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Volume 26 (2021)


Pasi Hyytiäinen, The Changing Text of Acts: A Phylogenetic Approach (pp. 1–28)

Abstract: New Testament textual critics have long maintained that the earliest textual tradition of the Acts of the Apostles is bipolar, transmitted in two early textual forms. This conviction is now being challenged, with recent studies suggesting that the tradition is more complex than the two-text concept had proposed. How should we then approach Acts? This article approaches Acts from an evolutionary point of view, applying phylogenetic methods to its manuscripts. Scholars have been using computer-assisted phylogenetic methods for years to produce trees and networks that describe the relationships among manuscripts within a textual tradition. These methods were originally developed for evolutionary biology, but studies have shown that they can also be applied to manuscript traditions. Here, these methods are applied to selected manuscripts to test their applicability, since Acts has never been subjected to such a study. Chapter 5 of Acts is used as a test case to demonstrate how phylogenetic analysis can be conducted. The preliminary results point to a complex set of relationships among manuscripts, concurring with recent hypotheses about the complexity of the tradition. At the same time, however, these methods do recognize the two early textual groups of Acts. While it seems that the tradition in Acts 5 is too complex to be fitted into a single tree, a network is capable of depicting the complexity of the tradition.

Jason Robert Combs, Christian Anti-Sabbath Polemic and the Textual Transmission of Luke 4:16 and 23:56 (pp. 29–46)

Abstract: Ancient Christian anti-Sabbath polemic worked to fashion Christianity and Judaism as distinct. This article demonstrates how Christian polemic against Sabbath-day synagogue attendance as well as arguments insisting on worship only on the Lord’s Day correspond with textual variants in Luke 4:16 and 23:56. These passages were altered in some manuscripts in a way that distances Jesus and his disciples from Jewish Sabbath observance. Although these textual variants reflect the broader Christian polemic, they do not themselves function as polemic and are not well preserved. For these reasons, they provide a case study for thinking about the nature of New Testament textual transmission at the nexus of reading practices, practices of communal worship, and Christian identity discourse.

Joey McCollum, The Text and Margin of Gregory-Aland 274 (pp. 47–76)

Abstract: Bibliothèque nationale de France Suppl. Gr. 79, also known as Gregory-Aland (GA) 274, is a tenth-century minuscule manuscript of the gospels. Perhaps due to the common character of its main text, its only feature that has received any detailed discussion in scholarly literature is the inclusion of the rare intermediate ending of Mark in its margin. What other scholars have missed is that many of the nearly one hundred other notes that also appear in the margin preserve uncommon and early variations on the text. In this study, I attempt to close the information gap by providing the first comprehensive survey of the marginal readings of this manuscript. I first identify readings in the main text of GA 274 that may have been derived from sources other than its presumed Byzantine exemplar. I then examine all of the marginal readings of GA 274, distinguishing between those that represent corrections to common errors, those that are related to lectionary usage, and those that indicate knowledge of textual variants. On the basis of an extensive collation of 140 Greek manuscript witnesses, I evaluate the textual affinity of the readings in the last category and find that these readings agree frequently with the decidedly non-Byzantine manuscripts GA 33 and 1342. A commentary offering details of the collation and justifications for my classifications of the marginal notes is included as an appendix. Questions about the hands responsible for the marginal notes, the critical sigla used in the margin and their functions, and the role of block mixture in the production of the manuscript all receive attention. The results of this examination show that despite this manuscript’s ordinary text, the extraordinary content preserved in its margin commends it for consideration in future text-critical work on the New Testament.

