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138 264 1221 2346 - "Inserted obeli to separate the passage"??

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  • james_snapp_jr
    In the most recent edition of Authentic: The Case for Mark 16:9-20, I write along the following lines regarding some manuscripts which are said to have
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 7, 2012
      In the most recent edition of "Authentic: The Case for Mark 16:9-20," I write along the following lines regarding some manuscripts which are said to have asterisks or obeli at Mark 16:9-20. (Some of this was stated previously at this discussion-board -- see posts 6445 and 6446 -- but apparently it needs to be stated again.) --

      Five manuscripts, according to Daniel Wallace, contain "an asterisk or obelisk" [i.e., obelus] in the margin to indicate doubt about Mark 16:9-20. They are 138, 264, 1221, 2346, and 2812. The same list is given in Wieland's 2012 Textual Commentary.

      Codices 137 and 138 are the two copies (housed at the Vatican Library as Library Catalogue #756 and 757) which Burgon arranged to be examined in preparation for his 1871 book. Describing the results of the examination, Burgon wrote, "To be brief – there proves to be no asterisk at all – either in Codex 756, or in Codex 757." He went on to concisely explain that in Codex 137 (= 756 in the Vatican catalogue) there is a cross-shaped symbol, in the form of a plus-sign, which serves to refer the reader to a nearby annotation, which is accompanied by the same symbol. And, "As for the other Codex, it exhibits neither asterisk nor cross; but contains the same note or scholion attesting the genuineness of the last twelve verses of St. Mark."

      Manuscript 264 was also described by Burgon: in a footnote to his discussion of 137 and 138, Burgon mentions 264, replicates the symbol (which resembles a hollowed-out "X") which it displays, and points out that this symbol occurs not only at 16:9 but also at 11:12 (the beginning of the 33rd chapter), 12:38 (the beginning of the lectionary-reading for the Wednesday of the third week after Pentecost), and 14:12 (the beginning of the 45th chapter), and that it does not appear at the Story of the Adulteress. This purpose of this symbol is thus, it seems, to facilitate the easy location of some lections; it has no text-critical significance.

      Manuscript 1221 does not have an asterisk between Mark 16:8 and 16:9. It has a lozenge-dot, that is, four dots arranged in a north-south-east-west pattern. Before this lozenge-dot, above the word GAR in 16:8, is a TELOS symbol, which appears very frequently in 1221 to locate the end of a lection. After this lozenge-dot, above the beginning of ANASTAS in 16:9, is an ARCH symbol, which appears very frequently in 1221 to locate the beginning of a lection. Lozenge-dots also appear in 1221 after Mark 2:12 (the end of the fifth of the 48 chapters into which the text of Mark is usually divided in Greek manuscripts), halfway through 5:24 (the end of the 12th chapter, and the beginning of a lection for the Monday of the fifteenth week after Pentecost), and at 6:7 (the beginning of a lection for the Wednesday of the fifteenth week after Pentecost), and in Luke there are several more (occurring, for example, at the beginning of Luke 1:24 (the beginning of the lection for the Feast of the Annunciation), at the beginning of 1:26, at the end of 1:46 (where a note in the upper margin states that this is the end of a matins-reading), and after 2:40). Obviously these lozenge-dots were added for the convenience of a lector and have no text-critical significance.

      In MS 2346, there is neither an asterisk nor an obelus but the same lozenge-dots symbol that appears in 1221 also appears in 2346, above the line, between the end of 16:8 and the beginning of 16:9. In the margin, to the left of the text, is a TELOS symbol, and below the TELOS symbol in the margin is an ARCH symbol. The meaning of this is pretty clear: the lozenge-dots are located at the point where one lection ends and another lection begins. The person who added this bit of lectionary-equipment did not want to reduce the legibility of the text by placing the TELOS symbol and ARCH symbol in the text itself, so he placed them in the margin, and put the smaller lozenge-dots in the text instead to signify the point to which they referred.

      The person who added the lectionary-equipment to 2346 resorted to something very similar at the end of John 1:28. There, also, superscripted lozenge-dots appear, between the end of John 1:28 and the beginning of John 1:29. A TELOS symbol is in the left margin, and an ARCH symbol is in the right margin. Clearly these refer to lection-breaks.

      Finally we come to MS 2812, a Gospels-codex from the 900's. Its text is accompanied by a commentary. Codex 2812 is kept in the national library of Spain, and I haven't been able to access images of it.

      So it would seem that of the five manuscripts that are supposed to have "inserted obeli to separate the passage," such a statement is demonstrably untrue as far as four of them are concerned, and the statement has not been shown to be true regarding the fifth one.

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.
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