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."

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