Friday, June 19, 2015

... humanum est

Checking a citation in my dissertation this morning I noticed a scribal error in one of the footnotes. Perhaps a good moment then to share the list of errata to my Beyond What Is Written (2006), in the vainglorious hope that I am not the only one who consults the book occasionally.

p. 133 (Patricius) Junius ] Junius {or: (Petrus) Junius}
p. 145 ὀμμά ] ὄμμα (4x)
p. 196 bloque ] bloc {ht Keith Elliott}
p. 201 n. 18 Τιμάιου ] Τιμαίου
p. 209 Patricius Junius ] Junius (Peter Young) {also n. 45}
p. 261 reflect a different text ] reflects a different text
p. 268 n 3 (l. 4) illud ] istud
p. 271 ἐδιέστησαν ] διέστησαν
p. 285 naming only Isaiah’s ] naming only Isaiah
p. 289 πάντας ] πάντες {also n. 75}
p. 314 n. 166 an remarkable ] a remarkable
p. 345 gerontodidaskali ] gerontodidascali
p. 373 Junius, Patricius ] Junius, Petrus
p. 381 [Acts 27:40] 169-170 ] 168-169

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Straatman and 1 Cor 14:33-35 at SBL Atlanta 2015

As part of our project on New Testament conjectural emendation, Karin Neutel (University of Groningen/VU University Amsterdam) will present an important paper at the SBL annual meeting in November 2015. Title and abstract below should easily convince you to book a flight and attend the session:

Silencing Women, Raising the Dead: The Curious Origins of a Controversial Conjectural Emendation

The question whether Paul really instructed women to be silent in community gatherings or whether this text is in fact a later interpolation (1 Cor. 14:33b/34-35), is one of the most hotly debated text critical issues. Controversies over the past century surrounding the role of women in Christian communities have made the status of these verses especially significant. This paper will clarify the curious origins of this particular conjectural emendation and the context in which it arose. In doing so, it contributes to the ‘historical turn’ in textual criticism and illustrates the historical value of studying textual conjectures. The emendation will be shown to predate debates on women in the ministry and to have its background in another long-running dispute, that of the nature of the resurrection. The Dutch scholar Jan Willem Straatman was the first to argue for the inauthenticity of this passage, in 1863, as part of a broader case about the corrupted make-up of 1 Corinthians. His argument culminates in a rejection of Pauline authorship of statements about the appearance of the risen Christ (1 Cor. 15:3-11). Even though Straatman was thus not primarily motivated by a concern for the position of women in the church, the passage still struck him as one of the most obviously inauthentic texts in the New Testament. The arguments put forward by him are those that have remained significant in subsequent discussions: in addition to textual variations, Straatman highlights the apparent contradiction with the acceptance of women’s speech in 1 Cor. 11, and with the equality between men and women suggested by Gal. 3:28, that in Christ there is ‘no male and female’. In Straatman’s view, a text that urges women to be obedient and silent declares them to be inferior to men, and should therefore be rejected as un-Pauline. As part of the project 'New Testament Conjectural Emendation: A Comprehensive Enquiry' (at VU University, Amsterdam), this analysis of the origins of Straatman’s emendation highlights the historical insights that the study of textual conjecture yields. The case of Straatman shows that already in the mid-19th century, attitudes towards women were such that this passage could present itself as problematic for a critical reader. This analysis also illustrates the particular religious environment in which such a critical reading could originate. In supporting his rejection of bodily resurrection with the claim that the command for women to be silent is a later interpolation, Straatman raised an issue that has continued to plague Pauline scholarship until the present day.

Friday, January 16, 2015

“Sleepy Scribes and Clever Critics”: A lesson in patience



If there is one thing I have learned during my PhD years, it is one has to have patience in scholarship.

In February 2011 I started my PhD in NT conjectural criticism. One of the things that struck me is that though there obviously are different kinds of conjectures, no one had ever come up with a comprehensive classification (neither in classical studies). I decided to give it a try. In the summer of 2011, when I started to register NT conjectures in our database, I labelled every conjecture, continuously changing the labels, grouping, separating, defining and re-defining. By the end of the summer I thought I had it: there were, in sum, eleven conjecture types. I hardly couldn’t wait to present it to the team (Jan Krans, Silvia Castelli and Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte). Fortunately, they were enthusiastic about it.

