Saturday, January 30, 2010

Final Reminder: SBL International Meeting Call for Papers

This weekend is the final chance to submit a proposal to the SBL International Meeting in Tartu (deadline 31 Jan). We will have interesting presentations in the Working with Biblical Manuscript unit this year. One paper on OT TC in Jeremiah, and several NT TC papers on working with Byzantine MSS, electronic editions, and treatments of various passages. But there is still room for plenty more!

Papers on any aspect of textual criticism are welcome! Go to this page on the SBL website and make your submission.

Update: We will have at least ten papers divided in two sessions. Three are in OT TC. Several papers sound very interesting, especially one on Codex Sinaiticus. If someone out there forgot to make their submission before the deadline, it is still possible to send me an e-mail to discuss a proposal.

Friday, January 29, 2010

British Patristics Conference Durham Sept 2010

This year the British Patristics Conference will be held at St John's College in Durham on 1-3 Sept (2010). There is more info and a call for papers here.

'today if you hear my oops ... (Heb 3.7 in P46)

P46 is very interesting at Heb 3.7, as can be seen in this picture. The original text of what the Holy Spirit says is presented as EAN THC FWNHC MOU.

Now it might just be possible to think of P46 as writing EAN THC FWNHC MOU AUTOU AKOUCHTE. Indeed this could be a conflate reading (since EAN THC FWNHC MOU AKOUCHTE is found in a single minuscule, 1319 I think). But I think Royse is spot on here (not only because he confirmed my instinctive interpretation of it), in seeing MOU as corrected by the scribe in the act of writing, with dots, deletion and a pause for thought (which happens after other corrections in P46) before the correct reading AUTOU. The agreement with 1319 is coincidental (or at least not genealogical).

But it is interesting that the scribe's instinct was to write MOU. This suggests that the scribe is an active participant in the representation of his text: thinking along with the text. Thinking aloud about what the Holy Spirit is saying. Perhaps he does not at first recognise this as an OT citation. Or perhaps he did recognise it and anticipated the first person pronouns to follow ('my ways ... my wrath ... my rest', v10f). Who knows.

But the process is controlled by his desire to present accurately the text of his exemplar, hence the correction. See the detail here:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Video Lecture: How Did We Get Our New Testament?

In addition to the previous posting, another video lecture by Stanley Porter is available:

How Did We Get Our New Testament?

In 1964 an annual lectureship in theology was established by Mrs. C.C. Hayward of Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Stanley Porter gave the Hayward Lecture in 2008.

Follow this link and scroll to the 2008 lecture.

Itunes Video Lectures: Reading New Testament Papyrus in Context

One of our readers made me aware of these video lectures from the colloquium Reading New Testament Papyrus in Context, held in Switzerland last October, now freely available here on ITunes U:

Quand l’exégète rencontre le manuscrit: le P66 - Jean Zumstein

Christliche Papyri aus Ägypten - kleine Facetten des großen Ganzen: Exemplarische Wechselbeziehungen - Thomas J. Kraus

Recently Discovered New Testament Papyri and their Significance for Textual Criticism - James Keith Elliott

Des textes comme les autres: réinscrire le Nouveau Testament dans les écrits du monde méditerranéen - Régis Burnet

Les papyrus en Egypte aux trois premiers siècles de notre ère - Paul Schubert

Le Nouveau Testament à l’heure des papyrus égyptiens - Claire Clivaz

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Exhibition at the University Library of Augsburg

In these days, perhaps you want to get some insight into the codex Tchacos
and some manuscripts which are by far more important, such as the only manuscript of the book of Revelation Erasmus had at his disposal when he printed his first edition, named by him codex Reuchlin, which later was housed in the Oettingen-Wallerstein library and is today in the university library of Augsburg, or an unpublished Coptic version of the Pauline letters.
There is an exhibition in Augsburg, open until the end of April.

The Bible: A History

Mark Goodacre reminds of the seven part documentary series The Bible: A History which has now begun on UK Channel 4. In case you missed the first part and you are living in the area you can watch it on "4 on Demand." It is a real pity that it is not available in other countries at this point.

Perhaps one of my co-bloggers in the UK could report when Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has found P45 in the Chester Beatty Library.

See more on the series' homepage here.

More at clayboy and Bible Films Blog.

Monday, January 25, 2010

More on Judas' Sister

Tommy directed me to a recent post by April DeConick discussing the sale of fragments related to the Gospel of Judas Codex on Ebay. Much of what was sold appears to have been scraps of documentary texts. As far as I can gather, there is no evidence that any piece of the Tchacos codex was sold on Ebay; all known fragments are perhaps now in good hands. DeConick calls attention to a Coptic Philippians fragment which she suggests may be part of a sister codex purportedly found with Tchacos. I think that I can support this possibility based on the Ebay image. The transcription reads:

Phil 2:10-11
ⲙⲡⲏⲩⲉ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲉⲧϩⲓϫ]ⲙ ⲡⲕⲁ[ϩ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲛⲉⲧϩⲁ
ⲡⲉⲥⲏⲧ ⲙⲡⲕⲁϩ. ⲛⲧ]ⲉ ⲗⲁⲥ ⲛⲓⲙ ⲉ[ⲝⲟⲙⲟⲗⲟⲅⲉⲓ
ϫⲉ ⲡϫⲟⲉⲓⲥ ⲡⲉ ⲓ̅]ⲥ̅ ⲡⲉⲭ̅ⲥ̅ ⲉⲡ[ⲉⲟⲟⲩ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ

Two factors suggest that this fragment was once part of the Tchacos sister codex (right). First, the scribal hand is very similar, resembling the Nag Hammadi codices and other early Coptic literary texts. Second, this fragment does not abbreviate the Epsilon in the fashion typical to Sahidic manuscripts as in the word ϩⲓϫⲉⲙ above. (Wolf-Peter Funk alerted me to this tendency in the large Colossians fragment). Quick facts on these codices: While the Judas Codex was written in Sahidic with Middle-Egyptian influence, its sister Pauline Epistles Codex was written basically in Sahidic. The Judas Codex has a beautiful biblical uncial hand, while the Sahidic Pauline codex uses an informal literary script.

UPDATE: Martin Heide has blogged concerning an Augsburg exhibition with the Sahidic Pauline epistles manuscript on display. The exhibition website offers an additional image which I assume to be of the Tchacos-related codex (Heb 11, right).

'in his house' Hebrews 3.2 (incl P46)

This is a tricky variant, not necessarily because a great deal hinges on it, but because the issues seem fairly evenly weighted.

Firstly, on the manuscript evidence, it does seem pretty clear that P46 lacked OLW. There is some damage, but there is no space for it. Here is the bottom of the relevant page:

And here is a bit more detail of the text as E[N T]W OI[KW:

The combination of P46, P13, B and the Coptic suggests this was an influential early reading (certainly in Egypt, evidence beyond that is limited). Since this reading is not the reading of Numbers 12.7 (quoted in Heb 3.5 and anticipated here in 3.2); and yet makes perfect sense here at 3.2 I think there is good reason to prefer the shorter, unharmonised, earliest attested text at this point. What do you think?

Putting the Distigmai in Their Place: Payne Strikes Back pt. 3

This is the third part of the series in which Payne responds to Peter Head's recent SBL presentation "Putting the Distigmai in Their Place." For background, read previous parts here and here.

(Editors note: At one point, I had major difficulties with the siglum א followed by 2 in html so finally I had to rewrite to "Aleph2".)



Head argues that on “at least five occasions we find that the presence of the small numbers seems to have caused a displacement” of distigmai from its normal position on the left side of one of the first five columns of the open codex to a position on its right side. For various reasons listed just before the conclusion of this paper, including four apricot color distigmai on the right of columns where there are no other marginalia on the left, I argue that simply being on the right is not a clear indication of displacement.

Head’s first instance regards the ΛΓ number at 1240 C 23 (Matt 6:1). The NA27 notes that the last five letters on this line, δικαι, are replaced by ελεημ in manuscripts L W Z Θ f 13 33 𝔐 f k syp.h mae. The endings of both words are identical with the letters beginning the next line, οσυνην, so the difference is clearly at the end of the line. This explains the position of this distigme on the right side of this line.

Head’s second instance regards the small number ΛΔ at 1241 A 7 (Matt 6:5). The NA27 notes that the last three letters of this line, σθε, are omitted in manuscripts א* D L W Θ f 13 33 𝔐 k q sys.p.h, so the distigme on the right side is ideally positioned to indicate this textual variant.

Head’s third instance regards the small number ΝϚ (Head calls the stigma[1] a digamma) at 1245 B 6 (Matt 9:13). The NA27 notes that just before the last short word in this line (τοτε) manuscripts C L Θ 0281 f 13 g1 sys.hmg sa mae bopt add after “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” the words “to repentance.” Again, the known variant is near the right hand side of this line, which explains the position of the distigme on the right of this line.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Translating the New Testament


Eerdmans has a new book out (HT: Ekaterini G. Tsalampouni):

Stanley E. Porter / Mark J. Boda (eds.), Translating the New Testament: Text, Translation, Theology (McMaster New Testament Studies), Eerdmans 2009. ISBN: 978-0-8028-6377-5.

You can order the book from Eisenbrauns here.

The contributions come from the 2005 Bingham Colloquium Lectures at McMaster Divinity School, with the same title “Translating the New Testament: Text, Translation, Theology.” I think it is great that this material has finally been published. In my monograph on Jude from 2006 (p. 256 n. 77) I actually referred to Robinson’s essay “Rule 9” as forthcoming 2007. I suppose the editors had to wait for a long time for one or more contributors to get their work done.

In any case, there is a lot of textual criticism in this book, several contributions by co-blogger Maurice Robinson, and Barbara Aland and Philip Comfort. I wish I had been there to listen to the debate between Robinson and Aland over NA27.

Barbara Aland, “New Testament textual research, its methods and its goals”, 13-26

Maurice A. Robinson, “Rule 9, isolated variants, and the “test-tube” nature of the NA27/UBS4 text : a Byzantine-priority perspective”, 27-61

Philip W. Comfort, “The significance of the papyri in revising the New Testament Greek text and English translations”, 62-89

Barbara Aland, “The text of Luke 16”, 93-95

Maurice A. Robinson, “The rich man and Lazarus - Luke 16:19-31 : text-critical notes”, 96-110

Philip W. Comfort, “Two illustrations of scribal gap filling in Luke 16:19”, 111-113

And the summary chapter: Richard N. Longenecker, “Quo vadis? : from whence to where in New Testament text criticism and translation”, 327-346

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hurtado Reviews Bagnall Early Christian Books

I thought I'd post something to make Peter Head feel better (he has been ill lately), so here is an announcement of Larry Hurtado's review of Roger Bagnall Early Christian Books (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009), in Review of Biblical Literature 01/2010.

Here is an extract regarding the controversial issue of dating Christian papyri:
In support of his contention that the widely accepted number of second-century Christian papyri is too high, Bagnall points to the slightly later dates of early papyri assigned by the great papyrologist/palaeographer Eric Turner, rightly observing that Turner’s expertise was unsurpassed. (It must be noted, however, that in general Turner’s dates differ by only a few decades, e.g., dating several items to the early/mid-third century instead of the late second century.) Bagnall also offers an argument from probability. Essentially, he contends that we should expect that the percentage of Christian papyri among extant second-century papyri should correlate with the likely percentage of Christians in the population of Egypt in that time. In the absence of hard data on either the population of second-century Egypt or the number of Egyptian Christians then, Bagnall adopts Rodney Stark’s “guesstimates” of the number of Christians in the early centuries. This leads Bagnall to propose that Christians comprised as much as 1 percent of the Egyptian population only by “the late 220s” (19). So, he reasons, Christian manuscripts from the second century should comprise no more than 1 percent of the total extant, or about one or two manuscripts. Consequently, he concludes, the widely accepted view that we have as many as eight second-century Christian manuscripts must be wrong.
I share Bagnall’s high regard for Turner and am also reluctant to base much on any dating of manuscript that conflicts with Turner’s judgments. But I am less swayed by Bagnall’s attempt to mount his argument from probability. It all seems to me too much guesswork to form the basis of anything compelling.

See Peter Head's evaluation of Bagnall's book here and here.

SBL Meetings Call for Papers Reminder

We have received several very interesting proposals of papers for the SBL International Meeting in Tartu, 25-29 July, 2010 (there are currently four papers in NTTC, and one in OTTC at this point). As a teaser, I can give away my title: The "Son of God" Was in the Beginning (Mark 1:1).

As we approach the deadline (31 January) I take the opportunity to remind our readers to submit their proposals. Here is the call for papers again:
Papers concentrating on any aspect of textual criticism are welcome, in particular the practical work with manuscripts. Examples of topics: papyrological insights, scribal habits, preservation techniques, technical developments, computer assisted tools, producing critical editions, evaluating the evidence of fathers or versions, discussion of particular passages, social historical studies, new projects, systematic-theological problems, teaching text-criticism in an academic setting, etc.

So don't do as Peter Head (wait until the last minute). Go to the SBL site, log in, and make your submission!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Putting the Distigmai in Their Place: Payne Strikes Back pt. 2

This is the second part of the series in which Payne responds to Peter Head's recent SBL presentation "Putting the Distigmai in Their Place." For background, read part 1 here.

Head argues for the originality of diple as follows: “The consistent and careful placement, the colour and faded nature, and the consensus of observers place these in the production stage of the codex.” Since Head regards the color and faded nature of the diple as important evidence for placing the diple in the production stage of the codex, it is inconsistent for him to dismiss,[1] without any alternative explanation, the analogous argument that the color and faded nature of some distigmai indicate their dating in the production stage of Vaticanus. The latter argument is based firmly upon Canart’s careful documentation of fifty-one distigmai matching the color of the original ink of Vaticanus. One of them (1309 A 23) appears to match the color of a diple less that 2 mm from it. Willker asks appropriately, “why should some umlauts [distigmai] fade and the neighbouring text not?... The different colour is a serious objection [to late dating of distigmai].”[2]

Since 2001 I have argued publicly, just as Head does, that most diple were added to Codex Vaticanus prior to the original distigmai. I still argue that mirror-image distigmai matching the color of the original ink of Vaticanus imply that a scribe penned the distigmai after the binding of the codex at least provisionally.[3] Even my first NTS article on the distigmai in 1995 (p. 256 n. 58) pointed out that the distigme matching the original ink color of the codex at 1309 A 23 lies to the left of a diple identifying an OT quotation and that this distigme’s unusually far left position is evidence that the diple marking OT quotations on this page may have been written prior to it. Furthermore, unlike diple, distigmai are usually placed in the far right margin of the sixth column of the open codex. On the basis of these differences, I have argued that, for the most part, the addition of the distigmai and diple were separate steps in the original production of the manuscript. Head apparently thought he was undermining my position with this evidence, when in fact he was confirming my judgment.

I agree that Head provides excellent evidence that diple were penned prior to distigmai in three instances, and in each of these three instances other factors indicate that the distigmai may be a later addition. The distigme at 1238 B 27 is in darker ink than both the apricot color diple whose point it obscures and the surrounding chocolate brown re-inked text. Furthermore, the NA27 lists no textual variant here. It is unlikely the original scribe would partially obscure his own diple, or that an already re-inked distigme would be re-inked again. Similarly, the distigme at 1255 A 39 is in darker ink than both the apricot color diple whose point it obscures and the surrounding chocolate brown re-inked text. Furthermore, its dots are not circular, its left dot being particularly elongated, and its left dot is noticeably higher than its right dot. Consequently, I believe that neither of these distigmai should be attributed to the original scribe nor to the re-inking process in the Middle Ages. Similarly, the distigme at 1255 B 3 significantly obscures the diple, its dots are not circular, nor do they match the apricot color of the original ink, and the NA27 lists no variant on the line, so I agree with Head that it, too, should not be attributed to the original production of Vaticanus.

