Manuscript Collation

Contents: Introduction * Samples of Collations * Long and Short Collations * What we learn from collations * Collations in Other Languages * The physical task of collating

Introduction

The manuscript collation is perhaps the most fundamental of all the tool of textual criticism -- the essential source of the data of the discipline.

The purpose of a collation is to transmit all basic information about the text of a manuscript without publishing the text of the manuscript in full. It does this by comparing a manuscript against a standard printed edition (usually the Textus Receptus) and noting all "significant" differences. The amount of space this can save is tremendous. The collation of 1739 by Lake and New, for instance, requires 24 pages to cover all of Paul, when printed in large print. The Nestle-Aland edition, printed in small print, requires 179 pages for the same books. Even allowing for the space required for the the critical apparatus of the Nestle text, this is a savings of at least a factor of five. And this for a manuscript with a relatively large number of deviations from the Textus Receptus! A Byzantine manuscript of the same books would result in a much shorter collation.

There is, unfortunately, no universally recognized standard method of collation even for Greek New Testament manuscripts, let alone for texts of other works. Different transcribers use different base editions, and have different styles of collation. The problem of base editions is probably beyond solution; the edition generally regarded as standard (the 1873 Oxford edition of the Textus Receptus for the Greek New Testament) has been out of print for a very long time, and no new standard is emerging. (Latin scholars are slightly better off; the Clementine Vulgate is the sort-of standard.) Some have proposed collating Greek manuscripts against the United Bible Societies text, but this would mean that older and newer collations would be based on different texts -- a notion unfortunate enough that collations against the TR will probably continue for the foreseeable future. The TR also has the advantage of being a relatively Byzantine text, so that it takes relatively little space to collate Byzantine manuscripts against it (which also reduces the effort needed for the collation, which in turn probably reduces the number of errors). Ideally, we would like to see an electronic version of the Oxford edition made available online at no cost, but this does not appear likely at this time.

The form of collations is somewhat more standardized, though not perfectly so. In general, a collation consists of a series of variations recorded in the following form: Chapter and verse number, lemma (the text of the proof edition), and the variant (the text of the manuscript). The text of the lemma and the variant are normally separated by a square bracket, thus: ]

So, for instance, the first variation in the Nestle-Aland apparatus occurs in Matthew 1:3. Here the majority of witnesses, including the Textus Receptus, read Ζαρα. In B, however, we read instead ΖΑΡΕ. So the collation of B against the Textus Receptus would read

1:1 Ζαρα ] ΖΑΡΕ

There are, of course, variations on this; see the section on Samples of Collations. The most common variation involves omissions. For instance, in Mark 1:1, 28 (and several other manuscripts) omit the words υιου θεου. This may be noted in several ways, e.g.

1:1 υιου θεου ] OM. (the standard way), or
1:1 OM. υιου θεου

It is also quite common to see changes in word order marked ~. Ideally (to prevent ambiguity) both the word order of the collation base and the reading of the manuscript should be noted. You may also see "+" or "add" for additions to the text and "-" for omissions.

If a manuscript has been corrected, these readings should be noted. The reading of the original hand should, of course, be marked with the asterisk (*). If there are multiple correctors, care should be taken to distinguish them. Some collations will include readings of the correctors in the body of the collation; others add them as comments. Which is more effective may depend on the frequency and nature of the corrections.

Editors disagree about the exact amount of detail to be recorded in a collation. Some, e.g., would include variations involving nu movable, while others would omit it. Most would exclude punctuation, since this is known not to be original. Itacisms are also frequently excluded (although if they are very frequent, it should probably be noted in a comment on the collation). The use of Nomina Sacra normally is not noted unless an abnormal form is used or in some way it affects the interpretation. But there are no hard and fast rules -- except two: First, a collation should announce what features it does and does not include, and second, if a reading may or may not have textual significance (e.g. in the case of an itacism), it must be noted. To put it another way: When in doubt, note the variant.

In general, one should try to collate "whole variants" -- that is, if two consecutive words form a logical entity, one should record changes to both together, but if they are unrelated, treat them as two different variants.

Another difficulty arises with damaged texts. One needs a way to indicate both completely illegible letters (e.g. where there is a hole in the page containing a whole letter) and partially legible letters. The notation for the former is usually a dot (e.g. "Λ . ΓΕΙ" indicates a λ followed by a defect large enough for one letter, then γει If the defect is large enough for two letters, one uses two dots, etc (e.g. "Λ . ΓΕΙ" is ΛΕΓΕΙ with one letter missing, while "Λ . . ΕΙ" would be the same word with a gap of two letters, etc.). Gaps of more than a few letters are often marked in the margin (e.g. if a manuscript were defective for the first verse of John's gospel, we would say something like "N.B. MS. defective for "εν... ην o λογος").

