PART II ~ Where to find a software program that breaks down the Greek grammar of the Textus Receptus And Rules of Textual Criticism, Lower & Higher

To Understand this question please see:


Question from a follower:

May i ask a simple question, what would the writer of this article suggest for home studies of Greek and Hebrew, words and meaning what would be the most accurate one to buy

My Reply:

There are two Bible Software programs that I utilize in order to break down (parse) the Greek grammar of the Septuagint Old Testament and the New Testament.

Due to the enormity of attempting to address the Greek grammar of most of the Greek verbs and nouns; utilizing a computer is much more productive than utilizing all the different Greek text at hand.

Source Documents

The main thing is to find a program that is based upon a Greek New Testament source document that you are comfortable with (See Footnotes #1 and #2).  For me this is the King James translation, but actually it is not the English translation that is important, it is the Greek text beneath it, which is the Textus Receptus.

My Recommendations

BibleSpeak 4.0

The first one is no longer sold on the Internet, but I still recommend that you attempt to locate it. It is BibleSpeak 4.0, by Q-Software, and shipped as a CD-Rom.

The other is a Bible module that works within eSword.

King James Version 1769 w/Strong’s Numbers, and Tense, Voice, Mood (“KJV+TVM”)

I believe this was created within an independent eSword forum community that I know was available free of charge a decade ago, and without any issue regarding copyright. 

This is how I received it and though I cannot currently find it anywhere; based upon the original conditions that it was made available I would be willing to share it if an individual was seriously seeking it.

There are two parts to the program, the Bible (Displayed as “KJV +TVM”) which utilizes Strong’s numbering system, and a dictionary which coincides with it.  Both must be used within the free computer downloadable program. 

The primary value is that it uses the delineations of the verbs regarding the Tense, Voice, Mood.

This program is a module that can be used with in the eSword free Bible software (, though not on their website.

How to Get it

Please send me an email requesting the “KJV+TVM” (DCOX version?) Of course, “Freely received, freely given” (as with all things connected to this ministry outreach).  If anyone is aware of any issues regarding copyright, please contact me, yet at this point in time I am operating under the legal “reasonable man” presumption that it is still openly available to the public, free of charge, as it was to me.  My public email is:  For my email Subscribers and followers, you can use my personal email as well.

How it Works

The way that the “KJV + TVM” works is that you download a Bible and a dictionary which function together utilizing the Strong’s numbering system for the Greek words with the addition of grammatical insights using the same number system extended beyond what Strong’s originally produced.

As you look up the Scripture you will see that after most words is a listing of the Strong’s number (such as, G321, below), then behind these numbers regarding verbs there is a bracketed number system which defines the grammar of the verb, such as [G5681], as seen below.

By clicking on the bracketed area, the accompanying dictionary will open up to display information concerning the exactness of this particular word where it is used in the Scripture you are reading.


I have also attached this link to a guide concerning verbs and nouns which should be of assistance.

Greek Grammar (2018)

God bless you in your search, and never stop digging. Yet, at the same time always seek competent teachers who utilize truly Biblical (time-proven and Spirit-led, such as the 1900 years of the use of lower criticism) hermeneutics in handling the Greek grammar.   Brent

To Those that Faithfully follow this Blog-site, and me Personally

I apologize for the slow response, as I am receiving quite a few personal email and questions which I am attempting to catch up with. I would suggest that before sending me a question that you completely search the blog-site as many of your questions are answered in other articles.

Please keep me in prayer as we are expanding our operations regarding the video presentations which are now being prepared.

Thanks for the correspondence from Mike M., I am currently working on an examination and review of a Textus Receptus Greek/English interlinear, “ISA2.5,” which hopefully I will be done within a month or so, after shooting some video presentations (“as always, Hopefully as the Lord desires”).

Remember: “swallow the meat, and spit out the bones”  Brent



1.   Source Documents

After over 40 years of studying Textual Criticism, I prefer what is known as Lower Criticism (See footnote below, 1A), which was used from the completion of the New Testament cannon until the later part of the 18th century.

I have found that Higher Criticism, which is simply an alternate set of rules for biblical interpretation (setting aside the issue of the unbelief of some translators), to be filled with fallacies which are regarded as logical presumptions regarding Scriptural interpretation.  Unfortunately, Higher Criticism is the stand used today within most schools of Theology and Bible centers of higher education (it is as dangerous as the mixing of Humanistic psychology and pastoral counseling in these same halls of Education).

Almost all of the creators and contributors to Higher Criticism do  not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture (See Bart Ehrman’s blog regarding Bruce Metzger Dr. Metzger & Inerrancy Link ). They feel that using an eclectic style of picking and choosing which text to use based upon their own interpretation of the context and validity of the text is how you piece together the New Testament.

However, this is only half of the problem in that they utilized codices (Codices are a type of book which was an ingenious device, wherein you could turn to any section and read at will, commonly known as random access systems. Whereas scrolls are a chronological device, in which you start at one point and unroll to another point, while reading.) that originated in the Gnostic capital of the world, at that time Alexandria Egypt; as opposed to the Byzantine text based directly on the Greek Koiné manuscripts.

They do not believe in the conclusion that Lucian of Antioch presented a corrected revision of the Septuagint as well as the New Testament documents that would later be any part of the primary documents (Admitting the error of introducing the Latin created a version of the book of Revelation which was later corrected) and what we would call today the Textus Receptus.

The following discoveries align with (6) documents used in the creation of the Textus Receptus and validate its early writing

Oxyrhynichus Papyri: Over 35 manuscripts containing papyrus manuscripts; P1 (Matthew), P5 (John 1, 16) P13 (Hebrews 2-5, 10-12), and P22 (John 15-16).

Chester Beatty Papyri. P45 (2nd century) contains portions of all four Gospels and Acts; P46, contains all of Paul’s epistles except the Pastorals, and Hebrews, has been dated late 1st century; again, 20-30 years after they were written; P47 (3rd century) contains Rev 9-17.

Bodmer Papyri: P66 (all of John, dated about 175); P72 (all of 1st and 2nd Peter and Jude, 3rd century); and P75 (large parts of Luke 3 – John 15, c.200).

The “Jesus Papyrus,” Redated in 1994: “A papyrus believed to be the oldest extant fragment of the New Testament has been found in the Oxford Library … It provides the first material evidence that the Gospel according to Matthew is an eyewitness account written by contemporaries of Christ.” (Dec 24,1994, The Times, front page)

Nomina Sacra. Matthew 26 fragment uses I/j for Ihsou/j Iesous, Jesus and kj for ku,rioj, kurios, Lord. This indicates that the deity of Jesus was recognized centuries before it was accepted as official church doctrine at the council of Nicea in 325 AD.

The Gospel of Mark. A Qumran fragment, 7Q5, was written before 68 AD, within 36 years (or less) from the resurrection, while eyewitnesses were still alive.

Few students are ever presented with any other source documents in attempting to validate the Textus Receptus, or the base documents that were used in its creation 2000 years ago.

