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Fausset's Bible Dictionary
(See hee kainee diatheekee . See Hebrews 9:15-17; Hebrews 8:6-13. The Greek term diateeeekee combines the two ideas "covenant" and "testament," which the KJV gives separately, though the Greek is the same for both. "Covenant" expresses its obligatory character, God having bound Himself by promise (Galatians 3:15-18; Hebrews 6:17-18). "Testament" expresses that, unlike other covenants, it is not a matter of bargaining, but all of God's grace, just as a testator has absolute power to do what he will with his own. Jesus' death brings the will of God in our favor into force. The night before His death He said "I appoint unto you by testamentary disposition (diatitheemi ) a kingdom" (Luke 22:29). There was really only one Testament - latent in the Old Testament, patent in the New Testament. The disciples were witnesses of the New Testament, and the Lord's Supper was its seal. The Old and New Testament Scriptures are the written documents containing the terms of the will.; CANON; INSPIRATION.)
TEXT. The "Received Text" (i.e. the "Τextus Receptus " or TR) is that of Robert Stephens' edition. Bentley (Letter to Wake in 1716 A.D.) said truly, "after the Complutenses and Erasmus, who had very ordinary manuscripts, the New Testament became the property of booksellers. R. Stephens' edition, regulated by himself alone, has now become as if an apostle were its compositor. I find that by taking 2,000 errors out of the Pope's Vulgate (i.e. correcting by older Latin manuscripts the edition of Jerome's Vulgate put forth by Sixtus V, A.D. 1590, with anathemas against any who should alter it 'in minima particula,' and afterwards altered by Clement VIII (1592) in 2,000 places in spite of Sixtus' anathema) and as many out of the Protestant pope Stephens' edition, I can set out an edition of each (Latin, Vulgate, and Greek text) in columns, without using any book under 900 years old, that shall so exactly agree word for word, and order for order, that no two tallies can agree better. ... These will prove each other to a demonstration, for I alter not a word of my own head."
The first printed edition of the Greek Testament was that in the Complutensian Polyglot, January, 10, 1514 A.D. Scripture was known in western Europe for many ages previously only through the Latin Vulgate of Jerome. F. Ximenes de Cisneros, of Toledo, undertook the work, to celebrate the birth of Charles V. Complutum (Alcala) gave the name. Lopez de Stunica was chief of its New Testament editors. The whole Polyglot was completed the same year that Luther affixed his 95 theses against indulgences to the door of the church at Wittenberg. Leo X lent the manuscripts used for it from the Vatican. It follows modern Greek manuscripts in all cases where these differ from the ancient manuscripts and from the oldest Greek fathers. The Old Testament Vulgate (the translation which is authorized by Rome) is in the central column, between the Greek Septuagint and the Hebrew (the original); and the editors compare the first to Christ crucified between the impenitent (the Hebrew) and the penitent (the Greek) thief!
Though there is no Greek authority for 1 John 5:7, they supplied it and told Erasmus that the Latin Vulgate's authority outweighs the original Greek! They did not know that the oldest copies of Jerome's Vulgate omit it; the manuscript of Wizanburg of the eighth century being the oldest that contains it. Owing to the Complutensian Greek New Testament not being published, though printed, until the Polyglot was complete, Erasmus' Greek New Testament was the first published, namely, by Froben a printer of Basle, March 1516, six years before the Complutensian. The providence of God at the dawn of the Reformation thus furnished earnest students with Holy Scripture in the original language sanctioned by the Holy Spirit. Erasmus completed his edition in haste, and did not have the scruples to supply, by translating into Greek front the Vulgate, both actual hiatuses in his Greek manuscripts and what he supposed to be so, especially in the Apocalypse, for which he had only one mutilated manuscript.
To the outcry against hint for omitting the testimony of the three heavenly witnesses he replied, it is not omission but non-addition; even some Latin copies do not have it, and Cyril of Alexandria showed in his Thesaurus he did not know it; on the Codex Montfortianus (originally in possession of a Franciscan, Froy, who possibly wrote it, now in Trinity College, Dublin) being produced with it, Erasmus INSERTED it. So clumsily did the translator of the Vulgate Latin into Greek execute this manuscript that he neglects to put the necessary Greek article before "Father," "Word," and" Spirit." Erasmus' fifth edition is the basis of our "Received Text." In 1546 and 1549 R. Stephens printed two small editions at Paris, and in 1550 a folio edition, following Erasmus' fifth edition almost exclusively, and adding in the margin readings from the Complutensian edition and from 15 manuscripts collected by his son Henry, the first large collection of readings. The fourth edition at Geneva, 1551, was the first divided into modern verses. Beza next edited the Greek New Testament, generally following Stephens' text, with a few changes on manuscript authority.
He possessed the two famous manuscripts, namely, the Gospels and Acts, now by his gift in the university of Cambridge; "Codex Bezae" or "Cantabrigiensis," D; and the epistles of Paul, "Codex Clermontanus" (brought from Clermont), now in the Bibliotheque du Roi at Paris; both are in Greek and Latin. The Elzevirs, printers at Leyden, published two editions, the first in 1624, the second in 1633, on the basis of R. Stephens' third edition, with corrections from Beza's. The unknown editor, without stating his critical principles, gravely declares in the preface: "texture habes ab omnibus receptum, in quo nihil immutatum aut corruptum damus "; stranger still, the public for two centuries has accepted this so-called "Received Text" as if infallible. When textual criticism was scarcely understood, theological convenience accepted it as a compromise between the Roman Catholic Complutensian edition and the Protestant edition of Stephens and Beza. Mill (1707) has established Stephens' as the Received Text in England; on the continent the Elzevir is generally recognized.
Thus, an uncritical Greek text of publishers has been for ages submitted to by Protestants, though abjuring blind assent to tradition, and laughing at the claim to infallibility of the two popes who declared each of two diverse editions of the Vulgate to be exclusively authentic. (The council of Trent, 1545, had pronounced the Latin Vulgate to be the authentic word of God). Frequent handling and transmission soon destroyed the originals. If the autographs of the inspired writers had been preserved, textual criticism would not have been necessary. But the oldest MSS, existing, Codex Sinaiticus ('aleph) Codex Vaticanus (B), Codex Alexandrinus (A), are not older than the fourth century. Parchment was costly (2 Timothy 4:13). Papyrus paper which the sacred writers used (2 John 1:12; 3 John 1:13) was fragile. No superstitious or antiquarian interest was felt in the autographs which copies superseded. The Diocletian persecution (A.D. 303) attacked the Scriptures, and traditores (Augustine, 76, section 2) gave them up.
Constantine ordered 50 manuscripts to be written on fair skins for the use of the church. God has not seen fit (by a perpetual miracle) to preserve the text from transcriptional errors. Having by extraordinary revelation once bestowed the gift, He leaves its preservation to ordinary laws, yet by His secret providence furnishes the church, its guardian and witness, with the means to ensure its accuracy in all essentials (Romans 3:2). Criticism does not make variations, but finds them, and turns them into means of ascertaining approximately the original text. More materials exist for restoring the genuine text of New Testament than for that of any ancient work. Whitby attacked Mill for presenting in his edition 30,000 various readings found in manuscripts. Collins, the infidel, availed himself of Whitby's unsound argument that textual variations render Scripture uncertain. Bentley (Phileleutherus Lipsiensis), reviewing Collins' work, shows if ONLY ONE manuscript had come down there would have been no variations, and therefore no means of restoring the true text; but by God's providence MANY manuscripts have come down - some from Egypt, others from Asia, others from the western churches.
The numbers of copies and the distances of places prove that there could be no collusion nor interpolation of all the copies by ANY ONE of them. Moreover, by the mutual help of the various copies, all the faults may be mended - one copy preserving the true reading in one place, another in another. The ancient versions too, the ante-Jerome Latin, Jerome's Vulgate, the Syriac (second century), the Coptic, and the Thebaic or Sahidic (third century), as well as the citations in Greek and Latin fathers, additionally help toward ascertaining the true text. The variety of readings, so far from making precarious, makes the text ALMOST CERTAIN. The worst manuscript extant contains all the essentials of Christianity. Bentley collated the Alexandrinus manuscript, and was deeply interested to find that Wetstein's collation of the Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus of Paris (C) confirmed the Alexandrinus readings. Comparative criticism begins with Bentley.
He found the oldest manuscripts of Jerome's Vulgate differ widely from the Clementine, and agree both in the words and in their order (which Jerome preserved in his translated "because even the order of the words is a mystery": Ep. ad Pamm.) with the oldest Greek manuscripts The citations of the New Testament by fathers are then especially valuable as evidences, when a father cites words expressly, or a special word which agrees with ancient manuscripts and versions, for such could hardly come from transcribers. Bentley obtained a collation of the Codex Vaticanus from Mico, an Italian, which his nephew T. Bentley verified in part. Woide transcribed it, and H. Ford edited it in 1799. The Latin version before Jerome's having become variously altered in different copies caused the need for his translation from the original Greek of manuscripts current at Rome (and in a few passages probably from Origen's Greek manuscripts in the Caesarean library), at Damasus' suggestion. He acknowledges he did not emend all that he could have.
And in his commentaries, he appeals to manuscripts against what he had adopted at Rome. Origen's readings show a text agreeing with manuscripts A, B, C (usually considered Alexandrian) rather than with the Western and Latin authorities. The Alexandrian and the western authorities coming from different quarters are independent witnesses. Bengel (1734) laid down the principle, "the hard is preferable to the easy reading," the copyist would more probably originate an easy than a hard reading. He observed differences in classes of manuscripts and versions. The Alexandrian manuscripts, few but far weightier, represent the more ancient ones; the far more numerous Byzantine manuscripts the more recent, family or class. The Byzantine or Constantinopolitan mutually concur, because copied from one another; the Alexandrian have some mutual discrepancies which render their concurrence in many more passages against the received text the weightier, because they prove the absence of collusion and mutual copying.
The Greek fathers prior to Jerome's Vulgate in quoting the Greek Testament agree with the readings in the oldest manuscripts, as does the Vulgate. Griesbach (1774) affirmed the sound rule, "no reading, however good it seems, ought to be preferred to another unless it has at least some ANCIENT testimonies." Also, coeteris paribus, "the shorter is preferable to the longer reading," for copyists tend to add rather than omit; notes in the margin, such as the parallel words of the same incident in different Gospels, creep into the text, and texts, like snowballs, grow in transmission.
Lachmann first cast aside the received text as an authority entirely, and reconstructed the text as transmitted by our most ancient authorities, namely, the oldest Greek manuscripts: A, B, C, D, Delta (Claromontanus), E, G, H, P, Q, T, Z; citations in Origen; the ante-Jerome Latin in the oldest manuscripts: a, b, c, d, e, Laudianus, Actuum, f Claromontanus Paul. Epp., f f Sangermanensis Paul. Epp., g Bornerianus Paul. Epp., h Primasius in the Apocalypse; Jerome's Vulgate in the oldest manuscripts: Fuldensis, and its corrections by Victor of Capua, and Amiatinus or Laurentianus; readings in Irenaeus, Cyprian, Hilary of Poictiers, and Lucifer of Cagliari. Wiseman suggested that the "Old Latin" (ante-Jerome) version was made in Africa, of which "the Italian version" (Augustine de Doctr. Christ., 2:15) was a particular recension current in upper Italy. To Lachmann's authorities other ancient versions besides the Latin ones need to be added; also the oldest manuscripts need accurate collation. Cardinal Mai's edition of the Vaticanus manuscript is not altogether reliable.
Tischendorf has added to our Greek manuscripts Codex Sinaiticus ('aleph), which he found on Mount Sinai in 1844 and rescued from papers intended to light the stove in the convent of Catherine. Only in 1859 did he obtain the whole - the Septuagint, the whole New Testament, the whole Epistle ascribed to Barnabas, and a large part of the Shepherd of Hermas (on vellum). It was first deposited in St. Petersburg, having been presented to Alexander II of Russia, who had 300 copies, in four folio volumes, printed at his own expense in 1862. In 1863 the popular edition was published, containing the New Testament, Barnabas, and Hermas; Scrivener has published a cheap collation of it. Lachmann is wrong in slavishly adhering to the principal authorities when agreeing in an unquestionable error; still "the first Greek Testament printed wholly on ancient authority, irrespective of modern traditions, is due to C. Lachmann" (Tregelles, "Printed Text of Greek Testament," an admirable work). Tischendorf followed, adding however many manuscripts and versions of later date to the older authorities (including the two old Egyptian and the two Syriac versions).
Rightly, in parallel passages (e.g. the synoptical Gospels) he prefers those testimonies in which accordance is not found, unless there be good reason to the contrary, for copyists tried to bring parallel passages into accordance. Also in discrepant readings he prefers that one which may have been the common starting point to the rest. Also those which accord with New Testament Greek and with the writer's particular style. It retains the Alexandrian forms of Greek words, though seeming barbarous, for this style of Greek was common in the New Testament era to Palestine, Egypt, and Libya, and appears in the Septuagint. As leempsetai for leepsetai; vowels changed, katherizo for katharizo; augment doubled, or omitted; Rho ( ρ ) not doubled, as erantisen; unusual forms, epesa , anathema for anatheema , etc. While maintaining the paramount weight of ancient authorities, he admits more modern ones in case of conflicting evidence.
Alexandria was in the early ages the center for publishing Greek manuscripts; hence, our oldest manuscripts were copied there, though the originals were written elsewhere. The oldest manuscripts are written in uncial (capital) letters; the modern ones in cursive or small letters. Besides the versions above mentioned the Gothic of Ulphilas (fourth century), the Aethiopic, and the Armenian are important. These all were translated surely from the Greek itself; we are not sure of the rest.
THE ORDER OF THE NEW TESTAMENT BOOKS. The fragment of Muratori's (See , Melito, Irenaeus, and Origen, arrange the Gospels as we have them. Acts follow. Then Paul's epistles in Eusebius, in the Latin church, and in Jerome's Vulgate (oldest manuscripts) But the uncial manuscripts A, B, C, also Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, and the council of Laodicea (A. D. 364) place the general or universal epistles before Paul's. A, B, C also place epistle to Hebrew after 2 Thessalonians. Codex Sinaiticus ('aleph) puts Hebrew after 2 Thessalonians, Acts after Philemon, the universal (general) epistles after Paul's letters and the Book of Acts.
OLDEST MANUSCRIPTS. 'aleph, B, fourth century; A, C, Q, T, fragments, fifth century; D, P, R, Z, E2, D2, H3, sixth century; theta, seventh century; E, L, lambda, xi, B2, eighth century; F, K, M, X, T, delta, H2, G or L2, F2, G2, K2, M2, ninth century; G, H, S, V (E3), tenth century. In the Gospels 'aleph, A, B, C, D, and the fragments Z, J, N, gamma, P, Q, T, are of primary authority; the uncial manuscripts are of secondary authority, and mostly agreeing with these, are L, X, delta; there are cursive manuscripts - 1, 33, 69 - which support the old manuscripts. In Acts, the oldest manuscripts are 'aleph, A, B, C, D, E; G, H, and the F(a) fragment have a text varying from the oldest manuscripts; the cursives 13 and 31 agree with the oldest manuscripts. In the universal epistles 'aleph, A, B, C, G; the uncial J differs from these oldest manuscripts. In the Pauline epistles 'aleph, A, B, C, D (and E Sangermanensis, its copy), and H; the cursives 17 and 37 agree with the oldest manuscripts. In Revelation 'aleph, A, C; B Basilianus (not Codex Vaticanus), a valuable but later uncial; cursives 14 and 38 agree often with the oldest manuscripts.
PRIMARY AUTHORITIES. Codex Sinaiticus ('aleph), see above. The Codex Alexandrinus (A) given by Cyril Lucar, patriarch of Constantinople, to Charles I, 1628; now in the British Museum; it contains the Old Testament, the Septuagint, and begins the New Testament with Matthew 25:6, and lacks John 6:50 - 8:52; the New Testament part was published in facsimile by Woide in 1786. Codex Vaticanus (B) contains the Old Testament and the New Testament (down to Hebrews 9:14; the remainder, to end of Revelation, was added in the 15th century. Also, the original does not have epistles to Timothy, Titus, Philemon. There are four collations: by Bartolocci, 1669, in manuscript, in Bibliotheque du Roi, Paris; that by Mico for Bentley, 1720, published 1799; that by Birch, except Luke and John, 1798; that by Mai, published 1858 4to, 1859 8vo; was still not accurate. It was originally written in the middle of the fourth century in Egypt; its text agrees with Alexandrian authorities. Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, or palimpsest (C); the Syrian Ephraem wrote 38 tracts on the parchment, after sponging out the old writing, to save writing materials.
It was scarce even then. Peter Allix, a French pastor, 17th century, detected the Old and New Testament uncials underneath. C. Hase, 1834, restored the writing by chemicals. Wetstein collated it. Written in Egypt early in fifth century, corrected in sixth, and again in ninth century, to agree with Constantinopolitan text. Brought to Florence at the fall of the Greek empire; thence Catherine de Medici brought it to the Bibliotheque du Roi, Paris. It lacks 2 Thessalonians, 2 John 1, and several passages. Tischendorf edited it 1843. Bezae Cantabrigiensis (D), Beza having presented it 1581. It was brought from Greece to the monastery of Irenaeus at Lyons; at the sack of Lyons Beza found it in 1562. It comes from the sixth century. Kipling edited it 1793. It contains the Gospels and Acts with a Latin version. Mutilated and interpolated; the interpolations are easily distinguished from the original. Its text is mostly like the ancient Latin versions. It has peculiarities that were probably not in the sacred originals.
Nevertheless, it still supports Codex Vaticanus (B) in readings which have been proved to be independently ancient. Codex Dublin (Z) rescriptus fragment of Matthew. Barrett had it correctly engraven, facsimile, 1787. In 1801 he, when eyesight was failing, gave the text in ordinary Greek letters on each opposite page, full of errors which the accompanying uncials confuted. Tregelles by chemicals discovered additional portions and restored the whole. It comes from the sixth century. Codex Cottonianus (J), in the British Museum. Fragments of Matthew and John. Published by Knittel in 1762. Codex Caesareus Vindobonensis (N), a fragment of the same manuscript: Luke 24. Vaticanus (gamma), fragment of the same manuscript: part of Matthew. Codex Guelpherbytani (P, Q), two fragmentary rescriptae, sixth century: P, the Gospels; Q, Luke and John: in the ducal library at Wolfenbuttel. Codex Borgianus, a fragment of John with a Coptic version, fifth century; published by Giorgi at Rome, 1789.
SECONDARY AUTHORITIES. L., Bib. Reg. Paris., of the Gospels; text related to B; Tischendorf edited it. Monacensis (X), fragment of the four Gospels. San Gallensis (delta), in the library of Gall, Greek and Latin four Gospels. Delta and G, Boernerianus, of Paul's epistles, are severed parts of the same book. Manuscripts of Acts, besides 'aleph, A, B, C, D. E, Laudianus, Greek and Latin; Laud gave it to Bodleian Library, Oxford; brought from Sardinia; Hearne edited it 1715; sixth century (Tischendorf). F(a), fragm. in Scholia of Old Testament manuscript in Bened. Library, Germain; seventh century. G, Bibl. Angelicae at Rome; ninth century. So H, Mutinensis. Manuscripts of the universal epistles, besides 'aleph, A, B, C, G. Mosquensis (J) contains of them all. In Paul's epistles it is marked K. It differs from the ancient authorities, and sides with the Constantinopolitan. Manuscripts of Paul's epistles besides 'aleph, A, B, C, D (delta in Lachmann), Claromontanus, Greek and Latin, in Royal Library, Paris; came from Clermont, Beza had owned it; all Paul's epistles except a few verses; Tischendorf published it, 1852; sixth century.
H, Coislinianus, at Paris; fragment of Paul's epistles; brought from Mount Athos; Montfaucon edited it in 1715; though Constantinopolitan in origin it agrees with the ancient authorities, not the Byzantine and received text; sixth or seventh century, but its authority is that of the best text of Caesarea in the beginning of the fourth century; the transcriber's note is, "this copy was collated with a copy in Caesarea belonging to the library of S. Pamphilus and written with his own hand." F, G, agree with the oldest manuscripts F, Angiensis, Greek and Latin, bequeathed by T. Bentley to Trin. Coll., Cambridge, agrees in most readings with Boernerianus G. Epistle to Hebrew is wanting in both. The Latin in F is the Vulgate, in G the old Italian or ante-Jerome Latin. C.F. Matthaei published it in 1791. Both come from the ninth century. Manuscripts of Revelation besides 'aleph, A, C. B, Basilianus, in the Vatican, eighth century; Tischendorf edited it.
MANUSCRIPTS IN CURSIVE LETTERS. From the 10th to 16th century. 600 of the Gospels, 200 of Acts and universal epistles, 300 of Paul's epistles, 100 of Revelation; besides 200 evangelistaria, and 70 lectionaria or portions divided for reading as lessons in church. Scrivener makes the total - 127 uncials, 1461 cursives.
(1) The ante-Jerome Latin. Translated from oldest Greek manuscripts, a text related to D, and of a different family from the Alexandrian manuscripts. It adheres to the original Greek tenses, cases, etc., in violation of Latin grammar. A Jew probably was the translator (Ernesti, Inst. 2:4, section 17). The copies, though varying, have a mutual resemblance, indicating there was originally one received Latin version. From their agreement with the citations of African fathers, Tertullian and Cyprian, Wiseman infers the archetypal text originated in northern Africa, from whence it passed to Italy (second century) when Irenaeus' translator knew it. Variations arose in different copies; alluding to these Augustine said, "the Italian (i.e. a particular revision of the old Latin version current in upper Italy) is to be preferred to the rest." He distinguishes between "emended copies," (i.e. brought from Africa to Italy, and there emended from Greek manuscripts also improved in Latinity), and "nonemended copies," i.e. retaining the text of their African birthplace unaltered.
The purest text is in Codex Vercellensis and Codex Veronensis, a and b, transcribed by Eusebius the martyr, fourth century, published by Blanchini, Evang. Quadr., at Rome, 1749. Colbertinus Evang., c, 11th century, but agreeing with oldest text; Sabatier published at Paris, 1751. Cantabrigiensis of the Gospels, Acts, and 3 John, d; accompanies D, but is not translated from it. Palatinus of the Gospels, e; in Libr. Vienn.; fourth or fifth century; Tischendorf edited it, Lips., 1847. Laudianus, of Acts; in E, e. Claromontanus, the Latin version in D of Paul's epistles, Sangermanensis, the Latin in E of Paul's epistles. Boernerianus in G, of Paul's epistles. Also Corbeiensis (ff in Tisch.) of universal Epistles; Martianay edited it at Paris, 1695; very ancient.
(2) The same version revised in upper Italy appears with a Byzantine tendency in Codex Brixianus, f.
(3) The Old Latin appears more accordant with the Alexandrian old Greek manuscripts in Bobbiensis, k, containing a fragment of the New Testament. Tischendorf edited it at Vienna in 1847.
THE VULGATE OF JEROME (i.e. the version which supplanted all former versions in the then common tongue, Latin, and came into common use), made A.D. 383; see above. The copies of the old Latin had fallen into mutual discrepancies. Jerome, collating the Latin with Greek manuscripts considered by him, the greatest scholar of the Latin church, ancient at the end of the fourth century, says he "only corrected those Latin passages which altered the sense, and let the rest remain." He rejects certain interpolated Greek manuscripts, "a Luciano et Ηesychio nuncupatos ", on the ground that the versions made in various languages before the additions falsify them, suggesting the use of the oldest versions, namely, to detect interpolations unknown in the Greek text of their day. The texts of Sixtus V (1590) and Clement VIII (1592), authorized with anathemas, differ widely from Jerome's true text as restored by the Amiatinus manuscript or Laurentianus, which was transcribed by Servandus, abbot of Monast. Amiata, 541; now in Laurentian Lib., Florence. Tischendorf published it 1850. Fuldensis manuscript of whole New Testament, the four Gospels harmonized, with preface by Victor of Capua.
(1) The Coptic or Memphitic, of Lower Egypt, third century; D. Wilkins edited it, Oxford, 1716.
(2) Sahidic or Thebaic, of Upper Egypt; Woide, or rather his successor H. Ford, edited it in the New Testament from Codex Alexandrinus, 1799.
(3) Basmuric, a third Egyptian dialect.
ETHIOPIC. Said to be by Frumentius, who introduced Christianity into Ethiopia in fourth century; Pell Platt edited it; previously Bode gave a Latin version of it in 1753.
(1) Cureton published the Syriac manuscripts brought by Dr. Tattam from the Natrian monastery, Lower Egypt, now in the British Museum. These differ widely from the common (as in Rich's manuscript 7157 in British Museum, much altered by transcribers) Peshito, i.e. pure Syriac, version, called so from its chose adherence to the original Greek; second century.
(2) The Harclean, a later Syriac version by Polycarp, suffragan to Philoxenus, bishop of Hierapolis, 508; White published it as "the Philoxenian." The Armenian, by Mesrobus, early in the fifth century, made from Greek manuscripts; brought from Alexandria and from Ephesus. Zohrab edited it at Venice, 1805. The Gothic, by Ulphilas, from the Greek; fourth century. Gabelentz and Loebe edited it, 1836. Versions later than sixth century are valueless as witnesses to the ancient text. Citations in Greek and Latin fathers down to Eusebius inclusive; important in fixing the text of the fourth and previous centuries, only in cases where they must be quoting from manuscripts and not from memory. Origen quotes almost two thirds of New Testament except James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Revelation. Adamantius' ("Origen") copies appealed to by Jerome (on Matthew 24:36; Galatians 3:1) were written probably by Origen; Pamphilus' copy was from Origen's text. Textual variations and ancient manuscripts of Origen who died in 254 A.D., and of Tertullian in 220 A.D., testify that the text varied in different copies and versions even then.
The earliest Christians, being filled themselves with the Spirit, and having enjoyed intercourse with the apostles, were less tenacious of the letter of Scripture than the church had found it necessary to be ever since. The internal evidence of the authority of the New Testament, and its public reading in church, and its universal acceptance by Christians and heretics alike as the standard for deciding controversies, indicate the reverence felt for it from the first. But the citations of the Gospels in Justin Martyr, and previously in the apostolic fathers, show that besides the written word the oral word was still in men's memories; also frequent transcription, the Harmonies (Ammonius in third century made a Diatessaron, weaving the four Gospels into one) trying to bring all four into literal identity by supplying omissions in one from another, marginal notes creeping into the text; variation gradually arising in distant regions, "the indolence of some transcribers, and corrections by others by way of addition, or taking away as they judged fit" (Origen in Matthew 8), all caused copies to differ in different places.
Providentially early versions of diverse regions afford means of detecting variations. Citations in fathers often support the versions' readings against the interpolated texts, so that if even there were no Greek manuscripts to support the versions' readings the evidence would still be on the side of these. But we have manuscripts habitually supporting the readings which are independently proved the original ones by the testimony of both versions and patristic citations. Therefore the manuscripts above, though few, are proved to be the safest guides to the ancient text. The accordance of versions from various regions in the disputed passages proves their trustworthiness at least in these. Further, the older the copies of the version (as the Amiatinus of Vulgate and the Curetonian of the Syriac), the greater their agreement with our ancient manuscripts. So in patristic citations, it is just in those passages where the copyists could not have altered the readings to the modern ones without altering the whole context that the testimony of fathers agrees with the text of the few ancient Greek manuscripts in opposition to the numerous modern ones. Thus a trustworthy text is secured by a threefold cord, a testimony internal and external:
(1) oldest manuscripts,
(2) oldest versions supporting the manuscripts readings independently,
(3) earliest patristic citations agreeing with both.
The true classification of manuscripts (Tregelles) is into ancient and modern, or rather those presenting what is independently proved to be the ancient text (including a few modern manuscripts, as the cursive 1 in the Gospels and 33 throughout) and those presenting the modern text with which the modern versions accord. "Recension" ought to be restricted to those attempts to correct the ancient text out of which modern readings arose. Rude Hellenistic gave place to the politer Greek of Constantinople in the numerous copies made there, and this tendency continued to act on the Byzantine manuscripts down to its fall. Mohamedanism checked the multiplication of copies in Africa and Syria, Greek ceased to be current in the west. Thus, the Alexandrian and the western text manuscripts remained as they were, while the Byzantine were becoming more and more molded into a uniform modern text. Eusebian canons. Eusebius of Caesarea composed ten canons which afford us means of detecting later additions.
I. A table in parallel columns of portions common to the four evangelists.
II. Those common to Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
III. Those common to Matthew, Luke, and John.
IV. Matthew, Mark and John.
V. Matthew and Luke.
VI. Matthew and Mark.
VII. Matthew and John.
VIII. Luke and Mark.
IX. Luke and John.
X. Those peculiar to each of the four.
Each Gospel was divided, by numbers in the margin, into the portions of which it consisted; Matthew has 355, Mark 233. With these numbers was also that of the canon to which each belonged. Thus, in Mark's "resurrection" (Mark 16:2-5) the number was 231, and I. the canon mark, showing the paragraph is in all four evangelists. In canon I. the three parallel paragraphs would be marked by their respective numbers: Matthew 28:1-4 by 352; Luke 24:1-4 by 336; John 20:11-12 by 211. They appear in Jerome's Vulgate. Criticism, punctuation, orthography. Where oldest manuscripts, versions, and citations concur, the reading is certain; conjecture must not say what the text ought to be, but accept it as it is: still palpable errors must be rejected.
Where the trustworthy witnesses differ, our knowledge of the origin of various readings, and of the kind of errors to which copyists were liable, must be used. Griesbach's rule holds good, "the shorter is preferable to the longer," and Bengel's, "the harder is preferable to the easier reading." But where the shorter is due to the recurrence of the same word or syllable at the end or beginning of two clauses, the copyist's eye passing over, the fuller is the original reading. Liturgical use occasioned the insertion of the doxology in the Lord's prayer, Matthew 6:13; and probably Acts 8:37. Tregelles' Greek Testament is superior to Lachmann's Greek Testament in appealing to more witnesses, and to Tischendorf's in more leaning on ancient authorities. Iota, now subscribed, was at first postscribed, but was omitted before the date of our oldest manuscripts except its postscription rarely in the Sinaiticus manuscript.
Stops were not in the originals, but were inserted by transcribers. In many old manuscripts pauses are marked by a dot, or blank between two words. Stichometry subsequently served the same end, i.e. divisions into lines (stichoi ) written like blank verse, marking both pauses of sentences and divisions of the words; the letters running together in Greek manuscripts. The comma was invented in the eighth century, the semicolon in the ninth. In A.D. 496 Paul's epistles were divided into chapters with titles, perhaps by Theodore of Mopsuestia. Euthalius divided them and Acts into lections or lessons and stichoi or lines. Hugo of Cher originated our modern chapters; R. Stephens, traveling on horseback, our verses. Accents are not found in manuscripts before the eighth century; breathings marks and apostrophes came a little earlier.
LANGUAGE. That of the New Testament is Hellenistic, i.e. Hebrew idiom and conceptions clothed in Greek expression, Eastern thoughts joined to western words. (See .) Greek activity and freedom were combined with Hebrew reflective depth and divine knowledge. The Septuagint Greek translated of Old Testament in Alexandria considerably molded the Greek dialect of the Jews in Asia, Palestine, and Egypt. At the same time the harsher Alexandrian forms of the Septuagint were smoothed down among Greek speaking Jews of other places than Egypt. The New Testament Greek in oldest manuscripts retains many of the rougher forms, but not all of them; it has also many Latinisms. Words with new senses, chreematizoo , sunistemi , hina , hotan , are with the present and even imperfect and aorist indicative.
Hebrew idioms, as "multiplying I will multiply." Words already current in lower senses are consecrated to express Christian truths: "faith" (pistis ), "justify" (dikaioo ), "sanctify" (hagiazoo ), "grace" (charis ), "redeem" (lutrousthai ), "edify" (oikodomein , literally, "to build up"), "reconcile" (katallassein ), etc., style, on the construction of the sentences; on the sense of the title New Testament. (See ; COVENANT.) Κainee expresses "new" in the sense of something different from the "old" and superseding it, not merely "recent" (nea ). (See CANON; BIBLE on other aspects of New Testament) Tregelles (Horne, 106) exhibits "the genealogy of the text" thus. The manuscripts placed together are those related in character of text; those placed under others show still more and more of the intermixture of modernized readings. D 'aleph B Z C L xi 1 33 P Q T R A X (delta) 69 K M H E F G S U, etc.
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Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'New Testament'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/n/new-testament.html. 1949.