Thursday, December 29, 2016

Publications and Other News

I’ve been busy lately with a cross-Atlantic move. So here are some things I’ve come across the last month or so but haven’t been able to blog about. Let me know if I missed anything.


    • Ethiopian Manuscripts donated to Catholic University of America
      “The Catholic University of America is now home to one of North America’s most important collections of Ethiopian religious manuscripts, thanks to a generous donation from Chicago collectors Gerald and Barbara Weiner.”
    • Christopher de Hamel on the BBC
      The librarian of the beautiful and wonderfully endowed Parker Library in Cambridge talks to Andrew Marr about “the oldest non-archaeological artefact in England, which is the oldest surviving illustrated Latin Gospel in the world...” If you do not have a copy of de Hamel’s new book Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts, sell whatever you got for Christmas and go get it. If I had a book of the year, this would be it. I read my wife parts of it and her response was, “I didn’t know there were other people in the world like you!”
    • New Dead Sea Scrolls
      Haaretz reports “New fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls have been found in the Cave of the Skulls by the Dead Sea in Israel, in a salvage excavation by Israeli authorities. The pieces are small and the writing on them is too faded to make out without advanced analysis. At this stage the archaeologists aren’t even sure if they’re written in ancient Hebrew, Aramaic or another language.”



    • Congrats to Hugh Houghton!
      “At the SBL Annual Meeting in San Antonio last month, the Deputy Director of ITSEE, Dr Hugh Houghton, was elected as Executive Editor of the International Greek New Testament Project (IGNTP), with responsibility for the Pauline Epistles.... The position is open-ended, and involves overseeing the preparation of editions of the Greek text of the Pauline Epistles which are expected to appear in the Novum Testamentum Graecum Editio Critica Maior (ECM), published by the German Bible Society.” If you missed, it we interviewed Hugh on the blog: part 1 and part 2.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2016

    Variants affecting carols

    Can anyone cite instances where unusual variant readings have affected Christmas carols?

    More on Christmas variants.

    Friday, December 16, 2016

    British Library and Copyright

    The following caught my interest from the BL blog:

    “Readers may be surprised to learn that most medieval manuscripts held at the British Library are still in copyright until 2039 under the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (as amended). However for unpublished material created many centuries ago and in the public domain in most other countries, the British Library believes making available digital copies of this material to be very unlikely to raise any objections. As an institution whose role it is to support access to knowledge, we have therefore taken the decision to release certain digitised images technically still in copyright in the UK under the Public Domain Mark on our Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts website.”

    I like their self-understanding as ‘an institution whose role it is to support access to knowledge’. Wouldn't it be great if all scholars thought about themselves in similar terms ...

    Monday, December 12, 2016

    ETC Blog on the ‘Naked Bible Podcast’

    One of the fun things I did while at SBL was sit down with Michael Heiser for an interview on his “Naked Bible podcast.” We talked about what makes the ETC blog Evangelical, about CSNTM, the CBGM, and whether the KJV is the best Bible ever.

    It was good fun and I managed to make only one outrageously inaccurate statement. Thankfully I caught it before too long. You all can tell me if there are others. Also, don’t miss his interview with Thomas Hudgins on his recently finished PhD thesis on the Complutensian Polyglot (more here).

    Listen Here

    Thursday, December 08, 2016

    Review of Brotzman and Tully’s Old Testament Textual Criticism (Meade)

    Over at the Books as a Glance website, our one-time (corr: two-time) ETC blogger, John Meade, has a detailed review of the new updated edition of Ellis Brotzman’s Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction. John concludes:
    As an introduction to textual criticism, this volume has heuristic value in that it orients the reader to the discourse and practice of textual criticism. As an introduction to textual criticism, the volume is not as helpful as it could have been. The discussion on the text history of the Old Testament is not current. The information on the Greek versions was incomplete and mistaken in places. The volume appeared to follow other chief works in the field such as Tov’s and as a result it lacked fresh analysis and presentation of the immensely important subject matter. The field of textual criticism is already challenging enough to the novice, but when there are mistakes and discussions are presented in an incomplete and stale manner, the authors make it harder for the student to learn this skill than necessary.
    Brotzman’s new co-author, Eric Tully, thinks John missed the aim of the book as an introduction and gives a lengthy response as a result.

    I will say that writing an introduction is tough. It requires a real mastery of the field in question but also a good sense of what students need and how they will be able to digest it. Moreover, it needs to introduce students both to the history of the discipline but also to the current “state of play.” For a long time, my personal favorite in this genre has been Jobes’ and Silva’s introduction to the Septuagint. It’s a great model in this. I haven’t seen the 2nd edition yet but I understand it keeps the same basic structure of the original edition.

    * * *

    As an addendum, I think we can all agree that John Meade needs to blog more for us here at ETC. Besides benefiting all of us with his OTTC expertise, it would make up for the fact that he roots for the Denver Broncos.

    Tuesday, December 06, 2016

    Ryrie’s Bible Collection Sells for $7.3m at Auction

    Dan Wallace was apparently not at Sotheby’s for yesterday’s auction of Charles Ryrie’s amazing Bible collection but he reports:
    A Coptic fragment with citations
    from Matthew's Gospel (more)
    Ryrie did not own junk. His printed books were in excellent condition. The selling price reflected this. The very first published Greek New Testament, Erasmus’s Novum Testamentum [sic; Instrumentum] (1516), sold for $24,000. The third edition (1522)—the first one to have the comma Johanneum in it—was a bargain at $5500. 
    A second edition of Tyndale’s New Testament (Ryrie owned nearly a dozen of these!) sold for $75,000. There were also several copies of the Matthew’s Bible ($22,000), Coverdale Bible ($11,000–$21,000), Great Bible ($4,000–$28,000), Geneva New Testament ($30,000), Bishops Bible ($48,000), Douay-Rheims Bible ($18,000), a rare copy of the KJV ‘Wicked Bible’ (1631; so-called because the printer left out the ‘not’ in the seventh commandment; thus, “Thou shalt commit adultery”!) for $38,000.
    The Luther vellum Bible sold for $260,000. It is probably the most beautiful book I’ve ever seen. This was more than double the expected sale price. 
    A rare Complutensian Polyglot (only 600 were printed) came in under expectations at $70,000. This included actually the first printed Greek New Testament, though it was not published until six years after Erasmus’s work was out. The Textus Receptus—the Greek that stands behind the KJV—was essentially Erasmus’s Greek New Testament, with some wording from the CP as well as later editions of the Greek New Testament that were largely based on Erasmus.
    It’s pretty amazing. Read the rest at Dan’s report here.

    Sadly, I never got to see Ryrie’s collection when I was at Dallas.


    The whole collection sold for over 7.3 million dollars! The list from Sotheby’s is incredible. The whole collection has 197 items in it which means an average of about $37,000 per item. I hope they found good homes.

    Monday, December 05, 2016

    Depiction of Crucifixion (SBL Report)

    At SBL I enjoyed the session discussing Peter Lampe’s book, From Paul to Valentinus: Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries (Fortress Press, 2003) (S19-340: Polis and Ekklesia: Investigations of Urban Christianity).

    This included interesting presentations from John Kloppenborg, Jutta Dresken-Weiland, and Mark Reasoner (Peter Lampe himself was not present, which was fair enough considering his recent heart surgery involving a triple bypass).

    Jutta Dresken-Weiland talked about new archaeological finds or acquisitions from the late second or early third century which were not known to Lampe, but which provide important early evidence for Christian presence in and around Rome. (I suspect a fair bit of this might be in her book: Bild, Wort, und Grab. Untersuchungen zu Jenseitsvorstellungen von Christen des 3.–6. Jahrhunderts (Regensburg 2010), but I haven’t seen this book). One interesting piece she talked about was a gemstone in the British Museum in London (1986,0501.1). This has a pictorial representation of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, probably the earliest extant representation. She offered a date of c. AD 200.

    There is no doubt that this is a depiction of Jesus as a bearded figure, with hands tied to the cross beam and legs astride the main beam. The text begins: ΥΙΕ ΠΑTΗP IΗCΟΥ ΧΡICTΕ CΟΑMΝWΑMWA IΑ(W ...

    P. Derchain, ‘Die älteste Darstellung des Gekreuzigten auf einer magischen Gemme des 3. (?) Jahrhunderts’ Christentum am Nil. Internationale Arbeitstagung zur Ausstellung “Koptische Kunst”. Essen, Villa Hügel, 23.-25. Juli 1963 (ed. Κ. Wessel; Recklinghausen: A. Bongers, 1964), 109-113.

    For further information see the British Museum website, Simone Michel, Die Magischen Gemmen im Britischen Museum (London: BMP, 2001), No. 457 (pp. 283-284) text here; Jeffrey Spier, Late Antique and Early Christian Gems (Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2007), p. 443 text here; F. Harley-McGowan, ‘The Constanza Carnelian and the Development of Crucifixion Iconography in Late Antiquity’ “Gems of Heaven”: Recent Research on Engraved Gemstones in late Antiquity c. AD 200-600 (eds C. Entwistle & N. Adams; London: BMP, 2011), 214-220 (pdf here). This is also discussed in recent works on the cross by B.W. Longenecker (The Cross before Constantine) and J.C. Cook (Crucifixion in the Mediterranean World, 185-186).

    Thursday, December 01, 2016

    Vetus Latina Workshop, 15-16 December, Wuppertal

    Vetus-Latina-Workshop des Graduiertenkollegs am 15.-16.12.2016


    Alle Veranstaltungen finden in den Räumlichkeiten der Kirchlichen Hochschule Wuppertal/Bethel statt (Hörsaal 4 und 5).

    Donnerstag, 15. 12. 2016

    17.00 Uhr
    Einführung: Die Vetus Latina
    Thomas Johann Bauer (Erfurt)

    17.15 Uhr
    Die Textgeschichte der Septuaginta und die Vetus Latina
    Siegfried Kreuzer (Wien)

    Freitag, 16. 12. 2016

    9.00 Uhr
    Workshop und Diskussion: „Die Edition der Vetus Latina: Was möchte der Benutzer wissen und wie präsentiert man die Informationen?“
    Sr. Bonifatia Gesche (Mariendonk)

    Kaffeepause (10.30 – 11.00)

    11.00 Uhr
    Workshop und Diskussion: „Magna et mirabilia. Exemplarische Beobachtungen zur VL der Apk“
    Marcus Sigismund / Matthias Geigenfeind (Wuppertal)

    Mittagessen (12.30 – 13.45)

    13.45 Uhr
    Workshop und Diskussion:
    „Handschriften, Übersetzungen, Textkritik: Augustin und der lateinische Bibeltext“
    Rebekka Schirner (Mainz)

    Kaffeepause (15.15 – 15.45)

    15.45 Uhr
    Workshop und Diskussion: „Digitale Infrastruktur als Voraussetzung für digitale Editionen“
    Ulrich Schmid (Münster/Wuppertal)

    Kaffeepause (17.15 – 17.30)

    17.30 Uhr
    Podium: Thomas Johann Bauer, Matthias Geigenfeind, Sr. Bonifatia Gesche, Siegfried Kreuzer, Ferdinand Prostmeier, Rebekka Schirner, Ulrich Schmid, Marcus Sigismund

    [HT Hugh Houghton]

    Dead Sea Scroll Forgeries in Your Favorite Bible Software?

    Dead Sea Scrolls in Accordance
    Over at the Lying Pen of Scribes blogÅrstein Justnes has posted a list of forged Dead Sea Scrolls that have made their way into modules for Accordance, BibleWorks, and Logos. Among other problems, Årstein points out that their inclusion in this software “has statistical implications.”

    Now before you go and toss your PC out the window (if you have a Mac, go right ahead), Martin Abegg adds some important context in the comments:
    Good. This is a necessary step in the process. But allow me to make a couple of comments.
    • First, my mandate when constructing Dead Sea Concordances 1-3 was to include all of the documents in Emanuel Tov’s “Lists.”
    • Second, we have a bit of guilt by association at foot in this list—3 are marked “forgery” the rest are painted with the same pollution brush although marked probable forgery or unprovenanced—but assuming for the sake of argument that they are ALL forgeries, these fragments account for 0.17% of the morphological forms in the biblical data and 0.02% of the non-biblical. Or in other words, 179 of 103,383 and 32 of 174,917 morph forms respectively. Certainly we would hope for 0 elements of “pollution,” but this hardly amounts to the possibility of “major statistical implications” as suggested in the post. I have no doubt that misreadings in the editions is at least as problematic as outright fraud.
    • Finally, my procedure from this point on: my past position has been that I add nothing to the data until I have a peer-reviewed publication in hand. I have had to modify this position as a result of the recent debate: I will for the present allow everything in Tov’s list to remain but I will add nothing of the new publications (not even my own Nehemiah fragment!) until a peer-reviewed debate brings some degree of assurance as to what to remove and what to add.
    Årstein thinks all the fragments he lists are forgeries adding in the comments that “most of them are just as problematic as the unfamous Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.” He also clarifies that the statistical implications are mostly to do with how many DSS manuscripts we have for various Biblical books.

    Certainly something to be aware of if you use these modules.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2016

    Interesting Material from the Archives at Westcott House

    Westcott House in the summer
    This morning I spent some time going through a cabinet of material from B. F. Westcott kept at Westcott House in Cambridge (see here for details). Westcott founded the school in 1881 as Cambridge Clergy Training School and it took its current name only after his death.

    The archives has a number of interesting things belonging to Westcott. There are about ten books that either he owned or that he gave to others. These include Hort’s copy of Tischendorf’s Greek Old Testament, H. B. Swete’s copy of Westcott and Hort’s Greek New Testament, and a copy of the Revised Version (NT) that Hort gave to Westcott.

