Author Archives: Laurence Mellerin

H. Houghton, The Latin New Testament, A Guide to its Early History, Texts, and Manuscripts

The Latin New Testament

A Guide to its Early History, Texts, and Manuscripts

H. A. G. Houghton


  • The first English-language book dealing with the whole of the Latin New Testament
  • Offers a comprehensive introduction to the history and text of this fundamental work of Western culture
  • Provides a new account of the history of the biblical text for more than a millennium and a user’s guide to the principal editions and resources for further study
  • Includes illustrations of key manuscripts as well as links to online resources
  • This is an indispensable guide for scholars and students of the text of the New Testament, and provides an orientation for historians, theologians, medievalists, linguists, and all those interested in the manuscript heritage of Christianity in Europe.

Order the book at the Oxford University Press

It can be downloaded as a PDF from a link in the top right-hand corner of the catalogue entry at:

or the direct link:

It may also be accessed in the Oxford Scholarship online platform:

Latin is the language in which the New Testament was copied, read, and studied for over a millennium. The remains of the initial ‘Old Latin’ version preserve important testimony for early forms of text and the way in which the Bible was understood by the first translators. Successive revisions resulted in a standard version subsequently known as the Vulgate which, along with the creation of influential commentaries by scholars such as Jerome and Augustine, shaped theology and exegesis for many centuries. Latin gospel books and other New Testament manuscripts illustrate the continuous tradition of Christian book culture, from the late antique codices of Roman North Africa and Italy to the glorious creations of Northumbrian scriptoria, the pandects of the Carolingian era, eleventh-century Giant Bibles, and the Paris Bibles associated with the rise of the university.

In The Latin New Testament, H.A.G. Houghton provides a comprehensive introduction to the history and development of the Latin New Testament. Drawing on major editions and recent advances in scholarship, he offers a new synthesis which brings together evidence from Christian authors and biblical manuscripts from earliest times to the late Middle Ages. All manuscripts identified as containing Old Latin evidence for the New Testament are described in a catalogue, along with those featured in the two principal modern editions of the Vulgate. A user’s guide is provided for these editions and the other key scholarly tools for studying the Latin New Testament.

Google also offers the following word cloud for the book:

Landmark book published on New Testament commentaries


CCBT-frontcover349x499A new book devoted to early New Testament commentaries and their significance for the biblical text has been produced by members of the COMPAUL project at ITSEE and an international team of scholars.

Since 2011, the European Research Council-funded COMPAUL project at ITSEE, led by Dr Hugh Houghton, has been examining commentaries on the Pauline Epistles as sources for the early history of the biblical text. One of the major outputs from the project is a new volume of original research shedding new light on the composition, transmission and significance of these writings.

Even though one in ten surviving manuscripts of the Greek New Testament are commentaries in the format known as ‘catenae’, these have long suffered from neglect by scholars of the biblical text, due in part to the volume and complexity of the textual tradition as well as the presentation of the manuscripts themselves. This new book brings together many of the findings of the COMPAUL project, along with contributions from a distinguished group of European researchers also at work in this field.

The collection includes the first general introduction to Greek New Testament catenae and commentaries, as well as cutting-edge work on individual authors and linguistic traditions. Particular attention is paid to the layout of commentary manuscripts and the sources used by commentators, including the re-use of earlier works by later writers. In addition to the principal Greek and Latin commentators, such as Origen, John Chrysostom, Theodoret, Ambrose and Rufinus, there are also chapters on the Gothic commentary on the Gospel according to John, the re-use of Augustine’s commentaries by Florus of Lyons in the ninth century, and the first attempt to produce a systematic catalogue of Bohairic Coptic and Ethiopic catena manuscripts.

One of the highlights of the volume is its groundbreaking list of Greek New Testament catena manuscripts. In addition to the 526 catenae currently contained in the official Liste of manuscripts of the Greek New Testament, Professor David Parker has identified an additional 100 manuscripts not included in this index. In total, the fourteen chapters of this book refer to more than 800 manuscripts, extending from the great research libraries of northern Europe to private collections in Ethiopia. This extensive engagement with the surviving evidence lays the foundations for further scholarship.

Many of the chapters in the book were initially presented at the Ninth Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament in March 2015. Delegates from no fewer than twelve countries gathered in Birmingham to hear papers by project members, invited experts from across the world, and other scholars engaged in research across a broad spectrum of languages and centuries.

The book is published by Gorgias Press in the Texts and Studies series. The hardback edition is available for $95. In addition, through the generosity of the European Research Council, the full text of the volume is available free of charge in the Gorgias Press online repository.

Dr Houghton, who edited the volume, said:

“I am delighted that the COMPAUL project has borne fruit in this varied and stimulating collection of papers. My hope is that this book will inspire further work on commentaries and enable a better understanding of their complex traditions. I’m also particularly pleased that it has been possible to make the electronic version available as open access, so that anyone who is interested can download it for free.”

The list of chapters is as follows:

1. An Introduction to Greek New Testament Commentaries with a Preliminary Checklist of New Testament Catena Manuscripts (H.A.G. Houghton & D.C. Parker)
2. The Context of Commentary: Non-Biblical Commentary in the Early Christian Period (R.F. MacLachlan)
3. Biblical Catenae: Between Philology and History (Gilles Dorival)
4. Catenae and the Art of Memory (William Lamb)
5. Parsing Paul: Layout and Sampling Divisions in Pauline Commentaries (Bruce Morrill & John Gram)
6. Resurrection Appearences in the Pauline Catenae (Theodora Panella)
7. The Reception of Scripture and Exegetical Resources in the Scholia in Apocalypsin (GA 2351) (Garrick V. Allen)
8. Theodoret’s Text of Romans (Agnes Lorrain)
9. Bethania, Bethara, or Bethabara: Fortunatianus of Aquileia and Origen’s Commentary on John, with particular reference to John 1:28 (Lukas J. Dorfbauer)
10. Ambrose the Appropriator: Borrowed Texts in a New Context in the Commentary on Luke (Susan B. Griffith)
11. Rufinus’ Translation of Origen’s Commentary on Romans: Christina M. Kreinecker)
12. The Transmission of Florus of Lyon’s Expositio epistolarum beati Pauli apostoli. State of the Art and New Results (Shari Boodts & Gert Partoens)
13. Biblical Quotations in the Gothic Commentary on the Gospel of John (Skeireins) (Carla Falluomini)
14. An Overview of Research on Bohairic Catena Manuscripts on the Gospels with a Grouping of Arabic and Ethiopic (Ge’ez) Sources and a Checklist of Manuscripts (Matthias Schulz)

Amsterdam Summer School on Syriac Christianity

The Course Programmes of the Amsterdam Summer School on Syriac Christianity are now available online. They can be found at:

The Bible in the Syriac Tradition (18-22 July 2016):

Syriac Christianity in Context 25-29 July 2016):

As can be seen in the programme, lecturers include His Eminence Mor Polycarpus Augin Aydin (Metropolitan and Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of the Netherlands of the Syriac Orthodox Church), Alessandro Mengozzi (Università degli Studi di Torino), Heleen Murre-van den Berg (Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, Nijmegen), as well as experts from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam: Bas ter Haar Romeny, Jan van Ginkel, Dirk Bakker, Maya Goldberg, Eveline van Staalduine-Sulman, Faustina Doufikar-Aerts and Peter-Ben Smit.

We are honoured by their willingness to contribute to our course and look forward to a fascinating, instructive and inspiring programme. Registration is still possible!

Contact: Wido van Peursen

Iscal 3: Third International Summer School on Christian Apocryphal Literature (5th-8th July 2016, Strasbourg)

RTEmagicC_Capt_iscal3_01.JPGThe Apocrypha in the Age of Cathedrals
The Role and Function of Apocryphal Narratives of the Early Life of Mary in Medieval Art and Literature

The Protevangelium of James (2nd Century), the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew (6th Century) and the Nativity of Mary (9th Century) form the so-called “Nativity of Mary” narratives. They relate the birth and early life of Mary, her marriage with Joseph, her pregnancy and the virginal birth
of Jesus with the visit of the midwives. Later incorporated into the Golden Legend and preaching manuals, these narratives exerted considerable influence upon medieval art and literature, especially nourishing Marian cult.

The Iscal 2016 provides a precious opportunity to enhance your knowledge on the transmission paths and mechanisms behind the reception of one of the most widespread apocryphal motifs in medieval art and literature. Medieval historians and specialists in medieval art history will conduct the different sessions, allowing students to appreciate the complexity and the richness of the reception of apocryphal narratives in the Middle Ages.

More information in the leaflet.

CFP for St Andrews Symposium of Biblical and Early Christian Studies 2016

The St Andrews Symposium for Biblical and Early Christian Studies is pleased to announce its conference for the summer of 2016: Son of God: Divine Sonship in Jewish and Christian Antiquity. The conference will be held 6-8 June 2016 at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.  The conference is organized as an exploration of diverse aspects of divine sonship within the following corpora: Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, Dead Sea Scrolls, Pseudepigrapha, New Testament, Rabbinic Judaism, and early Christianity. In June 2016, biblical scholars and theologians from around the world will gather to consider Divine Sonship, engaging with ancient texts to bring history, exegesis, and theology into conversation. The School of Divinity at the University of St Andrews is delighted to invite you to join the conversation.

Invited speakers at this conference will be: Menahem Kister (Hebrew University); Reinhard Kratz (Göttingen); Jan Joosten (University of Oxford); Philip Alexander (University of Manchester); George Brooke (University of Manchester); Richard Bauckham (University of Cambridge); Michael Peppard (Fordham University); Matthew Novenson (University of Edinburgh); N.T. Wright (University of St Andrews); William Tooman (University of St Andrews); Madhavi Nevader (University of St Andrews); David Moffitt (University of St Andrews)

Call for Papers is now open. We invite proposals (from postgraduates and faculty) for short papers that engage notions of Son of God/Divine Sonship in the following areas:

  • Ancient Israelite religion
  • Angelology and heavenly mediators
  • Kingship and royal ideologies
  • Political ideologies in the Second Temple period
  • Corporate sonship and the people of God
  • Messianism
  • Christian origins/Christology
  • Son of God and ancient scriptural exegesis/interpretation
  • Early mystical traditions
  • Other related topics

Abstracts of ca. 250 words should be sent to (Paul Sloan) by 15 February 2016, midnight GMT, for consideration. See for more information and occasional updates.

Registration for the symposium will open 1 December 2015 and close 1 May 2016. Registration will be available at that time here: Early-bird registration fee of £50 will be available until 1 March 2016 (£75 thereafter). Conference poster attached.

Kai Akagi (PhD Candidate, University of St Andrews)

Paul Sloan (PhD Candidate, University of St Andrews)

Garrick Allen (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Wuppertal)

St Mary’s College, University of St AndrewsCFP Son of God

Call for Contribution: Special Issue on Computer-Aided Processing of Intertextuality in Ancient Languages


Europe’s future is digital”. This was the headline of a speech given at the Hannover exhibition in April 2015 by Günther Oettinger, EU-Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. While businesses and industries have already made major advances in digital ecosystems, the digital transformation of texts stretching over a period of more than two millennia is far from complete. On the one hand, mass digitisation leads to an „information overload“ of digitally available data; on the other, the “information poverty” embodied by the loss of books and the fragmentary state of ancient texts form an incomplete and biased view of our past. In a digital ecosystem, this coexistence of data overload and poverty adds considerable complexity to scholarly research.

