Thursday, December 24, 2009

Breaking News: NWO Grant Approved

Colleagues in the textual critical field will surely forgive us the all too general title and tag line of the following press release, and retain the good news: serious work will be done in the coming years on the important and intricate topic of New Testament conjectural emendation. In the first months of 2010, two PhD positions will become available, so keep posted.

Do we have the original text of the New Testament?
NWO grant for restoring the text of the New Testament

The search for the original text of the New Testament often involves solving intricate puzzles. Which textual reading from the manuscripts seems to be the most authentic, is the oldest, or has the best witnesses in its favour? When the manuscripts do not offer a solution, scholars sometimes conjecture a reading. This step, involving conjectural criticism, is not undisputed, for it seems to involve tampering with a text many regard as sacred. All the same, conjectural criticism has had a long and fruitful history beginning with Erasmus and its value has been proven repeatedly. Conjectural criticism demands a multidisciplinary approach, interfacing with sacred texts and their reception history, church history and cultural studies, as well as scholarly editing. The need for a comprehensive mapping of the field of conjectural criticism of the New Testament text has been felt for decades.

The Humanities Division of NWO approved a 600,000 Euro research proposal called New Testament Conjectural Emendation: A Comprehensive Enquiry, submitted by Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte and Jan Krans. Both scholars  are employed at the Faculty of Theology, VU University Amsterdam and affiliated with VISOR (VU Institute for the Study of Culture, Religion and Society) and the ACNTS (Amsterdam Centre for New Testament Studies). The research project, which runs from 2010 to 2014, will be carried out in collaboration with the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung (INTF) of the Münster University and the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing (ITSEE) of the University of Birmingham.

Two PhD students will participate in the project. The first will investigate the second half of the eighteenth century, when the problem of the New Testament text becomes fully visible for the first time. The second will investigate the second half of the nineteenth century, during which many radical proposals for textual emendations were made, especially in the Netherlands. A post-doc researcher will write a general history of New Testament conjectures and conjectural criticism. A database of thoroughly documented important conjectures will be connected to the standard edition of the Greek New Testament (Editio Critica Maior) which is currently being prepared in Münster and Birmingham.

For more information, please contact Jan Krans (jlh.krans [at], or Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte (lj.lietaert_peerbolte [at]].

The Dutch version of this press release is found here on the VU University website and here on the VISOR website.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Basel and Leiden editions of Erasmus' Opera omnia online

The Erasmus Center for Early Modern Studies, an initiative of the Erasmus University Rotterdam and Rotterdam City Library, has an impressive website, which is gradually expanding. An important element is ‘Erasmus online’ (EOL) a full database of the Erasmus collection in Rotterdam.

I recently found out that the complete Basel edition of Erasmus’ works (edited by Beatus Rhenanus; published in 1540; some 9500 pages!), as well as the Leiden edition (LB; edited by Clericus; published 1703-1706; more than 6000 large pages!), are available (in DjVU format).

Of course, for those volumes that are available, scholarly work has to be done on the basis of the Amsterdam edition (ASD) and the Toronto Collected Works of Erasmus (CWE). Still, these resources are very welcome, and, as far as I can see, very well done.
Finally, a tip for querying the database: select an author (e.g. Erasmus) by using the index and choose facsimiles only. And perhaps it is not a very good idea to try downloading these massive works ...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yet again: Codex Boreelianus

Today, in the Utrecht University Library, a special book was presented: Bijzonder onderzoek. Een ontdekkingsreis door de Bijzondere Collecties van de Universiteitsbibliotheek Utrecht (‘Special Research [or: Extraordinary Exploration(s)]. A Voyage of Discovery through the Special Collections of the Utrecht University Library’). Celebrating its 425 years (even though the University itself is more recent), 36 authors write about their favorite objects in the Library’s special collections.

An impression of the special treatment inflicted on the Codex Boreelianus
(photo Peter Rothengatter)
To readers of this blog it will probably not come as a surprise that I was asked to write the story of Codex Boreelianus. Even the very few who do not read Dutch will appreciate the beautiful images made by the photographers (not only in this article, but throughout the volume).
Perhaps not everybody is willing to invest the bagatel of 30 euros in such a book; in that case, the chapters can be found as PDF files on a special website. The PDF with the chapter on Boreelianus can be downloaded directly.
One day perhaps, an English version of the book will be published as well.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

A book on gospel lectionary 351

Those who think that only large uncial NT manuscripts such as the Sinaiticus or Codex Bezae deserve the honour of having an entire book (or even more) devoted to them may be surprised to learn that text-critically perhaps less important minuscule lectionaries, not even mentioned in Nestle-Aland27 can become just as happy, if the circumstances are right.
John Lowden, The Jaharis Gospel Lectionary. The Story of a Byzantine Book, New Haven etc., Yale University Press etc., 2009.

