Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Palladius and Mark 16:19

Palladius of Ratiaria:  ever hear of him?  Probably not:  his name does not appear among the Latin Church Fathers cited in the 4th edition of the UBS Greek New Testament.  There was a man named Palladius who preached the gospel in Ireland in the early 400s, before Saint Patrick – but Palladius of Ratiaria, in about the same period (late 300s-early 400s) was in a far different region, where Bulgaria is today.

Before the Council of Aquileia in 381, Palladius had served as bishop, but at that council Palladius and Secundianus, another Arian bishop, were removed from office by the other bishops at the council.  Their chief theological opponent was the famous Ambrose of Milan. 

In an early fifth-century manuscript kept at the National Library of France – Manuscript Latin 8907 – several early theological works are preserved, including Hilary of Poitier’s De Trinitate, Contra Auxentium, and De Synodis, and the first two books of Ambrose of Milan’s De Fide.  Also in MS Lat. 8907 is a record of the proceedings of the Council of Aquileia.  Remarkably, this manuscript, produced in the early 400s, preserves writings and records of events from the 300s.

In part of the margin of MS Lat. 8907, there is what has been titled the Dissertation of Maximinus Against Ambrose, or “Arian Scholia on the Council of Aquileia,” which mostly constitutes a critique of the proceedings of the Council of Aquileia from an Arian point of view.  The modern-day author William A. Sumruld describes the second part of the Arian scholia like this:

            “The second major block [of scholia] is separated from the first by a gap of twenty-four pages.  It begins with two extracts from Ambrose’s De Fide, each followed by a reply ascribed to someone called Palladius, probably Palladius of Ratiara (condemned at the council).  The second reply of Palladius is followed by an Arian account of the council’s proceedings, still addressing Ambrose directly in a tone of protest and ending with an appeal for a new hearing before the Senate at Rome.  It portrays Palladius and Secundianus as confessors of the faith faced with a false bishop, Ambrose, and a band of ignorant conspirators.” (p. 154, Augustine and the Arians, © 1994 Associated University Presses Inc.) 

The material from Maximinus (and his sources, including Palladius) in the margin of Latin MS 8907 thus forms an interesting witness to Arian theology in the first half of the 400s.  Roger Gryson edited this material in 1980, with a French translation, in Scolies Ariennes sur le Concile D’Aquilée – Introduction, Texte Latin, Traduction et Notes, replacing an earlier (1899) edition of Maximinus’ dissertation against Ambrose by Friedrich Kauffmann

There are plenty of appeals to the New Testament embedded in the portions of the margin of MS Latin 8907 attributed to Palladius.  Some New Testament passages that are utilized in one way or another include:

        In Matthew:  27:54.
        In Mark:  10:17-18, 16:19.

        In Luke:  1:33.

        In John:  1:14, 1:18, 3:16, 8:35, 9:36-37, 10:11, 10:36, 11:42, 14:28, 17:3, 18:37.

        In Acts:  1:11.

        In Romans:  1:20, 1:25, 5:10, 8:31-32, 8:34, 16:27.

        In I Corinthians:  1:13, 1:24, 2:6-8, 8:6, 15:3. 

        In II Corinthians:  1:3.

        In Ephesians:  1:17, 3:14-15, 4:6.

        In Philippians:  3:2.

        In Colossians:  1:15-17, 3:1.

        In I Thessalonians:  1:9-10.

        In I Timothy:  1:17, 6:15, 6:16.

        In Titus:  3:10-11. 

Let’s take a closer look at Palladius’ utilization of Mark 16:19.  In the margin of 347r of Latin MS 8907 (on pages 316-318 of Gryson’s transcription), before the focus shifts to Acts 1:11, we find: 

Tres etiam consessores, cum Spiritus Sanctus de unius eiusdemque sui domini predicauerit sede per Dauid dicens [or dicentem]: Dixit Dominus domino meo:  Sede a dextris meis, sed et euangelista Marcus solum Ihesum Cristum ascendisse in caelum et ad dexteram Dei rettulerit sedere, dicens:  Et dominis quidem Ihesus, postquam locutus est, receptus est in caelos et sedet ad dexteram Dei.

