Wednesday, March 20, 2013

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Quaternion is Moving to a New Site!
Dear all, I have decided to relocate this blog to a more convenient format on my academic website. I will leave The Quaternion up for an indefinite period of time so that readers can have access to previous blog posts. 

For all future posts, please visit my website at or by clicking here. I have developed this site so that I can can post my CV and various documents in a nice format. Most of my readers will be very excited to learn about the "Papyrological Resources" tab on the new site, where I have provided links to a wide variety of papyrological resources, such as lexica, online publications in the public domain, collections of papyrological sites, various databases, etc. Many friends and colleagues were kind enough to offer suggestions on what I should list here, and the list is still growing. If you have any suggestions about additions to this resources page, please feel free to contact me. My hope is that the new site can function as a "papyrological hub" where scholars can access all the necessary online tools for their research as well as a place to inform readers of various things through the blog (e.g., book reviews, new publications, announcements, etc.).

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

CSNTM Adds New Images of Greek New Testament Manuscripts

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM), directed by Professor Daniel B. Wallace, announced today the addition of images of 28 Greek New Testament manuscripts from all four categories in the GA system of classification. Here is the message from their site:

19 March 2013
Robert D. Marcello
In November of 2011 CSNTM traveled to the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (BML) in Florence Italy. This is a phenomenal library founded by the Medici family. Here, the old library, which was designed by none other than Michelangelo himself, can be seen in all of its glory. It now holds over 2500 papyri, 11,000 manuscripts, and 128,000 printed texts. Because of this trip, CSNTM is proud to announce the addition of new images of 28 manuscripts from the BML. This excellent collection contains papyri, majuscules, minuscules, and lectionaries. Among the many treasures we digitized was an eleventh-century lectionary, written entirely in gold letters (GA Lect 117). Another manuscript had Paul’s epistles after the book of Revelation—a very rare phenomenon GA 620). And we photographed a complete Greek New Testament manuscript—one of only sixty known to exist (GA 367). We thank the library and their staff for their graciousness and willingness to digitally preserve these manuscripts. The following manuscripts may now be found HERE.
GA 0171
GA 0172
GA 0173
GA 0175
GA 0176
GA 0207
GA 198
GA 199
GA 200
GA 362
GA 365
GA 366
GA 367
GA 619
GA 620
GA 1979
GA Lect 112
GA Lect 117
GA Lect 118
GA Lect 291
GA Lect 510
GA Lect 604
GA Lect 2210

Friday, March 15, 2013

Book Review: Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research (2nd ed.)

Bart D. Ehrman and Michael W. Holmes (eds.). The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis. 2nd ed. NTTSD 42. Leiden: Brill, 2013. xii + 884. Hardcover. $314

I would like to express my utmost appreciation to the kind folks at Brill for sending me a review copy of this book.

This tome of essays represents the second edition of The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research, the first edition appearing in 1995. That first volume, which honored the late Bruce M. Metzger, garnered immediately the attention of New Testament scholars around the globe, and if the citations to it in the scholarly literature suggest anything, it is that the work was received very well among the academic community.

Now, I believe scholars will be pleased to welcome the appearance of this second edition eighteen years later, with twenty-eight contributions from some of the finest New Testament textual scholars in the discipline. A few words about structure and presentation are in place. First, one will notice that most of the chapter titles have been retained in the second edition (e.g., Ch. 1 “The Papyrus Manuscripts of the New Testament,” Ch. 2 “The Majuscule Manuscripts of the New Testament,” etc.), along with their original contributors. Some of the articles have been changed only slightly (e.g., Ch. 3 – Aland and Wachtel; Wallace – Ch. 25; Elliott – Ch. 26; Ehrman – Ch. 28), updating content only in light of recent developments (e.g., the ECM, IGNTP, CBGM, etc.), while others have been completely rewritten by new contributors. The new contributors to the second edition are as follows: Ulrich Schmid (replacing William L. Peterson), Peter J. Williams (replacing Tjitze Baarda), Philip Burton (replacing Jacobus H. Petzer), Christian Askeland (replacing Frederik Wisse), S. Peter Crowe (replacing Joseph M. Alexanian), Jeff W. Childers (replacing J. Neville Birdsall), H.A.G. Houghton (replacing J. Lionel North), Juan Hernández Jr. (replacing Moisés Silva), Carla Falluomini, Kim Haines-Eitzen, Peter M. Head, Tommy Wasserman, and Jan Krans. There are seven new essays not appearing in the first edition that explore various topics, such as the Gothic versions by Falluomini (Ch. 12), non-continuous manuscripts by Head (Ch. 16), the social history of scribes by Haines-Eitzen (Ch. 18), “textual clusters” by Epp (Ch. 20), criteria for evaluating readings by Wasserman (Ch. 21), conjectural emendation by Krans (Ch. 22) and the concept of "original text" by Holmes (Ch. 23). Chapter 17 of the first edition, “The Use of Computers in New Testament Textual Criticism” (Kraft), was cut from the second edition, “in view of the impossibility of any print resource keeping up with the rapid pace of development and change in this field, a task better suited to electronic resources” (Preface, ix). In terms of size, the second edition is considerably larger, coming in at a massive 884 pages, more than twice the size of the first edition (401 pages). There are, as in the first edition, extensive bibliographies at the end of each chapter, as well as extensive indices of persons and subjects.