God’s Word, as presented in all the modern translations CONTINUES TO ACCOMPLISH HIS WILL.

There are only two doctrines I am aware of in the new translations are in DIRECT error, except as margin notes in older manuscripts. To me the most important is that which presents the “faith of Jesus.”

For centuries men have tried to follow Christ by acting like Him, which is fraudulent from its inception, because His greatest example is the faith that He displayed in the incarnation.

It is the absence of the genitive case in many scriptures referring to the “faith of Jesus,” that causes it to be translated in the modern translations as “faith in Jesus.”

The following are a few examples taken from the Textus Receptus:

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [“our” is not in the original, it is merely assumed and added by the translator, which is why it is in italics] faith [G] …” ~ Hebrews 12:2

“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith [G] of Jesus Christ…” ~ Romans 3:22

“…by the faith [G] of Jesus Christ … justified by the faith [G] of Christ…” ~ Galatians 2:16

“… the promise by faith [G] of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” ~ Galatians 3:22

“…we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith [G] of him.” ~ Ephesians 3:12

“… which is through the faith [G] of Christ, the righteousness…” ~ Philippians 3:9


Please read the following Footnote

2. Textual Criticism

A. Lower Criticism

I thought the following short introduction to Lower Criticism by Chase (See his link below) was good

How We Got the Bible: The Text of the New Testament
In chapter 8 of the book, Lightfoot [Biblical scholar and theologian R. H. Lightfoot (1883–1953), input by Brent] discusses textual criticism. What it is, a few of its basic rules, and the types of mistakes made by ancient scribes.

There are two types of textual criticism. Higher criticism, which studies authorship, dating, and historical value of Biblical documents, and lower criticism, which studies “the available evidence to recover the exact words of the author’s original composition.” Lower criticism is the focus of this chapter.

Lighfoot then describes the two types of scribal errors:

1. Unintentional errors: Mistaking one word for another or confusing words of similar sound, the omission of a word because it appears at a corresponding point several lines above or below in the manuscript, or explanatory notes in the margin of the manuscript somehow ending up as part of the main text are some examples.

2. Intentional errors: Lightfoot writes, “We ought not think these insertions were made by dishonest scribes who simply wanted to tamper with the text.” The majority of the time, these additions were attempts by the scribes to “correct” the text or bring about a better understanding of it.

Three basic rules of lower criticism are as follows:

1. Most of the time the more difficult reading is to be preferred. This is because scribes usually sought to simplify the text when copying.

2. The quality of witnesses is more important the the quantity. For example, if thousands of manuscripts support a certain reading, but they are of late date and contradict the early unicals, than this reading should not be accepted.

3. When studying parallel texts such as the Gospels, different readings are to be preferred. The Gospels all present Jesus as the Son of God, however, each individual author had descriptions of him and his sayings which used different words. These differences were usually, intentionally or unintentionally, harmonized by scribes.

Lightfoot ends this chapter by stating, “Because textual criticism is a sound science, our text is secure and the textual foundation of our faith remains unshakable.”

Stand firm in Christ, Chase

The following articles hold a pro-stance on Higher Criticism, to be fair.

B. Rules of Higher Textual Criticism

When the manuscripts differ, how do scholars decide which words are the original ones? There is more to it than simply choosing the readings of the oldest available manuscripts. Here are three historically important sets of rules published by some influential scholars of textual criticism: Bengel, Griesbach, and Hort.

Critical Rules of Johann Albrecht Bengel

In his essay Prodromus Novi Testamenti recte cauteque ordinandi [Forerunner of a New Testament to be settled rightly and carefully], (Denkendorf, 1725), Johann Albrecht Bengel, a Lutheran schoolmaster, published a prospectus for an edition of the Greek Testament which he had already begun to prepare (published in 1734).

In it he outlines his text-critical principles, which included a novel classification of manuscripts into two primitive groups: the Asiatic and the African. The first group he supposed to be of Byzantine origin, and to it belonged the majority of modern manuscripts and the Syriac version; the second, of Egyptian provenance, was represented by Codex Alexandrinus and the manuscripts of the early Latin and Coptic versions. In this work Bengel also set forth a very influential rule of criticism: a preference for harder readings. This rule he expressed in four pregnant words:

proclivi scriptioni praestat ardua. “before the easy reading, stands the difficult.”

The “Monita” of Bengel

In Bengel’s Preface to his Gnomon Novi Testamenti (Tubingen, 1742) he includes an enumerated list of 27 “suggestions” (Monita) which may be taken as a summary of his critical principles. The following extract of these is taken from pages 13 through 17 of Fausset’s translation:

1. By far the more numerous portions of the Sacred Text (thanks be to God) labour under no variety of reading deserving notice.

  1. These portions contain the whole scheme of salvation, and establish every particular of it by every test of truth.
  2. Every various reading ought and may be referred to these portions, and decided by them as by a normal standard.
  3. The text and various readings of the New Testament are found in manuscripts and in books printed from manuscripts, whether Greek, Latin, Graeco-Latin, Syriac, etc., Latinizing Greek, or other languages, the clear quotations of Irenaeus, etc., according as Divine Providence dispenses its bounty to each generation. We include all these under the title of Codices, which has sometimes as comprehensive a signification.
  4. These codices, however, have been diffused through churches of all ages and countries, and approach so near to the original autographs, that, when taken together, in all the multitude of their varieties, they exhibit the genuine text.
  5. No conjecture is ever on any consideration to be listened to. It is safer to bracket any portion of the text, which may haply to appear to labour under inextricable difficulties.
  6. All the codices taken together, should form the normal standard, by which to decide in the case of each taken seperately.
  7. The Greek codices, which posses an antiquity so high, that it surpasses even the very variety of reading, are very few in number: the rest are very numerous.
  8. Although versions and fathers are of little authority where they differ from the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, yet, where the Greek mauscripts of the New Testament differ from each other, those have the greatest authority, with which versions and fathers agree.
  9. The text of the Latin Vulgate, where it is supported by the consent of the Latin fathers, or even of other competent witnesses, deserves the utmost consideration, on account of its singular antiquity.
  10. The number of witnesses who support each reading of every passage ought to be carefully examined: and to that end, in so doing, we should separate those codices which contain only the Gospels, from those which contain the Acts and the Epistles, with or without the Apocalypse, or those which contain that book alone; those which are entire, from those which have been mutilated; those which have been collated for the Stephanic edition, from those which have been collated for the Complutensian, or the Elzevirian, or any obscure edition; those which are known to have been carefully collated, as, for intance, the Alexandrine, from those which are not known to have been carefully collated, or which are known to have been carelessly collated, as for instance the Vatican manuscript, which otherwise would be almost without an equal.
  11. And so, in fine, more witnesses are to be preferred to fewer; and, which is more important, witnesses who differ in country, age, and language, are to be preferred to those who are closely connected with each other; and, which is most important of all, ancient witnesses are to be preferred to modern ones. For, since the original autographs (and they were written in Greek) can alone claim to be the well-spring, the amount of authority due to codices drawn from primitive sources, Latin, Greek, etc., depends upon their nearness to that fountain-head.
  12. A Reading, which does not allure by too great facility, but shines with its own native dignity of truth, is always to be preferred to those which may fairly be supposed to owe their origin to either the carelessness or the injudicious care of copyists.
  13. Thus, a corrupted text is often betrayed by alliteration, parallelism, or the convenience of an Ecclesiastical Lection, especially at the begining or conclusion of it; from the occurence of the same words, we are led to suspect an omission; from too great facility, a gloss. Where the passage labours under a manifold variety of readings, the middle reading is the best.
  14. There are, therefore, five principal criteria, by which to determine a disputed text. The antiquity of the witnesses, the diversity of their extraction, and their multitude; the apparent origin of the corrupt reading, and the native colour of the genuine one.
  15. When these criteria all concur, no doubt can exist, except in the mind of a sceptic.
  16. When, however, it happens that some of these criteria may be adduced in favour of one reading, and some in favour of another, the critic may be drawn sometimes in this, sometimes in that direction; or, even should he decide, others may be less ready to submit to his decision. When one man excels another in powers of vision, whether bodily or mental, discussion is vain. In such a case, one man can neither obtrude on another his own conviction, nor destroy the conviction of another; unless, indeed, the original autograph Scriptures should ever come to light.”

