Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sinaiticus & Mark's Ending (Pt 8): Scribe Identification & Confusion

That multiple scribes were at work on Codex Sinaiticus seems to be completely certain.  We have already noted some of the observations of Tischendorf and  Scrivener in particular on the features that distinguish Scribe D. We repeat F.H.A. Scrivener in full here:
"It is quite worthy of notice, that although ">" is sometimes placed in the margin of the NT to point out quotations from the OT, and that too by the first hand, e.g. Acts 26:23; though more frequently by later scribes, as in Matt. 1:23; 2:6, etc. : this mark is never met with in the NT at the end of a line for the mere purpose of filling up a blank space (which is its usual purpose in the OT portion of Sinaiticus and some other MSS), except repeatedly in the leaves assigned to Scribe D, viz. 219 times in the other six leaves, four times in Rev.1:1—5 (see p. xvi). Elsewhere ">" is found in only four places which have suffered correction (Matt. 6:28 ; 22:9 ; Luke 11:36 ; 12:58), being used, like — in 1st Cor. 15:22, merely to cover erasures.

We must add too, that the few leaves of the NT ascribed by Tischendorf to Scribe D are much freer from itacisms, or instances of false spelling, than those on either side of them : the transition is quite remarkable from leaf 9 of A to leaf 10 (Matt. 16:9-18:12) of Scribe D, and then back again to leaf 11 of A, as the reader may see for himself by consulting our collation. These remarks, so far as they extend, would seem to suggest two scribes, A being identical with B, and possibly С with D ; the members of which pairs Tischendorf declares to be much alike; but whether the actual penmen be one, or two, or four, is of the less importance, as (in the N. T. certainly, and most probably in the Old) the whole work was clearly executed at the same time, and transcribed from the same older copy.

Moreover, the apostrophe ('), though frequently employed in the OT to divide syllables in the middle of a word, is never so used throughout the NT itself; while in the Shepherd of Hermas, at the end, assigned by Tischendorf to scribe B, we read: αγ'γελια, αγ'γελον, αλ'λα (3x), μελ'λοντες, πολ'λους, ελατ'τονι, εχ'μαλωτισμον  , etc, and ">" several times at the end of lines. These minute points, insignificant as they may seem, go far to support Tischendorf's notion that the MS is the work of several distinct hands. (See also p. xxxii, note 7.)" (Scrivener, Sinaiticus Intro.)

 Kirsopp Lake is also informative:
"The discrimination of Scribe D from Scribes A/B is easier and admits of no reasonable doubt. There is a distinct difference in the script, though it is more easily perceived than described; possibly the letters are somewhat squarer in Scribe D than in A - the height being less in proportion to the breadth - and Scribe D is altogether prettier than A. But the decisive point is that Scribe D constantly fills out the end of a line with the sign >, which is rarely or never used by Scribes A/B."
 From all this, it would seem that the work of Scribe D was hardly in dispute, and well understood.   It is naturally with some alarm then, that upon visiting the official Codex Sinaiticus Website, we find all the pages from 77-4 recto to 77-8 verso identified as "Scribe D" in the apparatus and titling above the photos.  
Has there been a mistake by earlier critics with less access to good photos, or has the British Museum, custodian of the actual MS, made some remarkable blunder, based on a confusion between the end of the Quire and the 'cancel-sheet' (77-4 recto to 77-5 verso)??

The only sure guide would seem to be the quality of the text on the disputed pages.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sinaiticus & Mark's Ending (Pt 7): James Snapp (cont.)

Continuing our discussion of Codex Sinaiticus, we turn our attention again to the numbers of letters in each column of the 'cancel sheet(s)' (Scribe D),  and the counts in the surrounding area by the original Scribe A.

Here is a wonderful chart composed by Mr. Scrivener diagramming the details of the current picture.   The letter-counts are based on the text as transcribed on the Codex Sinaiticus Homepage (British Museum), but we have subtracted all marginal notes (which were added independently later), and also the peculiar symbols of Scribe D (the ">" arrow used to fill rows to make the page look fuller.).   Still counted as a character was the "dots" indicating verse and paragraph divisions, because these are assumed to have been copied from the original master-copy, and are not the invention of either scribe.

Now lets turn to the chart:
Click to Enlarge: Backbutton to return
The behavior of Scribe D (the person who substituted the pages) is fairly straightforward.    For the first three columns, he simply copies the pages he has removed, rightly noting that the previous Scribe A (author of the rest of the NT minus a couple of pages) has already done some of the work of compressing the text for the purpose of creating nearly a whole blank column of space.

He has already carefully calculated that the best course for handling Luke's verses will be to squeeze them into SIX of the last columns on the 'cancel-sheet' (folio 77-5 recto last 2 columns, and the 4 columns of the other side, 77-5 verso).  This will gain him about a half a column.

Now he calculates the remaining approximately SIX columns of Mark, and to leave the last column nearly empty (but avoiding leaving a whole column), he crams about 60 letters into the last column of folio 77-4 recto.  He has actually been too extreme here, and now must write the final FIVE columns of Mark rather sparsely to make sure he spills over a little into the last blank column before Luke.

A glance at the column heights explains why he chose this route.  He did not have enough material to stretch Luke to fill an entire SEVENTH column, and even if he had done this by some real spreading,  He would have only had just enough space for Mark, filling all the previous columns, without the Long Ending (Mark 16:9-20).   This may indeed have been exactly what Scribe A had originally done.

However, Scribe D, likely the Overseer and Corrector of the scriptorium, knew this would be highly unsatisfactory, and wished to at least leave a nearly blank column to tip off future users and enable them to copy in the Ending if they chose to.   Scribe D then, was aware of the Long Ending.  Even though he did not allow sufficient space for it, due to his desire to keep the look of the manuscript professional and standardize the book-seams, he did feel compelled to make sure that at least the option was available and the problem highlighted.

In this strategy, Scribe D mimicks almost exactly the behavior of the scribe of Codex Vaticanus, who also leaves just enough space to allow for Mark's Ending, but in that case he also left a rather awkward completely blank column between Mark and Luke.  It seems clear that our Scribe D had seen that solution before and wanted to improve it by extending Mark into the blank column, and give the appearance of a normal manuscript.

We only need try to reconstruct what the original Scribe A had done on the pages now lost, which ought to explain how the 'need' for a substitution arose.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Matthew's Ending (28:19): The textual evidence

There's been a bit of a discussion over the past semester on the Ending of Matthew. Not the very last verse, mind you, but the penultimate one, verse 19 of chapter 28. Here are several extant versions of it (ignoring  ligatures and miniature uncials but indicating Nomina Sacraπρς = patros,   πνς = pneumatos):

01 (א) = Sinaiticus
πορευθεντες μαθητευσατε παντα τα εθνη βαπτιζοντες αυτους εις το ονομα του  πρς και του υιου και του αγιου  πνς

02 (A) = Alexandrinus
πορευθεντες μαθητευσατε παντα τα εθνη βαπτιζοντες αυτους εις το ονομα του  πρς και του υυ και του αγιου  πνς

03 (B) = Vaticanus
πορευθεντες ουν μαθητευσατε παντα τα εθνη βαπτισαντες αυτους εις το ονομα του πατρος και του υιου και του αγιου πνευματος

05 (D) = Bezae
πορευεσθαι νυν μαθητευσατε παντα τα εθνη βαπτισαντες αυτους εις το ονομα του  πρς και υιου και του αγιου  πνς

032 (W) = Washingtonensis
πορευθεντες ουν μαθητευσατε παντα τα εθνη βαπτιζοντες αυτους εις το ονομα του  πρς και του υιου και του αγιου  πνς

Tischendorf, Majority Text (=01/א)
πορευθεντες μαθητευσατε παντα τα εθνη βαπτιζοντες αυτους εις το ονομα του πατρος και του υιου και του αγιου πνευματος

Textus Receptus, Westcott & Hort, NA27 (=032/W)

πορευθεντες ουν μαθητευσατε παντα τα εθνη βαπτιζοντες αυτους εις το ονομα του πατρος και του υιου και του αγιου πνευματος

 First of all, let's consider the overall pattern of variants. Codex Bezae is wild as usual, with unique readings at all three locations, plus a missing article--reading just as if it were a translation from the Old Latin in the adjacent column.

Ah--oops, not quite so. Codex Vaticanus joins its wildness at βαπτίσαντες. I had to look these up in facsimile, as LaParola claims they both read βαπτίζαντες. They don't -- unless both facsimiles are wrong, which I strongly doubt.  It's evident that LaParola does not reflect the actual text of Bezae, just a general pattern of support and non-support for readings found elsewhere.

It's interesting to note--claims of 'accumulated errors' notwithstanding, the text that Erasmus found in a medieval minuscule (probably GA-1, Codex Basilensis A. N. IV. 2) turned out to read exactly as Codex Washingtoniensis -- nearly coeval with Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, and at least as old as Bezae. So it was that Westcott/Hort kept the Textus Receptus reading--which remains unchanged to this day in the NA27 text. 
Tischendorf, however, influenced by Sinaiticus, aligned with the reading in the youngest minuscules! All this should put to rest the idea that 'older is better' and 'youngest is worthless.'

Now, leaving aside the wild readings, let's focus on the variants themselves. 

1. Include or omit ουν.
Although it's included in Vaticanus, we can hardly call it an Alexandrian reading (especially since two of the Alexandrian witnesses, C and L, are lacunose here). It's actually more like the Caesarean reading, shared by a smattering of Alexandrian and Byzantine mss. Being the Vulgate reading, it found its way into the Textus Receptus by way of Erasmus' Caesarean manuscript GA-1.
Most manuscripts from 01 (א) onward omit it -- a most unusual situation in which one of the oldest manuscripts line up with most of the youngest ones, but one of the youngest ones lines up with most of the oldest.

2.  -- βαπτίζοντες vs. βαπτίσαντες
The former is the present active form, the latter the aorist active form of the participle. Textual editors have rejected  the latter, despite its presence in Codex Vaticanus; I don't know why. This appears to be a Western influence in Vaticanus. LaParola is quite off here, misspelling their citation of the latter form.

There is only one more variant mentioned at LaParola (the UBS4 text), which is the deletion of the entire phrase βαπτίζοντες αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος ("baptizing them in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit").
According to LaParola, Origen  and Eusebius replace the entire phrase with ἐν τῳ ὀνόματι μου (i.e., = "in My name [only]"), when in fact Origin simply deletes it.

The story is far from being as simple as that. Actually, the full phrase is cited about 90 times in patristic writings, but none of them place the phrase at the end of Matthew's gospel--nor do any of the citations of Origen and Eusebius. In fact, neither of these attach  ἐν τῳ ὀνόματι μου to either form of the participle, but rather to the verb used earlier in the verse for making disciples of all nations.

If one were to hypothesize, as Conybeare did, that the Trinitarian Formula was not original to Matthew -- on the basis of Eusebius and Origen -- then he should go on to conclude that the entire baptismal formula, including any mention of a name, was a later development. But there simply isn't any direct textual or patristic evidence that Matthew's gospel ended without it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sinaiticus & Mark's Ending (Pt 6): James Snapp (cont.)

Now lets continue again with more of James Snapp Jr.'s article, in which he gets into some more detail about these pages and in particular the compression and expansion of text in the columns.  Again we give the diagram to help readers locate the columns under discussion:

James goes on:

The Last Two Columns of Mark in Codex Sinaiticus

"[James' diagram] shows the arrangement of the text in columns 9 and 10 of the four-page (16-column) cancel-sheet at the end of Mark in Sinaiticus.  [here we have inserted below a good photo of this page with columns 9 - 12:]
Folio 77 - 5 (recto): Mark ends & Luke begins

James now jumps back to discuss the previous two pages, namely folio 77 -4 (recto/verso):

77-4 recto: columns 1-477-4 verso: columns 5-8
The text of Mark from 15:19 (which appears earlier in the cancel-sheet, at column 5, line 11) onward has been stretched so as to fill more space than it normally would. However, from column 4, line 1 to column 5, line 10, the text was written in a compressed script, with the result that column 4 contains 707 letters. If the copyist had continued to write compactly, the cancel-sheet would have had plenty of room for the Long Ending. (However, if the copyist had continued to write so as to average 635 letters per column, if he had tried to write the Long Ending he would have reached the end of column 10 with 206 letters to go. Thus it is practically certain that the original pages of the end of Mark in Sinaiticus did not contain the Long Ending.)
As you can see, column 9 [folio 77-5 recto at top] contains only 552 letters (significantly less than the typical amount of about 635). Columns 11-16 [including folio 77-5 verso below] (containing Luke 1:1-56) are all written in compressed script; in those six columns the average column contains 691 letters. This suggests that the cancel-sheet was made because the original pages featured an accidental omission of text in Luke 1.
Folio 77-5 verso (back): columns 13-16
That still does not explain why the text is compacted in column 4 and in the first 10 lines of column 5. 
One theory is that the person who made the cancel-sheet began by using an exemplar which contained the Long Ending, and as he was writing column 4, he sensed that something was amiss, so he began to compact the text so that the Long Ending would fit, but then (at the beginning of Mark 15:19) he consulted the exemplar used by the original copyist, and realized that it did not contain the Long Ending. He had to stretch the text of Mark from that point on, in order to avoid leaving a blank column between Mark and Luke.
Another theory is that the cancel-sheet's maker initially planned to begin the text of Luke in column 10, and compressed the text of Mark for that reason (i.e., so as to end Mark's text in column 9). Then he changed his mind, preferring to compress Luke's text within six columns rather than to stretch it for seven columns, with the result that he had to stretch the text of Mark from 15:19 onward (especially in column 9) to avoid leaving a blank column between Mark and Luke. However, this does not explain why, if the cancel-sheet's maker initially planned to begin the text of Luke in column 10, he did not start the text-compression immediately in columns 1-3."

Our first observation is this: James writes in brackets above, 
(However, if the [original scribe A] had continued [at] 635 letters per column, he would have [had] 206 letters to go [for the Long Ending]. Thus it is practically certain that the original pages ... did not contain the Long Ending.)
This statement, while technically true, is however misleading All it amounts to is that the original scribe A didn't have room to fit it in, and stopped his work, which begs the question.  

One fact that is simply not taken into account in various of James' options is this:  Elsewhere, scribe D always inserts single cancel-leaves, not double-sheets of four pages (i.e., folio 10, 15, 88, 91).   Why recopy four whole pages here?   The small amount of text in the Lukan variant (proposed originally by Tischendorf, for which there is no textual support at all)  cannot justify a four-page replacement, nor can such a small factor explain why the original scribe A would have needed to turn to scribe D for help. 

Given this most remarkable extra feature, the replacement of four whole pages, with obvious attempts at adjusting all the columns preceding Mark's ending, it seems far more plausible that the problem was Mark's ending;  Scribe A appealed to Scribe D,  and Scribe A's work was taken over, removed and replaced by Scribe D.

James' "Theory 1" above is inadequate, because it mixes up the roles of the two scribes.  It was in fact Scribe A who was copying from an exemplar having Mark's ending (as suggested by all other MSS everywhere, except B).  He was the one who noticed the problem (the inadequate space of the pre-allocated  pages), and therefore the 2nd Scribe D's subsequent waffling attempts at adjusting the pace were done with the problem already perceived.   This is evident because at this time the pages were already being replaced.  

The fact that Scribe D may have changed his mind, or received new (but ultimately unrealistic) orders on how to proceed while in the middle of the task, is hardly surprising, nor is the fact that the pages were not replaced yet again, given the cost of vellum.


The Pericope Adulterae: What's in a name?

In any debate, in order to start out with a level playing field, it's important to agree ahead of time on a definition of terms. This is because "He who defines the terms wins the debate." I suspect that this may have already happened before one particular discussion even got out of the starting gate, because of the name by which all scholars refer to that passage of Scripture located at John 7:53-8:11. In using the same term as its detractors, we have all but conceded the debate.

Actually, there two terms used, but that concedes nothing. "Pericope Adulterae" and "Pericope de Adultera" both mean essentially the same thing in Latin. "Pericope," from the Greek word meaning 'to cut out', in its ecclesiastical meaning refers to a portion of Scripture that is used separately in a public reading. It's synonymous with the Latin-derived word 'excerpt.' The rest of the phrase simply means 'of, or concerning, the adulteress.'

There are two huge problems with using this term in regards to John 7:53-8:11. First of all, the overwhelming tendency with this passage has not been to cut it out from its greater context in the Gospel of John, but to cut the rest of John out from it. It is being excised, not excerpted. And this has been the tendency of all who separate it from the rest of John for as far back as the history of the public reading of pericopes reaches. If this indeed be a pericope, it is like none other in the entire Bible.

Secondly, despite what its detractors may call this passage, it's not "the passage concerning the adulteress." That is to say, any "pericope of the adulteress," should we chose to identify one, runs from John 8:3 to the end of verse eleven; but they start theirs way back in the previous chapter. We could, for the sake of being reasonable, even stretch things out a bit to set the scene, and begin at the start of the chapter. But under no circumstances does it make any sense to begin a story that takes place in the temple courts with the sentence, "And then everybody went home."

In other words, the very structure of this so-called pericope belongs to something that was cut out of a passage, not because it had any coherent structure of its own, but because it contained whatever was necessary to leave the least trace of its excision behind in the broader context from which it was cut out. So what should we call this passage? I suggest, as a working title, The Johannine Excision.

But whoever excised this passage didn't do a very good job of sizing it; it still doesn't fit. As the mutilated context now stands, we go directly from the priests talking to Nicodemus, to Jesus "speaking to them again." But he's not speaking to the priests--he's addressing the people last mentioned in 7:43. So in order to have a coherent context left behind, the Johannine Excision should have really begun at 7:44--not nine verses later. This would have been the best way for the Exciser to cover his tracks--including verse 53 in the excision didn't quite cut it.

Of course, had he not included verse 53, we would have the problem of the pericope beginning with the word 'but.' Not in the King James version--which does not pericope this passage--but in those that do. And we know that pericopes don't start with 'but.' And verse two (although not in the English versions) has the same problem! Alas, so does verse three. So, having to cut somewhere, the Exciser went all the way back to the first verse that started otherwise, settling for beginning the whole story with the word 'and.'  Why he didn't just finish up his hatchet job by going clear back to the end of the previous story, instead of starting with the end of the present one, we don't know. Apparently he wasn't quite willing to cut out the only mention in the gospels of the priests' Bible Study recommendation for the day.

So, to recap, this is no Pericope--a passage cut out from its context in order to be read publicly. It's an Excision--a passage deliberately (and rather clumsily) removed from its context in order to avoid having to read it publicly. And despite the almost universally successful (at the time) efforts to erase it from Scripture, it yet remained, down through the ages. And it has remained, even in this day of tarnished translations and duplicitous definitions--despite all the still-clumsy efforts to set it aside from a context that still doesn't quite scan without it.

And if it's not a Pericope, we have no business referring to it as one--especially those of us who actually see it as something that was there to cut out to begin with.

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.


