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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
Recensions of the New Testament.
After the critical materials at the basis of the New-Test. text had accumulated in the hands of Mill and Bentley, they began to be examined with care. Important readings in different documents were seen to possess resemblances more or less striking. Passages were found to present the same form, though the MSS. from which they were derived belonged to various times and countries. The thoulght suggested itself to Bengel that the mass of materials might be definitely classified in conformity with such peculiarities. The same idea afterwards occurred to Semler. Bengel classified all the documents from which various readings are collected into two nations or families — the Asiatic and the African. To the former belonged the Codex Alexandrinus as the chief; to the latter the Graeco- Latin codices. At first that eminent critic does not seem to have had a very distinct apprehension of the subject; and therefore he speaks in general terms of it in his edition of the Greek Testament published in 1734; but in the posthumous edition of the Apparatus Criticus (1763, edited by Burlius) he is more explicit. Semler was the first that used the term recension of a particular class of MSS., in his Hiermeneutische Vorbereitun (1765). This critic, however, though acquainted with Wetstein's labors on the text of the New Test., had nothing more than a dim notion of the subject. He followed Bengel without clearly understanding or enlarging his views. Griesbach was the first scholar who treated the topic with consummate learning and skill, elaborating it so highly that it became a prominent subject in the criticism of the New Test. But he had the benefit of Wetstein's abundant treasures. The term recension applied to MS. quotations by ancient writers, and versions of the Greek Testament bearing an affinity to one another in characteristic readings, became a classical word in his hands, and has continued so. The appellation is not happily chosen. Family, nation, class, or order would have been more appropriate; because recension suggests the idea of revision, which is inapplicable. If it be remembered, however, that the word denotes nothing more than a certain class of critical documents characterized by distinctive peculiarities in common, it matters little what designation be employed.
The sentiments of Griesbach, like those of Bengel, developed and enlarged with time. Hence we must not look for exactly the same theory in his different publications. In his Dissertatio Critica de Codicibus Quatuor Evangeliorum Origenianis (pars prima, published in 1771), he says that there are, perhaps, three or four recensions into which all the codices of the New Test. might be divided (Opuscula Acadenzica, edited by Gabler, i, 239). In the preface to his first edition of the Greek Testament (1777), he states that at the beginning of the 3d century there were two recensions of the gospels, the Alexandrian and the Western. In the prolegomena to the first volume of his second edition of the Greek Testament, the matured sentiments of this able critic are best set forth. There he illustrates the Alexandrian recension, the Western, and the Constantinopolitan. The first two are the more ancient, belonging to the time in which the two collections of the New-Test. writings, the εὐαγγέλιον and ὁ ἀπόστολος , were made. The Alexandrian was an actual recension arising at the time when the two portions in question were put together; the Western was simply the accidental result of carelessness and arbitrary procedure on the part of transcribers and others in the MSS. current before the ἀπόστολος, or epistles, were collected. The Constantinopolitan arose from the intermingling of the other two, and, like the Western, is no proper recension, but was rather the result of a condition of the documents brought about by the negligence and caprice of copyists or meddling critics. The Alexandrian is presented by the MSS. C, L, 33, 102, 106, and by B in the last chapters of the four gospels; by the Memphitic, Ethiopic, Armenian, and Philoxenian versions; and the quotations of Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Eusebius, Atbanasius, Cyril of Alexandria, and Isidore of Pelusium. The Western accords with the Graeco-Latin codices, with the Ante-Hieronymian Latin version, and with B in the gospel of Matthew; also with 1, 13, 69, 118, 124, 131, 157; with the Thebaic and JerusalemSyriac versions, and the quotations of Irenaeus in Latin Cyprian, Tertullian, Ambrose, and Augustine. The third or