I also agree that Head’s evidence is compelling that the diple must have been present prior to small number ΠΗ at 1252 C 13 and where small numbers overlap a diple at 1249 C 36, 1379 B 18, and probably 1274 B 27. These, however, have no bearing on the dating of any distigme.

Nevertheless, Head’s assertion that there are “sixteen places of interference between diple and distigme” is clearly an overstatement. Three of Head’s sixteen examples have no diple.[4] One has no distigme.[5] Eight[6] lie within the normal range for distigme separation from adjacent text, and so should not be regarded as “accommodating to the prior existence of the diple.” Furthermore, even positioning to the left of a diple is not particularly surprising since there is significant variation in the separation of apricot color distigmai from text even without competition for space.[7] In any event, we are agreed that, in general, diple were written prior to distigmai, so in such cases, where both precede the same line of text, of course the distigme is written either the outside or the inside of the diple. The only clear instances of interference are the three cases where a distigme partially obscures a diple, and, as identified two paragraphs above, each shows other evidence of addition by a later hand, so should not be assumed to imply a late date for all distigmai, and certainly not the fifty-one distigmai that match the apricot color of the original ink of Vaticanus.

Furthermore, Head’s assertion that “the diple never appear accommodated to a distigme. … [T]here is no evidence for the distigmai interfering with any” diple, is questionable. While not conclusive, there is some evidence that diple positions may have been influenced by a distigme at that line. The diple at 1311 A 39 is considerably farther left than each of the immediately preceding 9 diple, and it is the only one where a distigme follows that line of text.[8] Furthermore, although most diple are at approximately the middle of the typical character height of the adjacent line of text, in two cases where there is a distigme between the diple and the text, the diple is either at the very top of the typical character height of the adjacent line of text (1386 A 35) or mostly below the bottom of the base line of the adjacent text (1237 A 1). In both cases the diple’s unusual position places it farther from the distigme, and in 1237 A 1 this keeps it from intruding on the distigme’s space. These instances do not prove that these diple were accommodated to the distigmai. They do, however, raise doubt about Head’s absolute assertion that “there is no evidence for the distigmai interfering with any” diple.

Head affirms “The consistent and careful placement” of the Vaticanus diple and says, “[T]he placement of the diple are [sic.] quite consistent.” By my count, there are 123 isolated diple or sets of diple on contiguous lines in the Vaticanus NT where each diple is aligned with the others in a remarkably straight line and all have comparable shape, size, apricot color, and intensity of ink. There are also, however, 22 sets of diple where there is a pronounced difference between consecutive diple regarding shape, size, apricot color, and/or intensity of ink.[9] In one instance, 1455 C 30, a diple points backwards. Even among diple, there are demonstrable differences not only of position, shape, size, ink color and intensity, but also of the time of their writing. For instance, the diple at 1387 B 30 is a lighter color than the previous seven diple, bleeds through the page less than the previous seven diple, has a more open angle and is farther left than the previous seven diple. What is most instructive, however, is that this diple at 1387 B 30 is farther left apparently in order to avoid the ω that bleeds through from 1388 B 30.

There is similar bleeding through of ink from the Υ at 1388 B 28 below the sixth diple at 1387 B 28, but that diple overlaps the bleed-through ink and is exactly in line with the other seven original diple. These factors together constitute clear evidence that the sixth diple, and presumably each of the first seven, was written before page 1388 was written, but the eighth diple was evidently written after page 1388 was written and positioned farther left to avoid the ink that bled through. In spite of the differences and especially the different position of the eighth diple at 1387 B 30, its apricot color and the artistic diple shape characteristic of the original scribe supports that it was penned by the same calligrapher as the ones above it, but at a time after writing the text on the other side of the vellum. The calligraphic beauty of the text of Vaticanus[10] still visible in apricot color ink (e.g. at 1479 B 33-36) and of most of the apricot color diple, supports the view that the same scribe who wrote the text also wrote most of the diple. The evidence that at least the diple at 1387 B36 was written prior to the text on the reverse side of this page makes it highly probable that the same skilled scribe who penned the NT text of Vaticanus also penned at least some of the diple concurrently with the text.

The diple that differ significantly from standard diple are the most likely to have been added later. Some diple are so different in shape and position from all of the original diple that it is virtually certain that one or more different scribes wrote them, including all of the diple at 1455 C 27-32, 1455 C 34-42, 1456 A 1, and 1456 C 1-2, each of which is far closer to text than any of the original diple. Each of these looks like a greater-than sign and lacks the calligraphic quality of the original diple. Other diple also show signs of being added later. The typical diple with a small sharp hook curling back to the right from their upper left corner on 1491 B 40-42 and on 1491 C 4 and 15 appear to have been supplemented with larger diple lacking the small upper hook on 1491 C 1-3 (each noticeably farther left than 1491 C 4) and 1491 C 12-14. The ink color of these larger diple closely resembles that of the original diple.

This constitutes evidence that a separate scribe[11] added these diple as part of the original production of Vaticanus. It also strongly supports that the original scribe of Vaticanus wrote at least some diple shaped like those at 1387 B 23-29 concurrently with the text and others (like the one at 1387 B 30) after the text was written. Other evidence supports that another scribe apparently assisted in this task, penning diple shaped like those at 1491 C 1-3 and 1491 C 12-14. A different scribe with less calligraphic skill probably penned the simple diple that look like a greater-than sign and are far closer to the text than all the other diple, such as those at 1455 C 27-32, 1455 C 34-42, 1456 A 1, and 1456 C 1-2. Based on the close correlation between diple of all shapes and OT citations, the function of diple appears to be consistent, which is not surprising since many of the citations are explicitly introduced as such.

Head asserts: “the small numbers are also secondary to the diple.” While this is true as a generalization,[12] there is significant evidence that some diple were penned after a small number, as the following examples demonstrate.

Of the three diple Head cites on the outside of a small number, the one at 1311 A 4 is noticeably farther left than the preceding two diple at 1311 A 2-3, apparently because the small number ΚΗ occupies the position below the other two diple. This diple was probably penned after the small number ΚΗ and is placed farther left to avoid overlapping it. Compared to the previous two diple, the diple at 1311 A 4 is also much smaller, lacks the graceful curves of the previous ones, and has a wider angle, confirming that it is secondary.

Closely analogous is 1310 C 7-9, where two normal position diple are followed by a third at 1310 C 9 that is smaller, simpler, and farther left than the other two diple, apparently in order not to be too close to the small number ΚϚ.

Of the two diple Head cites on the inside of a small number the one at 1244 A 20 is noticeably farther right than each of the three immediately preceding diple. If it were in line with the preceding three diple, it would overlap the small number NA. The unusual shape of the diple, its almost horizontal top stroke, its bottom stroke curving the opposite direction from typical diple, its lack of a top hook, its simpler less calligraphic style, and its darker ink all point to it being added at a different time. Its position favours a time after the small number ΝΑ was written.

Surprisingly, Head cites all three of these instances to show that “the numbers are secondary in relation to the diple … at moments of interference,” which is the opposite of what these examples indicate. If Head had limited his assertion to the priority of original diple to small numbers, he would have been correct. His errors come from treating diple like he does distigmai, namely as a unified system: “all are the product of the same process and of approximately the same date.” These examples, however, indicate that a scribe wrote at least some of the smaller, simpler diple after small numbers were in the text.

At 1358 C 31 there are three dots in the margin near the baseline that resemble a diple, in ink matching the color of the dark chocolate brown of the adjacent re-inked text. Just above it is a short line or two dots at mid-character height. The mark resembling a diple is farther to the right and lower than most diple, and it does not precede an OT citation, but rather a citation of Jesus, “I have come down from heaven” from John 6:42. Did a later scribe misunderstand the purpose of the diple pen this? This would explain the atypical ink color and location, simpler form, and different purpose. If so, it, too, illustrates the danger of assuming that all diple-like marks, or for that matter distigme-like marks, have the same date and purpose.

The lesson is clear: evidence that one or more diple were written later than others does not constitute proof that all diple were written late and certainly not that all diple were written at the same late time. Since this is true even of diple, which display far more consistency in positioning than distigmai, it should not be surprising that some distigmai were also written later than others.


[1] “Needless to say, I am not persuaded that purported similarities of colour (even indeed actual similarities of observed colour) are a particularly good guide to the dating of dots.”

[2] Willker, “Codex Vaticanus Graece 1209, B/03: Umlauts: Dating.” Though Willker was objecting to dating apricot color distigmai to the Middle Ages, the objection would apply even more strongly to dating them to the 16th century.

[3] I argue this in “Distigmai” and in Man and Woman, One in Christ, page 242.

[4] 1402 A 38 (perhaps Head misinterpreted the dots that bleed through from 1401 C 38 as a diple), 1459 A 28, and 1514 A 10 (which bleeds through from the other side of the vellum).

[5] 1518 A 33. Perhaps Head meant 1518 A 37, but it is in a normal distigme position and so does not evidence interference.

[6] Only four of the nine he lists as “inside diple” are between a diple and Vaticanus text: 1237 A 1, 1386 A 35, 1449 A 17, 1459 A 26. The eighth, 1455 B 31 L is not inside a diple but outside. Three: 1402 A 38, 1459 A 28, and 1514 A 10 33 have no diple, and one, 1518 A 33, has no distigme. 1518 A 37, which Head may have intended, is also in a normal distigme position.

[7] Documented in footnote 72 of this paper.

[8] Whether the distigme influenced the diple position is uncertain since they are not competing for the same space, but there are no other marginalia in this passage that could have influenced the different position of the diple at 1311 A 39.

[9] Size and intensity of ink: 1435 B 13, 1456 B 38-42. The last diple is farther left: 1447 C 30. The last diple is farther left and has a different shape: 1387 B 30, 1454 C 18, 1463 A 8. The last diple is farther left and has a different size: 1311 A 39. The last diple is farther left and has a different shape and size: 1310 C 9. The last diple is farther left and has a different shape, size, and intensity of ink: 1311 A 4. The last diple is farther right: 1341 A 12, 1392 A 26. The last diple is farther right and has a different shape, size, and intensity of ink: 1491 C 4. Instances where all the diple have an atypical shape, vary in intensity of ink, and are also unusually close to text: 1455 C 27-32, 1455 C 34-42 and 1456 A 1, 1456 C 1-2. Instances where the color of the ink approaches more closely the dark chocolate brown color of the ink used to re-ink Vaticanus in the Middle Ages: 1352 A 8-9 (contrast the original ink apricot color at 1352 A 19); 1358 C 31 (if this is a diple), 1361 A 31-34 (probable), 1361 B 8-9 (ambiguous), 1455 B 31 (not completely clear), 1455 C 38 (probable).

[10] T. A. Brown wrote in an e-mail to Philip B. Payne dated May 29, 2003, “the original Vaticanus hand is the most beautiful and well-balanced uncial script I have ever seen in a Biblical manuscript, having an excellence in form approaching that of monumental inscriptions.

[11] Both forms of the diple occur side by side where both replicate every letter (even the old spelling of ωδεινουσα) of the Vaticanus LXX text of Isa 54:1 cited in Gal 4:27 (1491 B 40–1491 C 4), so the other possible explanation, that a different shape of diple was used to identify different versions of the text, e.g. LXX vs. MT, cannot explain these differing diple shapes.

[12] Small numbers that overlap diple prove this, e.g. 1249 C 36, 1379 B 18, and probably 1274 B 27, as does one number written around a diple at 1252 C 13, as Head correctly observes.

Is 1 Cor 14:34-35 an Interpolation?

Is 1 Cor 14:34-35 an interpolation?

In a document that is now available for download among our TC Files (free downloads), Phil Payne responds to a series of questions on this blog concerning the passage in 1 Cor 14:34-35. Payne starts with a list of five hallmarks of interpolations in which he draws parallels between 1 Cor 14:34-35 and the PA in John 7:53–8:11:
1. In both, the doubtful verses occur at different locations in the text.
2. Manuscripts of both display a high concentration of textual variations.
3. Both contain word usage atypical of the book’s author.
4. In both, the doubtful verses disrupt the narrative or topic of the passage.
5. In both, marginal symbols or notes indicate scribal awareness of a textual problem. In particular, Vaticanus has a distigme at the beginning of both passages.

If you want to read more, just go to the right sidebar and download Payne on 1 Cor 14_34-35 or click here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

P.Oxy. 2383 (P69) and Theological Concerns

In the recent issue of Novum Testamentum, vol. 52 (2010):83-87, Claire Clivaz expresses "Some Remarks on Thomas A. Wayment, 'A New Transcription of P. Oxy. 2383 (P69)'." She first points out that Wayment's new transcription improves in regard to the reading in Lk 22:45 (recto, l.4-5), but then states that "[h]is overall assessment obscures yet the particularities of this small engimatic papyrus" because "Wayment misses the fact that P69 attests to a third version of the evidence for the Lukan prayer on the Mount of Olives: he does not consider the absence of Luke 22:42 in P69" (p. 83).

At the end of her brief article (p. 86) Clivaz finds "a trace of an answer" why Wayment does not accept P69 as the peculiar text it is:

In the online Religious Education Review of Brigham Young University (here), Wayment writes:
Interestingly, King Mosiah refers to a similar event in the Book of Mormon when he prophesied, “for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people” (Mosiah 3:7). Although these verses in the Book of Mormon cannot confirm the similar verses in the biblical account, they do testify that Jesus did indeed sweat drops of blood as part of His anguish for His people.

Clivaz concludes: "This parallel drawn by Wayment between the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 3:7) and Luke 22:44 is an indication of his theological concerns, which, as often happens in research on Luke 22:43-44, influences the consideration of the variant. My hope is that in the years to come the interesting P69 will attract the careful attention that it deserves" (p. 87).

So what is Clivaz' own opinion about the passage and what does she mean with a "third version" then? Apparently, she thinks that:
The word about the cup was the most problematic part of the prayer at Gethsemane in Antiquity,21 as already the Gospel of John shows by reworking it (see John 12:27 and 18:11). Instead of clarifying the debate about the evidence of Luke 22:43-44, P69 complicates it, but it is a good opportunity to grasp more and more the diversity of early Christian opinions about the prayer on the Mount of Olives. This diversity is precisely a difficult point for Wayment, in my opinion.

In an earlier article, "The Angel and the Sweat Like 'Drops of Blood' (Lk 22:43-44): P69 and f13", HTR 98 (2005): 419-440, she develops her thesis that P69 is as a witness to a Marcionite edition of Luke’s gospel. In that article she gives some background to research on P69 (pp. 425-27).

E.G. Turner (ed. pr.) thought that the copyist's exemplar did not contain 22:43-44 and that verse 42 was omitted during copying because of homoioteleuton (προσηυχετο, v. 41 to προσευχης, v. 45. Kurt Aland, on the other hand, thought the omission was deliberate, noting the free character of P69 elsewhere and the fact that 22:45a which ends the scene is omitted too. See Kurt Aland, “Alter und Enstehung des D-Textes im Neuen Testament. Betrachtungen zu P69 und 0171,” in Miscellània papirològica Ramón Roca-Puig (ed. Sebastià Janeras; Barcelona: Fundacio Salvador Vives Casajuana, 1987), 59.

Clivaz points out that "Aland’s purpose here is not to discuss P69 as a witness bearing on Luke 22: 43–44,65 but to stress the absence of Luke 22:42–45a, and so to classify P69 as 'paraphrastic,' like the D-text." Indeed, the Alands categorized P69 as a "very free text, characteristic of precursors of the D-text; therefore category IV" (Aland and Aland, The Text of the NT, 100).

Clivaz further develops Aland's argument, thinking that P69 "reflects a textual tradition that consciously omits the longer passage of Luke 22:42–45a (or Luke 22:42, 45a [depending on what was in the exemplar])" (p. 427). Clivaz argues that for "for readers in antiquity, Jesus’ demand that the cup pass from him was the most shocking element in the Gethsemane story" (428), i.e., it made Jesus look weak. When Celsus comments on the attack against the prayer at Gethsemane he says that “certain of the Christian believers, like persons who in a fit of drunkenness lay violent hands upon themselves, have corrupted the Gospel from its original integrity, to a threefold, and fourfold, and many-fold degree, and have remodeled it, so that they might be able to oppose negations to the objections.”

Clivaz says this proves the different versions of Jesus' prayer by the second half of the second century, and she thinks that "negating the objections" could imply that some scribes were omitting the "most shocking element," the word on the cup (p. 429). The strategy of omission, she suggests, would fit "only in a type of Christianity that preserved a single gospel, as did Marcion." Hence, she suggests that P69 could be read as "a fragment of Marcion’s redaction of the Gospel of Luke" (ibid.).

She concludes the section on P69 by stating that the omission was intentional, not accidental, and should be seen as a third way of reading the prayer on the Mount of Olives, and she urges scholars not to "continue to use P69 as a second early witness that omits Luke 22:43–44, in the same category as P75. Taking into account Celsus’s remark about the many changes in the textual traditions of the prayer at Gethsemane, we must abandon as dualistic and reductive such categories as 'docetic/anti-docetic' or 'Western tradition/Alexandrian tradition'." (p. 432).

One important question that I have after reading Clivaz' treatment of P69 concerns the reconstruction of v. 45b. Comfort and Barrett transcribes the recto, l. 4 (22:45b) ελθων προς τους μαθ]η̣τ̣[ας ευ. Turner, on the other hand, thought there was also a και at the beginning of the line (και ελθων κτλ). I think it is more difficult to postulate a conscious omission without that και. The text of P69 would seem a bit rough without it, και θεις τα γονατα προσηυχετο ελθων προς τους μαθητας ευρεν αυτους καθευδοντας κτλ.

Is there room for the και? I haven't got access to a good image (if someone sends me an image I will gladly put it up for discussion).

And what is your opinion about the large omission in P69?

Update: I just noted that Clivaz' thesis is about Luke 22:43-44, published in 2009 by Peeters (see here). She has also written a number of other articles on these and related verses in Luke 22 (see publication list here).

Update 2: If Wayment's more recent transcription of P69 is correct, it makes my question about και on line 4 redundant. See further Wieland Willker's treatment here (with images).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Judas Fragments

The latest stage of the gospel of Judas saga has brought a new batch of fragments. For all the gory details as well as transcriptions of the fragments, visit Marvin Meyer's dedicated webpage which I learned of via April Deconick's Forbidden Gospels blog. Meyer states that 90-95% of GJudas is now legible with these new fragments. My initial impression is that these new fragments will not significantly alter the overall discussion of the gospel.

For a synopsis of the sister codices reportedly found with codex Tchacos, visit Roger Pearse's informative webpage. I posted earlier on an announcement that the Sahidic Pauline fragments had been sent to Augsburg to be restored and edited. I can now say that these have essentially the same text of Paul as found in Chester Beatty Coptic Ms A (ca. 600 CE). The orthography has a peculiar trait which suggests that the manuscript could indeed pre-date standardization in the 4th5th centuries.

The Faddan More Psalter

In 2006, this parchment manuscript of the Psalms in Latin was unearthed in a peat bog in Ireland (ed.: as noted in ETC). Fortunately, the worker operating the backhoe had the good sense to immediately recover the manuscript with peat to prevent decay. The handwriting suggests a date in the eighth century. The National Museum of Ireland has more information available on its website; in particular, I recommend downloading the report by John Gillis and Anthony Read which includes a number of fascinating photographs and a description of how they are drying the moisture out of the manuscript.

Another Forged Manuscript Comes to Surface (Again)

Dan Wallace has published an interesting story, "Photographing a Forgery", on the website of CSNTM about how his team encountered a forged manuscript written on fine vellum, but only on one side. As the team examined the MS Wallace says, "The scent of a fake was beginning to rise up from the dusty pages of these old vellum leaves." For example, there were no nomina sacra at all.

Eventually Wallace found out that J. Edgar Goodspeed had reported on this forgery already in 1937. It wasn't as good as Archaic Mark (2427), which Goodspeed acquired in that same year, 1937, and which was exposed by Stephen Carlson just a few years aog (although there were early suspicions), and, eventually Margret Mitchell & Co through a more systematic examination. Read that story here.

Albanian MSS Catalogued

Jeff Hargis, Field Director of Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) reports via the TC discussion list that five Albanian MSS have been catalogued by INTF.

Five Albanian Manuscripts Cataloged by INTF
Jeff Hargis
Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In 2007, the Center photographed the collection of New Testament manuscripts at the Albanian National Archives in Tirana, Albania. Some of these were already cataloged in the Kurzgefasste Liste der griechishen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments (the "K-Liste"), while many others were previously unknown to scholars. In addition, the identities of several of the manuscripts remain uncertain as they have not been examined thoroughly for many decades, if at all.

Since the time we made these discoveries, CSNTM, with the assistance of other scholars as well as the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung (INTF, translated as Institute for New Testament Textual Research) in Münster, Germany, have been working to clarify the identity of all of the Albanian manuscripts and to assign new catalog numbers to those whose existence was previously unknown.

We are pleased to announce that INTF has now assigned Gregory-Aland Numbers to five of the manuscripts from the Albanian National Archives as follows:

ANA 7 = GA lect 2439
ANA 11 = GA lect 2440
ANA 13 = GA lect 2441
ANA 16 = GA lect 2442
ANA 77 = GA lect 2443

On the "Manuscripts" page of the CSNTM website, these five manuscripts have been reassigned from their original status as "not yet cataloged" to their new designation as cataloged lectionaries. The Center is grateful to INTF for their work in cataloging these new manuscripts.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Putting the Distigmai in Their Place: Payne Strikes Back pt. 1

At the SBL Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Nov 21, 2009, co-blogger Peter Head presented a paper ”The Marginalia of Codex Vaticanus: Putting the Distigmai (Formerly known as 'Umlauts') in Their Place" in which he basically argued that the double dots now known as distigmai, marking textual variation in Codex Vaticanus, belong to one unified system that was added some time in the 16th century contra Philip Payne, who discovered these distigmai in the first place, and who thinks that some of them (appr. 50) are original to the scribe working in the 4th century.

I summarized Peter Head's paper in two parts and there were some brief comments:

Right after the publication of my summaries Philip Payne contacted me and asked if he could post a full response on this blog, to which I and Peter Head agreed. Payne has now completed his response. The rather long response will be published here in five parts for convenience sake:

Part 1 Introduction
Part 2 Diple
Part 3 Small Numbers; Large Numbers; Other Marginalia
Part 4 De Sepulveda
Part 5 Identifying Later Distigmai; Conclusion

Subsequently the full response will be available for download in TC Files (in the right sidebar) in PDF-format. The full version uses a specially created font to represent Codex Vaticanus properly. The font shows the diple shape and its position within a number, its Greek text is more elegant, and each of the numbers is reproduced with the appropriate overbar (and in one case underbar). This feature has been modified for the blogresponse in several parts which uses the Gentium unicode font.

Critique of “The Marginalia of Codex Vaticanus: Putting the Distigmai in Their Place” presented by Peter M. Head to the NT Textual Criticism Seminar Nov. 21, 2009 in New Orleans

Philip B. Payne
© Payne Loving Trust 2010. All rights reserved.


