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Aug 14, 2010

Michaelis: Griesbach's GNT

Excerpt from: Michaelis, Introduction to the NT, Eng. H.Marsh, (London, 1802)

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Michaelis on Griesbach

Griesbach's Greek NT

17. Dr. John James Griesbach's edition of the Greek Testament was first printed in the year 1775. Since that time it has been re-printed ; and in 1785 he printed the first volume of his Symbols critics ad supplendas et corrigendas variarum N. T. lectionum collectiones : a work which is necessary for every man, who uses his Greek Testament. This edition is chiefly an extract from that of Wetstein, whose numbers and figures, used to denote the manuscripts, are retained by Griesbach.

But he has likewise made very considerable additions, which consist partly in extracts from manuscripts, which he collated on his travels ; partly in those readings, which were written by Mill in the margin of his Greek Testament, and were copied by Griesbach ; partly in extracts from the works of Origen, which he has made his principal study, and has collated more accurately, than any of his predecessors.

The manuscripts which he has collated, at least so many of them as he has described in his Symbolae critica, I have noticed ch. viii. § 6. He has also quoted extracts from manuscripts, which had been lately collated by other critics, for instance, by Treschow.

This edition, which is of a very convenient and portable size, is that which is principally used by the students in our Universities : it is at the same time an edition, with which no Prosessor can dispense, though every man, who makes a profession of literature, would wish to see an edition by the same editor, in which no various reading is omitted, which had been accurately quoted by Wetstein. It is true, that in consequence of many omissions that have been made by Griesbach, his book has become more convenient and portable, and is therefore admirably adapted to the use of students. And it was certainly his design to omit only such readings as appeared to him to be of little or no importance : but as this is mere matter of opinion, and one critic may consider a reading as important, which appears trifling to another, we cannot consider Griesbach's as the principal edition, but must also have recourse to that of Wetstein.

The following are examples of various readings, quoted by Wetstein, but omitted by Griesbach :

Matt. 2:6 της Ιουδαιας, a reading which is supported by ancient evidence, and by some critics preferred to the common reading, though I believe it to be nothing more than a correction :

Matt. 5:46.εθνικοι:

Matt. 21:41. the omission of λεγουσιν, which materially alters the sense :

Matt. 27:60. the omission of αυτου, which entirely alters the sense: and

Matt. 28:1, of δε.

Mark 1:8, He has likewise neglected to note the addition of και πυρι, and in the whole of this Gospel, where ευθεως has been quoted as a various reading in addition to the common text, he has generally left it out ; yet as ευθεως seems to have been a favourite particle with St. Mark, it is reasonable to suppose that in all cases it was used by the author, not added by a transcriber.

Mark 4:22. he has omitted ει μη , a various reading to αλλα , which, beside the authorities quoted by Wetstein, (some of which however are not just) is supported by the evidence of the Cod. Brixiensis, and Veronensis.

Mark 6:8. he has negleψted to quote μονην for μονον ,

Mark 9:2. ανεγει for αναφερει , both of them indeed the correction of a copyist, and

Mark 10:17. the various readings to γονυπετησας αυτον , which may be still augmented from the Latin versions.

Luke 3:1. he has not noted the omission of τετραρχουντος, a reading of which I took notice ch. viii. § 6. N°207, and which seems to be spurious : at least the narrative of St. Luke is more agreeable to the Jewish history, if it is left out.

Luke 5:29. he has omitted the various reading ανακευμενοι, and

Luke 11:3 σημερον, a various reading to to το καθ' ημεραν; but I acknowledge that the former is a mere correction, and the latter an interpolation from St. Matthew.

Luke 15:15. he has omitted to quote αγρον, a various reading to αγρους, which being supported by the authority of one manuscript only, quoted by Wetstein, might appear unworthy of notice ; but it is authenticated by other ancient and important evidence. In the same verse he has not observed the omission of αυτου, though this, as well as the former reading, has some influence on the explanation of the passage.

Luke 18:1.; He has likewise omitted the reading εγκακειν for εκκακειν,

Luke 22:20; ονοματι for αιματι, and

Luke 24:3, λεγοντες for λεγοντας, a very important reading, which alters the whole sense.

John 13:2, Lastly, he has neglected to note the reading δειπνε γινομενου, which is of such importance, that it removes the whole difficulty, with which the passage is otherwise attended.

See what I have said on this subject, ch. viii. § 6. N° 207.

The examples, which I have here produced, are not all of equal importance, but they are such as most critics would expect to find in a collection of various readings. But as different persons examine the same subject from different points of view, it necessarily follows, that what appears important to one, will sometimes appear unimportant to another.

It may be also mentioned, that there are many other various readings of great importance, which are not contained in Griesbach's edition. The readings, to which I now allude, are such as are not to be found in Wetstein, and Griesbach himself has not examined all the documents, which are known at present, not even the Latin versions. But as no one can be expected to perform more than he has promised, the foregoing observation implies only that Griesbach's edition has not exhausted all the critical sources, to which we have access ; and that we must live in hopes of a more perfect edition, which I could wish to see from the same hand.

As Griesbach has collated the writings of Origen more accurately than any of his predecessors, and yet has neglected to quote him in many instances, where the Greek father is quoted by Wetstein, I wish that he would publish a catalogue of those readings, which his predecessors had quoted falsely, or, which would be still more advantageous, his extracts from Origen entire. This might be done in his Symbols, and would remove those doubts, which neccessarily arise, where Origen is quoted by Wetstein, but not by Griesoach.

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