Dr. Fee says that scribes could disharmonize passages--intentionally or otherwise ( Modern Textual Criticism and the Synoptic Problem: On the Problem ofMessage 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2006View Source
Dr. Fee says that scribes could disharmonize passages--intentionally or otherwise ("Modern Textual Criticism and the Synoptic Problem: On the Problem of Harmonization in the Gospels" in Studies in the Theory and Method of New Testament Criticism, 175).
He suggests that the omission by the Old Syriac and Bobbiensis (k) of metanoiete in Matt 4:17 was an internal (not remote) disharmonistic corruption done to distinguish Jesus' preaching from John the Baptist's in Matt 3:1-2.
Dr. Fee's argument raises some issues.
- Note that he would throw out Eusebius' support for the omission from NA-27's apparatus.
- An alliance between the Old Syriac and Bobbiensis was suggested by Westcott as being sufficient to overthrow 01 and B; is this alliance really strong enough to make us take the reading seriously?
- Amy Anderson concludes that the omission is mentioned in the margin of 1582 (the newly established leading witness of Family One), and as such is a third witness to the omission, one which is demonstrably ancient.
- Why would a scribe disharmonize Matt 4:17 from Matt 3:1-2 when Mark also has both John and Jesus urging repentancewas the disharmonization so early that the scribe didn't know Mark's Gospel or have access to it? Along these lines, despite the lacunae in both Sy-s and Sy-c at the Marcan passage where John is recorded as preaching a baptism of repentance (1:4), all the witnesses for the omission would have been able to see in their own texts that Mark has both John and Jesus urging repentance.
On internal grounds, we should note that it was Matthew's intention to pair Jesus' ministry with John's ministry. John's execution, e.g., foreshadowed Jesus' execution; their fates would be the same. I might have to do some re-reading of Dr. France's Matthew: Evangelist and Teacher, but I'm pretty sure that this pairing of John and Jesus was a Matthean redactional intention. Thus, on these grounds we would expect that the disharmonized reading was a corruption.
N.B. Really cool rhetorical phrase: Regarding J.K. Elliott's argument that Marcan style would require reading o baptizwn in each text involving the readings baptizwn, o baptisth", etc., Dr. Fee writes, "But this seems to be doing textual criticism by means of a Procrustean bed" (179).