Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A New Word from a Non-word in Your NA28?

4 comments:
At 2 Peter 2.14, the majority of Greek witnesses describe a group of people “having eyes full of an adulteress” (ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχοντες μεστοὺς μοιχαλίδος). Charles Bigg concluded in his ICC commentary that the majority of manuscripts “are certainly wrong” since the sense “absolutely requires μοιχείας [adultery]” (p. 283). I suspect that some scribes agreed with Bigg and that explains why we find μοιχείας in 044 and 2344. “Adulteress” (μοιχαλίδος) is certainly the lectio difficilior and should be preferred as it is in most editions (NA28, SBLGNT, WH, Tischendorf).

This is all straightforward enough. But there is a third reading involved here which is μοιχαλίας, a reading which Metzger’s commentary will tell you is unknown elsewhere. A look at LSJ and a search of TLG basically confirm this. LSJ has nothing and, aside from two quotes of this verse from Ephrem, TLG only turns up a single example of μοιχαλίας which is from a first century copy of an astronomical text. Surprisingly, this unattested word has some hefty manuscript support in 01, 02, 33 and about half a dozen minuscules.

What I can’t figure out is why the NA28/UBS5 have changed the spelling from the NA27/UBS4 so that it now reads μοιχαλείας. We know the ECM doesn’t list spelling differences involving ει-ι interchanges (p. 27*), but this appears to be a case where they have changed the spelling as it is found in our extant witnesses. I checked about half of those cited in the ECM and they all attest μοιχαλίας (see below).

I can’t figure out any rationale for this change. Any ideas?

2 Peter 2.14 in 01, 02, 33, 436, and 621






Saturday, June 27, 2015

Online Database of Syriac Manuscripts

1 comment:
There is a fairly new online database for Syriac manuscripts called e-ktobe. The aim of the database—listing “all syriac manuscripts in the world”—is quite ambitious. From the website:
E-ktobe is a database on Syriac manuscripts which aims to collect information on texts, physical elements, colophons and notes. It will enable any researcher to make a request on texts, authors and codicological elements for all the Syriac manuscripts in the world. Thanks to this database, you can search for some material details, do multi-criterial research, and also make a request about one person connected with the making of Syriac manuscripts (copyist, restorer, sponsor, owner...). The main scientific goals of this project are to give insight into the cultural history of Syriac communities and develop Syriac codicology.
Unfortunately the database seems a bit sparse at the moment. If there are 10,000 extant Syriac manuscripts according to one recent estimate (Binggeli, p. 502), then the current database lists about 5% of all Syriac manuscripts. At the moment, a search of the largest catalogue in Europe (the British Library) only turns up five results! Given this, the 136 results filtered for Old and New Testament should be taken as a drop in the bucket.

* * *

On the topic of Syriac, the latest issue of Novum Testamentum has an article by Christophe Guignard on one of the newest majuscules to receive a Gregory-Aland number. In the under text of the Old Syriac palimpsest Codex Sinaiticus, there are four leaves of John’s Gospel from the 4th-5th century. This text has been known for 120 years but is only now receiving its proper GA number. Sadly Guignard doesn’t give us any pictures.

The article is “0323: A Forgotten 4th or 5th Century Greek Fragment of the Gospel of John in the Syrus Sinaiticus,” NovT 57.3 (2015), 311-319.

Friday, June 26, 2015

‘Seven times in chains’: 1 Clement 5.6 and the New Testament

5 comments:
In 1 Clement 5.6 we read that Paul had borne chains seven times: ‘After he had been seven times in chains, had been driven into exile, had been stoned, and had preached in the east and in the west, he won the genuine glory for his faith ...’ (M Holmes translation).

A question then is the source of this idea that Paul had been in chains seven times.

J.B. Lightfoot suggests vaguely the possibility of ‘some other source’
H.E. Lona accepts that it must have stood in the pre-1 Clement tradition, adding that it may have had a symbolic significance (Lona, Der erste Clemensbrief, 163, without specifying what that would be)
E. Zeller suggested that the author added captivities in Caesarea and Rome to the five punishments mentioned in 2 Cor 11.24 (Lightfoot notes that 2 Cor 11.24 doesn’t refer to imprisonments!)
J.D. Quinn made the interesting suggestion that this referred to ‘the number of documents which were at his disposal in the Roman church that referred to Paul as imprisoned’. I.e. Acts, 2 Cor, Eph, Phil, Col, Phile, 2 Tim. (‘Seven Times He Wore Chains (I Clem. 5.6)’ JBL 97(1978), 574-576)

I wonder whether it might be sufficient to think of Acts as the primary source for 1 Clement here:
  1. Acts 16.23-27: in a prison or jail [fulakh//desmwth/rion] in Philippi, with ta\ desma/; 
  2. Acts 21.33: bound with ‘two chains’ [a9lu/sesi dusi/] in Jerusalem 
  3. Acts 22.29: looks back to the imprisonment in Jerusalem 
  4. Acts 23.18: Paul is described, by a Roman centurion, as ‘the prisoner Paul’ [o9 de/smioj Pau=loj]; 
  5. Acts 23.35: Paul imprisoned in Caesarea 
  6. Acts 24.23: Paul (still) imprisoned in Caesarea 
  7. Acts 28.16, 30: Paul under house arrest in Rome 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Gospel of Jesus’s Wife ... Again

11 comments:

The most recent issue of the journal New Testament Studies offers a series of articles on the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife controversy, all contending that the fragment is a modern creation and not an authentic ancient manuscript.  The following list summarizes the articles:

New Testament Studies 61.3 (July 2015)


Update (TW): And here is a video interview about the story with Simon Gathercole produced by Cambridge University Press in conjunction with the NTS volume.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

David Parker honoured by the Queen

5 comments:
Congratulations to David Parker.
The Queen has recognised David Parker’s contribution to New Testament Textual Criticism (and incidentally ‘Higher Education’) by appointing him as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). This means David is now eligible to wear various complicated Vestments and Accoutrements (at least according to wikipedia), to defend the honour of Queen, Country and Empire against all challenges, and to enjoy a day out at Buckingham Palace in the company of the England cricketer James Anderson, the rugby players Jonny Wilkinson and Jonathan Davies and the actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Influence of Atticism on the Textual Transmission of 1 John

10 comments:
A master thesis by P. R. De Lange was presented last year at the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus and has now come under my radar:

“The influence of atticism on the textual transmission of I John with particular reference to the Alexandrian text type”

Abstract:
The main research focus of this study was to determine more clearly to what extent Atticism influenced textual variants that are considered to belong to the Alexandrian text type. Since the time of Westcott and Hort, the Alexandrian text type has been regarded as a manuscript tradition which is representative of relatively high stylistic Greek. This assumption seems likely, especially given the fact that Alexandria and the areas which gave rise to the manuscripts comprising the Alexandrian text type were cultural centres of learning as well as of a newlyfound Hellenistic awareness within the Roman Empire.

One of the movements stemming from this newfound awareness was Atticism, which was, amongst other things, an artificial literary movement which strove towards emulating the classical Attic literary dialect. However, in the last few decades the question of the alleged presence of Atticist influence in the manuscripts of the Greek New Testament has received its share of conflicting scholarly treatment among textual critics, especially since the 1963 publication of G.D. Kilpatrick s influential article, Atticism and the text of the Greek New Testament. On the one hand, there is common assent that Atticism exerted a profound influence on all Greek prose of the first century. On the other hand, some difference of opinion exists as to whether Atticism actually influenced the composition of the New Testament text in any significant way.

The influence on the transmission of the New Testament texts is another question that still needs a fuller treatment in order to proceed from mere scholarly opinion to a more established empirical degree of certainty. The current study is an investigation into the nature of Atticism and its relationship with the classical Attic dialect. The results of this investigation were then used as basis for an evaluation of the alleged Atticisms in the Alexandrian witnesses, taking the witnesses to the text of I John as sample. In the process, thoroughgoing eclecticism as text-critical method is evaluated, and an adapted reasoned eclectic method proposed with which to conduct the investigation of the variants in I John.

The results have shown that in the textual tradition of I John, inconsistencies of correction and scribal usage occur frequently within the Alexandrian text type and that the correction was predominantly not towards Attic, but rather displayed a tendency towards Hellenistic-Koine usage. In summary, the investigation demonstrates that the uniformity of the Alexandrian text type as a whole, if not completely suspect, should at least be judged very critically when it comes to matters of characteristic features which have for decades been accepted as true, such as the Alexandrian text type s reputation as one displaying stylistically polished Greek. The investigation of I John has shed valuable light on the methodological presupposition that categories of text types are fixed above all doubt, and that they display general typical characteristics. This presupposition has been exposed as false and indicates that one follows it at one s methodological peril.

Download the thesis here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Thomas Kraus on Luke 14.5 and What We Need in Our Critical Editions

9 comments:
The March issue of Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses has an article from Thomas Kraus exploring what text critics need in their critical editions with an interesting example from Luke 14.5. The article is “Kritische Ausgaben des Neuen Testaments und Textkritik: Anmerkungen anhand von Lk 14,5 als Testfall?” ETL 91.1 (2015): 111-130.

In the first part of the article, Kraus raises the following four questions which are then explored by way of Luke 14.5.
  1. What kind of data and how much do we need in our critical editions? Here he mentions the Internet Greek NT Project which “intends to collate and transcribe all extant manuscripts of the New Testament”—an ambitious goal to be sure!
  2. Must someone working on the text have all available variant readings? What about nonsense readings and how should such be determined?
  3. What role does the plausibility of the origin and development of a reading play in relation to the quantity and quality of witnesses that attest it? 
  4. Will the many possibilities of the internet make these first three questions obsolete? (I’m not sure I grasped how this relates to #3.)
Luke 14.5 is a good choice because Kraus discusses the possibility, suggested by Martin and Kasser in the editio princeps of P75, that the majority reading υἱὸς ἢ βοῦς (“a son or an ox”) was originally ὗς ἢ βοῦς (“a pig or an ox”). Martin and Kasser suggested that the original reading could have been corrupted by way of the supralinear line such that υϲ became the nomen sacrum υ̅ϲ̅. The problem with the reading, as Kraus acknowledges, is that none of our witnesses attest υϲ without the supralinear line.

Luke 14.5 in P75
Luke 14.5 in P75