Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Interesting Material from the Archives at Westcott House

Westcott House in the summer
This morning I spent some time going through a cabinet of material from B. F. Westcott kept at Westcott House in Cambridge (see here for details). Westcott founded the school in 1881 as Cambridge Clergy Training School and it took its current name only after his death.

The archives has a number of interesting things belonging to Westcott. There are about ten books that either he owned or that he gave to others. These include Hort’s copy of Tischendorf’s Greek Old Testament, H. B. Swete’s copy of Westcott and Hort’s Greek New Testament, and a copy of the Revised Version (NT) that Hort gave to Westcott.

The manuscript of Westcott’s
book on the history of the canon.
Speaking of Hort, there is this nice note to Westcott when the latter left Cambridge to become the Bishop of Durham: “… It does not often happen that two friends work together almost literally day by day for forty years; and now, in one sense, our end comes, and some words of farewell which are indeed God speed may well be spoken, & yet it is not the words themselves so much as the blessing of the presence.”

The archives also contain a number of Westcott’s original manuscripts from his published books including his History of the English Bible, History of the Canon of the New Testament, and his commentary on John.

But the most interesting item in the collection, as far as I’m concerned, is Westcott’s own copy of Eberhard Nestle’s first edition of the Novum Testamentum Graece (1898). This, of course, is the precursor to the Nestle-Aland edition we are all familiar with today. Westcott and Hort’s edition was one of the three that Nestle originally used to determine his own text. What makes the copy at Westcott House special is that it is the copy Nestle himself sent to Westcott as a thank you. Inside the front cover there is a short letter from Nestle.

Ulm, Germany
end of March
Dear Sir

It is my pleasant duty, after I have finished the edition of the Greek Testament, which I have undertaken for the Bible Society of Wurttemberg, to renew to you the expression of our sincerest thanks, for the permission so graciously granted to us, to make use for it of the Greek Testament revised by yourself and Professor Hort. As you will see from the copy, which will be forwarded to you by same post, your text is the one constituent factor of the new edition, and I testify once more with the greatest pleasure, I never handled a book made up with so much care and thoughtfulness in the smallest details as your edition. The forthcoming number of the Expository Times (and that of May) will bring the small list of Errata or Inconsistencies, which I have detected, while I was collating your edition with Weymouth and Tischendorf. I shall recommend it to your kind attention and remain in lasting thankfulness.
most faithfully
Eb. Nestle

Here’s a photo. (Sorry about the quality.)

Now, I can’t talk about Westcott House without mentioning my favorite feature: their tortoise named Hort. He literally gets put in a fridge for the winter to hibernate so I didn’t see him today. But during the warmer months, he can be seen trawling the courtyard for food. I’m told he used to have a friend named Lightfoot, but he lived up to his name and ran off!

“Hort” at Westcott House

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Difference Ultraviolet Makes

This is from the last page of GA 720, a 12th century Gospels manuscript digitized by CSNTM. It’s a particularly good example of the difference ultraviolet light can make.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

‘Business Insider’ on the Bible’s Transmission

A friend sends this short video from Business Insider and asks, “Is it rubbish?” Since I’m traveling, I thought I would let our astute readers answer for me. Note that it features ETC blog contributor, Bill Warren.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

ETS 2016 Recap

Thanks to all who came out to our first annual ETC at ETS lunch. It was a great success. Alas, there were no speeches, but the food was excellent. Truly a highlight for me so far.

Even better though was the session on Wednesday that featured no less than three ETC bloggers in back-to-back presentations. I was up first trying to explain the CBGM then Dirk got up to tell us why the Tyndale Greek NT is better still and, finally, Maurice told us why we were both wrong! It was great fun and a real honor for me to present alongside two men who have been a real inspiration and encouragement to me.

See you next year! (or at SBL)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Le Nouveau Testament en syriaque Conference

Obviously this is too late for anyone wanting to attend, but the Society for the Study of Syriac organizes a “round table” every year and today they are meeting on the topic of the Syriac New Testament. The papers should be published in the accompanying series by Geuthner next year which I look forward to. I should note that ETC contributor, Jean-Louis Simonet, is giving a paper. Here is the full program:
  • David Phillips (Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve)
    « Les canons des Nouveaux Testaments en syriaque »
  • David Taylor (University of Oxford)
    « L’Apocalypse de Jean en syriaque : des origines à Diamper » 
  • Jan Joosten (University of Oxford)
    « Le Diatessaron syriaque » 
  • Jean-Claude Haelewyck (FNRS et Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve)
    « Les vieilles versions syriaques des évangiles (sinaïtique et curetonienne) » 
  • Andreas Juckel (Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung, Münster)
    « The New Testament Peshitta (Corpus Paulinum) : History of the Text and History of the Transmission » 
  • Jonathan Loopstra (University of Northwestern, St. Paul, MN)
    « Le Nouveau Testament dans les manuscrits syriaques massorétiques : Où en sommes-nous ? » 
  • Gerard Rouwhorst (Tilburg University)
    « La lecture liturgique du Nouveau Testament dans les Églises syriaques » 
  • Dominique Gonnet (HiSoMa – Sources Chrétiennes, Lyon)
    « Les citations patristiques syriaques » 
  • Jean-Louis Simonet (Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve)
    « Vetus Syra – arménien : les citations des Actes » 
  • Eva Balicka-Witakowska (Uppsala University)
    « Artistic Means in the Syriac New Testament Manuscripts » 
  • Robert Wilkinson (Valley House, Temple Cloud, Somerset)
    « Printed Editions of the Peshitta New Testament »

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Luke 15 preview

The main text of the Greek New Testament produced at Tyndale House, whose principal editor is Dirk Jongkind is now complete except for peer review and some minor spelling adjustments. I thought it might be of interest to provide a preview of Luke 15 in this edition. It is obviously not drastically different from other editions, but the keen-sighted among you may well spot differences which interest them. This text will be in peer review for the next couple of months and may therefore undergo some changes.

15:1 Ἦσαν δὲ αὐτῷ ἐγγίζοντες πάντες οἱ τελῶναι καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἀκούειν αὐτοῦ. 2 καὶ διεγόγγυζον οἵ τε Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς λέγοντες ὅτι οὗτος ἁμαρτωλοὺς προσδέχεται καὶ συνεσθίει αὐτοῖς.

3 Εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην λέγων· 4 τίς ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ὑμῶν ἔχων ἑκατὸν πρόβατα καὶ ἀπολέσας ἐξ αὐτῶν ἕν, οὐ καταλείπει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ καὶ πορεύεται ἐπὶ τὸ ἀπολωλὸς ἕως εὕρῃ αὐτό; 5 καὶ εὑρὼν ἐπιτίθησιν ἐπὶ τοὺς ὤμους αὐτοῦ χαίρων, 6 καὶ ἐλθὼν εἰς τὸν οἶκον συγκαλεῖ τοὺς φίλους καὶ τοὺς γείτονας λέγων αὐτοῖς· συγχάρητέ μοι, ὅτι εὗρον τὸ πρόβατόν μου τὸ ἀπολωλός. 7 λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οὕτως χαρὰ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἔσται ἐπὶ ἑνὶ ἁμαρτωλῷ μετανοοῦντι ἢ ἐπὶ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα δικαίοις οἵτινες οὐ χρείαν ἔχουσιν μετανοίας. 8 ἢ τίς γυνὴ δραχμὰς ἔχουσα δέκα, ἐὰν ἀπολέσῃ δραχμὴν μίαν, οὐχὶ ἅπτει λύχνον καὶ σαροῖ τὴν οἰκίαν καὶ ζητεῖ ἐπιμελῶς ἕως οὗ εὕρῃ; 9 καὶ εὑροῦσα συγκαλεῖ τὰς φίλας καὶ γείτονας λέγουσα· συγχάρητέ μοι, ὅτι εὗρον τὴν δραχμὴν ἣν ἀπώλεσα.

10 Οὕτως λέγω ὑμῖν· γείνεται χαρὰ ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀγγέλων τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπὶ ἑνὶ ἁμαρτωλῷ μετανοοῦντι.

11 Εἶπεν δέ· ἄνθρωπός τις εἶχεν δύο υἱούς. 12 καὶ εἶπεν ὁ νεώτερος αὐτῶν τῷ πατρί· πάτερ, δός μοι τὸ ἐπιβάλλον μέρος τῆς οὐσίας. ὁ δὲ διεῖλεν αὐτοῖς τὸν βίον. 13 καὶ μετ᾽ οὐ πολλὰς ἡμέρας συναγαγὼν πάντα ὁ νεώτερος υἱὸς ἀπεδήμησεν εἰς χώραν μακρὰν καὶ ἐκεῖ διεσκόρπισεν τὴν οὐσίαν αὐτοῦ ζῶν ἀσώτως. 14 δαπανήσαντος δὲ αὐτοῦ πάντα ἐγένετο λειμὸς ἰσχυρὰ κατὰ τὴν χώραν ἐκείνην, καὶ αὐτὸς ἤρξατο ὑστερεῖσθαι. 15 καὶ πορευθεὶς ἐκολλήθη ἑνὶ τῶν πολειτῶν τῆς χώρας ἐκείνης, καὶ ἔπεμψεν αὐτὸν εἰς τοὺς ἀγροὺς αὐτοῦ βόσκειν χοίρους. 16 καὶ ἐπεθύμει χορτασθῆναι ἐκ τῶν κερατίων ὧν ἤσθιον οἱ χοῖροι, καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐδίδου αὐτῷ.

17 Εἰς ἑαυτὸν δὲ ἐλθὼν ἔφη· πόσοι μίσθιοι τοῦ πατρός μου περισσεύονται ἄρτων, ἐγὼ δὲ λειμῷ ὧδε ἀπόλλυμαι. 18 ἀναστὰς πορεύσομαι πρὸς τὸν πατέρα μου καὶ ἐρῶ αὐτῷ· πάτερ, ἥμαρτον εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ ἐνώπιόν σου· 19 οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἄξιος κληθῆναι υἱός σου. ποίησόν με ὡς ἕνα τῶν μισθίων σου. 20 καὶ ἀναστὰς ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα ἑαυτοῦ.

Ἔτι δὲ αὐτοῦ μακρὰν ἀπέχοντος εἶδεν αὐτὸν ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐσπλαγχνίσθη, καὶ δραμὼν ἐπέπεσεν ἐπὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ κατεφίλησεν αὐτόν. 21 εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ υἱός· πάτερ, ἥμαρτον εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ ἐνώπιόν σου· οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἄξιος κληθῆναι υἱός σου.

22 Εἶπεν δὲ ὁ πατὴρ πρὸς τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ· ταχὺ ἐξενέγκατε στολὴν τὴν πρώτην καὶ ἐνδύσατε αὐτὸν καὶ δότε δακτύλιον εἰς τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ καὶ ὑποδήματα εἰς τοὺς πόδας, 23 καὶ φέρετε τὸν μόσχον τὸν σιτευτόν, θύσατε, καὶ φαγόντες εὐφρανθῶμεν, 24 ὅτι οὗτος ὁ υἱός μου νεκρὸς ἦν καὶ ἀνέζησεν, ἦν ἀπολωλὼς καὶ εὑρέθη. καὶ ἤρξαντο εὐφραίνεσθαι.

25 Ἦν δὲ ὁ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ὁ πρεσβύτερος ἐν ἀγρῷ. καὶ ὡς ἐρχόμενος ἤγγισεν τῇ οἰκίᾳ, ἤκουσεν συμφωνίας καὶ χορῶν. 26 καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος ἕνα τῶν παίδων ἐπυνθάνετο τί ἂν εἴη ταῦτα.

27 Ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὅτι ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἥκει, καὶ ἔθυσεν ὁ πατήρ σου τὸν μόσχον τὸν σιτευτόν, ὅτι ὑγιαίνοντα αὐτὸν ἀπέλαβεν. 28 ὠργίσθη δὲ καὶ οὐκ ἤθελεν εἰσελθεῖν. ὁ δὲ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ ἐξελθὼν παρεκάλει αὐτόν.

29 Ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν τῷ πατρί· ἰδοὺ τοσαῦτα ἔτη δουλεύω σοι καὶ οὐδέποτε ἐντολήν σου παρῆλθον, καὶ ἐμοὶ οὐδέποτε ἔδωκας ἔριφον ἵνα μετὰ τῶν φίλων μου εὐφρανθῶ. 30 ὅτε δὲ ὁ υἱός σου οὗτος ὁ καταφαγών σου τὸν βίον μετὰ πορνῶν ἦλθεν, ἔθυσας αὐτῷ τὸν σιτευτὸν μόσχον.

31 Ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· τέκνον, σὺ πάντοτε μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ εἶ, καὶ πάντα τὰ ἐμὰ σά ἐστιν. 32 εὐφρανθῆναι δὲ καὶ χαρῆναι ἔδει, ὅτι ὁ ἀδελφός σου οὗτος νεκρὸς ἦν καὶ ἔζησεν, καὶ ἀπολωλὼς καὶ εὑρέθη.

Friday, November 11, 2016

New Articles and Reviews in the TC Journal

Volume 21 (2016) of TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism is now complete (the whole issue is here).

Two new articles and five new reviews have just been added. As one of the editors I must say that we are very happy with the development of the journal in recent years:

Articles (new)

Georg Gäbel, The Import of the Versions for the History of the Greek Text: Some Observations from the ECM of Acts
Abstract: In this article, I discuss the relevance of the versions for Greek textual history, taking as my starting point the forthcoming Editio Critica Maior of Acts. After a brief introduction to the citation of versional material in the ECM of Acts, three groups of examples are presented: (1) examples where each versional variant is correlated with one Greek variant, (2) examples of variants found in versional witnesses belonging to the D-trajectory and believed to have existed in now lost Greek witnesses, and (3) examples for the mutual influence of Greek and versional texts. I conclude that (1) careful attention to the versions will benefit our understanding of Greek textual history, that (2) some variants of Greek origin not attested in the Greek manuscripts now known can be reconstructed on the basis of the versions, and that (3) in some cases, particularly in bilingual manuscripts, there is likely to have been versional influence on the Greek text.
Katie Marcar, The Quotations of Isaiah in 1 Peter: A Text-Critical Analysis
Abstract: This article examines the quotations of Isaiah in 1 Peter in order to determine, as far as possible, the author’s Vorlage. It first defines quotations (as opposed to allusions), evaluates the importance of introductory formula or terms, and contextualizes this study in terms of comparable analyses in Pauline studies. After this methodological ground-clearing, the textual forms of the following six Isaianic quotations are analysed in detail: 1 Pet 1:24–25 (Isa 40:6–8), 1 Pet 2:6 (Isa 28:16), 1 Pet 2:8 (Isa 8:14), 1 Pet 2:22 (Isa 53:9), 1 Pet 2:25 (Isa 53:6), and 1 Pet 3:14–15 (Isa 8:12–13). These quotations are studied in light of evidence from the proto-MT, Dead Sea Scrolls, Old Greek (OG), the hexaplaric recensions, and other relevant sources of textual information. The article concludes that quotations of Isaiah in 1 Peter generally agree with the OG, with a few exceptions where they are closer to the proto-MT, and bear no evidence of a Hebraizing revision except in quotations of Isaiah that are also quoted by Paul.

Reviews (new)

Mark Billington and Peter Streitenberger (eds.), Digging for the Truth: Collected Essays Regarding the Byzantine Text of the Greek New Testament: A Festschrift in Honor of Maurice A. Robinson (Chris S. Stevens, reviewer). See also a reply by Timothy J. Finney.
Carla Falluomini, The Gothic Version of the Gospels and Pauline Epistles: Cultural Background, Transmission and Character (Marcus Sigismund, reviewer)
Karen H. Jobes and Moisés Silva, Invitation to the Septuagint (2nd edition; Mark A. Hassler, reviewer)
Lorenzo Perrone (ed.), Die neuen Psalmenhomilien: Eine kritische Edition des Codex Monacensis Graecus 314 (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer)
Stanley E. Porter and Andrew W. Pitts, Fundamentals of New Testament Textual Criticism (Ernst Boogert, reviewer)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

First Annual ETC Lunch at ETS

Next week is the annual ETS and SBL conferences in San Antonio. If you have never been to the annual ETC blog dinner at SBL, this is your year to come. I think you’ll find that folks are welcoming and friendly. It’s a great time.

But I also know that some people, including some blog contributors, only attend ETS and so don’t get to participate in the dinner. So this year I thought we should try something new: the first annual ETC lunch at ETS. Sadly, there won’t be any speeches, but we can still enjoy some good food and good conversation.

The plan is to meet up in the Grand Hyatt lobby after the ETC business meeting on Thursday, November 17th around 11:15 am. At 11:30, we’ll head down Commerce St. to find some place to eat—probably Whataburger because it has been too long since I had their delicious, cheap beef.

I know that Maurice Robinson and I will be there and possibly a few other blog contributors if they can make it. If you want to come, do me a favor by leaving a comment saying you’re interested or shoot me an email. That will give me some idea of how many to expect See you then!


Be sure to ask the folks at the Zondervan booth about my new book Four Views on Four Views Books. I contributed all four views so it should give a great overview of all the major positions among Evangelicals on the topic.

Update 2

I should have noted that Dan Wallace’s presidential address is Wednesday night at 8:00 pm and should be of particular interest to readers: “Medieval Manuscripts and Modern Evangelicals: Lessons from the Past, Guidance for the Future.”

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Tischendorf’s ‘Wounded Vanity’?

In 1858, Hort reviewed the latest editions of both Tischendorf and Tregelles. He was much more positive about the latter than the former. In closing, he says this about Tischendorf:
Both editors in fact deserve the praise of conscientiousness in their actual work. But Tischendorf is becoming less careful than he used to be. We must add that the merits of his labours would be at least equally appreciated by duly qualified judges, if he were less given to proclaiming them himself. Even his title-page deserves reprobation: what he calls his seventh is to all intents and purposes his third edition: he has presumed far on his readers’ ignorance in reckoning his two Paris editions, which we should have thought he would have been only too glad to have forgotten. His old ungenerousness to every other editor is worse than ever: such an absurd effusion of wounded vanity and spite against his friend Dr Tregelles as he has prefixed to his third number will do him no good in the eyes of candid men.*
Now, in my experience, the British have a noticeable distaste for anything much beyond self-effacement. But this still seems a bit harsh from Hort. I’d like to hear from readers who have read more of Tischendorf than me: Is there some truth to what Hort says here or is he being unfair?

*F. J. A. Hort, “Notices of New Books,” The Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology, 4 (1858): 201–211 (211).

Monday, November 07, 2016

SBL 2016 San Antonio ETC Blog Dinner


That's right folks.  It's that time again.  Peter Williams has begun writing his speech.  We have a reservation at the Hard Rock.  The biggest event of the text-critical year approaches -- the ETC Blog dinner at SBL.  Everyone's invited (not just evangelicals, not just textual critics), everyone's excited.

Hard Rock Café, San Antonio
7:15pm, Sunday 20 November

Although we will not have our own room, we will have our own section and a special price on meals.  For $22, the meal includes a drink, a main course, a dessert, tax and tip.   Here's the clincher... You have to pay in advance this year by clicking on the link below.  The deadline for online payment is 13 November.  If you are scared of online payments or simply just a procrastinator, then you can simply show up, but you are not guaranteed immediate seating and you probably will not get the group deal.

[Reservations are now closed.  Thanks to the fifty people who reserved beforehand.  If you have not reserved, please feel free to join us, as there should be abundant room for additional attendees.  You might have to wait for seating and probably will not get the group rate.]

Friday, November 04, 2016

Hendel: The Shared Origin of Modern Textual Criticism and Inerrancy

This is now a few days late for Reformation Day, but Ronald Hendel, editor-in-chief of the Hebrew Bible: Critical Edition (HBCE), has just put an article online that should be of particular interest to ETC readers. The essay looks at the relationship between inerrancy and textual criticism in Protestant-Catholic debates during the Reformation and Post-Reformation. The main contention is that the same concern for a “perfect text” led to both modern textual criticism and the modern doctrine of Biblical inerrancy. 

I must say I was not convinced by the overall argument since it seems to me that both textual criticism and inerrancy as he describes them existed before his main sources. But Hendel is right, I think, to argue that the Reformation debates about Scripture (especially sola scriptura) raised new questions about inerrancy and textual criticism. One example we could cite is the debate about whether Hebrew vowel points are inspired and inerrant. (On which, see PJW’s thoughts here.)

Here is part of Hendel’s conclusion:
The dream of a perfect text in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is a story worth telling—although I have only sketched the highlights—because the discipline of biblical scholarship still works largely within the conceptual space carved out by these controversies. In particular, the modern discipline of textual criticism and the orthodox Protestant doctrine of biblical inerrancy have a shared origin in early modern arguments about textual variants in the Hebrew Bible. Since then, textual criticism has become institutionalized as a non-theological practice, and most theologians are unaware of its inner workings. Yet the empirical realia of texts and variants were once central in theological discourse, providing a fulcrum for deep rifts in early modern culture. The conceptual changes were long lived....
The Catholic-Protestant controversy, based in part on the problem of textual variants, yielded the high doctrine of biblical inerrancy. As Philip Benedict sums up, “Controversy with Catholicism and the need to defend established positions had produced the doctrine of the literal inerrancy of the biblical text.” Text-critical issues were at the center of these fraught discourses about the perfect text. 
I would be interested to hear from readers on their take on the essay. You can read the PDF on Hendel’s Academia page.

As a side note, anyone looking for a good PhD topic (and whose Latin is good) could make a great thesis out of tracing the role of textual criticism in the 16th–17th century debates about Scripture.


It looks like Hendel has a collection of essays (including this one) titled Steps to a New Edition of the Hebrew Bible coming out this month in SBL’s Text-Critical Studies series. The introduction is available here.