Following this are ten more paragraphs, numbered 18 through 27, which do not pertain to the evaluation of various readings, but instead contain sundry remarks relative to the design and use of his critical edition. The seventeen given above may therefore be taken as Bengel’s formally stated canons of criticism.

Griesbach’s Fifteen Rules

In the Introduction to his second edition of the Greek New Testament (Halle, 1796) Griesbach set forth the following list of critical rules, by which the intrinsic probabilities may be weighed for various readings of the manuscripts. Rules for the prior evaluation of documentary evidence, such as the ones formulated by Bengel, are implicit in Griesbach’s theory of the manuscript tradition, and so they are not taken up here. What follows is a translation of Griesbach’s Latin as it was reprinted by Alford in the Introduction of his Greek Testament (London, 1849. Moody reprint, page 81).

  1. The shorter reading, if not wholly lacking the support of old and weighty witnesses, is to be preferred over the more verbose. For scribes were much more prone to add than to omit. They hardly ever leave out anything on purpose, but they added much. It is true indeed that some things fell out by accident; but likewise not a few things, allowed in by the scribes through errors of the eye, ear, memory, imagination, and judgment, have been added to the text. The shorter reading, even if by the support of the witnesses it may be second best, is especially preferable– (a) if at the same time it is harder, more obscure, ambiguous, involves an ellipsis, reflects Hebrew idiom, or is ungrammatical; (b) if the same thing is read expressed with different phrases in different manuscripts; (c) if the order of words is inconsistent and unstable; (d) at the beginning of a section; (e) if the fuller reading gives the impression of incorporating a definition or interpretation, or verbally conforms to parallel passages, or seems to have come in from lectionaries.

But on the contrary we should set the fuller reading before the shorter (unless the latter is seen in many notable witnesses) — (a) if a “similarity of ending” might have provided an opportunity for an omission; (b) if that which was omitted could to the scribe have seemed obscure, harsh, superfluous, unusual, paradoxical, offensive to pious ears, erroneous, or opposed to parallel passages; (c) if that which is absent could be absent without harm to the sense or structure of the words, as for example prepositions which may be called incidental, especially brief ones, and so forth, the lack of which would not easily be noticed by a scribe in reading again what he had written; (d) if the shorter reading is by nature less characteristic of the style or outlook of the author; (e) if it wholly lacks sense; (f) if it is probable that it has crept in from parallel passages or from the lectionaries.

  1. The more difficult and more obscure reading is preferable to that in which everything is so plain and free of problems that every scribe is easily able to understand it. Because of their obscurity and difficulty chiefly unlearned scribes were vexed by those readings– (a) the sense of which cannot be easily perceived without a thorough acquaintance with Greek idiom, Hebraisms, history, archeology, and so forth; (b) in which the thought is obstructed by various kinds of difficulties entering in, e.g., by reason of the diction, or the connection of the dependent members of a discourse being loose, or the sinews of an argument, being far extended from the beginning to the conclusion of its thesis, seeming to be cut.
  2. The harsher reading is preferable to that which instead flows pleasantly and smoothly in style. A harsher reading is one that involves an ellipsis, reflects Hebrew idiom, is ungrammatical, repugnant to customary Greek usage, or offensive to the ears.
  3. The more unusual reading is preferable to that which constitutes nothing unusual. Therefore rare words, or those at least in meaning, rare usages, phrases and verbal constuctions less in use than the trite ones, should be preferred over the more common. Surely the scribes seized eagerly on the more customary instead of the more exquisite, and for the latter they were accustomed to substitute definitions and explanations (especially if such were already provided in the margin or in parallel passages).
  4. Expressions less emphatic, unless the context and goal of the author demand emphasis, approach closer to the genuine text than discrepant readings in which there is, or appears to be, a greater vigor. For polished scribes, like commentators, love and seek out emphases.
  5. The reading that, in comparison with others, produces a sense fitted to the support of piety (especially monastic) is suspect.
  6. Preferable to others is the reading for which the meaning is apparently quite false, but which in fact, after thorough examination, is discovered to be true.
  7. Among many readings in one place, that reading is rightly considered suspect that manifestly gives the dogmas of the orthodox better than the others. When even today many unreasonable books, I would not say all, are scratched out by monks and other men devoted to the Catholic party, it is not credible that any convenient readings of the manuscripts from which everyone copied would be neglected which seemed either to confirm splendidly some Catholic dogma or forcefully to destroy a heresy. For we know that nearly all readings, even those manifestly false, were defended on the condition that they were agreeable to the orthodox, and then from the beginning of the third century these were tenaciously protected and diligently propagated, while other readings in the same place, which gave no protection to ecclesiastical dogmas, were rashly attributed to treacherous heretics.
  8. With scribes there may be a tendency to repeat words and sentences in different places having identical terminations, either repeating what they had lately written or anticipating what was soon to be written, the eyes running ahead of the pen. Readings arising from such easily explained tricks of symmetry are of no value.
  9. Others to be led into error by similar enticements are those scribes who, before they begin to write a sentence had already read the whole, or who while writing look with a flitting eye into the original set before them, and often wrongly take a syllable or word from the preceding or following writing, thus producing new readings. If it happens that two neighbouring words begin with the same syllable or letter, an occurance by no means rare, then it may be that the first is simply ommitted or the second is accidentally passed over, of which the former is especially likely. One can scarcely avoid mental errors such as these, any little book of few words to be copied giving trouble, unless one applies the whole mind to the business; but few scribes seem to have done it. Readings therefore which have flowed from this source of errors, even though ancient and so afterwards spread among very many manuscripts, are rightly rejected, especially if manuscripts otherwise related are found to be pure of these contagious blemishes.
  10. Among many in the same place, that reading is preferable which falls midway between the others, that is, the one which in a manner of speaking holds together the threads so that, if this one is admitted as the primitive one, it easily appears on what account, or rather, by what descent of errors, all the other readings have sprung forth from it.
  11. Readings may be rejected which appear to incorporate a definition or an interpretation, alterations of which kind the discriminating critical sense will detect with no trouble
  12. Readings brought into the text from commentaries of the Fathers or ancient marginal annotations are to be rejected, when the great majority of critics explain them thus. (“He proceeds at some length to caution against the promiscuous assumption of such corruptions in the earlier codices and versions from such sources.” – Alford)
  13. We reject readings appearing first in lectionaries, which were added most often to the beginning of the portions to be read in the church service, or sometimes at the end or even in the middle for the sake of contextual clarity, and which were to be added in a public reading of the series, [the portions of which were] so divided or transposed that, separated from that which preceeds or follows, there seemed hardly enough for them to be rightly understood. (“Similar cautions are here added against assuming this too promiscuously.” – Alford)
  14. Readings brought into the Greek manuscripts from the Latin versions are condemned. (“Cautions are here also inserted against the practice of the earlier critics, who if they found in the graeco-latin MSS. or even in those of high antiquity and value, a solitary reading agreeing with the Latin, hastily condemned that codex as latinizing.” – Alford)

