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CAUSES OF CORRUPTION CHIEFLY INTENTIONAL.
[WE have now to consider the largest of all classes of corrupt variations from the genuine Text257257 It will be observed that these are empirical, not logical, classes. Omissions are found in many of the rest.,—the omission of words and clauses and sentences,—a truly fertile province of inquiry. Omissions are much in favour with a particular school of critics; though a habit of admitting them whether in ancient or modern times cannot but be symptomatic of a tendency to scepticism.]
Omissions are often treated as ‘Various Readings.’ Yet only by an Hibernian licence can words omitted be so reckoned: for in truth the very essence of the matter is that on such occasions nothing is read. It is to the case of words omitted however that this chapter is to be exclusively devoted. And it will be borne in mind that I speak now of those words alone where the words are observed to exist in ninety-nine MSS. out of a hundred, so to speak;—being away only from that hundredth copy.
Now it becomes evident, as soon as attention has been called to the circumstance, that such a phenomenon requires separate treatment. Words so omitted labour prima facie under a disadvantage which is all their own. 129My meaning will be best illustrated if I may be allowed to adduce and briefly discuss a few examples. And I will begin with a crucial case;—the most conspicuous doubtless within the whole compass of the New Testament. I mean the last twelve verses of St. Mark’s Gospel; which verses are either bracketed off, or else entirely severed from the rest of the Gospel, by Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford and others.
The warrant of those critics for dealing thus unceremoniously with a portion of the sacred deposit is the fact that whereas Eusebius, for the statement rests solely with him, declares that anciently many copies were without the verses in question, our two oldest extant MSS. conspire in omitting them. But, I reply, the latter circumstance does not conduct to the inference that those verses are spurious. It only proves that the statement of Eusebius was correct. The Father cited did not, as is evident from his words258258 Last Twelve Verses of St. Mark’s Gospel, chapter v, and Appendix B., himself doubt the genuineness of the verses in question; but admitted them to be genuine. [He quotes two opinions; —the opinion of an advocate who questions their genuineness, and an opposing opinion which he evidently considers the better of the two, since he rests upon the latter and casts a slur upon the former as being an off-hand expedient; besides that he quotes several words out of the twelve verses, and argues at great length upon the second hypothesis.
On the other hand, one and that the least faulty of the two MSS. witnessing for the omission confesses mutely its error by leaving a vacant space where the omitted verses should have come in; whilst the other was apparently copied from an exemplar containing the verses259259 See Dr. Gwynn’s remarks in Appendix VII of The Traditional Text, pp. 298-301.. And all the other copies insert them, except L and a few cursives 130which propose a manifestly spurious substitute for the verses,—together with all the versions, except one Old Latin (k), the Lewis Codex, two Armenian MSS. and an Arabic Lectionary,—besides more than ninety testimonies in their favour from more than ‘forty-four’ ancient witnesses260260 The Revision Revised, pp. 42-45, 422-424: Traditional Text, p. 109, where thirty-eight testimonies are quoted before 400 A.D.; —such is the evidence which weighs down the conflicting testimony over and over and over again. Beyond all this, the cause of the error is patent. Some scribe mistook the Τέλος occurring at the end of an Ecclesiastical Lection at the close of chapter xvi. 8 for the ‘End’ of St. Mark’s Gospel261261 The expression of Jerome, that almost all the Greek MSS. omit this passage, is only a translation of Eusebius. It cannot express his own opinion, for he admitted the twelve verses into the Vulgate, and quoted parts of them twice, i.e. ver. 9, 744-5, ver. 14, i. 327 c..
That is the simple truth: and the question will now be asked by an intelligent reader, ‘If such is the balance of evidence, how is it that learned critics still doubt the genuineness of those verses?’
To this question there can be but one answer, viz. ‘Because those critics are blinded by invincible prejudice in favour of two unsafe guides, and on behalf of Omission.’
We have already seen enough of the character of those guides, and are now anxious to learn what there can be in omissions which render them so acceptable to minds of the present day. And we can imagine nothing except the halo which has gathered round the detection of spurious passages in modern times, and has extended to a supposed detection of passages which in fact are not spurious. Some people appear to feel delight if they can prove any charge against people who claim to be orthodox; others without any such feeling delight in superior criticism; and the flavour of scepticism especially commends itself to the taste of many. To the votaries of such criticism, omissions of 131passages which they style ‘interpolations,’ offer temptingly spacious hunting-fields.
Yet the experience of copyists would pronounce that Omission is the besetting fault of transcribers. It is so easy under the influence of the desire of accomplishing a task, or at least of anxiety for making progress, to pass over a word, a line, or even more lines than one. As has been explained before, the eye readily moves from one ending to a similar ending with a surprising tendency to pursue the course which would lighten labour instead of increasing it. The cumulative result of such abridgement by omission on the part of successive scribes may be easily imagined, and in fact is just what is presented in Codex B262262 Dr. Dobbin has calculated 330 omissions in St. Matthew, 365 in St. Mark, 439 in St. Luke, 357 in St. John, 384 in the Acts, and 681 in the Epistles—2,556 in all as far as Heb. ix. 14, where it terminates. Dublin University Magazine, 1859, p. 620.. Besides these considerations, the passages which are omitted, and which we claim to be genuine, bear in themselves the character belonging to the rest of the Gospels, indeed—in Dr. Hort’s expressive phrase—‘have the true ring of genuineness.’ They are not like some which some critics of the same school would fain force upon us263263 Such as in Cod. D after St. Luke vi. 4. ‘On the same day He beheld a certain man working on the sabbath, and said unto him, “Man, blessed art thou if thou knowest what thou doest; but if thou knowest not, thou art cursed and a transgressor of the law”’ (Scrivener’s translation, Introduction, p. 8). So also a longer interpolation from the Curetonian after St. Matt. xx. 28. These are condemned by internal evidence as well as external.. But beyond all,—and this is the real source and ground of attestation, —they enjoy superior evidence from copies, generally beyond comparison with the opposing testimony, from Versions, and from Fathers.]
The fact seems to be all but overlooked that a very much larger amount of proof than usual is required at the hands of those who would persuade us to cancel words which have 132been hitherto by all persons,—in all ages,—in all countries,—regarded as inspired Scripture. They have (1) to account for the fact of those words’ existence: and next (2), to demonstrate that they have no right to their place in the sacred page. The discovery that from a few copies they are away, clearly has very little to do with the question. We may be able to account for the omission from those few copies: and the instant we have done this, the negative evidence—the argument e silentio—has been effectually disposed of. A very different task—a far graver responsibility—is imposed upon the adverse party, as may be easily shewn. [They must establish many modes of accounting for many classes and groups of evidence. Broad and sweeping measures are now out of date. The burden of proof lies with them.]
