Pericope: Scripture as written and read in antiquity

Past Attempts

From the very beginning the Pericope Group has strived after building an international database from which Bible scholars would be able to draw data with regard to unit delimitation in biblical texts they are working on. There is an urgent need for this kind of data because on the one hand different colometrical division and paragraphing are a major cause of dissent among exegetes, and on the other hand this kind of data has been neglected in almost all scholarly editions of the Bible.

However, as stated before, the data from the ancient manuscripts should be evaluated critically, just as variant readings in textual criticism are. This is possible only if the data is collected and made accessible to all interested parties.

At first we have been trying to establish a web site which we hoped would cover this need. This proved to be impractical for several reasons. It was expensive to maintain an on-line database and no organisation we approached was willing to fund it. Moreover, many of the scholars interested in this kind of research do not have the means to remain on line for hours on end. Downloading highly detailed images from ancient manuscripts proved to be too time-consuming for those who had to use slow dial-up connections. Finally the original plans to publish images and data on the web raised serious copyright issues.

In 2004 a proposal for a simplified database was developed and discussed with scholars who were willing to participate in its construction and with the scholars attending the business meetings at the 4th and 5th Pericope Meetings. Unfortunately also this initiative proved to be too ambitious. At the 5th Pericope Meeting in Edinburgh we had to decide to abandon the database project for the time being.

Available Data Services

To enable scholars interested in the unit delimitation of ancient manuscripts to study the data themselves the Pericope Group provides a listing of websites where public data on and from manuscripts and editions can be found. We invite colleagues who open new sites in this field to notify us by e-mail (M.C.A. Korpel). Moreover several scholars have offered to share data at their disposal, either directly on this site or on request. For the latter, contact M.C.A. Korpel specifying the passages and/or manuscript(s) you are looking for or which you are willing to share for personal use. If useful contacts are known to her, she will redirect your request/offer to the appropriate person. Samples of digitised images from microfilms in the form in which they might be provided are found on the following pages.

A Fresh Proposal

At the 7th Pericope Meeting in Vienna Raymond de Hoop proposed a project for a polyglot Bible edition containing the relevant data on unit delimitation from various manuscripts, a sample is published in Pericope 6. Marjo Korpel presented an example of a spreadsheet of data as they might be published in a digital way (


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