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EdiL-d by the 


Editor of The Expositor." 








Foolscap Svo, 2s. 6c/. mch. 

A Manual of Christian Evidences. By the 
Rev. C. A. Row, IM.A., Prebendary of St. Paul's. 
Fourth Edition. 

An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of 

the New Testament. Bv the Rev. Prof. B. B. War 
FIELD, D.D. Second Edition. 
A Hebrew Grammar. By the Rev. W. H. 
Lowe, M.A., Joint-Author of "A Commentary on the 
Psalms," etc., etc. ; Hebrew Lecturer, Christ's College, 
Cambridge. In Two Parts. Part IL preparing. Second 

The Prayer-Book. By the Rev. Charles 

Hole, B.A., King's College, London. 
A Manual of Church History. In Two Parts. 
By the Rev. A. C. Jennings, M.A., Author of 
" Ecclesia AngHcana," etc. 

An Exposition of the Apostles' Creed. By 

the Rev. J. E. Yonge, M. A., late Fellow of King's 
College, Cambridge ; and Assistant Master in Eton 

An Introduction to the New Testament. By 
the Rev. Prof. Marcus Dods, D.D. Third Edition. 

The Language of the New Testament. By 
the Rev. William Henry Simcox, M.A., late Fellow 
of Queen's College, O.xford, etc. 

Outlines of Christian Doctrine. By the Rev. 
H. C. G. MouLE, M.A., Principal of Ridley Hall, 
Cambridge. Third Edition. 

An Introduction to the Old Testament. By 
the Rev. C. H. H. Wright, D.D., late Bampton Lec- 
turer, etc. Preparing. 

' SEP 11 i^^ 







Professor of Theology in the Theological Seviinary, Princetown, 
New Jersey, U.S.A. 



Printed by Hazell, Watson, & Viney, liimited, London and A3ie8l)ury. 


THIS little treatise purports to be a primer, and 
a primer to the art of textual criticism rather 
than to the science. Its purpose will be served if 
the reader is prepared by it to exercise the art in 
the usual processes, and to enter upon the study 
of the science in such books as Dr. Hort's "In- 
troduction," and Dr. Gregory's "Prolegomena" to 
TLschendorf's eighth edition. In such a primary 
treatise, and where no claim to originality is made, 
obligations to previous works can scarcely be acknow- 
ledged. The author hopes that his general confession 
of having made u.-^e of everything that he could lay 
his hands upon that served his purpose, will be 
deemed sufficient acknowledgment of the many debts 
he is conscious of, and would like, if occasion served, 
to confess in detail. 

Allegheny, Midsummer 1886 


Introductoet . 1 

The Matter of Criticism 16 

The Methods of Criticism S2 

The Praxis of Criticism 182 

The History of Criticism ... . . 211 


THE word "text" properly denotes a literary 
work, conceived of as a mere thing, as a 
texture woven of words instead of threads. It 
designates neither, on the one side, the book which 
contains the text, nor, on the other side, the sense 
which the text conveys. It is not the matter of 
the discourse, nor the manner of it, whether logical, 
rhetorical, or grammatical. It is simply the web of 
words itself. It is with this understanding that the 
text of any work is concisely defined as the ipsissima 
verba of that work. 

The word, which came into Middle English from 
the French where it stands as the descendant of the 
Latin word texiiim, retains in English the figurative 
sense only of its primitive, yet owes it to its origin 
that it describes a composition as a woven thing, as a 
curiously interwoven cloth or tissue of words. Once a 
part of the English language, it has grown with the 
growth of that tongue, and has acquired certain special 
usages. We usually need to speak of the exact words 
of an author only in contrast with something else, and 
thus " text " has come to designate a composition 
upon which a commentary has been written, so that 
it distinguishes the words commented on from the 


comments that have been added. Thus we speak of 
the text of the Tahnud as lost in the comment. And 
thus, too, by an extreme extension, we speak of the 
text of a sermon, meaning, not the ipsissima verba 
of the sermon, but the little piece of the original 
author on which the sermon professes to be a com- 
ment. By a somewhat similar extension we speak of 
texts of Scripture, meaning, not various editions of its 
ipsissima verba, but brief extracts from Scripture, as 
for example proof texts and the like ; — a usage which 
appears to have grown up under the conception that 
all developed theology is of the nature of a comment 
on Scripture. Such secondary senses of the word 
need not disturb us here. They are natural develop- 
ments out of the ground meaning, as applied to 
special cases. We are to use the word in its general 
and original sense, in which it designates the i2)sissima 
verba, the woven web of words, which constitutes the 
concrete thing by which a book is made a work, but 
which has nothing directly to do with the sense, 
correctness, or the value of the work. 

There is an important distinction, however, which 
we should grasp at the outset, between the text of a 
document and the text of a work. A document can 
have but one text ; its ipsissima verba are its ijJsissiTna 
verba, and there is nothing further to say about it. 
But a work may exist in several copies, each of which 
has its own ipsissima verba, which may, or may not, 
tally with one another. The text of any copy of 
Shakespeare that is placed in my hands is plainly 
before me. But the text of Shakespeare is a different 
matter. No two copies of Shakespeare, — or now, since 


we have to reckon with the printing press, we must 
rather say no two editions, — have precisely the same 
text. There are all kinds of causes that work differ- 
ences : badness of copy, carelessness of compositors, 
folly of editors, imperfection of evidence, frailty of 
humanity. We know what the text of Karl Elze's 
Hamlet is. But what is the text of Hamlet ? We 
cannot choose any one edition, and say that it is the 
text of Hamlet', it is one text of Hamlet, but not 
necessarily the text of Hamlet. We cannot choose 
one manuscript of Homer, and say that it is the text 
of Homer. It is a text of Homer, but the text of 
Homer may be something very different. We note, 
then, that the text of a document and the text of a 
work may be very different matters. The text of a 
document is the ipsissima verba of that document, and 
is to be liad by simply looking at it ; whatever stands 
actually written in it is its text. The text of a work, 
again, is the ipsissima verba of that work, but it cannot 
be obtained by simply looking at it. We cannot look 
at the work, but only at the documents or " copies " 
that represent it ; and what stands written in them, 
individually or even collectively, may not be the 
ipsissima verba of the work, — by exactly the amount, 
in each case, in which it is altered or corrupted from 
what the author intended to write, is not the ij)sissima 
verba of the work. If, then, the text of a document 
or copy of any woi-k is the ipsissima verba of that 
document or copy, the text of the work is what ought 
to be the ipsissima verba of all the documents or 
copies that profess to represent it, — it is the original, 
or, better still, the intended ipsissima verba of the 


author. It may not lie in the document before us, 
or in any document. All existing documents, taken 
collectively, may fail to contain it. It may never 
have lain, perfect and pure, in any document. But 
if an element of ideality thus attaches to it, it is 
none the less a very real thing and a very legitimate 
object of search. It is impossible, no doubt, to avoid 
a certain looseness of speech, by which we say, for 
example, " The text of Nonius is in a very bad state ; " 
and thus identify the text of a work with some 
transitory state of it, or it may be with the perma- 
nent loss of it. What we mean is that the text in 
this or that document or edition, or in all existing 
documents or editions, is a very bad and corrupt repre- 
sentation of tlie text of Nonius, — is not the text of 
Nonius at all, in fact, but departs from, and fails to be, 
that in many particulars. The text of Nonius, in a 
word, is just what we have not and are in search of. 

It is clear, therefore, that the text of a work as 
distinguished from the text of a document can be had 
only through a critical process. What is necessary 
for obtaining it is a critical examination of the texts 
of the various documents that lie before us as its 
representatives, with a view to discovering from them 
whether and wherein it has become corrupted, and of 
proving them to preserve it or else restoring it from 
their corruptions to its originally intended form. 
This is what is meant by " textual criticism," which 
may be defined as the careful, critical examination 
of a text, with a view to discovering its condition, in 
order that we may test its correctness on the one 
hand, and, on the other, emend its errors. 


Obviously this is, if not a bold and unsafe kind 
of work, yet one sulliciently nice to engage our best 
powers. It is not, however, so unwonted a procedure 
as it may seem at first sight ; and more of us than 
suspect it are engaged in it daily. Whenever, for 
instance, we make a correction in the margin of a 
book we chance to be reading, because we observe 
a misplaced letter or a misspelled word, or any other 
obvious typographical error, we are engaging in pro- 
cesses of textual criticism. Or, perhaps, we receive a 
letter from a friend, read it carefully, suddenly come 
upon a sentence that puzzles us, observe it more 
closely, and say, "Oh, I see ! a word has been left out 
here ! " There is no one of us who has not had this 
experience, or who has not supplied the word which 
he determines to be needed, and gone on satisfied. 
Let us take an apposite example or two from printed 
books. When we read in Archdeacon Farrar's 
Messages of the Books (p. 145, note ^) : "That God 
chose His own fit instruments " for writing the books 
of the New Testament, " and that the sacredness of the 
books was due to the prior position of these writers 
is clear from the fact that only four of the writers 
were apostles " — few of us will hesitate to insert 
the "not" before "due," the lack of which throws the 
sentence into logical confusion. So, when we read 
in the admirable International Rerislon Commentary 
on John's Gospel, by Drs. Milligan and Moulton 
(p. 341) : " Yet we should overlook the immediate 
reference," the context tells us at once that a " not " 
has been omitted before " overlook." In an edition 
of King James' Bible, printed by Barker k Bill, in 


1631, men read the seventh commandment (Exod. 
XX. 14): "Thou shalt commit adultery," not without 
perceiving, we may be sure, that a " not " had fallen 
out, and mentally replacing it all the more emphatic 
ally that it was not there. But all this is textual 
criticism of the highest and most delicate kind. We 
have, in each case, examined the text before us 
critically, determined that it was in error, and restored 
the originally intended text by a critical process. 
Yet we do all this confidently, with no feeling that we 
are trenching on learned ground, and with results that 
are entirely satisfactory to ourselves, and on which 
we are willing to act in business or social life. The 
cases that have been adduced involve, indeed, the very 
nicest and most uncertain of the critical processes : 
they are all samples of what is called " conjectural 
emendation" — i.e., the text has been emended in each 
case by pure conjecture, the context alone hinting 
that it was in error or suggesting the remedy. The 
dangers that attend the careless or uninstructed use 
of so delicate an instrument are well illustrated by 
a delightful story (which Mr. Frederic Harrison 
attributes to Mr. Andrew Lang) of a printer who 
found in his " copy " some reference to " the Scapin 
of Foqiielin." The printer was not a pedant ; Moliere 
he knew, but who was Poquelin ? At last a bright 
idea struck his inventive mind, and he printed it : 
"the Sca2)in of M. CoquelinJ' This is "conjectural 
emendation " too ; and unhappily it is the type of 
a great part of what is called by that name. 

In this higher way every reader of books is a textual 
critic. In a lower Avay, every proof-reader is a textual 


critic; for the correction of a text that lies before him 
by the readings of another, given him as a model, 
is simply the lowest variety of this art. The art of 
textual criticism is thus seen to be the art of detecting ^ 
and emending errors in documents. The science is 
the orderly discussion and systematisation of the 
principles on which this art ought to proceed. 

The inference lies very clo:-e, from what has been 
said, that the sphere of the legitimate application of 
textual criticism is circumscribed only by the bounds 
of written matter. Such are the limitations of 
human powers in reproducing writings, that appa- 
rently no lengthy writing can be duplicated without 
error. Nay, such are the limitations of human 
powers of attention, that probably few manuscripts 
of any extent are written exactly coriectly at jBrst 
hand. The author himself fails to put correctly on 
paper the words that lie in his mind. And even 
when the document that lies before us is written with 
absolutely exact correctness, it requires the applica- 
tion of textual criticism, i.e., a careful critical ex- 
amination, to discover and certify this fact. Let us 
repeat it, then : wherever written matter exists, 
textual criticism is not only legitimate, but an un- 
avoidable task ; when the writing is important, such 
as a deed, or a will, or a charter, or the Bible, it is 
an indefeasible duty. No doubt, differences may exist 
between writings, in their nature or the conditions 
under which they were produced or transmitted, which 
may demand for them somewhat different treatments. 
The conditions under which a work is transmitted by 
the printing press differ materially from those under 


which one is transmitted by hand-copying ; and the 
practice of textual criticism may be affected by this 
difference. One work may lie before us in a single 
copy, another in a thousand copies, and differences 
may thence arise in the processes of criticism that are 
applicable to them. But all writings have this in 
common : they are all open to criticism, and are all 
to be criticised. An autograph writing is open to 
criticism; we must examine it to see whether the 
writer's hand has been faultless handmaid to his 
thought, and to correct his erroneous writing of what 
he intended. A printed work is open to criticism : 
we must examine it to see what of the aimless altera- 
tion that has been wrought by a compositor's nimble 
but not infallible fingers, and what of the foolish 
alteration which the semi-unconscious working of his 
mind has inserted into his copy, the proof-reader has 
allowed to stand. A writing propagated by manu- 
script is especially open to criticism : here so many 
varying minds, and so many varying hands, have 
repeated each its predecessor's errors, and invented 
new ones, that criticism must dig through repeated 
strata of corruption on corruption before it can reach 
the bed-rock of truth. 

Nor is the arc a wide one through which even the 
processes of criticism which are applicable to these 
various kinds of writings can librate. The existence 
of corruptions in a writing can be suggested to us by 
only two kinds of evidence. One of these is illus- 
trated by our detection of misprints in the books 
we read or of errors in the letters we receive. The 
most prominent foim of it is the evidence of the 


context or general sense ; to this is to be added, as of 
the same generic kind, the evidence of the style, 
vocabulary or usage of the author, or of the time in 
which he wrote, and the like, — all the evidence, in a 
word, that arises from the consideration of what the 
author is likely to have written. The name that is 
given to this is internal evidence, and it is the only 
kind of evidence that is available for an autographic 
writing, or any other that exists only in a single 
coj)y. But if two or more copies are extant, another 
kind of evidence becomes available. We may com- 
pare the copies together, and wherever they differ 
one or the other testimony is certainly at fault, and 
critical examination and reconstruction is necessary. 
This is external evidence. When we proceed from 
the detection of error to its correction, we remain 
dependent on these same two kinds of evidence — 
internal and external. But internal evidence splits 
here into two well-marked and independent varieties, 
much to our help. We may appeal to the evidence of 
the context or other considerations that rest on the 
question, What is the author likely to have written? 
to suggest to us what ought to stand in the place 
where a corruption is suspected or known ; and this 
is called intrinsic (internal) evidence. Or we may 
appeal to the fortunes of reproduction, to the known 
habits of stone-cutters, copyists, or compositors, to 
suggest what the reading or readings known or sus- 
pected to be corruptions may have grown out of, or 
what reading, on the supposition of its originality, 
Avill account best for the origin of all others; and 
this is called transcriptional (internal) evidence. On 


the other hand, we may collate all known copies, and 
appeal to the evidence that a great majority of them 
have one reading, and only a few the others; or all the 
good and careful ones have one, and only the bad the 
others ; or several derived from independent sources 
have one, and only such as can be shown to come from 
a single fountain have the others; and so marshal 
the externcd evidence. If we allow for their broad and 
inadequate statement, proper to this summary treat- 
ment, we may say that it matters not whether the 
writing before us be a letter from a friend, or an 
inscription from Carchemish, or a copy of a morning 
newspaper, or Shakespeare, or Homer, or the Bible, these 
and only these are the kinds of evidence applicable. 
And so far as they are applicable they are valid. It 
would be absurd to apply them to Homer, and refuse 
to apply them to Herodotus ; to apply them to Nonius, 
whose text is proverbially corrupt, and refuse to apply 
them to the New Testament, the text of which is in- 
comparably correct. It is by their application alone 
that we know what is corrupt and what is correct ; 
and if it is right to apply them to a secular book, it 
is right to apply them to a sacred one— nay, it is 
wrong not to. 

It is clear, moreover, that the duty of applying 
textual criticism — say, for instance, to the New Tes- 
tament — is entirely independent of the number of 
errors in its ordinarily current text which criticism 
may be expected to detect. It is as important to 
certify ourselves of the correctness of our text as it is 
to correct it if erroneous ; and the former is as much 
the function of criticism as the latter. Nor is textual 


error to be thought to be commensurable with error in 
sense. The text conveys the sense ; but the textual 
critic has nothing to do, primarily, mth the sense. 
It 'is for tiim to restore the text, and for the inter- 
preter who follows him to reap the new meaning. 
Divergencies which leave the sense wholly unaflected 
may be to him very substantial errors. It is even 
possible that he may find a copy painfully corrupt, 
from which, nevertheless, precisely the same sense 
flows as if it had been written with perfect accuracy. 
It is of the deepest interest, nevertlieless, to inquire, 
even with this purely textual meaning, how much 
correction the texts of the New Testament in general 
circulation need before they are restored substantially 
to their original form. The reply will necessarily 
v^ary according to the standard of comparison which 
we assume. If we take an ordinarily well printed 
modern book as a standard, the New Testament, in its 
commonly current text, will appear sorely corrupt. 
This is due to the different conditions under which an 
ancient and a modern book come before a modern 
audience. The repeated proof-correcting by expert 
readers and author alike in a modern printing-office, 
as preliminary to the issue of a single copy ; the 
ability to issue thousands of identical copies from the 
same plates ; the opportunities given to correct the 
plates for new issues, so that each new issue is sure to 
be an improvement on the last : all this conspires to 
the attainment of a very high degree of accuracy. 
But in ancient times each copy was slowly and pain- 
fully made, independently of all others; each copy 
necessarily introduced its o^vn special errors besides 


repeating those of its predecessor; each fresh copy 
that was called for, instead of being struck off from 
the old and now newly corrected plates, was made 
laboriously and erroneously from a previous one, 
perpetuating its errors, old and new, and introducing 
still newer ones of its own manufacture. A long line 
of ancestry gradually grows up behind each copy in 
such circumstances, and the race gradually but 
inevitably degenerates, until, after a thousand years 
or so, the number of fixed errors becomes considerable. 
When at last the printing press is invented, and the 
work put through it, not the author's autograph, but 
the latest manuscript is printer's cojDy, and no author's 
eye can ovei-look the sheets. The best the press can 
do is measurably to stop the growth of corruption and 
faithfully to perpetuate all that has already grown. 
No wonder that the current New Testament text must 
be adjudged, in comparison with a well printed modern 
book, extremely corrupt. 

On the other hand, if we compare the present state 
of the New Testament text with that of any other 
ancient writing, we must render the opposite verdict, 
and declare it to be marvellously correct. Such has 
been the care with which the New Testament has 
been copied, — a care which has doubtless grown out of 
true reverence for its holy words, — such has been the 
j, providence of God in preserving for His Church in 
each and every age a competently exact text of the 
Scriptures, that not only is the New Testament 
unrivalled among ancient writings in the purity of its 
text as actually transmitted and kept in use, but also 
in the abundance of testimony which has come down 


to us for castigating its comparatively infrequent 
blemishes. The divergence of its current text from 
the autograph may shock a modern printer of modern 
books ; its wonderful approximation to its autograph 
is the undisguised envy of every modern reader of 
ancient books. 

When we attempt to state the amount of corrup- 
tion which the New Testament has suffered in its 
transmission through two millenniums, absolutely 
instead of thus relatively, we reach scarcely more 
intelligible results. Roughly speaking, there have 
been counted in it some hundred and eighty or two 
hundred thousand "various readings" — that is, actual 
variations of reading in existing documents. These 
are, of course, the result of corruption, and hence the 
measure of corruption. But we must guard against 
being misled by this very misleading statement. It 
is not meant that there are nearly two hundred 
thousand places in the New Testament where various 
readings occur; but only that there are nearly two 
hundred thousand various readings all told; and in 
many cases the documents so differ among themselves 
that many are counted on a single word. For each 
document is compared in turn with the one standard, 
and the number of its divergences ascertained ; then 
these sums are themselves added together, and the 
result given as the number of actually observed 
variations. It is obvious that each place where a 
variation occurs is counted as many times over, not 
only as distinct variations occur upon it, but also as 
the same variation occurs in different manuscripts. 
This sum includes, moreover, all variations of all 


kinds and in all sources, even those that are singular 
to a single document of infinitesimal weight as a 
witness, and even those that affect such very minor 
matters as the spelling of a word. Dr. Ezra Abbot 
was accustomed to say that about nineteen-twentieths 
of them have so little support that, although they are 
various readings, no one would think of them as rival 
readings; and nineteen-twentieths of the remainder 
are of so little importance that their adoption or 
rejection would cause no appreciable difference in the 
sense of the passages where they occur. Dr. Hort's 
way of stating it is that upon about one word in every 
eight various readings exist supported by sufficient 
evidence to bid us pause and look at it ; that about 
one word in sixty has various readings upon it 
supported by such evidence as to render our decision 
nice and difficult ; but that so many of these varia- 
tions are trivial that only about one word in every 
thousand has upon it substantial variation supported 
by such evidence as to call out the efforts of the 
critic in deciding between the readings. 

The gi'eat mass of the New Testament, in other 
words, has been transmitted to us with no, or next to 
no, variation ; and even in the most corrupt form in 
which it has ever appeared, to use the oft-quoted 
words of Richard Bentley, " the real text of the 
sacred wi'iters is competently exact ; . . . nor is one 
article of faith or moral precept either perverted or 
lost . . . choose as awkwardly as you will, choose the 
worst by design, out of the whole lump of readings." 
If, then, we undertake the textual criticism of the 
New Testament under a sense of duty, we may bring 


it to a conclusion under the inspii'ation of hope. The 
autographic text of the New Testament is distinctly 
within the reach of criticism in so immensely the 
greater part of the volume, that we cannot despair of 
restoring to ourselves and the Church of God, His 
Book, word for word, as He gave it by inspiration tc 

The following pages are intended as a primary 
guide to students making their first acquaintance 
with the art of textual criticism as applied to the 
New Testament. Their purpose will be subserved if 
they enable them to make a, beginning, and to enter 
into the study of the text-books on the subject with 
ease and comfort to themselves. 


THE first duty of the student who is seeking the 
true text of the New Testament is obviously 
to collect and examine the witnesses to that text. 
Whatever professes to be the Greek New Testament 
is a witness to its text. Thus we observe that copies 
of the Greek Testament are our primary witnesses to 
its text. The first duty of the textual critic is, there- 
fore, to collect the copies of the Greek Testament, and, 
comparing them together, cull from them all their 
various readings. He will not only acquire in this 
way knowledge of the variations that actually exist, 
but also bring together, by noting the copies that 
support each reading, the testimony for each, and put 
himself in a position to arrive at an intelligent con- 
clusion as to the best attested text. It is obvious that 
no external circumstances, such as the form of the 
volume in which it is preserved, or the mechanical 
process by which it is made, whether by printing or 
by hand-copying, will affect the witness-bearing of a 
copy to the text it professes to represent. Piintod 
copies of the Greek Testament are 'per se as valid 
witnesses to its text as manuscripts ; and had we no 
manuscripts we should not despair of attaining a 


good text from printed copies alone. Nevertheless, 
the universal consent by which printed copies are set 
aside and manuscripts alone used as witnesses rests 
on sound reason. The first printed Greek Testament 
was completed in 1514, and hence all printed copies 
are comparatively late copies, and therefore presump- 
tively inferior as witnesses of the original text to the 
manuscript copies, almost all of which ai-e older than 
the sixteenth century. Still more to the point : all 
printed copies have been made from the manuscript 
copies, and therefore, in the presence of the manu- 
scripts themselves, are mere repeaters of their witness, 
and of no value at all as additional testimony to the 
original text. Wherever the printed copies agree 
with the manuscripts, they have been taken from 
them, and add nothing to their testimony — they are 
collusive witnesses ; wherever they present readings 

hat are found in no manuscript, this is due either to 
accidental error, and is therefore of no value as testi- 
mony, or to editorial emendation, and represents, 
tlierefore, not testimony to what the original New 
Testament contained, but opinion as to what it must 
have contained. In no case, therefore, are printed 
copies available as witnesses, and the manuscript 
copies alone are treated as such. 

Alongside of the manuscripts as the primary wit- 
nesses to the New Testament text may be placed, as 
secondary witnesses, translations of the Greek Testa- 
ment into other languages. Although a vei'sion does 
not reproduce the text, but only the sense which that 
text conveys, yet, so far as it is an accurate rendeiing, 

we can reason back from the sense conveyed to the 




text that conveys it. No doubt we could not repro- 
duce the text of the New Testament from versions 
alone, even though we could gain from them the 
entire sense of the volume. No doubt, too, the 
ability of a version to witness on special points will 
depend on the genius of the language into which the 
Greek has been transmuted. For example, the Latin 
can seldom testify to the presence or absence of the 
article. But in conjunction with Greek manuscripts, 
and when regard is paid to the limitations of the 
various tongues in which they exist, the testimony of 
versions may reach even primary importance in the 
case of all variations that aftect the sense. Especially 
in questions of insertion or omission of sections, 
clauses, or words, they may give no more uncertain 
voice than Greek manuscripts themselves. 

For use as a witness to the text of the Greek Testa- 
ment it is absolutely necessary that a version should 
have been made immediately from the Greek and 
not from some other version. In the latter case it 
is a direct witness only to the text of the version 
from which it was made, and only in case of the loss 
of that version can it be used as a mediate witness 
to the Greek text. Furthermore, it is desirable that 
a version shall have been made sufficiently early for 
its witness to be borne to the Greek text of a time 
from which few monuments of it have come down to 
us. Ordinarily a version is made from the Greek manu- 
scripts in current use at the time, and if this time be 
so late that we have the manusciipts themselves, the 
version runs too great lisk of delivering simply collu- 
sive testimony (hke printed copies) to be of much use 


in criticism. The English version, for example, 
although taken immediately fiom the Greek by 
Tynclale in 1525, and repeatedly revised by the Greek 
since, is of inappreciable vahio as a witness to the 
Greek text, on account of the lateness of its origin. 
The use to which a version may be put in textual 
criticism depends still further on the exactness with 
which it renders the Greek ; a slavishness of literal 
rendering which would greatly lessen its usefulness 
as a version would give it only additional value as 
a witness to the Greek text. For example, the Har- 
clean Syriac version, which must have been a trial to 
the flesh of every Syrian reader who tried to make 
use of it, reveals its underlying Greek text as perhaps 
no other ancient version is able to do. Under such 
safeguards as these, the ancient, immediate versions of 
the Greek Testament may be ranged alongside of the 
manuscripts as co- witnesses to its text. 

Still additional testimony can be obtained to the 
text of special passages of the Greek Testament by 
attending to the quotations made from the Greek 
Testament by those who have used it or written upon 
it. Whenever a reputable writer declares that his 
Greek Testament reads thus, and not thus, for as 
much of the text as it covers his assertion is equal in 
value as a witness, to a Greek manuscript of his day. 
And the ordinary quotations from the Greek Testa- 
ment by early writers are, so far as they are accurately 
made, of real worth as testimony to the texts current 
in their time. As in the case of versions, patristic 
evidence will vary in value — with the age of the 
father who makes the quotation, with the accuiacy 


with which he ordinarily quotes, and even with the 
character of the work in which the quotation occurs. 
For example, a citation in a polemic treatise, bent 
mayhap to fit the need, will be primd facie less to be 
depended on, in the minutice of the wording, than 
a lengthy quotation in a commentary copied out for 
the express purpose of explaining its very words. So 
far, however, as this patristic evidence is available 
at all, and can be depended on, it is direct evidence 
as distinguished from the indirect character of the 
evidence of translations, and cannot be neglected 
without serious loss. 

The collection of the evidence for the text of the 
New Testament includes, thus, the gathering together 
of all the manuscripts of the Greek Testament, of all 
the ancient, immediate translations made from it, and 
of all citations taken from it by early writers; the 
comparing of all these together and noting of their 
divergences or " various readings " ; and the attach- 
ing to each " various reading " the list of witnesses 
that support it. The labour required for such a task 
depends, of course, on the wealth of witnessing docu- 
ments that exist and need examining, or " collating," 
as it is technically called. If, for instance, we were 
dealing with the first six books of the " Annals " of 
Tacitus, the task would be an easy one ; there would 
be but a single manuscript to examine, no version, and 
before the fifteenth century but a single quotation. In 
the New Testament, on the other hand, the number of 
known manuscripts cannot fall below two thousand ; 
at least a dozen early versions must be taken account 
of and the whole mass of patristic literature must be 


searched for quotations. In the " Annals " of Tacitus, 
again, as we have but a single manuscript and nothing 
to collate with it, we should have no various readings 
at all, ^vhile in the New Testament we must needs 
face, before the work of collation is more than half 
completed, not less than two hundred thousand ; 
whence it is easy to see, we may remark in passing, 
that this great number of various readings is not due 
to greater corruption of the JSTew Testament text than 
is ordinarily found in ancient writings, but to the 
immensely greater number of witnessing documents 
that has come down to us for it, over and above 
what has reached us for any other ancient work 
whatever. It is also immediately apparent, however, 
that no one man and no one generation could hope 
to bring to completion the task of collecting the 
various readings of the New Testament with the 
full evidence for each. As a matter of fact, this work 
has been performing now, by a succession of diligent 
and self-denying scholars, since the undertaking of 
Walton's Polyglot in 1657. Already in Mill's day 
(1707) as many as 30,000 various readings had been 
collected; and from Bentley and Wetstein to Tisch- 
endorf, Tregelles, and Scrivener, the work has been 
prosecuted without intermission, until it has now 
reached relative completeness, and the time is ripe 
for the estimation of the great mass of evidence that 
has been gathered. It must not be inferred from 
this that all the known manuscripts of the New 
Testament have even yet been collated ; only a small 
minority of the whole number have been accurately 
examined, much less entirely collated, and every year 


additions are made to the mass of facts already known. 
But now, at length, enough have been collated to 
give us knowledge of the general character of the 
whole, and to place the testimony of all the oldest 
and most valual^le in detail before our eyes. The 
scholar of to-day, while beckoned on by the example 
of the great collators of the past to continue the work 
of gathering material as strength and opportunity 
may allow, yet enters into a great inheritance of work 
already done, and is able to undertake the work of 
textual criticism itself as distinguished from the 
collecting of material for that work. 

The results of the collations that were made 
before the publication of those great works have been 
collected and spread orderly before the eye of the 
student in the critical editions of the Greek New 
Testament edited by Dr. Tregelles and Dr. Tischen- 
dorf. With the " digests of readings " given in these 
works the beginner may well content himself. He 
will diiicover later that such digests have not been 
framed and printed without some petty errors of detail 
creeping in, and will learn to correct these and add the 
results of more recent collations. But he will under- 
stand more and more fully every year that he pro- 
secutes his studies, what monuments of diligence and 
painstaking care these digests are, and how indispen- 
sable they are for all future work. Every student 
who purposes to devote any considerable time to the 
study of this branch of sacred learning should procure 
at the outset either Dr. Tregelles' The Greek New 
Testament, edited from Ancient Authorities, ivith the 
Various Readings in f%dl, etc, (London, 1857 — 1879, 


in 4to parts) ; or else, and preferably, Dr. Tischendorf 's 
Novum Tesiamentum Greece ad antiquissimos testes 
denuo recensuit, etc. Editio octava critica maior 
(Leipzig, 1869—1872, 2 vols. 8vo). A "minor" 
edition of Tischendorf, described as "editio critica 
minor ex viii. raaiore desumpta" (Leipzig, 1877, 
1 vol. thick 12mo), contains an excellent compressed 
digest, and will suffice for the needs of those who can 
ill afford the large edition, or who can put but little 
time on the study of this subject. One or another 
of these three editions is, however, little less than 
a necessary prerequisite for the profitable study of 
textual criticism. 

The compression with which the evidence for the 
various readings is given in the digests makes the 
notes of a critical edition appear little less than in- 
soluble enigmas to the uninitiated eye, and renders it 
necessary to give the beginner some hints as to their 
use. Let us take a sample note at random. We open 
Tischendorf 's eighth edition at Mark i. 11, and find 
his text to run : koL cfioivy e/c twv ovpav^v' crv et 6 vio? 
jbtov o dya7r>yTos, ev (to\ ev^oKYjcra. On this the notes 
stand as follows : — 

"11 (fxiiVT) cum i<*D ff2- mt . . . ^Ln Ti add eyevero 
cum N'^ABLP unc^i al fere omn itP^ (sed b de 
ccelo facta est) vg cop syr"*^"" al ; item a venit vox, 
f vox venit; 28. 2p« gi* rjKovaOrj post ovp. (:: Mt 
Kttt lSov cfiw. €. T. ovp. Xeyovcra, Lc Kai cjiiovrjv c^ 
ovp. yevea-Oai) \ ev (tol (Gb.) cum {^EDs"" LPA 1. 13. 
22. 33. 69 al plus25 a c ff2- (et. ff i ut^'^) g2- 1 vg 

COpSchw syj.sch ctP text jj^j.j^r.0 j^^^Jj gO . . . 9 CV (U CUm 

Am unc** al pi b d (in quern comj^lacui) g^* (f 


qui mihi bene complacuisti) :: ita Mt, ev aot et. 

Lc; cf et. evg. Ebion. ad Mt 3, 17 | evSoKrjaa 

cum NABD^KLMUn al pi . . . DSEFHYFA 

al pm 7]vSoK.^' 
We observe first that the language of the notes is 
Latin, but that every word is abbreviated wliich can 
be abbreviated, and the compression goes so far as 
to omit even the point which usually staiids at the end 
of a contracted word. We note next that a vertical 
line, thus | , divides between notes on different words ; 
so that there are three separate notes on verse 1 1 , — one 
on (fioivy, one on iv aoi, and one on evSoKrjaa. A series 
of points, thus . . ., marks the transition from the 
evidence for one reading to that for a rival reading. 
Next we note that the testimony is cited by means of 
symbols, either letters or numerals, representing the 
witnessing documents, the full names of which would 
extend the note to unmanageable proportions, as well 
as present so poor a mark for the eye as to double 
the labour of using the digest. The abbreviations of 
Latin words as well as all symbols peculiar to this 
book are explained in a preliminary list prefixed to 
the volume. With this much of explanation we may 
manage to read the cypher before us thus : — 

" (f)(j)vr] [i.e. without any verb, as the latter half of 
the note tells us, is read in the text above, in accord- 
ance] with [the testimony of the following witnesses, 
to wit — ]." Then follow the symbols of the witnessing 
documents, two of which in this case (those repre- 
sented by the two capital letters, t<*D) are Greek 
manuscripts ; and the other two each a MS. of a Latin 
version. The break made by the row of points indi- 


cates the passage over to the other side of the evidence, 
where we read : " 9 [a conventional symbol, indicating 
here the editions of the New Testament published by 
Robert Stephens in 1550 and the Elzevirs in 1624, 
together with those of Griesbach (1827) and Scholz 
(1830)], Ln. [i.e. Lachmann's edition, 1842], Ti. [i.e. 
Tischendorf's earlier edition, 1859, caUed his seventh] 
add €y€V€To [so that they read ^wv^ eye^cTo] with [the 
following witnesses, to wit — ]". Then again follows 
the enumeration of the witnesses by symbols. In this 
case five Greek manuscripts are named, under the 
symbols, &<•, A, B, L, P, with the additional informa- 
tion that " eleven other uncials [i.e. Greek MSS. 
written throughout in large letters] and nearly all 
other " Greek MSS. join in this testimony. With the 
symbol "it^'" the enumeration of the versions com- 
mences, this symbol representing the " Itala," or Old 
Latin version, while the p^ tells us that the statement 
here made holds good of most (j)lerisque) of its MSS. 
in opposition to the one cited (under the symbol fF^-) 
on the other side. The divergent reading of the Old 
Latin MS., b, is then particularly stated in parentheses, 
and the enumeration proceeds with the citation of the 
Vvilgate Latin version (vg.), the Coptic version (cop.), 
both Syriac versions (syr"") and the intimation that 
other versions yet (al = aliis) might be added. Next, 
after a semicolon, more particular quotation is given 
of peculiar readings which yet appear to make for 
the insertion of cyevcro, viz., *' Likewise [the Old Latin 
MS.] a [reads] venit vox, [the Old Latin MS.] f, vox 
venit." After another semicolon other peculiar read- 
ings are given, thus : " [Two Greek MSS. written in 


small letters and cited as] 28. 2^, [and one Old Latin 
MS. cited as] g^ [read] rjKovcrOr] after ovp[avo}v]" 
Finally, in parentheses, the parallel passages from 
Matthew and Luke are given as briefly as possible, 
and we find ourselves against the perpendicular line 
which tells us that we are at the end of this note. 

The next note concerns the reading iv crot, and tell? 
us : — " €1/ a-oL ([commended also by] Griesbach), [is read 
above in accordance] with [the testimony of the follow- 
ing uncial manuscripts of the Greek Testament, viz., 
those cited by the symbols] t<,B,D",L,P,A, [and the 
following, written in small letters, viz., those cited by 
the symbols] 1, 13, 22, 33, 69, and more than 25 
others, [as well as of the following MSS. of the Old 
Latin version, viz., those cited as] a, c, ff-', (also [et. = 
etiain], apparently ff*-,) g^, 1, the Vulgate Latin version, 
the Coptic version according to Schwartze's edition, 
the Syriac version according to Schaaf's edition [of 
the Peshitto], the text of the Syrian version according 
to White's edition [of the Harclean], the Armenian 
version according to Zohrab's edition, the Ethiopic 
version, and the Gothic version." At this place we 
reach the points, and pass over to the reading and 
evidence on the contrary part: — "Stephens, 1550, 
Elzevir, 1624, Scholz and Griesbach's text [all this is 
included in the sign g] [i-ead] cv w with A,r,n, and 
eight other uncial and most other Greek MSS., [as 
well as with the Old Latin MSS. cited as] b, d ([which 
latter reads] in quern complacui), g** (f [reads] qui 
mihi bene co77iplacuisti)." The information is then 
added that the parallel in Matthew reads cv w, while 
in Luke ev aoL is read, to which is added : " Compare 


also the Ebionite Gospel [as quoted in the note] at 
Matt. iii. 17," where, sure enough, we find a long 
quotation from this apocryphal book, taken from 

The third note is briefer, and only tells us : 
"cu8oKr;c7-a [is read above] with [the uncial MSS.] 
^, A, B, D*, K, L, M, U, n, and most others, while [the 
uncial MSS.] D^, E, F, H, V, T, A, and very many 
others [read] rjvSoKrja-a." The difference, it will be 
observed, turns on the presence or absence of the 

The reader has probably not waded through this 
explanation of these notes without learning something 
more than the mere knack of unravelling their con- 
tractions and extending theii' implications. He has 
learned, doubtless, that there are two classes of Greek 
manuscripts, the one written in large letters and cited 
by capital letters as symbols, and the other written 
in small letters and cited by numerals as symbols. 
Above all else, however, he is likely to have learned 
that digests of readings are useless to those who know 
nothing about the things digested. He has not read 
even these few notes without feeling that he must 
know something about these manuscripts and ver- 
sions and fathers (for it is a mere chance that no 
father is quoted on Mark i. 11), if he is to deal with 
their testimony. We may assume, therefore, that he 
Is the better prepared by a sight of the digest to go 
with us in our next step, and learn something alxjut 
our three classes of witnesses. 


1. Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament. 

The most astonishing thing about the manuscripts 
of the New Testament is their great number : as has 
already been intimated, quite tA\^o thousand of them 
have been catalogued upon the lists, — a number 
altogether out of proportion to what antiquity has 
preserved for other ancient books. The oldest of 
them was written about the middle of the fourth 
century ; the youngest after the New Testament had 
been put into print. The products of so many ages, 
they differ among themselves in numerous particulars : 
the material on which they are written, the character 
in which they are written, the divisions that have 
been introduced into the text or indicated on the 
margin, the punctuation they have received, and the 
like. The oldest copy that has survived to our day; 
it will be observed, was made quite two centuries or 
two centuries and a half after the latest book of the 
New Testament was given to the world. There can 
arise no question among them, therefore, as to the 
autographs of the sacred books. However we may 
account for it, the autographs disappeared very early ; 
perhaps the brittleness of the papyrus (2 John 12) 
on which they were written and the constant use to 
which they were put, combined with the evil fortunes 
of a persecuted Church and a piety which knew 
nothing of the sacredness of relics, to destroy them 
very rapidly. At any rate, except in a rhetoiical 
burst of a Tertullian, we hear nothing of them in the 
primitive Church, and an Iren?eus and an Origen were, 


like us of to-day, forced to depend solely on the oldest 
and most accurate copies. 

