Acts 15,19-21 James on Dietary Law and Blood ( some of the oldest available manuscripts with the passage)

by TheWonderofYou 15 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • TheWonderofYou

    The bible manuscript below is a picture of the P45 (Gregory Aland number) from the 3rd century. I have cut out the passage of Acts 15,19-21 from the greek text. You can compare the P45 with the greek text from Nestle Aland.

    P45 is a papyrus which contains the biblebook "Acts of the Apostels" namely the chapters 4 - 17 hence also it has the passage where James speaks about blood and strangled animals. The text appears in the egyptian standard text type, which is the older witness of bible text.

    Besides in the P45 the eastern text of Acts is further preserved in the great codes that also contain Acts in the "Egyptian standard text type.

    Overview about oldest texts that preserve the eastern standard text of Acts:

    P45, This papyrus in codeform contains the "Egyptian (or eastern text or minority) standard text of Acts. (3rd century, P45 contains large parts of Acts from chapters 4 to 17, Dublin, Chester Beatty Library and Vienna, Austrian National Library, in Dublin are 18 leaves and in Vienna 2.

    Codex Sinaiticus (X, 4th century, by Constantine Tischendorf, 1844 and 1859 discovered in the Monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai; today in London, British Library)

    Codex Vaticanus (B; 4th century; today in Rome)

    Codex Alexandrinus (A fifth century, now in London, British Library)

    and Codex EphraemiRescriptus (C, 5th century, washed down in the twelfth century and described with tracts of the Syrian ecclesiastical father; today in Paris).

    In addition, the Egyptian text form is testified by Egyptian church fathers, such as Clemens of Alexandria († 212) and Origen († 253).


    The text appears on fol. 28 "titled "Acts 15.19"

    Where is the word "blood" in the papyrus?... blood is the "καὶ τοῦ αἵματος", which you find in the Papyrus in the 3rd line on the right

    19διὸ ἐγὼ κρίνω μὴ παρενοχλεῖν τοῖς ἀπὸ τῶν ἐθνῶν ἐπιστρέφουσιν ἐπὶ τὸν θεόν,

    20ἀλλ’ ἐπιστεῖλαι αὐτοῖς τοῦ ἀπέχεσθαι τῶν ἀλισγημάτων τῶν εἰδώλων καὶ τῆς πορνείας καὶ τοῦ πνικτοῦ καὶ τοῦ αἵματος.

    21Μωϋσῆς γὰρ ἐκ γενεῶν ἀρχαίων κατὰ πόλιν τοὺς κηρύσσοντας αὐτὸν ἔχει ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς κατὰ πᾶν σάββατον ἀναγινωσκόμενος.

    19 It is my judgment, therefore, that we ought to stop troubling the Gentiles who turn to God, 20 but tell them by letter to avoid pollution from idols, unlawful marriage, the meat of strangled animals, and blood. 21 For Moses, for generations now, has had those who proclaim him in every town, as he has been read in the synagogues every sabbath.”

    (The last line of my cut out reads .... BATON ANA....." σάββατον ἀναγινωσκόμενος" which is "sabbath" the first B is damaged.

    This OP will be continued with furhter pictures of the Eastern and Western text type and overview in which old codes and Papyrus the "western standard text" is preserved, only give me time.

  • TheWonderofYou

    Whereas the "Western standard text" of Acts is preserved in other collections

    "Western text" of Acts:

    Codex D 05 (Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis), named after Theodor Beza († 1605), a greek scholar and co-worker of Calvin, who rediscovered this code from the 5th or 6th century and handed him to the University of Cambridge in 1581. Online at University of Cambridge The "Western text" is also attested

    by Papyrus P38 (approx. 300 AD; contains Acts 18,27-19 : 6, 12-16; today in Ann Arbor, Michigan and

    P48 (3rd century, contains Acts 23.11 - 17.23-29; today in Firenze Italy).

    The term "Western text" comes from the fact that this textual delivery was first discovered by Western church fathers, e.g. Irenaeus of Lyon († 202 AD).

