Friday, January 31, 2020

‘Written on your hearts’ 2 Cor 3.2

There is a variant reading in 2 Cor 3.2 where the main editions generally follow the weight of the manuscript evidence in reading ἡμῶν in the phrase ἐγγεγραμμένη ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν ‘inscribed in our hearts’:
ἡ ἐπιστολὴ ἡμῶν ὑμεῖς ἐστε, ἐγγεγραμμένη ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν, γινωσκομένη καὶ ἀναγινωσκομένη ὑπὸ πάντων ἀνθρώπων (2 Cor 3.2; NA28 = THEGNT except for ἐνγεγραμμένη)
NA28 alerts us to the variant reading (THEGNT does not): ἐγγεγραμμένη ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν (01 33 1175 1881). This is a reading which is often preferred by commentators (e.g. M. Thrall; and NT Wright in Wycliffe Hall Chapel yesterday!) because it is far simpler to think that since “you” (the Corinthian believers) are “our” letter (of recommendation), this is something written on “your” (i.e. the Corinthian) hearts and thus known and read by every one (who sees the Spirit at work in the Corinthian believers). If it is written on Paul’s heart (and Timothy?), how is it known and read by everyone?

So I confess that I am tempted by this reading, but I haven’t fully thought it through (or read anything except Thrall!). Does anybody have any particular wisdom to share?

Here are these passages (just for interest):

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Joey McCollum: Introducing the open-cbgm library

The following is a guest post from Joey McCollum. Joey is a research associate at Virginia Tech, a co-editor of the Solid Rock Greek New Testament (with Stephen Brown), and one of the translators behind Max and Moritz in Biblical Greek (with Brent Niedergall, Dave Massa, and Steve Young). I’m very happy to share with you his independent work to produce an editable version of the CBGM. The changes he introduces are worth discussing and I hope that conversation can begin here on the ETC blog.

1. Introduction & Goals

The open-cbgm library is an open-source software implementation of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM).  In this guest post, I’d like to highlight how the open-cbgm library has accomplished the following objectives.

When I began the project back in October 2019, I had a few goals in mind. First, I wanted it to be open source, so that others could use the CBGM from end-to-end independently, study the code to understand what’s going on “under the hood,” or copy and modify the code to suit their own needs. Second, I wanted the library to fit into existing workflows with other text-critical tools. Third, I wanted to implement features that other textual critics have expressed an interest in seeing in the CBGM. And finally, I wanted the library to be fast—specifically, fast enough to handle the daunting task of constructing a complete global stemma for a book of the New Testament.

2. How It Works

Regarding the first goal, I’m pleased to say that the software is now freely accessible on GitHub at It works on Linux, Mac, and Windows computers. Platform-specific instructions on installing and using it are available on the GitHub page.

Towards the second goal, the open-cbgm library works with inputs in the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) XML format, a digital humanities standard used by transcription and collation tools developed by the Institute of Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing (ITSEE) and supported in the INTF’s Virtual Manuscript Room (VMR) workspace. The TEI guidelines offer natural ways to encode lists of witnesses, variation units, and collation data, and the TEI graph-related elements lend themselves well to representing local stemmata of variant readings (see Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Representation of a local stemma in TEI XML. The “directed” graph type indicates that specified edges are one-directional. The “node” elements correspond to readings, and the “arc” elements to proposed genealogical relationships between prior and posterior readings. Note the inclusion of subvariants (the defective reading cf) and ambiguous readings (zw-b/d).

The idea is that with minimal modification (the addition of local stemmata to variation units), the output of existing tools could serve as the input to the open-cbgm library. To my knowledge, no one else has encoded local stemmata using TEI XML, so my hope is that the practice will catch on. It seems more convenient, consistent, and compliant with known standards to have all of the input data in one place.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Logos Conference in Washington (June 2020)


Logos in Washington, DC

Apply to Logos 2020! Click here to access the application.

Please note that the deadline to submit an application is 11:59 pm GMT (British time) on Sunday, 16 February 2020.
  • What: A summer workshop on museums, biblical texts, vocation, and the Christian mind that is offered by SCIO with funding provided by Steve and Jackie Green
  • Where: Held at Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC
  • When: Programme dates: 31 May – 13 June 2020
  • Enquiries: please email
The workshop: It is primarily intended for graduate students (including graduating seniors who will begin advanced studies in Autumn 2020) and Logos alumni who have completed their education. Applicants should be working in Biblical-related studies with a special focus on ancient texts and manuscripts, museum studies and education programmes, history of the Bible, reception history, ancient languages, and related disciplines. Applicants should be considering a vocation in one of these academic fields.

We are delighted that the Museum of the Bible will be hosting the Logos 2020 Workshop. Logos 2020 will make use of the Museum’s holdings, curatorial staff, classroom space, and laboratories. Subsequent Logos Workshops will alternate each year between Washington, DC and Oxford (Logos 2021 to be held in Oxford).

Logos offers an opportunity to be taught by experts in the fields of curation, text preservation, history, theology, textual studies, and museum studies and education programmes more broadly.

The lecture series for Logos in Washington, DC, are as follows:
  • Lecture series: Current issues in textual studies
  • Lecture series: Oxford, scholarship, and the Christian mind
  • Lecture series: The vocation of Christian scholars in the modern university
  • Text seminars on studying manuscripts in ancient languages: Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Ethiopic (languages offered are dependent on successful applicants preferences).
For more information, see:

Monday, January 27, 2020

Win Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism!

Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism has been out for about two months now and is already in a second printing. To celebrate, we’re giving away 3 copies here on the blog! You can enter in any of the ways below. Entries will close at midnight on Wednesday (Arizona time).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the book

Since the unexpected popularity of Bart Ehrman’s bestselling Misquoting Jesus, textual criticism has become a staple of Christian apologetics.

Ehrman’s skepticism about recovering the original text of the New Testament does deserve a response. However, this renewed apologetic interest in textual criticism has created fresh problems for evangelicals. An unfortunate proliferation of myths, mistakes, and misinformation has arisen about this technical area of biblical studies.

In this volume Elijah Hixson and Peter Gurry, along with a team of New Testament textual critics, offer up-to-date, accurate information on the history and current state of the New Testament text that will serve apologists and Christian students even as it offers a self-corrective to evangelical excesses.


  • Sean McDowell: “Elijah Hixson and Peter J. Gurry have provided the church with an indispensable resource with the release of their recent book Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism. In my opinion, every pastor, Bible teacher, speaker, and apologist needs to read this book.”
  • Justin Taylor (with excerpts from the book): “a remarkably careful and learned book that will step on some toes but serve the church and the cause of truth ... We all have a lot to learn from these rising stars of textual criticism who care about the truth and the witness of our apologetics.”
  • Andy Naselli: “Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism is kind of like Carson’s Exegetical Fallacies for text crit. (I’m sure I’m not the only NT prof who was relieved to not get quoted and refuted!) Impressive book. The authors know their stuff.”
  • Peter Head: “Peter Gurry is my favorite American.”*

*This quote may have been inferred.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Collation of NA28 and THGNT

