Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Sinai Gr. 212: The Most Important Manuscript You Never Heard Of

Mark 16:9-20 in Sinai Gr. 212.
            Among the manuscripts in the Sinai Palimpsests Project’s collection of newly photographed manuscripts, Greek 212 stands out as one which has New Testament texts as its primary upper writing.  This early Greek lectionary manuscript was made from recycled parchment pages which had previously contained a Greek Psalter.  This manuscript deserves much more attention than it has received.
            Let’s take a closer look at the excerpts from the New Testament that this manuscript contains.  There are 30 excerpts in all, all but one of which are preceded by a rubric (a note written in red) that identifies the purpose or occasion for each lection, and/or the book from which the lection is taken.  I have given extra details here for only a few of the rubrics.   
            The first eight lections form an eight-part series of lections about Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances:  (1)  Matthew 28:1-9.  (2)  Mark 16:1-8.  (3)  Luke 24:1-12.  (4)  John 20:1-18.  (5)  Matthew 28:9b-20.  (6)  Mark 16:9-20.  [27v-32v]  (7)  Luke 24:13-35.  (8)  John 21:1-14. [44v].  (This eight-part series, which resembles the 11-part Heothina series in the Byzantine Lectionary, represents a feature in an ancient lection-cycle used at Jerusalem.)
           The rest of the excerpts are:
 Luke 10:38-42.
      Matthew 16:13-20
      Matthew 5:17-24 (without εικη in 5:22)
      Matthew 10:1-15 (For the Apostles) [62v]
      Matthew 10:16-22
      Matthew 10:24-33
      John 12:24-26 (For Saint Stephen) [78r]
      Matthew 5:13-16
      Matthew 25:1-13
      Matthew 5:1-12a
      John 10:11-16
      Matthew 16:24b-27 (For the Archangels) [92v]
      John 5:19b-24 (For the Sleepers)
      Matthew 11:25-30
      Hebrews 13:10-16
      Hebrews 1:13-2:4
      First Corinthians 4:9-15 (For the Apostles)
      First Corinthians 12:27-13:3 (reading καυθήσωμαι in 13:3)
      Romans 5:1-5.  [105v]  (reading εχομεν in 5:1)
      Second Corinthians 4:7-12.
      Hebrews 4:14-5:6.
      First Thessalonians 4:13-18.  (The rubric for this lection is missing, an unartistic secondary hand has added From Thessalonians in black ink.)

            Additional information about the rubrics and marginalia in Sin. Gr. 212 can be found in Daniel Galadza’s informative article Two Greek, Ninth-century Sources of the Jerusalem Lectionary:  Sinai Gr. 212 and Sinai Gr. N.E. ΜΓ 11, in Bollettino Della Badia Greca De Grottaferrata (2014). 

            When microfilm-pictures were taken of Sinai Gr. 212 in 1950, the manuscript was assigned a production-date in the 600s.  However, considering the breathing-marks and accents that accompany the text, the main upper Greek writing’s production-date should probably be assigned to the late 700s or early 800s.  The text of a Greek Psalter that was sacrificed to provide writing-material for the lectionary-text (which is particularly apparent in the new photographs at the Sinai Palimpsests Project website) may date to the 500s.    
            This is just one manuscript – and yet, its discovery is like discovering fragments from nine New Testament books, all older than 90% of our extant New Testament manuscripts.  (Actually, ten New Testament books, inasmuch as what appears to be a sort of tightly written heading on the first page is the contents of Acts 5:38b-39.)

What type of text does this witness display?  Although one should not extrapolate too much from one scoop out of the ice-cream bucket, the following comparison in Matthew 28 is instructive:

2 – σισμος, agreeing with À.
2 – και before προσελθων, agreeing with B À.
2 – απο της θύρας but not του μνημείου, agreeing with A C K M Δ Π W Y.  A supplemental hand has supplied του μνημείου.
3 – ως instead of ωσει, agreeing with B À* D K Π.
4 – ως instead of ωσει, agreeing with B À D A L W.
6 – does not have ὁ Κς at the end of the verse, agreeing with B À Θ 33.
8 – απελθουσαι instead of εξελθουσαι, agreeing with B À C L Θ. 
9 – does not have the first part of the verse (up to αυτου), agreeing with B À D W Θ.
9 – before Ις, agreeing with D L W Y Θ.
9 – υπηντησεν instead of απηντησεν, agreeing with B À* C Π Υ Θ.
10 – μαθηταις instead of αδελφοις, agreeing with 157.
10 – κακει instead of και εκει, agreeing with B D L M.
14 – does not have αυτον after πείσομεν, agreeing with Β À Θ 33.
17 – does not have αυτω after προσεκύνησαν, agreeing with Β À D 33.
19 – ουν after Πορευθέντες, agreeing with B W Δ Θ Π.
20 – does not have Αμην at the end of the verse, agreeing with B À A* D W.

Thus, in Matthew 28, Sin. Gr. 212 is a strong Alexandrian witness.  It should be a consistently cited witness of the first order.

[Readers are encouraged to explore the embedded links in this post to find additional study-materials.]

Sunday, June 17, 2018

An Interview with Stephen Carlson: Cladistics and the Text of Galatians

Dr. Stephen C. Carlson

Joining us today is Dr. Stephen C. Carlson, a professor at the Australian Catholic University. A former lawyer, in 2012 Dr. Carlson received a Ph. D. at Duke University; his dissertation consisted of an attempt to reconstruct the transmission-history of the text of Galatians, using principles from the biological field of cladistics.  In the process, Carlson produced new collations of the of the text of Galatians in Papyrus 46, ℵ, B, A, C, D, F, G, and several minuscules, including 1780 (Codex Branscombius, from c. 1200) which is housed at Duke University.
His investigation involved the testimony of 94 witnesses across 1,624 textual contests.  He also made a new compilation of the entire book, disagreeing with NA27 thirteen times.  Let’s ask him some questions about all that.

(1) Dr. Carlson, thanks for taking the time for this interview. What was the most surprising thing you learned in the course of researching the text of Galatians?

Carlson: Thanks for taking the trouble to read my work carefully and propose such well thought-out and intelligent questions. There were a lot of little surprises but nothing really big. I suppose the most surprising thing is how few times I ended up disagreeing with the critical text. (Also how little evidence of theologically motivated changes there was, particularly in the road up to the Byzantine text.) The biggest differences were Gal 2:12 (“when he came” vs. “when they came”) and Gal 2:20 (“faith of/in God and Christ” and “faith of/on the Son of God”).  Almost everything else involved word-order and word-choice variants.

(2) What is cladistics?      

Carlson:  Cladistics is a method for inferring a family tree for a group of entities that were generated by a genealogical process.  If we have a way of judging which of two different proposed family trees fit the data better (i.e., a family tree of manuscripts that puts very similar manuscripts together is better than one does not), then the method of cladistics says that we should try as many of the possible genealogies that we can until we find the “best” one. Moreover, cladistics proposes a metric for identifying good family trees:  they’re the ones that minimize the number of scribal errors that must have happened throughout the transmission history.  This is called “maximum parsimony.”

(3) A lot of attention has been given lately to the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method.  Your approach seems to involve less data-manipulation, and fewer initial steps that steer  results.  What can you tell us briefly about (a) what an unoriented stemma is, (b) how you made the unoriented stemma for Galatians, and (c) how cladistics guides the process of starting with an unoriented stemma and ending up with an oriented stemma?

Carlson:  Good question. We ordinarily think of a stemma or family tree as having a chronological direction. It starts with the original, proceeds to its copies, and then to copies of the copies. In cladistics, we favor the stemma that minimizes the number of scribal errors, but this begs the question as to what is a scribal error and what is the “authorial” reading (also known as the “true” or “original” reading).
The CBGM, as I understand it, is a development of Kurt Aland’s local genealogical principle that there are places in the text where we can definitely tell which readings are errors and build from there.  The CBGM is a more rigorous application of this principle, identifying “potential ancestors” based on how many locally genealogically prior readings a manuscript has in relation to the other.  Of course, the value of this approach depends on making good judgments about the priority of one reading to another – although there is some provision for feedback and updating one’s judgments about genealogical priority.
My approach defers the question of priority to the back end of the process.  The fundamental insight for this is in fact 50 years old; it is this:  you don’t need to know which variant is more likely to be a scribal error in order to determine the basic shape of the stemma. Regardless of which reading you think is older than another, the stemma will have the same shape, that is, it will identify the same manuscripts as being close (or distant) relatives as before.
The only difference is that the stemmas will have different orientations.  A textual critic that likes the Western text and thinks its readings are prior to those of non-Western manuscripts will orient the stemma in such a way that the Western manuscripts will at the top, while a textual critical who likes 1739’s readings a lot can orient the stemma in such a way that 1739 and its relatives will be at the top.  However you orient the stemma, there is only one “unoriented stemma” that most efficiently arranges the manuscripts with respect to one another.
It turns out that finding this unoriented stemma is something that computers are very good at, and it does not need any judgments about which reading is better or more prior than another.  Once the best unoriented stemma has been found (of those looked at), the textual critic can move in and identify the best way to the orient the stemma based on the critic’s understanding of which readings are more likely authorial or scribal.
            So to answer your specific questions: (a) the unoriented stemma is the stemma that most efficiently accounts for the patterns of readings (but not their priority) among all the manuscripts that you’re looking at; (b) I made the unoriented stemma by creating a matrix of manuscripts and variation units that describe what the variants readings are and fed it to a program I wrote for finding the stemma that most efficiently accounts for the distribution of the variant readings; (c) the cladistics procedure ends with discovery of the best-found unoriented stemma: the rest is old fashioned text critical work dependent on the critical judgment of the textual critic.

(4) For a long time, textual critics have been comfortable working on the premise that community of error implies community of origin. Does a stemmatic approach confirm that principle, or should that principle be modified? Or to put it another way, did you find a significant amount of accidental or coincidental agreements among essentially unrelated witnesses?

Carlson:  I would say that a stemmatic approach implements this principle. Cladistics does recognize that there can be a large amount of accidental coincidences among relatively unrelated witnesses, but as long as these coincidences are not patterned more strongly than genetic agreements, the maximum parsimony principle still works. I would say that within the medieval transmission of the Byzantine text, most of the coincidences in non-Byzantine readings are in fact accidental and the result we get in the stemma is not so much in falsely identifying close relatives when they are not but rather an inability to identify close relatives at all.

(5) (Long question.) A normal principle in textual criticism is, “Prefer the reading that best explains its rivals.”  But sometimes plausible explanations can be given for two rival variants. In those cases, some textual critics have resorted to making decisions based on the character of groups, preferring the reading supported by witnesses that tend to have readings that best explain their rivals. Metzger’s Textual Commentary seems to frequently describe that resort being taken; Alexandrian readings are often preferred because they are Alexandrian, which is a little frustrating, because at some point the assumption of the relative degrees of reliability of witnesses ends up confirming itself. But what alternative is there?  Can cladistics contribute something to the resolution of finely-balanced contests?

Carlson:  Well, normally in textual criticism there are two kinds of evidence, internal and external. Where the internal evidence is not decisive we need to look at the external evidence (and vice versa).  A thorough-going eclectic might eschew external evidence, but I don’t know that the alternative is besides giving up.  If we knew the history of the text, we should use it. Metzger and other “reasoned eclectics” would claim that the reason that Alexandrian readings are preferred in these cases is that in other cases Alexandrian readings seem to be good.  What I think cladistics/stemmatics can contribute is being consistent in the use of external evidence, which doesn’t always happen.  In addition, there can be variants where contests are finely balanced both internally and externally.  Those I think we should try the best we can.

(6) When measuring the relative degrees to which one witness’ contents are related to other witnesses’ contents, how did you handle the problem of gaps in the materials, such as missing pages in manuscripts, incomplete quotations in patristic writings, or the inability of some versional evidence to express distinctions between rival readings that appear in Greek?

