Saturday, December 29, 2018

Do Byzantine MSS Have Less Disagreements? (Part 3)

            In part 1 and 2 of this investigation, we compared the differences between Vaticanus and Sinaiticus in Luke 19 to the differences between Codex Alexandrinus and minuscule 2474 in the same passage, and found that although B and À disagree 35 times, and these 35 disagreements involve 115 letters’ worth of difference, there are 28 disagreements between A and 2474, involving 127 letters’ worth of disagreement, indicating that the amount of disagreement between À and B is not remarkably higher than the amount of disagreement between A and 2474 (both considered Byzantine manuscripts).
            Now, in Part 3, I wish to look at the text of Luke 19 in two members of a particular Byzantine sub-group:  family 35, which the famous compiler Hermann von Soden named the “Kr” text.  The “K” in this appellation stands for “Koine,” that is, the common text, essentially synonymous with the Byzantine Text, and the “r” stands for “revision,” because von Soden thought that this form of the text was a standardization made in the 1100s. 
            Researcher Wilbur Pickering has argued that the term “Kr” is somewhat loaded, like Hort’s term “Neutral text,” and he believes that this text goes back to the 200s at least, and constitutes the best available representative of the original text.  Pickering has argued that because representative manuscripts of family 35 are found in diverse monasteries at Mount Athos, this implies that their ancestor-manuscripts were taken to Mount Athos before the Islamic conquest, ant thus family 35’s form of text cannot be the result of a medieval revision.  Without addressing Pickering’s claims, I will use the title “family 35” as an alternative to “Kr.”

           Family 35 could be described as a manuscript-cluster, having essentially the Byzantine Text but with enough shared readings to set its members apart from other Byzantine manuscript-groups.  (For a brief description of Byzantine sub-groups see Robert Waltz’s description of the Claremont Profile Method.)   Do its members agree with each other more closely than B and À?  More closely than A and 2474?
            To find out, I compared the text of Luke 19:1-27 in GA 155 and GA 691 (two members of family 35 – GA 155 is at the Vatican Library, catalogued as Reg. Gr. 79, and GA 691 is at the British Library, catalogued as Additional MS 22739).  I compared their online page-views to the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform, using the same ground-rules I used for À, B, A, and 2474 (that is, setting aside trivial orthographic variations, not counting contractions as errors, and ignoring most itacisms).   
            Due to the remarkable uniformity of the text in these two manuscripts, instead of providing a verse-by-verse list of their disagreements with each other, it seems better to just state the differences:
Differences between GA 155 and 691 in Luke 19:1-27:

1-15 – no differences
16 – 691 reads επραγματεύσατο instead of διεπραγματεύσατο (-2)
17 – no differences
18 – 692 reads μνας instead of μνα before σου (+1)
19-22 – no differences
23 – 691 reads την before τράπεζαν (+3)
Verses 24-27 – no differences

            (Both 155 and 691 disagree with RP2005 in verse 15 by not including και, and both MSS read συκομοραίαν instead of RP2005’s συκομωραίαν in verse 4.)
            The total amount of disagreement between 155 and 691 in Luke 19:1-27 thus consists of three disagreements, involving six letters.
            I am confident that 155 and 691 display a similarly remarkable level of agreement in Luke 19:28-48.
            In Luke 19:1-27, there is obviously a stark difference between the degree of disagreement between two representatives of the Alexandrian Text (20 differences, involving 49 letters), and two relatively early members of the Byzantine Text (14 differences, involving 69 letters), and two members of family 35 (three disagreements, involving six letters).   
            Unless 155 and 691 are somehow exceptional, it appears that the copyists of the manuscripts in family 35 transcribed with a level of precision and uniformity which was on a whole other level compared to the scribes in the other manuscript-groups.  It may be the case that “No two manuscripts agree exactly,” due to trivial differences, but the agreement-rate for members of family 35 appears to be phenomenally higher than the agreement-rate among members of any other major manuscript-group.  Whether the copyists of the over 220 manuscripts that represent were physically isolated from exemplars representing other forms of the text, or were intentionally selective about which exemplars to use, they perpetuated the text with remarkably uniformity.  So we can say, when asking if Byzantine manuscripts have less disagreements that other forms of the text:  not necessarily in early settings where the use of diverse exemplars elicited mixture, but in the Byzantine sub-group known as family 35, yes; those Byzantine MSS have far fewer disagreements.  

Friday, December 28, 2018

Do Byzantine MSS Have Less Disagreements? (Part 2)

            Today we continue to look into a question about the rates of disagreements in the two main Alexandrian manuscripts (Vaticanus and Sinaiticus), asking if their rate or disagreement is uniquely high compared to other pairs of manuscripts, particularly manuscripts which attest to the Byzantine Text.  Our sample manuscript-pair to contrast with B and À are Codex Alexandrinus (A) and minuscule 2474 (the Elfleda Bond Goodspeed Gospels). 
            In Part 1, we saw that in Luke 19:1-27, while B and À disagree 20 times (including three transpositions), A and 2474 disagree 14 times.  We also saw that the disagreements in B and À in those verses involve 49 letters’ worth of disagreement – but in A and 2474, the disagreements involve 69 letters’ worth of disagreement. 
            Now let’s see how each pair of manuscripts disagrees in Luke 19:28-48, using the same ground-rules as before.

Luke 19:28-48:  Comparison of Codex A and 2474

28 – no differences
29 – no differences
30 – 2474 reads ω instead of ον before ουδεις (+1, -2)
30 – (2474 transposes so as to read αυτον αγάγετε)
30 – 2474 reads μοι at the end of the verse (+3) [Agreeing with G and N.] 
31 – no differences
32 – no differences
33 – no differences
34 – no differences
35 – (2474 transposes so as to read εαυτων τα)
36 – 2474 reads αυτων instead of εαυτων (-1)
37 – no differences
38 – 2474 does not have βασιλευς (-8)
38 – 2474 transposes so as to read ειρήνη εν ουνω
39 – no differences
40 – (several itacisms here, but no significant variants)
41 – 2474 reads αυτη instead of αυτην (-1)
42 – 2474 reads σου after ημερα (+3)
42 – Codex A does not have νυν δε εκρύβη απο οφθαλμων σου (-25) [h.t. error]
43 – no differences
44 – 2474 reads λιθων instead of λιθον (+1, -1)
45 – no differences
46 – Codex A reads οτι after γεγραπται (+3)
46 – 2474 reads κληθήσεται instead of εστιν (+10, -5)
46 – 2474 transposes so as to read εποιήσατε αυτον
47 – Codex A does not have οι after αρχιερεις και (-2)
48 – no differences

Luke 19:28-48:  Comparison of À and B

28 – no differences
29 – B reads εγετο instεad of εγενετο (-2)
29 – B does not have Ελεων (-5)
30 – À does not have και after εκαθισεν (-3)
31 – no differences
32 – no differences
33 – no differences
34 – no differences
35 – À reads επεβίβασαν instead of επεβίσαν (+2)
36 – À reads αυτων instead of εαυτων (-1)
37 – À reads πασων instead of παντων (+3, -4)
38 – À does not read ὁ ερχόμενος (-10)
38 – À reads εν before ειρήνη (+2)
39 – no differences
40 – B does not read οτι before εαν (-3)
41 – no differences
42 – no differences
43 – À reads περεμβαλουσιν instead of περιβαλουσιν (+2, -1)
43 – À does not read σε before και συνέξουσιν (-2)
43 – À does not read σε before πάντοθεν (-2)
44 – no differences
45 – no differences
46 – À does not read και εσται before ο οικος (-8)
47 – À does not read ιερω.  Οι δε (-8)
48 – no differences

            And now for the totals:  A and 2474 disagree 14 times in Luke 19:28-48, and these differences involve 58 letters’ worth of difference. Meanwhile, B and À disagree 15 times in Luke 18:28-49, and these differences involve 66 letters’ worth of difference. 
            In Luke 19 (combining the results in Parts 1 and 2), A and 2474 disagree 28 times, and their disagreements involve 127 letters’ worth of difference.  B and À disagree 35 times, and their disagreements involve 115 letters’ worth of difference.  All in all, this comparison indicates that the texts of Byzantine manuscripts are capable of as much intramural competition, so to speak, as the texts of Alexandrian manuscripts.
           But the possibility exists that we are looking non-typical samples.  Let’s dig a little further in Part 3 by exploring one of the sub-groups of the Byzantine Text:  manuscripts from family 35, which has a reputation for uniformity.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Do Byzantine MSS Have Less Disagreements? (Part 1)

            In the Gospels, Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus disagree 3,036 times.  This has been interpreted by some researchers (such as John Burgon, in the late 1800s) as proof that at least one of the two manuscripts which were the main basis for the 1881 revision by Westcott & Hort – a compilation which resembles the Nestle-Aland compilation – is very unreliable.
            But what is the typical rate of disagreement between two of the manuscripts that display the text that Burgon preferred – the “traditional text,” or as it is better-known today, the Byzantine Text?  Let’s find out, or at least get some idea, by selecting a passage from the Gospels, and discovering how many times B and À disagree in that passage – and then select two Byzantine manuscripts and discover how many times they disagree in the same passage.  The two Byzantine manuscripts we shall examine are Codex Alexandrinus (from the 400s) and minuscule 2474, the Elfleda Bond Gospels (from the 900s).  The test-passage under consideration is chapter 19 of the Gospel of Luke; we shall first consider verses 1-27, and then verses 28-48.  In both comparisons, readings of the first hand shall be considered.
            The comparison between A and 2474 was done by comparing the transcript of A in Swanson’s Horizontal Line text of Luke to the online page-views of 2474.  The comparison between À and B was done by comparing Swanson’s transcriptions.  For both comparisons, I have overlooked differences in word-contractions, and allowed most vowel-exchanges and minor orthographic variants to pass unmentioned.   

