A New Article on Palaeographic Dating of Codices

The latest issue of Journal for the Study of the New Testament contains a group of articles that emerged from an SBL session in 2016 arranged by Roberta Mazza on problems of dating ancient manuscripts. In addition to Roberta’s introductory essay, which discusses some of her work on the Rylands collection, there are articles by Malcolm Choat (“Dating Papyri: Familiarity, Instinct and Guesswork”) and by the Ancient Ink Laboratory at Columbia University and New York University (“Dating Ancient Egyptian Papyri through Raman Spectroscopy: Concept and Application to the Fragments of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife and the Gospel of John”).

My own contribution is “Palaeographic Analysis of Codices from the Early Christian Period: A Point of Method.” Here is the abstract:

It is often said that palaeographic analysis of Greek literary manuscripts from the Roman era has progressed from an aesthetic judgment to more of a science, thanks largely to increased data (in the form of newly discovered papyri and parchments from Egypt) and to more sophisticated ways of describing similarity and difference in handwriting. This progress is frequently taken to mean that we may now use the analysis of handwriting to assign dates to undated manuscripts with much greater precision and accuracy than was possible a century ago. This article questions this conclusion by focusing on neglected methodological points that specifically relate to the problem of palaeographic dating of codices, namely the size and character of the corpus of securely datable samples to which the handwriting of undated codices is compared. This problem is especially relevant for early Christian books, the surviving examples of which tend to be copied in the codex format.

For those with institutional subscriptions, the articles can be found online here. Otherwise, for a copy of my article, contact me via e-mail.

This entry was posted in Codices, Codicology, Palaeography. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A New Article on Palaeographic Dating of Codices

  1. Timothy Mitchell says:

    Thank you for the heads up on your article. I have read it with great interest. I greatly enjoyed the other articles in the JSNT issues as well. In the coming days, I hope to make a few observations over on my blog. Thank you for your work in the area of palaeography and dating manuscripts.

  2. Pingback: Biblical Studies Carnival 163 (August 2019) – The Amateur Exegete

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