Thursday, February 23, 2006

Editio Critica Maior IV. Installment 4 (2-3 John and Jude)

Hot from the press: Novum Testamentum Graecum Editio Critica Maior, vol. IV. Installment 4: The Second and Third Letter of John, The Letter of Jude (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft: Stuttgart, 2005).

Generally, this work meets my expectation in reflecting the high standard in all respects as set in previous installments. However, it does offer some surprising news:

An interesting citation from "Notes on the Reconstruction of the Text of 2Jn, 3Jn and Jd:"

"The conclusion was that each letter has to be considered individually. Their conditions of transmission are so different, even in comparison with 1Jn. This is shown by the most closely related potential ancestors listed below. It would be premature to speculate about the reasons for these differences" (p.35*).


"03 loses its exceptional position in Jd, and A [Ausgangstext] is no longer its sole potential ancestor. This distinction now goes to 81" (p. 36*).

The editors do state that one must generally be careful about conclusions concerning these letters, because of the brevity of their text and their correspondingly few instances of textual variation (p. 35*), and it is also stated that "In closest agreement with A are 81 (96,9%) and 03 (95,4%)" (p. 36*). So the difference between these two MSS is very little, and based on very few variants (according to the editors there are 204 instances of variation in Jude).

In Jude the reconstructed text is different from NA/GNT in three places:

v 5: ὑμᾶς ἅπαξ πάντα ὅτι Ἰησοῦς (same as 03; 02 33C 81 2344 omit the initial pronoun); Interesting to note here is that the printed text in NA/GNT had no MS support for the whole unit.

v 18: omit ὅτι

v 18: omit τοῦ

The most significant change is of course v. 5, and the editors says "The discussion over the text of 5/12-20 was particular intense ..."(p. 37*). We know from Wachtel's study of the Byzantine text that he then preferred κύριος (Der byzantinische Text, 355-57). This intense discussion over v. 5 among the editors is reflected in a novel function of the bold dot. At the variation unit 5/12-20 it is placed in the primary line at word 20 (the word Ἰησοῦς) and below alongside an alternative reading: (ο) κυριος. Thus the system with different levels of uncertainty as indicated by bold dots and brackets at various places has now been enlarged.

I hope to offer more comments later.


  1. Thanks, Tommy. Any thoughts on the correctness of their κυριος in Jude 5? Have they been in consultation with you at all?

  2. Pete,

    They print Ἰησοῦς in the primary line with bold dot. The primary line reflects the same text as was preferred by Bruce Metzger and Allen Wikgren (Textual Commentary 2ed., 657f), and Wikgren supplied further arguements in a separate article (full reference in footnote 2).

    The editors of the ECM have not been in "consultation" with me, although I have met them several times over the recent years. I would have been surprised if they would have, since they have most of the textual data (and in this passage practically all data since it is a Teststelle in TuT), as well as the required exptertise in the field in other respects.

    In terms of textual data my edition will offer some additional witnesses for κυριος Ιησους (lectionaries not collated for TuT). I will of course discuss the passage in my textual commentary. At the moment I lean in favor of κυριος.

    One curious question (among many) concerns the exemplar of P72 (he wrote θεος Χριστος) – I think he read κυριος. This scribe "made it personal." He wanted his readers to believe that the Lord is God and is Christ, which can be deduced from similar singular readings. In 1 Pet 2:3, P72 reads ει εγευσασθε επιστευσατε οτι χρ̅ς κς̅ – a confessional formula “Christ is Lord” that is to be believed. (See further examples in my article "Papyrus 72 and the Bodmer Miscellaneous Codex," NTS 51 (2005): 137-54.), which may be downloaded from my homepage:

  3. If it is of help to others, here is order info on this title from der Deutschen Bibelgesellschaft at (I've not found any US sources that have it yet--and if they did, the price would be considerably higher if it is priced as earlier vols. in this series--ca. $50 + s/h).

    First, the direct URL for this item:, which is a shorted URL from the 151 characters otherwise needed!

    Then the item info:
    Novum Testamentum Graecum Editio Critica Maior, Band IV/4
    Band IV: Die Katholischen Briefe 4. Lieferung: Der 2. und 3. Johannesbrief. Der Judasbrief
    Preis: € 18.00
    ISBN: 3-438-05603-8
    Herausgeber: Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung, Münster
    Seitenzahl: 80 + 30(Begleitheft)
    Format: 21 x 29,7 cm
    Bindung: kartoniert

    The price, € 18.00, is only about $20 US, though shipping is another € 15.50 to US, so total is € 33.50 or about $40.00 US.

    If anyone knows a source for this is the US, please let us know. (I doubt that I'll be able to get our acquisitions librarian to try to figure out a German order page!)

  4. Rod,

    I bought mine from for € 18.00 + shipping. It was despatched on the 19 Feb. and I received it yesterday. I had placed the order a month ago or so, before it was released. Now we wait for installment 5 with various supplementary studies and commentary (at least on "bold dots places"), and then the whole vol. 4 will be printed in hardback, with spotted errors corrected (an Addenda and Corrigenda is on the homepage of INTF, under "News").

  5. "...and then the whole vol. 4 will be printed in hardback..."

    Does anyone have any idea when the hardback will be completed?


  6. From the original post - "The conclusion was that each letter has to be considered individually. Their conditions of transmission are so different, even in comparison with 1Jn. This is shown by the most closely related potential ancestors listed below."

    How many extant mss of any of the catholic epistles are not part of a codex that origianally contained all or most of them? In order for the phenomena of the variants to exhibit separate transmission histories for each epistle, so that our extant mss show inconsistent levels of quality from one epistle to the next, wouldn't that mean that the bulk of the variants arose prior to the standard of incorporating them into a codex together? In such a case aren't we compelled to conclude that, beginning with the development of grouping the catholic epistles into a single codex, scribal habits took on a very conservative approach, so that the variants that exist are mostly passed on from prior to that time rather than developing later? I suppose we might roughly estimate this watershed moment in time at around 300 AD. And this would mean that virtually all of our extant mss thus convey early forms of the text. Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

  7. I think that it is sensible to think that the three Johannine epistles and Jude should have separate transmission histories.

    A recent Aberdeen PhD thesis by Dave Nienhuis (now of Seattle Pacific University) was able to argue that the Catholic Epistles were not collected until the late second century. While the argument was inferential rather than conclusive, it is still likely that even when these epistles were recognised as a grouping the circulation of the epistles individually continued.

    If we are to take the Muratorian fragment seriously then its author was only aware of two of John's epistles. 2 and 3 John had clearly not circulated together to him.

    All NT epistles that were clearly sent to individuals (1-2 Timothy, Titus, 3 John) may well have taken longer to circulate, since they were not initially public. Philemon I take to have been sent with Colossians.

  8. You mention a recent Aberdeen PhD thesis. Is there any easy way for those of us in the States to get copies of these? Most American diss. are available through UMI's ProQuest online database, which also lists titles and abstracts from UK schools, but usually doesn't include full text copies of these works. Is any service which is comparable in the UK (or on the continent) from which the full text is available?

  9. Tommy,

    Thanks for letting us read your paper on P72.

    In J.B. Mayor's 1907 commentary on 2ndPet & Jude (clxxxiii ff.), he states that the Syriac versions support the inclusion of the second hUMAS in Jude 5a but adds that this evidence is ambiguous since the Syriac "idiom" [syntax ?] would require the pronoun after EIDOTAS even if it were absent in the Greek vorlage. Mayor's authority for these statements on the Syriac is a certain Dr. Gwynn who had published an edition of the Syriac.

    Mayor's comments can also be found in Volume Five of the Exposoter's Greek Testament p245-6.

    I know this is old stuff but I didn't find any reference to the Syriac in Richard Bauckman (2ndPet & Jude WBC).


  10. Rodney, You can find details of British equivalents on:

    I suspect that this particular thesis will be published in the next couple of years.

  11. Clay,

    Pete W should reply to this since the Syriac is his field, but I have noted that in the ECM, at many places the versions are cited under double arrow as supporting two or more readings in the Greek, and in this particular case in accordance with what Gwynn suggested it may or may not support the second umas.

    Pete has written a special study on Syriac translation technique and textual criticism, where he deals with the limitations. He made available various appendices at his homepage which may be of help in general:

  12. Sorry, the URL was too long for the window, here it is again in two parts:

  13. Thanks Tommy,

    The appendix to PJW's book is helpful and I just put in an ILL request for the whole book even though I cannot read syriac script very well. Perhaps it is transliterated.

    I have been on this forum for a while now need to read some of the stuff you guys have written. Anything else I should read?



  14. Clay, Glad my book is being used. The Syriac is not transliterated, but I translate it all (just about). I also write avoiding complex terminology from linguistics.

    On the subject of Jude 5, we would need to do a study of the Philoxenian translation to see its translation method. In general, Syriac translations move from less literal to more literal as they move from Old Syriac to Peshitta to Philoxenian to Harclean. Until such a translation technique study has been made my instinct is that the second 2mpl pronoun in the Philoxenian of this verse could be a reflection of Syriac idiom.

  15. To Pete's comments I can add only that in the Syriac Harclean Vorlage one may assume that there was not a second umas.

    This assumption is not based on translation technique, but on the fact that the Harclean is *very closely* related to some Greek MSS, known as the kern members of the HK[Harklensis]group (1505 1611 2138), which omit the second umas.

    Thus, a study of the development of Syriac translation techniqe in general and that of the Harclean in particular, can gain significantly from this unique close relationship between the HKgroup of Greek MSS and the Harklensis version.