Appendix Commentary on All Marginal Variants in GA 274 (pp. 77–131)
Elizabeth Schrader and Brandon Simonson, “Rabbouni,” which means Lord: Narrative Variants in John 20:16 (pp. 133–154)

Abstract: In the received text of John 20:16, Mary Magdalene responds to Jesus with the Aramaic word ῥαββουνί, translated into Greek as διδάσκαλε (“teacher”). However, in some early manuscripts, ῥαββουνί is instead or also translated as κύριε/domine (“Lord”). Moreover, many other witnesses include the additional phrase καὶ προσέδραμεν ἅψασθαι αὐτοῦ (“and she ran to touch him”). Where did these variants originate, and how were they interpreted in the history of the church? This study broadly surveys the philological, text-critical, exegetical, and patristic evidence, and demonstrates that a first-century Aramaic context supports the translation of ῥαββουνί as “Lord”; meanwhile, the variant “and she ran to touch him” may have originated in a Valentinian setting where Mary Magdalene was being connected with Achamoth/the “lower Sophia.” Deliberate editorial activity was likely at play in these various presentations of Mary Magdalene at John 20:16, since the stakes around her were particularly high in the early centuries of Christianity. Thus, Johannine exegetes should begin to look beyond our received text of John 20:16 and discover the narrative variants preserved in this important verse, which have enlivened its interpretation throughout the history of the church.

Steven M. Bryan, Scribal Tendencies and Name Forms: “Mary” in the New Testament (pp. 155–186)

Abstract: This study seeks to enhance our understanding of scribal activity by examining scribal tendencies in relation to the transcription of the name “Mary.” Though other forms of this very common name appear in materials that date to around the time the New Testament, the textual tradition of the New Testament effectively preserves precisely two forms of the name outside of the genitive. Thus, in transcribing this name, scribes appear to have understood the choice between forms as binary. That situation created space not so much for scribal creation as scribal discretion. This study suggests that an understanding of how scribes exercised this discretion should shape text-critical judgements about the form of a name at any given place of variation. It further suggests that the initial text of each of the gospels contained mixed forms in a distribution not precisely reflected in any contemporary edition of the Greek New Testament. Though there was a tendency among some later scribes to regularize the name forms (for example, by reserving the non-Hellenized form for the mother of Jesus) this was not the case at the earliest stage of transmission. However, the mixing of forms does not appear to be entirely random. Though the reason for the phenomenon is not clear, the study indicates a pronounced tendency for scribes to preserve one exceptional form for particular figures or clusters of uses. In at least some cases the phenomenon seems to have been a feature of the initial form of the text.


Michael Dormandy, A Proposed Change to the NA28 and IGNTP Readings of 04 at John 1:38a: A Short Note (pp. 187–191)

Abstract: In this note, I suggest a correction to the apparatus criticus of NA28 and the transcription of the IGNTP, at John 1:38a, for the Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (C 04).1 The passage came to my attention while studying a series of sample chapters in John (1, 17, and 20) in the Greek majuscule pandects as part of a larger research project. Research on 04 has recently been greatly enhanced by digital images, unavailable to earlier scholars. Standard images are available on the website of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and multi-spectral images are held by the Kirchliche Hochschule, Wuppertal.2 At present, these images await a full and comprehensive study and the multi-spectral images only exist for the New Testament portion of the manuscript. This note is only one example of the treasures that could be unearthed by a thorough examination of the digital images and by production and study of multi-spectral images for the LXX portion of the codex.


Lewis Ayres and H. Clifton Ward, eds., The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer) (pp. 193–195)
Sabine Huebner, Papyri and the Social World of the New Testament (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer) (pp. 197–199)
Hayeon Kim, Multiple Authorship of the Septuagint Pentateuch: The Original Translators of the Pentateuch (Zachary Skarka, reviewer) (pp. 201–203)
Jennifer Knust and Tommy Wasserman, To Cast the First Stone: The Transmission of a Gospel Story (Jörg Frey, reviewer) (pp. 205–208)
Siegfried Kreuzer, ed., Introduction to the LXX (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer) (pp. 209–210)
Brent Nongbri, God’s Library: The Archaeology of the Earliest Christian Manuscripts (Daniel Maier, reviewer) (pp. 211–213)
Justin J. Soderquist and Thomas A. Wayment, A New Edition of Codex I (016): The Washington Pauline Manuscript (Garrick V. Allen, reviewer) (pp. 215–216)
Richard A. Taylor, trans., The Syriac Peshiṭta Bible with English Translation: Psalms (Thomas J. Kraus, reviewer) (pp. 217–219)
Gerrit C. Vreugdenhil, Psalm 91 and Demonic Menace (Joseph E. Sanzo, reviewer) (pp. 221–226)