Thursday, September 03, 2015

Unstable Text in James 3:8

The word ακαταστατον (‘unstable’) in James 3:8 invites textual variation by its very meaning, and the alternative ακατασχετον is, as far as I am concerned, a full alternative (there is a case to have it in the margin, at the very least).

The ECM2 lists the important minuscule 1739 as one of the few minuscules supporting ακαταστατον, though also noting that it reads ακατασχετον as an additional reading (that is, not clear whether it is a correction or not).

This is the screengrab from the NTVMR site (and what would we do without it?):

The interlinear alternative is formed by writing the syllable -σχε- over -στα-.

But there is something more going on, as there is a clear irregularity in the normal running text. Not only is there too much of a horizontal line connecting the -α- of -στα- to the following -τ-, there are also signs of an erased -χ-. Thus, originally 1739 did not read ακαταστατον but something like ακατασταχτ(ον). Of course, this is a nonsense form and most likely the product of the misreading of an exemplar that presented both readings already.

If this is correct, the ECM could do a variety of things to improve its representation of the reading of 1739:
  1. It could add an ‘error’ sign to 1739T, ‘1739Tf’, within the evidence for ακαταστατον, and list the form ακατασταχτον under 2.4 of the Supplementary Material(s?). But this would not indicate that the nonsense form had been corrected, so it should probably be ‘1739CTf’ or perhaps better ‘1739CT(*f)’.
  2. It could insert a ‘bf’ reading ‘ακατασταχτον’ 1739*T (I think the T should be there), and move the other variants a letter down, and have 1739CT as support for ‘ακαταστατον’.
  3. It is probably too much of a stretch to argue that the ακατασταχτον of 1739* is too unclear to determine whether its supports either of the main alternatives. That would result in listing 1739*T under ‘↔ a/b’ and otherwise as in (2).
Oh the subtleties of the apparatus!

1 comment

  1. In my compilation -- part of the e-book at -- I went with AKATASCETON.