Title:Fragments of Christianity: Fragmentary Witnesses to Early Christian Liturgies, Hymns, Homilies, and Prayers Author: Rick Brannan Price: $24.95 from Amazon, locally available from Amazon UK, DE, AU, JP, and other Amazon sites. Purchase from Amazon
What were early Christians like? How did they worship? How did they pray? How did they preach? Brannan sifted through volumes of papyrological evidence to provide transcriptions and translations of examples of prayers, homilies, hymns, liturgies, and theological treatises, each with an introduction and brief discussion. These fragmentary examples of Christian material provide a link to the people who created them and who practised their religion with them. They are direct evidence of the practice of Christianity. They date from as early as the second century through the fifth century. These papyri provide a glimpse into the lives and practice of early Christians.
While that information is useful, as an interactive resource it is not able to be easily accessed or linked to other resources. And since we wanted to pull manuscript information into Factbook, we needed something different.
We also wanted to provide page-level links to manuscript images indexed to Bible reference.
That sentence doesn’t make much sense. Let me try again. We wanted to be able to search for a reference (e.g. Mark 1:41) and list images one could browse at the NTVMR with links straight to the images. We wanted to provide something like the below, showing the 278 manuscript pages indexed to Mark 1:41 with links directly to the page at the NTVMR.
We’ve created similar resources for the Septuagint (LXX) and the Hebrew Bible, but unfortunately there isn’t nearly the available page-level data for these corpora (Hats off to the NTVMR folks!). So we’ve made page-level references where data was available (LXX Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) and incorporated manuscript-level references to other manuscripts where data is available.
Hebrew Bible stuff is different from Greek NT or LXX because we (Logos) have transcriptions of all of the biblical scrolls, and many of the scroll fragments have images published on the web. So for the Hebrew Bible we have links to the transcriptions in Logos and available images at official sites.
But the big gain here is this information is now accessible in Factbook. We all know we can look up what “1Q1 Gen” is if we have the right resource open, or if we do a search across the library. But now, because it is all accessible from Factbook, you don’t have to remember which book or series to open to look. Just open Factbook and type in “1q1 gen”, and see what happens.
Now when you run across a reference to an NT, LXX, or Hebrew Bible manuscript, you just need to open the Factbook and look. You can read the article in Factbook’s Key Article section, or click the link to read it in the relevant manuscripts resource. We’re hoping this incorporation of manuscript information in Factbook makes it easier to follow up on questions about manuscripts you may encounter after reading technical commentaries or consulting textual apparatuses.
We have some ideas about how to integrate these manuscript resources even further with existing apparatuses (particularly of the GNT and LXX). No promises, but hopefully we’ll be able to make manuscript data even more accessible from the apparatuses themselves. Cross your fingers.
[Note: all screen captures taken using Verbum, the version of Logos Bible Software customized for Catholic users; features and data discussed are the same between Logos and Verbum.]
One of the best-kept secrets (in a bad way) of tools in Logos Bible Software is the Bible Sense Lexicon (BSL). It is unfortunate because the BSL is this great tool that provides a cross-linguistic sense analysis of every instance of every noun, verb, adjective, and adverb in the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament. But outside of in-passage mention (where it is available in a context window or by link) it is pretty hard to find, especially if you’re starting with a lemma.
We did some evaluation and figured out that we could use the BSL information to aggregate sense data by lemma and provide the skeleton of a lexicon. Even better: The BSL has been localized into all of the core language editions of Logos Bible Software, so if we could figure out what to do with the English, we’d get six more languages for basically free. Here’s an example of the Lexham Research Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, in English, Spanish, and Korean.
Focusing on the English, there are a few things to note. The material drawn from the BSL is “peaceful (whole) — characterized by …” Before that material, we have part of speech and generalized gloss as well as, where applicable, equivalent Hebrew lemmas based on an analysis of available reverse interlinear data. Sometimes there will also be a link to the Lexham Theological Wordbook.
The references listed (in this case) are all the available instances of this sense+lemma combination. We also list a snippet of context in the original language (Greek here) in an interlinear view (only English and Spanish; other languages do not have the data available to support the interlinear view). Don’t worry, the interlinear is customizeable and you can turn off the gloss line if you’d like (using the aleph/omega button in the toolbar). The context given in the snippet is based on propositional data from the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament. We select appropriate example references to list based on an analysis of Important Words data.
After this, for the New Testament, there are references of the same word from the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament). These reference listings (and the alternate corpus listings underneath it) are based on an analysis of existing Greek lexica and the manner in which they cite non-New Testament material.
After this we have the Commentary Articles section, which has listings of commentaries where the lemma is discussed. These listings are based on an analysis of all available commentaries with Greek or Hebrew words (or transliterations; presently over 8,300 commentaries are analyzed). We’re basically leveraging existing data here. Logos has had a Lemma in Passage feature that analyzes commentaries and tags lemmas where discernable. This is combined with information from another feature (Important Words) to determine which words are more significant in a passage. We then put the dots together to locate discussions in commentaries where the current lemma is important, and list the best scoring items.
We also have implemented a Journal Articles section that does similar things, only for Journals. This is based on a similar (in-development) analysis of over 3,700 journals for original language discussions. Not quite sure where the journal data is going yet, but this seemed to be an appropriate use of the data to surface Journal articles relevant to the lexicon article lemma.
The Lexham Research Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible is similarly organized. It also uses an interlinear view of example references (though only for the English), with contextual selections based on an analysis of the cantillation marks of the Hebrew Bible. Entries for verb are broken up further by verb stem. In the screen capture below, note the term reflecting the lemma of the entry is black and the other words are a lighter shade of grey, making it easier to determine the word related to the article even if the gloss line is not present.
Note we have also created the Lexham Research Lexicon of the Aramaic Portions of the Hebrew Bible. The structure is the same as that of the Hebrew Bible volume.
The Bible Sense Lexicon (BSL) analysis is only of the Greek New Testament and the Hebrew Bible. We have not, as yet, analyzed the Septuagint (and we do not presently have plans to do so). But we do have a fair amount of lexical data for the Septuagint, so we also created a (slightly different) Lexham Research Lexicon of the Septuagint. We presently have only created a lexicon for English users as we have not yet curated and localized some key Septuagint data in other languages.
For words that also occur in the Greek New Testament, the article in the Lexham Research Lexicon of the Septuagint shows much of the same data, only without the senses from the BSL. The Commentary Articles are drawn from commentaries on Old Testament books but which mention Greek in their discussions. There are no Journal Articles sections in the Septuagint volume.
We’re really excited about the Lexham Research Lexicons and their availability (for GNT, Hebrew Bible, and Aramaic) not only in English but also in Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, Chinese (Simplified) and Chinese (Traditional). The early feedback from beta testers has been encouraging. We hope you find these tools useful in your study of the Bible.
Howdy. Looks like it’s been a pretty big week (month?) for you. I have to admit, I never read your book on kissing dating goodbye, but I did appreciate your comments on discontinuing the book a few years back.
Why am I writing? That’s a great question. I’ve seen comments and diatribe by people after your recent statements about your “deconstruction.”
I know you know and realize this, but they’re all full of crap. I know you’re fully aware of the doctrinal and theological points those folks are making. And I’m also sure you’re aware that the motives of those sorts of comments, while the writers would like to deny it, is usually preaching to their own audience and not really out of genuine concern for you or anyone else but themselves.
Anyway, Josh (can I call you Josh?), I wanted to let you know that I think deconstruction of your faith is a good thing. Especially if you were brought up in a fear-based, rules-driven, legalistic environment. Pardon my language, readers, but Josh — deconstruct the hell out of that shit.
I don’t have the answers. I don’t even have the questions. I do claim to be a Christian, but I’m not going to throw doctrine at you or tell you you’re serving Satan or try to sell you fire insurance. Lord knows you’ve had enough of that recently. From my perspective, what Jesus did during his ministry was open up his life and just be with people. He loved them for no other reason than that’s who he was, and what he did.
If you just want to hang out with someone who isn’t going to try and “convert” you (whatever that means), I’m here. Heck, I live in Bellingham and I hear you’re just up the street in Vancouver, BC. Come on down for dinner sometime with my family. We’ll fire up the grill, have something yummy. My boys (6, 2) will run around all crazy-like and be really noisy — especially if the 2 year old “sings”. My daughter (12) will probably just read. We can sit on the deck — well, unless it’s raining — and talk about absolutely nothing theological. You can just relax, and breathe.
That’s actually a serious offer. Use the contact form or email to rick at faithlife dot com. Either way, I hope you get the space you need, and that your path becomes more clear to you.
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.
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…
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.
John Kight also provides the first review (that I know of) for my Greek Apocryphal Gospels volume. Enjoy! And thanks, John!
Rick Brannan is the author of Lexical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles: First Timothyand Second Timothy: Notes on Grammar, Syntax, and Structure, both published in 2016 by Appian Way Press. Brannan is also the general editor of the Lexham English Septuagint, an editor for the Lexham English Bible, as well as the contributor of the introduction and translation of John and the Robberin the opening volume of New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures (Eerdmans, 2016) by Tony Burke and Brent Landau. Most recently, Lexham Press has published Brannan’s translation of the Greek Apocryphal Gospels, fragments, and agrapha.
Greek Apocryphal Gospels, Fragments and Agrapha: A New Translation is a lucid collection of ancient documents related to early Christianity, including longer stories connected to the life of Jesus (Gospels), smaller pieces of material with written words about Jesus (Fragments), as well as unwritten sayings attributed to Jesus (Agrapha). Still…
John Kight provides the first review (that I know of) for my translation of the Apostolic Fathers. Enjoy! And thanks, John!
Rick Brannan is the author of Lexical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles: First Timothyand Second Timothy: Notes on Grammar, Syntax, and Structure, both published in 2016 by Appian Way Press. Brannan is also the general editor of the Lexham English Septuagint, an editor for the Lexham English Bible, as well as the contributor of the introduction and translation of John and the Robberin the opening volume of New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures(Eerdmans, 2016) by Tony Burke and Brent Landau. Most recently, Lexham Press has finally published Brannan’s translation of the Apostolic Fathers.
The Apostolic Fathers: A New Translation is a fresh and readable alternative to some of the more widely used contemporary translations of the Apostolic Fathers, particularly The Apostolic Fathers in English by Michael W. Holmes (3rd ed., Baker Academic, 2006) and The Apostolic Fathersby Bart D. Ehrman (2 vol., Harvard University Press…
Luca Signorelli’s 1501 depiction of the face of antichrist, from the Orvieto Cathedral (via Wikipedia)
If you’ve read this blog for awhile, you know that I’ve been working on a new translation and introduction to First Apocryphal Apocalypse of John (1 Apocr. Apoc. John) for awhile. It will appear in vol. 2 of Burke & Landau’s New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures. My contribution is very nearly done. I just received the hopefully last round of feedback from one of the editors (thanks, Brent!).
One thing about really good editors (and in my view, both Tony Burke and Brent Landau are really good editors) is that they know where to ask for more, and when to leave things be. A good editor knows when and where to push to make the contribution better. In this last round, Brent pushed back about one of the more interesting passages in 1 Apocr. Apoc. John: A physical description of the antichrist. Here’s the text:
The appearance of his face is dark, the hairs of his head (are) as sharp as arrows. His eyebrows (are) like a field, his right eye like the morning star rising and his other (eye) like a lion. His mouth is a cubit’s breadth, his teeth a broad span. His fingers (are) like sickles, his footprint two spans, and upon his forehead, an inscription: ‘antichrist.’
There are other ancient writings that give brief physical descriptions of the antichrist. News flash: They don’t all agree. Brent helpfully asked how this description compares to other descriptions. It is a good question, so I’ll need to at least add a footnote with minimal discussion here.
All of this is background to the reason for this post. In digging around to find other physical descriptions of the antichrist, I came across the following citation:
Rosenstiehl, J.M. 1967. Le portrait de l’antichrist. Vol 1, pp. 45–63 in Pseudepigraphes de l’Ancien Testament et manuscrits de la mer mort. Cahiers de la RHPR1 1, ed. M. Philonenko, et al. Paris.
My biblical studies library resources are limited here in Bellingham, so I put the call out on the Twitter, and was answered (thanks, Ian). A scan was on its way. In French, but that’s not a huge deal. Upon arrival of the scan, I realized this was a pretty sweet source (and very appropriate for my needs). It provided over 20 excerpts of descriptions of an antichrist figure from several different writings (including 1 Apocr. Apoc. John!).
Now, I needed to get translations, and my French is only as good as I can fake through my Spanish and the little I know of Latin. This means it isn’t great. So on Saturday I started keying the excerpts and feeding them to Google Translate to get a rough translation.
I figure this might be useful information to others out there, so I have a Google doc that lists the descriptions, in order, with sources, with the French first followed by the English. The English is a translation of the French unless otherwise noted. View the document.
If you know French better than I do (likely), feel free to suggest an edit to the English. I’ll probably accept it, I’d just rather not have wide-open editing on this document.
I’m hoping (not promising) to write a series of posts introducing and examining various collections of works and individual works outside of the New Testament that early Christians likely read.
This is tenatively planned to include stuff like the Septuagint, the Apostolic Fathers, other writings from early Christian writers (e.g. Clement of Alexandria, Melito of Sardis), and various writings collectively labeled as “Christian Apocrypha.”
Over 4.5 years ago, I organized a class at my church that we called Stuff Early Christians Read. The goal was to give a very high level introduction to non-canonical sources the early church read and copied. I had the extra benefit of friends and colleagues well versed in other relevant literature (Judaica, Dead Sea Scrolls, and Pseudepigrapha) who did the introductions to those particular corpora. I focused on LXX, Apostolic Fathers, and Christian Apocrypha. It was a hoot. Since then, I’ve toyed with the thought of expanding the material I was responsible for into a book, but simply haven’t got around to it.
But it is good material. So I want to try to be semi-disciplined and work through the material, expanding and researching and writing as a I go. The best-case scenario is that I actually make my way through the material and end up with a rough draft that I can then further edit and revise into something publishable. The worst case is that I write one post and then the crazyness of life takes over and I never finish it. The reality is we’ll probably end up somewhere in between those two scenarios. I think it’s worth trying.