But in the weeks that followed, I became dissatisfied with the fact that whereas most categories described types of problems conjectures can solve, some categories described causes of corruption undone by conjectures. I remember exactly where we walked in the university building the moment Jan suggested to work with two dimensions in the classification: problems and causes. I immediately knew that was it! But how does that work, a classification with more than one dimension? I started to study the theory of classification, and I realized I had always been restricting myself to a certain form of classification, namely a taxonomy.

In a taxonomy, an object can occupy only one place in a hierarchical system: classifying a dog in a taxonomy of animals means positioning it at one of the branches of a tree, by means of characterizing it according to certain variables which are considered in sequence. However, there is also a more complex form of classification: a typology. An example of a typology would be the characterization of a group of people according to their gender as well as to the colour of their hair. Each individual is not positioned within a hierarchical structure, as in a taxonomy, but characterised according to two variables that are considered in parallel, instead of in sequence. 

We needed a typology! The argumentation for each conjecture necessarily has two dimensions, the detection of a problem (in the transmitted text) and the suggestion of a cause of the supposed corruption (that is, a certain type of scribal error/change). Just like people could be classified according to their gender as well as to the colour of their hair, so conjectures can be classified according to the problem involved and the cause indicated. 

Working with a typology not only allowed us to include both dimensions. It also provided a way out of a dilemma that had been bothering me from the start: what to do with conjectures based on multiple problems? It is impossible to render something like that in a taxonomy, and my initial solution, the idea of an essential problem for each conjecture, is untenable. In a typology, by contrast, things can be characterised by several categories within the same variable at once.

During that season there have been several moments I really thought: now it’s finished. But again and again some conjecture popped up that posed a problem and called for an adjustment of categories or definitions. Interestingly, most of the time such adjustments made the classification more straightforward, often making me wonder why that didn't occur to me earlier.

I think the classification was finalised by the summer of 2012, and shortly after we also finished an article on it. So that first year I had learned that patience was needed when developing such a thing as a classification. The two and a half year that followed I received another lesson in patience: submitting an article, waiting a few months, being told the article is too long, submitting it elsewhere, being told again the article is too long, cutting down the number of words significantly, submitting it again, waiting half a year, being told the article is accepted (with only a few minor comments), waiting for more than a year, having it published, finding out several subscribing institutions are not provided full-text access to the issue concerned, having your librarian contacting the publisher, and then, this week, learning the problem is solved. So here it is: “Sleepy Scribes and Clever Critics: A Classification of Conjectures on the Text of the New Testament.”

In forthcoming publications of our team, such as my dissertation on the NT conjectural criticism of Jan Hendrik Holwerda (1805-1886), the classification will come into action!

Friday, January 09, 2015

New Articles in the TC Journal

A late Christmas offering: three new articles in the 2014 volume of TC. A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism.


First, an extended and thorough review article by Georg Gäbel. “A Fresh Look at the Early Text” examines The Early Text of the New Testament (Charles E. Hill and Michael J. Kruger, eds).

Second, Hans Förster has an interesting note on “Μαρία and Μαριάμ in John’s Gospel in the Novum Testamentum Graece”.

And finally almost a small book by Lincoln H. Blumell on “Luke 22:43–44: An Anti-Docetic Interpolation or an Apologetic Omission?” You will have to read it in order to know why the author opts for the latter solution of the textual conundrum.

TC is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal with an editorial team of well-known textual critics and an impressive line-up for the editorial board. It also has an important review section. Submissions and reviews are welcomed on all subjects involving biblical textual criticism. All, from seasoned scholars to students writing a dissertation in the field, are invited to submit their work. See further the “about” page of the journal.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sleepy Scribes and Clever Critics

Novum Testamentum 57/1 (the first issue of 2015) has just been made available. It sports an article by our team (with Bart Kamphuis as its main author), which may help you see how we approach the study of New Testament conjectures here in Amsterdam. “Sleepy Scribes and Clever Critics. A Classification of Conjectures on the Text of the New Testament” (NovTest 57 (2015), 72-90) provides sophisticated tools for the analysis and evaluation of conjectures. Or if the abstract does the talking:
This article presents a classification of conjectures on the text of the New Testament. It focusses on the types of arguments used by conjectural critics. The argumentation for a conjecture basically comprises (1) the perception of a problem (or problems) in the transmitted text and (2) the suggestion of a cause (or causes) for the supposed scribal change. Type (or types) of perceived problems and of supposed causes are classified, and illustrated with a range of important conjectures.
Congratulations to Bart for this important step in his dissertation project and pour le plaisir de se voir imprimé.
Critical reactions are welcome, of course. In any case we hope the classification offered here will prove to be useful for many studiosi.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Luke-Acts between Text and Margin

