Once upon a time I was led to believe that Hermann von Soden’s* work was basically reliable. This was important because his work underlies both the Hodges Farstad and Robinson-Pierpont editions of the Majority (Byzantine) Text. However, the Text und Textwert (TuT) collations demonstrate objectively that not infrequently Soden is seriously off the mark. Maurice Robinson’s collations of the Pericope Adulterae demonstrate objectively that Soden is very seriously wrong there. With reference to Soden’s treatment of codex 223 K.W. Clark stated, “Furthermore, our collation has revealed sixty-two errors in 229 readings treated by von Soden.”§ 27% in error (62÷229) is altogether too much, and what is true of MS 223 may be true of other MSS as well. Hoskier was not entirely mistaken in his evaluation. For myself, I had to reconsider the evidence for the whole New Testament, and that exercise led me to the conclusion that the most important segment of the relevant evidence had been overlooked (more precisely, it had been despised, and therefore ignored).
Herewith a new Greek Text, and critical apparatus, for the entire New Testament, based on that important segment. I call that segment Family 35, because cursive 35 is the complete New Testament, faithful to the family archetype, with the smallest number. (Cursive 18, also a complete NT, defects from the family in Revelation.) For a thorough explanation of why I prefer Family 35,* please see my book, God Has Preserved His Text! (3rd edition). I there argue that God has preserved the precise original wording of the NT, and that we can, and do, know what it is, based on an empirical procedure. I claim to have demonstrated the superiority of Family 35 based on size, independence, age, geographical distribution, profile, care, and range. I challenge any and all to do the same for any other line of transmission.
In the statements of evidence I have included the percentage of manuscript attestation for each variant within either ( ) or [ ]. I have used ( ) for the evidence taken from TuT, which I take to be reasonably precise. For the variant sets that are not covered there I used a variety of sources, which vary from book to book (please see the final footnote for each book for that information)—the percentages offered, I have used [ ] for these, are extrapolations based on a comparison of those sources. I have determined the reading of f35 on the basis of well over thirty minuscule manuscripts (usually over forty, or even fifty) for each book, all of which I collated myself.§ Since the MSS come from all over the Mediterranean world (including most monasteries on the Mt. Athos peninsula), the chances that they do not represent the main line of transmission are, quite frankly, nil. So here you have the archetypal Text of f35, beyond reasonable question.
I have included six published editions in the apparatus—RP,HF,OC,TR,CP,NU.* So how do I justify this new text and apparatus? Well, just the critical apparatus justifies the edition, being by far the most informative with reference to the large Byzantine majority and to f35, which is both ancient and independent of the rest of the tradition. Also, my Text is sufficiently distinct from the rest to justify its existence (over a thousand differences from either HF or RP). For those who believe in an inerrant Text, as I do, each word is important (and even the spelling may prove to be significant).
Where all six printed editions are in agreement, I arbitrarily limit inclusion in the apparatus to variants with at least [10%] attestation. Also, I have arbitrarily included the movable-nu in the Text, as well as the full form of οὕτως, at all points.
As an arbitrary decision, I have limited the citation of individual MSS to those dated to the 5th century or earlier. I use rell to indicate that the reading is supported by all other witnesses (continuous text MSS, although until all of them have been collated this is obviously inexact), and printed editions (of the six included in the apparatus), compared to the other reading.§
Quotation marks have been added throughout to facilitate a correct understanding of the text. Because standard English quotation marks too closely resemble rough and smooth breathing marks, double angle quotation marks « » are used. Nested quotations are indicated by single angle quotations marks ‹ ›, and nested quotations within nested quotations are indicated by double angle quotations marks « ». When a quotation continues with a new paragraph, it is indicated with right-pointing double angle quotations marks ».
It is the aim of the editors of this volume to produce a text which exactly represents Family 35 with an apparatus that faithfully reproduces the evidence for the variants from the manuscripts and published editions cited in the footnotes. If you come across any errors in the text or apparatus, please contact:
Wilbur Pickering
Robert A. Boyd
Editions of the Greek New Testament cited in the Apparatus
CP Complutensian Polyglot
f35Wilbur N. Pickering. The New Testament According to Family 35. 3rd ed. WNP, 2020.
HFZane C. Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad, eds. The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text. 2nd ed. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1985.
NUNestle-Aland 26th edition and United Bible Societies 3rd edition
Nestle24Nestle 24th edition
Nestle25Nestle 25th edition
UBS2 UBS 2nd edition
OCOrthodox Church
RP The New Testament in the Original Greek: Byzantine Textform 2005. Compiled and arranged by Maurice A. Robinson and William G. Pierpont. Southborough, MA: Chilton Book Publishing, 2005.
TRTextus Receptus
Signs and Abbreviations Used in the Apparatus
𝕻1Capital letter 𝕻 indicates a papyrus. The superscript number that follows indicates the number of the papyrus.
M1Capital letter M followed by a superscript number indicates a particular line of transmission within the Pericope Adulterae (John 7:53–8:11).
MaCapital letter M followed by a superscript letter indicates a particular line of transmission within the book of Revelation.
ptThe superscript letters pt indicates part of the family of manuscripts or line of transmission. Often this directly follows the superscript letter, such as apt, which means part of the a line of transmission.
½A superscript fraction ½ indicates a fraction of the family of manuscripts or line of transmission. Often this directly follows the superscript letter, such as , which means half of the a line of transmission.
( )Witnesses which show only minor differences are noted in parentheses along with the witnesses for the main variant.
[NU]Brackets around NU indicate that the NU editors are not completely convinced of the authenticity of the text.
[?]Brackets around a question mark indicate indicates doubt as to the reading of variant.
[!?]Brackets around an exclamation point and a question mark indicate a questionable and surprising editorial decision.
[[NU]]Double brackets around NU indicate that the NU editors do not consider the text to be original.
«OC»Double angle quotation marks around OC indicate that the OC editors do not consider the text to be original.
¦A broken bar separates the instances of variation from each other within a single verse or section of the apparatus.
Three hyphens indicate that the variant omits the footnoted text.
An ellipsis indicates that the variant form cited is in agreement with the text.
~ A tilde indicates that the words in the text are transposed by the witnesses cited. The word order of the variant(s) is indicated by the numerals that follow (see below).
2 3 1 4 Variants of word order are represented by numerals which correspond to the order of the words in the text (1 = the first word in the text, etc.) This convention is followed not just for variants of transposition indicated by a tilde, but also for alternative forms within a single variation unit.
cThe superscript letter c indicates a correction made by a later hand, but sometimes also by the find hand.
vThe superscript letter v indicates that the reading attested by a witness cannot be determined with absolute certainty (ut videtur).
rell The abbreviation rell indicates that the rest of the manuscript tradition supports the text or variant (reliqui).
+A plus sign indicates additional text in witnesses that support the main variant.
A minus sign indicates text missing from witnesses that support the main variant.
An arrow sign indicates a probable correction made to the text.
* : Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments in ihrer ältesten erreichbaren Textgestalt (Göttingen: Vanderhoeck und Ruprecht, 4 vols., 1911-1913). : Text und Textwert der Griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments (Ed. Kurt Aland, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter). The series contains over a dozen volumes, covering the entire New Testament except for the second half of John. : So far as I know, this material has not yet been published; Robinson gave me the opportunity of working with a private copy of his collation pages. § : Eight American Praxapostoloi (Kenneth W. Clark, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1941, p. 12). * : As explained elsewhere, I now use f35 instead of Kr. I further insist that f35 should be factored out of the broad Byzantine tradition and be presented separately, because I now believe that f35 is earlier than Kx, etc., being the base from which the others departed. : The book is available from A free PDF download is available at : So far as I know, mine is the first apparatus to offer this information. § : I hold a copy of a perfect representative of the f35 archetype for 22 of the 27 NT books, and my best copy is perfect for 17 of them. Quite apart from these, most of the scribes who copied f35 exemplars did very careful work. The care with which f35 exemplars were copied contrasts sharply with that afforded to exemplars of all other lines of transmission. * : RP = Robinson-Pierpont (2005), HF = Hodges-Farstad, OC = the text of the Orthodox Churches, TR = Textus Receptus, CP = Complutensian Polyglot, NU = N-A26/UBS3 (N-A27/UBS4 offer changes in the critical apparatus, not in the text; the text is still that of N-A26/UBS3). : I venture to affirm to the reader that all original wording of the NT is preserved in this edition, if not in the Text, at least in the apparatus. “Diminish not a word” Jeremiah 26:2 (see Deuteronomy 4:2 and Luke 4:4, “every word” [as in 99.6% of the MSS]). : Anyone who wishes to apply a numeric code to this Text should keep that in mind. § : My apparatus does not include lectionaries, patristic citations or ancient versions. I can explain why to anyone who is interested.