[Ads-l] opistograph, opisthograph

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Sun Sep 13 11:53:38 UTC 2015

This term came up in discussion of the fake Coptic manuscript formerly known as "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife." I though I posted about it here, but don't find it in the archives.

Opistograph. Apparently there are two definitions current. William A. Johnson, Books and Scribes in Oxyrhynchus (2004, p. 342): "Opistograph. A bookroll where the text is written on both front (recto) and back (verso). This term does not apply when both sides are written upon because the papyrus has been reused." The Oxford English Dictionary entry, spelled opisthograph, does not include the limitation in the second sentence; nor does it limit to writing on papyrus. Examples of the broader use, including papyrus and skin, and in cases of Qumran mss where the second writing is from a second, later scribe are found in, e.g., Michael O. Wise, Thunder in Gemini (1994) and Emanuel Tov, Scribal practices and approaches reflected in the texts found in the Judean desert (2004).

Stephen Goranson


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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