Einträge mit dem Schlagwort ecm .

Amulets and Ostraca

Image: T2


In an attempt to put the magic back in the Kurzgefaßte Liste, the INTF will be resurrecting the talisman and ostracon numbers.

In the latest issue of JBL (142 no. 4 [2023]: 633–655), Brice Jones and I explore the usefulness of amulets and magical ostraca for New Testament textual criticism. We briefly define these objects and describe how New Testament text is recorded on them. We then survey which amulets and magical ostraca were used in 20th critical editions of the Greek New Testament and why these categories were added and then subsequently removed from the Kurzgefaßte Liste.

Although the essential research is based on Jones’ book, New Testament Texts on Greek Amulets from Late Antiquity, it was fun to dig further into the history of Kurzgefaßte Liste publications to see exactly what happened to these witnesses. Years ago, I saw an unknown symbol in NestleNovum Testamentum Graece. It was not until I read Jones’ book that I finally made the connection that it was an amulet, T3.

Image: Citations of T3 (highlighted) in the Nestle 13th edition (1927) at Matt 6:12–13


Our article, “Resurrecting Amulets and Ostraca in New Testament Textual Criticism,” seeks to explain why the “talisman” and “ostracon” categories have now been continued in the Kurzgefaßte Liste. It highlights the shift in New Testament textual criticism toward an increased appreciation of the social milieu of those who used the biblical text and how this new perspective on the value of amulets and magical ostraca justifies their inclusion in the ECM, CBGM, and the Kurzgefaßte Liste.

Amulets up to T39 and magical ostraca up to Os30 will be catalogued in the Kurzgefaßte Liste as an appendix and will not be included in the tally of Greek New Testament witnesses for now.[1] Readers can see how their inclusion affects already cataloged witnesses and how images and transcriptions of these new additions are already accessible in the NTVMR.

To find which amulets and magical ostraca have been added to the Liste, in the NTVMR, just type in “t” or “os” in the search field under “name” (or use the six-digit Doc IDs beginning with 51 and 52 for “ID” in the search field). Or, you can click here for amulets and here for magical ostraca.

The article explains how these witnesses will appear in the apparatus of ECM Matthew when it is published, as well as in the CBGM. Their inclusion in the CBGM is probably unexpected since they are non-continuous witnesses. From the article,

Amulets have two major disadvantages in the context of the CBGM: (1) they contain a small amount of text, and (2) their text is often an indirect witness; that is, they were not initially created with the primary intention of accurately transmitting the New Testament text. Their limited text poses the same problem as other fragmented texts (like the early papyri), and, on this basis alone, their inclusion in the CBGM would produce cautionary results at best. As indirect witnesses, they would be inappropriately taken as representing the same tradition as continuous text manuscripts or lectionaries that are in the CBGM. (p. 647)

Nevertheless, the Greek text of amulets can be assigned to Greek variants in the apparatus, unlike versions that would have to rely on a retro-translation. In the CBGM, amulets and ostraca, with only a small amount of text available, qualify as “fragmented” witnesses and their inclusion in the Coherence at Variant Passages diagrams can be turned on or off with the button labeled “Frag.” This way, users will have the option to see them or not. Their inclusion is largely exploratory, and a study is planned to appear on the results in the forthcoming edition of ECM Matthew.

Below is the full list of amulets and magical ostraca now recorded in the Liste. If there are any more we should be aware of, please let us know!




Mt 6:11-13



Athens, National Historical Museum, 12227


Mt 4:23-24



Allentown, PA, Muhlenberg College, Pap. 1077 (theol. 2)


Mt 6:9-13



Location unknown, Zuletzt: Germany, (früher: Berlin, Staatliche Museen P. 954)


Mt 6:9; Jn 1:23; Gospel incipits



Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, 13926


Mt 6:9-13



Heidelberg, Ägyptologisches Institut , 761


Mt 6:9-13; Lk 9:37(?); 11:1b-2



Giessen, Universitätsbibliothek, P. Iand. 14


Mt 6:9; Mk 1:1-8; Lk 1:1-7; Jn 1:1-17



Chicago, IL, University of Chicago Library, Ms. 125 (Goodspeed)


Jn 2:1a-2; Rom 12:1-2



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, G 2312


Jn 1:1, 3



Glasgow, University Library, Ms. Gen. 1026/12


Mt 28:19; Mt 4:23; Gospel incipits; Jn 1:1



Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, P. 6096


Mt 4:23; 9:35; 8:15; Mk 1:31



Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, P. 21230


Mt 6:9-11



Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Libraries, AM 8963


Mt 6:9-13



Durham, NC, Duke University, David M. Rubenstein Library, P. Duk. Inv. 778


= 0324



Mt 6:9-13



New Haven, CT, Yale University Library, P. CtYBR 4600


Mt 6:9-13; 2 Cor 13:13(?)



Oslo, University of Oslo Library , P. 1644, fol.;

Oslo/London, The Schøyen Collection, MS 244/4, fol.


Mt 6:10-12



Oxford, Sackler Library, P. Ant. 54


Mt 6:11-13



Köln, Institut für Altertumskunde, Inv. Nr. 3559 (recto), fol.; Inv. Nr. 3583 (recto), fol.


Mt 6:12-13



Köln, Institut für Altertumskunde, Inv. Nr. 3302


Mt 27,62-64; 28,2-5



Oxford, Sackler Library, P. Oxy. 4406


Mk 1:1-2



Oxford, Sackler Library, 25 3B 58/E(c)


Jn 1:1-11



Köln, Institut für Altertumskunde, Inv. Nr. 649, fol.; Inv. Nr. 689, fol.


Jn 1:5-6



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, G 29831


Jn 1:29, 49



Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, P. 11710


2 Cor 10:4; 1 Thess 5:8; Eph 6:16



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, G 26034, fol.; G 30453, fol.


1 Tim 1:15-16



Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, P. 13977





Oxford, Sackler Library, P. Oxy. 2684


Col 3:9-10



London, University College, Petrie Museum, UC 32070


Act 9:1



Birmingham, University of Birmingham Cadbury Research Library, P.Harr. inv. 486


Mt 1:20



Ann Arbor, MI, University of Michigan Library, P. Mich. inv. 4944b


Mt 1:1; Mk 1:1; Jn 1:1



Alexandria, Bibliotheca Alexandrina Antiquities Museum, BAAM 0505


Jn 1:1



Heidelberg, Institut für Papyrologie, P. Lat. 5


Mt 1:1; Mk 1:1; Lk 1:1; Jn 1:1



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, G 348


Mt 6:9-13



Oxford, Sackler Library, P. Oxy. 4010


Ps 21:19/Mt 27:35/Jn 19:24



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, G 29418


Mt 6:11-12



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, L 91


Mt 6:9



Paris, Musée du Louvre, D 552B


James 1:14-17

E V?


Genova, Biblioteca Universitaria, 1160 Vo




Matt 27:31–32; Mark 5:40–41; 9:17, 18, 22; 15:21; Luke 12:13–15, 15– 16; 22:40–45, 45–49, 49–53, 53–54, 55–59, 59–60, 61, 61–64, 65–69, 70–71; John 1:1–9, 14–17; 18:19–25; 19:15–17



Location unknown


Lk 1:42, 28



London, British Museum, EA 33101


John 2:1



London, British Museum, EA 55805


Act 2:22-24 (UC 62598), 2:25-29, 32-36; 3:1-2 (UC 62568); 15:38-16:1, 7-9 (UC 62540+62547); 16:18; 19:1, 8-9 (UC 62567); Rom 13:3-6, 7-11 (UC 62600); Gal 1:8-11 (UC 62732), 15-18; 2:3-8 (UC 62583); James 2:2-3, 8-9 (UC 62719); 4:11-13 (UC 62592); 1Jn 2:12-14, 19-22 (UC 31897); 3:17-22; 4:1-3 (UC 62566), 19-14, 18-21 (UC 62584); Jude 1-3, 4 (UC 62573).



London, University College, Petrie Museum, UC 31897, fol.; UC 62598, fol.; UC 62568, fol.; UC 62540, fol.; UC 62547, fol.; UC 62567, fol.; UC 62600, fol.; UC 62732, fol.; UC 62583, fol.; UC 62719, fol.; UC 62592, fol.; UC 62573, fol.; UC 62566, fol.; UC 62584, fol.


Rom 8:31



Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, Ostraka inv. 129


Lk 1:28



London, British Museum, EA 32966


Mt 1:19-20



Turin, Museo Egizio, Cat. Fab. 2136


Mt 7:18-20, 29-8:4



Cairo, Coptic Museum, Naqlun 53/88, fol.; Naqlun 64/86, fol.


Mt 16:18-19; Heb 5:6



New York, NY, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Acc. no. 14.1.202


Jn 9:1-12; Act 3:11



London, British Museum, Eg. Dept. (?)


Heb 2



Anonymous owner, Anonymous owner, Milan Private Owner


We are still in the process of acquiring images, but many images are already included in the NTVMR, especially ones with text from Matthew, such as T34:


Some ostraca also have images in the NTVMR, for example Os25:


I end with a quote from the article:

While there is little doubt that amulets and magical ostraca provide an important window into early Christian faith and practices, as many have convincingly argued, the precise textual worth of each of these witnesses remains to be determined. Magical ostraca in particular warrant further research, and scholars now have new resources at their fingertips to gain insights into and to research the rich textual history of the New Testament. It is hoped that recording these witnesses in the Liste (and their images in the NTVMR whenever possible), and including them in the ECM and CBGM, will make way for more productive and nuanced research on their worth for textual criticism and the role they play in the exploration of the social history of early Christianity. (p. 655)

[1] Peter Head’s essay, “Additional Greek Witnesses,” in The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research, ed. Ehrman and Holmes, 2nd ed (2013), was especially helpful for bringing the list of ostraca up to date. Correspondence with Theodore De Bruyn was very helpful when I first began to research amulets. I have Joseph Sanzo to thank for bringing to my attention, among other things, that the term “ostraca” really should be “magical ostraca” since we are talking about apotropaic artifacts, not mere citations from the Bible.

How Does ECM Mark Change the Way Textual Criticism is Taught?

While the theme of the SBL annual meeting this year in Denver was “reconnect,” the meeting also created unique opportunities to make new connections. One of these opportunities was at a joint session of the ECM and Gospel of Mark program units. This was a chance for exegetes and text critics to come together and share with each other about the intricates of their fields and how textual criticism influences exegesis and vice versa.


In this spirit, Alicia Myers, New Testament professor and exegete at Campbell University, and I presented on how to use ECM Mark and how this changes the way we teach textual criticism. It was a difficult topic, especially fitting it all in the time limit, but we hope we did it justice. We’ve recorded our presentation and made it available on the INTF’s YouTube channel. Here’s a link:




For anyone who has never used an edition of the ECM, this is probably the best place to start since it goes over the basics and gives an impression of how to actually incorporate use of the edition in the classroom.

ECM Coptic Position (Parttime)

At the INTF there is a parttime position available for a Coptic specialist (36 months maximum). Responsibilities include collecting data on Coptic manuscripts of Galatians and Ephesians and transcribing them for the ECM. Please see the post for more information:


ECM Mark has Arrived

The ECM of Mark was published at the end of July! It is available to order through the German Bible Society’s website.


