Wayne E. Cornett - singular readings

Steven Avery


“Singular Reading of the Firsthand Scribe of Codex Sinaiticus in the Gospels: A Test Case in Scribal Habits,”
PhD dissertation. Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary;

“Singular Readings of the Firsthand Scribe of Codex Sinaiticus in John 1-6: A Test Case in Scribal Habits.'’
2008 ETS Southeast Regional Meeting. Cordova, TN;

“The Christology of Philippians 2:6-11,” 2007 ETS Southeast Regional Meeting, Graceville, FL:

Multiple articles in Kurian, George Thomas and Mark A. Lamport, eds.,
Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States. Rovvman & Littlefield Publishers, 2016.


Steven Avery

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Dissertation or Thesis

Singular readings of the firsthand scribe of Codex Sinaiticus in the Gospels: A test case in scribal habits (2009)
Cornett, Wayne E.   Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary ProQuest Dissertations Publishing,  2009. 3388879.
https://www.proquest.com/docview/30...83A466DPQ/1?sourcetype=Dissertations & Theses


In an attempt to gain insight into the habits of the first hand scribe of Codex Sinaiticus and to make some observations concerning scribal habits in general based on actual data, this dissertation studies the singular readings of Sinaiticus in the Gospels. The singulars are listed and then classified into the following categories: additions, omissions, substitutions, transpositions, harmonizations, and miscellaneous errors. These statistics are used to understand the propensity of the scribe to commit certain errors.

This dissertation is composed of nine chapters. The first chapter provides a basic introduction to the paper. The second chapter, "Methodologies and Methodology," provides an overview and critique of different studies that have utilized singular readings. The methodology that this study uses is developed and defended by the overview and critique of the previous studies. The third chapter presents a description of Codex Sinaiticus including matters of its origin, discovery, physical makeup, and its scribes. Chapters four through seven list the singular readings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John respectively. Each chapter concludes with a statistical analysis of the variety of errors the scribe made in the singulars of that Gospel. The eighth chapter compiles the data derived from the previous four chapters and provides a statistical analysis of the variety of errors the scribe made in the singulars. The final chapter focuses on implications for textual criticism. The weight that textual critics should give this manuscript is considered. Further, the data from this study is compared with other studies (mainly Colwell, and Royse), and contrasted with commonly accepted canons of scribal habits.

This dissertation argues that the study of singular readings is the best way to study the habits of scribes. The author concludes that the habit of the scribes of Sinaiticus is in contradiction to modern statements and practice of lectio brevior potior. He argues that since the same contradiction is found in the habits of numerous other scribes from a variety of studies, the canon should be reconsidered. At the least there should be a return to the well qualified statement of the canon by Griesbach. He further argues that there are difficulties and dangers with his canon that could be avoided by pursuing a canon similar to that suggested by Royse.

Steven Avery

Elijah Hixson
Both Peter Head and Wayne Cornett have discussed scribal habits in Mark’s Gospel in Sinaiticus,70 but there
are differences between them regarding several singular readings. Regarding the
omission in Mark 1:32-34, Head regards it as a singular omission of sixteen words,
because of an omission in Codex Washingtonianus.71 On the other hand, Cornett
considers it an omission of eighteen words.72 Regarding Mark 15:46, Head considers the
singular to be a harmonization to Matthew 27:60,73 while Cornett sees it as a
harmonization to Matthew 27:33.74 Additionally, the overlap of Cornett and Jongkind
reveals some differences. Jongkind sees the reading of Sinaiticus at Luke 12:29 as a
harmonization both to context and to Matthew 6:31,75 but Cornett understands it as a
harmonization both to context and to Matthew 6:25.76 Jongkind sees the singular in
Sinaiticus at Luke 2:2 as an editorial reading,77 but Cornett sees it as a word order
variation with the addition of a moveable-ν.78 Although it is still possible to see general
trends in scribal habits across multiple studies, works that are undertaken by different
scholars betray the subjective judgments of their authors and cannot be compared as if
they are empirically equal.

70Peter M. Head, “The Gospel of Mark in Codex Sinaiticus: Textual and Reception-Critical
Considerations,” TC 13 (2008): 1–38; Wayne E Cornett, “Singular Readings of the Firsthand Scribe of
Codex Sinaiticus in the Gospels” (Ph.D. diss., Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, 2009).
71Head, “The Gospel of Mark in Codex Sinaiticus,” 25.
72Cornett, “Singular Readings,” 63.
73Head, “The Gospel of Mark in Codex Sinaiticus,” 23.
74Cornett, “Singular Readings,” 77.
75Jongkind, Scribal Habits of Codex Sinaiticus, 230.
76Cornett, “Singular Readings,” 96.
77Jongkind, Scribal Habits of Codex Sinaiticus, 232.
78Cornett, “Singular Readings,” 83
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