Friday, November 29, 2019

Scribal Harmonisation as clue to Religious Identity?

Back in 2008 I noted the following:
elsewhere in this conference we have debated the question as to whether the scribes of early Christian manuscripts were Christians or not. The singular readings and scribal habits could contribute to this debate. Royse, for example, argues that the scribe of P66 is certainly a Christian (J.R. Royse, Scribal Habits in Early Greek New Testament Papyri (NTTSD 36; Leiden: Brill, 2008, 501); on the basis of the harmonisations to parallel passages elsewhere in the NT (as well as the use of nomina sacra and the staurogram). This could be extended similarly to the other papyri discussed here: P45 has harmonisations to parallels in other (canonical) gospels 8 times in the singular readings; P46 has harmonisations to the LXX (2X), and from 1 Cor 11.24a to the parallel gospel text of the words of institution (Matt 26.26); P47 has a harmonization to Luke 4.33 at Rev 14.15; P72 has 7 harmonisations to remote parallels (in Col, Heb, Rev etc.); P75 has 5 singular readings which harmonise the text to remote (NT) parallels. This data suggests that the scribes have a general awareness of other NT texts, which suggests they were probably active participants in the life of the church.
(From Juan Hernández Jr, Peter M. Head, Dirk Jongkind, and James R. Royse, Scribal Habits in Early Greek New Testament Papyri: Papers from the 2008 SBL Panel Review Session)

Has anyone been thinking about this?

Thursday, November 28, 2019

RIP Lars Hartman (1930-2019)

Bildresultat för lars hartman uppsala Today I received the sad news that professor emeritus Lars Hartman (1930–2019) passed away yesterday at the age of 89. Hartman will be remembered as one of Sweden's finest exegetes. His many scholarly contributions, especially on early Christian baptism and the Gospel of Mark, are well known. He was also a kind and generous mentor to many. Despite his declining health in recent years, he found joy in attending the New Testament research seminar in Uppsala on occasion.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

RIP Larry W. Hurtado (1943–2019)


The sad news has reached me that my dear friend and colleague, Larry W. Hurtado, has deceased. A very fine person and a giant scholar in New Testament studies including textual criticism has left us. I lack words to express my deep appreciation for his friendship and scholarship.
I post here below a picture of one of the many memories together with Larry that I treasure – when we, former students and other friends and colleagues, had the pleasure to present him with a well-deserved Festschrift in his honor during a previous SBL five years ago in San Diego (where I am writing these lines).

Update: There is a fine obituary in Christianity Today, "Remembering Larry Hurtado, Leading Researcher of Early Christian Worship"  written by Holly J. Carey, one of his former students.

Update 2: Helen Bond, Edinburgh University, remembers her friend and colleague Larry Hurtado.

Update 3: Chris Keith, St Mary's Twickenham, remembers his Doktorvater.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

‘First-Century Mark’ SBL Panel

Panelists (photo credit)
I’m at home with a newborn so I’m not attending SBL this year. But the big news was the all-star panel on “First-Century Mark.” Our own Elijah Hixson and Mike Holmes were on it as were Bart Ehrman, Roberta Mazza, Jill Hicks-Keeton, and Brent Nongbri.

From the reactions I’m seeing online, it sounds like it did not disappoint. I heard that evangelicals got a bit of a (deserved?) beating and that this blog was apparently a target at one point too. Even the emergency alarm went off! If, like me, you weren’t able to attend, you might want to read the excellent Twitter threads from David Bradnick, Candida Moss, and CJ Schmidt. Perhaps one of our esteemed contributors who was there could give us an after action report once the SBL dust settles (hint, hint).

Now back to diapers.

Update: Brent has given his update now with some helpful additional material in the comments.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Another 101 Papyri Missing from the EES

EES has announced that 120 pieces of papyri are missing from a limited number of folders(!) We know that hitherto 13 pieces have been located in the Museum of the Bible in Washington, another 6 in the collection of Andrew Stimer, but there is another 101 pieces to track down!
     Below I cite the statement from the chairman of the EES to the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) on its annual general meeting on 16th November (HT: Brent Nongbri):

Chairman’s statement to EES members

The following statement was provided to members of the EES during the Society's AGM on 16th November 2019:
Investigation of the Society’s collection of papyri from Oxyrhynchus, which is estimated to hold some half a million fragments, has to date identified around 120 pieces which appear to be missing, almost all from a limited number of folders; it is possible that a few more cases may emerge. So far 13 of the missing pieces have been located in the Museum of the Bible in Washington and another 6 in the collection of Mr Andrew Stimer in California, and both collections are returning these texts to the EES. The EES is working with the University of Oxford and the police to establish how the papyri located in these and any other collections came to be removed and sold. While the police investigation is in progress, the EES cannot comment further on these matters, but will report on developments as and when it is possible.
Meanwhile the editorial team is working as usual to prepare new volumes of The Oxyrhynchus Papyri for the Graeco-Roman Memoirs of the EES. Because the investigation has delayed editorial work, we regret that the forthcoming volume LXXXV, due in 2018/19, is now expected in early 2020. The EES is also working with Oxford University to enhance the current accommodation of the collection and to determine how best to ensure its care and publication into the next generation.

Friday, November 15, 2019

A Previously Unidentified Folio of 093?

Earlier this week, I was working on Acts in the forthcoming textual commentary for the Tyndale House Greek New Testament, and I believe there is another page of 093 that the INTF does not currently recognise. Oddly enough, this is not the first time someone at Tyndale House working on Acts has stumbled across a previously-unknown page of a Greek New Testament manuscript.

According to the online Liste at the INTF, 093 is housed at the Cambridge University Library in the Cairo Genizah collection as “Taylor-Schechter Coll. 12.208”. That is slightly imprecise, but the print edition of the Liste (at least the first edition, which is the one I checked) correctly notes that 093 is two folios, each with its own shelfmark. The LDAB entry rightly gives them as Taylor-Schechter 12.208 and Taylor-Schechter 12.189. The manuscript itself is rather interesting. It is a palimpsest in which 6th-century Greek text (of Acts 24–25 and 1 Peter 2–3) was overwritten with Hebrew.

If you’ll hold that thought, we’ll hop over momentarily to the other side of the Atlantic.

As it turns out, the University of Pennsylvania also has a collection of manuscripts that came from the Cairo Genizah in their Center for Advanced Judaic Studies Library. Their online catalogue describes one manuscript, Halper 114, as an “Early midrash on Genesis 40:18-41:3; 46:28-47:1”. Note the following, however:
The hand may be identical to that of the ancient palimpsest copy of compendium of Midrash Rabbah Genesis, Cambridge T-S 12.208 and 189....
Another online catalogue at UPenn has a slightly longer set of notes (and I note that they do give a description for the undertext: “Palimpsest of Book of Acts(?) (Sixth century?)”) and includes the following:
Fragmented Greek characters, disposed vertically in 3 lines within center margins, along joint on hair side; no other Greek characters visible to naked eye, none visible on flesh side; some additional characters seem to appear with digital enhancement, but currently impossible to make out text; the identification with the Cambridge TS 12.208 and 189 bifolia is tentative, given ruling differences (Halper 30-32 lines; Cambridge 28-29 lines), and paucity of identifiable text, notwithstanding kinship between Hebrew texts.
I would suggest that it is not impossible to make out the Greek undertext, only very difficult. Still, I did some playing around, and I think I have found bits of Acts 21:13–14 in one of the more legible sections. As far as I know (and with my sincerest apologies to the INTF if this is not the case), the INTF does not currently recognise Halper 114 as part of 093 or as part of any other Greek New Testament manuscript.

[These images and the content of Center for Advanced Judaic Studies Library, Halper 114: Early midrash on Genesis 40:18-41:3; 46:28-47:1 are free of known copyright restrictions and in the public domain. See the Creative Commons Public Domain Mark page for usage details,]

Section of Halper 114, without my edits.

Section of Halper 114, with my very rough drawing on enough undertext for a preliminary identification
I can also see ε[ι]πο[ντες] after I stopped drawing in red there as well, but I admit I didn’t spend as much time on it as I could have.

My proposals:

  1. It would be great if Halper 114 could be digitised with MSI so that the undertext can be read and edited (and I hear CSNTM has MSI capabilities now!).
  2. It would be great if someone at the INTF could verify if Halper 114 is indeed a previously-unidentified (or at least previously-unrecognised in the Liste) folio of 093.
Finally, here we have another application of Head’s Rule, that “the best place to look for ancient manuscripts is in a library”.