Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Ancestors of Aleph/B: Gospel Fingerprints

Having collated the data regarding line-width variations during the transmission history, we can now assemble a unique fingerprint for each gospel, showing its independent transmission history before being combined into a single manuscript which formed an early archetype for Aleph/B.

Luke uniquely goes through two phases of poor copying, one quite early, involving manuscripts with column-widths between 20 - 25 letters per line.  It is apparent that a long and colorful transmission history is recorded in the clustered errors found in that gospel.   We are viewing at least seven detectable copying generations before this gospel settled into the latest common ancestor of the Aleph/B line, before the two separate lineages for those two manuscripts again diverged.   Luke clearly arrived at its Alexandrian destination by an entirely different route than the other two Synoptics.

Luke's final experience parallels that of Mark, as shown below, with a second phase of bad handling in formats having column widths between 11 to 16 letters per column, probably similar in appearance to Codex Vaticanus & Sinaiticus, with  3 or 4 - columns per page. 

Matthew shows an independent history of transmission prior to its incorporation in a common manuscript containing the other gospel texts which ended up in the common ancestor to Aleph/B.   Matthew seems to have suffered the most damage when it was copied from a manuscript about 17-19 letters per column, probably having 2 or 3 columns per page as in Vaticanus, although it took significant damage also when being copied from a narrower column manuscript of about 14-16 letters per column like Codex Sinaiticus.

Remarkably, most of Mark's significant variants appear to have arisen late in the copying process, perhaps in the early 3rd century, when narrow columns were the common practice.  In this, it seems to share a common history with Luke, which also suffered heavy damage in this later period, when columns averaged about 11 to 16 letters per column.


No comments:

Post a Comment