The latest issue of Amsterdamse Cahiers has been released, a special issue on Luke-Acts (in Dutch). Masterfully edited by Nico Riemersma. Authors include Adelbert Denaux, Huub Welzen, Albert Hogeterp, Bart Koet, Barend Drewes, Joke Brinkhof, Nico Riemersma, Sijbolt Noorda, Martinus C. de Boer and others. Most contributors are members of the “Lukaswerkplaats,” a colloquium of Lukan specialists from the Netherlands and Belgium. My own contribution is entitled: “Tussen tekst en marge: op- en aanmerkingen bij het marginale annotatie-apparaat van Nestle-Aland 28 aan de hand van Handelingen 2:1-4,” ACEBT 29 (2014): 89-99 (includes English summaries).

Arie W. Zwiep, “Between Text and Margin: Some Comments on the Outer Marginal Annotations of Nestle-Aland 28 at Acts 2:1-4”

The inner and outer margins of the Novum Testamentum Graece (‘Nestle-Aland’) often seem to escape critical attention by its users. Especially the criteria for in- and exclusion of textual references have not been very specific in earlier editions. In Nestle-Aland 28, published in 2012, the criteria have been established anew and the textual references in the outer margins revised accordingly. A comparison of the 27th and 28th editions of Nestle-Aland reveals a number of changes, omissions, additions, new insights and so on. In this article, the textual references in the outer margins of NA28 of Acts 2:1-4 are compared with those in earlier editions, analysed and evaluated. Conclusions are drawn with regard to its usefulness and a few suggestions made for future revisions.

Friday, September 05, 2014

The Numbering of Tischendorf's Editions

Tischendorf’s best known edition is his “editio octava critica maior”, his “eighth edition”, this time both “critical” and “maior”. But why is it called the eighth? It turns out Tischendorf numbered his editions in a slightly confusing way. For instance, in 1859 all of a sudden he called his new edition the seventh, even if there is no edition that on its title page states that it is the sixth. Moreover there seems to be a sort of numbering going on in his 1849 edition, when it is called the “second Leipzig edition.” So what is going on?

The veil is lifted by Gregory, in the third volume of the editio octava, p. 21:
Legentium intererit cognoscere quomodo Tischendorfius editiones suas numeraverit: i. 1841 Lipsiae; — ii. iii. 1842 Parisiis; — iv. 1849 Lipsiae; — v. 1850. 1862. 1873. 1876. 1878. 1879. 1880. Lipsiae: Tauchnitz; — vi. 1854. 1855. 1857. 1858. 1861. 1864. 1867. 1870. 1873. 1875. 1877. 1878. 1880. 1881 (Triglotta et academica) Lipsiae: Mendelssohn; — vii. 1859 mai. et min.; — viii. 1869—1872 mai. et min. [ix. 1873 Lipsiae: Brockhaus.]
In my rendering:
Readers may be interested to know how Tischendorf numbered his own editions: i. 1841 Leipzig; — ii. iii. 1842 Paris; — iv. 1849 Leipzig; — v. 1850. 1862. 1873. 1876. 1878. 1879. 1880. Leipzig: Tauchnitz; — vi. 1854. 1855. 1857. 1858. 1861. 1864. 1867. 1870. 1873. 1875. 1877. 1878. 1880. 1881 (triglot and academic editions) Leipzig: Mendelssohn; — vii. 1859 maior and minor; — viii. 1869—1872 maior and minor [ix. 1873 Leipzig: Brockhaus.]
So let me elaborate that information with the full titles (though only taking the first of each series):
11841: Novum Testamentum Graece. Textum ad fidem antiquorum testium recensuit brevem apparatum una cum variis lectionibus Elzeviriorum, Knappii, Scholzii, Lachmanni subiunxit argumenta et locos parallelos indicavit commentationem isagogicam notatis propriis lectionibus edd. Stephanicae tertiae atque Millianae, Matthaeianae, Griesbachianae praemisit ... (Leipzig: Köhler). [*b3661]
21842 (with Jean Nicolas Jager): Η Καινη Διαθηκη. Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine. In antiquis testibus textum versionis vulgatae Latinae indagavit lectionesque variantes Stephani et Griesbachii notavit ... (Paris: Didot). [b1555]
31842: Novum Testamentum Graece. Ad antiquos testes recensuit, lectionesque variantes Elzeviriorum Stephani Griesbachii notavit ... (Paris: Didot). [b3659]
41849: Novum Testamentum Graece. Ad antiquos testes recensuit, apparatum criticum multis modis auctum et correctum apposuit, commentationem isagogicam praemisit ... (Leipzig: Winter). [b2879] Called “Editio Lipsiensis secunda” on the title page.
51850: Η Καινη Διαθηκη. Novum Testamentum Graece (Leipzig: Tauchnitz). [b3730]
61854: Novum Testamentum triglottum Graece Latine Germanice. Graecum textum addito lectionum variarum delectu recensuit Latinum Hieronymi notata Clementina lectione ex auctoritate codicum restituit Germanicum ad pristinam Lutheranae editionis veritatem revocavit … (Leipzig: Avenarius and Mendelssohn). [b3731]
71859 (maior): Novum Testamentum Graece. Ad antiquos testes denuo recensuit, apparatum criticum omni studio perfectum apposuit, commentationem isagogicam praetexuit ... Editio septima [critica maior] (Leipzig: Winter). 2 volumes. [b2731] [b2732]
71859 (minor): Novum Testamentum Graece. Ad antiquos testes denuo recensuit cumque apparatu critico et prolegomenis edidit ... Editio septima critica minor (Leipzig: Winter). [b3735]
81869/1872 (maior): Novum Testamentum Graece. Ad antiquissimos testes denuo recensuit, apparatum criticum omni studio perfectum apposuit, commentationem isagogicam praetexuit ... Editio octava critica maior (Leipzig: Giesecke & Devrient). 2 volumes [b1814] [b1815]
81872 (minor): Novum Testamentum Graece: Ad antiquissimos testes denuo recensuit delectuque critico ac prolegomenis instruxit … Editio critica minor ex VIII maiore desumpta (Leipzig: Mendelssohn).
91873: Η Καινη Διαθηκη. Novum Testamentum Graece. Ad editionem suam VIII. criticam maiorem conformavit, lectionibusque Sinaiticis et Vaticanis item Elzevirianis instruxit ... (Leipzig: Brockhaus). [b3736]
There is actually a third volume to the eighth major edition, namely the Prolegomena (three volumes; Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1884-1894; put together by Gregory), from which the citation above is taken.

So there you have it, but the confusion does not end here. Reuss for instance numbers differently, knowingly going against Tischendorf’s own system (see Bibliotheca, pp. 254-262). 11841 and 31842 are his “Editio Tischendorfii prima”; 21842 (with minor editions also by Didot in 1842, 1847, 1851 and 1859) is the “Editio Tischendorfii latinizans”; 41849, 51850 and 61854 belong to the “Editio Tischendorfii secunda” (with the series mentioned by Gregory, as far as Reuss knew and incorporated them in 1872); 71859 (minor and maior) are the “Editio Tischendorfii tertia”. Tischendorf’s octava would thus have been Reuss’s fourth Tischendorf edition.

Scrivener also numbers differently (Plain Introduction 21874, p. 427 [31883, p. 482]), calling 41849 the fifth and 51850 the sixth. As an interesting aside, Scrivener also mentions that 71859 (maior) and 81869-1872 were issued in parts (from 1856 and 1865 onwards respectively).

Eduard Reuss, Bibliotheca Novi Testamenti Graeci cuius editiones ab initio typographiae ad nostram aetatem impressas quotquot reperiri potuerunt (Braunschweig: Schwetschke, 1872).
Frederick Henry Ambrose Scrivener, A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament for the Use of Biblical Students (Cambridge: Deighton, Bell, and co., 21874 and 31883).

* The b numbers refer to the bibliography of the Amsterdam project on New Testament conjectural emendation.