Sunday, April 5, 2015

Could the Failure of 19th and 20th cent. TC be because of Taxonomic Approaches?

A remarkable post by

Jan suggested to work with two dimensions in the classification: problems and causes. I immediately knew that was it! But how does that work, a classification with more than one dimension? I started to study the theory of classification, and I realized I had always been restricting myself to a certain form of classification, namely a taxonomy.

In a taxonomy, an object can occupy only one place in a hierarchical system: classifying a dog in a taxonomy of animals means positioning it at one of the branches of a tree, by means of characterizing it according to certain variables which are considered in sequence. 
However, there is also a more complex form of classification: a typology. An example of a typology would be the characterization of a group of people according to their gender as well as to the colour of their hair. Each individual is not positioned within a hierarchical structure, as in a taxonomy, but characterised according to two variables that are considered in parallel, instead of in sequence. 

We needed a typology! The argumentation for each conjecture necessarily has two dimensions, the detection of a problem (in the transmitted text) and the suggestion of a cause of the supposed corruption (that is, a certain type of scribal error/change). ..."

 Kamphuis' discovery parallels several other problems in both the organization of data and the display of data in NT studies.

Consider first of all the problem of grouping manuscripts.  Lately, researchers have been trying two, three and even multidimensional systems for graphing and measuring the 'closeness' of one manuscript's text to another, looking for 'clusters' or groups that have some substantial objective measure.

Example: Willker's Principal Components Analysis

Secondly, we often want to display relationships that are in fact quite complex, but best comprehended in 3-dimensional or 2-dimensional charts, which often must either leave out 'dimensions' of a problem or else distort them.

Consider for instance, a Synoptic relationship diagram, such as this:

Already we can see that certain details are left out or simplified (e.g. "other sources").

Or again, our own experience in trying to give an informative chart of the transmission data for a mere 12 verses of gospel (John 8:1-11):

But I'd like to draw attention to the specific fact that almost all "Evolutionary thinking" in the 19th and 20th centuries was based on the "Taxonomy Paradigm", and that, bluntly stated means the 'experts' were committed to a form of "One-Dimensional" sequential thinking, and viewpoints:  it was the only 'science' they had available at the time.

Perhaps this fundamental commitment to contemporary "science" as they understood it, forced them to abandon even 'common sense' in regard to the data regarding (accidental) omissions in ancient manuscripts, and embrace the only 'scientific' methodologies available, namely taxonomy-style approachs.

Could this have contributed to the widespread and large-scale 'blindness' regarding the majority of homoioteleuton omissions in the most ancient Uncial manuscripts and texts, and the almost mechanical and irrationally stubborn embrace of the "Prefer the Shorter Reading" axiom?

Kamphuis tells us also of the experience of  20/20 hindsight we all can relate to:
"But again and again some conjecture popped up that posed a problem and called for an adjustment of categories or definitions. Interestingly, most of the time such adjustments made the classification more straightforward, often making me wonder why that didn't occur to me earlier. ..."
 If early Textual Critics were given another chance at reconstructing the NT text, would they be able to adapt and embrace the more modern and multi-dimensional view of today, and reassess the crude and (in hindsight) misleading 'guidelines' of Textual Criticism of the 19th century?

Would they (unlike their modern ideological successors) recant and embrace the common (traditional 'Majority') Koine text found in the bulk of manuscripts extant today, representing multitudinous lines of transmission?

Would they abandon the "shortest text" in favour of the most likely text?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Homoioteleuton in Enoch and Scholarly Use of Scribal Tendencies

It is both enlightening and remarkable,
that when scholars examine other texts,
which are not considered "Holy Scripture" or "Divinely Preserved",
such as the Book(s) of Enoch,
the exact same problems and habitual copyist errors occur,
and these are just as easily and confidently identified,
based on the same probabilities.

In other words, the common errors of OMISSION,
usually caused by simple fatigue, in which a copyist
loses his place, and more often than not skips a line unnoticed,
are just as frequent in these other documents.

Such consistent and 'reliable' copyist errors form the basis
of all textual reconstruction of non-Biblical, classical, and secular texts.

So why didn't 19th century Textual Criticism apply this knowledge
in exactly the same way when reconstructing the New Testament text?

The answer sadly, isn't because of the 'special habits' of Christian copyists,
or unforseen and mysterious processes from which classical texts escape,
nor can it be explained by 'deliberate tampering' or other conjectures.

The sad fact is, when all the errors of omission are taken in total,
its obvious that together they comprise of a large body of ACCIDENTAL variants,
and no 'systemic' trend or trait can be demonstrated.

Neither is there any 'systemic' bias or editing or other tampering involved.

While some passages containing important doctrines were sensitive to errors,
and this created suspicion among both copyists and 'Editors' like Jerome,
the fact remains that even taking all the omissions and mistakes into the text,
it remains exactly the same group of documents it was before:
It teaches in the main the same doctrines, presents the same history,
makes the same miraculous claims, and inspires the same religion.

One cannot for instance say that the majority of errors were "Arian",
or "Sabellian" or "Gnostic" in slant, nor can anyone make a claim that
all the errors are 'Roman Catholic' or based on superstitious beliefs.

These textual variants remain random in their impact as a group,
and the most likely explanation for the entire group is simple accident,
for the most part errors by omission due to the eye skipping a line or
skipping over a similarly ending pair of words in a line of text.

Thus R.H. Charles in his characterization of the extant surviving manuscripts
for the Book of Enoch, was able to categorize the variants mainly as
homoioteleuton-style omissions, and not scribal creativity.

Similarly, Knibb many years later made the same insightful observations:

In describing the Akhmim Manuscript (Codex Panopolitanus) of Enoch,
he states:

"Amongst the many mistakes in the manuscript particular attention - so far as this edition of Enoch is concerned, - should be drawn to the existence of numerous omissions, many through homoioteleuton..."
- The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, Michael Knibb, p. 17,(1978, Oxford Press)

Contrary to claims of "scientific Textual Criticism",
the real reason that editors have unilaterally dismissed longer readings
in favour of shorter ones, was not a knowledge of scribal habits,
but rather a prejudice against the text so great that it overwhelmed all
reasonable judgement in regard to the actual evidence.

The Critics and Editors were LOOKING for the shortest possible text,
to ELIMINATE any and all texts supporting miracles, incarnations,
and other obvious Christian doctrines they had already regarded as
, superstition-based, contrary to 19th century materialism,
and from their view encumbering the text with supposed 'superstitions'
and legends, mythology which had accrued over centuries of collecting,
through marginal comments and imaginative conjectural emendation.

However, the evidence of the textual tradition and transmission itself
supports no such process
. The stories of Jesus and the teachings of Paul
were exactly as they are from the start.
The only accretions and 'editing' must have taken place within a few 100 years of Jesus' time.

These were in the main things like the gathering together of the Paul's letters into
a single document, and the rewriting of the gospel of Mark to include more teachings
and sayings of Jesus.

Even the most extremely edited and shortened text
is still basically a New Testament of nominally Christian content

complete with miracles, and in spite of the best efforts
of skeptical scholars, the New Testament remains a non-denominational Christian handbook.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tommy Wasserman on Mark 1:1 - homoeoteleuton

Click to enlarge: backbutton to return

Tommy Wasserman has examined Mark 1:1 closely, and comes to the conclusion that it is a probable omission due to homoeoteleuton.

In the picture above, one can see an early corrector re-inserting the lost words "Son of God" (in Nomina Sacra abbreviation) above the line.
Wasserman believes this is the earliest layer of correction, and hence contemporary with the manuscript itself, probably before it left the scriptorium. (This manuscript has many corrections, including the replacement of several whole folios by an overseer, which must have happened before it left the scriptorium also, because the Euse. Canons are missing from some replacement pages, but present on others.)

The Evangelical TC Blog has linked to his audio lecture below:

Tommy's excellent presentation on the text of Mark 1.1 is now available in audio via the CSCO website (where it is also described as argued persuasively):

Tommy Wasserman, ‘The “Son of God” was in the Beginning,’ lecture (44min)
Wasserman, Question and Answer, (28min)
 In his analysis, Tommy Wasserman notes that there are either 6 genitive endings of words in a row, or else 4 Nomina Sacra, creating an easy situation for error.  In his opinion, the argument that omissions are unlikely in the very beginning of a book is outweighed by both the textual evidence and the intrinsic evidence regarding Mark's style and purpose.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dr. Maurice Robinson on Textual Variants

Recently, in discussions of a few key variants at the KJV Debate blog, Dr. Robinson has restated his position on the role of errors in the evolution of the textual variants:

