Last week during a class on textual criticism we discussed EXOMEN/EXWMEN in Romans 5.1. There are a number of interesting features about this variant (beyond the obvious question):
a) In the appendix in the back of NA27 (Editionum differentiae) it emerges that every other editor cited (Tisch, W&H, von Soden, Vogels, Merk and Bover) prefered the NA27 marginal reading EXWMEN.
b) The NA27 apparatus adjusts the witness of 1739 (cf. NA26) distinguishing between the original text - reading EXWMEN, and a corrector 1739C which reads EXOMEN.
c) The manuscript evidence is firmly on the side of the subjunctive: best representatives of diverse text-types (01 A B C D K L 1739) and early versions lat bo. Only later revisions and 'worse' manuscripts support EXOMEN.
d) EXCEPT for 0220, with its rather suspicious 'vid'. Which it turns out is due to a rather sad hole in the manuscript:
In the third line of this picture you can see the last few letters of the word EIRHNHN, followed by a clear epsilon and then a hole! Traces are visible which may be read as EXO. The rest of the word appears at the start of the next line (for complete picture see here). It seems that the trace above the hole is the decisive one, since an omega wouldn't have any ink there.
e) So, without this manuscript the external evidence would be most compelling in support of EXWMEN here at Romans 5.1. But with this new evidence - the earliest manuscript in the apparatus at this point - P46 being deficient here - it can be seen that EXOMEN is not only a secondary reading. [0220 has only just been fully published: Papyrologica Florentina, vol. XXXV. Rosario Pintaudi: Papyri Graecae Schøyen. Firenze, Edizioni Gonnelli, 2005 (Manuscripts in The Schøyen Collection V: Greek papyri, vol. I), pp. 65-71. non vidi]
f) It is an interesting illustration of the way in which text-critical decisions can hinge on rather detailed considerations of the witnesses of particular manuscripts (as well as the need to always check "vid"s). Once the external evidence has been considered we can then turn to other (internal) considerations.