The following public domain article is now available in PDF:
George Milligan [1860-1934], “The Greek Papyri – with special reference to their value for New Testament study,” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute 44 (1912): 62-78.
George Milligan was an noted biblical scholar in his day as this extract from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography makes clear:
It was a notable pioneering achievement for Milligan to issue, while still at Caputh, a standard commentary on St Paul’s epistles to the Thessalonians (1908), in which among other things he applied the new papyrological evidence to a re-examination of the Pauline grammar and vocabulary. He began his great work, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament (1914–29), in collaboration with J. H. Moulton, and after the issue of part two in 1915 completed it single-handedly. Its comprehensiveness and accuracy provided a foundation for successors to build upon, while remaining readable and full of human interest.
I suspect that this lecture is little-known, but I hope that, like his other works, it will still prove of Interest today.
The Greek Papyri by George Milligan
The most significant fact in the modern study of the New Testament is the recognition that it has a history, and consequently that its several books can only be fully understood in connexion with their surroundings or the special circumstances that called them forth. Everything, therefore, that throws light on the outward conditions of the New Testament writers is of value. And it is just here that we are in a peculiarly favourable position to-day. In the past, archaeological discovery has been mainly concerned with the Old Testament, but now the light it sheds has been extended to the New Testament, and is largely derivable from the immense number of texts on stone, on earthen ware, and on papyrus which recent discoveries have brought within our reach.
It is only with the papyrus texts that we are at present concerned, and for their preservation we have to thank them marvellously dry climate of Egypt. The first finds were made at Gizeh as far back as 1778, but it was not until 1877, when several thousands of papyri were unearthed at Crocodilopolis, or Arsinöe, the ancient capital of the Fayûm district, that public interest was fully aroused. The work of exploration was afterwards extended to Tebtunis, Oxyrhynchus, and other likely sites, with the result that we have now thousands of these texts in our hands. Some were discovered in the ruins of old temples, others in the cartonnage of mummies; but the greater number were found in what were literally the dust or refuse heaps on the outskirts of the towns or villages. The old Egyptians, instead of burning their waste-papers, as is the custom amongst ourselves, were in the habit of tearing them up and throwing them out on these heaps, where, thanks to a covering of desert sand, they have lain in safety all these years.
This is the first Biblical Studies Carnival I have ever hosted. I have learnt a great deal from the experience and hope that you enjoy reading the post.
Scot McKnight has an interesting discussion of how Christian theologians in the 1800s used the idea of “Pre-Adamites” and points out some of the motivations behind the various theories adopted. Guy Waters considers whether it is essential that Adam be understood as being a historical person and concludes in the affirmative.
Claude Mariottini analyses Richard E. Averbeck’s fascinating essay “Breath, wind, spirit and the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament”. Brian Collins considers the significance of “land” in Genesis 8 and 9 (here | here). Craig Keener has a three-part series on the Conquest entitled “Slaughtering the Canaanites” (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3). Rusty Osborne has a helpful study on the correct translation of “Asherah”. Rick Sumner has a discussion about the enduring value of Samuel Sandmel’s paper on “Parallelomania”. I found it interesting that he reaches the same conclusion as I did when I uploaded the article to the Web in 2008. Peter Mead offers an overview of Psalm 46 and some of the reactions it can evoke.
Thomas Bolin reviews: Jim West, Ezra-Nehemiah:Person in the Pew Commentary Series.
James M. Bos reviews: Jason T. LeCureux, The Thematic Unity of the Book of the Twelve.
George J. Brooke reviews: Florentino García Martínez; Hindy Najman and Eibert Tigchelaar, eds., Between Philology and Theology: Contributions to the Study of Ancient Jewish Interpretation.
Tim Bulkeley reviews: Jim West: Ruth: Person in the Pew Commentary series.
Joseph Lam reviews: Alan F. Segal, Sinning in the Hebrew Bible: How The Worst Stories Speak for Its Truth.
