Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

6

where six words are wanting in the text, and afterwards added; -riz., κατηγαγον αυτον εις το συνεδριον αυτων.

But there is another large class of passages in which words or clauses are omitted without being afterwards supplied; and yet the context shows that the deficiency has arisen from oversight and carelessness. None can question that the missing words originally formed a part of the sacred text.: As indubitable in stances we select the following from our list :-In Matt, xii., the 47th verse is entirely omitted, although the passage is 'absolutely essential to what follows. In chap xix., avrov is omitted in verse 10, and tourov in verse 11, contrary to all'other Uncial MSS. In chap. XX. 21, the word sov is omitted where all other MSS., according to Tregelles, insert it. A more striking 'instance occurs in Matt. xxv. 22, where the word XaBwv is wanting, although the words governed by it ta' talavra are inserted. There can be no doubt it was in the original copy. ".

Passing by several less decisive instances, we may mention that in 1 Peter v. 3, the whole of the verse is wanting: and in 1 Cor. iv. 6, the word ppovelv; although in this latter case the sense is incomplete as the text stands. Similarly in Ephes. i. 15, ayatny is omitted, although the article belonging to it is there. In Col. ii. 2, an extraordinary reading, tov Osov Xpiorov, " of the God Christ,' is occasioned entirely by omitting the words kat πατρος και του after θεου. Το mention no more: η επιστολη are left out at Col. iv. 16; tas auaprlaç at 1 Thes. ii. 16°; and και νομου . Kai vouov in Heb. vii. 12. In all three examples the context proves unquestionably that the words were originally in the respective passages.

The numerous omissions which disfigure the Vatican MS. are certainly proofs of carelessness on the part of the transcriber. Still, all who are acquainted with the peculiar mode in which MSS. were written at the period to which this is assigned, will be disposed to make every allowance for blunders of this sort. For the words ran one into another without either space between, stops, or anything else to divide them. Hence, nothing was easier than for the scribe on finishing one word or line, to look at the wrong place on lifting up his eye, and thus omit one or more words, or even a whole verse.

Such are some of the more striking peculiarities of the Vatican MS., which a careful examination of Cardinal Mai's edition has brought under our notice. We have mentioned several of the more important readings of the codex, especially such as appeared of dogmatical consequence. We have also noticed some of the chief faults which disfigure this ancient document. In spite of these defects there can be no question that the MS. is of great

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Unsettled State of the Text of the Greek Testament. 325 value to the Biblical student. We venture to predict, too, that its publication will exercise un immense influence on a subject of

, growing importance in the present day-the Textual Criticism of

the New Testament. I am,in 11

When we reflect on the immensq, importunce of possessing the ipsissima verba of Divine revelation, it is a circumstance much to be regretted, that in the middle of the nineteenth century the text of the Greek Testament should still remain unsettled. It is true we have several critical editions of that inspired solume; ,

; some of which are the results of

Yast

research, indefatigable labour, and great ability. But the misfortune is, that instead of şubstantially, at least, agreeing, the texts which they present are in yery, many passages altogether at variance. In fact each sue, cessive editor of the Greek Testament, hitherto, has overthrown the theory of his predecessor and then erected his own system upon the ruins. Griesbach displaced the text in common use. sholmvoyerturned that of Griesbach. Lachmann afterwards

il superseded Scholz ; and Tischendorf now ranks far above Lach, mann. Under these circumstances of continual fluctuation, the sincere, student of God's Holy Word feels no small difficulty in choosing a text, in The text of the Greek Testament in common use is that of the

and also, substantially, that of Mills. It was first pub. lished in 1621. This edition was long regarded as the ne plus ultra of a correct text. For nearly a century it enjoyed a reputation of which there are few parallels. It was republished in 1633, and announced as a text received by all ;' language which though denoting merely that it was a text to which theologians of all parties were content to appeal, gradually came to be accepted as a testimony to the value of the text, d. From this extravagant admiration of the received text of the New Testament, scholars passed, as is commonly the case, to the contrary extreme. It is become the fashion with a certain class of critics to decry the Textus Receptus as altogether worthless. The materials in the possession of the editors, we are told, ' were scanty,' and of inferior value. The editors did not make the best use of them; nor understand, their character and value. As a natural consequence of such opinions, the critical editions of the Greek Testament most in favour now-a-days, follow a text which differs considerably from that in common use.

Now we think, that with most unbiassed and dispassionate men, it will be felt that truth, in all probability, lies between the two extremes. It is allowed that the text, on which our authorized version is substantially based, cannot lay claim to the praise of being immaculate, but still it is not chargeable with those

Elzevirs,

[ocr errors]

1

11

1

numerous and gross corruptions which Griesbach, Lachmann, and Tischendorf allege.

We strongly suspect that in their eagerness to extol the critical texts of Griesbach, Lachmann, and Tischendorf, scholars have unduly depreciated the merits of Erasmus, the father of the present Textus Receptus. Certainly his materials were not so few, nor so modern, as some writers represent. In preparing his first edition he possessed a MS. of the tenth century, containing the whole New Testament, except the Revelation; a MS. of the Gospels written at a later date;, another containing the Acts andEpistles, of which the date is unknown. Besides these he used a MS. of the Revelation, the Codex Reuchlinii, and as Hug informs us, two other MSS.* He collated also some Latin MSS., and the principal writings of the Fathers.

Much stress has been laid on the hurried manner in which! Erasmus completed this first edition. But it should be re. membered, that our common text does not spring from that, but from, a long subsequent edition. - Eighteen years intervened between the first and last editions which Erasmus superintended, during which he enjoyed abundant opportunities of amending the text. If we are to credit his own assertions, he had acquired additional materials for revising his former editions. In the preface to the fifth and last edition, published in 1635, he says he had collated 'not a few most ancient and most correct MSS.'

It must not be forgotten too, that the very same year that Erasmus published his third edition, the celebrated Bible of Alcala, better known as the Complutensian Polyglot, was given to the world. The editors of this superb work employed 'most ancient and most correct MSS.,' sent from the Vatican Library, in editing the Greek Testament. Erasmus examined the Complutension text for both his two last editions. He thus possessed the results of the collation of the Vatican MSS. in addition to those which he had himself examined. Critics are scarcely justified then, we think, in representing the sources of the text of Erasmus' as 'a few MSS. of inferior value.'

Robert Stephens, a learned bookseller of Paris, was the next individual who contributed to the formation of the text ir common use. His first edition appeared in the year 1546. In the preface Stephens states that he had 'obtained from the king's library several MSS., which, from their apparent antiquity, almost

deserved to be worshipped ;' and that he had formed his edition from them, in such a manner as not to print even a single letterthat was not confirmed by the greater and better part of them.'

[ocr errors]

Introd. to New Test. Vol. i. p. 304.

Sources of the Received Text:

327

He goes on to say, 'we have employed others also, besides the * Complutensiun edition which the Spanish Cardinal Ximenes published from the most ancient MSS. of the Pope's library : with which and ours we have found very frequently by actual

collation, an extraordinary agreement subsisting. Two subsequent editions followed in the course of the next three or four years. - In the third edition, that from which our received text is derived, Stephens followed the fifth edition of Erasmus, in conjunction with the Complutensian Polyglot; collating at the same time fifteen MSS., whose variations were placed in the margin.

It would thus appear that the materials possessed by the authors of the common text of the Greek Testament were not so scanty or worthless as is commonly alleged. But more remains bebind. Theodore Beza, the illustrious Reformer, published altogether five editions of the Greek Testament; the last appearing thirty-three years after the first. It is allowed on all hands that besides his superiority as a critic, Bezui possessed far moro important materials for the formation of a correct text than Stephens, whose third edition he made the basis of his own. In particular he had a printed Greek Testament in which were entered the readings of fifteen MSS. originally collated by Stephens's son, Henry, for his father's use. These MSS., so far as they can be ascertained at this distance of time, were of respectable age. There was one MS. of the eighth or ninth cen. tury (L of Griesbach) ; one of the tenth; four of the eleventh ; three of the twelfth ; and, lastly, the celebrated codex D, so much valued by recent editors. Such were the sources of emendation" possessed by Beza før his first edition. Before his second appeared he had obtained farther and yet more important materials; including the Syriac version called the Peshito; the celebrated Colex Claromontanus (D of the Pauline epistles) and the codex D of the gospels; of which he already possessed the collation of Stephens.

On a careful review of the various steps by which, as we have seen, the text in common use was formed, we are strongly disposed to think that much of the contempt which modern critics' have expressed for the common Stephanic and Elzevir text of the Greek Testament, is unmerited and unjust. It is true the original editors of that precious volume could not boast of the ample materials for emendation which Wetstein and Griesbach, Scholz and Matthei, Lachmann and Tischendorf possessed, but taken as a whole, their authorities were by no means to be despised.

Nor should it be forgotten that whilst the number of witnesses

examined by Erasmus and his successors was comparatively small, yet these comprised almost every class of testimony. They possessed both ancient and modern MSS., containing the Western or Alexandrian text, and the Eastern or Constantinopolitan text. They had also the ancient Latin and the Vulgate versions on the one hand, and the ancient Peshito Syriac on the other, besides the quotations of the Fathers. They also had the immense advantage of being unbiassed by those absurd and extravagant theories under the influence of which Griesbach and Lachmann formed their texts. The former of these two eminent critics acknowledged a little before his death, that the supposed fact on which his whole system was founded-the agreement of Origen's readings with those of the Alexandrian MSS.—had no real existence! The latter was so completely infatuated by his blind veneration for antiquity that he has inserted in the text of his Greek Testament what he acknowledges to be undoubted errors, rather than have recourse to MSS. written since the fourth century !

We shall not fatigue the reader's attention by investigating the comparative merits of the various editions of the Greek Testament, which have one after another endeavoured to displace the common text. Ample details of these publications are to be found in trentises on Biblical criticism. We shall rather attempt to acquaint him with the present state of the science of Textual Criticism, and briefly sketch the posture of those two hostile parties which are busily contending for victory in this important field.

The subject derives an unusual interest just now from a discussion which has for some time occupied much attention-the expediency of a new translation of the Word of God. It is not our intention to enter here upon this quæstio vexata ; but we may be permitted to remark that there is one preliminary inquiry which it is absolutely essential should be previously settled, and that is -From which of the many texts of the New Testament shall that portion of the Bible be translated ? Unless the advocates for the proposed new translation are first of all agreed on this question, the whole attempt must be abandoned as utterly futile.

We begin by observing, that however numerous the theories of textual criticism which have at various times agitated the critical world, all have at length disappeared beneath the horizon; and the only question which invites the attention of the learned in this department is-What authority is due to the most ancient MSS.? Dr. Tregelles, whose acquaintance with the subject is surpassed by none, admits that it may be questioned how far an 'actual classification of MSS. is practicable beyond the distinc

6

« ÖncekiDevam »