patristics | manuscripts

Reading Signs in Manuscripts

New book from the Presses Universitaires de Liège:


Gabriel Nocchi Macedo and Maria Chiara Scappaticcio (eds.). Signes dans les textes, textes sur les signes: Érudition, lecture et écriture dans le monde gréco-romain.
Papyrologica Leodiensia 6; Liège: PUL, 2017.

The various paratextual signs found here and there in early-Christian papyri and manuscripts have drawn quite some attention during the last decade for the possible clues they could offer not only about the use of these manuscripts but possibly also about liturgical practices and the formation of the canon.

This book offers sixteen contributions on the Greek and Roman background on signs found in manuscripts and inscriptions, and should therefore inform all future developments of such debates. The papers are written in Italian, English, Spanish and French, so it should be good fun. I’ve pasted the contents below, for convenience. Daniela Colomo’s article, on quantity marks in Greek prose texts on papyrus, is available online here.

Guglielmo CAVALLO

Segni nei testi, testi sui segni: perché?

Some Observations on the Usage of Punctuation in Early Greek Inscriptions

Segni e layout delle iscrizioni greche in Egitto. Un sondaggio su testi esposti in prosa

Los signos de lectura más antiguos en papiro

La ponctuation dans les papyrus grecs d’Herculanum

Daniela COLOMO
Quantity Marks in Greek Prose Texts on Papyrus

Kathleen MCNAMEE
Sigla in Late Greek Literary Papyri

Rodney AST
Signs of Learning in Greek Documents: the Case of spiritus asper

Eleanor DICKEY
Word Division in Bilingual Texts

Rodolfo FUNARI
Segni di interpunzione e di lettura nei frammenti storici latini da papiro e pergamena rivenuti nell’Egitto

Textes sur les signes : les sources latines

Giuseppina MAGNALDI
Integrazioni con parola‐segnale in manoscritti ciceroniani e apuleiani

Segni nei libri: esempi e problemi nei manoscritti medievali di contenuto grammaticale

La pratique de la ponctuation dans les manuscrits de Lyon du Ve au IXe siècle

Ricezione ed evoluzione di un trattato elementare : le Declinationes e le redazioni dell’Ars Ambianensis

Herencia clásica en la ponctuación y la acentuación del Siglo de Oro español

Clement’s Exegesis

New book from Brill:


Veronika Černušková, Judith L. Kovacs, and Jana Plátová (eds.)
Clement’s Biblical Exegesis: Proceedings of the Second Colloquium on Clement of Alexandria (Olomouc, May 29–31, 2014)
VCS 139; Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2017.


In Clement’s Biblical Exegesis scholars from six countries explore various facets of Clement of Alexandria’s hermeneutical theory and his exegetical practice. Although research on Clement has tended to emphasize his use of philosophical sources, Clement was important not only as a Christian philosopher, but also as a pioneer Christian exegete. His works constitute a crucial link in the tradition of Alexandrian exegesis, but his biblical exegesis has received much less attention than that of Philo or Origen. Topics discussed include how Clement’s methods of allegorical interpretation compare with those of Philo, Origen, and pagan exegetes of Homer, and his readings of particular texts such as Proverbs, the Sermon on the Mount, John 1, 1 John, and the Pauline letters.

For a taste of this, you can find the contributions of Annewies van den Hoek (“Clement of Alexandria and the Book of Proverbs“) and Matyáš Havrda (“Clement’s Exegetical Interests in Stromateis VIII“) readily available on Good stuff, this.

NAPS 2017 program released

The program of the 2017 North American Patristics Society has just been published, here. Plenty of cool papers to go around, methinks.

Of course, as for any such occasion, check out Melissa Ridley’s advice on cultivating collegiality, and David Lincicum’s jolly good tips on how not to be a jerk at conferences.

New Issues of APF and Biblica

The other day I received my copies of the latest issues of Biblica and Archiv für Papyrusforschung. Since neither issue is yet online, TOC previews might be useful.

In Biblica 97/4 (2016) I have an essay on the presence of the Apostolic Father in the the ‘Great Biblical Uncials’ (“The Apostolic Fathers in Codex Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus“). NT people might be interested in the article by my Leuven colleague, Bincy Mathew, “The Syntax of John 13:1 Revisited”.

img_20170130_190841     img_20170130_191232

In Archiv für Papyrusforschung 62/2 (2016) J have a short piece: “Two Notes on the Papyri of the Shepherd of Hermas and Its Egyptian Transmission“. This issue of APF has two articles on Hermas, which must be some sort of record. Paolo Cecconi’s interesting article “La padrona diventa serva. Un nuovo inizio del Papiro Bodmer 38” is not uploaded on academia edu, but the description there includes the invite “For a copy, please write me”.

img_20170130_190754     img_20170130_190956


Patristic Works in Antique Translations

As the 2017 annual conference of the European Society for the Study of Religions will be held in Leuven, September 18-21, some may wish to know that it will include a panel on the this topic, currently accepting paper proposals: “Caught in Translation: Versions of Late-Antique Christian Literature”.

These sessions focus on the transmission of translations from patristic works (broadly conceived) in Late Antiquity and beyond. Apart from a limited number of better known cases which received a certain amount of attention, e.g. the Latin translations from Origen’s works, there is of course a large amount of understudied material. Yet for the texts which are translated, the versions are not only (sometimes crucial) textual witnesses, but also important testimonies of independent strands of reception, cast in the cultural context of the new language. The aim of these sessions, therefore, is to sample the range of problems and approaches involved in addressing the reception of Christian literature in the various languages in which it was transmitted.

Full description of the panel and the list of invited papers can be found here. The EASR call for papers (and the list of all panels) is available here. Deadline for submission is January 31. Do join in!

The New Testament in Byzantium

New book from Dumbarton Oakes:


Derek Krueger & Robert S. Nelson (eds.)
The New Testament in Byzantium (Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Symposia and Colloquia; Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2016).


The New Testament lay at the center of Byzantine Christian thought and practice. But codices and rolls were neither the sole way—nor most important way—the Byzantines understood the New Testament. Lectionaries apportioned much of its contents over the course of the liturgical calendar; its narratives structured the experience of liturgical time and shaped the nature of Christian preaching, throughout Byzantine history. A successor to The Old Testament in Byzantium (2010), this book asks: What was the New Testament for Byzantine Christians? What of it was known, how, when, where, and by whom? How was this knowledge mediated through text, image, and rite? What was the place of these sacred texts in Byzantine arts, letters, and thought?

Authors draw upon the current state of textual scholarship and explore aspects of the New Testament, particularly as it was read, heard, imaged, and imagined in lectionaries, hymns, homilies, saints’ lives, and as it was illustrated in miniatures and monuments. Framing theological inquiry, ecclesiastical controversy, and political thought, the contributions here help develop our understanding of the New Testament and its varied reception over the long history of Byzantium.

The volume stems from a 2013 conference (see here) and a number of contributions are available on, e.g. that of Maximos Constas on “The Reception of Paul and of Pauline Theology in the Byzantine Period,” or that of Derek Kruger on “The Hagiographers’ Bible,” as well as the two editors’ introductory chapter on the “New Testament of Byzantium.”

The outcome of the Hexapla among the papyri?

Here’s an interesting article for those interested in Patristics and papyrology: Francesca Schironi, “P.Grenf. 1.5, Origen, and the Scriptorium of Caesarea,” Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 52 (2015): 181-223. The abstract goes as follows:

P.Grenf. 1.5, a fragment from a papyrus codex with Ezekiel 5:12-6:3, is here put in its historical context. Since it was written close to Origen’s own lifetime (185-254 CE), it provides early evidence about how he used critical signs in his editions of the Old Testament. It also sheds light on the work of the scriptorium of Caesarea half a century later.”

Quite interestingly, Francesca Schironi argues that inasmuch as the by-product of Origen’s Hexapla was a stand-alone edition of the LXX ‘enriched’ with Hebrew readings (in which the textual differences were marked with text-critical signs, using obelos to mark what is present in the LXX and not in the HT, and asteriskos to mark what is absent in the LXX but present in the HT), then P.Grenf. 1.5., which contains a fragment of Ezekiel and displays such critical sigla, may well just be a very early remnant of this by-product (or rather end-product?) of the Hexapla, and quite close to Origen’s time.

This is an extensive, well researched interesting article. Other articles on critical signs in the papyri (and a host of other topics) can be found on the author’s academia edu page, here.

Athanasius Sinaita’s Bible II

Here goes, very briefly, the second day of the “Anastasius Sinaita and the Bible” symposium in Leuven.

The first paper today, eventually named “Juifs et polémique anti-juive dans l’Hexahemeron d’Athanase,” offered by Vincent Déroche (Collège  de France), discussed the passages where the Jews make an appearance in Athansius’ Hexaemeron. Beyond its use as designation for the literal reading of the scripture, the term ‘Jewish’ is otherwise  used polemically, and more specifically for contemporary polemical contexts (rather than a mere topos), apparently assimilated with or rather in conjunction with Arab Muslims, for instance in expressions such as ‘the synagogues of the Jews and of the Barbars’, Ἰουδαίων τε καὶ βαρβάρων συναγωγάς.

In the second paper—“Rôle et usage de l’Écriture dans les Récits d’Anastase le Sinaïte”—Andre Binggeli (IRHT, Paris) described the use of the scripture in polemical contexts (mostly antimuslim) in relation to the formation of Athanasius’ Récits sur le Sinaï and Récits utiles à l’âme (which AB edited for his PhD completed in 2001).

In the last paper of the symposium—“Rhetorical and Exegetical Appropriations of Scripture in Anastasius’ Unpublished Homilies”—Konstantinos Terzopoulos (Aegis), who is preparing the critical edition of a number of these homilies, discussed the variety of rhetorical devices used by Athanasius, and showed how the sermon was carefully built for performance, which in turn poses questions about the education of the author as well as about his whereabouts.

There. First part here.

Athanasius Sinaita’s Bible I

Here’s a very brief account of today’s papers in the “Anastasius Sinaita and the Bible” symposium held in Leuven, 12-13 December. Second part here.

In the first paper, “Anastase le Sinaïte et/ou Anastase d’Alexandrie ? Recherches nouvelles sur un grand inconnu”, Dimitrios Zaganas (who is writing a PhD on this author in Leuven) discussed the scarce evidence available (internal and especially external, including the complex textual relationships with other works and debates of the time), on the one hand for dating of the work of Athanasius of Sinai between the 7th to the 8th century, and on the other for establishing his historical identity in relation to other characters named Anastasius which appear in hagiographic literature.

In the second paper—“The Old Testament Text of Anastasius”—Reinhart Ceulemans (Leuven) offered comments on Athanasius’ use of the OT in the Hexaemeron, and in particular on the hypothesis regarding the possible use of the Hexapla (Kuehn). Even though Athanasius seems to mention Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion, and the Hexapla, he seems to have used them indirectly, through other sources rather than the versions themselves. No clear evidence that he used the Hexapla itself and his few meaningful variant readings in Genesis do not reflect Codex Sinaiticus, or the Hexaplaric recension, or any other text type for that matter.

The third and last paper of the day, by Ioannis Papadoyannakis (King’s College London) “The Use of Question-and-Answer Method and Process in Anastasius’ Hexaemeron,” presented the background and larger context for Athanasius way of employing the Q&A structure in his homilies, which seems to follow for persuasive aims rhetorical traditions rather than, for instance, an Aristotelian way of seeking for a truth.

There you go.

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