It took me some close reading (i.e. note 9 on p. 121) to find out that this "Jaharis Gospel Lectionary" is l 351 in the Gregory-Aland numbering. In the Kurzgefasste Liste, the manuscript is still located in Paris, at the Société de l’Histoire du Protestantisme Français, shelf mark Ms. 206. That should thus become The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, accession number 2007.286 (which BTW one looks for in vain in the book).
The manuscript is now named after Mary and Michael Jaharis, thanks to whom the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art could acquire it (see also the museum's webpage on the ms.).
The book itself, written by a professor of the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, is an interesting read, and in a way a good introduction on these Byzantine lectionaries as well (see also Appendix 1 on the Menologion Rubrics etc.). There are many (beautiful) images, of course, also of other manuscripts, for instance New York Pierpont Morgan Library Ms. 639 (l 381 for NT textual critics) (figs. 58; 89-90 in the book) and Sinai, St. Catherine's Monastery Gr. 204 (l 300) (figs. 21-22).

Friday, September 25, 2009

The second Elzeviers’ edition of the Greek New Testament

At Google Books, I just found a copy of the 1633 edition of the textus receptus, famous for the fact that Heinsius' preface contains the words 'textum ... receptum' (f. 2v). It is one of the many valuable additions thanks to the Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire of Lausanne, where numerous old books are "google-ised" ("googelisés" is the French word).

History, Orality, and Collective Memory

The Amsterdam Center for New Testament Studies of the VU University Amsterdam organizes on October 15th a one-day International Conference on "History, Orality, and Collective Memory", with the obvious question attached to it: "A New Paradigm for the History of Early Christianity?" Speakers will be Samuel Byrskog (Lund) and Michael Labahn (Halle).
For more information, you can visit the Centre's website, especially the PDF document (in Dutch) with all the information. Perhaps a nice occasion to visit Amsterdam, as beautiful in autumn as in every other season ...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A selection of text-critical articles and reviews from The Bible Translator (1950-2000)

