Tag Archives: Greek

Acts Ch 4 Verse 12 Variant

Acts 4:12

υπο τον ουρανον το δεδομενον εν ανθρωποις ℵ A B E Ψ 0165 33 181 1175 1739 1891 Chrys Cyr TR AT BG SBL TH NA29 {/}

υπο τον ουρανον το δεδομενον ανθρωποις D¹

υπο τον ουρανον ο δεδομενον ανθρωποις D*

το δεδομενον εν ανθρωποις υπο τον ουρανον 1611 syr-h

το δεδομενον εν ανθρωποις P 049 056 RP

lac 𝔓⁷⁴ C H L

The Robinson-Pierpont text omits the phrase υπο τον ουρανον “under heaven.” There is no footnote about this even in the NA28. Is this a case of homoioteleuton, νον to νον? In Acts, I generally go against the Nestle-Aland text when all the earliest minuscules are against it. But here, they, 33 181 1175 1611 1739 1891, are all with it, and against the Robinson-Pierpont text. The RP text does not even have the Harklean Syriac this time. Nor are the Textus Receptus and the Antoniades Greek patriarchal text with it.

Hoskier and Ligature Books Published

This is a reminder that in 2010 and 2011 I published some books on Lulu, and they are still available:

Concerning the Text of the Apocalypse” by H. C. Hoskier, paperback, 647 pages. $21.55

Concerning the Text of the Apocalypse” by H. C. Hoskier, hard cover, 647 pages. $39.18

Quick Reference Greek Ligature Guide, by David Robert Palmer; paperback, 55 pages, $14.95

Palmer and Ligatures

In my previous post, I showed why I believed Erasmus’ 3rd and 4th editions read παρ εστιν and not περ εστιν.  I titled the previous post “Hoskier and Ligatures” and questioned his ability to read ligatures.  So this time I will title it “Palmer and Ligatures” since I was the questionable one.

The problem with ligatures is that they can be blurry or tiny in one important detail that makes all the difference.  Such is the case here.  My ligature table and chart is correct, but I was limited to the font I had.  In the font chart, the difference between παρ and περ is quite small:

Today Dr. Maurice Robinson emailed me to say I was incorrect on this.  So I set about to find other examples of Erasmus’ ligatures for παρ and περ.  It turns out that in Erasmus’ ligature for παρ, he has a relatively large alpha letter above, compared to my example in my ligature chart, which was limited by the font.  The ligature for περ in my chart has a small half moon, convexed to the left.  However, in Erasmus, this half moon is larger.  I will give examples below.

In addition, Erasmus’ tail to his Rho letters is a large loop that circles back up diagonally to the left, compared to my chart which has a small, barely discernible loop, whereas in the ligature for παρ there is a large loop.

Compounding the difficulty with ligatures is that one same author may use 3 or 4 different ligatures for the same thing.  And in fact Erasmus wrote these 3 different ways, even 2 different ways in one word, see below.

Erasmus’ superscript alpha is relatively large and far to the left.

Mat 4:18  παρὰ  in Erasmus 3:

Matt 1:19 παραδειγματίσαι in Erasmus 3:

Matt 1:19 παραδειγματίσαι in Erasmus 2:

Here I will show Erasmus’ περπερεύεται in 1 Cor. 13:4 in all five editions, from 1 to 5:

Observe that he wrote the word περπερεύεται five different ways!

My table of Ligatures is still correct, and useful. Also, I have corrected my Revelation document. In addition, you can purchase a printed paperback edition of my ligature guide.

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.

Gospel of Matthew Printed Editions

I have published on Amazon two editions of my translation of the gospel of Matthew. They alternate verse by verse between the Greek text and my English translation. They have 671 footnotes each. I have footnoted with critical apparatus most all the meaningful variants between the NA28 text and the Robinson-Pierpont Greek text.

Eclectic Edition of the Gospel of Matthew, with my Greek text being unique. I follow more Byzantine readings than does the Tyndale House GNT, but on the other hand there are a few times the TH follows the Byz where I do not. I have a couple readings not found in any of the above. The U.S. price on Amazon is $6.89.

The Robinson-Pierpont edition, the Gospel According to Matthew. The U.S. price on Amazon is $6.95.

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.

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.