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age of the king of Denmark, they travelled into Germany, Italy, France and Spain, in search of further materials for the criticism of the Greek Testament. They examined the libraries in Venice, Florence, Bologna, and Rome, with the library of the Escurial in Spain. As many as a hundred and twenty manuscripts were collated by them. In 1788, they published the first volume of their edition, containing the four Gospels, with the Textus Receptus, accompanied with various readings. The completion of this very valuable edition was prevented by a fire at Copenhagen, which destroyed the royal printing office.
The edition of Griesbach next invites our attention. This eminent critic was Professor of Divinity at Jena, in Saxony. He first exhibited his critical ability in a treatise, published A. D. 1771, at Halle, on the Manuscripts of the four Gospels used by Origen.
In 1774, he published a Synopsis or Harmony of the first three Gospels, with an amended text and a selection of various readings, to which he added, with amended text and various readings, the Gospel by John and the Acts of the Apostles. In 1775, he published in the same manner the Epistles and the Revelation. In 1777, he published the first three Gospels in their usual order.
The design of Griesbach was to prepare an edition suitable for students, which might suit the convenience of every one.
He therefore selected only the most important readings, and cited only the chief authorities. The readings and the authorities were selected from Wetstein's edition ; but the readings were subjected to a very accurate revision, and were increased by subsequent collations, supplied mostly by Griesbach himself.
T'wenty years elapsed before he published the first volume of his second edition, and thirty, before he published the second volume. On this second edition, he bestowed great care.
For nearly three centuries, materials had been gradually collected for an amended text. Dr. Griesbach was now regarded by the learned in general, and especially by those of his own country, as the person best qualified to undertake a new revision. This subject had formed the business of his life; he had visited France and England for the purpose of collating manuscripts. As so many materials had been already acquired, his object
was, not to increase, but to revise them. He reëxamined manuscripts; he endeavored to classify them; he extracted from uncollated manuscripts whatever he deemed worthy of attention. As the quotations from the Greek Testament in the writings of the Greek fathers are important, he undertook a complete collation of Origen's works. He also examined Clement of Alexandria. He collated also the most ancient Latin versions. By the assistance of some literary friends, he procured readings from the Sahidic version, or that in the dialect of Upper Egypt, the Armenian and the Sclavonian versions. He used also two very ancient Greek manuscripts preserved at Wolfenbüttel.
The first volume was published in 1796, and the second in 1806, under Griesbach's immediate inspection. An edition of this work with select various readings was published at Leipsic; from which was printed the American edition at Cambridge.
The principles on which Griesbach proceeded were materially different from those adopted by preceding critics. It had been customary to number, rather than to weigh authorities; the distinction had not been sufficiently regarded between the antiquity of a manuscript as to its materials, and the antiquity of its text. He also divided manuscripts, fathers and versions into three classes ; so that the number of individual manuscripts is not so much regarded respecting a reading, as the number of recensions, or editions, or classes, by which it is supported.
The edition of Griesbach was highly extolled, and the text as established by him is still viewed by some as a standard text. The propriety of the principles which regulated his classification of manuscripts has, however, been called in question, and thus the value of his edition is seriously affected. He is thought too by some not to have been sufficiently scrupulous in regard to making alterations upon the received text.
Of the labors which have been bestowed on the text of the New Testament since the time of Griesbach, the subjoined outline, which we translate in part from Dr. Guerike's Introduction to the New Testament, presents a summary view.
With Griesbach, the criticism of the New Testament
seemed to have reached its culminating point. Since him, of the complete editions of the New Testament, with an ample critical apparatus, the only one which has appeared, is that of Scholz in Bonn, 1830–36, in two vols. ; an edition which increased the means of external criticism hitherto existing about one third, and has given also a new and complete recension of the text, in conformity with the critical principles, in part certainly unproved, on which it is based. In 1830, W. F. Rinck published at Basel a collection of various readings from seven new codices on the Acts and the Epistles. In 1797, Dr. Knapp of Halle, first published his edition of the New Testament, which was not a recension, indeed, but a laborious and independent revision of Griesbach's text, and for hand-use remains still one of the best copies of the New Testament which the student can procure. It passed through repeated editions under his care, and has been reprinted since his death, with slight modifications, by several editors, and recently, in a stereotyped form, by Theile of Leipsic. It is a great excellence of Knapp's edition, for practical use, that the text is divided into paragraphs, which, even in the Epistles of Paul, accord remarkably well with the logical divisions of the subject. J. A. H. Tittmann also published, in 1825, a new edition of Griesbach's text, which differs from Knapp's mainly in its nearer approximation to the Textus Receptus. In 1840, A. Hahn revised this revision of Tittmann; and it is the work in this state which Dr. Robinson has caused to be reprinted in this country.
In 1831, Lachmann of Berlin issued his well known edition of the New Testament, which excited much atten. tion at the time, chiefly on account of the peculiar plan followed in it. It has certainly its value as a historical witness, but cannot be relied on as an eminent authority for settling the text. He proceeds too exclusively on the assumption that the oldest manuscripts in existence present the purest text; and hence out of these, with a comparison of the citations in some of the fathers, he has produced a text which he supposes to represent the one most current in the third and fourth centuries. Tischendorf has also distinguished himself by his publication of readings from the oldest manuscripts, and still more by his printed fac-simile of the celebrated Codex C or Ephraem's VOL. XIII. —NO. LII.
Rescript in the Royal Library at Paris. It may be objected io Lachmann's principle, and that of the critics of his school, that it is not true that the oldest manuscript exhibits always the oldest and surest text; since the ase of a manuscript is but one of the considerations which we are to apply to the inquiry, and may be entirely outweighed by the superior care and accuracy with which it is evident that a younger manuscript was written in the first instance, and with which it has been preserved.
♡ 3. VARIOUS READINGS OF THE INSPIRED Text. In the preceding account of the critical editions of the Greek Testament, repeated mention has been made of various readings. The publication of these, it has also been stated, excited alarm among many good men, lest the New Testament should come to be considered so im perfect as not to be worthy of confidence. It is also known that the infidel writer, Anthony Collins, did endeavor to employ the existence of various readings to the disadvantage of divine revelation. As the subject may be conceived to be of an alarming aspect, some considerations will now be presented which may tend to relieve the anxiety of a pious mind. The following remarks will have reference to the Old, as well as to the New Testament.
That there are various readings of the same passages in different Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, is beyond a question. The knowledge of their existence in Greek manuscripts prepared the way for an extensive collation of Hebrew manuscripts. For the performance of this work, the world is under great obligations to Dr. Kennicott, Professor Bruns, and De Rossi. Their investigations brought to light an immense number of various readings in the manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible.
The existence of various readings is easily accounted for. Previously to the invention of printing, copies of books were multiplied by transcribing with the pen. Those who have ever undertaken to copy an extended composition, and have afterwards accurately revised it, will not be surprised that the Biblical writings, copied so frequently, by persons of so various characters, and in so various circumstances, should exhibit marks of human
imperfection, both as to single words and as to parts of sentences. We need not charge transcribers with wilfully corrupting the word of God, or with peculiar negligence. Those who reflect on the subject will perceive that nothing short of a miracle could produce entire uniformity in the copies.
Various readings might be the result of accident. Different letters resemble one another in shape, and thus might be confounded by the eye; others resemble each other in sound, and thus, when the copy was prepared from dictation, the ear might lead the writer into mistake. Different words often have the same final syllable, and different sentences often have the samne final word; a transcriber, comparing his copy with his original, might see the final syllable which he had just written perhaps belonging to a word at some distance from the one he had just written, and commencing anew from that point might omit several words; or having really written the latter mentioned word, and his eye meeting the last syllable of the former word, he might re-write several words. In the same way, too, when the same words recurred, he might by accident either omit or insert a part of a sentence.
A transcriber might also incorrectly decipher the abbreviations and the numerical marks; and as words were written without intervals, they might be improperly divided. In Hebrew manuscripts, when a word did not extend to the end of a line, and there was not room to write the next word, the space was filled by unmeaning letters; these letters might afterwards be mistaken for a word or a part of a word. Again, with special reference to Hebrew manuscripts, an unwritten word might be sub
a ; . Some various readings arose from design. By design, it is not meant that such alterations were introduced as intentional corruptions. The early Christian fathers, in their controversies with the Jews, when the Jews reproached them with producing passages from the Septuagint which differed from the Hebrew, did indeed accuse the Jews of wilfully corrupting the text. This charge, however, they made, probably because they were not able to compare the Greek and Hebrew. Jerome did not think thus of the Jews. On the contrary, he called the Hebrew
.יְהוָה for אלהים or אדני stituted for a written word