Friday, September 30, 2016

On the disappearance of accented indefinite τις

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Nowadays students are routinely informed that there's only one accent which matters in Greek: τίς, τί and related forms  mean 'who' and 'what', while τις, τι etc. mean 'a certain'.

That's probably true as far as the texts which modern students read, but it's wrong from a manuscript perspective, wrong historically, and wrong if you care about how the NT was pronounced.

Two passages to illustrate:

Matthew 11:27 where modern editions tend to print οὐδὲ τὸν πατέρα τις ἐπιγινώσκει 'nor does anyone know the father'

However, this is not what the manuscripts contain and we can see how the accent has dropped out during the history of printed editions:

GA 03


GA 560


GA 757


GA 788


GA 1424



Erasmus 1516


Stephanus 1550


Mill 1707



John 13:29 where modern editions tend to print ἵνα τι δῷ 'that he [Judas] might give something'

GA 560


GA 771


GA 788


GA 1424


GA 2907


Erasmus 1516



Stephanus 1550



Mill 1707



Grave accents marking indefinites are also found in manuscripts, but they are much rarer than acute ones. The strong distinction between accented forms for a question and unaccented for an indefinite is artificial. It all depends how much emphasis there is on the indefinite. Manuscripts do not always agree on this, but on many occasions they present wide agreement against modern editions in seeing an indefinite form as marked. I say, let's bring back the accent.

[Copious thanks should be given to the CSNTM for providing images used here and to Peter Montoro for his work in reviewing enclitic vs non-enclitic accents for the Greek New Testament in preparation at Tyndale House, Cambridge, under the editorship of Dirk Jongkind.]

New Article by Roberta Mazza on P39 (among other things)

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Roberta Mazza, ‘Papyri, Ethics, and Economics: A Biography of P.Oxy. 15.1780 (P 39)’, Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologysts, 52 (2015), 113-142.

Abstract: Discussion of the retrieval, distribution, and sale of P.Oxy. 15.1780, a fragment of the Gospel of John (𝔓39), currently in the Green Collection, and the ethical issues involved. An appendix publishes early correspondence about the acquisition of the Rylands papyri.

PMH: This is an interesting article which traces the history (a.k.a. cultural biography) of P39 within the wider context of movements of money and manuscripts in recent years. If you’ve lived through it, this account will refresh your memory; if you haven’t, then you’ll probably find it an interesting and informative read. Our blog plays a (small) part in the story, as does the Green Collection / Museum of the Bible (the current owners of P39). 

The ethical dimension could be brought right up to date by comparison with the (new) SBL Policy on Scholarly Presentation and Publication of Ancient Artifacts.

The ESV Reverses Course

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After announcing last month that they were not going to make any more changes to the ESV ever, Crossway publishers has reversed their decision. The original post has been removed, but it contained some very odd language about the new text being a “permanent text edition” which would remain “unchanged forever, in perpetuity.”

So much for that.

Apparently, they got enough negative feedback (see here and here, for example) that they have reversed course. This seems like a good decision. I didn’t really see the point of the original one. I generally prefer the ESV and use it when I can.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Question from Mike Holmes on the NRSV and UBS3

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Mike Holmes sends this note for readers of the blog:
In the preface to the NRSV, the Committee states that the NRSV is based on UBS3, and that “Only in very rare instances have we replaced the text ... by an alternative.” I know of two, at Luke 11:33 and Acts 16:12, but am wondering if there is a comprehensive list. So, here’s my question: does anyone on the ETC Blog have or know of a list of UBS3—NRSV textual differences?
Any help for Mike? 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Spirit Testimony

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When Hoskier in his Concerning the Text of the Apocalypse talks about Spirit testimony, he means something different from what Peter Gurry was talking about (here).

The following is taken from page xxxviii in Hoskier:

Monday, September 26, 2016

How long will it take to completely revise the Nestle edition?

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We all know that the revisions to the Catholic Epistles were printed in the NA28 and that the revisions for Acts, John, and Revelation are underway as I write. But how long will it take to have a completely revised edition of Nestle? Writing in 2000, here is what Klaus Wachtel said:
A simple calculation shows how important this aspect [of collaboration] is. The first instalment of the Editio Critica Maior comprising the Letter of James was published in 1997. We sent the second instalment (the Letters of Peter, sixteen of 670 pages in the Nestle-Aland pocket edition, without the ten pages of James) to the publisher in 1999. This means that 654 Nestle-Aland pages remain to be edited and that would take another 82 years for the edition to be completed, if we keep working on our own, provided that funding will be available to about the same extent overt whole time. One does not have to be a prophet to see that it is unlikely that we will reach our goal under these condition. This means that it is an urgent task to establish an effective infrastructure for cooperation with editors and other collaborators from outside the Münster institute.*
So we need more places like Münster, Birmingham (UK), and Wuppertal. Perhaps it's time that a US institute joined the labor force.

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*From Klaus Wachtel, “Editing the Greek New Testament on the Threshold of the Twenty-First Century,” Literary and Linguistic Computing 15, no. 1 (2000): 43–50 (48 n. 2).

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Amsterdam Database of New Testament Conjectural Emendation is online

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Over on τον βιβλιον του προσοπου, Jan Krans announces the public arrival of the Amsterdam Database of New Testament Conjectural Emendation. It has now been added to the NT.VMR. This is a fantastic resource many years in the making. Huge congrats to Jan and crew for getting to this stage. Go check it out.

You can learn lots of fascinating things. For example, Alexandros Pallis once proposed removing all of Rom 3.21-26! They should have heeded Bengel’s words: “No conjecture is ever to be regarded. It is far safer to bracket any portion of the text, which may seem inexplicable.”