SOME BASIC TEXTUAL CRITICISM TERMS

DEFINED

(note: some of the "foreign" glyphs, are not correct in this HTML version, they are correct in the downloadable PDF file)

 

Despite Epp's observations (in 1974) that TC (Textual Criticism) and interest in it,

was on the decline in America, we are seeing an increase in the popularity of

the subject. I am of course, referring to the science of Biblical Textual Criticism.

In light of the apparent renewed interest amongst the younger scholars,

students, and the laity, I find it advantageous to make certain

our corporate understanding of some of the basic terms related to

the study. Most of the terms below were chosen because they are often misused.

For obvious reasons scholars need to precisely and accurately

communicate, we need to adhere to a clear standard! Thus I present these basic definitions

of a few IMPORTANT terms. The definitions are related specifically

to the task of BIBLICAL TC, they are the typical general definitions, a few are enhanced

via my personal research. Some other

fields of research may modify these definitions.

The terms are listed and defined below in this alphabetical order:

 

 

ARCHETYPE

ATRAMENTUM

BOOKHANDS and Other Styles

CATENAE

CLADISTICS

CLAREMONT PROFILE METHOD

COLOPHON

CORONIS

CURSIVE

DAUGHTER and SISTER

DIPLE

DOCUMENTARY TEXTS

ECLECTIC

EKTHESIS (and Eisthesis)

EMENDATION/CONJECTURE

ENCAUSTUM

EXEMPLAR

FAMILY

GLOSS

GOLD INK (and Others)

GOLD LEAF

HISTORIATED

INTERPOLATION

 

KOLLEMATA

LEMMA

LIGATURE

MAAS'S LAW

MAQUETTES

MISTERY

MENOLOGION/SYNAXARION

OBELUS

QUIRE

READING or RENDERING ERRORS

RECENSION

RECTO and VERSO

SCHOLIA

SIZING

STEMMA

TEXT

TEXTUAL CRITICISM

TEXT-TYPE

TRIBE or CLAN

UNCIAL

Ur-TEXT

VERSION

WESTERN NON-INTERPOLATIONS

ZOOMORPHIC

 

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ARCHETYPE

Perhaps overused, an "archetype" is the original form of a group of descendants, sometimes seen as the "chief" MS to which other MSS are related or based upon. It is akin to a master exemplar for numerous copies (manuscripts). An example is seen in the title of the article—Is MS 826 the Archetype of Fam. 13a? [by Jacob Geerlings]. The "archetype" may also be considered as the ORIGINAL model from which copies are made, or adjusted to agree with. The "archetype" is often some single existing manuscript, but in other usages, it is a text [s.v. "text" below] which needs to be reconstructed. It differs from exemplar in that an exemplar can serve as: a model for a single copy, an exemplar is often more local, and certainly may not reflect any original text outside of its immediate copy. An "archetype" is like the roots of our tree model, a text-type would be the trunk, the branches would be families, tribes and mixed witnesses. Ur-text [s.v. "Ur-text" below] is sometimes mistakenly used as a synonym for "archetype". A text-type differs in that it is a hypothetically reconstructed text based upon the majority readings from earlier MSS.

 

ATRAMENTUM

A pure carbon-black "ink that never fades because it consists of very minute particles of carbon which rest on the surface of the vellum". (Middleton 248). Atramentum "cannot be kept in a fluid state, but has to be rubbed up with water from day to day as it is required". No doubt Middleton is correct, but this type of ink was preferred for papyrus. It could be corrected (when still fresh) by washing off, not scraping. It was made of soot, mixed with a glutenous substance (a gel from boiled animal skins and bones, et al), it was thinned with water or vinegar. (s.v. "encaustum", below)

 

BOOKHANDS and OTHER STYLES

A "bookhand" is basically: a style of writing in which abbreviations are almost non-existant, nearly no ligatures, and it is used in the writing of a book, not for documents, each letter is independent, is typically bilinear, and finally the letters are carefully executed, slowly written as opposed to speed writing. Thus a bookhand is somewhat general. Writing on papyrus requires a delicate hand when compared to writing on vellum (Parchment). On parchment, the strokes can achieve a greated artistic enhancement, strokes can be made contrasting thick and thin lines, different types of ink were more practical with parchment.

 

 

CATENAE

Spelled "catena" for the singular. From the Latin for "chain", indicating a linked series of quotations related to the NT text or passage on the page being viewed. The quotations are from theologians (and even heretics!), and some sort of a letter or symbol may link the comment to the same letter or symbol seen supralinearly (usually) in the text. The comments/quotations are usually in another column with the text being viewed, they may often "surround" the main text on all margins. There are differing formats of SCHOLIA for Biblical manuscripts—Palestinian and Constantinopolitan. The "chain" aspect is derived from one of the several Palestinian formats, which displayed the brief quote parallel to the primary text, such that every scholion stood side-by-side with every verse commented upon, generating two linked columns. In many cases catenae (like "scholia" see below) were written in a different script as opposed to the main text. [Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, s.v. "catenae"].

 

CLADISTICS

"Cladistics" is a type of computational analysis (performed by computers) developed by biologists. The concept and method has been adapted to manuscript groupings by Stephen C. Carlson. In his article "The Origin(s) of the 'Caesarean' Text" [SBL-January 2004], Carlson defined the cladistic method basically as a method "generating many different possible stemmata [s.v. "stemma"], calculating the number of changes each stemma requires, and choosing the stemma with the minimum number of changes." Carlson used his program to analyze Mark 6:45 - Mark 8:26. Most of his readings are derived from Swanson's apparatus (which apparatus is not tested, and has been shown to contain an unacceptable number of errors (especially amongst the minuscule evidences)). Carlson ran his program for 48 hours and ended up with an interesting tree of relationships. Though his method may contain flaws (such as perceiving the Byzantine/Antiochian text-type as late-via assigned numbers [which numbers he inserts as values into the program] and by limiting the range of mixtures) his results are worth observing and developing. At this stage "cladistics" needs to have many variables clarified, and an informed view of the chronological position of the various text-types needs to be maintained! "Cladistics" could prove to be another tool in the textual critic's toolbox.

 

CLAREMONT PROFILE METHOD

The "Claremont Profile Method" is a quantitative approach for grouping NT minuscule manuscripts. It was developed by Frederik Wisse and Paul R. McReynolds for the IGNTP on Luke. Basically three chapters of Luke were selected for a test of manuscript readings, chapters, 1, 10 and 20. The method checked for agreements and disagreements amongst 550 manuscripts, reducing the 550 to a manageable number of 150 representative minuscules. As the manuscripts began to fall into certain categories ("profiles") these resulting profiles became test signatures. Via these profiles, or signatures, other manuscripts could be quickly tested to see which group or profile they best fit into, by comparing the readings in these three test chapters. A time saving method! Each profile was assigned a number. In a broad and general sense the main function of the "Claremont Profile Method" is the quick general classification (as in group alignment) of a large number of manuscripts, typically over 100 manuscripts. Its disadvantages are: it can miss small but important readings, it classed a few scattered variant agreements amongst the groups as non-genetic (and therefore rejected), it still utilized a rather limited database [they used only 550 of 1700+ known witnesses], and it focused upon a narrow test base (three chapters). I am not certain as to its future use, but it remains another useful tool for classifying and grouping large numbers of manuscripts.

 

COLOPHON

From the Greek meaning "summit" or "finishing touch". Typically a colophon is a closing comment or note affixed to the end of a manuscript, normally supplied by the scribe. Often the colophon (note) contained the scribe's name, date and indiction the manuscript was finished, the location (a monastery or elsewhere), at times a donor is mentioned. In Libraries of the Ancient World, by Lionel Casson, pages 4 and 5; one notes that the colophon is quite ancient—some seen as early as the 13th century B.C.. These ancient clay tablets (in Hattusas et al) utilized colophons as sorting and cataloging devices for the numerous clay tablets, functioning like our modern page numbers and titles. In NT minuscule MSS, they typically function as the scribe's closing comments, and in some manuscripts colophons are seen in places other than the end of the manuscript.

 

CORONIS

A flourished decorative tail-piece, usually ending a section of text or book. In some Greek manuscripts a coronis may be used to indicate changes in metre, or strophes. Technically a coronis is a flourished paragraphus mark, usually containing curly lines below and above the paragraphus, [Greek Manuscripts of the Ancient World, E. G Turner, 1st edition, page 14]. Coronis are seen in Egyptian papyri and extend into the medieval period, usually seen as an ekthesis. (s.v. "ekthesis" below).

 

CURSIVE (also minuscule)

The name of a script, or of a certain letter form, or a term applied to certain manuscripts written in such scripts. A cursive style script is text in which the letters are JOINED, hence written in a running or flowing hand. Much like the style of the modern handwriting of English. However, when examining a single letter we can refer to it as a cursive letter IF the letter was formed by a single stroke of the pen (the pen is not lifted from the page). Technically when the letters are joined in novel forms, we usually have a "ligature" (see below). A form of cursive scripts is referred to as "minuscule" which is a refined and carefully written form of cursive. Usually cursive script is composed of lower case letters, with a few uncial letters. Minuscule scripts often utilize a higher proportion of uncials ("uncial", see below) for titles, names and stylistic purposes.

 

DAUGHTER and SISTER

A "daughter" manuscript, is simply a (oftentimes a first) descendent from a parent manuscript or exemplar. Another use, is as, daughter versions of the Septuagint, such as the Ethiopic Psalters, composed in Geez, they are never-the-less very literal translations of the Greek LXX, hence a daughter version. Two manuscripts (or more) which are from the same exemplar, are referred to as "sister" manuscripts. They are recognized as such by the congruity of their texts in agreement with their (real or reconstructed) mutual exemplar(s). Yes, several exemplars (parents) may be involved. For example, in the Pauline epistles, manuscripts 927 and 489 are "sister" manuscripts, if you compare them it becomes obvious that they have the same source or parent manuscript. In TC it is probably best to maintain a consistent usage for the term "sister". For example, in his introduction to Codex Bezae, Scrivener states that codices 05 and 06 are "sister" manuscripts. It is true he is apparently referring to their similar formats and style, but they are NOT from the same parent or exemplar, his use could cause some confusion or misunderstandings.

 

DOCUMENTARY TEXTS

Also referred to as "documentary type manuscripts". These are manuscripts often written in high chanceries, and as M. David and B. A. van Groningen declare [Papyrological Primer, 3rd ed.. page 15*f], "...are, as a rule, cast in a dignified, though simple form". Legal or official documents. Of course they and I am referring to Greek manuscripts, but they certainly exist in all languages. Often they are of legal substance, deeds, wills, receipts, official announcements and the like. They provide good insight to the language and customs of the times in which they are written, often enhancing our understanding of some obscure Greek word! Palaeologically their morphology, syntax styles and spellings can serve as benchmarks for dating and comparision purposes as well. From the Fayuum, we possess many documentary papyri.

 

DIPLE

A diple is a mark used to indicate a quote, it is often placed on the margin of the quoted text, often each quoted line has a diple beside it. "DIPLE" comes from the Greek word diplh and in pre-New Testament documents it was a mark used to indicate rejected readings by grammarians, or in drama as a way to introduce a new speaker. The term refers to its form - double - as it looks much like our modern arrow ç or the modern "greater-than" mark >.

 

ECLECTIC

"Eclectic" basically means a choosing, making a choice. It demands that alternatives are considered, and that a single rigid methodology is not followed. (Although an "eclectic" method can itself be a single rigid methodology). An "eclectic" method involves recognition that mixtures of readings occur in most surviving manuscripts. Early papyri from Egypt are very variable, displaying a multitude of various early readings/corruptions. Few of these papyri conform to a certain text-type, most conform to nonentities. Singular readings need to be evaluated, and texts with multiple exemplars demand that a choosing occur. Some prefer the term "reasoned eclecticism", but such categories add to or blur the essential meaning of "eclectic". A true electic process already incorporates a thoroughness, is reasoned and is rational. Allow me however, to quote a master eclectic, J. K. Elliott: "...thoroughgoing eclecticism, which devotes its main attention to the individual variants themselves and very little attention to external evidence. This method of textual criticism is often called rational criticism, because it is concerned with finding plausible explanation based upon internal consideration to justify the choice of one reading as original and the others as secondary. It thus becomes part of the textual critic's task not only to argue for the original text but to explain as far as possible the reason for the variation. In the belief that the original reading may have survived in only a few witnesses or even in a single relatively late manuscript standing alone against the rest [of the] tradition, the rational textual critic will necessarily be required to examine all the available variants and follow for his text now one now another set of witnesses in accord with what he considers to be the original reading." [quote from J. K. Elliott, Essays and Studies in New Testament Textual Criticism, in an article titled: "Can We Recover the Original Text of the New Testament? An Examination of the Rôle of Thoroughgoing Eclecticism", page 28.].

 

EKTHESIS and EISTHESIS

An eisthesis is simply a line of text which is indented as compared to the normal edge of text. An ekthesis refers to just the opposite, it is a line of text extending out into the margin. Often used to indicate a change of text, and as a visual aid to the reader as the eisthesis or ekthesis stands out making passages easy to find..

 

EMENDATION/CONJECTURE

Beginning with "conjecture", a conjecture is a proposed restoration to a missing text or word or letter. J. Harold Greenlee adds"...a reading proposed apart from any textual evidence..." [Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism, p.99]. In Metzger, we note: "If the only reading, of each of several variant readings, which the documents of a text supply is impossible or incomprehensible, the editor's only remaining resource is to conjecture [an informed guess] what the original reading must have been". [The Text of the New Testament, 2nd edition, 1968, page 182. I added the bracketed words]. However, sadly, Metzger is guilty of promoting a common oxymoron in that he uses the phrase "conjectural emendation". Actually there is no such thing. A correction which is certain is an emendation. No conjecture is involved. For example should we read in I Corinthians 13, ag.ph it would be a certain restoration to supply an alpha to read.....agaÛph. Again in such an emendation we see the true definition of an emendation which is a valid correction and we see that no conjecture is required.

 

ENCAUSTUM

An ink used in manuscript production, especailly for parchment. Typically made by boiling gallnuts, to obtain tannins, which often is a dark brown liquid. In latter times, vitriol [a metallic sulphate, dark blue or green] was added, and after the writing was done, heat was applied to the ink and surface. These types of inks were well adapted for mixing and changing the colors for various illumination purposes. However, some were a bit high in tannic acid, and would often "eat" through the parchment leaving a space where the original letter was. These inks (as opposed to the atramentum carbon inks) stained the parchment—actually penetrating slightly below the surface.

 

EXEMPLAR

An "exemplar" is, in our field, the model or original manuscript from which a copy is made. An "exemplar" can be a text, or an ornament, a format or some form of illumination. Often is it synonymous with an archetype, however an archetype usually refers to an original (as in the primary source, which can often stand quite a distance behind an "exemplar"); those in the field of TC should distinguish between an archetype and an "exemplar" so as to not be ambiguous. An exemplar is also referred to as an antigraph.

