Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Kloha-Montgomery Debate - Some More Thoughts

          In the recent Kloha-Montgomery Debate, John Warwick Montgomery described thoroughgoing eclecticism as incompatible with the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy.  What is thoroughgoing eclecticism?  Jeff Kloha, quoting J. Keith Elliott, described it as “the method that allows internal considerations for a reading’s originality to be given priority over documentary considerations.”  An illustrative example of thoroughgoing eclecticism in practice can be found in Kloha’s essay, Elizabeth’s Magnificat,” in the 2014 volume, Texts & Traditions:  Essays in Honour of J. Keith Elliott (beginning on page 200).
          In that essay, Kloha offers a cumulative case for the theory that the original text of Luke 1:46 had neither the name “Mary” nor “Elizabeth” but only “And said” (Και ειπεν).  This would imply, as I mentioned in the previous post, that (1) all the known Greek manuscripts of Luke contain a scribal corruption at this point, and (2) it was Elizabeth, rather than Mary, who spoke the Magnificat.
A page from Codex
Vercellensis (late 300's)
The external evidence that Kloha amasses, though sparse, has considerable weight.  In two copies of Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book 4 (7:1), the Magnificat is attributed to Elizabeth, although in other copies, and in Book 3 (10:2), the Magnificat is assigned to Mary.  If these two copies accurately preserve the text of Irenaeus’ composition then they appear to echo the text of Luke 1:46 in Irenaeus’ text of Luke 1:46, at least in one manuscript known to him in the mid/late 100’s.  A few Old Latin manuscripts likewise support the presence of Elizabeth’s name in the text of Luke 1:46 – including Codex Vercellensis, a manuscript which, according to an ancient tradition, was made by (or under the supervision of) Eusebius of Vercelli in the 370’s.  (If that is so, then this witness is only slightly younger than the famous Codex Sinaiticus.) 
          In addition, in Jerome’s Latin translation of Origen’s commentary on the Gospel of Luke, we find this statement from Jerome embedded in the comments on Luke 1:46:  “In a certain number of manuscripts, we have discovered that blessed Mary is said to prophesy.  We are not unaware of the fact that, according to other copies of the Gospel, Elizabeth speaks these words in prophecy.”
          A little-known contemporary of Jerome named Nicetas of Remesiana (335-414), who read both Latin and Greek, and who was known for his hymn-writing, attributed the Magnificat to Elizabeth.    

          Montgomery argued, “The fact that these authorities are earlier than the authoritative Greek texts (Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, early to mid 4th century) is hardly a strong argument for the Elizabeth attribution, since they are non-Greek versions/translations and contradict the Greek texts.”  Montgomery thus does three things:
(1)  he decides that in this case, an older witness should be given less weight than a younger witness,
(2)  he decides that a non-Greek witness should be given less weight than a Greek witness, and
(3)  he decides that patristic evidence is less important than manuscript evidence. 
          Via all three points, Montgomery employs internal evidence as the means by which to gauge the relative weight of the components of external evidence – that is, Montgomery is resorting to a consideration of internal factors even though he proposed that one should “only use the internal considerations where they’re absolutely necessary.”  Why should the second-century composition of a Greek-writer such as Irenaeus, be given less weight than two manuscripts produced 150 years later?  Why should Latin evidence be minimized, unless one can show that it was derived from some non-Greek source or was the result of mistranslation?  Why think that a Latin translator detoured from the meaning of his Greek text?  Why assume that the manuscripts used by a patristic writer in the late 300’s (Nicetas) would be less accurate than Vaticanus and Sinaiticus?  Why should manuscripts known to Jerome be considered lightweight? 
          Perhaps there are sound answers to all these questions – but to downplay them because they imply that “the Greek texts” contain a scribal corruption is to pretend as if our present situation (in which all the Greek manuscripts affirm that Mary spoke the Magnificat) is the same as the situation in the 300’s and 400’s.  However, the external evidence indicates that if we were to situate our perspective in the fourth century, we could not so easily settle the question via a cavalier appeal to “the Greek texts” because the Greek manuscripts at that time did not all agree in Luke 1:46.  We can either ignore this external evidence (as if disagreement with the Nestle-Aland compilation is a sufficient reason to consider a reading incorrect), or else we can analyze it and evaluate its possible implications.
          Dr. Kloha has taken the second option, in a somewhat tentative way, declaring at the outset of his essay that he was making a suggestion about the text of Luke 1:46.  He reaffirmed this at the debate, stating, when answering a question about his everyday treatment of Luke 1:46, that he never even brought up the text-critical question when teaching lessons from Luke chapters 1-2:  “My judgments by themselves,” he stated, “are not decisive.”     
         This is a longstanding conservative approach to conjectural emendations – Greek readings imagined by the textual critic, which the critic suspects to be original, but which are not extant in any manuscript.  Ever since the 1500’s, scholars have made calculated guesses about hypothetical readings which are capable of explaining extant rival readings, especially in passages where such hypothetical readings interlock well with the context.  For example, Erasmus suspected that the original text of James 4:2 might have said “you are jealous” (φθονειτε) instead of “you commit murder” (φονεύετε), in light of the reference to jealousy in 4:5.  (This theory seems to have been adopted by Luther when he made his German translation.) 
          Theodore Beza, similarly, was convinced that in Revelation 16:5, the original text referred to the “One who is, and who was, and shall be,” even though the final phrase is not found in Revelation 16:5 in any Greek manuscript (although it recurs elsewhere in Revelation, such as in 1:8).  Beza’s reasoning apparently was persuasive to the translators of the King James Version, for this conjectural reading is echoed in the KJV’s text of the verse. 

          One would think that Dr. Montgomery, having recommended that textual critics should “only use the internal considerations where they’re absolutely necessary,” would far prefer the conservative approach in which a textual critic may express some conjectural emendations, but does not put them in the printed text, instead deferring to the extant Greek manuscript evidence.  But no.  When observing that Kloha did not insist on advancing his theory about Luke 1:46 as more than a detailed suggestion, however plausible, Montgomery stated, “I find it absolutely disingenuous when you will not follow through on what you wrote in your own article.  If you believed in that article that the better reading, the better text, for the Magnificat, was Elizabeth, you have no business in the world just ignoring the problem now.”
          Suppose, however, that Dr. Kloha, or any textual critic, resolved to turn the Sunday School lesson-hour into a lecture about every textual variant-unit that he considered worth re-examining.  When would the actual lessons ever be taught?  Sunday-school lessons are Sunday-school lessons, and instructors who are aware of many textual issues routinely ignore them, to avoid needlessly throwing their students into the deep end, so to speak.  It is simply more efficient to reserve textual issues to venues specifically focused upon them, unless a specific question is raised.        
          Dr. Montgomery then continued:  “Or it may be, Dr. Kloha, that you give papers in non-confessional contexts that really work very well in those contexts, and then when you come to us, we get this litany of orthodox Lutheran fathers which is supposed to give the impression that the kind of work you’ve done is consistent with Biblical inerrancy.  It isn’t!  It isn’t!”
          At that point, it seems to me, shrill declaration usurped argument.  For not only was Kloha very clear from the first page of his essay that his suggestion is a suggestion, but it should also be perfectly obvious that his suggestion does not imply that Luke made any error.  Furthermore, it is contradictory for Montgomery to claim that Kloha’s suggestion is a grave danger to Biblical inerrancy, one moment, and the next moment, call the 28th edition of the Nestle-Aland compilation “a good Greek New Testament.”  For what Kloha has only suggested, the Nestle-Aland compilers have implemented in Acts 16:12 and in Second Peter 3:10:  in both of these passages, a reading has been placed in the text which has no Greek manuscript support.
          Yet the Dr. Montgomery who called Dr. Kloha’s approach inconsistent with Biblical inerrancy is the same person who said that the variants between NA28 and the Textus Receptus are “not materially different from what you’re reading today.”  I remind the reader that those differences consist of over 1,000 translatable points, including the inclusion or exclusion of whole verses, in the Gospels alone.  Does it seen even-handed to observe a change in the printed text from “shall be burned up” to “shall not be found” in Second Peter 3:10, and a change from “Lord” to “Jesus” in Jude verse 5, and a change from “name” to “cause” in First Peter 4:16 (to give just three examples) and say that these differences in the text are “not materially different,” but when Dr. Kloha makes a suggestion about one word, he has done something “on the periphery,” something different than what the compilers of NA28 have done? 

One of Dr. Montgomery's slides.
(I have to agree that Dr. Kloha has indeed done something different:  he has suggested that a reading without Greek manuscript-support is original, while the compilers of NA28 have not merely suggested such a reading; they have inserted such a reading into the text!  Yet Dr. Montgomery looks at Dr. Kloha’s suggestion and concludes that his approach is too subjective and has the consequence of rendering Biblical inerrancy impossible, and then he looks at the work of the compilers at Muenster and says that they seem to be moving toward a more objective approach, “and this is all to the good.” ?!?!) 

It seems to me that nothing that Dr. Kloha wrote in his essay, or expressed at the debate, poses a problem for the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy.  I am not persuaded by his meticulously researched suggestion that there was no proper name in the original text of Luke 1:46, but if someone were persuaded by it, that person would not be obligated to declare Luke to be in error; it would only follow that copyists made a mistake.  
          There is, it seems, only one subject of the debate yet to address:  the question of the “plasticity” of the New Testament text.  God willing, that will be the subject of my next post.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Kloha-Montgomery Debate - Some Thoughts

          On October 15, John Warwick Montgomery and Jeffrey Kloha engaged in a debate about the theological implications of the text-critical method known as thoroughgoing eclecticism.  However, while Dr. Kloha seems to have intended to describe thoroughgoing eclecticism and explain how it is consistent with conservative Lutheran theology (including the doctrine of inerrancy, which Dr. Kloha specifically affirmed), Dr, Montgomery seems to have approached the debate with the goal of questioning Dr. Kloha’s role as a Lutheran professor, asking, “How realistic is it that someone with his biblical orientation teach future pastors of that church body?”
Dr. Jeffrey Kloha
(Concordia Seminary, St. Louis)
            Inasmuch as Kloha affirms the doctrine of inerrancy, and is, as far as I can tell, doctrinally a Lutheran’s Lutheran, what is it that caused Montgomery to accuse Kloha of promoting a text-critical approach that is “deadly,” and which poses “great dangers” for the doctrine of scriptural inerrancy”?  My impression is that Montgomery’s accusations are completely based on Montgomery’s misunderstanding of Kloha’s positions, Montgomery's misunderstanding of thoroughgoing eclecticism, and Montgomery's inaccurate ideas about text-critical praxis in general.      
            Montgomery’s misunderstanding of text-critical praxis in general is evident in the first of four recommendations that he made:  “Refuse to tolerate textual philosophies that employ internal (stylistic) criteria as the preferred standard for the choice of readings.”  At the debate, Montgomery insisted that he does not object to the utilization of internal evidence – as long as the external evidence is primary.  But one might as well say that one does not object to data as long as one does not analyze it. 
            Let’s take a closer look at two of Kloha’s treatments of the New Testament text which Montgomery found objectionable.  It is not easy to find actual critiques of Kloha’s work in the first six pages of Montgomery’s paper; there are multiple warnings, but not until page 7 do we get a glimpse of a sample of what is being warned against:
            ● Kloha rejects the Alexandrian reading of First Corinthians 7:33-34, which, Montgomery states, is “based on the foundational MSS P15 B P.”  Bruce Metzger, in A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (1971), noted that the variant-unit at the beginning of I Cor. 7:34 had a “D” ranking – meaning that the United Bible Societies’ compilation-committee acknowledged “a very high degree of doubt concerning the reading selected for the text.”  When you observe that the compilers themselves harbor “a very high degree of doubt” about this passage, you might wonder why Montgomery has not accused them of falling into a methodological ditch, as he has accused Kloha.  Montgomery’s approach causes the copyist of Papyrus 46, and the copyists of over 95% of the Greek manuscripts of First Corinthians, to join Kloha in that ditch; they, too, do not have the same text of I Cor. 7:33-34 that is in the NA/UBS compilation.              
            Furthermore, when one consults these three “foundational MSS” in I Cor. 7:33-34 – as Kloha did in painstaking detail in his dissertation, reviewing not just one, or four, but eight Greek variant-units within these two verses – one observes that they disagree with each other in these two verses.  Codex B, for example, does not have the words τα του κοσμου (“of the world”).  So which one of these three disagreeing manuscripts does Montgomery consider “foundational” in this two-verse passage?  And how does he intend, I wonder, to make a case that its readings are “archetypal” without giving internal evidence a decisive role in his considerations? 
            ● Kloha advocates a view which, if accepted, would mean that “no pastor should preach I Corinthians 8:6 as if it were the Word of God,” or so Montgomery claimed.  In real life, however, Montgomery has misquoted and densely misunderstood Kloha’s statement (in his dissertation, Part Two, p. 717), “only after a highly-developed Trinitarian theology took hold could the addition at 8:6 have been made.”  Montgomery misquoted this sentence by replacing the word “at” with the word “of.”  Compounding his error, he then concluded (which he would never have done if he had carefully read Kloha’s comments about I Cor. 8:6 in the section in Part One that focuses upon the passage) that Kloha meant that I Cor. 8:6 is not an original part of the text.          
Dr. John Warwick Montgomery
          Montgomery then stated:  “It is clear that Kloha agrees here with Bart Ehrman:  “As Ehrman has argued, at least some passages of the NT manuscripts have been altered in light of the christological controversites with which the scribes presumably, would have been familiar.”  Montgomery also agrees with Ehrman, at least a little; he just did not realize it at the debate.  For the “addition at [not “of”] 8:6” refers to an interpolation, found in a handful of manuscripts, adding a reference to the Holy Spirit (και εν Πνευμα Αγιον εν ω τα παντα και ημεις εν αυτω).  Nobody, including Montgomery, regards this variant as part of the original text of First Corinthians 8:6.  Clearly, Montgomery is barking up the wrong tree.           
            But what about Kloha’s analysis of Luke 1:46?  Kloha has offered a text-critical case that the original text of Luke 1:46 had no proper name after “And said” (Και ειπεν), which would mean, (1) all the known Greek manuscripts of Luke contain a scribal corruption at this point, and (2) it was Elizabeth, rather than Mary, who spoke the Magnificat.  Somehow this single variant-unit became the focus of much of the Kloha-Montgomery debate.  I intend to take a closer look at that, and at thoroughgoing eclecticism, in my next post.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Codex S (028) - The Other Codex Vaticanus

In this replica of the last page of Matthew
in Codex S, several features are seen:
the text of Matthew 28:17b-20, a sticho-
metric note, a note about when and where
Matthew wrote his account, a decorative
line with a simple bird-flourish,
and a brief prayer by the copyist.
Codex S (028) is an exceptional manuscript in several respects:

 It is the only uncial Greek manuscript of the Gospels that contains a colophon which mentions precisely when it was made.   
 In the decorations that accompany the Eusebian Canon-tables in Codex S, there are not only birds, but also rabbits, lions, elephants and what appears to be an abstractly drawn dragon.
 The chapter-titles for Matthew in Codex S are given in a slightly longer-than-usual form.
 For chapter-titles and section-numbers in the page-margins, the copyist used not only red ink (as expected) but also, frequently, blue ink.

          Textually, Codex S is a representative of the Byzantine text.  Although Codex S was used for public reading in church-services (lection-titles and date-assignments appear in the margins throughout the manuscript), deviations from the normal Byzantine text that have an impact on translation are fairly rare.  

          Two significant omissions occur in Matthew 9:17 (where Codex S does not have the words, “but they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved”) and in Matthew 19:9 (where Codex S does not have the words, “and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery”).  Both of these omissions are the result of parablepsis; that is, the copyist’s line of sight drifted from a series of letters in one line to the same series of letters further along in the text.  In this case, the copyist’s line of sight jumped from –ουνται to –ουνται in 9:17, and from μοιχαται to μοιχαται in 19:9.
          A reading in Matthew 28:2 suggests that even though Codex S was produced before most minuscules, its text contains a few embellishments which are not found in the majority of manuscripts.  In this verse, the phrase “of the tomb” has been added after the phrase “of the door.”  (In the Alexandrian text, reflected in the ESV and NIV, the phrase “of the door” is absent, which would imply, if this short variant is original, that the reading in Codex S is the equivalent of a barnacle on a barnacle.)     
          Codex S also contains a few – but not many – small benign expansions, such as the insertion of the name “Jesus” in Matthew 21:18.  The 2011 edition of the NIV, unlike the 1984 edition of the NIV, gives the appearance of having been translated from a Greek base-text that resembled Codex S in this verse, since it has the name “Jesus” in Matthew 21:18 – even though its preface states that it was translated from the Nestle-Aland compilation, which does not have Jesus’ name in Matthew 21:18.

Here is a guide to some of the most interesting pages of this manuscript.  The embedded links will take you to page-views at the website of the Vatican Library, digitized as part of the Polonsky Foundation Digitization Project:  

1r-5r – Ad Carpianus , a guide to the Eusebian Canons, written in hollow red uncials.  (The opening words are missing; probably they were on an illustrated page that has been lost or removed.) 
17r – Matthew 1:1, with a circular headpiece and a zoomorphic initial. 
74r – A marginal note alongside Mt. 27, extracted from Origen’s commentary on Matthew, about the name of Barabbas. 
79r – Mark 1:1
114v – Mark 16:9 begins section #234 on this page.
115v A scribal note about when the Gospel of Mark was written, and a prayer, with a pavilion-framework.
117v – Luke 1:1
172r – Each line of Luke 22:42-44 is accompanied by an asterisk in the left side-margin, except the last line, where the Eusebian canon-number and section-number occupy the margin. 
180r – John 1:1
197r – Each line of the pericope adulterae (John 7:53-8:11) is accompanied by an obelus (÷) in the left side-margin of each column.  Yet, a rubric for the passage clearly identifies it in the upper margin; the title “Πε[ρι] της Μοιχαλιδος” appears, accompanied by an asterisk, which is meant to show that the pericope begins at the beginning of 8:3, where another large asterisk appears in the left margin.  Instructional notes tell the lector how to treat the passage on Pentecost, by jumping from the end of 7:52 to resume at the beginning of 8:12.
225r  After the end of the Gospel of John, Codex S features a series of lections for four annual holy days:  
           For Holy Thursday:  Mt. 26:1b-20 + Jn. 16:3-17 + Mt. 26:21-39 
          + Lk. 22:43-45a + Mt. 26:45-27:2
           For Good Friday (Vespers):  Mt. 27:1-38 + Lk. 23:39-43 + Mt. 27:39-54 
          + Jn. 19:30-37 + Mt. 27:55-61
           For the Dormition of the God-bearer:  Lk. 10:38-42 + 11:27-28
           For the Exaltation of the Cross:  selections from Jn. 19:6-35
234v - The lections are followed by a colophon which gives the name of the copyist (Michael, the monk and sinner) and the date and year that the manuscript was produced March 5, in the year six-thousand and 400 and 57.  This is an “Anno Mundi” year, calculated from the creation of the world, which Byzantine monks believed to have taken place in 5509 B.C. (a belief based on consultation of the Septuagint; deductions based on the Hebrew text yield a different date).  Adjusted to the modern Gregorian calendar, the production-date of Codex S is 949.   

