Thursday, December 08, 2016

Review of Brotzman and Tully’s Old Testament Textual Criticism (Meade)

Over at the Books as a Glance website, our one-time (corr: two-time) ETC blogger, John Meade, has a detailed review of the new updated edition of Ellis Brotzman’s Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction. John concludes:
As an introduction to textual criticism, this volume has heuristic value in that it orients the reader to the discourse and practice of textual criticism. As an introduction to textual criticism, the volume is not as helpful as it could have been. The discussion on the text history of the Old Testament is not current. The information on the Greek versions was incomplete and mistaken in places. The volume appeared to follow other chief works in the field such as Tov’s and as a result it lacked fresh analysis and presentation of the immensely important subject matter. The field of textual criticism is already challenging enough to the novice, but when there are mistakes and discussions are presented in an incomplete and stale manner, the authors make it harder for the student to learn this skill than necessary.
Brotzman’s new co-author, Eric Tully, thinks John missed the aim of the book as an introduction and gives a lengthy response as a result.

I will say that writing an introduction is tough. It requires a real mastery of the field in question but also a good sense of what students need and how they will be able to digest it. Moreover, it needs to introduce students both to the history of the discipline but also to the current “state of play.” For a long time, my personal favorite in this genre has been Jobes’ and Silva’s introduction to the Septuagint. It’s a great model in this. I haven’t seen the 2nd edition yet but I understand it keeps the same basic structure of the original edition.

* * *

As an addendum, I think we can all agree that John Meade needs to blog more for us here at ETC. Besides benefiting all of us with his OTTC expertise, it would make up for the fact that he roots for the Denver Broncos.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Ryrie’s Bible Collection Sells for $7.3m at Auction

Dan Wallace was apparently not at Sotheby’s for yesterday’s auction of Charles Ryrie’s amazing Bible collection but he reports:
A Coptic fragment with citations
from Matthew's Gospel (more)
Ryrie did not own junk. His printed books were in excellent condition. The selling price reflected this. The very first published Greek New Testament, Erasmus’s Novum Testamentum [sic; Instrumentum] (1516), sold for $24,000. The third edition (1522)—the first one to have the comma Johanneum in it—was a bargain at $5500. 
A second edition of Tyndale’s New Testament (Ryrie owned nearly a dozen of these!) sold for $75,000. There were also several copies of the Matthew’s Bible ($22,000), Coverdale Bible ($11,000–$21,000), Great Bible ($4,000–$28,000), Geneva New Testament ($30,000), Bishops Bible ($48,000), Douay-Rheims Bible ($18,000), a rare copy of the KJV ‘Wicked Bible’ (1631; so-called because the printer left out the ‘not’ in the seventh commandment; thus, “Thou shalt commit adultery”!) for $38,000.
The Luther vellum Bible sold for $260,000. It is probably the most beautiful book I’ve ever seen. This was more than double the expected sale price. 
A rare Complutensian Polyglot (only 600 were printed) came in under expectations at $70,000. This included actually the first printed Greek New Testament, though it was not published until six years after Erasmus’s work was out. The Textus Receptus—the Greek that stands behind the KJV—was essentially Erasmus’s Greek New Testament, with some wording from the CP as well as later editions of the Greek New Testament that were largely based on Erasmus.
It’s pretty amazing. Read the rest at Dan’s report here.

Sadly, I never got to see Ryrie’s collection when I was at Dallas.


The whole collection sold for over 7.3 million dollars! The list from Sotheby’s is incredible. The whole collection has 197 items in it which means an average of about $37,000 per item. I hope they found good homes.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Depiction of Crucifixion (SBL Report)

At SBL I enjoyed the session discussing Peter Lampe’s book, From Paul to Valentinus: Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries (Fortress Press, 2003) (S19-340: Polis and Ekklesia: Investigations of Urban Christianity).

This included interesting presentations from John Kloppenborg, Jutta Dresken-Weiland, and Mark Reasoner (Peter Lampe himself was not present, which was fair enough considering his recent heart surgery involving a triple bypass).

Jutta Dresken-Weiland talked about new archaeological finds or acquisitions from the late second or early third century which were not known to Lampe, but which provide important early evidence for Christian presence in and around Rome. (I suspect a fair bit of this might be in her book: Bild, Wort, und Grab. Untersuchungen zu Jenseitsvorstellungen von Christen des 3.–6. Jahrhunderts (Regensburg 2010), but I haven’t seen this book). One interesting piece she talked about was a gemstone in the British Museum in London (1986,0501.1). This has a pictorial representation of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, probably the earliest extant representation. She offered a date of c. AD 200.

There is no doubt that this is a depiction of Jesus as a bearded figure, with hands tied to the cross beam and legs astride the main beam. The text begins: ΥΙΕ ΠΑTΗP IΗCΟΥ ΧΡICTΕ CΟΑMΝWΑMWA IΑ(W ...

P. Derchain, ‘Die älteste Darstellung des Gekreuzigten auf einer magischen Gemme des 3. (?) Jahrhunderts’ Christentum am Nil. Internationale Arbeitstagung zur Ausstellung “Koptische Kunst”. Essen, Villa Hügel, 23.-25. Juli 1963 (ed. Κ. Wessel; Recklinghausen: A. Bongers, 1964), 109-113.

For further information see the British Museum website, Simone Michel, Die Magischen Gemmen im Britischen Museum (London: BMP, 2001), No. 457 (pp. 283-284) text here; Jeffrey Spier, Late Antique and Early Christian Gems (Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2007), p. 443 text here; F. Harley-McGowan, ‘The Constanza Carnelian and the Development of Crucifixion Iconography in Late Antiquity’ “Gems of Heaven”: Recent Research on Engraved Gemstones in late Antiquity c. AD 200-600 (eds C. Entwistle & N. Adams; London: BMP, 2011), 214-220 (pdf here). This is also discussed in recent works on the cross by B.W. Longenecker (The Cross before Constantine) and J.C. Cook (Crucifixion in the Mediterranean World, 185-186).

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Vetus Latina Workshop, 15-16 December, Wuppertal

Vetus-Latina-Workshop des Graduiertenkollegs am 15.-16.12.2016


Alle Veranstaltungen finden in den Räumlichkeiten der Kirchlichen Hochschule Wuppertal/Bethel statt (Hörsaal 4 und 5).

Donnerstag, 15. 12. 2016

17.00 Uhr
Einführung: Die Vetus Latina
Thomas Johann Bauer (Erfurt)

17.15 Uhr
Die Textgeschichte der Septuaginta und die Vetus Latina
Siegfried Kreuzer (Wien)

Freitag, 16. 12. 2016

9.00 Uhr
Workshop und Diskussion: „Die Edition der Vetus Latina: Was möchte der Benutzer wissen und wie präsentiert man die Informationen?“
Sr. Bonifatia Gesche (Mariendonk)

Kaffeepause (10.30 – 11.00)

11.00 Uhr
Workshop und Diskussion: „Magna et mirabilia. Exemplarische Beobachtungen zur VL der Apk“
Marcus Sigismund / Matthias Geigenfeind (Wuppertal)

Mittagessen (12.30 – 13.45)

13.45 Uhr
Workshop und Diskussion:
„Handschriften, Übersetzungen, Textkritik: Augustin und der lateinische Bibeltext“
Rebekka Schirner (Mainz)

Kaffeepause (15.15 – 15.45)

15.45 Uhr
Workshop und Diskussion: „Digitale Infrastruktur als Voraussetzung für digitale Editionen“
Ulrich Schmid (Münster/Wuppertal)

Kaffeepause (17.15 – 17.30)

17.30 Uhr
Podium: Thomas Johann Bauer, Matthias Geigenfeind, Sr. Bonifatia Gesche, Siegfried Kreuzer, Ferdinand Prostmeier, Rebekka Schirner, Ulrich Schmid, Marcus Sigismund

[HT Hugh Houghton]

Dead Sea Scroll Forgeries in Your Favorite Bible Software?

Dead Sea Scrolls in Accordance
Over at the Lying Pen of Scribes blogÅrstein Justnes has posted a list of forged Dead Sea Scrolls that have made their way into modules for Accordance, BibleWorks, and Logos. Among other problems, Årstein points out that their inclusion in this software “has statistical implications.”

