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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

REVIEW: G. Emmenegger, Der Text des koptischen Psalters aus Al-Mudi

G. Emmenegger, Der Text des koptischen Psalters aus Al-Mudil. Ein Beitrag zur Textgeschichte der Septuaginta und zur Textkritik koptischer Bibelhandschriften, mit der kritischen Neuausgabe des Papyrus 37 der British Library London (U) und des Papyrus 39 der Leipziger Universitätsbibliothek (2013). Text und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 159. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2007. Pp. xxviii, 391. ISBN 978-3-11-019948-2. €118.00.

Reviewed by Thomas J. Kraus, Hilpoltstein (t.j.kraus@web.de)
Word count: 1718 words

This is a just slightly revised version of Gregor Emmenegger's Th.D. thesis (Theological Faculty Fribourg/Suisse, 2005), enlarged by an index of biblical references. Title and subtitle of the book reveal Emmenegger's (hereafter E.) main concern: a full-scale investigation into the text and context of the so-called Coptic Mudil-Codex, which preserves the complete Psalter in the textual form of the Septuagint, and its implications for Septuagint studies. In addition, E. compares the Mudil-Codex with other codices and their relevant textual passages. In two addenda, both of them standing on their own, E. offers re-editions of Papyrus 37, a Greek codex, and Papyrus 39, a Greek roll. Of course, E.'s editorial work and studies will certainly not attract the attention of readers without (at least some) expertise in textual criticism and consequently will not find a broad readership. This is due to (a) the use of the relevant original languages Hebrew, Greek, and the Coptic dialects (without accompanying translations into German) and (b) the technical language and terminology that is necessary for editing and assessing ancient manuscripts. However, this does not mean that E. did anything wrong.On the contrary, he provides an indispensable tool for all those concerned about the text and textual history of the Septuagint and its manuscript witnesses. Scholars like E. with such a splendid expertise, i.e. scholars who possess the skills to edit manuscripts and the knowledge of ancient languages, are hard to find these days. Thus, E.'s impressively meticulous and learned work is very much welcome, and he must be thanked for taking over the sometimes enervating and tiring work of providing others with text-critical studies of the Mudil-Codex and re-editions of two other important textual witnesses.

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