Various Readings of the New Testament

Various Readings of the New Testament By various readings (commonly abbreviated v.r. for the singular, and for the plural vv. rr.) are meant the differences observed in different manuscript copies of the Holy Scriptures. Those found in the Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Test. will be considered below.

The writings of the New Test. were copied by hand, from the age of the apostles to the date of the first printing of the New Test., a period of about thirteen centuries. During that time copies were greatly multiplied. With the utmost care, there would of necessity be occasional mistakes in copying. The errors of one manuscript might be repeated in the copy made from it, and others added, and thus the number be continually increasing.

The liability to mistake was greatly increased by the mode of writing in the oldest manuscripts. What is called "current hand," in which a long word may be written without taking the pen from the paper, was not used. Each letter, of the size and general shape of our capitals, was made separately by itself, many with more than one separate stroke of the pen. There was no division of words. All were written continuously in an unbroken line, as may be seen in the specimens given in vol. 1, p. 155, and vol. 2, p. 389 of this Cyclopaedia. As the eye could not readily distinguish words and clauses so run together, the scribe would naturally copy each letter by itself from its place in the line, often confounding letters similar in form. In these characters, termed uncial, all extant manuscripts dating prior to about the 10th century were written, and hence they are called uncial manuscripts. SEE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE GREEK TESTAMENT; also SEE UNCIALS.

Far more numerous are the cursive manuscripts, so called, written in current hand from about the 10th century and onward (see vol. v; p. 727, and specimens 2, 3, and 4 on p. 728). Their value depends on the evidence that they are trustworthy copies of ancient manuscripts now lost, and contain readings of the true text of which these are now the only manuscript witnesses. On such evidence some of them are held in high estimation by all the leading authorities in textual criticism. That these are of great value in deciding where ancient manuscripts disagree, and also where their united testimony may for just reasons be discredited, is held by a highly influential class of critics, of whom Frederick H. Scrivener is the leading representative (see his Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Test. [2nd ed. 1874]).

For the history of the text, and its variations in manuscripts prior to the oldest now extant, SEE NEW TESTAMENT; for the theoretic classification of various readings in extant MSS., SEE RECENSIONS. It is proper to add here that the earliest of those variations, however minute, are preserved in the primary documents that still remain, showing that the sacred text has suffered no important change that cannot now be detected (Westcott).

I. Origin and Nature. — Various readings have arisen from many different causes. These have been ascertained by careful comparison of manuscripts. They are mostly such as might be inferred from the nature of the case; and observation has shown that all variations in manuscripts may be referred to one or other of these causes, the knowledge of which often aids' in determining what is the true reading. (The materials for the following summary are derived in part from Westcott's articles "New Testament," § 30-40, and "Language of the New Testament," p. 2141, § 1-4, in Smith, Dict. of the Bible [Amer. ed.]; Scrivener, Introd. to Text. Crit. of New Test.; Tregelles, Introd. toi Text. Crit. of New Test. in vol. 4 of Horne's- Introduction.)

1. Accidental variations, or errata, from various causes.

(1.) Merely clerical errors, or slips of the pen;: words omitted or repeated, misspelled or partially written. This is a numerous class, rarely of any importance, to which copyists of long documents are always liable. The peculiar reading "how strait" (Mt 7:14) may have arisen, as Scrivener suggests, from the omission of the large initial O, reserved for subsequent revision.

(2.) Errors of sound, arising from different ways of representing the same sound. Such are the changes in the oldest MSS. between ι and ει, αι and ε; and in the later between ηι and ει, οι and υ, ο and ω, η and ε. The interchange of αι and ε (pronounced alike) is continual; εσται and εστε, εχεται and εχετε, and the like, being used indiscriminately. The vowels ο and ω are thus interchanged Ro 5:1, εχομεν, "we have," and εχωμεν, "let us have." The latter has the weight of MS. authority, and, with some constraint, yields a pertinent sense. (see Tischendorf, Nov. Test. [8th ed.]), though the former seems required by the connection. More doubtful is Ro 6:15, where ἁμαρτησομεν," shall we sin?" is feebly supported; and αμαρτησωμεν, "may we sin?" has abundant support. At and a are interchanged in Mt 11:16, where ἑταιροις is but slightly, and ἑτεροις (omitting αυτων) strongly, supported by ancient authorities. So constant is this interchange that the difference in spelling has no weight in determining the true form of the word. The pronouns ὑμεις, ἡμεις, and their cases are perpetually interchanged: 1Jo 1:4, ἡμων for ὑμων. Even the readings ἡμετερον, Lu 16:12, and ἡμας, Ac 17:28, are found in the Codex Vaticanus.

(3.) Errors of Sight. — Of such errata a prolific source is furnished by the ancient mode of writing in an unbroken line, without division of words. In the confused sequence of letters thus strung together, the eye would not readily distinguish single words, or letters similar in form. Hence arose false division of words; similar letters interchanged, repeated, or omitted; repetition or omission of the same combination of letters; omission of the second repetition of the same letter or word, etc. In some of the following examples the MSS. are cited, by the usual notation (vol. 5, p. 724, 3 of this Cyclopaedia), showing to some extent how they stand related to each other. The rough breathing is added in some cases to make the form more readily understood: Mr 15:6, ὁν παρητουντο (A, B, א) ὁνπερ ητουντο (B3, א, C, N, X); Ro 13:9, ὡσ σεαυτον (A, B, א, D, E), ὡσ ἑαυτον (F, G, L, P); Mt 21:18, επαναγαγων,(B, א, L), επαναγων (B2, א, C, E, F, G, H etc.); Mr 8:17, συνιετε (B, א C, D, L, N), ουνιετε ετι (A, X); Lu 7:21, εχαρισατο το βλεπειν (אa, F, L, U); without (GREEK) repeated, A, B, א, D, E, G, H, etc.). From such accidental repetition arose the false reading in Re 6:1,3,5,7. The true reading is simply, "Come!" (ερχου), summoning forth each rider to the service assigned him. The uncial text would stand thus: ΚΑΙΙΔΕΚΑΙΙΔΟΥ. B of the Apoc. reads it in ver. 1, 5, 7, ερχου και ιδε και ιδου (ἱππος). There can be no doubt that και ιδε arose from accidental repetition; for in ver. 3, where και ιδου does not follow, ερχου is not followed by και ιδε. In the same way arose the και ιδε of א, which even its partial discoverer makes no account of here.

(4.) Homeoteleuton is so common a cause of error in the uncial text as to procure for it a specific name. When two successive clauses or sentences begin or end similarly, the eye of the copyist may be misled by the similarity, and omit or repeat one of them: Lu 6:1, δευ τεροπρωτω (A, C, D, E, H, K, M, R, S, U, V, X); omitted in B, א, L, probably from having the same termination as the preceding word. In 1Jo 2:23, two successive sentences both end with πατερα εχει. The copyist, after transcribing the first, and seeing at the end of the second what he had just written, proceeded with the next following words. Hence the loss of that genuine utterance of the apostle, in all the copies known when our current Greek text was formed; and hence its insertion in bracketed italics, as of doubtful authenticity, in the English New Test. The recovery of the old MSS. (A, B, א, C, etc.) has fully vindicated its title to its place there.

2. Incidental variations, peculiar to the age and country or mental habits of the copyist. These are due to several causes, chiefly the intermingling of dialects in the κοινὴ διάλεκτος, the influence of the Alexandrian version of the Sept., and the pedantry of the Atticists.

(1.) Differences in orthography and forms of words; dialectic usages of the copyist, or possibly of the original writer: Ac 10:30, ενατην (A, B, א, C, D), εννατην (later form in the cursives); Ac 7:28, εχθες (B, א, C, D), χθες (A, E, H, P); Mark 1, 10, ευθυς (B א, L, A), ευθεως (A, P, Γ, Π); Ac 11:30, αχρι (A, B, א), αχρις B3, E, H,', P); Ro 15:15, τολμηροτερον (א, C, D, E, F, G, L, P), τολμηροτερως (A, B); James 2, l, προσ ωπολημψιαις (A, B א, C), προσωποληψιαις (K, L, P); Mr 1:27, συνζητειν (A, B, א, C, , G, XL, Δ), συζητειν (E, F,H,: K, M, S, U, V); 2Co 3:2, ενγεγραμμενη (A, B, א, DF, G), εγγεγραμμενη (K, L, P); Joh 10:22, ενκαινια (B, א, D, L), εγκαινια (A, B3,'X); Ac 24:4, ενκοπτω (A, א, B, E, H), εγκοπτω (B3, H, P); Heb 9:18, ενκεκαινισται (A, א, D, E), εγκεκαινισται (C, K, L, P). These examples betray the tendency to euphonic change in the usage of the later MSS. 'The doubling of p, usually neglected in the older MSS., is a grammatical correction in the later ones; as in Mt 9:36, εριμμενοι (B, א, C, D, L), ερριμμενοι (E F, G, K, L, U, X).

(2.) Tense-forms of Verbs. — (a.) Of the same verb: Luke 1, 31, συλλημψη (A,B, א, C, D); Jas 3:1, λημ ψομεθα (A, B. א, C), ληψομεθα (K, L, P); Joh 9:10, ηνεωχθησαν (B, א, C, D, E, F, G, H, L, M, X), ανεω χθησαν: (A, K, U, II); Ac 12:10, ηνοιγη (A, B, א, D), ηνοιχθη (E, H, L, P); Mt 5; Mt 21, ερρηθη (B, D, E, K), ερρεθη (א, L, M, S, U, Δ, Π); Re 14:13, αναπαησον ται (A, א, C, B), αναπαυσωνται (P); Ac 10:45, συνηλ θαν (B א), συνηλθον (A, D, E, H, L, P).;: ver. 39, ανει λον (A, B, א, C, D, E), ανειλον (H, L, P); 1Jo 2:19, εξηλθαν (A, B, C), εξηλθον (K, L, P).; Lu 3; Lu 22, ηυ δοκησα (A, E, G, H, L, S, U, X, Γ, Δ), ευδοκησα (B א, F, K, M, U, Λ, Π). (b.) Interchange of tenses or modes where either might seem. apposite: Joh 6:37, εκραξεν (B, L, T, X), εκραζεν (א, I)); Lu 20:19, εζητησαν (A, B, א, L, R), εζητουν (C, D); Joh 7:29, απεστειλεν (B, L, T), απεσταλκεν (א, D); ver. 19, δεδωκεν (א, L, T T Γ, Λ, Π),

εδωκεν (B),D, H, n H); Mt 9:19, ηκο λουθει (א, C, D), ηκολουθησεν (B, F, G, K, L, S, U, X Δ, Π); Joh 4:17, ειπες (B, א), ειπας (A, C, D, L); 8:39, ειπαν (B, א C, D), ειπον (L, T, X, Γ, Δ, Λ); 2, 28, σχωμεν (A, B, א C, C, P), εχωμεν (א, K, L); 8:39, εστε (B, א, D, L, T), ητε (C, X Γ, Δ, Λ, Π); (c.) Interchange of the same tense from different verbs of like signification: Ac 9:26, επειραζεν (A,B, א, C), επει ρατο (E, H, L, P); Mr 1:26 (part.), φωνησαν (B, א, L), κραξαν (A, C, D. Γ, Δ, Π).

(3.) Of case-forms there are some variations; as Mt 26:52, μαχαιρη (A, B, א, C), μαχαιρα (B, D, Γ, Δ, Π, N); Lu 24:1,1, βαθεως (A,. B, א, C, D, G, H, L), βαθεος (E, P, S, U,V).

(4.) Exchange of terms so nearly equivalent as to be used indifferently in certain connections: Mt 12:48; Mt 15:12; Mt 17:20; Mt 19:21, λεγειν (earlier), ειπειν (later); 22:37, φαναι (earlier), ειπειν (later); Mr 14:31, λαλειν (earlier), λεγειν (later); Joh 14:10, λεγειν (earlier), λαλειν (later). So interchanged are εγερθεις and διεγερθεις, Mt 1:24; εγερθη and αναστη, 17:9; αναστηναι and εγερθηναι, Lu 9:22;,: ηλθεν (v attached) and απηλθε, Mt 14:25; ηλθον and απηλθον, Lu 23:33; απελθειν and εξεθειν, Ac 16:39; λεγουσι and. ειπον, Mt 13:28. These words, so nearly equivalent in the connection, might readily be confounded in copying.

(5.) The same is true of forms nearly equivalent in sense; as ουδε and ουτε, ως and καθως, Ac 10:47; ωσει and ως, Joh 19:14; Lu 1:56; ως and ωσπερ, 2Co 1:7; μεχρι and εως, Lu 16:16; εως ὁυ and εως ὁτου, 12:50, the former only in the later uncials, the latter in the older and some of the later. It is true, also, of other equivalents in sense; as Joh 14:31, ευε τειλατο (A, א, D), and εντολην εδωκεν (B, L): having the same meaning, they might easily be confounded in copying.

(6.) Familiar contractions (crasis) abounding in oral speech, and often passing into written language; common in the earlier MSS., and often resolved in the later: Joh 8:55, κἀν (B, א, D), και εαν (A, C, L); 1Co 2:3, καγω (A, B, א, C, P), και εγω (D, E, F, G, L);

Joh 14:16, καγω (B, א, D, Q), και εγω (A, L, X); ver. 21, καγω (B, א, D, G, L), και εγω (A, E, H,.K).

(7.) Interchange of the minor connectives: Ac 4:14, τον τε (A, B, א, Di), τον δε (P); 10:48, προσεταξεν δε (B, א, E), προσεταξεν τε (A, H, L, P); Mr 1:28, και εξηλθεν (B, א, C, D), εξηλθε δε (A, Γ, Π). (8.) Pronominal forms inserted without affecting the sense: Mt 20:23, μου (after ευωνυμων); 19:28,. υμεις (after καθισεσθε); Re 14:13, μοι (after λεγου σης). Specially frequent is the insertion of αυτος in an oblique case: Ac 11:13, αυτω (after ειποντα), and 12:9 (after ηκολουθει); Mt 25:4, αυτων (after αγ γειοις), and 5, 6 (after απαντησιν) 26:17, αυτω (after λεγοντες), and 27:22 (after λεγουσιν). An instructive case of presumed addition, but more probably of unauthorized omission, occurs in the last clause but one of Lu 12:53. The omission of the pronoun in the four preceding clauses, where the nearer relation of the parties makes it unnecessary, may have occasioned its omission here, where it is required by the more remote relation. Its accidental or misjudged omission being more probable than its unauthorized insertion, the testimony of A, B, א, D in its favor should outweigh that of א, Δ which yet determined Tischendorf to omit it. Tregelles properly retains it here, and as properly omits it in the next clause (with B, D, L against A, T, 'X), the relation being already expressed. It is noteworthy that the whole passage, as thus read, is strikingly marked by Luke's characteristic conciseness and precision of expression.

(9.) Change in the order of words; a numerous class, as may be seen on almost any page of Scrivener's Novum Testamentum (in the Cambridge classics). Many of these variations differ from each other no more than 'the English phrases "AEneas by name" and "by name AEneas" (Ac 9:33); "went up straightway" and "straightway went up" (Mt 3:16). Most of them, however, are not easily accounted for. Such cases as γενομενος εν εαυτω and εν εαυτω γενομενος (Ac 12:11), and similar colloquial phrases, may have been due to local habit and usage. In the greater number, perhaps, the copyist himself, after reading a clause, may not have recalled, in writing it, the exact order of the words; or he may have been unconsciously misled by one occurring to him more correct or pointed in expression, or more pleasing to the .ear. In many there is ground for such preference; as in Ac 9:13, οσα κακα εποιησε τοις αγιοις σου and οσα κακα τοις αγιοις σου εποιησε.

(10.) The article, in the use of which the MSS. are very fluctuating, is sometimes neglected or inserted without apparent ground. Significant is the reading of some MSS. (among them D) in Lu 12:54, "When ye see the cloud ("the rain-betokening cloud," 1Ki 18:44) rising from the west." But the omission of the article here is strongly attested by A, B, א, L, X, Δ.

(11.) In the use and disuse of the elision the MSS. fluctuate: 1Jo 2:16, αλλα εκ (A, א, K, L), αλλα εκ (B, C); 1Co 7:4, αλλα ὁ (A, B, א, C), αλλ ὁ (D, Ej G, K, L, P). It is probable that the shorter eli.ded form was that of oral speech, and passed into, the earlier written language. More doubtful is the neglected aspiration of mutes before the rough breathing: Lu 12:53, επι υἱω (B, א T, 10 , Γ, Δ, Λ); εφ υἱω (A, D, K, L, II).

(12.) Error from the similar construction of two successive clauses: Jas 2:18, the first εκ (K, L) for χωρις (A, B, א, C, P), the copyist confounding the εκ των εργων of the two clauses. His blunder is perpetuated in our current Greek text through the misjudgment of Mill, whose long and. involved exposition of the meaning is its own refutation. The: H'KAINH ΔΙΑΘΗΚΗ of Colinaeus (1534) has the true reading. The English version here follows the true reading. In 1Pe 3:20," once-- waited." it follows a false reading (απαξ εξεδεχετο) without MS. authority, 'and received on conjecture by Erasmus. The true reading is απεξε δεχετο (A, B, א, C, D, P).

(13.) Synonyms, and also words that in certain connections may serve as such,. are readily interchanged: Mt 20:34, oμματων (B, D,'L, G), οφθαλμων (א, C, N). In 25:16 the reading "made" [five talents] is equivalent in meaning to "gained" [five talents]. For the former (εποιησε) are A, א, X, Γ, Δ, θ; for the latter (εκερδησε) are A2, אe, B, C, D, L. So likewise, 9:29, ομματων (D), οφθαλμων (all others); 6:1, δικαιοσυ νην (B, א, D), ελεημοσυνην (E, K, L, M, S, U, Z). But it may well be doubted whether by the former the Savior meant almsgiving, as implied in the alternative reading. He first states the general principle that good deeds are not to be done to be seen of men, and then illustrates it by the case of ostentatious almsgiving. The phrase was already a familiar one: Ps 106:3, "he that doeth righteousness;" Isa 58:2, "a nation that did righteousness;" 1Jo 2:29, "every one that doeth righteousness;" 3, 7, 10. So likewise Mt 27:4, αθωον (A, B, א, 'C, X), δικαιον (B marg. L).

(14.) Of proper names the variations in spelling are very frequent: 1Co 16:19, Πρισκα (B, א, M, P.), Πρισκιλλα (A, C, D, E,F, G); Joh 7:19, Μωυσες (B, א, D, , L, S, T, X, Δ, Π), Μωσης (Γ, Λ)., Most significant is the variation in Ac 11:20, Ελληνας (A, א, D), Ελληνιστας (B, D2, E,' H L, P) (comp. 6:1). Of places: Mt 4:13, Καφαρναουμ (B, א, D,G), Καπερναουμ (C, E, K;IL, M, P, S, U, V); 15:39, Μα γαδαν (B, א,D), Μαγδαλα (E, F, G, H, K, L, S, U, V); Lu 10:30, Ιερειχω (B, L, X), Ιεριχω (A, B, א, C, D, X).

3. Intentional Variations. — Of these the greater number affect only the form of the text.

(1.) Grammatical Changes. —

(a.) In the oblique case after a preposition, to express what was understood to be the required relation: Ac 2:30, καθισαι επι τον θρονον (A, B, א, 1 C, D), καθισαι επι του θρονου (E, P): Re 4:2, επι τον θρονον καθημενος (A, B, א), επι του θρονου καθημενος (P); ver. 9, καθημενω επι τω θρονω (A, א), καθημενω επι του θρονου (B, P); 19:5, απο του θρονου εξηλθε (A, B. C), εκ του θρονου εξηλθε (א, P); Mr 7:30, βεβλημενην επι της κλι νης (A, N , X, Γ, Π), βεβλημενην επι την κλινην (B, א, D, L, Δ).

(b.) Rectifying a supposed solecism: Mt 5; Mt 28, επιθυμησαι αυτην (B, D, E,'K, L, S, U,.V), επν θυμησαι αυτης (א3,3 M); S', 32, ημεραι τρεις (B, C, D, F, G, H, K, L, M, P, S, U, V), ημερας τρεις (א, E ); Re 4:1, λεγων (A, B, א), λεγουσα (אc, P); ver. 8, λε γοντες (A,'B, א, P), λεγοντα (in the cursives); 11:4, εστωτες (A, B, א, C), εστωσαι (א, P).

(2.). Changes Affecting the Substance of the Text. — A careful examination and comparison of such changes will probably lead to the conclusion that the greater part of them at least have passed from the margin into the body of the text through the want of proper discrimination in the copyist. In the old MSS. frequent omissions in the text are found supplied in the margin, to be incorporated in the text of the next copy made from it. This being a standing rule, whatever was written in the margin might be thus incorporated by an incompetent or not sufficient attentive copyist. If a sentence seemed incomplete or irregular in construction, or otherwise obscure, inelegant, or apparently inaccurate, a remedy was suggested in the margin. A conspicuous example occurs in Joh 7:39. The whole verse in the true text reads thus; "And this he said concerning the Spirit which they that believe on him should receive; for the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified." The brevity and partial obscurity of the form "was not yet" doubtless occasioned the marginal gloss "given," found in one uncial, B (δε δομενον), and the cursive 254 (δοθεν). This marginal gloss becoming incorporated with the text, we have "the Spirit Was not yet given." The English version properly italicizes given as not authentic Scripture. It is not in the Καινη Διαθηκη of Colinaeus (1534). A similar case occurs in ver. 8, where ουπω (B, L,.T, X, Γ, Δ, Λ, not in א, D, K, M, Π) probably passed from the margin into the text. This reading, on which the testimony of MSS. is pretty evenly balanced, is proved by historical evidence to be a corruption of the text (see Tischendorf [8th ed.]; Scrivener, Introd. to Text. Crit. [2d ed.], p. 529). It should be observed, moreover, that there was no occasion for this qualification, for Jesus did not go up to the feast at all. Joh 7:10 should read; according to the MSS., "But when his brethren were gone up to the feast, then went he up also, not openly, a etc. He went to Jerusalem privately, taking no part there in the public festival (for he could not be found, ver. 11), and when it was half over, first made his appearance in the Temple as a teacher (ver. 14). In Mr 1:2, εν Ησαια τω προφητω (B, א, D, L, Δ, εν τοις προφηταις (A, E, F, G, H, K, M, P, S, U, V), the writer specially names Isaiah, because his language identifies the promised messenger in the person of John, "the voice of one crying in the wilderness." The whole prophecy was fulfilled in him, and the failure to see this, its central point, may have occasioned the marginal comment that passed into the text. In Ga 3:1 the explanatory gloss "that ye should not obey the truth" is found in C, DC, E, K, L, P, but not in the older uncials A, B, א, D, F, G. In Ro 8:1, "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," is a gloss taken from ver. 4 as characterizing those who are "in Christ Jesus." In Ac 15:34, "but it pleased Silas to abide there still" (not in A, B, א, E, H, L, P), is a marginal gloss accounting for his presence there, referred to in ver. 40. The doubtful passage in Joh 5:3-4 is supposed by many to have been a marginal comment (see a full statement of the case, with the reasons for and against its genuineness, in Schaff's edition of Lange's Commentary). To a misunderstanding of the apostle's language in 2Co 8:4, we owe the perversion of his meaning in the current Greek text and in the English version. The words inserted from the margin, δεξασθαι ημας, are not in the uncial text (B. א, C, D, E, F, G, K, L, P, etc.), and are found only in the cursives. In Mark 7:2 the construction (interrupted by ver. 3, 4, and resumed at ver. 5) seemed incomplete, and hence the marginal supplement, "they found fault." Only late uncials (F, K, M, N, S, U, Π) have εμεμψαντο, not found in A, B, א, E, GH, L, V. In Mt 25:6 the original form, "Behold, the bridegroom! go ye out to meet him," has the air of an excited, midnight cry. The supplemental ερχεται first appears in the later uncials C, X, r, II, and is not found in B, א, C, D, L, Z.

Marked diversities in Hebraistic and Greek phraseology are noted: Mt 21:23, ελθοντι αυτω, προσηλθον αυτω διδασκοντι, and ελθοντος αυτου, etc. Here the Hebraism is found in later uncials (E, F, G, H, K, M: S, U, V), and the other in B, א, C, D, L. More marked is the Hebraistic Vav convers. represented by και (Mt 15:5; Mr 7:12) in the same later uncials, and not in the earlier. The omission of και makes the construction easy where its presence has caused much perplexity (see Meyer; also Lange [Amer. ed.]; p. 275).

Assimilation, so called, of the gospels occurs, especially of the synoptic gospels. This arose from the habit of noting in the margin of one gospel the words' of another for comparison, illustration, or a more full and satisfactory statement. In Mt 25:13, at the close of the parable of the ten virgins, the Savior adds, "Watch therefore, for ye know not the day nor the hour." A copyist added, most probably from the margin, the words of Lu 12:40, "wherein the Son of man cometh." The words added are not in A, B, א, C, D, L, X, Δ, and are found only in C3, r, I3. In Mt 9:13 the Savior's assertion is, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." To this the copyist added the marginal gloss from Lu 5:32, εις μετανοιαν, found in later uncials, but not in B, א, D, etc. In Lu 20:23, τι με πειραζετε (A, C, D, P), omitted B, א, L, was probably added from Mt 22:18; Mr 12:15. In Mr 13:14, "spoken of by Daniel the prophet," is transferred from Mt 24:15. Lu 17:36, omitted in all the uncials except D, U, was inserted from Mt 24:40. In Mt 20:22, "and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with," in later uncials, but not in B, א, D, L, Z, is taken from Mr 10:38. In Mt 5:44, "bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you," and the words "them that despitefully use you," are transferred from Lu 6:27-28. In Lu 5:38, "and both are preserved," is from Mt 9:17. In 27:35 the whole verse, after the words "casting lots," is from Joh 19:24. The same tendency to 'supplement one account by another, or to harmonize two accounts of the same occurrence, is seen in Ac 9:5-6, where all from (σκληρον in ver. 5 to προς αυτον in ver. 6 is from 26:14, 15.

Supplementing of quotations from the Old Test. only partially cited by the sacred writer Mt 15:8, where "This people honoreth me with their lips" (omitting "draweth nigh unto me with their mouth") is the true reading; and Mr 1:2, "shall prepare thy way" (omitting "before thee"). Scrivener of (Manual of Text. Crit. p. 12) notes the following. supplements: Lu 4:18, "to heal the broken-hearted;" Ac 7:37, "him shall ye hear;" Ro 13:9, "thou shalt not bear false witness," Heb 2:7, "and didst set him over the works of thy hands;" 12:20, "or thrust through with a dart." Other supplementary additions came into the text from the margins of MSS. fitted for reading the church lessons, and from lectionaries, church rituals, and liturgies. It was necessary to prefix to each lesson its proper title, or an introductory clause, or the name of the person or class addressed or speaking. In Ac 3:11 the title of the lesson, του ιαθεντος χωλου, has come in place of the original αυτου. The latter is the reading of A, B, א, C, D, E; the former is found in the later uncial P and in cursives. In. Lu 7:31 it was necessary to prefix to the lesson the introductory clause ειπε δε ὁ κυριος; found in cursives and the later uncial M, wanting in A, B, א D, L, X, Δ. The name of the one addressed, or speaking, or acting, must often be inserted. Hence Ιησου, in place of αυτου, Mt 8:5; Ιησους added, 4:18; 14:22; transferred from the last clause to the first in Joh 1:44. In Ac 8:37, without doubt a marginal note came in from the baptismal formula of a church ritual;

wanting in the early MSS. A, B, א, C, H, L, P, and feebly accredited otherwise. In 1Jo 5:7-8, from εν τω ουρανω to εν τη γη is now regarded as spurious by all textual critics. "They were originally brought into Latin copies in Africa from the margin, where they had been placed as a pious and orthodox gloss on ver. 8" (Scrivener, Manual of Text. Criticism, 2nd ed. p. 556, who reviews the controversy respecting the passage, with a full statement of the evidence on both sides). In Mt 6:13, from ὁτι σου to the end, the doxology is wanting in the oldest uncials, B, א, D, Z (A, C, P are defective here), and on other diplomatic grounds is discredited by most textual critics. It probably originated in the early liturgies of the Church. The passage in Joh 7:53; Joh 8:11, bracketed as doubtful in some critical editions and omitted in others, is regarded as authentic history, the record of an actual occurrence in the life of Jesus. The question of its genuineness is fully discussed by Lange (Commentary, Amer. ed. p. 268-271, and the chief authorities on both sides are stated by Dr. Schaff, p. 267). The passage in Mr 16:9-20, omitted in B (though a column is significantly left vacant) and in א, is found in A, C, D, E, F, GI H, M, S, U, V, X, Γ, Δ, Π (see the fill statement of the question of its genuineness in Scrivener, Introd. to Text. Crit. p. 507-513).

Of variations on doctrinal grounds, or in favor of current opinions, no decisive case has been adduced; yet subjective considerations might influence the choice among different extant readings. In Ac 20:28 is the reading εκκλησιαν του θεου (B, א) for εκκλησιαν του κυριου of A, C, D, E. The former being, as Meyer suggests, Paul's invariable usage (once Χριστου, never κυ ριου), it was written parallel with the latter in the margin, and thence passed into the text. For the substitution of θεος in place of υιος, Joh 1:18, other causes may be assigned more probable than a purposed change of the text from doctrinal preference (see Schaff's exhaustive note on the passage in his edition of Lange's Commentary, and Tischendorf's 8th ed.). Tregelles edits the reading θεος; Tischendorf, with a truer critical sense and appreciation of evidence, retains the correct reading υιος. To a reverent feeling are probably due such variations as Ιωσηφ and ὁ πατηρ αυτου, Lu 2:33; Ιωσηφ και ἡ μητηρ and οἱ γονεις, ver. 44.

A case of special historical interest, not falling under any of the above classifications, occurs in Re 15:3 (Engl. version), "just and true are thy ways, thou King of-saints." But the MS. from which the book was first printed (professedly) reads," thou King of the nations" (των εθνων); appropriately here (comp. the next verse). This is also the reading of A, B of the Apoc. and P (Porphyrian palimpsest). But א and C read "King eternal" (αιωνών, as in 1Ti 1:17), Lat. Vulg. sceculosrumn (Cod. Am. caeloruni). It is probable, as suggested by Tregelles (The Revelation in Greek, Edited from Ancient Authorities, p. 95), that the true reading, ΕθΝΩΝ, was in some MSS. written ΑΙθΝΩΝ (see above, I, 2), then ΑΙΟΝΩΝ =ΑΙΩΝΩΝ. Instead of the true reading in his MS., Erasmus followed a corruption of the Vulg. reading sceculoum, its MS. abbreviation sclorum being easily mistaken for satorum, the abbreviation of sanctorum. Thus the reading of the current Greek text, and of the English version of it, rests solely on a mistaken abbreviation in the Latin Vulg.

To an error of sight and ofitacism we owe that wonderful beast of the Apocalypse (Re 18:8) that was, and is: not, and yet is." The above-named MS. reads και πρεστι(εστι slightly removed from the preceding syllable, as often in MS.), with a distinctly written a in that syllable, and the accentuation of καὶ πάρεστι. The reading is undoubtedly that of the ancient MSS. א παρεσ τε ( = παρεσται), A (C is defective here), B of the Apoc., and P, which have παρεσται. Erasmus's copyist, mistaking at for ε in παρ, and making a false division of syllables, wrote καίπερ ἔστι; hence that beast, so long the crux infenprefum.

II. Value. — Only readings attested by uncial MSS. are now recognised by most critics; while others, well attested by tie best cursives, are not taken into account, these later MSS., dating from about the 10th century and onward, being appealed to only as corroborative of earlier authorities, or in cases where these disagree. But as the character of a MS., tested by comparative criticism, is often entitled to as much consideration as its age, it is not improbable that the most approved will yet be allowed their due weight claimed for them by Scrivener, their strenuous and able advocate (see his Manual of Text. Crit. [2nd ed.], p. 465, and ch. 9).

Comparative criticism is "that delicate and important process whereby we seek to determine the cooperative value and trace the mutual relation of authorities of every kind upon which the original text of the New Test. is based" (Scrivener, ut sup. p. 462). It has already been employed to a certain extent with highly satisfactory results; but its laws, and their proper application, are yet to be fully developed. SEE CRITICISM, BIBLICAL.

III. Number. — The number of various readings is not easily ascertained. Since the time of Mill, when they are estimated to have been about thirty thousand, it has been greatly increased by the numerous MSS. since discovered and the more thorough collation of those then known. As it often happens that of several readings one gives the clue to the origin of them all, reducing all to one (Canons of Criticism, 2, 2), so a new reading may be welcomed as supplying that which is sought. For a long time the utmost diligence has been used in searching through MSS. and recording every deviation from a common printed text, even to the slightest peculiarity in spelling, till the number is increased fourfold. Of these at least a fifth part respect only clerical errors, differences in spelling, in the form of a tense or a case, in the order of words, and the like; while of doubtful readings that affect the sense the number is far less, and those that affect a doctrine or a duty are few, if any.

Attention was directed to discrepancies in the MSS. of the New Test. by the controversies between Erasmus and Stunica on the respective merits of the Complutensian and Erasmian texts. (For the earliest allusions to them in patristic writings, SEE NEW TESTAMENT, II, 3, 4, r 3). A formal comparison of different readings and their value was first made, though unsatisfactorily, in Stephens's third or royal edition (1550). His text, very negligently and often capriciously formed, became the current Greek text in England and America. The Elzevir editions (1624, fol.), formed chiefly from Beza's and the third of Stephens, adding nothing of critical value. became the current Greek text on the continent of Europe. Various readings of the Codex Alexandrinus, and a digest of numerous others in Walton's Polyglot Bible (1654-57), are the first collection of any value. Of subsequent contributions to textual criticism the following may be named as having made epochs in the progress of the science [for a full account of the printed editions of the New Test., SEE CRITICISM B]: Mill's Greek Test. (1707; 2nd ed. by Kuster; 1710), with various readings from all sources then accessible, was the first attempt for a complete critical apparatus. Bengel (1725-34) led the way in the classification, of MSS. and versions, relying on the oldest authorities. Wettstein's New Test. (1751-52) added much to the materials for textual criticism, in creasing the collection of various readings from MSS. not before or imperfectly collated. With the labors of Griesbach (Symbolae Criticae [1785-93]; New Test. [2d ed. 1796-1806]) began the strictly critical treatment of the text itself, then for the first time corrected throughout from MSS. and other ancient authorities. The labors of Tischendorf (1841-73) have made a new era in the science. By his numerous collations and printed texts of MSS., with elaborate prolegomena, notes, and facsimiles-his discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus and imperial edition of it, with specimens in facsimile, prolegomena, and full notes, in 1862, preceded by its best representative in lithographed facsimile, the Codex Friderico-Augustanus, with prolegomena and illustrative comments, in 1846; his eight critical editions of the New Test. — he has far exceeded all who have labored in this field before him, and won for himself the first place among Biblical critics.

On the subject of various, readings, see Griesbach, Symbolae Criticae (1785-93) and Prolegomena ad Nov. Test. (2nd ed. 1786); Lachmann, Prolegomena ad Nov. Test. (1842); Tregelles, Account of the Printed Text of the New Test. (1854) and Introd. to the Text. Crit. of the New Test. (1856); Tischendorf, Prolegomena ad Nov. Test. (7th ed. 1859); Scrivener, Plain Introd. to the Criticism of the New Test. (2nd ed. 1874); Delitzsch, Handschriftliche Funde (1861-62); Conant, Greek Text of the Apocalypse, in the Baptist Quarterly, 1871; Smith, Bible Dictionary (Eng. ed. 1860; Amer. ed. 1870), p. 21252128. (T. J. C.)

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.