Tag Archives: cursive

Pericope Adulterae GA2220

Life for a scribe was hard before computers and typewriters. In this 12th century manuscript, minuscule 2220, (picture below) which resides in the Limonos Monastery in Lesbos, the scribe was copying and writing the Pericope of the Adulteress section of the gospel of John. In the first page you can see the end of John 7:52, ἴδε ὅτι προφήτης ἐκ τῆς Γαλιλαίας οὐκ ἐγήγερται – “see that there is no prophet risen out of Galilee.” Then next he wrote John 8:1, Ἰησοῦς δὲ ἐπορεύθη εἰς τὸ ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν – “But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.”

Then, he realized that he had skipped John 7:53.  And so he erased what he had written on the rest of the folio, and started the next folio with John 7:53, και απηλθεν εκαστος εις τον οικον αυτου “and each went to his own home.” (the Antoniades, Hodges and Farstad, Pickering reading.)  The scribe thought, and I would agree, that starting on a new page was preferable to writing over erased text.

Now why did he skip John 7:53 in the first place?  Some other MSS did also, some of them clearly because of homoioteleuton or homoioarcton.  Because 7:53 is each departing to their own home, and 8:1 is Jesus departing to the Mount of Olives.  Scribes skipped from επορευθη to επορευθη, or from απηλθεν to απηλθεν.  In the case of GA 2220 here, he could have had more than one exemplar, and one had επορευθη and another had απηλθεν. Manuscripts 295 and 2411 also skip 7:53, 2411 from επορευθη to επορευθη.

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.

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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1st Century Mark Fragment?

A purported image of a 1st century Mark fragment was uploaded to Facebook.

In a discussion board, someone claims to have uploaded this.

Another person named Acharya S. , AKA D. M. Murdock, commented on the forum and also on her blog. She made an image comparing its text to Codex Sinaiticus:
1st Century Mark Fragment?

This may well be a spoof or a fake- I am not an expert papyrologist or paleographer, and I am not stating an opinion about this image, whether it is a 1st century Mark fragment, but I can say that this Acharya S. person AKA D. M. Murdock is certainly not anyone who has the knowledge or expertise to date a Greek manuscript. She betrays this by stating that the RHO in line 8 is the wackiest RHO she had ever seen, I quote verbatim: “I wondered about that rho myself, obviously. I originally thought it was either a sigma or a zeta, but the Markan verse has it as a rho, so that’s what I went with.” This shows she hasn’t even looked at the plates of the freely available Edward Maunde Thompson book.

That funny looking RHO is in fact a perfectly fine RHO from the 1st century and earlier, according to the plates in “An Introduction to Greek and Latin Paleography” by Sir Edward Maunde Thompson. See plates on pp. 145, 146, 191, 192. If you look closely, you see that it actually looks like a sperm. There is a closed circle at the top, like a small omicron, and then with a stem. The top is called the “bow” of the RHO. From everything I can see as an amateur reading Thompson, the type of Rho with a closed circle or oval bow, and also a stem that curves leftward at the bottom, is found in the 1st century and earlier. After that, the stems were straight or curved rightward, and the bow was not usually round. This combination is 1st century BC to 1st century AD. So, this RHO is one small clue that this could indeed be a 1st century Mark fragment.

I have extracted the plates for you and uploaded them:

Greek Literary Alphabet, 2nd century BC to 1st century AD, p. 145

Greek Literary Alphabet, 1st century, p. 146

Greek Cursive Alphabet, 3rd century to 2nd century BC, p. 191

Greek Cursive Alphabet, 1st century BC, p. 192

The Rho looks most like the one on p. 192 in the middle column, headed “1st Cent.” The MU looks most similar to this column as well.

The Rho looks second most like the one on p. 191 in the right column, headed “2nd Cent. BC”

The Rho on line 8 looks a fair amount like the one on p. 146 in the column headed “1st Century Harris Homer.”

The MU looks like the two columns on the right of p. 146, 1st or 2nd century.

Another note: Nothing says that a 1st century Greek manuscript absolutely HAS to be on papyrus. The Thompson paleography book also says that animal skin documents were not unheard of, as early as a couple hundred years before Christ. The Ptolemaic kings embargoed papyrus exports now and then, and an alternate supply of writing materials made from animals skins was manufactured in Pergamum.

Paper was introduced to Europeans by Arabs in the 8th century. (They learned it from Chinese at Samarkand.) The Arab paper came to the west via Damascus, Syria, which was the paper capital of the Arab world.

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