Hort, Mark 16:19, and Irenaeus (Against Heresies Book Three)
- Dear George Somsel,
Hort's theories certainly are *not* as valid today as they were ever thought to be. The foundation-stone of his approach -- that the Byzantine Text is a recension -- has been replaced by the notion that the Byzantine Text developed gradually. (P. W. Comfort still teaches the Lucianic Recension, straight up, but he's an exception; that's what happens when professors become unaccountable; they can teach year after year, lecturing from notes they wrote back in their own days as seminary-students.) The belief that there are no doctrinally motivated alterations to the text has been obliterated. The belief that distinct Byzantine readings can't be all that ancient has been demonstrated to be false. The belief that conflations (or apparent conflations) prove the posteriority of the text-type in which they are found has been shown to be ill-founded.
"As valid today as they ever were thought to be"? I laugh at that! Page after page could be written about how wrong Hort -- the Introduction, not the person -- is on point after point. (Pickering already has done this, to a large extent. You haven't read Pickering's "Identity of the NT Text" book, have you. It's online, so nothing is stopping you.) Hort is a genealogical method without a genealogy. Many of the criticisms put to Hort by its earlier critics -- Kenyon, Salmon, Miller, and (more mildly) Harris -- have not been effectively answered, and I'd say that although a few folks have done some hand-waving over Pickering's book, many of his most important criticisms of Hort remain intact.
GFS: "As regards Irenaeus, I would not take that as being a secure witness since it is not the original of Iraeneus but a Latin translation."
You said that some people refuse to give up their TR regardless of how much proof is offered. That may be the case. But here before my eyes I see evidence that something similar can and should be said of some Critical-Text advocates. For even though Irenaeus' statement in which he explicitly quotes Mark 16:19 is embedded in the course of his composition, and the presence of this passage in the (rather wooden) Latin translation cannot be accounted for as a matter of text-substitution (as if a translator were conforming Gospels-quotations to his own local text-form of the Gospels), and even though Codex 1582, and Codex 72, and another codex (recently documented by the adventuresome monastery-explorers from CSNTM) include, alongside Mark 16:19, a Greek margin-note stating that Irenaeus, who lived close to the time of the apostles, quotes this passage in the third book of his work "Against Heresies," and even though 1582 descends from an exemplar in the 400's, you do nor regard Irenaeus' statement as a secure witness, preferring, it seems, an alternative which is downright conspiratorial.
GFS: "I would need to assess the practice of the translator to determine how faithful he was to Irenaeus and whether he completed quotations from his own (later) sources."
Exactly how do you imagine that such a translator would complete a quotation of *nothing* by turning it into the contents of what is stated in Against Heresies III:10:5-6? In other words, why would a Latin translator insert an *interpolation* here? And why, and how, would the person who originated the margin-note that is found in 1582 obtain that Latin translation, and why would he make a note (in Greek) about its contents, if the Greek of Irenaeus was different? Do you see the senselessness of the notion that this part of "Against Heresies" is not genuine? There's no way to be aware of the pertinent evidence and do otherwise.
GFS: "search for truth" --
Yes; try doing that, instead of waiting for data to be spoon-fed to you by exasperated researchers who know that you have readily available means of finding out the things that you say you want to find out.
Yours in Christ,
James Snapp, Jr.