Four men smiling in a room
Clark with his examiners and lead supervisor after the viva.

The latest graduand from Birmingham's Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing is Clark Bates, whose thesis on the Greek manuscripts of Ephesians with a commentary in the form of a catena includes the first-ever critical text, translation and theological commentary of this ancient exegetical compilation.

Clark arrived in Birmingham in October 2020 after holding the inaugural Text and Canon Institute fellowship at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona. The following year, he was in the first cohort of international students to be awarded an AHRC Midlands4Cities doctoral scholarship. During his time at Birmingham, Clark has also worked as a manuscript transcriber on the European Research Council-funded CATENA project and as a postgraduate teaching assistant in the Department of Theology and Religion. He co-organised an international workshop on 'Decentralising the Biblical Text', held in March 2022, papers from which have now been published as a special feature within TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism. In addition, he co-edited That Nothing Be Lost, a volume of papers from the Twelfth Birmingham Colloquium, and contributed to a catalogue of Greek manuscripts in Birmingham.

Clark's examiners were Professor Paul Foster and Professor Andrew Davies. His supervisors were Professor Hugh Houghton and Dr Catherine Smith of the University of Birmingham and Professor Richard Bell from the University of Nottingham. His thesis title and abstract are as follows:

The Pseudo-Oecumenian Catena on Ephesians: Text, Translation, and Commentary

This thesis seeks to advance the understanding of the production and purpose of the Ps.- Oecumenian catena on Ephesians through the creation of a critical edition, its translation, and theological commentary. The edition is created through the full transcription and collation of seventeen catena manuscripts, drawn from all known catena manuscripts containing the Ps.-Oecumenian catena on Ephesians. The selected manuscripts were chosen on the basis of a test passage applied to all manuscript witnesses of this catenae tradition and they represent three of the main catena types established by Karl Staab and indicative of the development of the catena from its earliest recoverable period containing the Urkatena and Corpus Extravagantium to the addition of the Scholia Photiana. An analysis of the seventeen manuscripts selected for the edition is provided alongside a stemma codicum representing a conceptualisation of textual relationships between the manuscripts and the process of the transmission of the catena. The presence of author attributions in the manuscript tradition and the source material of unattributed scholia are examined with discussions related to their reliability. The identification of Oecumenius as a source for select scholia within the catena is paralleled with similar material in the commentary on the Apocalypse produced by Oecumenius, concluding that the same source is likely responsible for both. The editorial text of the critical edition is presented alongside its English translation with an accompanying theological commentary. The commentary analyses the content of each scholion in light of patristic exegesis from the second to seventh centuries. A critical edition with apparatus is provided for the entire catena of Ephesians with a separate edition and apparatus, with English translation, included for the Scholia Photiana.

After the graduation ceremonies this summer, Clark's thesis will be available on the University of Birmingham eTheses portal and his data released on the eData repository. Clark is hoping to pursue postdoctoral work in Italy.