Selection composed by J.L.H. Krans, VU University Amsterdam in 2003-2004, and updated in September 2009. Formerly, the links referred to the TC Ebind project, but they have now been updated to refer to the resources site of the United Bible Societies.
1 (1950)
‘Proposed Publication of the Manuscript Evidence for the Text of the Greek New Testament’, in BT 1 (1950), pp. 169-171. [Announcement of IGNTP]
2 (1951)
Erwin Nestle, ‘How to use a Greek New Testament’, in BT 2 (1951), pp. 49-55.
Frederick C. Grant, ‘The Greek Text of the New Testament’, in BT 2 (1951), pp. 117-121. [On the Greek text underlying RSV]
4 (1953)
W.R. Hutton, ‘Textual Emendation in the Old Testament’, in BT 4 (1953), pp. 13-14.
A.W. Argyle, ‘The Elements of New Testament Textual Criticism’, in BT 4 (1953), pp. 118-125.
5 (1954)
William A. Irwin, ‘Textual Criticism and Old Testament Translation’, in BT 5 (1954), pp. 54-58.
7 (1956)
G. Ch. Aalders, ‘Translator or Textual Critic?’, in BT 7 (1956), pp. 15-16. [OT TC]
William L. Wonderly, ‘What About Italics?’, in BT 7 (1956), pp. 114-116. [On the use of italics in translations]
8 (1957)
A.F.J. Klijn, ‘The Value of the Versions for the Textual Criticism of the New Testament’, in BT 8 (1957), pp. 127-130.
J. Ramsey Michaels, ‘Some Notable Readings of Papyrus Bodmer II’, in BT 8 (1957), pp. 150-154. [On P66]
9 (1958)
G.D. Kilpatrick, ‘The Transmission of the New Testament and its Reliability’, in BT 9 (1958), pp. 127-136.
Kenneth Grayston, review of Kilpatrick, A New Edition of the Nestle Greek New Testament, in BT 9 (1958), pp. 185-189.
10 (1959)
‘A New Edition of the Greek New Testament’, in BT 10 (1959), pp. 29-34. [Announcement/Program of UBSGNT1]
13 (1962)
Wilbur Aulie, ‘The Textual Basis of Some Spanish Versions of the New Testament’, in BT 13 (1962), pp. 212-218.
15 (1964)
Wilfred J. Bradnock, review of Metzger, The Text of the New Testament ..., in BT 15 (1964), pp. 201-203.
16 (1965)
Ian A. Moir, review of Tasker, The Greek New Testament, being ... New English Bible, in BT 16 (1965), pp. 49-51. [With an interesting editorial note, p. 51]
Tom Gaumer, ‘An Examination of Some Western Textual Variants Adopted in the Greek Text of the New English Bible’, in BT 16 (1965), pp. 184-189.
17 (1966)
Robert P. Markham, ‘The Bible Societies’ Greek Testament: the End of a Decade or Beginning of an Era?’, in BT 17 (1966), pp. 106-113. [On UBSGNT1]
18 (1967)
Robert P. Markham, ‘The Bible Societies’ Greek Testament: A Symposium: A. The Critical Apparatus’, in BT 18 (1967), pp. 3-11. [On UBSGNT1]
Stephen C. Neill, ‘The Bible Societies’ Greek Testament: A Symposium: B. Review’, in BT 18 (1967), pp. 12-15. [On UBSGNT1]
Harold K. Moulton, ‘The Bible Societies’ Greek Testament: A Symposium: C. The Punctuation Apparatus’, in BT 18 (1967), pp. 16-19. [On UBSGNT1]
Robert G. Bratcher, ‘The T.E.V. New Testament and the Greek Text’, in BT 18 (1967), pp. 167-174.
24 (1973)
Ian A. Moir, review of Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, in BT 24 (1973), pp. 329-333. [On the first edition 1971]
25 (1974)
Carlo M. Martini, review of Aune (ed.), Studies in New Testament and Early Christian Literature. Essays in Honor of Allen P. Wikgren, in BT 25 (1974), pp. 150-152. [Wikgren FS]
26 (1975)
J. Keith Elliott, ‘A Second Look at the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament’, in BT 26 (1975), pp. 325-332.
28 (1977)
Matthew Black, ‘The United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament Evaluated - A Reply’, in BT 28 (1977), pp. 116-120. [Reply to Elliott]
Elizabeth G. Edwards, ‘On Using the Textual Apparatus of the UBS Greek New Testament’, in BT 28 (1977), pp. 121-143.
Jan Slomp, ‘Are the Words "Son of God" in Mark 1.1 Original?’, in BT 28 (1977), pp. 143-150. [Answer: better not]
J.K. Elliott, ‘John 1.14 and the New Testament’s Use of plèrès’, in BT 28 (1977), pp. 151-153.
29 (1978)
Klaus Junack, ‘The Reliability of the New Testament Text from the Perspective of Textual Criticism’, in BT 29 (1978), pp. 128-140.
30 (1979)
J.K. Elliott. ‘The United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament: A Short Examination of the Third Edition’, in BT 30 (1979), pp. 135-138.
31 (1980)
Gordon D. Fee, ‘The Majority Text and the Original Text of the New Testament’, in BT 31 (1980), pp. 107-118.
John Ellington, ‘The Use and Limitations of Interlinear Editions’, in BT 31 (1980), pp. 212-219.
Erroll Rhodes, review of D.A. Carson, The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism, in BT 31 (1980), pp. 337-338.
P.E. [Paul Ellingworth], review of Ernest Best and R. McL. Wilson (eds.), Text and Interpretation, in BT 31 (1980), pp. 341-342. [Matthew Black FS]
32 (1981)
Eugene A. Nida, ‘The "Harder Reading" in Textual Criticism: An Application of the Second Law of Thermodynamics’, in BT 32 (1981), pp. 101-107.
33 (1982)
J.M. Ross, ‘The "Harder Reading" in Textual Criticism’, in BT 33 (1982), pp. 138-139.
P.E. [Paul Ellingworth], review of Bruce M. Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible, in BT 33 (1982), p. 341.
Barclay M. Newman Jr, ‘Some Hints on Solving Textual Problems’, in BT 33 (1982), pp. 430-435.
34 (1983)
Rogel L. Omanson, ‘A Perspective on the Study of the New Testament Text’, BT 34 (1983), pp. 107-122.
J.K. Elliott on Zane C. Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad (eds), The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text, in BT 34 (1983), pp. 342-344.
J. Karavidopoulos on Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, Der Text des Neuen Testaments, in BT 34 (1983), pp. 344-345.
F.F. Bruce, review of Gerald Hammond, The Making of the English Bible, in BT 34 (1983), pp. 347-348.
36 (1985)
Ian A. Moir, ‘A Mini-Guide to New Testament Textual Criticism’, in BT 36 (1985), pp. 122-129.
Harold P. Scanlin, ‘The Majority Text Debate: Recent Developments’, in BT 36 (1985), pp. 136-140.
J.K. Elliott, review of Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine, in BT 36 (1985), pp. 143-144.
37 (1986)
H.J. de Jonge, ‘Erasmus’ Method of Translation in his Version of the New Testament’, in BT 37 (1986), pp. 135-138.
Notice of Selected Technical Articles Related to Translation (START), in BT 37 (1986), p. 347.
38 (1987)
Per Block, ‘Translating the Apocrypha in Sweden: With Special Reference to the Textual Problems’, in BT 38 (1987), pp. 315-327.
39 (1988)
P.E. [Paul Ellingworth], review of J.H. Petzer and P.J. Hartin, A South African Perspective on the New Testament, in BT 39 (1988), pp. 139-140. [Metzger FS (Petzer)]
Harold P. Scanlin, ‘Bible Translation as a Means of Communicating New Testament Textual Criticism to the Public’, in BT 39 (1988), pp. 101-113. [Chart on p. 113]
J. Neville Birdsall, review of Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament, in BT 39 (1988), pp. 338-342.
40 (1989)
Philip Comfort, ‘the Pericope of the Adulteress’, in BT 40 (1989), pp. 145-147.
Roger L. Omanson, ‘Must Our Readers be Mindreaders?’, in BT 40 (1989), pp. 432-433. [On blunders in MSS. and (printed) translations]
42 (1991)
J.K. Elliott, review of Philip W. Comfort, Early Manuscripts and Modern Translations of the New Testament, in BT 42 (1991), pp. 343-345.
44 (1993)
P.E. [Paul Ellingworth], review of Metgzer, The Text of the New Testament ..., Third ... edition, in BT 44 (1993), pp. 146-147.
45 (1994)
Harald P. Scanlin, introduction to the Review Symposium of GNT4, in BT 45 (1994), pp. 348-349.
Moises Silva, review of GNT4, in BT 45 (1994), pp. 349-353.
Tjitze Baarda, review of GNT4 (‘The Textual Apparatus in the Fourth Edition’), in BT 45 (1994), pp. 353-356.
46 (1995)
Paul Ellingworth, ‘Theological Reflections on the Textual Criticism of the Bible’, in BT 46 (1995), pp. 119-125.
47 (1996)
Roger L. Omanson, review of Arthur G. Patzia, The Making of the New Testament, in BT 47 (1996), pp. 154-156.
Paul Ellingworth, review of Keith Elliott and Ian Moir, Manuscripts and the Text of the New Testament, in BT 47 (1996), pp. 352-353.
48 (1997)
Roger L. Omanson, review of Aland and Delobel (eds.), New Testament Textual Criticism and Ehrman and Holmes (eds.), The Text of the New Testament ..., in BT 48 (1997), pp. 350-352.
49 (1998)
Paul Ellingworth, review of David Parker, The Living Text of the Gospels, in BT 49 (1998), pp. 154-155.
Roger L. Omanson, ‘A Critical Appraisal of the Apparatus Criticus’, in BT 49 (1998), pp. 301-323. [On the choice of variants in UBSGNT4]
Roger L. Omanson, review of Charles Landon, A Text-Critical Study of the Epistle of Jude, in BT 49 (1998), pp. 353-354.
50 (1999)
Mikael Parsons, review of Kent D. Clark, Textual Optimism: A Critique of the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament, in BT 50 (1999), pp. 346-350.
51 (2000)
Iver Larsen, ‘Variant Readings in 2 Corinthians’, in BT 51 (2000), pp. 342-348.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Teaching Greek in Athens

