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The Western text

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Chapter Summary

It is still customary to divide manuscripts into the four well known families: the Alexandrian, the Caesarean, the Western and the Byzantine. The manuscripts P45 and P66 show a distinct common character with Western and Alexandrian readings more or less equally distributed over their text, but this very character makes it impossible to fit them into either the Western or Alexandrian family. The most ancient witnesses to the Gospel tradition are the Apostolic Fathers and the Apologists. Their text shows that in their time oral and written tradition were used side by side. In communities with a venerable treasure of Gospel tradition, written Gospels were bound to be influenced by that tradition. And even if they were not directly influenced by that tradition, the written Gospels would not be held in the same esteem in these places as in places where they were the only source of Gospel tradition.

Keywords: Gospel tradition; oral tradition; Western text; written tradition



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