Text Types And Textual Kinship

Contents: Introduction * Historyof the Study of Text Types * Recent Efforts* Revelation * The CatholicEpistles * The Pauline Epistles * Acts* The Gospels * The Definitionof a Text-Type * The Use of Text-Types in Textual Criticism* Appendix I: The Names and Descriptions of the VariousText-Types * Appendix II: Text-Types and their Witnesses * Appendix III: Von Soden's Textual System * Footnotes


All manuscripts, except autographs, are copied from other manuscripts.This means that some manuscripts are "descendents" of other manuscripts.Others manuscripts, though not descended from one another, are relatives -- bothderived from some commonancestor. What's more, some are close relatives; others are distant. In this sense,manuscripts are like people, though they usually have only one parent (the exceptionis a manuscript which is mixed or block-mixed.) The study oftextual kinship tries to make sense of these various relationships. Oncethis is done, the results can be used to try to trace the history of thetext, and from there to seek the original text.

History of the Study of Text-types

The first New Testament textual critic to show interest in textual relationshipsseems to have beenJohann Albrecht Bengel. In his 1725 essay on textualcriticism, he notes that manuscripts need to be classified into "companies,families, tribes, [and] nations."[1]

Although all these levels of relationship exist, only two (the "family"and the "nation") have exercised the energy of textual criticsto a significant degree.[*2]The highest level, Bengel's "nation," is what we now call a text-type.

Specific attempts to precisely define the term "text-type" will be describedbelow. For now, it is most important to remember the general definition:The Text-Type is the loosest sort of kindred relationship between manuscripts thatcan be recognized short of the autograph. That is, a text-type consistsof manuscripts which display some sort of relationship, but whose kinshipis so loose that it cannot possibly be classified or described in detail.We cannot give a precise stemmafor the various manuscripts of a text-type, showing all branches and lostintermediate links; at best, we can group them into families and clans.

Once the concept of text-types was firmly established, the obvious nextstep was to locate them and determine which manuscripts belong to whichtypes. Bengel was the first to make the attempt; he defined the"African" and "Asiatic" text-types. Given the materialshe had available, this is fairly impressive; the "Asiatic" typeis what we now call Byzantine; the "African" is everything else-- what we would call "pre-Byzantine" (or at least "non-Byzantine").Bengel not only correctly segregated these types, but he hypothesized thatthe Asiatic/Byzantine manuscripts, though far more numerous, containeda more recent, inferior text (a view held by most scholars ever since).

Bengel's system was refined by J. S. Semler,then further clarified byJ.J. Griesbach. Griesbach's system, with minimal modifications, was followedby Westcott and Hort, and is still accepted by many textual critics today.

Griesbach saw three text-types, which he called "Byzantine,""Alexandrian," and "Western." The Byzantine text consistedof the mass of manuscripts, mostly late; it is generally a full, smoothtext (a point usually admitted even by those who consider it superior; they simplybelieve that the shorter, harsher texts are the result of assorted accidents),and seems to be the type associated with Constantinople and the Byzantineempire. The Western text is largely Latin; it is found primarily in theOld Latin and in a few Greek/Latin diglot uncials (in the Gospels, D/05;in Acts, D/05 plus a few versions such as the margin of the Harklean Syriac;in Paul, D/06, F/010, G/012). The Alexandrian text, which in Griesbach'stime was known only in a few witnesses such as L/019 and 33, was held tobe the early text of Alexandria, and was already recognized by Griesbachas valuable.

In the period after Griesbach, Michaelis proposed to add an Edessenetype (according to Thomas Hartwell Horne, An Introduction to theCritical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, E. Littell,1825; Volume II, p. 52). This apparently was supposed to be the text-typefound in the ancestor of the Peshitta. As far as I know, this idea wentnowhere, though others have more recently proposed to give the Old Syriacits own text-type.

Similarly, Horne, p. 55, reports that Scholz had a system with five types:Griesbach's three (which Scholz called Alexandrine, Occidental/Western, andByzantine), plus Asiatic and Cyprian. The Asiatic seems to consistessentially of manuscripts with the JerusalemColophon, which are not necessarily related and are certainly mostlyByzantine; to this Scholz added the Peshitta, the Philoxenian, andauthors such as Cyril of Jerusalem and Theodoret. The Cyprian recension,confusingly, is not named for Cyprian but for the Codex Cyprius, i.e.Ke. Thus it appearsto be another name for FamilyΠ,which is certainly a distinct group but probably not an independenttext-type.

This was typical of the post-Griesbach period, when everyone and his kidsister seemed to be proposing a system of text-types, mostly with very littleevidence. Hug, for instance, deserves great credit for pointing out the importanceof Codex Vaticanus, but other than that, his speculations were almost entirelywithout basis.

Then there is the so-called "system" of Rev. F. Nolan. This seemsto have appeared (in 1815) without being noticed by anyone at all; the onlyreference I can find is in Horne (himself writing in 1825, before there wasmuch time to study and reject the work). If Horne is to be believed, Nolan'swork consisted of throwing out all patristic evidence, equating each ofGriesbach's Greek types with a Latin type (yes, he claimed to have a Latinversion of the Alexandrian text!), changing all the names (based largely onthe presence of the Eusebian apparatus, which he argues means that mostmanuscripts have a Eusebian text), and then declaringthe Byzantine type superior. Horne actually approved of this, but since theequivalence between B and any of the Latins is absurd, we can pretty wellignore it. From here, Nolan's work appears to be a combination of all thestylistic defects of the nineteenth century writers, all the methodologicaldefects of the early twentieth century critics, and all the attitudes ofthe late twentieth century Byzantine apologists. We're lucky it's forgotten.

Some good did come out of all that waste, to be sure.The study of text-types reached a peak in the work ofF. J. A. Hort andB. F. Westcott. Their classification was almost the same as Griesbach's;they retained the "Western" text exactly as they found it. TheByzantine text they also accepted, though they called it "Syrian."Their only real departure came in the area of the Alexandrian text.

Griesbach had known only late, badly mixed Alexandrian witnesses. Westcottand Hort had two very nearly pure witnesses available (B/03 andℵ/01),as well as greater knowledge of the Coptic versions. They felt that Griesbach'sAlexandrian text could be divided into two parts: The early part, representedby B+ℵ,and a later part, containing most other non-Western, non-Byzantinemanuscripts. They called the early phase of this text "Neutral"(since they felt it to be substantially equivalent to the original text)and the later phase "Alexandrian."

But Hort was not content to look for text-types; he also looked atthem. The "Western" text, Hort observed, was expansive andparaphrastic; he held it in very low esteem. (In defense of the "Western"text, it should be observed that Hort's observations were based primarilyon Codex Bezae, D/05. This text is indeed very wild -- but there is noreal reason to presume it is a representative example of the "Western"text. The "Western" text of Paul, for instance, is much lesswild.)

The Byzantine/Syrian text, in Hort's view, is less extreme but alsoless valuable. It is full of clarifications, harmonizations, and (in Hort'sview) conflations. It is also late; he held that the earliest father toshow a clearly Byzantine text was Chrysostom (moderns sometimes list Asteriusthe Sophist as the earliest, but this hardly affects the argument. There arestill no early witnesses to the Byzantine text -- though we should note that,if it is indeed the text used in Byzantium, there are no early witnesses survivingto the text used in that region). It was Hort's view that this text was compiledfrom the other extant types, with deliberate modification as well as comparison.

Hort's "Alexandrian" type was a much more slippery affair,since -- as he himself admitted -- none of the surviving manuscripts containeda pure Alexandrian text. Hort felt that this type is basically similarto the "Neutral" text, with a few "learned" correctionsto improve the style. It exists (in a scattered, mixed form) in latermanuscripts such as C/05, L/019, and 33.

The prize of the text-types, however, is the "Neutral" text.Represented primarily by B/03, withℵ/01as the second witness and some supportfrom mixed manuscripts such as C/05, L/019, T/029, and 33, it representsalmost without modification the original text. The textprinted by Westcott and Hort is, in almost all instances, the Neutral text(the so-called "WesternNon-Interpolations" represent one of the few major exceptions).

In the years since Westcott and Hort, almost all parts of their theoryhave been assailed. The "Alexandrian" text almost immediatelydisappeared; the consensus is that the "Neutral" and "Alexandrian"texts are one and the same, with the "Neutral" text being theearlier phase (or, perhaps, just the purer manuscripts of the type). Thecombined text-type is referred to by Griesbach's name"Alexandrian." (In recent years, however, Kurt and Barbara Alandhave spoken of an "Egyptian" text that seems similar to the Westcott/Hort"Alexandrian" text. And it is unquestionably true that there arenon-Byzantine readings which occur only in late Alexandrian witnesses. Thuswe may well speak of "Egyptian" or late Alexandrian readings.The problem is that there is still no way to draw a line between theAlexandrian and Egyptian texts; they merge continuously into each other.)

The "Western" text has also had defenders, notably A. C. Clarkand L. Vaganay. Clark, in particular, attempted to explain the Alexandriantext as an accidental shortening of the "Western" text. Althoughhis observations on textual transmission can be useful (he is correct,for instance, in noting that the most common cause of variation is accidentalscribal error), few scholars have accepted the pro-"Western"view.

The age of the text-types has also been questioned. Some -- e.g. theAlands -- hold that there were no text-types before the fourthcentury.[*3]Eldon J. Epp admits, "There is a continuing and genuine disagreement, if notcontention, as to whether or not 'text-types' existed in the earliestcenturies...."[4]The answer to this depends, in part, on the definition of text-types (coveredbelow). But one can at least say that many of the text-types have earlyrepresentatives -- e.g. something very close to the Alexandrian text ofthe gospels, held by some to be roughly contemporary with B, is found earlierin P66 and P75. The family1739 text of Paulis close to the text of Origen.ℵ's textof the Apocalypse occurs also in P47. P46 and P72(as well as the Sahidic version) attest to the B text in Paul and the Catholicsrespectively. This list could easily be expanded using the Fathers and versions.The vast majority of early manuscripts seem to show kinshipwith the text-types found in the later ones. This would seem to implythat the text-types are survivals from an earlier era.

Perhaps the greatest controversy, however, rose over the Byzantine text.Even in Hort's time, it had a staunch defender in Burgon. These Byzantineloyalists pointed out -- correctly -- that the conflations in which Hortplaced so much confidence are very rare. The defenders of the Byzantinetext did not, however, manage toconvince scholars that Hort's other arguments were wrong; most stillbelieve that the Byzantine text is full of harmonizationsand explications, and that, as a text-type (i.e. a unifiedcollection of readings), its earliest attestation comes from thefourth century.[*5]

Despite all attacks, the Westcott/Hort text and textual theory haveremained strongly dominant into the twentieth century. The most importantGreek text of this century, the United Bible Society edition(UBS3, UBS4,NA26, NA27), is essentially a Hortian text. (Fora demonstration of this point, see theanalysis of the textof Colossians. Every major edition since Von Soden, exceptVogels, has at least half again as many agreements with WH aswith the Byzantine edition of Hodges and Farstad, and in severalcases the ratio approaches or even exceeds 2:1.)

To me, that sounds like stagnation.Still, the twentieth century has seen some advances in textual theory.The basic goal has been to systematize the study -- to classify allmanuscripts, not just a handful of the more important.

The last person to attempt to define text-types across the entire NewTestament (assuming that they were the same in all parts) was H. von Soden.Von Soden deserves credit for several advances.First, he attempted to study the entire manuscript tradition. Second, hetried to establish degrees of textual kinship, just as Bengel had suggestednearly two centuries earlier.

Von Soden grouped the manuscripts into three text-types. One of these,the "H" (Hesychian) type, is essentially the same as the traditionalAlexandrian/Neutral text. Curiously, von Soden made no attempt to subdividethis text, even though the Alexandrian text is ripe for division.

Von Soden did, however, work hard to subdivide the Byzantine text (whichhe called "K," for Koine). This was noteworthy; until this time,the Byzantine text had been treated as a monolithic unity (and notdistinguished from its corrupt descendent, the Textus Receptus. Thereare in fact over 1500 places where the Textus Receptus differs fromthe Majority Text, some of them -- e.g. the placement of the Doxology ofRomans -- quite significant).

Although it is not possible to go into von Soden's results in detailhere (an outline is found in Appendix III),let alone the minor modifications they were subjected to in the lightof the Claremont Profile Method,we can note that he did find a variety of Byzantine groups. The mostimportant of these, in his view, are as follows:
Soden's Group NameModern NameLeading representatives (according to von Soden)
KxKx (no uncials; hundreds of minuscules, mostly obscure; Erasmus's leading manuscript 2e is Kx)
KrKr(no uncials; no early minuscules; though there are hundreds of Kr manuscripts overall, only a relative handful of those known to Tischendorf, including 18, 35, 55, 66, 83, 128, 141, 147, 155, 167, 170, 189, 201, etc. belong to this group)
K1(Kx Cluster Ω) S V Ω
Ki(Kx Cluster Ω) E F G H
Ik (also Ka)Family Π (A) K Π Y

There are, of course, many other non-"Western"non-Alexandrian manuscripts and groupings, most of which VonSoden listed as "I" even though they are clearlyprimarily Byzantine; the student who wishes more informationis referred to the work of Wisse on theClaremont Profile Method.

Outside of the Gospels, many of these groups disappear (or atleast cannot be recognized). Kr, however, endures, anda new group, Kc, appears.

Von Soden's work on the Byzantine text has generally been accepted(often for lack of an alternative; no one wants to have to re-do hiswork). Some parts have been directly confirmed (e.g. Voss verified the existenceof Kr, and various scholars studied FamilyΠ).

The most thorough study, however, has been that of Wisse andMcReynolds, based on the already-mentionedClaremont Profile Method.They generally confirmed Von Soden's groups (thoughmaking many detailed modifications). However, Von Soden's Kx,Ki, and K1 may be too similar to bedistinguished. [*6]

The chart below shows the frequency of occurrence of the basic types of thetext, based on the evaluations of Wisse. The types shown are:

It might be noted in passing that the Textus Receptus belongsto none of these groups. It is Byzantine, but of no particular type (thebase text, that of 2, is largely Kx in the gospels, but theinfluence of 1, of the vulgate, and of other texts has caused the TR todiverge from all these groups). This confirms Colwell's urgent entreaty(made also by Zuntz) that manuscript classification not be based on divergencesfrom the Textus Receptus. But to return to Von Soden....

For all his work on the Byzantine text, though, von Soden's pride and joywas his "I" (Jerusalem)text-type. The "I" text, which von Soden discovered ("invented"might be a better word) was rather like the "Western" text onsteroids. It included, naturally, all the "Western" witnesses (such asthey are).It included what would later be called "Cæsarean" witnesses(e.g. Θ/038,family 1, family 13, 28, 565, 700). In Paul, it includeda number of witnesses that are actually mostly Alexandrian (e.g. family2127). And it included many texts that are almost purely Byzantine (e.g.N/022, U/030). (For details on von Soden's system, with comments onmost of his individual groups, see Appendix III: Von Soden'sTextual System.)

Von Soden felt that his three text-types, I, H, and K, all went backto the original, and that their common ancestor was the original text.He therefore reconstructed a text that, with some exceptions (where he believed therewere corruptions either caused by K or within K), followed the readings of two of thethree text-types. Since he placed a much higher value on K than did Westcottand Hort, his resultant text was much more Byzantine than theirs.

Later scholars were not impressed with Von Soden's efforts. To beginwith, it has been all but universally agreed that the "I" textdoes not exist. This obviously removes one prop from his proposed I-H-Ktext. In addition, with a few exceptions such asSturz,[*10]scholars will not accept his contention that "H" and "K"are contemporary. Most scholars accept the Hortian view that the Alexandriantext-type predates the Byzantine; a few feel the reverse. And both campsagree that von Soden's use of the two was inaccurate and unacceptable.

Recent Efforts

Since von Soden's time, the emphasis has been on classifying the text-typesof individual portions of the Bible. This "local" study has beenmuch more fruitful, and has resulted in many modifications to the Westcott-Hortscheme of three basic (and undifferentiated) text-types.

Before proceeding to these recent studies, however, we should perhapsdispose of the work of Kurt and Barbara Aland.[11]The Alands have two rating systems, one for early manuscripts and one forlate. Early manuscripts (from before the fourth century) are classifiedas "strict," "normal," or "free." Althoughthis is on its face a rating of the degree of care practiced by the scribe,in effect it becomes a value judgment on the quality of the manuscript.Worse, the Alands apply this system to even such short fragments asP52,which are simply too small to classify. Of the early papyri, only the "bigsix"(P45P46P47 P66 P72P75),plus perhaps P13,are extensive enough to analyse fully.(P74 is also extensive enoughto classify, but is not an early papyrus; it dates from the seventh century.)

For later manuscripts, the Alands place manuscripts in"Categories"I-V. These categories are based solely on the Byzantine content of manuscripts,and are not objectively controlled. (Example: 0243 and 1739 are very closecousins, perhaps even sisters. But 1739 is "Category I" and 0243is "Category II"). What is more, the Alands have a strong biastoward their own text. In addition, "Category IV" consists solelyof Codex Bezae and a few fragments!

The Alands' classifications have some value; Category V manuscripts areByzantine, and those in the other categories are something else. CategoryI manuscripts have texts which are entirely non-Byzantine (and largely Alexandrian); CategoriesII and III are mixed, and may belong to any text-type. But as an assesmentof the type of text, as opposed to its fidelity to the Alexandrianand Byzantine groups, the Aland categories are useless.

Fortunately, most critics have sought more readily applicable results.Some of their findings are summarized below:


In the Apocalypse, the defining work has been that of JosefSchmid.[12]Schmid partly accepted the Hortian view that only two text-types (Alexandrianand Byzantine) have been preserved for this book. However, both groupsmust be subdivided. What had been called the Alexandrian text in fact includestwo types. The best group is represented by A/02, C/04, the vulgate, anda handful of later minuscules such as 2053; this probably ought to be labelledthe "Alexandrian" text. Distinctly inferior, despite its earlierattestation, is the group which containsℵ/01and P47. The Byzantinetext falls into the "strict" Byzantine group (what theNestle-Aland text callsMK,of which the earliest full representative is 046; this is the largest grouping,and has several subgroups) and the text found in Andreas of Caesarea's commentary(MA,representing perhaps a third of the total manuscripts, startingwith P/025 and including1r,the manuscript on which the Textus Receptus is based).

The Catholic Epistles

Perhaps the best work of all has been done on the Catholic Epistles.Here the dominant names are those of W. L.Richards,[*13]Jean Duplacy, and Christian-BernardAmphoux.[14]All of these studies are slightly imperfect (Richards, in particular, isplagued by inaccurate collations and foolish assumptions), but betweenthem they provide a diverse analysis. I would summarize their results as follows(with some amplification of my own): There are four text-types in the Catholics.They are (in order of their earliest known witnesses) the Alexandrian text,family 1739,family 2138, and the Byzantine text.

The Alexandrian text, as usual, consists of B/03,ℵ/01, and theirfollowers. It appears to have several subgroups. The earliest of theseconsists of P72 and B, possibly supported by the Sahidic Coptic (it ispossible that this group should be considered a separate text-type; the smallamount of text preserved by P72 makes this difficult to verify). Nextcomes ℵ, which stands alone.Then comes a large group headed by A/02 and 33. Other key members of this group are436 and the Bohairic Coptic. Most later Alexandrian manuscripts (e.g.Ψ/044 and 81) seem to derivefrom this text, although most have suffered Byzantine mixture.

Family 1739 falls intothree subgroups. The oldest witness to the group,C/04, stands perhaps closer to the Alexandrian text than the others (Itmay be block-mixed; Richards regards it as Alexandrian, Amphoux ascloser to 1739, and my numbers put it in between but leaning toward1739. Stephen C. Carlson separates it from both groups but places itvery close to the original, which would also explain the what we see). Thenext witness, 1739, is perhaps also the best; certainly it is the centralwitness. A number of manuscripts cluster around it, among which323,424c,945,1881, and 2298 are noteworthy. Finally,there is 1241 (and possibly1243), which preserve the same general sort of text but which stand apart(perhaps as a result of casual copying; 1241 is a poorly-written, ratherwild text). Amphoux views this family as "Cæsarean," and certainlyit is close to Origen. In the author's opinion, its value is at least equalto the pure Alexandrian text. (It should be noted that my terminology hereis rather poor. I have used "family 1739" to refer both to thesmaller manuscript family which contains 1739, 323, 945, etc., and to thelarger text-type which also contains C/04 and 1241. This shows our needfor clearer terminology; perhaps we should refer to "family 1739"and "group 1739.")

Family 2138 also falls into severalsubgroups (e.g. 2138+1611, 2412+614,1505+2495, 630+2200+206+429+522+1799). In general, however, these subgroups merelyrepresent different sets of Byzantine corruptions. The oldest (though hardlythe best) witness to this text-type is the Harklean Syriac; the earliestGreek witness is 2138 (dated 1072). Other witnesses include -- but areprobably not limited to -- 206 429 522 614 630 1505 1518 1611 1799 21382412 2495. As it stands, this text-type has been heavily influenced bythe Byzantine text; it is not clear whether this influence was presentfrom the start. Amphoux considers it to be the remnants of the "Western"text; it should be noted, however, that it bears little similarity to thesurviving Latin witnesses. The group bears certain "historical"links to the 1739 group (there are surprisingly many witnesses whichshow the 2138 type in the Acts or Catholics but go with 1739 elsewhere);Carlson thinks this may also be genealogical.

