Using Logos to Examine NT Variants

In my morning devotional time, I’ve been reading through the Pauline Epistles in larger chunks. I tend to dwell in areas, reading the larger chunks over again, and sometimes dwelling on smaller chunks.

For the past week I’ve been in First Corinthians 12 and 13. And I’ve been dwelling on 1Co 13.1-3.

But as is my way, I’ve looked at the text in the Greek too. And I noticed some stuff from a text-critical perspective, so I thought a post on how I walk through this kind of stuff might be a good one. So, even though I’ve recently discussed some of these issues on my personal blog, in this article I’ll go into a little different detail, showing how I use Logos Bible Software in this regard.

There are two things in particular that jumped out at me when evaluating 1Co 13.1-3:

  1. The use of καὶ ἐὰν twice in v. 2, but the use of κἂν and καὶ ἐὰν in v. 3. The word κἂν is a crasis of καὶ ἐὰν. Why isn’t one or the other used consistently?
  2. The use of οὐθέν in v. 2 but οὐδὲν in v. 3. Why the different form of the word in each instance? Why isn’t one or the other used consistently?

There are a few different LDLS resources I’ll be using to examine what the textual evidence is in these situations. They are:

I’ll also consult a print edition of The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts, though this book is available to be pre-ordered as a pre-publication. I’ll explain this later when I consult the title.

So, I went to the verse in question in Logos and opened TCGNT. Metzger only treats major variants, and neither of the issues I’ve noted are addressed by TCGNT. Next, I examined the NA27 as it has more extensive coverage of variants than TCGNT. NA27 didn’t have any information listed either. I consulted these resources (TCGNT, NA27) in this order because of the sort of information they have. TCGNT covers relatively few resources, but where it has coverage the variants and the committee’s preferred reading are explained. NA27 has more variants but no explanation. So while the variant may be listed there, it is left as an exercise to the reader to weigh the variant(s) and make a decision based on the cited textual evidence.

After not finding anything in either TCGNT or NA27, I knew this was going to be tough. But Tischendorf cites variants more extensively than NA27 does, so he could very easily have listed something. So that is my next target.

And I hit paydirt with my first question. Tischendorf uses καὶ ἐὰν in all four places (twice in v. 2, twice in v. 3). And he lists his evidence in the spot that seems out of whack to me (κἂν in v. 3):

Image from Tischendorf's apparatus

But let’s examine the data a little more. Please note that the below are not complete citations, I’m just cherry-picking the most popular MSS that Tischendorf lists.

  • v. 2, instance 1: NA27 has καὶ ἐὰν. Sinaiticus (aleph/01), Vaticanus (B/03), Claromontanus (D/06) use καὶ ἐὰν. Alexandrinus (A/02) and Ephraemi (C/04) use κἂν. All of these uncial MSS are dated in the 4th through 6th centuries.
  • v. 2, instance 2: NA27 has καὶ ἐὰν. Sinaiticus and Claromontanus use καὶ ἐὰν. Alexandrinus and Vaticanus use κἂν. Ephraemi is not cited.
  • v. 3, instance 1: NA27 has κἂν. Siniaticus and Claromontanus use καὶ ἐὰν. Alexandrinus, Vaticanus and Ephraemi use κἂν.
  • v. 3, instance 2: NA27 has καὶ ἐὰν. Sinaticus and Claromontanus use καὶ ἐὰν. Alexandrinus and Ephraemi use κἂν. Vaticanus, strangely, uses καὶ ὰν though Tischendorf seems to equate this with καὶ ἐὰν.

So, from here, we can build a small table to compare the readings.

Instance NA27 aleph/01 A/02 B/03 C/04 D/06
v. 2 (1) καὶ ἐὰν καὶ ἐὰν κἂν καὶ ἐὰν κἂν καὶ ἐὰν
v. 2 (2) καὶ ἐὰν καὶ ἐὰν κἂν κἂν –* καὶ ἐὰν
v. 3 (1) κἂν καὶ ἐὰν κἂν κἂν κἂν καὶ ἐὰν
v. 3 (2) καὶ ἐὰν καὶ ἐὰν κἂν καὶ ἂν κἂν καὶ ἐὰν

[* Note that Rueben Swanson lists καὶ ἐὰν for Ephraemi in this instance.]

Now we get to ask ourselves: Which of these things is not like the other? Well, solely on the uncial evidence as reported by Tischendorf, I’d have to say that NA27 is indeed peculiar. When I first ran into this, I blogged about it on my personal blog. Stephen C. Carlson (who has a very good blog called Hypotyposeis) responded to my post with the comment:

BDF § 18 indicates that there is a slight difference in meaning between the two, with κἂν = “even if” and “καὶ ἐὰν” = “and if” (though κἂν is occasionally used for the “and if” meaning).

The interesting issue with κἂν versus καὶ ἐὰν is that the the UBS/NA text, as far as I can tell, does not follow a single MS for all four variation of units here in 1 Cor 13:2a b, 3a 3b. Sinaiticus (01) and the westerns D F G consistently have καὶ ἐὰν, while the P46 A 33 1175 consistently have κἂν. Vaticanus (B) has καὶ ἐὰν, then κἂν all three times.

I suspect the reason for the UBS/NA is editorial decision, using orthography to distinguish κἂν = “even if” and “καὶ ἐὰν” = “and if”.

Now, you’ll notice that Stephen cites P46 (that is, NT papyrus 46) even though Tischendorf doesn’t cite papyri. His work was done before the great papyri influx of the late 1800′s/early 1900′s. And the NA27 apparatus, which does cite papyrus readings, doesn’t handle these variants. So where does that information come from? There are a few possible places, but the easiest to consult (if available) is The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts. So when this resource becomes available (no estimates on when that will be apart from saying it is currently “in production”) one will be able to supplement Tischendorf with full manuscript transcriptions of the papyri that Tischendorf was unable to consult because they hadn’t been discovered yet.

So, we have a little better idea of the καὶ ἐὰν / κἂν issue: It is muddy. But we also know the status of the text of major uncial MSS as reported by Tischendorf, and we know that these MSS (along with P46) use either καὶ ἐὰν or κἂν consistently. And, thanks to Stephen C. Carlson, we have a reference to BDF that may explain why the editorial committee of the UBS/NA text preferred the reading they chose.

But what about the second question, having to do with οὐθέν / οὐδὲν? Well, let’s again consult Tischendorf. We’ll skip straight to the table this time.

Instance NA27 aleph/01 A/02 B/03 C/04 D/06
v. 2 οὐθέν οὐθέν οὐθέν οὐθέν οὐθέν οὐθέν(c) / οὐδὲν(*)
v. 3 οὐδὲν οὐθέν οὐθέν οὐδὲν οὐδὲν οὐδὲν

[Note that the asterisk (*) indicates the probable original reading of the MS while (c) indicates the corrected reading of the MS]

So here, Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus are consistent, using οὐθέν. The others (Vaticanus, Ephraemi and Claromontanus) are split, and this is what NA27 follows. P46 uses οὐθέν in both places.

This information has all been retrieved from sources available (or available to place pre-publication orders) within Logos Bible Software. Hopefully this article has been helpful in explaining a bit about where to look for New Testament text-critical information within Logos Bible Software. A good rule of thumb is to consult resources in the following order:

Additionally, The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts may be of some help. Also note that the Word Biblical Commentary, if you’re lucky enough to enjoy owning a copy, also discusses text-critical information and may address issues such as these in the Form/Structure/Setting sections.

Lastly, Rueben J. Swanson’s series New Testament Greek Manuscripts is very helpful for issues such as this, but Swanson’s work is not available electronically. More information about his work is available online.