Tag Archives: New Testament

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.

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.

Vulgate Manuscripts

In my ( David Robert Palmer ) translation documents, I provide a critical apparatus in the footnotes, indicating what ancient Greek, Latin and other manuscripts support which Greek text reading.  However, I have up to this point been dissatisfied with the citations of Latin Vulgate manuscripts.  I had been getting them from the footnotes of the Nestle-Aland and United Bible Societies’ editions, and also from, in the case of Revelation, on which I am currently working, H. C. Hoskier.

The problem I have with the Vulgate citations is that they are citing “editions.”  They are not citing particular manuscripts of a certain date, but editions of all of them.  For example, right now I am revising and expanding my footnotes in the Apocalypse of John.  Quite often, the Textus Receptus and the King James Version have a reading that is found in no Greek manuscript, but only in one edition of the Vulgate, the “Clementine” edition, which is indicated by the sigla vg cl in the apparatuses.  The majority reading in the same variant set may be supported by vg ww,st .  The st stands for Stuttgart, which comes from a 5th century edition.  The ww represents another critical edition, the Wordsworth-White.

Would it make a difference to you if you learned that the Clementine Vulgate dates from the year 1592, and was made for Pope Clement VIII?  But, this Vulgate too, is an edition which seeks to ascertain the earliest text, especially of Jerome, and has been updated with revisions, to a final edition in 1995.

It gets murky when I try to cite the Latin evidence.  A given Latin manuscript can be “Vetus Latina” or “Old Latin” in some books of the New Testament, while in Revelation or some other book, its text is considered “Vulgate” text.

So, for the Vulgate in Revelation I do use the sigla found in the UBS and NA footnotes for the Stuttgart, Wordsworth-White, and Clementine editions, but I also indicate when Hoskier or Tischendorf lets us know the readings of specific Vulgate manuscripts.  These are:

am – Codex Amiatinus, beginning of the VIII century
fu – Codex Fuldensis 541-546
tol – Codex Toletanus  950
dem – Codex Demidovianus XIII
harl – Codex Harleianus, second half of the IX century
lipss – 3 Leipzig Latin mss cited in Tischendorf 8th Edition

You can download my latest edition of the Revelation of John here.

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.

Majuscule Epistle of Jude

The Epistle of Jude in Majuscule

I have just created and uploaded the Epistle of Jude in majuscule font, similar to what New Testament manuscripts looked like in the 3rd century.  The Greek New Testament text is the Robinson-Pierpont 2017 text.  Thanks to Alan Bunning for the KoineGreek majuscule font.

If you are particularly interested in the Epistle of Jude, see also my Swanson-style chart of the Epistle of Jude in 62 manuscripts and 12 GNT editions.

Epistle of Jude in majuscule

The Epistle of Jude in majuscule

Please share this post about the Epistle of Jude in majuscule.

Ancient Greek Pronunciation

Translations of the Greek New Testament into other ancient languages help us know what the sounds were in ancient Greek compared to now.  In order to translate Christian texts, the Copts invented 7 extra glyphs for sounds unknown to the Greeks, but which they needed for their language.  This is informative to us as to what Greek sounded like as late as the early church times.  Thus we know that even as late as the Christian era in Egypt, the Greek letter φ (Phi) was not pronounced like English “F” but instead like our English “P.”  We know this because Coptic had to invent a separate letter Ϥ for the F sound, a sound which Coptic had, but Greek did not have.

And because of the law of Phonetic symmetry in the distribution of points of articulation in the mouth, we can reasonably extrapolate this principle to the other set of consonants also, that is, Χ and Κ.  And predict the following: the Greek letter χ sounded like our English “K” and the Greek letter Κ was a softer, unaspirated K for which English does not have a letter or symbol.  In Phonetics we find that languages that have both an aspirated and unaspirated P, will also have both aspirated and unaspirated versions of the other stops such as T and K etc.  Thus, φ was p sound, θ was t sound, χ was k sound, and π, τ, κ were unaspirated versions thereof, for which we do not have letters in English.

Another example that Plumley gives in Metzger’s book shows that the Greek letter θ definitely was not a “th” sound like we have in English, as in the word “thick.”  It was simply our Englsih “t” sound, as in “tick.”  One way we know this is because Coptic translators, when they heard the Greek word θαλασσα, wrote down HALASSA with the feminine definite article T in front of it.  That’s because it was pronounced TALASSA and the scribes or translators heard TALASSA.

The above knowledge can lead us to some interesting insights.  For example, knowing that φ was pronounced “p” and θ was pronounced “t,” we can pronounce correctly the word φθινοπωρινος in Jude v. 12, and recognize our English word “patina” there, and see how that relates to change in color of leaves in Autumn.  Greek had a word φθινα for the mildewing of material (which would change its color), but see also φθῖνάς “a waning, a wasting away”, or φθινιασμα “declining,” and the verb φθινω, “to perish, decay, waste away.”  Our English word patina also refers to the wasting away or corrosion of semi-precious metals, like copper and bronze, upon which a green film accumulates.

This page gives the correct pronunciation of ancient Greek consonants.