Here, you will find a vast multitude of materials useful for the art and science

of Biblical textual criticism. Material is added regularly so be sure to visit often.

-- Scroll down (way down) to view my chart of Greek ligatures

and other minuscule script informations --

Wilcken Schubart Gardthausen Youtie Aland Metzger Tebtunis Karanis Tischendorf Tregelles Souter Sahidic Bohairic Palestinian Aramaic inspiration Pickering Husselman Mitteis Preisigke Philology Greco-Roman Inschriften Papyrusurkunden Chrestomathie

this page copyrighted by Mr. Gary S. Dykes © 2006


To view some portions of this area of the website properly, you may want

to download and install the following fonts:




These are quality crafted, hinted and embeddable fonts, and are free to

use in any other way! Right click on each (above) to download,

then copy each into your fonts folder - [C:\windows\fonts], restart your computer,

and they are installed! (on some machines (XP) you may need to actually

install the font, more than just copying to the fonts folder, a free and easy to use

font installer is available on my "Softwares" page)

Schubart Hunger Wilcken Wessely Turner Husselman Preisigke Treu


Recognizing God's Word

author: Mr. Gary S. Dykes

size: 382,582 bytes - - - 18 pages - - - PDF format

I work hard at trying to produce materials which promote or clarify God's Word. And for me it is a lot of work. This essay is very important as it makes clear how any elected person (a believing Christian) can understand God's Word as it appears in nearly any translation, or as it appears scattered amongst numerous manuscripts or variant readings. It is encouraging to know that God's Word is there, in its entirety, for any believer to access; it is a supernatural gift from God to His children! Always and fully preserved.




Editing the Editors

SIZE: about ~ 3 MB - - - CONTAINS 16 pages PDF

author: Mr. Gary S. Dykes

Another exposé of shoddy editing work on a Greek NT papyrus manuscript (P49). I also offer a suggestion for the valid transcription of all Biblical manuscripts, one which is the ONLY solution to the problems associated with transcription and collating MSS. An easy, illustrated read. Beinecke Emmel Welles Brice Jones Harvard Susan A. Stephens P 49 Yale

oha, Jeffery John



A Trilogy

SIZE: 484,241 bytes --- CONTAINS 44 pages (PDF)

author: Mr. Gary S. Dykes

All three essays collected into one pdf file with a new preface. These essays cover my views on Translation Ethics and the practice of Biblical Textual Criticism today. I hold no punches. A good reality check for those who make translations or who examine MS variants. A good handout for students as well! (Should generate valuable discussions!)

See also, BUBBLES, below!!!





SIZE: 938,987 bytes -- CONTAINS 60 pages (PDF)

author: Mr. Gary S. Dykes

Blindly accepting Greek readings from ancient papyri from Egypt, is not always sane. These penetrating essays caution textual critics and translators! Introductory information on the Greek manuscript families of the New Testament is presented along with cutting edge data!!. This is part 2 of a larger work in progress. Contains three essays in a single file.

file name: Text_types_part2.pdf


On the Nature of Biblical Textual Criticism

SIZE: 152,836 bytes --- CONTAINS 12 pages (PDF)

author: Mr. Gary S. Dykes

A short explosive essay which proposes a corrected paradigm, a true and edifying purpose for the craft of Biblical textual criticism. An indictment against the current state of Biblical textual criticism. A must read!! Written by a man who has practiced and observed Biblical textual criticism for over 20 years, and one who is also a man of faith. This file is also contained in the "Trilogy" pdf file, above.

In response to a request, I provide some samples of "bubbles" (mentioned in the above essay). And yes, I have my helmet on!

BUBBLES ---- 61,958 bytes, 8 pages PDF


Dating the Apostle John's Writings

SIZE: 66,705 bytes ---- CONTAINS 2 pages (PDF)

author: Mr. Gary S. Dykes

A brief introduction to a larger work of mine (The Primary Audience of the Apostle John), this file has 15 reasons why John wrote in the A.D. 90-98 range. Again brief, but pointed.

Borland's Collation of the Robinson/Pierpont and the Farstad/Hodges Majority Texts

author: Jonathan Borland

HTML file, circa 2003. Used via permission of Mr. Borland. A fine work and easy to use, instantly see all variations between these fine editions of the Majority Text.



Ligatures and Tachygraphy: including numerous PRINTED ligatures


Manuscript Provenances and Locales [under construction]


SCRIPT MENSURATION (script analyses), NEW cutting-edge RESEARCH

Did such and such a scribe write such and such a manuscript? How can you be sure? Did scribe X also write another manuscript? Via this revolutionary analysis method, you can determine for certain, if the same scribe wrote any of one or more manuscripts. Anyone with a computer monitor can begin to mensurate (measure) and analyze a scribe's writing. Currently the system only works for Greek minuscule scripts.




More Palaeographical Items, TOOLS, and ESSAYS - -

(such as an archive copy of Kim's 1988 essay on the dating of papyrus P- 46, and charts of various Greek letter forms illustrating periods of Greek manuscript production, et al).




Modern Textual Criticism, Its Genesis and Retardation

author: Mr. Gary S. Dykes

SIZE: 1.5 MB - - - 41 pages - - - PDF

My first award winning essay! (And perhaps my last). An interpretation of the history of Biblical TC, its rise and its problems. Lots of research contained herein.



More Tips on Dating Minuscule Mansucripts






Using the "Umlauts" of Codex Vaticanus to Dig Deeper

SIZE: 164,676 bytes ---- CONTAINS 10 pages (PDF)

author: Mr. Gary S. Dykes

The implications of this simple essay are profound! I believe the term "umlauts" has been made obsolete, and a newer term employed.



Palaeographical Dating of P-46

SIZE: 99,551 bytes ---- CONTAINS 11 pages (PDF)

author: Dr. Bruce Griffin

This is the paper delivered to the 1996 SBL meeting in New Orleans, which strongly opposes Kim's early dating of papyrus P46. Griffin shines herein! Dr. Griffin's email address is:

substitute @ for the AT in the above email address.

NOTE: newly added is Kim's essay, s.v. 2 items up.




IMPORTANT Textual Criticism TERMS defined

a HTML file: by Mr. Gary S. Dykes

Also a handy (printable) PDF file is available. Download it and print it, it is also handy for teaching situations as a handout. [Printed version has been greatly improved (2013).] Click on the PDF FILE icon below.

PDF file, 17 pages, size: about 96 KB (small !)

PDF file of the above HTML file it is named ----TERMS_defined.pdf


H. von Soden's MSS citation keys

manuscript number conversion charts for Acts - Revelation. Enables CORRECT reading of Von Soden's actual apparatuses. Contains two charts - Praxapostolos and Revelation. When Von Soden shows a 76f, you can now correctly recognize what manuscript the "f" is. Original charts produced in Germany, and shared with me by Klaus Witte of the Institute in Münster. I reformatted the charts.

These charts enhance and correct works by Merk and others.




The Doctrine of Inerrancy and the Manuscript Variants

SIZE: 75,267 bytes ---- CONTAINS 11 pages (PDF)

author: Mr. Gary S. Dykes

An appendix from Mr. Dykes' upcoming production on First Corinthians. Instead of avoiding the reality of variants, I suggest believers USE them. Good reading, IMPORTANT.

A very important document, especially for genuine saints!! Is one of the three files collected into the "Trilogy" PDF file, above.


A List of PRINTED Greek New Testament editions up to 1887. From Isaac Hall, as published in Philip Schaff's work. A scanned copy.

a HTML file, contains several images of actual Greek New Testaments of by-gone days.



Recentiores non Deteriores

SIZE: about 7 MB - - - 11 images in a PDF file

author: R. Browning (Robert ?) Date, 1960.

An authorative article in which the author illuminates the type of ancient materials Byzantine scribes would copy and archive. This article is well researched and is often overlooked. PDF file name:








A Review of Jeffery John Kloha's Dissertation of 2006, titled:

"A Textual Commentary on Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians"

size: 146,989 bytes - - - CONTAINS 8 pages (PDF)

author: Mr. Gary S. Dykes

This vast effort by Dr. Khola partly parallels my own on-going effort. Thus I am in a good position to review this disserataion.


click to return to main / home page    












["Praxapostolos" generally means the books of Acts, the Catholic Epistles, and the Pauline Epistles]


This key provides referrers to von Soden's apparatus with a means by which they

can accurately note which manuscripts he is referring to when he shows

witnesses as:



The ...ff indicates that he is referring ALSO to two additional manuscripts which

follow d180. What are these two manuscripts? I have actually seen

people use Merk's Greek New Testament (in his introduction) to discover the

identity, this gives an error. Merk does NOT follow von Soden's manuscript

order. In the chart below, for the Praxapostolos, the next two manuscripts

below d180 are MSS 2127, 808. Thus, here, von Soden's apparatus shows

three witnesses, MSS 1319, 2127 and 808 ( = d180ff). Not all of von Soden's MSS are listed

below, but as many as could be are, each order matches his citations.

The columns with no title, are of course the equivalent modern Gregory numbers.

I have no such list for the gospel manuscripts.






H Ia1 Ia3 Ib1 Ic1 K 
d1B (03)d5D (05)d156226d206242a1141852a3P (025)
d2¢ (01)d268431d157547d264536a1162138a5L (020)
d3C (04)a71874d1801319d369941a1581245a6H (014)
d4A (02)a651836d2022127d600296a2081611  
d6y (044)a701875d203808d602522a3701108  
d3566a20088d259330a161635a14362005 © GSD
a3P (025)a264917d300218a2532815    
a781739a1001E (08)d3542093a3961758Ic2   
a103104a1026D (06)d35538a398429d101506  
a1141852a1027D (06a)*d372263a4721831d2992147  
a16281a1028G (012)d454794a10050120a69221  
a257326a1029F (010)d457209  a1541867  
a10180173a10661912d50569Ib2 a169639  
a1022H (015)pr 11307a55920d260440a203203  
a10310121- 2036a561835-2004d30935a258378  
a1034<13- 21610a641845d361935a353383  
a10420172- 40453a106177d368823a356876  
a1044<15  a113919d3701149a364614  
a1045<16Ia2 a1641738a781739a466257  
O 12424d251927a1701311a157323a4681610  

* a copy of 06, a1120 is another copy of 06 (per von Soden's terminology)







H Ia2 Ia5 Ib1 K 
d2¢ (01)d600296a542028Oa411778a1070046
d3C (04)a102059a592069a4062080  
d4A (02)a201a602033  Kc 
a3P (025)a632066a652068Ib2 a132040
a10750169a16701894  a103104a2091872
I Ia3 Ia6 a400628a13742027
a3P (025)a412031a522067Io1 Ko 
a10722351a492056a532055O 10250d95175
a10732329a1581209a622664O 12424d206242
a15732020    O 211862O 11314
a15762057Ia4 Ia7 a2021828O 12617
a15792016a402036a562023a404172O 1491
  a512014a501432  O 151934
Ia1 a572043a15882061Io2 a216256
a212081a5041876a159460O 30468a15792016
a222286a15802015  a10742a15822017
a31598© GSD   a111325  
a422060    a214517  




H. von Soden further categorized many of his Byzantine text-type witnesses

into several sub-groups, denoted by variations of his K symbol. Some are

shown above in the key for Revelation - Ko and Kc.

A recent investigation of von Soden's Kr group, has greatly expanded the

number of MSS falling within this group which von Soden first discovered.

It is seen in the gosepl manuscripts, and according to von Soden it is not known

("unverkennbar" - page 1918, volume 3, Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments) or as yet studied

in the Pauline corpus. Via research done on the gospel of Luke (via the IGNTP) and

noted by Frederik Wisse, The Profile Method for the Classification and Evaluation of

Manuscript Evidence as applied to the continuous Greek text of The Gospel of Luke,

pages 92ff.; more than 200 MSS fit into this group. Bascially it is a group of Greek minuscule MSS

written in (or distinctive in) the 12th century. It is identifiable by its text, its use of various

liturgical apparatuses, and by certain similarities which von Soden was able to

quickly note when categorizing his witnesses (such as the inclusion, or placement

of John 7:53 - 8:11, -- the woman caught in adultery).

This large group clearly indicates that the Byzantine scholars were (and apparently had

been for some time) bringing the text of the Greek New Testament into a single standard form.

I refer to this as the Byzantine Ecclesiastical Standard, and it began being formed

probably in the late 9th century.


This Kr group reflects the standard, especially for scribes loyal to Constantinople and its orthodoxy.

For copyists and scribes in the outlying areas (such as North Africa, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Calabria,

Sicily, et cetera), some departure may be noted from the "standard" text-type. These minuscule manuscripts

are usually referred to as "provincial" {i.e. outlying regions}. Recognizing a MS as provincial is a fine

evaluation factor -- the provinciality of a witness-- for within these basic Byzantine text-type

manuscripts will be found other readings from various sources. Some of which

may be very early, some due to intentional changes, some due to dialectical alterations,

some from the influence of the Latin liturgy, and some from exemplars of ancient antiquity,

perhaps even the proto-Byzantine text-type!

There is room for much research in each of these areas, especially in the Pauline corpus.









Hopefully each reader has had the opportunity to examine various minuscule manuscripts

of the Greek New Testament. It is not long before odd appearing characters hinder your

reading of the text. What you are seeing is ligatures and abbreviations and various other types of tachygraphy.

Tachy- (from the Greek for "quick") and -graphy (from the Greek for "write") is speed-writing.

It is parallel to our modern stenography. Ligatures are the fusion of several letters into one new

form, I have seen as many as eight letters so joined.


In Greek manuscripts, tachygraphical writing has been around since the early papyri days

(pre A.D.). Some of its earliest uses were for keeping accounts. From the fourth century

A.D. onwards it was used in the Byzantine empire, at first for the "taking of dictation.

recording sermons and the minutes of church councils". (per The Oxford

Dictionary of Byzantium, volume 3, s.v. "tachygraphy").


MS 927. I Corinthians 9:8-12. date A.D. 1133.

...sqiei? mh kata anqrwpon tauta lalw h ouci kai o nomoj tauta legei.

en gar tw Mwusewj nomw gegraptai ou fimwseij boun alownta.

mh twn bown mellei tw Qew? h di hmaj pantwj legei. di hmaj gar

Egrafh oti ep elpi di ofeilei o arotriwn arotrian. kai o a

lown thj elpidoj autou metecein ep elpidi. ei uÌmeij umin

ta pneumatika espeiramen; mega ei hmeij umwn ta sarkika qeri

somen? ei alloi thj exousiaj hmwn metecouisin; ou mallon hmeij


--- Thank you David Robert Palmer, for your correction! and your sharp eye! ---


The film of the above manuscript is available from the Library of Congress. The

actual manuscript is currently lodged in the J. Paul Getty Museum in southern California,

where for all intents and purposes it is inaccessible.

Just below the image is a transcription (with the ligatures "resolved")

of the numerous tachygraphical forms seen in the seven lines as shown of this minuscule:



Much can be discerned from just this small sample. Note that this scribe

used a low dot for a comma, he occasionally spells phonetically mellei for melei, it is also

apparent that he is an expert scribe. In fact we have several of his works surviving.


Certain ligatures can signal much information. An expert palaeographer can determine which

school of writing the scribe was trained in, and can often determine where the scribe was

trained. Several scriptoriums were famous for their styles, this present writer finds

the scriptorium at the Grottaferrata (north of Calabria, in Italy proper), to be of

great importance, it had a wide influence on the writing styles seen in numerous

minuscule manuscripts of the New Testament.


One interesting, and fairly common mark is the double "slashes" seen above

the mh in line #1. No one knows for sure its exact meaning, but the late

Professor John Chadwick of Cambridge, suggested to me that it may just indicate

a pause before the word, or that it affected the pronunciation. Whatever its

precise use, it does not affect the semantics.



Other scriptoriums which leave marks and clues

via their scripts and styles are (in or at): the Stoudios, Sicily, Laconia, Rome,

Calabria, Capuae (and Grottaferrata), Athos, Crete, Cyprus, Chalce and others.


Below are a few samples of ligatures, as seen in MSS (in particular in the text of I Corinthians)

of the NT. Other such charts can be found in the standard works on Greek palaeography.*

It is suggested that you make your own charts as you study each MS. To accurately read or collate

Greek MSS which contain numerous tachygraphical conventions, the critic MUST be familiar

with this type of writing.



In the above, several numbers after some forms are seen, these are the

Gregory numbers of the MSS which display that form.



In 1541 early typographers strived to reproduce the beauty of handwritten

manuscripts, thus they copied certain exemplars as best as they could.

The above copy of a copy, is of the famous "Appian Alexandrini Romanarum

Historiarum" printed in Paris in 1551 by the Estiennes. The font was cut

by Garamond. Many judges consider this one of the best Greek fonts

ever cut! It also contains the fullest assortment of Greek ligatures

of any other known cut font. The font is called "Grecs du Rois". Garamond

carefully copied the handwriting of the professional writer - Angelos Vergetios.

As time passed, the number of ligatures diminished, readability improves and

we evolve to the present state where few if any are employed today.


However, to assist those who may have some difficulty reading older printed Greek

New Testaments I supply the images below. Thumbnails are included so that

you can click on the thumbnail and download the image, to print.





* perhaps still one of the best (though dated) resources for ligatures and abbreviations in the Greek

manuscripts would be:

Abbreviations in Greek Inscriptions: Papyri, Manuscripts, and Early Printed Books.

compiled by, Al. N. Oikonomides. Reprinted by Ares Publishers, Chicago, 1974


Microsoft® has made available as a free download a PDF file with a portion of this

volume, that one wherein minuscule tachygraphical forms and ligatures are indicated.

By no means comprehensive, but covers many forms especially of the

South Italian scriptoriums. Click title to download PDF file:



file is a PDF of about 3.5 MB








This is not meant to be an exhaustive treatment, but just a collection of tips which can assist with

the estimation of the date of various minuscule manuscripts of the New Testament.


It is probably best to divide the minuscule manuscripts into several time periods, each with some basic

identifiers. One common division (W.H.P. Hatch) is to break up the mass of surviving

minuscule witnesses into four periods, based solely upon the scripts:






From beginning of ninth to the middle of the tenth century (A.D. 800 - A.D. 950). Writing usually on the line, nicely formed and legible letters. The "iota adscript" is not rare. Uncial forms of - E; G; H; N; S are common. Somewhat common too are these uncials, D; L; P; ä Some ligatures seen. Breathings are always square.

MS 1900-circa 875

Homily-dated 1004


From the middle of the tenth, to A.D. 1200. Many varieties of scripts, some not so legible. The letters are usually pendant from the line. Sometimes "iota adscript" is seen (i.e. the final iota, or those in the so-called improper diphthongs, written on the same line as is the rest of the word(s)). Gradually the iota is placed "iota subscript" (written below the line of text) especially as one enters into the twelfth century. Uncial forms for E; T; Q are common and include those listed in First Period above. Round breathings begin to appear in the latter part of the tenth century, but in this period both [rounded and square] are seen, often in the same passage. The use of ligatures is on the increase in this period.


MS 1270-circa 1050

MS 1734-dated 1015



From A.D. 1200 to the middle of the fifteenth century. (A.D. 1450). After the Latin conquest of Constantinople (A.D. 1204) the minuscule script began a decline in quality. Depending upon the scribe, it may be neat or very difficult to read. The script is usually pendant. Iota adscript is very rare. The above listed uncials (in the First and Second Periods) are seen much more often as uncials. The minuscule hand became more cursive, and often with wild flourishes. Many abbreviations and ligatures are used. Some really "odd" scripts are seen in this period, a few are of outstanding quality.


MS 945-circa 1250 [note rare iota adscript for this period]


Aland's date for this MS (945) is an error: it is not 11th century. There is seen, in another later hand, a brief note dated at A.D. 1591 on folio 344v.


From A.D. 1450 to A.D. 1600. The script declined further in quality. I rarely use such late manuscripts from this period, though there are several good ones (MSS 5 and 69). Some of these scripts served as models for early printed texts.

L 1029-dated 1594
A lectionary MS, now in Walters Art Gallery, MS #535.


Several of the dates extend beyond Hatch's as the styles are known

to linger. William Henry Paine Hatch's entire comments can be

found in his: Facsimiles and Descriptions of Minuscule Manuscripts

of the New Testament. Harvard University Press, 1951.


Besides the above few tips, the style of the ornamentations and of the illuminations (if present)

can also add dating data, which is the subject of the next page - (below, which is being created).

The liturgical apparatuses also add hints: some calendars mention various

"saints days" which can play a factor in

dating a text, especially if the liturgical apparatus

is current with the production of the primary Biblical text.


Certain ligatures and letter forms, themselves, can also serve to validate a dating estimate.

A certain style (or, ductus) as shown in the above samples, also suggest a date.

It should be borne in mind, that we are attempting to estimate the date, so we are

looking to be within 100 years of the actual date. Such estimates are often easy to make.

However, some scripts are so singular

and devoid of hints, that an estimate based upon the script

is a total conjecture, of course in such cases other factors are considered.


OTHER DATING FACTORS: illuminations,

and ornamentations.


We begin with viewing an image. An image taken from a Greek manuscript,

Sinai 339, dated to about 1136-1155. It consists of 16 Liturgial Homilies of

Gregory of Nazianzus. The monk who created the beautiful manuscript was

Joseph Hagioglykerites, and it was made apparently at the Pantocrator in

Constantinople. In 1550, it was brought to the Monastery at Mt. Sinai. It is

featured in: The Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai; The

Illuminated Greek Manuscripts. Volume One: From the Ninth to the

Twelfth Century. Kurt Weitzmann and George Galavaris. Princeton

University Press, 1990. In this work it is MS # 56.


I reproduced a portion of this image from the above publication, (hopefully

under fair use). I selected this color image for one primary reason. It is a fine

sample of the artwork seen in typical Constantinopolitan ateliers. Thus, it

is presented so that the viewer can see the rich colors and the detailed

art work. These colors and their fine craftsmanship are important features of manuscripts

produced in Constantinople, or by an artist trained in Constantinople.

The bright blue, and bright gold colors are seen in the best of the

manuscripts produced in Constantinople. Their quality provides a clue as to

the origin of any manuscripts with such illuminations!