Friday, October 08, 2004

Online Critical Pseudepigrapha

Ooooh...aaahhh...I like this. It has been pointed out that online is now The Online Critical Pseudepigrapha.

For those not familiar, the term "pseudepigrapha" means "false writing," and in this case, it is writings that are generally understood to be falsely attributed to another individual, usually of historical significance. In the time around the dawn of the NT it was apparently common to write works and say they were written by someone venerable in the past, such as Abraham. This site is focusing on the OT pseudepigrapha at the present (will they do NT?). So, that is essentially what "pseudepigrapha" means, though works that don't really fit that definition are often included as well in "pseudepigraphical" collections. Anyway...

Hereafter I'll shorten the word "pseudepigrapha" to a capital "P", just because I'm already tired of typing the word.

What this site does right (and it does a lot right) :

1. First, we have the P in ancient languages, and sometimes in multiple. For example, 1 Enoch's main text is given in Greek but it at least also has 4Q201 in the apparatus, which is an Aramaic manuscript from the Dead Sea Scrolls collection. I even saw some Coptic in the "Testament of Job's apparatus. That is incredibly useful.
2. As just mentioned, there is an apparatus. To have a textual apparatus is very cool.
3. You can view different manuscripts in their entirety, for texts that have them available. For example, the Testament of Job has a default and three different manuscripts to choose from. Very cool.
4. It is unicode. Unicode is the way to go. Thank you so much for helping take biblical studies in that direction.
5. I like how the verse divisions are in red. Makes them very clear.
6. Very clean looking interface. It makes sense and looks really nice. And nice javascript work.
7. According to their copyright statement, they have a very generous license. Thank you.
8. I was going to complain about how it won't render correctly in Firefox, but I saw a note saying they were aware of this and were trying to fix it. As a Firefox fanatic (I even want the T-Shirt), that will make me very happy.

Stuff that needs improvement:

1. What is the "default" text? A critical text? Didn't see that specified.
2. Occassionally got javascript errors, but couldn't reproduce them. So I can't help you out there. Sorry.
3. I didn't see anything identifying what the manuscripts were? In the Testament of Job, what are P, S, and V? Well, I opened up Charlesworth's volume and found out, but it would be really nice to have online.
4. I'm doing some work on a program for doing syntactical tagging and analysis of the GNT. I would LOVE to have access to that data to tag it for myself and others via webservices or something like that. Want to provide an interface for that?
5. Maybe because I'm doing lots of downloading right now, whether I opened up the site in IE or Firefox, I got that ominous message about how my browser doesn't support javascript. Well, it does, so the message went away when the page finished loading. This is obviously no big issue, but you might scare some non tech savvy users.


Despite a few little things, this rocks. And yes, the site is newly up, so they probably just haven't had time to implement everything they wanted to. And maybe they know about all this stuff. But these are my two cents. Yes, this rocks. I will definitely use this. Thank you for putting in your time to create this resource.


At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pseudepigrapa does not mean "false writings."

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Eric Sowell said...

The word is made up of two Greek words, one which means "false" and the other which means "writing". This is even qualified in the post above as to what its actual meaning is in the context of what we call the Pseudepigrapha.


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