Re: Scribal peculiarities
- Greetings Mr Wasserman:
I have two leads for you:
(1) the Jude inscription looks painfully like the Egyptian practice
found in 'Christian Magic' amulets and small scrolls. I suggest you
start with the two following books as an introduction to the subject:
Ancient Christian Magic (Coptic texts of ritual power) Edited by
Meyer & Smith (Harper Collins 1994), and
Medicine, Miracle & Magic in NT Times by H.C. Kee.(Cambridge UP 1986-
Also useful might be:
Paganism & Christianity 100-425 C.E. A Sourcebook Macmullen & Lane
The writing of religious texts backwards or in patterns was very
common throughout Egypt and the Aegean in the period.
(2) Studying Vaticanus I have come to the conclusion that the 'NT'
Obelisk (the one you describe is a lemniscus =dot/dot)has a variety
of uses but mostly as a generic indicator of an accidental omission
corrected in the margin. there is a good introduction to the changes
in meaning over periods and places here:
--- In email@example.com, Tommy Wasserman <tomwas@...>
> I have come across a large number of scribal peculiarities through
> years. Here are two which someone might help me with:in
> 1) in an MS the final AMHN (in Jude) is written backwards on three
> Has anyone seen anything similar?
> 2) In some minuscule MSS there is a sign in the margin, /, plus a
> reading. I interpret the sign as an "obelus periestigmenos." The
> question is whether this sign has the same function over time, i.e.
> the early uncials and in the minuscules, respectively. In short, Iam
> not sure if it unequivocally refers to a correction of the text (or
> might be a reference to an alternative reading).
> Any ideas?
> With regards
> Tommy Wasserman
> Centre for Theology and Religious Studies
> Lund University
- Tommy Wasserman wrote:
> 2) In some minuscule MSS there is a sign in the margin, •/•,I think in Vaticanus it represents a correction.
> plus a reading.
In Vaticanus also exists a wavy sign (vertical ~) which might indicate an explanation of some kind:
(image on the right)
Just for completeness sake, in Vaticanus also another sign appears once:
Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
- mr.scrivener wrote:
>Thank you mr. scrivener (is that your real name?). Sorry I was not
> Greetings Mr Wasserman:
> I have two leads for you:
> (1) the Jude inscription looks painfully like the Egyptian practice
> found in 'Christian Magic' amulets and small scrolls.
clear - the MS in question is a medieval Greek continuous-text
minuscule with no other signs of "magic" use whatsoever, a subject of
which I am otherwise quite familiar with.
> I suggest youI found the following information about the symbol in "Transformed Into
> (2) Studying Vaticanus I have come to the conclusion that the 'NT'
> Obelisk (the one you describe is a lemniscus =dot/dot)has a variety
> of uses but mostly as a generic indicator of an accidental omission
> corrected in the margin. there is a good introduction to the changes
> in meaning over periods and places here:
His Image" in Grace Theological Journal 2.2 (Fall 1981) 230-31 which
made me hesitat to equal the function to that in the early uncials:
A partial explanation of the symbol is given by Diogenes
Laertius (iii, 66). He names and describes the use of various signs in a
text of Plato; in regard to this sign he says: "the obelos
periestigmenos is for random
rejections (of passages)." Nowhere has ↓ been found among literary
papyri of Classical
The use of both signs, however, is frequent in Biblical and
Christian papyri. Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus demonstrate
the frequent use of both signs, sometimes together and sometimes
separately, but always where a correction has been made. When
used together, ↓ stands in the margin and •/•. marks the precise place
the line for the correction.
