Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Marginal dots of Vaticanus – Again

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Every now and then I see the claim that the two dots that appear in the margin of Vaticanus indicate textual variants known by the original group of scribes. I believe that our own Peter Head agrees that they may indicate knowledge of textual variation at these points, but also that these marginal dots are very late.

I am not sure if the following is on his list of examples but it may be instructive. Here we have the two dots under a correction which projects into the margin.



The passage is Lk 18:19 and the variant concerns the presence / absence of the article before θεος. The original (archetypal/initial/autographic – take your pick) hand omits the article, which is then added by the second corrector. Rather unusually, two dots are placed under the omicron, closer together than the normal marginal dots (there are two sets on this page, 1337, col. 1), but apparently intended to match the size of the letter in question.



This suggests to me that at least these dots are 1) indeed connected with noting textual variation, 2) are by necessity added after the work of the second corrector. Add to this that the use of two dots to mark textual variation is rare in the tradition as a whole but is used elsewhere in Vaticanus, it follows that also those other marginal dots are post second corrector. Of course, the textual variants thus indicated might well be known to the original group of scribes, but the dots are an incorrect way of proving that.

18 comments :

  1. Interesting. I am guessing that NA28 does not have a way of explaining "dots" in the apparatus?

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  2. I don't understand all these references to "dots" . All I see are umlauts...

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  3. Has the second corrector's hand been dated? I can't recall off-hand what the date may be.

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    1. IGNTP remarks that it is generally accepted as a 6th century corrector.

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    3. The dots themselves don't look like they are covering lighter ones but look like the dark ink of the scribe who reinked the text. That scribe's work is usually dated to the 10th-11th c., though Skeat suggested it possibly was done before the 9th.

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  4. It appears that history of the Vaticanus umlauts/distigma has become a good bit more complicated since Payne wrote his first article in 1995. When all the scholarship is finally settled on this (if it ever is), I doubt anyone will have an "all or nothing" view on the date of the dots in Vaticanus. What seems clear to me now is that there are . . .

    1) Umlauts that were placed in the manuscript near the time of its production. By examining the actual codex itself, Canart identified at least 11 of these that match original ink of the manuscript. These have not been reinforced by the medieval retracer. They also discovered several more that were retraced but the original ink was still visible under the ink of the retracer (Payne and Canart, "Originality," 2000). There are probably many others, perhaps the majority. Regardless, these direct observations by Canart cannot be easily dismissed.

    2) Umlauts that are of debatable antiquity. There are numerous (a dozen or more easily identified) examples like the one above where umlauts were squeezed, moved, or otherwise unusually placed because of marginal obstructions that predated the placement of the umlauts. Each of these should be examined on their own merits.

    3) Umlauts that were obviously placed in the text after the medieval retracing, e.g. the umlauts that were retroactively placed in the supplement at the end of Vaticanus as well as others.

    This creates quite the challenge for the study of the text-critical sigla in Codex Vaticanus, but probably the least helpful conclusion we can reach now is . . . "these umlauts are late, so all of them are."

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    1. It is your category (1) I am not convinced by. It would be such a remarkable coincidence that a rare textual instrument with an undocumented / virtually unparalleled meaning happens to show up in the same manuscript with the same meaning though separated by centuries. I was told by the late Leslie McFall that there is a consistent relation between the 'reinked' dots and 'original' dots that demonstrates that they are not two separate inkings. We will have to wait for Peter Head's article for full disclosure.

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  5. I agree the phenomena is remarkable. We do know, however, that this rare textual instrument with and undocumented / virtually unparalleled meaning shows up in manuscript 1957 (15th century) as it supplements Vaticanus.

    If a scribe 400 years after the retracer (assuming he/they added the umlauts) could understand, utilize, and or preserve the dots, it is certainly possible that the retracer could understand and utilize earlier dots that were in the manuscript prior to the retracer (as Canart essentially argues).

    I do look forward to Peter Head's article. Until someone repeats Canart's physical examination of the codex itself and reaches a different conclusion than he, this matter will never be settled. Nothing short of that sort of primary physical examination will do.

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    1. Ed, doesn't this assume that the dots in the supplement post-date the dots in the rest of the MS? I thought that was precisely what Head disputes.

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    2. Peter Gurry,
      Are you aware of other articles on the distigmai? I have read all the posts here.
      Do we have any timetable for the article by Dr. Head?


      Tim

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    3. "Do we have any timetable for the article by Dr. Head?"

      Before Christ returns, I hope!

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  6. Ed said: "Canart identified at least 11 of these that match original ink of the manuscript." I think to be more accurate we should say that "Canart identified at least 11 of these that match the colour of the original ink of the manuscript." There was nothing more than an observation about colour.
    I do think that IF the umlauts are a single system then clearly they are all very late additions to the manuscript. That is easy to demonstrate (from a whole series of examples of phenomena like that displayed here). It is a little harder to absolutely prove it to everyone's satisfaction and to explain the colour matching that Canart observed.

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  7. I must disagree with this article. It is stated in the article"Here we have the two dots under a correction which projects into the margin." I suggest everyone look at the Vaticanus text above. This is not a correction at all. This "o" is the original text of Vaticanus. That is plain because if you enlarge the omicron of the text you can see the original "apricot-colored" ink under the "o" omicron as well as under the 2 dots [distigma]. Furthermore, the accent type mark above the disputed "o" is exactly the same as the one over the undisputed "e" next to the "o". Now, these accents type marks are also written in the same original "apricot-colored" ink as the original text. It is also quite clear that a later scribe has traced over theses features "o" "accent" and "2 dots" [distigma] with a darker colored ink. The "o", "accent", and "2 dots" [distigma] were definitely written by the original scribe of Vaticanus. As Payne has said in his writings, the scribe of Vaticanus apparently had before him mss from various families and was notating variants that he found by his distigmai. Payne also believes the distigmai originate with the original scribe of Vaticaus. Check his writings out on the internet. It just so happens that codex Siniaticus omits this "o" and the original scribe of Vaticanus is notating that variant from what he saw in some manuscript[s] before him. This distigma is original and is not from a later scribe from a later age. Not at all

    GB

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  8. Brilliant. I'd have been proud of such a comment myself.

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  9. Thanks for the compliment. It is very greatly appreciated. I love sites like this where we can discuss the theological issues of the day.

    GB

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