# Thursday, December 27, 2012

In an earlier post on the NA28, I mentioned that I wanted to do a post on orthographic variation in NA28.

I might be weird, but when reading the front matter (p. 51*), I noticed the following change to the text in 1 Peter:

  • 1Pe 2.25, αλλʼ (ECM/NA28) <= αλλα (NA27).

I hadn’t noticed this change mentioned elsewhere, and I knew (based on lots of previous, boring, pedantic, obsessive-compulsive examination of all the αλλα in the NA27) that there were other spots outside of the Catholic Epistles where I’d noted an αλλα that, following most rules of orthography, should probably be αλλʼ instead.

So I thought I’d peek at the book of Mark, examining orthography between NA27 and NA28. What I found was interesting. Note I’m lazy, so I’m not typing accents/breathing marks.

  • Mk 1.27: NA27 πνευμασι => NA28 πνευμασιν
  • Mk 1.44: NA27 αλλα => NA28 αλλʼ
  • Mk 2.4: NA27 χαλωσι => NA28 χαλωσιν
  • Mk 2.17: NA27 αλλα => NA28 αλλʼ
  • Mk 2.22: NA27 αλλα => ΝΑ28 αλλʼ

After chapter 2, I got bored, so I didn’t check much further. My guess is that most changes are from αλλα to αλλʼ. I have not reviewed punctuation carefully, I was focused on a quick scan of words. But it is clear that the INTF paid a lot of attention to the upper-text as well as the apparatus. The text, even outside of the Catholic Epistles, has been extensively reviewed (as the front matter indicates) and the product is better, I think. Thanks and Kudos to them for this work — unmentioned and by most likely unnoticed — that improves the product.

For the record: I don’t think orthographic changes are actually changes to the text (which is why I was surprised the difference in 1Pe 2.25 was listed on p 51*). The text is no different, the units of meaning are the same, and it communicates the same thing. The words parse/decline the same. I just find this stuff interesting.

Anyone else find any other “undocumented” (at least in the front matter) variations?

Post Author: rico
Thursday, December 27, 2012 5:04:03 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Monday, December 17, 2012

My friend Randall Tan asked me to post this.

As you may or may not know, the Computer Assisted Research Section (CARG) at SBL was not renewed this past year. Leaving the whats and whys out of it, CARG’s lack of renewal leaves a void in the SBL for discussing and showcasing how technology can assist research.

Randall and others are in the process of proposing the “Global Education & Research Technology” (GERT) section for SBL 2013 in Baltimore, MD.

Randall has posted more information, along with further details in PDF attachments, at the B-Greek forum. Please check it out, and if you’re so disposed, see how you can participate in the group.

Here is a paragraph describing more about what the group proposes:

The focus of this proposed new section is not only on the development and use of tools, simulations, and social media for global research and education in the wide-ranging disciplines in the field of biblical studies, but also the design frameworks, the development, the deployment, the assessment, and the dissemination of innovative technology for wider user groups in academia, society, and religious communities. We seek to explore how such tools may extend existing scholarship into digital domains or may introduce new methodologies, novel research questions, and new areas of inquiry. For example, we are interested not only in how to develop databases, but also about how to apply databases in such a way that it helps to stimulate methodological debate on biblical interpretation and potentially open up new or alternative avenues of research. In addition, we are interested in stimulating thinking about how theories of learning (Hebrew and Greek Language, OT and NT Literature) can be influenced and improved by technology.

Post Author: rico
Monday, December 17, 2012 9:53:55 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Saturday, December 01, 2012

Thanks again to Hendrickson Publishers for providing a review copy.

There are so many places one could start with a review like this. I plan on starting at the beginning — with the front matter. This is where the edition itself lays out what it is, what it plans to do, and how it does it. I spent some time in the front matter again today, and wanted to run down some of the things mentioned in both the Foreword and the Introduction.

Revisions (not to the upper-text)

Of course we all know the upper-text of the Catholic Epistles is updated in accordance with the ECM (Edito Critica Maior); the apparatus for that material is significantly revised as well. But what else has been revised?

First, the marginal apparatus (cross references) have been revised and checked throughout. You would do well to pay attention to the introduction on these. Do you realize they mark quotations, allusions, and other items? To NT material, OT material, LXX material, and even pseudepigraphic material? There is a wealth in the cross-reference apparatus alone. If you use a print edition of NA28, then pay attention to the references in the outer edition of the page margin.

Second, the citations in the apparatus for Latin, Coptic and Syriac have all been checked.

Third, the patristic citations have all been checked as well, though the intro notes this “particularly” in the Catholic Epistles.

One strange note: There is a paragraph about how great the “digital Nestle-Aland” is going to be, but absolutely no information about it otherwise. No URL, no nothing. The facing page to this paragraph mentions the NTTranscripts web site (http://nttranscripts.uni-muenster.de/) but that is not the ‘digital Nestle Aland’; and according to the referenced page itself, it is only a prototype.

Moving on …

If you are one of the handful of people who ever read the NA27 Introduction, then you are at least familiar with the idea of Consistently Cited Witnesses of “the first order” and of “the second order.” Whether you understood it or not is a different question.

The good news is that you no longer need to understand (or wonder about understanding) the difference between the two. The difference is gone; with NA28, there are only “Consistently Cited Witnesses”. This is a good thing, it makes reading the apparatus a little easier, and makes things less ambiguous for a subset of manuscripts.

Further, thanks to the good work of the Free University in Amsterdam, conjectures are no longer cited in the apparatus! (yay!). There is a project at the Free University that is immensely interesting, focused on building a database of conjectures regarding the text of the NT. The team working on it there are top-notch, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it progresses and integrates into the NA.

In material that has its basis in the ECM, inscriptions and subscriptions will no longer be listed in the apparatus. There are (as the ECM points out) often too many variations of these things to track; in a hand-edition like the NA28, it just doesn’t make sense any more. So NA28 has no apparatus data for inscriptions and subscriptions of books.

Pages 50*–51* list the changes to the Catholic epistles. There are 34. One of them, 1Pt 2.25, is orthographic (NA27 αλλα to NA28 αλλʼ). I will talk about orthography in another post.

Page 55* introduces the ♦ sigla to the apparatus markers. This marks in the uppertext a spot where the editors consider there to be two equally likely options in the text; with the other option listed in the apparatus. This effectively replaces the [brackets] most folks didn’t like. Brackets only allow additions or positive options, they cannot represent an omission. The ♦, which is always used in concert with one of the standard apparatus markers, does this. At present, it is only used in the Catholic Epistles.

As well, in only the Catholic Epistles, the apparatus uses “Byz” instead of the script/gothic ‘M’.

The introduction spends some time interacting with how early versions are handled in the NA28. Citing an early version as evidence for or against a reading is tricky, so it is worth understanding the NA28’s philosophy. My takeaway is that for anything but the most simple/straightforward stuff with early versions, it is probably best to head to the ECM for the full details it provides.

Manuscripts, Manuscripts …

Has anything changed in the apparatus outside of the Catholic Epistles? Yes, but it is pretty subtle. I hope to find a good spot and do a worked example/comparison between NA27 and NA28 in a future post. Until then, here’s what I know.

1. Thanks to Stephen C. Carlson, MS 2427 is no longer cited in the apparatus of NA28. MS2427 used to also be referred to as “Archaic Mark” and it was thought to be a surprisingly good medieval edition of the gospel of Mark. Carlson proved that 2427 was actually a forgery, and the text used was that of Buttmann’s 1860 edition of the Greek NT.

2. Thanks to removing the difference between “first order” and “second order” consistently-cited witnesses, this means that variation listings will be rendered more fully than before. That is, some contexts would not list second-order witnesses because their presence/absence from the list was assumed by virtue of them being second-order witnesses. However, this could be ambiguous in some contexts; the reader was left to guess why particular manuscripts weren’t listed. So some listings will be larger because this ambiguity has been done away with.

Outside of all of this (and the Catholic Epistles), the “language” of the apparatus is largely the same. The same symbols are used, same types of differences/variations represented. If you were comfortable with the NA27 apparatus, you will be comfortable with the NA28.

Is Anything Missing?

From p. 50* of the Introduction, this sad news:

Appendix III in NA27, Editionum Differentiae, is not included in the 28th edition, because the effort of revising it would not have been in reasonable proportion to its prospective usefulness. Today an index of variants based on a comparison of modern editions should be linked to the texts themselves. It is planned that such a tool will become a component of the digital Nestle-Aland, as soon as the necessary funding is available.

