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!

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Absolutely Essential Passages from the Apostolic Fathers that You Need to Read

35873453Earlier tonight, I had the privilege to have dinner with a cousin of mine who I haven’t seen for 20 years. As my family was leaving (getting kids into a minivan can be a chore), he told me he bought my book on the Apostolic Fathers (yay!) but that he hadn’t been able to reallyl get into it (sad face).

I get it though. I thought a minute and recommended a few passages: Didache and Diognetus 5–6. But there are more, at least from my perspective. Here’s my quick list after thinking about it for a bit:

  • 1 Clement 59–61
  • 2 Clement 1
  • Didache 1–3; 7–9; 16
  • Diognetus 5–6
  • Ignatius to the Ephesians 9
  • Ignatius to the Philadelpheans 8
  • Polycarp to the Philippians 7
  • Barnabas 18–20 (cf. Didache 1–5)
  • Shepherd of Hermas, Vision 1.1–4 and Vision 4.1–3
  • Martrydom of Polycarp 9–11

What did I miss, and why? Add your recommendations in the comments. Thanks!

Want to Meet at SBL in Denver?

denver-convention-centerFor the past few years (20172016, 2015) I’ve advertised my desire to meet with just about anyone at the annual SBL meeting.

Make sure to read the very end of the post for a BONUS REASON to meet.

This year is no different. I’d enjoy meeting with you and chatting about whatever, whether it is in passing, over coffee, over a meal, or after a session.

Why would you want to meet with me? I can think of four reasons.

Reason One: I’m buying. Let’s be clear, I’m asking you, you’re not asking me. So I’m happy to get the coffee, meal, snack, or whatever. What are you waiting for?

Reason Two: My Job at Faithlife/Logos. I manage a team at Faithlife that does really cool stuff developing and utilizing Bible data. We speak Python, Django, C#, Javascript, XML, SQL, JSON, and a bunch of other stuff (Ancient Languages, Linguistics, Grammar, Syntax, managing data, and more). Are you at the intersection of code, data, and the Bible? Then let’s talk. Remember: The scholar best set up for the future is the one who can manage all sorts of data; if you want to talk more about that with me, I’m game.

What is the ultimate Bible data you want or need access to? I want to know about it. If you’ve got a plan for it, I want you to pitch me on it — at minimum your elevator pitch, but more if you want.

Reason Three: My Publications. In short, I’m familiar with a wide array of data, a wide variety of editing and publishing tasks, and have worked pretty much the whole “stack” as regards creating and working with Bible data. I’ve likely got experience at multiple levels with the thing you’re focusing on in Biblical studies. That, or I know someone who does.

I’ve translated and interlinearized the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. I’ve translated, introduced, and edited available Greek Apocryphal Gospels, including basic transcriptions and translations of fragmentary material. I’ve done major work on conceiving, preparing, and editing an edition of the Greek New Testament (SBLGNT). I’ve done similar work on a Bible translation (Lexham English Bible) and served as general editor of a translation of the Septuagint (Lexham English Septuagint). I’ve written a commentary (Lexical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles: First Timothy), a discourse handbook (Second Thessalonians in the Lexham Discourse Handbook), and written the NT portion of a textual commentary geared toward the English reader (Lexham Textual Notes). I’ve written a regular column on Ancient Christian Writers for Bible Study Magazine for years. I’ve assembled data for several reverse interlinears published by Faithlife/Logos. I’ve created data tracking over 300,000 intertextual units across several datasets (Church Fathers, Second Temple materials, Judaica) as well as data reflecting intertextuality between the Old Testament (and Deuterocanon) and New Testament. I’ve extracted and transformed scads of text-critical data to create several “Manuscript Explorer” interactives. I’ve analyzed the context of over 1,000,000 Bible references in Systematic Theologies. Heck, I even grunted out an analysis of Hebrew Cantillation data.

Reason Four: I really dig this stuff. Chances are I’ll be interested in and maybe even have experience with the thing that you’re studying, dissertating, or examining.

