Saturday, September 3, 2016

Hand-to-Hand Combat: Codex A versus 2222

A miniature of Saint John,
in the left corner of fol. 112v
in the Circle Gospels
          Today’s hand-to-hand combat once again features Codex Alexandrinus, an important uncial manuscript from the 400’s.  Codex A hails from the British Library.  In the opposing corner, representing the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection at the University of Chicago, is minuscule 2222, a manuscript which has been assigned a production-date in the 1300’s.  This medieval copy is known as the Circle Gospels due to the rather unusual circular shape in which its copyist frequently wrote the letters omicron, epsilon, and theta.  It is about 900 years younger than Codex A.  Today’s battlefield is John 15:1-9, part of Jesus’ discourse with His disciples on the night before His trials and crucifixion.  
          As we investigate which manuscript has the more accurate text, the usual ground-rules are in play:  the standard of comparison is the text of the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland compilation.  Words in brackets in NA27 will be treated as part of the text.  Transpositions will be mentioned but not counted in the final totals.  Agreements with the RP2005 Byzantine Textform will be signified by a triangle; agreements with the Hodges-Farstad Majority Text that disagree with RP2005 will be signified by a square. 

Here is how 2222 compares to NA27 in John 15:1-9:

1 – 2222 has εστι instead of εστιν (-1)  ■
2 – 2222 transposes, reading πλειονα καρπον.  (P75 supports this reading, agreeing with 2222 and the Byzantine Text against Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and D.)  ▲
3 – no differences  ▲
4 – 2222 has δυνατε instead of δυναται (+1, -2)
4 – 2222 has μεινη instead of μενη (+1)  ▲
4 – 2222 has μεινητε instead of μενητε (+1)  ▲
5 – no differences  ▲
6 – 2222 has μεινη instead of μενη (+1)  ▲
6 – 2222 has βαλλουσι instead of βαλλουσιν (-1)  ■
7 – no differences
8 – 2222 has γενησεσθε instead of γενησθε (+2)  ▲ 
9 – 2222 has αγαπησε instead of αγαπησεν (-1)  ■
9 – 2222 transposes, reading ηγαπησα υμας  ▲

          Thus 2222 has six non-original letters in John 15:1-9, and is missing five original letters, for a total of 11 letters’ worth of corruption.  

And here is how Codex Alexandrinus compares to NA27: 

1 – A has αληθεινη instead of αληθινη (+1)
2 – A has φερων instead of φερον (+1, -1)
2 – A has (again) φερων instead of φερον (+1, -1)
2 – A transposes, reading πλειονα καρπον.   (Agreeing, like 2222, with P75)  ▲  
3 – A has εσται instead of εστε (+2, -1)
4 – A has μινατε instead of μεινατε (-1) 
4 – A has μεινη instead of μενη (+1)  ▲  
5 – no differences  ▲
5 – A has δυνασται instead of δυναστε (+2, -1)
6 – A has κεεται instead of καιεται (+1, -2)
7 – A has μεινηται instead of μεινητε (+2, -1)
7 – A has αιτησασθαι instead of αιτησασθε (+2, -1)
8 – A has φερηται instead of φερητε (+2, -1)
8 – A has γενησεσθαι instead of γενησθε (+3, -2) 
9 – A transposes, reading ηγαπησα υμας

          Thus Codex A has 18 non-original letters, and is missing 12 original letters, for a total of 30 letters’ worth of corruption.  At the end of a transmission-stream lasting about 1,260 years, 2222 ended up with 37% as much corruption in John 15:1-9 as we see in the same passage in Codex Alexandrinus, the transmission-stream of which lasted about 360 years.  
          A solid win for 2222!
          Incidentally, in addition to the page-views of 2222 at the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection’s website, two more pages of this codex can be seen online.  Someone used two of its pages as binding-material for another, older Gospels-manuscript, minuscule 2369, which is kept at the Walters Art Museum.  The dislocated pages contain Luke 11:53-12:6 and Luke 7:38-45.    

[Readers are invited to double-check the data and math in this post.]


The White Man said...

There's an interesting variant in verse 7 not seen in this collation. Both mss read αἰτήσασθε (ask ye what ye will) against the majority reading of αἰτήσεσθε (ye shall ask what ye will). This does appear to be a smoothing of the sense, putting the whole sentence in the subjunctive. Is this one of those places you would reject the majority reading as the latest stratum?

James Snapp Jr said...

Yes. It looks like a conformation to context - a small change to what one might expect the text to say.

As I was paging through Swanson to check the support for αἰτήσασθε, it occurred to me that 2222 would would win easily against Sinaiticus too.

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I truly appreciate the fresh insight you provide to fellow enthusiasts who are interested in studying the gospel and interpreting the meaning behind different texts.