Sunday, June 4, 2023

New Witnesses to Origen's Text of the Psalms

Felix Albrecht on the Göttingen Psalter Project's blog announces new identifications of catena manuscripts that attest to Origen's Septuagint text according to the Hexapla. Note well that this is the text (perhaps only lightly edited?) that Origen used for the LXX column in his Hexapla of the Psalms (Felix calls it the Origenic recension), not a heavily edited recension or thoroughgoing edition of the Psalms (which Felix calls a Hexaplaric recension). This new data is critical, since this Origenic text is not well preserved in the tradition but is often very close to the Old Greek. The new grouping suggested is: O = 1098(ο′)-1121-1209-Ga.

HT Ryan Sikes

Friday, June 2, 2023

Manufacturing Egyptian Scribal Palettes

Chip Hardy just showed me a fascinating lecture by James Terry for ARCE on how to make replicas of Egyptian scribal palettes. These kinds of palettes also seem to have been used by Israelite/Judahite scribes up until the Hellenistic period, when they changed to using split-nibbed reed pens with ink wells. For more info, see my article here.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Lead Ruling on Herculaneum Papyri

A recent Nature article has observed lead ruling on several Herculaneum papyri, including three different patterns:

1. top, bottom, and left column borders;

2. top, bottom, and both left and right column borders;

3. top, bottom, left, and right column borders AND horizontal line ruling on each line.

This has long been suspected based on literary references, but here we have it demonstrated in ancient papyri. Scribes apparently had lead discs and rulers that they used to rule the lines in preparation of the layout. Interestingly, these lines are intentionally laid out to produce columns slightly slanting to the right, an aesthetic phenomenon commonly known as Maas's law.

We have a similar situation in some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, where the lines are ruled with a light gray substance sometimes thought by editors to be "diluted ink." See, e.g., 11Q17:

For someone with the time, interest, and technology, it would be interesting to check this and other scrolls noted in Tov's 2004 Scribal Practices book (section 4a) to see whether they are actually also ruled in lead.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

The Original Language of the New Testament

While most scholars agree that the New Testament was originally written in Greek (even if sometimes using Hebrew or Aramaic sources), some writers have suggested that parts or even all of the NT were originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic. This seems to be a topic that comes up regularly in popular discussions, so I teamed up with Logos to write an article summarizing the key evidence and explaining the mainstream position for lay audiences. See the new article: Was the New Testament Written in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek?

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Ancient Inscriptions from Israel / Palestine

The Ancient Inscriptions from Israel / Palestine allows you to search for inscriptions from the land of Israel/Palestine from the Persian period to the Islamic conquest. The catalogue is quite extensive and useful, though for many they do not have images and text available.

Friday, April 21, 2023

The Textual History of the Bible from the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Biblical Manuscripts of the Vienna Papyrus Collection

A new book from Brill has many articles of text-critical interest: The Textual History of the Bible from the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Biblical Manuscripts of the Vienna Papyrus Collection.