Thursday, November 18, 2021

A New Referee - Hand to Hand Combat in Mark 8:27-38


        GA 2370 is a medieval minuscule manuscript of the Gospels that resides in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.  It was produced in the late 1000s.  Some readers may recollect that 2370 went head-to-head against Codex D in 2019, winning a contest about which of the two manuscripts has the better text of Luke 2:1-18.  (Using NA27’s text as the standard of comparison, Codex D has 162 letters’ worth of corruption, while 2370 has 65 letters’ worth of corruption.)  2370 is fully indexed at the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts. 

          Today, 2370 once again goes up against a famous ancient manuscript:  Codex Sinaiticus.  Instead of using the 28th edition of the Nestle-Aland as the only standard of comparison, considering that its editors have adopted readings which have zero Greek manuscripts in their favor, I shall use instead a less famous compilation:  the Solid Rock Greek New Testament, which was edited by James (Joey) McCollum and Stephen  L. Brown.  The Scholars Edition of the Solid Rock GNT is available at Amazon and pre-orders for its digital form are being taken at Logos. 

         The text of the Solid Rock GNT is also available for free at Joey McCollum’s GitHub page.  Most readers will probably want a bit more than just the text, though, because the apparatus of the Scholar’s Edition of the Solid Rock GNT is remarkably thorough.  As Dr. Paul A. Himes has suggested, it “has a higher probability of having preserved all the original words of the apostles somewhere in its text than any other version/edition in existence.” 

Joey McCollum and Stephen Brown,
at the Museum of the Bible
in Washington, D.C.
          Its text – released into the public domain in 2018 – is very, very similar to what can be found in the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform.  Its apparatus, though, makes comparisons to Stephanus 1550, Wilbur Pickering’s family-35 archetype, Westcott & Hort’s 1881 edition, the 25th, 27th (=26th), and 28th editions of the Nestle-Aland compilation, Michael Holmes’ SBL-GNT, the base-text of the NIV (1984 and 2011 editions, which are different from one another) and, for select books, the text supported in Eadies commentaries on some of the Pauline epistles, the compilation of Galatians made by Stephen C. Carlson, the compilation of Philemon made by Matthew Solomon, and the compilation of Jude made by Tommy Wasserman.  Thus while the text of the Solid Rock GNT Scholar’s Edition is Byzantine, its apparatus is eclectic and up-to-date.

            Stephen Brown began his text-critical research with a reasoned eclectic approach, but he went on to favor a Byzantine Priority model.  Joey McCollum, meanwhile, respects the Byzantine Priority position but in his research he has gained an appreciation for classical stemmatic approaches, augmented by an appreciation for internal evidence.

          Now that today’s referee has been introduced, let’s see how the two combatants compare, in a famous segment of the Gospel of Mark 8:27-38.  This textual arena is famous for containing Simon Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ, and also Jesus’ declaration, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

          2370 has a lot of contractions and abbreviations in its text, but when they are unraveled, it looks like this:

Mark 8:27-38 – 2370 compared to the Solid Rock GNT

Mark 8:37-9:5 in 2370.

27 – no variations

28 – does not have και after βαπτιστήν (-3)

29 – no variations

30 – has λέγουσι  instead of λέγουσιν (-1)

31 – no variations

32 – no variations

33 – has ἐπετίμησε instead of ἐπετίμησεν (-1)

34 – has εἶπε instead of εἶπεν (-1)

34 – has ελθειν instead of ἀκολουθεῖν (+2, -6)

35 – no variations

36 – no variations

37 – no variations

38 – no variations

Thus 2370 has, in Mark 8:27-38, a total of 14 letters’ worth of deviation from SRGNT – but three of those letters involve movable-ν and are thus very trivial. 

Let’s see how À does:

Mark 8:27-38 – Sinaiticus compared to the Solid Rock GNT

27 – has Καισαριας instead of Καισαρειας (-1)

27 – has αυτους instead of αυτοiς (+1, -1)

28 – has ειπαν αυτω λεγοντες οτι instead of απεκρίθησαν (+19, -9)

28 – has Ηλειαν instead of Ηλιαν (+1)

29 – has οτι εις instead of ενα (+6, -3)

29 – has επηρωτα instead of λέγει (+7, -5)

29 – has αυτους instead of αυτοiς (+1, -1)

29 – has λεγεται instead of λεγετε (+2, -1)

29 – has εινε instead of ειναι (+2, -1) 

29 – has ο υιος του Θεου after Χριστος (+12) 

30 – no variations

31 – has διδασκιν  instead of διδασκειν (-1)

31 – has αποδοκιμασθηνε instead of αποδοκιμασθηναι (+1, -2) 

31 – has υπο instead of απο (+1, -1)

32 – no variations

33 – has επιστραφις instead of επιστραφεις (-1)

33 – does not have τω before Πετρω (-2)

33 – has και after Πετρω (+3)

33 – has λεγει instead of λεγων (+2, -2)

33 – has φρονις instead of φρονεις (-1)

34 – has μαθητες instead of μαθηταις (+1, -2) 

34 – has ει τις instead of οστις (+1, -1)

34 – has ελθειν instead of ἀκολουθεῖν (+2, -6)

34 – has εαυτον instead of αυτον after σταυρον (+1)

34 – has ακολουθιτω instead of ακολουθειτω  (-1)

35 – has εαν instead of αν (+1)

36 – has ωφελι instead of ωφελησει after γαρ (+1, -4)

36 – has τον before ανθρωπον (+3)

36 – does not have εαν before κερδηση (-3)

36 – has κερδησαι instead of κερδηση (+2, -1)

36 – has ζημιωθηναι instead of ζημιωθη (+3)

37 – has δοι instead of δωσει (+2, -4)

38 – has επαισχυνθησετε instead of επαισχυνθησεται (+1, -2)

           Thus, À has 77 non-original letters, and is missing 56 original letters, for a total of 133 letters’ worth of corruptions.  If we remove from consideration the trivial orthographic variants, and errors that were probably corrected during Sinaiticus’ production, À still has 125 letters’ worth of corruption.

           The reading of 2370 in Mark 8:34 – ελθειν – is notable, since this reading agrees with À, B, A, K, Γ and Π, a formidable array of majuscules.  Meanwhile P45, D, W, Θ, family 1, and the usual Byzantine Text support ἀκολουθεῖν, as do the Peshitta, the Gothic version, the Sahidic version, and the Vulgate (Δ combines both variants with ελθειν και ακολουθιν; some Sahidic copies read similarly).  The SBLGNT reads ελθειν, as did the 1881 edition of Westcott & Hort.  But ελθειν could be a harmonization  in the midst of a passage subject to harmonization in all transmission-lines  to Matthew 16:24.

           No doubt some readers might suspect that 2370 owes its overwhelming victory over Sinaiticus to the choice of referee  and that is correct.  Using NA27 as the standard of comparison, in Mark 8:27-38, 2370 has 49 non-original letters, and is missing 66 original letters, for a total of 155 letters’ worth of corruption.  Meanwhile, Codex Sinaiticus, using NA27 as the standard of comparison, has 26 non-original letters, and is missing 21 original letters, for a total of 47 letters’ worth of corruption.

           One might suspect that in some contests in the Gospels between a manuscript that is strongly Byzantine, and a manuscript that is strongly Alexandrian, the winner is chosen when the referee is selected.


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



Conan said...

Great to see you posting articles again!

Papichulo said...

Has anyone of you ever debated Dr. James White? Is there any invitation, because I would like to see it and probably get as much information from it.