Saturday, April 21, 2018

Meet 0269: A Little-known Uncial Fragment

Right-side up

            Uncial 0269 is a somewhat unusual manuscript:  it is a one-leaf fragment embedded within another manuscript, Codex Blenheimus (0133, a.k.a. Codex ϒ (Upsilon), and known previously – before the discovery of Codex Washingtoniensis – as Wg).  Codex Blenheimus is a palimpsest:   its parchment pages were used in the 1400s as the material out of which a Menaeon was made.  (A Menaeon is a Greek Orthodox service-book – in this case, the services for the month of February).  Before its parchment pages were used for that purpose, they had been part of a Gospel-codex. 
Some time before the pages were recycled, a damaged page was repaired by some who had access to a strip of parchment pages from another Gospels-manuscript – one that had been produced in the 800s.  It is that strip, containing text from Mark 6:14-20, that constitutes 0269.  It was glued to the damaged page of 0133; as a result, 0269 has more text visible on one side than the other.  The lower writing on 0269 is upside-down compared to the upper writing. 
J. Harold Greenlee transcribed the text of 0269 in an article that was published in 1976 in Studies in New Testament Language and Text, a volume prepared to commemorate the 65th birthday of George D. Kilpatrick.  Greenlee had the benefit of ultraviolet light when making his transcription.  Digital images of 0269 are online (as the outer part of fol. 23 of Codex Blenheimus) but without ultraviolet light the lower writing is extremely difficult to read.  The accompanying pseudo-replica may give readers some idea of what it looked like before it was recycled.  
This pseudo-replica reconstructs
the appearance of Mark 6:14b-20
in two columns of text in 0269.
Small blue letters and verse-numbers
are supplied.  (Based on Greenlee's
The text of 0269 is distinctly Byzantine.  Its only variations from the text of the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform are orthographic:  ἀπεκεφάλησα instead of ἀπεκεφάλισα in 6:16, and ουτον instead of αυτον; this second variation, however, should not be readily accepted, inasmuch as Greenlee stated that the line containing it was read from the opposite glued-on side of the parchment; in addition, Greenlee did not mention it when listing non-Textus Receptus readings in 0269.  Meanwhile, 0269 disagrees frequently with Codex Vaticanus: 
v. 14 – 0269 reads ελεγεν; B reads ελεγον
v. 14 – 0269 reads εκ νεκρων ηγερθη; B reads εγηγερται εκ νεκρων
v, 15 – 0269 does not read δε after the first αλλοι
v. 15 – 0269 reads εστιν; B does not.
v. 16 – 0269 does not read ὁ before Ἡρωδης
v. 16 – 0269 reads ειπεν; B reads ελεγεν
v. 16 – 0269 reads οτι; B does not
v. 16 – 0269 reads εστιν; B does not
v. 16 – 0269 reads εκ νεκρων after ηγερθη; B does not
v. 17 – 0269 reads τ[ην γυ]ναικ[α]; B initially did not include these two words, but was then corrected to include them.

Nor does 0269’s text agree particularly with the Western flagship manuscript of the Gospels, Codex Bezae, which reads ελεγοσαν in v. 14, βαπτιστης in v. 14, εγηγερται εκ νεκρων in v. 14, omits προφητης ως in v. 15, reads εκ νεκρων after Ιωάνην in v. 16, includes και βαλεν in v. 17, transposes the last two words in v. 17, and reads σε in v. 18. 
Considering this data, it seems quite justifiable to call shenanigans regarding the Alands’ assignment of this fragment to Category III, as if it has a text that is mixed or unusual; its text should be confidently regarded as Byzantine. 


Daniel Buck said...

Apparent!y the Alans had a terminus post quem for assigning Byz Mss to Cat V.

Maurice A. Robinson said...

MS 0269 after all is a 9th century fragment, and a Byzantine character should be expected -- but why a "Category III, influenced by V" (p.127) as opposed to a straight Category V is beyond me.

Daniel Buck said...

It would appear that Cat V is reserved for miniscules. Are there any exceptions?

Maurice A. Robinson said...

They do not suggest any restriction to only minuscules: "Category V: Manuscripts with a purely or predominantly Byzantine text" (Aland/Aland, 106).

On the top of that same page they talk about "uncials which have a purely or predominantly Byzantine text", so no exception is suggested. And yes, there *are* many category V uncials cited in the list on pp. 107-128.