          Codex S, while not as important as Codex B, is among the most significant New Testament manuscripts housed at the Vatican Library.  It is an important witness to the Byzantine Text of the Gospels. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Hand-to-Hand Combat: P72 vs 6 - The Final Fight

          Minuscule 6 has beaten Papyrus 72 twice in hand-to-hand combat, showing that a manuscript produced in the 1200’s can contain a text that is more accurate from a manuscript produced in the late 200’s or early 300’s.  The second contest, though, was closer than the first one – and if one were to set aside textual variants that involve vowel-exchanges (itacisms), it was virtually a tie.  Today, Papyrus 72 and minuscule 6 meet one last time:  we will compare their texts in Jude verses 17-25.  Will Papyrus 72 finally prevail?

17 – 6 reads προειρημενον ρηματων after the first των (transposition)
17 – 6 does not have the second των (-3)
18 – 6 reads των χρονων instead of του χρονου (+4, -4)
18 – 6 reads ελευσονται instead of εσονται (+3)
19 – 6 reads εαυτους after αποδιοριζοντες (+7)
20 – 6 reads τη αγιωτατη ημων πιστει εποικοδομουντες εαυτους instead of εποικοδομουντες εαυτους τη αγιωτατη υμων πιστει (transposition) (+1, -1) [The microfilm is not clear.]
21 – no differences
22 – 6 reads ελεγχετε instead of ελεατε (+4 -3)
23 – 6 reads εσπιλομενον instead of εσπιλωμενον (+1, -1) [The microfilm is not clear; this letter is at the end of a line.  It probably reads εσπιλωμενον but I made the call against it just to be strict.] 
24 – 6 reads ασπιλους και after απταιστους και (+11)
24 – 6 reads γαλλιασει instead of αγαλλιασει (-1) [Again, the microfilm is not clear; the letter is probably present but since I could not see it, I made the call against it.]
25 – 6 reads και  after Θω (+3)
25 – 6 does not have του after παντος (-3)
25 – 6 does not have Αμην (-4)

          Thus, in Jude verses 17-25, minuscule 6 has 34 non-original letters, and is missing 20 original letters, for a total of 54 letters’ worth of corruption.  (This may be reduced to 33 non-original letters present and 17 or 18 original letters absent, for a total of 50 or 51 letters’ worth of corruption, if, as I suspect, the original letters in question are present in the manuscript but obscured in the microfilm-image.)

          Now we turn to Papyrus 72.

17 – no differences
18 – P72 does not have του after εσχατου (-3)  
18 – P72 reads εμπεκτε instead of εμπαικται (+2, -4)
18 – P72 reads επειθυμιας instead of επειθυμιας (+1)
18 – P72 reads ασεβιων instead of ασεβειων (-1)
19 – no differences
20 – P72 reads Υμις instead of Υμεις (-1)
20 – P72 reads τη εαυτων αγιοτητι πειστι ανυκοδομεισθαι instead of εποικοδομουντες εαυτους τη αγιωτατη υμων πιστει (transposition) (+15, -20)
20 – P72 reads εαυτοις at the end of the verse (+7)
21 – P72 reads τηρησωμεν instead of τηρησατε (+4, -3)
21 – P72 reads εις ζοην ημων Ιηυ Χρυ instead of ημων Ιυ Χυ εις ζωην (transposition) (+1, -1)
22 – P72 does not have Και (-3)
22/23 – P72 reads εκ πυρος αρπαζατε διακρινομενους instead of ελεατε διακρινομενους ους δε σωζετε εκ πυροσ αρπαζοντες (transposition) (+3, -20)
23 – P72 reads ελεειτε after δε instead of ελεατε (+2, -1)
23 – P72 reads μεισουντες instead of μισουντες (+1)
23 – P72 reads εσπειλωμενοι instead of εσπιλωμενον (+2, -1)
24 – P72 reads στηριξαι ασπειλους αμωμους αγνευομενους απεναντι της δοξης αυτου instead of
φυλαξαι υμας απταιτους και στησαι κατενωπιον της δοξης αυτου αμωμους (transposition) (+29, -25)
24 – P72 reads αγαλλιασι instead of αγαλλιασει (-1)
25 – P72 does not have σωτηρι (-6)  
25 – P72 reads αυτω after ημων (+4)
25 – P72 reads δοξα κρατος τιμη before δια (+8) [κρατος appears further along in the text so I considered its presence at this point a transposition.  Δοξα is repeated further along in the text.] 
25 – P72 reads αυτω δοξα και instead of δοξα (+7)
25 – P72 reads μεγαλοσυνη instead of μεγαλωσυνη (+1, -1)
25 – P72 does not have και εξουσια προ παντος του αιωνος (-28)   
25 – P72 reads τους παντας εωνας instead of παντας τους αιωνας (transposition) (+1, -2)

          Thus, in Jude verses 17-25, the text of Papyrus 72 includes 87 non-original letters, and 121 original letters are absent.  This yields a total of 208 letters’ worth of corruption in Papyrus 72’s text of Jude verses 17-25.  If NA28 is used as the standard of comparison, the text of P72 does not improve:  in verse 18, P72’s score decreases by three due to the non-inclusion of οτι and increases by three via the non-inclusion of του.    
          In this particular contest, minuscule 6 does not merely win.  It crushes and humiliates.  Its 54 letters’ worth of corruption (at most), acquired in a transmission-stream 1,100 years long, amount to only 26% of the amount of corruption acquired in Papyrus 72’s transmission-stream in the course of about 230 years.  The text of the younger manuscript, in this case, is not just better than the text in the much more ancient manuscript.  The text of minuscule 6 in Jude verses 17-25 is four times better than the text of Jude verses 17-25 in Papyrus 72.

