Wednesday, December 22, 2010

TC’s second coming

It tooks us quite some time and effort to get things going, but today, finally, we officially relaunch TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism.

In the 15th Volume (2010), four articles are found. The first one is by Larry Hurtado on Eldon Epp - and there is more on Eldon Epp to come! -, and the other three are by members of the editorial team, Tim Finney, Tommy Wasserman, and me. It is, in a sense, our way to present ourselves. The volume also has two important book reviews that might have been published earlier but are still very welcome, in particular for their contributions to on-going debates.

In coming years we hope to publish articles and reviews on a regular basis and thus make the journal once again into an important platform of scholarly biblical textual criticism. For the book reviews, we are glad to have the assistance of Thomas Kraus and Heike Braun, as book editor and assistant book editor, respectively.

For the next volume (16 (2011)), some articles are already in the pipe-line. Of course, submissions, also/especially on OT textual criticism, are very welcome. Details are found on the journal’s website. There as well, it is explained how to contact the editors for any question or suggestion you might have.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Erasmus’ New Testament editions online

[This post is regularly updated to reflect new finds and possibilities; for any suggestions, please use the comments.]

Erasmus published five editions of his Latin-Greek New Testament, with annotations, in 1516, 1519, 1522, 1527, and 1535. Gradually, all these editions have become available online. There were also Latin-only editions (not listed here).


The Swiss has Erasmus’ Novum Instrumentum omne of 1516, with the Annotationes (actually one of the copies of the Universtätsbibliothek Basel, shelf mark BibG B 3).

Navigation is easy, and the site’s table of contents is extensive (though not as exhaustive as to contain each NT book or even chapter). The quality of the images is good. From the contents page, one can download PDF files of parts of the book. One can also download a PDF of the entire book.

There is another copy in the digital collections of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Staatliche Bibliothek, Regensburg, shelf mark 999/2Script.238).

There is also a GB version of the 1516 edition (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, shelf mark 4.D.10).

Yet another, interesting copy is found in the Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Düsseldorf (shelf mark ULBD DUE 01 α); it is from the collection of (first owner) Johannes Cincinnius von Lippstadt, who even noted on which day he bought the book, and how much he paid for it (see f. aaa 1v), and who made extensive use of it.


Erasmus’ second edition of 1519, with the Annotationes, is available as well at e-rara (Universitätsbibliothek Basel, shelf mark FG V 40-41).

This second edition of 1519 is also available at the University of Jena; it can also be downloaded as PDF.
It is further possible to make links to specific page views, e.g. Erasmus’ conjecture φθονεῖτε at Jas 4:2, for example, or his annotation on the reading:


Erasmus’ third edition of 1522, with the Annotationes, is available as well at e-rara (Universitätsbibliothek Basel, shelf mark FG V 42-42a).


Erasmus’ fourth edition of 1527, with the Annotationes, is available as well at e-rara (Universitätsbibliothek Basel, shelf mark FG V 43-43a).

The 1527 volume with the Annotationes is available in the Württembergische Landesbibliothek Stuttgart.


Erasmus’ fifth edition of 1535, with the Annotationes, is available as well at e-rara (Universitätsbibliothek Basel, shelf mark UBH FG V 44:1-2).

The 1535 edition can also be found at the Erasmus Centre for Early Modern Studies, but only the New Testament text, not the Annotationes. Previously the Centre used the DjVU format, but since 2014 it provides PDFs instead.

Another copy can be found at GB: Text and Annotationes (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, shelf mark 4.O.18).

[12 January 2015: added more 1516 editions and supplied shelf marks for these; updated information on the 1535 copy at ECEMS; updated the page view links to the Jena copy of the 1519 edition; added GB/ONB copies of the 1535 edition.]
[1 Februari 2017: added the e-rara 1519 and 1535 editions; added some more shelf marks; updated URLs to DOI]

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Book

Dear all,
A brief note to inform you that a new book of mine has been published at Mohr Siebeck:

Christ, the Spirit and the Community of God: Essays on the Acts of the Apostles
(WUNT 2/293; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010) xviii-237pp. ISBN 978-3-16-150675-8.

