MODERN TEXTUAL CRITICS
THE TWO MANUSCRIPTS
THEY RELY ON
WRITTEN and COMPILED by
THE VATICANUS AND THE SINAITICUS MSS
FROM THE BOOK "HOW WE GOT THE BIBLE" by Lightfoot, page 58-59.
Of interest to all, and a passage which will illustrate textual
variations, which affect our text, are the twelve verses at the
end of Mark's Gospel. If one looks carefully at the American
Standard Version he notices that these last verses are set apart
from the main text of Mark. The new translation of the Revised
Standard Version puts these verses in a footnote and also gives
another ending of Mark as found in some manuscripts.....
The problem of Mark 16 is rather unique......the evidence
apparently looks in two directions.
The evidence against Mark 16: 9-20 mostly rests on the Vaticanus
and the Sinaitic Manuscripts. These two uncials of the fourth
century are our very best manuscripts, and as textual witness are
acknowledged as being in a class by themselves (see how this
author has led you to the place where you think his last words
are unchallenged, and accepted as fact by all scholars of
theology and textual study. The truth of these two somewhat
famous manuscripts have been exposed by a number of authors, and
they are far from being what this author here wants you to
believe and accept - Keith Hunt).
We are thus confronted with the problem that the two
manuscripts which we rely on most (ah....see that? Yes the modern
scholars of most modern translations rely for their translation
of the Greek NT on these two MSS - Keith Hunt), do not have these
closing verses of Mark. There is additional significant evidence
against Mark 16, including the witness of the earliest known
manuscripts of the Old Syriac (hummmm......sounds pretty well
like verses 9-20 of Mark 16, should be out and gone....but in my
next quote from THREE other scholars we shall see another picture
unfolded - Keith Hunt).
In favor of Mark 16: 9-20 there are a host of witnesses: (even
this follow has to admit to the host of witnesses in favor of
retaining the last verses of Mark - Keith Hunt) the Alexandrian
Manuscripts, the Ephraem Manuscript, Codex Bezae, other early
uncials, all late uncials and cursives (large and small letter
Greek manuscripts - Keith Hunt), five old Latin authorities plus
the Vulgate, one Old Syriac manuscript, the Syriac Peshitta
version, and many other versions. Besides, there is a plain
statement from Irenaeus (early Christian writer) which clearly
shows the existence of Mark 16: 9-20 in the second century and
the belief that Mark was its author.
In brief this is the negative and positive data on the question.
On one hand is the unparalleled reliability of the Vaticanus and
Sinaitic Manuscripts; on the one hand is almost all of the other
evidence (again the reader will see how the author practically
claims infallibility for the Vaticanus and Sinaitic manuscripts.
He really does a snow job on you, by not giving the other side of
the story, or as Paul Harvey used to say...."now you know the
rest of the story" - Keith Hunt).
J. W. McGarvey wrote a capable defence of Mark 16: 9-20 in his
"Commentary on Matthew and Mark." It was first published,
however, in 1875, before the great work of Wescott and Hort on
the Greek text was completed (wow....Wescott and Hort, what a
couple of wild, crazy, heretics of the Bible they were, but the
author is not going to tell you all that juicy detail. A number
of other writers have, and it's all out there for all to read
- Keith Hunt).
Yet McGarvey's position, with a few minor modifications, can
stand with credit today. But the problem persists: What about the
negative evidence of the Vanticanus and Sinaitic Manuscripts?
(Well of course if you admitted the truth about the Vaticanus and
Sinaitic manuscripts, there would be just about no problem at all
- Keith Hunt).
Whatever the correct view.....the main events of Mark 16: 9-20
are recorded elsewhere....
END OF QUOTE
So the author just kinda gives a shrug of the shoulders, and goes
his merry way, not sure what to make of it all. So is the
perplexed mind of those who accept the Vaticanus and Sinaitic
manuscripts without much question concerning them. They rely on
those two manuscripts so much, yet they see ALL this other
evidence supporting the verses of Mark 16: 9-20 as being in the
original. Yes, I guess these kind of textual critics have their
mind bend all out of shape with passages like Mark 16: 9-20, and
finally just walk away in a daze, not knowing which end is up and
which end is down.
ON to a well known Bible Commentary by Jamieson, Fausset, Brown,
written not to long after the discovery of the Sinaitic
manuscript in 1844. Capital letters are mine for emphasis.
All the verses in this chapter, from the 9th to the end, are
regarded by Griesbach, Tischendorf, and Treyelles as no part of
the original text of this Gospel, but as added by a later hand;
Because, first they are wanting in.......the well known Vatican
and the recently discovered Sinaitic, being the oldest MSS, yet
known; in one of the copy of the Old Latin Version; in some
copies of the Armenian Version; and in an Arabic Lectionary
or Church Lesson; while a few of the Cursive or later MSS of this
Gospel have the verses with marks indicative of doubt as to their
genuineness: Again, because Eusebius and Jerome - most competent
witnesses and judges, of the fourth century - pronounce against
them, affirming that the genuine text of this Gospel ended with
verse 8. And further, because the style of this portion so
differs from the rest of the Gospel as to suggest a different
author; while the variations of the text itself are just ground
For these reasons, Meyer, Fritzsche, Alford, and other critical
commentators, decide against the passage. BUT these reasons seems
to us (that is the scholars Jamieson, Fausset, Brown - Keith
Hunt) TOTALLY INSUFFICIENT TO COUNTER THE EVIDENCE IN FAVOR OF
THE VERSES in question.
First, they ARE FOUND in ALL the Uncial or earlier Greek MSS.,
EXCEPT the TWO ABOVE MSS - including A, or the Alexandrian MS.,
which is ADMITTED to be not more than FIFTY years later than the
two oldest, and of scarcely less if indeed of any less,
authority; in one or two MSS, in which they are not found, a
space is left to show that something is wanting - not large
enough, indeed, to contain the verses, but this probably
only to save space in some passages whose genuineness is
They ARE FOUND in ALL the Cursive or later Greek manuscripts:
They ARE FOUND in ALL the most ancient Versions: They are QUOTED
by IRENAEUS, and so must have been known in the SECOND CENTURY;
by one father at least in the THIRD CENTURY, and by TWO or THREE
in the FOURTH, as part of this Gospel.
The argument from DIFFERENCE in STYLE is EXCEEDINGLY SLENDER -
confined to a few words and phrases, which vary, as everyone
knows, in different writings of the same author and even
different portions of the same writing, with the varying aspect
of the subject and the writer's emotions.
That so carefully constructed a Narrative as that of this Gospel
terminated with the words, "for they were afraid" (they then give
the Greek - Keith Hunt), is what one wonders that ANY CAN bring
themselves to believe. Accordingly, Lachmann inserts it as part
of his text; and de Wette, Hug, and Lange in Germany, with
Ellicott and Scriever among OURSELVES, DEFEND IT.
The conjecture of some recent critics, that it may have been
added by the Evangelist himself, after the copies first issued
had been for some time in circulation, is TOO FAR-FETCHED to be
entitled to consideration.
Well, you will have to be the judge of all this and where you
will place the textual critics who rely so heavily on the two MSS
known as the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.
For further in-depth study on this subject and those related, I
recommend theWebsite: http://www. avpublications. com
I recommend the book you can obtain from this Website called,
"The New Age Bible Versions."
I do not endorse every word or sentence in this 700 page book by
Riplinger, but it has a wealth of information in many regards to
the Greek Manuscripts and all behind the scenes work of people
like Wescott and Hort. In fact it has documented ideas, beliefs,
theology, goals, and desires, involved in Wescott's and Hort's
revised New Testament.