« Prev [15] Proofs that the Revisers have outrageously… Next »

[15] Proofs that the Revisers have outrageously exceeded the Instructions they received from the Convocation of the Southern Province.

It follows next to enquire whether your work as Revisers was conducted in conformity with the conditions imposed upon you by the Southern House of Convocation, or not. Nothing (you say)—

can be more unjust on the part of the Reviewer than to suggest, as he has suggested in more than one passage,893893You refer to such places as pp. 87-8 and 224, where see the Notes. that the Revisers exceeded their Instructions in the course which they adopted with regard to the Greek Text. On the contrary, as we shall show, they adhered most closely to their Instructions; and did neither more nor less than they were required to do.—(p. 32.)

The Reviewer, my lord Bishop, proceeds to demonstrate that you exceeded your Instructions, even to an extraordinary extent. But it will be convenient first to hear you out. You proceed,—

Let us turn to the Rule. It is simply as follows:—That the text to be adopted be that for which the Evidence is decidedly preponderating: and that when the text so adopted differs from that from which the Authorized Version was made, the alteration be indicated in the margin.—(Ibid.)

But you seem to have forgotten that the Rule which you quote formed no part of the Instructions which were imposed upon you by Convocation. It was one of the Principles agreed to by the Committee (25 May, 1870),—a Rule of your own making therefore,—for which Convocation neither was nor is responsible. The fundamental Resolutions adopted by the Convocation of Canterbury (3rd and 5th May, 1870), five in number, contain no authorization whatever for making changes in the Greek Text. They have 400 reference only to the work of revising the Authorized Version: an undertaking which the first Resolution declares to be desirable. In order to ascertain what were the Revisers' Instructions with regard to the Greek Text, we must refer to the original Resolution of Feb. 10th, 1870: in which the removal of plain and clear errors, whether in the Greek Text originally adopted by the Translators, or in the Translation made from the same,—is for the first and last time mentioned. That you yourself accepted this as the limit of your authority, is proved by your Speech in Convocation. We may be satisfied (you said) with the attempt to correct plain and clear errors: but there, it is our duty to stop.894894Chronicle of Convocation, Feb. 1870, p. 83.

Now I venture to assert that not one in a hundred of the alterations you have actually made, whether in the Greek Text originally adopted by the Translators, or in the Translation made from the same, are corrections of plain and clear errors. Rather,—(to adopt the words of the learned Bishop of Lincoln,)—I fear we must say in candour that in the Revised Version we meet in every page with changes which seem almost to be made for the sake of change.895895See above, p. 368. May I trouble you to refer back to p. 112 of the present volume for a few words more on this subject from the pen of the same judicious Prelate?

(a) And first,—In respect of the New English Version.

For my own part, (see above, pp. 171-2,) I thought the best thing I could do would be to illustrate the nature of my complaint, by citing and commenting on an actual instance of your method. I showed how, in revising eight-and-thirty words (2 Pet. i. 5-7), you had contrived to introduce no fewer than thirty changes,—every one of them being clearly 401 a change for the worse. You will perhaps say,—Find me another such case! I find it, my lord Bishop, in S. Luke viii. 45, 46,—where you have made nineteen changes in revising the translation of four-and-thirty words. I proceed to transcribe the passage; requesting you to bear in mind your own emphatic protestation,—We made no change if the meaning was fairly expressed by the word or phrase before us.

A.V. R.V.
Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. Peter said [1], and they that were with him, Master the multitudes [2] press [3] thee and crush thee [5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.] But [11] Jesus said, Some one [12] did touch [14] me: for I perceived [15] that power [16] had [17] gone forth [18] from [19] me.

Now pray,—Was not the meaning fairly expressed before? Will you tell me that in revising S. Luke viii. 45-6, you made as few alterations as possible? or will you venture to assert that you have removed none but plain and clear errors? On the contrary. I challenge any competent scholar in Great Britain to say whether every one of these changes be not either absolutely useless, or else decidedly a change for the worse: six of them being downright errors.

