Monday, June 17, 2019

Minuscule 1424 and the Pericope Adulterae

MS 1187's text of John 7:53-8:11
is similar to the text in the margin of 1424.
And they share a large annotation.
In the super-sparse apparatus of the Tyndale House edition of the Greek New Testament, a note mentions that although the pericope adulterae (John 7:53-8:11) is absent in the text, the passage is present in the margin.  Unfortunately, that is about as close as readers get to a close examination of the testimony of 1424 and its annotator regarding this passage.
            Similarly in D.A. Carson’s volume on the Gospel of John in the Pillar NT Commentary series, after acknowledging that John 7:53-8:11 is present “in most of the medieval Greek miniscule [sic] manuscripts,” the author states that these verses “are absent from virtually all early Greek manuscripts that have come down to us.”  Displaying a degree of one-sidedness, Carson does not discuss the Old Latin capitula at all, and he states – erroneously – “All the early church fathers omit this narrative.”  It is a challenge to imagine how any scholar can make such a claim, for one would have to ignore well-known references to the pericope adulterae in the writings of Ambrose, Augustine, and Jerome, among many others.  Carson – clearly echoing Metzger as he keeps readers in the dark about the reasons for the dislocation of the passage in some manuscripts – is guilty of several other one-sided statements that cumulatively mold the evidence and give readers a false impression.  
            But rather than dwell on such mistreatments of the evidence, let’s focus today specifically on the testimony of minuscule 1424.  This manuscript was housed at the Gruber Rare Books Collection at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago until it was recently returned to Greece.  The entire manuscript has been digitally photographed by CSNTM, and the page-views can be viewed at the CSNTM website.
            When we examine the relevant page of minuscule 1424, we see that at the end of 7:52, above the line, there is a symbol that looks vaguely like the letters O and C connected by a horizontal line.  In the text, 8:12 begins at the beginning of the next line.  The O––C symbol also appears in the outer margin of the page (although the horizontal line is broken), accompanied by the text of the pericope adulterae in a form that is very similar to the text of the pericope adulterae in Codex Λ, which resembles the text that is presented in the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform in italics, beginning with Καὶ ἀπῆλθον ἕκαστος εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ, without πειράζοντες in verse 4, and without τω δακτύλω in verse 6, and when the page ends, the pericope adulterae has been presented up to a point halfway through verse 9.  Alongside the pericope adulterae in the outer (left) margin is a stack of asterisks; three are clear and there appear to be two more beneath then, albeit unclear.
            On the following page, verse 9 resumes, not at the top of the page, but in the lower margin.  A ⁒ symbol appears in the far left inner margin, above a stack of two asterisks (※) alongside the margin-text.  In 1424’s margin-text, in verse 9, ὁ Ις appears after κατελείφθη and μόνος does not appear.   In verse 11, the text does not have the words οἱ κατήγοροί σου.

            And now for the interesting part.  After 8:11 ends, there is a note (very faintly written at some points, and with lots of contraction, so this transcription is tentative):  ταυτα εν τισιν αντιγράφοις ου κειται ουδε [’Απολιναρίου·  Εν δε τοις] αρχαιοις όλα κειται·  Μνημονευουσι της περικοπης ταυτης και οι αποστολοι εν αις εξεθεντο διαταξεσιν εις οικοδομην της εκκλησίας.   
            This is essential the same note that is found in Codex Λ (039) which accompanied John 7:53-8:11 there.  It means:  “This is not in some copies, nor in those [copies] of Apollinarius.  In the ancient [copies] it is all present.  And this pericope was recollected by the apostles, which affirms that it is for the edification of the church.”
            That last sentence refers to Apostolic Constitutions 2:24, which was produced around 380.    This portion of Apostolic Constitutions, designed to prove the premise that “Our Lord Came to Save Sinners by Repentance,” includes the following statement, after mentioning Jesus’ statement in Luke 7:47:
 “And when the elders had set another woman which had sinned before Him, and had left the sentence to Him, and had gone out, our Lord, the Searcher of the hearts, inquiring of her whether the elders had condemned her, and being told, ‘No,’ said unto her, ‘Go your way therefore, for neither do I condemn you.’  This Jesus, O you bishops, our Savior, our King, and our God, ought to be set before you as your pattern.” 
This portion of Apostolic Constitutions can be traced to an earlier source:  the Syriac Didascalia.  In its seventh chapter (or in some formats, near the end of the sixth chapter), following a discussion on the Prayer of Manasseh, the author of the Syriac Didascalia states:
            “For if thou receive not him who repents, because thou art merciless, thou sinnest against the Lord God, because thou dost not obey our Lord and God in acting as He acted; for even He to that woman who had sinned, her whom the elders placed before him and left it to judgment at His hands, and went away; He them who searcheth the hearts, asked her and said to her, ‘Have the Elders condemned thee, my daughter?’  She saith to Him, ‘No, Lord.’  And our Saviour said,  ‘Go, and return no more to do this, neither do I condemn thee.”  In this therefore let our Saviour and King and God be to you a sign, O Bishops!” (Gibson’s translation)
            The Syriac Didascalia is generally assigned to the first half of the 200s, which makes this reference pretty much as old as the oldest witnesses for non-inclusion of the pericope adulterae.

The note that appears in 1424, confirming that the entire passage is not in some copies but is all present in ancient copies, and so forth, is not only shared by Codex Λ but also in minuscule 1282 (on Image 0214b at CSNTM, at the foot of the page).  In MS 1282, on this page and the one that follows, a stack of obeli accompanies the text of John 8:3-11 (but not 7:53-8:2) in the outer margin.  (In the upper margin, the chapter-title “#10 – About the Adulteress” appears in red ink.)  Minuscule 1443 has a similar format – John 7:53-8:11 is included in the text, and 8:3-11 is accompanied by a stack of obeli in the margin – but does not appear to have the note.  Minuscule 1187 also has a similar format – John 7:53-8:11 is included in the text, and 8:3-11 is accompanied by a stack of obeli in the margin, and in the lower margin of 1187 5, there is the note.
The note also appears (with minor differences) in minuscules 20 (which has the pericope adulterae after John 21), 215, 262, and 1118.  This points to a common source, for these manuscripts, along with Codex Λ, feature the Jerusalem Colophon.  (Tommy Wasserman, using information from Maurice Robinson and other resources, has confirmed this in a detailed essay.)
The presence of the both the Apollinarius Colophon  and the Jerusalem Colophon in the same manuscript indicates that the “ancient copies” referred to in the Apollinarius Colophon – in which the entire pericope adulterae is stated to be present – are the same manuscripts referred to in the Jerusalem Colophon (or, the prevalent form of it) “the ancient exemplars from Jerusalem preserved on the holy mountain.”
In addition, the close similarity of the text of the pericope adulterae in Codex Λ and in the margin of 1424 and in the text of 1187 suggests that the possibility of a historical link between these three manuscripts should be explored.  Both Λ and 1424’s margin do not have τω δακτύλω in verse 6, and in 1187, τω δακτύλω is not in the main text of verse 6 either; it is added as a correction in the side-margin.  (This variant-unit is not covered in NA27.)
           So, the next time you see 1424 listed as a witness for non-inclusion of John 7:53-8:11, remember that while that is true, it is also true that a marginal note in 1424 (shared by five other manuscripts) affirms the use of the passage in Apostolic Constitutions (c. 380, echoing a source from the early 200s) and also affirms that in ancient manuscripts, the whole passage is present, and that the ancient manuscripts being referred to were (or were thought to be) cherished copies at a holy mountain.


1 comment:

  1. GA-300, as Scholz pointed out, "was exactly assimilated in ancient times to a common model" with 20. Included in this identity are not only the colophon but all the rubrications and scholia. Together the two form a very tight sub-family with 215. Somebody needs to bring the study of this sub-family into the 21st century (it having been barely touched on even in the 20th).