Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Codex 064 - More Pages at Mount Sinai!

A sample of the Greek text of 064 
(under the Syriac text, which has been
digitally removed from this image.)
            Four pages from Codex 064, dating to the 400s or 500s, are among the manuscripts housed at Saint Catherine’s Monastery.  They are on pages 71 and 72 of the manuscript known as Syriac 7 (accessible, with registration, at the Sinai Palimpsests Project website), and they contain Matthew 26:70-27:7 (on fol. 72) and Matthew 27:30-43 (on fol. 71). 
             Although the Greek text on this palimpsest is partly obscured by the Syriac writing that was written on top of it, most of it can be read without much difficulty once the pages are rotated and magnified onscreen.  The text is formatted in two narrow columns on each page, with 25 lines of text per page.  In this respect it corresponds to the description that J. Rendel Harris gave to several pages which he identified as Fragment #10 in the 1890 book Biblical Fragments from Mount Sinai. 
            The pages that were described and transcribed by Harris as Fragment 10 constitute the uncial 074, which turned out to be part of the same manuscript identified as Codex 064, which consists of two parchment leaves with text from Matthew 27:7-30.  Making things a little more complicated, 064 and 074 are from the same manuscript as the pages which constitute Codex 090, which consists of several pages with text from Matthew 26:59-70, 27:44-46, and Mark 1:32-2:12.  To restate:  064 (at Kiev, Ukraine), 074 (at St. Catherine’s Monastery), and 090 (at the National Library of Russia, in Saint Petersburg) are all from the same codex.
            Now the surviving part of that codex is known to be a little more substantial.  The other day, after I replicated the lower writing on a page from Syriac 7, I asked Elijah Hixson for his impression of the Greek text.  He mentioned that it reminded him of the manuscript at St. Catherine's Monastery that J. Rendel Harris had discovered back in 1890 - 064.  And with a little more investigation, I confirmed that that is exactly what these pages are from.
            The text on one page of Codex 090 ends at Matthew 26:70.  So what we have in the page in Syriac 7 – 72r – that contains Matthew 26:70-27:7 is the page that came immediately after that page of 090.
            The text on another page of Codex 090 begins at Matthew 27:44.  So what we have in the page in Syriac 7/Greek 064 that contains Matthew 27:30-43 – 71r – is the page that came immediately before that page from the portion known as Codex 090. 
            The text in the newly discovered pages of Codex 064 is interesting – more Byzantine than anything else, but with significant variation.  Here are some examples of its readings:
            26:70 – At the end of the verse, 064 reads -σταμαι τι λεγεις – a reading which looks  like an agreement with D, Δ, and f1, but with a transposition.
            26:72 – After ορκου, 064 reads λεγων, a reading shared by Codex D.
            26:73 – After Μετα μικρον δε, 064 reads παλιν, an agreement with f1.
            26:73 – After και γαρ, 064 reads Γαλιλαιος ει και, an agreement with C*.
            26:73 – After λαλια, 064 has προ between σου and δηλόν.
            27:33 – 064 has the word-order κρανιου τοπος λεγομενος, agreeing with À B L 1 1582.
            27:34 – 064 has οξος, agreeing with Byz A W.
            27:34 – 064 has ηθέλησεν, agreeing with À* B D f1.
            27:35 – 064 does not have ινα πληρωθη το ρηθεν δια του προφήτου διεμέρισαντο τα ιμάτια μου εαυτοις και επι τον ιματισμον μου εβαλον κληρον.  Κληρον is followed immediately by και (beginning v. 26) on the same line.
            27:41 – After Ομοιως, 064 reads και, but δε is not present.
            27:41 – Between εμπαίζοντες and μετα, one line of text is filled by  προς αλληλους (a harmonization with Mark 15:31).
            27:41 – 064 includes και Φαρισαίων (agreeing with Byz K Π) and this reading fills exactly one line of text, following another line that also ends in –ων.    
            27:42 – At the end of the verse, 064 reads  πιστευσωμεν αυτω.
            27:43 – At the very beginning of the verse, 064 reads Ει before πέποιθεν, agreeing with D f1. 
            27:43 – 064 does not have νυν after ρυσάσθω, agreeing with A Y Π 157 565.
            Hopefully a full transcription of the pages of Codex 064 in Syriac 7 will be available soon.

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


Friday, April 24, 2020

Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism - Lecture 1

At YouTube - NTTC Lecture 1
Some time ago, I pictured a series of lectures on New Testament textual criticism.  The first lecture in that series is now online:  Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism - Lecture 1.

Other titles in the planned series:
2.  What is a New Testament Witness?
3.  How to Make a Codex
4.  Major Patristic Writers and Early Versions
5.  25 Important Witnesses
6.  25 Weird Witnesses
7.  What Is a Lectionary?
8.  The Diatessaron
9.  The Stuff in the Margin
10.  Text-types:  Why Numbers Do Not Matter Much
11.  The Textus Receptus
12.  Textual Criticism Before Westcott & Hort (Part 1)
13.  Textual Criticism Before Westcott & Hort (Part 2)        
14.  Hort’s Theory of the Lucianic Recension
15.  The Revised Version:  Breaking the Rules
16.  Grenfell & Hunt Accidentally Eviscerate Hort’s Theory
17.  “What About Killing a Man?”
18.  Will English Bible Wars Solve Everything?    
19.  Misinformation Is Everywhere
20.  The Ending of Mark
21.  The Story of the Adulteress
22.  The Angel in the Garden
23.  (Students Pick Variant-Units to Examine)
24.  Close Contests (and Conjectural Emendation)
25.  Revisiting the Byzantine Text

This might take a while!

Here is an outline of Lecture 1:

1.  New Testament Textual Criticism:  What and Why?

 What is textual criticism?

The attempt to reconstruct the original contents of an ancient text.

This is a specialized field, with specialized terminology – jargon.

Some things that are just mentioned today will be covered in more detail in future lectures.

“Lower criticism” = focused on events which occurred after the production of the original document that contained the text.

"Higher criticism” = focused on events which occurred before the production of the original document that contained the text.

 “Criticism” = careful analysis.  

 Steps in the New Testament text-critical enterprise:

First, collect witnesses to the text:

Manuscripts:  New Testaments, Gospels, Praxapostolos – Acts + Epistles, Revelation



wuncials/majuscules (big letters)

wminuscules (small letters),

Versions:  Coptic, Old Latin, Syriac, etc.

Patristic writings:  quotations, allusions

Lectionaries:  text arranged in segments for reading one segment at a time in church-services, throughout the year

Synaxarion:  church year, beginning on Easter, movable dates

Menologion, immovable, fixed dates (like, July 4th).

 Talismans and inscriptions (amulets, grave-stones, etc.)

 Second, compare the witnesses.

          Shared error often indicates shared origin. 

          (Shared rare readings often indicate shared origin)

          Witnesses with shared errors can be collected into groups.

 Third, compare groups of witnesses, to do two things:

          Reconstruct the ancestor of all groups (and of all witnesses)

          An ancestor of a single group is a sub-archetype.

          Identify general scribal tendencies of each group.

          What are the predominant characteristics of each group’s text?

          Reconstruct a history of readings.  (When and where does a specific reading first appear in the extant evidence?)

 The ancestor of all witnesses in all groups is the archetype.

           Up to this point, textual criticism is a “soft science.”  It is not the kind of science that does not involve probabilities.  Textual criticism deals with observations – but because these are observations about the activities of copyists in past generations, these observations can only convey degrees of probability about the causes of what is observed in the evidence.  Up to this point textual criticism is nevertheless a science, not an art, because art involves construction, or creation, whereas on the path to the archetype, the textual critic who reaches the correct conclusions is engaged in reconstruction; he is not creating something that was not found in the evidence.

Fourth, make all necessary conjectural emendations to the archetype.   A conjectural emendation is a reading that is not found in the physical evidence, but which seems warranted by internal evidence.

Kirsopp Lake:  in New Testament textual criticism, “the work of conjectural emendation is very light, rarely necessary, and scarcely ever possible.”

Rarely necessary – or:  some would say that it is never necessary to introduce a conjectural emendation into the New Testament text.  This is not something assumed on the way toward the evidence; it is something observed on the way from the evidence.  There are some rare passages where there are understandable differences in the degree of confidence with which this idea is, or isn’t, maintained.

After all four stages are completed, as far as the evidence warrants, the result is the reconstructed autographic text, the text of the autograph:  the text as it appeared in the original documents.

If we aim for the archetype, then the text-critical enterprise will initially and mainly involve a study of scribal errors, and their causes, contrasted with rival readings, which are either the original reading, or else other scribal errors. 

All non-original readings fall into two categories:

Thoughtful/Intentional changes: 

Motivated by:

● A desire to augment/clarify the meaning of the original text.

         Rare vocabulary.  Rare è Easy

         Potential doctrinal complexity èSimplicity

                   Non-specific/vague è specific

                  ● Awareness of a different meaning in a version.

                  ● Gospels:  Awareness of a different meaning in a Harmony.

                             Justin Martyr:  three-gospel harmony.

                             Tatian:  the Diatessaron.

                  ● Liturgical clarity.

                              Who is speaking to whom?

                              Adaptations of passages used on special occasions

                 ● A desire to obscure the meaning of the original text.

                             The bad guys:  Marcion – M-a-r-c-i-o-n.  Adoptionists.     


          Thoughtless/Careless/Accidental changes.

                   Spelling - Orthography.

                   Word-division.  The original Greek text was written in continuous uncial script, for the most part there were no spaces between words.

                   Dittography – writing twice what should be written once.

                   Haplography – writing once what should be written twice.

                   Periblepsis – skipping material because of homoeoarcton        (same beginnings) or homoeoteleuton (same endings) –  could involve a word, a phrase, a sentence, or even a small segment of text. 

