Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A note on a spelling issue in Philippians 4.3


There are three spellings in the manuscripts:  
  • suzuge: P16 (suz[uge); )* B D1 E P Y (gnhsie kai suzuge) 075; and (with the word order: suzuge gnhsie): K L 049 056 0142 0150 0151;  
  • sunzuge: P46 )2[=ca] A D*.c [text for Tregelles, Tischendorf, Westcott & Hort; Nestle 1st & 2nd ed.]; 
  • sunzugai: F G 
(evidence from Tischendorf and Wachtel & Witte, Das Neue Testament auf Papyrus. II Die Paulinischen Briefe Teil 2, 120). 

It is now customary to regard suzuge – with the assimilation of a n to the following consonant - as the original spelling (so NA27&28); and sunzuge  - involving the removal of such assimilation so as to make clear the force of the sun- compound – as characteristic of tendencies within the NT manuscript tradition (see BDF §19; cited approvingly by e.g. Reumann, Philippians, 608; the early Nestle editions printed sunzuge which was changed at some point [before the 25th edition] to suzuge – on the other hand Moulton, Grammar vol. 2, 104f is more cautious, based partly on Westcott & Hort: ‘the best MSS usually concur in retaining sun and e0n unchanged before p, y, b, f, k, g, x, z, s, l, m’, ‘Appendix 2. Notes on Orthography’, NTOG, 156); the F G reading would on this view be a phonetic variation from the non-assimilated spelling. An update to Gregory, Prolegomena, 73-76 (and more generally) in light of the NT papyri would be a desideratum, noting especially Moulton’s comment: ‘How far the oldest uncials in this matter represent the autographs must be left an open question.’, p. 105).


  1. If someone has time (?), maybe a thorough search in the CNTTS database would yield some clues ...

  2. Is it possible that this was a proper name, as is suggested in BDAG? If so, I wonder how the proper name was spelled in antiquity. If with the 'n' then this may be a reason too. The scribes, while copying, confused Paul's general reference to a "comrade" and thought he was actually referring to a person, whose name was spelled "συνζαγε." Maybe it is a wild theory.

  3. It is unattested as a name, with either spelling. Paul here calls his reader "true yokefellow" to encourage him/them to be a true yokefellow to Euodia and Syntyche.

  4. If it's any help, all the compounds in P46 beginning with the prefixes "συν-","συμ- ","συλ-", "συγ-", and "συσ-" in NA27 are always reflected as "συν-"; this seems to have been the habit of this scribe for this prefix.

    The -αι ending in F G for -ε also happens in many instances vis-a-vis P46.

  5. It appears that the change in the Nestle Text happened under Erwin, before Aland got involved.

    I've noticed that a lot of the differences between the Alexandrian and Byzantine mss consist of a transposition. Such is the case here, and I'm wondering if anyone has an idea of any grammatical considerations that may be behind one order or the other.