Saturday, January 15, 2022

John 1:51 - "Hereafter, You Shall See"

             In John 1:51, there’s a small variant that doesn’t get much attention.  The NASB, NIV, NLT, CSB, NRSV, EHV, and NET don’t include it in their base-text, nor do they mention it in a footnote (though it is in the Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Text, and thus it is also reflected in the text of the KJV, NKJV, WEB, MEV, and EOB-NT).  The little phrase ἀπ ἄρτι (usually rendered in English as henceforth or hereafter) is not in the early Alexandrian Text; it is not in P66, P75, B, À, L, or W (which has secondary pages in this part of John) and a few later manuscripts (Willker lists 0141, 397, 579, 821, 1819, and 2129). 

          We cannot discern what the reading was in John 1:51 in D or the Sinaitic Syriac or the Curetonian Syriac; they are not extant at this point in the text. 

          UBS4 offers no data at all about this variant, but Willker lists A, X, Δ, Θ, Ψ, f1, f13, 33, 565, 1071, 1241 and the Majority (i.e., Byzantine) Text as support for including ἀπ ἄρτι, in addition to the Old Latin copies e (VL 2, Palatinus – 400s), q (VL 13, Monacensis – 500s or 600s), and r1 (VL 14, Usserianus primus – c. 600 [BL 40107]), and the Peshitta.   Swanson adds K M L P U Y 2 69 700 1424 in support of ἀπ ἄρτι.  Versions (except the most literal and wooden) generally should not be leaned upon where redundant or superfluous words and phrases are involved, and “In the future you shall see” is somewhat redundant (for what other time could there be?).

          The words ἀπ ἄρτι are Johannine; they occur again in John 13:19 and 14:7 (and in Matthew at 23:39, 26:29, 26:64, but not in Mark or Luke). 

John 1:51 in Codex Macedonianus.

          Metzger asserts in the UBS Textual Commentary that “the gloss was apparently derived from Mt 26.64.”  However, in John 1:51, Jesus addresses Nathanael and promises that Nathanael (and at least one other person on the scene) will see Jesus as the embodiment of what was signified in Jacob’s vision (in Genesis 28), whereas in Matthew 26:64, Jesus addresses the high priest, and says that he would see the Son of Man “sitting at the right hand of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven” – which is hardly a parallel to what is said in John 1:51.

           Let’s compare the possibilities:  that (a) very early in the transmission of the Gospel of John in Egypt, a scribe excised ἀπ ἄρτι, regarding it as redundant, or (b) somewhere in the transmission-line shared by A, X, Δ, Θ, Ψ, f1, f13, 33, 565, 1071, 1241, the Peshitta, and three relatively early Old Latin copies (VL 2, 13, and 14), a scribe thought that John 1:51 just doesn’t say enough without ἀπ ἄρτι, and inserted it.  It seems to me that researchers have been over-impressed by the early date of P75, B, P66, and À.  A scribe influencing the same transmission-line that saw the excision of ἐν in John 1:4 (in P66), the excision of ὁ in John 1:15 (the initial reading of P66), the excision of ὁ in John 1:35 (in B and P75), the excision of ἐγὼ in John 1:27 (the initial reading in P66), and the excision of ὁ in John 1:47 (in B) would be capable of excising ἀπ ἄρτι in John 1:51.  Meanwhile, adequate consideration has not been given of the age required by an ancestor shared by A, P, D, f1, VL 2, 33, 700, the Peshitta, and the Harklean Syriac.  Ἀπ ἄρτι should be retained in John 1:51.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Samuel Tregelles and Mark 16:9-20

           In 1844, the year when Constantine Tischendorf first saw pages of Codex Sinaiticus at St. Catherine’s monastery, Samuel Tregelles released An Account of the Printed Text of the New Testament, a book which had a significant influence among researchers into the text of the New Testament.

          Recently, after discussing Mark 16:9-20 with Stephen Boyce of Explain International, someone observed that my position (that Mark was permanently interrupted as he wrote 16:8, and someone else attached verses 9-20 (from another composition by Mark) to complete the narrative, before the Gospel of Mark began to be disseminated for church-use, and that verses 9-20 are thus part of the original text) resembled the view of Tregelles, and it occurred to me that many discussion-viewers might not know what that means.  (I had read Tregelles, years ago, but on the spur of the moment I couldn’t recall his view in detail.)  So here, I have reproduced a large excerpt from Tregelles’ own statements on the subject, along with a few notes of my own, from pages 246-261 of An Account of the Printed Text of the New Testament.  I have not included the footnotes, in the interest of brevity.  Some readers, wearied by Tregelles’ thoroughness,  may wish to proceed to Tregelles’ closing comments, which I have marked with “···.”

Tregelles wrote:    

          “St. Mark xvi. 9-20. The last twelve verses of this Gospel have some remarkable phenomena connected with their history; in order fully to discuss their authority, it is needful first to establish by evidence of facts certain propositions.

I. That it is historically known that in the early ages it was denied that these verses formed a part of the Gospel written by St. Mark.

II. That it is certain, on grounds of historical transmission, that they were from the second century, at least, and onward, known as part of this book.

III. That the early testimony that they were not written by St. Mark is confirmed by existing monuments.

          After these propositions have been established, the conclusions to be drawn may assume the form of corollaries.

(I)  The absence of this portion from some, many, or most copies of St. Mark’s Gospel, or that it was not written by St. Mark himself, is attested by Eusebius, Gregory of Nyssa, Victor of Antioch, Severus of Antioch, Jerome; and by later writers (especially Greeks), who, even though they copied from their predecessors, were competent to transmit the record of a fact.

(i) Eusebius, in the first of his Questiones ad Marinum, discusses πως παρα μεν τω Ματθαιω “οψε σαββάτων” φαίνεται εγηγερμενος ο σωτηρ, παρα δε τω Μάρκω “πρωι τη μια των σαββάτων.”  [Tregelles then presents an extract from Eusebius’ composition Ad Marinum, which is similar to what Roger Pearse presents on p. 96 of Eusebius of Caesarea:  Gospel Problems and Solutions, and which translates in that book to: 

“The answer to this would be twofold.  The actual nub of the matter is the pericope which says this. One who athetises that pericope would say that it is not found in all copies of the gospel according to Mark:  accurate copies end their text of the Marcan account with the words of the young man whom the women saw, and who said to them: “‘Do not be afraid; it is Jesus the Nazarene that you are looking for, etc. … ’ ”, after which it adds: “And when they heard this, they ran away, and said nothing to anyone, because they were frightened.”  That is where the text does end, in almost all copies of the gospel according to Mark. What occasionally follows in some copies, not all, would be extraneous, most particularly if it contained something contradictory to the evidence of the other evangelists.”  That, then, would be one person’s answer: to reject it, entirely obviating the question as superfluous.”]

          Tregelles continues:  “Eusebius then goes on to explain the supposed difficulty, irrespective of the supposed authorship of these verses.  This testimony, then, is clear, that the greater part of the Greek copies had not the twelve verses in question.  It is evident that Eusebius did not believe that they were written by Mark himself, for he  says, κατὰ Μάρκον μετὰ τὴν ανάστασιν οὐ λέγεται ὤφθαι τοις μαθηταις.  The arrangement of the Eusebian Canons are also an argument that he did not own the passage; for in genuine copies of the notation of these sections the numbers do not go beyond ver. 8, which is marked σλγʹ (233).  Some copies, carry indeed, this notation as far as ver. 14, and some to the end of the chapter; but these are unauthorised additions, and contradicted by not only good copies which contain these sections, both Greek and Latin (for instance A, and the Codex Amiatinus), but also by a scholion found in a good many MSS. at ver. 8, εως ωδε Εὐσέβιος εκανόνισεν.  It has been objected that these sections show nothing as to the MSS. extant in Eusebius’s time, but only the condition of the Harmony of Ammonius, from which the divisions were taken.  [It does not seem to have occurred to Tregelles that Eusebius, after endorsing to Marinus the inclusion of verses 9-20, could have changed his mind when subsequently creating his Canons.]  The objection is not without significance; but it really carries back our evidence from the fourth century to the third; and thus it is seen, that just as Eusebius found these verses absent in his day from the best and most numerous copies, so was also the case with Ammonius when he formed his Harmony in the preceding century.”

          [That the “Ammonian Sections” are the work of Eusebius, and not Ammonius, was later demonstrated by John Burgon in Appendix G of his 1871 book, The Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel According to S. Mark Vindicated Against Recent Critical Objectors and Established.] 

          [Tregelles then reviews the testimony from Gregory of Nyssa – which, subsequent to Tregelles, was regarded as the work of Hesychius – and Victor of Antioch, noting that Victor’s remark] “is worthy of attention; for his testimony to the absence of these twelve verses from some or many copies, stands in contrast to his own opinion on the subject.  He seems to speak of having added the passage in question (to his own copy, perhaps) on the authority of a Palestinian exemplar.”

          Next, Tregelles reviews a statement from Severus of Antioch, and says, “This testimony may be but a repetition of that already cited from Gregory of Nyssa; but if so, it is, at least, an approving quotation.”

          “It is worthy of remark that both Eusebius and Victor have τῇ μιᾷ where our text has πρώτη; this may be an accidental variation; as they do not afterwards give the words precisely as they had before quoted them; or it may show that they spoke of the passage, ver. 9-20, without having before them a copy which contained it, and thus that they unintentionally used τῇ μιᾷ as the more customary phraseology in the New Testament.

          “Dionysius of Alexandria has been brought forward as a witness on each side.  Scholz refers to his Epistle to Basilides, as though he had there stated that some, or many, copies did not contain the passage; and Tischendorf similarly mentions his testimony; while, on the other hand, Dr. Davidson (Introd. i. 165) places Dionysius amongst those by whom the passage “is sanctioned.”  All, however, that I can gather from his Epistle to Basilides (Routh, Rel. Sac. iii. 223-32) is, that in discussing the testimony of the four evangelists to the time (whether night, or early in the morning) at which our Lord arose from the dead, he takes no notice whatever of Mark xvi. 9; and this he could hardly fail to have done, as bearing more closely on the question, when referring to the beginning of the same chapter, if he had acknowledged or known the last twelve verses. His testimony, then, quantum valeat, is purely negative.

          “Jerome’s testimony is yet to be adduced.  He discusses (Ad Hedibiam, Qusest. II. ed. Vallarsi, i. col. 819,) the difficulties brought forward as to the time of the resurrection. “Hujus qusestionis duplex solutio est; aut enim non recipimus Marci testimonium, quod in raris fertur Evangeliis, omnibus Grceciae libris pene hoc capitulum in fine non habentibus, praesertim quum diversa atque contraria Evangelistis caeteris narrare videatur ; aut hoc respondendum, quod uterque verum dixerit,” etc.  He then proposes to remove the difficulty by a different punctuation, in the same manner as Eusebius and Victor did.”

          “But an endeavour has been made to invalidate Jerome s testimony by referring to what he says in his Dialogue against the Pelagians, II. 15.  “In quibusdam exemplaribus, et maxime in Græcis codicibus juxta Marcum in fine ejus Evangelii scribitur:  Postea quum accubuissent undecim apparuit eis lesus, et exprobravit incredulitatem et duritiam cordis eorum, quia his qui viderant eum resurgentem non crediderunt.  Et illi satisfaciebant dicentes; Sæculum istud iniquitatis et incredulitatis substantia* est, quæ non sinit per immundos spiritus veram Dei apprehendi virtutem: idcirco jam nunc revela justitiam tuam. Cui si contradicitis, illud certe renuere non audebitis; Mundus in maligno positus est,” etc. (Ed. Vallarsi. ij. 744, 5.)  Hence it has been inferred that Jerome contradicts himself as to the Greek copies.  But (i.) that conclusion does not follow, because he may here speak of those Greek copies which did contain the verses in question, and not of the MSS. in general, (ii.) If this testimony be supposed to relate to Greek MSS. in general, it is at least remarkable that we have no other trace of such an addition at ver. 14. [The situation to which Tregelles alluded changed when Codex W was discovered.]  (iii.) Jerome wrote against the Pelagians in extreme old age, and he made in that work such demonstrable errors (e. g. citing II. 2, Ignatius instead of Polycarp), that it would be a bold step if any were to reject an unequivocal testimony to a fact stated in his earlier writings on the ground of something contained in this; especially when, if the latter testimony be admitted as conclusive, it would involve our accepting a strange addition at ver. 14 (otherwise wholly unknown to MSS., versions, and fathers) as a reading then current in Greek copies.

          These testimonies sufficiently establish, as an historical fact, that in the early ages it was denied that these twelve concluding verses formed a part of the Gospel of St. Mark.

(II.) I now pass to the proofs of the second proposition; that it is certain, on grounds of historical transmission, that, from the second century at least, this Gospel concluded as it does now in our copies.

          This is shown by the citations of early writers who recognise the existence of the section in question. These testimonies commence with Irenaeus: “In fine autem Evangelii ait Marcus, Et quidem Dominus Iesus, postquam locutus est eis, receptus est in caelos, et sedet ad dexteram Dei” (C. H. iii. 10. 6).  This sentence of the old Latin translator of Irenseus is thus cited in Greek in confirmation of his having used this part of the Gospel:  Ὁ μὲν ουν κύριος μετὰ τὸ λαλησαι αὐτοις ἀνελήφθε εις τὸν ουρανόν, καὶ εκάθισεν εκ δεξιων του θεου.  Εἰρηναιος των ἀποστόλων πλησίον ἐν τω πρὸς τὰς αιρέσεις γʹ λόγω τουτο ανήνεγκεν τὸ ρητὸν ς Μάρκῳ ειρημένον [A footnote in Printed Account states that this was drawn by Cramer from Cod. Harl. 5647, that is, minuscule 72.  What Tregelles presented is a combination of 72’s text of Mark 16:19, and the note in 72’s side-margin.] 

          “Whether this part of St. Mark was known to Celsus has been disputed.  My own opinion is, that that early writer against Christianity did, in the passage which Origen discusses (lib. II. §§ 59 and 70), refer to the appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalen, as found in Mark xvi. 9; but that Origen, in answering him, did not exactly apprehend the purport of his objection, from (probably) not knowing or using that section of this Gospel.  This would not be the only place in which Origen has misapprehended the force of remarks of Celsus from difference of reading in the copies which they respectively used, or from his not being aware of the facts to which Celsus referred.

          Tregelles turns next to Hippolytus, and supplies an extensive quotation from Περὶ Χαρισμάτων Ἀποστολικὴ Παράδοσις “in which this part of St. Mark s Gospel is distinctly quoted.”

          “After these testimonies of the second and third centuries, there are many who use the passage; such for instance as Cyril of Jerusalem, Ambrose, Augustine, Nestorius, (ap. Cyr. Alex. vi. 46.)

          Under this head may be mentioned the MSS. and versions in general (the conspectus of their evidence on both sides will be given under the next proposition); and amongst the MSS.  Those may in particular be specified which continue the Ammonian Sections on to the end of the chapter.  This seems to have been done to supply a supposed omission; and in ancient MSS., such as C, it is clear that the copyist took this section for an integral part of the book.

          The early mention and use of this section, and the place that it holds in the ancient versions in general, and in the MSS., sufficiently show, on historical grounds, that it had a place, and was transmitted as a part of the second Gospel.

III. To consider properly the third proposition (that the early testimony that St. Mark did not write these verses is confirmed by existing monuments), the evidence of the MSS. and versions must be stated in full.

          The passage is wholly omitted in Codex B.,* in the Latin Codex Bobbiensis (k), in old MSS. of the Armenian, and in an Arabic version in the Vatican (Cod. Arab. Vat. 13).  [This was later shown to be an effect of damage to the manuscript, as Metzger says in a footnote in his Textual Commentary:  “Since, however, through an accidental loss of leaves the original hand breaks off just before the end of Mark 16.8, its testimony is without significance in discussing the textual problem.”  See also Clarence Russell Williams’ comments about Cod. Arab. Vat. 13 on p. 398 of Williams’ The Appendices to the Gospel of St. Mark, which is contained as the last essay in Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 18 (Feb. 1915, Yale University Press).]  Of these versions, the Codex Bobbiensis adds a different brief conclusion, “Omnia autem quaecunque praecepta erant et qui cum puero [1. cum Petro] erant breviter exposuerunt. Posthaec et ipse jhesus adparuit. et ab orientem usque. usque in orientem. misit per illos sanctam et incorruptam (add. praedicationis, -nem ?) salutis aeternae. Amen.”  And the Armenian, in the edition of Zohrab, separates the concluding twelve verses from the rest of the Gospel.  Mr. Rieu thus notices the Armenian MSS.; “ἐφοβουντο γάρ·   Some of the oldest  MSS. end here : many put after these words the final Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μάρκον, and then give the additional verses with a new superscription, εὐαγγ. κατὰ Μ.  Oscan goes on without any break.”  The Arabic MS. in the Vatican is that described by Scholz in his “Biblisch-Kritische Keise” (pp. 117-126); and though the Arabic versions are of too recent a date to possess much critical value, this MS., so far as may be judged from the few extracts made, seems to be based on an ancient Greek text.  Besides the MS. which omits the verses, they are marked with an asterisk in two cursive copies. [The two cursive copies to which Tregelles referred here are 137 and 138 – neither of which is as Tregelles described it; both have the Catena Marcum and feature the comment that alludes to a cherished Palestinian exemplar.]

          [Tregelles then reviews the note in Codex L that appears before the Shorter Ending, and L’s text of the Shorter Ending.] “Thus far L is supported by the cursive cod. 274, by the marg. of the Harclean Syriac, and by the Latin Codex Bobbiensis (see above). L then continues :  “ἔστην [i. e. -τιν] δὲ καὶ ταυτα φερόμενα μετὰ τὸ φοβουνται γάρ” ~ - - - - - - - ~ ἀναστὰς δὲ κτλ. (and then follow the twelve verses).

          In Cod. 1, ver. 8 ends on folio 220 A, and at the top of the next page is written in vermillion, ἔν τισι μὲν των ἀντυγράφων ἕως ωδε πληρουται ὁ ευαγγελιστής· ἔως ου καὶ Ευσέβιος ὁ παμφίλου ἐκανόνισεν. ἐν πολλοις δὲ καὶ ταυτα φέρεται (and then follow ver. 9 20).  A similar note or a scholion stating the absence of the following verses from many, from most, or from the most correct copies (often from Victor or Severus), is found in twenty-five other cursive codices; sometimes with τελος interposed after ver. 8.  The absence of Ammonian divisions in A L and other good copies after ver. 8 should here be remembered.

          Such is the testimony of existing monuments confirming the ancient witnesses against this passage.

          On the other hand, the passage is found in the uncial codd. A C D, X Δ, E G Π K M S U V (F is defective); as well as in 33, 69, and the rest of the cursive copies which have been collated.  It is in copies of the Old Latin; in the Vulg. in the Curetonian Syriac, as well as the Peshito and the Harclean (with the marginal note given above), and the Jerusalem Syriac; in the Memphitic, Gothic, and Æthiopic; besides those which have been previously mentioned as characterised by some peculiarity.  The Thebaic is here defective, but it is supposed that a citation in that language may be a paraphrase of ver. 20.  The Gothic is defective in the concluding verses, but enough is extant to show that it recognised the passage; [The final page of Mark in the Gothic manuscript Codex Argenteus, containing verse 12-20 of the sixteenth chapter, was not recovered until 1970, when Franz Haffner found it in St. Afra’s Chapel in the cathedral in Speyer, Germany.] and of the Curetonian Syriac no part of this Gospel is found except a fragment containing ver. 17 to the end of this chapter.

          The Old Latin is here defective in the best copies; for the Codex Vercellensis is imperfect from ch. xv. 15, and Cod. Veronensis from xiii. 24.  Also the Cod. Brixianus is defective from xiv. 70.  The mode in which Cod. Bobbiensis concludes has been noticed already. The Codices Colbertinus, Corbiensis, and others, are those which may be quoted as showing that the Old Latin contains this section.

          It has been suggested that this portion of St. Mark was omitted by those who found a difficulty in reconciling what it contains with the other Evangelists.  But so far from there being any proof of this, which would have required a far less change, we find that the same writers who mention the non-existence of the passage in many copies, do themselves show how it may be harmonised with what is contained in the other Gospels ; we have no reason for entertaining the supposition that such a Marcion-like excision had been here adopted.

          In opposing the authenticity of this section, some have argued on the nature of the contents;‒ that the appearance of our Lord to Mary Magdalene first, is not (it is said) in accordance with what we learn elsewhere; that the supposition of miraculous powers to be received (ver. 17, 18) is carried too far; that (in ver. 16) Baptism is too highly exalted. I mention these objections, though I do not think any one of them separately, nor yet the whole combined, to be of real weight. There is no historical difficulty which would be regarded as of real force, if, on other grounds, doubt had not been cast on the passage; for else we might object to many Scripture narrations, because we cannot harmonise them, owing to our not being acquainted with all the circumstances.  As to the doctrinal points specified, it is hard to imagine what difficulty is supposed to exist; I see nothing that would involve the feelings and opinions of an age subsequent to the apostolic.

          The style of these twelve verses has been relied on as though it were an argument that they were not written by Mark himself.  I am well aware that arguments on style are often very fallacious, and that by themselves they prove very little; but when there does exist external evidence, and when internal proofs as to style, manner, verbal expression, and connection, are in accordance with such independent grounds of forming a judgment, then these internal considerations possess very great weight.

          A difference has been remarked, and truly remarked, between the phraseology of this section and the rest of this Gospel.  This difference is in part negative and in part positive. The phraseology of St. Mark possesses characteristics which do not appear in these verses.  And besides these negative features, this section has its own peculiarities; amongst which may be specified πρώτη σαββάτω (ver. 9), instead of which τη μια των σαββάτων would have been expected: in ver. 10 and 14 sentences are conjoined without a copulative, contrary to the common usage in St. Mark.  εκεινος is used four times in a manner different from what is found in the rest of the Gospel.  The periodic structure of verses 19 and 20 is such as only occurs once elsewhere in this Gospel (xiv. 38).

          Many words, expressions, and constructions occur in this section, and not in any other part of St. Mark:  e. g. πορεύομαι (thrice), θεάομαι (twice), απίστεω (twice), ἕτερος, παρακολουθέω, βλάπτω, επακολουθέω, συνεργέω, βεβαιόω, πανταχου, μετὰ ταυτα, εν τω ονοματι, ὁ κυριος, as applied absolutely to Christ (twice).  Now, while each of these peculiarities (except the first) may possess singly no weight, yet their combination, and that in so short a portion, has a force which can rather be felt than stated.  And if any parallel be attempted, as to these peculiarities, by a comparison of other portions of St. Mark, it will be found that many chapters must be taken together before we shall find any list of examples as numerous or as striking as those which are crowded together here in these few verses.  

          These considerations must be borne in mind as additional to the direct evidence stated before.

          It has been asked, as an argument that the section before us was actually written by St. Mark, whether it is credible that he could have ended his Gospel with . . . ἐφοβουντο γάρ.  Now, however improbable, such a difficulty must not be taken as sufficient, per se, to invalidate testimony to a fact as such. We often do not know what may have caused the abrupt conclusion of many works.  The last book of Thucydides has no proper termination at all; and in the Scripture some books conclude with extraordinary abruptness:  Ezra and Jonah are instances of this.  Perhaps we do not know enough of the circumstances of St. Mark when he wrote his Gospel to say whether he did or did not leave it with a complete termination.  And if there is difficulty in supposing that the work ever ended abruptly at ver. 8, would this have been transmitted as a fact by good witnesses, if there had not been real grounds for regarding it to be true?  And further, irrespective of recorded evidence, we could not doubt that copies in ancient times did so end, for B, the oldest that we have, actually does so.  Also the copies which add the concluding twelve verses as something separate, and those (as L) which give another brief termination, show that this fact is not incredible. Such a peculiarity would not have been invented.

          It has also been urged with great force that the contents of this section are such as preclude its having been added at a post-apostolic period, and that the very difficulties which it contains afford a strong presumption that it is an authentic history: the force of this argument is such that I do not see how it can be avoided; for even if a writer went out of his way to make difficulties in a supplement to St. Mark’s Gospel, it is but little likely that his contemporaries would have accepted and transmitted such an addition, except on grounds of known and certain truth as to the facts recorded.  If there are points not easy to be reconciled with the other Gospels, it is all the less probable that any writer should have put forth, and that others should have received, the narrative, unless it were really authentic history. As such it is confirmed by the real or supposed points of difficulty.

          As, then, the facts of the case, and the early reception and transmission of this section, uphold its authenticity, and as it has been placed from the second century, at least, at the close of our second canonical Gospel; and as, likewise, its transmission has been accompanied by a continuous testimony that it was not a part of the book as originally written by St. Mark; and as both these points are confirmed by internal considerations― 

          The following corollaries flow from the propositions already established:‒


          I. That the book of Mark himself extends no farther than ἐφοβουντο γάρ, xvi. 8.

          II. That the remaining twelve verses, by whomsoever written, have a full claim to be received as an authentic part of the second Gospel, and that the full reception of early testimony on this question does not in the least involve their rejection as not being a part of Canonical Scripture.

          It may, indeed, be said that they might have been written by St. Mark at a later period; but, even on this supposition, the attested fact that the book once ended at ver. 8 would remain the same, and the assumption that the same Evangelist had added the conclusion would involve new difficulties, instead of removing any.

          There is in some minds a kind of timidity with regard to Holy Scripture, as if all our notions of its authority depended on our knowing who was the writer of each particular portion; instead of simply seeing and owning that it was given forth from God, and that it is as much his as were the commandments of the Law written by his own finger on the tables of stone.  As to many books of Scripture, we know not who the writers may have been; and yet this is no reason for questioning their authority in the slightest degree.  If we try to be certain as to points of which there is no proof, we really shall find ourselves to be substituting conjecture in the place of evidence.  Thus some of the early Church received the Epistle to the Hebrews as Holy Scripture; who, instead of absolutely dogmatising that it was written by St. Paul ‒ a point of which they had no proof ‒ were content to say that “God only knoweth the real writer”: and yet to many in the present day, though they have not one whit more evidence on the subject, it seems, that to doubt or disbelieve that Epistle to have been written by St. Paul himself, and to doubt or disbelieve its canonical authority, is one and the same thing.  But this mode of treating Scripture is very different from what ought to be found amongst those who own it as the word of God.

          I thus look on this section as an authentic anonymous addition to what Mark himself wrote down from the narration of St. Peter (as we learn from the testimony of their contemporary, John the Presbyter); and that it ought as much to be received as part of our second Gospel, as the last chapter of Deuteronomy (unknown as the writer is) is received as the right and proper conclusion of the books of Moses.

          I cannot but believe that many upholders of orthodox and evangelical truth practically narrow their field of vision as to Scripture by treating it (perhaps unconsciously) as though we had to consider the thoughts, mind, and measure of apprehension possessed personally by each individual writer through whom the Holy Ghost gave it forth.  This is a practical hindrance to our receiving it, in the full sense, as from God; that is, as being really inspired: for, if inspired, the true and potential author was God, and not the individual writer, known or anonymous. 

          We know from John the Presbyter just enough of the origin of St. Mark’s Gospel to be aware that it sprang from the oral narrations of the Apostle Peter; and we have the testimony of that long-surviving immediate disciple of Christ when on earth (in recording this fact) that Mark erred in nothing.  But even with this information, if we thought of mere human authorship, how many questions might be started : but if we receive inspiration as a fact, then inquiries as to the relation of human authors become a matter of secondary importance.  It has its value to know that Apostles bore testimony to what they had seen of Christ’s actions, and that they were inspired to write as eye and ear witnesses of his deeds and teaching.  So it is of importance to know that in this Gospel we have the testimony of Peter confirmed by John the Presbyter; but the real essential value of the record for the continuous instruction of believers, is that inspiration of the Holy Ghost which constitutes certain writings to be Holy Scripture.  Those which were originally received on good grounds as such, and which have been authentically transmitted to us, we may confidently and reverently receive, even though we may not know by what pen they were recorded. 

          To sum up:  Tregelles believed that verses 9-20 were not written by Mark, but that verses 9-20 nevertheless “have a full claim to be received as an authentic part of the second Gospel,” just as Deuteronomy 34 is received as the proper conclusion of the books of Moses.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Seven Interesting Variants in Jude

           Today we venture beyond the four Gospels again to briefly investigate seven  interesting variants in the one-chapter book of Jude.  The Greek text of Jude has been studied with exceptional thoroughness:  2006 saw the publication of Dr. Tommy Wasserman’s book The Epistle of Jude:  Its Text and Transmission (still available on Amazon for $50), in which one can find a list of 560 manuscripts of Jude – each of which was collated in the course of Wasserman’s research, plus his compilation of the text of Jude, a phenomenally detailed textual apparatus, and a meticulously detailed textual commentary (105 pages; compare to 4 pages covering Jude in Metzger’s  Textual Commentary on the GNT for UBS).  

● In Jude verse 3, there is a contest, mainly between κοινῆς σωτηρίας (favored by a majority of manuscripts) and κοινῆς ἡμῶν σωτηρίας.  Although the latter was adopted in Nestle-Aland (and by Tregelles and Souter – but not by Scholz,), it is not easy to discern why any scribe whose exemplar had the longer reading here would omit ἡμῶν.  The sentence is easier to understand with ἡμῶν included – which is a point in favor of the shorter reading.     

          But there are couple of other horses in the race.  Κοινῆς ἡμῶν σωτηρίας has the support of P72, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, 1739, 2200 et al; κοινῆς σωτηρίας is supported by 018 020 025 049 and hundreds of minuscules, but what does À say?  Something very different:  κοινῆς ἡμῶν σωτηρίας και ζωης – that is, “our common salvation and life.”  (This reading also turns up in 044!)  And nestled in the text of some members of the cluster of manuscripts known as the Harklean Group (a.k.a. family 2138 – MSS 206, 429, 522, 614, 630, 1292, 1505, 1611, 1799, 1890, 2138, 2200, 2412, and 2495 – but especially 2138) are the readings κοινῆς ἡμῶν ζωης (1611 2138) and κοινῆς υμῶν ζωης (1505 2495).  Putting À’s reading alongside the others, it looks very, very much like a conflation of the readings in B and in family 2138.  

          In which case, in order for the conflation to have been made in À’s text, the Harklean Group’s text of this passage had to already exist before À was made, even though the Greek manuscripts which attest to it are medieval.  This is an instructive demonstration of how precarious it is to assume that the readings in later manuscripts must themselves be later.

● In Jude verse 4, after δεσπότην, most manuscripts (including 018 020 044 049) include the word θεον, or ΘΝ.  The major Alexandrian MSS, and 1739, and the Vulgate, support the non-inclusion of this word.  θεον could be omitted accidentally, via simple parablepsis (see the Comment-section for some data about this from Matthew Rose!) but it is easy to see why it would be added:  without the word θεον, there is one individual who is being denied by the false teachers Jude is opposing:  “our only Ruler and Lord Jesus Christ.”  With θεον included, two persons are being denied, as it says in the KJV:  “our only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (δεσπότην has been translated as the “Lord” before “God;” κύριον is the “Lord” before “Jesus Christ”).  The reading with θεον, despite its majority support, looks very much like a scribal tweak of what was initially intended to refer to a single person –  “the only Ruler, namely, our Lord Jesus Christ.”  The decision to reject θεον here as non-original goes back, among textual  critics, as least as far back as J. A. Bengel (in Gnomon V, p. 164).

● In Jude verse 5, there is an ongoing debate about whether Jude said that Jesus saved the people out of Egypt, or that the Lord saved people out of Egypt.  Wasserman adopted κύριος; as did Hort (commenting that “the best attested reading Ἰησοῠς can only be a blunder”), Tregelles, Souter, and most editions of the Nestle-Aland compilation.  But the 28th edition has adopted Ἰησοῠς.  Ἰησοῠς was also the reading adopted into the base-text of the ESV, CSB, and NET.  It was also favored by the translator Grenfell Penn in his 1836 translation – although he rendered it somewhat uniquely, so as to make the verse refer not to Jesus, but Joshua.  (These two names in Greek are identical).

          Contracted as nomina sacra, the competing variants are ΚΣ (“Lord”) and Ὁ ΙΣ (“Jesus”), or, if the article is considered secondary, ΚΣ and ΙΣ.   Setting aside a question about the arrangement of the phrases in this verse (a question which is extraordinarily complex), and focusing on the simpler question of which word at this point is original, it is initially difficult to resist the appeal of  Ἰησοῠς.  Not only is it supported by Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, 1739, 1881, the Vulgate and the Sahidic version, but, from a utilitarian perspective, it conveys an apologetically convenient point about the pre-existence of Jesus.  (This doctrine is also expressed in what is probably the earliest manuscript of Jude, P72, which reads ΘΣ ΧΡΣ (“God Christ”), but nobody seems to find this singular reading plausible.) 

          Ἰησοῠς was the reading in the 1966 edition of the UBS GNT, and a note in Metzger’s Textual Commentary shows that he and Allen Wikgren pressed for its adoption.  Years ago, I too favored the reading ΙΣ – but upon further consideration, ΚΣ commends itself as original.  I would argue that an early scribe felt that κύριος was too ambiguous (does it refer to the Father, or to the Son?) and, prompted by a tendency to see a typological pattern of the pre-existent Christ in the career of Joshua (expressed, for example, in the early composition The Epistle of Barnabas, ch. 12), replaced ΚΣ with ΙΣ – the same kind of interpretive scribal change seen in P72.  Also, it would be extraordinary for Jude, coming from the same household as Jesus of Nazareth, to attribute His actions in the days of Moses to “Jesus.”

●● Two variants in Jude verse 22, though not as famous as the one in verse 5, have an interesting history:  Tregelles, back in 1865, read the verse as καὶ οὓς μὲν ἐλέγχετε διακρινομένους.   This yields a meaning that is different from what is found in almost all English versions in print today:  instead of something like “and have mercy on those who are doubting,” Tregelles’ text of verse 22 (followed perfectly here in the Tyndale House GNT) means something more like, “And refute those who cause disputes.”  Tregelles rejected ἐλεατε and ελεειτε – the first of which has early attestation (À B), and the second of which is supported by very many copies (including 020 049  056 1175) – in favor of ἐλέγχετε, which is attested by A C* 33, 1739 1611 1739 1881, the Vulgate, and the Harklean Syriac version.  

          Tregelles (along with Hort, Souter, and the editors of Nestle-Aland/UBS) also rejected the Byzantine reading διακρινομένοι in favor of διακρινομένους, which seems to fit Jude better stylistically, although it is rather difficult to define a writer’s style with a single chapter as the only basis of comparison.

          If Tregelles was correct, then most English New Testaments are based on a form of verse 22 that renders a sense that the original text did not convey.  (In the ASV, CSB, CEV, EHV, ESV, KJV, MEV, NASB, NET, NIV, NKJV, NLT, and NRSV, the verse refers to having compassion.)  This is a difficult variant, or set of variants, but I think the balance of evidence favors both of Tregelles’ decisions here – and this ought to be considered a bright bold star in the Tyndale House GNT. 

 ● At the beginning of Jude verse 25, most manuscripts, including 020 049 056 1175, along with most lectionaries, refer to μόνω σοφῶ Θεῷ (“the only wise God”).  The reading adopted in the Nestle-Aland compilation, supported by À A B C, does not have σοφῶ, which Metzger regarded as “an obvious interpolation derived from Ro 16.27.”  

    A counter-argument in favor of the majority reading, though, consists of three points:  (1) σοφῶ could be accidentally dropped via parablepsis, (2) μόνω σοφῶ Θεῷ is the more difficult reading, capable of raising the question of whether there is another deity who is not wise (Θεῷ is omitted in Romans in a smattering of copies, and transposed in Claromontanus), and (3) it seems unlikely that a scribe copying the book of Jude would think there was a need to harmonize Jude’s final verse here with Romans 14:26 (which is where μόνω σοφῶ Θεῷ appears in most copies of Romans) but not continue the harmonization by adding something about Jesus Christ – which bring us to today’s last variant under consideration.      

● Near the end of Jude verse 25, the phrase διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν (“through Jesus Christ our Lord”) – or, with contracted nomina sacra, διὰ ΙΥ ΧΥ τοῦ ΚΥ ἡμῶν – is not included in most manuscripts.   Its inclusion, however, is supported by À B A C and an array of less weighty witnesses including 020 044 33 81 323 1505 1611 1881 and the Vulgate and the Harklean Syriac.  The phrase was accidentally omitted by an early scribe whose line of sight drifted from the ἡμῶν that appears immediately before this phrase to the ἡμῶν at the end of the phrase.    


Thursday, December 16, 2021

A New Book About the Text of Codex Bezae

Peter Lorenz

           You might think that there would be little more to say about the text of Codex Bezae after D. C. Parker’s 1992 Codex Bezae - An Early Christian Manuscript and Its Text.  But Peter Lorenz has a lot more to say in his new book, A History of Codex Bezae’s Text in the Gospel of MarkReaders of Dr. Lorenz’s blog will be aware that he has been studying Codex Bezae for some time.  His new book is based on the dissertation that he successfully defended in July of 2020.

          Lorenz calls into question the idea that Codex Bezae’s distinctive Greek text of the Gospels and Acts represents an ancient native Greek tradition that begat the Old Latin version(s).  Lorenz argues that the Greek text found in Codex Bezae should be assigned to the late 300s, immediately prior to the production of the manuscript, and represents the conformation of a Greek text to a Latin model (different from the Latin text preserved in the manuscript itself). 

Here are ten intriguing implications of Lorenz’s analysis, in his own words:

● (1) there are very few parallels between Bezae’s distinctive text and Justin Martyr or Marcion, certainly not enough to justify the view that they knew a text like Bezae’s,

● (2) Bezae’s parallels with Irenaeus appear to be secondary relative to this author’s text, 

● (3) Bezae’s nomina sacra reflect Latin practice in the choice and representation of sacred names,

● (4) Bezae’s Greek and Latin columns are independent of each other, i.e. in general, the Greek text has not been corrected to the Latin column and the Latin column is not a translation of the Greek text,

● (5) Bezae’s text does not seem to represent the source of the Latin version or, at least, this version does not require a text like Bezae’s to account for its distinctive readings,

● (6) much of Bezae’s text is quite close to the Greek “mainstream”, much more than is generally observed, it is certainly not a “paraphrase,”

● (7) Bezae’s text appears to contain erroneously copied corrections suggesting that its text derives from heavily corrected exemplar,

● (8) Bezae’s distinctive parallels with the Latin version apparently reflect instances of borrowing from the Latin version, i.e. like Jerome’s revision of the Old Latin version to Greek copies, only in reverse,

● (9) Bezae’s distinctive variations are not evenly distributed throughout its text but tend to concentrate in certain places,

● (10) Bezae’s producers seem not to have been native speakers of either Greek or Latin. 

          Incidentally, Lorenz’s research (already released in the Tyndale Bulletin and described at his blog in October 2021) does not bode well at all for the 2011 NIV’s adoption of οργισθεις in its base-text of Mark 1:41.  Bill Mounce, take note! 

           A History of Codex Bezae’s Text in the Gospel of Mark is available as a hardcover at Amazon for $150 – just in time for Christmas!


Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The Invisible Variant in Luke 2:15

           Although promoters of an assortment of Bible versions frequently insist that footnotes give their readers plentiful information about textual variants, many variants, especially those which scarcely affect the meaning of the text, are not mentioned in any footnotes in any major English versions.  An example of this appears in Luke 2:15:  in the middle of Luke’s Christmas narrative, after a multitude of heavenly hosts finishes praising God (regarding the famous variant in Luke 2:14, see this post), and as the shepherds decide to investigate the town of Bethlehem, immediately following οἱ ἄγγελοι, the Byzantine text has the words καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι (“and the men”) before οἱ ποιμένες (“the shepherds”).

          This is an invisible variant:  the KJV’s base-text (the Textus Receptus) includes καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι, and the ESV’s and NIV’s primary base-text (the Nestle-Aland compilation) does not; the WEB’s base-text is Byzantine; the NRSV’s base-text is (almost always) Alexandrian.  Yet this phrase – “the shepherds said to one another” – is identical in English in all four of these English versions (and in the EOB-NT, CSB, EHV, and NET).  One would never realize from the renderings in almost all English versions that one base-text has three more words.  Wayne A. MitchellNew Heart English Bible, which points out the variant in a footnote, is an exception, as are some editions of the KJV with a similar marginal footnote.

                This variant has become invisible in more ways than one.  It was in Tregelles’ 1860 Greek New Testament (albeit within single-brackets), but although the Tyndale House GNT (2017 edition), is, its editors say (in the Preface, p. vii) “based on a thorough revision of the great nineteenth-century edition of Samuel Prideaux Tregelles”), not only is καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι not included in the text, but there is no apparatus-entry to inform readers of the existence of this variant.  Likewise, although this variant was initially included in the apparatus of the UBS GNT, in the fourth and fifth editions it has mysteriously vanished without a trace. 

          Which reading is original?  Metzger acknowledged, in his Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (1971, corrected edition 1975), that “The fact that the longer reading is characteristically Lukan in style argues strongly in its favor.”  Nevertheless the longer reading was rejected by a majority of the UBS editorial committee which “preferred to make a decision on the basis of preponderance of external evidence.” 

          This statement from Metzger is not easy to defend when one looks at what the preponderance of external evidence is.  À B L W Q (which moves οἱ ἄγγελοι to precede εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν) X f1 565 (which also omits εις τον αγγελοι earlier in the verse) 700 and 1071 appear to be almost the only manuscripts that support the non-inclusion of καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι.  The Vulgate, the Sahidic version, and the Peshitta support the shorter reading, but versional evidence is inherently tenuous in this particular case because more than one translator could independently decide that the sense of the passage could be sufficiently rendered without translating the appositive phrase here, as can be seen from various English versions.   The Harklean Syrian (made in the early 600s) appears to support ἄνθρωποι καὶ οἱ ποιμένες.  Καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι is supported by Codex A, Codex D, Γ, K (017, Cyprius), M, Δ, P (024), S (028), U, Y, and Ψ.   Codex M ends a page exactly after οἱ ἄγγελοι, and καὶ οἱ ἄνοι begins the first line on the next page.  Minuscules 33 157 892 1010 and 1424 are among the many minuscules that support the longer reading, as does the Gothic version.  Codex D’s word-order is apparently unique in this verse; D begins verse 15 with Και εγενετο │ως απηλθον οι αγγελοι απ αυτων │εις τον ουρανον και οι ανθρωποι.  Small gaps appear in D before Και εγενετο and before και οι ανθρωποι.  Codices C, N, and T are lacunose here. 

Codex Delta supports
the longer reading

        At the outset of the third chapter of Causes of the Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels, John Burgon briefly commented on this variant, pointing out that the scribe of À omitted the οἱ before ἄγγελοι, “whereby nonsense is made of the passage (viz. οἱ ἄγγελοι ποιμένες).”  Burgon considered the shorter reading to have originated due to homoeoteleuton elicited by the six clustered-together recurrences of οἱ in this verse.  More recently, Michael Holmes seems to have agreed, inasmuch as καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι is included in the text of the SBL-GNT.  I consider Burgon’s observations completely valid, and Metzger’s appeal to the “preponderance of external evidence” is basically code for “the pro-Alexandrian bias of the editors.”  Καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι should be included in future compilations.


Friday, December 10, 2021

Manetti and the Greek New Testament


         Giannozzo Manetti (1396-1459) is not mentioned in either Metzger’s The Text of the New Testament or in Aland & Aland’s The Text of the New Testament.  But all students of the field of New Testament textual criticism should learn his name.  It was Manetti, a generation before Erasmus, who completed the first Latin translation of the New Testament (since the time of Jerome) that was based primarily on Greek manuscripts. 

         Born into a wealthy family in the city of Florence, Italy, Manetti was taught by the famous historian (and Chancellor of Florence) Leonardo Bruni, and was trained in classical Latin and Greek.  Manetti was committed to the principle of ad fontes before it was cool:   he learned Hebrew in order to produce a Latin translation of the Psalms, and defended his renderings against anticipated objections from fans of the traditional Vulgate in a detailed five-volume work titled Apologeticus.   He also wrote On Human Worth and Excellence, in which he maintained that human beings are creatures of dignity and quality.

          Shortly after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Manetti began his work on a Latin translation of the New Testament. Because much of Manetti’s library was donated to the Vatican (he had been friends with Pope Nicholas V in his youth), we can identify exactly which Greek manuscripts he used as his sources.  They reside to this day in the Vatican Library: 

          Pal.Gr. 171 (GA 171), which is a full Greek New Testament (including Revelation), Pal. Gr. 189, (GA 156) a Greek Gospels-MS (with illustrated headpieces before each Gospel; the text on the last page of John is cruciform and is followed by generous liturgical appendices), and Pal. Gr. 229 (a diglot, Greek-Latin, manuscript of the Gospels.  A supplemental Latin manuscript also used by Manetti was Pal. Lat.18, containing a Vulgate text of the Old Testament and New Testament.

           Two copies of Manetti’s Latin translation of the New Testament are also at the Vatican Library:  First is Pal. Lat. 45, which presents a straightforward Latin text.  The attribution to Manetti can be seen before each Gospel:  Matthew on fol. 1rMark on fol. 21r  (where it can be seen that Manetti rendered his Greek text in Mark 1:2 as “est in prophetis,” unlike the Vulgate’s “est in Esaia propheta.”), Luke on fol. 33v, and John on fol. 55v.

Annet den Haan
          Second is Urb. Lat. 6, a more ornate copy, produced after Manetti’s death. 

           Two modern-day researchers, Annet den Haan and David Marsh, have made major contributions to a revival of interest in Manetti’s translation-work.  Marsh has written a detailed biography of Manetti, available from Harvard University Press.  Annet den Haan of Utrecht University has become a one-woman encyclopedia of all things related to Giannozzo Manetti, and has made many of her articles and essays available at for free.  Additional information about Manetti, his writings, and his manuscripts can be found at this link