Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Putting to Rest an Old Canard about Erasmus

Among text critics, it’s fairly well known that no Greek manuscript was ever produced to order for Erasmus that included the long form of 1 John 5.7. But given that the story is still found in the standard textbook and that it works as such a great illustration, it continues to be perpetuated among students of the New Testament. Here is the text of Metzger-Ehrman (p. 146):
In an unguarded moment, Erasmus may have promised that he would insert the Comma Johanneum, as it is called, in future editions if a single Greek manuscript could be found that contained the passage. At length, such a copy was found—or was made to order! As it now appears, the Greek manuscript had probably been written in Oxford about 1520 by a Franciscan friar named Froy (or Roy), who took the disputed words from the Latin Vulgate. 
Thankfully, Metzger and Ehrman do cite the work of Henk J. de Jonge who found no such promise from Erasmus but did find a text that seems to have been misread as such. The story of the Comma from the time of the printing press is now told in a remarkably detailed account by one of de Jonge’s students. It’s worth thinking about why this particular canard appeals to us so much. Why are we so easily taken by it? In any case, here is a letter from de Jonge to Michael Maynard on the matter:
From Michael Maynard, A History of the Debate over 1 John 5,7–8: A Tracing of the Longevity of the Comma Johanneum, with Evalutations of Arguments Against Its Authenticity. Tempe, AZ: Comma Publications, 1995.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A Preview of Peter Gentry’s Septuaginta Ecclesiastes

A critical edition with its critical text and apparatus tells a text’s narrative history. If that is true, the new Ecclesiastes of the Septuaginta series is no exception. In this post, I want to provide two examples of places where Peter Gentry’s critical text differs from Rahlfs. Peter Gentry tells me that there are seventy-two differences in all between his and Rahlfs’ text, and he plans to publish these in his forthcoming English Introduction to the Edition. Here are two examples with screen shots from the edition itself.

Παραβολάς “parables” or παραφοράς “madness” in Ecclesiastes 1:17b?

Below is the page out of the new Edition, and we are looking at the word παραφοράς in 1:17b. Rahlfs chose παραβολάς as the original reading on the weight of the majority of witnesses (note ‘rel’ in the apparatus), but the translator’s formal and consistent approach to the Hebrew text has given scholars pause over the years (note Gordis’ conjecture in 1937 mentioned in the apparatus). Since the translator consistently renders Hebrew words from III הלל with περι-/παραφερ- words, it is probable that the translator would have rendered הוללות “madness” with the noun from the same word group, παραφορά or περιφορά. Although the translator preferred the latter term, in this case, παραβολή, shows he actually chose the former term since παραβολάς naturally derives from παραφοράς due to certain phonological factors [see mine and Peter’s argument here]. The reconstruction of παραφοράς was actually confirmed in the reading above the line in MS 788.

Does “a fool speak from excess” in Ecclesiastes 2:15f?

Between 2:15e and 15g in Rahlfs’ Edition, there is the line: διότι ἄφρων ἐκ περισσεύματος λαλεῖ “Because a fool speaks from excess.” But one will notice that the editor has relegated the line to the apparatus and that the apparatus is very dense for this variant. The line itself has several textual problems, but the most significant issue is that in our witnesses it appears both after the new v. 15f (e.g. B/Vaticanus; papyrus 998) and before it (‘rel’ thus A and S among other MSS have it here and so Rahlfs followed these). Several observations from the apparatus reveal why the editor chose not to include this line: (1) it’s not in the Hebrew (see the second apparatus for the marginal note showing that ancient scribes also knew this); (2) the variant appears in different forms in the MSS and in two different places showing the likelihood that it is a secondary gloss to the text; (3) finally, the editor supplies the probable source and inspiration for this gloss in Matthew 12:34 (cf. Luke 6:45). Thus in all probability the line is a secondary gloss that entered the text in different places through its transmission.

In addition to revising the text of Rahlfs, it is clear even from these two screen shots what this edition will offer over Rahlfs. The text and first apparatus are the main features, but the second apparatus presents a complete update to Field’s work for the hexaplaric materials of Ecclesiastes.

