In the previous four posts, I investigated the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece (which has the same text as the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament) to see how much of its text consists of distinctly Byzantine readings – readings found in the vast majority of manuscripts, but not in the two major Alexandrian codices (Vaticanus and Sinaiticus). In each sample-chapter, there was hardly any evidence of the use of the Byzantine Text in the compilation: In Galatians 1, NA is .3% distinctly Byzantine; in Luke 15, NA is 1% distinctly Byzantine; in John 20, the only distinctly Byzantine part of the NA-text is a single bracketed letter, and in Mark 11, the impact of the Byzantine Text is discernible in two places, totaling less than .2% of the text.
It is not an exaggeration to say that these samples indicate that 99.5% of the Nestle-Aland compilation can be reconstructed without consulting 99.5% of the manuscripts. That is, one could make a compilation very similar to the Nestle-Aland/
Today we turn to the final chapter of the Gospel of Matthew for one more investigation of the NA/
● At the beginning of verse 3, the copyist of Codex Vaticanus omitted the letter alpha at the end of the word ειδέα. The copyist of Codex Sinaiticus made a worse mistake, accidentally losing his place in the text and skipping from the αυτου at the end of verse 2 to the first αυτου in verse 3, thus losing the four words in between. NA adopted the Byzantine reading, ειδέα, which is also how correctors of B and À spelled the word.
● At the end of verse 7, the copyist of Vaticanus placed an itacism in the word
Galilee, so as to spell it
Γαλειλαίαν. Sinaiticus, however, has the
normal spelling, Γαλιλαίαν, and this is what is found in NA. A little further along in the verse, after
ιδου, B has ειπαν, and À has ειπα, neither of which was adopted in NA, which has
the widespread reading ειπον, agreeing with the Byzantine Text.
● At the end of verse 10, NA agree with B and with the Byzantine Text by reading απέλθωσιν, disagreeing with À’s reading έλθωσιν. But NA does not adopt B’s itacism in Γαλειλαίαν, reading instead Γαλιλαίαν and thus agreeing at this point with À and the Byzantine Text. Then, NA adopts κακει, agreeing with B but disagreeing with À and the Byzantine Text, which read και εκει. Each component of NA in this text-line agrees with either B or À.
● Near the beginning of verse 14, NA reads επι instead of υπο, thus agreeing with À and the Byzantine Text against B. A little later in the verse, NA adopts αυτον in brackets, thus disagreeing with B and À and agreeing with the Byzantine Text.
● In verse 15, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus do not have τα before αργύρια. NA, however, includes this word, thus agreeing with the Byzantine Text.
● At the beginning of verse 19, NA adopts ουν after Πορευθέντες (thus agreeing with B, but disagreeing with À and Byz) and then adopts βαπτίζοντες (thus agreeing with À and the Byzantine Text, but disagreeing with B, which reads βαπτίζαντες). Each component of this line agrees with either B or À.
Thus a careful comparison of the text of NA in Matthew 28 shows that its compilers’ use of the Byzantine Text is evident at the following points:
● In verse 3, where NA has ειδέα instead of ειδε.
● In verse 7, where NA has ειπον instead of ειπαν or ειπα.
● In verse 14, where NA has the word αυτον, within brackets.
● In verse 15, where NA has the word τα.
So one could say that the compilers of the NA/