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Matthew 10:8: a study in text-types

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  • Daniel Buck
    In listing 4 commands that Jesus gives to his 12 disciples when he sent them out, this verse exhibits an interesting 3-way split between the Eclectic,
    Message 1 of 1 , May 3, 2006
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      In listing 4 commands that Jesus gives to his 12 disciples when he
      sent them out, this verse exhibits an interesting 3-way split
      between the Eclectic, Majority, and Received Texts. It also serves
      as an excellent test-passage for determining one's text-critical
      approach. Furthermore, it is the longest reading that is most often
      preferred here, for a change.

      Miller gives an extensive collation for the phrase NEKROUSEGEIRETE
      (‛raise the dead') on p. 52 of Burgon's "The Traditional Text of the
      Holy Gospels Vindicated and Established" (1896). I will give here
      only those witnesses in addition to the ones cited by Wieland in his
      commentary at

      Include (UBS, TR): Phi, Sigma, 108 Byz(5%) Hilary, Cyril Alex.
      (2), Chrysostom (2).
      Omit (Maj): E, F, G, M, S, U, V, X Eusebius, Basil, Jerome,
      Chrysostom (in loc), Juvencus.

      The actual textual picture is a bit more complex. Each of these 4
      commands consists of 2 words; in each case the second word ends in
      ETE, and each in the middle two clauses, the first word ends in
      OUS. Thus this list, like so many, can be expected to suffer from a
      lot of scribal errors-┬ľand this is exactly what we find. One of the
      most common such errors is to accidently skip from one item on a
      list to the next, and this can result either in a continued omission
      down through the manuscript stream, or in a corrector putting the
      omitted item back in the text (sometimes in the wrong place). If
      the omission is caught by the original scribe in the midst of
      copying the next item, he is likely to transpose the two items; if
      caught by a corrector, he is likely to interline the missing item,
      in which case it often becomes transposed in subsequent copies.
      Thus both omission and transposition can be expected if all 4 items
      were original. And we would likewise expect to find, as we do, that
      the most similar middle two items are also transposed the most.

      I'll now collate the uncial corpus, first giving the order of Aleph,
      B, C*, D, N, Phi, Sigma (C was corrected 9th cent. to the Byz

      B. NEKROUSEGEIRETE (dead raise)
      C. LEPROUSKAQARIZETE (lepers cleanse)
      D. DAIMONIAEKKBALETE (demons expel)

      E, F, G, K, L, M, S, U V, X, Gamma, Pi, Theta, and 95+% of Byz mss
      read ACD.
      P, W, and Delta (and possibly some Byz) read ACDB.
      No uncials, but about 5% of Byz mss (and thence the TR) read ACBD.

      So how does a critic read this list?
      The TR-only reads, of course, ACBD.
      The Maj-only reads, of course, ACD. This is where Burgon himself
      firmly stood on the matter.
      The Eclectic has quite a choice, and this is where things really get
      interesting. The earliest (Alexandrian & Western) uncials all read
      ABCD. The earliest uncials that are usually Byzantine in Matthew
      read ABCD or ACDB; The later Westerns and later Byz uncials, as well
      as the Alexandrian uncials that were corrected toward the Byzantine,
      all read ACD.

      Clearly item B must have dropped out very early on in the Byz &
      Western transmission streams, although it was retained in most Latin
      mss. Correctors probably removed it because nowhere else in the
      Gospels are the Apostles told or said to raise the dead--but they
      obviously did so in Acts. The situation with the patristic sources
      is rather muddled; Jerome supports the omission but his Vulgate the
      inclusion, and Chrysostom also comes down on both sides of the

      All eclectic editors since Griesbach have read ABCD. Burgon was
      probably swayed less by a desire to purify the TR than by an intense
      animosity toward the reading of the RV, so he probably would not
      have been impressed by finding such early Byz support for ‛raise the
      dead' both in W and the N-Phi-Sigma family. Miller apparently
      leaned toward including the reading, however, making Burgon's book
      that he edited argue for both sides of the question.

      This is a good case in which the evidence against the Majority Text
      is very strong. And indeed a rare one, for the Maj is hardly ever
      characterized by omission. It also seems to be an example of a
      theologically motivated change to the text (at least at the
      corrector level). If I were compiling a Byzantine Archetype text,
      this is one change I would probably make to a Majority Text reading.

      Comments, corrections, and further information are welcome.

      Daniel Buck
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