Luke 19:1-27:  Comparison of Codex A and 2474

1 – 2474 has ο Ις after δήρχετο (+3)
2 – 2474 has ουτος instead of αυτος (+1, -1)
2 – 2474 has αυτος instead of ουτος (+1, -1)
2 – 2474 does not have ην before πλούσιος (-2)
3 – no differences
4 – 2474 reads εις το after προσδραμων (+5)
4 – 2474 reads τον Ιν where A reads αυτον (+5, -5)
4 = 2474 reads δι’ after οτι (+2)
5 – no differences      
6 – no differences
7 – 2474 reads αυτον after ιδόντες (+5)
7 – 2474 reads απαντες instead of παντες (+1)
8 – 2474 reads ημιση instead of ημισυ (+1, -1)
9 – 2474 does not have εν before σωτηρια (-2)
10 – no differences
11 – no differences
12 – no differences
13 – no differences
14 – no differences
15 – no differences
16 – no differences
17 – no differences
18 – no differences
19 – no differences
20 – 2474 reads μνας instead of μνα (+1)
21 – no differences
22 – 2474 does not read δε after λεγει (-2)   
23 – 2474 reads εκομισάμην αν το εμον συν τόκω instead of συν τόκω αν αυτο ανέπραξα (+16, -14)  [A remarkable agreement between 2474 and Codex G (011, from the 800s).] 
24 – no differences
25 – no differences
26 – no differences
27 – no differences

Luke 19:1-27:  Comparison of À and B

1 – no differences
2 – À reads ην and not αυτος before πλούσιος (+2, -5)
3 – no differences
4 – À reads του ιδειν instead of ινα ιδη (+4, -3)
5 – À reads before Ις (+1)
6 – no differences        
7 – [À transposes to ανδρι αμαρτωλω]
8 – À reads before Ζακχαιος (+1)
8 – À reads τοις before πτωχοις (+4)
9 – À reads before Ις (+1)
9 – À does not read εστιν (-5) 
10 – À reads απο after το (+3)
11 – À reads αυτοις instead of αυτους (+1, -1)
11 – [À transposes after παραχρημα]
12 – no differences
13 – no differences
14 – no differences
15 – no differences
16 – À reads προσηργάσα instead of προσηργάσατο (-2)
17 – À reads ευ instead of ευγε (-2)
17 – [À transposes to δουλε αγαθέ]
18 – no differences
19 – no differences
20 – À reads τερος instead of ετερος (-1)
21 – no differences
22 – no differences
23 – À has an extra ουν (+3)
24 – À reads αρε instead of αρατε (-2)
25 – À reads Κε after αυτω (+2)
26 – À does not read υμιν (-4)
27 – À reads κατασφάξετε instead of κατασφάξατε (+1, -1)

            And now for the totals:  in Luke 19:1-27, 2474 disagrees with A 14 times, involving a total of 69 letters’ worth of disagreement.  (That variant in verse 23 was huge.)  Meanwhile, À disagrees with B 20 times (including three mere transpositions), involving 49 letters’ worth of disagreement.  
            We should take into consideration that several centuries separate the production of Codex Alexandrinus and 2474, while probably less than 50 years separate B and À.  We should also consider the possibility that 2474 is not quite a typical medieval manuscript.  Nevertheless, judging from this particular comparison, it looks like Burgon’s criticism of B and À’s high level of disagreement is a criticism that can be aimed at some pairs of Byzantine manuscripts as well.
            The comparison continues with the rest of Luke 19 in Part 2.    

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Matthew 6:33 - The Kingdom of God

            Matthew 6:33 is a verse which many Christians have committed to memory.  There is a textual contest in this verse, and although it does not drastically change the meaning of the verse, the contest here has some instructive features. 
            Most manuscripts begin the verse with the phrase, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” – Ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θυ και τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ.  Besides hundreds of medieval minuscules, this group of manuscripts includes E G K L M N S U V W Δ Θ Π Σ Φ and the interesting minuscules  f1 f13 33 700 892 1263 1424 etc.
            Contrary to what is stated in Willker’s Textual Commentary on the Greek Gospels, minuscule 57 has the usual Byzantine reading, albeit with βασιλείαν harshly contracted.  I consulted 157’s online page-views, but it, too, supports the usual Byzantine reading, and so does 579.       

            Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, however, do not have the words “of God” (τοῦ Θυ); Vaticanus also has a transposition here, so as to read “Seek first the righteousness and His kingdom” (Ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον τὴν δικαιοσύνην και τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ).  (Metzger theorized that this transposition “is perhaps the result of the desire to suggest that righteousness is prerequisite to participation in the kingdom; compare 5.20,” in which case, such a scribe would seem rather reckless – but it is also possible that B’s word-order here is just an effect of a scribe losing his place, that is, the scribe’s line of sight may have jumped from the first τὴν to the second τὴν,  and then he attempted to salvage his mistake rather than remove it.)  

            In the 1881 revision of Westcott & Hort, the Greek words underlying “of God” were not included, and this reading is still followed in the NIV, which reads, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (applying “his” (αὐτοῦ) to both of the preceding nouns); the RSV read the same way.   The ESV and CSB, however, reject the readings of both B and À.  The NLT, though rendered somewhat imprecisely, also favors the Byzantine reading:  “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously.”   In addition, the Tyndale House edition of the Greek New Testament (2017) includes τοῦ θεοῦ in its text, thus supporting the Byzantine reading.
            When we turn to early versions, there is widespread support for the Byzantine reading:  the UBS apparatus (2nd ed.) lists most Old Latin copies, the Vulgate, the Sinaitic Syriac, the Curetonian Syriac, the Peshitta, the Harklean Syriac, the Palestinian Aramaic, the Armenian version, and the earliest Georgian copies as allies of the Byzantine text at this point.  (Codex Argenteus, containing most of the Gospels in Gothic, is unfortunately not extant for Matthew 6:33.)      
            If not for a smattering of patristic and versional witnesses that support the non-inclusion of “of God,” one might think that when viewing the Greek manuscripts where “of God” is not present, we are looking at merely a random assortment of examples of recurring scribal carelessness.  But along with evidence from Eusebius of Caesarea (in the early 300s) and Didymus (in the late 300s), the Sahidic and Bohairic versions (both from Egypt) confirm this reading – and, according to James Leonard, so does the Middle Egyptian manuscript Schøyen 2650, a.k.a. Mae2 (from the 300s, perhaps the early 300s).  These witnesses echo an earlier shared ancestor.  (The Coherence-Based Genealogical Method may be incapable of detecting much of a historical link among these witnesses because it is limited to manuscript-evidence, but things look different when patristic evidence and versional evidence are in the picture.)
            Before proceeding further, let’s momentarily leave these witnesses to notice something on display in some entirely different passages:
            ● In Matthew 13:42, where most manuscripts refer to “the kingdom of their Father,” Codex Θ* and minuscules 124, 700, and 78 refer to “the kingdom of heaven.”
            ● In Matthew 19:23, where other manuscripts refer to the kingdom of heaven, minuscule 579 refers to the kingdom of God.
            ● In Matthew 19:24, where most manuscripts (including À B D K W) refer to the kingdom of God, Codex Z, f1, 33, 157, and the Sinaitic Syriac (and the Curetonian Syriac as well) refer to the kingdom of heaven.       
            ● At the end of Mark 10:25, where most manuscripts refer to the kingdom of God, minuscule 579 refers to the kingdom of heaven.
            In Mark 15:43, where the Greek text refers to the “kingdom of God,” the Sinaitic Syriac refers to the kingdom of heaven.  (Cf. Luke 23:51 below.)
            ● At the end of Luke 6:20, where most manuscripts refer to the kingdom of God, 1582*, 118, 69, 157, and 1424 refer to the kingdom of heaven.
            ● At the end of Luke 7:29, where most manuscripts refer to the kingdom of God, 1424 refers to the kingdom of heaven, and 579 simply has βασιλειᾳ (“kingdom,” without “of God”).
            ● At the end of Luke 9:60, where most manuscripts refer to the kingdom of God, minuscule 28 refers to the kingdom of heaven.
            ● In Luke 12:31, where most manuscripts refer to the kingdom of God, Codices Β À D* L Ψ and 579 refer to His kingdom (βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ), and Papyrus 75 has only βασιλείαν. 
            ● In Luke 13:18, where most manuscripts refer to the kingdom of God, Codices N and U refer to the kingdom of heaven.
            ● In Luke 13:28, where most manuscripts refer to the kingdom of God, Codex A refers simply to “His kingdom.”
            ● At the end of Luke 14:15, where most manuscripts refer to the kingdom of God, minuscules 69, 579, and 788 refer to the kingdom of heaven.
            ● At the end of Luke 18:16, where most manuscripts refer to the kingdom of God, Codex Λ*, 157, 579 and the Sinaitic Syriac refer to the kingdom of heaven.
            ● In Luke 18:24, where most manuscripts (including À A B D W) refer to the kingdom of God, Codices Y, K, M, and Π refer to the kingdom of heaven.
            ● In Luke 23:51, where the Greek text of Luke 23:51 says that Joseph of Arimathea was waiting for the kingdom of God, the Sinaitic Syriac says that he was waiting for the kingdom of heaven.  (Unfortunately this reading is not noted in the Nestle-Aland apparatus.)

            Thus, where there is a contest in the Synoptic Gospels between variants that refer to the kingdom of God, or to the kingdom of heaven, a strong scribal tendency is shown toward replacing the phrase “kingdom of God” with the phrase “kingdom of heaven.”   This tendency may be the result of natural harmonization toward Matthew, but this cannot be the case in the three examples taken from Matthew, or in the passages which have no Matthean parallel. 

            With this scribal tendency in mind, let’s consider the other horses that are running in this race.  John Chrysostom, though he repeatedly used Matthew 6:33 in its usual form, once uses the phrase, “Seek first the kingdom of heaven and his righteousness.”  Clement of Alexandria (who died around AD 215) stated in the course of Paedagogos (The Instructor) II 120:2, “But you also oppose Scripture, seeing it expressly cries, Seek first the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Initially, this looks more like a loose recollection of Luke 12:31 than a quotation of Matthew 6:33.  But in Stromateis (Miscellanies) IV 34:6, in the course of offering a series of passages on the theme of avoiding anxiety and relying on God, Clement states:  “”Wherefore I say, take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, neither for your body, what you shall put on.  For your life is more than food, and your body more than clothing.”  And again, “For your Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of heaven, and its righteousness,” for these are the great things, and the things which are small and pertain to this life “shall be added to you.””
            (Some readers may be interested to know that the last part of Clement’s statement, and another statement of Clement in Stromateis I, chapter 24, appear to constitute a utilization of a statement which circulated in the early church as a saying attributed to Jesus:  “Seek what is great, and the little things shall be added.”  Though not preserved in any of the canonical Gospels, this saying (or “agraphon”) was used not only by Clement but also by Eusebius of Caesarea.)
            Earlier yet, Justin Martyr, in First Apology 15:16 (c. 160), writes, “Take no thought, therefore, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall put on, for your heavenly Father knows that you need those things.  But seek the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  This resembles Luke 12:31 more closely than it resembles Matthew 6:33, but the parallel is inexact due to the reference to the kingdom of heaven.
            If we consult Ephrem Syrus’ Commentary on the Diatessaron, we may find some data that helps explain the origin of Justin’s and Clement’s form of the verse.  Writing in the mid-300s, Ephrem offered comments on substantial parts of Tatian’s Diatessaron, a composition which Tatian put together in about the year 172, blending the contents of the four Gospels into one continuous account.  Tatian was a student of Justin, who appears to have used a similarly blended-together composition that combined the texts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. 
            This would interlock with the idea that Justin (or whoever made his harmonized narrative that blended together Matthew, Mark, and Luke) – and subsequently Tatian, building on his teacher’s materials – without feeling obligated to maintain the meticulousness that a copyist might feel when making a copy of an individual Gospel, took some minor liberties with the text, resulting in a statement in the Diatessaron, based on Matthew 6:33 and Luke 12:31, which reads, “Seek the kingdom of heaven, and all these things, over and above, shall be added to you as well.”  According to Willker (citing Carmel McCarthy’s translation of the text of Ephrem’s commentary on the Diatessaron), Ephrem Syrus utilized just such a statement in his commentary.     

            When we consider the widespread influence of the Diatessaron, and the scribal tendency to replace “kingdom of God” with “kingdom of heaven,” an explanation for the readings in Matthew 6:33 in the Alexandrian codices presents itself:  in an early manuscript, the text was altered so as to read, “Seek first the kingdom of heaven and his righteousness” – the only difference being the replacement of “of God” with “of heaven” – precisely the sort of change that we see (with problematic frequency) not only in minuscule 579, but in much earlier witnesses such as the Sinaitic Syriac. 
            Subsequent copyists considered this reading intolerably puzzling, and removed “of heaven,” leaving only “the kingdom,” yielding the reading in À.  This scribal modus operandi is basically the same one observed in Papyrus 75 in Luke 12:31, where – whether one regards “His kingdom” or “the kingdom of God” as original – nothing is left but “the kingdom.”   
            In conclusion, we have good reasons to be confident that the Byzantine reading of Matthew 6:33 is original. 

Readers are invited to explore the embedded links for additional resources.       

