Monday, April 27, 2020

Text critics who are cat people

I figure we could all use a bit of lighthearted fun during these difficult times, so I give you: textual scholars and manuscript specialists with cats!

Image credit: co-blogger Amy Anderson (used with permission)

Obviously, I would love to include myself in the following list, but since my current landlord doesn’t allow pets, I’m limited to hoping the neighbor’s friendly cat stops by when she’s out prowling the neighborhood, or stopping to pet any cats I find on the street while I’m out running errands. Anyway, some of the rest of us are in alphabetical order.

Amy Anderson
Amy writing a book review. Image credit: Amy Anderson (used with permission).
Christian Askeland
Christian, with his daughter’s cat, “Mouse,” who, I’m told “would kill and eat her human slaves under the right circumstances,” but nevertheless is “super soft and hilarious.” Image credit: Christian Askeland (used with permission).
Josephine Dru
“Easter cat.” Image and caption credits: Josephine Dru (used with permission).
We met on Resurrection Sunday. She was a stray trying to join my friends’ kids in their backyard egg hunt.
[L] This photo may look slightly blasphemous, but please note: 1. my hand is in the human’s spot, and 2. I still consider Bella my second best Easter gift ever.
[R] She insisted on helping. Her contributions were brief but bilingual. Fitting for her middle name (Natanya).
Peter Gurry
Pete getting some help in a YouTube debate.
Dan Gurtner
Gus Gus working on P.Oxy. 403. Image credit: Dan Gurtner (used with permission).
Rendel Harris (1852–1941)
According to this recent biography by Alessandro Falcetta. See Harris and his cat Zenon here.
Hugh A.G. Houghton
Dorcas and Barnabas, before they began work on the ECM. Image credit: Hugh Houghton (used with permission).
Larry Hurtado (1943–2019)
On his cat, Cupar, see the preface to Hurtado’s book, Earliest Christian Artifacts.
David Parker
Source: the possibly-now-defunct “Cats Who Edit” page (HT: Hugh Houghton), thankfully still available here via the Wayback Machine because nothing on the internet ever truly goes away.
Elizabeth Schrader
Elizabeth hard at work. Image credit: Elizabeth Schrader (used with permission).
James Snapp
James (here with Elway) blogs at Image credit: James Snapp (used with permission).
Klaus Wachtel
Source: “Cats Who Edit“ (see caption above under David Parker’s picture).
Nigel Wilson
Image credit: Wilson’s faculty page at the Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford. Who knew that the legendary palaeographer is a cat person? This is a new life goal for me right here—to make it to a point in my life where I can have a faculty/staff page with a photo like this one.
Mae Gilliland Wright
With Hermione the “office cat” who likes to eat important documents. Thankfully, Mae’s excellently organized thesis on Clement of Alexandria’s text of Paul remains uneaten and available here. Image credit: Mae Gilliland Wright (used with permission).

Honorable mentions:

Whoever runs this Twitter account.

The anonymous monk of Reichenau monastery who wrote (or perhaps copied) the 9th-century poem in Old Irish, Pangur Bán, about ‘hunting words’ while his cat, Pangur Bán, was hunting for mice.

Whoever made and/or owned these manuscripts.

The University of Michigan’s Karanis excavation teams in the 1920s and 1930s, who had dogs and also two cats named Topsy and Sipsy. See Terry G. Wilfong, “Dig Dogs and Camp Cats at Karanis: The Animals of the 1924–1935 University of Michigan Expedition to Egypt“, in Beyond Hatti: A Tribute to Gary Beckman, ed. Collins/Michalowski (Atlanta, Lockwood Press, 2013), pp. 325–341.

UPDATE: I have updated the post to add Dan Gurtner.


  1. Were you not warned after your first infringement (

  2. Tommy Wasserman4/27/2020 12:05 pm

    You forgot Cat Smith at ITSEE in Birmingham.

    1. Is Cat a cat person, or is she Cat, a person? If the former, I'm happy to edit the post and add her in!

    2. Thank you, Tommy, for a great comment!

  3. Is this no longer an evangelical website?? Everyone knows only fido upholds the regula fide. I demand to see the text critical dogs.

  4. Oh no. If I am required to get a cat to be a true text critic or palaographer, then I may have to choose another field of study. ;)

  5. My dog, Oban, also likes textual criticism, or at least lying on the floor next to me. (Photo from last week on Twitter:

    Also, we now have two references to Tiger King on this site.

  6. Manuscript scholars have always compiled CATologues.

    1. This is all very aMEOWsing but can we get back to textual criticism.

    2. Are you working on CATenae?

    3. I think some are getting to DOGmatic about owning cats;).

    4. No. I'm attempting to reconstruct the arCAType of Family Π.

    5. Family 13 would be more appropriate for black cats.

    6. Time for my morning CATechism.

    7. One can no longer be DOGmagic about text-types becausr they are no longer accepted CATegories for classifying manuscripts.

  7. If Family 13 is the black cats, then the Alexandrian text-type must be the dogs. They come in all varieties and sizes, and people still love them. All kinds of recessive genes in those dogs that one can pick and choose from to get the combinations for the perfect pet.

    And the Byzantine text-type has to be the rabbits. They all look pretty much alike, and how they multiply! There aren't any old ones though...maybe climate change killed off the first generations, or they wore themselves out producing more rabbits.