Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Fred. H. Chase on Codex Bezae

In the Tyndale House library we have F.H. Chase's copy of Scrivener's edition of Codex Bezae. This seems to be the copy he used in preparing his The Old Syriac Element in the Text of Codex Bezae (London: Macmillan, 1893). In the Preface to that work Chase wrote:
  • 'The only satisfactory way of investigating the text of the MS. was, as it seemed to me, minutely to examine some section large enough to guarantee that no characteristic feature of the text would be left unnoted. Having a special interest in questions connected with the Acts, I chose for my purpose the earlier chapters of that Book. The first step was to mark in different ways (1) the variations from the common text in particular words and phrases; (2) changes of order; (3) interpolations; (4) omissions. This preliminary review over, I considered separately each variation thus marked, and tried to arrive at an explanation of it.' (p. viii)

Well, Chase's copy of Scrivener on Codex Bezae (signed and dated Sept 1892) is carefully marked up with (1) blue underlining for variations; (2) black pencil underlining for changes of order; (3) red underlining for additions (= interpolations); and (4) marks for omissions. This actually extends throughout the whole manuscript (Gospels and Acts) with myriads of small comments.

In relation to Acts there are some notes on a sheet of paper listing "Syriac of Acts 1-8" which seems like an early outline of his book. There is also a pencilled note at the beginning of Acts: "collated this in certain important places with Cod. Bezae on Jan.26.1893". This seems to have focused on erasures and corrections. Next to Acts 12.1 there is another date: "Aug.26.'93". At the end of Acts there is another note: "Sheringham 5 Sept.1893".

So perhaps there might be people interested in Chase's work, or in the history of the study of Codex Bezae, who might like to consult this volume.

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