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in several MSS., and two ancient Versions; it is also superfluous.*
should be exalted above measure," is wanting | extent of their circulation, as well as the watchful jealousy with which the different sects of religionists have at all times viewed each other, rendered it impossible to be effected to any material extent.
h) When a transcriber, having discovered that he had made an omission, subjoined what he had omitted, he would obviously produce a transposition in the text.
Thus, Matt. v. 4 is subjoined to ver. 5, in Camb. Vulg. Jerome; and Luke xxiii. 17 is omitted in the Alexandrian and one other, while it is subjoined to ver. 19 in Camb.t
3. The third cause of various readings noticed, was the assumption of marginal glosses into the This appears to have been a fruitful source of error, and has been occasioned in various ways. Thus, the possessor of a MS. might write in the margin,
a) An explanation of a difficult passage; b) A word synonymous to one in the text, but more easily understood, or less uncommon; or, e) The modern name of a place;
d) A correction of some real or supposed error in
e) A parallel passage in some other place.
In all, or in any of these cases, where a copyist supposed the marginal notes to have been parts of the text, accidentally omitted in the which contained them, and afterwards supplied in this manner, he would transfer them at once into his copy, in their supposed places, and thus produce a discrepancy between that and other copies taken from the same MS., but in which the marginal glosses were omitted. Michaëlis and other critics have produced several various readings, evidently originating in such mistakes. It is likely, too, that there might be variations in two or more copies taken from a MS. having marginal notes, where all the transcribers had inserted them in the text, but not in precisely the same place.
4. By designed alterations of a literary description, is meant such alterations as consist in a correction of supposed errors in the text; the substitution of a modern for an obsolete name or word; of an elegant for a barbarous phrase; or of a common for a dialectic form of speech. Any or all of these changes might be made; and if so, they would, of course, produce a variation among the copies, in proportion to their extent.
5. The last source of various readings pointed eat, was the corruption of the text for party purposes; but upon this it is obviously unnecessary to enlarge, except it be to say, that although there is good reason to believe that it has been tempted, the very nature of the writings upon which the fraud was to be practised, and the wide
Gerard's Institutes, p. 238. + Ibid.
3. We have been thus particular in pointing Scriptures, for the purpose of giving a general out the several sources of various readings in the idea of their nature, and enabling those persons to whom the subject is new, to see that the total should amount to treo millions, is, comparatively, value of such variations, although their number the Scripture depends on a word or a letter, so very insignificant. All those who suppose that essentially that it is not Scripture if either be changed or omitted, must, if they will be consistent, abandon the whole Bible, in which many changes of this kind, it is past all question, have actually taken place. The critic wonders not that so many have taken place, but that no more have been experienced, as he well may do, if all the circumstances of the case be taken into account.
4. But to return to the real and comparative value of these readings. To what do they amount? say nothing of those which are mere errataas the interchange of letters or words, the transposing of words in a sentence, the improper division of letters into words, the mistaking of a contraction, and other things of a like kind, about which there would be no difficulty in determining, even if we possessed not a single tolerably correct MS.-it will be evident to any person who takes the trouble to examine (and those who will not, are not entitled to a hearing), that from the abundance of our materials, in the shape of MSS., quotations in ancient authors, and early Versions, added to the knowledge we possess of the causes of existing errors, that nine hundred and ninety-nine of them out of every thousand may be removed, and the original reading restored, with ease, after the critical apparatus has been formed. For this purpose there are certain laws of what is technically called conjectura critica; and where the process is conducted according to these, we may place the most unhesitating reliance on the result.
III. To discuss largely the character of these critical laws, would be out of place in such a
Mr. Isaac Taylor has judiciously remarked, that so many are the means we possess for detecting wilful corruptions, drawn from a comparison of different MSS., or from the incon altogether, more probability that, from some accidental pecugruity of the interpolated passage, that there is perhaps, 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 Ancient Books, page 27.
work as the present; but the following remarks will probably be interesting to those wholly unacquainted with the subject.
1. It is to be observed that the value of a contested reading is not estimated merely by the number and antiquity of the MSS. in which it is found: not by the number of the MSS. merely, because if a hundred copies have been taken from one exemplar, their united authority amounts but to that of the parent MS.: not by their antiquity merely, because a very ancient MS. may have been derived from the original autograph through a greater number of copies than a more modern one may have been; or it may have been written by a less skilful or conscientious person. There are other circumstances to be taken into account, therefore, in determining the preference to be given to a reading.
2. As it regards the Hebrew Bible, we have not the advantage of comparing a number of MSS. derived from the original autographs, through independent sources, as in the case of the Greek Testament; because we know that all the existing copies, excepting the Codex Malabaricus, about which critics are not fully agreed, have been made from MSS. revised by the Masoretic critics after the sixth century of the Christian era.* But we have, nevertheless, as was seen from the considerations suggested on this topic in a previous section, the fullest assurance of the general accuracy of the Masoretic text.
annexed to his Greek Testament, went a great way toward the reduction of sacred criticism to a regular system; but much still remained to be performed, for which we are indebted to Semler, who laid the foundation; and to Griesbach, who raised the superstructure.
(2) "From a comparison and combination of the readings exhibited by Wetstein, it was discerned that certain characteristic readings distinguished certain MSS., Fathers, and Versions; that other characteristic readings pointed out a second class; others again, a third class of MSS., Fathers, and Versions. It was further discovered, that this threefold classification had an additional foundation in respect to the places where the MSS. were written, the Fathers lived, and the Versions were made. Hence the three classes received the names of Recensio Alexandrina, Recensio Constantinopolitana or Byzantina, and Recensio Occidentalis; not that any formal revision of the Greek text is known, either from history or from tradition, to have taken place at Alexandria, at Constantinople, or in Western Europe. But whatever causes, unknown to us, may have operated, in producing the effect, there is no doubt of its existence; there is no doubt that those characteristic readings are really contained in the MSS., Fathers, and Versions; and that the classification, which is founded on them, is founded therefore on truth. Hence arises a new criterion of authenticity. A majority of individual MSS. can no longer be considered, either as decisive, or even as very important, on this subject. A majority of the recensions, or, as we should say, of printed books, a majority of the editions, is alone to be re
3. But the case is widely different as it respects the text of the Greek Testament, for conducting the criticism of which there are certain canons of a peculiar character; and, as Bishop Marsh has set this matter in a very clear light, we shall avail our-garded as far as number is concerned. The testiselves of his remarks.
(1) “In determining the quantum of evidence for or against a particular reading, the authorities used to be rather numbered than weighed; so that, if a reading were contained in thirty MSS. out of fifty, the scale was supposed to turn in its favour. It is true that, under similar circumstances, more importance was attached to ancient than to modern MSS.; but the modes of estimating that importance were so various, that the same premises not unfrequently led to different conclusions. Nor was due attention paid to that necessary distinction between the antiquity of a MS. and the antiquity of its text. Wetstein, in his Animadversiones et Cautiones,
* There is a MS. in the Bodleian library, numbered Laud. A. 172 and 162, 2 v. folio, on vellum, and in the Span. Heb. character, 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 ancient Versions; and in the Pentateuch, with the Samaritan
mony of the individual MSS. is applied to ascertain what is the reading of this or that edition; but the question of fact being once determined, it ceases to be of consequence what number of MSS. may be produced, either of the first, or of the second, or of the third of those editions. For instance, when we have once ascertained that any particular reading belongs both to the Alexandrine and to the Western, but not to the Byzantine edition the authority of that reading will not be weakened, even though it should appear, on counting the MSS., that the number of those which range themselves under the Byzantine edition, is ten times greater than that of the other two united. We must argue in this case, as we argue in the comparison of printed editions, where we simply inquire, what are the readings of this or that edi
Instead of Recensio or Revision, Bengel has adopted the term familia, family; and Michaelis, edition. These different phrases, therefore, mean the same thing.
tion, and never think of asking for the purpose of criticism, how many copies were struck off at the office where it was printed. The relative value of those three editions must likewise be considered. For if any one of them, the Byzantine for instance, to which most of the modern MSS. belong, carries with it less weight than either of the other two, a proportional deduction must be made, whether it be thrown into the scale by itself, or in conjunction with another. Such are the outlines of that system which Griesbach has applied to the criticism of the Greek Testament. The subject is so new, and at the same time so intricate, that it is hardly possible to give more than a general notion of it in a public lecture. It requires long and laborious investigation; but it is an investigation which every biblical scholar will readily undertake, when he considers that it involves the question, What is the genuine text of the New Testament?" *
IV. The critical observations of Griesbach, and his enunciation of the rules by which he was governed in his selection and adoption of various readings, will be found highly valuable to the student, as well as gratifying to the more general reader, by pointing out the laborious process and extreme precaution through which the amended text of the Greek Testament, now forming the basis of all critical labours, has been obtained. For the following lucid outline of the third section of his Prologomena, we are indebted to Professor Turner, in the notes to his translation of Planck's Introduction to Sacred Philology, in the seventh volume of the Biblical Cabinet.
goodness is to be regarded, as well as the weight and consent of testimony. Internal goodness is determined by the fact, that a particular reading suits the manner, style, scope, and other circumstances of the bable that all others have sprung from it. In applyauthor; or by this, that it can be shown to be proing this latter criterion, we must keep in mind the general causes which lead transcribers into error, and also the particular causes which affect transcribers of the New Testament, and especially that arising from the difference of its style from that of classic Greek. From that canon of criticism which prefers the reading which will account for the origin of the others with the greatest facility, the following rules among others, are deduced.
(1) A shorter reading is preferable to a longer and more verbose, unless destitute of ancient and weighty authority. The reason is, that transcribers have always been more disposed to add to the text than to omit what belongs to it, and it is more likely that incidental circumstances should give rise to additions than to omissions. He goes on to show particularly in what cases either is to be preferred.+
(2) The more difficult and obscure reading is superior to one extremely plain.‡
(3) The harsher reading, that for instance which is elliptical, or which contains a Hebraism or a solecism, is preferable to the smoother.§
(4) The less usual to the more common.
(5) The less emphatic phraseology to the contrary, unless the context and design of the writer require emphasis.||
(6) That reading is to be preferred which conveys a sense seeming at first incorrect, but upon careful examination proved to be true.¶
(7) Readings which may be traced to an inclination 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.
†Those readings which are evidently glosses on the text, although they are afterwards mentioned by Griesbach, very properly come under this rule. Comp. John iii. 6, where, after the πατής σαρξ ἐστι, one MS., a prima manu., and some other authorities, add ÖTI EK Tйs σaрròs ¿yevvýon; and after πνεῦμά ἐστι, the words, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος ἐστιν. In E. i. 6, after nyanμivy, the Clermont MS., a prima man, and three others written in uncial letters, with several
of the Versions and Fathers, read vi avrou. In Col. ii. 11, To aμáprior is wanting in ABCD (the last a prima manu.),
and three other MSS. in uncial characters, besides most of the ancient Versions and Fathers: and it seems to be an addition to the text, introduced in order to explain rov σúμaroç Tйs ταρτος. So also in 2 Peter i. 10, after onоvdάoaтe, several M-S. and Versions read iva diù rõv kadův (vμwv) čpywr εξαίαν ὑμῶν τὴν κλῆσιν καὶ ἐκλογὴν ποιῆσθε, and in Gal v. 8, a few introduce Otov as explanatory of kaλouvros. His unnecessary to multiply instances of this kind, which are very frequent occurrence.
ing is certainly not to be suspected because it is easy. In Matt. xix. 17, the received text has tí μɛ Xéyeç ayaðór; ovdeis ayalóç, éɩ μì et̃ç ò Oɛoc. This reading is probably the best, while that admitted by Griesbach is hardly intelligible, rí μɛ ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ; εἷς ἐστιν ὁ ἀγαθός. Besides this reading looks very like a gloss, written on the margin by some early transcriber, in whose copy the ἀγαθὲ of ver. 16 (the authority of which is doubtful) had been lost.
preferred to the smoother EXEλvμévot. The same passage may The harsher reading, έokvλμévot in Matt. ix. 36, is to be be adduced to illustrate the next rule.
Comp. Gal. vi. 15, where sσriv is probably the genuine reading, in place of which the more emphatic iokútt has been introduced.
¶ This rule is illustrated by John i. 28, where Bŋ0avia, the true reading, has been displaced in many MSS., Versions, and Fathers, to make room for Breaßapa. This has arisen from supposing that Bethany cannot be the place meant, because it was near Jerusalem, as if there could not be two or more towns of the same name. Comp. Michaelis, Part i., chap. x. sect. i., vol. ii. pp. 399, ss. It is probable, that the difference between the Hebrew text of Exod. xii. 40, and the reading of the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Septuagint, may be accounted for on the same principle. A supposed difficulty seems to have
Thus, for instance, in John vii. 8, he considers our ȧvaJave as preferable to ouw, although this is the reading of MSS. and many Versions. Upon the same principle, crev in Loke ii. 22, is better than avrov or avτñç, for both of which authority may be adduced. But it is necessary to ard against an extravagant application of this rule, as a read-given rise to the latter.
no authority; nor those which arise from connected words beginning with the same syllable or letter.
(8) When several readings occur of the same place, that is to be esteemed the best which may be called the medium from which all the others may be shown to have originated.
have been corrupted, and where it is so, the transcriber's fidelity is of no importance.
The errors of a transcriber are readily distinguishable from the original readings, by separating those peculiar to the MS. from others which it has in common with many MSS.
(b) With respect to the consent of testimonies, it is important to remark that this must not be identified with the exhibition of the same reading by a great number; it is necessary that they be really different witnesses. There are above a hundred MSS. of the gospels, which, being derived from one source, agree in almost every syllable, with the exception of such readings as are caused by errors of copyists, and others arising from peculiar causes. Hence, then, the necessity of distributing testimonies into classes.
(9) Those readings are to be rejected which it is admitted were introduced into the text from the commentaries of Fathers or old scholiasts. Although the more modern copies chiefly have been injured by interpolations, yet there is no MS., however ancient, that is entirely free from glosses; and many have flowed from the commentaries and catene of the Fathers written on the margin. Still, the rule is to be applied with great caution; and it is always to be recollected, that the agreement of a MS. with scholia, will by no means prove it to have been corrupted by the scholia, as the agreement may have sprung from other causes. (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 to introduce the lesson or to diminish difficulties, are to be rejected. But here the same caution must be exercised as in the former rule.
(11) Lastly, those are to be condemned which have found their way into Greek copies from the Latin Version. This rule, which is very sound and correct, has been greatly abused by some learned men, who, whenever they discovered a reading differing from that of the common mass of books, and agreeing with the Latin Version, immediately inferred that the MSS. containing it Latinized. But to prove such an interpolation, other marks are necessary besides mere consent. After giving these rules, with two or three others which are here passed over, to ascertain the internal goodness of a reading, Griesbach examines on what the authority of testimony is supported. There must be weight and consent.
(a) The weight of testimony is determined partly by age, and partly by other favourable circumstances. The age is not to be inferred simply or principally from that of the parchments: it is the antiquity of the text, and not of the transcriber, which is important; and this is ascertained by its frequent agreement with other witnesses, particularly Versions and Fathers, whose age is well known. There are MSS. the text of which is composed sometimes of ancient and sometimes of more modern readings; and it is necessary to examine them with caution, and not to infer the high antiquity of their text from a few readings. Further, a MS. may be of great antiquity and excellence, and yet in certain places it may be corrupted by lectionaries, or by the Latin Version; still, in those parts where there is no reason to suspect any corruption, it may have great weight. Although the learning and ability of a transcriber, and the fact of his having used a good and ancient copy, are circumstances which ought to carry with them great authority, yet it is evidently necessary to apply them with no small care. It is the character of the copy alone which generally assists in determining the question, from what MS. it was transcribed; then, again, the MS., although old, may
2. The author informs us, in his preface, that his plan of distinguishing from each other the different recensions of the Greek text, which from the com
isted,-of separating as far as possible the primitive readings of each recension from later interpolations,— of distributing MSS., Versions, and Fathers, into different classes, according to the difference of the recension which each one followed,—of reckoning all the witnesses of one class, whether many or few, as one witness only,—and of attributing to each recension its legitimate importance,-was suggested by Bengel, and commenced by Semler. In his Prolegomena he proceeds as follows: Recensions of the text of the New Testament exist, as also of many Latin and Greek works. The want of proper records makes it impossible to trace the history of these recensions. A comparison of Origen with Tertullian and Cyprian proves, that at least in the beginning of the third century there were two. That which, after Clement of Alexandria and Origen, the Alexandrians used, may be called the Alexandrine; the other, which from the time of Tertullian was made use of in Africa, Italy, Gaul, and other occidental countries, the Western, although its use was not confined to the western part of the empire. From each of these recensions in the gospels (to which the author confines his remarks), differs the text of A, which agrees sometimes with the Alexandrine recension, sometimes with the Western, sometimes with both together, but very often varies from both, and approximates somewhat nearer the received text. With this MS. others are kindred, that are marked EFGHS, which, however, have very many modern readings, and are also much more closely allied to the received text. All these (AEFGHS) seem to agree in the gospels, so far as imperfect collations enable us to ascertain, with the Fathers of the fourth century, and of the fifth and sixth centuries in Greece, Asia Minor, and that vicinity: this may be called the Constantinopolitan recension, because it was most generally used in that patriarchate, and there widely disseminated by means of numberless copies. From it came the Slavonic Version. The Syriac Version, as we have it in printed editions, is not like any of these recensions; but neither is it 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 way 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 revised, according to Greek MSS. evidently differ- be carefully considered. en In addition to MSS. which exhibit one of these ancient recensions, some contain a text compiled from the readings of two or three. This is probably the case also with the Ethiopic, Armenian, Sahidic, and Jerusalem-Syriac Versions.
