It's been a while since I've posted and so I thought I would include a few updates (=personal plugs) here. Back in the fall, I accepted an invitation to submit an article for a special issue of Early Christianity, whose theme is "Oxyrhynchus." I wrote a brief overview of P137, widely known as the "first century" Gospel of Mark....that is not from the first century! So many things could be said about this little fragment but I only scratch the surface in a few pages. It is forthcoming in the first issue of vol. 10 of the journal.
Last but not least, I am very happy to announce that my book on amulets has just appeared in paperback; I received my first copies today from the press (Bloomsbury). There are three differences from the hardback: 1) a few corrections were made, 2) the images of papyri are converted to black and white, and 3) it's about $100 cheaper! So, now is the time to go BUY ONE...HERE.
I had several kind invitations to submit my manuscript to other publishers, but I am very happy with my decision to have my work published in the prestigious Library of New Testament Studies series. The book has been reviewed many times already in the field, and the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. The book has been cited in several books and articles; I'm just glad that people are reading it and finding something to take away from it. If nothing else, get it for the pretty pictures of papyri, which pop in color in the hardback version.
(Please excuse the self-blurbing in this post!)
It came to my attention yesterday that people have people submitting comments on this blog but they have not been posted. As it turns out, my commenting feature had been turned off due to some change made by Google as it relates to CAPTCHAs. The domain people helped me fix this and comments are now working, so...comment away. I know several people have tried to comment on my last post about the Oxyrhynchus Mark fragment so I apologize for the inconvenience.
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!)
I just listened to a highly stimulating lecture on YouTube by Dr. Alison Tara Walker (Seattle University) on the paleographical ductus in the digital age. In palaeography, or the study of ancient handwriting, the "ductus" refers to the graphic character of strokes produced by a stylus. These patterns help us decipher letter-forms and understand a scribe's overall style of handwriting. Walker's main question is: Where is the ductus in modern tablets and mobile devices? She highlights two competing views: one by Heidegger and the other by Nietzsche. Heidegger thought that the type-writer removes the ductus altogether. Nietzsche argued that the typewriter retained the ductus. In other words, the ductus is still alive in the typewriter.
As someone who studies ancient handwriting, I found the questions in this lecture quite stimulating. It raised many questions such as the link between mind and hand, technology and the flow of an idea, finger as stylus, writing processes, the materiality of writing, and so on. Watch the lecture below!
Here is the abstract of Walker's lecture:
"Paleographers have long used the term _ductus_ to articulate the movement and sensory experience inherent in the process of writing and to describe the flow of letterforms from the hand to the page. But with the advent of the keyboard and touchscreen, how do the gestures of writing change? This talk explores the connection between gesture, the sound of writing, and how the _ductus_ of the writing instruments we use can help or hinder the writing process. First, the talk examines the change in _ductus_ between handwriting and the typewriter. From there, the focus turns to the digital age of writing by examining tablets, smart-phones, and new writing technologies in order to explore the unique _ductus_ of the digital era."