Monday, November 29, 2010

Codex B: Jn 17:15 homoioteleuton

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Mr. Scrivener describes ably the situation here:

"The full force of the homoeoteleuton features is not seen until previous lines are considered at an appropriate line-length, as above. Fully 53% of letters are duplicated in the previous line, and another 20% in the line before that. There are 12 different vulnerable letter-alignments possible with this line-length alone. One can double that taking an alternate line-length of 15 chars per line."  
- Mr. Scrivener, TC-Alt-List
Any early papyri could have about this line-length, and be the culprit creating the opportunity for Codex B's blunder.    But other line-lengths offer similar opportunities:

Since there is no extant immediate ancestor for B, it could very well be a mistake by the copyist of B himself.

On the other hand, these errors are so common, that Codex B may have simply copied the error from his exemplar, and so we have a previous scribe to blame.

All textual critics recognise and class this as a "first-generation error", and so it will not be found in the apparatus of any critical edition of the Greek NT.

But this example along with the judgement of the majority of critics makes an obvious point:  Codex B and/or his ancestors were quite capable of making homoioteleuton errors and failing to catch them, allowing repetition of these mistakes for at least 1 or 2 copying generations.

 It is critically important then, to examine every minority reading found in Codex Vaticanus and its supporting witnesses, that presents the features of a probable homoioteleuton omission.

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