# Thursday, January 11, 2007

Since I finished Bauckham, I'm now reading Larry Hurtado's The Earliest Christian Artifacts. Yet another SBL purchase. After this comes either Wayne Kannaday on apologetic influence of scribes or a book on Paul and early letter writing.

I don't know that I'll blog on this one much. The first few chapters look at aggregate counts of Jewish and Christian documents and begin to make preliminary conclusions. The sample sizes (in light of known papyri) seem pretty small to base any conclusions from, but the insights and approach is interesting nonetheless.

Update (2007-01-15): Finished it this afternoon. Overall some things to think about, but nothing earth-shattering. Hurtado's proposals on the origin of the nomina sacra stimulate thought. The section on the staurogram had interesting background but wasn't surprising. If you're into early Christian MSS or even perhaps "Christian Origins" (whatever that really means) then you'll probably want to check this out.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, January 11, 2007 1:53:53 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Wednesday, January 10, 2007

παντάθλιος, α, ον, most wretched, κώμη PMasp.2.2 (vi A.D.).

Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek-English lexicon. "With a revised supplement, 1996." (Rev. and augm. throughout) (1299). Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press.

Don't believe me? I'm sure Jim knows I'm just havin' fun. I couldn't resist after I ran across the word searching for other things.

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, January 10, 2007 4:59:05 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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A colleague and I were looking at Luke 6.4 in the NA27:

[ὡς] εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τοὺς ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως λαβὼν ἔφαγεν καὶ ἔδωκεν τοῖς μετʼ αὐτοῦ, οὓς οὐκ ἔξεστιν φαγεῖν εἰ μὴ μόνους τοὺς ἱερεῖς;(Lk 6:4, NA27)

Specifically, the first word ὡς, which has a possible variant of πως. Here's the NA27 apparatus:

[replace] πως 012 L Θ f 1.13 33. 700. 1241. 1424 pc co | – P4 B D syp | txt 01* A C W Ψ M
Nestle, E., Nestle, E., Aland, K., Aland, B., & Universität Münster. Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung. (1993, c1979). Novum Testamentum Graece. At head of title: Nestle-Aland. (27. Aufl., rev.) (171). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung.

Reading the apparatus, you really don't know what to think. The variant πως is likeable because it is cleaner and reads easier. But according to one of the so-called "canons" of textual criticism, we're to prefer the harder reading — which is just what the NA27 editors have done. But why?

In this case, we can view some of the original MSS, particularly Sinaiticus (01). As noted in the apparatus, both readings are witnessed in Sinaiticus. The original reading is ὡς, a corrector has revised to πως. So, what does it look like?

Luke 6.4 in Codex Sinaiticus. Click for larger image.
(kudos to zhubert.com and csntm.org for lookup and graphic)

So it's fairly easy to tell the π is slipped in by a corrector because the style is different (compare other π in same snippet, fifth letter on top line, fifth letter on second line) and because it is on the margin. So it wasn't in the original pass.

What does this prove? Not much. But the initially attractive variant (and still attractive depending on how you measure it) looks a little less attractive because we can see the nature of the addition. Perhaps a well-meaning scribe also appreciated that πως would be the easier read here and slipped the variant in. Either way, we've confirmed it wasn't done by the original scribe, whatever you may think of his work.

Of course, you should ask other questions at this point because perhaps the variant is a true correction. While the "rule" about preferring the more difficult reading makes sense at times, one has to account for grammatically incompetent or perhaps near-sighted scribes. Maybe even hard-of-hearing scribes.

For instance, the variant under discussion here (ὡς vs. πως) could be the result of a mispronunciation (was that an aspiration or a pi?) from a lector. Or perhaps the previous word ended with a closed syllable (particularly if closed on a labial plosive) and the following aspirated syllable was mis-heard and thus mis-copied. Or perhaps the scribe mis-read the original line for similar reasons when he copied it. But in this case that isn't likely, the previous syllable is open, which we've confirmed by examining the source.

Another reason why apparatuses are helpful, but examining the actual MSS can be more useful.

What did my colleague and I decide? I guess we like sticking with NA27 because of the 'harder reading' argument and also because the original hand of Sinaiticus wrote it that way; along with the confluence of other witnesses of the reading. C'est la vie.

Update (2007-01-09): Note Stephen C. Carlson's (Hypotyposeis) comment. Thanks, Stephen. I hadn't noted the possible harmonization to Mt 12.4 nor the previous variant in Lu 6.3; thanks for supplying the info. Much better info for evaluating the variant. Yet another thing that a bottom-of-the-page apparatus doesn't handle nicely (or at all).

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, January 10, 2007 4:37:55 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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I finished reading Jesus and the Eyewitnesses last night. I won't do any in-depth blogging on the book as a whole — Chris Tilling has that covered — but I will say it is well worth reading. I have a few areas of the book that I do plan on digging into further; some of that will likely make it onto the blog.

As well, I have proposed a paper for the Northwest regional meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society based in part on some of the stuff Bauckham brings to light. If that one is accepted, I'll blog the abstract. Of course, I'll post the paper after the conference (in the end of February).

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, January 10, 2007 8:26:27 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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Though others have mentioned it, I need to note that Tyler has posted the "Best of 2006" Carnival. Do go check it out.


