Papyrology is an interest of mine and thus theories that are either based on or bolstered by evidence from a single manuscript are quite interesting to me.  In preparing for my course on Paul and Ancient Letter Writing this week I came across one such theory I had not noticed before.

This week we are working with 1 Cor 14:33b-35 and William Walker’s work on interpolations.  In doing so I ran across Phillip Payne’s work in which he asserts that the bar-umlaut in the Codex Vaticanus indicates that the passage is a textual variant.  Thus, providing some manuscript evidence that the passage in an interpolation.  In my own examination of the manuscript I can indeed confirm that there is a bar-umlaut at the start of 14:33b.  However, I have not done any in depth work on this manuscript overall.  I was thus quite excited when I saw this post on the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog stating that Edward D. Gravely has finished his dissertation on  “The Text Critical Sigla in Codex Vaticanus.”  Perhaps I will be fortunate to have him read this post and shed some light on this topic.

A second fascinating manuscript oddity is found in p46.  After Romans 15 there is a benediction and a colon before the start of Romans 16 (here is a website with some further details and a plate).  This has been taken by some such as T.W. Manson as evidence that the colon indicates everything after it was missing in some manuscripts.  Furthermore, Manson concludes that there were indeed copies of Romans without the greetings contained in Romans 16 and that Paul’s letter was sent to other communities as a last will and testament. 

It seems rather dubious to extrapolate theories from an oddity in one manuscript, but they are certainly interesting.  I must admit I would enjoy honing my papyrology skills under someone like Peter Head for a summer so I could have a bit more experience in this arena.  Unfortunately, UCLA’s papyrologist retired before I could take anymore courses with him but I will always think fondly of the courses I took in Greek Papyrology and Greek Paleography.