I. Westcott and Hort instituted their 1881 edition from the MINORITY TEXT, also called the NEUTRAL TEXT or the ALEXANDRIAN TEXT. Most come from the "B" manuscript (Vatican) and "Aleph" (Sinai), and both omit Mark 16: 9-20. Their minority text includes the English Revised Version of 1881, the ASV, RSV, NEB, NASB, NIV, LB, and almost 100% of the English New Testaments from 1881 to the present. These two manuscripts represent the corruption that took place between about 100 A.D. and 312 A.D. in some 5,337 places.
A. MAJORITY TEXT. Dean John Burgon (1813-1888). This was the champion, a conservative and fundamental who defended this text and denounced the minority text.
B. MINORITY TEXT. (1) Brooke Foss Westcott, D.D. (1825-1901) (2) Fenton John Anthony Hort, D.D. (1828-1892). These two are the liberals who used the Minority Text to rewrite a new Greek Text. In 1881 they published the Geek Testament called "The New Testament in the Original Greek,” which came in two volumes. Their Greek text is based upon about 45 manuscripts against 5,210 manuscripts of the Majority Text (which underlie the KJV), or, LESS than 17% of the manuscripts.
II. TWO TEXTS: THE MAJORITY & THE MINORITY
A. THE MINORITY. The two main codices, or manuscripts, which the minority is based upon are: (1). Sinaitic, "Aleph." Aleph is the identification of the code. (2). Vatican, "B." B is also the codex identification number. There are also a very few, miscellaneous, manuscripts which fall into the minority category. It is also called the Neutral Text or the Alexandrian Text.
1. CODEX SINAITICUS. The manuscript contains 364 and 1/2 leaves, 199 of the Old Testament and 144 and 1/2 of the New Testament. The pages are 13-1/2 by 14-7/8 inches. Each page contains four columns about 2-1/2 inches wide, and each column has 48 lines. The writing is large, clear, and good. The material is excellent vellum made from the finest skins of the antelope.
a. PRESENT OMISSIONS. It originally contained:
(1) The Old Testament, including the Apocrypha
(2) The complete New Testament
(3) The Epistle of Barnabas
(4) Much of the Shepherd of Hermes
b. PRESENT OMMISSIONS include one-half of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha.Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53-8:11. The Old Testament is translated from the Septuagint.
(1) The EARLIER HISTORY of the manuscript is unknown. It is dated about 340 A.D.
(a) Certain indications point to Egypt as its origin. Quite certainly it was in Caesarea between the 5th and 7th centuries, and Caesarea was home of Bishop Eusebius (270-340 A.D.).
(b) In 527 Justinian, Emperor of the eastern Roman empire (527-565 A.D.), built the monastery of St. Catherine, in which are hundreds of ancient manuscripts which may be studied by anyone who wishes to go there. It is easy to believe that this manuscript was given to this monastery by Justinian.
(d) KNOWN HISTORY. It is considered one of the earliest known. Dr. Constantin Tischendorf, a German Biblical professor and scholar gave his life to study Biblical manuscripts. He made this find in 1844 while visiting the monastery of St. Catherine at Mt. Sinai, therefore, the name Sinaitic. It was written in Greek.
(e). LOCATION. It is presently the property of the British government and the Protestant Church and is reserved in the British Museum in London, England. Prior to this, Tischendorf was commissioned by the Czar of Russia in his travels and in 1869 deposited his findings in the great Imperial Library at St. Petersburg (now Leningrad), in return for some gifts to the monastery, In December, 1933, the U.S.S.R. sold it to the British Museum.
2. The VATICAN or the CODEX VATICANUS "B." The manuscript contains 759 leaves, 617 of the Old Testament and 142 of the New Testament. The pages are 10" wide, and 10-1/2 high. Each page contains 3 columns of 42 lines. The writing is a small, neat uncial, and the material is fine vellum.
a. HISTORY. Its early history is unknown. There is some evidence for Egypt and Caesarea. Its first appearance in History is in the Vatican Library Catalogue for the year 1481. It is thought to have been brought to Rome by Pope Nicholas V in 1448, about the time of the founding of the Vatican Library. In 1809, when Napoleon captured the pope and the papal states of Italy, this manuscript was taken to Paris, France, along with the papal archives, hundreds of wagonloads of books and documents. Here it was discovered for its great age and importance. After its restoration to Rome in 1815, it was heavily guarded for many years. In 1890, under the auspices of Pope Leo XIII, the Vatican Press issued a photographic facsimile of the entire manuscript, therefore making it available to libraries and accessible to scholars throughout the world.
b. PRESENT LOCATION. At the Vatican Library, Rome, Italy, and property of the Roman Catholic Church.
c. PRESENT OMMISSIONS. Genesis 1:1-46 and Chapter 28; 2 Kings 2:5-7; 10-13; Psalm 106:27-138:6; Mark 16:9-20; John 7:53-8:11; Hebrews 9:14 to the end of the New Testament, also the Pastoral Epistles, Philemon, and Revelation.
d. LOSSES. The original contents, written in Greek, were:
(1). The Old Testament, the Septuagint Translation.
(2). The Apocrypha, except 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, The Prayer of Manassas.
(3). The New Testament
III. The MAJORITY TEXT. It is also called the Traditional Text, the Byzantine Text, the Received Text or the Textus Receptus. This text held sway in the Greek Church from about A.D. 312-1453 and in the Protestant Church as a whole from A.D. 1453-1881, about 1,569 years in all. The Minority Text has infiltrated churches since 1881 to the present, or about 115 years.
NOTE: The Vaticanus (B) and Sinaiticus (Aleph) disagree with each other about 3,000 times in the Gospels alone.