Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pressrelease: Bundespräsident Visited the Bibelmuseum in Münster

I just read a pressrelease from unipress Münster; Yesterday, on August 29, Bundespräsident Köhler, as representative of the board of the Hermann Kunst-Stiftung, visited the Bibelmuseum of the Institute for New Testament Textual Research in Münster. The Hermann Kunst-Stiftung zur Förderung der neutestamentlichen Textforschung supports the work of this institute, well-known by text critics as a world leading centre in the field, or as Köhler puts it, "einzigartige Exzellenz weltweit."

Read the original pressrelease (in German) here.

Bill Warren Joins the ETC Blog

I have the pleasure to introduce Bill Warren as member of this blog.

Bill Warren is Landrum P. Leavell, II, Professor of New Testament and Greek as well as Chair of the New Testament Department at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS), the same seminary where he completed his Th.D. in 1983 under Carlton Winbery, defending a dissertation titled "The Textual Relationships of P4, P45, and P75 in the Gospel of Luke." He has been occupied with teaching and research in the area of textual criticism ever since, and he is currently the director of the Center for New Testament Textual Studies (CNTTS); I hope he will keep us updated on the development of the CNTTS.

Current research projects include:

The CNTTS New Testament Critical Apparatus, an electronic critical apparatus, currently distributed by Accordance Software and soon to be with BibleWorks and Logos Software programs.

The CNTTS NT English-based Textual Apparatus module, now in the initial stages and due to be out by the end of 2008.

A volume on “The Basics of New Testament Textual Criticism” for Zondervan Publishing Co., to complete the Mounce, Wallace series on Greek Studies, Fall 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Codex Washingtonianus, Gospels

Codex Washingtonianus in the Gospels: New Photos on CD Available

Here is a copy of a post that I've also sent to the TC list that might be helpful for some.  

Some may not be aware that Codex Washingtonianus was photographed anew in the Gospels in conjunction with the emphasis on it at the 2006 SBL meetings (the 100th anniversary of the Codex surfacing again).  The images for the Gospels are available on a CD from the Smithsonian Institute via the following contact info:

Rights and Reproductions
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
(202) 633 0532
(202) 633-9770 Fax

Justin Taylor Interviews Peter Williams

My colleague Stefan Green mentioned to me an interview by Justin Taylor of our co-clogger Peter Williams, the new Warden at Tyndale House, published on Taylor's blog Between Two Worlds here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

SBL Annual Meeting 2007 Program Book Online

The SBL Annual Meeting 2007 Program Book is now online here (press "submit" to see the whole program).

From the perspective of Textual Criticism, the following sections will be of special interest:

International Greek New Testament Project
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Atlanta - MM

David Parker, University of Birmingham, Presiding (15 min)
Bruce Morrill, University of Birmingham
The Profiling and Grouping of Greek Manuscripts: Test Passages from John 1-10 and 18 (15 min)
P.J. Williams, University of Aberdeen - Scotland
Editing the Syriac Versions: Problems and Programme (15 min)
Philip Burton, University of Birmingham
Constructing a Critical Apparatus of the Latin Manuscripts and Versions (15 min)
Ulrich B. Schmid, Free University
The Edition of the Majuscule Manuscripts" (15 min)
Roderic L. Mullen, University of Birmingham
The Database of Greek Patristic Citations(15 min)
Bruce Morrill, University of Birmingham
Transcribing the Greek Minuscule Manuscripts (15 min)
Discussion (45 min)

Scripture as Artifact
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Room: Carlsbad - MM

Theme: The Ancient and Early Medieval World

Brian Malley, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Text, Artifact, and Meanings (25 min)
Larry W. Hurtado, University of Edinburgh
Early Christian Manuscripts of Biblical Texts as Artifacts (30 min)
Stephen Reed, Jamestown College
Physical and Visual Features of Dead Sea Scroll Scriptural Texts (25 min)
Break (10 min)
Eduard Iricinschi, Princeton University
A Thousand Books Will Be Saved”: Manichean Manuscripts and Religious Propaganda in the Roman Empire (25 min)
Thomas J. Kraus, Willibald Gluck Gymnasium
"He that Dwelleth in the Help of the Highest": Septuagint Psalm 90 and the Iconographic Program on Byzantine Armbands (25 min)
Dorina Miller Parmenter, Syracuse University
The Bible as Icon: Myths of the Divine Origins of Scripture (25 min)
Discussion (15 min)

Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Maggie - GH

David Martinez, University of Chicago, Presiding
Don Barker, Macquarie University-Sydney
How Big and How Old is Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1353? (30 min)
Peter Arzt-Grabner, Universitaet Salzburg
“I Was Intending to Visit You, but …:” Clauses Explaining Delayed Visits and Their Importance in Papyrus Letters and in Paul (30 min)
Annette Bourland Huizenga, University of Chicago
Advice to the Bride: Moral Exhortation for Young Wives in Two Ancient Letters (30 min)
Christina M. Kreinecker, Universitaet Salzburg
Papyrological Commentary on 2 Thessalonians: Outline and First Results (30 min)

New Testament Textual Criticism
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: 25 A - CC

Wayne Kannaday, Newberry College, Presiding
Tommy Wasserman, Örebro Theological Seminary
Two Verses Plucked From the Fire: Jude 22-23 (30 min)
Matti Myllykoski, University of Helsinki
POxy 4009: Case Closed (30 min)
Gerald Donker, Macquarie University-Sydney, Australia
The Pauline Epistles in Athanasius: A Contribution to the Alexandrian Text Type (30 min)
Peter M. Head, University of Cambridge
Notes on P. Oxy 4497 (P113): The Smallest Portion of the New Testament Ever Identified (30 min)
Geert van Oyen, University of Utrecht and Jan Kraus, Vrije Universiteit-Amsterdam
Codex Boreelianus Revisited: A Fresh Look at Codex F (09) after 160 years (30 min)


9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Salon 3 - MM
Theme: Individual Variants and the Broad Picture in Mark
James Voelz, Concordia Seminary - Clayton, Presiding
Peter M. Head, University of Cambridge, The Gospel of Mark in Codex Sinaiticus (20 min)Discussion (15 min)
Nicholas Perrin, Wheaton College, “Angered” or “Moved”? Mark 1:41 in Light of Mark’s Exodus Motif (15 min)
Vicki Cass Phillips, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Jesus, Anger, and Impurity: Investigating Mark 1:40-45 (15 min)
Discussion (45 min)
Leroy Andrew Huizenga, Wheaton College, Mark 14:62 in Light of Markan Narrative Dynamics (15 min)
Discussion (25 min)

9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Manchester A - GH
Theme: Textual Beginnings and Endings in Mark
Tom Shepherd, Union College, Presiding
Dean B. Deppe, Calvin Theological Seminary, Markan Christology and the Omission of yiou theou in Mark 1:1 (15 min)
Discussion (30 min)
Clinton Wahlen, Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies, The Freer Logion and Early Eschatological Reflection (15 min)
Discussion (30 min)
Marie Noonan Sabin, Bristol, ME, A New Ending for Mark? (15 min)
Discussion (30 min)
Business Meeting (15 min)

The papers will be summarized, not read. Papers may be obtained for reading in advance by e-mail request to the chair, Tom Shepherd, at

Some abstracts are available on the SBL site; my own abstract:

Two Verses Plucked From the Fire: Jude 22-23
This paper discusses one of the textually most corrupt passages in the New Testament, Jude 22-23, in view of external and internal evidence. Specifically, the intrinsic evidence is examined. The immediate context and the intertextual connection to Zech 2:13-3:10 suggests an anticipatory eschatological setting before the throne of God. This interpretation will help us choose among the plethora of variant readings - the two verses are "plucked from the fire."

Update: Bill Warren points out in the comments that special memorial sessions will be held on Sunday 18/11 in honor of William L. Petersen and Bruce M. Metzger:

S18-73 New Testament Textual Criticism
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: 23 C - CC

Theme: Honoring the Work of William L. Petersen

AnneMarie Luijendijk, Princeton University, Presiding
Peter Williams, University of Aberdeen - Scotland, Panelist (30 min)
Ulrich Schmid, Free University, Amsterdam, Panelist (30 min)
Lucas Van Rompay, Duke University, Panelist (30 min)
Bart Ehrman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Panelist (30 min)
Discussion (30 min)

S18-125 New Testament Textual Criticism
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Salon 3 - MM

Theme: Memorial Session in Honor of Bruce Metzger

Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Princeton Theological Seminary, Presiding
Bart Ehrman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Panelist (25 min)
Gordon Fee, Regent College, Panelist (25 min)
Michael Holmes, Bethel University, Panelist (25 min)
J. Roberts, Princeton Theological Seminary, Panelist (25 min)
Harold Scanlin, United Bible Societies, Panelist (25 min)
Discussion (25 min)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Jongkind book launch

This morning at Tyndale House we have the book launch for Dirk Jongkind's work Scribal Habits of Codex Sinaiticus. Peter Head gave a speech summarizing the work and cake was provided. Dr Jongkind presented a copy to Tyndale House library. We hope that photos will appear on the web shortly.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bohairic NT, 2nd edition

I've received the following notice from Tigran Aivazian: published the Second Edition of Bohairic Coptic New Testament: based on the official Bohairica sources of J. Warren Wells. Whilst our First Edition was a rough draft along the lines of Horner's edition this is a much better/clean/standardised text of the same level of quality as our edition of Sahidic Coptic New Testament. It is available in both Hardcover and electronic(PDF) formats. A preview is available on the above product page.

Parker Library Symposium

On 6 - 7 September 2007, the Parker Library ("one of the most important small collections of English medieval manuscripts ever assembled") is hosting a Symposium on the topics of preservation – digitisation – scholarship – public access.

The symposium will include papers within all three areas, at their widest interpretation, including library history, conservation, digitisation and its application, new discoveries and directions in medieval manuscript scholarship, and the benefits or problems of access to some of the most precious illuminated manuscripts in existence.

For more info (and booking form) see here.

Can computers ever read ancient texts?

For a summary of an interesting paper on this subject (taking Vindolanda writing tablets as a sample) see here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

When was the 'Septuagint version' invented?

In connection with a comment I've just made on the preceding post, I wonder if anyone can help me by informing me of the earliest reference to such a thing as a Bible version called the 'Septuagint'. What is needed is a reference to a Bible version as a version called 'the Seventy'. There are of course a plethora of mentions of 'the Seventy', but most of the earlier ones are references to a group of people who translated biblical texts, not to a version itself. References can be in Latin or Greek. References to omicron in the Hexapla should probably not be included as I am informed that this is a terminus technicus for the Fifth Column of the Hexapla, i.e. Origen's version, not to a version known as 'the Seventy'. Obviously at some stage the noun 'seventy' sometimes becomes singular, e.g. French 'la Septante'. By this stage it seems clear that a version is referred to. I'm pretty confident that there is no reference to a version called 'the Seventy' before Eusebius, but the earliest reference may in fact be quite some time after him. If you find any references please quote the original text so that we can judge it without chasing the wording. [I'm grateful for discussion with Peter Gentry to help formulate these ideas, with which he may disagree.]

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ulrich Schmid's question

Following a lively exchange between Ulrich Schmid and Maurice Robinson relating to the UBS/IGNTP edition of the Byzantine text of John, Ulrich asked the following question:

I would be genuinely interested in discussing the point that is repeatedly raised against so-called eclectic editions, namely that they produce a text that "never existed in the manuscript tradition" (see, e.g., The New Testament in the Original Greek. Byzantine Textform 2005, v, footnote). To what level of detail is this a charge that can be taken seriously? How should an edition be constructed that does not fall under this verdict? How can we ever know that any reconstructed text "never existed in the manuscript tradition"?

Publication of new fragments of P75

The following publication, of which the author kindly sent me an offprint, contains an edition and photos of previously unavailable fragments of P75:

Marie-Luise Lakmann, 'Papyrus Bodmer XIV-XV (P75): Neue Fragmente', Museum Helveticum 64 (2007) 22-41.

Images are of:

Luke 3:18-22, 34-36; 4:1-2; 5:37-6:3;
John 6:10-12, 24-27; 11:15-18, 31-33; 12:47-13:10; 14:9-10, 21-22, 26-15:10.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Pastoral Epistles in the Apostolic Fathers

The first major reception of the texts of the New Testament is of course from the Apostolic Fathers. Rick Brannan has done an interesting job of putting together a list of Potential Quotes, Allusions, or References of the Pastoral Epistles in the Apostolic Fathers (see the links therein). The Apostolic Fathers are significant as they are among our first major witnesses to textual traditions of the New Testament and give evidence of how the New Testament writings were being interpreted within a generation of their composition.

Otherwise, more generally, note the following volumes on the New Testament and the Apostlic Fathers by Andrew Gregory and Christopher Tuckett:

Trajectories through the New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers

The New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers 2 volume set

The Reception of the New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers

Gordon Fee on John 5:3-4

The following article is now available on-line in PDF:

Gordon D. Fee, "On the Inauthenticity of John 5:3b-4," The Evangelical Quarterly 54.4 (1982): 207-218.

John 5:3-4 reads in the King James Version: "In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down out at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatever disease he had."

Fee's article gives a rationale as to why this text was not part of the original autograph.

HT: Paul Bradshaw

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sahidica site

Thanks go to David-Instone Brewer for spotting the new location of Sahidica, which I previously could not locate.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Byzantine text of John

The UBS edition of the Byzantine text of John has now gone live at the site, where IGNTP material on John will be hosted. The editors, and especially Rod Mullen, are to be warmly congratulated.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

NTTS+SD=NTTSD (New Testament Tools, Studies and Documents


Brill has recently announced a new book series - New Testament Tools, Studies and Documents. Editors are Bart D. Ehrman & Eldon Jay Epp.