The force of what I am saying will be best understood if a few actual specimens of omission may he adduced, and individually considered. And first, let us take the case of an omitted word. In St. Luke vi. 1 δευτεροπρώτῳ is omitted from some MSS. Westcott and Hort and the Revisers accordingly exhibit the text of that place as follows:—Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν σαββάτῳ διαπορεύεσθαι αὐτὸν διὰ σπορίμων
Now I desire to be informed how it is credible that so very difficult and peculiar a word as this,—for indeed the expression has never yet been satisfactorily explained,—should have found its way into every known Evangelium except אBL and a few cursives, if it be spurious? How it came to be here and there omitted, is intelligible enough. (a) One has but to glance at the Cod. א,
|ΤΟ εΝ CΑΒΒΑΤω|
in order to see that the like ending (Τω) in the superior line, fully accounts for the omission of the second line. (b) A proper lesson begins at this place; which by itself would explain the phenomenon. (c) Words which the 133copyists were at a loss to understand, are often observed to be dropped: and there is no harder word in the Gospels than δευτερόπρωτος. But I repeat,—will you tell us how it is conceivable that [a word nowhere else found, and known to be a crux to commentators and others, should have crept into all the copies except a small handful?]
In reply to all this, I shall of course be told that really I must yield to what is after all the weight of external evidence: that Codd. אBL are not ordinary MSS. but first-class authorities, of sufficient importance to outweigh any number of the later cursive MSS.
My rejoinder is plain:—Not only am I of course willing to yield to external evidence, but it is precisely ‘external evidence’ which makes me insist on retaining δευτεροπρώτῳ—ἀπὸ μελισσίου κηρίου—ἄρας τὸν στ9αυρόν—καὶ ἀνεφέρετο εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν—ὅταν \ἐκλίπητε—the 14th verse of St. Matthew’s xxiiird chapter—and the last twelve verses of St. Mark’s Gospel. For my own part, I entirely deny the cogency of the proposed proof, and I have clearly already established the grounds of my refusal. Who then is to be the daysman between us? We are driven back on first principles, in order to ascertain if it may not be possible to meet on some common ground, and by the application of ordinary logical principles of reasoning to clear our view. [As to these we must refer the reader to the first volume of this work. Various cases of omission have been just quoted, and many have been discussed elsewhere. Accordingly, it will not be necessary to exhibit this large class of corruptions at the length which it would otherwise demand. But a few more instances are required, in order that the reader may see in this connexion that many passages at least which the opposing school designate as Interpolations are really genuine, and that students may be placed upon their guard against the source of error that we are discussing.]134
And first as to the rejection of an entire verse.
The 44th verse of St. Matt. xxi, consisting of the fifteen words printed at foot264264 καὶ ὁ πεσὼν ἐπὶ τὸν λίθον τοῦτον συνθλασθήσεται· ἐφ᾽ ὃν δ᾽ ἂν πέσῃ, λικμήσει αὐτόν., is marked as doubtful by Tregelles, Westcott and Hort, and the Revisers:—by Tischendorf it is rejected as spurious. We insist that, on the contrary, it is indubitably genuine; reasoning from the antiquity, the variety, the respectability, the largeness, or rather, the general unanimity of its attestation.
For the verse is found in the Old Latin, and in the Vulgate,—in the Peshitto, Curetonian, and Harkleian Syriac,—besides in the Coptic, Armenian, and Ethiopic versions. It is found also in Origen265265 iv. 25 d, 343 d.—What proves these two quotations to be from St. Matt. xxi. 44, and not from St. Luke xx. 18, is, that they alike exhibit expressions which are peculiar to the earlier Gospel. The first is introduced by the formula οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε (ver. 42: comp. Orig. ii. 794 c), and both exhibit the expression ἐπὶ τὸν λίθον τοῦτον (ver. 44), not ἐπ᾽ ἐκεῖνον τὸν λίθον. Vainly is it urged on the opposite side, that war πᾶς ὁ πεσὼν belongs to St. Luke,—whereas καὶ ὁ πεσών, is the phrase found in St. Matthew’s Gospel. Chrysostom (vii. 672) writes πᾶς ὁ πίπτων while professing to quote from St. Matthew; and the author of Cureton’s Syriac, who had this reading in his original, does the same.,—ps.-Tatian266266 P. 193.—Aphraates267267 P. 11.,—Chrysostom268268 vii. 672 a [freely quoted as Greg. Naz. in the Catena of Nicetas, p. 669] xii. 27 d.,—Cyril Alex.269269 Ap. Mai, ii. 401 dis.,—the Opus Imperfectum270270 Ap. Chrys. vi. 171 c.,—Jerome271271 vii. 171 d.,—Augustine272272 iii2. 86, 245: v. 500 e, 598 d.:—in Codexes BאCΦΣΧΖΔΠEFGHKLMSUV,—in short, it is attested by every known Codex except two of bad character, viz.—D, 33; together with five copies of the Old Latin, viz.—a b e ff1 ff2. There have therefore been adduced for the verse in dispute at least five witnesses of the second or third century:—at least eight of the fourth:—at least seven if not eight of the fifth: after which date the testimony in favour of 135this verse is overwhelming. How could we be justified in opposing to such a mass of first-rate testimony the solitary evidence of Cod. D (concerning which see above, Vol. I. c. viii.) supported only by a single errant Cursive and a little handful of copies of the Old Latin versions, [even although the Lewis Codex has joined this petty band?]
But, says Tischendorf,—the verse is omitted by Origen and by Eusebius,—by Irenaeus and by Lucifer of Cagliari,—as well as by Cyril of Alexandria. I answer, this most insecure of arguments for mutilating the traditional text is plainly inadmissible on the present occasion. The critic refers to the fact that Irenaeus273273 682-3 (Massuet 277)., Origen274274 iii. 786., Eusebius275275 Theoph. 235-6 ( =Mai, iv. 122). and Cyril276276 ii. 660 a, b, c. having quoted ‘the parable of the wicked husband-men’ in extenso (viz. from verse 33 to verse 43). leave off at verse 43. Why may they not leave off where the parable leaves off? Why should they quote any further? Verse 44 is nothing to their purpose. And since the Gospel for Monday morning in Holy Week [verses 18-43], in every known copy of, the Lectionary actually ends at verse 43,—why should not their quotation of it end at the same verse? But, unfortunately for the critic, Origen and Cyril (as we have seen,—the latter expressly,) elsewhere actually quote the verse in dispute. And how can Tischendorf maintain that Lucifer yields adverse testimony277277 ‘Praeterit et Lucifer.’? That Father quotes nothing but verse 43, which is all he requires for his purpose278278 Ap. Galland. vi. 191 d.. Why should he have also quoted verse 44, which he does not require? As well might it be maintained that Macarius Egyptius279279 Ibid. vii. 20 c. and Philo of Carpasus280280 Ibid. ix. 768 a. omit verse 44, because (like Lucifer) they only quote verse 43.
I have elsewhere explained what I suspect occasioned the omission of St. Matt.xxi. 44 from a few Western 136copies
of the Gospels281281
[I am unable to find any place in the Dean’s writings where he has made this
explanation. The following note, however, is appended here]:—
With verse 43, the long lesson for the Monday in Holy-week (ver. 18-43) comes to an end.
Verse 44 has a number all to itself (in other words, is sect. 265) in the fifth of the Syrian Canons,—which contains whatever is found exclusively in St. Matthew and St. Luke.. Tischendorf’s opinion that this verse is a fabricated imitation of the parallel verse in St. Luke’s Gospel282282 ‘Omnino ex Lc. assumpta videntur.’ (xx. 18) is clearly untenable. Either place has its distinctive type, which either has maintained all down the ages. The single fact that St. Matt. xxi. 44 in the Peshitto version has a sectional number to itself283283 The section in St. Matthew is numbered 265,—in St. Luke, 274: both being referred to Canon V, in which St. Matthew and St. Luke are exclusively compared. is far too weighty to be set aside on nothing better than suspicion. If a verse so elaborately attested as the present be not genuine, we must abandon all hope of ever attaining to any certainty concerning the Text of Scripture.
In the meantime there emerges from the treatment which St. Matt. xxi. 44 has experienced at the hands of Tischendorf, the discovery that, in the estimation of Tischendorf, Cod. D [is a document of so much importance as occasionally to outweigh almost by itself the other copies of all ages and countries in Christendom.]
I am guided to my next example, viz. the text of St. Matt. xv. 8, by the choice deliberately made of that place by Dr. Tregelles in order to establish the peculiar theory of Textual Revision which he advocates so strenuously; and which, ever since the days of Griesbach, has it must be confessed enjoyed the absolute confidence of most of the illustrious editors of the New 137Testament. This is, in fact, the second example on Tregelles’ list. In approaching it, I take leave to point out that that learned critic unintentionally hoodwinks his readers by not setting before them in full the problem which he proposes to discuss. Thoroughly to understand this matter, the student should be reminded that there is found in St. Matt. xv. 8,—and parallel to it in St. Mark vii. 6,—
|ST. MATT.||ST. MARK|
‘Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you saying, “This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth and honoureth me with their lips (ἐγγίζει μοι ὁ λαὸς οὗτος τῷ στόματι αὐτῶν, καὶ τοῖς χείλεσί με τιμᾷ·), but their
‘Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honoureth Me with their lips (οὗτος ὁ λαὸς τοῖς χείλεσί με τιμᾷ, but their heart is far from Me.”’
heart is far from Me.”’
The place of Isaiah referred to, viz. ch. xxix. 13, reads as follows in the ordinary editions of the LXX:—καὶ εἶπε Κύριος, ἐγγίζει μοι ὁ λαὸς οὗτος ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐν τοῖς χείλεσιν αὐτῶν τιμῶσίν με.
Now, about the text of St. Mark in this place no question is raised. Neither is there any various reading worth speaking of in ninety-nine MSS. out of a hundred in respect of the text in St. Matthew. But when reference is made to the two oldest copies in existence, B and א, we are presented with what, but for the parallel place in St. Mark, would have appeared to us a strangely abbreviated reading. Both MSS. conspire in exhibiting St. Matt. xv. 8, as follows:—ὁ λαὸς οὗτος τοῖς χείλεσίν με τιμᾷ. So that six words (ἐγγίζει μοι and τῷ στόματι αὐτῶν, καὶ) are not recognized by them: in which peculiarity they are countenanced by DLTc, two cursive copies, and the following versions:—Old Latin except f, Vulgate, Curetonian, Lewis, Peshitto, and Bohairic, (Cod. A, the Sahidic and Gothic versions, being imperfect here.) To this evidence, 138Tischendorf adds a phalanx of Fathers:—Clemens Romanus (A.D. 70), Ptolemaeus the Gnostic (A.D. 150), Clemens Alexandrinus (A.D. 190), Origen in three places (A.D. 210), Eusebius (A.D. 325), Basil, Cyril of Alexandria, Chrysostom: and Alford supplies also Justin Martyr (A.D. 150). The testimony of Didymus (A.D. 350), which has been hitherto overlooked, is express. Tertullian, Cyprian, Hilary, are naturally found to follow the Latin copies. Such a weight of evidence may not unreasonably inspire Dr. Tregelles with an exceeding amount of confidence. Accordingly he declares ‘that this one passage might be relied upon as an important proof that it is the few MSS. and not the many which accord with ancient testimony.’ Availing himself of Dr. Scrivener’s admission of ‘the possibility that the disputed words in the great bulk of the MSS. were inserted from the Septuagint of Isaiah xxix. 13284284 Vol. i. 13.,’ Dr. Tregelles insists ‘that on every true principle of textual criticism, the words must be regarded as an amplification borrowed from the Prophet. This naturally explains their introduction,’ (he adds); ‘and when once they had gained a footing in the text, it is certain that they would be multiplied by copyists, who almost always preferred to make passages as full and complete as possible’ (p. 139). Dr. Tregelles therefore relies upon this one passage,—not so much as ‘a proof that it is the few MSS. and not the many which accord with ancient testimony’;—for one instance cannot possibly prove that; and that is after all beside the real question;—but, as a proof that we are to regard the text of Codd. Bא in this place as genuine, and the text of all the other Codexes in the world as corrupt.
The reader has now the hypothesis fully before him by which from the days of Griesbach it has been proposed to account for the discrepancy between ‘the few copies’ on 139the one hand, and the whole torrent of manuscript evidence on the other.
Now, as I am writing a book on the principles of Textual Criticism, I must be allowed to set my reader on his guard against all such unsupported dicta as the preceding, though enforced with emphasis and recommended by a deservedly respected name. I venture to think that the exact reverse will be found to be a vast deal nearer the truth: viz. that undoubtedly spurious readings, although they may at one time or other have succeeded in obtaining a footing in MSS., and to some extent may be observed even to have propagated themselves, are yet discovered to die out speedily; seldom indeed to leave any considerable number of descendants. There has always in fact been a process of elimination going on, as well as of self-propagation: a corrective force at work, as well as one of deterioration. How else are we to account for the utter disappearance of the many monstra potius quam variae lectiones which the ancients nevertheless insist were prevalent in their times? It is enough to appeal to a single place in Jerome, in illustration of what I have been saying285285 Letter to Pope Damasus. See my book on St. Mark, p. 28.. To return however from this digression.
We are invited then to believe,—for it is well to know at the outset exactly what is required of us,—that from the fifth century downwards every extant copy of the Gospels except five (DLTc, 33, 124) exhibits a text arbitrarily interpolated in order to bring it into conformity with the Greek version of Isa. xxix. 13. On this wild hypothesis I have the following observations to make:—
1. It is altogether unaccountable, if this be indeed a true account of the matter, how it has come to pass that in no single MS. in the world, so far as I am aware, has this conformity been successfully achieved: for whereas the 140Septuagintal reading is ἐγγίζει μοι ὁ λαὸς οὗτος ΕΝ τῷ στόματι ΑΥΤΟΥ, καὶ ΕΝ τοῖς χείλεσιν ΑΥΤΩΝ ΤΙΜΩΣΙ με,—the Evangelical Text is observed to differ therefrom in no less than six particulars.
2. Further,—If there really did exist this strange determination on the part of the ancients in general to assimilate the text of St. Matthew to the text of Isaiah, how does it happen that not one of them ever conceived the like design in respect of the parallel place in St. Mark?
3. It naturally follows to inquire,—Why are we to suspect the mass of MSS. of having experienced such wholesale depravation in respect of the text of St. Matthew in this place, while yet we recognize in them such a marked constancy to their own peculiar type; which however, as already explained, is not the text of Isaiah?
4. Further,—I discover in this place a minute illustration of the general fidelity of the ancient copyists: for whereas in St. Matthew it is invariably ὁ λαὸς οὗτος, I observe that in the copies of St. Mark,—except to be sure in (a) Codd. B and D, (b) copies of the Old Latin, (c) the Vulgate, and (d) the Peshitto (all of which are confessedly corrupt in this particular,)—it is invariably οὗτος ὁ λαός. But now,—Is it reasonable that the very copies which have been in this way convicted of licentiousness in respect of St. Mark vii. 6 should be permitted to dictate to us against the great heap of copies in respect of their exhibition of St. Matt. xv. 8?
And yet, if the discrepancy between Codd. B and א and the great bulk of the copies in this place did not originate in the way insisted on by the critics, how is it to be accounted for? Now, on ordinary occasions, we do not feel ourselves called upon to institute any such inquiry,—as indeed very seldom would it be practicable to do. Unbounded licence of transcription, flagrant carelessness, arbitrary interpolations, omissions without number, disfigure 141those two ancient MSS. in every page. We seldom trouble ourselves to inquire into the history of their obliquities. But the case is of course materially changed when so many of the oldest of the Fathers and all the oldest Versions seem to be at one with Codexes B and א. Let then the student favour me with his undivided attention for a few moments, and I will explain to him how the misapprehension of Griesbach, Tischendorf, Tregelles and the rest, has arisen. About the MSS. and the Versions these critics are sufficiently accurate: but they have fatally misapprehended the import of the Patristic evidence; as I proceed to explain.
The established Septuagintal rendering of Isa. xxix. 13 in the Apostolic age proves to have been this,—Ἐγγίζει μοι ὁ λαὸς οὗτος τοῖς χείλεσιν αὐτῶν τιμῶσί με: the words ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐν being omitted. This is certain. Justin Martyr286286 Dial. § 78, ad fin. (p. 272). and Cyril of Alexandria in two places287287 Opp. ii. 215 a: v. part ii. 118 c. so quote the passage. Procopius Gazaeus in his Commentary on Origen’s Hexapla of Isaiah says expressly that the six words in question were introduced into the text of the Septuagint by Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion. Accordingly they are often observed to be absent from MSS.288288 See Holmes and Parsons’ ed. of the LXX,—vol. iv. in loc. They are not found, for example, in the Codex Alexandrinus.
But the asyndeton resulting from the suppression of these words was felt to be intolerable. In fact, without a colon point between οὗτος and τοῖς, the result is without meaning. When once the complementary words have been withdrawn, ἐγγίζει μοι at the beginning of the sentence is worse than superfluous. It fatally encumbers the sense. To drop those two words, after the example of the parallel place in St. Mark’s Gospel, became thus 142an obvious proceeding. Accordingly the author of the (so-called) second Epistle of Clemens Romanus (§ 3), professing to quote the place in the prophet Isaiah, exhibits it thus,—Ὁ λαὸς οὗτος τοῖς χείλεσιν με τιμᾷ. Clemens Alexandrinus certainly does the same thing on at least two occasions289289 Opp. pp. 143 and 206. P. 577 is allusive only.. So does Chrysostom290290 Opp. vii. 158 c: ix. 638 b.. So does Theodoret291291 Opp. ii. 1345: iii. 763-4..
Two facts have thus emerged, which entirely change the aspect of the problem: the first, (a) That the words ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐν, were anciently absent from the Septuagintal rendering of Isaiah xxix. 13: the second, (b) that the place of Isaiah was freely quoted by the ancients without the initial words ἐγγίζει μοι.
And after this discovery will any one be so perverse as to deny that on the contrary it must needs be Codexes B and א, and not the great bulk of the MSS., which exhibit a text corrupted by the influence of the Septuagint rendering of Isaiah xxix. 13? The precise extent to which the assimilating influence of the parallel place in St. Mark’s Gospel has been felt by the copyists, I presume not to determine. The essential point is that the omission from St. Matthew xv. 8 of the words Τῷ στόματι αὐτῶν, καὶ is certainly due in the first instance to the ascertained Septuagint omission of those very words in Isaiah xxix. 13.
But that the text of St. Mark vii. 6 has exercised an assimilating influence on the quotation from Isaiah is demonstrable. For there can be no doubt that Isaiah’s phrase (retained by St. Matthew) is ὁ λαὸς οὗτος,—St. Mark’s οὗτος ὁ λαός. And yet, when Clemens Romanus quotes Isaiah, he begins—οὗτος ὁ λαός292292 § xv:—on which his learned editor (Bp. Jacobson) pertinently remarks,—‘Hunc locum Prophetae Clemens exhibuisset sicut a Christo laudatum, S. Marc. vii. 6, si pro ἄπεστιν dedissct ἀπέχει.’; and so twice does Theodoret293293 Opp. i. 1502: iii. 1114..
The reader is now in a position to judge how much 143attention is due to Dr. Tregelles’ dictum ‘that this one passage may be relied upon’ in support of the peculiar views he advocates: as well as to his confident claim that the fuller text which is found in ninety-nine MSS. out of a hundred ‘must be regarded as an amplification borrowed from the prophet.’ It has been shewn in answer to the learned critic that in the ancient Greek text of the prophet the ‘amplification’ he speaks of did not exist: it was the abbreviated text which was found there. So that the very converse of the phenomenon he supposes has taken place. Freely accepting his hypothesis that we have here a process of assimilation, occasioned by the Septuagintal text of Isaiah, we differ from him only as to the direction in which that process has manifested itself. He assumes that the bulk of the MSS. have been conformed to the generally received reading of Isaiah xxix. 13. But it has been shewn that, on the contrary, it is the two oldest MSS. which have experienced assimilation. Their prototypes were depraved in this way at an exceedingly remote period.
To state this matter somewhat differently.—In all the extant uncials but five, and in almost every known cursive copy of the Gospels, the words τῷ στόματι αὐτῶν, καί are found to belong to St. Matt. xv. 8. How is the presence of those words to be accounted for? The reply is obvious:—By the fact that they must have existed in the original autograph of the Evangelist. Such however is not the reply of Griesbach and his followers. They insist that beyond all doubt those words must have been imported into the Gospel from Isaiah xxix. But I have shewn that this is impossible because, at the time spoken of, the words in question had no place in the Greek text of the prophet. And this discovery exactly reverses the problem, and brings out the directly opposite result. For now we discover that we have rather to inquire how is the absence of the words in question from those few MSS. out of the 144mass to be accounted for? The two oldest Codexes are convicted of exhibiting a text which has been corrupted by the influence of the oldest Septuagint reading of Isaiah xxix. 13.
I freely admit that it is in a high degree remarkable that five ancient Versions, and all the following early writers,—Ptolemaeus294294 Ap. Epiphanium, Opp. i. 218 d., Clemens Alexandrinus295295 Opp. p. 461., Origen296296 Opp. iii. 492 (a remarkable place): ii. 723: iv. 121., Didymus297297 De Trinitate, p. 242., Cyril298298 Opp. ii. 413 b. [Observe how this evidence leads us to Alexandria.], Chrysostom299299 Opp. vii. 522 d. The other place, ix. 638 b, is uncertain., and possibly three others of like antiquity300300 It is uncertain whether Eusebius and Basil quote St. Matthew or Isaiah: but a contemporary of Chrysostom certainly quotes the Gospel,—Chrys. Opp. vi. 425 d (cf. p. 417, line 10).,—should all quote St. Matthew in this place from a faulty text. But this does but prove at how extremely remote a period the corruption must have begun. It probably dates from the first century. Especially does it seem to shew how distrustful we should be of our oldest authorities when, as here, they are plainly at variance with the whole torrent of manuscript authority. This is indeed no ordinary case. There are elements of distrust here, such as are not commonly encountered.
What I have been saying is aptly illustrated by a place in our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount: viz. St. Matt. v. 44; which in almost every MS. in existence stands as follows:
(1) ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
(2) εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμᾶς
(4) καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς
(5) καὶ διωκόντων
I have numbered the clauses for convenience.—It will perhaps facilitate the
study of this place, if (on my own responsibility) I subjoin a representation of the same words in Latin:—
(1) Diligite inimicos vestros,
(2) benedicite maledicentes vos,
(3) benefacite odientibus vos,
(4) et orate pro calumniantibus vos,
(5) et persequentibus vos..
On the other hand, it is not to be denied that there exists an appreciable body of evidence for exhibiting the passage in a shorter form. The fact that Origen six times303303 Opp. iv. 324 bis, 329 bis, 355. Gall. xiv. App. 106. reads the place thus:
ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς
(which amounts to a rejection of the second, third, and fourth clauses;)—and that he is supported therein by Bא, (besides a few cursives) the Curetonian, the Lewis, several Old Latin MSS., and the Bohairic304304 ‘A large majority, all but five, omit it. Some add it in the margin.’ Traditional Text, p. 549., seems to critics of a certain school a circumstance fatal to the credit of those clauses. They are aware that Cyprian305305 Opp. p. 79, cf. 146., and they are welcome to the information that Tertullian306306 Scap. c. 1. once and Theodoret once307307 Opp. iv. 946. [besides Irenaeus308308 Haer. III. xviii. 5., Eusebius309309 Dem. Evan. xiii. 7., and Gregory of Nyssa310310 In Bapt. Christ.] exhibit the place in the same way. So does the author of the Dialogus contra Marcionitas311311 Orig. Opp. i. 812.,—whom however I take to be Origen. Griesbach, on far slenderer evidence, was for obelizing all the three clauses. But Lachmann, Tregelles, Tischendorf and the Revisers reject them entirely. I am persuaded that they are grievously mistaken in so doing, and that the received text represents what St. Matthew actually wrote. It is the text of all the uncials but two, of all the cursives but six or seven; and this alone ought to be decisive. But it is besides the 146reading of the Peshitto, the Harkleian, and the Gothic; as well as of three copies of the Old Latin.
Let us however inquire more curiously for the evidence of Versions and Fathers on this subject; remembering that the point in dispute is nothing else but the genuineness of clauses 2, 3, 4. And here, at starting, we make the notable discovery that Origen, whose practice was relied on for retaining none but the first and the fifth clauses,—himself twice312312 Opp. i. 768: iv. 353. quotes the first clause in connexion with the fourth: while Theodoret, on two occasions313313 Opp. i. 827: 399., connects with clause 1 what he evidently means for clause 2; and Tertullian once if not twice connects closely clauses 1, 2; and once, clauses 1, 2, 5314314 Spect. c. 16: (Anim. c. 35): Pat. c. 6.. From which it is plain that neither Origen nor Theodoret, least of all Tertullian, can be held to disallow the clauses in question. They recognize them on the contrary, which is simply a fatal circumstance, and effectively disposes of their supposed hostile evidence.