Just respond (email is fine, rick at faithlife dot com) so we can get it on the calendar. I’m in Denver from Friday, Nov 16 through Monday, Nov 19. Let’s do it.

BONUS REASON: I’ll be bringing a small inventory of Appian Way Press books to SBL to sell at bargain prices. Greek Readers will be $6.00 apiece, not sure about others yet. I’ll have a post with more information about this sometime in September or early October and an opportunity to pre-order (Paypal with a small premium to cover the transaction fees) for delivery at the conference.

Update on Acts of Pilate: A Greek Reader

Here’s some more information on my Acts of Pilate Greek reader.

Appian Way Press

ActaPilati-sample-001 Sample excerpt

We hope to publish Rick Brannan’s The Acts of Pilate and the Descent of Christ to Hades: A Greek Reader in August, 2018. It will be the second volume released in the Appian Way Greek Readers series. It is projected to be a 155 page volume with a low price of $9.95.

Like the inaugural volume in the Appian Way Greek Readers series, the Acts of Pilate Greek reader will have the following features:

  • Greek Text: The Greek text of Tischendorf’s Acts of Pilate A and the Greek text of Tischendorf’s The Descent of Christ to Hades.
  • Reading Notes: Every word that occurs 20x or fewer in the Greek New Testament is noted with the form in the text, the lemma or dictionary form of the word, the part of speech, the number of NT instances, and a short gloss.
  • Section Heads: Section headings in English are inserted…

View original post 207 more words

I am appalled.

uzavtx_t_400x400

Photo from @AppalledStatue

I am appalled that government officials, acting in official capacity, are quoting the Bible to justify government policies. I don’t care if their interpretation is correct or incorrect; while acting in official capacity, they shouldn’t be using a religious document to justify a governmental policy. (Attorney General appealing to Romans 13; Press Secretary appealing to “biblical” positions to define legality.)

I am appalled (but not surprised) that celebrity “preachers” are totally misreading scripture to justify and support governmental positions. (Robert Jeffress, anyone? And Paula White’s anachronistic and wrong reading of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus’ status as refugees in Egypt — really Paula? And pretty much anything Franklin Graham, who has lost any future support I might ever throw Samaritan’s Purse’s way, says or does. These and those like them are sycophants and should be cut off.)

I am appalled at the state of public dialog on social media. For all sides, people.

I am appalled at the current political climate.

I am appalled at the state of racism in America today.

I am appalled at our degenerate two-party system, where every single issue is predictably binary. There is no way the populace of this country is so evenly and reliably divided. Think, people. Free your minds from MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, and those crazy web sites that shall not be named. Think!

I am appalled at how one political party drapes themselves in a label of “pro-life” while enthusiastically supporting policies that have anything but a positive effect on life.

I am appalled at how the other political party drapes themselves in a label of “pro-choice” while damning babies to be killed in utero.

I am appalled that “pro-life” these days apparently means “pro-white-american-in-utero-life.”

I am appalled by the trauma inflicted on children through forcible separation from their parents. This needless policy scars these children for life. This is not a pro-life position — I don’t care what country they’re in or what country they are officially citizens of.

I am appalled at how the party of free trade has violated agreements and started trade wars on multiple fronts that suck life and finances from the people they purport to be representing.

I am appalled at how the party of Reagan appears to prefer standing with despots and dictators instead of standing against tyranny with trusted and reliable allies.

I am appalled at how the party of Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy seems to be simply plugging their nose, holding their breath, and trying to wait this thing out until the election. Well, you know, except for saying inflammatory things on social media.

I am appalled with the legislative and executive branches of our government. Sometimes (most times), I think we should all just vote against incumbents at the federal level and hope for the best.

I am appalled that abortion is a litmus test for both major parties, and that anything but total victory for either party on this issue is off the table. I hate abortion, but I want it to decrease, not increase. Congress could muster support and pass a bipartisan law today on abortion, only allowing it in certain circumstances (rape, incest, harm to mother). I would support this. Why hasn’t it been done? Because for both parties it would hurt fundraising ability and hinder the ability to demonize the other side to cajole votes on the federal level.

