Extracts from Bruce M. Metzger and Bart D. Ehrman "The Text of the New Testament"
"Harry Sturz (in "The Byzantine Text-Type and New Testament Textual Criticism," Nashville, 1984) failed to prove that the Byzantine text type is older than the fourth century" at p.221.
p.313ff "Alexandrinus" has the Alexandrian text type in the Pauline Epistles, Catholic Epistles and Revelation only; and Byzantine in the gospels. Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are Alexandrian (pre-eminently in Acts). Sinaiticus has the Western variant in John 1.1-8.38.
BYZANTINE TEXT TYPE
p.279 "The other major textual tradition to survive is the Byzantine text,
sometimes also known as the Syrian text (so Westcott and Hort), the
Koine text (so von Soden), the Eclessiastical text (so Lake), and the
Antiochian text (so Ropes). With the exception of those scholars who
continue to appeal to the "majority text" in making textual decisions,'
nearly all crkics today see the Byzantine text as a later development
in the history of transmission....."
"The Byzantine text is characterized by lucidity and completeness.
Those who framed this text over a long period of time sought
to smooth away any harshness of language, to combine two or more
divergent readings into one expanded reading (called conflation),
and to harmonize divergent parallel passages. These positive characteristics
are no doubt what made its readings so popular that by the
early Middle Ages it was the text of choice among most copyists. Its
earliest manuscript witness is the fifth-century Codex Alexandrinus
(in the Gospels but not in Acts, the Episdes, or Reveladon); it can be
found in many of the later majuscule manuscripts and in the great
mass of minuscule manuscripts."
WESTERN TEXT TYPE
p.307 "A type of text of the Greek New Testament marked by a distinctive
clu.ster of variant readings was named the "Western" text
because the chief witnesses to it were thought to be of Western
provenance, that is, some Greco-Ladn manuscripts (e.g.. Codex
Bezae), the Old Latin, and quotations in the Latin fathers. It is now
acknowledged that this type of text is not confined to the West; some
of its variant readings appear also in Eastern versions, such as the
Sinaitic Old Syriac and the Coptic. Consequendy, when the designation
continues to be used by textual critics, it is more as a proper
name than as a geographical term."
"Although some have held that the Western text was the deliberate
creation of an individual or several individuals who revised an
eariier text,' most scholars do not find this type of text homogeneous
enough to be called a textual recension; it is usually considered to
be the result of an undisciplined and "wild" growth of manuscript
tradition and transladonal activity.' A marked characteristic of this
text is the love of paraphrase, resulting in clearly secondary features
of addition, omission, substitution, and "improvement" of one kind or
"Because the Western type of text was used by such second- and
early third-century authors as Marcion, Justin (and probably Tatian),
Heracleon, Irenaeus, and Tertullian, most scholars date the emergence
of the Western text to the mid-second century or shortly thereafter.'^'
But they also, as Martini has put it, "leave the door open to
an appreciation of the presence of particular readings in which D or
other 'Western' witnesses have, perhaps, preserved the most ancient
"Various theories of the origin of the Western type of text have
been proposed. We.stcott and Hort considered it to have arisen as a
deliberate second-century revisions ... and corrupt...."
"The most important witnesses of the Westen text are Codex
Bezae and the Old Latin manuscripts,' all of which are characterized
by longer or shorter additions and by certain striking omissions...."
CAESAREAN TEXT TYPE
p.311 "The special character of the Caesarean text is its distinctive
mixture of Western and Alexandrian readings. According to Lagrange,
its maker evidently knew both and made a kind of compromise; in
substance he followed the Alexandrian text while retaining any
Western readings that did not seem too improbable, for the latter text
was widely current, although the former was the better. One may
also observe a certain striving after elegance and, thus, consideration
for the needs of the Church.'^^ A similar view is advanced by Globe,
who maintains that in their early form the "Caesarean variants
resemble the conscious harmonizations, paraphrases and smoothing
of grammatical details also found in Western sources. " Based on
his statisdcal analysis, Hurtado comes to a similar conclusion, arguing
that this type of text is "a form of Western text as it was shaped in the
THE ALEXANDRIAN TEXT TYPE
p.312ff "It is widely agreed that the Alexandrian text was prepared by
skillful editors, trained in the scholarly traditions of Alexandria.'' The
text on which they relied must have already been ancient in all
important points. For much of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries,
the two chief witnesses to this form of text were B and א, dating
from about the middle of the fourth century. With the discovery,
however, of p66 and p75, both dating from about the end of the second
or the beginning of the third century, proof became available
that Hort's Neutral text goes back to an archetype that must be put
early in the second century. This earlier form of the Alexandrian
text, which may be called the "primary" Alexandrian text, is generally
shorter than the text presented in any of the other forms, the
Western being the longest. Furthermore, the primary Alexandrian
text appears not to have undergone the systematic grammatical and
stylistic polLshing that was given to other texts, including the later
form of the Alexandrian text itself."
 For the terminology of "primary" and "secondary" Alexandrian witnesses
and a discu.ssion of their internal relationships, see Bart D. Flhrman,
Didymus the Blind and the Text of the Gospels (Atlanta, 1986), esp. pp. 262-7.
"Though most scholars have abandoned Hort's optimistic view
that Codex Vaticanus (B) contains the original text almost unchanged
except for slips of the pen, they are still inclined to regard the
Alexandrian text as on the whole the best ancient recension and the one most nearly approximating the original."
"In the course of time, the student will observe that generally the reading that is supported by a combination of Alexandrian and Western witnesses is superior to any other reading.....There is, however, an exception to this observation: in the Pauline Epistles, the
combination of B, D, and G is ordinarily not of great weight. The reason for
this is that though B is purely Alexandrian in the Gospels, it has a
certain Western element in the Pauline Epistles. Hence, the combination
of B plus one or more Western witnesses in Paul may mean only
the addition of one Western witness to others of the same class."
"The combination of Western and Caesarean witnesses does not
usually possess exceptional weight, for these two types of text are closely related, especially in the early periods."
"In the evaluation of readings that are supported by only one
class of witnesses, the student will probably find that true readings
survive frequently in the Alexandrian text alone, less frequently in
the Western group alone, and very rarely only in Caesarean witnesses.
As a rule of thumb, the beginner may ordinarily follow the
Alexandrian text except in the case of readings contrary to the criteda
that are responsible for its being given preference in general.
Such a procedure, however, must not be allowed to degenerate into
merely looking for the reading that is supported by B and א (or
even by B alone, as Hort was unfairly accused of doing); in every
instance, a full and careful evaluation is to be made of all the variant
readings in the light of both transcriptional and intrinsic probabilides.
The po.ssibility must always be kept open that the original
reading has been preserved alone in any one group of manu.scripts,
even, in extremely rare imstances, in the Koine or Byzantine text."