|Lecture 13: Challenging Hort
In lecture 13 in the series Introduction to NT Textual Criticism, I describe some discoveries made in the 1900s that posed serious problems for the sustainability of Hort’s theory of the Lucianic recension. (32 minutes)
Here is an excerpt:
In Papyrus 45, in the fragments of chapters 6, 7, 8, and 9 of the Gospel of Mark, there are at least 17 readings that are not supported by the leading manuscripts of the Alexandrian Text and Western Text, but which are supported by the Byzantine Text. I will mention some of them:
① In the closing phrase of Mark 6:45, Papyrus 45 supports the Byzantine reading, disagreeing with the reading that is supported by the Alexandrian Text and the Western text.
② In Mark 7:5, Papyrus 45 supports the Byzantine reading that means “answering,” which is not supported by the Alexandrian and Western Text.
③ At the beginning of Mark 7:12, Papyrus 45 supports the Byzantine reading “And,” which is not in the flagship manuscripts of the Alexandrian Text and Western Text.
④ In Mark 7:30, Papyrus 45 supports the word-order in the Byzantine Text, disagreeing with the word-order in Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Bezae.
⑤ In Mark 7:31, after the word “
,” Papyrus 45 supports
the Byzantine reading. Both the form and
meaning of this passage are different in Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Codex
⑥ In Mark 7:32, Papyrus 45 and the Byzantine Text do not have the word “and,” where it appears in Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Bezae.
⑦ In Mark 7:35, Papyrus 45 has the word “immediately.” The Byzantine Text has this word here too. But the Alexandrian Text and the Western Text do not.
⑧ In Mark 7:36, Papyrus 45 is difficult to read but it appears to support a reading that agrees with the Byzantine Text and disagrees with the flagship manuscripts of the Alexandrian Text and Western Text.
⑨ In Mark 8:19, Papyrus 45 and the Byzantine Text share the same word-order, disagreeing with the word-order in the Alexandrian Text and also disagreeing with the word-order in Codex D.
⑩ In Mark 9:6, the wording in Papyrus 45 agrees with the Byzantine Text, disagreeing with Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Bezae.
⑪ In Mark 9:20, the word-order in Papyrus 45 agrees with the Byzantine Text, disagreeing with the reading in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus and also disagreeing with a different reading in Codex Bezae.
⑫ And, again in Mark 9:20, the Byzantine Text has a reading that is supported by Papyrus 45 but which is not found in Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, or Codex Bezae.
Now, this is a long way from proving that the fully formed Byzantine Text existed in
in the early 200s. But Papyrus 45 is from Egypt ; it is
not from a locale where we would expect
the Byzantine Text to be found. The
thing to see is that in the world according to Hort – a world in which the
Byzantine Text is a combination of Alexandrian and Western readings – none of these readings should exist before
the late 200s. Egypt
If Papyrus 45 had been discovered before 1881, nobody would have dreamed of proposing a theory that the non-Alexandrian, non-Western readings found in the Byzantine Text did not exist before the lifetime of Lucian of Antioch. If anyone had said that, people would look at readings such as the ones I just listed, and say, “What about these?”
Support for distinctly Byzantine readings in Papyrus 45 does not stop in Mark 6-9. The fragmentary pages of Papyrus 45 in Luke 10-13 have a dozen distinctly Byzantine readings. For example:
① In Luke 10:39, Papyrus 45 agrees with the reading “Jesus,” where Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Bezae have the reading “Lord.” Papyrus 75 also reads “Jesus.”
Notice the lack of a conflation in the Byzantine Text here. It would have been very easy to create the reading “the Lord Jesus” if the Byzantine Text came from someone telling himself, “When it doubt don’t throw it out.”
② In Luke 10:42, Papyrus 45 and the Byzantine Text share the same word-order that is not supported in the flagship manuscripts of the Alexandrian or Western forms of the text. In addition, where there is damage to Papyrus 45, Papyrus 75 has the Greek equivalent of the word “from” before “her” at the end of the verse, agreeing with the Byzantine Text. “From” is not supported by Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, or Bezae.
③ In Luke 11:12, Papyrus 45 and the Byzantine Text share the same word-order at the beginning of the verse. The Alexandrian Text has a different reading and the Western Text has another different reading.
④ In Luke 11:33, Papyrus 45 and the Byzantine Text have the Greek word φέγγος instead of the word φως, which is in Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Bezae. I note that in the Society of Biblical Literature’s Greek New Testament, compiled by Michael Holmes, φέγγος has been adopted.
⑤ In Luke 12:5, Papyrus 45 supports the same word-order found in the Byzantine Text. Vaticanus and Sinaiticus and Bezae have the opposite word-order.
⑥ In Luke 12:22, Papyrus 45 and the Byzantine Text include a word that means “to you.” Vaticanus and Sinaiticus and Bezae do not.
⑦ In Luke 12:30, Papyrus 45 has a reading that is in the Byzantine Text but Vaticanus and Sinaiticus have a longer reading, and Codex D has a shorter reading.
⑧ In Luke 12:31, Papyrus 45 and the Byzantine Text refer to the
. Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Bezae refer to “His
kingdom,” and Papyrus 75 refers to just the kingdom. kingdom of God
Also worth mentioning is a reading in Luke 11:13 where the text refers to “good gifts.” Papyrus 45 and the Textus Receptus share the same word-order here. Yes; in Luke 11:13, the reading in the Textus Receptus is supported by the oldest manuscript of the passage, against the flagship manuscripts of the Alexandrian, Western, and Byzantine forms of the text.
These are the kinds of readings – in manuscripts made before Lucian – that researcher Harry Sturz collected and listed by the dozens in a dissertation in 1967, just a few years after Bruce Metzger had written that it is a fact that Lucian of Antioch made the Byzantine Text.
Sturz’s findings were eventually published as a book, The Byzantine Text-type & New Testament Textual Criticism. Sturz showed that not only Papyrus 45, but also Papyrus 46, Papyrus 66, Papyrus 75, and others, share some readings with the Byzantine Text that are not supported in the flagship manuscripts that represent the Alexandrian and Western Text.
This demonstrates that it is incorrect to assume that readings which only have Byzantine support ought to be set aside as late readings. But this assumption is at the very foundation of the approach used by Westcott and Hort. Hort did not have any of these papyri. If he had, he would not have proposed that non-Alexandrian, non-Western readings in the Byzantine Text are no earlier than the lifetime of Lucian of Antioch.