        Now let’s consider these results together with the previous two contests between minuscule 6 and Papyrus 72, to see how the texts of these two manuscripts compare in the entire Epistle of Jude:
In verses 1-10, minuscule 6 has 15 non-original letters, and 26 original letters are absent.  41.
In verses 11-16, minuscule 6 has 31 non-original letters, and 31 original letters are absent.  62.
In verses 17-25, minuscule 6 has 34 non-original letters, and 20 original letters are absent.  54.

Totals for minuscule 6:  80 non-original letters present; 77 original letters absent.  Total:  157.

In verses 1-10, Papyrus 72 has 38 non-original letters, and 50 original letters are absent. 
In verses 11-16, Papyrus 72 has 24 non-original letters, and 79 original letters are absent.   
In verses 17-25, Papyrus 72 has 87 non-original letters, and 121 original letters are absent.

Totals for Papyrus 72:  149 non-original letters present; 250 original letters absent.  Total:  399.

          Thus, minuscule 6 has only 39% as much corruption in the Epistle of Jude as Papyrus 72 has.  Or to put it another way:  the ratio of corruption in minuscule 6 compared to Papyrus 72 is almost exactly 150:400, or 15:40, or 3:8.  If anyone still imagines that a simple appeal to “the oldest manuscripts” is decisive and persuasive, let that person carefully consider this data.

(Readers are invited to check the data and math in this post.)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Papyrus 72 versus Minuscule 6: Rematch!

          In today’s hand-to-hand combat, Papyrus 72 has returned to the ring for a rematch with minuscule 6.  We recently observed that in verses 1-10 of Jude, the text of minuscule 6 (produced in the 1200’s) was far more accurate than the text of Papyrus 72 (produced around 300).  But what happens in the six verses after that?  We will find out today!     
          This time we will examine minuscule 6 first, in Jude verses 11-16.  The same rules are in play that were used for the previous contest; each manuscript's text is compared to the Nestle-Aland-27 compilation. 

11 – no differences.
12 – 6 reads ευωχιαις instead of απαταις (+5, -4)
12 – 6 reads υμιν before αφοβως (+4)
13 – 6 reads τον before αιωνα (+3)
14 – 6 reads Προεφητευσε instead of Προεφητευσεν (-1)
14 – 6 does not have και after δε (-3)
14 – 6 reads ηλθε instead of ηλθεν (-1)
15 – 6 reads του at the beginning of the verse (+3)
15 – 6 reads παντας instead of πασαν (+4, -3)
15 – 6 reads ασεβεις instead of ψυχην (+7, -5)
15 – 6 does not  have ασεβειας αυτων after εργων (-13)
15 – 6 reads λογων after σκληρων (+5)
16 – 6 reads εισι instead of εισιν (-1)

          Thus in Jude verses 11-16 in minuscule 6, there are 31 non-original letters, and 31 original letters are absent, for a total of 62 letters’ worth of corruption.  (Three letters’ worth of corruption are movable-nu variants.)  
          Now let’s look at the text of this passage in Papyrus 72: 

11 – P72 reads Βαλαακ instead of Βαλααμ (+1, -1)
11 – P72 reads μεισθου instead of μισθου (+1)
11 – P72 reads αντιλογεια instead of αντιλογια (+1)
12 – P72 reads σπειλαδες instead of σπιλαδες (+1)
12 – P72 reads συνευχομενοι instead of συνευωχουμενοι (-2)
12 – P72 reads πυμενοντες instead of ποιμαινοντες (+2, -4)
12 – P72 reads νεφελε instead of νεφελαι (+1, -2) 
13 – P72 reads θαλασης instead of θαλασσης (-1)
13 – P72 reads απαφριζοντα instead of απαφριζοντα (+1, -1)
13 – P72 reads πλανητε instead of πλανηται (+1, -2)
13 – P72 does not have ο after οις (-1)
13 – P72 reads εωνα instead of αιωνα (+1, -2) 
13 – P72 reads τετηρητε instead of τετηρηται (+1, -2)
14 – P72 reads Επροφητευσεν instead of Προεφητευσεν (+1, -1)
14 – P72 reads αγιων αγγελων instead of αγιαις (+9, -3)
14 – P72 does not have αυτου after μυριασιν (-5)
15 – P72 reads ελεγξε instead of ελεγξαι (+1, -2)
15 – P72 reads περει instead of περι (+1)
15 – P72 does not have των εργων ασεβειας αυτων ων ησεβησαν και περι παντων after the second παντων.  The copyist’s line of sight apparently drifted from one occurrence of παντων των to the next one.  (-44)
16 – P72 reads γογγυστε instead of γογγυσται (+1, -2)
16 – P72 reads εαυτω instead of εαυτων (-1)
16 – P72 reads πορεομενοι instead of πορευομενοι (-1)
[Note:  The copyist of P72 skipped from μεμψιμοιροι to και in the text, but he corrected this mistake by writing κατα τας επιθυμιας εαυτω πορεομενοι in the lower margin of the page.]
16 – P72 does not have το after και (-2) 
16 – P72 reads ωφελιας instead of ωφελειας (-1)
16 – P72 reads χαρειν instead of χαριν (+1)

          Thus, in Jude verses 11-16 in Papyrus 72, there are 24 non-original letters, and 79 original letters are absent, for a total of 103 letters’ worth of corruption.  (Thirty-six letters’ worth of corruption involves itacisms or movable-nu.) 

          Once again, the text of minuscule 6, though far from optimal, resembles the text in the Nestle-Aland compilation more closely than does the text of Papyrus 72.  Compared to Papyrus 72, minuscule 6 has 39% less corruption in this passage.  In Jude verses 11-16, the transmission-stream of minuscule 6 – over 1,100 years long – resisted corruption significantly better than the 230-year-long transmission-stream of Papyrus 72.    

