Thursday, October 22, 2015

The ESV versus the ESV

The ESV:  When will it be finished?
          The English Standard Version, released in 2001 by Crossway, has rapidly become one of the top five most popular English translations in the United States.  It has been marketed as an “essentially literal” translation – the translation that the New Revised Standard Version was supposed to be:  as literal as possible, as free as necessary (to use Bruce Metzger’s catch-phrase).  Among evangelical scholars, the ESV is generally regarded – as the late Rod Decker stated in a detailed review – as “a viable translation for both local church and personal use.”  Several prominent evangelicals have approved it, including John Piper and Al Mohler.
          Textually, the ESV is a direct descendant of the RSV, which was widely rejected by evangelicals.  (The ESV’s preface – or, in some editions, its appendix – describes the ESV as if it has descended from the KJV and has a claim to the “Tyndale-King James legacy,” but such a claim seems hard to maintain when one considers that the ESV’s New Testament base-text disagrees with the KJV’s base-text in thousands of places.)  However, the ESV itself is mainly a product of evangelical scholars whose work has yielded many improvements over the RSV.  The ESV is likely to become the #1 or #2 all-purpose English translation among American evangelicals.
          Hopefully it will be finished someday.  The ESV has repeatedly been altered, and there is no sign that alterations will not continue to be made.  The ESV released in 2007 was not the same as the ESV that was issued in 2001, and the ESV that was issued in 2011 was not the same as the ESV that was issued in 2007.  Oxford University Press has published an edition of the ESV with a very significant difference from previous editions:  it includes the Apocrypha.  What will the ESV look like in 2020 or 2030?  No one really knows but God. 
          The ESV has a Translation Oversight Committee (consisting of between 12 and 14 individuals) which seems to be responsible for considering changes to the ESV’s text.  With Wayne Grudem and R. Kent Hughes on the Translation Oversight Committee, will future editions of the ESV remove Mark 16:9-20 from the text?  Will passages currently within double-brackets (such as John 7:53-8:11) be absent in the ESV of the future?  Andreas Köstenberger, the person responsible for the ESV Study Bible’s notes for the Gospel of John, has stated that the story about the woman caught in adultery “should not be regarded as part of the Christian canon” and has clearly expressed the opinion that the passage should not appear “in the main body of translations, even within square brackets,” so such a scenario seems not only possible but probable.  An edition of the ESV based 100% on the Alexandrian Text may be just around the corner.

One of the covers used
for the Gideons ESV.
        On the other hand, the English Standard Version was recently issued in an edition which reflects a more genuinely eclectic approach:  the Gideons, a ministry focused on Bible-distribution, has begun distributing a special edition of the ESV which is different from the usual 2011 edition in many respects.  In the New Testament, the Gideons English Standard Version – which I call the GESV, for convenience – abandons the base-text of the 2011 ESV in favor of readings found in the Textus Receptus.  As a result, some verses which are absent in the ESV, and other verses which are drawn into question by the formatting in the ESV (usually via brackets and vaguely worded footnotes), are fully restored in the GESV.
          A researcher named Joshua Holman has gone through the ESV and identified the points where the ESV and GESV differ.  To see the entire list of differences between the text of the GESV and the text of the ESV, see Joshua Holman’s list.  Here is a representative sample of the differences, compiled from his data (accompanied by some of my own comments):    

