Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Library Repair Causes a Plea to the Pope


NY Times, June 21:

"ROME June 21 — Normally a sanctuary of scholarly meditation, the Vatican Library has been the scene of unusually hectic activity lately, as word has spread that it will close in July for a three-year renovation.

Since the Vatican announced the impending shutdown, dozens of scholars have been lining up each day at ever earlier hours to snatch one of the 92 available spots in the manuscript room, where they can pore over archaic texts in forgotten languages. The library staff, traditionally prompt in responding to requests, has been struggling to keep up with the demand.

'We’re kept waiting like the virgins in the Gospel for their bridegroom to come,' Lucas Van Rompay, a professor of religion from Duke University who specializes in Eastern Christianity, said jokingly.' . . . Petitions addressed to Pope Benedict XVI, the ultimate authority on Vatican matters, are circulating among scholars. Some ask that the manuscript division at least remain accessible to the public during the three-year renovation. Others request that the closing be delayed until 2008 so that scholars will have time to wrap up research and meet publishing or teaching deadlines."

Read the whole story here. And do check out the slideshow from the library.

(I will travel the rest of the week and therefore cannot blog).

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Preparations for the fifth edition of the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament are underway. These involve revising the choice of variants from the fourth edition, again with the purpose of focusing on those that are most significant. UBS5 will also be informed by work on the ECM. They have written to a number of scholars asking for suggestions as to changes in the variants registered. Although they haven't thrown the net wide open for comments from anyone, I'm sure that unsolicited but reasoned feedback on this issue would be gratefully received by the German Bible Society, who appear to be coordinating this project. Since they are also planning to have an Additional Meeting at SBL in San Diego, that would be another opportunity to present the editors with constructive suggestions.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Books of the Bible

The International Bible Society have announced a new type of English Bible (TNIV) with some (claimed) unique features: The Books of the Bible (HT: BBB)

  • chapter and verse numbers are removed from the text (a chapter-and-verse range is at the bottom of each page)
  • individual books are presented with the literary divisions that their authors have indicated
  • footnotes, section headings and other supplementary materials have been removed from the text (translators’ notes are available at the back of each book)
  • the books of the Bible have been placed in an order that provides more help in understanding, based on literary genre, historical circumstance and theological tradition
  • single books that later translations or tradition divided into two or more books are made whole again (example: Luke-Acts)
  • single-column setting that clearly and naturally presents the literary forms of the Bible’s books

The controlling idea is claimed to be that this reflects the original way in which the texts would have been received.

Here is the order of the books in the BoB: BoB Book Order

Up-date: twelve good reasons for not including chapter and verse divisions in the Bible. Worth pondering.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Metzger's Textual Commentary goes electronic


David Lang announces on the Accordance Blog that Metzger's Textual Commentary is now available for the Accordance Bible Software for Macintosh. The tool costs $35.

The textual commentary is of course very helpful, and an electronic version opens up new possibilities. Actually, I was thinking the other day of going through the commentary and look at places where the committee refers to "paleographic" explanations behind readings. With an electronic version that becomes easy.

On his blog Lang says, "For those like myself who know just enough about textual criticism to be dangerous, a critical apparatus is helpful, but it can often leave you even more confused. Metzger's textual commentary is like an apparatus 'for the rest of us,' explaining text-critical decisions in the closest thing to layman's terms I've seen."

I understand what Lang means, but it might be very dangerous to use the commentary as an "apparatus." This points to a problem. Perhaps many students (and others?) learn to deal with text-critical problems by going to the "key" in Metzger's commentary without any wrestling of their own. What is your experience?

Manuscript support for Marcan 'priority'

British Museum ms Royal I A. xiv has the gospels in the order Mark, Matthew, Luke, John; Bodleian ms Hatton 38 has the order Mark, Luke, Matthew, John (Metzger, Early Versions, pp. 449-50). Aside from such Anglo-Saxon mss, does anyone know any other tetraevangelia that put Mark in first position?

BMCR Review of Hurtado

Larry Hurtado's book, The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins (for an earlier mention and table of contents see here); is reviewed by Jonathan More for the Bryn Mawr Classical Review here.

The review offers a fairly good description of the book, but doesn't engage particularly with any of the controversial aspects of it (on using canonical organising principles, on the significance of the use of the codex, on the origins of the nomina sacra etc.).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Available for review: The Epistle of Jude: Its Text and Tranmission

My monograph, The Epistle of Jude: Its Text and Transmission, is available for review from Revue Canadienne here. When it was published I sent it out to about 40 journals worldwide. It will be interesting to see how many reviews are eventually published.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mormons and Biblical Scholarship


An article by Paul Owen and Carl Mosser which was published in Trinity Journal, entitled 'Mormon Apologetic, Scholarship and Evangelical Neglect: Losing the Battle and Not Knowing It?' is available online at For An Answer, here. While the article does not interact with textual criticism, its main thrust is of interest to us. The authors argue that (1) Mormon apologetics are now being conducted by scholars who are respected in the larger scholarly community, and that (2) the evangelical scholars who do have the ability to respond are not doing so.

I hope that my own work in the area of textual criticism (specifically doing a PhD on the Coptic versions of GJohn) will give me the technical skills to interact in the area of Christian Origins. Bruce Metzger did something of the sort. He established a sound reputation as a text critic and later published an article which caused much of the scholarly community to rethink the accepted idea that the resurrection concept was derived from Greco-Roman mystery cults ('Methodology in the Study of the Mystery Religions and Early Christianity' (Historical and Literary Studies: Pagan, Jewish and Christian (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968) available online, here.) He also published 'Jehovah's Witnesses and Jesus Christ' Theology Today (April, 1953).

Codex Beratinus 1 and 2 — Memories of the World

The Abbey Library of St. Gallen with its high-quality collection of medieval codices highlighted in a previous post, was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Centre in 1983. In their programme "Memory of the World," UNESCO supports the preservation and dissemination of valuable archive holdings and library collections worldwide, including many valuable manuscripts.

In Albania, two Gospels codices have been nominated for inclusion in the programme:
Codex Beratinus 1 (φ 043) and Codex Beratinus 2 (Greg.-Aland 1143), see here.

The web-page says that the two codices represent two of the seven "purple codices" that survive today, and that two other are in Italy, one each in France, England and Greece. This erroneous information derives from the nomination form with a more detailed description of the codices found here. I think the nomination has become successful and that the two codices are now registered as "memories of the world." This is of course good, but the nomination form contains plenty of misleading information.

For example, the "seven purple codices” are said to be: "(1) Aleph or Sinaiticus (British Library), third century [!!!]; (2) Sinopensis (French National Library, Paris), fourth/fifth century; (3) Beratinus-1, sixth century; (4) Beratinus-2, ninth century; (5) Rossanensis (Diocese of Rossano, Italy), sixth century; (6) Vaticana B (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana), fourth century [!]; (7) Petropolitanus (Athens Museum), eighth/ninth century"

Some of these codices are not purple codices, and there are several other preserved purple codices missing in the list.

Or what to say about this: "The International Bible Society, which is based in London, is translating the New Testament using references from the world’s oldest manuscripts, in the hope that it can produce a text which, from a scientific point of view, can be accepted by all churches. It considers the Albanian codices to be among the most important foundations of this initiative."

But perhaps this statement about Beratinus 1 is the worst:

"This [Beratinus 1=Greg.-Aland 043] represents one of the three or four oldest codices in the history of world Christian literature and one of the three or four oldest New Testament archetypes."

I was also unaware that the codex in question dates from the "deep purple period" :-)

I don't know exactly who compiled this nomination form, but it seems to have been a professor Shaban Sinani, who was then chief of the National Archives in Tirana and a member of a national UNESCO committee in Albania. On this page (an Albanian discussion forum) one can read more on the topic (the Albanian Codices) by Sinani.

Rod Mullen is among the experts listed in the nomination form that support the nomination of the Beratini codices. It is a pity that he was not able to correct the nomination form. Nevertheless, Mullen may be one of the few Western scholars who have gained access to the Greek New Testament MSS in Albania (I think the INTF only have microfilms of Beratinus 1 and 2). I have not yet been able to find his bibliography referred to in the nomination form: “Bibliography of the New Testament and Related Manuscripts”, Albanian National Archives, Collection 488, Tirana – 2002.

Update: On the UNESCO website there are some images of the codices, here.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Codices Electronici Sangallenses (CESG) – Virtual Library

Wow. From ITSEE news and NT Gateway comes a link to a "superb digitisation project" which includes 144 complete manuscripts (> 57,000 high quality digital images).

Codices Electronici Sangallenses (CESG) – Virtual Library

I don't have time to explore this right now (exams etc.), so feel free to post highlights in the comments.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Pilgrimage to Mt Athos

A colleague of mine, Dieter Mitternacht, at my former place of work (Lund University) has set up a resource page for NT studies, diatheke. Included is a photo gallery from his pilgrimage trip to Mt Athos to visit several monasteries here —a lot of interesting images, although no GNT MSS. The closest is a facsimile of a work titled "On virtue" on display at Simonopetra.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Scribal Habits of Codex Sinaiticus

Gorgias Press announce the publication of the following book:

Dirk Jongkind, Scribal Habits of Codex Sinaiticus (Texts and Studies Third Series 5, 2007); ISBN: 978-1-59333-422-2; xvii i+ 323 pages; Price:$78.00.
Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest manuscript containing the complete text of the New Testament. Besides the New Testament, this codex from the fourth century also contains large parts of the Greek Old Testament, though quite a large part of this section did not survive. Codex Sinaiticus is much more than simply a particular instance of the Greek text of the Bible. At least three different scribes copied the text out by hand, and these scribes were faced with many decisions in the process of writing: How many letters do I put on this line? Will I contract this word as a nomen sacrum or will I spell it out in full? What do I do when I spot an error in the text I have just copied? What is the right spelling of this word? Is it time for a new paragraph? How do I fit the text I have copied to that of my colleague?

This book studies a wide variety of textual and non-textual phenomena of Codex Sinaiticus. Thus we not only learn more about this important biblical manuscript, but are also able to discern much about the individual scribes. The Codex Sinaiticus is not a homogenous book, but the product of individuals with their own habits and different qualities. This study shows that it is possible to rate the scribes of the New Testament according to their individual copying ability.

Dirk Jongkind finished his doctoral work at Cambridge University in 2005. Before taking up a research fellowship at Tyndale House, Cambridge, he was employed by the British Library in London to work on the curatorial preparation of the Codex Sinaiticus Digitisation Project. He is a fellow of St Edmund's College, Cambridge.
Order your copy here.

Fast dictionaries go online

Payne Smith's Syriac dictionary, Crum's Coptic dictionary, Gesenius' Hebrew dictionary, and Jastrow's Aramaic dictionary have recently been put online at Tyndale House. Unlike most online dictionaries, these are faster to use than the paper copies since you can click the letter you want on the left hand side.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

"Mark and Matthew. Texts and Contexts"

Recently, I have been invited to an international conference organized by Aarhus University and McMaster University on the topic, "Mark and Matthew. Texts and Contexts." The conference will take place over two consecutive years in Aarhus, Denmark (2008) and Hamilton, Canada (2009), and I have been asked to contribute a paper in Denmark on the following specific topic:

"Implications of Text Criticism for Understanding the 'Original' Texts"

This paper is to be delivered in connection with another paper (I do not know who will read it): "Text-Critical Problems in Mark and Matthew: Recent developments." The two papers go under the heading "Reconstructing the Artefacts: Text-Critical Aspects of the Study of Mark and Matthew."

At this point I don't know exactly what to do, and therefore I take the opportunity to invite readers to post and discuss suggestions in the comment section to this post.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Editio Critica Maior: those bold dots

In two previous posts I have discussed the Editio Critica Maior (How big will it be? and some more thoughts). One point raised in both those posts was the developing trajectories involved in this "edition". Today I want to focus on the use of bold dots in the ECM.

One of the interesting features of the primary line text (PLT) of the ECM is the use of a bold dot to signal ‘alternative readings’ which ‘are variant readings which the editors considered as of equal value’ [to the primary line text] (James, 11*). Thus the bold dots are an indication of editorial uncertainty and mark out particular variant readings. But it raises the obvious question: if the two readings are 'considered as of equal value', then why print one in the main (PLT) text and leave the other in the apparatus - and on what basis is the first among equals chosen for the PLT. I have not come across any discussion of the way in which the primary line text was chosen in these settings. I suppose one might think that the reading given in the main text is regarded as, however marginally, superior to the one which is relegated to the apparatus, but this is not, so far as I can tell, ever discussed.

