Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Elijah Hixson and the Purple Uncials

Elijah Hixson
          Today at The Text of the Gospels we welcome a special guest, Elijah Hixson.  He currently is a doctoral student at the University of Edinburgh; before that, he studied at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, completing a thesis on the text of John in Codex Alexandrinus.  He recently received the 2016 Edwin M. Yamauchi Award for Excellence in Textual Studies.  His dissertation is Scribal Habits in the Sixth-century Purple Gospel Manuscripts, which we will look into shortly.  He has graciously accepted an invitation to discuss his work.   

Hixson:  Thank you very much for inviting me here.  It is an honor that somebody would take interest in my dissertation.  I will proceed with the caveat that I have submitted my dissertation, but I have not yet defended it.

Q:  Before we get to that, let’s briefly look into your thesis-paper.  You concluded that the scribe of Codex Alexandrinus “was far more likely to omit than to commit any other type of error, including substitution,” and that “In general, there was not a tendency to add to the text.”  When we consider this alongside similar observations made by James Royse, Dirk Jongkind, and Juan Hernández, is it safe to say that the evidence presently indicates that scribes tended to omit rather than to insert all the way into the 400s?  

Hixson:  I am thankful for my time at SBTS and their allowing me to write a text-critical master’s thesis.  However, I know that I made plenty of mistakes in that thesis, and hopefully I learned from them.  I would do things differently if I had to do it again knowing what I do now.  That being said, I think generally that is probably true, but not without qualifications.  

Q:  What does this say about the canon, “Prefer the shorter reading,” and about compilations that were produced by compilers who regularly applied that canon as a decisive factor when making text-critical decisions?  Should all such decisions now be revisited without that assumption in play?  

Hixson:  The “prefer the shorter reading” rule sadly suffers much from oversimplification.  Griesbach himself gave several exceptions in which the longer reading is preferred.  Jongkind noted that a lot of the omissions that Royse pointed out fall under Griesbach’s exceptions to the “shorter reading rule”.
At the same time, Royse also gave a list of exceptions when he said to prefer the longer reading, so I worry that his “prefer the longer reading” rule is also a victim of oversimplification.  The weird thing is that when you factor in the exceptions given by Griesbach and Royse, the two end up being a lot closer than people might think.  Both agree that the longer reading is preferred if there’s some kind of accidental or minor (likely unnoticed) omission involved.  Both agree that the shorter reading is preferred if the longer reading comes from a parallel passage or could be explained as the scribe “improving” the text.
            I’m certainly in no place to pontificate about it, but I do wonder – given how often Royse and Griesbach are oversimplified – if it might be better to say “You know what?  Let’s not worry too much about longer and shorter readings.  Instead, let’s remember that scribes could omit short things accidentally, they harmonized the text, they attempted to improve the text, etc.”  Let’s first be on the lookout for those kinds of changes when evaluating variants rather than simply counting how many words or letters there are and picking the shorter (or longer) reading.

Q:  Thanks for those thoughts.  Moving on to your new work:  could you briefly describe the Purple Uncials for our readers, and what is special about the three manuscripts you have been studying? 

Hixson:  The purple uncials (or majuscules) of the New Testament are five luxurious copies of the Gospels:  N (022, Codex Petropolitanus Purpureus), O (023, Codex Sinopensis), Σ (042, Codex Purpureus Rossanensis), Φ (043, Codex Beratinus) and 080, dating to the 500s.  They are so-named because they are made of parchment that has been dyed purple and written in silver and gold ink.  They are absolutely beautiful. Textually, they have a form of the Byzantine text.  The Alands placed them in Category V (except 080, which is too fragmentary to classify). 
Three of them (Ν, O and Σ) were all copied from the same exemplar, presumably around the same time in the same scriptorium.  To my knowledge, these three are currently the earliest extant examples of sibling-manuscripts made from a common exemplar, though the exemplar itself is lost.  There are other purple biblical manuscripts as well. Do a Wikipedia search for “purple parchment” and you should see a list of a few of them.

Q:  Do you think you have successfully reconstructed the text of the shared exemplar of N, O, and Σ?

Hixson:   I only reconstructed the exemplar in Matthew, but I think I succeeded.  Codex O is only extant there.  I used a spiral process, in which I started with the places where all three are extant, looked for instances in which one disagreed with the other two, took that as the scribe who made an alteration, and then compared those results.  I also took corrections into consideration, to shed light on what kinds of mistakes each scribe made.
From that it became clear that the scribe of O was the scribe who changed the text the least, and that the scribe of Σ had a noticeable tendency to harmonize Matthew to Markan parallels.  So for instance, when only Ο and Σ are extant, and they differ, it is more likely that O preserves the reading of the archetype, especially if the difference could be explained as a harmonization to Mark by the scribe of Σ.
I also rated my confidence in the reconstruction of the archetype at those points of variation with A B C and D.  The ratings are entirely subjective, but at least I was honest and gave reasons for why I adopted the readings I did, and how sure I am of my decisions.

Q:  Is it true that the copyists of the Purple Uncials wrote in silver ink, and used gold ink for contractions of the sacred names, such as “God” and “Lord”?  Which sacred names received this treatment?

Hixson:  It is partially true.  The scribe of N did it, and I believe the scribe of Φ did it for a few chapters but abandoned the effort later in the codex.  O and 080 are entirely in gold, and Σ only used gold for the titles and first three lines of each Gospel.  The scribe of N used gold for “Jesus,” “God,” “Lord,” “Christ,” and sometimes for “Father,” “Son” and “Spirit.”  The scribe of N also wrote the marginal chapter headings in gold.

Q:  Does it look like the copyists used two pens, switching inks as they went, or did they write the main text in silver first and then add the sacred names’ abbreviations in gold afterwards? 

Hixson:  There are a few mistakes here and there that suggest that the exemplar did not use a different ink for any nomina sacra, and that the scribe of N would leave a blank space for them and come back to write them in later in gold.  Whether that was after he finished a page, or a quire, or at the end of the work-day, is anybody’s guess.  I don’t get the impression that the scribe used a different pen for gold.

Q:  Did they ever write the wrong name?  What happened in Codex N at Matthew 13:51? 

Hixson:  In Matthew 13:51, the scribe wrote κ in silver but left a space and went back to write ε and the supralinear line in gold.  And yes, the scribe did write the wrong name a time or two.  Matthew 11:27 is a great example of that.  The reading in N is clearly a blunder on the part of the scribe and not from the archetype (so maybe N shouldn’t be cited there in the UBS/NA apparatuses!).

Q:  Parts of Codex Sinaiticus are scattered among four institutions.  But Codex N is even more scattered.  Can you tell us about that, and how it got that way?  Could some of its missing pages still be out there somewhere?

Hixson:  We don’t know exactly how it happened, but portions of Codex N are presently in eight or nine locations that we know of.  It is usually assumed that the Crusaders had something to do with its dispersal, and I would guess that’s probably right.  We know that most of what’s missing in N went missing centuries ago because of the palaeography of some cursive Greek notes in the margins that indicate that the manuscript was grouped into bundles of 50 folios.  I say eight or nine locations because one leaf of John was formerly in an Italian private collection – it was published and microfilmed – but it appears to have been sold around 15 years ago. We don’t know where it is currently.
However, we do know that at least four folios were taken from N in the 1800’s, because of two modern systems of page numbers.  There are four places where one system continues unbroken but the other one has a gap.  This means that one folio in each of those four places was there when the first system was added, but was removed by the time the second system was added.  Now, three of those four folios have since resurfaced, and sure enough, they each have the pagination from the first system but nothing from the second; these are the folios in Thessaloniki, Athens and New York.  I suspect that if a single folio of Codex N ever surfaces (other than the one that was sold recently), it will be that fourth leaf.  It will contain the text of Luke 4:26–36.
There is some slight hope that bits of Codex O might also still be out there.  Forty-three of its leaves are in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), but O also bears an older foliation system that suggests it had at least 50-some-odd leaves at some point in its modern history before the BnF acquired it in 1899.  Only one of those missing leaves ever resurfaced, though, and to my knowledge, nobody has seen it since before 1962.  It was in Ukraine when anyone last saw it.  Thankfully, the BnF has an old black/white photo that was taken over 100 years ago, which they posted online when they digitized their 43 leaves of O last year.

Q:  There’s the deluxe Tyrian purple, and there’s the cheaper purple-ish purple.  Similarly, there’s real gold, and there’s gold-like pigment.  Are the purple and gold of the Purple Uncials the real deal?

Hixson:  There have been some scientific tests on a couple of them. The purple is not Tyrian purple, but the gold and silver are the real deal. Oxidation is a great way to see the quality of the gold and silver—gold is extremely resistant to oxidation, but silver tarnishes fairly easily.  In the London leaves of N, the dye has faded away almost completely and the silver has tarnished to black, but you can still see the gold of the nomina sacra looking just as fine as ever.  At first glance, it doesn’t look like one of the purple codices.

Q:  The Purple Uncials are sometimes dated to the late 400s or 500s.  Is that correct?  And, what date would you assign to their archetype?

Hixson:  I think the 500s is a good date for them. The palaeography seems to support it, and that’s true of two different types of handwriting in Σ (biblical majuscule for the main text, and upright pointed majuscule for other things).  Other considerations lead me to suspect that they are probably mid-500s.  I don’t think the archetype was much older than its copies.
            We do have references to earlier purple codices.  Jerome mentions purple manuscripts in a letter he wrote in 384 [Epistle 22, To Eustochium, in paragraph 32].

Q:  Which one of the Purple Uncials do you think is the oldest, and does it matter?

Hixson:  I don’t think it matters all that much.  The scribe of O was the most ideal scribe of the three. N and Σ were probably produced at the same time, and I think they are the products of a master (Σ) and his or her apprentice (N).  Codex O has a lot of features that suggest that it was made – for lack of a better word – ‘differently’ than N and Σ.  It’s single-column; they are double-column. It has 6-sheet quires; they have 5-sheet quires.  It has illuminations accompanying the text; they do not.  Whether it was made earlier, later, or while the scribes of N and Σ worked – that’s anybody’s guess.

Q:  Tell us about the unusual patches in Codex N.  Did later owners of the manuscript use parchment from severely damaged pages to repair not-so-badly-damaged pages?
Hixson:  Different institutions have used different methods to repair the manuscript, but at some point, somebody used a bit of the folio containing the kephalaia [chapters] list to Luke, and bits of another folio (which originally contained part of Matthew 6) to patch other places in the manuscript.  Maybe those folios were already damaged.  We can hope so at least; that’s better than the thought of someone tearing up good pages intentionally!

Q:  Cronin [a researcher in the late 1800s/early 1900s] thought that Codex N might have omitted Matthew 12:47, based on space considerations.  What do you think?

Hixson:  Cronin was incredibly insightful and helpful overall, but I think he was wrong there.  N had Matthew 12:47.  There are only two folios missing in the gap, and Σ is extant there.  Σ has it (and adding it in a large section like that isn’t the sort of thing the scribe of Σ would do, nor is the scribe of N likely to omit something large like that), and furthermore, N and Σ have nearly identical line-lengths.  If you count lines in Σ where N breaks off until it comes back in to folios later, you arrive at nearly the exact number of lines you would expect in N. That tells us that whatever N had on those lost pages, it occupied the same space as what Σ has in that text.  I would be comfortable citing Nvid for the longer reading there.

Q:   Is there a possibility that any of the Purple Uncials contained the pericope adulterae after John 21, like in the family-1 manuscript-cluster?

Hixson:  I doubt it.  In N, the very last page of John is missing, but from John 16:15 until that last page, every folio survives.  The manuscript has original quire markers, and at the end of each Gospel, the scribe reduced the number of sheets he/she used per quire so as to finish at the end of a quire and start a new book on the first sheet of a new one.  Kephalaia lists would have been at the end of these ‘short’ quires so that the next Gospel would still begin on the first page of a new quire – that is to say, the extra material between the Gospels was gathered with the Gospel that was ending, not with the one that was beginning.  We know that the final quire of John had three sheets, and the last folio of the outer sheet is the only one missing.  The text cuts off in John 21:20.  I didn’t reconstruct it, but at a glance, what’s left in John 21:20-25 looks like about how much the scribe normally got on a single folio.
All of that is to say that if the PA was added after John 21, it would have to have been added as a new quire on its own, after the scribe deliberately planned to end John at 21:25 and reduced the number of sheets per quire in order to do so. The codex certainly seems planned to end at John 21:25.

Q:  Were these manuscripts made for the Byzantine emperor and his family?

Justinian I, Byzantine
Emperor (r. 527-565)
Hixson:  The best way I know how to put it is that they certainly smell like Justinian I. I’ve not found any contemporary historians mentioning purple codices, but they do describe Justinian’s church-building programs, and the purple codices are definitely consistent with the type of things he did.  There is no proof that Justinian had anything to do with them, but I’ll go back to what I said before:  they certainly do smell like him.

Q:  Did the exemplar of N, O, and Σ have illustrations?  Also, could you take a minute to explain the “testimonials” in the illustrations, where Old Testament characters comment on events in the Gospels? 

Hixson:  I doubt the illustrations were in the archetype.  There are too many differences between the illustrations in O and Σ, and none from N survive.
            The testimonials are interesting.  I wrote an article on that for The Journal of Theological Studies.  I came to the conclusion that they were more likely copied from continuous-text manuscripts than from existing testimonia collections, and in a number of places, they seem to be showing how passages from the Old Testament are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Q:  Now that you’ve completed this project, what’s next?

Hixson:  I’m teaching Romans and John’s Gospel at Edinburgh Bible College this spring, so I’ll be busy preparing lectures for that.  Writing-wise, I’m co-editing a book on textual criticism and apologetics with Peter Gurry, which will be published by IVP – hopefully in a year or two. I’ve got a few articles in the works that have spun out of my dissertation as well.  I do have a couple of monograph-length ideas, but my ability to pursue those depends on whether or not I have gainful employment a year from now, and if so, where and for how long.  At the end of the day, I am an evangelical Christian, so I want to work out my faith in Jesus Christ by careful and responsible scholarship, and I want to use whatever knowledge I gain there in some way for the Church.
            Thank you again for taking interest in my research!

Snapp:  Thank you for taking the time to discuss it!  We look forward to more of your work.

[Readers are invited to scroll-over the text to find embedded links that lead to additional resources.]

Friday, January 5, 2018

Lectionary 5 in Matthew 24:20-26

            Today, let’s look at the text on one page of a medieval lectionary and see how well it compares to the same passage in Codex Vaticanus (the flagship manuscript of the Alexandrian text of the Gospels) and Codex Bezae (the flagship manuscript of the Western text of the Gospels).  The passage is Matthew 24:20-26, and the lectionary is Lectionary 5, also known as Barocci MS 202, at the Bodleian Library. It was written in uncial lettering in the early 1000’s.   (I have not received a response from the Bodleian’s permissions-department, so no image of the manuscript is posted here – but you can see the zoomable, full-color page with Matthew 24:20-26 – page-view 301 out of 316, marked as fol. 147 at the top of the page – at the Digital Bodleian website.) 
            In the following comparison, the Tyndale House edition of the Greek New Testament was used as the standard of comparison.  Differences in the format of sacred names, contractions for και, and differing forms of letters are not counted as textual differences.  The total number of differences between the THEGNT-text and each witness will be given, as well as the number of differences without minor vowel-exchanges (itacisms) in the picture. 


20 – χειμονος instead of χειμωνος (+1, -1)
21 – omits τοτε (-4)
21 – ουδε instead of ουδ’ ου (+1, -2)
22 – η instead of ει (+1, -2)
22 – εκολοβοθησαν instead of εκολοβωθησαν (+1, -1)
22 – κολοβοθησονται instead of κολοβωθησονται (+1, -1)
23 – ηπη instead of ειπη (+1, -2)
24 – δοσουσιν instead of δωσουσιν (+1, -1)
24 – omits μεγαλα (-6)
25 – προηρηκα instead of προειρηκα (+1, -2)
26 – ειποσιν instead of ειπωσιν (+1, -1)

21 – θλειψις instead of θλιψις (+1)
23 – πιστευετε instead of πιστευσητε (a corrector has superlinearly written η (so as to read πιστευητε) (+1, -2)
24 – ψευδοχρειστοι instead of ψευδοχριστοι (+1)

20 – προσευχεσθαι instead of προσευχεσθε (+2, -1) 
21 – θλειψις instead of θλιψις (+1)
21 – ουκ εγενετο instead of ου γεγονεν (+5, -5)
21 – does not have του before νυν (-3)
23 – υμειν instead of υμιν (+1)
23 – εκει instead of ωδε (+3, -2)
23 – πιστευσηται instead of πιστευσητε (+2, -1)
24 – ψευδοχρειστοι instead of ψευδοχριστοι (+1)
24 – πλανηθηναι instead of πλανησαι (+3, -1)
25 – υμειν instead of υμιν (+1)
26 – υμειν instead of υμιν (+1)
26 – εξελθηται instead of εξελθητε (+2, -1)
26 – πιστευσηται instead of πιστευσητε (+2, -1)

RP2005:  better than
Codex Vaticanus.
            This yields the following results:  Codex Vaticanus has only has five letters’ worth of corruption in this passage, and is one letter longer than the text in THEGNT.  Lectionary 5’s text contains nine non-original letters and is missing 23 original letters.  With itacisms removed from consideration, Lectionary 5’s text remains ten letters shorter than the text in Vaticanus.
            Codex Bezae’s text is the least accurate of the three:  although it is about twice as old as Lectionary 5, Codex D has 24 non-original letters and is missing 15 original letters, for a total of 39 letters’ worth of corruption.  (Lectionary 5, with 9 non-original letters and with 23 original letters omitted, has 32 letters’ worth of corruption.  Without itacisms in the picture, Lectionary 5 has 13 letters’ worth of corruption, and D has 22 letters’ worth of corruption.)  
This data may raise some questions:
            ● If scribes tended to add to the text, how is it that a manuscript from the 400’s (or 500’s) has 24 non-original letters here, and a Byzantine manuscript from c. 1000, only has 9 non-original letters, if scribes tended to add to the text?  Apparently the scribes in the ancestral transmission-line of Lectionary 5 never got the memo that stated that they were supposed to gain accretions. 
            ● The RP2005 Byzantine Textform agrees more closely in this passage with the THEGNT and the UBS/NA compilations than Codex Vaticanus and Codex Bezae do.  Even the Textus Receptus – the base-text of the King James Version, compiled in the 1500’s – agrees with THEGNT and NA27 more closely in this passage than the early manuscripts Vaticanus and Bezae do.  How is it that compilations based on late manuscripts, whether many or few, have the best text in this passage?  
            ● Considering that the text of Matthew 24:20-26 in Codex B in the 300’s is longer than the text of Matthew 24:20-26 in Lectionary 5, why do some textual critics (looking at  you, Dan Wallace) continue to teach that copyists – particularly Byzantine copyists – gradually expanded the text?  How many times and in how many ways does the opposite need to be demonstrated before scholars and commentators will concede that no preference should be generally assumed in favor of the shorter reading?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Cappadocian Text

Lectionary 181, written
in uncial script.
            Lectionary 181, in the British Library, catalogued as Add. MS 39602, is one of the few Greek manuscripts of the Gospels that features a colophon, or note from the copyist, mentioning when it was made:  6,488 years from the beginning of the world.  Greek scribes generally thought the world began in 5508 B.C., so this implies that Lectionary 181 was made in A.D. 980.  The copyist also helpfully mentioned who he was working for:  bishop Stephen of Circissa, a town in Cappadocia, about 35 miles from Caesarea-in-Cappadocia (not the Caesarea in Israel); this Caesarea is now the city of Kayseri in the middle of Turkey
            This manuscript also features a second colophon, which also includes a date – 6557 Anno Mundo, or A.D. 1049 – and which confirms that the manuscript was at Circissa.  We thus have here a very rare thing:  a New Testament manuscript which contains explicit statements about when and where it was made and used.

