Thursday, December 27, 2012

Another Forgery from Turkey

Image flipped from internet news report.

Jack Sasson points out an article in a Turkish newspaper claiming that a 1900-year-old leather Torah scroll has been confiscated by police. An (upside-down) image of the manuscript from the news report shows that this dating is clearly incorrect. The main hand is clearly not anywhere near 2000 years old, and it is so unbelievably sloppy that there is no way it was copied by a skilled scribe. The "Torah" text appears to be complete nonsense, as far as I can tell, and it is certainly not from the Pentateuch. The image quality is too poor to tell what the rest of the text is surrounding the main text. I suspect it is modelled on medieval rabbinic commentaries, but based on the nonsense "Torah" text, I highly doubt it is any such thing. This manuscript appears simply to be a poor-quality forgery.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

DSS Images Online!

I just found out via Jack Sasson that the Israel Antiquities Authority has now put images of all of the DSS up online for publish access here. As far as I can tell, they have most all of the manuscripts online, with each fragment/plate imaged in both visible-light and infrared spectra. The images are of a high quality, and you can easily zoom in to see great detail. I noticed 1QIsa(a) is not given, but this is not a big deal given the Israel Museum images here. Unfortunately the images at the IAA site are not given in position in a scrollable format like the Israel Museum images, but their value is still immeasurable. For the first time ever, scholars now have the complete corpus of DSS in high quality digital images easily available at their fingertips whenever they have internet access. Thank you IAA for all your hard work! It will certainly be worth the effort!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Orthodox Corruption of Scripture in L252

Working through the 11th century Greek Gospels Lectionary 252, I came across an interesting variant in John 3:9-10. In L252, Nicodemus rebukes Jesus for his ignorance of the regenerating work of the Spirit and then proceeds to instruct him with regard to his messianic role. The lectionary lacks πως δυναται ταυτα γενεσθαι; απεκριθη Ιησους και ειπεν αυτω in vv. 9-10, leaving a text that reads:

"Nicodemus answered and said to him, 'Are you the teacher of Israel, and you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you...'"

This shorter, more theologically primitive reading is clearly the initial text of the Gospel, which has been replaced throughout the entire rest of the manuscript tradition. This process of intentional supression of heterodox readings is verified within the manuscript itself by the secondary insertion of the lacking text. The original teaching of the Gospel of John is that Christ was theologically misinformed and needed to be taught by the Jewish religious leaders why he was here...

Alternatively, the text was accidentally dropped out by homoioteleuton (και ειπεν αυτω  και ειπεν αυτω) in this medieval lectionary, but I doubt I could even get a single article out of that... ;)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Electronic Transcription of Greek Gospel Lectionary L252

I recently starting transcribing Lectionary 252 for the International Greek New Testament Project, and it made for an interesting exercise. Someone apparently cut the sole of a shoe out of the first folio, which made transcription quite complicated. :) It was quite helpful to learn and put into practice their transcription guidelines, and I'm sure there will be a future for doing similar things with OT manuscripts. Once full transcriptions are done, data comparison can be done much more quickly and from a much greater variety of angles than normal collation practices.