                   Metathesis – reversals of letters

                   Confusion – mistaking similarly shaped letters. (Λ-Α-Δ, Γ-Π)


 Reading assignment: 

Æ Kirsopp Lake, The Text of the New Testament, chapter 1.  The Object and Method of Textual Criticism.

Æ Glossary of New Testament Textual Criticism (All three parts)

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Are You My Mother? Minuscules 1210 and 22

            It is very rare to find a manuscript and the manuscript from which its text was copied.  That makes minuscule 1210 (housed at St. Catherine’s monastery, where it is cataloged as Greek MS 173) special.  It is one of a smattering of extant Greek manuscripts that have been shown to be copies of another extant Greek manuscript.  Here’s the smattering: 

[■ indicates that a copy is younger than the first printed Greek New Testament.] 

056 is a copy of 0142.  (Or the other way around.)
0319 is a copy of 06.
0320 is also a copy of 06.
0151 is a copy of 018.
205 is a copy of 2886. (It used to be thought that 2886 was a copy of 205; for this reason, the manuscript that is now known as 2886 used to be called 205abs – “abs” as in Abschrift, i.e., copy.)
322 is a copy of 323.
423 is a copy of 333. ■
821 is a copy of 0141. ■
872 is a copy of 2193.
1065 is a copy of 1068. ■
1089 is a copy of 1218.
1210 is (mostly) a copy of 22.
1884 is a copy of 08. ■
2110 is a copy of 0150.
2579 is a copy of 138. ■
2883 is a copy of 9. ■
2884 is a copy of 30.
2885 is a copy of 96. ■
2887 is a copy of 1160.  ■ (2887 was made in 1888!)
2888 is a copy of 1909. ■
2890 is a copy of 1983.
2889 is a copy of 1929.
2891 is a copy of 2036. ■
            Only eight extant manuscripts produced before the 1500s – 056, 205, 872, 1089, 1210, 2884, 2890, and 2889 – are thought to have an extant master-copy (although in a few cases there is some question as to which manuscript is the copy, and which is the master-copy). 
            Out of eight non-orphan manuscripts produced before the 1500s, five include the four Gospels (205, 872, 1089, 1210, and 2883).  This implies that except for the members of family-1 and family-13 (which are something like groups of siblings with a non-extant shared ancestor), the rest of the extant Gospels-manuscripts – something around 2,000 – fit the description that Kirsopp Lake gave them:  “the manuscripts which we have are almost all orphan children without brothers or sisters.”  (Lake also claimed that the Gospels-text in 205 was copied from 209, but nowadays they are regarded as merely close relatives; Alan Taylor Farnes suspected that they are siblings.)    
            Several recent investigations overlap the subject of the relationship between GA 22 and GA 1210: 
            ● Amy S. Anderson’s The Textual Tradition of the Gospels:  Family 1 in Matthew. (2004 New Testament Tools & Studies, Vol. XXXII.)
            ● Alison Welsby’s A Textual Study of Family in the Gospel of John (2011).

            The information presented by Anderson (focused on the Gospel of Matthew) and Welsby (focused on the Gospel of John) shows that 22 (housed at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France as Greek MS 72) and 1210 share a very close relationship, and that they are both part of a sub-group of family 1 that consists of 22, 1192, 1210, 1278, and 2372.  Welsby’s data indicates that 1210 is a copy of 22 in John, and my comparison of their text in Mark indicates that this is also the case in Mark 2:17-16:20. 

            The text of Mark in 1210 – Sinai MS 173, included in the Library of Congress’ microfilm collection – resembles the text of Mark in 22 very closely.  According to Sanders, in his prefatory remarks in the article A New Collation of MS 22 of the Gospels in the 1914 Journal of Biblical Literature, 22 “has only 168 probable fam. 1 readings” in Mark, which Sanders correctly understood to mean that “The text of our MS has been very decidedly accommodated to the Antioch type and this agreement is evenly distributed throughout the gospel.”  To say this a different way:  GA 22’s text is mainly Byzantine, but it must have had a family-1 member in its genealogy somewhere along the way, to account for unusual readings like the following – many of which are shared by family-1.
Some (Not All!) Unusual Readings in GA 22 in Mark
(The variants in bold print are supported by 22 but not by 1210.)

