Palaeography and the Hawara Homer: Part 2

After looking at the account of the discovery of the Hawara Homer, I left off the story of the palaeographic dating of this manuscript with Edward Maunde Thompson’s 1912 introductory book, in which the Hawara Homer was assigned with confidence to the second century. This became the standard view of the dating of the papyrus. It was not until the 1960s that a full-scale study of this type of handwriting (now known as the “Rounded Majuscule” or “Roman Uncial”) appeared. This is the classic article of Guglielmo Cavallo, “Osservazioni paleografiche sul canone e la cronologia della cosiddetta «Onciale romana»” (1967). Continue reading

Posted in Ambrosian Iliad, Guglielmo Cavallo, Hawara Homer, Palaeography | 5 Comments

Palaeographic Vocabulary: (In)appropriate

Thanks to Peter Malik for helpfully clarifying what is meant by the judgment that some palaeographic comparisons are “inappropriate.” As illustrations, he cites a couple examples from my work—my claims for graphic similarities between P.Bodmer XX and P.Bodmer II and my claims for graphic similarity between P.Herm. 4 and 5 and P.Bodmer XIV-XV. Those two arguments that I made are a little different from one another, and I think there are two separate issues at stake relative to the label “inappropriate.” Continue reading

Posted in Bodmer Papyri, Palaeography | 1 Comment

Palaeographic Methodology

Peter Malik on the ETC blog has initiated a useful discussion of palaeographic method that invokes a bit of my own work. In general, he writes in favor of coming to terms with the fact that the analysis of handwriting of early Christian manuscripts cannot provide the very precise dates that we might like to have for these manuscripts. I am definitely on board with that contention. In the course of his post and in the comments, he notes his disagreement with a couple of my arguments, and I’d like to push him for some clarity on those critiques. Continue reading

Posted in Bodmer Papyri, Palaeography | 5 Comments

Hurtado’s List of Early Christian Manuscripts

Over on his blog, Larry Hurtado has posted a link to his list of “Christian Literary Texts in Manuscripts of Second & Third Centuries.” When he first published a version of this list in his 2006 book, The Earliest Christian Artifacts, it provided a much needed succinct listing of the earliest surviving Christian texts and made it a lot easier to think about this entire corpus of material. That said, there are some features of the list that are worth pondering further. Continue reading

Posted in Palaeography | 20 Comments

Palaeography and the Hawara Homer: Part 1

In an earlier post, I talked about the archaeology of the Hawara Homer (LDAB 1695), a papyrus roll containing the second book of the Iliad found with an unadorned mummy during Flinders Petrie’s excavations in Hawara in 1888. In this post, I want to talk a bit about the dating of the manuscript, which provides a nice illustration of how things functioned in the early days of palaeographic dating of ancient Greek handwriting. The handwriting of the papyrus is striking in the regularity of the letters, which were clearly executed by a skilled copyist.

Hawara Homer Sample

Sample of writing from the Hawara Homer (Bodleian MS Gr. Class A.1 (P); Image from the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents

Continue reading

Posted in Ambrosian Iliad, British Museum, Edward Maunde Thompson, Frederic Kenyon, Hawara Homer, Palaeography, William Matthew Flinders Petrie | 5 Comments

The Bodmer Papyri: 3D Views

In an earlier post, I provided an up-to-date inventory of the papyrus and parchment books from Roman Egypt in the Fondation Martin Bodmer. I’ve been working on these books for a while, and I recently partnered up with the Bodmer Lab (University of Geneva), a digital humanities initiative that is making the materials at the Fondation Martin Bodmer more widely available. My colleague Daniel Sharp and I are working to produce a detailed catalog of “P.Bodmer” material, and we’re hoping to have this data, along with high-quality digital images of many of the books, online later in 2018.

Another aspect of this effort involves experiments with 3D visualization. Continue reading

Posted in Bodmer Papyri | Leave a comment

Anton Fackelmann and Cartonnage

Since I began this blog midway through 2017 with a post about Anton Fackelmann and some of the papyri he allegedly removed from mummy cartonnage, I thought I might close out the old year and open up the new with one more post on Fackelmann’s papyri and their somewhat less-than-clear provenance. Continue reading

Posted in Antiquities Market, Anton Fackelmann, Book covers, Fakes and Forgeries, First Century Mark, Mummy cartonnage | Leave a comment