" The further blanket claim that I “ascribe error and scribal slips to all the errors of Aleph & B” is simply incorrect. While I do maintain (on the basis of a careful examination of scribal habits) that scribal error is a primary cause of textual variation, I also clearly presume deliberate alteration and recensional activity to have occurred among the Alexandrian manuscripts (as per my 1993 article, “The Recensional Nature of the Alexandrian Texttype”). The leading principle in this regard is to presume scribal error as an initial factor so long as transcriptional probabilities suggest such, then to presume intentional change at whatever points transcriptional probabilities seem to be transcended for what appear to be stylistic or content-based “improvement” concepts in the eyes of particular scribes.
I trust this will clarify the matter." 

A .pdf version of Dr. Robinson's article can be found also hereThe Recensional Nature of the Alexandrian Texttype.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

F. Gardiner (1875) on Homoioteleuton

Gardiner originally gave a rather long article in Bibliotheca Sacra Apr 1875, reprinted as a book(let) of about 80 pages, complete with some useful charts showing the overlap for the known Uncials and the various books of the NT.

Beginning at about pg 10, Gardiner discusses homoioteleuton as follows:
"To illustrate these [accidental errors], one or two instances under each head are selected from Mr. Hammond's recent convenient little manual (Outlines of Textual Criticism applied to the New Testament. By C. E. Hammond, M.A. Oxford : Clarendon Press. 1872. From this work much of the present paper has been abridged.)

Under errors of sight belong omissions from what is technically called Homoioteleuton. Thus, in Codex C, the words τουτο δε εστιν το θελημα του πεμψαντος με  are omitted in John 6:39, because the last three words had occurred immediately before, and the eye of the scribe passed on from their first to their second occurrence. This happens especially when the same words occur at the end of consecutive lines.

To the same head belong the many instances, more generally in the uncial MSS., arising from the confusion of similar letters such as Α, Λ, Δ ; or Ε ς, Θ Ο. From this arose the well-known and well-disputed reading in 1 Tim. 3:16. Similar letters or syllables are sometimes omitted and sometimes inserted; thus in Matt. 26:39 for ΠΡΟΣΕΛΘΩΝ Cod. B has ΠΡΟΕΛΘΩΝ, and in Luke 9:49 Cod. H has εκβαλλοντα τα δαιμονια for εκβαλλοντα διαμονια . Letters, too, are sometimes transposed, so that in Acts 13:23 for ΣΠΑΙΝ, Codd. H and L read ΣΠΙΑΝ {σωτηρα Ιησου} . The number of errors from this source is very large, as the margin of any critical edition will readily show."

Gardiner's remarks show once again that 19th century Textual Critics were perfectly able to understand and quite capable of identifying homoeoteleuton errors.  

However, they restricted their notice of these to singular readings, and consistently refused to use the evidence of their own eyes to extend these observations, and extrapolate them to the lost exemplars and archetypes of the surviving manuscripts, even when they knew full well that key manuscripts (like א and B) had common ancestors and at least partially shared lines of transmission. 

These factors should have alerted them to the high probability that omissions with identical h.t. features shared by such MSS were obviously also earlier h.t. errors, and not to be inserted into reconstructions of the 'original text'.

But this observation would have run counter to the widespread and overriding agenda to 'dethrone the Textus Receptus'.


Friday, September 23, 2011

David Robert Palmer on h.t. in NA27 & John

It appears that David Robert Palmer, Bible translator and textual critic, who has provided a complete set of .pdf translations along with the Greek text and an extensive but concise apparatus, has followed with interest our research on homoeoteleuton errors in the popular critical texts such as the UBS text.

He has chosen to include in his apparatus some of our observations regarding h.t. errors, in his latest version of the Greek text of John:
"[to] Steven Avery: when I opened my translation of the gospel of John, I see this:
'Codex Barococciani 206 θ, A.D. 692'
I apparently already corrected [this] sometime in the past, probably in 2008.  You have an old copy of my work.

Here, get the current one: Greek-English John w Apparatus    The current one [Greek text of John with apparatus], unlike the copy you have, also has adopted 3 or 4 suggestions from Nazaroo as to instances of homoioteleuton in the NA27 text.  So, your copy is very much out of date.

David Robert Palmer
Message #4544 Sept 23, 2011, TC-Alt List

 Our thanks to Mr. Palmer, for taking our work into consideration when updating his textual apparatus. 


Saturday, September 17, 2011

A.C. Clark (1914): h.t. singulars - Codex B

In chapter 5 of Clark's book The Primitive Text.., (1914), he lists many of the singular readings found in Codex Vaticanus (B), which present h.t. features:

-------------- QUOTE: ---

"B is written in 3 colums, with 42 lines / page and an average of 16-17 letters/line.  As compared with Aleph, B is a reticent witness.  It is, however, clear that it is derived from an ancestor containing 10-12 letters to the line. 

...the following omissions of B, or B-1, against Aleph, may represent lines of the model:

Mark  1:35      ...εξηλθε και απηλθε(ν)...  (10 chars) om. B (h.t.)
Mark  14:10  ...προς τους αρχιερεις ...  (11 chars) om. B (h.t.)
Acts 23:28:
                                                 ...βουλομενος δε 
  γνωναι την αιτιαν δι ην ενεκαλουν αυτω
  κατηγαγον αυτον εις το συνεδριον αυτων

where B omits κατηγαγον...αυτων (33 letters)  om. B (h.t.)

Matt. 10:37
...ο φιλων πατερα η μητερα υπερ εμε ουκ εστιν μου αξιος  
και ο φιλων υιον η θυγατερα υπερ εμε ουκ εστιν μου αξιος

where B omits  και... αξιος (42 letters)  om. B (h.t.)

Here the Oxyrh. papyrus 1170 (4th cent.) also omits the next clause (62 letters), which makes for a total of 104 characters in that MS.'

------------------------------ END QUOTE ---

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Codex א: Singulars - h.t. List from A.C. Clark (1914)

Chapter IV (p. 24 fwd) in A.C. Clark's book, The Primitive Text of the Gospels and Acts (1914) is not only loaded with a startlingly large list of rarely mentioned h.t. errors, (critics who push the WH text rarely call attention to the faults of  /B), but he shows how investigation into the column-width of the master-copy provides additional confirmation and insight into the h.t. process.

Clark explains:

"[Sinaiticus] is written in four columns with 48 lines per page and an average of 13-14 letters to the line. [this column-width is important for what follows] ...
The  internal evidence shows that א is derived from an ancestor with an average of 10-12 letters per line.


Luke 11:1 διδαξον ημας προσευχεσθαι, καθως και Ιωαννης εδιδαξε τους μαθητας αυτου.  omit και Ιωαννης (10 letters) - א .
The words are necessary to the sense, since John has not been mentioned previously.

John 19:23  και εποιησαν τεσσαρα μερη εκαστω στρατιωτη μερος και τον χιτωνα ην δε ο χιτων αρραφος ... omit  και τον χιτωνα (12 letters) - א .

Sometimes we have multiples of the same unit in immediate proximity, e.g.;

Mark 13:8   

εγερθησεται γαρ 
εθνος επι εθνος 
 και βασιλεια
 επι βασιλεια- (ν)
εσονται σεισμοι 
κατα τοπους και 
 εσονται  λιμοι 
και ταραχαι αρ
χαι ωδινων ταυ-

 (1)  omit   επι βασιλεια- (11 letters) - א .
 (2)  omit  κατα τοπους  και εσονται  λιμοι  (22 letters) - א .

Clark gives over a dozen more examples, all multiples of similar line-lengths:

Jn 12:31 - omit   νυν ο αρχων του κοσμου τουτου  (24 letters) - א 
Jn 3:20-21 - omit   ουκ ... το φως και  (22 letters) - א 
Jn 3:20-21 - omit   ο δε ...τα εργα αυτου  (57 letters) - א 
The omissions [above] are due to the coincidence of h.t. with line division.  We may assign to this ancestor such short omissions as:

(10 letters, h.t. )  Matt. 23:35 - omit   [...Ζαχαριου]  υυ Βαραχιου    - א 
(12 letters, h.t. )   Mk 12:25 - omit   ουτε γαμουσιν   - א
(13 letters, h.t. )   Lk 12:18  - omit   [...α μου] και τα αγαθα μου    - א 

 "There is however, the possibility that there is a larger unit representing an intermediate ancestor.  We must therefore, take into consideration omissions of 14-19 letters.  The cases I have noticed are:

(14 letters, h.t.   - א )   Matt 28:3
(15 letters, h.t.   - א )   Matt. 16:9
                             Luke 6:14
(16 letters, h.t.   - א  )   Jn  1;25
                             Jn  8:20
(17 letters, h.t.   - א  )   Jn 17:17
(18 letters, h.t.   - א )   Matt. 27:56
                             Mark 10:33
 (19 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt 7:27

 (20 letters, h.t.   - א )  Mk 12:30
 (21 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt 19:18
                             Luke 8:47
 (22 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt 27:52
                             Luke 16:16
                             John  3:20
 (24 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt. 25:43
                             Mark 6:4
                             John 12:31
 (27 letters, h.t.   - א )  Luke 12:37
 (28 letters, h.t.   - א )  John 6:55
 (29 letters, h.t.   - א )  John 4:45
                             John 16:17
 (30 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt 5:45
                             John 4:4
 (32 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt 13:39
                             John  5:26
 (33 letters, h.t.   - א )  John  6:39                    
 (35 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt. 10:39
 (42 letters, h.t.   - א )  Luke 17:9
 (43 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt. 9:15
                             John  15:10
 (44 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt. 15:18-19
 (45 letters, h.t.   - א )  Luke 12:52
 (47 letters, h.t.   - א )  Mark 6:8
 (54 letters, h.t.   - א )  Luke 10:32
                             Luke 14:15
 (57 letters, h.t.   - א )  John 3:21
 (60 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt. 5:19
 (61 letters, h.t.   - א )  Mark 6:28
 (64 letters, h.t.   - א )  Luke 17:35
 (71 letters, h.t.   - א )  Matt. 26:62-63
                             John 16:15
 (84 letters, h.t.   - א )  Mark 10:35-37
 (92 letters, h.t.   - א )  Mark 1:32-34
 (101 lett.,   h.t.   - א )  John 20:5

 (192 lett.,   h.t.   - א )  John 19:20

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A.C. Clark (1914) on homoeoteleuton (Pt. 2)

Continuing from A.C. Clark's first book, The Primitive Text of the Gospels and Acts (Oxford, 1914):
"Chapter 1 (p. 1fwd):

'I referred to homoeoteleuton as a frequent cause of omission.  The word strictly means similarity of termination, but it is often used for any similarity, e.g., at the beginning of words, which would more appropriately be called homoeoarcton, or for the repetition of the same word (repetitio or geminatio [=dittography]).  In all such cases, the copyist was liable to pass from one similar word to the other, omitting the intervening words [and one copy of the doubled word].   The most frequent cause of omission is the repetition of the same word. 
I now proceed outline the method which should be followed by anyone who embarks upon a similar inquiry.  The first task is to ascertain the content of a line in the archetype.  For this purpose 'telescoped' lines are of primary importance.  In all probability the common unit will be at once revealed.  The next step is to tabulate the omissions of the rival families, arranging them in order of magnitude.  It will then appear when multiples of a unit figure among the omissions.  The separate families should be treated in the same manner. 
The information thus acquired must be combined with that furnished by transpositions, dislocations, migratory variants, and corruptions of all kinds.   The most minute flaws are often the most important for the purposes of investigation. 
Above all the inquirer must not shrink from the labor of counting the letters.  No shorter method, such as that of numbering the lines of a printed text, can have any cogency which is possessed by the actual figures. 
I have seldom carried out a long numeration without being richly rewarded.  I imagine the reason to be that in the long passages occasional irregularities correct each other, and the average remains clearly visible.  Also, it is only in them that we can hope to find indications of the longer divisions, viz. columns, pages, and folios in the archetype.'

 Chapter 2 (p. 11 fwd)

