Earlier this month, we looked at a page in GA 1691 that contained most of Matthew 7:26-8:5. GA 1691 is one of many manuscripts featured at the CSNTM website. More than one reader of that post had a question: is GA 1691 really more accurate than Codex Sinaiticus? Today we shall investigate this question, as far as Matthew 7:26-8:5 is concerned, via a quick round of hand-to-hand combat – that is, a comparison of the text of both manuscripts. The standard of comparison shall be the Nestle-Aland NTG (28th edition), although the Solid Rock Greek New Testament (third edition) will also be consulted. The passage in which both manuscripts will be compared is Matthew 7:26-8:5, the same passage featured in the previous post (slightly expanded to include the entirety of the verses on the page of 1691).
As usual, the comparison is scored as follows: every extra letter earns the manuscript a point, and every missing letter earns the manuscript a point. Word-order differences that do not change the meaning and which do not result in any loss of text do not receive a score. Contractions of nomina sacra (sacred names) and other contractions are not counted as variants. The number of points = the total amount of corruptions, so the lower score wins.
GA 1691 compared to NA28:
26 – 1691 transposes to τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ instead of αὐτοῦ τὴν οἰκίαν
27 – no variants
28 – 1691 has συνετέλεσεν instead of ετέλεσεν (+3)
29 – 1691 does not have αυτων at the end of the verse (-5)
1 – 1691 has Καταβαντι δε αυτω instead of Καταβαντος δε αυτου (+2, -4)
2 – 1691 has ελθων instead of προσελθων (-4)
3 – 1691 has ο Ις after αυτου (+7, uncontracting the n.s.)
4 – 1691 has εκαθερισθη instead of εκαθαρισθη (+1, -1)
4 – 1691 has προσενεγκε instead of προσενεγκον (+1, -2)
5 – 1691 has Εισελθοντι instead of Εισελθοντος (+1, -2)
5 – 1691 has αυτω instead of αυτου (+1, -2)
5 – 1691 has Καπερναουμ instead of Καφαρναουμ (+2, -2)
Thus, using NA28 as the standard of comparison, GA 1691 has 17 non-original letters and is missing 20 original letters, for a total of 37 letters’ worth of corruption.
Now let’s see how the scribe who copied the Gospels in Codex Sinaiticus did in Matthew 7:26-8:5, compared to NA28.
|(from Codex Sinaiticus)|
26 – no variants
27 – À has ελθαν instead of ελθον (+1, -1)
27 – À does not have καὶ ἔπνευσαν οἱ ἄνεμοι (-19)
27 – À has εκινη instead of εκεινη (-1)
28 – À has ἐξεπλήττοντο instead of ἐξεπλήσσοντο (+2, -2)
28 – À transposes to επι τη διδαχη αυτου οι οχλοι instead of οι οχλοι επι τη διδαχη αυτου
1 – À has Καταβαντι δε αυτω instead of Καταβαντος δε αυτου (+2, -4) (A corrector has erased the ω but it is noted in the trnscription)
2 – no variants
3 – À has εκτινες instead of εκτεινες (-1)
3 – À has αυτου after χειρα (+5)
3 – À does not have ευθεως (-6)
4 – À has ειπεν instead of λέγει (+5, -5)
4 – À has αλλα instead of αλλ՚ (+1)
4 – À has διξον instead of δειξον (-1)
4 – À has προσενεγκε instead of προσενεγκον (+1, -2)
5 – À has εκατοναρχης instead of εκατοναρχος (+1, -1)
Thus, the text of Codex Sinaiticus, uncorrected, has 18 non-original letters and is missing 42 original letters, for a total of 60 letters’ worth of corruption in Matthew 7:26-8:5. Even if we remove from the equation all the minor (and not-so-minor) orthographic variants in 7:27, 8:3, 8:4, and 8:5, that still leaves 44 letters’ worth of corruption.
GA 1691 is the clear winner of this round of hand-to-hand combat.
Side-note: an Alexandrian reading in NA28 in 8:1 (προσελθων instead of the Byzantine ελθων) is questionable. ελθων is supported not only by the Byzantine text but also by C K L S U V W X Γ Π 33. Scholz and Griesbach and Knapp (1797) read ελθων. The προς in the immediately preceding λεπρος may have been accidentally repeated.