I was notified by a colleague today that Prof. J.K. Elliott (Honorary Professor of New Testament Textual Criticism, University of Leeds) has written a review of my book. The review is published in the latest issue of Novum Testamentum.
For convenience, I provide the text of Elliott's review immediately below.
6. Brice C. Jones, New Testament Texts on Greek Amulets from Late Antiquity (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2016) xvi + 223 pp. ISBN: 0567666277. £70 (= Library of New Testament Studies 554).
"In an expensive series where all-too-often we see an excess of bland and indiscriminate theses on obscure topics, it is splendid to be able to commend another volume that lifts it from the expected troughs. Jones’ work is familiar to many of us, thanks to his blog and other writings; his is a name we can expect to see regularly in the limelight. And justifiably so, as Jones’ analysis here, undertaken at McGill University, Montreal, discusses twenty-four amulets, including some absent from von Dobschütz’s abandoned ‘T’ (= talismans) classification in the registry of manuscripts. All manuscripts have a helpful and legible photograph adjoining its introduction, but on pp. 107-110 and 171-5 BGU 3.954 and P. Berol. inv. 13977 respectively lack pictures. Jones makes perceptive text-critical observations throughout. This is mature scholarship, and only a few insignificant blemishes mar his text e.g. on pp. xi (read Joseph) or 199 (read Dobschütz). A few other very minor alterations are needed: titles on p. 2 n. 6 and p. 3 n. 7 are absent from the Bibliography. Re p. 195 n.1 the 3rd edition of my bibliography of Greek New Testament manuscripts p. 7 includes all twenty-five ostraca—as indeed does the second edition p. 6.
Biblical citations found on amulets, as well as comparable quotations on other ‘secondary’ materials, deserve inclusion in full apparatus to an edition of the Greek New Testament text, as I, Stuart Pickering and others have regularly advocated. Jones is so minded too. This study will promote that recommendation."
I appreciate Elliott's positive review, especially since he has garnered a reputation for being one of the most careful (and, quite often, critical) reviewers in my field. Elliott is a senior scholar who is held in high regard around the world, so I don't take it lightly when he refers to my book as "mature scholarship."
I will take his few corrections back to the editors at Bloomsbury so those can be incorporated into the forthcoming paperback edition. Let me respond briefly here to his observation of the lack of photos for BGU 3.954 and P.Berol. inv. 13977. BGU 3.954 was never photographed, and since the papyrus burned on a ship in the harbor of Hamburg in 1899 (as I mention on p. 108), an image was impossible. After several different requests, I was informed by Marius Gerhardt of the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung in Berlin that a reduplication of P.Berol. inv. 13977 was not possible due to conservation reasons. Nonetheless, I should have provided a footnote about this in the book for clarity.
One small correction to Elliott's review: While I started my doctoral work at McGill University in Montreal, I took my PhD from Concordia University (also in Montreal), where I wrote under the supervision of Prof. André Gagné.
I want to issue one more thank you to Dr. Chris Keith, the LNTS series editor, for accepting my work into his fine series, and to the folks at Bloomsbury for bringing the work to completion. My experience working with Dr. Keith and Bloomsbury was excellent, and I highly recommend the LNTS series to those who might be shopping for a publisher.
Today, I met with a colleague, Dr. David Brown, in ULM's Special Collections to view the fine, Italian-made facsimile edition of Codex Vaticanus (GA 03). The facsimile is an exact replica of the original manuscript, reproducing holes, markings, page dimensions—every detail. Only 450 facsimile copies were made, and the $5,500 price tag is daunting. Nonetheless, the craftsmanship is exceptional and it was an enjoyable experience flipping through the pages of this codex. You can read more about (and purchase!) the facsimile here. (Note: I accept donations!)