In this video, I summarize several earlier blog-posts in the course of a brief lecture, explaining why the vague footnotes about John 7:53-8:11’s placement after before John 7:37 (in two medieval manuscripts), and before John 7:45 (in three Georgian copies), and after John 21:25 (in family-1), and after Luke 21:38 (in family-13) do not mean that it was the textual equivalent of a butterfly, fluttering from one place to another.
I recommend watching this video-lecture on a desktop computer, so that you can read the annotations.
(Note: six minutes and 54 seconds into the lecture, I said “7:53” where I meant “7:52.”)
The link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WrPjEGYDpQ .
Previously, we saw that a copyist’s mistake – accidentally skipping forward from one set of letters to an identical, or
similar, set of letters – appears to have caused the loss of the word “murders”
in Galatians 5:21: in the course of a
list in which several words end with the same letters, φόνοι (murders) was
lost in an early transmission-line, having appeared immediately after φθόνοι (envyings).
Before we do that, though, let’s get to know this
verse. James – not James the son of
Zebedee, but James who was called one of the brothers of Jesus; the James who
presided at the church council in Acts 15 – wrote to this effect in 4:2,
addressing the problem of covetousness and conflict in the church:
“Ye lust, and have not:
ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war; yet ye have not, because ye
ask not.” – KJV (Authorized)
Here is the
verse in more modern terms (from the 1973 New International Version):
“You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what
you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.”
Some folks might consider the 1973 NIV to be an antique, so let’s also consult the text of the new Christian Standard Bible (CSB):
“You desire and do not have.
You murder and covet and cannot obtain.
You fight and wage war. You do
not have because you do not ask.”
That is, however, not quite the same meaning that we find in
the latest edition of the English Standard Version (ESV), which gives a cause-and-effect structure to the verse’s clauses:
“You desire and do not have, so you commit murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and
quarrel. You do not have because you do
The NIV, CSB, and ESV
are all translating the same Greek text of verse 2, which is, without
punctuation: Ἐπιθυμεῖτε καὶ οὐκ ἔχετε
φονεύετε καὶ ζηλοῦτε καὶ οὐ δύνασθε ἐπιτυχεῖν μάχεσθε καὶ πολεμεῖτε οὐκ ἔχετε
διὰ τὸ μὴ αἰτεῖσθαι ὑμᾶς.
That is also how the words appear in the Byzantine Text, in
the NA/UBS text, and in the family-35 text compiled by Wilbur Pickering. The Textus
Receptus, the KJV’s base-text, has a minority reading: it includes δέ in the last part of the verse,
between ἔχετε and διὰ; this is represented by “yet” in the KJV.
The text that Erasmus preferred, however, diverged from that
in a far more significant way. Erasmus was
hesitant to accept the word φονεύετε (“You kill”, or “You commit murder”). Although that was the reading in the Greek
manuscripts he had encountered, in his annotations on the General Epistles, he wrote, “I do not see how this word ‘you kill’ makes sense here. Perhaps there was written φθονεῖτε and ζηλοῦτε, that is, ‘you are jealous and you seek, and cannot obtain’, and so [I conclude that] a sleeping scribe wrote φονεύετε instead of φθονεῖτε; especially since there follows ‘the spirit desires jealously’ [verse 5].”
James 4:1ff., from a 1558 edition of Erasmus' Greek and Latin text.
Because Martin Luther used the second edition of Erasmus’
compilation as the basis for his 1522 German translation, Luther’s translation
of James 4:2a accordingly says, “Ihr
seid begierig, und erlanget’s damit nicht; ihr hasset und neidet, und gewinnet
damit nichts; ihr streitet und krieget.”
For the third edition, and thereafter, Erasmus re-adopted
the extant text, and φονεύετε was printed.
Nevertheless, in his own Latin translation that was printed alongside
the Greek text, the word “invidetis” (“You are envious”) was retained instead
of the Vulgate’s term “occiditis.”
John Calvin accepted Erasmus’ idea; Krans reports that
Calvin wrote as follows: “While some
manuscripts have φονεύετε, I do not doubt that φθονεῖτε must be read, as I have
rendered, for the verb ‘to kill’ can in no way be applied to the context.” (The statement, in Latin, is in Ioannis Calvino Opera Quae Supersunt Omnia,
Volume 33, part 415, edited by Baum, Cunitz, and Reuss.)
Thus it is no surprise to find that in the 1557 Geneva
Bible, James 4:2 read as follows: “Ye
luste, and haue not : ye enuie, and have indignation, and can
not obtayne : ye fight and warre, and
gayne not, because ye aske not.”
