The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at www.gutenberg.org. If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: The Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels

Author: John William Burgon

Editor: Edward Miller

Release date: February 22, 2012 [eBook #38960]

Language: English

*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE TRADITIONAL TEXT OF THE HOLY GOSPELS ***


The Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels

Vindicated and Established

By the Late

John William Burgon, B.D.

Dean of Chichester

Arranged, Completed, and Edited by

Edward Miller, M.A.

Late Rector of Bucknell, Oxon; Editor of the Fourth Edition of Dr. Scrivener's “Plain Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament”; and Author of “A Guide to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament”

Πᾶσι Τοῖς Ἁγίοις ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ

Phil. i. 1

London

George Bell And Sons

Cambridge: Deighton, Bell and Co.

1896


[pg iv]

“Tenet ecclesia nostra, tenuitque semper firmam illam et immotam Tertulliani regulam ‘Id verius quod prius, id prius quod ab initio.’ Quo propius ad veritatis fontem accedimus, eo purior decurrit Catholicae doctrinae rivus.”Cave's Proleg. p. xliv.

“Interrogate de semitis antiquis quae sit via bona, et ambulate in eâ.”—Jerem. vi. 16.

“In summa, si constat id verius quod prius, id prius quod ab initio, id ab initio quod ab Apostolis; pariter utique constabit, id esse ab Apostolis traditum, quod apud Ecclesias Apostolorum fuerit sacrosanctum.”Tertull. adv. Marc. l. iv. c. 5.

[pg v]

Preface.

The death of Dean Burgon in 1888, lamented by a large number of people on the other side of the Atlantic as well as on this, cut him off in the early part of a task for which he had made preparations during more than thirty years. He laid the foundations of his system with much care and caution, discussing it with his friends, such as the late Earl of Selborne to whom he inscribed The Last Twelve Verses, and the present Earl of Cranbrook to whom he dedicated The Revision Revised, for the purpose of sounding the depths of the subject, and of being sure that he was resting upon firm rock. In order to enlarge the general basis of Sacred Textual Criticism, and to treat of the principles of it scientifically and comprehensively, he examined manuscripts widely, making many discoveries at home and in foreign libraries; collated some himself and got many collated by other scholars; encouraged new and critical editions of some of the chief Versions; and above all, he devised and superintended a collection of quotations from the New Testament to be found in the works of the Fathers and in other ecclesiastical writings, going [pg vi] far beyond ordinary indexes, which may be found in sixteen thick volumes amongst the treasures of the British Museum. Various events led him during his life-time to dip into and publish some of his stores, such as in his Last Twelve Verses of St. Mark, his famous Letters to Dr. Scrivener in the Guardian Newspaper, and in The Revision Revised. But he sedulously amassed materials for the greater treatise up to the time of his death.

He was then deeply impressed with the incomplete state of his documents; and gave positive instructions solely for the publication of his Text of the Gospels as marked in the margin of one of Scrivener's editions of the New Testament, of his disquisition on “honeycomb” which as exhibiting a specimen of his admirable method of criticism will be found in Appendix I of this volume, and perhaps of that on ὄξος in Appendix II, leaving the entire question as to publishing the rest to his nephew, the Rev. W. F. Rose, with the help of myself, if I would undertake the editing required, and of others.

The separate papers, which were committed to my charge in February, 1889, were contained in forty portfolios, and according to my catalogue amounted to 2,383. They were grouped under various headings, and some were placed in one set as “Introductory Matter” ready for the printer. Most had been copied out in a clear hand, especially by “M.W.” mentioned in the Preface of the Revision Revised, to whom also I am greatly indebted for copying others. The papers were of lengths varying from fourteen pages or more down to a single [pg vii] sentence or a single reference. Some were almost duplicates, and a very few similarly triplicates.

After cataloguing, I reported to Mr. Rose, suggesting a choice between three plans, viz.,

1. Publishing separately according to the Dean's instructions such papers as were judged to be fit for publication, and leaving the rest:—

2. To put together a Work on the Principles of Textual Criticism out of the MSS., as far as they would go:—

3. To make up what was ready and fit into a Book, supplying from the rest of the materials and from elsewhere what was wanting besides filling up gaps as well as I could, and out of the rest (as well as from the Dean's published works) to construct brief notes on the Text which we had to publish.

This report was sent to Dr. Scrivener, Dean Goulburn, Sir Edward Maunde Thompson, and other distinguished scholars, and the unanimous opinion was expressed that the third of these plans should be adopted.

Not liking to encounter

Tot et tanta negotia solus,

I invited at the opening of 1890 the Rev. G. H. Gwilliam, Fellow of Hertford College, and the Rev. Dr. Waller, Principal of St. John's Hall, Highbury—a man of mathematical accuracy—to read over at my house the first draft of a large portion of Volume I. To my loss, Dr. Waller has been too busy since that time to afford me any help, except what may be found in his valuable [pg viii] comparison of the texts of the Peshitto and Curetonian printed in Appendix VI: but Mr. Gwilliam has been ready with advice and help all along which have been of the greatest advantage to me especially on the Syriac part of the subject, and has looked through all the first proofs of this volume.

It was afterwards forced upon my mind that if possible the Indexes to the Fathers ought to be included in the work. Indeed no book could adequately represent Dean Burgon's labours which did not include his apparatus criticus in that province of Textual Criticism, in which he has shewn himself so facile princeps, that no one in England, or Germany, or elsewhere, has been as yet able to come near him. With Sir E. Maunde Thompson's kind help, I have been able to get the part of the Indexes which relates to the Gospels copied in type-writing, and they will be published in course of time, God willing, if the learned world evinces sufficient interest in the publication of them.

Unfortunately, when in 1890 I had completed a first arrangement of Volume II, my health gave way; and after vainly endeavouring for a year to combine this severe toil with the conduct of a living, I resigned the latter, and moved into Oxford to devote myself exclusively to the important work of turning the unpublished results of the skilful faithfulness and the indefatigable learning of that “grand scholar”—to use Dr. Scrivener's phrase—towards the settlement of the principles that should regulate the ascertainment of the Divine Words constituting the New Testament.

[pg ix]

The difficulty to be surmounted lay in the fact that after all was gathered out of the Dean's remains that was suitable for the purpose, and when gaps of smaller or greater size were filled, as has been done throughout the series of unfinished and unconnected MSS., there was still a large space to cover without the Master's help in covering it.

Time and research and thought were alike necessary. Consequently, upon advice, I accepted an offer to edit the fourth edition of Scrivener's Plain Introduction, and although that extremely laborious accomplishment occupied far more time than was anticipated, yet in the event it has greatly helped the execution of my task. Never yet, before or since Dean Burgon's death, has there been such an opportunity as the present. The general apparatus criticus has been vastly increased; the field of palaeography has been greatly enlarged through the discoveries in Egypt; and there is a feeling abroad that we are on the brink of an improvement in systems and theories recently in vogue.

On returning to the work, I found that the key to the removal of the chief difficulty in the way of such improvement lay in an inflow of light upon what may perhaps be termed as to this subject the Pre-manuscriptal Period,—hitherto the dark age of Sacred Textualism, which precedes what was once “the year one” of Palaeography. Accordingly, I made a toilsome examination for myself of the quotations occurring in the writings of the Fathers before St. Chrysostom, or as I defined them in order to draw a self-acting line, of those who died before 400 a.d., with the result that the Traditional [pg x] Text is found to stand in the general proportion of 3:2 against other variations, and in a much higher proportion upon thirty test passages. Afterwards, not being satisfied with resting the basis of my argument upon one scrutiny, I went again through the writings of the seventy-six Fathers concerned (with limitations explained in this book), besides others who yielded no evidence, and I found that although several more instances were consequently entered in my note-book, the general results remained almost the same. I do not flatter myself that even now I have recorded all the instances that could be adduced:—any one who is really acquainted with this work will know that such a feat is absolutely impossible, because such perfection cannot be obtained except after many repeated efforts. But I claim, not only that my attempts have been honest and fair even to self-abnegation, but that the general results which are much more than is required by my argument, as is explained in the body of this work, abundantly establish the antiquity of the Traditional Text, by proving the superior acceptance of it during the period at stake to that of any other.

Indeed, these examinations have seemed to me, not only to carry back the Traditional Text satisfactorily to the first age, but to lead also to solutions of several difficult problems, which are now presented to our readers. The wealth of MSS. to which the Fathers introduce us at second-hand can only be understood by those who may go through the writings of many of them with this view; and outnumbers over and over again before [pg xi] the year 1000 all the contemporaneous Greek MSS. which have come down to us, not to speak of the years to which no MSS. that are now extant are in the opinion of all experts found to belong.

It is due both to Dean Burgon and to myself to say that we came together after having worked on independent lines, though I am bound to acknowledge my great debt to his writings. At first we did not agree thoroughly in opinion, but I found afterwards that he was right and I was wrong. It is a proof of the unifying power of our principles, that as to our system there is now absolutely no difference between us, though on minor points, generally outside of this immediate subject, we do not always exactly concur. Though I have the Dean's example for altering his writings largely even when they were in type, as he never failed to do, yet in loyalty I have delayed alterations as long as I could, and have only made them when I was certain that I was introducing some improvement, and more often than not upon advice proffered to me by others.

Our coincidence is perhaps explained by our having been born when Evangelical earnestness affected all religious life, by our having been trained under the High Church movement, and at least in my case mellowed under the more moderate widening caused by influences which prevailed in Oxford for some years after 1848. Certainly, the comprehensiveness and exhaustiveness—probably in imitation of German method—which had before characterized Dr. Pusey's treatment of any subject, and found an exemplification in Professor Freeman's [pg xii] historical researches, and which was as I think to be seen in the action of the best spirits of the Oxford of 1848-56—to quote my own experience,—lay at the root and constituted the life of Burgon's system, and the maintenance of these principles so far as we could at whatever cost formed the link between us. To cast away at least nineteen-twentieths of the evidence on points and to draw conclusions from the petty remainder, seems to us to be necessarily not less even than a crime and a sin, not only by reason of the sacrilegious destructiveness exercised thereby upon Holy Writ, but also because such a method is inconsistent with conscientious exhaustiveness and logical method. Perfectly familiar with all that can be and is advanced in favour of such procedure, must we not say that hardly any worse pattern than this in investigations and conclusions could be presented before young men at the critical time when they are entering upon habits of forming judgements which are to carry them through life? Has the over-specialism which has been in vogue of late years promoted the acceptance of the theory before us, because it may have been under specializing influences forgotten, that the really accomplished man should aim at knowing something of everything else as well as knowing everything of the thing to which he is devoted, since narrowness in investigation and neglect of all but a favourite theory is likely to result from so exclusive an attitude?

The importance of the question at stake is often underrated. Dr. Philip Schaff in his well-known [pg xiii] “Companion” (p. 176),—as Dr. E. Nestle of Ulm in one of his brochures (“Ein ceterum censeo zur neutestamentlichen Textkritik”) which he has kindly sent me, has pointed out,—observes that whereas Mill reckoned the variations to amount to 30,000, and Scrivener supposed that they have since increased to four times as much, they “cannot now fall much short of 150,000.” This amount is appalling, and most of them are of a petty character. But some involve highly important passages, and even Hort has reckoned (Introduction, p. 2) that the disputed instances reach about one-eighth of the whole. Is it too strong therefore to say, that we live over a volcano, with a crust of earth of not too great a thickness lying between?

The first half of our case is now presented in this Volume, which is a complete treatise in itself. A second will I hope follow at an early date, containing a disquisition on the Causes of the Corruption of the Traditional Text; and, I am glad to say, will consist almost exclusively of Dean Burgon's own compositions. I ask from Critics who may not assent to all our conclusions a candid consideration of our case, which is rested solely upon argument and reason throughout. This explanation made by the Dean of his system in calmer times and in a more didactic form cannot, as I think, fail to remove much prejudice. If we seem at first sight anywhere to leap from reasoning to dogmatism, our readers will discover, I believe, upon renewed observation that at least from our point of view that is not so. If we appear to speak too positively, we have done this, [pg xiv] not from confidence in any private judgement, but because we are sure, at least in our own minds, that we express the verdict of all the ages and all the countries.

May the great Head of the Church bless our effort on behalf of the integrity of His Holy Word, if not according to our plan and purpose, yet in the way that seemeth Him best!

Edward Miller.

9 Bradmore Road, Oxford:

Epiphany 1896.

[pg 001]

Introduction.

A few remarks at the outset of this treatise, which was left imperfect by Dean Burgon at his unexpected death, may make the object and scope of it more intelligible to many readers.

Textual Criticism of the New Testament is a close inquiry into what is the genuine Greek—the true text of the Holy Gospels, of the Acts of the Apostles, of the Pauline and Apostolic Epistles, and the Revelation. Inasmuch as it concerns the text alone, it is confined to the Lower Criticism according to German nomenclature, just as a critical examination of meaning, with all its attendant references and connexions, would constitute the Higher Criticism. It is thus the necessary prelude of any scientific investigation of the language, the purport, and the teaching of the various books of the New Testament, and ought itself to be conducted upon definite and scientific principles. The object of this treatise is to lead to a general settlement of those principles. For this purpose the Dean has stripped the discussion of all adventitious disguise, and has pursued it lucidly into manifold details, in order that no [pg 002] employment of difficult terms or involved sentences may shed any mystification over the questions discussed, and that all intelligent people who are interested in such questions—and who is not?—may understand the issues and the proofs of them.

In the very earliest times much variation in the text of the New Testament, and particularly of the Holy Gospels—for we shall treat mainly of these four books as constituting the most important province, and as affording a smaller area, and so being more convenient for the present inquiry:—much diversity in words and expression, I say, arose in the Church. In consequence, the school of scientific Theology at Alexandria, in the person of Origen, first found it necessary to take cognizance of the matter. When Origen moved to Caesarea, he carried his manuscripts with him, and they appear to have formed the foundation of the celebrated library in that city, which was afterwards amplified by Pamphilus and Eusebius, and also by Acacius and Euzoius1, who were all successively bishops of the place. During the life of Eusebius, if not under his controlling care, the two oldest Uncial Manuscripts in existence as hitherto discovered, known as B and א, or the Vatican and Sinaitic, were executed in handsome form and exquisite calligraphy. But shortly after, about the middle of the fourth century—as both schools of Textual Critics agree—a text differing from that of B and א advanced in general acceptance; and, increasing till the eighth century in the predominance won by the end of the fourth, became so prevalent in Christendom, that the small number of MSS. agreeing with B and א forms no sort of comparison with the many which vary from those two. Thus the problem of the fourth century anticipated the problem of the nineteenth. [pg 003] Are we for the genuine text of the New Testament to go to the Vatican and the Sinaitic MSS. and the few others which mainly agree with them, or are we to follow the main body of New Testament MSS., which by the end of the century in which those two were produced entered into possession of the field of contention, and have continued in occupation of it ever since? This is the problem which the following treatise is intended to solve, that is to say, which of these two texts or sets of readings is the better attested, and can be traced back through the stronger evidence to the original autographs.

A few words are now needed to describe and account for the present position of the controversy.

After the discovery of printing in Europe, Textual Criticism began to rise again. The career of it may be divided into four stages, which may be termed respectively, Infancy, Childhood, Youth, and Incipient Maturity2.

I. Erasmus in 1516 edited the New Testament from a very small number of manuscripts, probably only five, in repute at the time; and six years afterwards appeared the Complutensian edition under Cardinal Ximenes, which had been printed two years before that of Erasmus. Robert Stephen, Theodore Beza, and the Elzevirs, also, as is well known, published editions of their own. In the latter edition of the Elzevirs, issued in 1633, occurred for the first time the widely-used expression “Textus Receptus.” The sole object in this period was to adhere faithfully to the text received everywhere.

II. In the next, evidence from Manuscripts, Versions, and Fathers was collected, chiefly by Mill and Wetstein. Bentley thought of going back to the fourth century for decisive evidence. Bengel and Griesbach laid stress upon families and recensions of manuscripts, and led the way in departing [pg 004] from the received standard. Collation of manuscripts was carried on by these two critics and by other able scholars, and largely by Scholz. There was thus an amplification of materials, and a crop of theories. Much that was vague and elemental was intermingled with a promise of a great deal that would prove more satisfactory in the future.

III. The leader in the next advance was Lachmann, who began to discard the readings of the Received Text, supposing it to be only two centuries old. Authorities having already become inconveniently multitudinous, he limited his attention to the few which agreed with the oldest Uncials, namely, L or the Regius at Paris, one or two other fragments of Uncials, a few Cursives, the Old Latin Manuscripts, and a few of the oldest Fathers, making up generally some six or seven in all upon each separate reading. Tischendorf, the discoverer of א, the twin-sister of B, and the collator of a large number of MSS.3, followed him in the main, as did also Tregelles. And Dr. Hort, who, with Bishop Westcott, began to theorize and work when Lachmann's influence was at the highest, in a most ingenious and elaborate Introduction maintained the cause of the two oldest Uncials—especially B—and their small band of followers. Admitting that the Received Text dates back as far as the middle of the fourth century, Hort argued that it was divided by more than two centuries and a half from the original Autographs, and in fact took its rise at Antioch and should be called “Syrian,” notwithstanding the predominance which he acknowledged that it has enjoyed since the end of the fourth century. He termed the readings of which B and א are the chief exponents “the Neutral Text,” and held that that text can be traced back to the genuine Autographs4.

[pg 005]

IV. I have placed the tenets of the opposite school last as exhibiting signs of Incipient Maturity in the Science, not because they are admitted to be so, that being not the case, but because of their intrinsic merits, which will be unfolded in this volume, and because of the immense addition recently made of authorities to our store, as well as on account of the indirect influence exercised of late by discoveries pursued in other quarters5. Indeed, it is sought to establish a wider stock of ruling authorities, and a sounder method in the use of them. The leaders in the advocacy of this system have been Dr. Scrivener in a modified degree, and especially Dean Burgon. First, be it understood, that we do not advocate perfection in the Textus Receptus. We allow that here and there it requires revision. In the Text left behind by Dean Burgon6, about 150 corrections have been suggested by him in St. Matthew's Gospel alone. What we maintain is the Traditional Text. And we trace it back to the earliest ages of which there is any record. We trust to the fullest testimony and the most enlightened view of all the evidence. In humble dependence upon God the Holy Ghost, Who we hold has multiplied witnesses all down the ages of the Church, and Whose cause we believe we plead, we solemnly call upon those many students of the Bible in these days who are earnest after truth to weigh without prejudice what we say, in the prayer that it may contribute something towards the ascertainment of the true expressions employed in the genuine Word of God.

[pg 006]

Chapter I. Preliminary Grounds.

§ 1.

In the ensuing pages I propose to discuss a problem of the highest dignity and importance7: namely, On what principles the true text of the New Testament Scriptures is to be ascertained? My subject is the Greek text of those Scriptures, particularly of the four Gospels; my object, the establishment of that text on an intelligible and trustworthy basis.

That no fixed principles were known to exist before 1880 is proved by the fact that the most famous critics not only differed considerably from one another, but also from themselves. Till then all was empiricism in this department. A section, a chapter, an article, a pamphlet, a tentative essay—all these indeed from time to time appeared: and some were excellent of their kind. But we require something a vast deal more methodical, argumentative, and [pg 007] complete, than is compatible with such narrow limits. Even where an account of the facts was extended to greater length and was given with much fullness and accuracy, there was an absence of scientific principle sufficient to guide students to a satisfactory and sound determination of difficult questions. Tischendorf's last two editions differ from one another in no less than 3,572 particulars. He reverses in every page in 1872 what in 1859 he offered as the result of his deliberate judgement. Every one, to speak plainly, whether an expert or a mere beginner, seemed to consider himself competent to pass sentence on any fresh reading which is presented to his notice. We were informed that “according to all principles of sound criticism” this word is to be retained, that to be rejected: but till the appearance of the dissertation of Dr. Hort no one was so obliging as to tell us what the principles are to which reference is confidently made, and by the loyal application of which we might have arrived at the same result for ourselves. And Hort's theory, as will be shewn further on, involves too much violation of principles generally received, and is too devoid of anything like proof, ever to win universal acceptance. As matters of fact easily verified, it stands in sharp antagonism to the judgement passed by the Church all down the ages, and in many respects does not accord with the teaching of the most celebrated critics of the century who preceded him.

I trust I shall be forgiven, if in the prosecution of the present inquiry I venture to step out of the beaten track, and to lead my reader forward in a somewhat humbler style than has been customary with my predecessors. Whenever they have entered upon the consideration of principles, they have always begun by laying down on their own authority a set of propositions, some of which so far from being axiomatic are repugnant to our judgement and are found as they stand to be even false. True [pg 008] that I also shall have to begin by claiming assent to a few fundamental positions: but then I venture to promise that these shall all be self-evident. I am very much mistaken if they do not also conduct us to results differing greatly from those which have been recently in favour with many of the most forward writers and teachers.

Beyond all things I claim at every thoughtful reader's hands that he will endeavour to approach this subject in an impartial frame of mind. To expect that he will succeed in divesting himself of all preconceived notions as to what is likely, what not, were unreasonable. But he is invited at least to wear his prejudices as loose about him as he can; to be prepared to cast them off if at any time he has been shewn that they are founded on misapprehension; to resolve on taking nothing for granted which admits of being proved to be either true or false. And, to meet an objection which is sure to be urged against me, by proof of course I do but mean the nearest approach to demonstration, which in the present subject-matter is attainable.

Thus, I request that, apart from proof of some sort, it shall not be taken for granted that a copy of the New Testament written in the fourth or fifth century will exhibit a more trustworthy text than one written in the eleventh or twelfth. That indeed of two ancient documents the more ancient might not unreasonably have been expected to prove the more trustworthy, I am not concerned to dispute, and will not here discuss such a question; but the probabilities of the case at all events are not axiomatic. Nay, it will be found, as I am bold enough to say, that in many instances a fourteenth-century copy of the Gospels may exhibit the truth of Scripture, while the fourth-century copy in all these instances proves to be the depositary of a fabricated text. I have only to request that, until the subject has been fully investigated, men will suspend their [pg 009] judgement on this head: taking nothing for granted which admits of proof, and regarding nothing as certainly either true or false which has not been shewn to be so.

§ 2.

That which distinguishes Sacred Science from every other Science which can be named is that it is Divine, and has to do with a Book which is inspired; that is, whose true Author is God. For we assume that the Bible is to be taken as inspired, and not regarded upon a level with the Books of the East, which are held by their votaries to be sacred. It is chiefly from inattention to this circumstance that misconception prevails in that department of Sacred Science known as “Textual Criticism.” Aware that the New Testament is like no other book in its origin, its contents, its history, many critics of the present day nevertheless permit themselves to reason concerning its Text, as if they entertained no suspicion that the words and sentences of which it is composed were destined to experience an extraordinary fate also. They make no allowances for the fact that influences of an entirely different kind from any with which profane literature is acquainted have made themselves felt in this department, and therefore that even those principles of Textual Criticism which in the case of profane authors are regarded as fundamental are often out of place here.

It is impossible that all this can be too clearly apprehended. In fact, until those who make the words of the New Testament their study are convinced that they move in a region like no other, where unique phenomena await them at every step, and where seventeen hundred and fifty years ago depraving causes unknown in every other department of learning were actively at work, progress cannot really be made in the present discussion. Men must by all means disabuse their minds of the prejudices [pg 010] which the study of profane literature inspires. Let me explain this matter a little more particularly, and establish the reasonableness of what has gone before by a few plain considerations which must, I think, win assent. I am not about to offer opinions, but only to appeal to certain undeniable facts. What I deprecate, is not any discriminating use of reverent criticism, but a clumsy confusion of points essentially different.

No sooner was the work of Evangelists and Apostles recognized as the necessary counterpart and complement of God's ancient Scriptures and became the “New Testament,” than a reception was found to be awaiting it in the world closely resembling that which He experienced Who is the subject of its pages. Calumny and misrepresentation, persecution and murderous hate, assailed Him continually. And the Written Word in like manner, in the earliest age of all, was shamefully handled by mankind. Not only was it confused through human infirmity and misapprehension, but it became also the object of restless malice and unsparing assaults. Marcion, Valentinus, Basilides, Heracleon, Menander, Asclepiades, Theodotus, Hermophilus, Apollonides, and other heretics, adapted the Gospels to their own ideas. Tatian, and later on Ammonius, created confusion through attempts to combine the four Gospels either in a diatessaron or upon an intricate arrangement made by sections, under which as a further result the words of one Gospel became assimilated to those of another8. Want of familiarity with the sacred words in the first ages, carelessness of scribes, incompetent teaching, and ignorance of Greek in the West, led to further corruption of the Sacred Text. Then out of the fact that there existed a vast number of corrupt copies arose at once the need of Recension, which was carried on by Origen and his school. This was a fatal [pg 011] necessity to have made itself felt in an age when the first principles of the Science were not understood; for “to correct” was too often in those days another word for “to corrupt.” And this is the first thing to be briefly explained and enforced: but more than a counterbalance was provided under the overruling Providence of God.

§ 3.

Before our Lord ascended up to Heaven, He told His disciples that He would send them the Holy Ghost, Who should supply His place and abide with His Church for ever. He added a promise that it should be the office of that inspiring Spirit not only “to bring to their remembrance all things whatsoever He had told them9,” but also to “guide” His Church “into all the Truth,” or, “the whole Truth10 (πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν). Accordingly, the earliest great achievement of those days was accomplished on giving to the Church the Scriptures of the New Testament, in which authorized teaching was enshrined in written form. And first, out of those many Gospels which incompetent persons had “taken in hand” to write or to compile out of much floating matter of an oral or written nature, He guided them to discern that four were wholly unlike the rest—were the very Word of God.

There exists no reason for supposing that the Divine Agent, who in the first instance thus gave to mankind the Scriptures of Truth, straightway abdicated His office; took no further care of His work; abandoned those precious writings to their fate. That a perpetual miracle was wrought for their preservation—that copyists were protected against the risk of error, or evil men prevented from adulterating shamefully copies of the Deposit—no one, it is presumed, is so weak as to suppose. But it is quite a different thing to claim that all down the ages the sacred [pg 012] writings must needs have been God's peculiar care; that the Church under Him has watched over them with intelligence and skill; has recognized which copies exhibit a fabricated, which an honestly transcribed text; has generally sanctioned the one, and generally disallowed the other. I am utterly disinclined to believe—so grossly improbable does it seem—that at the end of 1800 years 995 copies out of every thousand, suppose, will prove untrustworthy; and that the one, two, three, four or five which remain, whose contents were till yesterday as good as unknown, will be found to have retained the secret of what the Holy Spirit originally inspired. I am utterly unable to believe, in short, that God's promise has so entirely failed, that at the end of 1800 years much of the text of the Gospel had in point of fact to be picked by a German critic out of a waste-paper basket in the convent of St. Catherine; and that the entire text had to be remodelled after the pattern set by a couple of copies which had remained in neglect during fifteen centuries, and had probably owed their survival to that neglect; whilst hundreds of others had been thumbed to pieces, and had bequeathed their witness to copies made from them.

I have addressed what goes before to persons who sympathize with me in my belief. To others the argument would require to be put in a different way. Let it then be remembered, that a wealth of copies existed in early times; that the need of zealous care of the Holy Scriptures was always felt in the Church; that it is only from the Church that we have learnt which are the books of the Bible and which are not; that in the age in which the Canon was settled, and which is presumed by many critics to have introduced a corrupted text, most of the intellect of the Roman Empire was found within the Church, and was directed upon disputed questions; that in the succeeding ages the art of transcribing was brought [pg 013] to a high pitch of perfection; and that the verdict of all the several periods since the production of those two manuscripts has been given till a few years ago in favour of the Text which has been handed down:—let it be further borne in mind that the testimony is not only that of all the ages, but of all the countries: and at the very least so strong a presumption will ensue on behalf of the Traditional Text, that a powerful case indeed must be constructed to upset it. It cannot be vanquished by theories grounded upon internal considerations—often only another name for personal tastes—, or for scholarly likes or dislikes, or upon fictitious recensions, or upon any arbitrary choice of favourite manuscripts, or upon a strained division of authorities into families or groups, or upon a warped application of the principle of genealogy. In the ascertainment of the facts of the Sacred Text, the laws of evidence must be strictly followed. In questions relating to the inspired Word, mere speculation and unreason have no place. In short, the Traditional Text, founded upon the vast majority of authorities and upon the Rock of Christ's Church, will, if I mistake not, be found upon examination to be out of all comparison superior to a text of the nineteenth century, whatever skill and ingenuity may have been expended upon the production or the defence of it.

§ 4.

For due attention has never yet been paid to a circumstance which, rightly apprehended, will be found to go a great way towards establishing the text of the New Testament Scriptures on a solid basis. I refer to the fact that a certain exhibition of the Sacred Text—that exhibition of it with which we are all most familiar—rests on ecclesiastical authority. Speaking generally, the Traditional Text of the New Testament Scriptures, equally with the New Testament Canon, rests on the authority of the Church [pg 014] Catholic. “Whether we like it, or dislike it” (remarked a learned writer in the first quarter of the nineteenth century), “the present New Testament Canon is neither more nor less than the probat of the orthodox Christian bishops, and those not only of the first and second, but of the third and fourth, and even subsequent centuries11.” In like manner, whether men would or would not have it so, it is a plain fact that the Traditional Greek Text of the New Testament is neither more nor less than the probat of the orthodox Greek Christian bishops, and those, if not as we maintain of the first and second, or the third, yet unquestionably of the fourth and fifth, and even subsequent centuries.

For happily, the matter of fact here is a point on which the disciples of the most advanced of the modern school are entirely at one with us. Dr. Hort declares that “The fundamental text of late extant Greek MSS. generally is, beyond all question, identical with the dominant Antiochian or Graeco-Syrian text of the second half of the fourth century.... The bulk of extant MSS. written from about three or four to ten or eleven centuries later must have had in the greater number of extant variations a common original either contemporary with, or older than, our oldest MSS.12 And again, “Before the close of the fourth century, as we have said, a Greek text, not materially differing from the almost universal text of the ninth century and the Middle Ages, was dominant, probably by authority, at Antioch, and exercised much influence elsewhere13.” The mention of “Antioch” is, characteristically of the writer, purely arbitrary. One and the same Traditional Text, except in comparatively few particulars, has prevailed in the Church from the beginning till now. Especially deserving of attention is the admission that the Text in [pg 015] question is of the fourth century, to which same century the two oldest of our Sacred Codexes (B and א) belong. There is observed to exist in Church Lectionaries precisely the same phenomenon. They have prevailed in unintermitted agreement in other respects from very early times, probably from the days of St. Chrysostom14, and have kept in the main without change the form of words in which they were originally cast in the unchangeable East.

And really the problem comes before us (God be praised!) in a singularly convenient, a singularly intelligible form. Since the sixteenth century—we owe this also to the good Providence of God—one and the same text of the New Testament Scriptures has been generally received. I am not defending the “Textus Receptus”; I am simply stating the fact of its existence. That it is without authority to bind, nay, that it calls for skilful revision in every part, is freely admitted. I do not believe it to be absolutely identical with the true Traditional Text. Its existence, nevertheless, is a fact from which there is no escaping. Happily, Western Christendom has been content to employ one and the same text for upwards of three hundred years. If the objection be made, as it probably will be, “Do you then mean to rest upon the five manuscripts used by Erasmus?” I reply, that the copies employed were selected because they were known to represent with accuracy the Sacred Word; that the descent of the text was evidently guarded with jealous care, just as the human genealogy of our Lord was preserved; that it rests mainly upon much the widest testimony; and that where any part of it conflicts with the fullest evidence attainable, there I believe that it calls for correction.

The question therefore which presents itself, and must needs be answered in the affirmative before a single syllable of the actual text is displaced, will always be one [pg 016] and the same, viz. this: Is it certain that the evidence in favour of the proposed new reading is sufficient to warrant the innovation? For I trust we shall all be agreed that in the absence of an affirmative answer to this question, the text may on no account be disturbed. Rightly or wrongly it has had the approval of Western Christendom for three centuries, and is at this hour in possession of the field. Therefore the business before us might be stated somewhat as follows: What considerations ought to determine our acceptance of any reading not found in the Received Text, or, to state it more generally and fundamentally, our preference of one reading before another? For until some sort of understanding has been arrived at on this head, progress is impossible. There can be no Science of Textual Criticism, I repeat—and therefore no security for the inspired Word—so long as the subjective judgement, which may easily degenerate into individual caprice, is allowed ever to determine which readings shall be rejected, which retained.

In the next chapter I shall discuss the principles which must form the groundwork of the Science. Meanwhile a few words are necessary to explain the issue lying between myself and those critics with whom I am unable to agree. I must, if I can, come to some understanding with them; and I shall use all clearness of speech in order that my meaning and my position may be thoroughly apprehended.

§ 5.

Strange as it may appear, it is undeniably true, that the whole of the controversy may be reduced to the following narrow issue: Does the truth of the Text of Scripture dwell with the vast multitude of copies, uncial and cursive, concerning which nothing is more remarkable than the marvellous agreement which subsists between them? Or is it rather to be supposed that the truth abides exclusively [pg 017] with a very little handful of manuscripts, which at once differ from the great bulk of the witnesses, and—strange to say—also amongst themselves?

The advocates of the Traditional Text urge that the Consent without Concert of so many hundreds of copies, executed by different persons, at diverse times, in widely sundered regions of the Church, is a presumptive proof of their trustworthiness, which nothing can invalidate but some sort of demonstration that they are untrustworthy guides after all.

The advocates of the old uncials—for it is the text exhibited by one or more of five Uncial Codexes known as ABאCD which is set up with so much confidence—are observed to claim that the truth must needs reside exclusively with the objects of their choice. They seem to base their claim on “antiquity”; but the real confidence of many of them lies evidently in a claim to subtle divination, which enables them to recognize a true reading or the true text when they see it. Strange, that it does not seem to have struck such critics that they assume the very thing which has to be proved. Be this as it may, as a matter of fact, readings exclusively found in Cod. B, or Cod. א, or Cod. D are sometimes adopted as correct. Neither Cod. A nor Cod. C are ever known to inspire similar confidence. But the accession of both or either as a witness is always acceptable. Now it is remarkable that all the five Codexes just mentioned are never found, unless I am mistaken, exclusively in accord.

This question will be more fully discussed in the following treatise. Here it is only necessary further to insist upon the fact that, generally speaking, compromise upon these issues is impossible. Most people in these days are inclined to remark about any controversy that the truth resides between the two combatants, and most of us would like to meet our opponents half-way. The present [pg 018] contention unfortunately does not admit of such a decision. Real acquaintance with the numerous points at stake must reveal the impossibility of effecting a settlement like that. It depends, not upon the attitude, or the temper, or the intellects of the opposing parties: but upon the stern and incongruous elements of the subject-matter of the struggle. Much as we may regret it, there is positively no other solution.

Indeed there exist but two rival schools of Textual Criticism. And these are irreconcilably opposed. In the end, one of them will have to give way: and, vae victis! unconditional surrender will be its only resource. When one has been admitted to be the right, there can no place be found for the other. It will have to be dismissed from attention as a thing utterly, hopelessly in the wrong15.

[pg 019]

Chapter II. Principles.

§ 1.

The object of Textual Criticism, when applied to the Scriptures of the New Testament, is to determine what the Apostles and Evangelists of Christ actually wrote—the precise words they employed, and the very order of them. It is therefore one of the most important subjects which can be proposed for examination; and unless handled unskilfully, ought to prove by no means wanting in living interest. Moreover, it clearly takes precedence, in synthetical order of thought, of every other department of Sacred Science, so far as that rests upon the great pillar of Holy Scripture.

Now Textual Criticism occupies itself chiefly with two distinct branches of inquiry. (1) Its first object is to collect, investigate, and arrange the evidence supplied by Manuscripts, Versions, Fathers. And this is an inglorious task, which demands prodigious labour, severe accuracy, unflagging attention, and can never be successfully conducted without a considerable amount of solid learning. (2) Its second object is to draw critical inferences; in other words, to discover the truth of the text—the genuine words of Holy Writ. And this is altogether a loftier function, and calls for the exercise of far higher gifts. Nothing can be successfully accomplished here without large and exact knowledge, freedom from bias and prejudice. Above all, there must be a clear and judicial understanding. The [pg 020] logical faculty in perfection must energize continually: or the result can only be mistakes, which may easily prove calamitous.

My next step is to declare what has been hitherto effected in either of these departments, and to characterize the results. In the first-named branch of the subject, till recently very little has been attempted: but that little has been exceedingly well done. Many more results have been added in the last thirteen years: a vast amount of additional evidence has been discovered, but only a small portion of it has been thoroughly examined and collated. In the latter branch, a great deal has been attempted: but the result proves to be full of disappointment to those who augured much from it. The critics of this century have been in too great a hurry. They have rushed to conclusions, trusting to the evidence which was already in their hands, forgetting that only those conclusions can be scientifically sound which are drawn from all the materials that exist. Research of a wider kind ought to have preceded decision. Let me explain and establish what I have been saying.

§ 2.

It was only to have been anticipated that the Author of the Everlasting Gospel—that masterpiece of Divine Wisdom, that miracle of superhuman skill—would shew Himself supremely careful for the protection and preservation of His own chiefest work. Every fresh discovery of the beauty and preciousness of the Deposit in its essential structure does but serve to deepen the conviction that a marvellous provision must needs have been made in God's eternal counsels for the effectual conservation of the inspired Text.

Yet it is not too much to assert that nothing which man's inventive skill could have devised nearly comes up [pg 021] to the actual truth of the matter. Let us take a slight but comprehensive view of what is found upon investigation, as I hold, to have been the Divine method in respect of the New Testament Scriptures.

I. From the very necessity of the case, copies of the Gospels and Epistles in the original Greek were multiplied to an extraordinary extent all down the ages and in every part of the Christian Church. The result has been that, although all the earliest have perished, there remains to this day a prodigious number of such transcripts; some of them of very high antiquity. On examining these with care, we discover that they must needs have been (a) produced in different countries, (b) executed at intervals during the space of one thousand years, (c) copied from originals no longer in existence. And thus a body of evidence has been accumulated as to what is the actual text of Scripture, such as is wholly unapproachable with respect to any other writings in the world16. More than two thousand manuscript copies are now (1888) known to exist17.

[pg 022]

It should be added that the practice of reading Scripture aloud before the congregation—a practice which is observed to have prevailed from the Apostolic age—has resulted in the increased security of the Deposit: for (1) it has led to the multiplication, by authority, of books containing the Church Lessons; and (2) it has secured a living witness to the ipsissima verba of the Spirit—in all the Churches of Christendom. The ear once thoroughly familiarized with the words of Scripture is observed to resent the slightest departure from the established type. As for its tolerating important changes, that is plainly out of the question.

II. Next, as the Gospel spread from land to land, it became translated into the several languages of the ancient world. For, though Greek was widely understood, the commerce and the intellectual predominance of the Greeks, and the conquests of Alexander having caused it to be spoken nearly all over the Roman Empire, Syriac and Latin Versions were also required for ordinary reading, probably even in the very age of the Apostles. And thus those three languages in which “the title of His accusation” was written above His cross—not to insist upon any absolute identity between the Syriac of the time with the then “Hebrew” of Jerusalem—became from the earliest time the depositaries of the Gospel of the World's Redeemer. Syriac was closely related to the vernacular Aramaic of Palestine and was spoken in the adjoining region: whilst Latin was the familiar idiom of all the Churches of the West.

Thus from the first in their public assemblies, orientals [pg 023] and occidentals alike habitually read aloud the writings of the Evangelists and Apostles. Before the fourth and fifth centuries the Gospel had been further translated into the peculiar idioms of Lower and Upper Egypt, in what are now called the Bohairic and the Sahidic Versions,—of Ethiopia and of Armenia,—of Gothland. The text thus embalmed in so many fresh languages was clearly, to a great extent, protected against the risk of further change; and these several translations remain to this day as witnesses of what was found in copies of the New Testament which have long since perished.

III. But the most singular provision for preserving the memory of what was anciently read as inspired Scriptures remains to be described. Sacred Science boasts of a literature without a parallel in any other department of human knowledge. The Fathers of the Church, the Bishops and Doctors of primitive Christendom, were in some instances voluminous writers, whose works have largely come down to our times. These men often comment upon, freely quote, habitually refer to, the words of Inspiration: whereby it comes to pass that a host of unsuspected witnesses to the truth of Scripture are sometimes producible. The quotations of passages by the Fathers are proofs of the readings which they found in the copies used by them. They thus testify in ordinary quotations, though it be at second hand: and sometimes their testimony has more than usual value when they argue or comment upon the passage in question. Indeed, very often the manuscripts in their hands, which so far live in their quotations, are older—perhaps centuries older—than any copies that now survive. In this way, it will be perceived that a three-fold security has been provided for the integrity of the Deposit:—Copies,—Versions,—Fathers. On the relation of each of which heads to one another something particular has now to be delivered.

[pg 024]

§ 3.

Manuscript copies are commonly divided into Uncial, i.e. those which are written in capital letters, and Cursive or “minuscule,” i.e. those which are written in “running” or small hand. This division though convenient is misleading. The earliest of the “Cursives” are more ancient than the latest of the “Uncials” by full one hundred years18. The later body of the Uncials belongs virtually, as will be proved, to the body of the Cursives. There is no merit, so to speak, in a MS. being written in the uncial character. The number of the Uncials is largely inferior to that of the Cursives, though they usually boast a much higher antiquity. It will be shewn in a subsequent chapter that there is now, in the face of recent discoveries of Papyrus MSS. in Egypt, much reason for inferring that Cursive MSS. were largely derived from MSS. on Papyrus, just as the Uncials themselves were, and that the prevalence for some centuries of Uncials took its rise from the local library of Caesarea. For a full account of these several Codexes, and for many other particulars in Sacred Textual Criticism, the reader is referred to Scrivener's Introduction, 1894.

Now it is not so much an exaggerated, as an utterly mistaken estimate of the importance of the Textual decrees of the five oldest of these Uncial copies, which lies at the root of most of the criticism of the last fifty years. We are constrained in consequence to bestow what will appear to some a disproportionate amount of attention on those five Codexes: viz. the Vatican Codex B, and the Sinaitic Codex א, which are supposed to be both of the fourth century: the Alexandrian Codex A, and the fragmentary Parisian Codex C, which are assigned to the fifth: and lastly D, the Codex Bezae at Cambridge, which is supposed to have been written in the sixth. To these [pg 025] may now be added, as far as St. Matthew and St. Mark are concerned, the Codex Beratinus Φ, and the Rossanensian Codex Σ, both of which are of the early part of the sixth century or end of the fifth. But these two witness generally against the two oldest, and have not yet received as much attention as they deserve. It will be found in the end that we have been guilty of no exaggeration in characterizing B, א, and D at the outset, as three of the most corrupt copies in existence. Let not any one suppose that the age of these five MSS. places them upon a pedestal higher than all others. They can be proved to be wrong time after time by evidence of an earlier period than that which they can boast.

Indeed, that copies of Scripture, as a class, are the most important instruments of Textual Criticism is what no competent person will be found to deny. The chief reasons of this are their continuous text, their designed embodiment of the written Word, their number, and their variety. But we make also such great account of MSS., because (1) they supply unbroken evidence to the text of Scripture from an early date throughout history until the invention of printing; (2) they are observed to be dotted over every century of the Church after the first three; (3) they are the united product of all the patriarchates in Christendom. There can have been no collusion therefore in the preparation of this class of authorities. The risk of erroneous transcription has been reduced to the lowest possible amount. The prevalence of fraud to a universal extent is simply a thing impossible. Conjectural corrections of the text are pretty sure, in the long run, to have become effectually excluded. On the contrary, the testimony of Fathers is fragmentary, undesigned, though often on that account the more valuable, and indeed, as has been already said, is often not to be found; yet occasionally it is very precious, whether from eminent antiquity or the clearness of [pg 026] their verdict: while Versions, though on larger details they yield a most valuable collateral evidence, yet from their nature are incapable of rendering help upon many important points of detail. Indeed, in respect of the ipsissima verba of Scripture, the evidence of Versions in other languages must be precarious in a high degree.

Undeniable it is, that as far as regards Primitiveness, certain of the Versions, and not a few of the Fathers, throw Manuscripts altogether in the shade. We possess no actual copies of the New Testament so old as the Syriac and the Latin Versions by probably more than two hundred years. Something similar is perhaps to be said of the Versions made into the languages of Lower and Upper Egypt, which may be of the third century19. Reasonable also it is to assume that in no instance was an ancient Version executed from a single Greek exemplar: consequently, Versions enjoyed both in their origin and in their acceptance more publicity than of necessity attached to any individual copy. And it is undeniable that on countless occasions the evidence of a translation, on account of the clearness of its testimony, is every bit as satisfactory as that of an actual copy of the Greek.

But I would especially remind my readers of Bentley's golden precept, that “The real text of the sacred writers does not now, since the originals have been so long lost, lie in any MS. or edition, but is dispersed in them all.” This truth, which was evident to the powerful intellect of that great scholar, lies at the root of all sound Textual Criticism. To abide by the verdict of the two, or five, or seven oldest Manuscripts, is at first sight plausible, and is the natural refuge of students who are either superficial, or who wish to make their task as easy and simple as possible. But to put aside inconvenient witnesses is contrary to all principles of justice and of science. The problem is more [pg 027] complex, and is not to be solved so readily. Evidence of a strong and varied character may not with safety be cast away, as if it were worthless.

§ 4.

We are constrained therefore to proceed to the consideration of the vast mass of testimony which lies ready to our hands. And we must just as evidently seek for principles to guide us in the employment of it. For it is the absence of any true chart of the ocean that has led people to steer to any barren island, which under a guise of superior antiquity might at first sight present the delusive appearance of being the only safe and sure harbour.

1. We are all, I trust, agreed at least in this,—That the thing which we are always in search of is the Text of Scripture as it actually proceeded from the inspired writers themselves. It is never, I mean, “ancient readings” which we propose as the ultimate object of our inquiries. It is always the oldest Reading of all which we desire to ascertain; in other words, the original Text, nothing else or less than the very words of the holy Evangelists and Apostles themselves.

And axiomatic as this is, it requires to be clearly laid down. For sometimes critics appear to be engrossed with the one solicitude to establish concerning the readings for which they contend, that at least they must needs be very ancient. Now, since all readings must needs be very ancient which are found in very ancient documents, nothing has really been achieved by proving that such and such readings existed in the second century of our era:—unless it can also be proved that there are certain other attendant circumstances attaching to those readings, which constitute a fair presumption, that they must needs be regarded as the only genuine wording of the passage in question. The Holy Scriptures are not an arena for the exercise or display of the ingenuity of critics.

[pg 028]

2. I trust it may further be laid down as a fundamental principle that of two possible ways of reading the Text, that way which is found on examination to be the better attested and authenticated—by which I mean, the reading which proves on inquiry to be supported by the better evidence—must in every instance be of necessity presumed to be the actual reading, and is to be accepted accordingly by all students.

3. I will venture to make only one more postulate, viz. this: That hitherto we have become acquainted with no single authority which is entitled to dictate absolutely on all occasions, or even on any one occasion, as to what shall or shall not be regarded as the true Text of Scripture. We have here no one infallible witness, I say, whose solitary dictum is competent to settle controversies. The problem now to be investigated, viz. what evidence is to be held to be “the best,” may doubtless be stated in many ways: but I suppose not more fairly than by proposing the following question,—Can any rules be offered whereby in any case of conflicting testimony it may be certainly ascertained which authorities ought to be followed? The court is full of witnesses who contradict one another. How are we to know which of them to believe? Strange to say, the witnesses are commonly, indeed almost invariably, observed to divide themselves into two camps. Are there no rules discoverable by which it may be probably determined with which camp of the two the truth resides?

I proceed to offer for the reader's consideration seven Tests of Truth, concerning each of which I shall have something to say in the way of explanation by-and-by. In the end I shall ask the reader to allow that where these seven tests are found to conspire, we may confidently assume that the evidence is worthy of all acceptance, and is to be implicitly followed. A reading should be attested then by the seven following.

[pg 029]

Notes of Truth.

1. Antiquity, or Primitiveness;
2. Consent of Witnesses, or Number;
3. Variety of Evidence, or Catholicity;
4. Respectability of Witnesses, or Weight;
5. Continuity, or Unbroken Tradition;
6. Evidence of the Entire Passage, or Context;
7. Internal Considerations, or Reasonableness.

§ 5.

The full consideration of these Tests of Truth must be postponed to the next chapter. Meanwhile, three discussions of a more general character demand immediate attention.

I. Antiquity, in and by itself, will be found to avail nothing. A reading is to be adopted not because it is old, but because it is the best attested, and therefore the oldest. There may seem to be paradox on my part: but there is none. I have admitted, and indeed insist upon it, that the oldest reading of all is the very thing we are in search of: for that must of necessity be what proceeded from the pen of the sacred writer himself. But, as a rule, fifty years, more or less, must be assumed to have intervened between the production of the inspired autographs and the earliest written representation of them now extant. And precisely in that first age it was that men evinced themselves least careful or accurate in guarding the Deposit,—least critically exact in their way of quoting it;—whilst the enemy was most restless, most assiduous in procuring its depravation. Strange as it may sound,—distressing as the discovery must needs prove when it is first distinctly realized,—the earliest shreds and scraps—for they are at first no more—that come into our hands as quotations of the text of the New Testament Scriptures are not only disappointing by reason of their inexactness, their fragmentary character, their vagueness; but they are often [pg 030] demonstrably inaccurate. I proceed to give one example out of many.

“My God, My God, wherefore hast thou forsaken me?” μὲ ἐγκατέλιπες; So it is in St. Matt. xxvii. 46: so in St. Mark xv. 34. But because, in the latter place, אB, one Old Latin, the Vulgate, and the Bohairic Versions, besides Eusebius, followed by L and a few cursives, reverse the order of the last two words, the editors are unanimous in doing the same thing. They have yet older authority, however, for what they do. Justin M. (a.d. 164) and the Valentinians (a.d. 150) are with them. As far therefore as antiquity goes, the evidence for reading ἐγκατέλιπές με is really wondrous strong.

And yet the evidence on the other side, when it is considered, is perceived to be overwhelming20. Add the discovery that ἐγκατέλιπές με is the established reading of the familiar Septuagint, and we have no hesitation whatever in retaining the commonly Received Text, because the secret is out. אB were sure to follow the Septuagint, which was so dear to Origen. Further discussion of the point is superfluous.

I shall of course be asked,—Are we then to understand that you condemn the whole body of ancient authorities as untrustworthy? And if you do, to what other authorities would you have us resort?

I answer:—So far from regarding the whole body of ancient authorities as untrustworthy, it is precisely “the whole body of ancient authorities” to which I insist that we must invariably make our appeal, and to which we must eventually defer. I regard them therefore with more than reverence. I submit to their decision unreservedly. Doubtless I refuse to regard any one of those same most ancient manuscripts—or even any two or three [pg 031] of them—as oracular. But why? Because I am able to demonstrate that every one of them singly is in a high degree corrupt, and is condemned upon evidence older than itself. To pin my faith therefore to one, two, or three of those eccentric exemplars, were indeed to insinuate that the whole body of ancient authorities is unworthy of credit.

It is to Antiquity, I repeat, that I make my appeal: and further, I insist that the ascertained verdict of Antiquity shall be accepted. But then, inasmuch as by “Antiquity” I do not even mean any one single ancient authority, however ancient, to the exclusion of, and in preference to, all the rest, but the whole collective body, it is precisely “the body of ancient authorities” which I propose as the arbiters. Thus, I do not mean by “Antiquity” either (1) the Peshitto Syriac: or (2) Cureton's Syriac: or (3) the Old Latin Versions: or (4) the Vulgate: or (5) the Egyptian, or indeed (6) any other of the ancient Versions:—not (7) Origen, nor (8) Eusebius, nor (9) Chrysostom, nor (10) Cyril,—nor indeed (11) any other ancient Father standing alone: neither (12) Cod. A,—nor (13) Cod. B,—nor (14) Cod. C,—nor (15) Cod. D,—nor (16) Cod. א,—nor in fact (17) any other individual Codex that can be named. I should as soon think of confounding the cathedral hard by with one or two of the stones which compose it. By Antiquity I understand the whole body of documents which convey to me the mind of Antiquity,—transport me back to the primitive age, and acquaint me, as far as is now possible, with what was its verdict.

And by parity of reasoning, I altogether decline to accept as decisive the verdict of any two or three of these in defiance of the ascertained authority of all, or a majority of the rest.

In short, I decline to accept a fragment of Antiquity, arbitrarily broken off, in lieu of the entire mass of ancient witnesses. And further than this, I recognize other Notes [pg 032] of Truth, as I have stated already; and I shall prove this position in my next chapter.

§ 6.

II. The term “various readings” conveys an entirely incorrect impression of the grave discrepancies discoverable between a little handful of documents—of which Codexes B-א of the fourth century, D of the sixth, L of the eighth, are the most conspicuous samples—and the Traditional Text of the New Testament. The expression “various readings” belongs to secular literature and refers to phenomena essentially different from those exhibited by the copies just mentioned. Not but what “various readings,” properly so called, are as plentiful in sacred as in profane codexes. One has but to inspect Scrivener's Full and Exact Collation of about Twenty Greek Manuscripts of the Gospels (1853) to be convinced of the fact. But when we study the New Testament by the light of such Codexes as BאDL, we find ourselves in an entirely new region of experience; confronted by phenomena not only unique but even portentous. The text has undergone apparently an habitual, if not systematic, depravation; has been manipulated throughout in a wild way. Influences have been demonstrably at work which altogether perplex the judgement. The result is simply calamitous. There are evidences of persistent mutilation, not only of words and clauses, but of entire sentences. The substitution of one expression for another, and the arbitrary transposition of words, are phenomena of such perpetual occurrence, that it becomes evident at last that what lies before us is not so much an ancient copy, as an ancient recension of the Sacred Text. And yet not by any means a recension in the usual sense of the word as an authoritative revision: but only as the name may be applied to the product of individual inaccuracy or caprice, or tasteless assiduity [pg 033] on the part of one or many, at a particular time or in a long series of years. There are reasons for inferring, that we have alighted on five specimens of what the misguided piety of a primitive age is known to have been fruitful in producing. Of fraud, strictly speaking, there may have been little or none. We should shrink from imputing an evil motive where any matter will bear an honourable interpretation. But, as will be seen later on, these Codexes abound with so much licentiousness or carelessness as to suggest the inference, that they are in fact indebted for their preservation to their hopeless character. Thus it would appear that an evil reputation ensured their neglect in ancient times; and has procured that they should survive to our own, long after multitudes which were much better had perished in the Master's service. Let men think of this matter as they will,—whatever in fact may prove to be the history of that peculiar Text which finds its chief exponents in Codd. BאDL, in some copies of the Old Latin, and in the Curetonian Version, in Origen, and to a lesser extent in the Bohairic and Sahidic Translations,—all must admit, as a matter of fact, that it differs essentially from the Traditional Text, and is no mere variation of it.

