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Re: tc-list Mk 16:19-20 redux

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  • M A Robinson
    On Sat, 31 Oct 1998 01:43:02 -0800 jeffcate@juno.com (Jeff Cate) writes: ... textual apparatus before drawing conclusions. ... Well and good. My surprise is
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 31, 1998
      On Sat, 31 Oct 1998 01:43:02 -0800 jeffcate@... (Jeff Cate) writes:

      I raised the issue:

      >> my one real question still is whether anyone ever bothers to consult a
      textual >>apparatus before drawing conclusions.

      >Yes, we do consult the textual apparatus.

      Well and good. My surprise is that not one other person during the course
      of the discussion bothered to raise the issue while both Jeff and I were
      going on regarding Markan versus Lukan style when the variant unit could
      have affected the entire situation. I already stated why I was not
      raising that issue, but did no one else out there take notice that apples
      and oranges were perhaps being discussed?

      > I had suspected variant readings in the mss because (1) refs
      >to Jesus are notorious for slight alterations by adding/omitting words
      >such as Lord and Christ;

      Some, but hardly all, and especially infrequently in the Gospels.

      >2) the refs to "Lord" and "Lord Jesus"
      >are so out of character for Mk 1:1-16:8 I suspected that some scribe
      >might have attempted to alter them

      "Lord" (as I mentioned), with the article as in Mk 16:19 does have
      parallels within the main body of Mark, so I would not call that reading
      "out of character". Also, "the Lord" occurs in 16:20 without

      >Even though you erroneously assumed I
      >had no awareness of the variation unit, in fact, I was fully aware of it

      Actually I didn't know, so I couldn't "assume," but I normally would
      "assume" at least the Nestle27 text to be in front of most people on
      this list. I did assume that you were totally convinced of the
      originality of KURIOS IHSOUS :-)

      >I knew you might, and you did (although
      >in a derogatory manner I wasn't expecting).

      I intended no derogation (and I'm not sure my words indicate that; if so,
      apologies); only a wake-up call regarding the fact that those who would
      defend the long ending as authentic would find the whole line of argument
      irrelevant, since it concerned a reading which would not occur in their
      preferred form of the text.

      As mentioned, the line of argument might make sense IF the premise is
      granted regarding the N27 reading as authentic, but I know of no long
      ending supporter who would accept that variant reading (possibly Farmer,
      but I haven't read him in over 20 years -- anyone want to check?). For
      those who see the KURIOS IHSOUS reading as "original" to the long ending,
      and who also consider the long ending inauthentic, then of course, feel
      free to proceed with the previous line of argument. I joined that fray
      solely to show that in my opinion that that line of argument did *not*
      prove either authenticity or inauthenticity, and thus even within that
      context the premise for establishing inauthenticity was faulty.

      >BTW, there are quite a few
      >other lines of thought on this entire issue that I haven't mentioned
      >that I was expecting you to mention, but that does *not* mean that I
      >am not aware of those. I'll let you bring those up instead of arguing
      >your case against myself for you.

      If referring only to the textual questions, no problem. The other
      arguments probably will show up in due course. If you mean further
      stylistic and related criteria, I would prefer to keep that part off the
      list as less pertinent to textual criticism.

      >Au contraire. You assume wrongly. Just because one feels 16:9-20 is
      >not authentic, does *not* mean that 16:9-20 is not *early.*

      Of course not. Can't be if Irenaeus testifies to it and if Irenaeus is
      not "interpolated" at that point. Can't be if sy-c has it.... Never
      claimed anything different.

      > It's appearance in the church fathers alone indicates an early date and
      >*pre-Byzantine* date, I might add.

      At least in a "patristic" state (which often says nothing about

      >Therefore, the NA27 presentation of
      >the 16:9-20 should *not* be based on the Byzantine majority reading
      >alone because that is not necessarily the "weightiest" evidence for
      >the original form of the longer reading.

      Here is where I demur. At the point of the variant reading in question I
      already stated highly valid internal reasons for rejecting the KURIOS
      IHSOUS reading as belonging to the "original form" of the long ending --
      even if the long ending is presumed to be inauthentic, as you and many
      others hold.

      Not only is the Byz reading shorter, but it is the "more difficult"
      reading (given the tendency for pious expansion in a minority of MSS at
      any given point), it concurs with "Markan style" (even if restricted to
      16:20 immediately following); it cannot easily be explained as mere error
      due to homoioteleuton during the transmissional history of the MS
      tradition (comments on which below), and also the scattered minority of
      witnesses from a number of texttypes, most of which do not reflect the
      dominant reading of their type (the Alexandrian witnesses come closest,
      but not even all of them, and their leading representatives Aleph and B
      are omitting the passage at this point).

      Had precisely the same evidence been in place but with _Byz_ supporting
      KURIOS IHSOUS instead of KURIOS, I suspect most eclectics would be
      strongly arguing _against_ that reading -- even against its limited
      Alexandrian support -- and that on the same grounds stated above. So why
      is such not a valid line of argument in the present instance?

      >Mk 16:9-20 is not a Byzantine
      >addition, it occurred at an early stage and therefore, the evidence for
      >the original form of the longer ending must be based on the
      >"weightiest" evidence.

      And what among the evidence is "weighty" in your opinion? You seem to
      discount totally the internal arguments provided. Are you arguing wholly
      from external data? If not, what internal and external data seem
      convincing to you regarding the longer reading, and why are such data
      compelling in the light of strong internal and external arguments to the

      >>Rather, the addition of IHSOUS in less than two dozen Greek MSS and
      >>some versional witnesses reflecting Byzantine, Alexandrian,
      >>"Caesarean" and Western diversity

      I wrote that, based upon the data in Nestle27. Ulrich Schmid has informed
      me that _Text und Textwert_ on Mark, vol.2, (which our library does not
      yet have) says there are 85 MSS which read KURIOS IHSOUS (out of however
      many -- I have asked Ulrich to post details to the list). The quantity
      changes, not appreciably, and the MSS supporting the longer reading now
      probably include more Byzantine minuscules, which, if so, further
      demonstrates the point of limited pious expansion, since these MSS would
      not be genealogically connected to those from other texttypes.

      >If the external evidence was evenly divided, your internal arguments
      >would make more sense:

      I thought I pointed out the near-even division of the external evidence.
      All texttypes represented; none in a majority save perhaps the remaining
      Alexandrian witnesses, and these lacking their two chief representatives.
      On what basis are you suggesting the division is not nearly even?

      >But that certainly is not a
      >hard and fast rule, especially when it comes to variants in names
      >since there are other factors at work that take precedence over the
      >one reading being longer and another being shorter (cf. IHSOUS TON
      >BARABBAN in Mt 27:16-17 where the preferred reading of NA27 is the

      Just as is KURIOS IHSOUS here, but the Mt. 27:16-17 reading is hardly in
      the same category, since IHSOUS not only is bracketed in N27, but the
      supporting evidence is virtually non-extant for that reading (Theta f1
      700* pc sy-s in the first case; B Theta 700* f1 pc sy-s Or-mss Or-lat in
      the second case).

      Were it not for the presence of B in the second case as well as the
      exegetical interpretation held by some that possible confusion could
      arise between Jesus Barabbas and Jesus who is called Christ, causing the
      crowd to clamor for the wrong one to be released, I doubt whether either
      reading would be in the text at all, brackets notwithstanding. Of course
      even in that instance homoioteleuton could be invoked as a cause of the
      majority reading, but once more it falls under the same condemnation as
      in Mk 16:19 -- you can claim homoioteleuton as a primary cause of a
      variant when the number of MSS containing such is small, but it is
      transmissionally well-nigh impossible for such to occur on the grand
      scale without correction at an early stage creeping in.

      It certainly is more likely (at least in Mt 26:17) that dittography
      occurred in the extremely small number of witnesses supporting IHSOUS
      BARABBAS (UMININ TON BARABBAN or UMININ BARABBAN), which, once in place,
      could lead a corrector to insert IN in the corresponding parallel in v.16
      (-MENON IN BARABBAN). A later MS would then incorporate the dittography
      and/or the correction into their text (on a very limited scale). This
      would be unsurprising. It would have been more surprising had such a
      dittography/addition permeated a significant portion of the MS tradition,
      which it of course did not, following "normal" transmissional processes.