 

FAMILY

A "family" is a subgroup within a text-type, it is identified as such because each member contains certain common textual manifestations. It is a group of manuscripts which contain agreements, agreements which distinguish them from other members of a text-type, or from other families. For example families 1 and 13 have valid identifying agreements about which they can be grouped and identified as a family(ies). The members need not maintain an equal amount of agreements, per each member. IF each member maintains an EQUAL amount of agreements, then we would have probably a subfamily. A subfamily is a group which maintains an even closer congruency.

 

GLOSS

Usually a single word definition for another term, or a single word translation for another term. In some manuscripts there will be observed, for example Greek NT MSS being read and studied by Arabic students, Arabic glosses defining some unusual Greek word, the gloss is inserted in the text, or on the margin. Thus a gloss may be a simple translation assist for difficult or rare Greek or Hebrew words. Correctly recognizing a gloss is useful, as George Ladd reminded us, [The New Testament and Criticism, page 66f, written in 1967], in discussing types of errors seen in the manuscripts he says: "...on other occasions, however, the marginal reading was not a correction of an error but a "gloss", ... meant to illuminate the meaning of the text itself." Hence a cautious scribe desiring not to omit any text, may perceive the gloss as a correction, and include it in his copy as text, thus creating an error... also noted by Ladd. Literal word-for-word interliners can be understood as running "texts" of glosses.

 

GOLD INK (and Others)

Gold ink is made by rubbing up gold leaf as thoroughly as possible with a little honey. Lots of elbow grease is required! The honey is then washed away with water, and finely powdered gold dust remains. This fine powder is mixed to the consistency of a writing ink with weak gum water. Everything depends upon the fineness of the gold powder, i. e., upon the diligence with which it has been worked with the honey. [Precipitated gold is finer than can be got by any rubbing, but its color is wrong, being dark brown]. This gold ink is carefully applied with a quill pen to a prepared parchment surface (usually the surface for the gold ink is made rather rough). After the ink dries, it is carefully burnished. Gold ink was/is quite readable on the natural colored parchmant leaf, but silver inks were not very visible so the parchment was often stained purple (even red) and then the silver ink applied.

An imitation gold or bronze ink is composed by grinding 1,000 parts of powdered bronze of handsome color with a varnish prepared by boiling together 500 parts of nut oil, 200 parts of garlic, 500 parts of cocoanut oil, 100 parts of Naples yellow, and as much of sienna. [Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes Encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others].

Perhaps more valuable than gold and silver inks, was the deep blue ink made from finely crushed lapis lazuli (a deep blue copper bearing mineral). This lapis-ink was favored by Byzantine illuminators, and when juxtaposed with gold or silver in illuminations the results were stunning to the viewer. A beautiful bright glowing illumination, executed by the best of illuminators in some of the best quality Byzantine manuscripts.

 

 

GOLD LEAF

Gold leaf, often made by the illuminator him/herself, consisted of a piece of gold pounded very very thin. The position on the vellum where the leaf was to be applied was prepared by brushing on several thin coats of mordant [which is a white substance ground very finely and mixed with size to the consistency of cream, then applied with a brush]. After each coat of mordant was completely dry, the next was added. When sufficient mordant had been applied, the mordant was burnished until it resembled glass. Then egg white (albumen) was brushed on. While the egg white was still sticky, the gold leaf was applied. After the egg white dried, the gold was laboriously burnished until it glittered (Middleton 232).

 

HISTORIATED

In our field, an enlarged initial letter illuminated within. The illumintion (figures) tell some sort of a story. In other words the ornate enlarged letter contains a figurative picture. Good examples are some of the enlarged letters in the Book of Kells.

 

INTERPOLATION

Adding unauthorized material to a text; falsifying a text by inserting new matter. A serious charge, however it can happen innocently as a copyist may not recognize extraneous matter (perhaps on the margin) and not wanting to omit the material may insert it into the text he/she is copying. Certainly we have situations in which matter is willfully and intentionally inserted. In other situations glosses may be added or exchanged. All of these conditions fall under the charge of interpolating. (For a rather specific use of the term see "Western-NONInterpolations" below).

 

KOLLEMATA

"Kollema" singular. Kollemata are places in a (usually papyrus) manuscript in which strips of papyrus have been added so as to JOIN together another page or sheet. From the Greek kollhma for "glue" or "join". ..F. G. Kenyon [Palaeography of Greek Papyri, pages 16f] uses the term (kollhmata) to indicate a page, scroll or a single sheet, not as the proper term for a "joint" or place where sheets are joined. Though this use (as a page or whole scroll) is seen in ancient Greek, Kenyon's usage is outmoded. We should use kollemata to refer to the joints in papyri and paper manuscripts, joined via a glueing process. Parchment MSS are joined via stitchings (sewing); and unless glued, the term kollema does not apply to parchment MSS. Dr. Sanders indicates that codex 032 (W) has several parchment patches glued on, perhaps betraying its Egyptian origin.

 

LEMMA

In our field, lemma is the main body of a text, from which shorter comments and/or parts are based upon. For example, we display the text of Romans chapter 8, in full; then we can comment upon bits and pieces of the text or various verses, with reference to the main full text printed above. The full printed copy of Romans 8 is the text we comment upon, this main full text stands as the lemma.

The lemma may also be the repetition of the main text in full or part in the apparatus, this lemma is copied to the apparatus before indicating the variant forms. Instead of using symbols to refer the reader to the apparatus, the text (or portions of it) is copied to the apparatus, this is seen in Tischendorf's Greek New Testament—as mentioned by Aland in The Text of the New Testament, 2nd edition, page 38. Most commentaries display the main text being commented upon (which is the lemma), the comments which follow refer back to the lemma (the main text which stands). Lemmas or lemmata are both proper forms for the plural. In the Greek (lhmma) and Latin, both terms originally meant a premise, or a thesis, or an assumption.

 

LIGATURE (also tachygraphy)

A ligature is the union of two or more letters written with ONE stroke in common. [Ruth Barbour; Greek Literary Hands A.D. 400-1600, page xxvi]. Often the resulting union is a novel or unique form. Typically cursive scripts demonstrate ligatures, most minuscule MSS of the NT contain a variety of ligatures. Samples can be seen on the TIPS ON DATING AND EVALUATING MINUSCULE SCRIPTS page on this site, under the TEXTUAL CRITICISM RESOURCES main page. Ligatures can save space and can be written somewhat quicker than the individual letters. Ligatures can be useful in identifying scribes, schools (scriptoriums) and eras. Tachygraphy is the equivalent of our modern stenography. It is the style of speed-writing of cursive scripts usually utilizing a multitude of ligatures and abbreviations.

 

MAAS'S LAW

The observation that the left side of a manuscript's text column generally increased (longer lines), as the writing moved from top to bottom. Thus the left margin would move to the outer side of the page as we moved down the column. This is noticable in many manuscripts, enough such that it has become a "law". It is assumed that had vertical rulings been in place prior to writing that the left margin would have remained straight, but instead the lower lines have more letters. In such manuscripts it is useful to know this about the margin, as knowledge of the longer lines can assist with reconstruction (as an example see my paper on A SUGGESTED READING IN PAPYRUS P46, at I Corinthians 2:1, in the ESSAYS ON BIBLICAL TEXTS AND GRAMMAR, link. at www.Biblical-data.org).

 

MAQUETTES

Often seen as "unfinished" drawings in some manuscripts. These maquettes are dummies (place holders) used to show how an illumination or other artwork was to be placed, showing an outline of the figures and the frames needed. Usually they are monochrome, or partially colored.

 

MENOLOGION (also synaxarion)

Menologia are readings from the Bible (usually) to be read at appointed times in the year. They form a liturgical appendix or apparatus to many minuscule manuscripts. The Orthodox churches of the Byzantine empire usually indicated such readings in certain lectionary and minuscule MSS. The menologion calendar is on a month by month basis, following the civil calendar. It begins with first of September, and it indicates feast days, special saints days and festivals. The menologia can vary from district to district, and can be an aid to determine the locus of the lectionary or minuscule MS being examined. The synaxarion readings begin with Easter, they exist for each day, throughout the year, usually they are more uniform than the menologion and are from the four Gospels. Often entire manuscripts contain nothing but synaxaria (for example the Ethiopic synaxaria on the Hill Monastic Library site).

 

MISTERY

An English guild existing in medieval England, which was the association of PROFESSIONAL scribes. Their own "place" in which they did their writing was known as their "Misteries". In London, in the 1300s, these skilled calligraphers were highly respected. Other guilds for scribes also existed, for example: "Guild of the Medici e Speciali" of Florence, Italy, which focused upon professional manuscript illuminators.

 

OBELUS (also metobelus and asterisk)

A mark used to indicate spurious readings, or doubtful or superfluous readings or words. In modern times the dagger has replaced it F. In Greek manuscripts the asterisk is usually in the form of a large X, or + with a dot placed in each of the vertices. Origen is noted for using this sign, developed first by Aristarchus. Origen used it to indicate Hebrew words NOT seen in the LXX, in his famous Hexapla. [B. M. Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible, page 38]. In a few minuscule MSS it is used much like a modern asterisk, referring to some additional note, or marginal reading. A metobelus, was used to indicate the END of the spurious reading or passage. The metobelus looks much like our modern : colon, two dots one above the other. An obelus looks much like our modern division sign ÷ (also known as a lemniscus) , or just simply an em dash with or without a dot(s) —, in ancient MSS it looked much like a spear pointed downward. Origen used it to indicate words seen in the LXX but not in the Hebrew in his Hexapla. [H. B. Swete, Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, pages 69ff].

 

QUIRE

Also, "gatherings". A full folio (a simple sheet of parchment or paper), folded in half forms 4 writings surfaces. Each surface is called a page. The folded folio is called a bifolio. One of the halves of the folded folio (bifolio) would be a leaf (which has two surfaces, a front and back, or two pages). When these folded folios are joined we have a "gathering" or a quire. Quires were often 2 or 4 bifolios joined. A rather large and bulky single quire (such as Papyrus P-46) is just a single large group of sheets, folded in half. A book containing a group of quires having 4 bifolios would have 16 pages per quire. In most cases the right hand side of the folded folios would be termed the recto side, turning this leaf brings the verso side into view. Often a number, letter or mark is placed discretely on the first leaf of a quire to indicate its place/position in a codex which contains numerous quires.

 

READING or RENDERING ERRORS

Misreading a word or phrase in the exemplar, can thus lead to an error, the error occurs in the copy: this is hence a rendering error. A rendering error is simply a poor or incorrect translation of the actual word in the source manuscript. For example if a manuscript read: "John is in the treehouse" and a copyist copied it as: "John is in the tree", this is a rendering error as the scribe (copyist) did not correctly translate "treehouse", rendering it simply as "tree". On the other hand, if the exemplar manuscript reads: "Maryanne is in the treehouse", we have here a reading error, if it is copied as "Maryanne is in the treehouse". This reading error is known as such as all OTHER known manuscripts read "John". If the copyist actually copied the variant reading "Maryanne", he/she is accurate, yet he/she is preserving a reading error, even though it is rendered correctly in the copy. A reading error indicates a variant reading. A rendering error indicates a simple translation error (the original word is misread).

 

RECENSION

A "recension" is technically, the revision of a text, especially a critical revision or a methodical revision. It is intentional. It can also indicate the version of a text resulting from such revision. The "Caesarean" text-type, is most likely a recension being a critical revision of prior texts or a revision of a collection of MSS from the West, Egypt and Antioch.

 

RECTO and VERSO

When one opens a modern book, the page which is visible on the right side, is called the recto page, the left side page is called the verso page. When the codex is laying closed, the top page is often with the fibers (papyrus) being vertical, this being also the cover. The order of the fibers in a typical book is: é ¥ é ¥ é et cetera. For a single quire codex, this pattern holds true until you begin the second half of the book (from the middle onwards, then the pattern is ¥ é ¥ é ¥ é ¥ é, in which case the pattern alternates from those of the first half of the book (note this applies only to single quire codices P46 etc.). When only a fragment of a page remains, and if it is written on both sides (known as opisthograph, writing on front and back), the paleographer names the side with the fibers of the papyrus aligned with the text, (i.e. running from right to left, horizontally) as the recto side. The side with the fibers being vertical to the text, is the verso side. If the fragment is parchment, then the recto side is the earlier portion of the text: for example if it is of the book of Luke, and one side contains Luke 14: 12 - 18, and the other side contains Luke 14:1 - 11, the side with the first portion (Luke 14:1 -11) would be the recto side. According to E. G. Turner, no example of a single quire parchment codex is known (The Typology of the Early Codex, page 58). In most papyrus manuscripts, the best side for writing is the side with the fibers running horizontal, and it is usually the front side if the document is opisthographic. A few exceptions exist, and some manuscripts are difficult to classify, such as papyrus P34!!

Many papyrus codices, were made from scrolls, that is the work was first written on a scroll, then cut up to form pages. Joins (kollesis) are often seen on many of the pages, measuring the distance between the joins is also of value. In such an environment, much can be learned from the direction of the fibers. Thus, this can become quite an involved study on its own in certain complex manuscripts. As concerns parchment codices, an analogy may be the hair side and the sides without the hair (known as the "flesh" side) follicles. Often facing pages are either both hair sides, or flesh sides. The flesh side usually is the smoothest side for writing purposes, and for illuminations.

 

SCHOLIA

Scholia (singular "scholion") are typically marginal notes explaining some portion of the main text. Sometimes collections of these scholia are used in a manuscript, being various comments from various editors and or theologians. Scholia differ from catenae in that they are not limited to quotes from the church fathers or theologians, but they are often of an explanatory or grammatical nature clarifying some difficult passage. Another difference is that scholia are usually written on the margins, not in parallel columns as are some catenae. In a general sense, catenae are a subset of scholia. Collections of scholia are often copied and reused, famous collections are those by Arethas of Caesarea and Oecumenius. Scholia are linked to their text by a symbol, or a lemma, or by use of a word in the text which stands at the beginning of the scholion. In some cases (often in minuscule Biblical MSS) a different script is employed to easily distinguish the scholia from the primary text.

 

SIZING

Used primarily for paper, but as regards parchment writing surfaces—sizing is the preparation of the parchment surface for writing or illuminating. Fresh parchment still contains some animal fat (oils) and this is usually removed before inking: a chalk is often rubbed on and into the parchment to assist with removing the oils. Some surfaces have a sticky gel applied (egg albumen, a starch or a gluten) when dried and smoothed this enhanced surface helps the ink to adhere, or not to be excessively absorbed. For gold lettering inks the parchment surface must first be roughened up, which helps the gold ink to adhere, which is a type of sizing. In other situations, the vellum is rubbed to a very smooth surface with fine stones, and the smoothing of papyrus leaves can also be termed sizing.

 

STEMMA

In classical philology, a "stemma" [also "stemmata"] is first built so as to make clear the relationships of the surviving manuscripts. This "stemma" is essentially a diagram illustrating the genealogy of the manuscripts which make up the text-type or archetype. It often looks like the pedigree of some champion dog's lineage. The diagram can also look like a tree with branches. In such a method, a mechanical means is preëminent. Usually a majority rules coupled with age. It is thus a synonym for the genealogical method. In Biblical textual criticism this method, if used alone, fails as a method to establish a valid archetype. [s.v. "eclectic"]. Nevertheless, it is a tool which should be used along with other necessary tools!

 

TEXT

A "text" is the actual words of an original author or exemplar (in our field, a written "text") , or the wording adopted by an editor as those which best represent the author's/exemplar's original words. Often "text" is the original words/wording as opposed to a translation, paraphrase or commentary of the author's "text". Despite these technical definitions, it is often used as distinguishing the written material (the "text") from the artwork or other portions of the manuscript. Thus, "text" is somewhat less definite than say, "archetype" which is a type of text.

 

TEXTUAL CRITICISM

"Textual-Criticism" is the "science" which attempts to reconstruct, demonstrate and or validate the original text/reading of which only copies survive. In Biblical TC, it is a work in the direction of moving from the known to the deduced or induced archetype (or original text). Typically it involves the analysis of existing copies, observing differences and agreements, as well as establishing the source for the agreements and differences. A genealogical method is often employed, but one needs to note that missing links are usually involved, and consequently a more recent manuscript may contain a more ancient text! Thus a genealogical method is not fully sufficient, or as Kirsopp Lake once stated: "...instead of considering merely numbers and age in the MSS. attesting a reading, we have to consider the numbers and ages of the archetypes of the groups". [The Text of the New Testament, 1900, page 8]. As the analysis of the variants occur, corruptions are removed slowly layer by layer, until we can construct a provisional archetype of all of the utilized descendants. Various judgments are involved which often involve faith, and even emendations, hence it is not simply just a science, as human emotions, church history and beliefs are intrinsically involved in the manuscripts of the Bible. A genuine elected saint, who is also trained in the science and craft of TC, and who is capable with the languages involved, and who is mature, and who is gifted for this type of ministry is in the best position to evaluate the surviving manuscripts of the Bible. Do read that last sentence again! In such a person, intuition plays a valid role, à la the indwelling Holy Spirit—Who guides the believer through the maze of variants and manuscripts! Pagan textual critics make contributions, but they are often frustrated and not edified by the text which they examine except in certain superficial ethics! However, reconstructed archtypes are many, in reality and for practical purposes, there should exist one single standard base test, common and accepted by all textual critics. Archtypes and text-types are many, but we should only have one standard base lemma/text for study and research purposes. Text-types and the standard base text used world-wide for collation purposes should never be confused or assimilated.

Finally, TC can, and does, involve paratextual elements which vary per each manuscript. Elements such as: format considerations (rulings, ink types, proportions), illuminations, header styles, ornamentations, pagination, ink colors, quality of copying, error types, liturgical materials, ligatures, script styles, colophons, canon order, quotations of LXX (or Masoretic texts) and numerous other facets. Each of these can have some bearing on resolving dating and provenance issues, which indirectly can affect the text (as a provincially produced MS may contain unusual readings from unusual sources, or the MS may be produced in a known scriptorium with known exemplars and illuminators, or the MS may be produced in an anti-Arian environment, et al). Versional and patristic evidences must also be considered! An ideal state of TC is one wherein a standard text is used as a lemma, thus the formation of and maintenance of a standard base is essential. The highly eclectic Nestle/Aland text, fails here as it is a wild combination of readings and suppositions. [for example note, Dr. Rykle Borger's article in Biblical Greek Language and Lexicography a 2004 tribute to the late Frederick W. Danker - 1920 - 2012]. Stephens TR of 1550 is or has been and should remain the world-wide standard, it should be maintained and all variant readings placed in apparatuses. Again do not alter the standard base text/lemma, the future creation of critical texts is a fanciful hobby of the deluded. We already have dozens of competing printed critical Greek texts. Adding another is self destructive. Time should rather be spent in clarifying the standard, and codifying all deviations - ACCURATELY and FULLY in apparatuses separate from the standard/lemma. This is a future hope and on-going desideratum. It is the true task of all sincere textual critics of the New Testament.

 

TEXT-TYPE

A "text-type" is that text which serves as the median standard for a large variety of copies, copies which often contain some minor transcriptional or aural errors and other minor deviations. A "text-type" is intrinsically related to each of its associated manuscripts, just as a trunk is related to its branches. This relatedness is what sets it apart from other "text-types". In Biblical TC "text-types" are usually reconstructed from a mass of surviving manuscripts, consequently it represents an a priori, or hypothetical text which results from the reconstruction techniques. The techniques are based upon a "measure of the central tendency", that is, it is a matter of a numerical majority. In the reconstruction of a "text-type", factors include [but are not limited to...] age of the manuscript/reading, the genealogical position of the manuscript and of the reading, and the historical/cultural environment of the reading, et al. If a manuscript has several major deviations from the reconstructed "text-type" it may still be reckoned as a member of this such-and-such "text-type" as major deviations are carefully scrutinized on a case by case basis. Again, a text-type is a hypothetical reconstruction created to reveal the text as reflected by the majority of MSS, and or families which support the reconstruction. THUS...by definition a "text-type" cannot exist (or be constructed) until numerous earlier texts [s.v. "text" above] are analyzed and grouped; earlier texts must prior exist. In NT textual criticism, there exist three major families of manuscripts which can be categorized as distinct text-types (Egyptian, Western and Byzantine), future research may distinguish or clarify more text-types.

EGYPTIAN text-type: probably created during the Athanasian period in Egypt, circa 350 AD. Based upon earlier readings formed from various MSS, such as papyri et al. In its creation, some earlier MSS containing early Byzantine readings were used to correct the many corruptions seen all over Egypt in the first two centuries.

BYZANTINE text-type: probably created in Constantinople circa 800 AD. Based upon earlier readings seen in a few surviving Greek MSS, the Old Syriac, the Gothic et al. May accurately reflect the early Antiochian text of 100 AD, maintained in Antioch and Edessa (per book of Acts).

WESTERN text-type: In my research I posit that the source for the earliest Old Latin text is an abberant Greek papyrus (-ri) in Egypt. Surviving largely in a few Greek MSS and Old Latin MSS. Old Latin translations probably created in Cyrenica or Gaul, circa 200. Flourishes in Western Europe and in Catholic controlled areas.

 

TRIBE or CLAN

A "tribe" is a group of manuscripts which have less agreement than a family. Yet they contain enough homogeneity that they are obviously related in a way closer than that of a text-type, but not as close as a family. These terms ("tribe" or "clan") are thus not clearly demarcated, and should be used with care. However, they serve well as terms for provisionally describing a group until later fuller analyses are accomplished.

 

UNCIAL (also capitals)

A form of writing in which the letters are not joined and are typically all upper-case. Each letter can be crafted of numerous strokes, and usually the letters fit nicely between upper and lower margins (bilinear). In contrast to cursive scripts, uncial letters are usually a mixture of angles, curves and straight lines. Capitals lack the curves and are the type of scripts seen in stone inscriptions, where curved lines are difficult. Typically, "uncial" can mean "inch high letters".

 

Ur-TEXT

An "Ur-text" stems from the German prefix "ur-" which means origin or primitive. "Ur-text" is used to indicate a form of a text which putatively lies behind a reconstructed archetype. Consequently one enters an arena of conjecture whenever an Ur-text (often "urtext") is assumed. E. Tov's theory of the origins of the Hebrew Bible incorporates such a hypothetical existence of an original ur-text, which he believes one can never perfectly recreate! On page 135 of George Milligan's The New Testament Documents, (1913) we find the term Ur-Marcus, which he defines as the earlier form of Mark, as well as the earlier SOURCES from which Mark sprang. B. H. Streeter did much to expose the fallacy of this strawman—an "Ur-marcus". We see this same use of "Ur-text" as indicating the primitive original form as well as the SOURCES behind the text in question. In modern textual criticism of the NT, it is recommended that the use of the term "Ur-text" be abandoned. If the original document, or epistle or gospel is meant, then "Original autograph" or even archetype are more meaningful, and these terms can be used without all of the historical conjectures and theories superimposed.

 

VERSION

A "version" is typically a translation. For example the Vulgate is a Latin translation of the Greek Bible, it is the/a Latin "version". The 1881 REVISED VERSION of the Bible is a recension of the Authorized Version of the Bible, in this case both are in English; thus a "version" may also be a variation or form of an original model.

 

WESTERN NON-INTERPOLATIONS

Basically a phrase coined by Wescott and Hort for use in their theory of textual criticism/origins. It is used to indicate those genuine original passages of their Greek NT which are preserved in the Western text-type, as opposed to their neutral (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) text. In other words these few passages (largely in Luke, and one in Matthew) are perceived as original and they give preference to these few Western readings. These passages they refer to as "western non-interpolations". In these few passages they abandon their neutral text—as the neutral text appeared to them as an expanded text in these passages, and they preferred in each case the shorter Western text. Thus they perceived the additions of the neutral text as true "interpolations" or false additions.

 

ZOOMORPHIC

In our field, decorations placed with a text which contain animals or parts of animals. Enlarged letters can be composed of bird's heads and feline tails for example. Any manuscript decoration which contains animals or parts of animals, especially if the parts are arranged to form a letter or word or liturgical mark. In numerous minuscule manuscripts we note zoomorphic type initial letters, especially MSS related to Italy, Calabria, Germany and various Insular MSS..

© copyright 2006 - by Mr. Gary S. Dykes