Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Marginal Comments Included in the Main Text

I found the following information in a rather old book and have not been able to verify this, but it looks interesting.

According to Tregelles' intro to his text of Revelation (1844), the Codex Corsendoncensis (I believe this is Gregory-Aland minuscule 3, right?) reads as follows in 2 Cor 8:4-5

δέξασθαι ἡμᾶς ἐν πολλοῖς τῶν ἀντιγράφων οὕτως εὕρηται καὶ οὐ καθὼς ἠλπίσαμεν.

The first two words δέξασθαι ἡμᾶς are an addition found in some mss, while everything from καὶ οὐ ... onwards is part of the regular text of 8:5. That leaves the words 'ἐν πολλοῖς τῶν ἀντιγράφων οὕτως εὕρηται' ('such it is found in many copies'), referring apparently to the addition of δέξασθαι ἡμᾶς. A good example of a marginal comment in the exemplar that was included in the main text. This phenomenon must have happened more often.


  1. It is indeed min. 3. Metzger (Textual Commentary) also gives the example. He refers to Bengel (NTG). In fact, Bengel himself refers to Erasmus, who already used the example as early as 1518. Perhaps I may refer to my Beyond What is Written, p. 18 n. 29 for more information.

  2. So if everyone is using the same example, how many recorded instances of included marginal notes do we actually have? The phenomenon might be actually much less common than I thought.

  3. I think there are some, but they are not normally noted, when they are obvious errors, like your example.

    On the other hand there are quite some variants that *possibly* may be explained as a marginal comment that slipped into the text, but where it is not so obvious. Then it is of course impossible to prove.

  4. "Then it is of course impossible to prove."

    Not entirely. A 'missing link' ms with the text actually added to its margin, dated sufficiently early, would be powerful evidence.

    OTOH, some texts in question, like the Johannine Comma, were obviously not added to the text of one ms from the margin of another, but had a mutual common source in the text of a versional ms.