Netherlands, Nijmegen

Papyrology and Textual Criticism

when 8 August 2016 - 12 August 2016
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 ECTS
fee EUR 490

The study of ancient papyrus texts is a fascinating window into antiquity. Far from the lofty representations of history and personality we meet in the well known aristocratic Greek and Roman authors (Herodotus, Cicero, Virgil, Suetonius and Tacitus), the study of papyrus texts offer a ‘ground level’ view of life in antiquity from those who are in the midst of the normality of their own culture. Ancient documents reveal fascinating aspects of culture and society which would be otherwise swept aside on the grand stage of historical memory.

Papyrology involves “deciphering and editing Greek and Latin texts from the ancient world as written on papyrus or other easily portable material” (Medea Norsa, 1935). This course aims to a) provide hands on experience for participants to come into contact with the papyri (through scanned, facsimile and microfiche editions), b) provide experience in reading papyrus texts (both in the original languages and in English translation), and c) discern the social, historical and theological implications for interpretation. Classes will also involve activities which will provide the participant experience in deciphering and reconstructing papyrological texts.

All the documents we will consider will be from the period in antiquity generally know as Greco ‐ Roman and be drawn from specific examples from literature in from approximately the fourth century BCE to the fourth century CE. Business letters, private letters, love letters, receipts for services and goods, contracts, party invitations, mummy labels, magical texts, personal petitions and many others provide a fascinating insight into the culture of antiquity. The truly significant aspect for us is that these 2000 year old texts have survived in the ancient sands of Egypt only to be unearthed in the recent past.

Course leader

Dr. M. P. Theophilos
Senior Lecturer in Bible Studies and Ancient Languages
Faculty of Theology and Philosophy
Australian Catholic University

Target group

Higher level researchers (Master, PhD, and postdoc) who studied at least two years of Classical or Hellenistic Greek, but have not had experience in reading or editing papyrological texts from the actual papyri.

Course aim

Knowing: By the end of the seminar, participants should know about:
- How ancient books and documents were physically manufactured
- Ancient handwriting conventions and special conventions used in biblical manuscripts
- The major discoveries of ancient manuscripts
- The extant materials for reconstructing the earliest forms of the biblical texts
- Various principles of textual criticism and the discussions surrounding them

Being: By the end of the seminar, participants should
- Appreciate the value of knowing and being able to use Greek manuscripts for study of the biblical text
- Appreciate the challenges faced by anyone attempting to reconstruct the earliest form of the biblical text

Doing: By the end of the seminar, participants should be able to
- Edit an early manuscript
- Discuss the characteristics and dating of any particular manuscript
- Discuss the evidence for the originality of variant readings in the New Testament

Fee info

EUR 490: The course fee includes the registration fee, course materials, access to library and IT facilities, coffee/tea, lunch, and a number of social activities.

10% discount for early bird applicants. The early bird deadline is 1 April 2016.
15% discount for students and PhD candidates from Radboud University and partner universities.
EUR 195: Housing (optional)