Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pay for the Peace of Jerusalem?

A while ago on the textual criticism discussion list Jeff Cate drew the attention to a typo in an edition of the 1966 Jerusalem Bible where an "r" was left out so that Psalm 122:6 reads: "Pay for the peace of Jerusalem." (Ironically it happened in the Jerusalem Bible.) But, of course it is also true that often someone has to pay for the peace.

Do we have other funny examples?

Let's include the scribes also. Here are some examples from Metzger's introduction:

There is a curious omission in John 17:5 in Vaticanus resulting in: "I do not pray that you should take them from the evil one."

In Rev 15:6 the seven angels are "robed in pure bright linen" but in Alexandrinus, Ephraemi Rescriptus and some Vulgate MSS they are "robed in pure bright stone."

In John 5:39 codex Bezae has Jesus say of the Scriptures not that "they bear witness concerning me," but that "they are sinning concerning me"!

And, I have saved this famous one for last: In codex 109, copied from an exemplar which must have had Luke's genealogy of Jesus written in two columns, the scribe copied the genealogy by following the lines across the two columns. Everyone is made the son of the wrong father. God (who stands at the end of the genealogy in Luke 3:38) is said to have been the son of Aram, and Phares has taken God's place as the source of all.


  1. MS 713, at Matt 4:1, says that Jesus was led into the desert "to be tempted by the Spirit."

  2. In (some of) the Swanson volumes he has an appendix highlighting unique and bizarre readings.

  3. 2670:
    Mt 1:16 And Joseph begat the husband of Mary, ...

  4. In his 1 Corinthians volume he picks out as interesting:
    15.22 MS 365: 'as in Abraham all died'
    15.24 MS F: 'when he hands over the kingdom to God and to the Spirit'.

  5. RSV, Psalm 50:9 "I will accept no bull from your house."

    Sorry, not a typo, but worth mention.

  6. And speaking of typo's:

    That should be John 17:15, not 17:5.

    Yours ib Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  7. One of my favorite scribal typos is 2692* at Lk 10:38 reading "...Martha received him εις τον κολπον αυτης"

    The funniest typo from my own hand (as far as I am aware of) is found in my first essay as an undergraduate produced in Tübingen (in 1982) reading "...die Freizeit des göttlichen Logos..."

    With a German dictionary and a look at a German keyboard you should be able to make a reasonable conjecture as to what the intended correct reading must have been.

  8. IIRC, one of the early Palestinian Arabic mss had "Pray for a piece of Jerusalem."

  9. Hi Tommy,

    I was able to verify that the typo did occur in an initial printing of the JB 1966, and someone was kind enough to send me a xerox copy of it... just for verification that it wasn't an internet urban legend. Technically, the JB has it worded, "P[r]ay for peace in Jerusalem." It's an interesting example that even in the age of printing, the text is not immune to human influence. :-)

  10. My favourite is the mistake in the minuscule 700. In Mark 10:7, the text says ἕνεκεν τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν μητέρα καὶ προσκολληθήσεται πρὸς τὴν... μητέρα αὐτοῦ. Of course, there is a correction on the margin. You can see the image here. http://vaisamar.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/closeup.jpg

  11. I was reading an English edition of Philo's de Gigantibus, and saw the following at VIII.35:

    "the Scripture saith, 'He shall come near to him to uncover his nakedness"

    The Scripture being misquoted is Leviticus 18:6. (VIII.35, X.40)

  12. Found a good one lately in 2684*, seemingly advocating cannibalism: Πόθεν ἀγοράσωμεν ἄστους ἵνα φάγωσιν οὗτοι;