Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The virtues of the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon

I am continually struck by the low profile that the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon project has. It has to rate as one of the most important research tools in areas related to biblical studies, and has much to offer to textual criticism.

I suppose that the URL is not very attractive:

However, the name 'Comprehensive' is fully justified. On this site you can find primary texts in all the early and middle forms of Aramaic. You have electronic versions of the Peshitta (OT and NT), Old Syriac, Christian Palestinian Aramaic versions, and of course the Targums.

What's more, the editions are normally the best available editions. The editions of the Targums are far better than those you might pay for in a printed edition like that of Sperber. Each word of the text is linked through to a lexicon, so that you can look at that word in all other early Aramaic dialects.

Okay, so they haven't produced a Newsletter since 1996, and the format takes some time to get used to, but the content is amazing.

It's also produced by top scholars in the area: Stephen Kaufman (who has additional skills in Poker) and Michael Sokoloff who is not only the greatest living, but probably the greatest all time, Aramaic lexicographer and author of multiple standard lexica.

All this is to say that I think that everyone should visit the site and make it known. (This advert is not sponsored by the gambling industry.)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Blog translations

It's always good to see articles from this blog being translated into other languages. Today I came across a translation of my review of Misquoting Jesus into Bulgarian. We've already recorded its translation into Arabic. Obviously this shows the interest in the topic. However, I'd be interested to know if other posts have been translated unbeknownst to us (translation is of course welcome, and I don't think any of us would mind it provided no one is making money from it, due acknowledgement of the original publication is given, and, of course, the translation is accurate.)

Codex Climaci Rescriptus Update

Codex Climaci Rescriptus (which did not sell at Auction last year, see here and here for the history and further details) has now been sold and looks like it is heading for a Bible Museum in Dallas (see Jim Davila's post here). It is a sad day for manuscript studies in Cambridge of course, although not necessarily a sad day for the manuscript itself, since it is not difficult to imagine that the codex itself will be cared for better in Dallas than it was in Cambridge. It will be interesting to see what Westminster College sells off next (the Sisters of Sinai probably have a few more treasures tucked away).

Up-date: More on the Bible Museum here and (14th June 2010) here (the bit about a second century NT papyrus seems unlikely).

Pay for the Peace of Jerusalem?

A while ago on the textual criticism discussion list Jeff Cate drew the attention to a typo in an edition of the 1966 Jerusalem Bible where an "r" was left out so that Psalm 122:6 reads: "Pay for the peace of Jerusalem." (Ironically it happened in the Jerusalem Bible.) But, of course it is also true that often someone has to pay for the peace.

Do we have other funny examples?

Let's include the scribes also. Here are some examples from Metzger's introduction:

There is a curious omission in John 17:5 in Vaticanus resulting in: "I do not pray that you should take them from the evil one."

In Rev 15:6 the seven angels are "robed in pure bright linen" but in Alexandrinus, Ephraemi Rescriptus and some Vulgate MSS they are "robed in pure bright stone."

In John 5:39 codex Bezae has Jesus say of the Scriptures not that "they bear witness concerning me," but that "they are sinning concerning me"!

And, I have saved this famous one for last: In codex 109, copied from an exemplar which must have had Luke's genealogy of Jesus written in two columns, the scribe copied the genealogy by following the lines across the two columns. Everyone is made the son of the wrong father. God (who stands at the end of the genealogy in Luke 3:38) is said to have been the son of Aram, and Phares has taken God's place as the source of all.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Treasures of Lambeth Palace Library

Mike Warren forwarded an email about an exciting exhibition in London:

Treasures of Lambeth Palace Library – 400th Anniversary Exhibition 1610-2010

Monday 17 May until Friday 23 July 2010

To celebrate 400 years since its foundation, Lambeth Palace Library is set to open its doors with a fascinating exhibition, 'Treasures of Lambeth Palace Library - 400th Anniversary Exhibition 1610-2010', opening in Lambeth Palace's Great Hall from Monday 17 May until Friday 23 July 2010.

