International SBL News
- Here is a brief update on the International SBL meetings today here
in Vienna, Austria. We had some excellent presentations in the
session on "Working with Biblical Manuscripts."
Dr. Tommy Wasserman presented on the topic of "New Manuscripts of the
Greek New Testament in Vienna." He noted 5 unlisted NT documents
that he uncovered at the Austrian National Library in Vienna, with
one fitting the nomenclature of a new manuscript and the others
primarily being fragments (although one palimpsest might also qualify
as a ms). He also highlighted the need for compiling a list of
fragments of NT texts that don't fit into the current system used at
Dr. Martin Heide spoke on "The Stability of the Transmitted Texts of
the New Testament and of the Pastor Hermae." He showed how an
analysis of portions of the early papyri in comparison with the N-A
text and the Byz text forms in the NT reveals that the copying
overall was quite good, with an average divergence per ms from these
two text forms of about 96.3% versus the N-A text and 92.6% for the
Byz text form. In comparison with this, the early Pastor of Hermas
mss reveal more divergence, thereby implying a less strict copy
process. The implication was that the NT mss showed a better copy
process in their transmission than those of the Pastor of Hermas
ones, so some assumptions about how NT mss were copied may need to be
restudied or re-thought.
Adam Anderson presented research from a joint study by himself and
Paul Hoskisson on the topic of "To Mar or to Anoint: A New Look at
Isaiah 52:14." A dual reading of "anoint" and "mar" (readings
attested textually in the witnesses) was proposed in connection with
the surrounding verses, with alternative readings in those verses
being linked to the two meanings in 52:14.
Jae Hyung Cho's presentation was on the variant readings in 1 Cor.
15:51. He argued for the reading attested by P46 versus the current
In the evening, the Austrian National Library opened their papyri
collection's special display to attendees. We had a wonderful time
looking at one of the best papyri collections in the world, including
a page from P45 and several other OT and NT mss.
The meeting continue through Thur. mid-day, but today alone was a
delightful day for those in textual criticism.
Director of the Center for New Testament Textual Studies
Landrum P. Leavell, II, Professor of New Testament and Greek
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary