Thursday, July 16, 2020

Notes from my afternoon

Sometimes there are those days that you find little imprecisions in someone else’s work (and these make me feel slightly better about my own failings). So this afternoon I found the following two.

I got a question asking whether Metzger or the ECM got it wrong on Acts 11:23, the presence or absence of the article after τὴν χάριν. In his Commentary Metzger writes that the article ‘is absent from ℵ A B 927', whilst the ECM says that these are the witnesses that have it.. This is clearly one of those moments where you write the exact opposite of what you know is correct. Because it is only a little later that Metzger says ‘it can be argued that τήν is a pedantic insertion made by Alexandrian scribes’ by which he cannot mean anything else than the scribe behind ℵ A B.
Just for your peace of mind:

The second imprecision I found in NA28 in the apparatus to John 13:26. The question is here whether or not the article stands before Ἰησοῦς. Amongst others 579 is cited as probably reading a text without ὁ (579vid).

Here is a screenshot (full page here):

There is a nasty fold running through the relevant letters, the first word of the last line is visible till the final upstroke of the alpha/iota of ἀποκρίνεται. Then the next visible letters are the ις  of the nomen sacrum Ἰησοῦς. Is there space for an article? I think there is, or at least there should be. I think the rough breathing of the article is pretty clear. And Elijah Hixson pointed out that also on the line above an omicron is missing in the fold. Being the digital humanist he is, he suggested to measure the width of the fold also on the other side of the page, but I think by now I knew enough. Instead of citing 579vid for the absence of the article, perhaps it should be cited as 579vid for its presence.

EDIT: Solved! See the reply from Jean Putmans below.

Enjoy the rest of your day.


  1. Interesting to consider: Was the mistake made when Metzger handwrote this on paper? Or when a typist typed his handwritten notes for printing? Probably the former. If so, the datum is correct in his mind, but mistaken when handwritten, and the mistake was copied faithfully when printed in the first edition and the second edition. Is there an “original text”? And which one would it be? And which is the Ausgangstext? The one in his mind? The one handwritten? The one printed in the first edition? The one printed in the second edition? And what would be the answers if the datum had been corrected at one of those stages?

  2. A look at the INTF-Films shows they have two pictures of 579 Folio 146 r (=INTF page 2960): One with the fould, one with the flattened page, and the article!

    1. Brilliant solution; thanks! I was looking at the BnF images at Gallica, which I've often found to be slightly clearer than the INTF images. The BnF images had the fold too though. It's always good when these sorts of things happen, because (as in this case) they can confirm that one does indeed know what one is doing.

      The unfolded images do raise another issue though—there is no ι at the end of αποκρινεται.

    2. Excellent Jean, it is satisfying when a hypothesis is demonstrated to be correct.

      Elijah, I can see the iota (vertical with a tiny foot to the right) but no clearly formed alpha. Yet there is some smudging.

    3. Dirk, I see what you're talking about, but is it necessarily an iota? There looks like there might be some kind of vertical-ish stroke behind the left part of the ο. I wonder if what you are seeing as the iota and what I'm seeing behind the ο could be the full α, partly erased. The σ of ις is not as flat on top as some other instances of σ, so I wonder if it could be αποκκρινεται ο· corrected in scribendo to αποκρινετα ο ις· (by erasing part of α and writing ο over the tail, keeping ι where it was and changing ο to σ)? I suppose a copyist may have thought that in context the verb would be sensible enough, and it would be better to leave it that way than to omit Jesus' name (but I admit that's just speculation). It would have to be before the breathing mark was added to ο though.

      It seems like a stretch and is not normally the sort of thing I would suggest because of how unlikely that scenario must be, but at the same time, I would think that αποκρινετα ending in a half-formed α would also be extremely unlikely, yet there it is.