(1) 1:2 – καθως [1210:  ως]
(2) 1:2 – Ησαιαι τωι προφητηι [1210:  τοις προφηταις]
(3) 1:10 – ως [1210: ωσει]
(4) 1:34 – Χν ειναι after αυτον  [1210:  non-inclusion]
(5) 1:35 – ο Ις after απηλθεν [1210:  non-inclusion]
(6) 2:17 – does not have εις μετάνοιαν
(7) 2:22 – does not have νέον after the first οινον
(8) 2:25 – instead of επείνασεν αυτος και οι μετ αυτου, 22 reads επείνασε και αυτος και οι μετ αυτου.  (The copyist apparent mistook the letter ν as a kai-compendium, ϗ.  This mistake would be easier to make using an uncial exemplar than with a minuscule exemplar.)
(9) 3:5 – does not have υγιης ώς ή αλλη (but there is a note in the margin)
(10) 3:24-25 – skips from σταθηναι in verse 24 to η οικια κεινη at the end of verse 25.
(10) 3:29 – does not have εις τον αιωνα after αφεσιν.
(11) 4:12 – does not have τα άμαρτήματα
(12) 4:34 – does not have ιδίοις and does not have αυτου (like 700)
(13) 5:1 – Γεργεσηνων
(14) 5:27 – does not have εν τω οχλω (like f1) but does not have του κρασπέδου (unlike f1)
(15) 5:40 – κατακείμενον after παιδίον
(16) 6:22 – does not have αυτης after θυγατρος
(17) 6:27 – αποστειλας instead of απολύσας, and does not have ο βασιλευς
(18) 6:36 – καταλύσωσι instead of αγοράσωσιν εαυτοις and does not have αρτους [1210:  αγοράσωσιν εαυτοις and has αρτους]
(19) 6:47 – πάλαι after ην (agreeing with P45)
(20) 7:8 – does not have βαπτισμους ζεστων και ποτηρίων και αλλα παρόμοια τοιαυτα πολλα ποιετε anywhere in the verse
(21) 8:4 – δυναται instead of δυνήσεται
(22) 8:15 – at the end of the verse, after και:  της ζύμης των Ηρωδιανων
(23) 8:38 – αν instead of εαν
(24) 8:38 – at the end of the verse:  does not have των αγιων [1210:  includes των αγιων]
(25) 9:13 – ηδη after Ηλιας
(26) 9:22 – δυνηι instead of δύασαι
(27) 9:23 – δυνηι instead of δύασαι without πιστευσαι
(28) 9:44 – does not have this verse
(29) 9:45 – does not have εις το πυρ το ασβεστον at the end of the verse
(30) 9:46 – does not have this verse
(31) 9:49 – does not have και πασα θυσία αλι αλισθήσεται
(32) 10:1 – does not have και or δια του after Ιουδαίας
(33) 10:32 – does not have και εθαμβουντο (h.t.)
(34) 10:40 – παρα του πρς μου at the end of the verse
(35) 11:1 – Βησφαγε
(36) 11:10 – instead of Ωσαννα, the text reads ειρήνη ουρανω και δόξα.  Then ⁒ appears in the text and also in the margin, where it is accompanied by Ωσαννα. [1210:  similar:  ειρήνη εν ουρανω και δόξα Ωσαννα]
(37) 11:21 – εξηραται [1210 appears to read εξηρανθη (agreeing with D L N Θ f1)]
(38) 11:32 – does not have οντως after Ιωάννην
(39) 12:14 – ηρξαντο ερωταν εν δόλωι instead of λεγουσιν αυτω [1210: ηρξαντο ερωταν αυτον εν δόλωι, agreeing partly with f1)]
(40) 12:35 – υιος εστι του Δαδ
(41) 13:1 – ποδαποι instead of ποταποι [1210:  ποιλιθοι]
(42) 13:1 – ποδαπαι instead of ποταπαι
(43) 14:3 – does not have κατα before της κεφαλης
(44) 14:5 – πολλα at the end of the verse
(45) 14:8 – προς instead of εις after σωμα
(46) 14:14 – μου after κατάλυμα
(47) 14:35 – επι προσωπον after επεσεν
(48) 14:42 – αγομεν instead of αγωμεν
(49) 14:43 – απεσταλμενοι after ξύλων
(50) 14:53 – αυτου instead of αυτω (before παντες)
(51) 15:4 – κατηγορουσιν instead of καταμαρτυρουσιν
(52) 15:16 – εις την αυλην instead of της αυλην
(53) 15:20 – χλαμυδα instead of πορφύραν
(54) 15:39 – αυτωι instead of εξ εναντίας αυτου
(55) 16:7 – ηγέρθη απο των νεκρων και ιδου before προάγει
(56) 16:8/16:9 Note – ⁜ εν τισι των αντιγραφων εως ωδε πληρουται ο ευαγγελιστης : εν πολλοις δε και ταυτα φερεται
(57) 16:9 – σαββατων instead of σαββατου
(58) 16:14 – εκ νεκρων after εγηγερμενον
(59) 16:18 – και εν ταις χερσιν
(60) 16:19 –  Ις after Κς

            It looks like the copyist of 1210 initially used a different exemplar of Mark – one with a strongly Byzantine text – but then began to resume using 22 as his exemplar instead, beginning around Mark 2:14-17.  To explore this idea further, let’s look at the readings in 1210 in Mark 1:1-2:17 that differ from the readings in the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform, asking, “Could this reading come from 22?”

Here are 1210’s deviations from the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform in Mark 1:1-2:17.  Out of 35 variant-units (most of which are very trivial), 1210 and 22 agree with each other 17 times, and disagree 18 times.  

