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

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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

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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

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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

The “Qarara” Exodus Codex

I’ve recently posted about papyrus fragments of the Psalms in Greek and the book of Job in Coptic from Karanis that I wasn’t able to treat in God’s Library. Another set of ancient Christian manuscripts that I didn’t have the space to treat thoroughly in my book are the so-called “Qarara codices.” They are best known because one of them contained the Gospel of Judas, which was published with a good bit of fanfare in 2006. Three other books were said to have been found together with that codex. One of them was a papyrus codex that contained a copy of the book of Exodus in Greek that has been scattered on the antiquities market. I’ve now written a little article about this codex for Ancient Jew Review. You can check it out here. Also, a side note: I wanted to link to the full set of digital images of the Gospel of Judas that used to be online at the website of National Geographic. I can’t seem to find them now. Am I missing something? Or have they disappeared from the web?

Update 5 September 2018: Thanks to Stephen Goranson for pointing out that the images of the Judas leaves are available here.

Gospel of Judas and Qarara Exodus

The “Tchacos” codex containing the Gospel of Judas and the Exodus codex allegedly from the same find (not to scale); images sources: and The Schøyen Collection

Posted in Antiquities Market, Codices, Schøyen Collection | 3 Comments

God’s Library: Publication Day

Nongbri Gods Library Cover

So, it’s August 21. This is the official publication date for God’s Library (I’m not entirely sure what that means, because the book has been shipping from the publisher for a couple weeks now already). Thanks again to everyone involved in the production of the book. Amazon has quite a few preview pages available, and the preview at Google Books features what I believe is the Kindle version of the book (I’m happy to see that the graphics look good in that format as well). Amazon seems to be low on hard copies, but the book can also be bought through the Yale Press website, which has links to other sellers, too. The great cover image comes courtesy of the Coptic Museum in Cairo and the very useful collection of photos at the Nag Hammadi Archive, a part of the Claremont Colleges Digital Library. Thanks to Stephen Emmel for pointing out that the photo was probably taken in 1956 when Pahor Labib was preparing to make plates for his facsimile volume.

Posted in Antiquities Dealers and Collectors, Antiquities Market, Archaeological context, Book binding, Book covers, Codices, Find Stories, Manuscript Collections, Palaeography, Radiocarbon analysis | 6 Comments