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5823Re: tc-list Uncial or Uncial?

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  • Michael Holmes
    Apr 6, 1999
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      At 08:08 AM 4/6/99 -0500, Jack Kilmon asked:
      > "Uncial" has been used as a term for
      >book hand Greek by every scholar I can think of, including
      >Metzger, as far back as the science goes in publications. I have
      >even seen it applied to Coptic by Irigoin and Turner. If such is
      >the case, isn't usage the determination of what is proper?

      The (relatively recent) preference of many for "majuscule" likely reflects a
      point of view expressed by D.C. Parker:

      "It has long been habitual to describe this class of MSS as uncials. The
      word's use has its origin in Mabillon's interpretation of Jerome's phrase
      about MSS written _uncialibus litteris_. Whatever the original meaning, a
      consensus has emerged that the name should be applied only to a particular
      kind of Latin majuscule. [he references: G. Cavallo and H. Maehler, _Greek
      Bookhands of the Early Byzantine Period A.D. 300-800_ (University of London
      Institute of Classical Studies Buletin Supplement 47; London:" Institute of
      Classical Studies, 1987).] The word _majuscule_ should be used to designate
      the class of Greek hands of which we write. It means "of fair size," as
      opposed to minuscule, "rather small." (D. C. Parker, "The Majuscule
      Manuscripts of the New Testament," in Ehrman and Holmes, _The Text of the NT
      in Contemporary Research_, 22).

      So "uncial" has gone from being a rather general term to a more precisely
      defined technical term, and is in the process of being replaced for general
      use by "majuscule."

      Mike Holmes
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