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

APPENDIX (E).

Text of the concluding Scholion of Victor of Antioch's Commentary on S. Mark's Gospel; in which Victor bears emphatic testimony to the genuineness of |the last Twelve Verses.|

(Referred to at p.65.)

I HAVE thought this very remarkable specimen of the method of an ancient and (as I think) unjustly neglected Commentator, deserving of extraordinary attention. Besides presenting the reader, therefore, with what seems to be a fair approximation to the original text of the passage, I have subjoined as many various readings as have come to my knowledge. It is hoped that they are given with tolerable exactness; but I have been too often obliged to depend on printed books and the testimony of others. I can at least rely on the readings furnished me from the Vatican.

The text chiefly followed is that of Coisl.20, (in the Paris Library, -- our Evan.36;) supplemented by several other MSS., which, for convenience, I have arbitrarily designated by the letters of the alphabet as under .

Ei de kai to |Anastas de proi prote sabbatou ephane proton Maria te Magdalene,| kai ta exes epipheromena, en to kata Markon euangelio para pleistois antigraphois ou keintai , (hos netha gar enomisan auta tines einai .) all' hemeis ex akribon antigraphon, hos en pleistois heurontes auta , kata to Palaistinaion euangelion Markou, hos echei he aletheia, suntetheikamen kai ten en auto epipheromonen despotiken anastasin, meta to |ephobounto gar .| toutestin apo tou |anastas de proi prote sabbatou,| kai kath' hexes mechri tou |dia` ton epakolouthou'nton semei'on. Ame'n .|

More pains than enough (it will perhaps be thought) have been taken to exhibit accurately this short Scholion. And yet, it has not been without design (the reader may be sure) that so many various readings have been laboriously accumulated. The result, it is thought, is eminently instructive, and (to the student of Ecclesiastical Antiquity) important also.

For it will be perceived by the attentive reader that not more than two or three of the multitude of various readings afforded by this short Scholion can have possibly resulted from careless transcription . The rest have been unmistakably occasioned by the merest licentiousness: every fresh Copyist evidently considering himself at liberty to take just whatever liberties he pleased with the words before him. To amputate, or otherwise to mutilate; to abridge; to amplify; to transpose; to remodel; -- this has been the rule with all. The types (so to speak) are reducible to two, or at most to three; but the varieties are almost as numerous us the MSS. of Victor's work.

And yet it is impossible to doubt that this Scholion was originally one, and one only. Irrecoverable perhaps, in some of its minuter details, as the actual text of Victor may be, it is nevertheless self-evident that in the main we are in possession of what he actually wrote on this occasion. In spite of all the needless variations observable in the manner of stating a certain fact, it is still unmistakably one and the same fact which is every time stated. It is invariably declared, --

(1.) That from certain copies of S. Mark's Gospel the last Twelve Verses had been left out; and (2) That this had been done because their genuineness had been by certain persons suspected: but, (3) That the Writer, convinced of their genuineness, had restored them to their rightful place; (4) Because he had found them in accurate copies, and in the authentic Palestinian copy, which had supplied him with his exemplar.

It is obvious to suggest that after familiarizing ourselves with this specimen of what proves to have been the licentious method of the ancient copyists in respect of the text of au early Father, we are in a position to approach more intelligently the Commentary of Victor itself; and, to some extent, to understand how it comes to pass that so many liberties have been taken with it throughout. The Reader is reminded of what has been already offered on this subject at pp.272-3.

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