Matthew 1:7-8 – GESV reads “Asa” instead of the ESV’s “Asaph,” thus removing a reading which Bruce Metzger described as an error.
Matthew 1:10 – GESV reads “Amon” instead of the ESV’s “Amos,” thus removing another reading which Bruce Metzger described as an error.
Matthew 1:25 – The GESV states that Mary gave birth “to her firstborn son,” unlike the ESV, which states that she gave birth “to a son.”
Matthew 5:44 – The GESV includes the phrases in which Jesus says to “bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you,” unlike the ESV which does not include these two phrases in this verse.
Matthew 6:13 – The GESV presents the doxology of the Lord’s Prayer as part of the text, whereas the ESV only provides it in a footnote.
Matthew 12:47 – The GESV includes this verse in the text, unlike the ESV which places it in a footnote with the introduction, “Some manuscripts insert verse 47.”  The vast majority of Greek manuscripts includes this verse.  It seems obvious that the verse was accidentally skipped when an early copyist’s line of sight drifted away from one set of letters to the same set of letters further along in the text (an occurrence called parablepsis). 
Matthew 17:21 – The GESV includes this verse, which is only in a footnote in the ESV.
Matthew 18:11 – The GESV includes this verse, which is only in a footnote in the ESV.
Matthew 19:9 – The GESV has, as the verse’s final phrase, “and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”  The ESV does not include this phrase in the text. 
Matthew 23:14 – The GESV has this verse in the text, unlike the ESV which only presents it in a footnote.  It seems obvious that it was accidentally skipped when an early copyist’s line of sight drifted away from one set of letters to the same set of letters further along in the text. 
Matthew 26:45 – The GESV frames Jesus’ first sentence as a question, whereas the ESV presents it as if Jesus said, “Sleep and take your rest later on.” 
Mark 7:16 – The GESV includes this verse in the text; the ESV only presents it in a footnote.
Mark 9:29 – The words “and fasting” are included at the end of the verse in the GESV.  In the ESV they are only presented in a footnote.  Over 99% of the manuscripts of Mark include the words, including Papyrus 45 (barely, due to damage).
Mark 9:44 and 9:46 – The GESV includes these two verses, which are not in the text of the ESV
Mark 9:49 – The GESV includes the phrase, “and every sacrifice will be salted with salt,” which is not in the text of the ESV.
Mark 10:24 – The GESV states that Jesus said, “Children, how difficult it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God,” where the ESV presents Jesus saying, instead, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God!” 
Mark 11:26 – The GESV includes this verse, which is not included in the ESV’s text.  It seems obvious that it was accidentally skipped when an early copyist’s line of sight drifted away from one set of letters to the same set of letters further along in the text.           
Mark 15:28 – The GESV includes this verse, which is not in the text of the ESV.  The shorter reading can be accounted for as the result of a scribal accident, or as an intentional excision intended to alleviate the perception of a discrepancy caused by having one prophecy fulfilled in two different ways (cf. Luke 22:37).   
Mark 16:9-20 – The GESV includes the entire passage without brackets, without a heading-note, and without a footnote.  The ESV encloses the passage within double-brackets, accompanied by a heading (“Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9–20”) and an imprecisely worded footnote.  It is not easy for readers to perceive from such footnotes that the inclusion of this passage is supported by over 99% of the Greek manuscripts of Mark 16 and by some patristic writers (such as Irenaeus) who wrote before the production of the earliest existing manuscripts of Mark 16.  
Luke 2:43 – The GESV refers to “Joseph and his mother” where the ESV refers to “His parents.”
Luke 4:44 – The GESV refers to Galilee, rather than Judea
Luke 17:36 – The GESV includes this verse, which is not in the text of the ESV.  It seems obvious that it was accidentally skipped when an early copyist’s line of sight drifted away from one set of letters to the same set of letters further along in the text.
Luke 23:17 – The GESV includes this verse, which is not in the text of the ESV
John 5:3-4 – The GESV includes the entire passage about the angel stirring the water.      
John 7:8 – Whereas in the ESV, Jesus says, “I am not going up to this feast,” in the GESV Jesus says, “I am not yet going up to this feast.”  (In this case, by the way, the ESV disagrees with the oldest manuscripts.)  
John 7:53-8:11 – The GESV prints the text in its entirety without notes.  In the ESV, the entire passage is placed within double-brackets, with a cautionary heading (“The earliest manuscripts do not include 7:53–8:11”) and a footnote. 

          The GESV includes (without any footnotes) Acts 8:37 (a verse utilized by Irenaeus in the 100’s and Cyprian in the 200’s), Acts 28:29, and Romans 16:24.  The word “broken” is included in First Corinthians 11:24, and so is the phrase “through his blood” in Colossians 1:14.  In First Timothy 3:16, the text in the GESV reads, “God was manifested in the flesh” instead of the ESV’s “He was manifested in the flesh.”  Somewhat surprisingly, John 1:18 and the fifth verse of Jude in the GESV are the same as in the ESV.  
          The GESV does not represent a thorough departure from the Alexandrian Text in favor of the Textus Receptus or the Byzantine Text.  In First John 5:7, the Comma Johanneum, a reading with hardly any Greek manuscript support, is nowhere to be seen.  But neither are many Byzantine readings, even some for which the support is widespread, ancient, and exceeds 95% of the Greek manuscripts.  Most of the differences occur at point in the text where an ordinary reader might easily sense that something is amiss (due to the lack of a verse-number), and in well-known passages where the Alexandrian reading might appear puzzling. 
          Besides the textual differences, the GESV excludes the ESV’s many footnotes that draw attention to textual variants (particularly when the major Alexandrian manuscripts disagree with each other), such as at Mark 1:1 (where a footnote in the ESV informs the reader that some manuscripts omit the words “Son of God”) and Luke 22:43-44, Luke 23:34a, etc. 
          Although I do not agree with every adjustment that has been made in the GESV, and wish that the Gideons’ edition of the ESV had embraced many more Byzantine readings, overall it is a step in the right direction – away from the almost exclusively Alexandrian Nestle-Aland base-text, toward a more truly eclectic one.  If it were up to me, all ESV’s would be more like the GESV.  I’m glad the GESV has been made.

