Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

THE

ECLECTIC REVIEW,

,

For MARCH, 1807.

Occur

Art. I. Evangelium Secundum Marthaum ex Codice Rescripto in Biblio

theca Collegii SS. Trinitatis juxta Dublin : Descriptum Opera et i-tudio Johannis Barrett, S. T. P. Soc. Sen. Trin. Coll. Dublin. Cui adjungitur Appendix Collationem Codicis Montfortiani complectens. Dublinii ex (Edibus Academicis, excudebat R. E. Mercier Academia Typographus, 1801. 4to. Prolegomena, 52 Pages, Fac simile Plates,

64. Collation of the Cod. Montfortii. pp. 35. Price 21. 12s.6d. THIS Work was published some time before the commence

ment of our Review ; but as, to the best of our recollection, it escaped the attention of contemporary journalists, and the subject is of prime importance, as well as rare rence, we conceive that little apology is necessary for introducing it to the notice of our readers.

It has long been the earnest wish of erery biblical critic, that the inestimable remains of ancient MSS. which moulder away in the dust of public libraries, might be preserved from total destruction by printed fac-similes. That such a plan of preservation is practicable in the most accurate and satisfactory manner, we have certain cvidence in the New Testament part of the Codex Alexandrinus, edited by Dr. Woide; and in the Codex Bezæ or Çantabrigiensis, published by Dr. Kipling. Both these invaluable MSS. which were yielding to the rapid ravages of time, are preserved for all valuable purposes, by these fac-similes, and will descend to posterity, for ages after the originals shall have perished. The SteTeotype Process may also be applied in the more important and valuable MSS. with the greatest success, and thus genuine fac-similes of the originals may be multiplied ad libitum.

The task which Drs. Woide and Kipling had undertaken for the Coder Alexandrinus and the Coder Beze, Dr. Barrett 'has perforned with similar industry and judgement, and with equal accuracy, for a very ancient and hitherto almost unknown Codex Rescriptus, which contains a considerable part VOL. III.

Q

of the Gospel of Matthew in the original Greek. As the term, last used may be new to some of our Readers, a short explanation, perhaps, will be acceptable.

A Codex Rescriptus is a parchment from which the original writing has been partially or totally erased, and on which a new work has been written in its stead. Before the invention of paper, the great scarcity of parchment in different places induced inany persons to obliterate the works of ancient writers in order to transcribe their own or those of some favoured author in their place ; hence the works of many eminent writers have doubtless perished, and particularly those of the greatest antiquity ; for the comparatively recent were transcribed, to satisfy the immediate demand, while those which were already dim with age were erased.

In general, a Codex Rescriptus is easily known, as it rarely happens that the former writing is so completely erased that no trace of it appear : in some instances both writings are legible. Montfaucon found a MS. in the Colbert library, which had been written about the 8th century, and originally contained the works of St. Dionysius; new matter had been written over it, three or four centuries afterwards, and both continued legible. (Palæogr. p. 231. 233.) This destructive operation was most frequent, according to the above author, in the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries, the barbaric ages of Europe ; in which many ancient and valuable writings were obliterated, to make room for others of inferior worth. (Palæogr. pp. 318, 319.) The words of Montfaucon, who was better qualified to give an opinion on this subject than any other man in Europe, we subjoin for the satisfaction of our Readers.

Græci igitur librarii, isthac ætate (duodecimo sæculo, &c.) sæpe meliora eraserunt, ut vel nenias et nugas, vel opera, quæ frequentissime occurrebant in codicibus manuscriptis, eorum loco substituerent. Magna certe tunc ubique per Græciam erat ignorantia imperitiaque rerum ; ita ut quæ ad veterem historiam, ' ad humaniores literas, &c. pertinebant, ne focci quidem facerent librarii ; ac ne novas membranas compararent, hæc nullo negotio pessumdarent. Interdum etiam illa, quæ sibi in usu erant, quoniam ob Scripturæ vetustatem non ita facile legi poterant, eradere solebant, us nova substituerent. Estimo autem Scriptores multos, qui tempore Photii, imo etiam postea Constantini Porphyrogeniti supererant, hoc perniciei genere pressumdatos, ac penitus extinctos fuisse. Hæc vero pestis, ut diximus, duodecimo sæculo primum, deinde autem tertio-decimo, et quarto-decimo, maxime in vetustissimos Libros grassata est.' Palæogr. Gr. ub. supra.

