Saturday, February 12, 2011

Matthew 10:8 - Hodges & Farstad's Homoeoteleuton Fumble

A remarkable change reflected in the Majority Text published by Hodges/Farstad (both editions, 1985), is that of Matthew 10:8.

Here H/F omit the phrase "raise the dead".

TR: "λεπρους καθαριζετε, νεκρους εγειρετε" (Scrivener, 1881)
CT: "νεκρους εγειρετε, λεπρους καθαριζετε" (i.e. UBS4 1993 = א*BC*)
HF: "λεπρους καθαριζετε"...  (Hodges/Farstad Majority Text 1985 =M )

What happened here?  "M" in this case is not the Majority Text per se, which is represented by an Old German SiglaIn our case, "M"  is just Von Soden's μ5 family of manuscripts.  Hodges/Farstad have opted for the reading of this large group of MSS, which however, is in fact a minority reading within the Majority Text tradition.

It is obvious from looking at the text however, that this was a common point for homoeoteleuton errors.  The Word Order Reversal (W.O.R.) found in the אB text arises from this very problem:

The Scribe responsible for the 'common ancestor' of אB made an eye-skip, as a result of h.t.:

Master: ασθενουντας θεραπευετε, λεπρους καθαριζετε, νεκρους εγειρετε...

אB writes: ασθενουντας θεραπευετε,...νεκρους εγειρετε...
...his eye skipping from the string of similar endings.  After writing the phrase νεκρους εγειρετε, he immediately catches his mistake, but since word-order has no effect on the meaning, he doesn't bother to erase the whole phrase.

אB now adds:
...ασθενουντας θεραπευετε, νεκρους εγειρετε, λεπρους καθαριζετε,
 He simply puts the missing text immediately afterward: from his view, problem solved:  and the W.O.R. has become the Alexandrian text.

A similar error hits the μ5 family:
Now, μ5 skips the other phrase, out of several h.t. opportunities available:

Master:  ...ασθενουντας θεραπευετε, λεπρους καθαριζετε, νεκρους εγειρετε...

μ5 writes: ...ασθενουντας θεραπευετε, λεπρους καθαριζετε, ...

 His eye now skips back to the text following νεκρους εγειρετεAlas, it is not caught and corrected, and he leaves us with an unnecessary variant reading.
This cluster of two minor but common errors over a 500 year span has left one group of editors confused, but if they had paid more attention to the most typical mistakes scribes make, the case would be plain.  In fact, here the critical editors of the modern text have been saved from at least some embarrassment, by blindly following the אB reading, which in this case preserves the text, but not the order.


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