[Emphasis added. Bear in mind
that “v” and “u” were fairly interchangeable in the old font; “ye envy” is what
James 3:18-4:2 in Tyndale's 1534 version.
Before the Geneva Bible, William Tyndale made his English translation
of the New Testament in 1526, based on the second edition of Erasmus’
compilation. Tyndale’s English text thus
reflected Erasmus’ theory about the wording in James 4:2: “Ye lust and have not / ye enuie and haue
indignation / and cannot come by yt.”
In 1582, a group of Roman Catholic scholars translated the
Rheims New Testament (named after the city in France where it was made), based on
the Vulgate. They used part of the
introduction to their work to explain why it was based on the Vulgate instead
of on a Greek base-text. In the course
of that introduction, one of the things they pointed out was that the Vulgate generally
agreed with the Greek manuscripts, and that at this particular point – James
4:2 – it did so better than the Greek compilations used by their Protestant
adversaries. “Beza,” they stated
(referring to the Protestant scholar Theodore Beza, who issued multiple
editions of Greek and Latin compilations in the second half of the 1500’s),
“correcteth the Greeke text also as false.” Beza’s Greek text retained φονεύετε but his Latin text, like
Erasmus’ Latin version, read “invidetis” instead of “occiditis.”
Erasmus' conjecture, noted in the apparatus of Eberhard Nestle's 1901 Novum Testamentum Graece.
Did the translators of the KJV adopt φονεύετε due to a desire to maintain strict adherence to the Greek text? Could the introduction to the Rheims New
Testament have spurred them in some way to reject Erasmus’ conjecture? It is pointless to speculate. The KJV’s English text in James 4:2 clearly
corresponds to φονεύετε, and so has every major English translation since then. The dismay that elicited Erasmus’ theory –
the idea that the Christians to whom James wrote were killing each other – has
tended to lose ground to an understanding that James, at this point, did not
intend to be taken altogether literally.
All Greek manuscripts of James that have been discovered
since Erasmus’ time have supported φονεύετε (except for a note in the margin of
minuscule 918; this note was probably made by someone in the 1500’s who read
Erasmus’ second edition and jotted down the variant from the printed text). Nevertheless, for many years, Novum Testamentum Graece,
the compilation-series begun by Eberhard Nestle, included a note mentioning
Erasmus’ proposal that James 4:2 might have originally read φθονεῖτε instead of
φονεύετε. In the recent 28th edition, however, this longstanding custom was abandoned; no conjectural emendations were included in the
new apparatus. (This is rather ironic,
since the editors of the 28thedition demonstrated their willingness
to put a theoretical Greek variant into the text, doing so at Second Peter
3:10.) However, if an ancient Greek
manuscript of the Epistle of James should ever happen to be discovered that
read φθονεῖτε in 4:2, some translators might consider putting it in the text,
or at least adding a footnote to mention it.
A closing note: all this should remind us that φθόνοι and φόνοι are similar not only in their letters but in their essence; envy is close to murder. Let each believer desire to receive whatever it is that God desires for him to receive, and no more nor less than that. With that resolve to trust the wisdom of God, each of us may find joy in the gifts God has prepared for him, and each will rejoice with those who rejoice in what God has prepared for them.
A famous list is found in the fifth chapter of the book of
Galatians, in verses 22-23: love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and
self-control. These nine qualities are
introduced as the fruit of the Spirit.
Just a few verses earlier, a very different list is provided. Just as the Spirit-led life produces Christ-like virtues,
a life centered on selfish desires produces bad fruit of various kinds – and those
vices are listed in verses 19-21: the
works of the flesh.
When Paul wrote this, how many items did he include in
that list of vices? A comparison of the ESV
and the MLV (Modern Literal Version) shows that the MLV’s list is slightly longer:
“Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, unbridled-lusts, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, selfish ambitions, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunkenness, revelings and things similar to these.”
Adultery and murders are included in the MLV’s list, but neither one is in the ESV’s
list. This is due to a difference in the
Greek compilations that were used for each version: the MLV’s base-text, the Byzantine Text – which represents the vast majority of Greek manuscripts – includes them both in
the list (as does the Textus Receptus, the base-text of the KJV, NKJV, and MEV). The Nestle-Aland/UBS compilation
However, it would be incorrect to think that the ancient
witnesses fall into just two groups, in which one group has both words, and the
other one has neither. It would be easy to get that impression if we only looked at Greek manuscripts, but the patristic evidence suggests something more complicated.
