Tag Archives: NA28

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 Robinson-Pierpont edition, the Gospel According to Matthew.

Neuter Plurals Singular Verb

This post discusses a textual variant in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 26, verse 31, as follows:

διασκορπισθησεται 𝔓³⁷ 𝔓⁴⁵ D E F K U V W Γ Δ Θ Π Φ ƒ¹ 2 28 565 579 1424 pm Eus Chrys Or-pt TR RP διασκορπισθησονται 𝔓⁵³ ℵ A B C G H L M S Σ 067 0281 ƒ¹³ 33 157 700 892 1071 1241 pm Or-pt SBL TH ΝΑ28 {\} lac 𝔓⁶⁴ N P Q Ζ 0233 346

The nominative substantive, the subject of our sentence here, is τα προβατα, “the sheep,” a neuter plural subject. But the BYZ text couples with it a singular verb, διασκορπισθησεται, while the NA28 text uses a plural verb, διασκορπισθησονται.

Classical, Attic, Greek had a grammar rule that broke the grammar rules.  Usually, verbs must agree in gender, number and case with the subject noun.  This is called concord.  But there was a rule that neuter plural subjects usually took a singular verb.

BDF §133: “This is because neuter plurals were originally in part feminine singular collectives: Schwyzer ɪ 581 f.). The rule appears to have been most strictly followed in the Attic dialect (Schwyzer ɪɪ 607); Homer and Koine are less consistent, while the plural is used exclusively in MGr.  In the NT (as in the LXX and pap.: Mayser ɪɪ 3, 28 ff.) there is marked diversity, and often in individual instances the MSS diverge.  The plural is used for the most part in Herm. (1) The plural is used especially with neuters designating persons (also class., K.-G. ɪ 65), most frequently with ἔθνη, less often wth τέκνα and δαιμόνια. (2) The singular, on the contrary, preponderates with words having non-personal meaning (even when a numeral is inserted: ἐὰν γένηται…ἑκατὸν πρόβατα Mt 18:12), (3) and even more so with abstracts and pronouns (ταῦτα, ἅ etc.).—For stereotyped ἴδε, ἰδού, ἄγε used in spite of a plural subject, s. §144.”

Smyth §958: “A neuter plural subject is regarded as a collective (996), and has its verb in the singular: καλὰ ἦν τὰ σφάγια the sacrifices were propitious X.A.4.3.19.  Here, sheep are a herd, a collective, so take a singular verb, the herd is scattered.  But Smyth then says in §959, “A plural verb may be used when stress is laid on the fact that the neuter plural subject is composed of persons or of several parts: τὰ τέλη τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων αὐτὸν ἐξέπεμψαν the Lacedaemonian magistrates despatched him (Thuc. 4.88), φανερὰ ἦσαν καὶ ἵππων καὶ ἀνθρώπων ἴχνη πολλά many traces both of horses and of men were plain X.A.1.7.17. (a.) With the above exception Attic regularly uses the singular verb.  Homer uses the singular three times as often as the plural, and the plural less frequently with neuter adjectives and pronouns than with substantives.  In some cases (B 135) the metre decides the choice.” 

Here in Mt 26:31 the sheep are persons, so one cannot declare with absolute certainly which reading in this variant is grammatically correct for classical Greek.  Now, there are many other examples of this category of variant in Matthew, but I am showing this one because so many papyri are extant.  The testimony is equally early for both readings.  Each has a III century papyrus in support, 𝔓⁴⁵ and 𝔓⁵³.  The Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint, does not pertain here, as Zech 13:7 in the LXX does not have the same sentence structure, that is, there is no neuter plural subject.  Rather it says, “Strike the shepherds, and remove the sheep…” 

Now a question for us is, was Matthew (or his translator, if he wrote his gospel in Hebrew or Aramaic) bound to follow Attic rules, or even familiar with Attic rules?  Possibly editors or copyists of Matthew corrected what they thought was incorrect grammar, to follow the Attic rule.  But in this variant we probably have a legitimate exception to the Attic rule since the sheep are persons.  This explanatory note, and many like it, can be read in my translation of the gospel of Matthew, downloadable here.

