ECM Revelation: The Details

We are pleased to announce the publication of ECM Revelation, available now through the German Bible Society. The project, which took 12 years total to complete, was carried out in Wuppertal under the leadership of Martin Karrer with Darius Müller and Marcus Sigismund and a highly supportive team (including Matthias Geigenfeind, Peter Malik, Markus Lembke, Edmund Gerke, Nicola Seliger). We were also supported by Holger Strutwolf, Annette Hüffmeier, and Greg Paulson as co-editors at the INTF in Münster relying on their software, digital tools, and years of experience as editors of previous ECM projects.


The Basics in Numbers

The edition comprises four volumes: the first volume contains the new initial text and the critical apparatus, the second volume includes supplementary material, and volumes three and four include studies on the text and studies on the punctuation and textual structure.

The new text of ECM Revelation contains 84 new initial readings, that is 84 places where the text of Revelation differs from the NA28, which will be considered by the editors for inclusion in the NA29.

In addition to the new initial readings, there are 95 orthographical differences from the NA28.

There are 106 split guiding lines in the new edition, meaning there were 106 places with at least two readings that were equally probable as the initial text. So, the editors decided to leave the textual decision open in these places.

In total, 110 manuscripts were chosen as the basis for creating the edition:

P18. P24. P43. P47. P85. P98. P115. 01. 02. 04. 025. 046. 051. 052. 0163. 0169. 0207. 0229. 0308. 0326. 35. 61. 69. 82. 91. 93. 104. 141. 177. 201. 218. 250. 254. 325. 367. 452. 456. 469. 498. 506. 522. 620. 632. 792. 808. 911. 1006. 1424. 1611. 1637. 1719. 1732. 1734. 1773. 1780. 1795. 1828. 1849. 1852. 1854. 1872. 1888. 2019. 2026. 2028. 2037. 2042. 2048. 2050. 2053. 2056. 2057. 2067. 2070. 2071. 2073. 2074. 2076. 2077. 2080. 2081. 2138. 2200. 2256. 2286. 2329. 2344. 2350. 2351. 2377. 2429. 2432. 2436. 2495. 2582. 2595. 2672. 2681. 2723. 2814. 2845. 2846. 2847. 2886. 2917. 2919. 2921. 2924. (L475. L546)

What’s New in this Edition?

Users may be interested to note that the ECM Apocalypse contains several apparatuses and many other new features. For example, all the nomina abbreviata and the orthographical variants of the many numbers in the biblical text are listed both in the guiding line and in the variant apparatus of the edition.

As a major feature of the edition, the punctuation and segmentation of the Apocalypse was completely reinvestigated based on the selected manuscripts. In an apparatus created for this purpose, the segmentation of the initial text is justified, and any segmentation variants of the witnesses are documented.

In addition, the Greek chapter divisions are documented in the segmentation apparatus, while the main strand of the transmission is shown in the header next to the Latin chapter numbering, too.

The edition also contains a third apparatus in which essential paratextual content of the Greek manuscripts of the Apocalypse is documented, in order to augment the study of the new initial text.

Other Highlights of the Edition

In addition to the well-established overviews, a few other highlights of the second supplementary volume are its overview of the biblical cross-references, a list of all singular readings as well as various lists of the orthography of the manuscripts selected for the edition. The Supplementary material is extremely rich, offering previously unexpected possibilities for research, particularly in the areas of studying scribal habits and the development of the Greek language.

In addition, two volumes including studies on the text and segmentation have been produced. The first volume comprises studies on the reconstruction of the initial text and the provided attestation. These include a comprehensive account of the outlines of the edition, a concise history of the text, and, finally, a meticulous text-critical commentary.

The second volume is dedicated to the Greek segmentation. It begins with a comprehensive methodological study on the segmentation, followed by a detailed commentary on segmentation, which is available in both German and English. The volume is complemented by several additional overviews of the segmentation of the manuscripts. Lastly, a running text of Revelation is given that offers the punctuation, Greek chapter divisions, and other features that are otherwise not possible to visualize in the format presented in the text volume—see image on the left.


Digital Tools

The digital edition in the NTVMR will soon be updated to include the latest version of the apparatus. As for all ECM editions, this will all be freely available here:

The CBGM will of course be made public soon as well. More on this to come!











In summary, the edition is designed to be accessible to the general public and offer all relevant data to facilitate fruitful future research on the new initial text and the transmission of the Apocalypse. We hope that this edition will be made available to all interested parties and that they will take advantage of the fruit of our labors.

Greek New Testament Manuscripts at the Bible Museum Münster

Since its founding in 1979, the Bible Museum in Münster has collected a multitude of artefacts that illuminate the living history of the Biblefrom its inception as a written text to the modern day. Many of these objects highlight the development and transmission of the New Testament text. In addition to Coptic, Syriac and Latin manuscripts, the Greek manuscripts in the collection[1] are of particular importance as carriers of the original language of the New Testament.



Altogether the Bible Museum houses 23 Greek NT textual witnesses: 2 majuscules, 11 minuscules, and 10 lectionaries, making it the third largest collection of Greek NT manuscripts in Germany.[2]


In addition, 6 New Testament papyri from the 3/4th century are currently on loan at the Museum from Cologne (Institut für Altertumskunde) and Berlin (Staatliche Museen). Visitors have the unique opportunity to view P8, P25, P66, P86, P87, P118 until Sept. 29, 2024.


This blogpost briefly introduces the manuscripts in the collection based on information from my new catalogue, published on the occasion of the Bible Museum's 45th anniversary. (Many thanks to Katie Leggett for summarizing and translating the catalogue for this blogpost.)



For much more detailed information see here.



GA 0233 Bibelmuseum Ms. 1

8th century Gospel manuscript, written in majuscule with 93 parchment folios that were removed in the 13th century, trimmed, and rewritten to create GA L1684 (see below). The manuscript measures 270x210 mm with 2 columns and 23-27 lines per folio.


On fol. 128v of GA 0233 the undertext, John 2:12-15, is visible


GA 0301 Bibelmuseum Ms. HKS 677

The museum's oldest Greek NT witness, this single fragment is from a miniature 5th century manuscript (68x70 mm).[3] It has only 14 lines per side and contains John 17:1-4, the beginning of the High Priestly Prayer. It's not possible to decide definitively if this text originated from a Gospel codex or was part of a commentary manuscript. It is also possible—due to its small size—that the text was created for everyday use and perhaps worn as an amulet.


GA 0301 with John 17:1-2 on the recto side




GA 676 Bibelmuseum Ms. 2

13th century on parchment, 344 leaves with the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Pauline Epistles and Catholic Letters (196x150 mm), 1 column with 28 lines


A critical eye will notice that this codex was written by two different scribes: the first penned the Gospels and the second the rest. In the 14th century, beautiful illuminations of the evangelists on gold leaf in vivid colors were added to the Gospels (fol. 9, 57, 140). They were painted over (palimpsest) an 11th century theological text. The illustration of Luke is unfortunately missing.


Illustration of John the Evangelist in GA 676 (fol. 140v)


GA 798 Bibelmuseum Ms. 7

11th century Gospel manuscript on parchment containing 148 of 260 total leaves (170x115 mm), 1 column with 20 lines (occasionally 21 or 22)


The 148 leaves at the Bible Museum contain Luke and John. They belong together with the 112 folios held at the National Library in Athens EBE 137 containing the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.


Fol. 89r with the beginning of Mark (left) held in Athens and fol. 96r. with John (right) held in Münster (GA 798)



GA 1432 Bibelmuseum Ms. 3

12th century Gospel manuscript on parchment with 225 folios, 1 column with 28 lines. At 147x115 mm, it's the smallest bound codex in the collection.


This manuscript was formerly in the possession of the Skete of St. Andrew on Mount Athos, whose western wing and library were partially destroyed by fire in July 1958. The Gospel text is complete, only the Kephalaia before the Gospels of Matthew and Mark seem to be missing. The manuscript boasts colorful canon tables and intricate frames of the Gospels decorated in gold, blue, green and red.


Ornate canon tables of GA1432 (fol. 5r) and the elegant beginning of the Gospel of Mark (fol. 68r)


GA 2444 Bibelmuseum Ms. 4

This 13th century Gospel manuscript measures 220x150 mm with 308 leaves, 1 column and 22 lines. It is the only minuscule on paper in our collection.


The geometric and floral ornamentations as well as the opulent, oversized initials in black and red at the beginning of each Gospel are particularly noticeable.


Folio 2r of GA 2444 showing the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew



GA 2445 Bibelmuseum Ms. 5

12th century Gospel manuscript on parchment, 116 leaves (163x130 mm), 1 column with 20-22 lines


Numerous leaves are missing at the beginning (all of Matthew and Mark 1:1-7:9) and the end (from John 7:33 to the end) as well as other individual leaves throughout the codex. The text was written by two different hands: the first part with 20 lines per folio and the Gospel of John from with 22 lines per folio.


GA 2445 left image showing the hand of Luke (fol. 38r) and right (fol. 110r) showing John

GA 2446 Bibelmuseum Ms. 6

12th century Gospel manuscript with 320 leaves on parchment (168x128 mm), 1 column with 20 lines


Curiously, numerous folios of this manuscript have been replaced at about the same time it was written or shortly thereafter. It appears that the original leaves were carefully cut out and replacement folios were adapted to them, but with a different ruling (e.g. fol. 36, 38, 44, 50).


Folio 50v of GA 2446 shows on the right where the new folio was bound in the codex.


GA 2460 Bibelmuseum Ms. 19

8 leaves of a 13th/14th century Gospel manuscript with Matthew 18:32-22:9 on parchment (240x170 mm), 1 column with 26 lines


The bulk of this Gospel manuscript (195 leaves) resides in Ioannina, Greece (Zosimaia School, 2), and two leaves are at Columbia University (Plimpton Ms.12).


Fol. 24v. of GA 2460 with text of Matthew 22:1-9

GA 2754 Bibelmuseum Ms. 8

11th century Gospel manuscript on parchment with 256 leaves (193x143 mm), 1 column with 25-26 lines per folio


Various marginal notes (fol. 77v; 138v; 151v; 199r; 228v) refer to the church της περιβλεπτου Βερροιας (Veria) in northern Greece from which the manuscript originally came. An interesting feature is the Kephalaia for Matthew, which was added by a later hand on fol. 75r-76v using pages that were blank. The later scribe drew 12 simple circles with the names, origin, places of activity, and martyrdoms of the 12 apostles.


Fol. 75v of GA 2754 showing 8 of the 12 circles referring the Apostles and below the continuation of the Kephalaia for Matthew


GA 2755 Bibelmuseum Ms. 9

11th century Gospel manuscript on parchment, with commentary on Matthew and Mark (322x232 mm), 1 column with 29 lines


With 370 folios this is our most voluminous codex and our sole commentary manuscript. There are two additional leaves in Cambridge (Ms. Add. 4490), and some leaves of the original codex are still missing, especially at the end. The commentaries are very extensive e.g., just the first two words of the Matthew's Gospel, βιβλος γενεσεως, comprises 3.5 pages.


Fol. 7r of GA 2755 showing βιβλος γενεσεως (five lines from the bottom) written in semiuncial


GA 2756 Bibelmuseum Ms. 10

13th century Gospel manuscript on parchment with 195 leaves (187x145 mm), 1 column with 25 lines per folio


The text is complete, except the final page of John. It has elegant illuminations of all four evangelists that originate from another manuscript and were inserted later as enhancements (fol. 6, 63, 99, 156).


GA 2756, illumination of Luke (fol. 99v)



GA 2793 Bibelmuseum Ms. 11

13th/14th century single leaf on parchment from a Gospel manuscript with Matthew 22:7-22 (139x103 mm), 1 column with 20 lines


The leaf was sold in 1853/54 by Konstantinos Simonides, an infamous forger of ancient Greek texts, to Sir Thomas Philipps (1792-1872) who was an English collector of antiquities. Hermann Kunst acquired the sheet in 1973 from Bernard Quaritch Ltd.


Frontside of GA 2793 showing Matt 22:7-14




GA L1681 Bibelmuseum Ms. 12

15th century Gospel lectionary with 187 leaves on paper (215x150 mm), 1 column with 26-28 lines per folio


This lectionary along with L1682, L1684, L2208, and L2276 in our collection contain Gospel readings for every day of the week from Easter to Pentecost as well as readings for Saturdays and Sundays.


At the end of the lectionary, the scribe concludes his work with a colophon:


δόξα σοι ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν δόξα σοι ̇ ἀμήν.

σωθῆ ὁ ἔχων ̇ ἐλεηθῆ ὁ γράψας.


Honor be to you, our God, glory be to you. Amen.

May the owner be saved, may the writer find mercy.


Fol. 186r of GA L1681 containing a scribal colophon to conclude the work



GA L1682 Bibelmuseum Ms. 14

Gospel lectionary on paper with 131 leaves (270x145 mm), 1 column with 24 lines per folio


Dated to the 16th century, L1682 along with L1686 are the two youngest Greek New Testament witnesses in our collection. The leaves were heavily trimmed at the outer edge, so that sometimes parts of letters at the beginning or end of lines are lost. The middle part of the manuscript is well preserved but the front and back parts are quite badly damaged, and in some places the text of parts of the pages has been restored.


Fol. 123r of GA L1682 showing trimming and where sections have been patched


GA L1683 Bibelmuseum Ms. 15

13th century Gospel lectionary on parchment with 241 leaves (295x220 mm), 2 columns with 26 lines per folio


This lectionary, containing Gospel readings for every day of the year is embellished with oversized initials at the start of lections. One headpiece seems to have been left unfinished.



Fol. 81 of GA L1683



GA L1684 Bibelmuseum Ms. 1

13th century Gospel lectionary, parchment palimpsest with 166 leaves (270x210), 2 columns and 23-26 lines per folio


The undertext of this artefact is majuscule 0233. Interestingly, the upper text is also written in two columns of the same width as the under text. Some of the parchment leaves were later (16th century?) replaced by paper (fol. 1-38, 68, and 129-164). On the supplemental paper folios, it seems the copyist attempted to imitate the original scribe's handwriting but opted to use red for initials and decorations.


Fol. 60r and 68r of GA L1684 showing how the later scribe (right) tried to imitate the work of the former (left)



GA L1685 Bibelmuseum Ms. 16

15th century lectionary on paper with 264 leaves (275x190 mm), 2 columns with 31 lines per folio. This is the only lectionary in the collection with both Gospel and Apostolos readings for every day of the year.


The initials at the beginning of each lesson are decorated and extend over several lines. Before larger sections, such as between the Synaxarion and the Menologion, there are smaller ornamentations colored in red, yellow and green. The text has evidently been copied very hastily; there are numerous omissions resulting from eye leaps that a later scribe had to remedy. On several pages in the margins there are various notes and scribbles.


Marginal notes and corrections on fol. 36 and fol. 37 in GA L1685

GA L1686 Bibelmuseum Ms. 13

16th century lectionary on paper, 184 leaves with the Gospels and Apostolos (205x150 mm), 1 column with 17 lines


This is not a lectionary proper, but another liturgical book that has extensive readings from the New Testament. The manuscript provides various clues about its owners. On fol. 1r, next to a curse against potential thieves, a sakelarios, who probably belonged to a priesthood, is named, and on fol. 2r a priest named Athanasios is referenced. On the last page (fol. 184r) there is a dedication note dated 1624 by a certain Sterianos to the church of Taxiarches (παμμεγίστων ταξιαρχῶν) in memory of his parents.


Fol. 2 of GA L1686, opening page of the codex


GA L2005 Bibelmuseum Ms. 20

10th century majuscule lectionary on parchment, 1 leaf (320x235 mm), 2 columns with 19 lines per folio


This is the only majuscule lectionary, and also the oldest lectionary in the collection. All but three leaves have gone missing. Two leaves are at the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens (σπ. 42). Our leaf contains readings from John 16:24-17:3, part of the passion narratives.


Recto of the single folio of GA L2005 located in the Bible Museum


GA L2137 Bibelmuseum Ms. 17

12th century Gospel lectionary on parchment with 213 leaves (320x245 mm), 2 columns with 24-27 lines per folio


Like L1683 and L1685, this lectionary contains Gospel readings for every day of the year.


Fol. 38r of GA L2137 shows the ecphonetic notation and the red braided bands that separate the different sections of the lectionary.


GA L2208 Bibelmuseum Ms. 18

11th/12th century Gospel lectionary with 207 leaves on parchment (223x170 mm), 2 columns with 25 lines


This colorful lectionary has decoration dividing the reading units in carmine red and green.  The headings indicating the book and the day are often highlighted in yellow—sometimes with red and green initial letters, as are the cross-shaped dots in the text to mark reading breaks, and capital letters to mark paragraphs.


Fol. 44r of GA L2208 showing the beginning of the Matthean period of readings


GA L2276 Bibelmuseum Münster Ms. 21

13th/14th century Gospel lectionary on parchment with 55 leaves (292x230 mm), 2 columns with 28 lines


The manuscript contains many large gaps; of the original 140-150 leaves only about a third are preserved. The sections of the lectionary are separated by small, braided bands or decorative strips in red. The day information in the upper margin, the subheadings, the bookmarks and the ornate, oversized initials at the beginnings of the lessons are also written in red.


Fol. 15r of GA L2276 shows the beginning of the Lukan section


We hope you enjoyed these brief descriptions of the manuscripts in our collection. For those whose interest has been piqued, you can go here to the NTVMR to see full images.


Or better yet, come visit us in person at the Bible Museum in Münster!


[1] Many of the original manuscripts in the collection came from Bishop Hermann Kunst who donated his private collection to the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), stipulating they should be kept by the Hermann Kunst-Stiftung and displayed in the Bible Museum. Others came from the collection of the Loverdos Museum in Athens and a few from private auction houses and antiquarian bookshops.

[2] The largest collection is the Bavarian State Library in Munich with 30 Greek NT witnesses followed by the State Museum in Berlin with 25.

[3] Martin Schøyen loaned 0301 to the Bible Museum over 20 years ago and graciously donated the piece to the Hermann Kunst-Stiftung in 2023.

Three Greek New Testament Manuscripts for Sale

Next month three Gospel manuscripts from the Schøyen collection will be up for auction.

GA 1421, the so called “Charles of Anjou” Gospels, 10th century on vellum (Schøyen Collection, MS 675) 


Image of GA 1421


GA 2836, 12th century manuscript on vellum with 33 leaves of the Gospel of Matthew (Schøyen Collection, MS 694)


Image of GA 2836


GA 2483, 13th century on vellum, originally from Great Lavra Monastery in Athos (Schøyen Collection, MS 2932)


Image of GA 2483

We hope these three manuscripts find a loving home and that the new owners let us know where they have ended up!

Amulets and Ostraca

Image: T2


In an attempt to put the magic back in the Kurzgefaßte Liste, the INTF will be resurrecting the talisman and ostracon numbers.

In the latest issue of JBL (142 no. 4 [2023]: 633–655), Brice Jones and I explore the usefulness of amulets and magical ostraca for New Testament textual criticism. We briefly define these objects and describe how New Testament text is recorded on them. We then survey which amulets and magical ostraca were used in 20th critical editions of the Greek New Testament and why these categories were added and then subsequently removed from the Kurzgefaßte Liste.

Although the essential research is based on Jones’ book, New Testament Texts on Greek Amulets from Late Antiquity, it was fun to dig further into the history of Kurzgefaßte Liste publications to see exactly what happened to these witnesses. Years ago, I saw an unknown symbol in NestleNovum Testamentum Graece. It was not until I read Jones’ book that I finally made the connection that it was an amulet, T3.

Image: Citations of T3 (highlighted) in the Nestle 13th edition (1927) at Matt 6:12–13


Our article, “Resurrecting Amulets and Ostraca in New Testament Textual Criticism,” seeks to explain why the “talisman” and “ostracon” categories have now been continued in the Kurzgefaßte Liste. It highlights the shift in New Testament textual criticism toward an increased appreciation of the social milieu of those who used the biblical text and how this new perspective on the value of amulets and magical ostraca justifies their inclusion in the ECM, CBGM, and the Kurzgefaßte Liste.

Amulets up to T39 and magical ostraca up to Os30 will be catalogued in the Kurzgefaßte Liste as an appendix and will not be included in the tally of Greek New Testament witnesses for now.[1] Readers can see how their inclusion affects already cataloged witnesses and how images and transcriptions of these new additions are already accessible in the NTVMR.

To find which amulets and magical ostraca have been added to the Liste, in the NTVMR, just type in “t” or “os” in the search field under “name” (or use the six-digit Doc IDs beginning with 51 and 52 for “ID” in the search field). Or, you can click here for amulets and here for magical ostraca.

The article explains how these witnesses will appear in the apparatus of ECM Matthew when it is published, as well as in the CBGM. Their inclusion in the CBGM is probably unexpected since they are non-continuous witnesses. From the article,

Amulets have two major disadvantages in the context of the CBGM: (1) they contain a small amount of text, and (2) their text is often an indirect witness; that is, they were not initially created with the primary intention of accurately transmitting the New Testament text. Their limited text poses the same problem as other fragmented texts (like the early papyri), and, on this basis alone, their inclusion in the CBGM would produce cautionary results at best. As indirect witnesses, they would be inappropriately taken as representing the same tradition as continuous text manuscripts or lectionaries that are in the CBGM. (p. 647)

Nevertheless, the Greek text of amulets can be assigned to Greek variants in the apparatus, unlike versions that would have to rely on a retro-translation. In the CBGM, amulets and ostraca, with only a small amount of text available, qualify as “fragmented” witnesses and their inclusion in the Coherence at Variant Passages diagrams can be turned on or off with the button labeled “Frag.” This way, users will have the option to see them or not. Their inclusion is largely exploratory, and a study is planned to appear on the results in the forthcoming edition of ECM Matthew.

Below is the full list of amulets and magical ostraca now recorded in the Liste. If there are any more we should be aware of, please let us know!




Mt 6:11-13



Athens, National Historical Museum, 12227


Mt 4:23-24



Allentown, PA, Muhlenberg College, Pap. 1077 (theol. 2)


Mt 6:9-13



Location unknown, Zuletzt: Germany, (früher: Berlin, Staatliche Museen P. 954)


Mt 6:9; Jn 1:23; Gospel incipits



Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, 13926


Mt 6:9-13



Heidelberg, Ägyptologisches Institut , 761


Mt 6:9-13; Lk 9:37(?); 11:1b-2



Giessen, Universitätsbibliothek, P. Iand. 14


Mt 6:9; Mk 1:1-8; Lk 1:1-7; Jn 1:1-17



Chicago, IL, University of Chicago Library, Ms. 125 (Goodspeed)


Jn 2:1a-2; Rom 12:1-2



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, G 2312


Jn 1:1, 3



Glasgow, University Library, Ms. Gen. 1026/12


Mt 28:19; Mt 4:23; Gospel incipits; Jn 1:1



Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, P. 6096


Mt 4:23; 9:35; 8:15; Mk 1:31



Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, P. 21230


Mt 6:9-11



Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Libraries, AM 8963


Mt 6:9-13



Durham, NC, Duke University, David M. Rubenstein Library, P. Duk. Inv. 778


= 0324



Mt 6:9-13



New Haven, CT, Yale University Library, P. CtYBR 4600


Mt 6:9-13; 2 Cor 13:13(?)



Oslo, University of Oslo Library , P. 1644, fol.;

Oslo/London, The Schøyen Collection, MS 244/4, fol.


Mt 6:10-12



Oxford, Sackler Library, P. Ant. 54


Mt 6:11-13



Köln, Institut für Altertumskunde, Inv. Nr. 3559 (recto), fol.; Inv. Nr. 3583 (recto), fol.


Mt 6:12-13



Köln, Institut für Altertumskunde, Inv. Nr. 3302


Mt 27,62-64; 28,2-5



Oxford, Sackler Library, P. Oxy. 4406


Mk 1:1-2



Oxford, Sackler Library, 25 3B 58/E(c)


Jn 1:1-11



Köln, Institut für Altertumskunde, Inv. Nr. 649, fol.; Inv. Nr. 689, fol.


Jn 1:5-6



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, G 29831


Jn 1:29, 49



Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, P. 11710


2 Cor 10:4; 1 Thess 5:8; Eph 6:16



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, G 26034, fol.; G 30453, fol.


1 Tim 1:15-16



Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, P. 13977





Oxford, Sackler Library, P. Oxy. 2684


Col 3:9-10



London, University College, Petrie Museum, UC 32070


Act 9:1



Birmingham, University of Birmingham Cadbury Research Library, P.Harr. inv. 486


Mt 1:20



Ann Arbor, MI, University of Michigan Library, P. Mich. inv. 4944b


Mt 1:1; Mk 1:1; Jn 1:1



Alexandria, Bibliotheca Alexandrina Antiquities Museum, BAAM 0505


Jn 1:1



Heidelberg, Institut für Papyrologie, P. Lat. 5


Mt 1:1; Mk 1:1; Lk 1:1; Jn 1:1



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, G 348


Mt 6:9-13



Oxford, Sackler Library, P. Oxy. 4010


Ps 21:19/Mt 27:35/Jn 19:24



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, G 29418


Mt 6:11-12



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, L 91


Mt 6:9



Paris, Musée du Louvre, D 552B


James 1:14-17

E V?


Genova, Biblioteca Universitaria, 1160 Vo




Matt 27:31–32; Mark 5:40–41; 9:17, 18, 22; 15:21; Luke 12:13–15, 15– 16; 22:40–45, 45–49, 49–53, 53–54, 55–59, 59–60, 61, 61–64, 65–69, 70–71; John 1:1–9, 14–17; 18:19–25; 19:15–17



Location unknown


Lk 1:42, 28



London, British Museum, EA 33101


John 2:1



London, British Museum, EA 55805


Act 2:22-24 (UC 62598), 2:25-29, 32-36; 3:1-2 (UC 62568); 15:38-16:1, 7-9 (UC 62540+62547); 16:18; 19:1, 8-9 (UC 62567); Rom 13:3-6, 7-11 (UC 62600); Gal 1:8-11 (UC 62732), 15-18; 2:3-8 (UC 62583); James 2:2-3, 8-9 (UC 62719); 4:11-13 (UC 62592); 1Jn 2:12-14, 19-22 (UC 31897); 3:17-22; 4:1-3 (UC 62566), 19-14, 18-21 (UC 62584); Jude 1-3, 4 (UC 62573).



London, University College, Petrie Museum, UC 31897, fol.; UC 62598, fol.; UC 62568, fol.; UC 62540, fol.; UC 62547, fol.; UC 62567, fol.; UC 62600, fol.; UC 62732, fol.; UC 62583, fol.; UC 62719, fol.; UC 62592, fol.; UC 62573, fol.; UC 62566, fol.; UC 62584, fol.


Rom 8:31



Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, Ostraka inv. 129


Lk 1:28



London, British Museum, EA 32966


Mt 1:19-20



Turin, Museo Egizio, Cat. Fab. 2136


Mt 7:18-20, 29-8:4



Cairo, Coptic Museum, Naqlun 53/88, fol.; Naqlun 64/86, fol.


Mt 16:18-19; Heb 5:6



New York, NY, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Acc. no. 14.1.202


Jn 9:1-12; Act 3:11



London, British Museum, Eg. Dept. (?)


Heb 2



Anonymous owner, Anonymous owner, Milan Private Owner


We are still in the process of acquiring images, but many images are already included in the NTVMR, especially ones with text from Matthew, such as T34:


Some ostraca also have images in the NTVMR, for example Os25:


I end with a quote from the article:

While there is little doubt that amulets and magical ostraca provide an important window into early Christian faith and practices, as many have convincingly argued, the precise textual worth of each of these witnesses remains to be determined. Magical ostraca in particular warrant further research, and scholars now have new resources at their fingertips to gain insights into and to research the rich textual history of the New Testament. It is hoped that recording these witnesses in the Liste (and their images in the NTVMR whenever possible), and including them in the ECM and CBGM, will make way for more productive and nuanced research on their worth for textual criticism and the role they play in the exploration of the social history of early Christianity. (p. 655)

[1] Peter Head’s essay, “Additional Greek Witnesses,” in The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research, ed. Ehrman and Holmes, 2nd ed (2013), was especially helpful for bringing the list of ostraca up to date. Correspondence with Theodore De Bruyn was very helpful when I first began to research amulets. I have Joseph Sanzo to thank for bringing to my attention, among other things, that the term “ostraca” really should be “magical ostraca” since we are talking about apotropaic artifacts, not mere citations from the Bible.

How Many Greek New Testament Manuscripts Are There REALLY? The Latest Numbers

By Katie Leggett and Greg Paulson


In this post we'll tackle the question of how many Greek New Testament manuscripts there are using the latest information in the NTVMR. We'll explain how Greek New Testament witnesses are currently registered in the Liste and some of the complexities of counting manuscripts.

The work of cataloguing all known Greek New Testament manuscripts worldwide is a massive endeavor that has been going on for many years. The Kurzgefasste Liste (for more on the history of the Liste, see here) was designed to offer a systematic list of all known Greek New Testament manuscripts and to make them available as potential witnesses for use in critical editions and more widely for scholarly research. Greek New Testament manuscripts are designated with a Gregory-Aland (GA) number and their codicological and paleographical features like date, contents, writing material, script, lines, columns, and dimensions are catalogued.

Just since 2019, an additional 167 Gregory-Aland numbers have been added (2 papyri, 3 majuscules, 81 minuscules, and 81 lectionaries.[1] These numbers would be even higher if we also included the dozens of additions to the Liste which were not given a new GA number but were identified as parts of manuscripts already entered therein. While the Liste aims to offer a census of available witnesses of the Greek New Testament, it is far from exhaustive. It's important to keep in mind there are still more manuscripts we aren't yet aware of. The Liste is constantly in flux. We are very grateful for the support of scholars, librarians, and curators who continue to collaborate and inform us of unregistered manuscripts.[2]

We have also been in the process of cleaning up the Liste by identifying manuscripts that were unknowingly entered twice, combining folios that belong together, and removing manuscripts that never should have been entered in the first place because, for example, they have no New Testament content or were entered without enough information to identify them.

While some might find it disconcerting that so many entries have been stricken from the Liste, this purging process has actually been going on for many years. In the first edition of the Liste (1963), Kurt Aland described this "Bereinigung" and its importance in detail; he continued this reduction process into the second edition in 1994 as well.[3] The desideratum has never been to simply add as many manuscripts as possible but rather to offer the most accurate representation of the available manuscript evidence. We recognize there have been many inconsistencies over the years about what qualifies for inclusion (e.g. Psalms and Odes, prayer books, ostraca, supplements, manuscripts with virtually no information to identify them again, etc.). We are in process of creating more sensible and transparent criteria for what manuscripts should be removed and what will be included in the future.


Counting Complexities

Some of the factors that make tallying manuscripts difficult have been discussed elsewhere but we'll briefly address a few of these issues here.[4]

First, throughout its history, the Liste (or its predecessor inaugurated by Gregory) has included diverse New Testament witnesses such as lectionaries and other liturgical books, amulets, ostraca, and even patristic works; these have been divided between the four main Liste categories of: papyri, majuscules, minuscules, and lectionaries. (But of course, the distinctions between categories are not always clearcut.) Under minuscules one also finds catenae, but not lectionaries even though they are written in minuscule script. Under lectionaries were Psalms and Odes (which will no longer be added) as well as other liturgical books like euchologia.[5] Even if we compare two "complete" New Testaments, a full continuous text of Mark will contain all 16 of its chapters, but a complete lectionary might only contain four or five chapters of Mark (none of which are even a complete chapter). Yet a lectionary will still be considered "complete" for what it was intended for (in this case, liturgy on Sundays). This means when we speak of "manuscripts" we mean a wide range of witnesses with Greek text of the NT, and these of course have varying worth for critical editions, dating from the late second century to the eighteenth century.

Second, numerous manuscripts have gone missing over the years or have been destroyed. We're still working out the best practice for how to deal with these. Should they be counted, especially if there are no images? For the moment if we have good reason to believe a manuscript no longer physically exists (but have not yet confirmed), we have decided to tag it in the NTVMR with the feature called "Manuscript Destroyed." There are currently 56 manuscripts in the Liste tagged as “Manuscript Destroyed”. The majority of these were held at Mega Spileon Monastery in Kalavryta and the Skete of Saint Andrews on Mt. Athos. Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised to rediscover a manuscript presumed destroyed. This was the case, for example, with 0229 formerly housed at the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence. While the 1963 Liste noted it was destroyed, it was, in fact only badly damaged and is now housed at the Papriological Institute in Florence.[6] Another example is the four leaves of 0106 held at the University Library in Leipzig that were listed as "Kriegsverlust" and long assumed to have been destroyed in WW2. However, they were recently rediscovered in the Moscow State University Library.[7]

Another concern is what to do with manuscripts that have long been missing. When we don't know the current location of a manuscript, we list it under "location unknown" (formerly called "Besitzer unbekannt"). There are currently 105 manuscripts in this category, but these are certainly not all the same! Some are here because they were recently auctioned or sold. Numerous manuscripts have landed in private collections, which makes them tricky to keep track of. This was the case for 2805 which was held in a private collection in Athens until it was sold on Christies in 2013. Through a gracious tip[8] we found out it had been purchased by a private collector in New York.

Unfortunately, this proves the exception as private buyers often do not want to be identified, especially if their manuscript has a problematic provenance.

Other manuscripts in "location unknown" like those in Damascus have been missing for over 100 years. Despite our best efforts, we've not be able to verify where these are.[9] But manuscripts that have been missing for decades do occasionally turn up again. Many of the manuscripts held at the Kosinitza Monastery near Drama, Greece were looted during WWI and have been missing since then. Several of these have been located again in recent years including 1424 and 1429 which have been returned to Drama.[10] Just last month we discovered another Kosinitza New Testament manuscript: L2378 that has ended up in Sydney. (Here is a presentation about this lectionary. At timestamp 6:24 the origin of the manuscript and its theft from Monastery Kosinitza is narrated.)

In 2021, GA 2853 was removed from "location unknown" when it was discovered to be the same as 2892 owned by the Van Kampen Foundation and housed in Orlando.[11] Likewise we discovered 2343, whose location has been unknown since at least the 1963 Liste, was at the Walters Art Museum under GA 2375. These few examples illustrate why we never give up hope of a manuscript turning up again after we've lost track of it. 

Adding to the complexity of counting manuscripts is the fact that one entry, that is one GA number, can represent a single fragment with just a few verses like 0317 (pictured below).


Or one GA number can represent a rather voluminous codex, such as L351, with over 300 leaves (pictured below).


While this fragmentary nature is well known for papyri (and perhaps majuscules), this is often overlooked when it comes to minuscules and lectionaries. In fact, approximately 27% of lectionaries have 50 folios or less and 10% of minuscules have 50 folios or less.

Another matter that can make understanding data in the Liste confusing is that there isn't always a one-to-one correlation between an entry in the Liste and a single artefact. That is, one GA number doesn't necessarily correspond to one physical manuscript or a single shelf number at a holding institution. It is possible for multiple artefacts scattered throughout the globe to share a single GA number. This is the case with L2434, which has a current total of 48 leaves dispersed throughout 26 locations.[12] Here is the list of locations of L2434 in the NTVMR.

Or it often happens that a single artefact will be assigned multiple GA numbers, such as Panteleimon Monastery 97, which has been given 17 Gregory-Aland numbers! (See its entry in Pinakes below.) 


Each part of the artefact was given a separate entry because it had unique features which could not be subsumed under a single GA number.

Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana Gr. Z. 10  has two GA numbers, 209 and 2920, because fol. 1-381 were originally Gospels, Acts, Catholic Letters, and Paul, and later a manuscript of Revelation was combined with it, becoming fol. 382-421 in the same codex. These two portions of Gr. Z. 10 are from different centuries, have a different line count, and the script is different (with 2920 resembling 205 according to Gregory). These were clearly originally two separate artifacts and were not intentionally made to be bound together.

Thus, one artefact can be given multiple GA numbers if the physical features (e.g. date, columns, writing material) deviate so greatly from the other parts that it must be catalogued in the Liste as a separate entry to record these distinctions. Here is an example from Barb. Gr. 521, where GA 054 and 392 are bound in the same codex (see below).


And depending on the purpose of an artifact, a shelf mark could represent a collection of material, such as Paris, Suppl. Gr. 1155, which has 11 GA numbers. As you can see in these images, folio 4v Suppl. Gr. 1155 (GA 063) is distinct from the following folio 5r (GA L352) (see below).


Then there are supplemental portions of manuscripts.[13] If the supplement was originally part of another manuscript and was later torn out and bound together with another manuscript, in the past the rule of thumb was that it was assigned a new GA number.[14] Some supplements were created specifically with the intention to replace the missing text in a manuscript, and these are not normally given a separate GA number (e.g., fol. 89-96 in GA 2542).[15] However, this isn't always possible to know for certain, and doesn't change the fact that part of a manuscript may have distinct paleographical and codicological features that cannot simply be subsumed under one GA number. For new entries when a manuscript contains features that varies substantially from the rest of the manuscript,[16] we will consider on a case-by-case basis whether to give that portion a new GA number. We must be careful about assigning GA numbers ad absurdum and inflating the Liste beyond what is manageable or useful.

So, a manuscript scattered across various holding institutes may share a single GA number or portions of a single artefact may be assigned multiple GA numbers. Palimpsests add yet another layer of complexity since the same pages of a single artifact can be assigned two GA numbers. This is the case with Cambridge University Library, Ms. Add. 10062. The undertext is 040 (Codex Zacynthius) containing portions of the Gospel of Luke, and the overtext is L299 with daily readings from the four Gospels. 

Thus, one GA number does not always correspond to a single manuscript or artefact but rather designates a distinct paleographical and codicological witness of the New Testament text. This distinction is useful at times for understanding the data in the Liste and working with manuscripts in the real world. For example, if someone wanted to view Greek New Testament manuscripts at the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel, Germany they would look in the Liste and see eight entries. But if they asked the librarian for eight New Testament manuscripts there might be some confusion since the library has only five artefacts with text of the NT with five different shelf numbers (or six if you count their manuscript of Psalms with Odes!). In other words, how the INTF catalogues manuscript witnesses in the Liste (that is, based on text critical features) may be different than how holding institutions themselves catalogue their manuscripts. In the case of Wolfenbüttel, one of their artifacts was given a second GA number for the book of Revelation, and two of their manuscripts contain palimpsests with New Testament text.

With so many factors that complicate the task of counting manuscripts, it's no wonder that obtaining an accurate tally of Greek New Testament manuscripts is often seen as a fool's errand and the desideratum is round numbers or a gross estimate that may be much higher or lower than the actual number. We fully recognize that the data in the Liste is a work in progress and there are still inconsistencies and errors to be resolved. There are still far too many manuscripts registered which we know very little about. It is likely there are still dozens of duplicate entries and fragmented/separated manuscripts that belong together that need to be identified.[17] Nevertheless, we believe the Liste offers the best data available about the current Greek New Testament manuscript evidence and we strive continually to make it more accurate.

In light of the complexities mentioned above, we are convinced that rather than trying to ascertain how many New Testament manuscripts we have, a more useful question—and one which we can answer by utilizing the NTVMR—is how many New Testament witnesses have been catalogued in the Liste to date. By utilizing the NTVMR, this is relatively easy to find out.

Without further ado, here are the current tallies:


Customizing the Results


The NTVMR also offers users the ability to sort through the data and generate lists which eliminate certain kinds of manuscripts. Providing customized parameters can refine search results. It is possible, for example, to eliminate all manuscripts tagged as "Manuscript Destroyed," or "Presumed Missing," or other liturgical books or commentary manuscripts (including catenae).

For example, if you wanted to know how many minuscules there are that do not have a commentary, you can do the following search in the NTVMR:

Enter "3" as the ID in the "Manuscript Num." field

Select the feature "Commentary"

Check the box "Does not have"

Select the feature "Removed"

Select "Display"

Check the box "Does not have"

(Or click here to perform this search—you can see the search parameters in the URL.)

And you’ll discover there are 2,236 minuscules in the Liste that do not have a commentary.

Another example: if you want a tally of all lectionaries, but do not want to include ones tagged as "Other liturgical books," this can be easily done as well.

Or you can add together all destroyed manuscripts with ones presumed missing, and subtract this number from the total number of manuscripts, which results in 5,541 manuscripts.

Therefore, user can generate a more sparse or refined list of New Testament witnesses depending on their interests or research purposes.


In closing, the current number of entries in the Kurzgefasste Liste, 5,700, is only a snapshot in time; it will surely be outdated soon—probably even before you’ve finished reading this. There are certainly still more duplicate entries to be found, more manuscripts waiting to be assessed, and more discoveries to be made. While we continue to hope for new discoveries, particularly as exciting digitization efforts are underway in places like Sinai and Athos, it's also possible the current numbers will decrease as more entries are combined and we continue to prune results so we can offer the most accurate and reliable inventory of the Greek New Testament manuscript evidence.


[1] Some of these lectionaries were inserted in the free numbers L1581–L1598 and L1596 (see here).

[2] Here a special word of thanks is due to the tireless efforts of Georgi Parpulov who has informed us of dozens of new additions, many of which result from Birmingham’s Catena project.

[3] See Aland, "Einführung," in the Liste (1st ed., 1963), 12ff.

[4] See J. Raasted, Review of the 1963 Liste, Libri 16 (1966): 75–76; J.K. Elliott, Review of the 1994 Liste, NovT 39 (1997): 85–87; D.C. Parker, An Introduction to the New Testament Manuscripts and Their Texts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 38–46.

