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The Last Twelve Verses Of The Gospel According To S Mark by John William Burgon


The other chief peculiarity of Codices B and ' (viz. the omission of the words en Epheso from Ephes. i.1) considered. -- Antiquity unfavourable to the omission of those words (p.93). -- The Moderns infelicitous in their attempts to account for their omission (p.100). -- Marcion probably the author of this corruption of the Text of Scripture (p.106). -- Other peculiarities of Codex ' disposed of (p.109).

THE subject which exclusively occupied our attention throughout the foregoing chapter admits of apt and powerful illustration. Its vast importance will be a sufficient apology for the particular disquisition which follows, and might have been spared, but for the plain challenge of the famous Critic to be named immediately.

|There are two remarkable readings,| (says Tischendorf, addressing English readers on this subject in 1868,) |which are very instructive towards determining the age of the manuscripts [' and B), and their authority.| He proceeds to adduce, --

1. The absence from both, of the last Twelve Verses of S. Mark's Gospel, -- concerning which, the reader probably thinks that by this time he has heard enough. Next, --

2. He appeals to their omission of the words en Epheso from the first verse of S. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, -- another peculiarity, in which Codd. ' and B stand quite alone among MSS.

I. Here is an extraordinary note of sympathy between two copies of the New Testament indeed. Altogether unique is it: and that it powerfully corroborates the general opinion of their high antiquity, no one will deny. But how about |their authority|? Does the coincidence also raise our opinion of the trustworthiness of the Text, which these two MSS. concur in exhibiting? for that is the question which has to be considered, -- the only question. The ancientness of a reading is one thing: its genuineness, (as I have explained elsewhere,) quite another. The questions are entirely distinct. It may even be added that while the one is really of little moment, the latter is of all the importance in the world. I am saying that it matters very little whether Codd. ' and B were written in the beginning of the iv^th century, or in the beginning of the v^th: whereas it matters much, or rather it matters everything, whether they exhibit the Word of God faithfully, or occasionally with scandalous license. How far the reading which results from the suppression of the last two words in the phrase tois hagiois tois ousin en Epheso, is critically allowable or not, I forbear to inquire. That is not the point which we have to determine. The one question to be considered is, -- May it possibly be the true reading of the text after all? Is it any way credible that S. Paul began his Epistle to the Ephesians as follows: -- Paulos apo'stolos Iesou Christou dia` thele'matos Theou, tois agi'ois tois ousin kai` pistois en Christo Iesou? . . . If it be eagerly declared in reply that the thing is simply incredible: that the words en Ephe'so are required for the sense; and that the commonly received reading is no doubt the correct one: then, -- there is an end of the discussion. Two extraordinary notes of sympathy between two Manuscripts will have been appealed to as crucial proofs of the trustworthiness of the Text of those Manuscripts: (for of their high Antiquity, let me say it once more, there can be no question whatever:) and it will have been proved in one case, -- admitted in the other, -- that the omission is unwarrantable. -- If, however, on the contrary, it be maintained that the words en Ephe'so probably had no place in the original copy of this Epistle, but are to be regarded as an unauthorized addition to it, -- then, (as in the case of the Twelve Verses omitted from the end of S. Mark's Gospel, and which it was also pretended are an unauthorized supplement,) we demand to be shewn the evidence on the strength of which this opinion is maintained, in order that we may ascertain what it is precisely worth.

Tischendorf, -- the illustrious discoverer and champion of Codex ', and who is accustomed to appeal triumphantly to its omission of the words en Ephe'so as the other conclusive proof of the trustworthiness of its text, -- may be presumed to be the most able advocate it is likely to meet with, as well as the man best acquainted with what is to be urged in its support. From him, we learn that the evidence for the omission of the words in question is as follows: -- |In the beginning of the Epistle to the Ephesians we read, to the saints which are at Ephesus;' but Marcion (A.D.130-140), did not find the words at Ephesus' in his copy. The same is true of Origen (A.D.185-254); and Basil the Great (who died A.D.379), affirmed that those words were wanting in old copies. And this omission accords very well with the encyclical or general character of the Epistle. At the present day, our ancient Greek MSS., and all ancient Versions, contain the words at Ephesus;' yea (sic), even Jerome knew no copy with a different reading. Now, only the Sinaitic and the Vatican correspond with the old copies of Basil, and those of Origen and Marcion .| -- This then is the sum of the evidence. Proceed we to examine it somewhat in detail.

