Matthew 5:44-45 - Double Homoeoteleuton Blunder
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.........................................εγω δε λεγω 5:44
υμιν αγαπατε τους εχθρους υμων
ευλογειτε τους καταρωμενους υμας
καλως ποιειτε τους μισουντας υμας (29-30 cpl)
και προσευχεσθε υπερ των
επηρεαζοντων υμαςκαιδιωκοντων υμας (15-16 cpl) 5:45
οπως γενησθε υιοι του
πατρος υμων του εν ου-
ρανοις οτι τον ηλιον
αυτου ανατελλει επι πο-
νηρους και αγαθους και
βρεχει επι δικαιους και
It appears likely that these two early omissions occurred separately, but close together in the copying stream. The width of the master-copy was probably about 29-30 cpl for the first omission to pop up, with both a similar ending and an unfortunate similar beginning of the next line, either of which alone could have caused an omission, but with both could have doubled the probability. Interestingly, seven different letter alignments with the same column width would generate the exact same omission.
The close proximity may be a coincidence, and one omission may have reinforced the credibility of the other as an original reading.
"But I say to you, love your enemies,
bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you,
and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,"
The real problem here is not accounting for the omission, but accounting for its perpetuation. But the difficulty of the message with the included phrases is more than enough to create a powerful attraction for the shorter reading, especially in manuscripts prepared for public reading. Why give possible eavesdropping spies and enemies fodder for further abuse or accusations?
The inclusion of the material, by any sensible standard is "the more difficult reading" in terms of the criterion of embarrassment etc.
This is a classic case of errors which arose by accident receiving an undeserved circulation in the name of later, more sophisticated expediency by orthodox editors consciously striving to produce the most 'appropriate' text under early circumstances of persecution and outsider hostility.
Omit Both Phrases: אB f1 it-k syr-c/s cop-sa/bo Origen
Include Both: D* D-cor K L W Δ Θ Π f13 28 33 565 700 892 1009 1010 1079 1195 1216 1241 1242-c 1365 1546 1646 2148 2174 Byz/Maj (Majority of MSS) Lect. it-c/d/f/h Syr-h/pal Goth arm eth geoA(B) Apost. Const., Chrysost. etc.
Steven Avery notes the following:
Dean John Burgon (by posthumous editor Edward Miller) wrote quite a bit about Matthew 5:44 here:
The Causes of the Corruption of the Traditional Text (1896) p. 144-153
Burgon is mostly discussing the external evidences, emphasizing the massive Greek support, and a lot of detail on the early church writers.