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3952Re: [lxx] book-numbers in classical sources

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  • Joel Kalvesmaki
    Jan 29, 2013
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      Thanks for this clarification. Your note and Higbie's article, which I've
      just read, corroborates my earlier observation. In prose, books were
      numbered but parts of books weren't. In poetry, lines are numbered
      (actually counted, part of the stichometric habit) and long poems were
      divided into books but poems, say in an anthology, weren't numbered. The
      2nd-c. numbered Greek psalter is an anomaly.

      I was struck, reading Higbie's article, that even the literary division of
      books was not a straightforward phenomenon, and its introduction, and
      adoption, was tied with other cultural shifts. Which makes me suspect, yet
      again, that Psalms numeration was connected with changes in other matters.
      Whether we can get to the bottom of it, who knows.

      Best wishes,


      On Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 6:42 PM, William Yarchin <BYarchin@...> wrote:

      > "Could you give an example of Greek literature's (prose, not poetry,
      > right?) enumeration of book sections? I assume you mean subsections of
      > books, or did you mean just book units? If the former, are these numeration
      > schemes individual or shared? That is, do we find a common numbering scheme
      > of internal parts of a given text from one MS/papyrus to another? Or would
      > the numbering scheme be tailored to each specific MS/papyrus? Any
      > references you might know would be helpful."
      > Most of what I've learned about are book numbers from works of both prose
      > and poetry. See these examples:
      > P.Oxy. 42.3000 (1st BCE/1st CE) includes, at the end, the stichometrical
      > notation denoting 1600 lines of Eratosthenes’ Hermes text. According to F.
      > Schironi, any further composition on this roll would have appeared in the
      > next column.
      > P. Lond Lit. 5 (later 3rd CE) includes end-titles of Homeric books complete
      > with book numbers shown by the appropriate letter of the Ionic alphabet.
      > P. Ryl. 1.53 (3rd/4th CE) includes letters designating the book numbers of
      > Odyssey, and a book can begin on the same page as the ending of the
      > previous one.
      > A full treatment of these cases is given by F. Schironi in vol. 48 of the
      > ASP series (2010) and her 2010 article “Book-Ends and Book-Layout in Papyri
      > with Hexametric Poetry” in the Proceedings of the Twenty-Fifth
      > International Congress of Papyrology (2010).
      > Pap. Med. 19 (2nd CE) includes a reference to a commentary written on book
      > 14 of the Iliad written by Apollodorus of the 2nd BCE. Moving outside lyric
      > poetry, the Lindian Chronicle (99 BCE) makes explicit reference to an item
      > “in book 2” (en tai B) of the history by Herodotus.
      > Carolyn Higbie, to whom I owe these latter two instances, concludes that as
      > early as the 2nd century BCE reference to works by title and book number
      > was not unusual (“Divide and Edit. A Brief History of Book Divisions” in
      > Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 105 [2010]).
      > Bill
      > --
      > William Yarchin, Ph.D.
      > Dean's Endowed Professor of Biblical Studies
      > Azusa Pacific University
      > 626/969-3434 ext. 5683
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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      Joel Kalvesmaki

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