Thank you, Dr. Wasserman, for the opportunity to address the thought-provoking paper of my esteemed friend, Peter Head, on the Codex Vaticanus distigmai. My response covers his paper (a copy of which Head kindly sent me on December 7, 2009), my recollections of its reading in New Orleans, and your comments. Our collective purpose is that the nature and dates of the various distigmai will be further clarified through our dialog. The consequences of getting this right could hardly be greater, since if fifty-one distigmai match the color of the original ink of Vaticanus, as Canart concluded but Head’s paper dismisses, they provide remarkable confirmation of the reliability of the transmission of the NT text and fresh insights into particular passages.[1]

I am gratified that Head’s examination of the distigmai confirms my evidence that the Codex Vaticanus distigmai mark places of textual variation between Vaticanus and other texts. My new book[2] and my forthcoming article with Paul Canart[3] provide statistical data confirming the extraordinarily strong correlation between Vaticanus distigmai and significant textual variations.

I agree with Head’s fundamental principle: “When there is interference it is expected that the more ancient marginal material will preserve a more consistent pattern of its placement (due to freedom from interference), while the more recent marginal material will vary its placement as other things interfere with its normal location.” Nevertheless, his paper has serious flaws that critically undermine its central thesis that de Sepulveda penned all distigmai in the sixteenth century. Head states that “this date comports with all the evidence of the interference between marginal material,” but much of the evidence strongly suggests otherwise, as this critique shows. Head’s paper fundamentally misrepresents my position and uses definitions of “distigmai” and “textual variant” that are far broader than virtually all previous studies of the Vaticanus distigmai. He shifts grounds on crucial issues, such as appealing to “the colour and faded nature” of diple[4] to “place these in the production stage of the codex,” but rejects that “even indeed actual similarities of observed colour … are a particularly good guide to the dating of dots,” without stating any justification for this shift. His thesis does not provide a plausible explanation for the sharp difference in distigmai color. His thesis also seems to presuppose that all diple, all distigmai, and all small numbers are, respectively, unified systems, each category of marginalia the product of a single process of approximately the same date. In fact, however, within each of these categories of marginalia there are significantly different symbol shapes and positions, and there is even evidence that their scribes wrote them at different times. Significant differences from the typical features of distigmai provide evidence that some distigmai were written at different times than others, just as some diple and small numbers were. In a few instances, interaction with other marginalia adds to the evidence that specific distigmai were penned later. In other instances, interaction with other marginalia provides evidence that those distigmai were written earlier than the interacting marginalia. Just before its conclusion, this paper provides criteria for helping to establish which distigmai are part of the original production of the manuscript, which were re-inked in the Middle Ages, and which were added at some other point in the history of Vaticanus.

Head mistakenly says I agree with him that “the system of distigmai is a unified system (all are the product of the same process and of approximately the same date even if they were not all applied at the same moment).” Not only have I never advocated this, quite to the contrary, I have clearly distinguished between distigmai that match the color of the original ink of the codex, which should be dated in the fourth century as part of the original production of the manuscript, and distigmai that match the color of the ink with which the codex was re-inked in the Middle Ages. Head draws attention to the fact that I do not regard the number of distigmai to be as large as Wieland Willker does, or nearly as large as he does. If all occurrences of dots in the margins of Vaticanus are called distigmai, it will be difficult to draw valid conclusions about them without multiple qualifications such as “when there are two dots in horizontal alignment in the margin next to a line of text”. Consequently, I argue that the term distigme should designate pairs of dots that fit within the normal parameters of dot size, location adjacent to a line of text, and roughly horizontal orientation found in the 51 distigmai that Canart has judged to match the original ink color of Vaticanus. These characteristics are quantified just before the conclusion to this paper. Furthermore, as far as can be clearly determined, “distigme” should not designate any mirror impression of a distigme, since a mirror impression is merely the inadvertent transmission of ink and was not intended to mark the location of a textual variant.[5]

A crucial weakness of Head’s paper is its apparent presupposition regarding distigmai that “all are the product of the same process and of approximately the same date.” Such an all-encompassing thesis, assigning all dot pairs to the same process and date, is particularly surprising in light of Head’s acknowledgment of “the different colours and weight of ink,” and his acknowledgment that “especially variations from the normal placement of the distigmai may be significant.” For Head’s view, the problem of the variety of dots in Vaticanus is particularly acute since his paper includes in the category of distigmai “perhaps 825,” many more than either Willker or I classifies as distigmai.[6] The broader the category one identifies as distigmai, the harder it will be to defend that they “all are the product of the same process and of approximately the same date.” This assumption, that “all are the product of the same process and of approximately the same date,” is essential for Head to conclude on the basis of evidence showing a few distigmai to be late, that all distigmai must be late additions to Vaticanus.

I regret that because of the delay in the publication of my forthcoming article with Canart and since its publisher did not grant permission to provide Head an advance copy of it, Head was not familiar with, for instance, my arguments that a scribe wrote the diple prior to the distigmai. In that article, I provide conclusive evidence that a scribe wrote some distigmai after the binding of the codex.[7] One part of Head’s paper is, however, as far as I know, completely original, namely his assertion that “92% of all the distigmai in the Gospels match passages of variation between that exact line of Vaticanus and the Greek and/or Latin text of Erasmus. If we further take account of variant readings noted by Erasmus in his Annotations (again offering contemporary manuscript evidence) this rate extends to 98%.” I will address this issue at the end of this critique.

The ultimate question is, given their variety in color, location, orientation, shape, and apparently even purpose (discussed below), whether Head’s view is even plausible that “the system of distigmai is a unified system … all are the product of the same process and of approximately the same date.” How can they all be the product of the same process and of approximately the same date in cases where there seems to be obvious re-inking? Re-inking is a very different process than the noting of the location of textual variants, one that would only be reasonable after the original ink had faded, which is a process that takes considerable time. Particularly problematic for Head’s view is the distigme at 1409 B 25 (Acts 18:16), where the left dot appears to be re-inked but the right dot is not re-inked and still displays what Canart classifies as “probable” to be the original ink of the codex.[8] Canart also discerned traces of the original ink color of the codex protruding from the distigme at 1469 A 3 (1 Cor 9:22), which is also clearly visible in the new facsimile,[9] and from the distigme at 1501 B 42 (Phil 3:16-17). The NA27 notes early variants in all three of these distigme locations. Consequently, these distigmai displaying two colors support the view that a scribe wrote them during the original production of Vaticanus to mark the location of significant textual variants. Head must provide an explanation of these variations in ink color in order to make his thesis plausible. Willker, in contrast, acknowledges, “This is a good argument,” for the Payne-Canart thesis.[10]

Similarly problematic to Head’s thesis are Willker’s observations: “In some cases the reinforcer interpreted an imprint as a true [distigme] and reinforced both!”[11] “At least in one instance the reinforcer reinforced [a distigme] which shows through the page from the verso.”[12] This indicates that a scribe wrote these distigmai, at least, prior to the re-inking of Vaticanus in the Middle Ages and, consequently, long before de Sepulveda.

Also against Head’s contention regarding distigmai that “all are the product of the same process” is evidence that in various instances the re-inker associated distigmai with spelling corrections. There are two dark chocolate brown dots before seven lines where the re-inker corrected spelling over an unreinforced letter: 1281 A 26, 1361 C 1, 1423 A 14, 1468 A 26, 1479 A 12, 1481 C 21, 1501 B 42. The re-inker in an eighth such instance may have regarded his change of η into ει in 1262 A 2 also as a spelling correction. The best evidences of the re-inking scribe’s association of distigmai with spelling corrections are instances where corrected spelling is marked in the margin by a symbol that is similar to a distigme, but is shaped and positioned differently. In two cases the marks are positioned lower than typical distigmai and are not two dots but rather two short slanted strokes somewhat like grave accents: 1409 A 23-24 (pointed out by codicologist Patrick Andrist) and 1423 A 14. The distinctive marks at 1409 A 23-24 are half way between two lines, unlike any original distigme, presumably because the name “Titius” begins on line 23 and wraps onto line 24. “Titius” is unreinforced, which effectively changes the name to “Justice.” These distinctive features indicate that the re-inking scribe did not trace over original distigmai in these two instances but created these two marks. Similarly, the two dots before the spelling correction in 1281 A 26 are lower then typical distigmai, almost on the baseline; the left one is noticeably higher than the right one, rather than their having the typical horizontal alignment; they are closer to text than most distigmai; and there is a small dark chocolate color dot in between them. Another such case is the vertically aligned pair of dots before 1468 A 26 with only the top dot in a normal distigme position. Apparently, then, a re-inker in the Middle Ages misunderstood the original purpose of the distigmai to mark the location of textual variants and, instead, added marks similar to them, but in some cases noticeably different in both shape and location, in order to mark the location of spelling corrections. This highlights the value of limiting what one regards as distigmai to dot pairs that, though they may be re-inked, have characteristics falling within the apricot color distigmai’s range of size, shape, and location relative to text.