The exhibition will reveal centuries of history and hints at the depth and intellectual value of the items in the Library's care, some of which will be on display for the first time. It will draw from the incomparably rich and diverse collections of manuscripts, archives and printed books, built up over the past four centuries. Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1604 until his death in 1610, bequeathed his extensive collection of printed books and manuscripts “to the Arch-Bishops of Canterbury successively for ever,” resulting in the formation of Lambeth Palace Library.

On show will be key items collected during Lambeth Palace Library's four hundred years as a working library, beginning with the founding collection owned and used by Archbishop Bancroft as his ‘theological arsenal’ in a time of religious controversy and as a scholar and patron of learning. Treasures include a Gutenberg Bible (Mainz, 1455), the first book printed in Western Europe from movable metal type; the 12th century Lambeth Bible, regarded as one of the monuments of Romanesque art; some unique witchcraft tracts collected by Bancroft through his interest in debates over diabolic possession and exorcism and Henry Jacob, To the right high and mightie Prince, Iames ... An humble suppliation for toleration, (Middleborough 1609), annotated angrily by King James I

Founding collection treasures include manuscripts from the dissolved monasteries of Christ Church Canterbury and St Augustine's in Canterbury, Llanthony Priory and Waltham Abbey. Many books and manuscripts are linked with great names of the past – a set of the works of Aristotle, printed in Venice between 1495 and 1498, was owned by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, favourite of Queen Elizabeth I - handwritten inscriptions on each title page are thought to represent the entwined cipher signature of Elizabeth and Leicester; and King Richard III's 15th century manuscript Book of Hours, which was in his tent at the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485.

In the 17th century, further manuscripts and books were added to the Library, including an account of Archbishop Laud’s trial, which had belonged to King Charles I and is inscribed ‘Dum spiro spero’ (‘While I breathe I have hope'). Others included George Carew’s papers on Irish history and journals of Elizabethan and Jacobean voyages to the Americas.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the collections developed with the addition of historical treasures such as the 9th century Macdurnan Gospelbook, manufactured in Ireland during the early Middle Ages and owned by King Athelstan of Wessex (reigned 924-939), a masterpiece of Insular book production; Greek manuscripts dating from the 10th century, many in their original Byzantine bindings; and physicians’ reports on the illness of King George III.

An important development in 1964 was the establishment of the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library. The Friends have presented some very special items to the Library's collection including a 1516 letter of indulgence, issued by Pope Leo X, for the rebuilding of St Peter’s in Rome; first editions of landmark texts in the history of the Church of England; a copy of the warrant for the execution of Mary Queen of Scots and an accompanying letter from the Privy Council, dated 3 February 1587; papers relating to the divorce of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon; an account of the baptism of the future King Charles II; papers relating to the rebuilding of St Paul’s Cathedral after the Great Fire; and a hand coloured lithograph of the christening of the Princess Royal, 1841. In 1996 the Library was enhanced through the transfer of the pre-1850 collections from Sion College Library (established in 1630 for the benefit of the London clergy), including an extremely rare Babylonian Talmud printed by Daniel Bomberg at Venice between 1526 and 1548.

As part of the Scala ‘Great Libraries of the World’ series, a beautiful book accompanies the exhibition ‘Lambeth Palace Library: Treasures from the Collection of the Archbishops of Canterbury’, edited by Dr Richard Palmer and Dr Michelle Brown. Published in hardback in April 2010, a softback edition will be on sale at the Exhibition.

For further information and advance bookings (recommended), visit here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

80,000 Vatican mss to be digitized!


[Via David Parker, the Vatican Library Newsletter. Obviously this is massive news for NT and OT TC, Patristics, etc., and a bad day for conspiracy theorists...]

Newsletter 5/2010
Dear friends and readers,
The Osservatore Romano dated March 24 has published the following story which we felt certain would be of interest to you.
I am sending it as an “extraordinary Newsletter”, to which I add my very best wishes for a blessed Easter.

Msgr. Cesare Pasini

An initiative of the Vatican Library Digital manuscripts

Cesare Pasini
The digitization of 80,000 manuscripts of the Vatican Library, it should be realized, is not a light-hearted project. Even with only a rough calculation one can foresee the need to reproduce 40 million pages with a mountain of computer data, to the order of 45 petabytes (that is, 45 million billion bytes). This obviously means pages variously written and illustrated or annotated, to be photographed with the highest definition, to include the greatest amount of data and avoid having to repeat the immense undertaking in the future.

