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Re: [textualcriticism] Sinaiticus' Scribes and Margin-Corrections

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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 1 of 7 , May 6, 2006
      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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