Gryson translated this as:

<< Trois qui siègent ensemble >> également, alors que l’Esprit-Saint a parlé clairement d’un unique siège, celui de son seigneur, en disant par la bouche de David : << Le Seigneur a dit a mon seigneur: Siège à ma droite >>, et que l’évangéliste Marc rapporte que seul Jésus-Christ est monté au ciel et siège à la droite de Dieu : << Et le seigneur Jésus, après qu’il eut parlé, a été accueilli dans les cieux et siège à la droite de Dieu. >>

I am not fluent in French but I think that in English this yields something like:

”Three who sit together:  And while the Holy Spirit spoke clearly of a single seat, that of his lord, speaking by the mouth of David. “The Lord said to my lord:  Sit at my right.”   And the evangelist Mark relates that only Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God:  “And the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken, was received into heaven and was seated at the right hand of God.””

Whatever improvements might be made in this English rendering, this is a clear citation of Mark 16:19.  I suggest that Palladius’ existence, and his utilization of Mark 16:19, should be acknowledged in the textual apparatus of the UBS Greek New Testament, and in the textual apparatus of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece

(With essential assistance from Jil De La Tourette and Grbh Guillaume)

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Some Recent Text-Critical Discussions Online

Dwayne Green
 Recently Dwayne Green and I sat down and discussed Mark 16:9-20:

Part 1 - In which we consider what’s wrong with the footnotes and headings about Mark 16:9-20 in many English Bible translations, and also look into different base-texts of English translations.
Part 2 - In which we describe the manuscripts 304, Codex Vaticanus, and Codex Sinaiticus, the only Greek manuscripts which end the text of Mark 16 at v. 8.
Part 3 - In which we describe some commentators’ misrepresentations of manuscripts with notes about Mark 16:9-20, cover some background of the “Shorter Ending,” and describe some neglected patristic evidence.
Sam Shamoun

I also spoke with apologist Sam Shamoun about The King James Only Controversy for almost two hours
, reviewing the false claims, mistakes, inaccuracies, and inconsistencies in James White's book The King James Only Controversy, including (but certainly not limited to) White's inaccurate claims pertaining to Mark 16:9-20. We investigated White's version (made not only in his book but also in various online venues) of how Constantine Tischendorf encountered pages from Codex Sinaiticus, his claim about the text-form discovered in Papyri, and much, much more.

And, at Nicholas Johnson's Signs & Wonders video blog, I've discussed Mark 16:9-20 more informally, and (with some technical difficulties that we hurdled together), the Byzantine Text of the New Testament, and the relative qualities of some recent English translations of the New Testament.
Nick Johnson

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Mark 16:9-20 - Grace To You vs. The Evidence


            Watch the new video about the false claims that Grace To You has been spreading about Mark 16:9-20 for the past ten years on YouTube.            

It has been almost ten years since Dr. John MacArthur preached a sermon titled “The Fitting End to Mark’s Gospel,” in which he called Mark 16:9-20 a “bad ending.”  Since then, the ministry of Grace to You has promoted his claims over and over.

            But many of his claims are false.  I’m not challenging his doctrines here; I mean that  he says many things in that sermon that are flat-out untrue.  He says things that are fictitious.  In the next ten minutes, I will focus on just some of them.

(1)  John MacArthur says, “I would say there is massive evidence that the Holy Spirit not only inspired the Scripture but preserved it in its purity through all history.”   He also says, “There are twenty-five thousand ancient manuscripts of the New Testament.  Such an abundance preserved by the Holy Spirit through faithful men in the church makes it possible to reconstruct the original books with virtually complete accuracy.”

           There are about 1,650 Greek manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark.  Almost all of them – over 99% – include the 12 verses that MacArthur calls a “bad ending.”  There are just three Greek manuscripts in which the text of Mark ends at Mark 16:8.

            If “massive evidence” shows that the text of Scripture has been preserved in its purity through all history, then massive evidence also refutes MacArthur’s idea that Mark 16:9-20 should be rejected.  