Sinaiticus & Mark's Ending (Pt 4): WIllker

Obviously in the previous post, Kirsopp Lake wasn't impressed with the identification of "Scribe D" of Sinaiticus as the scribe of Vaticanus.   But before accepting that judgment, based on the style of the main text of the two MSS, we should note one other piece of evidence, which if nothing else, seems to tie the two MSS together at the scriptorium again.

We mean the colophons of both MSS.  These are essentially a kind of 'decorative signature' placed at the end of books by the scribe, although it is not as identifiable or as unique as a modern signature or fingerprint.  The following few samples are borrowed from W. Willker's page on the colophons of Vaticanus, which we can contrast with a good photo of the ending of Mark (placed below):

colophon of 1st John

colophon of 1st Peter

colophon of 2nd Peter

Enhanced colophon of Deuteronomy (Willker)

Colophon of Colossans
All are apparently by the same scribe, the scribe of Vaticanus.  (Willker has colored in the colophon of Deuteronomy to make it easier to see.)

Note that the scribe doesn't stick to the exact same pattern, but varies his doodle artistically, sometimes with dots, other times with scrolls, longer/shorter etc.  However, all these examples have some unique features in common, such as the chosen swirl shapes and use of dots etc. which should be carefully compared with the colophon for Mark written by "scribe D" below:
Contrast Enhanced

Codex Sinaiticus: Mark Colophon

Most textual critics are convinced these may be by the same hand, or at least represent a practice by the same group of scribes in the same scriptorium.
This extra evidence indicates the question of the identification of the "scribe D" of Sinaiticus with that of the scribe of Vaticanus may not be entirely without foundation.


Sinaiticus & Mark's Ending (Pt 3): Kirsopp Lake

Shortly after Scrivener and Burgon discussed the problem of Scribe D in Sinaiticus, Kirsopp Lake published his facsimile and introduction (1911).  This contained a much more detailed description of the scribes and correctors, and Lake revealed more important evidence regarding the origin, history, and the scribes behind the manuscript.

Lake discusses in particular Scribe D as follows:
"Reserving, however, out of respect to the opinion of so distinguished a palaeographer, the possibility that Barnabas is by a different hand, it is tolerably clear that Scribe A originally wrote all the text of the NT except Hermas, which was the work of Scribe B, and that Scribe D wrote the text on the conjugate leaves, ff. of 10, 15, 29 & 30, 88, 91, and possibly on part of folio 126. Specimens of these three scripts, A B D are arranged side by side on Plate III.
There is possibly room for legitimate doubt whether Tischendorf was right in distinguishing Scribe A from Scribe B, but personally I entirely accept his judgement, for after the prolonged acquaintance with the style of Scribe A, necessitated by photographing each page, I felt while watching the script 'come up' on the negative in the developing tray, that the first page of Hermas was different from the others, as it seemed to 'come up' differently, though from the nature of the case I did not know until afterwards which this particular plate was.
The same thing was still more noticeable in the case of the Scribe D plates. It would be too much to claim that this purely personal experience ought to weigh strongly in the judgement of others, and I admit both that I am unable to analyse satisfactorily the difference between Scribe A and B, and that it is not so clear to my own perception now as it was when I was spending the greater part of each day in the company of the MS.

Scribe D

The discrimination of Scribe D from Scribes A/B is easier and admits of no reasonable doubt. There is a distinct difference in the script, though it is more easily perceived than described; possibly the letters are somewhat squarer in Scribe D than in A - the height being less in proportion to the breadth - and Scribe D is altogether prettier than A. But the decisive point is that Scribe D constantly fills out the end of a line with the sign >, which is rarely or never used by Scribes A/B. A specimen column of Scribe D is third on Plate III.
Scribe D = Vaticanus?
It was Scribe D whom Tischendorf identified with the scribe of the NT in Codex Vaticanus; (see the 4th column on Plate III), and it will probably be at once conceded by those who compare this with Scribe D that there is no real trace of justification for Tischendorf's theory. The wonder is that the fine eye, which saw the difference between A, B, D, - differences which anyone might be excused for overlooking - could ever think for a moment that the script of Scribe D was identical with Vaticanus.
'Cancel-Sheets' added in the Scriptorium
The conjugate leaves written by Scribe D are clearly 'cancel-leaves'; that is to say, they were written after the MS had been completed, in order to take the place of others, written originally by Scribe A, which were for some reason imperfect or spoiled. Such replacing of rejected leaves would naturally form part of the διορθωσις (correction) of the MS in the scriptorium, and that this was the case is rendered practically certain by the fact that Scribe D actually wrote the whole of Tobit & Judith in the OT, so that he was clearly a member of the scriptorium. The importance of this point is that it shows that any work done on the MS before the 'cancel-leaves' were added must also be regarded as work done in the scriptorium too, and it is convenient at this point to indicate the details of which this can be proved:

(1) The Eusebian Apparatus must have been added before the cancel-leaves in Matthew (folios 10/15), as these leaves, and these only, lack the Sections and Canons. Thus the scribe who added the Eusebian Apparatus belonged to the scriptorium.
(2) The Stixoi: Similar reasoning shows that the scribe who added the στιχοι in the Epistles belonged to the scriptorium, for, after the Epistle to Romans, these are only omitted in 1st Thess., the last page of which is one of the cancel-leaves (folio 88).
- Kirsopp Lake, Codex Sinaiticus Introd. (1911), p. xviii fwd

 Aside from establishing that Scribe D was one of the original scribes who created the codex, and that his work must have taken place in the original scriptorium (Caesarea) where they worked, Lake gives good evidence to show that Scribe D was likely a διορθωσης, or Overseeing Corrector of the manuscript.

Major Renovations to Manuscript:

Nonetheless, while minor corrections, even insertions of a few lines in the margins are expected, large-scale replacement of whole sets of pages was apparently as rare as it plainly is drastic.    This was not normally required, even when making an important manuscript for a powerful client, like a wealthy patron or emperor. 

What was going on, that required such extreme editing of what should have been a normal copying process?   The answer seems to be that while the main scribe, Scribe A was in fact doing what he was supposed to, namely faithfully copying his master-copy, this was not satisfactory to the Overseer, who then took over the job at key points, one of them being the Ending of Mark.  

Here it seems obvious, and all textual critics seem to be in agreement, that Scribe D removed several pages from Scribe A's original work, and began replacing that text actually a few pages prior to the actual ending of Mark.  

Why start so far back?   One of the reasons seems to be that Scribe A had already raced ahead so far (and had already begun copying Luke), that simply taking over and continuing at the expected place was not adequate.  

Scribe D seems to have decided that the only way to 'fix' the text was to re-copy several previous pages.  He did this in a way that is as unusual as it is transparent, to a trained eye.  He has spread out the last few pages, with more space, paragraphs and shortened lines, so that the text written spreads out to fill the pages, the number of which is basically fixed by the Quire layout (each Quire made up of 4 double-folios folded in two, giving 8 folios, or 16 pages per Quire). 

To remove a text by removing permanently whole pieces of vellum would seem to require deleting 4 pages at a time.  Alternatively, he could have trimmed out a single folio, to remove 2 pages of text.  Scribe D obviously felt that was not an option, because it would disrupt the standard way the book was to be bound, and the amount of text being adjusted was not large enough to justify folio removal or insertion of extra folios (the folio count seems to have remained the same). 

Instead Scribe D has apparently removed one folded double-folio at least, and replaced it, and re-written the text to spread the modified text to more or less fill the space without too much defacement of the style and layout.  If the text in dispute was in fact Mark 16:9-20, or part of it (we'll get to that possibility later), this would only involve a column and a half or so, and might explain why the text needed to be stretched somewhat to minimize the blank space at the end between Mark and Luke.

Mark 16:9-20 Apparently Can't Fit:

Some who have studied the strange changes in letter-counts for the replacement columns have suspected that the original text could not have contained the traditional ending of Mark.   But this may be beside the point.  

It was likely that the number of folios and quires needed were pre-calculated, and standard 'tricks' were used to keep copying on track, such as pre-designed layouts or charts, keywords for column and page heads etc.  If the person who calculated and alloted the quires for the work had assumed that Mark's ending was to be left off, then a problem could have arisen near the point where Mark's ending was approached. 

 If Scribe A was using a copy of Mark that had the full ending, he may have gotten to a certain point and suddenly noticed there would not be enough space. 
Scribe A would then have consulted his superior, the διορθωσις, likely Scribe D, who probably was responsible for calculating the number of Quires and folios needed. 

Scribe D now took over to rectify the situation, first removing a few pages of Scribe A's work, and then attempting on the fly to spread the text according to the original plan, possibly while still using the exemplar of Scribe A. 

The actual features of this part of the text of Sinaiticus will be discussed in more detail later.  What we can come away with for now is a general idea of what might have taken place to account for the replaced sheets, the need for re-writing the ending of Mark, and the basic reason for the switch between copyists.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sinaiticus & Mark's Ending (Pt 2): Burgon & Hort

When Tischendorf noted that Scribe D may have also been the scribe of Codex Vaticanus, this wasn't lost on Dean John Burgon.  Hort had previously argued for the independence of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, insisting that their agreement always went back to an even earlier archetype or common ancestor.  The omission of Mark's Ending (Mark 16:9-20) was supposed to be again independent testimony by א and B to an earlier text.
Burgon called Hort out on the supposed "unique criterion supplied by the concord of the independent attestations of א and B" (so Hort).   Burgon remarked:
"...'independent attestations'?! But when two copies of the Gospel are confessedly derived from one and the same original, how can their attestations be called independent?  This is however greatly to understate the case:
 The non-independence of א and B in respect of St. Mark 16:9-20 is absolutely unique; for, strange to relate, it so happens that the very leaf from which the end of St. Mark's Gospel and the beginning of St. Luke's is written (Mk 16:2 - Lk. 1:56), is one of the 6 leaves of א which are held to have been written by the scribe of codex B.  Scrivener remarks 'The inference is simple and direct, that at least in these leaves  א and B make but one witness, not two.' (cf. F.H.A. Scrivener, Intro. vol. 2 p 337-8)
 - Burgon, Traditional Text, (London, 1871,1892) p. 233

However, the identity of the second scribe, Scribe D, need not be confirmed as the scribe of Codex Vaticanus for the essential problem to remain.   Its not that the 'cancel-sheets' or replaced pages of Sinaiticus were written by the scribe of Codex B that really matters.  Its the fact that the pages were taken out and replaced at all.   This puts collusion of some kind back on the table.

The supposed independence of the two MSS remains badly eroded, if not destroyed, by the fact that these MSS rested at the same scriptorium in Caesarea at about the same time during their manufacture, that is, before they ever left the scriptorium where they were made.  At that time, pages were removed and replaced by someone (scribe D) so that  א now conforms to B,   in omitting Mark's Ending.

The two manuscripts do not necessarily witness to an ancient text per se, but rather the two MSS actually witness to a single policy in a common scriptorium in the 4th century.   This policy may indeed have been based on an old manuscript omitting the verses or missing a page, but in the 4th century it may also have been based on political problems or religious controversy caused by the teaching found in the verses (e.g. Mk. 16:18 etc.).

Next, we'll look at Kirsopp Lake's examination of the pages.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sinaiticus & Mark's Ending (Pt I): Scrivener

Since our mr.scrivener is a bit slow getting out of the starting gate, I'm going to plunge ahead here on Codex Sinaiticus and Mark's Ending (Mk. 16:9-20).

The first question is about the supposed "replacement-pages" at this very spot.  We get the first clue about them from F.H.A. Scrivener's popularization of Tischendorf's work, in his Collation of Sinaiticus (1867):
"In the deliberate judgment of Tischendorf, who has of course the best right to be heard on such a point, no less than four different hands were employed on the Codex Sinaiticus. He believes that:

The scribe A wrote the fragment of Chronicles, 1 Maccabees, the last 4 1/2 leaves of 4 Maccabees, Barnabas, and the whole NT excepting about six leaves.
To scribe В he ascribes the Prophetical Books and Hermas' Shepherd:
To scribe С the Poetical Books of the Old Testament, written in στιχοι or verses clause by clause, according to the sense, with two columns per page, just as in the great Codex Vaticanus, which in all other parts has three columns, but in the Poetical Books only two.
To scribe D he gives Tobit, Judith, the first 3 1/2 leaves of 4 Maccabees, and in the NT: 
leaf 10 (Matt. 16:9—18:12),
leaf 15 (Matt. 24:36—26:6),
leaf 28, 29 (Mark 14:64—Luke 1:56), [Quire 77 folio 4,5]
leaf 88 (1 Thess. 2:14—5:28),
leaf 91 (Heb.4:16—8:1),
and possibly the first 32 lines of Rev. (1:1-5 up to ιυ χυ fol. 126*), the last mainly upon grounds expressly assigned, which we shall speak of hereafter.
He further states that A and В much resemble each other, as also do С and D. On the other hand Tregelles, who by Tischendorf's permission examined the MS for three whole days in 1862, has observed no such diversity in the writing as would necessarily lead us to refer the several portions to different scribes;
Yet we know that Woide has suspected the same change of hands in the portion of the Codex Alexandrinus which he edited, and others too, with still greater show of probability, in the case of Codex Augiensis; though there is little doubt that each of these is the work of but one penman, whose hand would naturally vary a little with the quality of his materials, and as he became familiar with or weary of his task. 
Those who have not inspected the manuscript for themselves are scarcely entitled to express an opinion on a matter like this. We may venture, however, to say, that the published Facsimile plates (for the moveable type of the larger edition can hardly be relied upon in a question so delicate) show no such diversity as would have suggested to us Tischendorf's conclusions. 
Notice, however, the peculiar shape of omega, with its tall central stroke, represented in our Facsimile (7). This form occurs in none of Tischendorf's plates, by him assigned to С or D, or in those portions of the NT in moveable type which are imputed to D, but eight times in the two he ascribes to В (II. XVII.), six times in one of A's (V), only once in A's other nine, always towards the end of lines, mostly reduced in size, and except on Plate V. mixed up with the more familiar ω  
We must add too, that the few leaves of the NT ascribed by Tischendorf to D are much freer from itacisms, or instances of false spelling, than those on either side of them: the transition is quite remarkable from leaf 9 of A to leaf 10 (Matt. 16:9 - 18:12) of D, and then back again to leaf 11 of A, as the reader may see for himself by consulting our collation. 
These remarks, so far as they extend, would seem to suggest two scribes, A being identical with B, and possibly С = D ; the members of which pairs Tischendorf declares to be much alike; but whether the actual penmen be one, or two, or four, is of the less importance, as (in the N. T. certainly, and most probably in the Old) the whole work was clearly executed at the same time, and transcribed from the same older copy. " (- F.H.A. Scrivener, Sinaiticus )
 From the above, it seems plausible that scribe D at least is a different hand than scribe A, and that scribe D is a much better speller, something that should be detectable in the subsequent examination of other pages, to shortly follow.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Critical Abbreviations in the Apparatus of NA27 etc.

Here are some handy 'cheat cards' you can cut out and use as bookmarks, for your used copies of Nestle/Aland, courtesy of Mr. Decker:

(Click to Enlarge)

Click to Enlarge

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Diactritical Symbols for Hebrew texts

The following is taken from "Scribal Practices" by Emanuel Tov.  They are useful in reading printed critical editions of the Dead Sea Scrolls texts:

Click to Enlarge

Friday, January 21, 2011

Noma Sacra (Abbreviations) used in Uncials

The following samples are taken from Tischendorf's Prolegomena (8th ed.) Ed. Gregory/Abbot, (1869)  p. 341-2:

Click on this to enlarge

Click on this to enlarge in browser

Dr. Hurtado's ordered list
Dr. Hurtado has offered up on the net the above list, more organized and succinct, but with less of the rarer cases shown.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

More on Codex X

Here are the relevant pages of "Codex X" containing two portions of John's Gospel, along with commentary.

Codex X is a commentary manuscript, which also includes the text of the four Gospels interspersed or rather in sections alternately  between sections of the commentary.

The first two pages include the portion of John from about 7:39-52, embedded in the commentary text (which is written in minuscule characters, a form of connected handwriting).  The Gospel text is written in a different style, namely a kind of "pseudo-Uncial" style, although many letters are written the same in both areas of the document.

click to enlarge: backbutton to return

click to enlarge

Pages containing John 7:39-52:

Page 49: Click to EnlargePage 50: Click to Enlarge

Pages containing John 8:12-18:

Page 51: Click to Enlarge Page 52: Click to Enlarge

The commentary text seems to have been taken from one written originally by Chrysostom (5th cent), but extensively modified, probably relatively recently (e.g. 8th or 9th century).

The Gospel text seems to have been taken from a "continuous-text" manuscript of the Gospels, likely containing all four, but not particularly old.

The 10th or 11th century copyist that made this document probably chose a copy of the Gospels approved or in use at that time, namely a 9th century contemporary text.  This was done to combine text and commentary into one single document.

In order to do this, the scribe 'cleverly' used a different style of alphabet (a 'mini-uncial'-like font) to distinguish it from the commentary easily.   There was no attempt at deception here, it was just a stylism.

The layout (Gospel sections randomly located between commentary, falling where they may), and the line-scoring show that both texts were written at the same time by the same hand, as does the similarity in letters and size between the two types of text.

One can see from the photos that Codex X is not an ancient Uncial (4th-6th century copy written in Capital-letters), but just a Minuscule Manuscript from the 10th century, some 6 centuries after the original dispute concerning the inclusion of the Pericope de Adultera (John 7:53-8:11).

There have been two basic myths about this manuscript perpetuated in textual critical literature:
(1)  That the manuscript is an ancient Uncial, when in fact it is nothing more than a late Minuscule manuscript.

(2)  That the manuscript itself is a "continuous-text" copy of the Gospels, when it is really a commentary that has copied in sections a continuous-text manuscript which is actually now lost.
Both of these myths are just falsehoods, as a simple inspection of the photos clearly shows.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Gary S. Dykes on Script Mensuration

Here's a sample from Gary Dykes' 2006 work on Script Mensuration (Measurement).
Mr. Dykes notes in his paper that precision measurement of scripts and styles of copyists and scribes is not in a very advanced state.  He makes careful investigations and offers conclusions and recommendations for how to put the science of handwriting measurement on a sure footing, regarding Greek MSS.

Its a virtual tour-de-force, and an excellent introduction to the problems researchers face in trying to measure and identify scribes and copyists who may or may not have authored more than one extant MS.

Mr. Dykes offers two useful files with discussions and examples in .pdf format at his site.  Although these go back to 2006, they are still great reads:

Both are essential reading for those trying to sort out copyists and date manuscripts, and many of his ideas have an applicability which extends far beyond his own area of interest, minuscules (mr.scrivener, take note of spelling).

It appears novel that Mr. Dykes uses angles between key lines in a ligature structure, or ratios/areas in a square block of space, as these appear for his purposes to be independent of other types of measurement which turn out to be problematic, such as line width, and pen-angle.

Perhaps others can offer further leads and advances in this fascinating, but rather new area of investigation.