(1) 1:5 – εξεπορεύετο instead of εξεπορεύοντο [22:  εξεπορεύοντο]
(2) 1:5 – Ιροσολυμιται [22:  Ιεροσολυμιται]
(3) 1:9 – ὁ before Ις [22:  no ὁ]
(4) 1:9 – Ναζαρετ [=22]
(5) 1:10 – ειδε [22:  ειδεν]
(6) 1:14 – does not have ὁ Ις [22: Ις]
(7) 1:16 – ειδε [22:  ειδεν]
(8) 1:20 – after πρα:  αυτον instead of αυτων [22:  αυτων]
(9) 1:21 – εδιδασκε [22:  εδιδασκεν]
(10) 1:23 – ανέκραξε [=22] 
(11) 1:27 – εστι [=22] 
(12) 1:27 – πνευμασι [=22] 
(13) 1:34 – εθεράπευσε [=22] 
(14) 1:34 – εξέβαλε [22:  εξέβαλεν]
(15) 1:34 – ηφιε [= 22] 
(16) 1:35 – εξελθε [22:  εξελθεν]
(17) 1:37 – ζητουσι [= 22] 
(18) 1:38 – αγομεν (agrees with À) [22:  αγωμεν]
(19) 1:38 – κομοπολεις [22:  κωμοπολεις]
(20) 1:40 – after γονυπετων:  αυτωι instead of αυτον [22:  αυτον] 
(21) 1:44 – αλλα instead of αλλ’ [=22] 
(22) 1:44 – προσέταξε [=22] 
(23) 2:1 – εισηλθε [=22] 
(24) 2:1 – εστι [=22] 
(25) 2:3 – ερχον [the –ται is missing] [22: ερχονται]
(26) 2:4 – χαλωσι [=22] 
(27) 2:4 – κραβατον [22:  κραβαττον]
(28) 2:9 – κραβαττον [=22] 
(29) 2:10 – ειδειτε [22:  ειδητε]
(30) 2:11 – κραβαττον [= 22] 
(31) 2:12 – κραβαττον [= 22] 
(32) 2:12 – εναντιων [22:  εναντιον]
(33) 2:13 – εξελθε [22:  εξελθεν]
(34) 2:14 – Λευιν [=22]    
(35) 2:17 – does not have εις μετανοιαν but it is present as a secondary correction [=22, i.e., 22 does not have εις μετανοιαν but it is present as a secondary correction]
In GA 1210, an f1 reading appears
in Mk 16:7, and the short form of f1's
note is between Mk 16:8  and 16:9.
A lection-label for Mark 16:9-20
appears at the top of the page
(Heoth. #3) with the incipit-phrase.
            When we consider the 18 disagreements in this list, and set aside differences that can be attributed to scribal preferences regarding spelling and movable-nu, ten significant differences remain which weigh in against the idea that one of these manuscripts is a direct copy of the other one in Mark 1:1-2:17:

1:2 – 1210:  ως [22:  καθως]
1:2 – 1210:  τοις προφηταις [22:  Ησαιαι τωι προφητηι] 
1:5 – 1210:  εξεπορεύετο [22:  εξεπορεύοντο]
1:9 – 1210:  ὁ before Ις [22:  no ὁ]
1:10 – 1210:  ωσει [22: ως] 
1:14 – 1210:  does not have ὁ Ις [22: Ις]
1:20 – 1210:  after πρα:  αυτον [22:  αυτων]
1:34 – 1210 does not have Χν ειναι after αυτον [22:  has Χν ειναι after αυτον]   
1:35 – 1210 does not have ο Ις after απηλθεν [22:  has ο Ις after απηλθεν]
1:40 – 1210:  after γονυπετων:  αυτωι instead of αυτον [22:  αυτον] 

It looks rather difficult for 22’s text of Mark 1:1-2:13 to be copied from 1210, and equally difficult for 1210’s text of Mark 1:1-2:13 to be copied from 22.  But let’s extend the comparison of 22 and 1210 to the rest of Mark chapter 2.

22’s Disagreements with RP-Byz in Mark 2:18-28:
19 – εστι [=1210]
In GA 22, the same variant appears
in Mk 16:7, and the same note appears
between Mk. 16:8 and 16:9.

19 – εχουσι [=1210]
22 – does not have νέον after the first οινον [=1210; in 1210 οινον is the last word in a line]
25 – εποίησε [=1210]
25 – εσχε [=1210]
25 – επείνασε και αυτος και οι μετ αυτου [= 1210]
26 – του after Αβιαθαρ [= 1210]
26 – ιερευσι [=1210]
26 – εδωκε [=1210]
28 – κυριος is not contracted [=1210]

Whereas before Mark 2:17, the orthographic agreements were hit-and-miss, after Mark 2:17 they are perfectly aligned.  In addition, the agreements of 22 and 1210 in super-rare readings in verses 22 and 25 indicate that whatever factor elicited 1210’s disagreements with 22 prior to 2:17 has been removed, and in 1210, from this point on, we are looking at a close copy of 22’s text.
            Awareness that 1210’s text of Mark is – after 2:17 – a copy of 22 has a small impact on the analysis of the two largest major textual variants in the New Testament:  Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53-8:11. 
In 1582, the long form of f1's note appears
between Mark 16:8 and 16:9.
            Between Mark 16:8 and 16:9, 22 and 1210 both feature a note which says εν τισι των αντιγραφων εως ωδε πληρουται ο ευαγγελιστης : εν πολλοις δε και ταυτα φερεται, that is, “In some copies the Gospel is finished here; in many, there is also this.”  This is a shortened form of the note that appears at this location in MSS 1 and 1582, Εν τισι μεν των αντιγράφων εως ωδε πληρουται ο ευαγγελιστης, εως ου και Ευσεβιος ο Παμφίλου εκανόνισεν· εν πολλοις δε ταυτα φεέρεται·.  The part about the Eusebian Canons was probably intentionally omitted at a time and place where the Eusebian Canons had been adjusted so as to include Mark 16:9-20.  By preserving this note, 1210 echoes 22, and 22 echoes f1.  Their weight should be boiled down accordingly.     
 In 22 and 1210, John 7:53-8:11 does not appear; John 7:52 is followed immediately in both manuscripts by 8:12.  What is intriguing about this is that 22 and 1210 are secondary members of f1; members such as 1 and 1582 represent the core of the group.  In 1 and 1582, the pericope adulterae appears after the end of John 21, prefaced by a note (also attested in GA 565) stating:
            The chapter about the adulteress:  in the Gospel according to John, this does not appear in the majority of copies; nor is it commented upon by the divine fathers whose interpretations have been preserved – specifically, by John Chrysostom and Cyril of Alexandria; nor is it taken up by Theodore of Mopsuestia and the others.  For this reason, it was not kept in the place where it is found in a few copies, at the beginning of the 86th chapter [that is, the 86th Eusebian section], following, ‘Search and see that a prophet does not arise out of Galilee.’”
            The thing to see is that the details about members of f1 (provided by Welsby) constitute a guardrail which rules out the idea that John 7:53-8:11 is a barnacle that attached itself to later members of the group.   What we see is the opposite:  1 and 1582 represent the earliest stratum of the group, and their note conveys the note’s author’s knowledge of the pericope adulterae and of its presence in the text after John 7:52 in some manuscripts.  Its transplantation from a location after John 7:52, to the end of the Gospel, is reported in the note.  By the time 22 and 1210 were made, the prefatory note and the pericope adulterae were dropped from the f1 transmission-stream, although in more central members of the group, the prefatory note and the pericope adulterae had been present after John 21. 

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

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Updated Resources Now Online!

Today, I am pleased to announce a new resource for New Testament text-critical research!  Having been blessed with some extra unexpected free time due to the coronavirus pandemic, I revised and expanded the Curtisville Christian Church’s website, including the pages on New Testament textual criticism.  More pages are planned, but these are among the pages that are already “fully armed and operational,” as the saying goes:

The Library of New Testament Textual Criticism:  over 70 free downloadable books:

Resources for New Testament Textual Criticism:  over 100 links to articles on manuscript-collections, specific manuscripts, versions, book reviews, specific textual contests, and more:

Resources for the Study of Mark 16:9-20:  online articles, videos, pictures, and other resources pertaining to Mark 16:9-20:

Resources for the Study of John 7:53-8:11:  online articles, videos, pictures, and other resources pertaining to John 7:53-8:11:

Monday, April 13, 2020

Mark 16:9-20 Is Being Misrepresented. It Must Be Easter!

            Today is the first day after Easter 2020.   Happily, most journalistic outlets seem to have decided against publishing attacks on the passages of Scripture that affirm the bodily resurrection of Christ (or on the reliability of the Bible in general) – with one exception:  Bonnie Kristian’s article “Coronavirus and the mystery of St. Mark’s Easter story” was published in The Week, and on the Yahoo! News website.

            Kristian, a graduate of Bethel Seminary, targeted Mark 16:9-20 as part of her Easter celebration.  She attempted to draw a parallel between the fear that was felt by the women in Mark 16:8 and the fear that is felt by some people about the COVID-19 pandemic.  The same sort of parallel could be made using the fearfulness that is mentioned in Mark 16:5, or Luke 24:4-5, or John 20:19 – but Mark 16:8 was chosen instead, apparently so that Kristian could encourage readers to erase Mark 16:9-20 from the authoritative text, spreading some false claims along the way, such as the following:

The KJV was translated from Latin rather than Hebrew and Greek.  That claim is false, and it has already been withdrawn from the article in The Week.  The Week regrets the error.

In many ancient manuscripts of Mark, the Gospel ends at 16:8.   Today, the surviving text ends at the end of verse 8.  In real life, the number of Greek manuscripts of Mark that end the text there is three. The number of Latin manuscripts that end the text there:  one. The number of Syriac manuscripts that end the text there:  one.  The number of Greek manuscripts in which support for Mark 16:9-20 has survived is 1,640.  (This includes important ancient Greek manuscripts such as Codices A, C, D, W, etc.)   The number of Latin and Syriac manuscripts that include Mark 16:9-20 is in the thousands.  In addition to Gospel-manuscripts, Mark 16:9-20 is also prominently featured in hundreds of lectionaries, such as Sinai MS Gr, 212.

Most modern translations, if they have verses 9-20, “add a preface stating it isn’t present in many of the best ancient manuscripts of Mark.”  This is false.  Most recent translations add a footnote, but when I consult the BibleGateway website, only the NIV and ESV appear to have a heading-note prefacing Mark 16:9, and it does not say what Kristien says.  There’s a reason for that:  two is not many.  
            The ESV’s heading-note stating that “Some of the earliest manuscripts” do not include verses 9-20 is not very accurate:  how many Greek manuscripts are in that “Some”?  The answer is, as already mentioned, is three.  One is GA 304, a medieval non-continuous commentary-manuscript.  Codex Sinaiticus (À, with replacement-pages at the end of Mark) is one of the two earlier ones, and Codex Vaticanus (B, with an entire blank column after the column in which Mark 16:8 appears) is the other.  
            Heading-notes and footnotes are brief by nature, and the point could be argued that a heading-note cannot be expected to mention Sinaiticus’ replacement-pages, or Vaticanus’ blank column.  But what keeps the note from being precise by referring to “Two” early Greek manuscripts instead of “Some”?  I hope it does not sound conspiratorial to mention one possibility:  the editors did not want readers to easily notice the narrowness of the thread from which their favored variant hangs.

● The KJV “includes uncritically a 12-verse ending.”  This is a technically ignorant statement – that is, Kristian has no special knowledge or insight about the critical research that went into the KJV; she simply does not know how much critical investigation into the question was made by the KJV’s translators.  Kristian says the KJV adopted Mark 16:9-20 “uncritically but she did not mention any of the printed editions of the Greek New Testament that were issued in the 1500s – perhaps because she is unaware of their existence, thinking that the KJV was based on Latin instead.  I suspect that she is equally oblivious to the early patristic support of Mark 16:9-20 supplied by writers such as Irenaeus (in 180), Jerome (383), Augustine (400), Ambrose (385), Aphrahat (337), Ephrem Syrus (360) and Patrick (450) (to name just a few).  (For if she had known about them, it would have been deceptive to avoid mentioning them.  Surely, undoubtedly, The Week only misled its readers due to ignorance, not due to intent.) 
            There is still time for The Week to undo some of the damage its carelessly written article has done – although, alas, when misinformation is spread so irresponsibly, correcting it all is like trying to capture all of the coronavirus that a carrier has been sharing with family and friends over a weekend.
            There’s a lesson that may be learned from this:  if you read anything about the ending of the Gospel of Mark in a journal of any kind around Easter-time, and it does not mention that only three Greek manuscripts out of over 1,600 end the text at 16:8, and it does not mention that Irenaeus quoted Mark 16:19, and it does not mention Codex B’s blank space, know that you are reading propaganda, not a balanced report.

P.S.  N.T. Wright, this was partly your fault.  Fix your book!

P.P.S.  My research-book Authentic:  The Case for Mark 16:9-20 is available at Amazon as a Kindle e-book for 99 cents.   It can also be downloaded from for free.  Also, I will be glad to try to send a free digital copy to those who contact me and request it. 

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

Monday, April 6, 2020

April Fools' Day 2020: Clues

            As a follow-up on the April Fools’ Day story about manuscript-dating via sonic cavitation, here are the clues to the prank nature of the post:

            (1)  The name “Emma Hoffmarr.”  “Hoffnarr” is a Norwegian word for “fool” or “jester.”
            (2)  The photo of Emma Hoffnarr.   This is not a professor at the Delft University of Technology.  It is a photo of Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway.
            (3)  The picture of Klaus Ulysses.  This is not a former professor at Delft University of Technology.  It is a picture of Adrian Hasler, Prime Minister of Liechtenstein.
            (4)  The name “Klaus Ulysses.”  This is similar to the name “Ulysses Klaue” – run a Google-search for “Klaus Ulysses” and sites about Ulysses Klaue will show up near the top – who is a Marvel Comics supervillian (known as “Klaw” and featured in the movie “Black Panther”) specializing in the use of sonic weapons,  to which reference is made repeatedly in the post.  In Jack Kirby’s version of Klaw’s origin, he worked on sonics at the Technical University of Delft before becoming a super-villain with sonic weapons.
            (5)  It is intrinsically unlikely that “massive infrasound-waves” would be necessary to clean an ancient manuscript.
Rick Astley c. 1987.
            (6) There is no underground laboratory for soundwave-research near Klaksvik in the Faroe Islands.
            (7) Ultra-secret cipher clue:  In the last major section from “Dr. Hoffnarr,” the sentences begin with letters that spell T-O-S-K-D-A-G which is roughly equivalent in Norwegian to “Fool Day.” In the second-to-last section, the first letters of the first five sentences spell D-W-A-A-S, which is roughly equivalent in Dutch to “foolish” (I think).
            (8)  The final link in the post, ostensibly connected to an article in a scientific journal, takes readers to the RickRoll’d video (Rick Astley’s 1987 “Never Gonna Give You Up”).