The PLT reading must be regarded as somewhat superior to the supposedly equal variant given in the apparatus since some of the changes from NA27 text are marked in such a way. The first example of this is at James 2.3.44-48, where the PLT is H KAQOU EKEI (marked with double dots); and the second reading in the apparatus, also marked with bold dots is the NA 27 (= NA26) text reading: EKEI H KAQOU. Since this reading is flagged up in the introduction as one of two instances in which the ECM text differs from the NA27 & UBS4 text, and that ‘apart from these [two occasions] there was no need to alter the text’ (James, 11*), it follows that the ECM PLT reading at James 2.3 must be regarded as an improvement, a necessary alteration, and not simply as a text of absolutely straightforwardly equal plausibility as the dotted text.

This much is basically admitted in the preliminary notes to the second instalment which adds the following statement:

  • A bold dot (●) is again found frequently in the primary line and in the overview of variants. Its use was not governed by any absolute or precise definition. Sometimes it signals alternative readings which were considered of equal value. Sometimes the reasons for the reading in the primary line were regarded as superior, but not sufficiently to rule out with complete confidence the claims of the indicated alternative reading. In any event the dot indicates a passage which calls for special critical consideration. Further research may well lead to a new solution for it or confirm the present decision. In many instances, however, the resources of textual criticism may appear to have been exhausted. (Peter, 24*)

In the fourth instalment we are told that this is a better explanation for the significance of the bold dots than the one originally offered in the first instalment. (2 & 3 John, Jude, 37* note 2 cf. James, 11* as cited above) The following is also added:

  • ‘Perhaps their most important function is to indicate where critical discussion has not proved conclusive, even if in many instances the editors prefer the reading in the primary line.’ (Peter, 24*)

So it is clear that there has been some development in the use and signification of the black dots across the four installments. It appears that we must now reckon with a high degree of flexibility in the reasons for deploying bold dots in the PLT, and therefore with some uncertainty as to what they signify on any particular occasion in the ECM. Unfortunately we are not able to distinguish those variant readings which the editors actually do regard as ‘of equal value’ with the PLT, from other variant readings which the editors regard as of rather less value than the PLT, although not to be disregarded, and subject to ongoing discussion and research.

I would suggest, given the fact that improvements claimed over the NA27 in the PLT are sometimes linked with the NA27 reading marked by a bold dot, and given the fact that the editors must in each case have made a decision to print one reading as the main text and another in the apparatus (recall the phrase cited above: 'further research may well lead to a new solution … or confirm the present decision'), it is reasonable, indeed inevitable, that we will regard the PLT as superior in general (in the editors opinion) to the dotted text in the apparatus, even given the likelihood that there is also some residual default feeling for the NA27 text. But it would have been nice to have a list of readings regarded as genuinely equal in value to the PLT.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Rius-Camps on the PA

There is an article of interest by Josep Rius-Camps in the latest issue of NTS 53 (2007): 379-405: "The Pericope of the Adulteress Reconsidered: The Nomadic Misfortunes of a Bold Pericope."


"This article considers afresh the origin of the pericope of the adulteress, which is absent from some important manuscripts. Comparison of the witnesses to the text reveals that it has been preserved in two distinct forms, one (attested by Codex Bezae and the minuscules 2722 and 1071) that is Markan in style, and the other (attested by f13) that reproduces the style of Luke. The conclusion drawn is that the account was first composed by Mark (and placed after Mark 12.12) and subsequently adopted by Luke (after Luke 20.19). Because of the apparent moral leniency displayed by Jesus, the story would have been removed at an early date from both Gospels, and then later reinserted by some manuscripts but at different places."

Excerpt from Misquoting Truth


[With the permission of Timothy Paul Jones, author of Misquoting Truth, I post the following extract from his book responding to Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus]

Mark 1:41-43: Angry, Compassionate, or Both?

Most translations of Mark 1:41-42 describe Jesus’ healing of a skin-diseased man something like this: “Feeling compassion and stretching out his hand, he touched him and said, ‘I want to.’ Immediately, the skin disease fled from the man, and he was cleansed.”

So what’s the difficulty? Bart Ehrman believes that the text should not read “feeling compassion” (Greek, splanchnistheis);[1] in his estimation, the original reading of the text was “becoming angry” (Greek, orgistheis). Ehrman goes so far to imply that this reading affects “the interpretation of an entire book of the New Testament.”[2]

Although the manuscript evidence for “becoming angry” is mixed, I find Ehrman’s case for orgistheis to be convincing.[3] It makes far more sense to think that a copyist changed “becoming angry” to “feeling compassion” than for the opposite to have occurred. And, in Greek, the two words neither look alike nor sound alike, so this can’t be an issue of confusing similar terms.[4]

Still, I fail to see how, Ehrman’s estimation, this single word changes our understanding of Jesus or of Mark’s Gospel. With or without orgistheis in Mark 1:41, this Gospel depicts Jesus as a passionate prophet,[5] rapidly crisscrossing Galilee and Judea as he moves toward his impending encounter with a Roman cross. By the third chapter, Jesus has already upset so many religious leaders that they’re making plans to murder him (3:6). He becomes annoyed when people don’t trust him (3:5; 9:23). At the same time, Mark makes it clear that Jesus constantly feels compassion for downtrodden people (6:34; 8:2; 9:22-23). As such, either reading of the text would fit Mark’s presentation of Jesus. Understanding the text to declare that Jesus became angry does not significantly change my understanding of this Gospel.

Bart Ehrman does clearly err at one point in his treatment of this text. Dr. Ehrman claims that, after Jesus heals the man,
he ‘severely rebukes him’ and ‘throws him out’ [Mark 1:43].These are literal
renderings of the Greek words, which are usually softened in translation. They
are harsh terms, used elsewhere in Mark always in the contexts of violent
conflict and aggression.[6]
Although ekballo—the term Ehrman translates “throws him out”—does sometimes appear in Mark’s Gospel in the context of violent conflict, the term does not “always” function in this sense, as Ehrman claims.

In Mark 5:40, ekballo describes how Jesus sent a deceased child’s family from the room where her body lay. I don’t think Mark intended us to envision Jesus grabbing the girl’s parents by the collar and hurling them through the door. It’s possible that ekballo carries such a meaning in Mark 1:12—“the Spirit violently hurled Jesus out into the desert”?—but it’s more likely that Mark simply intended ekballo to convey the vibrant urgency that makes this Gospel so fascinating.

So what actually happened when Jesus healed this leprous man? And, if Jesus was angry, why was he angry? It’s important to notice where Jesus was teaching when this healing occurred. Apparently Jesus was in a synagogue (1:39) where the Jews of the town had gathered to hear God’s Word. If so, this man’s presence could have rendered an entire Jewish community unclean! Although Jesus challenged the traditions that had been added to the Law of Moses, he consistently called his people to live by the laws that God had graciously given them through Moses (see Mark 1:44). According to these laws, the leprous man should have sequestered himself away from his fellow Jews (Leviticus 13). Instead, he placed an entire Jewish community in danger of ceremonial uncleanness. Is it any wonder that Jesus became angry? And still, Jesus healed him.

So was Jesus angry or was he compassionate?


Luke 22:19-20 and Luke 22:43-44: Why Did Jesus Die?

When it comes to Luke 22, Bart Ehrman argues that a later scribe added verses 19 and 20—and he may be correct. Solid evidence does exist to suggest that these specific verses may not have appeared in the first edition of Luke’s Gospel. Various forms of these same sentences do appear, however, in Matthew 26:27-28; Mark 14:22-25; and, 1 Corinthians 11:23-25. So, even if these clauses were missing from Luke’s original writing, this is not a case of “misquoting Jesus”—it’s a passage that was already present in several other places, though perhaps not in Luke’s Gospel.

Ehrman proposes the absence of these verses as proof that the author of Luke’s Gospel didn’t view Jesus’ death in quite the same way as the authors of the other Gospels.
Luke … has a different understanding of the way in which Jesus’ death leads to
salvation than does Mark (and Paul, and other early Christian writers). … It is
not that Jesus’ death is unimportant. It is extremely important for Luke—but not
as an atonement. Instead, Jesus’ death is what makes people realize their guilt
before God.[7]
From Ehrman’s perspective, although Luke used Mark’s Gospel and perhaps Paul’s letters as sources—a logical assumption based on Luke 1:1-3—Luke changed wordings that might suggest Jesus died for people’s sins. Later copyists, Ehrman claims, added verses 19-20 to Luke 22 to emphasize the flesh-and-blood humanity of Jesus. (Though I’m open to his point that later copyists added these two verses, Dr. Ehrman’s rationale for the change is quite unlikely. The physicality of Jesus is already emphasized in Luke 24:24-43, not to mention in Luke’s narratives of Jesus’ birth and childhood. It’s more likely that copyists included these verses because they had become familiar the context of Christian proclamation or worship.)

