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N.T. VERSIONS]
881
BIBLE


by T. K. Abbott, A Collation of Four Important MSS. of the Gospels (Dublin, 1877). It is best discussed by Rendel Harris’s books, The Origin of the Leicester Codex (1887), The Origin of the Ferrar Group (1893), and The Ferrar Group (1900), all published at Cambridge; the text of fam.1 with a discussion of its textual relations is given in K. Lake’s “Codex 1 and its Allies” (Texts and Studies, vii. 3, 1902); 565 was edited by J. Belsheim in Das Evang. des Marcus nach d. griech. Cod. Theodorae, &c. (Christiania, 1885), many corrections to which are published in the appendix to H. S. Cronin’s “Codex Purpureus,” Texts and Studies, v. 4; 700 was published by H. C. Hoskier in his collation of cod. Evan. 604, London, 1890; α 78 is edited by E. von der Goltz in Texte und Untersuchungen, N.F. ii. 4.]

(B) The Versions.—These are generally divided into (α) primary and (β) secondary; the former being those which represent translation made at an early period directly from Greek originals, and the latter being those which were made either from other versions or from late and unimportant Greek texts.

(α) The primary versions are three—Latin, Syriac and Egyptian.

Latin Versions.—1. The Old Latin. According to Jerome’s letter to Pope Damasus in A.D. 384, there was in the 4th century a great variety of text in the Latin version, “Tot enim exemplaria pene quot codices.” This verdict is confirmed Old Latin. by examination of the MSS. which have pre-Hieronymian texts. It is customary to quote these by small letters of the Latin alphabet, but there is a regrettable absence of unanimity in the details of the notation. We can distinguish two main types, African and European. The African version is best represented in the gospels by cod. Bobiensis (k) of the 5th (some say 6th) century at Turin, and cod. Palatinus (e) of the 5th century at Vienna, both of which are imperfect, especially k, which, however, is far the superior in quality; in the Acts and Catholic epistles by cod. Floriacensis (f, h. or reg.) of the 6th century, a palimpsest which once belonged to the monks of Fleury, and by the so-called speculum (m) or collection of quotations formerly attributed to Augustine but probably connected with Spain. This scanty evidence is dated and localized as African by the quotations of Cyprian, of Augustine (not from the gospels), and of Primasius, bishop of Hadrumetum (d. c. 560), from the Apocalypse. It is still a disputed point whether Tertullian’s quotations may be regarded as evidence for a Latin version or as independent translations from the Greek, nor is it certain that this version is African in an exclusive sense; it was undoubtedly used in Africa and there is no evidence that it was known elsewhere originally, but on the other hand there is no proof that it was not. The European version is best represented in the gospels by cod. Vercellensis (a) of the 5th century and cod. Veronensis (b) of the same date (the latter being the better), and by others of less importance. It is possible that a later variety of it is found in cod. Monacensis (q) of the 7th century, and cod. Brixianus (f) of the 6th century, and this used to be called the Italic version, owing (as F. C. Burkitt has shown) to a misunderstanding of a remark of Augustine about the “Itala” which really refers to the Vulgate. In the Acts the European text is found in cod. Gigas (g or gig) of the 13th century at Stockholm, in a Perpignan MS. of the 12th century (p), published by S. Berger, and probably in cod. Laudianus (e) of the 7th century at Oxford. In the Catholic epistles it is found in cod. Corbeiensis (f or ff) of the 10th century at St Petersburg. In the Pauline epistles it is doubtful whether it is extant at all, though some have found it in the cod. Claromontanus (d) and its allies. In the Apocalypse it is found in cod. Gigas.

The main problem in connexion with the history of the African and European versions is whether they were originally one or two. As they stand at present they are undoubtedly two, and can be distinguished both by the readings which they imply in the underlying Greek, and by the renderings which they have adopted. But there is also a greater degree of similarity between them than can be explained by accidental coincidence, and there is thus an a priori case for the theory that one of the two is a revision of the other, or that there was an older version, now lost, which was the original of both. If one of the two is the original it is probably the African, for which there is older evidence, and of which the style both in reading and rendering seems purer. The chief argument against this is that it seems paradoxical to think of Africa rather than Rome as the home of the first Latin version; but it must be remembered that Roman Christianity was originally Greek, and that the beginnings of a Latin church in Rome seem to be surprisingly late.

[Editions of Old Latin MSS. are to be found in Old Latin Biblical Texts, i.-iv. (Oxford); in Migne’s Patrologia Latina, tom. xii.; and their history is treated especially in F. C. Burkitt’s “Old Latin and the Itala” (Texts and Studies, iv. 3), as well as in all books dealing with Textual Criticism generally; other important books are Rönsch’s Itala und Vulgata (1875); Corssen’s Der cyprianische Text der Acta Apostolorum (Berlin, 1892); Wordsworth and Sanday on the “Corbey S. James” in Studia Biblica, i. (1885); the article on the “Old Latin Version,” in Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible. For the textual character and importance of these versions see the section Textual Criticism below.]