And these are delicate manuscripts, to be treated with care, without causing them damage of any kind. A great undertaking for the benefit of culture and in particular for the preservation and conservation of the patrimony entrusted to the Apostolic Library, in the tradition of a cultural service that the Holy See continues to express and develop through the centuries, adapting its commitment and energy to the possibilities offered by new technologies.

The technological project of digitization with its various aspects is now ready. In the past two years, a technical feasibility study has been prepared with the contribution of the best experts, internal, external and also international. This resulted in a project of a great and innovative value from various points of view: the realization of the photography, the electronic formats for conservation, the guaranteed stability of photographs over time, the maintenance and management of the archives, and so forth.

This project may be achieved over a span of 10 years divided into three phases, with possible intervals between them. In a preliminary phase the involvement of 60 people is planned, including photographers and conservator-verifiers, in the second and third phases at least 120. Before being able to initiate an undertaking of this kind, which is causing some anxiety to those in charge of the library (and not only to them!), naturally it will be necessary to find the funds. Moves have already been made in this direction with some positive results.

The second announcement is that some weeks ago the “test bed” was set up; in other words the “bench test” that will make it possible to try out and examine the whole structure of the important project that has been studied and formulated so as to guarantee that it will function properly when undertaken in its full breadth.

The work of reproduction uses two different machines, depending on the different types of material to be reproduced: one is a Metis Systems scanner, kindly lent to us free of charge by the manufacturers, and a 50 megapixel Hasselblad digital camera. Digitized images will be converted to the Flexible Image Transport System (FITS), a non-proprietary format, is extremely simple, was developed a few decades ago by NASA. It has been used for more than 40 years for the conservation of data concerning spatial missions and, in the past decade, in astrophysics and nuclear medicine. It permits the conservation of images with neither technical nor financial problems in the future, since it is systematically updated by the international scientific community.

In addition to the servers that collect the images in FITS format accumulated by the two machines mentioned, another two servers have been installed to process the data to make it possible to search for images both by the shelf mark and the manuscript's descriptive elements, and also and above all by a graphic pattern, that is, by looking for similar images (graphic or figurative) in the entire digital memory.

The latter instrument, truly innovative and certainly interesting for all who intend to undertake research on the Vatican's manuscripts – only think of when it will be possible to do such research on the entire patrimony of manuscripts in the Library! – was developed from the technology of the Autonomy Systems company, a leading English firm in the field of computer science, to which, moreover, we owe the entire funding of the “test bed”.

For this “bench test”, set up in these weeks, 23 manuscripts are being used for a total of 7,500 digitized and indexed pages, with a mountain of computer data of about 5 terabytes (about 5,000 billion bytes).

The image of the mustard seed springs to mind: the “text bed” is not much more in comparison with the immensity of the overall project. But we know well that this seed contains an immense energy that will enable it to grow, to become far larger than the other plants and to give hospitality to the birds of the air. In accepting the promise guaranteed in the parable, let us also give hope of it to those who await the results of this project's realization.

New Funding to Birmingham to Complete ECM of John

This week the annual get-together of the INTF and ITSEE has taken place in Birmingham, which has also included an IGNTP Committee Meeting. The great thing to celebrate has been that the The Arts and Humanities Research Council [AHRC] has decided to grant funding for another five years for the ITSEE, under the auspices of the International Greek New Testament Project, to complete the edition of the Gospel of John (Editio Critica Maior) by working on the minuscules!

The announcement was made today on the ITSEE newspage.

Read more about the critical edition of John here.

Unfortunately, I could't come to Birmingham as I had originally planned because of a heavy workload, so I didn't get the chance to join the celebration. But:

Congratulations to ITSEE and to us all!

From a Footnote to a Book Auction

Yesterday I was working on my article on the Greek New Testament MSS in Sweden revising some notes. I was going to add a reference to German and Italian translations of the published travel letters of the adventurer and scholar Jacob Jonas Björnståhl whom I mentioned in the previous blogpost. Here are the editions:
Swedish original: Carl Christoffer Gjörwell, Resa til Frankrike, Italien, Sweitz, Tyskland, Holland, Ängland, Turkiet och Grekeland beskrifen af och efter Jac. Jon. Björnståhl (6 pts. in 4 vols.; Stockholm: Nordström, 1780–1784).

