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The Gospel According to John in the Byzantine Tradition

Introduction to the Printed Edition

The present scientific edition of the Byzantine text of the Gospel according to John is the result of a request from a group of Orthodox Church representatives to the United Bible Societies in 1999. Aware of work being done on the Gospel according to John in various places, representatives from the United Bible Societies settled on the Centre for the Editing of Texts in Religion (now the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing) at the University of Birmingham as the best place to test the possibilities for an edition of some part of the New Testament based on individual Byzantine witnesses. It is hoped that the present edition will prove useful to scholars, churchmen, translators, and others interested in the history of the Byzantine texttype of the New Testament.

The editor of this work sought to present a representative sample of witnesses to the broad historical richness of the Byzantine textual tradition across a long span of time, from the fourth to the fourteenth century. Some seventy witnesses were eventually selected for inclusion in the edition, and the texts of two widely circulated editions were included for comparison.

In order to give due weight to the realia of the textual tradition and to focus on a key period in the formation of the text, it was decided to use a specific manuscript as the base text rather than risk the methodological pitfalls of creating an eclectic text that never existed in the manuscript tradition or relying upon an existing eclectic text. The best example of the latter would have been the Patriarchal Edition of 1904 as reproduced by the Apostoliki Diakonia, and serious consideration was given to this option.

However, the purpose of the present edition is to illustrate the breadth of the Byzantine textual traditon from individual witnesses. It therefore seemed more appropriate to use a manuscript witness of the period. The base text of the present edition, that printed at the head of the page, is Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Coislin Gr.199, Gregory- Aland 35.

Manuscript 35 contains the entire New Testament, dates to the eleventh century, has a very regular orthography, and differs only slightly from familiar printed editions of the Byzantine text. A sermon attributed to Chrysostom was copied into the previously blank folios 309r-310r a century or two later. The manuscript seems to have been still in Greek hands at a relatively late date. Indeed, the rear flyleaf of the manuscript bears a dedication with a Byzantine world-era date (ζρλε) corresponding to A.D. 1626/27. Between 1643 and 1653 the manuscript was acquired (either in Cyprus, Constantinople, or the territories bordering the northern and western Aegean) for the collection of Pierre Séguier (1588-1672), the great-grandfather of Henri-Charles de Coislin, Bishop of Metz.

The other witnesses were chosen to give a representative sample of the Byzantine textual tradition.

Majuscule manuscripts of the Byzantine tradition were chosen largely on the basis of how complete they are in the Gospel according to John.

Manuscript 038 (Θ) represents a text on the boundary of what might reasonably be considered a manuscript of the Byzantine tradition in John.

In order to illustrate the most fertile period in the development of the Byzantine text, almost all of the minuscule manuscripts were selected from among manuscripts written before the twelfth century. Our base manuscript comes toward the end of this period and is an early representative of the controlled textual tradition that resulted in the recensional strand of the Koine text (Kr), of which Gregory-Aland 18 from 1364 is a later example.

Commentary manuscripts are an important part of the textual tradition and were chosen to represent all but one of the commentary types discerned in John by Joseph Reuss.

His type D manuscript has been omitted because the single example he lists (Cod. Gr. Vallic. E 40 / Gregory- Aland 397) does not appear to be Byzantine. Commentary manuscripts are distinguished in the apparatus by having a K prefixed to their Gregory-Aland number.

The lectionaries for the edition were chosen on the basis of a list furnished by Professor Johannes Karavidopoulos and represent a number of early manuscripts preserved at Mount Athos and elsewhere.

They are distinguished in the witness list and in the apparatus by having an L prefixed to their Gregory-Aland lectionary number. Passages sometimes appear more than once in a given lectionary, especially when the menologion is taken into account. Where variants occur between the first and subsequent appearances of a passage, either because the introductory words have been adapted or for other reasons, the variant readings have been numbered according to the order in which they occur in the lectionary.

Also selected were five patristic witnesses whose quotations from John seem to attest to the Byzantine tradition. These five writers are in fact the earliest reasonably consistent witnesses to the Byzantine textual strand in John.

The abbreviations of their names in the apparatus follow the form of those found in Nestle-Aland, 27th edition (hereafter NA27).

Where a father quotes a passage more than once, or where the individual witnesses to a father's text differ, and variants arise, the variants have been given a letter, so e.g. Chrysa and Chrysb would distinguish two different states of the text attested by or for Chrysostom at a particular point. Patristic writers often adapt the grammar of their quotations to fit the context, and sometimes merely allude to part of a passage. Adaptations of texts will generally appear as singular readings in the apparatus and will thus be readily apparent to readers. On occasion variants that appear as singular readings in the present work will have connections with manuscripts not included here (for example the agreement between Cyril of Jerusalem and Codex Sinaiticus at John 19.13), so it has been thought best to leave such readings in the apparatus rather than to suppress them. Allusions are of uncertain usefulness in reconstructing the text of a patristic witness, so for the most part their existence is simply noted in the apparatus of deficient witnesses.

he texts of the Patriarchal Edition (ΑΔ) and of NA27, both mentioned above, were also cited for the sake of comparison. As with all the witnesses, the user of the electronic edition will be able to see the full text of these editions at any time.

A number of early versions that might have connections to Greek witnesses of the Byzantine strand were considered for inclusion, but it was thought better to focus the present edition on the Greek text. This has two advantages: first, it allows for a broader representation of the Greek textual evidence, and second, it allows scholars working with the various versions to make their own decisions about which versional variants might be derived from a base text and which might be due to translation techniques.

Scholars may thus be able to gain a clearer picture of the origin of the several early versions.