Thursday, July 07, 2022

Colwell on Archaic Mark


For a while now I have been casually on the lookout for an article in the Emory University Quarterly, and so far I haven’t had access. I searched this morning and found it online: Ernest Cadman Colwell, “An Ancient Text of the Gospel of Mark,” (Emory University Quarterly 1.2 [1945]: 65–75).

E.C. Colwell
Credit: University of Chicago Photographic
Archive, [
apf1-01777] Hanna Holborn
Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library.

It’s an interesting article—there is definitely a popular-level tone to it, and the way Colwell describes some aspects of textual criticism definitely reflects that. Of course we know now that Archaic Mark (which was once numbered 2427 on the k-Liste) is a forgery, but it had been my understanding that Colwell was always suspicious of it. I had been wanting to find this article to see if he voiced any such suspicions here. He does not do so explicitly, but he does talk about several unique aspects of Archaic Mark that are unlike any other manuscripts, and at one point he does make a statement that seems to hint that something was up:
The script of the manuscript is more than unusual; it is unique, The scribe of the Chicago Mark had several habits to which we cannot find parallels anywhere, and others to which no parallel exists in Greek manuscripts. He divides his text into words and even puts periods after abbreviations. These actions seem entirely normal to the twentieth-century American, but were unknown in the Greek manuscript tradition. Out of seventy-seven manuscripts photographed by W. H. P. Hatch on Mount Sinai, only one has word division, and it has other elements which suggest that it may be copied from the Greek text of a bilingual. In the large collection at Jerusalem, two manuscripts have word division, and both were written in the eighteenth century. [p. 68; emphasis mine]

That being said, do enjoy the article if you have a few minutes and haven’t seen it before.

No comments

Post a Comment