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manuscripts, they are an invaluable treasure to the scholar, and a necessary acquisition to the divine : at the same time, his collection of various readings is admirably calculated to satisfy our minds on a point of the highest moment, the integrity of the Christian Records. Through the long interval of seventeen hundred years, amidst the collision of parties, - the opposition of enemies and the desolations of time, they remain the same as holy men read them in the primitive ages of Christianity. A very minute examination of manuscripts, versions, and fathers, proves the inviolability of the Christian Scriptures. " They all coincide in exhibiting the same Gospels, Acts, and Episdes; and among all the copies of them which have been preserved, there is not one which dissents from the rest either in the doctrines or precepts, which constitute Christianity. They ALL contain the same doctrines and precepts. For the knowledge of this fact we are indebted to such men as Griesbach, whose zealous and persevering labours to put us in possession of it entitle - them to our grateful remembrance. To the superficial, and to the novice, in theology, the long periods of life, and the patient investigation, which have been applied to critical investigation, may appear as mere waste, or, at the best, as only amusing employment; but to the serious inquirer, who, from his own conviction, can declare that he is not following cunningly devised fables, the time, the talents, and the learning, which have been devoted to critical collation, will be accounted as well expended, for the result which they have accomplished. The real theologian is sausfied from his own examination, that the accumulation of many thousands of various readings, obtained at the expense of immense critical labour, does not affect a single sentiment in the whole New Testament. And thus is criticism, — which some despise, and others
. neglect, — found to be one of those undecaying columns, by which the imperishable structure of Christian Truth is supported."
VI. From the coincidence observed between many Greek manuscripts and the Vulgate, or some other Latin version, a suspicion arose in the minds of several eminent critics, that the Greek text had been altered throughout to the Latin ; and it has been asserted that at the council of Florence, (held in 1439 with the view of establishing an union between the Greek and Latin churches,) a resolution was formed, that the Greeks should alter their manuscripts from the Latin. This has been termed by the learned, Fædus cum Græcis. The suspicion, concerning the altering of the Greek text, seems to have been first suggested by Erasmus, but it does not appear that he supposed the alterations were made before the fifteenth century : so that the charge of Latinising the manuscripts did not (at least in his notion of it) extend to the original writers of the manuscript, or, as they are called, the writers a primâ manu ; since it affected only the writers a secunda manu, or subsequent interpolators. The accusation was adopted and extended by Father Simon and Dr. Mill, and especially by Wetstein. Bengel expressed some doubts concerning
it; and it was formally questioned by Semler, Griesbach, and Woide. The
1 Eclectic Review, vol. v. part i. p. 189. VOL. II.
reasonings of the two last mentioned critics convinced Michaelis (who had formerly agreed with Erasmus) that the charge of Latinising was unfounded, and in the fourth edition of his Introduction to the New Testament (the edition translated by Bishop Marsh), with a candour of which there are too few examples, Michaelis totally abandoned his first opinion, and expressed his opinion that the pretended agreement in the Fædus cum Græcis is a mere conjecture of Erasmus, to which he had recourse as a refuge in a matter of controversy. Carrying the proof to its utmost length, it only shows that the Latin translations and the Greek copies were made from the same exemplars; which rather proves the antiquity of the Latin translations, than the corruption of the Greek copies. It is further worthy of remark, that Jerome corrected the Latin from the Greek, a circumstance which is known in every part of the Western church. Now, as Michaelis justly observes, when it was known that the learned father had made the Greek text the basis of his alterations in the Latin translation, it is scarcely to be imagined that the transcribers of the Western Church would alter the Greek by the Latin ; and it is still less probable, that those of the Eastern Church would act in this manner.
§ 2. ACCOUNT OF GREEK MANUSCRIPTS CONTAINING THE OLD AND NEW
I. The Alexandrian Manuscript. -- II. The Vatican Manuscript. OF the few manuscripts known to be extant, which contain the Greek Scriptures (that is, the Old Testament, according to the Septuagint Version, and the New Testament), there are two which preeminently demand the attention of the Biblical student for their antiquity and intrinsic value, viz. The Alexandrian manuscript, which is preserved in the British Museum, and the Vatican manuscript, deposited in the library of the Vatican Palace at Rome.
I. The CODEX ALEXANDRINUS, or Alexandrian Manuscripts which is noted by the letter A. in Wetstein's and Griesbach's critical editions of the New Testament, consists of four folio volumes; the three first contain the whole of the Old Testament, together with the Apocryphal books, and the fourth comprises the New Testament, the first epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, and the Apocryphal Psalms ascribed to Solomon. In the New Testament there is wanting the beginning as far as Matt. xxv. 6. o vulpoos EXETAS ; likewise from John vi. 50. to vii. 52. and from 2 Cor. iv. 13. to xii. 7. The Psalms are preceded by the epistle of Athanasius to Marcellinus, and followed by a catalogue, containing those which are to be used in prayer for each hour, both of the day and of the night; also by fourteen hymns, partly apocryphal, partly biblical, the eleventh of which is a hymn in praise of the Virgin Mary, entitled προσευχη Μαριας της Θεοτοxou : the arguments of Eusebius are annexed to the Psalms, and his
Michaelis's Introduction, vol. ii. part i. pp. 163–173. Butler's Horæ Biblice, vol. i.
canons to the Gospels. This manuscript is now preserved in the British Museum, where it was deposited in 1753. It was sent as a present to King Charles I. from Cyrillus Lucaris, a native of Crete, and patriarch of Constantinople, by Sir Thomas Rowe, ambassador from England to the Grand Seignior, in the year 1628. Cyrillus brought it with him from Alexandria, where, probably, it was written. In a schedule annexed to it, he gives this account; that it was written, as tradition informed them, by Thecla, a noble Egyptian lady, about thirteen hundred years ago, a little after the council of Nice. He adds, that the name of Thecla, at the end of the book, was erased ; but that this was the case with other books of the Christians, after Christianity was extinguished in Egypt by the Mohammedans: and that recent tradition records the fact of the laceration and erasure of Thecla's name. The proprietor of this manuscript, before it came into the hands of Cyrillus Lucaris, had written an Arabic subscription, expressing that this book was said to have been written with the pen of Thecla the Martyr.
Various disputes have arisen with regard to the place whence it was brought, and where it was written, to its antiquity, and of course to its real value. Some critics have bestowed upon it the highest commendation, whilst it has been equally depreciated by others. Of its most strenuous adversaries, Wetstein seems to have been the principal. The place from which it was sent to England was, without doubt, Alexandria, and hence it has been called Codex Alexandrinus. As to the place where it was written, there is a considerable difference of opinion. Matthæus Muttis, who was a contemporary, friend, and deacon of Cyrillus, and who afterwards instructed in the Greek language John Rudolph Wetstein, uncle of the celebrated editor of the Greek Testament, bears testimony, in a letter, written to Martin Bogdan, a physician in Berne, dated January 14, 1664, that it had been brought from one of the twenty-two monasteries in Mount Athos, which the Turks never destroyed, but allowed to continue upon the payment of tribute. Dr. Woide endeavours to weaken the evidence of Muttis, and to render the testimony of the elder Wetstein suspicious : but Spohn- shows that the objections of Woide are ungrounded. Allowing their reality, we cannot infer that Cyrillus found this manuscript in Alexandria. Before he went to Alexandria he spent some time on Mount Athos, the repository and manufactory of manuscripts of the New Testament, whence a great number have been brought into the West of Europe, and a still greater number has been sent to Moscow. It is therefore probable, independently of the evidence of Muttis, that Cyrillus procured it there either by purchase or by present, took it with him to Alexandria, and brought it thence on his return to Constantinople. But the question recurs, where was this copy written? The Arabic subscription above cited, clearly proves, that it had been in Egypt, at some period or other, before it
1 Caroli Godofredi Woidii Notitia Codicis Alexandrini, cum variis ejus lectionibus omnibus. Recudendum curavit, notasque adjecit Gottlieb Leberecht Spohr. pp. 10–13. (8vo. Lipsiæ 1790.)
