Byzantine text-type

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The end of the book of Acts (folio 76r) from the Codex Alexandrinus, which has a mostly Byzantine text-type during the Gospels and is largely Alexandrian throughout the rest of the New Testament
The end of the book of Acts (folio 76r) from the Codex Alexandrinus, which has a mostly Byzantine text-type during the Gospels and is largely Alexandrian throughout the rest of the New Testament

The Byzantine text-type (also called Majority, Traditional, Ecclesiastical, Constantinopolitan, or Syrian) is one of several text-types used in textual criticism to describe the textual character of Greek New Testament manuscripts. It is the form found in the largest number of surviving manuscripts. The New Testament text of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Constantinople Patriarchate edition of 1904, is based on this text-type. While considerably varying, it also underlies the Textus Receptus Greek text used for most Reformation-era translations of the New Testament into vernacular languages. Modern translations mainly use Eclectic editions that conform more often to the Alexandrian text-type.

The Byzantine textform is often marked with the abbreviations Image:315af14eb79a0097df4e2c0166bb0a58.png or Byz.

Contents

Manuscripts of the Byzantine text

According to Wescott and Hort, for some time following the fourth century different types of text were current in the East, but at the end the Byzantine text "almost wholly displaced the rest." [1] The Byzantine text-type has by far the largest number of surviving manuscripts, especially from the invention of the minuscule (lower case) handwriting in the 9th century. For example, of 522 complete or nearly complete manuscripts of the General Epistles collated by the Institute for New Testament Textual Research in Münster, Germany, 372 of them attest the Byzantine reading in at least 90% of 98 test places. Amongst the earliest surviving manuscripts, the position is reversed. There are six manuscripts earlier than the 9th century which conform to the Byzantine text-type; of which the 5th century Codex Alexandrinus, (the oldest), is Byzantine only in the Gospels with the rest of the New Testament being Alexandrian. By comparison, the Alexandrian text-type is witnessed by nine surviving uncials earlier than the ninth century (including the Codex Alexandrinus outside the Gospels); and is also usually considered to be demonstrated in three earlier papyri. Modern critical editions of the New Testament tend to conform most often to Alexandrian witnesses — especially Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus. The earliest of the Church Fathers to witness to a Byzantine text-type in their New Testament quotations is John Chrysostom (c. 349407). The earliest translation to witness to a Greek base conforming to the Byzantine text is the Syriac Peshitta; usually dated to the 4th century.

The form of the Byzantine text found in the earliest witnesses varies considerably, and differs again from that which would predominate from the 9th century onwards; for example, no surviving Byzantine witness earlier than the eighth century includes the pericope adulterae (John 7:538:11). Amongst the bulk of later manuscripts however, it is generally possible to demonstrate a clear Byzantine majority reading for each variant; and a Greek New Testament text based on these majority readings — "The Majority Text" — has been produced by Zane C. Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad, although this text does not correspond to any one particular manuscript.

Notable Byzantine manuscripts

Sign Name Date Content
A (02) Codex Alexandrinus 5th Gospels
C (04) Codex Ephraemi 5th Gospels
W (032) Codex Washingtonianus 5th Matt 1-28; Luke 8:13–24:53
Q (026) Codex Guelferbytanus B 5th Luke–John
061 Uncial 061 5th 1 Tim 3:15-16; 4:1-3; 6:2-8
Ee (07) Codex Basilensis 8th Gospels
Fe (09) Codex Boreelianus 9th Gospels
Ge (011) Codex Seidelianus I 9th Gospels
He (013) Codex Seidelianus II 9th Gospels
L (020) Codex Angelicus 9th Acts, CE, Pauline Epistles
V (031) Codex Mosquensis II 9th Gospels
Y (034) Codex Macedoniensis 9th Gospels
Θ (038) Codex Koridethi 9th Gospels (except Mark)
S (028) Codex Vaticanus 354 949 Gospels
1241 Minuscule 1241 12th only Acts
1424 Minuscule 1424 9th/10th NT (except Mark)

Other manuscripts

Papyri

𝔓73

Uncials

Codex Mutinensis, Codex Cyprius, Codex Mosquensis I, Campianus, Petropolitanus Purp., Sinopensis, Guelferbytanus A, Guelferbytanus B, Nitriensis, Nanianus, Monacensis, Tischendorfianus IV, Sangallensis, Tischendorfianus III, Petropolitanus, Rossanensis, Beratinus, Dionysiou, Vaticanus 2066, Uncial 047, 049, 052, 053, 054, 056, 061, 063, 064, 065, 093 (Acts), 0103, 0104, 0105, 0116, 0133, 0134, 0135, 0136, 0142, 0151, 0197, 0211, 0246, 0248, 0253, 0255, 0257, 0265, 0269 (mixed), 0272, 0273 (?).

Minuscules

More than 80% of minuscules represent the Byzantine text.[1]

2, 3, 6 (Gospels and Acts), 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 18, 21, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28 (except Mark), 29, 30, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 49, 50, 52, 53, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61 (Gospels and Acts), 63, 65, 66, 68, 69 (excepr Paul), 70, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 80, 82, 83, 84, 89, 90, 92, 93, 95, 97, 98, 99, 100, 103, 104 (except Paul), 105, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 116, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 155, 156, 159, 162, 167, 169, 170, 171, 177, 180 (except Acts), 181 (only Rev.), 182, 183, 185, 186, 187, 189, 190, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205 (Epistles), 206 (except Cath.), 207, 208, 209 (except Gospels and Rev.), 210, 212, 214, 215, 217, 218 (except Cath. and Paul), 219, 220, 221, 223, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 235, 236, 237, 240, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 250, 254 (except Cath.), 256 (except Paul), 259, 260, 261, 262, 263 (except Paul), 264, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 272, 275, 276, 277, 278a, 278b, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 297, 300, 301,302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 313, 314, 316, 319, 320, 324, 325, 327, 328, 329, 330 (except Paul), 331, 334, 335, 337, 342, 343, 344, 347, 350, 351, 352, 353, 354, 355, 356, 357, 358, 359, 360, 361, 362, 364, 365 (except Paul), 366, 367, 368, 369, 371, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378 (except Cath.), 379, 380, 381, 384, 385, 386, 387, 388, 390, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 398 (except Cath.), 399, 401, 402, 404, 405, 407, 408, 409, 410, 411, 412, 413, 414, 415, 417, 418, 419, 422, 425, 426, 429 (Paul and Rev.), 431 (except Acts and Cath.), 432, 438, 439, 443, 445, 446, 448, 449, 450, 451 (except Paul), 452, 454, 457, 458, 459 (except Paul), 461, 465, 466, 469, 470, 471, 473, 474, 475, 476, 477, 478, 479, 480, 481, 482, 483, 484, 485, 490, 491, 492, 493, 494 496 Minuscule 497497 498 499 500 501 502 504 505 506 507 509 510 511 512 514 516 518 519 520 521 522 (except Acts and Cath.) 523 524 525 526 527 528 529 530 531 532 533 534 535 538 540 541 546 547 548 549 550 551 553 554 556 558 559 560 564 568 570 571 573 574 575 577 578 580 583 584 585 586 587 588 592 593 594 596 597 600 601 602 603 604 605 607 616 618 620 622 624 625 626 627 628 632 633 634 637 638 639 640 642(except Cath.) 644 645 648 649 650 651 655 656 657 660 662 663 664 666 668 669 672 673 674 677 680 684 685 686 688 689 690 691 692 694 696 698 699 705 707 708 711 714 715 717 718 721 724 725 727 729 730 731 734 736 737 739 741 745 746 748 750 754 755 756 757 758 759 760 761 762 763 764 765 768 769 770 773 774 775 777 778 779 781 782 783 784 785 786 787 789 790 793 794 797 798 799 801 802 806 808 809 811 818 818 820 824 825 830 831 833 834 835 836 839 840 841 843 844 845 846 848 852 853 857 858 860 861 862 864 866a 867 868 870 877 880 884 886 887 889 890 893 894 896 897 898 900 901 902 904 905 906 910 911 912 914 916 917 (Paul) 919 920 921 924 928 936 937 938 942 943 944 945 (Acts and Cath.) 950 951 952 953 955 956 957 958 959 960 961 962 963 964 965 966 967 969 970 971 973 975 977 978 980 981 987 988 991 993 994 995 997 998 999 1000 1003 1004 1006 (Gospels) 1007 1008 1010 1011 1013 1014 1015 1016 1017 1018 1019 1020 1023 1024 1025 1026 1028 1030 1031 1032 1033 1036 1044 1045 1046 1050 1052 1053 1054 1055 1056 1057 1059 1060 1061 1062 1063 1065 1067 (except Cath.) 1068 1069 1070 1072 1073 1074 1075 1076 1077 1078 1080 1081 1083 1085 1087 1088 1089 1094 1099 1100 1101 1103 1104 1105 1107 1110 1112 1119 1121 1123 1129 1148 1149 1150 1161 1168 1169 1171 1172 1173 1174 1176 1177 1185 1186 1187 1188 1189 1190 1191 1193 1196 1197 1198 1199 1200 1201 1202 1203 1205 1206 1207 1208 1209 1211 1212 1213 1214 1215 1217 1218 1220 1221 1222 1223 1224 1225 1226 1227 1231 1241 (only Acts) 1251 1252 1254 1255 1260 1264 1277 1283 1285 1292 (except Cath.) 1296 1297 1298 1299 1300 1301 1303 1305 1309 1310 1312 1313 1314 1315 1316 1317 1318 1319 (except Paul) 1320 1323 1324 1328 1330 1331 1334 1339 1340 1341 1343 1345 1347 1350a 1350b 1351 1352a 1354 1355 1356 1357 1358 1359 (except Cath.) 1360 1362 1364 1367 1370 1373 1374 1377 1384 1385 1392 1395 1398 (except Paul) 1400 1409 (Gospels and Paul) 1417 1437 1438 1444 1445 1447 1448 (except Cath.) 1449 1452 1470 1476 1482 1483 1492 1503 1504 1506 (Gospels) 1508 1513 1514 1516 1517 1520 1521 1523 (Paul) 1539 1540 1542b only Luke) 1543 1545 1547 1548 1556 1566 1570 1572 1573 (except Paul?) 1577 1583 1594 1597 1604 1605 1607 1613 1614 1617 1618 1619 1622 1628 1636 1637 1649 1656 1662 1668 1672 1673 1683 1693 1701 1704 (except Acts) 1714 1717 1720 1723 1725 1726 1727 1728 1730 1731 1732 1733 1734 1736 1737 1738 1740 1741 1742 1743 1745 1746 1747 1748 1749 1750 1752 1754 1755a 1755b 1756 1757 1759 1761 1762 1763 1767 1768 1770 1771 1772 1800 1821 1826 1828 1829 1835 1841 (except Rev.) 1846 (only Acts) 1847 1849 1851 1852 (only in Rev.) 1854 (except Rev.) 1855 1856 1858 1859 1860 1861 1862 1869 1870 1872 1874 (except Paul) 1876 1877 (except Paul) 1878 1879 1880 1882 1883 1888 1889 1891 (except Acts) 1897 1899 1902 1905 1906 1907 1911 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1936 1937 1938 1941 1946 1948 1951 1952 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1964 1970 1971 1972 1974 1975 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1986 1988 1992 1997 1998 2001 2003 2007 2009 2013 2048 2096 2098 2111 2119 2125 2126 2127 (except Paul) 2132 2133 2135 2138 (only in Rev.) 2139 2140 2141 2142 2144 2160 2172 2173 2175 2176 2177 2178 2181 2183 2187 2189 2191 2199 2218 2221 2236 2261 2266 2267 2273 2275 2277 2281 2289 2295 2300 2303 2306 2307 2309 2310 2311 2352 2355 2356 2373 2376 2378 2381 2382 2386 2389 2390 2406 2407 2409 2414 2415 2418 2420 2422 2423 2424 2425 2426 2430 2431 2437 2441 2442 2445 2447 2450 2451 2452 2454 2455 2457 2458 2459 2466 2468 2475 2479 2483 2484 2490 2491 2496 2497 2499 2500 2501 2502 2503 2507 2532 2534 2536 2539 2540 2545 2547 2549 2550 2552 2554 255? 2558 2559 2562 2563 2567 2571 2572 2573 2578 2579 2581 2584 2587 2593 2600 2619 2624 2626 2627 2629 2631 2633 2634 2635 2636 2637 2639 2645 2646 2649 2650 2651 2653 2656 2657 2658 2660 2661 2665 2666 2671 2673 2675 2679 2690 2692 2696 2698 2699 2700 2704 2711 2712 2716 2721 2722 2723 2724 2725 2727 2729 2746 2760 2761 2765 2767 2773 2774 2775 2779 2780 2781 2782 2783 2784 2785 2787 2790.[1]

Distribution of Byzantine type manuscripts by century

9th century

461, 1080, 1862, 2142, 2500

9th/10th

399

10th

14, 27, 29, 34, 36e, 63, 82, 92, 100, 135, 144, 151, 221, 237, 262, 278b, 344, 364, 371, 405, 411, 450, 454, 457, 478, 481, 564, 568, 584, 602, 605, 626, 627, 669, 920, 1055, 1076, 1077, 1078, 1203, 1220, 1223, 1225, 1347, 1351, 1357, 1392, 1417, 1452, 1661, 1720, 1756, 1829, 1851, 1880, 1905, 1920, 1927, 1954, 1997, 1998, 2125, 2373, 2414, 2545, 2722, 2790

10th/11th

994, 1073, 1701

11th

7p, 8, 12, 20, 23, 24, 25, 37, 39, 40, 50, 65, 68, 75, 77, 83, 89, 98, 108, 112, 123, 125, 126, 127, 133, 137, 142, 143, 148, 150, 177, 186, 194, 195, 197, 200, 207, 208, 210, 212, 215, 236, 250, 259, 272, 276, 277, 278a, 300, 301, 302, 314, 325, 331, 343, 350, 352, 354, 357, 360, 375, 376, 422, 458, 465, 466, 470, 474, 475, 476, 490, 491, 497, 504, 506, 507, 516, 526, 527, 528, 530, 532, 547, 548, 549, 560, 583, 585, 596, 607, 624, 625, 638, 639, 640, 651, 672, 699, 707, 708, 711, 717, 746, 754, 756, 773, 785, 809, 831, 870, 884, 887, 894, 901, 910, 919, 937, 942, 943, 944, 964, 965, 991, 1014, 1028, 1045, 1054, 1056, 1074, 1110, 1123, 1168, 1174, 1187, 1207, 1209, 1211, 1212, 1214, 1221, 1222, 1244, 1277, 1300, 1312, 1314, 1317, 1320, 1324, 1340, 1343, 1373, 1384, 1438, 1444, 1449, 1470, 1483, 1513, 1514, 1517, 1520, 1521, 1545, 1556, 1570, 1607, 1668, 1672, 1693, 1730, 1734, 1738, 1770, 1828, 1835, 1847, 1849, 1870, 1878, 1879, 1888, 1906, 1907, 1916, 1919, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1946, 1955, 1980, 1981, 1982, 2001, 2007, 2098, 2132, 2133, 2144, 2172, 2176, 2181, 2183, 2199, 2275, 2277, 2281, 2386, 2295, 2307, 2381, 2386, 2430, 2442, 2447, 2451, 2458, 2468, 2475, 2539, 2547, 2559, 2563, 2567, 2571, 2587, 2637, 2649, 2661, 2723, 2746, 2760, 2782, 2787
2306 (composite of parts from the 11th to the 14th centuries)

11th/12th

665, 657, 660, 1013, 1188, 1191, 1309, 1358, 1340, 1566, 2389, 2415, 2784

12th

2e, 2ap, 3, 9, 11, 15, 21, 32, 44, 46, 49, 57, 73, 76, 78, 80, 84, 95, 97, 105, 110, 111, 116, 119, 120, 122, 129, 132, 134, 138, 139, 140, 146, 156, 159, 162, 183, 187, 193, 196, 199, 202, 203, 217, 224, 226, 231, 240, 244, 245, 247, 261, 264, 267, 268, 269, 270, 275, 280, 281, 282, 297, 304, 306, 319, 320, 329, 334, 337, 347, 351, 353, 355, 356, 366, 374, 387, 392, 395, 396, 401, 407, 408, 419, 438, 439, 443, 452, 471, 485, 499, 502, 505, 509, 510, 514, 518, 520, 524, 529, 531, 535, 538, 550, 551, 556, 570, 571, 580, 587, 618, 620, 622, 637, 650, 662, 673, 674, 688, 692, 721, 736, 748, 750, 760, 765, 768, 770, 774, 777, 778, 779, 782, 787, 793, 799, 808, 843, 857, 860, 862, 877, 893, 896, 902, 911, 916, 922, 924, 936, 950, 967, 971, 973, 975, 980, 987, 993, 998, 1007, 1046, 1081, 1083, 1085, 1112, 1169, 1176, 1186, 1190, 1193, 1197, 1198, 1199, 1200, 1217, 1218, 1224, 1231, 1240, 1301, 1315, 1316, 1318, 1323, 1350a, 1355, 1360, 1364, 1375, 1385, 1437, 1539, 1583, 1673, 1683, 1714, 1737, 1752, 1754, 1755a, 1755b, 1800, 1821, 1826, 1872, 1889, 1914, 1915, 1917, 1926, 1951, 1970, 1971, 1974, 1986, 1988, 2013, 2096, 2126, 2135, 2139, 2173, 2177, 2189, 2191, 2289, 2282, 2426, 2437, 2445, 2459, 2490, 2491, 2507, 2536, 2549, 2550, 2552, 2562, 2639, 2650, 2657, 2671, 2700, 2712, 2725, 2727, 2781, 2785, 2791, 2794
632 and 1227 (composites of parts from the 12th to the 14th centuries)

12th/13th

905, 906, 1310, 1341, 1897, 2311

13th

52, 55 60, 74, 107, 121, 128, 136, 141, 147, 167, 170, 192, 198, 204, 219, 220, 227, 248, 260, 284, 291, 292, 293, 303, 305, 309, 327, 328, 342, 359, 361, 362, 384, 388, 390, 410, 449, 469, 473, 477, 479, 482, 483, 484, 496, 500, 501, 511, 519, 533, 534, 546, 553, 554, 558, 573, 574, 592, 593, 597, 601, 663, 666, 677, 684, 685, 689, 691, 696, 705, 714, 715, 725, 729, 737, 757, 759, 775, 811, 820, 825, 830, 835, 840, 897, 898, 900, 912, 914, 966, 969, 970, 981, 995, 997, 999, 1000, 1004, 1008, 1011, 1015, 1016, 1031, 1050, 1052, 1053, 1057, 1069, 1070, 1072, 1087, 1089, 1094, 1103, 1107, 1129, 1148, 1149, 1150, 1161, 1177, 1201, 1205, 1206, 1208, 1213, 1215, 1226, 1238, 1255, 1285, 1339, 1352a, 1400, 1594, 1597, 1604, 1622, 1717, 1717, 1728, 1731, 1736, 1740, 1742, 1772, 1855, 1858, 1922, 1938, 1941, 1956, 1972, 1992, 2111, 2119, 2140, 2141, 2236, 2353, 2376, 2380, 2390, 2409, 2420, 2423, 2425, 2457, 2479, 2483, 2502, 2534, 2540, 2558, 2568, 2584, 2600, 2624, 2627, 2631, 2633, 2645, 2646, 2658, 2660, 2665, 2670, 2696, 2699, 2724, 2761

13th/14th

266, 656, 668, 1334, 2499, 2578

14th

18, 45, 53, 54, 66, 109, 155, 171, 182, 185, 190, 201, 214, 223, 232, 235, 243, 246, 290, 308, 316, 324, 358, 367, 369, 381, 386, 393, 394, 402, 404, 409, 412, 413, 414, 415, 417, 425, 426, 480, 492, 494, 498, 512, 521, 523, 540, 577, 578, 586, 588, 594, 600, 603, 604, 628, 633, 634, 644, 645, 648, 649, 680, 686, 690, 698, 718, 727, 730, 731, 734, 741, 758, 761, 762, 763, 764, 769, 781, 783, 784, 786, 789, 790, 794, 797, 798, 802, 806, 818, 819, 824, 833, 834, 836, 839, 845, 846, 848, 858, 864, 866a, 867, 889, 890, 904, 921, 928, 938, 951, 952, 953, 959, 960, 977, 978, 1020, 1023, 1032, 1033, 1036, 1061, 1062, 1075, 1099, 1100, 1119, 1121, 1185, 1189, 1196, 1234, 1235, 1236, 1248, 1249, 1252, 1254, 1283, 1328, 1330, 1331, 1345, 1350b, 1356, 1377, 1395, 1445, 1447, 1476, 1492, 1503, 1504, 1516, 1543, 1547, 1548, 1572, 1577, 1605, 1613, 1614, 1619, 1637, 1723, 1725, 1726, 1732, 1733, 1741, 1746, 1747, 1761, 1762, 1771, 1856, 1859, 1899, 1902, 1918, 1928, 1929, 1952, 1975, 2085, 2160, 2261, 2266, 2273, 2303, 2309, 2310, 2355, 2356, 2406, 2407, 2431, 2441, 2454, 2466, 2484, 2503, 2593, 2626, 2629, 2634, 2651, 2653, 2666, 2668, 2679, 2698, 2716, 2765, 2767, 2773, 2774, 2775, 2780, 2783

15th

30, 47, 58, 70, 149, 285, 286, 287, 288, 313, 368, 373, 379, 380, 385, 418, 432, 446, 448, 493, 525, 541, 575, 616, 664, 694, 739, 801, 841, 844, 853, 880, 955, 958, 961, 962, 1003, 1017, 1018, 1024, 1026, 1059, 1060, 1105, 1202, 1232, 1233, 1247, 1250, 1260, 1264, 1482, 1508, 1617, 1626, 1628, 1636, 1649, 1656, 1745, 1750, 1757, 1763, 1767, 1876, 1882, 1948, 1957, 1958, 1964, 1978, 2003, 2175, 2178, 2221, 2352, 2418, 2452, 2455, 2554, 2673, 2675, 2691, 2704, 2729

15th/16th

99, 1367

16th

90, 335, 445, 724, 745, 755, 867, 957, 1019, 1030, 1065, 1068, 1088, 1239, 1362, 1370, 1374, 1618, 1749, 1768, 1861, 1883, 1911, 1930, 1931, 1936, 1937, 1979, 2009,

16th/17th

1371

17th and later

289, 868, 956, 963, 988, 1044, 1063, 1101, 1104, 1303, 1748, 1869, 2267, 2450, 2497, 2581, 2619, 2656[1]

Characteristics of the Byzantine text

Compared to Alexandrian text-type manuscripts, the distinct Byzantine readings tend to show a greater tendency toward smooth and well-formed Greek, they display fewer instances of textual variation between parallel Synoptic Gospel passages, and they are less likely to present contradictory or "difficult" issues of exegesis.<ref>"The Syrian text has all the appearance of being a careful attempt to supersede the chaos of rival texts by a judicious selection from them all." Brooke Foss Westcott, Fenton John Anthony Hort. The New Testament In The Original Greek, 1925. p. 551</ref> For example, Mark 1:2 reads "As it is written in the prophets.." in the Byzantine text; whereas the same verse reads, "As it is written in Isaiah the prophet.." in all other early textual witnesses. Since the quotation introduced is partly from Malachi, the Byzantine form of the verse avoids the difficulty that might be adduced were it to be concluded that Mark was presenting a factual inaccuracy.

Many criticize the Byzantine Text because of its smoothness over and against the Alexandrian Text which is not nearly as smooth in its Greek renderings. These critics claim that the smoothness is proof of an editing process to refine the language. These critics fail to account for other, more natural reasons for the smoothness in the Byzantine Text. One of these reasons is that the Byzantine Text reads smoother because it was transcribed by those who knew the Greek language. There’s evidence that some Alexandrian manuscripts were copied by scribes who weren’t well learned in the source language, but rather copied syllable by syllable or letter by letter. For instance, P66 seems to have been produced by a scribe who didn’t know Greek because of the simple mistakes that any Greek reader would have detected. P75 has similar issues pointing to a non-Greek scribe. This problem doesn't occur in Byzantium because they kept using the Greek language long after the Alexandrian and Western Church. The point being that Byzantium would have been better fit for having scribes who were well adept in the Greek language. Consider that before 200 A.D. areas that spoke Latin stopped using Greek, though Byzantium kept the language alive. Aland speaks of this fact in - K. and B. Aland, The Text of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981), pp. 52-53. This smoothness is not only seen in the text itself, but also in the fact that the Byzantine Text as a whole became a more uniform text as it grew in predominance and was copied at greater frequency. Generally speaking, as texts move further from their source in time and distance they become more and more divergent. How then could the manuscripts become more and more uniform as they moved past the 4th century, and the Byzantine Text-type began to take predominance? If it was not based on an early exemplar one would expect to find more divergence as time passed and as the regions that it was found in expanded. But we find quite the opposite. We actually find that, though time from the exemplars increased and the territories that it was found in spread, the text became more uniform. This gives us reason to expect an early exemplar(s) that the different regions began to go back to after the Church was settled from persecution. Though the preservation of Scripture is “providential” and not “miraculous” in nature...none the less, it is a preservation that keeps the original language text “pure in all ages.” We know from history that the Alexandrian Greek text was not promulgated after the Muslims took over that region. Further, the Western Church did not promulgate the Greek text since Latin was its official language, and the Vulgate became its official version. The Eastern Church was not affected by the Muslims until much later than the Alexandrian region, nor was its official language any other than Greek. Therefore, the Eastern Church was, in fact, the only Church that kept the Greek text preserved up until around the time of the Reformation. This historical evidence shows us that it was only the Byzantium that kept the Greek text preserved in every age up until the Reformation since the other two regions neglected the Greek text in toto.

There are no consistent Byzantine witnesses amongst the early New Testament papyri. Nevertheless, instances of distinctive Byzantine readings are not unusual in the earliest texts — even though they otherwise conform more to other text-types or none. Hence, many (and possibly most) distinctive Byzantine readings are likely to be early in date. Two broad explanations have been offered for this observation:

  • that the Byzantine text-type transmits a text closest to the primary form of the New Testament books; whose early manuscript witnesses have not survived, as this text-type predominated in regions where the climate did not favour the preservation of papyrus;
  • that the Byzantine text represents a consistent exercise in textual compilation and correction from around the 4th century, the editors having eclectically selected those readings from a range of early manuscripts, that best conformed to their presupposed standards of the characteristics to be expected in the New Testament text.
  • grammar (f.e. οι δε ειπον, in Alexandrian text: οι δε ειπαν). Different order of words.

John 6:49

εν τη ερημω το μαννα – codices B, C, D, T, W, Θ
το μαννα εν τη ερημω – codices , A, L, Ψ, f1, f13, mss. of the Byzantine text-type

Mark 1:9

εις τον Ιορδανην υπο Ιωανου – codices ﬡ, B, D
υπο Ιωανου εις τον Ιορδανην – codices A, W, and manuscripts of the Byzantine text-type

Relationship to other text-types

Matthew 2:18

  • κλαυθμος — Codex Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, 0250, f1, it(q),aur,b,c,f,ff1,g1, k, l, 1, vg, syrp,pal, copsa,bo, eth
  • θρηνος και κλαυθμος — C, D, K, L, W, Δ, Π, f13, 28, 33, 565, 700, 892, 1009, 1010, 1071, 1079, 1195, 1216, 1241, 1253, 1365, 1546, 1646, 2148, 2174, Byz

Matthew 5:25

  • ὁ κριτής — Αlexandrian mss f1 f13
  • δώσει — D
  • ὁ κριτής σε παραδῷ — K L W Δ Θ Π 28 33 565 700 Byzantine mss

Matthew 15:6

  • τον λογον (see Mark 7:13) — Alexandrian mss, Θ, 700, 1230
  • τον νομον — א*, C, 084, f13, 1010
  • την εντολην — K, L, W, X, Δ, Π, 0106, f1, 33, 565, 1009, Byz

Mark 1:13

  • και ην εν τη ερημω — א, A, B, D, L, Θ, 33, 579, 892, 1342, 2427
  • και ην εκει εν τη ερημω — W, Δ, 157, 1241, Byz, TR
  • και ην εκει — 28, 517, 565, 700, f1, Family Π, syrs
  • Omit — f13
  • Hiatus — C, Ψ, syrc

Mark 4:24

  • και προστεθησεται υμιν — Alexandrian mss
  • και προστεθησεται υμιν τοις ακουουσιν — mss of the Byzantine text-type
  • omit — D, W, 565

Mark 6:33

  • εκει και προηλθον αυτους — Codex Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, 0187 (omit εκει), 892, 49, 69, 70, 299, 303, 333, 1579, ( 950 αυτους), itaur, vg, (copsa,bo)
  • εκει και προσηλθον αυτοις — Codex Regius, 1241, (Δ, Θ, 10 αυτοις), 12, 80, 184, 211, 1127, arm, geo
  • εκει και συνηλθον αυτου — Codex Bezae (gr), 28, 700
  • εκει και ηλθον αυτου — 565, it(a),d,ff,i,r, Diatessaron
  • και ηλθον εκει — f1
  • προηλθον αυτον εκει — Peshitta
  • προς αυτους και συνηλθον προς αυτον — 33
  • εκει και προηλθον αυτοις και συνηλθον προς αυτον — K, Π, (f13 συνεισηλθον προς αυτους), 1009, 1010, 1071, 1079, 1195, 1216, 1230, 1242, 1365, 1546, 1646, 2148, 2174, Byz
  • εκει και προηλθον αυτοις και συνεδραμον προς αυτον — A
  • εκει — codex W, 150, itc

Mark 9:49

  • πας γαρ πυρι αλισθησεται – Alexandrian and Caesarean mss
  • πασα γαρ θυσια αλι αλισθησεται – Western mss
  • πας γαρ πυρι αλισθησεται και πασα θυσια αλι αλισθησεται – Byzantine mss

Luke 2:38

  • καὶ αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ (and that hour) — Alexandrian
  • καὶ αὕτη αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ (and she in that hour) — Caesarean and Byzantine

Luke 12:14

  • κριτην η μεριστην — Alexandrian mss, f1, f13, 700, 1241
  • δικαστην η μεριστην — A, K, W, X, Δ, Θ, Π, Ψ, 565, 1009, 1010, 1071, 1079, 1195, 1216, 1230, 1242, 1253, 1344, 1365, 1546, 1646, 2148, 2174, Byz
  • μεριστην η δικαστην — 472, 1642, eth
  • κριτην η δικαστην — 69
  • αρχοντα και δικαστην — 157
  • κριτην — D, it(a), c, d
  • δικαστην — 28
  • μεριστην — copsamss

Luke 24:53

  • ευλογουντες τον θεον ("blessing God") — Alexandrian
  • αινουντες τον θεον ("praising God") — Western
  • αινουντες και ευλογουντες τον θεον ("praising and blessing God") — Byzantine

John 1:18

  • ο μονογενης υιος — A, C3, K, X, Δ, Θ, Π, 063, 0234, f1, f13, 28, 565, 700, 892, 1009, 1010, 1071, 1079, 1195, 1216, 1230, 1241, 1242, 1253, 1344, 1365, 1546, 1646, 2148, Byz
  • ο μονογενης θεος — p75, אc, 33, copbo
  • μονογενης θεος — Alexandrian mss

In Mark 6:33 and Luke 24:53 the Byzantine text-type looks like a combination of the Alexandrian and the Western text. In other cases situation is more complicated. Mark 1:13 looks like a combination of the Alexandrian and the Caesarean text.

Origin of the Byzantine text

Among those who believe that the Byzantine text is only a secondary witness to the autograph, there is some debate concerning the origin of the Byzantine text and the reason for its widespread use. The suggestions that have been put forward are:

The Textus Receptus

The first printed edition of the Greek New Testament was completed by Erasmus and published by Johann Froben of Basel on March 1, 1516 (Novum Instrumentum omne). Due to the pressure of his publisher to bring their edition to market before the competing Complutensian Polyglot, Erasmus based his work on around a half-dozen manuscripts, all of which dated from the twelfth century or later; and only one of which was not of the Byzantine text-type. Six verses that were not witnessed in any of these sources, he back-translated from the Latin Vulgate, and he also introduced many readings from the Vulgate and Church Fathers. This text came to be known as the Textus Receptus or received text after being thus termed by Bonaventura Elzevir, an enterprising publisher from the Netherlands, in his 1633 edition of Erasmus' text. The New Testament of the King James Version of the Bible was translated from editions of what was to become the Textus Receptus. If the "Majority Text" of Hodges and Farstad is taken to be the standard for the Byzantine text-type, then The Textus Receptus differs from this in 1,838 Greek readings, of which 1,005 represent "translatable" differences.<ref> Michael D. Marlowe states:[1] yet it differs from the Received Text in about a thousand places, most of them being trivial. while Daniel B. Wallace [2] has counted 1,838 differences between it and the Textus Receptus.</ref>

Modern critical texts

Karl Lachmann (1850) was the first New Testament textual critic to produce an edition that broke with the Textus Receptus, relying mainly instead on manuscripts from the Alexandrian text-type. Although the majority of New Testament textual critics now favor a text that is Alexandrian in complexion, especially after the publication of Westcott and Hort's edition, there remain some proponents of the Byzantine text-type as the type of text most similar to the autographs. These critics include the editors of the Hodges and Farstad text (cited below), and the Robinson and Pierpoint text. Depending on which modern critical text is taken as an exemplar of the Alexandrian text-type, then this will differ from the Hodges and Farstad text in around 6,500 readings (Wallace 1989).

To give a feel for the difference between the Byzantine form of text and the Eclectic text, which is mainly Alexandrian in character, of 800 variation units in the Epistle of James collected by the Institute for New Testament Textual Research, the Byzantine and Eclectic texts are in agreement in 731 of the places (a rate of 92.3%). Many of the 69 disagreements involve differences in word order and other variants that do not appear as translatable differences in English versions. According to the preface to the New King James Version of the Bible, the Textus Receptus, the Alexandrian text-type and the Byzantine text-type are 85% identical (that is, of the variations that occur in any manuscript, only 15% actually differ between these three).

The Byzantine type is also found in modern Greek Orthodox editions. A new scholarly edition of the Byzantine Text of John's gospel, (funded by the United Bible Societies in response to a request from Eastern Orthodox Scholars), was begun in Birmingham, UK. and in 2007, as a result of these efforts, The Gospel According to John in the Byzantine Tradition was issued.

Von Soden divided manuscripts of the Byzantine text into five groups:

  • Kx — no uncials, hundreds of minuscules, among them codex 2
  • Kr — no uncials, no early minuscules, hundreds of minuscules: 18, 35, 55, 66, 83, 128, 141, 147, 155, 167, 170, 189, 201
  • K1 (Family E) — S V G
  • Ki — E F G H
  • Ik (also Ka), now Family Π — (A) K P Y; this subgroup is the oldest, but only 5% of manuscripts belong to it. Majority of them have text mixed with other Byzantine subfamilies.

Since the discovery of the Papyrus 45, Papyrus 46, and Papyrus 66, proof is available that occasionally the later Byzantine text preserves a reading that dates from early witness. Exampels:

Luke 11:33

φῶς — א B F Θ f1 f13
φέγγος — p45 33 Byz

John 10:29

ὃ ... μεῖζον — B it
ὃς ... μείζων — p66 f1 f13 Byz

John 11:32

πρός — א B C* D L X
εἰς — p66 Θ Byz

John 13:26

βάψας — א B C L X 33
καὶ ἐμβάψας — p66c A Θ

Acts 17:13

ταράσσοντες —
omitted — p45 E Byz

1 Corinthians 9:7

τὸν καρπόν — א* A B D* G P
ἐκ τοῦ καρποῦ — p46 Byz

Ephesians 5:9

φωτός — א* A B D* G P
πνεύματος — p46 Byz

Another examples of Byzantine readings were found in p66 in John 1:32; 3:24; 4:14.51; 5:8; 6:10.57; 7:3.39; 8:41.51.55; 9:23; 10:38; 12:36; 14:17. It means some of the roots of the Byzantine text go back to a very early date, but it does not mean thery were occur in the original text.<ref>Bruce M. Metzger, Chapters in the History of New Testament Textual Criticism, Wm. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids 1963, p. 38.</ref> Some authors, not scholars, interpreted it even as rehabilitation of Textus Receptus.<ref>E. F. Hills, Dean Burgon in the Light of Recent Research; D. A. Waite, Defending the King James Bible, Bible For Today, Collingswood, New Jersey 2004. </ref>

See also

Families of the Byzantine text-type

Other text-types

Critical text

Notes

Further reading

  • Harry A. Sturz, The Byzantine Text-Type & New Testament Textual Criticism (1984).
  • The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text, Second Edition, Edited by Zane C. Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1985. ISBN 0-8407-4963-5.
  • The New Testament in the Original Greek - Byzantine Textform 2005, Edited by Maurice A. Robinson and William G. Pierpont, Chilton Book Publishing. ISBN 0-7598-0077-4.
  • "Some Second Thoughts on the Majority Text", Daniel B. Wallace, Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 146, 1989. 270-290.
  • The Identity of the New Testament Text II, Wilbur N. Pickering, ThM PhD, http://www.revisedstandard.net/text/WNP/
  • The Majority Text Society
  • What about the Majority Text?, Michael D. Marlowe www.bible-researcher.com
  • Bruce M. Metzger, Bart D. Ehrman, The Text Of The New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration, 1968 etc, Oxford University Press.
  • B. M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary On The Greek New Testament: A Companion Volume To The United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament, 1994, United Bible Societies, London & New York, pp. 7*-9*, 15*-16*.
  • M. A. Robinson, "The Case for Byzantine Priority", in: "Rethinking New Testament Textual Criticism", ed. D. A. Black, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids: 2002, pp. 125–139

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