Latin text of the above

  1. Brevior lectio, nisi testium vetustorum et gravium auctoritate penitus destituatur, praeferenda est verbosiori. Librarii enim multo proniores ad addendum fuerunt, quam ad omittendum. Consulto vix unquam praetermiserunt quicquam, addiderunt quam plurima: casu vero nonnulla quidem exciderunt, sed haud pauca etiam oculorum, aurium, memoriae, phantasiae ac judicii errore a scribis admisso, adjecta sunt textui. In primis vero brevior lectio, etiamsi testium auctoritate inferior sit altera, praeferenda est– (a) si simul durior, obscurior, ambigua, elliptica, hebraizans aut soloeca est, (b) si eadem res variis phrasibus in diversis codicibus expressa legitur; (c) si vocabulorum ordo inconstans est et instabilis; (d) in pericoparum initiis; (e) si plenior lectio glossam seu interpretamentum sapit, vel parallelis locis ad verbum consonat, vel e lectionariis immigrasse videtur.

Contra vero pleniorem lectionem breviori (nisi hanc multi et insignes tueantur testes) anteponimus– (a) si omissioni occasionem praebere potuerit homoeoteleuton; (b) si id quod omissum est, librariis videri potuit obscurum, durum, superfluum, insolens, paradoxum, pias aures offendens, erroneum, aut locis parallelis repugnans; (c) si ea quae absunt, salvo sensu salvaque verborum structura abesse poterant, e quo genere sunt propositiones, quod vocant, incidentes, praesertim breviores, et alia, quorum defectum librarius relegens quae scripserat haud facile animadvertebat; (d) si brevior lectio ingenio, stylo aut scopo auctoris minus conveniens est. (e) si sensu prorsus caret; (f) si e locis parallelis aut e lectionariis eam irrepsisse probabile est.

  1. Difficilior et obscurior lectio anteponenda est ei, in qua omnia tam plana sunt et extricata, ut librarius quisque facile intelligere ea potuerit. Obscuritate vero et difficultate sua eae potissimum indoctos librarios vexarunt lectiones– (a) quarum sensus absque penitiore graecismi, hebraismi, historiae, archaeologiae, &c. cognitione perspici non facile poterant, (b) quibus admissis vel sententia, varii generis difficultatibus obstructa, verbis inesse, vel aptus membrorum orationis nexus dissolvi, vel argumentorum ab auctore ad confirmandam suam thesin prolatorum nervus incidi videbatur.
  2. Durior lectio praeferatur ei, qua posita, oratio suaviter leniterque fluit. Durior autem est lectio elliptica, hebraizans, soloeca, a loquendi usu graecis consueto adhorrens aut verborum sono aures offendens.
  3. Insolentior lectio potior est ea, qua nil insoliti continetur. Vocabula ergo rariora, aut hac saltem significatione, quae eo de quo quaeritur loco admittenda esset, rarius usurpata, phrasesque ac verborum constructiones usu minus tritae, praeferantur vulgatioribus. Pro exquisitioribus enim librarii usitatiora cupide arripere, et in illorum locum glossemata et interpretamenta (praesertim si margo aut loca parallela talia suppeditarent) substituere soliti sunt.
  4. Locutiones minus emphaticae, nisi contextus et auctoris scopus emphasin postulent, propius ad genuinam scripturam accedunt, quam discrepantes ab ipsis lectiones quibus major vis inest aut inesse videtur. Erudituli enim librarii, ut commentatores, emphases amabant ac captabant.
  5. Lectio, prae aliis sensum pietati (praesertim monasticae) alendae aptum fundens, suspecta est.
  6. Praeferatur aliis lectio cui sensus subest apparenter quidem falsus, qui vero re penitus examinata verus esse deprehenditur.
  7. Inter plures unius loci lectiones ea pro suspecta merito habetur, quae orthodoxorum dogmatibus manifeste prae caeteris faciet. Cum enim codices hodie superstites plerique, ne dicam omnes, exarati sint a monachis aliisque hominibus catholicorum partibus addictis, credibile non est, hos lectionem in codice, quem quisque exscriberet, obviam neglexisse ullam, qua catholicorum dogma aliquod luculenter confirmari aut haeresis fortiter jugulari posse videretur. Scimus enim, lectiones quascunque, etiam manifesto falsas, dummodo orthodoxorum placitis patrocinarentur, inde a tertii saeculi initiis mordicus defensas seduloque propagatas, caeteras autem ejusdem loci lectiones, quae dogmati ecclesiastico nil praesidii afferrent haereticorum perfidae attributas temere fuisse.
  8. Cum scribae proclives sint ad iterandas alieno loco vocabulorum et sententiarum terminationes easdem, quas modo scripsissent aut mox scribendas esse, praecurrentibus calamum oculis, praeviderent, lectiones ex ejusmodi rhythmi fallacia facillime explicandae, nullius sunt pretti.
  9. Hisce ad peccandum illecebris similes sunt aliae. Librarii, qui sententiam, antequam scribere eam inciperent, totam jam perlegissent, vel dum scriberent fugitivo oculo exemplum sibi propositum inspicerent, saepe ex antecedentibus vel consequentibus literam, syllabam aut vocabulum perperam arripuerunt, novasque sic lectiones procuderunt. Si v.c. duo vocabula vicina ab eadem syllaba vel litera inciperent, accidit haud raro, ut vel prius plane omitteretur, vel posteriori temere tribueretur, quod priori esset peculiare. Ejusmodi hallucinationes vix vitabit, qui libello paullo verbosiori exscribendo operam dat, nisi toto animo in hoc negotium incumbat: id quod pauci librarii fecisse videntur. Lectiones ergo, quae ex hoc errorum fonte promanarunt, quantumvis vetustae ac consequenter in complures libros transfusae sint, recte rejiciuntur, praesertim si codices caeteroqui cognati ab hujus labis contagio puri deprehendantur.
  10. E pluribus ejusdem loci lectionibus ea praestat, quae velut media inter caeteras interjacet; hoc est ea, quae reliquarum omnium quasi stamina ita continet, ut, hac tanquam primitiva admissa, facile appareat, quanam ratione, seu potius quonam erroris genere, ex ipsa caeterae omnes propullularint.
  11. Repudiantur lectiones glossam seu interpretamentum redolentes, cujus generis interpolationes nullo negotio emunctioris naris criticus subolfaciet.
  12. Rejiciendas esse lectiones, e Patrum commentariis aut scholiis vetustis in textum invectas, magno consensu critici docent….
  13. Respuimus lectiones ortas primum in lectionariis, quae saepissime in anagnosmatum initiis ac interdum in clausulis etiam atque in medio contextu claritatis causa addunt, quod ex orationis serie supplendum esset, resecantque vel immutant, quod, sejunctum ab antecedentibus aut consequentibus, vix satis recte intelligi posse videretur….
  14. Damnandae sunt lectiones e latina versione in graecos libros invectae….