            While Lectionary 181 was being made, another manuscript – the opulently illustrated Menologion of Basil II – was being produced for the emperor of the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople, about 470 miles away from Caesarea-in-Cappadocia.  It provides information about saints were honored in September, October, November, and December.  (The distance between the two cities is comparable to the distance between Cleveland, Ohio and New York City.)
            By sifting through the Menologion-section of Lectionary 181, we may be able to discern which particular saints were honored in Cappadocia in the year 980, and thus we might have the basis on which to isolate a particular class of lectionaries – those which share the same (or very similar) collection of saints to be honored.
            Here are some meta-textual features of Lectionary 181 in its Menologion for September, October, November, and December which may set it apart from other lectionaries, or which seem notable for other reasons.  (The Menologion-section begins on f. 143v).  

The beginning of the lection
for September 20, honoring
Saint Eustace and his
15 – Acacius (born in Cappadocia) is honored as well as Nikita and the fathers at Nicea.
16 –  Symeon and the brothers of the Lord are commemorated; so is the martyr Euphemia.
17 – Eulampius, Pantoleon, and their companions are commemorated.
18 – Instead of Ariadne of Phrygia, Theodora is honored; two lections are provided (the second is offered as a reading for Sept. 16).  The first is the account of the repentant woman that begins at Luke 7:36.  The second – prefaced in Lectionary 181 by αλλο της αυτ. αγιας, Εκ τ. Κατ. Ιωαννων (another for this saint, from [the Gospel] according to John) – is John 8:3-11.  This lection has some unusual readings in Lectionary 181, including:
            8:4 – λεγουσιν τω Ιυ διδασκαλε
            8:4 – κατηληπται 
            8:5 – Και εν τω νομω ημων Μωσης
            8:6 – λιθαζεσθαι
            8:6 – αυτον is omitted but is supplied in the margin
            8:6 – ινα σχωσιν
            8:9 – μονος is not present
            8:10 – Ανακυψας δε ο Ις ειπεν αυτη, Γυναι
            8:11 – includes απο του νυν
21 – The various saints usually commemorated on this date are not mentioned; instead it is dedicated to the Theotokos (God-bearer, i.e., Mary) εν τη πετρα (in the rock).  (Via this phrase a comparison is intended between the conception of Mary in the womb of her previously childless mother Anna, and the production of water from the rock in the days of Moses.)  Here and elsewhere in this manuscript where Mary is referred to as the Theotokos, the word is written as a contracted nomina sacra.
25 – The lection for this date commemorates an earthquake in the Kampos, a borough of Constantinople.  (The prolonged earthquake happened in 447.)

4 – Instead of Hierotheos or the other saints usually commemorated on this date, Lect. 181 honors Peter of Capetolias (cruelly martyred by Muslims in 715). 
8 – Though not unusual, it seems worth mentioning that Lectionary 181 commemorates Saint Pelagia on this date, and assigns to it the same lections as are assigned to Saint Theodora on September 18; after beginning the lection from Luke 7:36, the second lection is introduced as ετερα εις τ. αυτ. αγιας (another [lection] for this saint) and then follows the incipit-phrase and the first part of John 8:3.
17 – Lect. 181 honors Isidora and Neophytus.
19 – Instead of Amphilochius, Lectionary 181 honors Mnason (a very early bishop on Cyprus) and Modestus of Jerusalem (who served in the early 600’s).  (Amphilochius’feast-day is transferred to December 10.)
27 – Lect. 181 honors Artemidorus and his companions, usually assigned (when included) to October 26.     
28 – Lect. 181 honors the martyrs Stephen, Peter, and Andrew.  (These are not the New Testament characters, but much later monks.)  
29 – Lect. 181 honors Saba and Aretha (Aretha is also honored on Oct. 24.)

4 – Lect. 181 honors Theodotus. 
9 – Lect. 181 honors Christopher.
10 – Lect. 181 honors Orestes of Cappadocia (sometimes honored Nov. 9, with others).
15 – Lect. 181 honors Thomas the Patriarch.
20 – Lect. 181 honors Maximian and Gennadius.
22 – Lect. 181 honors Cecilia.
26 – Lect. 181 honors the holy apostle Silas.  (Silas of Persia may be meant, rather than Paul’s fellow missionary.)
29 – Lect. 181 honors Theodoulos of Cyprus.

3 – Lect. 181 honors Indus, Seleucus, and Agapius.
8 – Lect. 181 honors Sophronius, bishop of Constantia in Cyprus.
10 – Lect. 181 honors Amphilochius.
17 – Lect. 181 honors the confessor John, bishop of Sardis.
21 – Lect. 181 honors Julian.
28 – Lect. 181 honors Theodore of Constantinople.

            Thus, over 20% of the lection-dedications in these four months in Lectionary 181 are unusual in some way – mainly by overlooking popular saints and/or focusing on lesser-known saints.  If this particular array of lection-dedications were to be found in another lectionary, or in a table of lection-dedications embedded in a manuscript, it seems safe to say that a historical connection exists between the two.

            But what about its text?  It would be an oversimplification to consider Lectionary 181 as merely another lectionary on the pile of medieval lectionaries.  Although its text is essentially Byzantine, this lectionary has some peculiarities in its Gospels-text.  In 1859, F. H. Scrivener took the effort of collating it, and he presented the result – along with collations of 49 other witnesses – in the lengthy and detailed An Exact Transcript of the Codex Augiensis to Which Is Added a Full Collation of Fifty Manuscripts.  Scrivener describes Lectionary 181 on pages 50-52 of his Introduction (printed as pp. l-lii).  In the collation, it is identified as witness “P.”  Sifting through Scrivener’s work, beginning on page 289, here is a selection of readings from a few sample chapters of the text that was read from this Gospels-lectionary in Cappadocia in the late 900’s:  Matthew 2, 5, and 17, Mark 9 and 15, Luke 6 and 16, and John 7 and 14:

Matthew 2
2:3 – ο βασιλευς is absent in the text, and supplied in the margin.
2:11 – ϊδον (instead of ειδον or ευρον)
2:15 – Αιγυπτου (instead of Αιγυπτον)
2:18 – Ραχιηλ instead of Ραχηλ

Matthew 5
11 – εσται (instead of εστε)
20 – περισσευη (instead of περισσευση)
22 – εργαζομενος (instead of οργιζομενος)
25 – Ισθη instead of Ισθι
29 – εκβαλε instead of βαλε
32 – πας ο απολυων (not ος αν απολυση)
33 – τοις ορκοις (instead of τους ορκους)
47 – φιλους (instead of αδελφους)

Matthew 17
1 – αυτον (instead of αυτους)
2 – αυτον (instead of αυτους)
2 – εγενοντο (instead of εγενετο)
3 – ωφθησαν (instead of ωφθη)
4 – συ (instead of σοι)
5 – adds δε after ετι)
5 – ηυδοκησα (instead of ευδοκησα)
9 – εωσ σου (instead of εωσ ου)
19 – υμεις (instead of ημεις)
24 – διδραγμα (instead of διδραχμα) (twice)
27 – omits την
27 – αναβαινοντα (instead of αναβαντα)