Carlson:  The method does allow for gaps in the witness, which can be coded as “missing.”  It doesn’t really affect the algorithm or the maximum parsimony principle, but with less data the result will be less precise.

(7) In the most recent N-A/UBS compilation, the testimony of minuscules 1739 and 1175 seems to have been given more weight, and thus had more impact, than one might have expected in the General Epistles. Would that be justified in Galatians, too?

Carlson:  In my research for Galatians, they’re of secondary weight.  1739 turns out to be as close to the archetype as A but not as close as 01 (Sinaiticus) or 33.  It is an important manuscript with an early text, but not as good as Zuntz claimed for Paul (results could differ in other letters).  1175 turned out to be a mixed manuscript:  one source is related to 33 and the other source is Byzantine.

(8) The text produced by Westcott and Hort in 1881 has been criticized for being based on a genealogical method that lacked a real-life genealogy. Do we now have a real-life genealogy for the text of Galatians?

Carlson:  Having a genealogy for Galatians is indeed my claim. Of course, it is not “real-life” but a proposal based on the evidence of 92 witnesses. The difference over Hort is that it is more precise and less hand-wavy than the vague groups that Hort predicted.

(9) Tell me about parsimony.  Did you find the “expense” of a particular family-tree of witnesses consistently the same across different segments of the text? Also, inasmuch as, as you acknowledged in the dissertation, “history can be messy,” can parsimony ever give us anything more than a vague that-a-way wave of the hand?

Carlson:  My impression is that the text of Galatians is less stable (and hence would have a higher “expense”) in the first two chapters than in the last four.  As for parsimony, it is like Occam’s Razor: all other things equal, we go for the simplest, not because it is more likely to be true but because we don’t really know or have a justified basis in claiming how the true reality is specifically more complicated.

(10) What did you find out about minuscule 1854 that was interesting?

Carlson:  Out of the 92 witnesses of Galatians I studied, a full two-thirds of them were Byzantine, and most of these had scribal errors that differed from the Byzantine prototype in about a dozen or so places. 1854 is interesting in that it only deviated in four (and in some of those four, the Byzantine Text itself is divided).  Since 1854 is an eleventh-century text much younger than some uncial Byzantines of the 800s, it suggests that some important and early exemplars of the Byzantine were still available to be copied centuries after they were made.

(11) Sifting through the textual commentary on select variant-units embedded in the dissertation, I noticed that you occasionally favored a Byzantine reading over the reading of Vaticanus. Do you think this trend would continue if a cladistics-based approach were applied to the entire Pauline corpus?

Carlson:  Those cases are mainly based on how I evaluated the internal evidence, while cladistics helps me the external. I do think that the critical text over-values Vaticanus when it omits short words.

(12) What are our top three Greek manuscripts of Galatians?

Carlson:  Sinaiticus (01), Vaticanus (B), and Claromontanus (D), but I think in terms of good combinations of manuscripts instead of good manuscripts.  Choose any one manuscript from {D, F, G}, one from {B, P46}, and one from {01 33 A 1739 1611 1854 (Byz)}, and adopt the reading supported by at least two of the three.  That will give you a very good approximation of the archetype just from those three.  The three closest are B 01 33, but since 01 and 33 are too closely related, you will need a Western (or even a Byzantine because of its readings shared among Westerns) instead of 01 or 33 to get a better text than what the combination of B, 01, 33 alone can give you.
(13) In Galatians 2:16 you rejected the Byzantine non-inclusion of δε even though the Byzantine reading is supported by 1739, the Harklean group, and Papyrus 46.  Do you still have the same view, and if so, could you briefly walk us through your reasoning for that?

Carlson:  This is a very close case in my opinion.  In favor of the inclusion of δέ we have D*FG d b vg; B; 01; C 1241S, and Chrysostom.  For non-inclusion of δέ we have P46, 33 1175, AP, 1739 Ψ hark Byz.  In terms of external evidence, aside from the Westerns (DFG), every other group is split, so there’s slight weight on the inclusion.  Transcriptionally, the omission of the connective particle δέ looks harder than its inclusion, but as Royse has shown, the omission of such little words was fairly common in the earliest period.  Intrinsically, i.e., in terms of what Paul meant, the best interpretation of the non-inclusion is the same as one with the inclusion of δέ, so that’s not much help.  I ended up favoring the slight external evidence for the inclusion, thinking that its omission would have been more common in the early period.  But it’s not a judgment I would bet the farm on.

(14) Regarding a reading in Galatians 5:21, you claimed that a deliberate insertion (of φóνοι, “murders”) was more likely than its accidental omission via simple parablepsis. Could you elaborate on the basis for your reasoning there?

Carlson:  I think both possibilities did happen in the transmission of the text. On my stemma, it was inserted twice and omitted twice.  Ultimately, I went for the intrinsic evidence, what I think fits Paul’s argument the best, and the sin of “murders” seemed somewhat out of place compared with the other sins of the Galatians.  But, yeah, another variant I’m not betting the farm on.

(15) Robert Waltz, the custodian of the Encyclopedia of New Testament Textual Criticism website, has finished a compilation of the text of Galatians, and although his approach employed different principles from yours, I think he would concur that the text of 4:25a is “all over the map.”  You gave this passage some attention back in 2014.  Should the phrase “Sinai is a mountain in Arabia” be considered an interpolation?  Or is that conclusion a case of cutting the knot rather than untying it?

Carlson:  I’ve argued that it came from a marginal note in an early (second-century) authoritative edition of Paul’s letters.  Textual critics are by and large skeptical of such solutions.  I suppose it is cutting the knot (if any reading is original, I would favor that one starts with τὸ γὰρ Σινᾶ) rather than untying it, but maybe the existence of the knot in the first place is because of such a marginal note.

Thanks, Dr. Carlson, for sharing your research with our readers.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

What's New at Robert Waltz's ENTTC

For online introductions to the materials involved in New Testament Textual Criticism, few sites can compete with Robert Waltz’s Encyclopedia of NewTestament Textual Criticism.  It was updated relatively recently, which seems to have had the effect of pushing together the words that used to be at the ends and beginning of many adjacent lines of text.  That’s bad.  But on the positive side, several valuable new entries have been made since 2016.  Let’s take a look at some of the more important ones!

● In a new essay, Archetypes and Autographs, Waltz raises some questions about potential problems involved in the question for the earliest text of a composition.

● Waltz has offered a thoughtful critique of the “Assured Results” of scholarship, cautioning against casually accepting a scholarly consensus.  A handy supplement:  Waltz’s essay on Some Sample Variants and how critics have attempted their resolution.  (Even readers who do not agree with Waltz’s conclusions (I certainly disagree with several of them) may benefit from this display of how some “pat answers” have been created for some common text-critical questions.)

● A new page provides biographies of over 30 individuals who have made contributions of one kind or another to the field of New Testament textual criticism, from Kurt Aland to Francisco Ximénes. (Alas; the full scope of the alphabet could be reached had Nicholas Zegers been mentioned, but so far, no entry for Zegers).  The selection of detail might be nitpicked – A.E. Housman receives 27 paragraphs; Bruce Metzger got nine lines – but all the biographies are interesting.

● An informative essay on the history of Books and Bookmaking.

● A review of Canons of Textual Criticism, in which Waltz mentions that the rule That reading found in the majority of early text-types is best is his favorite rule regarding external evidence.

● An entry on Chemistry and Physics and their significance in the study of ancient manuscripts – especially in the identification of various pigments in illustrations, and in the detection of forgeries.

● An essay on methods of Collation.

● A brief consideration of Conjectural Emendations, including one in First Corinthians 6:5 that was adopted in Michael Holmes’ SBL-GNT.

● A collection of profiles of various Critical Editions (including the work of Reuben Swanson).

● A review of important Manuscript Libraries, facilitating the easy realization of which library is meant by which Latin or Latinized name.

Neumes – musical notations – are described.

Nomina Sacra and Other Contractions are listed and described.

Old Testament Textual Criticism is summarized in an entry that covers a variety of sub-topics, ranging from the Septuagint to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

● The entry on palimpsests has been revised, and is likely to be expanded again as more and more researchers gain access to new findings yielded by the use of multi-spectral imaging.

● The entry on Versions of the New Testament has been revised.

Writing-materials receive plenty of attention in an entry that discusses not only papyrus, parchment, and paper but also inks and pens.

Those are just some of the new and newly expanded materials that await the studious visitor to the Encyclopedia of New Testament Textual Criticism site.   
            Other works by Robert Waltz include a presentation of the text of Philippians with a concise apparatus and textual commentary, and a compilation of the text of Galatians with a running apparatus for select variant-units.   He has also prepared a webpage to address some technical concerns (and how to resolve them) related to the ENTTC site.
            A presentation of a 2013 version of the contents of the ENTTC site can be downloaded as a PDF.  Features of special note in this document include Appendix II, a Manuscript-Number Conversion Table (especially helpful for those who consult the work of Tischendorf, von Soden, etc.).  Its “Appendix IX” lists variant-units which have tended to be magnets of disagreement among compilers; it also features a rudimentary appendix for those variant-units.  

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Meet Codex Boernerianus (012)

            Two months ago (April 2018) we met Codex Sangallensis (a.k.a. Codex Δ (Delta), or 037), an important manuscript of the Gospels, in which the Greek text is accompanied by an interlinear Latin translation.  (This Latin text is known as VL (Vetus Latina) 77.)  Today, let’s get to know Codex Δ’s sibling:  Codex Boernerianus (a.k.a. Codex Gp or 012), made in the 800s.  It is a copy of the Epistles of Paul (not including Hebrews), and is named after the German scholar Christian Frederick Boerner (1685-1753), who loaned it to his contemporary Richard Bentley.  It has been cited in compilations of the Greek New Testament ever since the 1752 edition by Johann Jakob Wettstein.    
Romans 12:7-16 in Codex 012,
with verse-numbers superimposed,
and unusual readings framed
(Yellow:  12:11)  (Orange: 12:14)
Codex 012 was probably a companion-volume of Codex 037; they are very similar in size and format.  The text of 012 is not quite complete.  It is missing some portions – Romans 1:1-4, Romans 2:17-24, Romans 14:24-36 (as presented in the usual Byzantine Text), First Corinthians 3:8-16, First Corinthians 6:7-14, Colossians 2:1-8, and the last five verses of Philemon.  In each case, the copyist perceived that his exemplar was defective, and left memorial-space to convey that there should be additional text where the page on which he wrote was blank.   
            Photographs of 012 were made in 1909, and that was a fortunate event, because a few decades later in 1945, during World War II, the manuscript was severely damaged when the city of Dresden (where it was kept) was bombed.  The photographs of the pages from 1909 can be viewed online at the website of the Saxon State and University Library at Dresden. (The book-by-book index, though all in German, is easy to understand.)  All of the 1909 photos of the entire manuscript can be downloaded as a PDF, too.  Gary S. Dykes has provided an introduction to the 1909 facsimile of 012 (with an informative section about the relationship between Codex Boernerianus and Codex Augiensis), and at CSNTM, facsimile-pages have been indexed page by page.
            The text of 012 is not Alexandrian.  It is usually categorized as “Western.”  A list of its idiosyncratic itacisms would be extremely long and wearisome; it is as if much of the Greek text has been deliberately written in what seemed to a copyist (not necessarily the copyist of 012, but a copyist somewhere in its text’s transmission-line) to be phonetic spelling.  Here is a sample of 012’s other (not itacisms) readings from Romans chapter 12:

3 – 012 repeats τὸ ἀγαθὸν, a case of dittography.
3 – 012 skips παρ’ ὃ δεῖ φρονεῖν, a case of parablepsis (the copyist’s line of sight drifted from the final letters of the preceding word ὑπερφρονεῖν to the same letters that occur a little later in the text). 
4 – 012 begins the verse with ωσπερ instead of καθάπερ.
5 – 012 does not have the word ἐσμεν.
8 – 012 does not have ειτε at the beginning of the verse.
8 – 012 repeats εν τη after παρακαλων (another case of dittography).
9 – 012 reads μεισουντες instead of αποστυγουντες.
11 – 012 reads καιρω (“time”) instead of Κυρίω (“Lord”).  This variant is old; Jerome alluded to it in his Epistle 27, To Marcella), and, if Rufinus did not expand on the comments of Origen when he (Rufinus) translated his (Origen’s) commentary on Romans, then Origen, in the first half of the 200s, was also aware of this variant.  Ambrosiaster, too, shows an awareness of this reading; he even prefers it, proposing that it was meant to convey the same idea as Ephesians 5:16.  It was later adopted by the scholar Stephanus in his 1550 edition of the Greek New Testament – a clear example of the variations among different compilations that circulated in the 1500s, showing that Stephanus and Beza did not unthinkingly reproduce the work of Erasmus.
13 – 012 reads μνίαις instead of χρείαις.
14 – 012 skips the words τους διώκοντας ὑμᾶς εὐλογειτε, a case of parablepsis in which the copyist’s line of sight drifted from the εὐλογειτε at the beginning of the verse to the same word a little later in the text.
17 – 012 has an extra phrase, ου μονον ενώπειον του Θυ αλλα κει, so as to make the sentence read, “Give careful thought to do what is right not only in the sight of God but also in the sight of all men.”  The Greek text has been conformed to the Vulgate, in which this part of the verse is made to resemble Second Corinthians 8:21.
21 – 012 reads απο instead of υπο.

The text of 012 is almost famous (or infamous) for moving First Corinthians 14:34-35 to a location after verse 40.  Here are some other anomalous readings of 012 in First Corinthians 14:

1 – 012 reads Αιώκεται instead of Διώκετε.  Apparently somewhere along the line, a copyist misread his exemplar, confusing the similar letters Α (alpha) and Δ (delta).
2 – 012 reads γλώσσαις instead of γλώσσῃ.
4 – 012 adds Θυ after εκκλησείαν, yielding the reading, “builds up the church of God.”
5 – 012 reads αλλειν instead of λαλειν, a case of letter-transposition.
7-9 – 012 does not have the word τοις, and reads γνώσθη instead of γνώσθησεται.  It also reads γλώσσ instead of γλώσσης in v. 9, as if copied verbatim from a damaged exemplar.
10 – 012 does not have τοσαυτα at the beginning of the verse.
10 – 012 adds εστιν after αφωνον.
10 – 012 reads γινώσκω instead of ειδω.
21 – 012 reads ετεραις γλώσσαις instead of ετερογλώσσαις. 
22 – 012 reads πιστοις instead of πιστεύουσιν.
23 – 012 does not include ουν.
29 – 012 reads ανακρινέτωσαν instead of διακρινέτωσαν.
37 – 012 reads εστειν instead of εστιν (or εισιν) εντολη.

The oddities of the text of 012 are myriad.  Perhaps this is due to three factors in its textual ancestry:  a copyist who did not hesitate to conform the Greek text so as to make its meaning agree more closely with his Latin Text, and a copyist who was nearly illiterate in Greek and who attempted to copy his exemplar’s contents mechanically, and a copyist who attempted to spell the Greek text in a somewhat phonetic way.  As a result, Codex Boernerianus (along with its very close relative Codex Augiensis) is perhaps the most unreliable of all Greek manuscripts of the Pauline Epistles.
Readers of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece may be interested to know that the Nestle-Aland apparatus’ record of the readings of 012 is occasionally in error.  For example, as Reuben Swanson reported, in Galatians 1:8 012 clearly reads ευαγγελιζαηται, not ευαγγελιζηται.  Swanson also reported that the N-A apparatus is wrong in Galatians 4:25; the reading from Codex 012 should be η συνστοιχουσα τη.  (But not, contra Swanson, συνστοιχουσα δε.)  Swanson listed other miscitations of Codex 012 in the Nestle-Aland apparatus in I Cor. 1:15, 1:22, 1:29, 3:1, 3:2, 3:3, 3:12, etc., etc. – not less than 50 imprecise or erroneous citations in just the first 10 chapters of First Corinthians.   
                 No description of Codex Boernerianus would be complete without mentioning the short Irish poem which appears in the lower margin of folio 23r (below the text of First Corinthians 2:9b-3:3a).    It runs as follows:
Téicht doróim mór saido beic torbai · INrí chondaigi [n (with deletion-marks)] hifoss manimbera / latt ni fog bai ·
Mór báis morbaile mór coll ceille mór
mire ·  Olais airchenn teicht doécaib ·  Beith fo étoil maíc Maire ·

Not being fluent in medieval Irish, I am dependent on other sources when I say that that means something like this:
To go to Rome is to have much trouble, and little profit.
Unless you bring here the thing (or, the King) you seek, you do not find it (or, Him).
[It is] Much foolishness, much frenzy, much nonsense, much craziness –
For surely you have set out for death,
displeasing the Son of Mary.

            That these lines are written in Irish strongly suggests that Codex Boernerianus was made by Irish monks at the monastery of Saint Gall (in modern-day Switzerland).  (Saint Columba’s student Gallus founded the monastery there.)  Possibly these Irish lines represent a copyist’s (or reader’s) recollection of words attributed to Saint Bridgit in a story about the demise of Conlaeth (a.k.a. Conlaed, Conleth, Conlaith, etc.) – the first bishop of Kildare.    
The story goes that Conlaeth, in the year 519 or 520, wanted to visit Rome (perhaps to study advancements in metallurgical artwork, a craft in which he was gifted, or perhaps to replace his priestly wardrobe, which had been sold or traded in service of the poor) but Saint Bridgit refused to bless his plan, and warned him against leaving.  As Saint Bridgit had predicted, the journey turned out to be fatal to Conlaeth, who, after departing, was eaten by wolves while still in Ireland.  It might be worthwhile to explore the possibility that a lection from chapter 2 or 3 of First Corinthians was read in honor of Saint Conlaeth or Saint Bridgit in some lection-cycle used by Irish monks; that might account for the appearance of these lines at this particular place in the text. 
            Two other items of interest in Codex Boernerianus are (1) the intriguing title of “The Beginning of the Epistle to the Laodiceans” after the text and closing-title of Philemon, which is followed immediately not by the patchwork composition presented in some Latin manuscripts as the Epistle from Paul to the Laodiceans, but instead by (2) several pages of a Latin commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, written by a scribe who used every square inch of the page.

Readers are encouraged to explore the embedded links in this post, which will lead to additional resources.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Mark 16:9-20 - My Reply to Michael Kruger

By request, here is a reconstructed transcript of a lecture I gave last year, in which I responded to some claims made by Dr. Michael J. Kruger about Mark 16:9-20.   

This is a response to a recent lecture about the ending of the Gospel of Mark.  The lecture was given by Dr. Michael J Kruger, the President of the Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina.  I’m going to test the accuracy of Dr. Kruger’s claims.  I’m glad that he is investigating questions about the New Testament text, but on this particular subject, his lecture contains errors of various kinds – some minor, but some major.  
As Dr. Kruger acknowledged at the outset of his lecture, people can become emotional about the ending of Mark.  But getting emotional, when a respected teacher denies the authority of part of the Word of God, is not necessarily a bad thing.  Jesus got emotional sometimes, especially when the religious elite were trying to deprive people of what God wanted them to have. Well, let’s try to approach Dr. Kruger’s claim with scientific detachment.
At first, he said there’s a general consensus that these 12 verses were not originally in Mark’s Gospel.  But how does Dr. Kruger really view the force of arguments from a general consensus?  Well, this is what he has said in the past:  he said, “That type of perspective is designed to force people to make a decision before they hear any of the evidence.”  And he said, “Simply saying that all scholars believed something isn’t a reason to believe it.”  
Thus, Dr. Kruger’s reason number one to believe that Mark 16:9-20 is not inspired, is entirely a reason which according to him, according to him, is not a valid reason.  Dr. Krueger leaned on this argument repeatedly in his lecture, but clearly, he does not accept it himself.  
Now, let’s look at Dr. Kruger’s description of the external evidence that pertains to the ending of Mark.  Here is how he described external arguments.  
He said external arguments have to do with the evidence from the way the manuscripts are, and how many manuscripts have one reading versus another.  That’s how he framed the question about external evidence:  how many manuscripts say this and how many manuscripts say that. But what’s the answer to that question, where the ending of Mark is concerned?
Well, if you know the answer, you can see why there is a tradition of timidity when it comes to accurately describing the Greek manuscript evidence about the ending of Mark, because the number of Greek manuscripts with show that their copyists ended the text of Mark 16 at the end of verse 8 is three.
One of those three is a medieval commentary manuscript, and in one of the others, Codex Vaticanus, the copyist, left a blank column after chapter 16 verse 8, and that’s the kind of thing the copyist sometimes did when they recollected a passage that was missing from the manuscripts that they were copying from.  And in the other manuscript, Codex Sinaiticus, there are some very strange features at the end of Mark involving replacement pages and changes in the copyist’s lettering, and more.
Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are the two Greek manuscripts that are referred to in the note that says, “Our earliest manuscripts don’t include verses 9 through 20.”  But what about the manuscripts that are older than our earliest manuscripts?  What about the manuscripts that were used by Justin Martyr and, and by Tatian and by Irenaeus in the 100s?
Irenaeus grew up in Asia Minor.  He had heard Polycarp, who had heard the Apostle John. After visiting Rome, Irenaeus settled down in what is now France and became a bishop, and he wrote the book Against Heresies, a multivolume work.  And in Book Three of Against Heresies, Irenaeus specifically quoted Mark 16:19.  Irenaeus was familiar with the text from at least three locales.  But he expressed no hint of any doubt about the genuineness of Mark 16:19.
Irenaeus, Tatian, and Justin are not the only patristic writers who used the contents of Mark 16:9-20.  Ambrose of Milan quoted it extensively, in Italy.  Augustine cited it in North Africa.  He mentioned his Greek manuscripts had it, as well as the Latin manuscripts.  Hierocles, a pagan writer, used this passage around the year 305, before the production of any of our earliest manuscripts of Mark 16.  Aphrahat used it in Syria in the early 300s.  Patristic support for the inclusion of Mark 16:9-20 is ancient, it is abundant, and it is all over the place.  Why did all this go unmentioned in Dr. Kruger’s lecture?
Because Dr. Kruger was not trying to present the case for both sides – at least that’s what he said, and I believe him.  Near the end of the lecture, he said that he’s giving his listeners the case that these verses are not original.  Now, if he had been presenting a detached scientific review of the evidence, we would have heard something about the blank space in Codex Vaticanus.  We would have heard something about the dozens of patristic writings that support the inclusion of Mark 16:9-20.
Now, let’s take a closer look at what Dr. Kruger said about Codex Sinaiticus, six minutes into the lecture:  “In the late 1900s, a scholar by the name of Constantine von Tischendorf . . . discovered Sinaiticus while the monks were burning manuscripts in the belly of the monastery to keep it warm in the winter.  So they were chucking manuscripts in the fire and he rescued Sinaiticus from it.”  
What?!  It’s not just Tischendorf’s story, but Tischendorf’s first visit to Saint Catherine’s monastery, when he first obtained pages of Codex Sinaiticus, was not a few decades ago in the late 1900s.  It was in May of 1844.  Saint Catherine’s monastery does not have much of a winter in May.  Tischendorf described the weather in Cairo this way, “A climate where the thermometer during March, April, and May is never below 77 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade.”
So, um, Tischendorf’s account of his first encounter with pages from of Codex Sinaiticus is already highly implausible.  There’s no need to stretch it any farther.  
Dr. Kruger also said that Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are both complete New Testaments.  But Codex Vaticanus in its present condition is missing several New Testament books.  And its text of Revelation is technically a different and much younger manuscript.
But when Dr. Krueger mentioned patristic evidence, there’s a lot that he left out.  He focused on Eusebius and Jerome.  Now Eusebius wrote around the 320s, and Jerome wrote in the late 300s and early 400s.  Dr. Krueger claimed that these two authors make it very plain that their versions of Mark do not have Mark 16:9-20, and that virtually all the Greek codices they knew about did not have verses 9 through 20.  However, you can see what Eusebius actually wrote in a book that Dr. Krueger apparently has never read, Eusebius of Caesarea: Gospel Problems and Solutions.
Eusebius, when he was asked a question about how to harmonize what Mark says and what Matthew says, about Jesus’ resurrection-appearances, and the timing of the resurrection, [that] Eusebius mentioned that one possible way to resolve the problem was to reject Mark 16:9-20.  But Eusebius proceeded to advocate the inclusion of those 12 verses and he quoted Mark 16:9 on two other occasions in the same composition.
Eusebius worked at Caesarea, which was a sort of intersection between the Egyptian texts that did not have verses 9-20 and a local text that did have these verses.  So he was aware that some copies did not have them, but he did not say “None of my manuscripts have them.”  He even explained to Marinus how verse nine should be written.  He even explained to Marinus how it should be read out loud.  That is not how you reject a passage.
Now about Jerome.  Jerome included Mark 16:9-20 in the Vulgate Gospels, made in 383. Jerome said that he consulted ancient Greek manuscripts when he prepared that Latin text.  If Dr. Kruger had taken a closer look at Jerome’s composition Ad Hedibiam, or Epistle 120, he would have realized that in the relevant portion of that composition, Jerome was recycling part of Eusebius’ earlier composition, just like Jerome recycled some other writers’ work.  What we have there is essentially a Latin abridgment of Eusebius’s work.  It’s not an independent observation about Jerome’s manuscripts.
After misrepresenting the testimony of Eusebius and Jerome, and letting many other patristic writers go unmentioned, Dr. Kruger misrepresented the internal evidence.  He stated that the vocabulary words in Mark 16:9-20 tend to look like they came from the other three Gospels. Well, maybe they do when you just look at it from a distance, but not when you get up close.  Start to look at those details, and the case that those words are taken from the other Gospels collapses.
These twelve verses relate some of the same events that are described in the other gospels, but that’s the case for every twelve-verse segment of the Gospel of Mark.  The common claim that the verbiage in Mark 16:9-20 is cut and pasted in from the other gospel accounts is unsustainable when you start to look at the details.  To give just one example:  where in Matthew 28, where in Luke 24, where in John 20-21, is there anything about serpents and poison?  We see these things mentioned in Mark 16:18.  Clearly, they did not get there due to someone’s desire to create an ending for the Gospel of Mark that resembled the endings in the other Gospels.
Apparently Dr. Kruger believes that somebody, someone who had read Matthew 28, instead of finishing the scene that’s left hanging there in verse eight, by using the framework of Matthew 28’s narrative, decided it would be a good idea instead to suddenly restart the narrative by reintroducing Mary Magdalene, restating the day, restating the time, and reporting that Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene without mentioning anything He said, and without mentioning Mary’s two companions, as if they suddenly vanish with no explanation.
That is implausible in the extreme, but that is just one of many things, many implausible things, that you have to convince yourself to believe if you’re going to believe that Mark 16:9-20 is a patchwork that was designed to conclude the Gospel of Mark.  One also has to believe simultaneously that it is highly significant that Mark 16:9-20 contains eighteen words that Mark doesn’t use elsewhere, but the observation that Mark 15:40-16:4 (another twelve-verse passage) contains twenty words that Mark does not use elsewhere – well, that’s so trivial, it’s not even worth mentioning in the lecture, is it.
Now, because I want to keep this brief, I’ll pass by what Dr. Krueger said about the possible impact of the subject on the doctrine of inerrancy. I do not regard Mark 16:9-20 as a scribal corruption like he does, but I agree with Dr. Kruger’s position that if divine authority is exclusive to the original text, then the removal of a scribal corruption simply gives us a better picture of the original text.  The removal of a barnacle does not say anything about the skill of the shipbuilder.
Now let’s return to what Dr. Krueger claimed about the evidence itself.  In the 19th minute of his lecture, he stated, “If you didn’t live in the modern day with the history of English translations, this wouldn’t bother you at all, and here’s why:  because you wouldn’t even know it wasn’t there.”  What a false, false, false statement.  That’s false!  Numerous patristic writings from diverse locations in the 300s and 400s demonstrate that the typical manuscript of Mark used outside the borders of Egypt included verses 9-20.  There’s an easy way to test Dr. Kruger’s claim and expose how false, false, false, it is.
Suppose we were to collect all of the surviving Greek manuscripts of Mark 16 from the year 400 to the year 1000.  Put them all together, and among those manuscripts, how many of them end of the text of Mark at the end of verse 8?  None of them do, not one.  
Again, Dr. Kruger said, “In the ancient day, if you’d been reading the original Greek manuscripts, chances are you would never have even known the Gospel of Mark had this ending unless you were living in the Middle Ages.”
Now, let’s interpret that generously and interpret his reference to the original Greek manuscripts as if he meant manuscripts in the original Greek language.  I don’t think he intended to suggest that the autographs were being handed around in the 200s and 300s.  With that being granted, his statement is still preposterous.  The medieval manuscripts did not just spring out of the earth.  They contain Mark 16:9-20 because their ancestor-manuscripts contained 16:9-20. And plenty of ancient manuscripts support Mark 16:9-20:  Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Bezae, Codex Washingtoniensis, and Codex Regius are just a few examples.
Dr. Kruger wanted his students to believe that the issue about Mark 16:9-20 is just a holdover from the history of the English Bible, but that’s not true, and you can easily demonstrate that that statement is not true.  The removal of Mark 16:9-20 would not just be an admission about an error in the text used by the leaders of the Protestant Reformation.  It would also imply that the Latin Vulgate was incorrect.  It would imply that the Syriac Peshitta version, also from the late 300s, was incorrect.  It would mean that the Gothic version, from around the mid-300s, was incorrect. It would mean that every Ethiopic manuscript of Mark is corrupt at this point, and it would require that every extant Greek manuscript of Mark 16, except three, contained a twelve-verse long corruption when it was produced.  Ladies and gentlemen, that is over 1,600 manuscripts representing an assortment of ancient tradition-lines.  It’s not just the quantity; it’s the scope.  This reading was everywhere.
It would require that the leaders of the Christian church in the 100s, 200s, and 300s – those entrusted with the task of handing down the canonical text – were using manuscripts embedded with a significant corruption and failed to detect it.  It would require that every Greek Gospels-lectionary, and every complete Latin Book of Hours, contained verses that would never supposed to be there.  Obviously, there’s much more to the picture than just the traditional English texts, and whoever tries to convince you otherwise is not doing his credibility any favors.
As Dr. Kruger started to wrap up, he said, “People ask me all the time, why doesn’t the ESV just drop it?”  He said, “People are going to throw a fit if it’s removed.”  And here we come to another [a] bad academic habit:  a commentator’s promotion of the idea that people who would object to the removal of Mark 16 are just driven by their emotions; they’re addicted to their tradition; why can’t they just follow the evidence where it leads?
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Well, it’s almost as if the motives of those who want to keep Mark 16 to 19 in the text, it’s almost like their motives of being questioned.  This is just rhetorical sleight of hand, like spreading the claim about a tradition of timidity, when the real timidity belongs to the professors who are extremely timid when it comes to letting the evidence about the ending of Mark see the light of day.
There’s something else wrong with Dr. Kruger’s answer.  If a person believes that these twelve verses do not belong in the Bible, then “People will throw a fit” is not a sufficient reason to keep them in the text.  I mean, you’ve already taken out so many other verses, what’s another twelve?  If he thinks they’re not inspired, then he shouldn’t be okay with having them in the Bible.
In closing, it was not my intention today to make a case that verses 9-20 of Mark 16 are genuine inspired scripture.  If you’d like to see a detailed case to that effect, I offer my digital book, Authentic: the Case for Mark. 16:9-20, which can be purchased at Amazon, or you can obtain a free copy from me by request.  My purpose today was only to show that Dr. Kruger’s presentation about this passage has a disturbing number of major flaws as well as minor ones, and leaves out an enormous amount of relevant evidence.  That lecture ought to be withdrawn, not only because there’s a practical concern that it puts shame on a Christian seminary when its president openly mistreats evidence about the New Testament text, but also because it’s morally wrong to distribute false statements.