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

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Breakthrough: A New Method for Dating Manuscripts

Dr. Emma Hoffnarr

            Today I am joined by Dr. Emma Hoffnarr, senior professor in Microengineering at the Delft University of Technology in Denmark.  She is here today to share some news of an important development in manuscript-dating methods.  Welcome, Dr. Hoffnarr.

Dr. Emma Hoffnarr:  Thank you.  Hello, friends in the United States.

JS:  Dr. Hoffnarr, please tell us:  what is sonic cavitation, and how does it help determine the production-date of ancient manuscripts?

Dr. Hoffnarr:  First of all, the limits of this new method must be emphasized:  it cannot be used on papyrus, and it does not necessarily indicate the date of the production of a manuscript, complete with ink and illuminations, but the production of the parchment from which the manuscript was made.  Old parchment could be accessed, in theory, by relatively recent scribes producing a manuscript.   On top of that, we have not ruled out the possibility that the ingredients in some pigments could throw off the results.  Lingering difficulties remain; this method does not solve them all.       

JS:  But what does it do? 

Dr. Hoffnarr:  This type of sonic cavitation involves a multi-step process.  First, most of a parchment sheet from a manuscript is immersed in a diluted phosphate-free non-ionic alkaline fluid.  Then a combination of massive infrasound-waves is combined with oscillating high-frequency sound waves.  A gentle electrical charge is introduced via piezoelectric transduction, causing a reaction similar in effect to triboelectric agitation – but instead of extracting a sample from the surface of the parchment, sonic cavitation uses a hydrophonic method of generating micro-bubbles, which affect the entire parchment. The risk of focusing on a contaminated portion of the sample, which can happen with simple triboelectric cleaning, is greatly reduced or eliminated.

JS:  Doesn’t that damage or destroy the parchment?

Dr. Hoffnarr:  The amount of extracted material is enough to facilitate dating, but still very small.  In our experiments, the owners of the manuscripts we used when developing this method said that the only difference they could see, after the process, was that their manuscripts were slightly cleaner than before. To the naked eye, even the patina remains intact.

JS:  Please continue.

Dr. Hoffnarr:  This process is then repeated, focusing exclusively on the fold-line area of the parchment.  This provides a check on the first sample.  After the sample-sets are collected, they both undergo rigorous radiometric tests, from which a production-date is established. 

JS:  How accurate are the results?

Dr. Hoffnarr:  Some test results have been recently delayed due to the widespread temporary shutdown of laboratories, but I can report that out of seven manuscripts which had their production-dates affirmed via colophons, sonic cavitation has resulted in the extraction of samples which were dated to within 50 years of the known production-date, in all seven cases.  

JS:  So this sampling method has a perfect record!

Dr. Hoffnarr:  So far, yes.  It is very promising.  The main disadvantage is the limited availability of the method.

JS:  Please explain.
Dr. Klaus Ulysses

Dr. Hoffnarr:  Danish government officials raised objections to our work when we first began developing sonic cavitation for the purpose of extracting sample-material from manuscripts, on the grounds that the generation of massive infrasound-waves violated a certain treaty which all European countries are obligated to observe.  [Probably the RUCCW – JSJ]  We believe that their concern was that the device which generates massive infrasound-waves may be capable of being adapted for nefarious purposes, and be turned into a superweapon. 
            As things turned out, the then-director of my department at the university, Dr. Klaus Ulysses, arranged to move the entire laboratory to a new location outside the jurisdiction of the European Union:  an extension-site of Faroe Islands University.   Although Klaus has since moved on to other projects, his dedication to this ground-breaking research resulted in the world’s first fully operational center for conducting sonic cavitation using massive infrasound-waves, not far from the village of Klaksvik.  Situated on the island of Kunoy, it is in an underground facility which was originally constructed as a bunker during the British occupation in World War II.  Solid mountain rock naturally protects the outside world from both the massive infrasound-waves and the oscillating high-frequency sound waves. 

Klaksvik, in the Faroe Islands
JS:  So, this process is completely safe?  No one has experienced painful headaches, or gone deaf?

Dr. Hoffnarr:  The researchers are not on-site during the sample-extraction, so there is no possibility that exposure to infrasound will induce painful headaches or deafness.  Our entire process is carried out remotely.  Some unusual sonoluminescence from a large pod of pilot whales in the area occurred on one occasion when the infrasound equipment was in use, but afterwards everything went back to normal.  Keeping our technicians safe is a high priority. 
            Discovering the production-dates of ancient parchments via sonic cavitation is completely safe.  And there is absolutely no risk that this technology could be re-engineered into a superweapon against which there is no defense.  Getting accurate production-dates through this method is also virtually non-invasive and ecologically benign. 

JS:  Truly exciting news.  Thank you for sharing it with us! 

Dr. Hoffnarr:  You’re welcome.  Have a happy Easter

For more information about sonic cavitation, see this article from the journal Annales Societatis Scientiarum Faeroensis – Supplementa.

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