This volume collects text-critical, exegetical and biblical theological essays on the Acts of the Apostles, dealing primarily with the opening chapters of Acts in the wider context of first-century Christianity and its Umwelt. The articles include treatments of the ascension and exaltation of Jesus in its early Jewish and early Christian context, the death and replacement of Judas Iscariot and the varying traditions of his death, the role of Judas and the Jews in the history of anti-semitism, Luke's understanding of Pentecost and the outpouring of the Spirit, early Christian community life in Acts, the function of the early resurrection and exaltation Christology in Peter's Pentecost discourse, and Luke's special treatment of Paul in relation to the Twelve apostles in Jerusalem. The book not only contains some previously published material (all thoroughly updated and revised), but also some articles appearing for the first time in English and two brand new essays.

With (more or less) sincere apologies for the delay of publication of volume two of my Tussen tekst en lezer.

For more information see my homepage or the editor's website (

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Just out: Paulus en de rest

Yesterday (Nov. 10th, 2010), Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte’s new book was presented: Paulus en de rest. Van Farizeeër tot profeet van Jezus.
The book, as you will have noticed, is in Dutch. More information (and the possibility to order your personal copy) at the publisher's site. Any English publisher out there, interested in a translation?

Monday, September 27, 2010

British Library Digitised Manuscripts - Greek NT

Just launched: the British Library Digitsed Manuscripts website, with almost 300 Greek manuscripts already (and a printed GNT with marginal notes [Add MS 12080]).

So far, I noticed the following Gregory-Aland entries:

011 (G) (Harley MS 5684)
027 (R) (Add MS 17211)

65 (Harley MS 5776)
72 (Harley MS 5647)
81 (Add MS 20003)
104 (Harley MS 5537)
113 (Harley MS 1810) (the GA number is not indicated on the browse page)
114 (Harley MS 5540) (GA number not indicated)
115 (Harley MS 5559
116 (Harley MS 5567)
201 (Add MS 11837)
202 (Add MS 14774)
272 (Add MS 15581)
312 (Add MS 5115/5116)
321 (Harley MS 5557) (GA number not indicated)
385 (Harley MS 5613)
478 (Add MS 11300)
490 (Add MS 7141)
491 (Add MS 11836)
492 (Add MS 11838)
493 (Add MS 11839)
495 (Add MS 16183)
496 (Add MS 16184)
497 (Add MS 16943)
498 (Add MS 17469)
499 (Add MS 17741)
500 (Add MS 17982)
501 (Add MS 18211)
503 (Add MS 19389)
504 (Add MS 17470)
505 (Harley MS 5538
640 (Add MS 19392A)
641 (Add MS 22734)
644 (Add MS 19388)
645 (Add MS 22506)
686 (Add MS 5468)
687 (Add MS 11868B)
688 (Add MS 22736)
689 (Add MS 22737)
690 (Add MS 22738)
691 (Add MS 22739)
692 (Add MS 22740)
693 (Add MS 22741)
1268 (Add MS 19386)
1274a (Add MS 11859) (indicated as GA 1274)
1274a (Add MS 11860) (part) (indicated as GA 1274 and 1274b)
1956 (Add MS 7142)
2822 (Add MS 11860) (part)
2823 (Add MS 11860) (part)

l25a (Harley MS 5650)
l152 (Harley MS 5787)
l188 (Add MS 5153A/5153B)
l189 (Add MS 11840)
l190 (Add MS 17370)
l191 (Add MS 18212)
l192 (Add MS 19460)
l193 (Add MS 19993)
l318 (Add MS 19737)
l319 (Add MS 21260)
l321 (Add MS 22735)
l322 (Add MS 22742)
l323 (Add MS 22743)
l324 (Add MS 22744)
l930 (Add MS 19459)
l1053 (Add MS 19392B)

selections from OT and NT (Add MS 10968)
facsimile transcriptions from Codex Alexandrinus (Add MS 18278)

This all is really impressive, and a big step forward for NT textual criticism!

Nevertheless, anyone who consults the Liste (e.g. at the Münster Virtual Manuscript Room) will notice that not all GNT manuscripts of the BL are there. The Liste gives 228 numbers. The future looks bright.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Who needs conjectural emendation?

