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Re: [GTh] Two Improbabilities in the GJW Fragment

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... Perhaps I misremember, but I believe there is software currently available that can provide statistics on how often two words occur together, and perhaps
    Message 1 of 22 , Sep 29, 2012
      At 07:47 PM 9/29/2012, David Hindley wrote:


      Mike,
       
      Wouldn't the likelihood be dependent upon subject matter and genre? I bet you could find several cases in the GOT or any of the books of the NHL where any particular word or word phrase appears on the same "line" somewhere on both sides of the parchment.

      Perhaps I misremember, but I believe there is software currently available that can provide statistics on how often two words occur together, and perhaps distinguishing between "previous" and "next". What language the database has in it should not matter much, as long as it can be segmented into words.

      And as long as you can segment the words into "lines" by some text marker such as a slash, it should not be that difficult to extend such software to measure co-occurrence on the same line. In fact, I'll bet someone on this list knows exactly what I'm talking about.

      Bob Schacht
      Northern Arizona University
    • Mike Grondin
      ... Sure, partially. I don t know how to calculate it exactly, but it would depend on the typical density of the given word in the supposed genre. With respect
      Message 2 of 22 , Sep 30, 2012
        [Dave Hindley]:
        > Wouldn't the likelihood be dependent upon subject matter and genre?
         
        Sure, partially. I don't know how to calculate it exactly, but it would depend
        on the typical density of the given word in the supposed genre. With respect
        to 'MAAY', it seems to me that it isn't used very often in any NHC text, nor
        is the Greek equivalent used very often in any NT text. It would be used
        even less often with the possessive 'my'. It would, of course, be used more
        often in a treatise on parenting; but that isn't what we've got here.
         
        > I bet you could find several cases in the GOT or any of the books of the
        > NHL where any particular word or word phrase appears on the same "line"
        > somewhere on both sides of the parchment.
         
        Probably, but that wouldn't prove anything. For one thing, having the same
        line number doesn't mean having the same vertical position. One would have
        to measure carefully from, say, the top of the leaf. More importantly,
        however,  the chance of intra-leaf equiverticality (how's that for a made-up
        term?) is proportional to the relative density of the occurrence of the word.
        (Simply put, the more there are, the greater the chances). Contrast 'IC', for
        example. That word occurs 102 times in Coptic Thomas. Since MAAY
        occurs only 9 times (and TA-MAAY but thrice), the chance of 'IC' appearing
        in the same vertical position front and back of the same leaf in CGTh is more
        than 10 times that of 'MAAY' and more than 33 times that of 'TA-MAAY'. 
        Similar remarks apply to other common words/phrases.
         
        Interestingly, CGTh presents a better than average chance of equal
        vertical alignment of 'MAAY', since seven of the nine occurrences of
        that word appear on the front and back of one leaf - pages 49 and 50.
        Yet the closest that any pair comes to being in the same vertical position on
        both sides of that leaf is about five lines. On the one side of the leaf (p.49),
        the word appears on lines 22, 25, 33, 35, and 36. On the other side (p.50), it
        appears on lines 1 and 17. So even in this case, when the word occurs
        multiple times on both sides of a leaf, it doesn't come very close to having
        the same vertical position front and back. And remember, this is the
        word 'MAAY' without even considering whether it's prefixed by 'TA-'.
         
        BTW, 'MAAY' occurs 10 times in the Gospel of Philip on 7 different pages.
        In only one case does it occur on consecutive pages (82 and 83), but it's not
        the same leaf, and anyway the vertical positions aren't close.
         
        Mike Grondin
        p.s. FYI: In addition to most of pages 32 and 51, Coptic GThom occupies
        9 whole leafs of Codex II: pp. 33-34, 35-36, 37-38, 39-40, 41-42, 43-44,
        45-46, 47-48, and 49-50.
      • Wieland
        ... What do you mean by negative ? An ink test can only be decisive if it finds something modern in the ink, either one finds a modern chemical or the
        Message 3 of 22 , Sep 30, 2012
          --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
          >
          > As scholars await the ink test on the GJW fragment (which, however,
          > as I understand it, can be decisive only if negative),

          What do you mean by "negative"?
          An ink test can only be decisive if it finds something "modern" in the ink, either one finds a modern chemical or the composition can be shown to be modern.
          If a forger emulates ancient ink correctly, it would be extremely difficult to prove this.

