Friday, September 22, 2017

More Combat: Papyrus 75 vs. Codex A

            The lopsided victory of minuscule 1324 over Codex Bezae in the previous contest has provoked some stunned members of the audience to clamor for more hand-to-hand combat – and I am pleased to say that a sensational heavyweight match awaits you today, ladies and gentlemen!  In the same arena, Papyrus 75 is about to face Codex Alexandrinus. 
            Papyrus 75 is undoubtedly the most textually significant Greek Gospels-manuscript to be discovered in the past eighty years.  When its text of Luke (most of chapters 3-24) and John (most of chapters 1-15) was first brought to light in 1952 as part of the Bodmer Papyri collection (XIV-XV), Papyrus 75 was assigned a production-date in the early 200’s (and even a production-date in the late 100’s was not considered out of the question). 
            Its discovery had a significant impact on English translations:  until the discovery of Papyrus 75, the majority of the small group of scholars responsible for compiling the base-text of the New Testament for the Revised Standard Version (first published in 1946) had been persuaded by Hort’s arguments about Western Non-Interpolations, and had therefore not included several phrases and verses in Luke 24.  The force of the early support that Papyrus 75 gave to those omitted phrases and verses – specifically
            ● the words “of the Lord Jesus” in 24:3,
            ● the words “He is not here!  He is risen!” in 24:6,
            ● all of Luke 24:12,
            ● the words, “and said to them, ‘Peace unto you’” in 24:36,
            ● all of Luke 24:40, and  
            ● the words, “and they worshipped Him” in 24:52 –
seemed too much to resist.  Rather than appear to refuse to let evidence get in the way of a good theory, the omitted portions of Luke 24 were restored to the text by the time the New Revised Standard Version was released in 1989.  (This may say something about the instability of the compilers’ text-critical method as much as it says anything about Papyrus 75.)  Today, in the English Standard Version, those passages all appear in the text without even a footnote to remind people that they were ever removed before Papyrus 75 was known. 
            Such is the hard-hitting power of our first combatant, Papyrus 75, which in 2007 became part of the collection in the Vatican Library.
            Facing Papyrus 75 in today’s contest is a manuscript that needs no introduction:  Codex Alexandrinus has long been hailed as one of the most important manuscripts of the New Testament.  Its production-date is generally assigned to the early 400’s.  Codex A, also known as 02, is not a complete New Testament (it is missing Matthew 1:1-25:6, and some pages in John).  Its Gospels-text is often described as basically Byzantine, and in Acts and the Epistles it is often described as basically Alexandrian, but there are quite a few divergent readings.  For the book of Revelation, Codex Alexandrinus is widely considered the best extant manuscript (far superior to Codex Sinaiticus). 
            Codex Alexandrinus was not available to European scholars until 1527, when it was presented as a gift from Cyril Lucar, the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, to king Charles I of England.  It immense value was soon recognized.  In the early 1700’s, when the innovative researcher Richard Bentley (1662-1742) was not exposing literary forgeries, editing classical works, preaching, or corresponding with Isaac Newton, he studied Codex Alexandrinus assiduously.  On one occasion (specifically, on October 23, 1731), he rescued the manuscript from a fire.  Bentley considered Codex A the best New Testament manuscript in the world. 
A replica of Papyrus 75's
text of Luke 8:19-25.
See the digital photo at the
Vatican Library's website.
            Papyrus 75 shall go first in today’s contest.  Here is a comparison between Luke 8:19-25 in Papyrus 75 and in the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th edition: 

19 – no variants.
20 – P75 reads απηγγελλη instead of απηγγελη (+1)
20 – P75 does not have σου after μητηρ (-3)
21 – P75 reads αυτον after προς instead of αυτους (+1, -2)
22 – P75 does not have αυτος after the first και (-5)
22 – P75 reads ανεβη instead of ενεβη (+1, -1)
23 – P75 transposes to εις την λιμνην ανεμου (transposition) [The parchment is damaged here but there is no discernible reason to suspect a variant within the word λιμνην.]
24 – no variants.
25 – P75 does not have και υπακουουσιν αυτω (-18)

            Thus, the text of Luke 8:19-25 in Papyrus 75 contains 3 non-original letters, and is missing 29 original letters, for a total of 32 letters’ worth of corruption.  Removing minor orthographic variants from the equation, Papyrus 75 contains 1 non-original letters, and is missing 28 original letters, for a total of 29 letters’ worth of corruption.
            That’s pretty good!  If minuscule 1324 were Papyrus 75’s opponent in today’s contest, 1324 would lose. 
            Now Codex Alexandrinus steps into the ring.  Let’s see how its text of Luke 8:19-25 – written down about 200 years after Papyrus 75 was produced – compares:

19 –  Codex A reads Παρεγένοντο instead of Παρεγένετο (+2, -1)
20 – Codex A reads Καὶ before ἀπηγγέλη instead of δὲ after it (+3, -2)
20 – Codex A reads λέγοντων after αὐτῷ (+8)
20 – Codex A reads σε θέλοντες instead of θέλοντες σε (transposition)
21 – no variants.
22 – no variants.
23 – no variants.
24 – Codex A reads ἐγερθεὶς instead of διεγερθεὶς (-2)
25 – no variants.

            Codex A thus has 13 non-original letters, and is missing 5 original letters, yield a total of 18 letters’ worth of corruption. 
            Winner:  Codex A.

Some Post-Fight Analysis:  Annual Corruption Rates

            Let’s step back from the individual combatants for a minute and see what the results of this little contest might say about the transmission-lines that they represent.
            On the basis of this small sample, let’s make some calculations with the following premises in play:
            ● The production-date of the Gospel of John is A.D. 90.
            ● The Gospel of Luke has 1,151 verses.
            ● The Gospel of John has 879 verses.
            ● Papyrus 75 was made in 225.
            ● Codex A was made in 400.
            ● The results in Luke 8:19-25 are typical throughout the text of Luke and John.

            With these assumptions in place, the annual corruption rate of each manuscript’s transmission-line can be calculated.  In the course of 135 years, the copyists in P75’s transmission-line introduced 29 letters’ worth of corruption in six verses.  Thus, on average (relying on this small sample), the copyists in Papyrus 75’s transmission-line introduced .215 letters’ worth of corruption each year, in each six-verse segment of Luke and John.  Since there are 338 six-verse segments in Luke and John, a total of 72.6 letters’ worth of corruption each year is implied.  At that rate, by the time Papyrus 75 was made, its text of Luke and John would be expected to contain 9,800 letters’ worth of textual corruption.

            Meanwhile, in Codex A’s transmission-line – the transmission-line which perpetuated Codex A’s essentially Byzantine text of the Gospels – only 18 letters’ worth of corruption was introduced in Luke 8:19-25 in the course of 310 years, yielding an annual corruption rate per six verses of .058 letters per year.  Calculating that much corruption in each six-verse segment of Luke and John, the copyists in Codex A’s ancestry introduced 19.6 letters of corruption in the text of Luke and John each year, on average, which means that by the time Codex Alexandrinus was made, its text of Luke and John would be expected to contain 6,077 letters’ worth of corruption.
            In other words, based on the performance of the copyists in these two manuscripts’ transmission-lines in this particular passage, the expectation that Codex A, rather than Papyrus 75, will have a more faithful text at any given point, is entirely justified, even though Codex A’s text’s transmission-line is over twice as long (310 years) as that of Papyrus 75 (135 years).

            Finally, it should be noticed that the non-inclusion of και υπακουουσιν αυτω in Luke 8:25 is attested not only by Papyrus 75 but also by Codex Vaticanus, which confirms (along with an abundance of other rare agreements) a rather close historical relationship between the two.  That is, they share the same transmission-line.  If the annual corruption rate of Papyrus 75’s transmission-line were extended to the year 325 (i.e., if the Alexandrian copyists continued to add 72.6 letters’ worth of corruption to the text of Luke and John each year, up to the approximate production-date of Codex Vaticanus), then by 325, the text of Luke and John in the Alexandrian transmission-line at the time when Codex Vaticanus was made would have contained 17,061 letters’ worth of corruption.  Thus, in the text of Luke and John, almost three times as much corruption would be in Codex B’s transmission-line when Codex B was made, as would be in Codex A’s transmission-line when Codex A was made.


Readers are invited to double-check the data and calculations in this post.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hand to Hand Combat: Codex D versus 1324

            It’s time once again for hand-to-hand combat!  Today’s combatants are Codex Bezae and minuscule 1324.  The arena is Luke 8:19-25.
            Codex Bezae, also known as Codex 05 and as Codex D, is named after Theodore Beza, an important Protestant theologian and textual researcher of the 1500’s who owned the manuscript, and who donated it to Cambridge University in 1581, where it resides to this day.  (Because it is at Cambridge, it is also known as Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis.) 
            Readings from Codex Bezae were cited, albeit inaccurately, in the footnotes of Stephanus’ 1550 edition of the Greek New Testament.  This poses a problem for those who claim that the Textus Receptus was compiled using only late manuscripts, because Codex D is not late.  It has been assigned to the end of the 300’s or early 400’s by David C. Parker (though earlier researchers considered it a century younger).  It is the primary Greek support for what has been called the “Western” text of the Gospels. 
            Codex Bezae is a Greek-Latin manuscript; it contains not only the Greek text of (most of) the Gospels and Acts, but also the Latin text, on alternating pages, so if one opens the codex to any undamaged portion, the Greek text of a passage will be on the page to the reader’s left, and the Latin text of approximately the same passage will be on the page to the reader’s right.  (Also, a Latin page containing a snippet of text from the end of Third John survives, testifying that the codex originally had more books than it does now.)
            Minuscule 1324 is a Greek Gospels-manuscript from the 1000’s, and is part of the collection held by the Jerusalem Patriarchate; it is catalogued as Panagios Taphos 60.  Before the text of the Gospels begins, 1324 has the Eusebian Canon-tables, elaborately decorated, and before the canon-tables is Ad Carpianus (a letter from Eusebius to Carpian, which serves as a manual on how to use the canon-tables to find parallel-passages in the Gospels).
            Notably, the text of Ad Carpianus is framed within a quatrefoil, similar to the same feature in minuscule 157, and also like the empty framework found in minuscule 1191 (a Gospels-manuscript at Saint Catherine’s monastery), and like the format of the Armenian text of Ad Carpianus in Walters MS 538 – but especially reminiscent of the cut-out framework of Ad Carpianus in minuscule 2812 (the Zelada Gospels).
            Miniscule 1324 is a beautiful manuscript, neatly written and finely illustrated.  Each Gospel in Codex Bezae begins with red text (see Matthew, John, Luke, and Mark), and its lettering is sufficiently neat, but the artistry in 1324 is far more impressive; each Gospel in 1324 has a full-page illustration of its author, and an intricately detailed headpiece (see Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).  (In these pages, by the way, notice the use of a metobelus-mark (÷) to signify the beginning of a section of text, rather than a textual variant.)  In addition, the parchment of the pages on which the chapter-lists for the Gospels are written has been dyed purple – a rare and sumptuous feature.
            But how will the text of 1324 perform in the ring against an opponent that is 600 years older?  Let’s find out by comparing the text of Luke 8:19-25 in each manuscript to the text of the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece.     
            First, the rules of the ring:  each non-original letter in a manuscript’s text is counted as a point, and each original letter that is absent in a manuscript’s text is counted as a point; the winner will be the manuscript with fewer points.  Transpositions are mentioned but not counted if no text is lost.  Contractions are not considered variants.  Itacisms, iota adscript/subscript, and movable-nu variants will be listed and counted, but a separate calculation will be made which does not take them into consideration. (These inconsequential variants are indicated by underlined verse-numbers.)  
            Here is a comparison of 1324’s text to the text of NA27: 

19 – 1324 reads Παρεγένοντο instead of Παρεγένετο (+2, -1)
19 – 1324 reads αυτωι instead of αὐτῷ (+1)
20 – 1324 reads Καὶ before ἀπηγγέλη instead of δὲ after it (+3, -2)
20 – 1324 reads λέγοντων after αὐτῷ (+8)
20 – 1324 reads σε θέλοντες instead of θέλοντες σε (transposition)
21 – 1324 reads αὐτόν at the end of the verse (+5) [This Byzantine reading is not noted in NA27.]
22 – no variants.
23 – 1324 reads ἀφύπωσε instead of ἀφύπωσεν (-1)
23 – no variants.
24 – 1324 reads Καὶ before προσεθόντες instead of δὲ after it (+3, -2)
24 – 1324 reads ἐγερθεὶς instead  of διεγερθεὶς (-2) [This Byzantine reading is not noted in NA27.]
24 – 1324 reads ἐπετίμησε instead of ἐπετίμησεν (-1)
24 – 1324 reads ἀνέμωι instead of ἀνέμῳ (+1)
24 – 1324 reads τωι instead of τῳ (+1)
24 – 1324 reads μεγάλη after γαλήνη (+6)
25 – 1324 reads ἐστιν after ποῦ (+5)
25 – 1324 reads τωι instead of τῳ (+1)
25 – 1324 reads αυτωι instead of αὐτῷ (+1)

            Thus, in these six verses, 1324 has 37 non-original letters, and is missing 9 original letters, for a total of 46 letters’ worth of corruption.  When inconsequential orthographic variants are removed from the equation, 1324 has 32 non-original letters, and is missing 7 original letters, for a total of 39 letters’ worth of corruption.  

            Now let’s compare Codex Bezae’s text of Luke 8:19-25 to NA27, and see how well “one of our oldest witnesses” (as described by Bart Ehrman) performs:

19 – D reads αυτου after μήτηρ (+5)
19 – D reads οτι after αυτω (+3)
20 – D reads εξω εστήκασιν instead of εστήκασιν εξω (transposition)
20 – D reads ζητουντες instead of ιδειν θέλοντες (+5, -9)
21 – D does not have προς after ειπεν (-4) 
21 – D reads αυτοις instead of αυτους (+1, -1)
21 – D reads οι before αδελφοι (+2)
22 – D does not have και after ημερων (-3)
22 – D reads αναβηναι αυτον instead of αυτος ενεβη (+6, -3, assuming a transposition)
23 – D reads λελαψ instead of λαιλαψ (+1, -2)
23 – D reads πολλη after ανεμου (+5)
24 – D reads κε κε (i.e., κυριε κυριε) instead of επιστατα επιστατα (+4, -16) [This could fairly be counted as +10, -16.]
24 – D reads ἐγερθεὶς instead  of διεγερθεὶς (-2)
24 – D reads επετειμησεν instead of επετιμησεν (+1)
24 – D does not have του υδατος (-9) 
25 – D reads εστιν after που (+5)

            Thus Codex D has 38 non-original letters in Luke 8:19-25, and is missing 49 original letters, for a total of 87 letters’ worth of corruption.  When inconsequential orthographic variants are removed from the equation, Codex D has 36 non-original letters, and is missing 47 original letters, for a total of 83 letters’ worth of corruption. 

            Let’s go to the scorecards.  When accretions are compared, 1324 wins:  it has only 32, whereas D has 36.  (Even if itacisms and such were considered, 1324 still wins by one.)  And when omissions are compared, 1324 virtually knocks Codex Bezae out of the ring:  1324 omitted 7 original letters but Codex D omitted 47!  The clear winner:  minuscule 1324! 

Some Post-Fight Analysis

            This comparison, though anecdotal, suggests that a few common axioms should be challenged or significantly adjusted:
            ● The oldest manuscripts should be preferred . . . right? 
            It seems perfectly reasonable to think that the older a manuscript is, the better its text is likely to be.  Every time the text was copied, there was a risk of the introduction of new corruptions.  The older a manuscript is, the fewer generations of copies are likely to be between it and the autograph. 
            However, the force of this mere likelihood shrinks when one observes the liberties that were taken by the copyists in the Western textual tradition in the second and third centuries.  Situated in locales where Greek and Latin competed to be the lingua franca, Western copyists prioritized the meaning of the text, and were not averse to replacing original expressions with different expressions that seemed to them to be more precise, more reverent, and less vulnerable to misunderstanding. 
            An example:  in Mark 7:19, Jesus says that after a man has eaten food, what remains – that is, dung – “goeth out into the draught,” as the KJV puts it.  The “draught” (Greek ἀφεδρῶνα) is a latrine or toilet.  Some English translators, softening Jesus’ earthy reference, translate this as “sewer” (see for example the MEV, NET, NLT, and NRSV).  Some others are yet more evasive, simply saying that the food is eliminated or expelled from the body (see for example the NKJV, ESV, CSB, NIV, and NASB).  Just as our modern English translators have tended to avoid Jesus’ reference to a latrine or toilet in Mark 7:19, so did the person or persons responsible for the Western Text:  Codex D replaces the latrine with a sewer, reading οχετον (i.e., “sewer”). 
            One might say that if the text of the Gospels were translated into English using a “dynamic equivalence” technique, occasionally resorting to paraphrase, and then translate the resultant English text back into Greek, the result would be similar to the Western Text.  Very many alterations to the form of the text resulted as copyists attempted to maximize what they perceived to be the meaning of the text – and this was happening in the 100’s and 200’s (not, as far as the Gospels-text is concerned, as a one-time revision, but as an ongoing process).  There is thus no reason to expect that manuscripts fished out of a transmission-stream heavily contaminated by Western corruptions will have fewer corruptions than  manuscripts from some other transmission-stream, regardless of their ages.
            If the editors of the Textus Receptus had trusted their earliest available manuscript in the 1500’s, then instead of introducing 33 letters’ worth of corruption (working from the premise that NA27’s compilation of Luke 8:19-25 is completely correct), they would have introduced 83 letters’ worth of corruption.

            ● Scribes tended to add rather than omit . . . right? 
            In Luke 8:24, 1324 displays a harmonization:  “great” (μεγάλη) was added to “calm” (γαλήνη), which brings the passage into closer agreement with the parallel-passage in Matthew 8:26 and Mark 4:39.  Yet, on balance, when compared to Codex D – a manuscript 500 years older – 1324 has slightly fewer accretions in Luke 9:19-25.  If (as Daniel Wallace has claimed) copyists were applying “If in doubt, don’t throw it out” as a basic principle, and were thus expanding the text for 600 years (from 400 to 1000), how is it that the Byzantine manuscript from the 1000’s has a text of Luke 8:19-25 with fewer accretions than a text from the early 400’s?       
            The more the text-critical canon, “prefer the shorter reading” is tested, the more its wrongness is demonstrated.  Yet the critical text of Nestle-Aland/UBS still agrees quite closely with the Westcott-Hort 1881 compilation, for which this canon was constantly in play.            

            ● The Western Text of the Gospels is characterized by expansion and elaboration . . . right?
            The Western Text, according to the late Bruce Metzger (see p. 213, The Text of the New Testament) “is usually considered to be the result of an undisciplined and ‘wild’ growth of manuscript tradition and translational activity.”  I draw your attention to the word “growth.”  A better term might be “change,” because it is not unusual at all to find readings in the Western Text that are shorter than their rivals.  In the six verses studied here, inasmuch as Codex D’s text has 36 non-original letters, and is missing 47 original letters, its text is 11 letters shorter than the original text (using NA27 as the basis of comparison). 
            In one variation-unit in this passage, the text of D is shorter because of the excision of perceived superfluity:  in verse 24, the phrase “of the water” has disappeared, and one can picture a Western copyist thinking, “There’s no need to say that the waves were made of water.”  The same phenomenon is observable in modern paraphrases; look in the CEV, the Easy-To-Read Version, the God’s Word translation, the hyper-paraphrase known as “The Message,” and the New American Bible for examples.    
            Therefore, when encountering a Byzantine reading that is longer than its Western rival, we should consider the intrinsic character of the Byzantine reading, and ask, “Could a translator consider the content of this variant superfluous?” and if the answer is “Yes” then the Western reading should be considered suspect.  Perhaps one could go further and say that the same approach should be in play when comparing Byzantine and Alexandrian readings – and it does not seem absurd to suggest that when Alexandrian and Western witnesses support the non-inclusion of a superfluous-seeming word or phrase, we may be seeing the effects of the same scribal tendency in both transmission-streams.
            ● The Textus Receptus is essentially a late medieval text . . . right? 
            Setting aside itacisms and other such variations, the Textus Receptus reads just like 1324 in Luke 8:19-25, with a few exceptions:
            22 – TR reads Καὶ εγένετο instead of Ἐγένετο δε (+3, -2)
            24 – TR reads προσεθόντες δὲ instead of Καὶ προσεθόντες (agreeing with NA27)
            24 – TR does not read μεγάλη after γαλήνη (agreeing with NA27)
Which means that the Textus Receptus is slightly more accurate in Luke 8:19-25 than 1324’s text.  If one were to select any medieval Byzantine manuscript at random, its text of Luke 8:19-25 would very probably trounce the text of Codex D in a direct comparison.  

Readers are invited to double-check the data and calculations in this post.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fact-checking Wallace: GA 2346, 2812, and 137

