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a little brain teaser

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  • Daniel B. Wallace
    Attached is a JPEG photo (done by a hand-held camera, but nevertheless sufficient for our purposes; believe me, the actual document is no clearer!) of a
    Message 1 of 34 , Jan 6, 2007
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      Attached is a JPEG photo (done by a hand-held camera, but nevertheless sufficient for our purposes; believe me, the actual document is no clearer!) of a facsimile on the verso of a modern papyrus, presumably of an ancient text. I’d like to get opinions on several things: What text is on the facsimile? Where does it deviate from standard Greek texts, and why? What suggestions can you offer paleographically? Why is half of the text indented? Why is the handwriting so gloppy and bizarre? Finally, any hypotheses as to what, exactly, the modern facsimile is a copy of?

      I have my thoughts, but decided to subject the document to this august body first before I made a fool of myself. Plenty of time to do that later!

      Daniel B. Wallace
      Executive Director
      Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts
    • Daniel Buck
      In a message dated 1/11/7 7:15:46 AM, Dan Wallace wrote:
      Message 34 of 34 , Jan 12, 2007
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        In a message dated 1/11/7 7:15:46 AM, Dan Wallace wrote:

        << can someone who does not know Greek--in fact, recreates the text
        so poorly that he or she produces chicken scratches where letters
        are meant to go--create a meaningful nomen sacrum?>>

        I welcome the opportunity to risk making a fool of myself, for I do
        not feel that we have at all exhausted the subject.

        I was able to enter this study far enough along to read through all
        the posts to date in a single sitting, knowing in advance (from its
        presence in the Files) that P46 somehow would enter into the
        discussion.

        It's interesting how many learned minds proffered their wisdom
        before someone finally stated the obvious: this papyrus is a hand-
        drawn pseudofacsimile of a precise sheet of a celebrated ancient
        manuscript. Looking at the two images now, I can see that without a
        question.

        Addressing some other questions that do not perhaps lend themselves
        to so satisfactory a conclusion, I approached this mss as someone
        fluently literate only in the Latin alphabet, but able to decipher
        the standard forms of half a dozen other scripts.

        What immediately leaped out to me was the word "POISON" in the
        fourth line. Upon closer inspection, however, it turned out to be an
        optical illusion; the 'N' is not really 'IS'. So my first theory,
        that the scribe was literate in English, was tossed out.

        Moving down that line, though, I can see that the scribe could not
        have been familiar with Greek letters or Nomina Sacra. Each letter
        is drawn as s/he best perceives it to have stood in the original,
        and only incidently do these result in legible Greek characters.
        Note that the superscript is broken in between the letters UU rather
        than forming a solid line. Many characters are broken up in this way
        due to the poor quality of the exemplar. 'H' is mistaken
        for 'N', 'U' for 'O', etc.

        In an interesting reverse of the usual process, note the NS for QU
        in the 3rd line. The superscript is unbroken in the original, but
        broken in the facsimile. This lends credence to the intermediate-
        copy hypothesis. But looking more closely, it would appear that the
        break may have been caused by a dirty lens on Dan Wallace's digital
        camera. Suffice it to say, we are dealing with a multi-generational
        copy here!

        I have one question: How can we be sure that this final copy is a
        printout rather than a ms? The rough surface of papyrus would seem
        to preclude such a consistent laydown of ink. Has any analysis been
        done of the ink?


        Daniel Buck
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