    The manuscript of Westcott’s
    book on the history of the canon.
    Speaking of Hort, there is this nice note to Westcott when the latter left Cambridge to become the Bishop of Durham: “… It does not often happen that two friends work together almost literally day by day for forty years; and now, in one sense, our end comes, and some words of farewell which are indeed God speed may well be spoken, & yet it is not the words themselves so much as the blessing of the presence.”

    The archives also contain a number of Westcott’s original manuscripts from his published books including his History of the English Bible, History of the Canon of the New Testament, and his commentary on John.

    But the most interesting item in the collection, as far as I’m concerned, is Westcott’s own copy of Eberhard Nestle’s first edition of the Novum Testamentum Graece (1898). This, of course, is the precursor to the Nestle-Aland edition we are all familiar with today. Westcott and Hort’s edition was one of the three that Nestle originally used to determine his own text. What makes the copy at Westcott House special is that it is the copy Nestle himself sent to Westcott as a thank you. Inside the front cover there is a short letter from Nestle.

    Ulm, Germany
    end of March
    Dear Sir

    It is my pleasant duty, after I have finished the edition of the Greek Testament, which I have undertaken for the Bible Society of Wurttemberg, to renew to you the expression of our sincerest thanks, for the permission so graciously granted to us, to make use for it of the Greek Testament revised by yourself and Professor Hort. As you will see from the copy, which will be forwarded to you by same post, your text is the one constituent factor of the new edition, and I testify once more with the greatest pleasure, I never handled a book made up with so much care and thoughtfulness in the smallest details as your edition. The forthcoming number of the Expository Times (and that of May) will bring the small list of Errata or Inconsistencies, which I have detected, while I was collating your edition with Weymouth and Tischendorf. I shall recommend it to your kind attention and remain in lasting thankfulness.
    most faithfully
    Eb. Nestle

    Here’s a photo. (Sorry about the quality.)

    Now, I can’t talk about Westcott House without mentioning my favorite feature: their tortoise named Hort. He literally gets put in a fridge for the winter to hibernate so I didn’t see him today. But during the warmer months, he can be seen trawling the courtyard for food. I’m told he used to have a friend named Lightfoot, but he lived up to his name and ran off!

    “Hort” at Westcott House

    Friday, November 25, 2016

    The Difference Ultraviolet Makes

    This is from the last page of GA 720, a 12th century Gospels manuscript digitized by CSNTM. It’s a particularly good example of the difference ultraviolet light can make.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2016

    ‘Business Insider’ on the Bible’s Transmission

    A friend sends this short video from Business Insider and asks, “Is it rubbish?” Since I’m traveling, I thought I would let our astute readers answer for me. Note that it features ETC blog contributor, Bill Warren.

    Saturday, November 19, 2016

    ETS 2016 Recap

    Thanks to all who came out to our first annual ETC at ETS lunch. It was a great success. Alas, there were no speeches, but the food was excellent. Truly a highlight for me so far.

    Even better though was the session on Wednesday that featured no less than three ETC bloggers in back-to-back presentations. I was up first trying to explain the CBGM then Dirk got up to tell us why the Tyndale Greek NT is better still and, finally, Maurice told us why we were both wrong! It was great fun and a real honor for me to present alongside two men who have been a real inspiration and encouragement to me.

    See you next year! (or at SBL)

    Friday, November 18, 2016

    Le Nouveau Testament en syriaque Conference

    Obviously this is too late for anyone wanting to attend, but the Society for the Study of Syriac organizes a “round table” every year and today they are meeting on the topic of the Syriac New Testament. The papers should be published in the accompanying series by Geuthner next year which I look forward to. I should note that ETC contributor, Jean-Louis Simonet, is giving a paper. Here is the full program:
    • David Phillips (Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve)
      « Les canons des Nouveaux Testaments en syriaque »
    • David Taylor (University of Oxford)
      « L’Apocalypse de Jean en syriaque : des origines à Diamper » 
    • Jan Joosten (University of Oxford)
      « Le Diatessaron syriaque » 
    • Jean-Claude Haelewyck (FNRS et Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve)
      « Les vieilles versions syriaques des évangiles (sinaïtique et curetonienne) » 
    • Andreas Juckel (Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung, Münster)
      « The New Testament Peshitta (Corpus Paulinum) : History of the Text and History of the Transmission » 
    • Jonathan Loopstra (University of Northwestern, St. Paul, MN)
      « Le Nouveau Testament dans les manuscrits syriaques massorétiques : Où en sommes-nous ? » 
    • Gerard Rouwhorst (Tilburg University)
      « La lecture liturgique du Nouveau Testament dans les Églises syriaques » 
    • Dominique Gonnet (HiSoMa – Sources Chrétiennes, Lyon)
      « Les citations patristiques syriaques » 
    • Jean-Louis Simonet (Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve)
      « Vetus Syra – arménien : les citations des Actes » 
    • Eva Balicka-Witakowska (Uppsala University)
      « Artistic Means in the Syriac New Testament Manuscripts » 
    • Robert Wilkinson (Valley House, Temple Cloud, Somerset)
      « Printed Editions of the Peshitta New Testament »

    Sunday, November 13, 2016

    Luke 15 preview

    The main text of the Greek New Testament produced at Tyndale House, whose principal editor is Dirk Jongkind is now complete except for peer review and some minor spelling adjustments. I thought it might be of interest to provide a preview of Luke 15 in this edition. It is obviously not drastically different from other editions, but the keen-sighted among you may well spot differences which interest them. This text will be in peer review for the next couple of months and may therefore undergo some changes.

    15:1 Ἦσαν δὲ αὐτῷ ἐγγίζοντες πάντες οἱ τελῶναι καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἀκούειν αὐτοῦ. 2 καὶ διεγόγγυζον οἵ τε Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς λέγοντες ὅτι οὗτος ἁμαρτωλοὺς προσδέχεται καὶ συνεσθίει αὐτοῖς.

    3 Εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην λέγων· 4 τίς ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ὑμῶν ἔχων ἑκατὸν πρόβατα καὶ ἀπολέσας ἐξ αὐτῶν ἕν, οὐ καταλείπει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ καὶ πορεύεται ἐπὶ τὸ ἀπολωλὸς ἕως εὕρῃ αὐτό; 5 καὶ εὑρὼν ἐπιτίθησιν ἐπὶ τοὺς ὤμους αὐτοῦ χαίρων, 6 καὶ ἐλθὼν εἰς τὸν οἶκον συγκαλεῖ τοὺς φίλους καὶ τοὺς γείτονας λέγων αὐτοῖς· συγχάρητέ μοι, ὅτι εὗρον τὸ πρόβατόν μου τὸ ἀπολωλός. 7 λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οὕτως χαρὰ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἔσται ἐπὶ ἑνὶ ἁμαρτωλῷ μετανοοῦντι ἢ ἐπὶ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα δικαίοις οἵτινες οὐ χρείαν ἔχουσιν μετανοίας. 8 ἢ τίς γυνὴ δραχμὰς ἔχουσα δέκα, ἐὰν ἀπολέσῃ δραχμὴν μίαν, οὐχὶ ἅπτει λύχνον καὶ σαροῖ τὴν οἰκίαν καὶ ζητεῖ ἐπιμελῶς ἕως οὗ εὕρῃ; 9 καὶ εὑροῦσα συγκαλεῖ τὰς φίλας καὶ γείτονας λέγουσα· συγχάρητέ μοι, ὅτι εὗρον τὴν δραχμὴν ἣν ἀπώλεσα.