With this special issue on Computer-Aided Processing of Intertextuality in Ancient Languages, the HiSoMA lab in Lyon, France, and the Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities Germany, aim to create a collection of papers that discuss the state-of-the-art on intertextuality, linguistic preprocessing and the preservation of scholarly research results specifically applied to corpora in ancient languages and for which few online resources exist (Ancient Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Syriac, Coptic, Arabic, Ethiopic, etc.).

Relevant topics include:

  • Methods for the detection of intertexts and text reuse, manual (e.g. crowd-sourcing) or automatic (e.g. algorithms);
  • Infrastructure for the preservation of digital texts and quotations between different text passages;
  • Linguistic preprocessing and data normalisation, such as lemmatisation of historical languages, root stemming, normalisation of variants, etc.;
  • Visualisation of intertextuality and text reuse;
  • Creation of, and research on, stemmata.

The special issue will be published by the Journal on Data Mining and Digital Humanities (, an online open access journal that will release the issue shortly after its submission in order to elicit feedback from readers while concurrently supervising the standard peer review process.

Interested authors are asked to:

1) send a title, an author list and a one page (or shorter) abstract specifying the type of contribution (full paper or project presentation) to

Laurence Mellerin: laurence.mellerin(at)mom(dot)fr AND

Marco Büchler: mbuechler(at)gcdh(dot)de

by October 31st.

2) send a paper (long: up to 40 pages OR short: 2 to 4 pages illustrating the scope and research of the project), following the guidelines of JDMDH, which can be found at

by January 31st 2016.

For further questions, do not hesitate to contact Laurence and Marco.

Arabica sunt, non leguntur… The Bible in Arabic: The Evidence of the Manuscripts

Meeting 2015

Arabica sunt, non leguntur…
The Bible in Arabic: The Evidence of the Manuscripts

Conference in Leuven – 22-24 April 2015

Org. Claire Clivaz (Lausanne), Herman Teule (Nijmegen),
Sara Schulthess (Lausanne) and Joseph Verheyden (Leuven)

University of Leuven, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies,
St-Michielsstraat 4/3101, Romerozaal (02.10)


Programme (pdf)

Day 1 – 22 April 2015

  • 13h00-13h15 Welcome / Introduction
  • 13h15-14h30 Herman Teule (Radboud University Nijmegen)
    Muslim Terminology in the Arabic Translations of the Bible
  • 14h30-15h45 Ute Pietruschka (Universität Halle)
    Strategies of Transformation of Biblical Material in Muslim Collections of Sayings
  • 15h45-16h00 Break
  • 16h-17h15 David Thomas (University of Birmingham)
    Making Sense of the Bible in Early Muslim Kalam
  • 17h15-18h30 Arik Sadan (University of Tel Aviv / Hebrew University of Jerusalem / Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
    Differences and Similarities between Christian and Karaite Translations of the Bible into Arabic: the Case of the Book of Job
  • 18h30-18h50 Plenary discussion
  • 19h30 Dinner

Day 2 – 23 avril 2015 

  • 8h45-10h Camilla Adang (University of Tel Aviv)
    The Quotations from the Books of Exodus and Leviticus in the Polemic against the Pentateuch by ‘Ala’ al-Din al-Baji (d. 714/1314)
  • 10h-11h15 Sabine Schmidtke (IAS, Princeton)
    Biblical Materials in Quṭb al-Dīn al-Rāwandī’s K. al-Khawārij wa-l-jawāriḥ
  • 11h15-11h30 Break
  • 11h30-12h45 Ronny Vollandt (FU Berlin)
    MS Paris, BNF, Ar. 1 and Its Place in the Study of the Arabic Bible
  • Lunch
  •  14h30-15h45 Juan Pedro Monferrer Sala (Universidad de Córdoba)
    Bible translations in Andalus
  • 15h45-17h Samir Arbache (Université de Lille)
    Lexical Features of a Arabic Version of the Gospels
  • 17h-17h15 Break
  • 17h15-17h45 Plenary discussion
  • 19h15 Dinner

Day 3 – 24 avril 2015

  • 8h30-9h45 Sara Schulthess (Université de Lausanne)
    An Arabic Manuscript of Pauline Letters: Vaticanus Arabicus 13
  • 9h45-11h Elie Dannaoui (Université de Balamand)
    Digital Corpus of Arabic Gospel Lectionary: A Work in Progress
  • 11h-11h15 Break
  • 11h15-12h30 Timothy B. Sailors 
(Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen)
    Tatian’s Diatessaron as ‘The Gospel’: The Manuscripts and Translation of the Arabic Gospel Harmony and the Gospels in Arabic and Their Relation to the Second-Century Text
  • 12h30-13h Plenary discussion / Conclusion
  • Lunch


For any information, please contact:


From the 8th and 9th centuries CE, the communities living in the Islamic rule began to translate their sacred texts, the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Samaritan Pentateuch, into Arabic. Various Christian groups – such as Melkites, Copts and Syriacs –, Jews or Samaritans translated from their respective languages (Greek, Syriac, Coptic, Hebrew, etc.) parts of the Bible, which have survived in a large number of manuscripts, widespread in the Middle East and around the world. These manuscripts are for great importance for the history of these communities and of their texts, as well as of their relations to the Islamic world. But in his last book, Sydney Griffith deplores: “The study of the Bible in Arabic is in its infancy. There are hundreds of extant manuscripts containing portions of the Bible in Arabic translations produced by Jews and Christians in early Islamic times and well into the Middle Ages. But until now, with some notable exceptions, they have been of little interest to either biblical scholars or even to historians of Judaism, Christianity or Islam.” This is particularly true regarding to the Arabic manuscripts of the New Testament, who were too often considered as useless by New Testament scholars. Since the reference book of Georg Graf Geschichte der christlichen arabischen Literatur in 1944, the publications are very few. This lack of interest also applies to the Hebrew Bible despite the importance of the Arabic translations for the history of the text. For any text from any tradition, we are missing the basic research tools, from critical editions to the necessary inventories of manuscripts.

However, a regain of interest can be noticed since the start of the 21st century, with an increasing number of new publications in recent years. We can mention a large study on the Arabic manuscripts of the Gospels and some editions of manuscripts of the Gospels, a new book of Sydney Griffith on the Arabic Bible, or a study on the versions of the Pentateuch in print. If this is very encouraging, we can still deplore that some subjects are less covered than others. In the case of the New Testament, researchers focus the Gospels and we know very little about the other books in Arabic. Furthermore, there are for example very little interactions between research on the New Testament and research on the Hebrew Bible, when a global approach would also be necessary.
The first objective is the exchange between specialists of the field on the current research and the highlighting the different ongoing projects. We are glad to have representatives of many projects as the international project Biblia Arabica between Tel Aviv University and Freie Universität Berlin. The project has the aim to study and edit manuscripts and also “to investigate translation as an act and a process, and the manner in which translators from different faiths influenced each other in an inter-religious and inter-cultural context.” This global approach will be complete by smaller research project, as the project The Arabic Manuscripts of the Letters of Paul of Tarsus (University of Lausanne, in collaboration with the Institute of Eastern Christian Studies Nijmegen), which focus on the Pauline letters and try to integrate the digital component to the reflection. This is also the case of the Digital Corpus of Arabic Gospel Lectionary of the University of Balamand, which builds an online database for the Gospels in Arabic. The meeting between the actors in the current research will allow to map the need and emergencies for the research: comprehensive bibliographies; critical editions; manuscripts inventories, etc. In the case of the Arabic Bible, very basic tools are missing and cooperation between researchers and projects is necessary to fill the gap.
The meeting has two main lines: the study of particular manuscripts and their texts; the study of the context of the translations. The first focus on particular manuscripts will be an interesting opportunity to discuss notably the question of the standards in the research, notably for the edition, regarding for example Middle Arabic and Judeo-Arabic, but also relating to the new technologies and the new ways to do research. The second focus on the translations as a result of evolutions and interactions of the Christian, Jewish and Muslims milieus will illustrate the necessity of dialog between disciplines for this multifaceted object.
Source :

The Bible in the Iberian World: Fundaments of a Religious Melting Pot

Córdoba (España) : 12-15 juillet

Call for papers
deadline: 15 mars 2015

Cordoba, the next city to host the Annual Meeting of the European Association of Biblical Studies, represents par excellence the history of religious co-existence. Over the centuries, the city, similarly to what happened in the broader Iberian world, was a space where inter-religious exchanges between Christians, Muslims, and Jews were possible. These people, albeit the natural religious differences, shared the same space, and similar imageries and expectations. Therefore, this year, this group wants to explore some of the different perspectives regarding religious encounters and moments/episodes of confrontation within the Iberian World. We are particularly interested in papers that explore the manuscript transmission of religious ideas and beliefs and its literary tradition, and the material and intellectual legacy of the different religious groups that led to determining Iberian politics and historical events.

Although we are open to all papers regarding religion in the Iberian World, we would particularly invite you to submit to the following units:

Iberian Religious Manuscripts: production, reception, and transmission

The production of manuscripts of religious nature is a very important characteristic of Christian, Muslim and Jews tradition, playing a decisive role in the definition of each groups’ canon. This session aims to discuss the canonical and heterodox facets of the religious literature produced within the Iberian world, and to analyze, the circulation and reception in different environments of the produced manuscripts. Papers exploring the production, reception, and transmission of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish religious texts (bibles, religious literature, Kabbalah, liturgy books, religious instructions, hagiography, iconography, exegesis, etc.) within the Iberian world are welcomed.

Cultural and Intellectual legacy of Iberian Religious Minorities

This session focuses on the “legacies” of religious minorities found in the Iberian Peninsula, and how they transformed themselves, and were transformed, when later dispersed into the Mediterranean and the Atlantic during Iberian early modern Expansion. Papers should explore the cultural and intellectual production resulting from interreligious contacts and found still today in, for example, archaeology, literature, philosophy, medicine, philology, music, and popular culture. Furthermore, we welcome papers underlining the acculturation processes between Christian, Muslim (mozarabes, mudéjar and moriscos), and Jewish (conversos and New Christians).

The Bible as the Explanation Behind Iberian Imperialism and Expansion

This is a joint session with SBL’s groups Bible and its Influence: History and Impact and Bible and Empire. As the title suggests, our aim is to analyze the reasoning based on biblical texts and the pope’s authority used by Portuguese and Spanish to justify their overseas enterprise, and in particular, their colonization of new territories. In the Cordoba meeting, we welcome papers that explore the biblical arguments used by both parties (crusade, Treaty of Tordesillas and mare clausum, evangelization and reaching of a universal religion that would allow the end of the world to take place, etc.) to justify their overseas presence, conquest, and colonization.

Contact :
Ana T. Valdez, Yale University –
Ricardo Muñoz, University of Salamanca –

Source : EABS

Gregory Crane: June 1914 and Philology for the 21st Century

Gregory Crane: June 1914 and Philology for the 21st Century

Gregory CraneOn the sidelines of the workshop about text-reuse (see held from June 2 to 4,
Gregory Crane, head of the Perseus Project at Tufts University, holder of The Humboldt Chair of Digital Humanities at the University of Leipzig which launched the Open Philology Project, gave a public lecture on Tuesday, 3rd June 2014 at the Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée in Lyon.

See the slideshow
Download the poster

June 1914 and Philology for the 21st Century

We are approaching the one hundred year anniversary of the First World War. Philology was never more prestigious than it was a century ago but what what, if anything, did it do to counteract the threads of nationalism that led to the disasters of the twentieth century? Far as Europe has come a hundred years later, the vast majority of those who engage with historical languages such as Greek and Latin are secondary school students – at least 3 million of them across Europe – who experience these languages in their national languages and in isolation from their counterparts across linguistic, if not national, boundaries. We are, however, now poised to develop a new philology, one optimized for a global society, with editions designed to serve many linguistic and cultural communities. Digital technologies provide enabling mechanisms for this new philology but a global philology requires as well a new conception of the relationship between professionalized scholarship and human society, both within Europe and beyond. We have many technological opportunities but the major task before us to assess what sort of scholarly community we wish to support. We have a chance to develop a global republic of letters, one that fosters a true dialogue across civilizations but we must make decisions in the present if we are to pursue changes in the future. This talk goes over possibilities and challenges involved.

Digital Humanities in Biblical, Early Jewish and Early Christian Studies

Leiden: Brill, 2013.
Edited by Claire Clivaz, University of Lausanne, Andrew Gregory, University of Oxford and David Hamidović, University of Lausanne,
in collaboration with Sara Schulthess, University of Lausanne
“Ancient texts, once written by hand on parchment and papyrus, are now increasingly discoverable online in newly digitized editions, and their readers now work online as well as in traditional libraries. So what does this mean for how scholars may now engage with these texts, and for how the disciplines of biblical, Jewish and Christian studies might develop? These are the questions that contributors to this volume address. Subjects discussed include textual criticism, palaeography, philology, the nature of ancient monotheism, and how new tools and resources such as blogs, wikis, databases and digital publications may transform the ways in which contemporary scholars engage with historical sources. Contributors attest to the emergence of a conscious recognition of something new in the way that we may now study ancient writings, and the possibilities that this new awareness raises.”


Part one: Digitized manuscripts

The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library. The Digitization Project of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Pnina Shor)
Dead Sea Scrolls inside Digital Humanities. A Sample (David Hamidović)
The Electronic Scriptorium: Markup for New Testament Manuscripts (Hugh Houghton)
Digital Arabic Gospels Corpus (Elie Dannaoui)
The Role of the Internet in New Testament Textual Criticism: The Example of the Arabic Manuscripts of the New Testament (Sara Schulthess)
The Falasha Memories Project. Digitalization of the Manuscript BNF, Ethiopien d’Abbadie 107 (Charlotte Touati)

Part two: Digital academic research and publishing

The Seventy and Their 21st-Century Heirs. The Prospects for Digital Septuagint Research (Juan Garcés)
Digital Approaches to the Study of Ancient Monotheism (Ory Amitay)
Internet Networks and Academic Research: The Example of the New Testament Textual Criticism (Claire Clivaz)
New Ways of Searching with Biblindex, the Online Index of Biblical Quotations in Early Christian Literature (Laurence Mellerin)
Aspects of Polysemy in Biblical Greek. A Preliminary Study for a New Lexicographical Resource (Romina Vergari)
Publishing Digitally at the University Press? A Reader’s Perspective (Andrew Gregory)
Does Biblical Studies Deserve to Be an Open Source Discipline? (Russell Hobson)

Publication: Biblical Quotations in Patristic Texts

L. Mellerin, H.A.G. Houghton (eds), Biblical Quotations in Patristic Texts, Studia Patristica LIV, vol. 2 (Papers presented at the Sixteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies held in Oxford 2011, M. Vinzent ed.), Leuven-Paris-Walpole, MA 2013.


This fascicle presents papers given at a workshop devoted to biblical quotations in patristic texts at the Sixteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies held in Oxford in August 2011, which brought together representatives from four European institutes and research projects active in this field. Additional contributions have been supplied from further initiatives run by two of these institutes: the seminar series of the Institut des Sources Chrétiennes in Lyon and the Seventh Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, held in April 2011, which focussed on Christian writers and the New Testament text.

New Ways of Searching with Biblindex: some statistical results

Excerpts from the post-refereed, pre-print version of the following article:

Mellerin, L., New Ways of Searching with Biblindex, the online Index of Biblical Quotations in Early Christian Literature, chapter 11, in Claire Clivaz, Andrew Gregory, David Hamidovic (eds.), Digital Humanities in Biblical, Early Jewish and Early Christian Studies, Brill, Leiden 2013, p. 175-192.

Examples of research results which may be obtained with Biblindex.

1. The utility of BIBLINDEX for biblical scholars

1.1. Studying the constitution and history of the canon

Because of the accuracy of its data, BIBLINDEX will make it easier to see
and compare the pre-canonical forms of the Scriptures. Ancient Christianity
did not know a global definitive list of books, and even less a list of
editions or authorized versions. BIBLINDEX can throw light on the spread
of biblical writings in such or such a part of the world to such or such a
period, and thereby highlight the synchronic and diachronic dimensions
of the texts’ transmission.
For instance, the Book of Ruth has always been known as canonical,
but was not very often quoted, and not everywhere. BIBLINDEX shows
that it was used since the third century in Alexandria and Caesarea. The
Antiochene Fathers seem not to refer to it as a canonical work before the
fifth century, when Theodoret of Cyrrhus writes his Commentary on
Ruth. Researchers might have believed that it was excluded from the
canon until four quotations of it were discovered in a work of John
Chrysostom, his Commentary on Matthew, whose authenticity was absolutely
proved. This simple fact is evidence of its inclusion.

Use of the book of Ruth

Another example shows that using BIBLINDEX may open new research
fields. Why do these Antiochene Fathers so rarely quote the Book of
Ecclesiastes, whereas in Alexandria there are hundreds of references?
The three books attributed to Solomon, Proverbs-Song of Solomon-
Ecclesiastes, were not used very much in this area, but the references to
Ecclesiastes are at a particularly low level.

Use of the book of Ruth

1.2. Studying biblical Apocrypha

BIBLINDEX has established the following principle: from the moment we
know that a text was considered biblical by a Church Father at a given
time, the statement of its occurrences in BIBLINDEX is relevant. Our compilation
of biblical referencing systems will therefore include all possible
books quoted in a specific language.
It will thus be easier to study the survival and the diffusion of apocryphal
texts, today lost, such as the books of Pseudo-Ezekiel. If we search
for quotations of Ezekiel 37:7 in Origen, Gregory of Nyssa or Epiphanius
of Salamis, we read a phrase, ‘bone with bone and joint to joint’ (ὀστέον πρὸς ὀστέον καὶ ἁπμονία πρὸς ἁπμονίαν.),
which does not entirely match the well-known Hebraic text: ‘and the
bones came together, bone to its bone’. Besides, these quotations more
closely match a text from the first century before the Christian era, found
in Hebrew in the Dead Sea Scrolls and called Pseudo-Ezekiel. In this
way we can demonstrate that Epiphanius, at the end of the fourth century,
still knew this text and that he probably read it in Greek, just as
Gregory of Nyssa did. So there was a Greek translation of it (See Vianès, L., ‘Vers un texte grec du Pseudo-Ézéchiel? La vision des ossements desséchés’,
in L’Antiquité en ses confins. Mélanges offerts à Benoît Gain. Hors série 16 de Recherches
et Travaux (Grenoble: Université Stendhal-Grenoble 3, 2008), 163–175).
More generally, the influences and the geography of the history of
ideas are better known, in qualitative terms – thanks to the text of the
quotations – as well as in quantitative terms – according to the number of

1.3. The textual criticism of the Bible

And finally, when our textual phase is completed, BIBLINDEX will become
a great tool for the textual criticism of the Bible. The comparative
search for the quotations of the Fathers, often rich in variants and unexpected
readings compared with earlier or modern standard texts, can
contribute to the reconstruction of the original text. Indeed, even though
passed on by late witnesses, quotations found in authors older than most
of the preserved biblical manuscripts allow us to go further back into the
history of the biblical texts.

2. The utility of BIBLINDEX for patristics scholars

The data have to be improved and checked and the corpus has to be enlarged,
but some results can already be obtained. The main fact of bringing
together so much data highlights global patterns of which we were
not necessarily aware before this data was collected. In this paper a total
of some 500,000 references, in texts from the first six centuries, are taken
into account.

2.1. The most quoted texts

48% of the quotations refer to the Old Testament and 52% to the New
Testament, although there are of course many more verses in the former.
Thus we should not overestimate the percentage of New Testament references
by a specific Father.

In the chart above, the number of references to each section of the Old
Testament has been weighted according to the text length of each section.
We can see very clearly that Torah and Psalms are quoted disproportionately;
prophetic texts are very often referenced, but in relation to
their text length this number of references is not as significant as for the
Psalms. Historical texts are very clearly underquoted.
If we go a step further, we see that the Church Fathers’ three favourite
books are the Psalms, Genesis and the book of Isaiah.

As far as the New Testament is concerned, the Gospels and Pauline Epistles are the most
quoted texts, both absolutely and in relation to their text length.

Matthew’s Gospel is overrepresented, whereas Mark is not very often quoted.
This is due to the actual practices of the Fathers, but also from a selection
bias due to the systematic choice of Matthew in the database in
case of identical synoptic parallels.
Use of the book of Ruth
A top ten list of the most quoted verses can also be established. After the
integration of Cyril of Alexandria’s works into the corpus, the first verse
of John’s Gospel is the most quoted by far. We can see the predilection
of the Church Fathers for christological verses: equality between God
and his Son and the reality of the incarnation are the main issues debated
with pagan, Jewish or heretical adversaries. These are not surprising
results, but the establishment of such global comparison points is completely

Use of the book of Ruth

These are not surprising results, but the establishment of such global comparison points is completely new.

