Categories of New Testament manuscripts

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New Testament manuscripts in Greek are categorized into five groups,[1] according to a scheme introduced in 1981 by Kurt and Barbara Aland in Der Text des Neuen Testaments. The categories are based on how each manuscript relates to the various text-types. Generally speaking, earlier Alexandrian manuscripts are category I, while later Byzantine manuscripts are category V. Aland's method involved considering 1000 passages where the Byzantine text differs from non-Byzantine text. The Alands did not select their 1000 readings from all of the NT books; for example, none were drawn from Matthew and Luke.[2]

Description of categories[edit]

Category I – Alexandrian[edit]

This category includes the earliest manuscripts. Some fourth century and earlier papyri and uncials are in this category, as are manuscripts of the Alexandrian text-type. The manuscripts in this category are important when considering textual problems and are considered by many scholars to be a good representation of the autograph, due to their early dating.

Category II – Egyptian[edit]

The manuscripts in this category are similar to category I manuscripts, and are important in textual consideration of the autograph. However, the texts usually contain some alien influences, such as those found in the Byzantine text-type. Egyptian texts fall in this category.

Category III – Eclectic[edit]

The manuscripts in category III are important when discussing the history of the textual traditions and to a lesser degree for establishing the original text. The manuscripts usually contain independent readings, and have a distinctive character. f1, f13 are examples of manuscript families that fall within this category. Manuscripts of this category usually present mixed or eclectic text-type.

Category IV – Western[edit]

Category IV contains the few manuscripts that follow the text of the Codex Bezae (D). These texts are of the Western text-type.

Category V – Byzantine[edit]

Byzantine and mostly Byzantine texts fall under this category.

Distribution of Greek manuscripts by century and category[edit]

See Aland:159–162.

I II III IV V
150 \mathfrak{P}52, \mathfrak{P}90, \mathfrak{P}104
200 \mathfrak{P}32, \mathfrak{P}46, \mathfrak{P}64/67, \mathfrak{P}66, \mathfrak{P}77, 0189
250 \mathfrak{P}1, \mathfrak{P}4, \mathfrak{P}5, \mathfrak{P}9, \mathfrak{P}12, \mathfrak{P}15, \mathfrak{P}20, \mathfrak{P}22, \mathfrak{P}23, \mathfrak{P}27, \mathfrak{P}28, \mathfrak{P}29, \mathfrak{P}30, \mathfrak{P}39, \mathfrak{P}40, \mathfrak{P}45, \mathfrak{P}47, \mathfrak{P}49, \mathfrak{P}53, \mathfrak{P}65, \mathfrak{P}70, \mathfrak{P}75, \mathfrak{P}80, \mathfrak{P}87, 0220 0212 \mathfrak{P}48, \mathfrak{P}69
300 \mathfrak{P}13, \mathfrak{P}16, \mathfrak{P}18, \mathfrak{P}37, \mathfrak{P}72, \mathfrak{P}78, 0162, \mathfrak{P}115 \mathfrak{P}38, 0171
350 \mathfrak{P}10, \mathfrak{P}24, \mathfrak{P}35, 01, 03 \mathfrak{P}6, \mathfrak{P}8, \mathfrak{P}17, \mathfrak{P}62, \mathfrak{P}71, \mathfrak{P}81, \mathfrak{P}86, 0185 \mathfrak{P}88, 058?, 0169, 0188, 0206, 0207, 0221, 0228, 0231, 0242
400 057 \mathfrak{P}19, \mathfrak{P}51, \mathfrak{P}57, \mathfrak{P}82, \mathfrak{P}85, 0181, 0270 \mathfrak{P}21, \mathfrak{P}50, 059, 0160, 0176, 0214, 0219
450 02 (except Gospels), 0254 \mathfrak{P}14, 04, 016, 029, 048, 077, 0172, 0173, 0175, 0201, 0240, 0244, 0274 02 (Gospels), 032, 062, 068, 069, 0163, 0165 (?), 0166, 0182, 0216, 0217, 0218, 0226, 0227, 0236, 0252, 0261 05 026, 061
500 \mathfrak{P}56, 071, 076, 088, 0232, 0247 \mathfrak{P}54, \mathfrak{P}63, 072, 0170, 0186, 0213
550 \mathfrak{P}33+58, 06, 08, 073, 081, 085, 087, 089, 091, 093 (1 Peter), 094, 0184, 0223, 0225, 0245 \mathfrak{P}2, \mathfrak{P}36, \mathfrak{P}76, \mathfrak{P}83, \mathfrak{P}84, 06, 015, 035, 040, 060, 066, 067, 070, 078, 079, 082, 086, 0143, 0147, 0159, 0187, 0198, 0208, 0222, 0237, 0241, 0251, 0260, 0266 022, 023, 024, 027, 042, 043, 064, 065, 093 (Acts), 0246, 0253, 0265?
600 \mathfrak{P}26 \mathfrak{P}43, \mathfrak{P}44, \mathfrak{P}55, 083 \mathfrak{P}3, 0164, 0199
650 \mathfrak{P}74, 098 \mathfrak{P}11, \mathfrak{P}31, \mathfrak{P}34, \mathfrak{P}79, 0102, 0108, 0111, 0204, 0275 \mathfrak{P}59, \mathfrak{P}68, 096, 097, 099, 0106, 0107, 0109, 0145, 0167, 0183, 0200, 0209, 0210, 0239, 0259, 0262 \mathfrak{P}73, 0103, 0104, 0211
700 \mathfrak{P}42, \mathfrak{P}61, \mathfrak{P}60
750 019, 0101, 0114, 0156, 0205, 0234 \mathfrak{P}41, 095, 0126, 0127, 0146, 0148, 0161, 0229, 0233, 0238, 0250, 0256 07, 047, 054?, 0116, 0134
800 044 (Catholic epistles) 044 (except Catholic epistles)
850 33 (except Gospels) 010, 038, 0155, 0271, 33 (Gospels), 892, 2464 012, 025 (except Acts, Rev), 037, 050, 0122, 0128, 0130, 0131, 0132, 0150, 0269, 565 09, 011, 013, 014, 017, 018, 020, 021, 025 (Acts, Rev), 030, 031, 034, 039, 041, 045, 049, 053?, 063, 0120, 0133, 0135, 0136?, 0151, 0197, 0248, 0255, 0257, 0272, 0273?, 461
900 1841 0115, 1424 (Mark) 1424 (except Mark), 1841
950 1739 (Catholic epistles, Paul) 0177, 0243?, 1739 (Acts), 1891, 2329 051, 075, 0105, 0121a, 0121b, 0140, 0141, 0249, 307, 1582, 1836, 1845, 1874, 1875, 1912, 2110, 2193, 2351 028, 033, 036, 046, 052, 056, 0142, 1874, 1891
1050 1175, 1243, 2344 81, 323, 945, 1006, 1854, 1962, 2298 28, 104, 181, 323, 398, 424, 431, 436, 451, 459, 623, 700, 788, 1243, 1448, 1505, 1838, 1846, 1908, 2138, 2147, 2298, 2344, 2596? 103, 104, 181, 398, 431, 451, 459, 945, 1006, 1448, 1505, 1846, 1854, 2138, 2147, 2298
1100 256, 1735 1735, 1910 256
1150 1241 (Catholic epistles) 36, 1611, 2050, 2127 1 (Gospels), 36, 88, 94?, 157, 326, 330, 346, 378, 543, 610, 826, 828, 917, 983, 1071, 1241 (Gospels, Acts, Paul), 1319, 1359, 1542b, 1611, 1718, 1942, 2030, 2412, 2541, 2744 1 (except Gospels), 180, 189, 330, 378, 610, 911, 917, 1010, 1241, 1319, 1359, 1542b?, 2127, 2541
1200 1573 1573
1250 2053, 2062 442, 579, 1292, 1852 6 (Catholic epistles, Paul), 13, 94, 180, 206, 218 (epistles), 263, 365, 441, 614, 720, 915, 1398, 1563, 1641, 1852, 2374, 2492, 2516, 2542, 2718? 6 (Gospels, Acts), 94?, 180, 206, 218 (except epistles), 263, 365, 597, 720, 1251?, 1292, 1398, 1642, 1852, 2374, 2400, 2492?, 2516
1300 1342
1350 1067, 1409, 1506, 1881 5, 209, 254, 429 (except Paul), 453, 621, 629, 630, 1523, 1534, 1678?, 1842, 1877, 2005, 2197, 2200, 2377 5?, 189, 209, 254, 429 (Paul), 1067, 1409, 1506, 1523, 1524, 1877, 2200
1400 2495
1450 322 69, 205, 322, 467, 642, 1751, 1844, 1959, 2523, 2652 69, 181, 205, 429 (Rev.), 467, 642, 886, 2523, 2623, 2652?
1500 61 (epistles, Rev), 522, 918, 1704, 1884 61 (Gospels, Acts), 522, 918, 1704
1550- 849, 2544 (Paul) 2544 (except Paul)

