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should be exalted above measure,” is wanting extent of their circulation, as well as the watchful in several MSS., and two ancient Versions; it is jealousy with which the different sects of religionalso superfluous.*
ists have at all times viewed each other, rendered ) When a transcriber, having discovered that he it impossible to he effected to any material exhad made an omission, subjoined what he had tent. omitted, he would obviously produce a trans- 3. We have been thus particular in pointing position in the text.
out the several sources of various readings in the Thus, Matt. v. 4 is subjoined to ver. 5, in Scriptures, for the purpose of giving a general Camb. Vulg. Jerome; and Luke xxiii. 17 is idea of their nature, and enabling those persons omitted in the Alexandrian and one other, while to whom the subject is new, to see that the total it is suhjoined to ver. 19 in Camb.t
value of such variations, although their number 3. The third cause of various readings noticed, should amount to treo millions, is, comparatively, was the assumption of marginal glosses into the very insignificant. All those who suppose that text. This appears to have been a fruitful source the Scripture depends on a word or a letter, so of error, and has been occasioned in various ways. essentially that it is not Scripture if either be Thus, the possessor of a MS. might write in the changed or omitted, must, if they will be consistmargin,
ent, abandon the whole Bible, in which many a) An explanation of a difficult passage ; b) A word synonymous to one in the text, but changes of this kind, it is past all question, have more easily understood, or less uncommon; or,
actually taken place. The critic wonders not c) The modern name of a place;
that so many have taken place, but that no more d) A correction of some real or supposed error in have been experienced, as he well may do, if all his text;
the circumstances of the case be taken into e) A parallel passage in some other place.
account. In all, or in any of these cases, where a copyist
4. But to return to the real and comparative supposed the marginal notes to have been parts value of these readings. To what do they amount?
To of the text, accidentally omitted in the
say nothing of those which are mere errata which contained them, and afterwards supplied as the interchange of letters or words, the transin this manner, he would transfer them at once posing of words in a sentence, the improper into his copy, in their supposed places, and thus division of letters into words, the mistaking of produce a discrepancy between that and other a contraction, and other things of a like kind, copies taken from the same MS., but in which about which there would be no difficulty in dethe marginal glosses were omitted. Michaëlis termining, even if we possessed not a single toleand other critics have produced several various rably correct MS.—it will be evident to any perreadings, evidently originating in such mistakes. son who takes the trouble to examine (and It is likely, too, that there might be variations in those who will not, are not entitled to a hearing), two or more copies taken from a MS. having that from the abundance of our materials, in the marginal notes, where all the transcribers had shape of MSS., quotations in ancient authors, and inserted them in the text, but not in precisely the early Versions, added to the knowledge we possess same place.
of the causes of existing errors, that nine hundred 4. By designed alterations of a literary descrip- and ninety-nine of them out of every thousand tioa, is meant such alterations as consist in a cor- may be removed, and the original reading rerection of supposed errors in the text; the substi- stored, with ease, after the critical apparatus tution of a modern for an obsolete name or word; has been formed. For this
there are Af an elegant for a barbarous phrase ; or of a certain laws of what is technically called conjecermmon for a dialectic form of speech. Any or tura critica ; and where the process is conducted all of these changes might be made; and if so, according to these, we may place the most unthey would, of course, produce a variation among hesitating reliance on the result. the copies, in proportion to their extent.
