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the security of the return of the MS., which the Editor was thus enabled to transcribe at Solemes. Two other MSS. supplied the defects which he had found in the Cambridge Codex. The discussion on these MSS. is valuable and interesting.
This work closes the first part of the first volume of the ' Spicilecium.' The second part consists of some Scholia of Victor of Capua, and of Joannes Diaconus, and portions of the Antirrhetica of Nicephorus, the Patriarch of Constantinople, the steady opponent of the Iconoclasts. These works, of which the last are of considerable extent, are valuable from their containing large extracts from earlier writers, of which Indices are given; whilst the ability and intrinsic excellence of the writings of Nicephorus make the publication of these portions of them a very valuable accession to theological literature.
At the end are given four Coptic, or rather Sahidic, fragments of histories of the Nicene Council, and of its Creed and Canons. They are reprinted from a very rare work, Zoega's Catalogue of the Coptic MSS. in the Library of the Borgian Museum, with a Latin translation. They are of use in restoring the names of the Bishops who were present; and (see p. 512) the Editor suggests that they may give us the genuine words of the Creed; also he observes that in one fragment the Fathers are made to express sentiments on grace and free-will, like those of the Council of Trent, and especially he lays stress on the text of the third and sixth canons, and the subscriptions of the Pope's legates, of which he says,—' quibus per'pensis, magis, nisi fallor, elucebit antiquitas prserogativae 'et summi magisterii quae ad Episcopum Romae, S. Petro 'successorem, pertinent.' But we apprenend their chief use is one which Dom Pitra did not intend, namely, to prove how very little value is to be set upon Coptic fragments as authorities in points of history or doctrine. Just at present people seem to think that a Coptic or a Syriac fragment or version is an invaluable treasure, which is to be taken in evidence as counterbalancing the known genuine writings of the Fathers, and documents preserved in the original tongues. They do not remember that nobody knows when, where, how, or from what these versions were made, nor with what amount of accuracy they represent the originals. We will give a few instances from what is now before us. In the first fragment the Photinians are anathematized, which shows that the document, of which the fragment is a translation, was not a genuine document of the Nicene Council; indeed, it refers to the 318 Bishops of the Council, obviously as if written some time after it In the anathema at the end of the Nicene Creed, the Coptic version is, 'There was a time when He was not;' the Greek original, rp> Ttots ore Ovk ffv, has no mention of time: the Greek is exact: the Coptic alone would mislead us. (We may observe of the translation into Latin, that the word inroaraaif—the Greek term preserved in the Coptic—is translated by substantia throughout; it certainly means Person in the second fragment; in the first, where it occurs in the anathema,its meaning is, as is well known, disputed. Hypostasis ought to have been preserved, for substantia is generally used for ovala, which is here translated essentia.) In what follows, p. 515, we find the Coptic repeating the anathemas, and apparently interpreting those of the Creed thus (we cite the Latin version of the Spicilegium):—'. . . nee prius extitisse antequam gigneretur secundum carnem;' thus quite mistaking the meaning of the Nicene Fathers' irplv yewr/drjvai Ovk ijv, whether those words be understood as Bishop Bull would interpret them or not. The same mistake, more explicitly referring to the anathema, occurs in another fragment at p. 520:—'.. . non extitisse Filium Dei donee Maria gigneret eum.' In p. 521 we find trn-oo-Tao-t?, which, as we said, is translated by substantia throughout, used twice for Person, and contrasted with oxxria: Trpoawirov occurs in the same passage, in its theological sense. The third fragment is unequivocally very much later than the Council, and posterior to the heresies on the Incarnation, to which it alludes, e. g.'Gessit hominem perfectum citra peccatum; 'assumpsit corpus a Maria, et assumpsit animam, una cum mente * et quaecunque sunt in homine. Non est duo, sed unus, Domi'nus J. C — these being those very words in the Confession called S. Athanasius's, which are held to prove that it was composed after A. D. 431. This is the fragment in which Dom Pitra finds the Fathers of Nice using the language of Trent on grace and free-will; which is not wonderful if it be, as it is, a forged history posterior to the Pelagian controversy. At p. 523 is the story of one being found beyond the 318 Bishops, when they were counted, and that One being the Holy Spirit; 'they who counted them found 318 Bishops sitting, when they stood up there were 319.' The fourth fragment is a Coptic version of the Canons, which Dom Pitra values because it gives a version of the sixth Canon, on the Primacy of Rome, different from that which we receive:—' Mores antiqui stabiles 'permaneant, nempe qui in iEgypto, et Libya, et Pentapoli, ita 'ut Episcopus Alexandria; hsec omnia habeat in potestate sua, 'quoniam hie est mos Episcoporum Bomanorum, pariter etiam 'de Antiocheno et aliis provinces, servari primatus prserogativas 'in Ecclesia.' All this proves nothing as to the superior correctness of the readings of the Coptic. No one can show that these Coptic fragments are independent authorities, or that they were versions made at an early date, or that the Greek originals from which they were made, were early, or of any value. The Coptic letters are imposing, and the idea of things coming out in Coptic is grand; but Coptic versions are by no means necessarily old, and they have less value as testimonies in Coptic than they would have in Greek. Any one who looks into the Collections of Councils will find great variety of histories of the Council, and collections and versions of its Canons which are not of any authority whatever. The Arabic recensions or versions have long been in our Collections; now we have Coptic produced; but the originals of these histories, or what, at all events, have the appearance of being nearly allied to the Coptic versions, will be found entire, if we mistake not, with all the unquestionable evidences of their late date, in the Councils; for example, parts of the second and third fragments of the Spicilegium are very like parts of a long spurious history, translated from the Arabic, given in Mansi, torn. ii. col. 1031. We do not deny that these Coptic fragments may occasionally have some literary interest—indeed it is important in an historical point of view to know that such inaccurate productions were in circulation at any time—nor yet that there may be found accurate versions representing really ancient genuine works, of which the originals are lost; but this must be proved in each case. On the whole, we regard the use made of such unauthoritative, unwitnessed, apocryphal fragments, when adduced in order to outweigh documents known to be genuine contemporary writings, to be parallel to the course taken by the Gnostics, in setting up spurious apocryphal Scriptures, when they could not establish their views by those Scriptures which all the Church ever held and knew to be genuine.
We trust that the observations we have made on these fragments, and on some other points in which we differ from the Editor,—which, indeed, chiefly concern only some short fragments at the beginning of the volume, the supposed works of earlier Fathers,—will not be understood to imply any disposition to detract from the great value which the work possesses as a whole: we wish most fully to express our gratitude to the laborious and learned Benedictines for the great work which they have done, and are doing, and our earnest hope that that support which they so richly deserve—which has been in some measure already given them in England—may be continued and extended. The labour itself is a dreary, and, as it might seem at this day, almost a thankless labour, cheered, indeed, by the love of the cause of Catholic truth, and regard for the holy men whose works they are recovering and restoring to us; but it is a labour of much self-denial and great difficulty, and the unaffectedly modest and sincere tone in which the Editor speaks disarms any harshness of criticism.
We have received two communications on personal matters:—
1. From Mr. Barber, with reference to a correspondence which, at the Bishop of Tasmania's request, we published in our last Number. Mr. Barber confirms, in every particular, the proofs of the humanity shown to him officially. The exaggeration, therefore, is Sir George Stephen's, from whom alone we quoted it.
2. From the son of Mr. K , alluded to in a quotation which we made
from 'Reminiscences of Thought and Feeling,' reviewed in our January
Number. Mr. K , jun., states, that his father's fortune was not made
by speculation. The assertion controverted is not ours, but that of the authoress, whose work we were examining.
'A full and exact Collation of about twenty Greek Manuscripts of the Holy Gospels, hitherto unexamined, &c, with a Critical Introduction by Rev. Frederick Henry Scrivener, M.A. &c. (Cambridge & London :' J. W. Parker). We have great pleasure in recommending this accurate and suggestive volume to all interested in the criticism of the Greek text of the four Gospels. It contains an elaborate collation of twenty-three MSS. of the whole or portions of the four Gospels; among which is a fragment (recently edited by Tischendorf) of as early a date as the fifth century, and a fine Evangelisterium in uncial letters, which certainly cannot be considered of later origin than the ninth century. The other MSS. vary in date from the teuth to the middle of the fourteenth century, and present several singular as well as instructive characteristics. Of this collection ten MSS. are in the Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth, eleven in the British Museum, and two in private hands. The selectiou is fortunately diversified, as among the twenty-three specimens we have not only examples of different ages, but what is still more interesting, two groups; the one of remarkable divergence from, and the other of as singularly close adherence to the Textus Receptus, the interspace being filled up with independent MSS. of varying degrees of approximation to that edition. The typography, a very important feature in such works, is exceedingly clear and well executed; and the price, owing probably to the liberal aid afforded by the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press, extremely moderate, amounting only to six shillings. A modest and perspicuous Introduction is prefixed to the Collation, in which several questions of great critical moment are discussed in a calm and dispassionate manner, which if not always perfectly convincing, never fails to be extremely suggestive.
We will endeavour briefly to put our readers in possession of the principal points discussed and elucidated in the Introduction.
In the first place Mr. Scrivener proves most satisfactorily that the great mass of cursive MSS. has been unwarrantably neglected, and that the citations from them in all the great critical editions, excepting perhaps that of Matthtei, "very seldom amount to one in three, often not to one in ten of those which each copy contains.' The truth of this statement is convincingly shown in the only three MSS. common to the lists of Griesbach and Mr. Scrivener. For example, in a valuable MS. of the twelfth century, the Codex Ephesius (Wetstein, 71), out of the ticenty-nine various readings contained in the first six chapters of S. Matthew, Griesbach cites it only for fize, and Scbolz for three. Still more culpably in the ancient uncial fragment (Cotton Titus c. xv.) out of the fifty-seven various readings it contains, Wetstein cites only fite, and the later editors copy from him. And to conclude, the splendid volume purchased by the British Museum from the heirs of the late Dr. Samuel Butler, a conspicuous member of the family of MSS. which approximates most nearly to the Textus Receptus, has been left entirely unexamined, though inserted in the lists of Wetstein, Griesbach, and Scholz. It may be also observed that occasionally, as in MS. Lambeth, 1192, the critical character will change at a particular point, so that an opinion formed upon a hasty collation of the early part, would be found totally inexact in representing the critical value of the whole.
In the next place, Mr. Scrivener has seriously invalidated the whole theory of recensions by demonstrating that the identity assumed to exist between the individuals of the families into which MSS. have been divided is really imaginary. In the case, for instance, of the Byzantine class, the marvellous concord which the late Professor Scholz appeared to find in the different MSS. of this family, is found at once to disappear when the separate MSS. are more rigorously collated. Mr. Scrivener's collection supplies a very striking instance of two MSS. of the Gospels, which though proved to have been written by the same official scribe, in the same monastery, and within the short space of three years, nevertheless differ from one another (without taking into consideration mere errors or itacisms) in no less than 183 places. The theory of a standard text of the Constantinopolitan Recension does not seem very plausible after such discoveries as these.
In the third place, Mr. Scrivener contributes a few very valuable observations on the palseographical criteria of the character, genius, and supposed family of a manuscript. These are commonly considered to be four: Itacisms, barbarisms, (generally called by way of euphemism 'Alexandrian peculiarities,') the iota ascript or subscript, and the appended nu (ifaXicva-Tikov). The two latter Mr. Scrivener shows to be most precarious; while of the two former, the most that can be said of itacisms is, that the older the MS. the fewer are they; for the common assertion that they are measures of the accuracy of the scribe is disproved by such striking facts as the introduction of them in a MS. by a later hand,—an example of which is supplied in MS. f. of Mr. Scrivener's collection,—and the historical evidence that they represent the modes of spelling prevalent in different ages. Mr. Scrivener thinks better expectations may be formed from close attention to Alexandrian corruptions; an opinion, however, with which we can scarcely coincide, as even in this small collection some of the barbarisms seem far too aberrant from the known Alexandrian peculiarities to lead us to any other conclusion than that of their being mainly personal rather than national corruptions.
While we have unfeigned pleasure in bearing cordial testimony to the