Category Archives: Textual Criticism

Greek Cursive Ligatures

Quick-Reference Greek Ligature Guide

Many of us read printed editions or transcriptions of New Testament Greek frequently. But unless you are collating or reading minuscules often, you can forget the “ligatures” used in cursive manuscripts. Ligatures are the shorthand mergings or combinations of Greek letters that are found in cursive minuscule Greek manuscripts. I myself was reading minuscules often in the early 2000’s, but then after I stopped doing that, I have been forgetting the ligatures. So I use this guide myself when reading minuscules.

Here I offer free download of a quick-reference Greek ligature guide in PDF.  It has two narrow columns. So narrow, that you can make it a sliver on one side of your screen or monitor, and still have plenty of room for your mains documents. The first column is the more familiar form of a Greek letter or number, and on the right of that, a column showing various ligatures for that letter alone or ligatures for combinations of letters that start with that letter. It mostly uses Dr. Vernon Kooy’s character set, but also some others. I know that this will be useful to people in this group. The download is free, but you can also order a printed and bound edition from Lulu. Also, if someone has made a font or knows of a font that includes one or more ligatures than I have included in this document, please let me know, and I will add it to the document.

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Textual Variant Revelation 11:10

In Revelation 11:10, the Byzantine text says people will “give gifts” to each other, whereas the TR and NA28 says they will “send gifts.”  Which turns out to be the more accurate prediction of gifting in the future?

Revelation 11:10- txt πέμψουσιν ℵ² A C ƒ052 922 1006 1841 2040 2053txt vg it-gig Tyc1,3 Prim Ps-Ambr syriac coptic-bohairic arab TR SBL NA28 {\} πεμπουσιν ℵ* P coptic-sahidic arm2,3,4 Tyc2 Beat πεμψωσιν 2329 π̣[εμψου]σιν 𝔓⁴⁷ ‖ π̣[εμψουσιν] 𝔓¹¹⁵  πεμπειν 2053com  δώσουσιν 046 1828 eth RP hiat 051 2050 2062.  Both Papyrus 47 and Papyrus 115 read words that start with π, so they are some form of the word “send.” To download my document that contains this:  http://bibletranslation.ws/trans/revwgrk.pdf

Revelation 8:7 Homoioteleuton

A case of homoioteleuton in the Textus Receptus

Will one third of the earth be burned up or not?  Revelation 8:7.  This is a variant between Bible versions based on the Textus Receptus, and all others.  The Textus Receptus and the King James Version omit the first of the three phrases below, which means, “and one third of the earth will be burned up.”

καὶ τὸ τρίτον τῆς γῆς κατεκάη
καὶ τὸ τρίτον τῶν δένδρων κατεκάη
καὶ πᾶς χόρτος χλωρὸς κατεκάη

Only three late Greek manuscripts (out of 300+-) omit the first phrase, and it is a clear case of “homoioteleuton” that happened in the Greek copying process.  That means, the lines end the same, so a copyist, having left off his work for a break, then resumed doing his work, and he remembers, “I resume, at the line ending with κατεκάη,” but he resumed with the wrong line ending with κατεκάη.  Skipped one line by accident.  Homoioteleuton.

Or, it could have been a case of “homoioarcton,” that is, all three lines BEGIN the same, with καὶ, and the scribe having left off, resumed, thinking, “I resume with the line beginning with καὶ, but he picked the wrong line beginning with καὶ.

Interestingly, the scribe of manuscript 620 wrote the phrase in question two times, which is another kind of parablepsis from homoioteleuton.

As long as I am on this verse, let’s look at a Bible version.  As you can see, the word κατεκάη is used 3 times, the exact same word and same form of the word, and it means “burned up.”

NLT:  One-third of the earth was set on fire, one-third of the trees were burned, and all the green grass was burned.

So why does the New Living Translation render one of the occurrences of κατεκάη as “set on fire”?  This is simply unacceptable.  Just one of thousands of translation errors in the NLT.  I would never recommend the NLT, or the Message.  If you want a paraphrase, the Philips NT is much better, or the NIV.  I consider the NIV a mild paraphrase.

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