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P. xxxii, line 14, for colon” read “semi-colon"
p. xlviii, line 39, (note 2) for “novi” read “noni"
p. 285, line 5, for Elzeverianum” read Elzeverianam”
p. 312, Matth. xxv. 13, to "habent ivLHP bis” add “Z”
p. 327, Marc. VI. 19, for autoll” read aútòr"
p. 563, line 5, for vread I”

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3. To face p. lii. Lithographed facsimiles of (2) an extract from the Evangelis-

tarium belonging to Christ's College, Cambridge (F. 1. 8), containing Matt. xxv. 10–13:
and of (3) one entire page of the MS. of the Epistles belonging to Emmanuel
College (I. 4. 35), containing Rom. v. 21-vi. 11.

The three lithographs are of the exact size of the originals.




The term “Comparative Criticism” has been happily applied to that delicate and important process of investigation whereby we seek to trace the relative value and mutual connexion of the authorities upon which the Greek Text of the New Testament is based, whether they be manuscripts of the original, early versions, or citations by the Christian Fathers. Our accurate acquaintance with these authorities is very limited, much that we know about them being due to the exertions of scholars yet living: but we are sufficiently aware of the extent of the subject, and the ininute and perplexing inquiries which beset the Biblical student at every step, not to seize with hearty welcome any clue that may promise to guide us through a labyrinth thus dark and doubtful. To this natural feeling, far more than to any external evidence or internal probability of the theories themselves, I would ascribe the favour extended to the schemes of recension promulgated by Griesbach and his imitators in the last generation. Men wished such compendious methods of settling the sacred text to be true, and as demonstrated truths they accordingly accepted them. These systems, bold, ingenious, imposing, but utterly groundless, I have elsewhere discussed at length (Collation of the Holy Gospels, Introd. Chap. I.); it were needless to revert to them, for I believe that no one at the present day seriously entertains any one of them.

As Griesbach's scheme and its subsequent modifications were gradually abandoned by critics, a more simple, but (I am persuaded) a no less mistaken theory grew up in its place, which, under the seemly profession of recurring to ancient authorities alone for the remodelling of the text, deliberately refuses so much as to hearken to the testimony of the vast majority of documents that freely offer themselves to the researches of patient industry. This certainly appears a short and easy road to Scriptural science, but, like some other short routes, it may prove the longest in the end: yet it is recommended to us by names I cannot mention without deference and respect. The countenance which Dr Davidson lends to this principle is neither unreserved, nor supported by arguments he can well deem conclusive. Tischendorf practically adopted it in his earlier works, but even then made concessions amounting to nearly all a discreet adversary would be disposed to claim: in Dr Tregelles, however, it finds an advocate learned, able, uncompromising' In my endeavour to refute what I conceive to be erroneous in his views on this subject, I trust I shall not be betrayed into one expression that may give him pain. I honour the devotion and singleness of purpose he has brought to bear on these divine pursuits; I am sure that his edition of the New Testament by reason of the large accession it will make to our existing store of critical materials, and of its great accuracy so far as it has yet been tested, will possess, when completed, what he modestly hopes for it, “ distinctive value to the Biblical student:" I am not the less earnest in hailing the fruits of his long and persevering toil, because I fear that, as a clergyman of the English Church, I differ from him on matters of even more consideration than systems of Comparative Criticism.

1 I can hardly estimate the number of copies containing the Gospels alone (including Evangelistaria) to be much under a thousand, nineteen

twentieths of which are for critical purposes as good as uncollated.

1. For Dr Davidson a short notice will suffice. In his chapter (an excellent one on the whole) entitled “General Observations on MSS.” he tells us that “ The first thing is to collate the oldest thoroughly and accurately, publishing the text in facsimile or otherwise, so that they need not be re-examined. All the rest, or the great mass of juniors, may be dispensed with. They are scarcely needed, because the uncials are numerous. At present they do nothing but hinder the advancement of critical science, by drawing off to them time and attention which might be better devoted to older documents” (Davidson, p. 328, &c.) He then states (I am not concerned to say how truly) that Scholz, from attempting too much, accomplished little, and adds, “Crities have discovered a better way than Scholz's diffuse perfunctory method.” No profound discovery surely: that it is better to do a little well than much carelessly is an axiom tolerably familiar to most of us. Yet why must what is well done be of necessity but little ?

Dr Davidson's judgment with regard to the order in which the work should be executed must be assented to by every reasonable person. Of course there is a presumption beforehand that the older MSS. written in uncial characters will prove of more weight than comparatively modern copies in cursive letters: the

ter, simply by the page affixed to their authors'


1 I refer to Davidson's “ Treatise on Biblical Criticism,” Vol. 11. 1852 ; Tischendorf's Prolegomena to his manual Greek Testament, Lips. 1849; and Tregelles’ “Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament,” 1854. These three works I shall cite throughout the present chap

* At present (July 1858) but one part of this laborious work has issued from the press, for the use of Subscribers only. It contains the Gospels of St Matthew and St Mark.

rule of common sense is to examine first what promises the most richly to reward our pains. Yet has not this been done ? Which of the uncial codices of the Greek Testament not previously published in full, has escaped the unwearied zeal of Tischendorf on the continent, of Tregelles at home? I really know of none, except those printed in my present and former volume, and four Evangelistaria in England (Barocc. 202, Canonici Græci, 85 and 92 in the Bodleian, and Wheeler 3 at Lincoln College), and perhaps a few abroad. Now respecting Evangelistaria and Lectionaries, Dr Davidson holds that "till the ancient codices are collated and applied, it were better not to meddle with them. They must have been oftener copied, and therefore are more liable to errors of transcription.” I may question alike his fact, his inference and his conclusion on this point, yet at any rate we have here a reason, satisfactory to himself, why the whole process of collation should not be suspended till a few Evangelistaria shall be examined, hardly any of which date higher than the tenth century.

But the mass of juniors, he tells us, are scarcely needed, “because the uncials are numerous."

On a first perusal I was fairly at a loss to account for such a statement from so well-informed a source. At length I came to recollect that “ numerous,” like some others, is only a relative term, conveying to different minds widely different ideas. One person will think it a “long distance" from London to Lancashire; another uses the same expression when speaking of the space between this earth and 61 Cycni, some sixty-three billions of miles. We shall therefore best see Dr Davidson's meaning when we come to simple numbers. In the Apocalypse the uncial MSS. are three: one of first-rate consequence, complete and well-known (A); another very ancient and well-known, but a mere heap of fragments (C); the third of late date, hastily collated, and now virtually inaccessible (B). These, I conceive, are not so "numerous” as to tempt us to dispense

“ with further information, when we fortunately have it within our reach. In the case of the Acts and Epistles matters are not much better. In the Acts, three MSS. are very old (ABC); the last of them a fragment : two incomplete (DE) exceedingly precious, but not so early; one (F) a fragment containing just seven verses; one (I) of 42 verses: two (GH) imperfect copies of the ninth century; in all nine. In the Catholic Epistles we find four entire MSS., one fragment. The list for the Pauline Epistles is nominally thirteen; from which deduct E a mere transcript of D, make allowance for the intimate connexion subsisting between F and G (see below, Chap. II. 1,) and reckon several as mere fragments, three of but a few passages (F*IL): not one of the thirteen is complete.

Dr Davidson will probably tell us that he used the term “numerous” with reference to the uncial MSS. of the Gospels; if so the fact should be stated, lest we be induced to throw aside the cursive copies of other parts of the New Testament as if they might be “dispensed with.” Yet I really know not that his case is materially strengthened even in the Gospels. True, the list of

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