Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fifty Digitised GNT MSS and a New Blog


British Library curator Juan Garcés notified me that he has started a new blog, The Digitised Manuscripts Blog (which of course has now been added to our blogroll). The focus is to report on various issues related to the current digitisation projects at the British Library, in particularly the Greek Manuscripts Digitisation Project funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

The British Library described the project in their "Annual Reports and Accounts 2008/2009":

Digitisation of Greek manuscripts

We are very grateful to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for making it possible for us to undertake a project to digitise 250 of our Greek manuscripts to make them fully accessible to researchers around the world through the internet. We will also create catalogue records for each item and create a website that will enable researchers to search using key words and interactive technology that will allow them to upload notes and collaborate with other researchers virtually. We aim to launch the website in summer 2010. We are continuing to fundraise to enable us to add the remaining Greek manuscripts and papyri to the site in the longer term.

In a special post yesterday, "Greek New Testament Manuscripts", Juan announced that in the first phase of that project fifty Greek New Testament manuscripts will be digitized (!): one majuscule from the 7th century; 33 minuscules from the 10th-14th centuries; and 16 lectionaries from the 11th-14th centuries. I don't know, but maybe the majuscule is Codex R (027)? [Update: confirmed by Juan Garcés in the comments.]

Joy to the world: more digitized GNT MSS.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Greek New Testament Manuscripts in Turin That Survived the Fire

When I worked on Jude I had access to a microfilm collection assembled by the Swedish scholar C. A. Albin in the 50-60's. There I came across a microfilm of Greg.-Aland 613 = Turin, Bibl. Naz. C. V. 1, that contained Jude 21-25 followed by a copy of the third century tract, On the Twelve Apostles traditionally ascribed to Hippolytus. According to the Kurzgefasste Liste this MS had been destroyed in a fire, referring to the severe fire of the Biblioteca Nazionale in Turin in 1904 that destroyed thousands of books and MSS. I also found a letter from a librarian that was enclosed with the microfilm, saying that this fragment was the only thing left of 611, 612 and 613.

Last year at the SBL in Rome, I met Matteo Grosso for the first time. He presented a paper in our Working with Biblical Manuscript unit. Then I met him again in New Orleans where he presented an improved version of the same paper. Since Matteo is from Turin, I suggested to him that he should visit his library and examine the GNT MSS there. I told him there would probably be some suprises. He agreed. Then, not much later, Martin Fassnacht of the INTF in Münster, by chance told me he was going to Turin to examine and photograph the MSS there(!) This was of course a win win situation since Matteo could then help him out in various ways, which he did.

I was also able to report to Martin everything I knew about the MSS there, and that was probably helpful, because at first they could not locate C.V.1 at all, but I told him it should be there, because it had been extant long after the fire. And, lo and behold, they were able to locate this exciting box containing 85 fragments! So now, I suspect we are in for more than what was on the microfilm I had examined.

Photo by M. Fassnacht (Februrary 2010)

There are likely to be many other surprises — there were other boxes with many fragments of various MSS - but the material now has to be properly examined and Martin will write a full report. There will be another visit to Turin to shoot some remaining MSS, and the photos will successively be uploaded to the Virtual Manuscript Room starting soon. (Martin, by the way, is one of the developers of the VMR.)

It is very nice to be able to be assist on a distance. Some time ago I was able to tip Dan Wallace and his team about an unregistered MS on Patmos when they were there. I had come across that one in a Danish microfilm collection.

Let's do our best to support these initiatives!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Two things I picked up on blogs

Matt Evans posts an interview with Dan Wallace (with news and views on NT TC and the CSNTMS)

Evan Kuehn posts on a new manuscript (in Coptic) of Athanasius' Festal Letter (AD 367) [David Brakke, 'A New Fragment of Athanasius's Thirty-Ninth Festal Letter: Heresy, Apocrypha, and the Canon' Harvard Theological Review 103 (2010):47-66]

Funds available for TC Research

Yesterday I received an email from a missionary in Nigeria who wanted to give me £10,000,000 to fund Textual Criticism research from an ETC perspective. Apparently she just found it in the basement of an old church. All I had to do was send £967 to help ship the cash to a bank, and give her my bank details and passwords. Brilliant, of course I sent her all this stuff instantly. Who wouldn't? What a provision.
So what do you think we should do with this money once it arrives? Any ideas?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Ben Myers has written Twelve theses on libraries and librarians which is well worth reading. Even more so (perhaps) is the Compendium of Beautiful Libraries to which he links - photos of glorious libraries from around the world (although perhaps Cambridge is under-represented).

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Update to the Kurzgefasste Liste

A few days ago a new update of the Kurzgefasste Liste was published by the INTF here. Apparently, the PDF updates will continue, although the complete Liste is now available in digital form in the Virtual Manuscript Room of Münster.

