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RE: [Synoptic-L] The codex and readings in parallel

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  • David @ Comcast
    The ease of use of an early codex is, I think, debatable. Assuming that early codices were in single-quire form (The extant portions of P5, P46, and P75 were
    Message 1 of 8 , Jun 6, 2006
      The ease of use of an early codex is, I think, debatable. Assuming that
      early codices were in single-quire form (The extant portions of P5, P46, and
      P75 were all single quire codices, so is this a reasonable assumption?),
      then the ease of use is largely determined by both the number of sheets and
      the thickness of the papyrus. For example, P46 originally contained at least
      52 folded sheets of papyrus, each sheet around 0.5 mm thick, or
      approximately seven or eight times the thickness of the paper used in a
      typical modern magazine (Does anyone have a better figure for the thickness
      of an early sheet of papyrus?).

      This resulted in a codex perhaps as much as 5cm (or around 2 inches) thick.
      As I think you can easily see, in a single-quire codex of this thickness the
      outer sheets of papyrus would have been heavily curved towards the fold.
      This is similar to, but much more extreme than, what we see today in a thick
      single-quire magazine, or even some Sunday papers. If the calculations above
      are correct, I think this curving towards the spine pretty much puts paid to
      Skeat's idea of joining together two single-quire 2-gospel codices, because
      of the difficulty of joining the two quires together at the folds.

      Instead, I think it more likely that the first 4-gospel codex would have
      more likely been constructed from much smaller quires. As a result, I don't
      think that anyone would have been even thinking of constructing early
      4-gospel codices. Instead, wherever multiple gospels were co-located, I
      think they would have stayed as separate entities until codices of much
      smaller quires were introduced. Indeed, I could see attempts at joining
      large single-quire (e.g. of the gospels) together as being the impetus that
      drove the creation of codices with smaller (e.g. single-sheet) quires.

      David Inglis


      From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
      Of E Bruce Brooks
      Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2006 10:46 AM
      To: Synoptic
      Cc: GPG
      Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] The codex and readings in parallel

      To: Synoptic-L
      Cc: GPG
      In Response To: John Poirier
      On: Christian Codex
      From: Bruce

      [Sorry, got tricked again. Previous reply went only to John. Here it is
      again in case any of the wider membership has a response. I won't repeat
      here John's private reply to me, as not mine to share; perhaps he will. /

      JOHN: [Skeat] passes up an obvious advantage of the codex in connection
      with that canon: the codex would have allowed an easier time (than a scroll)
      with reading individual pericopes in parallel.

      BRUCE: That seems to assume that the putters-together of *each single* codex
      were looking to the convenience of those who would read *more than one*
      codex. Who would have done this? Text critics, to be sure, and perhaps even
      the late Evangelists, but how large a market was that? The parallel but
      divergent passages seem to be more a hindrance than a help to the modern
      faithful, and the same difficulty seems to have been felt in the early
      Church also, hence the idea of getting rid of all but one of them (Marcion)
      or weaving all of them into a consistent single narrative (Tatian). I can't
      see setting up the medium so as to invite the kind of problem that at least
      some early folk are laboring to solve.

      Does it not suffice to say that "the codex would have allowed an easier time
      with reading individual pericopes?" Unless we assume that, eg, gMk was read
      entire each time it was read at all, that consideration would have applied
      to any preacher or any private reader. It does not require an
      intercongregational scenario. It does not even require a single-congregation
      lectionary scenario, though if gMk, say, was held in esteem by its earliest
      audience, I can imagine having it read through, a pericope at a time, over
      the course of a suitable interval of time.

      I can share my previous figures on how long a given pericope would take to
      read, if desired.


      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst

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