Re: all punctuation secondary, part 2

From: Jim West (
Date: Fri Apr 03 1998 - 10:28:33 EST

At 09:08 AM 4/3/98 -0600, you wrote:
>Sorry to do this in two parts--I was distracted, I've got kids, you know.
>My reason for raising the issue of pre-Koine punctuation in written Greek
>is this: can we categorically say (as many presume to do) that *no*
>punctuation existed in the autographs or the first few generations of
>copies? I've certainly seen punctuation in uncial mss facsimiles that I've
>looked at.

Yes, we can UNcategorically say that there were no punctuation marks in the
earliest Greek mss of the NT. How can I be so certain? Because scribal
practices of the first century CE did not include setting punctuation. Why
not? Because manuscripts were written to be read aloud; and when one speaks
one adds ones own emphases.

Every text critical manual I have ever seen (many) have included a
discussion of the lack of punctuation in the earliest texts.


Jim West, ThD
Quartz Hill School of Theology

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