Although the Byzantine Text of the Gospels is normally supported by about 85% (or more) of the extant Greek manuscripts at any given point, lists of the early Greek manuscript support for the Byzantine Text of the Gospels typically are very short, consisting mainly of Codex A (02, Alexandrinus) and (in Matthew, and in Luke ) Codex W (032, Washingtoniensis), with some support from Codex C (04, Ephraimi Rescriptus). Their testimony is often reinforced by the Gothic version and the Peshitta. Later, in the early 500’s, comes the testimony of the Purple Uncials (N, O, Σ, Φ). This testimony for the Byzantine Text is augmented by some patristic evidence from Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, and others. But are there any more manuscripts from this period that support the Byzantine Text – anything at all?
Yes, there are. One of them is 069, a small fragment from the Gospel of Mark. 069 was the third item listed by Grenfell & Hunt when they began publishing the results of the excavations conducted at
. The text of 069 agrees perfectly with the text printed in 2005 by Robinson and Pierpont in The New Testament in the Original Greek - Byzantine Textform. It was printed in Oxyrhynchus Papyri - Volume One, on
pages 7-8. Grenfell and Hunt described
this fragment more or less like this: Oxyrhynchus,
St. Mark’s Gospel – 10:50-51, -12
4.5 x 8.3 cm
Fragment of an early vellum codex containing part of St. Mark 10:50-51, -12, in a calligraphic uncial hand, probably of the fifth or sixth century. The manuscript to which the fragment belonged was of the same class as Codex Alexandrinus, and the part preserved agrees with the Textus Receptus.
[αυτου α]ναστας ηλ
θεν προς τον ιν·
και αποκριθεις λε
γει αυτω ο ις τι θ[ε
λεις ποιησω σο[ι
ο δε τυφλος ε[ιπε‾
κ[αι εις το ειρον
νος πα[ντα οψι
ας ηδη ουσης τη[ς
εις βηθανιαν με
[τ]α των δωδεκα·
[κ]αι τη επαυριον
When Codex W was discovered, it demonstrated that the Byzantine Text of the Gospel of Matthew and Luke was known in Egypt in late 300’s/early 400’s. The testimony of 069 has been overshadowed by W’s more famous and more substantial testimony, but 069 still should be noticed as a witness from the late 400’s or early 500’s to the existence of the Byzantine Text of Mark in
069 was given to the
in the early 1900’s – one of the perks of the investment the university had
made in Grenfell & Hunt’s excavation-work.
It is currently housed at the University of Chicago ,
as collection #2057. Images of the manuscript are online at the website of the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection – one
of the very first world-class collections of New Testament manuscripts that
became accessible online. Oriental
As I mentioned before, the text of 069 agrees perfectly with the Byzantine Text. Here is a list of its disagreements with the chief Greek representatives of other text-types.
Recto, line 2 (): 069 supports αναστας but ÀBDLΔΨΘ read αναπηδήσας.
Recto, line 3 (): 069 supports τον ιν but D Θ and 565 read αυτον.
Recto, line 4 (): 069 supports και but Θ and 565 read ο δε.
Recto, lines 4-5 (): 069 supports λεγει αυτω ο ις but ÀBLΔΨ read αυτω ο ις ειπεν.
Θ and 565 read λεγει αυτω. K Π Υ 700 read ο ις λεγει αυτω.
Recto, line 5 (): 069 supports τι θελεις ποιησω σοι but ÀBLΔΨ read σοι θελεις ποιησω.
Verso, line 1 (): 069 supports και before εις το ειρον. ÀBCLWΔΘ do not have και.
Verso, line 2 (): 069 supports και after εις το ειρον. D* does not have και.
Verso, lines 3-4 (): 069 and B support οψιας. ÀCL read οψε.
Verso, lines 4-5 (): 069 supports της ωρας. B does not have της ωρας.
Verso, line 8 (): 069 supports επαυριον. W reads αυριον.