Category Archives: Commentary

Hoskier and Ligatures

EDIT: My next post updates this one, as I was mistaken in this post. But I will leave it for the images and information / illustration of the difficulties of reading New Testament Greek Ligatures.

As I posted before, I am currently busy updating and improving the footnotes to my translation of the Revelation of John, “The Apocalypse of John.” One of the ways I am expanding the footnotes, is specifying which Vulgate manuscripts (not just editions) support what reading. Also, where the Textus Receptus is divided, specifying which editions read what.

In this process, I have found several places in which I disagree with H. C. Hoskier’s collation of the TR editions. I do not know if he was relying on someone else’s collations, or if he looked at the original documents themselves. But the problem lies in understanding the ligatures for letter combinations that are used in Greek cursive manuscripts, including the Greek New Testament editions made by Erasmus, Beza, Elzevir, and Stephens. Now, I possess PDF copies of the original cursive manuscripts of the following “Textus Receptus” editions. All 5 Erasmus editions, the 1550 Stephanus edition, the 1598 Beza edition, the 1624 Elzevir edition, plus the Complutensian Polyglot (1514).

Revelation 17:8 variant- καιπερ εστιν

There is a famous textual variant in Revelation chapter 17 verse 8 where the Textus Receptus disagrees with all Greek manuscripts and reads καιπερ εστιν. However, I found that I disagree with Hoskier regarding the readings of Erasmus’ editions 1, 3 and 4, as follows.

First, a snip showing what Hoskier says:

Erasmus Ed. 1 (1516): Hoskier says και περ is two words, I say one:

Erasmus Ed. 3 (1522) very clearly reads καί παρ, not καί περ:

Erasmus Ed. 4 (1527) very clearly reads καί παρ, not καί περ:

See here the difference- Erasmus Ed. 5 (1535) shows the ligature for περ:

I still offer my chart of Greek cursive ligatures for free (also thanks go to Vernon Eugene Kooy, PhD for his font). These above images and data are now included in my Revelation pdf, downloadable for free.


The word Armageddon is found only once in the Bible, in Revelation 16:16.  “And He gathered them together at the place called in Hebrew Harmagedōn.”

There is a great variety of spellings of the word in the Greek and Latin manuscripts of the New Testament.  But there are two main divisions of the spellings: those with just Magedon, and those with the AR in front.

The earliest Greek manuscripts have αρμαγεδων.  Here is the image snipped from Codex Alexandrinus (Codex A), 5th century:

The Greek New Testament editions read as follows:

Ἁρμαγεδών  Antoniades, Robinson-Pierpont, SBL, and NA28

Ἀρμαγεδών  BG (Byzantine Greek), and TH (Tyndale House)

Ἀρμαγεδδών  TR (Textus Receptus)

The difference between the first two spellings is the “breathing mark” in front of or above the initial vowel.  The first one has a backwards apostrophe, and that is the “h” sound in Greek, so Harmagedon.”  The second and third spellings have a regular-facing apostrophe and so that has no “h” sound, thus Armagedon.

John tells us that it is a Hebrew name, so the Har would be Hebrew for mountain, and Magedō would be the place called Megiddo, mentioned in 2 Chronicles 35:22 and Judges 1:27.  So “Mountain of Megiddō.”  This was a frequent battleground because of a strategic pass and the Megiddo plain below. You can download here the book of Revelation with a fuller accounting of the readings in the Greek manuscripts.


Here are 50 Bible versions’ rendering of Isaiah 34:14

KJ21 the satyr; the screech owl
ASV the wild goat; the night-monster
AMP the hairy goat; Lilith (night demon)
AMPC the [shaggy] wild goat; the night monster
Bishops the wylde: the Lamia
Brenton satyrs: satyrs
BRG the satyr; the screech owl
HCSB wild goat. the screech owl
CSB wild goat. the night birds
CEB the goat demon, Lilith
CJB billy-goats; Lilit [the night monster]
CEV demons, creatures of the night
DARBY the wild goat; the lilith
DRA the hairy ones, the lamia
ERV Wild goats. Night animals
EHV wild goats. Creatures of the night
EXB wild goats. Night animals
Geneva the Satyr, the screech owl
GW Male goats. Screech owls
GNT demons. The night monster
ICB wild goats. Night animals
ISV goat-demons. Liliths
JUB the satyr; the screech owl
KJV the satyr; the screech owl
AKJV the satyr; the screech owl
LSB The hairy goat; the night creature
LEB a goat-demon; Lilith
MEV the wild goat; the screech owl
NOG Male goats. Screech owls
NAB satyrs; the lilith
NASB The goat. the night-bird
NASB95 The hairy goat; the night monster
NCB wild goats, the nightjar
NCV wild goats. Night animals
NET wild goats. nocturnal animals
NIRV Wild goats. Night creatures
NIV wild goats; the night creatures
TNIV wild goats, the night creatures
NKJV the wild goat; the night creature
NLV The wild goats. the night-demon
NLT Wild goats, night creatures
OJB sa’ir (wild goat), lilit (night creature)
RSV the satyr; the night hag
NRSV goat-demons; Lilith
ESV the wild goat; the night bird
TLV the goat-demon— the night monster
VOICE demons, Lilith herself
WEB the wild goat. the night creature
WYC an hairy, Lamia
YLT the goat, the night-owl

Revelation 21:6 Theory

“they are accomplished I am”

a. γεγοναν εγω ειμι A 1678 1778 TH NA28 [ειμι] {\}

b. γεγοναν εγω ℵ²a SBL

c. γεγονασιν εγω ειμι 254 469 1006 1841 2020 2053 2062 2065 2078 2080 2436

“it is accomplished I am”

d. γεγονεν εγω ειμι 2087? TR AN

“it is accomplished” ?!

e. γεγονεν 149 368 386 1948 2021 2025 2028 2029 2033 2044 2054 2068 2069? 2083 2305 2349

‘I am become I am”

f. γεγονα εγω ειμι 2060 cop-sa 

“I am / I am become”

g. γεγωνα 2196

h.  εγω ειμι Beat Ps-Ambr

i. εγω ℵ²b syr-h-mss ?

j. γεγωνα εγω 181 616 680 2030 2082 syr-h-mss ?

k. γεγονα εγω ℵ* P 046 051S 35* 42 91 104 172 175 203 205 205 209 241 242 250 367 424 506 617 632mg? 664 699 792 922 1094 1384 1611 1732 1854 1862 1876 1888 1934 2014 2016 2017 2018 2026 2031 2034 2036 2037 2038 2042 2043 2045 2046 2047 2050 2056 2057 2058 2070 2073 2074 2075 2076 2077 2079 2081c 2084 2254 2258 2286 2329 2595 syr-h 

l. γεγονα 18 35c 61 82 93 110 141 177 180 325 336 337 367 385 429 432 452 456 467 498 517 522 582 620 627 632* 743 757 808 824 920 935S 986? 1072 1075 1248 1328 1352² 1503 1551 1597 1617 1637 1704 1719 1728 1733 1734 1745 1746 1771 1849 1852 1859 1864 1865 1893 1894 1918? 1957 2004 2023 2024 2027 2035 2039 2041 2048 2051 2055 2061 2064 2067 2071 2081* 2138 2186 2814 2821 HF BG RP

m. γεγοναι 2059

lacunose C 052 69 88 94 218 256 314 459 468 628 911? 919 1626 1740 1774 1828 1955 2015 2019 2022 2032 2052 2302 2040 2200 2256 2351

I am lately inclined to think as follows.  The k or l variant was original, but copyists not fluent in LXX or Koine Greek took its meaning by lexical glosses only, as “I am become the Alpha and Omega.”  This seemed doctrinally incorrect, since Jesus had always been the Alpha and Omega, not become just now.  (The expression “I am become” is very common in the Old Testament. And the NT authors, including John, frequently used the verb γινομαι as merely “to be.”)  So, thinking the “become” idea must more sensibly apply to the previous statement of Jesus’ words, “These words are trustworthy and true,” they thought this phrase was referring to that, that those words are “accomplished” now.  Then they had to add the words εγω, “I,” or εγω ειμι, “I am,” to apply to the following Alpha and Omega.

This is a note in my PDF of the Apocalypse of John, freely downloadable.

Coming Quickly or Soon?

In the Apocalypse of John, also known as the book of Revelation, Jesus says the phrase “I am coming soon” four times. The Greek word rendered “soon” is ταχυ (neuter of ταχυς).  The King James Version and many other translations render this as “quickly,” which is another meaning of ταχυ. 

Many people think that “quickly” is the correct rendering, because when this Apocalypse document was written, “coming soon” would be a problem since the Lord has not come soon compared to when it was written, according to some people.  Jesus says this phrase “I am coming soon” three times in chapter 22.  Also in that chapter, in verse 10, Jesus says, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near.” 

I say that this phrase “the time is near” is just as much a problem then, as the phrase “I am coming soon,” in the sense that it apparently was not near, going by that same reasoning.  So you see, the rendering “I am coming soon” is in agreement with what Jesus says in Rev 22:10 that the time is near for the fulfillment of the prophecy of this book.

Thirty Scattered Silver Shekels

February 12, 2023

“The Living Bible” and the movies about Jesus tell the traditional story of Judas Iscariot as follows:  In Matthew 27:4-7, Judas tries to return the 30 silver coins to the priests, and they refuse to accept them.  Then Judas goes to the temple and he “threw the money onto the floor of the Temple and went out and hanged himself.  The chief priests picked the money up. ‘We can’t put it in the collection,” they said, “since it’s against our laws to accept money paid for murder.’  They talked it over and finally decided to buy a certain field where the clay was used by potters, and to make it into a cemetery for foreigners who died in Jerusalem.”

All other English translations say essentially the same thing.  After my study of this passage and the prophecies concerning this event, and the account in the Acts of the Apostles, I have concluded that the traditional story is not accurate.

