Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review of Schüssler, Biblia Coptica: Die koptischen Bibeltexte 4.3

In the latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature, Stephan Witetschek reviews vol. 4, facsicle 3 of Karlheinz Schüssler's Biblia Coptica project (description here), which comprises forty-eight Sahidic manuscripts from the fourth–thirteenth centuries, mostly with New Testament texts.

Apart from one minor complaint of the poor quality of the twelve included plates of MSS (on ordinary paper, downsized and some that are "close to illegible") Witetschek concludes:
Schüssler has once again done an admirable job, one more step toward a critical edition of the Sahidic translation of the New Testament. The meticulous work takes its time, but there is some hope that, in the not so distant future, there may be a handy and reliable reference for the occasional “sa” in the critical apparatus of the Nestle-Aland/Novum Testamentum Graece.

Stephan Witetschek, review of Biblia Coptica: Die koptischen Bibeltexte. Vollständiges Verzeichnis mit Standorten 4.3.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Medieval Musings in the Margins


The brainpickings blog lists a number of curious notes in margins and colophons made by medieval scribes (originally from the Spring 2012 issue of Lapham’s Quarterly:

"New parchment, bad ink; I say nothing more.

"I am very cold."

"That's a hard page and a weary work to read it."

"Let the reader's voice honor the writer's pen."

"This page has not been written very slowly."

"The parchment is hairy."

"The ink is thin."

"Thank God, it will soon be dark."

"Oh, my hand."

"Now I've written the whole thing; for Christ's sake give me a drink."

"Writing is excessive drudgery. It crooks your back, it dims you sight, it twists your stomach and your sides."

"St. Patrick of Armagh, deliver me from writing."

"While I wrote I froze, and what I could not write by the beams of the sun I finished by candlelight."

"As the harbor is welcome to the sailor, so is the last line to the scribe."

"This is sad! O little book! A day will come in truth when someone over your page will say, 'The hand that wrote it is no more'."

Cf. the nice little directions for use in Greg.-Aland 1030.

Do you know of any other gems? Share in the comments!

HT: Ingrid Lilly

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Interview with Dan Wallace

Dan Wallace is interviewed at The Gospel Coalition about NT textual criticism. A basic overview of NT TC, apologetically oriented, but lots of nice diagrams and pictures.

New Book: Die Johannesoffenbarung: Ihr Text und ihre Auslegung


A new book of interest has been published: Die Johannesoffenbarung: Ihr Text und ihre Auslegung (eds. Michael Labahn and Martin Karrer; Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2012) and the first section has a number of text-critical articles under the heading "Text/Textgeschichte:"

Markus Lemke, "Beobachtungen zu den Handschriften der Apokalypse des Johannes"

Martin Heide, "Die syrische Johannes-Apokalypse. Zum gegenwaertigen Stand der Forschung."

Juan Hernandez Jr., "Recensional Activity and the Transmission of the Septuagint in John's Apocalypse. Codex Sinaiticus and Other Witnesses"

Michael Labahn, "Die Schriftrezeption in den grossen Kodizes der Johannesoffenbarung."

Daniele Tripaldi, "'Discrepat evangelista et Septuaginta nostraque translatio' (Hieronymus, Briefe 57,7,5). Bemerkungen zur Textvorlage des Sacharja-Zitats in Offb 1,7"

The last section of the book (IV) is titled Die Johannesoffenbarung in den grossen Bibelkodizes and includes German translations of the text of Revelation in the individual codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus and Ephraemi, as well as an introduction to them by Martin Karrer.

Publisher's description
In recent research, the Book of Revelation, the history of its text and interpretation have attracted increased attention. The anthology pays tribute to this development by publishing the proceedings of a recent conference at the »Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal/Bethel«, supplemented by a number of additional seminal articles.

Focusing on philological and exegetical issues and employing a variety of methodological approaches, the book covers the main fields of current research: textual transmission and scriptural reception, problems of the history of religion, imagery, aspects of hermeneutics, exegesis, impact, and literary structure as well as the latter’s linguistic and religious conception, and finally the reciprocal relations of text and reader seen from a psychoanalytical perspective. The contributions show that continuous revisal of previous exegetic suppositions is a necessary and useful means to deepen our understanding of the Book of Revelation.

The book can be ordered from Eisenbrauns here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Keith Elliott on 'Recent Trends'

J.K. Elliott, ‘Recent Trends in the Textual Criticism of the New Testament: A New Millennium, a New Beginning?’ BABELAO 1 (2012), p. 117-136 available here.

Jolly good fun throughout. But I especially liked the bit about us!

Websites accompany this new kindling of interest among younger scholars who have encouraged this electronic medium for intercourse on textual criticism, irritatingly matey though such a form of scholarly contact may be to some of the more “mature members” of the Academy. Nonetheless, a site such as which, despite its off-putting and bizarre name, is in effect a valuable source of information about current activity in New Testament textual criticism, attracting as it does a regular number of generally predictable contributors who seem to keep their collective ears to the ground. This instant forum attracts a clutch of coherent, active and aspiring new voices alongside seasoned practitioners and is symptomatic of the revived interest in manuscripts, editions, methodology and variants stimulated by the instant, interactive and flourishing nature of today’s research. Flippant and colloquial though some of the electronic communications be, nonetheless some serious reports of news and developments and often of work in progress are to be regularly seen there.

Monday, March 19, 2012

TC Rhyme

I want to propose a contest as to who can write the best rhyme to help teach the second century manuscripts to students. I've had a brief go myself (I was once a buddying lyricist) and here's what I've come up with:

If textual criticism is your favorite ship
Then learn the names of the early manuscripts
Don't fry your brain, this ain't penitentiary
Just learn the one's from the second century
P52 is at the John Rylands Library
It's gone bits of John 18  in all of its finery
p46 is the earliest copy of the letters of Paul
It's mostly Chester Beatty if you recall
P77 has part of Matthew 23 my son
While P104 has part of  Matthew 21

To be continued!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

BHQ Judges is out

The Biblia Hebraica Quinta fascicle of Judges is out. See here. [via Jack Sasson]

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Sexist Hand Behind P46?

After a never ceasing flow of blogposts by Peter Head on Papyrus 46, I finally get the chance!

On his blog, Paul and co-workers, Richard Fellows offers an explanation of how the curious text of P46 in Rom 16:15 arose.

Whereas most MSS read "Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister" in Rom 16:5, P46 has Paul greet "Philologus and Bereus (Βηρέα) and Aoulia (Ἀουλίαν) and his sister" – the latter two names being nonsensical.

Fellows builds on James Royse's excellent proposal, Scribal Habits (2008), 333-334, that the exemplar of P46 had the reverse order of Nereus and Julia in its text, with an interlinear correction written out with the Greek numerals β (2) and α (1) above the names to indicate the correct order. “However, our scribe [of P46] misinterpreted the letters as being intended to replace the letters of over which they were written, and thus created βηρεα αουλιαν” (334).

However, Fellows points out that Royse's explanation does not account for the addition of ΚΑΙ between the two names in P46. Royse simply thinks the scribe of P46 added it in the process, "as part of his change here," and he considers it to be a separate reading. He thinks this is easier than to assume that the ΚΑΙ was in the Vorlage.

Fellows instead proposes that the exemplar had the normal order, but then a "sexist corrector" came along and added the Greek numerals β (2) and α (1) to have the male name Nereus written before the female Julia, but this would create another problem, "... Nereus, Julia and his sister", so the corrector also added a ΚΑΙ between the name so that "his sister" would refer back to Philologus: "Greet Philologus and Nereus and Julia and the sister of him." The scribe then, did not only reverse the names and add a KAI, but inserted the letters β and α.

The problem with Fellows' explanation is of course the question why the scribe would execute the correction and reverse the order, but at the same time misunderstand the very instruction and insert the letters β and α into the names. Fellows suggests that the corrector gave two distinct indications that the names should be reversed, "above the line and perhaps also in the margin", and the scribe of P46 apparently misunderstood the one above the line.

I think Fellows rightly points out the problem with the extra KAI, but then his explanation becomes too complicated since he has to assume that the corrector used two ways of indicating that the text should be corrected.

This is my alternative explanation:

In the first stage, a scribe reversed the order of the names (for sexist reasons?) but then had to supply the ΚΑΙ to have the reference "his sister" point back to Philologus.

In the second stage, a corrector added the numerals above the names to have them reversed to the normal order (á la Royse), and perhaps also marked the KAI for deletion with underdots (but he could have simply left the KAI because at this stage it has little affect on the meaning). This second stage reflects the Vorlage of P46.

In the third stage, the scribe of P46 completely misunderstood the numerals and copied Bereus (Βηρέα) and Aoulia (Ἀουλίαν) and so retained the order as well as the KAI which was already there. Thus, the scribe did not follow any instructions to correct the text in the variation-unit.

The fact that P46 has Ιουλιαν in Rom 16:7 does not speak in favor of any of these explanations, but it does strengthen the assumption that at some point Ιουλιαν was in Rom 16:15 as well.

Isn't this the simplest explanation? Perhaps it is time for another poll :-).

Monday, March 05, 2012

Creative Misreading and Hebrews 9:26

Scriptio continua yields its own specific problems and I found a great example in Sinaiticus. At Hebrews 9:26 most manuscripts read something along these lines:

νυνὶ δὲ ἅπαξ ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ τῶν αἰώνων εἰς ἀθέτησιν ἁμαρτίας διὰ τῆς θυσίας αὐτοῦ πεφανέρωται.

'But now he has appeared once at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself'
[Two variants: νυν / νυνι and the presence / absence of an article before αμαρτιας.]

This is what Sinaiticus has:

The combination of starting a new paragraph and, more importantly, the diaeresis on the iota suggests that the scribe read:

νῦν ἴδε ἅπαξ ...

'Now behold ...'

So, which reading does Sinaiticus support, νῦν or νυνί?

Post-Doc Opportunity

Post Doctoral Researcher
"The Fourfold Gospel and its Rivals"

Durham University - Department of Theology and Religion

Salary (£) 23811 - 29249

University of Durham
AHRC-Funded Project on "The Fourfold Gospel and its Rivals":

The Department of Theology and Religion seeks applicants with doctoral- level expertise in New Testament studies and/or Patristics, for a position as Postdoctoral Researcher on a project entitled "The Fourfold Gospel and its Rivals". This will be funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) under its Research Grant scheme, and led by Prof. Francis Watson. Applicants should have completed their PhD within the past three years (i.e. since January 2009), or be intending to submit no later than May 2012. The postholder will be required to provide research assistance to Prof. Watson, to engage in his/her own research within the scope of the project, to undertake limited undergraduate teaching duties, and to participate in the Department's wider research culture. The post is tenable from 1 September 2012 until 31 August 2015.

Vacancy reference: 1548 Closing date: 2 April 2012

Further details of the post and an application form are available on the website ( or telephone 0191 334 6499; fax 0191 334 6495.

New Publications

Volume 9 (2011) of Segno e Testo. International Journal of Manuscripts and Text Transmission has been published and there are some interesting articles in this volume, e.g.,

Gabriel Nocchi Macedo, "Formes et fonctions de l’astérisque dans les papyrus littéraires grecs et latins (3-33)"

Diletta Minutoli, "Un codice di Giona tra Firenze e Berlino: PSI X 1164 + BKT VIII 18 (93-112)"

And in volume XXI-XXII (2009-2010) of Analecta Papyrologica which is now available:

Herwig Maehler, "L’avenir de la papyrologie grecque," 7-8;
(English translation, "The future of Greek papyrology," 9-10)

Rosario Pintaudi, "Note codicologiche su due codici tardoantichi: PSI X 1166 (Apocalisse 9, 2-15) e PSI X 1171 (Aristofane, Nuvole 577-635)" 127-130.

And, finally, Pintaudi has published the article "Grenfell-Hunt e la papirologia in Italia" in Quaderni di storia 75 (2012), pp. 205-298.

Article description

The scholarly correspondence between the British papyrologists Grenfell and Hunt and the Italian scholars Girolamo Vitelli, Medea Norsa and Evaristo Breccia. Thirty-eight documents dated 1899 to 1934 are published here for the first time with notes. Interesting details on the Hellenica Oxyrhynchia are included. The appended plates include letters, printed postcards, press clippings and photographs.

(HT: Papy-L)

Friday, March 02, 2012

John's gospel in Coptic

Over at Alin Suciu's blog, you can read my official announcement of the launch of the Coptic portion of the IGNTP John database. I am grateful for the collaboration of Brice Jones (McGill University ), Elina Perttilä (University of Helsinki) and Alin Suciu (University of Laval) who assisted with the transcriptions, as well as Hugh Houghton and Catherine Smith (ITSEE, Birmingham) who are responsible for the technical aspects of the project. In the coming months, the display should be improved, hopefully allowing for the Coptic translations to be viewed in parallel. Hopefully, the Sahidic will appear within a year or two.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Gathercole's long-awaited book on Thomas

Today is the official publication date of fellow blogger Simon Gathercole's book: 'The Composition of the Gospel of Thomas'. I even received a phone call from an excited friend just to inform me that he had sighted the book in the CUP bookshop in the centre of Cambridge. So it's officially out.

Buy your copy here.

This book represents a major challenge to those who maintain that Thomas has early, pre-synoptic material, or that it has independent access to Aramaic traditions.

Not quite TC, but interesting anyway.

St Andrews Conference

Manuscripts and their Texts: Perspectives on Textual Criticism

With an emphasis on textual criticism, the 2nd St Andrews Graduate Conference for Biblical and Early Christian Studies is aimed at graduate students and early career scholars. Contributors are welcomed from the following fields of research: Old Testament / Hebrew Bible,
Pseudepigrapha & Dead Sea Scrolls, New Testament and Early Christianity.

There is a plenary speaker for each of these sections:
Prof. Kristin de Troyer (St Andrews)
Dr. Johannes Magliano-Tromp (Leiden)
Dr. Peter M. Head (Cambridge)
Prof. Karla Pollmann (St Andrews)

We will also have a special invited lecture from Dr. Grant Macaskill
(St Andrews) on his edition of the Slavonic text of 2 Enoch.

Further details are available at

[via Jack Sasson]

SBL Annual Meeting Call for Papers

The deadline for submitting a paper proposal for the SBL Annual Meeting in Chicago 2012 has been extended to Wednesday, March 7, so there is really plenty of time for Peter Head and others to think about a possible topic for their paper.

This is the call for papers for New Testament textual criticism:
The New Testament Textual Criticism Section invites proposals for the following two sessions: 1) The Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM). We seek proposals that will either exemplify or evaluate this text-critical approach. 2) An open session. Proposals are welcome on any aspect of New Testament textual criticism, especially those that focus on textual criticism and exegesis, and the history and practice of textual criticism. We will also have a third session with a discussion of The Text of the New Testament: Essays on the Status Quaestionis (Brill, 2012), edited by Bart Ehrman and Michael Holmes.

More details here.

Personally, I have already submitted a proposal related to the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method. I very much look forward to the meeting as usual. One of the best parts is to get together with friends and scholars, and not to forget about our annual ETC blogdinner.