Diatessaron and Matt 17:21
- Dear List,
Von Soden (1913) cites the Diatessaron for the inclusion of Matt
17:21. How confident can this be made on critical grounds? In the
Diatessaron the disciples' lack of faith and the faith of the mustard
seed that can move mountains is followed by the statement that only
through fasting and prayer can certain demons come out, just as in
Matthew (17:20-21). Yet Ephrem's commentary, at least the Latin
translation of 1876, passes over this section in silence, a strange
thing indeed compared with other commentators who especially liked to
comment on Matt 17:20. Could the passage be a later addition to the
Diatessaron in conformation with the canonical Gospels, or is the
passage's presence in the Diatessaron fairly safe? Is there a general
consensus on problems like this in the Diatessaron? What about the use
of the Diatessaron as evidence for this particular textual problem
(addition/omission of Matt 17:21)? (This passage does not appear to be
addressed in Petersen's Tatian's Diatessaron.)
Any comments or direction to other sources are appreciated. Thank you.
Jonathan C. Borland
> What about the use of the Diatessaron as evidence forIt seems difficult to me to prove that it really comes from Mt.
> this particular textual problem (addition/omission of Matt
It could equally well come from Mk. It's a harmony, after all.
Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
- Thanks, Wieland,
I tend to agree with you that the Diatessaron by itself is an
unreliable witness in this passage due to the nature of its
composition. I am not familiar with all of the sources for the
Diatessaron at this place. The English translation provided in ANF
9:81: "But it is impossible to cast out this kind by anything except
by fasting and prayer."
I mention three peculiar observations:
(1) the term "impossible" seems to correlate more to Mark than to
(2) "cast out" appears to correlate more to Matthew (via _eicitur_ as
the united testimony of the OL) than to Mark (where _exire_ appears in
all the OL except f/10, which singularly has _expelli_);
(3) the presence of "fasting" here in A.D. 166 is strange if it is not
the earliest form of this Jesus saying (cf. Mark, but even there the
possibility that p45 has "fasting" would suggest the possibility that
it is the earliest attested form; cf. also Origen in this place in
Comm. Matt. 13.6-7 [ANF 9:478-9). Cf. also William L. Petersen's
similar pleadings with regard to the "fire" in the Jordan during
Jesus' baptismal episode in Tatian's Diatessaron: Its Creation,
Dissemination, Significance, and History in Scholarship [Supplements
to Vigiliae christianae 25; New York: Brill, 1994], 16-7]).
A few comments from Diatessaronic scholars would be much appreciated.
Jonathan C. Borland
On Feb 5, 2010, at 9:02 PM, Wieland Willker wrote:
> It seems difficult to me to prove that it really comes from Mt.
> It could equally well come from Mk. It's a harmony, after all.
> Best wishes