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.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Coding Humanist: Apply Roman and Alphabetic Numbering to PDFs

No New Testament or textual criticism or both this time, just sharing some simple home-brewed javascript actions I use to make my PDF files more accessible.

An important element for my PDFs is page numbering: a typical book has front matter, part of which is not numbered and should in a PDF have "a", "b", ..., and part of which is usually numbered "i", "ii", ... The body matter itself then has the normal decimal numbering. But most PDF files do not come that way, which I find annoying.

In the full version of Acrobat so-called "Actions" can be defined, which can also execute javascript. It took me some time to figure out how it could be done, but the following works, thanks to the setPageLabels method.

The first script applies Roman numbering to the pages preceding the current one:
var myDecimalPage = this.pageNum;
this.setPageLabels(0, ["r", "", 1]);
this.setPageLabels(myDecimalPage, ["D", "", 1]); 
If you want upper case Roman numbering, use "R" instead of "r".

The second script applies alphabetic numbering to the pages preceding the current one; it assumes the PDF already has both Roman and decimal numbering, in that order:
var myRomanPage = this.pageNum;
var i = 0;
while(this.getPageLabel(i) != 1)
myDecimalPage = i;
if (myRomanPage < 10)
    {this.setPageLabels(0, ["a", "", 1]);}
    {this.setPageLabels(0, ["A", "", 1]);}
this.setPageLabels(myRomanPage, ["r", "", 1]);
this.setPageLabels(myDecimalPage, ["D", "", 1]);
This script is a bit more complicated, for two reasons:
1. the setPageLabels method does not allow to specify a page range, but blindly applies the numbering from the first page that is given to the end of the PDF; for that reason, the script first has to find out which page actually has the normal number "1", which is done in the while statement;
2. I like to have lower case alphabetic numbering ("a", "b", ...) for the front matter, but that is not a good idea when lower case roman numbering is used and the front matter has 10 pages or more, because then "i" becomes ambiguous. If you apply different case to the alphabetic numbering and the Roman numbering, the if statement can be simplified.

So if you want to use these scripts, feel free (they are of course ohne Gewähr):
1. create the two actions in Acrobat;
2. go to the page that should have number "1", and apply the first script;
3. go to the page that should have number "i", and apply the second script.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Codex Fuldensis and the mulieres taceant passage

Still in Vienna after a wonderful SBL conference, I started looking into some loose ends. One of those came up after Alesja Lavrinovica’s presentation on “First Corinthians 14:33b and Its Implications for the Text-Critical Problem of 14:34-35.” The importance of such research is obvious: the passage of Paul silencing the women is exegetically and text-critically problematic, and many have proposed that it is actually not by Paul.

Alesja looked (and still does so) into the paragraphing of the manuscripts and asked whether this aspect can shed any light on the textual problem. In the discussion almost inevitably the double dots in Codex Vaticanus were mentioned (more on those at another occasion), as well as the role of the so-called Codex Fuldensis.

Afterwards we wondered whether the latter manuscript had been digitized and put available online. A quick search turned up a 2006 posting by one of my ETC friends, but even the comments there do not really bring you further than a helpful reference to Ernst Ranke’s 1868 edition. Which is: Ernst Ranke (ed.), Codex Fuldensis. Novum Testamentum Latine interprete Hieronymo ex manuscripto Victoris Capuani edidit, prolegomenis introduxit, commentariis adornavit ... (Marburg etc.: Elwert, 1868). It is available as a Google Book, and can be most conveniently consulted at (with 1 Cor 14:33-36 here on p. 226).

It should be mentioned in passing that “Codex Fuldensis” ("Fulda book”) is just as myopic a term as “Codex Vaticanus”, for such designations only make sense within the narrow context of New Testament manuscript scholarship. Surely the Vatican Library has more books than just one, and so does the Hochschul- und Landesbibliothek Fulda (formerly Hessischen Landesbibliothek Fulda, but anyway abbreviated as HLF). A library shelf mark is needed, and that is “100 Bonifatianus 1” (also known as the “Victor-Codex”).

And that concludes the prelude to a happy result, as it turns out the HLF already put more than a hundred manuscripts online, among which the one we were looking for. A link to a DFG viewer can also be found there, but PDF aficionados will still be a bit disappointed. Important as well is Regina Hausmann’s description in Die Handschriften der Hessischen Landesbibliothek Fulda. The link provided on the HLF page brings you to a wrong page of vol. 1 (Die theologischen Handschriften der Hessischen Landesbibliothek Fulda bis zum Jahr 1600); the correct pages are 3-7. In practice the description is essential if you want to find your way around in the 1015 available images of the manuscript (“thou shalt provide an index”).

Alesja and others will surely want to see the page with 1 Cor 14:33-36; according to Hausmann's description the text of 1 Corinthians is found on ff. 226r-251r; so here is f. 246v with 1 Cor 14:27-37:

And a closer look at the bottom of the page:

The remarkable feature here is that this note at the bottom contains (what is now commonly referred to as) verses 36-40 (“an a vobis ... secundum ordinem fiant”), to be placed before verse 34 (“mulieres in ecclesiis taceant ...”), even while the manuscript already contained the same passage as part of the main text and at its common location after verse 35.

I happily leave the interpretation of this state of affairs to others. Let it just be said that according to me every proposal to omit verses 34-35, alone or together with verse 33b and/or verse 36 is a conjectural emendation, somewhere between interesting and plausible, but still a conjectural emendation, no more and no less, irrespective of any text-critical signals such as transpositions, notes and dots.