2. The Vulgate or Hieronymian version. To remedy the confusion produced by the variations of the Latin text Pope Damasus asked Jerome to undertake a revision, and the latter published a new text of the New Testament in A.D. 384 Vulgate. and the rest of the Bible probably within two years. This version gradually became accepted as the standard text, and after a time was called the “Vulgata,” the first to use this name as a title being, it is said, Roger Bacon. In the Old Testament Jerome made a new translation directly from the Hebrew, as the Old Latin was based on the LXX., but in the New Testament he revised the existing version. He did this fully and carefully in the gospels, but somewhat superficially in the epistles. He seems to have taken as the basis of his work the European version as it existed in his time, perhaps best represented by cod. Monacensis (q) of the 7th century, and by the quotations in Ambrosiaster, to which cod. Brixianus (f) of the 6th century would be added if it were not probable that it is merely a Vulgate MS. with intrusive elements. This type of text he revised with the help of Greek MSS. of a type which does not seem to correspond exactly to any now extant, but to resemble B more closely than any others.

Of Jerome’s revision we possess at least 8000 MSS., of which the earliest may be divided (in the gospels at all events) into groups connected with various countries; the most important are the Northumbrian, Irish, Anglo-Irish and Spanish, but the first named might also be called the Italian, as it represents the text of good MSS. brought from Italy in the 7th century and copied in the great schools of Wearmouth and Jarrow. One of the most important, cod. Amiatinus, was copied in this way in the time of Ceolfrid, Benedict Biscop’s successor, as a present for Pope Gregory in 716. From these MSS. the original Hieronymian text may be reconstructed with considerable certainty. The later history of the version is complicated, but fairly well known. The text soon began to deteriorate by admixture with the Old Latin, as well from the process of transcription, and several attempts at a revision were made before the invention of printing. Of these the earliest of note were undertaken in France in the 9th century by Alcuin in 801, and almost at the same time by Theodulf, bishop of Orleans (787-821). In the 11th century a similar task was undertaken by Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury (1069-1089); in the 12th century by Stephen Harding (1109), third abbot of Citeaux, and by Cardinal Nicolaus Maniacoria (1150), whose corrected Bible is preserved in the public library at Dijon. But these were not successful, and in the 13th century, instead of revisions, attempts were made to fix the text by providing correctoria, or lists of correct readings, which were the equivalent of critical editions; of these the chief are the Parisian, the Dominican (prepared under Hugo de S. Caro about 1240), and the Vatican. In the 15th century the history of the printed Vulgates begins. The earliest is the Mentz edition of 1452-1456 (the Mazarin or “42-line” Bible), but the earliest of a critical nature were those of Robert Étienne in 1528 and 1538-1540. In 1546 the council of Trent decided that the Vulgate should be held as authentica, and in 1590 Pope Sixtus V. published a new and authoritative edition, which was, probably at the instigation of the Jesuits, recalled by Pope Clement VIII. in 1592. In the same year, however, the same pope published another edition under the name of Sixtus. This is, according to the Bull of 1592, the authoritative edition, and has since then been accepted as such in the Latin Church. The critical edition by J. Wordsworth (bishop of Salisbury) and H. J. White probably restores the text almost to the state in which Jerome left it.

[The text of the Vulgate may be studied in Wordsworth and White, Novum Testamentum Latine; Corssen, Epistula ad Galatas. Its history is best given in S. Berger’s Histoire de la Vulgate (Paris, 1893), in which a good bibliography is given on pp. xxxii.-xxxiv. The section in Kenyon’s handbook to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament is particularly clear and full.]

Syriac Versions.—1. The Old Syriac. This is only known to us at present through two MSS. of the gospels, containing the Evangelion da-Mepharreshe, or separated gospel, probably so called in distinction to Tatian’s Diatessaron. These Old Syriac. MSS. are known as the Curetonian and Sinaitic. The Curetonian is a MS. of the 5th century. The fragments of it which we possess are MS. Brit. Mus. addit. 14.451, which was brought in 1842 from the monastery of St. Mary in the Nitrian desert, and was edited by Cureton in 1858; and three leaves in Berlin (MS. Orient. Quart. 528) which were bought in Egypt by H. Brugsch and published by A. Roediger in 1872. It was given to the monastery of St. Mary in the 10th century, but its earlier history is unknown. It contained originally the four gospels in the order Mt., Mk., Jo., Lc. It is generally quoted as Syreur or Syr C. The Sinaitic was discovered in 1892 by Mrs Lewis and Mrs Gibson in the library of St. Catherine’s monastery on Mt. Sinai, where it still remains, and was published in 1894 by R. L. Bensly, J. Rendel Harris and F. C. Burkitt, with an introduction by Mrs Lewis. It is a palimpsest MS., and the upper writing (lives of saints), dated A.D. 778, is the work of “John, the anchorite of Beth Mari Qanon, a monastery of Ma’arrath Meṣrên city in the district of Antioch.” This town is