At the SBL Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Nov 21, 2009, co-blogger Peter Head presented a paper ”The Marginalia of Codex Vaticanus: Putting the Distigmai (Formerly known as 'Umlauts') in Their Place" in which he basically argued that the double dots now known as distigmai, marking textual variation in Codex Vaticanus, belong to one unified system that was added some time in the 16th century contra Philip Payne, who discovered these distigmai in the first place, and who thinks that some of them (appr. 50) are original to the scribe working in the 4th century.
I summarized Peter Head's paper in two parts and there were some brief comments:
Right after the publication of my summaries Philip Payne contacted me and asked if he could post a full response on this blog, to which I and Peter Head agreed. Payne has now completed his response. The rather long response will be published here in five parts for convenience sake:
Part 1 Introduction
Part 2 Diple
Part 3 Small Numbers; Large Numbers; Other Marginalia
Part 4 De Sepulveda
Part 5 Identifying Later Distigmai; Conclusion
Subsequently the full response will be available for download in TC Files (in the right sidebar) in PDF-format. The full version uses a specially created font to represent Codex Vaticanus properly. The font shows the diple shape and its position within a number, its Greek text is more elegant, and each of the numbers is reproduced with the appropriate overbar (and in one case underbar). This feature has been modified for the blogresponse in several parts which uses the Gentium unicode font.
Critique of “The Marginalia of Codex Vaticanus: Putting the Distigmai in Their Place” presented by Peter M. Head to the NT Textual Criticism Seminar Nov. 21, 2009 in New Orleans
Philip B. Payne
© Payne Loving Trust 2010. All rights reserved.
Thank you, Dr. Wasserman, for the opportunity to address the thought-provoking paper of my esteemed friend, Peter Head, on the Codex Vaticanus distigmai. My response covers his paper (a copy of which Head kindly sent me on December 7, 2009), my recollections of its reading in New Orleans, and your comments. Our collective purpose is that the nature and dates of the various distigmai will be further clarified through our dialog. The consequences of getting this right could hardly be greater, since if fifty-one distigmai match the color of the original ink of Vaticanus, as Canart concluded but Head’s paper dismisses, they provide remarkable confirmation of the reliability of the transmission of the NT text and fresh insights into particular passages.
I am gratified that Head’s examination of the distigmai confirms my evidence that the Codex Vaticanus distigmai mark places of textual variation between Vaticanus and other texts. My new book and my forthcoming article with Paul Canart provide statistical data confirming the extraordinarily strong correlation between Vaticanus distigmai and significant textual variations.
I agree with Head’s fundamental principle: “When there is interference it is expected that the more ancient marginal material will preserve a more consistent pattern of its placement (due to freedom from interference), while the more recent marginal material will vary its placement as other things interfere with its normal location.” Nevertheless, his paper has serious flaws that critically undermine its central thesis that de Sepulveda penned all distigmai in the sixteenth century. Head states that “this date comports with all the evidence of the interference between marginal material,” but much of the evidence strongly suggests otherwise, as this critique shows. Head’s paper fundamentally misrepresents my position and uses definitions of “distigmai” and “textual variant” that are far broader than virtually all previous studies of the Vaticanus distigmai. He shifts grounds on crucial issues, such as appealing to “the colour and faded nature” of diple to “place these in the production stage of the codex,” but rejects that “even indeed actual similarities of observed colour … are a particularly good guide to the dating of dots,” without stating any justification for this shift. His thesis does not provide a plausible explanation for the sharp difference in distigmai color. His thesis also seems to presuppose that all diple, all distigmai, and all small numbers are, respectively, unified systems, each category of marginalia the product of a single process of approximately the same date. In fact, however, within each of these categories of marginalia there are significantly different symbol shapes and positions, and there is even evidence that their scribes wrote them at different times. Significant differences from the typical features of distigmai provide evidence that some distigmai were written at different times than others, just as some diple and small numbers were. In a few instances, interaction with other marginalia adds to the evidence that specific distigmai were penned later. In other instances, interaction with other marginalia provides evidence that those distigmai were written earlier than the interacting marginalia. Just before its conclusion, this paper provides criteria for helping to establish which distigmai are part of the original production of the manuscript, which were re-inked in the Middle Ages, and which were added at some other point in the history of Vaticanus.
