Giveaway! Two Greek Readers from Appian Way Press

From January 21, 2019 through January 28, 2019, I’ll be running a giveaway!

I’ll be giving away two Greek Readers from Appian Way Press:


To win these books, you’ll need to enter the raffle and accomplish at least one of the tasks. Some tasks (sharing a status on Twitter) can be done daily.

While you’re at it, make sure to sign up for my newsletter, (forthcoming)!


Sign up for my Newsletter, “(forthcoming)”

JimCarreyTypingHi folks.

Part of the reason I have this blog is for experimentation. Another part is to raise interest in and disseminate information about my publication projects.

For both of those reasons, I’m going to start a newsletter (sign up here). I’m tentatively titling it (forthcoming), and it will include excerpts from books I’ve published, material from things I’m researching (e.g. Stuff Early Christians Read), and updates on whatever else I find interesting. I plan to use the newsletter to announce when new stuff is available as well.

I’m presently thinking there will be 2–3 newsletters per month, and they shouldn’t be more than a page or two in length. I don’t want to do more than one newsletter per week, at most. I’m not sure exactly when the newsletters will start, but probably sometime in the next two weeks.

This list of email addresses will not be sold or rented, its sole purpose is for distribution of (forthcoming).

If you’re interested, please sign up using this link. Also “Like” my new Facebook Author Page). Thanks!

Subscribe to my newsletter!

Do you know what λευλευ means?

In looking at P.Berol. 21251 (transcription, images) one runs across the term λευλευ. However, it isn’t in any lexicon that I can locate, and doesn’t seem to really be a word anyway. In the text describing P.Berol. 21251, Treu (“Varia Christiana II.” Archiv für Papyrusforschung 32 (1986): 27–29) notes it is likely a formula of some sort. He offers a few suggestions, but there is nothing firm about them.

One suggestion points to λουλου in PGM VII 494 (Greek Magical Papyri), but that instance seems to be a name: “Your name is LOU LOULOU BATHARTHAR &c.” and doesn’t fit this context at all. Treu also mentions the simliarity between λευ and the ending of βασιλευ and suggests maybe an abbreviation or code for βασιλευ βασιλευ, but (as he mentions) this doesn’t make sense of the context (best I can come up with there is some sort of shorthand for “King of Kings”, but that’s total guessing). Another suggestion simply mentions that αλλ is used as an abbreviation for ἁλληλουϊά in P.Berol. 11763 (BKT VIII 16), implicitly wondering if λευλευ may be performing the same function. This makes more sense than the others to me (not saying much) and I can force λευλευ to represent the middle syllables of  ἁλ-λη-λου-ϊά.

Update: Ken Penner replied on a Facebook thread pointing to further use in the PGM as well as use in P.Berol. 21332. You can see it in the first whole line of the recto if you peek at the pictures. There also may be some discussion in Berliner Griechische Papyri, ed. Panagiota Sarischouli, published in 1995. Google Books indicates that both P.Berol. 21251 and 21332 are discussed on p. 21. If anyone has access to this, could you send a copy of the discussion?

Has anyone else run into anything like this? Any suggestions? For P.Berol. 21251, the term λευλευ occurs on the verso and recto of the papyrus and thus implies they related. The recto is simply:

  1. εις θεο[ς ελε]ησον ει[ς] θεος ελεη̣[σον]..*
  2. λευλευ ελεησον*
  3. λευλευ κυριε*
  4. λευλευ δεομεθα*
  5. λευλευ επακουσαν*
  6. λευλευ αορατε*
  7. λευ[λ]ευ αμιαντε*
  8. λευ[λευ δ]ικαιε*
  9. λευ[λευ κυρ]ιε*
  10. […]υ̣ε
  11. […]..


Rick’s 2019 Writing Schedule

LCPE-2Ti-coverHere it is, 2019. I had a 2018 Writing Schedule (readjusted along the way), as well as one for 2017 and even 2016. So I figure I need to sketch out some thoughts here at the beginning of the year again.

For last year, I was happy to finish my Lexical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles: Second Timothy. I’m still not sure how it happened, but attribute most of it to a weekend away with my wife (and no kids!) where I blitzed the commentary and she simply slept and recharged.

Theme 1: Titus

One of my themes this year has got to be the book of Titus. This is for two reasons. First, the obvious reason, is Lexical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles: Titus is the obvious next (and final!) installment in my Lexical Commentary series. I would love to wrap that up, so I will need to start on it. That said, I may let the commentary sit until next year (2020) depending on how much time I want to spend on researching and developing Stuff Early Christians Read material.

The second reason to focus on Titus is less obvious. There is a conference in Mainz, Germany at Johannes Gutenberg University in September of 2019 on the topic of “Ethics in Titus.” Jim West mentioned the conference awhile back, and even linked to the schedule. I’ve been invited to give a paper on “Ethics and Language in Titus.” I plan on exploring command language in Titus for the paper; we’ll see where it takes me. I’d like to finish the paper well before the conference to allow some later time for revision and polish, so I’ll probably start research soon (early January) and writing shortly thereafter.

Theme 2: Stuff Early Christians Read (and Wrote)

If it wasn’t for the conference in Germany in September, I’d probably want to spend my whole year researching and beginning to write a book length monograph on Stuff Early Christians Read (and Wrote). I have a full length book proposal for this, and think I know where I want to go with it. But I can’t pass up the opportunity of the conference in Germany, so will focus on that first.

That said, I hope to take short breaks from Titus to transcribe and translate some early papryi. I’ve got a spreadsheet full of them to locate, research, encode transcriptions, and translate.

Adventures in Papyri: P.Berol. 21124


P.Berol. 21224 Recto, properly oriented

There I was, working through Kurt Treu’s 1986 Archiv für Papyrusforschung article “Varia Christiana II.” In it he presents six different ostensibly Christian papryi. The first one I’m interested in is his first listed, P.Berol. 21124, “1. Hymnus auf die Höllenfahrt Christi (?),” (“Hymn to Christ’s Descent to Hades (?)” if my hacktastic German is anywhere near correct), a fourth century papyrus reportedly from the Fayum area. It’s early, it’s short, it might have something to do with the Acts of Pilate and Descent of Christ to Hades … it hits a lot of buttons for me.

So I look at Treu’s transcription and bang it out, and begin checking it against an image of the papyrus (available here; click on thumbnails). I work through the recto, all is well. then comes the verso. The ink is fairly faded on the verso (or, it appears to be faded in the image of the verso). I can see several nu and eta glyphs, but something seems wrong. I’m confused about the words ]οδον ηλιον την γην in verso line 4 (last line Treu transcribes). And I can’t make any sense out of the bottom of Treu’s transcription or his note that there are “traces of a line” at the bottom. Nothing lines up. Then I note that for some reason letters like φ extend above the baseline but not below. And then I notice the α look … different. And it dawns on me: The image is upside down. Copy the image, load it into MSPaint, and flip it. All of a sudden things make sense, apart from the faded ink.

The image is oriented correctly on the web site (they simply flipped it across the papyrus’ vertical axis) but the author flipped the papyrus across the horizontal axis.

So now I’ve really started to go down the rabbit hole. Back to thinking about ]οδον ηλιον την γην, and I do some searches for where ηλιον and γην are in proximity with each other, and I find some lists of heavenly elements/phenomenon in Philo (cf. Spec. Leg. I 399; II. 5; Deus 107) and Josephus (Against Apion 2.192), so now I’m wondering if ]οδον should maybe oughta be something like ουρ]ανον. The ink is so faded that I can’t really see any of the characters Treu must’ve seen in 1986.

And then I start looking at the letters even more. Why is the ink so dark on the recto and so light on the verso? Why are the letters on the recto oriented more vertically and the letters on the verso seemingly slanted right? Why don’t certain letter combinations look more alike (e.g. ΩΝ) when verso is compared to recto?

So then I actually start to decode Treu’s article — I say “decode” on purpose because I can’t read German, and horrible though I’m sure it is, I’m indebted to Google Translate. Anyway, Treu notes all this stuff, and I’m reminded that it was my starting assumption that both sides were written by the same person. Treu doesn’t seem so convinced, from what I can tell. The content may be related, but it probably does not originate with the same scribe.

Then I decode the very first paragraph and run into this sentence:

Beidseitig beschriftet von verschiedenen Händen, Texte zueinander kopfstehend.

Which appears to render in English as something like:

Both sides written by different hands, texts oriented oppositely.

At this point, I’m feeling better that at least I independently recognized some of the same stuff Treu did (after getting the verso image correctly oriented), but a little foolish because I couldn’t just read it in the German.

What I’m not sure about is how to read and understand the papyrus given the different hands. Is the material related? (Treu thinks so) And again, how faded was the recto in 1986, and how secure is Treu’s reading of verso line 4?

Stuff Early Christians Read: Transcriptions (and some Translations)

As mentioned earlier, I’ve been working on locating transcriptions for my Stuff Early Christians Read project. Since this summer, I’ve keyed a number of these transcriptions and have them up for review via Github (background, transcriptions).

At present, there are 33 transcriptions of “Christian” documents dated to the fifth century or before. There are a few different classes of documents:

  • Homilies and Theological Fragments
  • Hymnic Fragments
  • Letters
  • Liturgical Fragments
  • Prayers and Amulets

I’m really excited about this stuff (just read P.Berol. 2791, for example) and focused. However, I will need to take a break from this research sometime in January to focus on a paper on “Ethics and Language in Titus” that I’m to deliver in Mainz (yes, Germany) in September. More information on that in January, likely.

Stuff Early Christians Read: P.Amh. Gr. I 2

Grenfell and Hunt didn’t just publish papyri in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri series, they published all sorts of stuff. One item from them is The Amherst Papyri, and the second papyrus of the first volume is a doozy.

Grenfell, Bernard P., and Arthur S. Hunt. “II. Christian Hymn.” Pages 23–28 in The Amherst Papyri Part I. London: Henry Frowde, 1900.

P.Amh. Gr. I 2, from The Morgan Library & Museum

II. Christian Hymn (LDAB 5701, ) isn’t just a hymn, it is an alphabetic acrostic. Each line is composed of three clauses or phrases that each start with the acrostic letter for the line. It is fascinating, and there are Biblical allusions throughout the hymn. It is dated to the fourth century (300–399), and sometimes it almost reads like a creed.

Interestingly, there are a few items that could be classified as agrapha — sayings of Jesus outside of the canoncial New Testament. The line for iota has: Jesus who suffered for this, saying, “I give my back, that you may not experience death.” There are possible connections to Isaiah 50:6. In this case, “give my back” is, I think, a way of saying Jesus gives himself for the punishment deserved by us. His back is whipped in place of ours.  And the line for pi has: He preached the gospel to his servants, saying, “The poor (shall possess) a kingdom, theirs is the inheritance.” This is similar to Mt 5:3, possibly, but not close enough to be anything but a paraphrase, and even that is a stretch.

Like the words of Isaiah are put into the mouth of Jesus, words perhaps based on the parable of the sheep and the goats (Mt 25:31–46) are put into the mouth of God in the xi line: God said, “Feed the stranger, the stranger and the helpless, that you may escape the fire.”

The below translation is from Grenfell and Hunt, but I have modernized it and made a few changes. The asterisk notes are largely from me, as are the inserted Greek alphabet characters to track which letter a line is related to.

  1. [Α] … that you may receive immortal life.*
  2. [Β] You have escaped the heavy ordinance of a lawless … to love.
  3. [Γ] You have come to the marriage of the king, the marriage … that you may not disfigure your face.*
  4. [Δ] Speak no more in double words, without …
  5. [Ε] Some come in sheep’s clothing who are inwardly wolves … from afar.*
  6. [Ζ] Seek to live with the saints, seek to receive life, seek to escape the fire.
  7. [Η] Hold fast to the hope which you have learned, which the Master determined for you …
  8. [Θ] God came bringing many blessings, he wrought a triple victory over death …
  9. [Ι] Jesus who suffered for this, saying, “I give my back, that you may not experience death.”*
  10. [Κ] Glorious are the ordinances of God; in all things he suffers as an example, that you may have glorious life.*
  11. [Λ] He washed in the Jordan, He washed as an example, His is the stream that cleanses.*
  12. [Μ] Remaining on the mount he was tempted, and greatly … *
  13. [Ν] Now work out your inheritance, now is the time for you to give, even now, to them that hunger greatly.
  14. [Ξ] God said, “Feed the stranger, the stranger and the helpless, that you may escape the fire.”*
  15. [Ο] The Father sent him to suffer, Who has received eternal life, Who has received power over immortality.
  16. [Π] He preached the gospel to his servants, saying, “The poor (shall possess) a kingdom, theirs is the inheritance.”*
  17. [Ρ] He was scourged as an example, in order to give an impulse to all … in order to destroy death.*
  18. [Σ] In order that after death you may see resurrection, that you may see the light to eternity, that you may receive the God of lights.*
  19. [Τ] O the rest of the sorrowful, O the dancing of the … O the fire, fearful for the wicked.
  20. [Υ] Freely you have come under grace, listen to the prayer of the poor, speak arrogantly no more.*
  21. [Φ] Fearful … is the fire, fearful for evermore, yea, fearful is the fire for the wicked.
  22. [Χ] … Christ (shall give …) and the crowns of the saints, but for the wicked … the fire.
  23. [Ψ] … singing psalms with the saints … feed the soul evermore.
  24. [Ω] Forget never what you have learned, that you may receive what he told you.
  25. … death no longer possible.


Stuff Early Christians Read: An Update

P.CtYBR inv. 1360(A)

P.CtYBR inv. 1360(A) (aka P.Yale inv. 1360)

I finally finished my Lexical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles: Second Timothy, and it is available for purchase. This means two things: First, it means I still have to write the Titus volume in order to complete the project. Second, it means I can take some time to dig back into the project that really has my attention, the Stuff Early Christians Read project.

The really good news is that while I was at SBL talking with friends and colleagues, I mentioned this project a few times and was able to talk through it. There was generally a good amount of interest, but more importantly, while I was talking about it I had that flash of insight one always wants before starting a project. It’s that insight that one comes back to at all points in a project, from conception, to research, to writing, to excising (yep, it happens), to editing, to everything. After chatting one afternoon with someone, I realized the spark. That night I went back to my hotel room, ordered a pizza, and wrote the introduction to the book, right then and there. Now, that’s not likely the version of the introduction that will get published, but being able to write an introduction to something that is only an idea is a very important step. It means the idea has solidified, and it can be described. Anyway, it’s big, at least for me, because it provides some focus for what I need to do from here on out to pull off this project.

So, what do I need to do?

I need to sift through a lot more papyri to make this work. I mean, a lot more. I had ~60 papyri on a list, but I need to review scads more than that in order to find the right items to include in this volume. So I took the plunge. One volume (in French, from 1976) that aggregates a collection of Jewish and Christian papyri is known as “Van Haelst,” after the editor/compiler. The title is Catalogue des papyrus littéraires juifs et chrétiens. The really good news is that Trismegistos (a site with tons of information on papyri) does note papyri it catalogues that are mentioned in Van Haelst. The bad news is that it’s really tough to get a list of them all in a format that one can do something with.