    10 Οὕτως λέγω ὑμῖν· γείνεται χαρὰ ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀγγέλων τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπὶ ἑνὶ ἁμαρτωλῷ μετανοοῦντι.

    11 Εἶπεν δέ· ἄνθρωπός τις εἶχεν δύο υἱούς. 12 καὶ εἶπεν ὁ νεώτερος αὐτῶν τῷ πατρί· πάτερ, δός μοι τὸ ἐπιβάλλον μέρος τῆς οὐσίας. ὁ δὲ διεῖλεν αὐτοῖς τὸν βίον. 13 καὶ μετ᾽ οὐ πολλὰς ἡμέρας συναγαγὼν πάντα ὁ νεώτερος υἱὸς ἀπεδήμησεν εἰς χώραν μακρὰν καὶ ἐκεῖ διεσκόρπισεν τὴν οὐσίαν αὐτοῦ ζῶν ἀσώτως. 14 δαπανήσαντος δὲ αὐτοῦ πάντα ἐγένετο λειμὸς ἰσχυρὰ κατὰ τὴν χώραν ἐκείνην, καὶ αὐτὸς ἤρξατο ὑστερεῖσθαι. 15 καὶ πορευθεὶς ἐκολλήθη ἑνὶ τῶν πολειτῶν τῆς χώρας ἐκείνης, καὶ ἔπεμψεν αὐτὸν εἰς τοὺς ἀγροὺς αὐτοῦ βόσκειν χοίρους. 16 καὶ ἐπεθύμει χορτασθῆναι ἐκ τῶν κερατίων ὧν ἤσθιον οἱ χοῖροι, καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐδίδου αὐτῷ.

    17 Εἰς ἑαυτὸν δὲ ἐλθὼν ἔφη· πόσοι μίσθιοι τοῦ πατρός μου περισσεύονται ἄρτων, ἐγὼ δὲ λειμῷ ὧδε ἀπόλλυμαι. 18 ἀναστὰς πορεύσομαι πρὸς τὸν πατέρα μου καὶ ἐρῶ αὐτῷ· πάτερ, ἥμαρτον εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ ἐνώπιόν σου· 19 οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἄξιος κληθῆναι υἱός σου. ποίησόν με ὡς ἕνα τῶν μισθίων σου. 20 καὶ ἀναστὰς ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα ἑαυτοῦ.

    Ἔτι δὲ αὐτοῦ μακρὰν ἀπέχοντος εἶδεν αὐτὸν ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐσπλαγχνίσθη, καὶ δραμὼν ἐπέπεσεν ἐπὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ κατεφίλησεν αὐτόν. 21 εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ υἱός· πάτερ, ἥμαρτον εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ ἐνώπιόν σου· οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἄξιος κληθῆναι υἱός σου.

    22 Εἶπεν δὲ ὁ πατὴρ πρὸς τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ· ταχὺ ἐξενέγκατε στολὴν τὴν πρώτην καὶ ἐνδύσατε αὐτὸν καὶ δότε δακτύλιον εἰς τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ καὶ ὑποδήματα εἰς τοὺς πόδας, 23 καὶ φέρετε τὸν μόσχον τὸν σιτευτόν, θύσατε, καὶ φαγόντες εὐφρανθῶμεν, 24 ὅτι οὗτος ὁ υἱός μου νεκρὸς ἦν καὶ ἀνέζησεν, ἦν ἀπολωλὼς καὶ εὑρέθη. καὶ ἤρξαντο εὐφραίνεσθαι.

    25 Ἦν δὲ ὁ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ὁ πρεσβύτερος ἐν ἀγρῷ. καὶ ὡς ἐρχόμενος ἤγγισεν τῇ οἰκίᾳ, ἤκουσεν συμφωνίας καὶ χορῶν. 26 καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος ἕνα τῶν παίδων ἐπυνθάνετο τί ἂν εἴη ταῦτα.

    27 Ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὅτι ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἥκει, καὶ ἔθυσεν ὁ πατήρ σου τὸν μόσχον τὸν σιτευτόν, ὅτι ὑγιαίνοντα αὐτὸν ἀπέλαβεν. 28 ὠργίσθη δὲ καὶ οὐκ ἤθελεν εἰσελθεῖν. ὁ δὲ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ ἐξελθὼν παρεκάλει αὐτόν.

    29 Ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν τῷ πατρί· ἰδοὺ τοσαῦτα ἔτη δουλεύω σοι καὶ οὐδέποτε ἐντολήν σου παρῆλθον, καὶ ἐμοὶ οὐδέποτε ἔδωκας ἔριφον ἵνα μετὰ τῶν φίλων μου εὐφρανθῶ. 30 ὅτε δὲ ὁ υἱός σου οὗτος ὁ καταφαγών σου τὸν βίον μετὰ πορνῶν ἦλθεν, ἔθυσας αὐτῷ τὸν σιτευτὸν μόσχον.

    31 Ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· τέκνον, σὺ πάντοτε μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ εἶ, καὶ πάντα τὰ ἐμὰ σά ἐστιν. 32 εὐφρανθῆναι δὲ καὶ χαρῆναι ἔδει, ὅτι ὁ ἀδελφός σου οὗτος νεκρὸς ἦν καὶ ἔζησεν, καὶ ἀπολωλὼς καὶ εὑρέθη.

    Friday, November 11, 2016

    New Articles and Reviews in the TC Journal

    Volume 21 (2016) of TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism is now complete (the whole issue is here).

    Two new articles and five new reviews have just been added. As one of the editors I must say that we are very happy with the development of the journal in recent years:

    Articles (new)

    Georg Gäbel, The Import of the Versions for the History of the Greek Text: Some Observations from the ECM of Acts
    Abstract: In this article, I discuss the relevance of the versions for Greek textual history, taking as my starting point the forthcoming Editio Critica Maior of Acts. After a brief introduction to the citation of versional material in the ECM of Acts, three groups of examples are presented: (1) examples where each versional variant is correlated with one Greek variant, (2) examples of variants found in versional witnesses belonging to the D-trajectory and believed to have existed in now lost Greek witnesses, and (3) examples for the mutual influence of Greek and versional texts. I conclude that (1) careful attention to the versions will benefit our understanding of Greek textual history, that (2) some variants of Greek origin not attested in the Greek manuscripts now known can be reconstructed on the basis of the versions, and that (3) in some cases, particularly in bilingual manuscripts, there is likely to have been versional influence on the Greek text.
    Katie Marcar, The Quotations of Isaiah in 1 Peter: A Text-Critical Analysis
    Abstract: This article examines the quotations of Isaiah in 1 Peter in order to determine, as far as possible, the author’s Vorlage. It first defines quotations (as opposed to allusions), evaluates the importance of introductory formula or terms, and contextualizes this study in terms of comparable analyses in Pauline studies. After this methodological ground-clearing, the textual forms of the following six Isaianic quotations are analysed in detail: 1 Pet 1:24–25 (Isa 40:6–8), 1 Pet 2:6 (Isa 28:16), 1 Pet 2:8 (Isa 8:14), 1 Pet 2:22 (Isa 53:9), 1 Pet 2:25 (Isa 53:6), and 1 Pet 3:14–15 (Isa 8:12–13). These quotations are studied in light of evidence from the proto-MT, Dead Sea Scrolls, Old Greek (OG), the hexaplaric recensions, and other relevant sources of textual information. The article concludes that quotations of Isaiah in 1 Peter generally agree with the OG, with a few exceptions where they are closer to the proto-MT, and bear no evidence of a Hebraizing revision except in quotations of Isaiah that are also quoted by Paul.

    Reviews (new)

    Mark Billington and Peter Streitenberger (eds.), Digging for the Truth: Collected Essays Regarding the Byzantine Text of the Greek New Testament: A Festschrift in Honor of Maurice A. Robinson (Chris S. Stevens, reviewer). See also a reply by Timothy J. Finney.
    Carla Falluomini, The Gothic Version of the Gospels and Pauline Epistles: Cultural Background, Transmission and Character (Marcus Sigismund, reviewer)
    Karen H. Jobes and Moisés Silva, Invitation to the Septuagint (2nd edition; Mark A. Hassler, reviewer)
    Lorenzo Perrone (ed.), Die neuen Psalmenhomilien: Eine kritische Edition des Codex Monacensis Graecus 314 (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer)
    Stanley E. Porter and Andrew W. Pitts, Fundamentals of New Testament Textual Criticism (Ernst Boogert, reviewer)

    Thursday, November 10, 2016

    First Annual ETC Lunch at ETS

    Next week is the annual ETS and SBL conferences in San Antonio. If you have never been to the annual ETC blog dinner at SBL, this is your year to come. I think you’ll find that folks are welcoming and friendly. It’s a great time.

    But I also know that some people, including some blog contributors, only attend ETS and so don’t get to participate in the dinner. So this year I thought we should try something new: the first annual ETC lunch at ETS. Sadly, there won’t be any speeches, but we can still enjoy some good food and good conversation.

    The plan is to meet up in the Grand Hyatt lobby after the ETC business meeting on Thursday, November 17th around 11:15 am. At 11:30, we’ll head down Commerce St. to find some place to eat—probably Whataburger because it has been too long since I had their delicious, cheap beef.

    I know that Maurice Robinson and I will be there and possibly a few other blog contributors if they can make it. If you want to come, do me a favor by leaving a comment saying you’re interested or shoot me an email. That will give me some idea of how many to expect See you then!


    Be sure to ask the folks at the Zondervan booth about my new book Four Views on Four Views Books. I contributed all four views so it should give a great overview of all the major positions among Evangelicals on the topic.

    Update 2

    I should have noted that Dan Wallace’s presidential address is Wednesday night at 8:00 pm and should be of particular interest to readers: “Medieval Manuscripts and Modern Evangelicals: Lessons from the Past, Guidance for the Future.”

    Wednesday, November 09, 2016

    Tischendorf’s ‘Wounded Vanity’?

    In 1858, Hort reviewed the latest editions of both Tischendorf and Tregelles. He was much more positive about the latter than the former. In closing, he says this about Tischendorf:
    Both editors in fact deserve the praise of conscientiousness in their actual work. But Tischendorf is becoming less careful than he used to be. We must add that the merits of his labours would be at least equally appreciated by duly qualified judges, if he were less given to proclaiming them himself. Even his title-page deserves reprobation: what he calls his seventh is to all intents and purposes his third edition: he has presumed far on his readers’ ignorance in reckoning his two Paris editions, which we should have thought he would have been only too glad to have forgotten. His old ungenerousness to every other editor is worse than ever: such an absurd effusion of wounded vanity and spite against his friend Dr Tregelles as he has prefixed to his third number will do him no good in the eyes of candid men.*
    Now, in my experience, the British have a noticeable distaste for anything much beyond self-effacement. But this still seems a bit harsh from Hort. I’d like to hear from readers who have read more of Tischendorf than me: Is there some truth to what Hort says here or is he being unfair?

    *F. J. A. Hort, “Notices of New Books,” The Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology, 4 (1858): 201–211 (211).

    Monday, November 07, 2016

    SBL 2016 San Antonio ETC Blog Dinner


    That's right folks.  It's that time again.  Peter Williams has begun writing his speech.  We have a reservation at the Hard Rock.  The biggest event of the text-critical year approaches -- the ETC Blog dinner at SBL.  Everyone's invited (not just evangelicals, not just textual critics), everyone's excited.

    Hard Rock Café, San Antonio
    7:15pm, Sunday 20 November

    Although we will not have our own room, we will have our own section and a special price on meals.  For $22, the meal includes a drink, a main course, a dessert, tax and tip.   Here's the clincher... You have to pay in advance this year by clicking on the link below.  The deadline for online payment is 13 November.  If you are scared of online payments or simply just a procrastinator, then you can simply show up, but you are not guaranteed immediate seating and you probably will not get the group deal.

    [Reservations are now closed.  Thanks to the fifty people who reserved beforehand.  If you have not reserved, please feel free to join us, as there should be abundant room for additional attendees.  You might have to wait for seating and probably will not get the group rate.]

    Friday, November 04, 2016

    Hendel: The Shared Origin of Modern Textual Criticism and Inerrancy

    This is now a few days late for Reformation Day, but Ronald Hendel, editor-in-chief of the Hebrew Bible: Critical Edition (HBCE), has just put an article online that should be of particular interest to ETC readers. The essay looks at the relationship between inerrancy and textual criticism in Protestant-Catholic debates during the Reformation and Post-Reformation. The main contention is that the same concern for a “perfect text” led to both modern textual criticism and the modern doctrine of Biblical inerrancy. 

    I must say I was not convinced by the overall argument since it seems to me that both textual criticism and inerrancy as he describes them existed before his main sources. But Hendel is right, I think, to argue that the Reformation debates about Scripture (especially sola scriptura) raised new questions about inerrancy and textual criticism. One example we could cite is the debate about whether Hebrew vowel points are inspired and inerrant. (On which, see PJW’s thoughts here.)

    Here is part of Hendel’s conclusion:
    The dream of a perfect text in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is a story worth telling—although I have only sketched the highlights—because the discipline of biblical scholarship still works largely within the conceptual space carved out by these controversies. In particular, the modern discipline of textual criticism and the orthodox Protestant doctrine of biblical inerrancy have a shared origin in early modern arguments about textual variants in the Hebrew Bible. Since then, textual criticism has become institutionalized as a non-theological practice, and most theologians are unaware of its inner workings. Yet the empirical realia of texts and variants were once central in theological discourse, providing a fulcrum for deep rifts in early modern culture. The conceptual changes were long lived....
    The Catholic-Protestant controversy, based in part on the problem of textual variants, yielded the high doctrine of biblical inerrancy. As Philip Benedict sums up, “Controversy with Catholicism and the need to defend established positions had produced the doctrine of the literal inerrancy of the biblical text.” Text-critical issues were at the center of these fraught discourses about the perfect text. 
    I would be interested to hear from readers on their take on the essay. You can read the PDF on Hendel’s Academia page.

    As a side note, anyone looking for a good PhD topic (and whose Latin is good) could make a great thesis out of tracing the role of textual criticism in the 16th–17th century debates about Scripture.


    It looks like Hendel has a collection of essays (including this one) titled Steps to a New Edition of the Hebrew Bible coming out this month in SBL’s Text-Critical Studies series. The introduction is available here.

    Monday, October 31, 2016

    A Case for the Longer Reading at Ephesians 5.30?

    The 5–7th century correction (“Ca”) in Sinaiticus
    Last night while reading Ephesians, I came across a variant I don’t remember seeing before. I was surprised that it wasn’t adopted as the main text since it seemed like the obvious choice. I should say that I was reading an edition that gives no manuscript evidence so I could only consider internal evidence.

    Here is the context from Eph 5.29–31 (KJV):
    29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
    The variant in question is the addition of the phrase “of his flesh and of his bones” in verse 30. The main choice is
    1. ὅτι μέλη ἐσμὲν τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ, ἐκ τῆς σαρκός αὐτοῦ καί ἐκ τῶν ὀστέων αὐτοῦ
    2. ὅτι μέλη ἐσμὲν τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ
    The longer reading can be explained as an addition from Gen 2.23. We might expect as much given that the next verse quotes Gen 2.24. The only hitch is that the longer reading in Eph 5.30 reverses the order of flesh and bone from Adam’s little poem which has “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” The influence is still there, but it’s not as close as we might expect. The real problem with this explanation, however, is that I can’t see a reason to think that a scribe is more likely to refer to Gen 2.23 than the author himself.

    Now, if we didn’t have an explanation for the shorter reading, then a scribal harmonization to Gen 2.23 would have some force here. But we do have a ready explanation. A skip from αὐτοῦ … αὐτοῦ explains the shorter reading nicely. If it weren’t for the combined support of 01* 02 03 P46 for the shorter reading, I suspect more reasoned eclectics would adopt the longer reading. The longer reading is attested by Irenaeus and D F G and there is versional support from vg and syr. Notice too the evidence cited by Tregelles of some Armenian witnesses which attest the same basic mistake except that, instead of omitting the whole phrase, they only omit ἐκ τῆς σαρκός αὐτοῦ.

    Apparatus from Tregelles
    In fact, it would be hard to imagine that some scribes didn’t make the larger omission. The real question is whether this was also the original mistake that first created the variation. As it is, I like the simpler explanation of parablepsis and would prefer the longer reading.

    Thursday, October 27, 2016

    Hort’s Review of Burgon’s Last Twelve Verses

    In 1871, F. J. A. Hort wrote a short review of Dean Burgon’s well-known defense of the longer ending of Mark in The Last Twelve Verses of St. Mark. The review itself isn’t especially noteworthy. Hort found himself unconvinced and unimpressed by Burgon’s case. Burgon was no fan of Hort’s text critical work either, of course.

    What is a bit more interesting is that Hort wrote his review just before the committee of the Revised Version was set to meet in Westminster to discuss this very text. So Hort must have gone into the meeting with the issues fresh on his mind. Here is what Hort wrote to Westcott about the review.
    To the Rev. Dr. Westcott
    St Ippolyts, All Saints’ Eve [Tuesday, October 31], 1871

    Mr Burgon, aided by various interruptions, has swallowed up two precious days:—not more, I hope. I send you the result for correction or approval. I want to send it to Cheyne as early as possible, hoping that it may be in the Academy of the 15th, which will appear just when we are discussing Mark xvi.9–20 at Westminster. If you have not seen the book, you will still be able to judge on most points. Even the brief statement of principle may be useful. It was useless to attempt particulars without more space, and I have already transgressed. Is not what little I have said about Mr Burgon’s style necessary? It was difficult not to say much more. The point about + τέλος + is very curious and deserves further working.
    Here is the review that was published in The Academy the same year (vol 2, pp. 518-519):

    Wednesday, October 26, 2016

    Musing about the New Testament

    People sometimes wonder whether ‘The New Testament’ is a New Testament concept. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts in the comments. But I’ve been musing on this.

    The basic shape of the New Testament as a Trinitarian text oriented around the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the preaching of his apostles is laid out in John 14.26: ‘the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything [i.e. inspire the apostolic output], and remind you of all that I have said to you [i.e. inspire the euaggelic output].’

    Hebrews 2.3b-4 offers a bit more (including a Trinitarian framework) in describing our ‘so great salvation’ as: a) declared through the Lord [i.e. represented in the Gospels]; b) attested by those who heard him [i.e. represented in the epistles]; and c) confirmed by God’s miraculous accompanying testimony [i.e. the book of Acts].

    Galatians 2.9 in speaking of the pillar apostles alongside Paul fills in some of the details of the apostolic output as originating in James, Peter, John, and Paul (as many in the early church recognised). The four missions associated with these four pillars may also explain the four-fold gospel as representing (more or less?) the gospel teaching associated with each of the pillars (James - Matthew; Peter - Mark; John - John; Paul - Luke) [almost with E.E. Ellis].

    Monday, October 24, 2016

    The Greek Text of the English Bible between 1611 and 1881

    Two of the most significant English translations as far as the text of the New Testament is concerned are the Authorized or King James Version of 1611 and its revision, the Revised Version, published in 1881 (NT; OT in 1885).

    The KJV is obviously significant given its widespread adoption and use. Even today, it usually ranks as the second or third bestselling English translation. The RV marks another watershed in that it is the only officially sanctioned revision of the KJV. As far as textual criticism is concerned, it is even more important because it marks the first major English Bible to move away from the Textus Receptus and its lineage. After that, almost all English translations follow suit, right down to the present.

    Because of their historical significance, it is worth asking how different the Greek text is behind these two translations. For the RV, we are lucky to have the Greek text used by the revisers and published by F. H. A. Scrivener, himself a member of the New Testament committee for the RV. For the KJV, it’s a bit trickier because the translators did not say exactly what Greek text they followed. By most accounts, however, they generally followed Beza’s fifth edition (1598) with occasional preference for Stephanus or even the Vulgate (for details, see here and here).

    For his part, John W. Burgon said that the RV diverged from the traditional Greek text “nearly 6000 times.” Since this is Burgon we’re talking about, he naturally adds that these were “almost invariably for the worse.” But Burgon himself did not have access to the Greek text of the revisers as far as I know. Presumably he must have used Westcott and Hort for his estimate, assuming that it was close enough. If so, he was right to do so as his estimate is not far from the truth.

    But for a better comparison, we can turn to Scrivener’s Parallel New Testament: Greek and English (Cambridge, 1882) which lays out the Greek behind the KJV and the Greek text adopted by the RV committee. Helpfully, Scrivener marks any place where he thinks the KJV translators diverged from Beza and any place where the RV’s Greek text differs from the KJV’s. In this way, his book gives a nice view of how the text used for the English Bible changed between 1611 and 1881.

    In all Scrivener tells us there are 190 places where the Greek text behind the KJV diverges from Beza. More relevant, I counted a total of 5,614 differences between the KJV and RV Greek texts.* That makes for a rate of about 0.7 differences per verse or one every 1.5 verses. The lowest rate is 0.4 in Matthew and Galatians. The highest is in Revelation with 1.6 differences per verse. That’s quite a lot more than I expected, to be honest. For some reason I assumed there were only a few thousand at most.

    Of course, bare numbers only tell you so much. Many of these differences are untranslated and untranslatable. But many others do affect the translation and that is one reason why the RV was criticized. Had the changes been fewer, it might not have raised the ire of critics like Burgon the way it did. It would be useful to have more precise numbers on how many changes did not actually affect the translation, but that would take a good deal more work.

    *Update (3/24/18): For what it’s worth, F. C. Cook says that Scrivener’s notes record 6,788 differences. I haven’t bothered to recount and see who’s right.

    Thursday, October 20, 2016

    The Value of Knowing the Bible’s Transmission History (Westcott)

    Westcott’s words to clergy-in-training from his Lessons from Work (1901):
    2. The study [of the Bible] must be systematic, and again it must be thorough. Even the external history of the Sacred books illustrates the action of the Spirit in the Christian Society, and gives a personal reality to the past. It cannot be a matter of indifference to know how the New Testament — to limit myself to that — has come down to us; to look at the Manuscripts from which our fathers drew words of life, to trace the stirring history of the version through which the teaching of Apostles has been made accessible to men of other tongues. Almost every great Library has some touching memorial of biblical labour before which it is well for us to pause. Every Oxford man here has, I trust, looked with deep questionings of heart, on the very copy of the Acts which our own Bede read and quoted, turning from the familiar Latin to the original Greek, and so laying the foundation of biblical scholarship for his countrymen: every Cambridge man on the precious copy of the Gospels and Acts which Beza offered as his choicest gift to the University, and many, I hope, have read on the open page the memorable saying found only there, which seems to mark the distinction between popular tradition and apostolic record : every visitor to the British Museum, on the copy of the Latin Gospel, which was once carried about with Cuthbert’s body, and noticed its leaves, stained with sea water, a testimony to the perils which his followers endured in their wanderings. In such treasures the Diocese of Durham has a large share. We claim as our own three Manuscripts of the Vulgate of unsurpassed interest, the most authoritative copy of the whole Bible, written at Jarrow, under the direction of Bede’s Master, and sent as a present to the Pope, the most exquisite copy of a single Gospel, St John, which was placed in the coffin of Cuthbert when he was laid to rest; and the Lindisfarne Gospels, written in his honour, to which I have already referred, to which was added at Chester-le-Street, one of the first, if not the very first, translation of the Gospels into an English dialect. The three are strangely different in form, in writing, in ornament, yet alike in the general character of their text. We may then well be proud of these works of the leaders of our Northern Church; and for my own part, I delight to remember that our English Version is marked as no other version is marked, by a double and in some sense a fourfold seal of martyrdom. The great scholar who laid its sure foundations and the brave pastor who first brought the fragments together which completed its original structure died simply for their faith; and so too, though less purely, the statesman and the prelate who first procured its authoritative publication.  
    Such details have, I think, far more than a literary interest. They help us to feel the value of our heritage. They make the past live again for us, live with the life which is truly life. 
    So touched with a grateful sense of the care which our own fathers have lavished on the books which we have received, we approach their interpretation. And here I counsel you most earnestly to do two things habitually, to read the original Greek, and in reading the English version to strive to recall the Greek. In doing this question each word in the apostolic text, and in your imperfect recollection of it, till it has told its lesson: till each apostolic word has rendered its peculiar meaning: till each error in your own version has revealed the loss which it entailed. 

    Tuesday, October 18, 2016

    Dr. Charles Caldwell Ryrie’s Bible Collection to be Auctioned

    NEW YORK, 6 October 2016—Sotheby’s is honored to announce the sale of one of the greatest private collections of printed and manuscript Bibles formed since the 19th century, The Bible Collection of Dr. Charles Caldwell Ryrie, which will be held in New York on 5 December 2016. Dr. Ryrie (1925–2016) was best known for his eponymous Study Bible, which contains 10,000 concise and cogent explanatory notes and has sold more than 2,600,000 copies. But while the Study Bible was directed towards the general reader, Dr. Ryrie was a titan among theological and Biblical scholars, and the author of numerous academic books and articles. The leading proponent of dispensationalism of our times, Dr. Ryrie influenced generations of students, teaching at Calvary Bible College, Westmont College, Dallas Theological Seminary and Philadelphia College of Bible (now Cairn University).

    The New York sale on 5 December will include some 200 lots of manuscript and printed Bibles, ranging from the tenth-century “Benton” Gospels in Greek (estimate $50/$80,000) to a beautifully illuminated thirteenth-century Italian manuscript Bible in Latin (estimate $150/250,000) to two leaves surviving from the Gutenberg Bible, printed in Mainz about 1454 (estimate $50/70,000 each). But the core of the Ryrie Collection is the remarkable run of early English translations of the Bible, including multiple very rare early editions of the versions prepared by Myles Coverdale and William Tyndale, the latter of whom was martyred. Most remarkably, the Ryrie Collection includes a manuscript of John Wycliffe’s New Testament, produced in England about 1430 (estimate $500/800,000). The Authorized, or King James version is also well represented, including the tallest copy known of the first edition, from the celebrated library of Louis Silver (estimate $400/600,000). First and other early editions in many other vernacular languages are represented as well, including German, Spanish, Italian, Irish, Welsh, and the Indian Massachusett language.

    Following November exhibitions of selected highlights in London and Chicago, the New York exhibition of the full Ryrie Collection will open on 1 December 2016, alongside the seasonal offerings of Fine Books and Manuscripts.