(Readers are invited to check the data and math in this post.)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Hand-to-Hand Combat: P72 versus Minuscule 6

          Papyrus 72 is one of the participants in today’s hand-to-hand contest.  It is possibly the oldest substantial manuscript of the book of Jude, being usually assigned a production-date in the late 200’s or early 300’s.  (Papyrus 78 may be slightly older but it is a fragment, containing less than half of Jude’s 25 verses.)  Papyrus 72 contains much more than the Epistle of Jude; it also contains First Peter and Second Peter and some other compositions – but today we will focus on its text of Jude, and not the entire book, but just the first 10 verses.  You can access page-views of P72 at the website of the Vatican Library
          In the opposite corner, we have minuscule 6, from the 1200’s.  Minuscule 6 is one of the manuscripts known to European researchers in the 1500’s; it was cited by Stephanus as witness #5, that is, εʹ, in his 1550 edition of the Greek New Testament.  Microfilm-images of the pages of minuscule 6 can be viewed at the website of the National Library of France; it is catalogued as MS Grec. 112.  The text of Jude begins on page-view 137.  Minuscule 6 is not your typical manuscript; it sometimes shares unusual readings with the important minuscules 1739 and 1881. 
          It is not uncommon to read claims to the effect that the manuscripts used by researchers in the 1500’s were “late and inferior.”  So you might expect that an Alexandrian manuscript made around 300 will prove to be far more accurate than such a medieval manuscript.  Will that be what we observe when P72 and minuscule 6 square off in the ring?            
          Let’s find out.  Today’s battleground consists of the first 10 verses of the Epistle of Jude.  The rules used for the previous contests apply here:  the Nestle-Aland compilation will be the standard of comparison.  Nomina sacra and other decipherable contractions are not considered variants as such.  Transpositions are mentioned but are not included in the totals.  Words in brackets in the NA compilation will be treated as part of the text.  In addition, I have defined P72’s text as the text that left the copyist’s hand; that is, the text of P72 that is evaluated here includes corrections made by the copyist as he wrote.         

Papyrus 72, compared to NA27:

1 – no differences
2 – P72 reads πληθυνθιη instead of πληθυνθειη (-1)
3 – P72 reads ποιησαμενος instead of ποιουμενος (+3, -2) 
3 – P72 reads του before γραφειν (+3)
3 – P72 reads γραφιν instead of γραφειν (-1)
3 – P72 reads περει instead of περι (+1)
3 – P72 reads επαγωνιζεσθε instead of επαγωνιζεσθαι (+1, -2)
3 – P72 reads πειστει instead of πιστει (+1)
4 – P72 reads παλε instead of παλαι (+1, -2)
4 – P72 reads προγεγραμενοι instead of προγεγραμμενοι (-1)
4 – P72 reads χαρειτα instead of χαριτα (+1)
4 – P72 does not read νομον; the copyist wrote this word but then crossed it out. (-5)
4 – P72 reads κν ιην χρν ημων instead of κν ημων ιην χρν (transposition)
5 – P72 reads Υπομνησε instead of Υπομνησαι (+2, -1)
5 – P72 does not have υμας after ειδοτας (-4)
5 – P72 reads απαξ παντα οτι θς χρς instead of παντα οτι ο κς απαξ (transposition) (+4, -2)
5 – P72 reads εγ instead of εκ (+1, -1)
5 – P72 reads Εγυπτου instead of Αιγυπτου (+1, -2)
5 – P72 reads πειστευσαντας instead of πιστευσαντας (+1)
6 – P72 reads απολειποντας instead of απολιποντας (+1)
6 – P72 reads αειδειοις instead of αιδιοις (+2)
7 – P72 reads Γομορα instead of Γομορρα (-1)
7 – P72 reads ε instead of αι (+1, -2)
7 – P72 reads περει instead of περι (+1)
7 – P72 reads απελθουσε instead of απελθουσαι (+1, -2)
7 – P72 reads τερας instead of ετερας (-1)
7 – P72 reads προσκειντε instead of προκεινται (+2, -2)
7 – P72 reads διγμα instead of δειγμα (-1)
7 – P72 reads εωνιου instead of αιωνιου (+1, -2)
8 – P72 does not have μεν after σαρκα (-3)
8 – P72 reads μειενουσιν instead of μιαινουσιν (+3, -3)
8 – P72 reads αθετουσι instead of αθετουσιν (-1)
8 – P72 reads βασφημουσιν instead of βλασφημουσιν (-1)
9 – P72 reads Μιχαης instead of Μιχαηλ (+1, -1)
9 – P72 reads Μουσεως instead of Μωυσεως (+1, -1)
9 – P72 reads επειτειμησαι instead of επιτιμησαι (+2)
10 – P72 reads υδασιν instead of οιδασιν (+1, -2)
10 – P72 reads επειστανται instead of επιστανται (+1)
10 – P72 reads φθιρονται instead of φθειρονται (-1)

The text of Jude verses 1-5
in minuscule 6
Thus when we examine the contents of verses 1-10 of the Epistle of Jude in Papyrus 72, using NA27 as the standard of comparison, we find that 38 non-original letters are present, and 50 original letters are absent, for a total of 88 letters’ worth of corruption, most of which are spelling-related. 

Now let’s compare the text of minuscule 6 to NA27:

1 – 6 reads χυ ιυ (transposition)
1 – 6 reads εθνεσι instead of εν Θεω (+5, -4)  [Regarding this variant, which is not mentioned in Metzger’s Textual Commentary, or in the NET, or in the NKJV’s footnotes, see Robert Waltz’s comments.]
1 – 6 reads ηγιασμενοις instead of ηγαπημενοις (+3, -3)
2 – no differences
3 – 6 reads υμων instead of ημων (+1, -1)
3 – 6 reads εχων instead of εσχον (+1, -2)
4 – 6 reads χαριν instead of χαριτα (+1, -2)
5 – 6 reads ουν instead of δε (+3, -2)
5 – 6 does not have υμας after ειδοτας (-4)
5 – 6 reads Ις instead of ο Κς (+1, -2)
6 – no differences.
7 – 6 reads τουτοις τροπον instead of τροπον τουτοις (transposition)
8 – 6 reads μιαινουσι instead of μιαινουσιν (-1)
8 – 6 reads αθετουσι instead of αθετουσιν (-1)
9 – 6 reads Μωσεως instead of Μωυσεως (-1)
9 – 6 reads ετολμησε instead of ετολμησεν (-1)
9 – 6 reads αλλ instead of αλλα (-1)
10 – 6 reads οιδασι instead of οιδασιν (-1)

Thus in minuscule 6 in the first 10 verses of Jude, 15 non-original letters are present, and 26 original letters are absent, yielding a total of 41 letters’ worth of corruption. 

