Dating Ancient Papyri

Hurtado Blog

Larry Hurtado's Blog

Further to my recent posts about recent proposals for the dating of certain NT papyri, let me briefly clarify the process of dating papyri, which might well seem a mystery to those not familiar with it.

There are two main types of papyri:  “documentary” (letters, official documents such as land-transfers, marriage contracts, shipping bills, etc.) and “literary” (treatises, poetry, history, fiction, etc.).  Documentary texts are often/typically dated by the writer, which makes dating the manuscript fairly straightforward.  But literary texts are hardly ever dated.  So in their case the only way forward is by estimating the approximate time-frame of the handwriting (often referred to as the “hand” of the manuscript).

Dating ancient Greek handwriting, for example, requires making comparisons with other dated manuscripts, and over the past several decades especially (as more and more papyri has come into view) palaeographers have tried to develop a broad sense of developments in Greek…

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Guest Post, Part 1: The Parable of the Arch and the Stone

Science and Belief

roofRoof by mr. rollers. Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Once, two friends were disputing about the structure of buildings, and why the roof does not fall down. They agreed to do some research, so each set out in search of a good example to study.

Walking in the woods, the first man came across a large and splendid building, and stepped inside. He saw that the structure was made of stones piled on top of one another, with mortar in between. He stayed for a while and made a close study of the stones and the mortar.

Meanwhile the other man was walking in the fields when he spied a tall building, and made his way towards it. Stepping inside, he was immediately struck by the tall wide walls with buttresses, and the many pillars and arches which supported the roof. He stayed and made a thorough study of…

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What’s the problem with Evil? (Part 1)

1. EVIL!? What is [it]? It is most likely a coincidence that some of the most profane and profound words……………… in the English language only have four letters; more than likely several words come to mind — words that, nowadays, form a part of General English Usage. Here are three others that may not have immediately … Continue reading What’s the problem with Evil? (Part 1)

HDS Update on “Jesus’ Wife” Fragment

Larry Hurtado's Blog

The Harvard Divinity School web page on the “Jesus’ wife” fragment now is prefaced with a statement from the HDS Dean referring to the recent Atlantic Monthly article that exposes the character who put the fragment into Professor King’s hands, and that King now admits “tips the balance” toward the item being a fake.  It’s commendable that the HDS has now taken notice of this, although one still wonders that there has been (and still is) scant mention of the various other critical reasons for judging it a fake for over a couple of years.  The statement is here.

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Artificial Intelligence: Machines, Minds or both?

Science and Belief

header-915122_1920 CCO Public Domain. Pixabay

Is your smart phone really smart? Do you ever fear it will get too smart? Will it wake up one morning and decide to start running your life – deleting contacts it doesn’t like, booking holidays online that it wants to go on with you or shifting your calendar appointments to suit its tastes? Perhaps, more realistically, you may be inclined to feel that your printer has a mind and mood swings of its own, seemingly out to get you when you are facing the most desperate deadline. But actually, the more we progress in the field of robotics, the more we are forced to recognise and appreciate that the mind is a unique wonder of the living world. Can technological advances escalate robot intelligence into the personal minds we enjoy as humans? How does this speak into our ideas of human uniqueness and our unique…

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Blind mice ‘Leading’

Jesus said that, "Jesus came :to rescue that which was lost." (Matthew 18:11) Ergo, Humanity per se--is that which is lost—or at least, the people to whom God reveals himself. However, if that which is lost—which is said to be made (somehow) in the image of God is an illusion—or an unnecessary blip in the … Continue reading Blind mice ‘Leading’