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Thread: Comparing mss in the CNTTS apparatus?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Default Comparing mss in the CNTTS apparatus?

    Hello all,

    I'm trying to see if it's possible to compare variants specific to a group of mss, that I can also compare against NA27, i.e., 1) variants that are only found in p46 B D F G, and 2) variants that are found in only these mss and that that are not retained in NA27.

    It seems like I should be able to do it using the CNTTS apparatus, but I'm having trouble figuring it all out. If anyone could give me some pointers, I would be grateful.


    Donald Cobb
    Aix-en-Provence, France

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Cobb View Post
    I'm trying to see if it's possible to compare variants specific to a group of mss, that I can also compare against NA27, i.e., 1) variants that are only found in p46 B D F G, and 2) variants that are found in only these mss and that that are not retained in NA27.

    It seems like I should be able to do it using the CNTTS apparatus, but I'm having trouble figuring it all out. If anyone could give me some pointers, I would be grateful.
    I'm not sure exactly what you want to do, so I'll make some observations and comments (based on my incomplete understanding of BW/CNTTS) that I hope will be helpful.

    The BW CNTTS apparatus is presented in 3 forms, each of them having features that neither of the others do. See the 11 minute video on CNTTS for an overview: summary (help / How-to-Videos / How to Use Study Tools in BibleWorks / Comparing Versions and Manuscripts / How to Use the CNTTS Apparatus).
    The free-standing form is specially valuable for its "Introduction and Key" which gives a good explanation of the codes used, and the "MSS Key"

    For searches you must use the Search form of CNTTS.
    Concerning the codes:
    The Variation Type can be misleading. "S", which is called "Significant" always refers to the base variant -- the one in NA27.
    The same field is also called "Major Variations", and its values seem to flag significant variations from the base. For finding the major differences from NA27 I would suggest looking for A M R T in the "VU/MV type" box of the Search window.
    The "Var. code" box uses a field that is used as a sequencing field -- it gives information, but is less useful for searching, since you cannot specify the range you want, and checking each possible value is quite tedious.

    If you are willing to accept CNTTS's judgement on what are significant variants, the only fields on the search window you need set are the "VU/MV type" and the "MS".

    All searches in CNTTS are OR searches. Thus, A M R T in VU/MV will pick up all of the major kinds of variants.

    Each major manuscript has a number of codes. For example, P46 has 8 codes,
    This is one reason you need to understand the codes, to help decide which ones to include in you search. (Hold Ctrl key down while selecting the 2nd through n Mss codes, or for a range select the first, then Shift select the last)

    To do an AND search of manuscripts (which variants appear in several manuscripts) you need to do the search first on one (eg. P46, Pc, P*, etc.), with options:
    "Search entire apparatus" and
    "Replace results list with search results".
    Then change the manuscript code to the next one (eg. B, Bc, B*, etc.) with options:
    "Search previous results list" and
    "Replace results list with search results".
    This will give you the variants that are shared by the two mss.
    And you can go on and see what a third shares with the previous two.

    I tried searching for P46 (all 8 varieties of P46) for A M R T variants, and found 1021.
    I then searched those 1021 variants for B (all 7 varieties of B) and found 112.

    I know I've rambled on, but hope it is of some use to you.

    Last edited by Jim Wert; 03-05-2015 at 07:36 PM. Reason: Removed intrusive carriage return.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    Thank you Jim, that helps. I'm trying to test the oft stated observation that P46 and B share certain characteristics with the so-called "Western" texts such as D F and G. So I'm interested in seeing which variants p46 B D F and G have, particularly when they contrast with other major mss (i.e., Sin, A C) and when they go against NA27.

    Comparing p46 and B is helpful. That gives me an initial point of comparison. I have to admit that I'm not quite sure of the method to adopt; perhaps the best would be to compare D and NA27 in the CNTTS apparatus, taking D as the standard for "Western" readings in Paul. Or, maybe better, Sin. and D, then comparing D's variants against B. Any ideas are welcome!

    Thanks at any rate. Your explanations give me something more to go on than what I found in the manual and the video.


    Don Cobb

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008


    Hi Don,

    I am not qualified to suggest which mss to compare. I have spent some more time trying to understand how BW CNTTS works. Here are some further observations I hope may be of some use to you.

    Each time I look at CNTTS to figure out how it works, I find something new and different. This is an attempt to describe how the different fields and codes are used, and how they relate to each other. I will be dealing with the codes that are set in the search window.
    My conclusions are tentative -- I keep finding unexpected combinations of codes.

    I don't know the literature of textual criticism. I'm approaching this as a question of how to exploit the CNTTS apparatus in BibleWorks, what questions the BW search window allows the user to ask of the apparatus, what information is contained in the apparatus,
    and how the information is structured.

    Searches can only use information from one line in the data -- each line contains three codes (VU/MV type, Var code, Minor var), Details (text, sometimes additional description), and a list of manuscript identifiers. So you cannot qualify your search with any information from an earlier or later line that deals with the same variation unit.

    Structure and content of BW CNTTS:

    Var code 0 (base text, UBS)
    VU(Variation Type) L [L0] means no lacunae, not that the text agrees with UBS
    VU S [S0] means text agrees with UBS, other mss. are deemed to have significant variants. It is followed by entries with the following characteristics:
    MV (major variation type) A or M or R or T and
    Var code of 2-11 which is supposed to mean 2 or more supporting Greek witnesses. But these codes can be on entries where only 1 mss is cited.
    A given S variation group can have Insignificant and singular/Latin (Z) variants as well as Significant ones.
    VU Z [Z0] means text agrees with UBS, variant(s) exist with only 1 Greek witness, and/or only Latin support. It is followed by entr(y/ies):
    MV type A or M or R or T
    Var code of 50-69
    (usually Minor var is blank, but can be non-blank. For example, an MV=A can also have a Minor var of P (proper name spelling) because the unit has both additional words and an different spelling of a name in the base text)
    A given Z variation group can have Singular/Latin and Insignificant variants.
    VU I [I0] means text agrees with UBS, the only variant(s) are Insignificant. Insignificant variants look like the:
    VUM/MV type is blank (3 cases have non-blank MV)
    Var code is supposed to be 1, I have seen 99 as well, so suggest using only Minor var code when looking for minor variations.
    Minor var code is # or E or H or N or O or P or X (when this code is present MV type is usually blank, but not always.)

    VU codes (I L S Z) always have a Var code of 0.
    The only case of Var code 0 not being associated with a VU code is this: Mar 14:35-11.0 R 0 Reading: ina ei dunaton estin parelqetw MSS: 579

    Var codes are difficult to use, other than 0 (base text). They don't seem to be applied consistently -- I've seen codes 2-11 used where only one witness was cited. And the search window is very clumsy when you need to enter a range of codes.
    It is understandable that with a large project like CNTTS different contributors will make different decisions when using the coding scheme.

    Var code 97 (Indeterminable readings) is used 59 time, always for the original hand of ms 35.
    Var code 99 (Full Lacunae) also has non-lacunae uses. A few examples:
    Mar 3:2-5.0 M 99 H Reading: OM MSS: W 157
    Luk 5:39-1.20 M 99 Reading: OM MSS: D05 a b c e ff2
    Mat 1:4-1.0 99 H Reading: OM MSS: P (3812 cases of 99 H)
    Also cases of 99 E, 99 O, 99 X

    Suggestions for use of CNTTS:

    Always be aware of the options in effect.

    Be careful! Be sure you know what question(s) you are trying to get CNTTS to answer.

    By using Var code 0 (base UBS text) with care (remember to not include L0) you can answer questions about how different mss. agree with UBS -- and whether 2 mss. vary at the same or different points.
    Use Var codes other than 0 with care, if at all.

    Generally, use as few codes as you can; don't assume that the relationship between codes is what you expect. For example, a ms with a Var code A (addition) for a given variation group may also have an Minor var code for the same variation group to indicate both additional words and a different spelling. I found 11,761 rows that had a non-blank MV type and a non-blank Minor var. code.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    Hello Jim,

    Many thanks for your latest post. That gives me lots to chew on! There are a lot of features that don't seem to be detailed in the user manual, so your explanations are very much appreciated.

    Given the complexity of data, yes, I see the need to know ahead of time what specific questions have to be asked of the apparatus, and to break down larger questions into more discreet queries.

    I'll keep plugging away at this. Again, thanks.


    Don Cobb
    Aix-en-Provence, France

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