The Scribes Didn’t Just Copy the Text

They also left some comments in margins, like these listed by Tommy Wasserman:

“New parchment, bad ink; I say nothing more.

“I am very cold.”

“That’s a hard page and a weary work to read it.”

“Let the reader’s voice honor the writer’s pen.”

“This page has not been written very slowly.”

“The parchment is hairy.”

“The ink is thin.”

“Thank God, it will soon be dark.”

“Oh, my hand.”

“Now I’ve written the whole thing; for Christ’s sake give me a drink.”

“Writing is excessive drudgery. It crooks your back, it dims you sight, it twists your stomach and your sides.”

“St. Patrick of Armagh, deliver me from writing.”

“While I wrote I froze, and what I could not write by the beams of the sun I finished by candlelight.”

“As the harbor is welcome to the sailor, so is the last line to the scribe.”

“This is sad! O little book! A day will come in truth when someone over your page will say, ‘The hand that wrote it is no more’.”

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  1. I will never forget the first day of Greek when Brian Vickers told us to open our Greek Testaments. He pointed to the textual appartus and talked about how each symbol (which stood for one manuscript or another) required the life’s work of some scribe.

    Dr. Vickers class that day gave me a greater appreciation for the Word of God that we have. In spite of their pains, these men have blessed the church with the faithful work they did in copying God’s word. It is hard for us in a day of ‘copy and paste’ to fully appreciate their labors.

    Thanks for sharing these biographical notes.

    Blessings, dss

  2. I realize that this isn’t the best way to notify you but I wasn’t able to find contact information in the few seconds I spent looking for such on your site.

    I just wanted to let you know that it seems as though the site for Kenwood Baptist has been hijacked. I click on it and Google gives me an error message with a domain name that originates outside of the U.S. You don’t have to publish this comment, I just wanted to make sure that you knew about it.

    Take care, brother!

  3. Funny how it helps to seer what we already know, but so easily forget. God used scribes who were regular guys like you and I and the kid next door.

    They got tired and cold, but they worked on.

    OK, maybe not like many of us. They had a work ethic, clearly.

  4. These are great! I noticed the one scribe’s plea for darkness, and it reminded me how Thomas Edison messed up the natural rhythms of the day. I think people enjoyed more conversation before the light bulb made it possible to work through the night. I guess they could have used candles, but they would be more conducive to romance than reading.

    1. Funny! I was in Yangon a while back, and was struck by how frequently the power was out. A local pastor there told me that the city is (at least locally) called “the city of children,” due in part to being “the city without electricity”.

  5. Wow, makes me appreciate my Bible more, knowing more firsthand how difficult it was for the scribes to write.

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