Category Archives: Textual Criticism

Textual Criticism

Greek and Coptic Names of the Egyptian Months

(1) Θώθ – Ⲑⲱⲟⲩⲧ

(2) Φαῶφι – Ⲡⲁⲱⲡⲉ

(3) Ἁθύρ – Ϩⲁⲑⲱⲣ

(4) Χοίακ – Ⲕⲟⲓⲁⲕ / Ⲕⲓⲁϩⲕ

(5) Τῦβι – Ⲧⲱⲃⲓ

(6) Μεχείρ – Ⲙⲉϣⲓⲣ

(7) Φαμενώθ – Ⲡⲁⲣⲉⲙϩⲁⲧ

(8) Φαρμοῦθι – Ⲡⲁⲣⲙⲟⲩⲧⲉ

(9) Παχών – Ⲡⲁϣⲟⲛⲥ

(10) Παύνι – Ⲡⲁⲱⲛⲓ

(11) Ἐπείφ – Ⲉⲡⲓⲡ

(12) Μεσορή – Ⲙⲉⲥⲱⲣⲓ


The process of itacism, which resulted in the eventual identification of the sounds originally represented by ι, ει, η, ηι, οι, υ, and υι in /i/, was well advanced in Egypt by the beginning of the Roman period. ει and ι are alternate representations of /i/; η and ηι are identified; οι, υ, and υι all represent /y/. Moreover, there is a very frequent interchange of η with ι and ει, indicating that η also represented /i/ at least in the speech of many writers. On the other hand, there is a frequent interchange of η with ε (and sometimes with its phonetic equivalent αι) throughout the Roman and Byzantine periods, in similar documents and sometimes in identical phonetic conditions and even in the same words in which an interchange of η with ι or ει is found. There is also an occasional interchange of ε (αι) with ι and ει. (Gignac, Francis T (1975) A Grammar Of The Greek Papyri Of The Roman & Byzantine Periods – Volume 1 – Phonology (1975), page 235)

Erasmus’ Greek New Testament

501 years ago (March 1, 1516), Desiderius Erasmus, one of the most influential figures of the Reformation, published Novum Instrumentum Omne, the first published New Testament in Greek, in Basel. Complutensian Polyglot was printed in 1514, but was not issued to the public till 1522. In his 1516 edition of the Greek and Latin New Testament, Erasmus printed the Euthalian ὑποθέσεις of the Pauline letters. Erasmus followed the ancient practice (found in the manuscripts of many ancient authors) of prefixing the ὑπόθεσις to each biblical book.

Prof. Daniel B. Wallace on Erasmus’ Greek New Testament. Desiderius Erasmus learned Greek at the age of 32.


The first printed edition of the Greek New Testament produced by Erasmus was based on the following manuscripts:
(1) 2105
(2) 2814
(3) 2815
(4) 2816
(5) 2817

Sermo And Verbo – What’s Difference Does It Make?

The revision of the Latin version of Erasmus, in his edition of 1519, raised up against him yet more enemies. In his first edition, he retained, in the beginning of St. John’s Gospel, the expression of the Vulgate, “In principio erat Verbum”: in 1519, however, he followed the phraseology of the early Latin fathers, substituting “Sermo” for “Verbum.” This was deemed almost, if not quite, a heresy; and he had to defend himself, in consequence, against many attacks,*

*  Erasmus gives a curious account of the effect which this change of a word produced in England among some. A bishop (whose name he suppresses) was preaching at “Paul’s Cross,” when he went out of his way to attack Erasmus’s new translation. It was a shameful thing for those who had been so long doctors of divinity, to have to go to school again, — for such to receive instruction from any mere Greekling. At length his zeal waxed so warm (he said) that he called on the lord mayor of London, who was present, and on the citizens for aid, that they would show themselves men, and not suffer such new translations, which subvert the authority of Holy Scripture, to obtain farther currency !

Excerpt from page  25 to 26 of “An Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament: With Remarks on Its Revision Upon Critical Principles” by Samuel Prideaux Tregelles,

The Division of the New Testament Into Chapters

The division of the New Testament into chapters, now in use, was made in the dark ages, after the selection of portions for ecclesiastical readings, which frequently therefore run on from one chapter into another. That division frequently separates things which are closely connected, and joins together things which are really distinct. (Johann Albrecht Bengel)

Printed Editions Of The Greek New Testament

List of the printed editions of the Greek New Testament

  1. Novum Instrumentum omne – Desiderius Erasmus (1516)
  2. Editio Regia – Robertus Stephanus (Robert I Estienne) (1550)
  3.  Novum Testamentum Graecum, cum lectionibus variantibus MSS – John Mill (1707)
  4. The Greek New Testament – Samuel Prideaux Tregelles (1857)
  5.  Novum Testamentum Graece. Editio Octava Critica Maior : 2 vols. – Constantin von Tischendorf (1869 & 1872)
  6. The New Testament in the Original Greek – Brooke Foss Westcott & Fenton John Anthony Hort (1881)
  7. Die Schriften des neuen Testaments, in ihrer ältesten erreichbaren Textgestalt / hergestellt auf Grund ihrer Textgeschichte: 4 vols. –  Hermann von Soden (Berlin: Glaue, 1902-1910)

Ιακωβος Is The Greek Form Of Jacob

All these were Khaldhaye, that is to say Ancient Syrians, according to the tradition of the early writers. And because the greater number of [these] writers were Greeks, they changed the sounds of the Chaldean names and did not pronounce them as they were pronounced in Chaldean fashion. For behold, also, in the case of ‘NOH’ (NOAH), which is a pure Syrian name, and is derived from nawha, yet they (i.e. the Greeks) call it ‘NOACHOS’. And it is not only the ancient [writers] who do this, but people who are living in our own days are in the habit of changing the pronunciation [of words], thus YA’KOB, which [is derived] from ‘Ekbha is called ‘AIAKOBHOS’, and BAR-SAWMA they call ‘SOMOS’; and many others.

(Chronography by Bar Hebraeus, translated from Syriac by Ernest A. Wallis Budge)

Two Monks Learn Greek & Hebrew At The Same Time

Two monks live near each other at the same time. They both profess to be students. Only one, however, does anything towards disciplining his mind. One uses language and lamentations as follows : — ” They have invented a new language, which they call Greek ; you must be carefully on your guard against it ; it is the matter of all heresy. I observe in the hands of many persons a book written in that language, and which they call the New Testament. It is a book  full of daggers and poison. As to the Hebrew, my dear brethren, it is certain that whoever learns it becomes immediately a Jew.” The other monk seizes the New Testament, and applies his habits of study and of diligence to it ; and with that Bible he shakes all Europe ; he shakes the world, and, in a day, opens upon Christendom the light of thousands of years. Need I say, I mean Martin Luther? Nothing but his disciplined mind, and his habits of using that instru ment, could have led him through the thick darkness which surrounded him, to the clear light in which we see him.

(John Todd, The Student’s Manual, page 38)

He who trains his mind to go by impulses, and must wait for them, will accomplish but very little during his life. The perfection of a disciplined mind is, not to be able, on some great contingency, to rouse up its faculties, and draw out a giant strength, but to have it always ready to produce a given and an equal quantity of results in a given and equal time. This was the glory of the mind of Isaac Newton.

You may call upon your mind, today, for its highest efforts, and stretch it to the utmost in your power, and you have done yourself a kindness. The mind will be all the better for it. Tomorrow you may do it again ; and each time it will answer more readily to your calls. But remember that real discipline of mind does not so much consist in now and then making a great effort, as in having the mind so trained that it will make constant efforts. Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi, sed saepe cadendo (a water drop hollows a stone not by force, but by falling often). If you would have the discipline any thing like perfect, it must be unremitted ; the mind must be kept clear and shrewd.

Gospel Synopsis

List of Gospel Synopsis:

(1) Harmonia Evangelica – Joannes Clericus (Jean Le Clerc) – 1699
(2) Synopsis Evangeliorum Matthaei, Marci Et Lucae – Johann Jakob Grirsbach – 1776
(3) A Harmony Of The Gospels, With Notes – William Newcome – 1814
(4) Synopsis Evangeliorum Matthaei,  Marci Et Lucae Cum Parallelis Ioannis Pericopic Ex Recensione Griesbachii – G. Mart. Leber De Wette & Frid. Lucke – 1818
(5) Quatuor Evangeliorum Tabulae Synopticae – Henricus Nicolaus Clausen – 1829
(6) Synopsis Evangeliorum Matthaei, Marci, Lucae – Rudolf Anger – 1852
(7) A Harmony Of The Four Gospels In Greek, According To The Text Of Tischendorf – Frederic Gardiner – 1871