But why, it will be asked, may it not be the genuine article? Why may not the “Traditional Text” be the fabrication?

1. The burden of proof, we reply, rests with our opponents. The consent without concert of (suppose) 990 out of 1000 copies,—of every date from the fifth to the fourteenth century, and belonging to every region of ancient Christendom,—is a colossal fact not to be set aside by any amount of ingenuity. A predilection for two fourth-century manuscripts closely resembling one another, yet standing apart in every page so seriously that it is easier to find two consecutive verses in which they differ than two consecutive verses in which they entirely agree:—such [pg 034] a preference, I say, apart from abundant or even definitely clear proof that it is well founded, is surely not entitled to be accepted as conclusive.

2. Next,—Because,—although for convenience we have hitherto spoken of Codexes BאDL as exhibiting a single text,—it is in reality not one text but fragments of many, which are to be met with in the little handful of authorities enumerated above. Their witness does not agree together. The Traditional Text, on the contrary, is unmistakably one.

3. Further,—Because it is extremely improbable, if not impossible, that the Traditional Text was or could have been derived from such a document as the archetype of B-א: whereas the converse operation is at once obvious and easy. There is no difficulty in producing a short text by omission of words, or clauses, or verses, from a fuller text: but the fuller text could not have been produced from the shorter by any development which would be possible under the facts of the case21. Glosses would account for changes in the archetype of B-א, but not conversely22.

4. But the chief reason is,—Because, on making our appeal unreservedly to Antiquity—to Versions and Fathers as well as copies,—the result is unequivocal. The Traditional Text becomes triumphantly established,—the eccentricities of BאD and their colleagues become one and all emphatically condemned.

[pg 035]

All these, in the mean time, are points concerning which something has been said already, and more will have to be said in the sequel. Returning now to the phenomenon adverted to at the outset, we desire to explain that whereas “Various Readings,” properly so called, that is to say, the Readings which possess really strong attestation—for more than nineteen-twentieths of the “Various Readings” commonly quoted are only the vagaries of scribes, and ought not to be called “Readings” at all—do not require classification into groups, as Griesbach and Hort have classified them; “Corrupt Readings,” if they are to be intelligently handled, must by all means be distributed under distinct heads, as will be done in the Second Part of this work.

III. “It is not at all our design” (remarks Dr. Scrivener) “to seek our readings from the later uncials, supported as they usually are by the mass of cursive manuscripts; but to employ their confessedly secondary evidence in those numberless instances wherein their elder brethren are hopelessly at variance23.” From which it is plain that in this excellent writer's opinion, the truth of Scripture is to be sought in the first instance at the hands of the older uncials: that only when these yield conflicting testimony may we resort to the “confessedly secondary evidence” of the later uncials: and that only so may we proceed to inquire for the testimony of the great mass of the cursive copies. It is not difficult to foresee what would be the result of such a method of procedure.

I venture therefore respectfully but firmly to demur to the spirit of my learned friend's remarks on the present, and on many similar occasions. His language is calculated to countenance the popular belief (1) That the authority of an uncial codex, because it is an uncial, is necessarily greater than that of a codex written in the cursive character: an imagination which upon proof I hold to be groundless. [pg 036] Between the text of the later uncials and the text of the cursive copies, I fail to detect any separative difference: certainly no such difference as would induce me to assign the palm to the former. It will be shewn later on in this treatise, that it is a pure assumption to take for granted, or to infer, that cursive copies were all descended from the uncials. New discoveries in palaeography have ruled that error to be out of court.

But (2) especially do I demur to the popular notion, to which I regret to find that Dr. Scrivener lends his powerful sanction, that the text of Scripture is to be sought in the first instance in the oldest of the uncials. I venture to express my astonishment that so learned and thoughtful a man should not have seen that before certain “elder brethren” are erected into a supreme court of judicature, some other token of fitness besides that of age must be produced on their behalf. Whence, I can but ask—, whence is it that no one has yet been at the pains to establish the contradictory of the following proposition, viz. that Codexes BאCD are the several depositaries of a fabricated and depraved text: and that BאD, for C is a palimpsest, i.e., has had the works of Ephraem the Syrian written over it as if it were of no use, are probably indebted for their very preservation solely to the fact that they were anciently recognized as untrustworthy documents? Do men indeed find it impossible to realize the notion that there must have existed such things as refuse copies in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries as well as in the eighth, ninth, tenth, and eleventh? and that the Codexes which we call BאCD may possibly, if not as I hold probably, have been of that class24?

Now I submit that it is a sufficient condemnation of [pg 037] Codd. BאCD as a supreme court of judicature (1) That as a rule they are observed to be discordant in their judgements: (2) That when they thus differ among themselves it is generally demonstrable by an appeal to antiquity that the two principal judges B and א have delivered a mistaken judgement: (3) That when these two differ one from the other, the supreme judge B is often in the wrong: and lastly (4) That it constantly happens that all four agree, and yet all four are in error.

Does any one then inquire,—But why at all events may not resort be had in the first instance to Codd. BאACD?—I answer,—Because the inquiry is apt to prejudice the question, pretty sure to mislead the judgement, only too likely to narrow the issue and render the Truth hopelessly difficult of attainment. For every reason, I am inclined to propose the directly opposite method of procedure, as at once the safer and the more reasonable method. When I learn that doubt exists, as to the reading of any particular place, instead of inquiring what amount of discord on the subject exists between Codexes ABאCD (for the chances are that they will be all at loggerheads among themselves), I inquire for the verdict as it is given by the main body of the copies. This is generally unequivocal. But if (which seldom happens) I find this a doubtful question, then indeed I begin to examine the separate witnesses. Yet even then it helps me little, or rather it helps me nothing, to find, as I commonly do, that A is on one side and B on the other,—except by the way that wherever אB are seen together, or when D stands apart with only a few allies, the inferior reading is pretty sure to be found there also.

Suppose however (as commonly happens) there is no serious division,—of course, significance does not attach itself to any handful of eccentric copies,—but that there is a practical unanimity among the cursives and later uncials: I cannot see that a veto can rest with such unstable and [pg 038] discordant authorities, however much they may singly add to the weight of the vote already tendered. It is as a hundred to one that the uncial or uncials which are with the main body of the cursives are right, because (as will be shown) in their consentience they embody the virtual decision of the whole Church; and that the dissentients—be they few or many—are wrong. I inquire however,—What say the Versions? and last but not least,—What say the Fathers?

The essential error in the proceeding I object to is best illustrated by an appeal to elementary facts. Only two of the “five old uncials” are complete documents, B and א: and these being confessedly derived from one and the same exemplar, cannot be regarded as two. The rest of the “old uncials” are lamentably defective.—From the Alexandrian Codex (A) the first twenty-four chapters of St. Matthew's Gospel are missing: that is, the MS. lacks 870 verses out of 1,071. The same Codex is also without 126 consecutive verses of St. John's Gospel. More than one-fourth of the contents of Cod. A are therefore lost25.—D is complete only in respect of St. Luke: wanting 119 verses of St. Matthew,—5 verses of St. Mark,—166 verses of St. John.—On the other hand, Codex C is chiefly defective in respect of St. Luke's and St. John's Gospel; from the former of which it omits 643 (out of 1,151) verses; from the latter, 513 (out of 880), or far more than the half in either case. Codex C in fact can only be described as a collection of fragments: for it is also without 260 verses of St. Matthew, and without 116 of St. Mark.

The disastrous consequence of all this to the Textual Critic is manifest. He is unable to compare “the five old uncials” together except in respect of about one verse in three. Sometimes he finds himself reduced to the testimony of AאB: for many pages together of St. John's [pg 039] Gospel, he is reduced to the testimony of אBD. Now, when the fatal and peculiar sympathy which subsists between these three documents is considered, it becomes apparent that the Critic has in effect little more than two documents before him. And what is to be said when (as from St. Matt. vi. 20 to vii. 4) he is reduced to the witness of two Codexes,—and those, אB? Evident it is that whereas the Author of Scripture hath bountifully furnished His Church with (speaking roughly) upwards of 2,30026 copies of the Gospels, by a voluntary act of self-impoverishment, some Critics reduce themselves to the testimony of little more than one: and that one a witness whom many judges consider to be undeserving of confidence.

[pg 040]

Chapter III. The Seven Notes Of Truth.

§ 1. Antiquity.

The more ancient testimony is probably the better testimony. That it is not by any means always so is a familiar fact. To quote the known dictum of a competent judge: “It is no less true to fact than paradoxical in sound, that the worst corruptions to which the New Testament has ever been subjected, originated within a hundred years after it was composed; that Irenaeus and the African Fathers and the whole Western, with a portion of the Syriac Church, used far inferior manuscripts to those employed by Stunica, or Erasmus, or Stephen, thirteen centuries after, when moulding the Textus Receptus27.” Therefore Antiquity alone affords no security that the manuscript in our hands is not infected with the corruption which sprang up largely in the first and second centuries. But it remains true, notwithstanding, that until evidence has been produced to the contrary in any particular instance, the more ancient of two witnesses may reasonably be presumed to be the better informed witness. Shew me for example that, whereas a copy of the Gospels (suppose Cod. B) introduces the clause “Raise the dead” into our Saviour's ministerial commission to His Apostles (St. Matt. x. 8),—another Codex, but only of the fourteenth century [pg 041] (suppose Evan. 604 (Hoskier)), omits it;—am I not bound to assume that our Lord did give this charge to His Apostles; did say to them, νεκροὺς ἐγείρετε; and that the words in question have accidentally dropped out of the sacred Text in that later copy? Show me besides that in three other of our oldest Codexes (אCD) the place in St. Matthew is exhibited in the same way as in Cod. B; and of what possible avail can it be that I should urge in reply that in three more MSS. of the thirteenth or fourteenth century the text is exhibited in the same way as in Evan. 604?

There is of course a strong antecedent probability, that the testimony which comes nearest to the original autographs has more claim to be the true record than that which has been produced at a further distance from them. It is most likely that the earlier is separated from the original by fewer links than the later:—though we can affirm this with no absolute certainty, because the present survival of Uncials of various dates of production shews that the existence of copies is measured by no span like that of the life of men. Accordingly as a general rule, and a general rule only, a single early Uncial possesses more authority than a single later Uncial or Cursive, and a still earlier Version or Quotation by a Father must be placed before the reading of the early Uncial.

Only let us clearly understand what principle is to guide us, in order that we may know how we are to proceed. Is it to be assumed, for instance, that Antiquity is to decide this matter? by which is meant only this,—That, of two or more conflicting readings, that shall be deemed the true reading which is observed to occur in the oldest known document. Is that to be our fundamental principle? Are we, in other words, to put up with the transparent fallacy that the oldest reading must of necessity be found in the oldest document? Well, if we have made up our minds [pg 042] that such is to be our method, then let us proceed to construct our text chiefly by the aid of the Old Latin and Peshitto Versions,—the oldest authorities extant of a continuous text: and certainly, wherever these are observed to agree in respect of any given reading, let us hear nothing about the conflicting testimony of א or B, which are of the fourth century; of D, which is of the sixth; of L, which is of the eighth.

But if our adversaries shift their ground, disliking to be “hoist with their own petard,” and if such a solution standing alone does not commend itself to our own taste, we must ask, What is meant by Antiquity?

For myself, if I must assign a definite period, I am disposed to say the first six or seven centuries of our era. But I observe that those who have preceded me in these inquiries draw the line at an earlier period. Lachmann fixes a.d. 400: Tregelles (ever illogical) gives the beginning of the seventh century: Westcott and Hort, before the close of the fourth century. In this absence of agreement, it is found to be both the safest and the wisest course to avoid drawing any hard and fast line, and in fact any line at all. Antiquity is a comparative term. What is ancient is not only older than what is modern, but when constantly applied to the continuous lapse of ages includes considerations of what is more or less ancient. Codex E is ancient compared with Codex L: Cod. A compared with Cod. E: Cod. א compared with Cod. A: Cod. B though in a much lesser degree compared with Cod. א: the Old Latin and Peshitto Versions compared with Cod. B: Clemens Romanus compared with either. If we had the copy of the Gospels which belonged to Ignatius, I suppose we should by common consent insist on following it almost implicitly. It certainly would be of overwhelming authority. Its decrees would be only not decisive. [This is, I think, too strong: there might be mistakes even in that.—E. M.] [pg 043] Therefore by Antiquity as a principle involving more or less authority must be meant the greater age of the earlier Copies, Versions, or Fathers. That which is older will possess more authority than that which is more recent: but age will not confer any exclusive, or indeed paramount, power of decision. Antiquity is one Note of Truth: but even if it is divorced from the arbitrary selection of Authorities which has regulated too much the employment of it in Textual Criticism, it cannot be said to cover the whole ground.

§ 2. Number.

We must proceed now to consider the other Notes, or Tests: and the next is Number.

1. That “witnesses are to be weighed—not counted,”—is a maxim of which we hear constantly. It may be said to embody much fundamental fallacy.

2. It assumes that the “witnesses” we possess,—meaning thereby every single Codex, Version, Father—, (1) are capable of being weighed: and (2) that every individual Critic is competent to weigh them: neither of which propositions is true.

3. In the very form of the maxim,—Not to be counted—but to be weighed,”—the undeniable fact is overlooked that “number” is the most ordinary ingredient of weight, and indeed in matters of human testimony, is an element which even cannot be cast away. Ask one of Her Majesty's Judges if it be not so. Ten witnesses (suppose) are called in to give evidence: of whom one resolutely contradicts what is solemnly deposed to by the other nine. Which of the two parties do we suppose the Judge will be inclined to believe?

4. But it may be urged—would not the discovery of the one original autograph of the Gospels exceed in “weight” any “number” of copies which can be named? No doubt [pg 044] it would, I answer. But only because it would be the original document, and not “a copy” at all: not “a witness” to the fact, but the very fact itself. It would be as if in the midst of a trial,—turning, suppose, on the history of the will of some testator—, the dead man himself were to step into Court, and proclaim what had actually taken place. Yet the laws of Evidence would remain unchanged: and in the very next trial which came on, if one or two witnesses out of as many hundred were to claim that their evidence should be held to outweigh that of all the rest, they would be required to establish the reasonableness of their claim to the satisfaction of the Judge: or they must submit to the inevitable consequence of being left in an inconsiderable minority.

5. Number then constitutes Weight, or in other words,—since I have used “Weight” here in a more general sense than usual,—is a Note of Truth. Not of course absolutely, as being the sole Test, but caeteris paribus, and in its own place and proportion. And this, happily, our opponents freely admit: so freely in fact, that my only wonder is that they do not discover their own inconsistency.

6. But the axiom in question labours under the far graver defect of disparaging the Divine method, under which in the multitude of evidence preserved all down the ages provision has been made as matter of hard fact, not by weight but by number, for the integrity of the Deposit. The prevalent use of the Holy Scriptures in the Church caused copies of them to abound everywhere. The demand enforced the supply. They were read in the public Services of the Church. The constant quotation of them by Ecclesiastical Writers from the first proves that they were a source to Christians of continual study, and that they were used as an ultimate appeal in the decision of knotty questions. They were cited copiously in Sermons. They were employed in the conversion of the heathen, and as in the case [pg 045] of St. Cyprian must have exercised a strong influence in bringing people to believe.

Such an abundance of early copies must have ensured perforce the production of a resulting abundance of other copies made everywhere in continuous succession from them until the invention of printing. Accordingly, although countless numbers must have perished by age, use, destruction in war, and by accident and other causes, nevertheless 63 Uncials, 737 Cursives, and 414 Lectionaries are known to survive of the Gospels alone28. Add the various Versions, and the mass of quotations by Ecclesiastical Writers, and it will at once be evident what materials exist to constitute a Majority which shall outnumber by many times the Minority, and also that Number has been ordained to be a factor which cannot be left out of the calculation.

7. Another circumstance however of much significance has yet to be stated. Practically the Axiom under consideration is discovered to be nothing else but a plausible proposition of a general character intended to shelter the following particular application of it:—“We are able”—says Dr. Tregelles—“to take the few documents ... and safely discard ... the 89/90 or whatever else their numerical proportion may be29.” Accordingly in his edition of the Gospels, the learned writer rejects the evidence of all the cursive Codexes extant but three. He is mainly followed by the rest of his school, including Westcott and Hort.

Now again I ask,—Is it likely, is it in any way credible, that we can be warranted in rejecting the testimony of (suppose) 1490 ancient witnesses, in favour of the testimony borne by (suppose) ten? Granting freely that two of these ten are older by 50 or 100 years than any single MS. of the 1490 I confidently repeat the question. The respective [pg 046] dates of the witnesses before us may perhaps be thus stated. The ten MSS. so confidently relied upon date as follows, speaking generally:—

2 about a.d. 330-340.
1 about 550.
1 about 750.
6 (say) about 950 to a.d. 1350.

The 1490 MSS. which are constantly observed to bear consentient testimony against the ten, date somewhat thus:—

1: a.d. 400.
1: 450.
2: 500.
16 (say): 650 to a.d. 850.
1470: 850 to a.d. 1350.

And the question to which I invite the reader to render an answer is this:—By what process of reasoning, apart from an appeal to other authorities, (which we are going to make by-and-by), can it be thought credible that the few witnesses shall prove the trustworthy guides,—and the many witnesses the deceivers?

Now those many MSS. were executed demonstrably at different times in different countries. They bear signs in their many hundreds of representing the entire area of the Church, except where versions were used instead of copies in the original Greek. Many of them were written in monasteries where a special room was set aside for such copying. Those who were in trust endeavoured with the utmost pains and jealousy to secure accuracy in the transcription. Copying was a sacred art. And yet, of multitudes of them that survive, hardly any have been copied from any of the rest. On the contrary, they are discovered to differ among themselves in countless unimportant particulars; and every here and there single copies exhibit idiosyncrasies which are altogether startling and extraordinary. There has therefore demonstrably been no collusion—no assimilation [pg 047] to an arbitrary standard,—no wholesale fraud. It is certain that every one of them represents a MS., or a pedigree of MSS., older than itself; and it is but fair to suppose that it exercises such representation with tolerable accuracy. It can often be proved, when any of them exhibit marked extravagancy, that such extravagancy dates back as far as the second or third century. I venture to think—and shall assume until I find that I am mistaken—that, besides the Uncials, all the cursive copies in existence represent lost Codexes of great antiquity with at least the same general fidelity as Ev. 1, 33, 69, which enjoy so much favour in some quarters only because they represent lost MSS. demonstrably of the same general type as Codd. אBD30.

It will be seen that the proofs in favour of Number being a recognized and powerful Note of Truth are so strong, that nothing but the interests of an absorbing argument can prevent the acknowledgement of this position. It is doubtless inconvenient to find some 1490 witnesses contravening some ten, or if you will, twenty favourites: but Truth is imperative and knows nothing of the inconvenience or convenience of Critics.

8. When therefore the great bulk of the witnesses,—in the proportion suppose of a hundred or even fifty to one,—yield unfaltering testimony to a certain reading; and the remaining little handful of authorities, while advocating a different reading, are yet observed to be unable to agree among themselves as to what that different reading shall precisely be,—then that other reading concerning which all that discrepancy of detail is observed to exist, may be regarded as certainly false.

I will now give an instance of the general need of the testimony of Number being added to Antiquity, in order to establish a Reading.

[pg 048]

There is an obscure expression in the Epistle to the Hebrews,—Alford speaks of it as “almost a locus desperatus—which illustrates the matter in hand not unaptly. The received reading of Heb. iv. 2,—“not being mixed [viz. the word preached] with faith in them that heard it,”—is supported by the united testimony of the Peshitto and of the Latin versions31. Accordingly, the discovery that א also exhibits συγκεκερασμενος determined Tischendorf, who however stands alone with Scholz, to retain in this place the singular participle. And confessedly the note of Antiquity it enjoys in perfection; as well as yields a sufficiently intelligible sense. But then unfortunately it proves to be incredible that St. Paul can have been the author of the expression32. All the known copies but four33 read not συγκεκραμένος but -μένους. So do all the Fathers who are known to quote the place34:—Macarius35, Chrysostom36, Theodorus of Mopsuestia37, Cyril38, Theodoret39, Damascene40, Photius41, Theophylactus42, Oecumenius43. The testimony of four of the older of these is even express: and such an amount of evidence is decisive. But we are [pg 049] able to add that of the Harkleian, Bohairic, Ethiopic, and Armenian versions. However uncongenial therefore the effort may prove, there can be no doubt at all that we must henceforth read here,—“But the word listened to did not profit them, because they were not united in respect of faith with those who listened [and believed]”: or words to that effect44. Let this then be remembered as a proof that, besides even the note of Variety to some extent super-added to that of Antiquity, it must further be shewn on behalf of any reading which claims to be authentic, that it enjoys also the support of a multitude of witnesses: in other words that it has the note of Number as well45.

And let no one cherish a secret suspicion that because the Syriac and the Latin versions are such venerable documents they must be held to outweigh all the rest, and may be right in this matter after all. It will be found explained elsewhere that in places like the present, those famous versions are often observed to interpret rather than to reproduce the inspired verity: to discharge the office of a Targum rather than of a translation. The sympathy thus evinced between א and the Latin should be observed: the significance of it will come under consideration afterwards.

§ 3. Variety.

I must point out in the next place, that Evidence on any passage, which exhibits in perfection the first of the two foregoing characteristics—that of Antiquity, may nevertheless so easily fall under suspicion, that it becomes in the highest degree necessary to fortify it by other notes of Truth. And there cannot be a stronger ally than Variety.

[pg 050]

No one can doubt, for it stands to reason, that Variety distinguishing witnesses massed together must needs constitute a most powerful argument for believing such Evidence to be true. Witnesses of different kinds; from different countries; speaking different tongues:—witnesses who can never have met, and between whom it is incredible that there should exist collusion of any kind:—such witnesses deserve to be listened to most respectfully. Indeed, when witnesses of so varied a sort agree in large numbers, they must needs be accounted worthy of even implicit confidence. Accordingly, the essential feature of the proposed Test will be, that the Evidence of which “Variety” is to be predicated shall be derived from a variety of sources. Readings which are witnessed to by MSS. only; or by ancient Versions only: or by one or more of the Fathers only:—whatever else may be urged on their behalf, are at least without the full support of this note of Truth; unless there be in the case of MSS. a sufficient note of Variety within their own circle. It needs only a slight acquaintance with the principles which regulate the value of evidence, and a comparison with other cases enjoying it of one where there is actually no variety, to see the extreme importance of this third Test. When there is real variety, what may be called hole-and-corner work,—conspiracy,—influence of sect or clique,—are impossible. Variety it is which imparts virtue to mere Number, prevents the witness-box from being filled with packed deponents, ensures genuine testimony. False witness is thus detected and condemned, because it agrees not with the rest. Variety is the consent of independent witnesses, and is therefore eminently Catholic. Origen or the Vatican and the Sinaitic, often stand all but alone, because there are scarce any in the assembly who do not hail from other parts with testimony different from theirs, whilst their own evidence finds little or no verification.

It is precisely this consideration which constrains us to [pg 051] pay supreme attention to the combined testimony of the Uncials and of the whole body of the Cursive Copies. They are (a) dotted over at least 1000 years: (b) they evidently belong to so many divers countries,—Greece, Constantinople, Asia Minor, Palestine, Syria, Alexandria, and other parts of Africa, not to say Sicily, Southern Italy, Gaul, England, and Ireland: (c) they exhibit so many strange characteristics and peculiar sympathies: (d) they so clearly represent countless families of MSS., being in no single instance absolutely identical in their text, and certainly not being copies of any other Codex in existence,—that their unanimous decision I hold to be an absolutely irrefragable evidence of the Truth46. If, again, only a few of these copies disagree with the main body of them, I hold that the value of the verdict of the great majority is but slightly disturbed. Even then however the accession of another class of confirmatory evidence is most valuable. Thus, when it is perceived that Codd. אBCD are the only uncials which contain the clause νεκροὺς ἐγείρετε in St. Matt. x. 8, already spoken of, and that the merest fraction of the cursives exhibit the same reading, the main body of the cursives and all the other uncials being for omitting it, it is felt at once that the features of the problem have been very nearly reversed. On such occasions we inquire eagerly for the verdict of the most ancient of the Versions: and when, as on the present occasion, they are divided,—the Latin and the Ethiopic recognizing the clause, the Syriac and the Egyptian disallowing it,—an impartial student will eagerly inquire with one of old time,—“Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him?” He will wish to hear what the old Fathers have to say on this subject. I take the liberty of adding that when he has once perceived that the text employed by Origen [pg 052] corresponds usually to a surprising extent with the text represented by Codex B and some of the Old Latin Versions, he will learn to lay less stress on every fresh instance of such correspondence. He will desiderate greater variety of testimony,—the utmost variety which is attainable. The verdict of various other Fathers on this passage supplies what is wanted47. Speaking generally, the consentient testimony of two, four, six, or more witnesses, coming to us from widely sundered regions is weightier by far than the same number of witnesses proceeding from one and the same locality, between whom there probably exists some sort of sympathy, and possibly some degree of collusion. Thus when it is found that the scribe of B wrote “six conjugate leaves of Cod. א48,” it is impossible to regard their united testimony in the same light as we should have done, if one had been produced in Palestine and the other at Constantinople. So also of primitive Patristic testimony. The combined testimony of Cyril, patriarch of Alexandria;—Isidore of Pelusium, a city at the mouth of the Nile;—and Nonnus of Panopolis in the Thebaid, is not nearly so weighty as the testimony of one of the same three writers in conjunction with Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons in Gaul, and with Chrysostom who passed the greater part of his life at Antioch. The same remark holds true of Versions. Thus, the two Egyptian Versions when they conspire in witnessing to the same singular reading are entitled to far less attention [pg 053] than one of those same Versions in combination with the Syriac, or with the Latin, or with the Gothic.

§ 4. Weight, or Respectability.

We must request our readers to observe, that the term “weight” may be taken as regards Textual Evidence in two senses, the one general and the other special. In the general sense, Weight includes all the notes of truth,—it may relate to the entire mass of evidence;—or else it may be employed as concerning the value of an individual manuscript, or a single Version, or a separate Father. Antiquity confers some amount of Weight: so does Number: and so does Variety also, as well as each of the other notes of truth. This distinction ought not to be allowed to go out of sight in the discussion which is now about to occupy our attention.

We proceed then to consider Weight in the special sense and as attached to single Witnesses.

Undeniable as it is, (a) that ancient documents do not admit of being placed in scales and weighed; and (b) that if they did, the man does not exist who is capable of conducting the operation,—there are yet, happily, principles of sound reason,—considerations based on the common sense of mankind, learned and unlearned alike,—by the aid of which something may be effected which is strictly analogous to the process of weighing solid bodies in an ordinary pair of scales. I proceed to explain.

1. In the first place, the witnesses in favour of any given reading should be respectable. “Respectability” is of course a relative term; but its use and applicability in this department of Science will be generally understood and admitted by scholars, although they may not be altogether agreed as to the classification of their authorities. Some critics will claim, not respectability only, but absolute and oracular [pg 054] authority for a certain set of ancient witnesses,—which others will hold in suspicion. It is clear however that respectability cannot by itself confer pre-eminence, much less the privilege of oracular decision. We listen to any one whose character has won our respect: but dogmatism as to things outside of actual experience or mathematical calculation is the prerogative only of Revelation or inspired utterance; and if assumed by men who have no authority to dogmatize, is only accepted by weak minds who find a relief when they are able

jurare in verba magistri.
To swear whate'er the master says is true.

And if on the contrary certain witnesses are found to range themselves continually on the side which is condemned by a large majority of others exhibiting other notes of truth entitling them to credence, those few witnesses must inevitably lose in respectability according to the extent and frequency of such eccentric action.

2. If one Codex (z) is demonstrably the mere transcript of another Codex (f), these may no longer be reckoned as two Codexes, but as one Codex. It is hard therefore to understand how Tischendorf constantly adduces the evidence of “E of Paul” although he was perfectly well aware that E is a mere transcript of the Cod. Claromontanus49 or D of Paul. Or again, how he quotes the cursive Evan. 102; because the readings of that unknown seventeenth-century copy of the Gospels are ascertained to have been derived from Cod. B itself50.

3. By strict parity of reasoning, when once it has been ascertained that, in any particular instance, Patristic testimony is not original but derived, each successive reproduction of the evidence must obviously be held to add nothing at all to the weight of the original statement. Thus, it used to be the fashion to cite (in proof of the spuriousness [pg 055] of “the last twelve verses” of St. Mark's Gospel) the authority of “Eusebius, Gregory of Nyssa, Victor of Antioch, Severus of Antioch, Jerome51,”—to which were added “Epiphanius and Caesarius52,”“Hesychius of Jerusalem and Euthymius53.” In this enumeration, the names of Gregory, Victor, Severus, Epiphanius and Caesarius were introduced in error. There remains Eusebius,—whose exaggeration (a) Jerome translates, (b) Hesychius (sixth century) copies, and (c) Euthymius (a.d. 1116) refers to54 and Eusebius himself neutralizes55. The evidence therefore (such as it is) collapses hopelessly: being reducible probably to a random statement in the lost treatise of Origen on St. Mark56, which Eusebius repudiates, even while in his latitudinarian way he reproduces it. The weight of such testimony is obviously slight indeed.

4. Again, if two, three, or four Codexes are discovered by reason of the peculiarities of text which they exhibit to have been derived,—nay, confessedly are derived—from one and the same archetype,—those two, three, or four Codexes may no longer be spoken of as if they were so many. Codexes B and א, for example, being certainly the twin products of a lost exemplar, cannot in fairness be reckoned as = 2. Whether their combined evidence is to be estimated at = 1.75, 1.50, or 1.25, or as only 1.0,—let diviners decide. May I be allowed to suggest that whenever they agree in an extraordinary reading their combined evidence is to be reckoned at about 1.50: when in an all but unique reading, at 1.25: when the reading they contain is absolutely unique, as when they exhibit συστρεφομένων δὲ αὐτῶν in St. Matt. xvii. 22, they should be reckoned as a single Codex? Never, at all events, can they be jointly reckoned as absolutely two. [pg 056] I would have them cited as B-א. Similar considerations should be attached to F and G of St. Paul, as being “independent transcripts of the same venerable archetype57,” and to Evan. 13, 69, 124, 346, 556, 561, and perhaps 348, 624, 78858, as being also the representatives of only one anterior manuscript of uncertain date.

5. It requires further to be pointed out that when once a clear note of affinity has been ascertained to exist between a small set of documents, their exclusive joint consent is henceforward to be regarded with suspicion: in other words, their evidential Weight becomes impaired. For instance, the sympathy between D and some Old Latin copies is so marked, so constant, in fact so extraordinary, that it becomes perfectly evident that D, though only of the sixth century, must represent a Greek or Latin Codex of the inaccurate class which prevailed in the earliest age of all, a class from which some of the Latin translations were made59.

6. I suppose it may be laid down that an ancient Version outweighs any single Codex, ancient or modern, which can be named: the reason being, that it is scarcely credible that a Version—the Peshitto, for example, an Egyptian, or the Gothic—can have been executed from a single exemplar. But indeed that is not all. The first of the above-named Versions and some of the Latin are older,—perhaps by two centuries—than the oldest known copy. From this it will appear that if the only witnesses producible for a certain reading were the Old Latin Versions and the Syriac Version on the one hand,—Codd. B-א on the other,—the united testimony of the first two would [pg 057] very largely overbalance the combined testimony of the last. If B or if א stood alone, neither of them singly would be any match for either the Syriac or the Old Latin Versions,—still less for the two combined.

7. The cogency of the considerations involved in the last paragraph becomes even more apparent when Patristic testimony has to be considered.

It has been pointed out elsewhere60 that, in and by itself, the testimony of any first-rate Father, where it can be had, must be held to outweigh the solitary testimony of any single Codex which can be named. The circumstance requires to be again insisted on here. How to represent the amount of this preponderance by a formula, I know not: nor as I believe does any one else know. But the fact that it exists, remains, and is in truth undeniable. For instance, the origin and history of Codexes ABאC is wholly unknown: their dates and the places of their several production are matters of conjecture only. But when we are listening to the articulate utterance of any of the ancient Fathers, we not only know with more or less of precision the actual date of the testimony before us, but we even know the very diocese of Christendom in which we are standing. To such a deponent we can assign a definite amount of credibility, whereas in the estimate of the former class of evidence we have only inferences to guide us.

Individually, therefore, a Father's evidence, where it can be certainly obtained—caeteris paribus, is considerably greater than that of any single known Codex. Collectively, however, the Copies, without question, outweigh either the Versions by themselves, or the Fathers by themselves. I have met—very rarely I confess—but I have met with cases where the Versions, as a body, were opposed in their testimony to the combined witness of Copies and Fathers. Also, [pg 058] but very rarely, I have known the Fathers, as a body, opposed to the evidence of Copies and Versions. But I have never known a case where the Copies stood alone—with the Versions and the Fathers united against them.

I consider that such illustrious Fathers as Irenaeus and Hippolytus,—Athanasius and Didymus,—Epiphanius and Basil,—the two Gregories and Chrysostom,—Cyril and Theodoret, among the Greeks,—Tertullian and Cyprian,—Hilary and Ambrose,—Jerome and Augustine, among the Latins,—are more respectable witnesses by far than the same number of Greek or Latin Codexes. Origen, Clemens Alexandrinus, and Eusebius, though first-rate Authors, were so much addicted to Textual Criticism themselves, or else employed such inconsistent copies,—that their testimony is that of indifferent witnesses or bad judges.

As to the Weight which belongs to separate Copies, that must be determined mainly by watching their evidence. If they go wrong continually, their character must be low. They are governed in this respect by the rules which hold good in life. We shall treat afterwards of the character of Codex D, of א, and of B.

§ 5. Continuity.

In proposing Continuous Existence as another note of a genuine reading, I wish to provide against those cases where the Evidence is not only ancient, but being derived from two different sources may seem to have a claim to variety also. I am glad to have the opportunity thus early of pointing out that the note of variety may not fairly be claimed for readings which are not advocated by more than two distinct specimens of ancient evidence. But just now my actual business is to insist that some sort of Continuousness is requisite as well as Antiquity, Number, Variety, and Weight.

We can of course only know the words of Holy Scripture [pg 059] according as they have been handed down to us; and in ascertaining what those words actually were, we are driven perforce to the Tradition of them as it has descended to us through the ages of the Church. But if that Tradition is broken in the process of its descent, it cannot but be deprived of much of the credit with which it would otherwise appeal for acceptance. A clear groundwork of reasonableness lay underneath, and a distinct province was assigned, when quod semper was added to quod ubique et quod ab omnibus. So there is a Catholicity of time, as well as of space and of people: and all must be claimed in the ascertainment and support of Holy Writ.

When therefore a reading is observed to leave traces of its existence and of its use all down the ages, it comes with an authority of a peculiarly commanding nature. And on the contrary, when a chasm of greater or less breadth of years yawns in the vast mass of evidence which is ready for employment, or when a tradition is found to have died out, upon such a fact alone suspicion or grave doubt, or rejection must inevitably ensue.

Still more, when upon the admission of the Advocates of the opinions which we are opposing the chasm is no longer restricted but engulfs not less than fifteen centuries in its hungry abyss, or else when the transmission ceased after four centuries, it is evident that according to an essential Note of Truth, those opinions cannot fail to be self-destroyed as well as to labour under condemnation during more than three quarters of the accomplished life of Christendom.

How Churchmen of eminence and ability, who in other respects hold the truths involved in Churchmanship, are able to maintain and propagate such opinions without surrendering their Churchmanship, we are unable to explain. We would only hope and pray that they may be led to see the inconsistencies of their position. And [pg 060] to others who do not accept Church doctrine we would urge that, inasmuch as internal evidence is so uncertain as often to face both ways, they really cannot rest upon anything else than continuous teaching if they would mount above personal likings and dislikings to the possession of definite and unmistakable support. In fact all traditional teaching which is not continuous must be like the detached pieces of a disunited chain.

To put the question in the most moderate form, my meaning is, that although it is possible that no trace may be discoverable in any later document of what is already attested by documents of the fourth century to be the true reading of any given place of Scripture, yet it is a highly improbable circumstance that the evidence should entirely disappear at such a very early period. It is reasonable to expect that if a reading advocated by Codexes א and B, for instance, and the Old Latin Versions, besides one or two of the Fathers, were trustworthy, there ought to be found at least a fair proportion of the later Uncial and the Cursive Copies to reproduce it. If, on the contrary, many of the Fathers knew nothing at all about the matter; if Jerome reverses the evidence borne by the Old Latin; if the later Uncials, and if the main body of the Cursives are silent also:—what can be said but that it is altogether unreasonable to demand acceptance for a reading which comes to us upon such a very slender claim to our confidence?

That is the most important inference: and it is difficult to see how in the nature of the case it can be got over. But in other respects also:—when a smaller break occurs in the transmission, the evidence is proportionally injured. And the remark must be added, that in cases where there is a transmission by several lines of descent which, having in other respects traces of independence, coincide upon a certain point, it is but reasonable to conclude that those [pg 061] lines enjoy, perhaps, a silent, yet a parallel and unbroken tradition all down the ages till they emerge. This principle is often illustrated in the independent yet consentient testimony of the whole body of the Cursives and later Uncials61.

§ 6. Context.

A prevailing fallacy with some critical writers on the subject to which the present volume is devoted, may be thus described. In the case of a disputed reading, they seem to think that they do enough if they simply marshal the authorities for and against, and deliver an oracular verdict. In critical editions of the Greek text, such a summary method is perhaps unavoidable. But I take leave to point out that in Sacred Textual Criticism there are several other considerations which absolutely require attention besides, and that those considerations ought to find expression where the space permits. It is to some of these that I proceed now to invite the reader's attention.

A word,—a phrase,—a clause,—or even a sentence or a paragraph,—must have some relation to the rest of the entire passage which precedes or comes after it. Therefore it will often be necessary, in order to reach all the evidence that bears upon a disputed question, to examine both the meaning and the language lying on both sides of the point in dispute. We do not at present lay so much stress upon the contextual meaning, because people are generally not unready to observe it, and it is often open to much difference of opinion:—we refrain especially, because we find from experience that there is in [pg 062] the case of the New Testament always enough external evidence of whose existence no doubt can be entertained to settle any textual question that can arise.

Nevertheless, it may be as well to give a single instance. In 1 Cor. xiii. 5, Codex B and Clement of Alexandria read τὸ μὴ ἑαυτῆς instead of τὰ ἑαυτῆς, i.e. “charity seeketh not what does not belong to her,” instead of “seeketh not her own.” That is to say, we are invited, in the midst of that magnificent passage which is full of lofty principles, to suppose that a gross violation of the eighth commandment is forbidden, and to insert a commonplace repudiation of gross dishonesty. We are to sink suddenly from a grand atmosphere down to a vulgar level. In fact, the light shed on the words in question from the context on either side of course utterly excludes such a supposition; consequently, the only result is that we are led to distrust the witnesses that have given evidence which is so palpably absurd.

But as regards the precise form of language employed, it will be found also a salutary safeguard against error in every instance, to inspect with severe critical exactness the entire context of the passage in dispute. If in certain Codexes that context shall prove to be confessedly in a very corrupt state, then it becomes even self-evident that those Codexes can only be admitted as witnesses with considerable suspicion and reserve.

Take as an illustration of what I have been saying the exceedingly precious verse, “Howbeit, this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (St. Matt. xvii. 21), which has met with rejection by the recent school of critics. Here the evidence against the verse is confined to B and the first reading of א amongst the Uncials, Evan. 33 alone of the Cursives, e and ff1 of the Old Latin Versions, as well as the Curetonian and the Lewis, Jerusalem, Sahidic, a few Bohairic copies, a few Ethiopic, and the Greek of Eusebius' [pg 063] Canons:—evidence of a slight and shifty character, when contrasted with the witness of all the other Uncials and Cursives, the rest of the Versions, and more than thirteen of the Fathers beginning with Tertullian and Origen62. It is plain that the stress of the case for rejection, since א being afterwards corrected speaks uncertainly, rests such as it is upon B; and that if the evidence of that MS. is found to be unworthy of credit in the whole passage, weak indeed must be the contention which consists mainly of such support.

Now if we inspect vv. 19, 20, 22, and 23, to go no farther, we shall discover that the entire passage in B is wrapped in a fog of error. It differs from the main body of the witnesses in ten places; in four of which its evidence is rejected by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Westcott and Hort, and the Revisers63; in two more by the Revisers64; and of the remaining four, it is supported in two by only א and severally by one or six Cursives, and in the other two by only א and D with severally four or five Cursive copies65.

Inspection of the Context therefore adds here strong confirmation:—though indeed in this instance to have recourse to such a weapon is to slay the already slain.

St. Matthew (xi. 2, 3) relates that John Baptist “having heard in the prison the works of Christ, sent two of his Disciples” (δύο τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ) with the inquiry, “Art Thou He that should come66, or are we to look for another (ἕτερον)?” So all the known copies but nine. So the Vulgate, Bohairic, Ethiopic. So Origen. So Chrysostom. It is interesting to note with what differences [pg 064] of expression St. Luke reproduces this statement. Having explained in ver. 18 that it was the Forerunner's disciples who brought him tidings concerning Christ, St. Luke (vii. 19) adds that John “called for certain two” (δύο τινάς) of them, and “sent them to Jesus: thus emphasizing, while he repeats, the record of the earlier Evangelist. Inasmuch however as ἕτερον means, in strictness, “the other of two,” in order not to repeat himself, he substitutes ἄλλον for it. Now all this is hopelessly obscured by the oldest amongst our manuscript authorities. It in no wise surprises us to find that τινάς has disappeared from D, the Peshitto, Latin, Bohairic, Gothic, and Ethiopic. The word has disappeared from our English version also. But it offends us greatly to discover that (1) אBLRXΞ (with Cyril) obliterate ἄλλον from St. Luke vii. 19, and thrust ἕτερον into its place,—as clear an instance of vicious assimilation as could anywhere be found: while (2) for δύο (in St. Matt. xi. 3) אBCDPZΔ write διά: which is acquiesced in by the Peshitto, Harkleian, Gothic and Armenian Versions. The Old Latin Versions prevaricate as usual: two read, mittens duos ex discipulis suis: all the rest,—mittens discipulos suos,—which is the reading of Cureton's Syriac and the Dialogus (p. 819), but of no known Greek MS.67 Lastly (3) for Ἰησοῦν in St. Luke, BLRΞ substitute κύριον. What would be thought of us if we were freely imposed upon by readings so plainly corrupt as these three?

But light is thrown upon them by the context in St. Luke. In the thirteen verses which immediately follow, Tischendorf himself being the judge, the text has experienced depravation in at least fourteen particulars68. [pg 065] With what reason can the same critic straightway insist on other readings which rest exclusively upon the same authorities which the fourteen readings just mentioned claim for their support?

This Note of Truth has for its foundation the well-known law that mistakes have a tendency to repeat themselves in the same or in other shapes. The carelessness, or the vitiated atmosphere, that leads a copyist to misrepresent one word is sure to lead him into error about another. The ill-ordered assiduity which prompted one bad correction most probably did not rest there. And the errors committed by a witness just before or just after the testimony which is being sifted was given cannot but be held to be closely germane to the inquiry.

So too on the other side. Clearness, correctness, self-collectedness, near to the moment in question, add to the authority of the evidence. Consequently, the witness of the Context cannot but be held to be positively or negatively, though perhaps more often negatively than positively, a very apposite Note of Truth.

§ 7. Internal Evidence.

It would be a serious omission indeed to close this enumeration of Tests of Truth without adverting to those Internal Considerations which will make themselves heard, and are sometimes unanswerable.

Thus the reading of πάντων (masculine or neuter) which is found in Cod. B (St. Luke xix. 37) we reject at once because of its grammatical impossibility as agreeing with δυνάμεων (feminine); and that of καρδίαις (2 Cor. iii. 3) according to the witness of AאBCDEGLP on the score of its utter impossibility69. Geographical reasons are sufficiently [pg 066] strong against reading with Codd. אIKNΠ ἑκατὸν καὶ ἑξήκοντα in St. Luke xxiv. 13 (i.e. a hundred and threescore furlongs), to make it of no manner of importance that a few additional authorities, as Origen, Eusebius, and Jerome, can be produced in support of the same manifestly corrupt reading. On grounds of ordinary reasonableness we cannot hear of the sun being eclipsed when the moon was full, or of our Lord being pierced before death. The truth of history, otherwise sufficiently attested both by St. Matthew and Josephus, absolutely forbids αὐτοῦ (אBDLΔ) to be read for αὐτῆς (St. Mark vi. 22), and in consequence the wretched daughter of Herodias to be taken to have been the daughter of Herod.

In these and such-like instances, the Internal reasons are plain and strong. But there is a manifest danger, when critics forsake those considerations which depend upon clear and definite points, and build their own inventions and theories into a system of strict canons which they apply in the teeth of manifold evidence that has really everything to recommend it. The extent to which some critics are ready to go may be seen in the monstrous Canon proposed by Griesbach, that where there are more readings than one of any place, that reading which favours orthodoxy is an object of suspicion70. There is doubtless some reason in the Canon which asserts that “The harder the reading, the less likely it is to have been invented, and the more likely it is to be genuine,” under which δευτεροπώτῳ [pg 067] (St. Luke vi. 1) must receive additional justification. But people are ordinarily so constituted, that when they have once constructed a system of Canons they place no limits to their operation, and become slaves to them.

Accordingly, the true reading of passages must be ascertained, with very slight exception indeed, from the preponderating weight of external evidence, judged according to its antiquity, to number, variety, relative value, continuousness, and with the help of the context. Internal considerations, unless in exceptional cases they are found in strong opposition to evident error, have only a subsidiary force. Often they are the product of personal bias, or limited observation: and where one scholar approves, another dogmatically condemns. Circumstantial evidence is deservedly rated low in the courts of justice: and lawyers always produce witnesses when they can. The Text of Holy Scripture does not vary with the weathercock according to changing winds of individual or general opinion or caprice: it is decided by the Tradition of the Church as testified by eye-witnesses and written in black and white and gold in all countries of Christendom, and all down the ages since the New Testament was composed.

I desire to point out concerning the foregoing seven Notes of Truth in Textual Evidence that the student can never afford entirely to lose sight of any of them. The reason is because although no doubt it is conceivable that any one of the seven might possibly in itself suffice to establish almost any reading which can be named, practically this is never the case. And why? Because we never meet with any one of these Tests in the fullest possible measure. No Test ever attains to perfection, or indeed can attain. An approximation to the Test is all that can be expected, or even desired. And sometimes we are obliged to put up with a very slight approximation indeed. Their strength resides in their co-operation.

[pg 068]

Chapter IV. The Vatican And Sinaitic Manuscripts.

§ 1.

No progress is possible in the department of “Textual Criticism” until the superstition—for we are persuaded that it is nothing less—which at present prevails concerning certain of “the old uncials” (as they are called) has been abandoned. By “the old uncials” are generally meant, [1] The Vatican Codex (B),—and [2] the Sinaitic Codex (א),—which by common consent are assigned to the fourth century: [3] the Alexandrian (A), and [4] the Cod. Ephraemi rescriptus (C),—which are given to the fifth century: and [5] the Codex Bezae (D),—which is claimed for the sixth century: to which must now be added [6] the Codex Beratinus (Φ), at the end of the fifth, and [7] the Codex Rossanensis (Σ), at the beginning of the sixth century. Five of these seven Codexes for some unexplained reason, although the latest of them (D) is sundered from the great bulk of the copies, uncial and cursive, by about as many centuries as the earliest of them (Bא) are sundered from the last of their group, have been invested with oracular authority and are supposed to be the vehicles of imperial decrees. It is pretended that what is found in either B or in א or in D, although unsupported by any other manuscript, may reasonably be claimed to exhibit the truth of scripture, in defiance of the combined evidence of all other documents to the contrary. Let a reading be advocated by B and א in conjunction, and it is assumed as a matter of course that such evidence must needs outweigh [pg 069] the combined evidence of all other MSS. which can be named. But when (as often happens) three or four of these “old uncials” are in accord,—especially if (as is not unfrequently the case) they have the support of a single ancient version (as the Bohairic),—or a solitary early Father (as Origen), it seems to be deemed axiomatic that such evidence must needs carry all before it71.

I maintain the contradictory proposition, and am prepared to prove it. I insist that readings so supported are clearly untrustworthy and may be dismissed as certainly unauthentic.

But let us in this chapter seek to come to some understanding with one another. My method shall be to ask a plain question which shall bring the matter to a clear issue. I will then (1) invent the best answers I am able to that question: and then (2) to the best of my ability—I will dispose of these answers one by one. If the reader (1) is able to assign a better answer,—or (2) does not deem my refutation satisfactory,—he has but to call me publicly to account: and by the rejoinder I shall publicly render either he, or I, must be content to stand publicly discredited. If I knew of a fairer way of bringing this by no means recondite matter to a definite issue, the reader may be well assured I should now adopt it72.—My general question is,—Why throughout the Gospels are B and א accounted so trustworthy, that all but the absolute disposal of every disputed question about the Text is held to depend upon their evidence?

And I begin by asking of a supposed Biblical Student,—Why throughout the Gospels should Codex B and א be deemed more deserving of our confidence than the other Codexes?

[pg 070]

Biblical Student. Because they are the most ancient of our Codexes.

Dean Burgon. This answer evidently seems to you to convey an axiomatic truth: but not to me. I must trouble you to explain to me why “the most ancient of our Codexes” must needs be the purest?

B. S. I have not said that they “must needs be the purest”: and I request you will not impute to me anything which I do not actually say.

The Dean. Thank you for a most just reproof. Let us only proceed in the same spirit to the end, and we shall arrive at important results. Kindly explain yourself therefore in your own way.

B. S. I meant to say that because it is a reasonable presumption that the oldest Codexes will prove the purest, therefore Bא—being the oldest Codexes of the Gospels—may reasonably be expected to be the best.

The Dean. So far happily we are agreed. You mean, I presume, that inasmuch as it is an admitted principle that the stream is purest at its source, the antiquity of B and א creates a reasonable presumption in their favour. Is that what you mean?

B. S. Something of the kind, no doubt. You may go on.

The Dean. Yes, but it would be a great satisfaction to me to know for certain, whether you actually do, or actually do not mean what I suppose:—viz., to apply the principle, id verum esse quod primum, I take you to mean that in B and א we have the nearest approach to the autographs of the Evangelists, and that therefore in them we have the best evidence that is at present within reach of what those autographs actually were. I will now go on as you bid me. And I take leave to point out to you, that it is high time that we should have the facts of the case definitely before us, and that we should keep them steadily [pg 071] in view throughout our subsequent discussion. Now all critics are agreed, that B and א were not written earlier than about 340, or say before 330 a.d. You will admit that, I suppose?

B. S. I have no reason to doubt it.

The Dean. There was therefore an interval of not far short of three hundred years between the writing of the original autographs and the copying of the Gospels in B and א73. Those two oldest Codexes, or the earliest of them, are thus found to be separated by nearly three centuries from the original writings,—or to speak more accurately,—by about two centuries and three-quarters from three of the great autographs, and by about 250 years from the fourth. Therefore these MSS. cannot be said to be so closely connected with the original autographs as to be entitled to decide about disputed passages what they were or were not. Corruption largely infected the several writings74, as I shall shew at some length in some subsequent chapters, during the great interval to which I have alluded.

B. S. But I am surprised to hear you say this. You must surely recollect that B and א were derived from one and the same archetype, and that that archetype was produced “in the early part of the second century if not earlier75,” and was very close to the autographs, and that they must be accordingly accurate transcripts of the autographs, and—

The Dean. I must really pray you to pause:—you have left facts far behind, and have mounted into cloudland. I must beg you not to let slip from your mind, that we start with a fact, so far as it can be ascertained, viz. the production of B and א, about the middle of the fourth [pg 072] century. You have advanced from that fact to what is only a probable opinion, in which however I am agreed with you, viz. that B and א are derived from one and the same older manuscript. Together therefore, I pray you will not forget, they only count nearly as one. But as to the age of that archetype—forgive me for saying, that—unintentionally no doubt but none the less really—you have taken a most audacious leap. May I ask, however, whether you can quote any ancient authority for the date which you have affixed?

B. S. I cannot recollect one at the present moment.

The Dean. No, nor Dr. Hort either,—for I perceive that you adopt his speculation. And I utterly deny that there is any probability at all for such a suggestion:—nay, the chances are greatly, if not decisively, against the original from which the lines of B and א diverged, being anything like so old as the second century. These MSS. bear traces of the Origenistic school, as I shall afterwards shew76. They have too much method in their error for it to have arisen in the earliest age: its systematic character proves it to have been the growth of time. They evince effects, as I shall demonstrate in due course, of heretical teaching, Lectionary practice, and regular editing, which no manuscript could have contracted in the first ages of the Church.

B. S. But surely the differences between B and א, which are many, prove that they were not derived immediately from their common ancestor, but that some generations elapsed between them. Do you deny that?

The Dean. I grant you entirely that there are many differences between them,—so much the worse for the value of their evidence. But you must not suffer yourself to be misled by the figure of genealogy upon points where it presents no parallel. There were in manuscripts no [pg 073] periods of infancy, childhood, and youth, which must elapse before they could have a progeny. As soon as a manuscript was completed, and was examined and passed, it could be copied: and it could be copied, not only once a year, but as often as copyists could find time to write and complete their copies77. You must take also another circumstance into consideration. After the destruction of manuscripts in the persecution of Diocletian, and when the learned were pressing from all quarters into the Church, copies must have been multiplied with great rapidity. There was all the more room for carelessness, inaccuracy, incompetency, and capricious recension. Several generations of manuscripts might have been given off in two or three years.—But indeed all this idea of fixing the date of the common ancestor of B and א is based upon pure speculation—Textual Science cannot rest her conclusions upon foundations of sand like that. I must bring you back to the Rock: I must recall you to facts. B and א were produced in the early middle, so to speak, of the fourth century. Further than this, we cannot go, except to say—and this especially is the point to which I must now request your attention,—that we are in the possession of evidence older than they are.

B. S. But you do not surely mean to tell me that other Uncials have been discovered which are earlier than these?

The Dean. No: not yet: though it is possible, and perhaps probable, that such MSS. may come to light, not in vellum but in papyrus; for as far as we know, [pg 074] B and א mark the emergence into prominence of the “Uncial” class of great manuscripts78. But though there are in our hands as yet no older manuscripts, yet we have in the first place various Versions, viz., the Peshitto of the second century79, the group of Latin Versions80 which begin from about the same time, the Bohairic and the Thebaic of the third century, not to speak of the Gothic which was about contemporary with your friends the Vatican and Sinaitic MSS. Next, there are the numerous Fathers who quoted passages in the earliest ages, and thus witnessed to the MSS. which they used. To take an illustration, I have cited upon the last twelve verses of St. Mark's Gospel no less than twelve authorities before the end of the third century, that is down to a date which is nearly half a century before B and א appeared. The general mass of quotations found in the books of the early Fathers witnesses to what I say81. So that there is absolutely no reason to place these two MSS. upon a pedestal by themselves on the score of supreme antiquity. They are eclipsed in this respect by many other authorities older than they are. Such, I must beg you to observe, is the verdict, not of uncertain speculation, but of stubborn facts.

B. S. But if I am not permitted to plead the highest antiquity on behalf of the evidence of the two oldest Uncials,—

The Dean. Stop, I pray you. Do not imagine for a single instant that I wish to prevent your pleading anything at all that you may fairly plead. Facts, which refuse to be explained out of existence, not myself, bar your way. Forgive me, but you must not run your head against a brick wall.

B. S. Well then82, I will meet you at once by asking [pg 075] a question of my own. Do you deny that B and א are the most precious monuments of their class in existence?

The Dean. So far from denying, I eagerly assert that they are. Were they offered for sale to-morrow, they would command a fabulous sum. They might fetch perhaps £100,000. For aught I know or care they may be worth it. More than one cotton-spinner is worth—or possibly several times as much.

B. S. But I did not mean that. I spoke of their importance as instruments of criticism.

The Dean. Again we are happily agreed. Their importance is unquestionably first-rate. But to come to the point, will you state plainly, whether you mean to assert that their text is in your judgement of exceptional purity?

B. S. I do.

The Dean. At last there we understand one another. I on the contrary insist, and am prepared to prove, that the text of these two Codexes is very nearly the foulest in existence. On what, pray, do you rely for your opinion which proves to be diametrically the reverse of mine83?

B. S. The best scholars tell me that their text, and especially the text of B, is of a purer character than any other: and indeed I myself, after reading B in Mai's edition, think that it deserves the high praise given to it.

The Dean. My dear friend, I see that you have been taken in by Mai's edition, printed at Leipzig, and published in England by Williams & Norgate and D. Nutt. Let me tell you that it is a most faulty representation of B. It mixes later hands with the first hand. It abounds in mistakes. It inserts perpetually passages which are nowhere found in the copy. In short, people at the time fancied that in the text of the mysterious manuscript in [pg 076] the Vatican they would find the verba ipsissima of the Gospels: but when Cardinal Mai was set to gratify them, he found that B would be unreadable unless it were edited with a plentiful correction of errors. So the world then received at least two recensions of B mixed up in this edition, whilst B itself remained behind. The world was generally satisfied, and taken in. But I am sorry that you have shared in the delusion.

B. S. Well, of course I may be wrong: but surely you will respect the opinion of the great scholars.

The Dean. Of course I respect deeply the opinion of any great scholars: but before I adopt it, I must know and approve the grounds of their opinion. Pray, what in this instance are they?

B. S. They say that the text is better and purer than any other.

The Dean. And I say that it is nearly the most corrupt known. If they give no special grounds except the fact that they think so, it is a conflict of opinion. There is a balance between us. But from this deadlock I proceed to facts. Take for example, as before, the last twelve verses of St. Mark. On the one side are alleged B and א,—of which B by the exhibition of a blank space mutely confesses its omission, and א betrays that it is double-minded84; one Old Latin MS. (k), two Armenian MSS., two Ethiopic, and an Arabic Lectionary; an expression of Eusebius, who elsewhere quotes the passage, which was copied by Jerome and Severus of Antioch, saying that the verses were omitted in some copies. L of the eighth century, and a few Cursives, give a brief, but impossible, termination. On the other side I have referred to85 six witnesses of the second century, six of the third, fifteen of the fourth, nine of the fifth, eight of the sixth and seventh, [pg 077] all the other Uncials, and all the other Cursives, including the universal and immemorial Liturgical use. Here, as you must see, B and א, in faltering tones, and with only an insignificant following, are met by an array of authorities, which is triumphantly superior, not only in antiquity, but also in number, variety, and continuousness. I claim also the superiority as to context, internal considerations, and in weight too.

B. S. But surely weight is the ground of contention between us.

The Dean. Certainly, and therefore I do not assume my claim till I substantiate it. But before I go on to do so, may I ask whether you can dispute the fact of the four first Notes of Truth being on my side?

B. S. No: you are entitled to so much allowance.

The Dean. That is a very candid admission, and just what I expected from you. Now as to Weight. The passage just quoted is only one instance out of many. More will abound later on in this book: and even then many more must of necessity remain behind. In point of hard and unmistakable fact, there is a continual conflict going on all through the Gospels between B and א and a few adherents of theirs on the one side, and the bulk of the Authorities on the other, and the nature and weight of these two Codexes may be inferred from it. They will be found to have been proved over and over again to be bad witnesses, who were left to survive in their handsome dresses whilst attention was hardly ever accorded to any services of theirs. Fifteen centuries, in which the art of copying the Bible was brought to perfection, and printing invented, have by unceasing rejection of their claims scaled for ever the condemnation of their character, and so detracted from their weight.

B. S. Still, whilst I acknowledge the justice of much that you have said, I cannot quite understand how the [pg 078] text of later copies can be really older than the text of earlier ones.

The Dean. You should know that such a thing is quite possible. Copies much more numerous and much older than B and א live in their surviving descendants. The pedigree of the Queen is in no wise discredited because William the Conqueror is not alive. But then further than this. The difference between the text of B and א on the one side and that which is generally represented by A and Φ and Σ on the other is not of a kind depending upon date, but upon recension or dissemination of readings. No amplification of B and א could by any process of natural development have issued in the last twelve verses of St. Mark. But it was easy enough for the scribe of B not to write, and the scribe of א consciously86 and deliberately to omit, verses found in the copy before him, if it were determined that they should severally do so. So with respect to the 2,556 omissions of B. The original text could without any difficulty have been spoilt by leaving out the words, clauses, and sentences thus omitted: but something much more than the shortened text of B was absolutely essential for the production of the longer manuscripts. This is an important point, and I must say something more upon it.

First then87, Cod. B is discovered not to contain in the Gospels alone 237 words, 452 clauses, 748 whole sentences, which the later copies are observed to exhibit in the same places and in the same words. By what possible hypothesis will such a correspondence of the Copies be accounted for, if these words, clauses, and sentences are indeed, as is pretended, nothing else but spurious accretions to the text?

Secondly, the same Codex throughout the Gospels [pg 079] exhibits 394 times words in a certain order, which however is not the order advocated by the great bulk of the Copies. In consequence of what subtle influence will it be pretended, that all over the world for a thousand years the scribes were universally induced to deflect from the authentic collocation of the same inspired words, and always to deflect in precisely the same way?

But Cod. B also contains 937 Gospel words, of which by common consent the great bulk of the Cursive Copies know nothing. Will it be pretended that in any part of the Church for seven hundred years copyists of Evangelia entered into a grand conspiracy to thrust out of every fresh copy of the Gospel self-same words in the self-same places88?

You will see therefore that B, and so א, since the same arguments concern one as the other, must have been derived from the Traditional Text, and not the Traditional Text from those two Codexes.

B. S. You forget that Recensions were made at Edessa or Nisibis and Antioch which issued in the Syrian Texts, and that that was the manner in which the change which you find so difficult to understand was brought about.

The Dean. Excuse me, I forget no such thing; and for a very good reason, because such Recensions never occurred. Why, there is not a trace of them in history: it is a mere dream of Dr. Hort: they must be “phantom recensions,” as Dr. Scrivener terms them. The Church of the time was not so unconscious of such matters as Dr. Hort imagines. Supposing for a moment that such Recensions, took place, they must have been either merely local occurrences, in which case after a controversy on which history is silent they would have been inevitably rejected by the other Churches in Christendom; or they must have been general operations of the Universal Church, and then inasmuch as [pg 080] they would have been sealed with the concurrence of fifteen centuries, I can hardly conceive greater condemnations of B and א. Besides, how could a text which has been in fact Universal be “Syrian”? We are on terra firma, let me remind you, not in the clouds. The undisputed action of fifteen centuries is not to be set aside by a nickname.

B. S. But there is another way of describing the process of change which may have occurred in the reverse direction to that which you advocate. Expressions which had been introduced in different groups of readings were combined by “Conflation” into a more diffuse and weaker passage. Thus in St. Mark vi. 33, the two clauses καὶ προῆλθον αὐτούς, καὶ συνῆλθον αὐτοῦ, are made into one conflate passage, of which the last clause is “otiose” after συνέδραμον ἐκεῖ occurring immediately before89.

The Dean. Excuse me, but I entirely disagree with you. The whole passage appears to me to savour of the simplicity of early narratives. Take for example the well-known words in Gen. xii. 5, “and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came90.” A clumsy criticism, bereft of any fine appreciation of times and habits unlike the present, might I suppose attempt to remove the latter clause from that place as being “otiose.” But besides, your explanation entirely breaks down when it is applied to other instances. How could conflation, or mixture, account for occurrence of the last cry in St. Mark xv. 39, or of vv. 43-44 in St. Luke xxii describing the Agony and Bloody Sweat, or of the first Word from the Cross in St. Luke xxiii. 34, or of the descending angel and the working of the cure in St. John v. 3-4, or of St. Peter's visit to the sepulchre in St. Luke xxiv. 12, or what would be the foisting of verses or passages of different lengths into [pg 081] the numerous and similar places that I might easily adduce? If these were all transcribed from some previous text into which they had been interpolated, they would only thrust the difficulty further back. How did they come there? The clipped text of B and א—so to call it—could not have been the source of them. If they were interpolated by scribes or revisers, the interpolations are so good that, at least in many cases, they must have shared inspiration with the Evangelists. Contrast, for example, the real interpolations of D and the Curetonian. It is at the least demonstrated that that hypothesis requires another source of the Traditional Text, and this is the argument now insisted on. On the contrary, if you will discard your reverse process, and for “Conflation” will substitute “Omission” through carelessness, or ignorance of Greek, or misplaced assiduity, or heretical bias, or through some of the other causes which I shall explain later on, all will be as plain and easy as possible. Do you not see that? No explanation can stand which does not account for all the instances existing. Conflation or mixture is utterly incapable of meeting the larger number of cases. But you will find before this treatise is ended that various methods will be described herein with care, and traced in their actual operation, under which debased texts of various kinds were produced from the Traditional Text.

B. S. I see that there is much probability in what you say: but I retain still some lingering doubt.

The Dean. That doubt, I think, will be removed by the next point which I will now endeavour to elucidate. You must know that there is no agreement amongst the allies, except so far as the denial of truth is concerned. As soon as the battle is over, they at once turn their arms against one another. Now it is a phenomenon full of suggestion, that such a Concordia discors is conspicuous amongst B and א and their associates. Indeed these two Codexes are [pg 082] individually at variance with themselves, since each of them has undergone later correction, and in fact no less than eleven hands from first to last have been at work on א, which has been corrected and re-corrected backwards and forwards like the faulty document that it is. This by the way, but as to the continual quarrels of these dissentients91, which are patent when an attempt is made to ascertain how far they agree amongst themselves, I must request your attention to a few points and passages92.

§ 2. St. John v. 4.

When it is abruptly stated that אBCD—four out of “the five old uncials”—omit from the text of St. John's Gospel the account of the angel descending into the pool and troubling the water,—it is straightway supposed that the genuineness of St. John v. 4 must be surrendered. But this is not at all the way to settle questions of this kind. Let the witnesses be called in afresh and examined.

Now I submit that since these four witnesses omitting A, (besides a multitude of lesser discrepancies,) are unable to agree among themselves whether “there was at Jerusalem a sheep-pool (א), or “a pool at the sheep-gate: whether it was “surnamed” (BC), or “named” (D), or neither (א):—which appellation, out of thirty which have been proposed for this pool, they will adopt,—seeing that [pg 083] C is for Bethesda; B for Bethsaida; א for Bethzatha; D for Belzetha:—whether or no the crowd was great, of which they all know nothing,—and whether some were “paralytics,”—a fact which was evidently revealed only to D:—to say nothing of the vagaries of construction discoverable in verses 11 and 12:—when, you see, at last these four witnesses conspire to suppress the fact that an Angel went down into the pool to trouble the water;—this concord of theirs derives suggestive illustration from their conspicuous discord. Since, I say, there is so much discrepancy hereabouts in B and א and their two associates on this occasion, nothing short of unanimity in respect of the thirty-two contested words—five in verse 3, and twenty-seven in verse 4—would free their evidence from suspicion. But here we make the notable discovery that only three of them omit all the words in question, and that the second Corrector of C replaces them in that manuscript. D retains the first five, and surrenders the last twenty-seven: in this step D is contradicted by another of the “Old Uncials,” A, whose first reading retains the last twenty-seven, and surrenders the first five. Even their satellite L forsakes them, except so far as to follow the first hand of A. Only five Cursives have been led astray, and they exhibit strikingly this Concordia discors. One (157) follows the extreme members of the loving company throughout. Two (18, 314) imitate A and L: and two more (33, 134) have the advantage of D for their leader. When witnesses prevaricate so hopelessly, how far can you believe them?

Now—to turn for a moment to the other side—this is a matter on which the translations and such Fathers as quote the passage are able to render just as good evidence as the Greek copies: and it is found that the Peshitto, most of the Old Latin, as well as the Vulgate and the Jerusalem, with Tertullian, Ammonius, Hilary, Ephraem [pg 084] the Syrian, Ambrose (two), Didymus, Chrysostom (eight), Nilus (four), Jerome, Cyril of Alexandria (five), Augustine (two), and Theodorus Studita, besides the rest of the Uncials93, and the Cursives94, with the slight exception already mentioned, are opposed to the Old Uncials95.

Let me next remind you of a remarkable instance of this inconsistency which I have already described in my book on The Revision Revised (pp. 34-36). “The five Old Uncials” (אABCD) falsify the Lord's Prayer as given by St. Luke in no less than forty-five words. But so little do they agree among themselves, that they throw themselves into six different combinations in their departures from the Traditional Text; and yet they are never able to agree among themselves as to one single various reading: while only once are more than two of them observed to stand together, and their grand point of union is no less than an omission of the article. Such is their eccentric tendency, that in respect of thirty-two out of the whole forty-five words they bear in turn solitary evidence.

§ 3.

I should weary you, my dear student, if I were to take you through all the evidence which I could amass upon this disagreement with one another,—this Concordia discors. But I would invite your attention for a moment to a few points which being specimens may indicate the continued divisions upon Orthography which subsist between the Old Uncials and their frequent errors. And first96, how [pg 085] do they write the “Mary's” of the Gospels, of whom in strictness there are but three?

“The Mother of Jesus97,” as most of us are aware, was not “Mary” (Μαρία) at all; but Mariam (Μαριάμ),—a name strictly identical with that of the sister of Moses98. We call her “Mary” only because the Latins invariably write her name “Maria.” So complete an obliteration of the distinction between the name of the blessed Virgin—and that of (1) her sister, Mary the wife of Clopas99, of (2) Mary Magdalene, and of (3) Mary the sister of Lazarus, may be deplored, but it is too late to remedy the mischief by full 1800 years. The question before us is not that; but only—how far the distinction between Mariam and Maria has been maintained by the Greek copies?

Now, as for the cursives, with the memorable exception of Evann. 1 and 33,—which latter, because it is disfigured by more serious blunders than any other copy written in the cursive character, Tregelles by a mauvaise plaisanterie designates as “the queen of the cursives,”—it may be said at once that they are admirably faithful. Judging from the practice of fifty or sixty which have been minutely [pg 086] examined with this view, the traces of irregularity are so rare that the phenomenon scarcely deserves notice. Not so the old uncials. Cod. B, on the first occasion where a blunder is possible100 (viz. in St. Matt. i. 20), exhibits Μαρία instead of Μαριάμ:—so does Cod. C in xiii. 55,—Cod. D in St. Luke i. 30, 39, 56: ii. 5, 16, 34,—Codd. CD in St. Luke by אBC, in St. Matt. i. 34, 38, 46,—Codd. BאD, in ii. 19.

On the other hand, the Virgin's sister (Μαρία), is twice written Μαριόμ: viz. by C, in St. Matt xxvii. 56; and by א, in St. John xix. 25:—while Mary Magdalene is written Μαριάμ by “the five old uncials” no less than eleven times: viz. by C, in St. Matt. xxvii. 56,—by א, in St. Luke xxiv. 10, St. John xix. 25, xx. 11,—by A, in St. Luke viii. 2,—by אA, in St. John xx. 1,—by אC, in St. Matt. xxviii. 1,—by אB, in St. John xx. 16 and 18,—by BC, in St. Mark xv. 40,—by אBC, in St. Matt. xxvii. 61.

Lastly, Mary (Μαρία) the sister of Lazarus, is called Μαριάμ by Cod. B in St. Luke x. 42: St. John xi. 2: xii. 3;—by BC, in St. Luke xi. 32;—by אC, in St. Luke x. 39.—I submit that such specimens of licentiousness or inattention are little calculated to conciliate confidence in Codd. BאCD. It is found that B goes wrong nine times: D, ten (exclusively in respect of the Virgin Mary): C, eleven: א, twelve.—Evan. 33 goes wrong thirteen times: 1, nineteen times.—A, the least corrupt, goes wrong only twice.

§ 4.

Another specimen of a blunder in Codexes BאL33 is afforded by their handling of our Lord's words,—“Thou art Simon the son of Jona.” That this is the true reading of St. John i. 43 is sufficiently established by the fact that [pg 087] it is the reading of all the Codexes, uncial and cursive alike,—excepting always the four vicious specimens specified above. Add to the main body of the Codexes the Vulgate, Peshitto and Harkleian Syriac, the Armenian, Ethiopic, Georgian, and Slavonic versions:—besides several of the Fathers, such as Serapion101,—Basil102,—Epiphanius103,—Chrysostom104,—Asterius105,—and another (unknown) writer of the fourth century106:—with Cyril107 of the fifth,—and a body of evidence has been adduced, which alike in respect of its antiquity, its number, its variety, and its respectability, casts such witnesses as B-א entirely into the shade. When it is further remembered that we have preserved to us in St. Matt. xvi. 17 our Saviour's designation of Simon's patronymic in the vernacular of Palestine, “Simon Bar-jona,” which no manuscript has ventured to disturb, what else but irrational is the contention of the modern School that for “Jona” in St. John i. 42, we are to read “John”? The plain fact evidently is that some second-century critic supposed that “Jonah” and “John” are identical: and of his weak imagination the only surviving witnesses at the end of 1700 years are three uncials and one cursive copy,—a few copies of the Old Latin (which fluctuate between “Johannis,” “Johanna,” and “Johna”),—the Bohairic Version, and Nonnus. And yet, on the strength of this slender minority, the Revisers exhibit in their text, “Simon the son of John,”—and in their margin volunteer the information that the Greek word is “Joanes,”—which is simply not the fact: Ιωανης being the reading of no Greek manuscript in the world except Cod. B108.

[pg 088]

Again, in the margin of St. John i. 28 we are informed that instead of Bethany—the undoubted reading of the place,—some ancient authorities read “Betharabah.” Why, there is not a single ancient Codex,—not a single ancient Father,—not a single ancient Version,—which so reads the place109.

§ 5.

B. S. But110, while I grant you that this general disagreement between B and א and the other old Uncials which for a time join in their dissent from the Traditional Text causes the gravest suspicion that they are in error, yet it appears to me that these points of orthography are too small to be of any real importance.

The Dean. If the instances just given were only exceptions, I should agree with you. On the contrary, they indicate the prevailing character of the MSS. B and א are covered all over with blots111,—א even more so than B. How they could ever have gained the characters which have been given them, is passing strange. But even great scholars are human, and have their prejudices and other weaknesses; and their disciples follow them everywhere as submissively as sheep. To say nothing of many great scholars who have never explored this field, if men of ordinary acquirements in scholarship would only emancipate themselves and judge with their own eyes, they would soon see the truth of what I say.

[pg 089]

B. S. I should assent to all that you have told me, if I could only have before me a sufficient number of instances to form a sound induction, always provided that they agree with these which you have quoted. Those which you have just given are enough as specimens: but forgive me when I say that, as a Biblical Student, I think I ought to form my opinions upon strong, deep, and wide foundations of facts.

The Dean. So far from requiring forgiveness from me, you deserve all praise. My leading principle is to build solely upon facts,—upon real, not fancied facts,—not upon a few favourite facts, but upon all that are connected with the question under consideration. And if it had been permitted me to carry out in its integrity the plan which I laid down for myself112,—that however has been withheld under the good Providence of Almighty God.—Nevertheless I think that you will discover in the sequel enough to justify amply all the words that I have used. You will, I perceive, agree with me in this,—That whichever side of the contention is the most comprehensive, and rests upon the soundest and widest induction of facts,—that side, and that side alone, will stand.

[pg 090]

Chapter V. The Antiquity of the Traditional Text113. I. Witness of the Early Fathers.

§ 1. Involuntary Evidence of Dr. Hort.

Our readers will have observed, that the chief obstacle in the way of an unprejudiced and candid examination of the sound and comprehensive system constructed by Dean Burgon is found in the theory of Dr. Hort. Of the internal coherence and the singular ingenuity displayed in Dr. Hort's treatise, no one can doubt: and I hasten to pay deserved and sincere respect to the memory of the highly accomplished author whose loss the students of Holy Scripture are even now deploring. It is to his arguments sifted logically, to the judgement exercised by him upon texts and readings, upon manuscripts and versions and Fathers, and to his collisions with the record of history, that a higher duty than appreciation of a Theologian however learned and pious compels us to demur.

But no searching examination into the separate links and details of the argument in Dr. Hort's Introduction to his Edition of the New Testament will be essayed now. Such a criticism has been already made by Dean Burgon in the 306th number of the Quarterly Review, and has [pg 091] been republished in The Revision Revised114. The object here pursued is only to remove the difficulties which Dr. Hort interposes in the development of our own treatise. Dr. Hort has done a valuable service to the cause of Textual Criticism by supplying the rationale of the attitude of the School of Lachmann. We know what it really means, and against what principles we have to contend. He has also displayed a contrast and a background to the true theory; and has shewn where the drawing and colouring are either ill-made or are defective. More than all, he has virtually destroyed his own theory.

The parts of it to which I refer are in substance briefly the following:

“The text found in the mass of existing MSS. does not date further back than the middle of the fourth century. Before that text was made up, other forms of text were in vogue, which may be termed respectively Neutral, Western, and Alexandrian. The text first mentioned arose in Syria and more particularly at Antioch. Originally there had been in Syria an Old-Syriac, which after Cureton is to be identified with the Curetonian. In the third century, about 250 a.d., ‘an authoritative revision, accepted by Syriac Christendom,’ was made, of which the locality would be either Edessa or Nisibis, or else Antioch itself. ‘This revision was grounded probably upon an authoritative revision at Antioch’ (p. 137) of the Greek texts which called for such a recension on account of their ‘growing diversity and confusion.’ Besides these two, a second revision of the Greek texts, or a third counting the Syriac revision, similarly authoritative, was completed at Antioch ‘by 350 or thereabouts’; but what was now ‘the Vulgate Syriac’ text, that is the Peshitto, did not again undergo any corresponding revision. From the last Greek revision [pg 092] issued a text which was afterwards carried to Constantinople—‘Antioch being the true ecclesiastical parent of Constantinople’—and thenceforward became the Text dominant in Christendom till the present century. Nevertheless, it is not the true Text, for that is the ‘Neutral’ text, and it may be called ‘Syrian.’ Accordingly, in investigations into the character and form of the true Text, ‘Syrian’ readings are to be ‘rejected at once, as proved to have a relatively late origin.’ ”

A few words will make it evident to unprejudiced judges that Dr. Hort has given himself away in this part of his theory.

1. The criticism of the Canon and language of the Books of the New Testament is but the discovery and the application of the record of Testimony borne in history to those books or to that language. For a proof of this position as regards the Canon, it is sufficient to refer to Bishop Westcott's admirable discussion upon the Canon of the New Testament. And as with the Books generally, so with the details of those Books—their paragraphs, their sentences, their clauses, their phrases, and their words. To put this dictum into other terms:—The Church, all down the ages, since the issue of the original autographs, has left in Copies or in Versions or in Fathers manifold witness to the books composed and to the words written. Dr. Hort has had the unwisdom from his point of view to present us with some fifteen centuries, and—I must in duty say it—the audacity to label those fifteen centuries of Church Life with the title “Syrian,” which as used by him I will not characterize, for he has made it amongst his followers a password to contemptuous neglect. Yet those fifteen centuries involve everything. They commenced when the Church was freeing herself from heresy and formulating her Faith. They advanced amidst the most sedulous care of Holy Scripture. They implied a consentient record from [pg 093] the first, except where ignorance, or inaccuracy, or carelessness, or heresy, prevailed. And was not Dr. Hort aware, and do not his adherents at the present day know, that Church Life means nothing arbitrary, but all that is soundest and wisest and most complete in evidence, and most large-minded in conclusions? Above all, did he fancy, and do his followers imagine, that the Holy Ghost who inspired the New Testament could have let the true Text of it drop into obscurity during fifteen centuries of its life, and that a deep and wide and full investigation (which by their premisses they will not admit) must issue in the proof that under His care the Word of God has been preserved all through the ages in due integrity?—This admission alone when stripped of its disguise, is plainly fatal to Dr. Hort's theory.

2. Again, in order to prop up his contention, Dr. Hort is obliged to conjure up the shadows of two or three “phantom revisions,” of which no recorded evidence exists115. We must never forget that subjective theory or individual speculation are valueless, when they do not agree with facts, except as failures leading to some better system. But Dr. Hort, as soon as he found that he could not maintain his ground with history as it was, instead of taking back his theory and altering it to square with facts, tampered with historical facts in order to make them agree with his theory. This is self-evident: no one has been able to adduce, during the quarter of a century that has elapsed since Dr. Hort published his book, passages to shew that Dr. Hort was right, and that his supposed revisions really took place. The acute calculations of Adams and Leverrier would have been very soon forgotten, if Neptune had not appeared to vindicate their correctness.

But I shall not leave matters here, though it is evident [pg 094] that Dr. Hort is confuted out of his own mouth. The fifteen centuries of dominant evidence, which he admits to have been on our side, involve the other centuries that had passed previously, because the Catholic Church of Christ is ever consistent with itself, and are thus virtually decisive of the controversy; besides the collapse of his theory when superimposed upon the facts of history and found not to coincide with them. I proceed to prove from the surviving records of the first three or four centuries, during the long period that elapsed between the copying of the Vatican and Sinaitic MSS. and the days of the Evangelists, that the evidence of Versions and Fathers is on our side.

And first of the Fathers.

§ 2. Testimony of the Ante-Chrysostom Writers.

No one, I believe, has till now made a systematic examination of the quotations occurring in the writings of the Fathers who died before a.d. 400 and in public documents written prior to that date. The consequence is that many statements have been promulgated respecting them which are inconsistent with the facts of the case. Dr. Hort, as I shall shew, has offended more than once in this respect. The invaluable Indexes drawn up by Dean Burgon and those who assisted him, which are of the utmost avail in any exhaustive examination of Patristic evidence upon any given text, are in this respect of little use, the question here being, What is the testimony of all the Fathers in the first four centuries, and of every separate Father, as to the MSS. used by them or him, upon the controversy waged between the maintainers of the Traditional Text on the one side, and on the other the defenders of the Neologian Texts? The groundwork of such an [pg 095] examination evidently lies not in separate passages of the Gospels, but in the series of quotations from them found in the works of the collective or individual Fathers of the period under consideration.

I must here guard myself. In order to examine the text of any separate passage, the treatment must be exhaustive, and no evidence if possible should be left out. The present question is of a different kind. Dr. Hort states that the Traditional Text, or as he calls it “the Syrian,” does not go back to the earliest times, that is as he says, not before the middle of the fourth century. In proving my position that it can be traced to the very first, it would be amply sufficient if I could shew that the evidence is half on our side and half on the other. It is really found to be much more favourable to us. We fully admit that corruption prevailed from the very first116: and so, we do not demand as much as our adversaries require for their justification. At all events the question is of a general character, and does not depend upon a little more evidence or a little less. And the argument is secondary in its nature: it relates to the principles of the evidence, not directly to the establishment of any particular reading. It need not fail therefore if it is not entirely exhaustive, provided that it gives a just and fair representation of the whole case. Nevertheless, I have endeavoured to make it exhaustive as far as my power would admit, having gone over the whole field a second time, and having employed all the care in either scrutiny that I could command.

The way in which my investigation has been accomplished is as follows:—A standard of reference being absolutely necessary, I have kept before me a copy of Dr. Scrivener's Cambridge Greek Testament, a.d. 1887, in which the disputed passages are printed in black type, although the [pg 096] Text there presented is the Textus Receptus from which the Traditional Text as revised by Dean Burgon and hereafter to be published differs in many passages. It follows therefore that upon some of these the record, though not unfavourable to us, has many times been included in our opponents' column. I have used copies of the Fathers in which the quotations were marked, chiefly those in Migne's Series, though I have also employed other editions where I could find any of superior excellence as well as Migne. Each passage with its special reading was entered down in my note-book upon one column or the other. Successive citations thus fell on either side when they witnessed upon the disputed points so presented. But all doubtful quotations (under which head were included all that were not absolutely clear) were discarded as untrustworthy witnesses in the comparison that was being made; and all instances too of mere spelling, because these latter might have been introduced into the text by copyists or editors through an adaptation to supposed orthography in the later ages when the text of the Father in question was copied or printed. The fact also that deflections from the text more easily catch the eye than undeviating rejection of deflections was greatly to the advantage of the opposite side. And lastly, where any doubt arose I generally decided questions against my own contention, and have omitted to record many smaller instances favourable to us which I should have entered in the other column. From various reasons the large majority of passages proved to be irrelevant to this inquiry, because no variation of reading occurred in them, or none which has been adopted by modern editors. Such were favourite passages quoted again and again as the two first verses of St. John's Gospel, “I and My Father are one,” “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” “No man knoweth the Father but the Son,” and many others. In Latin books, more quotations had to be rejected than in Greek, [pg 097] because the verdict of a version cannot be so close as the witness of the original language.

An objection may perhaps be made, that the texts of the books of the Fathers are sure to have been altered in order to coincide more accurately with the Received Text. This is true of the Ethica, or Moralia, of Basil, and of the Regulae brevius Tractatae, which seem to have been read constantly at meals, or were otherwise in continual use in Religious Houses. The monks of a later age would not be content to hear every day familiar passages of Holy Scripture couched in other terms than those to which they were accustomed, and which they regarded as correct. This fact was perfectly evident upon examination, because these treatises were found to give evidence for the Textus Receptus in the proportion of about 6:1, whereas the other books of St. Basil yielded according to a ratio of about 8:3.

For the same reason I have not included Marcion's edition of St. Luke's Gospel, or Tatian's Diatessaron, in the list of books and authors, because such representations of the Gospels having been in public use were sure to have been revised from time to time, in order to accord with the judgement of those who read or heard them. Our readers will observe that these were self-denying ordinances, because by the inclusion of the works mentioned the list on the Traditional side would have been greatly increased. Yet our foundations have been strengthened, and really the position of the Traditional Text rests so firmly upon what is undoubted, that it can afford to dispense with services which may be open to some suspicion117. And the natural inference remains, that the difference between the witness of the Ethica and the Regulae brevius Tractatae on the one hand, and that of the other works of Basil on the [pg 098] other, suggests that too much variation, and too much which is evidently characteristic variation, of readings meets us in the works of the several Fathers, for the existence of any doubt that in most cases we have the words, though perhaps not the spelling, as they issued originally from the author's pen118. Variant readings of quotations occurring in different editions of the Fathers are found, according to my experience, much less frequently than might have been supposed. Where I saw a difference between MSS. noted in the Benedictine or other editions or in copies from the Benedictine or other prints, of course I regarded the passage as doubtful and did not enter it. Acquaintance with this kind of testimony cannot but render its general trustworthiness the more evident. The habit of quotation of authorities from the Fathers by Tischendorf and all Textual Critics shews that they have always been taken to be in the main trustworthy. It is in order that we may be on sure ground that I have rejected many passages on both sides, and a larger number of cases of pettier testimony on the Traditional side.

In the examination of the Greek Fathers, Latin Translations have generally been neglected (except in the case of St. Irenaeus119), because the witness of a version is secondhand, and Latin translators often employed a rendering with which they were familiar in representing in Latin passages cited from the Gospels in Greek. And in the case even of Origen and especially of the later Fathers before a.d. 400, it is not certain whether the translation, such as that of Rufinus, comes within the limit of time prescribed. The evidence of the Father as to whether he [pg 099] used a Text or Texts of one class or another is of course much better exhibited in his own Greek writing, than where some one else has translated his words into Latin. Accordingly, in the case of the Latin Fathers, only the clearest evidence has been admitted. Some passages adduced by Tischendorf have been rejected, and later experience has convinced me that such rejections made in the earlier part of my work were right. In a secondary process like this, if only the cup were borne even, no harm could result, and it is of the greatest possible importance that the foundation of the building should be sound.

The general results will appear in the annexed Table. The investigation was confined to the Gospels. For want of a better term, I have uniformly here applied the title “Neologian” to the Text opposed to ours.

Fathers. Traditional Text. Neologian.
Patres Apostolici and Didachè 11 4
Epistle to Diognetus 1 0
Papias 1 0
Justin Martyr 17 20
Heracleon 1 7
Gospel of Peter 2 0
Seniores apud Irenaeum 2 0
Athenagoras 3 1
Irenaeus (Latin as well as Greek) 63 41
Hegesippus 2 0
Theophilus Antiochenus 2 4
Testament of Abraham 4 0
Epistola Viennensium et Lugdunensium 1 0
Clement of Alexandria 82 72
Tertullian 74 65
Clementines 18 7
Hippolytus 26 11
Callixtus (Pope) 1 0
Pontianus (Pope) 0 2
Origen 460 491
Julius Africanus 1 1
Gregory Thaumaturgus 11 3
Novatian 6 4
Cornelius (Pope) 4 1
Synodical Letter 1 2
Cyprian 100 96
Concilia Carthaginiensia 8 4
Dionysius of Alexandria 12 5
Synodus Antiochena 3 1
Acta Pilati 5 1
Theognostus 0 1
Archelaus (Manes) 11 2
Pamphilus 5 1
Methodius 14 8
Peter of Alexandria 7 8
Alexander Alexandrinus 4 0
Lactantius 0 1
Juvencus 1 2
Arius 2 1
Acta Philippi 2 1
Apostolic Canons and Constitutions 61 28
Eusebius (Caesarea) 315 214
Theodorus Heracleensis 2 0
Athanasius 179 119
Firmicus Maternus 3 1
Julius (Pope) 1 2
Serapion 5 1
Eustathius 7 2
Macarius Aegyptius or Magnus120 36 17
Hilary (Poictiers) 73 39
Candidus Arianus 0 1
Eunomius 1 0
Didymus 81 36
Victorinus of Pettau 4 3
Faustinus 4 0
Zeno 3 5
Basil 272 105
Victorinus Afer 14 14
Lucifer of Cagliari 17 20
Titus of Bostra 44 24
Cyril of Jerusalem 54 32
Pacianus 2 2
Optatus 10 3
Quaestiones ex Utroque Test 13 6
Gregory of Nyssa 91 28
Philastrius 7 6
Gregory of Nazianzus 18 4
Amphilochius 27 10
Epiphanius 123 78
Ambrose 169 77
Macarius Magnes 11 5
Diodorus of Tarsus 1 0
Evagrius Ponticus 4 0
Esaias Abbas 1 0
Nemesius 0 1
Philo of Carpasus121 9 2
——
2630 1753

The testimony therefore of the Early Fathers is emphatically, according to the issue of numbers, in favour of the Traditional Text, being about 3:2. But it is also necessary to inform the readers of this treatise, that here quality confirms quantity. A list will now be given of thirty important [pg 102] passages in which evidence is borne on both sides, and it will be seen that 530 testimonies are given in favour of the Traditional readings as against 170 on the other side. In other words, the Traditional Text beats its opponent in a general proportion of 3 to 1. This result supplies a fair idea of the two records. The Neologian record consists mainly of unimportant, or at any rate of smaller alterations, such as δέδωκα for ἔδωκα, ὁ οὐράνιος for ὁ εν οὐρανοῖς, φοβεῖσθε for φοβηθῆτε, disarrangements of the order of words, omissions of particles, besides of course greater omissions of more or less importance. In fact, a great deal of the variations suggest to us that they took their origin when the Church had not become familiar with the true readings, the verba ipsissima, of the Gospels, and when an atmosphere of much inaccuracy was spread around. It will be readily understood how easily the text of the Holy Gospels might have come to be corrupted in oral teaching whether from the pulpit or otherwise, and how corruptions must have so embedded themselves in the memories and in the copies of many Christians of the day, that it needed centuries before they could be cast out. That they were thus rooted out to a large extent must have been due to the loving zeal and accuracy of the majority. Such was a great though by no means the sole cause of corruption. But before going further, it will be best to exhibit the testimony referred to as it is borne by thirty of the most important passages in dispute. They have been selected with care: several which were first chosen had to be replaced by others, because of their absence from the quotations of the period under consideration. Of course, the quotations are limited to that period. Quotations are made in this list also from Syriac sources. Besides my own researches, The Last Twelve Verses, and The Revision Revised, of Dean Burgon have been most prolific of apposite passages. A reference here and there has been [pg 103] added from Resch's Ausser-Canonische Paralleltexte zu den Evangelien, Leipzig, 1894-5.

1. St. Matt. i. 25. Πρωτότοκον.
On the Traditional side:—
Tatian (Diatessaron).
Athanasius (c. Apoll. i. 20; ii. 15).
Basil (Adv. Eunom. iv. (291); in S. Xti. Gen. 5; i. 392; ii. 599, 600).
Didymus (Trin. iii. 4).
Cyril Jerus. (Cat. vii. 9).
Gregory Nyss. (ii. 229).
Ephraem Syras (Commentary on Diatessaron).
Epiphanius (Haer. II. li. 5; III. lxxxviii. 17, &c.—5 times).
Ambrose (De Fid. I. xiv. 89)122.
Against:—I can discover nothing.
2. St. Matt. v. 44 (some of the clauses).
Traditional:—Separate clauses are quoted by—
Didachè (§ I).
Polycarp (x.).
Justin M. (Apol. i. 15).
Athenagoras (Leg. pro Christian. 11).
Tertullian (De Patient, vi.).
Theophilus Ant. (Ad Autolycum).
Clemens Alex. (Paed. i. 8; Strom. iv. 14; vii. 14).
Origen (De Orat. i.; Cels. viii. 35; 41).
Eusebius (Praep. Ev. xiii. 7; Comment, in Isai. 66; Comment. in Ps. 3; 108).
Athanasius (De Incarnat. c. Arian. 3; 13).
Apost. Const, (i. 1, all the clauses; vii. I).
Gregory Naz. (Orat. iv. 124).
Gregory Nyss. (In Bapt. Christ.; In S. Stephanum).
Lucifer (Pro S. Athan. ii.).
Philo of Carpasus (I. 7).
Pacianus (Epist. ii.).
Hilary (Tract. in Ps. cxviii. 9. 9; 10. 16).
Ambrose (De Abrahamo ii. 30; In Ps. xxxviii. 10; In Ps. cxviii. 12. 51).
Aphraates (Dem. ii.).
Apocryphal Acts of the Gospels (p. 89).
Against:—
Cyprian (De Bono Patient, v.; De Zelo xv.; Test. ad Jud. iii. 49).
Irenaeus (Haer. III. xviii. 5).
Origen (Comment. on St. John XX. xv.; xxvii.).
Eusebius (Dem. Evan. xiii. 7).
Gregory Nyss. (In Bapt. Christ.).
[pg 104]
3. St. Matt. vi. 13. Doxology.
Traditional:—
Didachè (viii, with variation).
Apostol. Const. (iii. 18; vii. 25, with variation).
Ambrose (De Sacr. vi. 5. 24).
Against (?), i.e. generally silent about it:—
Tertullian (De Orat. 8).
Cyprian (De Orat. Dom. 27).
Origen (De Orat. 18).
Cyril Jerus. (Cat. xxiii., Myst. 5, 18).
Gregory Nyss. is doubtful (De Orat. Dom. end).
4. St. Matt. vii. 13, 14. Ἡ πύλη.
Traditional:—
Hippolytus (In Susannam v. 18).
Testament of Abraham(5 times).
Origen (Select. in Ps. xvi.; Comment. in Matt. xii. 12).
Ambrose (Epist. I. xxviii. 6).
Esaias Abbas.
Philo of Carpasus (iii. 73).
Against:—
Hippolytus (Philosoph. v. 1. 1—bis).
Origen (Cels. vi. 17; Select. in Ps. xlv. 2; cxvii.; c. Haeres. v. 8).
Cyprian (De Hab. Virg. xxi.; Test. ad Jud. iii. 6).
Eusebius (Eclog. Proph. iii. 4; Comment. in Ps. 3).
Clemens Alex. (Strom. IV. ii.; vi.; v. 5; Cohort. ad Gent. p. 79).
Basil (Hom. in Ps. xxxiii. 4; xlv. 2).
Cyril Jerus. (Cat. iii. 7).
Gregory Nyss. (c. Fornicarios).
Ambrose (Exposit. in Luc. iv. 37).
Philo of Carpasus (i. 7).
Macarius Aegypt. (Hom. xxviii.).
Lucifer (De Athan. ii.; Moriendum esse).
5. St. Matt. ix. 13. εἰς μετάνοιαν. Mark ii. 17.
Traditional:—
Barnabas (5).
Justin M. (Apol. i. 15).
Irenaeus (III. v. 2).
Origen (Comment. in Joh. xxviii. 16).
Eusebius (Comment. in Ps. cxlvi.).
Hilary (Comment. in Matt. ad loc.).
Basil (De Poenitent. 3; Hom. in Ps. xlviii. 1; Epist. Class. I. xlvi. 6).
[pg 105]
Against:—
Clemens Rom. (ii. 2).
Hilary (in Mark ii. 17).
6. St. Matt. xi. 27. βούληται ἀποκάλυψαι.
Traditional:—
Irenaeus (c. Haeres. IV. vi. 1).
Archelaus—Manes (xxxvii.).
Clementines (Recog. ii. 47; Hom. xvii. 4; xviii. 4; 13).
Athanasius (Matt. xi. 27—commenting upon it; De Incarn. c. Arian. 7; 13; 47; 48; c. Arianos iii. 26; 49; c. Sabell. Greg. 4).
Didymus (De Trin. iii. 36).
Basil (Adv. Eunom. v. 314).
Victorinus Afer (Adv. Arium i. 15).
Ambrose (De Fide V. xvi. 201; De Spir. S. II. xi. 123).
Gregory Nyss. (c. Eunom. i.).
Hilary (Comment. in Matt. ad loc.; De Trin. ii. 10; vi. 26; ix. 50; Frag. xv.).
Quaestiones ex N. T. (124).
Against:—
Irenaeus (c. Haeres. I. xx. 3; II. vi. I; IV. vi. 3).
Clemens Alex. (Cohort. ad Gent. i. end; Paed. i. 5; Strom. i. 28; v. 13; vii. 10; 18; Quis Div. Salv. viii.).
Justin M. (Apol. i. 63—bis; Dial. c. Tryph. 100).
Origen (Cels. vi. 17; Comm. in Joh. i. 42).
Synodus Antiochena.
Athanasius (Hist. Arian. xii.; c. Arian. i. 12; 39; iv. 23; Serm. Maj. de Fide, 28).
Didymus (De Trin. ii. 16).
Eusebius (Eclog. Proph. i. 11; De Eccles. Theol. I. xv; xvi.).
Basil (Adv. Eunom. v. 311).
Cyril Jerus. (Cat. vi. 6; x. 1).
Epiphanius (Adv. Haeres. i. 34. 18; ii. 54. 4; iii. 65. 4; 76. 4; 29; Ancor. 67).
7. St. Matt. xvii. 21. The Verse.
Traditional:—
Clement Alex. Ἐκλογαι ἐκ τ. προφ xv.
Origen (Comment. in Matt. xiii. 7; Hom. i.).
Athanasius (De Virg. vii.).
Basil (De Jejun. Hom. i. 9; Reg. fus. tract. xviii.; Hom, de Jejun. iii.).
Juveneus (iii. vv. 381-2).
Ambrose (In Ps. xlv. 9; Epist. Class. I. xlii. 11).
Hilary (Comment. in Matt. ad loc).
[pg 106]
Against:—none, so far as I can find.
8. St. Matt. xviii. 11. The Verse.
Traditional:—
Origen (ii. 147; Conc. v. 675). Tertullian (Pudic. 9; Resurr. 9).
Ambrose (De Interpell. Dav. IV. ii. 4; Expos. in Luc. vii. 209; De Fid. Res. II. 6)123.
Against:—none, so far as I can find.
9. St. Matt. xix. 16, 17. ἀγαθέ, and περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ.
Traditional:—
Clemens Alex. (Strom. v. 10).
Origen—ἀγαθέ (Comment. in Matt. xv. 10).
Eusebius (Praep. Evan. xi. 21).
Athanasius (De Incarn. c. Arian. 7).
Cyril Jerus. (Cat. xviii. 30).
Gregory Naz. (i. 529).
Hilary (Comment. in Matt. ad loc.).
Epiphanius (Adv. Haeres. I. iii. 34. 18).
Macarius Magnes (i. 9)124.
Against:—
Origen (Praep. Evan. xi. 19; Comment. in Matt. xv. 10.—bis).
Eusebius (Praep. Evan. xi. 21).
Novatian (De Trin. xxx.).
Hilary—omits ἀγαθέ (Comment. in loc.).
10. St. Matt. xxiii. 38. ἔρημος. St. Luke xiii. 35.
Traditional:—
Cyprian (Test. ad Jud. i. 6).
Irenaeus (c. Haeres. IV. xxxvi. 8; xxxvii. 5).
Clemens Alex. (Paed. i. 9).
Methodius (Serm. de Simeone et Anna).
Origen (Hom. in Jerem. vii.— bis; X.; xiii.; Select. in Jeremiam xv.; in Threnos iv. 6).
Apostol. Const. (vi. 5).
Eusebius (Dem. Evan. II. iv. (38)—four times; IV. xvi. (189); VI. (291); viii. (401); x. (481); Eclog. Proph. IV. [pg 107] i.; Comment. in Ps. 73—bis; 77; 79; in Isaiam 7-8; De Theophan. vii.—tris).
Basil (Comment. in Isaiam i. 20).
Cyril Jerus. (Cat. xiii. 32).
Philo of Carpasus (iii. 83).
Ambrose (In Ps. xliii. 69; In Cant. Cant. iv. 54).
Against:—
Didymus (Expos. in Ps. 67).
Epiphanius (Adv. Haeres. I. iii. 40).
Zeno (xiv. 2).
11. St. Matt. xxvii. 34. Ὄξος and οἶνον.
Traditional:—
Gospel of Peter (§ 5).
Acta Philippi (§ 26).
Barnabas (§ 7).
Irenaeus.
Tertullian.
Celsus.
Origen.
Eusebius of Emesa.
Theodore of Heraclea.
Didymus.
Gregory Naz.
Gregory Nyss.
Ephraem Syrus.
Titus of Bostra.
Against:—
Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles.
Macarius Magnes (ii. 12).
Gospel of Nicodemus125.
12. St. Matt. xxviii. 2. ἀπὸ τῆς θύρας.
Traditional:—
Gospel of Nicodemus.
Aeta Philippi.
Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles.
Eusebius (ad Marinum, ii. 4).
Greg. Nyss. (De Christ. Resurr. I. 390, 398)126?

Compare also Acta Pilati (ἀπὸ τοῦ στόματος τοῦ σπηλαίου, and ἐκ τοῦ μνημείου), and Gospel of Peter (ἐπὶ τῆς θύρασ—ἐπὶ τῆς θύρας).

Against:—
Dionysius Alex. (Epist. Canon. ad Basilidem).
Origen (c. Celsum, ii. 70).
Apostol. Can. (vii. 1).
[pg 108]
13. St. Matt. xxviii. 19. βαπτίζοντες.
Traditional:—
Irenaeus (c. Haeres. III. xvii. 1).
Hippolytus (c. Haeres. Noet. 14).
Apostolic Canons (pp. 29; 43; 49 (Lagarde); Const. ii. 26; iv. 1; vii. 22).
Concilia Carthaginiensia (vii.—tris).
Ps. Justin (Expos. Rect. Fid. v.).
Tertullian (De Baptismo xiii.).
Cyprian (Epist. ad Jubaianum v.; xxv. 2 tingentes; lxiii. 18; ad Novatianum Heret. iii.—3rd cent.; Testimon. II. xxvi. tingentes).
Eusebius (c. Marcell. I. i.).
Athanasius (Epist. Encycl. i.; Epist. ad Serap. i. 6; 28; ii. 6; iii. 6; iv. 5; de Syn. 23; De Titulis Ps. 148).
Basil (Adv. Eunom. v. 299; De Fide 4; De Bapt. I. 1; ii. 6; Epist. Class. I. viii. 11; II. ccx. 3).
Didymus (De Trin. i. 30; 36; ii. 5; iii. 23).
Cyril Jerus. (Cat. xvi. 4).
Hilary (Comment. in Matt. ad loc.; c. Auxentium 14; De Syn. xxix.; De Trin. ii. 1).
Amphilochius (Epist. Synod.).
Gregory Nyss. (c. Eunom. xi.; In Bapt. Christ.; In Christ. Resurr.—bis; Epist. v.; xxiv.).
Victorinus of Pettau (In Apoc. i. 15).
Optatus (De Schism. Don. v. 5).
Firmicus Maternus (De Error. Profan. Relig. xxv.).
Ambrose (De Joseph. xii. 71).
Victorinus Afer (Adv. Arium iv. 18).
Epiphanius (Adv. Haeres. iii. 73. 3; 74. 5; ἀνακεφαλαίωσις, end).
Against:—none.
14. St. Mark i. 2. τοῖς προφήταις ... Ησαΐᾳ.
Traditional:—
Titus of Bostra.
Origen.
Porphyry.
Irenaeus (III. xvi. 3).
Eusebius.
Ambrose127.
Against:—
Irenaeus (III. xi. 8).
Origen (Cels. ii. 4; Comment. in John i. 14).
Titus of Bostra (Adv. Manich. iii. 4).
Epiphanius.
[pg 109]
Basil (Adv. Eunom. ii. 15).
Epiphanius (Adv. Haeres. II. i. 51).
Serapion.
Victorinus of Pettau (In Apoc. S. Joann.).
15. St. Mark xvi. 9-20. Last Twelve Verses.
Traditional:—
Papias (Eus. H. E. iii. 39).
Justin Martyr (Tryph. 53; Apol. i. 45).
Irenaeus (c. Haer. III. x. 6; iv. 56).
Tertullian (De Resurr. Carn. xxxvii.; Adv. Praxeam xxx.).
Clementines (Epit. 141).
Hippolytus (c. Haer. Noet. ad fin.).
Vincentius (2nd Council of Carthage—Routh, Rell. Sacr. iii. p. 124).
Acta Pilati (xiv. 2).
Apost. Can. and Const. (can. 1; v. 7; 19; vi. 15; 30; viii. 1).
Eusebius (Mai, Script. Vett. Nov. Collect. i. p. 1).
Cyril Jerus. (Cat. xiv. 27).
Syriac Table of Canons.
Macarius Magnes (iii. 16; 24).
Aphraates (Dem. i.—bis).
Didymus (Trin. ii. 12).
Syriac Acts of the Apostles.
Epiphanius (Adv. Haer. I. xliv. 6).
Gregory Nyss. (In Christ. Resurr. ii.).
Apocryphal Acts of the Gospel—Wright (4; 17; 24).
Ambrose (Hexameron vi. 38; De Interpell. ii. 5; Apol. proph. David II. iv. 26; Luc. vii. 81; De Poenit. I. viii. 35; De Spir. S. II. xiii. 151).
Against:—
Eusebius (Mai, Script. Vett. Nov. Collect. i. p. 1)128.
16. St. Luke i. 28. εὐλογημένη, κ.τ.λ.
Traditional:—
Tertullian (De Virg. Vel. vi.).
Eusebius (Dem. Evan. vii. 329).
Aphraates (Dem. ix.).
Ambrose (Exposit. in loc.).
Against:—
Titus of Bostra (Exposit. in loc.; Adv. Manich. iii.).
[pg 110]
17. St. Luke ii. 14. Εὐδοκία.
Traditional:—
Irenaeus (III. x. 4).
Origen (c. Celsum i. 60; Selecta in Ps. xlv.; Comment. in Matt. xvii.; Comment. in Joh. i. 13).
Apostol. Const. (vii. 47; viii. 12).
Methodius (Serm. de Simeon. et Anna).
Eusebius (Dem. Ev. iv. (163); vii. (342)).
Gregory Thaumaturgus (De Fid. Cap. 12).
Aphraates (Dem. ix.; xx.).
Titus of Bostra (Expos. in Luc. ad loc).
Athanasius (De Tit. Pss. Ps. cxlviii.).
Didymus (De Trin. i. 27; Expos. in Ps. lxxxiv.).
Basil (In S. Christ. Gen. 5).
Gregory Naz. (Or. xlv. i.).
Philo of Carpasus (iii. 167).
Epiphanius (Haer. I. 30. 29; III. 78. 15).
Gregory Nyss. (In Ps. xiv.; In Cant. Cant. xv.; In Diem Nat. Christ. 1138; De Occurs. Dom. 1156).
Ephraem Syr.129 (Gr. iii. 434).
Against:—
Irenaeus (III. x. 4).
Optatus (De Schism. Don. iv. 4).
Cyril Jerus. (Cat. xii. 72).
Ambrose (Exposit. in Luc. ad loc.).
Juvencus (II. v. 174).
18. St. Luke x. 41-2. Ὀλίγων χρεία ἐστίν, ἢ ἑνός.
Traditional:—
Basil (Const. Monast. i. 1).
Macarius Aegypt. (De Orat.).
Evagrius Ponticus.
Against:—
Titus of Bostra (Exposit. in Luc. ad loc. But μεριμνᾷς).
19. St. Luke xxii. 43-4. Ministering Angel and Agony.
Traditional:—
Justin M. (Tryph. 103).
Irenaeus (Haer. III. xxii. 2; IV. xxxv. 3).
Tatian (Ciasca, 556).
Hippolytus (c. Haer. Noet. 5; 18).
Marcion (ad loc.).
Dionysius Alex. (Hermen. in Luc. ad loc.).
Eusebius (Sect. 283).
Athanasius (Expos. in Ps. lxviii.).
Ephraem Syrus (ap. Theodor. Mops.).
Gregory Naz. (xxx. 16).
[pg 111]
Didymus (Trin. iii. 21).
Titus of Bostra (In Luc. ad loc.).
Epiphanius (Haer. II. (2) lxix. 19; 59; Ancor. 31; 37).
Arius (Epiph. Haer. lxix. 19; 61)130.
Against:—none.
20. St. Luke xxiii. 34. Our Lord's Prayer for His murderers.
Traditional:—
Hegesippus (Eus. H. E. ii. 23).
Ps. Justin (Quaest. et Respons. 108—bis).
Irenaeus (c. Haer. III. xviii. 5).
Archelaus (xliv.).
Marcion (in loc.).
Hippolytus (c. Noet. 18).
Clementines (Recogn. vi. 5; Hom. xi. 20).
Apost. Const. (ii. 16; v. 14).
Athanasius (De Tit. Pss., Ps. cv.).
Eusebius (canon x.).
Didymus (Trin. iii. 21).
Amphilochius (Orat. in d. Sabbati).
Hilary (De Trin. i. 32).
Ambrose (De Joseph, xii. 69; De Interpell. III. ii. 6; In Ps. CXVIII. iii. 8; xiv. 28; Expos. Luc. v. 77; x. 62; Cant. Cant. i. 46).
Gregory Nyss. (De Perf. Christ. anim. forma—bis).
Titus of Bostra (Comment. Luc. ad loc.—bis).
Acta Pilati (x. 5).
Basil (Adv. Eunom. iv. 290).
Gregory Naz. (Orat. iv. 78).
Ephraem Syr. (ii. 321).
Acta Philippi (§ 26).
Quaestiones ex Utroque Test. (N.T. 67; Mixtae II. (1) 4).
Apocryphal Acts of the Gospels (Wright), 11; (16)131.
Against:—none.
21. St. Luke xxiii. 38. The Superscription.
Traditional:—
Marcion (ad loc.).
Eusebius (Eclog. Proph. II. xiv.).
Gospel of Peter (i. 11).
Acta Pilati (x. 1).
Gregory Nyss. (In Cant. Cant. vii.).
Titus of Bostra (In Luc. ad loc).
Against:—none.
[pg 112]
22. St. Luke xxiii. 45. ἐσκοτίσθη.
Traditional:—
Marcion (ad loc.).
Gospel of Peter (§ 5).
Acta Pilati.
Anaphora Pilati (§ 7).
Hippolytus (c. Haer. Noet. 18).
Tertullian (Adv. Jud. xiii.).
Athanasius (De Incarn. Verb. 49; ad Adelph. 3; ap. Epiph. i. 1006).
Cyril Jerus. (Cat. xiii. 24).
Macarius Magnes (iii. 17).
Julius Africanus (Chronicon, v. 1).
Apocryphal Acts of the Gospels (Wright, p. 16).
Ephraem Syrus (ii. 48).
Against:—
Origen (Cels. ii. 35).
Acta Pilati.