Friday, December 14, 2018

Hand-to-Hand Combat: P38 vs. GA 2401 (Round 2)

            Today, the contest between Papyrus 38 (from the 200s) and minuscule 2401 (from the 1000s) concludes.  In Round 1, we saw the fragmentary text of  Acts 18:27-19:6 on one side of Papyrus 38 (and also saw that it is remarkably less accurate than the text in 2401).  Today in Round 2, we will turn the papyrus over and consider the fragmentary text of Acts 19:12-16 on the other side. 
            But first, let’s examine the text of Acts 19:12-16 as presented in 2401.  The same ground rules that were used in Round One are also in play here.  

            Ring the bell for Round Two!

Acts 19:12-19:  2401 Compared to NA27

12 – 2401 reads επιφέρεσθαι instead of αποφέρεσθαι (+2, -2)
12 – 2401 reads εξέρχεσθαι instead of εκπορεύεσθαι (+9, -11)
12 – 2401 reads απ’ αυτων at the end of the verse (+7, -0)
13 – 2401  reads απο instead of και (+3, -3)
13 – 2401 transposes so as to read πονηρα πνευματα, omitting the second τα (+0, -2) 
13 – 2401 reads ορκίζομεν instead of ορκίζω (+4, -1)
14 – 2401 reads τινες instead of τινος (+1, -1)
14 – 2401 reads υιοι before Σκευα (+4, -0)
14 – 2401 does not read υιοι after ἑπτα (+0, -4)  
15 – 2401 reads ειπε instead of ειπεν (+0, -1)
15 – 2401 does not have αυτοις after ειπεν (+0, -6)
15 – 2401 does not have μεν before Ιν (+0, -3)        
15 – 2401 does not have τον before Παυλον (+0, -3) (The corrector added it above the line.)
16 – 2401 reads εφαλλόμενος instead of εφαλόμενος (+1, -0)
16 – 2401 transposes so as to read επ’ αυτους ὁ ανος
16 – 2401 reads και after πονηρόν (+3, -1)
16 – 2401 reads κατακυριεύσαν instead of κατακυριεύσας (+1, -1)
16 – 2401 reads αυτων instead of αμφοτέρων (+4, -8)
16 – 2401 reads ισχυσε instead of ισχυσεν (+0, -1)

Thus, in these five verses, 2401 has 39 non-original letters, and is missing 47 original letters, for a total of 86 letters’ worth of deviation from NA27.  (This sum could be reduced slightly by taking the trivial orthographic variants in v. 15 and v. 16 out of the picture.)   

Is the text of Papyrus 38 any better?  Let’s see:  

Acts 19:12-16:  Papyrus 38 Compared to NA27

12 – P38 does not have αυτου after χρωτος (+0, -5)
12 – P38 reads παντα instead of πνατα (not counted because this is a nomen sacrum)
13 – P38 reads εξορκίζομεν instead of ορκίζω (+5, -0)
13 – P38 transposes so as to read –σσει ο Παυλος (+1, -0)
14 – P38 reads εν οις και υ- instead of ησαν δε (+9, -6)
14 – P38 reads [Σκευ]-ια instead of Σκευα (+1, -0)
14 – P38 reads τινος after Ιουδαίου (+4, -0)
14 – P38 has ηθ[έλη]σαν instead of ἑπτα υιοι after αρχιερέως (+4, -8)
14 – P38 reads [το α]υτο ποιησαι εθος εχοντες [εξορκι]ζειν τους τοιουτους και εισελθο[ντες] προς δαιμονιζομενον ηρξα[ντο επι]καλεισθαι το ονομα λεγοντες π[αραγγελ]λομεν σοι εν Ιηυ ον Παυλος ο [αποστο]λος κηρυσσει εξελθειν (+133, -0)
15 – P38 reads [γ]ει[νωσκω] instead of γινωσκω (+1, -0)
16 – no variations

Thus, Papyrus 38’s text of Acts 19:12-16 contains 158 non-original letters, and is missing 19 original letters, yielding a total of 158 letters’ worth of deviations from NA27. 

            2401 wins again!  And again, the contest is not close:  with 86 letters’ worth of scribal corruption in just five verses, 2401 may have seemed like an easy target, but the interpolation in Acts 19:14 in Papyrus 38 crushed any chance for victory it may have had. 
            When we combine the totals from Round One and Round Two, 2401 has 81 non-original letters, and is missing 62 original letters, for a total of 143 letters’ worth of corruption (using NA27 as the standard of comparison).  Meanwhile, Papyrus 38 has 248 non-original letters, and is missing 81 original letters, for a total of 329 letters’ worth of corruption.  
            A little bit of analysis may tell us something interesting about the transmission-streams from which Papyrus 38 and minuscule 2401 emerged.  Consider the different levels of reliability of the transmission-streams that are indicated if, for the sake of drawing a comparison, we were to assign P38’s production-date to AD 300, and 2401’s production-date to AD 1050, and reckon that the book of Acts itself was produced in AD 65.  Extrapolating from those assigned dates, we would see that 2401’s 985-year-old transmission-stream is four times longer than Papyrus 38’s 235-year-old transmission-stream; yet 2401’s text of Acts 18:27-19:6 and 19:12-16 has less than half as much corruption.
            Clearly it is not safe to assume “The older the manuscript, the better the text.”