Since the last update one new Oxyrhynchus papyrus has been registered, and a dozen minuscules/lectionaries from Tirana, Albania (see a report here):

P 127 = Oxford, Ashmolean Museum (P. Oxy. 4968)
Date: 5th century
Content: Act 10,32- 35.40-45; 11,2-5; 11,30- 12,3.5.7-9; 15,29-30.34- 41; 16,1- 4.13-40; 17,1-10
Editio princeps: D.C. Parker, S.R. Pickering, The Oxyrhynchus Papyri LXXIV, London 2009, 1-45, Pl. II-V

See Peter Head's earlier comment on this interesting papyrus here.

2900 = Tirana, Staatsarchiv, Kod. Ko. 85
Date: 14th century
Content: Gospels

2901 = Tirana, Staatsarchiv, Kod. Ko. 92
Date: 13-14th centuries
Content: Gospels

2902 = Tirana, Staatsarchiv, Kod. Br. 93
Date: 13th century
Content: Gospels
(columns in cruciform)

2903 = Tirana, Staatsarchiv, Kod. Ar. 98
Date: 12-13th centuries
Content: Catholic Letters and Pauline Letters

L2439 = Tirana, Staatsarchiv, Kod. Vl. 7
Date: 11th century
Gospel lectionary

L2440 = Tirana, Staatsarchiv, Kod. Vl. 11
Date: 12th century
Gospel lectionary

L2441 = Tirana, Staatsarchiv, Kod. Br. 13
Date: 13th century
Gospel lectionary

L2442 = Tirana, Staatsarchiv, Kod. Br. 16
Date: 13th century
Gospel lectionary

L2443 = Tirana, Staatsarchiv, Kod. Br. 77
Date: 15th century
Gospel lectionary

L2444 = Tirana, Staatsarchiv, Kod. Br. 88
Date: 13th century
Gospel lectionary

L2445 = Tirana, Staatsarchiv, Kod. Br. 89
Date: 14th century
Gospel lectionary

The list of papyri reaches to 127;

The list of uncials reaches to 0320;

The list of minuscules reaches to 2903;

The list of lectionaries reaches to L2445.

To my knowledge this new uncial lectionary that we reported on last year has not yet been registered (don't forget to read the comments for the idenfication of the fragments as a lectionary).

Friday, February 12, 2010

Contemporary editorial corruption

Contemporary examples of the sort of scribal phenomena we find in ancient MSS sometimes offer interesting points of comparison. Herewith a recent example I experienced. In an essay for a composite volume I had written:
“In addition, nearly the whole New Testament could be reconstructed on the basis of quotations by ancient writers.”
Somewhere in the process between submission and page proofs, an anonymous editor, presumably educated and experienced, re-wrote it to read:
“In addition, nearly ancient writers could reconstruct the whole New Testament on the basis of quotations.”
Almost certainly a deliberate change--to recast the sentence from a passive to active form--and certainly nonsensical and amusing.

Textual Corruption Costs Job


Luke 23.34 in NA27

The other day in class we were looking at Luke 23 and a student mentioned that v34a was not present in all the manuscripts. Good for her, I thought - even first years need to get their heads into such issues. Then I took a look at my NA27 and found the apparatus a little confusing, I think because it uses the term txt in the apparatus for witnesses supporting the reading of v34a, BUT this is not really the txt because it is enclosed in double square brackets - meaning that the editors DO NOT think it is the text of Luke. The NA27 txt is to omit the half verse.

I had a quick look at some other double square bracketed passages (Luke 22.43f; John 7.53-8.11; Mark 16.9-20) and these are treated quite differently, and a little more clearly. The double square brackets themselves form the link to the apparatus (in Luke 23.34 it is the little square); and then we are given the witnesses which don't have the passage and those which do (none are designated as txt).

I suppose Luke 23.34 may have been treated a little differently because it is only half a verse; but my modest recommendation would be that this is revised in NA28 so that txt is not used in such a confusing way.

Someone with a computerised-thingy could probably identify all the double square brackets in NA27 and see whether Luke 23.34 is alone in this treatment.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stupid History

I have a desk calendar called "Stupid History" that gives you daily facts on funny and ironic events of history. Today's stupid history describes how in 1716, the Oxford University Press, printed 500 copies of a book titled Translation of the New Testament from Coptic into Latin by David Wilkins. It took 191 years to sell all 500 copies. On the upside, I'm sure Wilkins' book made a huge impact on Oxford University's RAE submission in that year.

