[B-Greek] New Testament Greek "urban legends"?

Dirk Jongkind dj214 at cam.ac.uk
Tue Apr 25 10:59:38 EDT 2006

Randall Buth wrote:

>On NT texts, Acts 11:26 is the place to start looking. and Yes, Aleph reads
>XRHSTIANOUS, though it was corrected to XRISTIANOUS. You need to
>remember that in the fourth century, the time when Aleph was written,
>Hta and Iota were being prounounced the same. It was a common scribal
>On the other hand, B and D read XREISTIANOUS, which does not even need
>to be read as a mistake. In the first century XREISTIANO'S was an
>alternative way of writing XRISTIANO'S and they were pronounced the
>same. For example, a little earlier in that passage, Act 11:17
>manuscripts D and p74 read HMEIN "for us" instead of the more usual
>HMIN. We now write a regularized HMIN but in the first century the EI
>symbol was sometimes used by some writers to help carry an accent or
>any kind of perceived dominance.
>Randall Buth
I happen to have looked a little bit at the spelling in Alef. Contrary 
to what one might expect on the basis of Randall's (correct) assertion 
regarding the pronunctiation of H / I, this particular spelling 
variation occurs only rarely in Alef (at least with the scribe 
responsible for the three CRHSTIANOS spellings in Acts [twice] and 1 
Peter). The consistency of the variant spelling CRHSTIANOS in Alef is 
quite remarkable (three out of a possible three cases).
Regarding the corrections Randall noted (from H to I) these were all 
made in the same way, by scraping off the horizontal and second vertical 
of the H. Such erasures are almost impossible to date. There are two 
correctors in the manuscript who used such corrections, one contemporary 
(not the writer of the main text) and one two or three centuries after 
the manuscript was produced.

The variant spelling CRHSTIANOS is likely to have arisen as a 
pronunciation variant, but for the scribe who copied Alef it seems to me 
that it was a conscious choice to spell it as he/she did. But don't ask 
me what the thought was behind this.


Dirk Jongkind, PhD
John W. Laing Fellow, Tyndale House and St. Edmund's College
Tyndale House
36 Selwyn Gardens
Cambridge, CB3 9BA		Phone:(UK) 01223 566603
United Kingdom			Fax:  (UK) 01223 566608

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