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June 17, 2010

R. Harris on the PA

Excerpt from: Rendel Harris, Texts and Studies, Vol. II, No.1 A Study of Codex Bezae, (Cambridge, 1891)

Page Index

Chapter 19 - Local Origin of Primitive Western Text: Acts
    Montanist Influence - Western Text
    Pericope de Adultera - John 7:53-8:11

CHAPTER XIX (pp. 191-199)

Local Origin of the Primitive Western Text of the Acts

And now we have at last succeeded in tracking the Western corruptions to their origin. At least we have gone so far with the matter as to say that we know to what cause (viz. systematic Latinization) to attribute the major part of the variants in the Acts of the Apostles: and although there is still much to be said with regard to the variants in the Western Gospels, I think we may safely attack the question of local origins, keeping our attention chiefly on the text of the Acts, and avoiding hasty generalisations with regard to the other parts of the NT. We have shewn, as we believe, if the canon hold that community of reading implies community of origin, that the Old Latin texts are all from one fountain ; however much they may have emended their Greek from their Latin, and translated and re-translated, they go back into a single root which we call the primitive Western bilingual. And this primitive bilingual must be very ancient. A study of its interpolations in Luke and the Acts shewed it to be a Montanist text, probably known to the Martyrs of Carthage. A study of the relations between D and the Sahidic version intimates that it passed through the hands of those persons who made the eclectic Egyptian copies and versions ; this carries it back beyond the time of Origen, who may be responsible for Alexandrian textual eclecticism, and who in any case was probably one of the worst textual critics the NT has ever had. The coincidences between D and tenaeus take us again to a primitive translation that cannot be as late as the end of the second century. And finally, an examination of the relics of Tatian's Harmony and of the Syriac versions shews reason for believing that the bilingual, at least as far as concerns the Gospels, is older than Tatian. 1

1. It is pleasing to find that at this point my researches lead to the same con- clusion as those of Besch. I am surprised at this, for in many points I suspect my results are fatal to some of his reasonings with regard to the onoanonical sources of the NT; but in the following points we seem to agree.

Resch, Agrapha pp. 350, 351, "Es ist namlich der Cod. Cantabr., oder Yielmehr dessen Archetypus, mit welchem fast sammtliche patristischen Citate, vorab sammtliche lateinische zusammenhangen. Denn der Archetypus des Cod. D ist ohne Zweifel die Quelle der altlateinischen Versionen gewesen. Von diesen altlateinischen Versionen aber sind die lateinischen Autoren vor Hieronymus beherrscht, bo namentlich Iuvencus, Hilarius, Augustinus, ... Nun es ist aber ausser Zweifel, dass der Archetypus des Cod. D, welcher bis in das zweite Jahrhundert zuruckzudatieren ist, auf die vornicaenischen Vater griechischer Zunge, vorab Clemens and Origenes, wie uberhaupt auf die Alexandriner, grossen Einfluss ausgeubt hat, dass er aber auch mit Tatian sich beruhrt, folglich bis in Iustins Zeiten seine Spuren znruckverfolgen lasst. Thatsachlich schrumpft also die grosste Zahl der griechisohen und lateinischen Parallelcitate beinahe auf einen einzigen Hauptzeugen zusammen, welcher in einem Archetypus des Cod. D zu erkennen ist."


But the actual determination of the local origin of the Latin text has been a problem that has hitherto defied solution; we must not even assume that the same origin will be the birthplace of the Latin Gospels and of the Latin Acts of the Apostles, nor that all the Gospels were primitively translated by the same hand and in the same place. Now, the right way to settle such a question does not consist in citing puzzling remarks of Augustine as to the relative merits of Italian and African texts, and the superior verbal fidelity of the African rendering : these criticisms only result from Augustine's observation of discrepancy between texts current in North Africa and texts current in Italy in his own day: they are not scientific. It may be doubted whether Augustine or Jerome had the slightest idea as to where the NT was originally translated, or even that there was a single primitive translation. They merely saw a variety of types of Latin text around them, and they criticised them superficially and used them eclectically; Origen did much the same with the Greek texts in Alexandria. One of the first suggestions to occur in such an enquiry as this is that we should test the various texts for Africanism. Indeed this is the only course open to those who undertake to prove that the primitive text is African. It is not enough for them to say, as they do, that Tertullian evidently knew of a translation of the NT : for the underlying assumption that this translation could only have been made shortly before Tertullian used it is not verifiable, and indeed it is probably far from the truth. The search for individual Africanisms has not, however, been a very successful thing. Some persons deny altogether the existence of an African dialect distinct from the Vulgar- Latin. But such a position is hardly a tenable one : it is surely impossible that the Latin spoken in a Punic country should shew no variations of style or matter from the Latin spoken amongst the Celts or the Lombards.


The best investigation of the subject is that made by Sittl 1 who goes straight to the inscriptions for the peculiar forms of speech, and tests the literature by the inscriptions. But Sittl could find no satisfactory catalogue of Africanisms in the Old Latin texts, and while he admitted the substantial Africanism of some parts of the Latin OT , and believed in the existence of a special version associated with Tertullian , he concluded that the so-called Italic version had its origin and home not in Africa but in Italy. He further conjectured that, if it had arisen in Rome, Augustine would have called it Romana and not Itala ; and suggested some smaller Italian city — say Naples — as the centre of emanation of Latin texts. But, as we have already intimated, Augustine was not likely to know anything in the world about the primitive habitat of texts, so that this suggestion of Sittl is valueless. On the whole we must admit that no very definite conclusions have as yet been reached, and I propose to begin the examination de novo, not with the hope of resolving the whole of the ambiguities of the ancient Western textual history, but because it is only by trying patiently to solve a part of the problem by a new examination, that the way can be made for some one else to solve the remaining part. Let us begin then with the Western text of the Acts of the Apostles, and confine our attention for the present to that. When we say that it is an early text, and that it is a Montanizing text and a Latinizing text, there is nothing decisive as to locality about either of these statements: but we cannot be far wrong in adding that this practically shuts us up, in seeking for the centre of textual distribution, to the 3 cities, Rome, Lyons & Carthage: because all these Churches have a strong Latin element, and all of them Montanize, the order of intensity being probably Carthage, Lyons, Rome: each city furnishing one noted teacher at least, who was tinctured more or less completely with the Montanist ideas,

1. Sittl, Die lokalen Verschiedenheiten der lateiniaclien Sprache, Erlangen, 1882.


viz.: Tertullian, Hermas, & Irenaeus, the order of intensity being that of the names. 1 But before we can get any further, we must examine the data of the case more closely.

We must not assume that these Montanist glosses are coeval or collocal with the primitive bilingual; but we may begin by saying that their distribution textually is very wide , and they must, as a body of glosses, be very early. Here we part company from Dr. Salmon, who remarks that

"[I have] found reason, on investigating the history of Montanism, which clearly is combated in the Muratorian fragment, to think that it did not make its appearance in the West until a little after the year 200 A.D.!" 2

If a single one of the group of Montanist glosses be traced in the text of TertuUian, and another in the text of Irenaeus, it would be enough to prove that the Montanist edition of the Acts was much earlier than the year 200, and what becomes then of the theory of 3rd-century Western Montanism? The fact is that neither the history nor the character of Montanism is as yet properly understood; the eyes of even judicious critics having been dimmed through a long heredity of heresy-hunting. But, when we once realize the fundamental spiritual aims of Montanism (instead of merely treating it as an outward division of the Church), however much such aims may be liable to fanatical extravagance, a number of difficulties become clear to us in the history and discipline of the Church, to say nothing of the illumination thrown upon the text of the Codex Bezae. Every verse of the OT , or of the New, which treats of the descent of the spirit of prophecy is a hinge in the Montanist system. If they read in the OT that the Sophia enters into holy souls in all ages and makes them Mends of God and prophets, this magnificent statement is the reason why S. Priscilla says that Christ appeared to her in female form and imparted to her the Sophia. 3

1. We may limit the Montanism of Irenaeus to the earlier years of his life.

2. Introd. to New Test. p. 62.

3. Cf. Origen, Homil. in Jerem. 14:5,


The passage in the book of Wisdom is seen to be a key-text, and so, when the Montanist glossator comes to the statement in the Acts that the opposers could not resist the wisdom that was in Stephen, he felt constrained to add a few remarks about the Sophia, which, as an imparted principle, dwelt in Stephen. We must also have a regard to Montanist proof-texts in the NT: for here one of the fundamental texts is John 16:8, "The Paraclete shall convince the world." That is why the gloss in Acts vi. 10 adds the words "since they were convinced by Him," meaning the Holy Spirit, and not Stephen; "quoniam probatur illis ab illo." So that a study of a system of glosses like these in the Acts furnishes us with what we may call the quintessence of the Montanist theology.

