Monday, May 30, 2011

W. L. Richards' review of K.D. Clarke's "Textual Optimism"

Richards in 2002 offered a review of Clarke's book (avail. on the internet in .pdf). 

Textual Optimism: a Critique of the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament

What is good about the review is that it gives a good summary of the contents and position of Clarke's book:
"The basic thesis of Clarke’s evaluation of the upgrading of “certainty” in the rating of variants by the editors in UBS 4 over the three previous editions is not only overly optimistic, as the title of his book suggests, but also is methodologically inconsistent and devoid of delineated criteria for making these optimistic judgments.
As a background to his investigation of the ratings within the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament (UBS), Clarke provides in chapter 1 a helpful overview of the textual tradition behind the four editions, beginning with the contributions of Westcott and Hort and continuing with key developments since their time. Of particular value is the specific information lying behind each of the four UBS editions as well as helpful information as to how the UBS text and the Nestle-Aland text eventually ended up being the same. Clarke tabulates in two columns some important differences that remain between the UBS and Nestle-Aland critical editions (68-9).
In chapter 2 the author focuses on the differences of the rating in UBS 4 as compared to the first three editions, providing many charts (drawn from several appendices) showing the number of modifications in UBS 4 with the previous editions. The massive amount of statistical data bears out Clarke’s contention that UBS 4 represents the text of the Greek NT as far “more certain” than the previous editions. H is first ch art, for example, shows that UBS 4 has approximately four times as many A readings as were given in the previous UBS editions (514 to 136 or less). Correspondingly, UBS 4 shows a significant decrease in the number of C and D readings: 27 percent of the total in UBS 4 as compared to 58 percent in UBS 3 ( the first two ed itions differ slightly form UBS 3 ).
This results in the number of B read ings rem aining nearly the same in all four editions, and this is to be expected, for while ma ny of the form er B readings have been elevated to A status in UBS 4 , many of the former C and D readings have also been elevated, leaving us with approximately the same number of B readings. But whereas the percentage of B readings is the same, the readings com prising the new totals are quite d iffere nt. What used to be a four-step rating system (A-D) has now become a three-step system (the D rating now makes up just one percent in the UBS4 as compared to nine percent in the previous editions (91).
Clarke repeatedly asks why the UBS4 editors did not account for these major shifts toward certainty, holding that the explanation given in the introduction to the fourth edition for the changes is insufficient. But more, he believes that the shifts were made as a result of flawed methods and logic.  Major proof for this comes in his analysis of the only two texts in UBS 4 that were given a three-step upgrade (D to A): Luke 19:25 and Acts 2:44. His point is that if the committee could make such a major upgrade in these two places where, upon analysis, Clarke concludes they should not have, how can we trust their judgments elsewhere? (155 fn and 1 76).
(As a matter of interest to me, for years I felt that the ratings in UBS 1-3 were often too cautious, frequently making my own upgrades in the classroom, and, interestingly, doing so on precisely the same grou nds used by Clarke to draw his negative conclu sions about the optim ism of the editors of UBS4 , namely, “the recognized principles of New Testament textual criticism” [14].)
The questions raised by Clarke are important apart from the fact that one may not agree completely with his conclusions."
(excerpted from Richards, Book Review)


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Uncial Talk (5) - Greek Script: Ullman

The following is from B. L. Ullman, Ancient Writing and Its Influence (1932):
"Chapter VI: The Development of Greek Script
The papyrus finds of Egypt have furnished us with material for a study of Greek writing from the 4th cent. B.C. to the 8th cent. A.D.  Essentially there are two styles -- the literary book-hand and the cursive hand of everyday use.  These interact on each other from time to time.   The book-hand starts out with a character very similar to that of the inscriptions, as may be seen from the 4th cent. MS of Timotheus.   In the 3rd century, as a result no doubt of cursive influence, it becomes Uncial, i.e., some fo the letters become rounded.

First Σ becomes C; next E becomes e, and Ω becomes ω.  Soon after we find Z for  I ,  and α for A, and this eventually becomes a.  At the beginning of our era M has become U, the typical later Uncial form.   Under obvious cursive influence the three strokes of Ξ becomes ξ.  Thus we see a gradually developing uncial script from the 3rd century B.C. to the 2nd century A.D.

In the 2nd and 3rd centuries we find side by side with the broad Uncial a sloping, compressed Uncial, much as today we find vertical and slanting forms of writing side by side. 

In the meantime there arose a cursive hand, used for business purposes, in which letters were written together instead of separately.  This was at times written quite as carefully as the book-hand, just as our cursive hand also has its regularized type form, called "script".  The details of its evolution are of no interest to us here.  It is sufficient to point out that the changes in the the book-hand were due to its influence.  We can definitely say, for example, that the round alpha came into the book-hand from the cursive, for it is found two centuries earlier in cursive than in the book-hand.  Similarly with other letters.
It seems to be true that the chief borrowings from cursive came at two periods, one about 300 B.C., when Alexandria became the most important city of the Greek world, and the other nearly 300 years later, when the Romans took over Egypt.
It is natural that new political situations should affect the style of writing; history shows many such examples. 
To the earlier of these two periods we owe the forms ε C ω;  to the latter, a U ξ.   It is also worth noting that not all cursive forms affected the book-hand, but those which did generally required a century or two to succeed.  It is not impossible that Roman writing had an influence on both cursive and book-hands in the earlier period as it surely did in the later.

The earliest parchment MSS that have survived date from the 3rd or 4th century A.D.   They are written essentially in the Uncial characters of the papyrus scrolls.  But the new material led to a differentiation in that it permitted the shading of letters to a much greater extent.   It is true that some papyri show shading, but this probably is due to imitation of writing on parchment.  The ambrosian Homer of the 3rd or 4th century is thought to be our earliest example of a parchment book.   Other MSS of the 4th cent. are the Vatican and Sinai Bibles; the Codex Alexandrinus is attributed to the following century. 
Codex B (Vat. 1209)

Compressed, Sloping Uncial Script: 

The handsome, broad Uncial, with its square and round letters, continued to be used until about the 6th century, and was contemporary with its Roman counterpart.  But the sloping, compressed Uncial found in the papyri was also used on parchment, though at first it was less common.  The reason is obvious: it is a time and space-saving script, and in the earlier centuries, at least in Egypt, parchment was still the more expensive material and was used only when saving of time and space was not a consideration.  The most important early MS in sloping Uncials is the Washington (Freer Codex W) MS of the Gospels, which is thought to have been written in the 4th century.   This style of writing eventually became the dominant type.    It developed as its chief characteristic very heavy lines contrasted with fine ones and teneded to become pointed, like the Gothic style of Roman writing.   Upright forms with the same characteristics are also found.   This type, which became common in the 9th century, is called Slavonic Uncial because it formed the basis for the alphabet used in the Slavic languages.  After that the Uncial became more and more artificial.   It lasted in an upright form until about the 12th century. 
Codex W

The Minuscule Hand:

With the 9th century we come to a crossroads in the history of Greek writing.   The main road of Uncial goes on, but its traffic is that of the Slavic alphabet.   The Greek traffic is diverted to a road that before crossing the main road was little known but now becomes the main highway for the Greek alphabet.   That road, known as the cursive before it crosses the other highway, is the minuscule. 

It is only necessary to examine the highly artificial Uncial writing of the 10th or 11th century to see that something was bound to happen.   Writing such as this could not last.  It is not surprising therefore that in the 9th century a minuscule style of writing based on the old cursive came into use as a formal book-hand.

This style of writing, called "old minuscule", is at its best in the 9th and 10th centuries.  Though the letters are connected, there are no extreme ligatures; many of them involve the letter sigma.   The letters are well rounded.  In shape they are in general similar to modern Greek minuscules, except beta, which is similar to our u;  zeta, which  is at first like our 3, later has the Uncial Z form; eta, which is like our h; kappa which looks like our li without a dot; nu, which is round at the bottom like a mu without the last stroke.; pi, which has the form ω
 The script may be compared in general with the Caroline minuscules of the Roman alphabet in the 9th and 10th centuries, to which it possibly owes its inspiration.   The 9th century is noteworthy also because the use of accents and breathings becomes general, in both Uncial and minuscule manuscripts. 
[insert Vat. Gr 190]
Later Minuscule Styles:
In the following centuries we find what is called the "middle minuscule", whose chiefe characteristic is the use of the Uncial formst of many letters, especially beta, eta, and kappa.  We are on the way to a welding of Uncial and minuscule scripts.   At times it seems as if  the result might e a cursive Uncial.   In fact Uncial forms of every letter can be found in one or another MS of this period, but they are joined together in the cursive manner.   Ligatures and abbreviations become more numerous. 
[plate V Pierpont Morgan Lib. MS 639, 12 cent. Gosp.]

From the 13th century on we have preserved to us a number of more carelessly written MSS, filled with ligatures and abbreviations.  In this respect the script recalls the contemporary Gothic of Western Europe, though in appearance they are quite unalike.  SOme letters have many shapes in the same MSS; most have at least two.   It was a period of formlessness and carelessness, produced or at least assisted by political turmoil.  Furthermore, the introduction of paper, the new cheap writing material, was responsible for a lesser degree of care in writing.  

[Vat. Gr 144 1439 A.D.]

 With the reawakening of interest in Greek in 15th cent. Italy, Greek scholars and scribes came to Italy, especially after the fall of Constantinople in 1453.   Naturally they  brought with them the undesirable writing then current.
It was this unfortunate time that printing began, and the early Greek books printed in Italy preserve all the numerous ligatures and other peculiarities of this writing.   In the course of centuries the printed forms gradually became simplified under the influence of the Roman script, but it was not until the 19th century that all ligatures disappeared.    Even so the present printed form of Greek is less beautiful and less legible than Roman type.   As Rutherford said: 
"Nothing could well be imagined less likely to call up ideas of art or beauty than a modern page of printed Greek."  
Very recently there have been suggestions in Greece that the Greek alphabet be abandoned in favor of the Roman for the printed and written forms of modern Greek.  Unfortunately it is unlikely by reason of national pride that this movement will make much headway. "
(Ullman, p. 46-56)


Monday, May 23, 2011

Classic Encycl. on Von Soden's Theory

Here is the Classic Online Encyclopedia's entry, based on the Encyclopedia Brittannica (1911):

"...Von Soden introduces, besides a new notation of MSS. (see Bible, N.T. MSS. and versions), a new theory of textual history. He thinks that in the 4th century there were in existence three recensions of the text, which he distinguishes as K, H and I, with the following characteristics and attestations.
K corresponds roughly to Westcott and Hort's Syrian Antiochian text [= Byzantine text]; it was probably made by Lucian in the 4th century. This was in the end the most popular form of text, and is found in a more or less degenerate state in all late MSS. The purest representatives are 61(52), 75 (V), 92, (461), 94, 1027 (5), 1126 (476 = scrivener's k) ε179 (661). Later recensions of K are called K' and Kr , and there are also others of less importance which represent the combination of K with other texts.
H represents Westcott and Hort's Neutral and Alexandrian texts between which von Soden does not distinguish.
It is found in eleven MSS. in varying degrees of purity: δ1(B), δ2 (א), δ3 (C), δ6 (Ψ), 8 8 ε26 (Z), ε6 ε1026 (892), 6 37 1 (1241) and 376 (579). Between these MSS. there is no very intimate connexion except between δ1 and δ2 (B and א) which represent a common original (δ1-δ2).   B is the best representative of H, but it has been contaminated by the Egyptian versions, and sometimes by the K and I texts and by Origen, though not to any great extent.
The other H MSS. are none of them equal in value to the two great uncials. They have all been influenced by K, I, and by the text of parallel passages, to a greater extent than δ1-δ2, or than either of the two witnesses to δ1-δ2, but some of them have less Egyptian corruption.
The origin of the H text must be regarded as unquestionably Egyptian, in view of the fact that it was used by all the Egyptian Church writers after the end of the 3rd century, and von Soden adopts the well-known hypothesis, first made popular by Bousset, that it represents the recension of Hesychius.
I does not quite correspond to anything in Westcott and Hort's system, but has points of contact with their "Western" text. It is found in a series of subgroups of MSS. known as HrJ Ia , and others of less importance (about eleven subgroups are suggested). Of these Hr is a family [Family 1] containing  Codex 1 and its allies (6254, ε34 6, 6 457, 5 467, &c.), ε288 (22) and some allied MSS. ε203 (872), ε183 and 1131;   J is the well-known Ferrar group; [family 13] and Ia contains  δ5 (D), 93 (565), (700), 050 and some others. It is necessary to note that von Soden is able to place D in this group because he regards it as owing many of its most remarkable readings to contamination with the Latin version.  I is, according to von Soden, a Palestinian recension connected with Eusebius, Pamphilus and Origen.
After establishing the text of I, H and K, von Soden reconstructs an hypothetical text, I-H-K, which he believes to have been their ancestor. He then tries to show that this text was known to all the writers of the 3rd and 2nd centuries, but has naturally to account for the fact that the quotations of these writers and the text of the early versions often diverge from it. The explanation that he offers is that the Diatessaron of Tatian was widely used and corrupted all extant texts, so that the Old Syriac, the Old Latin, the quotations of Irenaeus, Clement, Tertullian and others may be regarded as various combinations of the Tatianic text and I-H-K. Finally, he tries to show that the Tatianic text is itself in the main merely a corrupt form of I-H-K altered in order to suit the necessities of Tatian's plan.
For criticism of this important theory up to 1909 see Nestle's Pinfiihrung in das griechische neue Testament, pp. 274-278 (3rd ed., Göttingen, 1909), and K. Lake's Professor H. von Soden's Treatment of the Text of the Gospels, Edinburgh, 1908). (K. L.)

I had to clean up their MS citations, but this may not be 100%.

From a review of  The Textual Tradition of the Gospels: Family 1 in Matthew. By Amy S. Anderson.  (New Testament Tools and Studies, 32.) Leiden: Brill, 2004

"Family 1 of the Gospels was edited by Kirsopp Lake from four or five manuscripts in 1902 and has been accepted as an entity and quoted as such ever since. Hermann Freiherr von Soden, in his work begun in 1902, identified a somewhat enlarged group of witnesses, including those used by Lake, giving it the sigla Hr in the analysis volumes, changed to Iη in the text volume. Amongst those enlarging the group was one of the many manuscripts brought to light by his team of young scholars, in this instance from the Athos monastery of Vatopedi, bearing the call number 949. To this was assigned the serial (now GA= Gregory–Aland) number of 1582. It is not known who the discoverer was; indeed Anderson's form of words does not mention von Soden's enterprise as the locus of discovery at all. The English scholar B. H. Streeter spoke highly of 1582 in his book The Four Gospels, drawing attention to significant readings and important critical notes in the margin. After the publication of von Soden's work, Silva Lake, in her revision of Kirsopp Lake's book The Text of the New Testament (1928), included 1582 in her account of Family 1.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Samson (1882) on Poole, Hug, and Tregelles

Samson on the RV (1881)

Samson's review of the over-correcting of the Revised Version (RV 1881) led to his publication of his booklet,  The English Revisers' Greek Text.  In this substantial treatment, which includes a detailed description of Hug's work, he summarizes the rules of Textual Criticism of three main editors, Poole, Hug, and Tregelles, comparing and contrasting their ideas and the results:

Tregelles as Napoleon


Three of the leading writers, whose combined  researches must guide the impartial student,  namely, Poole, Hug and Tregelles, state the  principles which have guided Christian scholars  of all ages in the determination of the true  text of the New Testament Greek Scriptures. 

