Smarts About The Nomina Sacra
So here is another bit about scribal practices in Greek manuscripts.
The text is fragmentary, but just a little is missing. You will notice on the right-hand side of the image that the page is angling in. Here is the text:
λεγειδεοκσουδεισοικετησ δυναταιδυσικυριοισδουλευε[ιν] εανημεισθελωμενκαιθωδ[ου]
λεγει δε ο κυριος ουδεις οικετης δυναται δυσι κυριοις δουλευε[ιν] εαν ημεις θελωμεν και θεῳ δ[ου]
On reading that you might have thought "hey look, a groovy gospel manuscript snippet." If you thought that you are...drum roll please...incorrect. This is actually 2 Clement 6:1, where the author is quoting either Matt 6:24, Luke 16:13, or some other gospel tradition we don’t know about. The manuscript is GA 02, Codex Alexandrinus, a 5th century uncial manuscript.
So what is interesting about this snippet? I titled this post "Smarts About The Nomina Sacra" because this snippet shows the scribes were cognizant enough to tell the difference between when a word should be abbreviated and when not. There are two nomina sacra in this snippet, one on the first line and one on the third. Note that the word κυριοις, the plural of the first of the nomina sacra κυριος, is not abbreviated (line 2, 12th character). And why is κυριος abbreviated but not κυριοις? Because the former refers to the Lord, and the latter does not. So you would expect to see this phenomenon with words like θεος, πνευμα, et al.
As it turns out, this is not terribly unusual. I am sure there are many exceptions, but often when the context is clear that the normally abbreviated word is different from its normal referent, it will not be a nominum sacrum. I would imagine whether or not this is practiced will differ from scribe to scribe.