I do. Right now, actually, because I am editing a text by Bill Petersen, and just came across a sentence that is simply wrong. Bill writes:
Strutwolf went on to say that the Nestle-Aland text cannot and does not attempt to reconstruct an earlier (that is, pre-180) text, for that text was pluriform, and might called a “school-text,” under for teaching and preaching, but which was not fixed (hence the Alands’ description of the pre-180 text as “freischwebend”).
A nice citation, but that is not the point. Let us correct ‘might called’ to ‘might be called’. That one is easy enough. But what about ‘under for teaching and preaching’? Something went wrong here, but just what? Should I leave ‘under’ out? Should I write ‘used’? Or ‘undertaken’? All suggestions are welcome, especially good ones.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Meeting in Leuven (Sept. 1st)

On Sept. 1st Silvia Castelli, Jan Krans and Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte met with colleagues from Leuven (Jos Verheyden) and Halle (Manfred Lang, Bastian Lemitz). Thus, the New Testament Conjectural Emendation programme was brought in touch with the Leuven-Halle programme on the Corpus Hellenisticum. After the characteristics of both programmes had been discussed, Jan Krans gave a presentation on Textual Criticism in the Making: Johann Jakob Wettstein. In this presentation he pointed out the extreme interest of papers and manuscript notes by Wettstein that are kept in Amsterdam University Library (UBA). Manfred Lang and Bastian Lemitz updated the group on the publication of Der neue Wettstein, which is presently working on the volume of Acts. The Halle-Leuven and the Amsterdam group have taken several common projects into consideration. Although at present, further details cannot be mentioned yet, it is clear that a shared interest in the scholarly giant Johann Jakob Wettstein and his work will lead to further cooperation in the future. For that reason, it may be expected that this report will be continued…

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Conjectural Emendation Quiz

In collaboration with Evangelical Textual Criticism, a small quotation quiz was organized. Here are the answers in chronological order, with some remarks.

#2 is indeed by Scrivener, in 1861:
It is now agreed among competent judges that Conjectural Emendation must never be resorted to, even in passages of acknowledged difficulty, ...
Frederick Henry Ambrose Scrivener, A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament for the Use of Biblical Students, Cambridge etc.: Deighton, Bell, and Co etc., 11861, 369.

Note the typical term ‘resorting to’. In later editions the quotation continues as follows:
... difficulty; the absence of proof that a reading proposed to be substituted for the common one is actually supported by some trustworthy document being of itself a fatal objection to our receiving it.
Frederick Henry Ambrose Scrivener, A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament for the Use of Biblical Students, 2 vols, London etc.: Bell, 41894, II p. 244 (already 21874, p. 433).

This complex sentence - to me at least - seems to mean that conjectures are unacceptable because they are conjectures. The interesting point is that Scrivener maintains all this, knowing about William Linwood’s support of conjectural emendation of the New Testament. By implication, Linwood would not belong to the select class of ‘competent judges’.

#1 is indeed by Eb. Nestle, in 1901, at least in the English translation:
Not long ago philologists evinced such a fondness for conjectural emendation that the question might not unreasonably be asked why they did not rather themselves write the text that they took in hand to explain.
Eberhard Nestle, Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the Greek New Testament. London: Williams and Norgate, 1901, p. 167.

The German original is from 1899, and sounds even better:
Für’s Konjekturen-machen hatten viele Philologen vor noch nicht langer Zeit eine so grosse Vorliebe, dass man nicht ohne Grund fragen konnte, warum sie die Texte, die sie zu erklären vorgaben, nicht lieber selbst schrieben; ...
Eberhard Nestle, Einführung in das Griechische Neue Testament. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 21899, p. 134 (not in 11897). (The title of the English translation makes explicit what Nestle took for granted ...)

The Nestle quotation continues, however, on a more positive note:
At the same time, the aversion to this method of criticism which till recently prevailed and still to some extent prevails, especially in the matter of the New Testament text, is just as unreasonable.
In German:
... ebenso unbegründet aber war und ist die Abneigung, die namentlich auf dem Gebiet der nt.lichen Textkritik bis in die jüngste Zeit gegen sie herrschte, zum Teil noch herrscht.
Perhaps ‘unfounded’ would have been a better translation of ‘unbegründet’ than ‘unreasonable’, but the idea is clear. Did Nestle have Scrivener (et al.) in mind? In any case, Nestle himself is known for a number of conjectures on the NT text.

#5 is by Kenyon:
No authority could be attached to words which rested upon conjecture; and a critic who should devote himself to editing the Scriptures on conjectural lines would be merely wasting his time.
Frederic G. Kenyon, Handbook to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament. London: Macmillan11901, 15 (21926), p. 17.

Kenyon’s position becomes even clearer if the quotation is taken a bit larger:
It is universally agreed ... that the sphere of conjecture in the case of the New Testament is infinitesimal; and it may further be added that for practical purposes it must be treated as non-existent. No authority could be attached to words which rested upon conjecture; and a critic who should devote himself to editing the Scriptures on conjectural lines would be merely wasting his time. Where nothing but questions of literary style are involved, we may be willing to accept a reading upon conjecture, if no better evidence is to be had; but where it is a question of the Word of Life, some surer foundation is required.
The same agreement, now even universal, as found with Scrivener. To me, Kenyon exemplifies two aspects: (1) the opinion that the wealth of evidence in manuscripts, versions, and citations, almost precludes conjectural emendation, and (2) a theology-driven protest against it; hence ‘authority’, and the need of ‘some surer foundation’.
BTW, the particular use of the semicolon in Kenyon’s prose was once common even in British English, but has been abolished from civilised writing ever since; presumably it survives in certain areas of Australia only.

#3 is indeed by me (thanks Christian), in 2006:
Knowledge of authors should precede judgement of their conjectures.
Jan Krans, Beyond What Is Written. Erasmus and Beza as Conjectural Critics of the New Testament (NTTS 35), Leiden etc.: Brill, 2006, p. 3 (cf. p. 333).

It is my short formula for the ‘historical turn’ in the study of NT conjectural emendation. HT to Hort, of course; he was the one who was ‘clever with words’ (PH).

#4 is by Georg Luck, in 2009:
It is a sobering experience to observe what flights of fancy Biblical scholars indulge in order to discredit a conjecture.
Georg Luck, ‘Conjectural Emendation in the Greek New Testament’. In Verae Lectiones. Estudios de Crítica Textual y Edición de Textos Griegos. Eds. M. Sanz Morales and M. Librán Moreno. Cáceres: Huelva, 2009, 169-202, 183.

The entire article is not (yet) very well known, but it nicely shows a current-day classical scholar’s take on NT conjectural emendation. For members of the Textual Criticism Group, a scan of it is available under ‘files’.
The context of this remark is actually Kilpatrick’s defence of the transmitted reading ὑσσώπῳ (‘on hyssop’) against the conjecture ὑσσῷ (‘on a javelin’) in John 19:29.
Peter Head (in the comments on the ETC post) deduced an 18th-century date for the quotation, because it reflects a period in which biblical scholars were still remembered to discuss (and reject) specific conjectures, instead of them simply rejecting conjectural emendation in principle. Perhaps then, in the eyes of Luck, Kilpatrick becomes a biblical scholar instead of a textual critic, just because he deals with conjectures the way he does.

This concludes the quiz; there could easily be made a second one, with quotations just as interesting. Maybe next year.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Greek NT Lectionary 154 online

The digital library of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek keeps growing. This morning I noticed the addition of a Greek New Testament lectionary, Hss Cod. graec. 326. This turns out to be the 13th-century l 154.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Larry Hurtado in Amsterdam

In a previous post, Arie Zwiep announced the one-day symposium with Larry Hurtado at our university. I could do some live blogging, for Larry is speaking as I am typing this.
More importantly, however, we had a nice session of our Amsterdam New Testament Colloquium yesterday, where we were able to discuss with Larry his Lord Jesus Christ in a cordial and relaxed manner.
The discussion focussed (partly) on the category of ‘religious experience’, as Larry uses a taxonomy of it and more notably the special category of ‘revelatory religious experience’ as part of his historical explanation of early devotion to Christ. What kind of explanation is it? How does it square with current research on ‘religious experience’? Can such an explanation be verified or falsified? It turned out, at least, that further research and discussion is still possible.
The photograph below shows the group after the discussion, or, to be entirely correct, between the official part of it and its less official continuation at another, even more spirited location.

