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.Sister threads:
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
Johann David Michaelis and the dating of Codex Alexandrinus.
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
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
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