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.