Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

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Jean Putmans
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Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by Jean Putmans »

Two manuscripts (579 and 740) sometimes write ειρξατο instead of ηρξατο (Mt 26:74 ms 740 has ειρξατο;579 ηρξατο; Mk 1:45: ms 579 has ειρξατο, 740 ηρξατο; Mk 10:28 and Lk 15:24 both have ειρξατο.

I understand the construction of ηρξατο : ε-αρχ-σα-το: χ+σ > ξ, ε+α> η. But I cannot figure out, how these scribes came to ει.

Just a scribal error? Or is there some reason for this (a kind of itacism?)

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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by persequor »

Likely itacism, as ει and η came to be pronounced alike in the Koine period. Both sounded like /i/ in "machine".

Dr. Randall Buth of the Biblical Language Center (Israel), which uses living-language approaches to learning Koine, presented a paper detailing the various sound changes from Attic, including examples from NT manuscripts and non-Biblical papyri. You can download it here: https://tinyurl.com/4as7emyt.
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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by jeidsath »

Maybe the copyist took it as ἔργω = εἴργω, which is also a verb that can be used to govern an infinitive. So a different reading, not just a spelling variation.
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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by Hylander »

Obvious itacism; scribal error.

εἴρξατο from ἔρδω is Homeric/Ionic/poetic per LSJ, doesn't take infinitive, and at best awkward in context.

εἴρξατο from ἔργω or εἴργω, "prevent", "hinder", doesn't make sense in context and usually takes μή (οὐ).

I think some manuscripts may have been produced en masse in large scriptoria where a reader read the text aloud to a number of scribes, who wrote down what they thought they heard without thinking much -- in order to keep up with the reader -- accounting for itacism errors like these and other errors creeping into some strands of the tradition.
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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by jeidsath »

Scribal ignorance of how to write an augment on such a common word in the Gospels? In only these instances?

There are plenty of examples of ἔργω taking an infinitive without μή, both in the LSJ article, and in later Greek. Now look at the contexts:

Luke 15:32: ὅτι οὗτος ὁ υἱός μου νεκρὸς ἦν καὶ ἀνέζησεν ἦν ἀπολωλὼς καὶ εὑρέθη καὶ εἴρξατο εὐφραίνεσθαι (note singular!)
Mark 1:45: ὁ δὲ ἐξελθὼν εἴρξατο κηρύσσειν πολλὰ καὶ διαφημίζειν τὸν λόγον, ὥστε μηκέτι αὐτὸν δύνασθαι φανερῶς εἰς πόλιν εἰσελθεῖν
Mk 10:28: εἴρξατο λέγειν ὁ Πέτρος αὐτῷ Ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν πάντα καὶ ἠκολουθήκαμέν σοι
Mt 26:74: Τότε εἴρξατο καταθεματίζειν καὶ ὀμνύειν ὅτι Οὐκ οἶδα τὸν ἄνθρωπον Καὶ εὐθέως ἀλέκτωρ ἐφώνησεν

Note that a middle meaning for εἴργεσθαι of "to hardly be able to" would unite all these contexts. Luke 15:32 is the prodigal son, who couldn't enjoy himself while destitute. It is to explain the second branch in Mark 1:45. Indicating strong emotion in Mark 10:28. Strong reluctance in Peter's denial in Matthew 26:74.

Obviously the scribe(s) are wrong, but I think it is possible to understand why he might have misunderstood the verb in question in these particular verses that he had learned by ear in an age of ioticized Greek.
"Here stuck the great stupid boys, who for the life of them could never master the accidence..."

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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by Jean Putmans »

Thanks to all of you so far: now In ECM-Acts 18:03 and ECM-2 John 1:8 one finds for εργαζομαι the opposite: ει > η.
There I understand the ει < ε+ε, but

Acts 18:03 ηργαζετο/ειργαζετο; ηργαζοντο/ειργαζοντο:

20↑ a ηργαζετο P74. 02. 05. 08. 5*. 33. 180. 181. 321. 431. 619. 629C. 636. 996. 1162. 1175. 1243. 1735. 1751. 1852. 1884. 2344. Chrys. L:V. 5. 50. 51. 54. 58. 189. K:Smss. S:PH
ao ειργαζετο 01C2. 044. 5C. 61. 88. 94. 206f. 307. 429. 436. 441. 453. 467. 522. 610. 614. 621. 623. 630. 915. 945. 1270. 1292. 1297. 1490. 1501. 1505. 1595. 1611. 1642. 1678. 1704. 1729. 1739. 1827. 1831. 1842. 1875. 1890. 1891. 2138. 2147. 2200. 2298. 2412. 2495. 2652. 2718. 2805. 2818. L1188. Byz. [1C]
b ηργαζοντο 01*. 03*. 1*. OrLat. K:SmssB
bo ειργαζοντο 03C2


2John 8: ειργασαμεθα/ηργασαμεθα; Ειργασασθε/ηργασασθε and ειργασθε (no: ηργασθε).

