Friday, March 16, 2018

Galatians 3 and 0176 - The Byzantine Text in Egypt

Let’s take a look at one of the earliest manuscripts of Paul’s epistle to the Galatians:  0176, a small uncial fragment from the 400s (or, perhaps, the late 300s).  Researcher Brice Jones described 0176 back in 2015 as the remains of a “miniature codex,” that is, a small book designed for personal use (as opposed to large codices that were intended to be the ancient equivalent of pulpit Bibles).  It is indeed rather small; the description that accompanies the page-views at the CSNTM reports that 0176 is only 8.7 cm x 5.7 cm.  When intact, 0176 would have probably resembled a Gideons New Testament.  It is housed in Florence, Italy at the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana.
The text that survives on this single parchment sheet, excavated in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, is from Galatians 3:16-24.  Here is the Byzantine Text of Galatians 3:16-24, adjusted to correspond to how the text was formatted by early copyists:  sacred names (God, Lord, Jesus, Christ) are abbreviated and underlined, and punctuation is reduced to a minimum.  The bold print represents text that has survived in 0176.  Red letters are letters in the Byzantine text that are not in 0176; green letters are letters in 0176 that are not in the Byzantine text: 

16  Τω δε Αβρααμ′ ερρηθησαν αι επαγγελιαι και τω σπερματι αυτου·  Ου λεγει και τοις σπερμασιν ως επι πολλων αλλ’ ως εφ ενος και τω σπερματι σου ος εστιν Χς.
17   Τουτο δε λεγω διαθηκην προκεκυρωμενην υπο του Θυ εις Χν ο μετα ετη τετρακοσια και τριακοντα γεγονως νομος ουκ ακυροι εις το καταργησαι την επαγγελιαν.
18  Ει γαρ εκ νομου η κληρονομια ουκετι εξ επαγ[ν]γελιας· τω δε Αβρααμ′ δι επαγγελιας κεχαρισται[ε] ο Θς.
19  Τι ουν ο νομος;  των παραβασεων χαριν προσετεθη αχρι ου ελθη το σπερμα ω επηγγελται διαταγεις δι’ αγγελων εν χειρι μεσιτου.

20  Ο δε μεσιτης ενος ουκ εστιν ο δε Θς εις εστιν.
21  Ο ουν νομος κατα των επαγγελιων του Θυ; Μη γενοιτο.  Ει γαρ εδοθη νομος ο δυναμενος ζωοποιησαι οντως αν εκ νομου ην η δικαιοσυνη.
22  Αλλα συνεκλεισεν η γραφη τα παντα υπο αμαρτιαν ινα η επαγγελια εκ πιστεως Ιυ Χυ δοθη τοις πιστευουσιν. 
23  Προ του δε ελθειν την πιστιν υπο νομον εφρουρουμεθα συγ[ν]κεκλεισμενοι εις την μελλουσαν πιστιν αποκαλυφθηναι.
24  Ωστε ο νομος παιδαγωγος ημων γεγονεν εις Χν ινα εκ πιστεως δικαιωθωμεν.

Although the text of 0176 has been classified as “mixed,” there seems to be no valid reason not to classify it as Byzantine, since its only deviations from the standard Byzantine text are trivial orthographic differences.  (This was noticed by Daniel Buck in the NT Textual Criticism discussion-group on Facebook.)  In verse 21, space-considerations require the inclusion of the phrase του Θυ (“of God”); otherwise the copyist would have begun the words that follow (Μη γενοιτο) further to the left.  Space-considerations seem to justify αχρις rather than αχρι in verse 19, but this is quite a minor difference (especially since the Hodges-Farstad 1982 Majority Text reads αχρις).   
The presence of an essentially Byzantine text of Galatians in use at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt in the 400s should elicit a question about how widespread it was, and about the plausibility of the theory that the Byzantine text’s popularity was limited to locales where John Chrysostom was influential. 

A few more observations round out this examination:
  The copyist used ekthesis (slight reverse indentation) to separate paragraphs, a feature also seen in Vaticanus and some other early manuscripts.  The initial Pi at the beginning of Galatians 3:23 is also somewhat larger than the other letters; in this respect the script resembles that of Codex Alexandrinus. 
● The reading εις Χν in Galatians 3:17 is supported not only by 0176 (at Oxyrhynchus) but also by Chrysostom (at Constantinople) and by the Peshitta (in Syria) and some Old Latin copies (in the West).  Its support is thus as widespread as the support for non-inclusion.  When one observes that the scribes of the text in Papyrus 46 and Codex Vaticanus managed to find a way to omit short phrases such as “of God” (του Θυ) in nearby 3:21, and also that a copyist could easily consider the phrase “in Christ” as out-of-place in a description of the establishment of the Law of Moses, it seems more reasonable to conclude that an omission yielded the shorter text, rather than that independent copyists reproduced the same accretion.  The phrase “in Christ” should therefore be retained in Galatians 3:17, as it is in the text of the Evangelical Heritage Version.
● The Alands’ categorizations of “mixed” texts (“Category III”), to whatever extent they are accepted, should be tested, in case other manuscripts that support the Byzantine Text have been improperly categorized, giving a false impression (spread by James White and others) that the Byzantine Text has less widespread support than it actually has.

You can see photographs of 0176 at the CSNTM website and elsewhere online.  Here is an artificially enhanced replica, with verse-numbers added and with the Byzantine text superimposed over the manuscript.


Midus Itis said...

Brother James,
A blessing to read how God preserves his word and keeps his promises.
"In Christ" is there in Galatians 3:17 in Codex 0176.
Below are my notes on "in Christ".
Courage and Godspeed.

Galatians 3:17 "in Christ"

All Reformation Bibles
Galatians 3:17 in Christ

Dort Study Bible : Translated by Haak
Galatians 3:17 "in Christ"
And this I say the covenant that was before now confirmed by God on Christ, by the Law which came four hundred and thirty years after, made no force that it should bring the promise to nought.

Actuum Apostolorum Et Epistolarum Tam Catholicarum Quam Paulinarum, Versio Syriaca Philoxeniana : Ex Codice Ms. Ridleiano In Bibl. Coll. Nov. Oxon. Reposito Nunc Primum Edita
Autor / Hrsg.: White, Joseph ; White, Joseph
Verlagsort: Oxonii | Erscheinungsjahr: 1803
Galatians 3:17 : Deo in Christo

Beza 1598 NT Greek & Latin
page 243
Galatians 3:17 "in Christ"

Elzevir Textus Receptus (1624)
Galatians 3:17 "in Christ"

maurice a. robinson said...

re: "Space-considerations seem to justify αχρις rather than αχρι in verse 19, but this is quite a minor difference (especially since the Hodges-Farstad 1982 Majority Text reads αχρις"

As the RP Preface points out, in that edition the movable Nu and Final Sigma were standardized throughout (primarily for electronic search purposes), without regard for specific "rules” relating to their presence or absence. Hence, in the RP edition, ACRI as well as MECRI always lack the final Sigma, while OUTWS always has the final Sigma as well as the movable Nu. HF, on the other hand, merely follow the later-developed "rules" in this regard.

Daniel Buck said...

Apparently the WH theory of a 4th century Byzantine origin really has died out. Here's Dr. Larry Hurtado two years ago on his own blog:
". . . the general force of the early manuscripts is against the priority of the “Majority/Byzantine” text. Despite its ardent little band of supporters, the evidence suggests that it is a form of text that developed across early centuries and began to form recognizably in the 6th century and thereafter."
This little page of parchment flies in the face of that theory. The easiest thing to do is to pretend, for all practical purposes, that it doesn't exist. Thus, dismissing it as a "mixed text.

James Shelton said...

Thanks James, for this helpful post and all the work behind it.
James Shelton