Category Archives: Textual Criticism

Crowd versus Crowds

As I make my Byzantine edition of Matthew’s gospel, I get annoyed sometimes by the numerousness of variants that are meaningless in the Greek manuscripts and even in the editions thereof. Matthew chapter 15 verse 36 is a good example, in which there are a half dozen unimportant variants.

One that is actually amazing to me is that the word for crowd, οχλος, is plural in the NA28 but singular in the Robinson-Pierpont, yet in the previous verse, v. 35, they switch, and οχλος is singular in the NA28 and plural in the RP! Both verses are talking about the same crowd and occasion.

15:35 τοις οχλοις E F G H K L M N P S U V W X Γ Δ Π Σ Φ 0233 2 118 565 700 1071 𝔐 it-a,d,e,f,k,q syr-c,p cop-bo Hil TR RP τους οχλους C 892c 1424 τω οχλω ℵ B D Θ ƒ¹ ƒ¹³ 33 157 346 579 788 892* it-b,ff¹,f²,g¹,g²,l vg syr-h cop-sa-mss,mae,bo-mss arm eth Or SBL TH NA28 {\} lac A Q Z 0281 28 69.

15:36 τω οχλω C D E F G H N P S U W X Γ Δ Θ Σ Φ 2 118 565 1071 1424 𝔐 it> vg cop-sa-mss,mae arm Chr TR RP τοις οχλοις ℵ B K L M Π ƒ¹ ƒ¹³ 33 157 238 243 346 579 700 788 it-e,f,ff¹ syr cop-sa-ms,bo SBL TH NA28 {\} ‖ lac A Q Z 0233 0281 28 69. 

I offer a few observations: 1.) The plural is maintained in both by L M Π 700 syr-c,p cop-bo.  (2.) The singular is maintained in both by arm.  I would not begrudge any translator rendering all these as a singular.  (3.) This may demonstrate how insignificant the singular v. plural of οχλος is.

Matthew ch 13 v 15 correctors

I was collating Codex E (07) for Matthew chapter 13 verse 15 and saw that Tischendorf says a corrector changed ιασομαι to ιασωμαι, if I understand the notations correctly. But to me, it looks a change in the other direction. He also says Codex Δ (037) corrected from ιασωμαι to ιασομαι. What do you think?

Here is a snip from Tischendorf’s apparatus:

Tischendorf apparatus Mt 13:15b

Here is a snip from Codex E (07):

ιασομαι in Codex E

Here is a snip from Codex Δ (037)

ιασωμαι to ιασομαι in Codex Δ (037)

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.

Acts chapter 26 verse 4

There is a textual variant in the Greek manuscripts of The Acts of the Apostles chapter 26 verse 4, that affects the accuracy of the translations made from them. The variant is the presence or absence of the word τε, which means “and” or “also.” The NA28 and Tyndale House Greek New Testaments contain the word τε, while the Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Majority Text do not contain it.

Here is how the English text reads in some translations with the word τε in their source text:
NIV: The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem.
DRP: My manner of life since youth therefore, which took place at first in my own country and also in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews.

The problem with the text without τε, is that the translations made from it make it sound like the apostle Paul lived his whole life in Jerusalem, when in fact he was from Tarsus in Cilicia before he lived in Jerusalem.

KJV: My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
NKJV: My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know.
EMTV: Therefore my way of life from my youth, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation in Jerusalem, all the Jews know,

Here is the list of the readings of the manuscripts:
 txt εν τε 𝔓⁷⁴ ℵ A B E 181 1175 2464 syr-h-ms SBL TH NA29 {\} εν C H L P Ψ 049 056 33 1611 1739 1891 Byz vg syr-h-ms Chrys TR RP lac 𝔓²⁹ 𝔓¹¹² 048 096.

GA 059 Uncial New Testament

Variant Mark 15 verse 34

Here is an other Greek textual variant not found in apparatuses, because it is not terribly important, but it is a difference between the texts nevertheless. In Mark 15:34 in my text, the Nestle-Aland 28th Edition, it says “at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, why have you forsaken me?” But in the Textus Receptus from which the King James Version was translated, and in the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine textform, which many call “the majority text,” it says “at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, why have you forsaken me?”

The difference is the presence or absence of the word λεγων, which means “saying.” The readings of the earliest manuscripts are shown below. The Society for Biblical Literature (SBL) edtion, the Tyndale House edition (TH) and the Nestle-Aland 28th edition (NA28), do not have the word λεγων after the word μεγαλη, “great, loud,” while the Textus Receptus and the Robinson-Pierpont editions do have λεγων.

15:34a txt μεγαλη ℵ B D L 059 083 it-ff²,k,u cop SBL TH NA28 {\} μεγαλη λεγων A C E N P Σ 0233 it-l vg syr arm Eus TR RP lac W 0184. 

I list the witnesses 8th century or earlier only. The manuscript we are going to look at today is Gregory-Aland number 059, or GA 059, which is a 5th century Uncial or Majuscule, that is, it is in all capital letters, prior to the cursive style used later. In the attached image of 059, in the middle of the 2nd line, the word ΦωΝΗ (voice) is clearly seen, then MEGALH (loud) faintly, and after that there is clearly not enough room for the word ΛΕΓωΝ at the end of the third line, before the fourth line begins with HλEI HλEI. (My God, my God.)

The footnote apparatus in the NA28 does list the readings of various manuscripts that read Eloi versus Elei. ELOI would represent the Hebrew for “my god,” while ELEI as in this manuscript would represent the Aramaic for “my god.”

The image of 059 for this verse can be found at the Austrian National Library, and here is the link: http://digital.onb.ac.at/RepViewer/viewer.faces?doc=DTL_183233&order=1&view=SINGLE.

Manuscript GA 059, Mark 15:34

Mark 15 verse 30 variant

As I am making a Robinson-Pierpont edition of Mark’s gospel, I am adding many more textual variant footnotes to all my Mark documents. Some of the data you will not find anywhere else, such as the readings for some variants not footnoted in the NA28 or others, and for manuscripts not collated yet for those variants. For example, the majuscules / uncials 059, 083, 0233 and 0250.

Here is a new footnote on a variant in Mark 15:30. It is not a big difference in meaning, but I am footnoting most of the meaningful differences between the NA28 and the Byzantine text stream. In Mark 15:30, the NA28 text says “Save yourself by coming down from the cross.” The Byzantine says “Save yourself and come down from the cross.”

 txt καταβας ℵ B D L 059vid 083 it-k,l,n vg cop-bo SBL TH NA28 {\} και καταβα A C Σ it-d,ff² TR RP και και καταβα E και καταβηθι P 0233vid  lac N W 0184 0250.  The papyrus 059 is damaged here, but it looks like there is not room enough for the longer Byzantine reading, and it looks like there is a C (sigma) before the visible ΑΠΟ. Below is an image of 059, with the variant being in the middle of the second line. You can download my latest edition of Mark here.

New TC Footnotes in Mark

I had been working at my job 6 1/2 days per week, and not working on my translations. I was very frustrated and upset about this. Then I came down with hepatitis A, and had to lie in bed for 5 weeks, and I quit my job. I lost 50 pounds body weight.

Now that I am recovering, I have been working on making a Robinson-Pierpont edition of the gospel of Mark. In the process, I have added over a half dozen new TC (textual criticism) footnotes to Mark chapters 5 and 6. You can download a new edition of Mark here.