Head mistakenly says I agree with him that “the system of distigmai is a unified system (all are the product of the same process and of approximately the same date even if they were not all applied at the same moment).” Not only have I never advocated this, quite to the contrary, I have clearly distinguished between distigmai that match the color of the original ink of the codex, which should be dated in the fourth century as part of the original production of the manuscript, and distigmai that match the color of the ink with which the codex was re-inked in the Middle Ages. Head draws attention to the fact that I do not regard the number of distigmai to be as large as Wieland Willker does, or nearly as large as he does. If all occurrences of dots in the margins of Vaticanus are called distigmai, it will be difficult to draw valid conclusions about them without multiple qualifications such as “when there are two dots in horizontal alignment in the margin next to a line of text”. Consequently, I argue that the term distigme should designate pairs of dots that fit within the normal parameters of dot size, location adjacent to a line of text, and roughly horizontal orientation found in the 51 distigmai that Canart has judged to match the original ink color of Vaticanus. These characteristics are quantified just before the conclusion to this paper. Furthermore, as far as can be clearly determined, “distigme” should not designate any mirror impression of a distigme, since a mirror impression is merely the inadvertent transmission of ink and was not intended to mark the location of a textual variant.
A crucial weakness of Head’s paper is its apparent presupposition regarding distigmai that “all are the product of the same process and of approximately the same date.” Such an all-encompassing thesis, assigning all dot pairs to the same process and date, is particularly surprising in light of Head’s acknowledgment of “the different colours and weight of ink,” and his acknowledgment that “especially variations from the normal placement of the distigmai may be significant.” For Head’s view, the problem of the variety of dots in Vaticanus is particularly acute since his paper includes in the category of distigmai “perhaps 825,” many more than either Willker or I classifies as distigmai. The broader the category one identifies as distigmai, the harder it will be to defend that they “all are the product of the same process and of approximately the same date.” This assumption, that “all are the product of the same process and of approximately the same date,” is essential for Head to conclude on the basis of evidence showing a few distigmai to be late, that all distigmai must be late additions to Vaticanus.
I regret that because of the delay in the publication of my forthcoming article with Canart and since its publisher did not grant permission to provide Head an advance copy of it, Head was not familiar with, for instance, my arguments that a scribe wrote the diple prior to the distigmai. In that article, I provide conclusive evidence that a scribe wrote some distigmai after the binding of the codex. One part of Head’s paper is, however, as far as I know, completely original, namely his assertion that “92% of all the distigmai in the Gospels match passages of variation between that exact line of Vaticanus and the Greek and/or Latin text of Erasmus. If we further take account of variant readings noted by Erasmus in his Annotations (again offering contemporary manuscript evidence) this rate extends to 98%.” I will address this issue at the end of this critique.
The ultimate question is, given their variety in color, location, orientation, shape, and apparently even purpose (discussed below), whether Head’s view is even plausible that “the system of distigmai is a unified system … all are the product of the same process and of approximately the same date.” How can they all be the product of the same process and of approximately the same date in cases where there seems to be obvious re-inking? Re-inking is a very different process than the noting of the location of textual variants, one that would only be reasonable after the original ink had faded, which is a process that takes considerable time. Particularly problematic for Head’s view is the distigme at 1409 B 25 (Acts 18:16), where the left dot appears to be re-inked but the right dot is not re-inked and still displays what Canart classifies as “probable” to be the original ink of the codex. Canart also discerned traces of the original ink color of the codex protruding from the distigme at 1469 A 3 (1 Cor 9:22), which is also clearly visible in the new facsimile, and from the distigme at 1501 B 42 (Phil 3:16-17). The NA27 notes early variants in all three of these distigme locations. Consequently, these distigmai displaying two colors support the view that a scribe wrote them during the original production of Vaticanus to mark the location of significant textual variants. Head must provide an explanation of these variations in ink color in order to make his thesis plausible. Willker, in contrast, acknowledges, “This is a good argument,” for the Payne-Canart thesis.