First of all, this is a fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 11:13, NRSV:

Then the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it into the treasury’—this lordly price at which I was valued by them. So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them into the treasury in the house of the Lord.”  

This is the rendering of several other good translations as well, following the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint (LXX).  But the NASB and NIV following the Hebrew say this: “Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.” So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the Lord.”

When Judas went to the temple at that time of night, was there a potter in the temple?  No, but there was a donation pot for the treasury, see Mark 12:41; Luke 21:1.

I believe Judas deposited the 30 pieces of silver in the donation pot in the temple.  The word ῥίπτω, which all translations are rendering as “cast” or “throw” or “hurl,” did not always mean a throwing or casting.  It also had a less violent meaning, like in Matt. 15:30, where people “laid” the invalids at Jesus’ feet.  They certainly did not throw the invalids down.  Similar is how Jesus used the word βάλλω in Matt. 9:17 for merely “putting” wine into wineskins, even though the word generally means “throw.”  In the very next verse here, the priests say it is not permissible to βάλλω the silver in the temple treasury.  In Mt 25:27, βάλλω is used for “deposit my silver with the bankers.”  Nobody translates those verses as throwing wine into wineskins, or throwing silver with the bankers, or throwing silver into the temple treasury. Both these Greek words for “throw” ironically also meant “to carefully place” or “deposit.”

Secondly, some translations render the Greek verb λαμβάνω as “pick up,” as if the coins were scattered on the ground or floor.  This is not generally the meaning of λαμβάνω.  When Matthew means someone “picked up” something, he uses the verb αἴρω as in Matt. 15:37 where the disciples picked up the left over pieces of bread. The priests  λαμβάνω “received” or “took” the money in the pot, and said, No, it is not right that it go to the treasury.  So they used it to buy the Potter’s Field.  They bought it in Judas’ name, in his honor.  The account in Acts 1:18,19 says Judas himself bought the field, but I don’t see how, as he had hung himself.  This is how I dealt with this conflict between this passage in Matthew and the Acts account in my Palmer’s Diatessaron.

Matthew chapter 20 verse 15 variant

What is going on here in Matthew 20:15? The Majority text reads:

Ἢ οὐκ ἔξεστίν μοι ποιῆσαι ὃ θέλω ἐν τοῖς ἐμοῖς; Εἰ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου πονηρός ἐστιν, ὅτι ἐγὼ ἀγαθός εἰμι;

Here are the two significant variants in the verse, showing only witnesses 8th century and earlier:

η ουκ…ει ο οφθαλμος lat Chrysostom TR RP η ουκ…η ο οφθαλμος ℵ C E N W Σ Φ 085 syr-p,h cop-sa TH [NA28] ουκ…η ο οφθαλμος B* D L Z SBL ουκ…ει ο οφθαλμος B² ‖ lac A P 0233 0281. 

All the witnesses above except B D L Z SBL begin the sentence with the Greek word Ἢ, “or.” Then the TR and Majority text for the second variant read ει, a marker for a direct question. What I am pointing out is that none of the English translations based on the Majority reading translate the word Ἢ as “or.”

BUT, neither do the English translations based on the second reading, which has the Greek word η for both variants, neither do they appear to render their text as it is found.

Practically none of the English translations translate the first η as “or.” 

The translations supposedly based on the TR / Majority text, at first seem to read as the Vaticanus corrector. (ουκ…ει ο οφθαλμος B²). The English translations from the Syriac, the Etheridge and Murdock translations, also seem to read as B².

The EMTV, “English Majority Text Version, reads as the SBL text.

We have seen that none of the English translations translate the first η as “or.”  But they are probably not following the reading of B* D L Z Θ SBL. The BDF grammar in Sec. 440 (3) says a simple interrogative ἦ does not exist in the NT.  In Sec. 440 (1) DeBrunner gives four examples in the NT of “simple interrogative ἤ,” Matt. 20:15, 26:53; 1 Cor. 9:8; 2 Cor. 11:7.  This must be how the first η is being interpreted.

Definite Article Variant

In Matthew 13 verse 2, there is a Greek textual variant involving the Greek definite article, in this case the neuter singular accusative, with the word for boat, so το πλοιον.

The pre-9th century witnesses are as follows:

πλοιον ℵ B C L W Z Σ SBL TH NA28 {\} το πλοιον D E Φ 𝔐 TR RP lac A N P 0233 0281

Note that the Textus Receptus contains the definite article with “boat,” but the English translations based on the TR do not say “the boat” but rather “a boat / a ship.”  See the Geneva Bible, Tyndale, Bishops’ Bible, the KJV, and the NKJV, which all say “a” not “the.”  This is because the definite article in Greek does not necessarily mean “the” in English.  The article here is not anaphoric, as it cannot be referring back to a known boat, since there is no boat mentioned previously in the context.  The article cannot be referring to “the only” boat, because there were several boats owned by the disciples, besides the fact that other people could have had boats on hand.

To download my translation of Matthew containing this footnote, click here.