« PreviousContinue »
indicated it to be an antient pontifical. The indefatigable researches of signor Angelo Maï (who has recently been appointed the principal keeper of the Vatican Library at Rome) have discovered several valuable remains of biblical and classical literature in the Ambrosian Library at Milan;2 and a short account of some of the principal Codices Rescripti of the New Testament, or of parts thereof, will be found in the sequel of this section.
V. The total number of manuscripts of the New Testament (whether they have been transmitted to us entire or in fragments), which are known to have been wholly or partially collated, amounts nearly to five hundred; but this number forms only a small part of the manuscripts found in public and private libraries. The result of these collations has shown that certain manuscripts have an affinity to each other, and that their text is distinguished from that of others by characteristic marks; and eminent critics, (particularly Griesbach, who devoted the whole of his life to sacred criticism), after diligently comparing the quotations from the New Testament in the writings of Clement of Alexandria and of Origen with those made by Tertullian and Cyprian, have ascertained that, so early as the third century, there were in existence two families, recensions, or editions of manuscripts, or, in other words, two entirely different texts of the New Testament.4 Michaelis has observed that, as different countries had different versions according to their respective languages, their manuscripts naturally resembled their respective versions, as these versions, generally speaking, were made from such manuscripts as were in common use. Four different systems of recensions or editions have been proposed, viz. by Griesbach and Michaelis, by Scholz, by Matthæi, and by Mr. Nolan.
1. The basis of Griesbach's system is, the division of the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament into three classes, each of which is considered as an independent witness for the various readings which it contains. The value of a reading, so far as manuscript authority is regarded, is decided by Griesbach, not according to the individual manuscript in which it is found, but according to the number of classes by which it is supported. The classes, under which he arranges all the Greek manuscripts are the following, viz. 1. The Alexandrine; 2. The Occidental or Western; and 3. The Byzantine or Oriental, to which Michaelis has added 4. The Edessene. To each of these are given the appellation of recension or edition, as we commonly say of printed books.
1 Muratori. Antiq. Ital. tom. iii. diss. 43. col. 833, 834.
2 See a brief notice of signor Mar's discovery of a Codex Rescriptus of Saint Paul's Epistles, in pp. 93, 94. infra, of the present volume.
3 Bengel expressed this relationship or affinity between manuscripts by the term family. (Introd. ad Crisin N. T. '27-30.) Semler (Apparatus ad Liberalem Novi Testamenti Interpretationem, p. 45.) and Griesbach (Symbolæ Criticæ, tom. i. p. cxviii.) use the term recensio, recension, that is, edition, which last term is adopted by Michaelis, vol. ii. p. 173.
4 In the second volume of Griesbach's Symbole Critica (pp. 229-620.), there Is a laborious collation of the quotations from the New Testament, made by Origen and Clement of Alexandria, with the Vulgate or common Greek Text.
1. The first class or ALEXANDRINE RECENSION, which is also called the EGYPTIAN Recension, comprises those manuscripts, which, in remarkable and characteristic readings, agree with the quotations of the early Alexandrine writers, particularly Origen and Clement of Alexandria. After them, this recension was adopted by the Egyptian Greeks.
To this class Griesbach refers the Codex Alexandrinus,1 noted by the letter A., but in the epistles of St. Paul only; and also B. the Vatican manuscript. To this class also Dr. Scholz refers C., the Codex Ephremi ;3 L. the Codex Regius 62, an imperfect manuscript of the four Gospels of the eighth century, collated by Wetstein and Griesbach; P. the Guelpherbytanus A., a Codex Rescriptus of the sixth century, comprising fragments of the four Gospels; Q. the Guelpherbytanus B., also a Codex Rescriptus of the same date, and containing some fragments of Luke and John; T. the Codex Borgiæ I., containing a Greek Sahidic version of John vi. 28-67. vii. 6. — viii. 31., executed in the fourth century; Griesb. 22.: the Codex Regius 72., a fragment of Matt. i. 1. ii. 2., written in the eleventh century; Griesb. 33. the Codex Regius 14., a mutilated MS. of the Old and New Testament, of the eleventh century; Griesb. 102. the Codex Medicæus, which comprises from Matt. xxiv. to Mark viii. 1.: and the Codex Regius 305, a MS. of the thirteenth century. The Alexandrine Recension is followed by the Coptico-Memphitic, Coptico-Basmuric, Coptico-Sahidic, Ethiopic, Armenian, and the Syro-Philoxenian versions; and it is the text cited by the fathers, Eusebius, Anastasius, Ammonius, Didymus, Cyril of Alexandria, Marcus, Macarius, Cosmas Indicopleustes, Nonnus, Isidore of Pelusium, Theodore of Pelusium, and frequently also by Chrysostom.
2. The OCCIDENTAL OF WESTERN EDITION is that which was adopted by the Christians of Africa (especially by Tertullian and Cyprian), Italy, Gaul, and the west of Europe generally.