          The arrival of the Gideons ESV does, however, raise a question:  if the ESV is going to continue to be tweaked indefinitely, and if it is going to circulate in editions with the Apocrypha, and in editions which vary significantly in their treatments of over three dozen verses, and which might vary even more in the future, then in what sense is the English Standard Version a standard?  Granting that post-publication refinements have been needed (and some still are needed), at some point the plumb line has to stop swinging.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Other Recently Discovered Fragment of the Gospel of Mark

          Lately there has been much ado about a small Greek fragment of the Gospel of Mark (the existence of which was reported in February of 2012 but which is still unpublished), which, according to various reports, was extracted from the papyrus lining of an ancient Egyptian mummy-mask, and which might have been produced in the first century.  Hardly anyone, however, seems to have noticed the discovery of another fragment from the Gospel of Mark which is relatively early, and which, unlike the elusive first-century fragment, has been published with photographs.  
Visit CSNTM to see 0313 in color and in ultraviolet.
          The fragment to which I refer is 0313, a small piece of a codex produced in the 300’s or 400’s.  As Peter Head reported in 2008 in the Journal of Theological Studies, 0313 was one of several fragments which had come into the possession of Dr. Christopher de Hamel.   (An additional report, describing the photographing of these fragments, was entered at the CSNTM site.)  The contents of 0313 were identified by Dr. Dirk Jongkind.  Head initially described it as “late fifth century” but a production-date in the 300’s cannot be ruled out.  This little scrap is thus one of the ten oldest Greek manuscripts that contain text from the Gospel of Mark.
          The text of 0313 from Mark 4:9 is (first line) Ο ΕΧΩΝ ΩΤΑ ΑΚΟΥΕΙ[Ν] [Α-] (second line) ΚΟΥΕΤΩ.  This is a notable feature, because 0313 thus confirms the early existence of a Byzantine reading that is not supported by the best representatives of the Alexandrian Text (À and B).  This reading is not supported by Codex D, either.  À*, B, and D support ΟΣ ΕΧΕΙ in Mark 4:9 instead of Ο ΕΧΩΝ.  (In addition, D, along with some Old Latin copies, has an entire extra phrase in Mark 4:9.)  
          When this passage is compared to the parallel-passages in Matthew 13:9 and Luke 8:8 (where the text reads Ο ΕΧΩΝ), it becomes clear that the adoption of the Alexandrian-Western reading of Mark 4:9 yields a Minor Agreement.In other words, if one builds on the premise that Matthew and Luke both used Mark, then one would need to posit that Matthew and Luke both read Ο ΕΧΩΝ and then each one replaced this with ΟΣ ΕΧΕΙ.  The simpler scenario is that they each wrote ΟΣ ΕΧΕΙ because they both read ΟΣ ΕΧΕΙ.  Unfortunately, this intrinsic evidence in favor of the Byzantine reading in Mark 4:9 is not mentioned in the apparatus of the UBS Greek New Testament, and it is not noted in the apparatus of the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, either.
          On the other side of the fragment, text from Mark 9:15 is found: 
          0313 has the usual text of Mark 4:15, which allows us to perceive that we are indeed looking at a manuscript of Mark, rather than Matthew or Luke.  It also means that 0313 is a more accurate witness to the text of Mark 9:15 than Codex Vaticanus, which has an anomalous reading in this passage.
          If ΟΣ ΕΧΕΙ is the original text of Mark 4:9 (implying that À and B contain (part of) a Western reading at this point), then 0313 is among the earliest extant manuscripts of the original text of the verse.  Even little fragments can contribute to our knowledge of the text.  He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

          (In related news, I hope that you all have seen Christopher de Hamel’s clearly written and opulently illustrated  book, The Book. A History of the Bible.)

UPDATE (2019) - 0313 is now part of the manuscript-collection of the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.

Monday, October 19, 2015

N. T. Wright and the Ending of Mark

           How bad is the present situation regarding the spread of misinformation about Mark 16:9-20?  It’s dismal.  (Sorry to chime in about this passage yet again, folks, but one must fix the fence where it is broken.)  One might expect misinformation to be spread by enemies of Christianity such as Bart Ehrman and James Tabor.  Ehrman has taught that Mark 16:9-20 was added by “early medieval scribes” (time-traveling scribes, apparently, inasmuch as Irenaeus quoted Mark 16:19 in the 100’s).  Tabor has also fed ridiculous statements to his readers about the ending of Mark. 
          Ridiculous claims are not expected, however, from teachers within the church.  Yet some very inaccurate statements about Mark 16:9-20 continue to emanate from commentaries written by Christians.  This is having an impact on the contents of preaching and teaching.  For example, Bob McCartney, a preacher with two seminary degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, told his congregation in 2011 that no manuscripts contain Mark 16:9-20 until the 800s, and he made several other false statements.  Of course he did not intend to misinform anyone; he himself was misled by the commentators he had trusted.  
          So many commentaries contain mistakes and inaccuracies about Mark 16:9-20 that it would require several blog-posts to review and correct them all.  (Norman Geisler and John MacArthur have been spreading so much misinformation on this subject for so long that they should be near the top of the list.)   Today, just as a way of illustrating the problem, let’s look at what has been said about Mark 16:9-20 by a man who is, perhaps, the most influential commentator alive:  N. T. Wright.  Let’s consider his statements about the ending of Mark in his 2003 book, The Resurrection of the Son of God, a little at a time: 

That is true.  But in addition, both of these two manuscripts contain anomalous features that indicate that their copyists were aware of copies that included verses 9-20.  Are those anomalies and their implications not worth mentioning?

Manuscripts such as . . . ?  Such as the damaged manuscript 2386?  The damaged commentary-manuscript 304?  What??  Over 1,640 Greek manuscripts of Mark have been identified.  Which ones, specifically, are the “several” others in which the text clearly stops at the end of 16:8?   

Does anyone else think that Wright sounds like Metzgers Textual Commentary here?  Metzger mentioned that Clement of Alexandria and Origen “show no knowledge” of verses 9-20.  Unfortunately Metzger did not also mention that Clement shows no knowledge of 12 chapters of the Gospel of Mark, and Metzger did not mention that Origen similarly shows no knowledge of much larger segments of Mark.  Plus, if one is going to mention the silence of Clement and Origen, does it not seem a tad one-sided when a writer fails to mention the testimony from early patristic writers such as Justin, Tatian, and Irenaeus (in the 100s) and the pagan writer Hierocles (in the very early 300’)?  Is their testimony not worth mentioning?   

Who is he talking about?  Probably Eusebius and Jerome, but this is an extremely unfocused way to describe their testimony. 

True, but if one is going to bring up the papyri, it may be worth mentioning that Papyrus 45’s affinities in Mark are significantly closer to Codex W (which includes Mark 16:9-20) than to the text in any other manuscript.

The word “most” can be anything over 50%.  So are we looking at 51%?  60%?  80%?  No; that’s not what we’re looking at.  This “most” is more like 99.9%.  One can understand why Bible footnotes, which must be concise, use terms such as “Some” and “Most” and “Other” when referring to manuscript-evidence.  But such terminology in a commentary is a sign of either sloppy research or a desire to allow readers to see only what the commentator wants them to see.

Readers should be advised about how Wright does math:  four + “some” = eight.  [Update:  in 2015 there were six such MSS; as of 2022 there are eight.]  Eight Greek manuscripts contain the Shorter Ending.  And Wright is wrong about something here.  All six contain at least part of the usual 12 verses.  The manuscript that contains only the Shorter Ending after (most of) verse 8 is Codex Bobbiensis, which is (badly) written in Latin, not in Greek, and which is assigned to the early 400’s, not to the centuries listed by Wright. 

Let’s put the evidence in focus.  Out of 1,643 Greek manuscripts that include verses 9-20, fifteen have special notes about those verses.  If 15 manuscripts make “a good many,” what do the other 99% make?!  The notes in these 15 manuscripts are similar; that is, these are not 15 unrelated witnesses; they are members of groups, like twigs on a branch.
          In one manuscript (MS 138), an asterisk draws the reader’s attention to a note (very difficult to read, but which probably says “some copies end here”); the same manuscript also has the note about Mark 16:9-20 which one typically finds in copies in which the Catena Marcum (a collection of comments compiled by, and augmented, by Victor of Antioch) accompanies the text; the note defends the inclusion of the passage.  The asterisk in 138 serves the same purpose that asterisks typically serve today:  to draw the reader’s attention to the marginalia – not “to indicate that the passage is regarded as of doubtful authenticity.”  
          In MS 199, a short note says, “In some of the copies, this [i.e., verses 9-20] does not appear, but the text stops here” [i.e., at the end of 16:8]. 
          A note in MSS 20, 215, and 300 states at, or near the beginning of 16:9, “From here to the end forms no part of the text in some of the copies.  But in the ancient ones, it all appears intact.” 
          A note in MSS 1, 205, 205abs, 209, and 1582 says, “In some of the copies, the evangelist’s work is finished here [i.e., at the end of 16:8] and so does Eusebius Pamphili’s Canon-list.  But in many, this [i.e., verses 9-20] also appears.” 
          MSS 15, 22, 1110, 1192, and 1210 share the same note that appears in 1 and 1582, minus the part about the Eusebian Canons:  “In some of the copies, the Gospel is completed here, but in many, this also appears.”  (The note in 199 is a shortened version of this note.) 
          If Wright or anyone else knows of any other examples in which an asterisk appears between Mark 16:8 and 16:9, but it is not to draw the reader’s attention to an ordinary lection-break or to marginalia, let’s have it!  Otherwise, Christian commentators not just Wright, but also Wallace, MacArthur, Witherington, Edwards, etc., etc. need to stop describing the evidence in unfocused, vague, imprecise, one-sided, sloppy and erroneous ways.
          If Wright can be this wrong, just about any commentator can be wrong.  On this subject, do not trust any commentator who does not present the evidence in focused detail.  (And if it looks like the commentator was just rephrasing Metzgers Textual Commentary, if you do not want to become a source of misinformation yourself, stop reading!)

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Third-most-important Manuscript in the Vatican Library

          At the Vatican Library, a project is underway to digitize thousands of Greek manuscripts.  The most important Biblical manuscript at the Vatican Libary – Codex Vaticanus (B, 03), an incomplete uncial manuscript produced around 325 – is already online.  Papyrus 75 is also at the Vatican Library (although complete page-views are not yet available at the Vatican Library’s website).  The third-most important Greek manuscript housed at the Vatican Library is also online:   minuscule 157, listed in the library-catalog as MS Urbinate Gr. 2.  Let’s take a look at this very important Gospels-codex.  
Frontispiece of 157:
Chris blessing Byzantine
Emperor John II Comnenus
and his son Alexius.
          Codex 157 is a minuscule copy of the Gospels that was produced, according to a secondary note in the manuscript, in 1122.  Even if this note had not been included in the manuscript, an approximate production-date could be deduced from the full-page illustration that appears before the Gospels-text:  Jesus Christ is pictured on His heavenly throne, accompanied by personifications of mercy and righteousness, with one hand on Emperor John II Comnenus (b. 1087, r. 1118-1143) and the other hand on Alexius, the son of John II Comnenus.   It is similar to a mosaic of Byzantine Emperor John Comnenus II and Empress Irene (previously a Hungarian princess) in Hagia Sophia (in Istanbul); the inscription that accompanies John Comnenus II in the illustration in minuscule 157 is the same as the one that accompanies him in the mosaic in Hagia Sophia.        
          In 1912-1913, in the Journal of Theological Studies, the researcher H. C. Hoskier released a full collation of 157 which is available at  Hoskier took note of the interesting text of this manuscript, particularly in the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John.  He also reported some of its history:  for some time it was housed at Urbino (the birthplace of the artist Raphael) in Italy, and eventually came into the possession of Clement VII (1523-1534).  It has been in the Vatican Library since that time.  Reuben Swanson cited 157 exhaustively in the Gospels-volumes of his Greek New Testament Manuscripts book-series.  
          In this manuscript, the portraits of the evangelists are combined with elaborate headpieces, heavily embellished with gold, that precede the beginning of each Gospel.  Each Gospel is accompanied by a full-page illustration closely resembling an icon:  Christ’s birth, Christ’s baptism, the birth of John the Baptist, and Christ’s resurrection are all depicted.
          Marginalia is plentiful:  chapter-numbers and chapter-titles are provided at the tops of pages, and chapter-numbers also appear in the side-margins.  Section-numbers (but not canon-numbers) are in the side-margins.  The names of various feast-days and some calendar-days also accompany the passage assigned to them in the lectionary.  In addition, the text is peppered with gold dots, apparently intended to indicate where one should pause when reading aloud.  
          While the artistic and calligraphical skills displayed in 157 are impressive, its chief value emanates from its text.  Hoskier noted that while 157 frequently corresponds to the Textus Receptus for large segments (sometimes for over 30 verses), it has a strong non-Byzantine element as well.  Hoskier listed hundreds of non-standard readings in 157, and noted many particularly interesting ones, including variants in Matthew 21:46, Mark 5:23, Luke 5:18, and John 12:20.  At the end of Mark, verses 9-20 are present – verse 9 begins on the same line in which verse 8 ends.  The story of the adulteress (John 7:53-8:11) is completely absent; John 8:12 follows 7:52 with no gap.  The copyist was a careful worker but nevertheless he made occasional mistakes, perhaps the worst of which is in John 14:6, where he omitted the clause, “and the truth.”  This mistake was never corrected, which suggests that 157 did not receive a lot of regular use.
          At the end of the Gospel of Matthew, 157 features the intriguing note known as the Jerusalem Colophon:  “The Gospel according to Matthew:  written and double-checked using the old copies in Jerusalem, stored on the holy mountain.”  This is blended with a note about the amount of text written by the copyist:  “2,484 sense-lines and three hundred and fifty-seven chapters.”  Colophons which follow the conclusions of Mark, Luke, and John also state that their text has been written and double-checked using the same copies – the “ancient copies at Jerusalem” mentioned in the colophon after the end of the Gospel of Matthew – before listing the number of sense-lines and chapters (or, technically, sections) in each Gospel.  
          Minuscule 157 is thus a member of an elite group of 37 manuscripts that contain this note, or similar notes.  Among the fellow-members of the group of manuscripts that contain the Jerusalem Colophon (in one form or another) are 039, 20, 164, 215, 300, 376, 565 (an important manuscript written on purple parchment), 686, 748, 829, 899, and 1071.  The relationship of these manuscripts to one another is not yet resolved, but it seems sufficiently clear that when a consensus of the members of this group is in agreement, it bear witness to a transmission-line that is more ancient and weightier than any single member of the group.  It may be worth mentioning that several members of this group share a similar note about John 7:53-8:11.  (See, for details, the excursus in Tommy Wasserman’s 2009 essay, The Greek New Testament Manuscripts in Sweden with an Excursus on the Jerusalem Colophon.)
          In the event that readers may wish to consult images of 157 directly, I have prepared the following index.  Verse-references indicate the passage where the first line of the page on the left is found.  (Please bear in mind that the digital images at the Vatican Library are under copyright.)

Front Cover.
Latin text of Jerome’s Letter to Damasus (probably included as an explanation of the Eusebian Canons.)
Beginning of Ad Carpianus (within a quatrefoil border).
12v/13r:  Kephalaia (chapter-list) for Matthew.
13v/14r:  End of kephalaia for Matthew.  Beginning of Chronikon, by Eusebius of Caesarea, written in red.
14v/15r:  End of Eusebius’ Chronicon; beginning of Hippolytus of Thebes’ Chronicle, extracted from Book 3 of his writings. 
15v/16r:  End of the extract from Hippolytus of Thebes.  Beginning of extracts from John Chrysostom’s Preface to the Gospel of Matthew (First Homily on Matthew). 
Continuation of the extracts from John Chrysostom’s First Homily on the Gospel according to Matthew.  
17v/18r:  Further extract from Chrysostom’s First Homily on Matthew.  (“For this reason, then, Matthew, writing to Hebrews, sought to show nothing more than that Jesus was from Abraham and David. . . .”).  Additional comment on the four Gospels, extracted from Origen, followed by a list of Greek rhetoricians and other writers, closing with a reference to Paul of Tarsus.
18v/19r:  Epigrams of the Gospel of Matthew, and an extract from Nicetas (?). 
19v:  Gold-background picture:  Christ Blessing John II Comnenus and Prince Alexius.
20vPasted-down full-page icon-page:  the birth of Christ.  Combined scenes:  heavenly saints and angels look down upon Mary and the Christ-child; Shepherds visit; adoration of the magi.  Ox and donkey are peeking over the manger.  Mary is seated on a white couch with red and blue stripes.  Below:  a fourth scene – Joseph looks at two sheep while the midwives Salome and Zelemi bathe the Christ-child.

Empress Irene (from a
mosaic at Hagia Sophia)
21r:  headpiece with portrait of Matthew, and the beginning of the text of the Gospel of Matthew below the headpiece-illustration.  Within a square blue floral border on gold ground, Matthew is seated on a throne-like chair, writing a scroll; writing-tools including a compass are on his desk.   The design of the initial B is a woman holding a branch; this woman is probably intended to represent Empress Irene.  A note written to the left of the initial in small red letters may identify this person as Irene but it is not easy to read, inasmuch as the entire page is pasted down and part of the note was cut away in production.
33v/34r:  Matthew 6:6.  The Lord’s Prayer begins on 33v, in line 9. Notice the unusual expansion in the doxology, on the last line of 33v and the first line of 34r.
105v/106r:  Matthew 28:17.  The Gospel of Matthew concludes on 105v; the text is formatted in a vortex-pattern.  The final “Amen” (with the letters arranged N-W-E-S) is followed by the Jerusalem Colophon written in gold ink.

106v/107r:  conclusion of hypothesis of Mark on 106v; beginning of kephalaia-list on 107r.

109v/110r:  full-page illustration on 109v:  The Baptism.  On 110, an elaborate square headpiece with a portrait of Saint Mark in the center, writing his Gospel, fills the upper half of the page.  In the lower half of the page, the beginning of the Gospel of Mark has a large initial A, detailed in red and blue. 
161v/162r:  Mark 15:46.  On 162r, on line 12, Mark 16:8 ends with efobounto gar.  This is followed by an arch symbol (denoting the start of a lection), which is followed by the beginning of Mark 16:9 on the same line.  In the margin, a note identifies 16:9 as the beginning of the fourth Gospel-lection in the Heothinon-series (although it is the third such lection).  A section-number also identifies Mark 16:9 as the beginning of section #234.
162v/163r:  Mark 16:12.  The Gospel of Mark concludes on 163r, followed by the Jerusalem Colophon, followed by Epigrams of Saint Mark, followed by the beginning of the Hypothesis (Summary) of the Gospel of Luke.  

167v/168r:  167v is an icon-page, depicting the birth of the Prodromos (that is, the Forerunner, John the Baptist).  Elizabeth sits on a white bed with red and blue stripes.  The midwives Florus and Laurus accompany her, standing.  Below the main scenes is a scene with the infant being given a bath by the midwives.  On 168r, the entire page – headpiece and text – is pasted onto the main parchment.  An elaborate square headpiece fills the upper half of the page; a portrait of Luke is in its center on gold ground.  The Gospel of Luke begins with a large E. 
246v/247r:  Luke 22:30.  On 247r, Luke 22:43 begins in line 17. 
256v/257r:  Luke 24:47.  The text of the Gospel of Luke ends near the bottom of 256v, followed by the Jerusalem Colophon.  On 257r, there are Epigrams on Saint Luke, in five lines, followed by “the end of the Gospel of Luke” (as if the Gospel ended there, instead of on the previous page), a decorative line, which is followed by the Preface to the Gospel of John.  The Jerusalem Colophon is written in heavier ink than the other text on the page.

260v/261r:  260v is an icon-page, depicting the Resurrection.  (The details of the picture are similar to the representation of the “Harrowing of Hell” in the Psalter of Queen Melisende.)  261r has an elaborately decorated square headpiece for the Gospel of John, filling the upper half of the page, with a picture of John dictating his Gospel to Prochorus in the center.  The text of the Gospel of John begins with an elaborately decorated large initial E.  The entire page containing the headpiece and the text is pasted onto the parchment. 
266v/267r:  John 2:25.
272v/273r:  John 4:50.  On line 3 of 273r, John 4:5 follows 4:3, without verses 3b and 4.
284v/285r:  John 7:44.  In the second and third lines of 285r, John 7:52 is followed by 8:12 without the pericope adulterae.
304v/305r:  John 13:33.  On line 10 of 305r, the copyist skipped the words “and the truth” in John 14:6.     
324v/325r:  John 21:22.  The text of the Gospel of John ends on 324v.  Three crosses are below the final verse, and a single cross, centered, is below the three crosses.  325r contains the Jerusalem Colophon, and Epigrams for John the Evangelist and Theologian.  This is followed by a note written in a different color of ink. 
325v/326r:  the end of the note that beganon the previous page, followed by a colophon, followed by a benediction.  326r is blank.

          May this manuscript, prepared for the family of the Byzantine Emperor (perhaps on the beginning of Alexius’ reign as co-emperor), continue to bless the kingdom of God. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Greek Lectionaries at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France

          Besides releasing page-views of images from 57 continuous-text Greek New Testament manuscripts, the National Library of France (Bibliothèque nationale de France) has made available page-views of 21 Greek lectionaries at the Gallica website.  The list here gives the Gregory-Aland identification-number, with the catalogue-number in parentheses.  For some lectionaries, the affinity of the text (according to data provided at the Center for the Study and Preservation of the Majority Text) is provided within brackets.

Lectionary 12 (Greek 310) l-e [Phi-Maj]  Divergent text.  Produced in the 1200s.    
Lectionary 15 (Greek 302) l-e [K] – Produced in the 1200s.            

Lectionary 63 (Greek 277) – The “Blue Fish Lectionary,” produced in the 900s.  Full-color images.  Written in uncial-script with colorful initials.  

Fol. 105 of a lectionary from the 800s
written in uncial script.
Lectionary 64 (Greek 281) l-esk – Uncial lectionary, produced in the 800s. 

Lectionary 68 (Greek 285) l-e [Phi-Maj] – Produced in the 1100s.              

Lectionary 69 (Greek 286) l-e [Phi-Maj] – Produced in the 1100s.
Lectionary 70 (Greek 288) l-e [Phi-Maj] – Produced in the 1100s.
Lectionary 72 & Lectionary 1358 (Greek 290) l-esk – Uncial end-leaves.

Lectionary 74 (Greek 292) l-esk 

Lectionary 75 (Greek 293) l-e [Phi-Maj]
Lectionary 77 (Greek 296) l-esk – Produced in the 1100s.

Lectionary 83 (Greek 294) l-e – Produced in the 1000s or 1100s.

MS 9, fol. 436 (from 1167/8):
John, writing his Gospel
and getting his picture taken.
Lectionary 86 (Greek 311) l-e [Kr/f35] – Produced in 1336.

Lectionary 87 (Greek 313) l-esk – Produced in the 1300s. 

Lectionary 89 (Greek 316) l-esk – Produced in the 1300s.

Lectionary 90 (Greek 317) l-esk – Produced in 1553.

Lectionary 91 (Greek 318) l-esk – Produced in the 1300s. 

Lectionary 92 (Greek 324) l-akp – Produced in the 1300s. 

Lectionary 99 (Greek 380) l-esk – Produced in the 1500s.
Lectionary 100 (Greek 381) l-esk – Produced in 1550.

Lectionary 147 (Greek 319) l-ae – Produced in the 1100s.

Lectionary 148 (Greek 320) l-ae – Produced in the 1100s. 

          In addition, a Greek Gospels-manuscript which was not mentioned in the earlier list of Greek manuscripts at Gallica should be included.  Its catalog-number is MS 1.916 at the National and University Library of Strasbourg, but I have not tracked down its Gregory-Aland identification-number.  Its full-color page-views include the opening pages of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

          Another lectionary is listed only as National and University Library of Strasbourg MS 1.914.
         Many manuscripts, while not lectionaries, contain lection-lists and calendars of lections.  For example, minuscule 9 – Greek 82 at Gallica/BnF (considered to be the manuscript cited by Stephanus as ιβʹ) – not only contains the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but also features an index of lections.   

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Manuscripts at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Remercier-vous et les bénédictions pour les travailleurs
à la Bibliothèque nationale de France.
      The Gallica website has released page-views of some of the most significant manuscripts in the National Library of France (Bibliothèque nationale de France).  Currently the Bibliothèque nationale de France has made available page-views of images (usually from microfilm) of the following 57 continuous-text Greek New Testament manuscripts (in addition to 21 Greek lectionaries and many more versional and patristic resources).

Some manuscripts’ textual affinities are described according to the information in a report at the Center for the Study and Preservation of the Majority Text which brought news of Gallica’s release of manuscript-images to my attention.  The Gregory-Aland identification-number of each manuscript is listed, followed by the library’s catalog-number in parentheses.

MS 04, C (Greek 9) – Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus.   New Testament, substantial but with many parts missing.  Produced in the 400’s. 

