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[textualcriticism] Matthew 8:28 - And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes,

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  • schmuel
    Hi Folks, Matthew 8:28 (AV) And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of
    Message 1 of 14 , Mar 2, 2012
      Hi Folks,

      Matthew 8:28 (AV)
      And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes,
      there met him two possessed with devils,
      coming out of the tombs,
      exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.

      Wieland Willker expounding on Theodor Zahn
      " Since the reading Gerasa is not found in the Greek tradition of Mt, it is probable that Mt did not read Gergeshnw/n originally."

      Here we have the famous evidence from silence expanded into the silence of a non-corruption, a very thin reed :) .

      So we are left with Gadarhnw/n for Mt. Josephus calls the area around Gadara (which is about 10 km from the lake) h` Gadari/tij (Bel. Jud. III 10,10), which belonged to the Dekapolis.

      This Gadarenes--Decapolis connection is very important. 
      Here is where Decapolis is mentioned, in Mark, not in Matthew. 

      Mark 5:20  (AV)
      And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

      With the Gergesenes region as Kursi, across from Tiberias, that is not a Decapolis region, as it is above Hippo. Thus, allowing that the Gospel writers were well informed, the Decapolis reference is one of many that supports the Received Text - Greek Majority text reading, Gadarenes, matching Decapolis, for Mark and Luke, Gergesenes for Mattthew.  (Putting aside the attempt to place Kursi with Samra.)

      So, the incident happened eivj th.n cw,ran tw/n Gadarhnw/n.
      But the mentioned village cannot be Gadara, which is too far away.

      Matthew 8:33
      And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city,
      and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils.

      Luke 8:27
      And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man,
      which had devils long time, and ware no clothes,
      neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.

      You can not read too much into this, as evidence for or against. The city could have been the few mile trek up the hills (walking distances was far more common in those days, as we see in the Bible) or there could have been a Gadarene port village on the lake, your other alternative.

      There must have been a village called Gergesa. Where was this village? Only in the area of es-Samra hills meet the lake. 

      There is an etymological difficulty here.
      If you claim Samra was somehow Gergesa, then it becomes the region of the Samra, not just a village.

      These are called tulul es-se'alib, "fox-hills". Several ruins can be found there, the highest point is 93 m above the lake. This is the argumentation/speculation of Zahn."

      This is a bit stale, as incomplete info, as the Kursi identification is more common today for Gergesenes, across from Tiberias. While I disagree with Franz on some elements, this is the basic factual info about Gergesa, he simply mentions the two possibilities. 

      Note that Franz does not talk of the region of Samra, or even a village, simply that the hill was called Samra at one good, southern (Gadarene) spot.

      The Demoniacs of Gadara
      Gordon Franz
      The text is clear that this event took place on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Two (maybe three) possible sites have been proposed for the setting of the casting of the demons into the swine. The first possibility, which is now a National Park, is the Byzantine Kursi church on the southern banks of the Wadi Samek. The other possibility is Tel Samra, situated under the campground of Kibbutz Ha´┐Żon.

      Now we switch to JW.

       Zahn  ...  does not consider "Gerasenes" as a possible transcription ancestor because of 1) so his only transcription candidate for "Gadarenes" is "Gergesenes".

      This is a reasonable point to make against the minority alexandrian reading of Gadarenes in the text of Matthew. Although, harmonization can often supply a missing possible vector of original inclusion. And you can not read too much into scribal mind-reading theories when there are overlapping elements, like the complex dual-language, lectio difficilior, geography knowledge, harmonization and word-similarity considerations.  You can always have a theory for A to Z.)

      Close, but so is "Gerasenes". And again, the transcription exercise is secondary as we have superior evidence (Sinaiticus and Patristic) that "Gerasenes" is the ancestor.

      This is basically the same type of error JW made earlier, the previous post.

      Gerasenes is exceedingly week in Matthew, Sinaiticus supports Gadarenes with correction to Gergesenes. Plus ECW support is weakest of all. So it is hard to fathom what JW is arguing here, perhaps that Gerasenes was the lost Greek "ancestor" of Gadarenes.  However, Gadarenes, if not original in Matthew (and I believe not) is easily explained by harmonization and geographical familiarity as derived from Gergesenes. Thus it does call out for any simplistic transcriptional vector, a concern which is grossly overrated in this verse study.

      Also, Gadarenes can be better explained as editing for a position closer to the Sea. 

      Except that Alexandrian scribes in gnostic lands are not known for familiarity with Israel geography.
      e.g. Sinaiticus talks of Nazareth, a city of Judea, a blunder that is generally hidden from view.

      3) He says "Gerasenes" is not in the Greek tradition of "Matthew" ....

      Which it clearly is not in the extant tradition.
      The discussion of Origen is limited by the simple fact that he does not discuss any particular books of the three synoptic Gospels.

      Steven Avery
      Queens, NY
    • Wieland Willker
      The manuscript evidence is divided and I consider the case impossible to judge from external evidence. But I agree that the evidence for Gerasa is strong in Mk
      Message 2 of 14 , Mar 3, 2012
        The manuscript evidence is divided and I consider the case
        impossible to judge from external evidence. But I agree that
        the evidence for Gerasa is strong in Mk and Lk.
        You asked: "Sinaticus' correction is unreMarkable to you?"
        Yes, since it is harmonistic. The corrector changed the
        reading in all Gospels to Gergesa.

        Origen seems to have Gerasa as the majority(?) reading, that
        is true, but he is assigning no specific Gospel to it.
        Eusebius is mentioning the names in his Onomastikon without
        assigning a Gospel. What does this help?
        Epiphanius is assigning the names to each Gospel and he has
        Gergesa for Mk and Lk and Gadara in Mt, which is in
        agreement with the analysis of Zahn.

        I don't mention Zahn, because he is an authority. He is, but
        this is not important. I think his argumentation is one
        possible, although tentative explanation. I am very
        unconfident that it is correct. It is basically possible of
        course that Mark (and Lk) wrote Gerasa originally. Note
        Origen! Then, the other names might be attempts to correct
        the geographical problem.

        I think that this is overall very difficult to judge. In the
        end I left the case as "indecisive".

        Best wishes
        Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
        Textcritical commentary:

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