Page:The New Testament in the original Greek - 1881.djvu/71
INTRODUCTION TO THE AMERICAN EDITION. Ixiii
6. CRITICAL RULES.
Since Bongel, Wetstcin, and Griesbach, the critical proc- ess has been reduced to certain rules, but there is consid- erable diversity in the mode and extent of their applica- tion. The following may be regarded as being sound, and more or less accepted by the best modern critics.
(1.) Knowledge of documentary evidence must precede the choice of readings.
(2.) All kinds of evidence must be taken into account, according to their intrinsic value.
(3.) The sources of the text must be carefully sifted and classified, and the authorities must be weighed rather than numbered. One independent manuscript may be worth two dozen which arc copied from the same original. On closer inspection, the witnesses are found to fall into cer- tain groups or families, and to represent certain tendencies. Bengel and Griesbach first arranged them into recensions or families. Westcott and Hort have modified and per- fected this system. They distinguish between the West- ern, the Alexandrian, the Syrian, and the neutral texts.
(4.) The restoration of the pure text is founded on the history and genealogy of the textual corruptions.
(5.) The older reading is preferable to the later, because it is presumably nearer the source. In exceptional cases later copies may represent a more ancient reading.
(0.) The shorter reading is preferable to the longer, be- cause insertions and additions are more probable than omissions. " Brcvior lectio pr&ferenda est verbosiori" (Griesbach).
(7.) The more difficult reading is preferable to the easier. " Lectio difficilior principatum tenet 1 was Bcngel's first rule,