But in fact the Western Church yields unfaltering testimony. Besides the three copies of the Old Latin which exhibit all the five clauses, the Vulgate retains the first, third, fifth and fourth. Augustine315315 [In Ep. Joh. IV. Tract. ix. 3 (1, 3 (ver. 45 &c.)); In Ps. cxxxviii. 27 (1, 3); Serm. XV. 8 (1, 3, 5); Serm. LXII. in loc. (1, 3, 4, 5).] quotes consecutively clauses I, 3, 5: Ambrose316316 In Ps. xxxviii. 2. clauses 1, 3, 4, 5—1, 4, 5: Hilary317317 Opp. pp. 303, 297., clauses 1, 4, 5, and (apparently) 2, 4, 5: Lucifer318318 Pro S. Athanas. ii., clauses I, 2, 3 (apparently), 5: pseudo-Epiphanius319319 Ps. cxviii. 10. 16; 9. 9. a connects clauses 1, 3,—1, 3, 5: and Pacian320320 Ep. ii., clauses 5, 2. Next we have to ascertain what is the testimony of the Greek Fathers.
And first we turn to Chrysostom 321321 Opp. iii. 167: iv. 619: v. 436:—ii. 340: v. 56: xii. 654:—ii. 258: iii. 41:—iv. 267: xii. 425. who (besides quoting 147the fourth clause from St. Matthew’s Gospel by itself five times) quotes consecutively clauses 1, 3—iii. 167; 1, 4—iv. 619; 2, 4—v. 436; 4, 3—ii. 340, v. 56, xii. 654; 4, 5—ii. 258, iii. 341; 1, 2, 4—iv. 267; 1, 3, 4, 5—xii. 425; thus recognizing them all.
In the face of all this evidence, no one it is presumed will any more be found to dispute the genuineness of the generally received reading in St. Matt. v. 44. All must see that if the text familiarly known in the age immediately after that of the Apostles had been indeed the bald, curt thing which the critics imagine, viz.
ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς.—
by no possibility could the men of that age in referring to St. Matt. v. 44 have freely mentioned blessing those who curse,—doing good to those who hate,—and praying for those who despitefully use.’ Since there are but two 148alternative readings of the passage,—one longer, one briefer,—every clear acknowledgement of a single disputed clause in the larger reading necessarily carries with it all the rest.
This result of ‘comparative criticism’ is therefore respectfully recommended to the notice of the learned. If it be not decisive of the point at issue to find such a torrent of primitive testimony at one with the bulk of the Uncials and Cursives extant, it is clear that there can be no Science of Textual Criticism. The Law of Evidence must be held to be inoperative in this subject-matter. Nothing deserving of the name of ‘proof’ will ever be attainable in this department of investigation.
But if men admit that the ordinarily received text of St. Matt. v. 44 has been clearly established, then let the legitimate results of the foregoing discussion be loyally recognized. The unique value of Manuscripts in declaring the exact text of Scripture—the conspicuous inadequacy of Patristic evidence by themselves,—have been made apparent: and yet it has been shewn that Patristic quotations are abundantly sufficient for their proper purpose,—which is, to enable us to decide between conflicting readings. One more indication has been obtained of the corruptness of the text which Origen employed,—concerning which he is so strangely communicative,—and of which Bא are the chief surviving examples; and the probability has been strengthened that when these are the sole, or even the principal witnesses, for any particular reading, that reading will prove to be corrupt.
Mill was of opinion, (and of course his opinion finds favour
with Griesbach, Tischendorf, and the rest,) that these three clauses have been
imported hither from St. Luke vi. 27, 28. But, besides that this is mere
unsupported conjecture, how comes it then to pass that the order of the second
and third clauses in St. Matthew’s 149Gospel is the reverse of the order in St. Luke’s? No. I believe that there has
been excision here: for I hold with Griesbach that it cannot have been the result of accident331331
‘Theodoret once (iv. 946) gives
the verse as Tischendorf gives it: but on two other occasions (i. 827: ii. 399) the
same Theodoret exhibits the second member of the sentence thus,—εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς διώκοντας ὑμᾶς (so pseud.-Athan. ii. 95), which shews how little stress is to be laid on
such evidence as the first-named place furnishes.
Origen also (iv. 324 bis, 329 bis, 351) repeatedly gives the place as Tischendorf gives it—but on one occasion, which it will be observed is fatal to his evidence (i. 768), he gives the second member thus,—iv. 353:
καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς.
... 1. 4.
Next observe how Clemens Al. (605) handles the same place:—
ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν, εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμᾶς, καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμῖν, καὶ τὰ ὅμοια
... 1, 2, 4.—3, 5.
Justin M. (i. 40) quoting the same place from memory (and with exceeding licence), yet is observed to recognize in part both the clauses which labour under suspicion:
... 1, 2, 4.—3, 5.
εὔχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν ὑμῶν καὶ ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ὑμᾶς, which roughly represents καὶ εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμῖν, καὶ εὔχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς.
The clause which hitherto lacks support is that which regards τοὺς μισοῦντας ὑμᾶς. But the required help is supplied by Irenaeus (i. 521), who (loosely enough) quotes the place thus,—
Diligite inimicos vestros, et orate pro eis, qui vos oderunt.
... (made up of 3, 4).—2, 5.
And yet more by the most venerable witness of all, Polycarp, who writes:—ad Philipp. c. 12:—
Orate pro persequentibus et odientibus vos.
... 4, 5.—1, 2, 3.
I have examined [Didaché] Justin, Irenaeus, Eusebius, Hippolytus, Cyril Al., Greg. Naz., Basil, Athan., Didymus, Cyril Hier., Chrys., Greg. Nyss., Epiph., Theod., Clemens.
And the following are the results:—
Didache. Εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμῖν, καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν ὑμῶν, νηστεύετε δὲ ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκότων ὑμᾶς· . . . ὑμεῖς δὲ ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς μισοῦντας ὑμᾶς
... 2, 3, 4, 5.
Aphraates, Dem. ii. The Latin Translation runs:—Diligite inimicos vestros, benedicite ei qui vobis maledicit, orate pro eis qui vos vexunt et persequuntur.
Eusebius Prae 654. ... 2, 4, 5, omitting I, 3.
Ps 699. ... 4, 5, omitting 1, 2, 3.
Es 589. ... 2, 3, 4, 5, omitting 2.
Clemens Al. 605. ... 1, 2, 4, omitting 3, 5.
Greg. Nyss. iii. 379. ... 3, 4, 5, omitting 2.
Vulg. Diligite inimicos vestros, benefacite his qui oderunt vos, et orate pro persequentibus et calumniantibus vos. ... 1, 3, 5, 4, omitting 2.
Hilary, 297. Benedicite qui vos persequuntur, et orate pro calumniantibus vos ac persequentibus vos. ... 2, 4, 5, omitting the first and third.
Hilary, 303. Diligite inimicos vestros, et orate pro calumniantibus vos ac persequentibus vos. ... 1, 4, 5, omitting the second and third. Cf. 128.
Cyprian, 79 (cf. 146). Diligite inimicos vestros, et orate pro his qui vos persequuntur. ... 1, 5, omitting 2, 3, 4.
Tertullian. Diligite (enim) inimicos vestros, (inquit,) et orate pro maledicentibus vos—which apparently is meant for a quotation of 1, 2.
... 1, 2, omitting 3, 4, 5.
Tertullian. Diligite (enim) inimicos vestros, (inquit,) et maledicentibus benedicite, et orate pro persecutoribus vestris—which is a quotation of 1, 2, 5.
... 1, 2, 5, omitting 3, 4.
Tertullian. Diligere inimicos, et orare pro eis qui vos persequuntur.
... 1, 5, omitting 2, 3, 4.
Tertullian. Inimicos diligi, maledicentes benedici. ... 1, 2, omitting 3, 4, 5.
Ambrose. Diligite inimicos vestros benefacite its qui oderunt vos: orate pro calumniantibus et persequentibus vos.
... 1, 3, 4, 5, omitting 2.
Ambrose. Diligite inimicos vestros, orate pro calumniantibus et persequentibus vos.
... 1, 4, 5, omitting 2, 3.
Augustine. Diligite inimicos vestros benefacite his qui vos oderunt: et orate pro eis qui vos persequuntur.
... 1, 3, 5, omitting 2, 4.
‘Benedicite qui vos persequuntur, et orate pro calumniantibus vos ac persequentibus vos.’ Hilary, 297.
Cyril Al. twice (i. 270: 807) quotes the place thus,—
εὖ ποιεῖτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν,
καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς.
Chrys. (iii. 355) says
αὐτὸς γὰρ εἶπεν, εὔχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν [ὑμῶν],
and repeats the quotation at iii. 340 and xii. 453.
So Tertull. (Apol. c. 31), pro inimicis deum orare, et persecutoribus nostris bone precari.
... 1, 5.
If the lost Greek of Irenaeus (i. 521) were recovered, we should probably find
ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν,
καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν μισούντων ὑμᾶς.
and of Polycarp (ad Philipp. c. 12),
προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων καὶ μισούντων ὑμᾶς..
[I take this opportunity to reply to a reviewer in the Guardian newspaper, who thought that he had reduced the authorities quoted from before A.D. 400 on page 103 of The Traditional Text to two on our side against seven, or rather six332332 Dialogus Adamantii is not adducible within my limits, because it is in all probability the production of a later age.’ My number was eight., on the other. Let me first say that on this perilous field I am not surprised at being obliged to re-judge or withdraw some authorities. I admit that in the middle of a long catena of passages, I did not lay 151sufficient stress, as I now find, upon the parallel passage in St. Luke vi. 27, 28. After fresh examination, I withdraw entirely Clemens Alex., Paed. i. 8,—Philo of Carpasus, I. 7,—Ambrose, De Abrahamo ii. 30, Ps. cxviii. 12. 51, and the two referred to Athanasius. Also I do not quote Origen, Cels. viii. 41,—Eusebius in Ps. iii.,—Apost. Const. vii. 4,—Greg. Nyss., In S. Stephanum, because they may be regarded as doubtful, although for reasons which I proceed to give they appear to witness in favour of our contention. It is necessary to add some remarks before dealing with the rest of the passages.
1. It must be borne in mind, that this is a question both negative and positive:—negative on the side of our opponents, with all the difficulties involved in establishing a negative conclusion as to the non-existence in St. Matthew’s Gospel of clauses 2, 3, and 5,—and positive for us, in the establishment of those clauses as part of the genuine text in the passage which we are considering. If we can so establish the clauses, or indeed any one of them, the case against us fails: but unless we can establish all, we have not proved everything that we seek to demonstrate. Our first object is to make the adverse position untenable: when we have done that, we fortify our own. Therefore both the Dean and myself have drawn attention to the fact that our authorities are summoned as witnesses to the early existence in each case of ‘some of the clauses,’ if they do not depose to all of them. We are quite aware of the reply: but we have with us the advantage of positive as against negative evidence. This advantage especially rules in such an instance as the present, because alien circumstances govern the quotation, and regulate particularly the length of it. Such quotation is always liable to shortening, whether by leaving out intermediate clauses, or by sudden curtailment in the midst of the passage. Therefore, actual citation of separate clauses, 152being undesigned and fortuitous, is much more valuable than omission arising from what cause soever.
2. The reviewer says that ‘all four clauses are read by both texts,’ i. e. in St. Matthew and St. Luke, and appears to have been unaware as regards the present purpose of the existence of the fifth clause, or half-clause, in St. Matthew. Yet the words—ὑπὲρ . . . τῶ διωκόντων ὑμᾶς are a very label, telling incontestibly the origin of many of the quotations. Sentences so distinguished with St. Matthew’s label cannot have come from St. Luke’s Gospel. The reviewer has often gone wrong here. The ὑπὲρ—instead of the περί after אBLΞ in St. Luke—should be to our opponents a sign betraying the origin, though when it stands by itself—as in Eusebius, In Ps. iii.—I do not press the passage.
3. Nor again does the reviewer seem to have noticed the effects of the context in shewing to which source a quotation is to be referred. It is a common custom for Fathers to quote v. 45 in St. Matthew, which is hardly conceivable if they had St. Luke vi. 27, 28 before them, or even if they were quoting from memory. Other points in the context of greater or less importance are often found in the sentence or sentences preceding or following the words quoted, and are decisive of the reference.
The references as corrected are given in the note333333
Observe that 5 = ὑπὲρ . . . τῶν διωκόντων.