New Handbook on Greek Palaeography

A new handbook on Greek palaeography is out:

Hermann Harrauer
Handbuch der griechischen Paläographie
Band 20 der Reihe "Bibliothek des Buchwesens"
Anton Hierseman Verlag
ISBN 978-3-7772-0925-8
2010, Gebunden, XIII, 534 Seiten, 24 x 16 mm
188,00 €

For more details see publisher's website here.

HT: What's New in Papyrology

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Journal: SEE-JNTS

There is a new journal which has only just been launched: Scandinavian Evangelical E-Journal for New Testament Studies (SEE-JNTS). I think the title tells you already a fair bit about it - it is Scandinavian (but publishing mostly in English), it is Evangelical (and based at the Copenhagen Lutheran School of Theology), it is an Electronic Journal (on-line not in print; 'peer reviewed'), and it covers New Testament Studies. I don't know if Tommy is involved (he is after all a Scandinavian evangelical on-line New Testament scholar), but they would welcome submissions.

Putting the Distigmai in Their Place: Payne's Response Posted in PDF

I have now uploaded Phil Payne's full response in PDF format here:

Critique of “The Marginalia of Codex Vaticanus: Putting the Distigmai in Their Place” presented by Peter M. Head to the NT Textual Criticism Seminar Nov. 21, 2009 in New Orleans

It will also be available under TC Files in the right sidebar.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Blogging at SBL

There is a new group at SBL

The SBL Blogger and Online Publication section invites proposals for papers in two sections for the 2010 annual meeting. Session 1 will be an invited session exploring the history of blogging, the rise of the Internet and its use by biblical scholars, and the future of blogging. Session 2 will be an open session calling for papers focusing on any area of biblical studies, theology, archaeology of the Levant, and the use of blogging in these fields. The second session also invites 60-second profiles of individual blogs, which will be included in a highlight of blog sites. Contributors are welcome to present papers for presentation or 60-second summaries of their blogs for inclusion in a single, 20-minute survey of the top biblical studies related blogs in the web.

There was some discussion of this on the blogs late last year (see e.g. here, here, here). Two observations on this call for papers:
  • a) although the headline adds 'online publication' (an area of legitimate academic interest and fundamental for the future of the discipline) the rest of it focuses on 'blogging' (generally of rather less academic interest, especially the future which we shall discover soon enough if we live long enough) - this I think is rather unfortunate;
  • b) the idea of 60 second profiles of blogs does not allow any sort of critical reflection, it just seems to offer 60 seconds of publicity to blogsters who bother to put in a proposal.
  • c) the idea of going to a whole session of blogging and missing out on something about the Bible is deeply distressing to me; imagine if this session clashed with NT TC or Papyrology? Gosh.
My inclination is to maintain ETCs steadfast independence from such frivolities, but YMMV. What do you think?

Bagnall's Early Christian Books in Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Roger Bagnall Early Christian Books in Egypt (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009), has been reviewed by Benjamin Garstad, Grant MacEwan University in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2010-02-10.

The review is duplicated on the Bryn Mawr Classical Review blog here, where readers can comment.

See earlier reports and reviews of Bagnall's book here, here and here.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Putting the Distigmai in Their Place: Payne Strikes Back pt. 5

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).

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.[1]

2. Irregular size dot(s) in the distigme.[2]

3. Non-horizontal orientation of the dots.[3]

4. Irregular spacing between the dots.[4] 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).[5]

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[6] and three are near the bottom.[7]

7. Juxtaposition next to more than one other dot or other marking.[8]

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.[9]

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.[10] 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.[11]

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[12]) 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.[13] 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.”[14] 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.

[1] The clearest exception to this among the apricot color distigmai is the slightly elongated dots in the distigme at 1279 C 41.

[2] 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.

[3] 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.

[4] 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.

[5] 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.

[6] 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 that 1277 C 19 is a mirror impression; see n. 72.

[7] 1300 A 37, 1300 A 39, and 1466 B 6.

[8] 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.

[9] 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.

[10]1243 B 21, 1339 C 42, 1350 B 18, and 1351 A 6.

[11] Cf. the examples listed above, p. 12.

[12] Cf. above, n. 72 regarding 1277 C 19.

[13] Cf. above, p. 4.

[14] 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

Friday, February 05, 2010

Grinfield Lectures on the Septuagint 2010


From oral translation to textual transmission

PROFESSOR ANNELI AEJMELAEUS (for general details and publications see here), University of Helsinki, will deliver the second series of Grinfield Lectures on the Septuagint at 5 p.m. on the following days in the Examination Schools in Oxford (England).

From textual transmission to critical edition (Second series)

Thursday 18 Feb: 'Collation of Evidence'at 5.00 pm in the Examination Schools.

Thursday 25 Feb: 'Recensional developments'at 5.00 pm in the Examination Schools.

Thursday 4 Mar: 'Problems of the critical text'at 5.00 pm in the Examination Schools.

(details here; previously here)

HT: J. Aitken's office door.

Up-dated to correct the errors (thanks for the comments).

Hebrew Manuscripts Week


The Wellcome Library in London is hosting a week-long study course based around their Hebrew manuscripts from 15–19 February 2010. Details (HT: J. Aitken's office door).

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Quiz: SBL TC Audience

The SBL-site publishes various photos from their past meetings. Follow the link to this photo and you will find (hopefully) an very interested audience in a session on NT textual criticism.

Identify as many as you can!

Extra bonus if you can identify the exact session.

(The photo may be swapped, but here is a direct link to the photo.)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


2135 is the Unicode hexidecimal number for the Gregory-Aland Codex Sinaiticus siglum (ℵ). This siglum is distinct from the Hebrew character Aleph which means that when you include this character, the text direction does not change. Although many are not friendly to Microsoft Word, the various critical sigla from the Nestle-Aland editions all have unicode designations. For an overview, read this old blog entry at Four Senses. The Unicode Consortium has a PDF with most of the relevant encodings, here.

Marc Multilingue Project On-line

J.K. Elliott tells me that the Marc Multilingue Project, in which he is involved, now has a web-site here, (unfortunately only in French). The project was presented in an article in Fil Neot 29-30 (2002): 3-17, available on-line here.

The article was summarized by Peter Williams on this blog a few years agohere.

Williams said:
It describes a significant collaborative project to produce ten volumes on the Gospel of Mark, with each version provided with its own volume. Languages covered are Greek, Latin, Gothic, Coptic, Georgian, Armenian, Arabic, Christian Palestinian Aramaic, Syriac and Slavic. It will attempt to present text forms diplomatically, while also showing the relationship between them.

The edition will set out texts in their relative sequence, starting with D followed by W, since it is believed (by Amphoux) that D may represent the earliest form of the text of Mark we have (I would have preferred P45).

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

2011: Four hundred years of the KJV

Next year is the four hundredth anniversary of the KJV. The 2011 Trust is up and running and organising some celebrations and debates. There is also something planned in Cambridge (more on that later). Perhaps we should have some special ETC posts to prepare. Any volunteers?

Explicit References to New Testament Variant Readings Among Greek and Latin Church Fathers

In December, Mike Holmes reported here that Amy Donaldson had successfully defended her thesis “Explicit References to New Testament Variant Readings Among Greek and Latin Church Fathers,” in partial fulfillment of requirements for the Ph.D. degree at the University of Notre Dame.

Holmes expressed his hopes that the dissertation (the catalog, in particular) be published sooner than later. Apparently, the complete dissertation in two parts was made publicly available soon thereafter in the database University of Notre Dame Electronic Theses & Dissertations (HT Wieland Willker). We can be very thankful to Amy for sharing her significant work in this way. I hope the study will still be published in print. In any case I am sure that it will be widely cited in years to come.

In his introduction to New Testament textual criticism, Eberhard Nestle stated a desideratum, later repeated by Bruce Metzger, for a collection, arranged according to time and locality, of all passages in which the church fathers appeal to New Testament manuscript evidence. Nestle began this project with a list of references; Metzger continued the work by examining the explicit references to variants by Origen and Jerome and expanding Nestle’s list. This dissertation picks up where Metzger left off, expanding and evaluating the list. The purpose is to contribute to patristics and New Testament textual criticism in two ways: first, by providing a helpful catalogue of patristic texts that refer to variant readings; and second, by analyzing the collected data with a focus on the text-critical criteria used by the fathers.

The dissertation begins by considering the social and historical backdrop of the early church, especially textual scholarship in antiquity and its patristic application to the Old Testament. The explicit references to variants are then examined, first by individual father (organized by Greek and Latin), then by variant (for the variants discussed by multiple authors). This information is then summarized in terms of literary genres in which the references occur and the criteria used to evaluate the variants. After a general assessment of New Testament textual scholarship by the early church (including recensional and scribal activity), patristic textual criticism is compared to modern practice to assess to what extent the church fathers engaged in textual criticism and what insights we can gain from them today.

The second volume contains the catalogue of explicit references to variants (each entry includes the variants and their textual evidence in modern critical editions, the Greek or Latin excerpt and English translation, and a brief discussion of the context). Passages that discuss textual problems but are not explicit references to variants are collected separately. In an appendix, the lists by Nestle and Metzger are compared alongside the list of texts in the catalogue, followed by another appendix on Bede, and a third appendix containing a brief biography and bibliography for each father cited in the catalogue.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Chris Jordan on Gospel Lectionaries

Chris Jordan recently defended his Birmingham PhD entitled:

The Textual Tradition of the Gospel of John in Greek Gospel Lectionaries from the Middle Byzantine Period (8th-11th century)

Here are details that he's sent to me:

'It has been over 50 years since the last doctoral dissertation on the Gospel of John in the Greek lectionary tradition. The writer of this dissertation on the pericopae of the Gospel of John in the Synaxarion section of the Greek Gospel lectionary hopes that it will ignite an interest in the lectionary tradition within the discipline of New Testament Textual Criticism. The pages of this dissertation are the groundwork for the lectionary phase of the International Greek New Testament Project and its major criticial edition of John.

During the Middle Byzantine period (8th-11th century) the Gospel lectionary emerges as a liturgical codex of the Byzantine Church. One hundred and twenty-six Greek Gospel lectionaries from this period are examined at forty-four carefully selected test passages in John. One places the manuscripts in their Byzantine context, studies the lectionary evidence as documents, highlights the textual and paratextual variation in the lectionary tradition, discusses genealogical issues, explores the method of lectionary construction, and investigates the relationship between the lectionary tradition and the continuous text manuscript tradition.'

It was a privilege to teach Chris for a brief period while he was at Aberdeen and to look at NT mss with him. Now many congratulations go to him on successful completion of the doctorate in this underexplored area. Individuals considering topics for doctorates in NT TC would do well to consider this as a potential area for exploration. If so, Birmingham, UK, would be a very good place to choose.

Putting the Distigmai in Their Place: Payne Strikes Back pt. 4

This is the fourt 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 here, here and here.

When I heard Head’s paper I received the impression he was asserting that a comparison of the Vaticanus text in every line marked with a distigme in the Gospels to the corresponding text in Erasmus’s Greek NT shows a textual variant distinguishing 92% of these two texts. Apparently Wasserman received a similar impression, for he writes, “Peter had compared the published text of Erasmus reflecting MSS available in his time and had found that in the gospels there was a 92% match between Erasmus edition and the distigmai. If one includes the notes in Erasmus the rate goes up to 98%! This supports Niccums’ [sic] thesis. … Head thinks the 98% match with Erasmus is the death-knell of Payne’s theory.”[1] Even now that I have Head’s paper, I find several statements that seem to imply that Head was referring to variant readings between Erasmus’s Greek text and Vaticanus: “[Sepulveda’s] comparison between Erasmus’s edition and this most ancient manuscript … Vaticanus. … I believe this confirms the late date of the distigmai in the margins of Vaticanus, and even provides us with a name and setting of the person responsible.”

Listening to Head’s paper, I found this assertion of 92% / 98% correspondence between distigmai and variants in Erasmus’s text the most compelling part of his argument. I was puzzled, however, how a single Greek text (Erasmus’s) could have a higher percentage of significant variants[2] than all surviving manuscripts combined. Since Head did not identify which edition of Erasmus’s Greek NT gave these percentages, I used what I have in my library, a reprint of Erasmus’s Greek NT with his Latin translation printed in Basil by Nicolaum Bryling in 1553, to check whether these percentages accurately represent the frequency of textual variants between Vaticanus and Erasmus’s Greek NT. As a test page I used the first Vaticanus page Head displayed in his talk, page 1428, containing nine distigmai. I found that Erasmus’s Greek text varies from Vaticanus in only four of the nine distigmai lines on that page, namely 44% of them.[3] This percentage is only slightly higher than the frequency of textual variants in random lines in Vaticanus and so provides very weak support for Head’s thesis that a comparison with Erasmus’s NT text explains the presence of distigmai. This percentage is far closer to the 35% of random lines[4] in Vaticanus that contain a significant variant[5] than it is to either the percentage of NA27 variants in lines by a distigme adjacent to a bar/obelos (24 out of 28 lines[6] = 86%) or the percentage of NA variants in lines by an apricot color distigme (36[7] of 51 lines = 71%).

Since Head repeatedly associates Erasmus’s text with manuscripts of that period, I also compared how many of the fifty-one apricot color distigmai are by a line where the NA27 lists a variant in the Majority text. Only 23 out of 51 are so listed,[8] so even if Erasmus’s text has a textual variant in every one of these, this would constitute only a 45% correlation, a very low correlation compared to my own tests demonstrating a statistically strong correlation between Vaticanus distigmai and significant textual variants as listed in the NA27. Similarly, Willker writes, “Did Peter say 92% are TR variants? Compared to what? Vaticanus? Vulgate? NA? - I would like to see a table. 
In my count only about 50% are Majority/TR variants (vs. NA).”[9] These comparisons indicate that there is a very weak correlation between distigmai and significant textual variants in Erasmus’s Greek NT text compared with a very strong correlation between distigmai and textual variants as listed in the NA27. I and, apparently, Wasserman misunderstood and, consequently, were mislead by Head’s 92% and 98% figures into thinking that there is this incredibly high correlation between distigmai and variants in Erasmus’s Greek text, when in fact there is not.