The score of minuscule 6 improves when the text of NA28 is the standard of comparison.  One of the newly adopted readings in NA28 is in verse 5; instead of “πάντα ὅτι [ο] κύριος απαξ,” the text of NA28 reads  απαξ παντα οτι Ιησους.  This implies a transposition in the text of minuscule 6, but it also brings minuscule 6’s total amount of corruption down to 14 non-original letters present and 24 original letters absent, yielding a total of 38 letters’ worth of corruption.  When P72’s score is compared to NA28, its score also improves, by a single letter, to 87.    

Thus, in Jude verses 1-10, when NA28 is used as the standard of comparison, minuscule 6 has only 44% as much corruption as P72 does.  Papyrus 72, our earliest complete manuscript of Jude, had a transmission-stream only 230 years long (positing its production in 300 and the composition of the Epistle of Jude around the year 70).  Minuscule 6, one of those “late and inferior” manuscripts known to Reformation-era scholars in the mid-1500’s, had a transmission-stream that was about 1,050 years long.  In the first 10 verses of Jude, the copyists in P72’s transmission-line in Egypt introduced twice as much corruption in one-fourth as much time.

(Readers are invited to check the data and math in this post.)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fifty Manuscripts at the Vatican Library

          The Vatican Library – officially known as the Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, or BAV – contains a lot of manuscripts, including some New Testament manuscripts.  The Polonsky Foundation Digitalization Project aims to digitalize page-views of manuscripts in the Vatican Library and the Bodleian Library – with a priority on Bibles and Biblical commentaries. 
          Here are some of the Biblical manuscripts which can presently be viewed online, along with brief descriptions and notes.  You can use the embedded links to go directly to the page-views.  (This is not an exhaustive list.  There are many Biblical manuscripts in Latin not mentioned here.)

Papyrus 75:  Extant in Luke 3-24 and John 1-15, the text of this early (c. 225) manuscript closely resembles the text of Codex Vaticanus. 

Papyrus 72:   includes the text of First Peter, Second Peter, and Jude, from the late 200s or early 300s. 

Codex Vaticanus (B, 03), produced around 325, is regarded by many textual critics as the most important of all New Testament manuscripts. 

Codex S (028), also called Codex Guelpherbytanus B, is an uncial manuscript of the Gospels, made in 949.  Elephants are among the animals accompanying the hollow-uncial text of Ad Carpianus near the beginning of the manuscript.  The pericope adulterae begins on 197r.  It is given its own title in the upper margin.  After John 7:53 the lector is instructed to skip to 8:12 and resume reading there.  A large red asterisk is in the side-margin beside the beginning of John 8:3.  The entire pericope adulterae is accompanied by asterisks.  The Gospels are followed by Gospel-lections for Easter-week.

Codex Basilianus (046) (Vat. Gr. 2066), is an uncial manuscript of Revelation, produced probably in the 800s.  It also contains some patristic compositions.  The book of Revelation begins on 259r.   

GA 137 (Vat. Gr. 756) is a minuscule manuscript of the Gospels, produced probably in the 1100s.  The text of Mark is accompanied by the Catena Marcum attributed to Victor of Antioch.  The claim that “asterisks follow v. 8 in 137” is refuted by consulting 150v, where a red “+” appears at the beginning of 16:9, intended to draw the reader’s attention to the note (a normal part of the Catena Marcum) at the foot of 151v, which is also accompanied by a red “+”.  Matthew 1:1 is on 14r.

GA 150 (Pal. Gr. 189) is a Gospels-manuscript from the 1000s.

GA 151 (Pal. Gr. 220) is a manuscript of the Gospels with commentary-material in outer margins, produced probably in the 900s.  A composition by Eusebius, Answers to Questions about the Gospels asked by Stephanus & Marinus begins on 61r.  A transcription of the text of this composition is on the even-numbered pages in Roger Pearse’s Eusebius of Caesarea – Gospel Problems & Solutions, pages 6-128.  This is followed by the chapter-list for Mark and a miniature of Mark; the text of Mark begins on 100r.  Notably, “Isaiah the prophet” is read in Mark 1:2.  Luke begins on 133r.  John begins on 186r.  

GA 157 (Urb. Gr. 2) is one of the most important of all minuscule copies of the Gospels, produced in 1122 for the family of the Byzantine emperor.  It has the Jerusalem Colophon after each Gospel.  

GA 162 (Barb. Gr. 449) is a manuscript of the Gospels, written in strong black ink with red initials at the beginnings of sections.  Luke 11:2, on 151v, features a notable textual variant.

GA 389 (Ott. Gr. 297) is a Gospels-manuscript from the 1000s.  Matthew 1:1 is on 7r; Mark 1:1 is on 56r; Lk. 1:1 is on 88r; Jn. 1:1 is on 142r.  The pericope adulterae begins on 157r.

GA 390 (Ott. Gr. 381) is a manuscript of the New Testament, except Revelation, made in 1281 or 1282.  The Acts and the Epistles appear before the Gospels:  Acts (9r), Romans (51r), First Cor (66v), Second Cor (81b), etc., Hebrews (131r), James (143v), First Peter (148r), Second Peter (152v), First John (156r), Jude ends on 163r.  Matthew begins on 190r; Mark begins on 232r; Luke begins on 261r; John begins on 304r.  

GA 629 (Ottobianus Gr. 298) is a Latin-Greek manuscript from the 1300s or 1400’s known for the presence of the Comma Johanneum (without its final phrase) in Latin and in Greek, on 105v.

GA 850 (Barb. Gr. 504) is mostly a commentary by Cyril of Alexandria, but it includes text from John 7:25-10:18

GA 880 (Ott. Gr. 208) is a manuscript of the Gospels from the 1400s.  Mark 1:1 is on 103r, Luke 1:1 is on 170r, and John 1:1 is on 281r.

