From: Randall Buth (ButhFam@compuserve.com)
Date: Sun Feb 03 2002 - 10:51:46 EST
TUS PASEI [sic]
In discussing the spelling of the NT it is important that everyone
uses the same data, or at least is is aware of the same data.
For example, someone wrote
>Even "over and over again" is in fact a comparatively
>small percentage, most of the manuscripts support the
>spelling we have in our NT texts.
That is misleading for those unaquainted with the data.
All of our NT manuscripts are filled with itacistic spelling "mistakes".
(To be honest, I think that the word 'mistake' is a perjorative
anachronism when it comes to spelling.)
E.g. I highly prize p-75 and 'B'. Yet I flip open Swanson "Luke"
... (just a moment) ... and I find this on page 107 (6.36):
GEINESQE OIKTEIRMONES B, p-75
GINESQAI OIKTIRMONES L
That's good Koine, but not our printed NT (GINESQE OIKTIRMONES).
KAI MH KREINETE B, A
... KRINETE p-75
In fact, Swanson has a major apparatus on every page just for recording
all of these itacistic alternative spellings in our major papyri and
manuscripts. The fact is that NONE of our manuscripts, from the very
earliest scraps of papyri up to the Byzantine witnesses were written or
copied by scribes that used something even approaching 'rasmian
pronunciation. For our scribes
EI = I
AI = E
W = O
OI = U (and neither OI/U = OU)
For most of our scribes H = I and OI/U = I , too.
These are facts that all text critics and NT reference grammars
have always acknowledged. Of course, "small percentage" is in the
eye of the beholder. We may call the misspellings a "small percentage"
of the total text, as long as we don't blind ourselves to the underlying
reality that was causing these massive, systematic misspellings.
Randall Buth, PhD
Director, Biblical Language Center
and Lecturer, biblical Hebrew
Rothberg International School
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