Mark 9
1 – γευσονται (instead of γευσωνται)
18 – αυτω (instead of αυτο)
25 – πνι τω αλωλω (instead of πνα το αλαλον)
36 – omits εν μεσω αυτων (supplied in margin)
38 – omits και εκωλυσαμεν αυτον οτι ουκ ακολουθει ημιν (supplied in margin) (A good example of parablepsis due to homoeoteleuton)

Mark 15
7 – δεδεμενων instead of δεδεμενος
9 – omits ο δε Πιλατος απεκριθη αυτοις (h.t., αυτοις/αυτοις)
10 – παρεδωκαν instead of παραδεδώκεισαν
14 – εκραζον instead of εκραζαν
16 – (after εσω) εις της αυλην του Καϊαφα instead of της αυλην
18 – ο βασιλευς
21 – Σιμονα instead of Σιμωνα
28 – this verse is omitted.
29 – καταλυον instead of καταλυων
32 – includes αυτω after πιστεύσωμεν

Luke 6
1 – omits δυτεροπρωτω (reads τοις σαββασιν at the beginning of the lection)
4 – μονον instead of μονους
6 – omits from εγενετο to διδασκειν
33 – χαρις υμιν εστιν (transposition)
33 – αυτω instead of αυτο
35 – χριστος instead of χρηστος
36 – omits και

Luke 16
15 – υψϊλον instead of υψηλον
24 – φλογη instead of φλογι
25 – omits συ after απελαβες
26 – omits προς ημας
31 – adds των before νεκρων
31 – πιστευθησεται instead of πεισθήσονται

John 7
8 – ου instead of ουπω
8 – καταβαινω instead of αναβαινω
9 – omits δε
14 – omits Ηδη δε (adjusting the beginning of a lection)
14 – omits εις το ιερον
26 – αυτον (instead of αυτω)
37 – omits δε (adjusting the beginning of a lection)
39 – ημελλον instead of εμελλον
40 – adds αυτου after λογον (later hand)
46 – adds αυτοις after Απεκριθησαν
50 – Νικοδιμος instead of Νικοδημος

John 14
2 – υμιν τοπον (transposition)
3 – ετοιμασαι
10 – υμην instead of υμιν
10 – μαινων instead of μενων
12 – omits και μειζονα τουτων ποιησει (h.t., ποιησει/ ποιησει)
14 – includes με after αιτησητε
15 – μου instead of τας εμας
17 – omits Υμεις δε γινωσκετε αυτο (h.t., αυτο/ αυτο) (supplied in margin)
21 – omits ο δε αγαπων με (h.t., αγαπων με/ αγαπων με) (supplied in margin)
21 – αυτο instead of αυτω
28 – omits εγω

            To some extent, these readings – particularly the parableptic omissions – merely show how a specific copyist handled the text.  Yet many of these unusual readings in Lectionary 181 (and many more minute variations not listed here) have allies in Scrivener’s collation.  Just as Lectionary 181’s Menologion’s selection of saints seems somewhat localized, it may be that its text is localized too.  When the singular mistakes of the scribe of Lectionary 181 are filtered out, the remainder of the variants in this lectionary’s text may constitute the Cappadocian Text.  At the very least, we have historical confirmation that this text was used in Cappadocia in the late 900’s.

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Text of Phoebadius

            Today’s subject requires some historical background.
            Following the Council of Nicea in 325, Arius – who promoted the view that there was a time when the Word did not exist, and was the first created thing – was declared a heretic and was sent into exile.  But in the years that followed, Athanasius – Arius’ most vocal opponent, who promoted the orthodox view that the Word is uncreated and worthy of worship – was also sent into exile, and then was restored to his office, and then was exiled again; this happened repeatedly.  If emperor Constantine’s purpose for organizing the Council of Nicea had been to reduce disharmony in the Christian churches, he did not succeed.  Eventually, just before dying, Constantine was baptized (or sprinkled) by Eusebius of Nicomedia (not to be confused with Eusebius of Caesarea) – a bishop who was in the minority that favored Arianism. 
            The bishops at the Council of Nicea had established the divinity of Christ and issued the Nicene Creed – but some other important subjects were not addressed (particularly, the subject of which books were to be considered authoritative was not covered, contrary to widespread claims that may be traced to the fictitious Da Vinci Code) and in the decades that followed the leaders of the Arians managed to stretch the vocabulary of the creed in such a way that it seemed to the emperors that their theology could fit through it.
Julian the Apostate
(Emperor, 361-363)
            Constantius II (co-emperor from 337 to 350, and sole emperor from 350 to 361) favored Arian theology, and just before he died, he was baptized (or sprinkled) by Euzoius, the Arian bishop of Caesarea.  His successor Julian (reigned 361-363) was neither orthodox nor Arian; he attempted to revive paganism and for this reason is known as Julian the Apostate.
            In the middle of this chaotic stage entered Phoebadius of Agen in what is now southwestern France.  He was a bishop from sometime before 357 to sometime after 392 (when Jerome, in his Lives of Illustrious Men, mentioned that Phoebadius was still living).  In the mid-300’s, when the Arian bishops of Caesarea were busy transferring texts from papyrus onto parchment to remedy the destructive natural effects of humidity, Phoebadius boldly and busily defended orthodox theology, participating in councils and writing letters against the slippery word-games used by his Arian contemporaries. 
            Phoebadius wrote in Latin, and thus the Scripture-quotations in his sole extant composition – Against the Arians – provide a glimpse at the Old Latin text that he used.  R. P. C. Hanson has observed that Phoebadius was well-acquainted with at least some of the writings of Tertullian, and that Phoebadius “certainly had Hebrews in his canon.”  Phoebadius also quoted from the book of Tobit.  His work was influential in the theological disputes of the mid-300’s.  Against the Arians was translated into English by Keith C. Wessel in 2008 and this English translation can be downloaded for free.  Using that resource, let’s take a look at some of Phoebadius’ citations and utilizations of the New Testament in the first 12 chapters of his composition Against the Arians, remembering that this was composed in 357 and thus represents a witness as old as Codex Sinaiticus.  I list them in the order in which they appear.

●  John 20:17b
●  Philippians 2:9
●  John 17:3
●  Matthew 19:17 or Mark 10:19 or Luke 18:19 – “Why do you say that I am good?  No one is good except God alone.”
●  John 5:44 – “Why do you not seek honor that comes from the one and only God?”
●  Matthew 24:36 – “Concerning that day and hour no one knows except the Father alone.”  (Notice that Phoebadius’ text does not include the phrase “nor the Son.”)
●  John 11:35 – Phoebadius does not quote this verse but mentions that Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus.
●  Luke 19:41 – Phoebadius does not quote this verse but mentions that Jesus wept over Jerusalem.
●  John 3:6
●  Matthew 26:41 or Mark 14:38 – “The flesh is weak, but the spirit is willing.”  (Notice the transposition.)
●  First John 3:7 (a snippet) – “The one who has the substance of the world”
●  Luke 19:8 (a snippet) – “Look, I am giving half of my substance.”
●  Colossians 1:27
●  First Corinthians 1:24 – “Christ is the power (virtus) of God”
●  Romans 11:34 (snippet)
●  First Corinthians 2:16 (snippet)
●  First Corinthians 2:11 (snippet, twice) – “from him and with him and in him”
●  John 9:29
●  John 16:28 – “I have come forth from the Father and from the bosom of the Father”
●  (20) Matthew 11:27
●  John 16:13
●  First Corinthians 2:10-11
●  Matthew 7:7 or Luke 11:9 (notice the transposition)
●  Matthew 11:25
●  Matthew 13:11 or Mark 4:11 (Byz) or Luke 8:10
●  Ephesians 3:5
●  Colossians 1:27 (an allusion)
●  John 8:14-15
●  John 4:24 (snippet)
●  (30) First Corinthians 15:28 (allusion)
●  Revelation 13:11 (adaptation) – “having horns like lambs but speaking as dragons” 
●  John 14:28 (snippet)
●  John 5:23 (snippet)
●  John 1:18 – Phoebadius specifies that he is citing from John, and quotes, “No one has ever seen God except the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father.”  We see here a defender of Christ’s divinity using the reading “only begotten Son.” 
●  John 17:10
●  John 5:19
●  John 6:38
●  John 8:29 (snippet)
●  John 14:10
●  Second Corinthians 1:20

We thus see that in these 12 chapters, 40 verses are used, mostly from the Gospels.  Let’s continue, covering the remainder of Phoebadius’ composition.

●  Matthew 16:27 – Phoebadius specifically quotes from Matthew:  “The Son is going to come in the glory of his own Father.”
●  Luke 9:26 – Phoebadius specifically quotes from Luke:  “When the Son of Man comes with his own glory and that of his Father.” 
●  Colossians 2:9
●  John 16:15 (snippet)  
●  First John 5:11 – “We proclaim to you eternal life, life that was with the Father, and he adds, and in the Son.” 
●  John 14:10
●  John 5:19
●  John 1:3
●  John 10:30
●  John 7:28-29 – “You neither know me or where I am from, nor that I have not come on my own.  But the one who sent me is true, the one you do not know.  But I know him because I am with him, and he has sent me.”  (Notice the rendering of the first part)
●  John 8:16b 
●  John 10:15a
●  John 3:35b
●  (15) John 5:43a
●  Revelation 1:8 or parallels – “He who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”  (Notice the transposition.)
●  First John 1:1-2
●  John 16:27 (snippet)
●  John 10:30
●  John 14:9-10 (snippets)
●  John 8:29a
●  Romans 11:36 (snippet)
●  John 5:37 (allusion)
●  John 8:19
●  John 4:24a
●  Second Corinthians 13:4 
●  Matthew 26:41 or Mark 14:38 – “The flesh is weak, but the spirit is willing.”  (Notice the transposition, which also occurred the first time Phoebadius quoted the sentence.)
●  First Corinthians 1:18 (snippet)
●  First Corinthians 15:3 (snippet)
●  (30) John 10:30
●  John 14:10
●  John 10:30
●  John 14:9
●  John 4:24a
●  First Corinthians 2:11
●  Romans 11:34
●  John 1:3
●  Philippians 2:6-7
●  Romans 11:33
●  Romans 11:36
●  John 14:16
●  Galatians 1:8

            Taking all 28 chapters of Phoebadius’ Against the Arians into consideration, we see that in this composition he used material from the New Testament 82 times.  He used a few passages – particularly Matthew 26:41 (or Mark 14:38), John 4:24a, and John 10:30 – more than once.  All in all, no less than 70 passages from the New Testament are utilized in this composition.  If it had never been discovered until today, we would announce a rather significant discovery, equivalent to the discovery of 70 little manuscript-fragments as old as Codex Sinaiticus.    
            Yet Phoebadius is hardly known, and lately it seems that the entire category of patristic evidence is being unfairly and unscientifically minimized.  No patristic evidence of any kind appears in the apparatus of the recently published Tyndale House edition of the Greek New Testament.  And in the “textual flow diagrams” in Tommy Wasserman and Peter Gurry’s A New Approach to Textual Criticism, intended as an introduction to the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method, I did not see any patristic writers at all. 
            Recently apologist James White claimed that “The citations of Scriptural material from patristic sources are notoriously vague,” but I welcome him to go through the list presented here and see where, aside from the parallel-passages and the three instances specifically described as allusions, there are any grounds for not affirming that Phoebadius used the passage that is listed.  He also said, “I do not believe that patristic citations can overcome the actual manuscript evidence.”  But where the patristic citations are clear and there is no reason to question the contents of the patristic text itself, they should have the same weight as the owners’ manuscripts.  What does Dr. White think the patristic writers were citing?

            Even relatively little-known patristic compositions can provide significant text-critical data.  Those who would minimize or dismiss patristic testimony run a high risk of investing a lot of effort in a method that is doomed to produce inaccurate results, like a recipe in which the cooks have chosen to omit important ingredients.
            In other news:  Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 11, 2017

My Favorite Passage About an Adulteress in the Bible

            Dan Wallace’s research on John 7:53-8:11 is unreliable.  Let’s take a few minutes today to see where this professor at Dallas Theological Seminary has gotten things wrong about John 7:53-8:11 in his Credo Course on New Testament textual criticism, and at the wrong conclusion that his mistreatment of the evidence has led him.

Actually, we have a lot more than that:
half the majuscules of John 7-8,
and about 1,500 minuscules.
(1)  Wallace:  “We have three majuscule manuscripts, out of the 322 that we have, that actually have this passage.  That’s it.”

This statement is wrong in two ways.  First, the metric is unfair, since most of the 322 uncial manuscripts that he cited (a number which has risen slightly since then) do not have any text from the Gospel of John whatsoever.  It would be unfair to say, “The Dallas Cowboys have failed to win 308 out of 316 football games this season” if the team only played 16 football games, won seven times, and had one tie.  To include 300 games that the team could not participate in serves only one purpose:  to convey a false impression. 
            Second, more than three majuscule manuscripts have the story of the adulteress!  The uncials E, G, H, K, M, U, S, G, Ω, 047, and 0233 support the passage, and Codex F included it when the manuscript was in pristine condition.  Wallace’s statement of the number of uncials (i.e., majuscules) that contain the pericope adulterae is off by a factor of four.
            In addition, it is no secret that Codices Δ and L, while they do not contain John 7:53-8:11, contain blank space between John 7:52 and John 8:12, which is obvious testimony to their copyist’s awareness of the absent passage, and there is no good reason to neglect to mention this feature of these two manuscripts when presenting them as evidence for the non-inclusion of the passage.

The Latin chapter-titles (capitula)
and chapter-summaries (breves)
tell a different story.
(2)  Wallace:  “When the Syriac, and the Coptic, and the Latin versions, along those lines, don’t have it, when they were begun in the second and third century, their manuscripts that they used didn’t have it.”

Wallace’s statement is unobjectionable regarding the Syriac and Coptic copies – setting aside the Syriac Didascalia’s statement about Jesus’ statement, “Neither do I condemn you” in the interest of brevity, since it is not a manuscript – but the Latin evidence is quite a different story.  In an early form of the Latin chapter-divisions of John, considered to have originated in the mid-200’s or slightly thereafter (and for this reason called “Type Cy,” the “Cy” representing Cyprian and his era), the thirtieth chapter-title, or summary, begins with the phrase, “Ubi adulteram dimisit et se dixit lumen saeculi,” that is, “Wherein he dismissed the adulteress, and said that he was the light of the world.” 
            Another form of the Latin chapter-divisions in John, Type I, from the 300’s, divides the text differently; its sixteenth chapter-title, or summary, says, “Adducunt ad eum mulierem ‘in adulterio deprehensam,’” and in one form of this chapter-summary, the text continues, “in moechatione ut eam iudicaret,” and this phrase – with the loanword moechatione – is also found in another form of the Latin chapter-divisions, Type D.  All in all, twelve different forms of Latin chapter-divisions include the story of the adulteress, all in the usual location after John 7:52. 
            Among Old Latin manuscripts of John, while the early Latin support for John 7:53-8:11 is not unanimous, Jonathan Clark Borland has shown that the story of the adulteress circulated in not just one, but three localized forms within the Old Latin tradition.  Clearly, there is Dr. Wallace’s claim, and then on the other hand there is the real world.
Except 20 or so.  Obscure writers
such as Ambrose and Augustine.

(3) Wallace:  “We have a lack of patristic comments on this passage until the twelfth century.   Not until the 1100’s do you get somebody who takes any time to really comment on this text.” 

           For those who are familiar with the comments on this passage made by Pacian of Barcelona (mid-300’s – same era as Codex Sinaiticus’ copyists), Ambrose of Milan, Ambrosiaster, Jerome (whose testimony is strangely absent from the NET’s note on the passage), Augustine, Prosper of Aquitaine, and others, the gracious reaction will be to assume that the speaker was rephrasing Bruce Metzger’s outdated Textual Commentary, and forgot to include the word “Greek” to describe the patristic comments to which he referred.  But this cannot be the entire explanation, because Wallace proceeded to assert that “You don’t see it in any fathers of the first millennium.” [bold print added]

(4) Wallace:  “There are several [manuscripts] that have an asterisk in the margin.” 

            The number of manuscripts with an asterisk or asterisks (or similar marks, such as a column of squiggly lines) is something more like 270, not just “several.”  But in 130 of these manuscripts, the asterisks do not accompany all of John 7:53-8:11; they only accompany John 8:3-11.  Maurice Robinson has helpfully demonstrated that in these cases, the asterisks constitute part of the lectionary-apparatus, conveying to the lector where to find the lection for Saint Pelagia’s Day (October 8) embedded within the lection for Pentecost.  Wallace, however, instead of accepting what should be obvious – for why would copyists put asterisks only by 8:3-11, and not 7:53-8:2 as well, if their intent was to mark the passage as spurious? – has insisted that these asterisks were inserted to convey scribal doubt.  
            Part of the reason why he has insisted that these asterisks convey scribal doubt, he claimed, has something to do with the presence of an asterisk in Codex Claromontanus.  If anyone can make sense of the line of reasoning Dr. Wallace has employed about this, please let me know, for it seems to me that showing that one copyist used an asterisk for one purpose does not mean that other copyists cannot use it for an entirely different purpose.

(5) Wallace:  “Codex D’s text is not at all like the Byzantine MSS’ version of the story.  Lots of corruption in this passage.  Some manuscripts tell us what He wrote.  This indicates that this was “may well be a floating oral story that got spread about in different forms for quite some time.”

            Another explanation is that, as Eusebius of Caesarea reported, there was another form of the story in the once-popular writings of Papias, and details from one form of the story were occasionally blended into the other.  Of course for students to perceive this alternative explanation, they would first have to be informed about the existence of Eusebius’ report of Papias’ form of the incident.
Diagnosis:  Metzgerius Regurgitatis.
Study the lectionary cycle, professor.

(6) Wallace:  “It is a floating text as far as the New Testament is concerned.  Let me show you some of the places this passage has shown up, and let’s wrestle with what the implications of that are.  It appears in three different places in John 7 – not just John 7:53 but a couple of places earlier.”

            Ah, the Fable of the Floating Anecdote.  Since I have already refuted, in an earlier series of posts beginning at http://www.thetextofthegospels.com/2017/01/john-753-811-why-it-was-moved-part-1.html , the theory that the dislocations of the story of the adulteress indicate that it was a freestanding narrative that floated around like a restless butterfly, I will not replow plowed ground here, except to expose how selective Dr. Wallace’s descriptions of the evidence are.

(7) Wallace:  “In some manuscripts, it appears as a separate pericope at the end of all four Gospels, just tacked on at the very end.”
Tell us, please, about the note that
accompanies it in minuscule 1582. 
The note that says it was taken from
the location after John 7:52.

As if someone took a separate composition and added it on to the Gospels.  Except when one learns – as Dr. Wallace’s students, sadly, do not learn in his classroom – that these manuscripts belong to a tightly-related group, family-1, and that the core members of this group (minuscules 1 and 1582) preface the story of the adulteress with a note which specifically says “The chapter about the adulteress:  in the Gospel according to John, this does not appear in the majority of copies; nor is it commented upon by the divine fathers whose interpretations have been preserved – specifically, by John Chrysostom and Cyril of Alexandria; nor is it taken up by Theodore of Mopsuestia and the others.  For this reason, it was not kept in the place where it is found in a few copies, at the beginning of the 86th chapter [that is, the 86th Eusebian section], following, ‘Search and see that a prophet does not arise out of Galilee.’”
            If Dr. Wallace’s students were told about the contents of this prefatory note, they would not leave him classroom ready to confidently tell their future flocks that the story about the adulteress was “tacked on at the very end” from someplace other than from within the Gospel of John.  They would know about the note which specifically says that the story of the adulteress was transplanted to the end of John from its usual location after John 7:52.
Some?  I think you mean one.
And it's not independent. 
It's the lection for Saint Pelagia's
Day, with a heading, "From John."

(8) Wallace:  “In some manuscripts, it stands as an independent pericope between Luke and John.”

