OUR BIBLE & THE ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS by SIR FREDERIC KENYON - formerly Director of the British Museum - © Sir F Kenyon 1895. First published Eyre & Spottiswoode 1895. - fourth edition 1939. - Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram 2003.


HOME| Contents | << | The Original MSS | Complete NTs Impossible at First | Transmission:1st-15 cent | Earliest Printed Texts | Erasmus' Greek Text | Received Text | Its Deficiencies | Amendment | 1.MSS | Uncials | Cursives | 2.Versions | 3.Fathers | Grouping of Authorities | Westcott & Hort's classification | Combined readings | Localisation of Groups | Syrian Readings Latest | Western | Alexandrian | Neutral | Importance of W & H's Theory | Objections | Considering Objections | Appendix to ChVI | >> |

WHEN we pass from the Old Testament to the New, we pass from obscurity into a region of comparative light. Light, indeed, is plentiful on most of its history; our danger is rather lest we should be confused by a multiplicity of illumination from different quarters, as the electric searchlights of a fleet often bewilder those who use them. We know, within narrow limits, the dates at which the various books of the New Testament were written; we have a multitude of manuscripts, some of them reaching back to the century following the date of the composition of the books; we have evidence from versions and the early Christian writers which carry us almost into the apostolic age itself. We shall find many more disputes as to minor points concerning the text of the New Testament than we do in the Old, just because the evidence is so plentiful and comes from so many different quarters; but we shall find fewer doubts affecting its general integrity.

The Original MSS.

The books of the New Testament were written between the years 50 and 100 after Christ. If anyone demurs to this lower limit as being stated too dogmatically, we would only say that it is not laid down in ignorance that it has been contested, but in the belief that it has been contested without success.
[Since the publication of Harnack's Chronologic der altchristlichen Litteratur in 1897 it has been generally admitted that, with very few exceptions, the traditional dates of the New Testament books may be accepted as approximately correct. The doctrines of the school of Baur, which regarded the earliest Christian books as a tissue of falsifications of the second century, have been exploded. "That time," says Harnack, "is over. It was an episode, during which science learnt much, and after which it must forget much." Recent discoveries have only confirmed this conclusion.]
But this is not the place for a discussion on the date of the Gospels or Epistles, and if anyone prefers a later date, he only shortens the period that elapsed between the composition of the books in question and the date at which the earliest manuscripts now extant were written. The originals of the several books have long ago disappeared. They must have perished in the very infancy of the Church; for no allusion is ever made to them by any Christian writer [A very rhetorical passage in Tertullian may be ignored.]. We have, however, in recent years, learnt much as to the manner of production of books during this period, and can form a good idea of what they must have looked like. Each book, we must remember, was written separately, and there can have been no thought at first of combining them into a single collection corresponding in importance and sacredness to the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa. St. Luke merely wrote down, as many had taken in hand to do before, a memoir of our Lord's life; St. Paul wrote letters to the congregation at Rome or at Corinth, just as we write to our friends in Canada or India. The material used was, no doubt, papyrus (see p. 10); for this was the common material for writing, whether for literary or for private texts, though parchment was used at times for special purposes. Thus, when St. Paul directs Timothy to bring with him "the books, but especially the parchments," the latter may possibly have been copies of parts of the Old Testament, but it is more probable that they were notebooks. His own letters would certainly have been written on papyrus; and the discoveries of the last fifty years have given us back quantities of books and letters written on this material by inhabitants of the neighbouring country of Egypt at this very time. The elder of the church in Western Asia who arose in his congregation to read the letter of St. Paul which we know as the Epistle to the Ephesians must have held in his hand a roll of whitish or light yellow material about 4 feet in length and some 10 inches in height. The Acts of the Apostles or the Gospel of St. Luke would have formed a portly roll of some 30 feet. Even had the idea been entertained of making a collection of all the books which now form our New Testament, it would have been quite impossible to have combined them in a single volume, so long as the papyrus roll was the form of book in use.

Complete New Testaments Impossible at First.

But in fact the formation of a single "New Testament" was impossible, so long as no decision had been reached by the Church to distinguish between the inspired and the uninspired books. The four Gospels had indeed been marked off as a single authoritative group early in the second century; and the Epistles of St. Paul formed a group by themselves, easily recognisable and generally accepted. But in the second and third and even in the fourth century the claims of such books as 2 and 3 John, a Peter, Jude, and the Apocalypse were not admitted by all; the authorship of Hebrews, and consequently its place among the Epistles, was a matter of doubt, as to which East and West took different views; while other early Christian writings, such as the Epistle of Clement, the epistle which passed by the name of Barnabas, and the "Shepherd" of Hermas, ranked almost, if not quite, on the same footing as the canonical books. All this time it is highly improbable that the sacred books were written otherwise than singly or in small groups. Only when the minds of men were being led to mark off with some unanimity the books held to be authoritative, are collected editions, as we should now call them, likely to have been made. Only gradually did men arrive at the conception of a Canon, or authoritative collection, of the New Testament which should rank beside the Canon of the Old. 

We now have concrete evidence of the stages of this process. The adoption by the Christian community, early in the second century, of the codex form of book (see above, p.12) made the inclusion of groups of books in a single volume possible; and we have actual examples which will be described in the next chapter, of papyrus codices containing the four Gospels and the Acts, or the collected Epistles of St. Paul, which can be assigned to the first half of the third century. But for complete New Testaments we must, so far as our present evidence goes, wait for the official recognition of Christianity and the great vellum codices of the time of Constantine in the fourth century. 

We need, then, feel no surprise at the great quantity of various readings which we find to have come into existence by the time our earliest extant manuscripts were written. The earliest Christians, a poor, scattered, often illiterate body, looking for the return of their Lord at no distant date, were not likely either to care sedulously for minute accuracy of transcription or to preserve their books religiously for the benefit of posterity. Salvation was not to be secured by exactness in copying the precise order of words; it was the substance of the teaching that mattered, and the scribe might even incorporate into the narrative some incident which he believed to be equally authentic, and think no harm in so doing. So divergent readings would spring up, and different texts would become current in different regions, each manuscript being a centre from which other copies would be taken in its own neighbourhood. Persecution, too, had a potent influence on the fortunes of the Bible text. On the one hand, an edict such as that of Diocletian in 303, ordering all the sacred books of the Christians to be burnt, would lead men to distinguish between the sacred and non-sacred books, and so assist the formation of an authoritative Canon. On the other hand, numberless copies must have been destroyed by the Roman officials during these times of persecution, the comparison of copies with a view to removing their divergences must have been difficult, and the formation of large and carefully written manuscripts must have been discouraged.

Careful Copying of Texts Begins in Fourth Century.

The change comes with the acceptance of Christianity by the Emperor Constantine. After the Edict of Milan (or the instructions to which this name has generally been given), in AD313, Christianity ceased to be persecuted, and before long became the religion of the Empire. Its books needed no longer to be concealed; on the contrary, a great demand for additional copies must have been created to supply the new churches and the new converts. The Emperor himself instructed Eusebius of Caesarea, the great historian of the early Church, to provide fifty copies of the Scriptures for the churches of Constantinople; and the other great towns of the Empire must have required many more for their own wants. Here then, and possibly not before, we may find the origin of the first collected New Testaments; and here we are already in touch with actual manuscripts which have come down to us, from which point the chain of tradition is complete as far as our own days.

Transmission from First to Fifteenth Century.

The forms of ancient books, in the period of which we are treating, have been described in Chapter I. First there is the papyrus period, extending from the date of the composition of the books of the New Testament to about the first quarter of the fourth century. When the first edition of this book appeared, it was supposed that all copies belonging to this period had disappeared, on account of the perishable nature of the material. Now we have a small fragment which goes back to the first half of the second century, and some substantial manuscripts and a considerable number of fragments which can be assigned to the third. The earliest complete, or approximately complete, New Testaments belong, however, to the opening of the vellum period in the fourth century. Two splendid volumes are assigned by all competent critics to this period. One, the Codex Vaticanus, has long been in the Vatican Library at Rome. The other, the Codex Sinaiticus, has lately migrated from Leningrad to the British Museum. To the next century belongs that other glory of the British Museum, the Codex Alexandrinus; also the mutilated Codex Ephraemi in the National Library at Paris, the highly remarkable Codex Bezae at Cambridge, and the Freer Gospels at Washington. In addition to these there are perhaps twelve very fragmentary manuscripts of the same century which contain only some small portions of the New Testament. From the sixth century twenty-seven documents have come down to us, but only five of these contain so much as a single book complete. From the seventh we have eight small fragments; from the eighth six manuscripts of some importance and eight fragments.[It must be understood that the dates here given are not absolutely certain. Early manuscripts on vellum are never dated, and their age can only be judged from their handwriting. But the dates as here stated are those which have been assigned by competent judges, and may be taken as approximately correct.]
So far the stream of tradition has run in a narrow bed. Time has, no doubt, caused the destruction of many copies; but it is also probable that during these centuries not so many copies were made as was the case subsequently. The style of writing then in use for works of literature was slow and laborious. Each letter was a capital, and had to be written separately; and the copying of a manuscript must have been a long and toilsome task. In the ninth century, however, as already described in Chapter I, a change was made of great importance in the history of the Bible, and indeed of all ancient Greek literature. In place of the large capitals hitherto employed, a smaller style of letter came into use, modified in shape so as to admit of being written continuously, without lifting the pen after every letter. Writing became easier and quicker; and to this fact we may attribute the marked increase in the number of manuscripts of the Bible which have come down to us from the ninth and tenth centuries. From this point numeration becomes useless. Instead of counting our copies by units we number them by tens and scores and hundreds, until by the time/that printing was invented the total mounts up to a mass of several thousands. And these, it must be remembered, are but the remnant which has escaped the ravages of time and survived to the present day. When we remember that the great authors of Greek and Latin literature are preserved to us in a mere handful of copies, in some cases indeed only in one single manuscript, we may feel confident that in this great mass of Bible manuscripts we have much security that the true text of the Bible has not been lost on the way.

The Earliest Printed Texts.

With the invention of printing in the fifteenth century a new era opens in the history of the Greek text. The earliest printed document (so far as Europe is concerned) was issued about the year 1450; and the first complete book produced by the printing press was, rightly enough, the Bible, in 1456. This, however, was a Latin Bible; for Latin was, in the fifteenth century, the language of literature in Western Europe. Greek itself was little known at this date. It was only gradually that the study of it spread from Italy (especially after the arrival there of fugitives from the East, when the Turkish capture of Constantinople overthrew the Greek Empire) over the adjoining countries to the other nations of the West. It was not until the sixteenth century had begun that there was any demand for a printed Greek Bible; and the honour of leading the way belongs to Spain. In 1502, Cardinal Ximenes formed a scheme for a printed Bible containing the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin texts in parallel columns. Many years were spent in collecting and comparing manuscripts, with the assistance of several scholars. It was not until 1514 that the New Testament was printed, and the Old Testament was only completed in 1517 (see Plate XI). Even then various delays occurred, including the death of Ximenes himself, and the actual publication of this edition of the Greek Bible (known as the Complutensian, from the Latin name of Alcala, where it was printed) only took place in 1522; and by that time it had lost the honour of being the first Greek Bible to be given to the world.

Erasmus' Greek Testament, 1516.

That distinction belongs to the New Testament of the great Dutch scholar Erasmus. He had been long making collections for an edition of the Bible in Latin, when in 1515 a proposal was made to him by a Swiss printer, named Froben, to prepare an edition in Greek, probably with the intention of anticipating that which Ximenes had in hand. Erasmus consented: the work was rapidly executed and as rapidly passed through the press; and in 1516 the first printed copy of the New Testament in the original Greek was given to the world (Plate X). The first edition was full of errors of the press, due to the failure of a subordinate who had been entrusted with the duty of revising the sheets; but a second edition quickly followed, and a third, and a fourth, each representing an advance in the direction of a more accurate text. Erasmus' first edition was based on not more than six manuscripts at the most, and of these only one was even moderately ancient or valuable, and none was complete, so that some verses of the Apocalypse were actually re-translated by Erasmus himself into Greek from the Latin; and, what is more remarkable, some words of this translation, which occur in no Greek manuscript whatever, still hold their place in our received Greek text. That text is, indeed, largely based on the edition of Erasmus. The work of Ximenes was much more careful and elaborate; but it was contained in six large folio volumes, and only 600 copies were printed, so that it had a far smaller circulation than that of Erasmus.

The Received Text.

The great printer-editor, Robert Estienne, or Stephanus, of Paris (sometimes anglicised as Stephens, without ground), issued several editions of the Greek New Testament, based mainly on Erasmus, but corrected from the Complutensian and from fifteen manuscripts, most of them comparatively late; and of these editions the third, printed in 1550, is substantially the "received text" which has appeared in all our ordinary copies of the Greek Bible in England down to the present day. On the Continent the "received text" has been that of the Elzevir edition of 1624, which diners very slightly from that of Stephanus, being in fact a revision of the latter with the assistance of the texts published in 1565-1605 by the great French Protestant scholar Beza.

Its Deficiencies.

Such is the history of our received text of the Greek New Testament; and it will be obvious from it how little likelihood there was that it would be a really accurate representation of the original language. For fourteen hundred years the New Testament had been handed down in manuscript, copy being taken from copy in a long succession through the centuries, each copy multiplying and spreading errors (slight, indeed, but not unimportant in the mass) after the manner described in our second chapter.
Yet when the great invention of printing took place, and the words of the Bible could at last be stereotyped, as it were, beyond the reach of human error, the first printed text was made from a mere handful of manuscripts, and those some of the latest and least trustworthy that existed. There was no thought of searching out the oldest manuscripts and trusting chiefly to them. The best manuscripts were still unknown to scholars or inaccessible, and the editors had to content themselves with using such later copies as were within their reach, generally those in their native town alone. Even these were not always copied with such accuracy as we should now consider necessary. The result is that the text accepted in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, to which we have clung from a natural reluctance to change the words which we have learnt as those of the Word of God, is in truth full of inaccuracies, many of which can be corrected with absolute certainty from the vastly wider information which is at our disposal to-day. The difference between the Authorised Version and the Revised Version shows in great measure the difference between the text accepted at the time of the first printed editions and that which commends itself to the best modern scholars. We do not find the fundamentals of our faith altered, but we find many variations in words and sentences, and are brought so much nearer to the true Word of God, as Evangelist and Apostle wrote it down in the first century.

Means for Amending It.

What, then, are the means which we have for correcting the "received text," and for recovering the original words of the New Testament? This question will be answered more fully in the next two chapters; but it will be useful to take a brief survey of the ground before us first, and to arrange in their proper groups the materials with which we have to deal. As was explained in Chapter III, the evidence by which the Bible text is examined and restored is threefold. It consists of
(3) Quotations in the FATHERS.

1. Manuscripts.

In the first edition of this work it was stated that "the early papyrus manuscripts of the New Testament have all perished (unless indeed some are still lying buried in the soil of Egypt, which is far from improbable)." This possibility has happily been realised, and, as has already been indicated, we now have a slender thread of tradition extending back to a point barely a generation later than the date of the Apocalypse or the Fourth Gospel. A few years ago a list compiled by the Rev. P. L. Hedley enumerated 157 New Testament fragments on papyrus (including vellum fragments found with papyri, and ostraka), and to these may now be added the Chester Beatty manuscripts and other recent discoveries, which may bring the total up to 170 or more. Not by any means all of these, however, are earlier than the earliest vellum manuscripts, and many of them are small and of slight importance. A few of them, on the other hand, are of very great value, both as early links in the chain of tradition, and for the light which they throw on the state of the text in the earliest centuries. 

The vellum manuscripts, which comprise by far the greater number of our authorities, are divided into two great classes, according to the style in which they are written - namely, UNCIALS and CURSIVES. Uncials are those written throughout in capital letters, each formed separately (see Plates VIII, IX, XV-XX). Cursives are those written in smaller letters and in a more or less running hand (see Plate XXI). As explained above (p.14), uncial manuscripts are the earliest, running from the fourth century to the tenth, while cursives range from the ninth to the fifteenth, and even later, wherever manuscripts were still written after the invention of printing. [This sharp distinction in time between uncial and cursive writing does not apply to papyri. Here we find cursive writing side by side with uncial from the earliest times at which Greek writing is known to us (the third century BC). The reason for the difference in the case of vellum MSS. is simply that vellum was only employed for books intended for general use, and for such books uncial writing was regularly used until the ninth century, because it was the most handsome style. In the ninth century an ornamental style of running-hand was invented, and this superseded uncials as the style usual in books. A cursive hand must always have existed for use in private documents, where publication was not intended; and on papyrus we have many examples of it.]

Uncial MSS.

Uncial manuscripts, being the oldest, are also the rarest and the most important. Including even the smallest fragments, little more than two hundred uncial manuscripts of the Greek New Testament are known to exist [The official catalogue, completed by Gregory in 1908, and carried on by von Dobschiitz and Lietzmann, now reaches 212.], and of these only two contain all the books of it, though two more are nearly perfect. The books of the New Testament, throughout the manuscript period, were generally formed into four groups - viz.. Gospels, Acts and Catholic Epistles, Pauline Epistles, Apocalypse - and most manuscripts contain only one, or at most two, of these groups. Uncial manuscripts are distinguished for purposes of reference by capital letters of the Latin, Greek, or Hebrew alphabets, such as A, B, Δ, א, etc., as the reader may see by looking at the notes on any page of the New Testament in the Variorum Bible. Reserving a full description of these manuscripts for the next chapter, it will be sufficient for the present to say that the most important of them are those known as:
B (Codex Vaticanus) and X (Codex Sinaiticus), which are assigned to the fourth century;
A (Codex Alexandrinus), C (Codex Ephraemi), D (of the Gospels and Acts, Codex Bezae), and W (of the Gospels, Codex Washingtonianus), of the fifth century;
D2 (Pauline Epistles), and E2 (Acts), of the sixth century.
These are the main authorities upon which the text of the New Testament is based, though they need to be supplemented and reinforced by the testimony of the later copies, both uncial and cursive.

Cursive MSS.

Cursive manuscripts are enormously more common than uncials. The earliest of them date from the ninth century, and from the tenth century to the fifteenth the cursives were the Bible of Eastern Europe. Multitudes have no doubt perished; but from the fact of their having been written nearer to the times of the revival of learning many have been preserved. Every great library possesses several of them, and many are no doubt still lurking in unexamined corners, especially in out-of-the-way monasteries in the East. The latest enumeration of those whose existence is known gives the total as 2,429, besides 1,678 Lectionaries, or volumes containing the lessons from the New Testament prescribed to be read during the Church's year. The numeration of them by Arabic numerals goes back to a list compiled in 1751-2 by J. J. Wetstein (a pupil of Bentley), who made a separate numeration for each of the four groups mentioned above, and additional lists for the Lectionaries. Thus Evan.100 meant cursive manuscript No.100 of the Gospels, Act.100 meant cursive No.100 of the Acts and Catholic Epistles, and similarly with Paul.100 and Apoc.100; while lectionaries of the Gospels were classed as Evst., and those of the Acts and Epistles as Apost. This economised numbers, but had the inconvenience that if a manuscript contained more than one of these groups, it had a different number in each of them. Thus one of the best of all the minuscules, which contains three of the groups, was variously known as Evan.33, Act.13, Paul.17; while another, which has the complete New Testament, was known as Evan.584, Act.228, Paul.269, Apoc.97. Accordingly in 1908 C. R. Gregory, with the assent of nearly all Biblical scholars, compiled a continuous list of all the minuscules, and it is this list (continued by Professor H. Lietzmann) which has now reached the above-mentioned total of 2,429. [The occasion of Gregory's revision was the publication of a wholly new numeration by H. von Soden, in connection with his new edition of the Greek text (see p.121). This numeration was unsatisfactory in itself, and inconvenient as blurring the whole textual record; and since it has not been generally adopted, it is not necessary to trouble the reader with it.]
The vast majority of them are of very slight textual importance; but something will be said below of their collective evidence, and of the few which possess special value.


2. Versions.

The most important versions, or translations of the New Testament into other languages, are the Syriac, Egyptian, and Latin. They will be described in detail in the next chapter but one, but a short statement of their respective dates is necessary here, in order that we may understand the history of the New Testament text. As soon as Christianity spread beyond the borders of Palestine there was a necessity for translations of the Scriptures into all these languages. Syria was the nearest neighbour of Palestine, Egypt a prominent literary centre and the home of many Jews, while Latin was the language of Africa and Italy and the West of Europe generally. At first, no doubt, Christian instruction was given by word of mouth, but in the course of the second century written translations of most, at any rate, of the New Testament books had been made in these languages; and these versions are of great value to us now, since from them we can often gather what reading of a disputed passage was found in the very early copies of the Greek Testament from which the original translations were made.

In SYRIACfour versions are known to have been made:

  1. the Old Syriac, of the Gospels only;
  2. the Peshitta, the standard translation of the whole Bible into Syriac;
  3. the Harkleian, a revision made by Thomas of Harkel in AD616 of an earlier version made in AD508;
  4. the Palestinian, an independent version from the Greek, extant in fragments only, and of doubtful date.

Of these the Old Syriac and the Peshitta are much the most important.

In Egypt no less than five versions were current in different dialects of the COPTICor native tongue, but only two of these are at present known to be important for critical purposes:

  1. the Memphitic or Bohairic, belonging to Lower Egypt;
  2. the Thebaic or Sahidic, of Upper Egypt.

Both of these appear to have been made about the beginning of the third century, or perhaps earlier; but the Sahidic is the earlier and the more valuable.
The LATINversions are two in number, both of great importance:

  1. the Old Latin, made early in the second century, and extant (though only in fragments) in three somewhat varying shapes, known respectively as African, European, and Italian;
  2. the Vulgate, which is the revision of the Old Latin by St. Jerome at the end of the fourth century.

Other early translations of the Scriptures exist in various languages - Armenian, Georgian, Ethiopian, Arabic, and Gothic; but these are neither so early nor so important as those we have mentioned. The Old Syriac, Peshitta, Memphitic, Thebaic, Old Latin, and Vulgate versions are referred to in the notes of the Variorum Bible, and they are unquestionably the most important of the versions for the purposes of textual criticism.

3. Fathers.

The evidence of early Christian writers for the text of the New Testament begins to be available about the middle of the second century.
The most important are Justin Martyr (died AD164); Tatian, the author of a famous Harmony of the Gospels, known as the Diatessaron (died about AD180); Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, who wrote about AD185;
Clement of Alexandria, at the end of the century; Hippolytus of Rome and Origen of Alexandria, in the first half of the third century; and the two great Latin writers of Africa, Tertullian and Cyprian, the former at the beginning of the third century, and the latter about the middle of it. Later still we have the great scholars, Eusebius of Caesarea in the first half of the fourth century, and Jerome in the second.
The evidence of the Fathers has, however, to be used with care. As has been already explained (p.27), copyists were liable to alter the words of a Scriptural quotation in the Fathers into the shape most familiar to themselves, so that the evidence of a Father is less trustworthy when it is in favour of a commonly accepted reading than when it is against it; and further, the early writers were apt to quote from memory, and so to make verbal errors. When, however, we can be sure that we have a quotation in the form in which the Father actually wrote it (and the context sometimes makes this certain), the evidence is of great value, because the Father must have been copying from a manuscript of the Bible much older than any that we now possess. There is also this further advantage, that we generally know in what part of the world each of the Fathers was writing, and so can tell in what country certain corruptions of the text began or were most common. This is a very important consideration in the part of the inquiry to which we are now coming. 

Now when we have got all this formidable array of authorities, -
our four thousand Greek manuscripts, our versions in half a dozen languages, and all the writings of the Fathers - what more can be done?
Are we simply to take their evidence on each disputed passage, tabulate the authorities for each various reading, and then decide according to the best of our judgment which reading is to be preferred in each several case?
Well, very much can be, and very much has been, done by this method. Allowing proper weight for the superior age of the leading uncial manuscripts, so that the evidence of the uncials shall not be overborne by the numerical preponderance of late cursives, a mere statement of the authorities on either side will often be decisive. Thus, if we find in Mark vii.19 that eight of the later uncials and hundreds of cursives have the received reading, "purging all meats," while א, A, B, E, F, G, H, L, S, X, Δ, and three Fathers have a slight variety which gives the sense, "This he said, making all meats clean," no one will doubt that the superiority, both of authority and of sense, is on the side of the latter, even though the numerical preponderance of MSS. is with the former; and consequently we find that all editors and the Revised Version have rejected the received reading. This is only one instance out of a great many, which the reader of the Variorum Bible or of any critical edition can easily pick out for himself, in which a simple inspection of the authorities on either side and of the intrinsic merit of the alternative readings is sufficient to determine the judgment of editors without hesitation.

Grouping of Authorities.

But is it possible to go beyond this?
Can we, instead of simply estimating our authorities in order of their age, arrange them into groups which have descended from common ancestors, and determine the age and character of each group?
It is obvious that no manuscript can have greater authority than that from which it is copied, and that if a hundred copies have been taken, directly or indirectly, from one manuscript, while five have been taken from another which is older and better, the reading of the five will carry more weight than that of the hundred. In other words, the number of manuscripts in a group which has a common parentage proves nothing, except that the form of text represented by that group was preferred in former times; which may or may not be an important factor of the evidence. It does not in itself prove superiority in either age or merit.
The question then arises, Is it possible to arrange the authorities for the text of the New Testament in groups of this kind?
The general answer of critics in the past was, No. It has been very rare, in the history of Biblical criticism, to find an editor forming his manuscripts into groups. They have generally been content to use the best manuscripts that were available to them, and to judge each on its own merits, or even, at times, to decide every question according to numerical preponderance among a small number of selected manuscripts. 

A few scholars in the past, however, realised the importance of classifying and weighing manuscripts, instead of merely counting them. The first was J. A. Bengel (1734), who made a division into two groups, African and Asiatic; and this was developed into a division into three groups by J. S. Semler (1767) and J. J. Griesbach (1775-7). The common feature of all these classifications was the recognition that the great mass of later authorities was of much less value than a small number of earlier authorities. This, which is a commonplace of the textual criticism of classical literature, was for a long time received with little favour by Biblical students. It was, however, taken up, elaborated, and definitely established as the basis of the textual criticism of the New Testament by the two great Cambridge scholars of the latter part of the nineteenth century, Bishop B. F. Westcott and Professor F. J. A. Hort; and since their classification (expounded by Hort in the Introduction to their joint text of the New Testament in 1881) has been the basis of all subsequent study, it is necessary to give a brief summary of it.

Westcott and Hort's Classification of Authorities.

An examination of passages in which two or more different readings exist shows that one small group of authorities, consisting of the uncial manuscripts B, א, L, a few cursives such as 33 and 81, and the Bohairic and Sahidic versions, is generally found in agreement; another equally clearly marked group consists of D, the Old Latin and Old Syriac versions, and cursives 13, 69, 431, 565, 614, 876, and Evst.39, with a few others more intermittently; while A (in the Gospels), C (generally), the later uncials, and the great mass of cursives and the later versions form another group, numerically overwhelming. Sometimes each of these groups will have a distinct reading of its own; sometimes two of them will be combined against the third; sometimes an authority which usually supports one group will be found with one of the others. But the general division into groups remains constant and is the basis of the present theory.

Combined or "Conflate" Readings.

Next, it is possible to distinguish the origins and relative priority of the groups. In the first place, passages occur in which the first group described above has one reading, the second has another, and the third combines the two. Thus in the last words of St. Luke's Gospel (as the Variorum Bible shows), א, B, C, L, with the Bohairic and one Syriac version, have "blessing God"; D and the Old Latin have "praising God"; but A and twelve other UNCIALS, all the cursives, the Vulgate and other versions, have "praising and blessing God." Instances like this occur, not once nor twice, but repeatedly. Now it is in itself more probable that the combined reading in such cases is later than, and is the result of, two separate readings. It is more likely that a copyist, finding two different words in two or more manuscripts before him, would put down both in his copy, than that two scribes, finding a combined phrase in their originals, would each select one part of it alone to copy, and would each select a different one. The motive for combining would be praiseworthy - the desire to make sure of keeping the right word by retaining both; but the motive for separating would be vicious, since it involves the deliberate rejection of some words of the sacred text. Moreover, we know that such combination was actually practised; for, as has been stated above, it is a marked characteristic of Lucian's edition of the Septuagint.

Localisation of Groups by Aid of the Fathers.

At this point the evidence of the Fathers becomes important as to both the time and the place of origin of these combined (or as Dr. Hort technically calls them "conflate") readings, and of the other readings characteristic of the third group. They are found to be characteristic of the Scripture quotations in the works of Chrysostom, who was bishop of Antioch in Syria at the end of the fourth century, and of other writers in or about Antioch at the same time; and thenceforward it is the predominant text in manuscripts, versions, and quotations. Hence this type of text, the text of our later uncials, cursives, early printed editions, and Authorised Version, is believed to have taken its rise in or near Antioch, and is known as the "Syrian" text. The type found in the second of the groups above described, that headed by D, the Old Latin and Old Syriac, is called the "Western" text, as being especially found in Latin manuscripts and in those which (like D) have both Greek and Latin texts, though it probably had its origin in the East. There is another small group, earlier than the Syrian, but not represented continuously by any one MS. (mainly by C in the Gospels, A, C, in Acts and Epistles, with certain cursives and occasionally אand L), to which Dr. Hort gives the name of "Alexandrian." The remaining group, headed by B, may be best described as the "Neutral" text.

The "Syrian" Readings Latest.

Now among all the Fathers whose writings are left to us from before the middle of the third century (notably Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Clement, Origen, Tertullian, and Cyprian), we find readings belonging to the groups described as Western, Alexandrian, and Neutral, but no distinctly Syrian readings. On the other hand we have seen that in the latter part of the fourth century, especially in the region of Antioch, Syrian readings are found plentifully. Add to this the fact that, as stated above, the Syrian readings often show signs of having been derived from a combination of non-Syrian readings, and we have strong confirmation of the belief, which is the corner-stone of Dr. Hort's theory, that the Syrian type of text originated in a revision of the then existing texts, made about the end of the third century in or near Antioch. The result of accepting this conclusion obviously is that, where the Syrian text differs from that of the other groups, it must be rejected as being of later origin, and therefore less authentic; and when it is remembered that by far the greater number of our authorities contain a Syrian text, the importance of this conclusion is manifest. In spite of their numerical preponderance, the Syrian authorities must be relegated to the lowest place.

The "Western" Group.

Of the remaining groups, the Western text is characterised by considerable freedom of addition, and sometimes of omission. Whole verses, or even longer passages, are found in manuscripts of this family, which are entirely absent from all other copies. Some of them will be found enumerated in the following chapter in the description of D, the leading manuscript of this class, and a fuller survey of them is given in Appendix I. It is evident that this type of text must have had its origin in a time when strict exactitude in copying the books of the New Testament was not regarded as a necessary virtue. In early days the copies of the New Testament books were made for immediate edification, without any idea that they would be links in a chain for the transmission of the sacred texts to a distant future; and a scribe might innocently insert in the narrative additional details which he believed to be true and valuable. Fortunately the literary conscience of Antioch and Alexandria was more sensitive, and so this tendency did not spread very far, and was checked before it had greatly contaminated the Bible text. Western manuscripts often contain old and valuable readings, but any variety which shows traces of the characteristic Western vice of amplification or explanatory addition must be rejected, unless it has strong support outside the purely Western group of authorities.

The "Alexandrian" Group.

There remain the Alexandrian and the Neutral groups. The Alexandrian text is represented, not so much by any individual MS. or version, as by certain readings found scattered about in manuscripts which elsewhere belong to one of the other groups. They are readings which have neither Western nor Syrian characteristics, and yet differ from what appears to be the earliest form of the text; and being found most regularly in the quotations of Origen, Cyril of Alexandria, and other Alexandrian Fathers, as well as in the Memphitic version, they are reasonably named Alexandrian. Their characteristics are such as might naturally be due to such a centre of Greek scholarship, since they affect the style rather than the matter, and appear to rise mainly from a desire for correctness of language. They are consequently of minor importance, and are not always distinctly recognisable.

The "Neutral" Group.

The Neutral text, which Westcott and Hort believe to represent most nearly the original text of the New Testament, is chiefly recognisable by the absence of the various forms of aberration noticed in the other groups. Its main centre is at Alexandria, but it also appears in places widely removed from that centre. Sometimes single authorities of the Western group will part company with the rest of their family and exhibit readings which are plainly both ancient and non-Western, showing the existence of a text preceding the Western, and on which the Western variations have been grafted. This text must therefore not be assigned to any local centre. It belonged originally to all the Eastern world. In many parts of the East, notably in Asia Minor, it was superseded by the text which, from its transference to the Latin churches, we call Western. It remained pure longest in Alexandria, and is found in the writings of the Alexandrian Fathers, though even here slight changes of language were introduced, to which the name of Alexandrian has been given. Our main authority for it at the present day is the great Vatican manuscript known as B, and this is often supported by the equally ancient Sinaitic manuscript (א), and by the other manuscripts and versions named above (p.110). Where the readings of this Neutral text can be plainly discerned, as by the concurrence of all or most of these authorities, they may be accepted with confidence in the face of all the numerical preponderance of other texts; and in so doing lies our best hope of recovering the true words of the New Testament.

Importance of Westcott and Horts Theory.

Such is, in brief, the theory of Dr. Hort.
Its importance in the history of the Bible text, especially in England, is evident when it is seen that it largely influenced the Revisers of our English Bible. The text underlying the Revised Version does not indeed go so far as that of Westcott and Hort in its departure from the received text and from the mass of manuscripts other than B, א, and their fellows; but it is unquestionable that the cogent arguments of the Cambridge Professors had a great effect on the Revisers, and most of the leading scholars of the country have given in their allegiance to the theory. It is indeed on these lines alone that progress in Biblical criticism is possible. The mere enumeration of authorities for and against a disputed reading - the acceptance of the verdict of a majority - is plainly impossible, since it would amount to constructing our text from the latest and least original MSS.
To select a certain number of the earliest MSS. and count their votes alone (as was done by Lachmann) is better; but this too is uncritical, and involves the shutting of our eyes to much light which is at our service. To estimate the intrinsic merit of each reading in a disputed passage, taking into account the general predominance of good authorities on one side or the other, is better still, and good critics have gone far by this method; but it still leaves much to the personal taste and judgment of the critic, which in the last resort can never be convincing. Only if our authorities can be divided into groups - if their genealogical tree, so to speak, can be traced with some approach to certainty, so that the earlier branches may be distinguished from the later - only so is there any chance of our criticism advancing on a sound basis and being able to command a general assent.


Objections to It.

The theory of Westcott and Hort has not, however, been universally accepted. On its first promulgation it was vehemently opposed by the advocates of the "received" (or, as Hort calls it, the Syrian) text, such as Dean Burgon and Dr. Scrivener. Much was made of the well-nigh absolute predominance of the received text in the later Middle Ages, and the vast numerical majority of the manuscripts containing it. But the weakness of this argument became evident when it was pointed out that exactly the same sort of preponderance of later and inferior witnesses was found, on a smaller scale, in classical literature generally. A greater difficulty (and it is a real one) in the theory is that there is absolutely no historical confirmation of the Syrian revision of the text, which is its cornerstone. It is rightly urged that it is very strange to find no reference among the Fathers to so important an event as an official revision of the Bible text and its adoption as the standard text throughout the Greek world. We know the names of the scholars who made revisions of the Septuagint and of the Syriac version; but there is no trace of those who carried out the far more important work of fixing the shape of the Greek New Testament. Is not the whole theory artificial and illusory, the vain imagining of an ingenious mind, like so many of the products of modern criticism, which spins endless webs out of its own interior, to be swept away to-morrow by the ruthless broom of common sense?

Considerations of Objections.

Against this indictment may be placed the consideration that even if we can find no historical reference to a revision, yet the critical reasons which indicated the separation of the Syrian text from the rest, and its inferiority in date, remain untouched. We still have the groups of authorities habitually found in conjunction; we still have the fact that the readings of the group we have called Syrian are shown by their intrinsic character to be probably later than the non-Syrian; and we still have the fact that readings of the Syrian type are not found in any authorities earlier than about AD300. Unless these facts can be controverted, the division into groups and the relative inferiority of the Syrian group must be considered to be established. At the same time, it does seem possible that the formal revision of the text at a set time in or about Antioch may be a myth. Dr. Hort himself divides the revision into two stages, separated by some interval of time, and thus doubles the difficulty of accounting for the total absence of any mention of a revision. It seems possible that the Syrian text is the result rather of a process continued over a considerable period of time than of a set revision by constituted authorities. In the comparatively prosperous days of the third, and still more of the fourth, century the Church had leisure to collect and compare different copies of the Scriptures hitherto passing without critical examination. At a great centre of Christianity, such as Antioch, the principle may have been established by general consent that the best way to deal with divergences of readings was to combine them, wherever possible, to smooth away difficulties and harshnesses, and to produce an even and harmonious text. Such a principle might easily be adopted by the copyists of a single neighbourhood, and so lead in time to the creation of a local type of text, just as the Western text must be supposed to have been produced, not by a formal revision, but by the development of a certain way of dealing with the text in a certain region. The subsequent acceptance of the Antiochian or Syrian type as the received text of the Greek New Testament must have been due to the predominant influence of Constantinople. The Antiochian revision aimed at producing a smooth, intelligible text, suitable for popular use. Such a text, if once approved by metropolitan churches so influential as Constantinople and Antioch, would naturally become the received text of the whole Byzantine Church. Such, whatever its origin, it certainly eventually became; and it is only the discovery of more ancient authorities which has convinced practically all scholars that it is in fact a secondary text, the result of a long process of revision, and that we must get behind it if we wish to recover, as nearly as may be, the original form of the sacred text. 

But this is not to say that the "Neutral" text of Westcott and Hort must be accepted forthwith as final. On the contrary, it has been sharply assailed from another side. It was early pointed out that the argument which the Cambridge scholars used against the "Syrian" text might be turned against their "Neutral" text; for in the earliest Christian writers the form of text found in their quotations was much more "Western" than "Neutral." A disposition accordingly manifested itself among the less conservative critics to advocate the claims of the "Western" text, and to maintain that it was the original form, from which the "Neutral" had been derived by a process of revision. This view was reinforced by the discovery of the Sinaitic MS. of the Old Syriac version, as described below (p.161); for here was an authority, unquestionably of early date, with a number of readings which were certainly not "Neutral," but had affinities rather with the Old Latin and other truly Western witnesses. For a time, therefore, there was a tendency to exalt the "Western" text and to question the "Neutral." 

But this view too is hardly standing up to criticism and the increasing evidence; for the more that instances multiplied of readings which were pre-Syrian and yet were not "Neutral," the more difficult it became to define what the term "Western" meant. If it were asked what the "Neutral" text is, it was easy to answer that it was the text found in the Codex Vaticanus and its allies. But if it were asked what the "Western" text is, no such easy answer lay at hand, because the habit had grown up of giving the title of "Western" to any and every early reading which was not "Neutral."  The Western text was therefore a congeries of readings, some with Latin attestation, some with Syrian, some even with Egyptian, although Egypt was accepted as the home of the "Neutral" text. This loose use of the term "Western" as equivalent to "non-Neutral pre-Syrian" is not yet extinct, but the truth is that in this sense the "Western" text is not a text at all. The general trend of modern discoveries is to show that a distinction must be drawn between the truly Western text, to be found mainly in Graeco-Latin MSS. such as the Codex Bezae and the Codex Claromontanus, and in the Old Latin Version, and the remaining early non-Neutral readings, for which other classifications may still be found, and some of which will probably remain unclassified. 

One such classification has emerged within the last few years, as the result of researches in which many scholars have had a hand, but in which the greater and more decisive part has been played by the late Dr. B. H. Streeter and Professor Kirsopp Lake. So long ago as 1877 W. H. Ferrar and T. K. Abbott indicated a group of four minuscule MSS. (13, 69, 124, 346) as having many peculiar readings which showed that they had a common parentage. Then, in 1902, Lake isolated another group of four (1, 118, 131, 209) which similarly formed a single family. In 1906 attention was called to a late uncial (now known as the Codex Koridethianus, or Θ), and it was shown that it had connections with both of these groups and with some other minuscules (28, 565, 700 and others). Finally, Dr. Streeter proved that this type of text, which stood midway between Neutral and Western, was used by Origen in certain commentaries and other works of his, written during the later part of his life, when he was resident at Caesarea. Streeter accordingly felt justified in dubbing it the "Caesarean" text, and claiming for it a right to recognition as a definite family. Lake subsequently showed that there is reason to believe that Origen may have used this type of text before he left Alexandria for Caesarea; and the possibility that it may have been of Egyptian origin was strengthened when the Chester Beatty Gospels papyrus (see below, p.125) was found to have a text of "Caesarean" character. But whatever its character, the "Caesarean" text has been placed "on the map," and the scope of the "Western" by so much reduced. 

The truth would seem to be (and every new discovery of early fragments seems to confirm it) that in the second and third centuries the text of the New Testament, and especially of the Gospels, was under very little control. There was no one centre issuing authoritative copies of the Scriptures, and for some time no need was felt for it. It was the substance of the Christian story that mattered, not the exact words. One community would borrow a copy of a Gospel or Epistle from its neighbour and copy it, and the copyist would not always be a skilled scribe. Means of controlling and correcting mistakes were lacking; and in such conditions various readings would multiply greatly. We know that a similar state of confusion existed among the manuscripts of the Old Latin Version when, towards the end of the fourth century, Pope Damasus commissioned Jerome to restore them to order. So, no doubt, in the Greek world, efforts at reform would be made by bishops and scholars, but their effect would be mainly local; and the result would be the formation of local types of text. Such, it would appear, was the origin of the several families which we now know as Neutral (or Alexandrian), Western (in the proper restricted sense), Syriac (the text of the Old Syriac Version), Caesarean, and Byzantine (a title for Hort's "Syrian" text, which seems preferable, as avoiding confusion with "Syriac," and indicating the important fact that it became the received text of the Byzantine Church). And if the text which Hort called "Neutral" is on the whole to be regarded as the best, it is not because (as Hort thought) it has come down substantially intact without having undergone editorial revision, but rather because it is the result of more scholarly and scientific revision than the others, while the Western, on the contrary, is the result of a lax treatment of the text. But on these points, as to which agreement has not been reached among scholars, more may be said after the list of manuscripts and versions has been surveyed.

[A classification of authorities, somewhat different from that of Westcott and Hort, was put forward in 1906 by H. von Soden in the very elaborate prolegomena to his critical edition of the Greek text. He formed three classes, indicated by the letters K, H, and I. K (from the Greek word κοινή) is identical with Hort's "Syrian," H (so called because he attributes it to the Alexandrian scholar, Hesychius, whose edition of the Septuagint has been described above, p.60) is equivalent to Hort's "Neutral," and I (Jerusalem) includes the Western authorities and a number of others. Von Soden claimed this family as his special discovery, and regarded it as the best; but in truth it is difficult to identify, and consists of a number of incongruous groups. The identification of the Caesarean family, which forms part of it, has further discredited it, and von Soden's principal service would appear to be his classification of a number of subgroups of his K family, which throws light on the evolution of the Received Text.]
With this preliminary outline of textual theory, the reader will be able to appreciate the position in relation to it held by the several manuscripts and versions which we now proceed to describe.



THE earliest printed editions of the New Testament - those of Erasmus, Ximenes, Stephanus, and Beza - have been mentioned in the preceding chapter (pp.102-4), and there would be little profit or interest in a list of all the editions which have followed these down to the present day. But since certain editors stand out above their fellows by reason of their exceptional services towards the improvement of the text, and their opinions are often quoted among the authorities presented to the student in critical editions, it may be useful to give (mainly from the more detailed histories of Tregelles and Scrivener) some slight record of their labours, and of the principles adopted by them. It will not be inappropriate, in a history of the Bible text, to record the names of those who have especially devoted their lives to the task of freeing it from the errors of past ages, and the restoration of it, as near as may be, to its original truth. 

There are two steps in this operation; first, the collection of evidence, and, secondly, the using of it. The "received text," as shown above, was based on the comparison of a few manuscripts, mostly of late date, and for more than a century the most pressing need was the examination of more and better manuscripts. BRIAN WALTON, afterwards Bishop of Chester, led the way in 1657, by publishing in his Polyglot Bible the readings of fourteen hitherto unexamined MSS., including the newly acquired Codex Alexandrinus (A) and the two important Graeco-Latin MSS. D and D2; but the real father of this department of textual criticism is JOHN MILL (1645-1710), of Queen's College, Oxford. Mill, in 1707, reprinted Stephanus' text of 1550, with only accidental divergences, but added the various readings of nearly 100 manuscripts, and thereby provided all subsequent scholars with a broad basis of established evidence. RICHARD BENTLEY(1662-1742), the most famous of all English classical scholars, planned a critical edition of the New Testament in both Greek and Latin, and to that end procured collations of a large number of good manuscripts in both languages; but an increasing sense of the complexity of the task, and the distraction of other occupations, prevented the completion of his work, and his masses of materials proved of little use. He had, however, stimulated others to carry on the task he left unfinished; and J.J. WETSTEIN (1693-1754), of Basle, who had originally worked for Bentley, made very large additions to the stores of manuscript evidence. His New Testament, published in 1751-2, quotes the readings of more than 300 MSS., including nearly all those which are now recognized as being of the greatest value. As mentioned above (p.106) he also drew up the first list of manuscript authorities, which has served as the basis of all subsequent lists. To this list some seventy more were added by C. F. MATTHAEI(1744-1811). 

Meanwhile other scholars had begun to turn their attention to the use of the materials thus collected; and the pioneer of critical method was J. A. BENGEL, of Tubingen (1687-1752). To this scholar belongs the honour of having been the first to divide the manuscripts of the New Testament into groups.  The great majority of MSS. he assigned to a group which he called the Asiatic, though its headquarters were at Constantinople, while the few better ones were classed as African. Bengel did not, however, advance far with this principle, and the first working out of it must be assigned to J. J. GRIESBACH (1745-1812), who made a careful classification of MSS. into three groups - the Alexandrian, the Western, and the Byzantine. These groups roughly correspond to the Neutral, Western, and Syrian groups of Dr. Hort, of whom Griesbach is the true forerunner. On the basis of this classification Griesbach drew up lists of readings which he regarded as, in greater or less degree, preferable to those of the received text, and so paved the way for the formal construction of a revised Greek Testament. 

So far all editors had been content to reprint the received text of the New Testament, merely adding their collections of various readings in footnotes; but with the nineteenth century a new departure was made, and we reach the region of modern textual criticism, of which the principle is, setting aside the "received text," to construct a new text with the help of the best authorities now available. The author of this new departure was C. LACHMANN(1793-1851), who published in 1831, and with a fuller exposition in 1842-50, a text constructed according to principles of his own devising. Out of all the mass of manuscripts collected by Mill, Wetstein, and their colleagues, he selected a few of the best (A, B, C, and sometimes D, with the fragments P, Q, T, Z, in the Gospels; D, E2, in the Acts; D2, G3, H3, in the Pauline Epistles; together with some of the best MSS.of the Latin Vulgate, and a few of the Fathers), and from these he endeavoured to recover the text of the New Testament as it was current in the fourth century (when the earliest of these authorities were written) by the simple method of counting the authorities in favour of each reading, and always following the majority. Lachmann's method was too mechanical in its rigidity, and the list of his authorities was too small; at the same time his use of the best authorities led him to many unquestionable improvements on the received text. Lachmann was followed by the two great Biblical critics of the last generation, Tischendorf and Tregelles, who unite in themselves the two distinct streams of textual criticism, being eminent alike in the collection and the use of evidence. A. F. G. TISCHENDORF(1815-1874) published no fewer than eight editions of the Greek New Testament, with an increasing quantity of critical material in each; and the last of these (1869-72, with prolegomena on the MSS., versions, etc., by Gregory in 1884-94) remains still the standard collection of evidence for the Greek text. Besides this, he published trustworthy editions of a large number of the best individual manuscripts, crowning the whole with his great discovery and publication of the Codex Sinaiticus, as described in the next chapter. Tischendorf's services in the publication of texts (including א) B, C, D2, E2, L, and many more of the Greek New Testament, with the Codex Amiatinus of the Latin) are perfectly inestimable, and have done more than anything else to establish textual criticism on a sound basis. His use of his materials, in his revisions of the New Testament text, is less satisfactory, owing to the considerable fluctuations in his judgments between one edition and the next; but here, too, his work has been very useful. S. P. TREGELLES(1813-75) published only two MSS. in full, but collated very many with great accuracy, and used his materials with judgment in the preparation of a revised text. Like Lachmann, he based his text exclusively on the ancient authorities; but he used a larger number of them, paid much attention to the versions and Fathers, and did not tie himself down to obedience to a numerical majority among his witnesses. Like Tischendorf, he followed no principle of grouping in his use of his authorities, so that his choice of readings is liable to depend on personal preference among the best attested variants; but his experience and judgment were such as to entitle his opinion to very great weight. 

Of WESTCOTTand HORT we have spoken at length in the preceding chapter, showing how they revived Griesbach's principle, and worked it out with greater elaboration and with a far fuller command of material. 

Since Westcott and Hort there has been much publication of new discoveries, which will be described in their proper place below, but only one large-scale critical edition of the whole New Testament. This is the work of Hermann VON SODEN, who in 1902-10 published elaborate Prolegomena, including the catalogue and classification of MSS. referred to above (pp.107, 118), followed in 1913 by the text and critical apparatus. It is a work of immense labour, but difficult to use and unsatisfactory in results by reason of defects of plan. His text is prepared largely according to his own judgment, and does not differ materially from that of most other critical editions. 

Apart from actual editions of the text, most valuable work was done by C. R. Gregory, an American scholar domiciled in Germany, who, in spite of his advanced age, insisted on fighting for his adopted country, and died in the field in 1915. As editor of the Prolegomena to Tischendorf's last edition, and of several subsequent volumes, he provided the chief magazine of textual materials on which scholars still depend; and his catalogue of manuscripts, with the renumbering referred to above (p.107), is, with the continuations of von Dobschiitz and Lietzmann, the universally accepted official list. In England a similar service was rendered by F. H. A. Scrivener (1813-91), whose Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, first published in 1861 (fourth edition, 1894, by E. Miller, with chapters by other scholars) is still the fullest description, up to its date, of the textual materials for English readers. His list of MSS., partly coincident with and partly parallel to that of Gregory, is now superseded by the latter, which alone has been kept up-to-date. Other scholars who may be mentioned are J. W. Burgon, conspicuous for his vehement and even intemperate defence of the Received Text against the doctrines of Westcott and Hort; and Bernard Weiss, whose textual studies of successive portions of the New Testament (1892-9) led him along quite independent lines of argument to support Westcott and Hort's high opinion of the Vatican MS. 

Von Soden's edition having proved a disappointment, an attempt has recently been set on foot by an English committee to produce a new critical edition on the same lines as Tischendorf - that is, a plain statement of the evidence of manuscripts, versions, and Fathers, without any attempt to classify or group it according to any textual theory. The first part of this, containing the Gospel of St. Mark, in the text of Westcott and Hort, with full apparatus, appeared from the Oxford University Press in 1935, under the editorship of the Rev. S. C. E. Legg. St. Matthew is now ready for the press. If this enterprise can be carried through, scholars will have a full statement of the textual material, embodying all the most recent discoveries. 

The foregoing list includes all the editors whom the reader may expect to find often quoted in any textual commentary on the Bible which he is likely to use, and may, it is hoped, help him to understand the principles on which their opinions are given. To the reader who wishes to find a statement of the evidence on all important passages in the New Testament, without wading through such a mass of material as that provided by Tischendorf, von Soden, or Legg, the following hints may be useful. The Cambridge School Greek Testament, edited by Scrivener, gives the received text, with notes stating the readings adopted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Westcott and Hort, and the Revised Version of 1881. The Oxford Greek Testament, which contains the received text as edited by Bishop Lloyd in 1828, was provided in 1899 by Professor Sanday with an appendix containing an admirable selection of various readings, and a statement of the principal manuscripts, versions, Fathers, and editors in favour of each, and, in addition, a complete collation of the text of Westcott and Hort. This may be confidently recommended to students who wish for a handy critical edition of the Greek text, though of course it lacks the most recent discoveries. The student who prefers to use the English Bible will find a similar collection of evidence, amply sufficient for all practical purposes, and excellently selected by Professor Sanday and Mr. R. L. Clarke, in the notes to the Variorum Bible; where he will likewise find notes which summarize the best opinions on the translation, as well as the text, of the most important passages about which there is any doubt. 

Since 1881, however, there have been several handy editions containing revised texts instead of the "received text" of 1550. The one that will probably be found most useful by students is the Oxford edition of 1910, which contains the Greek text followed in the English Revised Version, with a select textual apparatus by Professor A. Souter. Another very handy text with select apparatus is that produced by Dr. E. Nestle in 1898 and published by the Bible Society of Stuttgart, which reached its twelfth edition in 1937. An edition on somewhat similar lines has been produced by H. J. Vogels (1920). The student therefore now has an ample supply of editions of the New Testament with modern texts and sufficient textual apparatus for most purposes.