Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sinaiticus & Mark's Ending (Pt 5): James Snapp Jr.

Since we need to get into the details, a quick orientation involving some terminology won't hurt here.  In this discussion, a "Quire" means a grouping of sheets, usually folded like a booklet, and meant to be stitched together, then attached to other such groups, to make a large book of many pages.  Quires are a sensible approach to large books, and prevent problems when too many pages are folded together in a single clump.

According to the Official website, Codex Sinaiticus was originally stitched together in Quires of four double-sheets.  A double-sheet makes up two "Folios", or single sheets, each having two sides or page-surfaces.  Typically it is folios that are numbered in this context, and the sides of a folio are called "recto" (front or right-side), and "verso" (back or left-side).  Thus the pages are not numbered like a modern book.

Here is an illustration of what we are talking about:

Click to Enlarge, backbutton to return
In the illustration, the Quire is open to the innermost double-sheet, showing us folio #4 and folio #5, which would have originally been attached, being made from a single large double-sheet.  In the discussion which follows, James Snapp Jr. will be referring to the columns, starting with the columns (not shown) on folio #4 (columns 1 - 4), then as we have numbered them above (5 - 12), and finally, finishing with columns 13 - 16 (other side of folio # 5).

The folios themselves were numbered by an unknown hand as 227 and 228, but are referred to by Tischendorf and Scrivener in the previous posts as folios #28 and #29, or #29 and #30 by Kirsopp Lake  (of the New Testament portion).

The official website for Codex Sinaiticus (British Museum) numbers these relatively in relation to the Quires, so they are respectively now Quire 77 - 4 and Quire 77 - 5.   All clear?  Not to worry.  For now all we need pay attention to are the columns.

James Snapp Jr. tells us on his webpage the following:
"In Codex Sinaiticus, the four pages on which the last part of Mark (14:54-16:8) and the first part of Luke (1:1-56) are written constitute a cancel-leaf (to picture this, think of a four-page church bulletin, folded in the middle). That is, they are not the pages written by the copyist who wrote the surrounding text of Mark and Luke. Someone (probably the scriptorium-supervisor who oversaw the production of the codex) removed the original pages, re-wrote the text they contained, and then inserted the new, re-written pages.
Why? It was NOT to remove Mark 16:9-20. A statistical analysis of the capacity of the 16 columns on these pages shows that they did not have room for the contents of Mark 16:9-20 (unless the copyist "compacted" the text).
Possibly the main copyist accidentally skipped from the end of Luke 1:4 to the beginning of Luke 1:8, omitting Luke 1:5-7, and the supervisor decided that the best way to fix this mistake was to replace the entire four-page sheet. But whatever the reason was, the relevant implication is that when we look at Sinaiticus we are probably not looking at the text that was in the main copyist's exemplar; we are probably looking at the text that was in an exemplar used by the supervisor.
Furthermore, the text in the 4th column of the replacement-page (and the first 10 lines of the 5th column) is "compacted," which may suggest that the supervisor accessed -- but abandoned at 15:19 -- an exemplar which contained Mark 16:9-20. If the supervisor had continued to write the cancel-leaf the way he wrote column 4, [i.e., compressed] the full text of Mark 14:54-16:20 could fit on the replacement-page with room to spare, along with the text from Luke 1:1-56. "
Everyone seems to be in agreement that the two folios containing Mark 14:64 - Luke 1:56 (by whatever number) are 'cancel-leaves' or 'replacement-folios' written by Scribe D.  It is also apparent by Mr. Snapp's description, that the text is alternately compressed and stretched, in the process of fitting it into the required space.   This is certainly odd, and even Mr. Snapp's explanation is not entirely satisfactory, although its a reasonable account of the phenomena.

To help us better picture the discussion, here are the two relevant pages, from folio 77-4 (recto and verso) containing columns 1 - 8 inclusive.  The Ending of Mark is on the following page, but we will examine that later:

Folio 4 (recto): columns 1-4:  click to enlarge
 One can see that column 4 is compressed, while 1 to 3 are expanded, with plenty of white-space too.

Folio 4 (verso) columns 5 - 8: Click to Enlarge
Similarly, the top of column 5 is compressed, while the remaining columns are expanded.

One thing must be noted.  The concept of compressing text to fit is no stranger to Scribe D, nor is it merely a theoretical possibility.  It is clearly used by him for some purpose as yet undetermined with certainty.


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