III. To discuss largely the character of these 5. The last source of various readings pointed critical laws, would be out of place in such a sat, was the corruption of the text for party purposes; but upon this it is obviously unneces- #Mr. Isaac Taylor has judiciously remarked, that so many sary to enlarge, except it be to say, that although are the means we possess for detecting wilful corruptions, there is good reason to believe that it has been drawn from a comparison of different MSS., or from the incon
gruity of the interpolated passage, that there is perhaps, atempted, the very nature of the writings upon altogether, more probability that, from some accidental pecuwhich the fraud was to be practised, and the wide liarity of style, genuine passages of ancient authors should
fall under suspicion, than that any actually spurious portions
should entirely escape it.-History of the Transmission of Gerard's Institutes, p. 233.
work as the present; but the following remarks , annexed to his Greek Testament, went a great way will probably be interesting to those wholly unac- toward the reduction of sacred criticism to a reguquainted with the subject.
lar system; but much still remained to be performed, 1. It is to be observed that the value of a con- for which we are indebted to Semler, who laid the tested reading is not estimated merely by the foundation; and to Griesbach, who raised the number and antiquity of the MSS. in which it is superstructure. found: not by the number of the MSS. merely, (2) “From a comparison and combination of because if a hundred copies have been taken from the readings exhibited by Wetstein, it was disone exemplar, their united authority amounts but cerned that certain characteristic readings distinto that of the parent MS. : not by their antiquity guished certain MSS., Fathers, and Versions; that merely, because a very ancient MS. may have other characteristic readings pointed out a second been derived from the original autograph through class; others again, a third class of MSS., Fathers, a greater number of copies than a more modern and Versions. It was further discovered, that this one may have been ; or it may have been written threefold classification had an additional foundaby a less skilful or conscientious person. There tion in respect to the places where the MSS. were are other circumstances to be taken into account, written, the Fathers lived, and the Versions were therefore, in determining the preference to be made. Hence the three classes received the given to a reading.
names of Recensio Alexandrina, Recensio Con2. As it regards the Hebrew Bible, we have stantinopolitana or Byzantina, and Recensio Occinot the advantage of comparing a number of MSS. dentalis; not that any formal revision of the Greek derived from the original autographs, through in- text is known, either from history or from tradidependent sources, as in the case of the Greek tion, to have taken place at Alexandria, at ConTestament; because we know that all the existing stantinople, or in Western Europe. But whatever copies, excepting the Codex Malabaricus, about causes, unknown to us, may have operated, in prowhich critics are not fully agreed, have been made ducing the effect, there is no doubt of its existence; from MSS. revised by the Masoretic critics after there is no doubt that those characteristic readthe sixth century of the Christian era.* But we ings are really contained in the MSS., Fathers, have, nevertheless, as was seen from the consider- and Versions; and that the classification, which ations suggested on this topic in a previous section, is founded on them, is founded therefore on the fullest assurance of the general accuracy of the truth. Hence arises a nero criterion of authenMasoretic text.
ticity. A majority of individual MSS. can no 3. But the case is widely different as it respects longer be considered, either as decisive, or even the text of the Greek Testament, for conducting as very important, on this subject. A majority the criticism of which there are certain canons of of the recensions,t or, as we should say, of printed a peculiar character ; and, as Bishop Marsh has set books, a majority of the editions, is alone to be rethis matter in a very clear light, we shall avail our- garded as far as number is concerned. The testiselves of his remarks.
mony of the individual MSS. is applied to ascertain (1) “In determining the quantum of evidence what is the reading of this or that edition ; but the for or against a particular reading, the authorities question of fact being once determined, it ceases to used to be rather numbered than weighed; so that, be of consequence what number of MSS. may
be if a reading were contained in thirty MSS. out of produced, either of the first, or of the second, or fifty, the scale was supposed to turn in its favour. of the third of those editions. For instance, when It is true that, under similar circumstances, more we have once ascertained that any particular readimportance was attached to ancient than to modern ing belongs both to the Alexandrine and to the MSS.; but the modes of estimating that importance Western, but not to the Byzantine edition the were so various, that the same premises not unfre- authority of that reading will not be weakened, quently led to different conclusions. Nor was due even though it should appear, on counting the attention paid to that necessary distinction between MSS., that the number of those which range the antiquity of a MS. and the antiquity of its themselves under the Byzantine edition, is ten text. Wetstein, in his Animadversiones et Cautiones, times greater than that of the other two united. tion, and never think of asking for the purpose of goodness is to be regarded, as well as the weight and criticism, how many copies were struck off at the consent of testimony. Internal goodness is deteroffice where it was printed. The relative value of mined by the fact, that a particular reading suits the those three editions must likewise be considered. manner, style, scope, and other circumstances of the For if any one of them, the Byzantine for instance, bable that all others have sprung from it. In apply
We must argue in this case, as we argue in the * There is a MS. in the Bodleian library, numbered Laud. comparison of printed editions, where we simply A. 172 and 162, 2 v. folio, on vellum, and in the Span. Heb. inquire, what are the readings of this or that edicharacter, which is thought to have had its text formed before the Masoretic revision, from which it differs no less than 14,000 times: in a great number of these instances it agrees with the + Instead of Recensio or Revision, Bengel bas adopted the ancient Versions; and in the Pentateuch, with the Samaritan term familia, family; and Michaelis, edition. These different
phrases, therefore, mean the same thing.
