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Sinaiticus' Scribes and Margin-Corrections

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  • James Snapp, Jr.
    Dear George Young: Kirsopp Lake DID state definitively that Scribe A and Scribe D are two different hands: The discrimination of D from A and B is easier and
    Message 1 of 7 , May 1, 2006
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      Dear George Young:

      Kirsopp Lake DID state definitively that Scribe A and Scribe D are
      two different hands: "The discrimination of D from A and B is easier
      and admits of no reasonable doubt." What part of "admits of no
      reasonable doubt" are you interpreting to mean "doubtful"???

      GY: "In other words, Scribe D is merely an hypothesis to explain
      other features connected to the text of Sinaiticus."

      No; the existence of Scribe D is a deduction drawn directly from the
      evidence, evidence which includes, as I've said, not only the subtle
      aesthetic differences which Lake mentioned but also the accelerated
      rates of letters-per-column, orthographic/itacistic variation, and
      the use of the diple-mark (to which could be added differing
      treatments of nomina sacra, and the lack of the Eusebian Canons in
      the cancel-sheets in Matthew, as I recall).

      GY: "In Mk 10:30, inserting the marginal note would create a literal
      repetition of several words"

      It would? How? (Btw, notice that the contents of the correction in
      Sinaiticus differs from the text of B here; B has "mhteras" but
      Aleph's corrector has "mhtera." This -- and the hundreds of textual
      differences not noted in the margins -- does not bode well for the
      idea that someone was putting B's readings into the margins of
      Sinaiticus.)

      GY: "Lastly, in Mk 16:6 there is again the issue of repetition, yet
      this time Scribe A spells it out for us - BUT ONLY HERE."

      First, the scribe here isn't Scribe A; it's Scribe D. Second,
      there's no repetition involved here; the margin-note consists of the
      insertion of a skipped phrase.

      GY: "The uniqueness of the scribal mark in these three instances in
      which it occurs ***links them all together.*** These are not the
      usual so-called "errors." If you look at 4:19 that becomes plain, at
      least to me."

      However typical or non-typical the errors are, the marks and the
      corrections alongside them are nothing special. (Btw, in 4:19,
      Aleph's reading after the margin-correction is taken into account
      disagrees with B; words are transposed. Again, this does not readily
      support the idea that the corrector was writing material from
      Vaticanus in the margins.)

      GY: "I feel that I have sufficiently shown that this [the existence
      of Scribe D] is hypothetical in nature, and an hypothesis that even
      Kirsopp Lake was not certain about."

      Hmm. Audience??

      GY: "Finally, the scribal note at 15:47, which is evident in Lake's
      facsimile but absent in Tischendorf's, is open to question. Why did
      Tischendorf omit it? Was it even there when Tischendorf had the
      codex?"

      My offhand guess is that Tischendorf discerned (correctly or
      incorrectly) that this note was added after the MS left its
      scriptorium, and his intention was to display the state of the text
      as it existed upon, but not after, its departure.

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.
      Curtisville Christian Church
      Indiana (USA)
      www.curtisvillechristian.org/BasicTC.html
    • George Young
      Dear James Snapp: Concerning the marginal notes in Sinaiticus, every textual critic should hold them in the highest regard. My understanding of the textual
      Message 2 of 7 , May 2, 2006
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        Dear James Snapp:

        Concerning the marginal notes in Sinaiticus, every
        textual critic should hold them in the highest regard.
        My understanding of the textual apparatus in
        Sinaiticus is that we can trace them back to the
        critical signs first devised by Aristarchus of
        Alexandria, who was the chief Grammarian at the
        scribal school of Alexandria during the reign of
        Philopater (222-205 BC). As you know, Sinaiticus
        traces both its lineage and textual exemplar back
        through to Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD). In his
        own study of the Holy Scriptures, Origen adopted
        several text-critical signs from his Alexandrian
        educators. Two of these text-critical signs are first
        the *Asterisk, which was an X with four dots placed
        between the lines, and the second was the Obelus,
        which was a line with two dotes placed on either side.
        The - Asterisk - when placed in the manuscript
        indicated a reading worthy of *special attention.*
        The Obelus indicated a variant which the scribe judged
        to be worthy of *censure* or *removal.* What we have
        in the Gospel of Mark at 4:19, 10:30, and yes 16:6 is
        an *OBELUS* (or, more correctly, a Metobelus which is
        a more refined form of the Obelus drawn at a 45 degree
        angle with two dotes placed mid-way up the line).

        Now, returning to your assertion regarding Scribe D,
        the Canceled-Sheet Theory, and so forth. First, I
        reiterate that Kirsopp Lake did not state definitively
        that Scribe D exists. Tischendorf theorized that the
        manuscript was the work of four (4) original scribes
        (A,B,C,D). Kirsopp Lake maintained that scribe A wrote
        all of the canonical NT, and theorized that scribe D
        was the one responsible for some of the corrections
        and *canceled-leaves.* Yet, with respect to scribe D,
        Lake cannot help but *admit* that he CANNOT describe
        who Scribe D is! He states: "...it [sic] is more
        easily PERCEIVED than described." (p. xix) Again he
        ponders, "POSSIBLY the letters are more square in D
        than in A?" (p. xix) Still more, he wonders with
        respect to scribe D, "Some of these corrections SEEM
        REALLY TO BE IN THE SAME HAND as the text [i.e.,
        Scribe A!]." (p. xxi) Still more doubts arise, "Some
        [of D's corrections] very slightly...but so slightly
        [from A] that they are clearly...made in the
        scriptorium." (p. xxi) FINALLY, Kirsopp Lake must ask:
        "Are they a different hand [i.e., scribe A and scribe
        D] or not?" (p. xxi). No, they are the same hand. This
        sort of language indicates that Lake is, as it were,
        "reasoning out loud."

        But it would be unfair to Lake to supposed that he
        cannot put forward some sort of argument. Shortly
        after taking the photographs of Sinaiticus in St.
        Petersburg in 1909, he obviously wanted to say
        something to scholars! He felt compelled to provide
        them with some argument with which to work. In other
        words, he puts together an argument which at the time
        seemed good to him and then offers it up to the
        academic community. In the end, however, he simply
        summarizes the relevant data concerning Sinaiticus,
        and reiterates what Tischendorf said 50 years
        earlier. Even H.B. Swete wasn’t all that impressed
        with Lake’s arguments, nor with his facsimile. For
        even after its publication, in 1914 Swete wrote that a
        "photographic reproduction of this most important MS
        has yet to appear…The student is still under the
        necessity of extracting the text of [Aleph] from the
        five works of Tischendorf." So, Lake is *permitted*
        to say things like "The discrimination of [scribe] D
        from A and B is easier and admits of no reasonable
        doubt" because without such assumptions, he feels he
        cannot write anything to anyone. In any case,
        so-called "Scribe D" is just what the letter means "a
        door," i.e., "a way out" of a conundrum. The same
        conundrum, I hasten to add, in which many still
        reside. Perhaps this says something about Lake’s
        understanding of academia enterprise?

        Second, turning to the manuscript itself, and in
        particular Mark 16:6, here in this one instance we
        have the Sacred Name spelled out for us. Why only
        here and not elsewhere? You have provided one
        explanation to that effect with the canceled-sheet
        theory and the postulation of Scribe D, who corrects
        the horrible mistake that Scribe A made in his copying
        of the last two (2) chapters of the gospel. But there
        is a problem: (1) The postulation of Scribe D is not
        demonstrable from the paleographical analysis of the
        script. In fact, its doubtful to say the least. To
        suppose, with Kirsopp Lake that "*possibly* the
        letters are more square" is the same as saying
        "possibly they are not." Indeed, possibly there is no
        variation at all. Next, (2) to argue that Scribe D
        replaced the last leaf of Mark and then tried, first
        to compact his writing, but then later, expand his
        writing when he saw he needed to fill space (and thus
        the uncontracted Name IHSOUN) is at the very most mere
        speculation, and at the least a trivialization of the
        scribe’s art and skill. If Scribe D was trying to
        fill space, why place TON NAZARHNON in the margins?
        Why not include it in the main text? Your argument is
        contradictory, and not only here but elsewhere as
        well. But wait, you say "However typical or
        non-typical the errors [sic] are, the scribal marks
        and the corrections alongside them are nothing
        special." The modern textual critic can only
        disregard the ancient textual apparatus to his own
        peril. You need to cast away any meaning to the
        scribe’s Obelus precisely because it means something
        that undercuts your hypothesis.

        To be sure, the variation in the number of characters
        per column is not enough to support the notion of a
        canceled sheet. We see this phenomenon elsewhere in
        Sinaiticus. Moreover, the Scribal Obelus at Mark 16:6
        indicates that TON NAZARHNON is worthy of *censure*
        and *removal* from the main text, which is precisely
        why it is in the margins! This is also why we see the
        Name of Jesus (IHSOUN) uncontracted, ie., for
        EMPHASIS! The uncontracted form of the Name supports
        the scribe’s use of the Obelus. In other words,
        inclusion of TON NAZARHNON violates the scribe’s
        fidelity to his own vocation, which is his fidelity to
        the Exemplar before him. It would only be on account
        of perhaps ecclesiastical pressure that Scribe ***A***
        would include it, yet here only in the margins. And
        we can support this hypothesis by looking at the other
        two instances of the Obelus in Mark (Mk. 4:19 and
        10:30), which in both instances clearly illustrate to
        us in a demonstrable way the precise function of the
        ancient text-critical sign. This too is completely
        consistent with the ancient Alexandian Grammarians and
        Aristarchus himself.

        To proceed one step further, takes us, of course, to
        the Codex Vaticanus. (Yet first, as an aside, Why must
        we rely upon Kirsopp Lake or Tischendorf for
        orthographic/itacistic matters? Can’t we see for
        ourselves?) In Vaticanus there is no Obelus at Mk
        4:19, 10:30, or 16:6. Why not? My suspicion (and I
        do plan to explore this further) is that the Scribe is
        saying something very important to his reader. He is
        obviously aware of B’s readings, indeed, seemingly
        seamless readings, hence the use of the Obelus.

        Sincerely,

        Webber Young.








        --- "James Snapp, Jr." <snapp@...> wrote:

        > Dear George Young:
        >
        > Kirsopp Lake DID state definitively that Scribe A
        > and Scribe D are
        > two different hands: "The discrimination of D from
        > A and B is easier
        > and admits of no reasonable doubt." What part of
        > "admits of no
        > reasonable doubt" are you interpreting to mean
        > "doubtful"???
        >
        > GY: "In other words, Scribe D is merely an
        > hypothesis to explain
        > other features connected to the text of Sinaiticus."
        >
        > No; the existence of Scribe D is a deduction drawn
        > directly from the
        > evidence, evidence which includes, as I've said, not
        > only the subtle
        > aesthetic differences which Lake mentioned but also
        > the accelerated
        > rates of letters-per-column, orthographic/itacistic
        > variation, and
        > the use of the diple-mark (to which could be added
        > differing
        > treatments of nomina sacra, and the lack of the
        > Eusebian Canons in
        > the cancel-sheets in Matthew, as I recall).
        >
        > GY: "In Mk 10:30, inserting the marginal note would
        > create a literal
        > repetition of several words"
        >
        > It would? How? (Btw, notice that the contents of
        > the correction in
        > Sinaiticus differs from the text of B here; B has
        > "mhteras" but
        > Aleph's corrector has "mhtera." This -- and the
        > hundreds of textual
        > differences not noted in the margins -- does not
        > bode well for the
        > idea that someone was putting B's readings into the
        > margins of
        > Sinaiticus.)
        >
        > GY: "Lastly, in Mk 16:6 there is again the issue of
        > repetition, yet
        > this time Scribe A spells it out for us - BUT ONLY
        > HERE."
        >
        > First, the scribe here isn't Scribe A; it's Scribe
        > D. Second,
        > there's no repetition involved here; the margin-note
        > consists of the
        > insertion of a skipped phrase.
        >
        > GY: "The uniqueness of the scribal mark in these
        > three instances in
        > which it occurs ***links them all together.***
        > These are not the
        > usual so-called "errors." If you look at 4:19 that
        > becomes plain, at
        > least to me."
        >
        > However typical or non-typical the errors are, the
        > marks and the
        > corrections alongside them are nothing special.
        > (Btw, in 4:19,
        > Aleph's reading after the margin-correction is taken
        > into account
        > disagrees with B; words are transposed. Again, this
        > does not readily
        > support the idea that the corrector was writing
        > material from
        > Vaticanus in the margins.)
        >
        > GY: "I feel that I have sufficiently shown that
        > this [the existence
        > of Scribe D] is hypothetical in nature, and an
        > hypothesis that even
        > Kirsopp Lake was not certain about."
        >
        > Hmm. Audience??
        >
        > GY: "Finally, the scribal note at 15:47, which is
        > evident in Lake's
        > facsimile but absent in Tischendorf's, is open to
        > question. Why did
        > Tischendorf omit it? Was it even there when
        > Tischendorf had the
        > codex?"
        >
        > My offhand guess is that Tischendorf discerned
        > (correctly or
        > incorrectly) that this note was added after the MS
        > left its
        > scriptorium, and his intention was to display the
        > state of the text
        > as it existed upon, but not after, its departure.
        >
        > Yours in Christ,
        >
        > James Snapp, Jr.
        > Curtisville Christian Church
        > Indiana (USA)
        > www.curtisvillechristian.org/BasicTC.html
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >



        **************************************



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      • George Young
        Dear James Snapp/TC List: Concerning the marginal notes in Sinaiticus, I hold them with great interest. My understanding of the textual apparatus in Sinaiticus
        Message 3 of 7 , May 6, 2006
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          Dear James Snapp/TC List:

          Concerning the marginal notes in Sinaiticus, I hold
          them with great interest.
          My understanding of the textual apparatus in
          Sinaiticus is that we can trace them back to the
          critical signs first devised by Aristarchus of
          Alexandria, who was the chief Grammarian at the
          scribal school of Alexandria during the reign of
          Philopater (222-205 BC). As you know, Sinaiticus
          traces both its lineage and textual exemplar back
          through to Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD). In his
          own study of the Holy Scriptures, Origen adopted
          several text-critical signs from his Alexandrian
          educators. Two of these text-critical signs are first
          the *Asterisk, which was an X with four dots placed
          between the lines, and the second was the Obelus,
          which was a line with two dotes placed on either side.
          The - Asterisk - when placed in the manuscript
          indicated a reading worthy of *special attention.*
          The Obelus indicated a variant which the scribe judged
          to be worthy of *censure* or *removal.* What we have
          in the Gospel of Mark at 4:19, 10:30, and yes 16:6 is
          an *OBELUS* (or, more correctly, a Metobelus which is
          a more refined form of the Obelus drawn at a 45 degree
          angle with two dotes placed mid-way up the line).

          Now, returning to your assertion regarding Scribe D,
          the Canceled-Sheet Theory, and so forth. First, I
          reiterate that in my reading of Kirsopp Lake he did
          not state definitivelythat Scribe D exists. As you
          know, Tischendorf theorized that the
          manuscript was the work of four (4) original scribes
          (A,B,C,D). Kirsopp Lake maintained that scribe A wrote
          all of the canonical NT, and theorized that scribe D
          was the one responsible for some of the corrections
          and *canceled-leaves.* Yet, with respect to scribe D,
          Lake cannot help but *admit* that he CANNOT describe
          who Scribe D is! He states: "...it [sic] is more
          easily PERCEIVED than described." (p. xix) Again he
          ponders, "POSSIBLY the letters are more square in D
          than in A?" (p. xix) Still more, he wonders with
          respect to scribe D, "Some of these corrections SEEM
          REALLY TO BE IN THE SAME HAND as the text [i.e.,
          Scribe A!]." (p. xxi) Still more doubts arise, "Some
          [of D's corrections] very slightly...but so slightly
          [from A] that they are clearly...made in the
          scriptorium." (p. xxi) FINALLY, Kirsopp Lake must ask:
          "Are they a different hand [i.e., Scribes A and D] or
          not?" (p. xxi). No, they seem like the same hand to my
          eyes. This sort of language indicates that Lake is,
          as it were, "reasoning out loud."

          But it would be unfair to Lake to supposed that he
          cannot put forward some sort of argument. Shortly
          after taking the photographs of Sinaiticus in St.
          Petersburg in 1909, he obviously wanted to say
          something to scholars! He felt compelled to provide
          them with some argument with which to work. In other
          words, he puts together an argument which at the time
          seemed good to him and then offers it up to the
          academic community. In the end, however, he simply
          summarizes the relevant data concerning Sinaiticus,
          and reiterates what Tischendorf said 50 years
          earlier. Even H.B. Swete wasn’t all that impressed
          with Lake’s arguments, nor with his facsimile. For
          even after its publication, in 1914 Swete wrote that a
          "photographic reproduction of this most important MS
          has yet to appear…The student is still under the
          necessity of extracting the text of [Aleph] from the
          five works of Tischendorf." So, Lake is challenging
          when he says things like "The discrimination of
          [scribe] D from A and B is easier and admits of no
          reasonable doubt..." because without such assumptions,
          he feels he cannot put together a seemless argument.
          In any case,
          so-called "Scribe D" is just what the letter means "a
          door," i.e., "a way out" of a conundrum.

          Second, turning to the manuscript itself, and in
          particular Mark 16:6, here in this one instance we
          have the Sacred Name spelled out for us. Why only
          here and not elsewhere? You have provided one
          explanation to that effect with the canceled-sheet
          theory and the postulation of Scribe D, who corrects
          the horrible mistake that Scribe A made in his copying
          of the last two (2) chapters of the gospel. But there
          is a problem: (1) The postulation of Scribe D is not
          demonstrable from the paleographical analysis of the
          script. In fact, its doubtful to say the least. To
          suppose, with Kirsopp Lake that "possibly* the
          letters are more square" is the same as saying
          "possibly they are not!" Indeed, possibly there is no
          variation at all (I don't see any). Next, (2) to
          argue that Scribe D
          replaced the last leaf of Mark and then tried, first
          to compact his writing, but then later, expand his
          writing when he saw he needed to fill space (and thus
          the uncontracted Name IHSOUN) is at the very most mere
          speculation, and at the least a misunderstanding of
          the
          scribe’s art and skill. If Scribe D was trying to
          fill space, why place TON NAZARHNON in the margins?
          Why not include it in the main text? Your argument is
          seems inconsistent, and not only here but elsewhere as
          well. You say "However typical or
          non-typical the errors [sic] are, the scribal marks
          and the corrections alongside them are nothing
          special." I suspect you don't really feel this way
          about the marginal notes. There is no need to cast
          away any meaning to the Scribe’s Obelus precisely
          because it means something
          that we don't understand.

          To be sure, the variation in the number of characters
          per column is not enough to support the notion of a
          canceled sheet. ***We see this phenomenon elsewhere
          in
          Sinaiticus.***
          Moreover, the Scribal Obelus at Mark 16:6
          indicates that TON NAZARHNON is worthy of *censure*
          and *removal* from the main text, which is precisely
          why it is in the margins! This is also why we see the
          Name of Jesus (IHSOUN) uncontracted, ie., for
          EMPHASIS! The uncontracted form of the Name supports
          the scribe’s use of the Obelus. In other words,
          inclusion of TON NAZARHNON violates the scribe’s
          fidelity to his own vocation, which is his fidelity to
          the Exemplar before him. It would only be on account
          of perhaps ecclesiastical pressure that Scribe ***A***
          would include it, yet here only in the margins. And
          we can support this hypothesis by looking at the other
          two instances of the Obelus in Mark (Mk. 4:19 and
          10:30), which in both instances clearly illustrate to
          us in a demonstrable way the precise function of the
          ancient text-critical sign. This too is completely
          consistent with the ancient Alexandian Grammarians.

