Friday, May 30, 2008

Miscellaneous Biblical Codices

I am creating a list of miscellaneous biblical codices up to the seventh century. In particular, I am interested in manuscripts which contain groups of texts which do not align with the usual groupings found in the early papyri and uncials. P72 is the only clear example of a Greek miscellaneous codex which I can find (although, note its Coptic proclivities). P42 and P62 are probably texts related to the (Novem) Odae Ecclesiae Graecae (P62 is a Greek-Coptic diglot). P6 and the Hamburger bilingual papyrus are both mainly Coptic texts, although they do contain Greek biblical texts (I Clement[co]-James[co]- John[co/gk], Song of Songs[co]- Lamentations[co]-Ecclesiastes[gk/co]). Yes, there is a Hamburger papyrus... but I trust that it comes with sauerkraut and not French fries.

Am I missing any other Greek miscellaneous biblical codices? The data will figure into my paper on the early Coptic biblical tradition at International Association of Coptic Studies in September.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Article on New Manuscripts

My article entitled 'Five New Testament Manuscripts: Recently Discovered Fragments In A Private Collection In Cambridge' (i.e. 0311, 0312, 0313, 0314, 0315) which is to appear in the next print issue of The Journal of Theological Studies has now been published on-line in a pre-publication final form (but without pagination).
Anyway, if anyone is interested the article can be seen (I hope without sign in or subscription) here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"Wild Card Head" - Britain's New Olympic Hope in Racewalking

With only 71 days left to the Olympic Games in Beijing, this happy man, university lecturer Peter M. Head from Cambridge, has accepted the challenge of his life and is now training for the 50 Kilometer Men's Walk.

Yesterday, on May 27, the International Olympic Committee unexpectedly granted Head a wild card for the Racewalking. This was to commemorate the fifth anniversary of a special rule put in place by the Committee on May 27 2003. The rule prevents "wild card" athletes from competing in a particular sport unless they meet a minimum standard (read more here), so now it is up to Head to prove himself worthy. His surprised colleagues can now see the senior lecturer pacing around the university area in Cambridge.

Great Britain has not had a "wild card" athlete since the days of Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, the first and only British Olympic ski jumper, who was a "wild card" athlete.

We wish him good luck. GO AHEAD HEAD!

Workshop on Hebrew Codicology

Dr Judith Olszowy-Schlanger (Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes, Paris) will give a workshop on Hebrew codicology on Wednesday 27th–Thursday 28th August in the Cambridge University Library's Manuscripts Room. The workshop will concentrate on Oriental manuscripts. Contact Prof. Geoffrey Khan if you would like to attend. Those coming from outside of town will have to find their own housing.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Two items of interest in the Expository Times

1. J.C. Poirier, 'Living Text or Exquisite Corpse?' Expository Times 119.9 (2008), 437-439.

This is a response to David Parker's essay 'Textual Criticism and Theology' which we discussed earlier here .

2. Paul Foster reviews Michael Holmes' Apostolic Fathers as 'Book of the Month' (pp. 440-441), describing it in glowing terms: 'The presentation is magnificent, the attention to detail first class'. Congratulations to Mike (the only ETC blogger with a wikipedia entry! He must be famous.)

Bart knows the actions

Some things you learn at Bible College stay with you for a long time, so when they needed someone to help lead the actions for 'Wide, Wide as the Ocean' they knew who to turn to.

Friday, May 23, 2008

More Reviews in TC

More reviews have been added (see previous post):

Othmar Keel and Silvia Schroer, Die Ikonographie Palästinas/Israels und der Alte Orient: Eine Religionsgeschichte in Bildern. Vol. 1: Vom ausgehenden Mesolithikum bis zur Frühbronzezeit (Thomas Hieke, reviewer)

Peter Busch, Magie in neutestamentlicher Zeit (Tobias Nicklas, reviewer)

L. Painchaud and P.-H. Poirier, eds., Coptica - Gnostica - Manichaica: Mélanges offerts à Wolf-Peter Funk (Tobias Nicklas, reviewer)

Géza G. Xeravits and József Zsengellér, eds., The Books of the Maccabees: History, Theology, Ideology (Jan Willem van Henten, reviewer)

