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10334Re: [GTh] Re: Two Improbabilities in the GJW Fragment

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  • Mike Grondin
    Oct 3, 2012
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      > Mike, I'm still not happy with this recto-verso thing.
      Me either, David, but I think I see a way through the confusion.
      Based on a couple things I've read this afternoon, it now seems to me
      that papyrologists have a special meaning for these terms that doesn't
      carry over into - indeed contradicts in some situations - the use of the
      same terms in, say, printing or codicology in general. First, from the
      University of Michigan Papyrus Glossary:
      > The term recto denotes the 'front' side of a papyrus.
      Generally, recto
      > refers to the side of a papyrus roll which would be written on first, where
      > the papyrus fibers ran horizontally, parallel to the
      writing. This can also be
      > thought of as the side of the papyrus that would be inside
      when rolled up.
      Then from Larry Hurtado, The Earliest Christian Artifacts, p.44, fn.4:
      > In many cases, what survives is as little as a single piece of
      > material. But papyrologists can often judge whether it is a
      portion of
      > a larger manuscript ... If the writing on one side appears to be
      > of the same text as that on the other side, we probably have a
      > from a codex. If there is writing only on the "recto" (the side
      > the papyrus fibres running horizontally), then it is likely
      part of a roll.
      So, yes, papyrologists evidently use the terms with respect to both sheets
      and leaves, and the (horizontal) direction of fibres on the best side of the
      GJW fragment is evidently why it was called the 'recto'. One can't, as I did,
      appeal to dictionary definitions of 'recto/verso', since they're apparently
      not only inapplicable to papyrology, but actually contradict its judgements
      upon occasion. (Ex: what we might intuitively think of as the "front side" - 
      hence the recto - of a papyrus leaf may have vertical fibration, hence would
      be verso to the papyrologist. That's because they think in terms of the
      "front side" of papyrus in general, not of individual leaves in a codex.
      So they take a couple of perfectly good words and turn 'em inside out, eh?)
      Mike Grondin
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