            To put it another way:  if “massive evidence” – say, 99% of the Greek manuscripts,  99% of the Syriac manuscripts, 99% of the Latin manuscripts, and 100% of the Ethiopic manuscripts – is what shows us the text that the Holy Spirit has preserved for the church to use, then Mark 16:9-20 is part of that divinely-approved text.  But if, instead, we should rely on 1% of the Greek manuscripts, 1% of the Syriac manuscripts, 1% of the Greek manuscripts, and none of the Ethiopic manuscripts. what happens to MacArthur’s claim about “massive evidence”?  It disintegrates.  It dissolves into dust.


(2)  John MacArthur claims that after the Council of Nicea in 325, as Christianity became established as the religion of the Roman Empire, persecution ended, and starting then you have the proliferation of manuscripts.  “They all survived,” he said, “because no one is banning them or destroying them.”

            That claim is downright silly.  Even after Roman persecutions stopped, humidity still worked.  Outside the exceptionally dry climate of Egypt, papyrus manuscripts experienced natural decay.  Eusebius of Caesarea claimed that Emperor Constantine instructed him to make 50 manuscripts for churches in Constantinople.  Do we have 50 Greek manuscripts from the 300s?  No we do not.  The claim that “they all survived” is ridiculous.


(3) MacArthur demonstrated his ignorance of New Testament manuscripts again when he identified Codex Sinaiticus as “The earliest and most important of the Biblical texts that have been discovered.”  But Sinaiticus is not the earliest New Testament text; other substantial manuscripts, such as Papyrus 45, and Papyrus 46, are earlier. 


(4) As part of the basis for his rejection of Mark 16:9-20, MacArthur appeals to “Eight thousand copies of Jerome’s Vulgate.”  The thing is, in Jerome’s Vulgate, Mark 16:9-20 is included.  MacArthur also appealed to “Three hundred and fifty-plus copies of the Syriac Bible.”  But in the standard Syriac text, Mark 16:9-20 is included. 


(5)  MacArthur then says,  “When you compare all of these manuscripts, they’re all saying exactly the same thing.”

            But that is not true.  The text in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus is different from the text of the Vulgate, and it is different from the text of the Peshitta – and one difference is that the Syriac Peshitta and the Latin Vulgate include Mark 16:9-20.  When you compare the vast majority of the Greek, Latin, and Syriac manuscripts, they say the opposite of what MacArthur seems to think they say!

            If we’re going to say, “Let’s accept the text that is supported by all these Greek and  Latin and Syriac manuscripts,” we should be accepting Mark 16:9-20.    


(6)  John MacArthur tries to appeal to patristic quotations, claiming that “you can virtually put the entire New Testament together from the quotes of the fathers and it matches perfectly all other manuscript sources.”

That claim is fiction.  You can easily demonstrate that it is fiction by picking up a textual apparatus and looking through the list of patristic writers who are listed as support for different rival readings.    

            But MacArthur doesn’t let the obviously false nature of his claim slow him down.  He keeps going:  he says, “There are over 19 thousand quotations of just the Gospels in their writings, and they read the Gospel text the very same way you read them in your Bible today.”   That is another fictitious claim.  MacArthur seems unaware that what he calls a “bad ending” is quoted far and wide by patristic writers from the days of the Roman Empire.


(7)  MacArthur continues to spread propaganda when he compares the history of the transmission of the New Testament with the transmission of Homer’s Iliad.   He claims that “The oldest manuscript of the Iliad that we have is in the thirteenth century A.D.”  That is false.  There are dozens of fragments of the Iliad from way before the thirteenth century A.D.  Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 560, from the 200s, is just one example.  Are the personnel at Grace To You aware that John MacArthur is making these false claims?  Then why has  Grace To You been spreading them for the past 10 years?  Do they just not care?  It’s been ten years.  So much for the pretense that Grace To You believes that truth matters.    


(8)  John MacArthur says we can be confident that our English translations are accurate because “We have so many accurate, consistent manuscripts.”  But he’s not relying on many Greek manuscripts in this case; he is relying on three.  One is a medieval commentary-manuscript.  The two early ones are the ones that matter, and one of them has a distinct blank space that includes a whole column after Mark 16:8, and in the other one, the last page of Mark is written by a different scribe than the scribe who wrote the surrounding pages. 