According to Griesbach it is followed in A. the Codex Alexandrinus, in the Acts of the Apostles, and the Catholic Epistles; and according to Dr. Scholz, in D. the Codex Bezæ or Cantabrigiensis ;5 in the Codex Regius 314, a MS. of the eighth century, containing Luke ix. 36-47. and x. 12-22.; Griesb. 1. (Basileensis ;6) Griesb. 13. the Codex Regius 50, a mutilated MS. of the twelfth century, collated for Birch's edition of the four Gospels; Griesb. 28. the Codex Regius 379, a MS. of the eleventh century; Griesb. 69. the Codex Leicestrensis, and 124, the Codex Vindobonensis (Lambecii 31. ;7) Griesb. 131. the Codex Vaticanus 360, a MS. of the eleventh century, collated by Birch; Griesb. 157. the Codex Vaticanus
1 See an account of this MS. in pp. 66-73. infra.
2 Described pp. 74-77. infra.
3 See p. 89. infra. The letters and figures, above used, are those employed by Griesbach, to denote the several manuscripts collated or consulted by him for his edition of the New Testament. They are explained in the Prolegomena to his first volume.
4 The manuscripts in the Royal Library at Paris are generally known by the appellation of Codices Regii.
5 See pp. 85-89. infra.
6 See p. 106. infra.
7 See a notice of these two MSS. in pp. 109, 110. infra,
2, a MS. of the twelfth century, also collated by Birch; the Codex Regius 177, containing the four Gospels, with very copious scholia, written (Dr. Scholz thinks) in the eleventh century; and in the Codex Regius 375, containing lessons from the New Testament, excepting the Revelation, and written early in the eleventh century : in the Gospels, it very seldom differs from the Codex Beza, but in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistles, it chiefly agrees with the Alexandrine Recension. With these manuscripts sometimes harmonise the Sahidic Version, made in the fourth century, the Syriac Version of Jerusalem, and the readings in the margin of the Syro-Philoxenian Version; as also the Ante-Hieronymian or Old Latin Versions, which were in use before the Vulgate Version.
The Western Edition was cited by the African fathers, Tertullian, Cyprian, Lactantius, Victorinus, Augustine, and by the unknown author of the book against Fulgentius the Donatist; by the Italic fathers, Zeno of Verona, Gaudentius of Brescia, Chromatius of Aquileia, Ambrose, the author of certain pieces which are attributed to that writer, Rufinus, the author of the Opus Imperfectum on St., Matthew, Gregory surnamed the Great, and Lucifer Bishop of Cagliari; and by the Gallic fathers, Irenæus, Hilary, Julius Firmicus Maternus, Phœbadius (a Spaniard) Bishop of Agen, Juvencus, and by the Mozarabic Ritual. With this edition also coincides the Vulgate Latin Version, which is followed by Isidore bishop of Seville, Remigius, Bede, Rabanus Maurus, Haymo, Anselm, Pietro Damiani, Bernard, and all subsequent writers in communion with the Latin church for the last thousand years, as well as by the Lectionaries, Breviaries, Antient Missals, Acts of the Martyrs, and other ecclesiastical books of that church.1
3. Towards the end of the fourth century, and during the fifth and sixth centuries, critics have observed a text differing from the two first, and which they call the BYZANTINE OF ORIENTAL RECENSION or Edition, because it was in general use at Constantinople, after that city became the capital and metropolitan see of the eastern empire.
With this edition are closely allied those of the neighbouring provinces, whose inhabitants were subject to the spiritual jurisdiction of the patriarch of Constantinople. The readings of the Byzantine Recension are those which are most commonly found in the Kon Exdodis, or printed Vulgate Greek Text, and are also most numerous in the existing manuscripts which correspond to it. Griesbach reckons upwards of one hundred manuscripts of this class, which minutely harmonise with each other. On account of the many alterations, that were unavoidably made in the long interval between the fourth and the fifteenth centuries, Michaelis proposes to divide the Byzantine edition into antient and modern; but he does not specify
1 Scholz, Cura Criticæ in Historiam Textûs Evangeliorum, pp. 27-30. 2 Michaelis remarks that the greatest number of manuscripts written on Mount Athos are evidently of the Byzantine edition; and he thinks it probable that almost all the Moscow manuscripts, of which M. Matthæi has given extracts, belong to this edition. As the valuable manuscripts collected by the late learned Professor Carlyle were obtained in Syria, Constantinople, and the islands of the Levant, is probable, whenever they shall be collated, that they will be found to coincide with the Byzantine recension. These manuscripts are preserved in the Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth, and are described infra, pp. 104, 105.
any criteria by which we can determine the boundaries between these two classes. The Byzantine text is found in the four Gospels of the Alexandrian manuscript; it was the original of the Sclavonic or old Russian version, and was cited by Chrysostom and Theophylact bishop of Bulgaria.
As the Peschito, or Old Syriac version of the New Testament, differs from the three preceding recensions, Michaelis has instituted another, which he terms,
4. The EDESSENE EDITION, comprehending those manuscripts from which that version was made.
Of this edition no manuscripts are extant; which circumstance Michaelis accounts for, by the early prejudice of the Syriac literati in favour of whatever was Grecian, and also by the wars that devastated the East for many ages subsequent to the fifth century. But by some accident which is difficult to be explained, manuscripts are found in the west of Europe, accompanied even with a Latin translation, such as the Codex Beza, which so eminently coincide with the Old Syriac Version, that their affinity is indisputable.
Although the readings of the Western, Alexandrine, and Edessene editions sometimes differ, yet they very frequently harmonise with each other. This coincidence Michaelis ascribes to their high antiquity, as the oldest manuscripts extant belong to one of these editions, and the translations themselves are antient. A reading confirmed by three of them is supposed to be of the very highest authority; yet the true reading may sometimes be found only in the fourth.
2. The second system of recensions is that proposed by Dr. Scholz in his Cura Critica in Historiam Textus Evangeliorum, founded on a long and minute examination of the treasure of Biblical manuscripts contained in the Royal Library at Paris: this system is in effect a modification of that proposed by Griesbach. According to this critic, there are five recensions, viz. 1. The Alexandrine; 2. The Occidental or Western; 3. The Asiatic; 4. The Byzantine; and 5. The Cyprian.
1, 2. The Alexandrine and Occidental are the same as the two first classes of Griesbach; the Byzantine of the latter critic, Dr. S. divides into two distinct families, viz. the Asiatic and the Byzantine.
3. The ASIATIC RECENSION, as its name implies, is that text which has prevailed in Asia from the apostolic times, and which has undergone fewer changes than the Alexandrine or Egyptian and Occidental or Western Editions have experienced.
To this recension belongs the Codex Regius 53, a manuscript of the tenth century, written on Mount Athos, and transcribed with great correctness from the Jerusalem manuscripts. To this class also are referred the Codices Regii 186, 188, 277, 293, 298, and 300. No. 186. is a manuscript of the eleventh century, containing the four Gospels, together with the commentaries of Chrysostom and others, and disquisitions on select passages. No. 188. (Griesb. 20.) is a manuscript of the four Gospels, of the eleventh century, with the commentaries of various authors. No. 177 is an evangelistarium, or collection of lessons from the Gospels of the ninth, and Nos. 293, 298, and 300 are evangelistaria of the eleventh century;
but all, in the judgment of Dr. Scholz, are copied from very antient Palestine manuscripts.
With the Asiatic recension coincide the Peschito or Old Syriac Version, and the fathers who have used it, the Syro-Philoxenian version, Cyril of Jerusalem, Theodoret, and Heschius of Jerusalem.
4. The BYZANTINE or CONSTANTINOPOLITAN RECENSION Contains that text, which is found in the manuscripts in use at Constantinople, and in the Greek Churches.
This text is found in A. the Codex Alexandrinus (but in the four Gospels only;) in E. the Codex Basileensis B. VI. 21; in F. the Codex Boreelii; in G. the Codex Harleianus 5684; in H. the Codex Wolfii B.; in M. the Codex Regius 48. (a manuscript of the tenth century containing the four Gospels); S. the Codex Vaticanus 354 (a manuscript of the tenth century collated by Birch); and the manuscripts noted by Griesbach, 42, 106. (both of the tenth century,) 116 (of the twelfth century), 114 of the thirteenth century, and one of the Moscow manuscripts, (No. 10 of Matthæi's notation) written in the thirteenth century. To this class also are referred fifty-three other manuscripts contained in the royal library, either collated for the first time by Dr. Scholz, or (if previously collated by Mill, Wetstein, Griesbach, Alter, Birch, Matthæi, and others) subjected by him to a second examination and collation. With the Byzantine Recension agree the Gothic and Sclavonic versions, and most of the Greek fathers (fifty-five are enumerated by Dr. Scholz,) particularly by Amphilochius, bishop of Iconium, Apollinaris, bishop of Laodicea, Cæsarius, Epiphanius, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzum, Theodoret, and Theophylact.
From the preceding manuscripts there is a slight variation, and kind of transition to the received or Vulgate Greek text, in the Codices Regii, as well as in many others preserved in different libraries. Dr. S. has enumerated eighty-seven manuscripts of this decription, that are in the royal library at Paris, fifteen only of which have been collated for Griesbach's edition of the New Testament.
5. The CYPRIAN RECENSION contains that text, which is exhibited in the Codex Cyprius, a manuscript of the eighth century, brought from the Isle of Cyprus, of which a description is given in a subsequent page.1
By a comparison of the readings of the Codex Cyprius, with the received text, and with the Alexandrine and Constantinopolitan Recensions, in nearly one hundred instances, Dr. Scholz has shown, that it very frequently coincides with the two last, sometimes agreeing with both, sometimes following one or the other of them, and sometimes holding a mean between them. In many instances it harmonises with but few manuscripts, and in some cases its readings are peculiar to itself. On these accounts he is of opinion that the Codex Cyprius exhibits a family which has sprung from a collation of various manuscripts, some of which owe their origin to Egypt, others to Asia, and others to Cyprus.
Most of the Manuscripts now extant exhibit one of the texts above described; some are composed of two or three recensions. No individual manuscript preserves any recension in a pure state; but ma1 See pp. 99, 100. infra.