Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Can Textual Criticism Be Exciting?

Recently, on the blog Biblical Studies at Leuven, Loretta H. Y. Man shared her experience of an internship at the Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung (INTF) in Münster, where she participated in the project Editio Critica Maior. Her task was to transcribe Mark’s Gospel in Greg.-Aland 2487. Can this be exciting? Read her answer here (and try out her quiz).

I wonder whether Loretta found any interesting readings in 2487.


  1. Yes, TC can be exciting! I have had very similar experiences in my collation work on 2907. I have now finished the synoptic gospels and just have to complete the Gospel of John. There have been many things that I have found exciting. Of course the best find in this minuscule is the lack of the pericope adulterae, but throughout Luke there are a significant number of readings that are otherwise found only in the Western text. I also found a number of curious ligatures that needed to be "solved." I also had the complication of two later hands who defaced the original script, and the last one wrote right over the faint original letters attempting to darken them. This truly has been a rewarding, and exciting experience.

  2. Darrell, would you then describe 2097 as a B-text with some distinctive D-text readings?

  3. Timo,

    Its too early to say, as I still need to complete John's gospel. But so far, it appears that the Western flavor in 2907 is limited to Luke's gospel. But in the end, I expect that yes, it will be a Byz (Aland Cat 5) text with some distinctive western readings. If John's gospel turns out to be better than I expected, then perhaps the whole manuscript could be classified as a Category 3 (mixed).

  4. These Western readings in Luke may turn out not to be so distinctively Western after all. In the WH text of Luke there are many Western readings.

  5. Darrell, to clarify,

    A-text = Byz
    B-text = Alexandrian
    C-text = mixed
    D-text = Western

    I was thinking Alexandrian text because of the lack of pericope adulterae, but your further description means the manuscript might be a C-text. Or an A-text in Mt/Mk/Jn (cat 5) and a C-text in Lk (cat 3)

  6. Thanks Timo. 2907 will almost certainly be classified as Byzantine. But as to the Western readings, check out Luke 19:45 in your NA apparatus. The long reading of Codex D at the end of the verse is found also in 2907.

    But as to the pericope adulterae, the fact that it is missing in 2907 probably relates more to the weakness of the reading than it does the strength of 2907 as a witness.

  7. Thx Darrell. That is interesting, because the longer reading of codex D is almost certainly a harmonization to the Marcan parallel passage (Mk 11:15), where codex A has EN AUTW instead of EN TW IERW, and some manuscripts (N W Theta f13 28 565 700) add EXECHEEN after KOLLYBISTWN, like in codex D of Lk 19:45. I wonder what the Münster guys would make of this in terms of genealogical dependencies :)