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Re: Two Improbabilities in the GJW Fragment

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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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