Greek abbreviations, contractions and ligatures.
John William Donaldson
The revision of the Latin version of Erasmus, in his edition of 1519, raised up against him yet more enemies. In his first edition, he retained, in the beginning of St. John’s Gospel, the expression of the Vulgate, “In principio erat Verbum”: in 1519, however, he followed the phraseology of the early Latin fathers, substituting “Sermo” for “Verbum.” This was deemed almost, if not quite, a heresy; and he had to defend himself, in consequence, against many attacks,*
* Erasmus gives a curious account of the effect which this change of a word produced in England among some. A bishop (whose name he suppresses) was preaching at “Paul’s Cross,” when he went out of his way to attack Erasmus’s new translation. It was a shameful thing for those who had been so long doctors of divinity, to have to go to school again, — for such to receive instruction from any mere Greekling. At length his zeal waxed so warm (he said) that he called on the lord mayor of London, who was present, and on the citizens for aid, that they would show themselves men, and not suffer such new translations, which subvert the authority of Holy Scripture, to obtain farther currency !
Excerpt from page 25 to 26 of “An Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament: With Remarks on Its Revision Upon Critical Principles” by Samuel Prideaux Tregelles,
The British Library has a collection of over a thousand Greek manuscript volumes. Thanks to a generous grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the British Library has made the digitized version of its Greek manuscripts freely available online at www.bl.uk/manuscripts .
The division of the New Testament into chapters, now in use, was made in the dark ages, after the selection of portions for ecclesiastical readings, which frequently therefore run on from one chapter into another. That division frequently separates things which are closely connected, and joins together things which are really distinct. (Johann Albrecht Bengel)
List of the printed editions of the Greek New Testament
All these were Khaldhaye, that is to say Ancient Syrians, according to the tradition of the early writers. And because the greater number of [these] writers were Greeks, they changed the sounds of the Chaldean names and did not pronounce them as they were pronounced in Chaldean fashion. For behold, also, in the case of ‘NOH’ (NOAH), which is a pure Syrian name, and is derived from nawha, yet they (i.e. the Greeks) call it ‘NOACHOS’. And it is not only the ancient [writers] who do this, but people who are living in our own days are in the habit of changing the pronunciation [of words], thus YA’KOB, which [is derived] from ‘Ekbha is called ‘AIAKOBHOS’, and BAR-SAWMA they call ‘SOMOS’; and many others.
(Chronography by Bar Hebraeus, translated from Syriac by Ernest A. Wallis Budge)
Two monks live near each other at the same time. They both profess to be students. Only one, however, does anything towards disciplining his mind. One uses language and lamentations as follows : — ” They have invented a new language, which they call Greek ; you must be carefully on your guard against it ; it is the matter of all heresy. I observe in the hands of many persons a book written in that language, and which they call the New Testament. It is a book full of daggers and poison. As to the Hebrew, my dear brethren, it is certain that whoever learns it becomes immediately a Jew.” The other monk seizes the New Testament, and applies his habits of study and of diligence to it ; and with that Bible he shakes all Europe ; he shakes the world, and, in a day, opens upon Christendom the light of thousands of years. Need I say, I mean Martin Luther? Nothing but his disciplined mind, and his habits of using that instru ment, could have led him through the thick darkness which surrounded him, to the clear light in which we see him.
(John Todd, The Student’s Manual, page 38)
He who trains his mind to go by impulses, and must wait for them, will accomplish but very little during his life. The perfection of a disciplined mind is, not to be able, on some great contingency, to rouse up its faculties, and draw out a giant strength, but to have it always ready to produce a given and an equal quantity of results in a given and equal time. This was the glory of the mind of Isaac Newton.
You may call upon your mind, today, for its highest efforts, and stretch it to the utmost in your power, and you have done yourself a kindness. The mind will be all the better for it. Tomorrow you may do it again ; and each time it will answer more readily to your calls. But remember that real discipline of mind does not so much consist in now and then making a great effort, as in having the mind so trained that it will make constant efforts. Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi, sed saepe cadendo (a water drop hollows a stone not by force, but by falling often). If you would have the discipline any thing like perfect, it must be unremitted ; the mind must be kept clear and shrewd.
List of Gospel Synopsis:
(1) Harmonia Evangelica – Joannes Clericus (Jean Le Clerc) – 1699
(2) Synopsis Evangeliorum Matthaei, Marci Et Lucae – Johann Jakob Grirsbach – 1776
(3) A Harmony Of The Gospels, With Notes – William Newcome – 1814
(4) Synopsis Evangeliorum Matthaei, Marci Et Lucae Cum Parallelis Ioannis Pericopic Ex Recensione Griesbachii – G. Mart. Leber De Wette & Frid. Lucke – 1818
(5) Quatuor Evangeliorum Tabulae Synopticae – Henricus Nicolaus Clausen – 1829
(6) Synopsis Evangeliorum Matthaei, Marci, Lucae – Rudolf Anger – 1852
(7) A Harmony Of The Four Gospels In Greek, According To The Text Of Tischendorf – Frederic Gardiner – 1871
Many Greek manuscripts of the New Testament after the eighth and ninth centuries mark the beginning of the lections with the word ἀρχή or ἀρ or χʹ/ ἀρ and the end with the word τέλος or τέ or λ/τέ inserted into the text, but written in coloured, commonly vermillion ink.