"...I thought it well to prepare myself by making some examination of the Oxyrhynchus papyri.  ...I had to satisfy myself whether the lines exhibit regularity in content similar to the Old Latin MSS.  I found that this was so.  The papyri are of all shapes and sizes, sometimes written in long lines, but more commonly in columns of various breadth.  Sometimes they contain some 40 letters or more to the line, sometimes about 35, more frequently about 28, 24, or 22, very frequently 16-19, while a fair number, ...are written in very narrow columns, averaging 10-12 letters, or even less.  In all, however, although abnormally long or short lines occur, the general average soon asserts itself. 
In my work upon Latin MSS, I have found that where there are two or more columns in a codex, the tendency is for one column to be squeezed.  If there are three columns, it is generally the middle one that suffers; if there are two, the column on the left is often a little broader than the one on the right.  
The papyri are particularly free from abbreviations apart from a particular class, viz., nomina sacra.  ...
Also some of the Uncials, especially B and D, are chary in the use of abbreviations beyond IS XS THS PNA OUNOS PR US ANOS.  However on the whole, the bulk of the evidence is on their employment, and, as I do not wish to avail myself  of any license, I have treated this as normal.   There is some uncertainty as to the use of letters to express numerals.  ... The Uncials vary greatly in this respect.  On the whole it seems safest to suppose that the numerals were written in full, but the other possibility has to be taken into account.   
On examining the papyri I found many phenomena similar to those which I had observed in Latin MSS. "

A.C. Clark (1914) on homoeoteleuton

A.C. Clark produced two important works on NT TC, the first being The Primitive Text of the Gospels and Acts (Oxford, 1914), and the second, his Critical Text of Acts (1933).  Although his continued investigation resulted in modifications and additional details, his basic position remained committed.

Here are some exerpts from the first book (Primitive Text..):
...Whenever the readings of two MSS ...are compared, of them does not contain passages which occur in the other.   In all such cases there are two possible explanations, viz., that the words are spurious, ...inserted by an interpolater..., or that they are genuine, and have been accidentally omitted by the other [copy].  The hypothesis of accident [omission] is highly probable, when there is a reason which will account for the omission. 
One such reason is universally recognized, viz., homoeoteleuton. [h.t.]  When a similar ending, or word occurs twice in the same sentence, a copyist [could have] easily passed from the first passage to the second, omitting the intermediate words.  This saut du meme au meme ["jump from meme to meme"] is the most prolific cause of omissions. 
There is another reason which is not infrequently suggested by editors, viz., that the scribe has accidentally omitted a line, or several lines, of his model.  When we have two MSS, one which is known to be a transcript of the other, we find actual instances of such omissions.  In the vast majority of cases however, we have only the copy, not the [exemplar].   Since all scribes [copyists] are subject to the same errors, it is reasonable to suppose that omissions in a particular MS may represent a line or number of lines [skipped] in an ancestor... the problem is to find an objective detect line-omissions. 
...[groups of] short passages...doubted on the ground of their omission by a MS or family, frequently contain the same, or nearly the same number of letters.  Longer passages in the same way [are] multiples of this unit.  The natural inference is that the unit [and longer omissions] correspond to [physical] lines in [the layout of] an ancestor.
Ancient Uncial MSS are written with few abbreviations and no space between words [with] the number of letters per line ...a more or less constant [average] quantity.
It was also easy for a copyist to omit other divisions in his [exemplar], viz., a colum, page, or folio [folded sheet].   Since it is usual for MSS to have the same # of lines per page, it follows that the contents of columns, pages, & folios are similar [in size]. 
The chief result of my investigation has been to show the falsity of the principle brevior lectio potior ("prefer the shorter reading").  This was laid down by Griesbach as a canon of criticism in the words:
"Brevior lectio, nisi testium vetustorum et gravium auctoritate penitus destituatur, praeferenda est verbosiori.  Librari enim multo proniores ad addendum fuerunt quam ad omittendum." 
 "The Shorter reading, unless the authority of the witnesses completely lacks a weight and age, is preferable to the verbose. Copyists were  much more prone to add than to omit."
[But] this statement has no foundation in facts.  I may also observe that it is not so easy to invent as it is to omit. 
I had been brought up to look on the Revised Text as final, to smile at persons who maintained the authenticity of St. Mark 16:9-20 or St. John 7:53-8:11, and to suppose that the 'vagaries' of the 'Western text' were due to wholesale interpolation.   The object which I had in view was merely to study the mutual relations of the oldest Greek Uncials, notably, the Vaticanus (B), Sinaiticus (Aleph), and Alexandrinus (A).  I was however, soon dislodged from this arrogant attitude, and irresistibly driven to very different conclusions. 
Nowhere is the falsity of the maxim 'Prefer the shorter reading' more evident than in the New Testament.  The process [over time in copying] has been one of contraction, not expansion.  The primitive text is the longest, not the shortest."
(- Clark, 1914,  Preface, iii-vii)