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'.


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