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Archive for the ‘Papyrology’ Category

The Concepts of the Divine in the Greek Magical Papyri

In Eleni PACHOUMI, Magic, Mohr Siebeck, Papyrology, Paul Linjamaa on May 30, 2017 at 3:09 pm

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2017.05.11 | Eleni Pachoumi, The Concepts of the Divine in the Greek Magical Papyri. Studies and Texts in Antiquity and Christianity 102. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017. XVI, 258 pages. ISBN 978-3-16-154018-9.

Review by Paul Linjamaa, Lund University.

This monograph is devoted to the many and varying forms of ancient magical papyri – spells, hymns, amulets, rituals, remedies, and mythological and liturgical elements, from the Greco Roman Egypt of second century BC to the seventh century CE.  The focus is, as indicated in the title, to investigate the “concepts of the divine”. The study comprises revised parts of the authors’ doctoral dissertation (chapter 3?) and “some articles” (chapter 1 and 2?) (9). The central concern, as stated on the back, is to investigate how “philosophical, religious and mystical assimilations affect the concepts of the divine in the Greek magical papyri”. The study includes an introduction, three central chapters, followed by an epilogue and appendices (comprising of a mind map of how the magical papyri were used and an assortment of lists pertaining to the source material used in the study).

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Copying Early Christian Texts

In Alan MUGRIDGE, Garrick V. Allen, Manuscript Studies, Manuscripts, Material Culture, Mohr Siebeck, Papyrology on May 24, 2017 at 2:00 pm


2017.05.10 | Alan Mugridge. Copying Early Christian Texts: A Study of Scribal Practice. WUNT 362. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016. xx + 558 pages. ISBN: 9783161546884.

Review by Garrick V. Allen, Dublin City University.

In this valuable resource, Alan Mugridge examines the codicological features of 548 early papyri originating from before the fourth century CE in an effort to be understand the social setting of their production. He is particularly interested to ascertain whether the copyists of the early Greek papyri transmitting early Christian works were ‘Christians’ (not necessarily professional scribes), or if communities hired professional copyists outside their immediate social context. The entirety of this detailed volume is devoted to the argument that “the copyists of the majority of Christian texts were trained scribes, probably working in a variety of settings, and that there is no firm evidence that the copyists were generally Christian” (p. 2). This argument has drastic implications for how we understand the textual transmission and variation of early Christian documents. Read the rest of this entry »

Christian Oxyrhynchus

In Baylor University Press, Lincoln H. BLUMELL, Matthew J. Hama, Oxyrhynchus, Papyrology, Thomas A. WAYMENT on September 27, 2016 at 3:38 pm


2016.09.18 | Lincoln H. Blumell and Thomas A. Wayment (eds.), Christian Oxyrhynchus: Texts, Documents, and Sources. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2015. ISBN 9781602585393.

Review by Matthew J. Hama, Trinity Western University

Many thanks to Baylor University Press for providing a review copy.

The ancient site of Oxyrhynchus once represented a flourishing and prominent city within its region. In the present day, however, there remains little evidence of its existence. Even with its disappearance from the Egyptian landscape, scholars have still been able to gain considerable knowledge about the town’s infrastructure and existence, not least through finds of papyri from antiquity.

Despite its tremendous significance for New Testament and classical scholarship, a complete, single volume set of the Oxyrhynchus papyri remained inaccessible. Read the rest of this entry »

I papiri letterari Cristiani

In Angelo CASANOVA, Dan Batovici, Early Christianity, Guido BASTIANINI, Instituto Papirologico “G. Vitelli”, Manuscripts, Papyrology on April 12, 2014 at 10:00 am


2014.4.8 | Guido Bastianini and Angelo Casanova, eds. I papiri letterari Cristiani: atti del Convegno internazionale di studi in memoria di Mario Naldini. Firenze, 10-11 giugno 2010. Studi e Testi di Papirologia N.S. 13. Firenze: Instituto Papirologico “G. Vitelli,” 2011. Pp. vi + 205 + 27 illustrations. ISBN 978-88-87829-45-7. Papeback.