The Pericope de Adultera

No less light is thrown by the same study upon the difficult questions of textual criticism. Let us give a single illustration : the case of the famous interpolation (or omission) in Jn 7:53-8:11.

Dr. Hort thinks that

"few in ancient times, there is reason to think, would have found the section a stumbling-block except Montanists and Novatians." 1

Evidently Dr. Hort did not think that Montanist tampering with the text amounted to much ; we on the contrary have found reason to believe that it was a very far-reaching influence : and that in the present instance the Montanist Churches either did not receive this addition to the text, or else they are responsible for its omission ; but at the same time it can be shewn that they knew the passage perfectly well in the West; for the Latin glossator of the Acts has borrowed a few words from the section in Acts v. 18,

1. Introd. Notes on Select Readings, p. 86.


και επορευθη εις εκαστος εις τα ιδια


I think it may be safely said that more than 40 of the troublesome glosses in the Acts of the Apostles can be set down with a confidence that borders closely on certainty to the hand of the Latin Montanist referred to above. And nothing can be more important for the acquiring of right views with regard to the genesis of NT readings than such a fact as this. For the attestation of such a group of readings is demonstrably capable of combination and can be replaced by a single factor; and the evidence of this single factor, when it stands by itself, is of the nature of a proved corruption. The reader will be interested to work this point out for himself, and he will be surprised to find the power of this Montanised copy: he will find its influence in almost all Latin texts and fathers; he will trace it in Cod. E, which is probably a direct descendant of Codex Bezae, and in a stray cursive or two; he will find it in the Sahidic and Ethiopic versions, shewing that it passed to Alexandria ; in the margin of the later Syriac, which represents a Greek MS. which Thomas of Heraclea consulted in Alexandria; and probably in the Syriac text itself, perhaps in both of its recensions, though this is a point which may require more examination. It will not, however, be found in the Great Uncials, nor in the ordinary Greek texts and fathers. Wide as its scope is, this text and its descendants are not universal in their influence. The lines on which it moves can be marked out, the areas over which it is current can be shaded in.

1. The origin of the gloss is confirmed by the words added a little lower down in the text; viz. εγερθεντες το πρωι, which is an adaptation of John 8:1. The man who made this addition not only knew the Gospel of John, but knew it in its (supposed) interpolated form. Moreover, it looks as though the interpolation was made from the Latin side. Thus our body of glosses furnishes important evidence for the antiquity of the doubtful section.

Those who are interested in this particular subject will find that the semi-Montanist, the Shepherd of Hermas knows the disputed section ; for in the 4th Mandate, Hermas discusses the problem of the woman who has been convicted of adultery, and the duties of the husband and wife are laid down by Hermas, who finally sums up his teaching by the words,

ου διδωμι αφορμην ινα αυτη η πραξις ουτως συντεληται, αλλα εις το μηκετι αμαρτανειν τον ημαρτηκοτα.

The disputed section was therefore known in Rome and to Hermas.


And if this explanation be a correct one for the diffusion of the single group of readings referred to, then it is a vera causa for similar textual phenomena ; and we say unhesitatingly that the occurrence of a given reading in Western texts and in the main body of the versions is no proof at all that the reading did not originate in Rome, or even Carthage, but rather is a suggestion to the contrary.

We have only dealt hitherto with those glosses and changes which may be considered to be demonstrably Montanistic ; it is probable that a number of the remaining textual excentricities in the Acts may have to be set down to the same cause ; for it is extremely unlikely that we should always have been able to detect the glossator at his work, or that his corrections should always have been so highly coloured as to be capable of immediate identification. In any case, it can be proved that a number of the remaining glosses are from a Latin hand, whether contemporaneous with the former or not. For example, the first four glosses in the Acts are as follows :

Acts 1:2 et praecepit praedicare evangelium [lux : sah : Aug : Vig.Taps.].
1:4 de ore meo [lux : aeth : Aug : Hil.].
1:5 et eum accipere habetis [tol : Aug : Hil : Max.Taur.].
1:5 usque ad pentecosten [sah : Aug.].

Of these the 1st, 3rd and 4th belong to the Latin Montanized edition. What of the second ? Its attestation shews it to be as decidedly Latin as the first or third or fourth ; in its nature it is evidently the mere paraphrase of a translator : we may conclude then that it is a Latin gloss : whether it be by the Montanist hand or not, we can scarcely venture to say dogmatically ; but the attestation agrees very well with such a supposition. This belief in the fundamental Latinity of many of the eccentric Bezan readings is confirmed in another way : just as we were able to prove the Montanist glossator to be a Latin by the fact of the repetition of a clause of his text in the same Latin but in a different Greek dress, so we can argue for a number of readings in which the glosses in the Bezan text appear in a different Greek form elsewhere, as for instance in the Codex Laudianus.


For example, in Acts 2:13 the Latin gloss appears as in iudicium in e and in the Latin of Irenaeus, and in the equivalent in iudicio of d; but the Greek in Codices D E is different;

εις κρισιν D ; εις κριτηριον E.

Hence we see that the reading must be primitively Latin ; and we shall probably be not far from the mark when we say that Codex E is the resultant of two texts ; one a Greek text, and the other the detached Latin of a bilingual.

Another good example is Acts 5:15, where we have

D απηλλασσοντο γαρ απο πασης ασθενιας ως ειχεν εκαστος αυτων.
E και ρυσθωσιν απο πασης ασθενιας ης ειχεν.
d et liberabantur ab omnem valetudinem quem habebaut unusquisque eorum.
e et liberarentur ab omni valetudine quam habebant.

Here again it is clear that the Greek of E is a reformed rendering of what is substantially the same Latin as in the Bezan Codex. Or we may examine Acts 5:38, where E has changed the μιαναντες τας χειρας = non coinquinatas manus of D into μολυνοντες τας χειρας = non coinquinantes manus. But this case is probably a part of a Montanist gloss which we have already discussed ; so that we are the more sure here of the priority of the Latin. It will be seen then by what precedes that the Latin origin of others of the glosses in the Acts, besides those which are more definitely Montanistic, can be clearly established. 1

1. The reasoning as to the fundamental Latinity of the Western text will apply also to those places in the Acts where the evidence of D, or of D and E, is not forthcoming, but where the attestation has otherwise the same constituents.

For example, when we find in Acts 27:15 after επιδοντες the addition τω πλεοντι, we should handle the reading in the following manner. First, we note the curious form πλεοντι for πνεοντι, which we recognize to be the Bezan form from Luke 12:55 (και οταν νοτον πλεοντα). It stands, therefore, as the equivalent for the Latin fianti, and the 3 Greek mss 44 112 187 which testify in favour of πλεοντι may be assumed to have taken it from the same source, namely the glossed bilingual.

So much for the Greek spelling, which intimates a single Western copy, of the Bezan type. Tischendorf points out that the evidence of the Heraclean Syriac is for a text flanti et collegimus artemonem. Here again the combination of authorities is undoubtedly Western ; but it cannot be the earliest form of the gloss, for flanti without a substantive makes no sense. It must therefore be a corruption for flatui (FLANTI = FLATVI). Accordingly we find in Bede the note "Haeo alia translatio manifestius edidit: et arrepta navi cum non possent occurrere vento, commodata navi flatibus colligere vela coeperunt." The Greek text is therefore a literal translation of a misread Latin gloss. Other cases of the same kind can no doubt be given.


With the view of confirming the reader's belief in the fundamental Latinity of these glosses, we will now draw attention to the remarkable results which follow from this analysis of the Latinizing factors, by turning to the passage Acts 13:12,

Ιδων δε ο ανθυπατος το γεγονος εθαυμασεν και επιστευσεν τω Θω εκπλησσομενος επι τη διδαχη του Κυ

First remark that the words and are glosses. The latter is an obvious translator's expansion and presents no diflBculty. But the former is more obscure. Following the line of our previous experience with the glossed text, we suspect that we have here a double translation (or else an African pleonasm) in the rendering of by miratus est and stupens. If this be the true explanation we shall probably be able to support it by similar usage elsewhere.

If the reader is interested in tracing the glosses to their common origin, he is advised to fix his attention closely on the pair of companion mss. D and E, and to study their glosses side by side, as shewn above in our text. Another pretty case of the same phenomenon will be found in Acts 14:7, where D has

και εκεινηθη ολον το πληθος επι τη διδαχη ο δε παυλος και Βαρναβας διετριβον εν Λυστροις

E reads τον λογον του θεου. και εξεπλησσετο πασα η πολυπληθια επι τη διδαχη αυτηων. ο δε Παυλος και Βαρναβας διετριβον εν Λυστροις, while his Latin is practically the same as that of D.

[note: the rest of this chapter is stored raw (unformatted) in html comments in this webpage, without Greek quotations. See source-html.]

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