The Manuscripts of the Catholic Epistles

Contents: Introduction * Tableof Papyri and Uncials * Table of Minuscules 1-500* Table of Minuscules 501-1000 * Tableof Minuscules 1001-1500 * Table of Minuscules 1501-2000* Table of Minuscules Over 2000 * Notes*


Textual critics are dependent on their materials -- in this case, manuscripts.But how is a student to know which manuscripts contain which text? No onecan possibly examine all the manuscripts now available.

To make matters worse, not all editors agree on the nature of the textfound in the manuscripts.

This article attempts to summarize the judgments passed by previouseditors. The tables below list all non-fragmentary manuscripts cited regularlyin at least one of the major recent critical apparati (Merk, Nestle-Aland26,Nestle-Aland27, UBS3, UBS4). Notes onsources and how to interpret the data follow the table. Fragmentary manuscriptsare omitted as they should be dealt with on a more detailed basis.

Table of Papyri & Uncials

Gregory NumberSoden SymbolDateContentsSoden DescMerk DescAland DescRichards DescWachtel DescComment
I Normal/
40+Very close to B. Generally not close to other Alexandrian texts. Ratherfree in Jude.
P74VIIa#c#IA340+Alexandrian, but fragmentary nature makes it hard to determine subgroup.
ℵ (01)δ2IVeapcrHHIA240+Alexandrian, but somewhat removed from the main thrust of the group.
A (02)δ4Ve#ap#crHHIA240+Earliest and best member of the mainstream of the Alexandrian text. Close to 33; also to 81, 436, Ψ, Bohairic Coptic; etc.
B (03)δ1IVeap#cHHIA240+Close to P72, but very distinct from the rest of the Alexandrian text.P72/B may form a distinct text-type.
C (04)δ3V#eapcrHHIIA240+Same text-type as 1739. Not part of the actual family 1739,but much closer to this text than to the Alexandrian text. May be family1739 with Alexandrian mixture. (Amphoux: Caesarean/family 1739.)
K (018)Aπρ1 (I1)IXp#c CommKKV<10Byzantine.
L (020)α5IXa#p#cKKVB6<10Byzantine.
P (025)α3IXa#p#c#rHHIII30+Mixed, but more Byzantine than anything else.
Ψ (044)δ6IX?e#ap#cHHIIA240+Mostly Alexandrian, of the A/33/81/436 group. Possibly some mixturewith the B text.
049α2IXap#cKC/HVB6<10Byzantine. May have a slightly earlier form of the text than K or L.
056O7Xapc CommKV10+/1066Byzantine.
0142O6Xapc CommHV10+/1066Byzantine.

Table of Minuscules 1-500

Gregory NumberSoden SymbolDateContentsSoden DescMerk DescAland DescRichards DescWachtel DescComment
5δ453XIVeapcIa2CaIIIA340+ Probably close to 623.
6δ356XIIIeapcHHIIIA230+Family 1739 (rather weak), with affinities to 424**.
33δ48IX#eapcHHI40+Along with A, the head of the main Alexandrian group (81, 436,Ψ,bo, etc.) A and 33 form a pair -- not sisters, but closely linked.
81α1621044a#pcHHII40+Alexandrian -- a slightly mixed witness of the A/33/436 type.
88α200XIIapcrIa1CaIII20+/915Mostly Byzantine, with some earlier readings. Contains 1 John 5:7-8(in the margin, in a late hand)
206α365XIII#apcIb1CbIIIA1/B/B40+/Hkgr(Amphoux: Family 2138). Family 2138 (except in 2 & 3 John, which are from another hand). Appears to belong with the 630 subgroup.
307(Aπρ11) (A217)Xac CommIa1CaIII30+/453
322α550XVapcII40+Later and slightly corrupted sister of 323
323α157XII#apcIb2HIIA340+(Amphoux: Family 1739). Mixed Byzantine and family 1739. Mostly Byzantine in James; Byzantine influence declines in 1 Peter, and is almost gone in 2 Peter-Jude, where 323 is almost a sister of 1739.
424**O12XIapcrHHIII424*: B6/Mw
424**: M2/Mw
424 is a Byzantine manuscript corrected toward family 1739. The correctionsare especially close to 6.
429α398 (α1471)XIVapcrIb1CbIII40+/Hkgr(Amphoux: Family 2138). Family 2138, probably of the 630 group.
436α172XapcIa3CaIII40+/1067Alexandrian, of the A/33/81 group. Some Byzantine readings.
460α397XIII#apc Gk/

Table of Minuscules 501-1000

Gregory NumberSoden SymbolDateContentsSoden DescMerk DescAland DescRichards DescWachtel DescComment
eapcrIb1CbIII40+/Hkgr(Amphoux: Family 2138). Family 2138, probably of the 630 group.
614α364XIIIapcIc2CcIIIA140+/Hkgr(Amphoux: Family 2138). Family 2138. Later sister (probably technicallya niece) of 2412. The two form one of the major subgroups of family 2138.
623α1731037#apc CommIa2CaIIIA340+ Probably close to 5.
629α460XIVapc Gk/LatKIII40+Mixed text; largely Byzantine, but with a very high number of uniquereadings. Possibly "Western"? Influenced by the Latin; includespart of 1 John 5:7-8
630α461XIVa#pcIbIII40+/HkgrFamily 2138. Heads a subgroup which also contains 1799 2200 plus probably206, 429, 522.
876α356XIIapcIc2(Cc)M2/Mw/A120+/876(Amphoux: weak Family 2138).
945δ362XIeapc(Iphic)(Cphi)III40+(Amphoux: Family 1739). Family 1739. Very close to 1739 itself, exceptfor a number of Byzantine readings. Quite possibly (since both are at Athos)a descendent of 1739 itself with one or two intermediate copies.

Table of Minuscules 1001-1500

Gregory NumberSoden SymbolDateContentsSoden DescMerk DescAland DescRichards DescWachtel DescComment
1108α370XIII#apcIc1Cc(Amphoux: Family 2138).
1175α74XIap#cHHIB640+Heavily Byzantine in the Johannine Epistles, although some good readingssurvive in the earlier letters.
1241δ371XIIe#apcHKIA340+(Amphoux: Family 1739). Like C, a member of the 1739 text-type althoughnot of family 1739 itself. Very valuable although probably a rather poorcopy of its exemplar.
1243δ198XIeapcKIA340+(Amphoux: Family 1739). Probably family 1739, perhaps to be groupedwith 1241.
1292δ395XIIIeapcII40+/Hkgr(Amphoux: Family 2138).

Table of Minuscules 1501-2000

Gregory NumberSoden SymbolDateContentsSoden DescMerk DescAland DescRichards DescWachtel DescComment
1505δ165XIIeapc(K)III40+/Hkgr(Amphoux: Family 2138). Family 2138. Forms a group with 2495 (a later,poorer version of the group text).
1518α551XIVapcIc1Cc(Amphoux: Family 2138). Lost, but probably family 1611. May have resurfacedas 1896.
1611α208X#apcrIc1CcIIIA140+/Hkgr(Amphoux: Family 2138). Family 2138. Groups with 2138 itself, althoughthe text is not quite as good.
1739α78Xapc(H)HIA340+Primary witness to a text-type (the other leading witnesses being Cand 1241). Within the type it forms a family with 323, 945, 1881, 2298,etc.
1758α396XIII#apcIb1Cb20+(Amphoux: Family 2138).
1765α486XIVapcIc2Cb20+/876(Amphoux: weak Family 2138).
a#pc40+/Hkgr(Amphoux: Family 2138). Family 2138, of the 630 subgroup.
1831α472XIV#apcIb1Cb40+/Hkgr(Amphoux: Family 2138).
1836α65X1J2J3J Jude pIa1CaIII10+/181
1852α114XIII#apcr(H+Ic1)CcII40+(Amphoux: weak Family 2138).
1881α651XIV1-2P 1-3Jo Jude pII40+Family 1739, with perhaps some mixture with the 1241 type of text.
1891α62XapcIbCbVB1(Amphoux: weak Family 2138).

Table of Minuscules 2001 and over

Gregory NumberSoden SymbolDateContentsSoden DescMerk DescAland DescRichards DescWachtel DescComment
2138α1161072apcrIc1CcIIIA140+/Hkgr(Amphoux: Family 2138). Leading witness of family 2138. Forms its ownsubgroup with 1611.
eapcIc2CcIII30+/2652(Amphoux: weak Family 2138).
2298α171XIIapcIb2(H)II40+(Amphoux: Family 1739). Family 1739.
2412XII#apcIIIA140+/HkgrFamily 2138. Forms a subgroup with 614 (the latter being a niece orother near relative of 2412).
2492XIVeapcIII?20+(Amphoux: Family 1739). Largely Byzantine, with elements from othertext-types. Despite Amphoux, it is not a true family 1739 text.
2495XV#eapcrII?40+/Hkgr(Amphoux: Family 2138). Family 2138. A later representative of thegroup headed by 1505.


Gregory Number -- The standard numericaldesignation for manuscripts, based on the system created by Caspar ReneGregory.

Soden Symbol -- The designation givento the manuscript by H. von Soden. The user is referred to von Soden'swork or the commentaries for a discussion of these symbols, some of whichcannot even be reproduced in basic HTML.

The Gregory/Soden equivalences given here are taken primarily from KurtAland, Kurzgefasste Liste der Grieschischen Handschriften des NeuenTestaments (de Gruyer, 1963). They have been checked against Merk wherenecessary.

Note: If a manuscript has multiple Soden symbols, this usually meansthat it comes from two different eras and that von Soden assigned two numbersto the various parts. The first symbol will usually be the one used inthe current section.

Date -- as given by the most recent catalogs(NA27 or the Kurzgefasste Liste). Arabic numerals indicatea precise date listed in a colophon; roman numerals indicate centuries(as judged by paleographers).

Contents -- briefly describes the contentsof a manuscript. e=Gospels; a=Acts; p=Paul; c=Catholics; r=Apocalypse.The symbol # indicates a defect. If it follows the description ofa section (e.g. p#) it indicates that the manuscript is defective in thatsection; if it precedes the list, it means that the nature of thedefect is unknown to me. Thus, ap#c indicates a manuscript which containsActs, Paul, and the Catholics, which is defective for part of Paul; #apcindicates a manuscript of those same books which is defective in a wayunknown to me. Comm indicates a commentary manuscript; polyglot manuscriptsare also noted.

The information here is taken from the Kurzgefasste Liste, fromNA27, from a variety of special studies, and from my own researches.

Soden Description -- this indicated theclassification in which von Soden placed the manuscripts. There is no roomhere for a full discussion, but we may note that H is the Alexandrian text.K is the Byzantine text. The various I groups include a wide variety ofmanuscripts of mixed types. Curiously, von Soden divides family 2138 amongthree I groups in Ib and Ic.

The information from this section again comes from the KurzgefassteListe, supplemented by Merk and other authorities.

Merk Description -- These are the classificationused in Augustinus Merk's Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine. Itwill be observed that, for the most part, they correspond with von Soden's,except that C has been substituted for I. This list is also generally usefulfor Bover's edition, although Bover does not offer group names. A questionmark or parenthesized entry in this column indicates that Merk's list ofmanuscripts does not correspond to his manuscript groupings; the readeris referred to the group lists.

Aland Description -- Kurt and BarbaraAland undertook to classify "all" minuscules according to quality.In The Text of the New Testament (translated by Erroll F. Rhodes,Eerdmans, 1989) they listed their results. A category I manuscript wasconsidered most important for establishing the text (practical translation:a category I manuscript is supposed to be free of Byzantine influence).A category II manuscript is somewhat poorer and more mixed; category IIIis important "for the history of the text"; category V is Byzantine.In practice, these categories are an assessment of Byzantine influence.

It will be noted that not all manuscripts have been rated. Some (e.g.1799) were not collated. In most instances, however, it appears to be becausethe manuscript is very slightly mixed -- not purely Byzantine, but notclearly anything else, either. In some cases I have been unable to determinewhy the Alands did not give a rating.

Richards Description -- The classificationfound in W.L. Richards's The Classification of the Greek Manuscriptsof the Johannine Epistles. Richards studied some eighty manuscriptsof the Catholics in the Johannine Epistles. His study applied a modifiedversion of the Claremont Profile Method. He found three "text-types"-- "Alexandrian" (with three sub-categories), Byzantine (eightsub-categories), and "Mixed" (yes, Richards calls "mixed"a text-type, and has three sub-groupings. Richards also tries to find text-typesin 2 and 3 John -- books which are simply not long enough to classify).

In general, the lists below show the dominant text-type.

Although Richards can be attacked both for his method and the accuracyof his collations, his groups generally stand up (except that the threeA groups should not all be considered Alexandrian!). Group A1is family 2138; group A2 is the standard Alexandrian text (ℵ,A, B, C); group A3 is family 1739.

The following list shows the leading representatives of the various groups:

A1 -- (206), 614, (876), 1611, 1799, 2138, 2412
A2 -- ℵ, A, B, C,Ψ, 6
A3 -- (P74), 5, 323, 623, (642), 1241, 1243, 1739, (1845)

M1 -- 181, 917, 1874, 1898
M2 -- 424** (!), 642, 876, 999, 1827, 2401
Mw -- this is not a true group; it consists of manuscripts whichgo with no other group. It includes 69, 643, 1522, 1845, and portions ofother manuscripts.

Btr -- 356, 462, 547, 1240, 1311, 1854, TR
B1 -- 319, 330, 479, 483, 635, 1829, 1891
B2 -- 201, 226, 959, 1248, 1876, 1889
B3 -- 97, 177, 223, 1597, 1872, 2423
B4 -- 216, 440, 1022, 1245, 1315, 1610, 1738
B5 -- 489, 920, 927, 1873
B6 -- L, (049), 424*, 794, 1175, 1888, 2143
B7 -- 38, 582, 1319, 1424, 1835

Wachtel Description -- The classificationas given in Klaus Wachtel, Der Byzantinische Text der Katholischen Briefe.Wachtel has a two-part classification. The basic groupings are based ondistance from the Byzantine text. (As measured based on the 98 testreadings for the Catholic Epistles found in Aland et al, Text undTextwert der grieschischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments.) Within this classification he sees a number of groups.

Observe that these groups are not text-types; Wachtel does notreally examine text-types. The Alexandrian and family 1739 texts, for instance,are grouped together, without classification, in the "40% or morenon-Byzantine" category. Wachtel is more interested in small groupings.Note that this does not allow mixed manuscripts to be classified with theirtext-types (for example, 945 -- which might even be a direct descendentof 1739 with some Byzantine corrections -- is not classified with 1739).

The basic list of Wachtel's types is shown below, with the symbol Iuse to represent it:

Wachtel also lists the following as belonging to the Kr recension:18, 201, 386, 394, 432, 1072, 1075, 1100, 1503, 1548, 1619, 1628, 1636,1725, 1745, 1746, 1768, 1858, 1864, 1865, 1897, 2544, 2587.
Related to Kr, with differences of a single reading, arethe following:

(Thanks to Ulrich Schmid for information relating to Wachtel.)

Comment -- this is my attempt to providethe "last word." Where I have examined a manuscript, I give myresults (based either on examination of a collation or on a statistical studyof 150 readings).

In addition, I have listed the classifications of Amphoux here, as foundin Vaganay and Amphoux's An Introduction to New Testament Testual Criticism.Amphoux's is probably the most reliable of the classification schemes listedhere, but is also the least complete.