(1) And first, I take leave to point out that the learned writer is absolutely without authority for his assertion that |Marcion did not find the words en Ephe'so in his copy| of S. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians. Tischendorf's one pretence for saying so is Tertullian's statement that certain heretics, (Marcion he specifies by name,) had given to S. Paul's |Epistle to the Ephesians| the unauthorized title of |Epistle to the Laodiceans .| This, (argues Tischendorf,) Marcion could not have done had he found en Ephe'so in the first verse . But the proposed inference is clearly invalid. For, with what show of reason can Marcion, -- whom Tertullian taxes with having dared |titulum interpolare| in the case of S. Paul's |Epistle to the Ephesians,| -- be therefore, assumed to have read the first verse differently from ourselves? Rather is the directly opposite inference suggested by the very language in which Tertullian (who was all but the contemporary of Marcion) alludes to the circumstance .

Those, however, who would really understand the work of the heretic, should turn from the African Father, -- (who after all does but say that Marcion and his crew feigned concerning S. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, that it was addressed to the Laodiceans,) -- and betake themselves to the pages of Epiphanius, who lived about a century and a half later. This Father had for many years made Marcion's work his special study , and has elaborately described it, as well as presented us with copious extracts from it . And the account in Epiphanius proves that Tischendorf is mistaken in the statement which he addresses to the English reader, (quoted above;) and that he would have better consulted for his reputation if he had kept to the |ut videtur| with which (in his edition of 1859) he originally broached his opinion. It proves in fact to be no matter of opinion at all. Epiphanius states distinctly that the Epistle to the Ephesians was one of the ten Epistles of S. Paul which Marcion retained. In his |Apostolicon,| or collection of the (mutilated) Apostolical Epistles, the |Epistle to the Ephesians,| (identified by the considerable quotations which Epiphanius makes from it ,) stood (he says) seventh in order; while the (so called) |Epistle to the Laodiceans,| -- a distinct composition therefore, -- had the eleventh, that is, the last place assigned to it . That this latter Epistle contained a corrupt exhibition of Ephes. iv.5 is true enough. Epiphanius records the fact in two places . But then it is to be borne in mind that he charges Marcion with having derived that quotation from the Apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans ; instead of taking it, as he ought to have done, from the genuine Epistle to the Ephesians. The passage, when faithfully exhibited, (as Epiphanius points out,) by its very form refutes the heretical tenet which the context of Marcion's spurious epistle to the Laodiceans was intended to establish; and which the verse in question, in its interpolated form, might seem to favour . -- I have entered into this whole question more in detail perhaps than was necessary: but I was determined to prove that Tischendorf's statement that |Marcion (A.D.130-140) did not find the words at Ephesus' in his copy,| -- is absolutely without foundation. It is even contradicted by the known facts of the case. I shall have something more to say about Marcion by-and-by; who, it is quite certain, read the text of Ephes. i.1 exactly as we do.

(2.) The only Father who so expresses himself as to warrant the inference that the words en Epheso were absent from his copy, is Origen, in the beginning of the third century. |Only in the case of the Ephesians,| (he writes), |do we meet with the expression the Saints which are:' and we inquire, -- Unless that additional phrase be simply redundant, what can it possibly signify? Consider, then, whether those who have been partakers of His nature who revealed Himself to Moses by the Name of I am, may not, in consequence of such union with Him, be designated as those which are:' persons, called out, of a state of not-being, so to speak, into a state of being .| -- Origen had read tois hagiois tois ousin en Epheso in his copy, it is to me incredible that he would have gone so very far out of his way to miss the sense of such a plain, and in fact, unmistakable an expression. Bishop Middleton, and Michaelis before him, -- reasoning however only from the place in Basil, (to be quoted immediately,) -- are unwilling to allow that the words en Epheso were ever away from the text. It must be admitted as the obvious inference from what Jerome has delivered on this subject (infrà, p.98 note (s)) that he, too, seems to know nothing of the reading (if reading it can be called) of Codd. B and '.

(3) The influence which Origen's writings exercised over his own and the immediately succeeding ages of the Church, was prodigious. Basil, bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, writing against the heresy of Eunomius about 150 years later, -- although he read en Epheso in his own copy of S. Paul's Epistles, -- thought fit to avail himself of Origen's suggestion. It suited his purpose. He was proving the eternal existence of the Son of God. Even not to know God (he remarks) is not to be: in proof of which, he quotes S. Paul's words in 1 Cor. i.28: -- |Things which are not, hath God chosen.| |Nay,| (he proceeds,) the same S. Paul, |in his Epistle to the Ephesians, inasmuch as he is addressing persons who by intimate knowledge were truly joined to Him who is,' designates them specially as those which are:' saying, -- To the Saints which are, and faithful in Christ Jesus.| That this fancy was not original, Basil makes no secret. He derived it, (he says,) from those who were before us;| a plain allusion to the writings of Origen. But neither was the reading his own, either. This is evident. He had found it, he says, -- (an asseveration indispensable to the validity of his argument,) -- but only after he had made search , -- |in the old copies .| No doubt, Origen's strange fancy must have been even unintelligible to Basil when first he met with it. In plain terms, it sounds to this day incredibly foolish, -- when read apart from the mutilated text which alone suggested it to Origen's fervid imagination. -- But what there is in all this to induce us to suspect that Origen's reading was after all the right one, and ours the wrong, I profess myself wholly at a loss to discover. Origen himself complains bitterly of the depraved state of the copies in his time; and attributes it (1) to the carelessness of the scribes: (2) to the rashness of correctors of the text: (3) to the licentiousness of individuals, adopting some of these corrections and rejecting others, according to their own private caprice .

(4) Jerome, a man of severer judgment in such matters than either Origen or Basil, after rehearsing the preceding gloss, (but only to reject it,) remarks that |certain persons| had been |over-fanciful| in putting it forth. He alludes probably to Origen, whose Commentary on the Ephesians, in three books, he expressly relates that he employed : but he does not seem to have apprehended that Origen's text was without the words en Epheso. If he was acquainted with Origen's text, (of which, however, his writings afford no indication,) it is plain that he disapproved of it. Others, he says, understand S. Paul to say not |the Saints which are:| but, -- |the Saints and faithful which are at Ephesus .|

(5) The witnesses have now all been heard: and I submit that there has been elicited from their united evidence nothing at all calculated to shake our confidence in the universally received reading of Ephesians i.1. The facts of the case are so scanty that they admit of being faithfully stated in a single sentence. Two MSS. of the iv^th century, (exhibiting in other respects several striking notes of vicious sympathy,) are found to conspire in omitting a clause in Ephesians i.1, which, (necessary as it is to the sense,) may be inferred to have been absent from Origen's copy: and Basil testifies that it was absent from |the old copies| to which he himself obtained access. This is really the whole of the matter: in which it is much to be noted that Origen does not say that he approved of this reading. Still less does Basil. They both witness to the fact that the words en ?Ephe'so were omitted from some copies of the iii^rd century, just as Codd. B and '; witness to the same fact in the iv^th. But what then? Origen is known occasionally to go out of his way to notice readings confessedly worthless; and, why not here? For not only is the text all but unintelligible if the words en ?Ephe'so be omitted: but (what is far more to the purpose) the direct evidence of all the copies, whether uncial or cursive , -- and of all the Versions, -- is against the omission. In the face of this overwhelming mass of unfaltering evidence to insist that Codd. B and ' must yet be accounted right, and all the rest of Antiquity wrong, is simply irrational. To uphold the authority, in respect of this nonsensical reading, of two MSS. confessedly untrustworthy in countless other places, -- against all the MSS. -- all the Versions, -- is nothing else but an act of vulgar prejudice. I venture to declare, -- (and with this I shall close the discussion and dismiss the subject,) -- that there does not exist one single instance in the whole of the New Testament of a reading even probably correct in which the four following notes of spurious origin concur, -- which nevertheless are observed to attach to the two readings which have been chiefly discussed in the foregoing pages: viz.

1. The adverse testimony of all the uncial MSS. except two.

2. The adverse testimony of all, or very nearly all, the cursive MSS.

3. The adverse testimony of all the Versions, without exception.

4. The adverse testimony of the oldest Ecclesiastical Writers.

To which if I do not add, as I reasonably might, --

5. The highest inherent improbability, --

it is only because I desire to treat this question purely as one of Evidence.

II. Learned men have tasked their ingenuity to account for the phenomenon on which we have been bestowing so many words. The endeavour is commendable; but I take leave to remark in passing that if we are to set about discovering reasons at the end of fifteen hundred years for every corrupt reading which found its way into the sacred text during the first three centuries subsequent to the death of S. John, we shall have enough to do. Let any one take up the Codex Bezae, (with which, by the way, Cod. B shows marvellous sympathy ,) and explain if he can why there is a grave omission, or else a gross interpolation, in almost every page; and how it comes to pass that Cod. D |reproduces the textus receptus' of the Acts much in the same way that one of the best Chaldee Targums does the Hebrew of the Old Testament; so wide are the variations in the diction, so constant and inveterate the practice of expounding the narrative by means of interpolations which seldom recommend themselves as genuine by even a semblance of internal probability ,| Our business as Critics is not to invent theories to account for the errors of Copyists; but rather to ascertain where they have erred, where not. What with the inexcusable depravations of early Heretics, -- the preposterous emendations of ancient Critics, -- the injudicious assiduity of Harmonizers, -- the licentious caprice of individuals; -- what with errors resulting from the inopportune recollection of similar or parallel places, -- or from the familiar phraseology of the Ecclesiastical Lections, -- or from the inattention of Scribes, -- or from marginal glosses; -- however arising, endless are the corrupt readings of the oldest MSS. in existence; and it is by no means safe to follow up the detection of a depravation of the text with a theory to account for its existence. Let me be allowed to say that such theories are seldom satisfactory. Guesses only they are at best.

Thus, I profess myself wholly unable to accept the suggestion of Ussher, -- (which, however, found favour with Garnier (Basil's editor), Bengel, Benson, and Michaelis; and has since been not only eagerly advocated by Conybeare and Howson following a host of German Critics, but has even enjoyed Mr. Scrivener's distinct approval;) -- that the Epistle to the Ephesians |was a Circular addressed to other Asiatic Cities besides the capital Ephesus, -- to Laodicea perhaps among the rest (Col. iv.16); and that while some Codices may have contained the name of Ephesus in the first verse, others may have had another city substituted, or the space after toi?s ousinleft utterly void .| At first sight, this conjecture has a kind of interesting plausibility which recommends it to our favour. On closer inspection, -- (i) It is found to be not only gratuitous; but (ii) altogether unsupported and unsanctioned by the known facts of the case; and (what is most to the purpose) (iii) it is, as I humbly think, demonstrably erroneous. I demur to it, --

(1) Because of its exceeding Improbability: for (a) when S. Paul sent his Epistle to the Ephesians we know that Tychicus, the bearer of it , was charged with a distinct Epistle to the Colossians : an Epistle nevertheless so singularly like the Epistle to the Ephesians that it is scarcely credible S. Paul would have written those two several Epistles to two of the Churches of Asia, and yet have sent only a duplicate of one of them, (that to the Ephesians,) furnished with a different address, to so large and important a place as Laodicea, for example. (b) Then further, the provision which S. Paul made at this very time for communicating with the Churches of Asia which he did not separately address is found to have been different. The Laodiceans were to read in their public assembly S. Paul's |Epistle to the Colossians,| which the Colossians were ordered to send them. The Colossians in like manner were to read the Epistle, -- (to whom addressed, we know not), -- which S. Paul describes as ten ek Laodikeias . If then it had been S. Paul's desire that the Laodiceans (suppose) should read publicly in their Churches his Epistle to the Ephesians, surely, he would have charged the Ephesians to procure that his Epistle to them should be read in the Church of the Laodiceans. Why should the Apostle be gratuitously assumed to have simultaneously adopted one method with the Churches of Colosse and Laodicea, -- another with the Churches of Ephesus and Laodicea, -- in respect of his epistolary communications?

(2) (a) But even supposing, for argument's sake, that S. Paul did send duplicate copies of his Epistle to the Ephesians to certain of the principal Churches of Asia Minor, -- why should he have left the salutation blank, (|carta bianca,| as Bengel phrases it ,) for Tychicus to fill up when he got into Asia Minor? And yet, by the hypothesis, nothing short of this would account for the reading of Codd. B and '.

(b) Let the full extent of the demand which is made on our good nature be clearly appreciated. We are required to believe that there was (1) A copy of what we call S. Paul's |Epistle to the Ephesians |sent into Asia Minor by S. Paul with a blank address; i.e. |with the space after tois ousin left utterly void:| (2) That Tychicus neglected to fill up that blank: and, (what is remarkable) (3) That no one was found to fill it up for him. Next, (4) That the same copy became the fontal source of the copy seen by Origen, and (5) Of the |old copies| seen by Basil; as well as (6) Of Codd. B and '. And even this is not all. The same hypothesis constrains us to suppose that, on the contrary, (7) One other copy of this same |Encyclical Epistle,| filled up with the Ephesian address, became the archetype of every other copy of this Epistle in the world . . . . But of what nature, (I would ask,) is the supposed necessity for building up such a marvellous structure of hypothesis, -- of which the top story overhangs and overbalances all the rest of the edifice? The thing which puzzles us in Codd. B and ' is not that we find the name of another City in the salutation of S. Paul's |Epistle to the Ephesians,| but that we find the name of no city at all; nor meet with any vacant space there.

(c) On the other hand, supposing that S. Paul actually did address to different Churches copies of the present Epistle, and was scrupulous (as of course he was) to fill in the addresses himself before the precious documents left his hands, -- then, doubtless, each several Church would have received, cherished, and jealously guarded its own copy. But if this had been the case, (or indeed if Tychicus had filled up the blanks for the Apostle,) is it not simply incredible that we should never have heard a word about the matter until now? unaccountable, above all, that there should nowhere exist traces of conflicting testimony as to the Church to which S. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians was addressed? whereas all the most ancient writers, without exception, -- (Marcion himself [A.D.140 ], the |Muratorian| fragment [A.D.170 or earlier], Irenaeus [A.D.175], Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertullian, Origen, Dionysius Alexandrinus, Cyprian, Eusebius,) -- and all copies wheresoever found, give one unvarying, unfaltering witness. Even in Cod. B. and Cod. ', (and this is much to be noted,) the superscription of the Epistle attests that it was addressed |to the Ephesians.| Can we be warranted (I would respectfully inquire) in inventing facts in the history of an Apostle's practice, in order to account for what seems to be after all only an ordinary depravation of his text ?

(3) But, in fact, it is high time to point out that such |a Circular| as was described above, (each copy furnished with a blank, to be filled up with the name of a different City,) would be a document without parallel in the annals of the primitive Church. It is, as far as I am aware, essentially a modern notion. I suspect, in short, that the suggestion before us is only another instance of the fatal misapprehension which results from the incautious transfer of the notions suggested by some familiar word in a living language to its supposed equivalent in an ancient tongue. Thus, because kuklios or enkuklios confessedly signifies |circularis,| it seems to be imagined that enkuklios epistole may mean |a Circular Letter.| Whereas it really means nothing of the sort; but -- |a Catholic Epistle .|

An |Encyclical,| (and that is the word which has been imported into the present discussion), was quite a different document from what we call |a Circular.| Addressed to no one Church or person in particular, it was Catholic or General, -- the common property of all to whom it came. The General (or Catholic) Epistles of S. James, S. Peter, S. John are |Encyclical .| So is the well-known Canonical Epistle which Gregory, Bp. of Neocaesaraea in Pontus, in the middle of the third century, sent to the Bishops of his province . As for |a blank circular,| to be filled up with the words |in Ephesus,| |in Laodicea,| &c., -- its like (I repeat) is wholly unknown in the annals of Ecclesiastical Antiquity. The two notions are at all events inconsistent and incompatible. If S. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians was |a Circular,| then it was not |Encyclical:| if it was |Encyclical| then it was not |a Circular.|

Are we then deliberately to believe, (for to this necessity we are logically reduced,) that the Epistle which occupies the fifth place among S. Paul's writings, and which from the beginning of the second century, -- that is, from the very dawn of Historical evidence, -- has been known as |the Epistle to the Ephesians,| was an |Encyclical,| |Catholic |or |General Epistle,| -- addressed tois agi'ois tois ousin, kai` pistois en Christo Iesou? There does not live the man who will accept so irrational a supposition. The suggestion therefore by which it has been proposed to account for the absence of the words en Ephe'so in Ephes. i.1 is not only in itself in the highest degree improbable, and contradicted by all the evidence to which we have access; but it is even inadmissible on critical grounds, and must be unconditionally surrendered . It is observed to collapse before every test which can be applied to it.

III. Altogether marvellous in the meantime it is to me, -- if men must needs account for the omission of the words en Epheso from this place, -- that they should have recourse to wild, improbable, and wholly unsupported theories, like those which go before; while an easy, -- I was going to say the obvious, -- solution of the problem is close at hand, and even solicits acceptance.

Marcion the heretic, (A.D.140) is distinctly charged by Tertullian (A.D.200), and by Jerome a century and a half later, with having abundantly mutilated the text of Scripture, and of S. Paul's Epistles in particular. Epiphanius compares the writing which Marcion tampered with to a moth-eaten coat . |Instead of a stylus,| (says Tertullian,) |Marcion employed a knife.| |What wonder if he omits syllables, since often he omits whole pages ?| S. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, Tertullian even singles out by name; accusing Marcion of having furnished it with a new title. All this has been fully explained above, from page 93 to page 96.

Now, that Marcion recognised as S. Paul's Epistle |to the Ephesians| that Apostolical writing which stands fifth in our Canon, (but which stood seventh in his,) is just as certain as that he recognised as such S. Paul's Epistles to the Galatians, Corinthians, Romans, Thessalonians, Colossians, Philippians. All this has been fully explained in a preceding page .

But it is also evident that Marcion put forth as S. Paul's another Epistle, -- of which all we know for certain is, that it contained portions of the Epistle to the Ephesians, and purported to be addressed by S. Paul |to the Laodiceans.| To ascertain with greater precision the truth of this matter at the end of upwards of seventeen centuries is perhaps impossible. Nor is it necessary. Obvious is it to suspect that not only did this heretical teacher at some period of his career prefix a new heading to certain copies of the Epistle to the Ephesians, but also that some of his followers industriously erased from certain other copies the words en Epheso in ver.1, -- as being the only two words in the entire Epistle which effectually refuted their Master. It was not needful, (be it observed,) to multiply copies of the Epistle for the propagation of Marcion's deceit. Only two words had to be erased, -- the very two words whose omission we are trying to account for, -- in order to give some colour to his proposed attribution of the Epistle, (|quasi in isto diligentissimus explorator,|) -- to the Laodiceans. One of these mutilated copies will have fallen into the hands of Origen, -- who often complains of the corrupt state of his text: while the critical personages for whom Cod. B and Cod. ' were transcribed will probably have been acquainted with other such mutilated copies. Are we not led, as it were by the hand, to take some such view of the case? In this way we account satisfactorily, and on grounds of historic evidence, for the omission which has exercised the Critics so severely.

I do not lose sight of the fact that the Epistle to the Ephesians ends without salutations, without personal notices of any kind. But in this respect it is not peculiar . That, -- joined to a singular absence of identifying allusion, -- sufficiently explains why Marcion selected this particular Epistle for the subject of his fraud. But, to infer from this circumstance, in defiance of the Tradition of the Church Universal, and in defiance of its very Title, that the Epistle is Encyclical,' in the technical sense of that word; and to go on to urge this characteristic as an argument in support of the omission of the words en Epheso, -- is clearly the device of an eager Advocate; not the method of a calm and unprejudiced Judge. True it is that S. Paul, -- who, writing to the Corinthians from Ephesus, says |the Churches of Asia salute you,| (1 Cor. xvi.19,) -- may have known very well that an Epistle of his |to the Ephesians,| would, as a matter of course, be instantly communicated to others besides the members of that particular Church: and in fact this may explain why there is nothing specially |Ephesian| in the contents of the Epistle. The Apostle, -- (as when he addressed |the Churches of Galatia,|) -- may have had certain of the other neighbouring Churches in his mind while he wrote. But all this is wholly foreign to the question before us: the one only question being this, -- Which of the three following addresses represents what S. Paul must be considered to have actually written in the first verse of his |Epistle to the Ephesians|? --

(1) tois agi'ois tois ousin en Ephe'so kai` pistois en Ch. I.

(2) tois agi'ois tois ousin en . . . . . . kai` pistois en Ch. I.

(3) tois agi'ois tois ousi, kai` pistois en Ch. I.

What I have been saying amounts to this: that it is absolutely unreasonable for men to go out of their way to invent a theory wanting every element of probability in order to account for the omission of the words en Ephe'so from S. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians; while they have under their eyes the express testimony of a competent witness of the ii^nd century that a certain heretic, named Marcion, |presumed to prefix an unauthorized title to that very Epistle,| (|Marcion ei titulum aliquando interpolare gestiit,|) -- which title obviously could not stand unless those two words were first erased from the text. To interpolate that new title, and to erase the two words which were plainly inconsistent with it, were obviously correlative acts which must always have been performed together.

But however all this may be, (as already pointed out,) the only question to be determined by us is, -- whether it be credible that the words en Ephe'so are an unauthorized addition; foisted into the text of Ephes. i.1 as far back as the Apostolic age: an interpolation which, instead of dying out, and at last all but disappearing, has spread and established itself, until the words are found in every copy, -- are represented in every translation, -- have been recognised in every country, -- witnessed to by every Father, -- received in every age of the Church? I repeat that the one question which has to be decided is, not how the words en Ephe'so came to be put in, or came to be left out; but simply whether, on an impartial review of the evidence, it be reasonable (with Tischendorf, Tregelles, Conybeare and Howson, and so many more,) to suspect their genuineness and enclose them in brackets? Is it credible that the words en Ephe'so are a spurious and unauthorized addition to the inspired autograph of the Apostle? . . . We have already, as I think, obtained a satisfactory answer to this question. It has been shown, as conclusively as in inquiries of this nature is possible, that in respect of the reading of Ephesians i.1, Codd. B and ' are even most conspicuously at fault.

IV. But if these two Codices are thus convicted of error in respect of the one remaining text which their chief upholders have selected, and to which they still make their most confident appeal, -- what remains, but to point out that it is high time that men should be invited to disabuse their minds of the extravagant opinion which they have been so industriously taught to entertain of the value of the two Codices in question? It has already degenerated into an unreasoning prejudice, and threatens at last to add one more to the already overgrown catalogue of |vulgar errors.|

V. I cannot, I suppose, act more fairly by Tischendorf than by transcribing in conclusion his remarks on the four remaining readings of Codex ' to which he triumphantly appeals: promising to dismiss them all with a single remark. He says, (addressing unlearned readers,) in his |Introduction| to the Tauchnitz (English) New Testament : --

|To these examples, others might be added. Thus, Origen says on John i.4, that in some copies it was written, in Him is life,' for in Him was life.' This is a reading which we find in sundry quotations before the time of Origen ; but now, among all known Greek MSS. it is only in the Sinaitic, and the famous old Codex Bezae, a copy of the Gospels at Cambridge; yet it is also found in most of the early Latin versions, in the most ancient Syriac, and in the oldest Coptic. -- Again, in Matth. xiii.35, Jerome observes that in the third century Porphyry, the antagonist of Christianity, had found fault with the Evangelist Matthew for having said, which was spoken by the prophet Esaias.' A writing of the second century had already witnessed to the same reading; but Jerome adds further that well-informed men had long ago removed the name of Esaias. Among all our MSS. of a thousand years old and upwards, there is not a solitary example containing the name of .Esaias in the text referred to, -- except the Sinaitic, to which a few of less than a thousand years old may be added. -- Once more, Origen quotes John xiii.10 six times; but only the Sinaitic and several ancient Latin MSS. read it the same as Origen: He that is washed needeth not to wash, but is clean every whit.' -- In John vi.51, also, where the reading is very difficult to settle, the Sinaitic is alone among all Greek copies indubitably correct; and Tertullian, at the end of the second century, confirms the Sinaitic reading: If any man eat of my bread, he shall live for ever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.' We omit to indicate further illustrations of this kind, although there are many others like them .|

Let it be declared without offence, that there appears to exist in the mind of this illustrious Critic a hopeless confusion between the antiquity of a Codex and the value of its readings. I venture to assert that a reading is valuable or the contrary, exactly in proportion to the probability of its being true or false. Interesting it is sure to be, be it what it may, if it be found in a very ancient codex, -- interesting and often instructive: but the editor of Scripture must needs bring every reading, wherever found, to this test at last: -- Is it to be thought that what I am here presented with is what the Evangelist or the Apostle actually wrote? If an answer in the negative be obtained to this question, then, the fact that one, or two, or three of the early Fathers appear to have so read the place, will not avail to impart to the rejected reading one particle of value. And yet Tischendorf thinks it enough in all the preceding passages to assure his reader that a given reading in Cod. ' was recognised by Origen, by Tertullian, by Jerome. To have established this one point he evidently thinks sufficient. There is implied in all this an utterly false major premiss: viz. That Scriptural quotations found in the writings of Origen, of Tertullian, of Jerome, must needs be the ipsissima verba of the Spirit. Whereas it is notorious |that the worst corruptions to which the New Testament has ever been subjected originated within a hundred years after it was composed: that Irenaeus and the whole Western, with a portion of the Syrian Church, used far inferior manuscripts to those employed by Stunica, or Erasmus, or Stephens, thirteen centuries later, when moulding the Textus Receptus .| And one is astonished that a Critic of so much sagacity, (who of course knows better,) should deliberately put forth so gross a fallacy, -- not only without a word of explanation, a word of caution, but in such a manner as inevitably to mislead an unsuspecting reader. Without offence to Dr. Tischendorf, I must be allowed to declare that, in the remarks we have been considering, he shows himself far more bent on glorifying the |Codex Sinaiticus| than in establishing the Truth of the pure Word of God. He convinces me that to have found an early uncial Codex, is every bit as fatal as to have |taken a gift.| Verily, |it doth blind the eyes of the wise .|

And with this, I shall conclude my remarks on these two famous Codices. I humbly record my deliberate conviction that when the Science of Textual Criticism, which is at present only in its infancy, comes to be better understood; (and a careful collation of every existing Codex of the New Testament is one indispensable preliminary to its being ever placed on a trustworthy basis;) a very different estimate will be formed of the importance of not a few of those readings which at present are received with unquestioning submission, chiefly on the authority of Codex B and Codex '. On the other hand, it is perfectly certain that no future collations, no future discoveries, will ever make it credible that the last Twelve Verses of S. Mark's Gospel are a spurious supplement to the Evangelical Narrative; or that the words en Ephe'so are an unauthorized interpolation of the inspired Text.

And thus much concerning Codex B and Codex '.

I would gladly have proceeded at once to the discussion of the |Internal Evidence,| but that the external testimony commonly appealed to is not yet fully disposed of. There remain to be considered certain ancient |Scholia| and |Notes,| and indeed whatever else results from the critical inspection of ancient MSS., whether uncial or cursive: and. all this may reasonably claim one entire Chapter to itself.

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