Thursday, September 18, 2008

Back in Lund Again

From September 1 I have assumed a two-year research post ("postdoktor") at Lund University, where I did my PhD. However, I am still located at Örebro Theological Seminary. Twice a month I will visit the research seminar (for Biblical studies and Patristics) in Lund, led by Professor Samuel Byrskog. Byrskog's main research interest concerns tradition and transmission in Early Christianity; orality and scribality in ancient Greece and Rome and early Christianity; and social and collective memory. I look forward to discuss overlapping areas like oral and textual transmission in early Christianity in this seminar. The first material I will present, however, will be something about what Jesus wrote on the ground, material for a paper to be presented in Boston in November.

The main plan for the coming two years is to work with the early text of the New Testament, with a focus on the Gospels. I have some ideas that will perhaps result in another monograph, perhaps separate articles. Then I have some other half finished stuff on various other TC things.


  1. "to work with the early text of the New Testament"

    What do you mean by that?

  2. Wieland,

    If only I knew :-)

    I mean questions having to do with the earliest recoverable text, initial text, of the New Testament. In my work on Jude I was occupied with the whole textual transmission, now I will focus on the early text. What is the nature of the initial text?

  3. I thought it was a settled result of research that Jesus didn't write anything on the ground, inasmuch as the P.A. is not original -- but if it is considered an authentic tradition, the default identification of what he wrote is the sins of the onlookers. Or maybe it was their names and their sins. Conybeare commented about this in The Expositor back in 1894 or 1895 or thereabouts, describing the P.A. as it appears in Etchmiadzin MS-229 (the "Aristou eritzou" MS):

    It immediately follows the words OUK EGEIRETAI of John
    vii. 52, and runs as follows:

    "A certain woman was taken in sins (= malitiis), against whom all
    bore witness that she was deserving of death. They brought her to Jesus (to see) what he would command, in order that they might malign him. Jesus made answer, and said, 'Come ye, who are without sin, cast stones and stone her to death (lit. BALLETE LIQOUS KAI LIQOBOLHTON
    POIEITE).' But he himself, bowing his head, was writing with his
    finger on the earth, to declare their sins ; and they were seeing their several sins on the stones. And, filled with shame, they departed, and no one remained, but only the woman. Saith Jesus, 'Go in peace, and present the offering for sins, as in their law is written.'"

    This take on the sand-writing is probably the result of an application of Jeremiah 17:13 to Jn. 8:6-8.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  4. JS: "I thought it was a settled result of research that Jesus didn't write anything on the ground,"

    We (I and Jennifer Knust) are not asking the historical question, but are interested in the history of reception. We will discuss the Edschmiadzin codex, and variuos other interpretations, with a special focus on the sentence "terra terram accusat."