Thus in the place, probably, of some of the finest writers of antiquity, Philosophers, Poets, Historians, and Grammarians, we have Missals, Confessionals, Monkish Rhymes, execrable and puerile Legends, and Papal Constitutions ! And there is reason to believe, that many of those ancient writings, a few precious fragments of which remain in the works of Theophilus Bp. of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Eusebius, and Photius, have, by this barbarous process, been utterly destroyed. In very few cases, we fear, has literature been indemnified for these depredations by the insertion of better works: Religion and Science have been equally outraged, and the very

words of God obliterated to make way for such writings as have yielded vothing to the instruction or amelioration of posterity. We have reason, however, to thank God that some valuable fragments are still preserved from this general wreck, which do the greatest honour to the piéty and taste of preceding ages, and contribute greatly to the improvement of the present. Among these we hesitate not to place the Codex Rescriptus here published, and the very sensible and valuable Prolegomena to which it has given occasion. How much is it to be regretted that this precious relic had not fallen a hundred years ago under the notice of such a person as the present Editor! We should probably have possessed the work entire, which is now presented to us with grievous mutilations. We have to thank the industry and learning of Dr. Barrett, that it has not totally perished.

Dr. Barrett divides his Preface to this work into two parts : the first relates simply to the MS. in question; and the second to the controversy concerning the Genealogy of our Lord. This question is not at all concerned in the present publication; yet as the MS. commences with the 17th verse of the Ist chapter of Matthew, containing a part of this genealogy, Dr. Barrett has been induced to step rather out of his way to consider this controverted question. The digression, however, will be well received by every biblical student, as it contains a great variety of useful information on a subject which is pressed on all sides with difficulties. We proceed now to analyse the first part of this work, and shall take the liberty to supply

, such deficiencies, as might otherwise leave the subject obscure to those among our readers who may be less conversant in this sort of criticism.

Dr. Barrett begins his Prolegomena with celebrating the ins dustry and learning of the Moderns for their numerous and valuable labours in sacred criticism. To the English he assigns the pre-eminence, though he inentions with high respect the exertions of foreigners.

• Tot et tanta doctrinæ et ingenii specimina dederunt, et tam ingentes exantlârunt labores in eruendis et conferendis Codd. MSS: ut omnibus antecessoribus suis, palmam meritò præripiant. Imprimis verò Anglia omnium bonarum artium mater et eximia fautrix, laudem sibi peculiarem jure vendicat : utpote cujus auspiciis, necnon sumptibus in eum finem erogatis, textum V. T. tam Hebræum quam Græcum ex collatione Cadd. MSS. puriorem quam unquam antea, in lucem editum habemus ; et etiam Codd. 'ipsos MSS. celeberrimos Alexand. et Cantab. typis accuratissime mandatos.' p. 1.

Foreign Critics, we are afraid, will tax this praise; and by comparing their De Rossi with our Kennicotttheir Stephens, Wetstein, Alter, Birch, Matthai, and Griesbach, with our Fell, Mill, and Holmes,-will divide the eulogium, and assume a larger portion of literary merit than Dr. Barrett seems inclined to concede. Disinterested judges will admit the ho. nours both of the Island and the Continent, without feeling it necessary to decide the question of precedency. Et vitulu TU dignus, et hic.

Of the discovery and contents of his MS. Dr. B. gives the following account. About 14 years ago (from 1801) while examining different books in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, he accidentally met with a very ancient Greek MS. on certain leaves of which he observed a two-fold writing, one ancient, and the' other comparatively recent transcribed over the former. The original writing on these leaves had been greatly defaced either by the injuries of time, or by art: vel delcrerat ars (as the Dr. observes) vel edar abolebat vetustas:

the former generally was the means, in order to make way ' for the Rescripts, for whose sake alone many MSS. appear to have been preserved. On close examination he found that this ancient writing consisted of the three following fragments : - the Prophet Isaiah, the Evangelist St. Matthere, and certain orations of Gregory-Nazianzen. " The fragment containing St. Matthew's Gospel," he carefully transcribed, and the whole : has been accuraiely engraved in fac simile, by the order, and at the expense, of the University, presenting to the reader, a perfect resemblance of every page, line, and letter, of the original.

In that part of his Prolegomena w sich Dr. B. denominates ... Descriptio Codicis Utriusque, he gives first a particular account of what he calls the Coder recens, which is in substance as follows:

The MS. consists of quaternions, or gatherings of four sheets each: the first sheet now remaining, has the signature 6, which shews that 11 sheets or 88 leaves have preceded this, all which have totally perished. Dr. B. thinks they con

tained the Tract of St. Chrysostom De Sacerdotio. The part 4. which remaios, comprises (1) Some of the Opuscula of Theo

dorus of Abucara: this writer was Bishop of Candia, and flourished in 870. His works were published by Gretzer and Turriano, 4t). Gr. and Lat. Ingolstad i 1606. (2) Another piece of the same author entitleli περι ενωσεως και σαρκώσεως. (3) Το these succeed two fragments of Epiphanius, one concerning the Genealogy of our Lord. The whole of this fragment (never, we believe, published before) Dr. B. has given, p. 46. of this Prolegomena. (4) Some fragments of Chrysostom and Basil. (5) A Chronology which computes the number of years from the Creation to the time of Theophilus, A. C. 848, to be 6348 years. This is supposed to be the Chronology of Nicephorus, who was Patriarch of Constantinople in 806, and was driven by Leo Armenius into exile, where he died in 898. (6) Some fragments of the Chronology of Hippolytus Thebanus, whose works were published by Fabricius, fol. Gr. and Lat. Hamb. 1716-18. 2 vols. The time of this Christian Bishop is uncertain, but it is supposed he flourished about A. D. 230. (7) Another fragment of the same Author, concerning the relationship between the Virgin Mary, and Mary the wife of Cleopas. This has been published in Cotelerius's Apostolic Fathers, tom. 1. p. 281. (8) Fragments conceroing the spurious epistle pre. tended to have been written by Abgarus, King of Edessa, to our Lord, taken from Eusebius's Ecclesiastical history. (9) A fragment concerning Abraham and Melchisedec, taken from the Pascal Chronicle, the author of which lived about A. D. 634. (10) A piece concerning the woman afflicted with the hæmorrhage, Mat. ix. 20. for which see Malala, and the works of Damascenus, vol. i. p. 368. (11) A Creed of the Orthodo.. Faith, in which mention is made of the Seven (Ecumenic Coun" cils. (12) The last piece in the volume, is the Mystugogia Ecclesiastica of Maximus.

From this enumeration it is evident, that this MS, contains no tract written by any author posterior to the time of Hippolytus Thebanus, who certainly died before A. D. 1000. Dr. Bar rett therefore concludes that this Rescript may be fairly atiributed to a scribe of the 13th Century ; about which time, according to the quotations already made from Montfaucon, it became customary, on account of the scarcity of parchinent, or the indolence of transcribers, to erase ancient writings, and insert others in their place, His opinion of the age of this rescript, we conceive to be well founded; a later period cannot be assigned to it with sufficient probability:

The original writing, which Dr. B. calls the Coder Vetus, containing the fragment of St. Matthew's gospel here published, is next described.

Of tiis fragment only 64 leaves remain, and even these are in a very mutilated state. Each page contains one column, and the columns in general consist of 21 lines, and sometinies, but rarely, of 22 or 23; the lines are nearly of equal lengths, and consist ordinarily of 18 or 20 letters.

In the four following circumstances, Dr. B. thinks this MS, in its primitive state, may be compared with the most ancient: 1. The division of the text. 2. The orthography. The mode of pointing, and +. The abbreviations,

« ForrigeFortsæt »