Friday, November 13, 2015
Recent Literature on the Text of the New Testament by Ada Bryson 1899
Recent Literature on the Text of the New Testament by Ada Bryson, M.A. 1899
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Despite the recent additions to the literature on Greek Testament Criticism, Dr. Scrivener's Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament still remains the standard work. The student will probably gain from it too some of that love for the subject which pervades the book. Dr. Scrivener is wholly unrivalled or unapproached in his particular department: a patient and accurate observer of textual phenomena, very fair and impartial, he is not merely an advocate for his own reading, but has been adjudged almost an arbiter. He represents the older and stricter ideas; his position is midway between Burgon and Westcott-Hort: he never displayed the bigotry of Burgon, although he sided with him on a number of important points. His last edition (1894) is much increased in bulk. He explains the nature of Textual Criticism, and the different kinds of errors likely to arise in transmission, describes the ancient manuscripts and versions (valuable facsimiles of which are given), and brings the work down, through the printed editions, to the Revised Version. He then explains the nature of internal evidence, gives a history of the text with recent views on Comparative Criticism, and examines and condemns Dr. Hort's theory. He has a good chapter on the Dialect of the Greek Testament, and concludes by applying his principles to the criticism of certain selected passages. In these he keeps to the older views.
Good work has also been done in his New Testament in the original Greek according to the A. V. Greek and the variations adopted by the Revisers. This work clearly shows the exact amount of variation made by the revisers from the Greek text followed in 1611.
A very much shorter work is Hammond's Outlines of Textual Criticism, which was written before there was any good textual Introduction shorter than Scrivener's. He uses Scrivener, and gives briefly his conclusions. He also very slightly sketches Dr. Hort's system in the new edition brought up to the year 1890. For those who want an Introduction without the details of the larger work, this would be useful.
A new departure was made in 1881, when Drs. Westcott and Hort published their edition of the Greek Testament, followed a few months later by Dr. Hort's Introduction. They aimed not at producing a fourth century text, but at getting back to the autographs themselves, and their method of procedure in doing this is undoubtedly the best to trust to. Dean Burgon held that the text ought to be settled by numbers, and claims that of the whole mass of evidence — MSS. versions and Fathers—nineteen-twentieths support the traditional text. Dr. Hort applied an entirely new system; he says MSS., like men, have a genealogy, and we must know something of this before we can estimate their worth. Griesbach had enunciated this doctrine at the end of last century, but it was left to Westcott and Hort to found upon it a system of textual criticism which has gained the consent of most of the present textual scholars. First, the solitary MSS. and versions are arranged in families. It is found that a certain number of authorities have a tendency to exhibit the same readings, so these are grouped together into three great families. When the groups are thus formed, the effort is made to trace their history. Here the MSS. themselves give help. In a certain number of instances, when one group offers a special reading and the second group offers another, the third group is found to combine the two. Is this combined reading (to which Hort gives the name of 'conflate') likely to be older than the two separate readings, or are they likely to be older than it? Is it more likely that a scribe, finding two separate readings, combined the two, or finding the two combined, selected one? Evidence seems to point to the former, as the ancient scribe invariably wished to keep every word of the sacred truth. Here comes in the evidence of the Fathers. When Chrysostom—Bishop of Antioch in Syria at the end of the fourth century—quotes, he quotes from these combined readings. Other writers about Antioch at that time also take these readings, and are in fact the first to use them. Hence this type of text, which is the text of the later uncials and cursives, the 'traditional text' of Burgon, the text that generally underlies our Authorized Version, has been described by Dr. Hort as the 'Syrian' text, a text later than the other two, and the result of a revision in or about Antioch in the third century. This gives us our first group. A second and smaller group is the 'Western,' which is found mainly in Latin MSS., the Curetonian Syriac, and in those like Codex Bezse, which have both Greek and Latin texts. The third group is still smaller, and this they subdivide into two— the 'Alexandrian,' a type most often quoted by the Alexandrian Fathers, and found as detached readings in a few MSS.; and the 'neutral,'—so called because no restricted locality can claim it,— found in the two oldest MSS. we possess, B and Aleph, with the support of a very limited number of uncials and cursives, and many readings in authorities which elsewhere diverge into Western and Alexandrian forms of variation. This 'neutral' type is the one which Hort thinks represents most nearly the original text of the New Testament. The chief evidence for the theory is that of the Fathers, as Hort points out. He asserts that no purely Syrian reading is found in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, and if this can be disproved, his theory breaks down. Immediately upon the publication of this Introduction, came fierce denunciations of the work by Dean Burgon in the Quarterly, and in his book, The Revision Revised. Burgon was all the more furious because it was Westcott and Hort's Greek text that was taken as the foundation for the R.V. He hit on Hort's weak point, the 'Syrian Revision,' and called for a proof. But admitting the Revision, Burgon asserted that if the Fathers had held a council, when condemning all 'Western' readings, they would have altogether rejected the MSS. Aleph B and D, if they were before them. 'They must have had before them many codices like B and Aleph, and such will have omitted such passages as the last twelve verses in Mark. But these MSS. were rejected, and such passages were admitted as Scripture. Yet Dr. Hort says they were early interpolations.' He thinks Hort's efforts result not in the recovery of the text, but only in an able restoration of the Eusebian Recension. But when he says that Westcott and Hort's text shows that the science of textual criticism has been only imperfectly apprehended, calls their theory a pyramid balanced on its apex, resulting in the most extravagant text which has seen the light since the invention of printing, and designates the R.V. a first-rate schoolboy's crib— tasteless, unlovely, harsh, unidiomatic; servile without being really faithful; pedantic without being really learned; an unreadable translation, in short; we feel, to use an Americanism, we can have no further use for Dean Burgon as a critic. He asserted the MSS. B and Aleph were preserved solely by their ascertained evil character, which occasioned the one to go to a forgotten shelf in the Vatican, and the other to the waste-basket. He thought the text was preserved because it was inspired, and claimed that all down the ages the sacred writings 'must needs have been' God's peculiar care. Dr. Hort, on the other hand, did not lay down what 'must needs have been' the course of events, but tried to discern what that course had been. He examined into the question of the transmission of ancient literature in general by manuscripts, and only when he had thus obtained his rules did he apply them to the Scriptures.
Burgon, always in opposition to the prevailing current of his own age, died before he could get all his materials together in a formal treatise. Like all men of his calibre, he only prejudiced against him the very people he wished to gain, by the violence and intemperance of his language. His work has been gathered together, and lately published by Edward Miller, M.A., in The Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels Vindicated and Established, who asserts that the scientific criticism of the last fifty years has been wholly mistaken. Briefly, Miller and Burgon hold—(i) the predominance of the traditional text (which is Dr. Hort's Syrian Revision), from the fourth century to the nineteenth, is itself a proof of its superiority, since it rests on the authority of the Catholic Church; (2) in point of fact the traditional text can be shown to have been also predominant even before the fourth century; (3) the traditional text, as embodied in the later uncials and the cursives, is intrinsically superior to that contained in the earlier uncials. Of these propositions, the second and third would be simply denied by Dr. Hort's followers, the first declared irrelevant and misleading.
Professor Warfield, in his Textual Criticism of the New Testament, is to Westcott and Hort what Hammond is to Scrivener. It is professedly a primary guide to students making their first acquaintance with the art of Textual Criticism as applied to the New Testament. It is the best possible primer for the purpose. Every student would do well to begin with it. It is simple and easy to understand, and the student'who has read this will be well equipped for Westcott and Hort's Introduction, which is very difficult. Warfield is particularly helpful in giving some hint as to the meaning of the compressions used in speaking of the ancient authorities. These, as a rule, the beginner in Textual Criticism finds perplexing. All the writers use them, and all assume knowledge of their meaning from the reader. But none say where they are to be found, or attempt to explain them. As Tischendorf's great work is not the first book a student uses, it may be some time before he finds the key. It is left to Warfield to tell us that all these signs and their meanings are given in a list in Tischendorfs Introduction, and these he clearly explains and illustrates. Warfield, further, shows the limits of the goodness of versions, and treats fully of the 'matter' and 'methods of criticism,' using and explaining the terms of Westcott and Hort, and setting forth their conclusions briefly and simply. He is especially good in showing how to apply the methods of criticism (the 'praxis of criticism') by examples taken from certain selected passages. He explains these at length, and holds to Hort throughout.
Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts, by Dr. Kenyon, is also based in thought on Westcott and Hort. It includes both the Old and New Testaments, and gives excellent reduced facsimiles of the old manuscripts. His object is to condense in a moderate volume the principal results at which the specialists had arrived, and to give the reader a general knowledge of the textual history of the Bible. It may be used by students unacquainted with Hebrew and Greek, and is just what they need on account of the references made to the Queen's Printers' Variorum Bible. It is not so full of detail as the standard Introductions, but is fuller than most manuals, and is probably the best book published at the price where the student can obtain the same amount of trustworthy information. Kenyon explains why there should be variations in the text, and describes the Hebrew text, and how and in what condition it has come down to us. So also in the New Testament he gives the history of the text, describes the manuscripts, and brings it down through the printed Bibles to the R.V., on which he has a good chapter. He only ends with the year in which the volume was written—1896. Dr. Hort's theory is briefly sketched and defended, although the difficulty-— a very real one—in the theory is admitted, viz. that there is absolutely no historical confirmation of the Syrian Revision, which is its corner-stone. Finally, Kenyon points out that most of the leading scholars of the day have given in their allegiance to Dr. Hort's theory, and, as he expresses it, 'the best hope for progress in textual criticism appears to lie along the track that has been opened out by the genius and learning of Dr. Hort.'
Dr. Salmon, in Some Criticism of the Text of the New Testament, frankly states his object, which is to point out to some future investigator the weak points in Westcott and Hort. He rebels against the 'servility' with which their history has been accepted, and their text taken as final. He thinks Hort has favourites in MSS., and shows exaggeration in judgment. Finally, he asks for a new trial by experts, and pleads for a suspension of judgment. He states clearly the points of difference between Westcott-Hort and Burgon, and himself differs from both, for Burgon and Miller exaggerated the ecclesiastical aspect of the question, and Westcott and Hort did not attach sufficient value to the sanction given to a text by Church use. Salmon objects to their treatment of the 'Western' text, i.e. to their pouring contumely on D and Western MSS. generally, and thinks the last word has not been said on New Testament criticism until the question of the origin of Western readings has received more attention than Westcott and Hort have been disposed to give it. He asserts that the whole tone of their Introduction is that of teachers instructing disciples. A great objection is their question-begging nomenclature, in particular their using the term 'neutral' for one of their groups, instead of the old term 'Alexandrian.' The name presupposes their theory, that all alteration of this neutral text is due to later corruptions, and disguises the fact that the question what text has the most early attestation cannot be decisively answered. 'I consider that it is not scientific to stereotype a theory by a nomenclature until the theory has been established beyond reach of controversy. If Westcott and Hort have said the last word about New Testament criticism, we shall do well to adopt their nomenclature; but if it is to be open to us to examine the foundations of their theory, the first step to progress must be the abandonment of the fettering names, in particular the word "neutral."' What Westcott and Hort have restored, in Salmon's opinion, is not the autograph, but an Alexandrian text of the second and third centuries. He alleges as a serious fault in their work that neither of them appears to have taken any interest in the Synoptic question,—in inquiries whether the Synoptic Gospels have any common basis, oral or written,—and thinks our decision on the point must affect our decision on Textual Criticism. Salmon favours the theory of Dr. Blass, that there were two editions made of the Acts by Luke himself, but doubts it of the Gospel. As to the latter, Dr. Salmon offers a suggestion of his own: that Luke may have continued to reside at Rome after the expiration of Paul's two years, and may there have given readings of his work; explanations of different points would be preserved in the West, and thus would arise the 'Western' variations in Luke between the reports given by two different hearers of a story orally delivered in the presence of both. Salmon, like Kenyon, inclines to believe that the formal revision of the sacred text in or about Antioch may probably be a myth, and that the traditional text was the result rather of a process continued over a considerable period of time, than of a set revision by constituted authorities. Both here and in Kenyon are very excellent analyses or 'contents' of the chapters.
For the 'Western' text the chief authority is the Codex Bezae, generally spoken of as Codex D. This is a sixth century Greco-Latin MS. of the Gospels and the Acts,—the Greek and Latin texts being in parallel columns,—and hailing from Southern Gaul. The question on which the critics are at issue is: What relation, if any, does the Greek text, which appears on the left-hand page, bear to the Latin version, which appears on the right? Also whether the answer applies to * Codex D alone, or to the Western text generally? Dr. Scrivener held that the Latin was derived from the Greek, but Dr. Hort thought they were derived independently from earlier Greek and Latin archetypes. Now the Bezan text of the Acts, unlike that of other MSS., exhibits expanded texts, which are thought to be the interpolations or glosses of some scribe. A few examples (the expansions being in italics) are—
12-23 (And when he came down from the judgment seat) he was eaten of worms (while yet living, aud even thus) gave up the ghost.
16-35 But when it was day, the magistrates (gathered together in the forum; and remembering the earthquake which had taken place) sent the sergeant, saying ....
15-32 Judas and Silas being themselves also prophets (full of the Holy Spirit).
It is asked, Are these glosses; or does the Codex D represent the original text of the Acts? Dr. Blass has given forth the latest view in his Ein alte Recension der Apostelgeschichie of 1894, and his Acta Apostolorum sire Luca ad Theophilum liber alter of 1895. He suggests that the Bezan text and the Receptus represent nothing less than two successive editions of the Acts, put forth by Luke himself: that the longer text represents the inspired writer's first draft of his work, while the shorter reproduces, with more or less exact fidelity, the fair copy which Luke sent to Theophilus. For the glosses, he thinks, while making the narrative more graphic, yet add nothing to our knowledge; and are such as no unauthorized person would have thought it worth while to insert. Also there was a special reason why Luke should make two copies: his book alone is distinguished by being addressed to a person of high rank. Now, such a book would be neatly written on choice parchment, and would almost certainly be preceded by a rough copy, which the writer would keep, and which, after his death, would be highly prized by the Church. And the second copy would be distinguished from the first by greater conciseness. Blass, however, leaves out of count the singularly ungrammatical construction of not a few of the glosses alleged against the Codex Bezae. Besides Blass,—Harris, Chase, and Ramsay have put forward hypotheses of their own. Professor Rendel Harris, in his Study of the Codex Bezae, tries to prove that the Greek text has been revised and adapted to the Latin version. 'So this Latinised Greek text can have no certain value, except where it differs from its own Latin.' He thinks that in the bilingual MSS. the Greek was freely corrected to conform to the Latin, which was a primitive translation of the Gospels and Acts, made at Rome, Lyons, or Carthage in the second century, from a text already marked by a few Western readings, and afterwards corrupted by Montanist glosses. He claims to show that the Western text, not only in D, but also as represented in some of the earlier versions, has largely Latinized ; to this source is due its peculiarities.
Professor Wilkins, in articles in the Expositor (November and December 1894), characterizes Dr. Harris' theory as attractive, but not more than a possible hypothesis, and the foundations for it but weak and scanty. He shows, by an examination of Harris' instances, that it is not safe to say more than that the Greek and Latin agree in a looseness of expression which may have originated with either. 'Though there may be unmistakable traces that at some stage in the history of the tradition the Greek text was here and there adapted to the Latin, there is no evidence whatever to show that this was done either systematically or completely.' Harris' statement that the Bezan Greek owes the greater part of its textual and grammatical peculiarities to the reflex action of its own Latin, seems to Dr. Wilkins to have been inadequately supported. Further, he thinks it is surely possible to believe that one or two codices are interpolated, without holding that this correction ever extended to the Western text generally. To say that the primitive Western bilingual was Marcionised, is to go beyond the evidence.
There was next published Dr. Chase's The Syriac Element in Codex Bezae, in which is set forth yet another hypothesis, viz. that the peculiarities of the Codex are due to retranslation into the Greek from an old Syriac version. Dr. Chase began his work because he thought Harris' methods were unsatisfactory, and his main conclusions untenable. By a close examination of the earlier chapters of the Acts, he infers that the Bezan text existed as early as 180 A.d., and the implied Old Syriac text which lies behind it existed about the middle of the second century. His conclusion is that Codex D and the Western text originated at Antioch, and this would account for the survival of rare Western readings in the works of Chrysostom. They would naturally linger in Antioch, the place of their birth. The Latin version was also made there. Chase thinks the Bezan interpolations or glosses are from a document written in some other language: and as the glosses bear traces of a Syriac idiom, it is presumed they were derived from the Syriac. The case is strengthened by the fact that the actual Syriac Vulgate, the Peshito, still retains traces of expressions which might well have given birth to some at least of the Bezan readings. Finally, if the Bezan glosses are derived from a Syriac origin, it leads to a conclusion of importance, viz. the place and date of the Old Latin version of the New Testament. Thus the date of the Old Syriac version would be 170 A.d., and that of the Old Latin 170-190 A.d.
In reply to Chase, Professor Rendel Harris published his Four Lectures on the Western Text. In this he examines: (1) the theory of Resch and Credner that D has a Judaeo-Christian origin, and that the Latin text was added afterwards to the Greek; (2) Dr. Blass' theory that it is an original document in good Lucan Greek; and (3) Dr. Chase's theory that the Codex is under Old Syriac influence. First, he justifies Chase's hypothesis, and removes it into the region of fact, by proving the existence of an Old Syriac text of the Acts. He was enabled to do this by the fresh evidence which had been afforded in Conybeare's translation of an Armenian work on the Acts,—probably a translation from the Syriac,—which contains a large number of extracts from Ephrem's lost Commentary on Acts. These fragments exhibit an expanded or unabridged Old Syriac text of the Acts very like the text of Codex D. But Dr. Harris goes no further with Dr. Chase, for he questions Chase's further contention that this hypothesis is an adequate one to explain the peculiarities of the Western text in general, and of the Bezan Acts in particular. He denies the Syriac origin of the Bezan glosses.
Professor Ramsay, in The Church in the Roman Empire, also touches on this point. In his remarkable chapter viii., on the Codex Bezai, he attributes many changes of the text to the hand of a Greek reviser acquainted with the geography of Asia Minor. He claims, further, to have made it clear that on European soil the supposed reviser is by no means at home, but blunders rather badly in his efforts to improve the text. What is a strong argument against Blass' theory is where a positive error seems to be involved, as in the passage de Philippi, and in 1715, 'and he passed by Thessaly,' etc.; for, as Ramsay points out, the reviser seems to have mistaken a sea voyage for a journey by land. If one such error in fact in the Bezan glosses can be established, it must throw suspicion upon them all. They cannot have originated from Luke himself, but must be mere unauthorized interpolations. Ramsay thinks the Bezan text is founded on a Catholic recension, certain features in the narrative which are characteristic of the social system of Asia Minor, but which were distasteful to the Church at large, having been eliminated, e.g. the prominence of women in 1712 34. Then follows argument to prove from the reviser's use of certain politico-geographical terms that he belonged to the second century. That the revision can hardly be dated later than 150-160 A.d. is the final conclusion.
Over the problems in the Acts many textual critics have spent time. One of the latest contributions is Dr. M'Giffert's History of Christianity in the Apostolic Age, in which he tries to show that the Acts could not have been written by Luke, the friend of St. Paul. He thinks the author was not an eye-witness, but wrote some time later, and was dependent on 'Sources' for his information. He allows that Luke sometimes showed real literary skill and the instinct of a true historian, so he does not take the extreme form of the Source theory. The Source-theory proper practically ignores the author, and gives him little credit for skill or veracity: it is merely a question of scissors and paste, and all depends on the sources used—whether early and trustworthy, or late and bad. A good deal turns on the 'We sections,' as they are called: many think these were the genuine work of a companion of St. Paul, incorporated by a later writer—the author of Acts. But, as Ramsay asks: 'Who is this author who sometimes transfers to his pages fragments of a "Source" more awkwardly than the feeblest Byzantine compiler, for he forgets to change a first person to a third; at another time selects and remodels till he has constructed a narrative which shows the instinct of a true historian?' Ramsay, in his St. Paul the Traveller, and in a paper in the Expositor for January last, holds that a great part of the Acts is not dependent on written sources; that it was gathered from the lips of the actors themselves, and especially that some of it (the 'We sections ') was written down by the author, Luke, from personal knowledge. For much of the remainder he was indebted to the narrative of St. Paul. But Ramsay is ready to allow that there are signs of other sources in the book, and some of them may even have been written.
In the above book, and in The Church in the Roman Empire, Ramsay brought forward his 'South Galatian theory,' viz. that the Galatian district mentioned in the founding of the Galatian Churches in Acts 166 1823 denoted the Roman province which bore that name, and not the district popularly and generally known as Galatia. In the Expositor, 1893 and 1894, there is a controversy between Chase and Ramsay on this point: 'The Galatia of the Acts.' This is well summed up by Gifford (in the July number, 1894), who inclines to Ramsay's view, and thinks it quite inexplicable that there should be absolute silence on Luke's part on so important a branch of St. Paul's apostolic work as the foundation of the Galatian churches as there would be according to the 'North Galatian theory.' The question turns a good deal on grammar.
An interesting article on 'The Twelve Verses of Mark' appeared in the Expositor of 1893, by Mr. Conybeare, in which he brings forward the theory that they were written by Aristion, the master of Papias. Conybeare recently collated an ancient Armenian Codex of the Gospels in the Mount Ararat Library. The Gospel of Mark is copied out in this Codex as far as EFOBOUNTO GAP. Then a space of two lines is left, after which, in the same uncial hand, only in red, is written 'Ariston Eritzou,' which means, 'of the Presbyter Ariston,' and is probably an Armenian misspelling of the Greek Aristion. The writer must have been as important almost as Mark himself, judging from the prominence given to his name, and the red uncials in which it is written. Aristion may have written a narrative of the works and words of Jesus, and this may have been added by some editor because of the abrupt ending of our Mark. The name of Aristion would be omitted by certain New Testament scribes because there were only four evangelists. As Conybeare says, we know that Aristion was a disciple of the Lord, a pupil or companion of the apostles, and either wrote or delivered orally the words of the Lord, and Papias wrote these down in his Logia, often mentioning Aristion by name as the source of his information. This is seen in Eusebius' History, book iii. ch. 39.
Some interesting articles bearing on Textual Criticism are to be found in the four volumes of the Studia Biblica. In volume i., Professor Wordsworth, in 'The Corbey St. James and its Relation to other Latin Versions,' shows its bearing on the question of the language in which St. James originally wrote. It makes extremely probable the hypothesis of a Hebrew or Aramaic original, from which were formed two independent Greek versions. This is important, because it would remove the difficulty as to the authenticity of the Epistle as we have it, which otherwise might arise from the highly classical, elaborate vocabulary, which yet is Jewish in spirit. We have also a short paper by Professor Sanday on the newly discovered Codex Romanensis, imperfectly collated in 1882, and not allowed to be seen since; and a technical treatise by Mr. Gwilliam, attempting to settle what was the text current as the vernacular version in the early Syrian Church from collations he has recently made of the Peshito MSS. in the British Museum.
Volume ii. contains a most interesting discussion by Mr. H. J. White on the 'Birthplace of the Codex Amiatinus.' This, one of the largest biblical MSS. in existence, is now proved to have been written at the order of Ceolfrid, Abbot at Wearmouth, and sent as a gift to Pope Gregory 11., in the beginning of the eighth century. Thus it brings us into contact with the Venerable Bede, and shows how large and flourishing a school of caligraphy there was at Wearmouth or Jarrow at that early date.
Mr. White's article, also in this volume, on 'The Origin and Mutual Relation of the Synoptic Gospels,' which proves the priority of St. Mark by the order of events which is followed, gives valuable help.
The textual points in the Epistles and Gospels are usually dealt with in their respective commentaries, but we note especially Dr. Hort's Prolegomena to Romans and Ephesians. This should certainly be studied: it deals most fully with all the textual difficulties found in these two Epistles. The various Introductions we do not mention, as these only touch occasionally on textual matters.
A most important recent publication is Philology of the Gospels, by Professor Blass: a treatise on the textual condition and criticism of the Gospels. Dr. Blass endeavours to prove that St. Luke wrote two copies of his Gospel, as he has previously endeavoured to prove the double texts of the Acts. He further proceeds to discuss the origin of various readings, and he traces back some of the variants in the Gospels to sources and to a time which cannot be reached by documentary evidence. He is inclined to advocate the freer use of conjectural emendation, and gives several rather startling instances of such. The second chapter, in which he examines philologically the separate words of Luke's Introduction, is particularly valuable.
More recently Dr. Blass has published his Grammar of New Testament Greek. In this the illustrations used are taken from the MSS. themselves and not from the editions. It is distinct from Winer's Grammar in its greater abundance of classical illustration. But the price—14s. net, for 340 pages—will be rather prohibitive: especially as it is not half the size of Winer's work. Some important books are Deissmann's Bibelstudien (1895) and Neue Bibelstudien (1897), for they prove, from the collections of inscriptions and papyrus records published at Berlin in 1895, that the Greek of the New Testament is just the vernacular of the day. Several so-called Hebraisms in the New Testament are found with the same meaning in the inscriptions mentioned.
Lately, several new texts of the New Testament have been issued; among them, Baljon's Greek Testament. The first volume contains the four Gospels. The texts of Tischendorf, as also that of Westcott-Hort, does not satisfy him, hence he has constructed a text for himself. Most important is, that he gives the authorities for the various readings with great fulness.
In Rev. H. J. White's Old Latin Biblical Texts, No, IV., we are enabled to see the relation between the Old Latin Texts and the Vulgate, from the citations given by the Bobbio Palimpsest.
The Greek Testament of the Bible Society of Stuttgart—new edition, edited by Professor Nestle —not only gives on the margin the differences between Westcott-Hort and Tischendorf, but also at the foot of the pages gives some manuscript readings, mainly from the Codex Bezoe, and not found in the above editions. Nestle agrees with Blass in assigning to this manuscript much more value than Westcott-Hort are inclined to do. But this—the value to be attributed to the Western text —is the great crux of the present day. It has yet to be determined.
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