After Rome (see also Kent Richard’s report and my mysterious pizza) and London comes Athens, this year. Thanks to the Netherlands Institute in Athens, I am within a stone's throw of the Acropolis, together with four Dutch students of the VU University Amsterdam. During three weeks, they will receive their very first instruction in classical Greek. Needless to say, we will be able to see some cultural heritage as well. Not to mention the Greek cuisine.
We also maintain a weblog - in Dutch - for our stay.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lionel North's article on negatives and NTTC (with an addendum on Beza and Mk 16:2)

A few months ago, I could (not) suppress a smile when I read that something had gone wrong with the so-called ‘Advance Access’ (dated 11 Feb. 2009): ’The originally published version of this paper was incorrect. A corrected version will be uploaded soon.’ Anyhow, the final version is available now:
James Lionel North, ‘"Thou Shalt Commit Adultery" (EXOD. 20:14, AV 1631): A First Survey of Alteration Involving Negatives in the Transmission of the Greek New Testament and of Early Church Responses to it’, in JTS 60 (2009), pp. 22-69 (doi:10.1093/jts/fln150).
The article explores an intriguing class of text-critical cases, namely those in which a negative is involved, not only by it being added or omitted, but through more complicated processes as well. Besides extensive discussion of texts such as 1 Cor 15:51, the article contains 13 pages of lists which exemplify the possibilities.

Addendum on Beza and Mark 16:2

By his own admission, Lionel North mentions ‘very few modern conjectures’ (p. 47 n. 42). It could be interesting to analyse the fifty or so examples of these I find in my files. The author does mention a harmonistic conjecture by Beza on Mk 16:2 (p. 25), which for some reason I did not discuss in my monograph on Erasmus and Beza as conjectural critics, even though I still have extensive notes on it. As there are two aspects of Lionel North’s discussion I do not quite understand, let me first introduce Beza’s conjecture itself.

In order to reconcile Mark’s account of the women visiting Jesus’ grave with the other gospels, Beza proposes to read οὐκέτι ἀνατεἰλαντος (‘when the sun had not yet risen’) in Mk 16:2. The conjecture is already found in the 1556 annotations (and retained in later editions), but never adopted in the Greek text or in Beza’s Latin translation. In his 1582 annotations, Beza mentions the reading of Codex Bezae (ἀνατέλλοντος - ‘when the sun was rising’). He notes the nuance in meaning, but still feels the same problem. For those who regard his conjectural emendation as too ‘dangerous’, he now offers a different explanation: the women set out before sunrise (thus Matthew, Luke, and John are correct), but arrived after it (which is what Mark tells us).

