According to the degree in which the volition of the copyist is absent or present, as involuntary or mechanical, semivoluntary and voluntary; or again as they affect single signs (letters, figures or symbols), words, lines or even larger units such as sentences or paragraphs.
The division (often inept) of the text into chapters, the references to chapter and verse of a printed N.T., and sundry pious stanzas which interrupt the context, are due to a later editor, perhaps to the copyist of the existing text of 1782.
The copyist may erroneously suppose that something written in the margin, between the lines or at the top or the foot of the page which he is copying, is intended to be placed in the text.
Either it is authentic but irrelevant, added by Paul as a postscript, or it is unauthentic, 4 due to some copyist who added it as Erbes (Zeitschrift fiir Kirchengeschichte, 1901, 224-231) makes xvi.
But no mere copyist or verbal translator could have attained that result.
Let us suppose that from a text which we will call A a copy has been made which we will call B, and from this again a copy which we will call C. If the copyist of B goes wrong once and the copyist of C twice in a hundred times, then, assuming that there is no coincidence or cancelling of errors, the relative correctness of the three texts A, B, C will be zoo (absolute correctness), 99 and 97.
The next copyist may easily overlook this sign and thus the passage may be permanently displaced.
Paradoxical as it may seem, the mechanical corruptions of a stupid but faithful copyist may tell us more than the intelligent copyings of a less faithful one.
The passage which a copyist is reproducing may suggest to him something else and he will write down what is thus in his mind instead of what is before his eyes.
The copyist does not as a general rule consciously intend a change, but he falls into one through the influence of dominant associations.