Didache (§ 1), 2 (3), 3 (2), 4, 5.
Polycarp (xii), 3 (2), 5.
Justin Martyr, Apol. 15, 3 (2), 2 (3), 4 (4), 5? ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν (= διωκόντων?) but the passage more like St. Luke, the context more like St. Matt., ver. 45.
Athenagoras (Leg. pro Christian. 11), 1, 2 (3), 5, ver. 45.
Tertullian (De Patient. vi), 1, 2 (3), 5, pt. ver. 45. Add Apol. c. 31. 1, 5.
Theophilus Ant. (Ad Autolycum iii. 14), 1, 4 (4), ὑπέρand ver. 46.
Clemens Alex. (Strom. iv. 14), 1, 2 (3), 4 (4), pt. ver. 45; (Strom. vii. 14), favours St. Matt.
Origen (De Orat. i), 1, 4 (4), ὑπέρ and in the middle of two quotations from St. Matthew; (Cels. viii. 45), 1, 4 (4), ὑπέρ and all ver. 45.
Eusebius (Praep. Evan. xiii. 7), 2 (3), 4 (4), 5, all ver. 45; (Comment. in Is. 66), 1, 3 (2), 4 (4), 5, also ver. 45; (In Ps. cviii), 4, 5.
Apost. Const. (i. 2), 1, 3 (2), 4 (4), 5, ὑπέρ and ver. 45.
Greg. Naz. (Orat. iv. 124), 2 (3), 4 (4), 5, ὑπερεύχεσθαι.
Greg. Nyss. (In Bapt. Christi), 3 (2), 4 (4), 5, ὑπέρ, ver. 45.
Lucifer (Pro S. Athan. ii) omits 4 (4), but quotes ver. 44 . . . end of chapter.
Pacianus (Epist. ii), 2 (3), 5.
Hilary (Tract. in Ps. cxviii. 9. 9), 2 (3), 4 (4), 5; (ibid. 10. 16), 1, 4 (4), 5. (The reviewer omits ‘ac persequentibus vos’ in both cases.)
Ambrose (In Ps. xxxviii. 2), 1, 3, 4, 5; (In Ps. xxxviii. 10), 1, 4 (4), 5.
Aphraates (Dem. ii), 1, 2 (3), 4 (4), 5, ἐθνικοί.
Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles (p. 89), 2 (3), 3 (2), 4 (4), ver. 45.
Number = 25.. It 153will be seen by any one who compares the verifications with the reviewer’s list, how his failure to observe the points just explained has led him astray. The effect upon the list given in The Traditional Text will be that before the era of St. Chrysostom twenty-five testimonies are given in favour of the Traditional Text of St. Matt. v. 44, and adding Tertullian from the Dean nine against it. And the totals on page 102, lines 2 and 3 will be 522 and 171 respectively.]
Especially have we need to be on our guard against conniving at the ejection of short clauses consisting of from twelve to fourteen letters,—which proves to have been the exact length of a line in the earliest copies. When such omissions leave the sense manifestly imperfect, no evil consequence can result. Critics then either take no notice of the circumstance, or simply remark in passing that the omission has been the result of accident. In this way, [οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν, though it is omitted by Cod. B in St. Luke vi. 26, is retained by all the Editors: and the strange reading of Cod. א in St. John vi. 55, omitting two lines, was corrected on the manuscript in 154the seventh century, and has met with no assent in modern times].
But when, notwithstanding the omission of two or three words, the sense of the context remains unimpaired,—the clause being of independent signification,—then great danger arises lest an attempt should be made through the officiousness of modern Criticism to defraud the Church of a part of her inheritance. Thus [καὶ οἱ σὺν αὑτῷ (St. Luke viii. 45) is omitted by Westcott and Hort, and is placed in the margin by the Revisers and included in brackets by Tregelles as if the words were of doubtful authority, solely because some scribe omitted a line and was followed by B, a few cursives, the Sahidic, Curetonian, Lewis, and Jerusalem Versions].
When indeed the omission dates from an exceedingly remote period; took place, I mean, in the third, or more likely still in the second century; then the fate of such omitted words may be predicted with certainty. Their doom is sealed. Every copy made from that defective original of necessity reproduced the defects of its prototype: and if (as often happens) some of those copies have descended to our times, they become quoted henceforward as if they were independent witnesses334334 See Traditional Text, p. 55.. Nor is this all. Let the taint have been communicated to certain copies of the Old Latin, and we find ourselves confronted with formidable because very venerable foes. And according to the recently approved method of editing the New Testament, the clause is allowed no quarter. It is declared 155without hesitation to be a spurious accretion to the Text. Take, as an instance of this, the following passage in St. Luke xii. 39. ‘If’ (says our Lord) ‘the master of the house had known in what hour
his house to be broken through.’ Here, the clause within brackets, which has fallen out for an obvious reason, does not appear in Codd. א and D. But the omission did not begin with א. Two copies of the Old Latin are also without the words ἐγρηγόρησεν καὶ,—which are wanting besides in Cureton’s Syriac. Tischendorf accordingly omits them. And yet, who sees not that such an amount of evidence as this is wholly insufficient to warrant the ejection of the clause as spurious? What is the ‘Science’ worth which cannot preserve to the body a healthy limb like this?
[The instances of omission which have now been examined at some length must by no means be regarded as the only specimens of this class of corrupt passages335335 For one of the two most important omissions in the New Testament, viz. the Pericope de Adultera, see Appendix I. See also Appendix II.. Many more will occur to the minds of the readers of the present volume and of the earlier volume of this work. In fact, omissions are much more common than Additions, or Transpositions, or Substitutions: and this fact, that omissions, or what seem to be omissions, are apparently so common,—to say nothing of the very strong evidence wherewith they are attested—when taken in conjunction with the natural tendency of copyists to omit words and passages, cannot but confirm the general soundness of the position. 156How indeed can it possibly be more true to the infirmities of copyists, to the verdict of evidence on the several passages, and to the origin of the New Testament in the infancy of the Church and amidst associations which were not literary, to suppose that a terse production was first produced and afterwards was amplified in a later age with a view to ‘lucidity and completeness336336 Westcott and Hort, Introduction, p. 134.,’ rather than that words and clauses and sentences were omitted upon definitely understood principles in a small class of documents by careless or ignorant or prejudiced scribes? The reply to this question must now be left for candid and thoughtful students to determine].157
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