FROM THE BOOK ‘THE REVISION REVISED” by John William Burgon
OUR LORD'S PRAYER FOR HIS MURDERERS
(4) Next in importance after the preceding, comes the Prayer which the Saviour of the World breathed from the Gross on behalf of His murderers (S. Luke xxiii. 34). These twelve precious words,—(‘Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’)—like those twenty-six words in S. Luke xxii. 43,44 which we have been considering already, Drs. Westcott and Hort enclose within double brackets in token of the 'moral certainty ' they entertain that the words are spurious.1
And yet these words are found in every known uncial and in every known cursive Copy, except four; besides being found in every ancient Version.
And what,—(we ask the question with sincere simplicity,)— what amount of evidence is calculated to inspire undoubting confidence in any existing Reading, if not such a concurrence of Authorities as this ?….We forbear to insist upon the probabilities of the case. The Divine power and sweetness of the incident shall not be enlarged upon. We introduce no considerations resulting from Internal Evidence. True, that "few verses of the Gospels bear in themselves a surer witness to the Truth of what they record, than this." (It is the admission of the very man2 who has nevertheless dared to brand it with suspicion.) But we reject his loathsome patronage with indignation. "Internal Evidence,"—"Transcriptional Probability,"—and all such ‘chaff and draff’ with which he fills his pages ad nauseam, and mystifies nobody but himself, —shall be allowed no place in the present discission. Let this verse of Scripture stand or fall as it meets with sufficient external testimony, or is forsaken thereby. How then about the Patristic evidence,—for this is all that remains unexplored?
Only a fraction of it was known to Tischendorf. We find our Saviour's Prayer attested,—
1 The Editors shall speak for themselves concerning this, the first of the
‘Seven last Words:’—We cannot doubt that it comes from an extraneous source;’—‘need not have belonged originally to the book in which it is now included;’—is ‘a Western interpolation.’
Dr. Hort,—unconscious apparently that he is at the bar, not on the bench, —passes sentence (in his usual imperial style)—"Text, Western and Syrian" (p. 67).—But then, (1st) It happens that our Lord's intercession on behalf of His murderers is attested by upwards of forty Patristic witnesses from every part of ancient Christendom: while, (2ndly) On the contrary, the places in which it is not found are certain copies of the old Latin, and codex D, which is supposed to be our great ‘Western’ witness.
2 Dr. Hort's N. T. vol. ii. Note, p. 68.
In the 2nd century by Hegesippus,1—and by Irenseus:2—
In the 3rd, by Hippolytus,3—by Origen,4—by the
Apostolic Constitutions5—by the Clementine Homilies6—by
ps.-Tatian,7—and by the disputation of Archelaus with
In the 4th, by Eusebius,9—by Athanasius,10—
by Gregory Nyss.,11—by Theodoras Herac.,12—by Basil,13—
by Chryso-stom,14—by Ephraem Syr.,15—by ps.-Ephraim,16—
by ps.-Dionysius Areop.,17—by the Apocryphal Acta Pilati,18—
by the Acta Philippi,19—and by the Syriac Acts of the App.20 —
by ps.-Ignatius,21—and ps.-Justin :22—
In the 5th, by Theodoret,23—by Cyril,24—by Eutherius :25
In the 6th, by Anastasius Sin.,26—by Hesychius :27—
In the 7th, by Antiochus mon.,28—by Maximus,29—
by Andreas Cret.:30—
1 Ap. Eus. Hist. Bed. ii. 23.
2 P. 521 and ... [Mass. 210 and 277.]
3 Ed. Lagarde, p. 65 line 3.
4 ii. 188. Hser. iii. 18 p. 5.
5 Ap. Gall. iii. 38,127.
6 Ibid. ii. 714. (Horn. xi. 20.)
7 Evan. Cone. 275.
8 Ap. Routh, v. 161.
9 He places the verses in Can. x.
10 i. 1120.
11 iii. 289.
12 Cat. in Ps. iii. 219.
13 i. 290.
14 15 times.
15 ii. 48, 321, 428; ii. (syr.) 233.
16 Evan. Cone. 117, 256.
17 i. 607.
18 Pp. 232, 286.
19 P. 85.
20 Pp. 11,16. Dr. Wright assigns them to the 4th century.
21 Eph. c. x.
22 ii. 166,168, 226.
23 6 times.
24 Ap. Mai, ii. 197 ( = Cramer 52); iii. 392.—Dr. Hort's strenuous pleading for the authority of Cyril on this occasion (who however is plainly against him) is amusing. So is his claim to have the cursive "82" on his side. He is certainly reduced to terrible straits throughout his ingenious volume. Yet are we scarcely prepared to find an upright and honourable man contending so hotly, and almost on any pretext, for the support of those very Fathers which, when they are against him, (as, 99 times out of 100, they are,) he treats with utter contumely. He is observed to put up with any ally, however insignificant, who even seems to be on his side.
25 Ap. Theod. v. 1152.
26 Pp. 423, 457.
27 Cat. in Ps. i. 768; ii. 663.
28 Pp. 1109,1134.
29 i. 374.
30 P. 93.
In the 8th, by John Damascene,1—besides ps.-Chrysostom,2—ps. Amphilochius,3—and the Opus imperf4.
Add to this, (since Latin authorities have been brought to the front),—Ambrose,5—Hilary,6—Jerome,7—Augustine,8— and other earlier writers 9.
We have thus again enumerated upwards of forty ancient Fathers. And again we ask, With what show of reason is the brand set upon these 12 words? Gravely to cite, as if there were anything in it, such counter-evidence as the following, to the foregoing torrent of Testimony from every part of ancient Christendom:—viz: ‘B D, 38, 435, a b d and one Egyptian version’—might really have been mistaken for a mauvaise plaisanterie, were it not that the gravity of the occasion effectually precludes the supposition. How could our Revisionists dare to insinuate doubts into wavering hearts and unlearned heads, where (as here) they were bound to know, there exists no manner of doubt at all?
LUKE'S INSCRIPTION ON THE CROSS
(5) The record of the same Evangelist (S. Luke xxiii. 38) that the Inscription over our Saviour’s Cross was ‘written ... in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew,’ disappears entirely from our 'Revised' version; and this, for no other reason, but because the incident is omitted by B C L, the corrupt Egyptian versions, and Cureton's depraved Syriac: the text of which (according to Bp. Ellicott10) “is of a very composite nature,—sometimes inclining to the shortness and simplicity of the Vatican manuscript” (B): e.g. on the present occasion. But surely the negative testimony of this little band of disreputable witnesses is entirely outweighed by the positive evidence of + A D Q R with 13 other uncials,—
1 ii. 67, 747.
2 L 814; ii. 819; v. 735.
3 P. 88.
4 Ap. Cbrys. vi. 191.
5 11 times,
6 P. 782 f.
7 12 times.
8 More than 60 times.
9 Ap. Cypr. (ed. Baluze), &e. &c.
10 On Revision,—p. 42 note. See above, p. 78 note.
the evidence of the entire body of the cursives,—the sanction of the Latin,—the. Peschito and Philoxenian Syriac,—the Armenian,—AEthiopic,—and Georgian versions; besides Eusebius—whose testimony (which is express) has been hitherto strangely overlooked,1—and Cyril.2
Against the threefold plea of Antiquity, Respectability of witnesses, Universality of testimony,—what have our Revisionists to show? (a) They cannot pretend that there has been Assimilation here; for the type of S. John xix. 20 is essentially different, and has retained its distinctive character all down the ages, (b) Nor can they pretend that the condition of the Text hereabouts bears traces of having been jealously guarded. We ask the Reader's attention to this matter just for a moment. There may be some of the occupants of the Jerusalem Chamber even, to whom what we are about to offer may not be altogether without the grace of novelty:—
That the Title on the Cross is diversely set down by each of the four Evangelists,—all men are aware. But perhaps all are not aware that S. Luke’s record of the Title (in ch. xxiii. 38) is exhibited in four different ways by codices ABCD:—
[BURGON GIIVES THE 4 DIFFERENT WAYS - Keith Hunt]
We propose to recur to the foregoing specimens of licentiousness by-and-by.3 For the moment, let it be added that