Lionel North asks why Beza chose οὐκέτι for his conjecture, and not the simple οὐ(κ). He wonders whether Beza knew the reading ἔτι from Robertus Stephanus’ edition of Eusebius and his famous 1550 NT edition. The answer is affirmative, as can be seen from the same 1556 annotation a few words of which are cited in the article itself; Beza writes: ‘Germanae autem lectionis vestigia adhuc supererant in tertio codice in quo scriptum erat ἔτι ἀνατείλαντος; quo modo etiam citatur hic locus ab Eusebio ...’ (‘the traces of the true reading still remain in the third book (manuscript), in which is written ἔτι ἀνατείλαντος; in the same way this place is cited by Eusebius ...’). Thus the two links are certain. With the ‘tertius codex’, Beza refers to min. 4, found in Stephanus’ 1550 edition under siglum γ΄. Therefore, Lionel North’s doubt is unnecessary, though Beza probably did not use the 1550 edition directly, but had access to one of its sources, the book of collations that had been used for the composition of its (small) marginal apparatus.

What I also do not understand is how Lionel North can connect the note in the 1560 Geneva Bible (‘Or, not risen.’ - not yet found in Whittingham’s 1557 New Testament) to a 1569 (!) edition of Ticonius's Regulae (p. 25 n. 7). It is far easier to assume that the marginal note resumes in a very succinct way Beza’s conjectural solution, as the link between the Geneva New Testament and Beza's edition is well established in other cases.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

SBL Paper on Wettstein in the Making

An email arrived yesterday, confirming that my paper proposal for the SBL conference in November 2009 has been accepted. It will be part of the second session, which is more general and which can contain papers on the history and practice of (New Testament) textual criticism. The proposal was as follows:

Textual Criticism in the Making: Johann Jakob Wettstein

Wettstein’s edition of the Greek New Testament (2 vols., 1751-1752) is a landmark of New Testament textual criticism. Unknown to most present-day scholars, and hitherto unexplored, are Wettstein’s papers, preserved for posterity by the Remonstrant Church, and nowadays kept in the library of the University of Amsterdam. Though some have unfortunately been lost, the papers that remain still give us some surprising and instructive insights into the working conditions of a textual critic in the 18th century, his scholarly circle, and the making of his landmark edition.

So please come to the session; you will be in for some surprises.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

7. How many years? - Grotius on Gal 2:1

We would be far worse informed on Paul’s life without his letter to the Galatians. However the accuracy of some of the details mentioned in the letter is disputed. A nice example is found in Gal 2:1, where Paul writes: ‘Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me’ (RSV). On this verse, the Nestle editions of the Greek New Testament (from N13 (1927) to NA27 (1993-...) mention a conjecture by Grotius, according to which the fourteen years are to be reduced to a mere four.
NA27 presents the conjecture as τεσσάρων being read instead of δεκατεσσάρων. But do Greek numerals work that way? And why did Grotius propose the conjecture in the first place? And why is such a conjecture mentioned in the Nestle edition anyway? And what does min. 1241s add to the picture?
Ad fontes, then.

Grotius (1583-1645)
In the case of conjectures attributed to Grotius, the source is never difficult to guess: one has to consult his Annotationes. There, we read on Gal 2:1 (in my provisional translation):
I accept the manuscripts if there are that have τεσσάρων [four] instead of δεκατεσσάρων. Indeed, as numbers were written with abbreviations, it could easily occur that through error ἰ was added before δ΄; and we pointed out at Lk 4:26 and elsewhere how from one copy of scripture faults often have flown into many others. Moreover, copyists made many errors in numbers, as we have shown for many Old Testament places. I find nothing more plausible than that here the same journey by Paul is recorded as the one mentioned in Acts 15:2, which cannot have been a whole fourteen years after either Paul’s conversion or, if one prefers, the end of his stay in Arabia.1
I used the 19th-century edition by Petrus Hofstede de Groot; Grotius’ annotations on Acts and the Epistles were first published in 1646, just after his death in 1645. Thus the conjecture can be dated to 1646 (but see below).
The main reason for the conjecture is obvious: if one tries to establish a chronology of Paul’s life by combining somehow Galatians and Acts, and the most obvious option is taken, namely to identify this journey to Jerusalem and Acts 15, then the fourteen years mentioned in Gal 2:1 are bound to become problematic.

H.J. de Jonge takes a rather harsh view of Grotius’ effort here; he writes:
Sometimes ... Grotius’ critical faculty is to be found wanting in his Annotationes. One example of this is that he shares with his contemporaries the deeply-rooted inclination to impose harmony upon the contradictions between parallel reports in the Gospels, and between Paul and the Acts of the Apostles. His conjecture of ‘four’ instead of ‘fourteen’ in Gal. 2:1 is an example of this: it strives to identify the journey mentioned here with that in Acts 15:2.2
Perhaps the example of Gal 2:1 does not entirely support de Jonge’s point. Every scholar of the New Testament will have to answer the question of the relationship between the Paul of the (authentic) letters and the Paul of Acts. There may just be a subtle difference between a genuinely historical approach and potentially bibliolatric harmonisation. In any case, there is more at stake than just the ‘reconciliation’ of two texts.

