Josaphat C. Tam, «When Papyri and Codices Speak: Revisiting John 2,23-25.», Vol. 95 (2014) 570-588
This paper revisits the role of John 2,23-25 in its literary and manuscript context. Contrary to many Johannine commentators who take it as an introduction to the Nicodemus pericope, 2,23-25 should be linked more to the preceding context, not the following. This view is supported by evidence from the sense-unit delimitations observed in the Greek papyri and codices dated within ca. 300 years from the New Testament era. Viewed from a narrative perspective, 2,23-25 should be seen as an anticlimactic concluding remark connected to 1,35 – 2,22.
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WHEN PAPYRI AND CODICES SPEAK: REVISITING JOHN 2,23-25 575
There are various ways in which copyists delimit units throughout
these manuscripts. For the sake of a proper assessment, those de-
limitation markers that occur in the vicinity of 2,23-25 are listed in
the following. This list of different types of delimitation used is by
no means exhaustive for the entire manuscripts. In some cases, one
kind of marker can be used in combination with another. These de-
limitation markers are:
1. Ekthesis — the first letter of a line protruding into the left
margin, sometimes with the first letter enlarged.
2. Paragraphos — a simple horizontal stroke placed after the
line of a unit and before the next section.
3. Space — extra space deliberately left between words of a line
as a mode of punctuation. In these selected manuscripts, spac-
ing is of variable length. It is commonly used to mark the end
of a unit. Sometimes, a line is intentionally written short, leav-
ing plenty of space, and ekthesis appears in the next line.
4. Dicolon — a double dot placed after certain words functions
to divide a text. Dicolon is sometimes used together with
5. Stops/ Points — whether placed in the upper, middle position
in a line or simply on the line, these stops are used to separate
units in minor ways. High stop marks period end; middle stop
divides what is inside the period; and underdot differentiates
6. Markers of kephalaia — in the margin of some manuscripts,
they are markers inscribed to refer to the kephalaia, a system
of chapter divisions stated at the beginning of a book.
7. Section number — a section numbering system is preserved
in the margin of Vaticanus, with unknown origin.
8. Numerals of the Eusebian Canons/ Ammonian Section num-
bers — markers inscribed in the margin of manuscripts with
numbers referring to the tables of the Eusebian Canons, a sys-
tem of grouping parallel pericopae (Ammonian sections) in
Bearing in mind the variety of delimitation markers noted above,
close observations and analyses of the selected six earliest available
Greek manuscripts are presented as follows.