Similarly problematic to Head’s thesis are Willker’s observations: “In some cases the reinforcer interpreted an imprint as a true [distigme] and reinforced both!” “At least in one instance the reinforcer reinforced [a distigme] which shows through the page from the verso.” This indicates that a scribe wrote these distigmai, at least, prior to the re-inking of Vaticanus in the Middle Ages and, consequently, long before de Sepulveda.
Also against Head’s contention regarding distigmai that “all are the product of the same process” is evidence that in various instances the re-inker associated distigmai with spelling corrections. There are two dark chocolate brown dots before seven lines where the re-inker corrected spelling over an unreinforced letter: 1281 A 26, 1361 C 1, 1423 A 14, 1468 A 26, 1479 A 12, 1481 C 21, 1501 B 42. The re-inker in an eighth such instance may have regarded his change of η into ει in 1262 A 2 also as a spelling correction. The best evidences of the re-inking scribe’s association of distigmai with spelling corrections are instances where corrected spelling is marked in the margin by a symbol that is similar to a distigme, but is shaped and positioned differently. In two cases the marks are positioned lower than typical distigmai and are not two dots but rather two short slanted strokes somewhat like grave accents: 1409 A 23-24 (pointed out by codicologist Patrick Andrist) and 1423 A 14. The distinctive marks at 1409 A 23-24 are half way between two lines, unlike any original distigme, presumably because the name “Titius” begins on line 23 and wraps onto line 24. “Titius” is unreinforced, which effectively changes the name to “Justice.” These distinctive features indicate that the re-inking scribe did not trace over original distigmai in these two instances but created these two marks. Similarly, the two dots before the spelling correction in 1281 A 26 are lower then typical distigmai, almost on the baseline; the left one is noticeably higher than the right one, rather than their having the typical horizontal alignment; they are closer to text than most distigmai; and there is a small dark chocolate color dot in between them. Another such case is the vertically aligned pair of dots before 1468 A 26 with only the top dot in a normal distigme position. Apparently, then, a re-inker in the Middle Ages misunderstood the original purpose of the distigmai to mark the location of textual variants and, instead, added marks similar to them, but in some cases noticeably different in both shape and location, in order to mark the location of spelling corrections. This highlights the value of limiting what one regards as distigmai to dot pairs that, though they may be re-inked, have characteristics falling within the apricot color distigmai’s range of size, shape, and location relative to text.
Head states that his paper focuses “on an area which Payne and others have not worked on, the relative chronology of the dots in relation to the other marginal material.” In fact, Willker and I had already taken into consideration most of the categories of marginalia raised in Head’s paper, yet this data has not convinced either of us that all the distigmai are a unified system or the product of the same process and of approximately the same date. Since Head cites Willker’s web site, he should be aware that a section of that site addresses the chronological order of the distigmai in relation to diple and section numbers. Furthermore, Head’s paper acknowledges, “Payne actually suggested this for 1245 B 6 (Matt 9.13).” I explained this displacement as follows (the first explanation considering the possibility of a chronological sequence where the small number was written prior to this distigme): “either or both of two factors appear to have caused this. First, the small number ΝϚ already occupies that location. If the umlaut [distigme] were put on the left as it usually is in column B, it would have overlapped this other symbol. Second, the text that is omitted is on the right side of the line, which makes the umlaut [distigme] on the right of the line particularly appropriate.” As detailed in the section below about diple and distigmai, my 2001 paper that Canart presented to the Geneva Colloquium on Codex Vaticanus argued the relative chronology of the diple as prior to the distigmai. Furthermore, Willker has discussed this extensively.
Head also mistakenly writes that he agrees with Payne that, “the different colours and weight of ink suggests more than one comparative movement through the NT.” I do agree with Head that the distigmai note variant readings in multiple manuscripts, but on different grounds. Differences in ink color are not a conclusive argument for this since other reasons could explain this. In particular, the dark chocolate brown color matching the ink with which Vaticanus was re-inked in the Middle Ages is most easily explained as re-inking of faded ink at that time, just as it is for the text. This, the most common difference in color, in most cases probably did not entail comparison to additional manuscripts. These differences in color are, however, strong evidence that a scribe wrote these dark chocolate brown distigmai in the Middle Ages, probably to reinforce fading ink. Consequently, this data appears to be incompatible with Head’s thesis that de Sepulveda penned all the distigmai in the sixteenth century.
The fifty-one distigmai that Canart has judged to match the color of the original ink of Vaticanus occur from the top of the manuscript to the bottom and are associated with each column of the open codex: 8 before the first column, 9 between the first and second columns, 7 between the second and third columns, 7 before the fourth column, 9 between the fourth and fifth columns, 2 between the fifth and sixth columns (since it is the less usual position for either of these columns), and 10 after the sixth column. Consequently, they defy any explanation for their apricot color based on their position on the page.
The strongest evidence that Vaticanus was compared to multiple manuscripts is that a good number of the distigmai that left a mirror impression (on the facing page in ink matching the codex’s original ink color) are followed by other distigmai on the same page that did not leave a mirror impression. If all of these distigmai were penned at the same time, noting variants in only one manuscript, then the following distigmai should also have left a mirror impression, since in a sequential comparison they would have been penned later and their ink would also have been wet enough to leave mirror impressions on the facing page. Additional evidence Vaticanus was compared to multiple manuscripts is that the known significant textual variants at the distigmai locations come from diverse manuscript traditions that could not reasonably have come from a single manuscript, as Willker also argues.
Nevertheless, Head is making a valuable contribution by pointing out that color differences may be evidence for multiple manuscript comparisons. Still, I argue that the color differences also support manuscript comparisons at different times. So, while dark chocolate brown distigmai matching the ink color of re-inked text are likely explained as mere re-inkings of the original text, it is entirely possible that the re-inker or one or more later scribes may have noted new textual variants or may have used pairs of dots for some other purpose. If the ink color of other distigmai (or of other marginalia) are confirmed to differ from both the original apricot color ink of the manuscript and the dark chocolate brown ink of the re-inking, it makes sense to date them at different times. Such observations are completely compatible with Canart’s and my argument that the apricot-colored distigmai date to the original production of the manuscript.
Following is an assessment of the evidence Head presents for dating distigmai as later than diple, small numbers, large numbers, and other marginalia:
[TO BE CONTINUED]
NOTES TO PART 1:
This is argued in Philip B. Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009), 240-43 and in Philip B. Payne and Paul Canart. “Distigmai Matching the Original Ink of Codex Vaticanus: Do they Mark the Location of Textual Variants?” pages 199-226 in Patrick Andrist, ed., Le manuscrit B de la Bible (Vaticanus graecus 1209): Introduction au fac-similé, Actes du Colloque de Genève (11 juin 2001), Contributions supplémentaires. Lausanne, Switzerland: Éditions du Zèbre, 2009.
 Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ, 241-42. This book is available at a huge discount ($17.75) at http://www.linguistsoftware.com/manandwoman.htm. It gives two chi-square probability test results showing the probability that the null hypothesis is correct, namely that the distigmai are unrelated to textual variants. The first chi-square test compares the frequency of significant textual variants, as judged by NA27 textual variants, occurring in 27 lines preceded by a distigme adjacent to a bar underlining text at the left end of that line and extending into the margin toward the distigme, to the frequency of this in the following 20 lines (hence 540 comparison lines). The chi-square results show that the probability of such a high correlation of distigmai with significant textual variants happening in a random distribution is far less than one in 10,000. Man and Woman, pages 237-40, identifies a pattern in five of these 27 lines where a significant block of text is omitted in one of the manuscripts, that the bar is significantly longer than typical paragraphos bars: Matt 18:10; Luke 1:28; Acts 2:47 and at the end of Luke 14:24 and 1 Cor 14:33. Since such a long bar occurs only six times adjacent to a distigmai in the entire Vaticanus NT (the sixth is Mark 5:40 where other MSS insert “but Jesus” in the middle of this line; the bar in Rom 16:5 is shorter), Man and Woman, pages 238-40 argues that these should be regarded as distigme-obelus marks of the locations of interpolations. The second chi-square test compares the frequency of NA27 textual variants occurring in the fifty-one lines preceded by a distigme that matches the apricot ink color of the original manuscript to the frequency of NA27 textual variants in the 540 comparison lines. The chi-square results show that the probability of this happening in a random distribution is far less than one in 10,000. The odds of this happening in two successive tests, as it did these two chi-square tests, is infinitesimally small if distigmai are unrelated to textual variants. Hence, these chi-square results provide extraordinarily strong evidence that the null hypothesis (that distigmai are unrelated to textual variants) is incorrect.