          What made me pause was the alleged statement by Prof. Fecht, "Fecht meint, daß dies ein Beweis (proof) für eine mögliche Ehe sein könnte." Such a bold statement apears quite improbable for a German professor, but it is transmitted only via someone else, so it may be inaccurate. Perhaps something like "Hinweis" (sign, hint) was meant.

          If I would be a professor of Aegyptology I would try to publish something about this fragment. If Fecht really has seen it, his uninterested reaction is strange.

          Best wishes
          Wieland
        • Ian Brown
          Hey all, seems to me there is a lot of neigh-saying going on re: whether or not GosJesWife was written in the 4th or 20th century. Also seems to me this
          Message 4 of 22 , Sep 30, 2012
            Hey all,

            seems to me there is a lot of neigh-saying going on re: whether or not GosJesWife was written in the 4th or 20th century. Also seems to me this "debate" has been rather one sided with very little critique of the neigh-saying position to be found (or reported). Well I thought I would provide a little push-back in the form of a very nice critique of Watson's thesis by Timo S. Pannanen (finder's credit to Bill Arnal). Pannanen has written a short (5 pages) response to Watson, arguing that his methods for identifying GosJesWife as a modern forgery are fundamentally flawed. He concludes

            "Watson’s method, in which he hunts out parallel words from a large text mass, cannot tell the difference between authentic and fake passages, and has no bearing on the question of authenticity of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. Once the question of authenticity is settled for (modern) forgery, however, it can be used to shed light on the composition procedure of the text."

            The entire paper can be found here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/09/timo-s-paananen-on-methods-of-forgery-detection-and-the-gospel-of-jesus-wife.html

            Also, as an aside, two predictions: ink analysis will NOT show that the ink in GosJesWife contains modern chemicals. And in spite of this, neigh-sayers as to GosJesWife's date will continue neigh-saying. It just seems to me the reasons for declaring GosJesWife a modern forgery are too politically and religiously loaded. But maybe I'm too pessimistic.

            Ian Brown
          • Ian Brown
            Oops, Paananen, not Pannanen. Apologies ian brown ________________________________ From: Ian Brown To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
            Message 5 of 22 , Sep 30, 2012
              Oops, Paananen, not Pannanen. Apologies

              ian brown



              From: Ian Brown <ianbrown6796@...>
              To: "gthomas@yahoogroups.com" <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2012 4:32:10 PM
              Subject: [GTh] Another voicein the GosJesWife debate

               
              Hey all,

              seems to me there is a lot of neigh-saying going on re: whether or not GosJesWife was written in the 4th or 20th century. Also seems to me this "debate" has been rather one sided with very little critique of the neigh-saying position to be found (or reported). Well I thought I would provide a little push-back in the form of a very nice critique of Watson's thesis by Timo S. Pannanen (finder's credit to Bill Arnal). Pannanen has written a short (5 pages) response to Watson, arguing that his methods for identifying GosJesWife as a modern forgery are fundamentally flawed. He concludes

              "Watson’s method, in which he hunts out parallel words from a large text mass, cannot tell the difference between authentic and fake passages, and has no bearing on the question of authenticity of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. Once the question of authenticity is settled for (modern) forgery, however, it can be used to shed light on the composition procedure of the text."

              The entire paper can be found here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/09/timo-s-paananen-on-methods-of-forgery-detection-and-the-gospel-of-jesus-wife.html

              Also, as an aside, two predictions: ink analysis will NOT show that the ink in GosJesWife contains modern chemicals. And in spite of this, neigh-sayers as to GosJesWife's date will continue neigh-saying. It just seems to me the reasons for declaring GosJesWife a modern forgery are too politically and religiously loaded. But maybe I'm too pessimistic.

