Visiting the University of Agder

I’m excited that next week I’ll be heading to the University of Agder in Norway to visit the research project, “The Lying Pen of Scribes: Manuscript Forgeries and Counterfeiting Scripture in the Twenty-First Century,” best known for its incisive investigations into the so-called “post-2002 Dead-Sea-Scrolls-like fragments,” such as the detailed review of the Museum of the Bible’s Scrolls fragments by Årstein Justnes. Continue reading

Posted in Fakes and Forgeries, Rylands Papyri | 2 Comments

The Corrections in P.Bodmer II

In an earlier post, I mentioned an article I just published on John 21 and provided a little background on the issues concerning the “endings” of the Gospel According to John. Before I can finally move on to a summary of the article itself, I need to provide just a little more background of a different sort.

This second piece of necessary information has to do with some of the textual peculiarities of P.Bodmer II, the well known papyrus codex containing the Gospel According to John in Greek. It is one of the earliest well preserved copies of the Gospel. It was published in two parts in the late 1950s and early 1960s (for a fuller discussion of the codex, see my 2014 article).

One of the first things that scholars noticed about the book was the high number of corrections it contained. Continue reading

Posted in P.Bodmer II, Textual criticism | 3 Comments

John 21 in the Amsterdam Database of New Testament Conjectural Emendation

Just one more update on my discussion of the history of the proposal that the Gospel According to John circulated in a twenty-chapter version: Thanks to Jeff Cate for pointing out the Amsterdam Database of New Testament Conjectural Emendation has an entry for John 21:1-25 that contains several authors who have argued both for and against the view that the twenty-first chapter of John is a later addition. Hugo Grotius (1641) does seem to be the earliest author to discuss the matter in detail.

I’m pleased to learn that the Amsterdam database has an entry for John 21, because it once again helps me identify one of my own blind spots. Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Textual criticism | 1 Comment

Hugo Grotius on John 21

In my previous post on the twenty-first chapter of the Gospel According to John, I noted that the hypothesis that chapter 21 is a later addition to the gospel goes back at least to Julius Wellhausen’s 1908 commentary.  I’m grateful to Dexter Brown of Yale University for pointing out to me that the hypothesis in fact goes back (much!) earlier–at least to the 1641 edition of the Annotationes of Hugo Grotius. According to Grotius, chapter 21 was added after the death of John by the church of Ephesus. Grotius makes the point in one of his notes on John 20:30: Continue reading

Posted in New Testament | 8 Comments

The Twenty-first Chapter of the Gospel According to John

Several of the articles that I have published recently have been pretty technical–reports of newly discovered fragments of manuscripts or new information about the construction of particular ancient books. My most recent article also concerns technical details of an ancient manuscript, but it is a little more adventurous, in that it tackles an old debate in scholarship on the Gospel According to John. To provide some context for a description of the article, I need to first discuss the ending of the Gospel According to John, which is what I will do in this post. Continue reading

Posted in New Testament | 4 Comments

The Bodmer Codex of Visions

One of the most intriguing pieces among the papyrus and parchment manuscripts at the Fondation Martin Bodmer is the so-called Codex of Visions (LDAB: 1106). Its “P.Bodmer” designation is somewhat cumbersome: P.Bodmer XXXVIII+XXIX+XXX+XXXI+XXXII+XXXIII+XXXIV+XXXV+XXXVI+XXXVII. The codex contains one work that has long been well known, namely the “Visions” of the Shepherd of Hermas. The other works in the codex were previously unknown: the “Vision of Dorotheos, son of Quintus (ⲕⲩⲓⲛⲧⲟⲥ) the Poet” and a series of shorter poetic compositions that seem to be rhetorical exercises that use Christian content to develop classical rhetorical skills. For instance, among the poetic compositions are instances of ethopoiia (“speech-in-character”), such as a hexameter composition answering the question “What would Cain say after murdering Abel?” Continue reading

Posted in Barcelona-Montserrat Greek-Latin Codex, Bodmer Codex of Visions, Bodmer Papyri, Book binding, Codices | Leave a comment

Palaeography, Codicology, and Assigning Dates to Early Christian Codices: A Review of God’s Library

Over at The Textual Mechanic blog, Timothy Mitchell has posted a review of God’s Library. I’m happy to say that the review is mostly positive, although Mitchell does mention some “glaring problems,” “contradictions,” and “circular argumentation” that he detects in the book. I’d like to take this opportunity to try to clarify a couple points he raises. Continue reading

Posted in Codices, Palaeography | 2 Comments