author; or by this, that it can be shown to be proto which most of the modern MSS. belong, carries ing this latter criterion, we must keep in mind the with it less weight than either of the other two, a
general causes which lead transcribers into error, and proportional deduction must be made, whether it also the particular causes which affect transcribers of be thrown into the scale by itself, or in conjunction the New Testament, and especially that arising from with another. Such are the outlines of that system the difference of its style from that of classic which Griesbach has applied to the criticism of Greek. From that canon of criticism which prefers the Greek Testament. The subject is so new, the reading which will account for the origin of the and at the same time so intricate, that it is hardly others with the greatest facility, the following rules possible to give more than a general notion of it in among others, are deduced. a public lecture. It requires long and laborious
(1) A shorter reading is preferable to a longer and investigation ; but it is an investigation which more verbose, unless destitute of ancient and weighty
authority. The reason is, that transcribers have every biblical scholar will readily undertake, when always been more disposed to add to the text than to he considers that it involves the question, What omit what belongs to it, and it is more likely that inis the genuine text of the New Testament?" *
cidental circumstances should give rise to additions IV. The critical observations of Griesbach, and than to omissions. He goes on to show particularly his enunciation of the rules by which he was
in what cases either is to be preferred.t governed in his selection and adoption of various
(2) The more difficult and obscure reading is supereadings, will be found highly valuable to the stu- rior to one extremely plain. I dent, as well as gratifying to the more general elliptical, or wl.ich contains a Hebraism or a solecism,
(3) The harsher reading, that for instance which is reader, by pointing out the laborious process and
is preferable to the smoother. extreme precaution through which the amended
(4) The less usual to the more common. text of the Greek Testament, now forming the (5) The less emphatic phraseology to the contrary, basis of all critical labours, has been obtained. unless the context and design of the writer require For the following lucid outline of the third section emphasis.|| of bis Prologomena, we are indebted to Professor (6) That reading is to be preferred which conveys Turner, in the notes to his translation of Planck's a sense seeming at first incorrect, but upon careful Introduction to Sacred Philology, in the seventh examination proved to be true. I volume of the Biblical Cabinet.
(7) Readings which may be traced to an inclina
tion of transcribers to introduce terminations which 1. In examining various readings, the internal they had just written or were about to write, are of
Lectures, Part I. Lect. 6.
ing is certainly not to be suspected becanse it is easy. In Matt. ^ Those readings which are evidently glosses on the text, xix. 17, the received text has ti je déyelç ayalóv; ovocis altaough they are afterwards mentioned by Griesbach, very pro- ayalós, ét pri tis ó Okoç. This reading is probably the best, perly come under this rule. Comp. John jij. 6, where, after the while that admitted by Griesbach is hardly intelligible, ti je Bords σαρξ εστι, one MS., a prima manu., and some other | έρωτας περί του αγαθού και είς έστιν ο αγαθός. Besides this å athorities, add őta 'x tñs capros šyevvuon; and after reading looks very like a gloss, written on the margin by some Tripa tort, the words, ÖTL ÉK TOŨ Tveúpatoc totiv. In early transcriber, in whose copy the ảyatè of ver. 16 (the Eph. i. 6, after nyannuévą, the Clermont MS., a prima authority of which is doubtful) had been lost. mtat, and three others written in oncial letters, with several of the Persions and Fathers, read viū avtoŨ. In Col. ii. 11,
♡ The harsher reading, cokvijévou in Matt. ix. 36, is to be føv apdortūv is wanting in ABCD (the last a prima manu.), be addnced to illustrate the next rule.
preferred to the smoother &xAe Avuévou. The same passage may and three other MSS. in uincial characters, besides most of the macient Versions and Fathers : and it seems to be an addition 11 Comp. Gal. vi. 15, where xotiv is probably the genuine le the text, introdnced in order to explain toũ chuaroc tñs reading, in place of which the more emphatic locúrl has been taxés. So also in 2 Peter i. 10, after a povodoare, several introduced. MS and Versions read ίνα δια των καλών (υμών) έργων This rule is illustrated by John i. 28, where Bydavia, the βεβαίαν υμών την κλήσιν και εκλογήν ποιήσθε, and in
true reading, has been displaced in many MSS., Versions, and Gal . &, a few introduce Okov as explanatory of kaloīvtos. Fathers, to make room for Bnbaßapợi. This has arisen from Is untecessary to multiply instances of this kind, which are
supposing that Bethany cannot be the place meant, because it di vero frequent occurrence.
was near Jerusalem, as if there could not be two or more ; Thus, for instance, in John vii. 8, he considers oủk åva- towns of the same name. Comp. Michaelis, Part i., chap. x. jkaivu as preferable to ourw, although this is the reading of sect. i., vol. ii. pp. 399, ss. It is probable, that the difference EX MSS. and many Versions. Upon the same principle, between the Hebrew text of Exod. xii. 40, and the reading of catev in Luke ii. 22, is better than avrov or avrns, for both the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Septuagint, may be accounted of which authority may be adduced. But it is necessary to for on the same principle
. A supposed difficulty seems to have guard against an extravagant application of this rule, as a read given rise to the latter.
no authority ; nor those which arise from connected have been corrupted, and where it is so, the tranwords beginning with the same syllable or letter. scriber's fidelity is of no importance.
(8) When several readings occur of the same The errors of a transcriber are readily distinguishplace, that is to be esteemed the best which may be able from the original readings, by separating those called the medium from which all the others may be peculiar to the MS. from others which it has in comshown to have originated.
mon with many MSS. (9) Those readings are to be rejected which it is (6) With respect to the consent of testimonies, it admitted were introduced into the text from the com- is important to remark that this must not be identified mentaries of Fathers or old scholiasts. Although the with the exhibition of the same reading by a great more modern copies chiefly have been injured by in- number; it is necessary that they be really different terpolations, yet there is no MS., however ancient, witnesses. There are above a hundred MSS. of the that is entirely free from glosses; and many have gospels, which, being derived from one source, agree flowed from the commentaries and catenæ of the in almost every syllable, with the exception of such Fathers written on the margin. Still, the rule is to be readings as are caused by errors of copyists, and applied with great caution; and it is always to be others arising from peculiar causes. Hence, then, the recollected, that the agreement of a MS. with scholia, necessity of distributing testimonies into classes. will by no means prove it to have been corrupted by 2. The author informs us, in his preface, that his the scholia, as the agreement may have sprung from plan of distinguishing from each other the different other causes.
recensions of the Greek text, which from the com(10) Those readings which have arisen in lection- mencement of the third century, at least, have exaries, and add to, or remove, or alter a passage, whether isted,—of separating as far as possible the primitive to introduce the lesson or to diminish difficulties, are readings of each recension from later interpolations, to be rejected. But here the same caution must be of distributing MSS., Versions, and Fathers, into difexercised as in the former rule.
ferent classes, according to the difference of the re(11) Lastly, those are to be condemned which cension which each one followed, -of reckoning all have found their way into Greek copics from the the witnesses of one class, whether many or few, as Latin Version. This rule, which is very sound and one witness only,—and of attributing to each recencorrect, has been greatly abused by some learned sion its legitimate importance,—was suggested by men, who, whenever they discovered a reading dif- Bengel, and commenced by Semler. In his Profering from that of the common mass of books, and legomena he proceeds as follows: Recensions of agreeing with the Latin Version, immediately inferred the text of the New Testament exist, as also of that the MSS. containing it Latinized. But to prove many Latin and Greek works. The want of proper such an interpolation, other marks are necessary records makes it impossible to trace the history of besides mere consent. After giving these rules, with these recensions. A comparison of Origen with two or three others which are here passed over, to Tertullian and Cyprian proves, that at least in the ascertain the internal goodness of a reading, Gries- beginning of the third century there were two. bach examines on what the authority of testimony That which, after Clement of Alexandria and Oriis supported. There must be weight and consent. gen, the Alexandrians used, may be called the
(a) The weight of testimony is determined partly Alexandrine; the other, which from the time of Terby age, and partly by other favourable circumstances. tullian was made use of in Africa, Italy, Gaul, and The age is not to be inferred simply or principally other occidental countries, the Western, although its from that of the parchments: it is the antiquity of use was not confined to the western part of the the text, and not of the transcriber, which is im- empire. From each of these recensions in the gospels portant; and this is ascertained by its frequent | (to which the author confines his remarks), differs agreement with other witnesses, particularly Ver- the text of A, which agrees sometimes with the sions and Fathers, whose age is well known. There Alexandrine recension, sometimes with the Western, are MSS. the text of which is composed some- sometimes with both together, but very often varies times of ancient and sometimes of more modern from both, and approximates somewhat nearer the readings; and it is necessary to examine them with received text. With this MS, others are kindred, caution, and not to infer the high antiquity of their that are marked EFGHS, which, however, have very text from a few readings. Further, a MS. may be of many modern readings, and are also much more closely great antiquity and excellence, and yet in certain allied to the received text. All these (AEFGHS) places it may be corrupted by lectionaries, or by the seem to agree in the gospels, so far as imperfect colLatin Version ; still, in those parts where there is no lations enable us to ascertain, with the Fathers of the reason to suspect any corruption, it may have great fourth century, and of the fifth and sixth centuries in weight. Although the learning and ability of a tran- Greece, Asia Minor, and that vicinity: this may be scriber, and the fact of his having used a good and called the Constantinopolitan recension, because it ancient copy, are circumstances which ought to carry was most generally used in that patriarchate, and with them great authority, yet it is evidently neces- there widely disseminated by means of numberless sary to apply them with no small care. It is the copies. From it came the Slavonic Version. The character of the copy alone which generally assists in Syriac Version, as we have it in printed editions, is determining the question, from what MS. it was not like any of these recensions; but neither is it transcribed ; then, again, the MS., although old, may altogether unlike any. In many of its readings, it agrees with the Alexandrine, in more with the Western, nopolitan, while the Western differs from both, we and in some with the Constantinopolitan ; yet at the are to examine whether the reading which has the same time it rejects most of those which found their sanction of the Western be of a class in which the was into this recension in later ages. It seems, there- errors of this last recension are frequent; and at the fore, to have been at different periods again and again same time the internal marks of truth or error must retised, according to Greek MSS. evidently differ- be carefully considered. to!. In addition to MSS. which exhibit one of these (9) In the same way must we judge of readings ancient recensions, some contain a text compiled in which the Western recension agrees with the from the readings of two or three. This is probably Constantinopolitan against the Alexandrine. the cast also with the Ethiopic, Armenian, Sahidic, (10) If any recension exhibits a reading varying and Jerusalem-Syriac Versions.
