# Saturday, February 23, 2013

In early March 2013, a project I’ve been working on for awhile will see the light of day. It is a two-volume effort, providing Greek and English texts of Apocryphal Gospels as well as other Fragments and Agrapha.

I’m especially excited for this one because most of my work thus far has been translation-based without any real writing to speak of. The Introductions and Translations volume, however, is my first effort beyond article/essay length to be published. I enjoyed the research and the writing, and hope to have further opportunities to do more writing in the future.

I was happy to be able to make some pre-release copies available for selected folks to review. Several of those who reviewed the book have written blog posts with their immediate impressions of the books. The reviews have been very positive, and I’m happy to share all that have been posted to date with you. Below are some snippets from each review, with a link to full review on each reviewer’s web site.

Thanks to William Varner, Jim West, Joel Watts, James McGrath, and Michael Bird for your thoughts!

A final note before the blurbs: Greek Apocryphal Gospels, Fragments, and Agrapha are a pre-pub right now. That means if you subscribe now, you get the books cheaper. It’s $39.95 right now, will be $49.95 after the pre-pub ships. We plan on closing the pre-pub and shipping resources to subscribers in early March 2013 (March 7 is the scheduled day). So if this stuff interests you, or if you want to learn more about these early works, then subscribe now and save $10. Thanks!

This work is a very valuable contribution that goes beyond previous lists of sayings and publications of only the English gospels. Rick’s brief but insightful comments about each of the sayings, variants, and gospels round out his work in a way that makes it accessible to both lay readers and scholars.
— William Varner, professor of Bible and Greek, The Master’s College (full review)

Rick Brannan has taken the concept so brilliantly executed by Jeremias and improved it. High praise indeed I realize but completely justifiable—for in the soon to be released Logos edition titled Greek Apocryphal Gospels, Fragments, and Agrapha, Brannan offers the Greek texts of the ‘sayings of Jesus’ which are found outside the Gospels (in the letters of Paul and other New Testament texts along with extracanonical early Christian literature) along with introductions and translations. He also provides the more important ‘gospels’ which didn’t make the canonical cut, again in both the original Greek editions and in translation.
—Jim West, adjunct professor of biblical studies, Quartz Hill School of Theology (full review)

In his latest contribution to the study of early Christian literature, Greek Apocryphal Gospels, Fragments and Agrapha, Rick Brannan places pseudepigraphal gospels, agrapha, and fragments in their due place, allowing the scholar quick access to a world that could reshape some of our understanding of early Christian theological and literary development.
—Joel L. Watts, author, Mimetic Criticism and the Gospel of Mark: An Introduction and Commentary (full review)

The Apocryphal Gospels are significant for what they tell us about the Gospel tradition and Christian origins. These two books on Apocryphal Gospels by Rick Brannan are a great pair of resources for anyone who wants immediate access to reliable texts, translations, and introductions on their PC or tablet of non-canonical Jesus literature.
— Michael F. Bird, Lecturer in Theology and New Testament at Crossway College in Brisbane, Australia (full review)

Rick Brannan’s edition of the Greek Apocryphal Gospels, Fragments, and Agrapha for Logos offers an important new resource that anyone interested in the early history of Christianity will want to have. … I expect this exciting resource will play an important role not only in providing more convenient access for scholars and students already in the habit of studying these texts, but in introducing a wider audience to them as well. Many thanks to Rick Brannan and Logos for their role in not merely providing a useful tool for the already-interested, but also helping to highlight these important texts and make them accessible to others who might not otherwise encounter them or realize their importance for our understanding of the ancient church!
— James F. McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language & Literature, Butler University (full review)

I’m very encouraged that each of these reviewers picked up on my desire to not just provide editions of these valuable texts, but to do it in a way that could introduce them to folks unfamiliar with early Christian texts outside of the New Testament. If you’d like to learn more about these texts, then consider the editions from Logos. Thanks!

Post Author: rico
Saturday, February 23, 2013 2:25:35 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Monday, February 11, 2013

With many thanks to Baker Academic (Twitter: @BakerAcademic) for providing the review copy.