The most obvious revisions and additions are manifested in the copious references to and discussions of the ECM project and the CBGM. In the index of subjects, there are twenty-one entries for the CBGM alone, half of which span more than one page. Wasserman gives the most extensive treatment of the CBGM in section four of his chapter (21), which provides a detailed explanation, critique, and ultimate approval of the method. A discussion of the method appears in several other chapters, especially those of Epp (both essays), Aland and Wachtel, Hernández, and Elliott. Discussions of the recent developments on the concepts of contamination/mixture, stemmatics and genealogical relationships are also found, in light of the CBGM, at various places throughout the book. While there are some critiques of the method (see especially Wasserman and Epp), judging from the essays, it appears to be endorsed by the majority of the scholars represented here (at least those who discuss the method expressis verbis). Holmes offers a balanced treatment of the controversial subject of "original text,"discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the term.

I cannot possibly review every essay here, so I will say a few words about two of the new chapters that have been incorporated, which I consider to be the highlight of the book. The first essay I wish to review is that of Epp titled, “Textual Clusters: Their Past and Future in New Testament Textual Criticism” (Ch. 20). In this lengthy, fifty-nine-page chapter, Epp discusses the evolution, development, disadvantages, and advantages of “text-types.” The section on the history of the concept is extensive, well written, and anything but dull. Epp notes that the term “text-type” was apparently not used before Westcott and Hort and even they did not employ it precisely as such, using instead phrases such as “type of text” and “the Western or Alexandrian text.” After giving an overview of the history of the concept of “text-type,” Epp expands on the concept of “textual cluster,” which he proposed as an alternative designation in an article in 1989. Epp defines a “cluster” as “a group of NT MSS whose texts are more closely related to one another than the cluster—as a group, or as individual members—is related to other groups or to other MSS” (571; cf. Colwell’s classic definition of “text-type”). In his previous work, Epp has opted for a slightly revised version of Kenyon’s geographically neutral labels for text-types, in a four-fold system: A-text cluster, B-text cluster, C-text cluster, D-text cluster. Epp admits that this system never has caught on, perhaps because people still seem to associate geography with the clusters. “I do not recall,” according to Epp, “thinking in geographic terms when referring to textual clusters” (556, emphasis original). In any case, I think we can all accept the fact that the traditional theory of local texts as originally devised by Streeter is passé. The last sections of Epp’s article demonstrate the validity of textual clusters by challenging Parker’s view that the theory of two texts in Acts should be abandoned. According to Epp, there is such a thing as a D-cluster, but the CBGM does not allow for the possibility of seeing it clearly because it restricts the data by not taking into account versional or patristic material. The problem here is that the primary and secondary witnesses of the D-cluster consist primarily of versional material, such as Old Latin, Syriac, Coptic, as well as several of the Fathers. Epp ultimately argues that the concept of “text-type,” when redefined on less rigid terms, is still appropriate and that “it may be too early to abandon the idea of a bipolar form of Acts’ textual tradition” (571). Epp, writing in his usual, forceful and clear style, provides an essay that is, in my opinion, the best source of information regarding “text-types” to-date.

