Justin Martyr and the Gospel(s)

Over on his blog, Larry Hurtado has responded to my last post on textual transmission, and I fear we may be talking past each other. Just to try to clarify the actual points of our disagreement:

Hurtado writes: “Nongbri seems to doubt that we can view the term [apomnemoneumata] as referring to the familiar NT Gospels.

No, this oversimplifies and blurs the matter under discussion. What I wrote was this: Continue reading

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Guest post: Mike Holmes and Matthew Larsen on Finished and Unfinished Ancient Texts

My recent invocation of Matthew Larsen’s article has generated a good bit of discussion both on and off the blog. In one of these exchanges, Mike Holmes raised some good questions about the article and agreed to let me post them. I invited Matthew Larsen to respond, and I’ve posted his response below Mike’s observations. Thanks to both Mike and Matthew for sharing their thoughts.

Here is Mike’s query: Continue reading

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Early Christian Textual Transmission, Part 3

In my first posting prompted by Larry Hurtado’s reflections on textual transmission, I brought up a recent article by Matthew Larsen, “Accidental Publication, Unfinished Texts and the Traditional Goals of New Testament Textual Criticism.” In a response (here), Hurtado has offered a critical reading of Larsen’s article. Continue reading

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Early Christian Textual Transmission, Part 2

POxy 57 3890

P.Oxy. 57.3890, title from a papyrus roll containing Book 2 of Thucydides’ History; image source: POxy Oxyrhynchus Online

I posted yesterday some initial thoughts about questions of textual fluidity and stability in early Christian manuscripts generated in conversation with a post by Larry Hurtado. Larry has responded in a lengthy post here. I’ll take up some his points in a later post. For now, I want to follow through on my original line of thought: Is there non-Christian (in this case, classical) material that we can look at for the sake of comparing how other literature was published and transmitted in Greek and Roman antiquity? Continue reading

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Early Christian Textual Transmission, Part 1

Recently on his blog Larry Hurtado has been reflecting on issues of textual stability and fluidity of early Christian manuscripts. It’s an interesting question to ponder, but as Larry notes, assertions in either direction are tricky because just about everyone agrees that when it comes to the documents of the New Testament, we simply don’t have manuscripts from the very earliest period of transmission. Continue reading

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The Modern Lives of an Ancient Coptic Book: P.Bodmer XXII + VK 783

A couple years ago, Roberta Mazza traced the “modern biography” of a fragmentary papyrus leaf containing the Gospel According to John, P.Oxy. 15.1780 (better known to New Testament scholars as P39). It’s a fascinating article that can be downloaded here. In this post, I take a look at another Christian manuscript with a similarly colorful biography.

It’s a parchment codex usually assigned to the fourth or fifth century containing Jeremiah 40-52, Lamentations, the Epistle of Jeremiah, and Baruch in Coptic (LDAB 108176).   Continue reading

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A Repair to the Bodmer Composite Codex

I’ll just make one last post (for now) on the Bodmer composite codex and its curious features. This post has to do with one of the leaves of the paschal sermon of Melito, P.Bodmer XIII. As was customary for the early volumes in the Papyrus Bodmer series, only a couple of pages were illustrated with photographic plates. One of these pages was a bit of a puzzle. I reproduce the photographic plate below: Continue reading

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