Monday, March 31, 2014

Wallace reviews Elliott

From the SBL Review of Biblical Literature 26 March 2014

J. K. Elliott
New Testament Textual Criticism: The Application of Thoroughgoing Principles
Reviewed by Daniel B. Wallace

 This is an interesting and helpful review of Elliott's collected essays. That is really a daunting book to review and Dan has done a good job of summarising. Dan says he has been persuaded to come over to the correct view of Hebrews 2.9 through reading this book. He also offers some general comments on thoroughgoing eclecticism and some critical reflections. Only on one point did I think he missed a trick. Dan mentions that he found a lot of typos in the book, stating: "I counted over 150". I would have thought that in the spirit of Keith Elliott we deserved the entire list!!!

Between Constantinople and Rome. An Illuminated Byzantine Gospel Book (Paris gr. 54)

Between Constantinople and RomeKathleen Maxwell, Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History, Santa Clara University, wrote her dissertation on “Paris, Bibliothéque Nationale, Codex Grec 54: An Analysis of the Text and Miniatures” under the supervision of Robert S. Nelson and now her monograph on the manuscript has been published by Ashgate as Between Constantinople and Rome. An Illuminated Byzantine Gospel Book (Paris gr. 54) and the Union of Churches. Table of contents here.

In 2006 at the SBL International Meeting in Edinburgh I met Kathleen Maxwell for the first time. There I heard her present a fascinating paper on “Paris 54 and Garrett 3” and I had the opportunity to chat to her afterwards and offer some small advice on textual criticism. Since then we have met several times at various conferences through the years and today we are both members of the IGNTP committee.

In her Edinburgh presentation Maxwell had mainly approached these MSS – Paris 54 (16) and Princeton, Garrett 3 (1528) – as an art historian, and had found a remarkable link in regard to the illuminations. In Garrett’s texts there were curious red crosses which, as it turned out, indicated the exact places of the illuminations in Paris 54, and she demonstrated that they were textually related too (by using a few examples from the Text und Textwert-volumes). In fact it turned out that another MS, Athos, Iviron 5 (990) was connected to the group. A comparative study of these three MSS is now included in her monograph as a special appendix (Appendix C).

At one point in Maxwell’s presentation she told us the story of how she had phoned Bart Ehrman and asked him if he had seen similar red crosses with this function elsewhere. Ehrman had not, but told her to phone Metzger, which she did (“it was almost like calling God” - she said), and Metzger kindly replied that he had not seen anything of the like either.

The Paris Codex Grec 54 is curious for many reasons. The bilingual diglot from the 13th Cent. (=Greg.-Aland 16) was dubbed by Gregory “the rainbow manuscript” (Canon and Text, 372) since it uses a range of different colour to indicate different speakers:
  • bright red ink: simple narrative text
  • darker red/crimson ink: the genealogy of Christ, the words of angels, the words of Jesus
  • blue ink: OT passages, words of disciples, Zachariah, Mary, Elizabeth, Simeon, John the Baptist
  • dark brown ink: words of Pharisees, people from crowd, Judas Iscariot, the devil, shepherds, scribes, the Centurion
(More on this aspect here.)

The conclusion to Maxwell’s  introduction is worth citing:
This study affirms the importance of a multidisciplinary approach in the study of a complex manuscript such as Paris 54. While nothing specific is known about the origins of Paris 54, a very plausible explanation can be posited for virtually every aspect of this manuscript, including its unfinished status.
Information from the publisher
Imprint: Ashgate
Illustrations: Includes 33 colour and 54 b&w illustrations
Published: March 2014
Format: 244 x 172 mm Extent: 390 pages
Binding: Hardback
ISBN: 978-1-4094-5744-2 
ISBN Short: 9781409457442

This is a study of the artistic and political context that led to the production of a truly exceptional Byzantine illustrated manuscript. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, codex grec 54 is one of the most ambitious and complex manuscripts produced during the Byzantine era. This thirteenth-century Greek and Latin Gospel book features full-page evangelist portraits, an extensive narrative cycle, and unique polychromatic texts. However, it has never been the subject of a comprehensive study and the circumstances of its commission are unknown. In this book Kathleen Maxwell addresses the following questions: what circumstances led to the creation of Paris 54? Who commissioned it and for what purpose? How was a deluxe manuscript such as this produced? Why was it left unfinished? How does it relate to other Byzantine illustrated Gospel books?

Paris 54’s innovations are a testament to the extraordinary circumstances of its commission. Maxwell’s multi-disciplinary approach includes codicological and paleographical evidence together with New Testament textual criticism, artistic and historical analysis. She concludes that Paris 54 was never intended to copy any other manuscript. Rather, it was designed to eclipse its contemporaries and to physically embody a new relationship between Constantinople and the Latin West, as envisioned by its patron. Analysis of Paris 54’s texts and miniature cycle indicates that it was created at the behest of a Byzantine emperor as a gift to a pope, in conjunction with imperial efforts to unify the Latin and Orthodox churches. As such, Paris 54 is a unique witness to early Palaeologan attempts to achieve church union with Rome.

Contents: Introduction; Paris 54: codicological and paleographical considerations; Paris 54: modus operandi of scribes and artists; The Greek Gospel text of Paris 54 and New Testament textual criticism; The three artists responsible for the narrative miniatures and evangelist portraits of Paris 54; Imitation and innovation: a comparative study of the narrative cycles and evangelist portraits of Paris 54 and Athos, Iviron 5; Paris 54’s place in thirteenth-century Constantinopolitan book illumination; Art and diplomacy in late thirteenth-century Constantinople: Paris 54 and the union of churches; Epilogue: from Constantinople to Catherine de Medici; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

Reviews: ‘Based on extensive new research, this ground-breaking study places a richly illuminated Byzantine Gospel Book between East and West at a crucial time.’
John Lowden, Courtauld Institute of Art, UK

‘With its bilingual text, polychrome script, and extensive Gospel cycle, Paris, gr. 54 is the most intricately planned and opulently produced manuscript of late thirteenth-century Byzantium; it is also among the most enigmatic, an unfinished effort devoid of testimony to its patron or intended purpose. Professor Maxwell offers a compelling theory about its conception in a Constantinople torn by tension over the union of the Churches. But her meticulous examination yields something yet more fundamental. Her keen visual analysis of the processes of Paris 54’s production and the codex from which its miniatures were copied is matched here by a comparably detailed analysis of its Greek Gospel text and the manuscript from which it was copied. Her demonstration that Paris 54’s text has a genealogy as independent and revealing as its codicology and illumination is a signal achievement, and it opens a challenging new chapter in the study of illuminated books.’
Annemarie Weyl Carr, Southern Methodist University, USA

Friday, March 28, 2014

Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School 2014: Registration Open

Some readers may be interested in this:

The Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School (DHOxSS) is an annual training event taking place on 14 - 18 July 2014 at the University of Oxford for researchers, project managers, research assistants, students, and anyone interested in Digital Humanities.
The main information concerning the Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School 2014 is located at Including pages for:
  • About: About the DHOxSS 2014, basic information and our stakeholders, partners, and DHOxSS Organisational Committee
  • Schedule: The latest overview we have on the DHOxSS 2014 programme of lectures, workshops and events
  • Workshops: The most detailed information concerning the content and timetables to help you choose which one of our week-long workshops you want to take
  • Lectures: Each morning features a keynote or 3 parallel lecture slots for you to choose from
  • Registration: All the information you'll need to know to register
  • Accommodation: Details of our accommodation at Wolfson College, you can book it when registering
  • Poster Session: Information on our peer-reviewed poster session
  • Social Events: DHOxSS is not just about learning: find out about our receptions, tours, dinners, lectures and more
  • Bursaries: Any information we have concerning bursaries will be posted here: if we can publicise it, it is here
  • Sponsorship: DHOxSS is a great place to advertise your institution / product / service
  • Venues and Travel: Some basic information about our venues and how to get here
  • Contact: Contact details including emergency numbers
All enquiries concerning DHOxSS 2014 should go to



Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wallace on Blomberg's new book

Dan Wallace has a helpful interaction with Craig Blomberg's new book on believing the Bible, especially in relation to the chapter on textual criticism of the NT (which mostly seems to focus on Bart Ehrman). Dan is positive about the book, but the nine errors he notices in chapter one are unfortunate, and they are also suggest that Craig B. is a bit out of his comfort zone with this material. I sometimes wonder how much thorough accuracy really matters in apologetics?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Off to Oklahoma for a conference

