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.
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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.

 

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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!

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).