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3. Mode of designating the Divisions and Lessons

Antiquities of the Christian Church
CHAPTER XI. Use of the Holy Scriptures in religious worship

3. Mode of designating the Divisions and Lessons

In many manuscripts, these divisions are denoted by certain marks like the masoretic notes in the Hebrew Scriptures. These, however, are not to be regarded as of necessity the most ancient divisions, for none of the manuscripts themselves have, in the opinion of critics, a higher antiquity than the fifth and sixth centuries, and most of them are of an origin much later. But it is worthy of remark that the ancient vesions, which date back to a much higher antiquity than any manuscripts now extant, and from which, almost without exception, the lessons were read are also divided in the same manner. Such for example are the divisions of the Syriac Peshito. From all which, it is probable that these divisions were made as early as the second century. According to this method, the New Testament was divided into two kinds of chapters, some longer, and some shorter. The divisions however were not uniform in the different churches, and were subject to revision from time to time. 

To prevent misunderstanding, it was customary to refer to texts of Scripture by quoting a few words of the passage in question, or by a description of it, thus: As it is said in the parable of the sower, – or, As it is written in the passage relating to the woman that had an issue, etc.

These divisions continued to be general in the Eastern and Western churches until the thirteenth century, when cardinal Hugo de Sancto Caro introduced the chapters now in use. The divisions into verses first appeared in an edition of the Scriptures, published by Robert Stephens, A. D. 155L

Hug's Einleit. in's N. T. The. i. S. 243, 266: Zacagni Collectun. monum. vet. eccl. Gr. et Lat. torn. i. p. 401: Gallandi Bibl. Patr. torn. x.


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