German translation: Jacob Jonas Björnståhl . . . , Briefe auf seinen ausländischen reisen an den königlichen bibliothekar C.C. Gjörwell in Stockholm (trans. J. E. Groskurs; 6 vols.; Rostock-Leipzig: J. C. Koppe, 1777–1783). [Notably the German translation was published before the Swedish original.]

Italian translation from the German: G. G. Bjoernstaehl, Lettere ne' suoi viaggi stranieri di Giacomo Giona Bjoernstaehl professore di filosofia in Upsala scritte al signor Gjorwell bibliotecario regio in Stoccolma (transl. Baldassardomenico Zini di Val di Non; Poschiavo: G. Ambrosioni, 1782-1787).

The funny thing was that when I googled the Swedish edition in order to check some details one of the hits I got was a book catalogue indicating Katalog Bokauktion 25/3 16:00. What? Was Gjörwell's publication of Björnståhl's magificent travel letters, which I had read in a special reading room at the library, going to be sold at this auction just in a couple of hours...? Yes! Unexpectedly I decided to participate in this auction and bid on those books. That's what can happen these days with the world wide web – from working on a reference in a footnote to bidding on the book in the note the next minute.

So Craaford auktioner phoned me a minute in advance and then I started bidding. The starting price was 1500SEK (=€150/$200). However, as you can see on that webpage, the final selling price landed on 6000SEK (=€600/$800), which was way beyond my budget. It would have been nice to have those books in the shelf ...

I was more lucky a few years ago, when I was working on P72. I had such difficulty getting hold of a published facsimile of a part of this Bodmer codex (with only 1-2 Pet) on international interlibrary loan. It turned out that the facsimile was at the same time a beuatiful piece of art, and that was probably the reason why some European libraries would not lend the book. However, with the help of Wieland Willker I tracked down a copy offered by an antiquarian bookseller in Switzerland, and eventually the book arrived in Sweden, and it was a bargain.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Greek New Testament Manuscripts in Sweden pt. 1

An article of mine, "The Greek New Testament in Sweden" has been accepted for publication in Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok. It is a good place to publish the article because it treats the Greek New Testament MSS in Sweden and how they got here. The article builds on material that I presented at the SNTS in Lund 2008. In that connection I also organized an exhibition about Jacob Jonas Björnståhl, the Swedish "Tischendorf," who brought some valuable MSS to Sweden, e.g., GA1852. Björnståhl was the first scholar to research the monasteries on Meteora. Just like Dan Wallace who was there recently, Björnståhl was specifically looking for Greek New Testament MSS.

In this blogseries I will present the MSS very briefly and say a few words about how they arrived in Sweden.

According to the Kurzgefasste Liste der griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments (printed version), there are fifteen registered manuscripts in Sweden. In 2008, however, I identified the sixteenth located in the National Museum of Art in Stockholm. This is registered as Greg.-Aland 1049 and was long thought to have disappeared by text-critics. Its latest known location was the Athos monastery Kutlumusiu. In the article I describe it in more detail since it has not been studied by text-critics before. The text is generally Byzantine but in the Pericope of the Adulteress in John the text is very close to NA27.

The MSS in Sweden are:

Uppsala University Library:
Gr. 1 (pp. 3–182)= GA 441 (earlier Venice)
Gr. 1 (pp. 183–440)= GA 442 (earlier Venice)
Gr. 4 = GA 899
Gr. 9 = GA 900
Gr. 11 = GA 1852
Gr. 12 = GA 901(earlier Dousikon)
Gr. 13 = GA 902
Gr. 67 = GA L1950
Gr. 68 = GA L949
Gr. 69 = GA L950
Gr. 73 = GA L1256 (earlier Kosinitza 202)

Gothenburg University Library:
Cod. Gr. 2 122 fols. = GA 2288 (earlier Modena; the first part is still there)
Cod. Gr. 3 = GA 2441

Linköping Diocese Library:
T. 14 = GA 1851
T. 277 = GA 2600

National Museum of Art (Stockholm):
NMB 1961 = GA 1049 (earlier Kutlumusiu)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Bible in the Seventeenth Century

The Bible in the Seventeenth Century: The Authorised Version Quatercentenary (1611-2011) *** Call for papers deadline: June 1st 2010 ***
7th - 9th July 2011 Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies:University of York

This conference, timed to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the 1611 King James Bible, will look at the reception of the Bible in the early modern era. It will bring together an impressive range of scholars from a variety of disciplines, to assess the significance of the scriptures to cultural, political, theological and philosophical history throughout the long seventeenth century. Papers are invited on any aspect of the reception and use of the Bible in the early modern era and might include: political, cultural or literary uses of the Bible; the history of reading and the early modern scriptures; the reception of biblical figures; the role of individual biblical books; translation and biblical scholarship in the era; theology and the Bible; Old Testament / New Testament reception; the Bible and other religions; women and the bible; anti-Catholicism and the Bible; the Radical Bible; the Bible and class.

Please see:
Contact: Dr Kevin Killeen

Two funded PhDs in Amsterdam

See here.

These certainly look well resourced; the setting and supervision looks excellent; and the topics, while they may not be everyone's cup of tea, will certainly cultivate some good skills. If any readers are thinking of doing a PhD you would be mad not to consider these.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Syriac New Testament Bibliography

Peshitta Gospel lectionary (source).
Recently I’ve been compiling a bibliography of works on the Syriac NT relevant to textual criticism. I’ve tended not to put so much in about the Diatessaron, and in some cases have decided to exclude works that others might include, e.g. the book reviewed here. The bibliography merely covers the last 70 years. I would be most grateful to learn of any corrections or additions.

Aland, Barbara. “Die Übersetzungen ins Syrische, 2. Neues Testament.” TRE 6:189–96.

——. “Die philoxenianisch-harklensische Übersetzungstradition: Ergebnisse einer Untersuchung der neutestamentlichen Zitate in der syrischen Literatur.” Mus 94 (1981): 321–83.

Aland, B. and A. Juckel. Das Neue Testament in syrischer Überlieferung, I. Die grossen katholischen Briefe, II. Die Paulinischen Briefe, 1. Römer- und 1. Korintherbrief, 2. 2. Korintherbrief, Galaterbrief, Epheserbrief, Philipperbrief und Kolosserbrief, 3. 1./2. Thessalonicherbrief, 1./2. Timotheus¬brief, Titusbrief, Philemonbrief und Hebräerbrief. 4 vols. ANTF 7, 14, 23, 32. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter, 1986, 1991, 1995, 2002.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Over 100 Followers

A few days ago a record was broken when a post got over 100 comments . Today I noted that we have over 100 followers of this blog, which is very nice (you can see the followers at the bottom of the right sidebar). If you are not one of them but want to follow this blog, click here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A New Conjecture on the Ending of Mark

In the most recent issue of Theology, Philip Oakeshott suggests his own solution to the unease raised by the abrupt εφοβουντο γαρ as the ending of Mark. He suggests that only the first part of the sentence has survived and that it must be amended along the lines of Mark 6:49-50a. There the disciples are terrified seeing Jesus walking on water and think that he is a ghost, a φαντασμα. The last sentence of the gospel might have read, according to Oakeshott, something like εφοβουντο γαρ, δοκουσαι οτι φαντασμα εστιν. Since the early church, as already seen in Matthew and Luke's reworking of Mark, did not think it the best of ideas to refer to the resurrection as seeing a ghost in the shadow of a tomb, the ending did not last very long.

Oakeshott, Philip. "The Wrong Conclusion: Mark 16.1-8 and Literary Theory." Theology 113, no. 872 (2010): 105-13.

Distigmai in Vaticanus: New Version of Payne's Response

Phil Payne has sent me a new version of his response to Head's critique concerning the marginalia in Codex Vaticanus, dated 15 March, which has been extensively edited and rewritten, as he says, "to take into consideration comments received. It includes evidence from the distigmai in the margins of the LXX of Codex Vaticanus and particularly distigmai in the margins of the Hexaplar Codex Colberto-Sarravianus (4th-5th century LXX G) proving that distigmai were in use to mark even more sophisticated textual variants (entailing differences between Hebrew and Greek
texts) at close to the time Codex Vaticanus was written.”

