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Friday, 4 April 2014

Petrus Sabatier, Bibliorum Sacrorum Latinae Versiones Antiquae

While I am working on the preparation of the Bible Index for the critical edition of the works of Meister Eckhart for the Kohlhammer edition (which will encompass both his Latin and his vernacular works), it still helps to consult the 18th century work by Petrus Sabatier, Bibliorum Sacrorum Latinae Versiones Antiquae which is a treasure, as it compares the older Latin readings of Scriptures with the Vulgate text - although I have to add three caveats. When we talk about the Vulgate text, you will quickly discover that this is a scholarly constract (as so many others), and that what we call Vulgate is a broad church which shows a number of varying readings across what I suggest we better call a Vulgate tradition, or even better Vulgate traditions. This is similar to what scholars have termed the Vetus Latina which in itself is an even broader church.
Having bought a relatively inexpensive reprint of Sabater, I also make use of the online available books which, thanks Google, are fully accessible. It is a bit of internet search necessary to find the right links from which you can read the text online or can even download these volumes, so I thought, I give you the links here:
Petrus Sabatier, Bibliorum Sacrorum Latinae Versiones Antiquae I (from Genesis to Iob).
Petrus Sabatier, Bibliorum Sacrorum Latinae Versiones Antiquae II (from Psalms to Macchabees II).
Petrus Sabatier, Bibliorum Sacrorum Latinae Versiones Antiquae III (NT and Apocrypha [III Esdas; IV Esdras] plus Indices).

In 2005, Hugh Houghton has published the revision of Sabatier's work which is undertaken by the Abtei Beuron, and was has been published so far can be found in his list here.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

5th British Patristics Conference

Now that the deadline for abstract submission has passed - we have over 60 contributions accepted that range from earliest Christian writings down to the reception of Patristic literature in the Medieval period. King's College who is this year's host is pleased about the strong list of applications for the conference and - together with those who participate without giving papers - the conference will be almost 100 people strong. It shows that Patristic studies are thriving in the UK and beyond.

Invited speakers for our conferences are Professor Joan Taylor (King's College London) who is giving the opening lecture on "The Empress Helena and the Mystery of the 'True Cross'". The evening lecture will be given by Jörg Rüpke (Max-Weber-Kolleg, Erfurt University, Germany) who is going to speak about "Ancient Lived Religion and Patristics".

If you want to find out more about the conference, click here.

Monday, 10 March 2014

How to supplement content of texts for conservative reasons - a new review by Dr. H. H. Drake Williams III of my "Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity"

Jan Bremmer kindly drew my attention to the recent RBL review of my "Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity" - and it is programmatic that Howard Williams starts off his counter-argument ('should be questioned') by using assumptions ('Would it not be possible that a writer could build upon earlier statements, assuming the importance of what was previously written?')
Of course a lot of things are possible, if we start from right and even wrong assumptions, but I always feel that historians should start with the least assumptions possible. Hence before beginning with what we have to assume or what we have to infer or to correct or insert, instead, historians and theologians start with what they read in their texts, not what they don't read in them, what they don't want to read or what they cannot read in them. If our theories only work when we assume that authors meant or could have written, if they had been of the same mind set as their interpreter, we enter into circular arguments. The latter is the foundation still of much of New Testament scholarship. When, to follow this reviewer, 1 Clement builds on Paul's letters, I think, we should not infer from there that he is conveying Paul as Paul may have seen himself. This would be as if my reviewer would report in his counter-argument what I really wanted to say, quite the opposite, I'd like to state. I cannot follow therefore the argument that the fact of '1 Clem. 24.1, 4–5 dependent upon 1 Cor 15 ... would indicate that the author of 1 Clement built upon the conclusion from 1 Cor. 15 rather than obscuring or abandoning the importance of Christ’s resurrection'.On the question of the reception of the Gospels, I am surprised that the reviewer calls my statement ('recent scholarship on the reception of the later canonical Gospels and Acts up to Irenaeus (ca. 177/180 AD) shows that neither these texts, nor any of their
narratives (the miracles, for example), nor their authors, were ever quoted, acknowledged or referred to by any author prior to Marcion') controversial, pointing to the volume of Gregory and Tuckett of 2005. As you can see from the discussion of this volume in my new Marcion-book (pp. 224ff.), Gregory and Tuckett come to the same conclusion as that one stated in my Resurrection book, when Petersen in this book concludes that the empirical textual observations were devastating for the idea of a "standard" or "established" text of the New Testament in the first half of the second century and that the 'vast majority of passages in the Apostolic Fathers for which one can find likely parallels in the New Testament [and he stated earlier that these were relatively few] have deviations from our present, critically reconstructed New Testament text', and that such deviations were 'not minor ..., but major (a completely new context, a substantial interpolation or omission, a conflation of two entirely separate ideas and/or passages)'. And the result shows that my statement was correct - all these references refer to logia of the Lord, not to narratives.
Again, the further counter-argument deploys the dating of texts, although I stated that dating is not the issue, as the texts that the reviewer then mentions (with the exception of Papias) all refer to Pauline texts which only strengthens my thesis, as I claim that only within the Pauline tradition the Resurrection of Christ remained remembered.
The review is an interesting case how conservativism (a self-description of the author on his website who's purpose is of making Christian disciples) impacts on reading things into texts which historians will hardly find in them.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Marcion and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels (Studia Patristica Supplements 2) has been published

Today, a large parcels with the author's copies have arrived at my desk - and I am glad to announce that the books is now available in bookshops and online shops.

The book opens with the following lines: 'Out of "decent respect for the opinion of others", my monograph Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity (2011), and its then preliminary hypothesis of the Making of the New Testament (a lately added subtitle), put me "under the obligation to do more"' (a quote from William R. Farmer, 1977), and I add: 'Neither then nor now do I intend to provide "the solution to every problem", "the answer to the question of the universe" or try to chase "a particular ghost in the shadows ... with almost paranoid insistence"', but all I am trying to do is 'to shed some more rational liht on a still dark period of the beginnings of Christianity'.
I have just learned that Matthias Klinghardt (Dresden) is going to present a two volume edition (with introduction) of Marcion's Gospel where he has come to one same conclusion (although there are still nuances and differences in detail) that this Gospel is the oldest of its kind and the inspiration and source for other gospels, especially the later canonical ones which have been directly dependent on this one.
Unfortunately I have got to know his manuscript (which is not published yet) to late to engage with it in this book, but it is comforting that two different minds have independently come to very similar conclusions.
Looking forward to his and other's critical comments - as the learning journey is always only a start.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Papyrus Egerton 2 / P. Köln 255, The Gospel of Peter and Marcion

Reading the book by Francis Watson, Gospel Writing (Grand Rapids, Cambridge, 2013), and working on the commentary on Marcion's Gospel (and the reconstruction of its text), especially the two passages on the healing of the leper (par. Luke 5:12-4) and the question of  whether one should pay tax to the king (par. Luke 20:20-6), I noticed that the 'unknown gospel', preserved in the fragments of Papyrus Egerton 2/P. Köln 255, displays the same synoptic feature which I have found with regards to the relation between the Gospel of Peter, the canonical gospels and Marcion (see the previous post on this). 

Hence when Francis Watson in his mentioned study states that a ‘comparison of the Markan version with Matthew 8.1-4 and Luke 5.12-16 does not produce any significant findings in relation to GEger [= Papyrus Egerton 2/P. Köln 255]’,[1] a closer look at the nature of what these papyri preserved us, indeed, sheds further light on the relation between our early Christian gospels.

Here follows Wieland Willker's translation and comments:

Fragment 1 Verso
[...] And Jesus said to the lawyers: "Punish every wrongdoer and transgressor, and not me. [...]* he does, how does he do it?"
And turning to the rulers of the people he said this word: "Search the scriptures, in which you think you have life. These are they, which testify about me. Do not suppose that I have come to accuse you to my father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, in whom you have hoped."
And they said: "We know that God spoke to Moses,but as for you, we do not know, where you are from."
Jesus answered and said to them: "Now is accused your disbelief in those who have been commended by him. For had you believed Moses, you would have believed me. For about me he wrote to your fathers [...]"
------* Possible reconstructions:
"Judge the deeds, how he does, what he does."
"Because an outlaw does not know, how he does, what he does."
"Because it's unexplained, how he does, what he does."
"And see, how he does, what he does."
"Who is condemning, how he does, what he does."

Fragment 1 Recto
[...] and taking up stones together to stone him. And the rulers laid their hands upon him to seize him and hand him over to the crowd. And they could not take him because the hour of his arrest had not yet come. But the Lord himself, escaping from their hands, withdrew from them.
And behold, a leper coming to him, says: "Teacher Jesus, while traveling with lepers and eating together with them in the inn, I myself also became a leper.* If therefore you will, I am clean."
And the Lord said to him: "I will, be clean."
And immediately the leprosy left him. And Jesus said to him: "Go show yourself to the priests and offer concerning the cleansing as Moses commanded and sin no more [...]"
* (Schmidt:) You look for the lepers and were eating with publicans. Have mercy, I am like them.
The original reconstruction is factually impossible (traveling with lepers), therefore this new one.

Fragment 2 Recto
Coming to him, they tested him in an exacting way, saying: "Teacher Jesus, we know that you have come from God, for what you do testifies beyond all the prophets. Therefore tell us, is it lawful to pay to kings the things which benefit their rule? Shall we pay them or not?"
But Jesus, perceiving their purpose and becoming indignant said to them: "Why do you call me teacher with your mouth, not doing what I say? Well did Isaiah* prophesy concerning you, saying: 'This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men...'"
Jes 29:13 (NRS): The Lord said:
"Because these people draw near with their mouths and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote, ..."

Fragment 2 Verso
(unfortunately this fragment is in such a bad state, that it cannot be sufficiently reconstructed. What follows is first the text which can be reconstructed pretty sure and then some more speculative restaurations.)
"(...) shut up (...) has been subjected uncertainly (...) its weight unweighted?"
And when they where perplexed at the strange question, Jesus, as he walked, stood on the lip of the Jordan river, stretching out his right hand, filled it with (...) and sowed upon the (...). And the (...) water (...) the (...). And (...) before them, he brought forth fruit (...) much (...) for joy (...)
(Dodd:) "When a husbandman has enclosed a small seed in a secret place, so that it is invisibly buried, how does its abundance become immeasurable?"
And when they where perplexed at the strange question, Jesus, as he walked, stood still upon the verge of the River Jordan, and stretching out his right hand, he filled it with water and sprinkled it upon the shore. And thereupon the sprinkled water made the ground moist, and it was watered before them and brought forth fruit...
(Schmidt:) "Why is the seed enclosed in the ground, the abundance buried? Hidden for a short time, it will be immeasurable."
And when they where perplexed at the strange question, Jesus, as he walked, stood on the banks of the River Jordan, and stretching out his right hand, he filled it with seed and sowed it upon the ground. And thereupon he poured sufficient water over it. And looking at the ground before them, the fruit appeared...
(Cerfaux:) "(...) enclosed like me, buried, uncertain, and making possible immeasurable abundance?"
And when they where perplexed at the strange question, Jesus, as he walked, stood on the banks of the River Jordan, and stretching out his right hand, he took a fig-tree and planted it in the river. And on the water, the roots spread out and fruit appeared...
(Lietzmann:) And when they where perplexed at the strange question, Jesus, as he walked, stood on the banks of the River Jordan, and stretching out his right hand, he filled it with water and sowed on the ground. And the sprinkled waterpurified(?) the ground. (...) and coming out before them, the fruit appeared.
(Lagrange:) And when they where perplexed at the strange question, Jesus walked at the banks of the River Jordan, and stretching out his right hand, he filled it with sand and sowed seed on the sand. And then he poured running water over it. And it run to seed and coming out before them, the fruit appeared.

Though the fragment cannot be reconstructed sufficiently, the meaning can be found:
A small seed in the ground is hidden and invisible. How does its abundance become immeasurable?
(By growing and bringing fruit.)
To clarify this, Jesus performs a miracle: He walks up to the river Jordan and with the water he gives rise to a spontaneous ripening of fruit. (much, for joy!)
Possible parallel from Ezekiel 17:5-8:
17:5 Then he took a seed from the land, placed it in fertile soil; a plant by abundant waters, he set it like a willow twig. 6 It sprouted and became a vine spreading out, but low; its branches turned toward him, its roots remained where it stood. So it became a vine; it brought forth branches, put forth foliage. [...] 8 it was transplanted to good soil by abundant waters, so that it might produce branches and bear fruit and become a noble vine.

Willker does not provide a translation of the very fragmentary fragment 3 - but from the few characters it seems to follow that a parallel text to John 10:30-9 had been written down.

Let us begin our short investigation by first looking at the list of canonical parallels to Papyrus Egerton 2/P. Köln 255 which have partly already been established by Wieland Willker at his fantastic website on Papyrus Egerton 2/P. Köln 255 (to whom I also owe thanks for the provision of the images above):
1.      Debate over Credentials (l. 1-24):
John 5:39, 5:45, 9:29, 5:46-7 (see also John 3:2, 7:27-8, 8:14, 10:25, 12:31)
2.      Attempt to Seize Jesus (l. 25-34)
John 10:31, 8:59, 7:30, 8:20, 10:39 (see also TG 1:9 = Luke 4:30)
3.      The Healing of the Leper (l. 35-47)
Matth. 8:2-4, Mark 1:40-4, Luke 5:12-4, 17:12-9 (only the last part [do not sin anymore]: John 5:14, 8:11)
4.      Debate with False Questioners (l. 50-66)
Matth. 22:15-22, Mark 12:13-7, Luke 20:20-6 (= TG 16), TG 2:46 (see also Matth. 15:7-9, Mark 7:6-7, Luke 6:46, John 3:2)
5.      Miraculous Fruit (l. 67-82)
No clear parallel
6.      Further Violence Against Jesus (l. 89-94)
John 10:30-9
We can take from this list the following:
The opening text of what has been preserved of this unknown gospel (section 1 and 2 of Papyrus Egerton 2/P. Köln 255) has close parallels with John, but with none other of the canonical gospels. There are neither parallels in this section with Marcion’s Gospel. As soon as there are parallels, however, a very interesting observation can be made. Beginning with section 3 of Papyrus Egerton 2/P. Köln 255, – and only in those texts parallel between the unknown Gospel and Marcion’s Gospel do we also find literal parallels between this unknown gospel and the Synoptics. Where Marcion’s text ends, the parallelism among the Synoptics and the unknown gospel breaks off. Similar with section 4 of Papyrus Egerton 2/P. Köln 255. The question of the tribute money is part of Marcion’s Gospel, and again we find literal parallels between the Synoptics and the unknown gospel. Yet, the final section 5 of what is preserved has neither a parallel with Marcion nor do we find parallels with the Synoptics.
We can conclude: Very similar to what I previously have shown with regards to the Gospel of Peter it is also the case with the unknown gospel of Papyrus Egerton 2/P. Köln 255 that the mentioned fragmentary gospels, the Synoptics (and sometimes even John) provide parallel text (often literal parallels) with each other and with Marcion’s Gospeltext, where this exists and is attested for. As soon as Marcion’s text is missing or verses declared as being absent by our early witnesses, the parallelism between the other gospels (canonical and non-canonical) stops, or is reduced to dual parallelisms (as for example between the unknown gospel and John), or we find singular traditions in any of these gospels.

