Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ancestors of Aleph/B: Matthew Overlaid

When we turn to Matthew, and place the layers on the same chart, we see immediately that there is a small but significant difference between the line-widths in the first two proposed ancestors, in comparison to Mark.

Click to enlarge and backbutton to return
Had this involved just one or two variants, it could be assumed to be a normal variation from average.  But plainly the average length itself is different, and this suggests different master-copies in these two first steps.   

This is almost precisely what is to be expected.   The copying history of the two Gospels should be different in the first stages, and only should they strongly correlate when they have been combined in a single manuscript, such as a copy of the Four Gospels.   Such a copy, like the typical papyrus P75, would then begin a united line of transmission in which the column widths will converge.

Thus for the final leg of their journey, these two Gospels begin to suffer errors with common widths, generated from the same manuscript which is carrying both, and probably two other Gospels as well.



  1. The Ancestors of Aleph/B needs some work. For one thing, Hebrews was never one of the General Epistles. It doesn't appear to have been part of the original Pauline corpus, but once canonized was added to Paul, either in order of book size, or tacked on at the end of the ecclesiastics or pastorals.

  2. yep. Mr.scrivener seems to have left out Revelation as well. Obviously, some of these late additions to the collections are going to have a different (and hopefully distinguishable) textual history.

    I think he started with the gospels for the obvious reasons, but we'll have to see how it goes.