An ending note: This is my blog, my platform. Comment what you want, but don’t expect it to be approved, and don’t expect me to respond.

Acts of Pilate Greek Reader: Status Update

I’ve made progress on the Acts of Pilate (A) and Descent of Christ to Hades Greek Reader (thoughts on shortening that title, anyone? Just “Acts of Pilate”?) but still have some work to do.

What’s left?

  • Review, edit, correct, and supplement intertextual notes
  • Compose chapter/section headings
  • Prepare revision of English translation (using Walker’s translation from Ante Nicene Fathers vol 8)
  • Final review

I would love for this to be available in late July, but it may creep into August.

Stuff Early Christians Read going on hold

Hi folks!

I’ve been having a ton of fun digging into the “Stuff Early Christians Read” material. I have scads of things I want to find transcriptions for, and I’m stumbling on new stuff all the time. I think I now have five or six series of papyrological stuff  to comb through (some German, some French; nothing English, of course.)

BookCoverImage-LCPE-1Tim

But, I’m putting that series on hold, at least for now. I will get back to it. But first, I want to finish up with creating a reader’s edition of Acta Pilati A + Descent of Christ to Hades. I have the Greek text pretty much together, I have a public domain English edition I can include, and I have the glossary pretty much together. So now it’s time to fight with Microsoft Word (O ye who deal with documents with hundreds and thousands of footnotes, you know the woes I will experience), get the draft together, and get something out that folks can use.

 

Once I get the reader out, I hope to split time between Stuff Early Christians Read (researching, transcribing, blogging) because I think there’s a book or two in there somewhere, I’m just not sure what yet. And I also hope to finish my Lexical Commentary on 2 Timothy, which has been halfway done for two years now, and really needs to cross the finish line.

So that’s the status, folks.

If you want to help, you can buy my books! Note: I do not get royalties from books published by Lexham Press (Greek Apocryphal GospelsThe Apostolic Fathers, or Anticipating His Arrival) but I do get royalties from books published by Appian Way Press (Lexical Commentary: First Timothy, Second Timothy: Notes, Building a Firm Foundation, First Apocryphal Apocalypse of John).

Stuff Early Christians Read: P. Iand. 5 69 (inv. 272), Part 2: Translation

I wrote yesterday about P. Iand. 5 69 (inv. 272), aka P. Giss. Lit. 5.2. I provided the transcription from Sprey, but noted that Kuhlmann had provided a transcription with an alternate reconstruction.

I think Kuhlmann makes more sense. Below is his transcription and reconstruction, followed by a short apparatus (essentially inverting the one in the previous post) as well as a translation. As with yesterday, these are not fully proofed or considered, but should be good enough to post here.

