- Mk 9:12b (KAI PWS GEGRAPTAI .....) is a good example of a text which some
scholars take as an early interpolation. Having reviewed the various
arguments and added a cogent extra one, I am definitely on the side of those
who take the last 13 words of this verse as a 'marginal gloss'. But my
concern at the moment is not this particular text, but the wider question of
It is typical even for critical NT scholars to treat early interpolation as
a last resort when trying to explain a puzzling text. This is fair enough.
However some go further and appear to rule out any such resort in principle,
regarding it as mere idle speculation.
I would be very interested to know whether there is any logical basis for
such an extreme position.
Please bear in mind my reasoning so far. Firstly there are thousands of
textual variants, so it is difficult to see why there were not similar
variants made before, say, 150 CE, a period from which there are very few
extant NT texts. Secondly, it is clear that scribes had a tendency to add
rather than delete material (perhaps out of respect) and therefore
identifying any substantial changes to the text should usually be possible
in principle unless the interpolator was very skilled. Thirdly, whether the
likes of NA27 should mention conjectural amendments is a related but
different question that is not my immediate concern.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Out of curiosity I tried this search on Google Books
interpolation OR interpolated OR interpolate
subject:"Gospels" or "New Testament
I got about 10 hits - far fewer than I expected. On looking at
these (where that was possible) I noted a considerable variety
of usage. One or other of the terms is used (in the books located)
in relation to Mat.27.16; Mk.1.2; Lk 9-18; Jn 1.6-8 & 15; 3.22-30;
Jn 19.35, 21.24; Rom 15-16;1 Cor.1.2-16;Josephus Apion Bk.2,or the
Gospel of Nicodemus
Some are "editorial" interpolations, some are interpolations with
textual evidence, but I think one or two may be neither of these.
As it would seem that writers of the available books don't use the term
much I then turned to the ATLA database of journal articles
with a similar search for
"interpolation OR interpolated OR interpolate" (in full text) AND
subject:"Gospels" Date 1950-2011
This got 44 hits from a shorter span of time, most of them from items
available in pdf, but not showing where the hits are, or what they include.
(To check these one would need to do a lot of downloads and pdf searches.)
Tentative conclusion: it would seem that articles use the term more
than books do, but the snippet results from Google Books provide a
handy list of varied examples from the NT of three different types of
David Mealand, University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
Scotland, with registration number SC005336.