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Open Scriptures

Manuscript Comparator



This tool allows two or more Biblical (currently New Testament) manuscripts or manuscript editions to be easily compared in side-by-side and unified views (no original unedited MSS are yet incorporated). It demonstrates a fundamental concept in the Open Scriptures framework: semantic linking. All of the contributing manuscripts are merged together to produce a single unified manuscript containing every attested variant; additionally, while merging, a manuscript's words are linked to their corresponding words in the unified manuscript. (All words in the unified manuscript are normalized by making them lower-case and removing diacritics and punctuation; spelling differences and transposed words are not normalized). Because each manuscript links back to the unified manuscript, every manuscript is then connected to every other manuscript by virtue of their shared links to a common point.

To use, select the manuscripts for comparison and place them in either the (first) preferred list or the (second) deprecated list; each list must contain at least one manuscript. Reorder the manuscripts in the two lists to indicate precedence so that where manuscripts agree, the equivalent content from the manuscript with a higher precedence will be displayed instead of content from a manuscript with lower precedence. This matters because manuscripts have differences in casing, diacritics, and punctuation. Likewise, the reference system of the manuscript with higher precedence will be displayed.

In the output, unique content from preferred manuscripts will appear in green as insertions, whereas unique content from deprecated manuscripts will appear in red as deletions. In the parallel view, hovering over words attested to by both preferred and deprecated manuscripts will result in the equivalent insertions and deletions being highlighted with solid colored borders.

When more than two manuscripts are being compared, additional formatting is introduced to help identify the additional possible variations. Where multiple manuscripts common to the preferred or deprecated list don't agree among themselves, the variant words will appear in bold regardless of whether any manuscripts in the other list also attest to them; upon hovering over these words, their attesting manuscripts' names will be highlighted. Words identified as potentially being transposed within a manuscript group appear in italics, and when hovering over such a word the correspondingly transposed word is highlighted in cyan. However, when a word appears to be transposed between the preferred and deprecated manuscripts, then insertions and deletions appear fainter than normal; likewise, upon hovering over such a transposed insertion or deletion, they appear with dotted borders to indicate their diminished significance.

By hovering over a word, all of the available morphosyntactic information will be displayed in a raw format. In an upcoming edition, this information will be presented in a better interface.

If you do not have a good Greek font, try installing the freely downloadable SBL Greek, Gentium Basic, or Galatia SIL. Please submit general feedback to the discussion group, and report any issues to the bug tracker.

More information:

Sample queries for famous passages in New Testament textual criticism:

  1. Comma Johanneum (1 John 5:7-8)
  2. Pericope Adulterae (John 7:53-8:11)
  3. Alternate endings to the Gospel of Mark (Mark 16)

e.g. John 3:16, Rom 5:5-8, Mt 1-2, or an osisRef