          To proceed one step further, takes us, of course, to
          the Codex Vaticanus (I will explain this further in my
          next email - Recall, however, Where is it in Vaticanus
          that we see an UNCONTRACTED instance of the Sacred
          Name in Mark? It gets interesting!!!). In Vaticanus
          there is no Obelus at Mk 4:19, 10:30, or 16:6. Why
          not? My suspicion (and I do plan to explore this
          further) is that the Scribe might be *exorcising* the
          demons in his text.

          Comments Welcome.


          Sincerely,

          Webber Young.



          --- "James Snapp, Jr." <snapp@...> wrote:

          > Dear George Young:
          >
          > Kirsopp Lake DID state definitively that Scribe A
          > and Scribe D are
          > two different hands: "The discrimination of D from
          > A and B is easier
          > and admits of no reasonable doubt." What part of
          > "admits of no
          > reasonable doubt" are you interpreting to mean
          > "doubtful"???
          >
          > GY: "In other words, Scribe D is merely an
          > hypothesis to explain
          > other features connected to the text of Sinaiticus."
          >
          > No; the existence of Scribe D is a deduction drawn
          > directly from the
          > evidence, evidence which includes, as I've said, not
          > only the subtle
          > aesthetic differences which Lake mentioned but also
          > the accelerated
          > rates of letters-per-column, orthographic/itacistic
          > variation, and
          > the use of the diple-mark (to which could be added
          > differing
          > treatments of nomina sacra, and the lack of the
          > Eusebian Canons in
          > the cancel-sheets in Matthew, as I recall).
          >
          > GY: "In Mk 10:30, inserting the marginal note would
          > create a literal
          > repetition of several words"
          >
          > It would? How? (Btw, notice that the contents of
          > the correction in
          > Sinaiticus differs from the text of B here; B has
          > "mhteras" but
          > Aleph's corrector has "mhtera." This -- and the
          > hundreds of textual
          > differences not noted in the margins -- does not
          > bode well for the
          > idea that someone was putting B's readings into the
          > margins of
          > Sinaiticus.)
          >
          > GY: "Lastly, in Mk 16:6 there is again the issue of
          > repetition, yet
          > this time Scribe A spells it out for us - BUT ONLY
          > HERE."
          >
          > First, the scribe here isn't Scribe A; it's Scribe
          > D. Second,
          > there's no repetition involved here; the margin-note
          > consists of the
          > insertion of a skipped phrase.
          >
          > GY: "The uniqueness of the scribal mark in these
          > three instances in
          > which it occurs ***links them all together.***
          > These are not the
          > usual so-called "errors." If you look at 4:19 that
          > becomes plain, at
          > least to me."
          >
          > However typical or non-typical the errors are, the
          > marks and the
          > corrections alongside them are nothing special.
          > (Btw, in 4:19,
          > Aleph's reading after the margin-correction is taken
          > into account
          > disagrees with B; words are transposed. Again, this
          > does not readily
          > support the idea that the corrector was writing
          > material from
          > Vaticanus in the margins.)
          >
          > GY: "I feel that I have sufficiently shown that
          > this [the existence
          > of Scribe D] is hypothetical in nature, and an
          > hypothesis that even
          > Kirsopp Lake was not certain about."
          >
          > Hmm. Audience??
          >
          > GY: "Finally, the scribal note at 15:47, which is
          > evident in Lake's
          > facsimile but absent in Tischendorf's, is open to
          > question. Why did
          > Tischendorf omit it? Was it even there when
          > Tischendorf had the
          > codex?"
          >
          > My offhand guess is that Tischendorf discerned
          > (correctly or
          > incorrectly) that this note was added after the MS
          > left its
          > scriptorium, and his intention was to display the
          > state of the text
          > as it existed upon, but not after, its departure.
          >
          > Yours in Christ,
          >
          > James Snapp, Jr.
          > Curtisville Christian Church
          > Indiana (USA)
          > www.curtisvillechristian.org/BasicTC.html
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >



          **************************************



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