Theories of Westcott and Hort

In 1881 two English scholars, B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort, published a very influential edition of the Greek Testament: The New Testament in the Original Greek (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1881). The Introduction and Appendix of Notes on Select Readings volume of the original edition was written by Dr. Hort, and in it he set forth the arguments and general theories upon which the text was reconstructed, and provided explanations for many specific textual decisions.

Westcott and Hort brought the main tendency of nineteenth century textual criticism—the exaltation of the oldest Greek copies—to its culmination. They firmly set aside the Latin witnesses along with the later Greek manuscripts; but the oldest known Greek copies, Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus, they elevated to a pristine class called “Neutral,” and very nearly identified them with the original manuscripts.

It cannot be said, however, that Westcott and Hort were simply following a tendency here, for they realized that if such weight were to be given to only two manuscripts, a theory must be offered to explain how the text given in them had so early disappeared from the manuscript tradition. And so Hort offered in the Introduction of their text a theoretical history of the manuscript tradition that met the needs of the case, or at least so it seemed to many scholars.

They theorized that the “Neutral” text was the most primitive type, carefully copied for use in the worship services of the churches. The “Western” text-type arose early on as an uncontrolled popular edition, and persisted mainly in the Latin witnesses after Greek copies were no longer being produced in Italy.

The “Byzantine” group, which includes the mass of later copies, began in the fourth century as an official church-sponsored edition of the New Testament, written probably in Antioch, which combined the various readings of the Western and Neutral groups. This edition was so effectively propagated throughout Europe that both the older “Neutral” and “Western” text-types ceased to be copied in the European scriptoriums, and eventually decayed.

The Neutral text survived for a while in Egypt, but then suffered corruption and became the “Alexandrian” type. Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus are relics of the Neutral type. A considerable amount of speculation is involved in this argument, but Westcott & Hort further bolstered their text with detailed arguments from two other directions, presenting “external” arguments (from the oldest manuscripts, as in Lachmann) and “internal” arguments (from the tendencies of scribes, as in the rules of Griesbach).

External and internal arguments were also made to support one another by the principle, “Readings are to be preferred that are found in a manuscript that habitually contains superior readings:” superior, that is, as determined by the rules of internal criticism. The text of Westcott & Hort therefore had the appearance of resting firmly upon three-legged arguments, and it was considered by many scholars to be the best possible text.

Whatever may be the merits of Westcott and Hort’s theory, the success of their text was largely due to personal influence and advantageous timing. In the 1860’s the two most ancient copies, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, were both published for the first time, creating a public sensation. At about that time, Westcott and Hort began work on their text, and so in 1870, the year that a critical revision of the King James version was commissioned by the church authorities in England, they were able to distribute to the members of the revision committee a draft copy of their text.

They both served on the revision committee, and they published their text in 1881, the same year that the revision was published. For ten years, then, Westcott and Hort continually advocated their views in favour of the texts of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus in regular meetings of the most influential scholars of Great Britain and America, and it is hardly surprising that their text should be so well regarded when it appeared. In fact two generations passed before most scholars would recognize that the genealogical theories of Westcott and Hort were without adequate empirical foundation.

The text of Westcott & Hort was most vigorously assailed by John William Burgon, Dean of Chichester, and more temperately criticized by many others. The common theme of criticism was the lack of historical basis for their hypothesis of an early “Byzantine” recension in Antioch.

Critical Rules of Westcott & Hort

The following summary of principles is taken from the compilation in Epp and Fee, Studies in the Theory and Method of New Testament Textual Criticism (1993, pages 157-8). References in parentheses are to sections of Hort’s Introduction, from which the principles have been extracted.

  1. Older readings, manuscripts, or groups are to be preferred. (“The shorter the interval between the time of the autograph and the end of the period of transmission in question, the stronger the presumption that earlier date implies greater purity of text.”) (2.59; cf. 2.5-6, 31)
  2. Readings are approved or rejected by reason of the quality, and not the number, of their supporting witnesses. (“No available presumptions whatever as to text can be obtained from number alone, that is, from number not as yet interpreted by descent.”) (2.44)
  3. A reading combining two simple, alternative readings is later than the two readings comprising the conflation, and manuscripts rarely or never supporting conflate reading are text antecedent to mixture and are of special value. (2.49-50).
  4. The reading is to be preferred that makes the best sense, that is, that best conforms to the grammar and is most congruous with the purport of the rest of the sentence and of the larger context. (2.20)
  5. The reading is to be preferred that best conforms to the usual style of the author and to that author’s material in other passages. (2.20)
  6. The reading is to be preferred that most fitly explains the existence of the others. (2.22-23)
  7. The reading is less likely to be original that combines the appearance of an improvement in the sense with the absence of its reality; the scribal alteration will have an apparent excellence, while the original will have the highest real excellence. (2.27, 29)
  8. The reading is less likely to be original that shows a disposition to smooth away difficulties (another way of stating that the harder reading is preferable). (2.28)
  9. Readings are to be preferred that are found in a manuscript that habitually contains superior readings as determined by intrinsic and transcriptional probability.

Certainty is increased if such a better manuscript is found also to be an older manuscript (2.32-33) and if such a manuscript habitually contains reading that prove themselves antecedent to mixture and independent of external contamination by other, inferior texts (2.150-51). The same principles apply to groups of manuscripts (2.260-61).

This is a pro article on Hort’s Rules of scholarship

Theory of ‘Western Non-Interpolations’ and its Influence on English Versions of the New Testament by Michael Marlowe
Posted Feb. 2006

F.J.A. Hort (1828-92) made some valuable contributions to textual scholarship, but at least one aspect of his work is now rejected by most textual critics—his theory of ‘Western Non-Interpolations.’ Under this theory (which was widely accepted up to about 1970) certain verses and phrases which are present in virtually all the ancient Greek manuscripts are regarded as interpolations because they are absent from a group of ‘Western’ witnesses (primarily the Greek-Latin Codex Bezae and manuscripts of the Old Latin versions), and because their absence in these witnesses cannot readily be explained in terms of the usual scribal tendencies. These ‘Western’ witnesses are not ordinarily thought to be reliable when they disagree with other ancient sources, but Hort’s idea was that because the usual tendency of these witnesses is to expand the text, their omissions should receive special consideration. And so he wrote in the Introduction to his edition of the Greek text:

They are all omissions, or, to speak more correctly, non-interpolations, of various length: that is to say, the original record has here, to the best of our belief, suffered interpolation in all the extant Non-Western texts. The almost universal tendency of transcribers to make their text as full as possible, and to eschew omissions, is amply exemplified in the New Testament. Omissions of genuine words and clauses in the Alexandrian and Syrian texts are very rare, and always easy to explain. [Hort uses the word ‘Syrian’ to denote the large class of later manuscripts now more commonly called ‘Byzantine.’]

In the Western text, with which we are here concerned, they are bolder and more numerous, but still almost always capable of being traced to a desire of giving a clearer and more vigorous presentation of the sense. But hardly any of the omissions now in question can be so explained, none in a satisfactory manner. On the other hand the doubtful words are superfluous, and in some cases intrinsically suspicious, to say the least; while the motive for their insertion is usually obvious. With a single peculiar exception (Matt. xxvii 49), in which the extraneous words are omitted by the Syrian as well as by the Western text, the Western noninterpolations are confined to the last three chapters of St Luke. [B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort, The New Testament in the Original Greek, vol. II, Introduction and Appendix (Cambridge and London, 1881; 2nd ed., 1896), p. 176.]

It should be noticed that this theory involves a rather pessimistic view of the preservation of the original text of the New Testament—virtually all of the manuscripts of the New Testament, including the oldest uncials, are thought to reproduce a text which was corrupted by interpolations at a very early period. It is claimed that among the Greek manuscripts Codex Bezae alone indicates the original text in several places, despite the fact that in other respects this codex is clearly one of the most unreliable witnesses that has come down to us from ancient times. The determination of the original text is made to depend upon critical speculation to a high degree, rather than simply resting upon the direct testimony of ancient documents.

Its Influence on English Versions

The following table gives English translations of the sentences and phrases that Hort regarded as interpolations on the basis of his theory. In the columns to the right I indicate whether these items are omitted (O) or retained (R) in several English versions: the American Standard Version (ASV); the first edition of the Revised Standard Version (RSV1); the New English Bible (NEB); the second edition of the Revised Standard Version (RSV2); the first edition of the New International Version (NIV); the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV); and the English Standard Version (ESV). It will be seen that the theory was accepted by the translators of the RSV and the NEB, but generally abandoned by the time the NIV was published in 1973.

Mat. 27:49. Some ancient authorities add, “And another took a spear and pierced his side, and there came out water and blood.” O O O O O O O
Luke 22:19b-20. “which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” R O O R R R R
Luke 24:3. “of the Lord Jesus.” R O O O R O R
Luke 24:6. “He is not here, but has risen.” R O O O R R R
Luke 24:12. “But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.” R O O O R R R
Luke 24:36. “and said to them, Peace to you.” R O O O R R R
Luke 24:40. “And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.” R O O O R R R
Luke 24:51. “and was carried up into heaven.” R O O R R R R
Luke 24:52. “And they worshiped him.” R O O O R R R

All of the variants in these places are noted in the margins of the ASV, the RSV (both editions), and the NRSV. The NEB gives a note for all but Mat. 27:49 and Luke 24:3. The NIV does not have a marginal note for any of them, and the ESV notes only the variant in Luke 22:19b-20.

What Happened after 1971?

The textual scholars who edit the Greek New Testament published by the United Bible Societies have great influence upon English Bible translations in matters pertaining to the Greek text. By 1970 the UBS committee was working on a revision of their text in which they omitted none of the sentences or phrases listed above, with the exception of the variant in Mat. 27:49. Their decisions were reported by Bruce Metzger (a senior member of the committee) in the Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament published by the UBS in 1971. It is evident that the abandonment of Hort’s theory in the versions published after 1971 was due largely to the influence of the UBS Committee.

In 1989 Kurt Aland, who was a very influential member of the Committee, described the state of opinion in these terms:

“Whole generations of textual critics (especially in the English literature) were trained in this perspective, which can only be regarded today as a relic of the past.” (Kurt Aland, The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism, translated by Erroll F. Rhodes, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989), p. 236.)

The following explanation of the Committee’s thinking is reproduced from Metzger’s Textual Commentary (London: United Bible Societies, 1971), p. 191-92.

Note on Western Non-Interpolations

One of the features of the Western text is the occasional omission of words and passages that are present in other types of text, including the Alexandrian. How should one evaluate such omissions from a form of text which is generally much fuller than other text-types? According to one theory, popularized at the close of the last century by Westcott and Hort, 1 such readings, despite their being supported by the generally inferior Western witnesses, ought to be preferred rather than the longer readings, though the latter are attested by the generally superior manuscripts, B and א. Nine such readings were designated by Westcott and Hort as “Western non-interpolations,” 2 on the assumption that all extant witnesses except the Western (or, in some cases, some of the Western witnesses) have in these passages suffered interpolation.

In recent decades this theory has been coming under more and more criticism. With the acquisition of the Bodmer Papyri, testimony for the Alexandrian type of text has been carried back from the fourth to the second century, and one can now observe how faithfully that text was copied and recopied between the stage represented by Papyrus 75 and the stage represented by codex Vaticanus. Furthermore, scholars have been critical of the apparently arbitrary way in which Westcott and Hort isolated nine passages for special treatment (enclosing them within double square brackets), whereas they did not give similar treatment to other readings that also are absent from Western witnesses. 3

With the rise of what is called Redaktionsgeschichte (the analysis of the theological and literary presuppositions and tendencies that controlled the formation and transmission of Gospel materials), scholars have begun to give renewed attention to the possibility that special theological interests on the part of scribes may account for the deletion of certain passages in Western witnesses. In any case, the Bible Societies’ Committee did not consider it wise to make, as it were, a mechanical or doctrinaire judgment concerning the group of nine Western non-interpolations, but sought to evaluate each one separately on its own merits and in the light of fuller attestation and newer methodologies.