 Paul Canart is the senior paleographer at the Vatican Library. See footnote 2.
 In order to be consistent with Head’s use of “diple” to identify both singular and plural instances of citations from Scripture, this paper follows his convention, respecting his usage, which in practice works well.
 To include them in any generalizations about distigmai would tend to dilute the data pool and reduce the reliability of any statistical analysis of it.
 Although I argue against Head’s broad definition of distigme, since I am interacting with his paper, there are times when in order to cite him accurately, I of necessity repeat his usage.
 On Sept. 21, 2009, however, I did email to Head a synopsis of that essay and offered him any assistance I could in preparing or reviewing his paper to make sure it was up to date. Two days before his presentation, on Nov. 19, he emailed me a preliminary yet almost complete version of his paper, but it arrived after I had already left for New Orleans, so I did not see it until after the paper. In addition, I met with Head hours before he presented the paper. When he outlined what he would say, I told him it would be a dereliction of duty not to acknowledge that his thesis provides no explanation for the differences in ink color.
 A photograph of this is in the forthcoming Payne and Canart, “Distigmai.”
 Bibliorum sacrorum graecorum Codex Vaticanus B: Bibliothecae Apostolicae Vaticanae Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209. Rome: Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, 1999. The remaining copies are available below list price at http://www.linguistsoftware.com/codexvat.htm.
 Willker, “Codex Vaticanus Graece 1209, B/03: Umlauts: Dating” at http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/Vaticanus/umlauts.html.
 Wieland Willker, “Codex Vaticanus Graece 1209, B/03: The Umlauts: Imprints” at http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/Vaticanus/imprints.html cites 1334 B 23 R, 1396 B 39 R, and 1506 A 28 L as re-inked. Similarly, both the distigme and its mirror impression at 1310 C 39 L and 1311 A 39 R match the color of the re-inked text.
 Willker, “Codex Vaticanus Graece 1209, B/03: The Umlauts: Imprints” at http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/Vaticanus/imprints.html cites 1383 A 4 R.
 Willker, “Codex Vaticanus Graece 1209, B/03: Umlauts: Chronological order” at http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/Vaticanus/umlauts.html#chr.
 The VaticanusLS font is used throughout this paper in PDF format to represent Vaticanus text [not in the blogversion]. Alan Loder and Philip B. Payne carefully reproduced its original letterforms as a computer font. It is available at 20% discount from www.linguistsoftware.com/ntmss.htm by writing “Marginalia referral” in the special instructions window near the bottom of the order form.
 Philip B. Payne, “Fuldensis, Sigla for Variants in Vaticanus, and 1 Cor 14.34–5,” NTS 41 (1995): 256, n. 58. This article is available for free download from http://www.pbpayne.com.
 Willker, “Umlauts: Chronological order.”
 These add up to 52 since both 1380 A 26 and 1381 C 26 are included, although one is a mirror impression.
 Curt Niccum’s statement at http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.com/2009/11/sbl-new-orleans-2009-i-peter-head_22.html baffles me: “when Payne first presented his argument for an underlying level of apricot-colored ink, every example came from interior margins where abrasion would be most severe. In fact, none of the original eleven distigmai that Canart identified were on the interior margins between columns three and four. All are listed in Philip B. Payne and Paul Canart, “The Originality of Text-Critical Symbols in Codex Vaticanus,” NovT 42 (2000): 108, which is available for free download from http://www.pbpayne.com. Of these, 2 are before the first column, 3 are between the first and second columns, 2 are between the fourth and fifth columns, 1 is between the fifth and sixth columns, and 3 are after the sixth column. They, too, are distributed is various parts of the Vaticanus pages, from top to bottom and left to right.
 I explained this in an email to Head on Sept. 21, 2009.
 Willker, “Codex Vaticanus Graece 1209, B/03: Umlauts: Distribution of the Umlauts” at http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/Vaticanus/umlauts.html#dis.