Eusebius mentions the reading ἐκλιπόντος, but appears afterwards to condemn it132.

23. St. Luke xxiv. 40. The Verse.
Traditional:—
Marcion (ad loc.).
Tertullian (De Carne Christi 5).
Athanasius (ad Epictet. 7; quoted by Epiph. i. 1003).
Eusebius (ap. Mai, ii. 294).
Ambrose (ap. Theodoret, iv. 141).
Epiphanius (Haer. III. lxxvii. 9)133.
Against:—none.
24. St. Luke xxiv. 42. ἀπὸ μελισσίου κηρίου.
Traditional:—
Marcion (ad loc.).
Justin Martyr (bis).
Clemens Alex.
Tertullian.
Athanasius (c. Arian. iv. 35).
Cyril Jerus. (bis).
Gregory Nyss.
Epiphanius.
Against:—
Clemens Alex. Paed. i. 5134.
[pg 113]
25. St. John i. 3-4. Full stop at the end of the Verse?
Traditional:—
Athanasius (Serm. in Nativ. Christ. iii.).
Eusebius (Praep. Evan. xi. 19).
Didymus (De Trin. I. xv.).
Gregory Nyss. (c. Eunom. i. p. 348—bis; ii. p. 450; p. 461; p. 468; iv. p. 584; v. p. 591).
Epiphanius (Haer. I. (xliii.) 1; II. (li.) 12; (lxv.) 3; (lxix.) 56; Ancoratus lxxv.).
Alexandrians and Egyptians (Ambrose In Ps. 36).
Against:—
Irenaeus (I. viii. 5 (2); III. xi. 1).
Theodotus (ap. Clem. Alex. vi.).
Hippolytus (Philosoph. V. i. 8; 17).
Clemens Alex. (Paed. ii. 9).
Valentinians (ap. Epiph. Haer. I. (xxxi.) 27).
Origen (c. Cels. vi. 5; Princip. II. ix. 4; IV. i. 30; In Joh. i. 22; 34; ii. 6; 10; 12; 13—bis; in Rom. iii. 10; 15; c. Haer. v. 151).
Eusebius (de Eccles. Theol. II. xiv.).
Basil (c. Eunom. V. 303).
Gregory Nyss. (De Cant. Cant. Hom. ii.).
Candidus Arianus (De Generat. Div.).
Victorinus Afer (Adv. Arium I. iv. 33; 41).
Hilary (De Trin. i. 10).
Ambrose (In Ps. xxxvi. 35 (4);
De Fide III. vi. 41-2—tris)135.
26. St. John i. 18. Ὁ Μονογένης Υἱός.
Traditional:—
Irenaeus (c. Haeres. III. xi. 6; IV. xx. 6).
Tertullian (Adv. Praxean xv.).
Hippolytus (c. Haeres. Noeti 5).
Synodus Antiochena.
Archelaus (Manes) (xxxii.).
Origen (Comment. in Joh. vi. 2; c. Celsum ii. 71).
Eusebius (De Eccles. Theol. I. ix.; II. xi.; xxiii.).
Alexander Alex. (Epist.).
Gregory Naz. (Orat. xxix. 17).
Cyril Jerus. (Cat. vii. 11).
Didymus (In Ps. cix.).
Athanasius (De Decr. Nic. Syn. xiii.; xxi.; c. Arianos ii. 62; iv. 26).
Titus of Bostra (Adv. Manichaeos iii. 6).
Basil (De Spir. S. xi.; Hom. in Ps. xxviii. 3; Epist. ccxxxiv.; Sermons xv. 3).
[pg 114]
Gregory Nyss. (c. Eunom. ii. p. 522).
Hilary (De Trin. iv. 8; 42; vi. 39; 40).
Ambrose (De Interpell. I. x. 30; De Benedict, xi. 51; Expos. in Luc. i. 25—bis; ii. 12; De Fide III. iii. 24; De Spir. S. I. i. 26).
Eustathius (De Engastr. 18).
Faustinus (De Trin. ii. 5—tris).
Quaest. ex Utroque Test. (71; 91).
Victorinus Afer (De Generat. Verb. xvi.; xx.; Adv. Arium i. 2—bis; iv. 8; 32).
Against:—
Irenaeus (IV. xx. 11).
Theodotus (ap. Clem. vi.).
Clemens Alex. (Strom. v. 12).
Origen (Comment, in Joh. II. 29; XXXII. 13).
Eusebius (Υἱὸς or Θεός, De Eccles. Theol. I. ix-x.).
Didymus (De Trin. i. 15; ii. 5; 16).
Arius (ap. Epiph. 73—Tisch.).
Basil (De Spiritu Sanct. vi.; c. Eunom. i. p. 623).
Gregory Nyss. (c. Eunom. iii. p. 577—bis; 581).
Epiphanius (Adv. Haeres. II. (lxv.) 5; III. (lxx.) 7).
27. St. John iii. 13. Ὁ ὢν ἐν τῷ Οὐρανῷ.
Traditional:—
Hippolytus (c. Haer. Noet. 4).
Novatian (De Trin. 13).
Athanasius (i. 1275; Frag. p. 1222, apud Panopl. Euthym. Zyg.).
Origen (In Gen. Hom. iv. 5; In Rom. viii. 2—bis).
Basil (Adv. Eunom. iv. 2).
Amphilochius (Sentent. et Excurs. xix.).
Didymus (De Trin. III. ix.).
Theodorus Heracleensis (In Is. liii. 5).
Lucifer (Pro S. Athan. ii.).
Epiphanius (Haer. II. lvii. 7).
Eustathius (De Engastr. 18).
Zeno (xii. I).
Hilary (Tract. in Ps. ii. 11; cxxxviii. 22; De Trin. x. 16).
Ambrose (In Ps. xxxix. 17; xliii. 39; Expos. in Luc. vii. 74).
Aphraates (Dem. viii.).

Against:—some Fathers quote as far as these words and then stop, so that it is impossible to know whether they stopped because the words were not in their copies, or because they did not wish to quote further. On some occasions at least it is evident that it was not to their purpose to quote further than they did, e.g. Greg. Naz. [pg 115] Ep. ci. Eusebius (Eclog. Proph. ii.) is only less doubtful136. See Revision Revised, p. 134, note.

28. St. John X. 14. γινώσκομαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἐμῶν.
Traditional:—
Macarius Aegypt. (Hom. vi.).
Gregory Naz. (orat. xv. end; xxxiii. 15).
Against:—
Eusebius (Comment. in Isaiam 8).
Basil (Hom. xxi.; xxiii.).
Epiphanius (Comm. in Ps. lxvi.)137.
29. St. John xvii. 24. οὕς (or ὅ).
Traditional:—
Irenaeus (c. Haeres. IV. xiv. 1).
Cyprian (De Mortal, xxii.; Test. ad Jud. iii. 58)138.
Clemens Alex. (Paed. i. 8).
Athanasius (De Tit. Pss. Ps. iii.).
Eusebius (De Eccles. Theol. iii. 17—bis; c. Marcell. p. 292).
Hilary (Tract. in Ps. lxiv. 5; De Trin. ix. 50).
Ambrose (De Bon. Mort. xii. 54; De Fide V. vi. 86; De Spirit. S. II. viii. 76).
Quaestiones ex N. T. (75)139.
Against:—
Clemens Alex. (140—Tisch.).
30. St. John xxi. 25. The Verse.
Traditional:—
Origen (Princ. II. vi.; vol. ii. 1 = 81; In Matt. XIV. 12; In Luc. Hom. xxvii; xxix; In Joh. I. 11; V. ap. Eus. H. E. VI. 25; XIII. 5; XIX. 2; XX. 27; Cat. Corder. p. 474).
Pamphilus (Apol. pro Orig. Pref.; iii. ap. Gall. iv. pp. 9, 15).
Eusebius (Mai, iv. 297; Eus. H. E. vi. 25; Lat. iii. 964).
Gregory Nyss. (c. Eunom. xii.—bis).
Gregory Naz. (Orat. xxviii. 20).
Ambrose (Expos. Luc. I. 11).
Philastrius (Gall. vii. 499)140.
Against:—none.
[pg 116]

As far as the Fathers who died before 400 a.d. are concerned, the question may now be put and answered. Do they witness to the Traditional Text as existing from the first, or do they not? The results of the evidence, both as regards the quantity and the quality of the testimony, enable us to reply, not only that the Traditional Text was in existence, but that it was predominant, during the period under review. Let any one who disputes this conclusion make out for the Western Text, or the Alexandrian, or for the Text of B and א, a case from the evidence of the Fathers which can equal or surpass that which has been now placed before the reader.

An objection may be raised by those who are not well acquainted with the quotations in the writings of the Fathers, that the materials of judgement here produced are too scanty. But various characteristic features in their mode of dealing with quotations should be particularly noticed. As far as textual criticism is concerned, the quotations of the Fathers are fitful and uncertain. They quote of course, not to hand down to future ages a record of readings, but for their own special purpose in view. They may quote an important passage in dispute, or they may leave it wholly unnoticed. They often quote just enough for their purpose, and no more. Some passages thus acquire a proverbial brevity. Again, they write down over and over again, with unwearied richness of citation, especially from St. John's Gospel, words which are everywhere accepted: in fact, all critics agree upon the most familiar places. Then again, the witness of the Latin Fathers cannot always be accepted as being free from doubt, as has been already explained. And the Greek Fathers themselves often work words of the New Testament into the roll of their rhetorical sentences, so that whilst evidence is given for the existence of a verse, or a longer passage, or a book, no certain conclusions can [pg 117] be drawn as to the words actually used or the order of them. This is particularly true of St. Gregory of Nazianzus to the disappointment of the Textual Critic, and also of his namesake of Nyssa, as well as of St. Basil. Others, like St. Epiphanius, quote carelessly. Early quotation was usually loose and inaccurate. It may be mentioned here, that the same Father, as has been known about Origen since the days of Griesbach, often used conflicting manuscripts. As will be seen more at length below, corruption crept in from the very first.

Some ideas have been entertained respecting separate Fathers which are not founded in truth. Clement of Alexandria and Origen are described as being remarkable for the absence of Traditional readings in their works141. Whereas besides his general testimony of 82 to 72 as we have seen, Clement witnesses in the list just given 8 times for them to 14 against them; whilst Origen is found 44 times on the Traditional aide to 27 on the Neologian. Clement as we shall see used mainly Alexandrian texts which must have been growing up in his days, though he witnesses largely to Traditional readings, whilst Origen employed other texts too. Hilary of Poictiers is far from being against the Traditional Text, as has been frequently said: though in his commentaries he did not use so Traditional a text as in his De Trinitate and his other works. The texts of Hippolytus, Methodius, Irenaeus, and even of Justin, are not of that exclusively Western character which Dr. Hort ascribes to them142. Traditional readings occur almost equally with others in Justin's works, and predominate in the works of the other three.

But besides establishing the antiquity of the Traditional Text, the quotations in the early Fathers reveal the streams of corruption which prevailed in the first ages, till they were washed away by the vast current of the transmission [pg 118] of the Text of the Gospels. Just as if we ascended in a captive balloon over the Mississippi where the volume of the Missouri has not yet become intermingled with the waters of the sister river, so we may mount up above those ages and trace by their colour the texts, or rather clusters of readings, which for some time struggled with one another for the superiority. But a caution is needed. We must be careful not to press our designation too far. We have to deal, not with distinct dialects, nor with editions which were separately composed, nor with any general forms of expression which grew up independently, nor in fact with anything that would satisfy literally the full meaning of the word “texts,” when we apply it as it has been used. What is properly meant is that, of the variant readings of the words of the Gospels which from whatever cause grew up more or less all over the Christian Church, so far as we know, some have family likenesses of one kind or another, and may be traced to a kindred source. It is only in this sense that we can use the term Texts, and we must take care to be moderate in our conception and use of it.

The Early Fathers may be conveniently classed, according to the colour of their testimony, the locality where they flourished, and the age in which they severally lived, under five heads, viz., Early Traditional, Later Traditional, Syrio-Low Latin, Alexandrian, and what we may perhaps call Caesarean.

I. Early Traditional.

Traditional. Neologian.
Patres Apostolici and Didachè 11 4
Epistle to Diognetus 1 0
Papias 1 0
Epistola Viennensium et Lugdunensium 1 0
Hegesippus 2 0
Seniores apud Irenaeum 2 0
Justin143 17 20
Athenagoras 3 1
Gospel of Peter 2 0
Testament of Abraham 4 0
Irenaeus 63 41
Clementines 18 7
Hippolytus 26 11
—— ——
151 84

II. Later Traditional.

Traditional. Neologian.
Gregory Thaumaturgus 11 3
Cornelius 4 1
Synodical Letter 1 2
Archelaus (Manes) 11 2
Apostolic Constitutions and Canons 61 28
Synodus Antiochena 3 1
Concilia Carthaginiensia 8 4
Methodius 14 8
Alexander Alexandrinus 4 0
Theodorus Heracleensis 2 0
Titus of Bostra 44 24
Athanasius(—except Contra Arianos)144122 63
Serapion 5 1
Basil 272 105
Eunomius 1 0
Cyril of Jerusalem 54 32
Firmicus Maternus 3 1
Victorinus of Pettau 4 3
Gregory of Nazianzus 18 4
Hilary of Poictiers 73 39
Eustathius 7 2
Macarius Aegyptius or Magnus 36 17
Didymus 81 36
Victorinus Afer 14 14
Gregory of Nyssa 91 28
Faustinus 4 0
Optatus 10 3
Pacianus 2 2
Philastrius 7 6
Amphilochius (Iconium) 27 10
Ambrose 169 77
Diodorus of Tarsus 1 0
Epiphanius 123 78
Acta Pilati 5 1
Acta Philippi 2 1
Macarius Magnes 11 5
Quaestiones ex Utroque Testamento 13 6
Evagrius Ponticus 4 0
Esaias Abbas 1 0
Philo of Carpasus 9 2
—— ——
1332 609

III. Western or Syrio-Low Latin.

Traditional. Neologian.
Theophilus Antiochenus 2 4
Callixtus and Pontianus (Popes) 1 2
Tertullian 74 65
Novatian 6 4
Cyprian 100 96
Zeno, Bishop of Verona 3 5
Lucifer of Cagliari 17 20
Lactantius 0 1
Juvencus (Spain) 1 2
Julius (Pope)? 1 2
Candidus Arianus 0 1
Nemesius (Emesa) 0 1
—— ——
205 203
[pg 121]

IV. Alexandrian.

Traditional. Neologian.
Heracleon 1 7
Clement of Alexandria 82 72
Dionysius of Alexandria 12 5
Theognostus 0 1
Peter of Alexandria 7 8
Arius 2 1
Athanasius (Orat. c. Arianos) 57 56
—— ——
161 150

V. Palestinian or Caesarean.

Traditional. Neologian.
Julius Africanus (Emmaus) 1 1
Origen 460 491
Pamphilus of Caesarea 5 1
Eusebius of Caesarea 315 214
—— ——
781 707

The lessons suggested by the groups of Fathers just assembled are now sufficiently clear.

I. The original predominance of the Traditional Text is shewn in the list given of the earliest Fathers. Their record proves that in their writings, and so in the Church generally, corruption had made itself felt in the earliest times, but that the pure waters generally prevailed.

II. The tradition is also carried on through the majority of the Fathers who succeeded them. There is no break or interval: the witness is continuous. Again, not the slightest confirmation is given to Dr. Hort's notion that a revision or recension was definitely accomplished at Antioch in the middle of the fourth century. There was a gradual improvement, as the Traditional Text gradually established itself against the forward and persistent intrusion of corruption. But it is difficult, if not altogether impossible, to discover a ripple on the surface betokening [pg 122] any movement in the depths such as a revision or recension would necessitate.

III. A source of corruption is found in Low-Latin MSS. and especially in Africa. The evidence of the Fathers shews that it does not appear to have been so general as the name “Western” would suggest. But this will be a subject of future investigation. There seems to have been a connexion between some parts of the West in this respect with Syria, or rather with part of Syria.

IV. Another source of corruption is fixed at Alexandria. This, as in the last case, is exactly what we should expect, and will demand more examination.

V. Syria and Egypt,—Europe, Asia, and Africa,—seem to meet in Palestine under Origen.

But this points to a later time in the period under investigation. We must now gather up the depositions of the earliest Versions.

[pg 123]

Chapter VI. The Antiquity Of The Traditional Text. II. Witness of the Early Syriac Versions.

The rise of Christianity and the spread of the Church in Syria was startling in its rapidity. Damascus and Antioch shot up suddenly into prominence as centres of Christian zeal, as if they had grown whilst men slept.

The arrangement of places and events which occurred during our Lord's Ministry must have paved the way to this success, at least as regards principally the nearer of the two cities just mentioned. Galilee, the scene of the first year of His Ministry—“the acceptable year of the Lord”—through its vicinity to Syria was admirably calculated for laying the foundation of such a development. The fame of His miracles and teaching extended far into the country. Much that He said and did happened on the Syrian side of the Sea of Galilee. Especially was this the case when, after the death of John the Baptist had shed consternation in the ranks of His followers, and the Galilean populace refused to accompany Him in His higher teaching, and the wiles of Herod were added as a source of apprehension to the bitter opposition of Scribes and Pharisees, He spent some months between the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles in the north and north-east of Palestine. If Damascus was not one of the “ten cities145,” yet the report [pg 124] of His twice feeding thousands, and of His stay at Caesarea Philippi and in the neighbourhood146 of Hermon, must have reached that city. The seed must have been sown which afterwards sprang up men knew not how.

Besides the evidence in the Acts of the Apostles, according to which Antioch following upon Damascus became a basis of missionary effort hardly second to Jerusalem, the records and legends of the Church in Syria leave but little doubt that it soon spread over the region round about. The stories relating to Abgar king of Edessa, the fame of St. Addaeus or Thaddaeus as witnessed particularly by his Liturgy and “Doctrine,” and various other Apocryphal Works147, leave no doubt about the very early extension of the Church throughout Syria. As long as Aramaic was the chief vehicle of instruction, Syrian Christians most likely depended upon their neighbours in Palestine for oral and written teaching. But when—probably about the time of the investment of Jerusalem by Vespasian and Titus and the temporary removal of the Church's centre to Pella—through the care of St. Matthew and the other [pg 125] Evangelists the Gospel was written in Greek, some regular translation was needed and doubtless was made.

So far both Schools of Textual Criticism are agreed. The question between them is, was this Translation the Peshitto, or was it the Curetonian? An examination into the facts is required: neither School has any authority to issue decrees.

The arguments in favour of the Curetonian being the oldest form of the Syriac New Testament, and of the formation of the Peshitto in its present condition from it, cannot be pronounced to be strong by any one who is accustomed to weigh disputation. Doubtless this weakness or instability may with truth be traced to the nature of the case, which will not yield a better harvest even to the critical ingenuity of our opponents. May it not with truth be said to be a symptom of a feeble cause?

Those arguments are mainly concerned with the internal character of the two texts. It is asserted148 (1) that the Curetonian was older than the Peshitto which was brought afterwards into closer proximity with the Greek. To this we may reply, that the truth of this plea depends upon the nature of the revision thus claimed149. Dr. Hort was perfectly logical when he suggested, or rather asserted dogmatically, that such a drastic revision as was necessary for turning the Curetonian into the Peshitto was made in the third century at Edessa or Nisibis. The difficulty lay in his manufacturing history to suit his purpose, instead of following it. The fact is, that the internal difference between the text of the Curetonian and the Peshitto is so great, that the former could only have arisen in very queer times such as the earliest, when inaccuracy and looseness, [pg 126] infidelity and perverseness, might have been answerable for anything. In fact, the Curetonian must have been an adulteration of the Peshitto, or it must have been partly an independent translation helped from other sources: from the character of the text it could not have given rise to it150.

Again, when (2) Cureton lays stress upon “certain peculiarities in the original Hebrew which are found in this text, but not in the Greek,” he has not found others to follow him, and (3) the supposed agreement with the Apocryphal Gospel according to the Hebrews, as regards any results to be deduced from it, is of a similarly slippery nature. It will be best to give his last argument in his own words:—“It is the internal evidence afforded by the fact that upon comparing this text with the Greek of St. Matthew and the parallel passages of St. Mark and St. Luke, they are found to exhibit the same phenomena which we should, a priori, expect certainly to discover, had we the plainest and most incontrovertible testimony that they are all in reality translations from such an Aramaic original as this.” He seems here to be trying to establish his position that the Curetonian was at least based on the Hebrew original of St. Matthew, to which he did not succeed in bringing over any scholars.

The reader will see that we need not linger upon these arguments. When interpreted most favourably they carry us only a very short way towards the dethronement of the great Peshitto, and the instalment of the little Curetonian upon the seat of judgement. But there is more in what other scholars have advanced. There are resemblances between the Curetonian, some of the Old-Latin texts, the Codex Bezae, and perhaps Tatian's Diatessaron, which lead us to assign an early origin to many of the peculiar readings in this manuscript. Yet there is no reason, but all the reverse, for supposing that the Peshitto and the [pg 127] Curetonian were related to one another in line-descent. The age of one need have nothing to do with the age of the other. The theory of the Peshitto being derived from the Curetonian through a process of revision like that of Jerome constituting a Vulgate rests upon a false parallel151. There are, or were, multitudes of Old-Latin Texts, which in their confusion called for some recension: we only know of two in Syriac which could possibly have come into consideration. Of these, the Curetonian is but a fragment: and the Codex Lewisianus, though it includes the greater part of the Four Gospels, yet reckons so many omissions in important parts, has been so determinedly mutilated, and above all is so utterly heretical152, that it must be altogether rejected from the circle of purer texts of the Gospels. The disappointment caused to the adherents of the Curetonian, by the failure of the fresh MS. which had been looked for with ardent hopes to satisfy expectation, may be imagined. Noscitur a sociis: the Curetonian is admitted by all to be closely allied to it, and must share in the ignominy of its companion, at least to such an extent as to be excluded from the progenitors of a Text so near to the Traditional Text as the Peshitto must ever have been153.

But what is the position which the Peshitto has occupied till the middle of the present century? What is the evidence of facts on which we must adjudicate its claim?

Till the time of Cureton, it has been regarded as the Syriac Version, adopted at the time when the translation of the New Testament was made into that language, which [pg 128] must have been either the early part of the second century, or the end of the first,—adopted too in the Unchangeable East, and never deposed from its proud position. It can be traced by facts of history or by actual documents to the beginning of the golden period of Syriac Literature in the fifth century, when it is found to be firm in its sway, and it is far from being deserted by testimony sufficient to track it into the earlier ages of the Church.

The Peshitto in our own days is found in use amongst the Nestorians who have always kept to it154, by the Monophysites on the plains of Syria, the Christians of St. Thomas in Malabar, and by “the Maronites on the mountain-terraces of Lebanon155.” Of these, the Maronites take us back to the beginning of the eighth century when they as Monothelites separated from the Eastern Church; the Monophysites to the middle of the fifth century; the Nestorians to an earlier date in the same century. Hostile as the two latter were to one another, they would not have agreed in reading the same Version of the New Testament if that had not been well established at the period of their separation. Nor would it have been thus firmly established, if it had not by that time been generally received in the country for a long series of years.

But the same conclusion is reached in the indubitable proof afforded by the MSS. of the Peshitto Version which exist, dating from the fifth century or thereabouts. Mr. Gwilliam in the third volume of Studia Biblica et Ecclesiastica156 mentions two MSS. dating about 450 a.d., besides four of the fifth or sixth century, one of the latter, and three which bear actual dates also of the sixth. These, with the exception of one in the Vatican and one belonging [pg 129] to the Earl of Crawford, are from the British Museum alone157. So that according to the manuscriptal evidence the treasures of little more than one library in the world exhibit a very apparatus criticus for the Peshitto, whilst the Curetonian can boast only one manuscript and that in fragments, though of the fifth century. And it follows too from this statement, that whereas only seven uncials of any size can be produced from all parts of the world of the Greek Text of the New Testament before the end of the sixth century, no less than eleven or rather twelve of the Peshitto can be produced already before the same date. Doubtless the Greek Text can boast certainly two, perhaps three, of the fourth century: but the fact cannot but be taken to be very remarkable, as proving, when compared with the universal Greek original, how strongly the local Peshitto Version was established in the century in which “commences the native historical literature of Syria158.”

The commanding position thus occupied leads back virtually a long way. Changes are difficult to introduce in “the unchangeable East.” Accordingly, the use of the [pg 130] Peshitto is attested in the fourth century by Ephraem Syrus and Aphraates. Ephraem “in the main used the Peshitto text”—is the conclusion drawn by Mr. F. H. Woods in the third volume of Studia Biblica159. And as far as I may judge from a comparison of readings160, Aphraates witnesses for the Traditional Text, with which the Peshitto mainly agrees, twenty-four times as against four. The Peshitto thus reckons as its supporters the two earliest of the Syrian Fathers.

But the course of the examination of all the primitive Fathers as exhibited in the last section of this work suggests also another and an earlier confirmation of the position here taken. It is well known that the Peshitto is mainly in agreement with the Traditional Text. What therefore proves one, virtually proves the other. If the text in the latter case is dominant, it must also be in the former. If, as Dr. Hort admits, the Traditional Text prevailed at Antioch from the middle of the fourth century, is it not more probable that it should have been the continuance of the text from the earliest times, than that a change should have been made without a record in history, and that in a part of the world which has been always alien to change? But besides the general traces of the Traditional Text left in patristic writings in other districts of the Church, we are not without special proofs in the parts about Syria. Though the proofs are slight, they occur in a period which in other respects was for the present purpose almost “a barren and dry land where no water is.” Methodius, bishop of Tyre in the early part of the fourth century, Archelaus, bishop in Mesopotamia in the latter half of the third, the Synodus Antiochena in a.d. 265, at a greater distance Gregory Thaumaturgus of Neocaesarea in Pontus who flourished about 243 and passed some time at Caesarea in Palestine, are found to have used mainly [pg 131] Traditional MSS. in Greek, and consequently witness to the use of the daughter text in Syriac. Amongst those who employed different texts in nearly equal proportions were Origen who passed his later years at Caesarea and Justin who issued from the site of Sychar. Nor is there reason, whatever has been said, to reject the reference made by Melito of Sardis about a.d. 170 in the words ὁ Σύρος. At the very least, the Peshitto falls more naturally into the larger testimony borne by the quotations in the Fathers, than would a text of such a character as that which we find in the Curetonian or the Lewis Codex.

But indeed, is it not surprising that the petty Curetonian with its single fragmentary manuscript, and at the best its short history, even with so discreditable an ally as the Lewis Codex, should try conclusions with what we may fairly term the colossal Peshitto? How is it possible that one or two such little rills should fill so great a channel?

But there is another solution of the difficulty which has been advocated by the adherents of the Curetonian in some quarters since the discovery made by Mrs. Lewis. It is urged that there is an original Syriac Text which lies at the back of the Curetonian and the Codex Lewisianus, and that this text possesses also the witness of the Diatessaron of Tatian:—that those MSS. themselves are later, but that the Text of which they give similar yet independent specimens is the Old Syriac,—the first Version made from the Gospels in the earliest ages of the Church.

The evidence advanced in favour of this position is of a speculative and vague nature, and moreover is not always advanced with accuracy. It is not “the simple fact that no purely ‘Antiochene’ [i.e. Traditional] reading occurs in the Sinai Palimpsest161.” It is not true that “in the Diatessaron [pg 132] Joseph and Mary are never spoken of as husband and wife,” because in St. Matt. i. 19 Joseph is expressly called “her husband,” and in verse 24 it is said that Joseph “took unto him Mary his wife.” It should be observed that besides a resemblance between the three documents in question, there is much divergence. The Cerinthian heresy, which is spread much more widely over the Lewis Codex than its adherents like to acknowledge, is absent from the other two. The interpolations of the Curetonian are not adopted by the remaining members of the trio. The Diatessaron, as far as we can judge,—for we possess no copy either in Greek or in Syriac, but are obliged to depend upon two Arabic Versions edited recently by Agostino Ciasca, a Latin Translation of a commentary on it by Ephraem Syrus, and quotations made by Aphraates or Jacobus Nisibenus—, differs very largely from either. That there is some resemblance between the three we admit: and that the two Codexes are more or less made up from very early readings, which we hold to be corrupt, we do not deny. What we assert is, that it has never yet been proved that a regular Text in Syriac can be constructed out of these documents which would pass muster as the genuine Text of the Gospels; and that, especially in the light shed by the strangely heretical character of one of the leading associates, such a text, if composed, cannot with any probability have formed any stage in the transmission of the pure text of the original Version in Syriac to the pages of the Peshitto. If corruption existed in the earliest ages, so did purity. The Word of God could not have been dragged only through the mire.

We are thus driven to depend upon the leading historical facts of the case. What we do know without question is this:—About the year 170 a.d., Tatian who had sojourned [pg 133] for some time at Rome drew up his Diatessaron, which is found in the earlier half of the third century to have been read in Divine service at Edessa162. This work was current in some parts of Syria in the time of Eusebius163, to which assertion some evidence is added by Epiphanius164. Rabbūla, bishop of Edessa, a.d. 412-435165, ordered the presbyters and deacons of his diocese to provide copies of the distinct or Mĕpharrĕshe Gospels. Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrrhus near the Euphrates166, writes in 453 a.d., that he had turned out about two hundred copies of Tatian's Diatessaron from his churches, and had put the Gospels of the four Evangelists in their place. These accounts are confirmed by the testimony of many subsequent writers, whose words together with those to which reference has just been made may be seen in Mr. Hamlyn Hill's book on the Diatessaron167. It must be added, that in the Curetonian we find “The Mĕpharrĕsha Gospel of Matthew168,” and the Lewis Version is termed “The Gospel of the Mĕpharrĕshe four books”; and that they were written in the fifth century.

Such are the chief facts: what is the evident corollary? Surely, that these two Codexes, which were written at the very time when the Diatessaron of Tatian was cast out of the Syrian Churches, were written purposely, and possibly amongst many other MSS. made at the same time, to supply the place of it—copies of the Mĕpharrĕshe, i.e. Distinct or Separate169 Gospels, to replace the Mĕhallĕte or Gospel of the Mixed. When the sockets are found to have been prepared and marked, and the pillars lie fitted and labelled, what else can we do than slip the pillars into their own sockets? They were not very successful [pg 134] attempts, as might have been expected, since the Peshitto, or in some places amongst the Jacobites the Philoxenian or Harkleian, entirely supplanted them in future use, and they lay hidden for centuries till sedulous inquiry unearthed them, and the ingenuity of critics invested them with an importance not their own170.

What was the origin of the mass of floating readings, of which some were transferred into the text of these two Codexes, will be considered in the next section. Students should be cautioned against inferring that the Diatessaron was read in service throughout Syria. There is no evidence to warrant such a conclusion. The mention of Edessa and Cyrrhus point to the country near the upper Euphrates; and the expression of Theodoret, relating to the Diatessaron being used “in churches of our parts,” seems to hint at a circumscribed region. Plenty of room was left for a predominant use of the Peshitto, so far as we know: and no reason on that score can be adduced to counterbalance the force of the arguments given in this section in favour of the existence from the beginning of that great Version.

Yet some critics endeavour to represent that the Peshitto was brought first into prominence upon the supersession of the Diatessaron, though it is never found under the special title of Mĕpharrĕsha. What is this but to disregard the handposts of history in favour of a pet theory?

[pg 135]

Chapter VII. The Antiquity Of The Traditional Text. III. Witness of the Western or Syrio-Low-Latin Text.

There are problems in what is usually termed the Western Text of the New Testament, which have not yet, as I believe, received satisfactory treatment. Critics, including even Dr. Scrivener171, have too readily accepted Wiseman's conclusion172, that the numerous Latin Texts all come from one stem, in fact that there was originally only one Old-Latin Version, not several.

That this is at first sight the conclusion pressed upon the mind of the inquirer, I readily admit. The words and phrases, the general cast and flow of the sentences, are so similar in these texts, that it seems at the outset extremely difficult to resist the inference that all of them began from the same translation, and that the differences between them arose from the continued effect of various and peculiar circumstances upon them and from a long course of copying. But examination will reveal on better acquaintance certain obstinate features which will not allow us to be guided by first appearances. And before investigating these, we may note that there are some considerations of a general character which take the edge off this phenomenon.

[pg 136]

Supposing that Old-Latin Texts had a multiform origin, they must have gravitated towards more uniformity of expression: intercourse between Christians who used different translations of a single original must, in unimportant points at least, have led them to greater agreement. Besides this, the identity of the venerated original in all the cases, except where different readings had crept into the Greek, must have produced a constant likeness to one another, in all translations made into the same language and meant to be faithful. If on the other hand there were numerous Versions, it is clear that in those which have descended to us there must have been a survival of the fittest.

But it is now necessary to look closely into the evidence, for the answers to all problems must depend upon that, and upon nothing but that.

The first point that strikes us is that there is in this respect a generic difference between the other Versions and the Old-Latin. The former are in each case one, with no suspicion of various origination. Gothic, Bohairic, Sahidic, Armenian (though the joint work of Sahak and Mesrop and Eznik and others), Ethiopic, Slavonic:—each is one Version and came from one general source without doubt or question. Codexes may differ: that is merely within the range of transcriptional accuracy, and has nothing to do with the making of the Version. But there is no preeminent Version in the Old-Latin field. Various texts compete with difference enough to raise the question. Upon disputed readings they usually give discordant verdicts. And this discord is found, not as in Greek Codexes where the testifying MSS. generally divide into two hostile bodies, but in greater and more irregular discrepancy. Their varied character may be seen in the following Table including the Texts employed by Tischendorf, which has been constructed from that scholar's notes upon the basis of the chief passages in dispute, as revealed [pg 137] in the text of the Revised Version throughout the Gospels, the standard being the Textus Receptus:—

Brixianus, f 286/54173 = about 16/3
Monacensis, q 255/97 = 5/2 +
Claromontanus, h (only in St. Matt.) 46/26 = 5/3 +
Colbertinus, c 165/152 = about 14/13
Fragm. Sangall. n 6/6 = 1
Veronensis, b 124/184 = 2/3 +
Sangermanensis II, g2 24/36 = 2/3
Corbeiensis II, ff2 113/180 = 2/3 -
Sangermanensis I, g2 27/46 = 3/5 -
Rehdigeranus, I 104/164 = 5/8 +
Vindobonensis, i 37/72 = 1/2 +
Vercellensis, a 100/214 = 1/2 -
Corbeiensis I, ff1 37/73 = 1/2 -
Speculum, m 8/18 = 1/2 -
Palatinus, e 48/130 = 1/3 +
Frag. Ambrosiana, s 2/6 = 1/3
Bobiensis, k 25/93 = 1/4 +

Looking dispassionately at this Table, the reader will surely observe that these MSS. shade off from one another by intervals of a somewhat similar character. They do not fall readily into classes: so that if the threefold division of Dr. Hort is adopted, it must be employed as not meaning very much. The appearances are against all being derived from the extreme left or from the extreme right. And some current modes of thought must be guarded against, as for instance when a scholar recently laid down as an axiom which all critics would admit, that k might be taken as the representative of the Old-Latin Texts, which would be about as true as if Mr. Labouchere at the present day were said to represent in opinion the Members of the House of Commons.

[pg 138]

The sporadic nature of these Texts may be further exhibited, if we take the thirty passages which helped us in the second section of this chapter. The attestation yielded by the Old-Latin MSS. will help still more in the exhibition of their character.

Traditional. Neologian.
St. Matt.
i. 25 f. ff1. g2. q. b. c. g1. k.
v. 44 (1) c. f. h. a. b. ff1. g1.2. k. l.
(2) a. b. c. f. h.
vi. 13 f. g1. q. a. b. c. ff1. g2. l.
vii. 13 f. ff2. g1.2. q. a. b. c. h. k. m.
ix. 13 c. g1.2. a. b. f. ff1. h. k. l. q.
xi. 27 All.
xvii. 21 “Most” a. b. c. e. ff1. (?) g1.
xviii. 11 e. ff1.
xix. 17
(1) ἀγαθέ b. c. f. ff2. a. e. ff1. g1.2. h. q.
(2) τί με ἐρωτᾷς κ.τ.λ. f. q. a. b. c. e. ff1.2. g1. h. l. (Vulg.)
(3) εἶς ἐστ. ὁ ἀγ. f. g1. m. q. b.c.ff1.2. g1. h. l. (Vulg.)
xxiii. 38. (Lk. xiii. 35) All—except ff2.
xxvii. 34 c. f. h. q. a. b. ff1.2. g1.2. l. (Vulg.)
xxviii. 2 f. h. a. b. c. ff1.2. g1.2. l. n.
" 19 All.
St. Mark
i. 2 All.
xvi. 9-20 All—except k.
St. Luke
i. 28 All.
ii. 14 All.
x. 41-42 f. g1.2. q. (Vulg.) a. b. c. e. ff2. i. l.
xxii. 43-44 a. b. c. e. ff2. g1.2. i. l. q. f.
xxiii. 34 c. e. f. ff2. l. a. b. d.
" 38 All—except a.
" 45 a. b. c. e. f. ff2. l. q.
xxiv. 40 c. f. q. a. b. d. e. ff2. l.
" 42 a. b. f. ff2. l. q. e.
St. John
i. 3-4 c. (Vulg.) a. b. e. ff2. q.
" 18 a. b. c. e. f. ff2. l. q.
iii. 13 All.
x. 14 All.
xvii. 24 All (Vulg.) Vulg. MSS.
xxi. 25 All.

It will be observed that in all of these thirty passages, Old-Latin MSS. witness on both sides and in a sporadic way, except in three on the Traditional side and six on the Neologian side, making nine in all against twenty-one. In this respect they stand in striking contrast with all the Versions in other languages as exhibiting a discordance in their witness which is at the very least far from suggesting a single source, if it be not wholly inconsistent with such a supposition.

Again, the variety of synonyms found in these texts is so great that they could not have arisen except from variety of origin. Copyists do not insert ad libitum different modes of expression. For example, Mr. White has remarked that ἐπιτιμᾷν is translated “in no less than eleven different ways,” or adding arguere, in twelve, viz. by

admonere emendare minari praecipere
comminari imperare obsecrare prohibere
corripere174 increpare objurgare arguere (r).

It is true that some of these occur on the same MS., but the variety of expression in parallel passages hardly agrees with descent from a single prototype. Greek MSS. differ in readings, but not in the same way. Similarly [pg 140] δοξάζω, which occurs, as he tells us, thirty-seven times in the Gospels, is rendered by clarifico, glorifico, honorem accipio, honorifico, honoro, magnifico, some passages presenting four variations. So again, it is impossible to understand how συνοχή in the phrase συνοχή ἐθνῶν (St. Luke xxi. 25) could have been translated by compressio (Vercellensis, a), occursus (Brixianus, f), pressura (others), conflictio (Bezae, d), if they had a common descent. They represent evidently efforts made by independent translators to express the meaning of a difficult word. When we meet with possidebo and haereditabo for κληρονομήσω (St. Luke x. 25) lumen and lux for φῶς (St. John i. 9), ante galli cantum and antequam gallus cantet for πρὶν ἀλέκτορα φωνῆσαι (St. Matt. xxvi. 34), locum and praedium and in agro for χωρίον (xxvi. 35), transfer a me calicem istum and transeat a me calix iste for παρελθέτω ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦτο (xxvi. 39);—when we fall upon vox venit de caelis, vox facta est de caelis, vox de caelo facta est, vox de caelis, and the like; or qui mihi bene complacuisti, charissimus in te complacui, dilectus in quo bene placuit mihi, dilectus in te bene sensi (St. Mark i. 11), or adsumpsit (autem ... duodecim), adsumens, convocatis (St. Luke xviii. 31) it is clear that these and the instances of the same sort occurring everywhere in the Old-Latin Texts must be taken as finger-posts pointing in many directions. Various readings in Greek Codexes present, not a parallel, but a sharp contrast. No such profusion of synonyms can be produced from them.

The arguments which the Old-Latin Texts supply internally about themselves are confirmed exactly by the direct evidence borne by St. Augustine and St. Jerome. The well-known words of those two great men who must be held to be competent deponents as to what they found around them, even if they might fall into error upon the events of previous ages, prove (1) that a very large number of texts then existed, (2) that they differed greatly from one another, (3) that none had any special authority, and [pg 141] (4) that translators worked on their own independent lines175. But there is the strongest reason for inferring that Augustine was right when he said, that “in the earliest days of the faith whenever any Greek codex fell into the hands of any one who thought that he had slight familiarity (aliquantulum facultatis) with Greek and Latin, he was bold enough to attempt to make a translation176.” For what else could have happened than what St. Augustine says actually did take place? The extraordinary value and influence of the sacred Books of the New Testament became apparent soon after their publication. They were most potent forces in converting unbelievers: they swayed the lives and informed the minds of Christians: they were read in the services of the Church. But copies in any number, if at all, could not be ordered at Antioch, or Ephesus, or Rome, or Alexandria. And at first no doubt translations into Latin were not to be had. Christianity grew almost of itself under the viewless action of the Holy Ghost: there were no administrative means of making provision. But the Roman Empire was to a great extent bilingual. Many men of Latin origin were acquainted more or less with Greek. The army which furnished so many converts must have reckoned in its ranks, whether as officers or as ordinary soldiers, a large number who were accomplished Greek scholars. All evangelists and teachers would have to explain the new Books to those who did not understand Greek. The steps were but short from oral to written teaching, from answering questions and giving exposition to making regular translations in fragments or books and afterwards throughout the New Testament. The resistless energy of the Christian faith must have demanded such offices on behalf of the Latin-speaking members of the [pg 142] Church, and must have produced hundreds of versions, fragmentary and complete. Given the two languages side by side, under the stress of the necessity of learning and the eagerness to drink in the Words of Life, the information given by St. Augustine must have been amply verified. And the only wonder is, that scholars have not paid more attention to the witness of that eminent Father, and have missed seeing how natural and true it was.

It is instructive to trace how the error arose. It came chiefly, if I mistake not, from two ingenious letters of Cardinal Wiseman, then a young man, and from the familiarity which they displayed with early African Literature. So Lachmann, Tischendorf, Davidson, Tregelles, Scrivener, and Westcott and Hort, followed him. Yet an error lies at the root of Wiseman's argument which, if the thing had appeared now, scholars would not have let pass unchallenged and uncorrected.

Because the Bobbian text agreed in the main with the texts of Tertullian, Cyprian, Arnobius, and Primasius, Wiseman assumed that not only that text, but also the dialectic forms involved in it, were peculiar to Africa and took their rise there. But as Mr. White has pointed out177, “that is because during this period we are dependent almost exclusively on Africa for our Latin Literature.” Moreover, as every accomplished Latin scholar who is acquainted with the history of the language is aware, Low-Latin took rise in Italy, when the provincial dialects of that Peninsula sprang into prominence upon the commencement of the decay of the pure Latin race, occurring through civil and foreign wars and the sanguinary proscriptions, and from the consequent lapse in the predominance in literature of the pure Latin Language. True, that the pure Latin and the Low-Latin continued side by side for a long time, the former in the best literature, and the latter in ever [pg 143] increasing volume. What is most apposite to the question, the Roman colonists in France, Spain, Portugal, Provence, and Walachia, consisted mainly of Italian blood which was not pure Latin, as is shewn especially in the veteran soldiers who from time to time received grants of land from their emperors or generals. The six Romance Languages are mainly descended from the provincial dialects of the Italian Peninsula. It would be contrary to the action of forces in history that such and so strong a change of language should have been effected in an outlying province, where the inhabitants mainly spoke another tongue altogether. It is in the highest degree improbable that a new form of Latin should have grown up in Africa, and should have thence spread across the Mediterranean, and have carried its forms of speech into parts of the extensive Roman Empire with which the country of its birth had no natural communication. Low-Latin was the early product of the natural races in north and central Italy, and from thence followed by well-known channels into Africa and Gaul and elsewhere178. We shall find in these truths much light, unless I am deceived, to dispel our darkness upon the Western text.

The best part of Wiseman's letters occurs where he proves that St. Augustine used Italian MSS. belonging to what the great Bishop of Hippo terms the “Itala,” and pronounces to be the best of the Latin Versions. Evidently the “Itala” was the highest form of Latin Version—highest, that is, in the character and elegance of the Latin used in it, and consequently in the correctness of its rendering. So [pg 144] here we now see our way. Critics have always had some difficulty about Dr. Hort's “European” class, though there is doubtless a special character in b and its following. It appears now that there is no necessity for any embarrassment about the intermediate MSS., because by unlocalizing the text supposed to be African we have the Low-Latin Text prevailing over the less educated parts of Italy, over Africa, and over Gaul, and other places away from Rome and Milan and the other chief centres.

Beginning with the Itala, the other texts sink gradually downwards, till we reach the lowest of all. There is thus no bar in the way of connecting that most remarkable product of the Low-Latin Text, the Codex Bezae, with any others, because the Latin Version of it stands simply as one of the Low-Latin group.

Another difficulty is also removed. Amongst the most interesting and valuable contributions to Sacred Textual Criticism that have come from the fertile conception and lucid argument of Mr. Rendel Harris, has been the proof of a closer connexion between the Low-Latin Text, as I must venture to call it, and the form of Syrian Text exhibited in the Curetonian Version, which he has given in his treatment of the Ferrar Group of Greek MSS. Of course the general connexion between the two has been long known to scholars. The resemblance between the Curetonian and Tatian's Diatessaron, to which the Lewis Codex must now be added, on the one hand, and on the other the less perfect Old-Latin Texts is a commonplace in Textual Criticism. But Mr. Harris has also shewn that there was probably a Syriacization of the Codex Bezae, a view which has been strongly confirmed on general points by Dr. Chase: and has further discovered evidence that the text of the Ferrar Group of Cursives found its way into and out of Syriac and carried back, according to Mr. Harris' ingenious suggestion, traces of its sojourn there. Dr. Chase [pg 145] has very recently shed more light upon the subject in his book called “The Syro-Latin Element of the Gospels179.” So all these particulars exhibit in strong light the connexion between the Old-Latin and the Syriac. If we are dealing, not so much with the entire body of Western Texts, but as I contend with the Low-Latin part of them in its wide circulation, there is no difficulty in understanding how such a connexion arose. The Church in Rome shot up as noiselessly as the Churches of Damascus and Antioch. How and why? The key is given in the sixteenth chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans. How could he have known intimately so many of the leading Roman Christians, unless they had carried his teaching along the road of commerce from Antioch to Rome? Such travellers, and they would by no means be confined to the days of St. Paul, would understand Syriac as well as Latin. The stories and books, told or written in Aramaic, must have gone through all Syria, recounting the thrilling history of redemption before the authorized accounts were given in Greek. Accordingly, in the earliest times translations must have been made from Aramaic or Syriac into Latin, as afterwards from Greek. Thus a connexion between the Italian and Syrian Churches, and also between the teaching given in the two countries, must have lain embedded in the foundations of their common Christianity, and must have exercised an influence during very many years after.

This view of the interconnexion of the Syrian and Old-Latin readings leads us on to what must have been at first the chief origin of corruption. “The rulers derided Him”: “the common people heard Him gladly.” It does not, I think, appear probable that the Gospels were written till after St. Paul left Jerusalem for Rome. Literature of a high kind arose slowly in the Church, and the great [pg 146] missionary Apostle was the pioneer. It is surely impossible that the authors of the Synoptic Gospels should have seen one another's writings, because in that case they would not have differed so much from one another180. The effort of St. Luke (Pref.), made probably during St. Paul's imprisonment at Caesarea (Acts xxiv. 23), though he may not have completed his Gospel then, most likely stimulated St. Matthew. Thus in time the authorized Gospels were issued, not only to supply complete and connected accounts, but to become accurate and standard editions of what had hitherto been spread abroad in shorter or longer narratives, and with more or less correctness or error. Indeed, it is clear that before the Gospels were written many erroneous forms of the stories which made up the oral or written Gospel must have been in vogue, and that nowhere are these more likely to have prevailed than in Syria, where the Church took root so rapidly and easily. But the readings thus propagated, of which many found their way, especially in the West, into the wording of the Gospels before St. Chrysostom, never could have entered into the pure succession. Here and there they were interlopers and usurpers, and after the manner of such claimants, had to some extent the appearance of having sprung from the genuine stock. But they were ejected during the period elapsing from the fourth to the eighth century, when the Text of the New Testament was gradually purified.

This view is submitted to Textual students for verification.


We have now traced back the Traditional Text to the earliest times. The witness of the early Fathers has established the conclusion that there is not the slightest [pg 147] uncertainty upon this point. To deny it is really a piece of pure assumption. It rests upon the record of facts. Nor is there any reason for hesitation in concluding that the career of the Peshitto dates back in like manner. The Latin Texts, like others, are of two kinds: both the Traditional Text and the forms of corruption find a place in them. So that the testimony of these great Versions, Syriac and Latin, is added to the testimony of the Fathers. There are no grounds for doubting that the causeway of the pure text of the Holy Gospels, and by consequence of the rest of the New Testament, has stood far above the marshes on either side ever since those sacred Books were written. What can be the attraction of those perilous quagmires, it is hard to understand. “An highway shall be there, and a way”; “the redeemed shall walk there”; “the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein181.”

[pg 148]

Chapter VIII. Alexandria and Caesarea.

§ 1. Alexandrian Readings, and the Alexandrian School.

What is the real truth about the existence of an Alexandrian Text? Are there, or are there not, sufficient elements of an Alexandrian character, and of Alexandrian or Egyptian origin, to constitute a Text of the Holy Gospels to be designated by that name?

So thought Griesbach, who conceived Origen to be the standard of the Alexandrian text. Hort, who appears to have attributed to his Neutral text much of the native products of Alexandria182, speaks more of readings than of text. The question must be decided upon the evidence of the case, which shall now be in the main produced.

The Fathers or ancient writers who may be classed as Alexandrian in the period under consideration are the following:—

Traditional. Neologian.
Heracleon 1 7
Clement of Alexandria 82 72
Dionysius of Alexandria 12 5
Theognosius 0 1
Peter of Alexandria 7 8
Arius 2 1
Athanasius (c. Arianos) 57 56
—— ——
161 150
[pg 149]

Under the thirty places already examined, Clement, the most important of these writers, witnesses 8 times for the Traditional reading and 14 times for the Neologian. Origen, who in his earlier years was a leader of this school, testifies 44 and 27 times respectively in the order stated.

The Version which was most closely connected with Lower Egypt was the Bohairic, and under the same thirty passages gives the ensuing evidence:—

1. Matt. i. 25. Omits. One MS. says the Greek has “her first-born son”.
2. " v. 44. Large majority, all but 5, omit. Some add in the margin.
3. " vi. 13. Only 5 MSS. have the doxology.
4. " vii. 13. All have it.
5. " ix. 13. 9 have it, and 3 in margin: 12 omit, besides the 3 just mentioned.
6. " xi. 27. All have βούληται.
7. " xvii. 21. Only 6 MSS. have it, besides 7 in margin or interlined: 11 omit wholly.
8. " xviii. 11. Only 4 have it.
9. " xix. 16. Only 7 have “good,” besides a few corrections: 12 omit.
" " 17. Only 1 has it.
10. " xxiii. 38. Only 6 have it.
11. " xxvii. 34. One corrected and one which copied the correction. All the rest have οἶνον183.
12. " xxviii. 2. All have it.
13. " " 19. All have it.
14. Mark i. 2. All (i.e. 25) give, Ἠσαΐᾳ.
15. " xvi. 9-20. None wholly omit: 2 give the alternative ending.
16. Luke i. 28. Only 4 + 2 corrected have it: 12 omit.
17. " ii. 14. All have εὐδοκία.
18. " x. 41-2. Ὀλίγων δὲ (3 omit) ἐστὶ χρεία ἢ ἑνός: 1 omits ἢ ἑνός. 2 corrected add “of them.”
19. " xxii. 43-4. Omitted by 18184.
20. " xxiii. 34. All omit185.
[pg 150]
21. Luke xxiii. 38. All omit except 5186 (?).
22. " " 45. All have ἐκλιπόντος187.
23. " xxiv. 40. All have it.
24. " " 42. All omit188.
25. John i. 3-4. All (except 1 which pauses at οὐδὲ ἕν) have it. The Sahidic is the other way.
26. " " 18. All have Θεός189.
27. " iii. 13. Omitted by 9.
28. " x. 14. All have “mine know me.” The Bohairic has no passive: hence the error190.
29. " xvii. 24. The Bohairic could not express οὕς: hence the error191.
30. " xxi. 25. All have it.

The MSS. differ in number as to their witness in each place.

No manuscripts can be adduced as Alexandrian: and in fact we are considering the ante-manuscriptal period. All reference therefore to manuscripts would be consequent upon, not a factor in, the present investigation.