[5] We are waiting for a full-scale analysis of the liturgical books catalogued in the Liste before we undertake any efforts to sort through which manuscripts in the lectionary category should be removed.

[6] This error seems to stem from translating the Italian "distrutto" as "destroyed" instead of "badly damaged." See Iginio Crisci “La collezione dei papiri di Firenze” in Proceedings of the Twelfth International Congress of Papyrology, ed. Deborah H. Samuel, ASP 7 (Toronto: Hakkert, 1970), 93

[7] R. Ast, A. Lifshits, and J. Lougovaya, "Codex Tischendorfianus 1, Rediscovered and Revisited," ZPE (2016): 141-160.

[8] Thanks to Brent Niedergall for this information.

[9] For some background on these missing fragments see here.

[10] L1240 and 2856 both stolen from Kosinitza are now in Sofia, Bulgaria. It is also highly likely that this manuscript, sold in 2004 through Sotheby’s, is Kosinitza's L1244.

[11] Thanks to Hugh Houghton for his assistance in this discovery. Unfortunately, the whole Van Kampen collection seems to have now gone underground with the closing of the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, FL.

[12] Some of these leaves were in the Liste under four different GA numbers. After Andrew Patton identified them as originally belonging to one lectionary, dismembered by Otto Ege, they were consolidated under the GA number L2434. Since then numerous leaves have been added. For more watch the video here.

[13] Dealing with supplements has admittedly been handled in different ways throughout the years and there are many inconsistencies in the Liste concerning which supplements get their own GA number and why. Hundreds of manuscripts have anomalies, e.g. in contents, line count, different hands etc. and recording these goes beyond the scope of a "kurzgefasste" list.

[14] This is generally observable when the contents of the biblical text overlap (e.g., 278 and 2898), although this is rare—more often a lectionary and a minuscule will share the same codex; or Revelation (which often circulated by itself) will be added to the end of an existing codex.

[15]The most famous exception to this rule is Vatican gr. 1209 (i.e. GA 03 and 1957).

[16] How much divergent material a manuscript should contain and how many features must be different from the main part of the manuscript depends on several factors. As a rule of thumb, if only one or two features vary, we will insert a brief footnote to explain which features are different. If we are dealing with three or more divergent features, we consider assigning a new number. For example, a manuscript contains 50 pages written three centuries later with a different line count and a different number of columns than the main manuscript, then the case could be made that these folios represent a unique instantiation of the New Testament text which merit a new GA number. This is our criteria going forward. The INTF does not currently have the time and resources to review all previously entered manuscripts for supplements that may meet these criteria.

[17] This is especially true for the lectionaries. We are currently in the process of uploading microfilm images for lectionaries in the NTVMR which will make it much easier to identify duplicate entries or folios that belong together.

Selective Reading and Unsubstantiated Criticism

A Response to David Pastorelli: La mise en oeuvre de la cohérence prégénéalogique dans le cadre de la Coherence-Based Genealogical Method: évaluation critique. BABELAO 10-11 (2022) 169-188

David Pastorelli claims to have detected a major flaw in the CBGM: a bias in favor of the Byzantine witnesses due to a “dysfunction of pre-genealogical coherence” (p. 187). He considers pre-genealogical coherence to be “paramount in the implementation of the method”,[1] while genealogical and stemmatic coherence are only mentioned in passing. The claim of the philologists using the CBGM, the editors of the ECM in the first place, who assure that philological assessment of variants is at least as important as the coherence-related calculations, is disregarded altogether. Having thus reduced the object of his criticism to a handy format Pastorelli tries to show pre-genealogical coherence to be a “fallacious employment of percentages and averages”.[2] Instead of using the CBGM, he recommends a return to the text-type theories of the 20th century which he considers to represent facts that need no further discussion.

The CBGM is a computer-aided philological method that in a fair scientific debate must not be reduced to one of its elements. Had Pastorelli read Mink’s introductions to the CBGM more carefully, he could not put forth a sentence like this:

Pre-genealogical coherence is the type of coherence most important for establishing the initial text.[3]

Moreover, he would not confuse the terms “substemma” with “local stemma” or textual flow diagrams with the global stemma.[4] Nevertheless, let us see whether Pastorelli’s criticism of pre-genealogical coherence as such is valid.

For the main part of his critical review Pastorelli refers to the chapter on pre-genealogical coherence in an introduction to the CBGM by Wasserman and Gurry.[5] In this chapter Wasserman and Gurry demonstrate how pre-genealogical coherence could be applied to two variant passages:

Mark 1:1 om. υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ

Matthew 16:27

Using data available at <> Wasserman and Gurry show that the pre-genealogical coherence of the attestations of Mk 1:1b and Mt 16:27b and c is weak. This means that for several or all of the respective witnesses their close relatives do not share the same variant. This is correctly interpreted as a symptom of multiple emergence of these variants.

Pastorelli criticizes this method in three points.

1) The calculation of pre-genealogical coherence

Pastorelli constructs an example of two witnesses x and y differing from each other in two passages. The agreement rate of these two would be zero for the variant passages comprised by the sample. Then a third witness z would be added. This witness would differ from x and y at 98 passages. On this basis the agreement rate for x and y would rise to 98%. Concerned by this result Pastorelli asks, “What should the proportion of witnesses and variant passages be?”[6] – The answer is simple. As Mink has repeatedly emphasized, all relevant evidence has to be taken into account, and that is, in the case of the Greek New Testament, the total of variants yielded by a full collation of all Greek witnesses included in the critical apparatus of a writing.[7] The CBGM does not claim to produce useful results for a selection of two or three manuscripts. Pre-genealogical coherence is not about extrapolating on the basis of samples.

2) The delimitation of the variant passages

Pastorelli criticizes the delimitation of variant passages in the ECM apparatus as arbitrary without substantiating this proposition with a single example. Instead, he refers to an unsubstantiated statement of Bengt Alexanderson: “This is all arbitrary, a ‘place of variation’, a reading, a variant, a passage can be anything.”[8]

The terms “reading” and “variant” are well defined for the ECM:

“A reading is the generic term for the wording of a textual unit in which a manuscript is distinguished from one or more or from all other manuscripts. A variant refers to one of at least two readings of the same textual unit which is grammatically correct and logically possible in its context. Errors are readings which do not fulfil these criteria. [...] Alternative and orthographically possible forms of the same variants are classed as orthographica.”[9]

The delimitation of variant passages and, correspondingly, the segmentation of a critical apparatus is a complex editorial task. Mink says,

“Places of variation are places in the text where variants appear. At least two different variants occur in a place of variation [...]. A place of variation may comprise more than one word, but it can also be the space between two words. Ideally, it covers a logical unit of variation. This means that mutually interdependent changes to a text should belong to one unit of variation (e.g. if a subject and correspondingly the predicate are put in the singular). A unit of variation can also be postulated when a group of words presumably belonged together in a copyist’s view (e.g. if a word group consisting of article/particle/noun shows changes in different combinations for the article/noun and for the particle). Sometimes, very pragmatic considerations might be adduced to determine a unit of variation, so as to enable the comparison of all texts at a certain place. Places of variation may also overlap. In one place of variation the question may be e.g. whether a rather large group of words has been omitted or not; yet another instance of variation may result from variants within that group of words whenever it was not left out.”[10]

Any editor who ever constructed a critical apparatus will agree that the delimitation of variant passages has a subjective element. Still, it is possible to derive quantitative data as a basis for pre-genealogical coherence from a comparison of the included witnesses at all variant passages since the underlying database contains a statement for each witness at each variant passage as either containing one of its variants or being deficient.

3) Witnesses may contain mixed texts

Pastorelli points out that the textual character of 579, 037 and 032 changes due to block mixture. It is true that this was not taken into account by Wasserman and Gurry. This does not call into question, however, their overall result, namely the lack of pre-genealogical coherence of Mk 1:1b and Mt 16:27b, because the attestations of these variants do not comprise these witnesses.

One argument that Pastorelli puts forth against taking account of pre-genealogical coherence is the use of threshold values in Wasserman’s and Gurry’s treatment of Mk 1:1 and Mt 16:27. Once again Pastorelli tries to turn a tool made for a completely different purpose against the CBGM. He states,

The most important impact of pre-genealogical coherence in statistical terms is the arbitrary decision to fix a threshold value below which the witnesses are ignored in the comparison. For a given manuscript, this threshold value is its percentage of agreement with the majority text. For example, this percentage of agreement for 09 is 96.3% which does not allow to take more than three witnesses into account: 07 (97.0%), 1341 (96.8%), and 031 (96.4%).[11]

As if it was the only means available for the study of pre-genealogical coherence, Pastorelli here refers to a clustering tool developed in the context of Parallel Pericopes, a special ECM volume regarding selected pericopes in the Synoptic Gospels:[12] <>. The data basis and the purpose of the two clustering tools offered on this site are clearly explained on the start page:

The two clustering tools may be used to compare groupings found through “Text und Textwert” with ones based on the full collations for “Parallel Pericopes”.[13]

A third tool called “Find Relatives” is introduced on the same page as related to pre-genealogical coherence:

“Find Relatives” applies the “Parallel Pericopes” groupings to attestations of variant passages. It is designed to show an important aspect of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM): pre-genealogical coherence in attestations.

All three tools are explained by comprehensive guides accessible from their individual interfaces.

Pastorelli does not care about such complexities when he launches his attack against the threshold value in the lists of relatives produced by the Parallel Pericopes clustering tool. Neither does he care about tools developed after 2011 in the context of the ECM. In 2013, the second edition of the Catholic Letters appeared along with a suite of CBGM tools related to these writings here. In 2017, Acts appeared along with an online counterpart here. The same applies to Mark, which appeared in 2021. For Acts and Mark, CBGM tools are available here. Had Pastorelli cared to look at these tools he could have seen that none of the lists of relatives provided for each included witness is ever cut off due to a threshold value.

In 2016, Wasserman and Gurry used the Parallel Pericopes clustering tool for their demonstration of pre-genealogical coherence in a brief introduction to the CBGM. Pastorelli’s criticism against the CBGM is based on this introduction and the clustering tool published in 2011. He ignores the CBGM tools and related literature published since. It is probably due to such selective reading that Pastorelli thinks a Byzantine variant to be automatically preferred by ECM editors, just because its attestation is pre-genealogically coherent:

Well, as far as the Byzantine text-type features the strongest homogeneity, a characteristically Byzantine reading definitely shows the strongest coherence and automatically obtains the preference (reading a).[14]

However, about ten percent of the majority readings listed in the ECM apparatus have coherent attestations but still are deemed secondary, because internal evidence argues against them. The ECM commentary on Mk 1:1/12-16 is a good example for a discussion of all evidence relevant for the decision in favor of a majority reading.[15] Coherence provides only one argument among many others.

The reasons for a preference of 36 majority readings in Acts are spelled out in general terms in the introduction to ECM Acts:

Since the Textus Receptus was overcome by the scholarly textual criticism of the 19th century, there is tenacious negative bias against the Byzantine majority text. Wherever well-known, older textual witnesses like Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, and even more so in combination with a papyrus, stand against the majority of minuscules, the decision against the majority text was often made easily, without seriously considering the quality of the variants in question. Therefore, the editors of the present edition have taken two facts as paramount.

First, it is often overlooked that in the vast majority of variant passages only a few witnesses differ from all the others. As a rule, the popular witnesses from the 4th/5th centuries and, if extant, from even earlier papyri, agree with the majority of all witnesses. This implies that at all these passages the old age of the majority text is not in doubt.

Second, it is necessary to distinguish consistently between a manuscript and the text transmitted in it. “Recentiores non deteriores” is a principle widely accepted in editing philology, but in New Testament scholarship it was applied only to a few younger manuscripts featuring similar textual peculiarities as Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. For the reason given above, it is undoubtedly true that the textual tradition as a whole goes back to a very early period and that the coherent transmission of the majority of all textual witnesses provides a strong argument for, not against, the variant in question.

If the bias against the text of the majority of all witnesses has been overcome, then the variants transmitted by the majority will appear in a different light, even if some early witnesses read differently. It can then be considered with due impartiality whether or not a majority reading does in fact follow the tendency towards the fuller, easier, more smooth variant. There can be no doubt that this tendency exists, but it applies to the transmission on the whole, not only with scribes of younger manuscripts. It is true that variants of this kind accumulated in the majority text, but in more than a few cases the more difficult variant is in the majority text. Moreover, the editorial team of the ECM sees a strong external criterion in favor of the majority reading where a variant with A-related attestation is confirmed by the majority, because this points to a continuous transmission since the early period.

As a consequence, the text of ECM Acts agrees with the majority variant in 36 out of 52 cases where textual decisions were made against NA28. There are only two cases where a decision was made against the majority variant in NA28.[16]

Moreover, Pastorelli purports that by preferring variants because of pre-genealogical coherence users of the CBGM had re-introduced the number of witnesses as a criterion for the assessment of an attestation.[17] This contention is just as unsubstantiated as is the purported automatic preference of pre-genealogically coherent attestations.

Another false proposition refers to the Byzantine text. Without looking for a confirmation by ECM editors Pastorelli cites Wasserman and Gurry saying that we still see the Byzantine text form as a text-type.[18] It cannot be denied, of course, that the late Byzantine text has reached a relatively stable form, but this is not a valid reason for a partial return to the text-type theory. If we abolish the concept of text-types, it follows that we can no longer use the term “Byzantine text” as defined by Metzger. It has become obsolete to consider the Byzantine text form as “based on the recension prepared near the close of the third century by Lucian of Antioch”,[19] but many still see it as the last text-type standing. Having emerged from the recension hypothesis, however, the term “text-type” should be given up completely.[20]

If we use the term “Byzantine text” it serves as a short form of “late Byzantine majority text”. If we do so, we are aware that it means the last phase of a process whose beginnings are marked by manuscripts like Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. The transmission of the Greek New Testament forms a continuum whose overall structure is still calling for an adequate description. The goal is to understand how the late Byzantine majority text developed and which factors were at work in this process. New research is due starting from the genealogical relationships between variants and an exploration of the relationships between their witnesses.



Novum Testamentum Graecum. Editio Critica Maior

Ed. by the Institute for New Testament Textual Research.

Vol. I The Synoptic Gospels, Part 2 The Gospel of Mark, ed. by Holger Strutwolf, Georg Gäbel, Annette Hüffmeier, Marie-Luise Lakmann, Gregory S. Paulson, and Klaus Wachtel. Stuttgart: German Bible Society 2021.

Part 2.1: Text, Part 2.2: Supplementary Material, Part 2.3: Studies.

Vol. III Acts of the Apostles, ed. by Holger Strutwolf, Georg Gäbel, Annette Hüffmeier, Gerd Mink, and Klaus Wachtel. Stuttgart: German Bible Society 2017.

Part 1.1: Text Chapter 1-14, Part 1.2: Text Chapter 15-28, Part 2: Supplementary Material, Part 3: Studies.

Vol. IV Catholic Letters, ed. by Barbara Aland, Kurt Aland†, Gerd Mink, Holger Strutwolf, and Klaus Wachtel. Stuttgart: German Bible Society, 2nd rev. edition 2013.

Part 1: Text, Part 2: Supplementary Material.

Parallel Pericopes. Special volume regarding the synoptic gospels, ed. by Holger Strutwolf and Klaus Wachtel, Stuttgart: German Bible Society 2011.

Metzger, Bruce M.: The Text of the New Testament. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press 31992.

Metzger, Bruce M., and Bart Ehrman: The Text of the New Testament. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press 42005.

Mink, Gerd: Contamination, Coherence, and Coincidence in Textual Transmission, in: The Textual History of the Greek New Testament. Changing Views in Contemporary Research, hg. v. Klaus Wachtel und Michael W. Holmes, (SBL Text-Critical Studies 8) Atlanta 2011, p.141-216.

Mink, Gerd: Problems of a highly contaminated tradition: the New Testament. Stemmata of variants as a source of a genealogy for witnesses, in: Studies in Stemmatology II, ed. by P. van Reenen, A. den Hollander and M. van Mulken, Amsterdam [u.a.] 2004, [13]-85., Corrigenda here.

Text und Textwert der griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments, ed. K. Aland et al. Vol. IV Die Synoptischen Evangelien, 1 Das Markusevangelium; 2 Das Matthäusevangelium; 3 Das Lukasevangelium (Berlin/New York: De Gruyter, 1998-1999). Vol. V Das Johannesevangelium, 1 Teststellenkollation der Kapitel 1-10 (Berlin/New York: De Gruyter, 2005).

Wasserman, Tommy and Peter Gurry: A New Approach to Textual Criticism: An Introduction to the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature 2017.



[1] Pastorelli 174: “capitale dans la mise en oeuvre de la méthode”.

[2] Pastorelli 180: “utilisation fallacieuse des pourcentages et des moyennes”.

[3] Pastorelli 170: “La cohérence pré-généalogique est le type de cohérence le plus important pour l’établissement du texte initial.”

[4] Cp. Pastorelli 172.

[5] Wasserman/Gurry 2017, p. 37-58.

[6] Pastorelli 178: “Quelle proportion entre témoins et lieux variants faut-il avoir?”

[7] Cp. Mink 2011, p. 145-146.

[8] Pastorelli 179.

[9] ECM IV.1, p. 27*; ECM III.1, p. 24*; ECM I.2.1, p. 16*-17*.

[10] Mink 2004, 27-28.

[11] Pastorelli 181: “L’impact le plus important de la cohérence pré-généalogique en terme statistique est la décision arbitraire de fixer un seuil en dessous duquel les témoins sont ignorés dans la comparaison. Pour un manuscrit donné, ce seuil est son pourcentage d’accords avec le texte majoritaire. Par exemple, ce pourcentage d’accords pour 09 est 96,3%, ce qui ne permet de prendre en compte plus que trois témoins : 07 (97,0%), 1341 (96,8%) et 031 (96,4%).”

[12] ECM: Parallel Pericopes, ed. Holger Strutwolf and Klaus Wachtel. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft 2011.

[13] The tool called “T&T Mss. Clusters” is based on Text und Textwert der griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments, ed. K. Aland et al. Vol. IV Die Synoptischen Evangelien, 1 Das Markusevangelium; 2 Das Matthäusevangelium; 3 Das Lukasevangelium (Berlin/New York: De Gruyter, 1998-1999). Vol. V Das Johannesevangelium, 1 Teststellenkollation der Kapitel 1-10 (Berlin/New York: De Gruyter, 2005).

[14] Pastorelli 182: “Or, dans la mesure où le type de texte byzantin présente l’homogénéité la plus forte, une leçon byzantine caractéristique détient, à coup sûr, la cohérence la plus forte et elle reçoit automatiquement la préférence (leçon a).”

[15] ECM I.2.3, p. 9-10 or here.

[16] K. Wachtel: Notes on the text of the Acts of the Apostles, in ECM III.1,1 p. 30*-31*. By the way, this text also comprises a report about the application of CBGM procedures, including pre-genealogical coherence, to Acts.

[17] Pastorelli 182-183.

[18] Pastorelli 182.

[19] Metzger, Text of the NT, 31992, 212. – The 4th edition of Metzger’s “Text of the New Testament”, co-authored by Bart Ehrman, says about the term “Byzantine text” that “its final form represents a slowly developing tradition, not one that sprang up immediately at one time and place” (42005, S. 279).

[20] For a brief discussion of the text-types as defined by Metzger for Mark see Wachtel, Notes on the Text of Mark, in ECM I.2,3 p. 1-7.

How Does ECM Mark Change the Way Textual Criticism is Taught?

While the theme of the SBL annual meeting this year in Denver was “reconnect,” the meeting also created unique opportunities to make new connections. One of these opportunities was at a joint session of the ECM and Gospel of Mark program units. This was a chance for exegetes and text critics to come together and share with each other about the intricates of their fields and how textual criticism influences exegesis and vice versa.


In this spirit, Alicia Myers, New Testament professor and exegete at Campbell University, and I presented on how to use ECM Mark and how this changes the way we teach textual criticism. It was a difficult topic, especially fitting it all in the time limit, but we hope we did it justice. We’ve recorded our presentation and made it available on the INTF’s YouTube channel. Here’s a link:


For anyone who has never used an edition of the ECM, this is probably the best place to start since it goes over the basics and gives an impression of how to actually incorporate use of the edition in the classroom.

Liste (Greek) and Manuscript Catalogue (all)

The NTVMR began as a digital environment to carry out editorial work on the Greek New Testament. As the NTVMR has continued to expand and evolve, we have hosted a variety of research projects there; although most of these projects are related to the Greek New Testament, some have to do with languages other than Greek (e.g. the Mark16 project) or even deal with non-canonical texts (e.g. 1 Clement).


To support these projects, we have been allocating new Doc IDs in the NTVMR to a variety of relevant primary resources which do not belong in the Kurzgefaßte Liste. For example, Got1; syH3; sa 1; VL 1; arm 252.


This has recently created some confusion about which materials searchable on the NTVMR actually belong in the Liste since non-Greek New Testament resources were included in the same database.  


Therefore, we have taken steps to make this distinction clearer by changing the “Liste” link so that only what belongs in the Kurzgefaßte Liste, i.e., manuscripts designated with a Gregory-Aland number, are located under this link. This should correspond to what will be included in the forthcoming printed Liste.


For those who benefit from other research projects in the NTVMR beyond the parameters of Greek New Testament manuscripts, we have created a new link labeled “Manuscript Catalog,” which has all available documents (including all Greek New Testament witnesses included in the Liste).


All documents in the NTVMR are now available under the new link in the sidebar on the homepage:


Manuscript Catalog (All)


The link for the Liste is now restricted to only items in the Kurzgefaßte Liste:


Liste (Greek)


By providing separate search tools we hope to offer the user an experience that is tailored to their specific research purposes. Researchers who want to work strictly with Greek New Testament manuscripts will now have a more efficient platform to do so. Likewise, those who want to incorporate other traditions into their research will continue to see all results available under “Manuscript Catalog (all).”

ECM Coptic Position (Parttime)

At the INTF there is a parttime position available for a Coptic specialist (36 months maximum). Responsibilities include collecting data on Coptic manuscripts of Galatians and Ephesians and transcribing them for the ECM. Please see the post for more information:

ECM Mark has Arrived

The ECM of Mark was published at the end of July! It is available to order through the German Bible Society’s website.


The complete title is Novum Testamentum Graecum: Editio Critica Maior, Volume I: The Synoptic Gospels, book 2: The Gospel of Mark. This numbering might be confusing since the Catholic letters were titled ECM IV and Acts was designated as ECM III. The INTF has been working on the Synoptic Gospels (ECM volume I), and Mark is book two of volume I, or ECM I.2 for short. We are now working on ECM Matthew which will be published as ECM I book 1, or ECM I.1. Here's an overview of the ECM volumes, bearing in mind only the Catholic Letters, Acts, and Mark have been published:

Volume I: Synoptic Gospels

Volume II: The Gospel of John

Volume III: Acts

Volume IV: Catholic Letters

Volume V: Paul's Letters

Volume VI: Revelation


Like ECM Acts, there are three parts to ECM Mark: (1) text and apparatus, (2) supplementary material that explains which manuscripts were selected and has introductions to the versions and other detailed information, and (3) a collection of studies on the text of Mark in different manuscript traditions. Part 3, Studies, is where the "Text-Critical Commentary" can be found.


Image of the Three Parts of ECM Mark


As promised in a previous blog post, we now present links to digital tools and downloads that accompany the printed edition and offer access to the data behind the edition.


Here is the link to CBGM Mark 3.5This is the third phase of the CBGM for Mark. The .5 indicates we  have made several changes to the local stemmata in the current phase, but did not systematically go through all the variants again to bring it to a new phase. A local stemma of variants has been established at each variant passage. What we called “Genealogical Queries” for Acts and Catholic Letters, we are now just calling “CBGM” since the former term didn’t really take off.


The start page of the CBGM (see below) also has instructions for the CBGM Docker, containing now both Acts and Mark. The CBGM for these two books can be downloaded onto your own computer and you can edit the local stemmata. I’ve already posted a video tutorial on how install Acts CBGM, but the Docker image now also includes Mark CBGM.

Image of the CBGM start page


The Greek text and apparatus of the ECM of Mark is also available online (the digital ECM). Clicking on a manuscript in the apparatus of Mark calls up its transcription. The “Text-Critical Commentary,” published in the Studies volume (3), is also available free online. All passages with a commentary will display a highlighted speech bubble. For example, go to Mark 1:1, word address 12-16, and click on the speech bubble (see image below). It will bring you to the commentary for that passage and you can read why υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ, a Byzantine reading, was adopted over υἱοῦ θεοῦ as the initial text. Users are also invited to comment on passages in the NTVMR forum, which Klaus Wachtel also mentioned at the end of his blog post on the Text-Critical Commentary.


Returning to the apparatus, if you click on the circle icon (see image below), this brings you to the CBGM for this passage.


The Patristic database has been updated to include Mark (see image below). Now both Acts and Mark are available.


Image of Links to the Text-Critical Commentary, CBGM, and the Patristic Database in the digital ECM


Last but not least, the ECM Mark page on the INTF's website now has lists of textual changes between the ECM of Mark and the text of Mark in NA28 and split lines in ECM Mark.


In ECM Mark there are:

33 textual changes. Interestingly, 21 of these changes are in accordance with the Byzantine text. If you’re curious about the reasons these readings were chosen, the textual commentary can help shed some light on these decisions.

There are also 126 split lines in ECM of Mark. In most of the split lines (107 to be exact), the Byzantine text is one of the variants given equal weight as the Ausgangstext.


With its comprehensive apparatus based on full transcriptions of 209 Greek manuscripts and a text newly established on the basis of a systematic method—the CBGM—ECM Mark intends to offer an enduring contribution to the field of textual criticism. It is our hope that researchers will take advantage of the free transcriptions (on the NTVMR) and access to the editorial textual decisions (via the CBGM and Text-Critical Commentary).


Although these tools (1) the CBGM, (2) the CBGM Docker container, (3) the digital ECM, (4) the Text-Critical Commentary, and (5) the Patristic database may seem daunting at first, they offer a wealth of material; it is worthwhile to take the time to explore them and discover how they might be beneficial for your own research.


In the Preface to the Studies volume of ECM Acts, Holger Strutwolf said: “The ECM does not see itself as an end at all, but rather as opening a new phase of text-critical work on the New Testament” (ECM III/3, Preface). The same continues to be true for ECM Mark.

Greek Lectionary Leaves for Sale in Cologne

In our work updating the Kurzgefasste Liste, we discovered these Greek lectionary leaves for sale at a private antiquities dealer in Cologne, Germany. The four 13th century parchment leaves have not been entered in the Liste yet but seem to be part of L2144, divided between Duke University and Yale. 


Image from Antiquariat Jürgen Dinter


The dealer in Cologne offers no information about provenance, but gives the following description:

4 leaves (225 x 145 mm) of a mid 13th century lectionary on vellum.

leaf 1


Lucas 22, 32 – 39: περὶ σὺ ἵνα μὴ … καὶ ὁι μαθηταί

Mt 26, 2: οἰ δατε ὅτι λετὰ … εἰς τὸ σταυρο[θῆναι]


Mt 26, 3-13: [σταυρο]θῆναι … ἐποιησεν αὕτη εἰς  [μνημόσυνον αὐτῆσ

leaf 2


Mt 14, 15-22: [… καὶ ἡ ὤρα ἤδη παρῆλδεν] ἀπόλυσον τοὺς ὄχλους … πολύσῃ τοὺς ὄχλους

Mt 15, 32: προσκαλεσάμενος ὁ ισ. τοῖς ματηθαίς … οὐ θέλω μή[ποτε ἐκλυθῶσιν …]


Mt 15, 32, 33: [… μή]ποτε ἐκλυθῶσιν – 39:  εἰς τὰ ὅρια Μαγαδάn

Mt 14, 22-25: ἠνάγκασεν … τετάρτῃ δὲ φυλακῇ τῆς νυκτός [ἤλθεν πρὸς …]

leaf 3


Mt 26, 20: […ἐσθι]όντων εἶπεν ἀμὴν λέγω …  σκανδαλισθησεσθε ἐν ἐμοὶ [εν τῇ νυκτι ταύτῃ …]


Mt 26, 31-39: ἐν τῇ νυκτὶ ταυτῇ, γέγραπται γὰρ πατάξω τὸν ποιμένα, καὶ διασκορπισθήσονται τὰ πρό βατα τῆς ποίμνης … πλήν οὐχ ὡς ἐγὼ θέλει ἀλλ‘ ὡς σύ.

Lukas, 22, 43-: ὤφτη δὲ αὐτῷ  ἄγγελος … ἀπὸ τῃσ προσευχῆς ἔρχεται πρὸς τοὺς

leaf 4


Joh. 19, 7-13: [ἀπηκρίθησαν ἀυτῷ] ἰδαίοι ἡμεῖς νόμον ἔχομεν … Τότε οὖν παρέδοκεν αὐτον ἵνα σταυρωθή.


Mt 27, 3-14: ἰδῶν ιοῦδασ … θαυμάζειν τὸν [ἡγεμόνα λίαν …]


Here’s the link to the dealer:


We hope these leaves find a good home!

We’d also be very happy if the new owner would let us know where they have landed so we can keep track of them for the Liste.

Online Tools for the ECM

The ECM of Mark is currently being printed and will be available soon. Once it appears in print, we will make our online tools for it accessible. These will include the digital edition, the CBGM, a Docker container, and a list of textual changes compared to the NA28.


Even though the ECM of Acts was published back in 2017, we realized we have not posted the list of textual changes online for Acts like was done for the ECM of the Catholic Letters. So, in this post, I thought I would take the opportunity to review what is already available for the ECM of the Catholic Letters, update online resources for ECM Acts, and explain what will be available for the ECM Mark.


The INTF’s homepage lists a number of “Online Utilities”. These cover different topics but I’ve singled out the pertinent ones for the ECM and CBGM and have listed them here for convenience.

Image: ECM Volumes and available Digital Tools and Downloads


ECM IV: The Catholic Letters

Textual Changes

The ECM of the Catholic Letters (2nd edition, 2013) contained 33 textual changes compared to the NA27. These changes were adopted in the NA28 and are listed in the NA28 on pages 50*-51* and posted on the INTF’s website under “NA28” and Textual Changes. The first printing of the NA28 listed 34 textual changes, but the entry concerning the elision in ἀλλά in 1 Peter 2:25 was removed in later printings (since it is only orthographical); this resulted in 33 textual changes. Spellings were changed in a number of locations in the NA28. For a complete list see Orthographical standardization under “NA28” in “Online Utilities”.


Split Primary Lines

A split primary line occurs when the editors leave the decision open where two or more variants of about equal weight should be adopted in their reconstruction of the Ausgangstext. There are 43 split-line (diamond) readings in the ECM of the Catholic Letters, which were incorporated into the NA28. A list of diamond readings was posted under the “NA28” link under Split Primary Line in ECM2. The NA28 itself does not list these.



The Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM) offers tools for reconstructing the Ausgangstext in the ECM which is based on full transcriptions of witnesses. Decisions are based on textual criticism and philological study of all variants. The CBGM and its data for the Catholic Letters is available online here.



Textual Changes

Compared to the NA28, the ECM of Acts has 52 textual changes. For a list, see Textual Changes under “ECM Acts” in “Online Utilities”.


Split Guiding Lines

There are 155 split lines in ECM Acts. A list of these is found under Split Primary Line.



The CBGM for Acts is also available online here. Phase 4 of the CBGM for Acts uses the new interface designed by the Cologne Center for eHumanities.


Textual Commentary and Digital Edition

It’s important to note that all of the textual changes and split lines are discussed in the online textual commentary on the NTVMR, explained here. The “Text-Critical Commentary” gives concise reasons why one variant is favored over another (in the case of textual changes) or explains why the decision has been left open (in the case of split lines).

            This commentary has been integrated into the digital ECM (dECM). The dECM displays the text of ECM Acts (different from the NA28) and offers interactivity that is not possible in a printed edition. For example, the apparatus links to transcriptions and images of manuscripts, there is more versional data included than what was in the printed ECM, and every variant unit has a link to the specific passage in the CBGM.


Patristic Citations

There is also the online database of Patristic citations available here. What is innovative about this database is that the reader is not only given the specific work of the author cited but also the full context of the quote. Nikolai Kiel has described how the ECM treats Patristic citations.


Docker Container

The newest addition to ECM Acts is the Docker container, which is a downloadable package that enables you to run the CBGM for Acts on your own computer. Different from the online CBGM, the program enables you to make different textual decisions and reestablish the local stemmata to your own theories. Video instructions for the CBGM Acts Docker are found here, which also includes a short introduction to the CBGM.



After the ECM of the Gospel of Mark appears in print (26 July 2021), we’ll upload a list of textual changes and split guiding lines online. Like Acts, there will be an online textual commentary, a digital version on the NTVMR, the CBGM (with downloadable docker container), and the Patristic citations database.


Image: Advertisement of ECM Mark from German Bible Society


We hope these resources will guide readers to better understand the data behind the editions and can provide a solid starting place for further research to take place. Now that a Docker container is available for Acts, anyone can now experiment with the CBGM, which may be the best way to learn how the method works firsthand.

How to Make a Critical Edition on the NTVMR

(Updated @Classics URL for how to make a critical edition.)


The NTVMR is useful tool for researching Greek New Testament manuscripts (and manuscripts in other languages as well). The platform can, however, seem daunting at first sight. Over at the Digital Orientalist, I have written a short overview of the NTVMR and given brief explanations of the its main features. It can be read here:



You can also find helpful information about how to use the NTVMR under:


For those of you who are already familiar with the NTVMR and want to collate manuscripts and make your own critical edition, there is a step-by-step guide, now published in @Classics, which can be accessed here:


This guide will show you how to view the differences between any manuscripts of your choosing (provided you or someone else has already transcribed them) on the NTVMR.


Image of Unedited Realtime Collation tool in the NTVMR


The NTVMR is not just a space to view images, but offers a customizable environment to build your own text-critical project. I hope you give it a try! Feedback is welcome.

Download the CBGM Docker Container

There is now a docker container available for the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM) for Acts. It can be downloaded here:

Here is a tutorial on how to install it and a brief introduction to how the CBGM works:



Mink, Gerd. “The Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM) – Introductory Presentation.” Release 1.0, 2009,


---. “Problems of a Highly Contaminated Tradition: the New Testament. Stemmata of Variants as a Source of a Genealogy for Witnesses.” Studies in Stemmatology II, edited by Pieter van Reenen, August den Hollander, and Margot van Mulken, John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2004, pp. 13-85. Limited Google Books preview


Novum Testamentum Graecum: Editio Critica Maior, ed. the Institute for New Testament Textual Research. Volume III: The Acts of the Apostles, ed. Holger Strutwolf, Georg Gäbel, Annette Hüffmeier, Gerd Mink, and Klaus Wachtel. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2017.


Wachtel, Klaus. “An Interactive Textual Commentary on Acts.” INTF Blog,

Remarks on Carlson, “A Bias at the Heart of the CBGM” (Guest post by Gerd Mink)

Just recently, Stephen Carlson’s article, “A Bias at the Heart of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM),” appeared in Journal of Biblical Literature. While we at the INTF read this with great interest, we were soon disappointed by the number of misunderstandings contained therein. Criticisms of the CBGM are always welcomed, and we are eager to incorporate suggestions for improving it. Unfortunately we were not able to use Carlson’s publication as fodder for making improvements because his article evinces a general lack of understanding of the method.


The suggestion to integrate “a common-error criterion within the mechanisms of the CBGM” shows that Carlson has not understood how the CBGM approach is fundamentally different from Lachmannian stemmatology, particularly with regard to errors. In a recent publication, Klaus Wachtel targets this exact point:


For the CBGM, coherence is the pre-eminent feature of the New Testament manuscript tradition for which it was developed in the first place. In Lachmannian methodology, common errors are used to trace genealogical structures. [...]

          In the context of the CBGM, all grammatically sound, or at least tolerable textual differences, which are not merely orthographical, are considered variants. An indicative error would have to be a variant in this sense to be genealogically useful because, as a rule, clerical errors were corrected, not copied, by the scribes. The CBGM abstains from identifying variants as errors, a principle that offers two advantages over against the common-error method: (1) we do not have to know at the outset, relying only on our philological acumen, which variants are errors and which are true renderings of the text in a pristine exemplar; and (2) we are not immediately confronted with the problem of contamination which admittedly [...] is the biggest problem for Lachmannian genealogy.

          Instead, we can make use of quantitative data regarding similarities and differences between witnesses, i.e. pre-genealogical coherence, to get an impression of the consistency of attestations. [...]

          The most important innovation brought about by the CBGM compared to Lachmannian methodology is the perception and description of genealogical relations. According to [the neo-Lachmannian scholar] Trovato, the relationship between any two manuscripts A and B can be assigned to one of three types, A>B, B>A, or A<x>B. For the textual tradition of the Greek New Testament, it would not be a reasonable goal to describe the relationship between any two manuscripts following this pattern. For any two New Testament witnesses A and B, i.e. states of text preserved in manuscripts, there is textual flow of the type A>B, which stands side by side with flow in the opposite direction (B>A), as well as A<x>B, due to contamination

(Wachtel, “The Development of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM),” 438-439, referring to Trovato, Lachmann’s Method, 57).


Gerd Mink, who first devised the CBGM, has been retired for some years now but has taken the opportunity to engage with the main points of Carlson’s discussion. Because he wanted to respond in a timely manner, he decided a blog post would be best. Therefore, below I present Mink’s remarks.


1. Invented Textual Genealogy: Carlson’s Scenario 2


In his article “A Bias at the Heart of the CBGM,” Carlson complains that the CBGM cannot figure out a simple scenario that he has invented himself. His scenario 2 has 18 variant passages with two variants each, which are assigned to five witnesses (including the initial text A); a simple case indeed. Carlson speaks of errors; I will use the term variants and assume that their agreements in the same place are not coincidental and rest upon high connectivity variants. Thus, both errors and variants are equally able to connect witnesses stemmatically.

Image: Figure 4. Carlson, 330


The stemma in fig. 4 shows Carlson's results, and it is not surprising that it corresponds exactly to the invented case. Carlson uses phylogenetic software to display such figures. The analysis behind them evaluates the agreement of the witnesses and their distance from each other, measured by the number of disagreements that separate them. To put it simply: agreements argue for belonging to the same branch; disagreements cause the branch to split.

Image: Chart of 18 Passages. Carlson, 330


The case seems well constructed to fit the resulting stemma. According to Carlson, the CBGM is not able to reconstruct this scenario and therefore must be rejected.


It is an unfortunate disadvantage for Carlson that his own scenario has such a small number of witnesses and variants because it gives the reader other options to come up with different stemmata than he did. A higher number would have been better since it would restrict the range of possible combinations in the global stemma. In the present simple case the 18 variant places correspond to 18 local stemmata of variants (‘a’ is the prior variant and ‘b’ is the posterior variant: a>b). These also allow for global stemmata of witnesses other than what are presented by Carlson in fig. 4 (see above). In addition to the four witnesses and the initial text A, Carlson invented two lost hypothetical witnesses, X and Y, that have left no traces in the local stemmata and are only visible to the inventor of the scenario.


Therefore, the text critic can proceed only from the variants at the 18 passages. It is not difficult to find stemmata that are compatible with all 18 local stemmata, for instance:

The stemmata have 5 nodes (= 4 witnesses and the reconstructed initial text A) and 6 edges (= arrows connecting stemmatic ancestors and descendants) each. These stemmata are more parsimonious than Carlson's fig. 4 because they do not require hypothetical witnesses.

It may be helpful to give an explanation about the left stemma. Here are what the arrows represent:

  • Arrow A > B: B agrees with A at the variant places 2-18. At place 1, the variant of B is derived from A. All 18 places are agreements or are prior variants in A.
  • Arrow A > E: E agrees with A at the variant places 1, 6-11, 13-16. E is derived from A at the variant places 2-5, 12, 17-18. All 18 places are agreements or are prior variants in A.
  • Arrows pointing to C: at variant place 1, C agrees with A and E. At variant places 2-5, C agrees with E. At variant places 6-11, C is derivable from A or E. At variant places 12, 17-18, C agrees with A. At variant places 13-16, C agrees with A and E. All 18 places are agreements or are prior variants in A and/or E.
  • Arrows pointing to D: at variant place 1, D agrees with A and E. At variant places 2-5, D agrees with E. At variant places 6-11, D agrees with A and E. At variant place 12, D agrees with E. At variant places 13-16, D is derivable from A or E. At variant places 17-18, D agrees with A. All 18 places are agreements or are prior variants in A and /or E.

It is a little irritating that Carlson always speaks of “witnesses”, but also calls his invented witnesses “manuscript copies” and uses the formulation “stemma codicum” (p. 326; p. 336 referring to real witnesses), which, however, he contradicts on the same page (cf. note 49). In fact, Carlson has developed two scenarios of manuscripts that are copied from each other and whose copyists make errors (on implications of the distinction between witness and manuscript cf. below and Mink, “Manuscripts, Texts, History, and the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method,” 281-283).


The CBGM deals with witnesses, not manuscripts. In Carlson's constructed case, manuscripts and witnesses are the same thing, a fact that cannot be deduced from the data. The data does not reveal anything about the completeness of the tradition, i.e. whether witnesses are directly or indirectly related. The latter is the normal case in the NT tradition and renders a stemma codicum impossible. In the CBGM, a global stemma displays a structure of the data according to specific rules; it does not immediately display the actual history of transmission—a phylogenetic stemma does nothing else, by the way.


The alternative stemmata above contain contamination. In a global CBGM stemma, which can show only the preserved tradition and does not include lost links, several arrows pointing to a witness do not mean that contamination has necessarily taken place in that witness. Still, it may appear there as a result of contamination in lost predecessor witnesses. (On contamination as a process and as a result of a loss of witnesses cf. Mink “Introductory Presentation,” 58-63; cf. also the section “How to Understand a Global Stemma” in Mink, “Manuscripts, Texts, History, and the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method,” 284-287.)


In other stemmatic methods, it may be that hyparchetypes represent lost predecessor witnesses. Let us take the left alternative stemma again. Arrows point from E and A to D. E and D show many agreements. At some places, however, we read in E an older variant, in other places vice versa. That is what the local stemmata indicate. The reason for this situation can be that the transmission is split or is contaminated. The data do not tell us anything about it. Maybe a lost hyparchetype caused the textual state in D. Therefore, the left alternative stemma could be compatible with Carlson's stemma. We cannot know how many hyparchetypes and where in the stemma they should be assumed, especially in a more complex situation. (On the needlessness of hyparchetypes, see Mink, “Manuscripts, Texts, History, and the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method,” 289; Mink, “Problems of a Highly Contaminated Tradition,” 48, 59-67; Paulson, “Improving the CBGM,” 301f.)


In his essay, Carlson takes scenario 1 (10 variant passages) as his starting point. The only difference in scenario 2 (18 variant passages) discussed here is that C and D have additional variants compared to scenario 1. Yet, according to Carlson's invented scenario, the stemma should remain the same—except for the greater distances of C and D from A. In order to test how the CBGM processes his hypothetical scenario, Carlson has chosen the completely wrong approach; he uses potential ancestors and textual flow diagrams instead of stemmatic coherence. The above mentioned alternative stemmatic possibilities, based on scenario 2, would also be compatible with scenario 1 since its data is only a subset of the data of scenario 2. Carlson's example does not demonstrate what he wanted it to demonstrate.


The essential point is: the CBGM does not claim to reconstruct the historical sequence of copying activities. Phylogenetic methods do not achieve this either (cf. Bordalejo, “Genealogy of Texts”). Also Carlson has not reconstructed but rather invented a copying scenario following what his method is able to represent. He must introduce hypothetical witnesses X and Y because his graphic (bifurcating and allowing terminal nodes only for non-hypothetical witnesses) requires this. Yet, X and Y left no definite traces in the data, so in a parsimonious graph there is no need to assume them. And what has left behind no traces, cannot be found. The data is not unambiguous.


As we see, we can invent still other copy scenarios for the same local stemmata. We can declare that one of them (including contamination) is the actual one, and—as it appears—Carlson's method used for fig. 4 would not find it, despite its simplicity. Would Carlson then make the same judgment about the method he applies as he did about the CBGM?


2. Epistemological Premises


Here is Carlson's verdict on the CBGM:


“If a method cannot handle this simple case correctly, it should be rejected or fixed so that it can” (p. 325).


“If a method is misled in the simplest of cases due to some bias, how confident can one be that it will work in the more complicated cases?” (p. 335).


We should bear in mind that no method, not even computer-aided, can reconstruct historical events in detail (see again Bordalejo). This is even more obvious when elements (here the hypothetical witnesses) are hidden, as is the case in Carlson’s chart of 18 passages.


In principle, where we have positive knowledge, we do not need hypotheses. If we know some details of the copying history, we must apply this knowledge in the CBGM or any other method. Normally, we know only the variants. As for the stemma, many possibilities may arise. The witnesses in Carlson's fig. 4 have their place due to the introduction of hypothetical witnesses and because Carlson knows the copying history, as he invented it himself. Again, it is easy to invent another copying history with the same texts, but it would not be represented by the method used for fig. 4.


3. Key Terms and Concepts of the CBGM Approach Misunderstood


The core problem of Carlson’s article is that he does not seem to understand the overall concept of the CBGM. Although he refers to CBGM terms, which are explained in almost all publications on the CBGM, he does not understand them according to their rigid and precise definitions; these definitions correspond to rules on how the associated values are obtained and the defined terms do not allow for connotative interpretations. Moreover, he does not observe the intentions and claims of modules contained in the Genealogical Queries.


3.1 Textual Flow Diagrams


One of Carlson’s key misunderstandings is that he reads textual flow diagrams as if they were genealogical representations of actual textual history. He does not follow the definitions of potential ancestor and textual flow diagram (even though he cites them!). The potential ancestors are, of course, hardly ever the actual ancestors of any manuscript. They are also not proxies for which there would be some text to reconstruct. They do not represent anything but themselves. The textual flow diagrams are not stemmata (Gurry wrote explicitly on this point in “The Harklean Syriac” p. 198). Nor does the coherence of an attestation determine whether a reading is the initial text.


It is crucial in the CBGM not to confuse genealogical coherence with stemmatical coherence nor potential ancestors with stemmatic ancestors (or even actual historical ancestors of manuscripts). Only a few of the potential ancestors have a chance to become stemmatic ancestors in a substemma of the descendant in question, even if they have the highest ranking numbers. On the other hand, witnesses which are not potential ancestors can become stemmatic ancestors in an optimal substemma.


3.2. Relatives Tables


To interpret textual flow diagrams correctly, it is important to know that they are only simplifying graphic representations of the data; they must be viewed with the Relatives table in the new interface for Acts, phase 4 (or in “Show Tables” option for the Catholic Letters) for a better understanding of the genealogical scenario.


For an example in a new interface which has not yet been transferred to the Catholic Letters, go to Coherence and Textual Flow in Genealogical Queries Acts (phase 4).

Image: Genealogical Queries for Acts


Next, click on any manuscript and see the result.



Example of Relatives Table for 03 in Acts


The column with the percentages shows pre-genealogical coherence, that is, the textual agreement between two witnesses which does not change no matter how many prior variants a witness has. The columns W1<W2 and W1>W2 show the results of the construction of the local stemmata between two witnesses: in the example above, 01 has 192 prior variants to 03, and 03 has 328 prior variants to 01. Using textual flow diagrams without consulting the data behind them (i.e. the Relatives tables) can be misleading. (See also Wachtel on this:; and on how to interpret the listings of potential ancestors, see especially Mink, “Introductory Presentation,” 255-297.)


3.3 Connectivity


Another fundamental problem is that Carlson does not seem to comprehend the purpose of the connectivity option in Genealogical Queries (cf. Carlson, 325, 334, and passim).

Image: Option to select connectivity in Genealogical Queries


This option enables users to test the stability of the resulting diagrams by setting different values. In many cases, the values of 10 (in the Catholic Letters) or 5 (in Acts) are only reasonable starting points. Instability will raise doubts if high connectivity has been assumed on internal grounds. No definitive statements about connectivity are made regarding textual flow diagrams. There is no right or wrong value. The inserted value is based on the user’s (preliminary) assessment. Different areas in a textual flow diagram may even require different connectivity assumptions (depending on closer or more distant relationship of witnesses in an area). Definitive statements are required during the construction of substemmata to decide on whether possible stemmatic connections are necessary. (Cf. Mink, “Introductory Presentation,” 529-537.)


4. Essential Methodological Procedures Neglected


In short: Carlson has used the tool “Coherence in Attestations” for something for which it was not designed. Instead, he should have dealt with stemmatic coherence, the formation of optimal substemmata, and the global stemma; only there do hypotheses about the stemmatic structure of the tradition develop. Carlson, however, neglects this and other major parts of the methodology he criticizes.


4.1 The Text Is the Witness, the Manuscript its Carrier


It is also unclear whether Carlson understands that in a contaminated tradition almost every witness, even a potential ancestor, has a proportion of both older and younger variants compared to any close relative. In his section that deals with 1 Jn 1:7 (scenario 3), Carlson writes (p. 336),

This situation not only resembles that of scenario 2, but it inspired it. In both cases, the potential ancestor bias manifests itself against witnesses that branched off early from the predominant textual flow but acquired a large number of secondary and singular readings of their own. The texts that correspond to scenario 2's C and D in the textual transmission of 1 John are 01 and 02.

Carlson correctly identifies the reasons that lead to greater distances from A than we see in 1739. His phylogenetic software displays these distances, too (for the place of 01 in light of CBGM data, see Mink, “Introductory Presentation,” 270-295, especially 290.). As for scenario 2, we do not know the kind of variants which produce the distances there.


To take 01, 02, and 1739, which are cited by Carlson, as examples: in the Catholic Letters. The text of 1739 does not have a genealogically older text than 01 or 02 in every place but in the majority of places, i.e. it has ancestor variants more often than vice versa. Only these places could offer a connection pointing from a stemmatic ancestor to a descendant in the global stemma (i.e. not the places where the ancestor reads text posterior to the descendant). And of course, there are places where 1739 has text posterior to 01 or 02. Carlson claims there is “a bias against texts on old lineages like 01 and 02, and a bias in favor of stemmatically later texts like 1739 whose copying is more strictly controlled. The net effect of this bias is to overvalue the witness of 1739 at the expense of 01 and 02” (p. 337).


On which basis are texts considered “stemmatically later”? Is an early textual error more valuable than textual accuracy documented in a later manuscript? It is neither bias nor contradiction to identify older variants in younger manuscripts. At the many variant places where the witness 01 reads a posterior variant, it cannot be an ancestor of the witness 1739. Carlson jettisons the important distinction between the age of a manuscript and the age of its text as represented in the majority of its variants. In this context again, it is of great significance not to confuse potential ancestors with stemmatic ancestors, nor textual flow diagrams with global stemmata, and a stemma of witnesses (=texts) must not be read in the same way as a stemma codicum.


4.2 The CBGM Is a Tool, not a Decision-Maker


At the end of his essay, we find the following curious statement: “The potential-ancestor formula favors certain witnesses at the expense of others in certain genealogical configurations that it cannot detect a priori” (p. 339). The role of potential ancestors is not to detect genealogical configurations. A potential ancestor is a witness with more prior variants than the witness being compared. Genealogical configurations are offered in optimal substemmata. The role a given potential ancestor will play there cannot be read from lists of potential ancestors or textual flow diagrams.


Carlson continues: “For 1 John, it appears that the CBGM favors 1739 at the expense of Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus, and the full extent of the bias is not apparent. It has probably made the omission of δέ in 1 John 1:7 more viable than it really is.” Apart from the fact that there is no bias, the textual non-decision (i.e. split primary line) in 1 Jn 1:7 is not required by the CBGM as such. The CBGM provides tools and does not make textual decisions. Text-critical decisions like the one in 1Jn 1:7/3 are never enforced by some algorithm or automatism of the CBGM. These decisions are made by the editors. Anyone who has familiarized themselves with a basic introduction like Wasserman and Gurry’s A New Approach to Textual Criticism would know this.


5. Conclusion


In closing, Carlson's assumption that there is bias in the CBGM is the result of misunderstandings and wrong application. Any method will have advantages and disadvantages as well. Proper understanding of its possibilities and limitations is crucial. Different methodological approaches to textual criticism are highly welcome as is informed and substantiated criticism. Overall, however, it appears that Carlson’s latest article has only very selectively grappled with literature which explains the CBGM and has not grasped the overall concept of the method and its key components. Wachtel's essay, The Development of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM), its Place in Textual Scholarship, and Digital Editing, would serve here as a useful corrective to understanding that the CBGM is deliberately non-Lachmannian.

The problem is not that Carlson clearly favors a different method than the CBGM. In fact, Edmondson's 2018 Ph.D. thesis demonstrates that an analysis of the CBGM is also possible from a phylogenetic perspective (Edmondson, An Analysis of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method Using Phylogenetics). In only selectively and superficially engaging with the relevant literature, Carlson’s article has unfortunately cultivated a new series of misunderstandings about the CBGM and its functionalities, most of which could have been avoided had he just made use of my entry level “Introductory Presentation.”

It is hoped that my blogpost encourages interested researchers to form their own opinion based on the relevant literature on the CBGM. The aforementioned “Introductory Presentation” may be a good start.


Works Cited


Bordalejo, Barbara. “The Genealogy of Texts: Manuscript Traditions and Textual Traditions.” Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, vol. 31, no. 3, 2016, pp. 563-577. Links to publisher and Academia


Carlson, Stephen C. “A Bias at the Heart of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM).” Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 139, no. 2, 2020, pp. 319-340.


Edmondson, Andrew Charles. An Analysis of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method Using Phylogenetics. 2019. University of Birmingham, PhD dissertation.


Gurry, Peter J. “The Harklean Syriac and the Development of the Byzantine Text: A Historical Test for the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM).” Novum Testamentum, vol. 60, 2020, pp. 183-200. Links to publisher and Academia


Mink, Gerd. “The Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM) – Introductory Presentation.” Release 1.0, 2009,


---. “Manuscripts, Texts, History, and the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM): Some Thoughts and Clarifications.” The New Testament in Antiquity and Byzantium: Traditional and Digital Approached to its Texts and Editing. A Festschrift for Klaus Wachtel, edited by H.A.G. Houghton, David C. Parker, and Holger Strutwolf, De Gruyter, 2019, pp. 281-293. Link to publisher


---. “Problems of a Highly Contaminated Tradition: the New Testament. Stemmata of Variants as a Source of a Genealogy for Witnesses.” Studies in Stemmatology II, edited by Pieter van Reenen, August den Hollander, and Margot van Mulken, John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2004, pp. 13-85. Limited Google Books preview


Paulson, Gregory S. “Improving the CBGM: Recent Interactions.” The New Testament in Antiquity and Byzantium: Traditional and Digital Approached to its Texts and Editing. A Festschrift for Klaus Wachtel, edited by H.A.G. Houghton, David C. Parker, and Holger Strutwolf, De Gruyter, 2019, pp. 295-307. Links to publisher and Academia


Trovato, Paolo. Everything you always Wanted to Know about Lachmann’s Method. 2nd ed.,, 2017.


Wachtel, Klaus. “The Development of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM), its Place in Textual Scholarship, and Digital Editing.” The Future of New Testament Textual Scholarship, edited by Garrick Allen, Mohr-Siebeck, 2019, pp. 435-446. Links to publisher and Academia


---. “An Interactive Textual Commentary on Acts.” INTF Blog,


Wasserman, Tommy and Peter Gurry. A New Approach to Textual Criticism: An Introduction to the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method. SBL, 2017.


Gospel Lectionary for Sale

Update July 16, 2020: L1996 is no longer a private sale, but is now being auctioned:


One of the most challenging parts of keeping the Kurzgefasste Liste up to date is keeping track of the current locations of manuscripts. While many manuscripts remain at the same location for centuries, others have the tendency to be more elusive and have proven tricky to keep tabs on. Take, for example, the manuscripts in the Schøyen collection. In the last few years, we’ve discovered that a number of these have been auctioned:

  • 0220
  • 64
  • 1361 / L2383
  • L1995
  • L2404

These are now housed at the Museum of the Bible. Schøyen also had a lectionary, L1996 (MS 800), in his possession until it was sold it in 2010. Formerly part of the Sir Thomas Phillipps collection, L1996 is a 12th century Greek Gospel lectionary with 247 leaves. We didn’t have any information about its new location since 2010.


Pinakes noted that the Robert McCarthy Collection in London had a leaf of L1996, a miniature of the evangelist John.


As far as we were aware, the McCarthy Collection only had single pages of artwork (miniatures) from manuscripts rather than full manuscripts with text of the Greek New Testament. However, after inquiring with Georgi Parpulov, who contributed to The McCarthy Collection, vol. 1 Byzantine Miniatures (2018) catalogue, we learned that actually the whole L1996 manuscript was in the McCarthy collection (BM 2326), and Parpulov had personally examined it. He explained that a miniature was bound to the binding of L1996 but did not originally belong to it; in 2018, this miniature leaf was removed from L1996.


Microfilm of miniature from L1996 on NT.VMR

We updated the Liste with this new information and were happy to have found the new location for L1996 after having lost track of it for over 10 years.


Literally one hour later, we came across the sale of a 12th century Greek Gospel lectionary through Christie’s. After requesting more information about the private sale, we discovered this lectionary was, in fact, L1996! See here for the Christie’s private sale, although it takes a little scrolling to find it.


Screenshot of Christie's sale


At the time of writing, this manuscript is still available for purchase. We are hopeful we’ll receive a notification from the new owner when it is sold so we don’t lose track of it again. We are also lucky to have images of L1996 on the NT.VMR to help identify it in the future.


Keeping track of auctioned manuscripts is not an easy task. We are very grateful to the many scholars and researchers out there who continue to assist us with this endeavor.

To that end, we are still trying to trace down the location of these three Greek NT manuscripts, auctioned in the last few years (also mentioned here).


GA 2346: Sold on Sotheby’s in 2016, 11th century Gospels with commentary sold as part of the Charles Caldwell Ryrie collection.


GA 2805: Sold on Christie’s in 2013, 11th century, Acts and Letters of the Apostles, formerly in Athens.


GA 851: Sold on Sotheby’s in 2009, Gospels, illuminated Gospel manuscript on vellum, owner unknown for many years.


The INTF is still offering a small prize for anyone who can help us pin down the new location of these manuscripts!


Änderung der Transkripte: ΤΓ > ΤΤ


Änderung der Transkripte des Markusevangeliums für die Editio Critica Maior (ECM) aufgrund paläographischer Untersuchungen zu dem Wort κραβαττος.


Eines der schwierigsten Wörter sowohl für die frühen Kopisten als auch für die heutigen Transkribenten ist das Wort κραβαττος ("das Bett"), das in den neutestamentlichen Berichten von der Heilung gelähmter Menschen mehrfach verwendet wird (insgesamt 12x: Mk 2:4. 9. 11. 12; 6:55; Joh 5:8-11. 12v.l.; Act 5:15; 9:33).

Κραβαττος, so die lexikalischen Form, erscheint in den Handschriften (des Markusevangeliums) auf sehr unterschiedliche Weise und weist in den Transkripten eine ungewöhnlich hohe Fehlerquote auf; es findet sich kaum ein Transkript, dass den Text der Vorlage korrekt kopiert - auch nicht bei Transkribenten mit langjähriger Erfahrung. Dies liegt sicherlich nicht zuletzt in der Lesegewohnheit begründet, bei der das Auge hauptsächlich die ersten und die letzen Buchstaben eines Wortes erfasst, die dazwischen liegenden Buchstaben nur oberflächlich aufnimmt und aus der Erinnerung ergänzt bzw. beim Kollationieren dem vorgegebenen Basistext anpasst.

Zu den Orthographica gehören die Vertauschung der doppelt bzw. einfach gesetzten Konsonanten β und τ:

a. κραββατος 

b. κραβατος

c. κραββαττος

sowie die Lesart

d. κραβακτος (und das Neutrum το κραβακτον).

Als Fehlerlesarten sind zu werten:

a. κραμβατος

b. γραβαττος

c. κραβαντος

d. κραββαντος

e. κραβανττος

f. κρεβαττος

g. κρεβαντος

h. κραβαγτος

die sich jedoch z.T. erklären lassen: 

a. verschreibt das erste β durch μ, verursacht durch das vergleichbare Erscheinungsbild in der Minuskelschrift (wobei allerdings das Beta nicht nach links verbunden wird). Dies begegnet z.B. auch bei dem Wort ραββι/ραμβι (vgl. V. Gardthausen, Griechische Palaeographie, 2. Aufl., Leipzig 1978, II 213 f). (Link zu 1. Aufl.).

b. ähnelt der lateinischen Form grabatus. 

c.-e. verschreiben ττ durch ντ, vielleicht aus lautmalerischen Gründen.      

f.-g. Vokalvertauschung α/ε. Hierfür gibt es allerdings lediglich zwei Zeugen (GA 032 und 13; vgl. auch 872*), die allerdings nur in 6:55 κρεβαττος bzw. κρεβαντος schreiben, in der Geschichte der Heilung des Gelähmten in Kapharnaum (2:4. 9. 11. 12) jedoch übereinstimmend die korrekte Form κραβαττος bezeugen. Dies deutet auf ein Versehen hin.

h. Mit dieser Lesart begegnet eine Wortform, die - wenn sie nicht ähnlich wie c.-e. auf lautmalerische Gründe zurückgeht - eine Fehlerlesart ist, die ihren Urspung in einer paläographischen Besonderheit hat, die offenbar vom Schreiber nicht (mehr) erkannt wurde: Die Schreibung des Doppelkonsonanten ττ in der Minuskelschrift (s.u.).

Am weitesten verbreitet waren die Lesarten κραβαττος und κραββατος. Auffällig ist, dass die Schreibweise auch innerhalb einer Handschrift variieren kann, die Schreiber also an den verschiedenen Stellen unterschiedliche Wortformen genutzt haben, wie beispielsweise:

GA Mk 2:4 Mk 2:9 Mk 2:11 Mk 2:12 Mk 6:55
1216 κραββατον κραβαττον κραβαττον κραβαττον κραββατον
1579 κραβατον κραβαττον κραβαττον κραβαττον κραββατον


Insgesamt kann aber beobachtet werden, dass häufig bei textlicher Nähe (2:4-12) die gleiche Schreibweise verwendet wurde, an der späteren Stelle dagegen (6:55) eine andere.

Eine Besonderheit stellt in diesem Zusammenhang die Schreibweise des doppelten Tau (ττ) dar, die in den Handschiften oftmals wie eine Verbindung von Tau und Gamma  (τγ) erscheint und daher in den Transkripten - fälschlicherweise - bisher auch als solche transkribiert wurde (z.B. κραβατγον).

Hinter dieser Ligatur steht das Bestreben der Minuskelschrift, Buchstaben ohne Aufheben des Stiftes in einer Linie zu schreiben und die waagerechten und senkrechten Striche miteinander zu verbinden. Dies führte sowohl für das Gamma als auch für das Tau zu ähnlich erscheinenden offenen Formen: ⋎. Beide Buchstaben konnten nach rechts mit dem folgenden Buchstaben verbunden werden, so dass es zu einem nicht mehr unterscheidbaren Erscheingungsbild kam:

1243, Mk 6,55, Z.15   (κραβατ-τοις)

und ebd. 7,4, Z.27   (αγο-ρας).

Diese offene Form des Tau war vor allem in der frühen Kursive gebräuchlich. In den Handschriften wird sie jedoch nicht mehr für ein allein stehendes Tau verwendet; sie findet sich nur noch in den Ligaturen für das doppelte Tau (ττ = τγ) (vgl. Gardthausen [s.o.] ΙΙ 202. 215).

Ein Vergleich aller Schreibweisen dieses Wortes an den fünf Stellen im Markusevangelium zeigt, dass die Majuskelform ττ sowie die kursive Schreibweise in der Ligatur τγ unterschiedslos verwendet wurden:

GA 2,4 2,9 2,11 2,12 6,55


ττ τγ ττ ττ ττ
351 τγ τγ τγ τγ ττ
788 τγ τγ τγ τγ ττ
826 τγ τγ τγ τγ ττ
863 ττ ττ τγ ττ ττ
1029 ττ ττ τγ τγ ττ
1216 ττ τγ τγ τγ ττ
1243 τ τ τγ τγ τγ
1579 τ τγ τγ τγ τ
1675 τγ τγ τγ τ / ττ τ
2193 τγ τγ τγ τγ ττ
2411 ττ ττ ττ τγ τ


Dass die Schreibung τγ die offene Darstellungsform des ττ ist und nicht als Tau-Gamma gelesen werden darf, zeigt sich vor allem bei Worttrennungen zwischen diesen beiden Buchstaben, wie sie z.B. GA 261 bei Mk 2:4; GA 495. 543. 826 bei Mk 6:55 und GA 892 bei Mk 2:11 vorkommen: An (fast) allen genannten Stellen im Markusevangelium verwendet der jeweilige Schreiber die Ligatur in Form von τγ, nur an der Stelle der Worttrennung schreibt er: κραβατ-τον. Er versteht also die Ligatur korrekt, wohingegen in GA 124 an der ersten Selle Tau - Gamma getrennt und im weiteren Verlauf der Schrift einheitlich τγ verwendet wird; hier scheint der Schreiber das Wort κραβατγον gelesen zu haben, wohl in Unkenntnis dieses paläographischen Phänomens.

Die Verwendung der Ligatur für das doppelte Tau kommt neben κραβαττον auch in anderen Worten des Markusevangeliums vor:

GA 472: 7:37 εκπληττοντο

GA 863: 7:36 εκηρυττον

GA 1542: 1:22 εκπληττοντο

GA 2738: 1:27 επιταττω; 1:30 πυρεττουσα

Wir haben uns entschieden, die Ligatur des doppelten Tau in den Minuskeln - die ja vergleichbar ist mit der offenen Form des doppelten Sigma - auch als ττ zu transkribieren und nicht mehr - wie bisher - als Fehlerlesart τγ.

Die entsprechenden Korrekturen der im NT.VMR publizierten Transkripte des Markusevangeliums für die ECM wurden bereits abgeschlossen, für die übrigen Transkripte - besonders der Apostelgeschichte (ECM Bd. III) - wird sie folgen. 


New Developments in Text Type Theories

The latest issue of Biblische Notizen has just been published and should be useful for anyone interested in text types (see here). One of the articles, written by Holger Strutwolf, offers a historical foray into theories of the development of variants, suggesting that new methods and theories are needed to take into account the complexity of the New Testament manuscript tradition. Another article, written by Klaus Wachtel, describes how traditional theories of text types can be abandoned using the CBGM. His abstract states, “Dieser Neuansatz geht von der Beschreibung von Beziehungen zwischen individuellen Textzeugen aus, die als Elemente einer generellen Entwicklung gesehen werden, die in der spätbyzantinischen Textform ihren Abschluss findet.”
We hope everyone is staying safe and taking good care of yourself and your loved ones during this difficult time.

Studien zum Text der Apokalypse III

We are happy to announce the next volume of studies concerning the text and transmission of Revelation. It represents major research results from the ISBTF staff and associates in preparation of the ECM of Revelation. The essay collection “Studien III” edited by Marcus Sigismund and Darius Müller together with Matthias Geigenfeind is now available from De Gruyter and can be found at select bookstores. The volume consists of four parts: 1) Progress report of the Project, 2) Greek transmission, 3) Versions (Latin, Ethiopic, Georgian, Arabic, Slavonic), and 4) an edition of the marginal glosses of GA 2323 concerning the text of Revelation. We hope this offers a bit of easy reading amid the corona crisis and sweetens your time working from home. Have fun reading it! Positive reviews are welcome wink.

New Testament manuscripts from Mount Athos. Part II: Manuscripts on paper

Image: GA1591 ff. 3v-4r, from Mount Athos online repository


This is a follow up to my pervious post on parchment manuscripts from the Holy Community of Mount Athos online repository. The following is a list of Greek New Testament manuscripts on paper that have a Gregory-Aland number (clicking on them will redirect you to the Mount Athos website):










l 626

l 661

l 738

l 741

l 747

l 872

l 873

l 1054

l 1203

l 1689

l 2357

Links to the Athos repository are already being added in the NT.VMR for these manuscripts as well.

Here I also add to the previous list of “new” Greek New Testament manuscripts from the repository that are to be assigned Gregory-Aland numbers:

— 20 Items per Page
Showing 1 - 20 of 38 results.

Recent Bloggers Recent Bloggers

Darius Mueller
Posts: 2
Stars: 5
Date: 17/06/24
marie-luise lakmann
Posts: 3
Stars: 12
Date: 29/05/24
Katie Leggett
Posts: 1
Stars: 3
Date: 04/05/24
Greg Paulson
Posts: 24
Stars: 68
Date: 19/01/24
Klaus Wachtel
Posts: 2
Stars: 3
Date: 13/03/23
Theodora Panella
Posts: 2
Stars: 6
Date: 09/03/20
Jan Graefe
Posts: 2
Stars: 0
Date: 18/09/19
Siegfried G. Richter
Posts: 1
Stars: 3
Date: 01/07/19
Nikolai Kiel
Posts: 1
Stars: 4
Date: 06/06/19