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Matthew 24:35 and Codex Sinaiticus

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  • james_snapp_jr
    I m reading Carl Cosaert s The Text of the Gospels in Clement of Alexandria. It is a good mine of information. But the methodology -- both in the
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 9, 2011
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      I'm reading Carl Cosaert's "The Text of the Gospels in Clement of Alexandria." It is a good mine of information. But the methodology -- both in the quantitative analysis and in the group profile analysis -- seems problematic. I hope to chime in about all that sooner or later. (Problem #1: UBS4 and TR are employed as primary representatives of text-types.)

      But first, let's sort out Cosaert's treatment of Codex Sinaiticus' reading in Matthew 24:35 (or the lack thereof). In the group profile analysis, on page 258, as Cosaert is discussing the character of Clement's text of Matthew, he states that "Clement's strongest support is split equally between the Western and the Byzantine readings." This is because Clement has 7 of 12 primary Western readings, 7 of 12 Byz readings, six of 13 Primary Alexandrian readings, 2 of 7 Secondary Alexandrian readings, and 1 of 4 primary Caesarean readings. [The nomenclature's going to have to change. There must be a better way than to have "primary" and "Primary" mean two different things.]

      Let's consider the "Secondary Alexandrian" reading in Matthew 24:35. (I know that this is one of them, because Cosaert says in a footnote, "Clement preserves primary Secondary Alexandrian readings in Matt 23:8 and 24:35.")

      What is a "primary reading"? The definition, on p. 255, is somewhat malleable. Basically it is a reading shared by at least two group members (i.e., two selected text-type representatives) that have greater group support than non-group support (i.e., stronger support in one text-type than in other text-types).

      Why is the reading in Mt. 24:35 called a "primary Secondary Alexandrian" reading, instead of a "primary Primary Alexandrian" reading? The data on p. 110 tells us: although B and UBS4 both read "PARELEUSETAI," Aleph does not do so. And three selected representatives of the Secondary Alexandrian text -- L 33 892 -- also support PARELEUSETAI. The remaining Secondary Alexandrian representative, C, has a lacuna. So it would seem that this reading has been disqualified from being considered Primary Alexandrian on the grounds that Aleph omits; since the only witnesses used in Cosaert's apparatus to define the Primary Alexandrian text are Aleph, B, and UBS4, the result is that the Primary Alexandrian witnesses provide 66% support (2 out of 3) but the Secondary Alexandrian witnesses provide 75% support (3 out of 4). So one could say that support for this reading is concentrated in (those four) Secondary Alexandrian witnesses more than it is in (those three) Primary Alexandrian witnesses.

      But that would be misleading.

      Aleph does not just omit PARELEUSETAI. Aleph omits all of Mt. 24:35. See, the introduction of a cancel-sheet in Aleph has caused the accidental loss of 24:35. (This cancel-sheet is, according to Jongkind, the second sheet of quire 74.) The regular copyist finished 24:34 at the end of the last line of the last column, and then a replacement-page begins with 24:36. The person who made the cancel-sheet started the text one verse off. (A corrector has added the missing verse -- with PARELEUSETAI -- in the lower margin below 24:34; arrows point to where the passage belongs.)

      So it is due to an accident that Aleph does not read PARELEUSETAI; Aleph does not read 24:35 at all (except for the correction in the margin), but this is a quirk of the MS, not much different from a lacuna for purposes of analysis; it should not define the shape of the Primary Alexandrian Text. It seems obvious that PARELEUSETAI is a Primary Alexandrian reading which the Secondary Alexandrian witnesses inherited.

      When PARELEUSETAI is classified as a reading of the Primary Alexandrian Text (and why should any non-sigular reading supported by B ever be classified as "primary Secondary Alexandrian"??), the statistics change: since the Primary Alexandrian and Secondary Byzantine essentially share this reading, it is not a valid primary Secondary Alexandrian reading. If not for the quirk in Sinaiticus and the lacuna in C, it would very likely be shared by all select representatives of both groups. Instead of supporting two out of seven Secondary Alexandrian readings in Matthew, Clement really supports only one (in 23:8) out of six.

      But is that reference in 23:8 an actual case of Clement agreeing with the consensus of the select Secondary Alexandrian witnesses (i.e., with C, L, 33, and 892)? C has a lacuna. L supports KAQHGHTHS. 33 and 892 support DIDASKALOS. "(33)" is also listed alongside C, as if its reading is questionable, but the reading in 33 is quite legible (2270 at the VMR, 7th line from the bottom). So, why, although B and UBS4 support DIDASKALOS (= 66% of the select Primary Alexandrian witnesses -- Aleph* supports KAQHGHTHS) and only 33 and 892* support DIDASKALOS (= 66% of the non-lacunose select Secondary Alexandrian witnesses), is this reading categorized as a "primary Secondary Alexandrian" reading? If this reading is reclassified as Primary Alexandrian, Clement ends up supporting 0 out of 5 primary Secondary Alexandrian readings.

      So as far as the text of Matthew is concerned, Clement seems to support the Secondary Alexandrian text the least of all text-types; a recalibrated chart of the Inter-Group Relations of Clement's text of Matthew yields a total support-percentage of 0% for the Secondary Alexandrian group (compared with 50% for Byz), and the percentages in the third profile drop accordingly too. Simultaneously, when the reading in 23:8 is called what it is -- a Primary Alexandrian reading -- the agreement-rate between Clement's text of Matthew and the Primary Alexandrian text rises from 6 out of 13 to 7 out of 14, thus managing to tie with Byz in the first profile.

      In related news: Cosaert affirms, in a footnote on page 234, "Outside of Mark 10:17-31, there are only two places where Clement clearly refers to the text of Mark: one is a quotation from 8:38; the other is a distant allusion to 9:29. Something to keep in mind when considering the relevance of Metzger's often-echoed statement that Clement shows no knowledge of Mark 16:9-20. (Cosaert does note, in Appendix 2, the place in Adumbrationes where Clement might refer to Mk. 16:19 ~ he accounts for this by proposing that "While Clement has been citing Mark to this point, here he appears to follow the text of Luke.")

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.
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