The grounds of Poole's judgment, though not  formally brought together, are learned from his  repeated arguments in discussing especially the  omissions in certain Greek uncial manuscripts  and in some versions. Thus as to the omission  of the doxology in the Lord's Prayer, found in  the uncial manuscripts (MSS), now indicated as C and  D, which he had examined, as also in the Latin  of Jerome and of the Vulgate, Poole states  these principles:

The doxology is found in the  "mother language"; meaning in the Greek text  as received to this day in the Greek and Oriental  Church. As to the omission of the doxology  in the uncial MSS, he argues that  an insertion in the sacred text necessarily  implies studied invention and designed alteration;  while an omission implies merely unintentional  neglect.

As to the versions the Latin is but  one of many "daughters"; and that one more  remote from its "mother" than the Oriental  versions which retain it. As to the Latin fathers,  who omit the doxology in quoting the  Lord's Prayer, it may have been, he suggests,  Luke's briefer statement of that prayer which  they had in mind; while, on the other hand, he  urges that the quotation of that doxology by  leading Greek fathers is positive,  and not like  the Latin omission of it, mere negative testimony.  


Hug presents more formally his "Principles of Criticism" in a chapter following his  exhaustive discussion of the Greek MSS and of the varied ancient versions. He is emphatic  in rebuking those who, from doctrinal or  philological prejudice, fix on a class of manuscripts  or on a selection of variations in differing  classes of manuscripts of versions and of patristic  citations which chance to favor their previous  opinions. He says : "It has ceased to be  the case that a scholar, irresolute which of the  multitude he should follow, can, according to  his taste, or his preference for a particular manuscript,  or a liking for some peculiarity, some  new various readings in a particular Codex, or  other grounds not at all better, select and form  a text which may be destroyed by the next  editor; who does it only to see the same right  exercised upon him by his successor."  

Hug classifies all the authorities, including  Greek manuscripts, versions and patristic citations, under four heads ; those following 
(1) the koine ekdosis (common text)  
(2) the Hesychian recension,  
(3) the Lucian recension,  
(4) the recension of Origen ;   
and he enumerates the manuscripts and  the versions or parts of versions which respectively  follow these four classes of authorities.  Among these the following are important as  guides in forming a just decision as to the  omissions found in the Canterbury revision. 
The  text of the "koine ekdosis" rules the Gospels,  Acts, Catholic and Pauline Epistles in the codices D,  Cambridge and Parisian ; it prevails  throughout the Syriac Peschito and pervades  the Syriac of Charkel ; and it controlled in the  early Latin versions. 
On the other hand the  Hesychian recension guided the Egyptian copyists  in the Gospels of codices B and C, or the  Vatican and Ephraeem manuscripts ; and also in  the Acts and in all the Epistles of codices A, B,  C ; or the Alexandrine, Vatican and Ephraeem  manuscripts. Thus, according to this most comprehensive  as well as logical collator, the uncials,  now trusted as supreme authority, were made  from a text which Origen, and after him every  branch of the Christian Church has regarded as  influenced by doctrinal views opposed to the  Divine nature and to the expiatory sacrifice of  Jesus Christ.

Hug had not the third of the  three most complete uncials, the Sinaitic; but  Tischendorff's collation of the three shows their  common character.   Referring to the "common text," Hug says :  "The koine ekdosis, as we have shown, exhibits  the ancient text ; but with many alterations  which it underwent during the second and a  part of the third century." This statement, as  to the "koine ekdosis," the unbiassed student  perceives, has received from Hug this qualification  only to prepare the way for the author's  defence of the omissions incorporated into the  Latin Vulgate; which, as we shall see Hug  tacitly admits, follow the Egyptian uncials and  the Hesychian recension.

The three recensions  of Lucian, Hesychius, and Origen were all made  nearly at the same time, at the close of the  3rd century. The settled judgment of the  Greek Church, in the beginning of the 4th  century, established the text of the MSS prepared by Constantine's order; and that early  decision as to the respective merit of each recension  as compared with the "koine ekdosis," is  still authoritative in all branches of the Oriental  Church.  

With great elaborateness Hug lays down rules  to guide in deciding as to interpolations and  omissions in the true Greek text. He recognizes  as undeniable the fact that the "koine  ekdosis" was the standard when the several  recensions and versions were made; and that,  therefore, when all agree, which is the case in  the great body of the different manuscripts, the  true text is assured.
Interpolations, which are  rare, have arisen mainly from "harmonies " [harmonization]; in  which the fuller text of one evangelist might  come to be inserted by a careless copyist in  another; while, in cases very rare, marginal  notes, not belonging to the text, may have been  incorporated.

A careful comparison of the  Egyptian uncials reveals cases of both these  kinds; though they are so infrequent in comparison  with the omissions as to give special  weight to Poole's rule on this point. The causes  which have led to the numerous omissions are  mainly these :

First, where one clause ended  with words similar to those in a clause following,  the eye of the copyist, especially of the  mechanical Egyptian copyists, wandered past the  intervening clause.
Second, omissions were  made intentionally, when synonymous expressions  followed each other and were regarded by  the copyist as expletives [redundant].
Third, tautological  expressions, common to Hebrew writers, seemed  to Greek copyists of limited experience, to be  unimportant, and so were omitted.

To every  thoughtful student it must be apparent that  these causes for omissions would be specially  operative in the Egyptian copyists, as they are  faithfully characterized by Hug; men ignorant  of both the subject and wording of what they  transcribed ; not discriminating between the  inspired and uninspired Christian writings; and  working as paid laborers on what had for them  no interest, since even the language of the records  was not understood by many of their number. 

Hug's rules for restoration of such omissions  are substantially these : In the first case  "what is omitted must be restored to the text,"  without hesitation. In the second and third  cases, the omission of one copy must be restored  from an accordant text in other copies.   The elaborately considered and for the most  part impartially balanced decisions of Hug, the  Roman Catholic, so in keeping with those of  the earlier judgment of the Protestant Poole,  must rule in the close of the 19th century;  for their rule has been legitimate alike in  Origen of the 3rd, in Jerome of the 5th, in  Poole of the 17th and in Hug at the  opening of the present century [1800s]. The legitimacy  of this ruling is made demonstrative by the fact  that the "common text," subjected in every  important age of the Christian Church to precisely  the same tests which now are trying it, has  constantly received new and growing confidence  among the earnest Christian scholars of each  succeeding era of investigation.   


  The carefully considered rules of Tregelles are  laid down under nine heads; the 6th of which  has six subdivisions. These are stated in his  own words where their ruling is at variance with  those of other judges, 
(1) Where authorities  agree the text is assured. 
(2) If authorities  differ but slightly, assurance is little shaken.  
(3) " If the reading of the ancient authorities  in general is unanimous, there can be little  doubt it should be followed, whatever may be  the later testimonies ; for it is most improbable  that the independent testimonies of early manuscripts,  versions and Fathers should accord  with regard to something entirely groundless."  
(4) A reading found in versions alone can claim  but little authority. 
(5) A reading found in  patristic citations alone is of still less authority.  
(6) Where authorities are divided, "other  things being equal," these rules must guide.  
(a) An early citation, in express terms, may  alone be decisive. In cases where decision  cannot be thus assured, the following guides may  be successively sought and trusted; 
(b) if one  of two readings accords with a parallel passage ;  
(c) if one gives an amplification found elsewhere ;  
(d) if one of two seems to avoid a difficulty ; 
(e)  if one reading has been copied by others ; 
(f)  if well-known principles of variation can be applied.  
(7) When certainty is unattainable, the  doubtful passage should be retained, but put in  brackets. 
(8) When it is certain that a reading  was received in the second or third century, this  outweighs all later authorities.  
(9) Readings  sustained by the larger number of authorities  may be unsustained by the superior authorities.

  These rules of Tregelles call for attention less  in their statement than in their application

Rule 3 is at variance with Poole and Hug when  the oldest existing Greek manuscripts, seen to  be the Egyptian uncials never trusted by the  Greeks themselves, are accepted as supreme authority. 

Under rule 6, item (a),  such students  of the early Christian writers as Poole and Hug  think they have found in early Christian writers  express quotations from the New Testament  records which would on Tregelles' principle set  aside the authority of the Egyptian uncials. 

As to rule 6, item (e), it should be carefully observed  that while Tregelles applies it to hundreds  of cursive manuscripts, which he regards  as copied one from another, he forgets to apply  it to the Egyptian uncials ; all of which Hug  finds to be but copies of a class. 
Under rule 8  the argument of Poole and Hug, based on the  acceptance " from time immemorial " of the  "koine ekdosis," or "common text," by the  Greek as well as the combined Oriental and  Western Churches, is a testimony which the  Egyptian uncials have never been supposed to  countervail ; and these testimonies show that  the reading of the second and third century is  preserved in that "common text."

As to rule 9,  where the reference to the numberless  "cursive" Greek manuscripts is apparent, this  fact is specially to be noted. Hug, as before  mentioned, specially describes 6 only ; beginning  with the commonly recognized  MS #1 and  ending with #579.

Tregelles cites in his  rules only MSS 1, 33, 69; whose original  text, though oft corrected, as his use of them  shows, seems to sustain his view of the Egyptian  uncials as authoritative. 
As to cursive MSS 1,  the only cursive manuscript cited in common by  Hug and Tregelles, Hug traces its history;  showing that the copy was made in the time of  Leo V. ; who, though he ruled as Pope only a  few months, had special influence at the close  of the 9th and at the beginning of the 10th  century. Of its text, conformed manifestly to  the spirit of the age. 
Hug says: "The text of  the Gospels is very different from the text of the  rest of the manuscript." - but Tregelles states as to  it: "A manuscript in the Library at Basle,  containing all the N. Test, but the Apocalypse;  but only of importance in the text of the Gospels.  Of the 10th century: examined by  many, and collated independently by Tregelles  and Roth ; when these collations disagree 1-T or 1-R  indicates the respective collators." 
As to the  text to which this cursive manuscript was originally  conformed, Hug states that in "the Gospels"  it followed the "koine ekdosis." Its use  by Tregelles is illustrated on Matt. 18:11 ;  where it is indicated that the statement, "For  the Son of man is come to save the lost," is  omitted from the original text of this cursive  MS, but was afterwards inserted by a  2nd corrector of the MS. The fact  that Tregelles differed from Roth in his reading  of the manuscript as a collator shows how liable to err the modern examiner as well as the original copyist may prove.

The setting aside by  Tregelles of the authority of the hundreds of  cursive manuscripts trusted as reliable by the  world of Christian scholars in the past, the  special devotion of such a mind as that of Tregelles  to three selected copies regarded by him as supporting  the Egyptian uncials, and the fact that  the judgment of Hug as to the actual character  of that special cursive MS differs so  materially from that of Tregelles — these facts  justify certainly the doubt expressed by the Bishop  of St. Andrews as to the actual "consensus of  scholarship" which now demands the omission  of this and other passages."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Christopher Wordsworth (1877) on Textual Criticism

 The following is taken from Wordsworth's Greek NT Vol.1, Introduction (Rev. 1877):

"A few words are requisite concerning the Text...

It has been already observed, that the present age possesses special advantages in the collations recently made of Manuscripts (MSS) of the NT.

But it must not be forgotten, that it is one thing to possess MSS and collations of them, and another thing to use them aright. Indeed it may sometimes happen, that the very abundance of MSS, and consequently of Various Headings, may become an occasion of error; and so, by a misuse of our advantages in this respect, the Text of the NT may be depraved and corrupted, rather than emended and improved.

There is reason to fear that this may be sometimes now the case. Certain canons of criticism, as they are called, have been propounded by Griesbach and others, as directions for the use of MSS of the NT.  These canons contain true principles; but it may well be doubted, whether some evils may not arise, and may not already have arisen, from an overstrained application of them.

For example; "Proclivi lectioni praestat ardua" ("Prefer the Harder Reading") This is an excellent rule, if rightly used; for no one can doubt that an easy reading was more likely to be substituted by a transcriber for a difficult one, than a difficult reading for one that is easy. But this rule requires much caution in its application.

There are many concurrent circumstances to be considered, which may modify and neutralize it, and render it wholly inapplicable. For instance ; it must also be inquired, whether the difficult reading is supported by the testimony of ancient Versions and Fathers; or whether it stands on the authority of only one or two MSS of a particular family.

To force readings into the Text merely because they are difficult, is to adulterate the divine ore with human alloy ; it is to obtrude upon the reader of Scripture the solecisms of faltering copyists, in the place of the Word of God.

Again; it is doubtless true, that special deference is due, on the ground of superior Antiquity, to the Uncial Manuscripts of the New Testament. No one can question, in the abstract, the soundness of the principle propounded by Bentley, revived by Bengel, and recently applied by Lachmann. But the very application of the principle, without adequate restraints and correctives, has proved how dangerous a true principle of criticism may become, when applied beyond the proper limits of its applicability.

The Uncial MSS are of greater antiquity, as far as ink and parchment are concerned, than the Cursive MSS of the NT. The consent of all the Uncial Manuscripts, or of a majority of them, is of very high authority.  But we do not know, that some of the Cursive MSS may not be transcripts of Uncial MSS still more ancient than any we now possess; and, therefore, to adopt the readings which are found in two or three Uncial MSS, to the exclusion of the testimony of the Cursive MSS, may be to corrupt the Text, while we profess to correct it.

Besides, the Uncial MSS are comparatively few, - and only represent the witness of a few places. But the Cursive MSS are very numerous, and come to us from all parts of the world; and, therefore, to confine ourselves to the testimony of the Uncial MSS, may be to prefer the witness of a few Churches to that of [all] Christendom.

Let, then, the Uncial MSS have all honour due; and it can hardly be doubted, that wherever that honour is rightly paid, it will be found to be more or less authorized by a concurrent testimony of Cursive MSS.

It is likewise certain, as was long since observed by S. Jerome, that a priori the shorter readings are preferable, and that the text of one Gospel has often been interpolated from another. But how much caution and circumspection is necessary in the application of these principles !

It is also true, that the MSS of the Greek Testament may be classified in Families. And, eventually, when they have been carefully examined, such an arrangement, according to Recensions, may be made. But it is premature, before such an examination has been faithfully and scrupulously completed, to prefer the readings of those particular MSS which belong, as it is supposed, to one favoured class, and to reject others, because they are not of the same pedigree, or because they do not seem to us to bear an affinity to those of that class on which we ourselves, in the exercise of our critical prerogative, may have been pleased to confer certain privileges of rank and nobility. Yet, on this principle, some of the Editions seem to have been constructed which profess to give an improved Text of the Greek Testament.

Some other illustrations of a similar kind might be added. Suffice it to say, on the whole, that though the canons of criticism which have been applied to the revision of the Text of the NT, are of unquestionable value, yet great circumspection is necessary, lest, by a vicious application of them, we do more to mar the Text, than has yet been done by their means to amend it.

The Text of the present edition is not a reprint of that hitherto received in any impression of the NT. The Editor has endeavoured to avail himself of the collations of MSS which have been supplied by others, and to offer to the reader the result at which he has arrived after an examination of those collations. He has not thought it requisite or desirable to lay before the eye a full apparatus of various readings. It would have swollen the volume to too great a bulk, and have occupied the place reserved for exposition. Besides, that important work has been done, or is now in course of being done, by others. And to their labours he would refer those, who are desirous of ascertaining the data, upon which the Text of the present Edition has been formed.

At the same time, he feels it his duty to state, that he has not deviated so far  from the text commonly received, as has been done in some recent editions.  Indeed he cannot disguise his belief, that a superintending Providence has ever been watching over the Text of the New Testament, and guiding the Church of Christ, as the Guardian and Keeper of Holy Writ, in the discharge of her duty.  

A 7th Edition of the NT has recently been published under the Editorship of a learned person, to whom the present age is deeply indebted for his labours in collating manuscripts, and publishing Transcripts of early copies of the NT, Constantino Tischendorf. It will be found, on examination of the prospectus of that 7th Edition, that he frankly confesses that he had been induced to follow too implicitly the lead of certain favourite manuscripts in his earlier editions. And in his 7th Edition he abandons his former readings, and  generally returns to those of the Received Text, in more than a hundred places in the Gospel of St. Matthew alone. " 
(Christopher Wordsworth, Intro. vol. 1,  Tour Gospels)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Reading the Merk Apparatus

The following is taken from Waltz's Online Encyclopedia with appreciation, and additional formatting:

Merk - Critical Greek/Latin New Testament

Editor. Text and apparatus edited by Augustinus Merk, S.J.

Date of Publication. The first edition, Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine, appeared in 1933. The tenth edition, issued nearly four decades after the editor's death, was published in 1984. Overall, however, the changes in the edition, in both text and apparatus, have been minimal.

The Text. Merk's Greek text is a fairly typical mid-Twentieth-Century production, an eclectic edition which however leans strongly toward the Alexandrian text. The Latin text, as one would expect of a Jesuit, is the Clementine Vulgate.

The Apparatus. The significance of Merk lies not in its text but in its apparatus -- by far the fullest of the hand editions, and accompanied by a serviceable critical apparatus of the Vulgate (a noteworthy improvement, in this regard, over the otherwise fairly similar edition of Bover).
Merk's apparatus is largely that of von Soden, translated into Gregory numbers and slightly updated. Merk includes nearly all the variants in von Soden's first two apparatus, and a significant number of those in the third. In addition to the manuscripts cited by von Soden, Merk cites several manuscripts discovered since von Soden's time (papyri up to P52, including the Beatty papyri; uncials up to 0207; minuscules up to 2430, although all but four minuscules and three lectionaries are taken from von Soden). Merk also cites certain versions and fathers, particularly from the east, not cited in von Soden.

But this strength is also a weakness. Merk's apparatus incorporates all the errors of von Soden (inaccurate collations and unclear citations), and adds errors of its own: inaccurate translation of von Soden's apparatus, plus a very high number of errors of the press and the like. Merk does not even provide an accurate list of fathers cited in the edition -- e.g. the Beatus of Liébana is cited under the symbol "Be," but the list of Fathers implies that he would be cited as "Beatus." The Venerable Bede, although cited relatively often (as Beda), is not even included in the list of Fathers! The list of such errors could easily be extended (a somewhat more accurate list of fathers cited in Merk is found in the article on the Fathers).

Thus the student is advised to take great care with the Merk. As a list of variants, no portable edition even comes close. Every student should have it. But knowing how far to trust it is another question. The following table shows a test of the Merk apparatus, based on the readings found in the apparatus of UBS4 in three books (Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians). The first column lists the manuscript, the second the number of readings for which it can be cited, the third the number of places where Merk's apparatus disagrees with the UBS apparatus, and the fourth the percentage of readings where they disagree.

MS      Reading
with UBS           
  Percent Disagreement
  with UBS
11755148% (but see below)
(Note: Data for 330 and 462 taken from the collations by Davies.)

We should add one caveat, however: Merk does not list where manuscripts such as P46, C, and 1175 have lacunae -- in the case of 1175, he cites the manuscript explicitly for certain readings where it does not exist! In addition, it is often impossible to tell the readings of the manuscripts in the bottom parts of his apparatus, as they are cited as part of al or rel pl. Thus the table cites 256 for 59 readings instead of the 63 citations for the Old Uncials because there are four readings where it is simply impossible to know which reading Merk thinks 256 supports.

Still, we see that overall the Merk apparatus is almost absolutely accurate for the Old Uncials (though it sometimes fails to note the distinction between first and later hands). Minuscules vary in reliability, though there are only three -- 263, 330, and 436 (all members of I a3, which seems to have been a very problematic group) -- where Merk's apparatus is so bad as to be of no use at all. The conclusion is that students should test the apparatus for any given minuscule before trusting it.

The Merk apparatus, adapted as it is from Von Soden, takes getting used to. The apparatus always cites the reading of the text as a lemma, then cites variant(s) from it. Normally witnesses will be cited for only one of the two readings; all uncited witnesses are assumed to support the other reading. To know which witnesses are cited for a particular reading, however, requires constant reference to Merk's list of groups (given in the introduction), as witnesses are cited by position within the groups, and often in a shorthand notation -- e.g. 1s means "1 and the witness immediately following" -- which in the Gospels is 1582; 1ss would mean "1 and the two witnesses immediately following" (1582 and 2193).

Note that "1s" is not the same as "1s."

1s means "1 and all manuscripts which follow to the end of the group." So where 1s means 1 1582, 1s means 1 1582 2193 (keep in mind, however, that if the subgroup is large, not all manuscripts of the group may be intended).
1r has yet another meaning: from 1 to the end of the major group -- in this case, from 1 to 131.

All this is not as bad as it sounds, but the student is probably well-advised to practice it a few times!

Other symbols in Merk's apparatus include

>, indicating an omission;

|, indicating a part of a versional tradition (or the Greek side of a diglot where the Latin disagrees);

"rel" for "all remaining witnesses," etc. Many of the remaining symbols are obvious (e.g. ~ for a change in word order), but the student should be sure to check Merk's introduction in detail, and never assume a symbol means what you think it means!

The example below may make things a little clearer. We begin with the table of witnesess -- in this case for Paul.

