More Corrections To ULF

There’s more to say about the corrector of ULF. Or should I say correctors?

Correction 1

Take a look at this snippet from the reading from John 6:27-33:

Text: υμιν δωσει του τον ο πηρ εσ φραγισεν ο θσ

There is at least one corrector at work in this snippet. Notice the dark black ink written over what looks like an omicron in the first line. This would be a correction of an itacism, which happens frequently in this manuscript. But note the small γαρ suspended between the first and second lines. There are a couple questions that have to be answered about this:

First, who made this correction? The ink is not black so it is likely not the corrector who changed the first line in the snippet or made the other changes we have looked at. Was it the original scribe? If it is, that is an unusual shape for a gamma for this scribe. For now we’ll leave this question unanswered.

Second, where does the γαρ go? Does it go between υμιν and δωσει, where the slanting mark right above it is pointing? Rather, it probably goes on the next line between τουτον and ο. Note the small dark brown dot just after τουτον. That is probably the marker for where that correction goes. That spot is also where the γαρ is typically found, so I think we can be safe and make that little dot the place the variant is supposed to go.

Correction 2

The next correction is actually a few lines before the last on the same page. The correction mark can be seen in the following:

Text: βρωσιν την % με

The mark, which looks like a division sign, is between the την and the με. What you have here is an omission. The scribe actually omitted all of the following out of John 6:27: απολλυμενην αλλα την βρωσιν την. So the critical texts and Robinson-Pierpont (my collation base) normally read "Seek not the bread that perishes but the bread which remains unto eternal life", while this scribe wrote "Seek not the bread which remains unto eternal life". Well, that’s a pretty big blunder!

But the black-inked corrector noticed this. At first I saw the mark but not the correction (I expected it to be in the left margin). But when I zoomed out I saw that he had indeed corrected the text, writing his correction at the top of the page:

He didn’t correct it fully to what we have in either of my base texts because he left out a την βρωσιν. But he at least fixed the blunder.

But there’s more. If you check the NA27 apparatus, apparently there is a small tradition that omits την βρωσιν here; a tradition which includes Sinaiticus. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the corrector was using an Alexandrian Vorlage? No, this is not enough evidence, but it is an interesting question.


The vast majority of variants in New Testament manuscripts are not terribly important. They either lack significance in terms of the importance of the semantic change to the text they would bring or they lack viability. But they are interesting anyway and are pieces of data that need to be collected.

The first correction above is a variant that probably lacks viability and definitely lacks significance. Without it the logical connector between the clause and the previous would be missing, but the logical connection is clear enough in context.

Our second correction above, however, is different. In the case of the base text, the variant is very significant as it changes the meaning of the text completely, but it is not viable. The corrector’s version of the text is not very significant, because leaving out την βρωσιν really creates no loss in meaning. However, it is viable. It isn’t likely, however.

Well, that is it for the moment. The original image for all of the above snippets is this one on the CSNTM website, so feel free to take a look at it yourself. Have a good day! More musings when I have them...