Constantinopolitan is shown in A, E, F, G, H, S, of the gospels, the Moscow codices of the Pauline epistles, the Gothic and Slavonic versions; and in the quotations of such fathers as lived during the 4th, 5th, and 6th centuries in Greece, Asia Minor, and the neighborilng provinces. The text in Chrysostom is described by Griesbaclh as a mixed one; and of P, Q, and T he says that they accord sometimes with the Alexandrian, sometimes with the Western. The Alexandrian recension sought to avoid and change whatever might be offensive to Greek ears; but the Western preserved the harsher genuine readings when opposed to the genius of the Greek language; Hebraizing ones; readings involving solecism or unpleasant to the ear. The Alexandrian sought to illustrate words and phrases rather than the sense; the Western endeavored to render the sense clearer and less involved by means of explanations, circumlocutions, additions gathered from every side, as well as by transpositions of words and sentences. It also preferred the readings which are more full and verbose, as well as supplements taken from parallel passages, sometimes omitting what might render the sense obscure or seem repugnant to the context or parallel passages, in all which respects the Alexandrian is purer. The Alexandrian critic acted the part of a grammarian, the Western that of an interpreter. In all these points Criesbach asserts that the Constantinopolitanl commonly agrees with the Alexandrian; but with this difference, that it is still more studious of Greek propriety, admits more glosses into the text, and intermingles either Western readings, which differ from the Alexandrian, or else readings compounded of Alexandrian and Western. No recension is exhibited by any codex in its original purity (Prolegomena in Novum Testamentum [3d ed. by Schulz], vol. i, p. lxx sq.).
Michaelis thinks that there have existed four principal editions:
1. The Western, used in countries where the Latin language was spoken.
2. The Alexandrian or Egyptian, with which the quotations of Origen coincide and the Coptic version.
3. The Edessene edition, embracing the MSS. from which the old Syriac was made.
4. The Byzantine, in general use at Constantinople after that city became the capital of the Eastern empire. This last is subdivided into the ancient and the modern (Introduction to the New Test., translated by Marsh, ii, 175 sq., 2d ed.). Assuredly this classification is no improvement upon Griesbach's. Somewhat different from Griesbach's system is that of Hug, which was first proposed in his Einleitung in das neue Testament (1808).
1. The κοινὴ ἔκδοσις , i.e. the most ancient text, unrevised, which came into existence in the 2d century, found in D, 1,13, 69,124, of the gospels; in D, E, F, G, of Paul's epistles; in D, E, of the Acts; and in the old Latin and Thebaic versions. The Peshito also belongs to this class of text, though it differs in some respects from D.
2. About the middle of the 3d century, Hesychius, an Egyptian bishop, made a recension of the κοινὴ ἔκδοσις . To this belong B, C, L, of the gospels; A, B, C, 40, 30, 367, in the Acts; A, B, C, 40, 367, in the Catholic epistles; A, B, C, 46, 367, 17, of the Pauline epistles; and A, C, of the Apocalypse. It appears in the citations of Athanasius, Marcus and Macarius the monks, Cyril of Alexandria, and Cosmas Indicopleustes. This recension had ecclesiastical authority in Egypt and Alexandria.
3. About the same time, Lucian, a presbyter of Antioch, in Syria, revised the κοινὴ ἔκδοσις as it then existed in the Peshito, comparing different MSS. current in Syria. In this way he produced a text which did not wholly harmonize with the Hesychian because he was less studious of elegant Latinity. It appears in E, F, GI, S, V, of the gospels, and b, h, of the Moscow Evangelistaria collated by Matthai, with most of the cursive MSS.; in f, a,, b, d, c, m, k (Matthai), of the Acts; in g (Matthai), f, k, l, m, c, d, of the Pauline and Catholic epistles; in r, k, p, l, o, Moscow MSS.. of the Apocalypse; in the Gothic and Slavonic versions, and the quotations of Theophylact, though his text is no longer pure. 4. A fourth recension Hug attributes to Origen during his residence at Tyre. To it belong A, K, NI, 42, 106, 114, 116, and 10 of Matthai in the gospels, the Philoxenian Syriac, the quotations of Theodoret and Chrysostom. From this summary it appears that Hug's κοιᾷή ἔκδοδις agrees substantially with the Western recension of Griesbach. It is more comprehensive, as including the Peshito, with the quotations of Clement and Origen. The Hesychian recension of Hug coincides with the Alexandrian of Griesbach.
Eichhorn's system is substantially that of Hug, with one important exception. He assumed an unrevised form of the text in Asia, and, with some differences, in Africa also. This unrevised text may be traced in its two forms as early as the 2d century. Lucian revised the first, Hesychius the second. Hence, from the close of the third century, there was a threefold phase of the text — the African or Alexandrian, the Asiatic or Constantinopolitan, and a mixture of both. Eichhorn denied that Origen made a new recension (Einleitun in das neue Testament, vol. 4:§ 35 sq.).
In 1815 Nolan published an Inquiry into the Integrity of the Greek Vulgate, in which he propounded a peculiar theory of recensions. He divided all the documents into three classes — the Palestinian, equivalent to Griesbach's Alexandrian; the Egyptian, identical with Griesbach's Western; and the Byzantine. The three forms of the text are represented, as he assumed, by the Codex Vaticanus and Jerome's Vulgate, with the Codices Vercellensis and Brixianus of the Latin version. The last two contained a more ancient text than that represented by the version of Jerome. The Palestinian recension, which he attributes to Eusebius of Cesarea, is greatly censured as having been executed by this father with arbitrariness and dishonesty, since he tampered with passages because of their opposition to his Arian opinions. At the end of the 5th century this recension was introduced into Alexandria by Euthalius, and was circulated there.
Scholz made two classes or families — the Alexandrian or Occidental, and Constantinopolitan or Oriental. Griesbach's Western class is contained in the former. He referred to the Alexandrian several of the ancient MSS., and a few later ones — the Memphitic, Thebaic, Ethiopic, and Latin versions, and the ecclesiastical writers belonging to Western Europe, with those of Africa. To the Constantinopolitan he referred the MSS. belonging to Asia Minor, Palestine, Syria, Eastern Europe, especially Constantinople, with the Philoxenian, Syriac, Gothic, Georgian, and Slavonic versions, besides the fathers of these regions. To the latter he gave a decided preference, because of their alleged mutual agreement, and also because they were supposed to be written with great care after the most ancient exemplars; whereas the Alexandrian documents were arbitrarily altered by officious grammarians. Indeed, he traces the Constantinopolitan to the autography of the original writers.
Rinck agrees with Scholz in classifying all documents under two heads — the Occidental and the Oriental; the former exhibited in A, B, C, D, E, F, G, in the epistles, the latter containing the cursive MSS. The former he subdivides into two families — the African (A, B, C) and the Latin codices (D, E, F, G). He finds in it the result of arbitrary correction, ignorance, and carelessness.
Tischendorf's view, given in the prolegomena to the seventh edition of his Greek Testament, is that there are two pairs of classes — the Alexandrian and Latin, the Asiatic and Byzantine. The oldest form of the text, and that which most bears an Alexandrian complexion, is presented in A, B, C, D, I, L, P, Q, T, X, Z, A, perhaps also R, in the gospels. A later form, bearing more of an Asiatic complexion, is in E, F, G, H, K, M, O, S, U, V, r, A. For the Acts and Catholic epistles the oldest text is given in A, B, C; for Acts probably D and I also. For the Pauline epistles the oldest text is represented by A, B, C, H, I, D, F, G, the first five being Alexandrian, the last two Latin; D standing between the two classes. A and C in the Apocalypse have a more ancient text than B.
Lachmann disregarded all systems of recensions, and proceeded to give a text from ancient documents of a certain definite time — the text which commonly prevailed in the 3d and 4th centuries, drawn from Oriental MSS. — with the aid of Occidental ones in cases where the former disagree among themselves. In his large edition he follows the united evidence of Eastern and Western MSS. His merits are very great in the department of New-Test. criticism; but this is not the place to show them. He does not, however, profess to give a text as near as possible to that which he judges to proceed from the sacred writers themselves, as Griesbach and Tischendorf have done. On the contrary, he has simply undertaken to present that form of the text which is found in documents belonging to a certain period as a basis contributing to the discovery of the authentic text itself. His text is an important aid to the work of finding out the original words; not the original itself, as he would have given it. For this reason his edition contains readings which, in his own opinion, could not have been original. His object was therefore somewhat different from that of most editors. But he set an example of rigid adherence to the task proposed, and of critical sagacity in eliminating the true text from ancient documents of the time, evincing the talents and skill of a master. Since his time it has been the fashion among inferior critics and imitators to attach undue weight to antiquity. Uncial MSS. and their readings have been too implicitly followed by some.
Tischendorf more recently adopted the same views as those of Lachmann, holding that the most ancient text alone should be edited, though it may not always be what the sacred authors wrote. This principle being laid at the basis of his eighth edition, lately completed, made a considerable difference between it and the seventh. The internal goodness of readings, the context, and sound judgment are thus excluded, and this at the expense of something more valuable; for mere outward and ancient testimony can never elicit what ought to be an editor's chief object — the presentation of a text as near the original one as can be procured. The oldest text of the best MSS. and versions is valuable only so far as it assists in attaining that object. It is owing to the undue elevation of antiquity that such a reading as ὁ μονογενὴς θεός in John 1:18 has been given in the text of a recent edition. The same excessive veneration for antiquity has led to the separation of ὅ γέγονεν from οὐδὲ ž ν ‘‘ v (John 1:3) in modern times. Lachmann is exceeded by smaller followers, not in his own exact line.
To Griesbach all must allow distinguished merit. He was a consummate critic, ingenious, acute, candid, tolerant, and learned. His system was elaborated with great ability. It exhibits the marks of a sagacious mind. But it was assailed by many writers, whose combined attacks weakened its basis. In Germany, Eichhorn, Bertholdt, Hug, Schulz, Gabler, and Schott made various objections to it. In consequence of Hug's acute remarks, the venerable scholar himself modified his views. He did not, however, give up the three recensions, but still maintained that the Alexandrian and Western were distinct. He admitted that the Syriac, which Hug had put with the κοινή , was nearer to that than to the Alexandrian class; but he hesitated to put it with the Western because it differed so much. He denied that Origen used the κοινή, maintaining that the Alexandrian, which existed before his time, was that which he employed. He conceded, however, that Origen had a Western copy of Mark besides an Alexandrian one; that in his commentary on Matthew, though the readings are chiefly Alexandrian, there is a great number of such as are Western, and which therefore appear in D, 13, 28, 69, 124, 131,157, the old Italic, Vulgate, and Syriac. Thus Origen had various copies at hand, as he himself repeatedly asserts. Griesbach also conceded that Clemens Alexandrinus had various copies, differing in the forms of their texts. Hence his citations often agree with the κοινὴ ἔκδοσις and D. Thus Origen and Clement cease, in some measure, to be standard representatives of the Alexandrian recension. The concessions of Griesbach, resulting from many acute observations made by Hug and others, amounted to this, that the nearness of MSS. and recensions to one another was greater than he had before assumed; that his two ancient recensions had more points of contact with one another in existing documents than he had clearly perceived. The line between his Alexandrian and Western classes became less perceptible. This, indeed, was the weak point of the system, as no proper division can be drawn between the two. In the application of his system he professed to follow the consent of the Alexandrian and Western recensions, unless the internal marks of truth in a reading were so strong as to outweigh this argument. But he departed from his principle in severn inistances, as in 1 Corinthians 3:4; Galations 4:14; Philippians 3:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:7; Hebrews 4:2.
In the year 1814 Dr. Laurence published objections to Griesbach's system, many of which are unfounded. Some of his observations are pertinent and fair; more are irrelevant. He does not show much appreciation of the comparative value of MSS. and texts, and reasons in a sort of mechanical method against Griesbach. It is evident that he was somewhat prejudiced against the Alexandrian recension. Observations like the following show an animus against the German critic: "Too much dazzled, perhaps, by the splendor of intricate and perplexing research, he overlooked what lay immediately before him. When he threw his critical bowl among the established theories of his predecessors, he too hastily attempted to set up his own without having first totally demolished theirs, forgetting that the very nerve of his criticism was a principle of hostility to every standard text" (Remarks upon the Systematic Classification of MSS. adopted by Griesbach, p. 57). The pamphlet of the Oxford scholar is now almost forgotten, yet it produced considerable effect at the time of its appearance, when the reprinting of Griesbach's Greek Testament in England was associated with the active dissemination of Unitarian tenets, and the accomplished German himself was unjustly charged with leaning to similar views.
In America, Mr. Norton subsequently animadverted upon the same system with considerable acuteness and plausibility. It is evident, however, that he did not fully understand all Griesbach's sentiments; he had not studied the peculiar readings of MSS., the quotations of the fathers, and the characteristics of ancient versions, yet he has urged some objections forcibly and conclusively against the adoption of the system.
Hug's theory of recensions, so far as it differs from Griesbach's, is without foundation. It makes Origen use the κοινὴ ἔκδοσις , whereas his usual text agrees with the Alexandrian. The Hesychian recension was employed at least a hundred years previously by Clement of Alexandria, and that Hesychius was really the author of a recension is historically baseless; he may have corrected, in some places, a few copies which he used. The recension attributed to Lucian is also destitute of historical proof. The basis of this is supposed to have been the κοινὴ ἔκδοσις as it existed in Syria. Again, it is very improbable that Origen undertook to revise the κοινὴ ἔκδοσις. It is true that Jerome appeals to the exemplars of Origen, but this does not imply that the latter made a revision of existing copies. The Alexandrian father used copies of the New Test. selected with care, and probably corrected them in various places, but he did not undertake in his old age the laborious task of making a peculiar revision. The silence of ancient writers, especially of Eusebius, who is most copious in his praises of Origen, speaks strongly against the critical studies of the Alexandrian father in the New-Test. text. We believe, therefore, that the recension system of Hug is unsustained by historical data. Succeeding critics have refused to adopt it. Griesbach himself made several pertinent objections to it. It was also assailed by Schott, Rinck, Gabler, and others. Mr, Norton, too, opposed it.
Nolan's system is fundamentally wrong. There is no evidence that the Codex Brixianus contains the Latin version in its oldest form, and therefore the assumed connection of it with the Byzantine text fails to show that the latter is the most ancient and best representative of the original Greek. The Codex Brixianus, on the contrary, is itself a revision of the old Latin text. Nolan thinks that the Codex Vercellensis has a text corrected by Eusebius of Vercelli after that which he brought from Egypt on his return from exile. But this form of the text circulated in the West before Eusebius, and the Palestinian recension, which he supposes to have been introduced into Alexandria by Euthallus, was there before; thus the system so ingeniously elaborated by the critic is historically erroneous. It introduces arbitrary and baseless conjectures into the department of criticism, ignores facts, and deals in unjust accusations against ancient writers, such as Eusebius of Cmsarea, who were as honest as the zealous upholder himself of the Byzantine text. All attempts to maintain the most recent in opposition to the most ancient text must necessarily fail. Thoroughly erroneous as Nolan's theory is, it was eagerly welcomed by some advocates of the received text in England. Mr. Horne could say of it, even in the ninth edition of his Introduction to thle Critical Study and Knowledge of the Scriptures, "The integrity of the Greek Vulgate he has confessedly established by a series of proofs and connected arguments the most decisive that can be reasonably desired or expected."
With regard to Scholz's system, which is identical with Bengel's, it may be preferable to Griesbach's so far as it allows but two classes of documents; it is certainly simpler. His estimate, however, of the value of families is erroneous. He failed to prove that the particular form of the text current in Asia Minor and Greece during the first three centuries was the same as that presented by the Constantinopolitan MSS. of a much later date. He did not show that the Byzantine family was Iderived from the autographs of the original writers in a very pure state; and he was obliged to admit that the text which obtained at Constantinople in the reigns of Constantine and Constance was collated with the Alexandrian, a circumstance which would naturally give rise to a mingling of readings belonging to both. Eusebius states that he made out fifty copies of the New Test. for the use of the churches at Constantinople at the request of Constantine; and as we know that he gave a decided preference to Alexandrian copies, it cannot be doubted that he followed those sanctioned by Origen's authority. Constantinopolitan codices differ in their characteristic readings from the Alexandrian, but the preference belongs to the latter, not to the former. Why should junior be placed above older documents? Antiquity may be overbalanced by other considerations, and certainly the Alexandrian MSS. are neither faultless nor pure. But the Byzantine and later MSS. are more corrupt, Numbers must not be considered decisive of right readings in opposition to antiquity, yet numbers had an undue influence on Scholz's mind. Rinck has refuted his supposed proofs of the superiority of Constantinopolitan MSS., and Tischendorf has more elaborately done the same in the preface to his first edition of the Greek Testament (1841). In fact, Scholz's historical proofs are no better than fictions which true history rejects.
No definite system of recensions such as those of Griesbach, Hug, and Scholz can be made out, because lines of division cannot be drawn with accuracy. Our knowledge of the ways in which the early text was deteriorated — of the influences to which it was exposed, the corrections it underwent in different places at different times, the methods in which it was copied, the principles, if such there were, on which transcribers proceeded — is too meagre to build up a secure structure. The subject must therefore remain in obscurity. Its nature is such as to give rise to endless speculation without affording much real knowledge; it is vague, indefinite, shadowy, awakening curiosity without satisfying it. Yet we are not disposed to reject the entire system of classification as visionary. It is highly useful to arrange the materials. The existence of certain characteristic readings may be clearly traced in various monuments of the text, however much we may speculate on their causes. It is true that in several cases it is very difficult to distinguish the family to which a particular reading belongs, because its characteristics may be divided between two classes, or they may be so mixed that it is almost impossible to detect the family with which it should be united; the evidences of its relationship may be so obscure as to render the determination of its appropriate recension a subtle problem. It is also unquestionable that no one MS. version or father exhibits a recension in a pure state, but that each form of the text appears more or less corrupted. The speculations of the critics to which we have referred have had one advantage, viz. that they have made the characteristic readings of MSS. better understood, and enabled us to group together certain documents presenting the same form of text. Thus in the gospels, א, A, B, C, D, I, L, P, Q, T, X, Z present an older form of the text than E, F, G, H, K, I, S, U, V, r. Among the former, א, B, Z have a text more ancient and correct than that of the others.
Matthai repudiated the whole system of recensions as useless and absurd. We question whether he was warranted by learning, penetration, or jmudgment to use the contemptuous language which he applied. His industry in collating MSS. and editing their text was praiseworthy, but he had not the genius to construct a good text out of the materials within his reach. He overestimated his Moscow codices, and looked on Griesbach's merits with envious eye; hence his diatribe on recensions shows more ardent zeal than discretion. What sentence can show the spirit of the man better than this? — "Griesbach has been hammering, filing, and polishing for thirty years at this masterpiece of uncriticism, unbelief, and irreligiousness in Semler's recension-manufactory" (Ueber die sogenannten Recensionen, welche der Terr Abt Begel, der Herr Doctor Senler, und der Herr Geheimz-Kirchenrath Griesbach, in deme griechischen Texte des N.T. wollen entdeckt haben, p. 28). Prof. Lee employed language equally strong with Matthai's, but not so scurrilous, though of the same tendency: "Ingeniosae illa familiarum fabricae, nt mihi videtur, in unum tantumrnodo finem feliciter exstructms sunt; ut rem in seipsa baud valde obscuram, tenebris AEgyptiacis obscuriorem reddant; Editoresque eos qui se omnia rem acu tetigisse putent, supra mortalium labendi statum, nescio quantum, evehere" (Prolegomena ins Biblia Polygllotla Londinensia Minora, p. 69). Neither is sufficiently eminent to be justified in the employment of phraseology from which masters in criticism like Griesbacli would refrain. Hear the veteran scholar, in his last publication, speaking of Hug: "Dubitationis igitur causas exponere mihi liceat, sed paucis et modeste, nec eo animo, ut cumr viro doctissimo quem permagni me facere ingenue profiteor, decertem, sed ut turn alios viros harum rerum peritos, tum in primis ipsum excitem et humanissime invitem ad novum instituendum cause, quae in universa re critica Novi Testamenti maximi momenti est, examen, quo ea, si ullo o moo fieri id possit, ad liquidumn tandem perducatur" (Meletfemrata de Vetustis Textus Novi Testamenti Recensionibus, particula ii, p. 42). The preceding observations will help to account for the varying schemes of different critics. Some may look for greater exactness and nicety than others, hence they will make more families of documents; others, with less acuteness or ingenuity, will rest satisfied with classes more strongly marked by the number of materials they embrace or thce breadth of territory over which they were supposed to circulate. There is no possibility of arriving at precision. The commingling of readings has obliterated many peculiarities in the progress of time, though enough has been left to form the basis of a rough classification.
It is more difficult to classify the ancient versions, such as the Peshito- Syriac, because their texts have suffered frequent interpolations and changes. In the quotations of the fathers we must make allowance for memoriter citation, without expecting great care or attachment to the letter. Griesbach, however, denies that Origen quoted from memory — and none has investigated the citations of the Alexandrian father with equal labor — but the state of his commentaries is far from being what we could wish, and the original is often lost or corrupted.
The term recension is sometimes applied to the Old Test. as well as the New Test. There the materials hitherto collated all belong to one recension, viz. the Masoretic. Some, indeed, have divided them into Masoretic and Ante-Masoretic, but the latter cannot be traced. At present we are acquainted with only one great family, though it is probable that particular revisions of parts of the Old Test. preceded the labors of the Masoretes. Whether the Karaite Hebrew MSS. — of which many have been recently brought to St. Petersburg — present a different form of the text from the Masoretic wmill be seen after they have been collated; it is certain that their vowel-system is different from the present one. We expect, therefore, that important readings may be furnished by these very ancient codices.
See Bengel, Introductio in Crisin N.T., prefixed to his edition of the Greek Testament (Tiibingen, 1734, 4to); Semler, Vo bereitungen zur Hermeneutik (Halle, 1760-69, 8vo); Michaelis, Introduction to the N.T., by Marsh, ii, 173 sq.; Griesbach, Optuscula (edited by Gabler, with the Preface of the latter [Jena, 1824-25, 2 vols. 8vo]); id. Commentarius Criticus in Textun Gracecum, particule i and ii (ibid. 1798, 1811, 8vo); id. Prolegomenae to the second edition of his Greek Testament (1796, 8vo); Eichhorne, Einleituing (Gott. 1827, 8vo), vol. iv; Bertholdt, Einleitung (Erlangen, 1812, 8vo), vol. i; Schulz, Prolegomena to the third edition of Griesbach (Berl. 1827, 8vo); Hug, inzleif. (4th ed. Stuttgart, 1847, 8vo), vol. i; De Wette, Binleit. in dus neue Testament (6th ed. Berl. 1860, 8vo); Schott, Isagoye Historicocritica (Jena, 1830, 8vo); Iatthdii, Ueber die sogenannten Recensionen, etc. (Leips. 1804, 8vo); Scholz, Biblischkritische Reise, etc. (ibid. 1823, 8vo); id. Prolegomena to the N.T. (1830), vol. i; Laurence, remarks on Griesbach's Systematic Classification of MSS. (Oxford, 1814, 8vo); Rinck, Luclubratio Critica in Actat Apost., Epp. Cathol. et Pulinz. etc. (Basil. 1830, 8vo); Tischendorf, Prolegomena to his edition of the Greek Testament (Leips. 1841,8vo), with the Prolegomena to his seventh edition (ibid. 1859), and his article Bibeltext in Herzog's Enzcyklopadie; Reuss, Die Geschichte der heiligen Schriften neuen Testaments (4th ed. Brunswick, 1864); Norton, Genuineness of the Gospels (Boston. 1837, 8vo), vol. i; Davidson, Treatise on Biblical Criticism (Edinburgh, 1852), vol. ii. (See CRITICISM); (See MANUSCRIPTS); (See VARIOUS READINGS).
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Recensions of the New Testament.'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/r/recensions-of-the-new-testament.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
the Fourth Week after Epiphany