This is the fifth and final part of the series in which Payne responds to Peter Head's recent SBL presentation "Putting the Distigmai in Their Place." For background, read previous parts read previous parts here, here and here and here.
Payne's whole response will soon be posted in a PDF for download (look for the announcement).
IDENTIFYING LATER DISTIGMAI
In spite of its weaknesses, Head’s paper has raised a valuable question: What factors help to identify which distigmai are not original or re-inked? Eight factors offer the best evidence that a distigmai did not originate at the time of the original production of Vaticanus, as judged by the standard of the fifty-one apricot color distigmai that Canart confirmed to match the ink color of unreinforced text on the same page of Vaticanus:
1. Dot(s) that are not circular.
2. Irregular size dot(s) in the distigme.
3. Non-horizontal orientation of the dots.
4. Irregular spacing between the dots. All of the apricot distigmai are within 1 mm of each other.
5. Irregular separation from the Greek text in the adjacent column. This is a fairly weak indicator since without any possible interference from other marks in the margin, apricot color distigmai range from to within 1 mm (1243 B 21) to 8.5 mm (1264 C 29).
6. Irregular orientation relative to the base line. Most apricot distigmai are at mid character height, but one (1380 A 26) is slightly higher than the letters in the adjacent line of text. Six are near the top the letters in the adjacent line of text and three are near the bottom.
7. Juxtaposition next to more than one other dot or other marking.
8. Distigme ink color that does not match either the original apricot ink color of the codex or, secondarily, the dark chocolate brown of the ink used to re-ink the text in the Middle Ages.
Because this is a hand written manuscript, some variation is inevitable, and because the fifty-one apricot color distigmai are only a small fraction of them all, it should not be surprising if some distigmai originally in apricot color ink but later re-inked have characteristics that exceed the ranges of the characteristics above. Nevertheless, the sharper the contrast from the ordinary shape and position of distigmai and the more points of dissimilarity, the stronger is the case against a particular distigme going back to the original production of Vaticanus, especially when one or more characteristics lie outside the range of any of the apricot color distigmai. The few cases cited above where there is clear evidence that the position of a distigme was changed in order to avoid interference with marginalia warrant regarding those distigmai as penned later than the interfering marginalia. The distigmai in these cases almost always have many characteristics atypical of distigmai. This confirms the usefulness of these criteria for helping to judge which distigmai are not part of the original production of Vaticanus.
Though never determinative, lack of an NA27 variant in the line adjacent to a distigme may add to other evidence that a distigme is not original. This can only be used as weak corroborating evidence, however, since approximately 35% of Vaticanus lines lacking distigme contain an NA27 variant, and since approximately 29% of the lines adjacent to an apricot color distigmai contain no NA variant.
I have not included position on the “‘wrong’ side” of a column for three reasons:
1. There are four cases like this in apricot color ink where no other symbol competes for space on the “correct” side. Consequently, being in such a position does not put a distigme outside a fairly normal range of positions occupied by apricot color distigmai. One should not use any of the above criteria by itself to exclude the originality of a distigme, especially if four apricot color distigmai share that characteristic. Consequently, to assume that just because distigmai are on the less common side of text, they were forced there by some other previously written marginalia, would be inconsistent with the application I recommend for each of the other criteria for dating distigmai later than the original production of Vaticanus.
2. It is perfectly reasonable that a scribe might want to place a distigme on the side of a line closest to where the textual variant occurs, and this correlation does in fact repeatedly occur.
3. Some lines have a distigme both on its right side and its left side. In one instance with no interference from other marginalia, 1339 C 42, the distigmai on each side of the line matches the color of the original ink of the manuscript. Whether this indicates two separate variants or draws special attention to one, it shows that the scribe inserting it believed that it is acceptable to place a distigme on either side of a line.