Review by Dan Batovici, KU Leuven.

Many thanks to Instituto Papirologico “Vitelli” for providing a review copy.

Stemming from the 2010 annual colloquium of Instituto Papirologico “Vitelli” held ten years after Mario Naldini’s passing away, this volume is a Gedenkschrift in his memory. The first paper, “Mario Naldini e la Papirologia,” is signed by Carlo Nardi and offers both a laudatio and a presentation of his life and works, especially related to early Christianity and papyrology.

Eleven contributions then follow, signed by R.S. Bagnall, G. Bastianini & G. Cavallo, P. Parsons, J. Chapa, A. Carlini & M. Bandini, E. Ginnarelli, O. Zwierlein, P. Marrassini, J. Gascou, M. Stroppa, D. Minutoli & R. Pintaudi, written in English, Italian, German and French. Read the rest of this entry »

The Early Text of the New Testament

In Charles E. HILL, Early Christianity, Manuscripts, Michael J. KRUGER, New Testament, Oxford University Press, Papyrology, Peter Malik, Reception history, Textual Criticism, Transmission history on October 10, 2013 at 10:44 am


2013.10.20 | Charles E. Hill and Michael J. Kruger (eds.). The Early Text of the New Testament. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. xiv + 483 pages (HB) ISBN 9780199566365.

Review by Peter Malik, University of Cambridge.

Many thanks to OUP for providing a review copy.

The present volume is comprised of twenty-two essays (including the extended introduction) written by a wide array of distinguished scholars under editorship of Charles E. Hill and Michael J. Kruger. In the introductory essay entitled “In Search of the Earliest Text of the New Testament”, the editors set out “to provide an inventory and some analysis of the evidence available for understanding the pre-fourth century period of transmission of the NT materials” (p. 2). Read the rest of this entry »

The Human Face of Textual Transmission

In Charles E. HILL, Early Christianity, Edgar Ebojo, Michael J. KRUGER, New Testament, Oxford University Press, Papyrology, Scribal habits, Textual Criticism on April 22, 2013 at 2:15 pm


2013.04.05 | Charles E. Hill and Michael J. Kruger, eds., The Early Text of the New Testament. Oxford: OUP, 2012.  Xiv + 483 pages. HB. ISBN: 978-0-19-956636-5.

Review article by Edgar Battad Ebojo, University of Birmingham.

Many thanks to OUP for kindly providing us with a review copy.

This book is another provocative exploration of the text of the New Testament specifically in relation to the question of its character and quality of transmission as reflected in the earliest extant manuscripts (mostly papyri) dated within the first three centuries of Christian existence, hence, its title.  It is from this time-bound chronological perspective that the 21 articles, written by veteran and budding scholars from the various fields traversed in the book, were impressively and cogently composed, aiming to examine and asses what the text of the NT might have looked like in the earliest surviving manuscripts (and how the NT text [or specific portions of it] was eventually perceived by some of the early Christian writers) in comparison to [and disjunction from] the text of the NT that is now widely known to the modern readers through the printed critical texts. Read the rest of this entry »

Michael P. Theophilos, “On the Pronunciation and Interpretation of ‘Biblical Greek’: A Re-assessment in Light of the Papyri”

In Cambridge, Early Christianity, Michael P. THEOPHILOS, Oxyrhynchus, Papyrology, Samuli Siikavirta, Scribal habits, SEMINAR REPORTS, Textual Criticism on November 26, 2012 at 10:21 pm

This is a report on a paper presented by Dr. Michael P. Theophilos, Lecturer in Biblical Studies at Australian Catholic University, at the New Testament Senior Seminar, Cambridge, 6 November 2012.

Report by Samuli Siikavirta, University of Cambridge.

The programme of the New Testament Seminar at Cambridge can be found here.

One might assume that a Greek-speaking academic with the name Theophilos might be biased when it comes to the pronunciation of Koine Greek. Dr Michael P. Theopilos’ case clearly supported by manuscript evidence, however, made many convinced of or at least interested in the advantages of Modern Greek pronunciation over against the traditional Erasmian pronunciation (or, pronunciations) prevalent in Western academia.

Theophilos began with the common misconception that since we have no exact knowledge of how New Testament Greek was pronounced in its day, the default Erasmian pronunciation is our best option. He laid out some of the scholarship on Greek pronunciation, of which there is no lack. Many scholars, however, such as E.P. Petrounias, fail to note the witness offered by Egyptian papyri (‘The Pronunciation of Ancient Greek: Evidence and Hypotheses’, in A History of Ancient Greek: From the Beginnings to Late Antiquity [ed. A.-F. Christidis; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001], 545-555.). Read the rest of this entry »

Early Christian Manuscripts: Examples of Applied Method and Approach

In Amulets, Brill, Dan Batovici, Early Christianity, Egypt, New Testament, Oxyrhynchus, Papyrology, Patristics, Reception history, Scripture, Textual Criticism, Thomas KRAUS, Tobias NICKLAS on June 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm

2012.06.13 | Thomas J. Kraus and Tobias Nicklas, eds. Early Christian Manuscripts: Examples of Applied Method and Approach. Texts and Editions for New Testament Study 5. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2010. xx + 243 pp. ISBN: 9789004182653.

Reviewed by Dan Batovici, University of St Andrews.

Many thanks to Brill for kindly providing us with a review copy.

This volume is intended as a papyrological follow-up of a previous volume, New Testament Manuscripts: Their Texts and Their World, published in the same series (TENT 2) in 2006. It features nine articles forming nine chapters varying in size between 15 and 45 pages. Read the rest of this entry »

Peter M. Head, “Onesimus and the Letter of Philemon: New Light on the Role of the Letter Carrier”

In Cambridge, Epistolography, Letter-carriers, New Testament, Oxyrhynchus, Papyrology, Paul, Peter M. HEAD, Peter Malik, SEMINAR REPORTS on May 31, 2012 at 4:15 pm

This is a report on a paper presented by Dr. Peter M. Head, Sir Kirby Laing Senior Lecturer in New Testament at the Faculty of Divinity and Tyndale House, at the New Testament  Seminar, Cambridge, 15 May 2012.

Report by Peter Malik, University of Cambridge. The programme of the New Testament Seminar at Cambridge can be found here.

The final seminar of this academical year hosted a paper by Dr. Peter M. Head, Sir Kirby Laing Senior Lecturer in New Testament at the Faculty of Divinity and Tyndale House. Besides his 1997 monograph on the Synoptic Problem, Dr. Head is mostly known for his wide array of publications in the field of NT textual criticism, with a special focus on Greek NT manuscripts. Recently, however, he also published on ancient epistolary communication, particularly on named letter-carriers in Oxyrhynchus papyri and in ancient Jewish epistolary material (both can be accessed through Dr. Head’s website here). These are actually precursors of his forthcoming monograph on the role of letter-carriers in the interpretation of Paul’s letters. In this paper, Peter Head focused on the role of Onesimus as the letter-carrier of the letter to Philemon, and potential interpretive outcomes thereby gleaned. Read the rest of this entry »

The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology

In Edgar Ebojo, Oxford University Press, Papyrology, Roger S. BAGNALL, Textual Criticism on May 28, 2012 at 9:07 am

2012.05.10 | Roger S. Bagnall, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.  Xxiv + 688 pages. £95.00 (hardback) and £32.50 (paperback). ISBN: 9780199843695.

Reviewed by Edgar Ebojo, University of Birmingham. 

RBECS would like to thank OUP for kindly providing us with a review copy.

One of the most outstanding inventions of ancient Egypt was the making of a writing material manufactured from the papyrus plant—an indisputable natural treasure of ancient Egypt. As early as 3000 B.C., hand-processed sheets and rolls of papyrus provided an ideal surface for writing with reed pen and cakes of carbon black and red ochre pigment. Read the rest of this entry »