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New Testament manuscripts in Greek are categorized into five groups.[1] This categorization scheme was introduced in 1981 by Kurt and Barbara Aland in Der Text des Neuen Testaments. The categories are based on how each manuscript relates to the various text-types. Generally speaking, earlier, Alexandrian manuscripts are category I while later, Byzantine manuscripts are category V.

Description of categories

Category I

This category represents the earliest and best manuscripts. Fourth century and earlier papyri and uncials are in this category, as are manuscripts of the Alexandrian text-type. The manuscripts in this category are important when considering textual problems and are considered to be a good representation of the autograph.

Category II

The manuscripts in this category are similar to category I manuscripts, and are important in textual consideration of the autograph. However, the texts usually contain some alien influences, such as those found in the Byzantine text-type. Egyptian texts fall in this category.

Category III

The manuscripts in category III are important when discussing the history of the textual traditions and to a lesser degree for establishing the original text. The manuscripts usually contain independent readings, and have a distinctive character. f1, f13 are examples of manuscript families that fall within this category. Manuscripts of this category usually present mixed or eclectic text-type.

Category IV

Category IV contains the few manuscripts that follow the text of the Codex Bezae (D). These texts are of the Western text-type.

Category V

Byzantine and mostly Byzantine texts fall under this category.

Distribution of Greek manuscripts by century and category

See [Aland:159-162].

I II III IV V
150 𝔓52, 𝔓90, 𝔓104
200 𝔓32, 𝔓46, 𝔓64/67, 𝔓66, 𝔓77, 0189
250 𝔓1, 𝔓4, 𝔓5, 𝔓9, 𝔓12, 𝔓15, 𝔓20, 𝔓22, 𝔓23, 𝔓27, 𝔓28, 𝔓29, 𝔓30, 𝔓39, 𝔓40, 𝔓45, 𝔓47, 𝔓49, 𝔓53, 𝔓65, 𝔓70, 𝔓75, 𝔓80, 𝔓87, 0220 0212 𝔓48, 𝔓69
300 𝔓13, 𝔓16, 𝔓18, 𝔓37, 𝔓72, 𝔓78, 0162, 𝔓115 𝔓38, 0171
350 𝔓10, 𝔓24, 𝔓35, 01, 03 𝔓6, 𝔓8, 𝔓17, 𝔓62, 𝔓71, 𝔓81, 𝔓86, 0185 𝔓88, 058?, 0169, 0188, 0206, 0207, 0221, 0228, 0231, 0242
400 057 𝔓19, 𝔓51, 𝔓57, 𝔓82, 𝔓85, 0181, 0270 𝔓21, 𝔓50, 059, 0160, 0176, 0214, 0219
450 02 (except Gospels), 0254 𝔓14, 04, 016, 029, 048, 077, 0172, 0173, 0175, 0201, 0240, 0244, 0274 02 (Gospels), 032, 062, 068, 069, 0163, 0165 (?), 0166, 0182, 0216, 0217, 0218, 0226, 0227, 0236, 0252, 0261 05 026, 061
500 𝔓56, 071, 076, 088, 0232, 0247 𝔓54, 𝔓63, 072, 0170, 0186, 0213
550 𝔓33+58, 06, 08, 073, 081, 085, 087, 089, 091, 093 (1 Peter), 094, 0184, 0223, 0225, 0245 𝔓2, 𝔓36, 𝔓76, 𝔓83, 𝔓84, 06, 015, 035, 040, 060, 066, 067, 070, 078, 079, 082, 086, 0143, 0147, 0159, 0187, 0198, 0208, 0222, 0237, 0241, 0251, 0260, 0266 022, 023, 024, 027, 042, 043, 064, 065, 093 (Acts), 0246, 0253, 0265?
600 𝔓26 𝔓43, 𝔓44, 𝔓55, 083 𝔓3, 0164, 0199
650 𝔓74, 098 𝔓11, 𝔓31, 𝔓34, 𝔓79, 0102, 0108, 0111, 0204, 0275 𝔓59, 𝔓68, 096, 097, 099, 0106, 0107, 0109, 0145, 0167, 0183, 0200, 0209, 0210, 0239, 0259, 0262 𝔓73, 0103, 0104, 0211
700 𝔓42, 𝔓61, 𝔓60
750 019, 0101, 0114, 0156, 0205, 0234 𝔓41, 095, 0126, 0127, 0146, 0148, 0161, 0229, 0233, 0238, 0250, 0256 07, 047, 054?, 0116, 0134
800 044 (Catholic epistles) 044 (except Catholic epistles)
850 33 (except Gospels) 010, 038, 0155, 0271, 33 (Gospels), 892, 2464 012, 025 (except Acts, Rev), 037, 050, 0122, 0128, 0130, 0131, 0132, 0150, 0269, 565 09, 011, 013, 014, 017, 018, 020, 021, 025 (Acts, Rev), 030, 031, 034, 039, 041, 045, 049, 053?, 063, 0120, 0133, 0135, 0136?, 0151, 0197, 0248, 0255, 0257, 0272, 0273?, 461
900 1841 0115, 1424 (Mark) 1424 (except Mark), 1841
950 1739 0177, 0243?, 1739, 1891, 2329 051, 075, 0105, 0121a, 0121b, 0140, 0141, 0249, 307, 1582, 1836, 1845, 1874, 1875, 1912, 2110, 2193, 2351 028, 033, 036, 046, 052, 056, 0142, 1874, 1891
1050 1175, 1243, 2344 81, 323, 945, 1006, 1854, 1962, 2298 28, 104, 181, 323, 398, 424, 431, 436, 451, 459, 623, 700, 788, 1243, 1448, 1505, 1838, 1846, 1908, 2138, 2147, 2298, 2344, 2596? 103, 104, 181, 398, 431, 451, 459, 945, 1006, 1448, 1505, 1846, 1854, 2138, 2147, 2298
1100 256, 1735 1735, 1910 256
1150 1241 36, 610, 1611, 2050, 2127 1 (Gospels), 36, 88, 94?, 157, 326, 330, 346, 378, 543, 826, 828, 917, 983, 1071, 1241, 1319, 1359, 1542b, 1611, 1718, 1942, 2030, 2412, 2541, 2744 1 (except Gospels), 180, 189, 330, 378, 610, 911, 917, 1010, 1241, 1319, 1359, 1542b?, 2127, 2541
1200 1573 1573
1250 2053, 2062 442, 579, 1292, 1852 6 (CE, Paul), 13, 94, 180, 206, 218 (epistles), 263, 365, 441, 614, 720, 915, 1398, 1563, 1641, 1852, 2374, 2492, 2516, 2542, 2718? 6 (Gospels, Acts), 94?, 180, 206, 218 (except epistles), 263, 365, 597, 720, 1251?, 1292, 1398, 1642, 1852, 2374, 2400, 2492?, 2516
1300 1342
1350 2427 1067, 1409, 1506, 1881 5, 209, 254, 429 (Paul), 453, 621, 629, 630, 1523, 1534, 1678?, 1842, 1877, 2005, 2197, 2200, 2377 5?, 189, 209, 254, 429 (Paul), 1067, 1409, 1506, 1523, 1524, 1877, 2200
1400 2495
1450 322 69, 205, 322, 467, 642, 1751, 1844, 1959, 2523, 2652 69, 181, 205, 429 (Rev.), 467, 642, 886, 2523, 2623, 2652?
1500 61 (epistles, Rev), 522, 918, 1704, 1884 61 (Gospels, Acts), 522, 918, 1704
1550- 849, 2544 (Paul) 2544 (except Paul)

Number of manuscripts by century and category

Century Category I Category II Category III Category IV Category V
II 3
II/III 6
III 25 1 2
III/IV 8 2
IV 5 8 10
IV/V 1 7 7
V 2 16 19 1 2
V/VI 6 6
VI 15 31 12
VI/VII 1 4 3
VII 2 8 17 4
VII/VIII 2 1
VIII 6 12 5
VIII/IX 1 1
IX 3 7 12 5
IX/X 1 2 2
X 1 5 18 10
XI 3 7 24 16
XI/XII 2 2 1
XII 1 5 24 16
XII/XIII 1 1
XIII 2 4 21 18
XIII/XIV 1
XIV 1 4 17 12
XIV/XV 1
XV 1 11 9
XVI 5 4
XVI/XVII 2 1

Limitations

This system of classification prefers the Alexandrian text-type. Manuscripts that represent the Western text-type are classified as Category IV in Gospels, and Category II/III in the Pauline Letters. This is significant because some scholars believe that some or all of the Minuscule text or the Western texts are closer to the original texts. Some manuscripts are not classified. Uncial 055 is not because it is a commentary, and according to some authorities, written in a minuscule hand. 𝔓7, 𝔓89, 𝔓121, Uncial 080, Uncial 0100, Uncial 0118, 0174, 0230, 0263, 0264, 0267, 0268 are too brief to classify. Uncial 0144 and 0196 are not accessible. 𝔓25 is not classified because of the Diatessaric character of text.

See also

Notes

  1. ↑ Aland:106f,332-337.

References

  • Ewert, David. From Ancient Tablets to Modern Translations: A General Introduction to the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Zondervan Corporation, 1983. ISBN 0310457300

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