Wednesday, February 9, 2011

MS Making, fact and myth

James Snapp Jr. Has recently posted some useful information on MS making in his review of White's debate with Moorman
...(15) White said that for the first 300 years of the church’s existence,
“You couldn’t go to the rich people to have nice manuscript copies made at that particular point in time. And so they would use these abbreviations for, like, God, Jesus, Spirit, common words — they would abbreviate them as one or two letters and put a line over the top of them.”
In real life, the Roman persecution was not constant, and although most Christians, like most inhabitants of the Roman Empire, had neither the ability to make books or to read them, some Christians did have rich friends, and had nice manuscript copies made during that time. For proof, just read what Eusebius says about Origen in Ecclesiastical History, Book 6, ch. 23, describing what occurred in about 217-230:
“At that time Origen began his commentaries on the Divine Scriptures, being urged thereto by Ambrose, who employed innumerable incentives, not only exhorting him by word, but also furnishing abundant means. For he dictated to more than seven amanuenses [i.e., secretaries], who relieved each other at appointed times. And he employed no fewer copyists, besides girls who were skilled in elegant writing. For all these Ambrose furnished the necessary expense in abundance.”
That does not resemble the picture painted by White. His idea that the nomina sacra were developed by poor copyists who were trying to conserve writing-materials is fiction."

This view fits nicely in with the other two posts here discussion MS making.

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