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Some account of Victor of Antioch’s Commentary on S. Mark’s Gospel; together with an enumeration of MSS. which contain Victor’s Work.

(Referred to at p. 60.)

“APRÈS avoir examiné avec soin les MSS. de la Bibliothèque du Roi,” (says the Père Simon in his Hist. Crit. du N.T. p. 79,) “j’ai réconnu que cet ouvrage” (he is speaking of the Commentary on S. Mark’s Gospel popularly ascribed to Victor of Antioch,) “n’est ni d’Origéne, ni de Victor d’Antioche, ni de Cyrille, ni d’aucun autre auteur en particulier. C’est un recueil de plusieurs Pères, dont on a marqué les nom dans quelques exemplaires; et si ces noms ne se trouveut point dans d’autres, cela est assez ordinaire à ces recueils, qu’on appelle chaînes508508   Kollar, (editing Lambecius,—iii. 159, 114,) expresses the same opinion.—Huet (Origeniana, lib. iii. c. 4, pp. 274-5,) has a brief and unsatisfactory dissertation on the same subject; but he arrives at a far shrewder conclusion..” It will be seen from the notices of the work in question already offered, (suprà, p. 59 to p. 65,) that I am able to yield only a limited acquiescence in this learned writer’s verdict. That the materials out of which Victor of Antioch constructed his Commentary are scarcely ever original,—is what no one will deny who examines the work with attention. But the Author of a compilation is an Author still; and to put Victor’s claim to the work before us on a level with that of Origen or of Cyril, is entirely to misrepresent the case and hopelessly to perplex the question.

Concerning Victor himself, nothing whatever is known except that he was “a presbyter of Antioch.” Concerning his Work, I will not here repeat what I have already stated elsewhere; but, requesting the Reader to refer to what was remarked at pp. 59 to 65, I propose to offer a few observations with which I was unwilling before to encumber the 270text; holding it to be a species of duty for those who have given any time and attention to a subject like the present to contribute the result, (however slender and unsatisfactory it may prove,) to the common store. Let abler men enlarge the ensuing scanty notices, and correct me if in any respect I shall have inadvertently fallen into error.

1. There exists a Commentary, then, on S. Mark’s Gospel, which generally claims on its front “Victor, Presbyter of Antioch,” for its Author509509   The copies which I have seen, are headed,—ΒΙΚΤΟΡΟC (sometimes ΒΙΚΤωΡΟC) ΠΡεCΒΥΤεΡΟΥ ΑΝΤΙΟΧεΙΑC εΡΜΗΝεΙΑ εΙC ΤΟ ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΡΚΟΝ εΥΑΓΓεΛΙΟΝ; or with words precisely to that effect. Very often no Author’s name is given. Rarely is the Commentary assigned to Cyril, Origen, &c.—Vide infrà, Nº. iii, xii, xiv, xix, xlviii. Also, N°. xlvii (comp, xxviii.). A Latin translation of this work, (not the original Greek,) was, in the first instance, published at Ingolstadt in 1580510510   Victoris Antiocheni in Marcum, et Titi Bostrorum Episcopi in Evangelium Lucae commentarii; ante hac quidem nunquam in lucem editi, nunc vero studio et operâ Theodori Peltani luce simul et Latinitate donati. Ingolstad. 1680, 8vo. pp. 510., by Theodore Peltanus. His Latin version found its way at once into “Bibliothecæ,” (or Collections of Writings of the Fathers,) and has been again and again reprinted.

2. The Greek text of Victor was first published at Rome by Peter Possinus in 1673, from a MS. existing somewhere in Germany; which Bathazar Corderius had transcribed and presented to Possinus about thirty years before. Corderius gave Possinus at the same time his transcript of an anonymous Commentary on S. Mark preserved in the Vatican; and Possinus had already in his possession the transcript of a third Commentary on the same Evangelist (also anonymous) which he had obtained from the Library of Charles de Montchal, Abp. of Toulouse. These three transcripts Possinus published in a well-known volume. It is to be wished that he had kept them distinct, instead of to some extent blending their contents confusedly into one511511   “Ex hoc ego, quasi metallo triplici, una conflata massa, inde annulos formavi, quos singulos Evangelici contextus articulis aptatos, inter segue morsu ac nexu mutuo commissos, in torquem producerem, quo, si possem consequi, sancto Evangelistae Marco decus et ornamentum adderetur.”—Præfatio: from which the particulars in the text are obtained.. Still, the dislocated 271paragraphs of Victor of Antioch are recognisable by the name of their author (“Victor Antiochenus”) prefixed to each: while “Tolosanus” designates the Toulouse MS.: “Vaticanus” (or simply “Anonymus”) the Vatican.

3. At the end of another century, (1775) C. F. Matthaei put forth at Moscow, with his usual skill and accuracy, a new and independent Edition of Victor’s Commentary512512   ΒΙΚΤΩΡΟΣ πρεσβυτέρου Ἀντιοχείας καὶ ἄλλων τινῶν ἁγίων πατέρων ἐξήσησις εἰς τὸ κατὰ Μάρκον ἅγιον εὐαγγέλιον: ex Codd. Mossq. edidit C. F. Matthæi, Mosquæ, 1775.: the text of which is based on four of the Moscow MSS. This work, which appeared in two parts, has become of extraordinary rarity. I have only just ascertained (June, 1871,) that one entire Copy is preserved in this country.