In the early Latin translation of Book 5 of Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, chapter 11, Irenaeus quoted this list with “adultery” but without
“murders” – “Manifesta autem sunt opera
carnis, quae sunt: adulteria,
fornicationes, immunditia, luxuria, idololatria, veneficia, inimicitiae,
contentiones, zeli, irae, aemulationes, animositates, irritationes,
dissensiones, haereses, invidiae, [here one would expect “homicidia,”] ebrietates, comissationes, et hic similia.” Eighteen vices are named in this list.
Jerome wrote his Commentary on Galatians in 386 (about 200 years after Irenaeus wrote), but Jerome
frequently consulted (and borrowed from) earlier sources, including the
commentaries of Origen (fl. 230-250) and Eusebius of Emesa (a student of the more famous
Eusebius of Caesarea, earlier in the 300’s).
Jerome commented in detail about the list of vices in Galatians 5:19-21. His list, containing 15 vices, was as
follows: fornication, impurity,
debauchery, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, discord, jealousy, rage, quarrels,
dissensions, heresies, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like.
After commenting in some detail about these vices, he wrote,
“In Latinis codicibus adulterium quoque
et impudicitia et homicidia in hoc catalogi uitiorum scripta referuntur. Sed sciendum non plus quam quindecim carnis
opera nominata, de quibus et disseruimus.”
That is: “In the Latin codices,
adultery and immodesty and murder are written in this list of vices. But we understand that no more than 15 works
of the flesh are named, and I have covered them above.”
Thus, although Latin manuscripts known to Jerome included adultery,
immodesty (impudicitia), and murder
in the list, Jerome did not include them.
It would appear that either the Latin translation of Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book 5, has been conformed
to an early Latin text that contained an expansion (the inclusion of “adultery”
at the beginning of the list), or else the translation is accurate, in which
case Irenaeus had access to a form of the Greek text which Jerome did not.
When considering whether copyists, in verse 19 and in verse
21, were likely to enlarge the list, or to shrink it, we should first be aware
of the phenomenon known as colometric formatting. In some manuscripts, when the copyists
encountered lists of names or other quantities which tended to begin or end in
similar ways, they stopped aligning the right edge of the text-column, and used a
verse-like format instead.
In some manuscripts, the entire text is written in sense-lines, like poetic verse (each measure is called a cola). (The stichoi-count in such manuscripts was not intended to represent the total number of lines, but of 16-syllable clusters, or something like that.) As a result, much of
the space in the right half of the column or columns of text is empty. There are not very many such manuscripts,
probably because this format wasted so much space. The format was used more frequently in the
genealogies (in Matthew 1 and Luke 3), in the Beatitudes, and in lists such as
this one in Galatians 5.
Galatians 5:19 in Codex Claromontanus (06)
Let’s take a look at one of the few surviving manuscripts in
which the entire text is written in colometric format: Codex Claromontanus, from the mid-400’s. In
Codex Claromontanus, in Galatians 5, sometimes a line is occupied by just one,
two, or three words. In the text of
Galatians in Codex
Claromontanus, the term “adultery” (μοιχια, usually spelled μοιχεία) appears on
the same line as the preceding words.
This format could elicit the loss of the word, if a scriptorium-master, after
reading aloud to the copyists, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which
are” jumped to the first indented item.
In two minuscule manuscripts that have a somewhat special text of the
Pauline Epistles, 330 and 2400, μοιχεία was initially omitted but was
re-inserted after ἀκαθαρσία (uncleanness) as the third item in the list, as if such a mistake
was made, but was almost immediately detected.
Galatians 5:19b-21 in Codex Claromontanus (06)
The colometric format had the advantage of making lists easy
to read, if one could follow along with one’s finger or with a
bookmark. On the other hand, if a
copyist skipped a line – which could easily happen, when several terms in a list ended in the same combination of letters – it would be difficult to detect, since
the text of a list, though shorter, would still make sense.
In Codex Sinaiticus (ﬡ, Aleph), most of the text of Galatians is
written in neat columns, but here in Galatians 5:19-21, the copyist resorted to
a colometric format, giving each vice its own line of text.
The copyist of Codex Vaticanus (B) was less generous with
his use of parchment, and wrote in the entire column, but he conveyed that in
his exemplar, the text of the list in Galatians 5:19-21 was written in a
colometric format, by adding distinct dots and spaces between the
Galatians 5:20-21a in Latin in Codex Claromontanus (VL 75).
