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Re: [textualcriticism] SBL in Mt 15:30

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  • Jonathan Borland
    Dear List, As Dr. Holmes rightly points out, there is virtually no variation in 15:31, and therefore any variation in 15:30 that brings CWFOUS to the beginning
    Message 1 of 5 , Nov 3, 2010
      Dear List,

      As Dr. Holmes rightly points out, there is virtually no variation in 15:31, and therefore any variation in 15:30 that brings CWFOUS to the beginning is immediately suspect as having arisen from assimilation to 15:31 to accommodate the order of words found there. This transcriptional probability rules out the first three units of variation in Dr. Holmes' chart, three variations which, by their very slim attestation, may be assumed to have arisen by scribal modification later in the history of the manuscript copying tradition according to a theory of reasoned transmissionalism (cf. M. A. Robinson's published works). So the question, at least on transcriptional grounds, is which variation unit that begins with CWLOUS is original. In view of the "very slender" support (so Holmes) of the Aleph reading (#7) and the B reading (#8), not to mention the same for the D reading (#9), one is left with either #5 or #6. Number 6 has the predominate weight of the consensus of all manuscripts, and also puts one in "good company" (so Holmes, referring to Tisch Treg Greeven Souter von Soden, etc.).

      On the surface, it seems reasonable to select the earliest attested reading. Yet Origen is still over 150 years removed from the original, the reading he supports is transcriptionally inferior for the reason mentioned above, his Commentary on Matthew was written in Caesarea and thus his agreement with f1 here is rather insignificant, and the early nature of a single father for any given variant is insignificant without weighty primary Greek manuscripts. For the same reasons I do not accept the bright and fiery version of Jesus' baptism in Matthew related by Justin and some Old Latin witnesses simply because it is "chronologically earliest," despite Bill Petersen's pleading based on, perhaps, motivations similar to Dr. Holmes at the present variation unit.


      Jonathan C. Borland

      On Nov 3, 2010, at 2:16 AM, Mike Holmes wrote:


      Wieland has called attention to a very difficult variation-unit in Matthew. It is not one I would wish to be dogmatic about. For whatever they may be worth, here are some notes and observations on this nest of variant readings.




      Matthew 15:30

                              1           2          3           4

      SBLGNT: κωφούς, τυφλούς, χωλούς, κυλλούς

      Var. #:





      1 2 3 4

      κωφούς, τυφλούς, χωλούς, κυλλούς

      ƒ 1 (=1+1582)33.892.1241.844.2211  pc  aur (ff 1) vgcl  Origen


      1 3 2 4

      κωφούς, χωλούς, τυφλούς, κυλλούς

      L W Δ al l q vgst.ww syh


      1 2 4 3

      κωφούς, τυφλούς, κυλλούς, χωλούς



      2 1 3 4

      τυφλούς, κωφούς, χωλούς, κυλλούς



      3 1 2 4

      χωλούς, κωφούς, τυφλούς, κυλλούς

      C K M Π 565 pm


      3 2 1 4

      χωλούς, τυφλούς, κωφούς, κυλλούς

      P U Γ Θ ƒ 1part ƒ 13 2.700.1071 pm f syc.psamss bo; TR Tischendorf 8 Tregelles Huck/Greeven Souter RP1.2


      3 2 4 1

      χωλούς, τυφλούς, κυλλούς, κωφούς

      ℵ 157 pc a b ff2 sys; NA26-27 / UBS1-4NIV


      3 4 2 1

      χωλούς, κυλλούς, τυφλούς, κωφούς

      B 0281 pc samss mae; WH N6.16.25 Legg Merk11 BFBS2


      3 2 4

      χωλούς, τυφλούς, κυλλούς

      D pc

      Matt. 15:31: κωφούς ... κυλλούς  ... χωλούς ... τυφλούς ... [1 4 3 2]

      [‡ acc. to A. Anderson, 1 and 1582 (the two main ƒ 1 witnesses) read κωφούς, τυφλούς, χωλούς, κυλλούς (1 2 3 4), while 118 + seven other family members have the order χωλούς, τυφλούς, κωφούς, κυλλούς (3 2 1 4).]


      Which reading more likely accounts for the rise of the others? In view of the diversity of forms (and how fragmented the manuscript support is for any one of them), it is very difficult to reach a decision here. The chronologically earliest Greek witness is Origen (variant #1), whose text finds some substantial support from 1+1582 (the heart of Family 1, whose archetype goes back to the 4th c.) 33 892 1241 (plus the near-support from 1424 and L W Δ al l q vgst.ww syh). In view of the very slender support for the readings of either ℵ (#7) or B (#8), the main alternative to Origen’s text appears to be #6, printed by Tischendorf, Tregelles, and Greeven (good company to be in). In a broader sense, the choice is between a group of witnesses (1-2-3-[4?]) that lead with κωφούς) versus a group of witnesses (5-6-7-8-9) that lead with χωλούς (or variations thereof). In the absence of any more substantive or decisive criteria by which to make a decision, I followed the chronologically earliest reading and printed the text of Origen.


      [An observation: it is, to say the least, surprising that none of the many variations in v. 30 match the order of the terms in v. 31, which is nearly invariant in the textual tradition.]


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