Information from Brill:

"New Testament Tools, Studies, and Documents (NTTSD) combines two series, New Testament Tools and Studies (NTTS) and Studies and Documents (SD). The former was founded by Bruce M. Metzger in 1965 and edited by him until 1993, when Bart D. Ehrman joined him as co-editor. The latter series was founded by Kirsopp and Silva Lake in 1935, edited by them until the death of Kirsopp Lake in 1946, then briefly by Silva Lake and Carsten Hreg (1955), followed by Jacob Geerlings (until 1969), by Irving Alan Sparks (until 1993), and finally by Eldon Jay Epp (until 2007).

The new series will promote the publication of primary sources, reference tools, and critical studies that advance the understanding of the New Testament and other early Christian writings and writers into the fourth century. Emphases of the two predecessor series will be retained, including the textual history and transmission of the New Testament and related literature, relevant manuscripts in various languages, methodologies for research in early Christianity. The series will also publish a broader range of studies pertinent to early Christianity and its writings."

For those of you who have waited on James R. Royse's study of Scribal Habits in Early Greek New Testament Papyri finally to be published (the orginal dissertation on which it is based dates from 1981) will be pleased to hear that it is due this autumn (according to Brill's representative whom I met in Vienna). According to the gossip at the SBL in Vienna the delay of Royse's book on the part of the former publisher Eerdman's caused frustration for both the author Royse and the SD editor Epp and led the latter to turn to Brill which has now resulted in this permanent solution.

Another forthcoming volume of great interest is The New Testament in Greek IV: The Gospel According to St. John, Volume Two The Majuscules, Edited by U.B. Schmid, with W.J. Elliott and D.C. Parker

Monday, August 06, 2007

Two OT canon things

Another early testimony to the number of OT books.
I've been looking at the various early testimonia to the number of books in the OT. 22 (as in Josephus) and 24 (as in 4 Ezra and G. Thom.) are well-known. But Num. Rabbah (apparently - non vidi) lists 35, counting the Twelve as 12, not as 1. I recently came across a passage (well a series of passages, really) in Shepherd of Hermas which talk about 'the 35 prophets of God and his servants' (Herm. 92.4; cf. 81.3; 82.4). It seems pretty likely to me that this is also a number of OT books, given the early-ness of the count of 24, and given how easy it would be to count the Twelve as 12. I haven't seen an interpretation along these lines in any of the Hermas commentaries, though. Any thoughts?

First-century Esther Wirkungsgeschichte?
I've also come across a pretty early (possible/probable) reference to the name Esther. In JIWE I, #26, there's a first-century inscription about a "Claudia Aster", who was captured as a slave-girl from Jerusalem, presumably during the war or shortly after. Noy considers the name "Aster" to be a Latinisation of Esther. If he's right, this would be the earliest attestation of a person of this name (apart, of course, from the biblical lady herself). It might also be an example of the influence of the biblical book, and be an extra piece in the jigsaw of Esther's earliest impact.

Any thoughts?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Online Review of Two Gospels from One

On Michael Pahl's blog, the stuff of earth, he has made available a review of Michael Williams' Two Gospels from One: A Comprehensive Text-Critical Analysis of the Synoptic Gospels. The review was published in JETS 50:2 (2007): 392-94 and is now available online here. The book has been discussed previously on this blog here.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Epp on "A Variant-Conscious Approach to New Testament Textual Criticism"

Eldon Jay Epp, "It's All about Variants: A Variant-Conscious Approach to New Testament Textual Criticism", HTR 100 (2007), pp. 275-308. On-line here (HT: Jan Krans)

In this interesting article Epp discusses the purpose of NT TC as he sees it. He discusses a wide range of issues (in typical Epp style), and proposes a 'Variant-Conscious Edition' of the GNT in which the variants would be more clearly observable ('in your face') than in most editions and produces a sample for the ascension narratives (Luke 24.50-53; Acts 1.1-2, 9-11). As a closing paragraph he proposes the following definition:
  • 'New Testament textual criticism, employing aspects of both science and art, studies the transmission of the New Testament text and the manuscripts that facilitate its transmission, with the unitary goal of establishing the earliest attainable text (which serves as a baseline) and, at the same time, of assessing the textual variants that emerge from the baseline text so as to hear the narratives of early Christian thought and life that inhere in the array of meaningful variants.' (p. 308)

It is an interesting article, it will helped me understand Epp's views better, and it has 97 footnotes full of interesting items (not all of them authored by Epp). The project seems worth pursuing, although as with most alternatives to NA, it makes you marvel at what NA packs into not very much space. I think in my current mood I'd rather write: "It's All about Manuscripts: A Manuscript-Conscious Approach to New Testament Textual Criticism".

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The end of Judaism in Baghdad?

Time magazine has published an article on the last remnant of Jewry in Baghdad, here. The piece is a reminder of the significance that the city and the region had in antiquity.