Friday, December 04, 2009

Kephalaia in Alexandrinus

There is a new article out: Greg Goswell, ‘Early Readers of the Gospels: The KEPHALAIA and TITLOI of Codex AlexandrinusJGRChJ 6 (2009), 134-74 (on-line). Not only is the author based in Melbourne (always a good sign), but he includes complete lists (with ET) of all the kephalaia in Alexandrinus with some reflections on the hermeneutical significance of the divisions. (HT: D. Stark) Here is the closing paragraph:

Textual divisions are an element of the paratext of Scripture. They act as a commentary on the text that can at times be an insightful guide. I have sought to demonstrate that there are four main possible effects of a textual break, namely to separate or join material, and to highlight or downplay features of the text, and I have provided multiple examples of each effect (function) using the kephalaia. The function of a textual break in separating or joining material has at times provided the reader with exegetical insights. One clear trend within all four Gospels is the highlighting of the element of the miraculous in the ministry of Jesus and (the reverse side of this) the downplaying of his teaching. The headings usually focus on the fact of controversy between Jesus and the religious leaders rather than what issues were controverted. The lack of attention given to dominical passion predictions and the paucity of divisions within the passion narrative itself suggest that there is little focus upon the suffering and atoning death of Jesus. Instead the divisions in the passion narratives reflect a homiletical tradition (or liturgical usage) in which there is a moralistic focus on positive and negative ethical examples. This study of the Gospels in Codex Alex-andrinus has demonstrated that delimitation criticism has the potential of generating new exegetical insights (or recovering old ones long for-gotten) and of helping us to scrutinize and re-evaluate contemporary exegetical traditions and commonplaces.

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