The transposition in the opening sentence is infelicitous, to say the least. (The English language will not bear such handling. Literally, no doubt, the words mean, said Peter, and they that were with him. But you may not so translate.)—The omission of the six interesting words, indicated within square brackets, is a serious blunder.896896The clause (and sayest thou, Who touched me?) is witnessed to by a c d p r x Γ Δ Λ Ξ Π and every other known uncial except three of bad character: by every known cursive but four:—by the Old Latin and Vulgate: by all the four Syriac: by the Gothic and the Æthiopic Versions; as well as by ps.-Tatian (Evan. Concord, p. 77) and Chrysostom (vii. 359 a). It cannot be pretended that the words are derived from S. Mark's Gospel (as Tischendorf coarsely imagined);—for the sufficient reason that the words are not found there. In S. Mark (v. 31) it is,—καὶ λέγεις, Τίς μου ἥψατο; in S. Luke (viii. 45), καὶ λέγεις, Τίς ὁ ἁψάμενός μου. Moreover, this delicate distinction has been maintained all down the ages. The words are 402 undoubtedly genuine. I wonder how you can have ventured thus to mutilate the Book of Life. And why did you not, out of common decency and reverence, at least in the margin, preserve a record of the striking clause which you thus,—with well-meant assiduity, but certainly with deplorable rashness,—forcibly ejected from the text? To proceed however.—Multitudes,but,one,did,power,forth,from:—are all seven either needless changes, or improper, or undesirable. Did touch,perceived,had gone forth,—are unidiomatic and incorrect expressions. I have already explained this elsewhere.897897Page 154 to p. 164. The aorist (ἥψατο) has here a perfect signification, as in countless other places:—ἔγνων, (like novi,) is frequently (as here) to be Englished by the present (I perceive): and is gone out of me is the nearest rendering of ἐξελθοῦσαν898898You will perhaps remind me that you do not read ἐξελθοῦσαν. I am aware that you have tacitly substituted ἐξεληλυθυῖαν,—which is only supported by four manuscripts of bad character: being disallowed by eighteen uncials, (with a c d at their head,) and every known cursive but one; besides the following Fathers:—Marcion (Epiph. i. 313 a, 327 a.) (a.d. 150),—Origen (iii. 466 e.),—the author of the Dialogus (Orig. i. 853 d.) (a.d. 325),—Epiphanius (i. 327 b.),—Didymus (pp. 124, 413.), in two places,—Basil (iii. 8 c.),—Chrysostom (vii. 532 a.),—Cyril (Opp. vi. 99 e. Mai, ii. 226.) in two places,—ps.-Athanasius (ii. 14 c.) (a.d. 400),—ps.-Chrysostom (xiii. 212 e f.).... Is it tolerable that the Sacred Text should be put to wrongs after this fashion, by a body of men who are avowedly (for see page 369) unskilled in Textual Criticism, and who were appointed only to revise the authorized English Version? ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ 403 which our language will bear.—Lastly, press and crush, as renderings of συνέχουσι and ἀποθλίβουσι, are inexact and unscholarlike. Συνέχειν, (literally to encompass or hem in,) is here to throng or crowd: ἀποθλίβειν, (literally to squeeze,) is here to press. But in fact the words were perfectly well rendered by our Translators of 1611, and ought to have been let alone.—This specimen may suffice, (and it is a very fair specimen,) of what has been your calamitous method of revising the A. V. throughout.

So much then for the Revised English. The fate of the Revised Greek is even more extraordinary. I proceed to explain myself by instancing what has happened in respect of the Gospel according to S. Luke.

(b) Next,—In respect of the New Greek Text.

On examining the 836899899This I make the actual sum, after deducting for marginal notes and variations in stops. Greek Textual corrections which you have introduced into those 1151 verses, I find that at least 356 of them do not affect the English rendering at all. I mean to say that those 356 (supposed) emendations are either incapable of being represented in a Translation, or at least are not represented. Thus, in S. Luke iv. 3, whether εἶπε δέ or καὶ εἶπεν is read:—in ver. 7, whether ἐμοῦ or μου:—in ver. 8, whether Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου προσκυνήσες, or Προσκυνήσεις Κ. τὸν Θ. σου; whether ἤγαγε δέ or καὶ ἤγαγεν; whether υἱός or ὁ υἱός:—in ver. 17, whether τοῦ προφήτου Ἡσαïου or Ἡ. τοῦ προφήτου; whether ἀνοίξας or ἀναπτύξας:—in ver. 18, whether εὐαγγελίσασθαι or εὐαγγελίζεσθαι:—in ver. 20, whether οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ or ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ οἱ ὀφθαλμοί:—in ver. 23, whether εἰς τήν or ἐν τῇ:—in ver. 27, whether ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ ἐπὶ Ἐλισσαίου τοῦ προφήτου or ἐπὶ Ἐλισσ., τοῦ π. ἐν τῷ Ἰ.:—in ver. 29, whether ὀφρύος or τῆς ὀφρύος; whether ὥστε or εἰς τό:—in ver. 35, whether ἀπ᾽ or 404 ἐξ:—in ver. 38, whether ἀπό or ἐκ; whether πενθερά or ἡ πενθερά:—in ver. 43, whether ἐπί or εἰς; whether ἀπεστάλην or ἀπέσταλμαι:—in ver. 44, whether εἰς τὰς συναγωγάς or ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς:—in every one of these cases, the English remains the same, whichever of the alternative readings is adopted. At least 19 therefore out of the 33 changes which you introduced into the Greek Text of S. Luke iv. are plainly gratuitous.

Thirteen of those 19, (or about two-thirds,) are also in my opinion changes for the worse: are nothing else, I mean, but substitutions of wrong for right Readings. But that is not my present contention. The point I am just now contending for is this:—That, since it certainly was no part of your Instructions, Rules, or Principles to invent a new Greek Text,—or indeed to meddle with the original Greek at all, except so far as was absolutely necessary for the Revision of the English Version,—it is surely a very grave form of inaccuracy to assert (as you now do) that you adhered most closely to your Instructions, and did neither more nor less than you were required.—You know that you did a vast deal more than you had any authority or right to do: a vast deal more than you had the shadow of a pretext for doing. Worse than that. You deliberately forsook the province to which you had been exclusively appointed by the Southern Convocation,—and you ostentatiously invaded another and a distinct province; viz. That of the critical Editorship of the Greek Text: for which, by your own confession,—(I take leave to remind you of your own honest avowal, quoted above at page 369,)—you and your colleagues knew yourselves to be incompetent.

For, when those 356 wholly gratuitous and uncalled-for changes in the Greek of S. Luke's Gospel come to be examined in detail, they are found to affect far more than 405 356 words. By the result, 92 words have been omitted; and 33 added. No less than 129 words have been substituted for others which stood in the text before; and there are 66 instances of Transposition, involving the dislocation of 185 words. The changes of case, mood, tense, &c., amount in addition to 123.900900I mean such changes as ἠγέρθη for ἐγήγερται (ix. 7),—φέρετε for ἐνένκαντες (xv. 23), &c. These are generally the result of a change of construction. The sum of the words which you have needlessly meddled with in the Greek Text of the third Gospel proves therefore to be 562.

At this rate,—(since, [excluding marginal notes and variations in stops,] Scrivener901901MS. communication from my friend, the Editor counts 5337 various readings in his Notes,)—the number of alterations gratuitously and uselessly introduced by you into the Greek Text of the entire N. T., is to be estimated at 3590.

And if,—(as seems probable,)—the same general proportion prevails throughout your entire work,—it will appear that the words which, without a shadow of excuse, you have omitted from the Greek Text of the N. T., must amount to about 590: while you have added in the same gratuitous way about 210; and have needlessly substituted about 820. Your instances of uncalled-for transposition, (about 420 in number,) will have involved the gratuitous dislocation of full 1190 words:—while the occasions on which, at the bidding of Drs. Westcott and Hort, you have altered case, mood, tense, &c., must amount to about 780. In this way, the sum of the changes you have effected in the Greek Text of the N. T. in clear defiance of your Instructions,—would amount, as already stated, to 3590.

Now, when it is considered that not one of those 3590 406 changes in the least degree affects the English Revision,—it is undeniable, not only that you and your friends did what you were without authority for doing:—but also that you violated as well the spirit as the letter of your Instructions. As for your present assertion (at p. 32) that you adhered most closely to the Instructions you received, and did neither more nor less than you were required to do,—you must submit to be reminded that it savours strongly of the nature of pure fable. The history of the new Greek Text is briefly this:—A majority of the Revisers—including yourself, their Chairman,—are found to have put yourselves almost unreservedly into the hands of Drs. Westcott and Hort. The result was obvious. When the minority, headed by Dr. Scrivener, appealed to the chair, they found themselves confronted by a prejudiced Advocate. They ought to have been listened to by an impartial Judge. You, my lord Bishop, are in consequence (I regret to say) responsible for all the mischief which has occurred. The blame of it rests at your door.

And pray disabuse yourself of the imagination that in what precedes I have been stretching the numbers in order to make out a case against you. It would be easy to show that in estimating the amount of needless changes at 356 out of 836, I am greatly under the mark. I have not included such cases, for instance, as your substitution of ἡ μνᾶ σου, Κύριε for Κύριε, ἡ μνᾶ σου (in xix. 18), and of Τοίνυν ἀπόδοτε for Ἀπόδοτε τοίνυν (in xx. 25),902902I desire to keep out of sight the critical impropriety of such corrections of the text. And yet, it is worth stating that א b l are the only witnesses discoverable for the former, and almost the only witnesses to be found for the latter of these two utterly unmeaning changes.—only lest you should pretend that the transposition affects the English, and therefore was necessary. Had I desired to swell the number I could have easily shown that fully half the 407 changes you effected in the Greek Text were wholly superfluous for the Revision of the English Translation, and therefore were entirely without excuse.

This, in fact,—(give me leave to remind you in passing,)—is the true reason why, at an early stage of your proceedings, you resolved that none of the changes you introduced into the Greek Text should find a record in your English margin. Had any been recorded, all must have appeared. And had this been done, you would have stood openly convicted of having utterly disregarded the Instructions you had received from Convocation. With what face, for example, could you, (in the margin of S. Luke xv. 17,) against the words he said,—have printed ἔφη not εἶπε? or, (at xxiv. 44,) against the words unto them,—must you not have been ashamed to encumber the already overcrowded margin with such an irrelevant statement as,—πρὸς αὐτούς not αὐτοῖς?

Now, if this were all, you might reply that by my own showing the Textual changes complained of, if they do no good, at least do no harm. But then, unhappily, you and your friends have not confined yourselves to colourless readings, when silently up and down every part of the N. T. you have introduced innovations. I open your New English Version at random (S. John iv. 15), and invite your attention to the first instance which catches my eye.

You have made the Woman of Samaria complain of the length of the walk from Sychar to Jacob's well:—Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come all the way hither to draw.—What has happened? For ἔρχωμαι, I discover that you have silently substituted ΔΙέρχωμαι. (Even διέρχωμαι has no such meaning: but let that pass.) What then was your authority for thrusting διέρχωμαι (which by the way is a patent absurdity) into the Text? The word 408 is found (I discover) in only two Greek MSS. of had character903903Characteristic of these two false-witnesses is it, that they are not able to convey even this short message correctly. In reporting the two words ἔρχωμαι ἐνθάδε, they contrive to make two blunders. b substitutes διέρχομαι for διέρχωμαι: א, ὦδε for ἐνθάδε,—which latter eccentricity Tischendorf (characteristically) does not allude to in his note ... These be thy gods, O Israel! (b א), which, being derived from a common corrupt original, can only reckon for one: and the reasoning which is supposed to justify this change is thus supplied by Tischendorf:—If the Evangelist had written ἔρχ-, who would ever have dreamed of turning it into δι-έρχωμαι?... No one, of course, (is the obvious answer,) except the inveterate blunderer who, some 1700 years ago, seeing ΜΗΔΕΕΡΧΩΜΑΙ before him, reduplicated the antecedent ΔΕ. The sum of the matter is that!... Pass 1700 years, and the long-since-forgotten blunder is furbished up afresh by Drs. Westcott and Hort,—is urged upon the wondering body of Revisers as the undoubted utterance of the Spirit,—is accepted by yourself;—finally, (in spite of many a remonstrance from Dr. Scrivener and his friends,) is thrust upon the acceptance of 90 millions of English-speaking men throughout the world, as the long-lost-sight-of, but at last happily recovered, utterance of the Woman of Samaria!... Ἄπαγε.

Ordinary readers, in the meantime, will of course assume that the change results from the Revisers' skill in translating,—the advances which have been made in the study of Greek; for no trace of the textual vagary before us survives in the English margin.

And thus I am reminded of what I hold to be your gravest fault of all. The rule of Committee subject to which you commenced operations,—the Rule which re-assured the public and reconciled the Church to the prospect of a Revised 409 New Testament,—expressly provided that, whenever the underlying Greek Text was altered, such alteration should be indicated in the margin. This provision you entirely set at defiance from the very first. You have never indicated in the margin the alterations you introduced into the Greek Text. In fact, you made so many changes,—in other words, you seem to have so entirely lost sight of your pledge and your compact,—that compliance with this condition would have been simply impossible. I see not how your body is to be acquitted of a deliberate breach of faith.

(c) Fatal consequences of this mistaken officiousness.

How serious, in the meantime, the consequences have been, they only know who have been at the pains to examine your work with close attention. Not only have you, on countless occasions, thrust out words, clauses, entire sentences of genuine Scripture,—but you have been careful that no trace shall survive of the fatal injury which you have inflicted. I wonder you were not afraid. Can I be wrong in deeming such a proceeding in a high degree sinful? Has not the Spirit pronounced a tremendous doom904904Rev. xxii. 19. against those who do such things? Were you not afraid, for instance, to leave out (from S. Mark vi. 11) those solemn words of our Saviour,—Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city? Surely you will not pretend to tell me that those fifteen precious words, witnessed to as they are by all the known copies but nine,—by the Old Latin, the Peschito and the Philoxenian Syriac, the Coptic, the Gothic and the Æthiopic Versions,—besides Irenæus905905iv. 28, c. 1 (p. 655 = Mass. 265). Note that the reference is not to S. Matt. x. 15. and Victor906906P. 123. of Antioch:—you will not venture to say (will you?) that words so attested are 410 so evidently a plain and clear error, as not to deserve even a marginal note to attest to posterity that such things were! I say nothing of the witness of the Liturgical usage of the Eastern Church,—which appointed these verses to be read on S. Mark's Day:907907Viz. vi. 7-13. nor of Theophylact,908908i. 199 and 200. nor of Euthymius.909909In loc. I appeal to the consentient testimony of Catholic antiquity. Find me older witnesses, if you can, than the Elders with whom Irenæus held converse,—men who must have been contemporaries of S. John the Divine: or again, than the old Latin, the Peschito, and the Coptic Versions. Then, for the MSS.,—Have you studied S. Mark's Text to so little purpose as not to have discovered that the six uncials on which you rely are the depositories of an abominably corrupt Recension of the second Gospel?

But you committed a yet more deplorable error when,—without leaving behind either note or comment of any sort,—you obliterated from S. Matth. v. 44, the solemn words which I proceed to underline:—Bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you. You relied almost exclusively on those two false witnesses, of which you are so superstitiously fond, b and א: regardless of the testimony of almost all the other Copies besides:—of almost all the Versions:—and of a host of primitive Fathers: for the missing clauses are more or less recognized by Justin Mart. (a.d. 140),—by Theophilus Ant. (a.d. 168),—by Athenagoras (a.d. 177),—by Clemens Alexan. (a.d. 192),—by Origen (a.d. 210),—by the Apostolic Constt. (IIIrd cent.),—by Eusebius,—by Gregory Nyss.,—by Chrysostom,—by Isidorus,—by Nilus,—by Cyril,—by Theodoret, and certain others. Besides, of the Latins, by Tertullian,—by Lucifer,—by 411 Ambrose,—by Hilary,—by Pacian,—by Augustine,—by Cassian, and many more.... Verily, my lord Bishop, your notion of what constitutes clearly preponderating Evidence must be freely admitted to be at once original and peculiar. I will but respectfully declare that if it be indeed one of the now established Principles of Textual Criticism that a bishop is at liberty to blot out from the Gospel such precepts of the Incarnate Word, as these: to reject, on the plea that they are plain and clear errors, sayings attested by twelve primitive Fathers,—half of whom lived and died before our two oldest manuscripts (b and א) came into being:—If all this be so indeed, permit me to declare that I would not exchange my innocent ignorance910910See above, pp. 347-9. of those Principles for your guilty knowledge of them,—no, not for anything in the wide world which yonder sun shines down upon.

As if what goes before had not been injury enough, you are found to have adopted the extraordinary practice of encumbering your margin with doubts as to the Readings which after due deliberation you had, as a body, retained. Strange perversity! You could not find room to retain a record in your margin of the many genuine words of our Divine Lord,—His Evangelists and Apostles,—to which Copies, Versions, Fathers lend the fullest attestation; but you could find room for an insinuation that His Agony and bloody sweat,—together with His Prayer on behalf of His murderers,may after all prove to be nothing else but spurious accretions to the Text. And yet, the pretence for so regarding either S. Luke xxii. 43, 44, or xxiii. 34, is confessedly founded on a minimum of documentary evidence: while, as has been already shown elsewhere,911911See above, pp. 79-85. an overwhelming amount of ancient testimony renders it certain that not a 412 particle of doubt attaches to the Divine record of either of those stupendous incidents.... Room could not be found, it seems, for a hint in the margin that such ghastly wounds as those above specified had been inflicted on S. Mark vi. 11 and S. Matth. v. 44;912912See above, pp. 409-411. but twenty-two lines could be spared against Rom. ix. 5 for the free ventilation of the vile Socinian gloss with which unbelievers in every age have sought to evacuate one of the grandest assertions of our Saviour's Godhead. May I be permitted, without offence, to avow myself utterly astonished?

Even this however is not all. The 7th of the Rules under which you undertook the work of Revision, was, that the Headings of Chapters should be revised. This Rule you have not only failed to comply with; but you have actually deprived us of those headings entirely. You have thereby done us a grievous wrong. We demand to have the headings of our chapters back.

You have further, without warrant of any sort, deprived us of our Marginal References. These we cannot afford to be without. We claim that they also may be restored. The very best Commentary on Holy Scripture are they, with which I am acquainted. They call for learned and judicious Revision, certainly; and they might be profitably enlarged. But they may never be taken away.

And now, my lord Bishop, if I have not succeeded in convincing you that the Revisers not only exceeded their Instructions in the course which they adopted with regard to the Greek Text, but even acted in open defiance of their Instructions; did both a vast deal more than they were authorized to do, and also a vast deal less;—it has certainly been no fault of mine. As for your original contention913913See above, p. 399. that 413 nothing can be more unjust than the charge brought against the Revisers of having exceeded their Instructions,—I venture to ask, on the contrary, whether anything can be more unreasonable (to give it no harsher name) than the denial?

« Prev [15] Proofs that the Revisers have outrageously… Next »

| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |