July 16, 2010
Scrivener on Matt. 21:28-31
Excerpt from: F.H.A. Scrivener, Plain Introduction, (London, 1892) ed. E. Miller
The tie-in to Hort here is found in his Introduction rev. (1896) pp. 82,83, APPENDIX I. "NOTES ON SELECT READINGS" (Notes on the Pericope de Adultera, pg 82 & forward):
Evidence of the Versions (translations) (pg 82-83)
"The Section (Jn. 7:53-8:11) is found in some Syriac MSS, some Memphitic MSS (not the two best and some others: Lightfoot in Scrivener, Introd. 2 331 ff.; cf. E.B. Pusey Cat. Bodl. Arab. ii 564 f.), and some Armenian MSS; but it is evidently a late insertion in all these versions."
Hort here trots out the opinion of Bishop Lightfoot via Scrivener, to push the position that the 'best' Syriac versions are those that omit the passage. What is remarkable here is that during the Committee meetings for the Revised Version (1882), Hort went against Scrivener's seasoned expert opinion in nearly every single alteration to the Greek text that was made.
Now ironically, the only Syrian 'evidence' Hort conjures for his own position is a remark from Scrivener about "what Lightfoot thought". Even when 'quoting' his opponents however, Hort was really quoting his friends. For Lightfoot was in fact a founding member of Hort's 'cabal', and co-conspirator to dethrone the Textus Receptus (Traditional Text).
This section (Scrivener, Intro. pg 331-334) discusses Matthew 21:28-31. Here Scrivener shows Lachmann (1848) has incorrectly applied Bengel's Canon, "Prefer the harder reading", by introducing an absurdity into the text and making the wrong son obediant to his father.
"...critical conjecture, as usual, is his (Lachmann's) panacea. Conjecture, however, is justly held inadmissable by Tregelles, whose mode of interpretation is a curiosity in its (own) way. (see Tregelles, An Account of the Printed Text, p 107). I entertain sincere veneration for the character and services of Dr. Tregelles, but it is only right to assert at once that what stands in his (own, i.e., Tregelles') text is impossible Greek.
... Why then prefer nonsense, for the mere purpose of carrying out Bengel's canon to the extremity? (Tregelle's text) is sanctioned by no critical authority whatsoever. (italics, Scrivener)
Codex B indeed has usteroV (which is here followed by Westcott and Hort), Codex 4 (has) deuteroV, Codd. 13, 69, 124, 346 (Abbott's family 13), and 238, 262, 556, 604, perhaps others, esxatoV, one or other of which is in the Jerusalem Syriac and Bohairic, the Ethiopic (2 mss.), the Armenian and 2 chief Arabic versions; but all of these authorities (with tol. of the Vulgate secunda manu (second hand), as also Isidore, the Pseudo-Athanasius, and John Damascus), transpose the order of the two sons in vv. 29-30, so that the result produces just the same sense as in the Recieved (traditional text).
The suggestion that the clauses were transferred in order to reconcile (either reading) with the context may be met by the counter-statement that either reading itself was just as likely to be substituted to suit the inversion of clauses. Against such inversion (which we do not pretend to recommend, though Westcott and Hort adopt it) Origen is an early witness, so that Codex B and its allies are no doubt wrong.
...The indefensible part of Tregelles' arrangement is that... the only true supporters of his general view are Codex D - aisxatoV (i.e, esxatoV), the Old Latin copies a b e ff 1.2 g1 h, l, the best codices of the Vulgate ( am.fuld.for.san.tol.harl.*), the Anglo-Saxon version, and Augustine, though not the Clementine edition of the Vulgate.
...On no true principles can codex D and its Latin allies avail against such a mass of opposing proof, whereof Codd. א, C, Φ, Σ, L, X lead the van. Even the Curetonian Syriac, which so often favours Codex D and the Old Latin, is with the Textus Receptus here. "
(Scrivener, Intro.Vol. 2, pg 332f)
It is undoubtably this last sentence that Hort wants to draw our attention to in his own reference (Intro). Hort implies that similarly, neither can the evidence of Codex D and the Old Latin, Syriac etc. "avail against the mass of opposing proof, whereof B, א , Cvid Θ, Ψ, L, X etc. lead the van" in the case of the Pericope de Adultera (Jn.7:53-8:11) also. ...
But Hort's parallel is completely invalid. The Pericope de Adultera can neither be a 'harmonization' to a parallel text, an 'emendation' to a 'hard' reading, an accidental scribal 'error', or even a marginal gloss accidentally incorporated into the text. It stands alone among the tens of thousands of textual variants, like a beached whale, with the only remotely similar case being the Ending of Mark.
No ordinary 'canons' of textual criticism can adequately handle the Pericope de Adultera. This unique problem must be dealt with on its own evidence alone.
Had Scrivener noted this lame inference, he would have laughed Hort to scorn. Meanwhile, Scrivener's devastating expose of Lachmann, Tregelles, & Hort must remain in place.
Each of these 'professional' textual critics clearly made muddled gaffs in their reconstruction of Matthew, and the traditional reading is again left standing after the smoke has cleared.