Some Sample Variant Readings and How Critics Resolve Them



The purpose of New Testament Textual Criticism is to recover the original New Testament text. This, obviously, requires the textual critic to resolve variants. This entry gives an assortment of variants, plus descriptions of how they have been resolved by various scholars .

Entries in the document fall into two parts: Those where most if not all modern scholars agree, and "challenge readings" -- places where different scholars assess the readings differently. The first section can therefore be used to see the agreed-upon methods of interpretation; the second allows you to examine methods used only be certain scholars.

Each entry begins with a presentation of the evidence, in the fullest possible manner. The variant portion of the reading is shown in bold. All major variants are presented (with the variant preferred by the UBS editors listed first), with support listed in the usual order (papyri, uncials, minuscules, versions, fathers). The printed texts that support the reading will also be listed. This is followed by the various scholars' interpretations.

Widely Accepted Readings

The examples in the section which follows are accepted by all, or nearly all, modern scholars. (The major exception, in most cases, is the scholars who believe in Byzantine priority.) They thus serve as good examples of the ways in which scholars work, and demonstrate the methods used.

Mark 1:2

  1. ΕΝ ΤΩ ΗΣΑΙΑ ΤΩ ΠΡΟΦΗΤΗ -- "in Isaiah the prophet" -- ℵ B (D Θ f1 700 1071 1243 pc 𝓁253 𝓁844 𝓁2211 Epiphanius omit ΕΝ) L Δ 33 565 892 1241 2427 al a aur b c d f ff2 l q am ful pesh harkmarg sa bo arm geo Irenaeus Origen [UBS WH Tischendorf Soden Merk Bover Vogels NEB Souter Greeven]
  2. ΕΝ ΤΟΙΣ ΠΡΟΦΗΤΑΙΣ -- "in the prophets" -- A E F H P W Γ Σ f13 28 579 1006 1010 1342 1424 1505 1506 1546 Byz (r1-vid "in Isaiah and in the prophets"!) harktext boms-marg eth slav [Hodges-Farstad TR]

Preferred reading: #1

This reading (except for the question of including or excluding ΕΝ, which is relatively trivial) can be resolved based on either internal or external evidence. The external evidence overwhelmingly favours the reading "Isaiah the Prophet;" it is supported by the Alexandrian (ℵ B L Δ 33 892 1241 2427 sa bo), "Western" (D it vg), and "Cæsarean" (Θ f1 565 700 arm geo) texts. In favour of "in the prophets" we have only the Byzantine text.

Internal evidence is equally decisive -- because the quotation is not from Isaiah alone, but from Malachi and Isaiah. The attribution to Isaiah is an error, and scribes would obviously have been tempted to correct it. (Neither of the parallels in the other gospels mentions Isaiah.) Thus it becomes certain that the original reading was "In Isaiah the prophet."

Luke 11:2

  1. ΠΑΤΕΡ -- "Father" -- 𝔓75 ℵ B (L pc arm ΠΑΤΕΡ &Hta;ΜΩΝ/Our Father) 1 22 700 1342 1582 aur am cav ful hub sang tol theod sin [UBS WH Tischendorf Soden Merk Bover Vogels NEB Souter Greeven]
  2. ΠΑΤΕΡ ΗΜΩΝ Ο ΕΝ ΤΟΙΣ ΟΥΡΑΝΟΙΣ -- "Our father, the one who is in heaven" -- A C D E F G H K P W X Γ Δ Θ Π Ψ 070 f13 28 33vid 157 205 565supp 579 892 1010 1071 1079 1241 1243 1424 1505 1546 Byz (a c ff2 i "holy father") b d e f l q r1-vid dubl harl* per rush cur pesh hark sa bo eth geo slav [Hodges-Farstad TR]

Preferred reading: #1

At first glance it may seem that the evidence for the longer reading is overwhelming in its magnitude. Careful consideration shows this not to be the case. The shorter reading is clearly that of the earliest Alexandrian texts (𝔓75 ℵ B), and it is also the apparent "Cæsarean" reading (1+1582 22 700). It also has the support of the original vulgate. Thus its external support is at least as strong as, if not stronger than, that for the longer reading.

But it is the internal evidence that is absolutely decisive. The longer reading is, of course, that found in Matthew 6:9, and in Matthew there is no variation. Equally important, every one of these copyists must have known his paternoster, and they would all know it in Matthew's form (since it is at once fuller and earlier in the canon). If they found a short form in Luke, they would inevitably have been tempted to flesh it out. And under no circumstances would they ever have removed the longer words. Thus it is morally certain that the short form is original (here and in the several other expansions found in the Lukan version of the Lord's Prayer).

John 7:53-8:11

  1. Include the story of the Adulteress after John 7:52 (with major variations among the manuscripts) -- D ((E) S 1006 1424marg with asterisks, possibly indicating a questionable passage) (Λ Π omit 7:53-8:2 and place the rest in asterisks) Fvid G H K M U Γ 28 180 205 579 597 700 892 1009 1010 1071 (1077 1443 1445 𝓁184 𝓁211 𝓁387 𝓁514 𝓁751 𝓁773 𝓁890 𝓁1780 include 8:3-11 only) 1079 1195 1216 1243 1292 1342 1344 1365 1505 1546 1646 2148 2174 Byz aur c d e (ff2 omits 7:53) j r1 vg peshmss harkmss pal bopt slavmss-marg eth Ambrosiaster Ambrose Jerome [(UBS in [[ ]]) (Soden) (Vogels in [[ ] ]) Merk Bover (Souter in [ ]) Hodges-Farstad TR]
  2. Include the story after Luke 21:28 -- f13 (13 69 346 543 788 826 828 983)
  3. Include the story after Luke 24:53 -- 1333**
  4. Include the story after 7:37 -- 225
  5. Include the story after John 21:25 -- (1 with critical note) 1076 1582 armmss
  6. Include the story as a separate item -- [(WH in [[ ]]) NEB]
  7. Omit 7:53-8:11 -- 𝔓66 𝔓75 ℵ (A defective but does not leave space) B (C defective but does not leave space) L N T W X Y Δ Θ Ψ 0141 0211 22 33 157 209 565 1230 1241 1242 1253 1333txt 1424* 2193 2768 pc a f l* q cur sin peshmss harkmss sa pbo ach2 bomss armmss geo goth slav Origenvid [Tischendorf]

Preferred reading: #7

There are two questions about this reading: Is it part of the Gospel of John, and if not, where and how should it be printed? The fact that most of the editions include the passage in the text in some form does not address whether they regard it as original.

The external evidence against the reading is almost overwhelming; it is omitted by all significant Alexandrian witnesses except except 579, 892, and some Bohairic manuscripts (all of which are secondary texts) and the "Cæsarean" witnesses omit it or move it elsewhere. It is found in some "Western" texts, but others (including the very important a) omit, and even the earliest Byzantine texts, such as A N, lack the reading. The external evidence alone is sufficient to prove that this is no part of the Gospel of John.

Some scholars have tried to rescue the passage on internal grounds, arguing that scribes would omit it because they disapproved of mercy to an adulteress. But while this might explain its omission from a few texts, it cannot possibly explain its absence from so many -- nor why it appears so often as a correction.

It should also be noted that the passage has a style very unlike the rest of John, and uses a great many words not found elsewhere in that gospel.

There is a mention in Eusebius (at the very end of book III) of a story told by Papias and found in the Gospel of the Hebrews of a woman falsely charged with many sins. It has been suggested that this is the origin of the story of the adulteress. This is perfectly reasonable, but the evidence at our disposal does not allow us to say more than that.

This is not a statement about the truth or falsity of the story -- if it goes back to Papias, it is at least a very early tradition from a good source. But there can be little doubt that the story of the adulteress is no part of the original gospel of John.

Acts 8:37

  1. omit verse -- 𝔓45 𝔓74 ℵ A B C L P Ψ 049 056 0142 33vid 81 88* 104 181 330 436 451 614 1175 1241 1505 2127 2344 2492 2495 Byz am* cav ful sang pesh sa bo ethms [UBS WH Tischendorf Soden Merk Bover Vogels NEB Souter Hodges-Farstad]
  2. Include verse 37, with variations: ΕΙΠΕ ΔΕ ΑΥΤΩ ΕΙ ΠΙΣΤΕΥΕΙΣ ΕΞ ΟΛΗΣ ΚΑΡΔΙΑΣ ΣΟΥ ΕΞΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΠΟΚΡΙΘΕΙΣ ΔΕ ΕΙΠΕ ΠΙΣΤΕΥΩ ΤΟΝ ΥΙΟΝ ΤΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΤΟΝ ΙΗΣΟΥΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΝ -- "And he said, 'If you believe with your whole heart, you may.' And he answered, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God'" -- (E e (Bedemss) make major changes, e.g. making "Philip" explicit and omitting "Jesus"; there are many other variants in the manuscripts) 4marg (36) 88** 307 (323) 453 (629) 630 945 1678 (1739) 1877 1891 pc 𝓁59 𝓁592 𝓁1178 gig l p t w am** colb dem dubl hub val hark** meg arm geo ethms slav Speculum Irenaeus Cyprian [TR]

Preferred reading: #1

This reading is interesting because it has been omitted from every critically prepared edition ever published, including even the Majority Text editions. But it is found in the Textus Receptus and the King James version.

The evidence for verse 37 is usually stated to be weak. It isn't, really; the verse has the support of the "Western" text (D is defective here, but we find it in E and the Old Latins), as well as Family 1739 (323 630 945 1339 1891). Still, it is missing from the Alexandrian text, and probably also from Family 2138. So the external evidence is slightly against the verse.

Internal evidence also argues against the verse. Its style is regarded as un-Lukan, and there is no reason for it to have been omitted had it originally been present. The best explanation for its appearance seems to be that scribes felt that the eunuch needed to make some sort of confession of faith before baptism, and so added one. Thus it seems best to omit the verse.

Romans 6:11

  1. ΕΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ ΙΗΣΟΥ -- "in Christ Jesus" -- 𝔓46 A B D F G Ψ 629 630 1739* (1852) 2200 pc a b d f m (r omits entire reading) am bodl ful harl hark sa geo1 Speculum [UBS WH Tischendorf Merk Bover NEB]
  2. ΕΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ ΙΗΣΟΥ ΤΩ ΚΥΡΙΩ ΗΜΩΝ -- "in Christ Jesus our Lord" -- 𝔓94-vid ℵ C K L P 6 33 81 (104 pc omit ΙΗΣΟΥ/Jesus) 256 263 330 365 436 451 614 1175 1241 1319 1505 1506 1573 1739** 1881 1962 2127 2464 2492 2495 Byz (dem) (pesh) (pal) bo arm geo2 slav Ambrosiaster [Soden (Vogels in [ ]) Hodges-Farstad TR]

Preferred reading: #1

This reading can be approached based on either internal or external evidence. The internal evidence says that longer readings are often suspect -- at least when they are more liturgical or Christological. Thus the reading with "our Lord" is highly questionable. It has been suggested that the words are derived from verse 23 -- though there is no real need for such an explanation, as there is absolutely no reason why the words might be omitted had they originally been present.

The external evidence points the same way. Although the longer reading has the support of most parts of the Alexandrian text (ℵ C 81 1506 family 2127 bo), the words "our Lord" are omitted by 𝔓46-B-sa, by the "Western" text (D F G 629 Old Latin and all the best Vulgate witnesses), and by Family 1739 (1739* 630 2200). Thus the plurality of text-types also stand against the reading. We can be confident that the words "our Lord" are spurious.

James 2:20

  1. Η ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΩΡΙΣ ΕΡΓΩΝ ΑΡΓΗ ΕΣΤΙΝ -- "faith without works is unproductive" -- B C* 322 323 945 1175 1243 1739 am** cav colb dem div dubl ful harl hub sang tol val sa arm [UBS WH Tischendorf Soden Merk Bover Vogels NEB Souter]
  2. Η ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΩΡΙΣ ΕΡΓΩΝ ΝΕΚΡΑ ΕΣΤΙΝ -- "faith without works is dead" -- ℵ A C** K L P Ψ 049 056 0142 33 81 88 104 436 614 629 630 1067 1241 1505 1611 1735 1852 2138 2298 2344 2412 2464 2492 2495 Byz p t am* pesh hark bo eth slav [Hodges-Farstad TR]
  3. Η ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΩΡΙΣ ΕΡΓΩΝ ΚΕΝΗ ΕΣΤΙΝ -- "faith without works is empty" -- 𝔓74 ff?

Preferred reading: #1

The external evidence here is rather split; a large part of the Alexandrian text, including ℵ A 33 81 436 bo, read "dead"; they are supported by the entirety of Family 2138. "Unproductive," however, also has good Alexandrian support (B 1175 sa), as well as many of the better Family 1739 manuscripts (322 323 945 1739). (The reading "empty" of 𝔓74 may have been suggested by ΚΕΝΗ in the preceding clause.)

If the external evidence is divided, the internal evidence is clear. In verses 17 and 26, we read that faith without works is dead. And there is no variation in either of those verses. Since assimilation to local parallels is an extremely common sort of corruption, we may feel confident that the reading "dead" is a corruption, and "unproductive" original.

1 John 2:23

  1. Ο ΟΜΟΛΟΓΩΝ ΤΟΝ ΥΙΟΝ ΚΑΙ ΤΟΝ ΠΑΤΕΡΑ ΕΧΕΙ -- "the one who confesses the son has the Father also" -- ℵ A B C P Ψ 5 33 223 323 614 623 630 1022 1243 1505 1611 1739 1799 2138 2412 2495 am cav ful hub sang theod tol val pesh hark sa bomss arm eth Origen Cyprian [UBS WH Tischendorf Soden Merk Bover Vogels NEB Souter]
  2. omit -- K L 049 6 69 81 181 330 436 462 876 1175 1241 1319 1424 1518 1738 1891 Byz harl boms [Hodges-Farstad TR]

Preferred reading: #1

This reading illustrates well the danger of applying rules over-critically. The canon "prefer the shorter reading," if applied without discretion, might lead us to prefer reading #2. This is simply a mistake. The shorter reading obviously arose due to homoeoteleuton (the preceding clause also ends with ΤΟΝ ΠΑΤΕΡΑ ΕΧΕΙ). When one observes that the longer reading is also supported by the best representatives of all the text-types (Alexandrian: ℵ A B 33 and the Coptic versions; Family 2138: 614 630 1505 1611 1799 2138 2412 2495 and the Harklean Syriac; Family 1739: C 323 1739 Origen; also the vulgate), it becomes clear that the longer reading is original.

Readings Not Universally Accepted

The readings in this section are not universally accepted by critical editors. However, there seems to be no reason in these instances to depart from the accepted readings of the UBS/GNT editions (which usually, but not always, follow the readings of Westcott and Hort). They are thus offered for further guidance, with the note than some editors will produce different results by different methods.

Matthew 27:16-17

  1. ΔΕΣΜΙΟΝ ΕΠΙΣΗΜΟΝ ΛΕΓΟΜΕΝΟΝ ΙΗΣΟΥΝ ΒΑΡΑΒΒΑΝ... ΙΗΣΟΥΝ ΤΟΝ ΒΑΡΑΒΒΑΝ -- "a famous prisoner called Jesus Barabbas... Jesus Barabbas" -- f1 241* 299** (Θ 700* omit ΤΟΝ) sin palmss arm geo2 (many mss known to Origen) [(UBS in [ ]) NEB]
  3. ΔΕΣΜΙΟΝ ΕΠΙΣΗΜΟΝ ΛΕΓΟΜΕΝΟΝ ΒΑΡΑΒΒΑΝ... ΒΑΡΑΒΒΑΝ -- "a famous prisoner called Barabbas... Barabbas" -- ℵ A D E F G H K L W Δ Π Σ 064 0250 f13 33 157 205 565 579 700** 892 1071 1079 1241 1243 1342 1424 1505 1546 Byz latt pesh hark palms cop geo1 slav eth (mss known to Origen) [Tischendorf Soden Merk Bover Vogels Hodges-Farstad TR Souter Greeven]

Preferred reading: #1

The evidence of text-types here is clear: The "Caesarean" text reads Jesus Barabbas; all other texts omit Jesus. On this basis we are inclined to omit Jesus, but we must look at internal evidence to determine the history of the passage. And it is clear that the reading Jesus Barabbas can explain the reading Barabbas, but not vice versa. Origen himself shows this; although most of the manuscripts he knew read Jesus Barabbas, he preferred Barabbas. Many other scribes must have felt this way, meaning that the reading Jesus Barabbas is almost certainly original.