The complete title is Novum Testamentum Graecum: Editio Critica Maior, Volume I: The Synoptic Gospels, book 2: The Gospel of Mark. This numbering might be confusing since the Catholic letters were titled ECM IV and Acts was designated as ECM III. The INTF has been working on the Synoptic Gospels (ECM volume I), and Mark is book two of volume I, or ECM I.2 for short. We are now working on ECM Matthew which will be published as ECM I book 1, or ECM I.1. Here's an overview of the ECM volumes, bearing in mind only the Catholic Letters, Acts, and Mark have been published:

Volume I: Synoptic Gospels

Volume II: The Gospel of John

Volume III: Acts

Volume IV: Catholic Letters

Volume V: Paul's Letters

Volume VI: Revelation


Like ECM Acts, there are three parts to ECM Mark: (1) text and apparatus, (2) supplementary material that explains which manuscripts were selected and has introductions to the versions and other detailed information, and (3) a collection of studies on the text of Mark in different manuscript traditions. Part 3, Studies, is where the "Text-Critical Commentary" can be found.


Image of the Three Parts of ECM Mark


As promised in a previous blog post, we now present links to digital tools and downloads that accompany the printed edition and offer access to the data behind the edition.


Here is the link to CBGM Mark 3.5This is the third phase of the CBGM for Mark. The .5 indicates we  have made several changes to the local stemmata in the current phase, but did not systematically go through all the variants again to bring it to a new phase. A local stemma of variants has been established at each variant passage. What we called “Genealogical Queries” for Acts and Catholic Letters, we are now just calling “CBGM” since the former term didn’t really take off.


The start page of the CBGM (see below) also has instructions for the CBGM Docker, containing now both Acts and Mark. The CBGM for these two books can be downloaded onto your own computer and you can edit the local stemmata. I’ve already posted a video tutorial on how install Acts CBGM, but the Docker image now also includes Mark CBGM.

Image of the CBGM start page


The Greek text and apparatus of the ECM of Mark is also available online (the digital ECM). Clicking on a manuscript in the apparatus of Mark calls up its transcription. The “Text-Critical Commentary,” published in the Studies volume (3), is also available free online. All passages with a commentary will display a highlighted speech bubble. For example, go to Mark 1:1, word address 12-16, and click on the speech bubble (see image below). It will bring you to the commentary for that passage and you can read why υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ, a Byzantine reading, was adopted over υἱοῦ θεοῦ as the initial text. Users are also invited to comment on passages in the NTVMR forum, which Klaus Wachtel also mentioned at the end of his blog post on the Text-Critical Commentary.


Returning to the apparatus, if you click on the circle icon (see image below), this brings you to the CBGM for this passage.


The Patristic database has been updated to include Mark (see image below). Now both Acts and Mark are available.


Image of Links to the Text-Critical Commentary, CBGM, and the Patristic Database in the digital ECM


Last but not least, the ECM Mark page on the INTF's website now has lists of textual changes between the ECM of Mark and the text of Mark in NA28 and split lines in ECM Mark.


In ECM Mark there are:

33 textual changes. Interestingly, 21 of these changes are in accordance with the Byzantine text. If you’re curious about the reasons these readings were chosen, the textual commentary can help shed some light on these decisions.

There are also 126 split lines in ECM of Mark. In most of the split lines (107 to be exact), the Byzantine text is one of the variants given equal weight as the Ausgangstext.


With its comprehensive apparatus based on full transcriptions of 209 Greek manuscripts and a text newly established on the basis of a systematic method—the CBGM—ECM Mark intends to offer an enduring contribution to the field of textual criticism. It is our hope that researchers will take advantage of the free transcriptions (on the NTVMR) and access to the editorial textual decisions (via the CBGM and Text-Critical Commentary).


Although these tools (1) the CBGM, (2) the CBGM Docker container, (3) the digital ECM, (4) the Text-Critical Commentary, and (5) the Patristic database may seem daunting at first, they offer a wealth of material; it is worthwhile to take the time to explore them and discover how they might be beneficial for your own research.


In the Preface to the Studies volume of ECM Acts, Holger Strutwolf said: “The ECM does not see itself as an end at all, but rather as opening a new phase of text-critical work on the New Testament” (ECM III/3, Preface). The same continues to be true for ECM Mark.

