Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The GA 763 New Testament manuscript and my observations about this

The GA 763 is a 14th century manuscript which is now in Athens Greece although there are copies at CSNTM



I  prepare reports about the texts I see in the manuscript and what I don’t see in the Greek Bible that we use.

First, even if you study Biblical Greek, you will surely be surprised the big difference in style between the scribes’ style of writing the manuscript and the Greek text of the Bible that we use. 

Here are some of them and the comparison that I made. 



Second, there were texts omitted in the manuscript that you can find in the Greek Bible. 


Here are a few that I noticed:

In Matthew 1:11, the Greek phrases, Ἰωσίας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰεχονίαν.




In Matthew 1:17, the Greek phrases,  καὶ ἀπὸ Δαυὶδ ἕως τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβυλῶνος γενεαὶ δεκατέσσαρες were omitted in this part of the manuscript because we can see the in this part of the manuscript because we can see after the second δεκατέσσαρες the Greek words  Τοῦ δὲ in Matthew 1:18



In Matthew 1:18, the Greek phrase Χριστοῦ was omitted.




In Matthew 3:11, the Greek phrases καὶ πυρί were omitted.



Does this mean the scribe committed a big mistake in GA 763?

As I see it, the scribe of GA 763 was a trained scribe but it does not mean that he does not make a mistake in writing. 

It is inevitable given the fact that all scribes, even trained ones, were human, and therefore bound to make mistakes. However, such scribes tended to make certain predictable errors related to poor eyesight or harmonization to familiar wording. On the other hand, the differences we  see might not be errors, but rather reflections of a different exemplar text.

Third, I noticed some duplicate words like the duplicate preposition in this verse.


Let us not forget this scribe is also human and like us in this modern times, we also encode duplicate words while using the computer for typing or encoding. Is this intentional on our part? Of course, not!

Fourth, we will notice in this manuscript that there was Nomina sacra or Sacred Names. Other people think, we can only read Nomina sacra in uncial manuscripts. 

You will notice Nomina sacra not only in Uncial Manuscripts like Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Bezae but also in GA 763. It is a later manuscript which contains Nomina sacra like God, Father, Mother, and Israel. 

Fifth, in GA 763, you can notice Ekthesis or Ornamented Letter like what you can see below where there are large letters.  



Sixth, there are also words which are not quite clear and could not be read in the Greek Bible, but if you understand Greek grammar, you will find out why Greek scribes wrote these like this below:

This is in the middle of the Greek words, αὐτὴν and δειγματίσαι


It reads like this: thelōn autēn paradeigmatisai


In the Greek bible, we can read the Greek word,  δειγματίσαι right after αὐτὴν.
Ἰωσὴφ δὲ ὁ ἀνὴρ αὐτῆς, δίκαιος ὢν καὶ μὴ θέλων αὐτὴν δειγματίσαι, ἐβουλήθη λάθρᾳ ἀπολῦσαι αὐτήν. (Matthew 1:19)
It is the prefix παρα to the word παραδειγματίσαι meaning "punish publicly."

Note: The images of the manuscript in this article are owned by The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts






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