SEA Vice President James Leonard Gets his Ph.D.!

, posted by SEA

A brief press release from the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog about one of SEA’s vice presidents, James Leonard, and his recent successful defense of his doctoral dissertation. Congratulations, Jim!

Bonus: We’ve pulled a comment from Jim on the announcement/blog post, which is humorously related to the Arminian/Calvinist debate, and included it after the announcement.

Here is the announcement, originally posted on 10/13/11 by Jim’s doctoral supervisor, Peter. J. Williams, who is the warden of Tyndale House in Cambridge, England, one of the foremost libraries of biblical studies in the world:

      Yesterday James (Jim) Leonard, one of our ETC bloggers, defended his Cambridge PhD thesis on the Middle Egyptian Schoyen Codex of Matthew. This manuscript (mae2) had been edited by Schenke, who had maintained that the codex shows signs of a non-canonical Matthew. Though Leonard had been initially drawn to the codex by this idea, he ultimately rejected (and refuted) this notion.

His treatment also contains a number of new reconstructions of lacunae in the manuscript and rearranges two pieces.

A significant conclusion is that mae2 is not actually a weird manuscript at all. In fact, when certain things are taken into account, it is more like NA27 than either 01 or 03!

Well done, Jim!

[Technical note: in the Cambridge system the award of the degree is formally confirmed by a large committee and one does not really ‘know’ the result of a viva immediately. However, in certain circumstances, e.g. when examiners discuss publication plans, it is legitimate to celebrate in anticipation of formal confirmation.]


And now for Jim’s comment:

      I am thankful for having two examiners who not only are competent in Coptic, but also competent in New Testament textual criticism: Simon Gathercole (one of our ETC bloggers was the internal examiner), and Darrell Hannah (external).

I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed finishing the examination. 🙂

Although the examination experience was incredibly stressful, looking back (after the fact), it was awesome.

Three cheers to Christian Askeland who gave the best pre-exam advice just prior to the event:

“Perhaps, a bit of academic Calvinism will settle your nerves … your fate is basically already decided. They have read it and either like it or not. You just have to show up and try to enjoy the experience as much as possible.

“Just trust that you are one of the elect. : )

“At least, recognize that the examiners already know your fate.”

And thanks to Gerald Bray, Bruce Winter, David Instone-Brewer, Peter Head, PJ Williams and many others for advising me to wear a tie.