from those of the others, it is not the number of 3. That the observations already made may be individual witnesses, but the internal marks of goodthe more useful in assisting the reader to form an ness, on which the preference must be founded. No estimate of readings, either belonging to one recen- matter how few the witnesses, provided it can be sion or common to more, the author lays down a few shown that the reading was one in which all the old premonitions.
recensions originally agreed, and there be no special (1) It is necessary for a critic to be well acquainted circumstances, arising from the character of the rewith the characteristics of a recension, with whatever censions, to weigh against it. makes it more or less valuable. The Alexandrine (11) It is to be remarked further, that the Alexansets the grammarian; the Western, the expositor, drine MS. follows one recension in the gospels, anand by no means unfrequently without success. other in St. Paul's epistles, and a third in the Acts and
(2) So recension is to be found unaltered, in any Catholic epistles. The Vatican, in the former part of MS. now extant. The causes of this are briefly but St. Matthew, agrees with the Western ; in the last clearly stated. Yet errors in one MS. are not to be chapters, and in the three other Evangelists, with the ascribed to the whole recension.
Alexandrine. In forming an opinion on the consent (3) It is of great importance to discover the primi- of testimonies, the critic should carefully attend to tre reading of each recension. This is to be done mixed MSS. of this kind. by comparing all the MSS., Fathers, and Versions,
V. Against Griesbach's classification of MSS., of the same recension, and by selecting from among their readings that which is most strongly recom
some formidable objections were urged by MatD.ended, both by testimonies of higher antiquity, and thai, Laurence, and Nolan ; and critics of emiby internal marks of goodness.
nence have proposed other recensions in its stead. (1) Before the genuineness of one reading among
may be safely affirmed, however, that no one mnany can be determined, we must examine to what of these affects the readings of Griesbach, genereceosion any one is to be referred. The inquiry is rally, but only the process of reasoning by which Dot, how many MSS., now existing, agree in any they have been established. * reading; for all the testimonies of the same recen
VI. It may be not unacceptable to notice the sion are to be regarded as one, and therefore two of Versions and Fathers which are found to agree three MSS. may be of as much weight as a hundred
with the recensions or editions just enumerated. others, because some recensions are preserved in a lew only, others in a great number. Greek MSS. 1. The ALEXANDRINE, or Egyptian edition : with are but seldom written in the western provinces this agree the quotations of Origen, and the Coptic after the fourth century, and in Egypt after the sixth ; | Version. but in the patriarchate of Constantinople, the Greek 2. The BYZANTINE, or Eastern edition : with this monks were indefatigable in multiplying copies of agree the greater number of the many MSS. written the Ve Testament until the fifteenth.
by the monks on Mount Athos. Also the quotations (6) If all the old recensions originally agreed in in Chrysostom, Theophylact, Bishop of Bulgaria, any reading, it is undoubtedly the true one, even if and the Slavonic or Russian Version. The common afterwards another should have been introduced into printed text of the Greek Testament has generally a multitude of more modern MSS.
the readings of this recension. (6) If all the recensions did not originally agree in 3. The OCCIDENTAL, or Western edition, which was the same reading, that which has the support of the formerly used where the Latin language was spoken, Ibust ancient is the best, unless there be special cir- agrees with the old Itula, the Vulgate, and the quoeuinstances to the contrary, arising from the character tations in the Latin Fathers. d the recension.
To those three, Michaëlis has added, (7) From the consent of the Alexandrine recension
4. The EDESSENE edition ; but of this no MSS. are sita the Western, it is concluded, on very good
now known. stounds, that a reading common to both is by far the most ancient; and, indeed, if supported by its iturral goodness, genuine. If it be destitute of this
* There are very able analyses of Laurence's Remarks on godness, the want must be balanced against the Griesbach's Classification, in the British Critic, vol. i. N. S.; consent of the two recensions.
in the Christian Observer, vol. xiii ; and in the Eclectic (8) If the Alexandrine agrees with the Constanti- I Review, vol. iv. N. S.