So, I wrote code. Of course. I was able to retrieve the TM and LDAB numbers for all the entries that cited Van Haelst, and I was able to scrape all the LDAB pages for more information. Then I was able to query that data and build a subset of books that looked interesting. It went from 1688 papyri that cited Van Haelst to around 140 entries. First, some simple keyword/field exclusions (or inclusions):

  • Were not Bible manuscripts
  • Were not codex volumes
  • Were not authored by Hermas or Irenaeus
  • Were not ostracon (sorry, had to draw the line somewhere)
  • Were papyrus or parchment manuscripts

Then, a multilevel query that reported (of the material that remained):

  • Language recorded as Greek
  • Religion recorded as “christian”
  • Were dated in the 2nd–5th centuries AD

I’ve worked through a portion of the remaining list, digging for as much information as I can find sitting at my kitchen table at home, and that’s a whole lot more than you’d expect. Papyrologists have been busy with putting databases, museum archives, journal archives, and tons of images online, and you can get more than you’d think from 6 free JSTOR articles a month (OK, I have two different email addresses registered, so it’s 12). All of that, plus the generosity of folks on Twitter and Facebook who respond to pleas of help for difficult-to-locate articles, and this thing could actually happen.

One of the papyri I located that may be included is shown above, P.CtYBR inv. 1360(A). Images and metadata are available at Yale, but the article in the Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists is really interesting (note, though, you’ll have to spend a JSTOR free article to get the first page, which is inexplicably missing on the BASP site). This could be a eulogy for Christian martrys, which would be fascinating. We learn a lot from understanding how a community thinks of and honors their dead, so it could be interesting to look into.

All that said, I have a lot of research and writing before me on this project. I’m unsure of the timeline, but doubt 2019 at this point. But, I have the spark. I have scads of material to sift. I have a well-worked-over book proposal that is just missing a few pieces. And I even have a new title for the project, but I’m hesitant to share it at this point.

Several readers have contacted me to tell me they appreciated the Stuff Early Christians Read project, and wanted me to continue with it. I hope to do that now, even though I do have to spend some time in the Epistle to Titus in 2019 (another post on that on another day).

Yay, Logos 8 is here!

Logos8_Display Ad_450x450Well, it’s been here for a whole day. Yesterday (October 29, 2018), we released Logos 8 to the world. And “releasing to the world” is more true of this release than any before. We didn’t just release Logos 8 in English, but it has Spanish, German, Portuguese, Korean, Chinese (Simplified) and Chinese (Traditional) versions as well. And we didn’t just release on desktop (Windows, Mac), we also released our massively updated web app as well as iOS and Android versions. And web sites to support all of those languages. It was a massive, massive job.

Logos 8 Workflows

This time around (I’ve been through a few launches) my responsibilities involved working on one of the flagship features, Workflows. Think: What if instead of just telling you how to do something, your Bible software had a process it let you walk through, gathering the appropriate data for you at the appropriate time, and asked you questions (and let you answer!) about the current study step you were on? Well, that’s what workflows do. 18 months ago, I started working through all sorts of different Bible study methodologies, identifying tasks, understanding processes, and isolating strengths and weaknesses. And thinking about how Logos Bible Software could integrate at every single point. From there, it was a bunch of work from designers, programmers, editors and (remember, six different languages!) translators to put bones and brains into the loose sketches I’d put together.

I’m really super excited about workflows, and can’t wait to see how folks use them. There are workflows for working through a passage, topic, Biblical person or place, for building a sermon, for prayer time and devotional time. And we have more we plan to do.

Oh, there’s also a Workflow Editor that allows users to make (and share!) their own workflows. This is going to be huge.

Logos 8 Important Words

While working on workflows, one item that was repeatedly included in study methodologies but which Logos didn’t have great data for was something like “Identify words important to your passage.”

After thinking about this for awhile, we realized that commentaries actually do this. Commentary authors pick and choose from the language in the passage they are commenting on. What they actually write indicates a choice. If we could only identify the words in the passage they discuss, we would be well on our way to deriving passage based word importance.

Fortunately, during the Logos 7 cycle, I’d done work on isolating all the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic words discussed (in Greek or Hebrew script, or in transliteration) in commentaries — and lemmatizing them — for the Logos 7 Lemma in Passage feature. That work has continued to grow, we now track nearly 7,000 commentaries and the original language words they use. This was the perfect data to extend and analyze to determine important words in a passage. The data allowed us to tie original language words to passages, and then aggregate that data across all commentaries. A colleague did some really great work analyzing the data to derive per-passage ranking, and from there the feature basically wrote itself.

Logos 8 Important Passages

The Important Passages feature was much the same. Study methodologies advocate locating similar passages and cross-references. While we’ve had cross-references data for a long time in Logos Bible Software, what has never (really) been done before — and what is really needed — is to provide a boatload of related passages but to also indicate the reason the passages are related.

The Logos 8 Important Passages feature does this. Each passage that is related to the study passage also indicates at least one reason why the passage is related and thus worth examining further. If you’re looking for similar vocabulary, or shared cultural concepts, or intertextuality, or similar command, or whatever, you can see the reason for the relation before you go and look up the passage. It’s pretty awesome.

We aggregated the data for these references in much the same way that we aggregated the data for Important Words: we used commentaries. In each commentary article, there is what we would call a milestone (the passage being commented on) and references (Bible reference citations within the comment on the passage). If you can aggregate these by passage across nearly 7,000 commentaries, then you’re getting somewhere. But we also analyzed all of the Bibles in Logos for where they indicated cross-references, we examined the old Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and other similar resources for where they indicated cross-references. The data included over 27 million milestone-reference pairs. And we did a separate analysis of lexicons to build data that indicated which verses were commonly cited in the discussion of particular lexical items. It was a huge amount of data wrangling. I was in heaven.

From here, a colleague did the tough work integrating reasons for references and of ranking and scoring things. The output of it all is that we can tell you what references tend to be cited as important or relevant or helpful for any passage of Scripture. And we can suggest all sorts of reasons as to why the passage is relevant to examine for the current study passage (milestone).

Other Stuff

I did other stuff along the way, but the above are the major pieces. Basically these have consumed me for the past 18 months, and it’s exciting to see these features and datasets released. Hopefully they enhance your study.

The Appian Way Press Greek Reader SBL Sale!

AppianWayPressWill you be at SBL in Denver this year? Have you been itchin’ to purchase an Appian Way Press book — like one of our excellent Greek readers — but you want a deal? Hey, I get it. I postpone book purchases until SBL in hopes of a sweet deal.

Well, the Appian Way Press won’t have a booth at SBL this year (or likely any year, for that matter). But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a SWEET SBL SALE. That’s right. We’ve got five books in print, and we’ll have deals on our Greek Reader series at SBL. So here’s the SWEET SBL SALE deal:

The Plan

Important: This sale is only valid for people attending the conference. I will deliver the books to you personally in Denver. These prices don’t work with shipping and handling, I’d lose money. We’re all better off if you just use your Amazon Prime and order from them if you can’t make SBL.

Step 1: You order books by sending me money via PayPal. Be sure to specify which ones you want and give me some contact info. Feel free to email me the details (rick at faithlife dot com) after sending payment via PayPal as well.

Step 2: I keep track of books ordered and bring them (and maybe some extras?) to SBL in Denver. Note, however, I’d rather not take cash on site for them if at all possible.

Step 3: We meet in Denver, and I give you your books. If for some reason I am unable to make it to Denver, I will either refund your money or ship the book at my expense. If we miss each other in Denver, we’ll work something out.

Why am I doing this?

It’s SBL, and folks want deals on books. I publish some of my own books. I want these books — particularly the Greek Readers — to be easy to obtain and use. That’s why I keep the reader retail price at $9.95. But let’s both benefit, cut Amazon (mostly) out of the deal, and make out. I’m making approximately the same per sale, and you’re saving some money. It’s a win-win (well, except for Amazon).

Also, sales of these books help my family pay bills regarding the adoption of our son, Josiah Michael (he’s doing well, BTW, thanks for asking). All proceeds go straight from PayPal into the account that pays the adoption bills, the money does not go into my pocket. I don’t get much from these books (do the math) but over time it does add up, and every little bit helps.

If you’re feeling generous and want to pay more than sale price (or retail price) for the books, that’s awesome and appreciated. As I said, it goes from PayPal straight into the account we have set up to pay adoption expenses.

Thanks, everyone! See you in Denver!