Henry A. Sanders notes the use of •/•. in some biblical manuscripts
dated to the fourth or early fifth century, marking the location
of the omission and then repeated in the margin giving the words to
An exact parallel to P.Rob. inv. 28 is described in P. Tura, where ↓
and •/•. stand together in the margin at the beginning of the part to be
A somewhat later function of •/• is described by Isidore (A.D. 602-
36), bishop of Seville (1.21): Lemniscus, id est, virgula inter geminos
punctos jacens, opponitur in his locis, quae sacrae Scripturae
eadem sensu, sed diversis sermonibus transtulerent, "The
lemniscus, that is a stick lying between two points, is placed in those
places which the interpreters of Holy Scriptures transcribe in the
same sense, but with different expressions."
end of citation
Centre for Theology and Religious Studies
The claims that Woodard makes are so numerous that a full response would require more attention than his ideas deserve. To answer you generally, some of what Woodard is seeing is offset, that is, ink which has cross-printed from the facing page; in other instances he is reading things into mere stains in the parchment; sometimes he's attributing special significance to the quite typical scribal decorations of a colophon; and he even finds minute hidden messages in the ragged shapes of letters that have suffered the effects of time and use.
I hope it is clear that Bruce Prior and I investigated Woodard's claims because we feel responsible to consult secondary sources in our work and, for the sake of thoroughness, needed to make a careful, open-minded examination of Woodard's work as well. As it turns out, Woodard's work proved unworthy of the time we invested in it.
If you would like more detail, you could purchase Woodard's book (though I dislike the idea of giving him undue encouragement) and then purchase the new set of images which will hopefully be made available before the end of the year. This will enable you to examine his claims yourself.
T. A. Brown
Franconia, New Hampshire USA
Dear Mr. Brown:
Thank you for your prompt reply:
However, you seem to have left an ambiguity -
Mr Woodward's ideas may be without merit,
but are the marks just dust specks, imperfections in the photos,
or actual scribal scribbles, whatever their meaning?
Could you clarify?
--- In textualcriticism@ yahoogroups. com, Timothy Arthur Brown
<t.a.brown@. ..> wrote:
> Bruce Prior and I are in the process of finishing up pre-press work
> the Freer Gospels transcription now. You can expect to see an
> available at this year's SBL annual meeting in Washington, DC. The
> images I alluded to are, as far as I know, still intended for
> release this November as well. The newest images are those taken
> Freer/Sackler photography department and I think it's safe to
> that this image library will be published by the Freer/Sackler
> And now concerning Woodard's "Kodex W". . . Bruce and I first
> Woodard's theories a couple of years ago. The claims are wild, but
> agreed that such claims, regardless how unbelievable, ought not be
> automatically rejected simply because they do not conform to our
> understanding of the manuscript. We had at our disposal the tools
> access necessary to examine these claims, so we decided to do so.
> were in contact with Lee Woodard by phone and by e-mail and we each
> a copy of his book. Becoming thus fully informed of his claims, we
> examined high resolution images of the relevant parts of the codex
> were unable to substantiate any of Woodard's theories. Since this
> examination, I have had opportunity to access the original at the
> Gallery and must still conclude that Woodard's ideas are without
> T. A. Brown
> Franconia, New Hampshire USA
> mr.scrivener wrote:
> > ------------ --------
> > Dear Mr. Brown:
> > In this message (last year), you mentioned publishing
> > of Codex W, as well as a possible new Facsimile edition available
> > disk by the '2006 SBL Meetings..'. Well, its June 2006, and I was
> > wondering how your projects are coming along.
> > ------------ --------- -
> > Also, is anyone aware of the following website, which claims to
> > discovered 'seals' or 'signatures' of the scribes who wrote Codex
> > (the Gospel mss)?
> > http://www.washingt on-codex. org/woodard_ kodex_article_ 1.htm
> > <http://www.washingt on-codex. org/woodard_ kodex_article_ 1.htm>
> > Although the site makes many wild claims, and dates the Gospel
> > W too early, surely just the existance of these 'seals' at the
> > beginning and end of each gospel in the codex require a thorough
> > investigation and proper explanation.
> > Any ideas?
> > Curiosity is killing me here...
> > Eeyore
> > ------------ --------- ---------