Sunday, February 6, 2011

Codex B: Acts 19:34 - dittography

We also must consider the opposite error, of accidental repetition of a letter, word or phrase (dittography), from the very same cause, namely a homoeoteleuton error, an eye-skip due to similar ending of lines.

We see this in Codex Vaticanus (B) at Acts 19:34:

Codex B: Acts 19:34 - dittography   Click to Enlarge
The phrase "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians" (ΜΕΓΑΛΗΗΑΡΤΕΜΙΣΕΦΕΣΙΩΝ = μεγαλη η Αρτεμις Εφεσιων) appears twice in Vaticanus while it only appears once in other manuscripts.  The cause was the similar line-end just before it ( ...των ...ιων ). 

Possibly the immediate master-copy that the scribe of Vaticanus was using for Acts was 20-21 characters per line in width, and resembled Codex Alexandrinus.  This was a very popular line-width in the early 4th century.


1 comment:

  1. There is an important lesson in studying these dittography cases.

    They cannot contribute to the argument that (Byzantine) scribes "tended to add more often than they omitted", because in every case of dittography, the letter, word, or phrase is duplicated exactly.

    None of the supposed cases of "expansion" have this feature, that of two identical lines. In all the 200 cases of significant omission which are blindly followed by the modern critical Greek texts, the omitted line is not the same as the previous line, but only has a similar ending, and even that happens only about 40% of the time.