The fourth textual grouping is, of course, the Byzantine text. It hasthe usual subgroups, none of them being of particular note. It is interestingthat, although we see Byzantine influence in the Syriac versions, the earliestpurely Byzantine witnesses in the Catholics are the ninth century uncialsK/018, L/020, and 049.

The Pauline Epistles

The Pauline Epistles also have a complex textual situation. Here, inparticular, the classical system of Alexandrian/Byzantine/(Cæsarean)/"Western"breaks down.

In Paul, the great name is that ofZuntz,[15]who deserves credit as the first scholar to treat the papyri with realrespect. Earlier experts had tried to fit the papyri into existing textualtheory. Zuntz chose to start from the papyri. Focusing on 1 Corinthiansand Hebrews, he discovered an affinity between P46 and B/03. (In fact thisaffinity extends throughout Paul, although P46 has a rather wild text inRomans.) Instead of two non-Byzantine texts of Paul (Alexandrian and "Western"),there were three: the Alexandrian, found in ℵ/01, A/02, C/04, 33, etc.;the "Western," in D/06, F/010, G/012, and the Latin versions;and the new text, which Zuntz called "proto-Alexandrian," foundin P46, B, 1739, and the Coptic versions.[*16]

Sadly, later critics have paid little attention to Zuntz's classifications.They neither seek to refine them nor to use them in criticism.

It is the author's opinion that even Zuntz's classification leaves somethingto be desired. (Zuntz's method was centered wholly around P46, especiallyabout its agreements. This is a commendable procedure in that it focuses onthe manuscript itself, but by ignoring P46'sdisagreements and their nature, Zuntz was unable to see the full scopeof the tradition. Witnessing a continuum from P46 to 1739 to ℵ to A,he assumed that this was a historical continuum; in fact it is genetic.A proper comparison must start by looking at all manuscripts.) First,the P46/B text, although it clearly comes from Egypt, is not the forerunnerof the main Alexandrian text; it is a distinct text which simply shares manyAlexandrian readings. Second, the Bohairic Coptic goes with ℵ/A/C/33, not P46/B/sa.And finally, 1739 and its relatives, although akin to P46/B, form a text-typein their own right, which in fact stands between the other three, havingmany readings in common with all three other early text-types. (Or so it appears;the difficulty is literally that the manuscripts of the 1739 type are,except for Byzantine mixture, so close together. Theyalmost certainly derive from an Archetype not manygenerations prior to 1739. This family, plus Origen, form the 1739 type. Theproblem is that one family, plus one Father, make a very thin text-type, as doP46 and B....)

To summarize: In addition to the Byzantine text, there are four earlytext-types in Paul: P46/B/sahidic, the traditional "Alexandrian" text(ℵ/A/C/33/bohairic;later and inferior forms of this text are found in 81, 442, 1175,family 2127 (=256 365 1319 2127 etc.), and several dozen other manuscripts);the "Western" text (D/F/G/Old Latin); and family 1739 (1739,0243/0121b, 0121a, 6, 424c, 630 (in part), 1881, etc.; this family isparticularly close to the text of Origen). In addition, two families existwith more heavily Byzantine but seemingly independent texts: family 330 (330, 451,2492) and family 1611 (the remnants of family 2138 of the Catholics: 15051611 2495 Harklean; 1022 in the Pastorals and Hebrews; also probably 2005.This family is much more Byzantine in Paul than in the Catholics). Theselatter two groups may be the remnants of earlier text-types.


Textual theory in the Acts has not advanced much since Hort. The twobasic groups are still the Alexandrian (P74,ℵ/01, A/02, B/03, 33,81, 1175, cop) and the "Western" (D, Old Latin, joined in partby the margin of the Harklean Syriac and some other versions, as well asby a handful of minuscules). It is interesting to note that, in the Acts asin the Catholics, there is a significant gap between B and A (with most ofthe later Alexandrian manuscripts orbiting about the latter and P74).ℵ standsbetween B and A; if it did not exist, there might be greater questionsabout the unity of the Alexandrian text.P45 possesses an independent text, but istoo fragmentary to tell us much.The great questions revolve about the minuscule families, of which thereare at least three important ones. The best-known of these is Family 2138(which in Acts might best be called Family 614 after its best-known member).Its relationship to the "Western" text is widely assumed but needsto be examined. Family 1739, well-known from the epistles, exists and includes 1739,323, 630, 1891, etc., but the basic study of the group, by Geer, simplyverifies the existence of the type without in offering a useful analysis of itsnature. It appears that it is somewhat weaker and much more Byzantinein Acts than the other epistles, and does not add much toour knowledge. (The theory that it is "Western" is, however,dubious; it agrees with B far more often than with D.)In addition, there is a third family, which we might call Family 36; thisincludes among others 36, 307, 453, 610, 1678 -- all commentary manuscripts,listed by Von Soden as being of the Andreas type and listed as Ia1.This family is rather more Byzantinethan family 1739, but Geer tentatively links one of its leading members(453) to Family 1739. This point perhaps needs to be investigated morefully. Several groups are nowstudying the text of Acts; one may hope that they will soon be able tooffer results.

The Gospels

If labours in the rest of the New Testament has been fruitful, the gospelsseem to continue to resist progress. Years of work on the "Western"text have produced a number of hypotheses but no general consensus.

The chief problem is that, after years of searching, Codex Bezae (D/05)remains the only Greek witness to the "Western" text. (P5 and0171 have been offered as other examples of "Western" texts;this is certainly possible, since both have rather "wild" texts,but both are fragmentary, and neither is particularly close to D.) In addition,D shows signs of editing (especially in the gospel of Luke. The most obviousexample is Luke's genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3:23-38, where D offers amodified form of Matthew's genealogy. D also has a very high numberof singular readings, many of which have no support even among the OldLatins; these too may be the result of editing).This has led Kurt Aland to propose that the "Western"text is not a legitimate text-type. (In answer, one might point to thelarge number of Latin witnesses that attest to "Western" readings.In the author's opinion, the "Western" text exists. We merelyshould use the Latin texts, rather than D, as the basis for reconstructingit.) Others have sought to break off the Old Syriac witnesses, placingthem in their own "Syriac" text-type. This is reasonable, butcan hardly be considered certain until we have more witnesses to the type,preferably in Greek. Colwell's balanced conclusion is as follows: "Theso-called Western... text-type is the uncontrolled, popular text of thesecond century. It has no unity and should not be referred to as the 'WesternText.'"[17]

But there can be no better illustration of theproblems of gospel criticism than the history of the "Cæsarean"text.

The history of this text begins with Kirsopp Lake, who opened the twentiethcentury by announcing the existence of the textual family that bears hisname (family 1, the "Lake Group"). In the following years heand his colleagues Blake and New discovered that this group could be associatedwith a number of other manuscripts(notably Θ/038, family 13, 565,and 700). Then B.H. Streeter proposed that this group was a new text-type.[18]Since it seemed to be associated with those works of Origen written whilehe was in Cæsarea, Streeter dubbed the group "Cæsarean."

The problem with this text was its definition. Streeter, Lake, and theircolleagues functionally defined the Cæsarean text as "any readingnot found in the Textus Receptus. and supported bytwo or more 'Cæsarean' witnesses." Apart from its circularity,which is perhaps inevitable (and which could be controlled by proper statistical methods),this definition suffers severely by being dependent on the Textus Receptus,which simply is not a representative Byzantine text. Using it, Streeterwas able to find vast numbers of "Cæsarean" witnesses (e.g.family Π) thatare in reality ordinary Byzantine witnesses that happento belong to families rather remote from the Textus Receptus. Indeed, manyof Streeter's "Cæsarean" readings are in fact purely Byzantine!

The real difficulty with the Cæsarean text, however, was the lack ofa pure representative. Even the best witnesses to the text,Θ/038,family 1, and the Armenian and Georgian versions, have suffered significantByzantine mixture; based on the total number of identified "Cæsarean"readings identified, and the number surviving in each of the manuscripts, it appearsthat even in these manuscripts only about half of their pre-Byzantinereadings survive. (And, it need hardly be added, each manuscript has adifferent pattern of mixture, making their rates of agreement rather low.)

By the middle of the century, the Cæsarean text was already comingunder attack. Hurtado applied what might appear to be the coup de grasin his 1973 thesis.[19]Hurtado showed, fairly conclusively, that the connection that Streeterand Kenyon had postulated between P45 and W/032 (the "pre-Cæsarean"witnesses) and the bulk of the "Cæsarean" text did not exist.

Hurtado's study, based on all variants in Mark found in ℵ/01, A/02,B/03, D/05, W/032, Θ/038,family 13, 565, and the Textus Receptus,was interpreted as dissolving the "Cæsarean" text. In fact itdid nothing of the kind. Streeter and Lake defined the text only in thenon-Byzantine readings of the witnesses, but Hurtado looked at all readings.Thus Hurtado did not even address Streeter's definition of the text-type.And Streeter did have some basis for his opinions; there are manyspecial readings shared by the so-called "Cæsarean" witnesses. (An obvious example is the readingΙησουν (τον)Βαραββαν. This reading is found only in asubset of the "Cæsarean" witnesses:Θ f1 700* arm geo2.)On the other hand, as is shown in the sectionTesting the Byzantine Text in the articleon the Byzantine Priority Hypothesis, many other"Cæsarean" readings appear in fact to be harmonizations. Thus boththe case for and the case against the "Cæsarean" text leads todifficulties.

Which forces us, at last, to wrestle with a fundamental question: "Whatis a text-type?" Our answer to this has important implications --and not just for the "Cæsarean" text. For example, we have alreadynoted that B/03 and ℵ/01have different text-types in Paul. There arehints that they differ in the Catholics as well. What about in the Gospels?It can be shown that both manuscripts are part of tighter families withinthe Alexandrian text (B is closely related to P75, T/029, L/019,and the Sahidic Coptic; ℵ goes with Z/035, probably the Bohairic Coptic,and certain of the mixed minuscules). Are these text-types, or merely clanswithin a text-type?[*20]And, whatever the answer, how can we use this information? These are amongthe great questions textual critics need to face.

The Definition of a Text-type

An analogy may help here: Think of the text as a crystal and text-types as itsfacets. If the crystal is subjected to pressure, it will usuallyseparate along the lines of the facets. The behavior of the text is similar: if a text issubjected to the "pressure" of a variant reading, it willtend to break along the lines of text-types. This does not mean that it willalways separate at all the facets, nor that all facets areequally likely break-points.[*21]But while this analogy describes the situation fairly well in general terms,we must have more precision.

Westcott and Hort, although they made extensive use of text-types, didnot offer a clear definition. Most of their references are to"genealogy,"[*22]which is misleading, since it is rarely possible to determine the exactrelationship between manuscripts.[*23](Even such similar manuscripts as P75 and B are no closer than uncle andnephew, and are more likely cousins at several removes.) Similarly, B.H.Streeter describes "local texts" at length, but at no point offersa useful definition. Most of the standard manuals are no better. No wonderthat, even today, many scholars will say that they "know a text-typewhen [they] see it."

The first attempt to create an automatic method for determining text-typewas probably Hutton's "triple readings," proposed in 1911 inAn Atlas of Textual Criticism. Hutton proposed to look at thosereadings where the Alexandrian, Byzantine, and "Western" textsall had distinct readings. This would allow a newly-discovered manuscript tobe quickly classified.

This method had two problems. First, itassumed the solution: Only threetext-types were permitted, and the readings of those three were assumedto be already known. Second, even if one felt assured of the method, triplereadings were too rare to be much help. Hutton had only about threehundred triple readings in the entire New Testament. This meant that therewere no more than a few dozen in any given book. Comparison at a few dozenpoints of variation is simply not enough to produceassured results.

It was not until the mid-Twentieth century thatE.C. Colwell offered the first balanced definition of atext-type.[*24]In one essay he gave a qualitative definition ("A Text-type is thelargest group of sources which can be generallyidentified").[25]He adds the important qualification, "This definition is a definitionof a text-type as a group of manuscripts [italics mine], not...a list of readings." Five years later, in an influential essay, Colwellwent further. He attempted a quantitative definition. (Indeed, his methodis frequently called the "quantitative method" -- a name thatmakes me cringe, since any statistical method is a "quantitativemethod.") His statement on the subject is perhaps the most-quotedstatement on genealogy since Hort's time:

"This suggest that the quantitative definition of a text-type isa group of manuscripts that agree more than 70 per cent of the time andis separated by a gap of about ten percent from itsneighbors."[26]

Colwell deserves immense credit for offering this definition (as wellas for his other methodological studies; he is perhaps the greatest workerin this field in the twentieth century). This definition has the advantagesof being clear, precise, and usable. Unfortunately, in the author's experience,it does not work. (It strikes me as almost tragic that Colwell's most-frequently-citedcomment on text-types is also one of the few that is not entirely correct.It's worth noting that he rarely if ever refers back to this criterion.)

There are two reasons why the Colwell-Tune definition isimperfect. First, the percentage of agreementsbetween manuscripts is entirely dependent on the sample. Second, the "gap"which Colwell refers to disappears when working with mixed manuscripts.Let us offer examples.[*27]

To take the first point first, consider the relationship between B/03and ℵ/01 in chapter 2 of Colossians.The two manuscripts agree in onlytwo of the seven variations cited in GNT4, or 29%. If we takethe 29 variants cited in NA27 (excluding conjectures), we findthat they agree in 18 of 29, or 62%. If we turn to the Munster Institute'sNew Testament "Auf Papyrus," and examine the variants supportedby two or more uncials (excluding orthographic variants), we find thatthe two agree in 32 of 47, or 68%. But if we turn to the editia minor ofTischendorf8, we find agreement in 19 of 32 non-orthographicvariants, or 59%. Even if we throw out the small GNT sample, we still havealmost a ten percent variation between the three remaining sample sets,all of which form large and reasonable bases for comparison. Which oneshould we use in deciding whether B and ℵ belong to the same text-type?The 68% number, which places them on the fringe of qualifying? The 59%number, which isn't even close? Or something else?

All told, ℵand B have 25 disagreements in this chapter (though some are scribal errors, usuallyin ℵ). How do wedecide how many variantsto spread these 25 differences out over to determine if there is 70% agreement?

A thought-experiment about mixed minuscules should be sufficient todemonstrate the non-existence of the "gap." Suppose X is an unmixedmanuscript, Y is copied from X with five percent Byzantine admixture, Zis copied from Y with another 5% admixture, and so on. It follows thatX can never have a ten percent gap; that space is occupied by Y, Z, andso on down the line. If that is not proof enough, one can present a concreteexample based on B in the Gospels. Using a large (990 reading) sample and39 Greek manuscripts, I found two documents (P75 and 2427, which we havesince learned is a modern production heavily influenced by B) which, in theirparticular areas, agreed with B over 80% of the time. Below this was agap -- but most manuscripts that are considered to belong with B (includingℵ, L, 33, and 892)are on the far side of the gap![*28]The next-closest manuscript was Ξ/040in Luke, at 68%. From there down to the final manuscript in the list (D/05, with 30%overall agreement), there was no gap larger than eight percentage points (and eventhis gap would have been filled had I included the Coptic versions). The mediangap among non-Byzantine manuscripts was one, and even the arithmetic mean("average") was under two. Colwell's "gaps" will simplynot exist in large manuscript samples.

There is also a problem with the conceptual model of the Colwell system.Take a manuscript like L/019 of the gospels. It has a significant Byzantinecomponent -- large enough that it will likely fail Colwell's 70% criterionfor agreement with the pure Alexandrian witnesses.But -- where it is non-Byzantine -- it stands very close to B/03, and isone of the closest allies of that manuscript. Should we not be able torecognize L as a degenerate relative of B, and use it on that basis?

Some would propose to address the problem by adjusting the numbers -- e.g.by allowing a 60% instead of a 70% threshold.This may work in some cases, but cannot be guaranteed; any statistic will be dependenton its sample. It is possible that we could assign percentages if we couldproduce a "representative" list of variants -- but what is a"representative" variant reading?

These questions have no answers. I don't mean that we don't know the answers;there is no correct answer. This is because the Colwell definition is what abiologist would call a "grade definition,"but it is trying to address something we incline to see as aclade.

Some such as Zuntz[*29]and Wisse[*30]are ready to throw the whole thing over and abandon statistics altogether.This is perhaps premature, but we definitely need to tighten up our methods.

Colwell's failure again leaves us seeking informal definitions. In 1995,Eldon Jay Epp offered this "working" definition: "A text-typemay be defined as an established textual cluster or constellation of MSSwith a distinctive textual character or complexion that differentiatesit from other textual constellations."[31]He adds, "Such differentiations must not be based on general impressionsor random samples but on full quantitativecomparison...."[32]Unfortunately, Epp has little to add from there; he goes on to work withthe Colwell definition. (Though he soon after admits that manuscripts arelike a scattered "galaxy" or a "spectrum," thus implicitlydenying the existence of the gap.[33])Also, there is (at present) no hope of fully collating all New Testamentmanuscripts; we must work with samples.

Maurice Robinson, in private correspondence, has offered what is probablythe best available informal definition: "[A text-type seems to befound in] a shared pattern of readings held incommon in a significant degree by member MSS to the exclusion of thepresence of competing patterns in a proportionally significant quantity."This is the sort of definition we need -- but it can be made useful onlyby supplying a definition of "pattern" and a way of determininga "proportionally significant quantity."

A different approach, attempting just this, and also arising from Colwell,is the Claremont ProfileMethod. The CPM attempts to determine textual affinities by looking ata "profile" of readings in selectedchapters.[34]

The CPM offers distinct advantages. It allows manuscripts to be quicklyand easily measured against known groups. Its defect is that it has noability to define groups (it finds groups, but no definitionis offered of what constitutes a group; if Wisse had not started fromVon Soden, his results might have been completely different), and no way of measuring mixture. (The notoriousexample of this is that, in Luke, D/05 shows a profile that makes it amember of the Alexandrian text! -- a patently obvious example of Long BranchAssimilation that should have told Wisse that he had a problem.)The reason for this is not hard to find:the CPM (commonly, but imprecisely, referred to as the "Profile Method";this name should be avoided, as there are many other profile methods possible)takes a manuscript, finds its readings in a "profile" of selectedpassages, and looks for a match in its store of profiles. If it finds one,it is done. But if it fails to find one, it is also done, and writes offthe manuscript as "mixed." No attempt is made, if the manuscriptis mixed, to determine what the mixtureis.[*35]

The result sees scholars still flailing around, trying newmethodological tricks. For example, more and more scholars areclassifying by pericopes -- that is, taking a particular incident andcollating it.[36]If used properly, this has real advantages. Unlike the Aland system, itallows us potentially to check for block mixture, because it gives usdetailed data at several points. It is faster thancollating to the Aland readings, since there is no need to search forthis reading, then that. It covers more ground than the CPM's chapters.It also (again, potentially) gives usenough data to work with, assuming we choose long enough pericopes (say,a dozen or more verses, with at least forty variant readings) andenough pericopes (say, one every three chapters).But these latter cautions are very important (the collator still needsto check a sufficient number of variants!), and this requirement isoften ignored.

At this point, we would appear to have reached an impasse. Somescholars, such as Hurtado, swear by the Colwell-Tune definition.Others, such as Richards, find flaws but produce nothing better.Yet others, such as Wisse, move down to such a level of detail thatthey not only can't see the forest for the trees, they can't evensee the trees for the blades of grass between them.

To see where the problem lies, let's consider a very simple historical stemmaof Paul. We'll use just four manuscripts or manuscript types: A, B,and the Byzantine groups Kc (which could be represented by223 if you insist on an exact manuscript) and Kr (for which1960 would probably do as an example). If could somehow create anexact stemma, compressing allthe lost generations between manuscripts into nothing, it would probablylook like this:

    Autograph        |   *----------*   |          |---*--     *-----*|    |     |     |A    B     Kc    Kr

A pure student of clades would say that thedefinition of a text-type is a point where two branches of the stemma split,never to meet again. In other words, in the diagram above, any point marked *is (or could be) a text-type split.

The absurdity of this, however, is that it makes every manuscript atext-type! And it's only useful if we know the full stemma. So how do wedecide on text-types in practice?

We start with the idea of ancestry and defined groups, and then welook at degree of difference. In the case described above, we wouldprobably have a rate of agreement something like this (the numbers, ofcourse, would depend on the actual readings sampled):

Note that Kc and Kr agree 95% of the time witheach other, and only 60% with A and B. So, though they are perhaps differenttext-types in cladistic terms, they are surely a single text-type based ontheir grade of agreement. And neither A nor B belong to this text-type.

The difficulty comes when we get to A and B. Frankly, they are close enoughthat they could be a single text-type, yet distinct enough that they could beseparate. We must look at both ancestry (point of divergence) and gradeagreement (amount of divergence).

In practical terms, we need a bit of clade definition (based on thestemma) and a bit of grade definition (based on the degree of agreementbetween manuscripts). This, of course, has never been done.The problem ultimately goes back to a failure of terminology. It wasStephen C. Carlson who seems to have had the key insight: That agenetic text-type is not automatically a quantitativetext-type. That is, two witnesses descended from a common ancestormay not have a high rate of agreements due to mixture, whiletwo manuscripts which are not the direct descendents of a commonancestor may have a high rate of agreement due to mixture.

Take another specific example:Dabs1. Thisis a direct copy of D/06.D/06 is unquestionably "Western." So, genetically,Dabs1 is obviously "Western."

But before Dabs1 was copied, D/06 was heavily correctedtoward the Byzantine text. So heavily, in fact, that most assessmentsof Dabs1 (based on standard lists of variants, as opposed toits peculiar readings) would say that it agrees with the Byzantinetext. Genetically, Dabs1 is "Western."Quantitatively, it is Byzantine.

Does this matter? In a word, yes. We have no need of Dabs1as a Byzantine text; there are plenty of others to choose from, and theyaren't all mixed up with "Western" readings and places wherethe copyist misread a correction in D, producing nonsense. But if wedidn't have D, Dabs1 would be a significant witness to the"Western" text; even though it's mostly Byzantine, itsnon-Byzantine readings go back to an early state of the "Western"and should be used to reconstruct that type.

But if we know that to be true of Dabs1, shouldn't it beequally true of 81, or 104, or 565, or any other mixed manuscript? Thesemanuscripts don't lose value because their ancestors are lost;they gain. And, somehow, we need to find their components. Atthis point, Colwell/Tune, Claremont, Hurtado, and everyone else who insistson quantitative text-types fails. Their results are accurate, but theydo not help us!

So now what? The task is to find a definition of text-types whichsomehow account for mixture.

This is an area where workers have been relatively few; not allcritics recognize the need for it, and even had the need been recognized,it was hard to do much until the present generation -- partly due tolack of data and partly because the approaches proposed have allbeen computationally intensive; much of what follows is possibleonly due to the use of computers.

Let me start with my own personal approach, simply because Iknow it and know how I came to it. When I started, I had seenabsolutely no research of this type. I was reading bookslike Metzger claiming that this manuscript was related to that.But I'm a physicist; I wanted numbers. I took the datafrom the UBS editions and stuffed it into a database, and startedcalculating rates of agreement. (This was fundamentally similarto the Munster "thousand readings," with the differencethat I have some idea of what constitutes a meaningful sample.)

The results didn't agree much with what everyone was saying.Either textual critics were insane, or more was needed to verifythe claimed results.

Without prejudice to the theory that textual critics areinsane, I decided to work on better tools. I spent about fiveyears on this, working up better mathematics, and I neverreally finished; I was never able to produce an independent,verifiable, and non-sample-dependent definition of atext-type. But I reached certain conclusions which I believeincontestible. (But, of course, they are contested.)

The most important step, in my opinion, is the use of multiple statisticsfor comparison. Colwell's "quantitative method" work is basedonly on overall rates of agreements. The Claremont method uses classifiedagreements, but with very limited scope and no flexibility. Hutton usedonly special sorts of agreements.

Instead of using a single statistic, we should use multiplestatistics. The first to propose something along these lines wasColwell, but the first to publish a method of this sort was BartD. Ehrman. [*37]Ehrman classifies readings according to how important they are in studying thetext-type (e.g. some readings are "characteristic" of the type).This is a distinct improvement in the sense that it gets at the natureof readings. If we knew with certainty the nature of all extanttext-types, it would be effective. The defect, however, is thesame as Hutton's: It assumes the solution. Ehrman can't find newtext-types because his method forces him into the straightjacketof existing types. And if his list of witnesses is wrong, asStreeter's was, then his results are ruined.

My own method generates profiles on the fly. This has theadvantage that you need know nothing about the readings or the texts.It is based on four measures of relationship: Overallpercentage of agrements, percentage of agreements in readings where bothmanuscripts are non-Byzantine (this measures the kinship of mixed manuscripts),percentage of agreements where the Byzantine text divides (this helps measurethe Byzantine group to which a manuscript belongs), and "near-singularreadings" (readings where the manuscript has the support only of ahandful of witnesses. This statistic serves to find a document's immediatekin).

There is nothing magic about these statistics; presumably you couldreplace one or two of them with some other measure. But together they offersomething that a mere comparison of overall agreements ever can: A pictureof the component texts of a reading. If two manuscripts have high overallrates of agreement, then of course they are akin. (Though "high"in this context certainly means a rate of agreement well in excess of 70%!)But a low rate of agreementdoes not deny kinship; it may mean the manuscripts are unrelated, or thatthey are related but with different patterns of mixture. High rates ofagreement in non-Byzantine, and especially unique, readings is what counts.This is the same as Ehrman's concept, but without pre-assuming text-types.

The use of multiple statistic methods, since they have never been formallytested, is beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say that thedefinition of text-types and the relationships between manuscripts is afield with much room for growth.

One such recent example is the work of Stephen C. Carlson. He has turnedto the biological sciences for help, notably from the mathematical areaknown as "cladistics." For a brief overview of his results, thereader should consult the article on stemma.Carlson's work does not directly address the matter of text-types. Indeed,his stemma are often so complex that no true text-types can be discerned.This is surprising and disconcerting; the existence of text-types seemswell-established, and if Carlson cannot find them, it implies a real needfor examining either his results or our overall thinking. But doing socould well give us a whole new perspective on the matter -- for example,it reminds us of the point in footnote [*2]that the exact ancestor of a text-type probably never existed.

The Use of Text-Types in Textual Criticism

Different scholars evaluate the evidence of text-types differently.Westcott and Hort's text is based largelyon the evidence of text-types, and remains the model New Testament text tothis day (if it be noted that the UBStext has now supplanted WH, it should be noticed that UBS, likethe texts of Bover andMerk, differs very little from WH). By contrast,von Soden's text, also based on a theory of text-types,is not treated with much respect.

The warning here, of course, is that text-types must be used accurately.If our textual theory is inadequate, the text based on it can only be inadequate.Work on text-types can only stop when all known manuscripts have been comprehensivelyexamined.

In the meantime, we must decide how to use our provisional text-types.Some scholars continue to follow them slavishly (and inaccurately, sincethese scholars usually continue their allegiance to the Westcott-Hort theories).Others reject text-types altogether.

In the author's view, this is foolish. The way Hort dealt with text-typeswas subject to attack, because in his time only two early types were admitted, leavingus with no mechanical or automatic basis for deciding between the two. One could only choosebetween the types on internal grounds. Hort himself admitted thisproblem.[38]Today, however, with three or more non-Byzantine text-types for most Biblical books,we can do better. We cannot rely on a particular text-type absolutely, since all aresubject to various defects. Still, if one accepts the Hortian theory that theByzantine text is late, then a reading supported by all pre-Byzantinetext-types can surely be regarded as original (or, at least, as the earliestrecoverable text). A reading supported by a majority of early types maynot be original, but the "presumption of originality" is in itsfavor. Such a reading should only be set aside if there is overwhelminginternal evidence against it. Take, as an example, Jude 1. The UBS textreads τοις εν θεουπατρι.After θεου, however, some two dozen witnesses,including (6) 322 323 424c 614 876 945 1241 1243 1505 1611 1739 1852 18812138 2412 2492 2495 sy arm, add εθνησιν.(The prejudices of the UBS comittee are clearly shown by the fact that they rate thisvariant an "A," meaning that they have no doubts. This presumably isbecause all the important uncials support their reading.) But look at the evidence:of the three non-Byzantine text-types in the Catholics (as found by Richards, orAmphoux, or, well, me), two (family 1739 and family 2138) addεθνησιν. Only theAlexandrian text (P72 ℵA B Ψ 81 436) omits the word.Since there is no reason for the insertion (there is no similar passage in the New Testament),it is at least reasonable to addεθνησιν on the evidence oftwo of the three text-types. We might, of course, bracket it asquestionable.[*39]

In addition, knowledge of text-types can sometimes affect how we assessa variant. Let us take 2 Pet. 2:13 as an example. The UBS text readsεν ταις απαταις.This is in fact a triple variant:

Editors generally reject αγαπαιςas an assimilation to Jude 12. However, the readingαγνοιαις is much more likely to bethe result of misreadig αγαπαιςthan απαταις.Since αγνοιαιςis supported by family 1739, an early text-type, it is much more reasonableto assume that the original reading is αγαπαις,and that απαταις andαγνοιαις are both errorsderived from this. (Eberhard Nestle also offered cogent internal reasons to adopt thisreading.[40])

A final warning: All of the above is about classifying manuscripts. A descriptionof a manuscript must consist of two parts: The manuscript's affinities and itspeculiarities. Many manuscripts are unreliable in some way or other -- theyexchange ε and αι, they omit words, theymisspell names, they otherwise render themselves unhelpful for certain variants.Knowing which manuscripts are related is no use if you don't know where you cantrust them. Manuscripts must be treated as individuals and as members ofa group.

Let's summarize: Textual criticism is based on internal andexternal criteria. But -- unless one is content to be a radicaleclectic[*41]-- the only firm basis for criticism is actual manuscripts. And those manuscriptscan only be used properly if their text-types are known and their relationshipsstudied. Else how can we tell which readings are authentic to the manuscript'stradition and which are simply errors?

As has so often been the case, it is hard to make a better summary thanColwell's:

The program of textual studies requires that the critic take five steps.I, Begin with readings; II, Characterize individual scribes and manuscripts;III, Group the manuscripts; IV, Construct a historical framework; V, Makea final judgment on readings.[42]

Appendix I: The Names and Descriptions of the VariousText-Types

The following list shows the various names that different scholars haveused for text-types. The first element in each list is what I consider the"proper" modern name; this is followed by a list of editors andthe names they used.

Generally Acknowledged Text Types

Westcott-Hort -- Neutral+Alexandrian (also α)
Von Soden -- Eta (Hesychian) (H)
Kenyon -- B (β)
Lagrange -- B
Characteristics of the type: Conservative. Relatively free of harmonzationand paraphrase. Short. Willing to accept difficult readings.
Primary witnesses: P75 (gospels), B (except in Paul),ℵ, Copticversions. Also A, C, 33 in Paul; A 33 in the Catholics; A C in the Apocalypse.

Westcott-Hort -- Syrian (also δ)
Von Soden -- Kappa (Koine) (K)
Kenyon -- A (α)
Lagrange -- A
Characteristics of the type: Widespread. Usually regarded as far-removedfrom the original documents, but worthy of detailed study because of theinfluence it has had on mixed manuscripts. Marked by smooth and easy readingsand by harmonizations, but rarely indulges in paraphrase or the major expansionsseemingly found in the "Western" text.Widely regarded as derived from other text-types; it usually preserves the easiest reading.It rarely creates readings.[*43]
Primary witnesses: A E F G H K M S U V Y Γ Π Σetc. (gospels); H L P 049 0560142 (Acts); K L 049 056 0142 (Paul, Catholics); P 046 (Apocalypse). Alsofound in the mass of minuscules; over 80% of manuscripts are purely Byzantine,over 90% are primarily Byzantine, and not more than 2% can be consideredentirely free of Byzantine mixture.

Von Soden -- Iota (Jerusalem) (I), in part (most strong "Cæsarean"witnesses are found in Soden's Iαgroup, with family 1 beinghis Iηand family 13 being Iι.)
Kenyon -- Gamma (γ)
Lagrange -- C
Characteristics of the type: Mildly paraphrastic, so as to givean appearance of falling between the Alexandrian and "Western"texts. Since no pure manuscripts are known, most other descriptions ofthe type have been conjectural. To date found only in the gospels (unlessfamily 1739 is Cæsarean, which is unlikely).
Primary witnesses: Θ, family 1, family 13, 565, 700, arm, geo(P45 and parts of W claimed by some; however, P45 is a wild text, and W'srelationship to the group is questionable)
Note: The existence of the "Cæsarean" text has been questionedby many; see the discussion above.

Westcott-Hort -- Western (also β)
Kenyon -- D (δ)
Von Soden -- Iota (Jerusalem) (I), in part
Lagrange -- D
Characteristics of the type: Marked by paraphrase, occasional expansion,and possible additions from oral sources. Fond of striking and abrupt readings.Reaches its most extreme form in D/05 (Codex Bezae); the "Western"text of Paul (found in D/06, etc.) is a much more restrained text.
Primary witnesses: D/05 (Gospels, Acts), Old Latin, D/06 (Paul)F/010+G/012 (Paul); occasional readings in the versions. Connected by somewith family 2138 and with certain fragmentary papyri.

Proposed Text-Types

P46+B (Paul)
Zuntz -- Proto-Alexandrian
Characteristics of the type: Generally possessed of very rough,unpolished readings which give strong evidence of being original. Forceful.Few witnesses are known, so the type is difficult to reconstruct.
Primary witnesses: P46, B, Sahidic

family 1739 (Acts, Paul, Catholics)
Zuntz -- Proto-Alexandrian
Characteristics of the type: Stands midway between the other types.It shares readings with P46/B, the "Alexandrian" text, and the"Western" text. Close to but not identical with Origen. Its readingsare generally conservative; it will make occasional clarifications butno major changes. Arguably the best text-type in Paul.
Primary witnesses: 1739. In Paul, also 0243/0121b (which appearsto be a cousin of 1739). 1881 is the third witness here. In the Catholics,the core witnesses are C, 1241, and 1739, with most of the lesser manuscriptsclustered around 1739.

family 2138 (Acts, Paul, Catholics)
Vaganay -- "Western"
Characteristics of the type: Heavily Byzantine (especially in Paul,where the type almost disappears), but with a large number of independentreadings. Often has striking variants which, however, do not appear tobe related to the Latin. Therefore the type does not appear to be "Western."
Primary witnesses: 2138 (except in Paul), 1611, 1505+2495, Harklean,2412+614 (except in Paul), 630+2200+1799+429+522 (Catholics only)

Appendix II: Text-Types and their Witnesses

Primary witnesses are shown in bold (e.g. P75); witnesseswith only scattered readings of a type are enclosed in parentheses. Subgroupswithin the larger group are joined by plus signs (+). Note that this listis not comprehensive.[*44]Also, some of the groups (e.g. the witnesses to the "Cæsarean"text) are based on standard lists, and have not been tested by modern methods.








P66 P75+B+Tℵ+Z C L (X)Δ (Mark)Ξ(Ψ)33 579 892 1241 sa bo
P74ℵ A B C 33 81 1175 vg? sa bo
A C I (P) 33 81 (104) (436) 442 1175(1241supp) 1506* 1962 fam 2127 2464 bo
P72+BA+33+436 Ψ 81 vg sabo
A C vg 1006 2050 2053 2062 2344? bo


(also includes most minuscules)

(A) E F G H K M (N) (P) (Q) S U V Y Γ Λ Σ Φ 047(E) H L PΨ 049 056 0142 1241K L (Ψ) 049 056 0142 (33 1175 2464 in Romans)
K L 049 056 0142
(1175 in Johannines)
MK: 046 429 522 2138
MA: P 051 1 181


Θ f1 f13 22 28(Mk) 565 700 arm geo


D Old Latin Syrsin? Syrcur?D (E) Syrhark-marg saG67D F G Old Latin (not r) (629) (goth)


P13 P46 B sa


P47 ℵ 2344?

family 1739

1739 630 945 1891 2200 22981739 0243/0121b 0121a 6 424c 1881 (630 in Romans-Galatians)C 1241 1739 6 322 323 945 1881 2298 1243+2492?

family 2138

614+2412 383? 1505+2495 1611 2138 Syrhark1505+2495 1611 Syrhark 2005? (1022)614+2412 630+1799+2200 1505+2495 1611 2138 Syrhark 206 429 522 1799

family 330

330+451 2492


f1 = family 1 = 1, 118, 131, 205, 209, 1582. This is the family knownas the "Lake Group" (λ).

f13 = family 13 = 13, 69, 124, 174, 230, 346, 543, 788, 826, 828, 983,l547etc. This is the family known as the "Ferrar Group"(φ).

family 2127 = 256, 263?,365, 459, 1319, 1573, 2127 (perhapsalso arm) This family was called "family 1319" by the followersof von Soden.

It also appears likely that we should define a "family 630,"consisting of, at minimum 630 2200, and probably also 206 429 522. Thecurious thing about this group is its shifting nature. In Acts it goeswith 1739. In Paul it goes with 1739 in the early epistles, then turnsByzantine. In the Catholics it goes with 2138. There is a hint here ofa relationship -- historical rather than textual -- between family 1739and family 2138 that might be worth investigating.

Appendix III: Von Soden's Textual System

The following lists summarize Von Soden's system in the various portions of theNew Testament. For the H and I types, all manuscripts of the type cited by vonSoden are listed (except for occasional fragments. Gregory notation is used throughout);for the Byzantine (K) types, only a handful of manuscripts are included.

It should be noted that von Soden treated commentarymanuscripts as a separate type with a separate history; with the exceptionof manuscripts of the Apocalypse (where there is a separate Andreas type),they are not treated here.

It should be remembered that Von Soden did not cite manuscripts in theorder given here, nor in numerical order. Students wishing to use hisedition will have to consult it, or one of the related works, to usehis apparatus. It should also be remembered that, although von Soden's systemassigned dates to all the manuscripts, but that these dates are not reliable.(And, as Kenyon pointed out, von Soden only applied dates in the numbering ofthe manuscripts from the eleventh century and after -- but we hardly care aboutmanuscripts that are that late; all we care is that they are late minuscules.The dates that matter are for the texts written before von Soden'scutoff.)

To summarize Von Soden's textual theory, there are three types, I, H, and K.The first of these is, very roughly, the "Western" and"Cæsarean" texts (with a lot of extraneous material thrown in);the second is the Alexandrian text, and the third the Byzantine. Von Sodensought the original text in the consensus of these.

(It should be added that, with only the most minor exceptions, vonSoden does not allow the possibility of mixture. This is one of themajor defects in his classification of the I groups.)

The Gospels


For an overall view of Von Soden's system in the Acts, Paul, and the Catholic Epistles,see the Summary following the section on the Catholic Epistles.


For an overall view of Von Soden's system in the Acts, Paul, and the Catholic Epistles,see the Summary following the section on the Catholic Epistles.

Catholic Epistles

For an overall view of Von Soden's system in the Acts, Paul, and the Catholic Epistles,see the Summary following the section on the Catholic Epistles.

Summary of Von Soden's work on the Acts, Paul, CatholicEpistles

It has become customary to ignore Von Soden's groupings outside the Gospels,and with good reason; many of the manuscripts he classified simply do not showthe features he attributes to them, and manuscripts shift groups more than his systemallows. And yet, if we look at the overall results for the Acts and Epistles,von Soden's results bear a striking resemblance to the results I have outlined elsewherein this document.The "H" group is the Alexandrian text (von Soden cannot be faultedfor failing to realize the existence of the P46/B type in Paul; atext-type can only be recognized when two witnesses exist, and von Sodendid not know P46). Ia is the "Western" text.Ib is Family 1739.Ic is Family 2138.And the "K" text is the Byzantine text. If von Soden is to befaulted, it is for not clearly identifying the boundaries of the types. Inother words, though Von Soden did not realize it, he too was strugglingwith the definition of a text-type, just as we have done. In addition, von Sodenincluded many irrelevant witnesses in his groups (often, it appears, by assumingthat a manuscript had the same type in all three sections unless itwas known to undergo a shift). This, combined with the rather sloppyway witnesses were cited, makes it hard to perceive the broad accuracyof its groupings (e.g. it's hard to realize that Ib isFamily 1739 in Paul when von Soden places 1739 and all its kin in H!).


Von Soden's textual theory in the Apocalypse has received even less attentionthan his work in other areas, having been completely eclipsed by the work ofSchmid.[12] The outlinewhich follows is, therefore, less detailed than those which preceded. Note thatthe following list does not agree, even approximately, with the citationorder in Merk or Bover! Von Soden in these books has a bad habit of puttingmanuscripts in multiple categories -- e.g. 051 is listed as an Andreas manuscript(Αν2) witha text-type of H. The information here is as interpreted in the KurzgefassteListe. Note that not all the manuscripts listed under the Andreas type actuallyhave Andreas's commentary; the manuscripts listed here are listed by von Soden ashaving the Andreas-type text, but some (e.g. 1611) have no commentary at all.


1. English translation from Metzger, The Textof the New Testament, 2nd/3rd edition (Oxford, 1992), page 112. [back]

2. Almost the only exception to this is E.C.Colwell, who carefully defines all four levels and gives examples of each.A family, in his terminology, is a group for which an accurate stemma can be constructed.By this definition, he felt that that family 1 is a true family butfamily 13 is not. The worst offender against this system is probably B. H. Streeter,who called the Cæsarean text-type "Family Θ."
Because other textual critics have not used the intermediate levels, nowidely-accepted terminology exists. Even Colwell had trouble with this; atvarious times he referred to the intermediate levels as "tribes,""clans," and "sub-text-types." (His formal suggestion,in "Genealogical Method: Its Achievements and Its Limitations,"reprinted in Studies in Methodology in New Testament Textual Criticism,Eerdmans, 1969, p. 82, is to use the "clan" for one of the intermediatelevels.) For this reason I have used "family" for all levelsof kinship. I know better, but I have no other language available. A logicalapproach might be to speak of, in ascending order, the "family"(a group of related manuscripts for which a detailed stemma can be constructed),a "super-family" (for which one can sketch a stemma without beingable to offer full details), a "sub-text-type" (closer than atext-type, but too loose for any stemmatic work to be done), and the full-fledgedtext-type. On this basis, P75-B-T in the gospels would, I believe (in theabsence of certain evidence either way), be a sub-text-type. Family1739 in Paul wouldbe a super-family. So would Family 2138in the Catholics. In the Catholics,the "tight" form of family 1739 (excluding C 1241) would be asuper-family; the larger family (including those manuscripts) would bea text-type. In Paul, 330and 451 form a family; adding 2492 creates asuper-family. Family 2127 is a super-family.
Note that it is possible to determine the ancestral text of a family, andperhaps even a super-family, precisely. These groups presumably derivefrom some one examplar. This is not true of the higher levels (especiallyof text-types). One cannot construct a text and say, "This is the is theAlexandrian text." There never was such a thing; no manuscript ever hadall the readings we call "Alexandrian." But we can determine many,perhaps most, of the readings characteristic of the type, and use these tohelp us determine the original New Testament text. [back]

3. See, e.g. Kurt and Barbara Aland, TheText of the New Testament (English translation by Erroll F. Rhodes,Eerdmans, 1989). On p. 56, in discussing text-types, they say "Inthe fourth century a new era begins." On p. 65, the claim is evenmore forceful: "The major text-types trace their beginnings to theDiocletianic persecution and the Age of Constantine which followed."
I must admit to finding this a very curious view; it seemsto imply that text-types were somehow something that late scribes wantedto have, and so developed starting from the fourth century. But clearlythe Alexandrian text, at the very least, existed before the fourth century,since P75 is effectively identical to B. So either P75is a part of the Alexandrian text, or it is the archetypeof the text. Either way, the Alexandrian text-type was in existence inthe third century, even if not widespread.[back]

4. Eldon J. Epp, "Decision Points inNew Testament Textual Criticism," printed in Epp and Gordon D. Fee,Studies in the Theory and Practice of New Testament Textual Criticism(Studies and Documents 45, Eerdmans, 1993), p. 37. The essay goes on tomarshal arguments on both sides. [back]

5. In fairness, it should be pointed out thatthere are two sorts of supporters of the Byzantine text, withvariations in each group. Without goinginto detail, since their views remain in the minority, they are:

A summary of the arguments of the pro-Byzantine scholars, showing evidencethat the Byzantine text is at least better than Hort claimed, can be foundin the article on Byzantine Priority.[back]

6. Frederick Wisse (Frederick Wisse, The Profile Methodfor Classifying and Evaluating Manuscript Evidence (Studies & Documents44, Eerdmans, 1982), p. 94), reports that "Ki and Kikare not distinguishable from K1, and K1could not maintain itself as an independent group and is treated as a Kxcluster." As a partial defense of Von Soden, however, wemight note that Wisse's data indicates a historical if not a textualdistinction between Cluster Ωand the rest of Kx; most early Kx manuscriptsbelong to Cluster Ω,and the type seems to have died out by the end of the twelfth century, when Kxproper becomes dominant. As evidence we offer this list of early Kxmanuscripts (consisting of all purely Kx manuscripts listedby Wisse as of the tenth century or earlier, plus all pure ClusterΩ manuscripts ofany age):
CenturyKx Cl Ω Not Cl Ω
VIII and before E --NONE--
IX V Ω 461 1080 1295 2142 047 2224 2500
X S 151 344 364 584 1077 1281 2563 2722 G H G 14 29 135 144 274 435 478 564 568 669 875 1055 1078 1172 1203 1225 1351 1662 2195 2414
XI 65 123 143 271 277 699 1045 1470 1691 2176 2287 2442 2571 2637 (nearly 100)
XII 471 667 688 1083 2702 (Hundreds)
and after

Observe that in the eighth and ninth centuries ClusterΩ is dominant; in the tenthKx proper is taking over, and after the eleventh ClusterΩ was dying out.[back]

7. cf. Wisse, pp. 103-105. [back]

8. Ibid, pp. 92-94. [back]

9. According to Wisse, 734 of 1385 Gospelmanuscripts tested belonged to Kx in whole or in part.Ibid, pp. 16-17. [back]

10. See Harry A. Sturz, The Byzantine Text-Type& New Testament Textual Criticism (Nelson, 1984). Sturz's findingsare based on Hort's three text-types, but with the Byzantine text upheldas early. Thus, unlike von Soden (who felt that K was the worst of thethree text-types), his text is eclectic but perhaps more Byzantine than anythingelse. His method is shown by the names of some of his chapters: "DistinctiveByzantine Readings Are Found in Early Papyri" (true enough, but many --such as Colwell -- believe that a text-type consists of manuscripts, not readings;in any case, not all distinctive Byzantine readings have early attestation);"The Silence of the Fathers Is Explainable and Therefore Is Not aProof of Lateness" (Sturz points out that Chrysostom, generally regardedas the earliest Byzantine witness, is also the earliest writer from theAntiochene region. A legitimate argument, but if the Byzantine text wereoriginal, would its readings not be found outside Byzantium and Syria?);"The 'Conflate' or Longer Readings Are Not a Proof of Lateness"(true, but most moderns accept that conflate readings should not be used asarguments against theByzantine text; they are too few); "The Composite Nature of the ByzantineText Attests the Early Existence of Its Readings Where Its Strands Unite"(contradictory on its face; what Sturz means is that the great breadthof the Byzantine text indicates that it is much older than its witnesses.This can be conceded -- but it should be noted that, except in the Gospels,the purest Byzantine witnesses come from the ninth century; even if theirarchetype is much earlier, it need not be early. Also, the Byzantinetext, compared to the other known text-types,shows relatively little variation, meaning that the witnesses need notbe far removed from the earliest examples of the text-type); "TheByzantine Text Is Unedited in the Westcott-Hort Sense" (now widelyconceded, but not relevant to the argument. It can be unedited and stillbe late). Sturz devotes most of his efforts to disproving the theoriesof Westcott & Hort (theories which, it should be noted, are no longeraccepted in detail by anyone); he also offers extensive lists of Byzantinereadings which are found in early manuscripts. He cannot, however, offerany proof that the Byzantine text as a whole predates the fourth century.Sturz is also guilty of some logical fallacies -- e.g. on pp. 91-92 heuses an argument of Silva New's, which really applies to Codex Alexandrinus,to demonstrate that family Πpredates A's date in the fifth century. It is true that an ancestor of the twomust predate A -- but not that the fully-developed family Π text must doso.
The above may sound like a blanket indictment of Sturz. It is not; infact, Sturz has a good deal of truth in his case (see the article onByzantine Priority). It's just that Sturz'smethodology is invalid (what he showed, he showed despite himself), and hehas been reduced to an invalid form of argument by the absurd and insupportableclaims of all parties in the argument. [back]

11. Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Textof the New Testament (translated by Erroll F. Rhodes; Eerdmans, 1989).The manuscript statistics occupy most of pp. 83-158. [back]

12. Josef Schmid, Studien zur Geschichtedes griechischen Apokalypse-Textes (Munich, 1955-1956). [back]

13. W. L. Richards, The Classification ofthe Greek Manuscripts of the Johannine Epistles (SBL Dissertation Series35, Scholars Press, 1977). See especially pp. 137-141. Among Richards'smore perverse assumptions is his belief that "Mixed" qualifiesas a text-type (! -- see in particular pp. 176-178).
In defence of Richards, Clinton Baldwin points out to me that thebad terminology used by Richards does not preclude these manuscriptsforming a text-type (an obvious truth); indeed, it is possible that thistype arose by mixture. The problem is the way Richards expresses things:Calling a text-type "mixed" implies that it arose by mixture --or even, possibly, that it is the result of a bunch of manuscripts beingindependently mixed. The former is possible but prejudicial (the existenceof the mixture needs to be demonstrated, not asserted); the latter is flatlyimpossible. Thus this group, if verified, needs another name.[back]

14. Most of Duplacy's and Amphoux's worksare available only in French. Brief English summaries are found in LeonVaganay and Christian-Bernard Amphoux's An Introduction to New TestamentTextual Criticism (English translation by Amphoux and Jenny Heimerdinger,Cambridge, 1991), pp. 23-24, 97, 103-105; also 70, 106-116, etc. [back]

15. G. Zuntz, The Text of the Epistles;A Disquisition upon the Corpus Paulinum (Schweitz Lectures, 1953).[back]

16. Zuntz's words are "We may describe this group -- P46B 1739 sah boh Clem Orig -- as 'proto-Alexandrian'." (op. cit.,page 156). Additional, if partial, confirmation of this is found confirmationof this is found in M. Silva's essay on P46, ℵ, A, and B in Galatians,where he found a clear kinship between P46 and B and another between ℵand A. See "The Text of Galatians: Evidence from the Earliest GreekManuscripts," in David Alan Black, ed., Scribes and Scriptures:New Testament Essays in Honor of J. Harold Greenlee (Eisenbrauns, 1992).[back]

17. "Method in Establishing the Natureof Text-Types of New Testament Manuscripts," reprinted in Studiesin Methodology(Eerdmans, 1969), p. 53. [back]

18. B. H. Streeter, The Four Gospels: AStudy of Origins (Macmillan, 1924, 1927). Textual problems are coveredin pp. 26-148, 565-600. [back]

19. Published as Larry W. Hurtado, Text-CriticalMethodology and the Pre-Cæsarean Text: Codex W in the Gospel of Mark(Studies and Documents 43, Eerdmans, 1981) [back]

20. I have not personally seen any writingswhich claim that the P75/B and ℵ textual groups belong to separatetext-types. R. Kieffer, however, is reported to have found two Alexandriantexts in a portion of John. (See David C. Parker, "The Majuscule Manuscriptsof the New Testament," printed in Ehrman & Holmes, The Textof the New Testament in Contemporary Research (Studies & Documents46, Eerdmans, 1995), pp. 34-35.) [back]

21. For example, I know of only one instance inPaul where all the text-types have clearly separate readings. Thereading is 1 Cor. 14:39 (UBS reads tolalein mh kwluete glwssais). The variants are as follows:

Less good, because certain witnesses depart their type, is Romans 4:1eurhkenai Abraam tonpropatora hmwn. Here the readings break down as:

As for how often the witnesses divide, it can be shown that the three text-typesP46/B, Alexandrian, and family 1739 are all closer to each otherthan they are to the Byzantine text, and that the "Western" text iseven more distinct. Does this mean that the P46/B, the Alexandrian text,and family 1739 all form one text-type? That has been the view ofmost scholars, but it need not be so. Just as a crystal can be more likelyto break at one facet than at another, text-types can be more or lessdistinct. We can just as well account for the facts of the case by assuming thatthe P46/B, Alexandrian, and family 1739types were simply truer to the original text than was the"Western" group; this would make them just as much alike as if theywere genetically related. To me, this appears to be the actual situation inPaul. [back]

22. Hort's basic statement is found in TheNew Testament in the Original Greek, Introduction [and] Appendix, p.57, paragraph 73, "The proper method of genealogy consists... in themore or less complete recovery of successive ancestors by analysis of theirrespective descendants, each ancestral text so recovered being in its turnused... for the recovery of a yet earlier common ancestor." In thesame paragraph Hort admits that the number of manuscripts preserved rarelypermits real genealogical work -- but he still believes in the method,i.e. in reconstructing one Alexandrian text and one Westerntext -- and reconstructing the "original" text on this basis.Moderns hold out no such hope; even though we have access to more and earliermanuscripts than Hort, we have no reason to believe that text-types everexisted in a single manuscript. Thus almost all modern critics agree thatHort's use of B as the basis of the"Neutral" text, and the "Neutral" text as substantiallyequivalent to the original text, must be set aside and a more eclecticmethod substituted. If nothing else, more attention needs to be paid tothe other representatives of the Alexandrian text, so that the historyof the text-type can be studied. [back]

23. Observe Colwell's comment, "[Hort]used genealogical method very little and that the basic element in hismethod was judgement of readings is now widely recognized" (made in"Method in Grouping New Testament Manuscripts," reprinted inStudies in Methodology, p. 2. This essay, although not as well-knownas the 1963 essay listed below, is probably the best statement of how todeal with text-types -- and how not to deal with them -- ever written).In "Genealogical Method: Its Achievement and Its Limitations"(Studies in Methodology, p. 65) Colwell makes the interesting observationthat, although Hort diagrams a manuscript stemma (p. 54), it is artificial.The manuscripts shown do not exist. Streeter (op. cit., p. 26) diagramsboth his own and Hort's theories, but in both diagrams the manuscriptsare offered more as examples of a type than as actual products of genealogy.
There are a few manuscripts for which we can trace exact genealogy -- butthey are few. In Kurt Aland's 1963 edition of the Kurzgefasste Listeder Griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments we find the following:

In addition, there are certain manuscripts that are so close that they canbe confidently listed as descended from an close common ancestor thoughtheir exact relationship is uncertain (e.g. Fp and Gp, 1 and1582, 205 and 209, 614 and 2412, 630 and 2200, 0243 and 1739; probably also 1739 and 1891 in Acts;we might also list 2495, slightly corrupted from 1505; and 0121, descended from 1739with some Byzantine mixture).
Finally, Wisse lists roughly a third of Kr manuscripts as "perfect,"i.e. agreeing exactly with the group profile. Chances are that some of thesesixty manuscripts, if examined very carefully, would prove to be closely related.
This out of a nominal list of 2972 Greek manuscripts! It is likely that thereare additional undiscovered copies (since so few manuscripts have properly beencross-compared), but available evidence indicates that they are few. Clearlytrue genealogy has little place in NT studies.
For some slight background on how genealogy is used (in its true form),see the article on Non-Biblical Textual Criticismand the item on Stemma.[back]

24. Indeed, Colwell was one of the first toplead exclusively for the use of the word "text-type" in thiscontext. See ibid, p. 9. [back]

25. Ibid. [back]

26. Ernest C. Colwell and Ernest W. Tune,"Method in Establishing Quantitative Relationships between Text-Typesof New Testament Manuscripts," reprinted in Studies in Methodology,p. 59. [back]

27. Ironically, it was Colwell himself whofirst pointed out the defect in his method -- four years before he proposedhis definition! In "Method in Locating a Newly-Discovered Manuscript"(Studies in Methodology, page 33), he wrote "Weak members ofa Text-type may contain no more of the total content of a text-type thanstrong members of some other text-type may contain. The comparison in totalagreements of one manuscript with another manuscript has little significancebeyond that of confirmation, and then only if the agreement is large enoughto be distinctive." R. H. Rouse, in "The Transmissionof the Text" (published in Richard Jenkins, ed., The Legacy of Rome:A New Appraisal, p. 39) puts this rather in reverse: "ifsurvivors are few, the stemma perforce brings into proximity manuscriptsthat, historically, were widely separated in time and place." Inother words, if we have only a small fraction of the manuscripts, we mayfind textual links which are not in fact genealogical! This phenomenon hasbeen frequently found in biology, where it is known as "long branchassimilation." [back]

28. If someone objects that comparisons acrossthe gospel corpus are not valid, let me simply add that I examined individualbooks, and even sections of books, and the results were the same within themargin for error. At times the leading manuscripts (especially W) shiftedslightly, but the general picture never did. So I present overall statisticsbecause they are simpler.
The actual percentages of agreement with B, for those interested, are as follows(note that these should not be considered definitive; again, statistics dependon the sample used! But because the sample is large, the relative values are likelyto be close to correct -- that is, although the exact percentages of agreementwill vary with the sample, it is almost certain that the witnesses would appearin roughly the same order of closeness to B):
Sorted by manuscriptSorted by percent
MSPercent AgreementMSPercent Agreement
589/990=59% Ξ56/83=67%
Ω314/979=32% f1410/981=42%

29."Before you can applystatistics you must have exact and complete figures -- which in this fielddo not exist. In fact, they never will nor can exist. None but commensurableentities can be reduces to figures, and no two variants are strictly commensurable.Readings of all shades between good and bad; slips of the pen and intentionalalterations; attestation by anything between one and a thousand witnesses:what is their common denominator?" (Zuntz, The Text of the Epistles,page 58.) It will be evident that I do not entirely agree with his wholesaleabandonment of statistics -- but I do agree that statistics, likemanuscripts, must be weighed and not counted. [back]

30. "[Mixed] manuscripts could nevermeet the Colwell-Tune standard of 70%. Agreements expressed in percentageswill tend to wash out the characteristics of the group to which the mixedMS belongs. Nothing can offset this drawback of statistical analysis."(Wisse, p. 31). It should be noted that Wisse's own Profile method is infact statistical -- merely less blatantly so, and based on different statistics![back]

31. Eldon Jay Epp, "The Papyrus Manuscriptsof the New Testament," printed in Ehrman & Holmes, p. 16. [back]

32. Ibid, pp. 16-17. [back]

33. Ibid., p. 18. [back]

34. For the CPM, see especially the work ofWisse cited above. [back]

35. Another "thought-experiment"will demonstrate this point. Let us consider a typical "profile"for a hypothetical "Ephesian" text-type. (In this example I amusing the Claremont methodology rather loosely, but it gets its point across.)Let us draw profiles, as Wisse does, with Xs for non-Byantine group readings(and Os for plain old Byzantine readings). So in a sample of six readings,the Ephesian profile would be
Original Text
. . . . . .

Now let's take two manuscripts of this text-type, and arbitrarily mixin three Byzantine readings in each. So we get two profiles that look likethis:
MS 1
X . . X . X
. O O . O .

MS 2
. X . X X .
O . O . . O

Not only do the profiles not look particularly "Ephesian,"they bear no resemblance to each other! (For the record, there aremany more ways to mix three Byzantine readings into six Ephesians readingsthan the two shown above -- a total of 20, out of 64 possible arrangementsof readings -- but they all average out to a mere 50% agreement betweenthe resulting texts: 25% in "Ephesian" readings and 25% in Byzantinereadings.) So much for the ability of the CPM to handle mixture. [back]

36. The most recent example of thisknown to me is Tommy Wasserman's "The Patmos Project: An Investigation ofthe Patmos Family of New Testament MSS and Its Allies in the Pericope of theAdulteress and Beyond," Th.M. Exam, 2001, now available in a differentform in volume 7 of the online digest TC.[back]

37. For Colwell's discussion, see"Method in Locating a Newly-DiscoveredManuscript" (op. cit., p. 39). Colwell writes, "In conclusionI suggest that the location of a manuscript within the tradition shoulduse Multiple Readings to find the related group, Distinctive Readings todemonstrate the kinship, and total comparison to confirm the relationship."This is not the list of statistics I offer, and in my opinion is inferior(since "Multiple Readings" assume the solution) -- but it is,obviously, a multiple-statistic method.
For Ehrman's initial publication, see Didymus the Blind and theText of the Gospels. [back]

38. See Hort's discussion in op. cit.,paragraphs 71-72, pp. 56-57 (referring to the diagram on p. 54); also (moresummarily), paragraph 50, p. 42. [back]

39. Of course, there are instances where internalevidence outweighs the majority of text-types. A good example of this isMatt. 27:16-17; although the Alexandrian and "Western" typesboth read "Barabbas" and only the Cæsarean reads "JesusBarabbas," we should accept the latter reading on internal grounds.[back]

40. Eberhard Nestle, Introduction to theTextual Criticism of the Greek New Testament (English translation byWilliam Edie, Putnam, 1901), pp. 325-326. [back]

41. That is, to work in the manner of Kilpatrickand Elliot, who gather variants from the manuscripts but then judge thembased only on internal criteria. Colwell, in commenting on this overuseof internal criteria, quotes a clever remark from A. E. Housman: "[Theseeditors use manuscripts] as drunkards use lampposts--, not to light themon their way but to dissimulate their instability." (Quoted in Studiesin Methodology, p. 153). The irony is that Housman chose to do hischief work on Manilius at least in part because it afforded more than theusual scope for conjectures. [back]

42. Colwell, "Hort Redivivus: A Pleaand a Program," reprinted in Studies in Methodology, p. 160.[back]

43. So Zuntz: "...it seems to me unlikelythat the Byzantine editors ever altered the text without manuscript evidence.They left so many hopelessly difficult places unassailed! Their method,I submit, was selection rather than conjecture." (The Text of theEpistles, p. 55; quoted in part by Colwell in Studies in Methodology,p. 49). [back]

44. Scholars who wish to find more relatedwitnesses may wish to consult K. Aland et al, Text und Textwert dergriechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments (1987 and following).This is unquestional the best -- often the only -- gathering of data availablefor most biblical manuscripts. Students should, however, be aware of thedifficulties in using this edition. First, it does not sample enough variantsto allow complete classification of mixed witnesses (in Paul, e.g., thereare fewer than 300 readings, rather than the 800 I would like to see.This means that it can be used to classify relatively pure manuscripts,but is not sufficient to deal with mixed manuscripts). Second,it is difficult to use; the data is scattered throughout the volumes, andthere is no simple way to look at the data for an entire corpus of books.This makes it easier to examine the data for particular books, but almostimpossible to use the data over large areas. Third, the summaries of results(which show the most closely related manuscripts) are almost unreadable,as they consistently show manuscripts which are extant for only one ortwo variants at the top, leaving the user helplessly struggling to finda manuscript's real relatives. The Alands have already used the data tomake one useful determination: They have given us a fairly definitive listof Byzantine manuscripts in their list of "Categories"(though it does not classify the manuscripts withinthe Byzantine tradition). But the student who wishes to do more, thoughwell-advised to start with T&T, should be prepared to have todo much further analysis. Frankly, someone with some genuine math skills anda vast amount of free time could do the world a great favor and takeT&T and convert the results into a useful single volumeof data from which actual analysis could proceed. [back]