Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Use of Codex format by Jews

Expand Messages
  • everard johnston
    Dear Bob, Once again I am seeking your assistance, this time regarding the issue of the use of the codex form by Jews for manuscripts of the LXX/Old Greek.  I
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 6, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      Dear Bob,

      Once again I am seeking your assistance, this time regarding the issue of the use of the codex form by Jews for manuscripts of the LXX/Old Greek.  I base my query on a quotation from one of your papers, which is available online:
      "Of course, if Jews were producing and using biblical codices in the late 2nd and into the 3rd centuries, the argument/assumption that "if it's a codex, it's Christian" is seriously jeapordized, and the unasked question of when Jews began to use codices becomes even more relevant. "  (From "Early Jewish and Christian Artefacts")
       
      As far as mss in Hebrew are concerned, I have read that "The earliest written evidence of the appearance of the codex among the Jews comes from the eighth century, but most likely it was in use some time before that."  Also that ". According to the Halakha (Jewish religious law), a Bible in codex form is not acceptable for public reading in the synagogue. For that purpose scrolls continued to be used, and it was forbidden to add vocalization and cantillation marks to them." (www.aleppocodex.org)
       
      My questions are as follows:
       
      1.  Has research conducted either by yourself or by others since you published the paper cited above raised and attempted to answer what you described then as "the unasked question of when Jews began to use codices...?"  If so, could you please point me to where I can locate the results of such research.
      2. If, as you seem to suggest, Jews and "Christians" (using this latter term anachronistically) began using the codex form simultaneously; and if "Christians" might even have adoped the practice from the Jews, what might have been the motivation/s for the Jewish innovation? 
      3.  I have also read somewhere that there is evidence that in some parts of the diaspora the LXX of the Torah was read in the synagogues.  If that is indeed so (I have never been able to locate published evidence for this), might one assume that as with the Hebrew mss. after the eighth century, use of the Scriptures in codex form would have been prohibited in the context of synagogue worship?
       
      As before, I should be very grateful for your assistance (as indeed that of anyone in the LXX group) in responding to these questions.
       
      With thanks for your attention and with every good wish.
       
      Everard Johnston.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Robert Kraft
      Good questions, with few definitive answers thus far. See my comments below. Bob Kraft, UPenn Emeritus ... To my knowledge, the most recent relevant
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 6, 2012
      • 0 Attachment
        Good questions, with few definitive answers thus far. See my comments below.

        Bob Kraft, UPenn Emeritus

        On 3/6/2012 10:35 AM, everard johnston wrote:
        > Dear Bob,
        > Once again I am seeking your assistance, this time regarding the issue
        > of the use of the codex form by Jews for manuscripts of the LXX/Old
        > Greek. I base my query on a quotation from one of your papers, which
        > is available online:
        > "Of course, if Jews were producing and using biblical /codices/ in the
        > late 2nd and into the 3rd centuries, the argument/assumption that "if
        > it's a codex, it's Christian" is seriously jeapordized, and the
        > unasked question of when Jews began to use codices becomes even more
        > relevant. " (From "Early Jewish and Christian Artefacts")
        > As far as mss in Hebrew are concerned, I have read that "The earliest
        > written evidence of the appearance of the codex among the Jews comes
        > from the eighth century, but most likely it was in use some time
        > before that." Also that ". According to the Halakha (Jewish religious
        > law), a Bible in codex form is not acceptable for public reading in
        > the synagogue. For that purpose scrolls continued to be used, and it
        > was forbidden to add vocalization and cantillation marks to them."
        > (www.aleppocodex.org <http://www.aleppocodex.org>)
        > My questions are as follows:
        > 1. Has research conducted either by yourself or by others since you
        > published the paper cited above raised and attempted to answer what
        > you described then as "the unasked question of when Jews began to use
        > codices...?" If so, could you please point me to where I can locate
        > the results of such research.
        To my knowledge, the most recent relevant publication would be Roger
        Bagnall's Early Christian Books in Egypt (Princeton U. 2009), especially
        p.80: "there is, as Kraft admits, not a shred of evidence that the use
        of the codex came from Judaism, for the simple reason that the surviving
        fragments of possible Jewish codices come from a period no earlier than
        the period (late second century) from which also come most of our early
        Christian codex fragments." At least, Bagnall leaves open the
        possibility of Jewish origin and/or influence.