It will be seen upon a review of this evidence, that the most striking characteristic is found in the instability of it. The Bohairic wabbles from side to side. Clement witnesses on both sides upon the thirty places but mostly against the Traditional text, whilst his collected evidence in all cases yields a slight majority to the latter side of the contention. Origen on the contrary by a large majority rejects the Neologian readings on the thirty passages, but acknowledges them by a small one in his habitual quotations. It is very remarkable, and yet characteristic of Origen, who indeed changed his home from Alexandria to Caesarea, that his habit was to adopt one of the most notable of Syrio-Low-Latin readings in preference to the Traditional reading prevalent at Alexandria. St. Ambrose (in Ps. xxxvi. 35) in defending the reading of St. John i. 3-4, “without Him was not anything made: that which was made was life in Him,” says that [pg 151] Alexandrians and Egyptians follow the reading which is now adopted everywhere except by Lachmann, Tregelles, and W.-Hort. It has been said that Origen was in the habit of using MSS. of both kinds, and indeed no one can examine his quotations without coming to that conclusion.

Therefore we are led first of all to the school of Christian Philosophy which under the name of the Catechetical School has made Alexandria for ever celebrated in the early annals of the Christian Church. Indeed Origen was a Textual Critic. He spent much time and toil upon the text of the New Testament, besides his great labours on the Old, because he found it disfigured as he says by corruptions “some arising from the carelessness of scribes, some from evil licence of emendation, some from arbitrary omissions and interpolations192.” Such a sitting in judgement, or as perhaps it should be said with more justice to Origen such a pursuit of inquiry, involved weighing of evidence on either side, of which there are many indications in his works. The connexion of this school with the school set up at Caesarea, to which place Origen appears to have brought his manuscripts, and where he bequeathed his teaching and spirit to sympathetic successors, will be carried out and described more fully in the next section. Origen was the most prominent personage by far in the Alexandrian School. His fame and influence in this province extended with the reputation of his other writings long after his death. “When a writer speaks of the ‘accurate copies,’ what he actually means is the text of Scripture which was employed or approved by Origen193.” Indeed it was an elemental, inchoate school, dealing in an academical and eclectic spirit with evidence of various kinds, highly intellectual rather than original, as for example [pg 152] in the welcome given to the Syrio-Low-Latin variation of St. Matt. xix. 16, 17, and addicted in some degree to alteration of passages. It would appear that besides this critical temper and habit there was to some extent a growth of provincial readings at Alexandria or in the neighbourhood, and that modes of spelling which were rejected in later ages took their rise there. Specimens of the former of these peculiarities may be seen in the table of readings just given from the Bohairic Version. The chief effects of Alexandrian study occurred in the Caesarean school which now invites our consideration.

§ 2. Caesarean School.

In the year 231, as seems most probable, Origen finally left Alexandria. His head-quarters thenceforward may be said to have been Caesarea in Palestine, though he travelled into Greece and Arabia and stayed at Neo-Caesarea in Cappadocia with his friend and pupil Gregory Thaumaturgus. He had previously visited Rome: so that he must have been well qualified by his experience as well as probably by his knowledge and collection of MSS. to lay a broad foundation for the future settlement of the text. But unfortunately his whole career marks him out as a man of uncertain judgement. Like some others, he was a giant in learning, but ordinary in the use of his learning. He was also closely connected with the philosophical school of Alexandria, from which Arianism issued.

The leading figures in this remarkable School of Textual Criticism at Caesarea were Origen and Eusebius, besides Pamphilus who forms the link between the two. The ground-work of the School was the celebrated library in the city which was formed upon the foundation supplied by Origen, so far as the books in it escaped the general destruction of MSS. that occurred in the persecution [pg 153] of Diocletian. It is remarkable, that although there seems little doubt that the Vatican and Sinaitic MSS. were amongst the fruits of this school, as will be shewn in the next chapter, the witness of the writings of both Origen and Eusebius is so favourable as it is to the Traditional Text. In the case of Origen there is as already stated194 not far from an equality between the totals on either side, besides a majority of 44 to 27 on the thirty important texts: and the numbers for Eusebius are respectively 315 to 214, and 41 to 11.

Palestine was well suited from its geographical position to be the site of the junction of all the streams. The very same circumstances which adapted it to be the arena of the great drama in the world's history drew to its shores the various elements in the representation in language of the most characteristic part of the Word of God. The Traditional Text would reach it by various routes: the Syrio-Low-Latin across the sea and from Syria: the Alexandrian readings from the near neighbourhood. Origen in his travels would help to assemble all. The various alien streams would thus coalesce, and the text of B and א would be the result. But the readings of MSS. recorded by Origen and especially by Eusebius prove that in this broad school the Traditional Text gained at least a decided preponderance according to the private choice of the latter scholar. Yet, as will be shewn, he was probably, not the writer of B and of the six conjugate leaves in א, yet as the executor of the order of Constantine the superintendent also in copying those celebrated MSS. Was he then influenced by the motives of a courtier in sending such texts as he thought would be most acceptable to the Emperor? Or is it not more in consonance with the facts of the case—especially as interpreted by the subsequent spread in [pg 154] Constantinople of the Traditional Text195—, that we should infer that the fifty MSS. sent included a large proportion of Texts of another character? Eusebius, the Homoiousian or Semi-Arian, would thus be the collector of copies to suit different tastes and opinions, and his scholar and successor Acacius, the Homoean, would more probably be the writer of B and of the six conjugate leaves of א196. The trimming character of the latitudinarian, and the violent forwardness of the partisan, would appear to render such a supposition not unreasonable. Estimating the school according to principles of historical philosophy, and in consonance with both the existence of the Text denoted by B and א and also the subsequent results, it must appear to us to be transitional in character, including two distinct and incongruous solutions, of which one was afterwards proved to be the right by the general acceptation in the Church that even Dr. Hort acknowledges to have taken place.

An interesting inquiry is here suggested with respect to the two celebrated MSS. just mentioned. How is it that we possess no MSS. of the New Testament of any considerable size older than those, or at least no other such MSS. as old as they are? Besides the disastrous results of the persecution of Diocletian, there is much force in the reply of Dean Burgon, that being generally recognized as bad MSS. they were left standing on the shelf in their handsome covers, whilst others which were more correct were being thumbed to pieces in constant use. But the discoveries made since the Dean's death enables me to suggest another answer which will also help to enlarge our view on these matters.

The habit of writing on vellum belongs to Asia. The first mention of it that we meet with occurs in the 58th [pg 155] chapter of the 5th book of Herodotus, where the historian tells us that the Ionians wrote on the skins of sheep and goats because they could not get “byblus,” or as we best know it, papyrus. Vellum remained in comparative obscurity till the time of Eumenes II, King of Pergamum. That intelligent potentate, wishing to enlarge his library and being thwarted by the Ptolemies who refused out of jealousy to supply him with papyrus, improved the skins of his country197, and made the “charta Pergamena,” from whence the term parchment has descended to us. It will be remembered that St. Paul sent to Ephesus for “the books, especially the parchments198.” There is evidence that vellum was used at Rome: but the chief materials employed there appear to have been waxen tablets and papyrus. Martial, writing towards the end of the first century, speaks of vellum MSS. of Homer, Virgil, Cicero, and Ovid199. But if such MSS. had prevailed generally, more would have come down to us. The emergence of vellum into general use is marked and heralded by the products of the library at Caesarea, which helped by the rising literary activity in Asia and by the building of Constantinople, was probably the means of the introduction of an improved employment of vellum. It has been already noticed200, that Acacius and Euzoius, successively bishops of Caesarea after Eusebius, superintended the copying of papyrus manuscripts upon vellum. Greek uncials were not unlike in general form to the square Hebrew letters used at Jerusalem after the Captivity. The activity in Asiatic Caesarea synchronized with the rise in the use of vellum. It would seem that in moving there Origen deserted papyrus for the more durable material.

[pg 156]

A word to explain my argument. If vellum had been in constant use over the Roman Empire during the first three centuries and a third which elapsed before B and א were written, there ought to have been in existence some remains of a material so capable of resisting the tear and wear of use and time. As there are no vellum MSS. at all except the merest fragments dating from before 330 a.d., we are perforce driven to infer that a material for writing of a perishable nature was generally employed before that period. Now not only had papyrus been for “long the recognized material for literary use,” but we can trace its employment much later than is usually supposed. It is true that the cultivation of the plant in Egypt began to wane after the capture of Alexandria by the Mahommedans in 638 a.d., and the destruction of the famous libraries: but it continued in existence during some centuries afterwards. It was grown also in Sicily and Italy. “In France papyrus was in common use in the sixth century.” Sir E. Maunde Thompson enumerates books now found in European Libraries of Paris, Genoa, Milan, Vienna, Munich, and elsewhere, as far down as the tenth century. The manufacture of it did not cease in Egypt till the tenth century. The use of papyrus did not lapse finally till paper was introduced into Europe by the Moors and Arabs201, upon which occurrence all writing was executed upon tougher substances, and the cursive hand drove out uncial writing even from parchment.

[pg 157]

The knowledge of the prevalence of papyrus, as to which any one may satisfy himself by consulting Sir E. Maunde Thompson's admirable book, and of the employment of the cursive hand before Christ, must modify many of the notions that have been widely entertained respecting the old Uncials.

1. In the first place, it will be clear that all the Cursive MSS. are not by any means the descendants of the Uncials. If the employment of papyrus in the earliest ages of the Christian Church was prevalent over by far the greater part of the Roman Empire, and that description is I believe less than the facts would warrant—then more than half of the stems of genealogy must have originally consisted of papyrus manuscripts. And further, if the use of papyrus continued long after the date of B and א, then it would not only have occupied the earliest steps in the lines of descent, but much later exemplars must have carried on the succession. But in consequence of the perishable character of papyrus those exemplars have disappeared and live only in their cursive posterity. This aspect alone of the case under consideration invests the Cursives with much more interest and value than many people would nowadays attribute to them.

2. But beyond this conclusion, light is shed upon the subject by the fact now established beyond question, that cursive handwriting existed in the world some centuries before Christ202. For square letters (of course in writing interspersed with circular lines) we go to Palestine and Syria, and that may not impossibly be the reason why uncial Greek letters came out first, as far as the evidence of extant remains can guide us, in those countries. The change [pg 158] from uncial to cursive letters about the tenth century is most remarkable. Must it not to a great extent have arisen from the contemporary failure of papyrus which has been explained, and from the cursive writers on papyrus now trying their hand on vellum and introducing their more easy and rapid style of writing into that class of manuscripts203? If so, the phenomenon shews itself, that by the very manner in which they are written, Cursives mutely declare that they are not solely the children of the Uncials. Speaking generally, they are the progeny of a marriage between the two, and the papyrus MSS. would appear to have been the better half.

Such results as have been reached in this chapter and the last have issued from the advance made in discovery and research during the last ten years. But these were not known to Tischendorf or Tregelles, and much less to Lachmann. They could not have been embraced by Hort in his view of the entire subject when he constructed his clever but unsound theory some forty years ago204. Surely our conclusion must be that the world is leaving that school gradually behind.

[pg 159]

Chapter IX. The Old Uncials. The Influence Of Origen.

§ 1205.

Codex B was early enthroned on something like speculation, and has been maintained upon the throne by what has strangely amounted to a positive superstition. The text of this MS. was not accurately known till the edition of Tischendorf appeared in 1867206: and yet long before that time it was regarded by many critics as the Queen of the Uncials. The collations of Bartolocci, of Mico, of Rulotta, and of Birch, were not trustworthy, though they far surpassed Mai's two first editions. Yet the prejudice in favour of the mysterious authority that was expected to issue decrees from the Vatican207 did not wait till the clear light of criticism was shed upon its eccentricities and its defalcations. The same spirit, biassed by sentiment not ruled by reason, has remained since more has been disclosed of the real nature of this Codex208.

A similar course has been pursued with respect to Codex א. It was perhaps to be expected that human infirmity should have influenced Tischendorf in his treatment of the treasure-trove by him: though his character [pg 160] for judgement could not but be seriously injured by the fact that in his eighth edition he altered the mature conclusions of his seventh in no less than 3,572209 instances, chiefly on account of the readings in his beloved Sinaitic guide.

Yet whatever may be advanced against B may be alleged even more strongly against א. It adds to the number of the blunders of its associate: it is conspicuous for habitual carelessness or licence: it often by itself deviates into glaring errors210. The elevation of the Sinaitic into the first place, which was effected by Tischendorf as far as his own practice was concerned, has been applauded by only very few scholars: and it is hardly conceivable that they could maintain their opinion, if they would critically and impartially examine this erratic copy throughout the New Testament for themselves.

The fact is that B and א were the products of the school of philosophy and teaching which found its vent in Semi-Arian or Homoean opinions. The proof of this position is somewhat difficult to give, but when the nature of the question and the producible amount of evidence are taken into consideration, is nevertheless quite satisfactory.

In the first place, according to the verdict of all critics the date of these two MSS. coincides with the period when Semi-Arianism or some other form of Arianism were in the ascendant in the East, and to all outward appearance swayed the Universal Church. In the last years of his rule, Constantine was under the domination of the Arianizing faction; and the reign of Constantius II over all the provinces in the Roman Empire that spoke Greek, during which encouragement was given to the great heretical schools of the time, completed the two central [pg 161] decades of the fourth century211. It is a circumstance that cannot fail to give rise to suspicion that the Vatican and Sinaitic MSS. had their origin under a predominant influence of such evil fame. At the very least, careful investigation is necessary to see whether those copies were in fact free from that influence which has met with universal condemnation.

Now as we proceed further we are struck with another most remarkable coincidence, which also as has been before noticed is admitted on all hands, viz. that the period of the emergence of the Orthodox School from oppression and the settlement in their favour of the great Nicene controversy was also the time when the text of B and א sank into condemnation. The Orthodox side under St. Chrysostom and others became permanently supreme: so did also the Traditional Text. Are we then to assume with our opponents that in the Church condemnation and acceptance were inseparable companions? That at first heresy and the pure Text, and afterwards orthodoxy and textual corruption, went hand in hand? That such ill-matched couples graced the history of the Church? That upon so fundamental a matter as the accuracy of the written standard of reference, there was precision of text when heretics or those who dallied with heresy were in power, but that the sacred Text was contaminated when the Orthodox had things their own way? Is it indeed come to this, that for the pure and undefiled Word of God we must search, not amongst those great men who under the guidance of the Holy Spirit ascertained and settled for ever the main Articles of the Faith, and the Canon of Holy Scripture, but amidst the relics of those who were unable to agree with one another, and whose fine-drawn subtleties in creed and policy have been the despair of the historians, [pg 162] and a puzzle to students of Theological Science? It is not too much to assert, that Theology and History know no such unscientific conclusions.

It is therefore a circumstance full of significance that Codexes B and א were produced in such untoward times212, and fell into neglect on the revival of orthodoxy, when the Traditional Text was permanently received. But the case in hand rests also upon evidence more direct than this.

The influence which the writings of Origen exercised on the ancient Church is indeed extraordinary. The fame of his learning added to the splendour of his genius, his vast Biblical achievements and his real insight into the depth of Scripture, conciliated for him the admiration and regard of early Christendom. Let him be freely allowed the highest praise for the profundity of many of his utterances, the ingenuity of almost all. It must at the same time be admitted that he is bold in his speculations to the verge, and beyond the verge, of rashness; unwarrantedly confident in his assertions; deficient in sobriety; in his critical remarks even foolish. A prodigious reader as well as a prodigious writer, his words would have been of incalculable value, but that he seems to have been so saturated with the strange speculations of the early heretics, that he sometimes adopts their wild method; and in fact has not been reckoned among the orthodox Fathers of the Church.

But (and this is the direction in which the foregoing remarks have tended) Origen's ruling passion is found to have been textual criticism213. This was at once his forte [pg 163] and his foible. In the library of his friend Pamphilus at Caesarea were found many Codexes that had belonged to him, and the autograph of his Hexapla, which was seen and used by St. Jerome214. In fact, the collection of books made by Pamphilus, in the gathering of which at the very least he was deeply indebted to Origen, became a centre from whence, after the destruction of copies in the persecution of Diocletian, authority as to the sacred Text radiated in various directions. Copying from papyrus on vellum was assiduously prosecuted there215. Constantine applied to Eusebius for fifty handsome copies216, amongst which it is not improbable that the manuscripts (σωματία) B and א were to be actually found217. But even if that is not so, the Emperor would not have selected Eusebius for the order, if that bishop had not been in the habit of providing copies: and Eusebius in fact carried on the work which he had commenced under his friend Pamphilus, and in which the latter must have followed the path pursued by Origen. Again, Jerome is known to have resorted to this quarter218, and various entries in MSS. prove that others did the same219. It is clear that the celebrated library of Pamphilus exercised great influence in the province of [pg 164] Textual Criticism; and the spirit of Origen was powerful throughout the operations connected with it, at least till the Origenists got gradually into disfavour and at length were finally condemned at the Fifth General Council in a.d. 553.

But in connecting B and א with the Library at Caesarea we are not left only to conjecture or inference. In a well-known colophon affixed to the end of the book of Esther in א by the third corrector, it is stated that from the beginning of the book of Kings to the end of Esther the MS. was compared with a copy “corrected by the hand of the holy martyr Pamphilus,” which itself was written and corrected after the Hexapla of Origen220. And a similar colophon may be found attached to the book of Ezra. It is added that the Codex Sinaiticus (τόδε τὸ τεῦχος) and the Codex Pamphili (τὸ αὐτὸ παλαιώτατον βιβλίον) manifested great agreement with one another. The probability that א was thus at least in part copied from a manuscript executed by Pamphilus is established by the facts that a certain “Codex Marchalianus” is often mentioned which was due to Pamphilus and Eusebius; and that Origen's recension of the Old Testament, although he published no edition of the Text of the New, possessed a great reputation. On the books of Chronicles, St. Jerome mentions manuscripts executed by Origen with great care, which were published by Pamphilus and Eusebius. And in Codex H of St. Paul it is stated that that MS. was compared with a MS. in the library of Caesarea “which was written by the hand of the holy Pamphilus221.” These notices added to the frequent [pg 165] reference by St. Jerome and others to the critical (ἀκριβῆ) MSS., by which we are to understand those which were distinguished by the approval of Origen or were in consonance with the spirit of Origen, shew evidently the position in criticism which the Library at Caesarea and its illustrious founder had won in those days. And it is quite in keeping with that position that א should have been sent forth from that “school of criticism.”

But if א was, then B must have been;—at least, if the supposition certified by Tischendorf and Scrivener be true, that the six conjugate leaves of א were written by the scribe of B. So there is a chain of reference, fortified by the implied probability which has been furnished for us from the actual facts of the case.

Yet Dr. Hort is “inclined to surmise that B and א were both written in the West, probably at Rome; that the ancestors of B were wholly Western (in the geographical, not the textual sense) up to a very early time indeed; and that the ancestors of א were in great part Alexandrian, again in the geographical, not the textual sense222.” For this opinion, in which Dr. Hort stands alone amongst authorities, there is nothing but “surmise” founded upon very dark hints. In contrast with the evidence just brought forward there is an absence of direct testimony: besides that the connexion between the Western and Syrian Texts or Readings, which has been recently confirmed in a very material degree, must weaken the force of some of his arguments.

§ 2223.

The points to which I am anxious rather to direct attention are (1) the extent to which the works of Origen were studied by the ancients: and (2) the curious [pg 166] discovery that Codexes אB, and to some extent D, either belong to the same class as those with which Origen was chiefly familiar; or else have been anciently manipulated into conformity with Origen's teaching. The former seems to me the more natural supposition; but either inference equally satisfies my contention: viz. that Origen, and mainly BאD, are not to be regarded as wholly independent authorities, but constitute a class.

The proof of this position is to be found in various passages where the influence of Origen may be traced, such as in the omission of Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ—“The Son of God”—in Mark i. 1224; and of ἐν Ἐφέσῳ—“at Ephesus”—in Eph. i. 1225; in the substitution of Bethabara (St. John i. 28) for Bethany226; in the omission of the second part of the last petition the Lord's Prayer in St. Luke227, of ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν in John i. 27228.

He is also the cause why the important qualification εἰκῆ (“without a cause”) is omitted by Bא from St. Matt. v. 22; and hence, in opposition to the whole host of Copies, Versions229, Fathers, has been banished from the sacred Text by Lachmann, Tischendorf, W. Hort and the Revisers230. To the same influence, I am persuaded, is to be attributed the omission from a little handful of copies (viz. A, B-א, D*, F-G, and 17*) of the clause τῇ ἀληθείᾳ μὴ πείθεσθαι [pg 167] (“that you should not obey the truth”) Gal. iii. 1. Jerome duly acknowledges those words while commenting on St. Matthew's Gospel231; but when he comes to the place in Galatians232, he is observed, first to admit that the clause “is found in some copies,” and straightway to add that “inasmuch as it is not found in the copies of Adamantius233, he omits it.” The clue to his omission is supplied by his own statement that in writing on the Galatians he had made Origen his guide234. And yet the words stand in the Vulgate.

For:—
C Dc E K L P, 46 Cursives.
Vulg. Goth. Harkl. Arm. Ethiop.
Orig. ii. 373.
Cyril Al. ii. 737.
Ephr. Syr. iii. 203.
Macarius Magnes (or rather the heathen philosopher with whom he disputed),—128.
ps.-Athanas. ii. 454.
Theodoret ii. 40.
J. Damascene ii. 163.
Theodorus Studita,—433, 1136.
Hieron. vii. 418. c. Legitur in quibusdam codicibus, “Quis vos fascinavit non credere veritati?” Sed hoc, quia in exemplaribus Adamantii non habetur, omisimus.
Against:—
אABD*FG 17*.
d e f g—fu.
Peshitto, Bohairic.
Chrys.
Euthal. cod.
Exemplaria Adamantii.
Cyril 429.
Theodoret i. 658 (=Mai vii2 150).
Theodorus Mops.
Hier. vii. 418. c.

In a certain place Origen indulges in a mystical exposition of our Lord's two miracles of feeding235; drawing marvellous inferences, as his manner is, from the details of [pg 168] either miracle. We find that Hilary236, that Jerome237, that Chrysostom238, had Origen's remarks before them when they in turn commented on the miraculous feeding of the 4000. At the feeding of the 5000, Origen points out that our Lord “commands the multitude to sit down” (St. Matt. xiv. 19): but at the feeding of the 4000, He does not “command” but only “directs” them to sit down. (St. Matt. xv. 35239) ... From which it is plain that Origen did not read as we do in St. Matt. xv. 35, καὶ ἐκέλευσε τοῖς ὄχλοις—but παρήνγειλε τῷ ὄχλῳ ἀναπεσεῖν; which is the reading of the parallel place in St. Mark (viii. 6). We should of course have assumed a slip of memory on Origen's part; but that אBD are found to exhibit the text of St. Matt. xv. 35 in conformity with Origen240. He is reasoning therefore from a MS. which he has before him; and remarking, as his unfortunate manner is, on what proves to be really nothing else but a palpable depravation of the text.

Speaking of St. John xiii. 26, Origen remarks,—“It is not written ‘He it is to whom I shall give the sop’; but with the addition of ‘I shall dip’: for it says, ‘I shall dip the sop and give it.’ ” This is the reading of BCL and is adopted accordingly by some Editors. But surely it is a depravation of the text which may be ascribed with confidence to the officiousness of Origen himself. Who, at all events, on such precarious evidence would surrender the established reading of the place, witnessed to as it is by [pg 169] every other known MS. and by several of the Fathers? The grounds on which Tischendorf reads βάψω το ψωμίον καὶ δώσω αὐτῷ, are characteristic, and in their way a curiosity241.

Take another instance of the same phenomenon. It is plain, from the consent of (so to speak) all the copies, that our Saviour rejected the Temptation which stands second in St. Luke's Gospel with the words,—“Get thee behind Me, Satan242.” But Origen officiously points out that this (quoting the words) is precisely what our Lord did not say. He adds a reason,—“He said to Peter, ‘Get thee behind Me, Satan’; but to the Devil, ‘Get thee hence,’ without the addition ‘behind Me’; for to be behind Jesus is a good thing243.”

[pg 170]

Our Saviour on a certain occasion (St. John viii. 38) thus addressed his wicked countrymen:—“I speak that which I have seen with My Father; and ye likewise do that which you have seen with your father.” He contrasts His own gracious doctrines with their murderous deeds; and refers them to their respective “Fathers,”—to “My Father,” that is, God; and to “your father,” that is, the Devil244. That this is the true sense of the place appears plainly enough from the context. “Seen with” and “heard from245 are the expressions employed on such occasions, because sight and hearing are the faculties which best acquaint a man with the nature of that whereof he discourses.

Origen, misapprehending the matter, maintains that God is the “Father” spoken of on either side. He I suspect it was who, in order to support this view, erased “My” and “your”; and in the second member of the sentence, for “seen with,” substituted “heard from”;—as if a contrast had been intended between the manner of the Divine and of the human knowledge,—which would be clearly out of place. In this way, what is in reality a revelation, becomes converted into a somewhat irrelevant precept: “I speak the things which I have seen with the Father.” “Do ye the things which ye have heard from the Father,”—which is how Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford exhibit the place. Cyril Alex. employed a text thus impaired. Origen also puts ver. 39 into the form of a precept (ἐστέ ... [pg 171] ποιεῖτε); but he has all the Fathers246 (including himself),—all the Versions,—all the copies against him, being supported only by B.

But the evidence against “the restored reading” to which Alford invites attention, (viz. omitting μου and substituting ἠκούσατε παρὰ τοῦ Πατρός for ἑωράκατε παρὰ τῷ Πατρὶ ὑμῶν.) is overwhelming. Only five copies (BCLTX) omit μου: only four (BLT, 13) omit ὑμῶν: a very little handful are for substituting ἠκούσατε with the genitive for ἑωράκατε. Chrys., Apolinaris, Cyril Jerus., Ammonius, as well as every ancient version of good repute, protest against such an exhibition of the text. In ver. 39, only five read ἐστέ (אBDLT): while ποιεῖτε is found only in Cod. B. Accordingly, some critics prefer the imperfect ἐποιεῖτε, which however is only found in אDLT. “The reading is remarkable” says Alford. Yes, and clearly fabricated. The ordinary text is right.

§ 3.

Besides these passages, in which there is actual evidence of a connexion subsisting between the readings which they contain and Origen, the sceptical character of the Vatican and Sinaitic manuscripts affords a strong proof of the alliance between them and the Origenistic School. It must be borne in mind that Origen was not answerable for all the tenets of the School which bore his name, even perhaps less than Calvin was responsible for all that Calvinists after him have held and taught. Origenistic doctrines came from the blending of philosophy with Christianity in the schools of Alexandria where Origen was the most eminent of the teachers engaged247.

[pg 172]

Chapter X. The Old Uncials. Codex D.

§ 1248.

It is specially remarkable that the Canon of Holy Scripture, which like the Text had met with opposition, was being settled in the later part of the century in which these two manuscripts were produced, or at the beginning of the next. The two questions appear to have met together in Eusebius. His latitudinarian proclivities seem to have led him in his celebrated words249 to lay undue stress upon the objections felt by some persons to a few of the Books of the New Testament; and cause us therefore not to wonder that he should also have countenanced those who wished without reason to leave out portions of the Text. Now the first occasion, as is well known, when we find all the Books of the New Testament recognized with authority occurred at the Council of Laodicea in 363 a.d., if the passage is genuine250, which is very doubtful; and the [pg 173] settlement of the Canon which was thus initiated, and was accomplished by about the end of the century, was followed, as was natural, by the settlement of the Text. But inasmuch as the latter involved a large multitude of intricate questions, and corruption had crept in and had acquired a very firm hold, it was long before universal acquiescence finally ensued upon the general acceptance effected in the time of St. Chrysostom. In fact, the Nature of the Divine Word, and the character of the Written Word, were confirmed about the same time:—mainly, in the period when the Nicene Creed was re-asserted at the Council of Constantinople in 381 a.d.; for the Canon of Holy Scripture was fixed and the Orthodox Text gained a supremacy over the Origenistic Text about the same time:—and finally, after the Third Council of Constantinople in 680 a.d., at which the acknowledgement of the Natures of the Son of Man was placed in a position superior to all heresy; for it was then that the Traditional Text began in nearly perfect form to be handed down with scarce any opposition to future ages of the Church.

Besides the multiplicity of points involved, three special causes delayed the complete settlement of the Text, so far as the attainment was concerned all over the Church of general accuracy throughout the Gospels, not to speak of all the New Testament.

1. Origenism, going beyond Origen, continued in force till it was condemned by the Fifth General Council in 553 a.d., and could hardly have wholly ended in that year. Besides this, controversies upon fundamental truths agitated the Church, and implied a sceptical and wayward spirit which would be ready to sustain alien variations in the written Word, till the censure passed upon Monothelitism at the Sixth General Council in 680 a.d.

2. The Church was terribly tried by the overthrow of the Roman Empire, and the irruption of hordes of Barbarians: [pg 174] and consequently Churchmen were obliged to retire into extreme borders, as they did into Ireland in the fifth century251, and to spend their energies in issuing forth from thence to reconquer countries for the Kingdom of Christ. The resultant paralysis of Christian effort must have been deplorable. Libraries and their treasures, as at Caesarea and Alexandria under the hands of Mahommedans in the seventh century, were utterly destroyed. Rest and calmness, patient and frequent study and debate, books and other helps to research, must have been in those days hard to get, and were far from being in such readiness as to favour general improvement in a subject of which extreme accuracy is the very breath and life.

3. The Art of Writing on Vellum had hardly passed its youth at the time when the Text advocated by B and א fell finally into disuse. Punctuation did but exist in the occasional use of the full stop: breathings or accents were perhaps hardly found: spelling, both as regards consonants and vowels, was uncertain and rudimental. So that the Art of transcribing on vellum even so far as capital letters were concerned, did not arrive at anything like maturity till about the eighth century.

But it must not be imagined that manuscripts of substantial accuracy did not exist during this period, though they have not descended to us. The large number of Uncials and Cursives of later ages must have had a goodly assemblage of accurate predecessors from which they were copied. It is probable that the more handsome and less correct copies have come into our hands, since such would have been not so much used, and might have been in the possession of the men of higher station whose heathen [pg 175] ancestry had bequeathed to them less orthodox tendencies, and the material of many others must have been too perishable to last. Arianism prevailed during much of the sixth century in Italy, Africa, Burgundy, and Spain. Ruder and coarser volumes, though more accurate, would be readily surrendered to destruction, especially if they survived in more cultured descendants. That a majority of such MSS. existed, whether of a rougher or more polished sort, both in vellum and papyrus, is proved by citations of Scripture found in the Authors of the period. But those MSS. which have been preserved are not so perfect as the others which have come from the eighth and following centuries.

Thus Codex A, though it exhibits a text more like the Traditional than either B or א, is far from being a sure guide. Codex C, which was written later in the fifth century, is only a fragmentary palimpsest, i.e. it was thought to be of so little value that the books of Ephraem the Syrian were written over the Greek: it contains not more than two-thirds of the New Testament, and stands as to the character of its text between A and B. Codex Q, a fragment of 235 verses, and Codex I of 135, in the same century, are not large enough to be taken into consideration here. Codexes Φ and Σ, recently discovered, being products of the end of the fifth or beginning of the sixth, and containing St. Matthew and St. Mark nearly complete, are of a general character similar to A, and evince more advancement in the Art. It is unfortunate indeed that only a fragment of either of them, though that fragment in either case is pretty complete as far as it goes, has come into our hands. After them succeeds Codex D, or Codex Bezae, now in the Cambridge Library, having been bequeathed to the University by Theodore Beza, whose name it bears. It ends at Acts xxii. 29.

[pg 176]

§ 2. Codex D252.

No one can pretend fully to understand the character of this Codex who has not been at the pains to collate every word of it with attention. Such an one will discover that it omits in the Gospels alone no less than 3,704 words; adds to the genuine text 2,213; substitutes 2,121; transposes 3,471, and modifies 1,772. By the time he has made this discovery his esteem for Cod. D will, it is presumed, have experienced serious modification. The total of 13,281 deflections from the Received Text is a formidable objection to explain away. Even Dr. Hort speaks of “the prodigious amount of error which D contains253.”

But the intimate acquaintance with the Codex which he has thus acquired has conducted him to certain other results, which it is of the utmost importance that we should particularize and explain.

I. And first, this proves to be a text which in one Gospel is often assimilated to the others. And in fact the assimilation is carried sometimes so far, that a passage from one Gospel is interpolated into the parallel passage in another. Indeed the extent to which in Cod. D interpolations from St. Mark's Gospel are inserted into the Gospel according to St. Luke is even astounding. Between verses 14 and 15 of St. Luke v. thirty-two words are interpolated from the parallel passage in St. Mark i. 45-ii. 1: and in the 10th verse of the vith chapter twelve words are introduced from St. Mark ii. 27, 28. In St. Luke iv. 37, ἡ ἀκοή, “the report,” from St. Mark i. 28, is substituted for ἦχος, “the sound,” which is read in the other manuscripts. Besides the introduction into St. Luke i. 64 [pg 177] of ἐλύθη from St. Mark vii. 35, which will be described below, in St. Luke v. 27 seven words are brought from the parallel passage in St. Mark ii. 14, and the entire passage is corrupted254. In giving the Lord's Prayer in St. Luke xi. 2, the scribe in fault must needs illustrate the Lord's saying by interpolating an inaccurate transcription of the warning against “vain repetitions” given by Him before in the Sermon on the Mount. Again, as to interpolation from other sources, grossly enough, St. Matt. ii. 23 is thrust in at the end of St. Luke ii. 39; that is to say, the scribe of D, or of some manuscript from which D was copied, either directly or indirectly, thought fit to explain the carrying of the Holy Child to Nazareth by the explanation given by St. Matthew, but quoting from memory wrote “by the prophet” in the singular, instead of “by the prophets” in the plural255. Similarly, in St. Luke iv. 31 upon the mention of the name of Capernaum, D must needs insert from St. Matt. iv. 13, “which is upon the sea-coast within the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim” (την παραθαλασσιον (sic) εν οριοις Ζαβουλων και Νεφθαλειμ). Indeed, no adequate idea can be formed of the clumsiness, the coarseness of these operations, unless some instances are given: but a few more must suffice.

1. In St. Mark iii. 26, our Lord delivers the single statement, “And if Satan is risen against himself (ἀνέστε ἐφ᾽ ἑαυτὸν) and is divided (καὶ μεμέρισται) he cannot stand, but hath an end (ἀλλὰ τέλος ἔχει).” Instead of this, D exhibits, “And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself: his kingdom cannot stand, but hath the end (ἀλλὰ [pg 178] τὸ τέλος ἔχει).” Now this is clearly an imitation, not a copy, of the parallel place in St. Matt. xii. 26, where also a twofold statement is made, as every one may see. But the reply is also a clumsy one to the question asked in St. Mark, but not in St. Matthew, “How can Satan cast out Satan?” Learned readers however will further note that it is St. Matthew's ἐμερίσθη, where St. Mark wrote μεμέρισται, which makes the statement possible for him which is impossible according to the representation given by D of St. Mark.

2. At the end of the parable of the pounds, the scribe of D, or one of those whom he followed, thinking that the idle servant was let off too easily, and confusing with this parable the other parable of the talents,—blind of course to the difference between the punishments inflicted by a “lord” and those of a new-made king,—inserts the 30th verse of St. Matt. xxv. at the end of St. Luke xix. 27.

3. Again, after St. Matt. xx. 28, when the Lord had rebuked the spirit of ambition in the two sons of Zebedee, and had directed His disciples not to seek precedence, enforcing the lesson from His own example as shewn in giving His Life a ransom for many, D inserts the following tasteless passage: “But ye seek to increase from a little, and from the greater to be something less256.” Nor is this enough:—an addition is also made from St. Luke xiv. 8-10, being the well-known passage about taking the lowest room at feasts. But this additional interpolation is in style and language unlike the words of any Gospels, and ends with the vapid piece of information, “and this shall be useful to thee.” It is remarkable that, whereas D was alone in former errors, here it becomes a follower in one part or other of the passage of twelve Old Latin manuscripts257: and indeed the Greek in the passage in D is [pg 179] evidently a version of the Syrio-Low-Latin. The following words, or forms of words or phrases, are not found in the rest of the N.T.: παρακληθέντες (aor. part. rogati or vocati), ἀνακλίνεσθε (recumbite), ἐξέχοντας (eminentioribus), δειπνοκλήτωρ (invitator caenae), ἔτι κάτω χώρει (adhuc infra accede), ἥττονα τόπον (loco inferiori), ἥττων (inferior), σύναγε ἔτι ἄνω (collige adhuc superius). These Latin expressions are taken from one or other of the twelve Old Latin MSS. Outside of the Latin, the Curetonian is the sole ally, the Lewis being mutilated, of the flighty Old Uncial under consideration.

These passages are surely enough to represent to the reader the interpolations of Codex D, whether arising from assimilation or otherwise. The description given by the very learned editor of this MS. is in the following words:—“No known manuscript contains so many bold and extensive interpolations (six hundred, it is said, in the Acts alone), countenanced, where they are not absolutely unsupported, chiefly by the Old Latin and the Curetonian version258.”

II. There are also traces of extreme licentiousness in this copy of the Gospels which call for distinct notice. Sometimes words or expressions are substituted: sometimes the sense is changed, and utter confusion introduced: delicate terms or forms are ignored: and a general corruption ensues.

I mean for example such expressions as the following, which are all found in the course of a single verse (St. Mark iv. 1).

St. Mark relates that once when our Saviour was teaching “by the sea-side” (παρά) there assembled so vast a concourse of persons that “He went into the ship, and [pg 180] sat in the sea,” all the multitude being “on the land, towards the sea”: i.e. with their faces turned in the direction of the ship in which He was sitting. Was a plain story ever better told?

But according to D the facts of the case were quite different. First, it was our Saviour who was teaching “towards the sea” (πρός). Next, in consequence of the crowd, He crossed over, and “sat on the other side of the sea” (πέραν). Lastly, the multitude—followed Him, I suppose; for they also—“were on the other side of the sea” (πέραν) ... Now I forgive the scribe for his two transpositions and his ungrammatical substitution of ὁ λαός for ὄχλος. But I insist that a MS. which circulates incidents after this fashion cannot be regarded as trustworthy. Verse 2 begins in the same licentious way. Instead of,—“And He taught them many things (πολλά) in parables,” we are informed that “He taught them in many parables” (πολλαῖς). Who will say that we are ever safe with such a guide?

§ 3.

All are aware that the two Evangelical accounts of our Lord's human descent exhibit certain distinctive features. St. Matthew distributes the 42 names in “the book of the generations of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham,” into three fourteens; and requires us to recognize in the Ἰεχονίας of ver. 11 a different person (viz. Jehoiakim) from the Ἰεχονίας of ver. 12 (viz. Jehoiachin). Moreover, in order to produce this symmetry of arrangement, he leaves out the names of 3 kings,—Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah: and omits at least 9 generations of Zorobabel's descendants259. The mystical correspondence between the 42 steps in our Saviour's human descent from Abraham, and the 42 stations of the Israelites on their way to Canaan260, [pg 181] has been often remarked upon. It extends to the fact that the stations also were, historically, far more than 42. And so much for what is contained in St. Matthew's Gospel.

St. Luke, who enumerates the 77 steps of his genealogy in backward order, derives the descent of Jesus, the son of Joseph” from “Adam, the son of God.” He traces our Lord's descent from David and again from Zorobabel through a different line of ancestry from that adopted by St. Matthew. He introduces a second “Cainan” between Arphaxad and Sala (ver. 35, 36). The only names which the two tables of descent have in common are these five,—David, Salathiel, Zorobabel, Joseph, Jesus.

But Cod. D—(from which the first chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel has long since disappeared)—in St. Luke iii. exhibits a purely fabricated table of descent. To put one name for another,—as when A writes “Shem” instead of Seth: to misspell a name until it ceases to be recognizable,—as when א writes “Balls” for Boaz: to turn one name into two by cutting it in half,—as where א writes “Admin” and “Adam” instead of Aminadab: or again, in defiance of authority, to leave a name out,—as when A omits Mainan and Pharez; or to put a name in,—as when Verona Lat. (b) inserts “Joaram” after Aram:—with all such instances of licence the “old Uncials” have made us abundantly familiar. But we are not prepared to find that in place of the first 18 names which follow those of Jesus and “Joseph” in St. Luke's genealogy (viz. Heli to Rhesa inclusive), D introduces the 9 immediate ancestors of Joseph (viz. Abiud to Jacob) as enumerated by St. Matthew,—thus abbreviating St. Luke's genealogy by 9 names. Next,—“Zorobabel” and “Salathiel” being common to both genealogies,—in place of the 20 names found in St. Luke between Salathiel and David (viz. Neri to Nathan inclusive), Cod. D presents us with the 15 royal descendants of David enumerated by [pg 182] St. Matthew (viz. Solomon to Jehoiachin261 inclusive);—infelicitously inventing an imaginary generation, by styling Jehoiakim “the son of Eliakim,”—being not aware that “Jehoiakim” and “Eliakim” are one and the same person: and, in defiance of the first Evangelist, supplying the names of the 3 kings omitted by St. Matthew (i. 8), viz. Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah. Only 34 names follow in Cod. D; the second “Cainan” being omitted. In this way, the number of St. Luke's names is reduced from 77 to 66. A more flagrant instance of that licentious handling of the deposit which was a common phenomenon in Western Christendom is seldom to be met with262. This particular fabrication is happily the peculiar property of Cod. D; and we are tempted to ask, whether it assists in recommending that singular monument of injudicious and arbitrary textual revision to the favour of one of the modern schools of Critics.

§ 4.

We repeat that the ill treatment which the deposit has experienced at the hands of those who fabricated the text of Cod. D is only to be understood by those who will be [pg 183] at the pains to study its readings throughout. Constantly to substitute the wrong word for the right one; or at all events to introduce a less significant expression: on countless occasions to mar the details of some precious incident; and to obscure the purpose of the Evangelist by tastelessly and senselessly disturbing the inspired text,—this will be found to be the rule with Cod. D throughout. As another example added to those already cited:—In St. Luke xxii, D omits verse 20, containing the Institution of the Cup, evidently from a wish to correct the sacred account by removing the second mention of the Cup from the record of the third Evangelist.

St. Mark (xv. 43) informs us that, on the afternoon of the first Good Friday, Joseph of Arimathaea “taking courage went in (εἰσῆλθε) to Pilate and requested to have the body (σῶμα) of Jesus”: that “Pilate wondered (ἐθαύμασεν) [at hearing] that He was dead (τέθνηκε) already: and sending for the centurion [who had presided at the Crucifixion] inquired of him if [Jesus] had been dead long?” (εἰ πάλαι ἀπέθανε.)

But the author of Cod. D, besides substituting went (ἦλθεν) for “went in,”corpse (πτῶμα) for “body” (which by the way he repeats in ver. 45),—and a sentiment of “continuous wonder” (ἐθαύμαζεν) for the fact of astonishment which Joseph's request inspired,—having also substituted the prosaic τεθνήκει for the graphic τέθνηκε of the Evangelist,—represents Pilate as inquiring of the centurion “if [indeed Jesus] was dead already?” (εἰ ἤδη τεθνήκει; si jam mortuus esset?), whereby not only is all the refinement of the original lost, but the facts of the case also are seriously misrepresented. For Pilate did not doubt Joseph's tidings. He only wondered at them. And his inquiry was made not with a view to testing the veracity of his informant, but for the satisfaction of his own curiosity as to the time when his Victim had expired.

[pg 184]

Now it must not be supposed that I have fastened unfairly on an exceptional verse and a half (St. Mark xv. half of v. 43 and all v. 44) of the second Gospel. The reader is requested to refer to the note263, where he will find set down a collation of eight consecutive verses in the selfsame context: viz. St. Mark xv. 47 to xvi. 7 inclusive; after an attentive survey of which he will not be disposed to deny that only by courtesy can such an exhibition of the original verity as Cod. D be called “a copy” at all. Had the genuine text been copied over and over again till the crack of doom, the result could never have been this. There are in fact but 117 words to be transcribed: and of these no less than 67—much more than half—have been either omitted (21), or else added (11); substituted (10), or else transposed (11); depraved (12, as by writing ανατελλοντος for ἀνατείλαντος), or actually blundered (2, as by writing ερχονται ημιον for ἔρχονται ἡμῖν). Three times the construction has been altered,—once indeed very seriously, for the Angel at the sepulchre is made to personate Christ. Lastly, five of the corrupt readings are the result of Assimilation. Whereas the evangelist wrote καὶ ἀναβλέψασαι θεωροῦσιν ὅτι ἀποκεκύλισται ὁ λίθος, what else but a licentious [pg 185] paraphrase is the following,—ερχονται και ευρισκουσιν αποκεκυλισμενον τον λιθον? This is in fact a fabricated, not an honestly transcribed text: and it cannot be too clearly understood that such a text (more or less fabricated, I mean) is exhibited by Codexes BאD throughout.

§ 5.

It is remarkable that whenever the construction is somewhat harsh or obscure, D and the Latin copies are observed freely to transpose,—to supply,—and even slightly to paraphrase,—in order to bring out the presumed meaning of the original. An example is furnished by St. Luke i. 65, where the Evangelist, having related that Zacharias wrote—“His name is John,” adds,—“and all wondered. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue, and he spake praising God.” The meaning of course is that his tongue “was loosed.” Accordingly D actually supplies ἐλύθη,—the Latin copies, “resoluta est.” But D does more. Presuming that what occasioned the “wonder” was not so much what Zacharias wrote on the tablet as the restored gift of speech, it puts that clause first,—ingeniously transposing the first two words (παραχρημα και); the result of which is the following sentence:—“And immediately his tongue was loosed; and all wondered. And his mouth was opened, and he spake praising God.... In the next verse it is related that “fear came upon all who dwelt round about them.” But the order of the words in the original being unusual (καὶ ἐγένετο ἐπὶ πάντας φόβος τοὺς περιοικοῦντας αὐτούς), D and the Latin copies transpose them: (indeed the three Syriac do the same): but D b c gratuitously introduce an epithet,—και εγενετο φοβος μεγας επι παντας τους περιοικουντας αυτον.... In ver. 70, the expression τῶν ἀπ᾽ αἰῶνος προφητῶν αὐτοῦ appearing harsh was (by transposing the words) altered into this, which is the easy [pg 186] and more obvious order: προφητων αυτον των απ᾽ αιωνος.... So again in ver. 71: the phrase σωτηρίαν ἐξ ἐχθρῶν seeming obscure, the words ἐκ χειρός (which follow) were by D substituted for ἐξ. The result (σωτηρίαν ἐκ χειρὸς ἐχθρῶν ἡμῶν [compare ver. 74], καὶ πάντων τῶν μισούντων ἡμᾶς) is certainly easier reading: but—like every other change found in the same context—it labours under the fatal condemnation of being an unauthorized human gloss.

The phenomenon however which perplexes me most in Cod. D is that it abounds in fabricated readings which have nothing whatever to recommend them. Not contented with St. Luke's expression “to thrust out a little (ὀλίγον) from the land” (v. 3), the scribe writes οσον οσον. In ver. 5, instead of “I will let down the net” (χαλάσω τὸ δίκτυον) he makes St. Peter reply, “I will not neglect to obey” (ου μη παρακουσομαι). So, for “and when they had this done,” he writes “and when they had straightway let down the nets”: and immediately after, instead of διερρήγνυτο δὲ τὸ δίκτυον αὐτῶν we are presented with ωστε τα δικτυα ρησσεσθαι. It is very difficult to account for this, except on an hypothesis which I confess recommends itself to me more and more: viz. that there were in circulation in some places during the earliest ages of the Church Evangelical paraphrases, or at least free exhibitions of the chief Gospel incidents,—to which the critics resorted; and from which the less judicious did not hesitate to borrow expressions and even occasionally to extract short passages. Such loose representations of passages must have prevailed both in Syria, and in the West where Greek was not so well understood, and where translators into the vernacular Latin expressed themselves with less precision, whilst they attempted also to explain the passages translated.

This notion, viz. that it is within the province of a Copyist to interpret the original before him, clearly lies at the root of many a so-called “various reading.”

[pg 187]

Thus for the difficult ἐπιβαλὼν ἔκλαιε (in St. Mark xiv. 72), “when he thought thereon” (i.e. “when in self-abandonment he flung himself upon the thought”), “he wept,” D exhibits καὶ ἤρξατο κλαίειν, “and he began to weep,” a much easier and a very natural expression, only that it is not the right one, and does not express all that the true words convey. Hence also the transposition by D and some Old Latin MSS. of the clause ἦν γὰρ μέγας σφόδρα “for it was very great” from xvi. 4, where it seems to be out of place, to ver. 3 where it seems to be necessary. Eusebius is observed to have employed a MS. similarly corrupt.

Hence again the frequent unauthorized insertion of a nominative case to determine the sense: e.g. ὁ ἄγγελος “the angel,” xvi. 6, ὁ δὲ Ἰωσήφ “Joseph,” xv. 46, or the substitution of the name intended for the pronoun,—as της Ελισαβεδ (sic) for αὐτῆς in St. Luke i. 41.

Hence in xvi. 7, instead of, “He goeth before you into Galilee, there shall ye see Him as He said unto you,”—D exhibits,—“Behold, I go before you into Galilee, there shall ye see Me, as I told you.” As if it had been thought allowable to recall in this place the fact that our Saviour had once (St. Matt. xxvi. 32, St. Mark xiv. 28) spoken these words in His own person.

And in no other way can I explain D's vapid substitution, made as if from habit, of “a Galilean city” for “a city of Galilee, named Nazareth” in St. Luke i. 26.

Hence the frequent insertion of a wholly manufactured clause in order to impart a little more clearness to the story—as of the words τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ “his name” (after κληθήσεται “shall be called”)—into St. Luke i. 60.

These passages afford expressions of a feature in this Manuscript to which we must again invite particular attention. It reveals to close observation frequent indications of an attempt, not to supply a faithful representation of the very words of Holy Scripture and nothing more [pg 188] than those words, but to interpret, to illustrate,—in a word,—to be a Targum. Of course, such a design or tendency is absolutely fatal to the accuracy of a transcriber. Yet the habit is too strongly marked upon the pages of Codex D to admit of any doubt whether it existed or not264.

In speaking of the character of a MS. one is often constrained to distinguish between the readings and the scribe. The readings may be clearly fabricated: but there may be evidence that the copyist was an accurate and painstaking person. On the other hand, obviously the scribe may have been a considerable blunderer, and yet it may be clear that he was furnished with an admirable archetype. In the case of D we are presented with the alarming concurrence of a fabricated archetype and either a blundering scribe, or a course of blundering scribes.

But then further,—One is often obliged (if one would be accurate) to distinguish between the penman who actually produced the MS., and the critical reader for whom he toiled. It would really seem however as if the actual transcriber of D, or the transcribers of the ancestors of D, had invented some of those monstrous readings as they went on. The Latin version which is found in this MS. exactly reflects, as a rule, the Greek on the opposite page: but sometimes it bears witness to the admitted truth of Scripture, while the Greek goes off in alia omnia265.

§ 6.

It will of course be asked,—But why may not D be in every respect an exact copy,—line for line, word for word, letter for letter,—of some earlier archetype? To establish [pg 189] the reverse of this, so as to put the result beyond the reach of controversy, is impossible. The question depends upon reasons purely critical, and is not of primary importance. For all practical purposes, it is still Codex D of which we speak. When I name “Codex D” I mean of course nothing else but Codex D according to Scrivener's reprint of the text. And if it be a true hypothesis that the actual Codex D is nothing else but the transcript of another Codex strictly identical with itself, then it is clearly a matter of small importance of which of the two I speak. When “Codex D” is cited, it is the contents of Codex D which are meant, and no other thing.

And upon this point it may be observed, that D is chiefly remarkable as being the only Greek Codex266 which exhibits the highly corrupt text found in some of the Old Latin manuscripts, and may be taken as a survival from the second century.

The genius of this family of copies is found to have been—

1. To substitute one expression for another, and generally to paraphrase.

2. To remove difficulties, and where a difficult expression presented itself, to introduce a conjectural emendation of the text. For example, the passage already noticed about the Publican going down to his house “justified rather than the other” is altered into “justified more than that Pharisee” (μαλλον παρ᾽ εκεινον τον Φαρισαιον. St. Luke xviii. 14)267.

3. To omit what might seem to be superfluous. Thus the verse, “Lord, he hath ten pounds” (St. Luke xix. 25) is simply left out268.

Enough has been surely said to prove amply that the text of Codex D is utterly untrustworthy. Indeed, the [pg 190] habit of interpolation found in it, the constant tendency to explain rather than to report, the licentiousness exhibited throughout, and the isolation in which this MS. is found, except in cases where some of the Low-Latin Versions and Cureton's Syriac, and perhaps the Lewis, bear it company, render the text found in it the foulest in existence. What then is to be thought of those critics who upon the exclusive authority of this unstable offender and of a few of the Italic copies occasionally allied with it, endeavour to introduce changes in face of the opposition of all other authorities? And since their ability is unquestioned, must we not seek for the causes of their singular action in the theory to which they are devoted?

§ 7.

Before we take leave of the Old Uncials, it will be well to invite attention to a characteristic feature in them, which is just what the reader would expect who has attended to all that has been said, and which adds confirmation to the doctrine here propounded.

The clumsy and tasteless character of some at least of the Old Uncials has come already under observation. This was in great measure produced by constantly rubbing off delicate expressions which add both to the meaning and the symmetry of the Sacred Record. We proceed to give a few examples, not to prove our position, since it must surely be evident enough to the eyes of any accomplished scholar, but as specimens, and only specimens, of the loss which the Inspired Word would sustain if the Old Uncials were to be followed. Space will not admit of a full discussion of this matter.

An interesting refinement of expression, which has been hopelessly obscured through the proclivity of אBD to fall into error, is found in St. Matt. xxvi. 71. The Evangelist describing the second of St. Peter's denials notes that the [pg 191] damsel who saw him said to the bystanders, “This man too (καὶ) was with Jesus of Nazareth.” The three MSS. just mentioned omit the καὶ. No other MS., Uncial or Cursive, follows them. They have only the support of the unstable Sahidic269. The loss inflicted is patent: comment is needless.

Another instance, where poverty of meaning would be the obvious result if the acceptance by some critics of the lead of the same trio of Uncials were endorsed, may be found in the description of what the shepherds did when they had seen the Holy Child in the manger. Instead of “they made known abroad” (διεγνώρισαν), we should simply have “they made known” (ἐγνώρισαν). We are inclined to say, “Why this clipping and pruning to the manifest disadvantage of the sacred deposit.” Only the satellite L and Ξ and six Cursives with a single passage from Eusebius are on the same side. The rest in overwhelming majority condemn such rudeness270.

§ 8.

The undoubtedly genuine expression καὶ τίς ἐστι, Κυριε (which is the traditional reading of St. John ix. 36), loses its characteristic ΚΑΙ in Cod. א*AL,—though it retains it in the rest of the uncials and in all the cursives. The καί is found in the Complutensian,—because the editors followed their copies: it is not found in the Textus Receptus only because Erasmus did not as in cases before mentioned follow his. The same refinement of expression recurs in the Traditional Text of ch. xiv. 22 (Κύριε, ΚΑῚ τί γέγονεν), [pg 192] and experienced precisely the same fate at the hands of the two earliest editors of the printed Greek Text. It is also again faithfully upheld in its integrity by the whole body of the cursives,—always excepting “33”. But (as before) in uncials of bad character, as BDL (even by AEX) the καί is omitted,—for which insufficient reason it has been omitted by the Revisers likewise,—notwithstanding the fact that it is maintained in all the other uncials. As is manifest in most of these instances, the Versions, being made into languages with other idioms than Greek, can bear no witness; and also that these delicate embellishments would be often brushed off in quotations, as well as by scribes and so-called correctors.

We have not far to look for other instances of this. St. Matthew (i. 18) begins his narrative,—μνηστευθείσης ΓᾺΡ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ Μαρίας τῷ Ἰωσήφ. Now, as readers of Greek are aware, the little untranslated (because untranslateable) word exhibited in capitals271 stands with peculiar idiomatic force and propriety immediately after the first word of such a sentence as the foregoing, being employed in compliance with strictly classical usage272: and though it might easily come to be omitted through the carelessness or the licentiousness of copyists, yet it could not by any possibility have universally established itself in copies of the Gospel—as it has done—had it been an unauthorized accretion to the text. We find it recognized in St. Matt. i. 18 by Eusebius273, by Basil274, by Epiphanius275, by Chrysostom276, by Nestorius277, by Cyril278, by Andreas Cret.279: which is even extraordinary; for the γάρ is not at all required for purposes of quotation. But the essential circumstance as [pg 193] usual is, that γάρ is found besides in the whole body of the manuscripts. The only uncials in fact which omit the idiomatic particle are four of older date, viz. BאC*Z.

This same particle (γάρ) has led to an extraordinary amount of confusion in another place, where its idiomatic propriety has evidently been neither felt nor understood,—viz. in St. Luke xviii. 14. “This man” (says our Lord) “went down to his house justified rather than” (ἢ γάρ) “the other.” Scholars recognize here an exquisitely idiomatic expression, which in fact obtains so universally in the Traditional Text that its genuineness is altogether above suspicion. It is vouched for by 16 uncials headed by A, and by the cursives in the proportion of 500 to 1. The Complutensian has it, of course: and so would the Textus Receptus have it, if Erasmus had followed his MS.: but praefero (he says) quod est usitatius apud probos autores.” Uncongenial as the expression is to the other languages of antiquity, ἢ γάρ is faithfully retained in the Gothic and in the Harkleian Version280. Partly however, because it is of very rare occurrence and was therefore not understood281, and partly because when written in uncials it easily got perverted into something else, the expression has met with a strange fate. ΗΓΑΡ is found to have suggested, or else to have been mistaken for, both ΗπΕΡ282 and ΥΠΕΡ283. The prevailing expedient however was, to get rid of the Η—to turn ΓΑΡ into ΠΑΡ,—and, for ἐκεῖνος to write ἐκεῖνον284. The [pg 194] uncials which exhibit this strange corruption of the text are exclusively that quaternion which have already come so often before us,—viz. BאDL. But D improves upon the blunder of its predecessors by writing, like a Targum, μᾶλλον ΓΑΡ᾽ αἰκεῖνον (sic), and by adding (with the Old Latin and the Peshitto) τὸν Φαρισαῖον,—an exhibition of the text which (it is needless to say) is perfectly unique285.

And how has the place fared at the hands of some Textual critics? Lachmann and Tregelles (forsaken by Tischendorf) of course follow Codd. BאDL. The Revisers (with Dr. Hort)—not liking to follow BאDL, and unable to adopt the Traditional Text, suffer the reading of the Textus Receptus (ἢ ἐκεῖνος) to stand,—though a solitary cursive (Evan. 1) is all the manuscript authority that can be adduced in its favour. In effect, ἢ ἐκεῖνος may be said to be without manuscript authority286.

The point to be noticed in all this is, that the true reading of St. Luke xviii. 14 has been faithfully retained by the MSS. in all countries and all down the ages, not only by the whole body of the cursives, but by every uncial in existence except four. And those four are BאDL.

But really the occasions are without number when minute words have dropped out of אB and their allies,—and yet have been faithfully retained, all through the centuries, by the later Uncials and despised Cursive copies. In St. John xvii. 2, for instance, we read—δόξασόν σου τὸν [pg 195] υἱόν, ἵνα ΚΑῚ ὁ υἱός ΣΟΥ δοξάσῃ σέ: where καί is omitted by אABCD: and σου (after ὁ υἱός) by אBC. Some critics will of course insist that, on the contrary, both words are spurious accretions to the text of the cursives; and they must say so, if they will. But does it not sensibly impair their confidence in א to find that it, and it only, exhibits λελάληκεν (for ἐλάλησεν) in ver. 1,—δώσω αὐτῷ (for δώσῃ αὐτοῖς) in ver. 2, while אB are peculiar in writing Ἰησοῦς without the article in ver. 1?

Enough has surely been said to exhibit and illustrate this rude characteristic of the few Old Copies which out of the vast number of their contemporaries are all that we now possess. The existence of this characteristic is indubitable and undoubted: it is in a measure acknowledged by Dr. Hort in words on which we shall remark in the ensuing chapter287. Our readers should observe that the “rubbing off” process has by no means been confined to particles like καί and γάρ, but has extended to tenses, other forms of words, and in fact to all kinds of delicacies of expression. The results have been found all through the Gospels: sacred and refined meaning, such as accomplished scholars will appreciate in a moment, has been pared off and cast away. If people would only examine B, א and D in their bare unpresentableness, they would see the loss which those MSS. have sustained, as compared with the Text supported by the overwhelming mass of authorities: and they would refuse to put their trust any longer in such imperfect, rudimentary, and ill-trained guides.

[pg 196]

Chapter XI. The Later Uncials And The Cursives.

§ 1288.

The nature of Tradition is very imperfectly understood in many quarters; and mistakes respecting it lie close to the root, if they are not themselves the root, of the chief errors in Textual Criticism. We must therefore devote some space to a brief explanation of this important element in our present inquiry.

Tradition is commonly likened to a stream which, as is taken for granted, contracts pollution in its course the further it goes. Purity is supposed to be attainable only within the neighbourhood of the source: and it is assumed that distance from thence ensures proportionally either greater purity or more corruption.

Without doubt there is much truth in this comparison: only, as in the case of nearly all comparisons there are limits to the resemblance, and other features and aspects are not therein connoted, which are essentially bound up with the subject believed to be illustrated on all points in this similitude.

In the first place, the traditional presentment of the New Testament is not like a single stream, but resembles rather a great number of streams of which many have [pg 197] remained pure, but some have been corrupted. One cluster of bad streams was found in the West, and, as is most probable, the source of very many of them was in Syria: another occurred in the East with Alexandria and afterwards Caesarea as the centre, where it was joined by the currents from the West. A multitude in different parts of the Church were kept wholly or mainly clear of these contaminants, and preserved the pure and precise utterance as it issued from the springs of the Written Word.

But there is another pitfall hidden under that imperfect simile which is continually employed on this subject either by word of mouth or in writing. The Tradition of the Church does not take shape after the model of a stream or streams rolling in mechanical movement and unvaried flow from the fountain down the valley and over the plain. Like most mundane things, it has a career. It has passed through a stage when one manuscript was copied as if mechanically from another that happened to be at hand. Thus accuracy except under human infirmity produced accuracy; and error was surely procreative of error. Afterwards came a period when both bad and good exemplars offered themselves in rivalry, and the power of refusing the evil and choosing the good was in exercise, often with much want of success. As soon as this stage was accomplished, which may be said roughly to have reached from Origen till the middle of the fourth century, another period commenced, when a definite course was adopted, which was followed with increasing advantage till the whole career was fixed irrevocably in the right direction. The period of the two Gregories, Basil, Chrysostom, and others, was the time when the Catholic Church took stock of truth and corruption, and had in hand the duty of thoroughly casting out error and cleansing her faith. The second part of the Creed was thus permanently defined; the third part which, besides the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, relates to His action [pg 198] in the Church, to the Written Word, inclusive both of the several books generally and the text of those books, to the nature of the Sacraments, to the Ministry, to the character of the unity and government of the Church, was on many points delayed as to special definition by the ruin soon dealt upon the Roman Empire, and by the ignorance of the nations which entered upon that vast domain: and indeed much of this part of the Faith remains still upon the battlefield of controversy.

But action was taken upon what may be perhaps termed the Canon of St. Augustine289: “What the Church of the time found prevailing throughout her length and breadth, not introduced by regulations of Councils, but handed down in unbroken tradition, that she rightly concluded to have been derived from no other fount than Apostolic authority.” To use other words, in the accomplishment of her general work, the Church quietly and without any public recension examined as to the written Word the various streams that had come down from the Apostles, and followed the multitude that were purest, and by gradual filtration extruded out of these nearly all the corruption that even the better lines of descent had contracted.

We have now arrived at the period, when from the general consentience of the records, it is discovered that the form of the Text of the New Testament was mainly settled. The settlement was effected noiselessly, not by public debate or in decrees of general or provincial councils, yet none the less completely and permanently. It was the Church's own operation, instinctive, deliberate, and in the main universal. Only a few witnesses here and there lifted up their voices against the prevalent decisions, themselves to be condemned by the dominant sense of Christendom. Like the repudiation of Arianism, it was [pg 199] a repentance from a partial and temporary encouragement of corruption, which was never to be repented of till it was called in question during the general disturbance of faith and doctrine in the nineteenth century. Doubtless, the agreement thus introduced has not attained more than a general character. For the exceeding number of questions involved forbids all expectation of an universal coincidence of testimony extending to every single case.

But in the outset, as we enter upon the consideration of the later manuscripts, our way must be cleared by the removal of some fallacies which are widely prevalent amongst students of Sacred Textual Criticism.

It is sometimes imagined (1) that Uncials and Cursives differ in kind; (2) that all Cursives are alike; (3) that all Cursives are copies of Codex A, and are the results of a general Recension; and (4) that we owe our knowledge of the New Testament entirely to the existing Uncials. To these four fallacies must be added an opinion which stands upon a higher footing than the preceding, but which is no less a fallacy, and which we have to combat in this chapter, viz. that the Text of the later Uncials and especially the Text of the Cursives is a debased Text.

1. The real difference between Uncials and Cursives is patent to all people who have any knowledge of the subject. Uncials form a ruder kind of manuscripts, written in capital letters with no space between them till the later specimens are reached, and generally with an insufficient and ill-marked array of stops. Cursives show a great advance in workmanship, being indited, as the name suggests, in running and more easily flowing letters, with “a system of punctuation much the same as in printed books.” As contrasted with one another, Uncials as a class enjoy a great superiority, if antiquity is considered; and Cursives are just as much higher than the sister class, if workmanship is to be the guiding principle [pg 200] of judgement. Their differences are on the surface, and are such that whoso runs may read.

But Textual Science, like all Science, is concerned, not with the superficial, but with the real;—not with the dress in which the text is presented, but with the text itself;—not again with the bare fact of antiquity, since age alone is no sure test of excellence, but with the character of the testimony which from the nature of the subject-matter is within reach. Judging then the later Uncials, and comparing them with the Cursives, we make the discovery that the texts of both are mainly the same. Indeed, they are divided by no strict boundary of time: they overlap one another. The first Cursive is dated May 7, 835290: the last Uncials, which are Lectionaries, are referred to the eleventh, and possibly to the twelfth, century291. One, Codex Λ, is written partly in uncials, and partly in cursive letters, as it appears, by the same hand. So that in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries both uncials and cursives must have issued mainly and virtually from the same body of transcribers. It follows that the difference lay in the outward investiture, whilst, as is found by a comparison of one with another, there was a much more important similarity of character within.

2. But when a leap is made from this position to another sweeping assertion that all cursives are alike, it is necessary to put a stop to so illicit a process. In the first place, there is the small handful of cursive copies which is associated with B and א. The notorious 1,—handsome outwardly like its two leaders but corrupt in text,—33, 118, 131, 157, 205, 209292, and others;—the Ferrar Group, containing 13, 69, 124, 346, 556, 561, besides 348, 624, 788;—these [pg 201] are frequently dissentients from the rest of the Cursives. But indeed, when these and a few others have been subtracted from the rest and set apart in a class by themselves, any careful examination of the evidence adduced on important passages will reveal the fact that whilst almost always there is a clear majority of Cursives on one side, there are amply enough cases of dissentience more or less to prove that the Cursive MSS. are derived from a multiplicity of archetypes, and are endued almost severally with what may without extravagance be termed distinct and independent personality. Indeed, such is the necessity of the case. They are found in various countries all over the Church. Collusion was not possible in earlier times when intercommunication between countries was extremely limited, and publicity was all but confined to small areas. The genealogies of Cursive MSS., if we knew them, would fill a volume. Their stems must have been extremely numerous; and like Uncials, and often independently of Uncials, they must have gone back to the vast body of early papyrus manuscripts.

3. And as to the Cursives having been copies of Codex A, a moderate knowledge of the real character of that manuscript, and a just estimate of the true value of it, would effectually remove such a hallucination. It is only the love of reducing all knowledge of intricate questions to the compass of the proverbial nutshell, and the glamour that hangs over a very old relic, which has led people, when they had dropped their grasp of B, to clutch at the ancient treasure in the British Museum. It is right to concede all honour to such a survival of so early a period: but to lift the pyramid from its ample base, and to rest it upon a point like A, is a proceeding which hardly requires argument for its condemnation. And next, when the notion of a Recension is brought forward, the answer is, What and when and how and where? In the absence [pg 202] of any sign or hint of such an event in records of the past, it is impossible to accept such an explanation of what is no difficulty at all. History rests upon research into documents which have descended to us, not upon imagination or fiction. And the sooner people get such an idea out of their heads as that of piling up structures upon mere assumption, and betake themselves instead to what is duly attested, the better it will be for a Science which must be reared upon well authenticated bases, and not upon phantom theories.

4. The case of the Cursives is in other respects strangely misunderstood, or at least is strangely misrepresented. The popular notion seems to be, that we are indebted for our knowledge of the true text of Scripture to the existing Uncials entirely; and that the essence of the secret dwells exclusively with the four or five oldest of those Uncials. By consequence, it is popularly supposed that since we are possessed of such Uncial Copies, we could afford to dispense with the testimony of the Cursives altogether. A more complete misconception of the facts of the case can hardly be imagined. For the plain truth is that all the phenomena exhibited by the Uncial MSS. are reproduced by the Cursive Copies. A small minority of the Cursives, just as a small minority of the Uncials, are probably the depositaries of peculiar recensions.

It is at least as reasonable to assert that we can afford entirely to disregard the testimony of the Uncials, as to pretend that we can afford entirely to disregard the testimony of the Cursives. In fact of the two, the former assertion would be a vast deal nearer to the truth. Our inductions would in many cases be so fatally narrowed, if we might not look beyond one little handful of Uncial Copies.

But the point to which the reader's attention is specially invited is this:—that so far from our being entirely [pg 203] dependent on Codexes BאCD, or on some of them, for certain of the most approved corrections of the Received Text, we should have been just as fully aware of every one of those readings if neither B nor א, C nor D, had been in existence. Those readings are every one to be found in one or more of the few Cursive Codexes which rank by themselves, viz. the two groups just mentioned and perhaps some others. If they are not, they may be safely disregarded; they are readings which have received no subsequent recognition293.

Indeed, the case of the Cursives presents an exact parallel with the case of the Uncials. Whenever we observe a formal consensus of the Cursives for any reading, there, almost invariably, is a grand consensus observable for the same reading of the Uncials.

The era of greater perfection both in the outer presentment and in the internal accuracy of the text of copies of the New Testament may be said, as far as the relics which have descended to us are concerned, to have commenced with the Codex Basiliensis or E of the Gospels. This beautiful and generally accurate Codex must have been written in the seventh century294. The rest of the later [pg 204] Uncials are ordinarily found together in a large or considerable majority: whilst there is enough dissent to prove that they are independent witnesses, and that error was condemned, not ignored. Thus the Codex Regius (L, eighth century), preserved at Paris, generally follows B and א: so does the Codex Sangallensis (Δ, ninth century), the Irish relic of the monastery of St. Gall, in St. Mark alone: and the Codex Zacynthius (Ξ, an eighth century palimpsest) now in the Library of the Bible Society, in St. Luke295. The isolation of these few from the rest of their own age is usually conspicuous. The verdict of the later uncials is nearly always sustained by a large majority. In fact, as a rule, every principal reading discoverable in any of the oldest Uncials is also exhibited in one, two, or three of the later Uncials, or in one or more of the small handful of dissentient Cursives already enumerated. Except indeed in very remarkable instances, as in the case of the last twelve verses of St. Mark, such readings are generally represented: yet in the later MSS. as compared with the oldest there is this additional feature in the representation, that if evidence is evidence, and weight, number, and variety are taken into account, those readings are altogether condemned.

§ 2296.

But we are here confronted with the contention that the text of the Cursives is of a debased character. Our opponents maintain that it is such that it must have been compounded from other forms of text by a process of conflation [pg 205] so called, and that in itself it is a text of a character greatly inferior to the text mainly represented by B and א.

Now in combating this opinion, we are bound first to remark that the burden of proof rests with the opposite side. According to the laws which regulate scientific conclusions, all the elements of proof must be taken into consideration. Nothing deserves the name of science in which the calculation does not include all the phenomena. The base of the building must be conterminous with the facts. This is so elementary a principle that it seems needless to insist more upon it.

But then, this is exactly what we endeavour to accomplish, and our adversaries disregard. Of course they have their reasons for dismissing nineteen-twentieths of the evidence at hand: but—this is the point—it rests with them to prove that such dismissal is lawful and right. What then are their arguments? Mainly three, viz. the supposed greater antiquity of their favourite text, the superiority which they claim for its character, and the evidence that the Traditional Text was as they maintain formed by conflation from texts previously in existence.

Of these three arguments, that from antiquity has been already disposed of, and illustration of what has been already advanced will also be at hand throughout the sequel of this work. As to conflation, a proof against its possible applicability to the Traditional Text was supplied as to particles and other words in the last chapter, and will receive illustration from instances of words of a greater size in this. Conflation might be possible, supposing for a moment that other conditions favoured it, and that the elements to be conflated were already in existence in other texts. But inasmuch as in the majority of instances such elements are found nowhere else than in the Traditional Text, conflation as accounting for the changes which upon this theory must have been made is simply impossible. On the other hand, [pg 206] the Traditional Text might have been very easily chipped and broken and corrupted, as will be shewn in the second part of this Treatise, into the form exhibited by B and א297.

Upon the third argument in the general contention, we undertake to say that it is totally without foundation. On the contrary, the text of the Cursives is greatly the superior of the two. The instances which we proceed to give as specimens, and as specimens only, will exhibit the propriety of language, and the taste of expression, in which it is pre-eminent298. Let our readers judge fairly and candidly, as we doubt not that they will, and we do not fear the result.

But before entering upon the character of the later text, a few words are required to remind our readers of the effect of the general argument as hitherto stated upon this question. The text of the later Uncials is the text to which witness is borne, not only by the majority of the Uncials, but also by the Cursives and the Versions and the Fathers, each in greater numbers. Again, the text of the Cursives enjoys unquestionably the support of by very far the largest number among themselves, and also of the Uncials and Versions and Fathers. Accordingly, the text of which we are now treating, which is that of the later Uncials and the Cursives combined, is incomparably superior under all the external Notes of Truth. It possesses in nearly all cases older attestation299: there is no sort of question as to the greater number of witnesses that bear evidence to its claims: nor to their variety: and hardly ever to the explicit proof of their continuousness; which indeed is also generally—nay, universally—implied owing to the nature of the case: their weight is certified upon strong grounds: and as a matter of fact, the context in nearly all instances testifies on their side. The course of doctrine pursued in the history of the Universal Church is [pg 207] immeasurably in their favour. We have now therefore only to consider whether their text, as compared with that of BאD and their allies, commends itself on the score of intrinsic excellence. And as to this consideration, if as has been manifested the text of B-א, and that of D, are bad, and have been shewn to be the inferior, this must be the better. We may now proceed to some specimen instances exhibiting the superiority of the Later Uncial and Cursive text.

§ 3.

Our Saviour's lament over Jerusalem (“If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace!”) is just one of those delicately articulated passages which are safe to suffer by the process of transmission. Survey St. Luke's words (xix. 42), Εἰ ἔγνως καὶ σύ, καί γε ἐν τῇ ἡμερᾳ σου ταύτῃ, τὰ πρὸς εἰρήνην σου,—and you will perceive at a glance that the vulnerable point in the sentence, so to speak, is καὶ σύ, καί γε. In the meanwhile, attested as those words are by the Old Latin300 and by Eusebius301, as well as witnessed to by the whole body of the copies beginning with Cod. A and including the lost original of 13-69-124-346 &c.,—the very order of those words is a thing quite above suspicion. Even Tischendorf admits this. He retains the traditional reading in every respect. Eusebius however twice writes καί γε σύ302; once, καὶ σύ γε303; and once he drops καί γε entirely304. Origen drops it 3 times305. Still, there is at least a general consensus among Copies, Versions and Fathers for beginning the sentence with the characteristic words, εἰ ἔγνως καὶ σύ; the phrase being [pg 208] witnessed to by the Latin, the Bohairic, the Gothic, and the Harkleian Versions; by Irenaeus306,—by Origen307,—by ps.-Tatian308,—by Eusebius309,—by Basil the Great310,—by Basil of Seleucia311,—by Cyril312.

What then is found in the three remaining Uncials, for C is defective here? D exhibits ει εγνως και συ, εν τη ημερα ταυτη, τα προς ειρηνην σοι: being supported only by the Latin of Origen in one place313. Lachmann adopts this reading all the same. Nothing worse, it must be confessed, has happened to it than the omission of καί γε, and of the former σου. But when we turn to Bא, we find that they and L, with Origen once314, and the Syriac heading prefixed to Cyril's homilies on St. Luke's Gospel315, exclusively exhibit,—ει εγνως εν τη ημερα ταυτη και συ τα προς ειρηνην: thus, not only omitting καί γε, together with the first and second σου, but by transposing the words καὶ σύ—ἐν τῇ ἡμερᾳ ταύτῃ, obliterating from the passage more than half its force and beauty. This maimed and mutilated exhibition of our Lord's words, only because it is found in Bא, is adopted by W.-Hort, who are in turn followed by the Revisers316. The Peshitto by the way omits καὶ σύ, and transposes the two clauses which remain317. The Curetonian Syriac runs wild, as usual, and the Lewis too318.

Amid all this conflict and confusion, the reader's attention is invited to the instructive fact that the whole body of cursive copies (and all the uncials but four) have retained [pg 209] in this passage all down the ages uninjured every exquisite lineament of the inspired archetype. The truth, I say, is to be found in the cursive copies, not in the licentious BאDL, which as usual stand apart from one another and from A. Only in respect of the first σου is there a slight prevarication on the part of a very few witnesses319. Note however that it is overborne by the consent of the Syriac, the Old Latin and the Gothic, and further that the testimony of ps.-Tatian is express on this head320. There is therefore nothing to be altered in the traditional text of St. Luke xix. 42, which furnishes an excellent instance of fidelity of transmission, and of an emphatic condemnation of B-א.

§ 4.

It is the misfortune of inquiries like the present that they sometimes constrain us to give prominence to minute details which it is difficult to make entertaining. Let me however seek to interest my reader in the true reading of St. Matt. xx. 22, 23: from which verses recent critical Editors reject the words, “and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with,” καὶ τὸ βάπτισμα ὃ ἐγὼ βαπτίζομαι βαπτισθῆναι.

About the right of the same words to a place in the corresponding part of St. Mark's Gospel (x. 38), there is no difference of opinion: except that it is insisted that in St. Mark the clause should begin with ἤ instead of καί.

Next, the reader is requested to attend to the following circumstance: that, except of course the four (אBDL) and Z which omit the place altogether and one other (S), all the Uncials together with the bulk of the Cursives, and the [pg 210] Peshitto and Harkleian and several Latin Versions, concur in reading ἢ τὸ βάπτισμα in St. Matthew: all the Uncials but eight (אBCDLWΔΣ), together with the bulk of the Cursives and the Peshitto, agree in reading καὶ τὸ βάπτισμα in St. Mark. This delicate distinction between the first and the second Gospel, obliterated in the Received Text, is faithfully maintained in nineteen out of twenty of the Cursive Copies.

In the meantime we are assured on the authority of אBDLZ—with most of the Latin Copies, including of course Hilary and Jerome, the Cureton, the Lewis, and the Bohairic, besides Epiphanius,—that the clause in question has no right to its place in St. Matthew's Gospel. So confidently is this opinion held, that the Revisers, following Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford, have ejected the words from the Text. But are they right? Certainly not, I answer. And I reason thus.

If this clause has been interpolated into St. Matthew's Gospel, how will you possibly account for its presence in every MS. in the world except 7, viz. 5 uncials and 2 cursives? It is pretended that it crept in by assimilation from the parallel place in St. Mark. But I reply,—

1. Is this credible? Do you not see the glaring improbability of such an hypothesis? Why should the Gospel most in vogue have been assimilated in all the Copies but seven to the Gospel least familiarly known and read in the Churches?

2. And pray when is it pretended that this wholesale falsification of the MSS. took place? The Peshitto Syriac as usual sides with the bulk of the Cursives: but it has been shewn to be of the second century. Some of the Latin Copies also have the clause. Codex C, Chrysostom and Basil of Seleucia also exhibit it. Surely the preponderance of the evidence is overwhelmingly one way. But then

3. As a matter of fact the clause cannot have come [pg 211] in from St. Mark's Gospel,—for the very conclusive reason that the two places are delicately discriminated,—as on the testimony of the Cursives and the Peshitto has been shewn already. And

4. I take upon myself to declare without fear of contradiction on the part of any but the advocates of the popular theory that, on the contrary, it is St. Matthew's Gospel which has been corrupted from St. Mark's. A conclusive note of the assimilating process is discernible in St. Mark's Gospel where ἢ has intruded,—not in St. Matthew's.

5. Why St. Matthew's Gospel was maimed in this place, I am not able to explain. Demonstrable it is that the Text of the Gospels at that early period underwent a process of Revision at the hands of men who apparently were as little aware of the foolishness as of the sinfulness of all they did: and that Mutilation was their favourite method. And, what is very remarkable, the same kind of infatuation which is observed to attend the commission of crime, and often leads to its detection, is largely recognizable here. But the Eye which never sleeps has watched over the Deposit, and provided Himself with witnesses.

§ 5.

Singular to relate, the circumstances under which Simon and Andrew, James and John were on the last occasion called to Apostleship (St. Matt. iv. 17-22: St. Mark i. 14-20: St. Luke v. 1-11) have never yet been explained321. The facts were as follows.

It was morning on the Sea of Galilee. Two boats were [pg 212] moored to the shore. The fishermen having “toiled all the night and taken nothing322,‘—’were gone out of them and had washed out (ἀπέπλυναν) their nets (τὰ δίκτυα)323.” But though fishing in deep water had proved a failure, they knew that by wading into the shallows, they might even now employ a casting-net with advantage. Accordingly it was thus that our Saviour, coming by at this very juncture, beheld Simon and Andrew employed (βάλλοντας ἀμφίβληστρον)324. Thereupon, entering Simon's boat, “He prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land325.” The rest requires no explanation.

Now, it is plain that the key which unlocks this interesting story is the graphic precision of the compound verb employed, and the well-known usage of the language which gives to the aorist tense on such occasions as the present a pluperfect signification326. The Translators of 1611, not understanding the incident, were content, as Tyndale, following the Vulgate327, had been before them, to render ἀπέπλυναν τὰ δίκτυα,—“were washing their nets.” Of this rendering, so long as the Greek was let alone, no serious harm could come. The Revisers of 1881, however, by not only retaining the incorrect translation “were washing their nets,” but, by making the Greek tally with the English—by substituting in short ἔπλυνον for ἀπέπλυναν,—have so effectually darkened the Truth as to make it simply irrecoverable by ordinary students. The only point in the meantime to which the reader's attention is just now invited is this:—that the compound verb in the aorist tense (ἀπέπλυναν) has been retained by the whole body of the Cursives, as transmitted all down the ages: while the [pg 213] barbarous ἔπλυνον is only found at this day in the two corrupt uncials BD328 and a single cursive (Evan. 91)329.

§ 6.

“How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of Heaven,” exclaimed our Lord on a memorable occasion. The disciples were amazed. Replying to their thoughts,—“Children,” He added, “how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God.” (St. Mark x. 23, 24). Those familiar words, vouched for by 16 uncials and all the cursives, are quite above suspicion. But in fact all the Versions support them likewise. There is really no pretext for disturbing what is so well attested, not to say so precious. Yet Tischendorf and Westcott and Hort eject τοὺς πεποιθότας ἐπὶ τοῖς χρήμασιν from the text, on the sole ground that the clause in question is omitted by אBΔ, one copy of the Italic (k), and one copy of the Bohairic. Aware that such a proceeding requires an apology,—“I think it unsafe,” says Tischendorf, “to forsake in this place the very ancient authorities which I am accustomed to follow”: i.e. Codexes א and B. But of what nature is this argument? Does the critic mean that he must stick to antiquity? If this be his meaning, then let him be reminded that Clemens330, a more ancient authority than אB by 150 years,—not to say the Latin and the Syriac Versions, which are more ancient still,—recognizes the words in question331. Does however the learned critic mean no more than this,—That it is with him a fundamental principle of Textual Criticism to uphold at all [pg 214] hazards the authority of B and א? He cannot mean that; as I proceed to explain.

For the strangest circumstance is behind. Immediately after he has thus (in ver. 24) proclaimed the supremacy of אB, Tischendorf is constrained to reject the combined evidence of אBCΔ. In ver. 26 those 4 copies advocate the absurd reading λέγοντες πρὸς ΑΥΤΟΝ Καὶ τίς δύναται σωθῆναι; whereas it was evidently to themselves (πρὸς ἑαυτούς) that the disciples said it. Aware that this time the “antiquissimae quas sequi solet auctoritates” stand self-condemned, instead of ingenuously avowing the fact, Tischendorf grounds his rejection of προς αυτον on the consideration that “Mark never uses the expression λεγειν προς αυτον.” Just as if the text of one place in the Gospel is to be determined by the practice of the same Evangelist in another place,—and not by its own proper evidence; which in the present instance is (the reader may be sure) simply overwhelming!

Westcott and Hort erroneously suppose that all the copies but four,—all the versions but one (the Bohairic),—may be in error: but that B-א, C, and Cod. Δ which is curious in St. Mark, must needs be in the right.

§ 7.

There are many occasions—as I remarked before,—where the very logic of the case becomes a powerful argument. Worthless in and by themselves,—in the face, I mean, of general testimony,—considerations derived from the very reason of the thing sometimes vindicate their right to assist the judgement wherever the evidence is somewhat evenly balanced. But their cogency is felt to be altogether overwhelming when, after a careful survey of the evidence alone, we entertain no doubt whatever as to what must be the right reading of a place. They seem then to sweep the field. Such an occasion is presented by St. Luke [pg 215] xvi. 9,—where our Lord, having shewn what provision the dishonest steward made against the day when he would find himself houseless,—the Divine Speaker infers that something analogous should be done by ourselves with our own money,—“in order” (saith He) “that when ye fail, ye may be received into the everlasting tabernacles.” The logical consistency of all this is as exact, as the choice of terms in the Original is exquisite: the word employed to designate Man's departure out of this life (ἐκλίπητε), conveying the image of one fainting or failing at the end of his race. It is in fact the word used in the LXX to denote the peaceful end of Abraham, and of Ishmael, and of Isaac, and of Jacob332.

But instead of this, אBDLRΠ with AX present us with εκλιπη or εκλειπη,—shewing that the author of this reading imagined without discrimination, that what our Lord meant to say was that when at last our money “fails” us, we may not want a home. The rest of the Uncials to the number of twelve, together with two correctors of א, the bulk of the Cursives, and the Old Latin copies, the Vulgate, Gothic, Harkleian, and Ethiopic Versions, with Irenaeus333, Clemens Alex.334, Origen335, Methodius336, Basil337, Ephraem Syrus338, Gregory Naz.339, Didymus340, Chrysostom341, Severianus342, Jerome343, Augustine344, Eulogius345, and Theodoret346, also Aphraates (a.d. 325)347, support the reading ἐκλίπητε. Cyril appears to have known both readings348.

[pg 216]

His testimony, such as it is, can only be divined from his fragmentary remains; and “divination” is a faculty to which I make no pretence.

In p. 349, after δεῖ δὲ πάντως αὐτοὺς ἀποπεσεῖν τῆς οἰκονομίας ἐπιπηδῶντος θανάτου, καὶ τῶν καθ᾽ ἡμᾳς πραγμάτων ἐξελκότος. ἀδιάφυκτον γὰρ ἀνθρώπῳ παντὶ τοῦ θανάτου τὸν λίνον,—Cyril is represented as saying (6 lines lower down) ὅταν αὐτοὺς ὁ ἐπίγειος ἐκλείτῃ ΠΛΟΥΤΟΣ, with which corresponds the Syriac of Luc. 509. But when we encounter the same passage in Cramer's Catena (p. 122), besides the reference to death, ἀποπεσοῦνται πάντως τῆς οἰκονομίας ἐπιπηδῶντος αὐτοῖς τοῦ θανάτου (lines 21-3), we are presented with ὅταν αὐτοὺς ἡ ἐπίγειος ἐκλείποι Ζωή, which clearly reverses the testimony. If Cyril wrote that, he read (like every other Father) ἐκλίπητε. It is only right to add that ἐκλίπῃ is found besides in pp. 525, 526 (= Mai ii. 358) and 572 of Cyril's Syriac Homilies on St. Luke. This however (like the quotation in p. 506) may well be due to the Peshitto. I must avow that amid so much conflicting evidence, my judgement concerning Cyril's text is at fault.

§ 8.

There is hardly to be found a more precious declaration concerning the guiding and illuminating office of the Holy Ghost, than our Lord's promise that “when He, the Spirit of Truth shall come, He shall guide you into all the Truth”: ὁδηγήσει ὑμᾶς εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν (St. John xvi. 13). Now, the six words just quoted are found to have experienced an extraordinary amount of perturbation; far more than can be due to the fact that they happen to be the concluding words of a lection. To be brief,—every [pg 217] known variety in reading this passage may be brought under one of three heads:—

1. With the first,—which is in fact a gloss, not a reading (διηγήσεται ὑμῖν τὴν ἀλήθειαν πᾶσαν),—we need not delay ourselves. Eusebius in two places349, Cyril Jer.350, copies of the Old Latin351, and Jerome352 in a certain place, so read the place. Unhappily the same reading is also found in the Vulgate353. It meets with no favour however, and may be dismissed.

2. The next, which even more fatally darkens our Lord's meaning, might have been as unceremoniously dealt with, the reading namely of Cod. L (ὁδηγήσει ὑμᾶς ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ πάσῃ), but that unhappily it has found favour with Tischendorf,—I suppose, because with the exception of πάσῃ it is the reading of his own Cod. א354. It is thus that Cyril Alex.355 thrice reads the place: and indeed the same thing practically is found in D356; while so many copies of the Old Latin exhibit in omni veritate, or in veritate omni357, that one is constrained to inquire, How is ἐν ἀληθείᾳ πασῃ to be accounted for?

We have not far to look. ὁδηγεῖν followed by ἐν occurs in the LXX, chiefly in the Psalms, more than 16 times. Especially must the familiar expression in Ps. xxiv. 5 (ὁδήγησόν με ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ σου, Dirige me in veritate tua), by inopportunely suggesting itself to the mind of some early copyist, have influenced the text of St. John xvi. 13 in this fatal way. One is only astonished that so acute a critic as Tischendorf should have overlooked so plain [pg 218] a circumstance. The constant use of the Psalm in Divine Service, and the entire familiarity with the Psalter resulting therefrom, explains sufficiently how it came to pass, that in this as in other places its phraseology must have influenced the memory.

3. The one true reading of the place (ὁδηγήσει ὑμᾶς εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν) is attested by 12 of the uncials (EGHIbKMSUΓΔΛΠ), the whole body of the cursives, and by the following Fathers,—Didymus358, Epiphanius359, Basil360, Chrysostom361, Theodotus, Bp. of Antioch362, Cyril Alex.363, Theodoret364; besides Tertullian in five places, Hilary and Jerome in two365.

But because the words πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν are found transposed in ABY alone of manuscripts, and because Peter Alex.366, and Didymus367 once, Origen368 and Cyril Alex.369 in two places, are observed to sanction the same infelicitous arrangement (viz. τὴν ἀλήθειαν πᾶσαν),—Lachmann, Tregelles, Alford, Westcott and Hort, adopt without hesitation this order of the words370. It cannot of course be maintained. The candid reader in the meantime will not fail to note that as usual the truth has been preserved neither by A nor B nor D: least of all by א: but comes down to us unimpaired in the great mass of MS. authorities, uncial and cursive, as well as in the oldest Versions and Fathers.

[pg 219]

§ 9.

It may have been anticipated by the readers of these pages that the Divine Author of Scripture has planted here and there up and down the sacred page—often in most improbable places and certainly in forms which we should have least of all imagined—tests of accuracy, by attending to which we may form an unerring judgement concerning the faithfulness of a copy of the sacred Text. This is a discovery which at first astonished me: but on mature reflection, I saw that it was to have been confidently anticipated. Is it indeed credible that Almighty Wisdom—which is observed to have made such abundant provision for the safety of the humblest forms of animal life, for the preservation of common seeds, often seeds of noxious plants,—should yet have omitted to make provision for the life-giving seed of His own Everlasting Word?

For example, strange to relate, it is a plain fact (of which every one may convince himself by opening a copy of the Gospels furnished with a sufficient critical apparatus), that although in relating the healing of the centurion's servant (St. Matt. viii. 5-13) the Evangelist writes εκατονταρχΟΣ in verses 5 and 8, he writes εκατονταρχΗ instead of -ΧΩ in ver. 13. This minute variety has been faithfully retained by uncials and cursives alike. Only one uncial (viz. א) has ventured to assimilate the two places, writing εκατονταρχης throughout. With the blindness proverbially ascribed to parental love, Tischendorf follows א, though the carelessness that reigns over that MS. is visible to all who examine it.

The matter is a trifle confessedly. But so was the scrap of a ballad which identified the murderer, another scrap of it being found with the bullet in the body of the murdered man.

[pg 221]

§ 10.

The instances which have been given in this chapter of the superiority of the text exhibited in the later Uncials and the Cursives might have been increased in number to almost any extent out of the papers left by Dean Burgon. The reader will find many more illustrations in the rest of these two volumes. Even Dr. Hort admits that the Traditional Text which is represented by them is “entirely blameless on either literary or religious grounds as regards vulgarized or unworthy diction371,” while “repeated and [pg 222] diligent study” can only lead, if conducted with deep and wide research, to the discovery of beauties and meanings which have lain unrevealed to the student before.

Let it be always borne in mind, that (a) the later Uncials and Cursives are the heirs in succession of numerous and varied lines of descent spread throughout the Church; that (b) their verdict is nearly always decisive and clear; and that nevertheless (c) such unanimity or majority of witnesses is not the testimony of mechanical or suborned testifiers, but is the coincidence, as facts unquestionably prove, except in certain instances of independent deponents to the same story.

Let me be allowed to declare372 in conclusion that no person is competent to pronounce concerning the merits or demerits of cursive copies of the Gospels, who has not himself, in the first instance, collated with great exactness at least a few of them. He will be materially assisted, if it has ever fallen in his way to familiarize himself however partially with the text of vast numbers. But nothing can supply the place of exact collation of at least a few copies: of which labour, if a man has had no experience at all, he must submit to be assured that he really has no right to express himself confidently in this subject-matter. He argues, not from facts, but from his own imagination of what the facts of the case will probably be. Those only who have minutely collated several copies, and examined with considerable attention a large proportion of all the Sacred Codexes extant, are entitled to speak with authority here. Further, I venture to assert that no conviction will force itself so irresistibly on the mind of him who submits to the labour of exactly collating a few Cursive copies of the Gospels, as that the documents in question have been executed with even extraordinary diligence, fidelity, and skill. That history confirms this conviction, we have only [pg 223] to survey the elaborate arrangements made in monasteries for carrying on the duty, and perfecting the art, of copying the Holy Scriptures.

If therefore this body of Manuscripts be thus declared by the excellence of its text, by the evident pains bestowed upon its production, as well as by the consentience with it of other evidence, to possess high characteristics; if it represents the matured settlement of many delicate and difficult questions by the Church which after centuries of vacillation more or less, and indeed less rather than more, was to last for a much larger number of centuries; must it not require great deference indeed from all students of the New Testament? Let it always be remembered, that no single Cursive is here selected from the rest or advanced to any position whatsoever which would invest its verdicts with any special authority. It is the main body of the Cursives, agreeing as they generally do with the exception of a few eccentric groups or individuals, which is entitled to such respect according to the measure of their agreement. And in point of fact, the Cursives which have been collated are so generally consentient, as to leave no doubt that the multitude which needs collation will agree similarly. Doubtless, the later Uncials and the Cursives are only a class of the general evidence which is now before us: but it is desirable that those Textual Students who have been disposed to undervalue this class should weigh with candour and fairness the arguments existing in favour of it, which we have attempted to exhibit in this chapter.

[pg 224]

Chapter XII. Conclusion.

The Traditional Text has now been traced, from the earliest years of Christianity of which any record of the New Testament remains, to the period when it was enshrined in a large number of carefully-written manuscripts in main accord with one another. Proof has been given from the writings of the early Fathers, that the idea that the Traditional Text arose in the middle of the fourth century is a mere hallucination, prompted by only a partial acquaintance with those writings. And witness to the existence and predominance of that form of Text has been found in the Peshitto Version and in the best of the Latin Versions, which themselves also have been followed back to the beginning of the second century or the end of the first. We have also discovered the truth, that the settlement of the Text, though mainly made in the fourth century, was not finally accomplished till the eighth century at the earliest; and that the later Uncials, not the oldest, together with the cursives express, not singly, not in small batches or companies, but in their main agreement, the decisions which had grown up in the Church. In so doing, attention has been paid to all the existing evidence: none has been omitted. Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus, has been the underlying principle. The foundations of the building have been laid as deeply and as broadly as our power would allow. No other course would be in consonance with scientific procedure. The [pg 225] seven notes of truth have been made as comprehensive as possible. Antiquity, number, variety, weight, continuity, context, and internal evidence, include all points of view and all methods of examination which are really sound. The characters of the Vatican, Sinaitic, and Bezan manuscripts have been shewn to be bad, and the streams which led to their production from Syrio-Old-Latin and Alexandrian sources to the temporary school of Caesarea have been traced and explained. It has been also shewn to be probable that corruption began and took root even before the Gospels were written. The general conclusion which has grown upon our minds has been that the affections of Christians have not been misdirected; that the strongest exercise of reason has proved their instincts to have been sound and true; that the Text which we have used and loved rests upon a vast and varied support; that the multiform record of Manuscripts, Versions, and Fathers, is found to defend by large majorities in almost all instances those precious words of Holy Writ, which have been called in question during the latter half of this century.

We submit that it cannot be denied that we have presented a strong case, and naturally we look to see what has been said against it, since except in some features it has been before the World and the Church for some years. We submit that it has not received due attention from opposing critics. If indeed the opinions of the other School had been preceded by, or grounded upon, a searching examination, such as we have made in the case of B and א, of the vast mass of evidence upon which we rest,—if this great body of testimony had been proved to be bad from overbalancing testimony or otherwise,—we should have found reason for doubt, or even for a reversal of our decisions. But Lachmann, Tregelles, and Tischendorf laid down principles chiefly, if not exclusively, on the score [pg 226] of their intrinsic probability. Westcott and Hort built up their own theory upon reasoning internal to it, without clearing the ground first by any careful and detailed scrutiny. Besides which, all of them constructed their buildings before travellers by railways and steamships had placed within their reach the larger part of the materials which are now ready for use. We hear constantly the proclamation made in dogmatic tones that they are right: no proof adequate to the strength of our contention has been worked out to shew that we are wrong.

Nevertheless, it may be best to listen for a moment to such objections as have been advanced against conclusions like these, and which it may be presumed will be urged again.

1. “After all it cannot be denied that B and א are the oldest manuscripts of the New Testament in existence, and that they must therefore be entitled to the deference due to their age.” Now the earlier part of this allegation is conceded by us entirely: prima facie it constitutes a very strong argument. But it is really found on examination to be superficial. Fathers and Versions are virtually older, and, as has been demonstrated, are dead against the claim set up on behalf of those ancient manuscripts, that they are the possessors of the true text of the Gospels. Besides which antiquity is not the sole note of truth any more than number is. So much has been already said on this part of the subject, that it is needless to enter into longer discussion here.

2. “The testimony of witnesses ought to be weighed before it is reckoned.” Doubtless: this also is a truism, and allowance has been made for it in the various “notes of truth.” But this argument, apparently so simple, is really intended to carry a huge assumption involved in an elaborate maintenance of the (supposed) excellent character of B and א and their associates. After so much [pg 227] that has been brought to the charge of those two MSS. in this treatise, it is unnecessary now to urge more than that they appeared in strange times, when the Church was convulsed to her centre; that, as has been demonstrated, their peculiar readings were in a very decided minority in the period before them; and, as all admit, were rejected in the ages that passed after the time of their date.

3. It is stated that the Traditional is a conflate text, i.e. that passages have been put together from more than one other text, so that they are composite in construction instead of being simple. We have already treated this allegation, but we reply now that it has not been established: the opinion of Canon Cooke who analysed all the examples quoted by Hort373, of Scrivener who said they proved nothing374, and of many other critics and scholars has been against it. The converse position is maintained, that the text of B and א is clipped and mutilated. Take the following passage, which is fairly typical of the large class in question: “For we are members of His Body” (writes St. Paul375) “of His flesh and of His bones” (ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐκ τῶν ὀστέων αἰτοῦ). But those last 9 words are disallowed by recent editors, because they are absent from B-א, A, 8, and 17, and the margin of 67, besides the Bohairic version. Yet are the words genuine. They are found in DFGKLP and the whole body of the cursives: in the Old Latin and Vulgate and the two Syriac versions: in Irenaeus376,—in Theodorus of Mopsuestia377,—in Nilus378,—in Chrysostom379 more than four times,—in Severianus380,—in Theodoret381,—in Anastasius Sinaita382,—and in John Damascene383. They were probably read by [pg 228] Origen384 and by Methodius385. Many Latin Fathers, viz. Ambrose386,—Pacian387,—Esaias abb.388,—Victorinus389,—Jerome390,—Augustine391—and Leo P.392 recognise them.

Such ample and such varied attestation is not to be set aside by the vapid and unsound dictum “Western and Syrian,”—or by the weak suggestion that the words in dispute are an unauthorized gloss, fabricated from the LXX version of Gen. ii. 23. That St. Paul's allusion is to the oracular utterance of our first father Adam, is true enough: but, as Alford after Bengel well points out, it is incredible that any forger can have been at work here.

Such questions however, as we must again and again insist, are not to be determined by internal considerations: no,—nor by dictation, nor by prejudice, nor by divination, nor by any subjective theory of conflation on which experts and critics may be hopelessly at issue: but by the weight of the definite evidence actually producible and [pg 229] produced on either side. And when, as in the present instance, Antiquity, Variety of testimony, Respectability of witnesses, and Number are overwhelmingly in favour of the Traditional Text, what else is it but an outrage on the laws of evidence to claim that the same little band of documents which have already come before us so often, and always been found in error, even though aided by speculative suppositions, shall be permitted to outweigh all other testimony?

To build therefore upon a conflate or composite character in a set of readings would be contrary to the evidence:—or at any rate, it would at the best be to lay foundations upon ground which is approved by one school of critics and disputed by the other in every case. The determination of the text of Holy Scripture has not been handed over to a mere conflict of opposite opinions, or to the uncertain sands of conjecture.

Besides, as has been already stated, no amount of conflation would supply passages which the destructive school would wholly leave out. It is impossible to “conflate” in places where Bא and their associates furnish no materials for the supposed conflation. Bricks cannot be made without clay. The materials actually existing are those of the Traditional Text itself. But in fact these questions are not to be settled by the scholarly taste or opinions of either school, even of that which we advocate. They must rest upon the verdict found by the facts in evidence: and those facts have been already placed in array.

4. Again, stress is laid upon Genealogy. Indeed, as Dean Burgon himself goes on to say, so much has lately been written about “the principle” and “the method” “of genealogy,” that it becomes in a high degree desirable that we should ascertain precisely what those expressions lawfully mean. No fair controversialist would willingly fail to assign its legitimate place and value to any principle for [pg 230] which he observes an opponent eagerly contending. But here is a “principle” and here is a “method” which are declared to be of even paramount importance. “Documents ... are all fragments, usually casual and scattered fragments, of a genealogical tree of transmission, sometimes of vast extent and intricacy. The more exactly we are able to trace the chief ramifications of the tree, and to determine the places of the several documents among the branches, the more secure will be the foundations laid for a criticism capable of distinguishing the original text from its successive corruptions393.”

The expression is metaphorical; belonging of right to families of men, but transferred to Textual Science as indicative that similar phenomena attend families of manuscripts. Unfortunately the phenomena attending transmission,—of Natures on the one hand, of Texts on the other,—are essentially dissimilar. A diminutive couple may give birth to a race of giants. A genius has been known to beget a dunce. A brood of children exhibiting extraordinary diversities of character, aspect, ability, sometimes spring from the same pair. Nothing like this is possible in the case of honestly-made copies of MSS. The analogy breaks down therefore in respect of its most essential feature. And yet, there can be no objection to the use of the term “Genealogy” in connexion with manuscripts, provided always that nothing more is meant thereby than derivation by the process of copying: nothing else claimed but that “Identity of reading implies identity of origin394.”

Only in this limited way are we able to avail ourselves of the principle referred to. Of course if it were a well-ascertained fact concerning three copies (XYZ), that Z was copied from Y, and Y from X, XYZ might reasonably be spoken of as representing three descents in a pedigree; although the interval between Z and Y were only six [pg 231] months,—the interval between Y and X, six hundred years. Moreover, these would be not three independent authorities, but only one. Such a case, however,—(the fact cannot be too clearly apprehended),—is simply non-existent. What is known commonly lies on the surface:—viz. that occasionally between two or more copies there exists such an amount of peculiar textual affinity as to constrain us to adopt the supposition that they have been derived from a common original. These peculiarities of text, we tell ourselves, cannot be fortuitous. Taking our stand on the true principle that “identity of reading implies identity of origin,” we insist on reasoning from the known to the unknown: and (at our humble distance) we are fully as confident of our scientific fact as Adams and Le Verrier would have been of the existence of Neptune had they never actually obtained sight of that planet.

So far are we therefore from denying the value and importance of the principle under discussion that we are able to demonstrate its efficacy in the resolution of some textual problems which have been given in this work. Thus E, the uncial copy of St. Paul, is “nothing better,” says Scrivener, “than a transcript of the Cod. Claromontanus” D. “The Greek is manifestly worthless, and should long since have been removed from the list of authorities395.” Tischendorf nevertheless, not Tregelles, quotes it on every page. He has no business to do so, Codexes D and E, to all intents and purposes, being strictly one Codex. This case, like the two next, happily does not admit of diversity of opinion. Next, F and G of St. Paul's Epistles, inasmuch as they are confessedly derived from one and the same archetype, are not to be reckoned as two authorities, but as one.

Again, the correspondence between the nine MSS. of the Ferrar group—Evann. 13 at Paris, 69 at Leicester, 124 at [pg 232] Vienna, 346 at Milan, 556 in the British Museum, 561 at Bank House, Wisbech,—and in a lesser degree, 348 at Milan, 624 at Crypta Ferrata, 788 at Athens,—is so extraordinary as to render it certain that these copies are in the main derived from one common archetype396. Hence, though one of them (788) is of the tenth century, three (348, 561, 624) are of the eleventh, four (13, 124, 346, 556) of the twelfth, and one (69) of the fourteenth, their joint evidence is held to be tantamount to the recovery of a lost uncial or papyrus of very early date,—which uncial or papyrus, by the way, it would be convenient to indicate by a new symbol, as Fr. standing for Ferrar, since Φ which was once attributed to them is now appropriated to the Codex Beratinus. If indicated numerically, the figures should at all events be connected by a hyphen (13-69-124-346-&c.); not as if they were independent witnesses, as Tischendorf quotes them. And lastly, B and א are undeniably, more than any other two Codexes which can be named, the depositaries of one and the same peculiar, all but unique, text.

I propose to apply the foregoing remarks to the solution of one of the most important of Textual problems. That a controversy has raged around the last twelve verses of St. Mark's Gospel is known to all. Known also it is that a laborious treatise was published on the subject in 1871, which, in the opinion of competent judges, has had the effect of removing the “Last Twelve Verses of St. Mark” beyond the reach of suspicion. Notwithstanding this, at the end of ten years an attempt was made to revive the old plea. The passage, say Drs. Westcott and Hort, “manifestly cannot claim any Apostolic authority; but is doubtless founded on some tradition of the Apostolic age,” of which the “precise date must remain unknown.” It is “a very early interpolation” (pp. 51, 46). In a word, “the [pg 233] last twelve verses” of St. Mark's Gospel, according to Drs. Westcott and Hort, are spurious. But what is their ground of confidence? for we claim to be as competent to judge of testimony as they. It proves to be “the unique criterion supplied by the concord of the independent attestations of א and B” (p. 46).

“Independent attestations”! But when two copies of the Gospel are confessedly derived from one and the same original, how can their “attestations” be called “independent”? This is however greatly to understate the case. The non-independence of B and א in respect of St. Mark xvi. 9-20 is absolutely unique: for, strange to relate, it so happens that the very leaf on which the end of St. Mark's Gospel and the beginning of St. Luke's is written (St. Mark xvi. 2-Luke i. 56), is one of the six leaves of Cod. א which are held to have been written by the scribe of Cod. B. “The inference,” remarks Scrivener, “is simple and direct, that at least in these leaves Codd. Bא make but one witness, not two397.”

The principle of Genealogy admits of a more extended and a more important application to this case, because B and א do not stand quite alone, but are exclusively associated with three or four other manuscripts which may be regarded as being descended from them. As far as we can judge, they may be regarded as the founders, or at least as prominent members of a family, whose descendants were few, because they were generally condemned by the generations which came after them. Not they, but other families upon other genealogical stems, were the more like to the patriarch whose progeny was to equal the stars of heaven in multitude.

Least of all shall I be so simple as to pretend to fix the [pg 234] precise date and assign a definite locality to the fontal source, or sources, of our present perplexity and distress. But I suspect that in the little handful of authorities which have acquired such a notoriety in the annals of recent Textual Criticism, at the head of which stand Codexes B and א, are to be recognized the characteristic features of a lost family of (once well known) second or third-century documents, which owed their existence to the misguided zeal of some well-intentioned but utterly incompetent persons who devoted themselves to the task of correcting the Text of Scripture; but were entirely unfit for the undertaking398.

Yet I venture also to think that it was in a great measure at Alexandria that the text in question was fabricated. My chief reasons for thinking so are the following: (1) There is a marked resemblance between the peculiar readings of Bא and the two Egyptian Versions,—the Bohairic or Version of Lower Egypt especially. (2) No one can fail to have been struck by the evident sympathy between Origen,—who at all events had passed more than half his life at Alexandria,—and the text in question. (3) I notice that Nonnus also, who lived in the Thebaid, exhibits considerable sympathy with the text which I deem so corrupt. (4) I cannot overlook the fact that Cod. א was discovered in a monastery under the sway of the patriarch of Alexandria, though how it got there no evidence remains to point out. (5) The licentious handling so characteristic of the Septuagint Version of the O. T.,—the work of Alexandrian Jews,—points in the same direction, and leads me to suspect that Alexandria was the final source of the text of B-א. (6) I further observe that the sacred Text (κείμενον) in Cyril's Homilies [pg 235] on St. John is often similar to B-א; and this, I take for granted, was the effect of the school of Alexandria,—not of the patriarch himself. (7) Dionysius of Alexandria complains bitterly of the corrupt Codexes of his day: and certainly (8) Clemens habitually employed copies of a similar kind. He too was of Alexandria399.

Such are the chief considerations which incline me to suspect that Alexandria contributed largely to our Textual troubles.

The readings of B-א are the consequence of a junction of two or more streams and then of derivation from a single archetype. This inference is confirmed by the fact that the same general text which B exhibits is exhibited also by the eighth-century Codex L, the work probably of an Egyptian scribe400: and by the tenth-century Codex 33: and by the eleventh-century Codex 1: and to some extent by the twelfth-century Codex 69.

We have already been able to advance to another and a very important step. There is nothing in the history of the earliest times of the Church to prove that vellum manuscripts of the New Testament existed in any number before the fourth century. No such documents have come down to us. But we do know, as has been shewn above401, that writings on papyrus were transcribed on vellum in the library of Caesarea. What must we then conclude? That, as has been already suggested, papyrus MSS. are mainly the progenitors of the Uncials, and probably of the oldest Uncials. Besides this inference, we have seen that it is also most probable that many of the Cursives were transcribed directly from papyrus books or rolls. So that the Genealogy of manuscripts of the New Testament includes a vast number of descendants, and many lines of descent, which ramified from one stem on the original start from [pg 236] the autograph of each book. The Vatican and the Sinaitic do not stand pre-eminent because of any great line of parentage passing through them to a multitudinous posterity inheriting the earth, but they are members of a condemned family of which the issue has been small. The rejected of the fourth century has been spurned by succeeding centuries. And surely now also the fourth century, rich in a roll of men conspicuous ever since for capacity and learning, may be permitted to proclaim its real sentiments and to be judged from its own decisions, without being disfranchised by critics of the nineteenth.

The history of the Traditional Text, on the contrary, is continuous and complete under the view of Genealogy. The pedigree of it may be commended to the examination of the Heralds' College. It goes step by step in unbroken succession regularly back to the earliest time. The present printed editions may be compared for extreme accuracy with the text passed by the Elzevirs or Beza as the text received by all of their time. Erasmus followed his few MSS. because he knew them to be good representatives of the mind of the Church which had been informed under the ceaseless and loving care of mediaeval transcribers: and the text of Erasmus printed at Basle agreed in but little variation with the text of the Complutensian editors published in Spain, for which Cardinal Ximenes procured MSS. at whatever cost he could. No one doubts the coincidence in all essential points of the printed text with the text of the Cursives. Dr. Hort certifies the Cursive Text as far back as the middle of the fourth century. It depends upon various lines of descent, and rests on the testimony supplied by numerous contemporary Fathers before the year 1000 a.d., when co-existing MSS. failed to bear witness in multitudes. The acceptance of it by the Church of the fifth century, which saw the settlement of the great doctrinal controversies either made or confirmed, proves [pg 237] that the seal was set upon the validity of the earliest pedigrees by the illustrious intellects and the sound faith of those days. And in the fifth chapter of this work, contemporary witness is carried back to the first days. There is thus a cluster of pedigrees, not in one line but in many parallel courses of descent, not in one country but in several, ranging over the whole Catholic Church where Greek was understood, attested by Versions, and illustrated copiously by Fathers, along which without break in the continuity the Traditional Text in its main features has been transmitted. Doubtless something still remains for the Church to do under the present extraordinary wealth of authorities in the verification of some particulars issuing in a small number of alterations, not in challenging or changing like the other school anything approaching to one-eighth of the New Testament402: for that we now possess in the main the very Words of the Holy Gospels as they issued from their inspired authors, we are taught under the principle of Genealogy that there is no valid reason to doubt.

To conclude, the system which we advocate will be seen to contrast strikingly with that which is upheld by the opposing school, in three general ways:

I. We have with us width and depth against the narrowness on their side. They are conspicuously contracted in the fewness of the witnesses which they deem worthy of credence. They are restricted as to the period of history which alone they consider to deserve attention. They are confined with regard to the countries from which their testimony comes. They would supply Christians with a shortened text, and educate them under a cast-iron system. We on the contrary champion the many against the few: we welcome all witnesses, and weigh all testimony: we uphold all the ages against one or two, and [pg 238] all the countries against a narrow space. We maintain the genuine and all-round Catholicism of real Christendom against a discarded sectarianism exhumed from the fourth century. If we condemn, it is because the evidence condemns. We cling to all the precious Words that have come down to us, because they have been so preserved to our days under verdicts depending upon overwhelming proof.

II. We oppose facts to their speculation. They exalt B and א and D because in their own opinion those copies are the best. They weave ingenious webs, and invent subtle theories, because their paradox of a few against the many requires ingenuity and subtlety for its support. Dr. Hort revelled in finespun theories and technical terms, such as “Intrinsic Probability,” “Transcriptional Probability,” “Internal evidence of Readings,” “Internal evidence of Documents,” which of course connote a certain amount of evidence, but are weak pillars of a heavy structure. Even conjectural emendation403 and inconsistent decrees404 are not rejected. They are infected with the theorizing which spoils some of the best German work, and with the idealism which is the bane of many academic minds, especially at Oxford and Cambridge. In contrast with this sojourn in cloudland, we are essentially of the earth though not earthy. We are nothing, if we are not grounded in facts: our appeal is to facts, our test lies in facts, so far as we can we build testimonies upon testimonies and pile facts on facts. We imitate the procedure of the courts of justice in decisions resulting from the converging product of all the evidence, when it has been cross-examined and sifted. As men of business, not less than students, we endeavour to pursue the studies of the library according to the best methods of the world.

III. Our opponents are gradually getting out of date: the world is drifting away from them. Thousands of [pg 239] manuscripts have been added to the known stores since Tischendorf formed his system, and Hort began to theorize, and their handful of favourite documents has become by comparison less and less. Since the deaths of both of those eminent critics, the treasures dug up in Egypt and elsewhere have put back the date of the science of palaeography from the fourth century after the Christian era to at least the third century before, and papyrus has sprung up into unexpected prominence in the ancient and mediaeval history of writing. It is discovered that there was no uncial period through which the genealogy of cursives has necessarily passed. Old theories on those points must generally be reconstructed if they are to tally with known facts. But this accession of knowledge which puts our opponents in the wrong, has no effect on us except to confirm our position with new proof. Indeed, we welcome the unlocking of the all but boundless treasury of ancient wealth, since our theory, being as open as possible, and resting upon the visible and real, remains not only uninjured but strengthened. If it were to require any re-arrangement, that would be only a re-ordering of particulars, not of our principles which are capacious enough to admit of any addition of materials of judgement. We trust to the Church of all the ages as the keeper and witness of Holy Writ, we bow to the teaching of the Holy Ghost, as conveyed in all wisdom by facts and evidence: and we are certain, that, following no preconceived notions of our own, but led under such guidance, moved by principles so reasonable and comprehensive, and observing rules and instructions appealing to us with such authority, we are in all main respects

standing upon the Rock.
[pg 240]

Appendix I. Honeycomb—ἀπὸ μελισσίου κηρίου.

[The Dean left positive instructions for the publication of this Dissertation, as being finished for Press.]

I propose next to call attention to the omission from St. Luke xxiv. 42 of a precious incident in the history of our Lord's Resurrection. It was in order effectually to convince the Disciples that it was Himself, in His human body, who stood before them in the upper chamber on the evening of the first Easter Day, that He inquired, [ver. 41] “Have ye here any meat? [ver. 42] and they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.” But those four last words (καὶ ἀπὸ μελισσίου κηρίου) because they are not found in six copies of the Gospel, are by Westcott and Hort ejected from the text. Calamitous to relate, the Revisers of 1881 were by those critics persuaded to exclude them also. How do men suppose that such a clause as that established itself universally in the sacred text, if it be spurious? “How do you suppose,” I shall be asked in reply, “if it be genuine, that such a clause became omitted from any manuscript at all?”

I answer,—The omission is due to the prevalence in the earliest age of fabricated exhibitions of the Gospel narrative; in which, singular to relate, the incident recorded in St. Luke xxiv. 41-43 was identified with that other mysterious repast which St. John describes in his last chapter405. [pg 241] It seems incredible, at first sight, that an attempt would ever be made to establish an enforced harmony between incidents exhibiting so many points of marked contrast: for St. Luke speaks of (1) “broiled fish [ἰχθύος ὀπτοῦ] and honeycomb,” (2) which they gave Him,” (3) “and He did eat” (4) on the first Easter Day, (5) at evening, (6) in a chamber, (7) at Jerusalem:—whereas St. John specifies (1) bread, and fish [ὀψάριον] likewise,” (2) which He gave them, (3) and of which it is not related that Himself partook. (4) The occasion was subsequent: (5) the time, early morning: (6) the scene, the sea-shore: (7) the country, Galilee.

Let it be candidly admitted on the other hand, in the way of excuse for those ancient men, that “broiled fish” was common to both repasts; that they both belong to the period subsequent to the Resurrection: that the same parties, our Lord namely and His Apostles, were concerned in either transaction; and that both are prefaced by similar words of inquiry. Waiving this, it is a plain fact that Eusebius in his 9th Canon, makes the two incidents parallel; numbering St. Luke (xxix. 41-3), § 341; and St. John (xxi. 9, 10, 12, first half, and 13), severally §§ 221, 223, 225. The Syriac sections which have hitherto escaped the attention of critical scholars406 are yet more precise. Let the intention of their venerable compiler—whoever he may have been—be exhibited in full. It has never been done before:—

“(St. Luke xxiv.) “(St. John xxi.)”
Ҥ 397. [Jesus] said unto them, Have ye here any meat? (ver. 41.) Ҥ 255. Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered Him, No. (ver. 5.)
Id. ... Ҥ 259 ... As soon then as they were come to land, they saw [pg 242] a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. (ver. 9.)
Ҥ 398. And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and of an honeycomb. (ver. 42.) Ҥ 264. Jesus then cometh and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. (ver. 13.)
“§ 399. And He took it and did eat before them. (ver. 43.)” “§ 262. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. (ver. 12.)”

The intention of all this is unmistakable. The places are deliberately identified. But the mischief is of much older date than the Eusebian Canons, and must have been derived in the first instance from a distinct source. Eusebius, as he himself informs us, did but follow in the wake of others. Should the Diatessaron cf Ammonius or that of Tatian ever be recovered, a flood of light will for the first time be poured over a department of evidence where at present we must be content to grope our way407.

But another element of confusion I suspect is derived from that lost Commentary on the Song of Solomon in which Origen is said to have surpassed himself408. Certain of the ancients insist on discovering in St. Luke xxiv. 42 the literal fulfilment of the Greek version of Cant. v. 1, “I ate my bread with honey.” Cyril of Jerusalem remarks that those words of the spouse “were fulfilled” when “they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and of an honeycomb409: while Gregory Nyss. points out (alluding to the same place) that “the true Bread,” when He appeared to His Disciples, “was by honeycomb made sweet410.” Little did those [pg 243] Fathers imagine the perplexity which at the end of 15 centuries their fervid and sometimes fanciful references to Scripture would occasion!

I proceed to shew how inveterately the ancients have confused these two narratives, or rather these two distinct occasions. “Who knows not,” asks Epiphanius, “that our Saviour ate, after His Resurrection from the dead? As the holy Gospels of Truth have it, ‘There was given unto Him’ [which is a reference to St. Luke], ‘bread and part of a broiled fish.’ [but it is St. John who mentions the bread];—‘and He took and ate’ [but only according to St. Luke], ‘and gave to His disciples,’ [but only according to St. John. And yet the reference must be to St. Luke's narrative, for Epiphanius straightway adds,] ‘as He also did at the sea of Tiberias; both eating,’ [although no eating on His part is recorded concerning that meal,] ‘and distributing411.’ ” Ephraem Syrus makes the same mis-statement. “If He was not flesh,” he asks, “who was it, at the sea of Tiberias, who ate412?” “While Peter is fishing,” says Hesychius413, (with plain reference to the narrative in St. John), “behold in the Lord's hands bread and honeycomb414: where the “honeycomb” has clearly lost its way, and has thrust out the “fish.” Epiphanius elsewhere even more fatally confuses the two incidents. Jesus (he says) “on a second occasion after His Resurrection ate both a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb415.” One would have set this down to sheer inadvertence, but that [pg 244] Jerome circumstantially makes the self-same assertion:—“In John we read that while the Apostles were fishing, He stood upon the shore, and ate part of a broiled fish and honeycomb. At Jerusalem He is not related to have done anything of the kind416.” From whom can Jerome have derived that wild statement417? It is certainly not his own. It occurs in his letter to Hedibia where he is clearly a translator only418. In another place, Jerome says, “He sought fish broiled upon the coals, in order to confirm the faith of His doubting Apostles, who were afraid to approach Him, because they thought they saw a spirit,—not a solid body419: which is a mixing up of St. John's narrative with that of St Luke. Clemens Alex., in a passage which has hitherto escaped notice, deliberately affirms that “the Lord blessed the loaves and the broiled fishes with which He feasted His Disciples420.” Where did he find that piece of information?

One thing more in connexion with the “broiled fish and honeycomb.” Athanasius—and Cyril Alex.421 after him—rehearse the incident with entire accuracy; but Athanasius adds the apocryphal statement that “He took what remained over, and gave it unto them422: which tasteless appendix is found besides in Cureton's Syriac [not in the Lewis],—in the Bohairic, Harkleian, Armenian, and Ethiopic Versions; and must once have prevailed to a formidable extent, for [pg 245] it has even established itself in the Vulgate423. It is witnessed to, besides, by two ninth-century uncials (ΚΠ) and ten cursive copies424. The thoughtful reader will say to himself,—“Had only Cod. B joined itself to this formidable conspiracy of primitive witnesses, we should have had this also thrust upon us by the new school as indubitable Gospel: and remonstrances would have been in vain!”

Now, as all must see, it is simply incredible that these many Fathers, had they employed honestly-made copies of St. Luke's and of St. John's Gospel, could have fallen into such frequent and such strange misrepresentations of what those Evangelists actually say. From some fabricated Gospel—from some “Diatessaron” or “Life of Christ,” once famous in the Church, long since utterly forgotten,—from some unauthentic narrative of our Saviour's Death and Resurrection, I say, these several depravations of the sacred story must needs have been imported into St. Luke's Gospel. And lo, out of all that farrago, the only manuscript traces which survive at this distant day, are found in the notorious B-א, with A, D, L, and Π,—one copy each of the Old Latin (e) and the Bohairic [and the Lewis],—which exclusively enjoy the unenviable distinction of omitting the incident of the “honeycomb”: while the confessedly spurious appendix, “He gave them what remained over,” enjoys a far more ancient, more varied, and more respectable attestation,—and yet has found favour with no single Editor of the Sacred Text: no, nor have our Revisers seen fit by a marginal note to apprize the ordinary English reader that “many uncial authorities” are disfigured in this particular way. With this latter accretion to the inspired verity, therefore, we need not delay ourselves: but that, so [pg 246] many disturbing influences having resulted, at the end of seventeen centuries, in the elimination of the clause καὶ ἀπὸ μελισσίου κηρίου from six corrupt copies of St. Luke's Gospel,—a fixed determination or a blundering tendency should now be exhibited to mutilate the Evangelical narrative in respect of the incident which those four words embody,—this may well create anxiety. It makes critical inquiry an imperative duty: not indeed for our own satisfaction, but for that of others.

Upon ourselves, the only effect produced by the sight of half a dozen Evangelia,—whether written in the uncial or in the cursive character we deem a matter of small account,—opposing themselves to the whole body of the copies, uncial and cursive alike, is simply to make us suspicious of those six Evangelia. Shew us that they have been repeatedly tried already and as often have been condemned, and our suspicion becomes intense. Add such evidence of the operation of a disturbing force as has been already set before the reader; and further inquiry in our own minds we deem superfluous. But we must answer those distinguished Critics who have ruled that Codexes B-א, D, L, can hardly if ever err.

The silence of the Fathers is really not of much account. Some critics quote Clemens Alexandrinus. But let that Father be allowed to speak for himself. He is inveighing against gluttony. “Is not variety consistent with simplicity of diet?” (he asks); and he enumerates olives, vegetables, milk, cheese, &c. If it must be flesh, he proceeds, let the flesh be merely broiled. “ ‘Have ye here any meat?’ said our Lord to His disciples after His Resurrection. Whereupon, having been by Him taught frugality in respect of diet, ‘they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish.’ ... Yet may the fact not be overlooked that those who sup as The Word approves may partake besides of ‘honeycomb.’ The fittest food, in a word, we consider to be that which requires no [pg 247] cooking: next, as I began by explaining, cheap and ordinary articles of diet425.” Shall I be thought unreasonable if I insist that so far from allowing that Clemens is “silent” concerning the “honeycomb,” I even regard his testimony to the traditionary reading of St. Luke xxiv. 42 as express? At the end of 1700 years, I am as sure that “honeycomb” was found in his copy, as if I had seen it with my eyes.

Origen, who is next adduced, in one place remarks concerning our Saviour“It is plain that after His Resurrection, He ate of a fish426.” The same Father elsewhere interprets mystically the circumstance that the Disciples “gave Him a piece of a broiled fish427.” Eusebius in like manner thrice mentions the fact that our Lord partook of “broiled fish428 after His Resurrection. And because these writers do not also mention “honeycomb,” it is assumed by Tischendorf and his school that the words καὶ ἀπὸ μελισσίου κηρίου cannot have existed in their copies of St. Luke429. The proposed inference is plainly inadmissible. Cyril, after quoting accurately St. Luke xxiv. 36 to 43 (“honeycomb” and all)430, proceeds to remark exclusively on the incident of the “fish”431. Ambrose and Augustine certainly recognized the incident of “the honeycomb”: yet the latter merely remarks that “to eat fish with the Lord is better than to eat lentiles with Esau432;” while the former draws a mystical inference from “the record in the Gospel that Jesus ate broiled fishes433.” Is it [pg 248] not obvious that the more conspicuous incident,—that of the “broiled fish,”—being common to both repasts, stands for all that was partaken of on either occasion? in other words, represents the entire meal? It excludes neither the “honeycomb” of the upper chamber, nor the “bread” which was eaten beside the Galilean lake. Tertullian434, intending no slight either to the “broiled fish” or to the “bread,” makes mention only of our Lord's having “eaten honeycomb” after His Resurrection. And so Jerome, addressing John, bishop of Jerusalem, exclaims—“Why did the Lord eat honeycomb? Not in order to give thee licence to eat honey, but in order to demonstrate the truth of His Resurrection435.” To draw inferences from the rhetorical silence of the Fathers as if we were dealing with a mathematical problem or an Act of Parliament, can only result in misconceptions of the meaning of those ancient men.

As for Origen, there is nothing in either of the two places commonly cited from his writings436, where he only mentions the partaking of “fish,” to preclude the belief that Origen knew of the “honeycomb” also in St. Luke xxiv. 42. We have but fragments of his Commentary on St. Luke437, and an abridged translation of his famous Commentary on Canticles. Should these works of his be hereafter recovered in their entirety, I strongly suspect that a certain scholium in Cordier's Catena on St. Luke438, which contains a very elaborate recognition of the “honeycomb,” will be found to be nothing else but an excerpt from one or other of them. At foot the learned reader will be gratified by the sight of the original Greek of the scholium referred to439, [pg 249] which Cordier so infelicitously exhibits in Latin. He will at least be made aware that if it be not Origen who there speaks to us, it is some other very ancient father, whose testimony to the genuineness of the clause now under consideration is positive evidence in its favour which greatly outweighs the negative evidence of the archetype of B-א. But in fact as a specimen of mystical interpretation, the passage in question is quite in Origen's way440—has all his fervid wildness,—in all probability is actually his.

[pg 250]

The question however to be decided is clearly not whether certain ancient copies of St. Luke were without the incident of the honeycomb; but only whether it is reasonable to infer from the premisses that the Evangelist made no mention of it. And I venture to anticipate that readers will decide this question with me in the negative. That, from a period of the remotest antiquity, certain disturbing forces have exercised a baneful influence over this portion of Scripture is a plain fact: and that their combined agency should have resulted in the elimination of the incident of the “honeycomb” from a few copies of St. Luke xxiv. 42, need create no surprise. On the other hand, this Evangelical incident is attested by the following witnesses:—

In the second century, by Justin M.441,—by Clemens Alexandrinus442,—by Tertullian443,—by the Old-Latin,—and by the Peshitto Version:

In the third century, by Cureton's Syriac,—and by the Bohairic:

In the fourth century, by Athanasius444,—by Gregory of Nyssa445,—by Epiphanius446,—by Cyril of Jerusalem447,—by Jerome448,—by Augustine449,—and by the Vulgate:

In the fifth century, by Cyril of Alexandria450,—by Proclus451,—by Vigilius Tapsensis452,—by the Armenian,—and Ethiopic Versions:

In the sixth century, by Hesychius and Cod. N453:

In the seventh century, by the Harkleian Version.

Surely an Evangelical incident attested by so many, such respectable, and such venerable witnesses as these, is clearly above suspicion. Besides its recognition in the [pg 251] ancient scholium to which attention has been largely invited already454, we find the incident of the “honeycomb” recognized by 13 ancient Fathers,—by 8 ancient Versions,—by the unfaltering Tradition of the universal Church,—above all, by every copy of St. Luke's Gospel in existence (as far as is known), uncial as well as cursive—except six. That it carries on its front the impress of its own genuineness, is what no one will deny455. Yet was Dr. Hort for dismissing it without ceremony. “A singular interpolation evidently from an extraneous source, written or oral,” he says. A singular hallucination, we venture to reply, based on ideal grounds and “a system [of Textual Criticism] hopelessly self-condemned456;” seeing that that ingenious and learned critic has nothing to urge except that the words in dispute are omitted by B-א,—by A seldom found in the Gospels in such association,—by D of the sixth century,—by L of the eighth,—by Π of the ninth.


I have been so diffuse on this place because I desire to exhibit an instance shewing that certain perturbations of the sacred Text demand laborious investigation,—have a singular history of their own,—may on no account be disposed of in a high-handed way, by applying to them any cut and dried treatment,—nay I must say, any arbitrary shibboleth. The clause in dispute enjoys in perfection every note of a genuine reading: viz. number, antiquity, variety, respectability of witnesses, besides continuity of attestation: every one of which notes are away from that exhibition of the text which is contended for by my opponents457. Tischendorf conjectures that the “honeycomb” [pg 252] may have been first brought in from the “Gospel of the Hebrews.” What if, on the contrary, by the Valentinian “Gospel of Truth,”—a composition of the second century,—the “honeycomb” should have been first thrust out458? The plain statement of Epiphanius (quoted above459) seems to establish the fact that his maimed citation was derived from that suspicious source.

Let the foregoing be accepted as a specimen of the injury occasionally sustained by the Evangelical text in a very remote age from the evil influence of the fabricated narratives, or Diatessarons, which anciently abounded. The genuineness of the clause καὶ ἀπὸ μελισσίου κηρίου, it is hoped, will never more be seriously called in question. Surely it has been demonstrated to be quite above suspicion460.

[pg 253]

Appendix II. Ὄξος—Vinegar.

[The Dean thought this to be one of his most perfect papers.]

When He had reached the place called Golgotha, there were some who offered to the Son of Man (ἐδίδουν “were for giving” Him) a draught of wine drugged with myrrh461. He would not so much as taste it. Presently, the soldiers gave Him while hanging on the Cross vinegar mingled with gall462. This He tasted, but declined to drink. At the end of six hours, He cried, “I thirst”: whereupon one of the soldiers ran, filled a sponge with vinegar, and gave Him to drink by offering the sponge up to His mouth secured to the summit of the reed of aspersion: whereby (as St. John significantly remarks) it covered the bunch of ceremonial hyssop which was used for sprinkling the people463. This time He drank; and exclaimed, “It is finished.”


Now, the ancients, and indeed the moderns too, have hopelessly confused this pathetic story by identifying the “vinegar and gall” of St. Matt. xxvii. 34 with the “myrrhed wine” of St. Mark xv. 23; shewing therein a want of critical perception which may reasonably excite astonishment; for [pg 254] “wine” is not “vinegar,” neither is “myrrh” “gall.” And surely, the instinct of humanity which sought to alleviate the torture of crucifixion by administering to our Saviour a preliminary soporific draught, was entirely distinct from the fiendish malice which afterwards with a nauseous potion strove to aggravate the agony of dissolution. Least of all is it reasonable to identify the leisurely act of the insolent soldiery at the third hour464, with what “one of them” (evidently appalled by the darkness) “ran” to do at the ninth465. Eusebius nevertheless, in his clumsy sectional system, brackets466 together these three places (St. Matt. xxvii. 34, St. Mark xv. 23, St. John xix. 29): while moderns (as the excellent Isaac Williams) and ancients (as Cyril of Jerusalem)467 alike strenuously contend that the two first must needs be identical. The consequence might have been foreseen. Besides the substitution of “wine” for “vinegar” (οἶνον for ὄξος) which survives to this day in nineteen copies of St. Matt. xxvii. 34, the words “and gall” are found improperly thrust into four or five copies of St. John xix. 29. As for Eusebius and Macarius Magnes, they read St. John xix. 29 after such a monstrous fashion of their own, that I propose to invite separate attention to it in another place. Since however the attempt to assimilate the fourth Gospel to the first (by exhibiting ὄξος μετὰ χολῆς in St. John xix. 29) is universally admitted to be indefensible, it need not occupy us further.


I return to the proposed substitution of οἶνον for ὄξος in St. Matt. xxvii. 34, and have only to point out that it is as [pg 255] plain an instance of enforced harmony as can be produced. That it exists in many copies of the Old-Latin, and lingers on in the Vulgate: is the reading of the Egyptian, Ethiopic, and Armenian Versions and the Lewis Cod.; and survives in BאDKLΠ, besides thirteen of the cursives468;—all this will seem strange to those only who have hitherto failed to recognize the undeniable fact that Codd. B-א DL are among the foulest in existence. It does but prove how inveterately, as well as from how remote a period, the error under discussion has prevailed. And yet, the great and old Peshitto Version,—Barnabas469,—Irenaeus470,—Tertullian471,—Celsus472,—Origen473,—the Sibylline verses in two places474 (quoted by Lactantius),—and ps.-Tatian475,—are more ancient [pg 256] authorities than any of the preceding, and they all yield adverse testimony.

Coming down to the fourth century, (to which B-א belong,) those two Codexes find themselves contradicted by Athanasius476 in two places,—by another of the same name477 who has been mistaken for the patriarch of Alexandria,—by Eusebius of Emesa478,—by Theodore of Heraclea479,—by Didymus480,—by Gregory of Nyssa481,—and by his namesake of Nazianzus482,—by Ephraem Syrus483,—by Lactantius484,—by Jerome485,—by Rufinus486,—by Chrysostom487,—by Severianus of Gabala488,—by Theodore of Mopsuestia489,—by Cyril of Alexandria490,—and by Titus of Bostra491. Now these are more respectable contemporary witnesses to the text of Scripture by far than Codexes B-א and D (who also have to reckon with A, Φ, and Σ—C being mute at the place), as well as outnumber them in the proportion of 24 to 2. To these (8 + 16 =) 24 are to be added the [pg 257] Apocryphal “Gospel of Nicodemus492,” which Tischendorf assigns to the third century; the “Acts of Philip493,” and the Apocryphal “Acts of the Apostles494,” which Dr. Wright claims for the fourth; besides Hesychius495, Amphilochius496, ps.-Chrysostom497, Maximus498, Severus of Antioch499, and John Damascene500,—nine names which far outweigh in antiquity and importance the eighth and ninth-century Codexes KLΠ. Those critics in fact who would substitute “wine” for “vinegar” in St. Matt. xxvii. 34 have clearly no case. That, however, which is absolutely decisive of the question against them is the fact that every uncial and every cursive copy in existence, except the very few specimens already quoted, attest that the oldest known reading of this place is the true reading. In fact, the Church has affirmed in the plainest manner, from the first, that ὄξος (not οἶνον) is to be read here. We are therefore astonished to find her deliberate decree disregarded by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Westcott and Hort, in an attempt on their part to revive what is a manifest fabrication, which but for the Vulgate would long since have passed out of the memory of Christendom. Were they not aware that Jerome himself knew better? “Usque hodie” (he says) “Judaei et omnes increduli Dominicae resurrectionis, aceto et felle potant Jesum; et dant ei vinum myrrhatum ut eum consopiant, et mala eorum non videat501:”—whereby he both shews that he read St. Matt. xxvii. 34 according to the traditional text (see also p. 233 c), and that he bracketed together two incidents which he yet perceived were essentially distinct, and in marked contrast with one another. But what most offends me is the deliberate attempt of the Revisers in this place. Shall I be thought unreasonable [pg 258] if I avow that it exceeds my comprehension how such a body of men can have persuaded themselves that it is fair to eject the reading of an important place of Scripture like the present, and to substitute for it a reading resting upon so slight a testimony without furnishing ordinary Christian readers with at least a hint of what they had done? They have considered the evidence in favour of wine (in St. Matt. xxvii. 34) not only “decidedly preponderating,” but the evidence in favour of vinegar so slight as to render the word undeserving even of a place in the margin. Will they find a sane jury in Great Britain to be of the same opinion? Is this the candid and equitable action befitting those who were set to represent the Church in this momentous business?

[pg 259]

Appendix III. The Rich Young Man.

The eternal Godhead of Christ was the mark at which, in the earliest age of all, Satan persistently aimed his most envenomed shafts. St. John, in many a well-known place, notices this; begins and ends his Gospel by proclaiming our Saviour's Eternal Godhead502; denounces as “deceivers,” “liars,” and “antichrists,” the heretical teachers of his own day who denied this503;—which shews that their malice was in full activity before the end of the first century of our era; ere yet, in fact, the echoes of the Divine Voice had entirely died out of the memory of very ancient men. These Gnostics found something singularly apt for their purpose in a famous place of the Gospel, where the blessed Speaker seems to disclaim for Himself the attribute of “goodness,”—in fact seems to distinguish between Himself and God. Allusion is made to an incident recorded with remarkable sameness of expression by St. Matthew (xix. 16, 17), St. Mark (x. 17, 18) and St. Luke (xviii. 18, 19), concerning a certain rich young Ruler. This man is declared by all three to have approached our Lord with one and the same question,—to have prefaced it with one and the same glozing address, Good Master!”—and to [pg 260] have been checked by the object of his adulation with one and the same reproof;—“Why dost thou [who takest me for an ordinary mortal like thyself504] call me good? No one is good [essentially good505] save one,” that is God.” ... See, said some old teachers, fastening blindly on the letter,—He disclaims being good: ascribes goodness exclusively to the Father: separates Himself from very and eternal God506.... The place was accordingly eagerly fastened on by the enemies of the Gospel507: while, to vindicate the Divine utterance against the purpose to which it was freely perverted, and to establish its true meaning, is found to have been the endeavour of each of the most illustrious of the Fathers in turn. Their pious eloquence would fill a volume508. Gregory of Nyssa devotes to this subject the eleventh book of his treatise against Eunomius509.

In order to emphasize this impious as well as shallow gloss the heretic Valentinus (a.d. 120),—with his [pg 261] disciples, Heracleon and Ptolemaeus, the Marcosians, the Naassenes, Marcion (a.d. 150), and the rest of the Gnostic crew,—not only substituted “One is good” for “No one is good but one,”—but evidently made it a great point besides to introduce the name of the Father, either in place of, or else in addition to, the name of God510.” So plausible a depravation of the text was unsuspiciously adopted by not a few of the orthodox. It is found in Justin Martyr511,—in pseudo-Tatian512,—in the Clementine homilies513. And many who, like Clemens Alex.,—Origen,—the Dialogus,—and pseudo-Tatian (in five places), are careful to retain the Evangelical phrase “No one is good but one [that is] God,”—even they are observed to conclude the sentence with the heretical addition the Father514.” I am not of course denying that the expression is theologically correct: but only am requesting the reader to note that, [pg 262] on the present occasion, it is clearly inadmissible; seeing that it was no part of our Saviour's purpose, as Didymus, Ambrose, Chrysostom, Theodoret point out, to reveal Himself to such an one as the rich young ruler in His own essential relation to the Eternal Father515,—to proclaim in short, in this chance way, the great mystery of the Godhead: but only (as the ancients are fond of pointing out) to reprove the man for his fulsomeness in addressing one of his fellows (as he supposed) as “good516.” In the meantime, the extent to which the appendix under discussion prevails in the Patristic writings is a singular illustration of the success with which, within 60 or 70 years of its coming into being, the text of Scripture was assailed; and the calamitous depravation to which it was liable. Surprising as well as grievous to relate, in every recent critical recension of the Greek text of St. Matthew's Gospel, the first four words of the heretical gloss (εἶς ἐστιν ὁ ἀγαθός) have been already substituted for the seven words before found there (οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἶς, ὁ Θεός); and (more grievous still) now, at the end of 1700 years, an effort is being made to establish this unauthorized formula in our English Bibles also. This is done, be it observed, in opposition to the following torrent of ancient testimony:—viz., in the second century, the Peshitto Version,—Justin [pg 263] Martyr517,—ps.-Tatian (5 times)518,—Clemens Alex. (twice)519:—in the third century, the Sahidic Version,—ps.-Dionysius Areopag.520:—in the fourth century, Eusebius (3 times)521, Macarius Magnes (4 times)522,—Basil523,—Chrysostom524:—Athanasius525,—Gregory Nyss. (3 times)526,—and Didymus apparently (twice)527:—in the fifth century, Cod. C,—Augustine in many places528,—Cyril Alex.529,—and Theodoret (8 times)530:—in the sixth century, Antiochus mon.531,—the Opus imperf.532—with the Harkleian and the Ethiopic Version. ... When to these 21 authorities have been added all the known copies, except six of dissentients,—an amount of ancient evidence has been adduced which must be held to be altogether decisive of a question like the present533.

For what, after all, is the proper proof of the genuineness of any reading, but the prevailing consent of Copies, [pg 264] Fathers, Versions? This fundamental truth, strangely overlooked in these last days, remains unshaken. For if the universal consent of Copies, when sustained by a free appeal to antiquity, is not to be held definitive,—what in the world is? Were the subject less solemn there would be something diverting in the naïveté of the marginal note of the revisers of 1881,—“Some ancient authorities read ... ‘None is good save one [even] God.’ ” How many “ancient authorities” did the Revisers suppose exhibit anything else?

But all this, however interesting and instructive, would have attracted little attention were it not for the far more serious corruption of the Sacred Text, which has next to be considered. The point to be attended to is, that at the very remote period of which we are speaking, it appears that certain of the Orthodox,—with the best intentions doubtless, but with misguided zeal,—in order to counteract the pernicious teaching which the enemies of Christianity elicited from this place of Scripture, deliberately falsified the inspired record534. Availing themselves of a slight peculiarity in St. Matthew's way of exhibiting the words of the young Ruler,—(namely, “What good thing shall I do,”)—they turned our Lord's reply, “Why callest thou me good?” in the first Gospel, into this,—Why askest thou me concerning the good? The ensuing formula which the heretics had devised,—One there is that is good,” with some words of appendix concerning God the Father, as already explained,—gave them no offence, because it occasioned them no difficulty. It even suited their purpose better than the words which they displaced. On the other hand, they did not fail to perceive that the epithet “good,” “Good Master,” if suffered to remain in the text, would witness inconveniently against them, by suggesting our [pg 265] Lord's actual reply,—viz. “Why callest thou me good?” Accordingly, in an evil hour, they proceeded further to erase the word ἀγαθέ from their copies. It is a significant circumstance that the four uncial Codexes (BאDL) which exclusively exhibit τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ; are exclusively the four which omit the epithet ἀγαθέ.

The subsequent history of this growth of error might have been foreseen. Scarcely had the passage been pieced together than it began to shew symptoms of disintegration; and in the course of a few centuries, it had so effectually disappeared, that tokens of it here and there are only to be found in a few of the earliest documents. First, the epithet (ἀγαθέ) was too firmly rooted to admit of a sentence of perpetual banishment from the text. Besides retaining its place in every known copy of the Gospels except eight535, it survives to this hour in a vast majority of the most ancient documents. Thus, ἀγαθέ is found in Justin Martyr536 and in ps.-Tatian537:—in the remains of the Marcosian538,—and of the Naassene539 Gnostics;—as well as in the Peshitto,—and in the Old Latin versions:—in the Sahidic,—and the Bohairic version,—besides in the Clementine Homilies540, in Cureton and Lewis,—and in the Vulgate:—in Origen541,—in [pg 266] Athanasius542,—and in Basil543,—and in Cyril of Jerusalem544:—in Ephraem Syrus545, and in Gregory of Nyssa546: in Macarius Magnes547,—and in Chrysostom548:—in Juvencus549,—Hilary550,—Gaudentius551,—Jerome552,—and Augustine553;—lastly in Vigilius Tapsensis554:—in Cyril Alex.555,—in Theodoret556,—in Cod. C,—in the Harkleian Version,—and in the Opus imperfectum557. So that, at the end of 1700 years, 6 witnesses of the second century,—3 of the third,—14 of the fourth,—4 of the fifth,—2 of the sixth, come back from all parts of Christendom to denounce the liberty taken by the ancients, and to witness to the genuineness of the traditional text.

So much then,—(1) For the unauthorized omission of ἀγαθέ, and—(2) For the heretical substitution of εἶς ἐστιν ὁ ἀγαθός in the room of οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἶς ὁ Θεός. We have still to inquire after the fate of the most conspicuous fabrication of the three: viz.—(3) The substitution of Τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ; for τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; What [pg 267] support do the earliest witnesses lend to the inquiry,—Why askest thou me concerning the good?” ... That patent perversion of the obvious purport of our Saviour's address, I answer, is disallowed by Justin Martyr558 (a.d. 140),—by the Marcosians559,—and the Naassenes560 (a.d. 150),—by the Clementine homilies561,—and ps.-Tatian562 (third century);—by the Peshitto and the Thebaic version;—by Macarius Magnes563,—Athanasius564,—and Basil565;—by Hilary566,—Gregory of Nyssa567;—by Chrysostom568,—by Cyril Alex.569,—by Theodoret570,—by the Opus imperfectum571,—by the Harkleian,—and the Armenian versions. I have produced 18 witnesses,—4 belonging to the second century: 3 to the third: 6 to the fourth: 5 to the fifth. Moreover they come from every part of ancient Christendom. Such an amount of evidence, it must be again declared, is absolutely decisive of a question of this [pg 268] nature. Whether men care more for Antiquity or for Variety of testimony; whether Respectability of witnesses or vastly preponderating Numbers, more impresses the imagination,—they must needs admit that the door is here closed against further debate. The traditional text of St. Matt. xix. 16, 17 is certainly genuine, and must be allowed to stand unmolested.

For it is high time to inquire,—What, after all, is the evidence producible on the other side? The exhibition of the text, I answer, which recommends itself so strongly to my opponents that they have thrust it bodily into the Gospel, is found in its entirety only with that little band of witnesses which have already so often come before us; and always with false testimony. I am saying that Origen572 in the third century,—Codd. B-א in the fourth,—Cod. D in the fifth,—Cod. L in the eighth,—besides a couple of cursive Codexes (Evann. 1 and 22),—are literally the whole of the producible evidence for the Revisers' text in its entirety. Not that even these seven so-called consentient witnesses are in complete accord among themselves. On the contrary. The discrepancy between them is perpetual. A collation of them with the traditional text follows:—

Και ιδου εις προσελθων ειπεν (D [not Orig. BאL] λεγει) αυτω (Bא [not Orig. DL] αυτω ειπε), Διδασκαλε αγαθε (Orig. BאDL—αγαθε) τι αγαθον ποιησω (אL [not Orig. BD] ποιησας) ινα εχω (Orig. BD [not אL] σχω) ζωην αιωνιον (Orig. 664b אL [not Orig. 664a BD] ζωην αιωνιον κληρονομησω); ο δε ειπεν αυτω, Τι με λεγεις αγαθον (Orig. 664-5 BאDL τι με ερωτας [Orig. 666b επερωτας] περι του (Orig. 664c D [not Orig. 665c 666b BאL]—του) αγαθου); ουδεις αγαθος ει μη εις ο Θεος (BאDL εις εστιν ο (D [not Orig. BאL]—ο) αγαθος).

[pg 269]

Can it be possibly reasonable to avow that such an amount of discrepancy between witnesses which claim to be consentient, inspires confidence rather than distrust in every one of them?

The reader is next to be told that there survive, as might have been expected, traces in sundry quarters of this threefold ancient fraud (as it seems to be rather than blunder);—as in Justin573, and the Marcosian574, and Naassene heretics575; the Latin Versions576; the Bohairic577; the Cureton and Lewis578; pseudo-Dionysius579, the Clementine homilies580 and Eusebius581; Cyril Alex.582 and Antiochus the monk583 (a.d. 614); Hilary584, Jerome585, and Augustine586; [pg 270] besides in Evann. 479 and 604, and Evst. 5. But the point to be attended to is, that not one of the foregoing authorities sanctions the text which Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, W.-Hort, and the Revisers of 1881 unanimously adopt. This first. And next, that no sooner are these sixteen witnesses fairly confronted, than they set about hopelessly contradicting one another: so that it fares with them as it fared with the Philistines in the days of Saul:—“Behold, every man's sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great discomfiture587.” This will become best understood by the reader if he will allow “(I),” to represent the omission of the epithet ἀγαθέ:—“(II),” the substitution of τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ:—and “(III),” the substitution of εἶς ἐστιν ὁ ἀγαθός with or without appendix. For it will appear that,—

(a) Evan. 479 and Evst. 5, though they witness in favour of (I), yet witness against (II) and (III):—and that,

(b) The Latin and the Bohairic Versions, with Jerome and Evan. 604, though they witness in favour of (II) and (III), yet witness against (I).

Note, that Cureton and Lewis do the same: but then the Cureton stultifies itself by omitting from the introductory inquiry the underlined and clearly indispensable word,—“What good [thing] must I do?” The same peculiarity is exhibited by the Thebaic Version and by Cyril of Jer.588 Now this is simply fatal to the testimony of Cureton's Syr. concerning “(II),”—seeing that, without it, the proposed reply cannot have been spoken.—It appears further that,

(c) Augustine, though he witnesses in favour of (II), yet witnesses against both (I) and (III):—and that,

(d) Hilary, though he witnesses in favour of (III), and yields uncertain testimony concerning (I), yet witnesses against (II):—and that,

[pg 271]

(e) Justin M. (in one place) and the Marcosian and Naassene heretics, together with the Clementine homilies, though they witness in favour of (III), yet witness against (I) and (II):—and that,

(f) ps.-Dionysius, Eusebius, and Antiochus mon. (a.d. 614), though they witness in favour of (II), yet witness against (III).

(g) Cyril also, though he delivers uncertain testimony concerning (I) and (II), yet witnesses against (III).

The plain fact is that the place before us exhibits every chief characteristic of a clumsy fabrication. No sooner had it with perverse ingenuity been pieced together, than the process of disintegration set in. The spurious phrases τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ, and εἶς ἐστιν ἀγαθός, having no lawful dwelling-place of their own, strayed out of the first Gospel into the third as soon as they were invented. Cureton in St. Luke xviii. 19 has both phrases, Lewis neither,—Marcion, in his heretical recension of St. Luke's Gospel (a.d. 150), besides the followers of Arius, adopt the latter589. “The key of the whole position,” as Scrivener points out, “is the epithet good before ‘Master’ in ver. 16: for if this be genuine, the only pertinent answer is contained in the Received Text590.” Precisely so: and it has been proved to be genuine by an amount of continuous attestation which is absolutely overwhelming. We just now analyzed the inconsistent testimony of sixteen ancient authorities; and found that only the two cursive copies favour the omission of ἀγαθέ, while nine of the oldest witnesses are for retaining it. Concerning the expression τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ, these inconsistent witnesses are evenly divided,—seven being for it, seven against it. All, in fact, is error, [pg 272] confusion, discord, the instant we get outside the traditional text.

The reason of all this contrariety has been assigned already. Before Christianity was a hundred years old, two opposite evil influences were at work here: one, heretical—which resulted in (III): the other, orthodox,—which resulted in (II) and (I). These influences, proceeding from opposite camps, were the cause that copies got independently propagated of two archetypes. But the Church, in her corporate capacity, has declined to know anything of either. She has been careful all down the ages that the genuine reading shall be rehearsed in every assembly of the faithful on the 12th Sunday after Pentecost; and behold, at this hour it is attested by every copy in the world—except that little handful of fabricated documents, which it has been the craze of the last fifty years to cry up as the only authentic witnesses to the truth of Scripture, viz. Codd. BאDL and Origen. Now, as to the first two of these, Dr. Scrivener has pronounced591 that (Bא), “subsequent investigations have brought to light so close a relation as to render it impossible to regard them as independent witnesses;” while every page of the Gospel bears emphatic witness to the fact that Codd. BאDL are, as has been said, the depositaries of a hopelessly depraved text.

But how about Origen? He, in a.d. 250, commenting on the present place of St. Matthew's Gospel, has a great deal to say concerning the grievously corrupt condition of the copies hereabouts. Now, the copies he speaks of must have been older, by at least 100 years, than either Cod. B or Cod. א. He makes this admission casually in the course of some remarks which afford a fair sample of his critical method and therefore deserve attention:—He infers from Rom. xiii. 9 that if the rich young ruler really did “love his [pg 273] neighbour as himself,” which, according to the three Evangelists, he virtually said he did592, he was perfect593! Yet our Saviour's rejoinder to him is,—If thou wilt be perfect,” go and do such and such things. Having thus invented a difficulty where none exists, Origen proposes, as a way out of it, to regard the precept (in St. Matt. xix. 20,—“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”) as an unauthorized accretion to the Text,—the work of some tasteless scribe594. The reasonableness of suspecting its genuineness (he says) is heightened by the fact that neither in St. Mark's nor yet in St. Luke's parallel narrative, are the words found about “loving one's neighbour as oneself.” As if that were not rather a reason for presuming it to be genuine! To be sure (proceeds Origen) it would be monstrous to regard these words, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” as an interpolation, were it not for the existence of so many other discrepancies hereabouts. The copies of St. Matthew are in fact all at strife among themselves. And so are the copies of the other Gospels. Vast indeed, and with this he concludes, is the discrepancy in St. Matthew595: whether it has proceeded from the carelessness of the scribes;—or from criminal audacity on the part of correctors of Scripture;—or whether, lastly, it has been the result of licentiousness on the part of those who, pretending to “correct” the text, have added or omitted according to their own individual caprice596.

[pg 274]

Now all this is very instructive. Here is the most famous Critic of antiquity estimating the genuineness of a clause in the Gospel, not by the amount of external attestation which it enjoys, but by his own self-evolved fancies concerning it. As a matter of fact, no extant copy, Father, or Version is without the clause under discussion. By proposing therefore that it shall be regarded as spurious, Origen does but convict himself of rashness and incompetency. But when this same Critic,—who, by his own shewing, has had the evil hap to alight on a collection of singularly corrupt documents,—proceeds to handle a text of Scripture which has demonstrably had a calamitous history from the first days of the Gospel until now;—two inconvenient questions force themselves on our attention:—The first,—What confidence can be reposed in his judgement? The second—What is there to conciliate our esteem for the particular Codex from which he happens to quote? On the other hand, the reader has been already shewn by a more open appeal to antiquity than has ever before been attempted, that the reading of St. Matt. xix. 16, 17 which is exclusively found in BאDL and the copy from which Origen quotes, is deficient in external attestation.

Now, when it is considered that Bא confessedly represent one and the same archetype, which may very well have been of the date of Origen himself,—how is it possible to resist the conviction that these three are not independent voices, but echoes of one and the same voice? And, What if certain Codexes preserved in the library of Caesarea in Palestine597;—Codexes which were handled in turn by Origen, by Eusebius, by Jerome, and which also furnished the archetype from which B and א were derived;—what, I say, if it shall some day come to be generally admitted, that [pg 275] those Caesarean Codexes are most probably the true fons et origo of much of our past perplexity and of our present trouble? Since “coincidence of reading infallibly implies identity of ancestry598,” are we not even led by the hand to see that there must have existed in the famous library of Caesarea a little nest of copies credited, and justly so, with containing every “last new thing” in the way of Textual Criticism, to which Critics of the type of Origen and Jerome, and perhaps Eusebius, must have been only too fond of resorting? A few such critically corrected copies would furnish a complete explanation of every peculiarity of reading exhibited exclusively by Codexes B and א, and [fondled, perhaps with some critical cynicism, by] those three Fathers.

Yet it is to be remembered, (with reference to the place before us,) that “Origen, Eusebius, and Jerome” are not in accord here, except in reading τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ?—for Eusebius differs from Origen and Jerome in proceeding with the traditional text οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἶς: while Jerome and even Origen concur with the traditional text in recognizing the epithet ἀγαθέ,—a circumstance which, as already explained, may be regarded as fatal to the formula τί με ἐρωτᾷς κ.τ.λ. which follows.

This however by the way. That so ill-supported a fraud should have imposed upon Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford, Westcott and Hort, and the Revisers of 1881, including Scrivener,—is to me unintelligible. The substituted reading is an impossible one to begin with, being inconsistent with its context. And although I hold the introduction of intrinsic probability into these inquiries to be unlawful, until the truth has been established on grounds of external evidence; yet, when that has been accomplished, not only do internal considerations claim [pg 276] a hearing, but their effect is often, as in the present case, entirely to sweep the field. It is impossible, so at least it seems to me, to survey the narrative by the light of internal probability, without being overcome by the incoherence and essential foolishness of the reading before us. This is a point which deserves attention.

1. That our Lord actually did remonstrate with the young ruler for calling Him “good,” is at least certain. Both St. Mark (x. 17, 18) and St. Luke (xviii. 18, 19) record that fact, and the text of neither is disputed. How grossly improbable then is the statement that He also reproved the young man for inviting Him to a philosophical discussion concerning τὸ ἀγαθόν,—which yet the young man clearly had not done. According to two out of the three Evangelists, if not to the third also, his question had not been about the abstract quality; but concerning the concrete thing, as a means to an end:—“What good work must I do in order that I may inherit eternal life?”—a purely practical question. Moreover, the pretended inquiry is not touched by the proposed rejoinder,—“One there is who is good,”—or “There is none good but one, that is God.” Does not the very wording of that rejoinder shew that it must needs have been preceded by the inquiry, “Why callest thou Me good?” The young man is told besides that if he desires to “inherit eternal life” he must keep God's commandments. The question and the answer in the genuine text are strictly correlative. In the fabricated text, they are at cross purposes and inconsistent with one another in a high degree.

2. Let it however be supposed for an instant that our Lord's reply actually was,—“Why askest thou Me concerning abstract goodness?” Note what results. Since it cannot be thought that such an interrogation is substantially equivalent to “Why callest thou Me good?” the saying,—if uttered at all,—must have been spoken in [pg 277] addition. Was it then spoken to the same man?—“Yes,” replies the author of Cureton's Syriac: “the rejoinder ran thus,—‘Why callest thou Me good?’ and, ‘Why askest thou Me respecting the good599?’ ”“Not exactly,” remarks the author of Evan. 251, “The second of those two inquiries was interposed after the word ‘Which?’ in ver. 18.”“Not so,” cries the author of the Gospel to the Hebrews. “The men who came to our Lord were two in number600.” There is reason for suspecting that certain of the early heretics were of the same opinion601. Will not every candid reader admit that the more closely we look into the perplexed tangle before us, the more intolerable it becomes,—the more convinced we feel of its essential foolishness? And—Is it too much to hope that after this deliberate exposure of the insufficiency of the evidence on which it rests, no further efforts will be made to bolster up a reading so clearly indefensible?

Nothing more, I suppose, need be added. I have been so diffuse concerning the present place of Scripture because I ardently desire to see certain of the vexatae quaestiones in Textual Criticism fairly threshed out and settled. And this is a place which has been famous from the earliest times,—a θρυλλούμενον κεφάλαιον as Macarius Magnes (p. 12) calls it, in his reply to the heathen philosopher who had proposed it as a subject for discussion. It is (in the opinion of modern critics) “quite a test passage602.” Tischendorf made this the subject of a separate dissertation in 1840603. Tregelles, who discusses it at great length604, informs us [pg 278] that he even “relies on this one passage as supplying an argument on the whole question” which underlies his critical Recension of the Greek Text. It has caused all the Critics—Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford, W.-Hort, the Revisers, even Scrivener605, to go astray. Critics will spend their strength in vain if they seek any further to establish on a rational basis alterations made on the strength of testimony which is both restricted and is at variance with itself.

Let it be noted that our persistent appeal concerning St. Matt. xix. 17, 18 has been made to Antiquity. We reject the proposed innovation as undoubtedly spurious, because of the importance and overwhelming number of the witnesses of the second, third, and fourth centuries which come forward to condemn it; as well as because of the plain insufficiency and want of variety in the evidence which is adduced in its support. Whenever a proposed correction of the Sacred Text is insufficiently attested, and especially when that attestation is destitute of Variety,—we claim that the traditional reading shall stand.

[pg 279]

Appendix IV. St. Mark i. 1.

St. Mark's Gospel opens as follows:—“The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” The significancy of the announcement is apparent when the opening of St. Matthew's Gospel is considered,—“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David.” Surely if there be a clause in the Gospel which carries on its front the evidence of its genuineness, it is this606. But in fact the words are found in every known copy but three (א, 28, 255); in all the Versions; in many Fathers. The evidence in its favour is therefore overwhelming. Yet it has of late become the fashion to call in question the clause—Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ. Westcott and Hort shut up the words in brackets. Tischendorf ejects them from the text. The Revisers brand them with suspicion. High time is it to ascertain how much of doubt really attaches to the clause which has been thus assailed.