  1. […ἀλληγορικῶς γὰρ τὸ ἀδελφιδός μου λευκὸς ]
  2. [κ(αὶ)] π̣υρρὸς ἀντι τοῦ θ(εὸ)ς λέ̣[γεται τὸ λευκὸς μὲν]
  3. γὰρ φῶς ἐστιν, τὸ δὲ̣ πυρρὸς̣ [σημαίνει το χρῶμα]
  4. τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ σ(ταυ)ροῦ· αὐτὸς̣ δ̣έ̣ [ἐστι πρὸ πάντων,]
  5. ῶς φησιν ὁ ἀπόστολ(ος), ὃν ὁ π(ατ)ὴρ ὑ̣π̣ε̣ρ̣ [ὐψωσεν ἑν δυνά-]
  6. μει αὑτοῦ, ἵνα γένηται ἐν π̣ᾶσι α̣ὐτὸς πρωτεύων,
  7. ὅθεν προτ̣ότ̣οκος γ̣έγ̣ο̣ν̣εν. διʼ ἀμ[αρτιῶν ἡμῶν ὁ πρω-]
  8. τότοκος τ̣ῶν νεκ̣ρῶν, ὡς ὁ ἀπόσ[τολός φησιν, ἀνέ-]
  9. βη εἴς οὐ(ρα)νούς, ἐγὼ ἀρέ<ι̣>σ̣κω θ<(ε)ῷ τ>ῷ δ̣[οξαστῷ, ὃς ἐστιν]
  10. κ(ύριο)ς τῶν δυνάμ̣εων· [οὗτ]ό̣ς ἐστιν ὁ [κ(ύριο)ς στρατιῶν. κ(αὶ) κ(ύριο)ς]
  11. σαβαὼθ ἑρμηνεύεται κ(ύριο)ς τῶν δυν̣[άμεων· ὑφʼ οὗ ὐψώ-]
  12. θη κ(αὶ) ὁ υ(ἱό)ς. ἀλλʼ αὐτός φησιν· πάντας ἐ̣[λκύσω πρὸς ἐμαυτὸν]
  13. κ(αὶ) πάντα τὰ ἐμὰ σά εἰ(σι) κ(αὶ) τὰ σὰ ἐμά· αὐτὸς γ[ὰρ εἰκών ἐστι(ν)]
  14. τοῦ π(ατ)ρ(ὸ)ς ἐν παντὶ κ(αὶ) ἐν̣ πάσῇ ἀρετῇ[. διὸ ἐπέβη ἐπὶ]
  15. τὸν οὐ(ρα)νὸν τοῦ οὐ(ρα)νοῦ, ἀντὶ τοῦ ἐγένε[το ὐπέρτερος]
  16. [τ]ῶ̣ν ὅλων οὐ(ρα)νῶν κ(αὶ) πάλ̣ιν πρὸς τὸν [π(ατέ)ρα ἐπορεύθη.]
  17. [ὀπω]σοῦν δὲ ἐρω̣τᾶ̣ς παντὶ̣ κε̣ι̣.[…]

Apparatus

1: Kuhlmann supplies an introduction based on Song 5:10
2: κ(αὶ) ] Sprey τὸ | τὸ λευκὸς μὲν ] Sprey πνευματικῶς· ὁ θ(εὸ)ς
3: [σημαίνει το χρῶμα] ] Sprey τ[οῦ τε φωτὸς ἴδιον καὶ]
4: cf. Col 1:20 and Col 1:17
5: ὑπερ [ὐψωσεν ἑν δυνά-] ] Sprey ἔστει[λεν ἡμῖν τῇ δυνά-]
6: cf. Col 1:18
7: διʼ ἀμ[αρτιῶν ἡμῶν ὁ πρω-] ] Sprey διαμ[ένων(?). ἐπεὶ δὲ ὁ πρω-]. Cf. Col 1:18.
9: ἐστιν ] Sprey καλεῖται
10: ὁ [κ(ύριο)ς στρατιῶν. κ(αὶ) κ(ύριο)ς] ] Sprey ὁ [παντοκράτωρ· τὸ γὰρ]. cf. 3Kg 3:14 [LXX]; Ps 24(23):10; also 1Kg 15:2; Is 2:12.
11: cf. 3Kg 3:14 [LXX]; Ps 24(23):10.
12: cf. Jn 12:32
13: γ[ὰρ εἰκών ἐστι(ν)] ] Sprey γά[ρ ἐστι οὐ μείων]. cf. Jn 17:10, also Mt 11:27; Lk 10:22; Jn 16:15.
14: διὸ ἐπέβη ἐπὶ ] Sprey διὸ καὶ ἐπέβη ἐπὶ
15: ἐγένε[το ὐπέρτερος] ] Sprey ἐγένε[το πολλῷ ἀνώτερος]. cf. De 10:14; 3Kg 8:27; Sir 16:18; Ps 68(67):34; Ps 115:16(113:24).
16: [π(ατέ)ρα ἐπορεύθη.] ] Sprey [π(ατέ)ρα αὐτοῦ ἐπορεύθη.]

Translation

[For allegorically, “my little brother/beloved (is) white and] red” instead of “God.” Now the white is called the light, for red denotes the blood of the cross. But he himself is before all things, as the apostle said, whom the Father has exalted even more in his power, so that in everything he may be first, from which he has become the firstborn. Through our sins he has become the firstborn of the dead, as the apostle said, he has gone up into the heavens. I am pleased with the glorious God, who is Lord of the Powers. This one is the Lord of Armies. And Lord Sabaoth, being translated “Lord of the Powers,” by which even the Son was lifted up. But he himself said he will draw everyone to himself. And all my things are yours and your things are mine. For he himself is the image of the Father in all things and all truth. For this reason he treads upon the heaven of heaven, instead he becomes higher than the whole of the heavens. And again he went to the Father. But in any way whatever are you asking all things …

I still have yet to fully digest all of Kuhlmann’s notes on the transcription (takes awhile with my Hogans-Heroes-influenced German skills), so the above translation will likely change. But the material itself is wonderful, interacting with Colossians 1 and reflecting on what it means to be firstborn of the dead.

Stuff Early Christians Read: P. Iand. 5 69 (inv. 272), a Christological Fragment

I stumbled across P. Iand. 5 69 (aka P. Iand. inv. 272, aka P. Giss. Lit. 5.2) while looking for P. Iand. 5 70. And I was immediately drawn to it. It is a fourth century papyrus, it has significant interchange with the Biblical text so reconstruction is possible, it has several nomina sacra, and it is just plain fascinating.

More fascinating is that after I found the ed. princ.  published by Sprey in 1931, I also found an edition published by Kuhlmann. And Kuhlmann’s reconstructions are very different than Sprey’s. It makes me wonder if there has been work done on comparing reconstructions, because this could be a case study (Ph.D. suggestion for those out there looking for Ph.D. topics in papyrology, epigraphy, or early Christianity).

I’m still working on translations (going to translate both Sprey and Kuhlmann) and will post on that stuff hopefully later this week, but in the interim, here is Sprey’s transcription and reconstruction. I’ve provided an apparatus beneath to compare Kuhlmann’s reconstructions. Note these have been hastily keyed, and not fully proofed.

  1. [τὸ] π̣υρρὸς ἀντι τοῦ θ(εὸ)ς λέ̣[γεται πνευματικῶς· ὁ θ(εὸ)ς]
  2. γὰρ φῶς ἐστιν, τὸ δὲ̣ πυρρὸς̣ τ̣[οῦ τε φωτὸς ἴδιον καὶ]
  3. τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ σ(ταυ)ροῦ· αὐτὸς̣ δ̣έ̣ [ἐστι πρὸ πάντων,]
  4. ῶς φησιν ὁ ἀπόστολ(ος), ὃν ὁ π(ατ)ὴρ ἔ̣σ̣τ̣ε̣ι̣[λεν ἡμῖν τῇ δυνά-]
  5. μει αὑτοῦ, ἵνα γένηται ἐν π̣ᾶσι α̣ὐτὸς πρωτεύων·
  6. ὅθεν προτ̣ότ̣οκος γ̣έγ̣ο̣ν̣εν διαμ[ένων(?). ἐπεὶ δὲ ὁ πρω-]
  7. τότοκος τ̣ῶν νεκ̣ρῶν, ὡς ὁ ἀπόσ[τολός φησιν, ἀνέ-]
  8. βη εἴς οὐ(ρα)νούς, ἐγὼ ἀρέ<ι̣>σ̣κω θ<(ε)ῷ τ>ῷ δ̣[οξαστῷ, ὃς καλεῖται]
  9. κ(ύριο)ς τῶν δυνάμ̣εων· [οὗτ]ό̣ς ἐστιν ὁ [παντοκράτωρ· τὸ γὰρ]
  10. σαβαὼθ ἑρμηνεύεται κ(ύριο)ς τῶν δυν̣[άμεων· ὑφʼ οὗ ὐψώ-]
  11. θη κ(αὶ) ὁ υ(ἱό)ς. ἀλλʼ αὐτός φησιν· πάντας ἐ̣[λκύσω πρὸς ἐμαυτὸν]
  12. κ(αὶ) πάντα τὰ ἐμὰ σά εἰ(σι) κ(αὶ) τὰ σὰ ἐμά· αὐτὸς γά̣[ρ ἐστι οὐ μείων]
  13. τοῦ π(ατ)ρ(ὸ)ς ἐν παντὶ κ(αὶ) ἐν̣ πάσῇ ἀρετῇ[. διὸ καὶ ἐπέβη ἐπὶ]
  14. τὸν οὐ(ρα)νὸν τοῦ οὐ(ρα)νοῦ, ἀντὶ τοῦ ἐγένε[το πολλῷ ἀνώτερος]
  15. [τ]ῶ̣ν ὅλων οὐ(ρα)νῶν κ(αὶ) πάλ̣ιν πρὸς τὸν [π(ατέ)ρα αὐτοῦ ἐπορεύθη.]
  16. [ὀπω]σοῦν δὲ ἐρω̣τᾶ̣ς παντὶ̣ κε̣ι̣.[…]

Apparatus

1: τὸ ] Kuhlmann κ(αὶ) | πνευματικῶς· ὁ θ(εὸ)ς ] Kuhlmann τὸ λευκὸς μὲν
2: τ[οῦ τε φωτὸς ἴδιον καὶ] ] Kuhlmann [σημαίνει το χρῶμα]
4: ἔστει[λεν ἡμῖν τῇ δυνά-] ] Kuhlmann ὐπερ [ὐψωσεν ἑν δυνά-]
6: διαμ[ένων(?). ἐπεὶ δὲ ὁ πρω-] ] Kuhlmann διʼ ἀμ[αρτιῶν ἡμῶν ὁ πρω-]
8: καλεῖται ] Kuhlmann ἐστιν
9: ὁ [παντοκράτωρ· τὸ γὰρ] ] Kuhlmann ὁ [κ(ύριο)ς στρατιῶν. κ(αὶ) κ(ύριο)ς]
12: γά[ρ ἐστι οὐ μείων] ] Kuhlmann γ[ὰρ εἰκών ἐστι(ν)]
13: διὸ καὶ ἐπέβη ἐπὶ ] Kuhlmann διὸ ἐπέβη ἐπὶ
14: ἐγένε[το πολλῷ ἀνώτερος] ] Kuhlmann ἐγένε[το ὐπέρτερος]
15: [π(ατέ)ρα αὐτοῦ ἐπορεύθη.] ] Kuhlmann [π(ατέ)ρα ἐπορεύθη.]

In this apparatus, the pipe (‘|’) separates different variant units on the same line. The right bracket (‘]’) separates the text from the transcription (left side) from the variation (right side). The source is always Kuhlmann, but I still note it (I may locate other reconstructions; who knows).

Transcription based on: Literarische Stücke und Verwandtes / bearb. von Josef Sprey. – Leipzig : Teubner 1931, pp. 165–169. (Papyri Iandanae ; 5) and apparatus based on: Peter Alois Kuhlmann, Die Giessner Literarischen Papyri und die Caracalla-Erlasse: Edition, Ubersetzung und Kommentar. Giessen Universitätsbibliothek: 1994, pp. 160–167.

Stuff Early Christians Read: P. Oxy. 406, “Theological Fragment”

Sometimes these fragments of papyrus can be really, really cool. Other times, you think they should be cool, but they end up being frustratingly difficult. What do I mean? I mean that we have scads of witnesses to the text of the Bible (Greek OT and Greek NT, especially). And we have scads of other papyri that we know must be Christian for one reason or another.

But on these Christian papyri, we can only realiably reconstruct those areas that have some correspondance with the Biblical text. That is, we can isolate and reconstruct citations of scripture, but we can’t really fill in the blanks between the scripture citations unless the material is something already so well known that the missing pieces are obvious.

P.Oxy.406-001

P. Oxy. 406, verso

P. Oxy. 406, a “Theological Fragment,” (TM: 62336) is one of these semi-reconstructable yet frustrating pieces of papyri. I’ve come to think that labels like “Theological Fragment” are the equivalent of “We don’t really know what it is, but there’s a quotation of scripture we can reconstruct, so it must be theological.” There are also nomina sacra, and it probably comes from a codex, so we can be fairly sure it is Christian.

P. Oxy. 406 is from the third century (200–299). A decent chunk can be reconstructed, but that is only because it cites from (I’d guess) Mt 13:15, which itself is a citation of Is 6:10. The same exact text occurs in Ac 28:27.

But the rest of it can’t really be reconstructed, and it’s frustrating because the little we can decipher makes me want to know more about what was on this papyrus and what its context was.

Here’s the transcription (from Grenfell & Hunt, supplemented by Wessely). Verso is first, then recto.

  1. (ἐ)παχύν[θ]η γὰρ [ἡ καρδία τοῦ]*
  2. λαοῦ τούτου κ[αὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν]*
  3. βαρέως ἤκου[σαν καὶ τούς]*
  4. ὀφθαλμοὺς α[ὐτῶν ἐκάμ-]*
  5. μυσαν μήπ[οτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς]*
  6. ὀφθαλμοῖς αὐ[τῶν καὶ τοῖς ὠ-]*
  7. σὶν ἀκούσωσι[ν καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ]*
  8. συνῶσιν καὶ ἐ[πιστρέψωσιν]*
  9. κα[ὶ] ϊ[ά]σομαι α[ὐτούς …]*
  10. τ̣[…]εχ[.] . [.]οιε̣[…]*
  11. […]ει̣[…]ον[…]*
  12. […]σι[…]*
  1. […]φησῑ(ν)
  2. […]..οσ…κω*
  3. […].α̣*
  4. […]συ.[.]..[.]σανυ*
  5. […].ἄλλοθεν λαλῶ
  6. […] αὐτῶν γάρ
  7. […] .. ρ […]*
  8. […]ω̣που υϊος θ(εο)υ
  9. […]ος εστ(αυ)ρ(ωμε)νος Χ(ριστο)ς*
  10. […]σ̣[…]ρο*

Here’s a translation:

  1. (ha)s become [d]ull for [the heart of the]*
  2. people this a[nd with their ears]*
  3. with difficulty they h[ear and the]*
  4. eyes of t[hem they ha-]*
  5. ve shut tha[t not they would see with the]*
  6. eyes of t[hem and with their e-]*
  7. ars hea[r and with the heart]*
  8. understand and t[urn]*
  9. an[d] I w[i]ll heal t[hem …]*
  10. *
  11. *
  12. *
  1. […]he sai(d)
  2. *
  3. *
  4. *
  5. […].in another place I say
  6. […] of them for
  7. *
  8. […].̣… son of G(o)d
  9. […].. one hav(in)g (been crucif)ied C(hris)t*
  10. *

With the translation you can see there are places that are quotations or elaborations on something, but there isn’t enough text to reconstruct anything. There seems to be something attributed to someone else, (“he said …”) with some sort of possible refutation or other interaction, (“but in another place I say”). What was going on, and how did Mt 13:15/Acts 28:27, from Is 6:10 relate to it? And then that crazy nomina sacra, εστ(αυ)ρ(ωμε)νος Χ(ριστο)ς, which (according to Wayment & Blumell, p. 294) does have some similar 2nd/3rd century witnesses.

While is isn’t certain, what we can probably take from this text is the citation of scripture (from the NT, which cites a similar form from the LXX) and also some interaction possibly between disagreeing parties who use scripture in their argumentation. So even at this date (third century), people are appealing to scripture as authoritative while they dispute what it means.