Re: tc-list Mk 3.20 versions in Legg - beware!
- Jean Valentin wrote:
I come accross something quite puzzling in Legg's apparatus in Mk 3.20.
Some greek mss have "ochlos" without article, others have "ho ochlos" with
I think there's a little (big?) mistake when it comes to the versions. Legg
claims that the Latin versions, the Sinaitic Syriac version and the Ethiopic
version support "ho ochlos" with an article. This seems quite a problem to
me, as those three languages make no difference between determination and
indetermination. It is in fact impossible to decide whether they support one
or the other variant. It seems to be quite a mistake to me!
We can even go further: Legg claims that the Sinaitic Syriac supports the
singular instead of the plural "ochloi" supported by several greek mss and
the other Syriac versions. This too is imprudent: the old syriac versions
omit very often the "seyome", that double dot that indicates the plural in
the Syriac language. It is correct to assume that the other versions support
the plural, as they are more careful in that respect and they _have_ this
sign here, but I think it would have been better not to say anything about
the Sinaitic Syriac here.
Just a tip to those who do not know Syriac and wish to know what it says:
remember (1) Syriac does NOT differentiate between determination and
indetermination (however, Syropalestinian does!), and (2) the old Syriac mss
sy.s and sy.c are not very careful to indicate every plural. Just do not
take Legg's apparatus for granted when it takes position on these two
Pardon me, sir, but I think the above may need some clarification. In all
three common dialects of the Syriac "articles" can be expressed. However,
the terms, "determination" and "indetermination" (both from "determinate")
are usually found in modern linguistics jargon. When applied to some
Indo-European and all Semitic languages they can be misleading. In Koine
Greek (and classical and pre-classical Mycenaean) the article did not truly
"determine" a noun, and in many cases was not even associated with the noun
which followed it, as it could have been an anaphoric, or a demonstrative
pronoun et cetera. Technically speaking a determiner "limits the meaning of
its associated noun in some way". If one maintains this definition of the
Greek article one would encounter some conflicts, in light of word order
verses inflections .
Equivalent, in certain ways, to the Greek article in Syriac is the Emphatic
state of the noun. By this device the Syriac can indicate "a specification"
or some other distinction. These Syriac nouns end with the Syriac letter
Alaph ")". However, the use of the Emphatic state does not always mean that
the translators are indicating an original "article" present in the original
In the Peshitta, and other versions of Mark 3:20, the Emphatic state is
used, and in the noun one sees seyame dots, (and these dots, are sometimes
accidentally omitted by scribes in a hurry!) indicating plural "crowds",
thus the word looks in Syriac as )Sy^k "the crowds".
Note in verse 22, "the scribes" using the same state and number in the
For comparative purposes, amongst the Semitic languages, one might refer to
Moscati, "AN INTRODUCTION TO THE COMPARATIVE GRAMMAR OF THE SEMITIC
LANGUAGES, page 98 or section 12.74. Most basic Syriac grammars say about
as much. For the modern term of "determinant" it may be best to follow
Moscati and use "definiteness" and "indefiniteness" as well as "mimation"
and "nunation" all of which he defines.
As far as Ethiopic is concerned, it too uses a distinct state, also called
to as the Emphatic state, whose paradigm is comparable to the Semitic
languages. So when Legg stated (and I have not his work) that the Ethiopic
and Syriac languages showed or supported the presence of the article in the
underlying Greek, he was obviously referring to the presence of the Emphatic
state being evidenced. Latin has no definite article, true, but as Metzger
points out (VERSIONS...) an article can be expressed by means of a relative
clause, see Metzger page 366. However, this device is not always employed.
I cannot speak for all exegetes of the Greek, but the above explains how
many critics see a definite article in certain versions (translations) of
the Greek. And again may I mention that much variation exists, and the above
are simply basic guidelines, not canons set in concrete.
at your service,
Mr. Gary S. Dykes