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Re: [GTh] Two Improbabilities in the GJW Fragment

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  • 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 1 of 22 , Oct 1, 2012
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      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 2 of 22 , Oct 1, 2012
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        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 3 of 22 , Oct 2, 2012
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          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 4 of 22 , Oct 2, 2012
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            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 5 of 22 , Oct 3, 2012
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              > 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 6 of 22 , Oct 3, 2012
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                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 7 of 22 , Oct 3, 2012
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                  [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 8 of 22 , Oct 3, 2012
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                    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 9 of 22 , Oct 3, 2012
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                      [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 10 of 22 , Oct 3, 2012
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                        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 11 of 22 , 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
                          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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