Cappellus (1585-1658)
Following a lead in Bowyer’s collection of conjectures,3 I discovered that probably Grotius was not the first to propose this conjecture. In 1634, a book was published by Ludovicus Cappellus (Louis Cappel, a French Huguenot theologian), known as Historia Apostolica. It is one of the first thorough efforts to establish once and for all the chronology of early Christianity, especially of Paul’s life and letters. And, of course, the main sources are Paul’s letters and Acts combined.
Ludovious Cappellus Digital ID: 1206941. New York Public Library
Its full title is Historia Apostolica illustrata, ex Actis Apostolorum et Epistolis Paulinis, studiose inter se collatis, collecta, ordineque, secundum annorum numerum, accurate digesta, et in compendium contracta, eiusque cum historia exotica connexio certis κριτηρίοις demonstrata. Una cum verae Epistolarum Paulinarum (juxta temporis, quo singulae sunt scriptae, ordinem) seriei historica demonstratione. (‘The apostolic history illustrated on the basis of a diligent comparison of Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline epistles, inferred and accurately arranged according to the order, counted in years, with an abstract, and the demonstration of its connection with the external history according to reliable criteria. Together with a historical demonstration of the true sequence of the Pauline epistles. with the order of time in which the individual epistles were written.’) The advantage of such long titles, of course, is that they serve as introduction as well.

For the conjecture, everyone refers to the ‘appendix’ of the book, but ‘appendix’ is simply the name used for the explanations of the rather short chronological table at its beginning, the commentary being far longer than the table. The discussion can be found on pp. 53-57, especially pp. 56-57.
Cappellus as well identifies Gal 2 and Acts 15, and then offers two explanations of the ‘fourteen years’. The first is that the fourteen years actually count from Easter and Pentecost. The second, which he seems to prefer, is the conjecture. He shows how the computation of the years becomes smooth and easy when one reads ‘four’. Interestingly, his explanation of the origin of ‘fourteen’ differs from Grotius’; he assumes that διά was through error copied as δέκα and then supplied to give διὰ δεκα[τεσσάρων].

Who was first?
The chronology of the conjecture, just as Paul’s own time-keeping, is somewhat complicated. The notes by Grotius and Cappellus do not betray any relation between the two, in either direction, and perhaps Grotius had already worked out the idea far earlier than Cappellus. It can be established, however, that Grotius did not work on parts of the NT other than the Gospels until later in his life; and anyway, in case of doubt, the publication of an idea establishes its primogeniture.

Thus the authorship of the conjecture should be attributed to Cappellus. Why then is Grotius found in the Nestle editions, and not Cappellus? The cause may be found in Baljon’s edition,4 in which Cappellus is not mentioned. Or did for some reason (Erwin) Nestle or one of his informers think that Grotius was earlier than Cappellus? In general, though the Nestle editions purport to indicate the first author of a conjecture, the impression prevails that the matter of authorship was not seen as particularly important.

Reception history
The conjecture can only be understood in the context of the chronological study of Paul’s life and letters. As this subject was to be part of all nineteenth-century introductions to the New Testament, the conjecture was intensely discussed (and accepted by many). Baljon, who also accepts the conjecture (though he does not adopt it in the text of his own Greek New Testament), refers to Reiche’s 1859 commentary.5 Part of Reiche’s long discussion is indeed an impressive list of (German) scholars who accepted the conjecture since Grotius’ and Cappellus’ days.

The Chronicon Paschale
An interesting but complicated aspect of the discussion, according to Reiche first indicated by Semler, is the so-called Chronicon Paschale, a seventh-century Byzantine chronology. (Indeed, the ‘computation of the years’ is not a (post-)Enlightenment invention, but a far older form of scholarship.) The Chronicon states that the period of fourteen years must be counted from the Jesus’ ascension in order to make sense. But then we read a puzzling sentence: καὶ εἰ μὴ τοῦτο δῶμεν, εὑρεθήσεται ὁ χρόνος ἀφ’ οὗ ἐβαπτίσθη καὶ ἀνέβλεψεν, ὡς περιέχουσιν αἱ Πράξεις, ἔτη δʹ.6 (‘If we do not accept that, the time from which he was baptised and regained sight will be found to be, as Acts says, four years.’)
The discussion on this text sometimes turns a little nasty, as to whether or not the Chronicon is, contains, or suggests some kind of attestation of the reading τεσσάρων in Gal 2:1. My impression is that the brevity of the explanation, its lack of context, and the reference to Acts preclude any firm conclusions. It remains interesting, however, that some problem transpires in the number ‘fourteen’, and that in that context the number ‘four’ is mentioned. Intriguing as well is the comparison with Cappellus’ discussion, which betrays a parallel structure. Perhaps Cappellus was inspired by the Chronicon, though he does not mention it (the Chronicon had already been published in his days).

Min. 1241
NA27 mentions 1241s for the reading τεσσάρων. The supplement of 1241 seems to be rather good, and its having the conjectured reading would mean that the conjecture is anticipated (or confirmed?). Without some more information on the manuscript, however, I prefer not to draw any conclusions. For instance, it can be imagined that it is just an error in the manuscript, which in this case happens to agree with a scholarly conjecture.

As much as I like the fact that the great Dutch scholar Grotius is mentioned in the Nestle apparatus - though H.J. de Jonge rightly points out that this conjecture is not Grotius’ greatest achievement -, Grotius’ name should be replaced by Cappellus’ in future editions, if the conjecture is mentioned at all. In view of its important reception history, it still seems ‘noteworthy’.

1Grotius: Annotationes VI, Groningen, Zuidema, 1828), p. 555: ‘Assentior Codicibus si qui pro δεκατεσσάρων habent τεσσάρων [quatuor]. Cum enim numeri per notas scriberentur, facile fieri potuit ut ante δ΄ per errorem ἰ adderetur: et ex uno saepe exemplari scripturae vitia in multa fluxisse alia, ostendimus ad Luc. 4: 26 et alibi. In numeris autem plurimos admissos errores ab exscribentibus apertum fecimus ad multa Veteris Testamenti loca. Nihil autem credibilius reperio quam notari hic illud ipsum Pauli iter cuius mentio Act. 15: 2, quod non potest totis quatuordecim annis posterius fuisse aut conversione Pauli, aut etiam, si quid id malit, fine Arabicae peregrinationis.’
2Henk Jan de Jonge, ‘Grotius as an Interpreter of the Bible, Particularly the New Testament,’ in Robert Feenstra e.a, Hugo Grotius: A Great European 1583-1645. Contributions Concerning his Activities as a Humanist Scholar, Delft, Meinema, 1983, pp. 59-65 (ET of ‘Grotius als uitlegger van de bijbel, speciaal het Nieuwe Testament’, in Het Delfts orakel. Hugo de Groot 1583-1645, Delft, Het Prinsenhof, 1983, pp. 121-128), p. 64.
3Wiliiam Bowyer, Critical Conjectures, 41812, p. 508.
4Johannes Marinus Simon Baljon, Novum Testamentum Graece, Groningen, Wolters, 1898.
5Johann Georg Reiche, Commentarius Criticus in N.T. quo loca graviora et difficiliora lectionis dubiae accurate recensentur et explicantur. Tomus II. Epistolas Apostoli Pauli minores continens, Göttingen, Vandenhoeck et Ruprecht, 1859, pp. 1-10.
6Ludwig Dindorf, Chronicon Paschale ad exemplar Vaticanum recensuit ... (Corpus scriptorum historiae Byzantinae (ed. B.G. Niebuhr)), Vol. I, Bonn, Weber, 1832, p. 436 ll. 16-18.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

6. What now? - Cramer on Gal 1:10

This is the sixth instalment of the series on conjectures in the Nestle editions (see the sidebar).
The current Nestle-Aland edition (NA27) of the Greek New Testament mentions a conjecture by ‘J. Cramer’ on the text of Gal 1:10; according to the apparatus, Cramer proposes to read τί instead of ἄρτι. One understands immediately that the conjecture is more than just the omission of αρ-. The text as it stands is ἄρτι γὰρ ἀνθρώπους πείθω ἢ τὸν θεόν; - ‘Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?’ (RSV). With the conjecture, the text becomes: τί γάρ; ἀνθρώπους πείθω ἢ τὸν θεόν; - ‘What then? Am I seeking the favor of men, or of God?’
As usual in this series, the source of the conjecture comes first, then the discussion and subsequent history.
The conjecture can be found in a book by the Utrecht professor Jacob Cramer (1833-1895): De brief van Paulus aan de Galatiërs in zijn oorsponkelijken vorm hersteld, en verklaard (‘Paul’s letter to the Galatians restored in its original form, and explained’), Utrecht, Breijer, 1890. The book is actually part VI of the series or journal Nieuwe bijdragen op het gebied van godgeleerdheid en wijsbegeerte (‘New contributions on theology and philosophy’). The conjecture itself is discussed in the commentary on pp. 23-27 and can also be found in the restored text on p. 292 and the Dutch translation on p. 311.
The surprise, almost usual in conjecture studies, is that Cramer’s conjecture on this verse is actually larger than just the change from ἄρτι γάρ ... to  τί γάρ; ... Cramer uses ‘thorough-going’ conjectural criticism and rewrites the entire first halve of the verse. In his hands, ἄρτι γὰρ ἀνθρώπους πείθω ἢ τὸν θεόν; ἢ ζητῶ ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσκειν; becomes τί γάρ; εἰ ἀνθρώπους πείθω, μὴ ζητῶ ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσκειν; - ‘For what? If I try to win people [for the gospel], I do not try to please people, do I?’
I will not burden this post with Cramer’s complicated four-step reasoning in support of his conjecture. Instead, let us see how it arrived in the Nestle editions in such a ‘reduced’ form.
What we find in the Nestle apparatus is actually the part of Cramer’s conjecture accepted by Schmiedel, one of the Nestles (father and son) most important advisors. In his article on Galatians in Cheyne and Black’s Encyclopaedia Biblica, Schmiedel writes (Vol. 2 (1901), c. 1618):
In 1 10 the conjectural emendation τί γάρ, with the mark of interrogation instead of the present ἄρτι γάρ, has much to recommend it (as in Rom 3 3; in Gal. ἄρτι occurs immediately before, in 1 9); ...

In this short form, the conjecture was included in the Nestle apparatus, from N13 onwards (1927). As it stands there, its most striking aspect to me is a complete lack of context. Cramer, the author who is mentioned, wanted to apply rigorous conjectural criticism in order to maintain the Pauline authorship of Galatians against those ‘hypercritics’ who regard the letter as a bad effort of Pauline letter-writing by someone who knew Romans. Schmiedel, the one responsible for the conjecture in its current form, wanted to do the same, but without assuming, as Cramer apparently did, that Paul expresses himself clearly at all points. Therefore, Schmiedel had far less need of conjectural emendation, but applied it nevertheless. Gal 1:10 provides a nice example of Cramer and Schmiedel’s respective positions.

1. Cramer’s book can nowadays be found on Google Books (yet another reason to learn Dutch), just as Vol. 2 of the Encyclopaedia Biblica. However access to full-text versions may be limited outside the US.

2. As usual, more conjectures addressing the same problem can be found, e.g. by Owen, Baljon, and Naber.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

For the Dutch only: four lectures in Utrecht on 6 February 2009

Four public lectures on the Bible in the Netherlands will be given on 6 February in the University Library in Utrecht. Two of us will participate: Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte on the diversity of modern Dutch Bible translations (the title of his lecture itself is impossible to translate), and Jan Krans on the many wanderings of Codex Boreelianus. The lectures will be in Dutch.

Therefore the full announcement here in Dutch (I do not guarantee good results with Babel Fish):

De Bijbel in Nederland – vier openbare lezingen

Op vrijdag 6 februari 2009 organiseert het departement Godgeleerdheid van de faculteit Geesteswetenschappen een openbare lezingendag over diverse aspecten van de Bijbel in Nederland. De dag staat in het kader van het project De Codex Boreelianus: een verknipt evangelie. Een tentoonstelling met die titel zal diezelfde dag geopend worden in het Universiteitsmuseum.
Tegelijkertijd is er een fototentoonstelling in de Universiteitsbibliotheek, onder de titel De Bijbel: het Woord van God als mensenwerk.

9.45-10.15 koffie en ontvangst in de Boothzaal
10.15-10.30 Bart Jaski: Introductie
10.30-11.15 Jan Krans: Codex Boreelianus. De omzwervingen van een evangelieboek
11.15-12.00 Hermine Pool: De bijbelse tempel. Beeldvorming in het Nederland van de zeventiende en achttiende eeuw
12.00-13.00 lunch op eigen gelegenheid
13.00-13.45 Annette Merz: Ingrijpen in de tekst van het Nieuwe Testament. Meekijken over de schouders van kopiïsten en tekstcritici
13.45-14.30 Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte De uiteengevallen Bijbel. Nederlandse bijbelvertalingen anno 2009
15.30-16.30 In aansluiting op de lezingendag volgt de opening van de tentoonstelling Een verknipt evangelie over de Codex Boreeli­anus in het Universiteitsmuseum aan de Lange Nieuwstraat, met borrel.

Deelnemers aan de dag hebben gratis toegang. Zie voor informatie over het museum.

De Codex Boreelianus is een Grieks evangeliehandschrift uit de tiende eeuw, één van de topstukken van de Universiteitsbibliotheek Utrecht. Lopend onderzoek naar dit handschrift is de aanleiding voor de lezin­gendag en de beide tentoonstellingen. De foto toont het – gehavende – begin van het evangelie van Johannes: ‘In het begin was het woord ...’ De eerste letter ε heeft de vorm van een zegenende hand.
Bart Jaski is conservator handschriften van de Universiteitsbibliotheek Utrecht
Jan Krans is universitair docent Nieuwe Testament aan het Departement Godge­leerdheid, Universiteit Utrecht
Hermine Pool is conservator van het Bijbels Museum, Amsterdam
Annette Merz is hoogleraar Cultuur- en Literatuurgeschiedenis van het Vroegste Christendom aan het Departement Godgeleerdheid, Universiteit Utrecht
Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte is hoogleraar Nieuwe Testament aan de Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

RBL on NTTC books

Among the latest additions to RBL, two interesting reviews of NTTC books:

  1. J. K. Elliott reviews J. Harold Greenlee, The Text of the New Testament: From Manuscript to Modern Edition. Warning/recommendation: a very critical review!
  2. Marcus Sigismund reviews U. B. Schmid, with W. J. Elliott and D. C. Parker, The New Testament in Greek IV: The Gospel according to St. John: Volume 2: The Majuscules.