Now before you go and toss your PC out the window (if you have a Mac, go right ahead), Martin Abegg adds some important context in the comments:
Good. This is a necessary step in the process. But allow me to make a couple of comments.
  • First, my mandate when constructing Dead Sea Concordances 1-3 was to include all of the documents in Emanuel Tov’s “Lists.”
  • Second, we have a bit of guilt by association at foot in this list—3 are marked “forgery” the rest are painted with the same pollution brush although marked probable forgery or unprovenanced—but assuming for the sake of argument that they are ALL forgeries, these fragments account for 0.17% of the morphological forms in the biblical data and 0.02% of the non-biblical. Or in other words, 179 of 103,383 and 32 of 174,917 morph forms respectively. Certainly we would hope for 0 elements of “pollution,” but this hardly amounts to the possibility of “major statistical implications” as suggested in the post. I have no doubt that misreadings in the editions is at least as problematic as outright fraud.
  • Finally, my procedure from this point on: my past position has been that I add nothing to the data until I have a peer-reviewed publication in hand. I have had to modify this position as a result of the recent debate: I will for the present allow everything in Tov’s list to remain but I will add nothing of the new publications (not even my own Nehemiah fragment!) until a peer-reviewed debate brings some degree of assurance as to what to remove and what to add.
Årstein thinks all the fragments he lists are forgeries adding in the comments that “most of them are just as problematic as the unfamous Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.” He also clarifies that the statistical implications are mostly to do with how many DSS manuscripts we have for various Biblical books.

Certainly something to be aware of if you use these modules.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Interesting Material from the Archives at Westcott House

Westcott House in the summer
This morning I spent some time going through a cabinet of material from B. F. Westcott kept at Westcott House in Cambridge (see here for details). Westcott founded the school in 1881 as Cambridge Clergy Training School and it took its current name only after his death.

The archives has a number of interesting things belonging to Westcott. There are about ten books that either he owned or that he gave to others. These include Hort’s copy of Tischendorf’s Greek Old Testament, H. B. Swete’s copy of Westcott and Hort’s Greek New Testament, and a copy of the Revised Version (NT) that Hort gave to Westcott.

The manuscript of Westcott’s
book on the history of the canon.
Speaking of Hort, there is this nice note to Westcott when the latter left Cambridge to become the Bishop of Durham: “… It does not often happen that two friends work together almost literally day by day for forty years; and now, in one sense, our end comes, and some words of farewell which are indeed God speed may well be spoken, & yet it is not the words themselves so much as the blessing of the presence.”

The archives also contain a number of Westcott’s original manuscripts from his published books including his History of the English Bible, History of the Canon of the New Testament, and his commentary on John.

But the most interesting item in the collection, as far as I’m concerned, is Westcott’s own copy of Eberhard Nestle’s first edition of the Novum Testamentum Graece (1898). This, of course, is the precursor to the Nestle-Aland edition we are all familiar with today. Westcott and Hort’s edition was one of the three that Nestle originally used to determine his own text. What makes the copy at Westcott House special is that it is the copy Nestle himself sent to Westcott as a thank you. Inside the front cover there is a short letter from Nestle.

Ulm, Germany
end of March
Dear Sir

It is my pleasant duty, after I have finished the edition of the Greek Testament, which I have undertaken for the Bible Society of Wurttemberg, to renew to you the expression of our sincerest thanks, for the permission so graciously granted to us, to make use for it of the Greek Testament revised by yourself and Professor Hort. As you will see from the copy, which will be forwarded to you by same post, your text is the one constituent factor of the new edition, and I testify once more with the greatest pleasure, I never handled a book made up with so much care and thoughtfulness in the smallest details as your edition. The forthcoming number of the Expository Times (and that of May) will bring the small list of Errata or Inconsistencies, which I have detected, while I was collating your edition with Weymouth and Tischendorf. I shall recommend it to your kind attention and remain in lasting thankfulness.
most faithfully
Eb. Nestle

Here’s a photo. (Sorry about the quality.)

Now, I can’t talk about Westcott House without mentioning my favorite feature: their tortoise named Hort. He literally gets put in a fridge for the winter to hibernate so I didn’t see him today. But during the warmer months, he can be seen trawling the courtyard for food. I’m told he used to have a friend named Lightfoot, but he lived up to his name and ran off!

“Hort” at Westcott House

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Difference Ultraviolet Makes

This is from the last page of GA 720, a 12th century Gospels manuscript digitized by CSNTM. It’s a particularly good example of the difference ultraviolet light can make.