1 Corinthians 13:3

  1. ΤΟ ΣΩΜΑ ΜΟΥ ΙΝΑ ΚΑΥΧΗΣΩΜΑΙ -- "and deliver my body so that I may boast" -- 𝔓46 ℵ A B 048 0150 33 1739* sa bo [UBS WH]
  2. ΤΟ ΣΩΜΑ ΜΟΥ ΙΝΑ ΚΑΥΘΗΣΟΜΑΙ -- "and deliver my body to be burned" -- C D F G L 81 104 263 436 630 945 1175 1881* 1912 [Bover Merk NEB Soden Tischendorf Vogels]
  3. ΤΟ ΣΩΜΑ ΜΟΥ ΙΝΑ ΚΑΥΘΗΣΩΜΑΙ -- "and deliver my body of burning" (paraphrase to show improper grammar) -- K Ψ 6 256 35 424 1319 1739c 1852 1881c 1962 2200 2464 [Hodges-Farstad TR]
  4. ΤΟ ΣΩΜΑ ΜΟΥ ΙΝΑ ΚΑΥΘΗ -- "and deliver my body burning" (another paraphrase) -- 1505 2127 hark

Preferred reading: #1

A surprising number of editors have preferred reading #2, probably because it sounds so much better. The problem here is a case of internal and external criteria conflicting. Internal criteria argue for the Byzantine reading ΚΑΥΘΗΣΩΜΑΙ, because it, and only it, can explain the other two readings in one step (that is, the other two both differ from ΚΑΥΘΗΣΩΜΑΙ by only one letter). However, a reading supported only by the Byzantine text is extremely unlikely to be original. So we are confronted with either #1 or #2. But that implies that to get from #1 to #2, or vice versa, requires two changes, an accidental change from the original reading (whether ΚΑΥΧΗΣΩΜΑΙ or ΚΑΥΘΗΣΟΜΑΙ) to ΚΑΥΘΗΣΩΜΑΙ, and then a secondary change from ΚΑΥΘΗΣΩΜΑΙ. And reading #1, we note, is supported by 𝔓46-B-sa, by ℵ-A-33-bo, and by 1739* -- our three earliest and best sets of witnesses. Reading #2 is supported primarily by D F G -- witnesses known to be prone to paraphrase. So the strong evidence is that reading #1 is original, because to assume anything else forces us to a highly improbable historical reconstruction.

Very Difficult Readings

The readings in this section illustrate points where critical editions are very divided. They are presented to illustrate the difficulty of resolving certain readings.

Matthew 10:3 || Mark 3:18

These readings, like many others in the Synoptic Gospels, can only be considered together. The setting is the listing of the Twelve, and the evidence for each reading is set out in this table:

ReadingMatt. 10:3Mark 3:18
Θαδδαιον/ Thaddeus ℵ B 69 788 826 892 983 𝓁185 𝓁2211 aur c ff1 l vg sa meg bo Jerome Augustine [UBS WH Merk Bover Vogels Souter] ℵ A B C E F G H (K Δαδδαιον) L Δ(* Ταδδαιον) Θ Π Σ 0134 f1 f13 28 33 157 565 579 700 892 1010 1071 1079 1241 1243 1342 1424 1505 1546 2427 Byz aur c f l vg sin pesh hark sa bo arm geo goth eth slav Origen [all editions]
D d (k) μ Origenlat [Tischendorf NEB] D a b d ff2 1 q r1
Θαδδαιος ο επικληθεις Λεββαιος/ Thaddeus called Lebbaeus 13 346 543 828 𝓁547 
Λεββαιος ο επικληθεις Θαδδαιος/ Lebbaeus called Thaddeus C(*) E F G K L N W X Δ Θ Π Σ f1 28 33 157 565 579 700 1010 1071 1079 1243 1342 1424 1505 1546 Byz f pesh hark palmss (arm) geo (eth) slav [Soden Hodges-Farstad TR]  
omit W e
Judas Zelotesa b g1 h q (palms)  
Judas of James (and transpose)sin 

Preferred reading:

Matthew: Thaddeus
Mark: Thaddeus

Despite the confusion of readings here, it is obvious that, in both Matthew and Mark, the original reading must be either Thaddeus or Lebbaeus; the important witnesses all have the same reading in the two gospels. The difference is between text-types, not books, and the conflate readings in Matthew are clearly attempts to combine the two names.

But which is original?

In this case, the easiest place to start is Mark. Although internal evidence doesn't really apply here (neither name has any particular significance, since this particular disciple doesn't ever do anything), the external evidence clearly favours "Thaddeus." This reading has the support of every Alexandrian, "Cæsarean" witness, and Byzantine witness; the supporters of "Lebbaeus" are all "Western." While we cannot be certain in such a case, the reading "Thaddeus" seems much the stronger of the two.

So what does this say about Matthew? Here the matter is much less clear, since only the Alexandrian text unequivocally supports "Thaddeus." Ordinarily we might suspect that this variation arose because Matthew and Mark had different readings. This is, in fact, why the NEB chose the reading it did.

But look at the situation again. In both gospels, we find "Thaddeus" supported by the Alexandrian witnesses (with some supporting evidence), while we find "Lebbaeus" exclusively in "Western" witnesses. In other words, each of the two main text-types had its own reading, which it used consistently. There is no confusion in the witnesses, merely disagreement.

This argues that only one reading is original; one or the other text-type (for some unknown reason) altered both lists. And if this is the case, it is almost certain that it is the "Western" text which did the adapting. We therefore, and with much hesitation, adopt the reading "Thaddeus" in both passages.

Readings Offered for Consideration

The readings in this section were selected by Robert Waltz to conform with my views on textual criticism. Note that most of these examples will be rejected by the majority of scholars.

I am what is called a "historical-documentary" scholar -- that is, I start by examining the manuscripts and searching for early text-types. Only after I have determined the text-types do I turn to variants. If all the text-types agree, well and good. If not, I try to construct a local genealogy to explain the variants.

It should be obvious that, in order for this method to work, the history of the text must be known in the greatest possible detail. In Paul, for example, I find four basic non-Byzantine text-types: 𝔓46/B (𝔓46 B sa), "Alexandrian" (ℵ A C I 33 bo; also 81 1175 etc.), "Western" (D F G Old Latin; also 629), and family 1739 (1739 0243; also 0121 1881 6 424** 630 2200 etc.). In the Catholics there are three: "Alexandrian" (p72+B, ℵ, A+33+81+436+bo), family 1739 (C 1241 1739; also 323 945 1881 2298 etc.), family 2138 (614 630 1505 1611 1799 2138 2412 2495 Harklean etc.). In the gospels my results are incomplete, and in Acts and the Apocalypse they are barely begun; therefore I concede that my results there are tentative.

Mark 15:39

  1. ΟΤΙ ΟΥΤΩΣ ΕΞΕΠΝΕΥΣΕΝ -- "that he thus gave up his spirit" -- ℵ B L Ψ 892 (1506) sa (2148? bo omit ΟΥΤΩΣ) fay [UBS Tischendorf WH Soden Merk Bover Vogels Souter NEB]
  2. ΟΤΙ ΚΡΑΞΑΣ ΕΞΕΠΝΕΥΣΕΝ -- "that having cried out he gave up his spirit" -- W Θ 565 1542 2542 𝓁844 sin arm geo Origenlat
  3. ΟΤΙ ΟΥΤΩΣ ΚΡΑΞΑΣ ΕΞΕΠΝΕΥΣΕΝ -- "that having cried out he thus gave up his spirit" -- A C (D d ΟΥΤΩΣ ΑΥΤΟΝ ΚΡΑΞΑΝΤΑ ΚΑΙ ΕΞΕΠΝΕΥΣΕ and omit ΟΤΙ) E G H N S U V X Γ Δ Π 0233 f1 f13 28 33 157 579 700 1010 1071 1079 1241 1342 (1424) 1505 1546 2427 Byz aur c ff2 (i) (k) l n q vg pesh hark eth goth slav Augustine [Hodges-Farstad TR Greeven]

Preferred reading: #3

It's rare to see the evidence so nicely divided as this. The Alexandrian text clearly supports ΟΥΤΩΣ, the "Caesarean" ΚΡΑΞΑΣ, and the Western (with some minor variations) ΟΥΤΩΣ ΚΡΑΞΑΣ. Critical editors have hastened to adopt the Alexandrian reading, perhaps explaining the presence of ΚΡΑΞΑΣ as coming from Matthew 27:50. But this verse isn't really parallel; if it had been harmonized, why was ΚΡΑΞΑΣ the only word to show up? Given that the three early text-types differ, we must ask ourselves which reading best explains the others. Is the Western/Byzantine reading conflate? Possibly -- but if so, it is a remarkably early conflation. It also produces a difficult construction. It is easier to believe that the longer reading is original, and that the Alexandrian and "Caesarean" copyists separately shortened it.

Luke 11:33

  1. ΟΥΔΕΙΣ ΛΥΧΝΟΝ ΑΨΑΣ ΕΙΣ ΚΡΥΠΤΗΝ ΤΙΘΗΣΙΝ ΟΥΔΕ ΥΠΟ ΤΟΝ ΜΟΔΙΟΝ -- "No one, having lighted a lamp, puts it in a cellar, nor under the basket" -- ℵ A B C D E G H K W X Δ Θ Π Ψ 13 28 33 157 346 543 (565 1365 1424 pc Η for ΟΥΔΕ) 579 700** 892 983 1010 1071 1079 1342 1505 1546 Byz lat (cur) (pesh) hark pal (bo) eth slav [(UBS in [ ]) WH Tischendorf Soden Merk Bover Vogels Souter Hodges-Farstad TR]
  2. ΟΥΔΕΙΣ ΛΥΧΝΟΝ ΑΨΑΣ ΕΙΣ ΚΡΥΠΤΗΝ ΤΙΘΗΣΙΝ -- "No one, having lighted a lamp, puts it in a cellar" -- 𝔓45 𝔓75 L Γ Ξ 0124=070 f1 69 700* 788 1241 2542 pc sin sa arm geo [NEB Greeven]

Preferred reading: #2

This complex reading requires careful analysis. In looking at text-types, it is clear that the "Western" text included the longer reading. The "Caesarean" manuscripts are divided, but even so, it is clear that the type omits (since the reading is missing from family 1, family 13 (part) 700* arm geo). The evidence of 𝔓45 for a reading such as this is little help; this is just the sort of phrase it likes to omit. This leaves the Alexandrian text. Which is distinctly divided; ℵ B C 33 579 892 bo include the reading while p75 L Ξ 070 1241 sa omit. If we consider the "phases" of the Alexandrian text, however, we find that the earlier (𝔓75 sa, though not B) and the latest (L Ξ 070 1241) omit; only the middle phase (ℵ C 33 579 892 bo) includes the words. Thus the evidence of text-types stands slightly against the reading.

The internal evidence is also slightly mixed, since this passage has no exact parallels. However, the partial parallels in Matt. 5:15 and Mark 4:21 are probably enough to account for the addition here. It is hard to see how the phrase could have been lost; perhaps it was haplography, or the loss of a line from a manuscript with about sixteen letters per line, but both explanations are far-fetched. Thus both the evidence of text-types and internal evidence are against the reading; it is better to omit the phrase.

John 3:31

  1. Ο ΕΚ ΤΟΥ ΟΥΡΑΝΟΥ ΕΡΧΟΜΕΝΟΣ ΕΠΑΝΩ ΠΑΝΤΩΝ ΕΣΤΙΝ -- "The one who comes from heaven is above all" -- 𝔓36-vid (𝔓66) ℵ2 A B E F G H L Wsupp Δ Θ Π Ψ 063 083 086 f13 28 33 579vid 700 892 1071 1079 1241 1342 1424 1505 1546 Byz aur c f q vg (sin) pesh (hark) bo fay goth [(UBS in [ ]) WHtxt (Soden in [ ]) Merk Bover Vogels Souter Hodges-Farstad TR]
  2. Ο ΕΚ ΤΟΥ ΟΥΡΑΝΟΥ ΕΡΧΟΜΕΝΟΣ -- "The one who comes from heaven" -- 𝔓75 ℵ* D f1 22 565 pc a b d e ff2 j l r1 cur sa arm (geo) Eusebius [Tischendorf WHmargin NEB]

Preferred reading: #2

To my mind, this reading shows clearly the danger of assessing readings starting from the internal evidence. It gives the critic too much chance to be imaginitive.

This reading is settled instantly on the evidence of text-types. Clearly the "Western" text omitted the reading (so ℵ* -- here "Western" -- D it). So too, clearly, did the "Caesarean" text (family 1 22 565 arm geo). But so too, evidently, the earliest phase of the Alexandrian text, since the words are missing from 𝔓75 sa. There really isn't any reason to look at internal evidence (though it's worth noting that it is indecisive); the words should be omitted.

2 Corinthians 2:17

  1. ΟΥ ΓΑΡ ΕΣΜΕΝ ΩΣ ΟΙ ΠΟΛΛΟΙ ΚΑΠΗΛΟΥΝΤΕΣ ΤΟΝ ΛΟΓΟΝ ΤΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ -- "For we are not, like so many, peddling the word of God" -- ℵ A B C K P Ψ 075supp 0150 0243 33 81 104 256 263 330 365 424 436 451 629 876 1175 1241 1319 1739 1881 1912 1962 2127 2464 2492 pm a b d f vg cop geo eth slav Irenaeus Ambrosiaster [UBS WH Tischendorf Soden Merk Bover Vogels Souter Hodges-Farstadvariant TR NEB]
  2. ΟΥ ΓΑΡ ΕΣΜΕΝ ΩΣ ΟΙ ΛΟΙΠΟΙ ΚΑΠΗΛΟΥΝΤΕΣ ΤΟΝ ΛΟΓΟΝ ΤΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ -- "For we are not, like the others, peddling the word of God" -- 𝔓46 D F G L 6 181 223 326 614supp 630 945 1022 1505 1611 1799 1960 2005 2200 2412 2495 pm sy arm Chrysostom [Hodges-Farstadtext]

Preferred reading: #2

At first it might seem that the evidence of text-types would favour ΠΟΛΛΟΙ/many. This is true in part; clearly this is the reading of the Alexandrian text and of family 1739. But the "Western" text favours ΛΟΙΠΟΙ/[the] rest, and p46 and B are split. (The Byzantine text is also split, but this has little effect on our deliberation except to explain why 6 and 630 defect from family 1739.) Although the external evidence favours many, the margin is very slight; we must look at internal evidence. And this clearly favours [the] rest. Either word could easily have been confused for the other, but which is more likely to survive? Obviously many. Scribes would not approve of Paul lumping all other preachers -- including themselves! -- as God-peddlers. The fact that the reading [the] others survived at all is a strong testimony for its originality. And Paul was certainly willing to use such extreme language (note his condemnation of everyone except Timothy in Phil. 2:21). While the matter cannot be certain in the face of the external evidence, ΛΟΙΠΟΙ is clearly the better reading.

Ephesians 5:31

  1. ΑΝΤΙ ΤΑΥΤΟΥ ΚΑΤΑΛΕΙΨΕΙ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΣ (ΤΟΝ) ΠΑΤΕΡΑ ΚΑΙ (ΤΗΝ) ΜΗΤΕΡΑ ΚΑΙ ΠΡΟΣΚΟΛΛΗΘΗΣΕΤΑΙ ΠΡΟΣ ΤΗΝ ΓΥΝΑΙΚΑ ΑΥΤΟΥ -- "For this reason a man leaves father and mother and clings to his wife" (cf. Gen. 2:24 LXX, Mark 10:7?) -- ℵ2 B D2 K L Ψ 0278 104 223 330 365 436 630 876 1022 1175 1505 1739margin 1881 1960 2412 2464 2495 Byz (Origen?) [UBS WHtxt Soden Merk Bover Vogels Souter Hodges-Farstad TR NEB]
  2. ΑΝΤΙ ΤΑΥΤΟΥ ΚΑΤΑΛΕΙΨΕΙ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΣ (ΤΟΝ) ΠΑΤΕΡΑ ΚΑΙ (ΤΗΝ) ΜΗΤΕΡΑ ΚΑΙ ΠΡΟΣΚΟΛΛΗΘΗΣΕΤΑΙ ΤΗΝ ΓΥΝΑΙΚΑ ΑΥΤΟΥ (cf. Gen. 2:24 LXXA) -- "For this reason a man leaves father and mother and clings to his wife" -- 𝔓461 A P 0285 33 69 81 462 1241supp (2344 omits ΚΑΙ ΕΣΟΝΤΑΙ ΟΙ ΔΥΟ) latt? [WHmargin]
  3. ΑΝΤΙ ΤΑΥΤΟΥ ΚΑΤΑΛΕΙΨΕΙ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΣ (ΤΟΝ) ΠΑΤΕΡΑ ΚΑΙ (ΤΗΝ) ΜΗΤΕΡΑ ΚΑΙ ΠΡΟΣΚΟΛΛΗΘΗΣΕΤΑΙ ΤΗΝ ΓΥΝΑΙΚΑ -- "For this reason a man leaves father and mother and clings to the wife" -- ℵ* [Tischendorf]
  4. ΑΝΤΙ ΤΑΥΤΟΥ ΚΑΤΑΛΕΙΨΕΙ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΣ (ΤΟΝ) ΠΑΤΕΡΑ ΚΑΙ (ΤΗΝ) ΜΗΤΕΡΑ ΚΑΙ ΚΟΛΛΗΘΗΣΕΤΑΙ ΤΗΝ ΓΥΝΑΙΚΑ ΑΥΤΟΥ -- "For this reason a man leaves father and mother and joins his wife" (cf. Matt. 19:5) -- D* F G
  5. ΑΝΤΙ ΤΑΥΤΟΥ ΚΑΤΑΛΕΙΨΕΙ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΣ (ΤΟΝ) ΠΑΤΕΡΑ ΚΑΙ (ΤΗΝ) ΜΗΤΕΡΑ -- "For this reason a man leaves father and mother" -- 1739* 6 Cyprian Jerome Origen? Marcion? Tertullian?

Preferred reading: #5

As always, I start by looking at text-types. But text-types aren't much help here. It is evident that the Alexandrian text read ΚΑΙ ΠΡΟΣΚΟΛΛΗΘΗΣΕΤΑΙ ΤΗΝ ΓΥΝΑΙΚΑ ΑΥΤΟΥ, the "Western" text read ΚΑΙ ΚΟΛΛΗΘΗΣΕΤΑΙ ΤΗΝ ΓΥΝΑΙΚΑ ΑΥΤΟΥ and family 1739 omitted. The 𝔓46/B text is divided. Thus no reading commands the support of the majority of text-types. Indeed, none of the readings can even be said to have "strong" support (though the support for ΚΑΙ ΠΡΟΣΚΟΛΛΗΘΗΣΕΤΑΙ ΤΗΝ ΓΥΝΑΙΚΑ ΑΥΤΟΥ is strongest). So we turn to internal evidence.

In assessing this, we note that readings 1, 2, and 4 are all harmonizations, and 3 is singular and probably an error for 2. Is it possible that one of these three could have given rise to the others? Of course. But it is by no means obvious which reading of the three is most original.

On the other hand, if we assume that reading five, which omits the phrase, is original, then all becomes clear. Scribes, confronted with this quotation, would observe that the middle phrase had been left out. They would instinctively conform it to the version most familiar to them. And once the phrase was in place, there would be few further alterations.

It has been proposed that the omission in family 1739 was caused by homoioarcton. This is possible, leaps from ΚΑΙ to ΚΑΙ were common enough. But this would be an awfully suspicious location for it to happen... why at this place where so many other readings exist? It is also possible that the omission from 1739 came because scribes marked in some sort of correction which was interpreted as a deletion. But, again, it is such a convenient error.

Back in the nineteenth century Hort said of the possibility of omitting the phrase, "A singular reading, which would not be improbable if its attestation were not exclusively patristic; the words might well be inserted from Gen ii 24." We now know that the reading is not exclusively patristic. Although the manuscripts which omit it are few, its support among the fathers is diverse, and on internal grounds it is well-founded. Although we cannot be sure in this case, this seems to me to be clearly the best reading.

1 Peter 4:11

  1. ΕΙΣ ΤΟΥΣ ΑΙΩΝΑΣ ΤΩΝ ΑΙΩΝΩΝ -- "forever and ever" -- ℵ A B K L P 33 81 323 1241 Byz cav dubl hub harl tol sams bo [UBS WH Tischendorf Soden Merk Bover Vogels Hodges-Farstad TR NEB]
  2. ΕΙΣ ΤΟΥΣ ΑΙΩΝΑΣ -- "forever" -- 𝔓72 69 206 614 623 630 945 1505 1611 1739 2138 2495 al r am ful hark samss bomss armmss

Preferred reading: #2

Until the discovery of 𝔓72, no one paid much attention to this variant. The fact that scribes were more likely to add than subtract ΤΩΝ ΑΙΩΝΩΝ was largely ignored.

It should not have been so. Even if we ignore 69 as prone to such errors, the words are missing from family 1739 (945 1739) and from family 2138 (206 614 630 1505 1611 2138 2495 hark). This leaves, apart from the Byzantine text, only the Alexandrian text-type to support the longer reading. When we note that the earliest witnesses of this type (𝔓72 and many Coptic manuscripts) omit, and that they are joined by the best of the Latins, the short reading becomes distinctly preferable.

2 Peter 2:13

  1. ΕΝ ΤΑΙΣ ΑΠΑΤΑΙΣ ΑΥΤΩΝ -- "In their dissipation" -- 𝔓72 ℵ A* C K L P 049 056 0142 33 81 88 104 330 424* 436 451 614 629 630 1175 1505 1735 1852 2127 2138 2298 2344 2412 2492 2495 Byz harktext samss bo arm slav [UBS WHtext Tischendorf Soden Merk Bover Vogels Hodges-Farstad TR NEB]
  2. ΕΝ ΤΑΙΣ ΑΓΑΠΑΙΣ ΑΥΤΩΝ -- "In their love-[feasts]" -- A** B Ψ 623 1243 1611 2464 pc vg phil harkmargin sams geo eth Speculum [WHmargin Souter]
  3. ΕΝ ΤΑΙΣ ΑΓΝΟΙΑΙΣ ΑΥΤΩΝ -- "In their ignorance" -- 322 323 424** 945 (1241 ΑΓΝΕΙΑΙΣ !) 1739 1881 pc

Preferred reading: #2

Most editors have preferred the reading ΑΠΑΤΑΙΣ, regarding ΑΓΑΠΑΙΣ as an assimilation to Jude 12. If there were only two readings here, this might be logical. But there are three. We must examine the reading more fully.

As far as the evidence of text-types goes, ΑΠΑΤΑΙΣ appears to be Alexandrian, but arguably the later form of the Alexandrian text. ΑΓΑΠΑΙΣ has less Alexandrian support, but what it has is generally early (A** B sa). It also appear to be the reading of family 2138 (although the majority of that family supports ΑΠΑΤΑΙΣ, this appears likely to be a Byzantine correction; the earliest reading is probably ΑΓΑΠΑΙΣ, as in 1611 and the Harklean margin). Finally, ΑΓΝΟΙΑΙΣ is read by family 1739.

It is obvious that we cannot make a decision based on text-types, But we must observe that all three readings are attested in early text-types. This means that the middle reading is most likely to be original. And the middle reading is obviously ΑΓΑΠΑΙΣ. It's easy to see how it could have turned into ΑΠΑΤΑΙΣ -- and also how it could have become ΑΓΝΟΙΑΙΣ. Whereas it is almost impossible to see how ΑΠΑΤΑΙΣ could have become ΑΓΝΟΙΑΙΣ or vice versa.

The argument that ΑΓΑΠΑΙΣ is an assimilation to Jude 12 is also weakened when we recall that Jude is after 2 Peter in canonical order, that Jude was accepted into the canon very late, and is generally a weak epistle. Also, there is variation in Jude 12 (where A Cvid 1243 al read ΑΠΑΤΑΙΣ and 6 424** read ΕΥΩΧΙΑΙΣ). Colwell has shown that assimilation of distant parallels is less common than previously assumed. So it should not be assumed here. Eberhard Nestle offered cogent internal reasons why ΑΓΑΠΑΙΣ should be regarded as original in 2 Peter. Surely these offset the internal evidence of assimilation. The reading ΑΓΑΠΑΙΣ belongs in the text.

Jude 1

  1. ΤΟΙΣ ΕΝ ΘΕΩ ΠΑΤΡΙ -- "the ones (loved/sanctified) in God [the] Father" -- 𝔓72 ℵ A B K L P Ψ 81 436 630 1175 1735 2298 Byz vg sa bo geo (eth) slav Origen [UBS WH Tischendorf Soden Merk Bover Vogels Souter Hodges-Farstad TR NEB]
  2. ΤΟΙΣ ΕΘΝΕΣΙΝ ΕΝ ΘΕΩ ΠΑΤΡΙ -- "the nations (loved/sanctified) in God [the] Father" -- (6 omits ΕΝ ΘΕΩ) 322 323 424** 614 876 945 1241 1243 1505 1611 1739 1852 1881 2138 2412 2492 2495 al phil hark arm

Preferred reading: #2

Of all the New Testament books, Jude is probably the most afflicted by textual variation, and it is often difficult to decide where one variant ends and the next begins. I think, though, that this variant (add/omit ΕΘΝΕΣΙΝ) can be treated in isolation.

Most scholars look at this reading and say, "ΕΘΝΕΣΙΝ? Found only in minuscules. Forget it." The evidence of text-types says otherwise. It's true that the Alxandrian text omits the word, and obviously the Byzantine text does also. But the word is found in both family 1739 (6 322 323 424** 945 1241 1243 1739 1881) and family 2138 (614 1505 1611 2138 2412 2495 hark) -- two early and unrelated text-types. In other words, on the basis of text-types, it has as strong a claim to originality as the text without it.

Internal evidence, if anything, favours the reading. There is no text anywhere in scripture which is even vaguely parallel; the reading is unexpected and strange. Frankly, it's easier to see scribes omitting ΕΘΝΕΣΙΝ than adding it. It might even have been an haplography induced by the following ΕΝ ΘΕΩ. I agree that it's hard to adopt a reading which completely lacks uncial support. I'm far from certain this is correct. But I think ΕΘΝΕΣΙΝ belongs in the text.

Revelation 2:10

  1. ΙΝΑ ΠΕΙΡΑΣΘΗΤΕ ΚΑΙ ΕΞΕΤΕ ΘΛΙΨΙΝ ΗΜΕΡΩΝ ΔΕΚΑ -- "That you might suffer and will have affliction for ten days" -- ℵ 046 94 1006 1611 1828 1841 1859 2020 2042 2050 2138 2329 2351 2377 pm ByzK? a t vg sy? arm? [UBS WHmargin Tischendorf Soden Merk Bover Vogels Soutertext Hodges-Farstad TR NEB]
  2. ΙΝΑ ΠΕΙΡΑΣΘΗΤΕ ΚΑΙ ΕΧΗΤΕ ΘΛΙΨΙΝ ΗΜΕΡΩΝ ΔΕΚΑ -- "That you might suffer and may have affliction for ten days" -- A P 254 598 1854 2019 2065 2344 2432 bo? pc Primasius [WHtext Soutermargin (also Lachman)]
  3. ΙΝΑ ΠΕΙΡΑΣΘΗΤΕ ΚΑΙ ΕΧΕΤΕ ΘΛΙΨΙΝ ΗΜΕΡΩΝ ΔΕΚΑ -- "That you might suffer and have affliction for ten days" -- C 1 104 181 459 2026 2031 (2053) 2056 2059 2073 2081 2186 2286 sa? pm ByzA? [WHmargin]
  4. ΙΝΑ ΠΕΙΡΑΣΘΗΤΕ ΚΑΙ ΕΞΗΤΕ ΘΛΙΨΙΝ ΗΜΕΡΩΝ ΔΕΚΑ -- "That you might suffer and might have affliction for ten days" -- 88 110 627 2048 2074
  5. omit ΚΑΙ...ΘΛΙΨΙΝ -- gig

Preferred reading: #3

No doubt my advocacy of a reading ignored by most other scholars will seem surprising. Strong internal grounds have been adduced for ΕΞΕΤΕ, and it also has strong manuscript support.

However, the evidence of text-types does not favour it. A C have other readings (admittedly different readings), and Andreas also defects. Under the circumstances it can be said that all of the first three readings are old -- old enough to possibly be original. In which case the reading most likely to be original is the middle reading, ΕΧΕΤΕ. From here to the other two involves a change of only a single letter.

I admit that these are awfully thin grounds. But the evidence for the other readings is not overwhelming. When in doubt, one should follow the rules.