Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Role of Tradition in New Testament Textual Criticism

            Yesterday, Joshua Gibbs of the Talking Christianity podcast hosted a round-table discussion on the subject of the role of tradition in New Testament textual criticism, with guests Jeff Riddle (representing a Confessional Bibliologist approach), Peter Gurry (representing a Reasoned Eclectic app, and myself (representing an Equitable Eclectic approach).  A looong discussion commenced.  Here it is in two parts.  (At one point my internet connection died, but then it got better.)

Part One:




And Part Two: 




Sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy!

Here is the text of my closing statement:
          In closing, I’d like to briefly consider three different approaches to the role of tradition in the compilation of the text of the New Testament. 
          One view is to look at how much agreement there is, along all transmission-lines, and conclude, “Textual variants do not matter.  Everyone agrees that you’ve got the basics of the gospel if you use the Textus Receptus.  So let’s use that, for the sake of stability.” 
          Another approach is to focus on the disagreements.  A person might say, “This is very complicated, and we just can’t tell what the original readings are.  The safest course of action is to just go on using what the church has traditionally used.” 
          If one defines “the church” in terms of what emerged from the Reformation, that approach will provoke the adoption of the Textus Receptus.  If one defines “the church” in a wider sense, the traditional Greek text is the Byzantine Text.  Ecclesiastical approval is on its side.
          But both of those approaches are basically appeals to authority:  authority in the form of tradition.  And an appeal to authority is not the same as an appeal to evidence.  A reading is authoritative because it is original – not simply because it is thought to be original.  Except for scribal blunders, practically all major readings were thought to be original by somebody; that is why they are in the manuscripts.  It takes more than being accepted by someone to vindicate a reading.
          When dogmatic statements are used instead of arguments from evidence, it’s like saying, “We have been using mumpsimus, so mumpsimus is what should be said.”  But readings do not become authoritative by being used.  An original reading is authoritative at the point of its inspired creation.   And scribal corruptions are never authoritative, because they are not inspired – no matter how many people like them.       
          There is also a third view, in which someone says, “If ecclesiastical usage is what endows a reading with authority, then all readings are valid, because they all have at least a little bit of ecclesiastical usage in their favor,” and this provokes a temptation to clutter the margins with a multitude of textual variants.  Not only does this render the text more unstable than ever, inviting readers to pick and choose, but it is the exact opposite of what textual critics are supposed to do, which is, make decisions about textual contests. 
          I suggest that tradition does have a valid role, though, in certain cases:
          ● if two competing textual variants both have strong external support, and
          ● they convey two different messages, and
          ● neither is shown by internal considerations to be non-original, and
          ● one or both readings says something that is not confirmed in other passages,
that is a situation that merits a footnote. 
          But which reading goes into the text, and which one goes into the margin?  After those qualifications are met, there is something to be said for the principle that possession is nine-tenth of the law.   If one reading consistently dominates the other, in terms of widespread and longstanding use, then, instead of having a relatively brief Council of Bishops to break the tie, we have a very long Council of Use.  This approach might not resolve every case, but it will help keep textual instability to a minimum, without giving tradition the right to veto the original text.




Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Lectionary 60 - The One With Runes

Runes on the frontispiece of Lect 60.

            Lectionary 60 was made in the year 1022, and is thus almost one thousand years old.  It has a very unusual feature on its frontis-piece-page (which displays the remains of a picture of Christ, surrounded by symbols of the Evangelists):  runes.  The rune-inscription identifies the manuscript as the property of Saint Dionysius’ church – the famous basilica north of Paris where kings in France were entombed since Dagobert in 639. 
            Perhaps someone at St.-Denis, noticing that past generations of monks had been obligated to pay Vikings to spare the basilica, and to ransom their abbot, considered it wise to write this note in a language which Vikings could understand – just in case the Vikings might wonder where to send the ransom-note.  Or perhaps a Viking church-member wrote it.
            This existence of this lectionary ought to dissuade us from picturing the history of the Greek New Testament as an exclusively non-European thing – as if Greek manuscripts did not show up in western Europe until the 1400s.  Lectionary 60 shows that Greek manuscripts were not only read, but were produced, in France in the century before the First Crusade.  
            This arrangement of the text in Lectionary 60 tends to follow the pattern for the Synaxarion – movable days – given at Robert Waltz’s Encyclopedia of New Testament Textual Criticism.  Beginning at Easter-time, lections (i.e., selections for reading in church-services) from the Gospel of John are presented, along with lections from the book of Acts.  Lectionary 60 has lections for week-days as well as for Saturdays and Sundays.  After Pentecost, the lections are excerpted from the Gospel of Matthew and from Paul’s Epistles, beginning with Romans.  Twelve weeks’ worth of lections later, the lections are taken from the Gospel of Mark and from Paul’s other epistles.  Lectionary 60 has the lection-cycle for Easter-week, with the Twelve Gospel-readings for Good Friday, and the Readings for the Vigil at the first, third, sixth, and ninth hours, other Easter-time readings, and the Heothina-series.  On page 162, the Menologion section begins.
            There are, however, variations from the Byzantine pattern – especially when it comes to the lection that was to be read in honor of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite.  This lection was particularly esteemed at the church that was named in Saint Dionysius’ honor.  Why Dionysius had received that honor might take some explaining: 
            There are three Dionysiuses in the picture.  First there was Dionysius the Areopagite, who was converted to Christianity by the preaching of Paul in Athens, as reported in chapter 17 of the book of Acts.  Second, there was the patron saint of France, Saint Denis (Denis is short for “Dionysius”), a bishop who was beheaded in Paris in a wave of persecution initiated by Emperor Decius in the mid-200s.  (This martyr was commemorated by the famous Oriflamme banner.)  Third, there was the anonymous author of several influential philosophical compositions that were circulated in the late 400s and early 500s; this author is known as Pseudo-Dionysius.
            Among medieval clerics who thought that Pseudo-Dionysius was actually Dionysius the Areopagite (an impression which Pseudo-Dionysius’ writings encouraged), there was also confusion between Dionysius the Areopagite and Dionysius the third-century martyr.  This may account for the emphasis (a natural emphasis at the basilica of Saint Denis) on the lection for Dionysius the Areopagite (Acts 17:22-34) in Lectionary 60:  it appears in the lectionary three times.  First, it is written in Greek (but in Latin-like handwriting) on page 55, after an acrostic (ΔΟΞΑ ΤΩ ΘΕΩ ΑΜΗΝ) which interrupts the lectionary-material.  It is also found on fol. 153, in a Latin-like script completely unlike the main copyist’s handwriting; the person who wrote this lection seems to have had a gift for finding unusual ways to spell words in Greek.  (Apparently, there had been blank pages in the manuscript, leftover between sections, and someone used them as the material upon which to write this particular lection.)  And it is written near the very end of the lectionary, in much better (recent?) handwriting, with a Latin heading. 
            Two lections in two different kinds of handwriting occupy fol. 154a:  Luke 6:17-23 is written, in something like sense-lines, before Matthew 4:25-5:3a.   Near the bottom of the page, there is an inartistic Greek alphabet and, in Latin, a curse upon anyone who steals this holy book from the library of the St-Denis church.  (Another Greek alphabet appears in the lower margin of fol. 82.)
             
            Once one gets used to the handwriting and untrained initial-drawing of the main copyist in Lectionary 60, its text is not bad at all (although the spelling is phenomenally bad).  Here, as a sort of spot-check, are comparisons of four passages in Lectionary 60 to the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform; I have disregarded incipit-phrases, and most itacisms (which are everywhere):
            John 9:1-10 (p. 39):  in v. 7, Lect 60 does not have ουν (“therefore”), and in v. 10, Lect 60 has ηνεόχθησάν instead of ανεώχθησάν [NA:  ηνεώχθησάν]
            John 14:1-4 (p. 44):  in v. 1, Lect 60 has μηδε διλιτω [≈14:27], in v. 2, Lect 60 has δια τα εργα αυτα before ειπον [≈14:11],
            First Corinthians 4:1-5 (p. 68):  in v. 2, λοιπόν is absent, in v. 4, Lect has γαρ instead of δε before ανακρίνων [-νον in Lect 60],
            Mark 1:1-5 (p. 178):  in v. 5, Lect 60 does not have ἡ after πασα, in v. 5, and Lect 60 has ϊερουσαλημ instead of οι ιεροσολυμιται.  In v. 4, John’s name is written as ιω.  
                       
            Here are some interesting textual features, and other features, of Lectionary 60:
            ● Mark 16:9-20 is included (on p. 156); it is one of the readings in the Heothina-series
            ● John 5:3-4 is included (on p. 7), and the angel is described as the angel of the Lord (αγγελος γαρ κυ)
            ● Acts 8:37 is not included (on p. 25)
            ● Luke 22:43-45a is included in the text of Matthew, following Mt. 26:39 (on p. 125b, page-view 262 at CSNTM)  (This is normal in Byzantine Gospels-lectionaries – but still interesting.)
            ● In Matthew 10:8 (on fol. 152b, p. 316 at CSNTM), νεκρους εγειρεται (“raise the dead”) is included, but not immediately following “heal the sick.”  Instead, it appears at a later point in the verse, between εκβάλλεται and the first δωρεὰν. P and W and Δ share this reading with Lectionary 60.  (On the same page, there is something strange about the text of Matthew 11:27.)
            ● On page 9, the number Β (2) appears in the upper outer corner of the page; on page 97, the number ΙΓ (13) appears; on page 145, ΙΘ, that is, 19, appears.  Perhaps these are quire-numbers, and perhaps there were once more numbers on other pages, written a little further to the right, but the others have been trimmed away.  (Some notes in the upper margin have been trimmed away; some have been half-trimmed away.)

            ● The margins of Lectionary 60 have quite a few notes, mostly in Latin.  (They are not all from the same hand.)  For example, on page 154b, where Matthew 1:1 begins the text, the opening Latin phrase of Matthew 1:1 is written in the margin.  130b contains a good example of Latin notes alongside Greek notes.
            ● On page 55, the lectionary-material is interrupted by an acrostic poem. (The initials say ΔΟΞΑ ΤΩ ΘΕΩ ΑΜΗΝ)  (This is followed by the St. Dionysius lection, already described.)
            ● The parchment that was used for Lectionary 60 was not of high quality; the copyist(s) frequently had to adapt to uneven pages and pages with holes.
            ● Lectionary 60 includes lections from Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, First Corinthians, Second Corinthians, Hebrews, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, First Thessalonians, First Timothy, Second Timothy, and Philippians.
            ● On fol. 108 there is a little prayer-note in the lower margin.
            ● Although I did not investigate the question thoroughly, I suspect that at least two copyists, besides later supplement-providers, worked on this lectionary. 
            ● A colophon on fol. 193 supplies the name of a copyist, his location, and the production-date of the manuscript:  ἐτελ[ε]ιοθ[η]  τω παρον εκλογαδ[ιον] δια χειρος Ηλιοῦ πρεσβυτερου κ[αι] μοναχου σπιλεό [?] του μη[νος] Νοεμβριω κς ημερα κυ[ριακῇ], ωρ[α] θ.  τε. ϛφλ ινδ. Ε εν χόρα φραγκι καστρο δε κολόνιας.  –  Something like, “The gift of this Eclogadion was completed through the hand of Elias, presbyter and monk, stained [?] in the month of November, on the 25th day, Sunday, at the 9th hour, year 6,530 in the fifth indiction.  In the country of France, in the castle of Kolonia.”  Someone did the calculations and wrote the implied production-date, 1022, in the margin.

            Lectionary 60 is presently housed at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (the national Library of France), where it is cataloged as Grec 375.  A digital file of the entire manuscript can be downloaded from the Gallica website.



Readers are invited to double-check the data in this post.


