patristics | manuscripts

Multiple-Text Manuscripts, in OA

There is a new volume out: The Emergence of Multiple-Text Manuscripts, edited by A. Bausi, M. Friedrich and M. Maniaci. As most volumes in the series (Studies in Manuscript Cultures) this too is open access.

MTM Em.jpg

It seems to be a follow-up of the 2016 programmatic volume One-Volume Libraries: Composite and Multiple-Text Manuscripts (ed. by M. Friedrich and C. Schwarke), which proposed a more rigorous terminology for what were (and still are) usually called ‘miscellaneous’ manuscripts and applied it in a number of cultures.

The current volume offers further case studies on the topic and, much like the previous one, keeps a comparative approach across languages and cultures by putting together contributions on Latin, Greek, Coptic, and Arabic manuscripts, as well as manuscripts from medieval China and from the languages of Jain traditions.

Particularly interesting is the article by Patrick Andrist, “Concepts and Vocabulary for the Analysis of Thematic Codices: The Example of Greek Adversus Iudaeos Books,” which closes the volume and offers further terminological discussion and basically applies in depth and develops upon the theoretical background of the volume La syntaxe du codex: Essai de codicologie structurale, co-authored with P. Canart and M. Maniaci (which I reviewed here).

Have a look!

Manuscripts and Rare Books at KU Leuven

There is a new volume out about the manuscripts and rare books held in Leuven at the Maurits Sabbe Library, which is the research library of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven. (The more general university library of KU Leuven is Artes University Library, which has its own holdings for manuscripts in its Special Collections.) Back to the new volume:

acover mic

Wim François, Lieve Watteeuw, and Leo Kenis (eds.), Manuscripts & Precious Books in the Maurits Sabbe Library – KU Leuven (Leuven: Peeters, 2019).

It contains brief introductions, illustrations and select bibliography for 45 peculiar books and manuscripts hosted in the Maurits Sabbe Library. The images are great, especially when zoomed-in details are offered.


Apart from Hildegard’s manuscript in the image above, featured in is the so-called ‘Anjou Bible,’ the illuminated Latin Bible produced in the 14th century in Naples for Robert of Anjou; an autograph manuscript with various works of Pope Adrian VI—successively former student, professor, rector, vice-chancellor in Leuven—of which some exegetical, written around the turn of the 16th century; a printed response to Luther by a Leuven professor of the 16th century, Jacobus Latomus; also, very interestingly, the lecture notes on the Pentateuch of Cornelius Jansenius, delivered in Leuven in 1631 and 1632, that later lead to the publication of his commentary on the Pentateuch.

Overall, the volume sits well with the notion of the history of the book, as a very nicely illustrated chapter of how the composition of a book repository is determined by, and intertwined with the latter’s history on the one hand, and on the other with its past and present aims and self-representations. Very nice.  Continue reading “Manuscripts and Rare Books at KU Leuven”

Fresh Open Theology DH thematic issue

I’ve received news that the thematic issue of Open Theology, “Digital Humanities in Biblical Studies and Theology,” edited by Claire Clivaz and Garrick Allen is now completed.

For my piece—on a Cambridge palimpsest leaf containing lectionary readings from Mark’s gospel—I had a good experience with this issue: I received two reviews each time for both my initial submission and revised article, all very helpful. They also published the articles as the process for each was completed, which is always good.

Here’s the ToC. All articles are open access. There are very interesting manuscript projects in there, so do have a look. Continue reading “Fresh Open Theology DH thematic issue”

A Latin-Greek Index to the NT and Apostolic Fathers

This is a peculiar volume. It is not as much an index of Latin equivalents for Greek words in the two corpora, but specifically an inverted index to two Greek concordances that also give, among other things, Latin equivalents: A. Schmoller’s Handkonkordanz zum griechischen Neuen Testament and H. Kraft and U. Früchtel’s Clavis Patrum Apostolicorum.

The new volume sends therefore to the pages of the Handkonkordanz and of the Clavis and not to the texts themselves. I find that a bit counterintuitive, as it requires a used to employ three books at the same time, for one search. It goes without saying that this tool would fare a lot better as a searchable database, especially one with full referenced added.

I just finished a review of this book for, here.


Hermas in Ethiopic: new book out

The other day I received, through the kindness of the author, a newly published volume on the Shepherd of Hermas in Ethiopic: Massimo Villa, Filologia e linguistica dei testi geʿez di età aksumita. Il Pastore di Erma (Studi Africanistici/Series Etiopica 10; Napoli: Unior Press, 2019).

Ethiopic Hermas is a peculiar AnTrAF item, as our current editions of the Greek text use for this version the text and the accompanying Latin translation published in 1860. Since then, several other Ethiopic witnesses have emerged—a fourth one will be published by the end of the year in this volume (the ToC is available here)—so a new edition is sorely needed. Until then, Massimo Villa’s contribution is an important, book-length, step in that direction.

The successive chapters introduce the text and its textual tradition (ch. 1), the Ethiopic context (ch. 2), offer an initial assessment of the Greek Vorlage (ch. 3), describes the extant witnesses and the stemma (ch. 4) and the indirect tradition (ch. 5 and 6), which are followed by an assessment of the Ethiopian reception of the Shepherd (ch. 7), a series of philological case studies (ch. 8) and finally, to whet our appetite, a critical edition and annotated Italian translation of the Third Vision of the Shepherd (the longest of the five).

With regard to the question of reception, Massimo Villa’s assessment (ch. 7) is (rightly) based on the distribution of witnesses, further information in manuscripts, mentions of the Shepherd in book inventory lists and the indirect tradition, described in the previous chapters. He concludes that the circulation of this text cannot be linked satisfactorily to just one centre and context—the dissident Stephanite movement at the Gunda Gundē monastery in Aksumite times—and then proposes a number of reasons for the eventual decline of the Shepherd in the Horn of Africa after the 15th century, some ‘mechanical’, some historical.

You can find the ToC on the page of the author, here.


Apostolic Fathers in Italian editions and commentaries

If you happen to find yourself wondering what are the Italian critical editions and commentaries of the Apostolic Fathers, as one does, here’s one for you:


Emanuela Prinzivalli and Manlio Simonetti, Seguendo Gesù: testi cristiani delle origini, volumes 1 & 2 (Scrittori greci e latini; Milan: Mondadori, 2010 & 2015). You can find ToCs on the page of E. Prinzivalli.

The editors dispense with the “Apostolic Fathers” designation, which they find—not only artificial and modernly constructed, but also—ideologically loaded (p. xiv), and use a descriptive title, “Following Jesus,” which in a sense made the contents of the volume less obvious.

In terms of contents, this collection is minimalist: it contains the Didache, 1 Clement, Ignatius of Antioch’s seven letters (in vol. 1), and the Letter of Polycarp, the Letter of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas (in vol. 2). As such, it does not include 2 Clement, the Martyrdom of Polycarp, the fragments of Papias or Quadratus, or Ad Diognetum (which would have made a nice third volume!).

In the Italian space—where there is a long standing tradition of text editing, commenting, and of the study of languages in general—there are of course also individual volumes, as these below, in the Paoline series Letture cristiane del primo millennio. Among them, the volume on Papias by Enrico Norelli is particularly important.


Papyri and liturgy: new book out

There are various attempts in the scholarship on early Christian papyri to see an uprising (New Testament) canon, or even one already in place, in the way in which the surviving papyri look like. This rests on the lingering assumption that reading a text in an early Christian worship contexts might equal canonical status for that text.

And more often than not, the discussion is limited to New Testament papyri, perhaps compared with apocryphal papyri. However, there is such thing as liturgical papyri, which are virtually never mentioned in such discussion—and they should be.

Luckily, we have a new book out on this topic, authored by Ágnes T. Mihálykó, The Christian Liturgical Papyri: An Introduction (Mohr 2019):


Here goes the blurb:

Liturgical papyri are prime witnesses to the history of liturgy and the religious and theological currents in late antique Egypt. These items from the third to ninth century preserve hundreds of Greek and Coptic hymns, prayers, and acclamations, most otherwise unknown but some still recited by the Coptic Church. Ágnes T. Mihálykó offers the first extensive introduction to the liturgical papyri, facilitating the reader’s access to them with a detailed inventory of edited manuscripts and an extensive discussion of their date and provenance. She also examines liturgical papyri as the first preserved liturgical manuscripts, describing their material features, the ways they were used, the early history of the liturgical books, and their languages. She reveals how liturgical texts were written down and transmitted and locates these important manuscripts in the book culture of late antique Egypt.

You can find the page of the author here.

This week: The AnTrAF Conference, with a change of venue

We’re closing in onto the two-day conference in Leuven on the Ancient Translations of the Apostolic Fathers (AnTrAF). Please note the change of venue: all sessions will take part in the Irish College.

You can download the poster here.

AnTrAF 2019 poster

Continue reading “This week: The AnTrAF Conference, with a change of venue”

Scribal Habits in Middle Eastern Manuscripts workshop in Princeton

I received the other day the program of the Scribal Habits in Middle Eastern Manuscripts, hosted in May 10-11 at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton. I’ll be giving a paper on 1 Clement in Syriac, Coptic and Greek.

2 1 Clement Cam 1700
This is the ending of 1 Clement and the beginning of 2 Clement in University Library Cambridge Add. MSS 1700, folio 155b.

The  description in the CfP of the workshop went as follows:

Most scholars who employ manuscripts in their research tend to focus on the literary content itself. But what about the role of the scribe who typically remains at the periphery of research? How can we, in the words of the NT textual critic James Royse, “virtually look over the scribe’s shoulder” to understand the process by which our manuscripts were produced. The aim of this workshop is to bring together scholars from various disciplines to study the individuals who produced our manuscripts and how they shaped the transmission of literary texts they copied.

The resulting program includes papers on Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Coptic, Arabic, Turkish and Persian manuscripts. Continue reading “Scribal Habits in Middle Eastern Manuscripts workshop in Princeton”

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