Editing the Gospel of John

September 30, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — igntp @ 10:04 am

I have been enjoying myself this week exploring the Johannine text of the manuscripts containing the catena by Nicetas of Heraclea. Apart from the frustation of not being able to find my photocopy of Reuss’s Matthäus-, Markus- u. Johannes-Katenen, I have made good progress. The MSS I looked at were 249 317 333 423 430 743 841 and 869. There are probably more, not necessarily with a Gregory-Aland number, but without Reuss I can’t check that . . . Without going into the ins and outs of it, a study of the Teststellen from Text und Textwert for John 1-10 reveals signs of a strong group, with some of the Nicetas MSS sharing a high proportion of non-majority readings. One striking variant showing evidence of grouping is 3E at Test Passage 69 – the only three MSS with this reading are all Nicetas MSS – 249 333 423.

430, which in date is close to Nicetas (who compiled the catena in about 1080), is an important witness. So is 423, copied in 1556 by a Vatican scribe. In fact 423 is 430’s closest relative, closely followed by 249 and 333. So the relationship of 430 and 423 may be a classic example of the way in which the date of a MS doesn’t necessarily tell us very much about a MS’s place in a stemma.

This all preliminary, and it would take a lot more work to begin to produce such a stemma. But at any rate I have found that at least so far as Nicetas is concerned, the MSS with the same commentary have a similar form of text. Curiously, when I first began thinking about this particular question a decade (or possibly more) ago, Neville Birdsall claimed that I was wasting my time because it had been demonstrated that there was no such correlation between catena type and NT text. I wonder what research he had in mind. Can anyone enlighten me?

Now it’s off to write about Codex Sarzanensis for the introduction to Vetus Latina Iohannes.


September 23, 2010

An update at last

Filed under: Uncategorized — igntp @ 11:03 am

I may be one of the world’s worst bloggers. Instead of writing about editing the Gospel of John, I have been too immersed in the research questions to write about them. But I do have plenty to write about.

Since the last post (was it really so long ago?), a lot has happened. We received a large grant from the AHRC which keeps our editorial team going to the end of John. Mostly I have been engaged in work on the Latin text. I made a list of all the readings in Greek MSS which are found in the Latin MSS which we will include in Vetus Latina Iohannes. I say all the readings, but in accordance with scientific practice I limited the MSS I included to the papyri, majuscules, MSS included in our edition of the Byzantine text of John, and Families 1 and 13 according to research in Birmingham. These readings appear in the edition as variants against the text of Nestle-Aland 27, which is given as a point of comparison for the Latin tradition.

It has been fascinating work. The interplay between the oldest Greek and Latin witnesses, and interestingly between the early Byzantine and Carolingian ones, has proved a good way into the process of understanding the wide picture of the textual transmission of John.

As members of the Latin team compile the patristic evidence for each chapter, I go back over it looking for Greek readings attested in Latin citations but not in MSS. The number we find will be a test of the measure to which the extant Latin MSS preserve the entire tradition (with the proviso that both MSS and citations from certain geographical areas may be better preserved than those from others). Here is a sample, the readings I have noted from Chapter 2:

2.3 oινος ουκ εστιν 01*; uinum non est; 2.9 OM αυτω 01; OM ei; 2.19 OM εν 03; OM in ; 2.21 OM αυτου 01*; OM sui; 2.25 OM οτι 02 083 0233; OM quoniam/quia

The frequency of  01 is intriguing. The question of course is, how likely are these variants to have arisen independently, through textual development in MSS and the common natural tendencies of citations to adapt and smooth a phrase?

Another question, which I am not going to begin to answer yet, is how often the Latin tradition may preserve a reading which began in the Greek tradition but no longer survives in a Greek manuscript. For example, the omission of ουν at 20.21 (cf 2 6 35).

On the Greek front, we have been pressing on with transcribing the MSS we will need for the edition, and I have been admiring the skill and dedication of our large team of professional and amateur contributors.

That will do for the moment. More to follow.

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