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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by Jean Putmans »

Addition:

After “but’” it should read: I don’t understand the η.

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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by Jean Putmans »

Addition 2

With some help I succeeded in OCRing the 2John 8 part of the ECM. I hope everything went ok:

10-14 a απολεσητε α ειργασαμεθα 03C2. 1836. 24921_ K:smss>. S:HM>

ao απολεσητε α ηργασαμεθα 03*. 181

b απολεσητε α ειργασασθε
01C2. 02(*f1 ). 044. 048V. 0232V. 5. 6. 33. 81. 88. 94. 218. 307. 321. 323. 378. 4242. 436. 442. 453. 467. 617. 621. 623. 630. 642. 720*Vf2.808.876. 915. 918. 1127. 1241. 1270. 1292f3. 1297. 1359. 1409. 1505. 1563. 1595. 1611. 1678. 1718. 1735. 1739. 1751f4. 1832. 1845. 1846. 1852V. 1875. 1881*.1881C.2138.2147.2200.2243. 2298. 2344V. 2374. 2541. 2544. 2805. 2818. L596. L 1281. AnastS. lsid. A. G:A1B

bo απολεσητε α ηργασασθε 1067. 2464. 2652

c απολεσητε α ειργασθε 326Z. 614. 2412. lrlatV

d απολεσωμεν α ειργασαμεθα 469. 93. 104. 254. 431. 459. 629. 665. 720C. 945. 1523. 1524. 1838f. 1842. 1844. 2186. Byz [424T. 1827f]. PsOec. G:G-D. Sl:ChMSiS

e απολειτε α ειργασασθε 61. 1837
f απολειτε α ειργασθε 326T
gf απολεσησθε α ειργασασθε 1243
h απολησθε α ειργασθε 01*

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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by S Walch »

jeidsath wrote: Thu Jun 30, 2022 6:30 pm Scribal ignorance of how to write an augment on such a common word in the Gospels? In only these instances?
...
Obviously the scribe(s) are wrong, but I think it is possible to understand why he might have misunderstood the verb in question in these particular verses that he had learned by ear in an age of ioticized Greek.
Unfortunately copyist ignorance of how to spell words is replete within the manuscripts of the NT, especially those of the minuscule variety. Although the uncials aren't exactly without their itacism errors (just look at Codex Regius (L) for instance - copyist could barely spell the same word within the same verse!), the minuscules can be somewhat terrible.

Not sure if the OP specified whether they'd searched all places of ηρξατο in the minuscules in question, but I decided to check through the instances of the word in Minuscule 579 (INTF has all the relevant pages online: https://ntvmr.uni-muenster.de/manuscrip ... ocID=30579 - only transcribed in Matthew/Mark; rest have been located from the images of Luke/John), and here's what I found:

ηρξατο:
Matt 4:17; 11:7, 20; 16:22, 22; 26:37; Mark 5:20; 6:34; 12:1; 14:69; Luke 4:21; 7:24, 38; 11:29; 12:1; John 13:5

ειρξατο:
Mark 1:45; 6:2, 7; 8:31, 32; 10:28, 32, 47; 11:15; 14:33, 71; 15:8; Luke 7:15; 9:12; 14:30; 15:14; 19:45; 20:9

ηρξατο total: 16 instances
ειρξατο total: 18 instances

(Mark 4:1 is omitted by 579; Mark 13:5 has a different text from the Majority: ο δε λεγει αυτοις βλεπεται μη τις υμας πλανησει)

Evidently these 18 instances can't all be explained as indicating a different understanding of the verb, and an itacism error is most likely, especially as they outweigh the correct way to spell it. There's more than a few η > ει misunderstandings in minuscule 579 (just check any page; pretty sure you'll find more than 1), hence I'm more than confident we need not look for another explanation. Would expect it to be the same if all the instances in minuscule 740 were checked too.

