Evangelical Textual Criticism

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chapter Numbers in Paul in Vaticanus

3 comments:
In an interesting new article Greg Goswell (see here for note of an earlier article) has written on 'An Early Commentary on the Pauline Corpus: The Capitulation of Codex Vaticanus' in JGRCHJ 8 (2011-12), 51-82 (HT: NTI).

The article attempts 'to study the hermeneutical significance of the ancient chapters demarcated in the Pauline epistles of this codex' (p 51). There is a general introduction to the system, especially the place of Hebrews, a discussion of the effects of textual divisions, a list or table of all the chapter divisions, and a discussion of the hermeneutics of this system in terms of reading the Pauline corpus.

It is an interesting article, and the table on pp. 59-62 collects some valuable fundamental data. The reading of Paul in light of this numbering system is very helpful, not least in highlighting our tendency to read the text in light of the traditional numbering systems - here is an aid to escaping from that trap by diversifying. Nevertheless, I had a couple of questions about two points:

A. If, as Goswell admits (following Martini, Skeat and Pisano), the numbers are not original to the production of the manuscript, but 'a later scribal addition', then it follows, a) that we shouldn't speak of this as a fourth-century system (so p. 59 etc.) or necessarily 'the oldest system of capitulation for the New T known to us' (p. 51); and b) the system is one of ennumeration and not demarcation or text division (as applied to Codex Vaticanus, which has its own systems of paragraphoi etc. which occasionally coincides with this numbering system but which is actually earlier, more fundamental to the manuscript, and independent). Goswell very often lapses into discussing things like 'the end of the first three chapters of the letter [of Galatians] as divided in Vaticanus' (p. 71) when to look at the relevant pages of the manuscript (1488-1489) there is no textual division marked by the numbers.

B. Goswell helpfully attempts to identify the effect of textual divisions on the reading of a text. So he identifies four functions:
  1. 'to separate one section of a text from what precedes or follows it'
  2. 'to join material together' - suggesting common themes
  3. 'to highlight certain material in a text, making it more prominent in the eyes of the reader' - emphasising material at the beginning or end of a section
  4. 'to downplay or ignore certain textual features' (e.g. since there is no chapter division at Heb 8.1 this system downplays the new covenant theme)
Now (leaving aside the issue already raised that most of the features he discusses on p. 56ff do not actually apply to this system as deployed in Vaticanus), the real problem is the lack of any evidentiary appeal behind these four functions. This may or may not be the impact of a system of textual demarcation. But lacking any supporting evidence it is difficult to know how seriously to take these four listed functions. What we need I think is a new connection between the various systems present in the manuscripts and the actual practice of textual divisions practiced by the Church Fathers. That could be a useful study.

Monday, January 30, 2012

SBL Amsterdam Call for Papers Last Chance

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This is a final reminder to submit your paper proposal for the SBL International Meeting in Amsterdam (the wonderful home town of my co-chair Jan Krans) 22-26 July. The call for papers closes in just two days, on 1 Febrary.

Here is the call for papers for my program unit:

Papers concentrating on any aspect of textual criticism are welcome, in particular the practical work with manuscripts. Examples of topics: papyrological insights, scribal habits, preservation techniques, technical developments, computer assisted tools, producing critical editions, evaluating the evidence of fathers or versions, discussion of particular passages, social historical studies, new projects, systematic-theological problems, teaching text-criticism in an academic setting, etc.


Go to the SBL site, log in, and make your submission!

This year, the SBL meeting is held in conjunction with the 2012 annual conference of the European Association of Biblical Studies (EABS) and the triennial joint meeting of the Oudtestamentish Werkgezelschap in Nederland en België (OTW) and the Society for Old Testament Study (SOTS), so there will surely be a lot of participants, and a good book exhibition.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

An Inconvenient Quiz

21 comments:

The cover of the DVD containing last Fall's Wallace-Ehrman Debate, "Can we Trust the Text of the New Testament" (mentioned on this blog on 11 Nov 2011) features a manuscript containing a Greek minuscule text, written in quite a neat hand.

