Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Careful Timing of Burgon’s Last Twelve Verses

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Some time ago, I posted Hort’s review of Dean Burgon’s defense of Mark 16.9-20. Along with that, and more interesting than the review, was a letter that Hort sent to Westcott about his review and the importance of its timing. Hort tells Westcott that he hopes the review is out before the committee for the RV meets to discuss this passage. And so it was. The review was published just before that meeting.

What I had not realized then was that Hort, in timing his response, was following in Burgon’s calculated footsteps. Burgon himself had timed his own book to precede—and so influence—the committee’s discussion of this passage.

Here is what A. H. Cadwallader says in his article “The Politics of Translation of The Revised Version: Evidence from the Newly Discovered Notebooks of Brooke Foss Westcott,” JTS 58, no. 2 (2007): 415–39. After discussing how careful the committee was to remain tight-lipped about their internal deliberations and disagreements, Cadwallader says (pp. 424-25),
The newspapers were officially provided only with details of the days of meeting, the members present, and the passages examined. This provided at least one antagonist, Dean Burgon, with the opportunity to time a publication on the integrity of the last twelve verses to Mark’s Gospel (the ‘Longer Ending’) before the Company dealt with the passage. Westcott’s close companion on such textual issues, Fenton J. A. Hort, saw the political danger immediately, and bemoaned to Westcott the rapid refutation that was needed if the Company was not to swing behind the moderately conservative Frederick Scrivener. As it was, the implication from the minutes is that the discussions on this passage were lengthy if not heated. Of all the 412 days of meeting, this seven-hour meeting yielded the least number of verses processed.
Having seen the minutes from these meetings, I can say that they are pretty boring. The first few entries detail who voted for what change but after that they quickly become a mere record of who was present and what changes were voted for. But Cadwallader’s observation is probably right to see the less-than-usual progress as a sign of serious debate. At least we know the decision was not made hastily.

Perhaps I should also note that Cadwallader has been at work on a history of the RV and I hear that he is making good progress. It should be a fine study when it comes out.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Chiesa’s Historical Philology of the Hebrew Bible

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I can’t remember where I came across Bruno Chiesa’s work, but I think readers here will at least be interested to know of its existence. The two pertinent volumes I have in mind are titled Filologia storica della Bibbia ebraica or Historical Philology of the Hebrew Bible. Volume 1 covers Origen up to the medieval period and volume 2 takes us to the present.

I couldn’t get my hands on a copy before leaving England and it seems no library in the U.S. has them. The best I could do was this RBL review from Paul Sanders which provides a good English summary. I’ll clip from his conclusion here:
At the end of the eighteenth century, the focus of exegesis started to shift from philology to literary criticism and hermeneutics. Chiesa argues that textual criticism and literary criticism have different tasks. Textual criticism, which in Chiesa’s view deserves a positive reevaluation, tries to establish the oldest documented form of the given text, whereas it is the role of literary criticism to establish its original form. Chiesa believes that the time is ripe for the creation of critical editions of the books of the Hebrew Bible, especially of those for which a historical archetype can be reconstructed. During the past decades, several Italian scholars, such as Paolo Sacchi, have undertaken preliminary work in this field, but their studies have received too little attention.

In these two volumes, Chiesa has shown himself to be an independent expert who is thoroughly acquainted with the existing literature, both old and modern. Chiesa offers a magnificent overview of the history of the philology of the Hebrew Bible, paying due attention to periods that are usually disregarded by other authors. He even discusses the contribution of scholars, such as John Philoponus (sixth century), whose biblical studies have only recently been brought back into the limelight (104–9).

Friday, June 16, 2017

Forging Antiquity Website and Blog

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Here is the new website for the Macquarie University/Heidelberg University project led by Malcolm Choat and funded by the Australian Research Council:

"Forging Antiquity: Authenticity, forgery and fake papyri"


And the related blog Markers of Authenticity








Questions of authenticity, forgery, provenance and ethics are very hot topics, as reflected in this year's SBL Programme (HT: Malcolm Choat), where I will contribute a paper together with Malcolm on Simonides, "The Cable Guy: Constantine Simonides and his New Testament papyri":

S18-235– Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds
11/18/2017
1:00 PM to 3:15 PM
Theme: Authenticity and Dating
Roberta Mazza, University of Manchester, Presiding
Malcolm Choat, Macquarie University and Tommy Wasserman, Orebro School of Theology
The Cable Guy: Constantine Simonides and his New Testament papyri
Andrew Smith, Shepherds Theological Seminary
Analysis of Ink from Ancient Papyri through Raman Micro-Spectroscopy
Kipp Davis, Trinity Western University
Dead Sea Scrolls papyri, scribal features and questions of authenticity
Charles E. Hill, Reformed Theological Seminary
Dating and Breaking Up (the text): Textual Division as a Non-Paleographical Aid in Dating Biblical Texts

S19-140 Public Scholarship in the New Media
11/19/2017
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Robert Cargill, University of Iowa, Introduction
Panelists:
Nina Burleigh, Newsweek Magazine
Ariel Sabar, The Atlantic
Caroline T. Schroeder, University of the Pacific
Christopher Rollston, George Washington University
Jodi Magness, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

S19-238 – Qumran
11/19/2017
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Theme: Discovering and investigating manuscript and scribal features of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Alison Schofield, University of Denver, Presiding
Oren Gutfeld, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Randall Price, Liberty University
The Discovery of a New Dead Sea Scroll Cave at Qumran
Ira Rabin, BAM Federal Institute of Materials Research and Testing
Material analysis: authentication or forgery detection?
Arstein Justnes, Universitetet i Agder
Yet Another Fake? A Pre-2002 Dead Sea Scrolls-like manuscript
Sarah Yardney, University of Chicago
Assessing Current Methods for Reconstructing Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls: A Quantitative Approach
Eibert Tigchelaar, KU Leuven
A Critique of Frank Moore Cross’ Typological Development of the Jewish Scripts

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Text und Textwert for Revelation

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Darius Müller announced the latest (and last) volume of the Text und Textwert a few months back. As users of the ECM know, the TuT volumes are used to determine the most important witnesses cited in the ECM and these are then further reduced for citation in the NA. So for this and other reasons these are important volumes.

Here is Darius’s announcement:
The “Text and Textwert” volume of Revelation is on the way to the printing presses by De Gruyter (ANTF 49).

It will be edited by Markus Lembke, Darius Müller, and Ulrich B. Schmid in connection with Martin Karrer (head of the ECM project of Revelation housed at ISBTF, KiHo Wuppertal/Bethel).

The volume contains both the collation results of the 123 selected test passages of Revelation and the evaluation list of all available Greek manuscripts. Facilities also include a comprehensive introduction in German and Englisch (English translation was done by Garrick V. Allen) as well as six appendices which offer useful additional information to the material.
Details from de Grutyer are here.

Congrats to the team in Wuppertal for reaching this milestone.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Error in NA28 apparatus (Phil 1.23)

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I should say at the outset that finding errors in NA28 is rewarding because they are so few and far between, and because you are pitting your wits against the best in the business. Finding errors in NA28  is a sport based on a fundamental level of respect in the colleagues who have over the years made the NA into the gold standard in our field. It is also a challenge because many things that look at first sight like errors turn out not to be errors, but rather misunderstandings on the part of the challenger.

So with this brief introduction I shall note an error I spotted today following a great Logos seminar on page 170 (fol. 87R) of P46 [there is a problem already hidden there for the inquisitive, but I won’t say any more on that right now].

At Phil 1.23 NA28 notes that the word EIS is omitted before the articular infinitive TO ANALUSAI in P46c D F G. You wouldn’t be at all sure about the reading of P46* on this basis - a first guess might be that P46* did read EIS and a corrector has marked it for deletion - but you wouldn’t know anything except that there was some complexity in the manuscript here. [Incidentally, you might also wonder why DFG are agreeing with P46c but not (by definition) P46* - which could also be interesting if it really happened.] To figure out what was going on with P46 here you’d have to consult a good image.

But when you did consult a good image you would realise that the entry in NA28 is an error, at least the little “c” is an error. There is no correction to the text of P46 at this point:


I offer this small post as a homage to NA28 with a hope that this might be corrected in future editions (NA27 correctly noted P46 D F G as witnesses to the omission).

Sunday, June 11, 2017

John Bunyan on the ‘True Copy’ of the Scriptures

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Here’s a little anecdote on how John Bunyan once responded to a Cambridge critic about his use of the English Bible:
To these years before the Restoration belongs also the story of Bunyan’s encounter on the road near Cambridge with the university man, who asked him how he, not having the original Scriptures, dared to preach. To this he gave answer by asking this scholar, in turn, if he himself had the originals, the actual copies written by prophets and apostles. No, but he had what he knew to be true copies of the originals. “ And I,’’ said Bunyan, “ believe the English Bible to be a true copy also,” upon which the university man went his way.
—John Brown, John Bunyan: His Life, Times, and Work (1885), p. 117

Friday, June 09, 2017

Phoenix: A New Hotbed of Textual Criticism

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Manuscripts love the heat—and so will you
The Gurry family has just landed in the blazing sun of Phoenix, Arizona where I will be teaching New Testament in the fall. By my count, this means that the number of Biblical text-critics in the city has just doubled—amazing! (For those who don’t know, my colleague and sometime fellow-blogger, John Meade, is expert in all things OTTC with special emphasis on the Syro-hexapla.) So, if you want to study textual criticism, come to Phoenix Seminary. I can promise lots more sun than Cambridge or Oxford.