    Selby Kiffer, International Senior Specialist, Books & Manuscripts remarked: “It is a testament to Charles Ryrie’s personal modesty that, despite his myriad accomplishments, he was not widely known as a book collector. The wider world first learned of the remarkable collecting achievement of Dr. Ryrie through the 1998-99 exhibition, Formatting the Word of God, at the Bridwell Library of Southern Methodist University. But that exhibition, remarkable as it was, featured fewer than half of the volumes in Dr. Ryrie’s collection and none of his extraordinary letters and documents signed by theological figures such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John and Charles Wesley. When the full extent of his collection—astutely gathered over the course of more than five decades—is revealed, it will surely be acknowledged as a string of bibliographical pearls of great price.”

    The family of Charles Ryrie has expressed their hope that his books and manuscripts will go to other collectors who will treasure them as much as he did: “While our father’s collecting was largely a private endeavor, he keenly enjoyed sharing his books and knowledge with a small group of collectors, libraries, and dealers. We are sure that he would be pleased to know that his collection will now go to other collectors just as dedicated and as passionate he was.”

    The Bible Collection of Dr. Charles Caldwell Ryrie will offer collectors, both individual and institutional, the opportunity to compete for a great variety of Biblical treasures, many of which have not been available on the market for decades.

    • New Testament in English. Manuscript on vellum, England, ca. 1430, of the version inspired by and traditionally attributed to John Wycliffe (ca. 1330-1384).
      Estimate $500/800,000
    • Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God Naneeswe Nukkone Testament kah wonk Wusku Testament. Cambridge, Massachusetts: 1661-63. The first Bible printed in America, translated into the Massachusett Indian language by John Eliot.
      Estimate $200/300,000
    • The Holy Bible, conteyning the Old Testament, and the New. London: Robert Barker, 1611. The largest known copy of the first edition of the King James Bible, “the only literary masterpiece ever to have been produced by a committee.”
      Estimate $400/600,000
    • The Holy Bible. London: Robert Barker, 1631. A detail from the “Wicked Bible,” which, due to error or mischief, omitted the “not” from the Seventh Commandment (Exodus 20:14).
      Estimate $15/20,000

    HT: Fine Books Magazine

    Friday, October 14, 2016

    New Brill Series on Digital Biblical Studies

    The first volume of a new series on Digital Biblical Studies has just appeared from Brill. It’s edited by Claire Clivaz, Paul Dilley and David Hamidović. Table of contents is here.

    I’ve only looked at the chapters that piqued my interest.

    The chapter by Houghton and Smith gives a nice overview of the process of producing the ECM. This article is free, by the way.

    Chapter four gives a nice summary of what materials are available for Syriac studies and it’s also free. If you haven’t used, it’s a great resource.

    Chapter nine gives a look at spectral imaging and may be of interest to ETC readers but I’ve only skimmed it myself.

    I’m not sure what the plan is beyond edited volumes, but this might be a series to watch.

    Monday, October 10, 2016

    Mark 16 on a Roll

    Many New Testament scholars consider Mark 16.8 to be the original ending of the Gospel. Others regard the original ending as now lost. For those who think it’s lost, the most frequent explanation is that it was lost at some point given that the beginning and ends of books are particularly liable to damage and loss. Those who think that Mark 16.8 is the original ending sometimes argue against this by pointing out that, because Mark was most likely written on a roll, a loss at the end is actually very unlikely.

    Dan Wallace makes this argument in Perspectives on the Ending of Mark (2008). After saying that it is very unlikely that Mark wrote his gospel as a codex, he says
    However, if Mark’s Gospel is earlier than this [end of the first century]—as virtually all scholars acknowledge, regardless of their view of the synoptic problem—then he would have written his Gospel on a roll, and the first generation of copies would also have been on rolls. And if the Gospel was written on a roll, then the most protected section would be the end, because when someone rolled the book back up, the end would be on the inside. To be sure, some lazy readers might not rewind the book when finished—of course, they would get fined a denarius at their local Blockbuster for such an infraction! But the reality is that this sort of thing was the rare exception, not the rule. Consequently, if Mark was originally written on a roll, it is hard to imagine how the ending could have gotten lost before any copies were made. (pp. 35–36)
    Appeal has also been made to the placement of the title in a scroll in this debate. F. G. Kenyon actually changed his mind on whether the end was liable to loss. He felt that the position of the title at the end of the roll would mean that “the reader of a roll would not want to wait till he had read to the end in order to know the name of the author and the title of the work; and an intending reader would not want to unroll the entire roll in order to ascertain these facts.” Because of that, Kenyon takes the opposite view of Wallace on whether a scroll might account for the loss of Mark’s original ending.

    Friday, October 07, 2016

    Principles for Revising the KJV

    I spent the morning today looking through some of the minutes and papers from the revisers of the English Bible (i.e., the Revised Version). Unfortunately, I didn’t get to the minutes on the New Testament. But I did come across some interesting collateral material. For example, the funding put up by the University of Oxford and Cambridge was £20,000 and they retained the profits from printing. Also, the NT committee, at least from what I saw, took detailed notes for each verse whereas the OT minutes were essentially a record of attendance and a note on the point in the text reached in each meeting. All the meetings opened with prayer. I also didn’t realize that Charles Hodge was on the committee for the American edition.

    Here are the general principles for the revision for both the Old and New Testament committees:

    From MS Add. 6924

    Friday, September 30, 2016

    On the disappearance of accented indefinite τις

    Nowadays students are routinely informed that there’s only one accent which matters in Greek: τίς, τί and related forms  mean ‘who’ and ‘what’, while τις, τι etc. mean ‘a certain’.

    That’s probably true as far as the texts which modern students read, but it’s wrong from a manuscript perspective, wrong historically, and wrong if you care about how the NT was pronounced.

    Two passages to illustrate:

    Matthew 11:27 where modern editions tend to print οὐδὲ τὸν πατέρα τις ἐπιγινώσκει ‘nor does anyone know the father’

    However, this is not what the manuscripts contain and we can see how the accent has dropped out during the history of printed editions:

    GA 03

    GA 560

    GA 757

    GA 788

    GA 1424

    Erasmus 1516

    Stephanus 1550

    Mill 1707

    John 13:29 where modern editions tend to print ἵνα τι δῷ ‘that he [Judas] might give something’

    GA 560

    GA 771

    GA 788

    GA 1424

    GA 2907

    Erasmus 1516

    Stephanus 1550

    Mill 1707

    Grave accents marking indefinites are also found in manuscripts, but they are much rarer than acute ones. The strong distinction between accented forms for a question and unaccented for an indefinite is artificial. It all depends how much emphasis there is on the indefinite. Manuscripts do not always agree on this, but on many occasions they present wide agreement against modern editions in seeing an indefinite form as marked. I say, let’s bring back the accent.

    [Copious thanks should be given to the CSNTM for providing images used here and to Peter Montoro for his work in reviewing enclitic vs non-enclitic accents for the Greek New Testament in preparation at Tyndale House, Cambridge, under the editorship of Dirk Jongkind.]