The only problem is that -- in relation to the title of the debate -- the MS pictured is not to be trusted for the purpose stated. I pointed this out to Dan, and he assured me that he had nothing to do with the packaging of the DVD (nor, I presume, with the selection of the same manuscript pages for flyer and poster promotion of the debate).

So, as an interesting challenge, what text is actually displayed in the photograph? I know, and Dan knows, but do you?

If you need a larger version of the photo, see the flyer at:

http://www.friendsofcsntm.com/smudebate/smu_debate_flyer_4.25x11.pdf


Thursday, January 19, 2012

PERI/UPER in Gal 1.4

7 comments:
Another interesting variant at Gal 1.4a: τοῦ δόντος ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν ...
As noted in NA27 P46 and Sinaiticus (among other important witnesses: A DFG PSI 1739 1881 Maj) read PERI. See the following pictures:







Sinaiticus is corrected from PERI to UPER, showing the spatial similarity of the words (ca corrector acc Sin Proj. Website; not first corrector as NA27 represents).

This is a common variation (not only in NT manuscripts, cf. DBAG), and there doesn't seem much of a differential in meaning in this sort of context. The parallel in 1 Cor 15.3 (Χριστὸς ἀπέθανεν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν ...) is obviously relevant in terms of appeal to Pauline style. But I don't have a strong feeling either way on this one. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New fragment of Romans 9 and 10

41 comments:
Reported on CNN is a newly identified papyrus fragment of Romans 9 and 10. Also news of something to do with Cambridge and the Codex Climaci Rescriptus. I know a little more about that and will share before too long...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Yet Another Scribal Tendency: Swapping Syllables

2 comments:
Very short recap: I believe that a single act of copying goes wrong when the cumulative weight of distracting forces is bigger than that of the focussing forces. This means that often there may not be one single factor (or 'explanation') that accounts for the creation of a textual variant, but rather a number of factors working in tandem to tip the balance.

Here is another one of those scribal tendencies, misreading αυτου for τουθυ or τουχυ and vice verse. Visually there are two syllables involved (not of course in the full nomen sacrum του θεου, or του χριστου), and such metathesis when reading is not uncommon at all.

A few examples (all [sub]singular readings in order to demonstrate the phenomenon):

Alexandrinus in Eph 3:2, της χαριτος αυτου (for του θυ)



P46 in Eph 3:7, της δυναμεως του θυ (for αυτου)



Minuscule 33 in Eph 3:8, πλουτος αυτου (for του χυ)

In each of these examples there is the additional factor of harmonisation to the immediate context, but the combination of the two has of course more force.
(Other examples, 69 (and others?) Rev 14:10 θυμου αυτου (for του θυ); 1854 Rev 20:4 λογον αυτου (for λογον του θυ).

What is perhaps most instructive is that this phenomenon underlines that even though Greek is written without word breaks and that there is, therefore, a large phonetic component needed when reading a text, there is still a visual component too that also works on the level of 'syllables' or perceived syllables.

Free Baker Commentary on James by Robert H. Gundry

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Bryan Dyer notified me last week that Baker Academic offers some free commentaries (9, 16, 23 January):




New E-book Shorts from Robert Gundry’s Commentary on the New Testament

Baker Academic is proud to announce new ebook shorts from Robert H. Gundry.

In these verse-by-verse commentaries taken from Commentary on the New Testament, Robert Gundry offers a fresh, literal translation and a reliable exposition of every book of the New Testament.

Students and scholars will welcome Gundry’s nontechnical explanations and clarifications, and readers at all levels will appreciate his sparkling interpretations. Priced from $1.99 to $5.99 these affordable and convenient resources are available wherever ebooks are sold.

As we celebrate the release of this series, Baker Academic will be making selected entries from this commentary series free for one day only.

On Monday January 9th, Gundry’s commentary on Ephesians will be free to download for 24 hours on Amazon, CBD, and Barnes & Noble.

This will be followed by other selections made free to download on January 16th and 23rd.


Today's commentary is on the Letter of James (Amazon).

Friday, January 13, 2012

Resolving a mystery in NA26 & 27 at Gal 1.1

9 comments:
There is an unusual error in my New Testaments (NA26 & NA27).

At Gal 1.1 AUTON, towards the end of the verse, is marked in the text with the little right-angle mark which indicates that a different word occurs in the textual tradition, but there is nothing in the apparatus. I have occasionally wondered what happened there. I figured there probably was a variant and that the editors decided to leave it out but forgot, or were too late, to delete the marker in the text. If I had ever thought about it for long I could have checked Tischendorf or Swanson, but I never bothered. But today I was looking at Sinaiticus and found what I assume is the variant:











It is definitely an odd reading: 'from God the father who raised them from dead'. AUTWN if taken seriously would have to refer to the ANQRWPWN from whom Paul did not get his apostleship, but why think that God had raised THEM from the dead? It doesn't make any sense, it is a nonsense reading, it was quickly corrected (S1 acc Sin Proj). It is interesting in relation to the scribes of Sinaiticus (since blunders reveal more about a scribe than good copying), but it doesn't warrant a mention in the NA editions.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

HMWN in Gal 1.3: the problem of arguments from Pauline style

8 comments:



So there is an interesting textual question in Galatians 1.3 about the position of HMWN. P46, as shown above has the HMWN following K[URIO]U. In ET: 'Grace and peace from God the father and our Lord Jesus Christ'. This reading is without doubt the best attested reading: P46, P51, B D F G H 075 1739 1881 Byz vg sy sa. It is also the reading which explains the other readings. But it is interesting that it is not the text of NA/UBS. As Metzger noted: they preferred the reading which accords with Pauline style. This proposed original text was then ‘altered by copyists who, apparently in the interest of Christian piety, transferred the possessive pronoun so it would be more closely associated with “Lord Jesus Christ”.’ TCGNT, p. 520.
Why pious scribes made this alteration to Galatians and left Rom, 1 & 2 Cor, Eph and Phil apparently untouched is not discussed. Nor is the tendency of scribes to harmonise towards a standard feature of Pauline style (as can in fact be seen in Col 1.2 [01 A C 075 Byz it etc. add supplement] and 1 Thess 1.1 [01 A (D) 33 Byz etc. add supplement).
A better solution is probably to follow the text of P46, the weight of the external evidence, and the Holmes/SBLGNT text (which I just checked).

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

SBL Amsterdam Call for Papers

2 comments:
This is a reminder to submit your proposal for the for the 2012 SBL International Meeting held in Amsterdam (Universiteit van Amsterdam), July 22-26.

The program unit "Working with Biblical Manuscripts," which I and Jan Krans (who lives in the town) chair, has already received some interesting proposals of papers.

Here is the call for papers:

Papers concentrating on any aspect of textual criticism are welcome, in particular the practical work with manuscripts. Examples of topics: papyrological insights, scribal habits, preservation techniques, technical developments, computer assisted tools, producing critical editions, evaluating the evidence of fathers or versions, discussion of particular passages, social historical studies, new projects, systematic-theological problems, teaching text-criticism in an academic setting, etc.

The call for papers closes 1 February. So go to the SBL site, log in, and make your submission!

There will be a slightly modified schedule this year:

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Morning sessions with coffee break from 10:15 – 10:45 AM
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM Special, plenary sessions
3:00 PM – 6:00 PM Afternoon sessions with coffee break from 4:15 – 4:45 PM

Moreover, this meeting is held in conjunction with the 2012 annual conference of the European Association of Biblical Studies (EABS) and the triennial joint meeting of the Oudtestamentish Werkgezelschap in Nederland en België (OTW) and the Society for Old Testament Study (SOTS), so there will surely be a lot of participants, and a good book exhibition.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year Quiz

17 comments:
So here are some images of places that important manuscripts come from. Identify the place and at least one manuscript from there. But only one answer each (give the others a go too!).

Number One:


















Number Two:


















Number Three:














Number Four:













Number Five:


















Number Six:

















Number Seven:
















Number Eight:


















Number Nine: