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7605Re: Mark 1:1 "the son of God" - Jerome Witness

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  • joewallack
    Nov 11, 2012
      --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com, Tommy Wasserman <tommy.wasserman@...> wrote:
      > Joseph,
      > This will be my last message on this topic for now and I realize that I will hardly be able to persuade you; Mark 1:1 will probably remain one of the "1001 errors in the Christian bible" â€" the website I just realized that someone with the name "jwallack" maintains (I assume it is you), where readers are told, "Origen, Irenaeus, Epiphanius, and Victorinus all quote Mark 1:1 without 'son of God” (http://1001errors.com/files/Err140-146.html). In my opinion, this reference to Irenaeus is misleading, for the reasons I have already pointed out.

      As Jim Carrey said in the classic "Liar, Liar" when getting out of the elevator, "It was meeee!". That was the earlier, funnier JoeWallack. The emphasis there is on Polemics and quantity. My newer site:


      is my in progress scholarly site that emphasizes quality. I think the articles there on the Birth Dating Contradiction and The Ending of Mark are the best articles ever written on those subjects. Thanks for the plug. As the Rabbis say:

      Know before whom you stand

      > You speak of my criteria as "informal, undeveloped, etc." For my part I use criteria as established by the leading scholars in the field, and I will refer to them again one last time.
      > Gordon D. Fee, “The Use of Greek Patristic Citations in New Testament Textual Criticism,” ANRW 26.1 (1992) 256-8 observes that a high degree of certainty of a patristic citation exists in the following four instances:
      > a. When in his discussion the Father makes a point of the very words used by a biblical author;

      But it's not at all "the very words" and that's the point. That's the problem with translations, you are forced to use different words. I'll repeat, the main risk here is Transmission, not Reconstruction. Do my words have less weight here than your fellow Evangelical Professor Head?

      > b. When in a commentary or homily the discussion confirms the wording of a citation;

      If you are referring to context than yes this helps a lot.

      > c. When the Father actually cites a known variation to his own text;

      "cites a known variation to his own text" leads to "high degree of certainty". I don't think so.

      > d. When in a commentary, homily, or polemical treatise, the Father repeats the text in the same way again and again.

      That helps too.

      > I have argued that a/b and d are applicable in Mark 1:1, and in this case, the Latin text of Irenaeus should be given great weight because we are not talking about an isolated phrase which could have been adapted after some Latin Gospel text, but we have two distinct passages where Irenaeus is making a specific point where the citations must make sense and are surrounded by other citations of significance. And the Latin version of Irenaeus work is happily, "literal to a fault" to use Johannes Quasten's words.

      Even if you had all four you would still be a long way from what would be good evidence for "high degree of certainty". There are still many other criteria to consider like, oh I don't know, Age, Credibility, External Force.