From left to right: Bas van Os, Cees van der Ziel, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte, Jan Krans, Arie Zwiep, Larry Hurtado, Martin de Boer. The painting between Larry and Martin shows Tjitze Baarda, as former dean of our faculty.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Symposium with Larry Hurtado

Dear all,

You are all cordially invited to a research symposium with Larry Hurtado (University of Edinburgh) on 11 June 2010 at VU University Amsterdam.

See for details:

Arie Zwiep

Syriac Alphabet

As (1) I found no easy cheat sheet on the Internet for Syriac, and (2) I am still struggling with the Serto alphabet, I decided to make a hopefully nice table myself. You can download a PDF version as well.
It is version 1.2; if you spot any errors or want to suggest an improvement, please do so in the comments. The fonts used are Meltho OpenType.

Update 3 June 2010: some errors corrected; the PDF link now brings you to version 1.1.
Update 2 January 2013: some further updates, to version 1.2; links to a different location.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The scribal blunder in the Codex Corsendoncensis (min. 3)

As I was given access to the expert mode of the INTF Virtual Manuscript Room (thanks Martin), I decided to finally see for myself what the famous scribal blunder in min. 3 (VMR no. 30003) looks like. The example was discussed briefly last year on the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog.

Minuscule 3 (Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Suppl. gr. 52) contains the entire Greek New Testament except Revelation. It is named Codex Corsendoncensis , because it was one of two manuscripts from Corsendonk used by Erasmus when he was working on the second edition of his New Testament (published in 1519). Its date is given as twelfth-century. [The other Corsendonk manuscript is a Latin Gospel manuscript, now in the Berlin Staatsbibliothek (Ms. theol. lat. qu. 4)].

The manuscript has not yet been indexed for the VMR (any volunteers?), so it took me some time to find the correct page. It turns out to be f. 376v; the VMR number is 8110.

The blunder itself concerns 2 Cor 8:4. The normal Greek text of 2 Cor 8:4-5a runs as follows: ... 4 μετὰ πολλῆς παρακλήσεως δεόμενοι ἡμῶν, τὴν χάριν καὶ τὴν κοινωνίαν τῆς διακονίας τῆς εἰς τοὺς ἁγίους· 5 καὶ οὐ καθὼς ἠλπίσαμεν, ... (‘... 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints -- 5 and this, not as we expected, ... - RSV, taking τὴν χάριν καὶ τὴν κοινωνίαν together). As indicated in NA27, some manuscripts add δέξασθαι ἡμᾶς at the end of verse 4, thereby having an AcI depending from δεόμενοι: ‘that we accept the favor and the community ...’
Min. 3 also has this addition. Its text, however, is as follows: ... 4 μετὰ πολλῆς παρακλήσεως δεόμενοι ἡμῶν τὴν χάριν καὶ τὴν κοινωνίαν τῆς εἰς τοὺς ἁγίους, δέξασθαι ἡμᾶς ἐν πολλοῖς τῶν ἀντιφράφων οὕτως εὕρηται 5 καὶ οὐ καθὼς ἠλπίσαμεν, ...
Note the omission of τῆς διακονίας after τὴν κοινωνίαν, which could already qualify as a scribal blunder (due to homoeoarchton), for the following τῆς can no longer be understood. The real blunder, however, is found in the words just after δέξασθαι ἡμᾶς: ἐν πολλοῖς τῶν ἀντιφράφων οὕτως εὕρηται (‘thus it is found in many copies’). This simply has to be a marginal note, mistaken for a correction, and put into the text by a scribe who was apparently thinking of quite other matters than the relief of the saints.
One can surmise that the original note included (began with) δέξασθαι ἡμᾶς. Thus, the scribe’s exemplar signalled the variant reading δέξασθαι ἡμᾶς and even added some information on it.

With the kind permission of the VMR team, I can now show the image on this blog (taken from the VMR jpg, which represents the INTF microfilm; slightly enhanced for b/w contrast; f. 376v; VMR no. 8110). As can be seen, someone marked the blunder in the text and even put a mark in the left margin to draw attention to it.

The reception history of the scribal blunder itself is interesting as well. It was mentioned for the first time by none other than Erasmus. In his 1519 edition, he added a long note to his annotation on these verses. The example must have been very welcome to him, for it is clear proof that even the sacred texts are not free from ridiculous scribal errors and that textual criticism is necessary, whatever theologians may say. He concluded the note by saying that ‘we found innumerable places corrupted for this same cause'. Even before the 1519 edition, he had already mentioned the case in his apology against Faber Stapulensis. There, the point made was somewhat more specific. He warned his colleague to not naively trust (Greek) manuscripts. Keep thinking critically.

I would not be surprised if Erasmus were the one responsible for the underlining and marginal note in the manuscript. However the microfilm image cannot be conclusive in this respect. What we do know is that Erasmus did not hesitate to put a personal note in the manuscript he used. In this case, he did so even twice, once in Latin, on f. 1r (VMR no. 80), and once in Greek, on f. 181v (VMR no. 3970). Let me show you an enhanced image of the latter:
 Well, at least he wanted the manuscript to be kept safe ...

In subsequent centuries, the blunder was frequently mentioned in text-critical books. Bengel, in his 1734 Greek New Testament, refers to Erasmus. Metzger also mentions the case in his Text of the New Testament (3-1992, p. 194; see also Metzger/Ehrman 4-2005, pp. 258-259), referring to Bengel. Perhaps in a future edition, Erasmus himself could be mentioned as well.

The example itself may indeed have some importance for text-critical reasoning in general and conjectural emendation in particular. It shows that marginal annotations which were mistakenly adopted into the text did occur. The question remains, however, how widespread the phenomenon actually is, and how it can be demonstrated in cases that are less clear than the one in min. 3.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sacred Scriptures as Trash

Just published: a very interesting article by one of our former VU University students, AnneMarie Luijendijk: ‘Sacred Scriptures as Trash: Biblical Papyri from Oxyrhynchus’, in Vigiliae Christianae 64 (2010), pp. 217-254.

The abstract:
Most New Testament papyri with a known provenance were found at the site of the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus, or more precisely: on that city's rubbish mounds. The fact that sacred scriptures were discarded as garbage is surprising in view of the holiness of Christian biblical manuscripts, intrinsically and physically. Yet the trash aspect of provenance has never been adequately problematized or studied. Taking a social-historical and garbological approach, this article demonstrates that at Oxyrhynchus in antiquity entire manuscripts with biblical writings were deliberately discarded by Christians themselves, unrelated to persecution and issues of canonicity.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In the Latest Issue of Novum Testamentum

Since min. 2427 is still cited in our Nestle-Aland edition (638 times in the apparatus on Mark’s gospel), everyone should know by now that it actually stands (more or less) for Buttmann's 19th-century edition. And for an interesting forgery story, the lastest research report on which is found in the new issue of Novum Testamentum: Margaret M. Mitchell, Joseph G. Barabe and Abigail B. Quandt, ‘Chicago's "Archaic Mark" (ms 2427) II. Microscopic, Chemical and Codicological Analyses Confirm Modern Production’, in Novum Testamentum 52 (2010), pp. 101-133. (Joseph Barabe writes on the ‘McCrone Analysis’; Abigail Quandt on the ‘Reconstruction of the Forger’s Technique’; Margaret Mitchell on ‘The Forger’s Textual Dependence’.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Two PhD Positions in New Testament Textual Criticism

It took some time, but the descriptions for the two PhD positions in the New Testament Conjectural Emendation project (on which I blogged earlier) are available now. Ample information can be found at the public part of the team website. For the application, see especially this official PDF file. Feel free to pass on this information, or to ask for more. Applications must be sent before April 12th.