[1] F. Watson, Gospel Writing (2013), 322.

In an email, a colleague replied to this post:

Dear Markus, I read your recent post on Papyrus Egerton2 with its fascinating observations. I enclose an early thesis done by a Japanese scholar in Germany. Helmut Koester depended on it heavily in his treatment of the papyrus which led him to believe that it is independent from the known synoptic Gospels. it's primitive character though could support your idea that this could be Marcion's. However, a question came to my mind when I read it for the first time; in the saying:

Coming to him, they tested him in an exacting way, saying: "Teacher Jesus, we know that you have come from God, for what you do testifies beyond all the prophets. Therefore tell us, is it lawful to pay to kings the things which benefit their rule? Shall we pay them or not?"

I noticed that the author strips the saying of its narrative character in the Synoptic tradition (Jesus standing before the public while the Pharisees and Herodians try to entrap him by asking him whether to render the taxes to the Caesar). The story in the synoptic tradition has specific characters (Caesar, Pharisees and Herodians) and a plot that fits perfectly in the controversies of tax-paying and the Temple in Judaea.  in Papyrus Egerton2 Caesar is rendered to "kings..." no mention of the Pharisees and Herodians (unless they were mentioned before "Coming to him" in a lost fragment).  The saying becomes an Apophthegmata leading to a timeless Wisdom saying (what to do with the political authority.. whatever it is "kingS")
This makes me question why would the Egerton2 story would be presumed earlier while a tendency to strip the saying of its Sitz im Leben could be inferred? 

Here my answer to my colleague:

You have picked the right text - which, as you will see, will support the hypothesis that P. Egerton 2 is related to Marcion and, in this instance, a more truthful witness to Marcion than to the Synoptics. While Luke 20:20 is not attested for (hence, we don't know whether Marcion referred to the procurator), it is very interesting that Tertullian, giving us in Adv. Marc. IV 19.7 the information that 'that question about tribute money' he read in Marcion's Gospel and then quotes: 'And there came to him Pharisees, testing him'. Already Jason D. BeDuhn in his new book on The First New Testament. Marcion's Scriptural Canon (Salem, 2013), 180 notes that 'this wording is not found in any witness to Loke or any of the Synoptic parallels', and then adds: 'but cf. Papyrus Egerton 2: "And they, coming to test him, said ..."' Whether or not Luke 20:20 was missing, in Marcion we seem to have a reference to the Pharisees, not the Herodians. So, in Marcion, the saying has a Sitz im Leben, even if it is not as explicit as in the Synoptic tradition (which has the tendency to elaborate on historical details to make their text sound older and more historical than the one by Marcion), while Egerton2 has, indeed stripped the saying off. If you follow my argument - then Marcion seem to have been earlier than Egerton2 (had the Synoptics copied from Egerton2 or from an earlier tradition, Watson's hypothetical Sayings Collection, why would they not have copied the ending of the leper story by Egerton2, but broke off and went their own ways, as soon as Marcion's text had come to an end? If however, Egerton2 is relying on Marcion, the textual parallel between Marcion's Gospel and Egerton2 is explained and the wisdom character of the Apophthegma in Egerton2. As we don't have Marcion's wording of par. Luke 20:21-3, but only Tertullian's witness for par. Luke 20:24-5 Egerton2 may be closer to Marcion than the Synoptics, when Egerton2 states that Jesus has come from God and what he does testifies beyond all the prophets. Both, the coming from God and Jesus' action as surpassing the prophets sound Marcionite.