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Thread: Bernard Janin Sage (P. C. Sense) questions great uncial dating edifice

  1. Default Bernard Janin Sage (P. C. Sense) questions great uncial dating edifice

    Sister threads:

    Bernard Janin Sage (P. C. Sense) questions great uncial dating edifice
    http://www.purebibleforum.com/showthread.php?190-Bernard-Janin-Sage-(P-C-Sense)-questions-great-uncial-dating-edifice

    Robert Lewis Dabney astutely questions uncial dating - Sinaiticus early dating reasons analysed and shown to be insufficient
    http://www.purebibleforum.com/showthread.php?301-Robert-Lewis-Dabney-astutely-questions-uncial-dating-Sinaiticus-early-dating-reasons-analysed-and-shown-to-be-insufficient

    Johann David Michaelis and the dating of Codex Alexandrinus.
    http://www.purebibleforum.com/showth...x-Alexandrinus
    Bernard Janin Sage makes a number of solid points in his book. He has his own late dating ideas for the Gospels that are not of much interest, but when he goes into discussing textual criticism and palaeography, and in spots the turgid, obtuse, illogical and incomprehensible writing of Hort (an incredible section, that needs PBF placement, there is an element of that in p. 282-284 having to do with his "thousandth part" nonsense regarding "substantial variation" in the NT.) Often Sage writes superbly. His Sinaiticus section is also very good.

    For textual criticism and palaeography, rather than the quotes here, you might want to simply read online:

    A critical and historical enquiry into the origin of the third gospel (1901)
    P. C. Sense
    https://books.google.com/books?id=QnlCAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA288
    https://archive.org/stream/MN41469uc.../n309/mode/2up

    The "must read" on textual criticism and palaeography is p. 288-301.
    This will include all the quotes below except a short group about Augiensis on p. 305-306.


    For now here are some extracts (emphasis added), more planned:

    Our two learned theologians have not indeed cancelled the fact that the Greek Uncial Manuscripts are absolutely without a history, and that their knowledge of them as evidential documents amounts to nil, but the singular volubility of Dr. Hort has succeeded in covering up the fact with the folds and graces of language and thus preventing it from standing out prominently in the sea of words, so that it does not attract the attention of the reader. Such statements as he could make about the date of the Uncials are said, and he declares that the current belief that the chief Uncials were written at Alexandria is a delusion, and that it is really unknown where they were written, whether in Europe, Asia or Africa, but he is inclined to surmise that the Codex Vaticanus and Alexandrinus were both written probably in Rome. I do not remember seeing in the whole dissertation any expressions of diffidence, that the ground is not firm, that information is sadly defective, and that all conclusions are merely tentative and conjectural, similar to the qualifications and reservations made by palaeographers, who are scientists who have the desire to state the whole truth. On the contrary, the tenor and drift of Dr Hort's remarks impress the reader with the feeling that the great Uncials are valuable and acceptable documents, whose evidence is unimpeachable.1 These documents, in fact, are practically represented and employed by Bishop Westcott and Dr Hort as trustworthy evidences of the original text of the New Testament, as written by its authors; whereas being without a history, without evidence of who wrote them, or where they were written, who used them, or who certified them, with an exceedingly uncertain and purely conjectural date, they are not documents which could fairly and judicially be regarded as admissible as evidence, according to the first principle of textual criticism, that knowledge of documents should precede final judgment upon readings. These Uncial Manuscripts of the New Testament are absolutely worthless for the purpose for which our two learned theologians and their congeners have deliberately, and with full knowledge of their worthlessness, actually employed them. They are in the position of dead bodies of men found floating in a stream or lying in a ditch, naked and without the means of identification, about whom no living man can provide any reliable information. These ancient manuscripts, far from being instruments that can be employed in the recovery of the original text of the New Testament writings, should be, in the view of a sincere and earnest textual critic, who has no ulterior interests to serve, and who is bound by the common-sense principles of textual criticism, simply objets de vertu, until their history can be discovered. p. 296-297

    1 Dr Hort winds up his account of the Uncials with the following remark: "The approximate outlines of the relative or sequential chronology appear, however, to have been laid down with reasonable certainty; so that the total impression left by a chronological analysis of the list of uncials can hardly be affected by possible errors of detail " (sect. 100).

    ...I think the modern history of these objets de vertu will interest the reader, but I regret that the information that I have been able to gather from books accessible to me is scanty and defective. My difficulty has been due to the circumstance that theologians appear to be in league to suppress in a great measure and to muddle the knowledge of the modern history of the Uncial manuscripts.