            John MacArthur is thus rejecting the testimony of over 1,600 Greek manuscripts, including early manuscripts such as Codex A, Codex C, and Codex D,  and he is basically depending on two Greek manuscripts.  And, inasmuch as they disagree with each other at 3,036 places in the Gospels, they can’t both be very “accurate, consistent” copies of the Gospels.     

(9)  MacArthur claims that “Somewhere along the line, they started piling up optional endings.”  But in real life, besides verses 9-20, there was just one other ending after verse 8:  the “Shorter Ending” – and that was in one particular locale:  Egypt.   It is preserved in six Greek manuscripts, and all six of them also support the usual 12 verses.   

            Let me say that again:  a total of six Greek manuscripts have preserved one rival ending, along with the normal ending.  There is also one manuscript, Codex W, which has extra material between verse 14 and verse 15, but that is an interpolation, not an ending.  The claim that endings “started piling up” is rubbish.  It is nonsense.  Anyone who tells you that there were “several endings” or “various endings” – I’m looking at you, Philip Comfort; I’m looking at you, New Living Translation footnote-maker – is deceiving his readers.     


(10)  MacArthur makes his false fantasy even falser, if it were possible, when he says that “Justin Martyr and Tatian show knowledge of other endings,” and that “Even Irenaeus shows knowledge of other endings starting to float around.”

         What the evidence from Justin Martyr and Tatian and Irenaeus shows is that they used a text of Mark that included Mark 16:9-20.  There is no evidence in their writings of any other ending.  MacArthur is just making things up.  Instead, he should acknowledge that when Irenaeus quotes Mark 16:19 in Against Heresies, Book 3, chapter 10, around the year 180, long before Vaticanus and Sinaiticus were made in the 300s, it means that Irenaeus’ manuscripts of Mark 16 included verses 9-20.


             In conclusion:  I call on John MacArthur to retract the false claims that he has been spreading for the past ten years.  And I call on Grace To You to stop circulating the materials that contain and promote those false claims. 


            Until this is done, I say to everyone who regards John MacArthur as a reliable source of information about New Testament manuscripts, and to everyone who thinks of Grace To You as a responsible organization that would never promote false claims:  you have my pity.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

New Manuscripts from Liechtenstein

H.S.H. Hans-Adam II

           An important collection of previously unpublished New Testament materials has been released in the  European micro-state of Liechtenstein.  Scholars were aware of the existence of this collection, but its publication was delayed until 2020 in accordance with the stipulations of the last will and testament of Prince Franz Johann II, who served as prince of Liechtenstein from 1938 to 1989.  It was delayed one year further due to Covid-19-related disruptions and by some concerns in the art world that the royal family could not disprove speculative theories that the preservation of this collection during WWII was due in part to “forced labor.” 

After documentation was provided which shows that the entire collection was preserved due to a simpler mechanism – its obscurity – no obstacles stand in the way of its publication.  The first institution to display the Ecclesiastical Archives of Liechtenstein will be the small Treasure Chamber (the Schatzkammer – described in this video) in the capital city of Vaduz, not far from Vaduz Castle, where the collection was kept for decades.  

Following the formal accession of H.S.H. Hereditary Prince Alois, most of the collection will be transferred to a permanent display in the Liechtenstein Garden Palace in Vienna
, Austria, near the U.S. embassy.
H.S.H. Hereditary
Prince Alois

          The collection originated mainly as an effect of Franz Johann II’s penchant for the collection of fine art.  He and his predecessor, Johann II (who led the country from 1929 to 1938) – and many of their predecessors – accumulated what is now one of the finest art collections in the world.  The intricately decorated book-covers and cases of manuscripts were cherished as art; the manuscripts they held were probably seen as secondary items when purchased.  But new assessments of these rarely seen books, undertaken by a team of scholars sponsored by H.S.H. Hans-Adam II, has elicited a new appreciation of their value. 

          The Biblical manuscripts in the Ecclesiastical Archives of Liechtenstein include the following:
          ● Seven incomplete minuscule copies of the Gospels in Greek, including one from the 900s.  Most feature the Eusebian Canons and a few attached pages.

