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  • Author or Editor: John North x
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There is no doubt at all that many Festus entries can be restored, in whole or in part, on the basis of the summary given by Paul together with the surviving letters from F . There is also no doubt that earlier restorations have quite often gone too far and that the distinction must be preserved between what we can restore with confidence and where there is at least an element of uncertainty. The cases examined here have been chosen precisely because they illustrate the dangers of over-confidence. Paul had a mind of his own and an audience to whom he was addressing himself, who had needs of their own. At times he simply reproduces what he saw in Festus, but he has specific criteria to which he is working and specific limitations on what he attempted. He was also evidently working under pressure of time. The implications for restoring the text of Festus are clear enough and only care in each individual decision can be recommended. There is a further issue here, which should not be forgotten: it is sometimes tempting to assume that whatever we read in Paul must ultimately derive from Festus, which is to say derive from Verrius; if that were so, Paul could therefore be treated uncritically as evidence for the first century CE. As we shell see, that assumption is not always a safe one.

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