Thursday, May 21, 2020

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

An Uncial of Luke 5-6 at Mount Sinai

          At the Sinai Palimpsests Project website, part of one of the manuscripts included among the New Finds collection – Greek N.F. M 98 – has lower writing that consists of a folio from a Greek uncial, preserving text in four columns (two columns per page, probably 26 lines per column) from Luke 5:33-34, 5:36-37, 5:39-6:1, and 6:3-4.  Dr. Giuglielmo Cavallo – author of the first chapter in the superb little 2008 book, The Shape of the Book – identified and analyzed this text a while ago, and assigned it a production-date around 1000.  It has received an official Nestle-Aland identification number:  0288.  Let’s take a closer look at its text, which is on the first page (front and back) of the manuscript.
          In its four columns of text, compared to the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform, this witness has two variants:  in Luke 5:33, we encounter ποικνα instead of πυκνα, and after ομοιως we meet δε και instead of just και.  Other than these two readings, the text is perfectly Byzantine, agreeing with the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform.  This witness disagrees with the Nestle-Aland compilation at almost every opportunity:

In the lower writing of Greek N.F. M 98: 
● 5:34 – Ις (before ειπεν) is not included
● 5:36 – απο (after επίβλημα is not included
● 5:36 – σχίσας (after καινου) is not included [Not noted in NA27 apparatus]
● 5:36 – σκιζει (instead of σκισει in À B C L)  [Not noted in NA27 apparatus]  
● 5:36 – συμφωνει (instead of συμφωνήσει) [Not noted in NA27 apparatus]
● 5:36 – το επίβλημα before απο is is not included
● 5:39 – και is at the beginning of the verse [bracketed in NA27]
● 5:39 – ευθεως appears after παλαιον
● 5:39 – χρηστότερος instead of χρηστός
● 6:1 – δευτεροπρώτω is present
● 6:1 – των is present before σπορίμων
● 6:3 – οποτε instead of οτε
● 6:3 – οντες appears at the end of the verse [bracketed in NA27]
● 6:4 – ως is at the beginning of the verse [bracketed in NA27]
● 6:4 – ελαβεν και instead of λαβων

Reconstruction of the lower writing in Greek N.F. M 98.
           Here is a reproduction of the text of Luke in Greek N.F. M 98, with the upper writing removed.  Twice, the copyist appears to have used a kai-compendium or dwarf letters, but the writing at both points was obscured by the upper writing.  (This is signified in the reproduction by the light red squares.)          
Before presenting a transcription of the text, here are some thoughts about some textual contests that could be considered if one were defending the Byzantine readings found in Greek N.F. M 98.

● 5:34 – Ις in the Alexandrian Text could be introduced for the sake of clarity, or as a remembrance of 5:31.
● 5:36 – απο and σχίσας could be added for the sake of clarity.
● 5:36 – συμφωνει could be altered to συμφωνήσει as part of an expansion which also involved the addition of το επίβλημα before απο.
● 5:38 – In Greek N.F. M 98, space-considerations seem to favor the inclusion of και αμφότεροι συντηρουνται at the end of the verse.
● 5:39 – A copyist might excise και as an attempt at stylistic improvement.  (The entire verse is absent in Codex D and several Old Latin witnesses.)
● 5:39 – χρηστότερος can account for χρηστός with a simple parableptic error.
● 6:1 – δευτεροπρώτω is certainly the more difficult reading.
● 6:3 – οποτε can account for οτε with a simple parableptic error.
● 6:4 – The support for nothing before εισηλθων at the beginning of the verse is sparse.
● 6:4 – Part of the Alexandrian line seems harmonized to Mark 2:26.

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

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Video Lecture: How Manuscripts Were Made

Lecture 03 in the series Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism is now online:
The Structure of New Testament Manuscripts And How They Were Made

In this brief lecture, I describe what a leaf is, what a quire is, Gregory's Rule, cancel-sheets, multi-quire codices, ruling, catchwords, correctors, trimming, binding, palimpsests, and more.

With subtitles!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Video Lecture: Kinds of Greek NT Manuscripts

Lecture 02 -
Kinds of Greek NT Manuscripts
            The second video lecture in the series Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism is online.  This lecture, a little more than 20 minutes long, reviews different kinds of continuous-text Greek manuscripts of books of the New Testament – papyri, uncials (majuscules), and minuscules – and some of their distinctive features. 
            Sub-titles provide a running outline of the lecture.

On YouTube at

Friday, May 1, 2020

Codex 064: Transcriptions of the New Pages

            What is the text on the four newly identified pages of 064 at St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai?  That’s the question that this post was written to answer!  Without further introduction, here is the front-and-back transcription of the Greek lower writing on fol. 72 and fol. 71 of Syriac 7.  Red letters indicate a deviation from the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform.

On 72v., in the first column, in the 10th line, part of the text is obscured by the upper writing.  It looks like the copyist accidentally skipped a syllable and perhaps a correction was made in different ink which did not survive.

The last digit in the Section-number beside Mt. 27:37 is probably Δ but it is difficult to say for sure because it is obscured by the upper writing.

Page-views of Syriac 7 are online at the Sinai Palimpsests Project at, a publication of St. Catherine’s Monastery of the Sinai in collaboration with EMEL and UCLA.  The pages with the text represented here can be viewed as the last two pages of the manuscript, upside down (relative to the Syriac text).

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