      > You asked:
      > "Do you still doubt that Latin Irenaeus evidence weighs less than Greek Irenaeus evidence?"
      > Again it sounds as if you think there is Greek evidence for the shorter reading, which there is not (Peter Head depended on Harvey's Cambridge edition of Irenaeus from 1867 when he wrote is article â€" I asked him about that last year. I must also remind the readers of this list that there is no extant Greek manuscript of Adversus Haeresis in the passage we discuss. The Greek evidence is indirect, and, as I have pointed out, even that text has "The Beginning of the Gospel" with neither "Jesus Christ" nor "Son of God". And, in addition, in that context Irenaeus compares
      > the evangelists (discussing how Gospels begin) to the four creatures in Rev. 4:7. He refers to Mark as the flying eagle and the focus is on the prophetic reference in Mark 1:2, demonstrating how the evangelist, as the eagle, spoke inspired by the prophetic Spirit from on high. There was a reason to omit (which is paralleled by other fathers who abbreviates Gospel incipits including Mark 1:1).
      > In relation to a criterion applicable to the particular passage in Irenaeus where he simply has "The Beginning of the Gospel" , Carroll Osburn discusses "Accurate Citation With Partial Omission" stating: "If an otherwise accurate citation has a partial omission that is not known to occur elsewhere in the manuscript tradition, the omission should be considered as a patristic solecism and the accurate portion accepted as the Father’s text" (Carroll D. Osburn, "Method in Identifying Patristic Citations in NT Textual Criticism,"Novum Testamentum 47.4 [2005]: 325).
      > Incidentally, one of Osburn's example (p. 326) is an omission by Irenaeus in 1 Cor 10:5, which Bart Ehrman,�  The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 89, has identified as an orthodox omission:
      > "Similarly, an argument has been made for an “orthodox omission” of ὁ θεός�  at 1 Cor. 10:5 by Irenaeus. However, the supposed “omission”
      > occurs at the end of the quotation and cannot be used as textual evidence. Following a lengthy and verbatim citation of 1 Cor. 10:1-12 with ὁ θεός in the text of v. 5, Irenaeus, Adv. haer. 4.27.4, refers to v. 5, saying, ὥσπερ ἐκεῖ ἐν τοῖς πλείοσιν αὐτῶν τοῖς ἁμαρτήσασιν οὐκ εὐδοκήσεν ὁ θεός. Later at 4.36.6, Irenaeus refers to v. 5 saying, οὐκ ἐν τοῖς πλείοσιν αὐτῶν εὐδοκήσεν, without ὁ θεός. However, this cannot be an orthodox 'omission' of ὁ θεός created to make Christ the subject of εὐδοκήσεν, because in the context of 4.36.5, Irenaeus is making the specific point of denoting God Himself as the judge. He says, 'There is one King and Lord, the Father of all,' who, when those invited did not obey Him, 'sent forth His armies and destroyed them.' Continuing his emphasis, he says in 4.36.6, 'the very same King who
      > gathered from all quarters the faithful to the marriage of
      > His Son . . . [also] orders that man to be cast into outer darkness who has not on a wedding garment.' Irenaeus then says, 'For as in the
      > former covenant, with many of them He was not well pleased, so also is it the case here.' He continues, 'It is not, then, one god who judges and another Father who calls us . . . but it is one and the same God, the Father of our Lord.' The subject of εὐδοκήσεν in
      > v. 5 is clearly not Χριστός, but ὁ θεός of the context. Obviously, Irenaeus, Adv. haer. 4.36.6, cannot be cited in support of an 'omission'
      > of ὁ θεός."
      > Tell me if you accept any of these criteria which I have described, and what criteria you yourself use in your evaluation of patristic evidence.
      > Tommy Wasserman

      Be glad to start. The most important criterion I use is Credibility. Here the comparison is Irenaeus, if you accept him as Long, and Origen. Credibility consists of knowledge and objectivity. Now most early Patristics have relatively low credibility by modern standards (the only standard I use) so what we are doing is comparing their credibility to each other. Origen was a Textual Critic and I would rate him the outstanding scholar of the Early Church. Not much evidence that Irenaeus was a Textual Critic and his credibility was low by Patristic standards. Did you know that he thought the son of God was at the beginning of the Jewish Bible? So in the Credibility criterion I give the edge to Short.

      Our basic difference though is going to be those pesky early Greek references so I want to cover them completely. Again, the problem I have with the abbreviation theory is the cumulative lack of mention here of Greek "the son of God" with the importance of the phrase to the orthodox. So...

      Irenaeus 3.11.8 

      "Mark, on the other hand, commences with [a reference to] the prophetical spirit coming down from on high to men, saying, The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it is written in Esaias the prophet,"

      Compare to the Text:

      "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mark 1:2 Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet,"

      The only difference being either "the son of God" or "Jesus Christ, the Son of God". Irenaeus explicitly says "son of God" twice in his related discussion and a major theme is the generation of Jesus. It seems reMarkable to me that he would invoke the offending phrase in his discussion but not in his quote.

      Basil Against Eunomius (Book II) 15 (Page 150)

      "And Mark made the preaching of John the beginning of the gospel, say-ing: The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as is written in Isaiah the prophet: a voice of one crying out"

      Compare to the Text:

      "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way.  The voice of one crying in the wilderness

      Here Basil has omitted "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way". But he has also omitted "son of God". The entire context here is the timing of the son of God so the omission from quotation is remarkable. Still no confirmation to Latin Irenaeus.


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