Postscript:  Western Corrections in 2401

            As the crowd begins to exit the arena, 2401 is standing tall – having been demonstrated to have a text of Acts 18:27-19:6 and 19:12-16 that is far more accurate than Papyrus 38.  Some who saw this contest may recall that 2401 contains Western readings in Acts 18:27 (the addition of εις τὴν Ἀχαϊαν after παραγενόμενος) and in 18:28 (the addition of διαλεγόμενος και after δημοσια).
            Those are not the only Western corrections lurking in 2401.  Here are some others:            

● 5:36:  εαυτον μεγαν
● 12:25:  Σαυλος ὅς επεκλήθη Παυλος
● 18:19:  τω επιόντι σαββάτω
● 18:21:  τον δε Ακύλαν ειασεν εν Εφέσω, marked with ⁜ 
● 19:9:  τινος απο ωρας πέμπτης εως ωρας δεκατης
● 19:28:  και δραμόντες εις το αμφοδον, added in the margin and marked with ⁜
● 20:32:  A note in the margin, prefaced by ⁜, is badly faded.

            My initial impression is that the corrections in 2401 (and some readings in the text itself, such as Ις ὁ Ναζωραιως in 26:15) come from a source related to the text of 614 and 2412.  This shows us that Western readings did not entirely die out as the Byzantine Text became the dominant textual standard of the Middle Ages. 

            Meanwhile, Papyrus 38 helpfully shows us that despite what some might assume from the name “Western Text,” Western readings did not just circulate in the western part of the Roman Empire; there were circulating in Egypt in the mid-200s. 

Readers are invited to double-check the data in this post.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Hand-to-Hand Combat: P38 vs. GA 2401 (Round 1)

            “The older the manuscript, the better the text” . . . right?  It seems perfectly reasonable to expect the text in manuscripts closer to the original documents to be more accurate than the text in medieval manuscripts.  But at the same time, it’s also perfectly reasonable to reckon that a text that has passed through ten generations of careful copying will be more accurate than a text that has passed through five generations of careless copying.  Today, let’s compare an early copy – Papyrus 38, a fragment produced in the 200s, containing text from Acts 18:27-19:6 and 19:12-16 – to the medieval manuscript GA 2401, which was produced in the 1100s. 
            Henry Sanders described P38 in 1927 in an article that appeared in Harvard Theological ReviewA Papyrus Fragment of Acts in the Michigan Collection – and his data was further refined in Chapter XXIII of The Beginnings of Christianity – Part One, The Acts of the Apostles, Vol. 5; that chapter, The Michigan Papyrus Fragment 1271 was written by Silva New (1933) and includes an uncial transcription.
         GA 2401, meanwhile, is a Praxapostolos manuscript (containing Acts, the Pauline Epistles, and the General Epistles, with book-summaries and some other supplemental compositions).  It is part of the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection at the University of Chicago.
         Contrary to the claim of James White that “Every one of the papyrus manuscripts we have discovered has been a representative of the Alexandrian text-type,” (See The King James Only Controversy, p. 195, 2009 ed.) it is well-established that the text of Papyrus 38 is not Alexandrian.  It is very far from Alexandrian, as we shall see. 
         This hand-to-hand contest will take two rounds; one side of P38 will be considered in each round.   Let’s review the ground-rules:  contractions of sacred names are not counted as variants; transpositions are mentioned but not counted; NA27 is used as the standard of comparison (i.e., for the purposes of this contest, NA27 is the proxy for the original text), and bracketed words in NA27 are counted as text.  In addition, because 2401 contains some secondary corrections, I will make two calculations of 2401’s closeness to NA27:  one with the corrections taken into consideration, and one without the corrections in the equation.  Also, although it would be possible to reconstruct non-extant readings in P38, I will only consider extant readings throughout P38.
         (I thought about trimming away parts of 2401’s text along the contours of P38, so that 2401 would not be at a disadvantage, but after seeing initial results of the comparison, such a step seemed unnecessary.)
         Now let’s get ready to rumble!

Here’s the text of Acts 18:27-19:6 (with corrections) in GA 2401, compared to the text of Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece:

Acts 18:27-19:6:  2401 Compared to NA27

18:27 – 2401c reads εις τὴν Ἀχαϊαν after παραγενόμενος (+12, -1)
18:28 – 2401 reads διακατηλεγχε instead of διακατηλέγχετο (+0, -2)
18:28 – 2401c reads διαλεγόμενος και after δημοσια (+15, -0)
19:1 – 2401 reads ευρων instead of ευρειν (+1, -2)
19:2 – 2401 reads ειπε instead of ειπεν τε (+0, -3)
19:2 – 2401 reads ειπον after οι δε (+5, -0)
19:2 – 2401 reads ουδε instead of ουδ’ (+1, -0)
19:3 – 2401 reads ειπε δε instead of ειπεν τε (+1, -2)
19:3 – 2401 reads ειπον instead of ειπαν (+1, -1)
19:4 – 2401 reads ειπε instead of ειπεν (+0, -1)
19:4 – 2401 reads μεν before εβαπτισεν (+3, -0)
19:4 – 2401 reads εβαπτισε instead of εβαπτισεν (+0, -1)
19:4 – 2401 reads πιστευσωσι instead of πιστευσωσιν (+0, -1)
19:4 – 2401 reads Χν Ιν instead of Ιησουν (+2, -0)  
19:5 – no variations
19:6 – 2401 reads προεφήτευον instead of επροφήτευον (+1, -1)

            Thus, the text of Acts 18:27-19:6 in 2401, including corrections, has 42 non-original letters, and is missing 15 original letters, for a total of 57 letters’ worth of scribal corruption in this passage.  If we undo the effects of the corrections in 2401 (generally detectable due to the darker ink used by the corrector), then 2401 has 15 non-original letters, and is missing 14 original letters, for a total of 29 letters’ worth of scribal corruption in this passage.

Now let’s consider the text of Acts 18:27-19:6 in P38.  Letters which were only tentatively identified by those who studied the manuscript are shown in red, and are not included in the calculations.

Acts 18:27-19:6:  P38 Compared to NA27

18:27 – P38 reads –ς τὴν Ἀχαϊα after παραγενόμενος (+9, -0)
18:27 – P38 transposes to read πολυ συνε
18:28 – P38 reads δια[λεγόμεν]ος after δημοσια (+2, -0)       
18:28 – P38 reads θελονι-[ος] after Ιην (+6, -0)
19:1 – P38 reads [Π]αυλου κατα τη[ν] (+11, -0)
19:1 – P38 reads [βου]λη[ν] (+2, -1)
19:1 – P38 does not include εγενετο δε εν τω τον Ἀπολλω (+0, -22)
19:1 – P38 reads –ι εις Ιεροσόλυμα (+14, -0)
19:1 – P38 reads το (+2, -0)
19:1 – P38 reads –εφειν εις τ- (+7, -0)
19:1 – P38 reads –ρχετα- instead of κατελθειν (+4, -9) 
19:1 – P38 reads μαθηταις instead of μαθητας (+1, -0)
19:2 – P38 does not include –πεν τε προς αυτους (+0, -15)
19:2 – P38 reads δ’ instead of δε (+0, -1)
19:2 – P38 reads απεκρειναντο (+7, -0)
19:2 – P38 reads λαμβαν[ουσιν τι]νες (+8, -0)
19:3 – P38 reads ο δε Παυλος προς αυ[του]ς instead of ειπεν τε (+16, -7)
19:3 – P38 reads ελεγον instead of ειπαν (+5, -4)
19:4 – no variations
19:5 – P38 reads -φεσιν αμαρτιων (+4, -0)
19:5 – P38 reads επε[πεσεν] instead of ηλθε (+2, -4)

            Thus, in the extant text of Acts 18:27-19:6 in P38, there are 90 non-original letters, and 62 original letters are missing, for a total of 152 letters’ worth of corruption.  (It should be emphasized that this only takes the extant text into consideration.)    

            We have a clear winner in Round One, ladies and gentlemen.  Although the seasoned veteran P38 entered the ring with the advantage of not having as much extant text as GA 2401, this advantage was not nearly enough.  The text of GA 2401 is far, far more accurate than the text in P38.      
            These results have some interesting implications regarding the transmission-streams that produced these two manuscripts.  In the transmission-stream of 2401 (prior to its “correction”), it took scribes about a thousand years to introduce 29 letters’ worth of corruption in this passage (and six of those letters constitute trivial orthographic variations).  Meanwhile in Egypt (if P38 was produced in the same vicinity where it was excavated), it took scribes less than 300 years to introduce 152 letters’ worth of corruption in this passage.

Readers are invited to double-check the data in this post, especially Joey McCollum.