    ... Of all the modern English theologians that have come under my view, I must name Scrivener as the only one who has had the sagacity or strength of mind to say that he has 'reasonable doubt' of the conventional early dates assigned to the four great Uncial Manuscripts.

    ..... All these uncial manuscripts are worthless for the effective purposes of textual criticism, because they are without a history, with the exception of one, which has a history. This one, the Codex Augiensis, is said by Scrivener to be "a Greek and Latin manuscript of St Paul's Epistles, written in uncial letters, probably of the ninth century, deposited in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge." p. 305-306
    Last edited by admin; 11-17-2018 at 10:09 PM.

  2. Default Vaticanus retracing

    From Bernard Janin Sage on Vaticanus retracing:

    A Critical and Historical Enquiry Into the Origin of the Third Gospel (1901)
    By P. C. Sense
    https://books.google.com/books?id=QnlCAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA294
    https://archive.org/stream/MN41469uc.../n315/mode/2up

    The fact of the renewal of the ink of the whole of the text of the Codex Vaticanus, in probably the tenth or eleventh century, with the exception of words and letters that were rejected as readings, is a clear proof to my mind that the Codex was in actual use at that period. It cannot be believed that the Codex was written in the fourth century for the purpose of preservation and not for use. It would thus appear that the Codex was in use from the fourth to the tenth or eleventh century, i.e. for a period of seven or eight centuries. Could any manuscript of vellum and ink endure the wear and tear of constant use for so prolonged a space of time? I say not. It is more consistent with experience and reason to believe that the Codex was in use for half or even three-quarters of a century before the faded ink was renewed. On the above reasonable grounds the date of the Codex Vaticanus would be fixed at the ninth or tenth century, when uncial manuscripts were superseded in universal use, which is an historical fact. p. 294
    The retracing (or overwriting) in the ninth or tenth century (or 11th) is a theory of Tischendorf that is not based on any actual knowledge or clearly explained reasoning. An alternate theory was held by Fabiani and roman catholic scholars that it was retraced in the 15th century:

    [textualcriticism] Vaticanus retracing - 15th century date traces to Enrico Fabiani, by monk Clement
    Steven Avery - Nov 12, 2013
    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/textualcriticism/conversations/messages/8176

    The footnote on Zacynthius is also helpful. It points out the arbitrariness of lots of uncial dating, when based on features like the shape of the letters.

    The section of Tregelles, where he explains that it is only the catena that causes the later date of Zacynthius is here:

    Journal of Sacred Literature (1859)
    Description of the Codex Zacynthius

    https://books.google.com/books?id=BWMoAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA171
    The text is in round full well-formed Uncial letters, such as I should have had no difficulty in ascribing to the sixth century, were it not that the catena of the same age has the round letters (Grk) so cramped as to make me believe that it belongs to the eighth century.

    Name:  Zacynthius and Vaticanus.jpg
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    Would
    this similarity of feature between Vaticanus and Zacynthius support Vaticanus also being of the later date?

    The sections and the "capitulatio Vaticana".

    The similar textual features are significant, and we know that the terminus post quem of Zacynthius is about 700 AD, it can not be any earlier. This similarity would be consistent with Vaticanus being produced around the same time.

    Last edited by Steven Avery; 11-17-2018 at 04:54 PM.

  3. Default Michaelis and the dating of Codex Alexandrinus

    Johann David Michaelis and the dating of Codex Alexandrinus.
    http://www.purebibleforum.com/showth...x-Alexandrinus

    Moved to its own thread.
    Last edited by Steven Avery; 11-17-2018 at 10:02 PM.

  4. Default hardly any secular documents to be found earlier than the ninth or tenth century

    Returning to Sage, he has an interesting section:

    The vague and unsatisfactory reliance upon "the best judges' and palaeographers is very much discounted by the fact which Hort refers to, that these gentlemen, probably theologians and ecclesiastics or complaisant believers in them, had to deal almost entirely with ecclesiastical documents, for there are hardly any secular documents to be found earlier than the ninth or tenth century. One can hardly think that the destruction of manuscripts, from the effects of time and the changes in the habits and doings of man, was less operative in the case of ecclesiastical than of secular documents. How could the 'best judges' and palaeographers discover the landmarks of time with accuracy without assistance from history, when they had before them only one class, and that a most suspicious class, of manuscripts, and hardly any of the other class? It is more reasonable to conclude that time and other causes of destruction acted pari passu and with equal force on both classes of manuscripts. p. 292
    The later discovered papyri are of limited importance here, since they only represent one desert climate, they were often simply thrown away in a trash heap, and they generally show no signs of the long-term heavy use that is a key point from Sage.

    Next Sage goes into the discussion of Edward Maunde Thompson, one of the few true palaeographers who has written about Sinaiticus (without any indication given of having seen and handled either major section of the ms.) Here we are discussing Vaticanus:


    Circumstantial evidence is as absolutely wanting as direct evidence of date. The caligraphic and other characteristics of an early age may be fairly considered to have been preserved to a much later age, in the execution of a manuscript, written by a member of an obscure and backward Christian community of which nothing is known. It can hardly be regarded as inconceivable that a mode of writing and arranging a manuscript prevailing in the fourth century, remained as a survival to the ninth or tenth century amongst a simple people.1 The fact of the renewal of the ink of the whole of the text of the Codex Vaticanus, in probably the tenth or eleventh century, with the exception of words and letters that were rejected as readings, is a clear proof to my mind that the Codex was in actual use at that period. It cannot be believed that the Codex was written in the fourth century for the purpose of preservation and not for use. It would thus appear that the Codex was in use from the fourth to the tenth or eleventh century, i.e. for a period of seven or eight centuries. Could any manuscript of vellum and ink endure the wear and tear of constant use for so prolonged a space of time ? I say not. It is more consistent with experience and reason to believe that the Codex was in use for half or even three-quarters of a century before the faded ink was renewed. On the above reasonable grounds the date of the Codex Vaticanus would be fixed at the ninth or tenth century, when uncial manuscripts were superseded in universal use, which is an historical fact. p. 294
    The footnote 1 gives the example of the Codex Zacynthius.

    Sage then goes into what he sees as a linguistic marker of a late date for Vaticanus, in the form of Elisabeth.

    This we might want to put together with the Latin linguistic note of Hort.
    (Which caused him to place the production of the document in Rome, an idea which is universally rejected today without, however, finding an alternative explanation for the linguistics.)

    In the face of these indications and reasonable grounds for assigning a late date to the Uncials, the great dearth of paleographic data, the apologetic appeals of diffidence made by palaeographers, their positive assurance that they can only make conjectures and evolve 'some sort of chronology,' the opinions of the "best judges' and of palaeographers, on which our two learned theologians absolutely rely, cannot be accepted as scientific; but should be regarded as expressions of complaisance or politeness made for the delectation of a wealthy, genial and hospitable hierarchy, on a par with the scientific sentiments regarding the merits of the imbibition of champagne, semel vel bis in die, and of a visit to a French watering-place in the summer, gravely enunciated by the family doctor from considerations of domestic policy.p. 295
    As he continues on p. 295-296, Sage really cuts to the chase, and the next part is on our opening post on the thread.

    The criticism here is 100% valid (allowing that his limitation on the useability and wear of parchment looks too strict), and the Hort misdirection is now standard fare in textual circles.



    Last edited by Steven Avery; 11-17-2018 at 05:03 PM.

  5. Default Sinaiticus wear through use

    For the heavy wear and use that is ascribed to Sinaiticus with usage through the centuries see the thread:

    Sinaiticus through the centuries in the 4th century paradigm
    http://www.purebibleforum.com/showthread.php?t=137

    See also Morozov and the comments like those of Helen Shenton of the "phenomenally good condition" of the Sinaiticus ms.

    For a related note from Sage there is or should be given a separate thread:

    The next one has been put in "sister threads".


    Tischendorf in 1859 did not have the 4th century date for Vaticanus or any uncials
    http://www.purebibleforum.com/showthread.php?t=291

    Last edited by Steven Avery; 11-17-2018 at 05:36 PM.

  6. Default Scrivener comments on uncial dating - the plug in the date game - "glibly assigns various centuries"

    From above:

    ... Of all the modern English theologians that have come under my view, I must name Scrivener as the only one who has had the sagacity or strength of mind to say that he has 'reasonable doubt' of the conventional early dates assigned to the four great Uncial Manuscripts.

    ..... All these uncial manuscripts are worthless for the effective purposes of textual criticism, because they are without a history, with the exception of one, which has a history. This one, the Codex Augiensis, is said by Scrivener to be "a Greek and Latin manuscript of St Paul's Epistles, written in uncial letters, probably of the ninth century, deposited in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge." p. 305-306
    Looking more closely, and going to the Scrivener spots:

    The number of the Uncial Manuscripts of the New Testament, or of parts of them, that have survived to our days amounts to about forty (Hort, sect. 100), and their date may be broadly stated to be the ninth or tenth century.1 The fact that hardly any secular Uncials of earlier date have survived must have its weight in judging the date of ecclesiastical Uncials. Of all the modern English theologians that have come under my view, I must name Scrivener as the only one who has had the sagacity or strength of mind to say that he has ‘ reasonable doubt ’ of the conventional early dates assigned to the four great Uncial Manuscripts. Theologians are not quite unanimous in the dates which they have been pleased to assign to these manuscripts. Thus Scrivener gives the date of the Codex Bezae as “early in the sixth century,” but he refers to the decision of Kipling, a theologian of the close of the eighteenth century, who, very oddly,

    “assigns the cursive Latin pages to the ninth or tenth century, the uncial Greek and the mixed page (though on the reverse of the same leaves) to the twelfth.”

    Their method of ascertaining the relative age of writings is not absolutely satisfactory. The Codex is full of corrections by different hands. Scrivener differentiates the correctors, who, he says, were not strictly correctors, because they were not contemporaneous with the original penmen, by the varying colour of the ink which they used. He scores them off with the letters of the alphabet from A to O— the latter corrector had a dual personality, for there is an O., also. He glibly assigns various centuries to them, according to the colour of the ink. A “may be referred to the end of the sixth century,” while the other letters “ may be living ” in successive centuries up to the twelfth, which is assigned as the date of the existence of second O. If Scrivener was a member of the Bar, I should say his chronology founded upon the colour of the ink might be accepted by the Courts of Quarter Sessions, but there can be no doubt that it would not obtain respectful consideration in the Courts presided over by His Majesty’s judges. All these uncial manuscripts are worthless for the effective purposes of textual criticism, because they are without a history, with the exception of one, which has a history. This one, the Codex Augiensis, is said by Scrivener to be

    “a Greek and Latin manuscript of St Paul’s Epistles, written in uncial letters, probably of the ninth century, deposited in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge.’’

    In his edition of this ancient document, 1859, Scrivener honestly states all that is known of its ancient and recent history : which essential information has not been communicated to their readers by our two learned compilers of The New Testament in the Original Greek, regarding the four great Uncial manuscripts which they used.


    1 One Uncial MS. only of the whole lot in existence bears a date, namely, that known as S, and the date is 949 A.D. The earliest Cursive Biblical MS. bearsthe date 964 A.D.
    Scrivener's "early in the sixth century" is here:
    https://books.google.com/books?id=maA1r5J1f48C&pg=PR1
    https://archive.org/details/bezaecod...mbgoog/page/n8


    And for the Kipling quote:

    Bezae codex Cantabrigiensis, being an exact copy, in ordinary type of the celebrated uncial Graeco-Latin manuscript of the four Gospels and Acts of the apostles: written early in the Sixth century, and presented to the University of Cambridge by Theodore Beza, A.D. 1581
    https://books.google.com/books?id=maA1r5J1f48C&pg=PR21

    Kipling assigns the cursive Latin pages to the 9th or 10th century, the uncial Greek and the mixed page (though on the reverse of the same leaves) to the 12th; and doubtless the small Latin hand looks at first sight very unlike the bolder Greek on the parallel page, while the ink of the former is a light faint brown, that of the latter a jet black. But this is just one of those cases of first impression which further investigation will completely remove ...
    That however, simply removes the difference between the Greek and Latin dating. Why did Scrivener reject the 10th century?

    There is some discussion on p. xvi.

    All these circumstances (not the less important by reason of their delicacy and minuteness), when taken together, would lead us to assign to this manuscript full as high a date as to the Codex Alexandrinus, which was written early in the fifth century, were not our conclusions somewhat modified by other considerations, of which the debased dialect of the Latin version (on which we shall dwell in Chap. III) is the most obvious and weighty: the palaeographical appearance of the Latin character is venerable enough.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=maA1r5J1f48C&pg=PR16
    Which is essentially what Sage said, one uncial dates the other, in a circular fashion.

    ON THE LATIN VERSIONS .. p. xxxi
    In the present chapter an attempt will be made to prove... (3) that he probably executed his work in Gaul about the close of the fifth century.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=maA1r5J1f48C&pg=PR31
    So far I have not found the "reasonable doubt" quote from Scrivener about the great uncials in general. Those may not be the exact words.

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