The Online Critical Pseudepigrapha

This site, edited by Ian Scott of Tyndale Seminary, contains online editions of many Old Testament Pseudepigrapha in various ancient and medieval languages, though the basis for most is Greek, with Latin also well represented. The Introductions to each text are original and helpful, including a description of the manuscript evidence across multiple versions, and an annotated bibliography of print editions designating manuscripts used, which can also be browsed by author or keyword and searched. The currently available electronic texts are often a transcription of an out-of-copyright edition, and sometimes include evidence from multiple manuscripts; eclectic texts taking into account extant versions in Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopic, and other languages are planned.

While the Online Critical Pseudepigrapha is still very much a work in progress, it is laudable for its efforts to make widely available the electronic text of these important documents, and thus multiplying possibilities for research. The full texts of widely cited works such as the Lives of Adam and Eve and the Testament of Abraham, which are not yet in Perseus or other open access digital library, can now be employed in DH research, for example corpus analysis with the statistics program R; copyright information varies by text, and a full statement is given here:

Corpus Coranicum Beta Version


The Corpus Coranicum is a long-standing research project at the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, under the direction of Prof. Angelika Neuwirth, established in 2007 and currently funded through 2025. Its ultimate goal is the production of a comprehensive commentary on the Qur’an, based on both the textual tradition, especially early manuscripts, and literary passages, including biblical traditions, which shed light on the context of its production. A beta version of the online commentary is now available. One can browse by sura and verse (displayed with a special font, “Coranica”), exploring a facsimile of the associated page(s) in the 1924 Cairo print edition; scanned black-and-white photographs of the associated page(s) in early manuscripts from the archive of G. Bergsträßer, assembled in the 1920s, lost, and sensationally rediscovered in 2008; variant readings; “Texte aus der Umwelt des Korans,” most frequently from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament (the latter given in Greek, not Syriac); and an associated commentary. Of course, this magisterial project is also a massive undertaking, and the final two sections are only available for certain verses. The “Texte aus der Umwelt,” in particular, is a wide-open field, and is currently the subject of intensive research, as evidenced especially by the recent creation of IQSA. As Qur’anic studies rapidly develops, there is no question that Corpus Coranicum will be an essential resource.

The British Library Blog: From the Egerton Gospel to Ephrem Palimpsests


The British Library, which labels itself “The World’s Knowledge” with some justification, has a large collection of ancient manuscripts in diverse languages and media, probably the most impressive in the world.  Less well known, perhaps, is its outstanding blog, which includes both reflections on collection items as well as entries on newly digitized texts, including the Egerton Gospel and Codex Alexandrinus.  The latter has a great entry on the conservation process, as does the entry on “Some Syriac Manichaean Treasures in the British Library.”  Ephrem’s otherwise lost Prose Refutations of Mani, Marcion, and Bardaisan, preserved as a palimpsest on Add. 14623 was recovered by Charles Mitchell, with the help of a certain “re-agent” at the turn of the century.  The nature of this unidentified chemical is discussed, along with the eminent possibilities for reading the earlier text with the help of advanced digital photography.  This wonderful post explores other significant holdings on Manichaeism, such as the Chinese Compendium on the Teachings of Mani, the Buddha of Light.

The Virtual Magic Bowl Archive (VMBA) and Prosopography


The Virtual Magic Bowl Archive is a collaborative environment for the publication of magic bowls in the Moussaieff, Dehays, and Barakat collections.  It is housed at the University of Southampton, under the direction of Dr. Dan Levene, with a number of other prominent collaborators in Europe, Israel, and North America.  While the archive, which includes photographs and transcriptions, currently has restricted access, The VMBA site contains several useful resources and descriptions of ongoing projects.  These include the Aramaic Magical Texts from Late Antiquity (AMTLA), a BIRAX project conducted by Dr. Dan Levene and Prof. Gideon Bohak, part of which is the valuable prosopography of the Babylonian Magic Bowls, compiled by Dr. Ortal-Paz Saar of Tel Aviv University Continue reading

Byzantium and Islam: A Special/Web Exhibit at the Met

Museums large and small are not only digitizing their inventories; many now also create permanent websites for special exhibitions.  An excellent example of the latter is “Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition,” at the Met between March 14 and July 8 2012, one of the best presentations of the material culture of later Late Antiquity, which brought the now widespread academic trend of viewing early Islam within its historical context to a wider audience; Continue reading

Apocryphicity by Tony Burke

This important blog on Christian apocrypha was established about six years ago by Tony Burke of York University.  The author posts updates and commentary on recent scholarship about apocryphal literature, as reflected in publications, conferences, and on the web.  Burke, along with Brent Laundau of the University of Oklahoma, is co-editing the two-volume More Christian Apocrypha (forthcoming with Eerdmans, beginning 2013); his site also contains a useful breakdown of many apocryphal texts that will appear in this work, almost all of them highly interesting, but with no English translation and limited bibliography, which is duly provided.

Hmmlorientalia by Adam McCollum

This rich blog by Adam McCollum features posts connected to his work as lead cataloguer of Eastern Christian Manuscripts at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at St. John’s University, Minnesota.  There are a number of interesting entries about manuscripts which he has examined, including observations about the field of Eastern Christian studies more generally (especially Armenian, Arabic, Ethiopic, and Syriac), which is literally centuries behind Classics with respect to cataloguing and editing. Continue reading