Consequently, I urge a moratorium on the use of “‘wrong’ side.” This is especially important for Head since his use of the “wrong” side of text, especially where there is no interference from other marginalia, undermines his assertion that all distigmai constitute a unified system, the product of the same process and of approximately the same date. Simply because these instances are statistically less common, however, the presence of two dots on the less frequently used side of a line of text can legitimately be used as a contributing (though not decisive in itself) factor in helping to judge which of two pairs of dots on exact opposite positions of facing ages is the original distigme and which is just the accidental transfer of ink to the facing page.
To summarize, Head provides excellent evidence that in three instances a diple was partially obscured by a distigme, and in each of these three instances other factors support that the distigmai was a later addition (p. 8), not part of the original production of Vaticanus. Head, however, provides no unambiguous evidence that any distigme should be dated after any small number. The only instance Head cites of a distigme in a non-standard position relative to a large number, namely on the outside of it at 1455 B 31, also shares many other signs of not being part of the original production of Vaticanus (p. 14). These, the only four instances where Head provides compelling evidence of distigmai being late, confirm the validity of the criteria listed above for identifying which distigmai should not be dated at the time of the original production of Vaticanus. Head has raised other factors that might, with the addition of other evidence, warrant a similar judgment. For his four astute observations and his calling attention to other evidence that might support a later dating Head deserves thanks.
The central error of Head’s thesis is his apparent assumption that all distigmai were penned at the same time. By incorrectly stating that I agree with him on this point, he diverted attention from this highly improbable assumption. There is an abundance of evidence that all distigmai were not penned at the same time, including differences in ink color, as argued above on pages 2-7. Head conceals this by making a series of incorrect assertions that give the false impression of a simple sequence of marginalia, each completely written before the next. For example, Head asserts: “the small numbers are also secondary to the diple,” but although Head is correct that most diple predate small numbers, there is significant evidence of cases where even a diple was penned after a small number (p. 11). Evidence that some diple were penned after a small number does not constitute proof that all diple were written after all small numbers. Likewise, evidence that some distigmai were written later that other marginalia does not constitute evidence that all distigmai were written later than these marginalia, and it is certainly not evidence that all distigmai were written later than all other marginalia.
Similarly, the rewriting of so many small numbers around large numbers proves that these repositioned small numbers were written after the large numbers, which Head properly regards as “added at a much later date.” Just because some small numbers were written much later than others, does not constitute proof that all small numbers were written late, and certainly not that all small numbers were written at the same late time. Why, then, should one presume that all distigmai, which display far more diversity than diple or small numbers, were written at the same time and, consequently, that all can be dated as late as the latest one?
Head 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 rejecting that “even indeed actual similarities of observed colour … are a particularly good guide to the dating of dots.” In addition, Head vastly overstates the evidence for his thesis. For example, Head asserts “sixteen places of interference between diple and distigme,” but three have no diple, and eight are in a typical distigme position (pp. 7-8).
Head asserts that the distigmai “are later than the two different types of chapter enumeration,” but he identifies no unambiguous evidence of a small number affecting the position of a distigme. Head also asserts, “there is no evidence for the distigmai interfering with any” small number. There is, however, clear evidence that the distigme at 1278 B 12 affected the position of the small number ε (pp. 13-14). Head similarly asserts, “[T]here is no evidence for the distigmai interfering with any” large number. Page 15, however, cites evidence that distigmai interfered with two large numbers. Head appeals to six other marginalia that he alleges to confirm “that the distigmai are late additions to the margins of Codex Vaticanus,” but none of them give unambiguous support for this, whereas several undermine his thesis (pp. 15-18).
Head’s assertions about de Sepulveda lack proper documentation, shift without clear definitions between Erasmus and other texts, and leave unexplained what Head means by Greek and Latin “textual variants.” It is clear, however, that Head must not mean significant Greek textual variants of the sort I have identified from the NA27 since they would not produce the 92% or 98% correspondence rate he claims. Head makes the audacious proposal that de Sepulveda, presumably in order to show errors in Erasmus’s text, added “perhaps 825 distigmai,” not to a copy of Erasmus’s text, but to the irreplaceable Codex Vaticanus, and that he carelessly turned the pages while his ink was still wet causing mirror impressions on the facing page of more than fifty distigmai. Head asserts all this regarding the manuscript that has more documentation of being jealously preserved than any other Greek text of Scripture.
The Payne-Canart thesis is primarily that those (51) distigmai (excluding mirror impressions) that match the apricot color of the original text and of the original diple of Vaticanus should be regarded as part of the original production of Codex Vaticanus. Secondarily, it is that distigme in ink that matches the re-inking of Vaticanus in the Middle Ages are most naturally dated to that time. Whenever apricot color ink protrudes from under the edges of a dark brown distigme, it can reasonably be assumed that it is a distigme penned as part of the original production of Vaticanus that was re-inked later. Since the process of re-inking is abundantly attested for text and selectively attested for distigmai, but in a percentage of distigme occurrences corresponding to the percentage of text that is not re-inked, it is my working hypothesis that unless there is evidence to the contrary (as listed above, including evidence from interaction with other marginalia), the distigmai that match the color of the re-inking, even when no apricot ink is visible protruding from under them, should be tentatively regarded as re-inked distigmai from the original production of Vaticanus.
This working hypothesis is distinct from the Payne-Canart thesis, and I am perfectly open to any sort of contrary evidence that would reassign any number of these to another category, including a scribe in the Middle Ages penning new distigmai for whatever purpose, such as the evidence cited above that some distigmai may identify misspellings. It is my hope that some sort of scientific analysis of the distigmai, such as was done on the Archimedes palimpsest, may provide confirmation of the presence or absence of underlying apricot color ink. Further investigation both as regards date and purpose is required regarding distigmai that do not correspond to either the original ink of Vaticanus or its re-inking in the Middle Ages. Finally, there are other pairs (e.g. vertical pairs) or trios or strings or clusters of dots that do not fit the typical characteristics of distigmai. I recommend unless evidence is found that they mark textual variants, they should not be called distigmai. Similarly, I recommend that mirror impressions of distigmai, since they are merely the accidental transfer of ink, not be called distigmai.
Head’s paper attempts to repudiate the Payne-Canart thesis and the evidence we adduce for it from the matching apricot color of original text, most diple, and fifty-one distigmai. Nevertheless, the Payne-Canart thesis is compatible with all the underlying data to which Head appeals. On the other hand, much of the Vaticanus marginalia data contradicts Head’s thesis. Head’s paper provides no explanation for the sharp distinctions in distigmai ink color throughout Vaticanus and across its pages, including apricot color matching the original ink color of Vaticanus and dark chocolate brown color matching the re-inking in the Middle Ages, or for why some distigmai have apricot color ink protruding from the edges of dark chocolate brown distigmai, or why one distigme has one apricot color dot and one chocolate brown color dot (p. 4). Nor does it explain why there is statistically overwhelming correlation and between apricot color ink distigmai and significant textual variants of the sorts identified by the NA27.
Thus, although Head’s thesis that de Sepulveda penned all the Vaticanus distigmai is simple, it does not adequately account for the marginalia data. It is economical, but since much of the data contradicts it, it is simplistic and should not stand. The famous aphorism derived from H. L. Mencken aptly describes Head’s solution: “For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.” The more comprehensive Payne-Canart thesis with its attention to variations in the marginalia, including variations in ink color, however, does justice to the Vaticanus marginalia data in all their variety and welcomes further insights.
 The clearest exception to this among the apricot color distigmai is the slightly elongated dots in the distigme at 1279 C 41.
 The clearest exceptions to this among the apricot color distigmai are the faint distigmai at 1264 C 29 and 1345 B 11, which may appear small due to the faded ink, and the enlarged left dot of 1261 A 21, which the scribe’s pen may have touched twice.
 Slight variation is common, e.g. the right dot slightly higher in 1261 A 21, 1336 A 22, 1351 A 6, 1370 A 32, 1468 B 3, and 1475 B 11 and the left dot slightly higher in 1264 C 29, 1357 C 1, 1380 A 26, 1419 B 36. The greatest such divergence from horizontal among the apricot distigmai is 1351 A 6.