Post Author: rico
Wednesday, January 10, 2007 8:17:16 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Thursday, January 04, 2007

In reading Jefford's The Apostolic Fathers and the New Testament, I noticed a citation that sounded interesting:

Finally, this volume is not designed to be a methodical, text-critical comparison of the New Testament texts with parallels from the apostolic fathers, focusing upon the variations in manuscripts and sources. In that vein, several worthy efforts have already been made to cover the entire corpus of the apostolic fathers in the past, including the early work of the Oxford Society of Historical Theology in 1905 ... (Jefford 3)

A footnote goes on to descibe this volume:

A Committee of the Oxford Society of Historical Theology, The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers (Oxford: Clarendon, 1905).

On a whim, hoping to find more information about this title, I googled for it. And I was amazed when I saw an archive.org link in the results, because that usually means that an edition of the work is available. And it is! PDF (10 megs) is sitting on a server waiting for you to grab it and devour it.

I'd recommend clicking on the "Keyword" links to search for other available items.

Update (2007-01-08): The folks here at Logos figured this would be a good "Community Pricing" title. See the product page for more info.

The New Testament in Apostolic Fathers, click for info on Logos edition

Also, for those longsuffering ones out there who have been waiting for the Logos editions of the Apostolic Fathers in Greek and English, please know that I'm working on it right now (sorting out some issues with morphological annotations of each edition) and hope to make good progess on it in the near-term. It's probably 2/3 of the way there, though sometimes the last bit can be a bit of a push.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, January 04, 2007 9:19:23 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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I've begun to work Clayton N. Jefford's latest book from Hendrickson Publishers' Academic imprint into my reading schedule. The book is The Apostolic Fathers and the New Testament. Full disclosure: the book was sent to me by Hendrickson Academic. And I was happy to receive it; I'd noticed the title a few months back and almost picked up a copy at SBL but I decided not to.

So as I read a chapter or two, I'll blog about the book. I've read the introduction and the first chapter, so I'll start with those — after I post the Table of Contents. Note that Hendrickson have the TOC, the Introduction and a sample chapter on their web site. The sample chapter is chapter 1.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: How to Talk about the Apostolic Fathers?
  • Chapter 1: Finding a Time and Place for the Texts
  • Chapter 2: The Authority of Texts and Traditions
  • Chapter 3: Codes of Conduct and Christian Thinking
  • Chapter 4: Imagery of the New Testament Faith
  • Chapter 5: The Question of Christians as Jews
  • Chapter 6: The Question of Christians as Citizens
  • Chapter 7: How Persons and Places Influence History
  • Conclusion: The Significance of the Apostolic Fathers for New Testament Study
  • Index of Subjects
  • Index of Ancient Sources 

At this point in my reading of the book, my summary is: "Helpful information in an approachable format. A good place to start if you're a student of the NT entering into study of the Apostolic Fathers".

Jefford's information is good and he surveys the landscape fairly well in Chapter 1. One thing I've noticed, however, is the apologetic tone of the book. A good book should convey to me the author's research, findings and conclusions unapologetically. Some authors, however (particularly in academic settings, and often in conference papers and such where presentations can be defensive in nature) have a need to state that they're telling you their opinion, then state their tidbit, then remind you that this was only their opinion and that critical minds diverge on the issue. This is fine (to some degree) in an introduction where one is stating methodology and intent and also when surveying large amounts of data where there are ranges of views and no clear, succinct data points. So in Jefford's introduction and first chapter this is OK, though I do think he does this overmuch. He does it at the start of chapter 1:

"The present chapter is offered as a means by which to differentiate where and when the texts of the apostolic fathers were penned, at least as I understand the situation. I am fully aware that a variety of views may be found within the secondary literature. ... (Jefford 7)

The above fine and helpful (though I'm not a fan of first-person singular dialogue in the context of academic writing). But it goes on for three paragraphs, and again in each subsection conclusion of the chapter. Please don't get me wrong; the information is good and likely helpful as an introduction to the Apostolic Fathers for students of the NT. But when almost everything is couched in this type of permission-asking terminology, it makes me wonder about the author who is writing the material. I've given him permission to tell me his opinion and/or conclusions by reading the book; he shouldn't have to come to me sheepishly with his material.

I don't want to be too harsh, and, as I said, that sort of thing can be appropriate in introductions and surveys. I'm hoping it tones down as the book progresses. I'll keep y'all posted as I read.

Update: I finished the book up. I had a slight criticism of the first few chapters: Jefford seemed apologetic in making his views known as opinions. I'm pleased to say that the balance of the book didn't exhibit that same degree of apology. Overall the book was good and it provides decent introduction and discussion particularly on the issues of "Christians as Jews" (chapter 5) and "Christians as Citizens" (chapter 6).

Also note that Danny at Deinde reviews Jefford's work as well. Do check out his take. 

Post Author: rico
Thursday, January 04, 2007 9:07:19 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Wednesday, January 03, 2007

So head on over to Codex and check it out. Tyler, as would be expected, did an excellent job. He even managed to include a few ricoblog posts!

Note also that Phil at hyperekperissou has posted the "Patristic Roundup" for Dec. 28 2006-Jan 3, 2007. He even includes a post from yours truly on the Didache.

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, January 03, 2007 4:34:56 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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