Thursday, January 28, 2021

A Master Thesis on the Ending(s) of Mark by Bonar Lumban Raja

Here follows a very brief summary (without notes and bibliography) in English of Bonar Lumban Raja’s master thesis with the original title “Markan Ending: Penerapan Teori dan Metode Kritik Teks Perjanjian Baru Terhadap Akhir Injil Markus.” Bonar holds an M.Th. from the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Indonesia (STT Injili Indonesia Medan), where he now teaches. I have wanted to highlight his work not least because it comes from a totally different part of the world than my own privileged context.

Summary of “Markan Ending: The Application of Theory and Method of New Testament Textual Criticism to the Ending of Mark’s Gospel”


Most textual critics agree that the ending(s) of Mark reflect one of the most signficant textual problems in the New Testament. Although the issue has been vigorously debated by textual critics and commentators over the past 150 years in the Western world, it is still rarely discussed in my context in Indonesia. The ending of Mark is not simply a binary problem – whether Mark ended his Gospel at modern v. 8 with the phrase frase ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ or whether he wrote a longer ending vv. 9–20. In fact, the problem of the ending of Mark is very complex. Depending on how you count, there are at least five variants which are possible endings of the initial text of Mark. My master thesis on this topic attempts to understand how these variants appeared in the transmission of Mark by applying the so-called “Reasoned eclectic method,” taking into account external and internal evidence.

Textual Analysis of the Endings of Marks

There are six different variants of the ending of Mark reflected in the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament: The Abrupt Ending (omits vv. 9-20), the Intermediate (Short) Ending, the Intermediate Ending and the Longer Ending, the Longer Ending with the Freer Logion, the Longer Ending with critical note or sign, and the Longer Ending. The distribution of textual witnesses for these different endings of Mark are laid out in the table below according to their type (papyri, uncials, minuscules, lectionaries, early versions, and patristic citations); the traditional text type, and their date.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Darrell Post on Family 1 in John: Five New Core Members

In May last year we published a guest post by Darrell Post on the newly registered minuscule 2957.

Darrell is a graduate of Virginia Beach Theological Seminary, Here below we publish another guest post in which he identifies five new core members of Family 1 in John.




The 2011 dissertation A Textual Study of Family 1 in the Gospel of John, by Alison Welsby, presented a complete textual analysis of John’s gospel among 17 manuscripts suspected of being related to Kirsopp Lake’s famous Family 1. Welsby included a proposed family stemma and reconstructed text of the Gospel of John according to Family 1. Her completed research placed the 17 manuscripts into the following groups:

Core Group: 1, 565, 884, 1582, and 2193

Venice Group: 118, 205, 209, 2713, and 2886 (formerly 205abs)

Subgroup: 22, 1192, 1210, 1278, and 2372

Miscellaneous: 131

Not a member of Family 1: 872

In her introduction, Welsby explained her selection of the 17 codices to study. 1, 22, 118, 205, 209, 1192, 1210, and 1582 were included based on the confirmation of Amy Anderson's work on Family 1 in Matthew. 131, 872, 1278 and 2193 were also selected because Anderson had found them to be weak Family 1 members in Matthew. Then Welsby added 565, 884, and 2372 as these were not included by Anderson, but were indicated by the Text und Textwert volumes as possible members of Family 1 in John's gospel. Finally, 2886 was also included in its own right, coming out from under the shadow of being formerly known as 205abs.

Having included additions to Family 1 found in Text und Textwert, Welsby’s work gives the impression that all available witnesses to the text of Family 1 in John were included in her dissertation, leaving no others with a GA number as of the year 2011. However, it seems the manuscript clusters tool available on the INTF internet page ( was not available to Welsby back in 2011. A quick search using this tool selecting GA-1, John, and Strict Grouping, reveals a much longer list of possible Family 1 members. 138, 357, 994, and 2575 are all indicated as related to Family 1, but none were included in Welsby’s dissertation. These four additional manuscripts also include a commentary in an alternating text format, and they all include the PA in its traditional location, 7:53-8:11 (other core Family 1 members place the PA after the end of the gospel). Further use of the INTF’s Clusters tool also suggest 809 and 2702 as more distant relations to Family 1.

Welsby’s subgroup, 22, 1192, 1210, 1278, and 2372 appears to have several additional members including 19, 149, 660, 697, 791, 924, 1005, and 1365. Most of these additional cluster relationships were also observed by Bruce Morrill in his 2012 dissertation on John 18 (see GA-138 on page 147).

I have also confirmed each of these proposed additions to Family 1 in John’s gospel as part of a project to collate manuscripts of John chapter 11. 138, 357, 994, and 2575 all belong to Welsby’s core group, with these four most closely related to 884 in John 11. I also found Welsby’s subgroup to be two related clusters, both with only a minimal connection to Family 1 itself.

Finally, 2517 was found to preserve only 12 leaves of John’s gospel, and only a small portion of chapter 11. However, this portion was found to strongly match 1, 565, 1582 and 2193. Bruce Morrill found the same results for 2517 in its extant portion of John 18.

The first table below shows the percentage of agreement in John 11 among the core members and the Venice Group, while the second table shows the agreement in John 11 among the subgroup.









There are completed IGNTP transcriptions of 138, 357, and 2575 available on the INTF manuscript workspace page. These three along with 994 and 2517 need to be fully studied and integrated with the work of Welsby toward better understanding the Family 1 text of John’s gospel.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

New CSNTM Manuscript Viewer


CSNTM has launched a revamped manuscript viewer on their website and it’s quite nice. The main image is much bigger and—my favorite feature—you can make it even bigger by toggling the various panes for filters, thumbnails, and details. As always, their filters are very handy for finding certain features in the manuscript. You can read more about it here.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Center for New Testament Restoration Update

The following update came to my inbox and I thought our readers might like to know about it too. It’s from Alan Bunning, director of the Center for New Testament Restoration.
The biggest news is that I retired from Purdue University and now am working full-time at the Center for New Testament Restoration, so hopefully new improvements will be coming at a much quicker pace. Stepping out comes with some risk though, so any donations to the project are welcome. The CNTR website is now averaging about 1000 hits per day and its usage only continues to grow. Here are some of the latest updates to the CNTR project ( that I just put out today:
  • The CNTR transcriptions have been updated and made available for download in a new MES format under the CC BY-SA license. The new format is a lot easier for most users to work with, requiring only a simple text editor.
  • “vid” which is normally only shown in apparatuses is now displayed in the CNTR collation and transcriptions shown with color-coded inverse characters. This makes it easy to see what supplied words are in variants and which ones are highly probable.
  • A new filter option has been added to the transcription pages which allows the spaces and other elements to be removed leaving only the letters. This makes it easier to compare the transcription on a page to its image.
  • The CNTR Project Description has been updated and split into two documents: the CNTR Project Overview and the CNTR Technical Reference. Lots of new and improved information.
Let me know if you have any questions about these things. Comments and suggestions are welcomed.

Alan Bunning, D.Litt.
Executive Director
Center for New Testament Restoration

Thursday, January 21, 2021

2021 Logos: Texts and Manuscripts


Mike Holmes has reminded me that the deadline for the Logos Summer workshop is fast approaching. I participated in earlier iterations of the Logos workshop and it was a great experience. Some of the other students I met there are still good friends. I highly recommend it.

Here’s the description:

Logos is a workshop dedicated to equipping graduate students with the tools and knowledge needed to further Biblical studies, ancient texts and manuscripts research, museum studies, education programmes and other similar disciplines. The 2021 workshop is hosted by Scholarship & Christianity in Oxford (SCIO) and will be held at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, from 31st May to 11th June. For more information, please visit the SCIO website at

I would also note that Logos is for graduate students, and prior participation in a Scholars Initiative activity is not required.

Friday, January 15, 2021

A claim that Jesus was a woman(!) and other things I’ve read about recently


Now that I’ve got your attention with my shamelessly clickbaity title, I mention below some observations from my recent reading. But the titular claim is not the only thing I could have used as clickbait! Below are discussions on a manuscript that contains the Comma Johanneum, facsimiles of the Chester Beatty papyri, and even a romance novel inspired by a manuscript!

1. Andrew J. Brown on Codex 61

Part of my job at CSNTM has been purchasing books for our physical library. One group of books that I have been eager to acquire is the four volumes of Andrew J. Brown’s edition of Erasmus’ text in the Amsterdam series, Opera Omnia Desiderii Erasmi Roterodami (ASD VI-1 through ASD VI-4). ASD VI-1 has not been published yet, but I was especially excited to get ASD VI-4 for CSNTM. This volume covers Erasmus’ editions of 1 Timothy–Hebrew, the Catholic Epistles, and Revelation. Brown’s editions are really remarkable. Take ASD VI-4, for example: Opening the 698-page book at random, you’ll see on average about 1/4 of the two-page opening given to Erasmus’ Greek and Latin texts and 3/4 to Brown’s notes. These notes cover textual variations among Erasmus’s editions, textual variants in the manuscripts he would have had access to and even Brown’s own text-critical observations. I even updated my post about textual commentaries to include Brown’s editions there.

E. C. Colwell and Kenneth Clark Lecture Audio

Juan Hernandez has recently made a great find in the course of some internet sleuthing. But I’ll let Juan tell you about it:

In addition to discovering audio of E. C. Colwell’s lecture on poetry, I also uncovered this 1963 lecture (at PTS) titled, “The Next Steps in the Textual Criticism of the NT.” A fascinating lecture that echoed all of the classic ideas we have come to expect from Colwell (e.g., about quantitative analysis, scribal habits, text types, etc.). The lecture was clear, cogent, and forceful. Interestingly, he did not call the Western text a text-type but talked about loose affiliations and used the language of “cluster,” which is fascinating since I thought Epp was the first to suggest this. You will LOVE it. I was rapt in attention (partly in disbelief that I was hearing his actual voice after so many years of just reading him). Colwell’s lecture is followed by another by K. W. Clark on his examination of Greek manuscripts in libraries in Greece. These are true gems. At any rate, I’m sharing it with you in case you think folks on the ETC blog might like to hear a lecture from one of the twentieth century’s leading textual critics.

You can find the audio at PTS’s website. These two papers were presented at the Bible Studies Conference, 1963. Thanks, Juan! Great find.