual Variation conference

The programme leaflet for the Fifth Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament is available here. This includes abstracts of the papers. [per e-mail notification from Dirk Jongkind]

A TextCriticism Section for ETS 2008?

The Evangelical Theological Society (in USA) is re-organizing their annual meeting, to be implemented this year for the 2008 meeting. They are interested in setting up sections, a la SBL.

As many of the Anglo-Euro crowd of the ETC blog are coming to SBL it might be a good time to consider having a text session during the three days before SBL each year.

The good side is that it provides another forum. For some whose schedules are full it might provide the option of a TC paper when it might not fit within the limitations of an SBL schedule.

A negative might be that several of the papers would want a larger audience as well and might end up being duplicated at SBL, though they could be properly piggy-backed so that someone would do two different stand alone papers that were connected in data or theme. Sort of like "2008 TC paper 1A (ETS)" and "2008 TC paper 1B (SBL)"

The last 12 verses of Mark conference

Blog accounts of the SEBTS conference entitled 'The Last Twelve Verses of Mark: Original or Not?' are appearing. For instance, The Assembling of the Church deals with it in a series of posts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. A similarly extensive account is found at The Pursuit, though I can't find how do to permalinks to individual posts there. [per e-mail notification from Dave Black]

Thursday, April 12, 2007

New from SBL Publications: The Dead Sea Scrolls

A little colorful volume of 96 pages, The Dead Sea Scrolls (ISBN 978-1-58983270-1), including over 90 photos provides the readers with a full historical and photographic account of the DSS, from their initial discovery to contemporary publication and interpretation. Each of the chapters have appeared in BAR or BR, and the contributors include:
  • Harry Thomas Frank, "How the Dead Sea Scrolls Were Found"

  • Baruch Safrai, "More Scrolls Lie Buried! Recollections from Years Gone By"

  • Frank Moore Cross, "The Dead Sea Scrolls and the People Who Wrote Them"

  • Emanuel Tov, "Publishing the Scrolls: Reflections on Thirty Years of Scholarly Work"

  • Sidnie White Crawford, "The Fluid Bible: The Blurry Line between Biblical and Nonbiblical Texts"

  • James C. VanderKam,"The Scrolls and Early Christianity: How They Are Related and What They Share"

  • Lawrence H. Schiffman, "Significance of the Scrolls: A New Perspective on the Texts from the Qumran Caves"

The volume is priced at $9.95. A preview of chapter one is available here. For more information, see the announcement on the SBL site here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Manuscript cleptomania and L42

Librarians normally belong to a very peaceful race. Of course they love books, and it is their duty to preserve and protect the books and manuscripts in various ways against moth (+ worms...), rust and thieves. During the Middle Ages books sometime had to be chained to the shelves to protect them from thieves. Some valuable volumes are still kept in such way today, e.g., in Bibliotheca Mediceo-Laurenziana in Florens, Italy—the oldest public library in Europe.

However, there are actually also librarians among the book thieves. Recently, we had a librarian at our Royal Library in Stockholm who stole a number of valuable books. When he was eventually caught (in a trap that was set for him by his colleagues) he committed suicide by blowing up his whole apartment in a gas explosion.

Daniel Gotthilf Moldenhawer, the chief librarian at the Royal Library in Copenhagen 1788-1823, is notorious for his book thefts. During his 35 years as the chief librarian the Royal Library flourished. The number of volumes increased by three times through purchases and valuable donations. Moldenhawer himself donated many valuable manuscripts, letters and printed books to his dear institution, many of which he had acquired illegitimately during his travels, mainly in European countries, and many which came from the libraries of old monasteries. The specialists at home in Denmark kept quiet, although the provenience was no secret to them. Apparently, he was excused to a certain extent because he donated everything to the library. So this librarian's "deep affection" for books and manuscripts became known to the public only 90 years after his death when in 1917 a Danish newspaper headlines read "En Bogtyv som Overbibliotekar" ("A Book Thief as Chief Librarian").

I have now actually discovered that one of these thefts of Moldenhawer is a leaf from lectionary 42. This manuscript is kept in the Library of Escorial (Scorialensis X III 13; see Kurzgefasste Liste). It has not been noted in the Liste that one leaf with Luke 8,20-1, 26-34 is missing from the MS in Escorial. That leaf is now in the Royal Library in Copenhagen. If I were the chief librarian in Escorial I would demand back this leaf.

Any more stories of manuscript thieves?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Middle Persian Psalter piccies

I'm currently carrying out research for a dictionary article surveying all the ancient Bible translations. There are some that almost certainly are not going to get into the article. These include the Sogdian version and the Middle Persian version. However, I thought I ought at least to find out what I could about them. I have come across some very nice looking pictures of a Middle Persian psalter here. On the same site we can also see some Sogdian Christian texts written in Syriac script. Not knowing any Sogdian (or Persian) I have not been able to see whether any of the texts are biblical ones. I'd be grateful for any enlightenment. If you look on the second line of the first picture here you may be able to make out the name 'George' [Gyorgis].

One further question: in his The Bible in the Syriac Tradition (2nd edn, p. 146) Sebastian Brock states that the Middle Persian version dates to the sixth century and that the Psalms preserved are 94-99, 118, and 121-36 (I'm presuming he's talking about Syriac Psalm numbers here). However, I cannot see how these numbers relate to the numbering of the images on the site. Are there two different Middle Persian psalters, or are the numbers on the site not the numbers of Psalms?

SBL Annual Meeting: paper accepted

Yesterday my paper, "Two Verses Plucked From the Fire: Jude 22-23," was accepted for the 2007 Annual Meeting program unit New Testament Textual Criticism. I see it as a nice way to present some of my dissertation work, but more importantly to meet other scholars in the field including my fellow bloggers. I have heard that earlier one was allowed to present new dissertations on special signposts or at special booths at the SBL, but this is no longer possible. Anyway, this year's meeting will be held in San Diego, California, from 11/17/2007 to 11/20/2007. This will actually be the first time that I travel to the US, the flight from Stockholm takes over 18 hours—it will be a good therapy for my fear of flying.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Papyrus and Parchment Restoration Course

Fourth Papyrus and Parchment Restoration Course (September 10-15, 2007): The Centro Interdipartimentale di Studi Papirologici of Lecce University is organizing the Fourth Papyrus and Parchment Restoration Course, that will take place from September 10th to September 15th, 2007.

The Course will consist of both lectures on theory (in Italian language) and practical exercises on papyri and parchments given by Prof. Mario Capasso, Prof. Paola Davoli, Dr Natascia Pellé from Lecce University and by Leonardo Marrone, restorer.

The Course is open to anyone interested in the conservation, treatmentand restoration of papyri and parchments in ancient and modern times. Those interested in enrolling can send their application, curriculum vitae and phone number to the Centro di Studi Papirologici by mail (Palazzo Parlangeli, via V.M. Stampacchia, I-73100 Lecce, Italy, tel. 0039 0832294606) or e-mail ( before June 15th, 2007.
[From Papy-List]

Greek Teachers Study Day at the British Library

Yesterday I attended a Study Day for Teachers of New Testament/Koine Greek (for info on previous days see here). From the Greek teaching side we had presentations on teaching syntax to second year students, deponent verbs to first years, and how to handle principle parts in teaching Greek, as well as some impromptu sharing of good practice. But that may not interest readers as much as the NT manuscripts we saw.
On two previous study days I have given talks about ways of introducing textual criticism and reading manuscripts into Introductory and Intermediate Greek teaching. So I was pleased that yesterday's Study Day took place at the British Library and featured a presentation on NT manuscripts in the British Library (with special reference to the new Sinaiticus project, which has been noted here periodically) and a brief showing of a number of interesting manuscripts in the afternoon.
One of the things mentioned by Scot McKendrick was that the BL digital catalogue of illuminated manuscripts is online and explanding (here). This interprets "illuminated" very generously and so provides images of manuscripts with will take in not only portraits and other such illuminations, but anything remotely decorative (such as decorated initial letters, canon tables etc.). For example images of the decorations in the binding of NT ms 700 (Egerton 2610) are on-line and for some manuscripts with 'proper' portraits there are also images of straight-forward text pages too (e.g. ms 481; Burney 19).
Typing "Gospels" gets 83 results so there are riches here (and more to come as the catalogue gets to be complete).

Information about manuscripts are also available in the general on-line manuscript catalogue ( Some of these are pretty brief.

It was great to see a good variety of manuscripts (from over 200 Greek NT manuscripts in the BL); yesterday we saw:
P5 (BL Pap. 782 + 2484)
P13 (BL Pap. 1532v)
P18 (BL Pap. 2053v)
R/027 (BL Add. MS 17211)
81 (BL Add. MS 20003)
700 (BL Egerton 2610)
l181 (a majuscule lectionary, AD 980; don't have note of BL ref)

And some LXX texts:
Rahlfs 907 (BL Pap. 2047)
Rahlfs 2051 (BL Pap 2556)
Rahlfs U (Psalms)
Rahlfs 952 (Song of Solomon and Aristides)

And P. Egerton 2.

So thanks to the organising committee (Steve Walton, Jane McLarty, Geoffrey Williams) and the local hosts (Scot McKendrick and Juan Garcés).

Gospel of Barnabas and Diatessaron

I've just finished reading the following fascinating article:

August den Hollander and Ulrich Schmid, 'The Gospel of Barnabas, the Diatessaron and Method', Vigiliae Christianae 61 (2007) 1-20.

The article argues cogently against the need to postulate that there was an Old Latin (pre-Vulgate) version of the Diatessaron using the following arguments:

'a) The OL Diatessaron hypothesis raises more questions than it answers;
b) The OL Diatessaron hypothesis is based on unsafe textual analysis;
c) The OL Diatessaron hypothesis is based on anachronistic assumptions and anachronistic use of source material' (p. 5)

I particularly like the following quotation:

'But this is exactly what the Old Latin Diatessaron hypothesis wants us to believe: The Old Latin Diatessaron tradition, despite its powerful presence in the 13th-15th centuries—as evidenced by the many vernacular representatives—is gone without a trace in its original language. From a purely historical perspective this is very difficult to believe.' (p. 6)

Since the beginning of the 20th century research aiming at reconstructing Tatian’s lost Gospel harmony Diatessaron utilizes a growing number of late 13-15 c. texts extant invarious Western vernaculars for this purpose. As the most recent example Jan Joosten introduced the so-called Gospel of Barnabas, a composition perhaps as late as the 16th or17th century as a potential source for readings of the Diatessaron (2nd c.). With special emphasis on methodological issues, this essay offers a detailed critique of Joosten’s analysis as well as a general critique of that type of research as carried out by other scholars in the past.

Elijah's two faces

Graeme Auld reviews Philippe Hugo's 2006 monograph Les deux visages d'Elie (the two faces of Elijah) here. Hugo compares the LXX and MT of 1 Kings 17-18 and seeks to maintain the position that the Vorlage of the LXX is generally an earlier form of the Hebrew.

Monday, April 02, 2007

IGNTP website

The IGNTP website has just been updated. Although there's not much there the site is where the multilingual edition of John will eventually be hosted.

IGNTP progress

The International Greek New Testament Project appears to be making good progress in its production of material on the Gospel of John. Last week I was out in Salzburg for some of an IGNTP colloquium hosted by Prof. Karlheinz Schüssler.

Particular things to note:

All Gordon Fee's 20,000 cards of patristic citations have been transcribed.
An edition of all the majuscule mss of John should be out by the autumn.
All the continuous Sahidic mss of John have now been transcribed.
The electronic edition of the Old Latin mss of John is now in prototype.

Tintin in Syriac

For those wanting to train their children to be textual critics, Tintin is now available in Syriac.

Snapp's annotated Greek uncial

Jim Snapp, Jr., is constructing an annotated Greek uncial.

The Diatessaron found? Well, not quite ....

From Hugoye: [on the Dura Fragment see D.C. Parker et al. 'The Dura-Europos Gospel Harmony' in D.G.K. Taylor ed. Studies in the Early Text of the Gospels and Acts, 1999, pp. 192 ff.]

Gorgias Staff Discover the Original Diatessaron
For Immediate Release

Piscataway, NJ—April 1, 2007—Gorgias Staff announce that its staff discovered last Friday the original copy of the Diatessaron.

Tatian produced the Diatessaron, a harmony of the four Gospels, in the second half of the second century, most probably in Syriac. He rewrote the four Gospels in one continuous narrative resolving conflicting statements and removing duplicated text. The original Syriac has long been lost, and a commentary on the Diatessaron by Ephrem the Syrian containing many quotations of the Diatessaron was also presumed lost until fragments started showing up in the antique market in France a few decades ago. The original composition of Tatian remained lost.
The staff of Gorgias Press began their work on the Diatessaron by publishing an English translation from an Arabic version. The translation was made by J Hamlyn Hill in his The Earliest Life of Christ: The Diatessaron of Tatian. Last year, the staff at Gorgias published Carl H. Kraeling’s A Greek Fragment of Tatian's Diatessaron from Dura, based on an original copy from the private collection of Gorgias President George A. Kiraz. Soon after its publication, the original disappeared too. The staff was terrified. They immediately began fearing a second century curse that may have been placed on anyone who works on the Diatessaron. Would Gorgias staff start disappearing, they wondered? Gorgias management immediately began a search for the original copy.

Last Friday, after five months of search, Felix Ng, Image and Design Editor at Gorgias, stumbled on a clue. He knew his boss very well, and the fact that he displaces books very easily. During his boss’s absence, Felix went to the desk of the boss and turned his line of vision 90 degrees. The original copy was right there on the shelf at eye level. The original was finally found, the original copy from which the reprint was produced of course. The staff at Gorgias rejoiced as they no longer need to fear the ancient curse.