Read it and make your own opinion. The document is now available for download here and in the right sidebar among TC Files (where it has replaced the earlier version).

A wider question to think about: how does a blogdiscussion like this (including uploaded documents) work together with scholarly publishing on the issue. What are the advantages/disadvantages? I don't have the answers, although I realize that the different sides may understand each other better and sharpen their argument accordingly.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Greek Scripture and the Rabbis Conference

Myrto Theocharous points out that the above-named conference is soon to begin in Oxford (19 March 2010). Details here.

In Search of the Caesarean Text

Right now I am working on an SBL paper on Mark 1:1, "The Son of God Was in the Beginning" (perhaps you can guess from the title which reading I am arguing for). In any case I am working through the patristic citations, which has been very rewarding. One very important father who cite Mark 1:1 is Origen.

He invariably cites the short version in several passages in his Commentary on the Gospel of John, in one passage in his Commentary on Ephesians (fragmentarily preserved) and in Contra Celsum. Gordon Fee who has examined Origen’s Marcan text cited in the commentary on John describes it as “Egyptian” (Alexandrian) in Books 1–10 (1, 2, 6 and 10 are extant). As already Griesbach observed, Origen seems to have used a different copy of Mark for the latter part of the commentary, and B. H. Streeter subsequently found this text to be especially close codex Θ and its relatives (incidentally, Θ also has the short version of Mark 1:1). Origen completed the commentary after he had moved from Alexandria to Caesarea (ca. 231), and, hence, the text-type was labeled “Caesearean.”

However, the three citations of Mark 1:1 are found in the former part of the commentary where Origen used the earlier copy of Mark before he changed in Caesarea at some point. Contra Celsum, on the other hand, was written in Caesarea (ca. 248), whereas it is impossible to say when and where Origen wrote his Commentary on Ephesians. In sum, Origen’s citations of Mark 1:1 appear in works written in distinct places covering a long period of time; it is of course impossible to assign this particular citation to any specific text-type. Besides, the issue of text-types in general has been debated, and the existence of a "Caesarean" text-type in particular has been questioned. Is it a distinct text-type, and, if so, only in Mark?

This post has been inspired by an odd dream I had tonight, which I only remember fragmentarily. I dreamt I was going on a bus travel to Caesarea with other text-critics to somehow find out the truth about the Caesarean text. I remember entering the bus and taking my seat beside Ulrich Schmid when suddenly I realized that I had forgotten to bring my luggage! I had to climb off the bus and I missed the trip. I wonder if the other guys found the Caesarean text.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Manuscript Travel to Turin 2010

Under "News" in the Virtual Manuscript Room of Münster Martin Fassnacht of the INTF has just published a fascinating report of his travel to photograph MSS in Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria Torino in Italy. Click on "zeigen" (show) to read the whole story, and do check out the accompanying photo gallery including nice images of the city, the folks and the manuscripts – the actual high-res. images of the MSS will be uploaded in the next days.

Also read my earlier report here.

The Scribe's Curse (Greg.-Aland 1030)

The monk Theophilos Iviritis, also know as "the unfortunate" or "the ragged" was born 1460-70. He was sent on a comission to Alexandria in 1486 by the Patriarch Nephon II. On his travel back to Constantinople he visited Mount Athos, where he settled for some years. His activity is attested over a period of at least 30 years, in dated colophons from 1518 to 1548, and of his production 29 MSS are still extant, mainly in various monasteries on Mt Athos, but Peter Head can check out one MS preserved in Cambridge (Trinity College B VII.2).

At one period he was at the Kosinitsa Monastery in Drama, Greece where he copied at least four liturgical MSS (not GNT MSS). The monastery was looted by the Bulgarians in 1917 and two of his MSS ended up in the Ivan Dujčev Centre for Slavic and Byzantine Studies. Today its library holds the richest collection of Greek MSS in Bulgaria (ca 500 codices).

The last period in Theophilos' life he spent in the Pantokrator Monastery in Constantinople where he continued to work as a scribe until his death in 1548. Apparently, Theophilos led a virtuous life; the Orthodox Church pronounced him a saint (hosios) and commemorates him on 8 July.

The oldest of Theophilos' extant MSS is Iviron cod. 342 (809) (=Greg.-Aland 1030). This manuscript contains the four Gospels, the Psalter and a work by Thomas Magistros (Thekaras). The MS is written on paper and has four illuminations. The colophon dates it to the year 7026 (= 1518). The colophon ends with this sentence: "This book was completed, with God's help, through the labours of the unfortunate, ragged Theophilos."

At another point in the MS we find his directions for use conditioned with a curse:
I beseech all who come across this book not to dare cut it up shamelessly, in order to take it apart and remove either the Gospels or the Psalter or Thekaras or any other office or part, or even a single leaf, but let it remain intact, just as it was written and bound by me. Should the binding become worn, may it be rebound just as it is now. If anyone should act against what I say, the curse of my sinful unworthy self beupon him. And may whoever owns this take care not to leave it lying idle on the shelf but always make full use of it; for this is why the book was written, so that he might not suffer the same condemnation as he who hid the talent. And if he should neglect his own salvation, let him give the book to another who cares greatly about being saved so that he might use it to gain the riches of heaven and to pray for my wretched self, who is responsible for a thousand wicked deeds and is unworthy of either heaven or earth. May the Lord have mercy upon me and deliver me from eternal damnation; therefore, I beseech you, all the holy fathers, to pray for me.

Friday, March 05, 2010

News from the Virtual Manuscript Room

As we have announced previously, the Kurzgefasste Liste is now online, which means that changes will be effective immediately. Naturally, such updates will largely go unnoticed unless the specific entry is consulted by someone.

However, more significant updates, and changes of other nature (technical, design etc) are published under "News" in the main entrance of the Virtual Manuscript Room, so to speak. These notices are published only in German for now, but English versions are planned for the future. In the meantime, the developers can always hope that there are some benevolent bloggers who help translate and disseminate the news ;-)

The latest major news (2010-03-02) is that several entries for the Albanian MSS have been updated. There were 30 MSS registered in Tirana in the 2d ed. of the Liste, and so far it has been verified that 23 of them are still there: 043, 1141, 1143, 1705, 1706, 1707, 1709, 1764, 2244, 2245, 2246, 2247, 2252, 2253, 2514, L758, L882, L1204, L1207, L1433, L1434, L2353, L2372.

Another one, 1142, is now in the US, divided between Cambridge/Mass., Harvard University Houghton Library (MS Typ 215), and Washington/D. C., Dumbarton Oaks (acc. no. 58.105). The latter only has one illuminated folio with John. (In this connection I should point out that I have found there are plenty similar loose leaves with miniatures out there, e.g., one in Stockholm - it has very popular to rip them out.)

In sum, six MSS previously registered in Tiranan have not been located there. On the other hand, eleven new MSS in Tirana have been registered: 2900, 2901, 2902, 2903, L2439, L2440, L2441, L2442, L2443, L2444, L2445. In 2007, the CSNTM photographed the Albanian MSS. Thus, you can view the MSS online here, but I think the CSNTM will now have to update the left column with Gregory-Aland numbers according to the latest information from Münster.

The next in the row of lectionaries, by the way, is L2446 (Iviron 1404 or s.n.) – a manuscript that I suggested for registration some time ago. I am glad it has now received a number, but more on that soon.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

E. Earle Ellis 1926-2010

I understand from Jim Hamilton that the veteran evangelical New Testament scholar E. Earle Ellis (of SWBTS) was called home today. He was known as a scholar's scholar and had been working on the International Critical Commentary on 1 Corinthians for many years. I did have the privilege of meeting him (wearing, as typically, a bow tie) and know that he was an inspiration to many, not least because of his role in founding the Institute for Biblical Research, details of which can be seen here (modelled to some extent on the Tyndale House and Tyndale Fellowship).

Up-date: Mike Bird linked to a helpful biographical sketch of Ellis written by Gerald F. Hawthorne which is available on Google Books (from the second festschift for Ellis edited by Sang-Won Son, History and Exegesis)

Another up-date: Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has a nice page honouring Earle here My favourite bit was this:
In early 2009, Southwestern Seminary placed a display in Ellis’ honor on the second floor of its A. Webb Roberts Library. The display includes a portrait of Ellis in his Edinburgh doctoral regalia, hanging above a case containing several of Ellis’ books alongside three well-worn critical editions of the Greek New Testament that Ellis used over the years.

The 2010 John Templeton Award for Theological Promise to Chris Keith!

Congratulations to Chris Keith who is one of the winners of the 2010 John Templeton Award for Theological Promise by the Forschungszentrum Internationale und Interdisziplinäre Theologie at the University of Heidelberg. Chris presents himself and his work on the website:
Award Winning Publication

The Pericope Adulterae, the Gospel of John and the Literacy of Jesus, Leiden: Brill, 2009.

The Pericope Adulterae, the Gospel of John, and the Literacy of Jesus argues that John 8:6, 8 is a claim that Jesus was grapho-literate (capable of writing). As the first thorough exegetical analysis of John 8: 6, 8, this study shows that the narrative accomplishes this claim specifically by borrowing vocabulary, syntax, and themes from the account of God's authorship of the Decalogue in Exodus 32:15 (LXX), and is thus also a deliberate attempt to identify Jesus with, or in terms of, the god of Israel. This book combines its exegetical focus with a detailed original proposal of a transmission-history of the Pericope Adulterae in light of this interpretation of the passage, focusing particularly on the stage of transmission at which an interpolator inserted this passage into the Gospel of John. The argument is ultimately that the individual(s) who inserted the Pericope Adulterae into the Gospel of John was an astute reader of both the Exodus account of the Decalogue's origins and the Johannine narrative and sought to bring those two narratives into dialogue in order to make a statement about the figure of Jesus.

Current Project

I am currently working on two projects. The first project is a monograph on the literacy of the historical Jesus, entitled Jesus’ Literacy: Education and the Teacher from Galilee, under contract with T&T Clark. Whereas my first book left the historical Jesus aside and focused on the social/exegetical/text-critical significance of the claim for Jesus’ literacy in one particular passage (John 8.6, 8), this monograph focuses on the issue of Jesus’ literacy in early Christianity as a whole and assesses the historical accuracy of early Christian claims from the perspective of social/cultural memory theory. My second current project is a textbook I am co-editing, entitled Jesus Among Friends and Enemies, under contract with Baker Academic.

I have presented Chris' award winning monograph here and here.

Comment Moderation on This Blog

For the information of our readers it may be of interest to know why comments are sometimes moderated on this blog; normally they are not, but moderation may occur in these three cases:

1. Comments on posts older than 28 days (don't ask me why it is 28 days, it has been like this since the blog started I think). The comment must then be accept or rejected by the blogeditors. This is good because very often we get comment spam, and it is also good for us to notice the comment to the old post. On the other hand, the person who wrote the comment may try several times and think something is wrong. But he or she must be patient until we have had time to read and accept the comment and that may sometime take days.

2. Comments which are published in realtime but are found to be completely irrelevant (spam and the like) or offensive (e.g. ad hominem remarks). This is sometimes difficult to judge. Personally I am perhaps oversensitive as editor (except perhaps in the case of teasing co-editor Peter; but that is mutual).

3. Individuals can also moderate (i.e. delete) their own comments.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Hamburg Conference, 21-23 April 2010

An e-mail from David Parker has made me aware of the conference on manuscripts and textual research in Hamburg to celebrate the 70th birthday of Prof. Dieter Harlfinger. Details here. Good value too: eine Teilnahmegebühr wird nicht erhoben! If you want to go, e-mail teuchos-team within the domain

Review of Textual Variation: Theological and Social Tendencies?

The other day, the Diglot blog published a review of Textual Variation: Theological and Social Tendencies? (Texts and Studies, Third Series, Vol. 6; eds. H.A.G. Houghton and D.C. Parker; Piscataway: Gorgias Press, 2008).

New ETC Blog Record: Over 100 Comments!

As frequent readers of this blog know, it makes us, especially Peter Head, feel good when a post gets fifty comments (see comment 42 here). A few days ago the post "Is 1 Cor 14:34-35 an Interpolation?", featuring a new document available for download (see TC Files) in which Phil Payne replies to questions on this blog concerning 1 Cor 14:34-35 passed over 100 comments! And guess who made the 100th comment?