Page:The New Testament in the original Greek - 1881.djvu/60

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lii INTRODUCTION TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.

Fourth and fifth centuries: Hilary of Poitiers (354), Lucifer of Cagliari (d. cir. 370), Victorinus Afer (d. cir. 370), Ambrose (d. 379), Aiubrosiaster or Pseudo-Ambrose, probably to be identified with Hilary the deacon (about 384), Pelagius (417), Augustine (a profound divine and spiritual commentator, but a poor linguist and critic, d. 430), and, most of all, Jerome, the translator of the Latin Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek (d. 419).

��II. THE VARIATIONS AND TEXTUAL CRITICISM.

1. ORIGIN OF VARIATIONS.

In such a vast number of manuscript copies of the New Testament there must needs be a multitude of variations. They are partly unintentional or accidental, partly intention- al or designed. Errors of the first class proceed either from misreading, or from mishearing (in case of dictation), or from fault of memory. Errors of the second class are due either to misjudgment, or to an innocent desire to cor- rect supposed mistakes, to supply defects, to harmonize ap- parent discrepancies, or to wilful corruption for sectarian purposes. Cases of wilful mutilation or corruption of the text are, however, exceedingly rare. Transcribers had too much reverence for the words of Christ and his inspired apostles to be guilty of it, though in making their choice between conflicting readings they would naturally be bi- assed by their theological opinions.*

  • "The charges against the heretics of wilful corruption of

the text (setting aside avowed excision like that of Marcion) rest on no good foundation. In the definite instances alleged

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