My guess is that we will never see this. As long as the ECM remains to be completed, my guess is funding should (rightly, I’d say) be routed to the primary task. But the comparison of modern versions is, I’d argue, important. Not because you use it as primary evidence in making textual decisions, but because you can see the rough spots in the text much easier when you see where modern text-critics disagree, and what readings they take. This is the primary reason I like the apparatus in the SBLGNT (which is an apparatus of select editions), it tells you when text-critics of the past 150 years or so disagree, and what they thought. This, in turn, points out the rough spots that you should probably then hop to an NA or ECM to figure out. Editionum Differentiae, you will be missed.

What’s Next?

Above, I’ve hinted about at least two more posts I’d like to write. One has to do with orthographic variation between NA27 and NA28; the other has to do with a worked example or two, comparing apparatus entries in NA28 to NA27 to see what sorts of things are different. After that, who knows.

Post Author: rico
Saturday, December 01, 2012 9:23:19 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Friday, November 30, 2012

The good folks at Hendrickson provided me a review copy of NA28 (Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th Revised Edition). I’ve been focusing on the front matter, which spell out all of the differences in the edition.

I hope to write review material soon, hopefully starting this weekend. In the meantime, here are the bullet points from an ABS flyer advertising NA28:

  • Extensively revised
  • Simplified critical apparatus structure
  • Includes Papyri 117–127 readings
  • Revised Catholic Epistles (over 30 modifications in the main text)
  • Revised and supplemented cross-references

I think the first bullet is misleading. The INTF may have done extensive work in revising the text, the text itself is not extensively revised. The revisions themselves are rather minimal, as shown by “over 30 modifications” in the Catholic Epistles; that’s really not too many modifications in the scope of things. There has been lots of work; but that doesn’t translate into lots of revisions.

Those are the bullet points, but the real advance with NA28 is, of course the commencement of the process of introducing the text of the ECM into the hand-edition of the NA28, and the resultant changes in the apparatus for the Catholic Epistles. The front matter details all of this, and will be where I focus my attention in these review posts.

Lastly, a quick note on the cover. If you’re wondering (and unfamiliar with GBS publications), the yellow band is not part of the cover, it is paper wrapped around the cover and removable. There are different covers; the edition I was provided is the black imitation leather cover, “flexicover”. There are editions with a dictionary in back, but mine does not have the dictionary.

Post Author: rico
Friday, November 30, 2012 6:47:41 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In the interest of ensuring someone can find this information if needed, I wanted to report a few more errata from Ehrman & Pleše’s The Apocryphal Gospels (amazon.com).

The first item is trivial. On p. 445, note 27, I’m guessing John 19:28-42 should be John 19:38-42.

The second item is less trivial.

In the introduction to the Gospel of Mary, p. 588, there is a statement about P.Oxy 3525: "Measuring 11.7 x 11.4 cm, it contains portions of 4:1–7:3 of the Coptic text."

However, I cannot determine the numbering system used in that statement; and it does not match with the numbering system used in either the Coptic or the English in Ehrman/Pleše. The material in P.Oxy 3525 is similar to that found in chapters/pages 9-10 as numbered in Ehrman/Pleše. I do not have the editions of Lührmann or Pasquier or Tuckett to hand, so I cannot check those; perhaps they would explain it.

Related to this, above that paragraph on p. 588, in a statement about P.Ryl. 463 (note, though, it is referred to as P.Ryl. 473 there), Ehrman/Pleše have: "This was a solitary papyrus leaf, written on both sides, measuring 8.7 x 10 cm, and containing portions of chapters 9-10 of the corresponding Coptic text, with some notable variants."

As numbered in Ehrman/Pleše, though, the material of P.Ryl. 463 aligns with the Coptic chapters/pages 17-19. So there is a disconnect in numbering systems somewhere here too.

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 5:53:29 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Sunday, November 18, 2012

Yes, believe it or not, Advent is coming upon us. I’ve written a short devotional for use in the advent season. It is based on the readings of the Revised Common Lectionary for Year C, which, I believe, is this year. (I wrote the devotional in 2009, which was also Year C.)

I’ve just revised all the quotations from the Bible to use the Lexham English Bible as the license is clear and the material can be used for these purposes.