Number of manuscripts by century and category[edit]

Century Category I Category II Category III Category IV Category V
II 3
II/III 6
III 25 1 2
III/IV 8 2
IV 5 8 10
IV/V 1 7 7
V 2 16 19 1 2
V/VI 6 6
VI 15 31 12
VI/VII 1 4 3
VII 2 8 17 4
VII/VIII 2 1
VIII 6 12 5
VIII/IX 1 1
IX 3 7 12 5
IX/X 1 2 2
X 1 5 18 10
XI 3 7 24 16
XI/XII 2 2 1
XII 1 5 24 16
XII/XIII 1 1
XIII 2 4 21 18
XIII/XIV 1
XIV 1 4 17 12
XIV/XV 1
XV 1 11 9
XVI 5 4
XVI/XVII 2 1

Limitations[edit]

This system of classification prefers the Alexandrian text-type. Manuscripts that represent the Western text-type are classified as Category IV in Gospels, and Category II/III in the Pauline Letters. This is significant because some scholars believe that some or all of the Minuscule text or the Western texts are closer to the original texts. Some manuscripts are not classified. Uncial 055 is not because it is a commentary, and according to some specialists, written in a minuscule hand. \mathfrak{P}7, \mathfrak{P}89, \mathfrak{P}121, Uncial 080, Uncial 0100, Uncial 0118, 0174, 0230, 0263, 0264, 0267, 0268 are too brief to classify. Uncial 0144 and 0196 are not accessible. \mathfrak{P}25 is not classified because of the Diatessaric character of text (i.e. the four Gospels combined into a single narrative).

\mathfrak{P}5 was classified to Category I, but it is not a representative of the Alexandrian text-type. According to Comfort it is "a good example of what Kurt and Barbara Aland call "normal" (i.e. a relatively accurate text manifesting a normal amount of error and idiosyncrasy)".[3]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Aland:106f,332-337.
  2. ^ Wisse, Frederik (1982). The Profile Method for the Classification and Evaluation of Manuscript Evidence, as Applied to the Continuous Greek Text of the Gospel of Luke. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 21. ISBN 0-8028-1918-4. 
  3. ^ Philip Comfort, The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts, Tyndale House Publishers 2001, pp. 73–74.

References[edit]

  • David Ewert. From Ancient Tablets to Modern Translations: A General Introduction to the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Zondervan Corporation, 1983. ISBN 0-310-45730-0

External links[edit]