Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Brief Update on the UBS6 from Florian Voss

Over on Twitter, Florian Voss gives a short update on updates being made for the UBS6.

Readers may remember that last year at SBL Holger Strutwolf gave 2022 as a possible date for the NA29 with the UBS6 following after that.

Monday, September 28, 2020

A Brief Guide to Good Typography


Good communication is clear. It’s more than that, but never less. To be clear, the language we use matters. All of us know that. 

But, if typography is what language looks like (according to Ellen Lupton), then the type we use also matters. Maybe you know that too, but you don’t know what to do about it. 

If so, you may be interested in my “Brief Guide to Good Typography.” It’s designed for busy students, so it’s brief. It’s not designed for professional designers, so it only covers the basics. I try to cover those elements of good typography that are the easiest to use and make the most improvement. If you find it helpful, I’m very happy for you to share it far and wide.

A brief guide to good typography

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Some notes from fun reading: Erasmus, Original Text, Shorter Reading, Spurgeon, Al Capone(!)


I’ve been trying to read a few works that have been around for a few years that, for some reason, I haven’t read until now. What follows are some thoughts that are probably old hat to everyone else. It’s a longish post with some tangents and random thoughts.

I. Rethinking New Testament Textual Criticism, ed. David Alan Black

Book coverA solid little book. The essays are certainly valuable in themselves, but I wanted to point out a couple of things from Moisés Silva’s response at the end. Silva describes himself as “an unrepentant and unshaken Hortian” (p. 142), but makes the helpful observation that Hort was really not doing anything new. Silva writes (p. 142):

“Keep in mind that what Hort did—in collaboration with Westcott and, less directly, Lightfoot—was primarily to synthesize and logically articulate nineteenth-century text-critical scholarship, which was itself the culmination of intensive work tracing its lineage back to Bengel in the eighteenth century, Bentley in the seventeenth century, and Erasmus in the sixteenth century. Yes, Erasmus, because even the creator of what would later be known as the textus receptus was absolutely committed to the very principles that lie at the foundations of WH’s accomplishments.” 

Silva’s words here stuck out to me because it’s something I’ve been saying for a little while. Was Erasmus doing the exact same thing as text critics today? Well, not exactly the same thing. However, the more I read his annotations, and assuming I have at least a working understanding of how textual criticism is done today (a premise to which I am sure somebody somewhere might object), the more difficult it is for me to escape the conclusion that Erasmus was very much in the same trajectory of what we are doing today. One difference is that it is clear from Erasmus' annotations that it was not always his intention to give the original text [see note at the end of this post]. Some might claim that this is not a goal today [Warning: tangent coming], but 1. it certainly is for some of us, and 2. Even some scholars who might not affirm the importance of the original text still function as if that is something we’re after and also something that basically can be obtained. On this point, Silva points to Ehrman’s Orthodox Corruption of Scripture to demonstrate this point (p. 149):

Although [Orthodox Corruption of Scripture] is appealed to in support of blurring the notion of an original text, there is hardly a page in that book that does not in fact mention such a text or assume its accessibility. ‘Why is such-and-such a reading in Mark a later corruption and not original? Because Mark (authorial intent!) would not likely have said such a thing.’ Indeed, Ehrman’s book is unimaginable unless he can identify an initial form of the text that can be differentiated from a later alteration.

Monday, September 14, 2020

New Open Access Handbook of Stemmatology


De Gruyter has just published a major new handbook on stemmatology, i.e., the study of textual relations. The full title is Handbook of Stemmatology: History, Methodology, Digital Approaches. I sampled a few chapters over the weekend and I am looking forward to reading further. The format recalls another major open access introduction, Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies: An Introduction. Like that volume, this one is organized by subject areas that each have their own subeditor and contributors. Many of the names I recognize as leaders in the field. As with most handbooks, the goal is not to break new ground so much as to give the lay of the land. 

Here is the publisher’s description:

Stemmatology studies aspects of textual criticism that use genealogical methods to analyse a set of copies of a text whose autograph has been lost. This handbook is the first to cover the entire field, encompassing both theoretical and practical aspects of traditional as well as modern digital methods and their history. As an art (ars), stemmatology’s main goal is editing and thus presenting to the reader a historical text in the most satisfactory way. As a more abstract discipline (scientia), it is interested in the general principles of how texts change in the process of being copied. Thirty eight experts from all of the fields involved have joined forces to write this handbook, whose eight chapters cover material aspects of text traditions, the genesis and methods of traditional “Lachmannian” textual criticism and the objections raised against it, as well as modern digital methods used in the field. The two concluding chapters take a closer look at how this approach towards texts and textual criticism has developed in some disciplines of textual scholarship and compare methods used in other fields that deal with “descent with modification”. The handbook thus serves as an introduction to this interdisciplinary field.

– First systematic coverage of stemmatology as a field within textual criticism.
– Written by 38 experts in fields from various philologies to biology and information theory.
– Illustrations and many practical examples from a wide range of disciplines are provided to render the content more accessible.

H/T: Georgi Parpulov 

Monday, September 07, 2020

Shao on the Codicology of GA 2860


Last week in my textual criticism course we had a nice lecture from Jessica Shao on GA 2860. It’s a manuscript she worked on through the Green Scholars Initiative with Amy Anderson and her students at North Central University. They had multiple leaves from 2860 which turned out to match those at the Holy Land Experience in Florida.

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Gorgias Open Repository, Including Codex Zacynthius


Gorgias Press has just posted about their Open Repository. It looks to be a collection of all their open access books. There are a number of books of interest to text critics, a few of which have been known about for some time. But I wanted especially to highlight the inclusion of Kiraz’s great book on the Syriac dot and the two new volumes in the Text and Studies series on Codex Zacynthius edited by Hugh Houghton et al. Here are the descriptions of the latter two:

This book consists of a series of studies of Codex Zacynthius (Cambridge, University Library MS Add. 10062), the earliest surviving New Testament commentary manuscript in catena format. A research project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council has produced new multispectral images of the palimpsest undertext in order to enable a thorough investigation of the manuscript and the creation of a complete electronic edition. This volume, co-authored by the members of the project, will provide a full account of the research undertaken by the project. Many advances have resulted from this research, which will be presented here for the first time in print.

This book is the first-ever edition of the complete palimpsest undertext of Codex Zacynthius (Cambridge, University Library MS Add. 10062), the earliest surviving New Testament commentary manuscript in catena format. It relies on new multispectral images produced by a research project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council in 2018.