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1045the 2NH

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  • Brian E. Wilson
    Oct 1, 1998
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      Jeremy Duff wrote in a reply to Brian Wilson (SNIP) -
      >For while say the GH (which I do not support) does not discuss a pre-
      >Matthew written source, it certainly could do without making any change
      >to the hypothesis, except for satisfying your external criteria. For
      >one could posit a written source used only by Matthew, which would fit
      >the external criteria and yet be redundant from the point of view of
      >synoptic relationships. In essence this is the point I think Mark G.
      >was making over what Synoptic theories are trying to solve - they are
      >framed to account for synpotic relations, which is not quite the same
      >as synoptic sources when you are talking about the first gospel.
      >Thus while your discussion of codex form and nomina sacra etc. is
      >important, I can't see that it really counts in favour of the 2NH and
      >2DH and against the GH and MWQH.
      >
      The GH which I considered in my talk did not posit a pre-Matthew written
      source. If this hypothesis is altered to include a pre-Matthew written
      source, then it becomes a different hypothesis - say "GH2". But GH2 is
      not GH. GH2 is closer to the 2NH than GH, since GH2 posits a pre-
      synoptic source whereas GH does not. And so on with the MWQH. You
      cannot have it both ways. Either you dispense with hypothetical
      documents (like Farrer dispensing with Q), or you don't. At least
      Goulder is consistent in resolutely sticking to no hypothetical sources,
      documentary or oral. I admire his integrity and far-sightedness at this
      point. He knows that once a hypothetical source is admitted, for
      whatever reason, the whole point of the Farrer Hypothesis dispensing
      with Q is lost. I do not agree with the suggestion that he is foolhardy
      here.
      (Also, Brian Wilson had written ... )
      >The other two characteristics are (1) that about half the numbers in
      >early Christian writing in Greek are in cipher form, and (2) that,
      >apart from cipher numbers, none of the usual abbreviations frequently
      >used in non-Christian documentary manuscripts in Greek in the first
      >century CE are found in the Christian manuscripts.
      (... on which Jeremy Duff comments - )
      >I don't understand (1) - looking say at the photographs of P75 I don't see
      >any ciphers?
      Fascinating! It was actually as a result of carefully taking two sheets
      of P75 in my hands (one at a time) at the Bodmer Library at the tiny
      village of Cologny near Geneva in Switzerland, last July, that my
      attention was first drawn to the occurrence of cipher numbers in early
      Christian writing in Greek! Each sheet of papyrus was held between two
      panes of glass edged with white tape (and watched with eagle eye by a
      member of the Library staff). The first sheet of papyrus was the end of
      Luke and the beginning of John, and the second was the following passage
      in John. On the recto of the second sheet (John 1.33-48), on line 8 was
      the Greek SANOIDUOAUTOUMATHTAILALOUNTOSKAI with the full word DUO for
      the word "two" in Jn 1.37. Line 6, however (John 1.35), read
      TOUBKAIEMBLEYAJTWIUPERIPATOU with the fourth letter B as a cipher form
      (with superscript bar on the manuscript to show that it is a cipher
      form) for the number two. In fact only one centimetre apart on the same
      page, we have DUO, the word in full, and B, the cipher form, for the
      same number - "two" and "2" as we might represent these in English. It
      was really very startling to see this.

      If you look at the INTRODUCTION GENERALE to the printed edition of P75,
      Professor Victor Martin explicitly states, "Les nombres sont le plus
      souvent ecrits en chiffres" (page 17). I am sure if you check through
      the photographs, you will find that he is not mistaken. Considerably
      more numbers are in cipher form, than in word form, in P75 as a whole. I
      have found many cipher numbers in P75, in Luke and in John. The cipher
      form of the number "99" in Lk 15.4,7 is particularly interesting since
      in both occurrences the old Greek letter koppa (not the same as kappa,
      and not a letter used in words in the NT) is employed to represent
      ninety, the nine being represented by theta, both letters yoked under a
      superscript bar to show that it is a cipher number.

      (Jeremy Duff continued - )
      >I don't really understand (2) - which abbreviations are you meaning?
      >
      The AQHNAIWN POLITEIA ("On the Constitution of Athens") attributed to
      Aristotle has survived on a manuscript dated at the end of the first
      century CE. In the printed edition by F. G. Kenyon (Oxford, 1891 - sic)
      2nd edition, at the very of the begining of the book, Kenyon gives a
      helpful list of abbreviations in use in the manuscript. The point is
      that these abbreviations (apart from the last one, which is for a word
      particularly common in the Constitution - XRONOJ ) are just the
      abbreviations used very commonly indeed in non-Christian documents
      intended as "working copies" or "official documents" written in Greek in
      the era we are considering. In this connection, E. G. Turner writes
      about the "developed system of abbreviations by suspension of a large
      part of the word, or by a symbol" in his book "Greek Manuscripts of the
      Ancient World" (London, 1987) 2nd edition, page 15. Professor Alan
      Millard has also written various articles on this topic, and is
      intrigued to know why the Christian manuscripts do not use the normal
      method of abbreviating Greek words, even though they have apparently
      abbreviated words with superscript line in the Nomina Sacra forms. The
      usual abbreviations in non-Christian writing are nowhere found in early
      Christian writing in Greek, with the exception of numbers in cipher
      format.

      (Jeremy also commented - )
      >Finally, I am sure that you must be aware of the hypthesis that the codex
      >form arose from the use of it by Paul (cf. 2 Tim 4.13; Skeat and others).
      >Does your hypothesis connect with this?
      >
      I am aware of C. H. Roberts' hypothesis in his very famous lecture to
      the British Academy given in 1954. He does not maintain that Paul
      originated or spread the use of the parchment/papyrus codex for books.
      Roberts' 1954 hypothesis is actually summarized in C. H. Roberts and T.
      C. Skeat, "The Birth of the Codex" (Oxford, 1983) pages 54-55. This
      summary runs to over 400 words, but does not even mention Paul.

      The co-authors then proceed (pages 56-61) to say that they no longer
      want to hold to the hypothesis given in "The Codex", but rather to put
      forward a new hypothesis that the first codex book originated in Antioch
      in Syria as a sort of proto-gospel which may have also introduced the
      Nomina Sacra. No mention of Paul in this hypothesis.

      I am also aware that T. C. Skeat wrote an article "The Origin of the
      Christian Codex" in "Zeitschrift fur Papyrologie und Epigraphik" (102,
      1994), pages 263-268, and that Skeat begins this with the words, "In
      "The Birth of the Codex" published in 1983, my co-author, the late C. H.
      Roberts and I put forward, in a very tentative manner, two alternative
      hypotheses to explain the extraordinary predilection of early Christians
      for the codex form of book as opposed to the roll." Skeat then goes on
      to put forward a hypothesis in which, as far as I can see, Paul is not
      mentioned at all, and which is very different again from previous
      hypotheses of Roberts and Skeat.

      For the time being, I would rather hold on to the rest of my ideas,
      especially dates, concerning the origin of the codex book and what I see
      as the other three characteristics of early Christian writing in Greek.
      I hope the article will be finished soon, and perhaps accepted for
      publication. I am conscious that the above is possibly not quite what
      should be discussed on this List. Apologies for the length of this
      posting!

      Best wishes,
      BRIAN WILSON

      E-MAIL: brian@... TELEPHONE: +44-1480-385043
      SNAILMAIL: Rev B. E. Wilson, HOMEPAGE:
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      Huntingdon, Cambs, PE18 8EB, UK
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