HP46 BSCA 1739 424c 1908 33 PY 104 326 1175 81 1852(R) HIM(1 2CHb) 048 062(G) 081(2 C) 082(E) 088(1C) 0142 P10·13·15·16·40  |


D(E)G(F) 917 1836 1898 181 88 915 1912  |
Ca2623 5 1827 1838 467 1873 927 489 2143  |
Ca3920 1835 1845 919 226 547 241 1 460 337 177 1738 321 319 69 462 794 330 999 1319 2127 256 263 38 1311 436 1837 255 642 218  |
Cb1206 429 1831 1758 242 1891 522 2 635 941 1099  |
Cb2440 216 323 2298 1872 1149 491 823 35 336 43  |
Cc11518 1611 1108 2138 1245 2005  |
Cc2257 383 913 378 1610 506 203 221 639 1867 876 385 2147  |
KKL  |
Let us take Romans 2:14 as an example. Merk's text (without accents) reads:
(14) otan gar eqnh ta mh nomon econta fusei ta tou nomou poiwsin, outoi nomon mh econtes eautois eisin nomos
In the apparatus we have
14 gar] de G| ar Wr| -- i.e. for gar, the reading of Merk's text,
the Greek side of G (but not the Latin), the Armenian,
and part of Origen read de.
All other witnesses support Merk's text.

poiwsin B SA-1908 104-1852 Ds 467 1319-38 436 43 Cl Wr ] poih rel -- i.e. poiwsin is supported by B, S (= א),
the witnesses from A to 1908 (=A, 1739, 6, possibly 424**, and 1908),
the witnesses from 104 to 1852 (=104, 326, 1175, 81, 1852),
by D and all other witnesses to the end of its group (=D G 917 1836 1898 181 88 915 1912, with perhaps one or two omitted),
by 467, by the witnesses from 1319 to 38 (=1319 2127 256 263 38),
by 436, by 43,
by Clement, and by Origen.

The alternative reading poih is supported by all other witnesses -- i.e.
by the uncited witnesses in the H group (in this case, P Y),
by the entire Ca2 group except 467,
by the uncited witnesses of Ca3 (=920, 1835, etc.),
by all witnesses of the Cb groups except 43, and
by all remaining witnesses from 1518 on down to L at the end.

outoi] oi toioutoi G d t vg Wr| -- i.e.
for outoi G (and its Latin side g), the old latins d t, the vulgate, and part of Origen read oi toioutoi.
Again, all other witnesses support Merk's text.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Webster (1855) on the TR

Here is the pertinent section from Webster's Introduction to his Greek NT:


Some explanation of the circumstances which have led to the appearance of the present work seems required by the consideration that the New Testament has already and recently been edited in a form adapted for general use. Our intention of undertaking this task was conceived more than twenty years ago, when Dr. Valpy's was the only annotated edition in the hands of students at our Universities.
Though since that period the labours of Bloomfield, Burton, Trollope have supplied to some extent the defect which then existed, we cannot regard the amount of attention which the New Testament in the Original has received from English annotators, as at all commensurate with the theological or classical literature of our day. The execution of this design was commenced in the preparation of notes for the instruction of pupils, at the City of London School, in detached portions of the Greek text. These original draughts, the germ of this production, have more than passed the period of probation assigned by the Latin poet in his salutary caution against rash and hasty publication.
Our conviction of the desirableness of an attempt like the present has only been strengthened by the lapse of time ; and the work went on at a very uncertain rate of advance, usually in the hours of relaxation from the tutorial and pastoral duties in which we were engaged, but not unfrequently in close connexion with them, and as the immediate sequel of their preparation and performance. Six years ago, this volume was in a state of considerable forwardness, when the announcement of a similar publication by Mr. Alford caused us to pause, till we saw how far the reception of his labours might render the prosecution of our own unnecessary. Sufficient time has elapsed for the public to form their opinion of that work. We expressed our own judgment of its merits in a joint review early in 1851, in the following language :
' We have no hesitation in pronouncing the opinion that Mr. Alford's edition of the Gospels is by far the best which has been published in this country. His superiority to his predecessors is apparent in almost every department of his task, and especially in those labours which are necessarily common to all critics and commentators.'
At the same time, we remarked that Mr. Alford had not completely exemplified our beau ideal of an annotated Greek Testament, for the use of educated laymen, and for those who were engaged in delivering formally theological instruction. We concluded our review with a list of desiderata which we should almost be glad to suppress, being well aware how far our execution has fallen below our design. To the favourable expressions we then uttered we still adhere, though our inclination, after a closer examination of that edition, would be to strengthen rather than to qualify the remarks, by which we implied that the subject was by no means exhausted ; that the mode of treating it Avas capable of further improvement, and that the system of Biblical interpretation might be established on principles at once more safe, more certain, and more intelligible.
In preparing this volume, we have endeavoured to keep in view the wants and necessities of the pupils who have been under our own tuition. These, indeed, have been of all ages, of all grades of mental capacity and intellectual attainment, from the student of highly-cultivated mind, well furnished from the stores of classical erudition, armed with critical acumen and adorned with polished taste, down to the raw, ignorant schoolboy, who has entered his teens having learnt little on any subject, and knowing nothing well ; or rather, harder task still, both for the teacher and the taught, down to the seri studiorum, the men of full age, who, after spending some years in other pursuits, begin to apply their long dormant powers of acquiring a language ; — powers which, perhaps, were never exercised in youth, to the mastery of the Greek Accidence. From the results of a lengthened experience in tuition at the University, at four large and distinguished schools, and in private, we trust that our labours will in some degree contribute to the promotion of sound learning and religious education.
We wish it, then, to be distinctly understood that our object has been to write for learners rather than the learned. We trust we have fixed our standard sufficiently high, so that those who use our work will find it fully adequate for the College Lecture Room, and for those examinations in the Greek Testament which are passed by candidates for degrees, or for admission to Holy Orders; but we have endeavoured not to aim too high, as if we expected our readers, by our help alone, to take honours in Divinity.
This limitation of aim has led us to deviate to a considerable extent from the path of our predecessors :

I. to omit altogether the department of Textual Criticism ;
II. to modify, or decline as superfluous to our purpose, much that is common to preceding annotators ; and in lieu thereof.
III. to dwell upon points which have hitherto received but partial attention.

I. The object of Biblical criticism has usually been to ascertain the purity or corruption of the text. We have not introduced into our notes the repeated enunciation and application of those principles and canons by which the critic decides upon the genuineness of disputed readings, and aims at restoring, as nearly as possible, the original words of inspiration.
Above forty years have elapsed since the followers of Socinus in this country scornfully alleged that our Authorized Version was taken from a text which rested on the authority of less than thirty manuscripts of recent date and small value, while their Improved Version presented a faithful copy of the original, derived from the examination of more than 800. The labours of Griesbach, Scholz, and Tischendorf, which have been well taken up of late by Bloomfield, Alford, and Tregelles, in our own country, present us with the results of a collation of above 600 MSS., for the whole or part of the New Testament. And what has been the result? Their researches have confirmed the accuracy of the Textus Receptus far beyond what could reasonably have been expected. Modern Rationalists find that they cannot support their views by any fair application of Biblical criticism. These can only be maintained by a subtile nonnatural mode of interpretation to which common sense and common honesty are equally opposed. Hence we cannot but consider an array of Various Readings, with corresponding references and comments, as an incumbrance on the pages of a work designed for general use, and an obstacle to the progress of the early student. We would refer the learner to the language which Dr. Bentley used above a hundred years ago, in reference to the various readings, as a proof that he need not trouble himself with this subject during his academical course, and to convince the general student in theology, lay or clerical, that minute attention to this point is not necessary for his own assurance, or for his defence of the faith once delivered to the saints.
'If a corrupt line, or dubious reading, chances to intervene, it does not darken the whole context, or make an author's opinion or his purpose, precarious. Terence, for instance, has as many variations as any book whatever in proportion to its bulk ; and yet with all its interpolations, omissions, additions, or glosses (choose the worst of them on purpose), you cannot deface the contrivance and plot of one play ; no, not of one single scene ; but its sense, design, and subserviency to the last issue and conclusion shall be visible and plain through all the mist of various lections. And so it is with the sacred text ; make your 30,000 as many more, if numbers of copies can ever reach that sum ; all the better to a knowing and serious reader, who is thereby more richly furnished to select what he sees genuine. But even put them into the hands of a knave or a fool, and yet with the most sinistrous and absurd choice he shall not extinguish the light of any one chapter, nor so disguise Christianity but that every feature of it shall still be the same.'
— Phileleutherus Lipsiensis.1
The text presented in this edition is substantially that of Robert Stephens, 1550, adopted by the late Professor Scholefield, and printed under his care at the Pitt Press, 1836. In the arrangement of the paragraphs, the punctuation, accentuation, and similar points, we have consulted the editions of Lachmann, Theile, and Scholz. Occasionally, as in Matt. 9:36, we have commented on the true reading in the notes, though we have retained the inaccurate reading in the text, deeming it advisable to depart as little as can be avoided from the text which was preferred by the translators of the Authorized Version. Yet we should be sorry to foster the notion that the labours of Bengel, 1734, Wetstein, 1751, Griesbach, 1775-1796, and others to the present day, have been comparatively fruitless. Their chief value has been to silence the boastful language of those who presumptuously argued that the collation of 300 additional MSS. would materially alter the text which had been received upon the authority of 30. The subordinate use has been to establish with something like catholic consent that the Textus Receptus admits of emendation, as is evident from the language of Dr. Burton. After stating that he had adopted Mill's text (Oxford, 1707) because it had the greatest number of followers, and had lately been printed under the care of Bishop Lloyd, that eminent theologian thus proceeds : —
' I have examined with no small labour and attention the copious materials which have been collected by Griesbach ; and after weighing the evidence which he has adduced in favour of any particular reading, I noted down all those variations from the received text, which seem to have a majority of documents in their favour. This abstract of Griesbach's critical apparatus may be seen in White's Criseis Griesbachiance in N. T. Synopsis, and Vater in his edition of the Greek Testament, published in 1824, has not only mentioned the reasons for preferring certain variations, but has admitted them into the text.  Though the accuracy of these two persons might spare us the necessity of consulting Griesbach's notes, I preferred going through the same analysis myself ; and it has been satisfactory to me to find that my own conclusions were generally supported by these two independent authorities. Whoever may be induced to pursue a similar plan will find that the common rules of criticism would require him to alter the Received Text in several places.'
— Preface to the First Edition.

1. The language of Valekuer in his notes on Lk 9:41 is to the same effect. ' We may observe once for all that out of these thousands of various readings which occasion some persons so much alarm, there are very few which are of any consequence, fewer still which make any alteration in the sense. For the most part they are clerical errors, and exceedingly trivial ; arising very frequently from a difference of pronunciation scarcely worthy of the serious notice bestowed upon them.' A writer in the journal of Sacred Literature (October, 1854, p. 178), remarks, 'We may, however, express our conviction that we at present feel but little confidence in any new text of the Greek Testament, and much prefer the Textus Receptus to be retained as the common ground on which critical questions may be discussed, and a common centre of reference.'

Friday, May 6, 2011

Alford (1863) on Tischendorf (7th ed)

Alford in a congenial mood...

Alford (1863) gives more specific details and an assessment of Tischendorf, in his own prolegomena to The Greek Testament, covering in detail up to Tischendorf's 7th edition, which is useful, since usually only the 8th or last edition of Tischendorf is discussed:
"8. Dr. Tischendorf has published at Leipzig several editions of the Greek Testament. I shall speak here of two only : the second, which appeared in 1849, and the seventh, in 1859. In his revision of the text, as explained in his prolegomena to the edition of 1849, he has followed the most ancient MSS., not however disregarding the testimony of the later ones and of versions and fathers, where the former disagree, or where the readings of the elder MSS. have apparently sprung from corruption of the text. And to judge of this last, he lays down the following rules:
Readings are to be suspected, —
1. which are peculiar to one or other of the elder MSS., or which savour strongly of the character of some one class of recensions, and have therefore probably proceeded from some corrector: —
2. which although supported by many MSS., have manifestly or probably sprung from the error of a copyist: —
3. which have sprung from a desire to assimilate citations from the Old Testament to the text of the cited passage, or parallel places in the Gospels to one another. In such cases (unless there be strong cause to the contrary) the discrepant reading is to be preferred to the accordant one.
4. A reading is to be preferred, which appears to furnish a clue to the others, or to contain the elements of them in itself.
5. The usage of the New Testament writers in general, and of each one in particular, is to be regarded in balancing readings with one another.
 For the discussion of these rules, I refer the student to the work itself. The theory of them is unobjectionable ; it will be by the practical carrying out of them that the New Testament Editor must be judged. And, on the whole, his principles appear to have been boldly and consistently carried out ; and the text of this edition of 1849 is, in my view, very far superior to any which preceded it. The fact of my never having adopted it myself, will shew that I do not consider this praise to be in all cases deserved. The edition is very unequal in its various parts. His design grew on him as he advanced, and he did not re-write the earlier portion to correspond with the later. In the Epistles, he gave in full the authorities for the reading which he adopted, as well as those for that which he rejected : in the Gospels, very rarely the latter, — sometimes neither. Indeed the digest, in the early Gospels, was miserably meagre. Full one-third of the readings of D were omitted, as well as many others of importance. Compare only, e.g., the various readings of Matt. 12:1-8 with those in Lachmann. And the same is true of almost every page. His adoption of readings was not always distinguished by watchfulness to detect trips of transcribers, as e. g. in John 6:51, where the homoeoteleuton  was obviously the first source of confusion : see also Luke 24:51-52. But, allowing for such imperfections, and for instances of carelessness such as are incident to all who undertake a work of this kind, I cannot but regard Tischendorfs 2nd edition as the most valuable contribution, at the time of its appearance, which had been yet made to the revision of the text of the New Testament. And I believe that all future texts arranged on critical principles, will be found to approach very closely to his. Such has been the case with my own, although in every instance of correction or re-arrangement I have been led, not by him, but as the careful reader may see, by the rules which he and I have followed in common. And it will be found by any who will take the trouble to compare our texts, that the differences between us are both numerous and important.

9. Tischendorf's 7th edition is a far larger work, and, on account of its many departures from the second and subsequent ones (6), requires special notice.

As far as regards uniformity of plan and execution, this edition is certainly superior to the second. The array of witnesses cited for and against the text adopted is every where as copious as circumstances would admit. But it may be doubted whether in point of text this later edition is any advance on that other. While professing the same critical principles as before, the Editor has involved himself far more in subjective speculations, the tendency of which has been to lead him away in very many instances from the safe path of the consensus of our most ancient evidence, into the defence of a speculative text, respecting which arbitrary opinion may be as strongly pronounced on one side as on the other. This habit has resulted in a going back in a number of passages to the received text : so much so, that the defenders of that text against ancient evidence have claimed this edition of Tischendorf's as a victory on their side (7). Undoubtedly, on all sound critical principles, it must be regarded, as far as its text is concerned, as a retrogression, rather than an advance, since that of the edition of 1849.

10. It is much to be regretted that in many particulars Tischendorf's digest should still present so many marks of inaccuracy; and that, where not borne out by others, so little reliance can be placed upon its citations of versions and Fathers. This is the universal testimony of those who have taken the pains to compare his citations with the originals : and I can add to it from my own experience. When I have had occasion to search the works of a Father to discover the real bearing of a passage which has been obscured by being partially extracted in his notes, I have, at least as often as not, found that it ought not to have been alleged as evidence.