4. Lastly, (in 1840,) Dr. J. A. Cramer, in the first volume of his Catenae on the N. T., reproduced Victor’s work from independent MS. sources. He took for his basis two Codices in the Paris Library, (No. 186 and No. 188), which, however, prove to have been anciently so exactly assimilated the one to the other [infrà, p. 279] as to be, in fact, but duplicates of one and the same original. Cramer supplemented their contents from Laud. Gr. 33, (in the Bodleian:) Coisl. 23: and Reg. 178 at Paris. The result has been by far the fullest and most satisfactory exhibition of the Commentary of Victor of Antioch which has hitherto appeared. Only is it to be regretted that the work should have been suffered to comb abroad disfigured in every page with errors so gross as to be even scandalous, and with traces of slovenly editorship which are simply unintelligible. I cannot bring myself to believe that Dr. Cramer ever inspected the MSS. in the Paris Library in person. Else would the slender advantage which those abundant materials have proved to so learned and accomplished. a scholar, be altogether unaccountable. Moreover, he is incorrect in what he says about them513513   P. xxvii-xxviii.: while his reasons for proposing to assign the work of Victor of Antioch to Cyril of Alexandria are undeserving of serious attention.

On a comparison of these four Editions of the same work, it is discovered that the Latin version of Peltanus (1580), 272represents the same Greek text which Possinus gave to the world in 1673. Peltanus translates very loosely; in fact he paraphrases rather than translates his author, and confesses that he has taken great liberties with Victor’s text. But I believe it will be found that there can have been no considerable discrepancy between the MS. which Peltanus employed, and that which Possinus afterwards published.—Not so the text which Matthaei edited, which is in fact for the most part, (though not invariably,) rather an Epitome of Victor’s Commentary. On the other hand, Cramer’s text is more full than that of Possinus. There seem to be only a few lines in Possinus, here and there, which are not to be met with in Cramer; whereas no less than twenty-eight of Cramer’s pages are not found in the work of Possinus. Cramer’s edition, therefore, is by far the most complete which has hitherto appeared. And though it cries aloud for revision throughout; though many important corrections might easily be introduced into it, and the whole brought back in countless particulars more nearly to the state in which it is plain that Victor originally left it;—1 question whether more than a few pages of additional matter could easily be anywhere recovered. I collated several pages of Cramer (Oct. 1869) with every MS. of Victor in the Paris Library; and. all but invariably found that Cramer’s text was fuller than that of the MS. which lay before me. Seldom indeed did I meet with a few lines in any MS. which had not already seen the light in Cramer’s edition. One or other of the four Codices which he employed seems to fill up almost every hiatus which is met with in any of the MSS. of this Father.

For it must be stated, once for all, that an immense, and I must add, a most unaccountable discrepancy is observable between the several extant copies of Victor: yet not so much in respect of various readings, or serious modifications of his text; (though the transpositions are very frequent, and often very mischievous514514   To understand what is alluded to, the reader should compare the upper and the lower half of p. 442 in Cramer: noting that he has one and the same annotation before him; but diversely exhibited. (The lower part of the page is taken from Cod. 178.) Besides transposing the sentences, the author of Cod. 178 has suppressed the reference to Chrysostom, and omitted the name of Apolinarius in line 10. (Compare Field’s ed. of Chrys. iii. 529, top of the page.);) as resulting from the boundless 273license which every fresh copyist seems to have allowed himself chiefly in abridging his author.—To skip a few lines: to omit an explanatory paragraph, quotation, or digression: to pass per saltum from the beginning to the end of a passage: sometimes to leave out a whole page: to transpose: to paraphrase: to begin or to end with quite a different form of words;—proves to have been the rule. Two copyists engaged on the same portion of Commentary are observed to abridge it in two quite different ways. I question whether there exist in Europe three manuscripts of Victor which correspond entirely throughout. The result is perplexing in a high degree. Not unfrequently (as might be expected) we are presented with two or even three different exhibitions of one and the same annotation515515   Thus the two notes on p. 440 are found substantially to agree with the note on p. 441, which = Chrys. p. 627. See also infrà, p. 289.. Meanwhile, as if to render the work of collation (in a manner) impossible,—(1) Peltanus pleads guilty to having transposed and otherwise taken liberties with the text he translated: (2) Possinus confessedly welded three codices into one: (3) Matthaei pieced and patched his edition out of four MSS.; and (4) Cramer, out of five.

The only excuse I can invent for this strange licentiousness on the part of Victor’s ancient transcribers is this:—They must have known perfectly well, (in fact it is obvious,) that the work before them was really little else but a compilation; and that Victor had already abridged in the same merciless way the writings of the Fathers (Chrysostom chiefly) from whom he obtained his materials. We are to remember also, I suppose, the labour which transcription involved, and the costliness of the skins out of which ancient books were manufactured. But when all has been said, I must candidly admit that the extent of license which the ancients evidently allowed themselves quite perplexes me516516   Let any one, with Mai’s edition of the “Quæstiones ad Marinum” of Eusebius before him, note how mercilessly they are abridged, mutilated, amputated by subsequent writers. Compare for instance p. 257 with Cramer’s “Catenae,” p. 251-2; and this again with the “Catena in Joannem” of Corderius, p. 448-9.. Why, for example, remodel the structure 274of a sentence and needlessly vary its phraseology? Never I think in my life have I been more hopelessly confused than in the Bibliothèque, while attempting to collate certain copies of Victor of Antioch.

I dismiss this feature of the case by saying that if any person desires a sample of the process I have been describing, he cannot do better than bestow a little attention on the “Preface” (ὑπόθεσις) at the beginning of Victor’s Commentary. It consists of thirty-eight lines in Cramer’s edition: of which Possinus omits eleven; and Matthaei also, eleven;—but not the same eleven. On the other hand, Matthaei517517   With whom, Reg. 177 and 703 agree. prolongs the Preface by eight lines. Strange to relate, the MS. from which Cramer professes to publish, goes on differently. If I may depend on my hasty pencilling, after ἐκκλησίαις. [Cramer, p. 264, line 16,] Evan. 300, [= Reg. 186, fol. 93, line 16 from bottom] proceeds,—Κλήμης ἐν ἕκτῳ τῶν ὑποτυπώσεων (thirty-one lines, ending) χαρακτὴρ ἐγένετο.

On referring to the work of Possinus, “Anonymus Vaticanus” is found to exhibit so admirable a condensation (?) of the ὑπόθεσις in question, that it is difficult to divest oneself of the suspicion that it must needs be an original and independent composition; the germ out of which the longer Preface has grown . . . . We inspect the first few pages of the Commentary, and nothing but perplexity awaits us at every step. It is not till we have turned over a few pages that we begin to find something like exact correspondence.

As for the Work,—(for I must now divest myself of the perplexing recollections which the hurried collation of so many MSS. left behind; and plainly state that, in spite of all, I yet distinctly ascertained, and am fully persuaded that the original work was one,—the production, no doubt, of “Victor, Presbyter of Antioch,” as 19 out of the 52 MSS. declare):—For the Commentary itself, I say, Victor explains at the outset what his method had been. Having 275failed to discover any separate exposition of S. Mark’s Gospel, he had determined to construct one, by collecting the occasional notices scattered up and down the writings of Fathers of the Church518518   p. 263, line 3 to 13, and in Possinus, p. 4.. Accordingly, he presents us in the first few lines of his Commentary (p. 266) with a brief quotation from the work of Eusebius “to Marinus, on the seeming inconsistency of the Evangelical accounts of the Resurrection;” following it up with a passage from “the vith [viithP] tome of Origen’s Exegetics on S. John’s Gospel.” We are thus presented at the outset with two of Victor’s favorite authorities. The work of Eusebius just named he was evidently thoroughly familiar with519519   Eusebius is again quoted at p. 444, and referred to at p. 445 (line 23-5). See especially p. 446.. I suspect that he has many an unsuspected quotation from its pages. Towards the end of his Commentary, (as already elsewhere explained,) he quotes it once and again.

Of Origen also Victor was evidently very fond520520   What is found at p. 314 (on S. Mark v. 1,) is a famous place. (Cf. Huet’s ed. ii. 131.) Compare also Victor’s first note on i. 7 with the same edit. of Origen, ii. 125 C, D, which Victor is found to have abridged. Compare the last note on p. 346 with Orig. i. 284 A. Note, that ἄλλος δέ φησι, (foot of p. 427) is also Origen. Cf. Possinus, p. 324.: and his words on two or three occasions seem to shew that he had recourse besides habitually to the exegetical labours of Apolinarius, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Titus of Bostra521521   See pp. 408, 418, 442.. Passages from Cyril of Alexandria are occasionally met with522522   e.g. the first note on p. 311; (comp. Possinus, p. 95): and the last note on p. 323; (comp. Poss. p. 123.) Compare also Cramer, p. 395 (line 16-22) with Poss. p. 249.—I observe that part of a note on p. 315 is ascribed by Possinus (p. 102) to Athanasius: while a scholium at p. 321 and p. 359, has no owner.; and once at least (p. 370) he has an extract from Basil. The historian Josephus he sometimes refers to by name523523   e.g. p. 408, 411 (twice)..

But the Father to whom Victor is chiefly indebted is Chrysostom,—whom he styles “the blessed John, Bishop of the Royal City;” (meaning Constantinople524524   In p.418,—ὁ τῆς βασιλίδος πόλεως ἐπίσκοπος Ἰωάννης. For instances of quotation from Chrysostom, comp. V. A. p. 315 with Chrys. pp. 398-9: p.376 with Chrys. pp. 227-8: p.420 with Chrys. p. 447, &c.). Not that 276Victor, strictly speaking, transcribes from Chrysostom; at least, to any extent. His general practice is slightly to adapt his Author’s language to his own purpose; sometimes, to leave out a few words; a paragraph; half a page525525   Take for example Victor’s Commentary on the stilling of the storm (pp. 312-8), which is merely an abridged version of the first part of Chrysostom’s 28th Homily on S. Matthew (pp. 395-8); about 46 lines being left out. Observe Victor’s method however. Chrysostom begins as follows:—Ὁ μὲν οὖν Λουκᾶς, ἀπαλλάττων ἑαυτὸν τοῦ ἀπαιτηθῆναι τῶν χρόνων τὴν τάξιν, οὕτως εἶπεν. (Then follows S. Luke viii. 22.) καὶ ὁ Μάρκος ὁμοίως. Οὗτος δὲ οὐχ οὕτως· ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀκολουθίαν ἐνταῦθα διατηρεῖ. Victor, because he had S. Mark (not S. Matthew) to comment upon, begins thus:—Ὁ μὲν Μάρκος ἀπαλλάττων ἑαυτὸν τοῦ ἀπαιτηθῆναι τῶν χρόνων τὴν τάξιν, οὕτως εἶπεν, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ὁ Λοῦκας· ὁ δὲ Ματθαῖος οὐχ οὕτως· ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀκολουθίαν ἐνταῦθα διατηρεῖ.. Then, he proceeds to quote another Father probably; or, it may be, to offer something of his own. But he seldom gives any intimation of what it is he does: and if it were not for the occasional introduction of the phrase ὁ μέν φησι or ἄλλος δέ σησι526526   e.g. V. A. p. 422 (from ὁ μέν φησιν to ἄλλος δέ φησιν) = Chrys. p. 460. Observe the next paragraph also, (p. 423,) begins, ἄλλος φησιν.—So again, V. A. pp. 426-7 = Chrys. pp. 473-6: where ἄλλος δέ φησιν, at the foot of p.427 introduces a quotation from Origen, as appears from Possinus, p. 324.—See also p. 269, line 1,—which is from Chrys. p.130, ἢ ὡς ὁ ἄλλος being the next words.—The first three lines in p. 316 = Chrys. p. 399. Then follows, ἄλλος δέ φησιν. See also pp. 392: 407 (φασί τινες—ἕτερος δέ φησιν): pp. 415 and 433. After quoting Eusebius by name (p.446-7), Victor says (line 3) ἄλλος δέ φησιν., a reader of Victor’s Commentary might almost mistake it for an original composition. So little pains does this Author take to let his reader know when he is speaking in his own person, when not, that he has not scrupled to retain Chrysostom’s phrases ἐγὼ δὲ οἶμαι527527   e.g. V. A. p. 420 line 15, which = Chrys. p. 447., &c. The result is that it is often impossible to know to whose sentiments we are listening. It cannot be too clearly borne in mind that ancient ideas concerning authorship differed entirely from those of modern times; especially when Holy Scripture was to be commented on.

I suspect that, occasionally, copyists of Victor’s work, as they recognised a fragment here and there, prefixed to it 277the name of its author. This would account for the extremely partial and irregular occurrence of such notes of authorship; as well as explain why a name duly prefixed in one copy is often missing in another528528   e.g. Theod. Mops., (p. 414,) which name is absent from Cod. Reg. 201:—Basil, (p. 370) whose name Possinus does not seem to have read:—Cyril’s name, which Possinus found in a certain place (p. 311), is not mentioned in Laud. Gr. 33 fol. 100 b, at top, &c.. Whether Victor’s Commentary can in strictness be called a “Catena,” or not, must remain uncertain until some one is found willing to undertake the labour of re-editing his pages; from which, by the way, I cannot but think that some highly interesting (if not some important) results would follow.

Yet, inasmuch as Victor never, or certainly very seldom, prefixes to a passage from a Father the name of its Author;—above all, seeing that sometimes, at all events, he is original, or at least speaks in his own person;—I think the title of “Catena” inappropriate to his Commentary.

As favourable and as interesting a specimen of this work as could be found, is supplied by his annotation on S. Mark xiv. 3. He begins as follows, (quoting Chrysostom, p. 436):—“One and the same woman seems to be spoken of by all the Evangelists. Yet is this not the case. By three of them one and the same seems to be spoken of; not however by S. John, but another famous person,—the sister of Lazarus. This is what is said by John, the Bishop of the Royal City.—Origen on the other hand says that she who, in S. Matthew and S. Mark, poured the ointment in the house of Simon the leper was a different person from the sinner whom S. Luke writes about who poured the ointment on His feet in the house of the Pharisee.—Apolinarius529529   So in the Catena of Cordorius, in S. Joannem, p. 302. and Theodorus say that all the Evangelists mention one and the same person; but that John rehearses the story more accurately than the others. It is plain, however, that Matthew, Mark, and John speak of the same individual; for they relate that Bethany was the scene of the transaction; and this is a village; whereas Luke [viii. 37] speaks of some one else; for, ‘Behold,’ (saith he) a woman in the city which was a sinner,” &c., &c.


But the most important instance by far of independent and sound judgment is supplied by that concluding paragraph, already quoted and largely remarked upon, at pp. 64-5; in which, after rehearsing all that had been said against the concluding verses of S. Mark’s Gospel, Victor vindicates their genuineness by appealing in his own person to the best and the most authentic copies. The Reader is referred to Victor’s Text, which is given below, at p. 288.

It only remains to point out, that since Chrysostom, (whom Victor speaks of as ὁ ἐν ἁγίοις, [p. 408,] and ὁ μακαριος, [p. 442,]) died in A.D. 407, it cannot be right to quote “401” as the date of Victor’s work. Rather would A.D. 450 be a more reasonable suggestion: seeing that extracts from Cyril, who lived on till A.D. 444, are found here and there in Victor’s pages. We shall not perhaps materially err if we assign A.D. 430-450 as Victor of Antioch’s approximate date.

I conclude these notices of an unjustly neglected Father, by specifying the MSS. which contain his Work. Dry enough to ordinary readers, these pages will not prove uninteresting to the critical student. An enumeration of all the extant Codices with which I am acquainted which contain Victor of Antioch’s Commentary on S. Mark’s Gospel, follows:—

(i.) Evan. (= Reg. 230) a most beautiful MS.

The Commentary on S. Mark is here assigned to Victor by name; being a recension very like that which Matthaei has published. S. Mark’s text is given in extenso.

(ii.) Evan. (= Reg. 189: anciently numbered 437 and 1880. Also 134 and 135. At back, 1603.) A grand folio, well-bound and splendidly written. Pictures of the Evangelists in such marvellous condition that the very tools employed by a scribe might be reproduced. The ground gilded. Headings, &c. and words from Scripture all in gold.

Here also the Commentary on B. Mark’s Gospel is assigned to Victor. The differences between this text and that of Cramer (e.g. at fol. 320-3, 370,) are hopelessly numerous and complicated. There seem to have been extraordinary liberties taken with the text of this copy throughout.


(iii.) Evan. 20 (= Reg. 188: anciently numbered 1883.) A splendid folio,—the work of several hands and beautifully written.

Victor’s Commentary on S. Mark’s Gospel is generally considered to be claimed for Cyril of Alexandria by the following words:


The correspondence between Evan. 20 and Evan. 300 [infrà, No. xiv], (= Reg. 188 and 186), is extraordinary530530   I believe it will be found that Cod. Reg. 186 corresponds exactly with Cod. Reg. 188: also that the contents of Cod. Reg. 201 correspond with those of Cod. Reg. 206; to which last two, I believe is to be added Cod. Reg. 187.. In S. Mark’s Gospel, (which alone I examined,) every page begins with the same syllable, both of Text and Commentary: (i.e. Reg. 186, fol. 94 to 197 = Reg.188, fol. 87 to 140). Not that the number of words and letters in every line corresponds: but the discrepancy is compensated for by a blank at the end of each column, and at the foot of each page. Evan. 20 and Evan. 300 seem, therefore, in some mysterious way referable to a common original. The sacred Text of these two MSS., originally very dissimilar, has been made identical throughout; some very ancient (the original?) possessor of Reg. 188 having carefully assimilated the readings of his MS. to those of Reg. 186, the more roughly written copy; which therefore, in the judgment of the possessor of Reg. 188, exhibits the purer text. But how then does it happen that in both Codices alike, each of the Gospels (except S. Matthew’s Gospel in Reg. 188,) ends with the attestation that it has been collated with approved copies? Are we to suppose that the colophon in question was added after the one text had been assimilated to the other? This is a subject which well deserves attention. The reader is reminded that these two Codices have already come before us at pp. 118-9,—where see the notes.

I proceed to set down some of the discrepancies between the texts of these two MSS.: in every one of which, Reg. 188 has been made conformable to Reg. 186:—

(Cod. Reg. 186.) (Cod. Reg. 188.)
(1) Matth. xxvi. 70. αὐτῶν λέγων αὐτῶν πάντων λέγων
(2) Mk. i. 2. ὡς κάθως
(3)  ”  11. σοι

(4)  ”  16. βάλοντας ἀμφίβληστρον

ἀμφιβάλοντας ἀμφίβληστρον


(5) Mk. ii. 21. παλαιῷ· εἰ δὲ μή γε αἱρεῖ ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ τὸ πλήρωμα

παλαιῷ· εἰ δὲ μή, αἴρεῖ τὸ πλήρωμα αὐτοῦ

(6)  ”  iii. 10. ἐθεράπευεν ἐθεράπευσεν
(7)  ”  iii. 17. τοῦ Ἰακώβου Ἰακώβου
(8)  ”  iii. 18. καὶ Ματθαῖον καὶ Θ. καὶ Μ. τὸν τελώνην καὶ Θ.
(9)  ”  vi. 9. μὴ ἐνδύσησθε ἐνδέδυσθαι
(10) ”  vi. 10. μένετε μείνατε

In the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th of these instances, Tischendorf is found (1869) to adopt the readings of Reg. 188: in the last four, those of Reg. 186. In the 1st, 4th, and 5th, he follows neither.

(iv.) Evan. 24 (= Reg. 178.) A most beautifully written fol.

Note, that this Codex has been mutilated at p. 70-1; from S. Matth. xxvii. 20 to S. Mark iv. 22 being away. It cannot therefore be ascertained whether the Commentary on S. Mark was here attributed to Victor or not. Cramer employed it largely in his edition of Victor (Catenae, vol. i. p. xxix,), as I have explained already at p. 271. Some notices of the present Codex are given above at p. 228-9.

(v.) Evan. 25 (= Reg. 191: anciently numbered Colb. 2259: 1880. Folio: grandly written.

3 )

No Author’s name to the Commentary on S. Mark. The text of the Evangelist is given in extenso.

(vi.) Evan. 34 (= Coisl. 195.) A grand folio, splendidly written, and in splendid condition: the paintings as they came from the hand of the artist.

At fol. 172, the Commentary on S. Mark is claimed for Victor. It will be found that Coisl. 23 (infrà, No. ix.) and Coisl. 195 are derived from a common original; but Cod. 195 is the more perfect copy, and should have been employed by Cramer in preference to the other (suprà, p. 271.) There has been an older and a more recent hand employed on the Commentary.

(vii.) Evan. 36 (= Coisl. 20.) A truly sumptuous Codex.

Some notices of this Codex have been given already, at p. 229. The Commentary on S. Mark is Victor’s, but is without any Author’s name.


(viii.) Evan. 37 (= Coisl. 21.) Fol.

The Commentary on S. Mark is claimed for Victor at fol. 117. It seems to be very much the same recension which is exhibited by Coisl. 19 (infrà, No. xviii.) and Coisl. 24 (infrà, No. xi.) The Text is given in extenso: the Commentary, in the margin.

(ix.) Evan. 39 (= Coisl. 23.) A grand large fol. The writing singularly abbreviated.

The Commentary on S. Mark is claimed for Victor: but is very dissimilar in its text from that which forms the basis of Cramer’s editions. (See above, on No. vi.) It is Cramer’s “P.” (See his Catenae, vol. i. p. xxviii; and vide supra, p. 271.)

(x.) Evan. 40 (= Coisl. 22.)

No Author’s name is prefixed to the Commentary (fol. 103); which is a recension resembling Matthaei’s. The Text is in extenso: the Commentary, in the margin.

(xi.) Evan. 41 (= Coisl. 24.) Fol.

This is a Commentary, not a Text. It is expressly claimed for Victor. The recension seems to approximate to that published by Matthaei. (See on No. viii.) One leaf is missing. (See fol. 136 b.)

(xii.) Evan. 50 (=Bodl. Laud. Graec. 33.) 4to. The Commentary here seems to be claimed for Cyril of Alexandria, but in the same unsatisfactory way as No. iii and xiv. (See Coxe’s Cat. i. 516.)

(xiii.) Evan. 299 (= Reg. 177: anciently numbered 22423).

The Commentary on S. Mark is Victor’s, but is without any Author’s name. The Text of S. Mark is given in extenso: Victor’s Commentary, in the margin.

(xiv.) Evan. 300 (= Reg. 186: anciently numbered 692, 750, and 1882.) A noble Codex: but the work of different scribes. It is most beautifully written.

At fol. 94, the Commentary on S. Mark is claimed for Cyril of Alexandria, in the same equivocal manner as above in No. iii and xii. The writer states in the colophon that he had diversely found it ascribed to Cyril and to Victor. (ἐπληρώθη σὺν Θεῷ ἡ ἑρμηνεία τοῦ κατὰ Μάρκον ἁγίου εὐαγγελίου ἀπὸ φωνῆς, ἔν τισιν εὗρον Κυρίλλου Ἀλεξανδρέως, ἐν ἄλλοις δὲ Βίκτορος πρεσβυτέρου.)


See above, the note on Evan. 20 (No. iii),—a MS. which, as already explained, has been elaborately assimilated to the present.

(xv.) Evan. 301 (= Reg. 187: anciently numbered 504, 537 and 1879.) A splendid fol. beautifully written throughout.

The Commentary on S. Mark is here claimed for Victor.

(xvi.) Evan. 309 (= Reg. 201: anciently numbered 176 and 2423.) A very interesting little fol.: very peculiar in its style. Drawings old and curious. Beautifully written.

The Commentary is here claimed for Victor. This is not properly a text of the Gospel; but parts of the text interwoven with the Commentary. Take a specimen531531   Note, that this recurs at fol. 145 of a Codex at Moscow numbered 384 in the Syr. Cat.: (S. Mark xvi. 8-20.)

Και εξελθουσαι εφυγον απο του μνημειου. ειχεν δε αθταc τρομοc και εκστασιc. εωc δια των επακολουθουντων σημειων.

Over the text is written


(κειμένον i.e. Text) and over the Commentary


(ἑρμηνεία, i.e. Interpretation.) See the next.

(xvii.) Evan. 312 (= Reg. 206: anciently numbered 968, 1058, 2283; and behind, 1604. Also A. 67.) A beautiful little fol.

Contains only the Commentary, which is expressly assigned to Victor. This Copy of Victor’s Commentary is very nearly indeed a duplicate of Cod. 309, (No. xvi.) both in its contents and in its method; but it is less beautifully written.

(xviii.) Evan. 329 (= Coisl. 19.) A very grand fol.

The Commentary on S. Mark is Victor’s, but is without any Author’s name. (See above, on No. viii.)

(xix.) Evan. 703, (anciently numbered 958: 1048, and Reg. 2330: also No. 18.) A grand large 4to.

The Commentary is here claimed for Origen. Such at least is probably the intention of the heading (in gold capital letters) of the Prologue:—


See on this subject the note at foot of p. 235.


(xx.) Evan. 304 (= Reg. 194. Teller 1892.)

The text of S. Mark is here interwoven with a Commentary which I do not recognise. But from the correspondence of a note at the end with what is found in Possinus, pp. 361-3, I am led to suspect that the contents of this MS. will be found to correspond with what Possinus published and designated as “Tolosanus.”

(xxi.) Evan. 77 (Vind. Ness. 114, Lambec. 29.) Victor’s Commentary is here anonymous.

(xxii.) Evan. 92 (which belonged to Faesch of Basle [see Wetstein’s Proleg.], and which Haenel [p. 658 b] says is now in Basle Library). Wetstein’s account of this Codex shows that the Commentary on S. Mark is here distinctly ascribed to Victor. He says,—“Continet Marcum et in eum Victoris Antiocheni Commentarios, foliis 5 mutilos. Item Scholia in Epistolas Catholicas,” &c. And so Haenel.

(xxiii.) Evan. 94 (As before, precisely; except that Haenel’s [inaccurate] notice is at p. 657 b.) This Codex contains Victor of Antioch’s Commentary on S. Mark, (which is evidently here also assigned to him by name;) and Titus of Bostra on S. Luke. Also several Scholia: among the rest, I suspect, (from what Haenel says), the Scholia spoken of suprà, p. 47, note (x).

(xxiv.) In addition to the preceding, and before mentioning them, Haenel says there also exists in the Library at Basle,—“Victoris Antiocheni Scholia in Evang. Marci: chart532532   Catalogus Librorum MSS. Lips. 1830, 4to, p 656 b..”

(xxv.) Evan. 108 (Vind. Forlos. 5. Koll. 4.) Birch (p. 225) refers to it for the Scholion given in the next article. (Append. E.)

Evan. 129 (Vat. 358.)



The Commentary is written along the top and bottom and down the side of each page; and there are references (αʹ, βʹ, γʹ) inserted in the text to the paragraphs in the margin,—as in some of the MSS. at Paris. Prefixed is an exegetical apparatus by Eusebius, &c.

Note, that of these five MSS. in the Vatican, (358, 756, 757, 1229, 1445), the 3rd and 4th are without the prefatory section (beginning πολλῶν εἰς τὸ κατὰ Μ.)—All 5 begin, Μάρκος ὁ εὐαγγελιστής. In all but the 4th, the second paragraph begins σαφέστερον.


The third passage begins in all 5, Ἰσοδυναμεῖ τοῦτο. Any one seeking to understand this by a reference to the editions of Cramer or of Possinus will recognise the truth of what was stated above, p. 274, line 24 to 27.

(xxvii.) Evan. 137 (Vat. 756.) The Commentary is written as in Vat. 358 (No. xxvi): but no Author’s name is given.

(xxviii.)Evan. 138 (Vat. 757.) On a blank page or fly-leaf at the beginning are these words:—ὁ ἀντίγραφος (sic) οὖτος ἐστὶν ὁ Πέτρος ὁ τῆς Λαοδικείας ὅστις προηγεῖται τῶν ἄλλων ἐξηγητῶν ἐνταῦθα. (Comp. No. xlvii.) The Commentary and Text are not kept distinct, as in the preceding Codex. Both are written in an ill-looking, slovenly hand.

(xxix.) Evan. 143 (Vat. 1,229.) The Commentary is written as in Vat. 358 (No. xxvi), but without the references; and no Author’s name is given.

(xxx.) Evan. 181 (Xavier, Cod. Zelada.) Birch was shewn this Codex of the Four Gospels in the Library of Cardinal Xavier of Zelada (Prolegomena, p. lviii): “Cujus forma est in folio, pp. 596. In margine passim occurrunt scholia ex Patrum Commentariis exscripta.

(xxxi.) Evan. 186 (Laur. vi. 18.) This Codex is minutely described by Bandini (Cat. i. 130), who gives the Scholion (infra, p. 388-9), and says that the Commentary is without any Author’s name.

(xxxii.) Evan. 194 (Laur. vi. 33.) Βίκτορος πρεσβυτέρου Ἀντιοχείας ἑρμηνεία εἰς τὸ κατὰ Μάρκον εὐαγγέλιον. (See the description of this Codex in Bandini’s Cat. i. 158.)

(xxxiii.) Evan. 195 (Laur. vi. 34.) This Codex seems to correspond in its contents with No. xxxi. suprà: the Commentary containing the Scholion, and being anonymous. (See Bandini, p. 161.)

(xxxiv.) Evan. 197 (Laur. viii. 14.) The Commentary, (which is Victor’s, but has no Author’s name prefixed,) is defective at the end. (See Bandini, p. 355.)

(xxxv.) Evan 210 (Venet. 27.) “Conveniunt initio Commentarii 285eum iis qui Victori Antiocheno tribuuntur, progressu autem discrepant.” (Theupoli Graeca D. Marci Bibl. Codd. MSS. Venet. 1740.) I infer that the work is anonymous.

(xxxvi.) Venet. 495. “Victoris Antiocheni Presbyteri expositio in Evangelium Marci, collecta ex diversis Patribus.” (I obtain this reference from the Catalogue of Theupolus.)

(xxxvii.) Evan. 215 (Venet. 544.) I presume, from the description in the Catalogue of Theupolus, that this Codex also contains a copy of Victor’s Commentary.

(xxxviii.) Evan. 221 (Vind. Ness. 117, Lambec. 38). Kollar has a long note (B) [iii. 157] on the Commentary, which has no Author’s name prefixed. Birch (p. 225) refers to it for the purpose recorded under No. xxv.

(xxxix.) Evan. 222 (Vind. Ness. 180, Lambec. 39.) The Commentary is anonymous. Birch refers to it, as before.

Add the following six MSS. at Moscow, concerning which, see Matthaei’s Nov. Test. (1788) vol. ii. p. xii.:—

(xl.) Evan. 237 (This is Matthaei’s d or D [described in his N. T. ix. 242. Also Vict. Ant. 137.] “SS. Synod. 42:”) and is one of the MSS. employed by Matthaei in his ed. of Victor.—The Commentary on S. Mark has no Author’s name prefixed.

(xli.) Evan. 238 (Matthaei’s e or B [described in his N. T. ix. 200. Also Vict. Ant. ii. 141.] “SS. Synod. 48.”) This Codex formed the basis of Matthaei’s ed. of Victor, [See the Not. Codd. MSS. at the end of vol. ii. p. 123. Also N. T. ix. 202.] The Commentary on S. Mark is anonymous.

(xlii.) Evan. 253 (Matthaei’s 10 [described in his N. T. ix. 234.] It was lent him by Archbishop Nicephorus.) Matthaei says (p. 236) that it corresponds with a (our Evan. 259). No Author’s name is prefixed to the Commentary on S. Mark.

(xliii.) Evan. 255 (Matthaei’s 12 [described in his N.T. ix. 222. Also Vict. Ant. ii. 133.] “SS. Synod. 139.” The Scholia on S. Mark are here entitled ἐξηγητικαὶ ἐκλογαί, and (as in 14) are few in number. For some unexplained reason, in his edition of Victor of Antioch, Matthaei saw fit to designate this MS. as “B.” [N. T. ix. 224 note.] . . . . See by all means, infrà, the “Postscript.”


(xliv.) Evan. 256 (Matthaei’s 14 [described in his N. T. ix. 220.] “Bibl. Typ. Synod. 3.”) The Commentary on S. Mark is here assigned to Victor; presbyter of Antioch; but the Scholia are said to be (as in “12” [No. xxxix]) few in number.

(xlv.) Evan. 259 (Matthaei’s a or A [described in his N. T. ix. 237. Also Vict. Ant. ii. 128.] “SS. Synod. 45.”) This is one of the MSS. employed by Matthaei in his ed. of Victor. No Author’s name is prefixed to the Commentary.

(xlvi.) Evan. 332 (Taurin. xx b iv. 20.) Victor’s Commentary is here given anonymously. (See the Catalogue of Pasinus, P. i. p. 91.)

(xlvii.) Evan. 353 (Ambros. M. 93): with the same Commentary as Evan. 181, (i.e. No. xxx.)

(xlviii.) Evan. 374 (Vat. 1445.) Written continuously in a very minute character. The Commentary is headed (in a later Greek hand) + ἑρμηνεία Πέτρου Λαοδικείας εἰς τοὺς δʹ ἀγ[ίους] εὐαγγελιστάς + This is simply a mistake. No such Work exists: and the Commentary on the second Evangelist is that of Victor. (See No. xxviii.)

(xlix.) Evan. 428 (Monacensis 381. Augsburg 11): said to be duplicate of Evan. 300 (i.e. of No. xiv.)

(l.) Evan. 432 (Monacensis 99.) The Commentary contained in this Codex is evidently assigned to Victor.

(li.) Evan. 7pe (ix. 3. 471.) A valuable copy of the Four Gospels, dated 1062; which Edw. de Muralto (in his Catalogue of the Greek MSS. in the Imperial Library at Petersburg) says contains the Commentary of Victor Ant. (See Scrivener’s Introduction, p. 178.).

(lii.) At Toledo, in the “Biblioteca de la Iglesia Mayor,” Haenel [p. 885] mentions:—“Victor Antiochenus Comm. Graec. in iv. [?] Evangelia saec. xiv. membr. fol.”

To this enumeration, (which could certainly be very extensively increased,) will probably have to be added the following:—

Evan. 146 (Palatine-Vat. 5.)

Evan. 233 (Escurial Υ. ii. 8.)


Evan. 373 (Vat. 1423.)

Evan. 379 (Vat. 1769.)

Evan. 427 (Monacensis 465, Augsburg 10.)

Middle Hill, No. 13,975,—a MS. in the collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps.

In conclusion, it can scarcely require to be pointed out that Victor’s Commentary,—of which the Church in her palmiest days shewed herself so careful to multiply copies, and of which there survive to this hour such a vast number of specimens,—must needs anciently have enjoyed very peculiar favour. It is evident, in fact, that an Epitome of Chrysostom’s Homilies on S. Matthew, together with Victor’s compilation on S. Mark,—Titus of Bostra on S. Luke,—and a work in the main derived from Chrysostom’s Homilies on S. John;—that these four constituted the established Commentary of ancient Christendom on the fourfold Gospel. Individual copyists, no doubt, will have been found occasionally to abridge certain of the Annotations, and to omit others: or else, out of the multitude of Scholia by various ancient Fathers which were evidently once in circulation, and must have been held in very high esteem,—(Irenæus, Origen, Ammonius, Eusebius, Apolinarius, Cyril, Chrysostom, the Gregorys, Basil, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Theodore of Heraclea,) they will have introduced extracts according to their individual caprice. In this way, the general sameness of the several copies is probably to be accounted for, while their endless discrepancy in matters of detail is perhaps satisfactorily explained.

These last remarks are offered in the way of partial elucidation of the difficulty pointed out above, at pp. 272-4.

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