Thursday, September 9, 2010

Matt. 27:35

Matt. 27:35 (h.t.)

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δε  αυτον διεμερισαντο τα 
ιματια αυτου βαλλοντες κληρον 
ινα πληρωθη το ρηθεν υπο του
προφητου διεμερισαντο τα 
ιματια μου εαυτοις και επι τον 
ιματισμον μου εβαλον   κληρον

And they crucified him, and parted 
  his garments, casting lots:  
that it might be fulfilled which was 
spoken by the prophet, 'They parted 
my garments among them, and upon  
my garment did they cast lots.'

INCLUDE LINE: Δ Θ Φ 0250, f1, 652, f13, 22, 517, 954, 1071, 1243, 1424, 1675, al, it(a, aur, b, c, h, q), vg(part), Sy-H, mae-1 (not mae-2), Eusebius (add after verse 36:) 983
Lacuna: C, Sy-C

OMITא , f13 (2 mss: 174, 828 no addition) ; it: d, f, ff1, ff2, g1, l, vg(part) do not have the addition, NA27 omits from text.
B marks omission with umlaut: (line 16 B, p. 1275) βαλλοντες κληρον, (36) και καθημενοι..

Because of lack of some major Byzantine support, even proponents of that text don't attempt to defend this longer reading vigorously. But the abandonment of this longer version of the verse is in fact premature.

Willker says:

'It is possible that the sentence fell out due to homoioteleuton (...κληρον - ...κληρον) but the support is bad (basically "Caesarean"). It is more probable that it has been added from the Johannine parallel (so Weiss). Rating:2? (omission probably original)'

Byzantine Text-type Never Guilty of Omission?

The first remark that needs to be made, is that if the Byzantine text-type can be guilty of "addition/conflation" everytime it has a fuller reading (according to these same textual critics), why can't it also occasionally lose some text? It can't be infallible in this regard. That alone is enough to hold the question open.

Caesarean Text-type Cannot support Haplography?

The next remark is that why is the Caesarean text-type suddenly "bad"? The majority of the omissions which modern critical NTs adopt have mainly Caesarean/Alexandrian support, not Byzantine. Here the Caesarean text finds the Byzantine guilty of haplography, and its somehow inconvenient.

That Haplography historically occured is admitted to be a fact. Examples of 1st generation haplography errors abound in all manuscripts. Why is it that actual confirmed examples are practically non-existant in modern critical NT texts? Are we to believe that not a single case of haplography was ever copied, and found its way into a text-type or group?

And why is it that approximately a third or more of possible cases have been completely left out of the critical apparatus? Could it be that they would negatively characterise a favoured text-type?

Could an extremist application of 'Prefer the Shorter Reading' be behind this inconsistent behaviour? The original justification for that rule of thumb was supposed to be based on scribal habits. In real life there must always exceptions to rules based on rough generalizations.

How Many Haplographic Features are Enough?

Willker is too honest to leave out the possibility of homoioteleuton (...κληρον - ...κληρον): But he has certainly downplayed the evidence. In actual fact, the two clauses share 19 out of 27 letters in the precise same order (70%!), in 5 - 6 character-length chunks! This is an order of magnitude stronger than a typical case of 3 or 4 letters at the end of a sentence.

Relative Priority of Matthew at Stake

When Matthew copies Mark, even Roman Catholic scholars are willing to accept the possibility of Markan Priority. This does not directly threaten Matthew's authority. But Matthew is always assumed to have priority over John, and to be roughly contemporary with Luke. John is written off as 'late' mainly on internal considerations and on the basis of the supposed "evolution" of Christian theology.

But what if Matthew wrote after John? Many synoptic/Johannine features would be better explained if that were the case, but unfortunately, the cost would be too high for some Roman Catholic groups, who find most scriptural support for 'church authority' in Matthew (Matthew is the only gospel that even mentions the word "church", and obvious clue to its later date).

This may be another reason why cases like this, in which Matthew seems to know John's content are better treated as "later additions to Matthew" rather than cases where Matthew used John.

Its no real surprise then, that Roman Catholic sponsored, and ecumenical 'modern' versions of the NT favour the exclusion of verses like this, and also favour Roman Catholic ecclesiastical manuscripts like Codex Vaticanus (B, Vatican #1209).

This is a shame, for such bias interferes with a real understanding of the historical process of transmission, and the identification of the original text.

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