Significant textual variants.

Interesting variations in the gospel manuscript tradition.


The extant texts of the New Testament contain literally thousands of variations, or variants, from each other. One might roughly divide these variations into two broad categories, significant and insignificant variants. I define the insignificant variants as those differences that either are accidental or do not change the meaning. The significant variants, then, are those that are intentional, and change, add to, or subtract from the meaning.

Note that I am using the term significant to point out that such readings alter the meaning, or significance, of the text.

Many of the textual accretions, if they are not original to the canonical text, qualify as agrapha. At the bottom of this page are tables of the longer and shorter western readings. I have only begun excavating these important variants. I will list more here, in canonical order, as I collect them.

The baptismal light.

Codices Vercellensis and Sangermanensis at Matthew 3.15:

...et cum baptizaretur lumen *ingens circumfulsit* de aqua, ita ut timerent omnes qui advenerant.

...and when he was baptized an immense light flashed round from the water, so that all who had come were fearful.

* ingens circumfulsit (ita) / magnum fulgebat (itg1).

The Diatessaron apparently had the same reading. All of the following quotations are gleaned from William L. Petersen in the appendix to Helmut Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels, page 422.

From Ephraem, century IV, Commentary on the Gospel of the Mixed 4.5:

Et cum vidisset ex splendore lucis super aquas et per vocem factam de caelis....

And when he saw from the splendor of the light over the waters and through a voice that was from heaven....

From Isho'dad of Merv, century IX, Commentary on Matthew 3.15-16 (English translation only of the original Syriac):

And straightway, as the Diatessaron testifies, a great light shone and the Jordan was surrounded by white clouds.

From the Pepysian Harmony, also known as the Magdalene gospel, from about 1400 (Middle English modernized):

And so John baptized Jesus. And, when he was baptized and was in prayer for them that received baptizing in his name, so came the brightness of heaven and the holy ghost, and alighted within him.

From the Vita Beate Virginis Marie et Salvatoris Rhythmica, a Latin poem from century XIII:

Cum ergo Iesus a Iohanne foret baptizatus,
populusque plurimus cum ipso renovatus,
ecce, celum est apertum, lux magnaque refulsit
in Iesum, necnon universos presentes circumfulsit.

When therefore Jesus was to be baptized by John,
and very many people with him renewed,
behold, heaven was opened, and a great light flashed
upon Jesus, but did not flash round all those present.

(Note that the ligature ae or has been reduced to an e, both in the title and in the poem itself.)

An example of a longer western reading.

Before you open your mouth.

Codex Bezae (D) and ith at Matthew 6.8, instead of προ του υμας αιτησαι αυτον (before you ask him), according to Bruce Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament, page 324:

...προ του ανοιξαι το στομα.

...antequam os aperiatis.

...before you open your mouth.

What to drink.

Matthew 6.25 according to B, W, 13, and others:

...μη μεριμνατε τη ψυχη υμων τι φαγητε η τι πιητε....

...do not concern your soul about what to eat or what to drink....

Matthew 6.25 according to L, Δ, Θ, and others:

...μη μεριμνατε τη ψυχη υμων τι φαγητε και τι πιητε....

...do not concern your soul about what to eat and what to drink....

Matthew 6.25 according to א, 1, the Syriac Diatessaron, and others:

...μη μεριμνατε τη ψυχη υμων τι φαγητε....

...do not concern your soul about what to eat....

By the authority of demons.

Matthew 9.34...:

Οι δε Φαρισαιοι ελεγον· Εν τω αρχοντι των δαιμονιων εκβαλλει τα δαιμονια.

But the Pharisees were saying: By the authority of demons he casts out demons.

...is found in nearly all manuscripts except a few Old Latin codices, the Sinaitic Syriac, and codex Bezae (D). It is an example of a shorter western reading. Confer Matthew 12.24; Mark 3.22 = Luke 11.15.

Someone said to him.

Matthew 12.47 reads:

Ειπεν δε τις αυτω· Ιδου, η μητηρ σου και οι αδελφοι σου εξω εστηκασιν ζητουντες σοι λαλησαι.