It was originally written for my church, Grace Church Bellingham. But anyone can use it. There are two versions in PDF. One version is standard 8.5x11. The other is a landscape, 2 column 8.5x11 version of the same.

It is organized by the readings of the Revised Common Lectionary (Year C). Each week’s readings are broken into daily portions, and each day has a short series of questions along with short answers.

My purpose for doing this was to have something for my family to start to read through as a family devotional during the advent season. The questions and answers are hopefully appropriate for such a setting. In reality, the questions (and moreso the answers) are just guidelines — training wheels, if you’d like to think of them that way — the hope is just to stimulate some sort of advent-centered discussion around the day/week readings.

Post Author: rico
Sunday, November 18, 2012 10:11:22 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Monday, November 12, 2012

[Note: At times, publishers supply me with books for review. However, I actually purchased this book, it was not supplied for review. If you would like to supply me with a book for review, please feel free to email textgeek at gmail dot com.]

That’s the question Reverend Thomas J. Herron seeks to answer with Clement and the Early Church of Rome: On the Dating of Clement’s First Epistle to the Corinthians (amazon.com). Most folks in this post-J.B.-Lightfoot world consider the date of First Clement fairly well set at 95 or 96 AD. Thomas Herron says “not so fast!” and makes what is perhaps the best case for an early dating of First Clement, before 70 AD but after the deaths of Peter and Paul.

I will not comprehensively review Herron’s argument here. His book is short (just over 100 pages to the bibliography) and relatively cheap (12 bucks new, at least that’s what the Amazon widget said when I published this post). If you are interested in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, I’d encourage you to get the book yourself and give it a read.

One of Herron’s more persuasive notions in the book is his appeal to the thought that Clement didn’t have to be pope when he wrote the letter attributed to him. The standard date of 95–96 AD, persuasively argued by Lightfoot and others, is built around testimony from Eusebius about the order and dating of the first popes and comments about the reigning emperors during each papacy. Herron doesn’t dispute that at all; instead he asks:

If this is so, that the author does not write as the single bishop of Rome, then the date of circa AD 95 is no longer tenable since that date rests on one simple piece of information, namely that Eusebius tells us that Clement of Rome was single bishop of Rome toward the end of the reign of Emperor Domitian, whose death, we know, was in AD 96. Take away the belief that Clement wrote the letter known as 1 Clement while he was bishop of Rome, and the dating of circa AD 95 is seriously undermined. The issue is not whether Eusebius is correct about Clement’s tenure as bishop, but whether that information has any possible relevance for the dating question. (Herron 3, italics his)

Herron exploits this apparent discrepancy between the authorship of First Clement (apparently from the church at Rome and not from a single bishop) with the dating of Clement’s papacy provided by Eusebius, when it is obvious that Clement is the bishop in power. Why, if Clement is bishop, doesn’t he write the letter as bishop — like both Ignatius and Polycarp do, to some degree?

Anyway, this is his entry to the argument, and it is enough to catch one’s attention. It makes it possible in the informed reader’s mind that perhaps Clement did write it earlier than 95-96 AD. Then the question arises, “when?” And Herron appeals largely to internal evidence he sees that would move the date to before 70 AD.

He progresses the argument to 1Cl 40-41, and discussion of the temple. If Herron can prove references contemporary with a temple in Jerusalem, then he’s almost all the way to a pre-70 AD date for the letter.

Unfortunately, he turns to the temporality of the Greek verb in an effort to prove that Clement’s mention of the temple in 1Cl 40-41, by using present tense verbs, must be contemporaneous with a pre-70 AD temple. How can Clement use present tense verbs discussing the temple if the temple is actually destroyed (as it would be in 95-96 AD)?

Here’s the relevant text, 1Cl 40.1–41.4:

40.1 Therefore since these things are evident to us, and we have looked into the depths of the divine knowledge, we ought to do in sequence everything whatever the Master commanded us to accomplish, at the times appointed. 2 Both the offerings and services should be accomplished, and he commanded them not to be done thoughtlessly or disorderly, but at appointed times and hours. 3 Both where and by whom he wants them to be accomplished, he himself has appointed by his most supreme will, that all things being done devoutly in good pleasure, may be acceptable to his will. 4 Therefore those who make their offerings at the appointed times are both acceptable and blessed, for following the lawful ways of the Master they do not sin.  5 For the proper services are given to the high priest, and the proper position has been appointed to the priests, and the proper ministries have been imposed upon the Levites. The lay  person is bound by the laity’s commands.