            In two earlier posts, we saw that minuscules 138, 264, 1221 do not contain an asterisk at Mark 16:9 to convey scribal doubt about Mark 16:9-20, contrary to a claim spread by Daniel Wallace.  Another manuscript which Wallace says has an asterisk accompanying Mark 16:9-20 is GA 2346.  For some time, digital photographs of 2346 have been available to view at the website of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts.  Mark 16:9 is on Image #376264.
GA 2346:  Mark 16:9 begins in
the ninth line of Scripture-text. 
            David Hester offered an analysis of the evidence in 2346 in his 2015 book Does Mark 16:9-20 Belong in the New Testament?, observing what you, too, can plainly see by consulting the photographs at CSNTM:  there is no asterisk in 2346 accompanying Mark 16:9-20.  Instead, there is a dot-lozenge between Mark 16:8 and 16:9, and in the left side-margin nearby are the symbols (τελος for “stop” and αρχη for “start”) which typically signify the beginnings and ends of lections.  At the top of the page, the rubric for the third Heothinon appears – “The third resurrection-gospel,” along with the incipit-phrase to be used by the lector when reading Mark 16:9 – “When Jesus rose early.” 
            The lack of an asterisk accompanying Mark 16:9 in 2346, and the presence of ordinary lectionary-related features in 2346, are just as obvious when consulting the reproduction of the relevant page in 2346 in the 1918 volume The Gospel Manuscripts of the General Theological Seminary (reproduced here, digitally enhanced). 
            If anyone still imagines that the dot-lozenge after Mark 16:8 in 2346 is not part of the lectionary-apparatus, let his doubts be dissolved via a consultation of
            ● the twelfth line of text in CSNTM Image 376496, where a dot-lozenge accompanies the beginning of John 1:43 (with τελος and αρχη in the margin),
            ● the ninth line of text in CSNTM Image 376499, where a dot-lozenge accompanies the beginning of John 2:12 (with τελος and αρχη in the margins), and   
            ● the first line of CSNTM Image 376511 – where a dot-lozenge accompanies the beginning of John 4:5, which is the beginning of chapter 5, the rubric of which appears at the top of the page, along with its incipit.

The next manuscript which Wallace claims to have an asterisk accompanying Mark 16:9-20 is GA 2812.  I described the relevant features of this manuscript in 2016, in the post Whatever Happened to the Zelada Gospels.  As I pointed out at the time, the Gospels-text in 2812 is accompanied in the margins by the Catena in Marcum (attributed in this case to Peter of Laodicea instead of Victor of Antioch).  A comet-symbol appears next to Mark 16:9, serving the same purpose as a footnote-number; in this case the symbol was intended to draw the reader’s attention to the note which accompanies the same symbol in the margin next to the end of Mark 16:20.  (The comet-symbol also appears at the foot of the page, probably to help guide readers to the next page to find the note about the marked passage on the preceding page.)  There we find the same part of the Catena in Marcum (already encountered in GA 138) that begins with Παρὰ πλείστοις ἀντιγράφοις οὐ κεῖται, and proceeds to advocate the inclusion of Mark 16:9-20, mentioning the presence of verses 9-20 in many accurate manuscripts, including the trustworthy Palestinian exemplar. 
For convenience I present here the Greek text of the note, line for line, as it is written in the margin of 2812:

Παρὰ πλείστοις ἀντιγράφοις οὐ
κεῖνται ταῦτα ἐπὶφερόμενα εν τῳ
κατ[α] Μαρκον ευαγγελιῳ ὡς νόθα νομί-
σαντες αὐτά τινες εἶναι.  Ἡμεῖς δε ἐξ ἀ-
κριβῶν ἀντ[ι]γράφων ὡς ἐν πλείστοις
εὑρόντες αὐτὰ, κατ[ὰ] τὸ Παλαιστι-
ναῖον εὐαγγέλι[ον] Μάρκου ὡς ἔχει ἡ ἀ-
λήθεια, συντεθείκαμ[εν] κ[αι] την ἐν
αὐτῶ ἐπὶφερομένην δεσποτικὴν
ἀνάστασιν μετὰ τὸ ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ. 

Those who may want examples of the use of the comet-symbol as a mark intended to draw readers’ attention to marginalia in 2812 may consult:
The page which has Mark 6:25, where the comet-symbol appears halfway through Mark 6:25, and in the margin at the beginning of the comments about the passage,
The page on which Mark 9 begins, where the comet-symbol appears at the beginning of a note about the Transfiguration in the lower margin,
The page which has Mark 13:24, on which the comet-symbol accompanies a brief note at the foot of the page, 
A page with the chapter-list for Luke, where the comet-symbol accompanies a numeral (150) in the left margin),  

           Let’s cover GA 137 today, too.  Wallace stated, “Parker, Living Text, 127, adds 137 to this list,” that is, the list of manuscripts which, he said, have an asterisk at Mark 16:9-20 to indicate scribal doubt.  Wallace was referring to David Parker, whose description of the testimony of GA 137 and 138 in his book The Living Text of the Gospels is as concise as it is inaccurate:  “Asterisks:  137 138.” 
            Page-views of GA 137 can be viewed at the website of the Vatican Library.  Unlike the page-views of GA 138, the photographs of GA 137 are in color.  The text of Mark in GA 137 is accompanied by the Catena in Marcum; the identity of the commentary can easily be made by consulting the note at the beginning of Mark 16 and confirming that it begins with Μετὰ τὴν ἀνάστασιν ἤλθεν ὁ ἄγγελος, καὶ τὸν λίθον ᾗρεν διὰ τὰς γυναῖκας, and that is how the marginalia begins at the foot of the page on page-view 309.
            (It should be noticed that the commentator, in the course of the comment on 16:1ff., utilizes Mark 16:9:  on page-view 310, beginning in the commentary that appears directly above the Scripture-text (Mark 16:3), the commentator (or the author from whom he has gotten an extract) mentions that in certain copies, the Gospel of Mark says that Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene.) 
            On page-view 310, Mark 16:9 begins in the seventeenth line of text – the same line in which Mark 16:8 ends.  Between the end of verse 8 and the beginning of verse 9, written slightly above the text-line, there is a small red cross-symbol, resembling a “+” sign.  It is hard to imagine how such an ordinary symbol could ever be confused with an asterisk.  It serves the same purpose as a footnote-number, referring the reader to a note in the margin.  The note (accompanied by another red “+”) appears at the foot of the page two pages later, on page-view 312.  It is the same note – part of the Catena in Marcum – that we encountered in 138 and 2812, beginning with Παρὰ πλείστοις.    