Now that I have a copy of Head’s paper, however, I realize that he was not using the term “textual variant” as I was, to refer to different Greek texts, but to differences between Greek and Latin texts: “92% of all the distigmai in the Gospels match passages of variation between that exact line of Vaticanus and the Greek and/or Latin text of Erasmus. If we further take account of variant readings noted by Erasmus in his Annotations (again offering contemporary manuscript evidence) this rate extends to 98%.” Head’s conclusion further broadens the pool of comparison, “Sepulveda carefully compared Vaticanus with other manuscripts in Greek and Latin, and with Erasmus’s edition. Comparison with sixteenth-century witnesses accounts for 98% of the distigmai in the Gospels.”

Why would Head include Erasmus’s Latin text as a basis for identifying Greek textual variants? Head states that he agrees with me that “the distigmai mark places of textual variation between Vaticanus and other texts known to the dotter.” I assumed when I heard this that Head, like me, was referring to textual variants that could help establish the original form of the Greek text or otherwise explain the development of the Greek NT text. Erasmus’s Latin text is not a reproduction of any other Latin text nor does it have any independent value in establishing the original form of the Greek NT text or its subsequent development. Consequently, if one is looking for textual variants between Vaticanus and Erasmus’s text, the only text of Erasmus that is relevant is his Greek text. It makes no sense to compare Erasmus’s Latin text to find textual variants between Erasmus’s Greek text and Vaticanus. Why choose a derivative translated text for a basis of a Greek collation when the directly comparable text is on the facing page?

How does one identify textual variants between a Greek text (Vaticanus) and a Latin text? The only way I can imagine is to look for Latin translations that do not accurately reflect the Greek text and to presume that a differing Greek text caused them. I recently had an experience that shows how unreliable a translation can be for making judgments regarding textual variants. I emailed the chairman of the NIV revision committee a document identifying over 100 instances where the NIV text does not accurately reflect the underlying Greek in passages in Paul’s letters related to the ministry of women in church. If I had concluded that all or most, or even some, of these translation errors indicated the NIV text was based on a Greek text other than the one I used for my critique, I would have been wrong, for I know that the NIV translators used the same NA and UBS Greek texts that I used to make my criticisms. Consequently, one cannot assume that differences in translation, whether English or Latin, necessarily or even usually identify underlying Greek textual variants. Since my initial comparisons of Erasmus’s Greek text do not produce anywhere near a 92% correlation with textual variants in Vaticanus distigmai lines, I have serious doubts about Head’s assertion, “A careful investigation of the Gospel text of Vaticanus with a distagme [sic] (in the Gospels) and the Latin and Greek texts of Erasmus by my colleague Leslie McFall resulted in a 92% match rate.”

In order to be convincing, Head will need to establish that a very high percentage of the lines in Vaticanus next to a distigme have a significant textual variant in that same portion of text in Erasmus’s Greek NT text. Such a tabulation should not include variations in spelling, since if de Sepulveda were including things that minor, there would probably be thousands of distigmai in Vaticanus. If minor variants are included, the percentages could not be fairly compared with the percentages I have found of significant textual variants of the sort that the NA27 identifies. Furthermore, since distigmai occur throughout Vaticanus, if de Sepulveda is the source of all these in Vaticanus as Head’s thesis states, it would mean that de Sepulveda probably compared the entire Greek NT text of Erasmus with Vaticanus. Do the distigmai in Vaticanus mark all or virtually all of the locations where there are textual variants in Erasmus’s text? To the degree that differences between Erasmus’s text and Vaticanus are not marked by distigmai, Head’s thesis is weakened.

One should expect a higher frequency of textual variants in Erasmus’s Greek text corresponding to text following a distigme in Vaticanus than in random Erasmus text since the NA27 identifies textual variants in 𝔐 in 45% of such text compared to only 35% of random text in Vaticanus. Since McFall may have included as textual variants many minor variants that the NA27 does not list, I would not be surprised if he can identify significantly more than 45% correspondence between distigmai text and Erasmus’s Greek text. If McFall adds to this anything he construes as a textual variant in Erasmus’ Latin text, then, of course, that percentage will rise further.

Unless Head clearly defines what he means by “textual variant” his figures of 92% or 98% are meaningless. How minor can differences be and still fit his definition of “textual variant”? Does his definition include spelling variants? Does it include the absence or presence of nomina sacra? Does it include differences that do not affect the meaning or message of the text? Does his definition include textual variants in other Greek texts available in Erasmus’s time? Does his definition include differences in Erasmus’s Latin text? Does his definition include textual variants in other Latin texts available in Erasmus’s time? If so, what constitutes a Latin textual variant? What assurance can he provide that he is not including as textual variants the sorts of differences that I regard as errors in translation in the NIV but are not based on any Greek textual variant? I simply cannot believe that there are far more significant textual variants between the distigmai lines in Vaticanus and Erasmus’s Greek NT text than in all Greek manuscripts combined, which is what I originally thought Head meant by 92% and 98% and which is what it should mean if he defines “textual variant” as I and most others have in discussions of the Vaticanus distigmai up until now.

Furthermore, there must be a control group using the same definition of “textual variant” in order to assess the significance of percentages of correlation. If “textual variant” is defined so broadly that 92% of distigmai lines have one, but a similarly high percentage of non-distigmai lines also have such a “textual variant,” the 92% is not credible evidence, for it has no statistical significance. In light of the already established higher correspondence between Vaticanus distigme lines and textual variants in the Majority text (𝔐) than in random lines of Vaticanus and the relationship between Erasmus’s text and the Majority text, one should expect a higher percentage of textual variants in Erasmus’s Greek text corresponding to Vaticanus distigme text than in random Erasmus Greek text. One should take this into account in any conclusions drawn from comparisons of Erasmus’s “distigme text” to Erasmus’s “control text.” My own use of a control group of 540 random lines in Vaticanus was essential for getting significant chi-square probability results[10] confirming the correlation between significant textual variations and lines marked by distigmai.

Head writes with apparent approval that “Niccum noted that in 1533 J.G. Sepulveda had written to Erasmus about the results of a comparison between Erasmus’s edition and this most ancient manuscript ‘most diligently and accurately copied out in uncials’. De Sepulveda had, according to this letter, been comparing the text of Vaticanus both with Greek and Latin manuscripts extant in his time and with Erasmus’s edition, and on the basis of this study sent Erasmus a list of 365 readings, apparently where Vaticanus and the Vulgate agreed against the Greek text published by Erasmus.” Head’s paper lacks documentation that de Sepulveda added distigmai to Vaticanus or actually sent such a list to Erasmus.[11] The most obvious way for Head to establish the thesis that de Sepulveda penned all the Vaticanus distigmai in the process of comparing Erasmus’s edition to Vaticanus, would be to compare the Greek NT text of Erasmus to Codex Vaticanus and demonstrate the following two statements to be true:

1. Wherever there is a textual variant between these two texts, there is a distigme.

2. Wherever there is a distigme, there is a textual variant between these two texts.

My own preliminary comparisons of Erasmus’s Greek NT text to Vaticanus distigme lines shows that neither of these is true, nor is either anywhere close to being true.

Furthermore, if de Sepulveda himself penned the distigmai in order to identify locations in Vaticanus that differed from Erasmus’s Greek NT text, as Head’s thesis seems to postulate (“a comparison between Erasmus’s edition and this most ancient manuscript”), why when he wrote to Erasmus did he speak of only 365 variants instead of 825?[12] If Head’s explanation of the 365 is that this is limited to those distigmai passages “where Vaticanus and the Vulgate agreed against the Greek text published by Erasmus,” one might attempt to establish this by showing that 365 of the 825 distigmai lines contain textual variants differing from both Erasmus’s Greek NT text and the Vulgate text. Identifying textual variants based on a translation, however, is, as explained above, subjective and prone to error.

More fundamentally, if de Sepulveda were comparing multiple manuscripts to Erasmus’s Greek NT, wouldn’t it make far more sense for him to mark up a copy of Erasmus’s Greek NT for this purpose than to mark up irreplaceable manuscripts? If someone noted variants directly on multiple original manuscripts, he or she would have to go through each manuscript to tabulate a total. But if that person noted the variants directly in a copy of Erasmus’s Greek NT, that single source would hold all the suspect readings and would permit that person to tabulate those with relative ease. Furthermore, since according to Head, de Sepulveda’s concern was to establish errors in Erasmus’s Greek NT, that is not only the most logical place to note them, Erasmus’s text is the only text that would include all the suspect readings in question.

By Head’s view de Sepulveda had the audacity to pen “perhaps 825” distigmai in Codex Vaticanus, the NT manuscript with the reputation for being more carefully guarded than any other. Furthermore, Head’s thesis requires that de Sepulveda not only wrote on virtually every leaf of Vaticanus, he turned pages containing “more than fifty” of them while the ink was so wet these distigmai left mirror impressions on the facing page! It is hard to imagine someone in de Sepulveda’s position treating Vaticanus in such a careless manner to note variants with Erasmus’s or other texts.

Nor is it likely that a sixteenth-century scribe would mark so many other Vaticanus readings as textual variants that were standard in his day. Nor does Head’s conjecture explain the distigmai that occur where no known manuscript has a significant variant. Such occurrences are natural, however, if the original scribe was noting variants in the fourth century since most, if not all, of the manuscripts available to the scribe of Vaticanus are no longer extant.

Furthermore, neither Niccum nor Head gives any evidence that fifteen or sixteenth century scribes conventionally used distigmai to note textual variants or that de Sepulveda was even aware of this use for distigmai. Nor does Head explain what manuscript source at that time would account for the diversity of textual variants represented by the distigmai in Vaticanus. Willker observes that: “In general there is no CLEAR pattern in the witness support for the various umlauts. We have support from
- D only,
- Byz only,
- D + Byz,
- P46 only,
- some minuscule MSS only.
IMHO this indicates that not one single MS has been used for comparison, but more than one.”[13] How can Erasmus’s text by itself or in combination with other sixteenth century texts account for variants that are attested in, e.g., D alone or 𝔓46 alone?

Furthermore, Curt Niccum told me personally that he does not believe that de Sepulveda penned the distigmai in Codex Vaticanus, in spite of his earlier statement, “Evidence suggests Sepulveda introduced these [distigmai]. … Sepulveda must have shared … the reading καῦδα at Acts 27.16 … attested only in Vaticanus and Sinaiticuscorr.”[14] This reading, however, is also in 𝔓74, 1174, it, etc., cf. UBS4. This error is pivotal since Niccum argued from this reading’s rarity that distigmai “originated with de Sepulveda.” Unless Niccum has changed his view again, it is incorrect to say that it is Niccum’s position that de Sepulveda penned the distigmai. [15]

[1] Cited from

[2] As judged by the variants identified in the NA27.

[3] The four lines in Vaticanus with a different text in Erasmus’s text are in James 3:2-3, 5, 6, and 12b. The five without a variant are in James 3:7, 12a, 15, 17 and 4:4.

[4] Based on the 540 control lines identified in the table in Payne, “Fuldensis,” 253.

[5] As judged by the variants identified in the NA27.

[6] See the table in Payne, “Fuldensis,” 253 plus one I had missed, 1332 C 20 at Luke 14:24.

[7] The NA25 lists a variant in two of these that are not listed in the NA27: 1277 C 19 (Mark 1:5) and 1356 B 24 (John 5:25). Cf. Payne and Canart, “Distigmai.”

[8] This takes into account NA27 convention stated on p. 13* that “𝔐 has the status of a consistently cited witness of the first order. Consequently in instances of a negative apparatus, where support for the text is not given, the reading attested by 𝔐 may safely be inferred: if it is not otherwise explicitly cited, it agrees with txt (=the text).”

[9] Cited from

[10] My calculations include Yate’s correction for continuity. Cf. Payne, Man and Woman, 241-42, and forthcoming, Payne and Canart, “Distigmai.” Cf. the summary above in footnote 1.

[11] This is questioned by Carlo M. Martini, Il problema della recensionalità del codice B alla luce del papiro Bodmer XIV (Analecta biblica 26; Rome: Pontificium Inst. Bibl., 1966), 8, n. 20; who suggests that the existence of these readings was mentioned to Erasmus but that the list was never actually sent to him, cf. Stephen Pisano, “III. The Text of the New Testament,” pages 27-41 in the Prolegomena volume to Bibliorum sacrorum graecorum Codex Vaticanus B: Bibliothecae Apostolicae Vaticanae Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209 (Rome: Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, 1999), 21. The remaining copies of this set of the Codex Vaticanus B facsimile and its Prolemonena are available at

[12] The number of distigmai by Head’s count.

[13] Willker, “Umlauts: Distribution of the Umlauts,” exactly reproducing Willker’s bold text.

[14] E.g. Niccum, “Voice,” 245, n. 20. “One can only conclude that some scholar after 1400 compared Vaticanus with another text, noting places of variation and/or agreement in the margin.”

[15] I notified Head of this at breakfast the day of his SBL paper.

Sinaiticus in Times Literary Supplement

In the recent Times Literary Supplement, published on Friday 29 January, J. K. Elliott has a piece on Codex Sinaiticus and its digitization. The article is available at Times online for subscribers.

Editor Peter Stothard notes:
There is further consolation for the anxious this week in J. K. Elliott’s celebration of the British Library’s extraordinary achievement in uniting in digital form one of the oldest biblical manuscripts, the Codex Sinaiticus. The story of how schoolchildren and the unemployed contributed to buying the British sections from Stalin was told in an exhibition last year; the online version, which brings together parts scattered in four physical locations, is already being studied in new detail and by millions who would otherwise have struggled to see it at all.