Page:The New Testament in the original Greek - Introduction and Appendix (1882).pdf/188

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150

GREEK UNCIALS WITH

F2 to be as certainly in its Greek text a transcript of G3; if not, it is an inferior copy of the same immediate exemplar. Not a single Greek MS of any age, as we have already (§ 171) had occasion to notice, has transmitted to us an Alexandrian text of any part of the New Testament free from large mixture with other texts.

204. Tried by the same tests as those just applied, Β is found to hold a unique position. Its text is throughout Pre-Syrian, perhaps purely Pre-Syrian, at all events with hardly any, if any, quite clear exceptions, of which the least doubtful is the curious interpolation in Rom. xi 6. From distinctively Western readings it seems to be all but entirely free in the Gospels, Acts, and Catholic Epistles: in the Pauline Epistles there is an unquestionable intermingling of readings derived from a Western text nearly related to that of G3; and the facility with which they can generally be here recognised throws into clearer relief the almost total absence of definite Western influence in the other books. Here and there indeed may be found readings which are perhaps in some sense Western, having some slight Old Latin or similar attestation: but they are few and not clearly marked, so that their existence does not sensibly render less significant the absence of distinctively Western readings manifestly such. Respecting Alexandrian readings negative statements as to a document containing a Non-Western Pre-Syrian text can never be made without hesitation, on account of the narrow limitation of the difference of documentary attestation characteristic of the two forms of this text respectively. But we have not been able to recognise as Alexandrian any readings of Β in any book of the New Testament which it contains; so that, with the exceptions already noticed, to the best of our belief neither of the early streams of innovation has touched it to any appreciable extent. This peculiar character is exhibited to the eye in the documentary evidence of those variations in which both a Western and an Alexandrian corruption is present, and one of these corruptions is adopted in the Syrian text, Β being then conspicuous in the usually slender array supporting the reading from which both have diverged. It must not of course be assumed to follow that Β has remained unaffected by sporadic corruption independent of the three great lines, Western, Alexandrian, and Syrian. In the Gospel of St Matthew for instance it has occasionally admitted widely spread readings of very