This is not the case.  The manuscript that comes the closest to fitting Dr. Wallace’s description is minuscule 1333, in which the lection for Saint Pelagia’s day (John 8:3-11) is added between the end of Luke and the beginning of John, on what had been a filler-page.  But John 8:3-11 is accompanied on this page in 1333 by headings which identify it as the lection for Saint Pelagia’s day, and as a lection from the Gospel of John.  Once again when the details of the evidence are not locked away, the same thing that was treated as evidence that the story of the adulteress was a floating text is seen to be just the opposite. 

(9) Wallace:  “What does all this tell us?  Is it stable in its place?  No; it’s not stable.  That suggests that here’s a passage that’s trying to get into the Bible, and it’s tried several different places to get in, if you can personify this.  And finally it landed on John 7:52, right after that seemed to be the most logical, the most coherent place, it seems; fits into the text pretty well, and yet there are still some real serious issues there.”

            That is the conclusion that Dr. Wallace wants his students to reach.  Throughout his lectures on this subject – not only in the Credo Course but also in other online presentations – he demonstrates an utter lack of consideration of the impact of the lection-cycle upon the text.  One is tempted to even call it a lack of awareness of the lection-cycle altogether, for as far as I can tell, he never brings up the point that the lection for Saint Pelagia was embedded within the lection for Pentecost.  Nor, as far as I can tell, does he ever indicate that he understands that copyists sometimes simplified the lector’s task on Pentecost (where the lection jumped from the end of John 7:52, leapfrogged John 7:53-8:11, and landed on 8:12) by removing the elided verses to another location.
            Rather, here is how he described the format of the passage in minuscule 115; I give an extensive quote in order to show the extent of his misunderstanding: 

(10) Wallace:  “And it also occurs, in one manuscript, after John 8:12; this is fascinating:  it’s codex 115, and it’s one that Griesbach actually was one of the very first guys to collate; I collated it several years ago, and what I noticed was – here’s a manuscript, it shears off at John 11, right in the middle of John 11 – but, the scribe copying out this manuscript gets to this pericope, and – he’s copying from another manuscript – he writes out John 7:52; then he continues copying from this other manuscript, and writes out John 8:12. 
            “The manuscript that he’s copying from . . . all of a sudden, it skips the story of the woman caught in adultery.  This scribe doesn’t catch it until he writes the verse after this pericope.  And so, he catches it:  he goes, “Oh!  Wait a minute; that’s not right.  This story is supposed to go here.”  So he goes and puts that manuscript down, picks up another one that has the story of the woman caught in adultery, and writes it out.  This is the only manuscript I know of where you have the story of the woman caught in adultery after John 8:12, and then John 8:12 is again repeated after it.  And you can see how it came about.”

            Except that’s not how it came about.  The copyist of 115 was merely trying to make the lector’s job a little easier by putting 8:12 alongside the rest of the lection for Pentecost.  Minuscule 115 is not the only manuscript like this; the same thing is found in minuscules 1050, 1349, and 2620, and in minuscule 476, John 8:12 is written in the margin alongside 7:52 for the same purpose.  Dr. Wallace guides his students to conclude that the passage is a floating text, but what the evidence that he is presenting really shows – if its details would be allowed to speak in Dr. Wallace’s classrooms – is that the copyists of these manuscripts expected John 7:37-52+8:12 to be read at Pentecost, and they also expected John 8:3-11 to be read on October 8 in honor of Saint Pelagia (or in some cases, Mary of Egypt).  In no way does these transplantations of the passage support the idea that it was moved from anywhere except from its usual location after John 7:52
            Regarding the other case of transplantation that Wallace mentioned (to the end of Luke 21), and others that he did not mention, I have elsewhere already explained how they originated because of adjustments to the lection-cycle, and do not support the idea of a “floating text,” unless one means that some copyists, in attempts to simplify the task of the lector, floated the passage from its usual location after John 7:52 to other locations that they considered more convenient.

(11) Wallace:  “I told you that some of these manuscripts have an asterisk there, and the asterisk is indicating that the text is not authentic.  Here in Codex 1424 we see asterisks in the margin down here, of this text.  So you’ve got the text actually written out, but then you’ve got the asterisks saying it’s not actually authentic, or that they have doubts about it.  This is a manuscript at the Lutheran School of Theology that we photographed a few years ago, a very important manuscript.  But, significantly, those asterisks say, the scribe is telling us he has doubts about the authenticity.”
What about the note in 1424 that
says that the entire passage is in
the ancient manuscripts and that
the church should use it?

            Let’s take a closer look at minuscule 1424’s treatment of the story of the adulteress.  Its main text does not include the passage; the account is crammed into the outer and lower margin of the page.  The readings within the passage as written in the margin of 1424 are similar to the text of the passage in Codex Λ.  In addition to the asterisks, it is accompanied by a note.  Nearly identical notes also appear in Codex Λ (as a scholium), and in minuscule 262, and in minuscule 20 (in which the passage is transplanted to the end of the Gospel of John).  Here is the note:  This is not in certain copies, and it was not in those used by Apollinaris.  In the old ones, it is all there.  And this pericope is referenced by the apostles, affirming that it is for the edification of the church.”  (The last sentence is referring to the use of the story about the adulteress in the composition known as Apostolic Constitutions, Book 2, chapter 24, which is modeled upon an older work, the Didascalia, at this point.)
The format of the text in 1349:
Red line with green arrow (twice) = 8:12
Yellow line = 7:53-8:11
Blue rectangle = heading, "The Adulteress"
Green square:  movable date for the next lection
            Thus, when closer scrutiny is applied to the margin of 1424, we do not have to resort to guesswork to see the purpose of the asterisks:  they draw attention to the passage that the note is about – a note which affirms that the passage, though not in some copies, was found in ancient manuscripts, and which appeals to Apostolic Constitutions as confirmation that it is for the edification of the church.  Not quite the same impression now, is it?

(12) Wallace:  “I really think the passage needs to be relegated to the footnotes.”

            So would I, if my grasp of the evidence were as poor as his, or if I were a student at Dallas Theological Seminary (or at the Credo Course) without the means to test the accuracy of what I was being taught on this subject.  But having taken an unfiltered look into the evidence (and there is much more I could critique, but have not, in the interest of brevity), my view is that the story about the adulteress was originally in the text of the Gospel of John, and that it was lost in an early and influential transmission-line when a copyist misunderstood marginal instructions intended for a lector as if they were meant for the copyist.  It should be revered by everyone as inspired Scripture.  
            Some might claim that my position is the effect of an attachment to tradition, or “emotional baggage.”  What could I do against such suspicions except insist that this is not the case, and that it is those who reject the pericope adulterae who are promoting an obsolete tradition – namely, the “floating anecdote” myth that is no longer sustainable.  Against all attempts at dismissal, I bask in my confidence that even those who have traveled down that dead-end road will soon learn the facts of the case, and stop spreading their inaccurate claims about the story of the adulteress.
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