Matthew chapter 25 verse 6 variant

There is a variant in the Greek manuscripts of the gospel of Matthew, chapter 25 verse 6, where the Majority text reads, “Look! The bridegroom is coming,” while the NA28 reads, “Look! The bridegroom.”  So the NA28 text lacks the word ερχεται, “is coming.”  Then after that, in both texts, the next Greek word is also a form of the word “come,” εξερχεσθε, and says “Come out to meet him.”

νυμφιος ερχεται C³ E W Σ Φ latt syr-p,h arm Chrys TR RP νυμφιος ℵ B C* D L Z cop-sa Cyr SBL TH NA28 {\} lac A N P 0233 0281

What I found that is significant, is that the scribe of Codex D, Codex Bezae, first wrote εξερχεται, which is only two letters different than ερχεται, just adding εξ to it, “out,” but then he omitted εξερχεσθε that is supposed to follow that according to all manuscripts.  He seems to have gotten confused by the similarity of the two words.  Here is a snip from the image of Codex D.

Matthew 25:6 in Codex D

So in view of the problem the scribe of Codex D had, I changed my Greek text to that of the Majority text, adding ερχεται, “the bridegroom is coming.”  Because I find this to be an explanation as to how the variant arose, how ερχεται dropped out of text streams.  In other words, the most important question in textual criticism is, which variant best explains the rise of the others?

Codex Basilensis in Swanson

The New Testament Greek Manuscripts series by Reuben Swanson is a very valuable work, and an amazing one. What a huge task he did! I am grateful for it. In such a large and complex work, there are bound to be errors.

The uncial E (07), Codex Basilensis, is a 6th century Greek manuscript of the four gospels of the New Testament. Because it is complete for those books, and relatively ancient, makes it important. However, it is not cited in the critical apparatus of the NA28. It is cited in Swanson, but only when it differs from the BYZ group.

Because of this lack of citation, this manuscript is one whose reading I often look up personally on the Uni-Münster site images. No transcription is available; I look at the photographs of the manuscript itself and find the readings in it.

I should probably keep a log of the errors I find in Swanson’s work touching Codex E. The latest is in Matthew chapter 20 verse 21. The mother of James and John, wife of Zebedee, is asking Jesus that he decree that her two sons sit one on his right and one on his left in his kingdom. The possessive pronoun σου, “your,” is not found in every manuscript following both right and left, ie., “on your right and your left.” Swanson’s apparatus says that Codex E omits the second σου, joining the Textus Receptus against the majority and the NA28. However, this is not correct. Codex E contains both instances of σου, as can be seen in this snip from the image of the manuscript.

Matthew 20:21 in Codex Basilensis (E, 07)

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.

Current Activities

Though I still have a job doing something I don’t want to do, I now have a little more spare time than I did the last few years. Also, I moved to the state of Florida. I am currently working on 3 projects at once:

1.) Revising and updating my translation of the Apocalypse of John, or the Book of Revelation. My original edition I did about 15 years ago, and it still refers to the UBS4 and NA27. I am updating the GNT editions cited to include the SBL and Tyndale House editions, and of course UBS5 and NA28, as well as the BG, family 35 and Antoniades here and there. In addition, I am eliminating the accentuation of the Greek in the textual variant footnotes, since the direction of the accents would be technically incorrect when outside of the sentence and punctuation of the actual Bible text, and the early manuscripts did not contain them. This is what the Nestle-Aland editions do in their footnotes. This is all in preparation for publishing on Amazon.

2. Revising and updating my translation of the gospel of Matthew, since, again, my original was done 20 years ago or more, and I have learned much since then, and also become less closed to the Byzantine text stream. Like with Revelation, I am adding citation to the SBL and TH editions, but also adding many more textual variants in comparison to the Robinson-Pierpont text, as I am simultaneously creating a Robinson-Pierpont (RP) edition. This is all in preparation for publishing on Amazon.

3. Still slowly translating the Acts of the Apostles, currently in chapter 25.

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