        > 2. If, as you seem to suggest, Jews and "Christians" (using this
        > latter term anachronistically) began using the codex form
        > simultaneously; and if "Christians" might even have adoped the
        > practice from the Jews, what might have been the motivation/s for the
        > Jewish innovation?

        Bagnall sees the codex as part of "Romanization" in the period (our
        earliest evidence for codices comes from Martial in Rome, and the use of
        notebook codices in Roman contexts seems widespread), which could apply
        to Jews as well as the Jesus groups. Unfortunately, we know too little
        about Judaism(s) in Rome in the relevant period. I currently think that
        the (widespread) use of codex notebooks (waxed wood pages, etc.) is most
        likely to have led to flexible paged codices both in Rome and elsewhere.
        Such an innovation could have caught fire in various contexts, including
        booksellers (as in Martial) and "education" (see Raffaella Cribiore,
        Gymnastics of the Mind [Princeton U., 2001]), in Rome and elsewhere in
        the Graeco-Roman worlds. But "smoking gun" evidence is still not
        available. IT is also noteworthy that codices seem to have been used
        fairly early in legal materials and in astronomy-astrology-"religion"
        circles, apart from Judaism or Christianity. More precise work needs to
        be done in researching such areas.

        > 3. I have also read somewhere that there is evidence that in some
        > parts of the diaspora the LXX of the Torah was read in the
        > synagogues. If that is indeed so (I have never been able to locate
        > published evidence for this), might one assume that as with the Hebrew
        > mss. after the eighth century, use of the Scriptures in codex form
        > would have been prohibited in the context of synagogue worship?

        One argument for "official" and/or "liturgical" use of LXX/OG materials
        in Judaism comes from the impression that the Rylands Deut fragments
        (see also the Fuad materials) come from a professionally produced scroll
        likely to have been other than a private copy. Of course, we know so
        little about "libraries," whether private (e.g. at Pompei) or
        institutionally connected (as with synagogues or other "public"
        settings), that to jump from a "luxurious" scroll to synagogue "liturgy"
        (as different, perhaps, from synagogue based "educational" functions) is
        quite a leap. Where were similarly professionally produced copies of
        Homer (etc.) used or kept? But later, when Justinian issued his
        "Novella" dealing with Jewish use of Greek scriptures, it seems clear
        that his advisors assumed that Jews were using Greek scriptures in their
        worship. After the 8th century we have little evidence for Jewish use of
        Greek -- see now the work of Nicholas DeLange on the subject. And when
        Jewish codices in Hebrew began to be used, was it only in "educational"
        and/or private settings? The Rabbinic "prohibition" concerning
        scroll/format has perhaps been given too much influence in assessing the
        evidence (e.g. from the Cairo Genizah; see also Lieberman's old excursus
        that I cite somewhere in my online collection).

        > As before, I should be very grateful for your assistance (as indeed
        > that of anyone in the LXX group) in responding to these questions.
        > With thanks for your attention and with every good wish.
        > Everard Johnston.



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • everard johnston
        Dear Bob,   Many thanks for your prompt reply to my e-mail.  Your responses to my questions are very helpful.  I really appreciate your openness and
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 6, 2012
        • 0 Attachment
          Dear Bob,
           
          Many thanks for your prompt reply to my e-mail.  Your responses to my questions are very helpful.  I really appreciate your openness and willingness to be of assistance.
           
          With gratitude,
           
          Everard.

          From: Robert Kraft <kraft@...>
          To: everard johnston <ejohnston105@...>
          Cc: "lxx@yahoogroups.com" <lxx@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 1:01 PM
          Subject: Re: Use of Codex format by Jews


          Good questions, with few definitive answers thus far. See my comments below.