Online Tools for the ECM

The ECM of Mark is currently being printed and will be available soon. Once it appears in print, we will make our online tools for it accessible. These will include the digital edition, the CBGM, a Docker container, and a list of textual changes compared to the NA28.


Even though the ECM of Acts was published back in 2017, we realized we have not posted the list of textual changes online for Acts like was done for the ECM of the Catholic Letters. So, in this post, I thought I would take the opportunity to review what is already available for the ECM of the Catholic Letters, update online resources for ECM Acts, and explain what will be available for the ECM Mark.


The INTF’s homepage lists a number of “Online Utilities”. These cover different topics but I’ve singled out the pertinent ones for the ECM and CBGM and have listed them here for convenience.

Image: ECM Volumes and available Digital Tools and Downloads


ECM IV: The Catholic Letters

Textual Changes

The ECM of the Catholic Letters (2nd edition, 2013) contained 33 textual changes compared to the NA27. These changes were adopted in the NA28 and are listed in the NA28 on pages 50*-51* and posted on the INTF’s website under “NA28” and Textual Changes. The first printing of the NA28 listed 34 textual changes, but the entry concerning the elision in ἀλλά in 1 Peter 2:25 was removed in later printings (since it is only orthographical); this resulted in 33 textual changes. Spellings were changed in a number of locations in the NA28. For a complete list see Orthographical standardization under “NA28” in “Online Utilities”.


Split Primary Lines

A split primary line occurs when the editors leave the decision open where two or more variants of about equal weight should be adopted in their reconstruction of the Ausgangstext. There are 43 split-line (diamond) readings in the ECM of the Catholic Letters, which were incorporated into the NA28. A list of diamond readings was posted under the “NA28” link under Split Primary Line in ECM2. The NA28 itself does not list these.



The Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM) offers tools for reconstructing the Ausgangstext in the ECM which is based on full transcriptions of witnesses. Decisions are based on textual criticism and philological study of all variants. The CBGM and its data for the Catholic Letters is available online here.



Textual Changes

Compared to the NA28, the ECM of Acts has 52 textual changes. For a list, see Textual Changes under “ECM Acts” in “Online Utilities”.


Split Guiding Lines

There are 155 split lines in ECM Acts. A list of these is found under Split Primary Line.



The CBGM for Acts is also available online here. Phase 4 of the CBGM for Acts uses the new interface designed by the Cologne Center for eHumanities.


Textual Commentary and Digital Edition

It’s important to note that all of the textual changes and split lines are discussed in the online textual commentary on the NTVMR, explained here. The “Text-Critical Commentary” gives concise reasons why one variant is favored over another (in the case of textual changes) or explains why the decision has been left open (in the case of split lines).

            This commentary has been integrated into the digital ECM (dECM). The dECM displays the text of ECM Acts (different from the NA28) and offers interactivity that is not possible in a printed edition. For example, the apparatus links to transcriptions and images of manuscripts, there is more versional data included than what was in the printed ECM, and every variant unit has a link to the specific passage in the CBGM.


Patristic Citations

There is also the online database of Patristic citations available here. What is innovative about this database is that the reader is not only given the specific work of the author cited but also the full context of the quote. Nikolai Kiel has described how the ECM treats Patristic citations.


Docker Container

The newest addition to ECM Acts is the Docker container, which is a downloadable package that enables you to run the CBGM for Acts on your own computer. Different from the online CBGM, the program enables you to make different textual decisions and reestablish the local stemmata to your own theories. Video instructions for the CBGM Acts Docker are found here, which also includes a short introduction to the CBGM.



After the ECM of the Gospel of Mark appears in print (26 July 2021), we’ll upload a list of textual changes and split guiding lines online. Like Acts, there will be an online textual commentary, a digital version on the NTVMR, the CBGM (with downloadable docker container), and the Patristic citations database.


Image: Advertisement of ECM Mark from German Bible Society


We hope these resources will guide readers to better understand the data behind the editions and can provide a solid starting place for further research to take place. Now that a Docker container is available for Acts, anyone can now experiment with the CBGM, which may be the best way to learn how the method works firsthand.

Versio Coptica online

As is well-known, the ECM of the Acts of the Apostles is available online in the New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room of the INTF since 2017. (The text-critical commentary is also online.)


Alongside the main text of the edition, all Greek variants are presented. After entering a verse in the “Quick Lookup”, the ECM apparatus appears in a window below the main text. See for example Acts 1:8.


In the apparatus there is now a link to “VC” – meaning Versio Coptica.


Clicking on VC will open a new window, which presents the full Coptic transcriptions that were used for the citations in the Greek apparatus.


The top of this window includes a link to the “Introduction” which leads to primary information about the edition created by S.G. Richter, K.D. Schröder and M.H.O. Schulz. Furthermore, a list of all cited witnesses as well as an apparatus with notes on the manuscripts is provided. Next to the link to the introduction, the button “SMR online” will take you to the SMR Database of Coptic New Testament Manuscripts with plenty information on all manuscripts.


The line-by-line layout of VC shows all Sahidic and Fayyumic pieces used in the edition, as well as the manuscript mae 3 which is the famous Codex Glazier, the only Middle Egyptian witness of Acts. The Bohairic siglum “bo 00” is the main text of G. Horner’s edition of Acts. A printed version of this edition of “Versio Coptica: Die Apostelgeschichte in koptischer Überlieferung” is in preparation.


Keep in mind that versional evidence is not used as a consistent witness in the apparatus of Acts, but only cited at selected passages which are of special importance to the Greek text or its history (cf. Novum Testamentum Graecum. Editio Critica Maior III. The Acts of the Apostles, ed. by H. Strutwolf et al. Part 1.1, Stuttgart 2017, p. 20*).


This new “VC” feature online enables all interested users not only to test the citations of Coptic witnesses in the Greek apparatus, but allows them to form their own opinions about citations at passages where the Coptic version had not been recorded in the apparatus of the ECM.


Any corrections can be sent to me here, s.g.richter at uni-muenster.de, and would be much appreciated!

How Patristic Citations are Treated in the ECM

From the beginning of critical work on the text of the Greek New Testament citations by early Christian writers have played a prominent role in research on textual history.

Nestle/Aland, Novum Testamentum Graece28, 78*.


Establishing the New Testament text of the Church Fathers has a strategic importance for textual history and criticism. It shows us how the text appeared at particular times and in particular places: this is information we can find nowhere else.

K. Aland/B. Aland, The Text of the New Testament, 168.


Patristic citations are witnesses to the text of the manuscripts that the Church Fathers used. Their witness is highly significant for textual criticism and for the reconstruction of the initial form of the New Testament text. An advantage of citations for textual criticism is that we can more or less ascertain the date and location of Church Fathers. If the text of a certain author is recoverable, conclusions can be drawn regarding the biblical text circulating in his day.


When examining citations of a Church Father, it is important to observe his specific approach to citation because some of the variants found in patristic literature trace back to the way the author treated his source text. Therefore, it is crucial to determine whether the Father has quoted the biblical text literally or imprecisely, if he just alludes to it or only paraphrases it.


Contrary to an exegete, not every patristic reference is reliable or usable for a textual critic. Most of the “citations” listed in the Biblia Patristica, for example, do not conform to the actual wording of the biblical text and thus have no text-critical value at all.


