« Prev Chapter V. Accidental Causes of Corruption. IV.… Next »




[IT has been already shewn in the First Volume that the Art of Transcription on vellum did not reach perfection till after the lapse of many centuries in the life of the Church. Even in the minute elements of writing much uncertainty prevailed during a great number of successive ages. It by no means followed that, if a scribe possessed a correct auricular knowledge of the Text, he would therefore exhibit it correctly on parchment. Copies were largely disfigured with misspelt words. And vowels especially were interchanged; accordingly, such change became in many instances the cause of corruption, and is known in Textual Criticism under the name ‘Itacism.’]

§ I.

It may seem to a casual reader that in what follows undue attention is being paid to minute particulars. But it constantly happens,—and this is a sufficient answer to the supposed objection,—that, from exceedingly minute and seemingly trivial mistakes, there result sometimes considerable and indeed serious misrepresentations of the Spirit’s meaning. New incidents:—unheard-of statements:—facts as yet unknown to readers of Scripture:—57perversions of our Lord’s Divine sayings:—such phenomena are observed to follow upon the omission of the article,—the insertion of an expletive,—the change of a single letter. Thus παλιν, thrust in where it has no business, makes it appear that our Saviour promised to return the ass on which He- rode in triumph into Jerusalem9595    St. Mark xi. 4. Sec Revision Revised, pp. 57-58.. By writing ω for ο, many critics have transferred some words from the lips of Christ to those of His Evangelist, and made Him say what He never could have dreamed of saying9696    St. Mark vii. 19, καθαρίζον for καθάριζον. See below, pp. 61-3.. By subjoining ς to a word in a place which it has no right to fill, the harmony of the heavenly choir has been marred effectually, and a sentence produced which defies translation9797    St. Luke ii. 14.. By omitting τῷ and Κύριε, the repenting malefactor is made to say, ‘Jesus! remember me, when Thou comest in Thy kingdom9898    St. Luke xxiii. 42..’

Speaking of our Saviour’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which took place ‘the day after’ ‘they made Him a supper,’ and Lazarus ‘which had been dead, whom He raised from the dead,’ sat at the table with Him’ (St. John xii. 1, 2), St. John says that ‘the multitude which had been with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised Him from the dead bare testimony’ (St. John xii. 17). The meaning of this is best understood by a reference to St. Luke xix. 37, 38, where it is explained that it was the sight of so many acts of Divine Power, the chiefest of all being the raising of Lazarus, which moved the crowds to yield the memorable testimony recorded by St. Luke in ver. 38,—by St. John in ver. 139999    St. Matt. xxi. 9. See also St. Mark xi. 9, 10.. But Tischendorf and Lachmann, who on the authority of D and four later uncials read ὅτι instead of ὅτε, import into the Gospel quite another meaning. According to their way of exhibiting the text, 58St. John is made to say that the multitude which was with Jesus, testified that He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead’: which is not only an entirely different statement, but also the introduction of a highly improbable circumstance. That many copies of the Old Latin (not of the Vulgate) recognize On, besides the Peshitto and the two Egyptian versions, is not denied. This is in fact only one more proof of the insufficiency of such collective testimony. אAB with the rest of the uncials and, what is of more importance, the whole body of the cursive, exhibit ὅτε,—which, as every one must see, is certainly what St. John wrote in this place. Tischendorf’s assertion that the prolixity of the expression ἐφώνησεν ἐκ τοῦ μνημείου καὶ ἤγειρεν αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν is inconsistent with ὅτε100100    ‘Quae quidem orationis prolixitas non conveniens esset si ὅτε legendum esset.,—may surprise, but will never convince any one who is even moderately acquainted with St. John’s peculiar manner.