A notation is also needed for a partially legible letter (and such are common; suppose a page has lost a margin, and the last thing at the edge of the page is a vertical stroke |. Depending on how the scribe wrote, this could be a portion of any number of letters, e.g. Γ Η Ι Κ Μ Ν Π Ρ. The standard notation in such cases has been for the collator to guess what the letter probably was, then mark it with a dot below the letter. As this is difficult to do in electronic formats, other solutions have been devised, such as placing the letter in parenthesis or in some sort of symbolic notation (the COLLATE program uses a tag pair, [ut]...[/ut]). This should be made clear in the introduction to the collation. (And it should be repeated that this information must be provided. Printing a reconstructed text without noting this fact is purely inexcusable. Indeed, if there is any real doubt about the letter in the manuscript, and multiple readings are possible, these should probably be noted in the margin.)

A good collation should probably also be prefaced by information about the manuscript -- e.g. a list of lacunae (even though these will also be noted in the body of the collations), characteristics of the scribe, description of non-Biblical materials included in the volume. This information may not be of significance for the text, but it may well indicate something about the history of the volume -- which, in turn, may provide clues about the text in the book.

It is possible to collate multiple manuscripts in one collation -- indeed, very many collations follow this format, as it saves space. One simply notes which manuscripts have which readings by listing them after the variant. So, for example, the first few lines of Clark's collations of 223, 876, 1022, 1799, 1960, 2401, 2412, and 2423 in 1 Thessalonians reads:

1:1 θεσσαλονικαιων 223, θεσσαλονικεων 1022      θεω + και 876

1:5 υμας(1) ] ημας 1960      -εν (3) 1022 2423**

Thus we see that, in 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 223 and 1022 have various misspellings for θεσσαλονικεων; the other manuscripts (876, 1960, 2401, 2412, and 2423; 1799 is defective here) agree with the reading of the Textus Receptus. Later in the verse, 876 has θεω και πατρι for the θεω πατρι of the other manuscripts and the TR. From there on, all the manuscripts agree with the TR until 1:5, where 1960 reads εις ημας for the ειω υμας of the other manuscripts and the TR. Finally, where most of the manuscripts read και εν πνευματι αγιου, 1022 and the corrector of 2423 omit εν.

Beyond this, the only way to get a feeling for collations is to work with them. The following samples provide a very brief introduction to this process....

Samples of Collations

The table below shows several samples of collations, all taken directly from published and relatively widely available editions of manuscripts. The first column of the table shows the text of Ephesians 1:1-6 as found in the Textus Receptus. The next three columns show the texts of manuscripts 330, 1739, and 1799 (taken, respectively, from the collations published by Davies, Lake and New, and Clark). The differences from the TR text are shown in bold (with omissions being marked [--], in order to make the omissions obvious). This is followed by the actual text of the collations (sometimes with some extraneous material about other manuscripts removed), so that the reader can see how each of these three collators approached their task. (Of the three, the collation of 330 by Davies is much the most idiosyncratic.)

TR 330 1739 1799
Eph. 11  Παυλος αποστολος Ιησου Χριστου δια θεληματος θεου, τοις αγιοις τοις ουσιν εν Εφεσω και πιστοις εν Χριστου Ιησου • 2  χαρις υμιν και ειρηνη απο θεου πατρος ημων και κυριου Ιησου Χριστου. Eph. 11  Παυλος αποστολος Χριστου Ιησου δια θεληματος θεου, τοις αγιοις τοις ουσιν εν Εφεσω και πιστοις εν Χριστου [--] 2  χαρις υμιν και ειρηνη απο θεου πατρος ημων και κυριου Ιησου Χριστου. Εph. 11 Παυλοσ αποστολος Ιησου Χριστου δια θεληματος θεου, τοις αγιοις τοις ουσιν [--] και πιστοις εν Χριστου Ιησου. 2 [--] Eph. 11 Παυλος αποστολος Ιησου χριστου δια θεληματος θεου, τοις αγιοις τοις ουσιν εν Εφεσω και πιστοις εν χριστοω Ιησου. 2 χαρις υμιν και ειρηνη απο θεου πατρος ημων και κυριου Ιησου χριστου.
3 Ευλογητος ο θεος και πατηρ του κυριου ημων Ιησου Χριστου, ο ευλογησας ημας εν παση ευλογια πνευματικη εν τοις επουρανιοις χριστω, 4 καθως εξελεξατο ημας εν αυτ προ καταβολης κοσμου, ειναι ημας αγιους και αμωμους κατενωπιον αυτου εν αγαπη, 5 προορισας ημας εις υιοθεσιαν δει Ιησου χριστου εις αυτον, κατα την ευδοκιαν του θεληματος αυτου 6 εις επαινον δοξης της χαριτος αυτου, εν η εχαριτωσεν ημας εν τω ηγαπημενω.... 3 Ευλογητος ο θεος και πατηρ του κυριου ημων Ιησου Χριστου, ο ευλογησας ημας εν παση ευλογια πνευματικη εν τοις επουρανιοις χριστω, 4 καθως εξελεξατο ημας εν αυτ προ καταβολης κοσμου, ειναι ημας αγιους και αμωμους κατενωπιον αυτου εν αγαπη, 5 προορισας ημας εις υιοθεσιαν δει Ιησου χριστου εις αυτον, κατα την ευδοκιαν του θεληματος αυτου 6 εις επαινον δοξης της χαριτος αυτου, ης εχαριτωσεν ημας εν τω ηγαπημενω υιω αυτου.... 3 Ευλογητος ο θεος και πατηρ του κυριου ημων Ιησου Χριστου, ο ευλογησας ημας εν παση ευλογια πνευματικη εν τοις επουρανιοις εν χριστω, 4 καθως εξελεξατο ημας εν αυτ προ καταβολης κοσμου, ειναι ημας αγιους και αμωμους κατενωπιον αυτου εν αγαπη, 5 προορισας ημας εις υιοθεσιαν δει Ιησου χριστου εις αυτον, κατα την ευδοκιαν του θεληματος αυτου 6 εις επαινον δοξης της χαριτος αυτου, ης εχαριτωσεν ημας εν τω ηγαπημενω.... 3 αδελφοι ευλογητος ο θεος και πατηρ του κυριου ημων Ιησου Χριστου, ο ευλογησας ημας εν παση ευλογια πνευματικη εν τοις επουρανιοις χριστω, 4 καθως εξελεξατο ημας εν αυτ προ καταβολης κοσμου, ειναι ημας αγιους και αμωμους κατενωπιον αυτου εν αγαπη, 5 προορισας ημας εις υιοθεσιαν δει Ιησου χριστου εις αυτον, κατα την ευδοκιαν του θεληματος αυτου 6 [--] εν η εχαριτωσεν ημας εν τω ηγαπημενω....

Davies's collation of 330 (without the collations of 436, 462, 2344):
1. ~ χριστου α. ιησου.
   OM. ιησου2.
6. ης / εν η.
   + υιω αυτου ρ. ηγαπμενω
N.B.: In this collation, / replaces ] and lemma appears after rather than before the slash. (This takes a great deal of getting used to!) Also, the abbreviation α. is used for "before" ρ. stands for "after." The symbol "~" is used here (as often elsewhere) for a change in word order.

Lake and New's collation of 1739:
i.1. om εν εφεσω
  2 om χαρις .... χριστου
  3 χριστω praem εν
  6 εν η ] ης
N.B.: The notation praem means "add before the lemma" or "is prefixed by." Similar Latin notations may be encountered elsewhere.

Clark's collation of 1799:
3. +αδελφοι [ ευλογητος
6 - εις επαινον δοξης της χαριτος αυτου
N.B.: This collation uses both [ and ]. [ indicates an insertion before the word listed in the lemma. Note also the use of + to indicate an addition and - for an omission

For a fuller sample of a collation, one is invited to examine the author's own collation (or, rather, a collation I combined from various sources) of 0243 and fourteen other manuscripts of Hebrews (in Adobe Acrobat form; you must have Acrobat or the Acrobat plug-in to read).

Long and Short Collations

The descriptions above are of simple text collations. That is, all they contain is the comparison of two sources (usually a manuscript and a printed text). This we might label a short collation.

To fully describe a manuscript calls for some additional information -- data about the form of the manuscript, in addition to its textual content. Montague Rhodes James, who did an amazing job of cataloging most of the manuscripts in Cambridge University, its colleges, and some other libraries, lists the following information which should also be supplied:

  1. Material -- i.e. papyrus, parchment, paper, or a mixture. It is also worth noting the arrangement of the material. Paper and parchment, if mixed at all, were generally mixed in a regular pattern, and parchment, if used throughout, will usually be arranged so hair side faces hair side and flesh faces flesh. If there is a disruption of this pattern, it may indicate missing material.
    If the material is paper, and the paper is recent enough to have watermarks (rare but not unknown for NT manuscripts), the watermarks should be listed, as they are indications of date and provenance. Note that every page needs to be checked for watermarks, as the paper may well come from different lots.
  2. Description of the page -- the size (height and width), the manner of ruling, and the number of lines per page. Also the method used for ruling: a dry point (which leaves grooves but no marks) or a plummet, which leaves a faint brown line.
  3. Binding -- both the modern binding and any indications of an earlier binding (e.g. if a book was once chained, but is so no longer, there will likely be traces of rust on the outer pages. If a book has been rebound and trimmed, marginal material may be cut off).
  4. Number of (surviving) leaves. Also, if the leaves are numbered, the number which appear to have been initially present.
  5. Arrangement of quires. Although most books use a four-sheet standard (meaning each quire has eight leaves of 16 sheets), it is the opinion of James that the majority of books have at least some irregularity -- leaves cut out, or an extra leaf inserted into a quire at some point other than the middle. In counting the size of quires, the first thing to look for is of course the string used to bind the quires into a volume. There may also be catch phrases in the extreme margin, showing the last word on the page and/or the first on the next page, to help the binder organize the quires -- but these are often cut off after binding, so they are not to be relied upon.
    The standard notation for a quire of a given length is xn, where x is a letter denoting the quire, and n is the number of leaves (not pages or sheets) in the quire. So a description a8b6 means that we have a codex which now has two quires, the first of eight leaves (four sheets) and the second of six leaves (three sheets). If a quire is described as "(wants n)," it means that leaf n has gone; if it has afterward "(+n* text)" it means that a leaf has been added after leaf m.
    So here might be a typical example of this sort of collation:
    a8(wants 1) b8 c8 d8(wants 3) e8(+6* εαν) f4
    The above means that we have a codex of six quires, the first five of which (numbered a, b, c, d, e) originally had had eight leaves (four sheets, 16 pages) and the last of which (f) had four leaves (2 sheets, 8 pages). The first quire has lost its first leaf (not a rare occurrence). In other words, it has lost pages 1 and 2. Quires b and c are intact. Quire d has lost its third leaf -- in other words, the fifth and sixth pages of this quire (which would be pages 53 and 54 of the manuscript as a whole). The fifth quire, e, also originally had eight sheets, but after the sixth sheet, an additional leaf has been inserted, which begins with the word εαν. The final quire, f, is apparently intact but has only four leaves (two sheets). Thus the total manuscript started with 44 leaves (22 sheets, 88 pages), but two leaves have been lost and one additional leaf added.
  6. History. Any indications of ownership or past location. This of course includes scribal colophons -- but also information in the binding or leaves at the front. Many owners will have written at least their name in the manuscript, often with a date and perhaps a place. These will generally be reliable (unlike colophons, which may be fake), and will give a latest possible date for a manuscript, as well as perhaps hinting at the place where the manuscript was written. It is suggested that all such information be recorded even if it does not appear to have much use; later scholars might have access to historical data the collator does not.
  7. Contents. Although some manuscripts contain nothing more than the Gospels or Epistles or whatnot, most will contain at least some additional material -- prologues, Eusebian tables, something. All such elements should be listed even if they are not collated.
  8. Illustrations. To truly catalog the illustrations in a manuscript requires a specialist, but some information should be given: The dimensions of the illustration (not necessarily in inches or centimeters, but as a fraction of the page -- e.g. full width, half height). The general subject of the illustration should be described if it can be determined, as well as characters in the picture and their clothing. Also, many illustrations will have some sort of background (white, red and white squares, blue and green lozenges). This is often characteristic of a particular school, and should be mentioned. If any lettering is found in the illustration, it should be noted.
    In New Testament manuscripts, the most common illustrations are of course of the Evangelists. But several things should still be noted -- e.g. whether they are shown in company with their symbolic representations (man, ox, lion, eagle), whether they are shown in contemporary garb or in what a scribe might think was Palestinian clothing, how they are writing (sitting or standing, at a desk or somewhere else), and whether they are alone or in company (e.g. since John is sometimes said to have dictated his gospel to Prochorus, it is not unusual to see him alongside another person). It seems to me in addition that halos are more common in late illustrations than early, although I have not tested this formally.
    Non-Biblical manuscripts have a greater variety of illustrations -- e.g. our only illustrations of Chaucer are in Chaucerian manuscripts, but generally he does not take up the whole width of the page; the image is shown in a sort of a sidebar, perhaps with the poet pointing to a particularly interesting passage. Information about non-stereotyped illustrations of this sort can be particularly helpful.

What we learn from collations

It may seem that working with collations is a rather specialized task, and that the use of a critical apparatus is enough for the ordinary student. This is true in some instances, but much oversimplified. A collation can teach us a great deal about a manuscript that cannot be learned from the apparatus criticus.

The collation, unlike the apparatus, teaches us something about the nature of the manuscript itself. If we examine the collation of Hebrews, for instance, we observe that Codex Claromontanus (D) regularly confuses the endings -θε and -θαι, even when there is no variation in the other manuscripts. We learn, therefore, that Claromontanus has no authority when there are genuine variants of this type.

Most manuscripts have some such idiosyncrasies. ℵ, for instance, regularly confounds ΕΙ and Ι, while 056 and 0142 have a habit (derived probably from their common ancestor) of adding extra iotas. 1799 regularly inserts αδελφοι into texts (probably based on the lectionary), and so is unreliable for the handful of legitimate variants involving this word. And so forth. None of these facts can be learned from a critical apparatus, and most are quickly obvious in a collation.

In addition, a collation is a complete catalog of the readings of a manuscript, whereas a critical apparatus is always limited. As an example, consider the collation of Hebrews already cited above. This collation includes fifteen manuscripts, and shows 61 variants in Hebrews 1. The Nestle-Aland text, by contrast, cites only 21 variants, despite having 23 so-called "constant witnesses." Most of the extra variants in the collation are, of course, trivial -- spelling mistakes and the like -- but by working with the critical apparatus rather than the collations, one forfeits the ability to decide which variants are important. In addition, most critical apparatus have an associated critical text. This critical text will, almost inevitably, bias the user toward its readings. Whereas a collation, since it is based on a non-critical text (the Textus Receptus), should not result in any pre-judgement of the readings.

Collations in Other Languages

Greek is not the only language for which we need collations, of course. Any text existing in multiple copies calls for collation of these copies. And they may show the same sort of variety as we see in the Greek witnesses.

Let's take a couple of examples from the Vulgate. The following is a proper collation of Matthew 6:7-15. The text on the left is the Clementine Vulgate; that on the right is the text of Codex Lichfeldensis (as given by Hopkins-James). Divergences are shown in bold. The collation follows the text.

Clementine

Lichfeldensis

67Orantes autem nolite multum loqui sicut ethnici; putant enim quod in multiloquio suo exaudiantur. 8 Nolite ergo assimilari eis; scit enim Pater vester, quid opus sit vobis, antequam petatis eum. 9 Sic ergo vos orabitis: Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum, 10 adveniat regnum tuum, fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo, et in terra. 11 Panem nostrum supersubstantialem da nobis hodie, 12 et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris, 13 et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen. 14 Si enim dimiseritis hominibus peccata eorum, dimittet et vobis Pater vester caelestis delicta vestra. 15 Si autem non dimiseritis hominibus, nec Pater vester dimittet vobis peccata vestra.

 

67Orantes autem multum loqui sicut ci putant enim qui inmulti loquiosuo exaudiantur 8 nolite ergo adsimillare eis scit enim pater uester, quibus opus sit uobis ante quam petatis eum , 9 Sic ergo uos orabitis / tur nomentuu Pater noster quies incaelis, scifice nomen tuum, 10  et ueniet regnum tuum fiat uoluntas tua sicut incaelo et interra 11 panem nostrum cotidianum danobis odie 12 et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos demittimus debitoribus nostris 13 et ne nos inducas intemptemtationem sedlibera nos amalo 14 Si enim demisseritis hominibus peccata eorum demittet et uobis Pater uester caelestis delicta uestra. 15 Si autem nondemisseritis hominibus nec Pater uester caelestis dimittet uobis peccata uestra

Collation of Lichfeldensis against the Clementine Vulgate:

6:7 nolite ] omit
    ethnici ] ci (sic.)
    quod ] qui
6:8 assimilari ] adsimillare
    quid ] quibus (scribe initially wrote quid then corrected it)
6:9 orabitis ] orabitis tur nomentuu
    sanctificetur ] scifice (i.e. sanctifice)
6:10 adveniat ] et ueniet
6:11 supersubstantialem ] cotidianum
     hodie ] odie
6:12 dimittimus ] demittimus
6:13 in tentationem ] intemptemtationem
     Amen ] omit
6:14 dimiseritis ] demisseritis
     dimittet ] demittet
6:15 non dimiseritis ] nondemisseritis
     vester] uester [i.e. vester] caelestis
     dimittet ] demittet

This is a fairly standard collation format. That doesn't mean it's always followed! Just to show the possible variations, here are samples of the marginalia to this passage in several Latin editions. I have in my library one publication of a Latin Gospel manuscript (Lemuel J. Hopkins-James, The Celtic Gospels, an edition of Codex Lichfeldensis, used to create the above collation of that manuscript) and three critical editions: The smaller Wordsworth-White, Merk, and the Nestle Greek/Latin/English triglot. Let's show a handful of variants to show how Latin collations and critical editions are sometimes done (for the symbols used for the manuscripts, see the section on the Vulgate in the article on the Versions). As a sample, let's reproduce the text and apparatus of all four volumes for Matthew 6:7-13, then do comparisons side by side for several readings.

Hopkins-James

Text Apparatus

67Orantes autem multumloqui sicut ci putant enim qui inmulti loquiosuo exaudiantur 8 nolite ergo adsimillare eis scit enim pater uester, quibus opus sit uobis ante quam petatis eum :, 9 Sic ergo uos orabitis : / tur nomentuu Pater noster quies incaelis, scifice nomen tuum, 10  et ueniet regnum tuum fiat uoluntas tua sicut incaelo et interra 11 panem nostrum cotidianum danobis odie 12 et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos demittimus debitoribus nostris 13 et ne nos inducas intemptemtationem sedlibera nos amalo

 

   7 -nolite after autem.   qui Y for quia
   8 adsimillare (gat adsimilari) with the first l erased for assimilari
   The Hereford text is resumed here from the leaf (misplaced) inserted at viii.4 containing v.28 to vi.8. There is also a break here in the text of d from vi.8 to viii.27.
   quibus is what the scribe wrote and is VO's reading, but the us has been erased not without leaving its traces. Enough of b was left to become part of an ugly d. It was thus corrected to quid which has the support of a b f ff1 h q Aug her gat MT D Q R C T W O V Z vg. In opus the us is in ligature. At the end of the verse is an example of the corrector's stop, a comma in addition to the scribe's stop viz. :,.
   10 et ueniet (ff1 ueniat) foradueniat
   11 cotidianum. This is the O.L text found in a f ff1 g1 h q and others though with some it has the tt, her lam IL mg D E C T W (gat has quotidianum with uel supersubstantialem between the lines). In St. Matthew, St. Jerome substituted supersubstantialem in its place but went back to the old word in St. Luke. The O.L. form, however, has not been displaced in public and private prayer. In our text the Lord's Prayer was transcribed again at the end of St. Mark with the reading sub stantialem showing the process whereby the O.L. text was corrected to the Vulgate standard.    odie for hodie.
   12 demittimus MT O K V X for dimittimus
   13 nos inducas MT E R W M Θ K vg for inducas nos.    temptemtationem (temptationem b k f h Σ) for temtationem.

Merk

Text Apparatus

67Orantes autem nolite multum loqui sicut ethnici; putant enim quod in multiloquio suo exaudiantur. 8 Nolite ergo assimilari eis; scit enim Pater vester, quid opus sit vobis, antequam petatis eum. 9 Sic ergo vos orabitis: Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum, 10 adveniat regnum tuum, fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo, et in terra. 11 Panem nostrum supersubstantialem da nobis hodie, 12 et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris, 13 et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.

 8 quid OZJMaDQRKVCTW] quibus rel.
11 supersubst.]cotidianum SmDssCTW
12 dimisimus Ep*Z*B*JD
13 amen > codd.

Nestle

Text Apparatus

67Orantes autem nolite multum loqui sicut ethnici; putant enim quod in multiloquio suo exaudiantur. 8 Nolite ergo assimilari eis; scit enim Pater vester, quid opus sit vobis, antequam petatis eum. 9 Sic ergo vos orabitis: Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum, 10 adveniat regnum tuum, fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo, et in terra. 11 Panem nostrum supersubstantialem da nobis hodie, 12 et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris, 13 et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.

  8 quid ] quibus    13 > inducas nos | - amen

Wordsworth/White (editio minor)

Text Apparatus

67Orantes autem nolite multum loqui sicut ethnici: putant enim quia in multiloquio suo exaudiantur. 8 Nolite ergo adsimilari eis: scit enim Pater uester quibus opus sit uobis ante quam petatis eum. 9 Sic ergo uos orabitis: Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum, 10 adueniat regnum tuum: fiat uoluntas tua sicut in caelo et in terra. 11 Panem nostrum supersubstantialem da nobis hodie: 12 et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris: 13 et ne inducas nos in temtationem, sed libera nos a malo.

 7 ethnici + faciunt S   quia: quod S C
8 quibus: quid S C
11 supersubstantialem AHMVZ al. S C : cotidianum CD al. ; supersubstantialem cotidianum F
12 dimisimus DZ*
13 >nos inducas S C; patiaris nos induci D (cf. Tert. 'de Orat.' viii)   malo + amen S C

Other examples of the various styles:

Mark 12:29. The Clementine text reads Dominus Deus tuus; this has the support of Dublinensis, Sangermanensis, Vallicellanus, and others; Amiatinus and other early manuscripts read Dominus Deus noster (compare the Greek). Our authorities describe the variant as follows:

TextApparatus
Hopkins-James
text: dns ds tuus
(not cited in apparatus)
Merk
text: Dominus Deus tuus
tuus X*IGDLVThW ] noster rel. vl pl.
Nestle
text: Dominus Deus tuus
tuus ] noster (i.e. A F both read noster for the tuus found in the text)
Wordsworth-White
text: Dominus Deus noster
noster: tuus DGV S C:

Luke 2:2. The Clementine text reads Cyrino, supported by the large majority of manuscripts. The Wordsworth/White text reads Quirino on the basis of harleianus (and the historical name Quirinius). Our authorities describe the variant as follows:

TextApparatus
Hopkins-James
text: quirno
quirno (her cirino) for Cyrino
Merk
text: Cyrino
Quirino ZsL Hier
(i.e. Z Ep* L Jerome)
Nestle
text: Cyrino
quirino
(no supporing evidence cited)
Wordsworth-White
text: Quirino
Quirino Z: Cyrino ACDFHMV S C

At least Latin is widely read and has relatively stong standards. In less-common languages, things can get even more difficult. The following shows the opening of two editions of the Old English poem The Dream of the Rood. Both are based on the same manuscript (the Vercelli Book), though with different orthographic styles. I parallel the first ten lines of the poem as presented by (1) Bruce Dickens and Alan S. C. Ross, The Dream of the Rood, Methuen's Old English Library, 1963; and (2) John C. Pope, Seven Old English Poems, Norton, 1981.

Dickens/RossPope
(1)Hæt, ic sefna cyst,     secȝan ylle, Hwæt, ic swefna cyst     secgan wille,
(2) hæt me ȝemætte     to midre nihte, hwæt me gemætte     to midre nihte,
(3) syan reordberend     reste unedon. sian reord-berend     reste wunodon.
(4) uhte me æt ic ȝesae     syllicre treo uhte me æt ic gesawe     seldlicre treo
(5) on lyft lædan     leohte beunden, on lyft lædan    leohte bewunden,
(6) beama beorhtost.    Eall æt beacen æs beama beorhtost.    Eall æt beacen wæs
(7) beȝoten mid ȝolde;     ȝimmas stodon begoten mid golde;    gimmas stodon
(8) fæȝere æt foldan sceatum,     sylce ær fife æron fægere æt foldan sceatum     swelce ær fife wæron
(9) uppe on am eaxlȝespanne.     Beheoldon ær enȝeldryhte, uppe on am eaxl-gespanne.     Beheoldon ær engel-dryhta fela,
(10) fæȝere urh forȝesceaft;     ne æs ær huru fracodes ȝealȝa. fægere urh for-gesceaft;     ne wæs ær huru fracues gealga,
------
(1) Hæt: MS Hæt with large h enclosing capital (2) hæt Grein1: MS hæt. (9) eaxlȝespanne Sweet: MS eaxle ȝe spanne.   enȝeldryhte: MS enȝel dryht|nes ealle.

Emendations: 2 hwæt ] MS hæt   9 eaxl] MS. eaxle.   engel-sryhta fela] MS engel dryhtnes ealle.

Variant spellings in the MS: 1 wylle.   3 syan.   wunedon.   4 syllicre.   treow.   8 swylce.   10 fracodes.

The physical task of collating

For the reasons described above, it is strongly suggested that every student undertake a collation or two. It need not be of an actual manuscript (though this is best). Simply take one printed or electronic text and compare it against another. (Printed texts are probably better than electronic, since a true collation will normally involve a physical manuscript.) Ideally it should be an actual manuscript text, but if worst comes to worst, one can (say) collate the UBS text against the Textus Receptus.

The results can be educational and humbling, especially if you are able to compare the result with an existing collation of the manuscript. Collation is a difficult and stressful occupation, even with the best manuscripts (generally the easiest are the better-preserved uncials). When dealing with a more difficult manuscript (e.g. 6, which is written in such a small hand that some people need to magnify it to read it; or 33 or 2344, damaged by damp; or a palimpsest; or any of the hundreds of manuscripts written by scribes with bad handwriting), the task becomes even more daunting. To give a personal example: The collation of Hebrews mentioned above was based entirely on already-extant transcriptions, so eyestrain was not a factor. (Fortunately for me, as I have very weak eyes!) It was not, for obvious reasons, checked by anyone else, and I myself checked only the non-orthographic variants. The result is only about a dozen pages long, even in large print. And even so, it took me dozens of hours (spread over several months) to compile. And there are doubtless several errors even so.

At that, the task is easier than it used to be. Today, we can collate with a computer, either in a word processor or using a program such as COLLATE. Older collations were done on paper or other non-electronic form. Moorman, for instance, suggested index cards, with the lemma typed at the top of each card and the lines on the card representing the various manuscripts to be collated. For example, here is my collation of several texts of an old folk song, "Boney on the Isle of Saint Helena." Moorman's cards would look like

1.1AOh,Bonyhasgone   
 
W--he has
R--he has
HBonaparteis
SNowNapoleonhe hasdone

1.1Bfromhiswarsandhisfighting
 
Walla-fighting
Rofall
Hfightings
Swith

One important point to remember in preparing a collation is that, if you are collating a classical manuscript, your collation will likely be used in preparing a stemma, and it may be so used even if it is a Biblical manuscript (if the manuscript belongs to a family such as Family 13 or Kr). You should operate on this basis, e.g. by highlighting readings which are likely to have genealogical significance.

The task being what it is, careful preparation is required to create a good collation. Experts make the following recommendations for accurate collations:

Another suggestion, this one personal: Don't start with a collation in a foreign language! Start by comparing two texts in your own language. A good place for this is in collections of old folk songs or modernized editions of an ancient text. This lets you practice the physical task of collation without having to worry about understanding a foreign language as well.

Charles Moorman, Editing the Middle English Manuscript, p. 46, gives another warning: "The editor cannot afford to become himself a scribe if he can avoid it." Moorman was writing in the 1970s, before personal computers, so some of his reasons are rather irrelevant. But the basic argument is sound: If you are transcribing the manuscript in full, you are not collating, and you are making errors of your own. If there already exists an edition of the work you are collating, collate against that, no matter how obscure, just to reduce the error rate. This is not always possible for classical documents, but in the New Testament, most important sources have been printed by someone. So take advantage.

For those who wish to have something to work from, and whose native language is English, here are two transcriptions of a fifteenth century English text, "The Agincourt Carol." (This should, incidentally, put to rest the notion that "carols" are Christmas songs; they are a particular form of religious ballad.) The first is from Chappell's Popular Music of the Olden Time (also variously known as Old English Popular Music, etc.); the second is from Percy's Reliques. The Percy text was transcribed from a manuscript copied from the manuscript used by Chappell. That is, the genealogy is this:

      Archetype
          |
    ---------------
    |             |
Chappell        [Copy]
                  |
                Percy

The Chappell Text
Deo gracias anglia,
Redde pro victoria

1 Owre kynge went forth to normandy,
  With grace and myght of chyvalry:
  Ther god for him wrought mervelusly.
  Wherfore englonde may calle and cry
                        Deo gracias....

2 He sette a sege the sothe for to say,
  to harflu toune with ryal aray;
  that toune he wan, and made afray,
  that fraunce shal rywe tyl domesday.
                        Deo gracias....

3 Than went owre Kynge with alle his oste,
  thorwe fraunce for all the frenshe boste:
  he spared no drede of leste ne most,
  tyl he come to agincourt coste.
                        Deo gracias....

4 Than forsoth that knyght comely,
  in agincourt feld he faught manly:
  thorw grace of god most myghty,
  he had bothe the felde and the victory.
                        Deo gracias....

5 Ther dukys and erlys, lorde and barone,
  were take and slayne, and that wel sone,
  and some were ladde into Lundone
  with ioye and merthe and grete renone
                        Deo gracias....

6 Now gracious god he save owre Kynge,
  his peple, and all his wel wyllynge:
  gef him gode lyfe and gode endynge,
  that we with merth mowe savely synge,
                        Deo gracias....
 The Percy Text
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria!

1 Owre kynge went forth to Normandy,
  With grace and myyt of chivalry;
  The God for hym wrouyt marvelously,
  Wherfore Englonde may calle, and cry
                        Deo gratias:
  Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria.

2 He sette a sege, the sothe for to say,
  To Harflue toune with ryal aray;
  That toune he wan, and made a fray,
  That Fraunce shall rywe tyl domes day.
                        Deo gratias &c.

3 Than went owre kynge, with alle his oste,
  Thorowe Fraunce for all the Frenshe boste;
  He spared 'for' drede of leste, ne most,
  Tyl he come to Agincourt coste.
                        Deo gratias &c.

4 Than for sothe that knyyt comely
  In Agincourt feld he faught manly:
  Thorow grace of God most myyty
  He had bothe the felde and the victory.
                        Deo gratias &c.

5 Ther dukys, and erlys, lorde and barone,
  Were take, and slayne, and that wel sone,
  And some were ledde in to Lundone
  With joye, and merthe, and grete renone.
                        Deo gratias &c.

6 Now gracious God he save owre kynge,
  His peple, and all his wel wyllynge,
  Gef him gode lyfe, and gode endynge,
  That we with merth mowe savely synge
                        Deo gratias &c.

(We note incidentally that, using these texts, we can detect the loss of an obsolete letter, just as Homeric scholars can detect the fact that Homer used the digamma. The Middle English text of this song clearly used the yogh, ȝ. In Chappell, this was replaced -- as is now fairly normal -- by gh; the Percy text substitutes y.)