A medieval Gospels MS
with an unusual reading in Mark 1:2.
          ● Ten Latin copies of different portions of the New Testament, including a book of the four Gospels from the 900s, probably produced in Metz at the Hovnarr Monastery.

          ● Three Latin Book of Hours, from different medieval periods.  One of these features some Greek notes accompanying passages taken from the Gospels. 

          ● Five Ethiopic lectionaries, with texts on illustrated pages.

          ● A majuscule fragment, written in both Greek and Latin, containing Luke 24:17-25, found unbound in an antiphonary, which was obtained by Carl Eusebius Liechtenstein in the 1600s.    

          ● An ancient Latin lectionary once owned by Massimiliano Soldani Benzi.

          More information about the plans to publish and display these documents can be found by visiting the website of the Liechtensteinisches LandesMuseum.

The Liechtenstein Garden Palace, in Vienna,
future home of the collection.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Minuscule 750: The Byzantine Text with Pictures

          Minuscule 750 is a Greek copy of the four Gospels, written in a neat minuscule script, in dark ink, assigned to the 1100s.  The text is on 319 pages, written in one column per page, with 20 lines per page.  The text of 750 has been categorized as M27, an old form of the Byzantine Text.

          Matthew has a rectangular headpiece, with red, blue, and green pigment.  Later cursive notes are written in the outer margin in black and red.  The title appears to be written in gold.

        Small illustrations (sometimes slightly covering the text), appear in the outer margins of Matthew and Mark.  Matthew has about 35 margin-illustrations; Mark has about 10.  Very often the illustrations appear to have been scraped off the page.  Sometimes the shapes of scenes in damaged or non-extant pictures appear on the opposite page, allowing a view of the contours of the depicted scene.  Some of the illustrations feature writing describing the depicted scene.

          Only one illustration is extant in Luke:  on p. 322, opposite Luke 1:13.  Other pictures once occupied some pages after this; traces of pigment remain on p. 323.  On several other pages, rectangles are hued more lightly than the rest of the page; these are apparently the remains of places where a picture was once intended but never executed.  Occasionally a thinly drawn rectangle appears to signify where an illustration was once intended; such a frame appears on p. 518 (next to John 1:43).

        Eusebian Section-numbers begin to appear in the outer margin at Mt. 8:28, on p. 48, with #70 (although usually one would expect #70 to appear at Mt. 9:1).  Perhaps the section-numbers were not included before this point because the margin-illustrations made their inclusion difficult.

          Obeli in red often appear in the text at the beginning of a section.  It is not unusual to see a red cross (+) and a gap, blank, before the obelus, as if the addition of liturgical notices (αρχη and τελος) had been intended but never carried out except in an incomplete way (such as on p. 326).  A series of three crosses (+++) usually indicates the end of a chapter. Chapter-titles, written in gold, usually appear at the top of the page where the chapter begins, but titloi occasional appear in the lower margin.

          A later hand has occasionally added some liturgical annotations, featuring circles, which seem to be connected with an Eastertime rite (?):  Stasis #2 at Matthew 9:9, #3 at Matthew 14:1, #5 at Matthew 25:1, #2 at Mark 6:30, #2 at Luke 5:1, #3 at Luke 9:7, #4 at Luke 13:31, #5 at Luke 20:27, #2 at John 5:24, #3 at John 9:1, τελος at John 13:31.

 Here is a selective index to the manuscript:

 Mt. 1:1 – p. 7

Mt. 4:14-15a is written in the lower margin of p. 21, which was omitted in the main text due to parablepsis (Νεφθαλείμ, Νεφθαλείμ).