              Ian Brown


            • Mark Goodacre
              Timo s essay has been on the web for a couple of days and I am surprised that people apparently find it telling. It is an amusing parody of Watson s essay but
              Message 6 of 22 , Sep 30, 2012
                Timo's essay has been on the web for a couple of days and I am surprised that people apparently find it telling. It is an amusing parody of Watson's essay but does not actually engage the case.  The key point about Watson's analysis is that the Jesus Wife Fragment appears to be dependent specifically on our Coptic Thomas from NH II.  In other words, we are not talking about literary parallels between Greek works (like Matthew and Mark or Egerton and John) but detailed parallels between one Coptic text (Jesus Wife fragment) and another Coptic text (Coptic Thomas from NH).  The reason the verbatim agreements + line breaks are important is that they suggest dependence on one specific textual witness.  As I see it, there are two options here.  Either the author of the Jesus fragment got hold of NH II before it went into the jar in the ? late fourth century or after it came out in 1945.  I don't think we can rule out that s/he got hold of it before it went into the jar but, on balance, it is much more likely that the author got hold of it in the modern period where that one witness has been reproduced so many times in both print and electronic versions.  All best, Mark

                On 30 September 2012 16:32, Ian Brown <ianbrown6796@...> wrote:
                 

                Hey all,

                seems to me there is a lot of neigh-saying going on re: whether or not GosJesWife was written in the 4th or 20th century. Also seems to me this "debate" has been rather one sided with very little critique of the neigh-saying position to be found (or reported). Well I thought I would provide a little push-back in the form of a very nice critique of Watson's thesis by Timo S. Pannanen (finder's credit to Bill Arnal). Pannanen has written a short (5 pages) response to Watson, arguing that his methods for identifying GosJesWife as a modern forgery are fundamentally flawed. He concludes

                "Watson’s method, in which he hunts out parallel words from a large text mass, cannot tell the difference between authentic and fake passages, and has no bearing on the question of authenticity of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. Once the question of authenticity is settled for (modern) forgery, however, it can be used to shed light on the composition procedure of the text."

                The entire paper can be found here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/09/timo-s-paananen-on-methods-of-forgery-detection-and-the-gospel-of-jesus-wife.html

                Also, as an aside, two predictions: ink analysis will NOT show that the ink in GosJesWife contains modern chemicals. And in spite of this, neigh-sayers as to GosJesWife's date will continue neigh-saying. It just seems to me the reasons for declaring GosJesWife a modern forgery are too politically and religiously loaded. But maybe I'm too pessimistic.

                Ian Brown




                --
                Mark Goodacre           
                Duke University
                Department of Religion
                Gray Building / Box 90964
                Durham, NC 27708-0964    USA
                Phone: 919-660-3503        Fax: 919-660-3530

                http://www.markgoodacre.org


              • Mike Grondin
                Response to Wieland and more for David: Wieland: As to the ink test, I have to apologize for bad wording. I was trying to say what you did, but it didn t come
                Message 7 of 22 , Sep 30, 2012
                  Response to Wieland and more for David:
                   
                  Wieland: As to the ink test, I have to apologize for bad wording.
                  I was trying to say what you did, but it didn't come out right.
                  As to Fecht, he died in 2006, according to King's paper.
                   
                  David: A possibility occurred to me after sending off my note.
                  If the GJW fragment is from a dialogue in which Jesus is talking
                  to the disciples about his childhood, then the expected frequency
                  of 'my mother' would be substantially greater than its actual
                  frequency in the NHC or NT. This is small consolation, though,
                  since the possibility seems remote. Furthermore (if I may add
                  another oddity), it seems odd that the scribe's lettering would
                  change so dramatically from one side of a leaf to the other.
                  Not only are the letters somewhat taller, but the space between
                  lines is larger. King says that the writing has been judged to be
                  from the same hand, and if that's so, it rules out multiple scribes,
                  but the recto has 8 lines, while the verso has only room for 7.
                  Why did the scribe decide to space his lines differently on
                  the two sides of the fragment? (I don't think this can have been
                  due to the varying direction of fibres on the two sides, as I
                  can find no evidence of that in the NHC facsimiles.)
                   
                  Mike Grondin
                • Bob Schacht
                  ... Take a look at P46, in which the scribe ran out of room, and realized that he was going to run out of room several pages before the end, which he dealt
                  Message 8 of 22 , Sep 30, 2012
                    At 10:09 PM 9/30/2012, Mike Grondin wrote:
                    ...Why did the scribe decide to space his lines differently on
                    the two sides of the fragment...

                    Take a look at P46, in which the scribe
                    ran out of room, and realized that he was going to run out of room several pages before the end, which he dealt with by decreasing the size of the letters, narrowing the margins, squeezing more lines on each page, etc. Writing size is tailored to the amount of space available. So, the obvious indication is that the scribe needed to get more on the page where the line spacing is tighter.

                    Bob Schacht
                    Northern Arizona University

                    PS In case it didn't survive transmission through cyberspace, the words "Scribe ran out of room" were written above with increasingly smaller type.
                  • Mike Grondin
                    Hi Ian, Many thanks for your link to McGrath s blog entry on Pannanen s critique of Watson. I had been intending to reference both that and Michael Peppard s
                    Message 9 of 22 , Oct 1, 2012
                      
                      Hi Ian,
                       
                      Many thanks for your link to McGrath's blog entry on Pannanen's critique of
                      Watson. I had been intending to reference both that and Michael Peppard's
                      critique, because I think we should listen to both sides, but never got around
                      to it. (Peppard's critique is linked to in McGrath's expression of concern about
                      Watson's method on Sept 26th:)
                       
                       
                      I read both Peppard's and Pannanen's critique, thinking at the time that the
                      latter was much stronger than the former. I wasn't able to judge Pannanen's
                      argument properly, though, since I couldn't understand the Greek without
                      further research, and I never got to that. I did notice that he tied a single
                      letter at the end of his fragment to a certain text, and that seemed rather in
                      the nature of parody, as Mark suggests. Since then, I've become less entranced
                      with Pannanen's view, for two reasons: (1) Watson has since revised his paper
                      to incorporate Andrew Bernhard's results, thereby mooting Pannanen's major
                      objection that Watson had linked the fragment to several different texts (or in
                      one case, none), and (2) in the interchange between Pannanen and Ulrich
                      Schmidt in the comments attached to the McGrath blog-entry you supplied,
                      Schmidt seemed to have the best of it, as Pannanen admits:
                       
                      "Ulrich Schmid is absolutely right in claiming that the "real"
                      (i.e. "palaeographically sound") context for this fragment is Jh 5.46.
                      But that has nothing to do with my argument here."
                       
                      To which I would respond that it has very much to do with Pannanen's argument,
                      in that he presented his "analysis" of the Koln fragment as a counter-example
                      to Watson's kind of analysis. It could only be a counter-example, however,
                      if the main contents of the Koln fragment didn't in fact come from Jh 5.46.
                      Furthermore, Watson claims certainty only about derivation, which is exactly
                      the case with the majority of the Koln fragment as I understand it.
                       
                      A couple other comments:
                      1. It's not 'neigh-saying', it's 'nay-saying'. Or was that perhaps a tongue-in-cheek
                      variation on Watson's term? At any rate, it's probably an implicit admission
                      of the way things are going so far that Watson uses the polarizing term
                      'nay-sayers', while the 'nay-sayers' (who actually don't strike me for the
                      most part as rigid adherents of that position) aren't similarly driven to
                      use the term 'yea-sayers'.
                       
                      2. I think it's unfortunate, though perhaps unavoidable, that disagreements
                      about the Secret Gospel of Mark are being brought into the picture.
                      It's probably well-known that Watson argued against the authenticity
                      of that text (as did Stephen Carlson), but I don't think that anyone should
                      use their position on SGM to confirm their position on GJW, or vice-versa.
                      IMO, this just invites the polarization involved in the SGM debate to carry
                      over unchanged into discussions of GJW.
                       
                      Mike Grondin
                    • Mike Grondin
                      Hi Bob, The same thing happened in NH Codex II, wherein the scribe realized that he wouldn t have enough room for the last tractate, so the writing became very
                      Message 10 of 22 , Oct 1, 2012
                        Hi Bob,
                         
                        The same thing happened in NH Codex II, wherein the scribe realized that
                        he wouldn't have enough room for the last tractate, so the writing became
                        very cramped, with more lines per page. In fact, the density of lettering on
                        the recto of GJW is very similar to that of NHC II,7 (contrary to my state-
                        ment early on that the writing didn't look cramped). But that would imply,
                        would it not, that the verso of the GJW fragment was inscribed before the
                        recto? And that in turn raises the question of whether there was a usual
                        practice, and, if so, what that was, and what might happen to disrupt it?
                         
                        Oh, BTW, you and others will no doubt notice (and be dismayed) that
                        my last note to the list suffered the problem of varying fonts which
                        couldn't be corrected. Don't know why, but when I paste something
                        into a note, my emailer (Outlook Express) not only picks up the pasted font
                        thereafter, but allows only partial (and unexpected) changes to it. The only
                        fix I can think of is to do the pasting only after I've put some verbiage on
                        either side of where it's going to go. (Anybody have another solution,
                        contact offlist.)
                         
                        Mike
                      • Bob Schacht
                        ... It is hard to say, either way, unless it can be established that one side is a continuation of the text on the other side. But either way, it would depend
                        Message 11 of 22 , Oct 1, 2012
                          At 12:37 AM 10/1/2012, Mike Grondin wrote:
                          ...But that would imply,
                          would it not, that the verso of the GJW fragment was inscribed before the
                          recto? And that in turn raises the question of whether there was a usual
                          practice, and, if so, what that was, and what might happen to disrupt it?

                          It is hard to say, either way, unless it can be established that one side is a continuation of the text on the other side. But either way, it would depend on how much space the scribe needs to write (or copy) the words he needs to fit into the space. Normally, I suppose, the amply-spaced side would come first. requiring a more cramped spacing on the other side to complete the text in hand. This assumes bad planning. But suppose on the other hand excellent planning of a multi-page document, so that the scribe gets down to the last page and discovers that he has more space than he needs?

                          WRT "usual practice," that would imply a body of work from which one might calculate the "normal" number of lines per page, and the "normal" number of letters per line. I could see this vary according to many different considerations, rendering it difficult to establish what "normal" means. In the case of P46 and NHC II,7, there is enough additional text to determine what is "normal", for that manuscript. But we don't  have that for GJW, unless by reference to your collated copy of GTh  :-)

                          Bob Schacht
                          Northern Arizona University



                        • Mike Grondin
                          Bob, I ve learned a few things that may clarify some of the questions raised in our latest discussion, although in the end it seems that no further progress
                          Message 12 of 22 , Oct 2, 2012
                            Bob,
                            I've learned a few things that may clarify some of the questions raised in
                            our latest discussion, although in the end it seems that no further progress
                            can be made in answering those questions (I'll say why below). With respect
                            to 'recto' and 'verso', I have to start by admitting that I had a wrong idea of
                            what those terms meant. I thought it had to do with the direction of the fibers
                            on papyrus, but no - except perhaps in special cases like the GJW fragment.
                             
                            As you and others probably know quite well, in an open book (or codex), the
                            recto is simply the page (not leaf) on the right, the verso the page on the left.
                            How, then, could it have been determined that the recto of the GJW fragment
                            was the side with the most visible writing and the horizontal fibres, while the
                            other side was the verso? I suspect that there must be a scholarly convention
                            for orphan fragments, and that that convention, whatever it is, must have been
                            used for the GJW fragment. The reason I say this is that it isn't possible to
                            determine recto/verso in a papyrus fragment by direction of fibres alone, in
                            spite of the fact that it may at first seem so from what James Robinson wrote 
                            in the Preface (p.xv) to the Facsimile Edition of Codex II:
                             
                            > In the usual construction of a quire, the sheets lie with horizontal
                            fibres
                            > facing upward and folding inward.
                             
                            Here's the problem: Even if nothing happens to disrupt this orderly arrangement
                            of the pile of blank papyrus sheets (and something did in Codex II, BTW), the
                            situation will be this:
                             
                            1. In the first half of a quire, recto = vertical fibres, verso = horizontal, but
                            2. in the second half of the quire, recto = horizontal fibres, verso = vertical.
                             
                            Anyone doubting this should do or imagine the following: Take a few sheets
                            of typing paper, place them in a pile long-side vertical, label the front side of
                            each sheet "HF" (for 'horizontal fibres'), then fold the pile of sheets in half
                            vertically (to form a "quire"). You'll see that in the very middle of the quire,
                            both verso and recto sides are "HF", resulting in the above reversal.
                             
                            It follows, then, that even if every scribe followed exactly the same
                            practice in handling papyrus sheets, we still wouldn't be able to determine
                            recto/verso from the papyrus fibres alone, because we wouldn't know
                            whether an orphan fragment was from the first half of a book (assuming
                            it was from a codex) or the second half. Whether the best side of the
                            GJW fragment was called the 'recto' because it has horizontal fibres,
                            or because it's the best side, I don't know, but it must have been due
                            to some convention or other.
                             
                            With respect to the question of which side was inscribed first, my examination
                            of those facsimiles of the NH codices that I have doesn't show a pattern
                            of increasing letter-sizes and/or decreasing lines per inch when there's space
                            left on the last page. Sometimes an end-prayer or some such is added, other
                            times the space is just left blank. Admittedly, the sample is small, since I don't
                            have all the facsimiles, and the last page is missing or obscured in some, but 
                            from what I can tell, the more probable direction (when there is one) is from
                            looser to tighter lettering and spacing, rather than vice-versa.
                             
                            Mike
                          • E Bruce Brooks
                            To: GThos In Response To: Mike Grondin On: Recto and Verso From: Bruce Mike: , in an open book (or codex), the recto is simply the page (not leaf) on the
                            Message 13 of 22 , Oct 2, 2012

                              To: GThos

                              In Response To: Mike Grondin

                              On: Recto and Verso

                              From: Bruce

                               

                              Mike: , in an open book (or codex), the recto is simply the page (not leaf) on the right, the verso the page on the left.

                               

                              Bruce: That works out, but isn’t the sense rather recto = front, verso = back, even in a bit of papyrus that was never bound? Then the recto would be the first side written, and the verso would be the second. Text would be assumed to be continuous from recto to verso.

                               

                              E Bruce Brooks
                              University of Massachusetts at Amherst

                               

                            • Mike Grondin
                              ... Assuming that the relevant meaning of the Latin words rectus and versus was right and turned (or opposing , but not left ), I suppose that the OAD
                              Message 14 of 22 , Oct 3, 2012
                                > Bruce: That works out, but isn’t the sense rather recto = front,
                                > verso = back, even in a bit of papyrus that was never
                                bound?
                                > Then the recto would be the first side written, and the
                                verso
                                > would be the second. Text would be assumed to be continuous
                                > from recto to verso.
                                 
                                Assuming that the relevant meaning of the Latin words rectus
                                and versus was 'right' and 'turned' (or 'opposing', but not 'left'),
                                I suppose that the OAD definition could be improved by saying
                                that the recto is the page on the right (in an open book), while the
                                verso is the back of that (i.e., the opposite side of the leaf, or the
                                next thing you come to when you "turn the page"). I agree that
                                the equivalent formulation 'front/back' is better, though, because
                                it has the virtue of being easier to remember, and is applicable also
                                to non-book-related fragments, as you say. The GJW fragment is
                                a case, however, where both sides are inscribed, but we can't tell
                                which side was the "front" (assuming authenticity, of course). So
                                I figure that the powers that be must have followed some special
                                rule for cases like this, say "best side = front = recto"?
                                 
                                Mike
                              • David Inglis
                                Here s something I wrote here https://sites.google.com/site/inglisonmarcion/Home/what-did-p46-originally-contain re. P46: The extant portion of P46 is in the
                                Message 15 of 22 , Oct 3, 2012

                                  Here’s something I wrote here https://sites.google.com/site/inglisonmarcion/Home/what-did-p46-originally-contain  re. P46:

                                   

                                  “The extant portion of P46 is in the form of a single quire, i.e. it was created by laying sheets of papyrus on top of each other and then folding them in the middle, much like a modern magazine. The outer (verso) sides of the sheets have vertical fibers, and the inner (recto) sides have horizontal ones. The text also flows as in a magazine, from verso to recto, until at the center (which consists of two recto pages from the same sheet of papyrus) it switches to flowing from recto to verso. The edges of the leaves were trimmed so that they were aligned, thus making the inner leaves smaller than the outer ones.”

                                   

                                  So, as I understand it, recto and verso have nothing to do with left and right.

                                   

                                  David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA

                                • Mike Grondin
                                  ... Well, I think you ll find that the dictionary definitions of recto and verso indicate otherwise. This, for example, from the AHD: recto: The
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Oct 3, 2012
                                    [from David Inglis]:
                                    > ... as I understand it, recto and verso have
                                    nothing to do with left and right.
                                     
                                    Well, I think you'll find that the dictionary definitions of 'recto' and
                                    'verso' indicate otherwise. This, for example, from the AHD:
                                     
                                    recto: "The right-hand page of a book or front side of a leaf ...
                                    [Latin recto ... ablative of rectus, right, straight.]"
                                     
                                    verso: "The left-hand page of a book or the reverse side of a leaf ...
                                    [Latin verso ... ablative of versus, turned.]"
                                     
                                    'Inner/outer' will do as well if we understand 'inner' as 'facing the
                                    middle' and if we're talking about a fragment from a book.
                                     
                                    Mike G.
                                  • Bob Schacht
                                    At 11:41 PM 10/2/2012, Mike Grondin wrote: [snip] ... and then he wrote ... Your middle paragraph above is the best. However, I suspect that other
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Oct 3, 2012
                                      At 11:41 PM 10/2/2012, Mike Grondin wrote:



                                      [snip]

                                      ...Anyone doubting this should do or imagine the following: Take a few sheets
                                      of typing paper, place them in a pile long-side vertical, label the front side of
                                      each sheet "HF" (for 'horizontal fibres'), then fold the pile of sheets in half
                                      vertically (to form a "quire"). You'll see that in the very middle of the quire,
                                      both verso and recto sides are "HF", resulting in the above reversal.
                                       
                                      It follows, then, that even if every scribe followed exactly the same
                                      practice in handling papyrus sheets, we still wouldn't be able to determine
                                      recto/verso from the papyrus fibres alone, because we wouldn't know
                                      whether an orphan fragment was from the first half of a book (assuming
                                      it was from a codex) or the second half. ...

                                      and then he wrote

                                      recto: "The right-hand page of a book or front side of a leaf ...
                                      [Latin recto ... ablative of rectus, right, straight.]"
                                      verso: "The left-hand page of a book or the reverse side of a leaf ...
                                      [Latin verso ... ablative of versus, turned.]"

                                      Your middle paragraph above is the best. However, I suspect that other considerations may be involved.

                                      I've always thought of recto/verso simply as front/back but, as you point out, if all you have is a fragment, you don't really know which is which. I suspect that the matter is settled by the first publisher of the fragment. If s/he calls one side recto and the other verso, then that's the way it gets cited in the literature, even if it is "wrong."

                                      BTW, this is all ethnocentric, isn't it? Consider what would be "recto" or "verso" in a book written in Chinese.

                                      Bob Schacht
                                      Northern Arizona University
                                    • Mike Grondin
                                      ... I should have mulled this over longer before posting a response. It now appears to me that the above is wrong with respect to recto/verso. Those terms
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Oct 3, 2012
                                        [from David Inglis]:
                                        > “The extant portion of P46 is in the form
                                        of a single quire, i.e. it was created
                                        > by laying sheets of papyrus on top of each other
                                        and then folding them in the
                                        > middle, much like a modern magazine. The outer
                                        (verso) sides of the sheets
                                        > have vertical fibers, and the inner (recto)
                                        sides have horizontal ones. The text
                                        > also flows as in a magazine, from verso to
                                        recto, until at the center (which
                                        > consists of two recto pages from the same sheet
                                        of papyrus) it switches to
                                        > flowing from recto to verso."
                                         
                                        I should have mulled this over longer before posting a response. It now
                                        appears to me that the above is wrong with respect to recto/verso. Those
                                        terms don't apply to sheets, but to the two leaves of a sheet after it's been
                                        folded in half. At the center of a magazine (which is a great example, BTW),
                                        you don't have two recto pages, but verso and recto, just like at any other
                                        location to which the magazine is opened. Thus, as I said earlier, and contra
                                        the above, verso/recto aren't related to the direction of fibres (in papyrus).
                                         
                                        Mike
                                         
                                      • David
                                        Mike, I m still not happy with this recto-verso thing. I think it s clear (to me anyway) that in the case of single papyrus sheets, the recto is the front
                                        Message 19 of 22 , Oct 3, 2012
                                          Mike, I'm still not happy with this recto-verso thing. I think it's clear (to me anyway) that in the case of single papyrus sheets, the recto is the 'front' and the verso is the 'back,' as defined by the direction of the fibres, and there is no issue of left or right. The question then is whether this definition carries over to sheets that are folded in half. I strongly suspect that, at least in papyrus codices (where there was still a physical difference between the two sides of a sheet) it did.

                                          Here I enlist the help of Comfort & Barrett, who on pp 270-271 of 'The Text of the Earliest Greek Manuscripts' (2001 edition) give the text of "leaf 52 recto" of P46, immediately followed by "leaf 53 recto" (this is the middle of the codex). How and when the meaning changed, I don't know, but I suspect the publishing industry had something to do with it. Note that the definition of recto and verso currently depends on whether the text is read from left to right, or from right to left. Also, I believe that in single printed sheets it STILL refers to front and back.

                                          David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA

                                          --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > [from David Inglis]:
                                          > > "The extant portion of P46 is in the form of a single quire, i.e. it was created
                                          > > by laying sheets of papyrus on top of each other and then folding them in the
                                          > > middle, much like a modern magazine. The outer (verso) sides of the sheets
                                          > > have vertical fibers, and the inner (recto) sides have horizontal ones. The text
                                          > > also flows as in a magazine, from verso to recto, until at the center (which
                                          > > consists of two recto pages from the same sheet of papyrus) it switches to
                                          > > flowing from recto to verso."
                                          >
                                          > I should have mulled this over longer before posting a response. It now
                                          > appears to me that the above is wrong with respect to recto/verso. Those
                                          > terms don't apply to sheets, but to the two leaves of a sheet after it's been
                                          > folded in half. At the center of a magazine (which is a great example, BTW),
                                          > you don't have two recto pages, but verso and recto, just like at any other
                                          > location to which the magazine is opened. Thus, as I said earlier, and contra
                                          > the above, verso/recto aren't related to the direction of fibres (in papyrus).
                                          >
                                          > Mike
                                          >
                                        • Mike Grondin
                                          ... 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
                                          Message 20 of 22 , Oct 3, 2012
                                            > 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
                                            writing
                                            > material. But papyrologists can often judge whether it is a
                                            portion of
                                            > a larger manuscript ... If the writing on one side appears to be
                                            part
                                            > of the same text as that on the other side, we probably have a
                                            leaf
                                            > from a codex. If there is writing only on the "recto" (the side
                                            with
                                            > 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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