Title: Reading the Apostolic Fathers: A Student’s Introduction (Second Edition)
Author: Clayton N. Jefford
Publisher: Baker Academic
Date: 2012
Pages: xxviii, 196 (with Glossary and Index of Ancient Literature)

This second edition of Jefford’s Reading the Apostolic Fathers (amazon.com) is a worthy successor to the first edition (published by Hendrickson Publishers in 1995).

When one initially starts to read about the Apostolic Fathers, one invariably turns to the text itself. But there are so many questions: Who are these guys? Why did they write? Where did they come from? When did they live? How was their stuff received? Is there anything really weird or wacky in there, or are these guy OK?

The documents themselves are great, but what the new reader of the Apostolic Fathers material really needs is someone to paint the landscape. To ask and answer the questions that someone used to thinking about the New Testament would ask.

Jefford provides that in this book. Almost literally.

The format is unique, and I think it works well for the target audience and the material. Jefford has one chapter for each of the major portions of the conglomeration of material we call “Apostolic Fathers”:

  • Letter of Barnabas
  • Didache
  • Letters of Ignatius
  • Fragments of Papias
  • Letter of Polycarp to the Philippians
  • Martyrdom of Polycarp
  • First Letter of Clement
  • Second Letter of Clement (aka “An Ancient Homily”)
  • The Shepherd of Hermas
  • The Letter to Diognetus

Each of these sections is ordered in an Answer-and-Question format. The very first section of each portion gives the “Answers”. These correspond to section titles throughout the portion, which are “Questions”. The text of the section then answers the question. For example, here are the “Answers” for Second Clement (chapter 8, p. 123):

  • 8.1.1 Manuscript Tradition—one complete Greek text; one partial Greek text (1.1–12.5); one Syriac text
  • 8.1.2 Literary form—early Christian homily or sermon (mistakenly called a letter by tradition)
  • 8.1.3 Authorship—unknown Christian (Clement of Rome by tradition, though unlikely)
  • 8.1.4 Date—AD 98–174 (probably AD 120–140)
  • 8.1.5 Setting—unknown (probably Corinth, Alexandria, or Rome)
  • 8.1.6 Purpose—to support Christian unity against false teachings (perhaps delivered at a service of baptism)
  • 8.1.7 Primary elements—Christology; obedience of the believer; concern for end times
  • 8.1.8 Special images—knowledge of God; immortal contest; potter’s clay; neither male nor female; preexistent church
  • 8.1.9 Relationship to scripture—focus on Isaiah; special emphasis on New Testament Gospels and writings of Paul

In this way the high points and relevant information of the entire book are summarized. After this come the questions. In 2 Clement’s case, they are all with sections titles of 8.2.X, corresponding to these answers. The question for 8.2.1 is “Where did we get our text?” and the discussion goes on for over a page.

In the midst of the discussion, there are several boldface words. This indicates a word that is found in the glossary in the back of the book. In the page on 2 Clement textual source, items such as Codex Alexandrinus, Clement of Alexandria, and Pseudo-Clementines appear. These are all defined, a sentence or two per entry, in the glossary in the back of the book. This, particularly for an introduction, is a nice touch.

After the answers (8.1) and questions (8.2) are the contents (8.3) which consists of an “Outline of the Materials” and a short “Summary of the Argument” which is a few paragraphs. Following this is 8.4, “Related Literature", which is a bibliography, helpfully listing non-English materials in a separate section.

Each major portion has a similar four-part structure. This structure throughout the book allows the reader to get a quick overview of the material (the “answer” section), more in-depth discussion on any particular area of interest (the “question” section) as well as a quick summary of the material.

Jefford’s treatment of the material is even-handed. He mentions the possibilities and does well to not let slip where his own affinities lie. All in all, particularly for someone who knows little to nothing about the Apostolic Fathers, this is an excellent introduction that will serve the reader well—both as an introduction, and also as a quick reference after it is read.

Final note: This is a second edition. There was one major update (addition of chapter on Papias) and some minor items I noticed, discussed in more detail here: Updates to Jefford’s “Reading the Apostolic Fathers”

Post Author: rico
Monday, February 11, 2013 9:04:55 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Wednesday, February 06, 2013

As I’ve poked my way through the 2nd edition of Clayton Jefford’s Reading the Apostolic Fathers: A Student’s Introduction (amazon.com), I’ve compared some things to the 1st edition.

As I said in an earlier post, the major difference in the 2nd edition is the inclusion of a chapter on the Fragments of Papias. This is awesome, and fills a small hole left by the earlier edition.

However, I noticed another change, this one smaller. In the chapter on First Clement, there has been a change in the range of dates given for Clement’s writing. In the 1st edition (ch. 6, p. 98), you’ll see:

Date—AD 81–110 (probably 81–96, reign of the emperor Domitian)

In the 2nd edition, however (ch. 7, p. 103) you’ll see:

Date—AD 65–110  (probably reign of Emperor Domitian, AD 81–96; possibly end of reign of Emperor Nero, AD 54–68)

The text describing the various possibilities of dating hasn’t changed much. My guess is that Jefford has been influenced by Fr. Thomas Herron’s book, Clement and the Early Church of Rome. And, reviewing my copy of that book, I remember the note from its preface that Jefford utilized Herron’s basic argument in a 2006 book on The Apostolic Fathers and the New Testament (amazon.com) (pp 18–19). So it is no surprise that Jefford extends his window for Clement’s authorship. [Note: I interacted with some of Herron’s arguments earlier on this blog.]

This is probably the largest of the slight changes I’ve run across. There are some indicative of a copyedit, perhaps conforming to Baker Academic house style (I noticed a “that” changed to a “which”, or something like that). There were some other phrasing changes, but no other deep changes in content that I noticed.

So, I’ll say it again: If I was teaching an “Introduction to the Apostolic Fathers” class, I would use this book. If you have the first edition, I don’t think you need to run out and get the second edition. But if you’re looking for an introduction to the Apostolic Fathers actually written to an audience that knows little to nothing about the Apostolic Fathers, then Jefford’s book is your best bet.

(Thanks again to Baker Academic for the review copy)

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, February 06, 2013 8:34:14 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Thanks to the fine folks at Baker Academic (Twitter: @BakerAcademic), who sent along a review copy of Clayton N. Jefford’s Reading the Apostolic Fathers: A Student’s Introduction (Second Edition). You can learn a little more about the book at Baker Academic’s web site. The page lists some endorsements, so it is worth checking out.

As the title notes, this is a second edition. The first edition was published by Hendrickson Publishers in 1995. I examined it over the course of a few posts on this blog (here and here). Here’s the blurb for the 2nd edition from Baker Academic’s web site:

The Apostolic Fathers are critically important texts for studying the first century of Christian history. Here a leading expert on the Apostolic Fathers offers an accessible, up-to-date introduction and companion to these diverse and fascinating materials. This work is easy to use and affordable yet offers a thorough overview for students and others approaching these writings for the first time. It explains the context and significance of each document and points to further reading. This new edition of a well-received text has been updated throughout and includes a new chapter on the fragments of Papias.

I’ve gone on record in the past that if I were able to teach an intro class to the Apostolic Fathers, I’d use Jefford’s book. It targets the reader as one unfamiliar with the material, and does well to hit it.

This is true of the second edition as well. There have been some changes, but nothing too major. The largest (and very welcome) change is the addition of a chapter on the Fragments of Papias. There are some other changes I’ve noticed as well, I will go over those in a future post.

What material does the book cover? Here’s the table of contents, which gives you an idea:

Preface to the Second Edition
For the Reader
Introduction: What Are the Apostolic Fathers?

  1. The Letter of Barnabas
  2. The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (The Didache)
  3. The Letters of Ignatius
  4. The Fragments of Papias
  5. The Letter of Polycarp to the Philippians
  6. The Martyrdom of Polycarp
  7. The First Letter of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians (1 Clement)
  8. The Second Letter of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians (2 Clement)
  9. The Shepherd of Hermas
  10. The Letter to Diognetus


Post Author: rico
Tuesday, February 05, 2013 8:12:10 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# 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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