Thank you for watching. May God bless your study.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Fourth-century Philemon: P139

           This past May, along with the release of the small fragment formerly known as “First Century Mark,” (P137) two other New Testament papyri were released:  a fragment with text from the Gospel of Luke (P138), and a fragment with text from Paul’s Epistle to Philemon (P139).  The Egypt Exploration Society kindly provided interested persons with access to images of the fragment of Mark, and a picture of Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 5347 – the fragment from Philemon – is on the same page.  The images show text from verses 6-8 and 18-20.
             Without consulting the transcription offered by the editor of P139 (Notre Dame professor Dr. David Lincicum), I have attempted a transcription of it.   For the official transcription, made by someone who could study the papyrus directly, you will need to consult Volume 83 of The Oxyrhynchus Papyri – Graeco-Roman Memoirs, a publication of the Egypt Exploration Society.  The script is consistent with a production-date in the 300s, which means that this papyrus is one of our three earliest Greek manuscripts of Philemon (ranking behind P87 and more or less tied with Codex Sinaiticus).
Here are some thoughts and observations about the text of this newly published witness to the text of Philemon that was read in Egypt in the 300s:
● v. 6 – υμειν confirms the reading εν υμιν (with an inconsequential spelling-difference), and this might tilt the balance of evidence away from εν ημιν, the reading that is presently read in the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece.

● v. 6-7 – My reconstruction of the second line is very tentative.  Somewhere in the non-extant text,  space-considerations seem to support the non-inclusion of Ἰησουν (even contracted as a sacred name). 

● v. 7 – P139 definitely supports πολλην εσχον, not εχομεν πολλην. 

● v. 7 – There may be a raised dot between σου and οτι. 

● v. 8 – Where there should be an ο in πολλην, P139 appears to have an ε.

● v. 18 – τουτο appears to have been written as τοουτο.

● v. 19 – The last visible letter in the fourth line could be an ε or a smudged ι.

● v. 19 – Instead of the usual reading σεαυτόν, P139 reads αυτον, and ε has been added above the α, so as to support εαυτόν. 

● v. 19 – A slight orthographic variant, ι instead of ει in προσοφείλεις, is supported by P139.  This spelling (without the ε) is also supported by Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Alexandrinus, and by Codex Claromontanus (which doesn’t have the ε after the λ, either; a corrector has inserted it).

● v. 20 – A new reading appears to be attested by P139:  after ἐγώ σου, one would expect ὀναίμην ἐν Κω (i.e., Κυρίω) – part of the phrase, “Let me have from you joy in the Lord.”  Instead, only a smidgen of ink has survived where ὀναίμην ἐν would be, and at the beginning of the next, last line, instead of Κω or Κυρίω, we see the letters χρ.  Over these two letters χρ and extending into the left margin there is a paragraphos, a horizontal line that was used by copyists to separate paragraphs.  The letters χρ appear to be followed by the remains of a sloping ω, in which case we have here a three-letter form of a sacred-name contraction (with the paragraphos to be construed as serving a dual purpose); however the last letter could also be a ε, which would imply that the copyist wrote the word χρειστω in full (which would be highly unusual); either way, P139 thus supports a form of the text of the middle of verse 20 which reads “in Christ” rather than “in the Lord.” 

            This is of course only a preliminary reading based on a black-and-white photograph.  After completing my own transcription, I checked it against the transcription in Oxyrhynchus Papyri Volume 83, and although there are some disagreements between my work and that of Dr. Lincicum, I was satisfied with how my transcription turned out.  Readers are encouraged of course to consult the official transcription.