    About the Codex Bezae

    Codex Bezae (MS Nn.2.41)
    There are half-a-dozen ancient manuscripts which are the foundation of our understanding of the text of the New Testament writings. Among these stands the copy known since the sixteenth century as Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis. Any manuscript which has survived from antiquity is a marvel for this reason alone, and as we explore its pages, we have a rare opportunity to explore a little of the written culture of late antique Christianity. Although in the past century some remarkable papyrus manuscripts have been recovered from the sands of Egypt, their discovery has in general served more to highlight the significance of the parchment manuscripts than to diminish it.
    Among this group, Codex Bezae occupies a unique place for several reasons. In the first place, as a bilingual manuscript, with a Greek text and a Latin version on facing pages, it provides a valuable insight into the reception of the Gospels and Acts in the western Christian tradition. The Latin version it contains is one of the small handful of manuscripts which are the most important witnesses to the development of a Latin version before Jerome's famous Vulgate of 382. Secondly, it provides a strikingly different form of text to that preserved in almost every other manuscript, and to the printed Greek text and the translations derived from it. These differences consist in the Gospels in frequent harmonisation of the text and in Acts in a free restyling of the text found best represented by Codex Vaticanus and reproduced in English translations.
    The manuscript is the work of a single scribe, one trained primarily to copy Latin texts. Its present contents are the Gospels of Matthew, John, Luke and Mark, a single page of the last verses of 3 John (in Latin only) and the Acts of the Apostles. The only book that is complete is the Gospel of Luke, since there are pages missing from all the others. It is possible that between Mark and 3 John the manuscript originally contained Revelation and the rest of the Epistles of John. The Gospels are in the so-called Western order, with the two who were apostles first, followed by the two who were companions of the apostles.
    The manuscript is best dated to the end of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth century. Many places have been proposed for its place of origin, including southern France, Africa, Egypt and Palestine. I have proposed Berytus (Beirut). There were a number of correctors and annotators working in the first centuries of its existence. The first strong evidence for the manuscript's history is replacement leaves for missing portions of Matthew, John and Mark. The style of writing and the use of blue ink provide a very strong case that these pages were written in Lyons in the ninth century. At this period Lyons was an important centre for the dissemination of ancient works in the west.
    It is probable that the Codex Bezae remained there, in the Monastery of St Irenaeus, until the sixteenth century. It was apparently taken over the Alps to the Council of Trent in 1546. Its textual significance was already recognised, since it was one of the manuscripts whose readings was cited in the first edition of the Greek New Testament to include such information, made by Robert Stephanus in Paris in 1550. Then after the sacking of Lyons in the religious wars it came into the hands of the Reformer Theodore de Bèze, Calvin’s successor at Geneva. The first part of its name is derived from the Latin form of his name, Beza. In 1581, Beza presented the manuscript to Cambridge University. This is the origin of the second part of its name, Cantabrigiensis.
    A printed transcription of the manuscript (using a font imitating the shape of the characters) was published by the University Press in 1793. A more accurate transcription, with the corrections and annotations fully detailed, was made by F.H. Scrivener and published by Deighton Bell in 1864. A facsimile edition was published by the University Press in 1899.
    Of the many distinctive readings of the manuscript, the following deserve special mention:
    It is the oldest manuscript to contain the story of the adulterous woman (John 7.53-8.11). It is on Folios 133v to 135.
    The genealogy of Jesus in Luke's Gospel is arranged in reverse order so as to conform more closely with that in Matthew. It is on Folios 195v to 197.
    There is a story about Jesus found in no other manuscript (the story of the man working on the Sabbath, placed after Luke 6.4). It is on Folios 205v and 206.
    It is the oldest manuscript to contain the longer ending of Mark (16.9-20). The last pages of Mark are missing, so all that remains is the Greek text of verses 9-15. What follows is text supplied in the ninth century. It is on Folio 347v.
    In Acts, when the angel delivers Peter from prison the detail is added that they go into the street down seven steps (Acts 12.10). It is on Folios 463v-464, eleven lines from the bottom of the page.
    Professor David Parker
    Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology and Director of the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing
    University of Birmingham
    March, 2012


    It will take time to find out on which folio exactly the passage Acts 15,20 where blood is mentioned is to find.

    Anybody here to help me on which folio it is? The western text (the "D" text) should read else than the eastern text. It should read similar to

    " But prescribe to them [the Gentiles] that they to contain oneself from defilement of idols and fornication and of the blood and others, not to do what one does not want it to happen to oneself."

    To be continued.

  • TheWonderofYou
  • TheWonderofYou

    I got it!!!

    Page 787 of Codex Theodori Bezai.

