In the two preceding posts, I showed that the Nestle-Aland/
UBS compilation is almost
entirely Alexandrian in Galatians 1 and in Luke 15. To be precise, the NA compilation adopts a
Byzantine reading instead of an Alexandrian reading in .3% of Galatians 1, and
in 1% of Luke 15. Let’s take another
sample from the Gospels – John 20 – and see what kind of results we get.
Sifting through John 20 in Reuben Swanson’s presentation of the text in horizontal-line comparisons of the contents of many important manuscripts, I observe that out of 53 text-lines, NA agrees entirely with Vaticanus (B) in 39 of them. In the remaining 14 text-lines, NA agrees entirely with Sinaiticus (À) in six. This leaves eight lines that do not agree entirely with either B or À. Let’s investigate those eight lines to see how non-Alexandrian the Nestle-Aland compilation is in this chapter:
● At the end of verse 4, NA adopts τάχιον (agreeing with À), and also adopts À’s reading ηλθεν, but then follows the word-order in B. Thus, although this three-part series of readings, collectively, agrees with the Byzantine Text, each component agrees with either B or À.
● At the beginning of verse 13, NA has και at the very beginning of the verse (agreeing with B) and does not have και later in the verse before λέγει (agreeing with À). Thus, in this case, each component of the text of NA agrees with either B or À.
● At the beginning of verse 17, NA does not adopt ὁ before Ιησους (agreeing with B), and then adopts the word-order in À (μου απτου), and then does not adopt μου (agreeing with B and À). Thus, taken as a series, this text-line agrees with D against B, À, and the Byzantine Text, but taken individually, each component is found in either B or À.
● In verse 22, NA adopts the variant αφέωνται, disagreeing with B (αφειονται) and À (αφεθήσεται) and the Byzantine Text (αφίενται), agreeing with a small minority of manuscripts including Codices A and D.
● At the beginning of verse 25, NA adopts ουν after ελεγον, and αλλοι before μαθηται (agreeing both times with B), but then adopts Εωράκαμεν, agreeing instead with À and the Byzantine Text. Thus, taken individually, each component of this text-line is found in B or À.
● At the end of verse 27 and the beginning of verse 28, NA reads γίμου, rejecting the itacism in B (γειμου) and agreeing with À. Further along in the line, however, NA does not adopt ὁ before Ιησους (agreeing with B but not with À). NA also rejects Και at the beginning of the verse. Each component of this text-line is found in B or À or both.
● At the beginning of verse 29, NA adopts λεγει, agreeing with B and the Byzantine Text against À (which reads ειπεν δε). Then NA adopts ὁ before Ιησους (disagreeing with B and the Byzantine Text, but agreeing with À), and further along in the verse reads εωρακάς, disagreeing with the Byzantine Text (which reads εωρακάς) but agreeing with B and À. NA also does not include και after με (thus agreeing with B and the Byzantine Text but disagreeing with À). Thus, in this series of variant-units, NA collectively disagrees with B, with À, and with the Byzantine Text (agreeing instead with Codices A, C, D, N, and an assortment of other manuscripts). Each component of this text-line, however, agrees with either B or À.
● Near the beginning of verse 31, NA places the letter sigma in brackets, so as to read πιστεύ[σ]ητε which disagrees with B and À and agrees with the Byzantine Text.
Thus, out of the eight text-lines which do not entirely agree with B or À, we see that in terms of their component-parts, they all agree with either B or À except at two points: the adoption of αφέωνται in verse 22 (disagreeing with the Byzantine Text’s reading αφίενται), and the inclusion of the bracketed letter sigma in πιστεύ[σ]ητε in verse 31.
The existence of the Byzantine Text is thus manifested in the Nestle-Aland text of John 21 by one letter. That is, a distinctly Byzantine reading (one that is not found in B or À) is preferred in one of John 20’s 615 words in the Nestle-Aland compilation. Or, calculated by letters: exactly one of this chapter’s 2,812 letters in the Nestle-Aland compilation is found in the Byzantine Text and not in Vaticanus or Sinaiticus. The letter is bracketed, however, so do not be surprised if the number of distinct Byzantine readings in John 20 is zero in the next edition. (The New Living Translation is already based on the reading without the sigma.)