GA 2195 (Ross. Gr. 135-138) is in four volumes:  GA 2195 – MatthewGA 2195 – MarkGA 2195 – Luke, and GA 2195 – John.  The pericope adulterae begins on 32v.

Lectionary 35 (Vat. Gr. 351), an uncial lectionary from the 900’s, containing only 25 lections, is a model of elegant penmanship.  

Lectionary 37 (Borg. Gr. 6) begins with the Heothina lections (from Mt. 28, Mk. 16, Lk. 24, and Jn. 20-21),

Lectionary 120 (Vat. Gr. 1156) features lots of gold, plus the Evangelists’ icon-miniatures.  This is truly a deluxe manuscript.  Notice the little ascension-scene on 52r, and the passion-scenes on 194v, and the intricate headpiece on 242r.

Lectionary 123 (Vat. Gr. 1522) was produced in the 900s.  It is written in large uncials, with titles written in gold; simple framework is also gold.  It features full-page miniatures of John, Luke, Matthew, and Mark.  Mark 16:9ff. begins on 177r.

Lectionary 130, part 1 (Ott. Gr. 2) is an uncial Gospels lectionary.  Lectionary 130, part 2 contains more of the same Gospels lectionary.  The Heothina begin on 330v; Mk. 16:9ff. is on 332r.

Lectionary 131 (Ott. Gr. 175) is a minuscule Gospels lectionary.

Lectionary 132 (Ott. Gr. 326) contains readings for the twelve major feasts.  It is written in white (and gold, especially for initials) on a black-dyed background.  

Lectionary 135 (lower writing) and lectionary 136 (upper writing) are two layers of a palimpsest; lectionary 135 (Barb. Gr. 472) consists of text from Matthew 24-25 and John 19, from the 700’s.

Lectionary 379 (Vat. Gr. 357) is an uncial Gospels-lectionary from the 800’s.

Lectionary 549 (Vat. Gr. 1523), produced around 1300, is a neatly written Gospels-lectionary with ornate headpieces. 2627 includes pages from an uncial lectionary (15r-16v).

OLD TESTAMENT MANUSCRIPTS (with some New Testament extracts)

The Barberini Psalter:   Most pages of this Psalter have illustrations, with a generous use of gold.  This manuscript, like Gospels-manuscript 157, was prepared for the family of Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus.  Ernest DeWald has written about this manuscript’s background.   Among the Odes at the end of the Psalter, Luke 1:46ff. begins on 266r; Luke 2:68ff. begins on 266v, and Luke 2:29ff. is on 271v.  On fol. 3, written in a much later hand than the main text, is John 1:1-17; this part of the manuscript has its own Gregory-Aland number; it is 2359. 

The Leo Bible, a volume of the Old Testament in Greek (Genesis-Psalms, with Odes at the end of Psalms), written in minuscule but with uncial Table of Contents.  On 564r, the Magnificat is given as Ode #9, extracted from Luke 1:46-55.  On 564r-564v, the prayer of Zechariah is given as Ode #10, extracted from the Gospel of Luke 1:68-80. 

Psalms with commentary, with gold-grounded pictures all the way through.

Psalms with commentary, continued.  An imperial manuscript.  It also has the Odes with extracts from Luke; see 485r & ff.

 An illustrated copy of the books of Kings (beginning with First Samuel).

Greek Old Testament, Part 1 and Part 2, with pictures and commentary. 


VL 12 (Codex Claromontanus) (Vat. Lat. 7223) is a manuscript of the Old Latin Gospels (Matthew from the 400’s; Mark, Luke, and John from the 600’s.  

The Ripoll (or, Farfa) Bible (Vat. Lat. 5729) is a Latin Bible with unusual illustrations.  Matthew begins on 371r.

Vat. Lat. 41 is a Latin manuscript of the Gospels. 

Barb. Lat. 637 is a Latin Gospels manuscript which features a very early capitula system.

Pal. Lat. 502 is a Latin lectionary.

Arch. Cap. S. Pietro D 154 is a manuscript of the Vulgate Gospels.

The Manfred Bible, a medieval Vulgate Bible with sumptuous historiated initials at the beginnings of books. On 399v, in Mark 1:1, “filii dei” is in the margin rather than in the text.  Extra books and an index of names follow Revelation.

The Wigbald Gospels (Barb. Lat. 570), an artistically executed Vulgate Gospels manuscript from the late 700’s, is comparable in some ways to the Book of Kells.

A Coptic manuscript of Acts (with text from chapters 16, 17, and 27). 

A Syriac copy of the Gospels (Vat. Sir. 12) produced in 548.

 A Syriac copy of the Gospels (Vat. Sir. 13) produced in 736.

The book of Psalms in five languages (Barb. Or. 2):  Ethiopic (Ge’ez), Syriac, Bohairic, Arabic, and Armenian. 

An Arabic manuscript (Vat. Ar. 18) of the Gospel of Luke. 

A Bohairic/Arabic manuscript of the Gospels (complete with Ad Carpianus and Eusebian Canon-tables at the beginning, plus book-introductions and icons before each Gospel) made in 1205.  Cross on 20v.  Mt. 1:1 on 23r.  Mk. 1:1 on 147r.  (Mark 16:9-20 is included after 16:8.)  Lk. 1:1 on 237r.  Jn 1:1 on 389v.  PA on 431r.  433r repeats part of 7:52 (at the same point where the text begins on 431r) before continuing with 8:12.

A liturgical scroll made of dyed parchment, from around the year 1100. 

A Greek bestiary from the 1500’s.  A manticore is on 27r; a unicorn is on 27v; a chameleon is on 35v; a dragon is on 39r; a squid is on 54v. 

          Page-views of each manuscript can be selected by using the slider at the bottom of the page; a vertical slider on the right of the page provides magnification.  If greater detail is needed, one can press + and Control simultaneously.
          There are many more manuscripts yet to be digitized!  Thanks are expressed to the Polonsky Foundation, the BAV, and other institutions which assisted in the task of making these page-views available to the public.

(All digitized images at the BAV are under copyright and may not be reproduced without permission from the BAV.)