This edition will be the departure for any serious work on the book of Ecclesiastes and its textual history. I would make sure your library knows it has been released and that it acquires the volume for its collection.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Support CSNTM

Dan Wallace shares a very nice video explaining CSNTM’s mission. As someone who has both worked with CSNTM and benefits significantly from their work, I would encourage you to support them.

More from Dan:
As we point out in the video, our work is urgent and significant. Manuscripts are deteriorating, some at an alarming rate. What is not mentioned is that CSNTM is funded solely by donations. Although hundreds of thousands of manuscript images can be viewed for free, they are costly to produce and archive. To digitize a single manuscript costs the Center $7500. Our job is a long way from being completed. And all these projects require funding. I’m asking you to consider making a donation to the Center.

We need more people to become part of the “Circle of Friends”—those who partner with us by donating monthly to our mission. Even more pressing is the need to fund projects that are waiting in the wings. Would you consider helping the Center in its mission to preserve unique, handwritten copies of the Christian Scriptures?

As I mention in the video, a thousand years ago a monk named Andrew wrote a personal note at the end of the manuscript he was copying: “The hand that wrote this is rotting in the grave, but the words that are written will last until the fullness of times.” His words have become our mission statement. Won’t you join us?

Friday, July 26, 2019

‘The Ends of Manuscripts’ Workshop in Ole Rocky Top

News of a manuscript workshop in Tennessee next year. It looks like a good subject. And note that presenters will receive a $500 honorarium. I assume that can be spent on Chick-fil-A and sweet tea.

15th Annual Marco Manuscript Workshop: “The Ends of Manuscripts”

January 31 and February 1, 2020

The fifteenth annual Marco Manuscript Workshop will take place Friday, January 31, and Saturday, February 1, 2020, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The workshop is organized by Professors Maura K. Lafferty (Classics) and Roy M. Liuzza (English), and is hosted by the Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

For this year’s workshop, as a tribute to the 2020 McClung Museum exhibition “Visions of the End 1000-1600” (opening January 23), we propose the theme “The Ends of Manuscripts.” We encourage everyone to take this theme in the broadest possible sense; we invite submissions that consider the “ends” of manuscripts – whether their physical boundaries (colophons and explicits, incomplete texts, extrapolated texts, lost or added leaves, booklets and bindings), their purposes (texts written for particular patrons or communities, texts written for devotional or polemical ends, texts written as responses to other texts, texts prepared for or directed at someone or something), their fates (where texts have ended up, in libraries or private collections, in bindings or trash bins, framed on walls or preserved in digital repositories), or their early coexistence with and gradual replacement by printed books. Like detectives at a crime scene, we often must work backward from the “ends” of a manuscript to its life and origins; in these origins there may even lie some intimations of the manuscript’s future demise. We welcome presentations on any aspect of this topic, broadly imagined.

The workshop is open to scholars and graduate students in any field who are engaged in textual editing, manuscript studies, or epigraphy. Individual 75-minute sessions will be devoted to each project; participants will be asked to introduce their text and its context, discuss their approach to working with their material, and exchange ideas and information with other participants. As in previous years, the workshop is intended to be more like a class than a conference; participants are encouraged to share new discoveries and unfinished work, to discuss both their successes and frustrations, to offer both practical advice and theoretical insights, and to work together towards developing better professional skills for textual and codicological work. We particularly invite the presentation of works in progress, unusual manuscript problems, practical difficulties, and new or experimental models for studying or representing manuscript texts. Presenters will receive a $500 honorarium for their participation.

The deadline for applications is November 2, 2019. Applicants are asked to submit a current CV and a two-page letter describing their project to Roy M. Liuzza, preferably via email to, or by mail to the Department of English, University of Tennessee, 301 McClung Tower, Knoxville, TN 37996-0430.
More info here. HT: Jeremiah Coogan

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Another Second-Century Fragment of 1 Corinthians?

In the middle of my vacation, one of our followers, Darrell Post, informs me of two new papyri, which will soon be registered in the Kurzgefasste Liste (update: likely as two new parts of P129 and P131 respectively).

Both manuscripts are held by the “Stimer Family Collection” in Camarillo, USA.

