Re: Western Text

From: Ben Crick (
Date: Fri Sep 10 1999 - 17:31:21 EDT

On Fri 10 Sep 1999 (09:23:36), wrote:
> I would like to know what manuscripts make up the Western Greek text
> family. Where can I find a copy of the Western Greek text?
> What translations from the Western Greek text are the best?

 Dear David,

 The "Western Text" is the family of MSS from the western end of the
 Mediterranean, i.e. the Early Fathers in Italy, Gaul, and north Africa.
 These include Irenaeus in Gaul circa 180; Clement of Alexandria;
 Tertullian circa 200; Cyprian circa 250; Jerome circa 400; Augustine of
 Hippo circa 410.

 The main "Western" MSS:

 Codex Bezae, known as "D". It is a 5th century uncial diglott MSS in two
 columns, Latin and Greek, with some lacunae (gaps). It resembles the text
 used by Bishop Irenaeus of Lyon (Gaul). The text suffers from harmonisations
 and additions, e.g. the genealogies in Matthew and Luke. It contains the
 Gospels, Acts, and 3 John 11-15; not the Epistles.

 In 1562 the Genevan reformer Beza bought the Codex from the convent in Lyon,
 and now it is in Cambridge. The text fairly represents the Old Latin group
 of texts, and is furthest removed from Codex Vaticanus ("B") with 4,000
 differences. B and D sometimes agree against the Byzantine text: then we
 can prefer it over the latter.

 Codex Claramontanus is the "Epistles D" (Paulines plus Hebrews). It is a
 6th century Greek/Latin diglott like Bezae, with the European Old Latin text
 as opposed to the North African old Latin.

 Other Western MSS include G (Boernerianus), 9th century, now in Dresden;
 and W (Washingtoniensis or the Freer MS), discovered in Egypt in 1906.

 There are many Old Latin MSS from both Africa and Europe; some only
 fragmentary. Jerome produced his /Biblia Sacra Vulgata/ in about 383,
 a conservative revision of all the Latin versions, with reference to the
 Greek. The Vulgate was used alongside the old Latin versions until about
 the 9th century, when it became predominant. The Council of Trent made
 it the Standard Bible in 1546.

 "Western" readings are found mainly in Luke. e.g. Luke 3:22, where the
 quotation from Psalm 2:7 goes on a bit too far (?); compare Hebrews 1:5.
 Or is it Isaiah 42:1?

 Bruce Metzger has an interesting comparative table in his /A Textual
 Commentary on the Greek NT/, 2nd Ed., UBS, 1994, page 149, of the various
 versions of Luke 22:17-20. "D" is the shortest, with "Western Non-
 interpolations". Other examples are found in Luke 22:43-44; 23:34; 24:12;
 24:40; 24:51. Also in John 4:9 and 12:8. See Metzger's note on Western
 Non-Interpolations, op. cit., pp 164-166.

 The WT also has additions, "Western Insertions": see John 2:3; Mark 2:27;


 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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