Head states that his paper focuses “on an area which Payne and others have not worked on, the relative chronology of the dots in relation to the other marginal material.” In fact, Willker and I had already taken into consideration most of the categories of marginalia raised in Head’s paper, yet this data has not convinced either of us that all the distigmai are a unified system or the product of the same process and of approximately the same date. Since Head cites Willker’s web site, he should be aware that a section of that site addresses the chronological order of the distigmai in relation to diple and section numbers.[13] Furthermore, Head’s paper acknowledges, “Payne actually suggested this for 1245 B 6 (Matt 9.13).” I explained this displacement as follows (the first explanation considering the possibility of a chronological sequence where the small number was written prior to this distigme): “either or both of two factors appear to have caused this. First, the small number ΝϚ[14] already occupies that location. If the umlaut [distigme] were put on the left as it usually is in column B, it would have overlapped this other symbol. Second, the text that is omitted is on the right side of the line, which makes the umlaut [distigme] on the right of the line particularly appropriate.”[15] As detailed in the section below about diple and distigmai, my 2001 paper that Canart presented to the Geneva Colloquium on Codex Vaticanus argued the relative chronology of the diple as prior to the distigmai. Furthermore, Willker has discussed this extensively.[16]

Head also mistakenly writes that he agrees with Payne that, “the different colours and weight of ink suggests more than one comparative movement through the NT.” I do agree with Head that the distigmai note variant readings in multiple manuscripts, but on different grounds. Differences in ink color are not a conclusive argument for this since other reasons could explain this. In particular, the dark chocolate brown color matching the ink with which Vaticanus was re-inked in the Middle Ages is most easily explained as re-inking of faded ink at that time, just as it is for the text. This, the most common difference in color, in most cases probably did not entail comparison to additional manuscripts. These differences in color are, however, strong evidence that a scribe wrote these dark chocolate brown distigmai in the Middle Ages, probably to reinforce fading ink. Consequently, this data appears to be incompatible with Head’s thesis that de Sepulveda penned all the distigmai in the sixteenth century.

The fifty-one distigmai that Canart has judged to match the color of the original ink of Vaticanus occur from the top of the manuscript to the bottom and are associated with each column of the open codex: 8 before the first column, 9 between the first and second columns, 7 between the second and third columns, 7 before the fourth column, 9 between the fourth and fifth columns, 2 between the fifth and sixth columns (since it is the less usual position for either of these columns), and 10 after the sixth column.[17] Consequently, they defy any explanation for their apricot color based on their position on the page.[18]

The strongest evidence that Vaticanus was compared to multiple manuscripts is that a good number of the distigmai that left a mirror impression (on the facing page in ink matching the codex’s original ink color) are followed by other distigmai on the same page that did not leave a mirror impression. If all of these distigmai were penned at the same time, noting variants in only one manuscript, then the following distigmai should also have left a mirror impression, since in a sequential comparison they would have been penned later and their ink would also have been wet enough to leave mirror impressions on the facing page.[19] Additional evidence Vaticanus was compared to multiple manuscripts is that the known significant textual variants at the distigmai locations come from diverse manuscript traditions that could not reasonably have come from a single manuscript, as Willker also argues.[20]

Nevertheless, Head is making a valuable contribution by pointing out that color differences may be evidence for multiple manuscript comparisons. Still, I argue that the color differences also support manuscript comparisons at different times. So, while dark chocolate brown distigmai matching the ink color of re-inked text are likely explained as mere re-inkings of the original text, it is entirely possible that the re-inker or one or more later scribes may have noted new textual variants or may have used pairs of dots for some other purpose. If the ink color of other distigmai (or of other marginalia) are confirmed to differ from both the original apricot color ink of the manuscript and the dark chocolate brown ink of the re-inking, it makes sense to date them at different times. Such observations are completely compatible with Canart’s and my argument that the apricot-colored distigmai date to the original production of the manuscript.

Following is an assessment of the evidence Head presents for dating distigmai as later than diple, small numbers, large numbers, and other marginalia:



[1]This is argued in Philip B. Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009), 240-43 and in Philip B. Payne and Paul Canart. “Distigmai Matching the Original Ink of Codex Vaticanus: Do they Mark the Location of Textual Variants?” pages 199-226 in Patrick Andrist, ed., Le manuscrit B de la Bible (Vaticanus graecus 1209): Introduction au fac-similé, Actes du Colloque de Genève (11 juin 2001), Contributions supplémentaires. Lausanne, Switzerland: Éditions du Zèbre, 2009.
[2] Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ, 241-42. This book is available at a huge discount ($17.75) at It gives two chi-square probability test results showing the probability that the null hypothesis is correct, namely that the distigmai are unrelated to textual variants. The first chi-square test compares the frequency of significant textual variants, as judged by NA27 textual variants, occurring in 27 lines preceded by a distigme adjacent to a bar underlining text at the left end of that line and extending into the margin toward the distigme, to the frequency of this in the following 20 lines (hence 540 comparison lines). The chi-square results show that the probability of such a high correlation of distigmai with significant textual variants happening in a random distribution is far less than one in 10,000. Man and Woman, pages 237-40, identifies a pattern in five of these 27 lines where a significant block of text is omitted in one of the manuscripts, that the bar is significantly longer than typical paragraphos bars: Matt 18:10; Luke 1:28; Acts 2:47 and at the end of Luke 14:24 and 1 Cor 14:33. Since such a long bar occurs only six times adjacent to a distigmai in the entire Vaticanus NT (the sixth is Mark 5:40 where other MSS insert “but Jesus” in the middle of this line; the bar in Rom 16:5 is shorter), Man and Woman, pages 238-40 argues that these should be regarded as distigme-obelus marks of the locations of interpolations. The second chi-square test compares the frequency of NA27 textual variants occurring in the fifty-one lines preceded by a distigme that matches the apricot ink color of the original manuscript to the frequency of NA27 textual variants in the 540 comparison lines. The chi-square results show that the probability of this happening in a random distribution is far less than one in 10,000. The odds of this happening in two successive tests, as it did these two chi-square tests, is infinitesimally small if distigmai are unrelated to textual variants. Hence, these chi-square results provide extraordinarily strong evidence that the null hypothesis (that distigmai are unrelated to textual variants) is incorrect.
[3] Paul Canart is the senior paleographer at the Vatican Library. See footnote 2.
[4] In order to be consistent with Head’s use of “diple” to identify both singular and plural instances of citations from Scripture, this paper follows his convention, respecting his usage, which in practice works well.
[5] To include them in any generalizations about distigmai would tend to dilute the data pool and reduce the reliability of any statistical analysis of it.
[6] Although I argue against Head’s broad definition of distigme, since I am interacting with his paper, there are times when in order to cite him accurately, I of necessity repeat his usage.
[7] On Sept. 21, 2009, however, I did email to Head a synopsis of that essay and offered him any assistance I could in preparing or reviewing his paper to make sure it was up to date. Two days before his presentation, on Nov. 19, he emailed me a preliminary yet almost complete version of his paper, but it arrived after I had already left for New Orleans, so I did not see it until after the paper. In addition, I met with Head hours before he presented the paper. When he outlined what he would say, I told him it would be a dereliction of duty not to acknowledge that his thesis provides no explanation for the differences in ink color.
[8] A photograph of this is in the forthcoming Payne and Canart, “Distigmai.”
[9] Bibliorum sacrorum graecorum Codex Vaticanus B: Bibliothecae Apostolicae Vaticanae Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209. Rome: Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, 1999. The remaining copies are available below list price at
[10] Willker, “Codex Vaticanus Graece 1209, B/03: Umlauts: Dating” at
[11] Wieland Willker, “Codex Vaticanus Graece 1209, B/03: The Umlauts: Imprints” at cites 1334 B 23 R, 1396 B 39 R, and 1506 A 28 L as re-inked. Similarly, both the distigme and its mirror impression at 1310 C 39 L and 1311 A 39 R match the color of the re-inked text.
[12] Willker, “Codex Vaticanus Graece 1209, B/03: The Umlauts: Imprints” at cites 1383 A 4 R.
[13] Willker, “Codex Vaticanus Graece 1209, B/03: Umlauts: Chronological order” at
[14] The VaticanusLS font is used throughout this paper in PDF format to represent Vaticanus text [not in the blogversion]. Alan Loder and Philip B. Payne carefully reproduced its original letterforms as a computer font. It is available at 20% discount from by writing “Marginalia referral” in the special instructions window near the bottom of the order form.
[15] Philip B. Payne, “Fuldensis, Sigla for Variants in Vaticanus, and 1 Cor 14.34–5,” NTS 41 (1995): 256, n. 58. This article is available for free download from
[16] Willker, “Umlauts: Chronological order.”
[17] These add up to 52 since both 1380 A 26 and 1381 C 26 are included, although one is a mirror impression.
[18] Curt Niccum’s statement at baffles me: “when Payne first presented his argument for an underlying level of apricot-colored ink, every example came from interior margins where abrasion would be most severe. In fact, none of the original eleven distigmai that Canart identified were on the interior margins between columns three and four. All are listed in Philip B. Payne and Paul Canart, “The Originality of Text-Critical Symbols in Codex Vaticanus,” NovT 42 (2000): 108, which is available for free download from Of these, 2 are before the first column, 3 are between the first and second columns, 2 are between the fourth and fifth columns, 1 is between the fifth and sixth columns, and 3 are after the sixth column. They, too, are distributed is various parts of the Vaticanus pages, from top to bottom and left to right.
[19] I explained this in an email to Head on Sept. 21, 2009.
[20] Willker, “Codex Vaticanus Graece 1209, B/03: Umlauts: Distribution of the Umlauts” at

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sixty Manuscripts Available in the Virtual Manuscript Room (Münster)

Great things are happening in the Virtual Manuscript Room of Münster. Note that the URL has been changed. You can always reach the VMR in Münster and Birmingham, respectively, through the sidebar of this blog.

There are now (as of 11 January, 2010) sixty MSS in the VMR, twenty-four papyri, three majuscules and thirty-three minuscules. However, half of the manuscripts are only available in the "Expert Mode" for which special registration is necessary. The expert mode was announced on 30 November and launched on 12 December 2009. Here is the announcement in my translation:
In cooperation with the holding institutions, the INTF offers access to New Testament manuscripts. In this way, the INTF pursues the goal to be able to make manuscripts freely accessible to all users. In consideration of holding institutions, however, many manuscripts, can still not be made available at this point. In these cases the images are only available to a small circle of experts that are registered in the entry system. The entry system will soon be launched [2009-12-09]. Manuscripts without restrictions are available as before, but also thumbnails and transcriptions (when available) of restricted manuscripts. (2009-11-30).

Read also about the recent visit at the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung by Bundespräsident Horst Köhler in connection with the 50th anniversary of the institute here. I suppose this was the official celebration Klaus Wachtel mentioned in a comment to my anniversary note last year. In any case, I am happy to see the work of the institute being widely acclaimed by key persons in the state and the academy.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Oldest hebrew inscription

A potential oldest Hebrew inscription is announced

Article with picture and small transcription: see article

Another article with proposed English translation of text: here

Bodmer 25 (Greg.-Aland 556) On-line

The tetraevangelion Bodmer 25=Greg.-Aland 556 has now been digitized and is available at E-codices (Virtual manuscript library of Switzerland) here (via Jac Perrin who suggested to the people in charge that the MS be digitized.)

There are many, many more digitized MSS out there – we have mentioned many on this blog. A few examples that I have looked at recently: the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich has put some Greek MSS on-line, including Gr. 472 (fols. 1-2, 372-373 = Greg.-Aland L1570) here.

Two other MSS that have been on-line for many years are Magdalen College, Oxford MS. Gr. 7 = Greg.-Aland 1907 and Gr. 9 = Greg.-Aland 57.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Epistle of Jude on Sale at Eisenbrauns

Twenty-three titles from the Swedish series Coniectanea Biblical Old/New Testament Series are on sale (20-60% off) in a "Manager's Special" during the month of January at Eisenbrauns here.

Titles include my monograph The Epistle of Jude: Its Text and Transmission.

Read more and order here.

I would also like to especially recommend the monograph by my colleague Lennart Boström:

The God of the Sages
The Portrayal of God in the Book of Proverbs
by Lennart Bostrom
Coniectanea Biblica Old Testament Series - CBOTS 29
Almqvist and Wiksell, 1990. Paper. English.
ISBN: 9122013407
List Price: $33.00
Your Price: $26.40

Read more here.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

News from Amsterdam: New Testament Conjectural Emendation: A Comprehensive Enquiry

Jan Krans has posted a notice about funding (600,000 Euros) for this project (which includes two PhD students - so get onto Jan if you are thinking about a PhD).
Two PhD students will participate in the project. The first will investigate the second half of the eighteenth century, when the problem of the New Testament text becomes fully visible for the first time. The second will investigate the second half of the nineteenth century, during which many radical proposals for textual emendations were made, especially in the Netherlands. A post-doc researcher will write a general history of New Testament conjectures and conjectural criticism. A database of thoroughly documented important conjectures will be connected to the standard edition of the Greek New Testament (Editio Critica Maior) which is currently being prepared in Münster and Birmingham.

Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams in Search for Jesus and Papyrus 45

Somewhat surprising, Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams is involved in the search for "the real Jesus of the Gospels" as part of a new seven-part television series for Channel 4 called "The Bible: A History." Adams is one of seven commentators who will explore the Bible "from their own, very personal, perspective". Adam's episode will focus on Jesus' teachings on "love, forgiveness, and repentance". Adams will both meet scholars who put Jesus in historical context and victims of violence in Northern Ireland.

In a statement Channel 4 says that Mr Adams, "as a former supporter of political violence" would also examine the "contradiction between Jesus' teachings and the involvement of Christians, and followers of other faiths, in conflict the world over. Further, Ralph Lee of Channel 4 says the programme will "offer an insight into how a man so strongly associated first with conflict and then with peace in Northern Ireland, has reconciled his religion with the decisions he has taken in his life".

Read the whole story at BBC News here.

The Daily Mail, on the other hand, reports on the outrage it has caused as "Channel 4 invites Gerry Adams to preach... on forgiveness." Apparently, the former Tory minister Lord Tebbit, who was injured in an IRA bombing in 1984, burst out laughing when he heard about Gerry Adams's programme, and said: 'I wish him well. And I hope he also comes across the doctrine of hell and the consuming of pernicious unrepentant murderers and sinners in general by the fires of hell for all eternity."

It has come to my knowledge that the English film crew that produces this particular episode has recently visited the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin to shoot the significant Gospel MS Chester Beatty Biblical 1 (P45). (Note that the proper designation is Chester Beatty Biblical 1, or I, not Chester Beatty 1; the latter is in fact another manuscript, an ancient Egyptian Love Poem, published in the 1920's.)

See image and brief description of P45 here.

See also the on-line exhibition of Chester Beatty Biblical 2 (P46), "In the Footsteps of Saint Paul" including manuscript images.