Mt. 5:1 – p. 24 (ε in margin)

Mt. 7:1 – p. 38

Mt. 8:2 – p. 43

Mt. 8:16 – p. 46

Mt. 9:2 – p. 49 (ιγ in margin)

Mt. 10:1 – p. 56

Mt. 11:1 – p. 63 (κ in the margin)

Mt. 12:22 – p. 71 (κβ in the margin)  

Mt. 14:1 – p. 87 (κε in the margin)

Mt. 17:1 – p. 104 (λδ in the margin)

Mt. 20:1 – p. 122 (μβ in the margin)

Mt. 22:2 – p. 137 (να in the margin)

Mt. 25:1 – p. 157 (νθ in the margin)

Mt. 27:1 – p. 177 (τιζ in the margin)

Mt. 27:58 – p. 186 (ξη in the margin)


Chapter-list for Mark begins on p. 192

Full-page picture of Mark, with red footstool – p. 196

Mk. 1:1 – p. 197, with blue and gold headpiece, red and blue initial

Mk. 2:1 – p. 204 (κ in the margin)

Mk. 4:3 – p. 213 (θ in the margin)

Mk. 5:1 – p. 221 (ια in the margin)

Mk. 7:1 – p. 238 (ιη in the margin)

Mk. 9:2 – p. 251 (κε in the margin)

Jesus greeting Mary Magdalene in Mark 16:9,
with imprint on the opposite page.

Mk. 10:2 – p. 260 (κη in the margin)

Mk. 12:1 – p. 274 (λϛ in the margin)

Mk. 14:3 – p. 289 (μδ in the margin)

Mk. 15:48 – p. 306 (μη in the margin)

Mk 16:9 – p. 309


Chapter-list for Luke begins on p. 312

Full-page picture of Luke, with red footstool – p. 319.  Luke has written the first word of his Gospel.

Lk. 1:1 – p. 320, with red, blue and green rectngular headpiece.  Title in gold.

Lk. 2:1 – p. 331 (α in the margin)

Lk. 4:1 – p. 345 (ζ in the margin)

Lk. 6:6 – p. 361/362  (ιε in the margin)

Lk. 8:16 – p. 382 (In Luke 8:16, the words αλλ’ επι λυχνίας επιτιθησιν are not in the text.  In the outer margin, the words αλ επι λοιχνηας επι τηθησει are provided – perhaps recollected from memory – and there is a mark in the text showing where they belong.)

Full-page picture of Luke.

Lk. 9:1 – p. 390 (κζ in the margin)

Lk. 11:1 – p. 409 (λη in the margin)

Lk. 12:1 – p. 419 (μδ in the margin)

Lk. 15:3 – p. 441 (νϛ in the margin)

Lk. 18:1 – p. 456 (ξα in the margin)

Lk 20:1 – p. 470 (ξθ in the margin)

Lk. 22:24 – p. 485 (οζ in the margin, +++ in the text)

Lk. 23:27 – p. 496 (π in the margin)

Lk. 24:18 – p. 503 (πγ in the margin)


Chapter-list for John begins on p. 510

(No portrait of John)

Jn. 1:1 – p. 512.  Rectangular blue headpiece is topped with two birds.  Red and blue initial with hand-stem.

John 2:1 – p. 519 (α in the margin)

5:1 – p. 536

Jn. 6:5 – p. 544 (μη in the margin and +++ in the text)

Jn. 7:37 – p. 559

Jn. 7:53 – p. 561 (The pericope adulterae is included in the text.)

Jn. 11:1 – p. 582 (ια in the margin)

Jn. 12:3 – p. 591

Jn. 13:5 – p. 598 (+++ in the text)

Jn. 13:31 – p. 602 (+++ in the text)

Jn. 15:26 – p. 611 (last line of text)

Jn. 18:1 – p. 621

(beginning on p. 624, the parchment has been affected by mildew, which obscures some of the text on p. 629)

Jn. 19:38 – p. 633 (faint ιη in the margin and +++ in the text)

Jn. 20:11 – p. 636 (αρχ. on first line in the text)

Jn. 21:1 – p. 639 (αρχ.)

The text of John 21 ends on p. 644.  After the subscription and a squiggly horizontal line, there is the word “Ερμενια” followed by a few lines written in faint red ink; some of this text is obscured by mildew.

         A cross-like symbol appears occasionally, apparently written in pencil, in the margin of MS 750.

          Some idea of the quality of the text of 750 may be gained by a comparison of its text of John 18:1-11 and the same passage in Codex Sinaiticus.  In this comparison, I will compare the text of the main scribe of א (pre-correction), and the standard of comparison will be the text of the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece.  Abbreviations such as kai-compendia and sacred name contractions will not be counted as variants.  Transpositions will be noted but not counted if no change is made to the amount of letters.

Sinaiticus:  John 18:1-11

1 – א has αυτοις instead of τοις (+2)

1 – א has του instead of των (+2, -2)

1 – א has Κεδρου instead of Κεδρων (+2, -2)

2 – א has χιμαρρου instead of χειμαρρου (-1)

3 – א does not have εκει (εκι added in margin) (-4)

4 – א has δε instead of ουν (+2, -3)

4 – א has εξελθων instead of εξηλθεν (+1, -1)

4 – א has ειπεν instead of λεγει (+4, -4)

5 – א has ΙΣ after αυτοις (+2)

5 – א has ιστηκει instead of ειστηκει (-1)

6 – א does not have αυτοις after ειπεν (added above the line) (-6)

6 – א has επεσαν instead of επεσον (+1, -1)

7 – א transposes to αυτους επηρωτησεν

8 – no variations

9 – no variations

10 – א has επεσεν instead of επαισεν (+1, -2)

10 – א transposes to δουλον του αρχιερεως

11 – no variations

Taking the text of א “as is,” pre-correction, it has 17 non-original letters, and is missing 27 original letters, for a total of 44 letters’ worth of corruption. 

Removing orthographic readings and transpositions:

1 – א has αυτοις instead of τοις (+2)

1 – א has του instead of των (+2, -2)

1 – א has Κεδρου instead of Κεδρων (+2, -2)

3 – א does not have εκει (εκι added in margin) (-4)

4 – א has δε instead of ουν (+2, -3)

4 – א has εξελθων instead of εξηλθεν (+1, -1)

4 – א has ειπεν instead of λεγει (+4, -4)

5 – א has ΙΣ after αυτοις (+2)

6 – א does not have αυτοις after ειπεν (added above the line) (-6)

6 – א has επεσαν instead of επεσον (+1, -1)

11 – no variations

Removing orthographic variants from the picture yields a total of 16 non-original letters present, and 23 original letters absent, for a total of 39 letters’ worth of corruption. 

Now, let’s look at the text of John 18:1-11 in 750.  Comparing 750’s text to the text of the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform (2005), I found very few disagreements in John 18:1-11:

  v. 2:  750 has και after συνηχθη.  (This και is noted in the Byz margin, and this και is included in the Hodges-Farstad Majority Text (1982).)

 v. 7:  750’s scribe initially seems to have written αυτοις instead of αυτους, but upon close examination, this appears to have been a glitch involving the ink on the pen; the final stroke of the υ is visible.  I think.)

 v. 11:  750 does not have σου.

 Comparing the text of John 18:1-11 in RP2005 to the text of NA27, we see the following differences (based on the footnotes in RP2005): 

1 – Byz has before ΙΣ (+1)

1 – Byz has των instead of του (+2, -2)

2 – Byz has before ΙΣ (+1)

3 – Byz has εκ των before Φαρισαίων (+5)

4 – Byz does not have και after εξηλθεν (-3)

4 – Byz has ειπεν instead of λεγει (+4, -4)

5 – Byz has ΙΣ after αυτοις (+3)

6 – Byz has οτι after αυτοις (+3)

6 – Byz has επεσον instead of επεσαν (+1, -1)

7 – Byz transposes to αυτους επηρωτησεν

7 – Byz has ειπον instead of ειπαν (+1, -1)

10 – Byz has ωτιον instead of ωτάριον (-2)

11 – Byz has σου (+3)

          Thus, the difference between John 18:1-11 in the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform and the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece is 24 non-original letters that appear in RP2005 but not in NA27, and 13 letters that appear in NA27 but not in RP2005 – for a total difference of 37 letters.

          The difference between NA27 and the text in minuscule 750 must be slightly increased by three due to the και in v. 2, but it must also be decreased by three due to 750’s non-inclusion of σου in verse 11.  So, the text of John 18:1-11 written by the copyist of 750 is slightly more accurate than the text written by the copyist of א before correction.