      I would not claim the Matthean passage as a parallel to or refutation of
      the pious expansion hypothesis.

      >Homoioteleuton is certainly possible as you mentioned, but
      >you dismissed it to quickly. If such an unintentional error (KSIS to
      >KS) occurred early enough, there would not seem grounds for later
      >scribes to intentionally correct the text, especially since it would
      >have *entered* the Byzantine stream in the form of KS not KSIS.

      This raises the interesting spectre of transmissional history and the
      question whether early errors were simply never caught and corrected. It
      takes far more credulity in my opinion to believe in light of the
      quantity of material preserved to us in MSS, Versions, and Fathers, that
      a primitive error would so totally escape notice and correction as to
      overwhelm the entire manuscript tradition. "Normal" transmission would
      expect errors to have a short half-life, and this is evidenced by the
      thousands of "singular" readings found among our extant MSS -- they
      simply were not perpetuated,else they would not be singular. The same
      would apply to dual readings found in only two extant MSS -- accidental
      coincidence or direct dependence could be the cause, but the perpetuation
      simply did not occur. This can continue to creep upward with virtually
      the same results, simply based on known data from the MS tradition. Why
      then should it be logical or reasonable to presuppose early error which,
      contrary to "normal" transmission, would permeate virtually all known
      witnesses, especially given the *general* overall accuracy and fidelity
      of scribes. They make errors, but few of these perpetuate, and most of
      those for only a brief time. I have faith, but not enough to believe the
      historically unlikely regarding the transmission of individual variants..

      >I don't think the internal evidence for opting for KURIOS over KURIOS
      >IHSOUS in Mk 16:19 is conclusive in either direction.

      Please feel free to provide what internal evidence is significant in
      favor of the longer reading. All I have heard so far is the (highly
      unlikely) possibility of homoioteleuton affecting the near-totality of
      the MS tradition.

      > What seems to
      >indicate the choice for KURIOS IHSOUS over IHSOUS is the *external*
      >evidence which you too quickly dismissed. The combined witness of K
      >Delta f1 f13 33 565 579 892c 1241 1424 2427 L-2211 al it vg-cl sy cop
      >Ir-lat is pretty substantial and early support for KURIOS IHSOUS,
      >especially when you realize that Sinaiticus and Vaticanus render no
      >evidence for this variation unit since they omit the entirety of

      Actually the "combined evidence" is even stronger (if you choose to call
      it such):
      add to K Delta f1 f13 33 565 579 892c 1241 1424 2427 L-2211 al it vg-cl
      sy cop Ir-lat.
      the witnesses supporting Variant1 (omitting OUN but retaining KURIOS
      IHSOUS) -- C* L (W) L-844 pc (not sure whether to count W among this
      crowd, since it reads KURIOS IHSOUS CRISTOS). "Early" is somewhat
      relative: it sy cop Ir-lat and C* are "early", but the remaining
      witnesses are not so, though they coincidentally or transmissionally
      happen to concur with the expansion.

      But _why_ is this external evidence so "compelling" in light of the
      strong case for its secondary nature on internal grounds? The
      Alexandrian addition at Mt 27:49 is "strong" (Aleph B C L Gamma pc vg-mss
      mae) but hardly "compelling," and this on internal contextual,
      contradictory and harmonization grounds.

      But I hardly "dismissed" the external evidence; indeed that was my main
      point when discussing the homoioteleuton argument. The external as well
      as internal evidence is indeed quite compelling in favor of KURIOS alone
      as the original reading of the long ending (regardless of whether one
      favors authenticity of inauthenticity).

      >Therefore, I feel that there are reasonable grounds to argue for the
      >stylistic evidence of "Lord Jesus" pertaining to Mk 16:9-20.

      You and the Nestle/UBS committee obviously do; my question remains, "on
      what good grounds" as opposed to the arguments in favor of the other

      Maurice A. Robinson, Ph. D.
      Professor of Greek and New Testament
      Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
      Wake Forest, North Carolina, USA

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