Matthew 10:8: a study in text-types
- 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
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-and 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
A. ASQENOUNTASQERAPEUETE (sick heal)
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
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.