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5849RE: tc-list Uncial or Uncial?

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  • Thomas J. Kraus
    Apr 7, 1999
      One more example demonstrating (my) stupidity (cut message). Sorry.
      I wouldn´t be that optimistic about secure dating on palaeographical
      grounds. Many hands almost resemble each other but nonetheless have
      characteristics on their own. Not to forget that scribes might have
      attempted at imitating a kind of archaic style, a style out of fashion in
      their time, or they indeliberately wrote in a way which was still to come
      into fashion during the next generations. The repayment of a loan,
      P.Vindob.G 19811, for instance, carries three subscriptions spanning a
      period of about four hundred years (different styles) if only palaeography
      is taken as the decisive factor for dating. Luckily, a notary put down (in
      a regular cursive hand) his remark and a date. Nonetheless, for literary
      documents there are, in most cases, no other possibilities to judge from
      the style of writing, compare that with other manuscripts, and then give a
      hypothetical date. But: this remains hypothetical, and if a specific style
      of writing falls out of fashion, does not mean that it will not appear
      later on somewhere.
      Apart from Metzger, I would recommend: F. G. Kenyon, The Palaeography of
      Greek Papyri, London 1899; W. Schubart, Palaeographie. Erster Teil:
      Griechische Palaeographie, Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaft I,4,1,
      Munich 1925 (a classic); E.M. Thompson, A Handbook of Greek and Latin
      Paleography, Chicago 1968; E.G. Turner, Greek Manuscripts of the Ancient
      World, 2nd ed. London 1987, and above all: R. Seider, Palaeographie der
      griechischen Papyri. 3 vols, Stuttgart 1967-1990.
      P.S.: Dave Washburn mentioned: "... "uncial" has been the standard term
      for a particular Greek style of writing for over 100 years". This is
      misleading as long as you do not say which kind of uncial writing you mean
      (uncial vs minuscule!). By the way, the original meaning of uncial and
      majuscule definitely is of importance to judge and understand the way of
      writing found in a manuscript in a proper way (see e.g. Turner, Greek
      Manuscripts, 1-5).
      Best wishes,
      Thomas J. Kraus
      Universitaet Regensburg
      Kath.-theol. Fakultaet
      Universitaetsstr. 31
      D-93053 Regensburg

      Tel. + 49 941 943 36 90
      Fax. + 49 941 943 19 86
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