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Re: [Synoptic-L] Q and Matthew's lilies

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  • Mark Goodacre
    ... Thanks for raising an interesting question, Ron. I ve read both the ZNW and the HTR articles on the subject (the latter available on the web, though
    Message 1 of 7 , Jul 24, 2001
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      On 14 Jul 2001, at 8:44, Ron Price wrote:

      > In _The Critical Edition of Q_ (Ed. J.M.Robinson, P.Hoffman,
      > J.S.Kloppenborg), p. ci, we read concerning Mt 6:28:
      > "... the original hand of Codex Sinaiticus ...attest[s] the original
      > reading OU XAIN-, already corrupted into AUXAN- in Matthew and Luke,
      > and hence presumably in Q..."
      > The wording here seems a little strange. Should "in Matthew" be
      > understood as "in most MSS of Matthew"?
      > If not, can anyone exlain why Robinson et al., who think "do not
      > card"
      > was the original meaning of the verb in the saying, appear to reject
      > the obvious corollary that the original hand of Codex Sinaiticus here
      > correctly represents the archetype of Matthew? For if it does, then Q
      > would presumably be taken to have had the uncorrupted "do not card"
      > rather than the supposedly corrupted "grow" which occurs in most MSS
      > of the Lukan parallel.

      Thanks for raising an interesting question, Ron. I've read both the
      ZNW and the HTR articles on the subject (the latter available on
      the web, though without any of the all-important Greek -- see latest
      NT Gateway Featured links) and I'm not entirely sure I know why
      the suggestion you make is rejected. As far as I can see the logic
      runs like this: (a) Robinson (& Heil) are agreeing with the text-
      critical consensus for Matthew that AUXAN- was original in
      Matthew, and that OU XAIN- in the pre-corrected Sinaiticus is an
      anomaly; (b) then, given that Luke witnesses also to AUXAN- , this
      means that AUXAN- must have stood in Q (on the assumption that
      Matthew and Luke are independently dependent on Q). (c) Given
      that the reading OU XAIN- exists in P Oxy 655 and in the pre-
      corrected Sinaiticus and that it makes better sense than AUXAN-,
      this must have been the original reading in Q's Vorlage.

      I think that there are several difficulties with Robinson and Heil's
      robust conclusion: (1) They are too confident about the reading in P
      Oxy 655, in which the crucial letters are missing. It may be that
      we should read AUXAN- there too. There is a helpful article on this
      by Stanley Porter in JTS 52 (2000), pp. 84-92, "P. Oxy 655 and
      James Robinson's Proposals for Q: Brief Points of Clarification".
      Porter concludes that AUXAN- is the more plausible
      reconstruction, though Robinson and others may be right.

      (2) Incorporating your point, Ron: given that they make a great
      deal of Skeat's uncovering of the OU XAIN- reading in Codex
      Sinaiticus, they then (it seems to me) struggle to explain the origin
      of the unusual reading. There appear to be two suggestions: (a) a
      brilliant scribal conjectural emendation or (b) emendation in the
      light of knowledge of the Gospel of Thomas. But (a) reduces the
      impact of the reading as a witness to the original reading of Q and
      (b) simply provides an extra potential witness to the Thomasine
      reading. Robinson (& Heil) support this by noting that we know of
      at least four Greek Thomas texts extant in the 3rd/4th centuries, 3
      x P Oxy. + Coptic Thomas's Vorlage, but crucially only one of
      these features the key wording; indeed Coptic Thomas does not
      contain the relevant verse at all.

      (3) The internal grounds given for preferring OU XAIN- are weak. It
      is claimed that the threefold do not sow/reap/store away when
      talking about the birds requires a threefold do not card / labour /
      spin when talking about the lilies. This is a classic case of where
      we should not let Biblical scholars near poetry! The first threefold
      negative does not require another one afterwards. The point is
      enhanced by the addition the second time round of "how they grow
      . . ." it adds to the basic point about God's provision -- they grow &
      yet they neither toil nor spin. If Q changed OU XAIN- to AUXAN-,
      perhaps Q was a poet!

      (4) and perhaps most crucially, the full range of options is not
      given. Why not AUXAN- in Q, copied by Luke, but adjusted by
      Matthew to OU XAIN- as a brilliant conjectural emendation in the
      light of Thomas? Or why not OU XAIN- in Q, witnessed in Matthew
      but adjusted to AUXAN- in Luke? Perhaps scribal harmonisation of
      Matthew to Luke would then further explain virtually all MSS of
      Matthew? Or OU XAIN- in Matthew, changed by Luke to AUXAN-,
      effectively acting in harmony with scribes of Matthew who
      subsequently harmonised to Luke? I am sure that there are other
      possible combinations, each one at least as plausible as the one
      proposed by Robinson and Heil.

      Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
      Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
      University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
      Birmingham B15 2TT
      United Kingdom

      The New Testament Gateway

      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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