Tischendorf relies on the testimony of ten ancient Fathers, whom he quotes in the following order,—Irenaeus, Epiphanius, Origen, Basil, Titus, Serapion, Cyril of Jerusalem, Severianus, Victorinus, Jerome. But the learned [pg 280] critic has to be reminded (1) that pro hac vice, Origen, Serapion, Titus, Basil, Victorinus and Cyril of Jerusalem are not six fathers, but only one. Next (2), that Epiphanius delivers no testimony whatever on the point in dispute. Next (3), that Jerome607 is rather to be reckoned with the upholders, than the impugners, of the disputed clause: while (4) Irenaeus and Severianus bear emphatic witness in its favour. All this quite changes the aspect of the Patristic testimony. The scanty residuum of hostile evidence proves to be Origen and three Codexes,—of which two are cursives. I proceed to shew that the facts are as I have stated them.

As we might expect, the true author of all the mischief was Origen. At the outset of his commentary on St. John, he writes with reference to St. Mark i. 1,—“Either the entire Old Testament (represented by John Baptist) is here spoken of as ‘the beginning’ of the New; or else, only the end of it (which John quotes) is so spoken of, on account of this linking on of the New Testament to the Old. For Mark says,—‘The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send my messenger, &c. The voice of one, &c.’ I can but wonder therefore at those heretics,”—he means the followers of Basilides, Valentinus, Cerdon, Marcion, and the rest of the Gnostic crew,—“who attribute the two Testaments to two different Gods; seeing that this very place sufficiently refutes them. For how can John be ‘the beginning of the Gospel,’ if, as they pretend, he belongs to another God, and does not recognize the divinity of the New Testament?” Presently,—“In illustration of the former way of taking the passage, viz. that John stands for the entire Old Testament, I will quote what is found in the Acts [viii. 35] ‘Beginning at the same Scripture of [pg 281] Isaiah, He was brought as a lamb, &c., Philip preached to the eunuch the Lord Jesus.’ How could Philip, beginning at the prophet, preach unto him Jesus, unless Isaiah be some part of ‘the beginning of the Gospel608?’ ” From the day that Origen wrote those memorable words [a.d. 230], an appeal to St. Mark i. 1-3 became one of the commonplaces of Theological controversy. St. Mark's assertion that the voices of the ancient Prophets, were “the beginning of the Gospel”—of whom John Baptist was assumed to be the symbol,—was habitually cast in the teeth of the Manichaeans.

On such occasions, not only Origen's reasoning, but often Origen's mutilated text was reproduced. The heretics in question, though they rejected the Law, professed to hold fast the Gospel. “But” (says Serapion) “they do not understand the Gospel; for they do not receive the beginning of it:—‘The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet609.’ ” What the author of this curt statement meant, is explained by Titus of Bostra, who exhibits the quotation word for word as Serapion, following Origen, had exhibited it before him; and adding that St. Mark in this way “connects the Gospel with the Law; recognizing the Law as the beginning of the Gospel610.” How does this prove that either Serapion or Titus disallowed the words υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ? The simple fact is that they are both reproducing Origen: and besides availing themselves of his argument, are content to adopt the method of quotation with which he enforces it.

Next, for the testimony of Basil. His words are,—“Mark makes the preaching of John the beginning of the Gospel, [pg 282] saying, ‘The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ ... as it is written in Isaiah the prophet ... The voice of one crying in the wilderness611.’ ” This certainly shews that Basil was treading in Origen's footsteps; but it no more proves that he disallowed the three words in dispute in ver. 1, than that he disallowed the sixteen words not in dispute in ver. 2.—from which it is undeniable that he omits them intentionally, knowing them to be there. As for Victorinus (a.d. 290), his manner of quoting the beginning of St. Mark's Gospel is identical with Basil's612, and suggests the same observation.

If proof be needed that what precedes is the true account of the phenomenon before us, it is supplied by Cyril of Jerusalem, with reference to this very passage. He points out that “John was the end of the prophets, for ‘All the prophets and the Law were until John;’ but the beginning of the Gospel dispensation, for it says, ‘The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,’ and so forth. John was baptizing in the wilderness613.” Cyril has therefore passed straight from the middle of the first verse of St. Mark i. to the beginning of ver. 4: not, of course, because he disallowed the eight and thirty words which come in between; but only because it was no part of his purpose to quote them. Like Serapion and Titus, Basil and Cyril of Jerusalem are in fact reproducing Origen: but unlike the former two, the two last-named quote the Gospel elliptically. The liberty indeed which the ancient Fathers freely exercised, when quoting Scripture for a purpose,—of leaving out whatever was irrelevant; of retaining just so much of the text as made for their argument,—may never be let slip out of sight. Little did those ancient men imagine that at the end of some 1500 years a school of Critics would arise who would insist on regarding every [pg 283] irregularity in such casual appeals to Scripture, as a deliberate assertion concerning the state of the text 1500 years before. Sometimes, happily, they make it plain by what they themselves let fall, that their citations of Scripture may not be so dealt with. Thus, Severianus, bishop of Gabala, after appealing to the fact that St. Mark begins his Gospel by styling our Saviour Υἱὸς Θεοῦ, straightway quotes ver. 1 without that record of Divine Sonship,—a proceeding which will only seem strange to those who omit to read his context. Severianus is calling attention to the considerate reserve of the Evangelists in declaring the eternal Generation of Jesus Christ. “Mark does indeed say ‘Son of God’; but straightway, in order to soothe his hearers, he checks himself and cuts short that train of thought; bringing in at once about John the Baptist: saying,—‘The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ ... as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold,’ &c. No sooner has the Evangelist displayed the torch of Truth, than he conceals it614.” How could Severianus have made his testimony more emphatic?


And now the reader is in a position to understand what Epiphanius has delivered. He is shewing that whereas St. Matthew begins his Gospel with the history of the Nativity, “the holy Mark makes what happened at Jordan the introduction of the Gospel: saying,—The beginning of the Gospel ... as it is written in Isaiah the prophet ... The voice of one crying in the wilderness615.” This does not of course prove that Epiphanius read ver. 1 differently from [pg 284] ourselves. He is but leaving out the one and twenty words (5 in ver. 1: 16 in ver. 2) which are immaterial to his purpose. Our Lord's glorious designation (“Jesus Christ, the Son of God,”) and the quotation from Malachi which precedes the quotation from Isaiah, stand in this writer's way: his one object being to reach “the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” Epiphanius in fact is silent on the point in dispute.


But the most illustrious name is behind. Irenaeus (a.d. 170) unquestionably read Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ in this place. He devotes a chapter of his great work to the proof that Jesus is the Christ,—very God as well as very Man; and establishes the doctrine against the Gnostics, by citing the Evangelists in turn. St. Mark's testimony he introduces by an apt appeal to Rom. i. 1-4, ix. 5, and Gal. iv. 4, 5: adding,—“The Son of God was made the Son of Man, in order that by Him we might obtain the adoption: Man carrying, and receiving, and enfolding the Son of God. Hence, Mark says,—‘The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as it is written in the prophets616.’ ” Irenaeus had already, in an earlier chapter, proved by an appeal to the second and third Gospels that Jesus Christ is God. “Quapropter et Marcus,” (he says) “interpres et sectator Petri, initium Evangelicae conscriptionis fecit sic: ‘Initium Evangelii Jesu Christi Filii Dei, quemadmodum scriptum est in Prophetis,’ &c.617 This at all events is decisive. The Latin of either place alone survives: yet not a shadow of doubt can be pretended as to how the man who wrote these two passages read the first verse of St. Mark's Gospel618.

[pg 285]

Even more interesting is the testimony of Victor of Antioch; for though he reproduces Origen's criticism, he makes it plain that he will have nothing to say to Origen's text619. He paraphrases, speaking in the person of the Evangelist, the two opening verses of St. Mark's Gospel, as follows!—“I shall make ‘the beginning of the Gospel’ from John: of the Gospel, I say ‘of the Son of God:’ for so ‘it is written in the prophets,’ viz. that He is the Son of God.... Or, you may connect ‘as it is written in the prophets’ with ‘Behold, I send my messenger’: in which case, I shall make ‘the beginning of the Gospel of the Son of God’ that which was spoken by the prophets concerning John.” And again,—“Mark says that John, the last of the prophets, is ‘the beginning of the Gospel’: adding, ‘as it is written in the prophets, Behold,’ &c., &c.620 It is therefore clear how Victor at least read the place.

[pg 286]

It is time to close this discussion. That the Codexes which Origen habitually employed were of the same type as Cod. א,—and that from them the words Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ were absent,—is undeniable. But that is the sum of the evidence for their omission. I have shewn that Serapion and Titus, Basil and Victorinus and Cyril of Jerusalem, do but reproduce the teaching of Origen: that Epiphanius delivers no testimony either way: while Irenaeus and Severianus bear emphatic witness to the genuineness of the clause in dispute. To these must be added Porphyry (a.d. 270)621, Cyril of Alexandria622, Victor of Antioch, ps.-Athanasius623, and Photius624,—with Ambrose 625, and Augustine626 among the Latins. The clause is found besides in all the Versions, and in every known copy of the Gospels but three; two of which are cursives. On what principle Tischendorf would uphold the authority of א and Origen against such a mass of evidence, has never been explained. In the meantime, the disappearance of the clause (Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ) from certain of the earliest copies of St. Mark's Gospel is only too easily accounted for. So obnoxious to certain precursors of the Gnostic sect was the fundamental doctrine which it embodies, that St. John (xx. 31) declares it to have been the very purpose of his Gospel to establish “that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” What is more obvious than that the words at some very remote period should have been fraudulently removed from certain copies of the Gospel?

[pg 287]

Appendix V. The Sceptical Character Of B And א.

The sceptical character of the Vatican and Sinaitic MSS. affords a strong proof of the alliance between them and the Origenistic school. Instances found in these Codexes may be classed thus:—

Note 1. The following instances are professedly taken from the Gospels. Only a few are added from elsewhere.

Note 2. Other Uncials are also added, to indicate by specimens how far these two MSS. receive countenance or not from other sources, and also in part how far the same influence enter them.

I. Passages detracting from the Scriptural acknowledgement of the Divinity of our Lord:—

Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ omitted—St. Mark i. 1 (א*).
Ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ Υἱὸς ... τοῦ ζῶντος omitted—St. John vi. 69 (אBC*DL).
Κύριε omitted—St. Mark ix. 24 (אABC*DL).
Τοῦ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ omitted—St. Luke xxiv. 3 (D).
Θεοῦ changed into Κυρίου—Acts xx. 28 (AC*DES).
Omission of faith in Christ. εἰς ἐμέ—St. John vi. 47 (אBLΓ).
Slur on efficacy of prayer through Christ:
Insert μέ—St. John xiv. 14 (אBEHUΓΔ).
Transfer ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου—St. John xxi. 23 (אBC*LXVΔ).
Omission of εὐθέως in the cure—St. Mark vii. 35 (אBDLWdΔ) Cf. St. Mark ii. 12.
[pg 288]
Judgement-seat of God instead of Christ—Rom. xiv. 10 (א*ABC*D &c.).
Ὁ ὢν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ omitted—St. John iii. 13 (אBLΓb).
Omission of Κύριε in penitent thief's prayer—St. Luke xxiii. 42 (אBC*DLM*).
" " the Ascension in St. Luke, ἀνεφέρετο εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν—St. Luke xxiv. 51 (א*D).
Insertion of οὐδὲ ὁ Υἱός from St. Mark xiii. 32 in St. Matt. xxiv. 36. Cf. Basil to Amphilochius, iii. 360-2 (Revision Revised, p. 210, note).
Omission of Θεός in reference to the creation of man—St. Mark x. 6 (אBCIΔ). Cf. St. Matt. xii. 30 (BD).
" " ἐπάνω πάντων ἐστίν—St. John iii. 31 (א*D).
" " ὁ Υἱός μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα—St. John viii. 35 (אXΓ).
" " διελθὼν διὰ μέσον αὐτῶν, καὶ παρῆγεν οὕτως—St. John viii. 59 (אBD).
τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου for τ. Υ. τ. Θεοῦ—St. John ix. 35 (אBD).
Κυρίου for Θεοῦ—2 Pet. i. 1 (א).
Omission of ὅτι ἐγὼ ὑπάγω πρὸς τὸν Πατέρα—St. John xvi. 6 (אBD).
" " Κύριος—1 Cor. xv. 47 (א*BCD*EFG).
Ὅς for Θσς—1 Tim. iii. 16 (א, Revision Revised, pp. 431-43).
Ὅ for Ὅς—Col. ii. 10, making the Fulness of the Godhead the head of all principality and power (BDEFG).

II. Generally sceptical tendency:—

N.B.—Omission is in itself sceptical.

Πνεῦμα Θεοῦ instead of τὸ Πνεῦμα τοῦ Θεοῦ—Matt. iii. 16 (אB). Cf. Acts xvi. 7, τὸ Πνεῦμα Ιησοῦ for τὸ Πνεῦμα—אABC2DE2627.
Γένεσις for γέννησις, slurring the Divine Birth—Matt. i. 18 (אBCPSZΔ).
Omission of the title of “good” applied to our Lord—Matt. xix. 16, 17 (אBDL).
" " the necessity of our Lord to suffer. καὶ οὕτως ἔδει—St. Luke xxiv. 46 (אBC*DL).
" " last Twelve Verses of St. Mark (אB).
[pg 289]
Omission of passages relating to Everlasting Punishment (closely Origenistic):
αἰωνίου ἁμαρτήματος for αἰων. κρίσεως—St. Mark iii. 29 (אBLΔ).
ἁμαρτίας (D)—ibid.
ὅπου ὁ σκώληξ αὐτῶν οὐ τελευτᾷ, καὶ τὸ πῦρ οὐ σβέννυται—St. Mark ix. 44, 46 (אBCLΔ).
" " the danger of rejecting our Lord—St. Matt. xxi. 44 (D).
" " καὶ πᾶσα θυσία ἁλὶ ἁλισθήσεται—St. Mark ix. 49 (אBLΔ).
" " the condemnation of Pharisaic treatment of widows—St. Matt. xxiii. 14 (אBDLZ).
" " καὶ τὸ βάπτισμα ὂ ἐγὼ βαπτίζομαι βαπτισθῆναι—St. Matt. xx. 22, 23 (אBDLZ).
" " αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον—St. Matt. i. 25 (אBZ).
" " the verse about prayer and fasting—St. Matt. xvii. 21 (א*B).
" " the words giving authority to the Apostles to heal diseases—St. Mark iii. 15 (אBC*).
" " the forgiveness of sins to those who turn—St. Mark iv. 12 (אBCL).
" " condemnation of cities and mention of the Day of Judgement—St. Mark vi. 11 (אBCDLΔ).
" " fasting—St. Mark ix. 29 (א*B).
" " taking up the Cross—St. Mark x. 21 (אBCDΔ).
" " the danger of riches—St. Mark x. 24 (אBΔ).
" " the danger of not forgiving others—St. Mark xi. 26 (אBLSΔ).
" " εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξίν—St. Luke i. 28 (אBL).
" " ἀλλ᾽ ἐπὶ παντὶ ῥήματι Θεοῦ—St. Luke iv. 4 (אBL).
" " ὁ διάβολος εἰς ὄπος ὑψηλόν—St. Luke iv. 5 (אBL).
" " ὕπαγε ὀπίσω μου, Σατανᾶ—St. Luke iv. 8 (אBDLΞ).
" " reference to Elijah's punishment, and the manner of spirit—St. Luke ix. 55, 56.
" " the saving effect of faith—St. Luke xvii. 19 (B).
" " the day of the Son of Man—St. Luke xvii. 24 (BD).
" " the descent of the Angel into Bethesda—St. John v. 3, 4 (אBC*D).
" " ἢν ἐγὼ δώσω—St. John vi. 51 (אBCLΔ).
[pg 290]

III. Evincing a “philosophical” obtuseness to tender passages:—

Omissions in the records of the Institution of the Holy Sacrament: thus—
Φάγετε ... τὸ ... καινῆς—St. Mark xiv. 22-24 (אBCD).
καινῆς—St. Matt. xxvi. 27 (אB).
λάβετε, φάγετε ... κλώμενον—1 Cor. xi. 2-4 (אABC*).
Omission of Agony in the Garden and strengthening Angel—St. Luke xxii. 43, 44 (ABRT, first corrector).
" " First Word from the Cross—St. Luke xxiii. 34 (אaBD*).
Mutilation of the Lord's Prayer—St. Luke xi. 2-4: i.e.
Omission of ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς (אBL).
" " γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ, καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς (BL).
" " ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ (א*BL).
Omission of εἰκῆ—Matt. v. 22 (אB).
" " the verse telling of our Lord's coming to save what was lost—St. Matt. xviii. 11 (אBL*).
" " εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμᾶς καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοὺς μισοῦντας ὑμᾶς—St. Matt. v. 44 (אB).
" " the prophecy of being numbered with the transgressors—St. Mark xv. 28 (אABCet 3DX).
" " ἐν τῷ φανερῷ—St. Matt. vi. 6 (אBDZ).
" " reference to the last cry—St. Mark xv. 39 (אBL).
" " striking on the face—St. Luke xxii. 64 (אBLMTΦ).
" " triple superscription (γράμμ. Ἑλλην. κ. Ῥωμ. κ. Ἑβραϊκ.)—St. Luke xxiii. 38 (BCL). So א* in St. John xix. 20-21.
" " καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ μελισσίου κηρίου—St. Luke xxiv. 42 (אABDLΦ).
" " καὶ ἐζήτουν αὐτὸν ἀποκτεῖναι—St. John v. 15 (אBCDL).
λύσαντι for λούσαντι—Rev. i. 5 (אAC).
δικαιοσύνην for ἐλεημοσύνην—Matt. vi. 1 (א*et bBD).

IV. Shewing attempts to classicize New Testament Greek.

These attempts have left their traces, conspicuous especially for omissions, all over B and א in a multiplicity of [pg 291] passages too numerous to quote. Their general character may be gathered in a perusal of Dr. Hort's Introduction, pp. 223-227, from which passage we may understand how these MSS. may have commended themselves at periods of general advancement in learning to eminent scholars like Origen and Dr. Hort. But unfortunately a Thucydidean compactness, condensed and well-pruned according to the fastidious taste of the study, is exactly that which does not in the long run take with people who are versed in the habits of ordinary life, or with scholars who have been exercised in many fields, as was shewn by the falling into disuse of Origen's critical manuscripts. The echoes of the fourth century have surely been heard in the nineteenth.

[pg 292]

Appendix VI. The Peshitto And Curetonian.

[The Rev. C. H. Waller, D.D., Principal of St. John's Hall, Highbury.]

A careful collation of the Curetonian Syriac with the Peshitto would I think leave no doubt on the mind of any one that the Curetonian as exhibited by Cureton himself is the later version. But in order to give full effect to the argument it would be necessary to shew the entire Curetonian fragment side by side with the corresponding portions of the Peshitto. Otherwise it is scarcely possible to realize (1) how entirely the one version is founded upon the other—(2) how manifestly the Curetonian is an attempt to improve upon the other; or (3) how the Curetonian presupposes and demands an acquaintance with the Gospels in general, or with views of Gospel history which belong to the Church rather than to the sacred text.

Even in those brief passages exhibited by Dr. Scrivener from both editions this can be made out. And it is capable of still further illustration from almost every page of Dr. Cureton's book.

To take the fragments exhibited by Dr. Scrivener first. (a) In St. Matt. xii. 1-4, where the Peshitto simply translates the Textus Receptus (not altered by our Revisers), saying that the disciples were hungry “and began to pluck ears of corn and to eat,” the Curetonian amends thus:—“and the disciples were hungry and began to pluck ears of corn, and break them in their hands, and eat,” introducing (as it frequently does, e.g. St. Matt. iv. 11, “for a season”; St. Matt. [pg 293] iv. 21, “laying his hand”; St. Matt. v. 12, “your fathers”; St. Matt. v. 47, “what thank have ye?”) words borrowed from St. Luke vi. 1.

But in the next verse of the passage, where the words “on the Sabbath,” are absolutely required in order to make the Pharisees' question intelligible to the first readers of St. Matthew, “Behold, thy disciples do what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath” (Textus Receptus and Peshitto; not altered by our Revisers), the Curetonian must needs draw on the common knowledge of educated readers by exhibiting the question thus, “Why are thy disciples doing what is not lawful to do?” an abbreviated reading which leaves us ignorant what the action objected to might be; whether to pluck ears in another man's field, or to rub the grain from them on the Sabbath day? On what possible ground can such emendations as this have the preference of antiquity in their favour?

Again, the shewbread in ver. 4 of this passage is, not as we have it in the Peshitto, “the bread of the table of the Lord,” [Syriac letters], a simple phrase which everyone can understand, but the Old Testament expression, “face-bread,” [Syriac letters], which exhibits the translator's knowledge of the earlier Scriptures, as do his emendations of the list of names in the first chapter of St. Matthew, and, if I mistake not, his quotations also.

(b) Or, to turn to St. Mark xvi. 17-20 (the other passage exhibited by Dr. Scrivener). Both the Peshitto and Curetonian shew their agreement, by the points in which they differ from our received text. “The Lord Jesus then, after He had commanded His disciples, was exalted to heaven and sat on the right hand of God—is the Curetonian phrase. The simpler Peshitto runs thus. Jesus the Lord then, after He had spoken with them, ascended to heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.” Both alike introduce the word “Jesus” as do our Revisers: but the two slight [pg 294] touches of improvement in the Curetonian are evident, and belong to that aspect of the matter which finds expression in the Creed, and in the obedience of the Church. Who can doubt which phrase is the later of the two? A similar slight touch appears in the Curetonian addition to ver. 17 of “them that believe on Me instead of simply “them that believe.”

The following points I have myself observed in the collation of a few chapters of St. Matthew from the two versions. Their minuteness itself testifies to the improved character of the Curetonian. In St. Matt. v. 32 we have been accustomed to read, with our Text Received and Revised and with all other authorities, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for the cause of fornication.” So reads the Peshitto. But whence comes it that the Curetonian Syriac substitutes here adultery for fornication, and thereby sanctions,—not the precept delivered by our Lord, but the interpretation almost universally placed upon it? How is it possible to contend that here the Curetonian Syriac has alone preserved the true reading? Yet either this must be the case, or else we have a deliberate alteration of a most distinct and precise kind, telling us, not what our Lord said, but what He is commonly supposed to have meant.

Not less curious is the addition in ver. 41, “Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him two others.” Our Lord said “go with him twain,” as all Greek MSS. except D bear witness. The Curetonian and D and some Latin copies say practically “go with him three.” Is this again an original reading, or an improvement? It is no accidental change.

But by far the most striking 'improvements' introduced by the Curetonian MS. are to my mind, those which attest the perpetual virginity of our Lord's Mother. The alterations of this kind in the first chapter form a group [pg 295] quite unique. Beginning with ver. 18, we read as follows:—

In the Peshitto and our Greek Text without any variation. In the Curetonian.
Ver. 16. “Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus, who is called Messiah.” “Jacob begat Joseph to whom was espoused Mary the virgin, which bare Jesus the Messiah.”
Ver. 18. “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise (Peshitto, and Textus Receptus: Revised also, but with some uncertainty).” “The birth of the Messiah was thus.”
Ver. 19. “Joseph her husband being a just man,” &c. Ver. 19. Joseph, because he was a righteous man,” &c. [there is no Greek or Latin authority with Cn. here].
Ver. 20. “Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife.” ... “Mary thine espoused (Cn. seems to be alone here).
Ver. 24. “Joseph ... did as the Angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife.” ... “and took Mary (Cn. seems alone in omitting “his wife”).
Ver. 25. “And knew her not until she brought forth [her firstborn] a son.” “And purely dwelt with her until she bare the son” (Cn. here is not alone except in inserting the article).

The absolute omission from the Curetonian Syriac of all mention of Joseph as Mary's husband, or of Mary as his wife is very remarkable. The last verse of the chapter has suffered in other authorities by the loss of the word “firstborn,” probably owing to a feeling of objection to the inference drawn from it by the Helvidians. It seems to have been forgotten (1) that the fact of our Lord's being a “firstborn” in the Levitical sense is proved by St. Luke [pg 296] from the presentation in the temple (see Neh. x. 36); and (2) that His being called a “firstborn” in no way implies that his mother had other children after him. But putting this entirely aside, the feeling in favour of Mary's perpetual virginity on the mind of the translator of the Curetonian Syriac was so strong as to draw him to four distinct and separate omissions, in which he stands unsupported by any authority, of the word “husband” in two places, and in two others of the word “wife.”

I do not see how any one can deny that here we have emendations of the most deliberate and peculiar kind. Nor is there any family of earlier readings which contains them, or to which they can be referred. The fact that the Curetonian text has some readings in common with the so-called western family of text (e.g. the transposition of the beatitudes in Matt. v. 4, 5) is not sufficient to justify us in accounting for such vagaries as this. It is indeed a “Western” superstition which has exalted the Virgin Mary into a sphere beyond the level of all that rejoice in God her Saviour. But the question here suggested is whether this way of regarding the matter is truly ancient; and whether the MS. of an ancient version which exhibits such singular phenomena on its first page is worthy to be set above the common version which is palpably its basis. In the first sentence of the Preface Dr. Cureton states that it was obtained from a Syrian Monastery dedicated to St. Mary Deipara. I cannot but wonder whether it never occurred to him that the cultus of the Deipara, and the taste which it indicates, may partly explain why a MS. of a certain character and bias was ultimately domiciled there. [See note at the end of this Chapter.]


Shall I be thought very disrespectful if I say that the study which I have been able to devote to Dr. Cureton's book has impressed me with a profound distrust of his [pg 297] scholarship? “She shall bare for thee a son,” says he on the first page of his translation;—which is not merely bald and literal, but absolutely un-English in many places.

In Matt. vi. in the first verse we have alms and in the third and fourth righteousness. An explanation.

In ver. 13 the Cn. has the doxology, but with power omitted, the Peshitto not.

In ver. 17. Cn. wash thy face and anoint thy head instead of our text.

In ver. 19. Cn. leaves out βρῶσις rust and puts in where falleththe moth.

In x. 42. The discipleship instead of disciple.

In xi. 2. Of Jesus instead of Christ.

In xiii. 6. Parable of Sower, a Targum-like alteration.

ver. 13 a most important Targum.

ver. 33 a wise woman took and hid in meal.

xiv. 13 leaves out by ship, and says on foot, where the Peshitto has on dry land, an odd change, of an opposite kind to some that I have mentioned.

In St. John iii. 6, Cn. has: That which is born of the flesh is flesh, because of flesh it is born; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit, because God is a spirit, and of God it is born.And in ver. 8: So is every one that is born of water and of the Spirit. This is a Targum-like expansion: possibly anti-Arian. See Tischendorf's Gr. Test. in loco. All the above changes look like deliberate emendations of the text.

[It is curious that the Lewis Codex and the Curetonian both break off from the Traditional account of the Virgin-birth, but in opposite directions. The Lewis Codex makes Joseph our Lord's actual Father: the Curetonian treats the question as described above. That there were two streams of teaching on this subject, which specially characterized the fifth century, is well known: the one exaggerating the Nestorian division of the two Natures, the other tending in a Eutychian direction. That two fifth-century MSS. should illustrate these deviations is but natural; and their survival not a little remarkable.]

[pg 298]

Appendix VII. The Last Twelve Verses Of St. Mark's Gospel.

It would be a manifest defect, if a book upon Textual Criticism passing under the name of Dean Burgon were to go forth without some reference to the present state of the controversy on the subject, which first made him famous as a Textual critic.

His argument has been strengthened since he wrote in the following ways:—

1. It will be remembered that the omission of the verses has been rested mainly upon their being left out by B and א, of which circumstance the error is mutely confessed in B by the occurrence of a blank space, amply sufficient to contain the verses, the column in question being the only vacant one in the whole manuscript. It has been generally taken for granted, that there is nothing in א to denote any consciousness on the part of the scribe that something was omitted. But a closer examination of the facts will shew that the contrary is the truth. For—

i. The page of א on which St. Mark ends is the recto of leaf 29, being the second of a pair of leaves (28 and 29), forming a single sheet (containing St. Mark xiv. 54-xvi. 8, St. Luke i. 1-56), which Tischendorf has shewn to have been written not by the scribe of the body of the New Testament in this MS., but by one of his colleagues who wrote part of the Old Testament and acted as diorthota or corrector of the New Testament—and who is further [pg 299] identified by the same great authority as the scribe of B. This person appears to have cancelled the sheet originally written by the scribe of א, and to have substituted for it the sheet as we now have it, written by himself. A correction so extensive and laborious can only have been made for the purpose of introducing some important textual change, too large to be effected by deletion, interlineation, or marginal note. Thus we are led not only to infer that the testimony of א is here not independent of that of B, but to suspect that this sheet may have been thus cancelled and rewritten in order to conform its contents to those of the corresponding part of B.

ii. This suspicion becomes definite, and almost rises to a certainty, when we look further into the contents of this sheet. Its second page (28 vo) exhibits four columns of St. Mark (xv. 16-xvi. 1); its third page (29 ro), the two last columns of St. Mark (xvi. 2-8) and the first two of St. Luke (i. 1-18). But the writing of these six columns of St. Mark is so spread out that they contain less matter than they ought; whereas the columns of St. Luke that follow contain the normal amount. It follows, therefore, that the change introduced by the diorthota must have been an extensive excision from St. Mark:—in other words, that these pages as originally written must have contained a portion of St. Mark of considerable length which has been omitted from the pages as they now stand. If these six columns of St. Mark were written as closely as the columns of St. Luke which follow, there would be room in them for the omitted twelve verses.—More particularly, the fifth column (the first of page 29 ro) is so arranged as to contain only about five-sixths of the normal quantity of matter, and the diorthota is thus enabled to carry over four lines to begin a new column, the sixth, by which artifice he manages to conclude St. Mark not with a blank column such as in B tells its own story, but with a column [pg 300] such as in this MS. is usual at the end of a book, exhibiting the closing words followed by an “arabesque” pattern executed with the pen, and the subscription (the rest being left empty). But, by the very pains he has thus taken to conform this final column to the ordinary usage of the MS., his purpose of omission is betrayed even more conclusively, though less obviously, than by the blank column of B628.

iii. A further observation is to be noted, which not only confirms the above, but serves to determine the place where the excision was made to have been at the very end of the Gospel. The last of the four lines of the sixth and last column of St. Mark (the second column of leaf 29 ro) contains only the five letters το γαρ ([ἐφοβοῦν]το γαρ), and has the rest of the space (more than half the width of the column) filled up with a minute and elaborate ornament executed with the pen in ink and vermilion, the like of which is nowhere else found in the MS., or in the New Testament part of B, such spaces being invariably left unfilled629. And not only so, but underneath, the usual “arabesque” above the subscription, marking the conclusion of the text, has its horizontal arm extended all the way across the width of the column,—and not, as always elsewhere, but halfway or less630. It seems hardly possible to regard these carefully executed works of the pen of the diorthota otherwise than as precautions to guard against the possible restoration, by a subsequent reviser, of a portion of text deliberately omitted by him (the [pg 301] diorthota) from the end of the Gospel. They are evidence therefore that he knew of a conclusion to the Gospel which he designedly expunged, and endeavoured to make it difficult for any one else to reinsert.

We have, therefore, good reason to believe that the disputed Twelve Verses were not only in an exemplar known to the scribe of B, but also in the exemplar used by the scribe of א; and that their omission (or, more properly, disappearance) from these two MSS. is due to one and the same person—the scribe, namely, who wrote B and who revised א,—or rather, perhaps, to an editor by whose directions he acted.

2. Some early Patristic evidence has been added to the stores which the Dean collected by Dr. Taylor, Master of St. John's College, Cambridge. This evidence may be found in a book entitled “The Witness of Hermas” to the Four Gospels, published in 1892, of which § 12 in the Second Part is devoted to “The ending of St. Mark's Gospel,” and includes also quotations from Justin Martyr, and the Apology of Aristides. A fuller account is given in the Expositor of July 1893, and contains references to the following passages:—Irenaeus iii. 11. 6 (quoting xvi. 19); Justin Martyr, Trypho, § 138; Apol. i. 67; Trypho, § 85; Apol. i. 45; Barnabas, xv. 9; xvi. 7; Quarto-deciman Controversy (Polycarp)? and Clement of Rome, i. 42. The passages from Hermas are, 1. (xvi. 12-13) Sim. ii. 1, Vis. i. 1, iii. 1, iv. 1, and v. 4; 2. (xvi. 14) Sim. ix. 141 and 20. 4, Vis. iii. 8. 3, iii. 7. 6; 3. (xvi. 15-16) Vis. iii, Sim. ix. 16, 25; 4. (xvi. 17-18) Vis. iv, Mand. i, xii. 2. 2-3, Sim. ix. 1. 9, iii. 7, ix. 26, Mand. xii. 6. 2; 5. (xvi. 19-20) Vis. iii. 1. Some of the references are not apparent at first sight, but Dr. Taylor's discussions in both places should be read carefully.

3. In my own list given above, p. 109, of the writers who died before a.d. 400, I have added from my two [pg 302] examinations of the Ante-Chrysostom Fathers to the list in The Revision Revised, p. 421, the Clementines, four references from the Apostolic Canons and Constitutions, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory of Nyssa, the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, and two references to the four of St. Ambrose mentioned in “The Last Twelve Verses,” p. 27. To these Dr. Waller adds, Gospel of Peter, § 7 (πενθοῦντες καὶ κλαίοντες), and § 12 (ἐκλαίομεν καὶ ἐλυπούμεθα), referring to the ἅπαξ λεγόμενον, as regards the attitude of the Twelve at the time, in xvi. 10.

4. On the other hand, the recently discovered Lewis Codex, as is well known, omits the verses. The character of that Codex, which has been explained above in the sixth chapter of this work, makes any alliance with it suspicious, and consequently it is of no real importance that its testimony, unlike that of B and א, is claimed to be unswerving.

For that manuscript is disfigured by heretical blemishes of the grossest nature, and the obliteration of it for the purpose of covering the vellum with other writing was attended with circumstances of considerable significance.

In the first chapter of St. Matthew, Joseph is treated as the father of our Lord (vers. 16, 21, 24) as far as His body was concerned, for as to His soul even according to teaching of Gnostic origin He was treated as owing His nature to the Holy Ghost (ver. 20). Accordingly, the blessed Virgin is called in the second chapter of St. Luke Joseph's “wife,” μεμνηστευμένη being left with no equivalent631: and at His baptism, He is described as being as He was called the son of Joseph” (St. Luke iii. 23). According to the heretical tenet that our Lord was chosen out of other men to be made the Son of God at the baptism, we read afterwards, “This is My Son, My chosen” [pg 303] (St. Luke ix. 35), “the chosen of God” (St. John i. 34), “Thou art My Son and My beloved” (St. Matt. iii. 17), “This is My Son Who is beloved” (St. Mark ix. 7); and we are told of the Holy Ghost descending like a dove (St. Matt. iii. 16), that It abode upon Him.” Various smaller expressions are also found, but perhaps the most remarkable of those which have been left upon the manuscript occurs in St. Matt. xxvii. 50, “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and His Spirit went up.” After this, can we be surprised because the scribe took the opportunity of leaving out the Last Twelve Verses of St. Mark which contain the most detailed account of the Ascension in the Gospels, as well as the καὶ ἀνεφέρετο εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν of St. Luke?

Again, at the time when the manuscript was put out of use, and as is probable in the monastery of St. Catherine so early as the year 778 a.d. (Introduction by Mrs. Lewis, p. xv), the old volume was pulled to pieces, twenty-two leaves were cast away, the rest used in no regular order, and on one at least, as we are told, a knife was employed to eradicate the writing. Five of the missing leaves must have been blank, according to Mrs. Lewis: but the seventeen remaining leaves contained passages of supreme importance as being expressive of doctrine, like St. John i. 1-24, St. Luke i. 16-39, St. Mark i. 1-11, St. Matt. xxviii. 8-end, and others. Reading the results of this paragraph in connexion with those of the last, must we not conclude that this manuscript was used for a palimpsest, and submitted to unusual indignity in order to obliterate its bad record?

It will be seen therefore that a cause, which for unchallenged evidence rests solely upon such a witness, cannot be one that will commend itself to those who form their conclusions judicially. The genuineness of the verses, as part of the second Gospel, must, I hold, remain unshaken by such opposition.

5. An ingenious suggestion has been contributed by [pg 304] Mr. F. C. Conybeare, the eminent Armenian scholar, founded upon an entry which he discovered in an Armenian MS. of the Gospels, dated a.d. 986, where “Ariston Eritzou” is written in minioned uncials at the head of the twelve verses. Mr. Conybeare argues, in the Expositor for October, 1893, that “Ariston Eritzou” is not the copyist himself, who signs himself Johannes, or an Armenian translator, Ariston or Aristion being no Armenian name. He then attempts to identify it with Aristion who is mentioned by Papias in a passage quoted by Eusebius (H. E. iii. 39) as a disciple of the Lord. Both the words “Ariston Eritzou” are taken to be in the genitive, as “Eritzou” certainly is, and to signify “Of or by Aristion the presbyter,” this being the meaning of the latter word. The suggestion is criticized by Dr. Ad. Harnack in the Theologische Literaturzeitung, 795, where Dr. Harnack pronounces no opinion upon the soundness of it: but the impression left upon the mind after reading his article is that he is unable to accept it.

It is remarkable that the verses are found in no other Armenian MS. before 1100. Mr. Conybeare traces the version of the passage to an old Syrian Codex about the year 500, but he has not very strong grounds for his reasoning; and even then for such an important piece of information the leap to the sub-Apostolic age is a great one. But there is another serious difficulty in the interpretation of this fragmentary expression. Even granting the strong demands that we may construe over the expression of Papias, Ἀριστίων καὶ ὁ πρεσβύτερος Ἰωάννης, and take Aristion to have been meant as a presbyter, and that according to the parallel of Aristion in Eusebius' history having been transliterated in an Armenian version to Ariston, Aristion “the disciple” may be the man mentioned here, there is a formidable difficulty presented by the word “Aristŏn” as it is written in the place quoted. It ought at [pg 305] least to have had a long ō according to Dr. Harnack, and it is not in the genitive case as “Eritzou” is. Altogether, the expression is so elliptical, and occurs with such isolated mystery in a retired district, and at such a distance of years from the event supposed to be chronicled, that the wonder is, not that a diligent and ingenious explorer should advocate a very curious idea that he has formed upon a very interesting piece of intelligence, but that other Critics should have been led to welcome it as a key to a long-considered problem. Are we not forced to see in this incident an instance of a truth not unfrequently verified, that when people neglect a plain solution, they are induced to welcome another which does not include a tenth part of the evidence in its support?

Of course the real difficulty in the way of accepting these verses as the composition of St. Mark lies in the change of style found in them. That this change is not nearly so great as it may appear at first sight, any one may satisfy himself by studying Dean Burgon's analysis of the words given in the ninth chapter of his “Last Twelve Verses of St. Mark.” But it has been the fashion in some quarters to confine ancient writers to a wondrously narrow form of style in each case, notwithstanding Horace's rough Satires and exquisitely polished Odes, and Cicero's Letters to his Friends and his Orations and Philosophical Treatises. Perhaps the recent flood of discoveries respecting early Literature may wash away some of the film from our sight. There seems to be no valid reason why St. Mark should not have written all the Gospel that goes by his name, only under altered circumstances. The true key seems to be, that at the end of verse 8 he lost the assistance of St. Peter. Before ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ, he wrote out St. Peter's story: after it, he filled in the end from his own acquired knowledge, and composed in summary. This very volume may supply a parallel. Sometimes I have transcribed Dean [pg 306] Burgon's materials with only slight alteration, where necessary imitating as I was able his style. In other places, I have written solely as best I could.

I add two suggestions, not as being proved to be true, because indeed either is destructive of the other, but such that one or other may possibly represent the facts that actually occurred. To meet the charge of impossibility, it is enough to shew what is possible, though in the absence of direct evidence it may not be open to any one to advocate any narrative as being absolutely true.

I. Taking the story of Papias and Clement of Alexandria, as given by Eusebius (H. E. ii. 15), that St. Mark wrote his gospel at the request of Roman converts, and that St. Peter, as it seems, helped him in the writing, I should suggest that the pause made in ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ, so unlike the close of any composition, of any paragraph or chapter, and still less of the end of a book, that I can recollect, indicates a sudden interruption. What more likely than that St. Peter was apprehended at the time, perhaps at the very moment when the MS. reached that place, and was carried off to judgement and death? After all was over, and the opportunity of study returned, St. Mark would naturally write a conclusion. He would not alter a syllable that had fallen from St. Peter's lips. It would be the conclusion composed by one who had lost his literary illuminator, formal, brief, sententious, and comprehensive. The crucifixion of the leading Apostle would thus impress an everlasting mark upon the Gospel which was virtually his. Here the Master's tongue ceased: here the disciple took up his pen for himself.

II. If we follow the account of Irenaeus (Eus. H. E. v. 8) that St. Mark wrote his Gospel—and did not merely publish it—after St. Peter's death, Dr. Gwynn suggests to me that he used his notes made from St. Peter's dictation or composed with his help up to xvi. 8, leaving at the end [pg 307] what were exactly St. Peter's words. After that, he added from his own stores, and indited the conclusion as I have already described.

Whether either of these descriptions, or any other solution of the difficulty, really tallies with the actual event, I submit that it is clear that St. Mark may very well have written the twelve verses himself; and that there is no reason for resorting to Aristion, or to any other person for the authorship. I see that Mr. Conybeare expresses his indebtedness to Dean Burgon's monograph, and expresses his opinion that “perhaps no one so well sums up the evidence for and against them” as he did (Expositor, viii. p. 241). I tender to him my thanks, and echo for myself all that he has said.

[pg 308]

Appendix VIII. New Editions Of The Peshitto-Syriac And The Harkleian-Syriac Versions.

A book representing Dean Burgon's labours in the province of Sacred Textual Criticism would be incomplete if notice were not taken in it of the influence exercised by him upon the production of editions of the two chief Syriac Versions.

Through his introduction of the Rev. G. H. Gwilliam, B.D. to the late Philip E. Pusey, a plan was formed for the joint production of an edition of the Peshitto New Testament by these two scholars. On the early and lamented death of Philip Pusey, which occurred in the following year, Mr. Gwilliam succeeded to his labours, being greatly helped by the Dean's encouragement. He has written on the Syriac Canons of the Gospels; and the nature of his work upon the Peshitto Gospels, now in the press, may be seen on consulting his article on “The Materials for the Criticism of the Peshitto New Testament” in the third volume of Studia Biblica et Ecclesiastica, pp. 47-104, which indeed seems to be sufficient for the Prolegomena of his edition. A list of his chief authorities was also kindly contributed by him to my Scrivener, and they are enumerated there, vol. II. pp. 12-13. The importance of this work, carried on successively by two such accomplished Syriacists, may be seen from and will illustrate the sixth chapter of this work.

[pg 309]

In connexion with the Dean, if not on his suggestion, the late Rev. Henry Deane, B.D., when Fellow of St. John's College, Oxford, began to collect materials for a new and critical edition of the Harkleian. His work was carried on during many years, when ill-health and failing eyesight put a stop to all efforts, and led to his early death—for on leaving New College, after having been Tutor there for five years, I examined him then a boy at the top of Winchester College. Mr. Deane has left the results of his work entered in an interleaved copy of Joseph White's “Sacrorum Evangeliorum Versio Syriaca Philoxeniana”—named, as my readers will observe, from the translator Mar Xenaias or Philoxenus, not from Thomas of Harkel the subsequent editor. A list of the MSS. on which Mr. Deane based his readings was sent by him to me, and inserted in my Scrivener, vol. II. p. 29. Mr. Deane added (in a subsequent letter, dated April 16, 1894):—“My labours on the Gospels shew that the H[arkleian] text is much the same in all MSS. The Acts of the Apostles must be worked up for a future edition by some one who knows the work.” Since his lamented death, putting a stop to any edition by him, his widow has placed his collation just described in the Library of St. John's College, where by the permission of the Librarian it may be seen, and also used by any one who is recognized as continuing the valuable work of that accomplished member of the College. Is there no capable and learned man who will come forward for the purpose?

[pg 311]

General Index.

A.
A or Alexandrian MS., 24, 31, 57, 76, 175, 201, 213 note 2.
א or Sinaitic MS., 2, 24, 31, 32, 49, 57, 174, 219, 235;
six conjugate leaves, 52, 165, 233;
value, B-א, 55, 68-9;
history and character, 153, 160 &c, 233-5;
sceptical character, App. V. 287.
Acacius, 2, 155;
probably the scribe of B, 154.
Acta Philippi, 100-20.
Acta Pilati, 100-20.
Adamantius, copies of, 167.
See Origen.
Alexander Alexandrinus, 100, 113, 119.
Alexandria, school of, 2, 122, 234.
Alexandrians and Egyptians, 113.
Alford, 171.
Ambrose, St., 101-20.
Ammonius, 11, 242.
Amphilochius, St., 101-20.
Anaphora Pilati, 112.
Antioch, early Church at, 123-4.
Antiquity, 29-31.
Aphraates, 103-14, 213 note 4;
witnesses to Peshitto, 130.
Apocryphal Acts of the Gospels, 103-15, 132.
Apollonides, 10.
Apostolic Canons and Constitutions, 100, 103-15, 119.
Apostolic Fathers, 99, 118.
Archelaus, 100, 105-13, 119, 130.
Arius, 110, 111, 114, 121.
Armenian Version, 23, 49, 136.
Asclepiades, 10.
Athanasius, 100, 103-15, 119, 121, 148, 235
note 1, 244.
Athenagoras, 99, 103, 115, 119.
Augustine, St., on Old-Latin Texts, 140-3;
canon of, 61 note, 198.
B.
B or Vatican MS., 2, 24, 31, 32, 49, 57, 174;
number of omissions, 78;
history and character, 153, 160 &c., 233-5;
sceptical character of, App. V. 287;
B and א, their value, 55, 68-89.
Barnabas, St., 104, 107.
Bartolocci, 157.
Basil, St., 97, 101, 107-15, 117, 197, 281-2.
Basilides, 3.
Bengel, 3.
Beratinus, Codex (Φ), 25, 26, 175.
Bethabara or Bethany, 88.
Beza, 3.
Bigg, Dr., 151.
Birch, 157.
Bobiensis (k), 137.
Bohairic Version, 23, 30, 49, 136, 149-50, and passim.
Brixianus (f), 137.
Burgon, Dean, Indexes of, Preface, 94;
addition by, to Greek MSS., 21 note 2.
Burkitt, Mr. F. C, 129 note 1.
C.
C or Parisian MS., 24, 31, 51, 57, 76, 175.
Caesarea (Turris Stratonis), library of, 2, 152, 163-5, 225, 274.
See B and א.
Caesarea, School of, 121, 152-8.
Caesarea Philippi, our Lord's stay at, 124.
Callixtus, 99, 120.
Candidus Arianus, 101, 113, 120.
Canon of the N.T., 10, 13-14, 161, 172;
settlement of the Canon followed by that of the Text, 173.
Celsus, 107.
[pg 312]
Chase, Dr. F. H., 144. 176 note.
Chrysostom, St., 31, 161, 197.
Ciasca, Agostino, 132.
Claromontanus (h), 137.
Clemens Alex., 58, 62, 99, 103-15, 117, 121, 148, 149, 150, 234, 241, 246.
Clemens Rom., 105.
Clementines, 99, 105, 109, 111, 119.
Colbertinus (c), 137.
Complutensian edition, 3.
Concilia Carthaginiensia, 100, 108, 119.
Concordia discors, 17, 81-8.
Conflation, 80-1, 206-7, 227-9.
Consent without Concert, 17.
Constans, 163 note 3.
Constantine I, 160, 163 note 3.
Constantinople, Councils of, 173.
Constantius II, 160, 161 note 1.
Context, 61-5.
Continuity, 58-61.
Conybeare, Mr. F. C., 304-5, 307.
Cook, Canon, 163 note 4, 227.
Corbeiensis I, II, (ff1, ff2), 137.
Cornelius, 100, 119.
Corruption, pre-Evangelistic, 146.
Crawford, the Earl of, 129.
Critical copies, 36 note.
Curetonian Version, 31, 91;
date of, 123-34;
origin of text, 144 &c, 182 note 2;
218 note 11, and passim.
Curetonian and Peshitto, App. VI. 292.
Cursive MSS., 24, 51, 156-8, 196-223;
in relation to later Uncials, 199-203;
main body of, not a single copy, 223;
copied in part from papyrus, 235;
the first extant, 200.
Cyprian, St., 100, 103-15, 120.
Cyril of Alexandria, St., 31, 119, 247.
Cyril of Jerusalem, St., 101, 103-15, 282.
D.
D or Cod. Bezae, 24, 31, 51, 76, 126, 144, 175-95;
sympathy with Old-Latin MSS., 56.
D and E, Codd. of St. Paul, 54, 231.
Δ, Cod. Sangallensis, in St. Mark, 204.
Damascus, Early Church at, 122-4.
Deane, the late Rev. H., and Harkleian, App. VIII. 309.
Decapolis, 123 note.
Delicate expressions rubbed off in the old Uncials, 190.
Diatessarons, formerly abounded 252.
Didachè, 99, 103, 104.
Didymus, 101, 103-15, 119, 120.
Diez, Fried., 143 note.
Diodorus (Tarsus), 101, 120.
Diognetus, Epistle to, 99, 118.
Dionysius Alex., 100, 107, 110, 121, 148, 234.
Doctrine and the Text of N.T., connexion between, 173.
E.
E, Cod. of Gospels. 203.
E of Paul = D of Paul, 54, 231.
Edessa, 134.
Egyptian Versions, 31.
Elzevirs, 3.
Ephraem Syrus, St., 103, 107, 110, 112, 132, 243;
witnesses to Peshitto, 130.
Epiphanius, St., 101, 103-15, 117, 120, 133, 243, 283-4.
Erasmus, 3, 15.
Esaias Abbas, 101, 104. 120.
Ethiopic Version, 23, 49, 51, 136.
Eumenes II, 155.
Eunomius, 101.
Eusebian Canons, 242.
Eusebius (Caesarea), 2, 30, 31, 100, 103-15, 121, 133, 152, 162;
personally favoured the Traditional Text, 100, 121, 153;
probably not the scribe of B, 154;
latitudinarian, 154, 172;
on St. Mark xvi., 55, 58, 109, 242.
Eusebius (Emesa), 107.
Eustathius, 100, 114, 120.
Euthalius (Sulci), 164 note 2.
Evagrius Ponticus, 100, 110, 120.
Evan., 102 = B, 54.
F.
F of St. Paul, like G, 56.
Fathers, 19, 23, 26, 50, 52;
value of quotations by, 57-8, 97-8;
early, witness of, 94-122;
indexes to quotations in, by Dean Burgon, Pref., 94-5.
Faustinus, 101, 114, 120.
Ferrar group, 56, 114, 200, 235-6.
Firmicus Maternus, 100, 108, 119.
G.
G of St. Paul, like F, 56.
Genealogy, 229-37.
Genealogy, the, in St. Luke iii., 181-2.
Giles, Mr. H. A., 156 note.
Gothic Version, 23, 136.
[pg 313]
Gregory, Dr. C. R., prolegomena, 160.
Gregory Nas., St., 101, 103-15, 117, 119, 197.
Gregory Nyss., St., 101, 103-15, 117, 120, 249 note, 260.
Gregory Thaumaturgus, St., 100, 110, 119, 130, 152.
Griesbach, 3, 117, 148.
Gwilliam, Rev. G. H., Pref.;
in Studia Biblica, 128, 129 note 1, 241 note;
editor of Peshitto, App. VIII. 308.
Gwynn, Rev. Dr., App. VII. 298-301, 306.
H.
H of St. Paul, 164.
Haddan, A. W., 174 note.
Harkleian Version, 49, 133-4;
new ed., App VIII. 309.
Harnack, Dr., 304-5.
Harris, Mr. J. Rendel, 144 note 1, 176.
Hedybia, 244.
Hegesippus, 99, 111, 118.
Heracleon. 10, 99, 121, 148.
Hermophilus, 10.
Herodotus, 155.
Hesychius, 243.
Hilary, St. (Poictiers), 104-15, 117, 119, 169.
Hill, Rev. J. Hamlyn, 133.
Hippolytus, St., 99, 104-15, 117, 119.
Hort, Dr., 4, 7, 95, 158, 176, 251, 291, and passim;
admissions of, 14;
involuntary witness of, 90-4;
inaccurate upon the early Fathers, 117, 121;
fancies of, 129 note 2;
B and א written at Rome, 165;
W.-Hort, 208 note 11;
on the Traditional Text, 221-2, 236;
on Genealogy, 230. See Conflation.
I.
Internal Evidence, 65-7, 214-5.
Interpolations, 81.
Irenaeus, St., 98, 99, 103-15, 117, 119, 284.
Isaias. See Esaias.
Itala, 143.
Ἰωάννης or Ἰωάνης, 87.
J.
Jacobites, 133.
Jacobus Nisibenus, 132.
Jerome, St., on Old-Latin Texts, 140-2, 244.
Jona and Jonah, 87.
Julius (Pope), 100, 120.
Julius Africanus, 100, 112, 121.
Justin Martyr, St., 30, 99, 103-15, 117, 119;
ps. Justin, 108, 111.
Juveneus, 100, 105, 110, 120.
L.
L or Regius, 4, 30, 32, 204.
Lachmann, 4, 90, 158, 225.
Lactantius, 100, 120.
Laodicea, Council of, 172.
Last Twelve Verses, i.e. of St. Mark, 55, 102, 232, App. VII. 298.
Latin MSS., Old, 4, 30, 31, 49, 51, 64, 126;
do not fall strictly into three classes, 136-9;
Wiseman's theory of, false, 142;
did not come from one stem, 135-46;
influenced by Low-Latin dialects, 135-146;
derived much from Syrian pre-Evangelistic corruption, 144-6.
Lectionaries, 22 and note.
Letters in Guardian, Dean Burgon's, 200 note 3.
Lewis Codex, 131-2, 134 note, 144, 302-3, and passim.
Libraries, destruction of, 174.
Library at Caesarea. See Caesarea.
Low-Latin MSS., 122. See Latin MSS.
Lucifer (Cagliari), 101, 103, 104, 114, 120.
M.
Macarius Alexandrinus, 100 note.
Macarius Magnes, 101, 106-12, 120.
Macarius Magnus or Aegyptius, 100, 104, 110, 115, 120.
Mai, Cardinal, editions of B, 75, 159.
Manuscripts, multitude of, 24-7, 19, 21 and note 2;
six classes of, 22 note;
kinds of, 24;
value of,53-6;
in profane authors, 21 note 1.
Marcion, 10, 97, 110, 111, 112.