            Thus, out of the five manuscripts which Dan Wallace described as if they have an asterisk next to Mark 16:9-20 to convey scribal doubt about the passage – 138, 264, 1221, 2346, and 2812 –  none of them really fit that description, and neither does 137.  Minuscules 137, 138 and 2812 have a note about the passage (part of the Catena in Marcum) which supports the inclusion of the passage, and 263, 1221, and 2346 have ordinary marks – not asterisks – that are part of the lectionary-apparatus, and which recur elsewhere in the manuscripts.

For David Parker’s statement see The Living Text of the Gospels, page 127, © David Parker 1997, published by Oxford University Press.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Fact-checking Wallace: GA 264 and 1221

            In the previous post, we saw that although Daniel Wallace has claimed (in Perspectives on the Ending of Mark:  4 Views, published by Broadman & Holman) that five manuscripts – minuscules 138, 264, 1221, 2346, and 2812 – contain a simple asterisk alongside Mark 16:9-20 to convey scribal doubt about the passage, 138 contains a note – part of the Catena in Marcum – that affirms the legitimacy of the passage, and the asterisk it displays is merely a marker for the unnumbered section of text that begins at verse 9.  We also saw that 138 contains diple-marks – marks intended to convey that the text they accompany are Scripture – alongside Mark 16:9-20.
            Today, let’s take a look at the next two manuscripts in Dr. Wallace’s list of manuscripts which, he claims, contain a simple asterisk next to Mark 16:9-20 to convey scribal doubt:  264 and 1221.  
             Page-views of GA 264 can be accessed at the Gallica website; it is at the Bibliothèque nationale de France and is catalogued as Greek MS #65. 
            Alongside Mark 16:9 (on fol. 127, numbered on the page as 117), there is an asterisk, sure enough.  There is also a rubric at the top of the page (accompanied by a dot-lozenge), stating that the fourth [sic] Gospel-reading for the morning (an alternative way of referring to the Heothina-series) is on the page.  The asterisk appears at the beginning of the lection identified in the rubric. 
            Similarly, when we turn in 264 to the page that contains Mark 11:12, there is a rubric at the top of the page, consisting of the title for the thirty-third chapter of the book – “About the Withered Fig Tree.”  And, in the outer margin of the page next to the beginning of the thirty-third chapter (i.e., Mark 11:12), there is an asterisk.
            Similarly, when we turn in 264 to the page that contains Luke 18:2, there is a rubric at the top of the page, beginning with the title for the sixty-first chapter of the book – “The Unjust Judge.”  And in the outer margin of the page next to the beginning of the sixty-first chapter of the book (i.e., Luke 18:2), there is an asterisk.
            Similarly, when we turn in 264 to the page that contains Luke 19:29, there is a rubric at the top of the page, consisting of the title for the sixty-eighth chapter of the book – “The Colt.”  And in the outer margin of the page next to the beginning of the sixth-eighth chapter of the book (i.e., Luke 19:29), there is an asterisk.
            Similarly, when we turn in 264 to the page that contains Mark 14:12, there is a rubric at the top of the page, beginning with the title for the forty-fifth chapter of the book – “The Passover.”  And in the outer margin of the page next to the beginning of the forty-fifty chapter (i.e., Mark 14:12), there is an asterisk.
            I leave it to my readers to discern whether these asterisks were (a) intended to convey doubt about the genuineness of Mark 16:9, and Mark 11:12, and Mark 14:12, and Luke 18:2, and Luke 19:29, or (b) part of the lectionary apparatus, intended to show the lector the beginning of the section which was mentioned in the rubric at the top of the page.

 Page-view 111
of Minuscule 1221
            What about GA 1221?  This manuscript is in the library at St. Catherine’s Monastery near Mount Sinai, catalogued as Greek manuscript #184.  Its online page-views at the Library of Congress’ website, though black and white, are crisp and clear. 
            Even if only the portion of 1221 that contains the Gospel of Matthew had survived, we could reasonably deduce that when this manuscript was pristine, it contained Mark 16:9-20, because in the upper margin of the last page of Matthew, there is a rubric for the first selection in the Heothina-series of eleven readings about the resurrection – the third of which is Mark 16:9-20.  A manuscript with any part of the series denoted would have the rest as well.  But no deduction is needed, because the beginning of Mark 16:9 is plainly displayed on page-view 111
            There is no asterisk accompanying Mark 16:9-20 in GA 1221.  At the top of the page, there is the rubric for the third Heothinon, along with its incipit:  “The third reading about the resurrection – ‘At that time, Jesus rose from the dead early.’”  At the beginning of the lection named in the rubric, we find a dot-lozenge.  In addition, on each side of the dot-lozenge, there is the τελος-symbol signifying the end of the preceding lection, and the αρχη-symbol signifying the lection’s beginning. 
            Other such uses of the dot-lozenge can be found in 1221 at the following places; you can consult the pictures of the pages with these passages by following the embedded links:
                        ● Before Mark 2:13 (the beginning of chapter 6, for which the rubric appears in the lower margin),
Close-up:  a dot-lozenge
separates Mk. 16:8 and 16:9 in 1221,
between "stop" and "start" symbols.
                        ● Halfway through Mark 5:24 (the beginning of chapter 13, for which the rubric appears in the lower margin),
                        ● Halfway through Mark 6:7 (the beginning of chapter 14, for which the rubric appears in the upper margin).  
                        ● In Luke 1:24,
                        ● Before Luke 1:26 (which is especially notable because the τελος-symbol and  αρχη-symbol appear here the same way they appear between Mark 16:8 and 16:9),
                        ● Before Luke 1:57,
                        ● At the beginning of Luke 2:1 (the beginning of chapter 1, for which the rubric appears in the upper margin),
                        ● At the beginning of Luke 2:21,
                        ● Halfway through Luke 2:22,
A dot-lozenge separates
Luke 1:25 and 1:26 in 1221,
between "stop" and "start" symbols. 
                        ● At the beginning of Luke 2:42 (where, again the dot-lozenge is bracketed by a τελος-symbol and  αρχη-symbol – and then appears another, smaller dot-lozenge), and 
                        ● At the beginning of Luke 3:1 (the beginning of chapter 5, for which the rubric appears in the lower margin).

            Obviously, the dot-lozenge in 1221 between Mark 16:8 and 16:9 is not an asterisk, any more than the other dot-lozenges are – and, like the others, it has nothing to do with expressing scribal doubt. 

            Next:  Fact-checking Wallace about GA 2346, 2812, and 137.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Fact-checking Wallace: GA 138

            “Second, the scribe might simply place an asterisk or obelisk in the margin, indicating doubt about these verses.  Such a symbol is found in at least five manuscripts.”  So goes a claim made by Daniel Wallace in his chapter of Perspectives on the Ending of Mark:  4 Views.  Wallace was describing two ways in which “some doubts about the authenticity of the LE” [“LE” meaning Mark 16:9-20, the Longer Ending] are indicated by copyists – the first way being the inclusion of a note.  
            Wallace’s statement runs parallel to a claim popularized by the late Bruce Metzger in his A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament:  “Not a few manuscripts which contain the passage have scribal notes stating that the older Greek copies lack it, and in other witnesses the passage is marked with asterisks or obeli, the conventional signs used by copyists to indicate a spurious addition to a document.”
            Metzger’s vagueness is remarkably unhelpful; the members of the jury are left to wonder about how many manuscripts constitute “not a few,” and the little detail about the identity of those “other witnesses” – manuscripts without notes, but with asterisks or obeli – is not provided.
            Dr. Wallace, however, gave specifics:  in a footnote, Wallace listed the five manuscripts to which he referred:  “MSS 138, 264, 1221, 2346, and 2812, listed on 407 in Markusevangelium, ANTF 27.  Parker, Living Text, 127, adds 137 to this list.”

            With the addition of minuscule 137, the list of manuscripts which are claimed to have a simple asterisk accompanying Mark 16:9-20 to express scribal doubt about the passage reaches a total of six.  Page-views of all six of these manuscripts are online.  Let’s have a look!  Today we will consider the first manuscript in the list, GA 138.

Use this embedded link
to see the page-view with
Mark 16:9 in GA 138
at the Vatican Library
            GA 138 is at the Vatican Library, catalogued as Vat. Gr. 757.  It is a commentary-manuscript in which the text is written segment by segment, with the commentary interspersed between segments of text.  The text of chapter 16 of Mark begins on page-view 156, where 16:1-5 is presented as a segment of text (accompanied in the margin by diple-marks), identified in the margin as section #231.  (These sections are the Eusebian Sections, used in the Eusebian Canons.)  It is followed by commentary.  On the next page, after the rest of the commentary on 16:1-5, the text of 16:6-8 is presented (accompanied in the margin by diple-marks, and identified as sections #232 and #233).  This, too, is followed by commentary (some of which is based on Eusebius’ comments in Ad Marinum). 
            On the next page, as the commentary continues, the left margin of the writing is disrupted, but no text is lost; it appears that the copyist was avoiding a flaw in the parchment.  On the ninth line, the text of Mark 16:9 begins.  In the outer left margin there is a single asterisk, and diple-marks accompany the text of Mark 16:9-14. 
            After 16:14, the commentary continues, and when one examines the last five lines of the commentary on Mark 16:9-14, one finds the portion of the Catena in Marcum (a commentary, much of which consists of a compilation of extracts from various authors such as Origen and Chrysostom, attributed to Victor of Antioch) in which the commentator responds to a claim which was mentioned (but not approved) by Eusebius of Caesarea in his composition Ad Marinum, to the effect that verses 9-20 are not often encountered.  The commentator’s note begins in Greek with the words Παρὰ πλείστοις ἀντιγράφοις οὐ κεῖται: 
“In many copies, the rest does not appear there in the Gospel of Mark, for certain persons have thought it to be spurious.” [Or perhaps this last phrase means, “and because of this, certain persons have thought it to be spurious.”] “But we, from accurate copies – having found it in many of them, corresponding to the Palestinian Gospel of Mark  – have, as truthfulness requires, also included the account of the resurrection of the Master, after ‘for they were afraid.’”  
            (If one were to take in hand John Burgon’s 1871 book The Last Twelve Verses of Mark Vindicated, and turn to Appendix E, one would find this entire note, in Greek, with an apparatus indicating textual variations extracted from an assortment of manuscripts that contain the Catena in Marcum.)               
            After that, the text of Mark 16:15-18a (θανάσιμόν τι) completes the rest of the page.  On the next page, Mark 16:18b-20 is written (with diple-marks in the margin), followed by commentary.
            Plainly, GA 138 does not have “a simple asterisk.”  GA 138 contains the Catena in Marcum, including the note that affirms the presence of Mark 16:9-20 in many copies and in a Palestinian manuscript of Mark that was considered particularly accurate.  The asterisk in the margin alongside the beginning of Mark 16:9-20 is a side-effect of the non-inclusion of the passage in the Eusebian Canons; it does not express scribal doubt; it denotes the beginning of the section for which there was no Section-number.           

            Next:  Fact-checking Wallace about GA 264 and 1221.

