Re: [textualcriticism] Luke 2:22 and Tachygraphy
- Dear James:
I like your suggestion at "trivial." This has been beaten to death, and argued by the best. My response is below. I wanted to thank you for staying. And I have a further response about our group, which I will put in another response to this thread.
TR WH NU
22 . . . . TOU KATHARISMOU AUTWN . . . . .
Aleph A B L W Theta f1,13 Maj
RSV NRSV ESV NASB NIV NEB NJB NAB NLT HCEB [NW] NET
22 . . . . TOU KATHARISMOU AUTOU . . . . .
22 . . . . TOU KATHARISMOU . . . . .
22 . . . . TOU KATHARISMOU AUTHS . . . . .
KJV NKJV NJBmg NETmg
Philip W. Comfort, New Testament Text and Translation Commentary; (Carol Streams, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2008), 173-4.
W.H.P. Hatch "The text of Lk 2:22" HTR 14 (1921) 378: “Some think the plural pronoun [AUTWN] is used of Mary and Jesus; whilst others, with much better reason in view of the context, refer [AUTWN] to Joseph and Mary. But both of these explanations are fraught with the difficulty that the Mosaic Law prescribed purification only for the mother after childbirth. No ceremonial impurity attached to the father or to the child.”
Hatch is certainly not considering everything, which will be explained below. His Semitic source argument on page 379 is just as he expresses it, ‘assuming.’ Accepting the truth of his proposition as being true without having anything to confirm it. It is a desperate way of getting out of the harder reading.
Who is to be included in the AUTWN “their”? The fact that Jesus was born a perfect human would negate the idea of his even needing to be purified. So, Jesus would have not been included.
The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
22 And when the days of their [Joseph and Mary] purification were completed according to the law of Moses, they [Joseph and Mary] brought him [Jesus] up to Jerusalem to present him [Jesus] to the Lord 23 (just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb will be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what was stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
Joseph was responsible for the goings on of his house, and both he and Mary would work in concert to fulfill the requirements of the law, as it concerned them and Jesus.
Numbers 18:15-16: 15 Everything that opens the womb of all flesh, whether man or beast, which they offer to the LORD, shall be yours. Nevertheless, the firstborn of man you shall redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem. 16And their redemption price (at a month old you shall redeem them) you shall fix at five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs. [Joseph and Mary traveled to Jerusalem to observe this.]
Leviticus 12:1-8: 1The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2"Speak to the people of Israel, saying, 'If a woman conceives and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days. As at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. 3And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4Then she shall continue for thirty-three days in the blood of her purifying. She shall not touch anything holy, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying are completed. . . . 6 "'And when the days of her purifying are completed, whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb a year old for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering, 7and he shall offer it before the LORD and make atonement for her. Then she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who bears a child, either male or female. 8And if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean.'" [Joseph and Mary would have observed this as well at the end of the purification period.]
Now that we have laid the groundwork of what was required, and who was responsible for getting it done, let us move onto the bigger question: “And when the days of their purification were completed . . .” Who are the “their”? Some who could not deal with “their” or “his”, have AUTHS “her.” As Hatch observed there is no support for this at all. The best manuscript evidence easily leads us to “their.” All accept this as the original reading. For the sake of argument, let us assume that it is which would account for the other readings. Thus, we are back to who “their” is speaking of.
Some have suggested Jesus and Mary, suggesting that Jesus was “redeemed” at the same time as his mother’s trip to the temple for purification. (Marshall 1978, 116) This could hardly be the case, because the ‘purification’ and the ‘redemption’ were two different obligations of the Law. It is far more likely that “their” is a reference to Joseph and Mary. Joseph and Mary are the grammatical subjects of the sentence.
22 And when the days of their [Joseph and Mary] purification were completed according to the law of Moses, they [Joseph and Mary] brought him [Jesus] up to Jerusalem to present him [Jesus] to the Lord
While it is true that Mary is the one being purified, Joseph is the head of the family and would have made all of the arrangements, including the provision of a sacrifice. Thus, it is as Comfort supposes, “Luke may have considered the purification a family matter, involving both Mary and Joseph . . . .” (p. 172)
Luke 2:22 could be understood in this manner: ‘At the end of the unclean 40 days Mary and Joseph (who is the head of the house), brought him [Jesus] up to Jerusalem to present him [Jesus] to the Lord.’
 W. Hall Harris, III, The Lexham English Bible (Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2010), Lk 2:22–24.
Yahoo Bible-Translation Group
- Interestingly, the same triad is found in manuscripts of Colossians 4:15.However, isn't all this tachygraphical information only germane once one gets to the minuscule era?Daniel Buck
DB: "Isn't all this tachygraphical information only germane once one gets to the minuscule era?"
That's what I initially thought. But the material about *ancient* tachygraphy in the resources I mentioned got me thinking about the possibility of the use of tachygraphy in autographs -- a possibility which would usually be just a trivial speculation, but which explains things nicely in Luke 2:22.
Yours in Christ,
James Snapp, Jr.
- Is it possible that Joseph helped in the delivery and needed purification as well? This would explain the plural.
--- In email@example.com, "james_snapp_jr" <voxverax@...> wrote:
> This might be trivial; nevertheless: in Lk. 2:22, did Luke write the equivalent of "their," (AUTWN) "his," (AUTOU) or "her" (AUTHS)? Maybe the answer should be "No."
> AUTWN has extremely strong support. D's AUTOU is probably a result of retro-translation. UBS-2 lists MS 76 as support for AUTHS, and this is repeated by the NET's online notes, but WW observes that Gregory and Hatch saw that this was not the case. Hatch went through the trouble of explaining why 76 was erroneously cited as a witness for AUTHS; he assigns the blame mainly to Scholz, in a footnote in an article, "The Text of Luke II, 22" in Harvard Theological Review (#14, from 1921). This issue of HTR is online at Google Books; I've added it to my virtual library-shelf of NTTC resources. It's the same annual in which Kirsopp Lake drew attention to Epistula Apostolorum. Hatch's article begins on p. 377; the digital page number in Adobe Reader is 396.
> Decades after Hatch's article, UBS-2 still cited 76 as support for AUTHS, and so do the notes in the NET. (Sound effect: grunt-sigh of exasperation.) UBS-4 has no note here.
> Hatch mentions that Origen discussed the problematic AUTWN in his fourteenth homily on Luke. Hatch also states that the Sahidic version supports AUTOU. Hatch proposes that Luke, misunderstanding a non-Greek source-document that was intended to refer to Mary's purification, wrote AUTOU, and that later scribes replaced AUTOU with AUTWN. He also mentions that although Erasmus and Stephanus printed AUTWN, the Complutensian Polyglott, and Beza, and the Elzevir text contained AUTHS, apparently as a Latin-based conjecture. (This is reflected in the KJV and NKJV.)
> Metzger noted that "in cursive Greek script the pronoun was abbreviated AUT with the termination expressed by a "shorthand" stroke." Now, it occurs to me that an ambiguously abbreviated "AUT" could account for all the extant readings: scribes could independently unfold an ambiguously abbreviated "AUT" in different ways, as AUTWN or as AUTOU or as AUTHS.
> 2427 has some abbreviations of AUTOS, about which Colwell wrote something, but since it's a forgery let's take that off the table.
> In an issue of The Journal of Hellenic Studies (XI, 1890), T. W. Allen wrote an article called "Fourteenth Century Tachygraphy." (It includes two Plates which are near the end of the volume.) On p. 291, he mentions "AUTOU is the XYZ of the Grotta Ferrata tachygraphs." ("XYZ" being a symbol in the printed text which cannot be duplicated without special fonts.) In a footnote he adds, "As this mode of contracting AUTOS is rare, I may mention that it occurs (AUTOU and AUTON) frequently in the Paris MS. Coislin 387 (s. xi.)." (I think Paris MS. Coislin contains Porphyry's Isagoge.)
> The Grotta Ferrata tachygraphs are, it seems today, not an easy subject to research in English, but in a short book published in 1889 book called "Notes on Abbreviations in Greek Manuscripts," Professor Allen discusses them and their abbreviations. I'll skip most of the details; let's get to what he says about AUTOS on p. 9:
> "AUTOS. A ligature for this pronoun worth recording occurs in some of the Grotta Ferrata mss. ; it consists of the A and U run together with the case-ending added : cf. AUTOS AUTOIS AUTHN hEAUTWN hWSAUTWS from Gr. Ferr. B. A. i. and Angel. B. 3. II. A similar combination of A and I occurs in AUTOU from Aed. Christ. 70 (a. 1104) and the ligature is probably common."
> In the 1901 issue of the Journal of Hellenic Studies (accessible at Archive), F. W. G. Foat has an article, "On Old Greek Tachygraphy," beginning on p. 238. Foat helpfully profiles the MSS of all sorts, from all ages, that contain special tachygraphic symbols, monograms, etc, from the major MSS down to ostraca. Foat included a Plate (#XVIII) of Brit. Mus. Add. MS 33270, a third-century wax tablet (about the size of a Kindle) that seems to contain about 14 pages of tachygraphical writing. On p. 259 of his article, as Foat attempted to use a feature in the wax tablet to decipher part of another text (in Brit. Mus. Pap. cxxi. 14, col. 27) -- the details are rather dizzying so let's skip them for now -- he wrote, "We have, as certainly belonging to the tachygraphy of this 3rd century, the small crossbar horizontally placed on an upright stem (in the familiar sense I think of AUT-), from forms common to the waxen-book, to this third-century papyrus, and to the scanty contents of the four Leipzig fragments, though not in the Rainer fragments. These [here a footnote shows the tachygraphical characters themselves] give the readings of AUTOUS, AUTON, AUTA or AUTO, and AUTOCHQON or some such word. But all these, like the last, are merely possible, for this may be an advanced stage of the system before us, and in dealing with such tachygraphy, a posteriori inferences, as we have seen, are almost worthless."
> Well, you must see where I'm going with these tidbits: maybe Luke used ambiguous tachygraphy in 2:22, perhaps meaning AUTHS but allowing readers to interpret it as AUTWN, AUTOU, or AUTHS. This conjecture accounts for all its rival variants and does not seem to raise any new interpretive issues.
> Yours in Christ,
> James Snapp, Jr.