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3821RE: [Synoptic-L] When is a parallel not a parallel? Also, when is a verse not a verse?

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  • David Inglis
    Oct 6, 2011
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      David I: I posed the following question:

      Why are the verse divisions in the synoptics so inconsistent? For example, why does Mk 13:14 encompass
      in one verse what is two verses in Mt? My understanding is that Robert Estienne created our modern verse divisions
      around 1551, but if they were the work or (or at least under the control of) one person, then why are the synoptic
      verses not always divided up the same way? Does anyone know whether this is a 'hangover' from some characteristic of the
      Greek mss Estienne was used to seeing at the time, or perhaps something else? If so, is there anything that the verse
      divisions can tell us with regard to the synoptic problem itself?

      Rev. Chuck Jones responded:

      If I had to guess about your second question, it is that he demarcated the gospel verses over time, and simply forgot what he'd done earlier.

      David I: Chuck, I find it hard to believe that this was the case, because if so then why would these divisions have become universally accepted? Unless there was some logic or pattern behind the divisions then I don’t see how this could become so dominant. One interesting consideration is that in Panarion 42 (c. 375), Epiphanius frequently mentions ‘verses’ in Lk (or rather, that’s the word used in English translations). For example:

      Scholion 55: Again, he excised the material about the vineyard which was let out to husbandmen, and the verse, ”What is this then, The stone which the builders rejected?”

      In other words, there was an early pattern of divisions more than 1,000 years before Estienne, so what was it based on, and did Estienne use the same ‘markers’ as Epiphanius when creating his verses?

      David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA

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