In our database of citations of Acts there are three main categories under “citations”:

•           Citation

•           Varying Citation/Adaptation

•           Allusions (paraphrases are to be treated like allusions)



According to D.A. Koch, a citation is a “the conscious adoption of external written (or rarely oral) wording, which is reproduced by an author in his own writing and is recognizable as such.”[1]


Varying Citations

For our purposes in the ECM, varying citations are generally treated like citations wherever their wording is adjusted to the context of the Church Father's text. Particularly small changes regarding the original biblical text can be identified. The following definition of an adaptation by Carroll D. Osburn fits our definition of a varying citation: “A quotation from a recognizable text, often without an introductory formula, in which much of the lexical and syntactical structure of the text is preserved and woven unobtrusively into the patristic context and/or syntax in less important portions of the text.”[2]



According to Osburn, allusions are defined as “A reference to the content of a certain biblical passage in which some verbal or motif correspondence is present, but reflecting intent to give only the gist of the text rather than to cite.”[3]


A citation fulfills its function when the reader can identify it as a citation. In order to ensure that the citation is obvious, the author can use a citation marker. That way he shows his intent to actually cite a text, for example, ὡς ἐν ταῖς Πράξεσι τῶν ἀποστόλων γέγραπται and ἐν δὲ ταῖς Πράξεσιν ὁ Λουκᾶς γράφει.


When a longer passage is being cited in accordance with the manuscript tradition, it is very likely a citation. On the contrary, a paraphrase consists of a free or loose reproduction of a foreign text.[4] A vague allusion can be seen where the author uses “a single traditional formulation, which, however, is fully integrated into its own presentation”.[5]


Generally, a citation can be distinguished from an allusion by its more precise reproduction of the original wording, which matches the wording of one or more Greek manuscripts.


Often, the Church Fathers use a citation to support a certain interpretive approach, showing they are not afraid to adjust a passage for their own grammatical or textual context. As opposed to a copyist, whose only goal is (or should be) the exact reproduction of a manuscript, patristic authors might have a certain theological agenda in mind and try to match a citation to their purposes. In order to achieve this, citations and connectives like δέ, γάρ, καί, etc. are often substituted, omitted or changed, especially at the beginning. Also relevant to the accuracy of the citations is the way a Father handles his source material: Does he cite carefully or rather freely from memory? We also find citations being loosely cited in the beginning and cited precisely soon afterwards or vice versa.


The transition between a varying citation and an allusion is often fluid. This means that one part of a patristic reference can be an allusion while the other one can be treated as a direct citation.


Has the author altered the New Testament passage for the sake of style or to fit his theological position? Some important factors are necessary to assess the text-critical relevance of the citation:


The length of the cited passage: The most simple rule for distinguishing between genuine citations and allusive references or from memory (memoriter) citations is the length of the passage in question.[6]


Introductory formulas or citation markers: The general context is very important to assess the accuracy of the citation.


Stylistic Tendencies: All adaptations, alterations, additions, omissions and transpositions of the text, which go back to a Father’s stylistic tendencies, are excluded from the attestation of the textual tradition. Only a patristic citation with a high probability of being derived from a manuscript can be considered for our purposes. Allusions or reminiscences can also be recorded so long as they can be traced back to a certain manuscript text. Sometimes, a Church Father can witness to different forms of text, noted in the Nestle-Aland as “partim” (e.g. Orpt). This can mean that the Father knew both texts from different manuscripts, as is often observed in Origen's works. This should not be seen as a flaw in the reliability of the patristic author. Rather, from the early testimony of a single Church Father to more than one text form, you can see that “important” variants emerged and circulated at the very beginning of the textual tradition.


Regarding Origen, it is also remarkable that he employed scribes, often dictating his thoughts to them and instructing them to add biblical references later on. His scribes then drew their biblical citation out of a manuscript that was not necessarily the same as the one Origen used. This can often be seen in Origen’s Commentary on John.


All in all, each Church Father has to be observed individually in order to evaluate his habits of citation; this also involves considering the respective genre of his work.[7] Evaluating citations from different kinds of works like commentaries, polemical treatises, homilies, letters, or theological tractates can lead to different results. In a commentary, for instance, you might expect the author to have used a manuscript and commented on it continuously. In a homily, though, we have to consider the homiletic implications that could have affected the use of biblical texts.


