Friday, March 27, 2020

Hand to Hand Combat: D versus 505 in Mark 5

            Today, let’s compare the accuracy of Codex Bezae (D, 05) to medieval minuscule 505 (Harley MS 5538 at the British Library, from the 1100s).  Bart Ehrman has heralded Codex Bezae as “one of our oldest manuscripts” and D. C. Parker has given it a production date around the year 400 (although previous researched gave it a production-date somewhat later).  If a production-date around 400 or 500 is accepted, it ought to have the more accurate text, compared to a manuscript made 500 years later, right?  Nope.  The Gospels-text in Codex Bezae is one of the most inaccurate transcriptions that can be found in any Greek manuscript. 
           The main reason for this is that Codex Bezae’s text is “Western.”  The Western text is a paraphrastic text that developed in the second century.  The individuals who made it were more concerned with conveying the meaning of the text than with preserving its original form – possibly because they were transmitting not only the Greek text of the Gospels, but also the Latin text of the Gospels.   It should be understood that “Western” does not mean that this form of the text originated in the West.  The use of the term “Western” is only meant to convey that it became more popular in the West (especially in the Old Latin Gospels) than elsewhere.
            Codex Bezae is a Greek-Latin manuscript – each page with Greek text is followed by approximately the same passage in Latin on the following page – and occasionally, the Western text has been paraphrased.  (Paraphrasing could be done not only by the scribe of this particular manuscript, but by scribes much earlier in the transmission of its text.)  For example, in Mark 7:19b, the Latin text in Codex Bezae says (after the spelling is tidied up), “Sed in uentrem, et in secessum exit, purgans omnes escas.”  This is not unusual; the Vulgate text edited by Wordsworth and White says the same thing.  But on the accompanying page of Codex Bezae with Greek text, where most manuscripts (including B A L Π K M) read ἀφεδρῶνα ἐκπορεύεται, Codex D’s text reads instead ὀχετὸν ἐξέρχεται (and 7:19 begins Mark 7:19 with οὐ γὰρ εἰσέρχεται).  That is, excrement doesn’t just go into a latrine; it goes into the sewer (an ὀχετὸν is a sewer-drain).
            One might speculate that the Western paraphraser lived in a city with sewers, rather than in the countryside with latrines (or that he made the paraphrase for people who did so); the thing to see is that the Western Text has been paraphrased.
            Now let’s see who made the more accurate text:  the early Western paraphraser, whose work is echoed in Codex Bezae, or Byzantine copyists who transmitted the text found in GA 505.  (And along the way, we might ask ourselves, “Does it look like the Byzantine Text had the Western text as a source?)  The arena for today’s comparison is Mark 5:25-34 – the account of Jesus healing the woman (known traditionally as Saint Veronica) who had been afflicted with a bloody hemorrhage for 12 years.
            The usual rules for hand-to-hand combat apply:  nomina sacra contractions are not counted as variants; transpositions are merely noted; additions, deletions, and substitutions are counted letter-by-letter, and the standard of comparison is the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece.  However, I will make an adjustment due to one especially questionable reading in the N-A compilation (near the end of the analysis).

Mark 5:25-34 in Codex Bezae

25 – D has τις after γυνη (+3)
25 – D transposes to ετη ιβ
26 – D had η instead of και at the beginning (+1, -3)
26 – D does not have παρ before εαυτης (-3)
26 – D reads ωφελιθεισα instead of ωφεληθεισα (+1, -1)
26 – D reads επι instead of εις (+2, -2)
26 – D does not have ελθουσα (-7)
27 – D reads πε instead of περι.  The missing letters have been supplied by a corrector.  (-2)
27 – D, in the course of a transposition, reads οπισθεν instead of οπιθεν (+1)
27 – D, in the course of a transposition, has και before ηψατο (+3).  A corrector has overdotted the word.  
27 – D transposes εν τω οχλω to the end of the verse
28 – D begins the verse with λεγουσα εν εαυτη instead of ελεγεν γὰρ (+14, -9)
28 – D transposes after οτι to καν του ιματίων εαυτου αψωμαι (see next two variants)
28 – D reads του instead of των (+2, -2)
28 – D reads εαυτου instead of αυτου (+1)
28 – D reads ειαται instead of ιαται (+1)
29 – D reads ευθέως instead of ευθυς (+2, -1)
30 – D transposes and adds και between επιγνους and ὁ Ιης (+3)
30 – D does not have εν εαυτω (-7)
30 – D does not have εξ αυτου (-7)
30 – D reads απ αυτου και before επιστραφεὶς (+10) 
30 – D reads ειπεν instead of ελεγεν (+4, -5)
30 – D transposes at the end of the verse to ηψατο των ιματίων μου
31 – D, in the course of a transposition, reads δε instead of και (+2, -3)
31 – D, in the course of a transposition, reads λεγουσιν instead of ελεγον (+8, -6)
31 – D reads συνθλειβοντά instead of συνθλιβοντά (+1)
32 – D reads ειδειν instead of ιδειν (+1)
33 – D reads φοβηθισα instead of φοβηθεισα (-1)
33 – D reads διο πεποιήκει λάθρα after τρέμουσα (+17)
34 – D reads Ιης after ὁ δε (+3) 
34 – D reads σθι instead of ισθι (or κα instead of και) (-1)

TOTAL:  In Codex Bezae’s text of Mark 5:25-34, there are 80 non-original letters present, and 60 original letters are missing, for a total of 140 letters’ worth of corruption.

Now let’s look at GA 505.

Mark 5:25-34 in GA 505

25 – 505 has τις after γυνη (+3)
25 – 505 transposes to ετη δώδεκα
26 – no variations
27 – no variations
28 – 505 has ελεγε instead of ελεγεν (-1)
28 – 505 does not include εαν after οτι (-3)
28 – 505 transposes after οτι to καν των ιματίων αυτου αψωμαι  
29 – 505 has ευθέως instead of ευθυς (+2, -1)
30 – 505 has ευθέως instead of ευθυς (+2, -1)
[30 – part of the page is obscured, but 505 probably does not have ὁ before Ις] (-1)
30 – 505 has ελεγε instead of ελεγεν (-1)
31 – no variations
32 – no variations
33 – 505 has επ before αυτη (+2)
34 – 505 has θύγατερ instead of θύγατηρ (+1, -1)
34 – 505 has σέσωκ- but the ending seems abnormally contracted.  I’m going to treat this as a fluke reading.  (-2)

TOTAL:  In Mark 5:25-34, GA 505 has 9 non-original letters, and is missing 11 original letters, for a total of 20 letters’ worth of corruption.

Using this passage as a sample of the accuracy of the Greek text in D, and the accuracy of the text in 505, there are 140 letters’ worth of corruption in D for every 20 letters’ worth of corruption in 505.  To put it another way:  using the Nestle-Aland compilation as our basis of comparison, Codex D’s text of Mark 5:25-34 contains seven times as much corruption as the text in GA 505.  If the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform were used as our basis of comparison, 505’s text would be essential congruent to it:  the only differences between the two texts in this passage involve movable ν, the obscured portion of the page in verse 30, and that word-ending in v. 34. 

Now let’s consider how the word “daughter” should be spelled in verse 34.  Codex D and Codex W agree with Codex B, reading θύγατηρ.  So does GA 474 (Scrivener’s “e,” Lambeth MS 1179).  However, most other manuscripts read θύγατερ, including ℵ A K L N Θ Π Δ 33 700 1424 1582.  This was the reading adopted in the past by Bengel, by Griesbach, by Scholz, and by Tischendorf (in 1872), and even after θύγατηρ was adopted in the Westcott-Hort 1881 compilation, θύγατερ was preferred by Baljon and Souter. 
            One might try to defend the reading θύγατηρ by proposing that a change to θύγατερ was introduced to bring Mark 5:34 into closer harmony with the parallel-account in Matthew 9:22.  However, when we look at Matthew 9:22, we see that two of the three uncial witnesses for θύγατηρ in Mark 5:34 (D and W) also have θύγατηρ in Matthew 9:22.  Furthermore, L N and Θ read θύγατερ in Mark 5:34 and read θύγατηρ in Matthew 9:22.  Another consideration is that it seems unlikely that a harmonizer would fine-tune spelling but not add Θάρσει from the Matthean parallel.  The lonely testimony of B for θύγατερ in Matthew and θύγατηρ in Mark, where θύγατηρ appears in the following verse, is not as strong, on a point of orthography, as the extremely broad support that θύγατερ enjoys in both passages.  The reading θύγατερ should be adopted in Mark 5:34 – as it already has been in the Tyndale House Greek New Testament.
            With this adjustment in the picture, the accuracy of the text of Mark 5:35-34 in 505 (assigned to the 1100s) is more than seven times better than the text in Codex Bezae (assigned to the 400s).
            Before we leave Mark’s account of the healing of Saint Veronica, there is a variant in Mark 5:27 worth examining.  In the Byzantine Text and in the Nestle-Aland compilation this verse is exactly the same, but after the word ηψατο, in a smattering of witnesses – M f1 33 579 1071 and the Ethiopic version – the words του κρασπέδου (the hem of) are included here.  In Matthew 9:20, after ηψατο, we encounter this full phrase, του κρασπέδου του ἱματίου αυτου (“the hem of His garment”).  In the next verse in f13, κρασπέδου has usurped ἱματίου.  Turning to the parallel-passage in Luke 8:44, we find the same phrase after ηψατο:  του κρασπέδου του ἱματίου αυτου. 
            The puzzle that this data presents is this:  if Matthew and Luke both depended on Mark, how is it that they both have του κρασπέδου and Mark does not?  If we reject the reading of f1 and its allies in Mark 5:27, then we have here a “Minor Agreement” – a passage where Matthew and Luke share a reading with each other but not with Mark. 
            Making things a bit more interesting, Codex D has του κρασπέδου in Matthew 9:20 but not in Luke 8:44 (in which case, the Minor Agreement goes poof in the Western Text.)  Furthermore, Codex D is allied in this respect with a few Old Latin copies:  Old Latin codices a (Codex Vercellensis, probably from the 370s, a.k.a. VL 3), ff2 (Codex Corbeiensis secundus, a.k.a. VL 8) and r1 (Codex  Usserianus primus, a.k.a. VL 14) also do not have these words in Luke 8:44.      
            Without exploring this puzzle further today, I note that this particular array of readings may pose some problems for researchers who want to preserve the Two-Source Hypothesis as a solution to the Synoptic Problem while maintaining the Alexandrian readings in all three Synoptic Gospels.

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


William Wortman said...

James (if I may), Are you speculating that the Greek text examplars for Bezae were themselves diglots edited toward paraphrase by virtue of their expected primary (or at least dual) use in Latin? Also, is there a published artgument you are aware of that supports your speculation on this score?

James Snapp Jr said...

Wiliam Wortman,
Well, the exact dymanics between the Greek Western text and the Latin Western text have not yet been established. I suppost J. Rendel Harris' work on the Western Text is a good place to start (but not necessarily to finish).