          Bob Kraft, UPenn Emeritus

          On 3/6/2012 10:35 AM, everard johnston wrote:
          Dear Bob,
          >
          >Once again I am seeking your assistance, this time regarding the issue of the use of the codex form by Jews for manuscripts of the LXX/Old Greek.  I base my query on a quotation from one of your papers, which is available online:
          >"Of course, if Jews were producing and using biblical codices in the late 2nd and into the 3rd centuries, the argument/assumption that "if it's a codex, it's Christian" is seriously jeapordized, and the unasked question of when Jews began to use codices becomes even more relevant. "  (From "Early Jewish and Christian Artefacts")

          >As far as mss in Hebrew are concerned, I have read that "The earliest written evidence of the appearance of the codex among the Jews comes from the eighth century, but most likely it was in use some time before that."  Also that ". According to the Halakha (Jewish religious law), a Bible in codex form is not acceptable for public reading in the synagogue. For that purpose scrolls continued to be used, and it was forbidden to add vocalization and cantillation marks to them." (www.aleppocodex.org)

          >My questions are as follows:

          >1.  Has research conducted either by yourself or by others since you published the paper cited above raised and attempted to answer what you described then as "the unasked question of when Jews began to use codices...?"  If so, could you please point me to where I can locate the results of such research.To my knowledge, the most recent relevant publication would be Roger Bagnall's Early Christian Books in Egypt (Princeton U. 2009), especially p.80: "there is, as Kraft admits, not a shred of evidence that the use of the codex came from Judaism, for the simple reason that the surviving fragments of possible Jewish codices come from a period no earlier than the period (late second century) from which also come most of our early Christian codex fragments." At least, Bagnall leaves open the possibility of Jewish origin and/or influence.


          2. If, as you seem to suggest, Jews and "Christians" (using this latter term anachronistically) began using the codex form simultaneously; and if "Christians" might even have adoped the practice from the Jews, what might have been the motivation/s for the Jewish innovation?
          >
          Bagnall sees the codex as part of "Romanization" in the period (our earliest evidence for codices comes from Martial in Rome, and the use of notebook codices in Roman contexts seems widespread), which could apply to Jews as well as the Jesus groups. Unfortunately, we know too little about Judaism(s) in Rome in the relevant period. I currently think that the (widespread) use of codex notebooks (waxed wood pages, etc.) is most likely to have led to flexible paged codices both in Rome and elsewhere. Such an innovation could have caught fire in various contexts, including booksellers (as in Martial) and "education" (see Raffaella Cribiore, Gymnastics of the Mind [Princeton U., 2001]), in Rome and elsewhere in the Graeco-Roman worlds. But "smoking gun" evidence is still not available. IT is also noteworthy that codices seem to have been used fairly early in legal materials and in astronomy-astrology-"religion" circles, apart from Judaism or Christianity. More
          precise work needs to be done in researching such areas.


          3.  I have also read somewhere that there is evidence that in some parts of the diaspora the LXX of the Torah was read in the synagogues.  If that is indeed so (I have never been able to locate published evidence for this), might one assume that as with the Hebrew mss. after the eighth century, use of the Scriptures in codex form would have been prohibited in the context of synagogue worship?
          One argument for "official" and/or "liturgical" use of LXX/OG materials in Judaism comes from the impression that the Rylands Deut fragments (see also the Fuad materials) come from a professionally produced scroll likely to have been other than a private copy. Of course, we know so little about "libraries," whether private (e.g. at Pompei) or institutionally connected (as with synagogues or other "public" settings), that to jump from a "luxurious" scroll to synagogue "liturgy" (as different, perhaps, from synagogue based "educational" functions) is quite a leap. Where were similarly professionally produced copies of Homer (etc.) used or kept? But later, when Justinian issued his "Novella" dealing with Jewish use of Greek scriptures, it seems clear that his advisors assumed that Jews were using Greek scriptures in their worship. After the 8th century we have little evidence for Jewish use of Greek -- see now the work of Nicholas DeLange on the subject.
          And when Jewish codices in Hebrew began to be used, was it only in "educational" and/or private settings? The Rabbinic "prohibition" concerning scroll/format has perhaps been given too much influence in assessing the evidence (e.g. from the Cairo Genizah; see also Lieberman's old excursus that I cite somewhere in my online collection).
           

           
          >As before, I should be very grateful for your assistance (as indeed that of anyone in the LXX group) in responding to these questions.

          >With thanks for your attention and with every good wish.

          >Everard Johnston.

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.