In attempting to classify this vast mass of material, 
the first and sharpest line that is di'awn concerns 
itself with the contents of the manuscripts, and 
separates those which give a continuous text — of 
whatever extent — from those that contain only the 
Church lessons drawn from the New Testament. The 
latter are called " Lectionaries," and number several 
hundreds, dating from the eighth to the sixteenth and 
even seventeenth centuries ; they form a subordinate 
class of manuscripts, which will engage our attention 
at a later point. The continuous manuscripts are 
much mor numerous, but differ greatly among them- 
selves in the extent of their contents. Only a few 
contain the whole New Testament, and some are 
small fragments that preserve only a few verses or 
even words. Most of them, doubtless, never con- 
tained the entire New Testament, but were, when 
complete, manuscripts of one or more of the portions 
into which the bulkiness of a written copy and the 
costliness of hand-made volumes caused the New 
Testament to be divided in early times. This cii-cum- 
stance leads to the apportioning of our extant manu- 
scripts into classes, according to the parts of the New 
Testament that they contain ; and following the 
indications of the early custom, the New Testament is 
divided, for critical purposes, into four sections — viz. 
(1) the Gospels, (2) the Acts and the Catholic Epistles, 
(3) the Epistles of Paul, and (4) the Apocalypse. 
The manuscripts for each of these sections are counted 
separately, and symbols assigned to them inde- 


pendeiitl J. It hence happens that when a manuscript 
contains more than one section it may be represented 
by different symbols in its several parts, while con- 
versely the same symbol may represent diflferent 
manuscripts in the several sections. Thus, for 
example, D in the Gospels is Codex Bezse, while D in 
Paul is Codex Claromontanus, a related but entirely 
different manuscript ; B in the Gospels is the Great 
Codex Yaticanus, the oldest and most valuable of our 
manuscripts, while B in the Apocalypse is the late and 
inferior Codex Yaticanus 2066; on the other hand, 
A of the Gospels is the same codex as G in Paul ; and 
13 of the Acts is the same with 33 of the Gospels and 
17 of Paul ; and 69 of the Gospels is the same as 31 of 
Acts, 37 of Paul, and 14 of the Apocalypse. On the 
other hand, x, A, and C represent the same codices 
throughout the four parts, and 1, 3, 5, 6, etc., are the 
same codices in the Gospels, Acts and Paul. The 
list for each of the four parts is redacted, in a word, 
in entire independence of the others, and must be 
treated independently. The conveniences that arise 
from this arrangement are manifold ; while very small 
inconvenience results, except when we wish to speak 
of a manuscript in a context that gives no hint of 
the portion of the New Testament to which it 
belongs. Usually it is easy to use its name in such 
cases ; when this is inconvenient, a kind of shorthand 
method of distinguishing it has been suggested, which 
consists in placing a small numeral at the bottom (not 
at the top, lik3 an exponent, — this means something 
very different) of the symbol, designating it as the 
second, third, or fourth manuscript of that symbol in 


the lists, the parts being counted, of course, from the 
Gospels on. Thus, D without numeral means Codex 
Bezie, which contains the Gospels and Acts ; and J), 
Codex Claromontanus, which contains the Epistles of 
Paul. In like manner E means Codex Basiliensis of 
the Gospels, while E^ means Codex Laudianus 35 of 
the Acts, and E3 Codex Sangermanensis of Paul. Or 
again, B is the Great Codex Vaticanus, and includes 
the Gospels, Acts, and Paul, while B^ is Codex Vati- 
canus 2066, and contains the Apocalypse. Another 
method of somewhat more clumsily securing the same 
result is to place at the top of the symbol an abbrevi- 
ated indication of the portion of the New Testament 
in which the manuscript bears this symbol, thus : 

]3ai>oc.^ D^YV. act.^ jy paul^ ^^^ ^-^^ JiJ^^^ ^^ g^^^j^ distinguish - 

ing marks are needed in citing the manuscrij^ts in the 
direct business of textual criticism, for which purpose 
their classification and symbolising were invented : 
the passage that is under discussion determines the 
section, and the bare symbol is sufficient to identify 
each manuscript. 

Another sharp division line that separates the 
manuscripts into gi'eat and well-marked classes con- 
cerns itself with the character or handwriting in 
which they are written. By this division the manu- 
scripts are parted into two very unequal bodies, called 
respectively " Uncial MSS." and " Minuscule (or, 
more improperly and confusingly, ' Cursive ') MSS." 
The former includes all those manuscripts, less than 
a hundred in number, which are written throughout 
in that kind of half -capital character which is techni- 
cally known as uncial; tliey are designated in the 


lists and cited in the digests by the capital letters of 
the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew alphabets as symbols i 
A, B, C, D, etc., r. A, a, n, %, etc., n*. The latter class 
includes all other manuscripts, about two thousand 
in number, all of which are written in a character 
that more closely resembles the small letters of our 
ordinarily printed Greek and hence is appropriately 
called minuscule (or more improperly, cursive) ; they 
are designated in the lists and cited in the digests 
chiefly by Arabic numerals as symbols : 1, 2, 3, 4, 
527, etc. The importance of this classification resides 
not so much in its great foi-mal convenience as in the 
fact that it separates the manuscripts according to 
their age. No known uncial MS. of the continuous 
text was written later than the tenth century, and no 
known minuscule (cursive) was written earlier than 
the ninth ; so that the tenth century forms a sharp 
\ division line between the two classes. The introduc- 
1 tion of the minuscule hand in the ninth century is not 
' only proved by the earliest dated books existing in 
that hand — viz., Codex 481 of the Gospels, dated 7th 
May, 835, the Bodleian Euclid, dated 888, and the 
Bodleian Plato, dated 895 — but is oddly illustrated by 
Codex A of the Gospels, which comes to us from the 
ninth century, and is written partly in uncials and 
partly in minuscules. Nevertheless, few specimens 
of the minuscule hand of the ninth century exist 
among manuscripts of the Greek Testament. In the 
tenth century they become numerous, and in the 
eleventh they have entirely displaced uncial codices 
for the continuous text; though the conservatism of 
ecclesiastical institutions is illustrated by the con- 


tiniiance of the uncial hand in use for the lectionaries 
through the eleventh century, of which age even 
important dated copies exist. By this classification 
there are thus set apart from one another the few, 
old, uncial copies, and the many, late, minuscule copies, 
and a separate set of symbols assigned to each. Even 
in the brief digests we may see these two bodies of 
codices marshalled in separate regiments, as it were, 
and are enabled to estimate them accordingly at a 

The chronological effect of classifying codices by 
the handwriting employed in them is due to the 
fact that handwriting, like language and all else 
human, is subject to gradual change and undergoes 
historical development, so that its stages of growth 
mark progressive epochs. In the development of 
the Greek book-hand three strongly marked stages 
are to be distinguished, — the stages of Capitals, 
Uncials, and Minuscules. But contemporary with 
these book-hands there was also in use, running 
in parallel development, a current or cursive hand 
for the more familiar and rapidly written documents 
of business or private life. And it was this cursive 
hand that became the real parent of each new 
book-hand, so that from the cursive capitals grew up 
the uncial book-hand, and from the cursive uncials 
the minuscule book-hand. The development was 
always, thus, the resultant of the co-working of two 
forces, one pushing towards ease in writing, the other 
towards ease in reading, — the one securing fluency, 
the other legibility. Next after these, the most 
powerful force that affected the development of 


writing seems to have been cliange in the material 
on which the writing was wrought. Tlie lapidary 
capitals, the angular shapes of which were peculiarly 
suitable to the art of stone-cutting, became graceful, 
light, curved uncials when written with a pointed 
reed on the friable substance of the papyrus-paper, 
which constituted the usual material of books in the 
centuries immediately preceding and following the 
commencement of our era. These semi-cursive, rapid 
and light lines were no sooner transferred to the 
hard, smooth surface of vellum than they acquired 
the firmness and regularity which makes the book- 
hand of our earliest vellum manuscripts (about the 
fourth century a.d.) the most beautiful known; 
although it began to degenerate almost as soon as 
formed, under the temptation w hich the smooth surface 
offered to broaden and coarsen the strokes. Once more, 
so soon as the uncial cursive of common life was 
transferred from the papyrus of business writings to the 
vellum of books, it acquired firmness and regularity, 
and became the beautiful minuscule of the ninth and 
tenth centuries, — only, however, to enter in its turn on 
a long course of gradual change and debasement. No 
Greek writing has come down to us in capitals ; they 
are confined in extant books to titles, superscriptions, 
and the like. The earliest extant remains of Greek 
literature and of Greek private writing alike (second 
century B.C.) present us with truly uncial writing, 
but with an uncial which is as yet so largely cursive 
as to hint of a recent origin. The uncials reach 
their highest beauty, so far as our monuments allow 
us to trace them, about the fourth century a.d. ; and 


the gradual changes which they undergo, the coarsen- 
ing that came in in the sixth century, the oblong 
and oval shapes that were introduced together with a 
sloping writing in the seventh century, and the like, 
are among the most trustworthy guides of the 
palaeographer in determining the age of a manuscript. 
In like manner the g]-owth of the minuscule hand is 
traceable through four marked and many less striking 
changes that furnish landmarks to the student. The 
details must be left to works on pala30graphy ; and it 
will suffice for us to have indicated them thus briefly, 
while w^e insist only on the broad distinction between 
the uncials and minuscules . great classes, — the 
former embracing, in general, the Biblical manu- 
scripts written from the fourth to the tenth century, 
and the latter those written from the tenth century 
until the printing-press put a stop to hand-copying 

As has been already hinted, the very material on 
which a manuscript is written may become of import- 
ance as a criterion of its age. It is perhaps certain 
that the New Testament autographs were written 
on the paper made from the Egyptian papyrus (cf. 
2 John 12), which appears to have been the ordinary 
literary vehicle of the time. This paper could be 
manufactured in small sheets only, Avhich were glued 
together at the side edges into long ribbons, thus 
forming rolls, and then written upon with a reed pen 
in short columns running across the roll, a column to 
each of the original sheets. To " open " such a book 
was simply to roll up the long ribbon at one end, 
simultaneously allowing it to unroll at the other; 


thus a long succession of short, narrow cokimns, corre- 
sponding to our pages, would pass before the eye of 
the reader in a not inconvenient arrangement. This 
papyrus-book seems to have been in use pretty 
universally during the first ages of the Christian era, 
and papyrus continued to be used by Greek scribes 
as a writing material as late as the ninth century. 
No very early papyrus manuscripts of the New 
Testament have come down to us ; some meagre frag- 
ments of the fifth century containing a few words 
from 1 Corinthians (cited as Q), and a seventh (?) 
century fragment of Luke's Gospel, possibly from a 
lectionary, brought to light by Wessely in 1882, 
are about all that we have as yet knowledge of, 
although it is understood that there are more among 
the Fayum papyri at Vienna. The columnar 
arrangement of our oldest New Testament manu- 
scripts on vellum appears to be a reminiscence of the 
appearance of an open papyrus roll and a witness to 
a desire to retain on vellum the familiar appearance 
of a many-columned sheet of papyrus. Codex x has 
four columns to each page, so that at every opening 
it offers a view of eight narrow parallel columns. 
Codex B has three columns to a page, and several 
manuscripts have two. When vellum took the place of 
papyrus as a literary vehicle, the stiffness of the new 
material, which lent itself ill to rolling, necessitated 
a change in the form of the book, which now became 
a " codex," or, in other words, assumed the form of 
bound leaves as in our ordinary books. Papyrus 
leaves are rarely found so bound, and always inter- 
leaved with vellum at intervals, to give stability to 


the whole. Cotton paper made its appearance in the 
Western world in the eighth century ; the first speci- 
men of a New Testament manuscript written on it is a 
lectionary of the ninth century. It did not, however, 
become a serious rival of parchment until it was 
itself largely displaced by rag or linen paper, which 
was introduced in perhaps the twelfth century, and 
came into general use in the fourteenth, although 
parchment was never entirely displaced until after 
the invention of printing. Occasionally {e.g. Codex 
Leicestrensis) parchment and paper both enter into 
the composition of a book. 

Throughout the whole history of vellum books the 
practice more or less prevailed of su23plying parch- 
ment for new books by washing out the writing 
from old sheets, which were thus made available for 
renewed use. So destructive of literary monuments 
did this occasionally become that it was necessary 
at the end of the seventh century, for instance, to 
forbid the destruction of perfect manuscripts of 
the Scriptures or the Fathers by a synodal decree. 
The passage of time brings out again, perhaps by a 
chemical action of the atmosphere, though often very 
faintly, the lines of the older writing in such twice- 
written codices — unless, indeed, the erasure was per- 
formed by some such perfect method as rubbing down 
the softened surface of the vellum itself with pumice- 
stone. Such codices are called " codices rescripti," or 
" palimpsests," and some of our most valuable texts, 
classical and Biblical alike, are of this kind. For 
example, the preciou3 Codex Ephraemi at Paris, so 
called because the top (later) writing contains the 


works of Ephrem the Syrian, is a palimpsest of a 
fifth-century New Testament (cited as C). So also 
Codex Z at Dublin consists of some very valuable 
sixth-century fragments of Matthew peeping out from 
beneath some patristic writings. I^- S, R, W^- ^- '• are 
other New Testament examples. The deciphering of 
such erased writing is a difficult and painful task, 
even with the assistance of chemical mixtures for 
bringing out the faint lines. 

The difficulty of consulting a manuscript New 
Testament in the earliest ages was largely increased by 
the total lack of all those aids to the eye which later 
editing has gradually invented, and introduced into 
or attached to the text. The earliest manuscripts, 
and no doubt the autographs, were written even 
without divisions between the words. The unbroken 
sviccession of letters ran from the beginning to the 
end of each line, and the division of these letters into 
words, clauses, sentences, and paragraphs, was left to 
the good sense of each individual reader. Each 
book of the New Testament, by this arrangement, 
stood as a single word, and, at each opening of the 
papyrus roll or vellum codex, a series of solid columns 
alone confronted the eye. The difficulty which an 
untrained eye would find in reading such a text must 
not be taken as a standard for the readers of that 
day, but it is obvious that reading was a severer 
task under such circumstances than it is now. 
Let the student exercise himself in dividing into 
its words and clauses the following passage, the 
line divisions of which are those of Codex Yaticanus 








We liave no means of discovering when editorial 
care began to be expended in inventing helps to easy- 
reading and introducing them into these unbroken 
columns. No existing manuscript is wliolly without 
such helps, although the oldest have them rarely 
and fitfully. Even our oldest manuscript, Codex 
Vaticanus (B), which comes to us from the early fourth 
century, occasionally marks a break in the sense by 
a point at the height of the top of the letter or by 
a little blank space, and begins a new paragraph now 
and then by allowing the first letter of the line to 
project a little beyond the edge of the column. But 
it has no capital letters, no divisions between the 
words, no further punctuation, no breathings, no 
accents. Our next oldest manuscript, Codex Sinaiti- 
cus (j<), which also is as old as the fourth century, 
allows the letter that begins the new paragraph to 
stand entirely outside the column, and, like B, has a 
single point irregularly for punctuation ; but it, too, 
lacks all breathings, accents, further punctuation, 
and divisions between words. In Codex Alexandrinus 
(A), of the fifth century, capitals (that is, larger 
letters than those in the text) occur in the margin 
at the beginning of paragraphs. In Codex Claro- 


montaniis (Dg), of the sixth century, although the 
text is continuous, the words are divided in the 
inscriptions and subscriptions of the several books. 
Breathings and accents do not occur until later ; the 
latter probably not until the eighth century. Thus 
gradually the text took upon itself more and more of 
the helps to easy reading which are now in universal 
use, until the later minuscules were furnished almost 
as fully as modern printed copies. 

The most interesting attempt of early times to 
provide a handy edition of the New Testament, 
account of which has come down to us, was thaf ^ . 
made by Euthalius, a- -deacon of Alexandria, who "^ ^ 
published an edition of the Epistles of Paul in 
A.D. 458, and, shortly afterwards, a similar edition 
of the Acts and Catholic Ej)istles. His editions 
furnished a complete system of prologues, prefaces, 
lists of quotations sacred and profane found in the 
books, and catalogues of chapters and ecclesiastical 
lections. In addition to this, the lections and 
chapters were marked in the margin of the text 
itself, where also every fiftieth line (or o-tlxo?) was 
indicated by its appropriate numeral. Whether he 
also broke up the text into short lines of varied 
length designed to aid in public reading — each line 
(called " colon " or " comma ") forming a sense-clause 
— is more doubtful, but appears possible. At all 
events^, "t is important that we do not confuse the 
(TTLxoi, which Euthalius certainly accurately counted 
and numbered, with the cola or commata with which 
he may also have busied himself. Just as the " em " 
of a modern printing office is a fixed affair and the 


unit of measurement for the work done by the 
compositor, so in ancient times the arixos was a 
line of set length, according to the number of which 
included in any writing, in whatever line-lengths it 
was actually written, the length of the book was 
estimated and the pay of the scribe calculated. 
The actual length of the standard Greek ctti^^o? 
appears to have been that of the average hexameter 
line; and it is apparent at once that accurately to 
estimate these and mark every fiftieth one on the 
margin of New Testament MSS. presented a means 
of referring to each passage which would be in- 
dependent of the form of the particular manuscript. 
The name cttixo? was often applied also to the comma 
or colon, which differed from the o-tixo?, technically 
so called, not only in having to do with the sense, but 
also in being of varied length. It was to the Avritings 
of the orators and other books much used in public 
reading that the colon- writing was first applied. 
Thence it was taken over into the poetical books of the 
Old Testament, and Jerome proposed to introduce it 
into the prophets. Whether Euthalius introduced it 
into the New Testament or adopted it into his edition 
of the New Testament books or not, it first appears in 
extant New Testament codices not long after his time. 
The great examples of it are Codex Bezse (D) of 
the Gospels and Acts, and its companion, Codex 
Claromontanus (Dg) of the Pauline Epistles, as well 
as H3 of Paul. As these clause-lines varied much 
in length, the writing in such manuscripts is far from 
compact, and much vellum is wasted ; hence, some- 
times these "ottlxol" are divided from one another 


by a point, and the manuscript written solidly. Such 
a manuscript is K of the Gospels. 

Euthalius is not to be accounted the inventor of 
th^ lessons or the chapters which he marked in his 
editions. He nowhere claims to be their author, and 
he records two separate schemes of chapter-division in 
the Acts. When the New Testament was first divided 
into chapters we have no data for determining. 
Clement of Alexandria already speaks of pericopes, 
Tertullian of capitula, and Dionysius of Alexandria 
of K€cf)dXaLa. Our oldest manuscripts already bear 
them on their margins, and have inherited them 
from a past older than themselves. For example, the 
chapters in Codex Vaticanus (B) for Paul's Epistles 
are numbered consecutively throughout the book, 
and although Hebrews stands immediately after 
2 Thessalonians in the Codex, the numerals attached 
to the chapters prove that they were. adopted from 
a manuscript in which Hebrews stood next after 
Galatians. Again, this same Codex (B) presents two 
separate systems of chapters for Paul and tho Acts 
and Catholic Epistles alike, which could scarcely be 
unless both had been older than it. The most im- 
portant of the chapter-divisions in the Gospels is that 
which apparently became the commonly accepted one 
(found in A, C, N", B, Z, etc.), and which is called the 
tltXol from the circumstance that the " titles " of 
these chapters are gathered into tables at the begin- 
ning of each Gospel or written at the top or foot of 
each page. To these tltXol correspond in Acts and 
the Epistles the K€<^aXaia of Euthalius. A still 
more interesting division in the Gospels is that which 


goes under the name of the Eusebian (or Ammonian) 
sections and Eusebian canons, the object of which 
appears to have been harmonistic. Each Gospel was 
divided into shorter or longer numbered sections : 
355 in Matthew, 233 in Mark, 342 in Luke, and 232 
in John. Then ten tables or lists were formed called 
" canons," the first of which contained all the passages 
common to all four Gospels ; the second, third and 
fourth those common to any given three; the fifth 
to the ninth inclusive those common to any two, and 
the tenth those peculiar to one. By attaching to the 
number of each section in the margin of the text the 
number of the list or " canon " to which it belonged, 
a very complete harmonistic system, or at least system 
of reference to parallel passages, resulted. Thus, 

opposite John xv. 20 was written p or „ — 

whence we learn that this is the 139th section of 
John, and belongs to the third canon ; on turning to 
the canons, the third is found to contain passages 
common to John, Matthew, and Luke, and in it, 
opposite John 139 we find Matthew 90 and Luke 58. 
It is easy to turn to these sections in the text and 
read the parallel passages to John 139. Codex A of 
the fifth century is the oldest codex that preserves 
this system complete. C, D, and many others, have 
the sections, but not the canons. Sometimes the 
harmonistic information is entered on the margin of 
each page. No codex which has any part of this 
system at first hand can be older than Eusebius. 

The early history of the lections drawn from the 
Greek Testament is very obscure. At an early period. 


however, it became the custom to mark the begin- 
ning and end of each in the margin of continuous 
copies of the Greek Testament, which were thus 
redacted for use in pubhc service. This was one of 
the excellences of Euthalius' editions. The earliest 
MS. which possesses a table of the lessons prefixed to 
the text is probably Codex Cyprius (K), of the ninth 
century ; and the arrangement of such tables for Acts 
and the Epistles is apparently claimed to himself by 
Euthalius. Many Greek MSS. after the eighth and 
ninth centuries mark the beginning of the lections 

with the word apxq or ^ or dp, and the end with 

the word ri\o<i or , or re inserted into the text, 

but written in coloured, commonly vermilion ink. 
It became the custom also to insert in the margin 
rubrics directing the substitution of words for the 
text as it stood, in the public reading. For example, 
in Luke x. 24 we read, "And behold a certain lawyer 
arose," but the margin directs us to read, " A certain 
lawyer came to Jesus, tempting him and saying : 
Master," etc. So at Luke x. 22 we are directed 
to read, "And turning to His disciples, He said." 
Naturally enough, from these MSS. many erroneous 
readings crept out of the margin into the text 
itself. Codex 7 of the Gospels presents a very per- 
fect specimen of a manuscript redacted for liturgical 

A glance like this over the origin of the various 
divisions that have been introduced into the New 
Testament text can scarcely fail to impress the 


student with the unauthoritative character of them 
all. Least of all can the ordinary divisions of our 
modern Bibles into chapters and verses be j^ermitted 
to affect our free treatment of the text. No one of 
the ancient divisions found in the manuscripts 
passed over into modern Bibles. Our chapters were 
invented apparently by Stephen Langton (•i<1228), 
and were first applied to the Latin Yulgate, only 
thence finding their way gradually into the printed 
Greek Testament. Our verses were made by Eobert 
Stephen " inter equitandum," on a journey from Paris 
to Geneva, and were first introduced into the Greek 
Testament published by him in 1551. The inspired 
text consists of the simple succession of letters, and 
must be separated into words and sections and para- 
graphs by each scholar for himself. 

No attempt was made to give to the earlier MSS. 
any further beauty than that which resulted from the 
use of the best materials and the exquisitely neat and 
regular writing. The vellum of Codex Sinaiticus 
(x) is made from the finest antelope skin, and that 
of B, A, D., N is not unworthy of comparison with 
it ; while the regularity and beauty of the hand in 
which these manuscripts are written challenge the 
admiration of all beholders. Ornamental capitals and 
colophons were, however, soon introduced, and red 
ink was used for variety in them as well as in various 
rubrics and the like. The most sumptuous of the 
early manuscripts are the "purple manuscripts," 
the vellum of which is dyed purple or ciimson and 
the text wiitten upon it in silver and gold. Jerome 
scoffed at such " editions de luxe" as possessing more 


external splendour than inner excellence. Several of 
the most valuable codices of the Old Latin version 
(as, e.g.f those cited as b, f, e, i), as well as the 
famous Codex Argenteus of the Gothic version, belong 
to this class. The purple MSS. of the Greek Testa- 
ment come mainly from the sixth century : such are 
N, %, $. Of these % (Codex Rossanensis) is especially 
noteworthy, inasmuch as it is adorned also with 
a collection of miniatures, and is the earliest New 
Testament manuscript so ornamented, and shares 
this honour with only one other Biblical manuscript, 
a purple codex of Genesis at Yienna. The art of 
dyeing MSS. was revived under Charlemagne and his 
successors, giving us a series of minuscule purples 
of the ninth and tenth centuries, such as the St. 
Petersburg codex, lately published by Belsheim, and 
the second purple codex discovered at Herat by the 
Abbe Batiftbl. 

With these preliminaries, we may proceed next to 
catalogue the Uncial Manuscripts that have come 
down to us. Tliere have, at the present writing, been 
placed on the lists some eighty-nine of them all told, 
which are cited by the following symbols : — 

N A B B^P°° C D^''^- ^'''^- D^-'^"^ E E^°^- E^^^ F F^^^ 

pa. Q Q.Act. [-(.Paul ^ ^] Qb. JJ IL^^^- H^^^ 
Jl. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Jb J^ J^Cath. Paul J^ J^Act. Cath. Paul 
]y£ ]y[Paul 2;^ ]s;['a. ^yj-Paul Q Qa.b.c.d e.f.g. QPaul 
Qb. Paul p pAct. Cath. Paul. Apoc. Q QPaid p_ K^i^^ 
g iji rj^b.c.d.e.f. 'J'woi "[J Y Wa.b.c.d.e.f.g.h. X Y Z 

r A [ = G^^^i] ® A H n ^ <!> = 89 
separate copies. 


To these should be added another inckiding some 
words from 1 Tim. vi. 2 and iii. 15, 16, described by 
Zahn in his Forschunyen zur Geschichte des N.T. 
KanonSy Theil iii., p. 277, bringing the total up to 90. 

These manuscripts are distributed among the various 
sections of the New Testament as follows : — 

Uncial MSS. of the Gospels : — 

^{ABCDEFF^GH I^ ^ * ^ I^ K L M IST N* 

Qa.b.c.d.e.f.g. P Q R S T T^c-I®'- T^^°^ U V 
^ X Y Z I' A ©ab.c.d.e.f.g.h. A E 11 

:s^= 67. 

Uncial MSS. of the Acts and Catholic Epistles :— 
X A B C D E, F^ G, G^ H^ I^^^ K^ L, V^= 16, 
of which K does not contain the Acts, and 
only N A B C Kg L^ P2 contain the CathoHc 

Uncial MSS. of Paul's Epistles :— 

N A B C D2 E3 F2 F* G3 H3 12 K2 L2 M2 N2 ^2 
O^ P2 Q2 R2 = 20, to which Zahn's Codex 
is to be added, making 21. 

Uncial MSS. of the Apocalypse : — 

K A B2 C P2 = 5. 
They are distributed according to the centuries in 
which they were wiitten as follows : — 

Uncial MSS. of the fourth century : — 

nB = 2. 
Uncial MSS. of the fifth century '.-^ 

A C 11-2 3- p Q Q2 T T^^i = 10. 


Uncial MSS. of the sixth century : — 

D Dij E2 H3 V^ N N'^ O2 O 2 0° P R T^ T« «= Z 

0c.e.f.g. ^ |-^ j^j^(j Zahn's Codex?] = 24. 

Uncial MSS. of the seventh century : — 

Uncial MSS. of the eighth century :— 
B2 E L W=^-^ Y ©"i S = 8. 

Uncial MSS. of the ninth century : — 

E3 F Eg Gb G3 H2 K K^ L, M M^ N2 0^« ^ s- Pg 
Tf Y ^cdefgh. X r A A n = 31. 

Uncial MSS. of the tenth century : — 
G H 0^ S U 0^^ = 6. 

Yery many of these MSS. are the merest frag- 
ments. X alone contains the whole New Testament. 
B contains the whole up to the middle of Hebrews, 
and thence lacks part of Hebrews, the Pastoral 
Epistles, Philemon, and the Apocalypse. A contains 
all but a few chapters. C contains fragments of 
nearly every book. On the other hand, many manu- 
scripts have received such marginal or other correction 
by the first or later hands as to give us practically 
manuscripts within manuscripts. These various hands 
are usually quoted by numerals, letters, or asterisks 
placed at the top of the letter symbolising the MS,, 
though these must not be confounded with the 
compound symbols given in the list above (such 
as P-^-^- I^ N"* o^'^'^- etc.), which represent separate 
fragments classed thus together under one symbol 
for convenience' sake. All other signs attached to 


the top of the symbol besides those enumerated in 
the lists above, represent different hands which have 
been correcting the manuscript designated by the 
symbol. Thus D* D** D***, or D* D2 D^, or 
D* D^ D*^ would be three ways (all of which are in 
use) of designating D as originally written (D*), and 
the corrections of the second (D**, D^, or D^') and 
third (D***, D^, or D"") hands. If no hand has 
corrected the reading the manuscript is cited simply 
as D ; where it is cited as D*, this advertises to us 
that a correction may be looked for elsewhere in the 
digest. The correctors of our oldest manuscripts, 
such as B, N, C, are of importance. B^ is of the 
fourth century ; B^ of the tenth or eleverith ; C^ of 
the sixth ; and C^ of the ninth. {< has been cor- 
rected by very many hands, which are cited by 
Tischendorf by the following system : n* ig of the 
fourth century ; n^ is of the sixth ; four separate 
correctors of the seventh century are cited as j<°, 
Ncb, i^ccj 5^cc* ; X® is of the twelfth century. How 
manuscripts came to be furnished with such series 
of successive corrections may be readily understood 
if we will only bear in mind the different conditions 
under which a manuscript came into and continued 
in being from those governing a printed book. Not 
unfrequently the fortunate owner of a copy, on 
obtaining access to another, would compare the two 
more or less accurately throughout, and enter the 
differences ; and thus (as has happened in the case 
of 67 of Paul as compared with 67**) has given 
himself on the margin a far better text than his copy 
contained in itself. 



It would be of interest to add here a brief technical 
description of each of the MSS. named by symbol 
above. The beginner may, however, dispense for the 
time with matter of this sort ; and when he feels 
the need of it, it is better for him to seek it where 
it can be found in full. The best source of such 
information is the Prolegomena to Tischendorf 's eighth 
edition, which have been prepared by Dr. Caspar 
Rene Gregory, and published by Hinrichs (in Latin) 
at Leipzig. The most comprehensive treatise of the 
sort in English is Dr. Scrivener's " Plain Intro- 
duction to the Criticism of the New Testament," 
third edition (Cambridge : Deighton, Bell, & Co., 
1883), in connection with which must be used the 
little pamphlet, called " Notes on Scrivener's ' Plain 
Introduction, etc' " chiefly from the memoranda of 
the late Professor Ezra Abbot, and published by Dr. 
Thayer (London: Ward, Lock, & Co.). It will be 
sufficient here to give a compressed list of the uncial 

(1) Uncial MSS. of the Gospels. 

^. Sinaiticus, nunc Petropolitanus. Saec. TV. Con- 
tains the whole New Testament. 

A. Alexandrinus Londinensis. S?ec. V. Contains the 

whole New Testament, except Matthew i. 1 to 
XXV. 6 ; John vi. 50 to viii. 52 ; and 2 Corinthians 
iv. 13 to xii. 7. 

B. Yaticanus Romse. Saec. lY. Contains the whole 

New Testament, except Hebrews ix. 14 to 
xiii. 25 ; 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, 
and the Apocalypse. 


0. Ephraemi Syri rescriptus Parisiensi.s. ScTc. V. 
Contains fragments of all the books, except 
2 Thessalonians and 2 John. 

D. Beza3 Cantabrigiensis. Sa^c. VI. Contains the 

Gospels and Acts, with some small lacuna?. 

E. Basiliensis. S?ec. VIIT. Contains the Gospels with 


F. Boreeli Rheno-Traiectinus. Sa3c. IX. Contains the 

Gospels with lacunae. 
F'\ Margo Octateuchi Coisliniani Parisiensis. ScTC. 
VII. Contains fragments of the Gospels, Act.=!, 
and Pauline Epistles. 

G. Seidelii Londinensis. Sa3c. IX. or X. Contains 

the Gospels with lacuna?, 
H. Seidelii Hamburgensis. Sa:c. IX. or X. Contains 

the Gospels with lacuna\ Petropolitani re.scripti. Sa?c. V., V, VI., W. 

Contain fragments of the Gospels. 
P. Londinensis rescriptus. Siec. V. Contains a frag- 
ment of John. 
K. Cyprius Parisien.sis, S?ec. IX. Contains the whole 

of the Gospels. 
L. Regius Parisiensis, Soec. VIII. Contains the 

Gospels with lacunae. 
M. Campianus Parisiensis. Sa?c, IX. Contains the 

whole of the Gospels. 
]Sr. Purpareus, Sa?c. VI. Contains fragments of the 

N*. Cairensis. Saec. VI. Contains fra2:ments of 


O. Moscuensis. Saec. IX. Contains fragments of 


Qa.b.c.d.e.f.g. Guelferbytanus, Bodleianus, Yeronensis, 
Turicensis, Sangallensis, Mosciiensis, Parisiensis. 
Ssec. IX., X., YI., YII., IX., IX., IX. Contain 
the hymns of Luke i. and ii. 

P. Guelferbytanus rescriptus. Ssec. YI. Contains 
fragments of the Gospels. 

Q. Guelferbytanus rescriptus. Saec. Y. Contains frag- 
ments of Luke and John. 

R. Nitriensis, nunc Londinensis, rescriptus. Ssec. YI. 
Contains fragments of Luke. 

S. Yaticanus Ilomse. Ssec. X. Contains the Gospels. 

T. Borgianus Romse. Ssec. Y. Contains fragments of 
Luke and John. 

rjb.c.d.e.f. Petropolitanus, Porfiriauus Chiovensis, Bor- 
gianus Romse, Cantabrigieusis, Mellsise Horneri. 
S^ec. YL, YL, YII., YL, IX. Contain small 
fragments of the Gospels. 

rpwoi. Woiclii. Ssec. Y. Contains fragments of Luko 
and John. 

U. Marcianus Yenetus. S^ec. IX. or X. Contains 
the Gospels. 

Y. Moscuensis. Ssec. IX. Contains the Gospels up 
to John vii. 39, with some lacunse. 

Y^a.b.c.d.e.f.g.h. Paiisiensis, Neapolitanus Borbonicus, 
Sangallensis, Cantabrigieusis, Oxoniensis et 
Atho., Oxoniensis, Londinensis, Oxoniensis. Ssec. 
YIIL, YIIL, IX., IX., IX., IX., IX., IX. 
Contain fragments of the Gospels. 

X. Monacensis. Ssec. IX. or X. Contains fragments 
of the Gospels. 

Y, Barberinus Romse. Ssec. YIII. Contains a frag- 
ment of John. 


Z. Dublinensis rescriptus. Stec. VI. Contains frag- 
ments of Matthew. 

r. Tischendorfianus IV. Sicc. IX. or X. Contains 
the Gospels with lacunae. 

A. Sangallensis. Saec. IX. or X. Contains the 
Gospels, except John xix. 17 — 35. 

©*. Tischendorfianus Lipsiensis. Saec. VII. Contains 
a fragment of Matthew. 

0b.c.d.e.f.g.h. Petropolitani et Porfiiiani Chiovenses. 
Siec. VII., VI., VII. or VIII., VI., VI., VI., 
IX. or X. Contain fragments of the Gospels. 

A. Tischendorfianus III. Oxoniensis. Saec. IX. Con- 
tains Luke and John. 

H. Zacynthius Londinensis. Saec. VIII. Contains 
fragments of Luke. 

n. Petropolitanus. Saec. IX. Contains the Gospels 
with lacunae. 

% Rossanensis Purpureus. Saec. VI. Contains 
Matthew and Mark, except Mark xvi. 14—20. 

^. Beratinus Purpureus. Saec. VI (?). Contains the 
Gospels of Matthew and Mark with lacunae. 

(2) Uncial MSS. of the Acts and Catholic Epistles. 

X A B C D. See under these same symbols for the 

E. Laudianus Oxoniensis. Saec. VI. Contains Acts 
with lacunae. 

F*^. See under the same symbol for the Gospels. 

G. Petropolitanus. Saec. VII. Contains a fragment 
of Acts. 

G^. Vaticanus Romae. Saec. IX (?). Contains frag- 
ments of Acts, 


H. Mutinensis. Ssec. IX. Contains Acts with lacunsb. 

P-5-6.. Petropolitani rescripti. S^c. V., YII., VII. 
Contain fragments of Acts. 

K. Moscuensis. Ssec. IX. Contains Catholic Epistles 
and Pauline Epistles, with lacunae in the latter. 

L. Angelicus Romse. Ssec. IX. Acts with lacunae, 
Catholic Epistles entire, and Paul's Epistles up 
to Hebrews xiii. 10. 

P. Porfirianus Chiovensis. Saec. IX. Contains Acts, 
Catholic Epistles, Paul's Epistles, and the Apoca- 
lypse, with lacunae. 

(8) Uncial MSS. of the Epistles of Paul. 

N A B C. See under the same symbols of the Gospels. 

D. Claromontanus Paritsiensis. Ssec. VI. Contains 

the Epistles of Paul. 

E. Sangermanensis, nunc Petropolitanus. Ssec. IX. 

Contains Paul with lacunae. 

F. Augiensis Cantabrigiensis. Saec. IX. Contains 

Paul with lacunae, except Hebrews. 
F'^ See under this symbol in the Gospels. 

G. Boernerianus Dresdensis. Sa3C. IX. Contains 

Paul with lacunae, except Hebrews. 
H. Parisiensis, Moscuensis, et al. Stec. VI. Contains 

fragments of Paul. 
I^. Petropolitanus. Saec, V. Contains fragments of 

1 Corinthians and Titus. 
K. See under this symbol of Acts and Catholic 

L. See under this symbol of Acts and Catholic 



M. Londinensis et Hamburgensis. Saec. IX. Con- 
tains fragments of 1 and 2 Corinthians and 

N. Petropolitanus. Ssec. IX. Contains fragments 
of Galatians and Hebrews. 

O. Petropolitanus. Soec. YI. Contains a fragment 
of 2 Corinthians. 

C. Moscuensis. Soec. YI. Contains a fragment of 

P. See under the same symbol of Acts and Catholic 

Q. Porfirianus Chiovensis Papyraceus.. Ssec. Y. Con- 
tains fragments of 1 Corinthians. 

R. Cryptoferracensis. St^c. YII. Contains a frag- 
ment of 2 Corinthians. 

[S ?]. Parisiensis. Sc'ec. lY. — YI. Contains frag- 
ments of 1 Timothy. 

(4) Uncial MSS. of the Apocahjpse. 

{< AC. See under the same symbols for the Gospels. 
B. Yaticanus Komte. Sajc. YIII. Contains the 

P. See under the same symbol for the Acts and 

Catholic Epistles. 

It oaght to be noted that W^ above is given the 
symbol Y by Dr. Scrivener; that the symbol $ is 
used by Dr. Scrivener to designate a codex which 
has been since found to contain no part of the New 
Testament, and by Gebhardt to designate the recon- 
structed common parent of the minuscules 13, 69, 


124, 346 ; that T^ is Dr. Scrivener's Evangelistarinm 
299 ; that B of the Apoc. is cited by^ Dr. Tregelles 
by the symbols L and Q; and that the symbols 
G^, O^"^-^- of Tregelles' Supplement represent the 
codices cited here as G^, Og, E,2, Ng, respectively. 

The Minuscule MSS. of the New Testament, 
while far more numerous than the uncials, are later, 
and therefore, as a class, of less importance. About 
thirty of them contain the whole New Testament, 
and many contain more than one section of it. They 
range in date from the ninth to the sixteenth cen- 
tuiy inclusive, and present several well-marked types 
of writing, on the ground of which they are separated 
by palaeographers into at least four classes. They 
differ in the general character of the text which they 
exhibit less widely than the extent of time which 
they cover might lead us to expect. Only about one 
hundred and fifty of them have as yet been fully 
cellated, although many more have been partially 
collated, and enough of this work has been done to 
give us a general knowledge of them as a class. They 
are cited for critical purposes, for the most part, by 
Arabic numerals. Full lists of them, with the in- 
formation concerning each that has been thus far 
made public, may be found in the third edition of 
Dr. Scrivener's "Plain Introduction." The second 
volume of Dr. Gregory's Prolegomena to Tischendorf, 
which is to contain an account of the minuscules, is 
not yet published, but is expected to greatly increase 
both the extent and the accui-acy of our know- 


The following are some of the most interesting of 
the minuscules : — 

(1) Miniscide Codices of the Gospels, 

1—118—131—209. Basiliensis, Oxoniensis, Yati- 
canus, and Venetus. Sa3c. X. (?), XIII., XI.; 
XI. or XII. Four closely related codices, the 
joint authority of which preserves for us an 
ancient common original. 
13 — 69 — 124 — 346. Parisiensis, Leicestrensis, Vin- 
dobonensis, and Mediolanus. Saec. XII., XIV., 
XII., XII. Four codices which Professors 
Ferrar and Abbot have shown to be descended 
from a single not very remote common original. 
22. Colbertinus Parisiensis. Saec. XI. 
28. Colbertinus Parisiensis. Saec. XI. 
33. Colbertinus Parisiensis. S^ec. XI. {= Acts 13, 

Paul 17). 
59. Cantabrigiensis. Saec. XII. 
66. Londinensis. Saec. XII. 

81. Petropolitanus. Saec. IX. Cited by Tischendorf 
as 2^\ 
102. Cantabrigiensis. Si^c. XIY. (= Acts 102 [k^'^''], 
Paul 27 [k«^^]). Cited by Tischendorf as w^°^ 
157. Urbino-Vaticanus. Saec. XII. 
201. Londinensis. ScTC. XIV.' (= Acts 91, Paul 104, 
Apoc. b^"""). Cited sometimes as m^" in tho 
Gospels, and p^*^^ in Acts and Paul. 
238. Moscuensis. Saec. XI. 
346. Mediolanus. Saec. XII. 
604. Londinensis. Saec. XI. or XII. 


(2) Minuscule MSS, of the Acts and Catholic 

13. The same as 33 of the Grospels. 

27, Londinensis. Ssec. XY. (--= Paul 33). 

29, Genevensis. S£ec. XI. or XII. (= Paul 35). 

3], Leicestrensis. Ssec. XIY. (= Gospels 69, Paul 

37, Apoc. 14). 
36. Oxoniensis. Ssec. XIII. 
40. Alexandrino-Yaticanus. Ssec. XI. (= Paul 40, 

Apoc. 12). 
44. (= Scrivener's 221). S^ec. XII. {^ Paul 265). 
61. Londinensis. Ssec. XI. Cited also as lo*"^ and 


68. Upsal. Sc-ec. XI. (= Paul 73). 

69. Guelferbytanus. Sa3C. XIV. (= Paul 74, 

Apoc. 30). 
102. Same as 102 of the Gospels. Cited sometimes 

as k^'^''. 
no. Londinensis. Sajc. XII. (= Paul 252). Cited 

by Tischendorf as a^'^'', and Scrivener's 182. 
112. Londinensis. Ssec. XV. (= Paul 254). Cited 

by Tischendorf as c''"-'', and Scrivener's 184. 
1.37. Mediolanus. Siec. XI. (= Paul 176). 

(3) Minuscule MSS, of Paul's Epistles. 

5. Parisiensis. Ssec. XII. (= Gospels 5, Acts 5). 

6. Parisiensis. Ssec. XI. (= Gospels 6, Acts 6) 
17. Same as Gospels 33. 

23. Parisiensis. Ssec. XI. 

27. Same as Gospels 102. Cited sometimes as k^^''. 

31. Londinensis. Ssec. XL (= Acts 25, Apoc. 7). 


37. See under Acts 31. 

39. Oxoniensis. Ssec. XI. or XII. (= Acts 33). 

46. See under Acts 40. 

47. Oxoniensis. Sasc. XI. or XII, 

67. Vindobonensis. Sasc. XII. (= Acts 66, Apoc. 
34). The corrector of this MS., marked 67**, 
is very valuable. 
73. See under Acts 68. 
80. Yaticanus. Siec. XI. (= Acts 73). 
137. Parisiensis. Sa3c. XIII. (^ Gospels 263, Acts 

117, Apoc. 54). 
U21. Cantabrigiensis. Siec. XII. (= Go3p3ls 44 >, 
Acts 111). Cited as o"'"'' bj Tiscliendorf. 

(4) Minuscule MSS. of the A2)ocuIi/pse» 

1. Reuchlini. Stec. XII. The only one used by 

Erasmus, 1516. 
7. See under Paul 31. 
14. See under Acts 31. 

38. Yaticanus. Saec. XIII. 

47. Dresdensis. Sjec. XI. (= Gospels 241, Acts 

140, Paul 120). 
61. Parisiensis. Sac. "XIY. (= Go-;pa!s 18, Acts 

113, Paul 132). 
82. Monacensis. Siec. XI. (= Gospels 179, Paul 

95. Parham. Saec. XII. or XIII. Cited sometimes 

The Lectionaries are rightly assigned a secondary 
place among the MSS. of the New Testament, both 
because they do not give the continuous text and 


occasionally change the text they do give arbitrarily, 
to fit it for detached reading, and because they are 
comparatively late in date. The earliest lectionaries 
hitherto known date from the seventh and eighth 
centuries, although the papyrus fragment which 
Wessely published in 1882 may come from a cen- 
tury earlier. Lectionaries may be either uncial or 
minuscule, and uncial writing occurs among them 
a century later than in manuscripts of the continuous 
text. No line of division is drawn among them on 
the ground of handwriting, however, but all are 
classed together, and cited by Arabic numerals, like 
minuscule copies of the continuous text. They are 
divided into two classes on the ground of contents, 
called Evangeliaria or Evangelistaria (which contain 
lessons from the Gospels), and Praxapostoli, or some- 
times Lectionaria (which contain lessons from the 
Acts and the Epistles). Dr. Scrivener, in the third 
edition of his " Plain Introduction," brings the cata- 
logue of the former up to 414, and that of the 
latter up to 127. A number of them are, however, 
twice counted, being Euchologies or 'ATroo-ToXocuayyeAia, 
and containing both the evayyiXiov and the aTrocrroA-os. 
Upwards of eighty of the lectionaries on our lists 
are written in uncial letters. Lectionaries have 
hitherto been less used by critics than could be 
desired. It is not to be hoped, doubtless, that very 
much material of the first value can be obtained 
from documents so late, and representing a system 
of lessons which itself cannot be traced farther back 
than the latter part of the fourth century. But 
the results of the little work already expended on 


them are, within the limits of legitimate hope, very 

2. Versions of the New Testament. 

The number and variety of early versions of the 
New Testament are a matter of wonder second only 
to the number of Greek MSS. that have come 
down to us. Wherever Christianity penetrated, the 
evangelists carried the Divine word in theii* hands 
and gave it to the people in their own tongues ; and 
although the languages in which these early versions 
were written have now in every case become obsolete, 
the versions remain to us, sometimes still in use in 
public worship, sometimes extant only in long-for- 
gotten and fragmentary codices, as witnesses to the 
popular character of early Christianity, as well as to 
the text of the New Testament that was read and 
honoured in the primitive ages of the Church. The 
value of the testimony of the versions is much 
enhanced by the fact that several of them were made 
at an age far earlier than our most ancient MSS. of 
the Greek text. The Syriac, Latin, and Coptic speak- 
ing peoples all had translations of the New Testament 
in the second century, and fragments at least of these 
versions are still extant. The Abyssinians and Goths 
received the New Testament in their own tongues 
at about the time when our oldest remaining Greek 
MSS. were penned ; at about the same time the 
older Syriac and Latin versions were revised to 
suit them to enlarged use and conform them to the 
texts most esteemed at the time. But little later 
the Armenians obtained a national Bible, and other 


Syriac revisions or translations were made. The 
result is that textual science can make use of some 
dozen ancient versions which are superior, or but 
little inferior, in point of age, to our best and oldest 
Greek MSS. 

^ome of the drawbacks to the use of versions in 
textual criticism have been mentioned on a previous 
page : the greatest difficulty yet remains. Before 
the testimony of a version can be confidently alleged, 
its own text must be settled, and we must be careful 
lest we quote, not the testimony of the version itself, 
but that of some scribe's error as he copied one of 
its MSS. It is a fact, however, that the text of 
none of the early versions has as yet been satis- 
factorily restored ; and hence the use of versions 
hitherto in textual criticism is liable to as much 
doubt as may result from this circumstance. That 
this is not as fatal to all successful use of the early 
versions as it might seem at first sight, will be 
evident when we consider that the same scribal 
errors are not likely to occur in the two lines of 
transmission — that, namely, of the Greek MSS. them- 
selves, and that of MSS. written, say for example, 
in Syriac. Consequently when MSS. and versions 
are used together they may correct, to a measurable 
degree, each other's errors. ISTevertheless, the versions 
were liable, throughout their whole transmission, not 
only to change and error in the line of their own 
development, but also to constant correction by con- 
temporary Greek MSS. Often successful appeal may 
be made from the later or printed text of the ver- 
sions to their earlier and better MSS. 


It is only a partial escape, however, that we can 
make fiom this difficulty, by quoting the various 
MSS. of a version in the criticism of the Greek text, 
as it has become the custom to do with the Latin 
versions. So far as these MSS. vary from one 
another because of revision by the Greek, each is, 
no doubt, a witness for a Greek text ; but this may 
be a Greek text of the date of the MS. itself, or 
of the date of any of its ancestors, back to the 
very origin of the version. The MSS. of the ver- 
sions ought primarily to be quoted only for the 
texts of the versions themselves ; and only w^hen their 
original texts have been reconstructed, and the his- 
tory of their transmission has been traced out, can 
their readings and the readings of the various MSS. 
which profess to represent them be adduced with 
perfect confidence in the criticism of the Greek text. 
That the history of the versions has not been wrought 
out fully in any case, and that a really critical edition 
of any of them is yet to frame, are circumstances 
which are not indeed fatal, but are very serious 
drawbacks to the use of versions in criticism, and 
little less than an open disgrace to the Biblical science 
of the day. 

A few word? need to le added on the character 
and, so far as it has been recovered, the history of the 
chief versions. 

(1) Two Latin versions have long been in use in 
criticism, distinguished by the names of the "Old 
Latin " (quite commonly but improperly called also 
the " Itala "), and the " Vulgate," for which 
Tischendorf uses the abbreviations " It." ard " Vg." 


These versions are not, however, two in the sense 
that they are independent of each other : the Yulgate, 
so called because it has long been the Latin version 
in common and ecclesiastical use, was rather a revision 
of the already existing Latin version, often very 
slightly altered, and was made by the great Biblical 
scholar Jerome at the end of the fourth century. 
The habit of distinguishing sharply between the 
Yulgate and the Old Latin, while necessary so far, 
obscures the fact that the text of the Vulgate differs 
from that of certain of the MSS. cited under the 
category " Old Latin " far less than the " Old Latin " 
MSS. differ among themselves. This great diversity 
among the Old Latin MSS. has necessitated their 
detailed quotation in the digests of readings for the 
Greek Testament, and may be observed on almost 
every page where their witness is borne at all. The 
MSS. of the Old Latin are designated in the digests 
by the small letters of the alphabet : thus, a (Codex 
Yercellensis of the fourth century), b (Codex Yero- 
nensis of the fourth or fifth century), c (Codex 
Colbertinus of the eleventh or twelfth century), d (the 
Latin part of Codex Bezse, D, of the sixth century), 
e (Codex Palatinus of the fourth or fifth century), 
and the like. There are about thirty-eight separate 
codices of this class known, of which some twenty- 
four belong to the Gospels (some such as a2.n.o.p.r.s., 
containing only small fragments), seven to the Acts, 
four to the Catholic Epistles, nine to Paul, and three 
to the Apocalypse. The MSS. of the Yulgate are 
cited by short abbreviations of their names, — thus, 
am (Codex Amiatinus, of the sixth to ninth century), 


fnld or fii (Codex Fuldensis, of the sixth century), 
tol (Codex Toletanus, of the eighth century), for 
(Codex Forojuliensis, of the sixth century), harl 
(Codex Harleianus of the seventh century), etc. 

Under such circumstances, the tracing of the his- 
tory of the Latin versions \ and the formation of 
critical texts of them has proved so difficult as 
hitherto to be impossible. This much only has been 
certain. A Latin version existed as early as the ^ 
second century. It was already old and established 
in the use of the people when Tertullian wrote, at the 
end of the second century, and must, therefore, have 
been made, in whole or part, as early as the middle 
of that century. The complexion of this early ver- 
sion, current in North Africa, is easily observed from 
the quotations from it made by Tertullian, so far as 
his quotations from the Latin can be disentangled 
from those that he took directly from the Greek, and 
especially from the quotations made from it by 
Cyprian, who appears to have used it only. The 
extant MSS. embodying this same type of text can 
safely be assigned to the African Old Latin. Whether 
this African New Testament lay at the root of all 
the Old Latin MSS., or not, has been a disputed 
question. On the one hand it has been urged that 
the diversity of the texts is, on this supposition, 
remarkable. On the other, that their manifold 
variety, as well as the testimony of Jerome and 
Augustine alike to the existence in their day of 
" tot exemplaria pen^ quot codices," or (as Augustine 
phrases it) "Latinornm interpretum infinita varietas," 
is best explained by the great licence of individual 



correction of a common basis, so that the root was 
one though the branches were so diverse. In this 
"interpretum numerositas," Augustine commends 
a text which he calls the " Itala " as preferable to 
the others, inasmvich as it was " verborum tenacior 
cum perspicuitate sententise " ; and this name has 
hence been applied to the Old Latin as a whole 
(against the example of Augustine, who so names a 
specified type of the Old Latin), or else to some 
special form of it, more frequently of late to what 
appears a revision that was current, chiefly in North 
Italy, in the fourth century. It was under the 
spur of this confusion of texts that Jerome (about 
383) undertook his revision, which won its way at 
length into the position of a vulgate about the end 
of the sixth century. 

More recent investigations have shed new light 
on several dark points in this history, and we are 
now able to trace, at least tentatively, the outlines 
of the development of the Latin versions in such a 
way as to give the testimony of its different MSS. 
a more defined place in textual criticism. It is still 
uncertain whether one or two parent stocks lie at the 
base of the Old Latin MSS., but the Old Latin testi- 
mony is very distinctly that of two strongly marked 
types. Their divergence has been obscured by the 
immense amount of mixture that has taken place 
between the two as represented even in the earliest 
codices, as well as by the great licence of individual 
alteration which has affected all lines of descent. 
These two versions may be called the African and the 
European. The former is represented by the fifth- 


century Cotlex Bobiensis (k), at a later stage of 
development by the beautiful fourth or fifth century 
Codex Palatinus (e), and at a still later stage by 
the Speculum Augustini (m), in the Gospels. To it 
also belong the palimpsest fragments of the Acts and 
Apocalypse cited as h, and of course the quotations 
of TertuUian (when not taken from the Greek), 
Cyprian, as well as Optatus, and (for the Apocalypse) 
Primasius. The European is represented by the 
great mass of the codices, the oldest of which are 
a, b, d, f. The African text is as old as the second 
century ; the age of the European is less certain, x/uU^j*- 
but some of its MSS. belong to the fourth century, 
and the version itself must be as old as the opening 
of the fourth century or end of the third at the 
latest. There is good evidence to show that the 
European Latin was made the object of various 
revisions during the course of the fourth century, 
the final product of which may be called the Italian 
Latin all the more appropriately that it seems to 
be this text that was preferred by Augustine, if we 
may judge from the quotations in many of his works. 
To the unrevised European Latin may be assigned, 
in the Gospels, Codices a, b, c, ff, h, i, r, and some other 
fragmentary or mixed texts, and in the Acts g. To 
the Italian revision belong f, q, in the Gospels, r, rg, r3 
in Paul, q in the Catholic Epistles, and perhaps g in 
the Apocalypse. Jerome's further revision seems to be 
based on the Italian revision, and in the Gospels on 
a text very closely related to that of Codex f, which, in 
parts at least, received only a very surface revision. 
Instead of two Latin versions, we thus appeiir to 


have the testimony of no less than three or four 
to take account of in textual criticism : one of the 
second century — the African ; one of the end of the 
third or beginning of the fourth — the European ; a 
somewhat later revision of the European — the Italian ; 
and finally, the revision of the Italian which Jerome 
carried through at the end of the fourth century — the 

By attending to the distribution of the codicea 
among the various forms of the Old Latin, as indi- 
cated above, some light is thrown on the testimony 
as drawn out in detail in our digests. We can, not 
infrequently, separate already the testimony of the 
several forms, and allow weight to the groups accord- 
ingly. A critical edition of even the Vulgate is, 
however, still a desideratum. The revision of the 
current texts undertaken by Alcuin in the eighth 
century, and that ordered by the Council of Trent, 
had this as their object. But the work has been 
badly done, and the Clementine Vulgate of 1692 is 
anything but a critical text. 

(2) The early history of the Syriac versions is even 
more obscure than that of the Latin, but from a 
different cause. Here we have an almost entire lack 
of material. The Peshitto version (or as its name 
imports, the " simple " version) well deserves the 
title of the Syriac vulgate, since it was the common 
translation in use among all the Syrian sects through- 
out the whole of the flourishing epoch of Syrian 
history, and continues to-day the ecclesiastical version 
of their heirs. So admirably has its text been 
guarded, that it remains substantially the same in 


the later MSS. as it stands in the oldest MS. of the 
Peshitto that has survived to our time (the Codex 
Additioualis 14459 of the British Museum, fifth 
century), or even as it is extracted in the quotations 
of Ephrem of the fourth century. This venerable 
and most admirable version bears, however, traces of 
having received the form which it has so long preserved 
with such well-justified tenacity through a revision 
which may be dated at some time between a.d. 250 
and 350. Accordingly, the considerable fragments of 
a version of the Gospels wliich were recovered by 
Dr. Cureton from one of the MS8. brought by 
Archdeacon Tattam from the Nitrian desert in 1842, 
have been recognised by most scholars to contain an 
older form of the Peshitto. The venerable codex, 
written about the middle of the fifth century, which 
contains these fragments is now in the British 
Museum, while the version itself which it contains 
is clearly not independent of the Peshitto, and almost 
equally cleaily older than it, and is assigned by most 
scholars to the second century. Its great age has 
been oddly confii-med by the discovery of Tatian's 
" Diatessaron " (a Gospel -harmony of the second cen- 
tury), which is found to be based on this version. 
How much of the New Testament was included in 
this oldest Syriac (which is appropriately called from 
its discoverer, the " Curetonian Syriac ") cannot be 
confidently determined. Fragments of the Gospels 
only have as yet come to light. The Peshitto, if we 
confine this name to the form the version took after 
its late third or early fourth centmy revision, has 
never contained the four smaller Catholic Epistles 


(2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Jude) or the Apocalypse, 
it is uncertain whether by inheritance or as a result 
of a revision of the canon contemporary with the 
revision of the text. 

A somewhat different reading of the earliest stages 
of the history of the Syiiac versions has been lately 
commended to scholars by the very careful studies of 
Baethgen. The dependence of the Peshitto on the 
Curetonian may be said to be demonstrated by him ; 
but he supposes the Curetonian to be based upon 
Tatian instead of the source from which he drew, 
and assigns it to about a.d. 250, while the Peshitto 
revision is dated by him about the middle of the 
fourth century. We venture to leave the question 
of the relation of the Curetonian to Tatian undecided, 
as not of essential importance for our present purpose. 

Another Syriac version, not altogether independent 
of the Peshitto, was made in the early sixth century 
(a.d. 508) by the Chorepiscopus Polycaip, under the 
patronage of Philoxenus, Bishop of Mabug or 
Hierapolis. This version has left very few traces of 
itself in its original form, though the Gospels of it 
may have been recently recovered in a MS. brought 
to notice by Prof. Isaac H. Hall, and the pioperty 
of the Beirut Syrian Protestant College. It waa 
subjected to a thorough revision by Thomas of Harke] 
in 616, who added to its margin readings from 
several Greek MSS. belonging to an Alexandrian 
library, and which prove to be valuable. In this 
form it has come down to us in numerous MSS. 
It contains all the New Testament except the 
Apocalypse, and as its characteristic feature is ex- 


cessive literality, it is everywhere useful as a witness 
to its underlying Greek text. It goes without saying 
that its margin presents additional evidence, and is to 
be taken account of as fully as the text itself. 

Yet another Syriac version, and one which may 
be independent of the Peshitto, has been partially 
preserved for us — chiefly in some lesson-books. It 
is assigned by Tischendorf to the fifth century. Its 
dialect is very peculiar ; and as it has been supposed 
to represent a region lying contiguous to Palestine, 
the name of Jerusalem Syriac has been given to the 
version. Besides the lessons from the Gospels, only a 
few verses from the Acts are known. 

The Syrian versions thus include : one from the 
second century — the Curetonian ; a revision of this 
from the late third or early fourth century — the 
Peshitto ; one from the opening of the sixth century, 
with its revision early in the seventh — the Philoxeno- 
Harclean; and one which is doubtingly assigned to 
the fifth century — the Jerusalem. In Tischendorf 's 
digests these versions are cited as follows : syr*^" = 
the Curetonian ; syi*^ = the Jerusalem ; syr***'^ = the 
Peshitto according to Schaaf 's edition ; syrP = the 
Harclean according to the edition of White ; syr"*^"" 
=both of these last two. Other critics make use of 
other abbreviations which will be found explained in 
their editions. 

(3) From the early Egyptian Church two inde- 
pendent versions have come down to us, both of which 
appear to have been made, in part at least, in the 
second century, and both of which contained the 
whole New Testament, although treating the Apcca- 


lypse as a sort of appendix to the volume. This 
last circumstance may hint to us the time when these 
versions were finished — i.e., in the middle of the 
third century, when the Apocalypse was brought into 
dispute in Egypt, as we learn from Dionysius ; or it 
may be the result of speculation taking effect upon 
an already completed version. Of these two versions, 
that which was made for use in Lower Egypt appears 
more faithfully to follow the details of the Greek, 
and may be a few years the older; it is called, 
variously, the Memphitic, the Bahiric, or, confusingly 
appropriating the name that is broad enough to 
embrace both versions, the Coptic. Tischendorf cites 
it by the abbreviation " cop." The version that was 
current in Upper Egypt is known as the Thebaic or 
Sahidic (cited by Tischendorf by the abbreviation 
" sah."), and is perhaps more faithful to Egyptian 
idiom than its sister ; only fragments of it have been 
as yet recovered. Some of the lacunae in the Thebaic 
version may be supplied by using a third Coptic 
version, about 330 verses of which from John and 
Paul are known, and which is not taken directly 
from, the Greek, but is an adaptation of the Thebaic 
to another dialect, from which the version itself is 
known as the Bashmuric or Fayumic (cited by 
Tischendorf by the abbreviation " bash."). 

(4) The early history of the Abyssinian Church 
is very obscure; but its version, the Ethiopic, was 
certainly made directly from the Greek, and dates 
probably from the fourth century, although its earliest 
extant MSS. appear to be as late as the fifteenth 
century. This version is smooth and flowing, and 


yet faitliful, and contains the whole New Testament. 
From the same age with the Ethiopia comes the 
Gothic version, made in the middle of the fourth 
century by the great apostle of the Goths, Ulfilas. 
We possess the Gospels and Paul's Epistles (except 
Hebrews) with lacunae, in codices that carry us back 
as far as the sixth century. The Armenian version, 
which contains the whole New Testament, was trans- 
lated from the Greek about a.d. 433, under the 
patronage of Sahak, the patriarch, and apparently, 
in part at least, by the hand of Miesrob, the inventor 
of the Armenian alphabet. The printed editions are 
good, but not critically satisfactory, and it is necessary 
frequently to appeal from them to the MSS. To 
these the Slavonic version, made in the ninth century, 
may perhaps be added. 

If we arrange this list of versions according to age, 
we obtain the following series of versions which may 
be used in textual criticism of the Greek text : — 

Versions of the early or middle second century, two, 
— the African Latin and the Curetonian Syi'iac. 

Versions of the end of the second century, two, — the 
Memphitic and Thebaic. 

Versions of the late third or early fourth century, 
two, — the Peshitto Syiiac and European Latin. 

Versions of the middle or late fourth century, four, 
— the Gothic, the ItaUan Latin, the Vulgate Latin, 
and the Ethiopic. 

Versions of the fifth century, two, — the Aimenian 
and the Jerusalem Syriac. 

Versions of the sixth century, one, — the Philoxenian 


Versions of the seventh century, one, — the Harclean 

Versions of the ninth century, one, — the Slavonic. 

3. Early Quotations from the New Testament. 

The copiousness of the material to be derived from 
the quotations of early writers is liable to both over- 
and under-estimation. The whole tone of the writing 
of the early Christian authors is Scriptural ; but it is 
none the less often very difficult to make use of their 
allusions in the ciiticism of the text. Many verses, 
and some of these such as present important critical 
problems, are scarcely quoted at all by them. Others 
are frequently quoted, and in an immense variety of 
forms. Probably nearly the whole teaching of the 
New Testament, in one form or another, could be 
recovered from the writings of the fathers ; but this 
would be too much to say of its text. In addition to 
the obvious hindrances to their use in textual criticism 
which have been already pointed out, two require to 
have especial emphasis laid upon them : the looseness 
with which the fathers usually quote, and the evil 
fortune which has attended the transmission of their 
works to our own day. 

A physical cause lies at the bottom of much of the 
looseness of patristic quotation. There were no handy 
reference Bibles in those days, no concordances, no 
indices; and books were dear, and not at all times 
within reach. For brief quotations memory was 
necessarily relied on ; and thus the habit of depending 
on memory fixed itself. Even very long quotations 
can often be but little trusted in their details, and 


in general it is unsafe to draw from a father a 
reading which is not supported by some MS. or ver- 
sion, except in those comparatively rare cases in which 
he tells us that such or such a reading actually stood 
in codices within his knowledge. And at the very best, 
it must be carefully borne in mind, that when the 
reading of a father has been settled, and it is deter • 
mined that he has actually drawn it from a Greek 
MS., its value is no more than it was as it stood in 
the MS. No matter how strongly a father asserts it 
to be the true reading, or the reading of the best and 
oldest MSS., it is after all but a MS. reading — of one 
or more codices accoicUng to the evidence in hand, 
and the value of the further assertions of the father 
will depend on our estimate of his ability and oppor- 
tunities to form a critical opinion. 

Time has dealt very sorely witli patristic writings 
in general, and with the citations from Scripture 
contained in them in particular. Scribes and editors 
have vied with one another in conforming their quo- 
tations to the texts current in later times, and not 
infrequently the text that actually stands written 
is in conflict with the use made of it in the context. 
Above all other evidence, the evidence of the fathers 
needs sifting and critical reconstruction before it can 
be confidently used. Let us add that the i emains of 
the earliest fathers that sui'vive to our day are the 
merest fragments of the literature of their age, and 
in some very important instances have reached us 
only in Latin or Syriac translations of their original 
Greek. In this last case a new problem faces the 
critic : Has the translator rendered the Scriptiuul 


quotations that stood before him in the text, or re- 
quoted them from his own version ? In the former 
case the value of the quotations ranks with that of 
versions of the New Testament ; in the latter they 
are primarily witnesses to a version, and only second- 
arily, through that version to the testimony of which 
they add nothing, witnesses to the Greek text. Yet, 
which process the translator has followed can be 
settled in each individual instance only by a critical 
inquiry. In generaL it is a safe rule to suspect all 
quotations in a translation from a Greek father 
which coiifoim to the national version of the trans- 

Of course, Greek fathers alone are direct witnesses 
to the Greek text. To these are to be added those 
Latin and Syriac writers who can be proved to have 
made use of the Gieek text. So far as their quota- 
tions from the Greek can be sifted out from their 
quotations from their own versions, these are testi- 
monies that will rank independently alongside of 
versions, while the rest will be testimonies only to 
the versions used by them, and through them in- 
directly to the Greek. The quotations of Latin and 
Syi-iac fathers in general are, of course, of this latter 
sort. Ante-Nicene Greek remains are not very copious. 
Only for the seventy- five years embraced between 
A.D. 175 and 250, when we have Irenoeus, Hippolytus, 
Clement of Alexandria, and especially Origen, are we 
supplied with any abundance of testimony. Methodius 
later in the third century, and Eusebius early in the 
fourth, furnish very valuable material j while Cyril of 
Alexandria is the most notewoithy writer for critical 


use that the fifth century gives us. The commentaries 
of the early Church may justly be expected to afford 
very important material, but unfortunately the com- 
mentaries that have been preserved from the first 
four hundred years of early Christianity are not 
numerous. We have Origen's commentaries: on a 
good part of Matthew partly in the Greek and partly 
only in a condensed Latin translation ; on a small 
portion of Luke in Latin ; on much of John in the 
Greek ; on Romans in Latin ; and on some parts of 
1 Corinthians, Ephesians, and some other books. 
Then we have Theodore of Mopsuestia's commentaries 
on the lesser Epistles of Paul in a Latin translation, 
and Chrysostom's homilies on Matthew, John, Acts, 
and Paul in the Greek. The next century gives us 
Theodoret on Paul, and Cyril of Alexandria on the 
Gospels and Paul. And numerous fragments from 
several authors are preserved in Catence. The value 
of such Latin commentaries as that of Primasius 
on the Apocalypse, or such Syriac ones as that of 
Ephrem on the Gospels, is wholly with reference to 
the respective versions on which they are based; 
from the former nearly the whole of the African 
Apocalypse has been recovered, and from the latter 
a considerable knowledge of Tatian's " Diatessaron." 

The number of ecclesiastical writers that are cata- 
logued for critical purposes considerably exceeds one 
hundred. From all of these occasional citations are 
drawn, but very few of them have been thoroughly 
put under contribution to critical science. Griesbach 
pretty thoroughly explored the pages of Origen, and 
Tregelles did much for Eusebius, and Dean Burgon 



lias enlarged our knowledge of patristic citations in 
many directions. But much yet remains to be done, 
both in extracting their readings from the writings 
of the fathers and in testing the readings that now 
stand in the editions or MSS. by the context, before 
we can flatter ourselves that the work is much more 
than well begun. The fathers are cited by abbre- 
viations of their names, and the Latin and Greek 
evidence is very much jumbled together in the digests. 
The following brief list of the names that are best 
worth our attention in the digests is borrowed from 
Dr. Westcott. The more important fathers are 
marked by small capitals ; Latin fathers by italics : — 

Justinus M., c. 103—168. 
IfiEN^US, c. 120—190. 
Irencei Interpretcs [c. 180? 

or 300 ?1. 
Tertullianus (Marcion), c, 

Clemens Alex., 4-c. 220. 
Origenes, 186—253. 
Cyprianus, 4- 258. 
Dionysius Alex., +265. 
Petrus Alex., +313. 
Methodius, +0. 311. 

Athanasius, 296—373. 
Cyrillus Hierosol., 315—386. 
Lucifer, 4-370. 
Ephraem Syrus [Tatianus], 

+ 378. 
Basilius Magnus, 329—379. 
IIterontmus, 340—420. 

Amh'osii/s, 340—397. 
Ambrosiaster, c. 360. 
Vlctorinus, c. 360. 
Chrysostomus, 347—407. 
DiDYMUS, + 396. 
Epiphanius, + 402. 
Ruli)ius, c. 345—410. 
AuGUSTiNus, 354—430. 
Theodoras Mops., + 429. 
Cyrillus Alex., + 444. 
HiLARius, + 368. 
Theodoretus, 393—458. 
Euthalius, c. 450. 
Cassiodorus, c. 468 — 566, 
Victor Antiochenus. 
Theophylactus [c. 1077]. 
ANDREAS(Apoc.),c. 635—700. 
Pt'imasius (Apoc.) [c. 550]. 
Johannes Damasceuus, + c. 

(Ecumenius, c. 950. 
Euthymius, c. 1100. 


The student is now in a position to understand 
better than formerly the notes which we quoted from 
Tischendorf's digest. Let us take another example, 
however, and ask : Shall we read in John vii. 8, " I 
go not up to this feast," or " I go not yet up to this 
feast "1 Tischendorf states the evidence thus : — 

ovK cum xDKMn 17='-* 389 p^^'" abceffH^- 
vg cop syr*^'* arm aeth. Porph ap Hier^-^" ^^^"^ 
Epiphw Chr«328 Qy^4.4oi 9 (= Gb Sz) Ln 

ovTTiii cum B L T X r A A unc' al pier f g q vg*^^ 
"^'•1 (ap. Ln) go sah syr^*^^ etP (et'"sg'"^c) et*^"- 
(S}'riace nunc non) Bas ^*^ '^^. 

A glance enables the reader to perceive that " not " 
is read by the uncial copies x, D, K, M, 11 ; by the 
minuscules 17**, 389, p^*^^; by the Old Latin copies 
a, b, c, e, ff 2', P, which include both those of the 
African and those of the European type; by the Vulgate 
Latin, the Coptic {i.e. the Memphitic), the Curetonian 
Syriac, the Armenian, and the Ethiopic versions; 
and by Porphyry as cited by Jerome, Epiphanius, 
Chrysostom, and Cyril, at the places in their works 
indicated by the small numerals. On the other side, 
ovTTO) is read by the editions included under the symbol 
q — i.e., by Stephens and Elzevir, but not by Griesbach 
and Scholz (for that is the meaning of " 7=. Gb. 
Sz."), and also by Lachmann in accordance with the 
testimony of the uncial copies B, L, T, X, V, A, A, 
and seven others; of most other {i.e. minuscule) 
MSS. ; of the Old Latin codices f, g, q (i.e. the 
Italian Latin); of MSS. of the Vulgate Latin cited 
by Lachmann ; of the Gothic and Sahidic (= Thebaic) 


versions; of Schaaf's edition of the Syriac (Peshitto), 
White's edition of the Syriac (Harclean), as well in 
the Greek margin as in the text, and the Jerusalem 
Syriac; and of Basil at the place indicated by the 

The student may not yet be in position to decide 
between the readings with any confidence ; but he can, 
at least, understand now the testimony. He can do 
more : he can classify it at a glance into its various 
sprts, — uncials, minuscules, versions, fathers. And 
he can even analyse it according to age^ thus ; — 

For ovK there are — 

Uncial MSS. of the fourth century, one : ^;. 
„ „ „ sixth century, one : D. 

„ „ „ ninth century, three : K, M,T. - 
Minuscule MSS., three: 17**, 389, p««^ 
Versions of the second century, two (three) : 
Memph., Syr*=" (Afr. Lat.). 
J, „ „ fourth century, three : Europ. 

Lat., Vg., ^th. 
„ „ „ fifth century, one : Arm. 
Fathers of the late third century, one : Porphyry. 
„ ,, fourth century, two : Epiphanius, 

„ „ fifth century, one : Cyril of Alex- 
For ov^^^o there are : — 

Uncial MSS. of the fourth century, one : B. 
„ „ „ fifth century, one : T. 
,, „ „ eighth century, two : li 
(and E). 


Uncial MSS. of the ninth century, six : X, r, A, L 
(a.nd F, V). 
„ „ „ (tenth century, four : G, H, 
S, U). 
Minuscule MSS., almost all. 
X'^erisions of the second century, one : Thebaic, 
„ „ fourth century, four : It. Lat., 
Ygcod. aiiq.^ Qq^^ Syr'^^•^ 

„ „ fifth century, one : Jerusalem 

Syria c. 
„ „ seventh century, one : Syr.P et"^^ 


Fathers of the fourth century, one : Basil. 

Such an analysis carries us an appreciable distance 
towards a decision as to the relative value of the 
support given to each reading. Yet it falls short of 
a decision. If numbers of witnesses are to rule, " not 
yet" must receive the palm; if age is to rule, the 
division is pretty even between the two; if weight 
and value of the witnesses is to rule, — the student 
is not yet in position to have an opinion. Whence 
we may learn tliat it behoves us next to turn from 
the matter of criticism to its methods — that is, to put 
this query to ourselves : " How are we to proceed in 
order to reach a really grounded decision as to the 
weight of evidence for each of these two readings 1" 



IT has been already pointed out that there are but 
two kinds of evidence to which we can appeal in 
prosecuting the work of criticising a text, — external 
and internal evidence. All methods of criticism are, 
therefore, but various ways of using these kinds of 
evidence ; and when we undertake to investigate the 
methods of criticism, we simply inquire how we are 
to proceed in order to reach firm conclusions as to 
the text by means of internal and external evidence. 
We have been busied thus far in merely gathering 
the external testimony, and the reader is doubtless in 
a position to appreciate how little the mere collection 
of the testimony has advanced us in deciding on the 
text. It is our business now to consider how wo 
may attain a grounded decision as to the true text. 

1. Internal Evidence of Keadings. 

The most rudimentary method of dealing with 
the variations that emerge in the collection of the 
external testimony would be to use the external 
evidence only to advertise to us the fact of variation 
and to furnish us with the readings between which 
choice is to be made, and then to settle the claims 


of the rival readings on internal grounda. Most 
crudely performed, this would be to select, out of 
the readings actually transmitted, that one which 
seemed to us to make the best sense in the connection, 
or to account most easily for the origin of the others. 
It requires no argument to point out the illegitimacy 
of thus setting aside the external evidence unheard ; 
or the danger of thus staking everything upon our 
insight into the exact intention of the author or 
the springs of action that moved men through a 
millennium and a half of copying, if this insight lie 
exercised extemporaneously, as it were, and without 
a very severe previous study of the authors and their 
times and the scribes and their habits. Nevertheless, 
though all may not be lightly ventured upon it.j 
untrained dictum, internal evidence of readings, when 
carefully investigated, constitutes a most valuable 
method of criticism, the aid of which we cannot 
dispense with. It will repay us, therefore, to consider 
its methods of procedure in some detail. 

As has been already intimated, " internal evidence 
of readings" includes two separate and independent 
processes. In interrogating any reading as to the 
evidence that it bears to its own originality, we may 
make our inquiries with reference to the author, or 
with reference to the scribes who have transmitted 
what he wrote ; and we may make them in either 
case absolutely, or relatively to other transmitted 
readings. We may ask, absolutely, What is the pro- 
bability that this is the reading that the author 
would have placed just here ? or, relatively. What 
pobability commends this reading, above any of the 


others that have come down to us, as the reading 
Avhich the author wrote here? Or we may ask what 
is the probabihty that this is the reading which the 
scribes began with, either absolutely — i.e., in the 
form, Does this reading suggest an earlier one, out 
of which it was made by the scribes'? or relatively 
to the other transmitted readings — that is, in the 
form, What is the probability that the other read- 
ings have grown out of this one? When dealing 
absolutely with each reading, we are seeking directly 
the autographic text. When dealing relatively with 
each, we are seeking in the tirst instance only the 
earliest transmitted text, and leaving it to a further 
inquiry to determine whether or not this is the 
autographic text. In either case we are making use 
of two separate methods of inquiry ; one of which 
deals with the probability that the author wrote this 
reading, and the other with the probability that the 
scribes began with it. The one is appropriately 
called Intrinsic Evidence, and the other Transcrii> 
tional Evidence. 

Intrinsic Evidence. 

By intrinsic evidence is meant the testimony 
which each reading delivers, by its very nature, to its 
fitness to stand in the text. It is elicited by actually 
trying the reading in question in the passage and 
testing its appropriateness by the contextual argu- 
ment, the rhetorical flow of the language, the known 
style and habits of speech and thought of the author, 
and the general language and thought-circle of the 
tiiQ(es and society in which he lived. The danger 


that attends the use of the method grows out of our 
tendency to read our own standpoint into our author, 
instead of reading ourselves back into his. It is 
easy to become an improver instead of remaining a 
simple editor; and it is often very difficult not to 
make an author speak our thoughts, if not even our 
language. It cannot, however, be too strongly in- 
sisted upon that any attempt to estimate intrinsic 
probabilities by the rule of what appears to us to 
be the best reading is simply an attempt to corrupt 
the text and train it to festoon the trellises of our 
own desires. All trustworthy appeal to intrinsic 
evidence is a delicate historical process by which 
the critic, having steeped himself in the times of the 
writer and having assimilated himself to his thought 
and style, thinks his thoughts and estimates the 
value and fitness of words w4th his scales. The 
reading which would be intrinsically certain in Mr. 
Carlyle might be intrinsically ridiculous in Mr. 
Raskin. The reading that we should commend in 
Lucian might be unthinkable in Epictetus ; that 
which would be appropriate in Lucretius might be*^ 
impossible in John. The preparation for a just use 
of this method of criticism consists, therefore, in a 
serious and sympathetic study of the author in hand ; 
and without this, all appeal to it is but opening the 
floodgates to the most abounding eiTor. 

Above all other processes of criticism this method 
requires in its user a fine candour and an incorrupti- 
ble mental honesty which are content to read from 
Ihe authors with which they deal only what those 
nuthors have put into their words, and which can 


distinguish between what Paul, for instance, says, 
and what we could wish he had said. Despite what 
we may have antecedently thought, some writers are 
ungrammatical, some are obscure, some are illogical, 
some are inconsequent, some are frightfully infelicit- 
ous. And the business of the textual critic is not to 
correct their grammar, and brighten their obscurities, 
and perfect their logic, and chasten their style, but 
to restore their text exactly as they intended to write 
it, whatever there may be in it to oifend our taste 
or contradict our opinions. Intrinsic evidence in 
the hands of some critics means nothing else than 
a ruthless elimination of everything exceptional or 
even distinctive in an author's style. When Mr. 
Margoliouth lays it down as a canon for criticising 
the Attic tragedians that " anything which is 
difficult or awkward is corrupt," we more than doubt 
the validity of his methods ; and when Mr.McClellan, 
dealing with the New Testament, states as the 
"golden canon," that "no reading can possibly be 
original which contradicts the context of the passage 
or the tenor of the writing," we recognise the justice 
of the statement, but desiderate some safeguard that 
the test shall be applied from the point of sight of 
the author, and not of the nineteenth -century reader, 
in whose logical infallibility there may be less reason 
to believe than in that of the writer who is criticised. 
Delicate as the process of intrinsic evidence thus 
becomes, however, it is yet not only a, valuable but 
also an indispensable agent of criticism, and its ver- 
dicts sometimes reach a practical certainty. When- 
ever it is the expression of careful and sympathetic 


study of an author's thought and style it demands our 
serious attention, and if, when so used, it distinctly 
and directly opposes a reading, it may attain a real 
finality. Cases of this kind, where intrinsic evidence 
sets itsolf immovably against a reading, must be very 
sharply distinguished from those in which it only 
jul judges one of several readings to be on the whole 
preferable to the others. In the former case its 
verdict has an absoluteness which is wholly lacking 
to the merely relative result reached in the latter. 
If the other readings, in this case, any or all of them, 
would have seemed unexceptionable in the absence of 
the preferred reading, the preference thrown upon 
this by intiinsic evidence can carry us but a little 
way towards settling the text, and raises but a faint 
presumption against any other form of e\ddence. 

The variation in Matt. vi. 1 may perhaps serve as 
an illusti^tion of the force of intrinsic evidence when 
thus simply passing on the comparative appropriate- 
ness of two readings. The Authorised English Version 
reads, " Do not your alms before men," w^hich 
the Revisers change to *' Do not your righteousness 
before men." Which does intrinsic evidence com- 
mend ? Unquestionably the latter. Throughout this 
context our Lord is giving instruction concerning 
righteousness ; and having commanded His disciples 
in the previous chapter (v. 20, sq.) to see to it that 
their righteousness exceeded that of the scribes and 
Pharisee.s, and illustrated the command by instancing 
the laws against murder, adultery, false swearing, and 
the like, he proceeds now (vi. 1) to guard against 
an ostentatious righteousness, and, just as before, illus- 


trates His command by instancing certain details, — 
here, almsgiving (2 — 4), prayer (3 — 15), and fasting 
(16 — 18). To read " righteousness " here is thus far 
more consonant with the context, and even brings 
out a connection with the preceding part of the dis- 
course which with the reading '' alms " is in danger 
of being overlooked. ''Righteousness," moreover, 
comes with a Hebraistic flavour straight from the 
Old Testament, both in the structure of the phrase, 
" to do righteousness," and in its use as a genus of 
which "alms" is a species, and thus is especially 
suitable in the Hebraistic Matthew. We cannot fail 
to feel that such considerations create a very sub- 
stantial corroboration of the testimony of those MSS. 
which contain " righteousness " here. Nevertheless, 
if " alms " were strongly pressed upon us by external 
evidence, this intrinsic evidence would not avail to 
set it aside. For although intrinsic evidence decidedly 
prefers " righteousness " here, it does not distinctly 
refuse " alms " ; apa,rt from the other reading " alms " 
would be easily accepted by it, and, hence, if it is 
otherwise strongly supported, we can receive it as 
the original reading. Another example of like 
character is furnished by Luke xv. 21, where the 
variation concerns the insertion or omission of the 
repetition from verse 19 of the words ''Make mc 
as one of thy hired servants." Intrinsic evidence 
casts its vote for omission. That the son does not 
carry out his intention of asking to be made a servant 
after his father had hasted to claim him as a well- 
beloved son, is a fine trait ; and we hesitate to believe 
that such true psychology, and such a beautiful turn 


of composition, have entered the narrative only by a 
slip from the bungling hand of a sleepy scribe. But 
after all, may it not have done so ? If no copy had 
omitted the words, we should scarcely have thought 
of doing so ; and hence, even here, intrinsic evidence 
raises a probability only and does not attain certainty. 
In a word, intrinsic considerations, in all such cases, 
give evidence, and oft-times very strong evidence, but 
scarcely such decisive evidence as can withstand the 
pressure of a strong probability brought from another 

The evidence is more decisive in such a case as that 
of Acts xii. 25, where to read that Paul and Barnabas 
returned "to Jerusalem," seems flat in the face of 
the context, although some relief may be got from an 
unnatural construction. It is to be observed, how- 
•ever, that even this result is negative, and in reject- 
ing ci? 'lepovcraX^/x here, intrinsic evidence does not 
necessarily commend thereby either of its rivals l^ 
or ttTTo : it contents itself with simply refusing the 
reading offered to it. This may be illustrated further 
by the variation at Acts xi. 20. Intrinsic evidence 
utterly refuses to have anything here except a read- 
ing that gives the sense of lX\y)va<i ; but again this is 
negative, and does not amount to a demand for just 
this word. All that we learn from it is that the 
author of the book placed here some word which 
contrasted with the "Jews" of v. 19, and which 
recorded an advance on the prov^ious practice of the 
Church, and prepared for distinguishing the Christians 
from the Jews (xi. 26), and for sending missions to 
the Gentiles (xiii.) It tells us with great positive- 


ness, therefore, that Greek-speaking Jews were not 
meant here,, but veritable Gentiles. It is perhaps 
a mistake to spring too rashly to the conclusion, 
.however, that this is equivalent to commending 
cXXryvas and rejecting cXA-r/vto-ras ; some other matters 
need settling first. But if kW-qviara's necessarily 
means '' Greek-speaking Jews," then this evidence does 
decisively reject it. And if eXXiyvas be otherwise well 
commended, intrinsic evidence accepts it gladly as 
furnishing just the thought it desires. 

These examples illustrate the nature and the limita- 
tions of this method of criticism. It cannot be used 
idly, and it is very easy to abuse. But when exer- 
cised with care, and guided by a sympathetic insight 
into the literary character of the author under treat- 
ment, it is capable of much, and indispensable to the 
critic. It is chary of giving a positive verdict with 
too great decision ; but it may be safely asserted that 
no conclusion to which it does not give at least its 
consent can be accepted as final in any case of textual 

Transcriptional Evidence. 

By transcriptional evidence is meant the testi- 
/ mony which each reading bears to its own origination. 
It is elicited by comparing together the whole series 
of claimants to a place in the text, in any given 
passage, with a view to discovering in what order they 
must have arisen — that is, which one of them, on the 
assumption of its originality, will best account for 
the origin of all the rest, or to what reading the 
whole body of extant readings points, as their source 
and fountain. The danger to which this method is 


exposed resides in our liability to come to conclusions 
on the ground of tendencies to error which we may 
observe in ourselves, rather than on the ground of 
the actual tendencies that led astiay the scribes 
who have transmitted ancient books to us. Our only 
safeguard against this danger is to make preparation 
for using this method by a thorough study of the 
character of scribes' work, and of the errors to which 
they were liable as exhibited in the actual errors 
which they have made. A few hours of careful 
scrutiny of a series of acknowledged errors actually 
occuri'ing in our codices will do more towards fitting 
us for the exercise of this nice process than any 
length of time spent in a priori reasoning. Above 
all, it must be remembered that in criticising — say, 
for instance, the text of the New Testament — we are 
dealing with a writing which has had not one but 
many scribes successively engaged upon it, and that, 
therefore, we are to deal with a complex of tendencies 
which may have been engaged in progressively cor- 
rupting a text, and that in even exactly opposite 
directions. The greatest difficulty of the prcx^ess is 
found in experience to reside less, however, in in- 
ability to arrange any given series of readings in an 
order which may well have been, on known tendencies 
of scribes, the order of their origination, than in 
inability to decide which of several orders, in which 
they seem equally capable of being arranged, is the 
actual order of their origination. Just because the 
tendencies to error ran through a very wide range 
and pulled in divergent directions, it often seems 
equally easy to account for each rival reading as a 



corruption of some other; and the acute editor is 
seldom at a loss to defend the reading which he 
prefers, by pointing out some way in which the 
rival readings may have grown out of it. The only 
remedy against this ever-present danger is a more 
careful study of the MSS. themselves, and a more 
rigid exclusion of all undue subjectivity from our 
judgments. What is difficult is not impossible ; and, 
as experience g^rows, it is usually discovered that we 
can with ever-increasing confidence select from a 
body of readings the one which actually did stand 
at the root of all the others. Wherever this can be 
done, transcriptional evidence may be able to deliver 
a very decided verdict. 

A circumstance which appears, at first sight, suffi- 
ciently odd, operates to give us especial confidence in 
the union of transcriptional and intrinsic evidence in 
the same finding. Just because intrinsic evidence 
asks after the best reading and transcriptional evi- 
dence after the reading that has been altered by the 
scribes, they are frequently found, at first examina- 
tion, in apparent conflict. An obviously satisfactory 
reading is not especially apt to be changed by a 
scribe ; it is often the play of his mind about a 
reading that puzzles him in one way or another, that 
distracts his attention from or intrudes his conjec- 
ture into his writing. When we ask which is the 
best reading, therefore, we often select the one which 
appeared also to the scribe to be the best, and which, 
when we ask after the original reading, just on this 
account appears to be a scribe's correction of a less 
obviously good or easy reading. Karely, this contra- 

THE METII0D;S of criticism. 93 

diction between the two forms of internal evidence 
is ineradicable. Commonly, however, it is only the 
signal to us that we have carelessly performed our 
work in the one process or the other, and thus directs 
us to a further study, and finally to a complete 
reconciliation of the divergent findings. The reading 
that seemed to us intrinsically unlikely comes often 
on deeper study to seem intrinsically certain ; or else 
the reading which seemed at first certainly derivative, 
comes to be seen to be without doubt original. When- 
ever these two so easily opposing forms of evidence 
can be shown to unite heartily and certainly in 
favour of one reading, they raise a presumption for 
it that will not yield to any other kind of evidence 
whatever. But, for precisely the same reason, when- 
ever they seem hopelessly set in opposition to one 
another, we may with the greatest justice suspect 
the conclusions at which we have arrived by the one 
or the other, — perhaps by both. 

The very essence of a preparation to engage in 
criticism by the aid of transcriptional evidence is 
experience of actual scribes' work. Nothing can 
quite take the place of familiarity with MSS. them- 
selves. Where this is impossible, facsimiles may 
form a partial substitute ; and even the information 
given in the digests may be turned to excellent 
account by the diligent student. Some piimary hints 
of how various readings have arisen in the text, which 
may serve as a basis for further and more direct 
studies, are all that it is possible to set down here. 

Considered from the point of view of their effect 
on the text, various readings are either additions,. 


omissions, or substitutions. But such a classification 
is of small use to the student of transcriptional 
evidence. What he desires to know is how various 
readings originate, that he may have some means 
of investigating the origin of the readings that come 
before him. From this point of view, all readings 
may be broadly classified as intentional and uninten- 
tional corruptions. Every change brought into the 
text is the result either of a conscious and intentional 
alteration made by the scribe, or of an unintentional 
and unconscious slip into which he has fallen. 
Taking the mass of various readings together, a very 
inconsiderable proportion of them can be attributed 
to intentional changes, and any detailed classification 
of them is so far arbitrary that many readings may 
be equally easily accounted for on two or more 
hypotheses, and hence may be assigned indifferently 
to either of two or more classes. With this explana- 
tion a rough classification of the sources of error may 
be ventured, as follows : — 

I. Intentional corruptions : 

1. Linguistic and rhetorical corrections. 

2. Historical corrections. 

3. Harmonistic corrections. 

4. Doctrinal corruptions. 

5. Liturgical corruptions. 

II. Unintentional corruptions ; 

1. Errors of the eye. 

2. Errors of the memory. 

3. Errors of the judgmcDt. 

4. Errors of the pen. 

5. Errors of the speech. 


Most of the corruptions which may be fairly classed 
as intentional fall under the head of linguistic and 
ihetoricul corrections, and were introduced, we may 
believe, almost always in good faith and under the 
impression that an error had previously crept into 
the text and needed correcting. Sometimes they 
were the woik of the scribe himself, sometimes of 
the official corrector (somewhat analogous to the 
modern proof-reader) under whose eye the completed 
MS. passed before it left the " publishing house." 
Examples may be found in the correction of dialectic 
forms, such as the rejection of the second aorist 
termination in a, and the substitution of the more 
common forms — e.g.^ ^XOojxeVf ^kOerc, rjX.Oou for ^X^a/xev, 
i]\OaT€, rjXOav ; the euphonic changes which transform 
Xrjfxyf/ojxaL, XijfXffiOeLS into Xyj^OfXai, Xi](j)9wi or kKKaKeiv 
into ey/caK£ti/ ; the smoothing out of the grammar, as, 
e.g., when in Matt. xv. 32 rjfjiipaL rpcts is changed 
into tjfjiipas rpets, or in Matt. xxi. 23 iXOovros avrov 
into iXOovTL avTio, or in Mark vii. 2 ifxe/juf/avro is 
inserted and thereby a difficult sentence rendered 
eiisy. Here, too, may be ranged such corrections as 
the change of the participles Kpd^a<s and cnrapa^as 
in Mark ix. 26 into Kpd$av and a-irapdiav in ordet* to 
make them agree grammatically with their neuter 
noun TTi/cO/xa. Examples of corrections for clearing 
up historical difficulties may be found in the change 
of " Isaiah the prophet " into " the prophets " in 
Mark i. 2 ; of '' sixth " into " third " in John xix. 14, 
and the like. Harmonistic corruptions, though not 
confined to tne Gospels (compare, for example, 
Actsix, 5, G with xxvi. 14, 15), are, of course, most 


frequent there, and form, whether consciously intro- 
duced or unconsciously, one of the most fertile 
sources of corruption. Familiar examples may be 
found in the assimilation of the Lord's Prayer as 
recorded by Luke to the fuller form as recorded by 
Matthew, and the insertion of '* unto repentance " 
in Matt. ix. 13 from Luke v. 32. Something very 
similar has often happened to the quotations from the 
Old Testament, which are enlarged from the Old 
Testament context or more closely conformed to the 
LXX. wording. Examples may be found in the 
addition of tyyi^et (xoi . . . . tuJ o-TO/xaTL avrCjv koi 
out of Isa. xxix. 13 into Matt. xv. 8, and of ov 
il/evSoixapTvp-qa-eis in Rom. xiii. 9. On the other hand, 
it is doubtful if any doctrinal corruptions can 
be pointed to with complete confidence. Even the 
Trinitarian passage in 1 John v. 7 and part of 8 
may have innocently got into the text. The most 
likely instances are the several passages in which 
fasting is coupled with prayer in some texts — as, e.g., 
in [Matt. xvii. 21], Mark ix. 29, Acts x. 30, 1 Cor. 
vii. 5 ; but even these are doubtful. Liturgical cor- 
ruptions, on the other hand, are common enough, but 
can '"^seldom be assigned to intention except in the 
service-books, where they deceive nobody, or in cer- 
tain MSS. redacted for use as service-books, which 
have been fitted for public reading by such changes as 
inserting '' And turning to His disciples He said," at 
Luke X. 22 (the beginning of a lesson), or of *' But 
the Lord said," at Luke viii. 31, or the change of 
" His parents " into " Joseph and Mary," at Luke 
ii. 41, and the like. 


So long, however, as we are dealing with corrup- 
tions which may with some plausibility be classed 
as intentional, we are on the confines of the subject. 
The fecund causes of the abounding error that has 
crept into the text lie rather in the natural weak- 
ness of llesh, limiting the powers of exact attention. 
From each of the sources of error which have been 
tabulated above as unintentional have sprung many 
kinds of corruption. Under errors of the eye, for 
instance, are to be classed all those mistakes, of 
whatever kind, which have arisen through a simple 
misreading of the MS. that lay before the copyist 
to be copied. The ancient mode of writing in con- 
tinuous lines, and the similarity that existed between 
some of the letters, facilitated such errors. A con- 
siderable body of omissions have arisen from what is 
called " homceoteleuton " or " like ending." When I 
two succeeding clauses or words end alike, the last 
is apt to be omitted in copying ; the copyist, having 
written out the first, glances back at the MS. for 
the next clause, and, his eye catching the like-ending 
of the second clause, he mistakes this for what he 
has just written, and so passes on to the following 
words, thus omitting the second clause altogethei*. 
The same result often happens when the same 
sequence of letters occurs twice near together, and 
when two consecutive clauses begin alike instead of 
ending alike — a case which differs in name rather 
than in fact from the one just described. An 
example of " homceoteleuton " may be found at 
1 John ii. 23, where the whole clause, " He that 
confesseth the Son, hath the Father also," is omitted 



in some codices because both it and the preceding 
clause end with the words rov Trarcpa ej(€i. An 
instance in which only a few letters are involved is 
the omission of 6 'It/ctovs in Matt. ix. 28, which is 
apparently due to the custom of writing 'lyjcrovs in 
abbreviation, thus : Aereid^yTOicoic, — in which oic was 
easily mistaken for the preceding oic. Other ex- 
amples are the omission of the whole verse, Luke 
xviii. 39, in a few codices, and of a clause in John 
vi. 39 by C. 

Another error of the eye arises from mistaking 
similar letters for one another, such as, e.g., the 
confusion of (one way or the other) ei and h (Luke 
xvi. 20, ecXKMfjiCvos — r/AKco/xevo? ; 2 Cor. xii. 1, Srj — Set); 
TT and Ti (John vii. 31, fxrj TrXuova — /xT^rt TrXeiova) ; 
H and N (Matt. xvii. 12, oaa rjOeXyja-av — oaav OeXrjaav); 
and O (Luke vii. 13, icnrXay^iaO-q — eo-7r/\ay;)(Vtcrov) ; 
Y and B (Aa^tS— Aaa;tS), and the like. Possibly the 
famous reading 0eos in 1 Tim. iii. 16 may have 
arisen as an error of the eye whereby oc was mis- 
taken for the abbreviation 0c, which differs fi-om it 
only by two light lines ; although it may have equally 
well arisen as a strengthening correction or a mere 
blunder of a scribe, who mechanically added the lines 
which he had so frequently attached to this pair of 
symbols. The misreading of abbreviations was also 
a fertile source of error, and may be classed with 
errors of the eye. One of the most frequent in- 
stances results in the insertion of 6 ^l-qaovs after 
avToh, by first doiibliug the oic, and then mistaking 
it for the abbreviated oic. In like manner we have 
Kaipw in Rom. xii. 11, probably through a misreading 


of the abbreviated krco (/<vpta)) for K.pco (KaipoJ). So 
too, the Kara TrdvTa of Acts xvii. 25 may have arisen 
from misreading K,TAn(NNTA (xat to. -rravTa). A still 
more striking instance is found at Acts xiii. 23, 
where the abbreviation grain (or cloth rmn) has been 
misread as if it were cpi^N (or ccothrian), and thus 
(Tiinrjpa 'Ir;crow transmuted into crwTrjptav. Still another 
class of errors of the eye arises from the wandering 
eye taking up and inserting into the text a word or 
part of a word from a neighbouring line or a neigh- 
bouring cohimn. Perhaps the form 'Aadcf) in Matt. 
i. 7 has so come into the text from the influence 
of the 'luxrarfidT, which stands immediately beneath 
it. Even whole lines may be omitted or exchanged 
by a similar sUp, and this may be the true account 
to give of the varied relative position of the clauses 
in 1 Cor. i. 2. Another error of the eye of somewhat 
Bimilar kind produces an assimilation of neighbouring 
terminations — as, for example, in Rev. i. 1, where 
rov ayyeXov avTov tov SovXov avrov stands for tov 
xyyeXov avrov toj SovXoi avTOV. 

As errors of memory we should class all that brood 
which seem to have arisen from the copyist holding 
a clause or sequence of letters in his somewhat 
treacherous memory between the glance at the MS. to 
he copied and his writing down what he saw there. 
Ueuce the numerous petty changes in the order of 
words ; the substitution of synonyms, as ctTrcv for e<f>rj 
in Matt. xxii. 37, e/c for aVo, and the reverse (cf. 
Acts xii. 25), ofxixdruiv for ocfjOaXfxojv in Matt. ix. 29, and 
the like ; permutation of tenses, as, e.^., ySaTrrio-avTc? 
for ^aTrrLt,ovr€<i in Matt, xxviii. 19, and the like. 


Here, too, belong many of the liarmonistic corruptions, 
and the conformation of quotations from the Old 
Testament to the LXX. text, the scribe allowing his 
memory unconsciously to affect his writing. 

As errors of the judgment may be classed many 
misreadings of abbrevia,tions, as also the adoption of 
marginal glosses into the text, by which much of the 
most striking corruption which has ever entered the 
text has been produced. As the margin was used for 
both corrections and glosses, it must have been often 
next to impossible for the scribe to decide what to 
do with a marginal note. Apparently he solved his 
doubt generally by putting the note into the text. 
Doubtless this is the account to give of the abundant 
interpolation that deforms the text of such codices 
as those cited by the symbol D. More interesting 
examples are afforded by such explanatory not^s as 
" who walk not according to the flesh but according 
to the spirit," inserted at Rom. viii. 1, to define 
" those in Christ Jesus " of the text j or as the 
account of how it happened that the waters of Beth- 
saida were healing, inserted at John v. 3, 4. Even 
more important instances are the pericope of the 
adulteress inserted at John vii. 53, sq., and the last 
twelve verses of Mark, both of which appear to be 
scraps of early writings inserted from the margin, 
where they had been first written with an illustrative 
or supplementary purpose. What a sleepy or stupid 
scribe could do in this direction is illustrated by such 
a reading as Se^acrOai yjfxas iu TroXXots rtui/ avTiypdcjiOJV 
ovTOis evprjTai koL ov KaOw<; i^ATricra/xev, which stands in 
a minuscule copy at 2 Cor. viii. 4, 5. 


Under errors of the pen we class all that great 
body of variations which seem to be due to a simple 
careless miswriting of what lay rightly enough in the 
mind of the scribe at the time, such as, e.g.^ trans- 
positions, repetitions, petty omissions of letters, and 
the like. It is impossible to draw any sharp line of 
demarcation between this class and errors of the eye 
or memory, and many readings combine more than 
one slip in their origin. Foj* instance, when in 
Matt. ix. 15 we read OT<\N<\peH in Codex D instead 
of OTANAHApGH, WO rccognisc that there has been 
confusion of n and n, and then homoeoteleuton at 
work in omitting <\n after an ; but the result is 
simply the omission of two letters. So, in 1 Cor. 
vii. 34, when D, E, omit the second koX in the sequence 
of letters MCMe rictai km h, we scarcely know whether 
to call it simple incuriay or to explain it by homoeo- 
teleuton of the TM and kai. On the other hand, 
when {< writes et? to. ayia twice in Heb. ix. 12, or B 
repeats c^vyov ol hi Kparrjo-avr^^ in Matt. xxvi. 56, 57, 
we have before us a simple blunder ; and the like is 
found in every codex. Matters of this kind call for 
remark only when the slip of the scribe creates a 
difference in sense which may mislead the reader — as, 
e.g. J when E, M, etc., transform e\a/3ov in Mark 
xiv. 65 by a simple transposition of letters into 
e/5aXov, and H corrects this into eftaXXov ; or when H, 
by a careless repetition, inserts an article into the 
phrase €K/3aAA.ovTa [to.] SaLfiovia in Luke ix. 49. A 
more difficult case occurs at Matt. xxvi. 39, where 
X A, C, D, etc., read npoceAecoN, but B, M, IT, etc., 
npoeAGcoM ; either the former is a careless insertion, 


or the latter a careless omission of c, helped by the 
neighbourhood of the other round letters o and e- 

Finally, by errors of speech we mean all those 
which have grown out of the habitual forms of 
speech (in grammar, lexicography, or pronunciation) to 
which the scribe was accustomed, and which therefore 
he tended to write. His purism obtruded itself in 
correcting dialectic forms or Hebraistic turns of 
speech into accordance with his classical standard. 
Examples of this have been given under another 
caption. Sometimes, on the other hand, the idiom 
would be too elegant for his appreciation, and he 
would unconsciously conform it to his habitual speech. 
An instance may be seen in Acts xvi. 3, where 
D, E, H, L, P, substitute iJSetorav yap aTravrcs tov Trarepa 
avTOv OTL ''^XXrjv vTrrjp^ev for the correct rjSeLcrav yap 
Travres otl "EXXrjv 6 iraryjp avTOv vTrrjp)(€v — to the ruin 
of the proper emphasis. The most considerable bod}' 
of corruptions of this sort, however, grows out ol 
what is technically called " Itacism," that is, out of 
that confusion of vowels and diphthongs which was 
prevalent in pronunciation and could not fail to affect 
here and there the spelling. It consequently happens 
that t is continually getting written for ei and vice 
versd, and at and e; rj, l, and ei; rj, ol and v, o and to; -q 
and 6 are confused in the spelling. For determining 
the age of these confusions of sounds in the speech of 
the people, we are dei^endent on epi graphical material, 
and on its testimony they must be carried back to a 
very remote antiquity. The confusion of ci and i, for 
instance, occurs even in an Attic inscription earlier than 
300 B.C., and was already prevalent in other regions' 


before that. From the end of the third century it 
was prevalent ever}'where, while in the second cen- 
tury A.D. the distinction between the two was a crux 
orthographica. At the same time it must be remem- 
bered that a standard spelling was current, and care- 
fully written MSS. tried to conform to it ; so that 
we are not surprised to learn that the MSS. differ 
much among themselves in the amount and in the 
classes of itacism that have found their way into 
their pages. For instance, among the papyrus frag- 
ments of Homer, those usually cited as N and ^ a-re 
very free from itacism, while O (of the first century 
B.C.) is full of it. Among New Testament MSS. x 
shows a marked preference for the spelling in i, and 
B for the spelling in ei. Allowance for such parti- 
cular characteristics must be made in passing judg- 
ment on readings ; but it must also be borne in mind 
that all the codices of the New Testament were copied 
at a time when itacistic spelling was current, and 
hence are more or less untrustworthy when the point 
is to distinguish between the vowels thus confused. 
The most common confusions are those between et 
and t, 0) and o, ai and € ; and after these those 
between 77 and the two pairs t and ct, and ot and v. 
The effect of the first may be illustrated by the 
readings ctScrc and tScrc in Phil. i. 30, or the 
readings larai, ctarat in Mark v. 29. The most com- 
mon effect of the confusion between o and co is to 
confound the indicative and subjunctive moods; the 
following are examples : Matt. xiii. 15, lao-w/xoc 
K, U, X, A, IdaofxaL X, B, C, D, L, etc. ; 1 Cor. xv. 49, 
cf^opea-uifxcv X, A, C, D, etc. , cfiopecro/xev B, 46 ; 2 Cor. vii. 1, 


KaOapi<TO)fX€V i^, B, D, etc., KaOapLaofxev P; Rom. V. 1, 
cxco/Aev j<, A, B, C, D, L, exofxev P, etc. ; Heb. xiii. 10, 
e^co/xev L, etc., e)(ofxev ^s, etc. ; Heb. xii. 23, e^Mjjiev 
A, C, D, L, 9(o/>iev j<, K, P, etc. There is no MS. of the 
New Testament that does not at times confuse o and 
o> ; consequently, the testimony of every MS. is liable 
to suspicion on this point, and our decision turns 
largely on intrinsic evidence. The confusion of e and 
at may produce or remove infinitives — as, e.g., Luke 
xiv. 17, epx^orOe 13, 346 Latt., epx^o-Oai X, A, D, L; 
Gal. iv. 18, t,r}\ov(TOe t<, B, etc., t,r}XovarOaL A, C, etc. 
Occasionally also it transforms a word into another — 
e.(7.,Matt. xi, 16, irepots 5^, B, 0, D, L, eratpots Gr, S,U, Y, 
etc. In rjfxcv and ^/xtjv Acts xi. 1 1, e and rj are confused. 
In €t and ^ of 2 Cor. ii. 9, and ;>(ptcrT05 and XPW'^'^ ^^ 
1 Peter ii. 3, we have instances of the triad r), u, i. 
The frequent confusion of the pronouns y/x€L<s and v/xct? 
in their various cases is an example of rj, oi, v. Even 
a and e seem occasionally to pass into one another — 
e.g., Bev. xvii. 8, /catVcp eo-riv and kol Trapla-Tiv. As a 
connected specimen of itacistic writing we add a part 
of the closing prayer of a certain John of Constan- 
tinople, who wrote a psalter now at Cues : <Tocrov jxe 
XP^ croTip rov Koafxov w o-oo-as Tvcrpov ev tl OaXaaeL' o<s 
CKLVov fxe Siacrocrov o 6<; Kai eXcicrov fxac. Let the student 
exercise his ingenuity in restoring this to the ordinary 
spelling of a Greek, which will translate : " Save me, 
O Christ, Saviour of the world, who didst save Peter 
in the sea; like him save me entirely, O God, and 
have mercy on me." This was written in the ninth 
or tenth century. 

These instances are probably enough to illustrate 


the way in which, even by the most honest coj^ying, 
the text of any document may become corrupt; and 
to serve as examples of the kind of facts with whicli 
the student must have a personal familiarity in order 
to be prepared to trace back a reading to its source 
in a scribe's error, or to classify a body of readings 
according to their origination. It is important for 
him next to obtain an intimate knowledge of the 
habits, so to speak, of the important individual MSS. 
in order to check by familiarity with the habits of 
the one scribe the conclusions that are reached from 
a study of the general habits of all scribes. A fact 
in point has been already mentioned : {< tends to 
write t everywhere for et, and B to write et every- 
where for t, and a knowledge of this fact is a help 
in determining readings involving et and i, for which 
these codices are sponsors. That A loves synonyms, 
or in other words the scribe that wrote this codex 
had an active mind that worked as he copied, and 
so felt the sense of what he wrote more than most 
scribes, is an impoitant fact to know when we are 
deciding on the probability of a synonymous reading 
that A supports. That the scribe of n was a rapid 
penman, proud apparently of his handwriting; and 
that B's scribe was on the contrary a careful, plodding 
fellow, who copied the text before him with only such 
petty slips as such a writer would fall into, — brief 
omissions, doubling of short words, repetitions of 
letters and such stupidities, — these and such facts 
enable us to pass ready judgment on variations which 
might otherwise somewhat puzzle us. 

Above all, however, it is necessary to remember 


that every attempt to account for the errors that occur 
in our MSS. is an attempt to bring the accidental 
under rule, and every effort to classify them according 
to their sources is only an effort to group the effects 
of human carelessness; so that much must remain 
over of which we can only speak as instances of 
incuria. It may be useful to the student to look 
at a brief list of slips of the scribe of \^, gleaned 
from the digest of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and 
to consider how many of them can be assigned to the 
several classes mentioned above : — 

Incuria of i^ in Hebrews. 

Heb. i. 5. Omit avrto from "I shall be [to him] 
for a father." 

i. 8. Omit Tr)<s ev6vTr)Tos pafSSo?, 

i. 12. Add Kttt with av 8e. 

ii. 18. Omit Treipacr^ci?. 

iv. 9. Omit the whole verse, 

iv. 11. Omit Ti9. 

viii. 3. Omit km, 

viii. 10. Mov for /xoi. 

ix. 5. 'Eveanv for ecrTtv. 

ix. 12. Ets ra ayia written twice. 

X. 7. Omit T^KO). 

X. 11. Order changed to Xcir. kuO. rj/xep. 

X. 26. Tr]? e7nyi'(0(riav for rrjv eTrtyrcocrtv. 

X. 32. Afiaprias for r]p.cpas. 

X. 36. Change of order to xp^iav ^x^re. 

X. 39. Ets aTTwXias for ct<? aTrtoXciav. 

xi. 5. Ort for Ston. 

xi. 8. Change of order to KXypovo/jLLav Aa/x/?a. 


Heb. xi. 9. Omit T17? after cTrayyeXta?. 
xi. 20. Omit lo-aa/c. 

xi. 31. Insert e-mXeyofJievr) before 'rropvTj. 
xii. 1. TfjXiKovTov for too-ovtov. 
xii. 10. O fjLcv for oi/xcv. 
xiii. 2. Trjv cfiiXo^evLav for t>;5 ^tXo^, 
xiii. 12. Omit cTraBev. 

xiii. 18. Ort KaX-qvOa yap on KoK-qv before TreiOo/xe-. 
xiii. 22. Omit yap. 
xiii. 23. Ep;;^7^o-^e for ^p^rjrai. 

There are in this list instances of errors of the 
eye (homceoteleaton, the wandering eye catching a 
neighbouring word, confusion of similar letters), of 
the memory, of the judgment, of the pen, and of the 
speech, — and others also. It looks as if the scribe 
were taking a sly nap when he was writing the tenth 
chapter, and as if he either nodded again or was 
interrupted by an unthinking chatterer at xiii. 18, 
where, at least, we find a very odd case of repetition. 

Efforts have been made to generalise upon the 
phenomena of the various readings, and so to furnish 
" canons of criticism " for the guidance of the stvidcnt. 
Transcriptional evidence cannot, however, be reduced 
to stiff rules of procedure. All " canons of criticism " 
are only general averages, and operate like a proba- 
bility based on a calculation of chances. A " chance " 
is always open that this particular instance is one 
of the exceptions. But, although to use them as 
strict rules to square our conclusions by were but 
to invito error, general rules are very useful, as 
succinctly embodying the results of broad observation. 


If we use them only as general guides, and expect 
to find exceptions to them continually turning up, 
the following three rules are valuable : — 

1. The more difficult reading is to be preferred: 
founded on the observed tendency of scribes to 
render the sense smooth by correction or unconscious 

2. The shorter reading is to be preferred : founded 
on the observed habit of scribes to enlarge rather 
than shorten the text. 

3. The more characteristic reading is to be pre- 
ferred : founded on the observed tendency of scribes 
to reduce all they touch to their own level, and so 
gradually eliminate everything especially characteristic 
of an author. 

Not co-ordinate with these, but above them and 
inclusive of them, stands the one great rule that 
embodies the soul of transcriptional evidence : that 
reading is to be preferred from which the origin of 
^^all the others can most safely be derived. Knowledge 
of the habits of scribes and of the phenomena of 
MSS. is needed to interpret this rule. Common- 
sense is here even more than usually needed. But 
given the knowledge and common-sense, this one rule 
adequately furnishes the worker in this department 
of evidence. 

That much could be done towards settling the text 
of any work by the use of intrinsic and transcriptional 
evidence alone, which would be generally recognised 
as sound, is certain. But it is equally clear that a 
special danger attends processes that are so nice and 


delicate, of the intrusion of those wishes that are ■^ 
fathers to thoughts ; and in criticising the text of a 
book that stands in such close relation to our dearest 
beliefs as the New Testament, this danger reaches 
its maximum. This does not render the method of 
internal evidence of readings invalid; nor does it 
exonerate critics from the duty of using it, — with 
strict honesty and a severe exclusion of improper 
subjectivity. But it throws sufficient doubt on indi- 
vidual judgment in attaining some of its results, to 
render it desirable to test its conclusions by some 
less easily warped method of investigation. We 
gladly remember, then, that besides "internal evi- 
dence of readings" we have "external evidence of 
readings " to depend on, and proceed to inquire after 
the methods of using it. 

2. External Evidence of Readings. 

(rt) Comparative Criticism and Internal Evidence of 

The crudest method that could be adopted to decide 
between readings on the ground of external evidence 
would be simply to count the witnesses for each 
reading and follow the greatest number. It requires 
little consideration to perceive the illegitimacy of such 
a method. The great practical difficulty stands in 
the way of adopting the principle that the majority 
shall rule, that v/e cannot certify ourselves that we 
have the majority. For this, we must first collate 
every known copy, and even then the doubt would 
hang over us that mayhap the majority of copies 


are yet unknown : have not, indeed, the majority 
actually perished ? If we should adopt a simple 
majority principle, therefore, we could never reach 
certainty ; we could never be sure that the copies as 
yet unknown, or hopelessly lost, might not alter the 
balance ; and we should be betraying the text into the 
hands of the chance that has preserved one MS. and 
lost another. A greater theoretical difficulty lies 
behind. Who can assure us that the many are the 
good ? The majority of MSS. are late MSS. ; and if 
it be the original text that we are seeking, is it likely 
that the many MSS. of the eleventh century will 
better help us to it than the few of the fourth? 
Dare we overmatch the multitude of years by the 
multitude of copies, — our two codices of the fourth 
century by the mixed hordes that throng on us from 
the fourteenth ? If corruption be largely due to the 
fortunes of hand-copying, it will of necessity be pro- 
gressive, and the MSS. of the earlier centuries may 
be rightfully presumed to be purer and better than 
those of the later. We may even expect to find in 
them the parents of the very later codices which now 
would crowd them out of the witness-stand. If so, 
to follow mere numbers is to betray the text into the 
hands of the later corruption. 

Shall we, then, say that not the most MSS. but 
the oldest shall rule ? This certainly would be a far 
better canon. But it is met again, on the threshold 
of practical use, by a double difficulty, — theoretical 
and practical. After all, it is not the mere number 
of years that is behind any MS. that measures its 
distance from the autograph, but the number of 


copyings. A MS. of the fourth century may have 
been copied from another but little older than itself, 
and this again from another but a little older than it, 
and so on through a very long genealogy ; whereas a 
MS. of the eleventh century may have been copied 
from one of the thii'd, and it from the autograph. 
It is not, then, the age of the document, but the age 
of the text in it, that is the true measure of antiquity; 
and who shall certify us that many of our later 
documents may not preserve earlier texts than our 
earliest MSS. themselves ? — or, indeed, that all our 
later documents may not be of purer descent than 
our few old codices ? With the frankest acceptance of 
the principle that the age of a document is presump- 
tive evidence of the age of the text, it is clear that 
we can reach little ceitainty in criticism by simply 
agreeing to allow weight to documents in proportion 
to their age. And here the practical difficulty enters 
the problem: how much greater weight shall we 
allow to greater age ? Certainly two fourth-century 
documents cannot reduce all tenth-century documents 
to no value at all, simply by reason of theii^ greater 
age : but how nice the question as to the exact incre- 
ment of weight that must be added for each century 
of additional life ! Professor Birks set himself once 
to investigate this question ; and his conclusion was 
" that on the hypothesis most favourable to the early 
MSS., and specially to the Vatican [B], its weight 
is exactly that of two MSS. of the fifteenth century, 
while the Sinaitic [n] weighs only one-third more 
than an average MS. of the eleventh century." Mr. 
Monro was at pains to point out certain errors in 


Professor Birks' calculations which appear to vitiate 
his conclusions. But for the purposes of actual 
criticism were they not valueless even if correct? 
How is it possible to calculate the value of each docu- 
ment relatively to all the others on the ground of age 
alone ? Let us confess it : to admit that the older a 
MS. is the more valuable it is likely to be, carries us 
but an infinitesimal way towards the actual work of 
criticism, and it is entirely impossible to apportion 
their values to codices by their ages. Though we 
may feel that a MS. of the fourth century ought to 
be a better and safer witness than one or two, or 
a hundred, or a thousand for that matter, of the 
fifteenth, we cannot certify ourselves of this with 
regard to any given MS. ; and we certainly cannot 
arrange all our MSS. in a table of relative weights 
as resulting from their relative ages, and then use 
this table as a touchstone for our critical problems. 
It is a plain fact that MSS. need not and do not 
always vary in weight directly according to age. 

A great step forward is taken when we propose to 
allow MSS. weight, not according to their age, but 
according to the age of the text which they contain. 
To Tregelles must be ascribed the honour of intro- 
ducing this method of procedure, which he appropriately 
called ^'Comparative Criticism." It is a truly scientific 
method, and leads us for the first time to safe results. 
Briefly stated, it proceeds as follows. The earlier 
versions and citations are carefully ransacked, and a 
list of readings is drawn from these dated sources which 
can be confidently declared to be ancient. Each MS. 
is then tested, in turn, by this list. If a MS. con- 


tains a considerable proportion of these readings, or 
of readings which on grounds of transcriptional pro- 
bability are older than even these, it is demonstrated 
to contain an old text. If, on the other hand, a 
MS. fails to contain these readings, and presents 
instead variants which according to transcriptional 
probability appear to have grown out of them, or 
which can be proved from dated citations to have 
been current at a later time, its text may be assumed 
to be late. From an examination of the MSS. thus 
proved to exhibit an early text, we may next obtain 
a very clear general notion of what the earlier text 
is, and this will serve us as a more extended test 
of the age of texts contained in MSS,, and we may 
confidently divide them into two great classes — the 
early and the late. 

Here, it is plain, our feet rest on firm ground. 
What may be done towards settling the text by 
this method may be observed in the text which Dr. 
Tregelles actually framed, and which stands to-day 
as his suitable and honourable monument. But a 
little considei-ation will satisfy us that, as an engine 
of criticism, this method is far from perfect. It will 
furnish us with a text that is demonstrably ancient, 
and this, as a step towards the true text, is a very 
important gain. It is something to reach a text that 
is certainly older than the fourth century, — that was 
current in the third or second century. But this 
can be assumed to be the autographic text only if 
we can demonstrate that the text current in the 
second or third century was an absolutely pure text. 
So far from this, however, there is reason to believe 



that the very grossest errors that have ever deformed 
^ the text had entered it already in the second century. 
By this method, therefore, we may deal successfully 
with all cases of variation in which the older and 
later texts stand opposed as bodies, and thus may 
sift out a vast rabble of late corruptions ; but we 
stand, with it only to help us, helpless before all 
cases in which the oldest witnesses themselves differ. 
This result might have been anticipated. If our 
touchstone only reveals to us texts that are ancient, 
we cannot hope to obtain for our result anything but 
an ancient text. What we wish, however, is not 
'' merely an ancient but the true text. 

Yet another process has been developed for our aid 
in this perplexity. It has been pointed out that the 
way is open to the estimation of MSS., not by the 
age of the parchment on which they are written, nor 
yet by the age of the text which they contain, but 
by the actual excellence of the text which they con- 
tain. This is another great advance. For we are now 
invited to assign weight to MSS. according to their 
real value. The process by which this method under- 
takes to ascertain the relative value of the different 
MSS. is appropriately called " Internal Evidence of 
Documents," and proceeds by interrogating each MS. 
as to its own value, by testing it by the only kinds 
of evidence available — namely, intrinsic and tran- 
scriptional evidence. A rude example of what is 
intended by this will, perhaps, be its best explana- 
tion. Let us suppose two copies of a will or deed 
to be laid before us, and it to be our task to 
determine which is the better — i.e., the more correct. 


What would be the common-sense procedure? Beyond 
doubt, we should begin by noting every point in 
svliich they differed ; and then, taking this list of 
various readings, we should ask, in the case of each 
reading, which appeared to be the original. We 
should have two ways of determining this : in each 
case we should ask, Which leading is it probable, 
considering the context, style, and the like, the author 
wrote? and, Which reading, considering the known 
habits of the scribes, the accidents to which they aie 
liable, and the like, is it probable that the scribe had 
before him in order to produce the other? When 
these two modes of inquiry resulted in the same 
answer, the reading would be determined by a high 
degree of probability. Now, after having thus passed 
through the whole list of va,rious readings, we could 
count up what propoition of them had been deter- 
mined in favour of one MS. and what proportion in 
favour of the other. This would furnish us with a 
fair general estimate of the comparative value of the 
two copies. If, for instance, the two differed in a 
hundred places, and the two varieties of internal 
evidence of readings united in commending the read- 
ings of one in ninety of these, and those of the other 
in only ten, we should have no difficulty in greatly 
preferring the former to the latter copy. Nay, it 
would not be strange if we now revised our decision 
in some of the other ten cases, and allowed our demon- 
strably better copy to determine their readings on 
documentary grounds. No doubt such a method 
offers us only probable results ; but it is scarcely open 
to doubt but that, so far as they go, they are sound 


results, and in favourable cases the probability may 
reach moral certainty. It is equally plain that the 
method is not essentially affected if the documents 
we have to compare are a dozen instead of two, or 
even a hundred or a thousand; nor yet if our two 
varieties of evidence fail to give us clear or united 
testimony in a number of the readings. It would 
still remain true that the relative value of the MSS. 
could be ascertained by determining the proportionate 
number of their special readings which internal evi- 
dence wUl commend. After its own relative value 
has been assigned to each MS. of a work by this 
method, we may proceed to its textual criticism on 
documentary grounds, allowing each MS. the weight 
thus indicated. This is not reasoning in a circle. 
By one process, tentatively applied, we attain a 
general notion of the value of each MS. When a 
considerable number of readings have been used in 
this work, errors in their estimation check one 
another, and our general result is sound. It is quite 
consistent next to treat all these readings as still 
undecided : this is -but to recognise that tentative 
results as to the details are provisional. We may, 
therefore, justly call in the MSS. according to the 
relative values which have been assigned them by 
our tentative results en masse to decide now on each 
reading in detail. 

Precisely this process has been applied to the MSS. 
of the New Testament. And we are asked to deter- 
mine the relative weight of the witnesses for each 
disputed reading by allowing to them the weights 
assigned them by this method of testing. It would 


be idle to dispute the validity of the process. It is 
transparently just and scientific. It is equaUy im- 
possible to doubt that it will enable us to come to 
conclusions on which we can depend. Especially 
when taken in connection with the former method, 
which marshals MSS. according to the age of the 
texts they exhibit, this method, which marshals them 
according to the tested value of their texts, will lead 
us to very important conclusions, both in the way of 
testing the results obtained by the former method, 
and in carrying them some steps farther. The mere 
fact that the results of this method accord with those 
obtained by the former, so far as they were legiti- 
mate, gives us confidence in using it. It may be in 
one sense an accident that our oldest MSS. should 
be shown by comparative criticism to contain the 
most ancient text, although an accident in the line 
of the pre-existing presumption. But it cannot be 
by mere accident that the text obtained as the most 
ancient should in the main accord with that obtained 
as the best. And it is reasonable to be led by this 
accordant result of two independent methods to put 
confidence in the further results obtained by one of 
them which in the nature of the case cannot be tested 
by the other. We are justified, therefore, in using 
internal evidence of documents to decide for us the 
readings in which the older text is itself divided. 

As already intimated, Dr. Tregelles' text may be 
taken as the type of the results attainable by com- 
parative criticism. He was accustomed to divide 
the MSS. into classes, thus : (a) Uncial MSS. of the 
most ancient class, — i.e., those earlier than the seventh 


century; (h) Later uncial MSS. of special importance; 

(c) Certain important MSS. in minuscule letters; 

(d) The later uncials. He aimed at citing the testi- 
mony of all the uncial MSS., those of the minuscules 
the text of which was ancient, all versions down to 
the seventh century, and the fathers down to and 
including Eusebius. In class {b) he included L, X, Y, 
A, ©, H, of the Gospels, P of Acts and the Catholic 
Epistles, and F, G-, of Paul. In class (c) he included 
1, 33, 69 of the Gospels, 13, 31, 61 of Acts and the 
Catholic Epistles, 17, 37, 47 of Paul, and 38 of the 
Apocalypse. To these might well be added, now, the 
minuscules cited in the lists of minuscules given in 
the proper place above. The other classes (a), (d), 
may be gathered from the lists of uncial MSS. 
given above. When tested by internal evidence of 
documents, the MSS. arrange themselves in a not 
dissimilar classification. As is practically universally 
confessed, B is by this means shown to be the best 
single MS., and n stands next to it. Naturally 
enough the documents most like B are given the next 
place. But the general character of such codices as 
T), Dg, Gg, Eg, is not very high, when tested by internal 
evidence of documents, although their text is certainly 
very old, as comparative criticism satisfactorily proves. 
Among the versions, the palm falls to the Memphitic 
and Thebaic. 

A various reading that occurs in Matt. vi. 4 may 
serve us as an example of the working of these 
processes. Shall we read in this verse simply, 
"And thy Father that seeth in secret shall reward 
thee " ? or shall we add the word " openly " at the 


close 1 Tisclieiidorf states the evidence thus : — omit 
cV T<p ^avep(^\ xBDZ 1. 22. 108. 209. aP cdde'' ap 

Aug {multa ex.v. Latina sio reddet tihi palam 

in Greeds quoi ^J>r^orrt sunt non invenimus 

palam) ff^ k, vg fr sax cop syr^'^ (Or 4, 256, odd. ^^^^ 
liquet quo spectet), Gyp Aug Hier Chrom al ; 
insert h tw <^ai/ep(3 : E K L M S U X^'*^ (e spatio) 
a b c f gi h q syr^*^^ et^ go arm seth al Const Chr 
Op al. In order to interpret the evidence by com- 
parative criticism, we may arrange the matter as 
follows : — 

Uncials prior to the seventh 

Good later uncials. 
Good minuscules. 
Later uncials. 

Second century versions. 
Fourth century versions. 

Fifth century versions. 
Seventh century versions. 

Fathers before Eusebius. 

Fathers of the fourth cen- 

Fathers of the fifth cen- 


wS, B, D, Z, cdd 

ap Aug. 

1.22. [33]. 209. 

Afr. Lat., Syr. 

Cu., Copt. 
Vulg. Lat. 

[Aug.] Hier. 



L X^^*^ ^ spatio. 



Europ. Lat., Ital. 
Lat., Syr.sch. Go. 



Chrys. Constt. 


We observe that the addition " openly " does not 
occur in any known Greek MS. before the eighth 
century, or in any version or patristic citation before 
the fourth century. Some good later uncials, L of 
the eighth century, and apparently also X of the 
ninth, witness for it, but the better minuscules, again, 
omit it. No second-century version contains it, but 
all later ones do, with the sole exception of the Latin 
Yulgate. Its absence from this and from Jerome's 
quotations is probably to be explained by Augustine's 
precise statement that many Latin copies of his day 
contained it, but none of the earlier Greek copies, — 
which in itself is a very strong testimony to the 
superior antiquity of the omission. On this evidence 
the conclusion is probable that Iv rw ^avepw, balancing 
the previous ev to) Kpv7rT<^, was first introduced into 
the Greek text late in the third or early in the fourth 
century. When we now withdraw our attention 
from the question of antiquity, and consider the wit- 
nesses according to their values, as determined by 
"internal evidence of documents," we discover that 
the best witnesses array themselves for omission. 
On this ground, too, therefore, we decide to omit 
the words. 

Practically much the same division of evidence is 
met with in the more important matter of the inser- 
tion or omission of the doxology to the Lord's Prayer 
(Matt. vi. 13). There is, however, this important 
difference : the doxology appears in witnesses as early 
as the second century. For its omission are quoted : 
N», B, D, Z, 1, 17, 118, 130, 209; scholia in the 
margin of many copies that contain it ; a, b, c, fi"^, g^, 1, 


vg., cop. ; Or., Nyss., Ca3S., Cyr^^, Max., Gyp., Tert., etc. 
For its insertion : E, G, K, L, M, S, U, V, A, H, ^ <!>, 
very many others, f, g^, [k] q, syr"*'", et^", et^'", seth., arm., 
go. [sah], [Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,] Constt., 
Chrys., and later fathers generally. The MS. evidence 
does not differ markedly from the distribution observed 
in Matt. vi. 4. But among the versions a doxology is 
found in the second century Curetonian Syriac and the 
Sahidic (= Thebaic) ; and in the fathers, in the early 
second century " Teaching of the Apostles." There is 
no question, therefore, but that a doxology is found 
attached to the Lord's Prayer as early as the very 
opening of that century. Nevertheless, the oldest 
MS. in which it is found dates no higher than the 
sixth century (2). Even with comparative criticism 
alone beneath our feet, we are not helpless here ; for 
when we observe that the doxology appears in the 
becond century in as many differing forms as there 
are documents that contain it, that it occurs in no 
MS. before the sixth century, and in no commentator 
on the Lord's Prayer before Chrysostom at the end 
of the fourth century, conclusions as to its late origin 
present themselves with some force, and we can 
suspect that it entered the Greek Testament about 
the end of the third or opening of the fourth century. 
When we call in *' internal evidence of documents," 
we see that the best old documents are ranged for 
omission, and our conclusion is strengthened accord- 

The reading in John vii. 8, the evidence in the 
case of which was analysed a few pages back, is dis- 
tinctly more difficult to deal with. The two oldest 


and best MSS. are here set in opposition to one 
another ; the second-century versions are divided 
as three to one, but the best and the worst agree 
against the second best, and the most stand with 
the second MS. against the best. This is typical 
of the division of the evidence throughout. How, 
then, can we decide the matter on grounds either of 
the antiquity of the witnesses or of their excellence ? 
Cases of just this complexity meet us on nearly every 
page of the New Testament. What are we to do 
with them % 

These examples have been designed to illustrate 
both the strength and the limitations of the method 
of criticism which we are expounding. That much 
can be accomplished by it is clear. That it is scientific 
and sound, so far as it will carry us, is equally cer- 
tain. But it is also true that it is helpless whenever 
\/ the old or the good documents are pretty evenly 
divided; and that when, as in the New Testament, 
we have many documents to deal with, it does not 
always carry with it that practical certainty which 
we desiderate. The reason of both shortcomings is 
that its decisions rest everywhere, at bottom, on an 
arithmetical balance. Let us try to explain. 

By this method of criticism, when all the old MSS. 
stand opposite the later, and when all the good 
MSS. stand opposite the bad, we have no difficulty 
in deciding the reading. But they will not always 
so arrange themselves ; perpetually some of the older 
are on the side of the later, some of the better on 
the side of the worse. What are we to do in such 
cases ? Even if we are confident that t^, B, A, C, D, 


when combined, may stand against the world, how do 
we judge the group to be weakened by the defection 
of A ? or of C i or of B ? or of j<, B ? or of A, C, D ? 
or of any two or any three or any four of them ? 
These are puzzling questions. But until they are 
answered this method of criticism is helpless before 
the immense variety of divided testimony which meets 
the critic in every part of his work. Clearly, in 
such cases everything depends at bottom on our 
knowing not only that n', B, C, D, present an old, and 
E, S, U, V, a late text ; or that N, B, C, present a 
good and most minuscules a bad text ; but also, very 
accurately indeed, the exact proportional excellence 
and consequent weight of each MS. : how much 
better precisely B is than x, and N is than C, and C 
is than V or 10 or 19. How else can we estimate 
the effect of each defection 1 Often decision on the 
bearing of documentary evidence will absolutely 
depend on an exact knowledge of the precise value 
of each MS., and a consequent ability to estimate 
the weight each brings to a group with its presence, 
or takes from it by its absence. Obviously this 
means (at our present stage) nothing less than 
ability to speak of MSS. in terms of numerical 
formulae, and the whole matter of documentary evi- 
dence becomes an arithmetical balance. If, assuming 
an ordinary minuscule of the fourteenth century to 
rank as 1 in weight, we know that B ranks as 2000, 
and N as 1800, and C as 1600, and so on, we can 
accurately estimate the value of each group and by 
a simple sum in arithmetic settle the text. But 
unless we know this or something equivalent to it, 


the bearing of the documentary evidence is constantly 
escaping us. We cannot tell what effect on the 
weight of X B A C D, for example, the defection 
of B will have ; we cannot tell whether x B D Z may 
not be enough to carry our suffrages, and X B D not 
enough ; whether E K L M S TJ X may not be too 
weak to follow, but EGKLMSUVAH^* 
too strong not to follow. Manage it by whatsoever 
method we please, and conceal the fact from others 
or ourselves by any way of speaking of it that we 
may, the whole process of criticism which deals with 
MSS. as separate units amounts to nothing less, at 
bottom, than an attempt to settle readings by an 
open or veiled arithmetical balance. We are not now 
arguing whether such a method be not fundamentally 
wrong ; but only that it cannot be carried successfully 
through any case where the testimony is well 
divided unless the arithmetical balance be accurately 
estimated. And it is clearly apparent that such a 
balance is not accurately estimated, and, indeed, 
cannot be. But by as much as it is not, by so much 
is our criticism but little removed in all nice pro- 
blems from guesswork. 

Let us try to realise in thought still further, what 
is implied in the very attempt to decide readings by 
such a balance. No less than this: the possibility 
of overwhelming all early and good testimony by the 
sheer numbers of late and bad testimony. Does not 
the very principle of an arithmetical balance yield the 
point that the early and good may be overborne by 
the late and bad, if only the latter be numerous 
enough? So, in pretending to estimate and weigh 



witnesses, we fall into the trap of merely counting 
them. What we want is a method which will allow 
later testimony to overrule earlier, only if it be good 
enough to do so. Bat this method and all methods 
of a mere balance of individual documents inevitably 
puts itself in the position that the best and oldest 
may be overborne, if only we can produce a sufficient 
number of later documents. Say that B is made 
equal to two thousand thirteenth-century copies, and 
ten or a hundred thousand nineteenth-century copies, 
it would be in the power of an enterprising printer 
to produce enough very debased copies to overbear its 
testimony. The procedure would be transparently 
ridiculous, no doubt ; but this only proves that we 
need some method of criticism which is not capable 
of such a reductio ad ahsurdum, — which does not 
proceed on an assumption which can only arbitrarily 
protect us from such a conclusion. Something else 
is needed beyond knowledge of the general relative 
age of the texts that documents contain, or the 
general relative goodness of them, or anything that 
concerns single documents, before we can reach very 
secure results. 

That those who have made use of "comparative 
criticism" have avoided the weakness of an arith- 
metical balance in dealing with all that class of 
readings in which the older text differs from the 
later is no doubt true. But they have done it by 
confessedly or practically ignoring all later testimony. 
In this they have built better than their theory 
gave them ground for, and they have given us a 
text, consequently, better than their theory would 


legitimately defend. It has not unjustly been made 
their reproach that because they had discovered that 
the better testimony was to be found in a certain 
body of witnesses, they arbitrarily treated all the rest 
as if they had no testimony to offer at all. And 
in all that class of variations in which the older docu- 
ments differ among themselves, these great critics 
have continually fallen a prey to the imperfection 
of their method, and their results have depended 
less on a scientific procedure than on a certain per- 
sonal quality which we may call " critical tact," and 
which is but another name for a keen appreciation 
of the bearing of internal evidence of readings. The 
discovery of a single MS. (j^) revolutionised Tischen- 
dorf's text. Tregelles, always more cautious and 
consistent, was yet repeatedly led into the most 
patent errors. Every one who has attempted to 
decide on the weight of documentary groups on any 
large scale has necessarily been made to feel very 
keenly that very much of criticism which depends 
on such methods, wherever internal evidence of 
readings is not really decisive, is little removed from 
arbitrary decision or guesswork. From all which it 
is clear that some method which will enable us to 
deal with MSS. in groups and classes rather than 
as individuals is absolutely necessary before we can 
determine more than the outlines of the text with 

(h) Internal Evidence of Groups. 

A method of procedure which will relieve us from 
these difficulties has been pointed out under the 


appropriate name of "internal evidence of groups." 
Internal evidence of readings is the evidence of its 
own value which each reading supplies when sub- 
jected to the tests of intrinsic and transcriptional 
probability. Internal evidence of documents, as we 
liave just seen, is the evidence of its own value which 
each document furnishes ; and is obtained by noting 
what proportion of the chai-acteristic readings of a 
document approve themselves as probably genuine 
under the twofold test of intrinsic and transcriptional 
evidence. This process can be carried, with equal 
aase, a step higher, and be applied to any given 
group of documents, and thus become internal evi- 
dence of groups. Nothing prevents our collecting 
all the readings supported by any group of docu- 
ments in which we may be for the time interested, 
and then trying the list in each of its items in turn 
by transcriptional and intrinsic evidence. If the 
majority of its characteristic readings, when thus 
tested, approve themselves, the group is a good 
group; if the majority are condemned, it is a bad 
group; and the proportion between those approved 
and those condemned will furnish an accurate cri- 
terion of the actual value of the group. When two 
or more groups are successively subjected to this 
testing, the proportional result obtained in each 
case supplies data for determining their relative 

Thus we may at will obtain, by this process, 
grounded decision as to the weight of any given 
group, and so determine the actual composite value 
of any combination of documents. If, for instance, 


we are studying the reading in John vii. 8, which 
we have already had before us, we may take the 
group N D K M n 17** 389 p«<^^ and trace it 
throughout the Gospels, collecting all the readings 
which it supports into a list. Next we may test 
this list of readings by transcriptional and intrinsic 
evidence, and thus attain a very good, and certainly 
a well-grounded notion of the value of this group. 
It only remains, now, to return to the reading in 
hand, and allow the group there the weight which 
we are thus led to assign to it. We no longer try 
to estimate the weight of the group by the sum of 
the weights of its component parts; we no longer 
need to raise question as to the relative values of 
the separate MSS., and the effect of the defection 
of this one or that; we treat the group as a unit, 
and estimate its value as a whole. Instead of specu- 
lating as to the difference between j^ D K M 11 
17** 389 p^'''^ and B n» D K M H 17** 389 p«% 
or trying to calculate it by adding the weight of B 
to the weight of the former group, we simply go 
with this process to the places where these groups 
occur, collect the readings actually supported by each, 
and try each separately by the only kinds of evidence 
applicable, and so find for each in turn what its 
actual value is. The result is oddly portentous for 
all attempts to estimate readings by arithmetical 
balances. As a mere matter of fact, wherever 
« D K M n 17** 389 p'°^ or its essential elements, 
occur, it is usually in support of an obviously wrong 
reading ; and wherever B is added, this greater group 
usually supports an obviously right reading. In 


other words, the former is a bad and the latter a 
good group. 

Two practical limitations, in the use of internal 
evidence of groups, need statement at the outset. 
In estimating the value of any group, we must 
confine ourselves within the limits of the section 
of the New Testament in which the reading we are 
to study occurs, and, in the first instance at least, 
within the strict limits of the group we are investi- 
gating. There is every reason to believe that our 
great MSS. which contain, or once contained, the 
whole New Testament, were made up directly or 
remotely of copies of different codices in the several 
parts of the New Testament; and, indeed, that in 
the early days of the Church each section was 
usually written in a volume apart. The result would 
naturally be that the Epistles of Paul, say, for in- 
stance, in Codex B, would have a very different 
history, could it be discovered, from that of the 
Gospels in the same codex. As a matter of fact, 
also, the result of the actual test gives a different 
value to the same apparent group in the several 
sections. Very divergent weights are assigned by 
it to A in the Gospels and in the rest of the New 
Testament. In the Gospel of Mark B A is excellent, 
but B G in Paul is very suspicious. Experience 
thus teaches us that the value of the separate groups 
must be studied apart for each great section of the 
New Testament. The same experience teaches that 
it is not safe to confound two groups which look 
alike. No man knows whether B x D L has the 
same value as, or more or less value than, B « D, 



until he has actually tested the matter empirically. 
We may afterwards learn from actual trial the limits 
within which each group may vary without essen- 
tially altering its weight, but we must be chary of 
assumption in this matter. Take the group D E F G 
in Paul. If we add fc< to it its value is unaffected. 
Or if we add B to it, it is essentially the same. If, 
however, we add both N and B, the group immediately 
changes from bad to good. 

The immense advance that is made, by the intro- 
duction of this method, on all criticism that depends 
on estimating the values of groups from the values 
of the members that compose them, is apparent at a 
glance. All the difficulties and dangers of an arith- 
metical balance are escaped at a single step. We 
now estimate the weight of any group which supports 
a given reading, not by the age of the MSS. which 
compose it, nor by the age of the texts which these 
MSS. contain, nor by the value of the separate MSS., 
but by the tested value of the group itself. Each 
group stands before us as a unit ; each is first tested 
as a unit, and then used as a unit. The full im- 
portance of thus escaping the arithmetical balance will 
not be appreciated, however, until we realise that the 
union of two codices will not necessarily, and indeed 
is sure not to, be the same in weight as the sum of 
their values. For example, t< B is not the same 
as K -f B ; and any system which proceeds openly or 
practically by an arithmetical balance is sure, there- 
fore, to lead to error, which cannot be legitimately 
escaped until we learn to deal with groups in some 
way or other as units of testimony. Internal evi- 


dence of groups assigns to i< B no weight as a com- 
position of i< and B, but recognises it as a third thing 
(just as blue plus yellow make the third thing, green), 
and seeks to discover its own value as it betrays it 
from the readings it supports ; it thus accords it only 
the weight which it makes good its claim to. 

The soundness of this method of work is bound up 
inseparably with that of internal evidence of docu- 
ments, from which it differs rather in name than in 
fact. It does for groups of documents just what the 
former process does for single documents. It makes 
no assumptions as to how documents come to be 
grouped ; it accepts as a fact that here is a circum- 
iscribed group supporting a series of readings, and 
then asks what kind of readings, good or bad, does ^/ 
this group support ? It thus estimates the value of 
a witness by the character of what he witnesses to, 
— by his habits of truthfulness or the contrary else- 
where, — and gives him credit accordingly. No less 
obvious than that the application of this method will 
give us secure results is it, however, that it will 
entail a great deal of labour. It is far easier to 
guess at the weight of a group, or to leave it 
unguessed and fall back on internal evidence of 
readings as our sole dependence, than laboriously to 
test the weight of a group. The beginner may well 
be somewhat appalled at the prospect of painfully 
tracing every chance combination of documents 
through the crowded digests of a Tischendorf or a 
Tregelles, and even after this labour is completed, of 
•feeling that the most trying task is still before him, 
— the careful testing of each one of the readings thus 


obtained by internal evidence, with a view to deter 
mining the value of the witnessing group. Yet, the 
result is worth the labour : royal roads have not a 
good reputation for safety, and the very thorns in 
this path have their useful lessons to teach. And 
it is right to point out that the number of groups 
needing testing is found in practice far fewer than 
would d, priori be thought likely. The New Testa- 
ment MSS. do not arrange themselves in every 
conceivable grouping, and the student will not pro- 
ceed far in this work without discovering that the 
number of varying groups that actually occur is 
comparatively small, and further, that these may be 
reduced to yet fewer by attending only to the 
essential core of each, — a core that can only be em- 
pirically discovered, but which yet, after a while, can 
be with certainty abstracted. 

In a matter of this kind no one can afford to 
accept implicitly the results of other investigators and 
simply apply them to special cases. It is strongly 
recommended that every student actually study for 
himself the value of some few selected groups at the 
very outset, and that he be prepared to test all 
results of others in the same line of work, and to 
make trial of any group that puzzles him in any 
special reading. At the same time, the beginner 
may be allowed to stand on the shoulders of the 
masters of the science, and perceive the bearing of 
evidence through their eyes. Dr. Hort, in parti- 
cular, has worked out the values of the chief groups 
throughout the New Testament, and his results may 
be safely accepted as sound. The most interesting 


of these results is the very high character given to 
the compound B x, which approves itself as nearly 
always right, whether it stands alone, or with what- 
ever further body of documents, and that throughout 
the New Testament. Next to B n, B conjoined with 
some other primary document, such as B L, B C, B T, 
and the like, whether alone or with other support, j 
forms the most weighty series of groups, and this, 
again, throughout the New Testament. The only 
outstanding exception to this last generalisation is 
formed by B G in Paul's Epistles, whether alone or 
with other documents short of the whole body of 
primary uncials, which is usually condemned by 
internal evidence. B D in Paul is a good group, 
although B D G is bad, and although it hardly attains 
the very high excellence of the like group B D in 
the Gospels and Acts, whether alone or in combina- 
tion with other documents. On the other hand, X D 
is everywhere, and in every combination (if B be 
absent), very suspicious. Even with secondary wit- 
nesses only adjoined to it, B stands the test excel- 
lently; and if clear slips of its scribe be excluded, 
even when wholly alone, B attains great excellence 
and stands forth as plainly the 'best single codex 
known. On the other hand, compounds of t< with 
other documents (B being absent) are usually not 
strongly commended, and compounds of documents 
excluding both K and B are commonly condemned 
by internal evidence. In the Apocalypse x falls to 
a low level, and A rises to the height of the best 
single MS., while AC is the best binary group, and 
is usually to be trusted, whether it stands alone or 


in combination "with other documents. A very special 
discredit is thrown on D G in Paul's Epistles, whether 
it stands alone or in any combination, provided only 
that both B and x are not adjoined to it. 

These generalisations, all of which the student 
would do well to test by actual trial, already put us 
in a position to deal with most readings. For in- 
stance, in John vii. 8 internal evidence of groups 
clearly commends ovttm ; for the good group B L T etc. 
supports it, while the bad group {< D etc. supports 
its opponent. So too in Matt. vi. 4 the group that 
omits ev tw ^avepw — viz., B J< D Z — is seen, at a 
glance, to be one of the strongest possible. The 
same is true of the group that omits the doxology 
in the Lord's Prayer. In a word, internal evidence 
of groups puts an engine of criticism into our hands 
which cuts the knots that seemed incapable of being 
unloosed by the older methods, and enables us to 
reach assured convictions as to the bearing of the 
external evidence, where before we stood helpless. 

If in any case Dr. Hort's generalisations do not 
seem easily or safely applicable, or the results of their 
application bring us to a conclusion which seems 
difficult to square Vith internal evidence of readings, 
it is the duty of the inquirer to subject the special 
group before him to a renewed and independent 
testing. But even with the most easily studied and 
safely interpreted groups, it must be remembered 
always that we reach general and probable results 
only, and not invariable and unmistakable ones. The 
character assigned thus to groups of MSS., like the 
character assigned to individual MSS. by internal 


evidence of documents, is general character, and is 
quite consistent with the best groups being some- 
times in error. The rules of procedure derived from 
internal evidence of groups are, therefore, not with- 
out exceptions. This may be illustrated by such a 
reading as that found in Matt, xxvii. 49. Here 
X, B, C, L, XJ, r, five minuscules, some mixed Latin 
MSS., a copy of the Jerusalem Syriac, the ^thiopic 
version, and Chrysostom, with perhaps some other 
fathers, insert the sentence, '' But another, taking a 
spear, pierced His side, and there came forth water 
and blood," to the confusion of the narrative. The 
intrinsic evidence seems immovable against the inser- 
tion ; the transcriptional evidence seems to judge it 
an assimilation to John xix. 34, clumsily done. But 
if the internal evidence is thus united against the 
insertion, we can scarcely insist on inserting it on 
account of the testimony of internal evidence of 
groups. Though this group is about as strong a 
one as can occur, yet internal evidence of groups 
gives us only the comparative weights of groups 
when considered throughout all their readings ; it 
does not give us an exceptionless rule to apply 
mechanically. We learn from it what amount of 
correctness ^? B C L U T is apt to exhibit, not 
what amount it must have in every reading. The 
way is open for us to find some exceptions to the 
general excellence of the group, and hence to find 
an exception here. 

If, however, the estimation of the value of the 
various groups which is attained by internal evidence 
of groups allows for exceptions, and attains only a 


probable force, it becomes immediately important to 
check its results by some other independent method 
of criticism, which will enable us to determine which 
are the readings in which the exceptions are found. 
That an independent method lies within our reach may 
be hinted by our use of internal evidence of groups 
itself. We shall not proceed far in using this method 
before we realise what has been already remarked : 
that the number of groups that actually occur in 
the digests is far short of the calculable number 
of possible combinations of the documents. We shall 
observe a certain persistency in some MSS. in getting 
together, and a certain persistency in keeping apart 
manifested by others. Nor will accident account for 
this. It is, no doubt, possible that two or more 
MSS. may occasionally unite in a reading by accident. 
But how rarely and in what a narrowly limited class 
of readings this can occur, a very little reflection 
will assure us. Only in such obvious corrections or 
in such unavoidable corruptions as two scribes might 
independently stumble upon, can codices agree acci- 
dentally. The improbability of many MSS. falling 
independently into an identical corruption of even 
this kind, and the still greater improbability of a 
plurality of MSS. falling independently into a con- 
siderable series of identical corruptions, is too immense 
to be apprehended. MSS. which fall frequently to- 
gether can owe their frequent conjunction to nothing 
else than common inheritance. This is, indeed, the 
principle on which all textual criticism proceeds. 
We seek the original text of the New Testament in 
the extant MSS., because we judge that where these 


MSS. agree, this agi-eement can be accounted for in 
no other way than by common inheritance from the 
ancestor of all. The same principle is, of course, 
valid for any given group of MSS. short of all : their 
union in a body of readings common to them, and 
more or less confined to them, is proof that they are 
preserving in these readings parts of a MS. which, for 
these parts, lay at the root of all the MSS. in the 
group. When we gather together the readings of 
any given group of codices, we are gathering, there- 
fore, a body of readings from a lost MS., the common 
parent in these readings of all the codices of this 
group. And when we test this list of readings by 
internal evidence of groups, we are only in appear- 
ance performing a process different from internal 
evidence of documents; we are testing a lost docu- 
ment, a body of the readings of which we have 
recovered, instead of an extant document all of the 
readings of which are before us. Internal evidence 
of groups is, therefore, simply internal evidence of 
documents applied to lost documents, a list uf the 
readings of which has come down to us, and nothing 
more. This is why we have said that its validity is 
bound up with the validity of internal evidence of 
documents, and must stand or fall with it. 

From this point of view we may understand why 
we find it in practice of the utmost importance to 
confine the examples of the use of any given group 
which we are testing, strictly within the bounds of 
the group that stands before us. Every MS. added 
to the group may carry us another step back for the 
common parent of the (now enlarged) group. If 


B C D in Paul, for instance, is being tested, we 
must exclude all readings supported by 5< B C D, 
because we do not know whether the common 
ancestor of x B C D may not be another MS. from 
the common ancestor of B C D, and thus we may 
be confusing two MSS. in our investigation and 
therefore obtaining results inapplicable to either. 
No doubt everything in N B C D must have been 
in the MS. which stood at the head of the sub- 
group BCD; otherwise it could not have been 
inherited by B and C and D. And if our purpose 
were to recover as much as possible of the common 
ancestor of B C D, we should have to collect all 
readings found in these three MSS., no matter what 
others were added to them. * But since our purpose 
is to test the value of this reconstructed MS., our 
first duty is to select from the whole mass of its 
readings those in which it differs from the opposing 
gToup, just as, in internal evidence of documents, we 
confined our attention to the list of various readings. 
To pay attention to all the readings of any MS. or 
group of MSS. gives us no basis of comparative 
judgment, since the readings common to both docu- 
ments or groups cannot discriminate between them. 
Consequently, for internal evidence of groups the 
labour is lost which is spent on collecting readings 
which we cannot use, for the sake of sifting them 
out again. And it is worse than lost. Suppose 
we are testing the value of B. Is it valid to take 
account of the readings for which B i< witness? 
Certainly not, in order to obtain a value to assign to 
B when it stands alone. And simply for this reason • 


B X is not B, but the common ancestor of B and x ; 
and the value of this common ancestor of the two 
cannot be assigned to either separately without lead- 
ing to extensive error. No doubt B has preserved in 
all cases where B and s stand together the readuig 
of the common ancestor of them both. But this does 
not prove that it has preserved it also where B and 
l< differ : j< may have, then, preserved it and B lost it ; 
and this is the case that we are now investigating. 
To confuse passages in which B i^ stand together 
with those in which B stands alone, is to lend to B 
everywhere the weight that belongs to it only when 
preserving the reading of the common ancestor of it 
and X, — is practically to deny that any corruption 
has entered B in all the course of descent from the 
common ancestor of it and j<5 down to the writing of 
the MS. itself. Conversely, to attempt to estimate 
B K from the known value of B (as is done by all 
methods of criticism that treat the MSS. separately 
only) is to attribute to the common ancestor of B j< 
all the change that has entered through the many 
possible copyings which have taken place in the 
descent from it to B. 

How empirical the foundations of this method of 
investigation are may be estimated from the fact that 
although, as just explained, the addition of a MS. 
to a group may make every difference in its vahie, 
on the other hand experience shows that it may make 
no difference at all. This, too, is due to the fact that 
MSS. agree together not by accident but by inherit- 
ance. Suppose the new MS. added is a near kinsman 
of those already tested, the descendant of the same 


common immediate ancestor or of one of the codices 
already in the group. Evidently, in such a ciise, its 
presence or absence will make no difference in the 
results of our testing process. For instance, we know 
that F of Paul is a copy of Gg. Now, if we are 
investigating the value of D G of Paul, it is obvious 
that it is all one whether we allow F to join them 
or not. With or without F it is the same common 
exemplar that lies at the base of the group. It 
follows as a rule of procedure that we must take 
nothing for granted in using this process, but try 
all things, and learn the effect of each addition only 
by actual testing. 

The practice of internal evidence of groups is thus 
wholly independent of any genealogical considerations. 
It proceeds, and must proceed, in utter ignorance of 
all genealogies. It tests the composite value of every 
combination of documents that faces it; and it is 
all one to it whether this combination is one which 
chance has thrown together or which inheritance has 
compacted, whether it unites in a common ancestor 
at once or only in the autograph itself. All it knows 
is, Here are documents united. All it asks is. Do 
they form a good or a bad combination ? Yet behind 
internal evidence of groups the student will see 
genealogies clamouring for recognition. He notes 
the peculiarities of the groupings, — some groups fre- 
quently occurring, others, apparently equally possible, 
never occurring at all. He notes the verdicts of 
internal evidence of groups, — some groups uniformly 
condemned, others, apparently just like them, almost as 
uniformly commended. Why is it that D, the African 


Latin, and the Curetonian Syriac, stand so often to- 
gether? Why is it that B D is so generally good, 
and K D so generally bad? The student would be 
something other than human if he did not wish to 
know the cause of all this. And the hope lies close 
that all may be explained and a new and powerful 
engine of criticism be put into our hands by the 
investigation of the genealogical affiliations of the 
MSS. which are suggested by these facts. The 
results of internal evidence of groups suggest not 
only the study of genealogies, but also certain genea- 
logical facts on which that study may be begun. 
Every one must suspect that MSS. that are fre- 
quently in company are close of kin. Every one must 
suspect that the groups which support little else but 
corruptions are composed of the remaining representa- 
tives of a corrupt stock. Everybody must perceive 
that if such hints are capable of being followed out, 
and the New Testament documents arranged in 
accordance with their affiliations, we shall have a 
means of reaching the true text w^hich will promise 
more than all other methods combined. 

(c) Genealogical Evidence. 

These hints have been followed out with the result 
of developing another method of criticism, which may 
be appropriately called " The Genealogical Method." 
This method proceeds by examining minutely all the 
documents representing a text, with a view to tracing 
out the resemblances between them and so classify- 
ing them in smaller and larger groups according to 
likeness. It assumes only the self-evident principle 


that community in readings argues community of 
origin, and that, therefore, a classification of docu- 
ments according to their resemblances is a classification 
of them according to origin. If this be true of all 
MSS. taken together, so that we can group all New 
Testament MSS., for instance, together as MSS. of 
the New Testament by virtue of their community in 
the general text of the New Testament, it is, of course, 
true of the minor resemblances also, and we can 
equally safely group the MSS. into numerous sub- 
groups, each characterised by their special readings, 
and each, therefore, forming a family sprung from 
a common more proximate origin. Community in 
erroneous readings is as sure a test of relationship as 
community in correct ones : the point is not the kinds 
of readings that are involved, but the communion 
in them. Each MS. on becoming parent of others 
impresses its actual characteristics on its progeny, 
whether these characteristics be excellences or de- 
pravities; and we may, therefore, select from the 
mass of MSS. the progeny of each parent, by select- 
ing those MSS. possessing the same characterising 
peculiarities. The labour involved in this method 
of criticism, again, is no doubt very great. Every 
document has to be examined minutely, and compared 
with every other one. Those most alike are to be 
put together into small groups of close kinsmen ; 
these small groups are then to be compared, and 
those closest to one another put together as con- 
stituting a higher and more inclusive group ; these 
higher groujDS are then in like manner to be compared 
and grouped into yet higher groups ; and so on, until 


we reach a point at which they all unite in one 
great group, inclusive of all the extant MSS. of 
the work, with the oldest transmitted text as their 
common source. The result of the labour is, however, 
here too, worth the expenditure. Its effect is to 
arrange all the witnesses in the form of a genealogical 
tree, and so to enable us to see at a glance the 
relative originality of the witness of each, — to sift 
out those combinations of documents which must 
represent only a lately originated corruption, and to 
trace out the combinations which will take us back 
to the original of all. 

All this will most easily be made clear by a 
concrete example. Mr. Robinson Ellis finds that the 
MSS. of Catullus so class themselves as to admit of 
a genealogical arrangement which, with a little com- 
pression, we may represent thus : — 




[^^] [»'] 

I 1 1 — — I 1 1 I i 1 

12345G 78 1) 

In this special instance, B, a, and b, are lost ; but 
let us suppose for the moment that all the MSS. 
marked on the plan are still in our hands. We 
should, then, have thii'teeu MSS. : — A, B, a, b, 
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Should each of these be 
allowed the same weight? Clearly B and 9, say 
for instance, stand in very difi'erent relations to the 
autograph, and, when the two differ, it would be 


manifestly unfair to allow to 9 equal weight with B. 
We can even go further : there is nothing legiti- 
mately in 9 which was not already in B, and if 9 
diifers from B, it does so only by error, and it 
worthless. There is absolutely nothing legitimately 
in any of the codices 1 — 6 which is not already in 
a, or in the codices 7 — 9 which is not already in b, 
or in the whole array a, b, 1 — 9, which is not already 
in B. If, then, B is extant, all its descendants are 
useless to us ; when they agree with B they are 
mere repeaters of testimony already in hand, and 
when they differ from B they are introducers of new 
error, and in both cases they must be absolutely 
neglected as useless and confusing. That B has two 
children (a, b) and nine grandchildren (1 — 9) stand- 
ing by its side, while A stands alone, is at best an 
accident ; and it is clearly unfair, on account of this 
accident in copying or in the preservation of copie^^, 
to allow B twelve repeating votes to A's single voice. 
It is obvious rather that the whole group Bab 1 — 9 
constitutes but one witness though they count up 
twelve codices, and that A by itself in point of 
originality balances the whole array. At one sweep, 
therefore, we lay aside all the codices a, b, 1 — 9, 
with all their various readings, and are enabled to 
confine our sole attention to A and B — the only two 
independent witnesses we have. This is an imaginary 
result in our present schedule, but in the codices of 
Cicero's " Orator," as worked out by Dr. Heerdegen, 
it actually occurs : one whole rather numerous class 
are codices (the codices mutili, as they are called), 
of for swept critical purposes into the waste-basket 


at once, because the source of them all, Codex Ahrin- 
censis, is still extant and in critical use. 

Let us, however, come back nearer to the facts of 
our present case. B, a, and b, are lost, and we have 
just ten codices, we shall say — A, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. 
How is the matter affected? If, before, B, a, b, 
1 — 9, twelve codices, constituted but one witness, 
surely 1 — 9, nine of the same codices, have not become 
more than one witness by the destruction of three 
of their companions. This were to emulate the 
Sibyl and estimate value in inverse proportion to 
number. No more, then, in this case than in the pre- 
ceding, can we allow equal weight to each codex — to 
A, say, and to 9. Plainly 1 — 9 are here combined, 
but one witness still, and must be counted as but 
one in opposition to A, which in point of originality 
is still able by itself to balance the whole array 
1 — 9. Now, however, we are not able to neglect 
these codices ; they are our only extant representa- 
tives of B, and taken together constitute B. But 
we must not treat them as nine separate witnesses, 
or even, because they obviously form two gioups, 
1 — 6 and 7 — 9, as two separate witnesses. We 
must treat them as together constituting only one 
witness, and we must so marshal their testimony 
ns to eliminate the errors that have been introduced 
into them since B, before we match them against A. 
In otlier words, we must reconstruct B from them, 
and only then seek from A and recovered B their 
common original, the autograph. The effect of the 
classification on these ten codices. A, 1 — 9, is, there- 
fore, to reduce the ten apparent witnesses to two, 



— to eliminate the large body of variants that exist 
among 1 — 6, or 7 — 9, as too lately introduced to 
merit our notice, — and so in a great number of 
places to fix the text absolutely. 

Thus far we have proceeded as if the ten codices 
were found already classified to our hand. Let us 
suppose, now, that they are simply handed to us as 
ten codices. Are we justified in assuming that each 
is independent of all the rest, and so beginning our 
textual criticism with an apparatus of ten witnesses ? 
Certainly not. The fact that we receive them un- 
classified does not alter the fact that they actually 
bear such relationship to each other as is expressed 
in this classification. We must begin by a close 
examination of the codices with a view to tracing 
their affiliations. And, so beginning, we should note, 
first, that codices 1 — 6 are very closely alike, and 
that 7 — 9 draw likewise close together, leaving A 
standing apart; and then, secondly, that the group 
1 — 6 is much more closely related to the group 
7 — 9 than either is to A, and that the two groups 
contain even obvious errors (not found in A) in 
common. Whence it will be clear that while 1 — 6 
come from a difierent proximate ancestor from that 
of 7 — 9, yet the groups unite in an ultimate common 
ancestor which is co-ordinate with A. This reached, 
the classification is complete, and we may proceed 
with our criticism of the text. 

If we may assume that the validity and importance 
of the genealogical method has been thus made 
apparent, we may next investigate this process of 
criticism in its use. We have arranged our ten MSS., 


A, 1 — 9, in their genealogical relations. What have 
we gained as an instrument for settling the text % 
First of all we are enabled to attack our problem in 
detail. It is easier to reconstruct B from 1 — 9, and 
then the autogi-nph from A and B, than it is to 
reconstruct the autograph from A, 1 — 9, directly. 
But, far above this, the classification of the codices 
actually gives us an instrument of criticism that 
settles much of the text of B, or even of the auto- 
graph, for us at a glance. For example, if one reading 
is supported by 1,7, 8, 9, while 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 each give 
a divergent reading, it is clear beyond a peradven- 
ture that the first stood in B. For this combina- 
tion of documents, 1 + 7, 8, 9, cannot occur unless 
1 inherits from a, and 7, 8, 9 from b, exactly the same 
reading, which, because in both a and b, must also 
have been in B. Again, if 1,2, 3, 4, 5, 6 present one 
reading, 7 another, and A, 8, 9 another, this last 
with absolute certainty must have stood in B and 
in the autograph. For 8, 9 cannot agree with A 
except by having inherited this reading from their 
common ancestor, and this involves its presence 
throughout the whole line of descent — i.e., in b and 
in B ; it was, therefore, the reading of both A and 
B and of their common ancestor, the autograph. 
In cases of simple genealogy, therefore, the rule is 
obvious and exceptionless (in all such cases as cannot 
be accounted for as merely accidental conjunctions) 
that attestations including documents from two 
groups demonstrate the presence of the reading so 
attested in the common parent of these groups. All 
readings supported by A and any descendant of B 


(accidents excluded) were consequently in tlie auto- 
graph ; all supported by any descendant of a and 
any descendant of b in common (accidents excluded) 
were in B. So far our results are certain. When 
A and restored B agree, the reading is, of course, 
that of the autograph. When they differ, in a case 
like the present, where we have but two primary 
witnesses, we are thrown back on the character of 
the witnesses to determine the probability of recti- 
tude between them. Hence, we call in "internal 
evidence of classes," as we shall call it, to distinguish 
it from the same process when dealing with chance 
groups, instead of, as here, genealogically determined 
ones. In other words, we collect the various readings 
between A and the group 1 — 9 considei-ed as a unit, 
and that is as much as to say B, and try the relative 
value of the two by internal evidence, just as we 
did in the kindred processes of internal evidence 
of documents and internal evidence of groups. The 
class which supports the greater proportion of 
approved readings is the better class. Had we three 
primary classes instead of two, this process would 
need calling in only in cases of ternary variation ; 
whenever there were two classes arrayed against one, 
the reading would be settled on purely genealogical 

The essence of this whole procedure may be reduced 
to two simple rules: (1) Fii-st, work out a complete 
classification of the witnesses to any text by means 
of a close study of their affiliations, and thus deter- 
mine how many independent witnesses there are; 
and (2) Then by internal evidence of classes deter- 


mine the relative value of these several independent 
classes. When these two processes are completed 
we have a method of criticism available which will, 
in all cases of simple and unmixed genealogies, carry 
us with the greatest certainty attainable to the text 
that lies behind all extant witnesses. 

The limitation " in all cases of simple and unmixed 
genealogies " was not unintentionally introduced into 
the last clause. Normally we may expect each docu- 
ment to be made simply and without intentional 
alteration from a single pre-existent document ; and 
when this has been the actual course that has been 
taken, all documents, each having a single parent, 
arrange themselves in a simple genealogy. It is 
possible, however, that a given document may not 
be thus simply copied from a single exemplar, but 
may have two or more parents. The scribe may 
place two copies (which may as well as not be of 
different types) before him, and make his new copy 
by following now one, now the other, either capri- 
ciously or with a conscious effort to act as editor. 
Or again, a scribe accustomed to a strongly marked 
type of text, when called upon to copy a codex of 
another type, may consciously or unconsciously allow 
his teeming memory to introduce into the new copy 
readings drawn not from the exemplar before him, 
but from the type of text to which he has been 
long accustomed. The result, in either case, is a 
document which is not a simple copy of a single 
exemplar, but which rather will be more or less 
intermediate between two types, and will therefore 
refuse to take its place in any scheme of simple or 


unmixed genealogies. There is yet a third way in 
which this " mixture," as it is technically called, is 
introduced into texts, and this is doubtless the way 
by which, in actual fact, most mixed texts have been 
formed. The student will remember that it was 
customary of old time, more or less completely, but 
usually very incompletely, to correct codices in the 
text or margin by other codices with which the 
owner chanced to become acquainted. All of our 
great codices have been so corrected, and often the 
process has been repeated several times. Thus we 
distinguish between i^, j<% x^, and between B, B^, B^, 
etc. Now, suppose a codex which has been thus 
corrected by a divergent type of text to be used as 
copy for the production of other codices. The scribe 
does not know what corrections are merely mar- 
ginal readings and what are really corrections; he 
inevitably adopts some or perhaps all of them into 
his text as he writes it out. And the result is a 
"mixed text," having for its parents the original 
codex and all the divergent codices, readings from 
which had been written on the margin. A very 
interesting example of such a mixed text is furnished 
in Codex E of Paul, — Codex Sangermanensis. This 
MS. is recognisably a copy of the Codex Claromon- 
tanus (Do), but it does not give the original text of 
D, but that text as corrected by the several hands 
which had diligently ornamented its margin with 
readings from other codices. The result is that E 
is a mixed text. Of course, if the corrections had 
all been taken from a single simple codex, and the 
correcting had been thoroughly done, and the scribe 


in copying from the MS. had noted and adopted them 

all, the result would not have been a mixed text, but 
a text of the type of the document to which the 
original had been conformed. But this completeness 
is not to be expected, and the result is, therefore, 
always a more or less mixed text. 

Now, it is obvious that the effect of mixture is to 
confuse genealogies. Wherever it has entered, and in 
the proportion in which it has entered, the arrange- 
ment of the documents in theii' true genealogical 
relations is rendered difficult, as also the interpreta- 
tion of the evidence, after it has been arranged. The 
detection of the fact of mixture is generally, however, 
easy, and when it is once detected it can be allowed 
for ; so that it will only force us to apply genealogical 
evidence with more care and discrimination, rather 
than render it inapplicable. Suppose, for instance, 
that in undertaking to determine the mutual relations 
of a body of five witnessing documents, we find that 
they separate easily into two pairs, each a repi-esenta- 
tive of a marked type of text, while the fifth witness 
is intermediate between the pairs. Whether this 
intermediate position is due to mixture or not is 
usually possible to determine by the character either 
of the intermediate readings themselves or of the 
whole mass of readings furnished by the intermediate 
witness. If any of the readings are themselves com- 
posite readings, uniting, the readings characteristic 
of the other types — " conflate readings " as they are 
called — and especially if many such readings occur, 
mixture may be assumed to be proved. If, again, in 
looking over the whole mass of its readings we find 


the intermediate witness to follow arbitrarily first 
one and then the other of the two pairs in their 
obvious errors, and especially if this is true of the 
obvious errors of a separate document from each 
(or either) pair, while its own obvious errors can be 
traced back by transcriptional evidence with equal 
arbitrariness now to the one and now to the other, 
mixture again may be assumed. The fact of mixture 
having been thus determined, it may be allowed 
for, and the elements in the witness under investi- 
gation be separated and placed in the genealogy 

Some such state of things as we have thus assumed 
seems actually to occur in the witnessing documents 
to the "Two Ways," or first section of "The Teaching 
of the Apostles," the scheme of which is apparently 
as follows : — 

Original Text. 




b [c] 



. ^ M 

Here the extant witnesses are a, b, forming one pair, 
and 1, 2, forming another, together with 3, which 
proves to be a descendant of a lost d mixed with 2, 
A glance at the table will show the efiect of the 
mixture. Without it, the combination 2 3 would 
necessarily determine both what was in c and d, and 
hence what was in B. But owing to mixture of 3 
from 2, the combination 2 3 may be only a corrupt 


reading peculiar to 2 ; and 1 may preserve the true 
reading of c, while the reading of B may be that 
of c now extant in 1, or the lost one which stood 
in d before mixture with 2 displaced it from its 
descendant 3. So, again, without mixture, such a 
combination as b 1 against 2 3 would have been 
impossible. For b and 1 could not agree (accidents 
apart), unless this reading had been inherited from 
their common ancestor, and this would imply its 
presence in all the links between that ancestor and 
each document — i.e., in A and in B and in c. But, 
again, 2 and 3 could not agree unless in like manner 
that reading stood in every link between each and 
their common ancestor — i.e., in d, c, and B. Thus 
both readings would have to stand in B and in c 
as well to allow this division of evidence. With the 
mixture, however, this combination is very possible ; 
for though b 1 implies that the reading so supported 
stood in c and B, 2 3 need not imply anything 
beyond the presence of its reading in 2 itself, whence 
it may have been borrowed by 3. A division or 
attestation of this kind is called a " cioss attestation," 
and "cross attestations" are among the surest proofs 
that mixture lias taken place. Go back to the diagram 
from Catullus, for instance. If we find A, 1,2, 3, 4, 5 
supporting one reading, and 6, 7, 8, 9 another; or 
A, 8, 9 one, and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 another ; or 1, 2, 3, 4, 
5, 7 one, and 6, 8, 9 another, — we may be certain 
(accidents being excluded) that mixture has taken 
place. For each of these divisions is such as cannot 
occur in a simple genealogy, inasmuch as it springs 
across from one group to another, and hence pre- 


supposes that its reading was in the parent docu- 

The effect of mixture, then, on genealogical evidence 
is to limit the sphere of its application. Thus, in our 
present illustration, we no longer know at sight what 
2 3 means. It may be c + d, and hence carry us back 
to B, or it may be only 2 + 2, and so leave us 
at 2. Even 12 3 may be nothing but a corruption 
introduced by c. In all cases in which A and B 
differed, 1 3 is the only combination that we can 
be sure will take us back to B. But mixture does 
not affect the validity of genealogical evidence wher- 
ever it can be applied. Thus, again, in our present 
illustration, a (or b) 1, or a (or b) 2, or a (or b) 3, all 
alike carry us l^ack to the common original of all 
our witnesses despite the mixture of 3 from 2, and 
in general every combination of a or b with a descend- 
ant of B still settles the original text with certainty. 
We gain somewhat fewer results from genealogy than 
we should have attained, had there been no mixture ; 
but what we do gain are equally sound in this case 
as in that. The actual instance of mixture which we 
have been studying is no doubt a very uncomplicated 
one. It sufficiently illustrates, nevertheless, its effect, 
its dangers and its difficulties ; and the most compli- 
cated case imaginable would differ from it only in 
degree. The one principle that unties, as far as may 
be, all the knotty problems that mixture sets for us, 
is that mixture acts simply like marriage in real 
genealogies, and we must allow the possibility of each 
combination of documents, into which it enters, 
meaning as many diverse things as there are diverse 


ways of tracing up their inheritance to a common 
original. Thus, the common original of 2 3 may be 
found at 2, or if it is the other element of 3 that here 
unites with 2, not until we reach B. 

As mixture operates in a directly opposite direction 
to pure genealogy, — tending to bring together whereas 
it tends to separate the texts, to compress all lines of 
descent into one composite line whereas it broadens 
them out more and more, like a fan, — it is not strange 
that it introduces some paradoxes into criticism. One 
of these it is worth while to call attention to. Where 
mixture has been at work, it is often discovered that 
a group is weakened instead of strengthened by the 
addition of other witnesses. For example, in our 
illufctration, 1 3 is a strong group ; its readings must 
take us back at least to B, the common original of 
this whole class. Add 2 to this group and at once its 
value is lowered. For 1 3 (2 dissenting) must be a 
combination of 1 descended from c and of 3 in that 
part of it which descends from d, inasmuch as the 
dissent of 2 proves that this is not the part of 3 that 
comes from 2. But 1 2 3 is a combination of 1 and 
2 descended from c and 3 in a part that may well 
have been borrowed from 2, and hence which also may 
descend from c. Hence, while 1 3 must be at least B, 
the larger group 12 3 may mean only c, and is 
therefore a weaker group. Analogous findings crop 
out in the New Testament. For example, internal 
evidence of groups proves that B D in Paul is a 
better group than B D G, or than B D G + most 
uncials and most minuscules. Again, x A C in Paul 
better group than xACDG. The explanation 


of it lies in this : some mixture has taken place that 
makes B D analogous to 1 3 in our diagram and 
B D G analogous to 1 2 3. 

The application of genealogical evidence to the New 
Testament has proved to be exceptionally difficult. 
Not only has the critic to face here an unheard-of 
abundance of matter, all of which has to be sifted and 
classified ; but the problem is complicated by an un- 
paralleled amount of mixture, which has reigned so 
universally that it has left scarcely a half-dozen wit- 
nesses entirely unaffected by it. The task of working 
out the genealogy of the New Testament MSS. has^ 
therefore, been the labour not of one man, nor of one 
age, but of a succession of generations. The first 
dim signs of classification were mistily seen by Mill 
(1707) and Bentley (1720); the genius and diligence 
of Beugel (1734) and Griesbach (1775—1811) drew 
the lines of division with some sharpness; and Dr. 
Hort, in our own day, has at last so far perfected 
the details that this method of criticism can now bo 
safely used for the settlement of much of the New 
Testament text. The multifarious abundance of 
mixture in our witnesses complicates and limits the 
use of genealogy sadly ; but, as elsewhere, leaves the 
soundness of its results unafiected wherever it can be 
applied. Genealogy, thus, does less for us in the New 
Testament than could have been hoped, but it does 
Diuch for us nevertheless. In particular, the results 
attained by it so fully explain those reached by 
internal evidence of groups, which it is to be remem- 
bered is an entirely independent process, and those 
attained by that process so fully accord with those 


attained by this, that the two methods actually prove 
the soundness of each other, and place the text 
obtained by both combmed in a very unassailable 

It does not fall within the plan of this primary 
treatise to enter fully into the details or the justifica- 
tion of the genealogy which Dr. Hort has worked 
out for the New Testament witnesses. For this the 
student must be referred to the full exposition and 
proof which Dr. Hort has himself given in his epoch- 
making " Introduction " to the Greek Testament, 
which was published by Dr. Westcott and himself in 
1881. Here, it must suffice to set forth only so much 
as will enable the beginner to make intelligent use of 
the method. 

At the root of all genealogical investigation lies 
the classification of the documents according to their 
affinities ; and Dr. Hort has shown that the docu- 
ments representing the text of the New Testament 
part into four great and w^ell-marked classes, which 
he would somewhat conventionally designate the 
Syrian, Western, Alexandrian, and Neutral. Next 
the difficult problem of the relation in which the 
several classes stand to one another is unravelled. 
And here, first, it has been shown that the Syrian 
class is not an independent witness to the text of the 
New Testament, but is rather the result of a critical 
editing of the New Testament text which was accom 
plished probably in Syria at some time not earlier 
than the last half of the third century. The evidence 
that proves this is of three kinds. First, the distinc- 
tive readings of the Syrian text, although common 


in the later fourth century and all subsequent fatheis, 
cannot be traced in ante-Nicene patristic quotations ; 
so that, journeying backwards in time, the favourite 
text of Chrysostom and his age has disappeared entirely 
from use by the time we reach Origen. Secondly, the 
distinctively Syrian readings, when tried by internal 
evidence, betray themselves as inferior to, and, when 
tried by transcriptional evidence, as derived from, those 
of the other classes. And, thirdly, this culminates in 
the presence among the Syrian readings of a body of 
"conflate readings," the simple elements of which 
occur in the other classes, so that it is certain that 
in some of its parts this text was made out of the 
Neutral and Alexandrian, or the Neutral and 
Western, or the Alexandrian and Western. When 
all the phenomena are closely scrutinised, it is made 
out positively that the Syrian text was made by a 
revision out of the other three classes, and preserves 
nothing from antiquity not already in them. In the 
presence of the other three classes its testimony is, 
therefore, collusive testimony, and is simply to be 
neglected. The case with reference to it is precisely 
similar to that with reference to the codices mutili of 
Cicero's " Orator," or the printed editions of the New 
Testament. We should have much the same warrant 
for introducing Westcott and Hort's Greek Testa- 
ment among our witnesses that we have for introducing 
the Syrian text ; in both cases the valuelessness of the 
text as a witness-bearer depends on the fact that it 
represents not testimony — i.e., inheritance, but the 
opinion of editors — i.e., revision. Setting aside, then, 
the documents containing the Syrian text, we are left 


with only three classes representing the New Testa- 
ment text. That the Western class is an independent 
class Ls easily proved ; and its character is so strongly 
marked that it stands quite apart from all other 
types. The Alexandrian is more difficult to deal 
with. Although there is much that would lead us to 
assign an independent position to it, too, on the whole 
it seems to be the truer disposition to join it with 
the Neutral, and arrange these two as two great sub- 
classes of a greater class, including them both and 
standing over against the Western. With this dis- 
position, the New Testament genealogy will have a 
form of descent worked out for it which is very 
closely analogous to that for Catullus, which we 
have used as a sample genealogy; and it may be 
graphically represented as follows : — 
Original Text. 
Western Text. X 


Neutral Text. Alexandrian Text. 

Had no complications of mixture entered into the 
descent of the various documents which at present 
represent these three classes, this genealogical scheme 
would teach us that a combination of the Western 
text with either the Neutral or Alexandrian would 
necessarily take us back to the common original of 
all. On the other hand, wherever each text appeared 
as sponsor for a different reading, or the Neutral and 
Alexandrian stood opposed to the Western, the bear- 
ing of the external evidence could be settled only 
by calling in internal evidence of classes. This last 
named process proves to speak with no doubtful voice. 


It condemns the Western text as the most corrupt 
of all known forms; it commends the Neutral as the 
most correct of all forms ; and it assigns a character 
somewhat intermediate between the two to the Alex- 
andrian. The observed characteristics of the various 
classes account for this verdict. The licence which 
seems to have characterised the scribes whose copy- 
ings formed the Western text may be almost described 
as audacity: paraphrase, assimilation, modification, 
elaboration, extensive interpolation, abound every- 
where, and result in the most corrupt text which 
has ever been current. The Alexandrian text is cha- 
racterised rather by workmanlike and even scholarly 
corrections of forms or syntax, and petty modifica- 
tions, which might easily creep in where the scribe 
was also partly editor. While honest and careful 
copying, with only the intrusion of the errors inci- 
dent to all copying, seems to be the characteristic of 
the Neutral text. The Syrian text, formed on the 
basis of these preceding types, appears to have been 
an effort to replace by a purer and smoother text 
the corrupt Western type, which had been at that 
time, for probably a century at the least, practically 
the Textus Rezeptus of the Christian world. As such 
it was eminently successful ; and gave to the Church 
for the next millennium and a half a textus receptus 
that is practically free from the gross faults of the 
Western text, that is noble and attractive in form 
and worthy in diction, and peculiarly suited for the 
cursory perusal of the closet or reading-desk. Con- 
sidered as a representative of the New Testament, 
it is competently exact for all practical purposes; 


considered as an effort to reform a corrupt textus 
receptus, it is worthy of great admiration when the 
narrow opportunities of the time when it was made 
are kept in view; but, considered as a witness of 
what was in the original New Testament, it passes 
out of court simply because it is a good editorially- 
framed revision of the text, and not a simple copy 
of it. 

It will scarcely need repeating at this point, how- 
ever, that mixture, so far from being absent from, 
has been specially active among New Testament MSS. 
To such an extent has it ruled, that we have perhaps 
only four codices that have escaped it altogether, to 
which may possibly be added one version. Codex B 
in the Gospels, Acts, and Catholic Epistles (not in 
Paul), seems to be purely, or all but purely, Neutral ; 
D, Dg, G3, seem purely Western everywhere, and to 
them may possibly be added the African Latin version. 
No extant document presents an Alexandrian text 
unmixed ; both Western and Neutral admixtures 
have entered even C, L, A (in Mark), and the Mem- 
phitic version, the most constant representatives of 
this type of text. It follows, therefore, that a com- 
bination of the Western and Alexandrian documents 
need not be a combination of these two texts, and 
therefore will not overbear the testimony of the 
Neutral class ; and internal evidence of groups pro- 
claims the Neutral usually the better reading in 
such cases. To B, D, Dg, and G3 there need be added 
only some smnll fragments such as T, H, to complete 
the list of New Testament MSS. which have not 
received mixture from the Syrian text. B has a 



Western element in Paul's epistles mixed with its 
Neutral base, but apparently has nowhere received 
Alexandrian admixture. K has a Neutral base, but 
has received both Alexandrian and Western elements 
bj'- mixture, although these elements are unequally 
distributed, being most abundant in the Gospels 
(especially in John and parts of Luke), and ap- 
parently in the Apocalypse, and least abundant in 
Paul. Among the versions the African Latin seems 
purely Western, and the Curetonian Syriac predomi- 
natingly so ; while the Memphitic and Thebaic, 
though betraying some Syrian admixture in their 
extant forms, were originally probably Neutral-Alex- 
andrian with a Western admixture, — largest in the 
Thebaic. All other documents have a larger or 
smaller Syrian element, and thus present very com- 
posite texts. A is fundamentally Syrian in the 
Gospels; but in the other books has only a Syrian 
admixture on a base fundamentally Neutral, with 
Western and Alexandrian elements (the latter espe- 
cially in the Acts and Epistles). L is Alexandrian- 
Neutral with Western admixture. A is fundamentally 
Syrian (probably as copied from a MS. fully corrected 
by a Syrian codex) everywhere except in Mark, where 
it is very largely Alexandrian-Neutral. Among the 
codices which have a Syrian element such MSS. as 
C,L,P,Q,K,Z,r,A (in Mark), 33, 81 (= 2?^), 157 
in the Gospels, A,C,E, 13, 61 in Acts and the Catholic 
Epistles, A, C, M, H, P, 17, 67** in Paul, and A, C, P 
in the Apocalypse, preserve the largest proportion of 
pre- Syrian readings. 

The effect of this state of things on the genealogy 


of the MSS. of the Gospels, s<ay, for example, may- 
be roughly represented to the eye by the following 
diagram, which does not aim to arrange the MSS. 
in anything like their actual relations to one another, 
but only to represent in the simplest way the general 
effect of mixture. 

Original Text. 


_-i ^—-^ , „ I , 

.1 r. I. I. .r r 1 

Qiv nui jju n' a"' a" a' = 

w'" \va wa'=f=n'' n^ n"' n""' a"' a'^' 

!. I I -H. Ill I I.. 

w^" wa" a^'=wan wan'=j=n^" n* B a^'=wana^" 

II... II. I I.., 

w'^ wa"* N n^' — I -waan a^"' 

I I r -r^ , . I 

w* I waann Mcmph. waann'=j=a"* 


Old Latin [L] 

A few of the symbols of actual documents have 
been (very approximately) introduced into this dia- 
gram, in order to give point to its lessons. The 
letters w, n, and a are intended to represent respect- 
ively the Western, Neutral, and Alexandrian classes, 
each of which originated, of coarse, in a single copy, 
although it must be remembered that the peculiarities 
of each class grew progressively more and more 
marked, and took time and many copyings thoroughly 
to develop. In the Hnes of descent from w, n, and a, 
the single letters variously primed — e.g., w*, w"^, n^, 
n''^, a', a"^ — are intended to represent unmixed descend- 
ants, while the ordinary genealogical sign of marriage 


(=) is used to represent the union of two documents 
for the production of a third, the more or less 
composite character of which is indicated by the 
combination of letters which represents it, — e.g., wa, 
wn, an, wan, waan, waann, etc. 

Now, the essence of the genealogical principle is that 
any combination of documents has weight in propor- 
tion to the distance from the autograph of the point 
in the genealogy at which the lines of descent of this 
combination unite. Assuming that the documents 
^, B, C, D, L, Old Latin, Memphitic, have been justly 
placed in the genealogy, it is possible to estimate the 
value of each combination of these documents by 
tracing them out in the table. For example, the 
line that connects B with the autograph and the 
line that connects D with the autograph do not 
come together until they reach the autograph itself ; 
accidental conjunction in obvious corrections or un- 
avoidable corruptions apart, therefore, the combina- 
tion B D should be equivalent to the original text 
itself. On the other hand, since t< traces back to the 
autograph through three different lines — viz., through 
w, n, and a — a combination of it with any other 
document, whether a Western one like D, or a 
Neutral one like B, or a prevailingly Alexandrian 
one like C, may, indeed, be a combination of classes, 
and so take us to their union ; or it may be only a 
combination of documents within one class, and take 
us only to w, or to n, or to a. The combination D N, 
for instance, may be a combination of Western D with 
K in its Western element, and so take us only to w ; 
or it may be with X in its Alexandrian or Neutral 


element, and so take us to the original text. It will 
be remembered that the Western element in k is 
particularly large in the Gospels ; hence D n here 
is apt to be only a combination of two Western 
witnesses; we shall not be surprised, therefore, to 
note that internal evidence of groups usually con- 
demns this group. For the same reason, however, 
the combination B N, which might carry us equally 
easily to n, to X, or to the autograph through x's 
Western element, is most apt to do the latter ; and 
herein we see the reason why internal evidence of 
groups gives such high character to B x. Let these 
instances suffice. The student will readily see that 
the genealogical evidence proper needs only supple- 
menting by internal evidence of classes, by which 
we learn that w is a very corrupt and n a specially 
good line of descent, to make this distribution of the 
New Testament documents into their proper classes a 
very valuable engine of criticism. 

The relative divergence of the three great classes 
from the line of pure descent is not illustrated by 
the diagram, and therefore it tells us nothing of the 
results obtained by the important process of internal 
evidence of classes. Perhaps even this may be roughly 
represented to the eye by a diagram of the following 
form. If X y be taken to represent the line along 
which all documents would have been ranged, had an 
absolutely pure descent been preserved and no errors 
introduced, z q may be taken to represent the 
actual line of descent which the Western documents 
have taken, k v that of the Alexandrian, and t s that 
of the Neutral ; while w p will represent the line of 


descent of the Syrian class. Along the line z q may 
be placed, therefore, the Western documents, each 
later one representing a greater divergence from the 
true text; along k v the Alexandrian documents, 
and along t s the Neutral ones. As X and C L are 
mixed, they may be assigned a more or less inter- 
mediate position, with dotted lines connecting them 
with their several sources. It is evident that the 
combination of any two documents will take us to the 
point in the descent of the text where their separate 

ycwv z '' _ * True Text v 

descents coincide. B, standing just beyond t on t s, 
is nearest the true text of all single documents. The 
two lines of B's and of D's descent can unite, when 
traced back, only at z, on the line of true descent, and 
at a point very far back in time, j^ draws a con- 
tingent from the Western text, and hence fc< D may 
only take us to some place on z q ; it also draws an 
element from the Alexandrian text, and hence N D 
may take us to z on the line of true descent ; and 
it also draws an element from the Neutral text, and 
hence again j< D may take us to z on the line of true 
descent. Which of these is the true account can bo 


told in general only by internal evidence of groups, 
altliougli in particular instances it may be discovered 
from the nature of the opposing party. For example, 
if {< D stands opposed to B C L A in a passage in 
Mark, we can argue that the element of j< represented 
here is neither the Neutral element (else would it 
stand with B), nor the Alexandiian element (else 
would it agree with C L A), but the Western 
element ; and hence N D is here Western, and takes 
us only to some point on z q, off of the true line of 

This exposition of the genealogical method has 
been but little successful unless it has shown, along 
with the nature of genealogies in general, somewhat 
also of the effect of mixture on the genealogies of the 
New Testament, and of the methods that must be 
adopted to overcome the difficulties raised by it. 
There remains, therefore, only to give a more 
extended list of the documents which represent 
each class before we can proceed to study the 
application of this method to practical use. Let the 
student only remember that we must treat, here 
too, each section of the New Testament separately, 
and that by reason of mixture a single document 
may find place equally well in more than one class, 
and the following list will be useful to him. 

The Neutral text is more especially represented 
by the following documents, viz. : — In the Gospels : 
B (purely), 5^ largely, and then T, B, L, 33, A (in 
Mark), C,Z,R,Q,P, Memph. (Theb.) (Syr^'^"-). In 
the Acts and Catholic Epistles : B (probably purely), 
fc<, 61, A, C, 13, P (except in Acts and 1 Peter), and 


such minttscules as 27, 29, 31, 36, 40, 44, 68, 69,102, 
110, 112, 137, 180, etc., Memph. (Theb.) Syr^^^^ In 
Paul: B, X, A, C, 17, P, 67**, M, H, Memph. (Theb.) 
In the Apocalypse : A, P, ^, Memph. (Theb.) 

The Western text is most fully represented by the 
following documents, viz : — In the Gospels : D (purely), 
N», X, r, 81 (=2P^), lectionary 39, 1-118-131-209, 
13-69-124-346, 22, 28, 157. Also C, A (in Mark), 
H, L, P, Q, K, Z, ISr, W^, 33, African* and European 
Latin, Syr<^^ et ^^'•'"g- et^^^ Theb. (Memph.) In the 
Acts and Catholic Epistles: D (purely), t<, E, 31, 44, 
(of Hort), 61, 137, 180. Also A, C, 13, African and 
European Latin, Syr ^''^- °^g-, Theb. (Memph). In Paul : 
D, G, [E, F], (purely), then «, B, 31, 37, 46, 80, 137, 
221, etc. Also A, C, P, 17, M, H, 67**, African and 
European Latin, Syr. ^"^^ "»«-, Theb. (Memph.). In the 
Apocalypse ; ii, also A, P, African and European 
Latin, Theb. (Memph.). 

The Alexandrian text is most prominently repre- 
sented by the following documents : — In the Gosioels : 
C, L, N, A (in Mark), X, 33, Z, S, R, 1, 57, Memph. 
Theb. (Pst. Syr.). In the Acts and Catholic Epistles : 
A, C, X, E, 13, 61, P (in Oath. Epistles except 1 John). 
Also 27, 29, 36, 40, 68, 69, 102, 110, 112, Memph. 
Theb. (Pbt. Syr.). In Paul: A, C, N, P, 5, 6, 17, 23, 
39, 47, 73, 137, Memph. Theb. (Pst. Syr.). In the 
Aiwcalypse : N, P, Memph. Theb. 

The Syrian text is found in the following uncials, 
together with most minuscules : — In the Gospels : 
A, E, F, G, H, S, U, V, A, n, and in less degree in 
C, L, ]Sr, P, Q, P, X, M. r, A. In the Acts and Catholic 
Epistles : H, L, P, K, and in large part P, and in 


less degree in A, C, E. In Paul : K, L, N, also in 
H, 12 M, 0, O^, Q, R, and in less degree in A, C. In 
the Apocalypse : B, and in large part P, and in less 
degree C, A. 

The post-Nicene fathers generally, present a Syrian 
text in their citations, although Cyril of Alexandria, 
ApoUinaris (Kara /xepos Trto-rts), and less markedly Epi- 
phanius, and even John of Damascus, are to greater or 
less extent exceptions to this rule. The ante-Nicene 
patristic citations are prevailingly Western ; this is 
true of those of Marcion, Justin, Irenseus, Hippoly- 
tus, Methodius, Eusebius, and even to some extent of 
Clement of Alexandria and Origen. A large non- 
Western pre-Syrian element is found, also, however, 
in the Alexandrian fathers, Clement of Alexandria, 
Origen, Dionysius, Peter, and also in a less degree in 
Eusebius and others. 

The ready application of the genealogical method 
to practical use in criticism will depend on our ability 
to read the digests of readings, where the evidence is 
expressed in terms of individual MSS., in terms of 
the classes of MSS., or, in other words, to translate 
testimony expressed in terms of individual MSS. into 
testimony expressed in terms of classes of MSS. The 
proper procedure may be tabidated somewhat as 
follows : — (1) First, sift out all Syrian evidence from 
the mass of witnesses recorded in the digest, and thus 
confine attention to the pre-Syrian testimony. If, on 
sifting out the Syrian evidence, only one reading is 
left, it is, of course, the oldest transmitted reading, 
and as such is to be accepted. (2) Next, identify the 
pre-Syrian classes. Western, Alexandrian, and Neutral, 


by separating the chief representatives of each from 
the body of the witnesses, allowing everywhere for 
mixture. (3) If, now, we have three readings, one 
supported by each of the pre-Syrian classes, the 
Neutral reading should have the preference. (4) If 
we have only two readings, that supported by the 
Neutral and Western against the Alexandrian is to 
be preferred ; or that supported by the Neutral and 
Alexandrian against the Western is to be preferred j 
or (since all prominent Alexandrian documents have 
a large Western element) that supported by the 
Neutral against the Western and Alexandrian is to 
be preferred. 

A few examples are needed to illustrate practice 
under these rules. The sifting out of the Syrian 
evidence is rendered necessary by the relation which 
the Syrian class bears to the others as dependent on 
them and made out of them, by which its evidence is 
made collusive and confusing. It will be sufficiently 
accurately accomplished at first by confining attention 
to the following documents, viz. : in the Gospels : 
«, B, C, D, L, P, Q, R, T, Z, A (in Mark), S, 33, Latin 
versions, Curetonian and Jerusalem Syriac, Memphitic, 
and Thebaic ; in Acts, ^, A, B, C, D, E, 13, 61, and the 
same versions (except the Curetonian Syriac, which is 
not extant here); in the Catholic Epistles, x, A, B, 0, 
13, the Latin versions, Memphitic and Thebaic; in 
Paul, {<, A, B, C, D, G, 17, 67'"*, and the same versions; 
and everywhere the certain quotations of the ante- 
Nicene fathers. Any reading which has the support 
of no one of these witnesses may be safely set 
aside as Syrian or post- Syrian; and even if a few 


of these witnesses which contain a large Syrian element 
join with the mass of later witnesses against the 
body of those named here, the reading may still be 
safely neglected as Syrian. Not infrequently the 
reading is settled by the sifting out of the Syrian 
documents ; when they are removed, the variation is 
removed too. An instance may be found in Marki. 2, 
where " in the prophets " is read by A, E, F, G, H, K, 
M, P, U, V, r, n, many minuscules, the text of the 
Harclean Syriac, the Armenian according to Zohrab's 
edition, the ^thiopic, and some late fathers, including 
the Latin translation of Irenseus in opposition to the 
Greek elsewhere. Only P in this list occurs in 
the test list given above, and the whole support of 
the reading is, therefore, distinctly Syrian, so that 
when the Syrian testimony is sifted out we have 
left only " in Isaiah the prophet,'* supported by the 
whole pre-Syrian array — viz., B x 33, L A, D, about 
twenty-five minuscules, the Latin versions, the Mem- 
phitic, Peshitto, Jerusalem, and margin of the Harclean 
Syriac, the Gothic, and codices of the Armenian 
versions, with Irenasus and Oiigen among the fathers. 
In like manner the addition of cv to) <fiav€pw in Matt. 
vi. 4 and 6 is sifted out with the Syrian testimony, 
leaving the whole body of pre-Syrian witnesses at 
one for its omission. In such cases our work is 
easily done, and the text is restored with the very 
greatest certitude. Any reading supported only by 
the Syrian class is convicted of having originated 
after a.d. 250. 

Often, however, we seem no nearer our goal, after 
♦^he Syrian evidence has been sifted out, than we were 


at the start. Two or sometimes three readings may 
still face us, and our real task is yet before us. The 
next step is to identify the classes represented in 
the groups of witnesses supporting each reading, by 
attending very carefully to their constituent elements, 
whether pure representatives of any one class or 
mixed representatives of more than one. This is 
often a very delicate piece of work, but it is often 
also easy, and is generally at least possible. It is 
usually best to begin by identifying a class of which 
we have pure representatives, and to proceed thence 
to those the only extant representatives of which 
are mixed. In the Gospels it is nearly equally easy 
to identify the Neutral and the Western readings; 
in Paul we should begin with the Western ; in Acts 
and the Catholic Epistles, again, we may almost 
equally well begin with either the Western or 
Neutral. Let us look at Mark iii. 29 as an example. 
Here the reading ^^ judgment " sifts out with the 
Syrian testimony, and we are confronted with the pair 
of readings d/xapxTy/xaTos supported by N, B, L, A, 28, 33, 
81 (= 2P<^), and d/xaprtas supported by O*^^'^, D, 13, 
69, 346, Ath. The versions here can give but little 
help, and we omit them altogether. We note at once 
that purely Western D is united with a small body 
of adherents, all of which have Western elements, in 
support of d/xaprias, which we may thus recognise as 
Western. On the other side, the purely Neutral B 
stands in the midst of a group which therefore 
certainly embraces the Neutral class. Whether 
afxapT-q/xaTos is also Alexandrian is more doubtful, 
inasmuch as the Alexandrian documents supporting 


it have all Neutral elements. On the whole, however, 
this reading may be safely set down to the credit 
of both the Alexandrian and Neutral classes. But 
in either contingency internal evidence of classes 
determines for it as probably the true reading. A 
similar example may be found in the vivid insertion 
of TO in Mark ix. 23, which has the support of 
B i<, G L A, X r, involving the typical Neutral and 
Alexandrian witnesses against the omission by D, 1 3, 
28, 69, 81 (= 2P«), 124, 131, which is recognisably 
Western. In the next verse (ix. 24) the iura SaKpvtav 
is in the same way recognised as Western, supported as 
it is by D, N, X, T, the European, Italian and Vulgate 
Latin, Peshitto and Harclean Syriac and Gothic ver- 
sions, while its omission is testified by B K, C* L A, 
28, k of the African Latin, the Memphitic, Armenian 
and ^thiopic versions — i.e., by the combined Neutral 
and Alexandrian witnesses. A considerable insertion 
of the Western text is found in Mark ix. 45 and 46, 
supported only by D, N, X, F, Latin, Syriac, Gothic 
and ^thiopic versions, while the omission is sup- 
ported by B N, C L A, 1, 28, 81(= 2?'^), 118, 251, 
k of the African Latin, Memphitic, and Armenian. 
On the same kind of evidence Mark ix. 49, last 
clause, and xi. 26, are recognised as interpolations of 
the Western text. In all these cases we have pro- 
ceeded by identifying and rejecting the Western 
reading, and the help in determining the text has 
been sure and immediate. 

In such a reading, on the other hand, as the addi- 
tion of prjfxa in Matt. v. 11, which is witnessed by 
0, r, A, Peshitto and Harclean Syriac, and Origen, 


against K, B, D, Latin, Memphitic, Jerusalem Syriac, 
and ^Stliiopic versions, and Cyril of Alexandria; or 
such an one as the addition of rots apxalots in Matt. 
V. 27, by L, A, 33, later Latin, Curetonian Syriac and 
Harclean Syriac versions, Irenseus, and Eusebius, 
against B {^, DP, African and European Latin, 
Memphitic, Peshitto Syriac, Armenian, ^thiopic, and 
Gothic versions, and Origen; we must proceed by 
identifying and rejecting the Alexandrian reading, 
which appears to be opposed by the combined Neutral 
(B, N, etc.) and Western (D, etc.) witnesses. In such 
cases the Alexandrian reading is identified by a 
process of exclusion : for example, in the former case 
C, A, are not Neutral, for they separate from the 
Neutral documents, and they are not Western, for 
they separate from the Western documents; they 
must be, then, either Alexandrian or Syrian, and 
the presence of the reading in Origen seems to point 
to the former. In these cases, too, the reading is 
settled securely by the combination of Western and 
Neutral witnesses. 

Still another class of variations may be illustrated 
by the insertion or omission of " which art in heaven " 
at the opening of the Lord's Prayer in Luke's account 
of it. The insertion is supported by the Syrian text, 
and, also by D, C, P, A, X, 33, etc., Old Latin codices, 
Curetonian, Peshitto and Harclean Syriac, Memphitic, 
and ^thiopic; and the omission by B, x, L, 1, 22, 
57, 130, 346, Vulgate Latin, and Armenian versions, 
Origen and Tertullian. The Neutral text certainly is 
for omission (B, t<, etc.), and the Western for insertion 
(D, Old Latin, Curetonian Syriac). But representa- 


tives of the Alexandrian text are on both sides : N, L, 
1, 57, on one, and C, F, A, X, 33, Memph., on the 
other. If we could be sure that this latter group 
i-epresented the Alexandrian here, its union with the 
Western would carry our decision with it ; but every 
single member of it is so strongly mixed with Western 
readings that it would be dangerous in the extreme 
to count it anything but Western here. So that we 
can only believe that we have here a case of Neutral 
versus Western, and follow the former accordingly. 
As for the Alexandrian reading, it is either lost or 
else represented by L, 1, 57. Internal evidence of 
groups not only supports this conclusion, but forces 
it upon us. Quite similarly " Let Thy kingdom come, 
as in heaven, also on the earth " is inserted at the end 
of the same verse by t<, C, T, A, X, D, Old Latin, 
Peshitto and Harclean Syriac, Memphitic, and ^thio- 
pic, against the protest of B, L, 1, 22, 130, 346, 
Vulgate Latin, Curetonian Syriac, Armenian, and 
Origen and Tertullian. The transference of X, which 
has a very marked Western element in Luke, makes 
no essential difference in the testimony ; every codex 
arrayed here with D has a large Western element, 
and the whole combination is explicable as a Western 
inheritance. So that again we treat the matter as an 
instance of Western versus Neutral, and decide accord- 
ingly, by internal evidence of classes, for the Neutral. 
A special but very small class of readings, called 
by Dr. Hort " Western non-interpolations," deserves 
a separate notice. An example may be found in the 
odd insertion into Matt, xxvii. 49, to which attention 
was called when we were speaking of internal evidence 


of groups. The insertion is supported by n, B, C, Tj, 
U, r, 5, 48, 67, 115, 127, ^thiopic,— including the 
Neutral ({<, B, etc.), and Alexandrian (C, L, T, 5, 
48, 67, etc.) witnesses. The omission has the support 
of only D, A, E, F, G, H, K, M, S, V, A, n, most 
minuscules, the Latin, Peshitrt-o and Harclean Syriac, 
Memphitic, Gothic, and Armenian versions, and the 
like, — which are easily seen to be Syrian and Western. 
Yet, as already pointed out, internal evidence of read- 
ings seems to forbid our accepting these words as 
genuine, and thus forces us to decide against the 
combination of the Neutral and Alexandrian and for 
the Western standing alone. In this reading, and 
possibly in some others like it (for each must be 
treated apart), we have the exception to the general 
rule that the Neutral- Alexandrian class is better than 
the Western, which the genealogical scheme on which 
we are working allows for and hence presupposes. If 
the Neutral and Alexandrian have been rightly 
accounted two branches of one stem set over against 
the Western, it would be difficult to understand how 
it could happen that the Western should be always 
wrong, without exception, and this stem always right. 
The process of internal evidence of classes, like internal 
evidence of groups and documents, determines only 
general and usual relations, and the exceptions to the 
general rule can be detected only by internal evidence 
of readings. If, for the moment, we conceive of the 
line xt in the last diagram as not the line of abso- 
lutely true descent, but the actual line of descent of 
codices, from which zq diverges when the descent 
becomes Western, k v when it becomes Alexandrian, 


and t s when it becomes Neutral, it mil be evident 
to the eye that the Neutro-Alexandrian descent co- 
incided for the space represented by z k, after the 
separation of the Western descent had taken place, 
and hence it is to be expected that the combination 
Neutral-Alexandrian will testify to some errors 
introduced into their common stem during the series 
of copyings represented by the space z k. In other 
words, reverting to the former diagram, the very fact 
that the Neutral and Alexandrian classes are arranged, 
not as two independent classes co-ordinate with the 
Western, but as two sub-classes of X, which is co- 
ordinate with the Western, presupposes that they will 
combine against the Western in some errors. From 
all which we learn that textual criticism, even with 
the aid of the genealogical evidence, cannot, any more 
than in the case of other methods, be prosecuted 
mechanically; but each reading must be very carefully 
considered, separately, ere our conclusion concerning 
it be announced. 

Procedure under the genealogical method in Paul's 
Epistles has enough of speciality to render it desirable 
to give some illustrations of it. It is a good practical 
rule to go by in the Gospels, to follow the group 
which contains B, at least provisionally. The best 
practical rule to go by in Paul is, to suspect the group 
which contains D, G, unless practically all the primary 
witnesses join with them. This difference of procedure 
results from the fact that B is purely Neutral in the 
Gospels, and hence forms there the rallying point for 
the documents of the best class to gather around. In 
Paul B has a Western element, and hence may stand 



with only Western documents — the worst class — 
around it. With no pure representative of either 
the Neutral or Alexandrian class, we are reduced in 
Paul to identifying, as our first step, the Western 
class by the aid of its pure representatives D and G, 
and this we identify only to reject, if it stands 
alone. And as all codices have a Western element, 
it follows further that any addition to D G need 
not alter its character as Western and probably 
corrupt. Hence A D G, B D G, N» D G, C D G, or 
alike, need represent nothing better than a Western 
error. No a priori reason exists why B K D G 
might not equally do so ; but internal evidence of 
groups here steps in and proclaims this group so good 
that we are obliged to account it usually a union 
of INeutral (Bn) and Western (D G) classes. This 
only shows that B and i<, although both having 
Western elements, get their Western elements inde- 
pendently, and do not usually coincide in the same 
Western corruption ; hence, while thoroughly con- 
sistent with the genealogical scheme, this finding is 
inconsistent with the supposition that these two 
codices come from a proximate original only a step 
or two older than themselves. The larger combina- 
tions, even, such as A C k D G, or A B C D G, may 
still be merely Western; and we are thus led to 
give the preference, on genealogical grounds, often 
to small groups which include only one or more 
primary uncials when opposed by a group including 

As an example, we may look at 2 Cor. ii. 9, wheie 


after the Syrian evidence is sifted out, we iiave d, 
read by j{, C, D, G, P, Latin versions, whereas rj is the 
reading of B, A, 17, 109. Here, although all the 
recent editors read d in their text (Westcott and Hort 
placing tJ in their margin), the genealogical evidence 
is distinctly in favour of ?/, the group {< C D G P 
being distinctly Western. It may be added that the 
transmutation of y] into et either by itacism (r/, i, ei,) 
or by mistake of the uncial letters (ei for h) is very 
easy and frequent : a case of it occurs in the neighbour- 
ing 2 Cor. iii. 1, where et ^rj is read by A, P, and 
Syrian authorities, while rj /xt) stands in n, B, C, D, G, 
31, 37, 67**, Latin, Memphitic, etc. Here we have a 
combination of the Neutral and Western at least, if not 
of all pre-Syrian classes against Syrian or possibly Syrian 
and Alexandrian, and easily follow this group even 
though it contains the ominous D G, since along with 
D G stands N B C, which is differentiated from other 
groups including D G, by a very emphatic verdict of 
internal evidence of groups. The complications that 
can arise by dividing the testimony a step further are 
well illustrated in 2 Cor. ii. 7, where fxaWov is placed 
before vfxas by n, C, L, P, Yulgate Latin, Memphitic, 
Harclean Syriac, Armenian, and Syrian authorities, 
after v/xas by D, E, F, G, 17, Goth., and omitted al- 
together by B, A, Peshitto Syriac, and Augustine. 
Tischendorf and Tregelles follow the first array, 
although Tregelles places "omit" opposite in the 
margin, and Westcott and Hort follow the last, placing 
ixaXXov in their margin before v/na?. Who is right ? 
Primd facie the first group is Alexandrian, the second 
Western, and the third Neutral; and were this the 


true finding it would be difiicult to resist the com- 
bined evidence of the Western and Alexandrian texts 
in an insertion in which they did not stand in collusion. 
More likely, however, the insertion of fxaWov is 
Western, and the misplacing of it a later divergence ; 
in which case Westcott and Hort's conclusion will re- 
sult. Another instructive reading occurs in 2 Cor. xii. 7, 
where j<, B, A, G, 17, ^thiopic, insert a Slo, which 
D, P, the Latin, Gothic, Syriac and Armenian versions 
and the Syrian evidence omit. The omission is here 
easily seen to be Western, while the insertion has the 
combined support of the Neutral and Alexandrian 
documents and on genealogical grounds is preferable. 
In Gal. ii. 12, where ^, B, D"^ , G, 73, 45, Origen read 
^XOev against '^XOov read by A, C, D^^^'i^H, K, L, P, 
most minuscules, Yulgate Latin, Syriac, Memphitic, 
Armenian, Gothic versions and fathers, we have one 
of the rare cases in which x B together unite with 
D, G, in a Western corruption ; for corruption this is 
certainly shown to be by internal evidence. Again, 
we learn that the rule ascertained by internal evidence 
of groups that 5< B is usually right is not exception- 
less ; and that though i< and B do not usually unite 
in the same Western readings, they do unite in one 
occasionally. This is an example of this rarity. 

The difficulty of dealing with variations on genea- 
logical grounds culminates in that portion of the 
Epistles (Heb. ix. 14 to Philemon inclusive of the 
Pastoral Epistles) where B is lost. Shall we read* 
for instance, " priest " or "high priest " at Heb. x. 11 ? 
All three of the great editions read " priest," but 
Tregelles and Westcotb and Hort put the alternative 


in the margin. For ''priest" we have t<, D, E, K, L, 17, 
47, most minuscules. Old Latin codices, Vulgate Latin, 
Memphitic, the text of the Harclean Syriac, Chryso- 
stom, Euthalius, Theodoret; while for ''high priest" 
we have A, C, P, 31, 37, 46, 73, 74, 80, 137, and 
sixteen others, Peshitto and Harclean Syriac (with 
asterisk), Armenian, ^thiopic, Cyril of Alexandria. 
We long for B : if B should stand by N, D, etc., we 
should have the approved group i< B D= Neutral 
H- Western ; if it should take its place alongside of 
A, C, P we could recognise it as Neutral versus X, D, 
Western. Internal evidence of readings and a care- 
ful study of grouping inclines us to suppose the 
former most likely to be the right solution. The 
weight of genealogical evidence is more clearly trace- 
able in the case of three interesting readings in the 
first verse of the same chapter, where x P adds 
avTwi/ (after ^vatas) which the Western class, A C D, 
omits ; fc< C reads as against the Western class, 
DHL, which supports at?; and x AC P 17 67** 
reads SuVai/rat against the Western DHL, supporting 
Surao-at. In no one of these cases would the presence 
of B on either side change the determination. 

In the Apocalypse, finally, genealogical evidence 
can as yet be scarcely employed at all, without the 
greatest doubt and diliiculty. 



IN the foregoing pages the available methods of 
criticism have been considered separately, and 
thus stock has been taken of the instruments within 
reach for the performance of this very delicate work. 
It remains to inquire how these instruments are to 
be used in the actual prosecution of criticism. Each 
method makes its own promises and attains for us 
its own results. But we must not permit ourselves 
to be satisfied with results obtained by one method 
only. The best criticism is rather that which makes 
\^ the fullest use of all the methods, and checks and 
conditions and extends the results of each by the 
results of all. The value of combination of the 
methods is twofold. We thus obtain a system of 
checks : we may test the results obtained by one 
method by the results obtained by another, and by 
repeated trials preserve ourselves from error. And 
we obtain what may be called a system of relays : 
where one method fails to give a confident verdict, 
another may be called in, and thus their combination 
may enable us to carry criticism several stages 
farther than would be possible by one method alone. 
The effect of using a variety of methods, therefore, 


is both to extend the sphere which our criticism is 
able to reach and more firmly to settle the text over 
its whole extent. The first rule for the application of 
these methods, therefore, is to apply them all. Let 
no one be slighted ; let each be used carefully and 
independently, and the results obtained by each care- 
fully compared together. When the findings of the 
various methods agree the conclusion is certain, and we 
may feel sure that we have attained the autographic 
text. When they disagree, opportunity is given for 
review and revision of the whole process, with the 
not infrequent result of the discovery of an error, 
the correction of which will harmonise the evidence. 
By this repeated and, if need be, again repeated 
verification of our processes, our conclusions attain 
ever firmer standing; and it is very seldom indeed 
that the verdicts of the different kinds of evidence 
may not be brought into agreement. Until they 
agree some doubt continues to cling to our conclu- 
sions; and the canon may safely be formulated that 
no reading can be finally accepted against which "^ 
any form of evidence immovably protests. 

Experience further indicates to us that it is not 
a matter of entire indifference in what order we use 
the various methods of criticism. Certain of them 
are more liable than others to be swerved by the 
mental state of the critic, and it is a good rule to 
begin with the most objective. Certain of them 
yield at best only probable results, and it is a good 
rule to begin with the most decisive. Certain of 
them are largely negative in their findings, and it 
is a good rule to begin with the most positive. For 


each of these reasons it is safest to begin with the 
external evidence, and only when its bearing has 
been at least provisionally determined, to proceed to 
the internal evidence of readings. To begin with 
internal evidence of readings, especially with intrinsic 
evidence, runs very great risk of so filling the mind 
with the feeling that such or such a reading ought 
to stand in the text, that we may end by unconsciously 
making it stand there, against the evidence. The 
best procedure, and that most likely to issue soundly, 
is to begin with the consideration of the genealogical 
evidence, and when its results are obtained, to proceed 
to internal evidence of groups, and thence to internal 
evidence of readings, — usually in the order of, first, 
the transcriptional, and, secondly, the intrinsic evi- 
dence. When genealogical evidence speaks with 
force, it yields a testimony which ranks above all 
others in ease and certainty of interpretation, and 
consequently, by beginning with it, we consider, first, 
the surest evidence, and gradually proceed to that 
of more doubtful interpretation, although of no less 
finality when its meaning is certainly attained. 
After the evidence is all in, our next duty is to 
compare and harmonise the several results. When 
they are finally and hopelessly discordant, nothing 
is left us but to consider whether the oldest trans- 
mitted text may not itself be corrupt, and thus differ 
from the autographic text. 

Perhaps the best way to exhibit the right pro- 
cedure in criticism is by means of an example or two. 
Let us look at the famous reading in Acts xx. 28, 
where we have the following variations : — 


Kvpiov, A, C*, D, E, 13, 15, 36, 40, 69, 110, 118, and 
eight others; g of the Old Latin, Memphitic, The- 
baic, margin of the Harclean Syriac, Armenian, 
Irenasus (Latin), (Athanasius), Didymiis, Jerome, 

Oiovj B, X, 68, leetionary 12, and twelve others; Yul- 
gate Latin, (Peshitto),text of the Harclean Syriac, 
Epiphanius, Basil, Theodore of Mopsuestia (Latin), 
Cyril of Alexandria, etc. 

XpioTov, ^thiopic, perhaps the Peshitto, m of the Old 
Latin {Jesu Ghristi). 

KvpLov Kai Oeov, C^, H, L, P, most minuscules, Slavonic, 
Theophylact, etc. 

OeOV Kttt KVpLOV, 47. 

KvpLov Oeov, 3, 95**- 

If we should undertake to astimate the relative 
weight of these groups of testimony by the weight 
of the separate codices included in each, we might 
well despair of ever reaching a conclusion. The best 
uncials are for ©eov, the best minuscules and versions 
for Kvptov, the most witnesses for Kvpiov koI ©cov. 
Fortunately there is a better way. Beginning with 
the genealogical evidence, we sift out aU readings but 
Kvptov and @cov in sifting out the Syrian evidence. 
We observe next that the typical Western document 
D stands on the side of KvpCov, and the typical 
Neutral B on the side of ©eov, and considering the 
other testimony for each, we see that this much is 
certain : ©cov is the Neutral reading, and Kvpiov the 
Western. The most constant representatives of the 
Alexandrian class stand by the side of D and the 


Western witnesses, in support of l\.vpiov ; here are 
A, C, 13, 36, 40, 69, 110, Memph., Theb. Were not 
all these documents full of Western readings, we 
might find the Alexandrian reading in Kvptov, but 
this is not presumable in the mixed condition of 
all these documents, and internal evidence of classes 
gives us no ground to believe that the union of the 
Western with the chief Alexandrian documents is 
a union of the two classes. We must treat this 
reading, therefore, as a case in which the Western 
and Neutral classes oppose one another, and internal 
evidence of classes forces us to accept in such cases 
the Neutral reading as presumably right. Thus the 
genealogical evidence supports ©eov. On turning to 
internal evidence of groups we obtain the same result. 
The high character given to B x by this process, 
whether it stands alone, or in whatever combination 
with other documents, affords strong ground for pre- 
f 3rring ©eov, especially as it has the important further 
support of the Yulgate Latin and Cyril of Alexandria, 
This result is cumulative to the former, so that the 
external evidence throws a very strong cumulative 
probability in favour of ©eov. 

We next appeal to the transcriptional evidence. 
The three readings Kvptov koX ©eov, ©eov koX Kvptov, 
and Kvptov ©eov, are clearly all conflate readings, and 
presuppose the previous existence of both the others. 
They are, therefore, out of consideration. Xpta-Tov 
is easily accounted for either as a substitution of 
a synonym for KvpCov or ©eov (for whichever word 
was used, Christ was the person meant), or a mis- 
reading of an abbreviation, ky or ey being taken 


for XY, or even perhaps kry (cf. krn, 1 Cor. i. 1 of 
Codex Augiensis) for XPY (D- ssepe : cf. Kom. vii. 4 
in n). In either case it is a derivative reading and 
may be neglected. The problem of transcriptional 
evidence, then, is to decide between the relative 
originality of Kijptov and 0eov, the difference between 
which again concerns only a single letter : K^and By. 
As a mere blunder, either might equally easily pass 
into the other. They are equally brief. Either 
reading would be characteristic enough ; the phrase 
" Church of God " is as common as the phrase " the 
blood of the Lord." But it is undeniable that ®cov 
is the more difficult reading, and this commends it 
to us as probably genuine. If ®€ov were original, it 
is easy to see that it would be startling, and that the 
scribe's mind working upon it might (scribe-like) 
intrude its mental explanation into the text; so 
that the very unusual character of the phrase here 
becomes, transcriptionally considered, its strongest 
commendation. On the other hand, if Kvpiov were 
the original reading, there is no jag in the phrase 
to catch the mind of the scribe and throw it off 
its balance ; he would write smoothly on and find 
full satisfaction in the language as it stood. It 
seems, indeed, impossible to find any reason for 
altering Kvpiov into ©coO except a dogmatic one, and 
if dogmatic considerations be brought into the case 
they certainly authenticate ©coO rather. For a dog- 
matic alteration of Kvptov into ©eov could have no 
incitement except a cold determination to manufac- 
ture a proof text : there is nothing offensive to any 
one in the reading Kvptov, and nothing that could 


suggest alteration. But 0eov might give offence to 
many : to extreme Arians, and to the orthodox anti- 
Patripassians alike, and even to simple orthodox souls 
whose philosophical way of looking at theological 
language would be offended at this sharp paradox. 
Like language horrified Athanasius himself {Cont 
ApoUinar., ii. 11, 12, 13). If dogmatic alteration 
has taken place, therefore, it certainly has softened 
the original ®€ov into the less startling Kvptov. And 
from every point of view the transcriptional evidence 
supports @eov. 

Does intrinsic evidence unalterably oppose this 
conclusion, commended alike by genealogical evidence, 
internal evidence of groups, and transcriptional evi- 
dence ? For this is the way in which this branch of 
evidence may be fairly approached, seeing that it 
delivers negative judgments with far more force than 
positive ones. It is difficult to see how the reading 
®€ov fails to accord with the contextual flow of 
thought or the rhetoric. There is rather a fine pro- 
priety in it, and a solemn and moving motive lies 
beneath it. Paul incites the elders to more heedful 
attention to their duties to their flock by the con- 
siderations — (1) that it was the Holy Ghost who 
made them bishops, and (2) that it was the blood of 
God Himself that bought the flock now placed under 
their care. It is said, however, that it is un-Pauline 
to call Christ God. The argument is a merely verbal 
one, and hence of small weight. And it is easy to 
point to Rom. ix. 5 and Titus ii. 13, where Paul 
does call Jesus God ; and when it is objected that 
these are disputed passages, it is just to remind the 


objector that this will exclude his original statement 
as well as our rebuttal of it. Apart from such 
pas.-ages, however, it is very easy to show that Paul 
held a very exalted doctrine of Christ's person, and 
might as well as John (John i. 1) have given Him 
the name which his descriptions imply; and this is 
enough to set aside the force of the objection that 
the unwontedness of the phrase is fatal to its genuine- 
ness. This very unwontedness is from the tran- 
scriptional point of view its best proof of genuineness, 
and it is not the part of intrinsic evidence to pare 
down the unusual. The phrase would oppose its own 
genuineness only if it contradicted Paul's otherwise 
known opinions, or at least were not only unexampled 
but inexplicable. But since this same Paul has else- 
where declared that Christ was begotten before every 
creature, we need find nothing to stumble at in his 
applying to Him here, where the context bids us look 
for a solemn enhancing of the greatness of the gift 
of His blood, the name which is elsewhere implied. 
The effect of these considerations is not merely nega- 
tive ; it is corroborative of the other evidence. And 
since all forms of evidence unite to commend ©eov 
here, their cumulative effect makes it certain that this 
is the original reading. 

Our next example shall be the very important 
variation that is found at John i. 18. Here the 
chief rival readings are : — 

o fxovoyevrj^ vio? : A, C^ E, F, G, H, K, M, S, U, V, X, 
r. A, A, n, and all minuscules except 33 ; the 
Old and Vulgate Latin, the Curetonian Syriac, 


the text of the Harclean Syriac, the Jerusalem 
Syriac, the Armenian in Piatt's edition [Irenseus 
(Latin)], Eusebius, Athanasius, Theodore of 
Mopsuestia, Chrysostom, etc. 
/xoi/oyei/Tys ^eos : N, B, C*, L, 33 (33 prefixing o) ; the 
Memphitic, Peshitto Syriac, margin of the Har- 
clean Syriac, the Yalentinians [Irenseus (Latin)], 
Clement, Origen, Epiphanius, Didymus, Basil, 
Gregory of ISTyssa, Cyiil of Alexandria, etc. 

Genealogically, it is to be noted that 6 fiovoyevrjs 
vlos is the reading of the Syrian class, and when the 
Syrian testimony is sifted out, of the typical Western 
witnesses. D is defective here; but the union of 
A X, Old Latin and Curetonian Syriac, cannot well 
have more than one meaning. On the other hand, 
the Neutral documents (B, n) unite with the most 
constant Alexandrian documents (C, L, 33, Mem- 
phitic), and the Alexandrian fathers, for /xovoyci/^s 
®e6s, which thus seems to have the combined support 
of the Neutral and Alexandrian classes. Internal 
evidence of classes very strongly commends the 
Neutral-Alexandrian readings, and genealogical evi- 
dence thus gives a very strong verdict for /xovoyei/^s 
0€O9. Internal evidence of groups casts its weighty 
vote in the same scale, — as B>^, supported by an 
additional body of important witnesses, advises us. 
So that again external evidence is cumulatively set 
in favour of one reading, — fxovoyevr]<; ©^o'i. 

The chief divergent words in the two readings difier 
from one another in this case, too, by a single letter, 
since they stand in the MSS. yc and ec ; and transcrip- 


tionally either one of these might very readily pass into 
the other by a mere scribe's blunder. The case is com- 
plicated, however, by the connection of the insertion 
or omission of the 6 nine letters back with the varia- 
tion in the main word. This seems to exclude a mere 
error of the eye as the cause of the change ; and dog- 
matic considerations stand in this case just as in Acts 
XX. 28. The insertion of ©eos for dogmatic reasons 
would be a barefaced manufacture of a proof text, as 
the reading vtos could give offence to no one, while, 
on the other hand, the reading ©eos might be an offence 
to a great body of readers. If dogmatic considera- 
tions, therefore, are responsible for either reading, 
surely they have produced the softening vtog, and not 
the startling ®c6^. The canon that the harder reading 
is to be preferred, again, commends ©eos. If o . . . vlo^ 
stood here originally, there would be nothing to attract 
a scribe's attention or to suggest a change. "The 
only-begotten Son " is a sufficiently common phrase in 
John to give itself readily to the pen when /xovoyevT/s 
is being written. On the other hand, " only begotten 
God " is unique ; if the scribe observed it, his mind 
might unconsciously transmute it into the more 
familiar phraseology, and if he merely glanced at the 
phrase he might readily take it for the more familiar 
" only begotten Son." In every way, thus, transcrip- 
tional evidence commends /xovoyci^r/5 ®€6<i. 

Intrinsically, either reading, had we known it alone, 
would be satisfactory enough. " The only begotten 
Son " is a Johannean phrase, and John might be 
expected to use it here too. But to call the Logos 
" God " is aho Johannean, and '* only begotten God " 


only unites here the two predicates which had just 
before been assigned to the Logos (©cos ver. 1, and 
ixovoy^v-qs ver. 14). When the sequence of the thought 
in the prologue is carefully examined, a fine appro- 
priateness for "only begotten God" just here emerges, 
which goes far towards authenticating that reading. 
John describes to us, first, the Word in His eternal 
relations (verse 1 ) ; then, the Word in His relations to 
creation (verses 2 — 13) ; and then the revelation of God 
through the Word (14 — 18) — culminating with putting 
into words in verse 18 what was already implied in 
the facts, that the Word w^as God (ver. 1), and yet 
Himself became flesh (ver. 14), — viz., that this revela- 
tion was self-revelation. If no one has seen God at any 
time, who is His revealer if not the Word who was 
God (ver. 1), and only begotten (ver. 14) — God only 
begotten (ver. 18) ? The intrinsic evidence, thus, not 
only fails to oppose the reading commended alike 
by genealogical evidence, internal evidence of groups, 
and transcriptional evidence, but even corroborates it. 
And again we may accept the fourfold support as 
giving us a reading which is certainly the original 

It is natural to take as our next example the 
famous reading in 1 Tim. iii. 16. Here three varia- 
tions demand our attention : — 

^eos : C D"^KLP and 296 minuscules; [Harclean 
Syriac], Georgian and Sclavonic versions ; Pseudo- 
Dionysius, Didymus, Gregory of Nyssa, [Diodorus] 
Chrysostom, Theodoret [Cyril of Alexandria], etc. 

os: N (A*) (C*) G, 17, 73 [181] and lectionaries 12, 


85, 86; [Memphitic], [Thebaic], [Peshitto], 
Harclean Syiiac's margin, Gothic, [^thiopic], 
[Armenian], [Origen] Epiphanius, (Theodore of 
Mopsiiestia), etc. 
o : D, Zahn's Codex {^Supplementum Clementinum, p. 
277), Old Latin, Yiilgate, [Peshitto], [Harclean 
Syriac], [Memphitic], [Thebaic], [zEthiopic], 
[Armenitm], Latin fathers, etc. 

The greatest difficulty that faces the critic here lies 
in the uncertainty that attends so much of the evidence. 
Expert palieograpliers differ diametrically as to what 
the reading of A is, whether Qc or oc (0cos or 6s), and 
in the present worn state of the MS. decision by 
renewed examination is impossible. The same kind 
of controversy has been held as to the reading of C, 
although apparently with much less reason ; antl 
although we have inclosed C also in doubting 
parentheses we entertain no great doubt as to its 
support of OS. A large proportion of the versions so 
deliver their testimony as to make it indeterminable 
whether they read os or o ; they have been placed in 
both lists inclosed in square brackets. Codex 181 has 
also been inclosed in brackets, as its existence has been 
doubted. Codex 73 has been personally examined by 
Dr. Schatt', and certainly reads os. 

On applying genealogical considerations to this 
evidence, all the testimony that is at all certain for 
0€os sifts out with the sifting out of the Syrian testi- 
mony. This reading appears in no father until late 
in the fourth century, in no version until at least the 
seventh century, and in no MSS. until long after the 



Syrian text had become everywhere the virtual 
textus reGe2)tus. If A be adjudged to read ©cos the 
determination of its Syrian character would not be 
aflfected ; and the very late character of all other wit- 
ness for it is itself an argument against the likelihood 
of either A or C having ever had this reading, and 
much more against both having it. On genealogical 
grounds, thus, ©cos is at once set aside, and the choice 
rests between os and o. It can scarcely be doubted that 
o is Western; while the attestation N (A) C 17 gives os 
the appearance of having the support of the Neutral 
and Alexandrian classes. The doubt that hangs over 
the testimony of the versions is of the less moment 
because of the certainty of the Latin reading, which 
enables us to identify the Western type; and the 
absence of B is here of no importance, as its presence 
on either side would not affect our determination. 
Genealogical evidence thus very pointedly commends os- 
Internal evidence of groups corroborates this finding, 
t? A C or t< C alone is one of the best groups attain- 
able in this part of the New Testament, and although 
the absence of B disturbs us here, yet the transcrip- 
tional evidence comes to our help by making it impro- 
bable that o can be the correct reading, and hence 
enabling us to account all the testimony for both os 
and o combined against that for ®€6^. The result is 
to condemn ©eos hopelessly. 

The transcriptional evidence is thus in a true sense 
the key to the problem. As between os and o, the 
succession of round letters, iONOce(|)(\, would lender 
the change easy either way, whether by mistaking the c 
for the succeeding e, or the already written c for the 


half-finished e. Unless, howev^er, os were original, it 
could never have been ^vl'itten except by a mere 
blunder, and could scarcely escape the eye of the " cor- 
rector " ; while o could easily be passed over on account 
of the easy sense which it introduced, and would be 
apt to be written by the scribe after the neuter ante- 
cedent fjLva-TrjiHoy. As between os and 0eos the same 
canon of the harder reading decides for os. Here the 
difterence is only in the fine lines that distinguish the 
o from e and mark the contraction : 0c and oc ; and 
thus one reading may easily pass into the other. But 
again, as ©eos is grammaticiiUy easy, forming a proper 
apposition for /xvcmjpLovj while os is grammatically 
hard, nothing but a mere blunder could have 
originated os, while the difiiculty of the sense would 
have operated as an incitement to the conscious or 
unconscious transmutation of os into ©cos. 

Unless, then, intrinsic evidence immovably protests 
against os it is to be accepted as the true reading. It 
is indisputable that it introduces a dillicult reading, 
aiul the difficulty seems to disappear with the change 
to o or ©cos ; on these facts the transcriptional evidence 
founded its preference for os. But does the difiiculty 
rise to so high a pitch that os is impossible? The 
difficulty is wholly grammatical, and the grammar is 
not made intolerable by os, but only relatively hard. 
Moreover, ©cos, while apparently reducing everything 
to an smoothness, introduces difficulties of its own. 
It accords well with the first of the following clauses, 
but immediately becomes an unnatural antecedent to 
the next, and continues so throughout. It is thus a 
fair sample of scribes' work, and combines the surface 


appearance of fitness with a real unfitness for its 
place. When, next, the antithetic and rhythmical 
character of the succeeding phrases is observed, sug- 
gesting that we have here a fragment of a hymn, 
which would allow us to suppose that the gramma- 
tical antecedent to os is to be sought in the hymn 
rather than in this context, or, better, that the first 
clause is the subject followed by five predicates ; the 
intrinsic evidence, so far from immovably opposing os, 
appears to be slightly in its favour. No doubt, o 
would be intrinsically unobjectionable, but it is not 
preferable to os save in the strict and narrow 
grammatical sense ; and intrinsic evidence readily 
gives way here to transcriptional evidence in its strong 
preference for os. In this reading, therefore, difficult 
as it at first seems, all varieties of evidence come 
finally to agreement upon a single reading os, — which 
we may, therefore, confidently accej^t. 

Our next example shall be one of those few readings 
which affect large sections of the New Testament 
text : Shall we insert or omit the famous pericope of 
the adulteress, John vii. 63 — viii. 11 ? The evidence is 
as follows : — 

Insert : D, F, G, H, K, XJ, V (also E, M, S, A, n, etc., 
with asterisk or obelus), more than three hun- 
dred minuscules ; many codices known to Jerome ; 
the Latin MSS. b, c, e, fF2, g, j, 1 ; the Vulgate 
Latin, Jerusalem Syriac, ^thiopic ; " Apostolical 
Constitutions," Nicon, Euthymius, Ambrose, 
Augustine, Jerome, and later Latin fathers. 

Omit : N, (A), B, (C), L, T, X, (A) ; codices known to 


Jerome, 22, 33, 81, 131, 157, and many other 
minuscules; the Latin MSS, a, f, q, rhe, 
and otliers known to Jerome and Augustine, 
Curetonian, Peshitto and Ilarclean Syriac, Lest 
MSS. of the Memphitic, Thebaic, Aimenian, 
Gothic; (Origen), (Eusebius), (Theodore of 
Mopsuestia), (Apollinaris), Chrysostom, etc. 

On sifting out the Syrian witnesses, the testimony 
for insertion plainly becomes merely Western, includ- 
ing D and the European Latin ; but not certainly 
the African Latin, although e contains it, inasmuch as 
the early Latin Fathers are strangely silent about this 
passage. The testimony for omission includes every- 
thing typical in both the Neutral and Alexandrian 
classes. The only difficulty that meets us in deter- 
mining the genealogical classes arises when we try to 
trace the Syrian class. Most of the later documents 
contain the section, but it cannot be traced in the 
Antiochian and early Constantinopolitan fathers. 
Whence it seems that this pericope found no place 
in the Syrian revision, but has passed into the Syrian 
text from the Western, say, at some time about the 
seventh century. Whatever its relation to the Syrian 
class, however, the section is strongly discredited by 
genealogical evidence. The finding of internal evi- 
dence of groups, which is very strongly given, is in the 
same direction. So that the external evidence is solidly 
arrayed against the genuineness of the section. 

Transcriptional evidence is generally ambiguous in 
readings of great length ; insertion or omission must 
have been alike a mere blunder. It seems difficult to 


account for such a blunder as its omission, however, 
except by some such accident as the loss of a leaf or 
two from the exemplar. Mr. J. R. Harris has showTi 
that the matter of this section corresponds, in extent, 
very exactly to two leaves of what seems to be a form 
which might very well belong to an ancestor of B. 
But he also shows that it would not all have fallen on 
four pages, if belonging to the present place in John. 
On the other hand, its insertion may readily be 
accounted for as an incorporation into the text of an 
explanatory gloss drawn from some extraneous source. 
When we add that some codices place it at the end of 
John's Gospel and some after Luke xxi., instead of 
here, it becomes still more probable that we are deal- 
ing with phenomena of insertion rather than of 
omission. On the whole, the transcriptional evidence, 
while able to accept the passage if otherwise com- 
mended, is itself rather in favour of its omission. 

Intrinsic evidence is more strongly so. For the 
fact that the story is worthy of our Lord and bears 
every mark of historic truth has no bearing on the 
question whether it is part of John's Gospel ; any true 
story of Jesus would be beautiful, especially if it came 
ultimately from the apostolic circle. While, on the 
other hand, the style and diction are very unlike 
John's writing elsewhere ; several words are used which 
seem strange to his vocabulary ; and some matters of 
detail fit ill with the context, — e.g.^ Jesus is left 
alone with the woman at verse 9, and yet addresses 
" them" at ver. 12, and the Pharisees answer at ver. 13. 
This last fact might be of small moment, except that 
in these very matters verses 12 and 13 fit on directly 


with verses 45 — 52 of the seventh chapter, and so the 
omission of the disputed verses restores verses 12 sq. 
to a context with which they seem to belong. Nor is 
this close connection of verses 12 sq. with the seventh 
chapter merely verbal ; the presence of the pericope 
of the adulteress seriously disturbs the progress of 
a discourse the order of which would be admirable 
without it. This intrinsic evidence is so strong that 
it would almost cast doubt on this section of itself; 
and in union with the external evidence, and with 
the allowance of the transcriptional, it forces us to 
omit the passage. Here too, therefore, we may feel 
that we have attained the original text. 

It is appropriate to draw our next example from 
the only other various reading that involves so large 
a section, — that which concerns the last twelve 
verses of Mark. The evidence may be stated as 
follows : — 

Insert: A, C, A, D, X, % $, T, etc., 1, 33, 69, and 
nearly all minuscules; all Old Latin codices 
except k ; the Yulgate Latin ; the Curetonian, 
Peshitto, Harclean and Jerusalem Syriac ; the 
Memphitic, and Gothic ; Justin, Tatian, 
Irenaeus, [Hippolytus], Mjicarius Magnus ; and 
post-Nicene fathers generally. 

Omit : B, N, L, 22, 743 (on the authority of the Abbe 
Martin) ; codex k of the Latin ; the Armenian, and 
^thiopic; [Clement], [Origen], Eusebius, [Cyril of 
Jerusalem], and, among the post-Nicene fathers, 
the v7ro^en-i9, Jerome, Victor of Antioch, Severus 
of Antioch. Also such minuscules as 15, 20, 


300, 199, 1, 206, 209, which preserve knowledge 

of the doubt. 
Some words are necessary in explanation of this 
evidence. t< simply omits the passage. B omits it, 
but leaves a blank space, which is apparently intended 
for it ; this seems to prove that the exemplar from 
which B was copied lacked these verses, but that 
they were known to B's scribe. As the weight of B 
is due to the character of its exemplar, not to the 
knowledge of its scribe, this does not affect B's testi- 
mony. L closes at verse 8, but adds at the top of 
the next column : " These also are somewhere current : 
* But all things that were commanded, they immedi- 
ately announced to those about Peter. And after 
this Jesus also Himself, from the east even to the 
west, sent forth by them the sacred and incorruptible 
proclamation of eternal salvation.' These are also, 
however, current, after ' For they were afraid.' "... 
And then our usual twelve verses are inserted. The 
existence of this shorter conclusion (to which L gives 
the preference) is a fortiori evidence against the 
longer one. For no one doubts that this shorter con- 
clusion is a spurious invention of the scribes ; but it 
would not have been invented, save to fill the blank. 
L's witness is, then, to MSS. older than itself, v/hich 
not only did not have our twelve verses, but had 
invented another conclusion in their place. The Abbe 
Martin tells us of another codex, which he numbers 
743, that repeats the arrangement of L. Codex 22 
closes the Gospel at verse 8, marking it as '' The End," 
and then adds : " In some of the copies the Evangelist 
Qnishes at this point ; in many, however, these also 


nre current," . . . and inserts our verses 9 — 20, 
closing again with " The End." The Old Latin MS. 
k contains the shorter conclusion only, and hence is 
a specially strong witness to the omission of our 
twelve verses. The Thebaic version might possibly 
be added to the witnesses for insertion, but we have 
from it only a mediocre paraphrase of verse 20, and 
it cannot be confidently determined what disposition 
was made of it. 

Proceeding now to estimate the evidence, we note 
first that the Syrian text inserts the passage, and, 
when the Syrian witnesses are sifted out, it is left 
with Western (D, Latin, Curetonian Syriac), and 
apparently Alexandrian (C, A, 33, Memphitic) wit- 
nesses only, and since all Alexandrian witnesses are 
full of Western readings, this means with Western 
witnesses only. For omission we have the Neutral 
witnesses (B, ^{) with L, 22, and other support. 
Where the Alexandrian reading stands we cannot 
discover ; but on appealing to internal evidence of 
classes the apparent conjunction of Western and 
Alexandrian witnesses is discredited, and we must 
decide that the genealogical evidence is in favour of 
omission. L may represent the Alexandrian text and 
k the primitive Western ; and in the case of either 
of these hypotheses, the verdict for omission receives 
additional strength. Internal evidence of groups, 
which throws strong favour on B t<, only confirms 
genealogical evidence, and we have the whole weight 
of external evidence for omission. 

The transcriptional evidence leads to the same 
conclusion. No good account can bo given of the 


omission of these verses. To suppose that they were 
omitted in a harmonic interest is to presuppose a 
freedom and boldness in dealing with the Gospel 
narratives never elsewhere experienced, and that to 
serve a purpose far more easily attained. To suppose 
the omission to have arisen from the misunderstand- 
ing of a note placed here to mark the end of a liturgical 
lesson is to assign a greater age to the present lesson- 
system and to this method of marking MSS. than 
can be proved for either. To suppose that a leaf was 
lost from the end of the Gospel, containing these 
verses, will best of all account for their omission, but 
will not account for its wide distribution, nor for the 
failure of the beginning of the next Gospel, on the 
other side of the leaf, to get lost too. Mark stands 
very rarely in Greek MSS. at the end of the book of 
the Gospels, and the loss of a leaf early enough to affect 
the ancestors of ^, of B, of L, and of Western k, must 
have affected nearly all MSS. as well. On the other 
hand, the insertion of such an ending is transcriptionally 
easy to account for. The abrupt ending of verse 8 
demanded something more. That the scribes felt this 
is evidenced by their invention of the certainly spurious 
shorter ending. Why should not other scribes have 
sought and found another tolerably fitting close for 
the Gospel? And that this ending does not belong 
here, but fits its place only tolerably, is clear on 
careful examination. The tear at verse 8 is not 
mended by verses 9 — 20. Only Matthew and Luke 
tell us what actually happened after verse 8. And if 
verse 8 demands a different succeeding context, verses 
9—20 no less need a different preceding one from 


that here furnished them. Josns is prosumed to be 
the subject in verse 9 ; but the subject that would be 
taken over from verse 8 is the women. The " but " 
that opens verse 9 does not introduce anything ad- 
versative to verse 8. The new specification of time 
in verse 8 is surprising, after verse 2. " First " looks 
strange here. The identifying description of Mary 
Magdalene in verse 9 is very remarkable after verse 1. 
Every appearance, in a word, goes to show that the 
author of the Gospel did not write verses 9 — 20 as the 
conclusion of the narrative begun in verses 1 — 8. 
And if so, the transcriptional evidence that makes an 
insertion here easier to conceive of than an omission 
has full play, and we can recognise verses 9 — 20 as 
only another way of filling up the gap left by the 
unfinished appearance of verse 8. The intrinsic evi- 
dence is not fully stated, however, until we add that 
there are peculiarities of style and phraseology in 
verses 9 — 20 which render it easy to believe that the 
author of the Gospel did not write these verses. 

The combined force of external and internal evi- 
dence excludes this section from a place in Mark's 
Grospel quite independently of the critic's ability to 
account for the unfinished look of Mark's Gospel as 
it is left or for the origin of this section itself. The 
nature of the matter included in them, and the way 
they are fitted to the Gospel, seem, however, to forbid 
the supposition that these verses were composed for 
this place by any scribe. It is nearly as hard to be- 
lieve that anybody wrote them for this place as it is 
that Mark did. They seem to be a fragment rather, 
adopted from some other writing and roughly fitted 


on to the end of Mark. This fragment is certainly 
as old as the first third of the second century, and 
may — as may also the pericope of the adulteress in- 
serted into John — be taken from the book of illustra- 
tions of the Gospel narrative which Papias composed, 
apparently about 120 a.d. Neither is it necessary for 
the critic to be able to give an account of the mutilated 
condition of Mark's Gospel. To recognise that this 
fragment does not belong at the end of it does not 
make it any more mutilated than it was before. The 
evident incompleteness of verse 8 is evidence against 
the opinion that the Gospel was intended to close at 
that point ; but no evidence that just this conclusion, 
— which does not fit on to verse 8 nor complete it, 
nor the subject then in hand, — was the conclusion 
intended. Why Mark's Gospel has come down to ua 
incomplete, we do not know. Was Mark interrupted 
at this point by arrest or martyrdom before he finished 
his book ? Was a page lost off the autograph itself ? 
Or do all of our witnesses carry us back only to a 
mutilated copy short of the autograph, the common 
original of them all, so that our oldest transmitted 
text is sadly difierent from the original text ? There 
is room for investigation here ; but, apparently, no 
room for accepting this conclusion for the one that 
Mark wrote or intended to write. 

We have purposely chosen all these examples of 
such a sort that the evidence can readily be seen to be 
harmonious through all the methods. But we have also 
purposely placed last among them a case in which the 
intrinsic evidence, while uniting with the other forms 
of evidence in determining this reading, is left still 


somewhat unsatisfied by its determination. It opposes 
the acceptance of the last twelve verses of Mark as 
genuine : but it no less opposes the acceptance of 
verse 8 as the end of the Gospel. It consents that 
this is not the limb that belongs here, but it no less 
insists that some limb does belong here. This may 
remind us that the work of the critic may not always 
be done when he has passed on all the readings which 
have baen transmitted to us in our extant witnesses. 
It is at least conceivable that the oldest transmitted 
text may not yet be the autographic text, or in other 
words, that all our extant documents spring from a 
common original that is removed by a few copyings 
from the autograph, and may, therefore, contain some 
errors. Of course, this is not to be assumed to be the 
fact ; but neither is it to be assumed not to be the 
fact. This, too, is to be settled only on trial and by 
the evidence. And here it will be of use to us to 
remember that the office of textual criticism is not 
merely to restore a text where it is known to be in 
error, but to examine all texts in every part in order 
to certify their correctness or discover that and where 
they are corrupt. Where the several documents give 
various readings the presence of error in some of them 
is already demonstrated, and the office of criticism is 
to determine which, if any, is right. But by this very 
act it contemplates the possibility that none of them 
are right, and it very frequently actually determines 
that the most documents may be in error. How 
narrow the chance that has preserved for us the true 
reading in all those cases in which we adjudge the 
palm to the few old documents as against the many ! 


By the destruction of B and a half-dozen other docu 
ments we should destroy all extant evidence for 
several quite important readings which we now 
adjudge right ; and in all these readings a false 
reading is prevented from standing in all texts with- 
out variation only by the accident of the preservation 
of these half-dozen documents. The possibility must 
be frankly confessed that other false readings may 
stand in all our extant documents. So that, even 
where there is no variation, criticism is still necessary 
to certify to us that the text is free from error or to 
correct it when in error. 

Wherever, therefore, the evidence for any body of 
variations is so hopelessly in conflict that it cannot be 
harmonised, and in all that part of the text on which 
there are no variations, it is right to consider the text 
only provisionally determined, and to subject it to 
further criticism. In all cases of variation in which 
the evidence is in ineradicable conflict the high pro- 
bability is that the oldest transmitted text is itself in 
error, and we may assume that here is a case that 
needs further criticism. In all that part of the text 
on which there are no variations the strong presump- 
tion is that we have not only the oldest transmitted 
text (which is certain, since it is identically transmitted 
in all witnesses), but also the autographic text : but 
nevertheless this presumption may not be everywhere 
equally well grounded, and examination is necessary 
in order to conviction. Only in that part of the text 
which has been settled by the combined and har- 
monious testimony of all kinds of evidence may we 
confidently accept it as the autographic text. For 



ia all these cases alike, the only evidence that is valid 
— whether to discover if the text be corrupt where no 
various readings occur, or to suggest the right i-eading 
wherever we know or suspect it to be corrupt — is 
internal evidence ; and in all cases where the text has 
l>een already settled on the harmonious finding of all 
kinds of evidence, this has already spoken and has 
already been satisfied. 

Before we close our discussion of the praxis of 
criticism, therefore, we must explicitly recognise the 
legitimacy and duty of examining the text of the whole 
New Testament with the most scrupulous care, with a 
view to discovering whether its transmission has been 
perfect ; and of appealing to internal evidence to 
suggest and settle for us the true text in all cases of 
variation where the evidence is hopelessly in conflict, 
and in all cases where, in the absence of variation, an 
examination of the text has resulted in leading us to 
suspect corruption. It is evident that we are not here 
Cidling in a new method of criticism beyond those 
enumerated ; but only extending the practice of criti- 
cism a step further than we had need to go in the 
examples which we have adduced. And it is further 
evident that the validity of this extension is involved 
in any use of internal evidence for settling readings 
at all. The technical name given to this extension of 
criticism is "conjectural emendation," which is meant "^ 
to describe it as a process which suggests the emenda- 
tion which the text is shown either by the presence 
of irreconcilable variations or by internal considera- 
tions to need, from the conjecture of the mind, 
working on internal hints. 


The need of calling upon conjecture to aid us in 
determining the text of the New Testament depends 
on the provable presence of variations the evidence a&t 
to which is in hopeless conflict, or of passages which, 
while without variation, are clearly corrupt. In 
dealing with this question of fact, the utmost tact, 
good judgment and candour are necessary. Two ex- 
tremes are equally to be avoided. We must neither 
allow ourselves so to sharpen our acuteness that we 
discern an error in every corner, and lose the power to 
catch the plain intent of a plain man's plain speech ; 
nor must we so blunt our minds, by attempting to 
explain as correct and good Greek what we could not 
tolerate in any other language, that no amount of 
evidence can convince us of the presence of a textual 
error. Licence has not been unknown in either direc- 
tion. Some critics have seemed ready to cast the 
whole text into " pie," and set it up again to suit their 
own (and no one else's) conceits. Others have even 
savagely guarded each fragment of the transmitted text 
as if the scribes had wrought under Divine inspiration. 
The whole matter is nevertheless simply a matter of 
fact, and is to be determined solely by the evidence, 
investigated under the guidance of reverential and 
candid good sense. The nature of the New Testament 
as a Divine book, every word of which is precious, bids 
us be peculiarly and even painfully careful here : care- 
ful not to obtrude our crude guesses into the text, and 
careful not to leave any of the guesses or slips of the 
scribes in it. 

Drs. Westcott and Hort enumerate in their edition 
some threescore or more passages in which they (or 


one of them) suspect that a " primitive error " is 
found in the text — i.e., an error older than our 
transmitted text, for the removal of which we are 
confined to conjectural emendation. Our own judg- 
ment would greatly reduce this number. Without 
discussing, however, the special cases, it is enough for 
our primary purposes to lay down two rules of action : 

(1) Critical conjecture is not to be employed in settling 
the text of the New Testament until all the methods 
of criticism have been exhausted, and unless clear 
occasion for its use can be shown in each instance. 

(2) No conjecture can be accepted unless it perfectly 
fulfil all the requirements of the passage as they are 
interpreted by intrinsic evidence, and also perfectly 
fulfil all the requirements of transcriptional evidence 
in accounting for the actual reading, and if variants 
exist also for them (either directly or mediately 
through one of their number). The dangers of the 
process are so great that these rules are entirely 
reasonable, and indeed necessary. The only test of 
a successful conjecture is that it shall approve itself 
as inevitable. Lacking inevitableness, it remains 

Few as the passages are that can be shown to need 
conjecture to settle their text, the passages in which 
successful conjectures have been made are still fewer. 
Perhaps no absolutely satisfactory one has yet been 
made. The best examples are probably two on 
Col. ii. 18, one by Bishop Lightfoot and the other 
by Dr. C. Taylor. Instead of the best attested 
reading, a iopoKcv c/x/?aT€voji', the former scholar 
proposes eojpa or ahopa Kevc/x^areiW, which is attained 



by a change of only a single pair of letters, eo into 
ICO. The latter scholar proposes aipa Kcvc/xySarcuW, 
which simply omits o. In such matters we may well 
listen to the advice of the Jewish sage and " be 
deliberate in judgment." 



THE history of the earher periods of the text of the 
New Testament is naturally enough a history of 
progressive corruption. The multiplication of copies 
was the chief concern of an ever-increasing body of 
readers ; and though we early hear complaints of 
corruption, as well we might from the rapidity with 
which corruption seems to have grown, and from the 
grossness of the corruptions which found their way 
particularly into the Gospels, we hear of little serious 
effort to secure a correct text. Nevertheless, the 
earliest fathers show themselves in some sense 
guardians of the text, and ready to distinguish 
between the common and the best and oldest copies. 
The autographs of the sacred wi-itings disappeared 
exceedingly early, and an Irenseus and an Origen 
were already without appeal to aught but the 
more -accurate copies. Already by their time the 
current type of text had long l)een that which is now 
known as the Western, and which attained early in 
the second century the position and circulation of a 
virtual textiis receptus, and retained this position for 
about two centuries. A purer and more carefully 
gi.iarded text was, nevertheless, throughout this whole 


period in use in various places, apparently most 
commonly at Alexandria, where also in one line of 
its transmission it suffered before the middle of the 
third century sufficient deflection from the absolute 
standard to give rise to another strongly marked type 
of text — that which is now called the Alexandrian. 
Tradition has not handed down to us account of any 
very early attempts to provide a standard edition. 
Although Jerome tells us that Origen in Palestine, 
Lucian at Antioch, and Hesychius in Egypt, each 
revised the text of the New Testament, as well as 
that of the Greek Old Testament, it is not clear how 
much dependence can be placed on this statement, 
which is not free from difficulties. The scribes give 
us occasional notes which betray a belief in the 
existence of something like a standard copy in the 
library of " the holy martyr Pamphilus " at Csesarea, 
conformity with which was the norm of correctness ; 
but of this we know nothing but this fact. Never- 
theless, the more unmistakable evidence of the textual 
remains that have come down to us prove that at 
least one set revision of the text was made in Syria, 
and probably at Antioch, at about the time that would 
faU in with the period of Lucian's activity. The 
object of this revision, — the earliest attempt to issue 
a critical edition of the New Testament text of which 
we can be sure, and of which we possess documentary 
knowledge, — seems to have been to furnish for the 
use of the Syrian churches a sounder substitute for the 
very corrupt Western text which had for so long held 
the ground. The revision was well done for the 
purpose in view and for the times. It is an honour 


to the scholarship and good judgment of the school of 
Antioch, and presents characteristics quite in keeping 
with the exegetical reputation of that school. It 
was impossible at that time and under the ruling 
views of criticism to form a sound text; but these 
scholars succeeded in substituting in popular use for 
the exceedingly corrupt textus rece'ptus then current, a 
text free from all the gross corruptions that dis- 
figured it, smooth and readable in structure, and 
competently exact for all practical purposes. 

The Christian world, which has been the heir of 
their labours for a millennium and a half, owes a debt 
of thanks to a superintending Providence for the good 
work done thus in a corner, and probably with only 
a local intent. For the scholars of Antioch were, in 
God's grace, doing a greater work than they knew. 
Soon the persecutions of the dying heathenism broke 
out with redoubled fury, and everywhere the Christian 
books were sought and destroyed. Then came Con- 
stantine and the Christian empire, established Avith 
its seat on the Bosphorus. Antioch became ecclesiasti- 
cally the mother of Constantinople, and the revised 
text of Antioch the ecclesiastical text of the centre 
of the world. The preparation of the magnificent 
copies of Scripture ordered by Constantine for the 
churches of Constantinople was intrusted to Eusebius 
of Caesarea, whose afliliations were with Antioch ; and 
everywhere the Syrian text began to make its way. 
The separation of the Eastern and Western Empires 
was followed by the separation of the Eastern and 
Western Churches, with the effect of confining the 
use of Greek to narrower limits, and giving increased 


power to the Constantinople tradition wherever the 
Greek Scriptures were used. Though some serious 
alterations were suffered by it in the process of time, 
it was, thus, the Constantinopolitan text that became 
the text of the Greek world, and with the revival of 
Greek letters in the West, under the teaching of 
Byzantine refugees, of the whole world. How the 
process of substitution took place it is not necessary 
to trace. Sometimes it was, no doubt, by direct 
importation of copies from the capital. At others it 
was by the correction of copies of other types by 
Syrian models, which secured that their descend- 
ants should be Syrian. Thus, Codex E of Paul is. 
largely Syrian, although it is a copy of the purely 
Western D; and thus, too, probably, is it to be 
explained that Codex A in the other Gospels is Syrian, 
while in Mark it remains mostly pre-Syrian. The great 
popularity of the Antiochian exegetes and of the 
homilies of such orators as Chrysostom carried with 
it a preference for their text. What effect on this 
process the edition of Euthalius had, in the last half 
of the fifth century, which was rather a handy 
edition than a purified text, it is impossible to deter- 
mine. At all events, traces of other texts became 
rarer and rarer as time passed; although mixed 
texts were exceedingly abundant at first, even these 
gradually gave way ; and throughout the middle ages 
and down to the invention of printing the Syrian 
text reigned everywhere, as indisputably the received 
text of the Church universal, as the Western text 
had been from the second to the fourth century. 
The passing of a text through the printing press 


hiis no tendency to revise it. Tlie first printed Greek 
Testament was that included in the " Complutensian 
Polyglot," and is dated 1514. But as its issue was 
delayed, the first published Greek Testament was 
Erasmus' first edition, published by Froben, at Bale, 
in 15 IG. Hurried through the press at breakneck 
speed, in the ejffort to forestall the " Complutensian 
Polyglot," it was taken from late and almost contem- 
porary manuscripts, and mirrored the state of the 
received text of the time. It bore, indeed, sundry 
printer's boasts on its title-page ; but its editor felt 
free to siiy in private that it was " precipitatum 
verius quam editum." The "Complutensian" itself, 
when it did appear (1520), proved to have been made, 
as was natural, from older manuscripts of the same 
type. And thus the printed text of the New Testa- 
ment simply continued the history of the written 
text, and, leaving its character unchanged, gave it 
only a new mode of reproduction. 

The normal history that is worked out by the 
printed text of any work which has previously been 
propagated for a long time in manuscript is something 
like this : — The first edition is taken from the manu- 
scripts nearest at hand ; then some one edition gains 
such circulation and acceptance, usually from its con- 
venience or beauty, as to become the standard, and 
thus also the received text ; and then eflbrts are made 
critically to restore the text to its original purity. 
Just this history has been wrought out by the New 
Testament text. The editions immediately succeeding 
those of Erasmus dilTered little in detail, and nothing 
in type, from the text ho published ; but the magni- 


ficence of Stephens' editio regia (1550), and the con- 
venience and beauty of the small Elzevirs, especially 
those of 1624 and 1633, enabled these editions to 
determine the standard text, the one for English and 
the other for continental readers. Keverence for the 
Word of God, perversely but not unnaturally exer- 
cised, erected the standard or received text into the 
norm of a true text ; and although pi-eparations for 
critical editions began very early, and were seriously 
undertaken by the editors of Walton's " Polyglot " 
(1657), yet many years passed away before the hard- 
ening bondage to the received text could be shaken, 
and it was not until 1831 that it was entirely broken 
by the issue of Lachmann's first edition. 

The history of the editions from 1657, therefore, 
falls into two periods ; the one containing the editions 
which were striving to be rid of the bondage to the 
received text (from 1657 to 1831), and the other 
those which have been framed in conscious emancipa- 
tion from it (from 1831 until our own day). During 
the former period, the task men set before them was 
to correct the received text, as far as the evidence 
absolutely compelled correction. During the latter, 
the task has been to form the best attainable text 
from the concurrence of the best evidence. The chief 
editions of the former period were those of the 
Walton ''Polyglot," 1657; John Fell, 1695; John 
Mill, 1707 ; Wells, 1709-19 ; Bentley's proposed 
edition, 1720; Bengel, 1734; Wetstein, 1751-2; 
Griesbach, 1775—1807 ; Matth^i, 1782-88 ; and 
Scholz, 1830-36. The chief editions of the later 
period have been those of Lachmann, 1831, and espe- 


cially 1842-50 ; Tischendorf, 1840-72, especially his 
eighth ciitical edition, published in parts from 1864 
to 1872; Tregolles, in parts from 1857 to 1879; and 
Westcott and Ilort, 1881. In one way or another the 
sequence of these editions marks a continuous advance, 
although in special points an eddy now and then sets 
backwards. For instance, Wetstein, Mat thsei, Scholz, 
all mark a retrograde movement in principles of 
criticism and in the text actually set forth ; but each 
an advance in the collection of materials for framing 
the text. It will be desirable, therefore, to present 
the history of criticism briefly under four heads, in- 
cluding :^ 

1. The collection of the documentary evidence for 
the text. 

2. The classification of this ever-increasing material. 

3. The formulation of critical rules for the applica- 
tion of the evidence in reconstructing the text. 

4. The actual formation of the text. 

1. The work of collecting the material, heralded 
by Stephens and Beza, was commenced in earnest by 
Walton's "Polyglot" (1657). The graat names in 
this work include those of Archbishop Usher, Bishop 
FeU, Mill (who already could appeal to his thirty 
thousand various readings), Bentley, and those in his 
employment, Wetstein (who marks an advance on 
Mill, chiefly in accuracy and completeness, comparable 
to Mill's advance on his pi-edecessors), Matthasi, Birch, 
Alter, Griesbach, Scholz, Tischendorf (whose editions 
of MSS. exceeded in number all that had been put 


forth before him), Tregelles, and Scrivener, with whom 
may be also named Dean Burgon. Until Tischen- 
dorf 's labours were undertaken, a satisfactory edition 
of the New Testament was impossible, if for no other 
reason than insufficient knowledge of the testimony. 
Now, practically all the uncials, and a large body of 
the minuscules are accurately known, and have been 
included in the digests. j< was not published until 
1862; no satisfactory edition of B existed until 1868 ; 
C, Q, D, D^, N, P, E, Z, L, S, E^, P^, % have all been 
issued since 1843. % was not discovered until 1879, 
and Ws and ^ not until 1881. The versions are not 
even yet critically edited. But we have at last attained 
the position of having evidence enough before us to 
render the sketching of the history of the text possible, 
and to certify us that new discoveries will only 
enlighten dark places, and not overturn the whole 

2. It was inevitable that in the first youth of 
textual criticism all documents should be treated as 
practically of equal value. We cannot blame Erasmus 
that he set aside the only good MS. he had because 
it differed so much from the others. Nor is it diffi- 
cult to see why the collations of Stephens and other 
early editors rather ornamented their margins than 
emended their texts. By Mill's time (1707), however, 
enough material was collected for some signs of classi- 
fication to be dimly seen. Bentley (1662 — 1742) pro- 
fited by his hints, and perceived the great division line 
that runs between the old and the late codices — i.e. 
(speaking generally), between the pre- Syrian and the 
Syrian. John Albrecht Bengel (1687—1752) was 


the first, however, to do a great work in this depart- 
ment of investigation. His acuteness perceived the 
advantages of a genealogical classification, and his 
diligence worked out the main outlines of the true 
distribution. Like Bentley, he drew a broad line of 
demarcation between the ancient and more modern 
copies, which he classed under the names of the 
African and Asiatic families. And, then, he made the 
new step of dividing in a more or less firm manner the 
African family itself into two sub-tribes, represented 
respectively by A (the only purely Greek uncial at 
that time in use), and the Old Latin version. He 
held the African class to be the more valuable, and it 
was a critical rule with him that no reading of the 
Asiatic class was likely to be genuine unless supported 
by some African document. Semler (1764) followed, 
and handed down Bengel's classification to the even 
greater Giiesbach (1745—1812). Griesbach (1775 -f ) 
divided all documents into three classes, which he 
called respectively — 

(1) Tlie Alexandrian, represented (in the Gospels) 
by B (except in Matthew, where he deemed it 
Western), C, L, 1, 33, 69, Memphitic, etc. ; 

(2) The Western, represented by the Grjeco-Latin 
codices, the Old Latin, etc. ; and 

(3) The Constantinopolitan, represented by A, E, F, 
G, H, S, and the minuscules as a class, etc. 

He perceived that a somewhat different distribution 
was needed for the other parts of the New Testament 
(thus, A elsewhere rose to the height of Class 1); 
and also that a number of texts occupied inter- 


mediate positions. Classes 1 and 2 he held to 
present texts at least as old as the third century ; 
Class 3 one not older than the fourth or fifth. A 
misunderstanding of the meaning of the phenomena 
of mixed texts (vshared in part by Griesbach himself) 
did much to prevent this theory from receiving the 
acceptance it deserved, though it obtained the hearty 
adherence of some of the best scholars of the day. 
Hug's (1808) vagaries, who sought to prove histori- 
cally that three texts represented respectively by 
B C L, E E, minuscules, and A K M, were alike 
set revisions of one corrupt text represented by D 
and the Old Latin, which was universally current in 
the second century, still further blinded men to the 
value of these classifications. Hug, however, recog- 
nised the three classes of Griesbach (though trying 
unsuccessfully to add a fourth to them), and brought 
out the important new fact of the early broad cur- 
rency of the Western text. And his publication had 
the good efiect of bringing Griesbach once more 
before the public (1811), to redemonstrate the main 
outlines of his classification, and reiterate his mature 
conviction that on the study of "recensions," as on 
a hinge, all criticism of the text must turn. The 
peculiarities of Nolan and Scholz succeeded, however, 
in throwing an undeserved discredit on such studies, 
until it became common to assert that no divisions 
could be traced among the documents, of any practical 
utility in criticism, except the broad one that sepa- 
rates the ancient and modern copies into classes 
corresponding to Bengel's African and Asiatic, and 
Griesbach's Alexandrian -Western and Constantino- 


politan. Tregelles (1813-75), by his method of 
compai-ative criticism, redemonstrated this distribu- 
tion, and put it upon an invincible basis of observe.! 
fact. Nevertheless it has been everywhere practically 
acknowledged — by writers as widely separated as 
Tregelles and Scrivener — that the farther facts of 
affiliation brought out by Griesbach, although not 
available for criticism, yet rest on a basis of truth, 
*and fuither that the documents that class with B are 
greatly better than those that class with D. At this 
point Dr. Hort's investigations (1881) have entered 
the field, with the result of justifying Griesbach's 
general conclusions, and so adding to and elucidating 
them as to develop a usable system of textual criti- 
cism by a genealogical method. The outlines of his 
conclusions have been already explained under the 
caption " Genealogical Method " above. 

3. The continued efforts of a succession of scholars 
to revise the text of the New Testament necessarily 
issued in a critical practice, and a critical practice 
is capable of being formulated in critical rules. We 
can mention only the leaders in this work. It was 
Bentley (1720) who firet laid down the great prin- 
ciple that the whole text is to be formed, apart from 
the influence of any edition, on evidence ; a principle 
which, obvious as it is, only succeeded in conquering 
universal adoption through Lachmann's example 
(1831). It was due to Bengel (1734) that transcrip- 
tional probability received early recognition, and one 
of its great generalisations was formulated by him in 
v/ords that have become classic : " proclivi scriptioni 
praestat ardna," which, boyond doubt, he meant in a 


transcriptional sense. After him its principles have 
been developed by many critics, especially by Gries- 
bach; and more latterly they have been carefully 
re-stated by Tischendorf, Bishop Ellicott, and Dr. 
Horfc. Intrinsic evidence has never lacked its often 
too earnest advocates; some have pushed it to the 
verge of subjecting the whole text to re-writing 
according to the personal idiosyncrasies of the editor, 
and many have been willing to give it occasionally 
overweening powers. Its true character as mainly 
negative, and its true uses, have been lately admirably 
elucidated by Dr. Hort. Since Tregelles (1854, 1856, 
1860) the suffrages of scholars have been given to the 
doctrine that the documentary evidence is decisive if 
at all capable of sure interpretation, so only that 
both varieties of internal evidence of readings are 
not arrayed against it, or, at least, that intrinsic 
evidence is not unalterably in opposition. The ten- 
dency has also been ever more and more pronounced, 
since Tregelles developed the method of comparative 
criticism, to rely on the ancient evidence, and to 
count its witness decisive whenever its testimony is 
undivided or nearly so. But not until Dr. Hort's 
"Introduction" appeared (1881) was a sufficiently 
safe procedure indicated for all those cases where 
ancient evidence is itself divided. Dr. Hort's main 
canons of criticism are as follows: (1) Knowledge of 
documents should precede final judgment on read- 
ings ; and (2) All trustworthy restoration of corrupted 
texts is founded on a study of their history. By the 
former he means to assert the necessity of attending 
to a carefully weighed external evidence before we 


decide on readings, and to exclude thereby crude 
appeals to internal evidence alone. By the latter 
he means to emphasize the necessity of understanding 
the genenlogical affiliations of documents before they 
are appealed to as witnesses, and to exclude thereby 
crudely allowing each document equal weight, no 
matter what its relation to the autograph may be, 
as well as allowing each document weight according 
not to its purity, but to the chances of reproduction 
that have preserved many or few of its kindred. 

4. No satisfactory text could be formed so long as 
editors set before them the task of emending the 
received text, instead of drawing from the best evi- 
dence the best attainable text. Not until Lachmann, 
therefore, who put forth in 1831 the first text framed 
entirely on evidence, can we expect to find more than 
efforts towards a good text. Nevertheless much that 
was done before Lachmann deserves our notice and 
admiration. The Greek Testament of Simon Colinaeus 
(1534) may be considered the earliest attempt to pre- 
pare what may be called a critical text by emending 
the received text on MS. authority. Edward Wells 
published so eai^y as 1709-19 a text emended from 
the Elzevir type in some two hundred and ten read- 
ings, the most of which have been commended by 
later critics. And Richard Bentley in 1720 proposed 
to set forth an edition founded on ancient authority 
only, which, had he completed it, would have ante- 
dated the step of Lachmann by a century. Walton, 
Fell, Mill, Beiigel (except in nineteen readings in the 
Apocalypse), and Wetstein, did not venture to intro- 
duce new readings into the printed text, but confined 


their suggested improvements to the margin and notes. 
Griesbach (1775 — 1807) made a great advance, and by 
the acuteness of his criticism and the soundness of his 
judgment did all that could be done at his day and 
with his material for reforming the text. No text 
of the earlier period can be compared with his, and 
his accomplishment with his insufficient material con- 
stitutes no less than a wonder of critical skill. But 
not only did even he seek to emend the received text, 
but the insufficiency of the material at that time 
within reach of critics would alone have rendered 
the formation of a satisfactory text impossible. The 
retrograde movement of Matthsei and Scholz, who 
returned to the received text, was suddenly reversed 
by the bold step of Lachmann (1831) in casting off 
its influence altogether, and giving the world for the 
first time a text founded everywhere on evidence. 
Lachmann's actual text was, however, not yet satis- 
factory ; both because of the still continuing insuffi- 
ciency of evidence, and because he did not set himself 
to form the true and autographic text, but only an 
early text, current in the fourth century, which 
should serve as the basis for furthei^criticism. The 
use which has sometimes been made of Lachmann's 
text, therefore, as if it might be accepted as the 
earliest attainable text, is thoroughly mistaken. Wo 
cannot go further back than the texts of Tischendorf 
and Tregelles for examples of' what criticism has 
attained, as the original text of the New Testa- 
ment. Tischendorf's text fluctuated considerably in 
the various editions which he put forth, but it is 
unfair to judge his results now by any but his great 


and final eighth edition, the text of which was com- 
pleted just before his death. The comparative values 
of the three great modern texts — the eighth edition of 
Tischendorf (1864 — 1872), the one great edition of 
Tregelles (1857 — 1879), and the recently issued edition 
of Westcott and Hort (1881, and reissued 1885) — need 
hardly be discussed here. It is enough to set down 
plainly the fact that these three editions indicate the 
high-water mark of modern criticism, and to point out 
that they agree in their settlement of the greater part 
of the text. Where they difier, we may decide now 
with one, now with the other, most frequently with 
the latest : and in these comparatively few passages 
future criticism may find her especial task. 



Page 37, line 2. This statement is misleading. The Arabs 
appear to have brought cotton paper to the Western world 
about the eighth century. The oldest dated Arabic MSS. on 
cotton paper come from the ninth century, e.g., the Leiden 
Gharibu '1-Hadlth from 866. The earliest examples in European 
languages come from the countries which were most closely 
in contact with the Arabs, e.g., Sicily (1102, 1145, and the 
like). The oldest dated Greek MS., on cotton paper, is the 
Vienna Codex, dated 1095 ; next we have a Eachologium 
(No. 973 of Gardthausen's Catalogus Codd Grcecorum Slnaiti- 
cmnivi), dated 1158 ; and by the middle of the thirteenth 
century they are somewhat numerous. The Lectionary referred 
to in the text is No. 191 of the lists (Scrivener, III., p. 292). 
An Asceticuni (No. 468 of Gardthausen's Catalogus, just 
•quoted), on cotton paper, is written in uncials of the tenth or 
eleventh century. 

Page 67, line 12. The age of the European Latin may be 
more accurately set from Prof. Sanday's investigations. He 
shows that it was certainly used by Novatian (fl. 251), and 
hints that it may be older than Tertullian (see StudiaBihlica, 
p. 245). 

Page 70, last line. This exception may probably be deleted. 


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