Sunday, June 2, 2019

Marks Ending : Codex Aleph (Sinaiticus) and Codex B (Vaticanus 1209)

Marks Ending  :  Codex Aleph (Sinaiticus)  

Marks Ending  Codex B (Vaticanus 1209)


Monday, March 25, 2019



 Once again the brain dead editors of the UBS text have face planted themselves on another Alexandrian accidental omission by a master copy ancestor of the ALEPH - B Clown Text. 

CODEX ALEPH and B again uniquely share an obvious line skip due to similar line endings on a master copy estimated to have a 25 character column width.  Only a handful of later manuscripts, such as DELTA and PSI, along with a few Latin manuscripts of this family of error-perpetrators share this reading.   Against the omission stand the entire Byzantine tradition, 20,000 Lectionaries both Greek and Latin, along with such ancient UNCIALS as A,G,K,X,D (and Small d) and PIE. (all this is admitted in the critical apparatus of UBS-2 etc.) 

Inexplicably the UBS text ends the first half of Mark 10:24  on the verb, "ESTIN"  ("is" i.e., to be)
...and then continue the text from  "EIS THN BAS." 

What has been dropped is the phrase, "Those who trust in wealth", a line which in Greek also happens to end in "IN" 

This is a classic and clear cut case of  

homoioteleuton inadvertently copied by a handful of idiots and which slipped past
 the  over-seeing proof readers. The UBS text following Wescott and Hort insane
of creating the world shortest New Testament text
incorporate this
 omission into the text. Many modern translations blindly follow these blind editors 
but acknowledge their own doubt with inane footnotes. For example: the apologetic study
 bible (2007) using the HCSB translation (2003) tells us in the foot notes

 to Mark 10:24 , "other manuscripts add "for those trusting in wealth"

Once again, trusting English readers are misled into thinking that there is some
kind of credible evidence that something has been added to the text that wasn't
 there to begin with. Shame on Bible - Editors that put more faith in 19th century
amateur scholarship than in the providence of God being able to protect our Bible.
Nazaroo, still finding UBS textual blunders followed by UBS. Add this to the master list of 20th century textual critical tragic comedy.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Could the Failure of 19th and 20th cent. TC be because of Taxonomic Approaches?

A remarkable post by

Jan suggested to work with two dimensions in the classification: problems and causes. I immediately knew that was it! But how does that work, a classification with more than one dimension? I started to study the theory of classification, and I realized I had always been restricting myself to a certain form of classification, namely a taxonomy.

In a taxonomy, an object can occupy only one place in a hierarchical system: classifying a dog in a taxonomy of animals means positioning it at one of the branches of a tree, by means of characterizing it according to certain variables which are considered in sequence. 
However, there is also a more complex form of classification: a typology. An example of a typology would be the characterization of a group of people according to their gender as well as to the colour of their hair. Each individual is not positioned within a hierarchical structure, as in a taxonomy, but characterised according to two variables that are considered in parallel, instead of in sequence. 

We needed a typology! The argumentation for each conjecture necessarily has two dimensions, the detection of a problem (in the transmitted text) and the suggestion of a cause of the supposed corruption (that is, a certain type of scribal error/change). ..."

 Kamphuis' discovery parallels several other problems in both the organization of data and the display of data in NT studies.

Consider first of all the problem of grouping manuscripts.  Lately, researchers have been trying two, three and even multidimensional systems for graphing and measuring the 'closeness' of one manuscript's text to another, looking for 'clusters' or groups that have some substantial objective measure.

Example: Willker's Principal Components Analysis

Secondly, we often want to display relationships that are in fact quite complex, but best comprehended in 3-dimensional or 2-dimensional charts, which often must either leave out 'dimensions' of a problem or else distort them.

Consider for instance, a Synoptic relationship diagram, such as this:

Already we can see that certain details are left out or simplified (e.g. "other sources").

Or again, our own experience in trying to give an informative chart of the transmission data for a mere 12 verses of gospel (John 8:1-11):

But I'd like to draw attention to the specific fact that almost all "Evolutionary thinking" in the 19th and 20th centuries was based on the "Taxonomy Paradigm", and that, bluntly stated means the 'experts' were committed to a form of "One-Dimensional" sequential thinking, and viewpoints:  it was the only 'science' they had available at the time.

Perhaps this fundamental commitment to contemporary "science" as they understood it, forced them to abandon even 'common sense' in regard to the data regarding (accidental) omissions in ancient manuscripts, and embrace the only 'scientific' methodologies available, namely taxonomy-style approachs.

Could this have contributed to the widespread and large-scale 'blindness' regarding the majority of homoioteleuton omissions in the most ancient Uncial manuscripts and texts, and the almost mechanical and irrationally stubborn embrace of the "Prefer the Shorter Reading" axiom?

Kamphuis tells us also of the experience of  20/20 hindsight we all can relate to:
"But again and again some conjecture popped up that posed a problem and called for an adjustment of categories or definitions. Interestingly, most of the time such adjustments made the classification more straightforward, often making me wonder why that didn't occur to me earlier. ..."
 If early Textual Critics were given another chance at reconstructing the NT text, would they be able to adapt and embrace the more modern and multi-dimensional view of today, and reassess the crude and (in hindsight) misleading 'guidelines' of Textual Criticism of the 19th century?

Would they (unlike their modern ideological successors) recant and embrace the common (traditional 'Majority') Koine text found in the bulk of manuscripts extant today, representing multitudinous lines of transmission?

Would they abandon the "shortest text" in favour of the most likely text?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Homoioteleuton in Enoch and Scholarly Use of Scribal Tendencies

It is both enlightening and remarkable,
that when scholars examine other texts,
which are not considered "Holy Scripture" or "Divinely Preserved",
such as the Book(s) of Enoch,
the exact same problems and habitual copyist errors occur,
and these are just as easily and confidently identified,
based on the same probabilities.

In other words, the common errors of OMISSION,
usually caused by simple fatigue, in which a copyist
loses his place, and more often than not skips a line unnoticed,
are just as frequent in these other documents.

Such consistent and 'reliable' copyist errors form the basis
of all textual reconstruction of non-Biblical, classical, and secular texts.

So why didn't 19th century Textual Criticism apply this knowledge
in exactly the same way when reconstructing the New Testament text?

The answer sadly, isn't because of the 'special habits' of Christian copyists,
or unforseen and mysterious processes from which classical texts escape,
nor can it be explained by 'deliberate tampering' or other conjectures.

The sad fact is, when all the errors of omission are taken in total,
its obvious that together they comprise of a large body of ACCIDENTAL variants,
and no 'systemic' trend or trait can be demonstrated.

Neither is there any 'systemic' bias or editing or other tampering involved.

While some passages containing important doctrines were sensitive to errors,
and this created suspicion among both copyists and 'Editors' like Jerome,
the fact remains that even taking all the omissions and mistakes into the text,
it remains exactly the same group of documents it was before:
It teaches in the main the same doctrines, presents the same history,
makes the same miraculous claims, and inspires the same religion.

One cannot for instance say that the majority of errors were "Arian",
or "Sabellian" or "Gnostic" in slant, nor can anyone make a claim that
all the errors are 'Roman Catholic' or based on superstitious beliefs.

These textual variants remain random in their impact as a group,
and the most likely explanation for the entire group is simple accident,
for the most part errors by omission due to the eye skipping a line or
skipping over a similarly ending pair of words in a line of text.

Thus R.H. Charles in his characterization of the extant surviving manuscripts
for the Book of Enoch, was able to categorize the variants mainly as
homoioteleuton-style omissions, and not scribal creativity.

Similarly, Knibb many years later made the same insightful observations:

In describing the Akhmim Manuscript (Codex Panopolitanus) of Enoch,
he states:

"Amongst the many mistakes in the manuscript particular attention - so far as this edition of Enoch is concerned, - should be drawn to the existence of numerous omissions, many through homoioteleuton..."
- The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, Michael Knibb, p. 17,(1978, Oxford Press)

Contrary to claims of "scientific Textual Criticism",
the real reason that editors have unilaterally dismissed longer readings
in favour of shorter ones, was not a knowledge of scribal habits,
but rather a prejudice against the text so great that it overwhelmed all
reasonable judgement in regard to the actual evidence.

The Critics and Editors were LOOKING for the shortest possible text,
to ELIMINATE any and all texts supporting miracles, incarnations,
and other obvious Christian doctrines they had already regarded as
, superstition-based, contrary to 19th century materialism,
and from their view encumbering the text with supposed 'superstitions'
and legends, mythology which had accrued over centuries of collecting,
through marginal comments and imaginative conjectural emendation.

However, the evidence of the textual tradition and transmission itself
supports no such process
. The stories of Jesus and the teachings of Paul
were exactly as they are from the start.
The only accretions and 'editing' must have taken place within a few 100 years of Jesus' time.

These were in the main things like the gathering together of the Paul's letters into
a single document, and the rewriting of the gospel of Mark to include more teachings
and sayings of Jesus.

Even the most extremely edited and shortened text
is still basically a New Testament of nominally Christian content

complete with miracles, and in spite of the best efforts
of skeptical scholars, the New Testament remains a non-denominational Christian handbook.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tommy Wasserman on Mark 1:1 - homoeoteleuton

Click to enlarge: backbutton to return

Tommy Wasserman has examined Mark 1:1 closely, and comes to the conclusion that it is a probable omission due to homoeoteleuton.

In the picture above, one can see an early corrector re-inserting the lost words "Son of God" (in Nomina Sacra abbreviation) above the line.
Wasserman believes this is the earliest layer of correction, and hence contemporary with the manuscript itself, probably before it left the scriptorium. (This manuscript has many corrections, including the replacement of several whole folios by an overseer, which must have happened before it left the scriptorium also, because the Euse. Canons are missing from some replacement pages, but present on others.)

The Evangelical TC Blog has linked to his audio lecture below:

Tommy's excellent presentation on the text of Mark 1.1 is now available in audio via the CSCO website (where it is also described as argued persuasively):

Tommy Wasserman, ‘The “Son of God” was in the Beginning,’ lecture (44min)
Wasserman, Question and Answer, (28min)
 In his analysis, Tommy Wasserman notes that there are either 6 genitive endings of words in a row, or else 4 Nomina Sacra, creating an easy situation for error.  In his opinion, the argument that omissions are unlikely in the very beginning of a book is outweighed by both the textual evidence and the intrinsic evidence regarding Mark's style and purpose.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dr. Maurice Robinson on Textual Variants

Recently, in discussions of a few key variants at the KJV Debate blog, Dr. Robinson has restated his position on the role of errors in the evolution of the textual variants:

" The further blanket claim that I “ascribe error and scribal slips to all the errors of Aleph & B” is simply incorrect. While I do maintain (on the basis of a careful examination of scribal habits) that scribal error is a primary cause of textual variation, I also clearly presume deliberate alteration and recensional activity to have occurred among the Alexandrian manuscripts (as per my 1993 article, “The Recensional Nature of the Alexandrian Texttype”). The leading principle in this regard is to presume scribal error as an initial factor so long as transcriptional probabilities suggest such, then to presume intentional change at whatever points transcriptional probabilities seem to be transcended for what appear to be stylistic or content-based “improvement” concepts in the eyes of particular scribes.
I trust this will clarify the matter." 

A .pdf version of Dr. Robinson's article can be found also hereThe Recensional Nature of the Alexandrian Texttype.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

F. Gardiner (1875) on Homoioteleuton

Gardiner originally gave a rather long article in Bibliotheca Sacra Apr 1875, reprinted as a book(let) of about 80 pages, complete with some useful charts showing the overlap for the known Uncials and the various books of the NT.

Beginning at about pg 10, Gardiner discusses homoioteleuton as follows:
"To illustrate these [accidental errors], one or two instances under each head are selected from Mr. Hammond's recent convenient little manual (Outlines of Textual Criticism applied to the New Testament. By C. E. Hammond, M.A. Oxford : Clarendon Press. 1872. From this work much of the present paper has been abridged.)

Under errors of sight belong omissions from what is technically called Homoioteleuton. Thus, in Codex C, the words τουτο δε εστιν το θελημα του πεμψαντος με  are omitted in John 6:39, because the last three words had occurred immediately before, and the eye of the scribe passed on from their first to their second occurrence. This happens especially when the same words occur at the end of consecutive lines.

To the same head belong the many instances, more generally in the uncial MSS., arising from the confusion of similar letters such as Α, Λ, Δ ; or Ε ς, Θ Ο. From this arose the well-known and well-disputed reading in 1 Tim. 3:16. Similar letters or syllables are sometimes omitted and sometimes inserted; thus in Matt. 26:39 for ΠΡΟΣΕΛΘΩΝ Cod. B has ΠΡΟΕΛΘΩΝ, and in Luke 9:49 Cod. H has εκβαλλοντα τα δαιμονια for εκβαλλοντα διαμονια . Letters, too, are sometimes transposed, so that in Acts 13:23 for ΣΠΑΙΝ, Codd. H and L read ΣΠΙΑΝ {σωτηρα Ιησου} . The number of errors from this source is very large, as the margin of any critical edition will readily show."

Gardiner's remarks show once again that 19th century Textual Critics were perfectly able to understand and quite capable of identifying homoeoteleuton errors.  

However, they restricted their notice of these to singular readings, and consistently refused to use the evidence of their own eyes to extend these observations, and extrapolate them to the lost exemplars and archetypes of the surviving manuscripts, even when they knew full well that key manuscripts (like א and B) had common ancestors and at least partially shared lines of transmission. 

These factors should have alerted them to the high probability that omissions with identical h.t. features shared by such MSS were obviously also earlier h.t. errors, and not to be inserted into reconstructions of the 'original text'.

But this observation would have run counter to the widespread and overriding agenda to 'dethrone the Textus Receptus'.