At 10:33 AM 4/21/2012, Mike Grondin wrote: Mike, Thanks for following up on this. But then, I m always fascinated by the external evidence of textual
Message 1 of 8
, Apr 21, 2012
At 10:33 AM 4/21/2012, Mike Grondin wrote:
Thanks for following up on this. But then, I'm always fascinated by the
external evidence of textual criticism, and related issues like
Northern Arizona University
Reproduced below is an email
exchange I had with Larry Hurtado the last
couple days. There's nothing confidential in it. As I inferred from his
ECA, he always uses the word 'roll', which he defines as a side-to-side
rolled manuscript (i.e., equivalent to Wikipedia's definition of
He had nothing at all to say about top-to-bottom manuscripts. I have
learned (from Harper's Bible Dictionary) the following about
> scroll (Heb. megillah), a roll of papyrus or
specially prepared leather used
> for writing in antiquity... Papyrus scrolls were imported from
> they had been manufactured since at least 3000 B.C. [HBD, 1985]
So that's where the phrase 'the whole megillah' comes from, eh (:-).
leather "was required by rabbinic tradition" (the copper scroll
among the DSS
being a real oddity) whereas such Christian scrolls as there were, were
apparently papyrus. Anyway, on to my exchange with Hurtado:
[MG, 4/19, 1:54 pm]
Dear Prof. Hurtado,
On my GThomas discussion group, we've been discussing rolls vs.
It looks to me from ECA that you use the word 'roll' for both, but I've
them distinguished as side-to-side (scroll) vs. top-to-bottom (roll). Do
and/or other scholars make that distinction? In any case, I'm interested
that distinction with respect to P.Oxy. 654 and 655. Would the fact that
has two columns indicate that it was from a "scroll"? And the
fact that 654 was
written on the other side of a land survey indicate that it was from a
[LH, 4/19, 3:13 pm]
In some usage, the terms "scroll" and "roll" are
synonyms for the same
sort of object: writing material in continuing sheet rolled up
not used and unrolled when/as read. But some people loosely use
word "scroll" to mean any ancient book. So, with other
work with ancient books, I prefer the word "roll" to designate
sort of object, as distinguished from the codex (a leaf book).
The ancient literary roll was typically written in tall narrow
columns, which ran perpendicular to the roll. So, you held the
in each hand, the roll unrolled horizontally.
P.Oxy 654 is a portion of GThomas on the reverse (outer) side of a
preserved portion of a re-used roll, the inner side used for a
lan[d]-register. Such re-used rolls are common, and often referred
today as "opisthographs" (i.e., writing on the reverse side of
material). Such opisthographs seem to have been personal copies
for study or personal reading.
P.Oxy 655 is an extant portion of a roll, the Gospel of Thomas
on the inner side. It is a miniature roll, whose original
measurement was ca. 16 cm (about the height of a vol in the Loeb
classical library series). Likely a copy used by an
P.Oxy 1 is a portion of a leaf of a codex containing GThomas (and
likely preceded by some other text/s, as the leaf is numbered 11).
for further information on ancient literary
rolls, the best resource is:
William A. Johnson, Bookrolls and Scribes in Oxyrhynchus (Toronto:
University of Toronto Press, 2004)
[MG, 4/19, 4 pm]
Dear Prof. Hurtado,
Thank you for your response. Unfortunately, I was unable to determine the
answer to my question about P.Oxy. 654 and 655 from it. I do, however,
note that you referred to "literary rolls". Would it be correct
to infer, then, that
you distinguish those from, say, "documentary rolls", wherein
the text was
written horizontal to the roll, proceeding from top to bottom rather than
side-to-side? If so, would it be safe to say that P.Oxy. 654 was written
back of (a portion of) a documentary roll, whereas P.Oxy.655
(because it is
columnar) appears to be from a literary roll?
[LH, 4/20, 4:53 am]
The writing on rolls was perpendicular to the length of the roll. That
one held a roll (documentary or literary) horizontally with both hands,
and read the columns, rolling the text from one hand to the other.
There are oodles of ancient representations of people reading
paintings, reliefs, etc. The largest collection and study of these
Theodor Birt, _Die Buchrolle in der Kunst_ (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner,
Both 654 and 655 appear to be remnants of rolls, one of them a
roll and the other written on an unused roll. 654 is the
roll, GThomas written across the fibres on the side of the material
where the fibres run vertical. The documentary text is written on
side where the fibres run horizontally, and that let's us know that
was the original use of that roll.
I hope this is now clear.
I would have liked to question him about top-to-bottom manuscripts,
as well as the claim that it is "likely" that the page-number
(viz., IA=11) indicates that GThomas was preceded by another text,
but it seemed best not to press him any further at this time.
Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.
Changes have not been saved
Press OK to abandon changes or Cancel to continue editing
Your browser is not supported
Kindly note that Groups does not support 7.0 or earlier versions of Internet Explorer.
We recommend upgrading to the latest Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Firefox. If you are using IE 9 or later, make sure you turn off Compatibility View.