Saturday, September 17, 2016

Hand-to-Hand Combat: P72 versus Minuscule 6

          Papyrus 72 is one of the participants in today’s hand-to-hand contest.  It is possibly the oldest substantial manuscript of the book of Jude, being usually assigned a production-date in the late 200’s or early 300’s.  (Papyrus 78 may be slightly older but it is a fragment, containing less than half of Jude’s 25 verses.)  Papyrus 72 contains much more than the Epistle of Jude; it also contains First Peter and Second Peter and some other compositions – but today we will focus on its text of Jude, and not the entire book, but just the first 10 verses.  You can access page-views of P72 at the website of the Vatican Library
          In the opposite corner, we have minuscule 6, from the 1200’s.  Minuscule 6 is one of the manuscripts known to European researchers in the 1500’s; it was cited by Stephanus as witness #5, that is, εʹ, in his 1550 edition of the Greek New Testament.  Microfilm-images of the pages of minuscule 6 can be viewed at the website of the National Library of France; it is catalogued as MS Grec. 112.  The text of Jude begins on page-view 137.  Minuscule 6 is not your typical manuscript; it sometimes shares unusual readings with the important minuscules 1739 and 1881. 
          It is not uncommon to read claims to the effect that the manuscripts used by researchers in the 1500’s were “late and inferior.”  So you might expect that an Alexandrian manuscript made around 300 will prove to be far more accurate than such a medieval manuscript.  Will that be what we observe when P72 and minuscule 6 square off in the ring?            
          Let’s find out.  Today’s battleground consists of the first 10 verses of the Epistle of Jude.  The rules used for the previous contests apply here:  the Nestle-Aland compilation will be the standard of comparison.  Nomina sacra and other decipherable contractions are not considered variants as such.  Transpositions are mentioned but are not included in the totals.  Words in brackets in the NA compilation will be treated as part of the text.  In addition, I have defined P72’s text as the text that left the copyist’s hand; that is, the text of P72 that is evaluated here includes corrections made by the copyist as he wrote.         

Papyrus 72, compared to NA27:

1 – no differences
2 – P72 reads πληθυνθιη instead of πληθυνθειη (-1)
3 – P72 reads ποιησαμενος instead of ποιουμενος (+3, -2) 
3 – P72 reads του before γραφειν (+3)
3 – P72 reads γραφιν instead of γραφειν (-1)
3 – P72 reads περει instead of περι (+1)
3 – P72 reads επαγωνιζεσθε instead of επαγωνιζεσθαι (+1, -2)
3 – P72 reads πειστει instead of πιστει (+1)
4 – P72 reads παλε instead of παλαι (+1, -2)
4 – P72 reads προγεγραμενοι instead of προγεγραμμενοι (-1)
4 – P72 reads χαρειτα instead of χαριτα (+1)
4 – P72 does not read νομον; the copyist wrote this word but then crossed it out. (-5)
4 – P72 reads κν ιην χρν ημων instead of κν ημων ιην χρν (transposition)
5 – P72 reads Υπομνησε instead of Υπομνησαι (+2, -1)
5 – P72 does not have υμας after ειδοτας (-4)
5 – P72 reads απαξ παντα οτι θς χρς instead of παντα οτι ο κς απαξ (transposition) (+4, -2)
5 – P72 reads εγ instead of εκ (+1, -1)
5 – P72 reads Εγυπτου instead of Αιγυπτου (+1, -2)
5 – P72 reads πειστευσαντας instead of πιστευσαντας (+1)
6 – P72 reads απολειποντας instead of απολιποντας (+1)
6 – P72 reads αειδειοις instead of αιδιοις (+2)
7 – P72 reads Γομορα instead of Γομορρα (-1)
7 – P72 reads ε instead of αι (+1, -2)
7 – P72 reads περει instead of περι (+1)
7 – P72 reads απελθουσε instead of απελθουσαι (+1, -2)
7 – P72 reads τερας instead of ετερας (-1)
7 – P72 reads προσκειντε instead of προκεινται (+2, -2)
7 – P72 reads διγμα instead of δειγμα (-1)
7 – P72 reads εωνιου instead of αιωνιου (+1, -2)
8 – P72 does not have μεν after σαρκα (-3)
8 – P72 reads μειενουσιν instead of μιαινουσιν (+3, -3)
8 – P72 reads αθετουσι instead of αθετουσιν (-1)
8 – P72 reads βασφημουσιν instead of βλασφημουσιν (-1)
9 – P72 reads Μιχαης instead of Μιχαηλ (+1, -1)
9 – P72 reads Μουσεως instead of Μωυσεως (+1, -1)
9 – P72 reads επειτειμησαι instead of επιτιμησαι (+2)
10 – P72 reads υδασιν instead of οιδασιν (+1, -2)
10 – P72 reads επειστανται instead of επιστανται (+1)
10 – P72 reads φθιρονται instead of φθειρονται (-1)

The text of Jude verses 1-5
in minuscule 6
Thus when we examine the contents of verses 1-10 of the Epistle of Jude in Papyrus 72, using NA27 as the standard of comparison, we find that 38 non-original letters are present, and 50 original letters are absent, for a total of 88 letters’ worth of corruption, most of which are spelling-related. 

Now let’s compare the text of minuscule 6 to NA27:

1 – 6 reads χυ ιυ (transposition)
1 – 6 reads εθνεσι instead of εν Θεω (+5, -4)  [Regarding this variant, which is not mentioned in Metzger’s Textual Commentary, or in the NET, or in the NKJV’s footnotes, see Robert Waltz’s comments.]
1 – 6 reads ηγιασμενοις instead of ηγαπημενοις (+3, -3)
2 – no differences
3 – 6 reads υμων instead of ημων (+1, -1)
3 – 6 reads εχων instead of εσχον (+1, -2)
4 – 6 reads χαριν instead of χαριτα (+1, -2)
5 – 6 reads ουν instead of δε (+3, -2)
5 – 6 does not have υμας after ειδοτας (-4)
5 – 6 reads Ις instead of ο Κς (+1, -2)
6 – no differences.
7 – 6 reads τουτοις τροπον instead of τροπον τουτοις (transposition)
8 – 6 reads μιαινουσι instead of μιαινουσιν (-1)
8 – 6 reads αθετουσι instead of αθετουσιν (-1)
9 – 6 reads Μωσεως instead of Μωυσεως (-1)
9 – 6 reads ετολμησε instead of ετολμησεν (-1)
9 – 6 reads αλλ instead of αλλα (-1)
10 – 6 reads οιδασι instead of οιδασιν (-1)

Thus in minuscule 6 in the first 10 verses of Jude, 15 non-original letters are present, and 26 original letters are absent, yielding a total of 41 letters’ worth of corruption. 

The score of minuscule 6 improves when the text of NA28 is the standard of comparison.  One of the newly adopted readings in NA28 is in verse 5; instead of “πάντα ὅτι [ο] κύριος απαξ,” the text of NA28 reads  απαξ παντα οτι Ιησους.  This implies a transposition in the text of minuscule 6, but it also brings minuscule 6’s total amount of corruption down to 14 non-original letters present and 24 original letters absent, yielding a total of 38 letters’ worth of corruption.  When P72’s score is compared to NA28, its score also improves, by a single letter, to 87.    

Thus, in Jude verses 1-10, when NA28 is used as the standard of comparison, minuscule 6 has only 44% as much corruption as P72 does.  Papyrus 72, our earliest complete manuscript of Jude, had a transmission-stream only 230 years long (positing its production in 300 and the composition of the Epistle of Jude around the year 70).  Minuscule 6, one of those “late and inferior” manuscripts known to Reformation-era scholars in the mid-1500’s, had a transmission-stream that was about 1,050 years long.  In the first 10 verses of Jude, the copyists in P72’s transmission-line in Egypt introduced twice as much corruption in one-fourth as much time.

(Readers are invited to check the data and math in this post.)