A comparison of Codex ﬡ and Codex Claromontanus, separated
by about a century, suggests that in an ancient ancestor-manuscript, the text
was written colometrically, and μοιχια was written to the right of ατινα εστιν
(μοιχια was not written by the copyist of ﬡ, but the word was added there by a
later corrector), and in which, in verse 21, the word φθόνοι (envies, or envyings) was
followed on the next line by the very similar word φόνοι (murders) – the second
word being lost early in a transmission-line in Egypt, but preserved in Codex
Claromontanus (in Greek and in Latin – homicidiae
appears on the opposite page where the passage is written in Latin), thanks
perhaps to a cautious copyist’s observation that it would be a good idea to
write both words on a single line to avoid an accidental loss.
The text of the important minuscule 6 is consistent with
that hypothesis: written without colometric formatting, it contains μοιχεία in verse 19, and both φθόνοι and
φόνοι in verse 21.
In minuscule 1739, μοιχεία is not in the text but is added
in the margin; 1739 has both φθόνοι and φόνοι in verse 21.
The passage in minuscule 6.
Generally, the Greek manuscripts with an Egyptian line of descent do not have “adultery” (though we cannot be sure about Papyrus 46; damage has claimed its text from
Galatians 5:17b-20a), and almost all others do.
Occasionally, the accumulation of so many
words with similar endings got the better of a copyist: in minuscules 614 and 2412, for example,
after the copyist wrote ερις, ζηλοι, θυμοι, in verse 20, his line of sight
jumped forward to the –οι before μέθαι in verse 21, thus skipping all the words
in between. (The mistake apparently was
never caught by a proof-reader, even though minuscule 2412 was equipped for
Moving to versional evidence: the inclusion of “adultery” at the beginning
of the list in verse 19 is not supported by the Peshitta, but envy and murder
are both listed in verse 21. And, as
Jerome mentioned, the Old Latin includes adultery
and murder. Detailed information about the versional
evidence in verse 19 is not easy to come by (UBS-4
did not even acknowledge the existence of this variant-unit!), but if the UBS-4
apparatus is to be trusted, then the Vulgate, the Harklean Syriac, the
Bohairic, Armenian, and Ethiopic versions all support the longer reading in verse 21. The Old Georgian version is divided, but the
Georgian evidence for the shorter reading is so late, and is such a branch of a
branch, that I suspect that it may display a relatively late omission rather than
echo its ancestral text, as seems to be the case in some Greek
We already covered some patristic evidence, but there are a few other early writers whose comments on this passage are particularly
Clement of Alexandria, in Book 4, chapter 8 of Stromata, quoted the list, without “adultery,” and without “murder.”
Epiphanius, who was a bishop of
Salamis on the island
of Cyprus in the late 300’s, wrote an immense composition opposing various heresies, called the Panarion, and in Book 42 of this work,
Epiphanius’ target is the second-century heretic Marcion and his followers. Marcion, according to Epiphanius, not only
butchered the Gospel of Luke, but also made numerous alterations even to the ten
Epistles of Paul that he accepted – and Epiphanius even cites numerous detailed
examples, as if he himself has sifted through a copy of Marcion’s text.
Galatians 5:19-21 is among the passages
listed by Epiphanius as having been altered by Marcion; Epiphanius states in Panarion, Book 42, part 11:8, that Marcion’s
list ran as follows: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest,
which are these: adultery, fornication,
uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance,
emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, factions, envyings, drunkenness,
carousings.” Notably, adultery is
present, and murder is absent.
This list is repeated in part 12:3 of the same book. Some researchers have noted a slight
difference in the two quotations; in at least one manuscript of Epiphanius,
“murder” is present and not “envy.”
However, that may be a mere mistake by a copyist of Panarion. It seems doubtful
that Epiphanius would present two different versions of the same citation from
Marcion’s text without making a note about the difference.
The reading of Galatians 5:19-21 with “adultery,” and
without “murders,” is thus associated with Marcion – either as a feature of the
text that he found and adopted, or which he initiated, for whatever
reason. It is unlikely that Marcion,
whose opponents one and all accused him of fornication early in life, and who
later practiced celibacy, would invent the addition of “adultery.” In addition, in the course of his retort
against the long-dead Marcion, Epiphanius stated, “How can the holy Mary not
inherit the kingdom of heaven, flesh and all, when she did not commit
fornication or uncleanness or adultery or do any of the intolerable deeds of
the flesh, but remained undefiled?” This
indicates that “adultery” was also included in Epiphanius’ own text of Galatians
The list of the works of the flesh in minuscule 604.
So, although a few early manuscripts support a form of
Galatians 5:19-21 without “adultery” and without “murders,” and this form of the Greek text was also known to Clement and Jerome, these two non-inclusions are accounted for by natural scribal accidents – misreading an exemplar with colometrically arranged text, in the first case, and simple parablepsis
(jumping from one set of letters to a recurrence of the same (or similar)
letters further along in the text) in the other. Both “adultery” and “murders” belong in the
There is another passage with an interesting history
involving the similarity of the Greek words for envy and murder which I wanted
to mention today, but it will have to wait for another time. In the meantime, whether you accept the
complete form of the list of vices, or the shorter one, let us acknowledge that
the Scriptures elsewhere oppose both adultery and murder. And, for those who would like to look into
the text of Galatians more closely, I commend to you two online resources: Stephen Carlson’s dissertation, and a new compilation of Galatians by Robert Waltz, whose Encyclopedia of New Testament Textual Criticism was
recently updated and expanded.
May we all avoid the works of the flesh, and instead bear
the fruit of the Spirit!
I appreciate a lot of Dr. Michael J. Kruger’s work, but his recent lecture on the ending of Mark contained so many inaccuracies, and ignored so much of the evidence, that I felt compelled to respond. Here, therefore, is my counter-lecture.
I encourage you to watch it – it’s just 17 and a half minutes long – on a desktop computer, to ensure that the annotations will be visible.
The URL is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhGuN4nh5gs .
Many of the manuscripts currently in the National Library of
France – the Bibliothèque nationale de France – were once part
of the royal library. It is for this
reason that Codex L (019), a Gospels-manuscript from the 700’s, is known as
Codex Regius – the royal book. A strong
case can be made that Codex L is the most important New Testament manuscript in
France. Its text and its history are both highly interesting.
Although it is sometimes claimed that the scholars of the
1500’s only had access to relatively young and unimportant manuscripts, that is
not the case. Codex L is a very
important manuscript of venerable age, and its readings were cited by Stephanus
in the notes of his 1551 Greek New Testament; it was identified as witness ηʹ,
that is, #8. This manuscript has long been recognized
by the compilers of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece as a member of
the elite group of “Consistently cited witnesses of the first order” for all
four Gospels – one of only eight uncial manuscripts that share this status. Its uncial text is written in two columns per
page, with many initials decorated in red, green, and blue.
In the Gospel of Matthew, L’s text initially looks like
nothing very unusual; for the first 17 chapters, it is essentially Byzantine. Around Matthew 17:26, however, its character
abruptly becomes Alexandrian, as if, somewhere in its ancestry, a copyist began
to conform an Alexandrian manuscript to the text of a Byzantine exemplar, but
gave up at this point. This makes its
agreements with the Byzantine Text in the remaining portion of the text
(agreements such as the inclusion of Luke -44
and John 5:4) all the more weighty. (For more information see
Robert Waltz’s description of the codex at the newly updated Encyclopedia of New Testament Textual Criticism.)
The Alexandrian addition in Matthew 27:49.
Codex L features a distinctly Alexandrian reading at Matthew
27:49 that states that Jesus was
pierced with a spear before He
died. This reading, also supported by Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, has been consistently
ignored by the annotators of most modern English translations, even though it
has far more Greek support than the famous abrupt ending of Mark. In the ESV
and CSB, there is no mention of this
variant. It is no wonder that so many
evangelicals consider it is a good idea to prefer the Alexandrian Text over the
Byzantine Text, and regard Vaticanus and Sinaiticus as superior manuscripts, when they are kept in the dark about errant passages such as
this one embedded in the Alexandrian Text. Codex L also agrees with À and B by lacking the
story about the adulteress after John 7:52.
However, there is more to the picture:
after John 7:52, the copyists of Codex L left “memorial space” in the
manuscript, signifying that although their master-copy did not contain the
absent passage, the copyists recollected its presence in another manuscript, or
in other manuscripts. (Someone later drew
a doodle in part of the blank space.)
Codex L represents two opposite testimonies regarding John – on one hand, its main exemplar apparently did
not have these verses; on the other hand, the copyists clearly knew the passage
and wanted future readers to know that they knew. (Alas; we cannot know whether or not Codex L
contained the pericope adulterae at
the end of the Gospel of John. Codex L’s
last extant page ends in John .)
The blank space in Codex L between John 7:52 and 8:12.
Codex L’s most famous feature involves the ending of the
Gospel of Mark. Codex L’s scribes inserted
a row of “>” marks below the first column of a page, where Mark 16:8 ends (with the
letters το γαρ on the final line, which happens to be a feature shared by À and
B). At the top of the next column, a
framed note says, Φερετε που και ταυτα, that is, accounting for an itacism in
the first word, “Some have this too.”
This is followed by the paragraph known as the Shorter Ending. Here is the exact text of the Shorter Ending as
it appears in Codex L, line by line:
Πάντα δὲ τα παρη / γγελμενα τοῖς / περι τον πετρον / συντομως ἐξη /
γγιλαν – Μετα / δὲ ταῦτα καὶ αὐτος / ο ΙΣ, ἀπο ἀνατολης / και ἀχρι δυσεως / ἐξαπεστιλεν δι / ἀυτων το ϊερον / καὶ ἀφθαρτον κη / ρυγμα – της αἰω /
νιου σωτηριας – .
After Mark 16:8, the Shorter Ending appears, preceded and followed by notes, followed by 16:9.
Unlike the text of the Shorter Ending found in Codex Ψ (which includes the word
εφανε – appeared – after Jesus’ name), the fragment 099, some
Sahidic manuscripts, Bohairic MS Huntington 18, and the Ethiopic version (which
support εφανε αυτοις – appeared to them),
Codex L does not specify that Jesus appeared to the apostles. In this respect, although Codex L, as a
manuscript, is centuries younger than the fifth-century Old Latin Codex
Bobbiensis (which has the reading adparuit,
i.e., apparuit – appeared), the text of the Shorter Ending in Codex L appears to echo
an earlier stage of the Shorter Ending’s existence.
After the Shorter Ending, a framed note in Codex L says,
εστην δε και ταυτα φερομενα μετα το εφοβουντο γαρ –
that is, “There is also this, appearing after efobounto gar.” After this,
the first part of verse 9 begins, filling the last two lines of the column; the
first line is written in red, with a large initial “A” colored with red and
green. The next two pages contain Mark
16:9b-20, with distinctive variants which confirm what the notes already
show: not only does Codex L display a
distinctly Egyptian treatment of the ending of Mark, but the text of verses
9-20 here is in a distinctly Egyptian form, with readings that set it apart from the
Here are some non-Byzantine readings in Mark 16:9-20 in Codex L:
9 – L reads παρ’; Byz reads ἀφ’.
11 – L reads Εκεινοι; Byz reads
14 – L omits αυτοις (probably a
simple parableptic error); Byz reads αυτοις.
16 – L adds ο before βαπτισθεις;
Byz does not.
17 – L reads ακολουθησει ταυτα;
Byz reads ταυτα παρακολουθήσει.
17 – L omits καιναις; Byz reads
18 – L reads και εν ταις χερσιν;
Byz does not.
18 – L reads ἀρωστους; Byz reads
19 – L omits ουν; Byz reads ουν.
19 – L reads ΚΣΙΣ
(i.e., Lord Jesus); Byz reads Κύριος (i.e., Lord).
Inasmuch as these readings were
not derived from the Byzantine text of verses 9-20, the implication is that
they attest to a local form of the text in Egypt. And inasmuch as
the text of the Shorter Ending in Codex L precedes the form attested by Codex
Bobiensis (from the early 400’s), we are probably looking at an Egyptian text
from the late 300’s on any given page of Mark, Luke, and John in Codex L. Although, as a manuscript, Codex L is a few
centuries later than Codex Sinaiticus, in terms of their texts, Codex L’s text,
in general, is only a few decades later than Codex Sinaiticus, where
Codex L is free of scribal errors that originated with its copyist. Codex Regius is truly worthy of royal status
among Greek manuscripts of the Gospels.
Mark 16:17b-20, the subscription, and the beginning of the chapter-list for Luke.
Codex L has some interesting meta-textual
(or para-textual) features, too. Chapter-lists
precede Matthew, Mark (incomplete, due to the loss of a leaf), and Luke, but
not John. The numerals for the Eusebian
Sections and Canons appear in the margins, but they contain lots of mistakes,
as if the person who added them was not quite sure what he was doing. The manuscript also contains αρχη (start) and
τελος (stop) symbols to signify the beginnings and ends of lections. Red crosses accompany some lections that were
particularly important. A foot-index
(similar, in concept, to individual lines of a line-by-line canon-table) comes and goes. And, in the upper margins, most of the
chapter-titles have survived, written in red.
The scribe frequently added embellishments to capital letters at the
beginnings of sections, especially alpha,
epsilon, kappa, omicron, and tau.
In a few places, the middle bar of the large initial epsilon is transformed into a forearm; the large initial at the beginning of Luke is a good
example of this.
Finally, one more feature of Codex
L may be mentioned: its division of the
text into sentences. Although Codex L is
by no means unique, the correspondence between its sentence-divisions, and our
modern verse-divisions, is rather impressive.
On page after page, they square up remarkably well. It is tempting to think that when Stephanus
established our modern-day verse-divisions in the 1550's, it was after a careful consultation
of the sentence-divisions in this manuscript at Paris.
outset of the fourth and final part of this series about why the pericope adulterae (John ) is sometimes found in locations besides after John ,
let’s review what was observed in the previous parts:
● In two Greek
manuscripts (225 and 1128) the pericope
adulterae was transferred to a location between John and ,
so as to render the Pentecost-lection one uninterrupted block of text. (Similarly, in a few manuscripts, the passage
is transferred to a location following ;
again the reason for this was to render the Pentecost-lection one continuous
block of text.)
● In three
Georgian manuscripts, the pericope adulterae was inserted between John 7:44 and
. This is the result of a medieval Georgian
editor’s attempt to add the story into the Georgian text (which, in its
earliest form, did not have the passage).
The person who made the insertion was guided by a note (similar to what
is found in Greek manuscripts 1 and 1582) which stated that the pericope adulterae had been found in a
few copies at the 86th section; the Georgian editor therefore put it
at the very beginning of that section (i.e., immediately preceding John ).
● In the
family-1 cluster of manuscripts, the pericope
adulterae was transferred to the end of the Gospel of John, accompanied (in
the flagship manuscripts of the group) by an introductory note stating that it
was not present in many manuscripts, and had not been commented upon by revered
patristic writers of the late 300’s and early 400’s; for that reason, according
to the note, it was removed from the place where it had been found in a few
copies, in the 86th section of John, following the words “Search and
see that a prophet does not arise out of Galilee.” Yet this motive does not account altogether
for the Palestinian Aramaic evidence, which implies that in manuscripts made
prior to the creation of the Palestinian Aramaic lectionary, manuscripts
existed in which John 8:3-11 (rather than )
was transferred to the end of John, leaving -8:2
in the text. (Notably, 18 Greek
manuscripts similarly have in the text, but not 8:3-11.)
evidence thus consistently supports the view that for every transplantation of
the pericope adulterae, there is an
explanation which shows that prior to the dislocation, the pericope adulterae followed
in earlier copies of John. The more
closely we look at the evidence, the more untenable the “floating anecdote”
theory of Metzger, Wallace, White, etc. becomes.
what about the small group of manuscripts in which the pericope adulterae appears at the end of Luke 21?These manuscripts (mainly minuscules 13, 69,
124, 346, 788, and 826) echo a shared ancestor; this is just one of many
distinct textual features that they share, setting them apart from the rest of
the Greek manuscript-evidence.Let me
share the answer before I offer the evidence for it:the presence of the pericope adulterae after Luke 21:38 in these manuscripts’ ancestor
was an adaptation to the Byzantine lection-cycle, and almost certainly descends from a form of the Gospels-text in which the passage had already been transplanted to the end of John.
manuscript 13 (the namesake of the group), the Gospels-text is supplemented by
symbols signifying the beginning (αρχη) and end (τελος) of the lections
assigned to be read from day to day in the church-services.For example, the parameters of the
Pentecost-lection are thus indicated; an αρχη-symbol accompanies the beginning
of John 7:47, and a τελος-symbol accompanies the end of .
13 has, as a sort of appendix, an incomplete lectionary-table, stating which
Scripture-portions are to be read on which days. In the portion of the lectionary-table that lists readings for the month of October, the last extant entry is for October 7.The last line on the page identifies this as
the Feast-day of Saints Sergius and Bacchus (whose martyrdom is said to have
occurred in the 300’s).Unfortunately the
next page (which would begin by identifying the passage to be read on that day – Sections
250-251 of Luke, that is, Luke -19) has been lost.In the text of Luke 21 in
minuscule 13, however, we can see the marks signifying where the lector was to
begin and end this lection:an
αρχη-symbol appears (between πάντων and επιβαλουσιν) in , and a τελος-symbol appears at the end of .
take a closer look at the text of Luke 21 in minuscule 13.Verses from this chapter had more than one
use in the Byzantine lectionary.Three blocks of
text were extracted from it to form the lection for Carnival Saturday (before
Lent).In addition, portions from this
chapter were to be read during the 12th week after Easter.
see the effects of this in minuscule 13.Near the beginning of verse 8, an αρχη-symbol interrupts the text
between ειπεν and βλέπετε.The lector
was then instructed at the end of verse 9 to jump ahead (the υπερβαλε symbol
appears there).An αρξου-symbol
(meaning, “resume here”) appears in the margin alongside the beginning of verse
21, but this was part of the instructions for the Wednesday of the 12th week after Easter.On Carnival Saturday, the lector was to jump to the beginning of verse 25 (where we
find, in minuscule 13, the abbreviated note “αρξου τ. Σα.,” that is, “Resume
here on Saturday”).The lector was to
continue from that point to the end of verse 27, where we find in minuscule 13
another υπερβαλε-symbol.Jumping to the
next αρξου-symbol, the lector was to then read verses 32-36, at the end of
which we reach a τελος-symbol.(In
minuscule 13, there is also an αρχη-symbol at the beginning of verse 28 and a τελος-symbol at the end of verse 32; these were intended to signify the beginning and end
of the lection for Thursday of the 12th week after Easter.)
are two things to discern from all this:(1) there is no convenient break in Luke 21 where one could
insert a narrative, and (2) bits of Luke 21 before and after
the lection for the Feast-day of Sergius and Bacchus were assigned to a prominent
Saturday.The lections for Saturday and
Sunday are generally believed to have developed and been standardized (more or
less) before the weekday-lections.
Building on those two points, let us picture a scenario in which a copy of the Gospels which
has the pericope adulterae at the end
of John has come into the hands of a medieval copyist who wishes to place the passage
into the text.He could insert it in its usual place.But, knowing that its contents were used annually as a lection for a specific day of the year, he might decide instead that it would be convenient to insert
it where it could be easily found in the lectionary-sequence.In that case, the natural place to insert
the pericope adulterae would be at
the end of Luke 21.
reason for this is that the contents of Luke 21:27-28 loosely square up with
the contents of John 8:1-2. Luke
21:27-28 was so similar to some of the contents of John 8:1-2 that the person
who transferred the pericope adulterae to this location altered the text of
John 8:2-3 to avoid what appeared to be a superfluous repetition: after “And early in
the morning he came into the temple,” the text of family-13 is και προσήνεγκαν
αυτω οι γραμματεις” (“And the scribes presented to him . . .”), where the
typical Byzantine text of John 8:2 is significantly longer: και πας ο λαος ηρχετο και καθίσας εδίδασκεν
αυτους· Αγουσιν δε οι γραμματεις (“and all the people came to him, and he sat
down and taught them. Then brought the
scribes . . .”). Here we have the
textual equivalent of the fingerprints, or footsteps, of the editor of
reason: as already mentioned, the lection for October 7 was Luke 21:12-19.The next feast-day in the Menologion, for
October 8, was that of Saint Pelagia – and the text assigned to her feast-day was
John 8:3-11.A natural desire not to interrupt either the Pentecost-lection or the
lection for Carnival Saturday was all that was necessary for the
copyist of family-13’s ancestor-manuscript to insert the passage
that contained the lection for October 8 in close proximity to the lection for October 7 (about as close as
one could place it without disrupting the narrative and dividing the lection for Carnival Saturday).
thus becomes clear that the location of the pericope
adulterae following Luke 21:28 in the family-13 cluster of manuscripts does
not imply that the pericope adulterae
was previously unknown to the scribe who made the ancestor-manuscript of these
copies; it conveys, rather, that the passage was known as the lection for Saint
Pelagia’s feast-day, October 8 – and this is why it was placed near the passage
which was read on the preceding day.
Before concluding, I wish to mention one
other case of the displacement of the pericope adulterae: its treatment in minuscule 1333, in which
John 7:52 is followed by 8:12 but John 8:3-11 is found between the end of Luke
24 and the beginning of John 1. This piece of evidence is sometimes described imprecisely. In minuscule 1333, John 8:3-11 (not -8:2) has been written in two columns on
the page that follows the page on which the Gospel of Luke ends. (Thus, no one should imagine that 1333 has
the pericope adulterae as part of the
text of Luke 24.) A title identifies the
text as a lection from the Gospel of John (εκ του κατα Ιωαννου), and a faint
note in the margin states that this lection is to be read on October 8 to honor
1333’s testimony is thus similar to that of manuscripts such as minuscule 1424,
in which the pericope adulterae is
absent in the text of John but has been added in the margin, with the
exceptions that only John 8:3-11 has been added (probably from a lectionary) in
this case, and that the person who added these verses in minuscule 1333 did so
on a previously blank page between Luke and John instead of in the margin alongside the
text of John 7-8.