Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Rodger's New Novel, The Sign of the Dolphin


My new novel, The Sign of the Dolphin, the second volume in the SCRIBES series, is now available in both electronic and printed form through Amazon.com. It wrestles with the problem of the text of the Acts of the Apostles, and is the story of a missionary journey in the late second century through Gaul and Britain. I have used history and legend, manuscripts, artworks and imagination to introduce readers to the world of the early Christian scribes and the challenges they face. I hope my fellow members of this blogspot and other readers will find in it “a novel approach to New Testament textual criticism.”

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The forgery of the Lycopolitan gospel of John



A second fragment containing the gospel of John traveled with the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife fragment (GJW), and this Gospel of John fragment (GJohn) is clearly a forgery.  Because both fragments share the same writing, the GJW must also be a forgery.  I am grateful for the input that Alin Suciu, Mark Goodacre and many others have offered concerning the newly available Gospel of John fragment.  I will use the present page to post photographs, a comparative transcription and relevant links. Please note, this will be a dynamic page, and I will no doubt update the transcriptions and main points.  Over the course of the next week, I will write an article for the June 2014 Tyndale Bulletin discussing the paleography and text of this fragment.


Mark Goodacre has identified clearer photographs which I share, here (Jn 5:26-30 and 6:11-14, respectively).  The dimensions are ca. 11 × 8 cm (versus ca. 7.5 × 4 cm for GJW.)

Qau compared

The following transcription represents in green the extant text of the forgery.  Mark Goodacre offers an eloquent discussion of how this inauthenticates both this fragment and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife fragment which were created through the same scribal event (font).
  1. Notably, seventeen of seventeen line breaks are the same.  This defies coincidence.  
  2. Alin Suciu first announced the relevance of Sahidic ⲉⲃⲟⲗ for Lycopolitan ⲁⲃⲁⲗ.  The Sahidic spelling is not possible given the extant dialectal orthography which, for example, otherwise consistently has the Lycopolitan Alpha in lieu of the distinctly Sahidic Omicron.
  3. I note here that the omitted ⲕⲣⲓⲛⲉ results in total nonsense. 
  4. Likewise, the one instance where the forger has not copied every second line (verso, ll. 7–8), is an instance in which the intermediary text is a secure stock phrase “they were saying that”.  The presence of additional text here is impossible.  The forger erred when he turned from page eight of Thompson’s PDF to page nine, having also passed plate 25/26.
  5. Naturally, the fact that we are seeing Lycopolitan in a fragment radiometrically dated to the seventh to ninth centuries is a huge problem.  The minor dialects (Achmimic, Lycopolitan and Middle Egyptian) are not present in the extensive documentary tradition from the sixth to eighth centuries.

Radiometric dating

The fragment under discussion was carbon-dated twice by labs in Arizona and Massachusetts.  The resultant rounded, callibrated two sigma dates are, respectively, 680880 and 640800 CE (fract.mod. results: 0.85680±0.0033 and 0.85030±0.00410).  Along with the results for the GJW wife fragment, I have graphed the results using OxCal, here:

Codex Qau

Codex Qau, Jn 16:3317:19
The most recent discussion of codex Qau may be found in a recent award-winning contribution to the subject of the Coptic versions of John’s gospel (esp. pp. 141143, also 94105, 195208).  Therein, one learns that the jar and linen cloth which protected this manuscript of John’s gospel have recently been rediscovered in Cambridge.  The manuscript was apparently buried in a cemetery used “in Predynastic, early Dynastic and Roman times”  (Thompson, 1924, ix).
Brunton, Qau, vol.3, xlii
According to the archeological publication, a group of coins was also found buried in a pot nearby, “No. 33 contained the papyrus of St. John’s gospel (late fourth century), and 28, 29, contained the hoard of gold coins” (Brunton, Qau and Badari III, 26; cf. also 31).  The coin hoard contains mint condition dated coins up to the year 361 CE (ibid., 2930).  The idea that an ancient scribe copied our current fragment from Qau is problematic, given the provenance.  Whereas Qau had 33–37 lines per page, GJW-GJohn apparently would have had about 60 lines per page.  Stephen Emmel has demonstrated the absurdity of the forgery by reconstructing it hypothetical original and by comparing the reconstruction to known codices, here.

Peter Munro’s typed note

In her primary GJW article (p. 154, fn. 107), Karen King has provided the following information:
The second document is a photocopy of a typed and signed letter addressed to H. U. Laukamp dated July 15, 1982, from Prof. Dr. Peter Munro (Freie Universität, Ägyptologisches Seminar, Berlin), stating that a colleague, Professor Fecht, has identified one of Mr. Laukamp’s papyri as having nine lines of writing, measuring approximately 110 by 80 mm, and containing text from the Gospel of John. Fecht is said to have suggested a probable date from the 2nd to 5th cents. c.e. Munro declines to give Laukamp an appraisal of its value but advises that this fragment be preserved between glass plates in order to protect it from further damage. The letter makes no mention of the GJW fragment. The collection of the GJW’s owner does contain a fragment of the Gospel of John fitting this description, which was subsequently received on loan by Harvard University for examination and publication (November 13, 2012).


Unless compelling counter-arguments arise, both this fragment and the Gospel of Jesus Wife fragment should now be considered forgeries beyond any doubt.  Furthermore, the inauthenticity of the present fragment draws into question the broader group of documentation surrounding the Gospel of Jesus Wife which the owner provided to Karen King (contract of sale, typed note from Munro, handwritten note).  This was already problematic, as the bill of sale is dated to 1999, three years before Grondin’s GThomas PDF was available online.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Live Update from the Pericope of the Adulteress Conference

This is a quick live update from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminar hosting the Pericpoe Adulterae symposium.
Image HT: Jacob Cerone

Right now Jennifer Knust is presenting her paper, "Neither Add Nor Take Away..."(photo by Chris Keith)

You can follow a live twitterstream at @ceronej  hashtag: paconf#

Update: There is liveblogging at www.jacobcerone.com and www.thomashudgins.com (with videoblog).

Second update: David A. Black summarizes the conference.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jesus Had a Sister-in-Law


[For updated information, cf. The forgery of the Lycopolitan Gospel of John]

recto, Jn 5:26-30
Through Gregg Schwendner and Malcom Choat, I have just become aware of something that I should have seen much earlier.  I read all of the Harvard Theological Review articles about the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, and assumed that the links on the Harvard dedicated GJW webpage essentially linked to the same.  However, the website contains a longer version of the Ink Results which offers the pictures of the associated gospel of John fragment here.

verso, Jn 6:11-14
The shocker here is this.  The fragment contains exactly the same hand, exactly the same ink and has been written with the same writing instrument.  One would assume that it were part of the same writing event, be it modern or ancient.  In some sense, this is not a surprise, as the Ink Results indicated that the ink was very similar.  (The ink on both sides of GJohn was identical or similar to one another; the GJW had slightly different ink on both sides.  All of the inks were highly similar.)

Actually, if you are a Coptic nerd, there apparently is a bigger shocker...  The text is in Lycopolitan and apparently is a(n exact?) reproduction from the famous Cambridge Qau codex, edited by Herbert Thompson.  What is so shocking about that?  Essentially all specialists believe that Lycopolitan and the other minor dialects died out during or before the sixth century.  Indeed, the forger tried to offer two manuscripts both in Lycopolitan, but made two crucial mistakes.  First, the NHC gospel of Thomas is not a pure Lycopolitan text, but the Qau codex is.  That is we have two clearly different subdialects of Lycopolitan, which agree exactly with published texts.  Second, this GJohn fragment has been 14C dated to the seventh to ninth centuries, a period from which Lycopolitan is totally unknown.

These are my initial thoughts, and I will update this blog within the next hours.  My first assessment is that this a major blow to those arguing for the authenticity of GJW.


Alin Suciu has created a reconstruction, demonstrating that the verso follows the line breaks of Herbert Thompson’s edition precisely.  Leo Depuydt came to the same conclusion on his own.  All three of us would conclude that this almost certainly marks this GJW-John fragment as a modern fake.  Alin noted also that the transcription only deviates in altering Lycopolitan ⲁⲃⲁⲗ to Sahidic ⲉⲃⲟⲗ.  Given the surrounding dialectal realities, here, this is nonsense, and further evidence of forgery.  Mark Goodacre’s reconstruction is the best illustration of the forgery.

For the reader who has not closely followed the story so far, I would underscore the importance of this discovery.  The inauthenticity claims against the Gospel of Jesus Wife fragment have been primarily based upon the fact that the GJW is clearly reconstructed from Grondin’s 2002 PDF of the Sahidic (with Lycopolitan influence) Gospel of Thomas, and secondarily based upon the bizarre appearance of the manuscript.  All of us assumed that the Coptic John anchored the GJW with a real group of fragments with a known history, although this history was based upon photocopies of older documents possessed by a mysterious anonymous figure.  These arguments find a perfect parallel with this second fragment.

My prior theory that the GJW was a forgery inserted into an otherwise authentic group of papyri has been shattered.  We must now question whether the anonymous owner is nothing more than a prankster.  I would not be surprised, if said owner vanishes into the aether.  If the owner is not a prankster, he should come forward with the information necessary to reveal the forger (or vindicate the GJW).  I am tempted to think that the forgery has roots in Germany, still, since there is an apparently idiomatically-composed handwritten note in German describing the Gospel of Jesus Wife.  I hope that this will be released by Karen King or the owner.

Mark Goodacre’s synopsis post with better images
Mark Goodacre visually illustrates GJW-GJohn forgery
Leo Depuydt responds

Postscript (07 May 2014)

Several individuals have expressed concerns about the use of the term “ugly” in my title’s metaphor.  The word choice was not intended to be offensive to any particular individual or to perpetuate an established “ugly women/sister” trope.  The term no longer appears in the title, but is still visible in the URL.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hans-Ulrich Laukamp and the GJW

Mark Goodacre has posted on a Livescience article which claims to have invalidated part of Karen´s King reconstruction of the modern history of the Gospel of Jesus´s Wife.  In particular, the article identifies the former owner of the papyrus, Hans-Ulrich Laukamp, as "a co-owner of the now-defunct ACMB-American Corporation for Milling and Boreworks in Venice, Fla."  According to King´s recent GJW article (p. 153):
The current owner of the papyrus states that he acquired the papyrus in 1999. Upon request for information about provenance, the owner provided me with a photocopy of a contract for the sale of “6 Coptic papyrus fragments, one believed to be a Gospel” from Hans-Ulrich Laukamp, dated November 12, 1999, and signed by both parties. A handwritten comment on the contract states: “Seller surrenders photocopies of correspondence in German. Papyri were acquired in 1963 by the seller in Potsdam (East Germany).” 
The Livescience article cites Laukamp's attorney (Rene Ernest) as claiming that Laukamp did not own papyri and was not a collector, although this was never claimed by King.  In fact, King cites the deed of sale as being an English-language document.  Furthermore, the Livescience report erroneously claims that because Laukamp lived in West Berlin in 1963 (when the deed of sale claims Laukamp bought the papyrus), he could not have travelled to Potsdam.  Potsdam is a separate town, immediately adjacent to West Berlin.  Although East Germans could not travel to West Berlin, West Berliners could travel into East Germany.  In fact, this fits perfectly with King's narrative which directly links the notes to the Freie Universität in 1982, located in West Berlin.  Thus, King's narrative seems to fit with the Livescience article, except for the claim from Rene Ernest, an estate attorney, that Laukamp was not a collector and did not own such a document.  Naturally, Laukamp would not have owned the document when he died in 2002, because he sold it in 1999 according to King's narrative.

" 'Gospel of Jesus's Wife': Doubts Raised About Ancient Text", Owen Jarus, Live Science

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Announcement from Leo Depuydt on Jesus's Wife

April 16, 2014
Bedtime story for the budding little grammarian (and for all those eternally young of spirit). Set in larger font to accommodate the unformed inquisitive mind. (PDF)

The Papyrus Fragment and the Crocodile: When Discerning a Blunder Is Itself a ... 

I recently published an analysis in the Harvard Theological Review (HTR) of what has widely come to be known as the Wife of Jesus Fragment (WJF).(1) My conclusion is that it is 100% certain that the fragment is a forgery. Grammatical blunders committed by the forger play a central role in my analysis.

The main body of the analysis was on purpose completely self-contained in that it consisted in its entirety of independent observations that made no reference to anything else that anyone else has had to say on the matter. In this specific case, I exceptionally saw no need for outside references or scientific tests to fully meet the paper’s design. And I still don’t.

However, my analysis is now no longer free-standing. The same issue of HTR contains a response to it.(2) Asked a couple of days after its publication what I thought of it, I had a look. It took me about sixty seconds to diagnose another you-call-it-what-you-want, but not one of the forger’s this time.

The response holds that I “incorrectly analyzed” the grammar of line →6 of WJF. What I had described as a “grammatical monstrosity” in that line is nothing but—thus the author of the response—an “error of analysis” on my part.(3)

It would be ironical that, after hurling the epithet “grammatical blunder” gingerly and repeatedly at a forger, my true opponent by the way, I would be guilty of one myself. That would be hubris. We haven’t had that recently. Or have we?

The author of the response relies mostly on experts for the evaluation of fine points of Coptic grammar. But no sooner did the same author just for once dip a toe into the strong Nile currents of Coptic grammar to embark on an independent foray than a crocodile lunged and grabbed it, dragging all attached down with it ☹. How so?

What is my alleged “incorrect analysis”? It is that I identified the Sahidic Coptic verbal auxiliary, or conjugation base (Polotsky), ⲙⲁⲣⲉ mare in the line in question as a negated aorist. In fact, no one has ever doubted that, in standard Sahidic Coptic, ⲙⲉⲣⲉ mere, not ⲙⲁⲣⲉ mare, is the conjugation base of the negated aorist. What is more, no one has ever doubted that ⲙⲁⲣⲉ mare is the verbal auxiliary of the affirmative jussive in all of Coptic. And that is how the author of the response under discussion identifies the instance of ⲙⲁⲣⲉ mare in question, as a jussive. So far so good.

Have I then, as the author implies, committed a blatant grammatical blunder by identifying ⲙⲁⲣⲉ mare as anything else but a jussive? In fact, I have not. How can this be?

It is a dirty little fact, as it were, of Coptic grammar not widely known even to Coptologists that—in the Gospel of Thomas (GT)—the form of the verbal auxiliary of the negated aorist is exceptionally not ⲙⲉⲣⲉ mere, as most everywhere else, but ⲙⲁⲣⲉ mare. I do note this striking fact somewhere in my initial report.

In other words, in GT, the negated aorist ⲙⲁⲣⲉ mare is written exactly like the affirmative jussive ⲙⲁⲣⲉ mare. Identifying instances of ⲙⲁⲣⲉ mare in GT as a negated aorist is therefore altogether a legitimate option. Disenfranchising the grammarian from exercising this option is a clear are-you-thinking-what-I’m-thinking.

And since Professor Francis Watson of Durham University and I both independently discovered that WJF is but a patchwork of phrases from GT—totally clueless and error-ridden, I venture to add—nothing comes more natural than identifying certain instances of ⲙⲁⲣⲉ mare in WJF as a negated aorist.

What is more, as I show in detail in the initial report, the instance of ⲙⲁⲣⲉ mare under discussion and certain phrases in its immediate context are clearly taken from a passage in GT in which ⲙⲁⲣⲉ mare is undoubtedly the negated aorist and not the affirmative jussive.

So, my little friend, sleep soundly and dream sweetly because there has been no “error of analysis.”

And in the end, the story even has a happy ending.♫ The crocodile happened to be of the rare herbivorous kind. ☺

(1) L. Depuydt, “The Alleged Gospel of Jesus’s Wife: Assessment andEvaluation of Authenticity,” Harvard Theological Review 107 (2014), pp.172–89.

(2) K. King, “Response to Leo Depuydt, ‘The Alleged Gospel of Jesus’s Wife: Assessment and Evaluation of Authenticity’,” Harvard Theological Review 107 (2014), pp. 190–93.

(3) Ibid., p. 191.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Demotic Gospel of Thomas

On page 178 of his Gospel of Jesus’s Wife (GJW) rebuttal, Leo Depuydt informed the reader of a parallel incident from 1990, which never made headlines in North America. In this case, someone forged and disseminated the following proceedings chapter, which Leo Depuydt has kindly shared:
R. S. Walker, “Fragmentary inscriptions in an unknown script from a private collection” Proceedings of the New Orleans Academy of Sciences 1874–1875 (1875): 31–34.
The article and accompanying informal translation “preserve” a Demotic text with snippets from the gospel of Thomas. Depuydt has demonstrated that the Demotic text is a forgery by analyzing the Demotic grammar, showing that the Demotic text contains a prepositional phrase which is explained in the most compelling way by the faux pas of a modern translator relying on the known Coptic text. Whereas one would expect the Coptic text to use the form ⲙⲙⲟϥ with the Greek-Coptic loanword τηρέω, the indigenous Egyptian word (in Coptic and Demotic) requires ⲉⲣⲟϥ, not the equivalent of ⲙⲙⲟϥ (font).
ϩⲁⲣⲉϩ ⲉⲣⲟϥ
ḥrḥ r.r.f
ⲧⲏⲣⲉⲓ ⲙⲙⲟϥ
ḥrḥ n.jm.f
In her response article, Karen King fails to see how this is relevant to the parallel discussion. Depuydt’s argument, however, is fairly simple. He is demonstrating that the literary parallels in GJW (just as in the Demotic GThomas) are best explained by a modern forger, due to grammatical irregularities which only a modern forger would have produced. Whereas this was clear with the Demotic GThomas through the instance cited here, the case is even clearer with GJW, with its repeated errors and the shared error with Michael Grondin’s PDF.

18 May 1991 Financial Times "New Light on the Saying of Jesus"
25 May 1991 Financial Times "Batson comes out of the belfry: The history books may not have to be rewritten..."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jesus’s Wife Resurrected from Dead



Eight of the eleven articles in the most recent issue of the Harvard Theological Review discuss the authenticity of the so-called Gospel of Jesus Wife (GJW), which Karen King publicized through a shrewdly-orchestrated media frenzy in September 2012. The core relevant articles include a survey of the papyrus scrap by King, a refutation of authenticity by Leo Depuydt and a response by King. Five supporting articles detail two spectroscopy examinations of the ink (Yardley and Hagadorn; Azzarelli, Goods, Swager), two radiocarbon datings of the papyrus (Hodgins; Tuross), and a paleographic evaluation (Choat).

Karen King’s initial argument that this fragment demonstrates a fourth century literary manuscript of the “the Gospel of Jesus Wife” is now officially dead, by her own admission. We are left with a deflated seventh to ninth century semi-literary scrap ... or a fraud. We have no plausible direct literary evidence for a new non-canonical gospel. The question remains as to whether we should recognize this scrap as an ancient semi-literary document or a modern fraud. According to King, the arguments concerning fraud are highly problematic, and the scientific and linguistic evidence repeatedly affirm authenticity. 
“The scientific testing completed thus far consistently provides positive evidence of the antiquity of the papyrus and ink, including radiocarbon, spectroscopic, and oxidation characteristics, with no evidence of modern fabrication.” (King, “Jesus said,” 2014, 154)


According to the results, the ink used is indeed the most obvious choice for a modern forger — carbon ink. The ink is composed of soot. “The inks used in this manuscript are primarily based on carbon black pigments such as ‘lamp black.’” (Yardley etal., 164) King attempts to paint the resultant test as proving the implausibility of fraud, arguing that “their research to date shows that details of the Raman spectra of carbon-based pigments in GJW match closely those of several manuscripts from the Columbia collection of papyri dated between 1 B.C.E. and 800 C.E., while they deviate significantly from modern commercial lamp black pigments.” (King, “Jesus said,” 2014, 135) However, no one would suggest that this was forged with modern commercial pigments. Someone would have mixed soot with a solvent, producing the obviously low quality and uneven writing medium on the papyrus.


Using two labs, the GJW fragment and a Sahidic John fragment associated with the same papyri lot were carbon dated. The rounded 2-sigma ranges for the manuscripts are as follows:

640–800 CE
650–870 CE
680–880 CE
410–200 BCE

The second test (14 March 2014) was apparently ordered after the extremely early date arrived from Arizona (June–July 2013). Whatever the case, if one of the two GJW 14C dates were to be accurate, it would probably be the Harvard range (650–870 CE), which is corroborated by the related GJohn manuscript (chart above). Having said this, the result remains somewhat inconclusive. (δ13C levels were also higher than expected, suggesting contamination in all samples.)

So does this confirm the authenticity of the GJW? Such a late dating bulldozes King’s first appraisal of the manuscript as a fourth century witness. The GJW fragment under question is broken on all sides except the top, where apparently the modern forger cut the empty section off of a larger fragment which was in fact ancient. Carbon dating has no value for authenticating such a manuscript, although if the Ptolemaic date (410–200 BCE) offered by the Arizona AMS lab were accurate (of which I am not convinced), fraud would be certain.


Choat’s assessment of the scribal hand is hardly an enthusiastic endorsement of its authenticity:
“Overall, if the general appearance of the papyrus prompts some suspicion, it is difficult to falsify by a strictly paleographical examination. This should not be taken as proof that the papyrus is genuine, simply that its handwriting and the manner in which it has been written do not provide definitive grounds for proving otherwise.” (162) 
His article surveys the oddities of the scribal hand, noting the lack of clear literary or documentary parallels. Choat states, “[w]hile I cannot adduce an exact parallel, I am inclined to compare paraliterary productions such as magical or educational texts.” (Choat, 161)


