Gloss, Glossary A gloss is a note appended to any word or phrase for the purpose of interpretation or illustration. "Sacred glosses" are such notes appended to words or phrases occurring in the Scriptures. A glossary is a collection of such explanatory notes properly arranged.
The word gloss is borrowed from the Greek γλῶσσα. But in the sense above explained it has no support from classical usage. The process, however, by which the word passed from its original meaning to that in which it was used by medieval writers, and is which it is now used, may be traced. The Greek word γλῶσσα, meaning tongue or speech, came to be used by the Greek grammarians in the sense of a word requiring to be explained. In process of time words often become obsolete, or come to be used in senses different from those in which they were originally used; new words are introduced; and words frequently have special meanings attached to them of a professional or technical character, familiar only to a portion of the community. To the multitude such words need to be explained; and such words the Greek grammarians called γλῶσσαι. Thus Plutarch speaks of certain axpressions in the poets which were not commonly understood, and which belonged to the idiotisms of particular regions or tribes, as τὰς λεγομένας γλώττας (De audiend. poet. c. 6). Galen applies the same name to the antiquated words of Hippocrates, and explains the term thus: ὅσα τοίνυν τῶν ὀνομάτων ἐν μὲν τοῖς πάλαι χρόνοις συνήθη ῏ην νῦν δὲ οὐκ ἔτι ἐστί, τὰ μὲν τοιαῦτα γλώσσας καλοῦσι. Gloss. Hippocrat. Proem.). Aristotle applies the same term to provincialisms (De arte poet. c. 21, § 4-6; 22:3, 4, etc.). And, not to multiply quotations, a scholiast on Dion. Halicarn., quoted by Wetstein on 1Co 12:10, expressly says γλῶσσαι· φωναὶ ἀρχαῖαι καὶ ἀποξενίσμεναι ἢ ἐπιχωριάζουσαι. Quintilian also says of the synonymous word glosgemata, "Id est voces minus usitatas" (Inst. Orat. 1:8, 15; comp. also 1:1, 35).
The next step was from calling a word needing explanation a gloss, to apply this term to the explanation itself. These explanations at first consisted merely in adhibiting the word in common use (ὄνομα κύριον, Aristot.) to the obsolete and peculiar word; and thus the two viewed as one whole came to be called a gloss; and ultimately this name came to be given to that part which was of most interest to the reader, viz. the explanation.
These explanations constituted the beginnings of Greek Lexicography. They did not continue, however, to be merely lexical; they often embraced historical, geographical, biographical, and such like notices. Nor were they arranged at first in an alpbabetical order; nor did they embrace the whole range of the language, but only such parts of it as the glossographer was interested in (hence such works as the Α᾿ττικαὶ Γλῶσσαι of Theodorus, etc.); nor were the words presented in their uninflected forms, but in the form in which they occurred in the course of the glossographer's reading. More methodical collections of these explanations began to be made in the Middle Ages, and such as have been preserved to us in the works of Hesychius, Suidas, Phavorinus, Zonaras, Photius, and in the Etymologicum Magnum.
I. The first class of extant scriptural glosses consists of explanations drawn from the Greek glossarists a large number of the notes collected by whom are on words occurring in Scripture. Their works thus become valuable as exegetical aids, especially as they convey not the individual opinion of the collector so much as opinions which he had gathered from older writers. A Glossarium Graecum in N.T., collected from these works, was published by Alberti in 1735. Valekenaer collected from Hesychius the explanations of scriptural words (Opp. 1:173 sq.); but this has been best done by J. Ch. Gottl. Ernesti, in his Glossce Sacrce Hesychii Grcece, etc. (Lips. 1785), which was followed by a similar collection from Suidas and Phavorinus, with specimens from the Etyymologicum Magnum (Lips. 1786). These are extremely convenient books of reference. Comp. Fabricius, Bibl. Graeca, 4:540 sq.; Rosennmuller, Histor. Interpr. 4:356 sq. Suicer's Thesaurus Ecclesiasticus (Amst. 1682, 1728, 2 volumes, fol.) contains nearly all these explanatory words or glosses, and the most important of them are also usually in the best modern Greek Lexicons of the N.T.
II. The second class of glosses is due to the habit, as old perhaps as the art of writing itself, of readers inscribing on the margin of MSS. or books observations of their own, explanatory or otherwise of the text. This was especially the case with the sacred books, partly because after the establishment of Christianity they were more read than other books, partly because their contents gave abundant occasion for theological, historical, or philological annotation. Hence, from an early period, marginal notes intended to illustrate in some way the text came to have a place in the codices containing the sacred books. At first very brief, often confined to a single word, these glosses grew into more extended remarks, written in a smaller hand on the margin, and sometimes between the lines of the codex. In the ancient Hebrew codices these marginal notes were the source of not a few of the Kerr readings; and the glosses on the margins of the codices of the Sept. and the N.T. have given rise to many of the various readings which exist in both of these. It is believed also, as marginal notes are apt to be transferred, by ignorant or careless copyists, into the text, that some such interpolations are to be found in the received text of the N.T., and it is considered to be one of the problems which criticism has to solve to detect these, and eliminate them. The exercise of a sound and cautious judgment, however, is required to preside over this, lest rash and unauthorized alterations be made (Valeckenaer, Dissert. de Glossis Sacris [Franeq. 1737]; J.A. Ernesti, De vero us et indole Glossariorum Gr. [Lug. Bat. 1742]; Tittmann, De Glosis N.T. aestimandis et judicandis [Wittenb. 1782]; Wassenb. De Glossis N.T., prefixed to Valeckenaer's Scholia in Libros quonsdam N.T. [AGst. 1795]; Bornemann, Da Clossemat. N.T. cante dijudicandis, in his Scholia ad Luc. Evang. 1830). It has been proposed to restrict the term gloss to the marginal annotations as such, and to use glosseme to designate those which are supposed to have been introduced into the text; but the usage of writers is not uniform in this respect.
The longer marginal annotations (Glossae Marginales) were made principally on the text of the Vulgate. These were of various kinds; some grammatical, some historical, some theological, some allegorical and mystiical. The most famous collection of these is that made in the 9th century by Walafrid Strabo from the writings of Augustius, Ambrose, Jerome, Gregory, hal dore, Bede, Alcusin, and Rabanus Maurus, with additions by himself. This became the great exegetical thesaurus of the Middle Ages, and was known as the Glossa Ordinaria. Of notes written between the lines (Glossae Interlineares), a collection was made by Anselm of Laon in the beginning of the 12th century. Both these works were printed together about the end of the 15th century, 4 volumes, fol.; they have often been reprinted since, with the commentary of Lyra. Other glossaries are those of Peter the Lombard on the Psalms (Par. 1535); of Hugo and S. Caro (Postille in universa Biblia, Ven. 1487, fol.); Davidson in Horne's Introd. 2:252; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 5:188.