Orthographic Patterns and Manuscript Origin

This study proposes and tests a methodology to help determine what the orthographic patterns of manuscripts can reveal about their date and geographic origin. New Testament manuscripts are grouped together by their common variant readings. In this endeavor, some types of variants are considered more important than others. Orthographic differences are commonly classified as minor variants and, thus, rarely included in methodologies. In this study, a methodology is developed using manuscripts of known date and geographic origin to isolate and study their orthographic patterns. The study provides evidence that manuscripts with a shared date (with no other commonalities) have strong orthographic patterns. Thus, orthography can help determine the date of manuscripts. However, manuscripts with a shared geographic origin (with no other commonalities) have a low level of orthographic agreement; orthographic patterns alone do not seem helpful in determining the geographic origin of manuscripts.

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