Thursday, September 30, 2010

Maurice Robinson unwell

From Dave Black's blog comes the following news and prayer request for one of our fellow/brother bloggers: "Pray for Dr Maurice Robinson. In ICU w apparent heart attack. Will need bypass surgery."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Örebro School of Theology (was Örebro Theological Seminary)

On 9 September 2010 it was decided that Örebro Theological Seminary should change its English name to Örebro School of Theology. Founded by John Ongman in 1908, the school has fulfilled its core activity to educate and train pastors, leaders and mission workers for the church. The school has been a member of The European Evangelical Accrediting Association (EEAA) since its inception in 1979 and got accredited by this body in 1991. In 1993, the seminary became accredited by the Swedish state to grant degrees in Theology/Religious Studies (from 2004 on the Bachelor level). Today the school offers a wide variety of courses and programs targeted at various groups. In addition to the core acitivity mentioned above, which reflects the seminary tradition, the school also trains other groups, for example teachers in Religious Studies in the public schools. Thus, we feel that the new name, “Örebro School of Theology,” better reflects the current profile of our institution.

John Ongman

Read my blogpost about the 100th anniversary of the school in 2008 here.

I reported about a burglary at our school during this time (September 2008) and pointed out that the police actually found some "external evidence" on the stuff in my office, e.g., blood on a Brill tote bag from SNTS, and a footprint on an article on textual criticism. What I didn't mention was that later the police actually caught this burglar on the basis of this evidence! (But we did not receive back what was stolen.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

British Library Digitised Manuscript Website pt 4

British Library Digitised Manuscript Website pt 4
GA L191

GA L192

GA L193

GA L318

GA L319

GA L321

GA L322

GA L323

GA L324

GA L930

GA L1053

GA L2306 (this refers to ff.113-120 which has been inserted into Harley MS 5650 – the same codex as L25; the GA number is missing from the description)

British Library Digitised Manuscript Website pt 3

British Library Digitised Manuscript Website pt 3

GA 687

GA 688

GA 689

GA 690

GA 691

GA 692

GA 693

GA 1268

GA 1274 pt 1

GA 1274 pt 2

GA 1956

GA 2822 + GA 2823

GA L25 ("L25a" should be changed to L25 in the description)

GA L152

GA L177 (Gregory-Aland number is omitted from contents and description)

GA L188 pt 1

GA L188 pt 2

GA L189

GA L190

British Library Digitised Manuscript Website pt 2

British Library Digitised Manuscript Website pt 2
GA 491

GA 492

GA 493

GA 495

GA 496

GA 497

GA 498

GA 499

GA 500

GA 501

GA 503

GA 504

GA 505

GA 640

GA 641

GA 644

GA 645

GA 686

British Library Digitised Manuscript Website pt 1

Today the British Library launches its Digitised Manuscripts website. Read the announcements here and here ("The Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts Blog" formerly "The Digitised Manuscripts Blog").

In an earlier announcement on the blog this year, I reported that there would be 50 GNT MSS in the first phase. Now, it turns out to be 64! Hooray!

I have compiled an index of the digitized Greek New Testament MSS below. I have divided the index into several parts because of the maximum amount of labels in Blogger. The readers may thus search for a certain MS (GA ...) in the search box in the upper left corner.

GA G 011 (Codex Wolfi or Codex Harleianus)

GA R 027 (Codex Nitriensis)

GA 65

GA 72

GA 81

GA 104

GA 113 (The Gregory-Aland number is missing in the content description of the catalogue for this MS)

GA 114 (The Gregory-Aland number is missing in the content description of the catalogue for this MS)

GA 115

GA 116

GA 201

GA 202

GA 272

GA 312 pt 1

GA 312 pt 2

GA 321 (The Gregory-Aland number is missing in the content description of the catalogue for this MS; "Monologion" should be "Menologion")

GA 385

GA 478

GA 490

Crucifixion-scholar Samuelsson Responds to Caragounis pt. 2

Samuelsson begins his response proper (i.e., part 2; see previous post for the background) with the following statement: "On several occasions I get the impression that Caragounis has not read the book he reviews." Then he gives a number of reasons for this impression and finally concludes:

Thus, if Caragounis had read whole the book he reviews, he would probably not have been criticizing things I have not said, and offered an answer to my questioning of the traditional understanding of the text level of the death of Jesus instead of simply reproducing such an understanding.

