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'.


Friday, September 23, 2011

David Robert Palmer on h.t. in NA27 & John

It appears that David Robert Palmer, Bible translator and textual critic, who has provided a complete set of .pdf translations along with the Greek text and an extensive but concise apparatus, has followed with interest our research on homoeoteleuton errors in the popular critical texts such as the UBS text.

He has chosen to include in his apparatus some of our observations regarding h.t. errors, in his latest version of the Greek text of John:
"[to] Steven Avery: when I opened my translation of the gospel of John, I see this:
'Codex Barococciani 206 θ, A.D. 692'
I apparently already corrected [this] sometime in the past, probably in 2008.  You have an old copy of my work.

Here, get the current one: Greek-English John w Apparatus http://bibletranslation.ws/trans/johnwgrk.pdf    The current one [Greek text of John with apparatus], unlike the copy you have, also has adopted 3 or 4 suggestions from Nazaroo as to instances of homoioteleuton in the NA27 text.  So, your copy is very much out of date.

David Robert Palmer
Message #4544 Sept 23, 2011, TC-Alt List

 Our thanks to Mr. Palmer, for taking our work into consideration when updating his textual apparatus. 


Saturday, September 17, 2011

A.C. Clark (1914): h.t. singulars - Codex B

In chapter 5 of Clark's book The Primitive Text.., (1914), he lists many of the singular readings found in Codex Vaticanus (B), which present h.t. features:

-------------- QUOTE: ---

"B is written in 3 colums, with 42 lines / page and an average of 16-17 letters/line.  As compared with Aleph, B is a reticent witness.  It is, however, clear that it is derived from an ancestor containing 10-12 letters to the line. 

...the following omissions of B, or B-1, against Aleph, may represent lines of the model:

Mark  1:35      ...εξηλθε και απηλθε(ν)...  (10 chars) om. B (h.t.)
Mark  14:10  ...προς τους αρχιερεις ...  (11 chars) om. B (h.t.)
Acts 23:28:
                                                 ...βουλομενος δε 
  γνωναι την αιτιαν δι ην ενεκαλουν αυτω
  κατηγαγον αυτον εις το συνεδριον αυτων

where B omits κατηγαγον...αυτων (33 letters)  om. B (h.t.)

Matt. 10:37
...ο φιλων πατερα η μητερα υπερ εμε ουκ εστιν μου αξιος  
και ο φιλων υιον η θυγατερα υπερ εμε ουκ εστιν μου αξιος

where B omits  και... αξιος (42 letters)  om. B (h.t.)

Here the Oxyrh. papyrus 1170 (4th cent.) also omits the next clause (62 letters), which makes for a total of 104 characters in that MS.'

------------------------------ END QUOTE ---

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Codex א: Singulars - h.t. List from A.C. Clark (1914)

Chapter IV (p. 24 fwd) in A.C. Clark's book, The Primitive Text of the Gospels and Acts (1914) is not only loaded with a startlingly large list of rarely mentioned h.t. errors, (critics who push the WH text rarely call attention to the faults of  /B), but he shows how investigation into the column-width of the master-copy provides additional confirmation and insight into the h.t. process.

Clark explains:

"[Sinaiticus] is written in four columns with 48 lines per page and an average of 13-14 letters to the line. [this column-width is important for what follows] ...
The  internal evidence shows that א is derived from an ancestor with an average of 10-12 letters per line.


Luke 11:1 διδαξον ημας προσευχεσθαι, καθως και Ιωαννης εδιδαξε τους μαθητας αυτου.  omit και Ιωαννης (10 letters) - א .
The words are necessary to the sense, since John has not been mentioned previously.

John 19:23  και εποιησαν τεσσαρα μερη εκαστω στρατιωτη μερος και τον χιτωνα ην δε ο χιτων αρραφος ... omit  και τον χιτωνα (12 letters) - א .

Sometimes we have multiples of the same unit in immediate proximity, e.g.;

Mark 13:8   

εγερθησεται γαρ 
εθνος επι εθνος 
 και βασιλεια
 επι βασιλεια- (ν)
εσονται σεισμοι 
κατα τοπους και 
 εσονται  λιμοι 
και ταραχαι αρ
χαι ωδινων ταυ-

 (1)  omit   επι βασιλεια- (11 letters) - א .
 (2)  omit  κατα τοπους  και εσονται  λιμοι  (22 letters) - א .

Clark gives over a dozen more examples, all multiples of similar line-lengths:

Jn 12:31 - omit   νυν ο αρχων του κοσμου τουτου  (24 letters) - א 
Jn 3:20-21 - omit   ουκ ... το φως και  (22 letters) - א 
Jn 3:20-21 - omit   ο δε ...τα εργα αυτου  (57 letters) - א 
The omissions [above] are due to the coincidence of h.t. with line division.  We may assign to this ancestor such short omissions as:

(10 letters, h.t. )  Matt. 23:35 - omit   [...Ζαχαριου]  υυ Βαραχιου    - א 
(12 letters, h.t. )   Mk 12:25 - omit   ουτε γαμουσιν   - א
(13 letters, h.t. )   Lk 12:18  - omit   [...α μου] και τα αγαθα μου    - א 

 "There is however, the possibility that there is a larger unit representing an intermediate ancestor.  We must therefore, take into consideration omissions of 14-19 letters.  The cases I have noticed are:

(14 letters, h.t.   - א )   Matt 28:3
(15 letters, h.t.   - א )   Matt. 16:9
                             Luke 6:14
(16 letters, h.t.   - א  )   Jn  1;25
                             Jn  8:20
(17 letters, h.t.   - א  )   Jn 17:17
(18 letters, h.t.   - א )   Matt. 27:56
                             Mark 10:33
 (19 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt 7:27

 (20 letters, h.t.   - א )  Mk 12:30
 (21 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt 19:18
                             Luke 8:47
 (22 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt 27:52
                             Luke 16:16
                             John  3:20
 (24 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt. 25:43
                             Mark 6:4
                             John 12:31
 (27 letters, h.t.   - א )  Luke 12:37
 (28 letters, h.t.   - א )  John 6:55
 (29 letters, h.t.   - א )  John 4:45
                             John 16:17
 (30 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt 5:45
                             John 4:4
 (32 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt 13:39
                             John  5:26
 (33 letters, h.t.   - א )  John  6:39                    
 (35 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt. 10:39
 (42 letters, h.t.   - א )  Luke 17:9
 (43 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt. 9:15
                             John  15:10
 (44 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt. 15:18-19
 (45 letters, h.t.   - א )  Luke 12:52
 (47 letters, h.t.   - א )  Mark 6:8
 (54 letters, h.t.   - א )  Luke 10:32
                             Luke 14:15
 (57 letters, h.t.   - א )  John 3:21
 (60 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt. 5:19
 (61 letters, h.t.   - א )  Mark 6:28
 (64 letters, h.t.   - א )  Luke 17:35
 (71 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt. 26:62-63
                             John 16:15
 (84 letters, h.t.   - א )  Mark 10:35-37
 (92 letters, h.t.   - א )  Mark 1:32-34
 (101 lett.,   h.t.   - א )  John 20:5

 (192 lett.,   h.t.   - א )  John 19:20

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A.C. Clark (1914) on homoeoteleuton (Pt. 2)

Continuing from A.C. Clark's first book, The Primitive Text of the Gospels and Acts (Oxford, 1914):
"Chapter 1 (p. 1fwd):

'I referred to homoeoteleuton as a frequent cause of omission.  The word strictly means similarity of termination, but it is often used for any similarity, e.g., at the beginning of words, which would more appropriately be called homoeoarcton, or for the repetition of the same word (repetitio or geminatio [=dittography]).  In all such cases, the copyist was liable to pass from one similar word to the other, omitting the intervening words [and one copy of the doubled word].   The most frequent cause of omission is the repetition of the same word. 
I now proceed ...to outline the method which should be followed by anyone who embarks upon a similar inquiry.  The first task is to ascertain the content of a line in the archetype.  For this purpose 'telescoped' lines are of primary importance.  In all probability the common unit will be at once revealed.  The next step is to tabulate the omissions of the rival families, arranging them in order of magnitude.  It will then appear when multiples of a unit figure among the omissions.  The separate families should be treated in the same manner. 
The information thus acquired must be combined with that furnished by transpositions, dislocations, migratory variants, and corruptions of all kinds.   The most minute flaws are often the most important for the purposes of investigation. 
Above all the inquirer must not shrink from the labor of counting the letters.  No shorter method, such as that of numbering the lines of a printed text, can have any cogency which is possessed by the actual figures. 
I have seldom carried out a long numeration without being richly rewarded.  I imagine the reason to be that in the long passages occasional irregularities correct each other, and the average remains clearly visible.  Also, it is only in them that we can hope to find indications of the longer divisions, viz. columns, pages, and folios in the archetype.'

 Chapter 2 (p. 11 fwd)

"...I thought it well to prepare myself by making some examination of the Oxyrhynchus papyri.  ...I had to satisfy myself whether the lines exhibit regularity in content similar to the Old Latin MSS.  I found that this was so.  The papyri are of all shapes and sizes, sometimes written in long lines, but more commonly in columns of various breadth.  Sometimes they contain some 40 letters or more to the line, sometimes about 35, more frequently about 28, 24, or 22, very frequently 16-19, while a fair number, ...are written in very narrow columns, averaging 10-12 letters, or even less.  In all, however, although abnormally long or short lines occur, the general average soon asserts itself. 
In my work upon Latin MSS, I have found that where there are two or more columns in a codex, the tendency is for one column to be squeezed.  If there are three columns, it is generally the middle one that suffers; if there are two, the column on the left is often a little broader than the one on the right.  
The papyri are particularly free from abbreviations apart from a particular class, viz., nomina sacra.  ...
Also some of the Uncials, especially B and D, are chary in the use of abbreviations beyond IS XS THS PNA OUNOS PR US ANOS.  However on the whole, the bulk of the evidence is on their employment, and, as I do not wish to avail myself  of any license, I have treated this as normal.   There is some uncertainty as to the use of letters to express numerals.  ... The Uncials vary greatly in this respect.  On the whole it seems safest to suppose that the numerals were written in full, but the other possibility has to be taken into account.   
On examining the papyri I found many phenomena similar to those which I had observed in Latin MSS. "

A.C. Clark (1914) on homoeoteleuton

A.C. Clark produced two important works on NT TC, the first being The Primitive Text of the Gospels and Acts (Oxford, 1914), and the second, his Critical Text of Acts (1933).  Although his continued investigation resulted in modifications and additional details, his basic position remained committed.

Here are some exerpts from the first book (Primitive Text..):
...Whenever the readings of two MSS ...are compared, ...one of them does not contain passages which occur in the other.   In all such cases there are two possible explanations, viz., that the words are spurious, ...inserted by an interpolater..., or that they are genuine, and have been accidentally omitted by the other [copy].  The hypothesis of accident [omission] is highly probable, when there is a reason which will account for the omission. 
One such reason is universally recognized, viz., homoeoteleuton. [h.t.]  When a similar ending, or word occurs twice in the same sentence, a copyist [could have] easily passed from the first passage to the second, omitting the intermediate words.  This saut du meme au meme ["jump from meme to meme"] is the most prolific cause of omissions. 
There is another reason which is not infrequently suggested by editors, viz., that the scribe has accidentally omitted a line, or several lines, of his model.  When we have two MSS, one which is known to be a transcript of the other, we find actual instances of such omissions.  In the vast majority of cases however, we have only the copy, not the [exemplar].   Since all scribes [copyists] are subject to the same errors, it is reasonable to suppose that omissions in a particular MS may represent a line or number of lines [skipped] in an ancestor... the problem is to find an objective criterion..to detect line-omissions. 
...[groups of] short passages...doubted on the ground of their omission by a MS or family, frequently contain the same, or nearly the same number of letters.  Longer passages in the same way [are] multiples of this unit.  The natural inference is that the unit [and longer omissions] correspond to [physical] lines in [the layout of] an ancestor.
Ancient Uncial MSS are written with few abbreviations and no space between words [with] the number of letters per line ...a more or less constant [average] quantity.
It was also easy for a copyist to omit other divisions in his [exemplar], viz., a colum, page, or folio [folded sheet].   Since it is usual for MSS to have the same # of lines per page, it follows that the contents of columns, pages, & folios are similar [in size]. 
The chief result of my investigation has been to show the falsity of the principle brevior lectio potior ("prefer the shorter reading").  This was laid down by Griesbach as a canon of criticism in the words:
"Brevior lectio, nisi testium vetustorum et gravium auctoritate penitus destituatur, praeferenda est verbosiori.  Librari enim multo proniores ad addendum fuerunt quam ad omittendum." 
 "The Shorter reading, unless the authority of the witnesses completely lacks a weight and age, is preferable to the verbose. Copyists were  much more prone to add than to omit."
[But] this statement has no foundation in facts.  I may also observe that it is not so easy to invent as it is to omit. 
I had been brought up to look on the Revised Text as final, to smile at persons who maintained the authenticity of St. Mark 16:9-20 or St. John 7:53-8:11, and to suppose that the 'vagaries' of the 'Western text' were due to wholesale interpolation.   The object which I had in view was merely to study the mutual relations of the oldest Greek Uncials, notably, the Vaticanus (B), Sinaiticus (Aleph), and Alexandrinus (A).  I was however, soon dislodged from this arrogant attitude, and irresistibly driven to very different conclusions. 
Nowhere is the falsity of the maxim 'Prefer the shorter reading' more evident than in the New Testament.  The process [over time in copying] has been one of contraction, not expansion.  The primitive text is the longest, not the shortest."
(- Clark, 1914,  Preface, iii-vii)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Houghton (2011) on Scribal Habits

Recently H.A.G. 
Houghton in his review, has noted some of the advances found in new literature on scribal habits and the papyri, which we excerpt below:

Houghton, H.A.G. (2011) Recent developments in New Testament textual criticism. Early Christianity, 2 (2). pp. 245-268.
'The study of scribal habits reflects ongoing interest in individual documents. Recent publications focus on P45, (50) P66, (51) Codex Sinaiticus, (52) the major manuscripts of Revelation, (53) and a detailed survey of six important New Testament papyri. (54) One resulting observation is that material is more commonly omitted than added in extant papyri, reinforcing the fact that the text-critical canon of lectio breuior potior must not be applied indiscriminately. (55)
Although the identification of scribal practice has traditionally proceeded on the basis of 'singular readings' peculiar to a manuscript, the number of genuinely unique readings (not taking into account nonsense forms) is being diminished as more manuscripts are transcribed in full. The current definition adopted for a singular reading as one "which has no Greek support in the critical apparatus of Tischendorf's 8th edition" (56) will have to be reviewed with the publication of the ECM.
A further methodological issue is that, given the gaps in our knowledge of the tradition, the presence of a particular form in the first-hand text of a given manuscript cannot necessarily be ascribed to the copyist's choosing but may have been inherited from the exemplar: the characteristics isolated by the study of singular and sub-singular readings apply not so much to the scribe as to the form of text found in the manuscript. Only the study of corrections and other annotations provides firm evidence for the intervention of individuals. This also poses problems for accounts of theologically-motivated alterations to the biblical text, made popular by Ehrman's The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture.(57)
While certain variants may be interpreted theologically, only if a consistent pattern can be identified within a single manuscript are there grounds for identifying a particular bias – which was most probably not introduced by the copyist but by an editor during the preparation of the text for copying. The claim that "some scribes" modified the text by independently introducing identical variants is implausible (unless the separate emergence of the readings can be demonstrated) and fails to take account of the nature of the copying process.' (58)

50.  J.K. Elliott, "Singular Readings in the Gospel Text of P45," in The Earliest Gospels ed. Charles Horton (JSNTSupp 258, London: T&T Clark, 2004), 122–31.

51.  Peter M. Head, "Scribal Behaviour and Theological Tendencies in Singular Readings in P. Bodmer II (P66)," in Textual Variation ed. Houghton and Parker, 55–74.

52.  Dirk Jongkind, Scribal Habits of Codex Sinaiticus (TS 3.5, Piscataway NJ: Gorgias, 2007).

53.  Juan Hernández Jr, Scribal Habits and Theological Influences in the Apocalypse. The Singular Readings of Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, and Ephraemi (WUNT 2.218. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006).

54.  James R. Royse, Scribal Habits in Early Greek New Testament Papyri (NTTSD 36. Leiden: Brill, 2008).

55.  See also Peter M. Head, "The Habits of New Testament Copyists. Singular Readings in the Early Fragmentary Papyri of John," Bib 85.3 (2004): 399–408.

56.  E.C. Colwell, "Scribal Habits in Early Papyri: A Study in the Corruption of the Text," in The Bible in Modern Scholarship ed. J. Philip Hyatt (Nashville TN: Abingdon, 1965), 372–3.

57.  Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament (New York & Oxford: OUP, 1993); see also Wayne C. Kannaday, Apologetic Discourse and the Scribal Tradition. (SBLTCS 5. Atlanta GA: SBL, 2004).
58.  On this, see especially Ulrich Schmid, "Scribes and Variants – Sociology and Typology" in Textual Variation ed. Houghton and Parker, 1–23, and other papers in the same volume; Michael W. Holmes, Text of P46: Evidence of the Earliest 'Commentary' on Romans?" in New Testament Manuscripts ed. Kraus and Nicklas, 189–206.
Certainly, Hernández (2006), Jongkind (2007), and Royse (2008) have gathered and analyzed a vast amount of detailed data from the papyri, and these three works stand out especially high above their contemporaries,  and must be considered highly recommended reading.    It is hard to see however, what value Bart Ehrman's work can be granted, given his crippling atheistic bias in regard to the Bible text,  - or what little there is remaining that can be milked out of Colwell's acknowledged pioneering (pre 1965), but now hopelessly out of date study.   

Better choices for new readers in this field would be probably be Zuntz' study on the Epistles, Sturz' foundational work on The Byzantine text-type, and Dr. Maurice Robinson's valuable article on the same topic.   In regard to key passages of the NT relevant to Textual Criticism, the work of James Snapp Jr. on The Ending of Mark must be considered essential reading to those wishing to avoid confusion and the inevitable disinformation now rampant in the current literature on T.C.

Houghton also notes the findings of Schmidt and Holmes, regarding the unlikelihood of coincidental but identical readings by independent copyists.  But this can be very misleading, as a large number of significant cases of homoeoteleuton involve extensive segments of duplicate strings of letters, allowing sometimes hundreds of different line alignments and 'situations' which would generate identical outcome-texts even though the scribes skipped at different places. (See many of our posts here illustrating this).

click to enlarge


Friday, August 19, 2011

E. Mitchell (1896) and Royse (2008) on homoeoteleuton

Because of the sometimes shocking lack of skill exhibited by 19th century textual critics in being able to recognize rather compelling homoeoteleuton (h.t.) errors, one gets the impression that they were wholly ignorant of them, or else had no real grasp of how to go about finding and positively identifying them.

We suspect that there is some kernel of truth to the overwhelming incompetence of textual critics, particularly in the period between 1830 to 1880, encompassing the labours of Lachmann, Tregelles, Tischendorf, Alford & Hort. 

In particular, the many apologists and promoters of the 'new text-critical methods' seem perpetually unable to comprehend the ramifications of their own words.  It appears that they readily lifted explanations and descriptions of the text-critical process (repeatedly), and yet failed to see the consequences of their own statements.

Another case in point here is Edward Mitchell, author of The Critical Handbook of the Greek NT (Harper, 1896).  This is again not a true handbook at all, for it does not train, equip, or even introduce the actual methods of TC in a way that would enable someone to reliably practice it.   Instead it is a reassuring promotional introduction to the popular (by the 1890s) views of Lachmann, Tregelles, Tischendorf and Hort.   Although providing several pages on TC methods, it lacks even proper illustrations of popular canons.

It also misleads badly as to the applicability of various rules.  When Mitchell turns to various TC problems, we find the following seemingly reasonable and sensible statement:
" para. 9The Nature of Various Readings

Since no manuscripts are extant which date earlier than the 4th century, it is obvious that all now existing are the result of transcriptions from previous copies, and are liable to such variations and imperfections as are incident to all copies...
3.  Frequently a clause is lost by what is called homoeoteleuton (Grk: ομοιοτελευτον), where two clauses happen to end with the same word, and the transcriber's eye passes from one to the other.  Omissions from this cause occur in the Sinaitic MS in the New Testament - according to Scrivener, no fewer than one 115 times - though many of them are supplied by a later hand."
Clearly Mitchell shows himself well aware of the potential problem of h.t. errors in even the most ancient manuscripts, like Aleph  and B.   Yet, happily and uncritically following the claims of Lachmann, Tregelles, and Hort, Mitchell sees no conflict at all between this observation (above) and his third Textual-Critical Canon (p. 122 fwd):
"3.  We may next mentions the canon of Griesbach, Brevior lectio praeferenda est verbosiori, 'The briefer reading must be preferred to the longer.'   The reasonableness of this rule results from the tendency of scribes to incorporate marginal notes or fuller parallel passages, or to amplify OT quotations.  And yet it must be modified by the consideration that words and clauses are sometimes omitted to remove difficulties (see Bengel's canon, 2. above), or through Homoeoteleuton. [!!]"

It is glaringly obvious that Mitchell has no clue about the ramifications of his statements here, or else he is engaging in some kind of deception.

First of all, he misquotes Griesbach, for Griesbach's 'canon' is actually much larger and more complex than stated here.  This is because it was originally given with many limitations and explanations which reveal its unsuitableness and inapplicability to most Variation Units.   This has been noted and expounded by others, including Royse, recently:

Royse on Griesbach's canon  < - - Click here.

Secondly, If his words above are to have any connection to reality, then Hort's text and the whole methodology of elevating "Prefer the Shorter Reading" to a universal canon must be rejected as naive and unrealistic.

The question remains, whether popularizers like Mitchell (and the promoters of the Revised Version etc.) were just dutifully copying what real textual critics had written, or they really understood what they were saying, and thus were engaging in a kind of Orwellian 'newspeak'.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Quote from BibleVersionDiscussionBoard

In review of Nazaroo's lists of h.t. errors, a few comments were posted at the Bible Version Discussion Board in the TC forum there:
"SAWBONES wrote:

This is the very problem with Nazaroo's fancied "homoeoteleuton errors everywhere"; if it were anywhere near as common a cause for the various proposed examples of "dropped" words and phrases as he imagines,

OOGRS>>>[Well Nazaroo is not here to answer for himself anymore, but I will say in his defense that nearly all of his examples of HT,HA on his Masterlist are legitimate cases of (nearly) undeniable corruption by HT/HA. I say this from experience because I have worked nearly everyone of them out and another 70 or 80 more. Most of which was done before Nazaroo gave us the benefit of his list and was done independently of his research. This is the reason I was able to add a couple dozen more instances within the synoptic Gospels. My personal list of HT exceeds 155 instances and this is not counting HA and HM (of which I have found about 30 or so ). I assure you that about 90 percent of these are basically clear cut cases. (i.e. Luke 17:24, Luke 23:23, Matt 10:37, Matt 15:16, Matt 23:4, Matt 9:49, Mark 10:7, Mark 14:68, Luke 24:51, Matt 14:30, John 5:44, Acts 23:28, Rom 14:21, Matt 19:9, Luke 16:21, Acts 2:37, Acts 6:9, I Cor 10:19, Mark 1:40, Luke 19:38, Luke 24:53, Acts 22:12, Luke 5:38,9,  John 6:42, John 11:51 etc.etc.) I do agree with your suspicion though. Not so much of Nazaroo's conclusions but of your suspicions of HT/HA being so prevalent. There are some cases were Ht is one of several internal considerations, therefore which one do we choose? Another thing to remember is that there is no way to know 100 percent that HT/HA has occurred in any place, no matter how much evidence (external) is against such and such omission. It is only probabilities which we can propose, not proof.]

OOGRS>>>[John 11:51 is case in point, P66 and codex D omit  'EKEINOU'  all other available authorities retain. "ENIAUTOU" is the preceding word and now all is clear. A tired or careless (or just human) scribe skipped from ...OU to ...OU. So although we cannot say it is an indisputable fact that HT occurred here, we can say that it is highly probably. ]

Sunday, August 7, 2011

T.S. Green (1856) on homoeoteleuton

Many of those involved in the critically important period in which omissions of 4th century uncials were adopted wholesale as original readings, were fully aware of the likelihood and danger of accidental and non-original omissions. T.S. Green is an example of an analyist who appears to give more than mere lip-service to the problem of h.t. and other accidental omissions:
"The work of [copying] can never be altogether exempt from the corruptions of mere accident, arising from the wanderings of the eye and the slips of the pen. A place affected by various readings should, therefore, be carefully scanned for the detection of any probable mechanical cause of such mischief, anything likely to betray a copyist into unwitting mistakes. Of the endless shapes which these might take two kinds may be especially mentioned, the interchange of words slightly differing in form, and omissions of words and clauses by oversight."   (A Course of Developed Criticism, 1856) intro.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

h.t. in 1st Timothy - J.K. Elliott

I repost a 2007 post by Rico (Rico's Blog) to provide four more examples from Paul's first letter to Timothy, collected by J. K. Elliott:

"[This is part of a series of posts looking at "thorough-going eclecticism" as practiced by J.K. Elliott in his book The Greek Text of the Epistles to Timothy and Titus. See the introductory post for more information. --RWB]
NB: In this post, I abbreviate "homoioteleuton" with "hom." (as Elliott does in his book). I've also posted on homoioteleuton before.
The first basic principle Elliott lists is that of hom. In his introduction, he uses 1Ti 5.16 as an example, where a shorter text (πιστος η πιστη) is explained by an instance of hom. from the longer text (ΠΙCΤοςηΠΙCΤη). Elliott writes:
'... the scribes eye has passed from the first ΠΙCΤ to the second, and he has omitted the intervening letters. Hom. seems to have been a frequent cause of error in the Pastoral Epistles ...'
Elliott provides several examples from the first chapter of First Timothy where hom. may be appealed to to explain a variant and, therefore, argue for the longer text. These instances include:
  • 1Ti 1.9: MS 1874, 623, and 1836 omit καὶ μητρολῴαις from πατρολῴαις καὶ μητρολῴαις. This as well can be explained by hom.: παΤΡΟΛΩΑΙCιακμηΤΡΟΛΩΑΙC. After writing the first word, the scribe's eyes skipped to the same ending on the second word, and progressed from there.
  • 1Ti 1.10: MS 915 and 917 omit πόρνοις. The word that ends v. 9 has the same ending (ἀνδροφόνοις πόρνοις) , so hom. can be used to explain the omission: ανδροφοΝΟΙCπορΝΟΙC
  • 1Ti 1.14: MS 1908 and 489 have καὶ ἀγάπης ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ (omitting the article) while NA27 have καὶ ἀγάπης τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. Elliott notes that hom. may be a contributing factor to 1908 and 489 omitting τῆς: αγαΠΗCΤΗCεν
  • 1Ti 1.17: Uncials Sc Dbc K L P H along with TR (hence KJV) and most minuscules have μονῳ σοφῳ θῳ (only wise God) while UBS/NA have μόνῳ θεῷ (only God). Hom. can explain the longer reading as being shortened; the scribe's eyes wandered from omega to omega: μονΩσοφΩΘΩ. The scribe, I'd guess, would be less likely to omit θῳ; perhaps he could've even missed σοφῳ in his anxiousness to not miss θῳ
  • Metzger, in his Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament provides the flip side of the coin [on 1st Tim 1:17]:
    "After μόνῳ the Textus Receptus inserts σοφῷ, with אc Dc K L P most minuscules syrh goth. The word is no doubt a scribal gloss derived from Ro 16.27; the shorter reading is strongly supported by good representatives of both the Alexandrian and the Western types of text (א* A D* F G H* 33 1739 itd, g vg syrp copsa, bo arm eth arab). "
    Metzger, B. M., (1994). A textual commentary on the Greek New Testament, (4th ed.) (572).  
    I'd never really considered hom. as responsible for the omission of σοφῷ; I'll have to think about this a little more.
 You'll note that one consequence of a thorough-going eclecticism is that of disregarding documentary evidence. Surely one can't tell everything from textual provenance and the general quality of readings in a MS. It is possible for the better MSS to be wrong, and the less trustworthy MSS to be correct. But I'd think the better road is in the middle, not on the edges. Even so, there are some decent real-world examples above where hom. may be at play in the readings. Seeing these examples and working through them helps me know what to look for in the future when considering variants listed in various apparatuses."  (- Rico's Blog, 2007)


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Whitney on h.t. errors (part 2) - Codex Vaticanus 1209

Again, on p. 27 of his introduction, Whitney shows that Codex B is no less rife with homoeoteleuton errors than Sinaiticus:

Codex B:  Mark 

 1:9 [and] it came to pass...
2:12  '...and glorified God, [saying,] "We never..." ' etc. (OL b follows!)
4:16  "These...are they that are sown upon the rocky ledges, [who,]
         when they have heard..." etc.

7:15   "..that defile [the] man..."  reading now "that defile a man."  This is a common error of B's.  In 12:30, this MS stands alone omitting the article 3 times!

10:46    ['And they come to Jericho.']

14:24    'And he said [unto them], "This is..." etc.
14:32   "Sit ye [here], while I pray..." 
15:12   "What then [will ye that] I shall do with [him whom] 
            ye call the King of the Jews?"
15:34   "My God, [my God,] why hast thou forsaken me?" (either edited or omitted accidentally as h.t.)


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Whitney / Weiss on h.t. errors (part 1) Sinaiticus - א

S. W. Whitney's two-volume opus on the Revised Version fiasco, The Revisers' Greek Text (Boston, 1892) is a veritable gold-mine of textual-critical examples, well analyzed.

In his introduction he quotes Weiss:
"The commonest mistakes are in the omission of letters, syllables, words, and clauses in cases where the like or same followed,  and the eye of the copyist wandered from one to the other by homoioteleuton [i.e., in consequence of the sameness of endings].  The instances in which letters or syllables were doubled are much less frequent. .." (Weiss, Introduction to the NT, Amer. ed. Vol ii, pp. 405-406)
 After a concise but excellent discussion, Whitney moves on to examples of singular (as known at that time) readings of the major Uncial MSS:

Sinaiticus (א):
Mark 1:32-34 - 'They brought unto him all that were sick
                          [and them that were possessed with devils.  
                          And all the city was gathered together at the 
                          door.  And he healed many that were sick]
                          with divers diseases.'
οψιας δε γενομενης οτε εδυ ο ηλιος εφερον 
προς αυτον παντας τους κακως εχοντας 
και τους δαιμονιζομενους 33 και η πολις
ολη επισυνηγμενη ην προς την θυρανκαι
εθεραπευσεν πολλους κακως εχοντας 
ποικιλαις νοσοις και δαιμονια πολλα εξε-
βαλεν και ουκ ηφιεν λαλειν τα δαιμονια 
οτι ηδεισαν αυτον ...
 Mark 6:34 - 'because they were [as sheep] not having a shepherd.'

Mark 9:9 - 'he charged them that they should tell no one what they had seen, [unless] after the Son of man had risen from the dead.'

Mark 10:19 - "Thou knowest the commandments, [do not commit adultery],
Do not kill, do not steal, " etc.

Mark 11:2 - "Go your way into the village [that is over against you;] and..."

Mark 14:16 - 'And the disciples went forth [and came] into the city...'

Mark 15:47-16:1 -                       'And Mary the Magdalene  and Mary
                    [the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid. And when 
                      the Sabbath was past, Mary the Magdalene and Mary]
                      the mother of James, and Salome, brought spices.'...

Even if some cases have been the result of copying the errors of a previous copyist, or an intermediary copy (now lost), as would often happen,  the many examples give pause and indicate caution in taking any omission with such features as original simply because it is an old reading.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

1st Jn 2:23 and 3:1 - early Byzantine h.t.?

We have been graced with a recent clarification of Dr. Maurice Robinson's position on two possible h.t. cases, due to some discussion on TC-Alt list.
 As a result of an initial communication, Mr. Scrivener had indicated Dr. Robinson's position as follows:

"Dr. Robinson has also rejected 'Byzantine homoeoteleuton errors' as an explanation for key shorter Byzantine readings. Collation data and
transmissional factors have convinced him for instance that longer non-Byzantine readings like 1st Jn 2:23 and 3:1 are certainly false."

In a second  communication with Mr. Scrivener, Dr. Robinson has stated thus:
"Without proper disclaimers, it becomes quite unwarranted to cite what might be only a previous exploratory hypothesis in a manner that confuses such with the more settled conclusions based on later research and published as such.
This particularly applies to ...the previously hypothesized possibility -- and it never was more than such that was being explored -- regarding the likelihood of presumed "primitive Byzantine error" (particularly supposedly caused by homoeoteleuton, as with 1st Jn 2:23 and 3:1). For reasons now considered transmissionally impossible (in view of collation-based data), such earlier speculations have been rendered invalid and the concept totally abandoned."
It seems then, that these two Variation Units have been disqualified as possible h.t. errors by the data found in the extant MSS.   Dr. Robinson is convinced that the variants could not have arisen due to an initial h.t. error, and suggests that a reconstruction of the textual history for these variants (and MSS) based on such an idea is impossible and/or would be extremely implausible.

Obviously if true, the claim would have important ramifications for other instances of possible h.t. error.  The first thing to examine then, is the textual data, to get a sense of why Dr. Robinson has taken his position:

1st John 2:22-24 including 2:23b, (TR, Scrivener's text):
                                                 22 τις εστιν ο ψευστης
ει μη ο αρνουμενος οτι ιησους ουκ εστιν
O Xριστοσ ουτος εστιν ο αντιχριστος ο αρ-
νουμενος  τον πατερα και τον υιον 23 πας ο
αρνουμενος τον υιον ουδε τον πατερα εχει
ο ομολογων τον υιον  και  τον πατερα εχει
24 υμεις ουν ο ηκουσατε απ αρχης εν υμιν
μενετω εαν εν υμιν μεινη ο απ αρχης ηκου-
σατε και υμεις εν τω υιω και εν τω πατρι 
μενειτε ...
Clearly the potential for h.t. errors here is incredibly strong, if the longer text were original.  The UBS2/4 apparatus here is non-existent, so we have to turn to Tischendorf's 8th  to pick up something of the MS spread:

ο ομολογων τ. υι. και τ. πατ. εχει according to אABC(4th-5th cent.) P(9th cent.) al35 fere cat vg (et.  harl ) cop (in sah lacuna est, adest verovox extrema τον πατερα) syr-utr arm aeth Or-1,301 and 4,281,282 Eus-ps22 Cyr-hr115  Cyr-ioh797 Thphyl; item ο (Melet Cyr-ose add δε)
ο ομολογων τ. υι. και τ. πατ. ομολογει (Cyr-bis ομολ και τ. πατ.) Melet ap Epiph-868 Cyr-ioh924 and ose57; item qui (m add autem) confitetur filium, et filium et patrem (Leif et pa. et. fil.) habet m6 Cyp-265,296 Leif-220 Hil-907 etc. ..
Stephen (= Gb Sz) omits according to K (9th cent.) L (9th cent.) al plu (9 ap Scri, 7 ap Mtthaei) Oec

Hodges/Farstad (Maj. text 2nd ed. 1985) simply list the omission as Ε vs. M, avoiding the full Gothic Siglum, and acknowledging that the Byzantine MSS are also split on this reading, although the majority of them appear to omit the verses.  They follow the omission however, since they are publishing the Majority text.

Here it looks like almost all the early Uncial support goes to the inclusion.  This is not a mere Aleph/B phenomenon then, but a problem that would seem to  require better early MS support if we are to take the omission itself as genuine.

(to be continued)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

John 5:44b - Steven Avery: Alexandrian homoeoteleuton causes confusion

 The variant, John 5:44b, is as follows:

monou qeou ou zhteite  (traditional text, Byz., א A C etc.)
monou ---- ou zhteite   (B, P66, P75 [early Alex. h.t.])

monou qu ou zhteite  (form of text with nomina sacra abbreviation)
ΜΟΝΟΥΘΥΟΥΖΗΤΕΙΤΕ... (physical written form with abbrev.)
monou [qeou] ou zhteite  ... (Westcott/Hort text)

I've taken the liberty of reposting this discussion by Steven Avery from TC-Alt List, for the benefit of those studying h.t. errors and modern translations:
----------------------------------------- QUOTE: (Steven Avery) ---

[TC-Alternate-list] John 5:44b - the honour that cometh from God only ? - text and translation issues

Hi Folks,

Related verses, first.

Luke 5:21
And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying,
Who is this which speaketh blasphemies?
Who can forgive sins, but God alone?

Mark 10:18
And Jesus said unto him,
Why callest thou me good?
there is none good but one, that is, God.

Daniel Buck had an interesting post about a sister verse on a sister list.
About the
"from God only" verse, John 5:44. 
His post is at bottom, we will work our way there.

This post covers both the textual and translational issues, weaving a tapestry :) .


John 5:44 (AV)
How can ye believe,
which receive honour one of another,
and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?



This English, which fits the context excellently, was simply the English Bible text through the Reformation era and into the 1800s. There is no indication of any other understanding of the text from the Greek and Latin experts of the Reformation era.

Wycliffe 1395 - ye seken not the glorie `that is of God aloone?
Tyndale 1526 - the honoure that commeth of God only?
Coverdale 1535 - and seke not the prayse, that is of God onely?
Rheims 1582 - glory which is from God alone, you do not seek?
Geneva 1587 - the honour that commeth of God alone?

We should remember that in the 1500s and 1600s, the learned men in the Bible church and university centers were extremely skilled in Latin and Greek, iron sharpeneth, without arcane papers and publish or perish.  Reading the Bible and the ECW, reading classics, speaking to one another daily, even having debates in Biblical Greek.  While today's scholars can even be non-fluent in the language.  This simple truth of scholastic and linguistic distinction can be a bit hard for today's scholars to acknowledge, understandably. 




Major, overwhelming, evidence for the traditional text, and a severe Alexandrian split.

As stated by Will Kinney in discussing modern version confusion.

The So-called "Science" of Textual Criticism. Science or Hocus-Pocus?
Here Vaticanus, P66 and P75 all unite in omitting the word GOD,
yet it is in Sinaiticus, A and D and this time the NASB, NIV include it too!

John Hurt
monou qeou ou zhteite 
monou qeou ou zhteite  - brackets for (qeou) in WH

World Wide Study Bible

John Gill (1697-1771) does reference the fact that the versions and the Greek have variant readings.

and seek not the honour that cometh from God only;
or "from the only God", as the Vulgate Latin; or "from the one God", as the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions render it:



This is the type of verse where there what need to be a close examination of the the ECW.  Since the English can conceivably have the same translation issue as in the Bible text, yet often the context makes the understanding clear.

Hilary of Poiters - De Trintitate 9:22
But there is reproof of the unbelief which draws an earthly opinion of Him from the teaching, that goodness belongs to God alone ...  For, in this very same discourse in which He pronounces that His works testify of Him that He was sent of the Father, and asserts that the Father testifies of Him, that He was sent from Him, He says, The honour of Him, Who alone is God, ye seek not ... . But there is reproof of the unbelief which draws an earthly opinion of Him from the teaching, that goodness belongs to God alone .... He comes in the name of the Father: that is, He is not Himself the Father, yet is in the same divine nature as the Father: for as Son and God it is natural for Him to come in the name of the Father. Then, another coming in the same name they will receive: but he is one from whom men will expect glory, and to whom they will give glory in return, though he will feign to have come in the name of the Father. By this, doubtless, is signified the Antichrist, glorying in his false use of the Father�s name. Him they will glorify, and will be glorified of him: but the glory of Him, Who alone is God, they will not seek.

And by the context of the usage it is clear that Augustine is most consistent with the Traditional Text understanding.

On the words of the Gospel, John v. 39, �Ye search the Scriptures,
because ye think that in them ye have eternal life,� etc. Against the Donatists.
Then a little after; �How can ye believe, who look for glory one from another, and seek not the glory which is of God only?�

The translator of Gregory of Nyssa is interesting, as he ends up with both phrases.

Gregory of Nyssa
For the very glory that was bestowed on the lawgiver was the glory of none other but of God Himself, which glory the Lord in the Gospel bids all to seek, when He blames those who value human glory highly and seek not the glory that cometh from God only. For by the fact that He commanded them to seek the glory that cometh from the only God, He declared the possibility of their obtaining what they sought. How then is the glory of the Almighty incommunicable, if it is even our duty to ask for the glory that cometh from the only God, and if, according to our Lord�s word, �every one that asketh receiveth

And how can you believe, while you receive praise one from another, and praise from God, the One, you seek not?



and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?

Contextually this is very sound, intuitively obvious to the most casual observer .. as the context of the verse and section is clearly where does honour come from ?  Yet in the late 1800s a new translation was begun.

The new dubious translation took over most of the Westcott-Hort modern versions, and the NKJV.

ERV - the glory that cometh from the only God ye seek not?
ASV - and the glory that [cometh] from the only God ye seek not?

NIV - praise that comes from the only God?
NET - praise that comes from the only God?
Holman - you don t seek the glory that comes from the only God.

NKJV - honor that comes from the only God?

Three that did not go into this particular error.

NRSV - comes from the one who alone is God?
Youngs - and the glory that is from God alone ye seek not?
NLT - the honor that comes from God alone.



The dropping of qeou was noted by John WIlliam Burgon to be a corruption.  Notice that it is hard to determine to what extent the corruption in the English began because of Vaticanus lacking qeou.  Burgon does not give it a special doctrinal aspect.

Chapter IV. Accidental Causes of Corruption (1896)
John William Burgon - Edward Miller editor
From the fact that three words in St. John v. 44 were in the oldest MSS. written thus,� [Greek: MONOUTHUOU] (i.e. [Greek: monou Theou ou]), the middle word ([Greek: theou]) got omitted from some very early copies; whereby the sentence is made to run thus in English,��And seek not the honour which cometh from the only One.� It is so that Origen, Eusebius, Didymus., besides the two best copies of the Old Latin, exhibit the place. As to Greek MSS., the error survives only in B at the present day, the preserver of an Alexandrian error.

Overall, there is an emphasis in modern translation theory to rewrite the NT text to put the current Christology emphasis into the text, even if awkward to the text and context. (Think e.g. of Granville Sharp and 1 John 5:20.)  This verse is sort of the flip side of a Granville Sharp translation corruption.


In fact, this looks like it was pushed by George Vance Smith, for the Revision, with doctrinal considerations being significant.

Texts and margins of the revised New Testament affecting theological doctrine briefly reviewed. (1881)
George Vance Smith
The sole Deity of the Father has been re-affirmed in a remarkable case in which the authorised version had singularly misrepresented the original words. 'The only God ' of John v. 44, affords evidence equally strong and clear with that of John xvii. 3, that the writer of this Gospel could not have intended to represent Jesus, the Christ, or Messiah, or even the Logos in him, as God in the same high sense of Infinite and Eternal Being in which He is so.

This Greek text, in translation, was changed in the Revision as described here:

Presbyterian Review
Notes on the Revised New Testament (1833)
Marvin R. Vincent
John v. 44,
"the only God," laying the emphasis on God as God alone,
and on the honor as taking its character from that fact ;
and not on the fact that the the honor can be had from only one source.

Notice that the Revisionists were apparently going with the Vaticanus text in this translation change, as they put qeou in brackets.  (With the corrupt text the translation fits better, in fact it is virtually mandated, because of the change of emphasis "the only" becomes .. "the only what" .. becomes .. "the only God".) However later other versions decided on this translation for the traditional text.

Thus the NASV translation is considered particular friendly to those with an aversion to the Lord Jesus Christ as God manifest in the flesh:

Joel Hemphill
"The one and only God ...the Father"

And thus most NT today follow the new translation idea.



The traditional translation here is sometimes attacked.

by Elgin L. Hushbeck Jr.
... poor translations ....In John 5:44 the Greek text very clearly reads "...and seek not the honor that comes from the only God." Among other things this is a strong statement of monotheism. Yet for some reason the King James Version translates this as "and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?" Here any reference to monotheism is removed, and it becomes a statement that honor only comes from God.

Notice the backwards logic -- any reference to monotheism is removed. A typical case of taking the modern debate and retrofitting it to an earlier time .. when there was no dispute and debate and the text was fully accepted.  Nothing was removed in the AV, whether you consider the text pure or incorrect.

The Rudimentary Factor Underlying Infallibility
Alleged "Errors" In The A.V. 1611
Jeffrey D. Nachimson
In Greek, the passage looks like this: "pos dunasthe humeis pisteusai doxan para allelon lambanontes, kai ten doxan ten para tou monou theou ou zeteite;"   ...

Beginning in verse 30 in John 5, Jesus Christ discusses the plethora of witnesses that testify to his ministry and authority. He lists the testimony of John the Baptist (vs. 32-35); his works (vs. 36); the Father (vs. 37); the scriptures (vs. 39); and notice in verse 41 where Jesus Christ states exactly where he DOESN'T GET HIS HONOR FROM! Why the discussion is how to know if something or someone is from God, AND THE HONOR THAT ONLY GOD CAN GIVE! No one in this context bats an eye about monotheism!  There isn't an inclination anywhere in 47 verses that one person (including the lost Pharisees) is discussing the necessity of monotheism. For Hushbeck to conjecture that the A.V. rendering doesn't uphold monotheism in the passage because it doesn't translate the prepositional phrase as an adjective, is bordering on the realm of the absurd. The point is where do REAL testimonial witnesses and honor originate? REAL honor comes from God ONLY, not the only God.

John 5:41
I receive not honour from men.

Nachimson is right on the basic issue of context.  My thought .. when you incorrectly change the translation to match one idea, you eliminate or lessen, and confuse and confound, the actual sense of the text.  (Similar to what we see in the Granville Sharp retranslation verses.)

... it is evident that based upon the context of John 5, and the clear fact that adjectives (even if in the attributive position in a prepositional phrase) can function adverbially to form a more idiomatic structure in the English translation. Thus, the A.V. 1611 preserves the better reading "that cometh from God only?" instead of, "that comes from the only God?" ...

In fact, the contextual argument is probative, while the grammatical can remain ambiguous. Thus when Hushbeck was defended here by Henry Neufeld:

Anatomy of a KJV Only Argument
By Henry Neufeld

Neufeld takes Nachimson to task on attitude points (the 'ol KJB and attackers arguments) and minor points (e.g. the phrase "form a more idiomatic structure in the English translation").  And he does emphasize the points that allow us to consider the grammar ambiguous (ie. Nachimson over-tinged his grammatical presentation). 

Neufeld does not seem to understand how attackers of the traditional text work their trade when they fabricate a little error here or there in the AV. (Classic example, Daniel Wallace and others and the gnat).  "
Oh, we weren't really attacking the Bible, we were simply pointing out an error".  Yet they go through hoops to fabricate the error, rather than simply offering an alternative translation.

However Neufeld flops on the basic point.  You have to be a bit naive not to see that context is king in the verse, and the context fits the traditional text .

(Unless you use the Alexandrian corruption, a point missed by everybody).


Now we go to Daniel.
Daniel also began an interesting thread on this in the b-greek forum in March 2011.
Text of the tc-list below.

TC and the translation of John 5:44b - March, 2011
Daniel Buck

Daniel takes a slightly different approach. One weakness in the textual theory of corruption is that "the only God" is not really the historical understanding of the verse, so to presume a corruption away from what was not understood is questionable.  Plus if "the only God" was a problem, you should see a lot of  variants on the ultra-solid textually John 17:3.

John 17:3
And this is life eternal,
that they might know thee the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Also the timing is wrong, since the textlines were divided by the 200s and the doctrinal emphasis would be centuries later. 

These are common type problem in an Ehrmanesque approach.
Although Daniel tends to be far more logical, consistent and sensible than Bart :) .



Presumably the tampered Vulgate text was the Nova Vulgate, which really should be called a Vulgate at all.  As to a large extent it is simply a Westcott-Hort (or NA) text brought to Latin. In this case perhaps they took the Hortian-Vance-Smith-modern translation to mangle the historical Latin.

However, according to Gill the Vulgate does support
"from the only God", but this does not match the Latin ECW like Hilary and Augustine, nor does it work with what is shared by Daniel "from God alone ... Vulgate (all 15th-16th century editions)". 

So the Vulgate questions are still a bit in the air. 


On the basic textual question, I doubt that there was much of a doctrinal motive in the word dropping corruption, but the two main Greek texts could easily lead to multiple Latin texts.

Remember, too, that motives are not either-or.  An initial word-drop can be totally accidental, its maintenance in the line can include a scribal motive component that includes doctrinal preference.  This seems to be overlooked in most discussions.



Another point overlooked, on another topic.  In the first centuries, century one and two, maybe three, Bible transmission was likely often single books, or small groups of books. Thus there is no "one size fits all" type of text-type applicability.  Mark's gospel could of been far more influenced by Latin elements, (even original Latin or Graeco-Latin elements, and possibly back-translations) while the geography--transmission--> of John's gospel could be very different than Luke-Acts.  Variables abound.

Afaik, this is not mentioned in the Hortian fantasies of the neutral and Alexandrian dual textlines.  However, it also does not seem to mentioned by any text-line adherent, including the Greek Byzantine and Majority proponents.  Their theories want to go back to a single exemplar for the NT. However there was no such thing, as writing and transmission of the NT books had both independent and overlapping components.

Steven Avery
Queens, NY

Daniel Buck
There is a question of translation in the latter part of John 5:44, and textual criticism can help to answer it.

The Greek text:

and the glory the from the only God not you seek?

The question is, can this be translated "from God alone" as it is in all English Bibles from the 14th to 18th centuries?

Here is how the Latin manuscripts translate it (fine-tuning of the translations by Latin scholars would be welcome):

from God alone | e g1mg 9A f l 11A Vulgate (all 15th-16th century editions)
from God who alone is | ff2 aur q
from him who is God alone | r1
from the only God | a d c Vulgate (all modern editions)
 . . . God . . .  |  j
from the sole (one) | a
from him that is the only (one)| b

Now, interestingly enough, behind some of these Latin variants lie variants in the Greek text.

from the only begotten God | N022, 1071
from God | 1519
from the only (one) | p66 p75 B03 W032 228 355* (also the mss from all Coptic dialects, and some Armenian mss)

Evidence from Syriac should also be examined. It has been translated both ways-- the only God, and God alone.

Apparently the difficulty in deciding the meaning of this phrase, TOU MONOU QEOU, has led to some of the textual diversity. There seems to have been a definite reluctance to understand Jesus as referring to "the only God," resulting in the loss of either MONOU or QEOU. Yet "the only God" fits the context of John 5 very well, in which Jesus is being accused, through referring to God as "My Father," of making himself equal with God--something he never said outright in John, as deity-emphatic as that gospel is.

I don't know if this verse has ever made it onto the list of Orthodox Corruptions, but it's possible that a reluctance to have Jesus minimize his deity could have been behind some of the textual changes we see above.

On the other hand, the tendency only in the last century and a half has been to adamantly insist on a translation of "the only God," even going so far as to putting a reading into the Vulgate never before found in any printed edition. This phenomenon could also bear investigation.
--------------------------- END QUOTE ---

Mr. Scrivener's Additional Comment:

Re: John 5:44b - the honour that cometh from God only ? - text and translation issues

It is interesting to note the following in regard to both the variant and its

Trollope (1842) skips comment, with the English text presenting no difficulty in
his view.

Burton (1852) regards the traditional text as secure and so self-evident that he
skips comment on the verse entirely.

Bloomfield (1847) takes the traditional interpretation at face value and ignores
the blunder of Codex B's text:
"Here is traced the reason for their unbelief, by their fostering such passions as stifle the love of God, and consequently the love of truth, for itsown sake; especially pride and vain-glory.
- πως δυνασθε ] This must, of course be understood of what is socontrary to the usual order of causes and effects, that it cannot be expected to happen. And δοξαν λαμβ. must be taken with due qualification."

Wordsworth (1877) accepts the traditional text, ignoring the homoeoteleuton of
B, but remarkably takes the alternate translational suggestion without
hesitation, in favour of the Trinity:
"44. παρα του μονου θεου] from the Only God. (1 Tim 1:17) Lest the Jews should imagine that He was contravening their Law which says (Deut. 6:4) 'the Lord our God is One Lord.',because He had spoken of Himself and the Father as Two Persons (verses 17-23), He here affirms the Divine  Unity, and teaches them that they who profess zeal for the One God do not honour Him aright (see v23), unless they honour the Son even as they honour the Father. A warning to those who claim for themselves the title of Unitarians, and deny the Divinity of Christ. No one can be said to believe in the Divine Unity who rejects the doctrine of the Trinity."

Alford (1863) even more surprisingly, but accurately in this case, upholds the
traditional text also, easily identifying the reading of Codex B and its allies
as a homoeoteleuton error. Here even Alford has abandoned the critical text,
retaining "God" in the main text and relegating the variant to the footnoted
"om θεου (homoeotel) B lat-a b copt-dz arm-mss Orig Eus. "
Alford opts for the alternate interpretation however:
"44. ...παρα του μονου θεου] not 'from God only' (E.V. and De Wette), which is ungrammatical (requiring μονου to be either after θεου, see Matt.4:4; 12:4, 17:8, or before του θεου, Luke 5:21; 6:4; Heb 9:7 - Lucke); but from the only God: in contradistinction to the  idolatry of the natural heart, which is ever setting up for itself other sources of honour, worshipping  man, or self, - or even, as in the case alluded to in the last verse,  Satan, - instead of God.  The words του μονου θεου are very important, because they form the point of passage to the next verses; in which the Jews are accused of not believing the writings of Moses, the very pith and kernel of which was the unity of God, and the having no other gods but Him. "
Alford's position on the interpretation seems to have the stronger rational
element in regard to the situational context (internal intrinsic evidence), but
Wordsworth's position has the weight of tradition as opposed to the novelty of
the Unitarians.

As Steven Avery has shown, there is also another element of internal evidence,
the very argument of Jesus that honour (homage) belongs to God /alone/. In this
case, Jesus and his Jewish audience can be assumed to take for granted that "God
is one", and the debate is rather about the appropriateness of honours being
commonly and frequently given to peers, and its negative effect on worship and
honour of God.

The very fact that Jesus and the Jewish interpreters agree on the Torah teaching
that 'God is One' (and expects this view) makes it less likely that Jesus would
emphasize that rather than the more central (to this argument) Torah teaching,
that 'God is jealous' (cf. Ten Commandments) and expects critically important
minimal behavioral standards.