The most recent study on the subject of non-continuous textual materials is the essay by Peter M. Head titled, “Additional Greek Witnesses to the New Testament (Ostraca, Amulets, Inscriptions and Other Sources” (Ch. 16). I was most interested in this essay because it is the subject of my doctoral dissertation. Head provides a survey of the New Testament witnesses that fall neither within the four-fold category established by Gregory (i.e., papyri, majuscules, minuscules, lectionaries), nor the category of citations of the Church Fathers. The non-continuous materials, according to Head, cannot be located within the main stream of textual transmission, but they are nevertheless valuable for our understanding of how these texts were used, that is, their Rezeptionsgeschichte. Only those non-continuous witnesses with “extensive” amounts of text are most valuable for New Testament textual criticism (432). Head makes a very interesting observation worth repeating here, which is that the principles of manuscript classification in Septuagintal studies stands in stark contrast with that of New Testament manuscripts: all witnesses of the Septuagint are classified, “including amulets, ostraka, inscriptions, and other types of witnesses” (see, e.g., A. Rahlfs and D. Fraenkel, Verzeichnis der griechischen Handschriften des Alten Testaments, Göttingen, 2004). Indeed, it should be noted that the same is also true of Apocryphal literature, where even the tiniest scraps are classified and used for the purpose of textual and historical reconstruction.

Head claims that the “additional” witnesses can be catalogued under four headings: ostraka, amulets, inscriptions, and other New Testament excerpts. For each category, he provides a general introduction, a treatment of representative texts, and a survey of relevant secondary literature. The purpose of Head’s study is not to be exhaustive, but rather to introduce the data and provide references to the primary literature of each category for future research. Nonetheless, Head’s judicious selection of sample texts and primary literature makes his study the most significant one to date. He argues that several of the non-continuous textual materials should be brought to bear on discussions concerning the earliest recoverable text. For example, regarding the fragments of Luke’s Gospel within the lot of New Testament ostraka represented as O1–20 by von Dobschütz and 0153 by Gregory, Head asserts, “There seems no reason why this collection of texts should not be regarded as a citable witness to the text of Luke at the relevant points” (435). In discussing a recently edited amulet from Oxyrhynchus (P.Oxy. 76.5073) containing Mark 1:1-2, “our earliest manuscript witness to this passage by a century,” Head contends that “[s]uch early texts should clearly play a role in debates about the earliest recoverable text of the relevant passage, especially at points of significant textual variation” (442).

Regrettably, however, Head’s study raises more questions than it answers concerning how to deal methodologically with the problem of non-continuous texts. For one, he maintains that “there is an ongoing need for up-to-date catalogues of the [non-continuous] material” (453). Both Stuart Pickering and Stanley Porter had already lamented this in their respective studies on the non-continuous witnesses, and so restating it does not advance the discussion in any real way. He argues that some of the materials should be cited in the apparatus of the Greek New Testament, but this cannot be done without a proper method of delimitation. As for the question concerning how editors of the Greek New Testament could refer to these materials, Head lists the following five possibilities: 1) a separate list continuing earlier lists (=von Dobschütz); 2) a separate list of selective materials “likely to be cited in a critical apparatus to the New Testament text”; 3) a separate, exhaustive list cataloguing “all possible additional witnesses to the New Testament text” (=Porter’s proposal); 4) a catalogue of relevant papyri and a transcription database (=Pickering’s proposal); 5) “a collection of relevant material compiled on a book-by-book basis through the New Testament” (454). As helpful as Head’s essay is, it ultimately does little in providing a way forward, although one must keep in mind that the essay is more introductory than comprehensive in scope. Nevertheless, Head’s essay prompts several important questions regarding method and thus serves as a useful starting point for my own research on the non-continuous text manuscripts, which will catalogue all extant non-continuous witnesses in four categories, namely, amulets, hermeneiai, non-patristic citations in the non-patristic papyri, and various selections.

This book is one of the most important books on textual criticism that has been published in years. Together with the recently printed volume The Early Text of the New Testament (Oxford, 2012), this book will be the go-to book for myriad issues concerning the text of the New Testament, versions, text-critical methodologies, and much more. The esteemed editors, Michael W. Holmes and Bart D. Ehrman, are to be congratulated once again for putting together a fine volume, in a fine series, published by a leading publisher in the field. Indeed, this book deserves a spot on the shelf of every New Testament scholar.

New Book: Codex and Canon (in German)

There is a new little (xviii, 78 pages) book titled Kodex und Kanon: Das Buch im frühen Christentum ("Codex and Canon: The Book in Early Christianity") by Martin Wallraff that is forthcoming with de Gruyter. Here is the description from the publisher's website:

"Christianity and the book – this is hardly a superficial relationship. Their histories date back to about the same period: the rise of Christianity and the widespread adoption of the codex both occurred in Late Antiquity. There are also substantive connections, for Christianity was quick to put the new medium to use – and for its part, the codex had its own share of repercussions on religion. Indeed, Christian book culture in antiquity set the stage for the Koran's passage into written form."

Friday, March 8, 2013

New Palaeographical Resource

I am excited to introduce a new resource for Greek palaeography: PapPal. Rodney Ast of the University of Heidelberg brought the news to papyrologists around the world through the PAPY online mailing list this morning:

"Dear Colleagues,
We are pleased to announce the launch of PapPal (, an online resource for the study of ancient paleography. The site currently gathers thumbnail images of over 2500 dated Greek documentary papyri from collections around the world, which can be displayed either in gallery or slideshow mode. Links direct users to full images and further information at the host sites and to metadata and transcriptions at At the moment, there are only a handful of ostraka included.  In the coming months we will be adding more of them, as well as dated Latin documents. I hope that you will take some time to explore the site and send me your comments.

Work on this project has been made possible by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in the context of the University of Heidelberg's Cultural Research Center 933.  Material Text Cultures: Materiality and the Presence of Writing in Non-Typographic Societies, with further support from the Institute for Papyrology."

I have spent about an hour perusing the website and am very impressed by the clarity of the images, the presentation of the data, and the built-in search engine. There is a convenient way to display the images on the basis of date, title, provenance, etc. by using the "display option." The database will eventually include more ostraka as well as Latin documents. This is an extremely important resource for papyrologists and I would like to thank Rodney Ast and his colleagues at Heidelberg for their excellent contribution to the field of papyrology. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

PhD Opportunity at University of Oslo in Greek Papyrology

Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas

Doctoral Research Fellowship in Ancient Greek (Papyrology)
A PhD Research Fellowship (position code 1017) in Ancient Greek (2013-2015) is available at the University of Oslo’s Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas from 1 June 2013.
The fellowship will be attached to the research project Strengthening Research Capacity in the Papyrus Collection of the Oslo University Library (2012-2015), led by Associate Professor in Greek Anastasia Maravela and funded jointly by the University of Oslo and The Norwegian Research Council. This project continues and expands the scope of the project Editing Papyrus Texts from the Collection of the Oslo University Library(2008-2011). For detailed information on the project see.
The aims of the project are: i) to prepare editions of unpublished papyrus texts from the collection of the Oslo University Library and ii) to carry out research on the papyrus texts witnessing Greek medicine or early Christianity and their contexts. We are inviting project descriptions about:
    Early Christian texts on papyrus and their contexts, or
    The language of Greek medicine in light of medical papyri (preferably projects addressing the development of medical vocabulary)
The position is available for a period of three years. Candidates who are accepted must participate in the Faculty of Humanities’ researcher education program (cf. regulations and supplementary provisions for the faculty’s researcher education) and must also engage in the designated research activities on a 100 percent basis. The designated aim of the project is to complete a doctoral dissertation to be defended at a public disputation for the Ph.D.-degree.
For further particulars contact the project coordinator, Associate Professor Anastasia Maravela,
    A Master degree or equivalent in Ancient Greek or in  related fields such as Classical Philology, Classical Languages, and Ancient History. Depending on the project knowledge of Latin and/or Egyptian (Demotic or Coptic) will be considered as an asset
Personal Skills
    In assessing the applications, special emphasis will be placed on the quality of the project description and on the academic and personal ability on the part of the candidates to complete the dissertation within the given time frame.
    The candidate must demonstrate good cooperative skills, and the ability to successfully join in academic partnerships across disciplines.
We offer
    salary level 50 - 56 (NOK 416 000 - 460 400, depending on level of expertise)
    academically stimulating working environment
Applicants must submit the following attachments with the electronic application, preferably in pdf format:
    letter of application describing qualifications (maximum 2 pages)
    project description, including a detailed progress plan for the project (maximum 5 pages, see Guidelines for project descriptions)
    Curriculum Vitae with grades explicitly stated
    list of publications
Educational certificates, master theses and the like are not to be submitted with the application, but applicants may be asked to submit such information or works later.
The shortlisted candidates will be called for an interview at the University of Oslo or we will arrange for an interview on Skype.
The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results a.o.
The University of Oslo aims to achieve a balanced gender composition in the workforce and to recruit people with ethnic minority backgrounds.
            Job type:
            Working hours:
            Working days:
            Application deadline:
            15 April 2013
            Expected Start Date:
            1 June 2013
            Reference number:
            Home page:

            Associate Professor Anastasia Maravela (Project Coordinator) 
Telephone: +47 22856843
                        Reseach Coordinator Zhanna Saidenova 
Telephone: +47 22857890