Every Thursday morning on BBC Radio 4, Melvyn Bragg hosts an endlessly fascinating discussion on a scholarly topic between three researchers in the field, called ‘In our Time‘. I always think it is worth the license fee for this programme alone. Right now (0930 GMT), Judas Maccabeus is getting the treatment by Philip Alexander, Helen Bond, and Tessa Rajak. Listening to the discussion, I hadn’t realised that the historical value of 1 and 2 Maccabees goes so relatively unquestioned. Since this is hardly advance notice (sorry), it will be available via iPlayer from the ‘In our Time’ homepage in due course.
Thursday, 24 November 2011
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Professor Loren Stuckenbruck gave an interesting paper this week on the area of the apocrypha and its interaction with Jewish and Christian canons. He didn’t mention the council at Jamnia so I asked about its role in the debate. I got an odd look from him, and he responded in a gracious manner saying that it is highly debatable that that ever happened. Doh! So I asked him to clarify. He didn’t go into detail but said a process of standardization occured but mostly in the 2nd century and that the process was retrojected back into the first century. So, for those of you like me that were fed the Jamnia story, learn your lesson from my experience and hold your tongue in public discussions.
I think this issue of canon is quite interesting since a significant chunk of the ‘Bible’ was removed with the reformation. Not that there weren’t some good reasons, but protestants have shunned them to the extent that when I was in high school I almost got the feeling that the catholics made up these books. And why would they choose names like Bel and the Dragon? Students need more interaction with these sources to open their eyes to NT backgrounds.
[Update: It's good to know wikipedia has it more correct than the educators that I've had in the past on this issue: Jamnia]
Friday, 13 March 2009
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I assume that most of us use BibleWorks or Logos for electronic interaction with biblical texts in their original languages. However, the German Bible Society (Deutschen Bibelgesellschaft) has all of the major critical editions online, i.e.., NA27, BHS, Rahlfs’ LXX, and the Vulgate. Having a knowledge of German does help, but for the most part the browsing is intuitive enough for others based on cognates.
The greek is in unicode, so it’s easy to copy and paste into Word, etc. if you are a unicode user. The Hebrew came across into Word as well, but the cantilation marks had to be removed to make it look ok. (I haven’t done enough with Hebrew in unicode to know whether the .de version is or not.)
There is a basic search function (after you select the version, click on Suche im Bibeltext), if, I think, you are registered (which is free but requires responding to an email). I only tried it in Greek, using the unicode Greek keyboard function in Windows. (It won’t let you search by transliteration.) It will let you look up inflected forms of words. It also lets you use wildcard symbols to catch multiple forms, but it would be hard to look up all the uses of a particular word if its form changes significantly.
Even more than the search feature, I was hoping the critical apparatus would be online. But alas, it doesn’t seem to be. For instance, I saw nothing at Rom 5.1 with the ἐχομεν/ἐχωμεν readings.
Wednesday, 9 July 2008
As one who is hoping to encourage biblical scholars to engage more with patristic interpreters, I thought it would be helpful to explain the best routes to find where patristic writers cite the Bible. This topic was briefly brought up at Evangelical Textual Criticism. The best resource I’ve found to discuss the issue is “A Note on the Critical Use of Instrumenta for the Retrieval of Patristic Biblical Exegesis,” Steven R. Harmon, Journal of Early Christian Studies 11:1, 95–107 © 2003 The Johns Hopkins University Press
Harmon offers this as this priority for ’the most efficient use of [the] tools. First, one should consult the volumes of Biblia Patristica. Second, one should supplement Biblia Patristica with keyword searches of the electronic databases [e.g., TLG]. Third, one should compare the combined results from Biblia Patristica and electronic databases with the entries in the scripture indices for PG, PL, PLS, and CPG, since it is possible that these could yield a reference not located by the other tools; in the test case, that did in fact happen with the PLS index.’ (105)
(1) Biblia Patristica. Seven volumes have been published to date, along with a supplementary volume for biblical references in Philo of Alexandria, who served as an exegetical model for many patristic authors. The entries do not distinguish between quotations and allusions, and criteria for the latter are rather loose. (Began in 1975, latest volume in 2000.)
- Volume 1: beginnings of extracanonical Christian literature up to Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian.
- Volume 2 Third century, apart from Origen.
- Volume 3 Origen
- Volume 4 Fourth century, includes Eusebius of Caesarea, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Epiphanius of Salamis.
- Volume 5 covers Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, and Amphilochius of Iconium.
- Volume 6 Latin writers, Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrose of Milan, and the Ambrosiaster.
- Volume 7 Didymus the Blind.
(2) Electronic Databases. There are four major electronic databases that provide keyword-searchable access early Christian literature: the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG), the Patrologia Latina Database (PLD), the Cetedoc Library of Christian Latin Texts (CLCLT), and the Archive of Celtic Latin Literature (ACLL).
- ‘TLG contains nearly all extant Greek texts from Homer to 600 c.e. and much of the Byzantine literature from 600 to 1453. Periodic updates are issued; a significant addition to release E in 2000 is the corpus of Cyril of Alexandria, among other authors.
- PLD contains the complete, uncorrected text of PL.
- CLCLT contains the more reliable editions of the Corpus Christianorum Latinorum. At present PLD is more extensive, but CLCLT is updated periodically and already contains a number of texts not found in PL.
- ACLL complements the CLCLT database by including Latin texts produced in Gaelic speaking areas of Europe from 400–1200 c.e.’ (100-101).
3) Scripture Indices. For the researcher working any time prior to 1975 to locate references biblical citations in early Christian literature through the eighth century, the best set of tools would have been the index volumes of the Migne Patrologiae Cursus Completus.
- Patrologia Latina (PL) is in indexed in volumes 218-221, though only by book and chapter (not verses, except for the Patrologia Latina Supplementum (PLS)).
- For Patrologia Graeca (PG): Ferdinand Cavallera, Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Graeca: Indices (Paris: Garnier, 1912). However, these indices primarily only focus on homilies and commentaries rather than theological treatises, making them less than complete.
- NT citations in Apostolic Fathers: The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1905) by the Committee of the Oxford Society of Historical Theology.
- Clavis Patrum Graecorum (CPG) published by Brepols as part of the Corpus Christianorum series contains an Index Biblicus in volume 5: Maurice Geerard and F. Glorie, CPG, vol. 5, Indices, Initia, Concordantiae (Turnhout: Brepols, 1987).
- The current edition of Clavis Patrum Latinorum (CPL) does not contain a scripture index: Eligius Dekkers and Emil Gaar, ed., Clavis Patrum Latinorum, 3d ed. (Turnhout: Brepols, 1995).
- Herman Josef Sieben published an index to patristic homilies on the New Testament in 1991 in the series Instrumenta Patristica: Herman Josef Sieben, Kirchenväterhomilien zum Neuen Testament: Ein Repertorium der Textausgaben und Untersuchungen, mit einem Anhang der Kirchenväterkommentare, Instrumenta Patristica 22 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff International, 1991).