fell into the hands of Cyrillus. This subscription shows that it once belonged to an Egyptian, or that during some time it was preserved in Egypt, where Arabic has been spoken since the seventh century. Besides, it is well known that a great number of manuscripts of the Greek Bible have been written in Egypt. Woide has also pointed out a remarkable coincidence between the Codex Alexandrinus, and the writings of the Copts.. Michaelis alleges another circumstance as a probable argument of its having been written in Egypt. In Ezekiel xxvii. 18. both in the Hebrew and Greek text, the Tyrians are said to have fetched their wine from Chelbon, or according to Bochart, Chalybon. But as Chalybon, though celebrated for its wine, was unknown to the writer of this manuscript, he has altered it by a fanciful conjecture to ovo ex xBgw, wine from Hebron. This alteration was probably made by an Egyptian copyist, because Egypt was formerly supplied with wine from Hebron. The subscription before mentioned, ascribes the writing of it to Thecla, an Egyptian lady of high rank, who could not have been, as Michaelis supposes, the martyress Thecla, placed in the time of Saint Paul : but Woide replies, that a distinction must be made between Thecla martyr, and Thecla proto-martyr. With regard to these subscriptions we may observe, with Bishop Marsh, that the true state of the case appears to be as follows
Some centuries after the Codex Alexandrinus had been written, and the Greek subscriptions, and perhaps those other parts where it is more defective, already lost, it fell into the hands of a Christian inhabitant of Egypt, who, not finding the usual Greek subscription of the copyist, added in Arabic, his native language, the tradition, either true or false, which had been preserved in the family or families to which the manuscript had belonged, Memorant hunc codicem scriptum esse calamo Thecle martyris. In the 17th century, when oral tradition respecting this manuscript had probably ceased, it became the property of Cyrillus Lucaris; but whether in Alexandria, or Mount Athos, is of no importance to the present inquiry. On examining the manuscript
, he finds that the Greek subscription is lost, but that there is a tradition recorded in Arabic by a former proprietor, which simply related that it was written by one Thecla a martyress, which is what he means by “ memoria et traditio recens." Taking therefore upon trust, that one Thecla the martyress was really the copyist, he consults the annals of the church to discover in what age and country a person of this name and character existed ; finds that an Egyptian lady of rank, called Thecla, suffered martydom between the time of holding the council of Nicæa and the close of the fourth century; and concludes, without further ceremony, that she was the very identical copyist. Not satisfied with this discovery, he attempts to account for the loss of the Greek subscription, and ascribes it to the malice of the Saracens; being weak enough to believe that the enemies of Christianity would exert their vengeance on the name of a poor transcriber, and leave the four folio volumes themselves unhurt.” Dr. Woide, who transcribed and published this manuscript, and must be better ac
quainted with it than any other person, asserts, that it was written by two different copyists; for he observed a difference in the ink, and, which is of greater moment, even in the strokes of the letters. The conjecture of Oudin, adopted by Wetstein, that the manuscript was written by an Accemet is, in the judgment of Michaelis, worthy of attention, and he adds, that this conjecture does not contradict the account that Thecla was the copyist, since there were not only monks but nuns of this order.
The antiquity of this manuscript has also been the subject of controversy. Grabe and Schulze think that it might have been written before the end of the fourth century, which, says Michaelis, is the very utmost period that can be allowed, because it contains the epistles of Athanasius. Oudin places it in the tenth century. Wetstein refers it to the fifth, and supposes that it was one of the manuscripts collected at Alexandria in 615, for the Syriac version. Dr. Semler refers it to the seventh century. Montfaucono is of opinion, that neither the Codex Alexandrinus, nor any Greek manuscript, can be said with great probability to be much prior to the sixth century. Michaelis apprehends, that this manuscript was written after Arabic was become the native language of the Egyptians, that is, one, or rather two centuries after Alexandria was taken by the Saracens, which happened in the year 640, because the transcriber frequently confounds M and B, which is often done in the Arabic : and he concludes, that it is not more antient than the eighth century. Woide, after a great display of learning, with which he examines the evidence for the antiquity of the Codex Alexandrinus, concludes, that it was written between the middle and the end of the fourth century. It cannot be allowed a greater antiquity, because it has not only the τηλοι Or κεφαλαια majora, but the κεφαλαια minora, or Ammonian sections, accompanied with the references to the canons of Eusebius. Woide's arguments have been objected to by Spohn. Some of the principal arguments advanced by those who refer this manuscript to the fourth or fifth centuries are the following: the epistles of Saint Paul are not divided into chapters like the gospels, though this division took place so early as 396, when to each chapter was prefixed a superscription. The Codex Alexandrinus has the epistles of Clement of Rome; but these were forbidden to be read in the churches, by the council of Laodicea, in 364, and that of Carthage,
Hence Schulze has inferred, that it was written before the year 364; and he produces a new argument for its antiquity, deduced from the last of the fourteen hymns found in it after the psalms,
1 The Acemets were a class of monks in the antient church, who flourished, particularly in the east, during the fifth century. They were so called, because they had divine service performed, without interruption, in their churches. They divided themselves into three bodies, each of which officiated in turn, and relieved the others, so that their churches were never silent, either night or day. Wetstein adopts the opinion of Casimir Oudin, that the Codex Alexandrinus was written by an Acemet, because it contains a catalogue of the psalms that were to be sung at every hour both of the day and night. Proleg. in Nov. Test. vol. i. 10. 2 Palæog. Græc. p. 185.
pp. 42109. of his edition of Woide's Notitia Codicis Alexandrini.