Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ancient Quotation Marks?

I was startled to read the following in the article linked above (emphasis mine):

'Instone-Brewer radically reinterprets the first passage using, of all things, quotation marks. The Greek of the New Testament didn't always contain them, and scholars agree that sometimes they must be added in to make sense of it.'

I would be interested to see the places where it did contain them.


Chris Weimer said...

I can't imagine a single place it had anything like quotation marks. Those are rather late inventions.


Dennis said...

Quotation marks absolutely do appear in some manuscripts. A variety of marginal notations were used including angle brackets. Whether or to what extent this would be true specifically of NT manuscripts I have no idea, but there is no reason to doubt that scribes indicated direct quotations where they perceived them.

Chris Weimer said...

Fascinating! Do you know of a manuscript which contains this? Perhaps one of the earlier ones?



Dennis said...

I think this is something that would be done only on the scribe's part, not something original to the text. It's something I've read about in handbooks on Greek palaeography, but haven't seen.

(That's why I was careful to say that I have no idea about NT manuscripts in particular, but that quotation marks are definitely used.)

The manuscripts I'm familiar with are all poetic (principally Pindar and Nicander), and none contain quotations, unfortunately.

I think that ancient writers would made quotations explicit without the use of signs.