« Prev Chapter XI. The Omission of These Twelve Verses… Next »



The Text of our five oldest Uncials proved, by an induction of instances, to have steered depravation throughout by the operation of the ancient Lectionary system of the Church (p. 217).—The omission of S. Mark’slast Twelve Verses,” (constituting an integral Ecclesiastical Lection,) shewn to be probably only one more example of the same depraving influence (p. 224).

This solution of the problem corroborated by the language of Eusebius and of Hesychius (p. 232); as well as favoured by theWesternorder of the Gospels (p. 239).

I AM much mistaken if the suggestion which I am about to offer has not already presented itself to every reader of ordinary intelligence who has taken the trouble to follow the course of my argument thus far with attention. It requires no acuteness whatever,—it is, as it seems to me, the merest instinct of mother-wit,—on reaching the present stage of the discussion, to debate with oneself somewhat as follows:—

1. So then, the last Twelve Verses of S. Mark’s Gospel were anciently often observed to be missing from the copies. Eusebius expressly says so. I observe that he nowhere says that their genuineness was anciently suspected. As for himself, his elaborate discussion of their contents convinces me that individually, he regarded them with favour. The mere fact,—(it is best to keep to his actual statement,)—that “the entire passage394394   The reader is requested to refer back to p. 45, and the note there.—The actual words of Eusebius are given in Appendix (B).” was “not met with in all the copies,” is the sum of his evidence: and two Greek manuscripts, yet extant, supposed to be of the ivth century (Codd. B and א), mutilated in this precise way, testify to the truth of his statement.

2. But then it is found that these self-same Twelve Verses,—neither more nor less,—anciently constituted an integral 213Ecclesiastical Lection; which lection,—inasmuch as it is found to have established itself in every part of Christendom at the earliest period to which liturgical evidence reaches back, and to have been assigned from the very first to two of the chiefest Church Festivals, must needs be a lection of almost Apostolic antiquity. Eusebius, I observe, (see p. 45), designates the portion of Scripture in dispute by its technical name,—κεφάλαιον or περικοπή; (for so an Ecclesiastical lection was anciently called). Here then is a rare coincidence indeed. It is in fact simply unique. Surely, I may acid that it is in the highest degree suggestive also. It inevitably provokes the inquiry,—Must not these two facts be not only connected, but even interdependent? Will not the omission of the Twelve concluding Verses of S. Mark from certain ancient copies of his Gospel, have been in some way occasioned by the fact that those same twelve verses constituted an integral Church Lection? How is it possible to avoid suspecting that the phenomenon to which Eusebius invites attention, (viz. that certain copies of S. Mark’s Gospel in very ancient times had been mutilated from the end of the 8th verse onwards,) ought to be capable of illustration,—will have in fact to be explained, and in a word accounted for,—by the circumstance that at the 8th verse of S. Mark’s xvith chapter, one ancient Lection came to an end, and another ancient Lection began?

Somewhat thus, (I venture to think,) must every unprejudiced Reader of intelligence hold parley with himself on reaching the close of the preceding chapter. I need hardly add that I am thoroughly convinced he would be reasoning rightly. I am going to skew that the Lectionary practice of the ancient Church does indeed furnish a sufficient clue for the unravelment of this now famous problem: in other words, enables us satisfactorily to account for the omission of these Twelve Verses from ancient copies of the collected Gospels. But I mean to do more. I propose to make my appeal to documents which shall be observed to bear no faltering witness in my favour. More yet. I propose that Eusebius himself, the chief author of all this trouble, shall be brought back into Court and invited to resyllable his 214Evidence; and I am much mistaken if even he will not be observed to let fall a hint that we have at last got on the right scent;—have accurately divined how this mistake took its first beginning;—and, (what is not least to the purpose,) have correctly apprehended what was his own real meaning in what he himself has said.

The proposed solution of the difficulty,—if not the evidence on which it immediately rests,—might no doubt be exhibited within exceedingly narrow limits. Set down abruptly, however, its weight and value would inevitably fail to be recognised, even by those who already enjoy some familiarity with these studies. Very few of the considerations which I shall have to rehearse are in fact unknown to Critics: yet is it evident that their bearing on the problem before us has hitherto altogether escaped their notice. On the other hand, by one entirely a novice to this department of sacred Science, I could scarcely hope to be so much as understood. Let me be allowed, therefore, to preface what I have to say with a few explanatory details which I promise shall not be tedious, and which I trust will not be found altogether without interest either. If they are anywhere else to be met with, it is my misfortune, not my fault, that I have been hitherto unsuccessful in discovering the place.

I. From the earliest ages of the Church, (as I shewed at page 192-5,) it has been customary to read certain definite portions of Holy Scripture, determined by Ecclesiastical authority, publicly before the Congregation. In process of time, as was natural, the sections so required for public use were collected into separate volumes: Lections from the Gospels being written out in a Book which was called “Evangelistarium,” (εὐαγγελιστάριον,)—from the Acts and Epistles, in a book called “Praxapostolus,” (πραξαπόστολος). These Lectionary-books, both Greek and Syriac, are yet extant in great numbers395395   See the enumeration of Greek Service-Books in Scrivener’s Introduction, &c. pp. 211-25. For the Syriac Lectionaries, see Dean Payne Smith’s Catalogue, (1864) pp. 114-29-31-4-5-8: also Professor Wright’s Catalogue, (1870) pp. 146 to 203.—I avail myself of this opportunity to thank both those learned Scholars for their valuable assistance, always most obligingly rendered., and (I may remark in 215passing) deserve a far greater amount of attention than has hitherto been bestowed upon them396396   “Evangelistariorum codices literis uncialibus scripti nondum sic ut decet in usum criticum conversi sunt.” Tischendorf, quoted by Scrivener, [Introduction to Cod. Augiensis,—80 pages which have been separately published and are well deserving of study,—p. 48,] who adds,—“I cannot even conjecture why an Evangelistarium should be thought of less value than another MS. of the same age.”—See also Scrivener’s Introduction, &c. p. 211..

When the Lectionary first took the form of a separate book, has not been ascertained. That no copy is known to exist (whether in Greek or in Syriac) older than the viiith century, proves nothing. Codices in daily use, (like the Bibles used in our Churches,) must of necessity have been of exceptionally brief duration; and Lectionaries, more even than Biblical MSS. were liable to injury and decay.

II. But it is to be observed,—(and to explain this, is much more to my present purpose,)—that besides transcribing the Ecclesiastical lections into separate books, it became the practice at a very early period to adapt copies of the Gospels to lectionary purposes. I suspect that this practice began in the Churches of Syria; for Syriac copies of the Gospels (at least of the viith century) abound, which have the Lections more or less systematically rubricated in the Text397397   e.g. Addit. MSS. 12,141: 14,449: 14,450-2-4-5-6-7-8: 14,461-3: 17,113-4-5-6:—(= 15 Codd. in all:) from p. 45 to p. 66 of Professor Wright’s Catalogue.. There is in the British Museum a copy of S. Mark’s Gospel according to the Peshito version, certainly written previous to A.D. 583, which has at least five or six rubrics so inserted by the original scribe398398   Addit. MS. 14,464. (See Dr. Wright’s Catalogue, p. 70.). As a rule, in all later cursive Greek MSS., (I mean those of the xiith to the xvth century,) the Ecclesiastical lections are indicated throughout: while either at the summit, or else at the foot of the page, the formula with which the Lection was to be introduced is elaborately inserted; prefaced probably by a rubricated statement (not always very easy to decipher) of the occasion when the ensuing portion of Scripture was to be read. The ancients, to a far greater extent than ourselves399399   Add to the eight examples adduced by Mr. Scrivener from our Book of C. P., (Introduction, p. 11), the following:—Gospels for Quinquagesima, 2nd S. after Easter, 9th, 12th, 22nd after Trinity, Whitsunday, Ascension Day, SS. Philip and James (see below, p. 220), All Saints., were accustomed,— 216(in fact, they made it a rule,)—to prefix unauthorized formulae to their public Lections; and these are sometimes found to have established themselves so firmly, that at last they became as it were ineradicable; and later copyists of the fourfold Gospel are observed to introduce them unsuspiciously into the inspired text400400   Thus the words εἶπε δὲ ὁ Κύριος (S. Luke vii. 31) which introduce an Ecclesiastical Lection (Friday in the iiird week of S. Luke,) inasmuch as the words are found in no uncial MS., and are omitted besides by the Syriac, Vulgate, Gothic and Coptic Versions, must needs be regarded as a liturgical interpolation.—The same is to be said of ὁ Ἰησοῦς in S. Matth. xiv. 22,—words which Origen and Chrysostom, as well as the Syriac versions, omit; and which clearly owe their place in twelve of the uncials, in the Textus Receptus, in the Vulgate and some copies of the old Latin, to the fact that the Gospel for the ixth Sunday after Pentecost begins at that place.—It will be kindred to the present inquiry that I should point out that in S. Mark xvi. 9, Ἀναστ8άς ὁ Ἰησοῦς is constantly met with in Greek MSS., and even in some copies of the Vulgate; and yet there can be no doubt that here also the Holy Name is an interpolation which has originated from the same cause as the preceding. The fact is singularly illustrated by the insertion of “ὁ ῑσ̄” in Cod. 267 (= Reg. 69,) rubro above the same contraction (for ὁ Ἰησους) in the text.. All that belongs to this subject deserves particular attention; because it is this which explains not a few of the perturbations (so to express oneself) which the text of the New Testament has experienced. 1Nre are made to understand how, what was originally intended only as a liturgical note, became mistaken, through the inadvertence or the stupidity of copyists, for a critical suggestion; and thus, besides transpositions without number, there has arisen, at one time, the insertion of something unauthorized into the text of Scripture,—at another, the omission of certain inspired words, to the manifest detriment of the sacred deposit. For although the systematic rubrication of the Gospels for liturgical purposes is a comparatively recent invention,—(I question if it be older in Greek MSS. than the xth century,)—yet will persons engaged in the public Services of God’s House have been prone, from the very earliest age, to insert memoranda of the kind referred to, into the margin of their copies. In this way, in fact, it may be regarded as certain that in countless minute particulars 217the text of Scripture has been depraved. Let me not fail to add, that by a judicious, and above all by an unprejudiced use of the materials at our disposal, it may, even at this distance of time, in every such particular, be successfully restored401401   Not, of course, so long as the present senseless fashion prevails of regarding Codex B, (to which, if Cod. L. and Codd. 1, 33 and 69 are added, it is only because they agree with B), as an all but infallible guide in settling the text of Scripture; and quietly taking it for granted that all the other MSS. in existence have entered into a grand conspiracy to deceive mankind. Until this most uncritical method, this most unphilosophical theory, is unconditionally abandoned, progress in this department of sacred Science is simply impossible..

III. I now proceed to shew, by an induction of instances, that even in the oldest copies in existence, I mean in Codd. B, א, A, C, and D, the Lectionary system of the early Church has left abiding traces of its operation. When a few such undeniable cases have been adduced, all objections grounded on primâ facie improbability will have been satisfactorily disposed of. The activity, as well as the existence of such a disturbing force and depraving influence, at least as far back as the beginning of the ivth century, (but it is in fact more ancient by full two hundred years,), will have been established: of which I shall only have to shew, in conclusion, that the omission of “the last Twelve Verses” of S. Mark’s Gospel is probably but one more instance,—though confessedly by far the most extraordinary of any.

(1.) From Codex B then, as well as from Cod. A, the two grand verses which describe our Lord’s “Agony and Bloody Sweat,” (S. Luke xxii. 43, 44,) are missing. The same two verses are absent also from a few other important MSS., as well as from both the Egyptian versions; but I desire to fasten attention on the confessedly erring testimony in this place of Codex B. “Confessedly erring,” I say; for the genuineness of those two verses is no longer disputed. Now, in every known Evangelistarium, the two verses here omitted by Cod. B follow, (the Church so willed it,) S. Matth. xxvi. 39, and are read as a regular part of the lesson for the Thursday in Holy Week402402   See Matthaei’s note on S. Luke xxii. 43, (Nov. Test. ed.1803.). Of course they are also omitted in the same Evangelistaria from the lesson for the Tuesday 218after Sexagesima, (τῇ γ́ τῆς τυροφάγου, as the Easterns call that day,) when S. Luke xxii. 39-xxiii. 1 used to be read. Moreover, in all ancient copies of the Gospels which have been accommodated to ecclesiastical use, the reader of S. Luke xxii. is invariably directed by a marginal note to leave out those two verses, and to proceed per saltum from ver. 42 to ver. 45403403   This will be best understood by actual reference to a manuscript. In Cod. Evan. 436 (Meerman 117) which lies before me, these directions are given as follows. After τὸ σὸν γενέσθω (i.e. the last words of ver. 42), is written ὑπέρβα εἰς τὸ τῆς γ́. Then, at the end of ver. 44, is written—ἄρξου τῆς γ́, after which follows the text καὶ ἀναστὰς, &c.
   In S. Matthew’s Gospel, at chap. xxvi, which contains the Liturgical section for Thursday in Holy Week (τῇ ἁγίᾳ καὶ μεγάλῃ έ), my Codex has been only imperfectly rubricated. Let me therefore be allowed to quote from Harl. MS. 1810, (our Cod. Evan. 113) which, at fol. 84, at the end of S. Matth. xxvi. 39, reads as follows, immediately after the words,—ἀλλ᾽ ὡς συ:— (i.e. ὑπάντα.) But in order to explain what is meant; the above rubricated word and sign are repeated at foot, as follows ὑπάντα εἰς τὸ κατὰ Λουκὰν ἐν κεφαλαίῳ ρθ̄. ὣφθη δὲ α8ὐτῳ ἄγγελος: εἶτα στραφ9ε8ίς ἐνταῦθα πάλιν, λέγε· καὶ ἔρχεται πρὸς τοὺς μαθητάς—which are the first words of S. Matth. xxvi. 40.

   Accordingly, my Codex (No. 436, above referred to) immediately after S. Luke xxii. 42, besides the rubric already quoted, has the following: ἄρξου τῆς μεγάλης έ. Then come the two famous verses (ver. 43, 44); and, after the words ἀναστὰς ἀπὸ τὢς προσευχῆς, the following rubric occurs: ὑπάντα εἰς τὸ τῆς μεγάλης έ Ματθ. ἔρχεται πρὸς τοῦς μαθητάς.

   [With the help of my nephew, (Rev. W. F. Rose, Curate of Holy Trinity, Windsor,) I have collated every syllable of Cod. 436. Its text most nearly resembles the Rev. F. H. Scrivener’s l, m, n.]
. What more obvious therefore than that the removal of the paragraph from its proper place in S. Luke’s Gospel is to be attributed to nothing else but the Lectionary practice of the primitive Church? Quite unreasonable is it to impute heretical motives, or to invent any other unsupported theory, while this plain solution of the difficulty is at hand.

(2.) The same Cod. B., (with which Codd. א, C, L, U and Γ are observed here to conspire,) introduces the piercing of the Saviour’s side (S. John xix. 34) at the end of S. Matth. xxvii. 49. Now, I only do not insist that this must needs be the result of the singular Lectionary practice already described at p. 202, because a scholion in Cod. 72 records the singular fact that in the Diatessaron of Tatian, after S. Matth. xxvii. 48, was read ἄλλος δὲ λαβὼν λόγχην ἔνυξεν αὐτοῦ τὴν 219πλευρὰν· καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ὕδωρ καὶ αἷμα. (Chrysostom’s codex was evidently vitiated in precisely the same way.) This interpolation therefore may have resulted from the corrupting influence of Tatian’s (so-called) “Harmony.” See Appendix (H).

(3.) To keep on safe ground. Codd. B and D concur in what Alford justly calls the “grave error” of simply omitting from S. Luke xxiii. 34, our Lord’s supplication on behalf of His murderers, (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔλεγε, Πάτερ, ἄφες αὐτοῖς· οὐ γὰρ οἴδασι τί ποιοῦσι. They are not quite singular in so doing; being, as usual, kept in countenance by certain copies of the old Latin, as well as by both the Egyptian versions. How is this “grave error” in so many ancient MSS. to be accounted for? (for a “grave error,” or rather “a fatal omission” it certainly is). Simply by the fact that in the Eastern Church the Lection for the Thursday after Sexagesima breaks off abruptly, immediately before these very words,—to recommence at ver. 44404404   See by all means Matthaei’s Nov. Test. (ed. 1803,) i. p. 491, and 492..

(4.) Note, that at ver. 32, the eighth “Gospel of the Passion” begins,—which is the reason why Codd. B and א (with the Egyptian versions) exhibit a singular irregularity in that place; and why the Jerusalem Syriac introduces the established formula of the Lectionaries (σὺν τῷ Ἰησοῦ) at the same juncture.

(If I do not here insist that the absence of the famous pericopa de adulterâ (S. John vii. 53-viii. 11,) from so many MSS., is to be explained in precisely the same way, it is only because the genuineness of that portion of the Gospel is generally denied; and I propose, in this enumeration of instances, not to set foot on disputed ground. I am convinced, nevertheless, that the first occasion of the omission of those memorable verses was the lectionary practice of the primitive Church, which, on Whitsunday, read from S. John vii. 37 to viii. 12, leaving out the twelve verses in question. Those verses, from the nature of their contents, (as Augustine declares,) easily came to be viewed with dislike or suspicion. The passage, however, is as old as the second century, for it is found in certain copies of the old Latin. Moreover Jerome deliberately gave it a place in the Vulgate. I pass on.)


(5.) The two oldest Codices in existence,—B and א,—stand all but alone in omitting from S. Luke vi. 1 the unique and indubitably genuine word δευτεροπρώτῳ; which is also omitted by the Peshito, Italic and Coptic versions. And yet, when it is observed that an Ecclesiastical lection begins here, and that the Evangelistaria (which invariably leave out such notes of time) simply drop the word,—only substituting for ἐν σαββάτῳ the more familiar τοῖς σάββασι,—every one will be ready to admit that if the omission of this word be not due to the inattention of the copyist, (which, however, seems to me not at all unlikely405405   See above, p. 75, note (h).,) it is sufficiently explained by the Lectionary practice of the Church,—which may well date back even to the immediately post-Apostolic age.

(6/) In S. Luke xvi. 19, Cod. D introduces the Parable of Lazarus with the formula,—εἶπεν δὲ καὶ ἑτέραν παραβολήν; which is nothing else but a marginal note which has found its way into the text from the margin; being the liturgical introduction of a Church-lesson406406   For the 5th Sunday of S. Luke. which afterwards began εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην407407   Such variations are quite common. Matthaei, with his usual accuracy, points out several: e.g. Nov. Test. (1788) vol. i. p. 19 (note 26), p. 23: vol. ii. p. 10 (note 12), p. 14 (notes 14 and 15), &c..

(7.) In like manner, the same Codex makes S. John xiv. begin with the liturgical formula,—(it survives in our Book of Common Prayer408408   SS. Philip and James. to this very hour!)—καὶ εἶπεν τοῖς μαθήταις αὐτοῦ: in which it is countenanced by certain MSS. of the Vulgate and of the old Latin Version. Indeed, it may be stated generally concerning the text of Cod. D, that it bears marks throughout of the depraving influence of the ancient Lectionary practice. Instances of this, (in addition to those elsewhere cited in these pages,) will be discovered in S. Luke iii. 23: iv. 16 (and xix. 45): v. 1 and 17: vi. 37 (and xviii. 15): vii. 1: x. 1 and 25: xx. 1: in all but three of which, Cod. D is kept in countenance by the old Latin, often by the Syriac, and by other versions of the greatest antiquity. But to proceed.

(8.) Cod. A, (supported by Athanasius, the Vulgate, Gothic, and Philoxeuian versions,) for καὶ, in S. Luke ix. 57, 221reads ἐγένετο δέ—which is the reading of the Textus Receptus. Cod. D, (with some copies of the old Latin,) exhibits καὶ ἐγένετο. All the diversity which is observable in this place, (and it is considerable,) is owing to the fact that an Ecclesiastical lection begins here409409   viz. σαββάτῳ θ: i.e. the ixth Saturday in S. Luke.—Note that Cod. A also reads ἐγένετο δέ in S. Lu. xi. 1.. In different Churches, the formula with which the lection was introduced slightly differed.

(9.) Cod. C is supported by Chrysostom and Jerome, as well as by the Peshito, Cureton’s and the Philoxenian Syriac, and some MSS. of the old Latin, in reading ὁ Ἰησοῦς at the beginning of S. Matth. xi. 20. That the words have no business there, is universally admitted. So also is the cause of their interpolation generally recognized. The Ecclesiastical lection for Wednesday in the ivth week after Pentecost begins at that place; and begins with the formula,—ἐν τῷ καίρῳ ἐκείνῳ, ἤρξατο ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὀνειδίζειν.

Similarly, in S. Matth. xii. 9, xiii. 36, and xiv. 14, Cod. C inserts ὁ Ἰησοῦς; a reading which on all three occasions is countenanced by the Syriac and some copies of the old Latin, and on the last of the three, by Origen also. And yet there can be no doubt that it is only because Ecclesiastical lections begin at those places410410   viz. Monday in the vth, Thursday in the vith week after Pentecost, and the viiith Sunday after Pentecost., that the Holy Name is introduced there.

Let me add that the Sacred Name is confessedly an interpolation in the six places indicated at foot,—its presence being accounted for by the fact that, in each, an Ecclesiastical lection begins411411   viz. S. Luke xiii. 2: xxiv. 36. S. John i. 29 (ὁ Ἰωάννης): 44: vi. 14: xiii. 3,—to which should perhaps be added xxi. 1, where B, א, A, C (not D) read Ἰησοῦς.. Cod. D in one of these places, Cod. A in four, is kept in countenance by the old Latin, the Syriac, the Coptic and other early versions;—convincing indications of the extent to which the Lectionary practice of the Church had established itself so early as the second century of our æra.

Cod. D, and copies of the old Latin and Egyptian versions also read τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, (instead of αὐτοῦ,) in S. Mark xiv. 3; which is only because a Church lesson begins there.


(12.) The same Cod. D is all but unique in leaving out that memorable verse in S. Luke’s Gospel (xxiv. 12), in which S. Peter’s visit to the Sepulchre of our risen Lord finds particular mention. It is only because that verse was claimed both as the conclusion of the ivth and also as the beginning of the vth Gospel of the Resurrection: so that the liturgical note ἀρχή stands at the beginning,—τέλος at the end of it. Accordingly, D is kept in countenance here only by the Jerusalem Lectionary and some copies of the old Latin. But what is to be thought of the editorial judgment which (with Tregelles) encloses this verse within brackets and (with Tischendorf) rejects it from the text altogether?

(13.) Codices B, א, and D are alone among MSS. in omitting the clause διελθὼν διὰ μέσσου αὐτῶν· καὶ παρῆγεν οὕτως, at the end of the 59th verse of S. John viii. The omission is to be accounted for by the fact that just there the Church-lesson for Tuesday in the vth week after Easter came to an end.

(14.) Again. It is not at all an unusual thing to find in cursive MSS., at the end of S. Matth. viii. 13, (with several varieties), the spurious and tasteless appendix,—καὶ ὑποστρέψας ὁ ἑκατόνταρχος εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ εὗρεν τὸν παῖδα ὑγιαίνοντα: a clause which owes its existence solely to the practice of ending the lection for the ivth Sunday after Pentecost in that unauthorized manner412412   See by all means Matthaei’s interesting note on the place,—Nov. Test. (1788) vol. i. p. 113-4. It should be mentioned that Cod. C (and four other uncials), together with the Philoxenian and Hierosolymitan versions, concur in exhibiting the seine spurious clause. Matthaei remarks,—“Origenes (iv. 171 D) hanc pericopam haud adeo diligenter recensens terminal eum in γενηθήτω σοι.” Will not the disturbing Lectionary practice of his day sufficiently explain Origen’s omission?. But it is not only in cursive MSS. that these words are found. They are met with also in the Codex Sinaiticus (א): a witness at once to the inveteracy of Liturgical usage in the ivth century of our æra, and to the corruptions which the “Codex omnium antiquissimus” will no doubt have inherited from a yet older copy than itself.


(15.) In conclusion, I may remark generally that there occur instances, again and again, of perturbations of the Text in our oldest MSS., (corresponding sometimes with readings vouched for by the most ancient of the Fathers,) which admit of no more intelligible or inoffensive solution than by referring them to the Lectionary practice of the primitive Church413413   I recal S. John x. 29: xix. 13: xxi. 1;—but the attentive student will be able to multiply such references almost indefinitely. In these and similar places, while the phraseology is exceedingly simple, the variations which the text exhibits are so exceeding numerous,—that when it is discovered that a Church Lesson begins in those places, we may be sure that we have been put in possession of the name of the disturbing force..

Thus when instead of καὶ ἀναβαίνων ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα (S. Matth. xx. 17), Cod. B reads, (and, is almost unique in reading,) Μέλλων δὲ ἀναβαίνων ὁ Ἰησου̂ς; and when Origen sometimes quotes the place in the same way, but sometimes is observed to transpose the position of the Holy Name in the sentence; when again six of Matthaei’s MSS., (and Origen once,) are observed to put the same Name after Ἱεροσόλυμα: when, lastly, two of Field’s MSS.414414   Viz. K and M. (Field’s Chrys. p. 251.)—How is it that the readings of Chrysostom are made so little account of? By Tregelles, for example, why are they overlooked entirely?, and one of Matthaei’s, (and I dare say a great many more, if the truth were known,) omit the words ὁ Ἰησοῦς entirely:—who sees not that the true disturbing force in this place, from the iind century of our æra downwards, has been the Lectionary practice of the primitive Church?—the fact that there the lection for the Thursday after the viiith Sunday after Pentecost began?—And this may suffice.

IV. It has been proved then, in what goes before, morn effectually even than in a preceding page415415   See above, p. 197 to 204., not only that Ecclesiastical Lections corresponding with those indicated in the “Synaxaria” were fully established in the immediately post-Apostolic age, but also that at that early period the Lectionary system of primitive Christendom had already exercised a depraving influence of a peculiar kind on the text of Scripture. Further yet, (and this is the only point I am now concerned to establish), that our five oldest Copies of the Gospels,—B and א as well as A, C and D,—exhibit 224not a few traces of the mischievous agency alluded to; errors, and especially omissions, which sometimes seriously affect the character of those Codices as witnesses to the Truth of Scripture.—I proceed now to consider the case of S. Mark xvi. 9-20; only prefacing my remarks with a few necessary words of explanation.

V. He who takes into his hands an ordinary cursive MS. of the Gospels, is prepared to find the Church-lessons regularly indicated throughout, in the text or in the margin. A familiar contraction, executed probably in vermillion , ἀρ, indicates the “beginning” (ἀρχή) of each lection: a corresponding contraction indicates its “end” (τέλος.) Generally, these rubrical directions, (for they are nothing else,) are inserted for convenience into the body of the text,—from which the red pigment with which they are almost invariably executed, effectually distinguishes them. But all these particulars gradually disappear as recourse is had to older and yet older MSS. The studious in such matters have noticed that even the memorandums as to the “beginning” and the “end” of a lection are rare, almost in proportion to the antiquity of a Codex. When they do occur in the later uncials, they do not by any means always seem to have been the work of the original scribe; neither has care been always taken to indicate them in ink of a different colour. It will further be observed in such MSS. that whereas the sign where the reader is to begin is generally—(in order the better to attract his attention,)—inserted in the margin of the Codex, the note where he is to leave off, (in order the more effectually to arrest his progress,) is as a rule introduced into the body of the text416416   e.g. in Cod. Evan. 10 and 270.. In uncial MSS., however, all such symbols are not only rare, but (what is much to be noted) they are exceedingly irregular in their occurrence. Thus in Codex Γ, in the Bodleian Library, (a recently acquired uncial MS. of the Gospels, written A.D. 844), there occurs no indication of the “end” of a single lection in S. Luke’s Gospel, until chap. xvi. 31 is reached; after which, the sign abounds. In Codex L, the original notes of Ecclesiastical Lections occur at the following rare and irregular intervals: S. Mark ix. 2: x. 46: xii. 40 (where the sign has lost its way; it should have stood against ver. 44): xv. 42 and xvi. 1417417   In some cursive MSS. also, (which have been probably transcribed from ancient originals), the same phenomenon is observed. Thus, in Evan. 265 (= Reg. 66), τελ only occurs, in S. Mark, at ix. 9 and 41: xv. 32 and 41: xvi. 8. Αρχ at xvi. 1. It is striking to observe that so little were those ecclesiastical notes (embedded in the text) understood by the possessor of the MS., that in the margin, over against ch. xv. 41, (where “τελο” stands in the text,) a somewhat later hand has written,—τε[λος] τ[ης] ὡρ[ας]. A similar liturgical note may be seen over against ch. ix. 9, and elsewhere. Cod. 25 (= Reg. 191), at the end of S. Mark’s Gospel, has only two notes of liturgical endings: viz. at ch. xv. 1 and 42.. In the oldest uncials, nothing of the kind is discoverable. Even in the Codex Bezae, (vith century,) not a single liturgical direction coeval with the MS. is anywhere to be found.

VI. And yet, although the practice of thus indicating the beginning and the end of a liturgical section, does not seem to have come into general use until about the xiith century; and although, previous to the ixth century, systematic liturgical directions are probably unknown418418   Among the Syriac Evangelia, as explained above (p. 215), instances occur of far more ancient MSS. which exhibit a text rubricated by the original scribe. Even here, however, (as may be learned from Dr. Wright’s Catalogue, pp. 46-66,) such Rubrics Live been only irregularly inserted in the oldest copies.; the need of them must have been experienced by one standing up to read before the congregation, long before. The want of some reminder where he was to begin,—above all, of some hint where he was to leave off,—will have infallibly made itself felt from the first. Accordingly, there are not wanting indications that, occasionally, τελοc (or το τελοc) was written in the margin of Copies of the Gospels at an exceedingly remote epoch. One memorable example of this practice is supplied by the Codex Bezae (D): where in S. Mark xiv. 41, instead of ἀπέχει. ἦλθεν ἡ ὥρα,—we meet with the unintelligible απεχει το τελοc και Η ωρα Now, nothing else has here happened but that a marginal note, designed originally to indicate the end (το τελοc) of the lesson for 226the third day of the iind week of the Carnival, has lost its way from the end of ver. 42, and got thrust into the text of ver. 41,—to the manifest destruction of the sense419419   Note, that the Codex from which Cod. D was copied will have exhibited the text thus,—απεχει το τελοc Ηλθεν Η ωρα,—which is the reading of Cod. (= 13 Reg. 50.) But the scribe of Cod. D, in order to improve the sense, substituted for ἦλθεν the word καὶ. Note the scholion [Anon. Vat.] in Possinus, p. 321:—ἀπέχει, τουτέστι, πεπλήρωται, τέλος ἔχει τὸ κατ᾽ ἐμέ.
   Besides the said Cod. 13, the same reading is found in 47 and 54 (in the Bodl.): 56 (at Linc. Coll.): 61 (i.e. Cod. Montfort.): 69 (i.e. Cod. Leicestr.): 124 (i.e. Cod. Vind. Lamb. 31): cscr (i.e. Lambeth, 1177): 2pc (i.e. the 2nd of Muralt’s S. Petersburg Codd.); and Cod. 439 (i.e. Auddit. Brit. Mus. 5107). All these eleven MSS. read ἀπέχει τὸ τέλος at S. Mark xiv. 41.
. I find D’s error here is shared (a) by the Peshito Syriac, (b) by the old Latin, and (c) by the Philoxenian: venerable partners in error, truly! for the first two probably carry back this false reading to the second century of our æra; and so, furnish one more remarkable proof, to be added to the fifteen (or rather the forty) already enumerated (pp. 217-23), that the lessons of the Eastern Church were settled at a period long anterior to the date of the oldest MS. of the Gospels extant.

VII. Returning then to the problem before us, I venture to suggest as follows:—What if, at a very remote period, this same isolated liturgical note (το τελοc) occurring at S. Mark xvi. 8, (which is “the end” of the Church-lection for the iind Sunday after Easter,) should have unhappily suggested to some copyist,—καλλυγραφίας quam vel Criticae Sacrae vel rerum Liturgicarum peritior—the notion that the entireGospel according to S. Mark,” came to an end at verse 8? . . . . I see no more probable account of the matter, I say, than this:—That the mutilation of the last chapter of S. Mark has resulted from the fact, that some very ancient scribe misapprehended the import of the solitary liturgical note τελοc (or το τελοc) which he found at the close of verse 8. True, that he will have probably beheld, further on, several additional στίχοι. But if he did, how could he acknowledge the fact more loyally than by leaving (as the author of Cod. B is observed to have done) one entire column blank, before proceeding with S. Luke? He hesitated, all the same, 227to transcribe any further, having before him, (as he thought,) an assurance that “THE END” had been reached at ver. 8.

VIII. That some were found in very early times eagerly to acquiesce in this omission: to sanction it: even to multiply copies of the Gospel so mutilated; (critics or commentators intent on nothing so much as reconciling the apparent discrepancies in the Evangelical narratives:)—appears to me not at all unlikely420420   So Scholz (i. 200):—“Pericopa haec casu quodam forsan exciderat a codice quodam Alexandrino; unde defectus iste in alios libros transiit. Nec mirum hunc defectum multis, immo in certis regionibus plerisque scribis arrisisse: confitentur enim ex ipsorum opinione Marcum Matthaeo repugnare. Cf. maxime Eusebium ad Marinum,” &c.. Eusebius almost says as much, when he puts into the mouth of one who is for getting rid of these verses altogether, the remark that “they would be in a manner superfluous if it should appear that their testimony is at variance with that of the other Evangelists421421   περιττὰ ἀν εἵη, καὶ μάλιστα εἴπερ ἔχοιεν ἀντιλογίαν τῇ τῶν λοιπῶν εὐαγγελιστῶν μαρτυρίᾳ. (Mai, Bibl. P.P. Nova, vol. iv. p. 256.).” (The ancients were giants in Divinity but children in Criticism.) On the other hand, I altogether agree with Dean Alford in thinking it highly improbable that the difficulty of harmonizing one Gospel with another in this place, (such as it is,) was the cause why these Twelve Verses were originally suppressed422422   Alford’s N. T. vol. i. p. 433, (ed. 1868.)—And so Tischendorf, (ed. 8va. pp. 406-7.) “Talem dissentionem ad Marci librum tam misere mutilandum adduxisse quempiam, et quidem tanto cum successu, prorsus incredible est, nec ullo probari potest exemplo.”—Tregelles is of the same opinion. (Printed Text, pp. 255-6.)—Matthaei, a competent judge, seems to have thought differently. “Una autem causa cur hic locus omitteretur fuit quod Marcus in his repugnare ceteris videtur Evangelistis.” The general observation which follows is true enough:—“Quae ergo vel obscura, vel repugnantia, vel parum decora quorundam opinione habebantur, ea olim ab Criticis et interpretibus nonnullis vel sublata, vel in dubium vocata esse, ex allis locis sanctorum Evangeliorum intelligitur.” (Nov. Test. 1788, vol. ii. p. 266.) Presently, (at p. 270,)—“In summâ. Videtur unus et item alter ex interpretibus, qui haec caeteris evangeliis repugnare opinebatur, in dubium vocasse. Hunc deinde plures temere secuti sunt, ut plerumque factum esse animadvertimus.” Dr. Davidson says the same thing (ii. 116.) and, (what is of vastly more importance,) Mr. Scrivener also. (Coll. Cod. Sin. p. xliv.). (1) First, because there really was no need to withhold more than three,—at the utmost, five of them,—if this had been the reason of the omission. (2) Next, because it would have 228been easier far to introduce some critical correction of any supposed discrepancy, than to sweep away the whole of the unoffending context. (3) Lastly, because nothing clearly was gained by causing the Gospel to end so abruptly that every one must see at a glance that it had been mutilated. No. The omission having originated in a mistake, was perpetuated for a brief period (let us suppose) only through infirmity of judgment: or, (as I prefer to believe), only in consequence of the religious fidelity of copyists, who were evidently always instructed to transcribe exactly what they found in the copy set before them. The Church meanwhile in her corporate capacity, has never known anything at all of the matter,—as was fully shewn above in Chap. X.

IX. When this solution of the problem first occurred to me, (and it occurred to me long before I was aware of the memorable reading το τελοc in the Codex Bezae, already adverted to,) I reasoned with myself as follows:—But if the mutilation of the second Gospel came about in this particular way, the MSS. are bound to remember something of the circumstance; and in ancient MSS., if I am right, I ought certainly to meet with some confirmation of my opinion. According to my view, at the root of this whole matter lies the fact that at S. Mark xvi. 8 a well-known Ecclesiastical lesson comes to an end. Is there not perhaps something exceptional in the way that the close of that liturgical section was anciently signified?

X. In order to ascertain this, I proceeded to inspect every copy of the Gospels in the Imperial Library at Paris423423   I have to acknowledge very gratefully the obliging attentions of M. de Wailly, the chief of the Manuscript department.; and devoted seventy hours exactly, with unflagging delight, to the task. The success of the experiment astonished me.

1. I began with our Cod. 24 (= Reg. 178) of the Gospels: turned to the last page of S. Mark: and beheld, in a Codex of the xith Century wholly devoid of the Lectionary apparatus which is sometimes found in MSS. of a similar date424424   See above, p. 224., at fol. 104, the word + τελοc + conspicuously written by the original scribe immediately after S. Mark xvi. 8, as 229well as at the close of the Gospel. It occurred besides only at ch. ix. 9, (the end of the lesson for the Transfiguration.) And yet there are at least seventy occasions in the course of S. Mark’s Gospel where, in MSS. which have been accommodated to Church use, it is usual to indicate the close of a Lection. This discovery, which surprised me not a little, convinced me that I was on the right scent; and every hour I met with some fresh confirmation of the fact.

2. For the intelligent reader will readily understand that three such deliberate liturgical memoranda, occurring solitary in a MS. of this date, are to be accounted for only in one way. They infallibly represent a corresponding peculiarity in some far more ancient document. The fact that the word τελοc is here (a) set down unabbreviated, (b) in black ink, and (c) as part of the text,—points unmistakably in the same direction. But that Cod. 24 is derived from a Codex of much older date is rendered certain by a circumstance which shall be specified at foot425425   Whereas in the course of S. Matthew’s Gospel, only two examples of + τελοc + occur, (viz. at ch. xxvi. 35 and xxvii. 2,)—in the former case the note has entirely lost its way in the process of transcription; standing where it has no business to appear. No Liturgical section ends thereabouts. I suspect that the transition (ὑπέρβασις) anciently made at ver. 39, was the thing to which the scribe desired to call attention..

3. The very same phenomena reappear in Cod. 36426426   = Coisl. 20. This sumptuous MS., which has not been adapted for Church purposes, appears to me to be the work of the same scribe who produced Reg. 178, (the codex described above); but it exhibits a different text. Bound up with it are some leaves of the LXX of about the viiith century.. The sign + τελοc +, (which occurs punctually at S. Mark xvi. 8 and again at v. 20,) is found besides in S. Mark’s Gospel only at chap. i. 8427427   End of the Lection for the Sunday before Epiphany.; at chap. xiv. 31; and (+ τελοc οου κεφαλ/) at chap. xv. 24;—being on every occasion incorporated with the Text. Now, when it is perceived that in the second and third of these places, τελοc has clearly lost its way,—appearing where no Ecclesiastical lection came to an end,—it will be felt that the MS. before us (of the xith century) if it was not actually transcribed from,—must at least exhibit at second hand,—a far more ancient Codex428428   In S. Matthew’s Gospel, I could find τελοc so written only twice,—viz. at ch. ii. 23 and xxvi. 75: in S. Luke only once,—viz. at ch. viii. 39. These, in all three instances, are the concluding verses of famous Lessons,—viz. the Sunday after Christmas Day, the iiird Gospel of the Passion, the vith Sunday of S. Luke..


4. Only once more.—Codex 22 (= Reg. 72) was never prepared for Church purposes. A rough hand has indeed scrawled indications of the beginnings and endings of a few of the Lessons, here and there; but these liturgical notes are no part of the original MS. At S. Mark xvi. 8, however, we are presented (as before) with the solitary note + τελοc +—-, incorporated with the text. Immediately after which, (in writing of the same size,) comes a memorable statement429429   This has already come before us in a different connection: (see p. 119): but it must needs be reproduced here; and this time, it shall be exhibited as faithfully as my notes permit. in red letters. The whole stands thus:—

φοβοῦντο γαρ + τέλοc +—
ἕν τιcι τῶν ἄντιγράφων.
ἔωc ὧδε πληροῦται ὄ ἔυ
αγγελιcτήc: ἔη πολλοῖc
δε. καὶ ταῦτα φέρεται +—
Αναστὰσ δὲ. πρωῒ πρώτη σαββάτων

And then follows the rest of the Gospel; at the end of which, the sign + τελοc + is again repeated,—which sign, however, occurs nowhere else in the MS. nor at the end of any of the other three Gospels. A more opportune piece of evidence could hardly have been invented. A statement so apt and so significant was surely a thing rather to be wished than to be hoped for. For here is the liturgical sign τελοc not only occurring in the wholly exceptional way of which we have already seen examples, but actually followed by the admission that “In certain copies, the Evangelist proceeds no further.” The two circumstances so brought together seem exactly to bridge over the chasm between Codd. B and א on the one hand,—and Codd. 24 and 36. on the other; and to supply us with precisely the link of evidence which we require. For observe:—During the first six centuries of our æra, no single instance is known of a codex in which τελοc is written at the end of a Gospel. The subscription of 231S. Mark for instance is invariably either ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΡΚΟΝ,—(as in B and א): or else ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΟΝ ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΡΚΟΝ,—(as in A and C, and the other older uncials): never τελοc. But here is a Scribe who first copies the liturgical note τελοc,—and then volunteers the critical observation that “in some copies of S. Mark’s Gospel the Evangelist proceeds no further!” A more extraordinary corroboration of the view which I am endeavouring to recommend to the reader’s acceptance, I really cannot imagine. Why, the ancient Copyist actually comes back, in order to assure me that the suggestion which I have been already offering in explanation of the difficulty, is the true one!

5. I am not about to abuse the reader’s patience with a prolonged enumeration of the many additional conspiring circumstances,—insignificant in themselves and confessedly unimportant when considered singly, but of which the cumulative force is unquestionably great,—which an examination of 99 MSS. of the Gospels brought to light430430   (1.) In Evan. 282 (written A.D. 1176),—a codex which has been adapted to Lectionary purposes,—the sign and , strange to say, is inserted into the body of the Text, only at S. Mark xv. 47 and xvi. 8.
   (2) Evan. 208, (a truly superb MS., evidently left unfinished, the pictures of the Evangelists only sketched in ink,) was never prepared for Lectionary purposes; which makes it the more remarkable that, between ἐφοθοῦντο γάρ and ἀναστάς, should be found inserted into the body of the text, τὲ. in gold.

   (3) I have often met with copies of S. Matthew’s, or of S. Luke’s, or of S. John’s Gospel, unfurnished with a subscription in which τέλος occurs: but scarcely ever have I seen an instance of a Codex where the Gospel according to S. Mark was one of two, or of three from which it was wanting; much less where it stood alone in that respect. On the other hand, in the following Codices,—Evan. 10: 22: 30: 293,—S. Mark’s is the only Gospel of the Four which is furnished with the subscription, + τέλος τοῦ κατὰ Μάρκον εὐαγγελίου ·:· or simply + τέλος + . . . . In Evan. 282, S. Matthew’s Gospel shares this peculiarity with S. Mark’s.
. Enough has been said already to shew,

(1st.) That it must have been a customary thing, at a very remote age, to write the word τελοc against S. Mark xvi. 8, even when the same note was withheld from the close of almost every other ecclesiastical lection in the Gospel.

(2ndly.) That this word, or rather note, which no doubt 232was originally written as a liturgical memorandum in the margin, became at a very early period incorporated with the text; where, retaining neither its use nor its significancy, it was liable to misconception, and may have easily come to be fatally misunderstood.

And although these two facts certainly prove nothing in and by themselves, yet, when brought close alongside of the problem which has to be solved, their significancy becomes immediately apparent: for,

(3rdly.) As a matter of fact, there are found to have existed before the time of Eusebius, copies of S. Mark’s Gospel which did come to an end at this very place. Now, that the Evangelist left off there, no one can believe431431   “Nemini in mentem venire potest Marcum narrationis suae filum ineptissime abrupisse verbisἐφοβοῦντο γάρ.”—Griesbach Comment. Crit. (ii. 197.) So, in fact, uno ore all the Critics.. Why, then, did the Scribe leave off? But the Reader is already in possession of the reason why. A sufficient explanation of the difficulty has been elicited from the very MSS. themselves. And surely when, suspended to an old chest which has been locked up for ages, a key is still hanging which fits the lock exactly and enables men to open the chest with ease, they are at liberty to assume that the key belongs to the lock; is, in fact, the only instrument by which the chest may lawfully be opened.

XI. And now, in conclusion, I propose that we summon back our original Witness, and invite him to syllable his evidence afresh, in order that we may ascertain if perchance it affords any countenance whatever to the view which I have been advocating. Possible at least it is that in the Patristic) record that copies of S. Mark’s Gospel were anciently defective from the 8th verse onwards some vestige may be discoverable of the forgotten truth. Now, it has been already fully shewn that it is a mistake to introduce into this discussion any other name but that of Eusebius432432   Chap. V. See above, pp. 66-7.. Do, then, the terms in which Eusebius alludes to this matter lend us any assistance? Let us have the original indictment read over to us once more: and this time we are bound to listen to every word of it with the utmost possible attention.


A problem is proposed for solution. “There are two ways of solving it,” (Eusebius begins):—ὁ μὲν γὰρ [τὸ κεφάλαιον αὐτὸ] τὴν τοῦτο φάσκουσαν περικοπὴν ἀθετῶν, εἴποι ἀν μὴ ἐν ἅπασιν αὐτὴν φέρεσθαι τοῖς ἀντιγράφοις τοῦ κατὰ Μάρκον εὐαγγελίου· τὰ γοῦν ἀκριβῆ τῶν ἀντιγράφων ΤῸ ΤΈΛΟΣ περιγράφει τῆς κατὰ τὸν Μάρκον ἱστορίας ἐν τοῖς λόγοις κ.τ.λ. οἷς ἐπιλέγει, “καὶ οὐδενὶ οὐδὲν εἶπον, ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ.” Ἐν τούτῳ σχεδὸν ἐν ἅπασι τοῖς ἀντιγράφοις τοῦ κατά Μαρκον εὐαγγελίου περιγέγραπται ΤῸ ΤΈΛΟΣ433433   The English reader will follow the text with sufficient exactness if he will refer back, and read from the last line of p. 44 to the ninth line of p. 45; taking care to see, in two places, for “the end,”—“THE END” . . . . The entire context of the Greek is given in the Appendix (B). . . . Let us halt hero for one moment.

2. Surely, a new and unexpected light already begins to dawn upon this subject! How is it that we paid so little attention before to the terms in which this ancient Father delivers his evidence, that we overlooked the import of an expression of his which from the first must have struck us as peculiar, but which now we perceive to be of paramount significancy? Eusebius is pointing out that one way for a man (so minded) to get rid of the apparent inconsistency between S. Mark xvi. 9 and S. Matth. xxviii. 1, would be for him to reject the entire “Ecclesiastical Lection434434   τὴν τοῦτο φάσκουσαν περικοπήν. The antecedent phrase, (τὸ κεφάλαιον αὐτό,) I suspect must be an explanatory gloss.” in which S. Mark xvi. 9 occurs. Any one adopting this course, (he proceeds; and it is much to be noted that Eusebius is throughout delivering the imaginary sentiments of another,—not his own:) Such an one (he says) “will say that it is not met with in all the copies of S. Mark’s Gospel. The accurate copies, at all events,”—and then follows an expression in which this ancient Critic is observed ingeniously to accommodate his language to the phenomenon which he has to describe, so as covertly to insinuate something else. Eusebius employs an idiom (it is found elsewhere in his writings) sufficiently colourless to have hitherto failed to arouse attention; but of which it is impossible to overlook the actual design and import, after all that has gone before. He clearly recognises the very phenomenon to which I have been calling 234attention within the last two pages, and which I need not further insist upon or explain: viz. that the words ΤΟ ΤΕΛΟC were in some very ancient (“the accurate”) copies found written after ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ: although to an unsuspicious reader the expression which he uses may well seem to denote nothing more than that the second Gospel generally came to an end there.

3. And now it is time to direct attention to the important bearing of the foregoing remark on the main point at issue. The true import of what Eusebius has delivered, and which has at last been ascertained, will be observed really to set his evidence in a novel and unsuspected light. From the days of Jerome, it has been customary to assume that Eusebius roundly states that, in his time almost all the Greek copies were without our “last Twelve Verses” of S. Mark’s Gospel435435   “This then is clear,” (is Dr. Tregelles’ comment,) “that the greater part of the Greek copies had not the verses in question.”—Printed Text, p. 247.: whereas Eusebius really does nowhere say so. He expresses himself enigmatically, resorting to a somewhat unusual phrase436436   Observe, the peculiarity of the expression in this place of Eusebius consists entirely In his introduction of the words τὸ τέλος. Had he merely said ἀκριβὴ τῶν ἀντιγράφων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μάρκον περιγράφει ἐν τοῖς λόγοις κ.τ.λ. . . . . Ἐν τούτῳ γὰρ σχεδὸν ἐν ἅπασι τοῖς ἀνργράφοις περιγέγραπται τὸ κατὰ Μάρκον εὐαγγέλιον,—there would have been nothing extraordinary in the mode of expression. We should have been reminded of such places as the following in the writings of Eusebius himself:—Ὁ Κλήμης . . . εἰς τὴν Κομόδου τελευτὴν περιγράφει τοὺς χρόνους, (Hist. Eccl. lib. vi. c. 6.)—Ἱππόλυτος . . . ἐπὶ τὸ πρῶτον ἔτος αὐτοκράτορος Ἀλεξάνδρου τοὺς χρόνους περιγράφει, (Ibid. c. 22. See the note of Valesius on the place.)—Or this, referred to by Stephanus (in voce),—Ἑνὸς δ᾽ ἔτι μνησθεὶς περιγράψω τὸν λόγον, (Praep. Evang. lib. vi. c. 10, [p. 280 c, ed. 1628].) But the substitution of τὸ τέλος for τὸ εὐαγγέλιον wants explaining; and can be only satisfactorily explained in one way. which perhaps admits of no exact English counterpart: but what he says clearly amounts to no more than this,—that “the accurate copies, at the words ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ, circumscribe THE END (ΤΟ ΤΕΛΟC ) of Mark’s narrative:” that there, “in almost all the Copies of the Gospel according to Mark, is circumscribed THE END.” He says no more. He does not say that there “is circumscribed the Gospel.” As for the twelve verses which follow, he merely declares that they were “not met with in all the copies;” i.e. that some copies did not contain them. But this, so far from being 235a startling statement, is no more than what Codd. B and א in themselves are sufficient to establish. In other words, Eusebius, (whose testimony on this subject as it is commonly understood is so extravagant [see above, p. 48-9,] as to carry with it its own sufficient refutation,) is found to bear consistent testimony to the two following modest propositions; which, however, are not adduced by him as reasons for rejecting S. Mark xvi. 9-20, but only as samples of what might be urged by one desirous of shelving a difficulty suggested by their contents;—

(1st.) That from some ancient copies of S. Mark’s Gospel these last Twelve Verses were away.

(2nd.) That in almost all the copies,—(whether mutilated or not, he does not state,)—the words ΤΟ ΤΕΛΟC were found immediately after ver. 8; which, (he seems to hint,) let those who please accept as evidence that there also is the end of the Gospel.

4. But I cannot dismiss the testimony of Eusebius until I have recorded my own entire conviction that this Father is no more an original authority here than Jerome, or Hesychius, or Victor437437   See above, p. 66 and p. 67.. He is evidently adopting the language of some more ancient writer than himself. I observe that he introduces the problem with the remark that what follows is one of the questions “for ever mooted by every body438438   Πάρειμι νῦν . . . πρὸς τῷ τέλει τῶν αὐτῶν πάντοτε τοῖς πᾶσι ζητούμενα [sic].—Mai, vol. iv. p. 255..” I suspect (with Matthaei, [suprà, p. 66,]) that Origen is the true author of all this confusion. He certainly relates of himself that among his voluminous exegetical writings was a treatise on S. Mark’s Gospel439439   “Consentit autem nobis ad tractatum quem fecimus de scripturâ Marci.”—Origen. (Opp. iii. 929 B.) Tractat. xxxv. in Matth. [I owe the reference to Cave (i. 118.) It seems to have escaped the vigilance of Huet.]—This serves to explain why Victor of Antioch’s Catena on S. Mark was sometimes anciently attributed to Origen: as in Paris Cod. 703, [olim 2330, 958, and 1048: also 18.] where is read (at fol. 247), Ὠριγένους πρόλογος εἰς τὴν ἑρμηνείαν τοῦ κατὰ Μάρκον εὐαγγελίου. Note, that Reg. 937 is but a (xvith cent.) counterpart of the preceding; which has been transcribed [xviiith cent.] in Par. Suppl. Grace. 40.
   Possevinus [Apparat. Sac. ii. 542,] (quoted by Huet, Origeniana, p. 274) states that there is in the Library of C. C. C., Oxford, a Commentary on S. Mark’s Gospel by Origen. The source of this misstatement has been acutely pointed out. to me by the Rev. W. R. Churton. James, in his “Ecloga Oxonio-Cantabrig.,” (1600, lib. i. p. 49,) mentions “Homiliae Origenis super Evangelio Marcae, Stabat ad monumentum.”—.Read instead, (with Rev. H. O. Coxe, “Cat. Codd. MSS. C. C. C.;” [No. 142, 4,]) as follows:—“Origenis presb. Hom. in istud Johannis, Maria stabat ad monumentum,” &c. But what actually led Possevinus astray, I perceive, was James’s consummation of his own blunder in lib. ii. p. 49,—which Possevinus has simply appropriated.
. To Origen’s works, Eusebius, (his 236apologist and admirer,) is known to have habitually resorted; and, like many others, to have derived not a few of his notions from that fervid and acute, but most erratic intellect. Origen’s writings in short, seem to have been the source of much, if not most of the mistaken Criticism of Antiquity. (The reader is reminded of what has been offered above at p. 96-7). And this would not be the first occasion on which it would appear that when an ancient Writer speaks of “the accurate copies,” what he actually means is the text of Scripture which was employed or approved by Origen440440   So Chrysostom, speaking of the reading Βηθαβαρά.
   Origen (iv. 140) says that not only σχεδὸν ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἀντιγράφοις, but also that apud Heracleonem, (who wrote within 50 years of S. John’s death,) he found Βηθανία written in S. John i. 28. Moved by geographical considerations, however, (as he explains,) for Βηθανία, Origen proposes to read Βηθαβαρά.—Chrysostom (viii. 96 D), after noticing the former reading, declares,—ὅσα δὲ τῶν ἀντιγράφων ἀκριβέστερον ἔχει ἐν Βηθαβαρά φησιν: but he goes on to reproduce Origen’s reasoning;—thereby betraying himself.—The author of the Catena in Matth. (Cramer, i. 190-1) simply reproduces Chrysostom:—χρὴ δὲ γινώσκειν ὅτι τὰ ἀκριβῆ τῶν ἀντιγράφων ἐν Βηθαβαρὰ περιέχει. And so, other Scholia; until at last what was only due to the mistaken assiduity of Origen, became generally received as the reading of the “more accurate copies.”

   A scholium on S. Luke xxiv. 13, in like manner, declares that the true reading of that place is not “60” but “160,”—οὕτως γὰρ τὰ ἀκριβῆ περιέχει, καὶ ἡ Ὡργένους τῆς ἀληθείας βεβαίωσις. Accordingly, Eusebius also reads the place in the same erroneous way.
. The more attentively the language of Eusebius in this place is considered, the more firmly (it is thought) will the suspicion be entertained that he is here only reproducing the sentiments of another person. But, however this may be, it is at least certain that the precise meaning of what he says, has been hitherto generally overlooked. He certainly does not say, as Jerome, from his loose translation of the passage441441   Jerome says of himself (Opp. vii. 537,)—“Non digne Graeca in Latinum transfero: aut Graecos lege (si ejusdem linguae habes scientiam) aut si tantum Latinus es, noli de gratuito munere judicare, et, ut vulgare proverbium est: equi dentes inspicere donati., evidently imagined,—“omnibus 237Graeciae libris pene hoc capitulum in fine non habentibus:” but only,—“non in omnibus Evangelii exemplaribus hoc capitulum inveniri;” which is an entirely different thing. Eusebius adds,—“Accuratiora saltem exemplaria FINEM narrationis secundum Marcum circumscribunt in verbis ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ;”—and, “In hoc, fere in omnibus exemplaribus Evangelii secundum Marcum, FINEM circumscribi.”—The point, however, of greatest interest is, that Eusebius here calls attention to the prevalence in MSS. of his time of the very liturgical peculiarity which plainly supplies the one true solution of the problem under discussion. His testimony is a marvellous corroboration of what we learn from Cod. 22, (see above, p. 230,) and, rightly understood, does not go a whit beyond it.

5. What wonder that Hesychius, because he adopted blindly what he found in Eusebius, should at once betray his author and exactly miss the point of what his author says? Τὸ κατὰ Μάρκον εὐαγγέλιον (so he writes) μέχρι τοῦ “ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ,” ἔχει ΤῸ ΤΈΛΟC442442   See above, pp. 57-9: also Appendix (C), § 2..

6. This may suffice concerning the testimony of Eusebius.—It will be understood that I suppose Origen to have fallen in with one or more copies of S. Mark’s Gospel which exhibited the Liturgical hint, (ΤΟ ΤΕΛΟC,) conspicuously written against S. Mark xvi. 9. Such a copy may, or may not, have there terminated abruptly. I suspect however that it did. Origen at all events, (more suo,) will have remarked on the phenomenon before him; and Eusebius will have adopted his remarks,—as the heralds say, “with a difference,”—simply because they suited his purpose, and seemed to him ingenious and interesting.

7. For the copy in question,—(like that other copy of S. Mark from which the Peshito translation was made, and in which ΤΟ ΤΕΛΟC most inopportunely occurs at chap. xiv. 41443443   See above, pp. 225-6.,)—will have become the progenitor of several other copies (as Codd. B and א); and some of these, it is pretty evident, were familiarly known to Eusebius.


8. Let it however be clearly borne in mind that nothing of all this is in the least degree essential to my argument. Eusebius, (for aught that I know or care,) may be solely responsible for every word that he has delivered concerning S. Mark xvi. 9-20. Every link in my argument will remain undisturbed, and the conclusion will be still precisely the same, whether the mistaken Criticism before us originated with another or with himself.

XII. But why, (it may reasonably be asked,)—Why should there have been anything exceptional in the way of indicating the end of this particular Lection? Why should τέλος be so constantly found written after S. Mark xvi. 8?

I answer,—I suppose it was because the Lections which respectively ended and began at that place were so many, and were Lections of such unusual importance. Thus,—(1) On the 2nd Sunday after Easter, (κυριαηή γʹ τῶν μυροφόρων as it was called,) at the Liturgy, was read S. Mark xv. 43 to xvi. 8; and (2) on the same day at Matins, (by the Melchite Syrian Christians as well as by the Greeks444444   R. Payne Smith’s Catal. p. 116.,) S. Mark xvi. 9-20. The severance, therefore, was at ver. 8. (3) In certain of the Syrian Churches the liturgical section for Easter Day was S. Mark xvi. 2-8445445   See Adler’s N. T. Verss Syrr., p. 70.: in the Churches of the Jacobite, or Monophysite Christians, the Eucharistic lesson for Easter-Day was ver. 1-8446446   R. Payne Smith’s Catal. p.146.. (4) The second matin lesson of the Resurrection (xvi. 1-8) also ends,—and (5) the third (xvi. 9-20) begins, at the same place: and these two Gospels (both in the Greek and in the Syrian Churches) were in constant use not only at Easter, but throughout the year447447   See p. 206, also note (k).. (6) That same third matin lesson of the Resurrection was also the Lesson at Matins on Ascension-Day; as well in the Syrian448448   R. Payne Smith’s Catal. p. 117. as in the Greek449449   i. Accordingly, in Cod. Evan. 266 (= Paris Reg. 67) is read, at S. Mark xvi. 8 (fol. 126), as follows:—ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ. [then, rubro] τέλος τοῦ Βʹ ἑωθίνου, καὶ τῆς κυριακῆς τῶν μυροφόρων, ἀρχή. [then the text:] Ἀναστάς κ.τ.λ. . . . After ver. 20, (at fol. 126 of the same Codex) is found the following concluding rubric:—τέλος τοῦ Γʹ ἑωθίνου εὐαγγελίου.
   In the same place, (viz. at the end of S. Mark’s Gospel,) is found in another Codex (Evan. 7 = Paris Reg. 71,) the following rubric:—τέλος τοῦ τρίτου τοῦ ἑωθίνου, καὶ τοῦ ὄρθρου τῆς ἀναλήψεως.
Churches. (7) With 239the Monophysite Christians, the lection “feriae tertiae in albis, ad primam vesperam,” (i.e. for the Tuesday in Easter-Week) was S. Mark xv. 37-xvi. 8: and (8) on the same day, at Matins, ch. xvi. 9-18450450   R. Payne Smith’s Catal. p. 146..—During eighteen weeks after Easter therefore, the only parts of S. Mark’s Gospel publicly read were (a) the last thirteen [ch. xv. 43-xvi. 8], and (b) “the last twelve” [ch. xvi. 9-20] verses. Can it be deemed a strange thing that it should have been found indispensable to mark, with altogether exceptional emphasis,—to make it unmistakably plain,—where the former Lection came to an end, and where the latter Lection began451451   Cod. 27 (xi) is not provided with any lectionary apparatus, and is written continuously throughout: and yet at S. Mark xvi. 9 a fresh paragraph is observed to commence.
   Not dissimilar is the phenomenon recorded in respect of some copies of the Armenian version. “The Armenian, in the edition of Zohrab, separates the concluding 12 verses from the rest of the Gospel . . . Many of the oldest MSS., after the words ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ, put the final Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μάρκον, and then give the additional verses with a new superscription.” (Tregelles, Printed Text, p. 253). . . We are now in a position to understand the Armenian evidence, which has been described above, at p. 36, as well as to estimate its exact value.

XIII. One more circumstance, and but one, remains to be adverted to in the way of evidence; and one more suggestion to be offered. The circumstance is familiar indeed to all, but its bearing on the present discussion has never been pointed out. I allude to the fact that anciently, in copies of the fourfold Gospel, the Gospel according to S. Hark frequently stood last.

This is memorably the case in respect of the Codex Bezae [vi]: more memorably yet, in respect of the Gothic version of Ulphilas (A.D. 360): in both of which MSS., the order of the Gospels is (1) S. Matthew, (2) S. John, (3) S. Luke, (4) S. Mark. This is in fact the usual Western order. Accordingly it is thus that the Gospels stand in the Codd. Vercellensis (a), Veronensis (b), Palatinus (e), Brixianus (f) of the old Latin version. But this order is not exclusively Western. It is found in Cod. 309. It is also observed in Matthaei’s Codd. 13, 14, (which last is our Evan. 256), at Moscow. And 240in the same order Eusebius and others of the ancients452452   Euseb. apud Mai, iv. p. 264 = p. 287. Again at p. 289-90.—So also the author of the 2nd Homily on the Resurr. (Greg. Nyss. Opp. iii. 411-2.)—And see the third of the fragments ascribed to Polycarp. Patres Apostol., (ed. Jacobson) ii. p. 515. are occasionally observed to refer to the four Gospels,—which induces a suspicion that they were not unfamiliar with it. Nor is this all. In Codd. 19 and 90 the Gospel according to S. Mark stands last; though in the former of these the order of the three antecedent Gospels is (1) S. John, (2) S. Matthew, (3) S. Luke453453   I believe this will be found to be the invariable order of the Gospels in the Lectionaries.; in the latter, (1) S. John, (2) S. Luke, (3) S. Matthew. What need of many words to explain the bearing of these facts on the present discussion? Of course it will have sometimes happened that S. Mark xvi. 8 came to be written at the bottom of the left hand page of a MS.454454   This is the case for instance in Evan. 15 (= Reg. 64). See fol. 98 b. And we have but to suppose that in the case of one such Codex the next leaf, which would have been the last, was missing,—(the very thing which has happened in respect of one of the Codices at Moscow455455   I allude of course to Matthaei’s Cod. g. (See the note in his N. T. vol. ix. p. 228.) Whether or no the learned critic was right in his conjecture “aliquot folia excidisse,” matters nothing. The left hand page ends at the words ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ. Now, if τέλος had followed, how obvious would have been the inference that the Gospel itself of S. Mark had come to an end there!
   Note, that in the Codex Bezae (D), S. Mark’s Gospel ends at ver. 15: in the Gothic Codex Argenteus, at ver. 11. The Codex Vercell. (a) proves to be imperfect from ch. xv. 15; Cod. Veron. (b) from xiii. 24; Cod. Brix. (f) from xiv. 70.
) what else could result when a copyist reached the words,


but the very phenomenon which has exercised critics so sorely and which gives rise to the whole of the present discussion? The copyist will have brought S. Mark’s Gospel to an end there, of course. What else could he possibly do? . . . . Somewhat less excusably was our learned countryman Mill betrayed into the statement, (inadvertently adopted by Wetstein, Griesbach, and Tischendorf,) that “the last verse of S. John’s Gospel is omitted in Cod. 63:” the truth of the matter being (as Mr. Scrivener has lately proved) that the 241last leaf of Cod. 63,—on which the last verse of S. John’s Gospel was demonstrably once written,—has been lost456456   Scrivener, Coll. Cod. Sin. p. lix..

XIV. To sum up.

1. It will be perceived that I suppose the omission of “the last Twelve Verses” of S. Mark’s Gospel to have originated in a sheer error and misconception on the part of some very ancient Copyist. He saw ΤΟ ΤΕΛΟC written after ver. 8: he assumed that it was the Subscription, or at least that it denoted “the End,” of the Gospel.

2. Whether certain ancient Critics, because it was acceptable to them, were not found to promote this mistake,—it is useless to inquire. That there may have arisen some old harmonizer of the Gospels, who, (in the words of Eusebius,) was disposed to “regard what followed as superfluous from its seeming inconsistency with the testimony of the other Evangelists457457   See p. 227.;”—and that in this way the error became propagated;—is likely enough. But an error it most certainly was: and to that error, the accident described in the last preceding paragraph would have very materially conduced, and it may have very easily done so.

3. I request however that it may be observed that the “accident” is not needed in order to account for the “error.” The mere presence of ΤΟ ΤΕΛΟC at ver. 8, so near the end of the Gospel, would be quite enough to occasion it. And we have seen that in very ancient times the word ΤΕΛΟC frequently did occur in an altogether exceptional manner in that very place. Moreover, we have ascertained that its meaning was not understood by the transcribers of ancient MSS.

4. And will any one venture to maintain that it is to him a thing incredible that an intelligent copyist of the iiird century, because he read the words ΤΟ ΤΕΛΟC at S. Mark xvi. 8, can have been beguiled thereby into the supposition that those words indicated “the End” of S. Mark’s Gospel?—Shall I be told that, even if one can have so entirely overlooked the meaning of the liturgical sign as to suffer it to insinuate itself into his text458458   See above, p. 226., it is nevertheless so improbable 242as to pass all credence that another can have supposed that it designated the termination of the Gospel of the second Evangelist?—For all reply, I take leave to point out that Scholz, and Tischendorf, and Tregelles, and Mai and the rest of the Critics have, one and all, without exception, misunderstood the same word occurring in the same place, and in precisely the same way.

Yes. The forgotten inadvertence of a solitary Scribe in the second or third century has been, in the nineteenth, deliberately reproduced, adopted, and stereotyped by every Critic and every Editor of the New Testament in turn.

What wonder,—(I propose the question deliberately,)—What wonder that an ancient Copyist should have been misled by a phenomenon which in our own days is observed to have imposed upon two generations of professed Biblical Critics discussing this very textual problem, and therefore fully on their guard against delusion459459   So Scholz:—“hic [sc. 22] post γάρ + τέλος; dein atramento rubro,” &c.—Tischendorf,—“Testantur scholia . . . Marci Evangelium . . . versu 9 finem habuisee. Ita, ut de 30 fere Codd. certe tree videamus, 22 habet: ἐφοβουντο γαρ + τελος. εν τισι, &c.”—Tregelles appeals to copies, “sometimes with τέλος interposed after ver. 8,” (p. 254.)—Mai (iv. 256) in the same spirit remarks,—“Codex Vatican-palatinus [220], ex quo Eusebium producimus, post octavum versum habet quidem vocem τέλος, ut alibi interdum observatum fuit; sed tamen ibidem eadem manu subecribitur incrementum cum progredientibus sectionum notis.? To this hour, the illustrious Editors of the text of the Gospels are clearly, one and all, labouring under the grave error of supposing that “ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ + τέλος,”—(for which they are so careful to refer us to “Cod. 22,”)—is an indication that there, by rights, comes theEndof the Gospel according to S. Mark. They have failed to perceive that ΤΕΛΟC in that place is only a liturgical sign,—the same with which (in its contracted form) they are sufficiently familiar; and that it serves no other purpose whatever, but to mark that there a famous Ecclesiastical Lection comes to an end.

With a few pages of summary, we may now bring this long disquisition to an end.

« Prev Chapter XI. The Omission of These Twelve Verses… Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection