Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Daniel Wallace on 10th cent. UK MS

In late July, Daniel Wallace posted the following announcement at csntm.org:

Update on the UK Gospels Manuscript: No Pericope Adulterae

Daniel B. Wallace

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts sent a team in June 2009 to a private residence in England to photograph a previously uncatalogued Greek Gospels manuscript. The manuscript turned out to be from the 10th century, containing all four Gospels (except for nine missing leaves). Some of the quires were out of order, but after making a Scripture index of each page the dislocated passages were found.

Of note is the manuscript’s lack of the pericope adulterae (John 7.53–8.11). Images 211ab, 213ab, 214ab, and 215ab contain material from John 7 and 8, though these leaves are located after Luke 23.33 (with leaf 212 containing Matthew 27.51–64). Leaf 211 has John 7.41–8.16; leaf 213 has John 8.16–29; leaf 214 has John 7.28–41; leaf 215 has John 8.29–42. This is followed by leaf 216 which picks up again at Luke 23.33. The rest of the Gospel of John begins on leaf 222.

The pericope adulterae is traditionally located after John 7.52. But it has been found in other locations as well. Among these are: after Luke 21.38 (f13); after John 7.36 (codex 225); after John 7.44 (some Georgian manuscripts); after John 8.12 (codex 115); after Luke 24.53 (the corrector of 1333); and at the end of the Gospel of John (f 1 [1 565 1076 1570 1582] ArmenianMSS).

The UK Gospels manuscript does not have the PA in any of these locations. It thus should be recorded as a witness against the inclusion of the story of the woman caught in adultery.

Wallace's assessment (highlighted) of the meaning of his find, is disappointing, unprofessional, and seems a trifle desperate or hysterical.

(1) The location of the PA in other very late and secondary MSS is no criterion for classifying an unrelated MS as to its value as a witness, either for or against the PA. Since all these unique and unoriginal locations were created at the caprice of individual scribes, they are wholly irrelevant to the placement (or non-placement) of the PA in other documents and traditions. They only testify to either the lack of good textual sources for its location, or else confusion of opinion prevalent in various isolated monasteries and scriptoriums throughout Europe.

(2) As Wallace's own description makes clear, the pages of this new manuscript are either misplaced and re-bound erroneously, or else the same confused state was found in the exemplar it was copied from. Thus the page positions are worthless information on the issue of authenticity. They only testify that accidentally or deliberately, the state of the text was obscured and hidden re: the PA.

(3) As Wallace indicates, a page from Matthew hardly under dispute was also displaced in the same position. This indicates the positions for the pages from John are also meaningless as to the text. Only the text actually found on the pages will have any bearing on the PA.

(4) That the PA is missing from the text we have no doubt. As such this late MS merely testifies to the already known situation in the 10th century, namely that it was left out of some copies. The addition of one more copy hardly tips the balance of the majority of MSS for this century.

(5) It remains to be determined whether any or all of the later omissions were a result of accurate copying of early documents, or just reflect a contemporary policy in place in the scriptoriums where they were made.

Many other key questions remain, not answered by the manuscript or Wallace. How old is the text that the MS copied? Where did it originate? What type of text is it? Regarding the manuscript itself and its immediate ancestor(s), were these pages of John replaced, or secundu manu, or tampered with at any time? Were there any notes about the PA attached to this line of transmission?

Counting this manuscript as any kind of witness regarding the very early omission/addition of the PA into the textual stream is an implausible methodology of counting one's chickens before they hatch, if ever.

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