Quotations from Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: 4 Views © 2008 Broadman & Holman Publishers, All rights reserved.
A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament is © 1971 by the United Bible Societies.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Versional Manuscripts at the Library of Congress

            The website of the Library of Congress provides page-views of dozens and dozens of Greek New Testament manuscripts, to which I provided links in earlier posts.  It also contains quite an impressive assortment of versional New Testament manuscripts – Arabic, Armenian, Ethiopic, Georgian, Slavonic, and Syriac are all represented.
            The members of the 1949-1950 expedition that photographed these manuscripts must have worked in a preternatural energetic flurry in order to collect all these page-views.  The manuscripts listed here represent just a fraction of the work involved; a total of 1,073 manuscripts were photographed.  They included not only manuscripts of Scripture but also patristic and liturgical works. Some of the compositions fall into such obscure categories that one might need a jargon-dictionary to sort it all out.  Such a resource is provided at the Library of Congress’ website, helping viewers to know the difference between a Sticherarion and a Synaxarion.  Also provided at the Library of Congress’ archives:  a tour of Saint Catherine’s monastery in pictures! It’s like visiting the monastery as it existed seventy years ago, minus the sand.    
            Without further ado, here is a list of 163 versional New Testament manuscripts at Jerusalem and Sinai, consisting of 56 Arabic manuscripts (this is not all of them!), 20 Armenian manuscripts, 1 Ethiopic manuscript, 27 Georgian manuscripts, 6 Slavonic manuscripts, and 53 Syriac manuscripts:      

Arabic New Testament Manuscripts at Jerusalem:
A page from Arabic MS
68 at St. Catherine's

Arabic 15 – Evangelion (Made in 1700’s)
Arabic 18 – Evangelion (Made in 1500’s)
Arabic 29 – Apostolos (Made in 1642)
Arabic 30 – Evangelion (Made in 1405)
Arabic 60 – Evangelion (Made in 1615)
Arabic 71 – Apostolos (Made in 1764)
Arabic 103 – Four Gospels (1100’s/1200’s)
Arabic 226 – Apostolos (Made in 1764)
Arabic 236 – Evangelion (Made in 1738)

Some Arabic New Testament Manuscripts at St. Catherine’s:
Arabic MS 74, page-view 68,
at Saint Catherine's.

Arabic Manuscripts 54 – Four Gospels – Four Gospels (900’s)
Arabic Manuscripts 68 – Four Gospels (1300’s), a decorated copy
Arabic Manuscripts 151 – Epistles and Acts (made in 867)  Unusual formatting of the text.
Arabic Manuscripts 310 – Epistles of Paul (late 900’s)  Neatly written.

Armenian New Testament Manuscripts: 
A page from the
King Gagek Gospels

Armenian 1924 – Four Gospels (A.D. 1064) braided cross frontispiece

Ethiopic New Testament Manuscript: 
Saint John in Ethiopic MS 11,
at Jerusalem.
Ethiopic 11 – Evangelion, Gospel of John (1600’s) (at Jerusalem)

Georgian New Testament Manuscripts at St. Catherine’s:

            Braided cross page.

Georgian New Testament Manuscripts at Jerusalem:
A page from Georgian MS
102 at Jerusalem.

Georgian 19 – Praxapostolos (1100’s/1200’s)
Georgian 28 – Evangelion (1400’s/1500’s)
Georgian 29 – Evangelion (1400’s/1500’s
Georgian 82 – Apostolos (1000’s/1100’s)
Georgian 93 – Four Gospels (1200’s-1400’s)
Georgian 102 – Four Gospels (1100’s-1300’s)
Georgian 103 – Four Gospels (1100’s-1300’s)
Georgian 116 – Apostolos (1200’s-1300’s)
Georgian 122 – Four Gospels (1200’s/1300’s)
Georgian 129 – Praxapostolos (1300’s/1400’s)
Georgian 160 – Four Gospels (1600’s/1700’s)
            Also notable: 
            Georgian 6 – Ephrem Syrus: Commentary on Epistles (1100’s)

Slavonic New Testament Manuscripts:
Slavonic (Slavic) Manuscripts 1 – Four Gospels (at St. Catherine’s) (production-date unknown)
Slavonic (Slavic) Manuscripts 2 – Four Gospels (at St. Catherine’s) (Made in 1532)
Slavonic (Slavic) Manuscripts 3 – Four Gospels (at St. Catherine’s) (production-date unknown)
Slavonic (Slavic) 39 – Apostolos (production-date unknown)
Slavonic Abraam 3 – Four Gospels (at Jerusalem) (1200’s)
The beginning of Matthew
in Slavonic MS Abraam 3.

Syriac New Testament Manuscripts at St. Catherine’s:    

Syriac MS 3 – Epistles of Paul (c. 600) – An important manuscript.
Syriac MS 30 – Gospels (late 300’s/early 400’s) This is the Sinaitic Syriac palimpsest.  The upper writing consists of biographies and martyrologies of female saints.  The lower writing is the Gospels text.
Two pages from Syriac MS
159 at St. Catherine's.
Syriac MS 135 – Four Gospels (1100’s-1200’s)
Syriac MS 231 – Four Gospels (1200’s-1300’s)

            Also notable:
            Syriac MS 59 – Homilies on John (c. 800)
            Syriac MS 19 – Homilies on Song of Songs (c. 700)

Syriac New Testament Manuscripts at Jerusalem:
Syriac 1 – Evangelion (Made in 1679)

That is a lot of versional New Testament manuscripts!

This post is presented in memory of Vickey Rose McCorkle, cherished sister in Christ.
“She has been a helper of many, and of myself also.”