It is possible that not all variants of the Greek transmission that we have in known manuscripts are attested. Therefore, patristic citations may include some new variants.[8]


It is also possible that a Church Father may have randomly changed his text and thus created a new variant, which is also attested to in other manuscripts. In order to recognize such intentional changes to the text, it is important to observe the context of the citation, whether the author prefers certain terms or expressions and thus enters these in his own biblical text.


In essence, the criteria for patristic citation must be strictly employed. For New Testament textual criticism, the definition of a citation and of an allusion in the ECM is essential. In the ECM of the Catholic Letters, we have included citations based on the following principles:


“Variants are excluded from the apparatus if they may be ascribed to a Father’s stylistic tendencies and are unlikely to have been in his manuscript source.”[9]


 “A true quotation is one where the wording of the Father’s text is identical with a reading found in the manuscript tradition.”[10]


“Allusions are considered only if they clearly reflect a known reading.”[11]


I hope this short foray into how the ECM uses Patristic sources has helped to guide some readers who are new to this area in textual criticism.


[1] D.-A. Koch, Die Schrift als Zeuge des Evangeliums, 11 (English translation mine).

[2] C. D. Osburn, Methodology in Identifying Patristic Citations in NT Textual Criticism, In: Novum Testamentum XLVII,4 (2005), 318.

[3] C. D. Osburn, Methodology in Identifying Patristic Citations in NT Textual Criticism, In: Novum Testamentum XLVII,4 (2005), 318.

[4] Cf. D.-A. Koch, Die Schrift als Zeuge des Evangeliums, 15: A paraphrase is a “freie Wiedergabe eines fremden Textes”.

[5] D.-A. Koch, Die Schrift als Zeuge des Evangeliums, 17 (English translation mine).

[6] M. J. Suggs, The Use of Patristic Evidence in the Search for a Primitive New Testament Text, In: New Testament Studies 4 (1957/1958), 142.

[7] See M. J. Suggs, The Use of Patristic Evidence in the Search for a Primitive New Testament Text, In: New Testament Studies 4 (1957/1958), 143: “If the ancient writer’s habits were good, then it becomes important to record and evaluate all his testimony – including his unique readings.”

[8] See further N. Kiel, “Neue” Varianten in den Kirchenväterzitaten, In: Novum Testamentum Graecum – Editio Critica Maior. Die Apostelgeschichte/The Acts of the Apostles. 3 Teilbde. Hrsg. v. H. Strutwolf, G. Gäbel, A. Hüffmeier, G. Mink u. K. Wachtel. Teilbd. 3: Studien/Studies. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft 2017, 39-67.

[9] Novum Testamentum Graecum. Editio Critica Maior Bd. IV. Die Katholischen Briefe. Teil 1, 2. revidierte Auflage, 23*.

[10] Novum Testamentum Graecum. Editio Critica Maior Bd. IV. Die Katholischen Briefe. Teil 1, 2. revidierte Auflage, 23*.

[11] Novum Testamentum Graecum. Editio Critica Maior Bd. IV. Die Katholischen Briefe. Teil 1, 2. revidierte Auflage, 23*.


— 20 Items per Page
Zeige 7 Ergebnisse.

Letzte Blogger Letzte Blogger

Katie Leggett
Beiträge: 1
Sterne: 3
Datum: 04.05.24
Greg Paulson
Beiträge: 24
Sterne: 68
Datum: 19.01.24
Klaus Wachtel
Beiträge: 2
Sterne: 3
Datum: 13.03.23
marie-luise lakmann
Beiträge: 2
Sterne: 9
Datum: 23.04.20
Darius Mueller
Beiträge: 1
Sterne: 1
Datum: 19.03.20
Theodora Panella
Beiträge: 2
Sterne: 6
Datum: 09.03.20
Jan Graefe
Beiträge: 2
Sterne: 0
Datum: 18.09.19
Siegfried G. Richter
Beiträge: 1
Sterne: 3
Datum: 01.07.19
Nikolai Kiel
Beiträge: 1
Sterne: 4
Datum: 06.06.19