So did Luke really disagree with Mark and Paul and other writers about the death of Jesus?

Dr. Ehrman is correct that Luke’s Gospel doesn’t emphasize Jesus’ death as an atoning sacrifice for people’s sins. The idea of sacrificial atonement for sins was, after all, more prominent in Jewish theology, and Luke was probably writing for an audience that had been heavily influenced by Greek and Roman culture. For Luke’s readers, what was most meaningful wasn’t that Jesus would suffer as a sacrifice for sin. What would impress Hellenized persons was the fact that a person so righteous and so divine would submit himself not only to live in human flesh but also to die the darkest possible death.[8]

This does not mean, however, that Luke did not view Jesus’ death in terms of atonement. Neither does it mean that the sacrificial aspect of the crucifixion didn’t interest Luke. It simply means that sacrificial atonement was not the aspect of Jesus’ death that was most meaningful to Luke’s audience. So, Luke focused on Jesus as a divine martyr—a different emphasis, to be sure, but not at odds with other New Testament depictions of Jesus. Simply put, different emphases do not amount to contradictory understandings of the same event.

The same point may be made when it comes to Luke 22:43-44. Here, some unknown copyist added a couple of clauses to emphasize Jesus’ passionate prayer in Gethsemane. Ehrman argues that only in these verses did Luke portray Jesus in dread or distress:

Rather than entering his passion with fear and trembling, in anguish over his
coming fate, the Jesus of Luke goes to his death calm and in control. … It is
clear that Luke does not share Mark’s understanding that Jesus was in anguish,
bordering on despair.[9]
It’s true that Luke’s Gospel doesn’t emphasize the dread Jesus seems to have felt in the Garden of Gethsemane. And it’s true that Luke’s focus changed due to the differences in his audience. But did Luke actually “not share Mark’s understanding” of Jesus’ suffering, or did Luke simply highlight a different aspect of Jesus’ death? Once again, different emphases do not amount to contradictory understandings of the same event.

Who Was Really Misquoted?
The promotional copy for Misquoting Jesus claims that “Ehrman makes the provocative case that many of our cherished biblical stories and widely held beliefs concerning the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, and the divine origins of the Bible itself stem from both intentional and accidental alterations by scribes.” And, supposedly, Bart Ehrman makes this case “for the first time.”[10]

As I examine Misquoting Jesus, I find nothing that measures up to the title or to the promotional copy. What I find is a great deal of discussion about a handful of textual variants—none of which ultimately changes any essential belief that’s presented in the New Testament. What’s more, despite the sensational title of Misquoting Jesus, I find only a half-dozen times when Jesus might have been misquoted, and most of these supposed changes simply echo statements that are found elsewhere in Scripture.

And, so, returning to our initial questions: Have the New Testament manuscripts changed over the centuries? Without a doubt! But are the changes in the manuscripts “highly significant”? And do any of them “affect the interpretation of an entire book of the New Testament”? Not that I can tell.

[1] Ehrman incorrectly transliterates this word as “splangnistheis” (MJ 133).
[2] MJ 132.
[3] The presentation of evidence for orgistheis in MJ does not really do justice to Ehrman’s argument as it is presented in “A Leper in the Hands of an Angry Jesus,” in New Testament Greek and Exegesis, ed. A.M. Donaldson and T.B. Sailors (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2003) 77-98—one of Ehrman’s best articles.
[4] The two words do sound similar in the Syriac language and, to a lesser extent, in Aramaic. However, since there is no evidence that Mark originally circulated in written form in either of these languages, any argument based on these possibilities would be sheer speculation.
[5]Peter Jones pointed out to me two additional examples of Mark’s presentation of Jesus as a passionate prophet—the use of the two powerful verbs epitimao (also used to describe silencing of demons) and phimoo (more commonly used to describe the muzzling of a wild beast) to describe Jesus’ calming of the storm in Mark 4:39.
[6] MJ 136.
[7] MJ 166-167.
[8] “Dying-for” is a distinctly Jewish concept, while the noble death of a hero predominates in Greco-Roman traditions (Martin Hengel, The Atonement: The Origins of the Doctrine in the New Testament [London, UK: SCM, 1981]).
[9] MJ 142-143.
[10] MJ dust jacket, hardcover edition.
Excerpts taken from Misquoting Truth by Timothy Paul Jones. ©2007 by Timothy Paul Jones. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426.