William Lane Craig has posted a balanced response to Samuelsson on his website Reasonable Faith to a direct question by "Karl" about Samuelsson's dissertation, which I only summarize here:

Q: My question is simply: what grounds do we have to doubt the traditional view of the cru[c]ifixion? Is it really more likely that Jesus was hung/nailed on a pole rather than nailed to a cross as Mr. Samuelsson states? Does it actually matter?

A:... [T]his is an interesting claim which is of no historical or theological significance. In short, it doesn’t matter.

Why not? Well, very simply because in his dissertation “Crucifixion in Antiquity” Samuelsson is not calling into question the historical veracity of the New Testament documents; rather he’s saying that later generations of Christians have misunderstood the documents. He’s like those New Testament scholars who argue, for example, that Jesus was not born in a stable but in a Jewish home, which typically included a space for the animals under the same roof. When Luke says the kataluma was full, the word means, not “inn,” as traditionally translated, but “guest room.” Because the guest room was already occupied, Joseph and his family were given space in the section of the house where the animals were quartered. This hypothesis may explode the images of Jesus’ birth we’ve grown accustomed to in nativity scenes, but it does nothing to challenge the historicity of the Gospel accounts. On the contrary, it aims to help us understand them more accurately.

Craig concludes:

Public furor does not imply that there are serious implications to Samuelsson’s thesis after all. There are a number of cherished beliefs about Jesus which have no basis in the Gospel accounts: for example, the idea that three kings from the East visited Joseph and Mary on the night of Jesus’ birth (cf. the visit of the magi in Matthew 2.1-12) or that Jesus’ mother Mary received Jesus’ body when it was taken down from the cross, as represented in the Pieta. Dispelling these popular misconceptions does nothing to undermine the credibility of the Bible as God’s Word. On the contrary, it helps us to understand it more accurately.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Crucifixion-scholar Samuelsson responds to Caragounis

As I have previously reported on this blog, Gunnar Samuelsson defended his thesis "Crucifixion_in_Antiquity" at Gothenburg University in May this year. In his work Samuelsson investigated the philological aspects of how ancient Greek, Latin and Hebrew/Aramaic texts, including the New Testament, depict the practice of punishment by crucifixion. Samuelsson suggests that the ancient text material shows that there has been a too narrow view of the “crucifixion” terminology. Samuelsson further concluded that over-interpretation, and probably even pure imagination, have afflicted nearly every wordbook and dictionary that deals with the terms related to crucifixion as well as scholarly depictions of what happened on Calvary. The immense knowledge of the punishment of crucifixion in general, and the execution of Jesus in particular, cannot be supported by the studied texts.

The publication of the thesis led to a frenzy in media worldwide. Despite Samuelsson's attempts to explain his research, media often choose to misrepresent or abbreviate to make good headlines. The ambivalent headline in the Daily Telegraph is a typical example "Jesus did not die on cross, says scholar." Samuelsson is himself a devoted Christian who believes in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His point was not to say that Jesus did not die, but to question what we now take for granted about the nature of a cross and crucifixion in Antiquity.

After some time, Chrys Caragounis published a very critical review, which I announced on the blog. One of our reader's commented:
Still haven't read the work of Gunnar Samuelsson, but the review confirms my suspicion: He must have forgotten about lots of ancient texts which describe crucifixion.

To which I replied:
I wait to see Samuelsson's reply. The thing is that almost all those texts that Caragounis cites are included in Samuelsson's treatment, which implies that Caragounis has not read Samuelsson's interpretation of those texts. It seems Caragounis has browsed the work, made his own searches and then responded.

Nevertheless, the critique is serious and many points are probably relevant, but I'd like to hear Samuelsson's response. In fact, he now will have time to revise his dissertation on some points before publication (hopefully in the WUNT series).

Caragounis, who read my comment, posted a two pages long response on his website "Tommy Wasserman and Crucifixion" which was followed by a debate that you can follow on this blog here (including links to Caragounis who responded on his own website).

As I initially said, I looked forward to Samuelsson's reply. Apparently, he has now begun to publish a response to Caragounis in several parts on his blog here (part 1).

See all of my reports on Samuelsson's thesis here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

News from the Virtual Manuscript Room (Münster)

In this post we informed our readers about a new uncial MS of John. Maurice Robinson, in particular, suspected that this was in fact a lectionary (see comment section). This is confirmed by Ulrich Schmid of the INTF who has today posted a note on this manuscript in the Virtual Manuscript Room (Münster).
In other words, the two folios in all likelihood once belonged to a 9th century Gospel lectionary and will be counted among the lectionaries in the GA-Liste. Incidentally, when browsing the known uncial lectionaries and continuous text manuscripts from the 9th century, one encounters only one continuous text manuscript with the same layout (2 cols, 24 lines) and similar provenance ("palestino-sinaïtique"), i.e. 021, but at least six lectionaries, i.e. l 178, l 511, l 808, l 1082, l 2234, l 2413. In my view, this is additional circumstantial evidence that the two folios published by Chétanian / Stone may have belonged to a distinguishable group of lectionaries from the 9th century. Despite clear similarities with the mentioned lectionaries, the two folios do not belong to any of them. Hence, they represent another Greek Gospel uncial lectionary counted as l 2450 in the GA-Liste.

There are many other interesting recent notes added recently in the VMR, many of which concern which GA numbers to delete in the Kurzgefasste Liste. More on the VMR soon.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Celebrating the King James Bible

As many of our readers know the King James Bible will be 400 years old in 2011 (105 days left).

A "2011 Trust" has been established to celebrate the anniversary of the translation which has had so great impact in history and on language throughout the English speaking world (mission statement).

The Trust, in association with other institutions like the Society of Biblical Literature, the Nida institute, etc, is developing projects like commissioning new music and literature; study days in some cities following James’s route from Scotland to London; lectures at Oxford and Cambridge, where the translators worked; developing educational school projects; publishing new texts; discussions about similar values in the texts of the world’s major religions; major exhibitions in London and around the country where the translations were made; and street culture projects.

Among the many events, the SBL will host a special conference:
The Society of Biblical Literature in partnership with a number of groups including the Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship of the American Bible Society will hold an international congress in London 4 - 8 July 2011. The scholarly and public sessions will be hosted by King's College London. Details about registration, housing, and program to follow and will be able to be found on this site or at

Gordon Campbell, Professor of Renaissance Studies at University of Leicester, shares his thoughts about the anniversary on the OUP blog. Oxford University Press will publish his Bible: The Story of the King James Version, 1611-2011 and his 400th anniversary edition of the Bible during 2011.

Jim Davila (Paleojudaica), who links to Campbell's post, rightly thinks his rhetorical question is unfair, "Where could one now find fifty translators with competence in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Samaritan, Ethiopic and Arabic (the languages of the English polyglot Bible of the period) and a command of patristic, rabbinical and Reformation commentaries?"

Not least, we have a slightly better knowledge of which manuscript base to use.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Pope gives a nice present to the Queen

His holiness the Pope is visiting the UK at the moment and he is reported (also here) to have given a nice present to the Queen - a facsimile of a Bible manuscript, the Lorsch Gospels (perhaps one of these, or buy one here for $250). These are the best sort of presents in my opinion, nothing beats a nice facsimile for a birthday, Christmas, or special visit (you can remember that when it is my birthday). The manuscript is an illuminated Latin Gospel text with an interesting back story - the front cover (pictured here) is in London (at the Victoria and Albert Museum), while the back cover is in the Vatican (the text is also divided). I don't know anything about its textual value. For more information you can try Wikipedia (already inaccurately up-dated), for some pictures see here.

On the covers anyway there is some bibliography: Margaret H. Longhurst and Charles Rufus Morey, 'The Covers of the Lorsch Gospels' Speculum 3 (1928), 64-74 (on the Vatican cover - JSTOR) and 4 (1929), 411-429 (on the London cover - JSTOR).

Wright, 'The Septuagint and its Modern Translations' (LXX 7)

For general orientation to this series of posts see here.

Benjamin G. Wright, ‘The Septuagint and Its Modern Translators’ in Die Septuaginta - Texte, Kontexte, Lebenswelten: Internationale Fachtagung veranstaltet von Septuaginta Deutsch (LXX.D), Wuppertal 20.-23. Juli 2006 (ed Martin Karrer & Wolfgang Kraus; WUNT 219; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008), 103-114.

The goal of Wright's article is to distinguish between various modern approaches of translating a translation, the LXX in this case, and to caution against confusion in the various methods adopted towards this endeavor. He alerts that the "sudden" availability of modern translations of the LXX to the wider public will require the "mediating" efforts of specialists to secure the correct understanding among non-specialists of what is meant by "Septuagint". While the availability of translations has helped "demarginalise" LXX studies and emphasize its rightful place in Second Temple Judaism studies, care must be taken against its misuse.

He rightly makes the distinction between the two levels of studying the text: that of the production point (i.e. the translator's understanding of his Hebrew Vorlage), and that of its reception history independent of the Hebrew. The philosophy of NETS has focused on the former level, relying heavily on Gideon Toury's Descriptive Translation Studies, whereas Bible d'Alexandrie (also here) has focused on the latter approach. The NETS editors sum up their translation philosophy in this way: "Since the Septuagint, with a few exceptions, was not originally composed in Greek, a fully idiomatic translation into English can scarcely be justified." (p.107). NETS, therefore, provides us with an English "facsimile" of the LXX/OG "including many of its wards" (p.107).

While Wright values Bible d'Alexandrie's approach, he stresses that one must distinguish between the two levels of interpretation and keep them separate since the results of each study will be widely different. He quotes Pietersma to sum up that "the difference between the 'produced text' and the 'received text' might be so great as to necessitate speaking of different Septuagints, lest there be a tacit assumption in scholarly discussion that 'the Septuagint is the Septuagint', while in reality quite different entities and distinct methodologies are at issue." (p.111).

Wright's emphasis on this sharp distinction forbids him from sympathizing with the LXX.D (Septuaginta Deutsch) model which aims at bridging the two (i.e. keeping the text as produced and the text as received together). For LXX.D translation and interpretation are mingled in the LXX and separation is impossible. Wright agrees that translation is interpretation, but not necessarily "exegesis" which is done "deliberately, systematically and purposefully." (p.112). That will need to be determined through a careful study of how each LXX translator worked.

Wright's cautionary critiques are essential for modern translations of the LXX, however, he neglects to deal with the fact that the LXX translator is at the same time a member of the receiving audience of his time, and such neat distinctions between what he meant and what they understood may be difficult to draw.

Μυρτώ Θεοχάρους

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jeremie Septuagint Lecture 2010

This lecture will be delivered this year by Benjamin G. Wright (Professor in Department of Religion Studies, Lehigh University) on the subject:


At 5pm on Monday, 11 October 2010
Runcie Room, Faculty of Divinity, West Road, Cambridge (England)
Followed by a Reception

Vatican Library Reopens

Vatican Library, Manuscript Reading Room

On 20 September the Vatican Library will reopen after a massive three years of restoration. The announcement was made in a press conference, held on 13 September in the Sistine Hall of the Vatican Museums by Cardinal Raffaele Farina S.D.B., archivist and librarian, Msgr. Cesare Pasini, prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library, Pier Carlo Cuscianna, director of Technical Services of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and two representatives of "Italcementi" – the company which were responsible for the restoration, Giovanni Giavazzi and Gennaro Guala.

Over 9 million euros ($12 million US) has been spent on the three-year restoration project involving structural repair work, bringing large areas of the building into line with safety norms, and moving a number of sectors. Moreover, each of the library's 70 000 volumes has been provided with a computer chip - a readio frequencey system of identification that will help prevent theft and misplacement.

See the news from AP on YouTube here:

Look at another clip by CTV on You Tube (with a glimpse from the pressconference) here:

Another clip (by here:

Also read the informative newsletter from the library here (latest issue).

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Bill Warren's 20th

Congratulations to ETC blogger Bill Warren who was celebrated today by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for his 20 years of service to the seminary.

Seminary President Charles Kelley especially highlighted Dr. Warren's initiative in the creation of the H. Milton Haggard Center for New Testament Textual Studies, mentioning also the growth of its endowment under Dr. Warren, its development in resources and collections, and its work in training text critics.

Teaching Textual Criticism in Oslo

I am blogging from Oslo Central station (Burger King wireless). I have just been to Menighetsfakultetet here in Oslo, Norway, to teach New Testament textual criticism for two days, and it has been a treat. The auditorium was practically full; in the audience were professors, including my very hospitable host Karl Olav Sandnes who had invited me, and graduate and postgraduate students. They were all very interested in the subject and I did my best to increase that interest. I normally bring with me some "artefacts", i.e., various facsimiles, papyrus, ink and reed pen, images of MSS, etc. I had also prepared quite an extensive power point presentation with a lot of images and examples. They enjoyed my various anecdotes, which I cannot resist telling, not least the one about the famous Norwegian collector Martin Schøyen (see here). I also mentioned that when Maurice Robinson was there in Oslo to examine Greg.-Aland 2866 (which I subsequently identified as Greg.-Aland 2483), and had made an appointment with Schøyen at his house, he just came back from a ski tour (this is very typical for the Norwegians, "gå på tur").

The first day was focused on the history of textual criticism leading up to recent developments. The second day was focused on the practice of textual criticism, the nature of various apparatuses (NA27, UBS GNT, ECM, Swanson) and tools. The students spent some time transcribing and collating manuscripts from images and we considered textual problems in Mark 1:1; John 1:3-4; Rom 5:1; Rev 13:18 ("the number of the beast" - here we also considered Irenaeus' discussion of the problem).

