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Heidegger's Bible Handbook: New Testament in General: Use and Abuse of Chapter and Verse Divisions

Updated: Mar 26, 2020

10. Its use and abuse is laid open in the words of Gomar and Casaubon.

Franciscus Gomar

This is the use of this history, that is, of the division of sections, chapters, and verses (in the words of the Most Celebrated Gomar on 1 Peter 1, if it may be permitted), let us not attribute Divine authority to these divisions of chapters or verses, nor accuse those of temerity that occasionally find fault with those divisions, or change them with just reason or caution. For, somethings those things that are conjoined by the matter itself are ineptly divided with injury to the sense, and vice versa; of which matter many examples, if it be needful, could be produced, and concerning this matter repeated complaints are extant in the commentaries of that Most Learned Man, John Calvin. It is helpful to add concerning this matter the judgment of Isaac Casaubon.[1] Now, he speaks thus: Even if I do not disapprove of the division of the sacred books received today: nevertheless, I do not doubt that the division of the ancients would be far more suitable, if some great Theologian had given his attention to correcting it. For, the ancients were dividing the individual books into τίτλους/titles/headings, and the individual τίτλουςinto their κεφάλαια/ chapters, so that that division might be able more to help the Lector/Reader. For not, I suppose, as we see done today in many passages, were they dividing those things that, if one should attend more diligently, ought rather to be read conjointly, but they were rather in this way distinguishing diverse questions, and the parts of the same question: how greatly this is to be valued, no one that will have diligently read, especially the most intricately crafted Epistles of Paul, is able to be ignorant.

[1]Isaac Casaubon (1559-1614) began his career as Professor of Greek at Geneva and finished his career as a prebendary of Westminster and Canterbury. He was a learned critic, and produced annotated editions of Greek and Latin authors. Casaubon was among those that sought a reunion between the Protestant and Roman churches.

Dr. Dilday's Lecture: "New Testament Textual Criticism, Part 2"

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