MS 019, L (Greek 62) – Codex Regius.
            John 7 & 8 with memorial-space:

MS 6 (Greek 112) k [Π6] 

MS 10 (Greek 91) e [M10] – Produced in the 1200’s.

MS 12 (Greek 230) – Produced in the 1300’s.  

MS 17 – (Greek 55) e [Cl-17] – Greek-Latin illustrated Gospels from the late 1400’s.

MS 18 (Greek 47) eapr [f35– Entire New Testament, produced (according to a colophon) in 1364.

MS 19 (Greek 189) e – Produced in the 1100’s.  Unusual order of books.
MS 25 (Greek 191) e – Produced in the 1000’s.
            Mt:  (damaged)  

MS 27 (Greek 115) e [M27/1424] –  Produced in the 900’s.  Detailed list of lections before Matthew. 
            pericope adulterae:  

MS 32 (Greek 116) e [1519] – Produced in the 1100’s.           
            Mt:  (damaged)  
            Jn:  (damaged)  (

MS 91 (Greek 219) – akpr – Produced in the 1000’s.

MS 119 (Greek 85) e [Cl-16] – Produced in the 1200’s.
            pericope adulterae:

MS 260 (Greek 51) e [Kx/Ki-M5] 

MS 261 (Greek 52) e [Kx– Produced in the 1100’s (with Mt. 1-10 in a later supplement).
            Mt:  (supplement)

MS 263 (Greek 61) eakp [K1

MS 264 (Greek 65) e [Kx– Damaged in several places.  Foot-indexed.

MS 265 (Greek 66) e [Πa– Produced in the 1100’s.

MS 266 (Greek 67) e [Π 266] – Produced in the 1300’s.

MS 268 (Greek 72) e [Π 268] – Produced in the 1100’s.
            Mt:  (damaged)

MS 269 (Greek 74) e [1519] – Produced in the 1100’s.  Abundantly illustrated.

MS 270 (Greek 75) e [Πa– Produced in the 1100’s.    
            pericope adulterae:

MS 273 (Greek 79) e [Kmix– Produced in the 1200’s.  (Sister-MS of MS 4?)  Triple-column genealogy in Luke 3.
            pericope adulterae

MS 278 (Greek 82) e [Π278] 

MS 279 (Greek 86) e [Kx– Produced in the 1100’s. 

MS 280 (Greek 87) e [Πa– Produced in the 1100’s.  A large chunk of Mark is absent.

MS 281 (Greek 88) e [Kx Cl-281] – Produced in the 1100’s.
            Lk:  [missing first page]   

MS 285 (Greek 95) e [Kr/f35– Produced in the 1400’s.
            pericope adulterae:   

MS 286 (Greek 96) e [Kx– Produced in 1432.

MS 287 (Greek 98) e (Cl-17] – Produced in 1478. 

MS 291 (Greek 113) e [Cl-291] – Produced in the 1200’s.

MS 292 (Greek 114) e [Π473] – Produced in the 1100’s or 1200’s.  Embedded cross-references (like a foot-index).
            Mt:  (damaged)  

MS 293 (Greek 117) e [M1193] – (Palimpsest:  the lower writing is from a lectionary from the 800’s or 900’s.  The upper writing was produced in 1262.)
            Mk:  [suppl.]  

MS 294 (Greek 118) e [Kx] – Produced in 1291 or 1391.  May be related to MS 279.

MS 295 (Greek 120) e [Π1441] – Produced in the 1200’s. 
            Mt:  (suppl.)
                        Primary hand:  

MS 296 (Greek 124) apk – Produced in the 1500’s, apparently from a printed exemplar.

MS 303 (Greek 194a) – Produced in 1255.

MS 304 (Greek 194) Matthew & Mark – This is the damaged manuscript of Matthew and Mark (interspersed with commentary) that is often cited as support for the ending of Mark at 16:8.

MS 305 (Greek 195) – Produced in the 1200’s. 

MS 310 (Greek 202) – Produced in the 1100’s.  Fragment of Matthew.

MS 311 (Greek 203) – Produced in the 1100’s.  Fragment of Matthew.

MS 469 (Greek 102a) apkr 

MS 567 (Greek 103a) apk

MS 580 (Greek 119) e [Kx] – Produced in the 1100’s. 

MS 604 (Greek 125) akp – Produced in the 1300’s.

MS 606 (Greek 217) – Produced in the 1100’s. 

MS 727 (Greek 179) ek  
MS 728 (Greek 181) e 

MS 732 (Greek 185) e – Produced in the 1200’s.
MS 734 (Greek 192) e – Produced in the 1300’s.  No text from Mark.  Book order:  Jn-Mt-Lk-Mk.

MS 740 (Greek 234) Produced in 1318.  Gospels with commentary.
MS 742 (Greek 1775) Produced in the 1400’s.  Gospel of John with commentary.

MS 1932 (Greek 222) 

MS 1934 (Greek 224)  

MS 1935 (Greek 225) 

MS 1938 (Greek 238) – 

Many thanks to those who made the availability of these manuscript-images possible!