After a very long delay, the Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 49 (2012) has finally been published. The lineup of articles is excellent. Gregg Schwendner has posted the contents on his site here. I myself have a "papyrological note" on P.Mich. inv. 3521 published in this issue, which I submitted to BASP back in 2009! I have uploaded a copy of that in the publications section of this site. I was also excited to see that my edition of McGill MS No 2 (a Coptic palimpsest fragment of 2 Samuel 10) published in ZPE 184 was cited in two different articles dealing with the collection of Erik von Scherling (Alin Suciu and Klaas A. Worp and Renate Dekker). I have been privileged to have read these two articles already, thanks to the authors' making their papers available to me. Here is the announcement about the publication from the fine editor of BASP, Peter van Minnen, which was circulated earlier today:
BASP 49 (2012) has finally arrived. See the table of contents below. BASP 50 (2013) is on its way and is expected to arrive early next year. BASP 51 (2014) is filling up, but more contributions in a "congress language" (English, French, German, and Italian) can still be accommodated.
Thanks in part to the technical support made possible by the Semple Fund of the University of Cincinnati, BASP is the cheapest papyrological journal around, made available to members of the American Society of Papyrologists for an annual contribution of $35 ($20 for student members) and to institutions for an annual subscription of $50. Check out http://papyrology.org/index.php/membership
BASP has a new reviews editor: Arthur Verhoogt (Department of Classical Studies, University of Michigan, 2160 Angell Hall, 435 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003, USA). Copies of books for review can be sent to him from now on.
Peter van Minnen
Since Christmas is quickly approaching, I thought I would point my readers to a fantastic article by Stephen Carlson published in NTS in 2010 titled, "The Accommodations of Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem: Κατάλυμα in Luke 2.7." Carlson's study turns the traditional interpretation of the "inn" as being a kind of ancient hotel on its head. He also denies the view that Jesus was born in a stable or barn. Through a detailed lexical and semantic analysis of κατάλυμα and Jewish patrilocal marital customs during the time of Jesus, Carlson demonstrates that the reference to κατάλυμα in Luke 2.7 alludes to a marital chamber built on top, or onto the side of, the main room of a family village home. According to Carlson, the phrase διότι οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τόπος ἐν τῷ καταλύματι should be rendered "because they did not have room in their place to stay." The reference to "their place" is the marital chamber attached to the family village home of Joseph where the married couple would have stayed for some time before finding their own place. Since there was no space in their room, Mary had to give birth in the larger main room of the house, where the rest of the family slept. Carlson also shows that it was common for a "manger" to be present in the main room of most Jewish homes and so this detail of the birth account is in keeping with Jewish living customs. I quote Carlson's conclusion found on page 342 of the article:
"Luke's infancy narrative therefore presupposes the following events. Joseph took his betrothed Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem (2.5). Bethlehem was his hometown (v. 3) and, in accordance with the patrilocal marital customs of the day, it must also have been the place where they finalized their matrimonial arrangements by bringing her into his home. As a newly married man, he no longer would have to sleep in the main room of the village house with his other relatives, but he and his bride could stay in a marital chamber attached to the house until they could get a place of their own. They stayed there for some time until she came to full term (v. 6), and she gave birth to Jesus in the main room of the house rather than in her marital apartment because it was too small, and she laid the newborn in one of those mangers (v. 7) common to the main room of an ancient farmhouse. After staying at least another forty days in Bethlehem (v. 22; cf. Lev 12.2–8), Joseph and Mary eventually moved to Nazareth to make their home together in her family's town (v. 39; cf. 1.26–27). To be sure, this scenario as presupposed in Luke's infancy account diverges greatly from the conventional Christmas story. There is no inn, no innkeeper, and no stable. But it is grounded in a careful exegesis of the text."
This is one of those articles that can be described as truly being groundbreaking. Carlson's conclusions are so convincing that it would take considerable evidence to overturn them. Indeed, some may be uncomfortable with how this evidence changes the face of the traditional Christmas story, but it is, as Carlson admits, "grounded in a careful exegesis of the text." This article needs to be circulated widely, not only among academics, but also pastors and lay people alike, because it has serious implications for how we should understand this story as told by Luke. Carlson has posted this article on his personal website and it can be found here. Happy reading and happy holidays to all!
In 1998, Timothy M. Teeter published the eleventh installment in the series Columbia Papyri (American Studies in Papyrology 38; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1998). This volume was a revision of Teeter's 1989 doctoral dissertation under Roger S. Bagnall titled Ten Christian Papyri in the Columbia Collection. What I would like to talk about today is one of the manuscripts in this volume, #293 (Col. inv. 571), a fifth-century parchment fragment written in a fine biblical majuscule hand on both the hair and flesh sides, containing portions of Matthew 6 (vv. 4-6, 8-12). The opening paragraph of Teeter's edition of this fragment reads as follows:
"This fragment of the Gospel according to Matthew, containing most of the Lord's prayer and four verses of the introduction, is written on a badly damaged parchment codex leaf. The damage may be due to water, or exposure to extreme heat, or both; whatever the case, it is badly wrinkled, smudged, worn through in spots and very faded. Many letters are lost in whole or in part, while others may be seen only by patient examination under magnification. Text is missing both at top and bottom, and the left edge of the recto is ragged, possibly from the page's having been torn out. The circumstances of its separation from the codex are mysterious; if it was torn out to be kept as a charm or used for recitation, whoever did so was careless and lost the portion of the prayer" (Teeter, Columbia Papyri, p. 3).
Here is an image of the recto of P.Col. XI 293:
According to Teeter, the fragment is part of a larger codex and may have been used secondarily as an amulet. In a footnote to the citation above, Teeter says, "There is no Greek text of the Lord's Prayer on papyrus that was not created to be an amulet or toy" (ibid., p. 3). The "toy" designation is obviously a reference to P.Ant. II 54, whose original editor thought that it may have been a "toy book for a child" (this designation has been problematized by subsequent researchers). In his review of Teeter's book, Paul Mirecki commented that P.Col. XI 293 "is a random fragment of a damaged book, perhaps a deliberately destroyed book. This would better explain why the text of the prayer is incomplete" (BASP 38, 2001, 136). P.Col. XI 293 is no. 105 in de Bruyn and Dijkstra's list of Greek of amulets (BASP 48, 2011, 163-216), filed under the category of "Probable Amulets." They claim that it was used secondarily as an amulet and state in a footnote that, against Mirecki, "[i]t is more plausible that this badly damaged leaf from a parchment codex written with Matt. 6:4-6 (the introduction to the Lord's prayer) and Matt. 6:8-12 (some verses of the Lord's Prayer) was preserved (and possible worn) because it contained the Lord's Prayer than that it is a 'random fragment of a damaged book, perhaps a deliberately destroyed book'" (ibid., 199 n.172). I tend to think that Teeter and de Bruyn and Dijkstra's conclusion, namely, that it was a parchment codex fragment recycled as an amulet, is much more likely than Mirecki's view.
As a general rule within textual criticism, non-continuous manuscripts cannot be catalogued in the official list of New Testament manuscripts, and I have written about the problems with this rule here. My question is this: if P.Col. XI 293 is an amulet only in its second use and originally it presumably belonged to a continuous manuscript of the Greek New Testament, then why has this manuscript not been assigned a Gregory-Aland number in the majuscule category? Viewed this way, it should already be in the Kurzgefasste Liste, since it was likely originally a continuous manuscript, which is a prerequisite for inclusion in the Liste. Interestingly, there is another extant codex leaf used secondarily as an amulet that has made the official list of New Testament manuscripts: it is P.Oxy. LXIV 4406 and has been assigned the Gregory-Aland number P105! De Bruyn and Dijkstra place P.Oxy. 4406 in their category of “probable amulets” alongside P.Col. XI 293 and describe it as a “pap. fragment of a codex sheet [...] sec. use” (ibid., 203).
The question of why P.Oxy. 4406 made the official list of New Testament manuscripts while P.Col. XI 293 did not is a testament to the current uncertainty concerning the role of non-continuous manuscripts within the discipline of New Testament textual criticism. But if we are going to be consistent in our standards and criteria, then P.Col. XI 293 deserves a place among the official list of New Testament manuscripts and I would like publicly to request that the Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung (INTF) consider adding it to the Liste. Whether or not it is to be cited in the apparatus criticus of the NA28 or the ECM is another question altogether, but it should at least be given a Gregory-Aland number. The text is genealogically significant, agreeing "in all major respects with the 27th edition of N(estle)-A(land), as well as the Codex Sinaiticus (א) and the Codex Vatianus (B)" (Teeter, Columbia Papyri, 4-5).
I'm interested to hear what you think so let's take a vote! Please vote below and in a week or two I will post the results and follow up on the discussion. You are also free to leave comments if you are unsure, but please explain why.