During the discussions a sharp difference of opinion emerged. According to the view of a minority of the Committee, apart from other arguments there is discernible in these passages a Christological-theological motivation that accounts for their having been added, while there is no clear reason that accounts for their having been omitted. Accordingly, if the passages are retained in the text at all, it was held that they should be enclosed within square brackets. On the other hand, the majority of the Committee, having evaluated the weight of the evidence differently, regarded the longer readings as part of the original text. For an account of the reasons that the majority felt to be cogent in explaining the origin of the shorter text, see the comments on the several passages.

  1. B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort, The New Testament in the Original Greek, vol. II, Introduction and Appendix (Cambridge and London, 1881; 2nd ed., 1896), pp, 175-177.
  2. The nine passages are Mt 27.49; Lk 22.19b-20; 24.3, 6, 12, 36, 40, 51, and 52.
  3. E.g. Mt 9.34; Mk 2.22; 10.2; 14.39; Lk 5.39; 10.41-42; 12.21; 22.62; 24.9; Jn 4.9. In all these passages the consensus of textual opinion (including that of Westcott and Hort) is almost unanimous that the Western text, though shorter, is secondary.

Metzger’s comments on the several passages are as follows:

Matt. 27:49. Although attested by א B C L al the words ἄλλος δὲ λαβὼν λόγχην ἔνυξεν αὐτοῦ τὴν πλευράν, καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ὕδωρ καὶ αἷμα must be regarded as an early intrusion derived from a similar account in Jn 19.34. It might be thought that the words were omitted because they represent the piercing as preceding Jesus’ death, whereas John makes it follow; but that difference would have only been a reason for moving the passage to a later position (perhaps at the close of ver. 50 or 54 or 56), or else there would have been some tampering with the passage in John, which is not the case. It is probable that the Johannine passage was written by some reader in the margin of Matthew from memory (there are several minor differences, such as the sequence of “water and blood”), and a later copyist awkwardly introduced it into the text. [p. 71]

*    *    *

Luke 22:17-20. The Lukan account of the Last Supper has been transmitted in two principal forms: (1) the longer, or traditional, text of cup-bread-cup is read by all Greek manuscripts except D and by most of the ancient versions and Fathers; (2) the shorter, or Western, text (read by D ita,d,ff2,i,l) omits verses 19b and 20 (τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν … ἐκχυννόμενον), thereby presenting the sequence of cup-bread. 1 Four intermediate forms of text, which appear to be compromises between the two principal forms, are the following: (a) two Old Latin manuscripts (itb,e) modify the shorter text by placing ver. 19a before ver. 17, thus securing the customary order of bread-cup; (b) the Curetonian Syriac reads the same, but is enlarged with the wording of 1 Cor 11.24 added to ver. 19a; (c) the Sinaitic Syriac is still further expanded, chiefly by the insertion of “after they had supped” at the beginning of ver. 17 and “this is my blood, the new covenant” (ver. 20b) between verses 17 and 18; and (d) the Peshitta Syriac lacks (perhaps due to homoeoteleuton) verses 17 and 18, as do also l32, two Sahidic manuscripts, and one Bohairic manuscript. For convenience of comparison the six forms of the text are set forth in parallel columns on p. 175.

It is obvious that the chief problem is concerned with the merits of the two principal forms of text, since each of the others can be accounted for more or less satisfactorily as modifications of either the shorter or the longer form.

Considerations in favor of the originality of the longer text include the following: (a) The external evidence supporting the shorter reading represents only part of the Western type of text, whereas the other representatives of the Western text join with witnesses belonging to all the other ancient text-types in support of the longer reading. (b) It is easier to suppose that the Bezan editor, puzzled by the sequence of cup-bread-cup, eliminated the second mention of the cup without being concerned about the inverted order of institution thus produced, than that the editor of the longer version, to rectify the inverted order, brought in from Paul the second mention of the cup, while letting the first mention stand. (c) The rise of the shorter version can be accounted for in terms of the theory of disciplina arcana, i. e. in order to protect the Eucharist from profanation, one or more copies of the Gospel according to Luke, prepared for circulation among non-Christian readers, omitted the sacramental formula after the beginning words.

Considerations in favor of the originality of the shorter text include the following: (a) Generally in New Testament textual criticism the shorter reading is to be preferred. (b) Since the words in verses 19b and 20 are suspiciously similar to Paul’s words in 1 Cor 11.24b-25, it appears that the latter passage was the source of their interpolation into the longer text. (c) Verses 19b-20 contain several linguistic features that are non-Lukan.

The weight of these considerations was estimated differently by different members of the Committee. A minority preferred the shorter text as a Western non-interpolation (see the Note following 24.53). The majority, on the other hand, impressed by the overwhelming preponderance of external evidence supporting the longer form, explained the origin of the shorter form as due to some scribal accident or misunderstanding. 2 The similarity between verses 19b-20 and 1 Cor 11.24b-25 arises from the familiarity of the evangelist with the liturgical practice among Pauline churches, a circumstance that accounts also for the presence of non-Lukan expressions in verses 19b-20. [pp. 173-77]

  1. The same sequence also occurs in the Didache, ix, 2-3; cf. also 1 Cor. 10.16.
  2. Kenyon and Legg, who prefer the longer form of text, explain the origin of the other readings as follows: “The whole difficulty arose, in our opinion, from a misunderstanding of the longer version. The first cup given to the disciples to divide among themselves should be taken in connection with the previous verse (ver. 16) as referring to the eating of the Passover with them at the reunion in Heaven. This is followed by the institution of the Sacrament, to be repeated continually on earth in memory of Him. This gives an intelligible meaning to the whole, while at the same time it is easy to see that it would occasion difficulties of interpretation, which would give rise to the attempts at revision that appear in various forms of the shorter version” (Sir Frederick G. Kenyon and S.C.E. Legg in The Ministry and the Sacraments, ed. by Roderic Dunkerley [London, 1937], pp. 285 f.).

*    *    *

Luke 24:3. A minority of the Committee preferred the shortest reading, supported by D ita,b,d,e,ff2,l,r1 (see the Note on Western non-interpolations following 24.53). The majority, on the other hand, impressed by the weight of P75 א A B C W Θ f1 f13 33 565 700 al, regarded the reading of D as influenced by ver. 23, and the omission of κυρίου in a few witnesses as due to assimilation to Mt 27.58 or Mk 15.43. The expression “the Lord Jesus” is used of the risen Lord in Ac 1.21; 4.33; 8.16. [p. 183]

*    *    *

Luke 24:6. A minority of the Committee preferred to follow the evidence of D ita,b,d,e,ff2,l,r1 geoB and to omit the words οὐκ ἔστιν ὧδε, ἀλλὰ ἠγέρθη as an interpolation (see the Note following 24.53), derived from Mt 28.6 and/or Mk 16.6, and cast into antithetic form (… ἀλλά …). The majority of the Committee, on the other hand, interpreted the antithesis as evidence of independence of the Lukan formulation from that of Matthew and Mark (which lack ἀλλά). In any case, the reading of C* al is obviously a scribal assimilation to the Synoptic parallels. [pp. 183-4]

*    *    *

Luke 24:12. Although ver. 12 is sometimes thought to be an interpolation (see the Note following 24.53) derived from Jn 20.3, 5, 6, 10, a majority of the Committee regarded the passage as a natural antecedent to ver. 24, and was inclined to explain the similarity with the verses in John as due to the likelihood that both evangelists had drawn upon a common tradition. [p. 184]

*    *    *

Luke 24:36. The words ἐγώ εἰμι, μὴ φοβεῖσθε, either before εἰρήνη ὑμῖν (as in W 579) or after (as in G P itc vg syrp,h,pal, copbo-mss arm eth geo Diatessarona,i,n), are undoubtedly a gloss, derived perhaps from Jn 6.20. The Committee was less sure concerning the origin of the words καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς, Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν, which, as the regular form of Semitic greeting, might well be expected on this occasion. When the passage is compared with Jn 20.19 ff. the question arises: have the two evangelists depended upon a common tradition, or have copyists expanded Luke’s account by adding the salutation from John’s account? A majority of the Committee, impressed by the presence of numerous points of contact between Luke and John in their Passion and Easter accounts, preferred to follow the preponderance of external attestation and to retain the words in the text. (See also the Note on Western non-interpolations, following 24.53.) [pp. 186-7]

*    *    *

Luke 24:40. Was ver. 40 omitted by certain Western witnesses (D ita,b,d,e,ff2,l,r1 syrc,s) because it seemed superfluous after ver. 39? Or is it a gloss introduced by copyists in all other witnesses from Jn 20.20, with a necessary adaptation (the passage in John refers to Jesus’ hands and side; this passage refers to his hands and feet)? A minority of the Committee preferred to omit the verse as an interpolation (see the Note following 24.53); the majority, however, was of the opinion that, had the passage been interpolated from the Johannine account, copyists would probably have left some trace of its origin by retaining τὴν πλευράν in place of τοὺς πόδας (either here only, or in ver. 39 also). [p. 187]

*    *    *

Luke 24:51. Here א* and geo1 join D and ita,b,d,e,ff2,j,l in supporting the shorter text. (The Sinaitic Syriac condenses ver. 51 by omitting διέστη and εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν, reading ܘܟܕ ܒܪܟ ܐܢܘܢ ܐܬܪܝܡ ܡܢܗܘܢ “And while he blessed them, he was lifted up from them”; thus, though shortened, syrs still alludes to the ascension.) A minority of the Committee preferred the shorter reading, regarding the longer as a Western non-interpolation (see the Note following 24.53).

The majority of the Committee, however, favored the longer reading for the following reasons. (1) The rhythm of the sentence seems to require the presence of such a clause (compare the two coordinate clauses joined with καί in ver. 50 and in verses 52-53). (2) Luke’s opening statement in Acts (“In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up [ἀνελήμφθη]”) implies that he considered that he had made some reference, however brief, to the ascension at the close of his first book. (3) If the shorter text were original, it is difficult to account for the presence of καὶ ἀνεφέρετο εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν in so many and such diversified witnesses, beginning with P75 about A.D. 200. (4) If the clause were a copyist’s addition, prompted by his noticing the implications of Ac 1.1-2 (see point (2) above), one would have expected him to adopt some form of the verb ἀναλαμβάνειν, used in Ac 1.2 and other passages referring to the ascension, rather than the less appropriate ἀναφέρειν, which in the New Testament ordinarily has the specialized meaning “to offer up.” Finally, (5) the omission of the clause in a few witnesses can be accounted for either (a) through accidental scribal oversight occasioned by homoeoarcton (καια … καια …) or (b) by deliberate excision, either (i) in order to relieve the apparent contradiction between this account (which seemingly places the ascension late Easter night) and the account in Ac 1.3-11 (which dates the ascension forty days after Easter), or (ii) in order to introduce a subtle theological differentiation between the Gospel and the Acts (i. e., the Western redactor, not approving of Luke’s mentioning the ascension twice, first to conclude the earthly ministry of Jesus, and again, in Acts, to inaugurate the church age, preferred to push all doxological representations of Jesus to a time after the ascension in Acts, and therefore deleted the clause in question as well as the words προσκυνήσαντες αὐτόν from ver. 52 — for when the account of the ascension has been eliminated, the mention of Jesus being worshipped seems less appropriate). 2 [pp. 189-90]

  1. For other instances of what appear to be doctrinal alterations introduced by the Western reviser, see the comments on Ac. 1.2 and 9 as well as the references mentioned in Group D in footnote 12, p. 263 below. Cf. also Eldon J. Epp, The Theological Tendency of Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis in Acts (Cambridge, 1966).

*    *    *

Luke 24:52. Although a minority of the Committee preferred the shorter reading, regarding the others as interpolations (see the Note following 24.53), the majority considered it more probable that the words προσκυνήσαντες αὐτόν had been omitted either accidentally (the eye of the copyist passing from αυτοι … to αυτον) or, perhaps, deliberately (so as to accord better with the shorter reading in ver. 51; see the concluding comments on the previous variant reading). [p. 190]

It should be noted that the Committee’s confidence in these explanations apparently increased over time, as indicated by the “degree of certainty” letter assigned to the readings adopted in the text.

The Introduction of the UBS third edition explains these grades as follows: “In order to indicate the relative degree of certainty in the mind of the Committee for the reading adopted as the text, an identifying letter is included within braces at the beginning of each set of textual variants. The letter {A} signifies that the text is certain, while {B} indicates that the text is almost certain. The letter {C}, however, indicates that the Committee had difficulty in deciding which variant to place in the text. The letter {D}, which occurs only rarely, indicates that the Committee had great difficulty in arriving at a decision. In fact, among the {D} decisions sometimes none of the variant readings commended itself as original, and therefore the only recourse was to print the least unsatisfactory reading.” (p. xxviii.)

In the third edition of their text (1975) the grades for the nine places were: B (“almost certain”) for Mat. 27:49; C (“difficulty in deciding”) for Luke 22:19b-20, and D (“great difficulty in arriving at a decision”) for the seven places in chap. 24. But in the fourth edition (1993) they are all B, “almost certain.”

Thus we see that from 1946 to 1971 English versions prepared by committees of mainline scholars omitted words which in 1993 were deemed to be almost certainly authentic by a committee of mainline textual critics.


  1. lee mcdowell · ·

    Brent, I would like to have the kjv + tvm program. Thanks.

    Lee McDowell

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10



  2. Please let me know if there are any issues. My has never displayed a bug. bb


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Faith Bible Ministries Blog ~ An Online Study of the Bible

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” ~~~~~~ This online Bible study series addresses primary New Testament words in their original language - Koinè Greek - as opposed to mainly using the English translations; which is like adding color to a black-and-white picture.

Faith Video Ministries

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"

Faith Bible Ministries

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"

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