3. That the observations already made may be the more useful in assisting the reader to form an estimate of readings, either belonging to one recension or common to more, the author lays down a few premonitions.
(1) It is necessary for a critic to be well acquainted with the characteristics of a recension, with whatever makes it more or less valuable. The Alexandrine acts the grammarian; the Western, the expositor, and by no means unfrequently without success.
(2) No recension is to be found unaltered, in any MS. now extant. The causes of this are briefly but clearly stated. Yet errors in one MS. are not to be ascribed to the whole recension.
(3) It is of great importance to discover the primitive reading of each recension. This is to be done by comparing all the MSS., Fathers, and Versions, of the same recension, and by selecting from among their readings that which is most strongly recommended, both by testimonies of higher antiquity, and by internal marks of goodness.
(9) In the same way must we judge of readings in which the Western recension agrees with the Constantinopolitan against the Alexandrine.
(10) If any recension exhibits a reading varying from those of the others, it is not the number of individual witnesses, but the internal marks of goodness, on which the preference must be founded. No matter how few the witnesses, provided it can be shown that the reading was one in which all the old recensions originally agreed, and there be no special circumstances, arising from the character of the recensions, to weigh against it.
(11) It is to be remarked further, that the Alexandrine MS. follows one recension in the gospels, another in St. Paul's epistles, and a third in the Acts and Catholic epistles. The Vatican, in the former part of St. Matthew, agrees with the Western; in the last chapters, and in the three other Evangelists, with the Alexandrine. In forming an opinion on the consent of testimonies, the critic should carefully attend to mixed MSS. of this kind.
V. Against Griesbach's classification of MSS., some formidable objections were urged by Matthai, Laurence, and Nolan; and critics of eminence have proposed other recensions in its stead. It may be safely affirmed, however, that no one of these affects the readings of Griesbach, generally, but only the process of reasoning by which they have been established.*
VI. It may be not unacceptable to notice the Versions and Fathers which are found to agree with the recensions or editions just enumerated.
(4) Before the genuineness of one reading among many can be determined, we must examine to what recension any one is to be referred. The inquiry is not, how many MSS., now existing, agree in any reading; for all the testimonies of the same recension are to be regarded as one, and therefore two or three MSS. may be of as much weight as a hundred others, because some recensions are preserved in a few 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 monks were indefatigable in multiplying copies of the New Testament until the fifteenth.
(5) If all the old recensions originally agreed in any reading, it is undoubtedly the true one, even if afterwards another should have been introduced into a maltitude of more modern MSS.
(5) If all the recensions did not originally agree in the same reading, that which has the support of the most ancient is the best, unless there be special circunstances to the contrary, arising from the character of the recension.
(7) From the consent of the Alexandrine recension with the Western, it is concluded, on very good grounds, that a reading common to both is by far the most ancient; and, indeed, if supported by its internal goodness, genuine. If it be destitute of this goodness, the want must be balanced against the consent of the two recensions.
2. The BYZANTINE, or Eastern edition: with this agree the greater number of the many MSS. written by the monks on Mount Athos. Also the quotations in Chrysostom, Theophylact, Bishop of Bulgaria, and the Slavonic or Russian Version. The common printed text of the Greek Testament has generally the readings of this recension.
3. The OCCIDENTAL, or Western edition, which was formerly used where the Latin language was spoken, agrees with the old Itala, the Vulgate, and the quotations in the Latin Fathers.
To those three, Michaëlis has added,
4. The EDESSENE edition; but of this no MSS. are now known.
* There are very able analyses of Laurence's Remarks on Griesbach's Classification, in the British Critic, vol. i. N. S.; in the Christian Observer, vol. xiii; and in the Eclectic
(8) If the Alexandrine agrees with the Constanti-Review, vol. iv. N. S.