Bible 347 Return to Syllabus

The Causes of Errors in Copying Manuscripts
Metzger Chapter 7

  1. Unintentional Changes
    1. Errors of the Eyes
      1. Letters may resemble one another
        1. lunar sigma, epsilon, theta, omicron
        2. gamma, pi, tau
        3. lambda lambda, mu
        4. lambda iota, nu
        5. delta, lambda
      2. Eye may jump to a different part of the text (parablepsis)
        1. due to similar endings of lines or words (homoeoteleuton)
        2. due to similar beginnings of lines or words
        3. due to repeated words or phrases
        4. jump back and recopy some part of text twice
    2. Errors of the Ears
      1. Vowels sounded alike (itacism)
        1. omicron and omega
        2. alpha iota, epsilon
        3. omicron upsilon, upsilon
        4. eta, iota, and upsilon
        5. hemeis (we) and humeis (you)
      2. Consonants sounded similar (especially if doubled)
    3. Errors of the Mind
      1. Synonym substituted for word
      2. Word order varied
      3. Letter transposed (spoonerism)
      4. Familiar parallel passage recalled
    4. Errors of Judgment
      1. Marginal gloss mistaken for corrections
      2. Two columns read as one
  2. Intentional Changes
    1. Spelling and Grammar Corrected
    2. Old Testament Quotations and Parallel Passages Made to Agree
    3. Natural Complements Added
      1. "Scribes" added to "chief priests"
      2. "Lord" or "Christ" added to "Jesus" or visa versa
    4. Supposed Historical or Geographical Difficulties Corrected
    5. Readings of Two Manuscripts Conflated
    6. Changes because of Doctrinal Reasons
      1. Readings considered unacceptable were removed or changed
      2. "Proof" for practices was added
    7. Miscellaneous Details Added

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