Thursday, July 21, 2016

Color Images of P72 and P75 Online

Good news! Jean-Baptiste Piggin has discovered that, without any fanfare, the Vatican has just posted color images of both P72 and P75 on its website. Until now the only images I knew of were black and white images on CSNTM and the NT.VMR. At the moment I can’t get the main images for P72 to load but it may just be my connection. (Update: Tommy reminded me that P72 has been up since January.)

Some of the less famous parts of P75 (P. Hanna 1).
P72 (P. Bodmer VIII)

By the way, I notice the Vatican’s new interface has a nice “download JPG” feature now. You can get sizes up to 4040 × 4016 pixels.

HT: @RickBrannan

Thursday, July 14, 2016

What Is ‘Logically Impossible’ for the ECM?

The Editio Critica Maior defines a “variant” as a reading that is both “grammatically correct and logically possible.” If it doesn’t meet these two criteria it is marked with an f for Fehler (= error). Neither criteria is completely objective, but then most of the errors so recorded in the ECM are pretty obvious gibberish. Occasionally, however, one finds cause for disagreement. Here’s an example.

At James 2.3, minuscule 1563 reads:
...καὶ τῷ πτωχῷ εἴπητε· σὺ στῆθι ἐκεῖ ἐπὶ τὸ ὑποπόδιόν μου.
...and to the poor you say, “You stand there on my footstool.”
GA 1563 at Jas 2.3
Speaking of this variant, Klaus Wachtel explains that
Reading f [εκει in 1563] is marked as an error by an additional f (for the German Fehler). That it is an error becomes clear if we compare the reading of 1563 at the next passage of variation (50-56b) where it reads ἐπὶ τὸ ὑποπόδιόν μου, resulting in the request Stand there on my footstool.
Now standing on a footstool seems a bit odd to me but hardly impossible—either logically or physically. But maybe the editors have a different conception of “impossible” than I do.

Nothing of great significance follows from this except that editors have to make judgments and you may not always agree with them. So it may be something worth checking.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Manuscript Quiz

I’ve just returned from a week in Ferrara, Italy presenting on the CBGM. It was a great time despite the heat. While there I had the chance to look at Ferrara’s complete collection of Greek New Testament manuscripts. Okay, it’s only two, but one of them is a complete copy of the New Testament—a relative rarity. I will have more to say about this interesting manuscript in the future hopefully. But I thought I would share one particular image I took and see if astute readers can tell me its text-critical significance. Hint: it involves both of our blog editors.

GA 582, fol. 17v. 14th cent.

Friday, July 08, 2016

What Motivated Bengel

Here is a good word from Bengel for your weekend.
Human selections of sayings and examples, taken from Scripture, have their use; the study, however, of the Sacred Volume, should not end here; for it should, both as a whole, and in its several parts, be thoroughly studied and mastered, especially by those who are occupied in teaching others. In order fully to accomplish which, we ought to distinguish the clearly genuine words of the Sacred Text, from those which are open to doubt or question, from the existence and authority of various readings, lest we should either pass by, and thus fail to profit by the words of the apostles, or treat the words of copyists as if they were those of the apostles. I have endeavoured to furnish such a text, with all care and fidelity, in my larger edition of the Greek New Testament, published at Tubingen, and in the smaller one published at Stuttgardt.
Gnomon, vol. 1, pp. 9-10

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Codex Rossanensis Restored

The following is a guest post from Elijah Hixson. Elijah is currently writing his doctoral thesis on Codex Rossanensis and two other purple codices at the University of Edinburgh under the supervision of Paul Foster. When I saw last week that Rossenansis had recently be restored I asked Elijah if he would give us a quick intro to the manuscript. Enjoy!

Great news! Codex Rossanensis has been restored! It should be back on display in the Diocesan Museum in Rossano, Calabria, Italy by now. Codex Rossanensis is a sixth-century Greek purple Gospels manuscript included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. A recent article at The Realm of History by Dattatreya Mandal about Codex Rossanensis has been circulating online, and in light of the recent restoration of the manuscript, now seems to be a good opportunity to say a few words about this gorgeous treasure of Calabria.

Christ as the Good Samaritan, Codex Rossanensis, f. 7v

The Realm of History article includes some excellent photos of Codex Rossanensis. From the photos, one need not wonder why Codex Rossanensis is known as one of the “purple codices”. These manuscripts were written in silver and/or gold ink on parchment that has been dyed purple. Purple dye was expensive, and the rich purple is a striking background against which the silver and gold inks glisten in the light. Even as the silver begins to tarnish, the words of the Gospels still radiate from their pages.

Friday, July 01, 2016

International SBL Papers

A reader of the blog reminds me that the International SBL meeting starts next week in Seoul, South Korea. There are two text critical sections in the line up.

Greek New Testament Manuscripts 

  • Pasi Hyytiäinen, University of Helsinki
    Textual Evolution in Acts 5:38–39 of D and the Effect of Social-Historical Context (30 min) 
  • Jacob W. Peterson, University of Edinburgh
    New Readings in Papyrus 46 (30 min) 
  • Didier Lafleur, Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes
    Working with Biblical Manuscripts in a Non-Biblical Context: A Detailed Approach of the Greek New Testament Manuscripts from Albania (30 min)

Jewish Bible, Christian Old Testament & the New Testament, and Early Christian Literature 

  • Inchol Yang, Claremont School of Theology
    A Text Critical Analysis of the First Taunt Song in Habakkuk 2:5-8 (30 min) 
  • Ronald van der Bergh, University of Pretoria
    OT Awareness of Psalm 109:1 (LXX) in Codex Bezae (20 min) 
  • Stephen C. Carlson, Australian Catholic University
    The Text and Timing of the Antioch Incident (Gal 2:11–14) (20 min) 
  • Timothy B. Sailors, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen Manuscript Witnesses to Early Christian Literature: A New Project on Texts Preserved in the Languages of the Christian Orient (20 min)
Let me know if anyone sees PSY while you’re there.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Just How Much Longer Is Codex Bezae’s Text in Acts?

Acts 1 in Bezae. (Photo)
It’s frequently reported that the text of Acts is longer in the Western text than in the Alexandrian. But just how much longer is it? The most commonly cited number is 8.5%. You’ll find this in Metzger’s Textual Commentary (p. 223 n. 3).

This number comes from F. G. Kenyon’s The Western Text in the Gospels and Acts published in 1939. But, interestingly, this number is not taken from comparing two manuscripts but rather two modern editions. Kenyon compared the text of WH in Acts with that of A. C. Clark. The former is taken as representative of the Alexandrian text and the latter of the Western.

One other comparison I found was in Pete Head’s article on the text of Acts. He compared the text of Codex Bezae with the NA26/UBS3 and found the former to have 800 more words than the latter.

Neither of these comparisons completely satisfied me though. In both cases, the comparison is made with a modern edition. I thought it would be better to compare manuscript with manuscript. To do that, I used two of the leading representatives of the Western and Alexandrian text: Bezae and Sinaiticus. I compared the text of their first hands in all places in Acts where Bezae is extant. (Bezae has lacunae in Acts 8.29–10.14; 21.2–10, 16-18; 22:10–20; 22:29–28.31) It turns out that the difference is minimal and Kenyon’s figures are about the same as mine.

I found that Bezae is about 7.9% longer than Sinaiticus in Acts. The raw numbers are Bezae: 71,872 characters; Sinaiticus: 66,594 characters.

One point about my method: I compared letters rather than words for reasons I’ll explain. The comparison is pretty straightforward. I took the transcriptions of both Sinaiticus and Bezae that are available for free in Logos Bible Software. These in turn come from INTF/ITSEE/IGNTP transcriptions which means their format is very similar. There’s clearly a lot of work behind both so a big thank you to those responsible.

I copied the text from Logos into Word and stripped out extra content like verse numbers, punctuation, quire numbers, running titles, parentheses, ellipses, nomina sacra lines (because Word counted those as characters), etc. Basically, I cut everything out but the letters.

The reason I counted character is because these transcriptions are on the diplomatic end of the spectrum and that means that many individual words in Sinaiticus are split between lines. Putting all these back together did not seem like a good use of time. So instead I counted characters without spaces. I checked the count with

It’s nice to know that Kenyon’s method didn’t put us far off the mark.