Tomorrow I am heading for Oklahoma City for a conference on Dating Early Papyri and Manuscripts with the Green Scholars Initiative. In addition to my academic paper on some obscure subject connected with the palaeography of the early papyri and meeting up with some old academic friends (and making new ones), and speaking in a church for the father of one of my students; I shall also be checking some things for our Codex Climaci Rescriptus project. While I'm there I'm hoping to get to the Banjo Museum, the Cowboy Museum, and I'll be looking for Route 66 and the way to Amarillo. Here is clip from the previous conference:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A guest post

Ed Andrew Edmondson, working on a PhD in beautiful Birmingham, sent in the following:

John 12:15 quotes Zechariah 9:9: “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!”. Most of the manuscripts read ο βασιλευς σου (your king), but a small number read ο βασιλευ σου - or is that ο βασιλευς ου since there are no word boundaries?
Surely it isn't intended to read “the king is not coming” (ο βασιλευς ου) - so is “ο βασιλευ σου” a legitimate alternative?

Consider John 12:15 in manuscript 1014, for example, which seems a clear case of a single sigma:

Perhaps the scribe missed out one sigma, either by design or error. Or perhaps this could be an unexpected use of the vocative... Now consider Matthew 21:5 in the same manuscript, which contains the same quote from Zechariah:

That has two sigmas... so it doesn't seem that this scribe would habitually miss one out. So was it just a mistake in his copying of John?

Interestingly, considering the same two places in manuscript 382 we find only one sigma in each place. So perhaps that scribe did deliberately write this with only one sigma. A few words earlier in John 12 he did write ο βασιλευσ του ιηλ (the king of Israel) – so he wasn't against the form βασιλευσ.

So why do we find this reading? Is it merely phonetic and/or just a different way of writing the same variant? Or is it a genuine variant using the vocative (or even the negative)?

And so should it be regularised away, or left in the critical apparatus? We were trying to answer this question in ITSEE today...

Witnesses to this variant: 036, 295, 382, 579, 732, 1014, 1029, 1344, 1546, 2411, 2585, 2615, L425, L1075

More Codex Sinaiticus Images Online

The British Library have announced that images of the British Library portions of Codex Sinaiticus are available through their Digitised Manuscripts collection. A quick look here suggests that they are the same images as used for the Codex Sinaiticus Project, so I'm interested in whether this additional resource will be helpful in ways that the CSP is not (feel free to comment on this, I don't have time right now to check such things). There is a helpful bibliography and other information, including reference to a forthcoming volume: From Parchment to Pixel, ed. by S. McKendrick and D. C. Parker, London (forthcoming) - this is presumably the publication of the papers of the Sinaiticus conference in 2009.

Monday, March 24, 2014

J.K. Elliott reviews Trobisch's User's Guide

JTS have published J. K. Elliott's review of
A User’s Guide to the Nestle–Aland 28 Greek New Testament. By David Trobisch.
The pdf is (also?) available here. J Theol Studies published 22 March 2014, 10.1093/jts/flu045
Elliott is pretty critical (cf. Dirk's comments here), with some good detail which will help teachers using the Guide with their students. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Another interesting article

Another recent interesting article to add to Peter's recent list; apologies for not posting it when it appeared in January:

Juan Hernández, Jr., "The Creation of a Fourth-Century Witness to the Andreas Text-Type: A Misreading in the Apocalypse's Textual History," New Testament Studies 60 (2014), 106 – 120.

 Abstract: "The publication of Josef Schmid's landmark work on the textual history of the Apocalypse seemingly established the Andreas Text Type as a fourth-century product. The primary evidence for Schmid's claim came from the fourth-century corrections of the Apocalypse in Codex Sinaiticus, corrections which bore a close resemblance to the Andreas text of the Apocalypse. Schmid's reconstruction, however, is flawed. The fourth-century corrections he identified are actually from the seventh-century. The data supporting a fourth-century Andreas text do not exist. Schmid's widely influential error appears to have been based on a misreading of Milne and Skeat's "Scribes and Correctors of the Codex Sinaiticus."