What's New in Papyrology

Recent publications of papyri & ostraca 4th BC-8th AD; conferences, lectures etc. from Papy-L and other sources as noted. gregg.schwendner AT wichita.edu

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Today (Sunday) at the SBL




Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds 11/18/2012 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM Room: S401d - McCormick Place Theme: Form, Format, and Formation: Papyrus Manuscripts in Antiquity 

Malcolm Choat, Macquarie University, Presiding 

Early Christian Texts on the Verso of Reemployed Papyri (30 min)
Giovanni B. Bazzana, Harvard University 
The present paper will focus on a peculiar – and rather small – group of early Christian papyri that are characterized by some very specific “formal” features. A number of (not only Christian) Greek literary texts are written on the verso of reemployed sheets of papyrus. This feature is quite frequently accompanied by other characteristic elements, as, among others, a cursive or relatively unskilled handwriting. The first part of the paper will ask what kinds of texts were mostly put into writing in this particular fashion. It will be evident that texts happened to be written on the verso when their use was connected to specific practical purposes, as in the case of the numerous school exercises that can be found on the verso of discarded papers. Following the increasing attention that paleographers (as Guglielmo Cavallo) and papyrologists (as William Johnson in his recent book on reading) are paying to reading (and writing) as a social practice and to the ways in which the latter is reflected in the “formal” features of ancient manuscripts, it is easy to conclude that the appearance of literary texts on the verso of reemployed papyrus hints at some more general inferences concerning the circulation and the social fruition of the texts themselves. The paper will end by bringing these conclusions to bear on the study of early Christian papyri specifically. It is worth inquiring whether those texts that appear more frequently (as it happens for apocalyptic writings, for instance) or exclusively on the verso of reemployed papyrus are identified by specific traits, as being part of the same literary genre or sharing a certain social function. 

Size Matters? Revisiting Some Physical Features of the Bodmer Codices
Brent Nongbri, Macquarie University 

 This paper will examine physical features of the Greek and Coptic codices among the Bodmer papyri. In addition to addressing questions of dimensions and quire make-up, the paper will also discuss the somewhat neglected area of bookbinding techniques, for which the Bodmer codices provide a surprising amount of evidence.

The Curious Case of P43: Another New Testament Opisthograph? (30 min) 
Jeff Cate, California Baptist University 

P.Sarga 12 (British Library, papyrus 2241) is a tiny scrap from Wadi Sarga in Egypt with barely 100 letters visible on front and back. This fragment, more commonly known as P43, is one of only seven known Greek papyrus manuscripts of the Apocalypse of John and is quite an enigma. The manuscript was discovered nearly a century ago, yet rarely is it mentioned in publications. Oddities abound with the fragment. The text on front and back is not from adjacent passages (Rev 2:12-13 and 15:8-16:2, respectively) as would be expected from a codex. Furthermore, the text on the verso is upside-down compared to the recto and does not appear to be from the same hand. The fragment is generally dated to the seventh century, which is late for NT papyri and long after the establishment of the codex over the scroll as the preferred format for copies of the Christian scriptures. Nevertheless, reconstructing the extant text leads to the reasonable conjecture that P43 is another rare example of a New Testament opisthograph, albeit the only example of which the text on recto and verso is from the same book.
Sofia Torallas Tovar, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Respondent (15 min) Discussion (10 min)

New Testament Textual Criticism 11/18/2012 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM Room: S402b - McCormick Place Theme: Presentation of Ehrman & Holmes, The Text of the New Testament and open session 

Scriptural Quotations in the New Testament – An Examination of P46 (20 min) Discussion (10 min) Johannes de Vries, Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal/Bethel The Textual History of the 

The Textual History of the Scriptural Quotations in the New Testament – An Examination of P46 In several instances a Septuagint influence on the transmission of the New Testament text is likely or has at least been suggested; however, the extent of the mutual influence between the two traditions is still up for debate. This paper focuses on the earliest textual history of the scriptural quotations in the New Testament which is preserved in the oldest New Testament papyri. Due both to its antiquity (c. 200 CE) and extent of preservation, Papyrus 46 (P46) is an excellent example and worthy of a comparative analysis. The analysis of several selected scriptural quotations in P46 shows on the one hand a broad variety of variants of all kinds – many of which are unparalleled by any Septuagint reading; on the other hand, a few occasional harmonizations with the Septuagint can be detected. More precisely, only in two instances, a Septuagint influence on the text of P46 is the most probable explanations for variant readings. Thus, the influence of the Septuagint is just one (and rather minor) factor among many other more dominant factors contributing to the emergence of variants. It seems to be limited to clearly recognizable quotations and is supported by an explicit reference to the quoted text and its prominence.  These findings on the earliest textual tradition complement the results of the Wuppertal research project on the textual history of the New Testament quotations. Thus, even though further examinations are required to generalize these particular conclusions regarding P46, one can venture a thesis: The transmission of Septuagint and New Testament took place independently during (at least) the first five centuries. Singular exceptions are likely, but remained limited to particular passages or particular strands of the textual tradition. This, in turn, means that these exceptions can easily be identified when contrasted with the overall textual tradition.