  • TheWonderofYou

    Goto page 787 and open the options. Choose transcription into greek. you get the greek text

    Above show verses 15:18-20, the numbers on the left are the line number in the codex

    γνωστον απ αιωνος εστιν τω κω το εργον αυτου
    διο εγω κρεινω μη παρενοχλειν
    τοις απο των εθνων επιστρεφουσιν επι τον θν
    αλλα επιστειλαι αυτοις του απεχεσθαι
    των αλισγηματων των ειδωλων
    και της πορνειας και του αιματος
    και οσα μη θελουσιν εαυτοις γεινεσθαι
    ετεροις μη ποιειτε

    των αλισγηματων των ειδωλων .... here this looks like "idols"..eidolos
    και της πορνειας και του αιματος ..... here is porneias.....and ...haimatos (Blood)

    What the "Wester text type" misses is "the strangled animals". But instead the copyist added

    this text.

    και οσα μη θελουσιν εαυτοις γεινεσθαι ......BUT WHAT IS THAT, it is not in your bible?
    ετεροις μη ποιειτε

    θελουσιν - wish, okay its the Golden Rule of which also Terry spoke in the thread 3 years ago

    Terry on Jehovahs wrote:

    "(b) The Western text omits ‘what is strangled’ and adds a negative form of the Golden Rule in 15.20 and 29. . . . Concerning (b), it is obvious that the threefold prohibition . . . refers to moral injunctions to refrain from idolatry, unchastity and blood-shedding (or murder), to which is added the negative Golden Rule." 1

    The "western texts" were those used by a significant number of those early Christian writers, and these texts had already replaced the purely ritual rules in the original description of the Apostolic Council with moral rules. Obviously, then, these later copyists were not aware of the background of the blood prohibition, and struggled to understand the text. To make it more acceptable, they "corrected" the text to be a list of three moral laws: idolatry, unchastity and murder. And hardly anyone will deny that these rules apply to all Christians! No wonder, then, that the early Christian writers argued that the apostolic council still applied.
    Concerning these texts, we read:
    "Of the remaining types of texts which Westcott and Hort isolated, the so-called Western Type is both ancient and widespread. . . . Its date of origin must have been extremely early, perhaps before the middle of the second century. Marcion, Tatian, Justin, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Tertullian and Cyprian all made use to a greater or less extent of a Western form of text."
  • TheWonderofYou

    If we compare the both text variants of the bible we have:

    Acts 15,20 (egyptian, Nestle-Aland)

    But prescribe to them [the Gentiles] that they contain oneself from defilement
    idols and of fornication and of suffocated animals and of the blood. (translation mine)

    Acts 15,20 (D-text, Codex Bezai)

    But prescribe to them [the Gentiles] that they contain oneself from defilement of
    idols and fornication and of the blood and not to do others what one does not want to happen to oneself. (translation mine)

    similar text differences are in Acts 15,29 and 21,25

  • TheWonderofYou

    In this context thus many important points come into mind, if I am alowed to lead on this subject:

    1) pornei

    that the greek verb porneia has different meanings and is not only "fornication"

    The modern NABRE Bible renders the term "porneia" with "unlawful marriage" and refers to the jewish understanding and usage of this word.

    This subject has been emphasized too in this forum by Terry W.

    In this thread Caleb commented

    The term PORNEIA refers to "illicit sexual union" with the word "illicit" capable of reflecting mores of a pagan or Jewish culture. In this instance the scholars who worked on this translation chose the term to reflect Jewish understandings, and thus the Noahide sanctions against incestuous unions colored this particular rendition.

    2) Why does the "Western text with the negative form of the golden rule" not appear in the modern bibles at all? Why do the Bibles stay with the egytian older text witness like with the Papyrus P45?

    Do the other older egyptian based Codices also have the "strangled animals" in it? The Codex Vaticanus e.g.?

  • Phizzy

    What a dangerous , murderous cult the JW Org is. To get its sheeplike, unthinking followers to throw away their lives, and worse, their children's lives, for the sake of one word which may never have appeared in the original versions of Acts.

    Even if the prohibition on eating blood had appeared in the original of Acts, that book is very dodgy anyway, it cannot have any authority when much of it is clearly fiction.

    Being a Bible Believer is bad for your health.

  • TheWonderofYou
    it cannot have any authority when much of it is clearly fiction.

    In this thread I am only concentrating on the oldest known written witnesses for the bible text in which appears the passage Acts 15,20
    where (like in 15,29 and 21,25) "contain yourself of pollution from idols, porneia, blood and strangled animals" appears, I dont want to get off this point here.


    Investigating the oldest text in the inaccesible world of oldest manuscripts I have come accross the wanted passage in the next Code the
    Codex Sinaiticus (340-350 A.D).

    I cut out for you the passage and the corresponding translation. As you see we have here again a "Eastern text type", the older witness, so SINAITICUS includes "what is strangled"

    The greek word is

    meaning "pnikto" = "suffocated = strangled"

    Passage Acts 15,20

    Guide where to find the words in the folio above:
    "pniktos" (suffocated) is the first word in the 7th line,
    beneath you find "aimatos" Blood, the first word in the 8th line
    As you see the text alone doesnt explain which meaning the words had for the jewish christians then and today, thats a different story.

    Note that you now are in the possition to read the passage in the original manuscript from the year 350 A.D.

    Source: Leads you direct to the prompt folio of the original

    The earliest type of manuscript in the form of a modern book (i.e., a collection of written pages stitched together along one side), the codex replaced the earlier rolls of papyrus and wax tablets. The codex had several advantages over the roll, or scroll. It could be opened at once to any point in the text, it enabled one to write on both sides of the leaf, and it could contain long texts. The difference can be illustrated with copies of the Bible. While the Gospel According to Matthew nearly reached the practical limit of a roll, a common codex included the four Gospels and the Book of Acts bound together, and complete Bibles were not uncommon.

    What do we know about the Sinaiticus manuscript?

    A: Sinaiticus (340-350 A.D.) is the second oldest existing member of the Alexandrian family of manuscripts. It often is abbreviated as "Aleph" or is called uncial 01.
    What has been preserved: It has preserved half of the Septuagint Old Testament. Specifically, it has Genesis 23:19-24:46 (with gaps); Numbers 5:26-7:20 (with gaps), 1 Chronicles 9:27-19:17, Ezra-Nehemiah as one book from Ezra 9:6 on, Esther, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Lamentation to 2:22, Joel through Malachi, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and Job.
    The Apocrypha is in Sinaiticus: specifically Tobit, Judith, 1 and 4 Maccabees, Wisdom, and Sirach.
    The New Testament is all preserved, except the scribes did not include John 7:53-8:11, and a blank space reserved for Mark 16:9-20. Sinaiticus contains all of Romans (minus 16:24) in the same order as Bibles today.
    Two other books are in Sinaiticus: the Epistle of Barnabas and part of the Shepherd of Hermas.
    Physical Appearance: It originally had at least 730 leaves. Today we have 390 leaves plus fragments of 3 more leaves. (a leaf is two pages.) There are four columns per page and 48 lines per column. It is written on expensive vellum. There were no spaces between words and almost no punctuation. Old Testament quotes are shown as quotes. Today it is in London, UK. For more info and a photograph, see Manuscripts of the Greek Bible, p.76-79.
    Scribes and correctors: Three scribes copied Siniaticus. Scribe A, who copied most of the historical and poetic books of the Old Testament, almost all the New Testament, and the Epistle of Barnabas, was a better speller than B, but not nearly as good as D. B copied the prophets and the Shepherd of Hermas, and was a bad speller. D had nearly perfect spelling. He copied Tobit and Judith, the first half of 4 Maccabees, and the first 2/3 of Psalms. He apparently copied 6 pages of the New Testament.
    Distinctives of Sinaiticus: According to Herman Hoskier, there are the following number of places with differences between Sinaiticus and the textus receptus in the gospels: Matthew 656+, Mark 567+, Luke 791+, John 1022+, for a total of 3036+ places of differences in the gospels. Like Vaticanus is has a blank space for the longer ending of Mark's gospel. Thus they were aware of a longer ending, but chose not to copy it. According to D.A. Waite, 8972 words were affected in the Gospel versus the Textus Receptus. 3,455 words were omitted, 839 were added, 1114 were substituted, 2299 were transposed, and 1265 were modified. It has more changes than Vaticanus. Of course, Waite cannot prove any words were added or omitted, only that they were included or absent.
    Lk 11:23 "scatters me" is in the original Sinaiticus Bohairic Coptic, and Ephraemi Rescriptus. All the other major manuscripts have "scatters"
    Jn 1:34 The "chosen" is in p5 (200-240 A.D.), original Sinaiticus, Sahidic Coptic and few other manuscripts. The "son" is in corrected Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, Cantabrigiensis, the Byzantine Lectionary, Bohairic Coptic, Armenian, Origen, Chrysostom. See A General Introduction to the Bible p.392-394 for more info.

  • cofty

    Thank you. Really interesting stuff. Marking to read in detail this evening.

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