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.
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
pages of the Faddan More Psalter were found along with a leather cover. It was found in a bog, near the city of
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.