Apparently this is the collection of Andrew Stimer who is connected to Scott Carroll (see Brent Nongbri’s blogpost), and who sold several “Dead Sea Scrolls” to the Museum of the Bible, which have turned out to be fake manuscripts (see items 18, 77-79 in the list of unprovenanced post-2002 DSS maintained by the Lying Pen project).

I suspect it will take time before we learn anything about the provenance of these two items (if we will ever know). Also keep an eye on Roberta Mazza’s blog, because I expect her to blog about Stimer and his stuff.

The first papyrus is dated to the second century in the Liste(!) and preserves 1 Cor 7:33-38 (recto. 8 lines) and 1 Cor 9:10-17 (verso, 11 lines).

The second papyrus (three fragments) is dated to the early third century and preserves Rom 9:21-22 (recto, 3 lines) and Rom 10:3-4 (verso, 3 lines).

At this point there is no reference to any editio princeps so I assume the dating of both papyri is provisional.

I have not checked whether the manuscripts offer any interesting variant readings – I must not work too much on my vacation – but perhaps readers would like to check the images and comment.

Update: In the comments, co-blogger Elijah Hixson draws attention to Brent Nongbri’s blog (again) who in this post earlier this month pointed out that they are fragments of the two distinct manuscripts owned by the Greens and registered as P129 (1 Corinthians) and P131 (Romans). Now we also know who the owner is (Stimer).

Update 2: Greg Paulson of the INTF in Münster informs us that the entries in the Liste/NT.VMR (which appeared as P141 and P142) were provisional only and that the staff “are still reviewing whether these two fragments are parts of P129 and P131 at the Museum of the Bible and hope to make a determination soon.” I have edited the original blogpost and removed the references to P141 and P142.

Update 3: Greg Paulson has informed me that the INTF has not yet decided whether to assign any GA numbers to these. They are currently working to first ascertain if the fragments are authentic. All the information in the VMR was only meant for internal evaluation and has not yet been verified. The INTF has removed the entries form public viewing for now to avoid confusion. In the meantime, you can contact Greg directly with questions.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Eldon Epp’s Library Goes to Baylor University

Thanks to Jim Leonard and Stephen Carlson for alerting us to the fact that Eldon J. Epp’s personal library has a new home at Baylor University. Notably, it includes his research library and papers. That would be a fascinating collection to see once it’s cataloged.

Of course, there is some sadness in seeing this library in boxes and realizing what that means. Epp has been a pillar, with so much of his writing setting the agenda for NT textual criticism. I still have vivid memories of reading his summaries of the history of our discipline in seminary. Those essays sparked so much curiosity and interest for me.

Here is the full press release from Baylor.
WACO, Texas – The research library and papers of prominent New Testament scholar Eldon Jay Epp have been acquired by the Baylor University Libraries as part of the Central Libraries Special Collections. The collection is expected to significantly enhance the libraries’ ability to support Biblical and religious scholarship for researchers here at Baylor and across the globe.

The materials represent decades of Dr. Epp’s research and scholarship and are a major acquisition for the field of religious studies. Baylor religion faculty members Mikeal C. Parsons (professor and Macon Chair in Religion) and Carey C. Newman (director of the University Press) were instrumental in encouraging the Libraries to pursue the collection.

“For more than fifty years Eldon Epp has been one of the world’s premier textual critics of the New Testament, said Parsons. “Over his career he has collected New Testament Greek manuscript facsimiles, Latin, Syriac and Coptic versions of the New Testament, first edition text-critical studies, and scholarly monographs into a library that is arguably the finest private collection of New Testament text-critical holdings in the world. Baylor’s acquisition of Epp’s library ensures that this treasure trove of materials will now be accessible in perpetuity to scholars and students of the text of the New Testament.”

“His considered opinions on the New Testament are studied, and respected, like those of the Justices of the Supreme Court,” said Newman. “Baylor University Libraries are to be congratulated for bringing the treasure that is Professor Epp’s library to Baylor’s existing distinguished collection.”

Beth Farwell, director of the central libraries’ special collections, notes, “Acquiring this rich research collection is possible due to Baylor’s reputation for excellence in research, and the continuing collaboration between Baylor faculty and the Libraries. It will take a little time to process the volumes and prepare them for researchers. As the materials are ready for research, we will make those announcements as soon as possible.”

A second shipment of Epp materials will arrive in May, and the process of cataloging and preparing the materials for access by researchers is underway. To learn more about the collection or to schedule an opportunity to access them, please contact Beth Farwell at or call (254) 710-3679.
I have now updated my previous post on the locations of New Testament text-critics’ libraries with this info. 

Friday, July 19, 2019

New Critical Edition: Ecclesiastes for Gӧttingen Septuaginta Series

The latest critical edition in the Gӧttingen Septuaginta Series (began in 1908) has been published: Peter J. Gentry, ed., Ecclesiastes, Septuaginta Vetus Testamentum Graecum, Vol. XI, 2 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019). Here is the description from the publishers' website:
Die Herausgabe der großen kritischen Edition des ältesten erreichbaren Septuaginta-Textes ist Ziel des 1908 gegründeten Septuaginta-Unternehmens der Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen. Anspruch und Aufgabe einer solchen Edition ist die auf möglichste Vollständigkeit angelegte Erfassung und transmissionsgeschichtliche Auswertung der handschriftlichen überlieferung, angefangen mit den griechischen vorchristlichen Papyri (3./2. Jh. v.Chr.) bis hin zu den Minuskelhandschriften des 16. Jh. n.Chr., sodann der lateinischen, koptischen, syrischen, äthiopischen und armenischen Tochterübersetzungen, ferner der Septuaginta-Zitate bei den griechischen und lateinischen Kirchenschriftstellern unter Einschluss der sog. Catenenüberlieferung und schließlich aller Druckausgaben der Septuaginta vom 16. bis zum 20. Jh. Erstmals erscheint mit Peter Gentrys Arbeit eine vollständige kritische Edition des Buches »Ecclesiastes«. Der vorliegende Band XI bildet den 2. Band der Gesamtreihe »Septuaginta« und setzt so die Göttinger Editio critica maior fort.
Prof. Gentry has worked on this edition for about twenty years, and I can attest to his very careful work in it. This edition will be the standard for all future work on the text and interpretation of Ecclesiastes.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Textual Criticism and Other Areas of New Testament Studies: A Bibliography

Back in May I noted David Parker’s comments on the significance of the move away from the TR on New Testament studies. That got me thinking about how textual criticism more broadly has affected New Testament studies and that led to the start of a bibliography. I’ve copied it below and would like to expand it with readers’ help.

Textual Criticism and Other Areas of New Testament Studies

Aland, Kurt. “Glosse, Interpolation, Redaktion und Komposition in der Sicht der neutestamentlichen Textkritik.” Pages 35–57 in Studien zur Überlieferung des Neuen Testaments und seines Textes. ANTF 2. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1967.
Bird, Michael F. “Textual Criticism and the Historical Jesus.” JSHJ 6.2 (2008): 133–156. A look at the perils of ignoring textual criticism in the study of the historical Jesus. Summary here.
Dormandy, Michael. “How the Books Became the Bible: The Evidence for Canon­Formation from Work-Combinations in Manuscripts.” TC 23 (2018): 1–39. A detailed look at the question of what manuscript contents might tell us about canon formation. Cf. to Mead and Schmidt below. Online here.
Head, Peter M. “Textual Criticism and the Synoptic Problem.” Pages 115–156 in New Studies in the Synoptic Problem. Oxford Conference, April 2008. Essays in Honour of Christopher M. Tuckett, edited by P. Foster, A. Gregory, J. S. Kloppenborg and J. Verheyden. BETL 239. Leuven: Peeters, 2011. A thorough look at the importance of textual criticism for the synoptic problem.
Epp, Eldon J. “Issues in the Interrelationship of New Testament Textual Criticism and Canon.” Pages 485–515 in The Canon Debate, edited by Lee Martin McDonald and James A. Sanders. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002. A survey of how textual criticism impinges on questions of canon including order of books, contents of manuscripts, variants, etc.
Malik, Peter M. “Whose Fathers? A Note on the (Un-)Johannine Echo in the Egerton Gospel.” Early Christianity 9 (2018): 201–211. Offers critical interaction with Francis Watson’s argument in Gospel Writing that the Egerton Gospel is a source for John’s Gospel based on the scribal correction of the phrase “(y)our fathers.”
Meade, John D. “Myths about Canon: What the Codex Can and Can’t Tell Us.” Pages TBD in Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism, edited by Elijah Hixson and Peter J. Gurry. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, forthcoming. Argues that the contents of our codices are not a good guide to questions of canonicity.
Porter, Stanley E. and Matthew Brook O’Donnell. “The Implications of Textual Variants for Authenticating the Words of Jesus.” Pages 97–133 in Authenticating the Words of Jesus, edited by Bruce Chilton and Craig A. Evans. New Testament Tools and Studies 28.1. Leiden: Brill, 1998.
———. “The Implications of Textual Variants for Authenticating the Activities of Jesus.” Pages 121–151 in Authenticating the Activities of Jesus, edited by Bruce Chilton and Craig A. Evans. New Testament Tools and Studies 28.2. Leiden: Brill, 1998.
Schmidt, Daryl D. “The Greek New Testament as a Codex.” Pages 469–484 in The Canon Debate, edited by Lee Martin McDonald and James A. Sanders. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002. A survey of NT manuscript contents and the possible implications for canonicity. Cf. to Dormandy and Meade.
Shin, H. W. Textual Criticism and the Synoptic Problem in Historical Jesus Research: The Search for Valid Criteria. Contributions to Biblical Exegesis & Theology 36.  Leuven: Peeters, 2004. A comparison of text-critical criteria to those of the historical Jesus. Reviewed by Peter Head in JSNT 27.5 (2005): 47–48.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Barton on the Bible

John Barton, Oriel and Laing Emeritus Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at Oxford, has a new book out titled A History of the Bible: The Story of the World’s Most Influential Book. (The British subtitle is The Book and Its Faiths.) Barton has written on this before in How the Bible Came to Be (1998) and of course in his many other publications, but this book is more extensive and is aimed at a wide audience. Here’s the publisher’s info:
A literary history of our most influential book of all time, by an Oxford scholar and Anglican priest

In our culture, the Bible is monolithic: It is a collection of books that has been unchanged and unchallenged since the earliest days of the Christian church. The idea of the Bible as “Holy Scripture,” a non-negotiable authority straight from God, has prevailed in Western society for some time. And while it provides a firm foundation for centuries of Christian teaching, it denies the depth, variety, and richness of this fascinating text. In A History of the Bible, John Barton argues that the Bible is not a prescription to a complete, fixed religious system, but rather a product of a long and intriguing process, which has inspired Judaism and Christianity, but still does not describe the whole of either religion. Barton shows how the Bible is indeed an important source of religious insight for Jews and Christians alike, yet argues that it must be read in its historical context—from its beginnings in myth and folklore to its many interpretations throughout the centuries.

It is a book full of narratives, laws, proverbs, prophecies, poems, and letters, each with their own character and origin stories. Barton explains how and by whom these disparate pieces were written, how they were canonized (and which ones weren’t), and how they were assembled, disseminated, and interpreted around the world—and, importantly, to what effect. Ultimately, A History of the Bible argues that a thorough understanding of the history and context of its writing encourages religious communities to move away from the Bible’s literal wording—which is impossible to determine—and focus instead on the broader meanings of scripture.
Here is a clip chosen not at random from the section on NT textual criticism that I plucked from Amazon:
There are several thousand New Testament manuscripts from the first few centuries CE [!], from early papyrus fragments to the great elaborate fourth-century manuscripts such as Codex Sinaiticus. As well as manuscripts in Greek, the original language of the New Testament writers, there are many of translations into other languages, including even languages of northern Europe such as Gothic (see Chapter 18). The work of New Testament textual critics is painstaking and difficult, and earlier attempts to establish ‘the original text’ of any book have now largely been set aside in favour of tracing the history of different manuscript ‘families’, and so establishing various parallel traditions as to what, in detail, the books contain.

Thus there is not, and never can be, a text of ‘the New Testament’ as it left the hands of Paul, Luke or John: we have only variants. The implications of this for theories of the inspiration and authority of the New Testament have scarcely begun to be worked out. Where the words of Jesus are concerned, for example, we often know only roughly what he is supposed to have said (and whether he really said it is of course yet a further question). (pp. 285–286)
The British cover
From this you probably get a good sense of where Barton is coming from. I’ve had our library order a copy. But until then I’ll leave you with two more quotes from reviews of quite opposite persuasion. The first is from Julian Coman in the Guardian who is quite taken with the book and closes with this:
Along with the evident conviction that this marvellous “melee of materials” deserved fresh treatment beyond the absurdities of Da Vinci Code-style fantasies (conspiracy theories about the Bible’s compilation are well and truly laid to rest), it is this desire to free the Bible from overzealous interpreters that sums up Barton’s intellectual project. Asserting a perfect fit between scripture and the faiths of either Judaism or Christianity means doing violence to a set of texts that are open, mutually contradictory, historically situated, utterly diverse in genre and all the more suggestive for that.

Fundamentalists will not be queuing up to up to buy A History of the Bible: the Book and its Faiths. But for believers of a more open disposition, and non-believing lovers of great literature, reading it will be a revelation and a delight.
The second review is by another Barton, Barton Swaim in today’s Wall St. Journal, which closes with this:
Like many biblical scholars of a more “liberal” disposition, Mr. Barton wants to find a path between revering the Bible as in some sense a genuine revelation of God and dismissing it as a collection of ancient delusions. The evidence makes that middle path a hard one to travel. … John Barton’s reluctant, lukewarm “admiration” for the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures will impress some readers as perfectly respectable. But surely the Bible—a book that has outraged, captivated and upended greater minds than his—demands a more decided response.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Batovici on L2484 (Trinity Cambridge MS O.9.27)


Dan Batovici, ‘Digital Palimpsests: Mark in Trinity College Cambridge MS. O.9.27’ Open Theology 5 (2019).

Abstract: The O.9.27 manuscript of Trinity College Cambridge is a minuscule manuscript of Hesiod’s Opera et Dies. In a 2001 PhD thesis on Greek palimpsests in Cambridge by Natalie Tchernetska, this manuscript is described to contain two distinct lower scripts, one of which identified as a New Testament text. The author read four lines and a partial fifth of the one-leaf palimpsest that contain Mark 1:44, which is remarkable considering that the washing made the lower script virtually the same colour as the page. This note re-examines the Markan lower script in O.9.27 and offers an account of the use of image processing software for the purpose to uncover more text in a difficult palimpsest, a method useful when MSI is not available.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Is the Muratorian Fragment a Late Antique Fake?

Clare Rothschild says yes in “The Muratorian Fragment as Roman Fake,” NovT 60, no. 1 (2018): 55–82 and now Christophe Guignard says no in “The Muratorian Fragment as a Late Antique Fake? An Answer to C. K. Rothschild,RevSR 93/1–2 (2019): 73–90.

I haven’t had time to read either so I’m just the messenger here. For an informed opinion, I’d ask John Meade except he’s on vacation. Slacker!

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

10th anniversary of the Electronic Edition of Codex Sinaiticus

This month marks the tenth anniversary of the release of the electronic edition of Codex Sinaiticus!

Here is the press release from ITSEE, University of Birmingham (by Hugh Houghton): 

Ten years ago this month, in July 2009, the complete digital edition of Codex Sinaiticus was released online at This remarkable collaboration between the four different institutions which possess parts of the manuscript (the British Library, Leipzig University Library, the National Library of Russia and St Catherine’s Monastery Mount Sinai), along with the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing at the University of Birmingham (ITSEE), has been acclaimed as an epoch-making event in the development of online resources for the study of ancient manuscripts. For the first time, it was possible to compare all surviving parts of the manuscript with each other in high-resolution colour digital images, while an electronic transcription of the complete text, with each word hyperlinked to its location on the corresponding image, offered an authoritative reading of the manuscript’s evidence for the text of the Bible in Greek and an innovative teaching resource to introduce students to engaging with New Testament manuscripts.