1 Eclog. Proph. p. 89.
2 In Luc, 436 and 716.
3 See pages 93 to 97.
codex X and the Sahidic version conspire in a fifth variety, viz., OYTOC €CTIN IHCOYC O BACIAEYC TWN lOYAAIWN (which is S. Matt xxvii. 37); while Ambrose l is found to have used a Latin copy which represented IHOYC 0 NAZW-PAIOC O BACIAEYC TWN IOYAAIWN (which is S. John xix. 18). We spare the reader any remarks of our own on all this. He is competent to draw his own painful inferences, and will not fail to make his own damaging reflections. He shall only be further informed that 14 uncials and the whole body of the cursive copies side with codex A in upholding the Traditional Text; that the Vulgate,2—the Peschito,—Cureton's Syriac,— the Philoxenian; — besides the Coptic,—Armenian, — and Ethiopic versions—are all on the same side: lastly, that Origen,3—Eusebius,—and Gregory of Nyssa4 are in addition consentient witnesses;—and we can hardly be mistaken if we venture to anticipate (1st),—That the Reader will agree with us that the Text with which we are best acquainted (as usual) is here deserving of all confidence; and (2ndly), —That the Revisionists who assure us 'that they did not esteem it within their province to construct a continuous and complete Greek Text;' (and who were never authorized to construct a new Greek Text at all;) were not justified in the course they have pursued with regard to S. Luke xxiii. 38.
‘THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS’ is the only idiomatic way of rendering into English the title according to S. Luke, whether the reading of A or of B be adopted; but, in order to make it plain that they reject the Greek of A in favour of B, the Revisionists have gone out of their way. They have instructed the two Editors of ‘The Greek Testament with the
1 i. 1528.
2 So Sedulius Paschalis, ap. Galland. ix, 595.
3 iii. 2.
4 Euseb. Eel. Proph. p. 89: Greg. Nyss. i. 570.—These last two places have hitherto escaped observation.
Readings adopted by the Revisers of the Authorized Version’l to exhibit S. Luke xxiii. 38 as it stands in the mutilated recension of Drs. Westcott and Hort.2 And if this procedure, repeated many hundreds of times, be not constructing a 'new Greek Text' of the N T., we have yet to learn what is………
BURGON GIVES MANY MORE EXAMPLES OF THE MULTINATION OF THE RECEIVED TEXT THAT THE KING JAMES BIBLE WAS BASED UPON; WITH HUNDREDS OF ALTERATIONS AND MUTATIONS, WESCOTT AND HORT DEVISED THEIR NEW TESTAMENT GREEK WHICH THEY SAID WAS THE “ORIGINAL” GREEK.
BURGON GIVES THIS ON PAGE 98, 99 OF HIS BOOK:
VI. Hitherto we have referred almost exclusively to the Gospels. In conclusion, we invite attention to our Revisionists’ treatment of 1 Tim. iii. 16—the crux criticorum, as Prebendary Scrivener styles it.1 We cannot act more fairly than by inviting a learned member of the revising body to speak on behalf of his brethren. We shall in this way ascertain the amount of acquaintance with the subject enjoyed by some of those who have been so obliging as to furnish the Church with a new Recension of the Greek of the New Testament. Dr. Roberts says:—
“The English reader will probably be startled to find that the familiar text,—"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh" has been exchanged in the Revised Version for the following,—"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh" A note on the margin states that ‘the word GOD, in place of He who, rests on no sufficient ancient evidence;’ and it may be well that, in a passage of so great importance the reader should be convinced that such is the case.
What, then, let us enquire, is the amount of evidence which can be produced in support of the reading "God"? This is soon stated. Not one of the early Fathers can be certainly quoted for it. None of the very ancient versions support it. No uncial witnesses to it, with the doubtful exception of A .... But even granting that the weighty suffrage of the Alexandrian manuscript is in favour of ‘God,’ far more evidence can be produced in support of ‘who.’ + and probably C witness to this reading, and it has also powerful testimony from the versions and Fathers. Moreover, the relative ‘who’ is a far more difficult reading than ‘God,’ and could hardly have been substituted for the latter. On every ground, therefore, we conclude that
1 [The discussion of this text has been left very nearly as it originally stood,-—the rather, because the reading of 1 Tim. iii. 16 will be found fully discussed at the end of the present volume. See Index of Texts.]
this interesting and important passage must stand as it has been given in the Revised Version.”1
And now, having heard the learned Presbyterian on behalf of his brother-Revisionists, we request that we may be ourselves listened to in reply……
JOHN BURGON THEN GOES ON FOR PAGES TO ANSWER DR. ROBERTS’ ARGUMENT; WHICH I WILL NOT REPRODUCE HERE.
THE READER IS ENCOURAGED TO OBTAIN JOHN WILLIAM BURGON’S BOOK “THE REVISION REVISED - a Refutation of Wescott and Hort’s False Greek Text and Theology” FOR THEMSELVES AND SEE ALL THAT BURGON HAS WRITTEN ON IN OVER 500 PAGES.