Leo Depuydt presents the argument which is accepted by most specialists who are familiar with the GJW. The modern forger (1) created the text by rearranging several sentences from the Gospel of Thomas and (2) unintentionally left evidence of the fraud through two grammatical infelicities ("blunders"). The first is the omission of the object marker ⲙ- in line one (ⲧⲁⲙⲁⲁⲩ ⲁⲥϯ ⲛⲁⲉⲓ ⲡⲱ̣[ⲛϩ]). The second is the awkward construction ⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲉⲑⲟⲟⲩ (more correctly ⲡⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲉⲑⲟⲟⲩ or ⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲉϥϩⲟⲟⲩ). Depuydt also mentioned a third serious error, which I believe to be the most damning evidence against authenticity (186); in line 6, the forger has combined a positive habitual from GThomas with a negative habitual to create the nonsense chimera verbal phrase ⲙⲁⲣⲉⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲉⲑⲟⲟⲩ ϣⲁϥⲉ{ⲓ}ⲛⲉ (“Evil man habitually does not he does habitually bring” sic). Notably, Francis Watson, Alin Suciu-Hugo Lundhaug, and Andrew Bernhard have popularized many of these arguments, detailing how Depuydt’s first "blunder" seems to derive from a typo in Michael Grondin’s 2002 online PDF of the Gospel of Thomas.


In Karen King’s mind, if one can not exhaustively prove the inauthenticity of the GJW fragment, then it must be accepted as authentic. The results from spectography, radiometric dating and Choat’s paleographic analysis all leave the door open, therefore the fragment is undeniably authentic. Karen King maintains the problematic infinitive form ϣⲁϥⲉ “swell,” and ignores the persuasive reasoning behind the reconstruction of the damning error above. I encountered no serious discussion of this in her original article. In my opinion, this argument alone inauthenticates the GJW fragment, yet King is unconcerned, instead positing an unattested verbal form. I could imagine why someone might differ with me on various issues here, I can not identify with the stiff-necked concluding statement of King: “In conclusion, Depuydt’s essay does not offer any substantial evidence or persuasive argument, let alone unequivocal surety, that the GJW fragment is a modern fabrication (forgery).”


If a husband were to genetically test his children to determine whether his wife had been faithful, and the tests returned indicating that the children could not conclusively be proven to not be his, would this assure him of his wife’s fidelity? Could he then, based upon these tests, be confident that he had indeed fathered the children? Karen King has produced no new evidence to authenticate this fragment. On the contrary, her prior contentions that the GJW fragment was (1) part of a literary codex and (2) was fourth century are now indefensible. Her method of argumentation was not self-critical or objective, but will doubtlessly be sufficient for those who already want to believe.


One has to ask why Karen King has not published the notorious handwritten note. A typed 1982 note signed by Peter Munro accompanied the fragments which indicated that a Coptic John fragment was among the manuscript group (cf. King, “Jesus said,” 2012, 2). The second notorious handwritten note reads as follows:
“Professor Fecht believes that the small fragment, approximately 8 cm in size, is the sole example of a text in which Jesus uses direct speech with reference to having a wife. Fecht is of the opinion that this could be evidence for a possible marriage.” (King, “Jesus said,” 2014, 153)
Odd, is it not, that Munro mentioned a dime-a-dozen Sahidic manuscript in the typed note, but detailed the GJW in a handwritten note separately?! This handwritten note potentially bears the hand of the forger, who cut the papyrus, falsified the text, and aided its journey with the convenient handwritten note. King’s failure to publish this handwritten note conveniently eliminates a clear avenue for identifying the perpetrator.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Ebojo on P46: When Nonsense Makes Sense

New Article: E.B. Ebojo, ‘When Nonsense Makes Sense: Scribal Habits in the Space-intervals, Sense-pauses, and Other Visual Features in P46,’ The Bible Translator 64 (2013), 128-150.

This article explores the visual and paratextual features embedded in P46 and assesses how these reflect a microcosm of ancient book production enterprise as well as its eventual construal by the reading community that used it. Accordingly, it also suggests ways in which the copying habits of the scribe who produced this manuscript may be similarly unveiled through these features.

Edgar completed his PhD on P46 in Birmingham and this is, I think, the first published fruits of his research (I am hoping there will be much more). This article offers a helpful introduction to P46 and also takes up the challenge which I issued on this blog in 2009: ‘I think it would be a good study to look at the use of space for ‘pauses in sense’ in P46, but there would be quite a few method issues to think through.’ (see here: http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/significant-spaces-in-p46.html; referenced on p. 131). This whole issue (along with the previous one) of The Bible Translator is in honour of Roger Omanson, and includes other essays of interest (see here and here).