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My recent post (with ga1837 iota subscript?) recalled a past experience with mysterious punctuation in GA 713. The above link will take you to John 1:27 where 4 "periods" can be observed in the first 2 lines of text.
1. The phrase “ος εμπροσθεν μου γεγονεν” is set off by the first 2 dots. Is this a clause set off by punctuation or does this signify an omission by other mss? NA27 shows this omitted by p5 p66 p75 01 B C* L N* T Ws Y 083 f1 33. 579 al b l sys.c co. This is a dependent clause and the New King James Version (as most other modern English translations do not display this clause) brackets this clause with commas. Without more evidence I can only call it an interesting coincidence.
2. The third "period" comes before εγω. Here, punctuation does not make sense (at least in my student's mind). But we have another coincidence. “εγω” is omitted by p66* p75 01 C L f13 33. 579 al aur* q and the phrase “ου εγω ουκ ειμι” is transposed (1,3,4,2) “ου ουκ ειμι εγω” by p66c B N T Ws Y(Psi) 083. 579 pc while mss’s A Q f1 Maj lat agree with GA-713.. Coincidence? But what is it coincidental with?
3. The 4th period comes after αξιος. Again we find it possible the 4th "period" marks the begninning of a new clause. However this is a third coincidence in two lines of text. NA27 shows a substitution "p) ικανος P66 P75 pc".
This type of occurence is not isolated, a second annotation box will be found on line 10 of this folio. There is another "period" before περι. Punctuation does not make sense to this student and there is another coincidence. NA27 records the substitution υπερ p5.66.75 01 B C Ws pc; περι is witnessed by 01-2 A C3 L Q Y 0101 f1.13 33 M Epih
A few other observations: There is no marginal notes suggesting a correction. Typical lectional notes do exist in the outer margin but I have not the expertise to decipher them. There are plenty of other periods whose presence are not marked by variances and make perfect sense as punction. Although the examples above are from a single folio, other coincidencs can be at 285v line 9, after παλιν. 286v line 2, after αυτω there are 2 dots with at least 3 possible meanings, an iota adscript, punctuation, or the addition of ο ιησους (omitted by Schrivener (SCR) and the Greek Orthodox Church (GOC) according to Bibleworks 8 and the Oxford TR I collated with). The list could continue.
My questions for this forum - Does the number of punctuation marks and variances account for these coincidences? If not, is there enough evidence to suspect ga713 was comparred with other mss and the differences marked? Is there a resource out there that discusses 10th century Byzantine grammer that govers puntuation?
Please toss in your opinion - the more the better!
The world is built by grand visions, but details keeps it from falling apart!
Ken, in answer to your last question about a "resource out there," I would recommend Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Greek Palaeography by Bruce M. Metzger. Chapter V of this very expensive book deals with "The Transcribing of Greek Manuscripts" and has subsections on "Abbreviations and Symbols" and "Punctuation." How expensive? A print edition will set you back by about $99. A Kindle download (from Amazon.com) will do the same by about $78, although the plates and photos probably aren't as readable as in the printed book. I must add that I have this book only as a free sample download.
I've always heard in Sunday school that the ancient mss. had no punctuation, but this is probably not true for all of them, especially the later ones. But if you see lots of periods that don't seem to indicate ends of sentences, they may well indicate variant readings, thus an early form of textual criticism.
Apply yourself wholly to the text and the text will apply itself to you.
Hello Roger, thank you for the tip on Metzger's book. I have wanted to buy this book for some time, but now I have a new reason! Perhaps santa clause will be nice this year. ;)
Can anyone suggest a way to test my theory that some of these marks are early TC? Ideally it would be to find the manuscript it was compared with. Although highly unlikely, it would be fun to look for!