The same mistake—of ὅτι for ὅτε—is met with at ver. 41 of the same chapter. These things said Isaiah because he saw His glory’ (St. John xii. 41). And why not ‘when he saw His glory’? which is what the Evangelist wrote according to the strongest attestation. True, that eleven manuscripts (beginning with אABL) and the Egyptian versions exhibit ὅτι: also Nonnus, who lived in the Thebaid (A.D. 410): but all other MSS., the Latin, Peshitto, Gothic, Ethiopic, Georgian, and one Egyptian version:—Origen101101    iv. 577: ‘quando.’,— Eusebius in four places102102    Dem. Ev. 310, 312, 454 bis.,—Basil103103    i. 301.,—Gregory of Nyssa twice104104    ii. 488, and ap. Gall. vi. 580., —Didymus three times105105    Trin. 59, 99, 242.,—Chrysostom twice106106    viii. 406, 407. Also ps.-Chrysost. v. 613. Note, that ‘Apolinarius’ in Cramer’s Cat. 332 is Chrys. viii. 407.,—Severianus of Gabala107107    Ap. Chrys. vi. 453.;—these twelve Versions and Fathers constitute a body of ancient evidence which is overwhelming. Cyril 59three times reads ὅτι108108    iv. 505, 709, and ap. Mai iii. 85., three times ὅτε109109    ii. 102: iv. 709, and ap. Mai iii. 118., and once ἤνικα110110    v1. 642., which proves at least how he understood the place.

§ 2.

[A suggestive example111111    Unfortunately, though the Dean left several lists of instances of Itacism, he worked out none, except the substitution of ἓν for ἐν in St. Mark iv. 8, which as it is not strictly on all fours with the rest I have reserved till last. He mentioned all that I have introduced (besides a few others), on detached papers, some of them more than once, and λούσαντι and καθάριζον even more than the others. In the brief discussion of each instance which I have supplied, I have endeavoured whenever it was practicable to include any slight expressions of the Dean’s that I could find, and to develop all surviving hints. of the corruption introduced by a petty Itacism may be found in Rev. i. 5, where the beautiful expression which has found its way into so many tender passages relating to Christian devotion, ‘Who hath washed112112    λούσαντι. us from our sins in His own blood’ (A.V.), is replaced in many critical editions (R.V.) by, ‘Who hath loosed113113    λύσαντι. us from our sins by His blood.’ In early times a purist scribe, who had a dislike of anything that savoured of provincial retention of Aeolian or Dorian pronunciations, wrote from unconscious bias υ for ου, transcribing λύσαντι for λούσαντι (unless he were not Greek scholar enough to understand the difference): and he was followed by others, especially such as, whether from their own prejudices or owing to sympathy with the scruples of other people, but at all events under the influence of a slavish literalism, hesitated about a passage as to which they did not rise to the spiritual height of the precious meaning really conveyed therein. Accordingly the three uncials, which of those that give the Apocalypse date nearest to the period of corruption, adopt υ, followed by nine cursives, the Harkleian Syriac, and the Armenian versions. On the other side, two uncials—viz. B2 of the eighth century and P of 60the ninth—the Vulgate, Bohairic, and Ethiopic, write λούσαντι; and—what is most important—all the other cursives except the handful just mentioned, so far as examination has yet gone, form a barrier which forbids intrusion.

An instance where an error from an Itacism has crept into the Textus Receptus may be seen in St. Luke xvi. 25. Some scribes needlessly changed ὧδε into ὅδε, misinterpreting the letter which served often for both the long and the short ο, and thereby cast out some illustrative meaning, since Abraham meant to lay stress upon the enjoyment ‘in his bosom’ of comfort by Lazarus. The unanimity of the uncials, a majority of the cursives, the witness of the versions, that of the Fathers quote the place being uncertain, are sufficient to prove that ὧδε is the genuine word.

Again, in St. John xiii. 25, οὕτως has dropped out of many copies and so out of the Received Text because by an Itacism it was written οὗτος in many manuscripts. Therefore ἐκεῖνος οὗτος was thought to be a clear mistake, and the weaker word was accordingly omitted. No doubt Latins and others who did not understand Greek well considered also that οὕτως was redundant, and this was the cause of its being omitted in the Vulgate. But really οὕτως, being sufficiently authenticated114114    οὕτως. BCEFGHLMXΔ. Most cursives. Goth.
   οὗτος. KSUΓΛ. Ten cursives.

   Omit אADΠ Many cursives. Vulg. Pesh. Ethiop. Armen. Georg. Slavon. Bohair. Pers.
, is exactly in consonance with Greek usage and St. John’s style115115    E. g. Thuc. vii. 15, St. John iv. 6., and adds considerably to the graphic character of the sacred narrative. St. John was reclining (ἀνακείμενος) on his left arm over the bosom of the robe (ἐν τῷ κόλπῳ ) of the Saviour. When St. Peter beckoned to him he turned his head for the moment and sank (ἐπιπεσών, not ἀναπεσών which has the testimony only of B and about twenty-five uncials, א and C 61being divided against themselves) on the breast of the Lord, being still in the general posture in which he was (οὕτως116116    See St. John iv. 6: Acts xx. 11, xxvii. 17. The beloved Apostle was therefore called ὁ ἐπιστήθιος. See Suicer. s.v. Westcott on St. John xiii. 25.), and asked Him in a whisper ‘LORD, who is it?’

Another case of confusion between ω and ο may be seen in St. Luke xv. 24, 32, where ἀπολωλώς has gained so strong a hold that it is found in the Received Text for ἀπολωλός, which last being the better attested appears to be the right reading117117    24. ἀπολωλώς. אaABD &c.
   ἀπολωλός. א*GKMRSXΓΠ*. Most curs.

   32. ἀπολωλώς. א*ABD &c.

   ἀπολωλός. אcKMRSXΓΠ*. Most curs.
. But the instance which requires the most attention is καθάριζον in St. Mark vii. 19, and all the more because in The Last Twelve Verses of St. Mark, the alteration into καθάριζων is advocated as being ‘no part of the Divine discourse, but the Evangelist’s inspired comment on the Saviour’s words118118    Pp. 179, 1So. Since the Dean has not adopted καθαρίζων into his corrected text, and on account of other indications which caused me to doubt whether he retained the opinion of his earlier years, I applied to the Rev. W. F. Rose, who answered as follows:—‘I am thankful to say that I can resolve all doubt as to my uncle’s later views of St. Mark vii. 29. In his annotated copy of the Twelve Verses he deletes the words in his note p. 179, “This appears to be the true reading,” and writes in the margin, “The old reading is doubtless the true one,” and in the margin of the paragraph referring to καθαρίζων, on p. 180 he writes, “Alter the wording of this.” This entirely agrees with my own recollection of many conversations with him on the subject. I think he felt that the weight of the cursive testimony to the old reading was conclusive,—at least that he was not justified in changing the text in spite of it.’ These last words of Mr. Rose express exactly the inference that I had drawn.:’ Such a question must be decided strictly by the testimony, not upon internal evidence—which in fact is in this case absolutely decisive neither way, for people must not be led by the attractive view opened by καθαρίζων, and καθάριζον bears a very intelligible meaning. When we find that the uncial evidence is divided, there being eight against the change (ΦΣΚΜUVΓΠ), and eleven for it (אABEFGHLSXΔ);—that not much is advanced by the versions, though the Peshitto, the Lewis 62Codex, the Harkleian (?), the Gothic, the Old Latin119119    ‘The majority of the Old Latin MSS. have “in secessum uadit (or exiit) purgans omnes escas”; i (Vindobonensis) and r (Usserianus) have “et purgat” for “purgans”: and a has a conflation “in secessum exit purgans omnes escas et exit in rivum”—so they all point the same way.’—(Kindly communicated by Mr. H. J. White.). the Vulgate, favour καθάριζον;—nor by the Fathers:—since Aphraates120120    Dem. xv. (Graffin)—‘Vadit enim esca in ventrem, unde purgatione in secessum emittitur.’ (Lat.), Augustine (?)121121    iii. 764. ‘Et in secessum exit, purgans omnes escas., and Novatian122122    Galland. 319. ‘Cibis, quos Dominus dicit perire, et in secessu naturali lege purgari. are contradicted by Origen123123    iii. 494. ἔλεγε ταῦτα ὁ Σωτήρ, καθαρίζων πάντα τὰ βρώματα., Theophylact124124    i. 206. ἐκκαθαρίζων πάντα τὰ βρώματα., and Gregory Thaumaturgus125125    Galland. 400. ἀλλὰ καὶ ὁ Σωτήρ, πάντα καθαρίζων τὰ βρώματα.. we discover that we have not so far made much way towards a satisfactory conclusion. The only decided element of judgement, so far as present enquiries have reached, since suspicion is always aroused by the conjunction of אAB, is supplied by the cursives which with a large majority witness to the received reading. It is not therefore safe to alter it till a much larger examination of existing evidence is made than is now possible. If difficulty is felt in the meaning given by καθάριζον,—and that there is such difficulty cannot candidly be denied,—this is balanced by the grammatical difficulty introduced by καθαρίζων, which would be made to agree in the same clause with a verb separated from it by thirty-five parenthetic words, including two interrogations and the closing sentence. Those people who form their judgement from the Revised Version should bear in mind that the Revisers, in order to make intelligible sense, were obliged to introduce three fresh English words that have nothing to correspond to them in the Greek; being a repetition of what the mind of the reader would hardly bear in memory. Let any reader who doubts this leave out the words in italics and try the effect for himself. 63The fact is that to make this reading satisfactory, another alteration is required. Καθαρίζων πάντα τὰ βρώματα ought either to be transferred to the 20th verse or to the beginning of the 18th. Then all would be clear enough, though destitute of a balance of authority: as it is now proposed to read, the passage would have absolutely no parallel in the simple and transparent sentences of St. Mark. We must therefore be guided by the balance of evidence, and that is turned by the cursive testimony.]

§ 3.

Another minute but interesting indication of the accuracy and fidelity with which the cursive copies were made, is supplied by the constancy with which they witness to the preposition ἐν (not the numeral ἓν) in St. Mark iv. 8. Our Lord says that the seed which ‘fell into the good ground’ yielded by (ἐν) thirty, and by (ἐν) sixty, and by (ἐν) an hundred.’ Tischendorf notes that besides all the uncials which are furnished with accents and breathings (viz. EFGHKMUVΠ) ‘nearly 100 cursives’ exhibit ἐν here and in ver. 20. But this is to misrepresent the case. All the cursives may be declared to exhibit ἐν, e.g. all Matthaei’s and all Scrivener’s. I have myself with this object examined a large number of Evangelia, and found ἐν in all. The Basle MS. from which Erasmus derived his text126126    Evan. 2. Sce Hoskier, Collation of Cod. Evan. 604, App. F. p. 4. exhibits ἐν,—though he printed ἓν out of respect for the Vulgate. The Complutensian having ἓν, the reading of the Textus Receptus follows in consequence: but the Traditional reading has been shewn to be ἐν,—which is doubtless intended by ΕΝ in Cod. A.

Codd. אCA (two ever licentious and Δ similarly so throughout St. Mark) substitute for the preposition ἐν the preposition εἰς,—(a sufficient proof to me that they understand ΕΝ to represent ἐν, not ἓν): and are followed by Tischendorf, Tregelles, and the Revisers. As for the chartered 64libertine B (and its servile henchman L), for the first ἐν (but not for the second and third) it substitutes the preposition ΕΙC: while, in ver. 20, it retains the first ἐν, but omits the other two. In all these vagaries Cod. B is followed by Westcott and Hort127127    [The following specimens taken from the first hand of B may illustrate the kakigraphy, if I may use the expression, which is characteristic of that MS. and also of א. The list might be easily increased.
   I. Proper Names.

   Ιωανης, generally: Ιωαννης, Luke i. 13*, 60, 63; Acts iii. 4; iv. 6, 13, 19; xii. 25; xiii. 5, 25; xv. 37; Rev. i. 1, 4, 9; xxii. 8.

   Βεεζεβουλ, Matt. x. 25; xii. 24, 27; Mark iii. 22; Luke xi. 15, 18, 19.

   Ναζαρετ, Matt. ii. 23; Luke i. 26; John i. 46, 47. Ναζαρα, Matt. iv. 13. Ναζαρεθ, Matt. xxi. 11; Luke ii. 51; iv. 16.

   Μαρια for Μαριαμ, Matt. i. 20; Luke ii. 19. Μαριαμ for Μαρια, Matt. xxvii. 61; Mark xx. 40; Luke x. 42; xi. 32; John xi. 2; xii. 3; xx. 16, 18. See Traditional Text, p. 86.

   Κουμ, Mark v. 41. Γολγοθ, Luke xix. 27.

   Ιστραηλειται, Ιστραηλιται, Ισραηλειται, Ισραηλιται.

   Ελεισαβετ, Ελισαβετ.

   Μωσησ, Μωυσης.

   Δαλμανουθα, Mark viii. 10.

   Ιωση (Joseph of Arimathea), Mark xv. 45. Ιωσηφ, Matt. xxvii. 57, 59; Mark xv. 42; Luke xxiii. 50; John xix. 38.

   II. Mis-spelling of ordinary words.

   καθ᾽ ἰδιαν, Matt. xvii. 1, 19; xxiv. 3; Mark iv. 34; vi. 31, &c. κατ᾽ ιδιαν, Matt. xiv. 13, 23; Mark vi. 32; vii. 33, &c.

   γενημα, Matt. xxvi. 29; Mark xiv. 25; Luke xxii. 18. γεννημα, Matt. iii. 7; xii. 34; xxiii. 33; Luke iii. 7 (the well-known γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν).

   A similar confusion between γένεσις and γέννησις, Matt. i, and between ἐγενήθην and ἐγεννήθην, and γεγένημαι and γεγέννημαι. See Kuenen and Cobet N. T. ad fid. Cod. Vaticani lxxvii.

   III. Itacisms.

   κρίνεω, John xii. 48 (κρινεῖ;). κρίνω, Matt. vii. 1; xix. 28; Luke vi. 37; vii. 43; xii. 57, &c.

   τειμῶ, τιμῶ, Matt. xv. 4, 5, 8; xix. 19; xxvii. 9; Mark vii. 6, 10, &c.

   ἐνεβριμήθη (Matt. ix. 30) for ἐνεβριμήσατο. ἀνακλειθῆναι (Mark vi. 39) for ἀνακλῖναι. σεῖτος for σῖτος (Mark iv. 28).

   IV. Bad Grammar.

   τῷ οἰκοδεσπότῃ ἐπεκάλεσαν or τὸν οἰκοδεσπότην ἐκάλ.. (Matt. x. 25). καταπατήσουσιν for -σωσιν, (Matt. vii. 6). ὃ ἂν αἰτήσεται (Matt. xiv. 7). ὅταν δὲ ἀκούετε (Mark xiii. 7).

   V. Impossible words.

   ἐμνηστευμένην (Luke i. 27). οὐρανοῦ for οὐρανίου (ii. 13). ἀνεζήτουν (Luke ii. 44). κοπιῦσιν (Matt. vi. 28). ἡρώτουν (Matt. xv. 23). κατασκηνοῖν (Mark iv. 32). ἠμεῖς for ὑμεῖς. ὑμεῖς for ἡμεῖς.]


§ 4.

St. Paul128128    This paper on Titus ii. 5 was marked by the Dean as being ‘ready for press.’ It was evidently one of his later essays, and was left in one of his later portfolios. in his Epistle to Titus [ii. 5] directs that young women shall be ‘keepers at home,’ οἰκουροὺς. So, (with five exceptions,) every known Codex129129    All Matthaei’s 16,—all Rinek’s 7,—all Reiche’s 6,—all Scrivener’s 13, &c., &c., including the corrected א and D,—HKLP; besides 17, 37, 47. So also Clemens Alex.130130    622. (A.D. 180),—Theodore of Mopsuestia131131    Ed. Swete, ii. 247 (domos suas bene regentes); 248 (domus proprias optime regant).,—Basil132132    ii. (Eth.) 291 a, 309 b.,—Chrysostom133133    xi. 750 a, 751 b c d—ἡ οἰκουρὸς καὶ οἰκονομική.,—Theodoret134134    iii. 704.,—Damascene135135    ii. 271.. So again the Old Latin (domum custodientes136136    Cod. Clarom.),—the Vulgate (domus curam habentes137137    Cod. Amiat., and August. iii1. 804.), — and Jerome (habentes domus diligentiam138138    vii. 716 c, 718 b (Bene domum regere, 718 c).): and so the Peshitto and the Harkleian versions,—besides the Bohairic. There evidently can be no doubt whatever about such a reading so supported. To be οἰκουροὺς was held to be a woman’s chiefest praise139139    κατ᾽ οἶκον οἰκουροῦσιν ὥστε παρθένοι (Soph. Oed. Col. 343).—-Ὁἰκουρός est quasi proprium vocabulum mulierum: οἰκουργός est scribarum commentum,’—as Matthaei, whose note is worth reading, truly states. Wetstein’s collections here should by all means be consulted. See also Field’s delightful Otium Norv., pp. 135-6.: κάλλιστον ἔργον γυνὴ οἰκουρός, writes Clemens Alex.140140    P. 293, lin. 4 (see lin. 2).; assigning to the wife οἰκουρία as her proper province141141    P. 288, lin. 20.. On the contrary, ‘gadding about from house to house’ is what the Apostle, writing to Timothy142142    1 Tim. v. 13., expressly condemns. But of course the decisive consideration is not the support derived from internal evidence; but the plain fact that antiquity, variety, respectability, numbers, continuity of attestation, are all in favour of the Traditional reading.


Notwithstanding this, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Westcott and Hort, because they find οἰκουργούς in א*ACD*F-G, are for thrusting that ‘barbarous and scarcely intelligible’ word, if it be not even a non-existent143143    οἰκουργεῖν—which occurs in Clemens Rom. (ad Cor. c. 1)—is probably due to the scribe., into Titus ii. 5. The Revised Version in consequence exhibits ‘workers at home,’—which Dr. Field may well call an ‘unnecessary and most tasteless innovation.’ But it is insufficiently attested as well, besides being a plain perversion of the Apostle’s teaching. [And the error must have arisen from carelessness and ignorance, probably in the West where Greek was not properly understood.]

So again, in the cry of the demoniacs, τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί, Ἰησοῦ, υἱὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ (St. Matt. viii. 29) the name Ἰησοῦ is omitted by Bא.

The reason is plain the instant an ancient MS. is inspected:—ΚΑΙCΟΙΙΥΥΙΕΤΟΥΘΥ:—the recurrence of the same letters caused too great a strain to scribes, and the omission of two of them was the result of ordinary human infirmity.

Indeed, to this same source are to be attributed an extraordinary number of so-called ‘various readings’; but which in reality, as has already been shewn, are nothing else but a collection of mistakes,—the surviving tokens that anciently, as now, copying clerks left out words; whether misled by the fatal proximity of a like ending, or by the speedy recurrence of the like letters, or by some other phenomenon with which most men’s acquaintance with books have long since made them familiar.

« Prev Chapter V. Accidental Causes of Corruption. IV.… Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection