Tag Archives: NA28

Papyrus 39 John Variant

In John 8:14 there is a textual variant between Η in the NA28 versus ΚΑΙ in the Byzantine text:

ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐκ οἴδατε πόθεν ἔρχομαι  Η ποῦ ὑπάγω

ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐκ οἴδατε πόθεν ἔρχομαι, ΚΑΙ ποῦ ὑπάγω.

Now concerning Papyrus 39, the Münster Institute and the NA28 say 𝔓³⁹ reads Η, while the IGNTP says it reads ΚΑΙ.  The NA28 does not even put a “vid” with it.  But only the right edge of the last letter of the word is visible to me.  It is rounded, not a straight up and down line like it would be for H or I. But the scribe’s Epsilon is round, and it seems more likely to be an E than Η or I, thus perhaps ΟΥΔΕ.  Is the theory that there is only room there for one letter, like H?  However, it certainly does not look like an H. (Image posted below, the 2nd line ΠΟΥ ΥΠΑ with the letter in question barely visible before that.)

The NA28 text in English is “but you do not know where I came from or where I am going.”
The Byz text in English is “but you do not know where I came from and where I am going.”
𝔓³⁹ if ΟΥΔΕ in English is “but you do not know where I came from nor where I am going.”

Papyrus 39, John 8:14

Papyrus 141

Recently a new papyrus from Oxyrhynchus has been transcribed and published and been given a Gregory-Aland number. The Gregory-Aland number is Papyrus 141, as opposed to P. Oxy 5478 or its library shelf ID at the Sackler Library in Oxford. This new papyrus is dated from the III century, and contains fragments of the gospel of Luke chapters 2 and 24.

So this is to announce that I have added it to my “Table of NT Greek Manuscripts arranged by date” page. I have also added its reading in one footnote in my translation of the gospel of Luke, chapter 2 verse 33.

There is a textual variant in Luke 2:33 where the UBS/NA28 text has “And the child’s father and mother were marveling at the things being said by him.” The Textus Receptus and the Robinson-Pierpont texts say “And Joseph and his mother were marveling…” Our new Papyrus 141 supports the UBS/NA28 reading.

Erasmus has πατηρ “father” in all 5 of his editions.  He said, “In some Greek manuscript I read ‘Joseph’ instead of ‘father’; in my opinion it has been changed by someone who feared that Joseph be called Jesus’ father” (“In Graecis aliquot codicibus lego pro pater, Ioseph; quod arbitror immutatum a quopiam, qui vereretur Ioseph vocare patrem Iesu…”; ‘aliquot’ added in 1519—ASD VI–5, p. 484 ll. 42–44; similarly in Resp. ad annot. Ed. Lei, ASD IX–4, p. 126 ll. 506–509).  So we see that Erasmus figured that copyists changed the original “father” to Joseph, for the very same reasons that KJV Onlyists prefer the reading “Joseph.”  But they forget that the KJV calls Joseph Jesus’ father in several other passages.  Erasmus was correct, but the KJV does not follow him here.

You can download my updated gospel of Luke with Greek text here, and the Manuscripts listed by date page is here. I also updated the printed edition of Luke on Amazon.

Revelation Apocalypse in Print

I have published the Apocalypse of John in paper and ink:

• large size – 8.25 x 11 inches
• large font – 12 point font
• 168 pages
• 518 footnotes
• 82 endnotes
• 3 tables
• Bargain price! $7.59, €6.93

A new English translation from the ancient Greek, the English text alternating verse by verse with the Greek text; with footnotes pertaining to translation issues and pertaining to Greek textual variants.  This latter “critical apparatus” cites 86 Greek manuscripts,  6 Greek New Testament editions, as well as early versions and Fathers.  The editions collated are the NA28, SBL, TH (Tyndale House), Robinson-Pierpont, Byzantine Greek, Antoniades, and the Textus Receptus.  When the dozens of editions of the Textus Receptus disagree, this is noted.  At the end of the book are several tables, including a list of all  handwritten Greek manuscripts of the Apocalypse of John.

1 Timothy 3 Verse 16

There is a famous Greek textual variant in 1 Timothy 3:16, where the “critical text,” SBL TH NA28 reads

 Ὃς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί  “Who/he was manifested in the flesh.” (relative pronoun)

and the “majority text,” TR RP reads

θεὸϛ ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί  “God was manifested in the flesh.”

The difference originally in the most ancient manuscripts was much less clear in appearance.  Because there was a custom of contracting or abbreviating sacred names and concepts, by shortening them to fewer letters and putting a line over the whole group of letters, as can be seen in the correction in Codex Claromontanus (D- 06).  (These contractions were called “Nomina Sacra” or NS for short.)  Observe that the two-letter NS for God ΘΕΟC, which is just ΘC with a line over it, as seen in the correction of Codex Claromontanus, looks very similar to the relative pronoun OC in Codex Sinaiticus.  Note that Sinaiticus did not have an overline originally, and a late third hand made a correction toward the majority text.

What could have contributed to the problem is that scribes such as the one for Codex A used a caligraphy type pen tip, which was wide in a down stroke and very thin in a horizontal stroke. Thus the cross-bar in the capital letter Theta, Θ, could be very faint and therefore look like a capital Omicron, Ο.

Codex Claromontanus (D – 06) below:

Codex Sinaiticus (01) below:

Codex Alexandrinus (02) below:

Comparing Transcriptions

In the process of finalizing my Revelation with Greek document for publishing, I am searching for every ? in the footnotes, in order to determine a more definite conclusion for the critical apparatus if possible, and eliminate the ?.  There was a ? after a reading of MS GA 1888 in Revelation 2:13.  This is an 11th century minuscule residing in Jerusalem, with the reference number 181 in Hoskier’s collation in Volume 2 of “Concerning the Text of the Apocalypse.”  As you can see in the attached image snips, Hoskier says 181* (original hand) reads αντειπασ and then notes that the word και following was erased.

Whereas the Münster transcription site says the MS reads ἀντίπας, with no indication of a corrector regarding that. The blue text shows that και is the original hand, and a java script mouse-over window shows that a corrector erased και.

But here is a snip of the actual manuscript, GA1888:

I think Hoskier is correct that there is a correction regarding αντιπας. I am told that what looks like a circumflex accent above it may be some kind of indicator from the scribe to read a marginal note about a correction.  So, I still have an unanswered question.  Which is the original reading of 1888- ἀντίπας or ἀντεῖπας?  I certainly understand why Hoskier left a ? after it.  For comparison to the uncials, ℵ* C P 046 RP TH read Αντιπας, and ℵ² A SBL NA28 read Αντειπας.  Would the correction be more likely to have moved toward 046 and the RP majority text?  (Note that the Tyndale House ed. differs from the SBL and NA28.) This variant is not treated in the footnotes of the NA28 nor of the UBS5.  However, there is a footnote in the Tyndale House edition that does reference Antipas, and it states that Codex A reads Αντιπας, whereas Codex A definitely reads Αντειπας.  See image of Codex A below, where Antipas is the last word in the image.  Perhaps the Münster and Tyndale House editors are considering ἀντίπας versus ἀντεῖπας as a trivial difference in spelling of the same word, and not worth noting.  (Except that elsewhere, the Münster site does note this kind of difference.)   One problem with Codex A is that its Π, Pi, usually has a very faint or even invisible top crossbar, and so, for example, here with Antipas, it looks like three Iotas in a row and then AC.

You can download my Revelation with Greek pdf here.


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.

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.