TOP 100

JN 1 1 1523
GN 1 26 1304
JN 1 14 1215
JN 14 6 1091
GN 2 7 1087
PH 2 6 597
PH 2 7 876
1 C 1 24 853
COL 1 15 712
GN 3 1 609
HB 1 3 585
EP 6 12 561
1 C 1 30 519
MT 28 19 455
MT 28 19 455
GN 1 27 451
GN 1 1 437
JN 1 29 424
1 C 8 6 393
ES 7 14 391
JN 10 30 364
LC 1 35 354
JN 14 10 350
ML 3 20 344
MT 11 27 341
MT 25 41 341
PR 8 22 330
JN 14 9 328
RM 9 5 318
PH 3 20 317
MT 1 18 312
JN 11 25 312
PH 2 8 310
RM 8 15 303
MT 11 29 303
PS 110 1 299
JN 8 44 293
JN 10 11 283
MT 5 8 282
JN 3 16 281
EX 3 14 281
RM 7 14 279
1 C 10 4 278
TI 3 5 277
MT 1 23 274
MT 5 3 273
HB 10 1 273
MT 3 17 269
MT 16 18 263
GN 1 2 261
1 C 15 53 250
MT 5 17 249
RM 8 29 248
MT 5 44 248
LC 1 34 248
JN 15 26 248
JN 8 12 244
MT 3 16 242
HB 2 14 242
RM 8 3 241
LC 3 23 240
RM 1 3 238
ES 53 7 237
MT 2 1 236
1 C 15 28 235
JN 4 14 233
RM 6 4 231
MT 5 45 231
JN 17 3 229
MT 19 21 228
JN 15 1 228
RM 11 33 224
MT 7 13 219
MT 25 34 217
JN 19 34 216
MT 11 28 210
MT 5 28 209
PH 2 10 208
MT 5 16 207
MT 1 1 205
HB 4 12 201
RM 7 22 200
MT 28 20 199
1 C 15 49 197
1 C 15 24 193
MT 4 2 191
MT 7 14 190
RM 7 23 189
MT 27 51 188
TI 2 13 187
RM 1 25 186
RM 8 17 186
JN 4 24 186
PH 3 21 183
RM 5 14 180
RM 8 9 180
PS 1 1 180
RM 1 20 179
MT 23 37 177
PH 2 9 176
MT 5 22 176
MT 5 5 171
MT 1 20 166
MT 4 1 164
PH 3 13 161
LC 3 22 156
PS 33 6 155
1 C 15 50 149
RM 8 32 147
SP 7 26 143
PS 1 2 140
1 C 15 10 110


2.2. The distortion between the Bible and its patristic reconstruction

Insofar as the text of the patristic quotations will be gradually integrated
into the database, we shall ultimately be able to reconstruct the Bible of a
particular author. One would then be able to compare the Bible of two
authors, or one author’s Bible at different periods of his life.
Studying the use of a specific pericope can also lead to very interesting
results. If we take as an example the opening of John’s Gospel,
which contains the most frequently quoted verse, John 1:1, we have a
sample of more than 6,000 quotations or allusions. Although it is not
exhaustive, we can assume that such a huge corpus may be a representative
sample from the period that we are studying. We can draw a curve
showing the number of references to each verse of this biblical section,
very far from an equal use of each verse. Verses about John (6–8) are far
less quoted than the verses about the Word (whom John identifies with
Jesus): less than 20 references, whereas verse 1 is quoted more than
1,500 times!

2.3. Association of verses

As an instrument of textual comparison and hermeneutics, BIBLINDEX
makes visible thematic relationships, similarities in the grouping of references
and echoes between the authors. Without this tool, such comparisons
could only be perceived with difficulty.
For instance: Augustine identifies the blasphemy against the Holy
Spirit in Matthew 12:31 – ‘Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven
for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be
forgiven.’ – with the unforgivable sin of the First Epistle of John 5:16 –
‘If you see your brother or sister committing what is not a mortal sin,
you will ask, and God will give life to such a one […] There is a sin that
is mortal; I do not say that you should pray about that’. Is this an original
idea, or did some Fathers associate these two verses before him? We can
find 160 references to these two verses, but only four works which quote
them together and near from each other: the treatise De Pudicitia by
Tertullian, The Commentaries on John and Matthew written by Origen,
and Ambrose’s treatise De Paenitentia. As a matter of fact, Tertullian
and Ambrose are Augustine’s sources on this precise subject.

2.4. Textual criticism in the patristic field

Last but not least, the biblical references provide information about the
history of the texts which quote them. They give us valuable information
about the textual family or the biblical manuscripts to which the author
had access; about the debates on which he was dependent. They supply
him with quotations he does not always verify or reinterpret. These elements
can be deduced from the shape taken by the quotation (i.e. the
biblical variants of which it gives evidence), or from the interpretation
given. The precise form of the text helps to classify texts.
Biblical references may enable to date a work: thus we find in John’s
first Apocryphal Revelation (Tischendorf, C., ‘Apocalypsis Iohannis Apocrypha’, in Apocalypses apocryphae, C.Tischendorf (Leipzig, 1866, repr. Hildesheim, 1966), XVIII–XIX (introduction), 70–94 (Greek text edition).) biblical groups containing typically heterodox
eschatological views, based on which we can guess it was written in
the Byzantine Middle Ages. Isolated or organized together, these are a
classical criterion to authenticate a work. Similarly, a previously unidentified
allusion to the Letter of Jude helps, for example, to remove the
paternity of a text ascribed by some authors to John Chrysostom who, as
an Antiochene, would not quote this biblical book. The links between
two or several texts, not just as far as their authenticity is concerned but
also their literary or doctrinal influence, come out more clearly; it is
particularly true as regards the ‘jungle’ of the anthologies or chains,
exegetical compilations containing many fragmentary, badly attributed
or deformed texts. Duplicates will be spotted by establishing that a particular
fragment comes from a work transmitted and known in another

eTRACES Sponsor Meeting, May 07./08. 2012 (Leipzig)

ABSTRACTS (arranged alphabetically)

Marco Büchler, University of Leipzig : eTRACES/ASV
Since quoting never happens by chance, but always with a positive (agreeing)
or negative (disagreeing) purpose, we propose to use text re-use techniques
for the quantitative generation of text re-use graphs. We also try to identify
“hotly” quoted passages of a work, which are used for scoring an information
retrieval result. This work is based on the Perseus Digital Library.

Mark Hedges, King’s College London : Digital Publication of highly interconnected Manuscripts: the Case of mediaeval Greek and Arabic Gnomologia
The production of digital critical text editions using the TEI standard, and their
publication on the Web, is now a widely-adopted procedure in the digital
humanities community. This talk extends this approach to address the
publication of gnomologia, or anthologies of wise sayings, which formed a
widespread literary genre in many of the mediaeval Mediterranean cultures.
The challenge of these texts arises from the fact that they were rarely copied,
resulting in a highly-interconnected corpus for which this standard approach to
digital publication is insufficient. Focusing on Greek and Arabic collections, we
address this challenge using semantic web techniques to build up an
ecosystem of relationships, and consider a new model of what constitutes an
edition of this material.

Gerhard Lauer, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen : eTRACES/GCDH
The GCDH subproject analyzes text re-use in German literature and is focused
on detecting re-use of the bible. The aim of the project is to show how many
and which types of textual re-use of a set of different bible editions can (and
can’t) be found using the Text-Mining-software. For our test cases the texts are
taken from the, especially the novels. But also any other text
under a creative commons license a user would like to upload could be used.
The results will be provided to the public in a freely accessible web-based
frontend, designed to provide a virtual research environment not only to find
and comment these results, but also to complement them with your own
findings. The talk will present and demonstrate a mock-up of the front end and
discuss problems of a typology of text re-use.

Brigitte Mathiak, GESIS – Leibniz institute for the Social Sciences, Bonn : eTRACES/GESIS
The GESIS part of the eTRACES project is about citation traces in German
social scientific texts. The last year was spent mostly on data cleansing and
the annotation of the texts. For next year, we are planning exciting analysis on
the motivation and sentiment of citations. We are presenting our first
prototype, [histo]Suche, which allows us to do a full text search on the
cleaned documents. Our next use case will be the CitationRecommender that
uses sentiment analysis and citation context to find good additional citation for
an author.

Laurence Mellerin, Institut des Sources Chrétiennes, CNRS, Lyon: Biblindex, Online Index of Biblical Quotations in Early Christian Literature
Biblindex (, a project led by the French Institut
des Sources Chrétiennes with the support of the Peshitta Institute of Leiden
University and the Institut für neutestamentliche Forschung in Münster, aims
at the constitution of an online index of biblical references to be found in
Jewish and Christian literature, as well as in Western and Eastern texts of Late
Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, in order to renew the study of the
interpretation and history of biblical texts.

Ute Pietruschka, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg: In the hunt for lost sayings: Parallels and translation technique in Syriac and Arabic gnomologia
The study of Greek gnomologia is based on the basic assumption that parallels
exist only if we can observe a close correspondence of sayings in wording and
syntax. Dealing with sayings in different languages, however, the researcher
has to decide, whether the passage in question is a parallel or a variant
different from the Vorlage. The analysis of the translation technique is
therefore of particular importance in order to outline the transmission of
collections of sayings in Greek, Syriac, and Arabic.

Andrea Scharnhorst, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam: Digital traces of scholarship – from classical bibliometrics to new tasks for information providers
This talks give a short introduction into bibliometrics – the quantitative study
of scholarly communication – and its more modern forms (webometrics and
altmetrics). It discusses the role of standardization in large-scale data mining
about scientific activities. It addresses problems such as “tracing authors” and
“identifying fields”. The talk closes with discussing the role of information
providers such as archives for a cartography of science and a better navigation
in the scientific landscape.

e-traces website

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !

Bible cakeBible cake recipe
Take five measures among Solomon’s « sixty cors of meal » (1 K 4, 22), pour yeast « until all of it is leavened » (Mt 13, 33). Mix one measure of smooth « butter » (Ps 55, 21) with one of « curds » served by Yaël « in a lordly bowl » (Jdg 5, 25) ; add six pieces of what the ostrich « leaves to the earth » (Jb 39, 14), then a measure of milk and two of honey from the Land flowing with them (Ex 3, 8). Whip the mixture following Solomon’s advice (Pr 23, 14), and add « two clusters of raisins » given to the Egyptian by David’s servants (1 S 30, 12), two measures of « first-ripe figs » (Na 3, 12) and one of the ripe almonds borne on Aaron’s staff (Nb 17, 8).
As « with all your offerings », add a pinch of salt (Lv 2, 13) and a few teaspoons spices taken in the bags carried by the Queen of Sheba’s camels (1 K 10, 2), accompanied with « sweet cane from a distant land » (Jr 6, 20), ginger and « cinnamon » (Rev 18, 13).
Bake in « a heated oven, whose baker [needs] to stir the fire, from the kneading of the dough until it is leavened » (Hos 7, 4), for as many minutes as years Mahalalel had lived (Gn 5, 15) before « he became the father of Jared », at twice as many degrees as years Enosh was old when « he became the father of Kenan » (Gn 5, 9). Then put into practice Mt 14, 20…

May your appetite for Bible grow in 2012 !

Photo credits :

CALL FOR PAPERS: Colloquium Biblicum Lovaniensis 2012

The Colloquium Biblicum Lovaniense

The Colloquium Biblicum Lovaniense is an annual international conference on Biblical Studies jointly organised by the theological faculties of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the Université Catholique de Louvain. The meetings take place in the Faculty of Theology at the K.U.Leuven and are alternately dedicated to a topic in Old and in New Testament Studies.

The Colloquium offers a forum and meeting place for research and scholarly discussion in the field of Biblical Studies. As a rule the annual conference focuses on a biblical book or a collection of writings, but it also addresses thematic subjects.

Programme design

10 main papers by invited speakers; languages: French, German or English
4 seminars conducted by invited speakers; languages: Dutch, French, German and English
about 20 short papers, selected from proposals by participants
Topic and programme of the conference in 2012

Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the Scriptures
President: Eibert Tigchelaar
July 26 – 28, 2012

It is possible to register

online: Online Registration
by e-mail (to Prof. Dr. Reimund Bieringer, and
by using the paper registration form in the printed invitation (which can also be printed by clicking here)

History and survey of previous meetings
More information

Prof. Dr. Reimund Bieringer