I do however find it very interesting that the spelling error only starts to appear in Mark; possibly indicating a different copyist did Mark/Luke, then the original copyist returned for John?

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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by jeidsath »

Completely convincing to me. Thank you for diving into it.
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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by Jean Putmans »

‘ Not sure if the OP specified whether they'd searched all places of ηρξατο in the minuscules in question’

No I didn’t.

By the way:
Is there some possibility to look in the INTF-Transcriptions as a whole?
It is quite cumbersome to check everything page-by-page, it would be nice, to check a complete ms-transcript.

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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by S Walch »

Jean Putmans wrote: Fri Jul 01, 2022 2:42 pmBy the way:
Is there some possibility to look in the INTF-Transcriptions as a whole?
It is quite cumbersome to check everything page-by-page, it would be nice, to check a complete ms-transcript.
If there is a way, I'm afraid I don't know of it (and I do spend quite a lot of time on the INTF).

Best way would be to ask a question on the INTF forums. Possibly ask it as a requested update for the INTF to show full manuscript transcriptions, without need for the images?

As the INTF transcriptions don't include the accents etc., I find myself re-doing quite a lot of the manuscript transcriptions I want to look at anyway (accent variants are also interesting!), which results in being able to read them better on MS docs. If there's a manuscript in question you want to be able to look at without the images, doing the same as I do is the best thing I can suggest.

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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by Jean Putmans »

I just checked INTF ms 740.
Mt and Mk are transcripted; the Lk/John part is not transcripted, not even completely indexed, so I skipped that.

Ms 740
Ηρξατο: Mt 4:17; 11:20; 16:21; 16:22; Mk 1:45; 4:1; 6:2; 6:7; 6:34; 8:31; 8:32; 10:32; 10:47; 11:15;

Ειρξατο: Mt 11:7; 26:37; 26:74; Mk 5:20; 10;28; 12:1; 14:69; 14:71; 15:8

Mk 13:5 in ms 740: ο δε ειπεν αυτοις.

740 and 579 both ειρξατο in Mk 10:28, 14:33, 14:71, 15:8

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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by S Walch »

GA 740 is a commentary text too, so a bit harder to check where verses are and start/end.

The four places where they overlap are just agreements in error. There's probably 1000 more minuscules which have a similar sort of split in the spelling.

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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by Hylander »

Why does anyone bother with obvious minor spelling errors in what must be 1000s of minuscule NT mss? In Homeric scholarship, where there's a similar, though far less extensive, proliferation of mss -- and far less certainty as to correct readings -- the modern practice (van Thiel, West) is to produce a text based on a limited number of good minuscule mss with help from papyri and ancient quotations and scholia. A more than adequate apparatus can be constructed on that basis, without cluttering it with all the obvious errors that have found their way into the tradition somewhere.
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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by S Walch »

The answer to that is: theological. When one is searching for the established text as divinely inspired, deciding between φυλάσσει or φυλάσσῃ is just as important as deciding whether John 7:53-8:11 does indeed belong in the Gospel of John or not. The only way to decide between such things is to know whether you're dealing with a copyist who has itacisms often, occasionally, or not at all.

Plus to be fair, most of the modern text-critical editions do use a limited amount of minuscule manuscripts, several uncials, and the earliest papyri to determine the text, and most apparatus' won't include such small details. Only the ECM editions (though not to a ridiculous amount) include the spelling differences in the apparatus.

For in-depth studies of manuscripts though, I would very much expect someone to note each and every little detail, regardless of whether it's something minor. :)

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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by Jean Putmans »

@Hylander

Why bother …?

Well: I am doing research on the Gothic bible (a translation of a Greek text, we don‘t know which mss were used), trying to reconstruct a Greek text with for every Gothic reading (here: dugann = he began …) all possible Greek readings witnessed in extant mss.
If there are more Greek readings, I must decide, which reading(s) could have been a fitting reading.

If I cannot explain, why ειρξατο can be connected with ηρξατο, I cannot take it as a possible Vorlagen-reading. Just supposing a scribal error, when this spelling is occuring in a multiple of mss. In different places, seems not just.

———
Adding some extra data to ειρξατο instead of ηρξατο :
Mt 26:37 ms 895
Mk 6:2 ms 179 first hand and corr.
Mk 8:31 ms 695
Mk 10:32 ms 273
Mk 11:15 ms 2738
Joh 13:5 ms 109
Acts 18:26, 24:2, 27:35 ms 441

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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by Hylander »

If I cannot explain, why ειρξατο can be connected with ηρξατο, I cannot take it as a possible Vorlagen-reading. Just supposing a scribal error, when this spelling is occuring in a multiple of mss. In different places, seems not just.
But ειρξατο reflects a very common and very obvious spelling error, easily explained by changes in Greek phonology, and doesn't make sense in context. And even if the Vorlage text of the Gothic NT read ειρξατο, that doesn't necessarily mean that the Gothic translator didn't apply a modicum of critical thinking — it wouldn’t take much — in translating it correctly as dugann.

Common, obvious and easily explained errors don‘t seem like they would be diagnostic. Important and plausible textual variants — those found in apparatuses constructed with a measure of selectivity — would seem more useful.

Surely, there must be some authoritative reference work that catalogues these kinds of spelling errors in the NT textual tradition, which has been worked over for several centuries.

Even if you think the original text was somehow divinely inspired, why spend any effort on tracking down all the instances of this common spelling error in the vast ocean of NT mss?
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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by Hylander »

In any case, how can we be sure that the Gothic translator worked from a single exemplar? Isn't it possible -- or maybe even likely -- that he (assuming a man) had two or more copies in front of him and chose readings eclectically from them?
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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by Jean Putmans »

@Hylander

Quite common scribal errors can only be found and identified as such, when one collects as many as possible of them, especially when this error as well could be a different word.

We can suppose all kinds of scenarios of the way the gothic translators* were working, one of them might as well be that they had more than one copy of a text. But we don‘t know anything for sure about the circumstances. As in the times of Wulfila (second half 4.ct CE) the first translations were made, the Gothic see was a poor community, It is hard to believe, they could afford multiple manuscripts of a text, and - being non-orthodox-believers - they probably could not count on help from other sees, as giving/lending manuscripts.
But, as I said, we don‘t know anything for sure. So we have to take every possibility seriously.

A second reason, why I must/should be careful in judging Greek readings: Germanists (like me) should stick to their job, to avoid mistakes in bible-textcritical matters. The Gothic-scholar-history shows a lot of them (Wolfgang Griepentrag in 1990 still made judgements like „there are no greek mss with this reading“, using just NA27 as his Greek edition, not even having looked at the part „variae lectiones minores“ in that edition, nor having a look at Von Soden or Hodges and Farstad, not to mention Wettstein, Scrivener and others, where he would have found multiple mss with exactly his ‚missing‘ greek reading). Jülicher and the Alands, as well as Gryson have stipulated what the task of the Gothic-scholars should be: identifying every possible fitting greek reading for every single Gothic reading, no less, no more. Leaving textcritical matters to the bible-textcritics.

And of course, we as Gothic-scholars would very well like to be able, to identify in some way, what the Greek text might have looked like, that our Gothic translators had as their Vorlage.


* (we can say, that at least two different translators were at work, as one can see specific differences between some parts of the translation)

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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by Hylander »

I gather that the ultimate goal of your project is to identify variant readings in the Greek NT text that were in circulation in the 4th c. on the basis of the Gothic translation by checking every word of the Gothic text against all attested variants in Greek mss. Granted, as a Germanist, you are only working on the Gothic piece of the project.

Or is your project aimed at elucidating the Gothic language?
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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by Jean Putmans »

One of the problems in studying Gothic is, that the corpus for almost 100% is a translation of NT-texts and a small piece of the LXX (a part of esdras). As this translation is quite close to linear, we cannot tell for sure, whether the Gothic text is “real” gothic or linear translated Greek. We also don’t know what mss were used, so constructing a greek text according to the wishes of Jülicher, Aland and Gryson would help Gothic research (deviations from the reconstructed Greek text, especially in syntax, could very well show real Gothic) as well as the NT-textcritical research (be it not in the main goal of NT-textcriticism: the search for the original Greek texts).

But probably we are leaving here the topics of this forum …

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Re: Ειρξατο < ηρξατο

Post by Hylander »

Thanks for your efforts to explain what you're doing! This site generally doesn't adhere to strict rules about relevance, and this has been an interesting discussion.
Bill Walderman

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