Peter J. Leithart reviews: Carol M. Kaminski, Was Noah Good?: Finding Favour in the Flood Narrative (Library Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies).
Claude Mariottini reviews: David G. Firth and Paul D. Wegner, eds. Presence, Power, and Promise: The Role of the Spirit of God in the Old Testament.
Pekka Pitkanen reviews, Volkmar Fritz, The Emergence of Israel in the Twelfth and Eleventh Centuries B.C.E.
Jim West reviews: Carol Newsom’s, “Daniel” in the Old Testament Library series.
Jim West reviews: Lena Sofia Tiemeyer & Hans M. Barstad, eds., Continuity and Discontinuity: Chronological and Thematic Development in Isaiah 40-66.
Apocryphicity has a series on three posts about texts due to be published in Brent Landau, ed., New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures (part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4 | part 5 | and announces a call for papers for a symposium to take place in New York at the end of September.
– Apocrypha Related Book Reviews
Tony Burke reviews: Constantine T. Hadavas, The Infancy Gospel of Thomas: An Intermediate Ancient Greek Reader.
Phillippians (apparently “Bible-book of the month”) is covered by Lynn Cohick in a video series (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5) (Thanks to Jeremy Bouma for posting the links.) Phil Long continues his insightful exposition of Philippians on Reading Acts: 3:1-3, 3:4-6, 3:7-11, 3:12-17, 4:1-3, 4:4-7).
In the light of current events in and around Israel, Ian Paul tackles the notoriously complex issue of Israel’s future in the land (Part 1 | Part 2) and concludes:
Because of all this, I do not believe that, remarkable though it is, the establishment of the State of Israel in 1947 is a ‘fulfilment’ of ‘end times’ ‘prophecies.’ Neither do I believe that Israel has a divine right to the land which trumps all other rights. I do want to defend the right of Israel to exist, and to be a particular homeland for Jews around the world, and to use reasonable force to defend itself—like any other nations. But I do this on grounds other than ‘divine right’ or ‘prophecy.’ [emphasis in original]
Donald Hagner shares his recollections of NT scholar George Eldon Ladd who clearly had a lasting influence on his students (Part 1 | Part 2). Wayne Coppins shares an insight into German NT scholarship with a post on Benjamin Schliesser and the Cosmic Interpretation of pistis in Gal 3.23, 25.
Kay Bonikowsky looks at the chiastic structure of Ephesians 5:21-33 and provides this superb illustration (right).
Matthew R. Malcolm has a couple of posts on the alleged dynastic conflict between the family of Annas and the family and followers of Jesus, which he considers worthy of scholarly consideration (see here and here). D. Miller looks at what Luke says (or does not say about the observance of the law in Luke-Acts (here & here).
BiblcalStudiesOnline provides links to a video lecture series by Richard Bauckham and Chris Marshall on the historical Jesus at Carey College, 7-8 August 2014 and Jim Davila foresees a Colloquium on the Star on Bethlehem to take place in October.
– New Testament Related Book Reviews
Kevin Brown reviews: N.T. Wright, Pauline Perspectives: Essays on Paul, 1978-2013.
Kevin Brown reviews: Dale Allison, James: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary.
Dave Capes reviews: Chris Tilling, Paul’s Divine Christology.
Jack Collins reviews: Robin Jarrell, Fallen Angels and Fallen Women: The Mother of the Son of Man.
Matt Dabbs reviews: G.K. Beale, The Book of Revelation (NIGTC).
Diglot reviews: John Granger Cook, Crucifixion in the Mediterranean World.
Eis Doxan reviews: Herbert W. Bateman IV, Interpreting the General Letters: An Exegetical Handbook.
Nijay Gupta reviews: Charlesworth and Pokorny, eds. Jesus Research. 2 Vols.
Nijay Gupta reviews: Chris Keith, Jesus Against the Scribal Elite.
Abson Joseph reviews: Matthew V. Johnson, James A. Noel, and Demetrius K. Williams, eds., Onesimus Our Brother: Reading Religion, Race, and Culture in Philemon.
Mike Kok reviews: Jim West, Mark:Person in the Pew Commentary Series.
Phil Long reviews: Sean Freyne, The Jesus Movement.
Phil Long reviews: Pettit and Mangum, Blessed Are the Balanced: A Seminarian’s Guide to Following Jesus in the Academy. [Note also Andi Naselli’s post and book review on a similar subject here].
On Evangelical Textual Criticism Peter Gurry provides a detailed report on the fifth Summer School of Greek Palaeography in Oxford. Larry Hurtado offers a summary of his recent article “God or Jesus? Textual Ambiguity and Textual Variants in Acts of the Apostles,” [in the multi-author volume, Texts and Traditions: Essays in Honour of J. Keith Elliott, edited by Peter Doble and Jeffrey Kloha (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2014), pp. 239-54.)].
W. Andrew Smith, A Study of the Gospels in Codex Alexandrinus: Codicology, Palaeography, and Scribal Hands (Leiden: Brill, 2014).
and goes on to say:
The book focuses on the Gospels, but also addresses wider questions of codicology (i.e., the physical features of the codex itself). Smith then probes with considerable expertise the scribal hands (he argues for more than one scribe), and marginalia, and various other matters. The result is surely the most detailed study of Codex Alexandrinus in many years, and a ground-breaking study of the Gospels in this manuscript in particular.
Jeremy Bouma presents five good reasons why learning biblical languages is still important and Jim West extends an invitation to those wanting to learn Hebrew.
Jack Sasson’s elevation to an honorary council member of the International Association for Assyriology is recorded by Jim Davila. Peter Leithart has a post on how the story of Noah’s Flood is depicted on 3rd Century AD coinage and Matthew R. Malcolm ponders the significance of a 2nd Century AD letter square from Smyna.
The inerrancy debate continues with John Byron re-posting the results of the latest US Gallop poll on the Bible’s historical accuracy. Scot McKnight provides a review of Inerrancy: Five Views dealing with objections. He writes in a later post that he thinks that inerrancy:
…is a disruptive child in the theological classroom. He or she gets all the attention of teacher and students. A biblical view of inerrancy demotes it under the word true, all as part of God’s choice to communicate efficiently and sufficiently. When the word “true” governs the game it’s a brand new, healthy game. Good teachers know how to handle disruptive children.
Michael Bird responds to McKnight’s critique of his section of the book and has some general thoughts to add here. Chris Tilling takes issue (well, 17 issues to be exact) with Albert Mohler’s contribution to the same volume. Michael Bird commends two recent articles by Armin Baum on inerrancy and canonicity.
Greg Beale contributes the first of what is to be a series of responses to Peter Enns’s “Aha” Moments. Christopher Skinner offers his take on the new series here.
I wanted to thank Phil Long for inviting me to host the August Biblical Studies Carnival. It has been tremendously helpful for me to work through the biblioblogs systematically and it encouraged me to update my blogrolls (please update your links to biblicalstudiesorguk blogspot com, which is now redundant). My apologies if I haven’t included your favourite post above. Despite being the holiday season, many blogs were still surprisingly active.
September’s Biblical Studies Carnival
Next month’s Biblical Studies Carnival will be hosted by Mike Skinner at cataclysmicblog.com. There are still vacancies for Carnival hosts for November and December 2014 and for all months in 2015. Please contact Phil Long [plong(at)gbcol.edu] if you can help.
Ibson Beckwith’s substantial [794 page] introduction and commentary on the book of Revelation has been reprinted numerous times since it was first published in 1919, indicating that its content is still useful.
I have scanned the book and converted it to PDF so that it can be accessed more easily – this version is 15MB – far smaller than the 48MB version on archive.org.
Ibson T. Beckwith, The Apocalypse of John: Studies in Introduction with a Critical and Exegetical Commentary. London & New York: Macmillan, 1919. [This material is in the Public Domain]