[Synoptic-L] Robinson on OxyP 655
- In a message dated 2/18/2000 2:28:09 PM Eastern Standard Time,
Did Robinson write something about HMt in HTR in 1999? I would be
interested to get more details.>>
No, I don't believe Robinson mentions HMt in this article. Sorry if I gave
that impression. From what I remember, he is writing about OxyP 655, a
fragment of the Greek (pre-Coptic) Gospel of Thomas, and its reading of a
saying by Jesus on the lillies of the field found in Matt 6:28 // Lk 12:27.
He claims that the fragment in question reads ou xsainei (they do not card),
(as the first member of a triple denial of effort on the part of lillies,
equivalent to the triple denial of effort by birds in a previous verse of
both gospels) instead of (pos) auxanousin, (or auxanei); that this is clearly
the most original form of the saying; and that it goes back to a pre-Q
Vorlage, since, in his judgment, Q already contained the mistaken auxsanei
(-ousin). The following is my reaction to Robinson's thesis:
1. I think his judgment is sound on the likelihood that ou xsainei is
original, compared to our standard critical texts (this on the strength of
internal evidence -- coherency and parallelism) .
2. The first hand of Codex Sinaiticus in fact contained this reading in Matt,
and I would take it as likely that this was the original text of Matt but
that the corruption of Matt 6:28 which resulted in the text known from all
other Greek manuscripts entered the tradition very early.
3. The Lucan textual tradition here is divided between texts that contain,
and texts that do not contain the phrase pos auxanei. I would judge the
latter to be original for the Gospel of Luke, and the former to result from
scribal assimilation to an already corrupted Matthean text.
4. Finally, it would have to be said (in a world without Q) that the author
of Greek Gospel of Thomas had access to a still uncorrupted Matthean text, or
Matthean text predecessor IF Robinson is right in the way he reads the
fragment itself (i.e., if it indeed reads ou xsainei). However, I'm not sure
that Robinson gives any hint that this reading could itself be subject to
alternative interpretation. Fitzmyer, e.g., restores OxyP 655 as containing
auxanei. See Luke, II, 976, and the Greek version of same given in the
Synopsis of Aland.
In sum, Robinson's case for evidence of the author of Gospel of Thomas'
access to pre-Q sayings material is not as strong as might appear, even if
one allows the existence of Q as a hypothesis.
By the way, thanks, Yuri, for the information on the RB article.