Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Homer's Odyssy in Contemporary Scholarship

Barbara Graziosi and Johannes Haubold have a helpful review of Martin West's new edition of Homer's Odyssey that might be of interest for those following broader developments in textual scholarship. One of the most interesting passages for me was their treatment of the early papyri and the question of the orality of the Homeric epics:

"Beyond specific insights about individual passages, the new papyri confirm that the degree of textual variation in Homer is modest compared to the multiformity attested in other oral traditions. As we have argued specifically in relation to the Iliad, even the ‘so-called “wild papyri” are not as wild as all that’."

HT Agade

Monday, December 3, 2018

Catalogue of Kennicott Manuscripts

Idan Dershowitz has put online a helpful catalogue of manuscripts utilized by Kennicott with links to the National Library of Israel entries, often with digital images. This is a great resource for the sources of Kennicott's collations.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

National Geographic Bible Hunters

National Geographic has posted an article Inside the cloak-and-dagger search for sacred texts. While much of it will be familiar to those following the field, the article contains numerous interesting interviews and is a good survey of important developments.

HT Peter Head

Monday, October 22, 2018

Reconsidering the Date of EGLev

Brill has graciously decided to grant free access to its first volume of Textus. That means that, in addition to other interesting articles, you can freely download my recently published article on Hebrew paleography and EGLev, Reconsidering the Date of the En-Gedi Leviticus Scroll (EGLev): Exploring the Limitations of the Comparative-Typological Paleographic Method.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Hebrew Transcription in Origen's Secunda

I just received news on Agade that Benjamin P. Kantor has put up his 2017 dissertation on Academia.edu, entitled The Second Column (Secunda) of Origen's Hexapla in Light of Greek Pronunciation. Scanning through it briefly it looks like a very interesting contribution to the discussion of Hebrew pronunciation and vocalization in the Roman period.

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Hazards of Paleographic Dating

I have an article in press with Textus on the dating of the charred En-Gedi Leviticus scroll (EGLev), which I suggest should probably be dated to the 3rd-4th centuries CE. One comparandum I intentionally did not include was Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms. Heb. d.89 (P) i, a small Hebrew Exodus fragment from Oxyrhynchus, because uncertainties about its date made it an unreliable anchor for the typology. Yardeni dated it to the 2nd-3rd centuries, but in the Textus article I suggest it could also be dated later (maybe as late as the 4th-5th centuries) based on comparison with EGLev and the archeological context (most Greek papyri found alongside the Oxford fragment were from the 3rd-5th centuries). I recently reread Engel's paleographic analysis of the London-Ashkar Exodus manuscript (7th-8th centuries) and realized that I failed to note in my article that Engel dates the Oxford fragment to the 7th-8th centuries on the basis of similarities with London-Ashkar! Thus, this rare Exodus fragment is dated variously from the 2nd-8th centuries by the foremost specialists in the field. If that doesn't make you skeptical of overly-precise paleographic dating, I don't know what will. :) In the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls, I have even seen proposed paleographic date ranges narrower than 20 years...


Photo credits: EGLev courtesy of Brent Seales; Oxf d.89 (P) i from Engel and Mishor, "An Ancient Scroll of the Book of Exodus"; London-Ashkar courtesy of the 19th Century Rare Book and Photograph Shop, Brooklyn, New York.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Critical Edition of the Samaritan Pentateuch

I just got a book notice that Stefan Schorch's first volume of the large critical edition of the Samaritan Pentateuch is almost out on the book of Leviticus. He kindly gave me a preliminary version of his Exodus edition, which was very helpful during my dissertation work, so I am confident this will be a very valuable resource for the field.