Accidental Scribal Changes

As I stressed in my most recent post, the vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of differences among out surviving manuscripts (and versions, and patristic citations) are of very little or no importance in trying to establish what the authors of the NT originally wrote.   There are others that matter, and matter a lot.  Those tend to be the ones that are the most interesting.   But there are many, many more differences that are easy to detect and of no real significance. Most of these differences appear simply to be accidental mistakes.  We can never be absolutely certain, of course, if a change was made by accident or not.   But in a huge majority of cases, there seems to be little reason to doubt it. The *reasons* mistakes were made are not hard to detect, but are nonetheless  hugely interesting for a reason I will explain in my next post.  The reality is that scribes were human beings and they made mistakes.   Of course, in theory, they didn’t *have* to make mistakes.   Throughout the [...]