And someone said to him: Behold, your mother and your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to you.

Confer Mark 3.32 = Luke 8.20. But this verse is not present in B, L, a couple of Old Latin manuscripts, and the Curetonian Syriac. In א, the original scribe did not write it, but the first corrector added it.

The first two words of this verse, ειπεν δε, comprise a thoroughly Lucan expression (0-0-59+15 unless Matthew 12.47 itself is counted, in which case we would have 1-0-59+15).

On the other hand, the verse could have dropped out from homoioteleuton due to the repetition of λαλησαι in verses 46 and 47.

The signs of the times.

Many manuscripts contain Matthew 16.2b-3, but א and B omit it, and Origen lacks it in his commentary on Matthew. It parallels Luke 12.54-57, but the actual verbal similarities are few:

Οψιας γενομενης λεγετε· Ευδια, πυρραζει γαρ ο ουρανος. και πρωι· Σημερον χειμων, πυρραζει γαρ στυγναζων ο ουρανος. το μεν προσωπον του ουρανου γινωσκετε διακρινειν, τα δε σημεια των καιρων ου δυνασθε.

When it is late you say: Fair weather, for heaven is fire-red. And early: Storm today, for heaven is fire-red and menacing. Do you know how to judge the face of heaven, but are not able to judge the signs of the times?

The conspicuous places.

Certain manuscripts, including D and Φ, add the following passage after Matthew 20.28. It parallels Luke 14.8-10, but again the actual verbal similarities are few:

Υμεις δε ζητειτε εκ μικρου αυξησαι και εκ μειζονος ελαττον ειναι. εισερχομενοι δε και παρακληθεντες δειπνησαι μη ανακλινεσθε εις τους εξεχοντας τοπους, μηποτε ενδοξοτερος σου επελθη και προσελθων ο δειπνοκλητωρ ειπη σοι· Ετι κατω χωρει, και καταισχυνθηση. εαν δε αναπεσης εις τον ηττονα τοπον και επελθη σου ηττων, ερει σοι ο δειπνοκλητωρ· Συναγε ετι ανω, και εσται σοι τουτο χρησιμον.

But you, seek to grow from the small and to be lesser from the greater. And when you go in and have been called upon to dine, do not recline in the conspicuous places, lest one more glorified than you should come and the one who called the dinner should come to you and say: Your spot is still lower, and you should be ashamed. But if you sit down at the lesser place and one lesser than you should come, the one who called the dinner will say to you: Go still higher, and this will be more profitable for you.

Falling upon this stone.

Matthew 21.44 reads:

Και ο πεσων επι τον λιθον τουτον συνθλασθησεται· εφ ον δ αν πεση λικμησει αυτον.

And he who falls upon this stone will be broken apart. But upon whom it should fall, it will crush him.

Confer Luke 20.18. Most manuscripts have Matthew 21.44, but D, quite a few Old Latin codices, and the Sinaitic Syriac all omit it. It is an example of a shorter western reading.

Water and blood.

After Matthew 27.49 in א, B, C, L, and manuscripts of the Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and Ethiopic versions, the following is found:

Αλλος δε λαβων λογχην ενυξεν αυτου την πλευραν, και εξηλθεν υδωρ και αιμα.

And another, taking a spear, pierced his side, and out came water and blood.

Confer John 19.34. This sentence is omitted in A, D, W, Δ, Θ, 1, 13, and the Byzantine tradition, among others. It is sometimes considered one of the shorter western readings, but such a label would be very misleading. It is far more than just the western tradition that omits the sentence.

In the prophets.

In most of the more important Greek codices, including א, B, L, and Δ, Mark states that a scriptural quotation of his is to be found...:

...εν τω Ησαια τω προφητη....

...in Isaiah the prophet....

Codices D and Θ have the same reading except that they lack the definite article τω.

There is a problem, however. The quotation (Mark 1.2-3) is actually mixed, and the first thing that one reads after the attribution to Isaiah is not from Isaiah at all, but rather from Malachi 3.1; it is only after this Malachi quotation that we come to Isaiah 40.3.

This problem was apparently not lost on some Christian scribes. Codices A and W both read (along with much of the Byzantine tradition):

...εν τοις προφηταις....

...in the prophets....

It may well be that both Matthew and Luke perceived this problem as well, but adopted a different solution: At Matthew 3.3 = Luke 3.4, both writing about John the baptist, they remove the Malachi quotation altogether, reserving it for a later pericope (Matthew 11.10 = Luke 7.27).

The testing Pharisees.

In Mark 10.2 most extant manuscripts have the Pharisees (Φαρισαιοι) coming (προσελθοντες) to Jesus in order to ask him a question about divorce to test him. Codex Bezae (D), however, joined by several Old Latin manuscripts and the Sinaitic Syriac, omits these two words. In these western manuscripts, then, it is now the crowds (οχλοι) of Mark 10.1 that test Jesus, giving a rather different slant to the incident and creating a shorter western reading.

Saying the same word.

Mark 14.39 reads as follows in nearly all manuscripts:

Και παλιν απελθων προσηυξατο, τον αυτον λογον ειπων.

And going away again he prayed, saying the same word.

But codex Bezae (D) and a number of Old Latin manuscripts omit the final four words, τον αυτον λογον ειπων, saying the same word. A shorter western reading.

Angels descending and ascending.

Codex Bobbiensis (itk) at Mark 16.3, according to Bruce Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament, page 326:

Subito autem ad horam tertiam tenebrae diei factae sunt per totam orbem terrae, et descenderunt de caelis angeli et surgent1 in claritate vivi dei, simul ascenderut2 cum eo, et continuo lux facta est. tunc illae3 accesserunt ad monimentum.

But suddenly at the third hour of the day there came darkness through the entire orb of the earth, and angels descended from heaven, and, [as he was] rising in the brightness of the living God, at once they ascended with him, and immediately there was light. Then the women went to the tomb.

1 Perhaps surgente eo or surgit.
2 Probably ascenderunt.
3 Feminine nominative plural, the women.

Confer Peter 9.36-10.40. Even with only one representative, this reading could be regarded as a longer western reading.

The endings of Mark.

The entire conclusion to the gospel of Mark is lacking in some very important manuscripts. Some manuscripts tag a short concluding logion onto Mark 16.8. I have a separate page dedicated to the Marcan endings.

Today I have begotten you.

The words of God the father at the baptism of Jesus according to most manuscripts:

Συ ει ο υιος μου ο αγαπητος· εν σοι ευδοκησα.

You are my beloved son. In you I am well pleased.

Compare Mark 1.11.

The words of God the father at the baptism of Jesus according to codex Bezae (D):

Υιος μου ει συ· εγω σημερον γεγεννηκα σε.

You are my son. I today have begotten you.

Compare Psalm 2.7. Justin Martyr and Clement of Alexandria support D.

Old wine and new.

Luke 5.38-39:

Αλλα οινον νεον εις ασκους καινους βλητεον.1 2aκαι3 ουδεις πιων παλαιον θελει νεον, λεγει γαρ· Ο παλαιος χρηστος4 εστιν.2b

1 βλητεον (Ƿ4 Ƿ75vid אcorrrected B L 1) / βαλλουσιν (א*) / βαλληται (W) / βλητεον και αμφοτεροι συντηρουνται (A C Δ Θ Ψ 13 Byzantine) / βαλλουσιν και αμφοτεροι συντηρουνται (itb itc itf itl itq) / βαλλουσιν και αμφοτεροι τηρουνται (D).
2 και ουδεις... χρηστος εστιν (most manuscripts) / — (D ita itb itc itd ite).
3 και (most manuscripts) / — (Ƿ4 אcorrected B).
4 χρηστος (Ƿ4 א B L W) / χρηστοτερος (A C Δ Θ Ψ 1 13 Byzantine).

But new wine must be cast into fresh wineskins. And no one drinking old [wine] wishes [to have] new, for he says: The old is fine.

Since the entirety of verse 39 (note 2) is lacking only in manuscripts of the western type, it constitutes a shorter western reading. Confer Matthew 9.17; Mark 2.22, both of which lack a parallel to Luke 5.39.

