NA29? NA30? Notes from an Old (2007?) SBL Session

The other day, I ran across the following stuffed deep in my office bag. It had to have been from a pre-2009 SBL (2007 because I didn’t go in 2008?). That means it migrated across 3 different bags at minimum. Astounding.

Check out this incredibly optimistic (in hindsight) timeline for the NA/UBS editions. I distinctly remember taking these notes.


Notable to me are the association of a corrected UBS4 aligned with NA28 to be released in 2009, and that UBS5 and NA29 were supposed to be aligned and published in 2014. In reality, UBS5 is functionally equivalent with NA28. NA28 was published in 2012, corrected printing in 2013, and UBS5 in 2014(?). So we may be due for an NA29/UBS6. And I can’t wait for NA32, it should be awesome.

Please note: I’m not criticizing the ambitious nature of this timeline. I love it — goals and targets are good things. I just thought it interesting that there was a publication plan and milestones for that plan have existed for awhile. The publication dates are synced with releases to the ECM, so I’d guess the next NA edition will include material for Acts and perhaps John and maybe even Revelation (which would be very cool).

Whatever the case, I’m sure that the current plan is much different than the above. Difficult, complex projects take a long time, even with well-planned milestones. Bring on NA29, whatever changes it may contain!


The Lexham Dead Sea Scrolls Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible in Logos 7

My frequent co-conspirator Ken Penner and I, with the assistance of Nick Meyer, have been working on something I pitched to Ken last summer: The Lexham Dead Sea Scrolls Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible. We chatted about it in November at SBL (at a very yummy churrascaria) and early this year began working on it.

There is more to do, but a version of the text (minus 1 & 2 Samuel, which are still being worked on) slipped in to various Logos 7 packages. Here’s what it looks like:


Lexham Dead Sea Scrolls Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible, Deut. 32:8–10

In the above, the light grey text is the text of the Lexham Hebrew Bible (LHB). Interlinear units that contain material from the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) is in black, though brackets do note the inclusion/exclusion of LHB text. Two layers of interlinear glosses are included, and the source of each reading selected is noted. When a source has orthographic (spelling) variations in other DSS sources or is at orthographic variance with the LHB, an asterisk notes more information on these differences including a link to the transcriptions in question.

What is the basis of the top line text / selection of readings? Ken Penner addresses that in the introduction:

Where more than one manuscript preserves part of a biblical text, the reading selected is the oldest complete word preserved in the Scrolls. The scroll dates used for this purpose are those collected by Webster’s Chronological Index of the Texts.

Our procedure for handling cases where no manuscript has completely preserved a word is to consider the letters individually.

Further, it uses the lemma and morphology scheme used by the Lexham Hebrew Bible, so one can search both resources contemporaneously for lexical or morphological criteria, or even use the “Corresponding Words” and “Corresponding Selection” features of Logos Bible Software to compare the texts side-by-side.

We’re excited about this resource and its future, and glad we could get a version of it into Logos 7.

Bible Manuscript Trifecta Completed


Nash Papyrus

I’ve blogged in the past about some projects I’ve been involved in for my employer, Faithlife, makers of Logos Bible Software. These are called “Manuscript Explorers” and they provide faceted browsing through whole-manuscript data. It allows one to quickly find manuscripts from a similar era, containing similar material, and if there are images online for the manuscript(s). These are:

With the release of Logos Now for Logos 6.9, we’ve included a Hebrew Bible Manuscript Explorer.


There are three basic groups the manuscripts have been put into. Group I includes Leningradensis, Aleppo Codex, and the Nash Papyrus. Group II includes the Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls. Group III includes manuscripts catalogued by Kennicott and deRossi and found in Kennicott’s edition of the Hebrew Bible published in the 18th century.

If transcriptions are available in Logos Bible Software (and the Dead Sea Scrolls Biblical material is available) then there are links to the transcription itself. If there are images available on line, then there are links. This includes the Dead Sea Scroll material, which links to The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library or to the Digital Dead Sea Scrolls, as appropriate.

What’s next? Well, if I could find a decent source for Latin Bible manuscripts (Old Latin and Vulgate), I might be tempted to pursue that.

Codex Sinaiticus: New Perspectives on the Ancient Biblical Manuscript

When I was at the SBL National Meeting in November, my friend at the Hendrickson booth provided a 9781619706477oreview copy of Codex Sinaiticus: New Perspectives on the Ancient Biblical Manuscript.

The book is a collection of 22 papers given at the 2009 conference on Codex Sinaiticus that corresponded with the release of high-quality images of the codex at

While I have read (and enjoyed) all of the essays, I will not recount all of them here. Instead I’ll talk about the volume as a whole.

The essays are divided into five sections, including:

  1. Historical Setting
  2. The Septuagint
  3. Early Christian Writings
  4. Modern Histories of Codex Sinaiticus
  5. Codex Sinaiticus Today

For my interests, I was thrilled to see papers focusing on the LXX of Sinaiticus (Section 2) as well as discussion on the text of Hermas (Section 3). I was familiar with most of the larger issues in the Modern Histories section, though the essays contained particulars that I did not know.

I read Section 5, Codex Sinaiticus Today, with interest because it discusses issues having to do with the digitization, transcription, and reconstruction of the codex. While I appreciate the difficulty of the project and what it achieved, I wonder how it might’ve proceeded differently if they’d been able to release iteratively instead of as a complete piece.

All in all, the book is excellent — highly recommended if you’d like a deeper dive into the codex itself, its history, and its reception. Here are the basics:

  • Title: Codex Sinaiticus: New Perspectives on the Ancient Biblical Manuscript
  • Editors: Scot McKendrick, David Parker, Amy Myshrall, Cillian O’Hogan
  • Publisher: The British Library and Hendrickson
  • Date: 2015
  • Pages: xix, 320 (incl. index)

Note that Hendrickson has PDF of the front matter (20 pgs) online.


New Septuagint Manuscripts at the Vatican, a Latin-Greek diglot

The Vatican Library has been doing a bang-up job of digitizing manuscripts. Two new manuscripts that witness the text of the Septuagint were uploaded recently:

  • Rahlfs 667, 10th century,  reportedly containing material from the 12 prophets & Ezekiel
  • Rahlfs 1297, 12th century. Bilingual Latin-Greek manuscript

This data will soon be integrated into an update of the Septuagint Manuscript Explorer, a component of Logos Now. I blogged a bit about it earlier. Here’s a video with more information:

What I’ve Been Up To: Manuscript Data

P45_Matthieu_25.41-46You may or may not have heard, but my employer (Faithlife, makers of Logos Bible Software) has shifted our flagship product, Logos Bible Software on the desktop, to a six-week release cycle. We’ve also introduced a subscription model called Logos Now which provides access to the latest features and datasets that otherwise would’ve waited to be integrated with a major software release.

Anyway, my time for the past six months has been focused on providing new datasets and interactive features that have been introduced with various releases of Logos Now. Some of the coolest and most fun have been what we’re calling “Manuscript Explorer” Interactives. These are tools that allow you to explore information about manuscripts of the Greek New Testament. Want to know more about Majuscule (Unical) gospel manuscripts? Boom. Here’s that list, with information about B/03/Vaticanus expanded:

Majuscule/Uncial gospel manuscripts

Majuscule/Uncial gospel manuscripts

There’s even a video with more information.

Earlier this week, we released (again, for Logos Now subscribers) a Septuagint Manuscript Explorer. There is less data available for LXX manuscripts, but there is still useful information. For example, what about manuscripts with the Pentateuch (Law) held by the British Library? Boom.

Septuagint manuscripts with the Pentateuch/Law held by the British Library

Septuagint manuscripts with the Pentateuch/Law, held by the British Library

Some of them (Rahlfs 426, as seen in the detail) even have links to online images.

Why do all this? The first step in bringing this sort of information into peoples’ study is actually aggregating the information and making it available. With the information available, other systems and approaches can be developed. As one hears in the software industry, most complex systems began as simple systems, and they developed over time. Hopefully we’ll be able to use this data as the simple start of a larger system that integrates manuscript information at various levels of study and research.

Hope you find it useful (and fun!)

Christian Oxyrhynchus: Texts, Documents, and Sources


Baylor University Press is to be congratulated and heartily thanked for this new title, to be available on August 15, 2015.

Lincoln H. Blumell and Thomas A. Wayment, Christian Oxyrhynchus: Texts, Documents, and Sources. Baylor University Press, 2015. 778pp. ISBN: 9781602585393.

I’ve not yet seen a table of contents, but the descriptions of the contents are impressive. Here is the description from Baylor Press’ web site:

Blumell and Wayment present a thorough compendium of all published papyri, parchments, and patristic sources that relate to Christianity at Oxyrhynchus before the fifth century CE. Christian Oxyrhynchus provides new and expanded editions of Christian literary and documentary texts that include updated readings, English translations—some of which represent the first English translation of a text—and comprehensive notes.

The volume features New Testament texts carefully collated against other textual witnesses and a succinct introduction for each Oxyrhynchus text that provides information about the date of the papyrus, its unique characteristics, and textual variants. Documentary texts are grouped both by genre and date, giving readers access to the Decian Libelli, references to Christians in third- and fourth-century texts, and letters written by Christians. A compelling resource for researchers, teachers, and students, Christian Oxyrhynchus enables broad access to these crucial primary documents beyond specialists in papyrology, Greek, Latin, and Coptic.

Work like this is sorely needed. So often we grab papyri for their readings and ignore their milieu. We ignore the environment in which they were written, copied, and used. And we ignore how they were actually used. Here’s to hoping Blumell & Wayment help us toward better understanding of these valuable materials and their impact on our understanding of early Christianity.

Two Parchments Witnessing First Timothy 1

In 2007, I put together a PDF that discussed two parchments classed as majuscules (0259 and 0262). The editio princeps of these was published in: Kurt Treu, “Neue neutestamentliche Fragmente der Berliner Papyrussammlung”, Archiv für Papyrusforschung 18, 1966. pp. 36–37. I realized it may have disappeared from, and also that it might be of value to some reading here. So here’s the short PDF:

I came across mention of these parchments while working through J.K. Elliott’s valuable (and hard to locate) work on the text of the Pastoral Epistles: Elliott, J.K. The Greek Text of the Epistles to Timothy and Titus. (Studies and Documents 26). Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1968.

The text of the parchments themselves isn’t earth-shattering because they uphold the NA/UBS edition and they aren’t early (relatively). Still, 0262 does give some evidence on the λογος/ανθροπινος variation in 1Ti 1.15 (and consequently 3.1). Also, you might be able to use the orthography of 0262 in some arguments on the value of Koine pronunciation. Seriously. Check it out.