Thursday, April 26, 2007

Book Note: Other Early Christian Gospels (Andrew Bernhard)

I just received a copy of Andrew Bernhard's book, Other Early Christian Gospels: A Critical Edition of the Surviving Greek Manuscripts. Mr. Bernhard has a Master's Degree in Greek and Roman history from Oxford, and has re-edited and re-translated the Greek gospel Oxyrhynchus fragments. These are included in his volume (P. Oxy. 654, 1, 655, 4009, 2949, 210, 1224, 840) as well as others fragments not from Oxyrhynchus (P. Cair. 10759, P. Egerton 2, P. Köln 255, P. Vindob.G 2325, P.Mert. 51, P. Berol. 11710).

What a convenient volume! To have all these fragments published together in one book makes them finally accessible to everyone. The edition contains helpful appendices indexing the Greek words in each fragment. Basic papyrological analyses are presented, including the date of the manuscript, measurements, current location that the fragment is housed, original publication information, and any notable features. This is followed by a line-by-line Greek presentation, a "student's edition" where all the reconstruction apparatus has been eliminated, and an English translation.

A critical apparatus appears at the bottom of the page, but there is no justification for why particular reconstructions have been chosen over others. Photographs of most of the fragments are found collected in the back of the volume. Unfortunately the publisher did not produce high quality facsimiles (I guess that they would have been too costly to reproduce), so their usefulness for actual research is rather limited.


Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks for posting on this, April. I agree that it is a really useful volume and a welcome addition to the Library of New Testament Studies.

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