The impact of the edition has been extraordinary. In the first 48 hours after the launch of the edition, the server received 96.4 million hits, with over 1 million unique visitors to the website in the first month online. A global array of news articles celebrated the achievement, with mentions on the BBC’s Today programme, TIME magazine, USA National Public Radio and many leading newspapers. Alongside a full-colour facsimile of the manuscript, the research project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council also produced two scholarly books on the manuscript and the new discoveries made during the creation of the edition. Conferences about the manuscript and its edition were held in London and St Petersburg, as well as a special event at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Boston, Massachusetts.

Back in 2009, an article in The Guardian newspaper proclaimed that “The online Codex Sinaiticus changes book scholarship for good”. Over the last decade, complete sets of digital images of hundreds – if not thousands – of manuscripts have been made freely available online, while the electronic transcription has led to the development of standards and software used in a variety of digital editing projects. Ten years on, we are seeking to learn more about the effect this electronic edition has had both on individuals and on biblical studies more broadly. What are the stories associated with this online edition? Who has been using the website? How has it changed their attitudes to the Bible? Has the digital edition encouraged people to learn Greek or undertake further studies? What other developments have been inspired by the online presentation of this manuscript?

To this end, a short survey of Ten Questions on Codex Sinaiticus has been set up to gather information. Alternatively, users of the electronic edition may send their comments directly to a dedicated email address ( The feedback will be shared among the partners in the project in order to assist with understanding the impact of the edition and the further development of the website and other resources.

Any of the following three links will take you to the survey:

Please help publicising the survey. It will help to show the effect which this digital edition has had over the last ten years.

Tregelles’s hymns

Samuel Prideaux Tregelles wrote hymns too. Here’s a link to 10.

As a textual critic, he occasionally couldn’t resist the temptation to use brackets as in these two instances:

1 O GOD of grace, our Father,
All praise we give to Thee,
‘Tis in Thy sovereign favour
All blessedness we see;
There only is the fountain
Whence living waters flow,
Which like a glorious river
Still gladden as they go.

2 As Thine, Thou didst foreknow us
From all eternity;
Thy chosen loved ones ever,
Kept present to Thine eye;
And when was come the moment,
Thou calling by Thy grace
Didst gently, firmly draw us
Each from his hiding-place.

3 Thy word, Thyself revealing,
Doth sanctify by truth,
Still leading on Thy children
With gentle heavenly growth:
Thus still the work proceedeth,
(The work begun by grace),
For each is meet, and training,
Father, to see Thy face.


1 THE gloomy night will soon be past,
The morning will appear,
The harbinger of day at last
Each waiting eye will cheer.

2 Thou Bright and Morning Star, Thy light
Will to our joy be seen;
Thou, Lord, wilt meet our longing sight
Without a cloud between.

3 Ah, yes, Lord Jesus (Thou whose heart
Still for Thy saints doth care),
We shall behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy full image bear.

4 Thy love sustains us by the way,
While pilgrims here below;
Thou dost, O Saviour, day by day,
Thy suited grace bestow.

5 But oh! the more we learn of Thee,
And Thy rich mercy prove,
The more we long Thy face to see,
And fully prove Thy love.

6 Then, shine, Thou Bright and Morning Star,
We wait for Thee to come
And take, from sin and grief afar,
Thy blood-bought people home.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Is the Future of Thesaurus Linguae Graecae Free?

Over at the Society for Classical Studies blog, there is a new post on the TLG. We get a little peek behind what goes in to adding new material to the site. But what really grabbed my attention is this last part from the director:
Additionally, Pantelia says that, with grant awards and other fundraising, the TLG endowment has grown under her direction so that soon subscription fees will no longer be required to support the project:
I am very confident…that before I leave the project, and hopefully long before that, the TLG will be free and open to everyone. So, everyone who has contributed financially, can think contributing to a TLG that exists in perpetuity. 
Open access to these myriad texts is potentially the best news a Hellenist has read all day.
Indeed it is—and not just for Hellenists!