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!


  1. How are we to know which manuscripts come from the second century?

  2. Sorry, that should have been rhyming:

    Isn't there a general difficulty
    Dating to the second century?
    Basing it on previous consensus
    Only four would be in our conspectus

  3. There are six of seven more unseen,

    at least according to Carroll and Green,

    in a year we hope for evidence from Brill,

    to see whether it is apologetic overkill.

  4. ‎...But p32 has a lot more in store. It testifies to the canonical recognition of alleged pseudepigrahical lore. With this little scrap the ivory tower of such postulates lies in schabbles and a heap. Because the best that has been mustered is now fully blown, in its threadbareness repleat.

  5. I hate to come across as crass;
    are there no daughters in your class?

  6. A manuscript of Marcion
    would also be of great concern

  7. P

  8. In spring a youth thinks of dating
    Not recognising problems he is creating
    But at least we can know
    Without any further ado
    That the manuscripts so far are not faking

  9. I blame it on the medication

  10. If large omnicrom is the deciding factor
    and decorative ligatures sign their own full weight
    then doubtless do Head and Wasserman together swallow such tail-tail signs hook, line and sinker to be able to date?

  11. "To check or not to check?" What a variant!
    "To add or not to add?" Such a radiant!
    "To omit or not to omit!" Kind of a mediant!

    and I cannot claim the medication :)

  12. It looks like none of us has missed a calling to be a poet.

  13. While I have used the term "palimpsest" in a song of mine (which received local radio play here in the US), I've never considered writing lyrics about TC.

    And I think that's probably for the best.

  14. Were p39 never yet seen
    Before it was bought by Green
    How long, how long would it be, I mean,
    Before publication ever had been?

  15. Why speak of such late papyri?
    I'll far surpass all ye!
    Look now at 4QSamuel(b)...
    Now that's third century!

  16. Then said Wallace, "A most curious anomaly,
    A second century sermon on Hebrews--a homily!"

  17. PMH: "I blame it on the medication."

    I have heard you TC rhyming before, I am thinking of the limerick at the party after my thesis examination – I thought this was an Australian predisposition, limerick being the national verse form (or were you on medication?).

  18. Limerick as an "Australian predisposition"? Limerick poems are known from at least early 19th-century Britain, but they received the name Limericks decades later (1880 is the earliest attested use I found, in a Canadian newspaper). I think they are called Limericks in reference to the Treaty of Limerick. During the American Civil War (which saw publication of many limericks) the phrase "come to Limerick" meant settle, come to the point, or give up. In games, an invitation to come to Limerick apparently was a challenge whether the next contestant could deliver a new limerick. I say the British poem form got its Irish name in America.
    Reference: G. Cohen ed. "Stephen Goranson's research into -limerick-: a preliminary report." "Comments on Etymology" vol. 40 no. 1-2. (Oct.-Nov. 2010) pages 2-11

  19. Stephen, I never suggested that the limerick was an Australian invention (I think it is older than the 19th century). I was just under the impression that it was popular in Australia. Apparently, David Dale, author of The Little Book of Australia – A snapshot of who we are (Allen and Unwin) agrees.

  20. Sorry, Tommy, if I seemed critical; it's not my wish to slight you or Australia. I may have used a poorly-worded segue to note a possible origin story I happened upon. I suggest that other proposed explanations for the naming of Limericks concentrated on usage in the UK and Ireland, whereas I was surprised to find a related sense of "come to Limerick" earliest in North America (well before the OED references). (If anyone is interested in the proposed evidence, I'll send a pdf.)

  21. I believe that limericks are popular in Australia. And that probably reflects the influence of the Irish and English folk who came out to that great land in the South

  22. Limericks also offer an interesting example of an informal controlled oral tradition. E.g. as long as you have Darjeeling, Ealing and ceiling in the right place and the metre right there can be acceptable variation in the wording (e.g. train/bus; boarded/got on; stood up/carefully, wall/door etc.):

    There was a young man from Darjeeling,
    Who got on a bus bound for Ealing.
    It said at the door:
    "Don't spit on the floor."
    So he carefully spat on the ceiling.

  23. There was a young man named Peter
    Who wasn't strong on dactylic hexameter
    He preferred poems that rhyme
    At least most of the time
    So he liked his limericks better.

  24. In making these manuscript recollections
    Let's not forget that these had corrections
    Which, alas, was the most corrected of all?
    By an Egyptian mount, some wished it to call.

  25. Apparently it is World Poetry Day: see here for some interaction (alas no limericks):