 These are comparatively consistent. The apricot color distigmai with dots closest together is at 1308 B 27. Other close ones are 1243 B 21 and 1264 C 29, but none overlap. The farthest apart is 1261 A 21, but 1380 A 26, 1381 C 26, and 1473 A 6 are separated a similar distance.
 Three are 4 mm from text (1279 B 1, 1287 C 29, 1296 A 14), two are 4.5 mm from text (1332 B 10, 1457 B 24), two are 5 mm from text (1382 C 39, 1499 C 42), one is 5.5 mm from text (1401 C 41), two are 6 mm (1279 C 41, 1332 C 20), one is at 7 mm (1352 A 40), and one is at 8.5 mm (1264 C 29), all with no interference from other marginalia. One is at 9 mm with a diple separating it from the text on 1309 A 23. This is not surprising in light of the evidence listed above that diple were written concurrently with the text and prior to distigmai. This is the only distigme on its page so its positioning does not look out of place. One at 1277 C 19 is 9.5 mm from text and is above and to the right of a small number Δ that bleeds through from the reverse side of the vellum. This, however, may be just coincidence since the distigme closest to it, at 1277 C 3 also extends significantly into the margin (over 7 mm) with no interference from any other mark, and both it and the distigme at 1277 C 3 lie on a level with the very top of preceding text and so are in harmonious positions. More likely, however, is that Willker is correct that 1277 C 19 is a mirror impression from 1276 A 19, which is 7.5 mm from text. If so, then the original distigme at 1276 A 19 left an apricot color mirror impression at 1277 C 19, and only the original distigme at 1276 A 19 was re-inked with dark chocolate brown ink, not its mirror impression, which perhaps because of its faintness was missed by the re-inker. Θ has θεωποῦσαι in the middle of 1276 A 19, before rather than after ἀπὸ μακρόθεν according to Reuben J. Swanson, New Testament Greek Manuscripts: Variant Readings Arranged in Horizontal Lines against Codex Vaticanus (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995), 288.
 1264 C 29, 1296 A 14, 1345 B 11, 1351 A 6, either 1380 A 26 or 1381 C 26 (since one is a mirror impression), and 1475 B 11. Willker is probably correct at http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/Vaticanus/imprints.html that 1277 C 19 is a mirror impression; see n. 72.
 1300 A 37, 1300 A 39, and 1466 B 6.
 Although there are no clear examples of this among the apricot distigmai, there are four instances where it is possible that the pen slipped slightly or made double contact with the vellum: 1261 A 21, 1287 C 29, 1380 A 26, and 1401 C 41.
 The 1968 color reproduction of the NT of Vaticanus is almost worthless in assessing ink color. Even different volumes of that edition vary dramatically. I confirmed one distigme that was red in one volume and brown in another. The millennial edition is excellent, but only the original permits definitive judgments. Ink color that matches the re-inking argues against a date after the Middle Ages. In light of evidence that the re-inking included distigmai as well as text (see above, page 4 and footnotes 8-9), it is perhaps most judicious to regard distigmai whose ink appears to match the adjacent re-inked text as having been re-inked as well, unless there is evidence that they are later. In cases where no apricot color ink is visible, confirmation awaits scientific testing, such as was done in the Archimedes palimpsest analysis. Perhaps such analysis will one day confirm which dark chocolate brown distigmai were traced over original apricot color distigmai and whether some were added later.
1243 B 21, 1339 C 42, 1350 B 18, and 1351 A 6.
 Cf. the examples listed above, p. 12.
 Cf. above, n. 72 regarding 1277 C 19.
 Cf. above, p. 4.
 H. L. Mencken originally published this in “The Divine Afflatus” in New York Evening Mail (16 November 1917) as: “Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.” It was later published in Prejudices: Second Series (1920) and A Mencken Chrestomathy (1949). Citation from http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/H._L._Mencken.