Friday, August 30, 2013

British Library 'Guess the Manuscript'

I am not sure if the word 'guess' is used in its proper lexical meaning, or what the reward is for getting it right, but some of us may want to have a go.

Guess the Manuscript VI

Friday, August 23, 2013

“Don’t Do it!”: Peter Head on Academic Blogging

How did Peter Head get involved in this blog? What benefits does he see in blogging? Should more scholars start blogging?

If you want to hear Pete’s take on these issues, read Joshua Mann’s interview with Peter Head – one part of a series of interviews with academic bloggers.

I won’t give anything away, except this final advice Peter gives (in his characteristic way) to an academic who is thinking of starting to blog: Don’t do it. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sinaiticus corrections - request for help

I am getting out of shape, I assume, but I could use some opinions (we are getting into a TC version of crowd-sourcing here).

In the following image (more detail here) there are two things I am less certain of.
Issue 1
First is the correction of ην ενδωμησις to η ενδωμησις on the first line(Rev 21:18). I am not completely sure if this is a C-corrector or a first generation one. The cross through the letter is larger than the undisputed C-corrections elsewhere on the page, and there is a large blob at the top of this stroke, consistent with the rather blobby appearance of the main letters surrounding this correction.

Issue 2
The second thing may be a good case of imagining things, but I am willing to throw it in anyway. On line 6, has υαλω been corrected to υελω? Both are of course existing spellings of the word. I see a small epsilon on top of the α, but I seem to be the only one.

Votes in the following format invited:

Issue 1: Suggestion correct / incorrect / I have no clue
Issue 2: Suggestion correct / incorrect / what have you been eating?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dr. Jac Perrin on Family 13

Jac Perrin has successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled "Family 13 in Saint John's Gospel," submitted to the University of Birmingham, and written under the supervision of Prof. D. C. Parker and examined by Profs. Ulrich Schmid and Paul Foster.

To date, the single criterion of Family 13 constituency has been the relocation of the Pericope Adulterae from its traditional location in John 7:53. This dissertation demonstrates why this criterion is inadequate and proposes a new criteria.

After an overview of the history of research, potential Family 13 witnesses are classified by means of a methodology originated by Dr. David Parker’s use of Text und Textwert. This process identifies 8 witnesses inappropriately nominated as Family 13 members, thus establishing GA 13, 69, 124, 346, 543, 788, 826, 828, 983, and 1689 as valid members. Each of these 10 witnesses is then described palaeographically as a discrete artefact.
Phylogrammatic software, originally designed for DNA analysis, is then adapted to exhaustively study these Johannine Greek texts. The by-product of this novel process complements and validates the earlier Text und Textwert process. Also available as a result of this study are original witness transcriptions (available at, a Critical Apparatus of Family 13 in St. John’s Gospel, an exhaustive description of the contents of 18 potential witnesses, and a description of the computer analysis process used in the study.

As Perrin points out in his thesis, all the 10 valid members of Family 13 are of Calabrian provenance as Abbé Martin has asserted, despite the fact that his specific attempts to localise them are problematic.

Further, Perrin concludes that one of the family members has the Pericope Adulterae in its traditional location in John 7:53 (1689), and not in Luke as other family members, so this cannot be the single criterion for filiality.

Perrin traces three different subgroups of F13 (in concord with Lake's study of F13 in Mark).  The image below (fig. 63), reproduced with permission, is one way to depict the final stemma ("splits tree cladogram").

Congratulations to Dr. Jac Perrin!

Update: I have removed reference to a point Perrin makes which seems to be erroneous that "the PA of several other witnesses was in Luke, but their textual content was much closer to the TR than to any F13 member" (p. 277); I cannot find the data to back this up. Perrin's main point, however, is valid, that the relocation of the PA to Luke (after 21:38) cannot be the single criterion of F13 membership.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Manuscripts and Delayed Binding into Physical Volumes

Over on Roger Pearse's blog I read a letter from Augustine regarding a copy of the City of God he had sent a certain Firmus. What I find fascinating is that Augustine gives detailed advice on how this work is to be bound into actual volumes.
Apparantly Augustine sends the pages (and I assume these would be numbered quires) as loose items, and the recipient will have these bound into whatever format and shape afterwards.

How would this apply to some of our big Biblical manuscripts? Is it that some of the irregular quires we find in Sinaiticus or Vaticanus are intended to fascilitate the binding of these manuscripts; something that may have been the task of the ultimate buyer/recipient, rather than the scriptorium?

When we think about this a little longer, binding by the recipient makes sense. He can take care of whatever precious ornamentation and personalisation is desired (as not a few libraries in our British stately homes also show). And any addition of truly valuable material is done 'close to home' and does not need to be transported with all the attending risks.

Fascinating stuff, and it just shows that I never asked these questions because of my cultural conditioning - all the books I buy come with binding and covers included.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Conference: Signs in Texts

The CEDOPAL and The the University of Naples have the pleasure to invite you to the conference "Signs in Texts, Texts on Signs. Scholarship, Reading and Writing in the Greco-Roman World" to be held at the University of Liège, on the 6th and 7th September 2013.

Papers will deal with critical and lectional signs, ponctuation, accents and other marks in papyri, medieval manuscripts and inscriptions.

Please find  the complete conference program attached and on the CEDOPAL website:
(from Papy.list)