But it does not seem to me that any critics have really accounted for the phenomena of MSS. We have now a vast mass of them, some few very old, and a great many more comparatively modern. But it seems to me the oldest, as Sinaitic and Vatican, bear the marks of having been in ecclesiastical hands. I do not mean that the result is seriously affected by it, for their work is pretty easily detected and corrected, and thus is not of any great consequence; but, as it is easily detected, proved to be there.
After all research, it cannot be denied, I think, that there are two great schools of readings. The same MS.
- The records of Rochester;
- Svizzera (Si governano così) (Italian Edition).
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Thus Griesbach says A was Constantinopolitan in the Gospels and Alexandrian in the Epistles, to use conventional names. Still there are the two schools. For that in the main they are of this school, though with individual peculiarities, cannot, it seems to me, be questioned a moment.
Of these, Dublin, marked Z, is by far the most correct copy: I remarked but one blunder in copying. The Vatican, as a copy, is far superior to Sinaiticus, which is by no means a correct one, in the Revelation quite the contrary, however valuable as giving us the whole New Testament and being the oldest copy perhaps we have.
But we must remember that we have none until after the empire was Christian, and that Diocletian had destroyed all the copies he could get at. The Alexandrian MS.
But, if Scrivener is to be trusted, the Peschito Syriac agrees much more with A than with B; yet it is the oldest version that exists, nearly two hundred years older than any MS. This is not the case with the old Latin. It cannot be said to be Alexandrian, but approaches nearer to it.
But then even here is a singular phenomenon: one ancient MS. I think I only found one exception. Where did this come from? The Vulgate is a good deal corrected from the Alexandrian text, though not always following it.
Bible Versions Differences
In the Acts it is, as far as I have examined it, T. Gall, is often T. If in the Gospels A and B go together, we may be tolerably confident of the reading, of course weighing other testimony. D, it is known, is peculiar, though characteristically Alexandrian.
The result to me is that, while about the text as a whole there is nothing uncertain at all, though in very few instances questions may be raised, the history of it is not really ascertained. I avow my arriving at no conclusion, and I think I can say no one can give that history: the phenomena are unsolved. I have said thus much on the criticism of the text, and the MSS.
Darby Translation Notes
Thus, to say no more, the readings of A in the Epistles have a totally different degree of importance from that of its readings in the Gospels. And all becomes uncertain. In most of these cases the true reading is not doubted a moment by Tischendorf himself, yet it only makes people doubt about all. In the next place the reader has not a revision of the Authorised Version, but a translation from the best Greek text I could attain to any certain knowledge of.
I do not doubt a moment that numbers of phrases of the Authorised Version will be found in the translation. Filled as the mind is with it from constant use, it suggested itself naturally to the mind. I had no wish to reject it. But a revision of the Authorised Version, if desirable for ecclesiastical use, is not I think in itself a wise attempt. I rather doubt the justness of the taste which attempts to revise the Authorised Version. The new bit does not suit the old, and is the more distasteful from its juxtaposition. Imitation is seldom good taste, seldom undetected; it wants nature, and in these things nature is good taste, and attracts.
I have freely used every help I could. I do not mention Grammars and Dictionaries, as they are applicable to all books, and known; but I have used Meyer, whose continuators are very inferior, and from whom a large part of Alford is taken; but I have consulted Alford too, and De Wette. Ellicott is excellent in what he has done; Kypke most useful in what he affords.
I have used them for the exegesis of the text as Greek, not for any doctrine in any case. Fritzsche, who is grammatically very full; Bleek, who very much exhausts learning in his book on the Hebrews. Darby's English translation is a trusted, scholarly work based on a thorough knowledge of the original languages.
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