# Saturday, January 10, 2009

From Epp and Fee's Studies in the Theory and Method of New Testament Textual Criticism (amazon.com), chapter 5, "The Twentieth Century Interlude in New Testament Textual Criticism", (emphasis mine):

One response to the fact that our popular critical texts are still so close to that of WH might be that the kind of text arrived at by them and supported so widely by subsequent criticism is in fact and without question the best attainable NT text; yet every textual critic knows that this similarity of text indicates, rather, that we have made little progress in textual theory since Westcott-Hort; that we simply do not know how to make a definitive determination as to what the best text is; that we do not have a clear picture of the transmission and alteration of the text in the first few centuries; and, accordingly, that the Westcott-Hort kind of text has maintained its dominant position largely by default. Günther Zuntz enforces the point in a slightly different way when he says that “the agreement between our modern editions does not mean that we have recovered the original text. It is due to the simple fact that their editors … follow one narrow section of the evidence, namely, the non-Western Old Uncials”.
Epp, E. J., & Fee, G. D. (1993). Studies in the theory and method of New Testament textual criticism (amazon.com) (87). Grand Rapids, MI.: Eerdmans.

The quote from Zuntz is from a book that's been on my Amazon.com wishlist for awhile, but I haven't yet obtained: The Text of the Epistles: A Disquisition Upon the Corpus Paulinum: The Schweich Lectures of the British Academy 1946 (amazon.com). Yet another reason to think about buying it, I guess (I've seen it in footnotes a couple times in the past weeks).

Post Author: rico
Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:46:04 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Wednesday, January 07, 2009
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I just installed the New Testament Textual Criticism Collection (6 Volumes) available from my employer, Logos Bible Software.

I'm stoked about this collection. There are six books, two of which (the first two listed) I'm particularly looking forward to:

I've had my eye on the Eerdmans titles for a long time, just never ponied up the dough for them. It'll be good to finally read some of the essays in those books, as well as consider the others (particularly Goodacre's).

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, January 07, 2009 8:04:48 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Saturday, January 03, 2009

Many thanks to Eric Sowell of Archaic Christianity for making available his in-progress work, A Reader's Version of the Protoevangelium of James.

You won't find a translation in Eric's work; should you need one to check yourself against, try CCEL's edition. Though you should really try to fight through it by yourself first.


On helps to get you reading Greek, I think so-called "Reader's Editions" are good things. I also think diglots are good, and I think that if you want to gain more reading facility you should read stuff that isn't the New Testament. On that note, I am also finding the present volumes immensely helpful:

  • Michael Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (amazon.com) (Third Edition). Baker Academic. This is a diglot and the translation is good without being too idiomatic. Very helpful in working through text you may not be familiar with. The Gentium font is used, so it is very readable.
  • Andrew E. Bernhard, Other Early Christian Gospels: A Critical Edition of the Surviving Greek Manuscripts (amazon.com). Continuum. Included here are transcriptions ("Critical Editions" and "Student's Greek Texts"; the student texts have normalized spelling and no apparatus) and translations of existing Greek sources for non-Canonical gospels. As such, the vocabulary is usually familiar enough but different enough to make you work. The included translations also help with providing a source to check your reading against. And there are Greek word indexes for each included document, but they're in the back so they are there, but not too handy.

I'd recommend both of them. If you're looking to increase your skill with Greek in 2009, these are good places to start. You also might want to try Rodney Whitacre's A Patristic Greek Reader (amazon.com).

Another little item that might be helpful is my "Phrasal Interlinear" of the Didache. It is a (mostly) phrase-by-phrase interlinear, not the typical word-by-word interlinear.

Also, a hint that has helped me recently: Don't read these things with translation as your primary goal. Read the words of the Greek text as phrases/clauses; don't try to translate word-for-word as you go. If you go by word, you'll end up stuck in a code/decode approach that is more about substituting word glosses and less about understanding the Greek text. Read a phrase or clause, and accept that you don't understand something. Many times, the bit that is confusing will make sense as the whole phrase or clause is unveiled—it gives you the context you need to make an educated guess on that unknown word or parsing. Reading is for understanding, not for parsing and gloss-lookup-ing on a word-by-word basis to piece together an incoherent jumble of Englished Greek.

Update (2009-01-04): Thanks to Tommy Wasserman (Evangelical Textual Criticism) for reminding us about the online critical edition of the Protevangelium:

And there is also an online mini critical edition to the Protevangelium Jacobi, including introduction to the manuscripts, etc., released last year by two doctoral students in Birmingham: http://www.sd-editions.com/protevangel/

Another comment, this one from me: Is it "protoevangelium" (which Eric uses in his title) or "protevangelium" (which is more familiar to me, and which the online critical edition uses)? Or does it matter?

books | greek
Post Author: rico
Saturday, January 03, 2009 10:40:13 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Friday, January 02, 2009

Steve Runge of NTDiscourse.org is Biblioblogs.com's Blogger of the Month for January 2009.

Learn about Steve's background and influences, and get to know more about him. He is a genuinely great guy that I'm happy and privileged to call my friend.

Also check out Steve's post about his blogging plans for 2009.

This may cause you to ask — what might Rick's 2009 blogging plans be? I'll be honest and say I don't really know. Perhaps something about my 2009 BibleTech paper once I dig back into it. I have a few non-blogging projects I need to wrap up; after that we'll see what sort of opportunities come about; particularly once I formalize any proposals for this year's academic conferences (ETS and SBL).

Post Author: rico
Friday, January 02, 2009 12:20:18 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's Christmas Eve. I don't know about you, but here in Bellingham we have at least 2 feet of snow on the ground, which is very unusual for this time of year. And it's still snowing; we got 4-6" more overnight—with more on the way, according to the weather-dude. I get to shovel my driveway for the fourth time in a week! The Christmas Eve service at our church has been canceled. Mail delivery is off-and-on (so much for that "neither snow nor sleet nor hail" bit). We're hoping the garbage truck makes it to pick up our garbage today. And I've been working from home (thanks, Logos!) since last week Friday. This will be the first real white Christmas, with lots of snow, that I can ever recall experiencing.

I wanted to wish a Merry Christmas to all who read ricoblog, and express my gratitude as well. I know my posting has been sporadic this year; hopefully the posts that I've made have been interesting and thought-provoking in some way.

I've come across a few unique tools and charts that I wanted to make sure all you folks out there in TV-land knew about. I find them incredibly interesting and think that you might too.

So enjoy these goodies, and Merry Christmas!

What's in Your Bible? Find out at BibleStudyMagazine.comChristmas Goodie #1: What's in Your Bible? An interactive Canon Comparison Chart.  This is from Bible Study Magazine (which is published by Logos), put together my my friend and colleague (in that order), Vincent Setterholm. You're likely aware that most protestant bodies accept 66 books in the Biblical canon, and that there are "apocryphal" or "deuterocanonical" books that are accepted into other traditions' canons. But did you know that the Ethiopian canon (the widest canon) has both a "broad" and "narrow" canon, and that the broad canon includes stuff like purported letters of Peter to Clement? Check the chart out to get a glimpse of the sorts of things going on in the canons of other traditions.

Christmas Goodie #2: Biblindex: Index of Biblical Quotations and Allusions in Early Christian Literature. This as well is very awesome, hat-tip to Kevin P. Edgecomb at Biblicalia. I've mentioned Biblia Patrisica on this blog before; it is a 7 volume (plus one supplement) set that somewhat exhaustively sets out references among the writings of the Fathers to the Bible. Biblindex makes this information available for query:

This site already allows simple interrogation in a corpus of about 400,000 biblical references, from the volumes of Biblia Patristica, CNRS Editions, 1975-2000, and unpublished archives of the Center for Patristics Analysis and Documentation (CADP).

As Kevin notes, the search function is somewhat byzantine. Read the instructions to figure out how things work, it doesn't work like you might think. But it makes a wealth of hard-to-find material available, with a little work. You should bookmark this site.

Christmas Goodie #3: Collation and Evaluation of OT Apocrypha Translations. The hat-tip goes to Mark Hoffman of Biblical Studies and Technological Tools for this one. This originated in a posting to the Biblicalist yahoo group. There is a cool chart, some XML, and a spreadsheet. Check it out, there is some cool and useful information here.

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, December 24, 2008 9:15:17 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Monday, December 22, 2008

First, I won't pretend to have all of the answers (or any of the answers, for that matter), but I would like to weigh in on how syntax searching of the OpenText.org Syntactically Analyzed Greek New Testament might help one get a grasp of the problem and the options.

Disclaimer: I work for Logos, and have blogged extensively on the OpenText.org Syntactically Analyzed Greek New Testament on the Logos Blog. I'm not writing this post to say that "danielandtonya" are right or wrong (though their approach seems sound to me and I'm guessing their results will be too), or to say that their data sets are somehow in error. I just want to try to assemble their data sets using syntactic searching (and any advantage that relying on syntactic relationship gives) instead of relying on proximity + agreement relationships, with or without exclusion—and see what differences there are and how important or unimportant they might be.

For the uninitiated, this debate is concerning Gal 2.16 (go ahead, read it, and make sure to check the Greek too).

Specifically, I'd like to interact with Hebrew and Greek Reader's three data sets delineated in their "The Jesus Faith - Vol. 3" post (but also described in the Vol. 2 post).

Here are their descriptions of their three data sets, from their Vol. 3 post:

  • Data Set 1 - How many times in the GNT is πιστις (in any case) followed by Χριστος (in any case) within four words of each other?
  • Data Set 2 - How many times in the GNT is a genitive noun followed by another genitive noun within four words?
  • Data Set 3 - How many times in the GNT is πιστις in the genitive case followed by another genitive noun within two words (and words in between are not conjunctions or non-genitive nouns)?

On the first data set, danielandtonya report that the following references are included: Ro 3.22; Gal. 2.16 (2x); 3.22, 26; Phil 3.9; Col. 1.4; 1Tim 3.13; and 2Tim 3.15. My syntax search located one additional hit, James 2.1. The syntax search looks like this:


I'm searching for where πιστις is the "head term" of the word group (loosely, the "phrase"), and where it is either directly or indirectly modified by χριστος. The James 2.1 instance has four words between πιστις and χριστος, so the intervening range is larger than danielandtonya accounted for. I'm not sure that it makes any difference to the argument, and they may have known about it but weeded it out. I just mention it because it was in my results.

On the second data set, danielandtonya report 1,431 hits (in their Vol. 3 post). That's a lot of hits. The syntax search I created narrows it down to 452 hits.* The difference is that the syntax search locates where the second genitive is in some sort of direct relationship with the first genitive, not just where two genitives happen to be within two words of each other. Again, it is relying on the relationship, not the proximity of words (which essentially serves as a loose approximation of syntactic relationship). Whether this makes any difference for danielandtonya's argument I have no idea. But here's the search:


I should note that I'm constraining to nouns because that is the wording that danielandtonya's specification uses; I might also want to consider adjectives in one or both slots, but that's left as an exercise for the reader to complete.

On the third data set, danielandtonya haven't yet reported (at the time of my initial posting), so I'll have to wing it. In OpenText-ese, what they appear to be looking for is when a genitive noun is in close relationship with πιστεως (genitive form of πιστις), hence the two-word proximity constraint, and the further specification that no conjunctions or pronouns intervene. With a syntactic analysis, there is no necessity to consider the exclusion of certain intervening types (such as conjunctions or pronouns) because one is really searching for the relationship between things no matter what may intervene. Here again, between two nouns, a simple "modification" relationship fits the bill (from what I understand of danielandtonya's intent). So my third search is relatively similar to the previous, I've just added that πιστις should be the lemma of the first word in the series:


What did I get for results? Five hits: Ro 3.22; Ga 2.16(2x); 3.22; Col 2.12. All but Col 2.12 were in danielandtonya's first dataset.

And this is where I leave you. I don't have a dog in the "objective or subjective genitive" argument. I don't like any of the labels because they (at least to me) seem to be geared toward answering the "how do I translate it?" question instead of the "how was it understood?" question. Yes; the two are somewhat related, but the primary difference is the end. One seems to think about and try to understand Greek in terms of English; the other at least tries to think about Greek in terms of Greek. Thus, I'm not a fan of labeling things like this. From my view, the obvious ones are, well, obvious; and the debatable ones are debated ad nauseum to little ultimate benefit.

* If you allow for variation in the order of the head term word and modifier, then the count is 458. But as danielandtonya's specifications rely on order, I figured these should too.

Post Author: rico
Monday, December 22, 2008 2:09:19 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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From Richard Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (amazon.com):

We, belated rootless readers, can learn only through marginalia and concordances—like novice guitarists learning blues riffs from sheet music—what Paul knew by heart: to quote the confession that God will render to each one according to his works is to trigger overtones in which God's omniscience and mercy play in counterpoint and blend. (Hays, 43)

Post Author: rico
Monday, December 22, 2008 9:31:30 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Monday, December 15, 2008

I came across the following buried in MSNBC.com. But at least it was there. Hopefully the Turkish government will follow at some point with a formal, official apology for the Armenian genocide of 1915.

Turks Apologize for Armenian Massacres

ANKARA, Turkey - A group of about 200 Turkish intellectuals on Monday issued an apology on the Internet for the World War I-era massacres of Armenians in Turkey.

The group of prominent academics, journalists, writers and artists avoided using the contentious term "genocide" in the apology, using the less explosive "Great Catastrophe" instead.

Post Author: rico
Monday, December 15, 2008 7:17:08 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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