Saturday, September 10, 2011

James Snapp Jr's Observations on Asterisks

In his discussion of the Ending of Mark, James Snapp Jr. had some remarks concerning the function and meaning of different forms of asterisks in the margin of manuscripts.  His observations however, equally apply to manuscripts which have marks in the margin beside John 7:53-8:11:

----------------------------------------------------- QUOTE ---

Msg #6619:

'Bruce Metzger wrote that

"Not a few manuscripts which contain the passage have scribal notes stating that older Greek copies lack it, and in other witnesses the passage is marked with asterisks or obeli, the conventional signs used by copyists to indicate a spurious addition to a document." (Bruce Metzger, p. 123, A Textual Commentary on the Greek N. T., � 1971 by the United Bible Societies.)
The second part of Dr. Metzger's statement is incorrect. To the best of my knowledge, not a single manuscript that does not have a note about the passage has been shown to place asterisks or obeli alongside it to convey scribal doubt about the passage. When copyists wanted to signify doubt about a large passage, they ordinarily placed a *series* of asterisks or other marks alongside it. But the marks that have been claimed to signify scribal doubt about the passage in unannotated manuscripts are solitary. I looked into this, and in every case that I could track down, where the presence of a mark at Mark 16:9 has been verified, and it does not refer to a note in the margin, the same mark appears elsewhere in the same manuscript at places where there is no textual issue, but there is  a lection-division."

(...See, regarding this, my earlier posts about those copies [at Willker's TC-Group]. There is still one MS in Spain that I have not been able to check out. But it's a MS with a commentary accompanying the text. Time in.)

'In other words, these manuscripts were studied superficially, and marks that were made as part of the lectionary apparatus were misidentified as if they were made to convey scribal doubt. In the real world, instead of conveying scribal doubt, they do just the opposite, showing that the passage was expected to be read in the churches as a normal part of the church-services on Ascension-day, and as part of an eleven-part series of readings about Christ's resurrection'.

Yours in Christ,

James Snapp, Jr.


...The implications for those manuscripts having singular asterisks at the beginning and end of John 7:53-8:11 (the Pericope de Adultera) are obvious.


1 comment:

James E. Snapp, Jr. said...

I've been able to observe digital images of that manuscript that is in Spain (MS 2812, the Zelada Gospels). It does not have any special asterisks or obeli accompanying Mk. 16:9-20. It has a symbol that is intended to refer the reader to a note on the next page, which is accompanied by the same symbol. The note = the normal catena-note of Victor of Antioch.