Family 13

Family 13, also known Ferrar Group (f13, von Soden calls the group Ii), is a group of Greek Gospel manuscripts, varying in date from the 11th to the 15th century, which display a distinctive pattern of variant readings — especially in placing the story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery in the Gospel of Luke, rather than in the Gospel of John. Text of Luke 22:43-44 is placed after Matt 26:39. They are all thought to derive from a lost uncial Gospel manuscript, probably dating from the 7th century. The group takes its name from minuscule 13, now in Paris.

The common characteristics of Family 13 were initially identified in a group of four witnesses; but the category has subsequently been extended, and some authorities list thirteen family members. The most obvious characteristic of the group is that these manuscripts place John 7:53-8:11 after Luke 21:38.


The first published account of Family 13 appeared in the year 1877, in a book published by T. K. Abbott on behalf of his deceased friend (and discoverer of Family 13), William Hugh Ferrar. Before his death, Ferrar collated four minuscules (Greek handwritten cursive texts) to definitively demonstrate that they all shared a common provenance. His work, A Collation of Four Important Manuscripts, would be the first scientific attempt to discover the lost archetype of these four minuscules.

The four minuscules Ferrar collated are:

Ferrar transcribed three of these minuscules himself, accepting a previous transcription of 69 done by another person as trustworthy and adequate. The result of his work demonstrates that the members of Family 13 do indeed seem to share a common pattern of deviations from the accepted Greek texts of antiquity.

In 1913, Hermann von Soden’s work on the Greek New Testament seemed to confirm the assertion that this family descended from a common uncial archetype.

By 1941, Kirsopp and Silva Lake turned their attention to this important family of manuscripts. In their work on the Gospel of Mark entitled Family 13 (The Ferrar Group): The Text According to Mark, the family is characterized as consisting of 10 manuscripts (13, 69, 124, 346, 543, 788, 826, 828, 983, and 1689).

In this essay, the Lakes thoroughly cover all that was then known about the provenance of each of these manuscripts. Many of the manuscripts proposed as belonging to Family 13 appear to have links to Calabria and Albania; manuscripts 124 and 174 being recorded as having been written in Calabria, and most of the family members recording menologion readings for Calabrian saints. Some family members have common supplemental geographical material that appears to derive from a 7th century original.

In 1961, Jacob Geerlings published three monographs (Matthew, Luke, and John) on the family, although some scholars regard this work as flawed by serious methodological problems.

Today, the family supposedly consists of thirteen members (13, 69, 124, 174, 230, 346, 543, 788, 826, 828, 983, 1689, and 1709), although the most recent work of Drs. Barbara Aland, Klaus Wachtel, and others at the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung in Münster, Germany, imply that some of these family members are more similar to the majority Byzantine Text, and therefore should not be included in this family at all. Codex 1709 is held in the national archive at Tirana, Albania; which also holds some 46 other medieval Greek New Testament manuscripts, most of which remained uncollated and unpublished until 2008 - when they were photographed by a team from the Centre for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts. A press release from CSNTM in March 2008 reported that "one or two" of these previously unstudied manuscripts may also belong to family 13; in which case they would be the earliest surviving witnessess to this text.

In 1924 Burnett Hillman Streeter proposed that Family 13 should be classified as one branch of a distinct Caesarean text-type, differing in a number of common respects from the then established Byzantine, Western and Alexandrian text-types. This view is supported by some, but not all, subsequent scholars.

See also

External links


  • J. R. Harris, On the Origin of the Ferrar Group, (Cambridge, 1893).
  • W.H. Ferrar, A Collation of Four Important Manuscripts of the Gospels, ed T.K. Abbott, (Dublin:Macmillan, 1877).
  • Soden, Hermann. Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments in ihrer ältesten erreichbaren Textgestalt hergestellt auf Grund ihrer Textgeschichte. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1913.
  • Lake, Kirsopp & Silva. Family 13 (The Ferrar Group) The Text According to Mark, Studies and Documents 11, 1941.
  • Geerlings, Jacob. Family 13 – The Ferrar Group: The Text According to Matthew, Studies and Documents 19, 1961.
  • Ibid for Luke, Studies and Documents 20, 1961.
  • Ibid for John, Studies and Documents 21, 1962.
  • Barbara Aland and Klaus Wachtel. Text und Textwert der Griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments, Volume V., Das Johannesevangelium, Testellenkollation der Kapital 1-10 Band 1.1, and 1.2. New York: De Gruyter, 2005.

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