The introduction at the back of the THGNT teases us by noting a collation done with NA28, but gives little more detail. That’s why it’s very helpful that Hefin Jones has shared a computer collation of NA28 with THGNT on Facebook. He says, “Caveat emptor: It’s automatically generated. There will be some curious items in there.” From there, Nelson Hsieh, a doctoral student at Southern Seminary, expands:
Thanks for producing this. I’m using Accordance for my own collation as well, but adding a lot more. Some problems with the Accordance collation vs. what I’m producing:
  1. Accordance can mark accentuation and punctuation differences, but you turned those features off since it would produce thousands of more differences. I’m not sure what font size you used, but when I created a collation that includes punctuation and accentuation, the collation came out to 522 pages vs. the 94 pages you collated. I can’t get mine to look just like yours, so it might be less than 522 pages, but it will still be much longer if you add accents and punctuation. I’ve looked at the accentuation differences and it does become significant, for example, with liquid verbs, where the difference between the present and future tense is just accentuation, an acute vs. a circumflex accent (see Rom 2:16; 8:34; 1 Cor 3:14). And punctuation differences become significant, for example, with questions (see Matt 6:31; Mark 7:18-19; 8:18; Rom 11:24; 1 Thess 2:19; Heb 2:2-3; 9:13-14; 2 Pet 3:11-12; 1 John 4:20). Or check out John 1:3b-4 as well on the placement of a period.
  2. The Accordance collation does not do a good job handling word order differences. Take a look at what the collation produces at, for example, Matt 14:4; 15:30; 22:43; Eph 6:8; 2 Tim 1:10; Heb 3:13 vs. the textual differences themselves. Writing out the variant in context allows you to see that it is a word order difference. It’s hard to identify and compare word order differences in the Accordance collation.
  3. The Accordance collation cannot compare paragraphing/macro-structural differences. See, for example, John 1:1-18, the so-called “Prologue” of John. Peter Williams, co-editor of the THGNT, wrote an article, “Not the Prologue of John,” JSNT 33, no. 4 (2011): 375-86, where he argues that 1:1-18 is not really a prologue based on how ancient MSS structured the text, which informed paragraphing choices for the THGNT in John 1:1-18. THGNT has a paragraph beginning at v. 18 (not v. 19 like in NA28) and that paragraph continues until v. 20.
  4. The Accordance collation cannot compare certainty levels, esp. important in the Catholic letters with the 43 diamond readings from the ECM. My collation will compare certainty levels and include UBS ratings.
  5. The Accordance collation cannot compare the apparatuses of the THGNT vs. NA28 and their use of vid. in the citation of MSS. This is one area where the THGNT apparatus is better than the NA28 apparatus. THGNT is more transparent and will use vid. and transcribe the variant in MSS where the NA28 does not use vid., which gives the impression that the reading in the MSS is clear (compare apparatuses in Matt 5:22; 10:2; 13:40; James 4:9; 1 Pet 3:1).
  6. Somehow the Accordance collation completely misses the significant variant in John 1:18. It just notes that THGNT has the article and NA28 lacks it. But the real variant is: ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός (THGNT) vs. μονογενὴς θεός (NA28). Although Dirk Jongkind told me at SBL that he regrets the textual decision here and would like to change it. But this example shows that Accordance can make mistakes and not display important variants in a meaningful way. I’ve linked to a PDF below to compare and contrast what kind of collation I am producing vs. what Accordance produces. Not every variant will be that detailed in my collation, but I will be listing witnesses (so you can evaluate quickly, for example, where 01, 03, and Majority Text stand) and I will describe the issues, so that you can search for every instance of differences in word order, verbal aspect, verbal voice, verbal mood, liquid verbs, adding the article, particle, conjunction, etc.
  7. Overall, the Accordance collation can give you a big picture sense of differences, but you still need a human to categorize the differences, pick out the more significant differences, provide some context for each difference, and summarize the results. I’m presenting my paper comparing the THGNT vs. NA28 at SBL Midwest regional on Feb 7-9, so I’ll post a draft around that time. I’ve also attached a PDF of my collation for Hebrews to give you an example of what I’m working on. Bold Scripture references mean I think they are significant differences. 
On another post, Nelson says this:
I’m working on a full collation of textual differences, differences in certainty levels (esp. for the Catholic Letters), and differences in orthography for the SBL Midwest regional meeting. I’ve collated most of Paul, Hebrews, about 1/3 of the gospels, all the catholic letters. I’ve got 16 pages so far and expect the textual differences to reach maybe 35+ pages. I think the total number of textual differences (excluding orthography) could reach up to 500 differences or more. For example, I found 50 textual differences just in Matthew. But most differences will be minor. Here are 11 bullet points to summarize the differences between the THGNT and the NA28: (1) the most significant textual differences (from my perspective) are Matt 19:9; 27:16; John 1:18 (although Jongkind told me he regrets the textual decision here); Rom 5:1; Eph 5:22; 1 Pet 4:16; 2 Pet 3:10; Jude 22. Less significant (but still grammatically or theologically interesting) are Matt 17:9; 27:24; Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 2:1; Gal 5:21; Col 4:8; 1 Thess 2:7; 2 Thess 2:13; Heb 9:11; 11:11, 37; 1 John 2:20. (2) On different accentuation of liquid verbs (creating the present vs. the future tense), see Rom 2:16; 8:34; 1 Cor 3:14. (3) On different punctuation of questions, see Matt 6:31; Mark 7:18-19; 8:18; Rom 11:24; 1 Thess 2:19; Heb 2:2-3; 9:13-14; 2 Pet 3:11-12. 
And he continues with more detail from there.

Thanks to both for sharing these. They are both very helpful.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Wycliffe Hall NT Research Group

We have some interesting papers coming up this term if anyone is in the vicinity:

Wycliffe Hall New Testament Research Group

2020 Hilary Term Programme
Meeting at 9:00 – 10:00AM on Wednesdays in the Lecture Room at Wycliffe Hall
  • Week 1 (Wed 22 Jan): Dr Elijah Hixson (Tyndale House, Cambridge), ‘The Question of the Reliability of the Text of the New Testament in Christian Apologetics: Reflections on my recent book Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism (IVP, 2019)’
  • Week 3 (Wed 5 Feb): Jacob Rodriguez (DPhil student, Oxford), ‘From Mimetic Replication to Interpretive Reflection: The Development of the Written Gospel Tradition in Luke, John, and the Epistula Apostolorum
  • Week 5 (Wed 19 Feb): Andrew Cowan (DPhil student, Oxford), ‘The Development of Indicated Poetic Material in the printed GNT and the potential effect on interpretation’
  • Week 7 (Wed 4 March): Dr Erin Heim (Wycliffe Hall): ‘The “Ins” and “Outs” of Matthew 15:1–20: Insights on Prepositions from Prototype Theory and Metaphor Theory’

All welcome
Convener: Peter Head (

Editio Critica Maior at SBL: Call for Papers

The Call for Papers for SBL Annual Meeting in Boston (21–24 November) is now open until 11 March. This year we will focus on the ECM of the Gospel of Mark which will be published soon (hooray!).

Novum Testamentum Graecum: Editio Critica Maior

Call For Papers: The ECM of the Gospel of Mark will be published in late 2020 or early 2021. The theme of the session at the Annual Meeting in 2020 will therefore be "The Text of the Gospel according to Mark". It is intended to provide participants whose papers are selected with an advance copy of data from the ECM of Mark in order to inform their papers. Proposals are also invited on other aspects of the ECM editions.

To propose a paper, please follow this link.

Program Unit Chairs
H.A.G. Houghton
Tommy Wasserman             

In addition, there will be a joint session with Digital Humanities in Biblical, Early Jewish and Christian Studies. This seminar is entitled "Digital Editions of the New Testament and Early Christian Literature"

Call For Papers: Over the past 20 years, numerous digital tools have emerged to cover different aspects of the editing process, from enhanced imaging, transcription and markup, paleographic toolkits, collation, to the construction of manuscript stemmata. Some of these are standalone tools, while others are integrated into an environment such as the New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room. The challenges of designing and implementing a workflow for the creation of both digital and print editions is a challenge for individual scholars and editorial teams. Proposals are invited on all aspects of navigating this emerging landscape of digital editing. Papers might present about ongoing or completed projects drawing on these resources, or highlight specific benefits (and costs) involved in using one or more of these tools, especially as compared to traditional print editions. Reflections on the current publication infrastructure, including its limitations and potential, will also be considered.

To propose a paper, follow this link.