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The Encyclopedia of New Testament Textual Criticism

Thus the ?nal verdict on the Byzantine test must rest upon the matter of internal
evidence of lateness. Hort, interestingly, did not attempt to prove this point; he simply
stated it, with some handwaving at con?ations and the like. Later editors have
presented examples of Byzantine readings which the internal evidence clearly convicts
of being late — enough such that the case against the Byzantine text seemed very
strong. But all of these were based on isolated instances. We can certainly offer isolated
counter-instances. Consider, for instance, the last word of Jesus in Matthew and Mark.
Did he say, “??? ??? ?t?,” or “??O? ??O? ?t?”? The following table shows the data
(we'll ignore the variation in the other words):
??? ???
Matthew 27:46
A (D E T ??e? ??e?) F G K (L a??? a???)
W Y ? ? 1 13 33 565 579 700 892 1424
1582 it am cav ful hub* lich sang
? (B e??e? e??e?)
33 hub** harl val cop
Mark 15:34
(D T 565 ??e? ??e?) 059 131
??O? ??O?
? A B C E F G H K L W Y ? ? (1
1582 e??? e??e?) 13 28 579
700 892 1424 it vg
If we rearrange this list by text-types, we see the following:
Alexandrian (? B 33 cop)
Byzantine (A E F G K pm)
”Cæsarean” (T 565)
”Western” (D)
Reading in Matthew:
??O? ??O?
??? ???
??? ???
??? ???
Reading in Mark:
??O? ??O?
??O? ??O?
??? ???
??? ???
Thus we see that the Byzantine text, and only the Byzantine text, is free from
assimilation in one or the other reading. It doesn't really matter which reading is original;
all the text-types except the Byzantine have a conforming reading in one or the other
Testing the Byzantine Text
Even as isolated instances, the readings mustered against the Majority text are
probably enough to make us suspect that the Byzantine type is not the original text, but
they are certainly not enough to make us declare it late. What is needed is a detailed
test of a particular section of text, listing all differences between the Byzantine and other
text-types (ignoring readings of individual manuscripts; also, the Textus Receptuss must
not be used to represent the Byzantine text). One the divergences are identi?ed, they
must be classi?ed based on internal evidence. If the Byzantine text fails the test
The Encyclopedia of New Testament Textual Criticism