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Re: Mk 2:16 conflict of internal evidence[?]

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  • malcolm robertson
    Dear Bai, The internal psychological struggle of the text critic is unavoidable. Each one of us must put forth the intellectual effort to achieve results.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 24, 2005
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      Dear Bai,
      The internal psychological struggle of the text critic is unavoidable.  Each one of us must put forth the intellectual effort to achieve results.
      Let's look at the evidence again. Aleph, P88 and B (all 4th century) are your earliest and strongest witnesses.
      Codex W (5th century) and e omit the first occurence of *ESQIEI* beginning with IDONTES OTI ESQIEI META TWN hAMARTWLWN KAI TELWNWN yet retains ESQIEI in the latter part of the verse.  This omission is a single characteristc habit of the scribe of codex W.  This is an example of *how* a manuscript is weighed, but this can only be accomplished by a more thorough examination of the other scribe habits which earmark this ms - or any ms for that matter. 
      An example of the 10% error margin of B are normally it's omissions.  NA27 and WH do not view ESQIEI [KAI PINEI] as an example of this at Mk 2:16.
      Note that Aleph also retains the single ESQIEI but adds KAI hO DIDASKALOS hUMWN.  This further explanatory addition is further seen early (with the addition of PINEI) in the Coptic.  Was PINEI inserted as a result of a subconscious harmonisation (cf Lk 5:30) or an attempt to account for KAI? (according to my reckoning)
      Codex C (4th century) reverses the word order and retains PINEI.
      Most of the other readings reflect the general scribal habit to further elucidate the text by altering the person from 3rd pers. sg. to 2nd pers pl to now include the disciples.  This scribal tendency may also be seen in Aleph's KAI hO DIDASKALOS hUMWN [a trait somewhat unusual to Aleph] as well as the addition of PINEI elsewhere in the other mss.
      Indeed the other later witnesses attest to this through their repetition of either ESQIEI KAI PINEI or ESQIETE KAI PINETE.
      I really think that the 3rd pers sg use of ESQIEI in it's first appearance in the verse and it's variously modified forms hOTI HSQIEN P88 Aleph D 892 etc; hOTI ESQION Theta; AUTON ESQIONTA (A) C 0130vid etc. indicates that ESQIEI latter in the verse was original and the ideas reflexed in the other scribe produced variants is inherently implied by ESQIEI alone. 
      Remember that although a manuscript may be very good (weight) it is not the autograph. 
      I hope I didn't confuse or bewilder you further. I think both the internal and external evidence support ESQIEI alone as original.  If one must have KAI PINEI as well to account for the other readings - well what can I say?  WH put it in the margin as Wieland has pointed out.   
      Cordially in Christ,
      I read David's posts and feel sympathetic, for I also have struggled
      with the same question.

      For example, I see Mk 2:16.

      (1) ESQIEI B D W 2427 pc it NA27
      (2) ESQIETE Theta
      (3) ESQIETE KAI PINETE G 565. 700. 1241. 1424 pc
      (4) ESQIEI KAI PINEI P88 A f1 33 Byz c q sy sa-ms
      (5) ESQIEI KAI PINEI O DIDASKALOS UMWN L Delta f13 pc vg co

      The way I see it, (1) is obviously the shorter reading, but it is also
      a possible secondary reading due to either (a) h.t. error of (4) from
      EIKAI - EIKAI or (b) harmonization to Mt which omits KAI PINEI. So one
      internal rule for (1) and two against it. The singular reading of (2)
      seems secondary not only due to its singularity but also possible h.t.
      error of a (3) ancestor, which itself, as noted in NA27, is apparently
      harmonization to Lk. Readings (5), (6), (7), and (8) are all various
      readings of a singular archetypal harmonization to Mt, and the
      relatively singular readings of (6-8) seem to condemn them in and of
      themselves as secondary.

      So in my mind it is either (1) or (4). Now is the tricky part.
      Because (1) has the best witness (B) it should certainly overrule (4),
      should it not? But that is the whole problem. Here it appears the
      text of (1) may indeed be secondary to the text of (4). Are not D and
      W secondary more than they are not? But if one admits that (1) is
      secondary, then he admits that the hundreds of Byzantines from the 9th
      c. and later actually contain the primary, and thus the earliest form
      of the text, and then the whole weighting of MSS is thrown into
      question. Is Mk 2:16 one of those places in the 90% of readings where
      B is certain? Or is this one of the 10% that must be reserved for
      later judgment based on other certain original readings of B?

      For me, the problem remains that Hort never gave us his list and
      explanations of the 90% of certain B readings and the 10% of difficult
      ones he had to reserve judgment on until after he had determined the
      90%. So we are left in cases like Mk 2:16 either (1) taking Hort's
      word for it and accepting B as primary because of its superior quality,
      or (2) rejecting B as secondary on this occasion due to David's
      stricter definition of external evidence and corroborative internal

      Yours, Bai Jiansheng

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