11. And the complaints made with regard to the versions are even more loud and general The charges are made against Tischendorf, that he has referred very carelessly to the Curetonian Syriac : that in the case of the important Syriac version (Peschito) he relies on the Latin translation of Leusden and the very unsatisfactory edition of Schaaf : and it would appear certain from his silence (Proleg. edn. 7, p. xix) that he has neglected the much more important editions of Widmanstadt and Lee (see Tregelles, Horne's Introd. to N. T. vol. iv. p. 260).
He has passed over in silence the edition of the Coptic (Memphitic) version of the Acts and Epistles by Dr. Paul Botticher — which though not perfectly satisfactory, should still not have been left unconsulted by a professed critical Editor — and has relied on the very incorrect Latin of the older edition of Wilkins. Again, in the case of the Armenian version, he has trusted wholly to the incorrect and partial collations (Tregelles, ib. p. 811) which were made for the N. T. edited by Scholz. It is also not unjust to say, that I have been informed by a Mend who has some knowledge of the original languages, that in the case of other versions, where Tregelles and Tischendorf differ in their statement of the readings adopted and the impressions given by an ancient version, the English Editor is commonly right, and the German Editor commonly wrong.

12. Still, with all these faults, Tischendorf s last edition is an indispensable book to the thorough biblical scholar. Its research, and accumulation of testimonies are wonderful, considering that they are the work of one man: and the digest contains what must necessarily form the materials for all future revisions of the N. T. text. It is all the more to be regretted that such a work should be disfigured by blemishes so considerable, and should not have been carefully kept free from those elements of untrustworthiness, which its Author was so ready to point out and insist on in his predecessor, Dr. Scholz."

6. This term ("7th edition") must, in Tischendorf's case, be taken with some qualification. His various editions do not represent successive deliberate recensions of his text and digest, nor do they embrace the same design, as in most other works : but they are merely, for the most part, varying forms under which he has issued his text, with or without an abbreviated digest of various readings. Properly speaking, we have had but three editions from him : the first in 1841, the second in 1849, and the third in 1857-9.

7. So, e. g., Dr. Wordsworth, Preface to his Greek Testament, vol. i. p. xiv.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Vaganay (1935) on Tischendorf

The following is taken from the English translation of Vaganay (1935) An Introduction to NT Textual Criticism (1991, Cambridge) transl. Amphoux/Heimerdinger, p. 148 fwd:
"In point of fact, the text itself was not so important.  Tischendorf had essentially no firm principles from which to work.  He was an enthusiastic and fortunate explorer, an active and vigilant editor, an ardent collector of variants, but he did not have a critical mind, in the true sense of critical.  Generally speaking, he continued in the tradition established by Lachmann, giving preference to the earliest Greek texts but he paid only scant attention to their classification into families.  He appeared indeed to mistrust any theory about the history of the text, preferring to rely on his own judgement to decide between several early variants.  He was unfortunately always influenced by the last manuscript he happened to have studied.  Everyone acknowledges, for example, that in his last edition he set too much store by Codex Sinaiticus.  Besides, he did not have time to write his own Prolegomena.  This was left to one of his disciples, C. R. Gregory, who published his Prolegomena, a superb work of textual criticism, as an appendix to the Editio Octava maior (vol III, 1884; re-edited and enlarged, 1894). 
Caspar Rene Gregory also continued the work of compiling a list of the NT manuscripts, giving a brief description of each.  The result is a work of fundamental importance:  Textkritik des Neuen Testamentes in three volumes (1900-09).  The first deals with the Greek MSS, adopting the nomenclature used by Tischendorf which goes back to Wettstein.  The 2nd volume contains the earlier MSS of the various early versions [translations].  Finally, the 3rd contains additions to the other 2 volumes and adopts a new system of numbering the Greek MSS which consists entirely of figures and which is still in use today.  There were two people who took over the work from Gregory, E. von Dobschutz and K. Aland (see p. 10).   In just one century, the # of MSS has doubled.  For the MSS of the versions, except for the Latin, there is still no successor to Gregory; the situation at present is that each editor uses his own signs or somebody else's, thus causing a certain amount of confusion. 
In conclusion, it may be said that Tischendorf did not really contribute to the improvement in method of NT TC.  He simply introduced an element of flexibility into the method of his predecessors in allowing more room for internal criticism.   Honour is due to him rather for the discovery and the edition of new witnesses to the text.  He was, above all, a man of learning, and, so to speak, a man of the variants.   It was Gregory who was to be the man of the documents.  There are, it is true, many errors in the lists they compiled, even though great care was taken.  On the whole, they represent a monument which is neither bold in its design nor balanced in its proportions, but it is a least solid in its foundations." (ch. 4, p. 143-148). 


Monday, May 2, 2011

Uncial Talk (4) - MS Illumination, C. Nordenfalk

Croatian Initials
Again we continue the series with a short quotation from another great book on the history of manuscripts, Book Illumination, Early Middle Ages, by Carl Nordenfalk, Curator, Nat. Mus. Sweden (1957, 1988, 1995). 
"...But though the art of the illuminated MS was typically medieval, it was not, like the stained-glass window for example, invented in the Middl Ages.  Long before this, in ancient Egypt, the papyrus rolls...were supplied with colored illustrations.  And though the Greeks of the Hellenistic Age did not give illumination a leading place... there can be no doubt that illustrations often figured in their books. guide-marks..these were all the more useful since in early MSS columns were not numbered [or indexed].
During the 2nd - 4th centuries A.D. the papyrus scroll was gradually supplanted by the vellum codex, which furnished new support for illustrations...for portraits of authors, ...inserted in the columns of text, usually without frames or backgrounds. 
The oldest extant miniatures in painted frames date without exception to the 4th century A.D. ...when classical culture was beginning to decline.  the 'illusionist' technique of antique painting...perpetuating the art of previous centuries...was particularly striking during the Carolingian renaissance.   The Roman Calendar for 354 A.D. is a case in point; nothing of it survives, but we have 16th-17th cent. Carolingian copies...reproduced so faithfully that one is hardly conscious of the intervention of the Carolingian copyist. 
We learn from Egyptian papyrus that in book rolls of the Hellenistic epoch it was already customary to frame tabular texts with ornamental colonnettes. 
A richly decorated Bible was used as a model by painters at Tours in the 9th century.  Four large-size pictures, to fo rthe Old and two for the New Testament, sponsor an interpretation of the doctrine of Redemption, intended to counterblast the Manichean heresy, possibly a 'proclamation' of Pope Leo the Great (440-461 A.D.).   Classical details such as heads and gestures, ...perspective, link up with earlier MSS.  ...however, ...the tendency to bring figures forward, and diversity is replaced by smaller selection of types...the beginnings of a new pictorial language that, after gaining ground in the late 5th century, attained its culmination in the reign of Justinian.  
During the 6th century book production passed more and more into the hands of the Church and the copyists were chiefly employed on making Gospel Books.  But the time was not yet ripe for a final break with the art tradition of antiquity.  Judging by surviving works, the only decorative elements of the Gospel Books in 4 / 5 cases were limited to simple linear ornaments around the colophons.  only the Canon Tables or "concordances", invented by Eusebius of Caesarea (d. 340 A.D.) formed a real exception, having decorative arches.  This type of decoration soon became standardized, and Jerome employed them in the West for his new Latin Vulgate.
That no examples earlier than the 6th century are extant can be explained by the pillaging of Italian churches in the intervening period.  ...
During the period before political upheavals and pariticularly the Arab invasions of the 7th century had almost extinguished the art of the illustrated book in the Latin countries around the Mediteranean basin, an important atelier somewhere in southwest Europe produced a MS whose full-page pictures excel those in all others of this period, the so-called Ashburnham Pentateuch. " (selections abbrev., p. 1-24)