41.1 Each of us, brothers, in his own group, must be pleasing to God, being in good conscience,  not going beyond the appointed rule  of his ministry, with dignity. 2 Not everywhere, brothers, are the sacrifices continually offered,  or vows or ⌊sin-offerings and trespass-offerings⌋, but only in Jerusalem, and even there, offerings are made not in every place, but before the temple, at the altar, the offering being examined for blemishes by the high priest and those doing the previously mentioned service. 3 Therefore those who do anything contrary to ⌊the duty imposed⌋  by his will, they experience the death penalty. 4 You see, brothers, as we have been considered worthy of greater knowledge, so we will be exposed to more danger.

The Apostolic Fathers in English ( trans. Rick Brannan; (Logos Bible Software, 2012)).

Herron takes the emphasis on appointed times and hours and references to services and high priests/levites, and then references to the four types of offerings in 41.2 (sacrifices, vows, sin-offerings and trespass-offerings), and the use of present tense verbs throughout the passage, as possibly meaning two things. Either all the present tense verbs are historical presents, and this is a recollection; or the presents imply present-time references contemporaneous with the author, thus the temple must have been standing when Clement wrote it if sacrifices are being made in Jerusalem.

I don’t buy it. First, temporal reference with Greek verbs is never so neat. Language is flexible, and you can use presents for stuff like this, even if the events discussed are not contemporaneous with the speaker/author. Call it a historical present if you want (I leave that to the grammarians); my rough conception of the Greek verb is that it is not so neatly binary when temporal reference is at stake, or any other time for that matter.

Second, I just spent a lot of time in the Pentateuch of the LXX; particularly Leviticus and Numbers. The way the sacrifices are discussed here in Clement is pretty standard fare in comparison. Clement aligns pretty well with the LXX. See Lev 7.18–28 (BHS/Eng 7.28–38) for starters. Herron makes a great deal about the specificity of Clement’s language regarding the sacrifices and the temple; I think Clement could’ve gotten all of it from the LXX if he’d read it. And, based on his citations of LXX elsewhere, I think that’s pretty likely.

Further, this talk of present tense in recollection of known/documented events makes me think of other things Clement discusses with present tense verbs. You know, like the sign of the phoenix in 1Cl 25. Are these all historical presents? Can we also make the argument that Clement must’ve believed (and perhaps actually witnessed?!) a 500-year-old phoenix entombing itself, dying, spontaneously generating  a worm which feeds on the carcass, grows wings, and then rises from its death cocoon and flies off carrying the remnants of the bones back to Heliopolis?

I didn’t think so. He was using the phoenix as an illustration of resurrection, likely because the legend was known to both him and his hearers. Whether he believed it or not is a different matter.

So, Clement’s references could be contemporaneous with a temple in Jerusalem, but I don’t think they have to be. Herron’s argument regarding present-tense verbs is non-determinative here. I don’t think it is as strong as he makes it out to be for reasons stated above. Clement doesn’t have to be talking about a real, existing temple to make his point regarding order here; he is appealing to the temple and its practices which he knows to be common knowledge between himself and his audience. And his information is, in my opinion, obtainable from the LXX.


I won’t go through all of Herron’s points. I think the most persuasive portion of the book was the introduction, clarifying that the question wasn’t about Clement’s papacy, but instead about when Clement wrote the letter. That’s genius because it leaves known things known (Clement as pope near end of Domitian’s reign) and clarifies that a 95-96 AD date means you’re saying Clement wrote it when he was pope, and there are some seemingly non-popish things about the letter you then have to deal with.

Reading the argument from that point, after the temple piece, was more like seeing circumstantial evidence that could be interpreted a few different ways piled up to the point of hoping it would tip the scales.

I think Herron probably makes the best possible case for an early date of First Clement. I think future work on First Clement will have to interact with Herron instead of simply blindly cite Lightfoot as authority for a 95/96 AD date. But I don’t think Herron’s work will or should cause the scholarly consensus on the date of First Clement to change. The book is inexpensive and accessible, so you do need to give it a look if you’re into this stuff.

Post Author: rico
Monday, November 12, 2012 9:40:23 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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