However, we started the second day of practical textual criticism with an instruction video (in Norwegian):

After the teaching, I went to the very nice little exhibition in the university library of their fine papyrus collection where I saw Greg.-Aland P62. But more about that in another post.

Coptic and Celtic

I do not know all the details, but linguists have noticed a certain verbal affinities between Coptic and Celtic. A while back, this blog noted the discovery of the 8th century Faddan More Latin Psalter in an Irish bog. Recent conservation has revealed that this vellum codex contains papyrus cartonnage in its bindings, perhaps suggesting at least some sort of relationship between ancient Irish and Egyptian monasticism.
[Announced on the Evertype Coptic Mailing List]

Monday, September 06, 2010

Research Associate in Papyrology in Oxford (Oxyrhynchus Papyri)

University of Oxford Faculty of Classics Research Associate in Papyrology

Applications are invited for the post of a Research Associate in Papyrology in the Department of Classics, University of Oxford, to work on the Oxyrhynchus Papyri research project. This is a joint project of the University of Oxford and University College London, and has recently received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council until 31 August 2015.

The person appointed will hold a doctorate or equivalent and have substantial experience in handling and/or editing papyri. An excellent knowledge of Ancient Greek, and wide experience with the scripts of the papyri, are essential. The successful candidate will be responsible for overseeing the Oxyrhynchus Papyri collection in the Sackler library and for enabling the research of those involved in the project.

The fixed-term appointment will run from 1 October 2010 to 30 September 2011. The salary for this post, which is 0.8 FTE (Full Time Equivalent), is £28,983.00 - £30,747.00 (Grade 7, points 29-31), at 80% pro rata. The starting salary will be dependent on skills and experience. The postholder will be based in the Papyrology Rooms, the Sackler Library, 1 St John Street, Oxford, OX1 2LG.

Applications consisting of a curriculum vitae, a covering letter, and a personal details form, including the names and addresses of two referees, should be sent to Recruitment, Faculty of Classics, Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles', Oxford OX1 3LU ( Please arrange for your referees to send their references to the above address by the closing date. The personal details form, and the further particulars are available for download below. Please quote reference BE10012 on the personal details form. Informal enquiries may be made to Dr D. Obbink (email:

The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Friday 17 September 2010. No applications will be accepted after this date. It is expected that interviews will be held on Monday 27 September.

See further:

(via Papy-List)

Friday, September 03, 2010

A Variant or an Explanation?

I am currently in the middle of looking at the Byzantine lexicographic tradition and came across a nice instance where a lexical gloss might be misinterpreted as a textual variant. It is found at 2 Tim 3:17 where NA27 reads in the apparatus for ἄρτιος: τελειος D* ex lat? ¦ υγιης τελειος 104mg (i.e. glossa).
Especially the gloss in 104 is interesting as υγιης, τελειος is the standard wording in the Byzantine lexical tradition to explain ἄρτιος (with some morphological variation), e.g. Suida α 4045 Ἀρτίως: τελείως, ὑγιῶς.

There are a number of possibilities why the gloss of minuscule 104 is cited in NA27:
1) The scribe of 104 misunderstood a lexical gloss for a textual variant,
2) Modern editors misunderstood a lexical gloss for a textual variant (or decided to stay on the safe side and include the gloss because it could possibly be a variant),
3) Minuscule 104 is mentioned here in an attempt to explain the reading of D as deriving from a lexical gloss.

I am somewhat in the dark here.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Conference in Uppsala: "Faces of Apocalyptics"

This year's "Exegetiska Dagen" ("The Exegetical Day") in Sweden will take place at Uppsala University on 21 September. The theme is "Faces of Apocalyptics" featuring the following speakers:


Professor John Collins, Yale University "Apocalypse and Empire. Apocalyptic Literature as Resistance Literature"

Docent Cecilia Wassen, Uppsala "End Time Temples in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Competing Visions of the Eschaton"

Professor Adela Collins , Yale University "The reception of Paul's apocalyptic eschatology in the (pseudonymous) letter to the Colossians"


Business meeting (Svenska Exegetiska Sällskapet)


The conference is open and free of charge, except for the evening dinner where reservation is necessary, and the business meeting is for members only.

The main papers are usually published as articles in Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok. In the next issue of the journal I have a piece on Greek New Testament MSS in Sweden including some nice plates (unfortunately not in color).