On the sabbath.

Codex Bezae (D), in place of Luke 6.5, which it postpones to after 6.10:

Τη αυτη ημερα θεασαμενος τινα εργαζομενον τω σαββατω ειπεν αυτω· Ανθρωπε, ει μεν οιδας τι ποιεις, μακαριος ει· ει δε μη οιδας, επικαταρατος και παραβατης ει του νομου.

The same day, [Jesus] saw a certain man working on the sabbath and said to him: Man, if you know what you are doing, you are blessed. But, if you do not know, you are accursed, and a trespasser of the law.

A longer western reading.

What kind of spirit.

After Luke 9.55 codex Bezae, or D, adds the following line, supported also by Epiphanius, Chrysostom, and Theodoret:

Και ειπεν· Ουκ οιδατε ποιου πνευματος εστε.

And he said: You do not know of what kind of spirit you are.

This could be regarded as a longer western reading.

At this same point K, Θ, and both 1 and 13, along with a few miniscules, have a more developed variant:

Και ειπεν· Ουκ οιδατε οιου πνευματος εστε υμεις. ο γαρ υιος του ανθρωπου ουκ ηλθεν ψυχας ανθρωπων απολεσαι αλλα σωσαι.

And he said: You do not know what kind of spirit you are. For the son of man did not come to destroy the souls of men but to save them.

Need of one.

At Luke 10.41b-42a most manuscripts have Jesus saying to Martha (with a few variations; text follows Ƿ45):

...μεριμνας και θορυβαζη περι πολλα, ενος δε εστιν χρεια.

...you are concerned and bothered about many things, but of [only] one is there need.

But both D and itd have only θορυβαζη (you are bothered), and the Sinaitic Syriac and many Old Latin manuscripts omit this line altogether. A shorter western reading.

Not rich toward God.

Most manuscripts have at Luke 12.21 the following:

Ουτως ο θησαυριζων εαυτω και μη εις θεον πλουτων.

Thus [is] the one who keeps treasures for himself and is not rich toward God.

One whole manuscript family (13) adds after this line:

Ταυτα λεγων εφωνει· Ο εχων ωτα ακουειν ακουετω.

Saying these things he cried out: He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Yet D, ita, itb, and itd omit this verse altogether, making for a shorter western reading.

A basket of dung.

Bruce Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament, page 324:

In Luke xiii. 7, according to the commonly received text, the owner commands the vinedresser, 'Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?' In codex Bezae, however, both the Greek and Latin prefix the order with, 'Bring the axe,' φέρε τὴν ἀξίνην, adfers securem. The answer of the vinedresser (vs. 8), suggesting a delay 'till I shall dig about it and dung it', gains immeasurably in colloquial vividness in codex Bezae and several Old Latin witnesses: 'I will throw on a basket of dung', βάλω κόφινον κοπρίων, mittam qualum (=squalum) stercoris (d), or cophinum stercoris (Old Latin a b c 2 i l q).

The command to bring the axe is a longer western reading.

In my memory.

Luke 22.19b-20 is probably the most celebrated of the shorter western readings. Most manuscripts have, in substance:

Και λαβων αρτον ευχαριστησας εκλασεν και εδωκεν αυτοις λεγων· Τουτο εστιν το σωμα μου το υπερ υμων διδομενον· τουτο ποιειτε εις την εμην αναμνησιν. και το ποτηριον ωσαυτως μετα το δειπνησαι, λεγων· Τουτο το ποτηριον η καινη διαθηκη εν τω αιματι μου το υπερ υμων εκχυννομενον.

And having taken bread he gave thanks and broke it and gave it to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in my memory. And likewise the cup after dinner, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

Codex Bezae (D) and the Old Latin, however, have a much shortened version of the eucharist at this point:

Και λαβων αρτον ευχαριστησας εκλασεν και εδωκεν αυτοις λεγων· Τουτο εστιν το σωμα μου.

And having taken bread he gave thanks and broke it and gave it to them, saying: This is my body.

Refer also to the apparatus for Luke 22.14-20.

Not baptizing as we do.

Codex itc at Luke 23.5, according to Bruce Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament, page 326:

...et filios nostros et uxores avertit a nobis, non enim baptizatur sicut nos.

...and our sons and wives he diverts from us, for he is not baptizing as we do.

Codex ite has the same line with minor variations.

A longer western reading.

To release one man.

Luke 23.17...:

Αναγκην δε ειχεν απολυειν αυτοις κατα εορτην ενα.

And he was compelled to release one man to them at the feast.

...while present in many manuscripts (א W Δ, Θ, Ψ, 1, 13, Byzantine; D has it after 23.19), is also missing from some very important ones (Ƿ75, A, B, L). It may well not belong to the original; perhaps it was added on the basis of Matthew 27.15 and Mark 15.6, its present parallels.

Father, forgive them.

Luke 23.34 (confer Acts 7.60) reads in Ƿ75, אcorrected, B, D, W, and Θ:

Διαμεριζομενοι δε τα ιματια αυτου εβαλον κληρους.

And, dividing his clothes, they cast lots.

However, א, A, C, Dcorrected, L, D, Y, 1, and 13 read, with small variations:

Ο δε Ιησους ελεγεν· Πατερ, αφες αυτοις, ου γαρ οιδασιν τι ποιουσιν. διαμεριζομενοι δε τα ιματια αυτου εβαλον κληρους.

But Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. And, dividing his clothes, they cast lots.

Interesting that א and D were corrected in opposite directions. Indeed, א appears to have been corrected back again to its original reading, lacking 22.34a.

Woe to us.

Codex itg1 at Luke 23.48, according to Bruce Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament, page 326:

Vae nobis quae facta sunt hodie propter peccata nostra, adpropinquavit enim desolatio Hierusalem.

Woe to us because of the things that have taken place today on account of our sins, for the desolation of Jerusalem has drawn near.

Confer Peter 7.25. On page 252 of Tatian's Diatessaron W. L. Petersen lists evidence that the Diatessaron contained this variant:

The Diatessaronic evidence is: Ephrem's Commentary, Aphrahat (Dem. XIV), the Doctrina Addai, Syrs,c, and the Vetus Latina MS g1 (also known as Vulgate MS G).*

* My thanks to Gabriel Eddy for pointing this passage from Petersen out to me.

A longer western reading.

Of the Lord Jesus.

Most manuscripts read at Luke 24.3:

Εισελθουσαι δε ουχ ευρον το σωμα του κυριου Ιησου.

But, having gone in, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

Codex Bezae (D), supported by a number of Old Latin witnesses, omits the final three words, του κυριου Ιησου (of the Lord Jesus). A shorter western reading.

He is not here.

The two men who appear in the tomb in Luke 24.4 speak to the women in 24.5b-6a in most manuscripts as follows:

Τι ζητειτε τον ζωντα μετα των νεκρων; ουκ εστιν ωδε, αλλα ηγερθη.

Why do you seek the living with the dead? He is not here, but has risen up.

Codex Bezae (D), however, followed by numerous Old Latin manuscripts, omits ουκ εστιν ωδε, αλλα ηγερθη (he is not here, but has risen up). A shorter western reading.

Peter at the tomb.

Luke 24.12 reads in most manuscripts:

Ο δε Πετρος αναστας εδραμεν επι το μνημειον και παρακυψας βλεπει τα οθονια μονα, και απηλθεν προς εαυτον θαυμαζων το γεγονος.

But Peter rose and ran to the tomb and, having stooped down, sees the wrappings only, and he went away to his own [home], marvelling at what had happened.

Confer John 20.3-10.

Codex Bezae (D) and a number of Old Latin witnesses omit this entire incident. A shorter western reading.

Peace to you.

Most manuscripts have, in substance, at Luke 24.36:

Ταυτα δε αυτων λαλουντων αυτος εστη εν μεσω αυτων και λεγει αυτοις· Ειρηνη υμιν.

But while they were speaking these things he himself stood in their midst and says to them: Peace to you.

Codex Bezae (D), however, supported by a number of Old Latin witnesses, omits the final phrase, και λεγει αυτοις· Ειρηνη υμιν (and says to them: Peace to you). A shorter western reading.

Hands and feet.

Luke 24.40 reads:

Και τουτο ειπων εδειξεν αυτοις τας χειρας και τους ποδας.

And, having said this, he showed them his hands and feet.

Codex Bezae (D) omits this verse, and is supported by Old Latin witnesses, as well as the Curetonian and Sinaitic Syriac versions. A shorter western reading.

Borne up into heaven.

Luke 24.51 reads in most manuscripts, in substance:

Και εγενετο εν τω ευλογειν αυτον αυτους διεστη απ αυτων και ανεφερετο εις τον ουρανον.

And it happened that, while he was blessing them, he departed from them and was borne up into heaven.

Codices א* and D, along with many Old Latin manuscripts and the Sinaitic Syriac, have only:

Και εγενετο εν τω ευλογειν αυτον αυτους διεστη απ αυτων.

And it happened that, while he was blessing them, he departed from them.

Codex Sinaiticus (א) has been corrected to include the missing phrase, και ανεφερετο εις τον ουρανον (and he was borne up into heaven). Confer Acts 1.2, 9 for the parallel. A shorter western reading.

Having worshipped him.

Most manuscripts have at Luke 24.52:

Και αυτοι προσκυνησαντες αυτον υπεστρεψαν εις Ιερουσαλημ μετα χαρας μεγαλης.

And they themselves, having worshipped him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy.

Codex D, the Sinaitic Syriac, and a number of Old Latin manuscripts lack the two words προσκυνησαντες αυτον (having worshipped him). A shorter western reading.

Jews and Samaritans.

John 4.9 reads in most manuscripts:

Λεγει ουν αυτω η γυνη η Σαμαριτις· Πως συ Ιουδαιος ων παρ εμου πειν αιτεις γυναικος Σαμαριτιδος ουσης; ου γαρ συγχρωνται Ιουδαιοι Σαμαριταις.

The Samaritan woman therefore says to him: How do you, being a Jew, request a drink of me, since I am a Samaritan woman? For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.

That final phrase, however...:

Ου γαρ συγχρωνται Ιουδαιοι Σαμαριταις.

For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.

...is missing in א*, D, and several Old Latin manuscripts. A shorter western reading.

The stirring of the water.

John 5.3-4:

Εν ταυταις κατεκειτο πληθος των ασθενουντων, τυφλων, χωλων, ξηρων,1 2aεκδεχομενων την του υδατος κινησιν.2b 3aαγγελος γαρ κυριου κατα καιρον ελουετο εν τη κολυμβηθρα και εταρασσε το υδωρ· ο ουν πρωτος εμβας μετα την ταραχην του υδατος υγιης εγινετο οιω δηποτ ουν κατειχετο νοσηματι.3b

1 — (most manuscripts) / παραλυτικων (D & Old Latin manuscripts).
2 εκδεχομενων την του υδατος κινησιν (Acorrected Ccorrected D Δ Θ Ψ 1 13 Byzantine) / εκδεχομενοι την του υδατος κινησιν (Wsupplied) / — (Ƿ66 Ƿ75 א A* B C* L).
3 αγγελος γαρ... κατειχετο νοσηματι (A Ccorrected L Δ Θ Ψ 1 13 Byzantine) / — (Ƿ66 Ƿ75 א B C* D Wsupplied).

In these [porticoes] lay a multitude of the sick, the blind, the lame, the withered, awaiting the movement of the water. For at certain seasons an angel of the Lord washed in the pool and stirred the water. The first to have walked in, therefore, after the stirring of the water became healthy from whatever disease they had had.

The pericope de adultera.

The pericope de adultera, John 7.53-8.11, does not appear in Ƿ66, Ƿ75, א, Avid, B, Cvid, L, N, T, W, Δ, Θ, Ψ, and other manuscripts:

Και επορευθησαν εκαστος εις τον οικον αυτου. Ιησους δε επορευθη εις το Ορος των Ελαιων. Ορθρου δε παλιν παρεγενετο εις το ιερον, και πας ο λαος ηρχετο προς αυτον, και καθισας εδιδασκεν αυτους. αγουσιν δε οι γραμματεις και οι Φαρισαιοι γυναικα επι μοιχεια κατειλημμενην, και στησαντες αυτην εν μεσω λεγουσιν αυτω· Διδασκαλε, αυτη η γυνη κατειληπται επ αυτοφωρω μοιχευομενη, εν δε τω νομω ημιν Μωυσης ενετειλατο τας τοιαυτας λιθαζειν· συ ουν τι λεγεις; τουτο δε ελεγον πειραζοντες αυτον, ινα εχωσιν κατηγορειν αυτου. ο δε Ιησους κατω κυψας τω δακτυλω κατεγραφεν εις την γην. ως δε επεμενον ερωτωντες αυτον, ανεκυψεν και ειπεν αυτοις· Ο αναμαρτητος υμων πρωτος επ αυτην βαλετω λιθον και παλιν κατακυψας εγραφεν εις την γην. οι δε ακουσαντες εξηρχοντο εις καθ εις αρξαμενοι απο των πρεσβυτερων, και κατελειφθη μονος και η γυνη εν μεσω ουσα. ανακυψας δε ο Ιησους ειπεν αυτη· Γυναι, που εισιν; ουδεις σε κατεκρινεν; η δε ειπεν· Ουδεις, κυριε. ειπεν δε ο Ιησους· Ουδε εγω σε κατακρινω πορευου· απο του νυν μηκετι αμαρτανε.

According to Eusebius, History of the Church 3.39.17, both Papias and the lost gospel according to the Hebrews recount the story of a woman caught in many sins:

Κεχρηται δ ο αυτος μαρτυριαις απο της Ιωαννου προτερας επιστολης και απο της Πετρου ομοιως, εκτεθειται δε και αλλην ιστοριαν περι γυναικος επι πολλαις αμαρτιαις διαβληθεισης επι του κυριου, ην το καθ Εβραιους ευαγγελιον περιεχει. και ταυτα δ ημιν αναγκαιως προς τοις εκτεθεισιν επιτετηρησθω.

And he himself used testimonies from the first epistle of John and similarly from that of Peter, and set out also another record about a woman who was charged for many sins before the Lord, which the gospel according to the Hebrews has. And let these things also be necessarily observed by us on top of the things that have been set out.

It is on the strength of this text that Lightfoot included the pericope de adultera as one of the fragments of Papias, though it is by no means certain that the pericope as found in John is the same version known to the Hierapolitan bishop.


The longer western readings.

Matthew 3.15: The baptismal light.
Mark 16.3: Angels descending and ascending.
Luke 6.5: On the sabbath.
Luke 9.55: What kind of spirit.
Luke 13.7-8: A basket of dung.
Luke 23.5: Not baptizing as we do.
Luke 23.48: Woe to us.

The shorter western readings.

Matthew 9.34: By the authority of demons.
Matthew 21.44: Falling upon this stone.
Mark 10.2: The testing Pharisees.
Mark 14.39: Saying the same word.
Luke 5.38-39: Old wine and new.
Luke 10.41-42: Need of one.
Luke 12.21: Not rich toward God.
Luke 22.19b-20: In my memory.*
Luke 24.3: Of the Lord Jesus.*
Luke 24.6: He is not here.*
Luke 24.12: Peter at the tomb.*
Luke 24.36: Peace to you.*
Luke 24.40: Hands and feet.*
Luke 24.51: Borne up into heaven.*
Luke 24.52: Having worshipped him.*
John 4.9: Jews and Samaritans.

Matthew 27.49* is sometimes classified as a shorter western reading, but misleadingly in my opinion.

Nine of these readings have, since Westcott and Hort, been known as the Western Non-Interpolations, a cumbersome term used to designate those shorter western readings that Westcott and Hort deemed most likely original to the gospel texts. These nine variants are Matthew 27.49; Luke 22.19b-20; 24.3, 6, 12, 36, 40, 51, 52, and are marked with an asterisk * above.