P.W. Flint, E. Tov, and J.C. VanderKam, eds., Studies in the Hebrew Bible, Qumran, and the Septuagint Presented to Eugene Ulrich (Heinz-Josef Fabry, reviewer)

Josef Hainz, Neues Testament und Kirche: Gesammelte Aufsätz (Nicole Chibici-Revneanu, reviewer)

James M. M. Francis, Adults as Children: Images of Childhood in the Ancient World and the New Testament (Reidar Aasgaard, reviewer)

Sebastian Brock, The Bible in the Syriac Tradition (P. J. Williams, reviewer)

B. Palme, ed. Akten des 23. Internationalen Papyrologenkongresses, Wien 22.-28. Juli 2001 (Tobias Nicklas, reviewer)

Bart J. Koet, Dreams and Scripture in Luke-Acts: Collected Essays (Heike Braun, reviewer)

Peter Arzt-Grabner, Ruth Elisabeth Kritzer, Amphilochios Papathomas, and Franz Winter, 1. Korinther, Papyrologische Kommentare zum Neuen Testament (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New Reviews in TC vol. 13 (2008)

Twelve new reviews have appeared in the current issue of TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism vol. 13 (2008).

One of them is my review of L.W. Hurtado, ed., The Freer Biblical Manuscripts: Fresh Studies of an American Treasure Trove (Text-Critical Studies 6. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2006). The review ends thus:

"This volume brings together ten valuable essays, each focusing on some important aspect of this 'American treasure trove.' Especially in Clarke’s leading essay about the great philanthropist Charles Lang Freer, who in great enthusiasm purchased the manuscripts from Egypt, we can mirror our own fascination for these biblical manuscripts. As Clarke says, Freer did not collect these items for the purpose of amassing materials in the pursuit of wealth but instead to encourage a sensitivity of 'the beautiful' that would arrest the materialism of his own age (p. 21). This volume of essays highlights this beauty and is therefore a treasure in its own right."

The other reviews are:

Ralph W. Klein, 1 Chronicles, Hermeneia (Korinna Zamfir, reviewer)

Christfried Böttrich, ed., Eschatologie und Ethik im frühen Christentum (Albert Hogeterp, reviewer)

Hermann Josef Riedl, Anamnese und Apostolizität: Der Zweite Petrusbrief und das theologische Problem neutestamentlicher Pseudepigraphie (Tord Fornberg, reviewer)

Séamus O'Connell, From Most Ancient Sources: The Nature and Text-Critical Use of the Greek Old Testament Text of the Complutensian Polyglot Bible (Siegfried Kreuzer, reviewer)

Johannes Marböck, Weisheit und Frömmigkeit: Studien zur alttestamentlichen Literatur der Spätzei (Géza G. Xeravits, reviewer)

Gottfried Schimanowski, Juden und Nichtjuden in Alexandrien: Koexistenz und Konflikte bis zum Pogrom unter Trajan (117 n. Chr.) (Michael Tilly, reviewer)

James Rendel Harris, New Testament Autographs and Other Essays (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer)

André Lemaire, Congress Volume [of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament], Leiden 2004 (Thomas Hieke, reviewer)

Tor Vegge, Paulus und das antike Schulwesen: Schule und Bildung des Paulus (Uta Poplutz, reviewer)

Linda M. Day, Esther, Abingdon OT Commentaries (Marie-Theres Wacker, reviewer)

Géza G. Xeravits and József Zsengellér, eds., The Book of Tobit: Text, Tradition, Theology. Papers of the First International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books, Pápa, Hungary, 20-21 May, 2005 (Michaela Hallermayer, reviewer)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bob Stein on the ending of Mark

In the latest issue of BBR (18.1 [2008]: 79-98) Robert H. Stein argues that Mark's Gospel did not originally end at Mk. 16.8. He argues this based on: (1) Mark has two prophetic statements about Jesus meeting his disciples in Galilee in 14.28 and 16.7. (2) The focus on the nature of faith or discipleship in some analyses of 16.1-8 loses focus on the christological purpose of Mark in his Gospel which is about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (3) This view is enjoying a resurgence of support of late from Gundry, Evans, Witherington, Edwards, France, and Wright.

F.F. Bruce on the text of Hebrews

Rob Bradshaw has posted an on-line version of an interesting article by F.F. Bruce:

F.F. Bruce, "Textual Problems in the Epistle to the Hebrews" in David Alan Black, ed., Scribes and Scripture: New Testament Essays in Honour of J Harold Greenlee. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1992. pp.27-39.

He discusses the following passages: 2.9; 3.6; 4.2; 6.2; 9.11, 19; 10.1, 38; 11.11, 37; 12.1, 3.

He has a view of 2.9 I hadn't heard before: that neither variant was original!

Monday, May 19, 2008

NA27 and UBS4 Orthographic Differences

Although the text of NA27 and UBS4 is supposed to be identical, apparently some inconsistencies remain.

Perhaps this has been caught previously, but I noticed today in 1Cor 9:1 that EWRAKA is read by UBS4 (also BYZ/TR), while EORAKA is read by NA27 (also WH), the orthography varying according to the "Attic" versus the "normal" form.

Was this an oversight in one or the other Muenster-based editions? Can we expect it to be corrected in the next edition (whichever one will be held to reflect the original orthography)? Are there any other cases of textual (not punctuational) difference between NA27 and UBS4?

New Uncial Manuscript of John

CHÉTANIAN, R. Varteni & STONE, Michael E., 'Deux pages d'un même manuscrit grec de l'Évangile selon Jean dans deux manuscrits arméniens' Revue des Études Arméniennes 30 (2005-2007), 419-432.

This article publishes two pages from the same ninth century greek manuscript of John (majuscule) from two different Armenian manuscripts. Some basic details of the two pages:

Chester Beatty 624 (An Armenian manuscript of the four gospels written in Antioch in AD 1811): page from the binding: John 16.27 - 17.9

Matenadaran (Erevan, Russia) (Frag. 15 in an envelope): John 17.24 - 18.11

General discussion of the fragments, really nice photos.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

In Defence of Red Letter Bibles

Red Letter Bibles are Bibles with the words of Jesus printed in red ink. This has been a fairly common and popular publishing format since Louis Klopsch printed his first Red Letter Testament in 1899 (or 1900). The terminology has recently been picked up by Tony Campolo in defining the idea of 'Red Letter Christians' as those who pay particular attention to Jesus' teaching: 'In adopting this name, we are saying that we are committed to living out the things that He said.' Campolo attaches this to what might be perceived as a somewhat left-wing agenda. This in turn has prompted Don Carson to complain that basing our theology on such 'foolishly printed Bibles' is basically just another form of having a 'canon within the canon' (summarised here, also printed last week in Evangelicals Now).

Without diving into this particular debate I do want to ask whether printing Jesus' words in red is foolish, or whether it preserves a genuine Christian instinct. As a historical point it is worth noting that in its origin the use of red ink was not actually an attempt to disconnect the words of Jesus from 'the narrative framework of each of the canonical gospels, in which the plot-line takes the reader to Jesus’s redeeming death and resurrection' (Carson). On the contrary, the use of red ink was intended to connect the words of Jesus precisely with the plot line of Jesus' redeeming death: it was the symbolism of Christ's blood, prompted by Luke 22.20 (“This cup is the new testament in my blood, which I shed for you”) which led Klopsch to print Christ's words in red.

But notwithstanding this important sybolism, the primary reason for treating Jesus’ own words as of particular importance is because this is what Jesus himself says: hearing and doing ‘these words of mine’ are foundational to the faithful life (Matt 7.24ff; Luke 6.47ff); and indeed, allegiance to ‘me and my words’ is announced as a criteria for judgement (Mark 8.38; Luke 9.26). Jesus’ words are eternal: ‘heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away’ (Matt 24.35; Mark 13.31; Luke 21.33). Since Jesus himself is the Word of God, his own words come directly from God, and so the one who loves Jesus will pay special attention to the words of Jesus (e.g. John 14.23f), abiding in Jesus involves abiding in his words (John 15.7).

A secondary reason is of course that the evangelists themselves place special emphasis on Jesus words - their emphasis is on his words not so much on their own. It is well known that the synoptic evangelists agree much more closely in the wording of the words of Jesus than in the narratives which surround those words. Matthew’s Gospel is particularly insistent on the importance of Jesus’ words (hence the five-fold discourse structure of Matthew), but so in various ways do Mark, Luke and John.

Paul too can be appealed to as treating the words of Jesus as of special importance in early Christian instruction. Although to be sure God’s revelation was not limited to what Jesus himself said, nevertheless he knew the difference between instruction based directly on Jesus’ words (e.g. 1 Cor 7.10; 9.14; 11.23ff) and instruction not based on Jesus’ words (1 Cor 7.12, 25).

So what do you think?

Nestle's Novum Testamentum Graece (First Edition)

Today, a colleague of mine presented me with a copy of Nestle's first edition of Novum Testamentum Graece. It is nice to see (and have) it. I have a number of different N/NA editions but this one was missing. The apparatus, of course, is very thin in comparison with modern editions (based as it is on a few other editions rather than textual witnesses). On the other hand, there is a lot of room for annotation - on every page there is a blank facing page.

I take the opportunity to recommend Michael D. Marlowe's "Annotated Bibliography of New Testament Textual Criticism" which gives this entry for the edition:

"Nestle, 1898. Eberhard Nestle, Novum Testamentum Graece cum apparatu critico ex editionibus et libris manuscriptis collecto. Stuttgart: Privilegierte Württembergische Bibelanstalt, 1898; 2nd ed. 1899; 3rd ed. 1901; 4th ed. 1903; 5th ed. 1904; 6th ed. 1906; 7th ed. 1908; 8th ed. 1910; 9th ed. 1912.

Nestle created his first text (1898) by comparing Tischendorf 1869, Westcott and Hort 1881, and Weymouth 1892, and placing in his text whichever reading was followed by two of the three. In the margin all differences between the three are recorded. For the third edition (1901) he replaced Weymouth with Weiss 1894. Originally the marginal apparatus showed only the minority readings of the three editions from which the text was constructed, plus the readings of the Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis in a separate paragraph below. For each edition Nestle added more information to the lower margin, making direct reference to many different manuscripts, versions, and Fathers.

Nestle died in 1913, and his son Erwin was appointed to be the editor beginning with the tenth edition (1914). See Nestle 1927."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Robinson on Fragments of P75

James M. Robinson, 'Fragments from the Cartonnage of P75' Harvard Theological Review 101 (2008), 231-252. (HT: Mark Goodacre)

Robinson discusses and publishes some photographs which had been made by the British Museum while conserving the leather binding of P75, and were turned over to him in 1985 (so that he could make them available to te academic community). The photos seem a bit clearer (since they used infra red photography) than those published by Marie-Luise Lakmann (here for details), and Robinson has a strage little spat with Lakmann, apparently for doing precisely what she said she did: publish Bodmer photographs, but studying (for the transcriptions) the infra-red photographs.
The substance of the article is thus the four pages of photographs at the end, which supplement Lakmann's work with more easily read photographs. Robinson doesn't actually correct any of Lakmann's work, although I suppose he does confirm it as accurate. The rest of the article is rather space-filling in my opinion: general descriptions of how he came to have the photographs, what has happened to P75 in its sale and move to the Vatican, other miscellaneous details about the Dishna collection (which I seem to have heard a few times before), and about how readings from these fragments may or may not have influenced NA editions.

Three points I might add:
1. Lakmann (but not Robinson) refers to the interesting article which refers to these photographs. S.A. Edwards, 'P75 under the Magnifying Glass' Novum Testamentum 18(1976)190-212. Edwards also saw these fragments while undergoing conservation in the British Museum. In a memorable section she wrote:

  • " I was almost unbelievable to walk to work down that long corridor, past the Rosetta Stone, past the statue of Tiglath Pileser III, past the Elgin Marbles, then ring a bell and when the door was unlocked, climb the steep stairs to the work-room of the Department of Egyptian Antiquities. Once there, the battered remains of P75 were wheeled out on a stretcher, like a hospital patient. A chemical bath, infra-red photography, and careful mounting between paes of glass made these fragments somewhat visible." (p. 194)

2. I can confirm that no one in the British Museum or British Library had any idea about the locations of these photographs, as a couple of years ago (after reading about them in Edwards' article) I had an extensive but fruitless round of emails with various folk in both institutions (beginning with the Department of Egyptian Antiquities, but taking in Photographic Archives, Western Manuscripts etc.) about these photographs. Little did I (or they for that matter) know that on the retirement of the conservator of papyrus in 1985 (not named by Robinson, perhaps Mr Shaw as named by Edwards), they had been entrusted to Robinson 'to make available to the academic community'. I am grateful that he has now completed this task.

3. According to a message posted to the textual criticism email list last May (by the way, it is good to have you back Willker) the Vatican Library is working on a complete study of the manuscript:

  • "Unfortunately, the Vatican Library cannot give you permission to publish this image because we are presently working on a definitive reorganization of the various fragments of the Papyrus. Photographs previously taken do not reflect the new insights gained in the proper placement of the fragments as a result of a very lengthy scientific study. Furthermore, for a number of reasons the Bodmer Papyrus XIV-XV will not be available for the next 4 years. At this point in time, we are bound by an agreement with the donor neither to give photos of the papyrus nor give permission to publish any the Papyrus' images. We are truly sorry not to be able to grant your request but trust that you appreciate the circumstances."

Friday, May 09, 2008

NA/UBS punctuation needing change at Mark 4:8, 20

Reading the parable of the sower synoptically can highlight what turns out to be an unnecessarily unique punctuation for all of Greek literature.
Some notes and a question (**) follow.

Mk 4:8 and 4:20 UBS/NA is ν τρικοντα, … ἕν ... ἕν
assuming a calque on Aramaic חד תלתין thirty-times … -times … -times.

Our fellow blogger Maurice's Majority/Byzantine text reads
ν τρικοντα, κα ν ξκοντα, κα ν κατον.
This appears sound.

This latter reading is understandable Greek, meaning "amounting to 30, 60, 100".
See BGU 970,14 ν δραχμας ννακοσαις, amounting to 900 drachma.
Luke 14:31 ν δκα χιλισιν παντσαι to meet with 10000 [men].
Acts 7:14 ἐν ψυχαῖς ἑβδομήκοντα πέντε with 75 persons.

More interestingly, the Aramaic translations of Mark seem to have not recognized an Aramaic idiom here, or at least they do not use the available idiom in their translation. The Aramaic of the 2nd century Syriac reads בַתְלָתִין, which is equivalent to ν τρικοντα. This seems to imply that the first Syriac Aramaic translation read the Greek as ἐν. Later translators followed suit.

Incidentally, the reading with εις in some manuscripts at 4:8 shares the same potential ambiguity with of εἷς 'one' εἰς 'to', though the only breathing listed by Swanson is ψιλή smooth on 28 and 700.

In addition, as far as I can tell, at least 99% of all Greek manuscripts with breathing marks have marked ἐν with ψιλή smooth "in, with, by". Swanson lists the Majority reading at 4:8 and 4:20 with a ψιλή smooth reading.

** However, at 4:8 Swanson lists the UBS reading and δασεῖα punctuation on the same line with family 13. Does anyone have access to a family 13 manuscript who can verify that ἕν 'one' exists in any of these miniscule manuscripts?

At 4:20 Swanson lists the UBS punctuation on the same line with L and Θ.

** Once again the question, does anyone have access to L or Θ who could verify that they indeed have a δασεῖα rough breathing?

Naturally, one is sceptical when a transcribed uncial group has this extra mark, and one suspects that the breathing mark may have been added to the line in Swanson in order to articulate the UBS punctuation, not to mark ancient manuscript authority. But then again, maybe a δασεῖα exists on those two uncials.

Curious minds would like to know if any Greek tradition really exists for a δασεῖα?

My textual conclusion, in any case, will not be following the potential two manuscripts above and one group, even though I have a lot of respect for 'Caesarean' readings. It appears that Nestle-Aland/UBS have unnecessarily created a unique reading in Greek literature with ἕν one.

We should probably accept the traditional punctuation as correct. Then we need to correct the NA/UBS in accord with 99-100% of Greek manuscripts which read ἐν 'in, with, by'.

On interpretation (yes, textual critical considerations can lead on to interpretation), I am interested in interpreting the minor agreement of Luke and Matthew, who both start with '100', and specifically Luke's version of only '100'. This latter seems to reflect a different literary tradition with perhaps an original midrashic allusion to Gen 26:12 where Isaac, too, has a divinely directed harvest. Luke may or may not have been aware of this allusion since he does not use the same phrase as the LXX ἑκατοστεύουσαν κριθήν "100-producing barley" [=שְׂעֹרִים]. In addition, the LXX misses this unique phrase in the Hebrew Bible מֵאָה שְׁעָרִים one hundred measures.

Sinaiticus Goes On-line

Via Jim West's blog.

The Leipzig University Library has published their portion of Codex Sinaiticus on-line at One is required to first download an add-on for the web-browser, Microsoft's Silverlight. After installment and restarting the browser it is possible to view superb images of the manuscript.

There is also a press-release in Der Standard.

Now we are just waiting for the other three libraries who are holding parts of the manuscript to follow suit (St Catherine's, the British Library, and the Russian National Library. Read about the whole undertaking at the ITSEE website.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

New Contens to TC 13 (2008)

I have noticed that two new articles have been added to the electronic journal, TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism 13 (2008).

Peter A. L. Hill, Matthew 16:18 in the Philoxenian Version

Abstract: "Little remains of the Philoxenian Syriac version, whose chief witness is the scripture quotations found in the later writings of Philoxenus. The author investigates one of these quotations, which is found in two different works of Philoxenus, comparing it to Greek and Diatessaronic witnesses, among others, and commenting on the meaning of the verse for the translator."

Gerald Donker, Athanasius's Contribution to the Alexandrian Textual Tradition of the Pauline Epistles: An Initial Exploration

Abstract: "The writings of Athanasius are important fourth century witnesses to the Alexandrian text. The author compares citations, adaptations, and allusions to Pauline passages in Athanasius's writings with the text found in important primary and secondary Alexandrian manuscripts."

Review of Choat's Belief and Cult in Fourth-Century Papyri

In the latest Review of Biblical Literatur, David Frankfurter reviews Malcolm Choat, Belief and Cult in Fourth-Century Papyri (Studia antiqua Australiensia 1; Turnhout: Brepols, 2006).

Frankfurter is highly appreciative of the work - here is an exctract from the opening praise:

"Malcolm Choat has performed the immeasurable service of showing us the problems and challenges that papyri—letters, administrative documents, random fragments of writing—pose the historian interested in the growth of Christianity or the shift in religious forms during this transitional century. It is not a work of history but a manual for historical understanding, and as such it should serve as an essential textbook for any graduate course on papyrology or Christian primary sources and as a handbook for any scholar of early Christianity or late antiquity. Choat’s familiarity with an enormous range of papyri and especially the rich corpus of early Manichaean documents gives him an unusual vantage on the problems and prospects of fourth-century papyri,while his lucid writing make him an especially good teacher in their use."

Read the whole review here.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Schøyen Collection for sale

From Jim Leonard:
News is that Martin Schøyen is seeking to sell his collection of religious manuscripts.
The Schøyen Collection, in Oslo, Norway, is purported to be the largest private collection of religious antiquities in the world. This includes some important biblical manuscripts (see here). Apparently, the hope is that Norway's national government will purchase the collection through funds raised for the purpose.
Mr. Schøyen has been praised for his part in purchasing (rescuing) ancient Buddhist manuscripts smuggled out of Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Taliban's rise to power and its well publicised gratuitous destruction of the two giant Buddhas. He has the reputation of being devoted to the publication of religious manuscripts.
This link mentions the intended sale of the collection, as well as the story of the so-called "Buddhist Dead Sea Scrolls" manuscripts: The news article hardly mentions the other religious texts in the Collection.
For links to my early research on Codex Schøyen 2650 (GMatt mae-2), go here and scroll down to the fourth segment of the left column: Treasures Old and New (JL)

[TW: On another Schøyen MS, see here.]