Sunday, January 19, 2020

First John 5:7 and Greek Manuscripts

           Earlier this month over at the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog, Elijah Hixson offered an informative post which included pictures of the few Greek manuscripts which have the Comma Johanneum in the text of First John 5:7.  The earliest is GA 629, a Latin-Greek manuscript dated to 1362.  I offered some analysis of the text of First John 5:7 in GA 629 in August of 2016 (see the replica of the relevant part of 629 at this link, or a page-view of the manuscript itself at the Vatican Library’s website at this link).  The second-oldest manuscript of First John that has the Comma Johanneum in the text of 5:7 is GA 61, which was made in the early 1500s.  The third-oldest Greek manuscript with the Comma Johanneum in the text of First John 5:7 is GA 918.  Hixson, by a series of simple deductions, narrowed his estimate of its production-date to the 1570s. 
GA 641:  The Comma Johanneum is absent.
            And that’s it, unless we include GA 2473 (from 1634) and 2318 (from the 1700s) – both of which were made after printed editions of the Greek New Testament were made, and which very probably include the Comma Johanneum because their copyists used a printed Greek New Testament as an exemplar. 
            The other manuscripts do not have the Comma Johanneum in the text; the Comma Johanneum is written in the margin instead.  Hixson’s post includes pictures of the relevant portions of these manuscripts, so I will only spend a little time reviewing them here: 
            ● In GA 221, a manuscript from the 900s, the Comma Johanneum is written in the margin, but it appears that the Comma Johanneum arrived there rather recently, considering that (as Hixson reports) a description of GA 221 made in 1854 says that the manuscript does not have the Comma Johanneum, with nothing said about a margin-note. 
            ● In GA 177, the Comma Johanneum is written in the upper margin of the page and is identified by its verse-number, which means that the Comma Johanneum was placed in the margin of GA 177 sometime after 1550.  (Dan Wallace noticed the Comma Johanneum in the margin of GA 177 in 2010.)   Hixson offers a more precise date, however:  the annotator of this manuscript left his name in it:  Ignatius Hardt, who was born in 1749.  Guided by a little more data about Hardt’s career, Hixson estimates that Hardt wrote the Comma Johanneum in the margin of 177 no earlier than the 1770s.
            ● In GA 88, a manuscript from the 1100s, the Comma Johanneum appears in the margin with almost no clues about who added it or when.   Almost no clues:  as Hixson observed, whereas copyists routinely contracted sacred names such as “Father” and “Spirit,” in the margin-note in 88 these words are written out in full, which may indicate that the person writing them was using as his source a printed book, rather than a manuscript.
            ● In GA 429, a manuscript from the 1300s, the Comma Johanneum is written in the margin, and it matches up with the text of the Comma Johanneum printed in Erasmus’ third edition – because, as Hixson explains, Erasmus’ third edition was its source.
            ● In GA 636, a manuscript from the 1400s, the Comma Johanneum is written in the margin, and is missing the articles, which is consistent with a scenario in which it was translated from Latin. 
                       
            Let’s review the implications of this evidence:  First, there is no Greek manuscript made before the 1500s in which the Comma Johanneum appears in the text of First John in a form which does not appear to be derived from Latin; strictly speaking, the exact text of the Comma Johanneum that appears in the Textus Receptus does not appear in the text of any Greek manuscript made before the 1500s.  Second, in the Greek manuscripts in which the Comma Johanneum appears in the margin, it either appears to be derived from Latin, or else it appears to have been copied from a printed source. 
           
            Now let’s look on the other side of the equation.  Here, from researcher Timothy Berg, is a list of the Greek manuscripts that contain First John but do not have the Comma Johanneum in the text:

Manuscripts Produced Before the 700s:  01, 03, 02, 048, 0296
Manuscripts Produced in the 700s-800s:  018, 020, 025, 049, 0142, 1424, 1862, 1895, 2464
Manuscripts Assigned to the 900s:  044, 056, 82, 93, 175, 181, 221, 307, 326, 398, 450, 454, 456, 457, 602, 605, 619, 627, 832, 920, 1066, 1175, 1720, 1739, 1829, 1836, 1837, 1841, 1845, 1851, 1871, 1874, 1875, 1880, 1891, 2125, 2147,     
Manuscripts Assigned to the 1000s:  35, 36, 2, 42, 43, 81, 104, 131, 133, 142, 177, 250, 302, 325, 312, 314, 424, 436, 451, 458, 459,   462, 464, 465, 466, 491, 506, 517, 547, 606, 607, 617, 623, 624, 635, 638, 639, 641, 699, 796,   901, 910, 919, 945, 1162, 1243, 1244, 1270, 1311, 1384, 1521, 1668, 1724, 1730, 1735, 1738, 1828, 1835, 1838, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1854, 1870, 1888, 2138, 2191, 2344, 2475, 2587, 2723,   2746     
Manuscripts Assigned to the 1100s:  3, 38, 1, 57, 88, 94, 97, 103, 105, 110, 180, 203, 226, 256, 319, 321, 323, 330, 337, 365, 431, 440, 442, 452, 618, 620, 622, 625, 632, 637, 656, 720, 876, 917, 922, 927, 1058, 1115, 1127, 1241, 1245, 1315, 1319, 1359, 1360, 1448, 1490, 1505, 1573, 1611, 1646, 1673, 1718, 1737, 1740, 1743, 1752, 1754, 1850, 1853, 1863, 1867, 1868, 1872, 1885, 1889, 1893, 1894, 1897, 2127, 2143, 2186, 2194, 2289, 2298, 2401, 2412, 2541, 2625, 2712, 2718, 2736, 2805     
Manuscripts Assigned to the 1200s:  4, 5, 6, 51, 204, 206, 172, 141, 218, 234, 263, 327, 328, 378, 383, 384, 390, 460, 468, 469, 479, 483, 496, 592, 601, 614, 643, 665, 757, 912, 914, 915, 941, 999, 1069, 1070, 1072, 1094, 1103, 1107, 1149, 1161, 1242, 1251, 1292, 1297, 1352, 1398, 1400, 1404, 1456, 1501, 1509, 1523, 1563, 1594, 1595, 1597, 1609, 1642, 1719, 1722, 1727, 1728, 1731, 1736, 1758, 1780, 1827, 1839, 1842, 1843, 1852, 1855, 1857, 1858, 1860, 1864, 1865, 1873, 2180, 2374, 2400, 2404, 2423, 2483, 2502, 2558, 2627, 2696       
Manuscripts Assigned to the 1300s:  18, 62, 76, 189, 201, 209, 216, 223, 254, 308, 363, 367, 386, 393, 394, 404, 421, 425, 429, 453,  489, 498, 582, 603, 604, 608, 621, 628, 630, 633, 634, 680, 743, 794, 808, 824, 913, 921, 928, 935, 959, 986, 996, 1022, 1040, 1067, 1075, 1099, 1100, 1102, 1106, 1248, 1249, 1354, 1390, 1409, 1482, 1495, 1503, 1524, 1548, 1598, 1599, 1610, 1618, 1619, 1622, 1637, 1643, 1661, 1678, 1717, 1723, 1725, 1726, 1732, 1733, 1741, 1742, 1744, 1746, 1747, 1753, 1761, 1762, 1765, 1769, 1831, 1832, 1856, 1859, 1866, 1877, 1881, 1882, 1886, 1890, 1892, 1899, 1902, 2080, 2085, 2086,  2197, 2200, 2261, 2279, 2356, 2431, 2466, 2484, 2492, 2494, 2508, 2511, 2527, 2626, 2675, 2705, 2716, 2774, 2777
Manuscripts Assigned to the 1400s:  69, 102, 149, 205, 322, 368, 385, 400, 432, 444, 467, 615, 616, 631, 636, 664, 801, 1003, 1105, 1247, 1250, 1367, 1405, 1508, 1626, 1628, 1636, 1649, 1656, 1729, 1745, 1750, 1751, 1757, 1763, 1767, 1830, 1876, 1896, 2131, 2221, 2288, 2352, 2495, 2523, 2554, 2652, 2653, 2691, 2704
Manuscripts Assigned to the 1500s and Later:  90, 296, 522, 1702, 1704, 1749, 1768, 1840, 1844, 1861, 2130, 2218, 2255, 2378, 2501, 2516, 2544, 1101, 1721, 1748, 1869, 1903, 2243, 2674, 2776, 2473, 1104

            With this data in mind, let’s consider a few extracts from a defense of the Comma Johanneum recently offered by Taylor DeSoto of Agros Reformed Baptist Church in Arizona: 
            “There is manuscript evidence for it.”  True, but as Hixson’s analysis shows, the Greek manuscript evidence for the Comma Johanneum is sparse, late, and shows clear signs of being derived either from Latin or from a printed text.   
            “It has more manuscript evidence support than let’s just say, the Gospel of Mark without 16:9-20.”  That is not quite the case; there are three Greek manuscripts in which Mark 16 ends at 16:8 (À, B, and 304  all with other anomalous features), so technically, the quantities are equal.  But it would be foolish to use simple quantities to frame this evidence, because B and À are the two earliest manuscripts of Mark 16 known to exist, while GA 629 is from the mid-1300s, 61 is from the early 1500s, and 918 is from the 1570s, and the rest, as Hixson’s data shows, are either dependent on Latin, or else extremely late.  
            As a defender of the genuineness of Mark 16:9-20, I do not grant to B and À the level of weight that was given to them by Westcott and Hort (and which continues, in some circles, to be assumed).  But it is not just the testimony of B and À which we ought to consider.  It is also the testimony of 02, 048, 0296, 018, 020, 025, 049, 0142, 1424, 1862, 1895, 2464, 044, 056, 82, 93, 175, 181, 221, 307, 326, 398, 450, 454, 456, 457, 602, 605, 619, 627, 832, 920, 1066, 1175, 1720, 1739, 1829, 1836, 1837, 1841, 1845, 1851, 1871, 1874, 1875, 1880, 1891, 2125, 2147, 35, 36, 2, 42, 43, 81, 104, 131, 133, 142, 177, 250, 302, 325, 312, 314, 424, 436, 451, 458, 459,   462, 464, 465, 466, 491, 506, 517, 547, 606, 607, 617, 623, 624, 635, 638, 639, 641, 699, 796,   901, 910, 919, 945, 1162, 1243, 1244, 1270, 1311, 1384, 1521, 1668, 1724, 1730, 1735, 1738, 1828, 1835, 1838, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1854, 1870, 1888, 2138, 2191, 2344, 2475, 2587, 2723, 2746, 3, 38, 1, 57, 88, 94, 97, 103, 105, 110, 180, 203, 226, 256, 319, 321, 323, 330, 337, 365, 431, 440, 442, 452, 618, 620, 622, 625, 632, 637, 656, 720, 876, 917, 922, 927, 1058, 1115, 1127, 1241, 1245, 1315, 1319, 1359, 1360, 1448, 1490, 1505, 1573, 1611, 1646, 1673, 1718, 1737, 1740, 1743, 1752, 1754, 1850, 1853, 1863, 1867, 1868, 1872, 1885, 1889, 1893, 1894, 1897, 2127, 2143, 2186, 2194, 2289, 2298, 2401, 2412, 2541, 2625, 2712, 2718, 2736, 2805, and so forth. 
            “Those who attack the authenticity of this reading appeal to the assumption that it was introduced from a Latin manuscript.”  Mr. DeSoto writes as if there is no basis for this “assumption.”  However, it is not an assumption; it is a deduction from evidence:  in the Old Latin text of First John 5:8 (as I have explained already in an earlier post), the nouns are typically transposed to the order water-blood-spirit, which is conducive to a figurative interpretation in which the water represents the Father, the blood represents the Son, and the Spirit represents, of course, the Holy Spirit.  And that interpretation is the Comma Johanneum – an interpretive gloss that was inserted into the Old Latin text (and from there into the later medieval Vulgate text).  Its origin is linked to the transposition:  in evidence uninfluenced by Latin, where the transposition is absent, the Comma Johanneum is absent as well.
            “Can 1 John 5:7 be said to have been definitively introduced from the Latin, as though it were never found in a Greek manuscript?”  Yes, it can.  All one needs to do is observe the evidence and think it through:  everything is completely consistent with precisely that scenario.  Just look at the Latin text that runs parallel to the Greek text in 629, and look at the absence of the articles, and look at the absence of the Comma Johanneum in 02, 048, 0296, 018, 020, 025, 049, 0142, 1424, 1862, 1895, 2464, 044, 056, 82, 93, 175, 181, 221, 307, 326, 398, 450, 454, 456, 457, 602, 605, 619, 627, 832, 920, 1066, 1175, 1720, 1739, 1829, 1836, 1837, 1841, 1845, 1851, 1871, 1874, 1875, 1880, 1891, 2125, 2147, 35, 36, 2, 42, 43, 81, 104, 131, 133, 142, 177, 250, 302, 325, 312, 314, 424, 436, 451, 458, 459, 462, 464, 465, 466, 491, 506, 517, 547, 606, 607, 617, 623, 624, 635, 638, 639, 641, 699, 796, 901, 910, 919, 945, 1162, 1243, 1244, 1270, 1311, 1384, 1521, 1668, 1724, 1730, 1735, 1738, 1828, 1835, 1838, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1854, 1870, 1888, 2138, 2191, 2344, 2475, 2587, 2723, 2746, 3, 38, 1, 57, 88, 94, 97, 103, 105, 110, 180, 203, 226, 256, 319, 321, 323, 330, 337, 365, 431, 440, 442, 452, 618, 620, 622, 625, 632, 637, 656, 720, 876, 917, 922, 927, 1058, 1115, 1127, 1241, 1245, 1315, 1319, 1359, 1360, 1448, 1490, 1505, 1573, 1611, 1646, 1673, 1718, 1737, 1740, 1743, 1752, 1754, 1850, 1853, 1863, 1867, 1868, 1872, 1885, 1889, 1893, 1894, 1897, 2127, 2143, 2186, 2194, 2289, 2298, 2401, 2412, 2541, 2625, 2712, 2718, 2736, 2805, and so forth.  Then ask, what more could I possibly ask for, if I were asking for evidence that the Comma Johanneum drifted into a few Greek manuscripts due to the actions of copyists who wanted to make their Greek copies conform more precisely to the meaning of their Latin copies? 
            Nevertheless Mr. DeSoto states, “I have yet to see a scholar actually produce a manuscript, or historical source from antiquity which demonstrates that this verse was added from the Latin.”   It seems to me that he is simply resisting the plain implications of the evidence. 
            In addition. Mr. DeSoto resorts to a grammatical argument (offered in a past generation by commentator Robert Dabney) as evidence for the genuineness of the Comma Johanneum – and then states, “The only people I have seen stand against this grammatical argument are people who self-admittedly are rusty in Greek.”  However, this whole approach is a nothingburger, as demonstrated already by Dr. Barry Hofstetter in the 2018 post, The Comma Johanneum and Greek Grammar. 
            Furthermore, Mr. DeSoto misrepresents the evidence when he states that “Jerome and Nazianzes comment on it.”  By “Jerome” he appears to mean the author of the Preface to the Canonical Epistles – an author who (as I have already pointed out) used the transposed form of First John 5:8.  And by saying that “Gregory of Nazianzes comments on it,” he seems to be referring to the statement by Gregory of Nazianzus where, after stating that John says “that there are three that bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood” – as we find verse 8 in most manuscripts, without the phrase “on earth” – he bring up a frivolous objection from a posited grammarian only in order to tear it down, stating “You see how completely your argument from con-numeration has completely broken down, and is refuted by all these instances,” and he goes on from there – not once citing any part of the Comma Johanneum.  
            It is simply false to claim that Gregory of Nazianzus commented on the Comma Johanneum.  He did not do so.   Furthermore, in the very next chapter of his composition, Gregory of Nazianzus refers to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, without referencing the Comma Johanneum.
            Mr. DeSoto did not leave that falsehood without company.  He also claimed, “The Comma Johanneum was seated at 1 John 5:7 until evangelical textual critics began deconstructing the Scriptures.”  As long as one ignores the testimony of 02, 048, 0296, 018, 020, 025, 049, 0142, 1424, 1862, 1895, 2464, 044, 056, 82, 93, 175, 181, 221, 307, 326, 398, 450, 454, 456, 457, 602, 605, 619, 627, 832, 920, 1066, 1175, 1720, 1739, 1829, 1836, 1837, 1841, 1845, 1851, 1871, 1874, 1875, 1880, 1891, 2125, 2147, 35, 36, 2, 42, 43, 81, 104, 131, 133, 142, 177, 250, 302, 325, 312, 314, 424, 436, 451, 458, 459, 462, 464, 465, 466, 491, 506, 517, 547, 606, 607, 617, 623, 624, 635, 638, 639, 641, 699, 796, 901, 910, 919, 945, 1162, 1243, 1244, 1270, 1311, 1384, 1521, 1668, 1724, 1730, 1735, 1738, 1828, 1835, 1838, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1854, 1870, 1888, 2138, 2191, 2344, 2475, 2587, 2723, 2746, 3, 38, 1, 57, 88, 94, 97, 103, 105, 110, 180, 203, 226, 256, 319, 321, 323, 330, 337, 365, 431, 440, 442, 452, 618, 620, 622, 625, 632, 637, 656, 720, 876, 917, 922, 927, 1058, 1115, 1127, 1241, 1245, 1315, 1319, 1359, 1360, 1448, 1490, 1505, 1573, 1611, 1646, 1673, 1718, 1737, 1740, 1743, 1752, 1754, 1850, 1853, 1863, 1867, 1868, 1872, 1885, 1889, 1893, 1894, 1897, 2127, 2143, 2186, 2194, 2289, 2298, 2401, 2412, 2541, 2625, 2712, 2718, 2736, 2805, and so forth, that is something that can be honestly said.  Yes, if you resolve to be blind to these Greek manuscripts, and focus instead, like a horse wearing blinders, upon interpolated and transposed Latin texts, and on a few late manuscripts influenced by them, then you can say that you have a basis for keeping the Comma Johanneum in your text of First John.  But if you are going to say that it was a good thing that at some point in the past, the Latin text was on the throne, and that the Greek text was usurped and pushed to the side, and that such ought to be the case today, then you thus are not actually recognizing the authority of the original text.      
            Finally, after asking a series of rhetorical questions, Mr. DeSoto asks, Do we gain anything by removing this passage?”  To which I say, first, that this is a trick question, because when we look at 02, 048, 0296, 018, 020, 025, 049, 0142, 1424, 1862, 1895, 2464, 044, 056, 82, 93, 175, 181, 221, 307, 326, 398, 450, 454, 456, 457, 602, 605, 619, 627, 832, 920, 1066, 1175, 1720, 1739, 1829, 1836, 1837, 1841, 1845, 1851, 1871, 1874, 1875, 1880, 1891, 2125, 2147, 35, 36, 2, 42, 43, 81, 104, 131, 133, 142, 177, 250, 302, 325, 312, 314, 424, 436, 451, 458, 459, 462, 464, 465, 466, 491, 506, 517, 547, 606, 607, 617, 623, 624, 635, 638, 639, 641, 699, 796, 901, 910, 919, 945, 1162, 1243, 1244, 1270, 1311, 1384, 1521, 1668, 1724, 1730, 1735, 1738, 1828, 1835, 1838, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1854, 1870, 1888, 2138, 2191, 2344, 2475, 2587, 2723, 2746, 3, 38, 1, 57, 88, 94, 97, 103, 105, 110, 180, 203, 226, 256, 319, 321, 323, 330, 337, 365, 431, 440, 442, 452, 618, 620, 622, 625, 632, 637, 656, 720, 876, 917, 922, 927, 1058, 1115, 1127, 1241, 1245, 1315, 1319, 1359, 1360, 1448, 1490, 1505, 1573, 1611, 1646, 1673, 1718, 1737, 1740, 1743, 1752, 1754, 1850, 1853, 1863, 1867, 1868, 1872, 1885, 1889, 1893, 1894, 1897, 2127, 2143, 2186, 2194, 2289, 2298, 2401, 2412, 2541, 2625, 2712, 2718, 2736, 2805, and so forth, nobody is removing the passage; it is not there to begin with. 
            But taking the question as it stands:  yes we certainly do gain something.  First, we gain a purer, less corrupted text, which more closely resembles the original inspired text.  Mr. DeSoto recently stated in another post, “We need to receive the text as it has been passed down.”  I point out again that in the text of First John 5:7-8 that has been passed down in 99.2% of the handed-down Greek manuscripts, the Comma Johanneum is unsupported.  I point out again that the non-inclusion of the Comma Johanneum is supported.  I point out again that at this particular point, the Textus Receptus does not represent the text-that-was-handed-down, or the Byzantine Text, or the “Antiochan line.”  Yet this fact seems to have no effect on Mr. DeSoto’s position.  It seems abundantly clear that his goal is neither to defend the original text nor the text that has been handed down in Greek manuscripts; his agenda is to defend the contents of the Textus Receptus.
            (In addition, one must ask, Which text that has been passed down?”, because the manuscripts that have survived to the present day do not always agree.  When asking, “Is this reading authoritative?” the decisive sub-question is not, Is it popular?, or “Is it familiar to a particular group of people?” (such as English readers of the KJV, or formulators of a particular creed from the 1600s), but, “Is it original?.)    
            Second, we lose the stigma of desperation which is the inevitable consequence of treating an interpolation as if deserves to be a foundation for Christian doctrine, as if the Textus Receptus must be right, and all those other manuscripts must be wrong.  It is morally wrong and strategically unwise to employ falsehoods – such as the false claim that John wrote the Comma Johanneum – in the service of the truth.  To continue to do so is to run the risk that onlookers will conclude that the orthodox view of the Trinity is so weak that its defenders must adopt non-original readings in order to defend it.  I would point out that few early theologians were as Trinitarian as Gregory of Nazianzus and Cyril of Alexandria – yet they did not use the Comma Johanneum, because it was not the Greek texts that they used. 
            Third, we gain the time that would otherwise be wasted continuing to discuss a textual variant which ought to be easily recognized as an interpolation.



Readers are invited to double-check the data in this post.



  

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The British Library 2020: Manuscript Index


            The British Library houses Codex Sinaiticus (most of it, at least) and Codex Alexandrinus.  As reported at the British Library’s website, 905 Greek manuscripts in the British Library’s large collection of Greek manuscripts have been digitized.  This includes not only Codices À (Sinaiticus) and A (Alexandrinus), and assorted works by secular authors, and by patristic writers, but also the following New Testament manuscripts – 115 continuous-text manuscripts, and 62 lectionaries.
            Each link should take you to a page where each manuscript is briefly described, and where access to page-views of each manuscript is provided.

GA 011 (Codex Seidelianus I, Gospels, 800s, damaged)
GA 027 (Codex Nitriensis, 500s, palimpsest)
GA 0121a (900s)
GA 0133, 0269, 0271, 0272, 0273, 0297, Lect 334 (Codex Blenheimius, 700s lower writing, palimpsest)

GA 44 (Gospels, 1100s)
GA 65 (Gospels, 1100s)
GA 72 (Gospels, 1100s, interesting marginalia)
GA 81 (Acts, 1044)

GA 104 (New Testament, 1087)
GA 109 (Gospels, 1300s/1400s)
GA 110 (New Testament, 1100s)
GA 113 (Gospels, 1100s, illustrated)
GA 114 (Gospels, 1000s or later.  quatrefoil Ad Carpianus)
GA 115 (Gospels, 1000s, heavily damaged)
GA 116 (Gospels, 1100s/1200s)
GA 117 and Lect 1357 (Gospels and Acts, early 1500s)

GA 201 (New Testament, 1357)
GA 202 (Gospels, 1100s)
GA 203 (New Testament except for Gospels, 1108)
GA 272 (Gospels, 1000s/1100s)

GA 308 (Acts and Epistles, 1300s)
GA 312 (Vol. 1) (Acts and Epistles, 1000s-1100s)
GA 312 (Vol. 2) (Epistles, 1000s-1100s)
GA 321 (Acts and Epistles, 1100s or later)
GA 322 (Acts and Epistles, 1500s)
GA 384 (Acts and Epistles, 1200s)
GA 385 (Acts, Epistles, Revelation, 1407)

            Golden Canon Tables (500s or 600s – in situ with 438)

GA 445 (Gospels, 1506)
GA 446 (Gospels, 1400s)
GA 447 (Gospels, 1500s)
GA 448 (Gospels, 1478)

GA 476 (Gospels, 1000s)
GA 478 (Gospels, 900s-1000s)
GA 480 (Gospels and part of Hebrews, 1366)
GA 481 (Gospels, 900s-1100s, Evangelists portraits) (Burney Gospels 19)
GA 482 (Gospels, 1285, Evangelists’ portraits)
GA 484 (Gospels, 1291, quatrefoil headpiece)
GA 485 (Gospels, 1100s, semi-quatrefoil Ad Carpianus)
GA 490 (Gospels, 1000s, quatrefoil Ad Carpianus and quatrefoil headpiece)
GA 491 (New Testament except Revelation, 1000s)
GA 492 (Gospels, 1325)
GA 493 (Gospels, 1400s)
GA 494 (Gospels, 1300s)
GA 495 (Gospels, 1100s, Evangelists’ portraits)
GA 496 (New Testament except Revelation, 1200s)
GA 497 (Gospels, 1000s)
GA 498 (New Testament, missing some pages, 1300s)
GA 499 (Gospels, 1100s)

GA 500 (Gospels, 1200s)
GA 501 (Gospels, 1200s, some later supplements)
GA 502 (Gospels, 1200s)
GA 503 (John, 1200s)
GA 504 (Gospels, 1033)
GA 505 (Gospels, 1100s, quatrefoil headpiece)
GA 547 (New Testament except Revelation, 1000s)
GA 548 (Gospels, 1100s)
GA 549 (Gospels, 1000s, commentary)
GA 550 (Gospels, 1100s)
GA 551 (Gospels, 1100s-1400s)
GA 552 (Gospels, 1100s)
GA 553 (Gospels, 1200s)

GA 640 (James, fragment, 1000s-1100s, commentary)
GA 641 (Acts and Epistles, 1000s, commentary)
GA 643 (Vol. 1) (Pauline Epistles, 1300s, Chrysostom commentary)
GA 643 (Vol. 2) (Pauline Epistles w/Chrysostom comm., and General Epistles, 1300s)
GA 644 (Pauline Epistles, incomplete, 1300s)
GA 645 (Gospels, 1304)
GA 686 (Gospels, 1337)
GA 687 (fragments of Matthew, 1000s)
GA 688 (Gospels, 1179)
GA 689 (Gospels, 1200s)
GA 690 (Gospels, 1200s-1300s)
GA 691 (Gospels, 1200s-1300s)
GA 692 (Gospels, 1200s-1300s, quatrefoil headpiece)
GA 693 (Gospels, 1200s-1300s)
GA 694 (Gospels, 1400s)
GA 695 (Gospels, 1200s)
GA 696 (Gospels, 1300s)
GA 697 (Gospels, 1200s) (decorated, fox & snake initial)
GA 698 (Matthew, Mark, Luke, 1300s)
GA 699 / GA 699 (Guest-Coutts NT) (Gospels, Acts, Epistles, 900s)

GA 700 (Gospels, 1000s) (Hoskier’s Codex)
GA 714 (Gospels, 1100s-1200s)
GA 715 (Gospels, 1200s, quatrefoil headpiece)
GA 716 (Gospels, 1300s, quatrefoil headpiece)
GA 892 (Gospels, 800s with later supplements)

GA 910 (Acts and Epistles, 1009)
GA 911 (Acts and Epistles, 1000s)
GA 911(2040) (Revelation, 1000s)
GA 912 (Acts and Epistles, 1200s)
GA 913 (Acts and Epistles, 1300s)

GA 1268 (Gospels, 1200s, commentary)
GA 1274 (Vol. 1) (Palimpsest – parts of Matthew and Mark, 1100s/1400s)
GA 1274 (Vol. 2) – Luke, Matthew, Mark) and GA 2823  and GA 2822 (Palimpsest – part of James and Jude, 1100s/1400s)
GA 1279 (Gospels, 1100s-1200s)
GA 1280 (Gospels, 1100s-1400s)

GA 1765 (Acts and Epistles, 1300s)

GA 1911 (Romans-Jude, 1500s.  This is Harley MS 5552, likely a transcript of Erasmus’ first edition)
GA 1956 (Pauline Epistles, 1200s, catena)

GA 2041 (Revelation, 1300s)
GA 2099 (Gospels, 1200s)

GA 2277 (Gospels, 1000s-1300s)
GA 2278 (Gospels, 1314)
GA 2279 (Acts and Epistles, 1300s)
GA 2280 (Gospels, 1100s)
GA 2290 (Gospels, 900s with supplements from 1600s)
GA 2291 (Vol. 1) (Matthew and Mark, 1200s)
GA 2291 (Vol. 2) (Luke and John, 1200s)

GA 2484 (Acts and Epistles, 1312)

LECTIONARIES

Lect 25a and 25b (partly palimpsest)

Lect 150 (995, uncial)
Lect 151 (1100s, quatrefoil headpiece)
Lect 152 (800s-900s, uncial)
Lect 169 (1200s, Acts and Epistles)
Lect 183 (nice uncial lectionary)
Lect 184 (late 900s)
Lect 187 (1100s-1200s)
Lect 189 (1100s)
Lect 190 (1000s, fragment)
Lect 191 (1100s)
Lect 192 (1200s)
Lect 193 (1334)

Lect 233 (1100s, cruciform text)
Lect 237 & Lect 2310 (1100s and 1600s)
Lect 238 (1000s-1100s)
Lect 257 (1306, Acts and Epistles)

Lect 318 (1000s)
Lect 319 (1100s-1200s, quatrefoil headpiece)
Lect 320 (1300s, damaged)
Lect 321 (1100s-1200s)
Lect 322 (1000s)
Lect 323 (1100s-1200s)
Lect 324 (1200s)
Lect 325 (1200s)
Lect 326 (1100s)
Lect 327 (1300s)
Lect 328 (1300s)
Lect 329 (900s-1000s)

Lect 330 & 331 (1272)   
Lect 332 (1300s)
Lect 333 1200s)
Lect 335 (1100s)
Lect 336 (1100s-1300s)
Lect 337 (1200s)
Lect 338 (900s lower writing, palimpsest)
Lect 339 (1100s)
Lect 340 (1200s) 
Lect 344 (1100s-1300s)
Lect 346 (1100s-1300s)

Lect 927 (1200s-1300s)
Lect 930 (1200s)
Lect 932 (1200s)
Lect 939 (1100s)
Lect 940 (1200s)
Lect 941 (1100s)

Lect 1053 (1000s-1100s, fragment)
Lect 1234 (1300s)
Lect 1317 (800s and 1400s, palimpsest)

Lect 1490 (1100s)
Lect 1491 (1008)
Lect 1492 (late 1000s)
Lect 1493 (1000s)
Lect 1494 (1100s-1200s)
Lect 1495 (1200s)
Lect 1496 (1413)

Lect 1742 (late 1300s)
Lect 1743 (1256)

Lect 2376 (1000s, quatrefoil headpiece)

Also of interest:
Collation of GA 71 (Codex Ephesinus), made in 1679
Add. MS 34186 – Wax Tablets  (Probably similar to what Zachariah used in Luke 1:63)

In addition, the British Library’s website offers several essays on subjects relevant in one way or another to the field of New Testament textual criticism, including the following:

Scribes and Scholars in Byzantium (Georgi Parpulov)
Manuscripts of the Christian Bible (Scot McKendrick)
Ancient Books (Cillian O’Hogan)
Ancient Libraries (Matthew Nicholls)
Book Illumination in Antiquity (Cillian O’Hogan) (featuring Codex N)
Biblical Illumination (Kathleen Doyle)
Byzantine Bookbindings (Ann Tomalak)
Byzantine Book Epigrams (Julie Boeten and Sien De Groot)
Illuminated Gospel-books (Kathleen Maxwell)
The Earliest Greek Bibles (David C. Parker) (featuring Papyrus 5)



Readers are invited to double-check the data in this post.


Monday, January 13, 2020

Hand to Hand Combat: Sinaiticus vs. 490 in Luke 15:1-10

            It’s time for a round of hand-to-hand combat!  Today’s arena:  Luke 15:1-10, a famous passage in which Jesus delivers the Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin.  The combatants:  Codex Sinaiticus (from c. 350) and minuscule 490 (from the 1000s).  Codex Sinaiticus (À) comes to the fight with a considerable advantage:  copyists had only about 300 years to introduce corruptions into its text, while at least 940 years separate GA 490 from the autograph (positing a composition-date for the Gospel of Luke in the early 60s).  One might naturally expect À to have the more accurate text.  Let’s see if the evidence confirms this.
            As in other rounds of hand-to-hand combat, I will make a close assessment of all deviations from the stand-in for the original text; the Tyndale House Greek New Testament serves as our proxy.  Sacred-name contractions and other contractions and abbreviations are not counted as variants; transpositions are mentioned but not treated as losses or gains of materials unless an actual loss or gain occurs.  The recorded text of each MS in the comparison is the text of the MS prior to later, post-production corrections.  After the initial raw data is collected, it will be filtered so as to set aside itacisms and some other untranslatable variants.

Luke 15:1-10 in Sinaiticus:
1 – no differences
2 – À does not have ουτος (-5)
2 – À has προσδεχετε instead of προσδεχεται (+1, -2)
3 – no differences
4 – À has καταλιπει instead of καταλειπει (-1)
4 – À has ου after εως (+2)
5 – no differences
6 – À has συνκαλει instead of συγκαλει (+1, -1)
6 – À has συνχάρητέ instead of συγχάρητέ (+1, -1)
7 – À has εστε instead of εσται (+1, -2)
7 – À has χριαν instead of χρειαν (-1)
7 – À has εχουσι instead of εχουσιν (-1)
8 – À has ζητι instead of ζητει (-1)
9 – À has συνκαλει instead of συγκαλει (+1, -1)
9 – À has συνχάρητέ instead of συγχάρητέ (+1, -1)
10 – no differences

            Thus, in these 10 verses, Sinaiticus’ text has lost 16 original letters and gained 8 non-original letters, for a total of 24 letters’ worth of corruption.  When we filter out trivial variants, there are only two variants of substance here:  the absence of ουτος in verse 2 and the presence of ου in verse 4, yielding a total of seven letters’ worth of corruption. Can GA 490 do better than that?  Let’s see:


Luke 15:1-10 in GA 490:         
1 – transposition:  εγγίζοντες αυτω
2 – 490 does not have τε (-2)
3 – 490 has ειπε instead of ειπεν (-1)
3 – no differences
4 – transposition:  εν εξ αυτων
4 – 490 has ου after εως (+2)
5 – 490 has εαυτου instead of αυτου (+1)
6 – no differences
7 – transposition:  εσται εν τω ουνω
7 – 490 has εχουσι instead of εχουσιν (-1)
8 – 490 has οτου instead of ου (+2)
9 – 490 has τας before γείτονας (+3)
10 – transposition:  χαρα γινεται ενώπιον
10 – 490 has γινεται instead of γεινεται (-1) [NA reads γινεται]

            Thus, in these 10 verses, GA 490’s text has lost 5 original letters and has gained 7 non-original letters, for a total of 12 letters’ worth of corruption.  490’s text also contains four transpositions.  When we filter out trivial variants, there are five variants remaining:  (1) the absence of τε in verse 2, (2) the presence of ου in verse 4, (3) εαυτου instead of αυτου in verse 5, (4) οτου instead of ου in verse 8, and (5) τας in verse 9 – yielding a total of 10 letters’ worth of corruption. 
            So, in terms of strict formal accuracy, 490’s text retains more of the original text, and loses less than À does, by a score of 24 to 12.  But if we set aside matters of spelling, À wins, barely, by a score of 7 to 10.  (One could arguably reduce 490’s score to 9 if one sets aside as trivial the difference between εαυτου and αυτου in verse 5.)

I note in passing that there could be a case for adopting ου after εως in Luke 15:4.  This reading is supported by À A Δ Y M N f1 f13 579 et al.