The text of Uncial 0323 Compared with Older and Contemporary New Testament Manuscripts

At present, unless one has the opportunity to go to St Catherine and try to decipher the Greek palimpsest leaves of the Syrus Sinaiticus (Sin. syr. 30) or to consult old pictures (provided that they are helpful, which is far from certain), the only access we have to the text of 0323, the “newest” NT uncial (dated from the 4th or 5th century), is through the portions which were transcribed by Burkitt and Mrs Dunlop.

On this basis, it is interesting to compare our fragment’s text with important witnesses, especially with manuscripts older than or (broadly) contemporary with it. For the sake of clarity, I retain only P66.75, the only two papyri that attests the same verses, the oldest uncials that contains them (ℵ 01, A 02 [ch. 9 only], B 03, D 05, T 029 [ch. 7 only] W 032) – the Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (C 04) lacks both passages – and the Byzantine text-form (Byz)[1].

Here are the most significant cases (the orthography is normalized; since I align the fragment’s readings with that of other manuscripts, I do not point the letters whose reading is uncertain):

John 7 (fol. 142v, col. 1)

8a   ἑορτὴν ταύτην 0323 ℵ* Byz   ἑορτήν P66.75c B D T W

8b   οὔπω ἀναβαίνω 0323 P66.75 B T W Byz   οὐκ ἀναβαίνω ℵ D

ὁ (om. ℵ*) ἐμὸς καιρὸς 0323 P66.75 ℵ B D T W   ὁ καιρὸς ὁ ἐμὸς Byz

9     καὶ ταῦτα δὲ 0323   ταῦτα δὲ P66.75 B W T Byz   ταῦτα ℵ D

αὐτοῖς 0323 P75 B Dc T Byz   αὐτὸς P66 ℵ D* W

10   τότε καὶ (καὶ om. 0323) αὐτὸς ἀνέβη εἰς τὴν ἑορτήν 0323 D Byz   εἰς τὴν ἑορτὴν τότε καὶ αὐτὸς ἀνέβη P66.75 B ℵ T W

John 9 (fol. 149v, col. 1–2)

17   τί σὺ 0323 ℵ B   σὺ τί P75A D W Byz   P66 non legitur

18   ὅτι τυφλὸς ἦν 0323 A Byz   ὅτι ἦν τυφλὸς P66.75 ℵ B W   finem versiculi 18 om. D

19   ἠρώτησαν 0323 P75 ℵ A B W Byz   ἐπηρώτησαν P66 D

αὐτοὺς λέγοντες 0323 P66.75c A B D Byz   αὐτοὺς ℵ* W

οὗτός ἐστιν 0323 P66.75c A B W Byz   εἰ οὗτός ἐστιν  ℵ*   εἰ ἔστιν οὗτος D

βλέπει [ἄρτι] 0323 (ut vid.) P75 ℵ B D W   ἄρτι βλέπει P66 A   (M. Dunlop Gibson could read only βλέπει [col. 1, l. 22]. Since the remaining space – at least 3 letters – is sufficient for ἄρτι and no other reading seems to be transmitted, one can be reasonably sure that this is the fragment’s reading.)

20   ἀπεκρίθησαν δὲ αὐτοῖς 0323 A Byz   ἀπεκρίθησαν αὐτοῖς D   ἀπεκρίθησαν οὖν P66.75 ℵ B   ἀπεκρίθησαν W

21   αὐτὸς ἡλικίαν ἔχει αὐτὸν ἐρωτήσατε αὐτὸς (αὐτὸς om. 0323 [ut vid.]) 0323 A Byz   αὐτὸν ἐρωτήσατε (ἐπερ- D) ἡλικίαν ἔχει αὐτὸς P66c B D   αὐτὸς ἡλικίαν ἔχει (αὐτὸς add. P75) P75 ℵ*   ἡλικίαν ἔχει W   (After (ερω)τησατε [6 letters], the remaining of l. 13 seems to be blank. Since the average number of letters by line is between 12 and 13, there would be space for αὐτὸς.)

22   ὁμολογήσῃ αὐτὸν 0323 (ut vid.) P66.75 D   αὐτὸν (om. A*) ὁμολογήσῃ ℵ A B W Byz

I printed in bold the variants that are not attested in R. J. Swanson’s John volume (in 7, 9. 10) or in the electronic edition of the Greek majuscule manuscripts of John. I shall comment a little more on this in a forthcoming article (“0323: A Forgotten 4th or 5th Century Greek Fragment of the Gospel of John in the Syrus Sinaiticus”, Novum Testamentum 57 [2015]).

This comparison reveals no particular kinship with any of the manuscripts under consideration, but, at least in the few deciphered verses, our fragment shows more textual affinity with P75, A, B and Byz than with P66, ℵ, D and W. Hopefully a more complete deciphering will help to define more precisely its place among the major textual types. Provisionally, if one uses K. and B. Aland categories, one could assign it to category III, which includes ‘manuscripts of a distinctive character with an independent text[2]’.

[1] For Byz, the textual data are based on The Gospel according to John in the Byzantine Tradition, ed. Roderic L. Mullen et al. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2007) ( For T 029, I used the negative apparatus of An Electronic Version of The New Testament in Greek IV: The Gospel according to St John, vol. 2: The Majuscules, ed. U. B. Schmid et al., 22013 ( For the other witnesses, the data are based on R. Swanson, New Testament Greek Manuscripts. Variant Readings Arranged in Horizontal Lines Against Codex Vaticanus. John (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995),  pp. 92–3 and 130–32.

[2] K. Aland and B. Aland, The Text of the New Testament. An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism (Grand Rapids and Leiden, 1987), p. 106.

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