          Minuscule 750 can be viewed page by page at CSNTM and via the Gallica website.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Video Lecture 23: Consult the Evidence

Lecture 23 in the series Introduction to NT Textual Criticism is available to view, with captions, on YouTube, about the advantages of consulting the external evidence for the New Testament text.  Special attention is given to 14 manuscripts and one inscription.  Links to some online manuscript-collections are included in the captions at the end of the lecture.

It can also be viewed, without captions, on Bitchute.

Here is an excerpt:

            Fifth, the Book of Kells.  The Book of Kells is so famous, because of its artistry, that it's easy to overlook it as a textual witness might be overlooked.  Widely regarded as the most beautifully written of all Gospels-manuscripts, the text in the Book of Kells might be considered just another copy of the Vulgate.  For the most part, that is what it is – but it also has some readings that echo Old Latin ancestors that pre-dated the Vulgate.

             One of the readings in the Book of Kells, and several other Latin copies, occurs in Matthew 27:49.  After Matthew’s report that some of the bystanders at Jesus’ crucifixion said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him,” the very next thing that happens, in most copies, is that Jesus cries out with a loud voice, and yields up His spirit.   But in the Book of Kells, before verse 50, there is more.  It says,      

            And another person took a spear, and pierced His side, and there came out water and blood.”

            This is an approximate parallel to John 19:34.   The significant difference is that in John, when Jesus is pierced, He is already dead; the soldiers pierce His side to remove any doubt that He has died.  The reading in the Book of Kells appears to be an interpolation, inserted by a scribe trying to make a harmonization – but the insertion was made at the wrong place, before Jesus dies.

            But the originator of this reading cannot have been a Latin scribe, because the same reading is also found in Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus, the two Greek manuscripts that form the backbone of the base-text of the New Testament in the NIV and ESV. 

             As a side-note, I have noticed that although the NIV and ESV rely very heavily on these two manuscripts, the reading of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus in Matthew 27:49 has not been adopted in their text, and, as far as I can tell,  is not mentioned in the NIV and ESV in a footnote, even though it is supported by some other Alexandrian witnesses such as Codices C and L.

            If we reckon that witnesses that share the same readings tend to have the same origin, then the thing to see is that the witnesses with this relatively rare reading in Matthew 27:49 must be connected in some way, even though some of them represent a stratum of the Latin Text in Ireland, and some of them represent a very early form of the Greek Gospels-text used in Egypt. 

            This connection is also suggested by similarities between some of the artwork in the borders of the Book of Kells, and in the artwork that appears in some Coptic manuscripts.

          Which brings us to our sixth witness:  the Fadden More Psalter.   The discovery, in 2006, of the Fadden More Psalter is another piece of evidence that increases the plausibility of a connection between a Biblical text in Ireland, and a Biblical text in Egypt.  The Fadden More Psalter is is a very heavily damaged Latin copy of the Book of Psalms that was made in about the year 800.

            The parchment pages of the Faddan More Psalter were found along with a leather cover.  It was found in a bog, near the city of Tipperary.  The discoverer, Eddie Fogerty, exercised remarkable skill and competence in preserving the manuscript once it was discovered.  One of the interesting things about the cover is that there is definitely papyrus in the cover’s lining.

             Sometimes, we cannot access the evidence directly because it does not exist anymore.  That is probably the case with our seventh witness:  Codex Gissensis.  For a few decades after its discovery in Egypt in 1907, a small Gothic and Latin fragment, with text from Luke 23 and 34, was kept in Germany.  Unfortunately, it was reportedly destroyed as a result of bombing during World War II.  But black and white photographs of the manuscript have survived.

            Similarly, when Lake Nasser was enlarged on the southern border of Egypt around the year 1970, many artifacts from the ancient site of Faras were heroically rescued by a team of researchers from Poland, and they can still be visited at the National Museum in Warsaw.  Some inscriptions had to be left behind, though, and were subsequently submerged. 

            But photographs of them were taken, including a photograph of our ninth witness:  an inscription that features the beginning and ending of each Gospel.  Even this small witness can help track the geographic spread of variants in these portions of the text.