[b-hebrew] The New Testament

rochelle altman willaa at netvision.net.il
Sun Oct 22 10:44:31 EDT 2006


If you are going to refer to the Siniaticus or precendents... have you ever 
examined the Siniaticus or the Vaticanus? These two are the only Greek 
4th-century codices..

I am not an NT scholar; however, I do know MSS and writing systems.
There can only be "blunders" if one has already decided what *should* be 
True, the original scribes did write in corrections, frequently these are 
marginal corrections that point to a missed or questionable word. (I can 
think of one amusing example of something scholars have been arguing about 
for two hundred years. When someone actually examined the line in the 
Codex, lo and behold, the original scribe had written the mark for 
"questionable" word in the margin.)

True, there are numerous 'catch words' referred to as dittographs as well 
as actual dittographs. True that as many as ten different hands emended the 
text centuries later. Emendments, however, are not necessarily 
"corrections." Rather frequently, such "corrections" are intended to bring 
a text into line with what are the desired readings.

Are you aware that at the time of the Council of Trent there were more than 
12,000 Latin bibles or portions of bibles floating around -- and no two 
agreed in all details? What makes you think that Greek texts did not have 

Stop citing the KJV, it's just a translation -- a beautiful one, but with 
all the biases of the 17th-century to contend with); Stop citing web 
sources as the be all, end all..  Cite what is actually written in the 
original document that you state is full of "blunders." If you do not cite 
the originals, then you will have to tell us how you know that X is a 
"blunder" and not a later emendment..

BTW, did you know that an exact copy of an existing work was considered a 
forgery? "Blunders" and "errors" and "variants" -- I really wonder about that.

Back to sitting on my hands.

Dr. R> I> S. Altman

PS:Precedents? Hmm... all right, perhaps someone out here can tell me how 
in the heck anyone can determine precedent when both Codices are mid-4th 
century with two different canons written in two different scripts from two 
different locales and from two different religious parties. The Siniaticus 
is "Romanized"; the Vaticanus is Hellenized. Any other evidence one way or 
another aside from the same old party juggling for supremacy going on? Just 

At 04:50 AM 10/22/2006, Schmuel wrote:

>Hi Folks,
>Peter Kirk -
> > Schmuel who made unqualified claims like "Texts full of scribal 
> blunders" which could be
> > taken as suggesting significant unreliability in the New Testament.
> > This is by taking the quotes from Dean John Burgon  ....
>sujata -
> >Is there a complete list of scribal error somewhere on the Internet?
>Nope.. however here is a quote from Dean John Burgon that gives some 
>numbers and
>a few verses.  I have never seen these numbers of blunders 
>contested.  Please note
>that he is not talking about textual variants or doctrinal tamperings or 
>questions -
>but simply scribal blunderama.
>Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel According to S. Mark
>Vindicated Against Recent Critical Objectors and Established
>More recently, a claim to co-ordinate primacy has been set up on behalf of 
>the Codex Sinaiticus ... the Codex in question abounds with “errors of the 
>eye and pen, to an extent not unparalleled, but happily rather unusual in 
>documents of first-rate importance.” On many occasions, 10, 20, 30, 40 
>words are dropped through very carelessness.  In this way 14 words have 
>been omitted from Cod. in S. Mark xv. 47-xvi. 1:­19 words in S. Mark i. 
>32-4:­20 words in S. John xx. 5, 6:­39 words in S. John xix. 20, 21. . 
>“Letters and words, even whole sentences, are frequently written twice 
>over, or begun and immediately cancelled: while that gross blunder ... 
>whereby a clause is omitted because it happens to end in the same words as 
>the clause preceding, occurs no less than 115 times in the New Testament
>And here is some more commentary about the number of revisors.
> >From Stewarton Bible School
>On nearly every page of the manuscript there are corrections and 
>revisions, done by 10 different people. Some of these corrections were 
>made about the same time that it was copied, but most of them were made in 
>the 6th and 7th century. (snip)
>The great Greek scholar, Dr Scrivener, points this out in his historic 
>work A Full Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus. He speaks of correctional 
>alterations made to the MS: 'The Codex is covered with such alterations... 
>brought in by at least ten different revisers, some of them systematically 
>spread over every page, others occasional or limited to separated portions 
>of the MS, many of these being contemporaneous with the first writer, but 
>the greater part belonging to the sixth or seventh century.' "
>The following is a more general discussion and has a bit more of the 
>opinions and conclusions of Dean John Burgon.  Some of this covers the 
>issues raised in the post by Karl Randolph about why old manuscripts might 
>be preserved not used much.
>To put a bluntly ... an early manuscript .. oddball and scribally corrupt 
>.. stashed away in the desert
>    =  junque.
> >From Cecil Carter
>John William Burgon -(Vaticanus).
>Concerning the manuscripts, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, Burgon said;
>"I am utterly disinclined to believe," continues Dean Burgon, "so grossly 
>improbable does it seem - that at the end of 1800 years 995 copies out of 
>every thousand, suppose, will prove untrustworthy; and that the one, two, 
>three, four or five which remain, whose contents were till yesterday as 
>good as unknown, will be found to have retained the secret of what the 
>Holy Spirit originally inspired."
>"I am utterly unable to believe, in short, that God's promise has so 
>entirely failed, that at the end of 1800 years, much of the text of the 
>Gospel had in point of fact to be picked by a German critic out of a 
>wastepaper basket in the convent of St. Catherine; and that the entire 
>text has to be remodeled after the pattern set by a couple of copies which 
>had remained in neglect during fifteen centuries, and had probably owed 
>their survival to that neglect; whilst hundreds of others had been thumbed 
>to pieces, and had bequeathed their witness to copies made from them..."
>Concerning B and ALEPH his remarks are as follows.
>"As for the origin of these two curiosities, it can perforce only be 
>divined from their contents. That they exhibit fabricated texts is 
>demonstrable. No amount of honest copying - persevered in for any number 
>of centuries - could by possibility have resulted in two such documents. 
>Separated from one another in actual date by 50, perhaps by 100 years, 
>they must needs have branched off from a common corrupt ancestor, and 
>straightway become exposed to fresh depraving influences."
>Rev. Revised P. 318
>"If they had been good manuscripts, they would have been read to pieces 
>long ago. We suspect that these two manuscripts are indebted for their 
>preservation, solely to their ascertained evil character; which has 
>occasioned that the one eventually found its way, four centuries ago, to a 
>forgotten shelf in the Vatican Library; while the other, after exercising 
>the ingenuity of several generations of critical Correctors, eventually 
>(viz. in A.D. 1844) got deposited in the wastepaper basket of the Convent 
>at the foot of Mount Sinai. Had B and ALEPH been copies of average purity, 
>they must long since have shared the inevitable fate of books which are 
>freely used and highly prized; namely, they would have fallen into 
>decadence and disappeared from sight, but in the meantime, behold their 
>very antiquity has come to be reckoned to their advantage; and (strange to 
>relate) is even considered to constitute a sufficient reason why they 
>should enjoy not merely extra-ordinary consideration, but the actual 
>surrender of the critical judgment." (Revision Revised P.319) (snip)
>With regard to Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.
>"We are able to show -- that the readings they jointly embody afford the 
>strongest presumption that the Mss. which contain them are nothing else 
>but specimens of those 'corrected', i.e. corrupted copies, which are known 
>to have abounded in the earliest ages of the church." (Dean Burgon) (snip)
>"These are two of the least trustworthy documents in existence. So far 
>from allowing Dr. Hort's position that--'A text formed' by 'taking Codex B 
>as the sole authority', 'would be incomparably nearer the Truth than a 
>Text similarly taken from any other Greek or other single document' 
>(p.251), -- we venture to assert that it would be, on the contrary, by far 
>the foulest Text that had ever seen the light: worse, that is to say, even 
>than the Text of Drs. Westcott and Hort. And that is saying a great deal."
>(Revision Revised p. 316)
>This illustrious scholar so greatly feared by Westcott and Hort, that 
>after a few feeble rebuttals, they tended to ignore the battering ram 
>criticisms of their attack on the Word of God; now calls for testimony 
>from one of the Westcott and Hort demolition team of "revisers" of the 
>pure English Bible.
>I will point out that such manuscripts would never be of interest for 
>scholarship regarding the Hebrew Bible.  In that realm careful scribal 
>activity is the norm and a grossly deficient manuscript would have been 
>long defunctified.  Perhaps pointing that out will help keep us from 
>getting to far off topic :-)
>Steven Avery
>Queens, NY

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