Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Luke 24:13: Do You Know the Way to Emmaus?

Codex Sinaiticus (c. 350) (replica)
            How far was the village of Emmaus from the city of Jerusalem?  Sixty stadia (the equivalent of approximately 6.9 modern miles, reckoning one Roman stadium as 607 feet) or 160 stadia (the equivalent of approximately 18.4 modern miles)?
            Almost all existing Greek manuscripts of the Gospel of Luke, including Papyrus 75 and Codex Vaticanus, state in 24:13 that the distance was 60 stadia.  In Codex Sinaiticus, however, and some other manuscripts (including Codex Cyprius (017)), and in Armenian manuscripts and in the Palestinian Syriac version, the distance is said to be 160 stadia.    
            Let’s take a look at the evidence listed for each variant in the fourth edition of the UBS Greek New Testament:
            ἑξήκοντα (sixty):  P75 A B D L W Δ Ψ 070 f1 f13 28 33vid 157 180 205 565 579 597 700 892 1006 1010 1071 1241 1243 1292 1342 1424 1505 Byz [E F G H] Lect ita, aur, b, c, d, f, ff2, l vg syrc, s, p, h copsa, bo  eth slav Augustine
            ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα (160):  À Nvid Θ 079vid vgmss syrpal arm geo Jerome
            (There is also an entry for ἑπτά (seven), attested in ite (i.e., Codex Palatinus) but this very probably represents a copyist’s incomplete attempt to convert the measurement from 60 stadia to seven Roman miles; it is thus indirect support for ἑξήκοντα.)

            The second edition of the UBS GNT had a little more data:  Codex Π (041) and minuscule 1079* are listed as witnesses for ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα, and a corrector of 1079 is listed as a witness for ἑξήκοντα. 
Codex Cyprius (K) - ἑκατὸν has been erased.
Swanson confirms that Codex Π supports ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα. Codex K (Cyprius, 017) supports ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα, but someone has attempted to erase the word ἑκατὸν.  And in Codex N (022, one of the Purple Uncials, from the mid-500s), the word ἑκατὸν was written by the copyist, but its letters were crossed out and marked for deletion by a corrector.  (The apparatus should therefore list N for ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα and N2 (a corrector of the manuscript) for ἑξήκοντα.)  The little-known uncial 0211 is listed by Hikmat Kashouh in The Arabic Versions of the Gospels (Appendix, p. 495) as support for ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα, and so are minuscule 1604 and two important copies of the Harklean Syriac (Vat. Syr. 267 and Vat. Syr. 268).  Kashouh (if I understand his references correctly) also notes that Family B of the Arabic Gospels supports ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα.   The three Arabic manuscripts that constitute Family B are all part of the New Finds collection at St. Catherine’s Monastery:  Ar. N.F. Parch 8,28; Ar. N.F. Parch 24; Ar. N.F. Parch 44.  Ar. N. F. Parch 8,28 (two parts of what was once one codex) has been assigned to the 700s-800s.
Minuscule 114 - ἑκατὸν has been erased.
            Also, although 079 is assigned a “vid” qualification in the UBS4 apparatus (meaning that the editors are unsure whether it really has this reading), in Tischendorf’s transcript of the manuscript there seems to be no expression of doubt about it, and even if the script were unclear, space-considerations seem to require it. 
            And, in the apparatus on page 464 of Horner’s The Coptic Version of the New Testament in the Southern Dialect (Otherwise Called the Sahidic and Thebaic), Volume II:  The Gospel of Luke (1911), in addition to the uncials already mentioned, the author lists the Greek minuscules 158 175mg 223* 237* and 420* as support for ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα.  He also mentions that an Armenian copy refers to 150 stadia rather than 60 or 160.
Minuscule 265
Among the hundreds of Greek manuscripts that support ἑξήκοντα are Codex M, Codex S (in which a note in the margin says “milia h,” that is, eight miles.), Codex X, Codex Y, 5, 11, 22, 45, 72, 116, 137, 162, 178, 389, 645, 714, 716, 817, 11521186, 1187, 1200, 1216, 1263, 1318, 1358, 1364, 1691, 1780, 2099, 2121, 2123, 2304, 2322, 2612 (on page-view 473), 2615 (on page-view 373), 2757 (on page-view 413), 2812, and Lectionary 37 and  Lectionary 150 and Lectionary 300 (all confirmed by consultation of digital page-views). 
            Although minuscules 114 and 265 are not listed in the UBS apparatus, they both support ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα, and so does 1219*.  The Nestle-Aland (27th edition) apparatus also lists Lectionary 844 and Lectionary 2211 in favor of ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα.
            Papyrus 75’s testimony is unusual:  instead of writing ἑξήκοντα out in full, its scribe used the Greek numeral Ξ, overlined, to represent sixty.   
            The Palestinian Aramaic (represented by “Syrpal” in the apparatus) is constituted by the three manuscripts consulted by Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret Dunlop Gibson in their 1899 transcription; they note that in Luke 24:13, “All add ἑκατὸν καὶ before ἑξήκοντα.”  Colophons in these three manuscripts establish their production-dates in 1030 (for Aramaic MS A, at the Vatican Library), in 1104 (for Aramaic MS B), and in 1118 (for Aramaic MS C). 
Minuscule 1219
            The Gothic manuscript Codex Argenteus is not extant in the Gospel of Luke beyond 20:46.  However, the small Latin-Gothic fragment known as Codex Gissensis (destroyed in 1945, but photographed) may provide the grounds for a calculated guess that the Gothic version supports the reading ἑξήκοντα.  A reconstruction of the Gothic text of Codex Gissensis by Magnus Snaedel indicates that the line on which the number of stadia was written did not have room for the reading “one hundred and sixty stadia,” if the sum was written in full rather than represented with numerals.  
Minuscule 72, supporting the majority reading.
          This interesting textual contest is not mentioned in footnotes in the ESV, CSB, NASB, NIV, NKJV, NLT, or even the NET.  It was, however, mentioned in a footnote in the NRSV.  In 1881, this was one of the readings selected for special attention in Hort’s Notes on Select Readings.  All major English versions reflect the reading ἑξήκοντα.  
            Let’s take a few minutes to explore the context of this variant-unit.
            In Luke 24, the two travelers, after meeting their resurrected Lord on the road to Emmaus, make the journey back to Jerusalem to share the good news about the resurrection of Jesus with their fellow disciples.  If the distance was seven miles, the travelers could reach Jerusalem in an hour and 10 minutes, running at six miles per hour.  At a slower rate – four miles an hour – they would still reach Jerusalem in an hour and 45 minutes.
             What if the distance was 160 stadia – approximately 18.4 modern miles?  This would imply that the two travelers, having already walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus, would thus cover a total of 36.8 miles in a single day.)  Metzger considered this “too far for the travelers to have re-traversed that same evening.”  Plummer stated that “It is absurd to suppose that these two walked about 20 miles out, took their evening meal, walked 20 miles back, and arrived in time to find the disciples still gathered together and conversing.” 
            However, if both travelers were reasonably healthy, and they started the 18.4 mile trip back to Jerusalem at 6:00 – for before their meal began, one of them observed that “It is nearly evening and the day is far spent" (Luke 24:29b, MEV) – then at a steady pace of four and a half miles per hour, they would reach Jerusalem slightly after 10:00 p.m.  At a steady pace of four miles an hour, they would arrive in Jerusalem at about 10:40 p.m.  Such a feat might have been challenging, but it would be by no means incredible or miraculous or absurd. 

The Echternach Gospels
            As we look further into this contest, it might be helpful to have some background information about the city of Nicopolis, which is presently known as Amwas, about 18 miles west-by-northwest of Jerusalem (not to be confused with the Nicopolis in northwestern Greece, mentioned by Paul in Titus 3:12).  This was the site of an important battle that took place in the Maccabean revolt, and is mentioned in the apocryphal book of First Maccabees (3:40).   
            In 4 B.C., after the Roman army had to stop some violent riots following the death of Herod the Great, the Roman general Quintilius Varus burnt Nicopolis.  (This was, by the way, the same Quintilius Varus who led three Roman legions to a catastrophic defeat in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in A.D. 9.)  Over two centuries later, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Elagabalus (r. 218-222, followed by Severus Alexander (r. 222-235)), the emperor granted a request to rebuild the city.  The group of citizens making this request was led by a resident of Nicopolis named Julius Africanus. 
Codex Fuldensis (546)
Julius Africanus was a Christian author, and his activities were later summarized by Jerome in Lives of Illustrious Men, chapter 63:  “in the reign of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, whose reign followed that of Macrinus, he received a commission to restore the city of Emmaus, which afterwards was called Nicopolis.”  Julius Africanus’ work on the harmonization of the genealogies of Christ and his Chronography were thoroughly digested by later writers, and a fragment of his multi-volume Kestoi is preserved in a papyrus found at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt which must have been made very close to the composition-date of that work.  At some point, probably in the 230s, Julius Africanus corresponded with the controversial theologian Origen; earlier in the 200s they had both studied in Alexandria, Egypt; later Origen’s headquarters in Caesarea were not far from Nicopolis. 
The Lindisfarne Gospels
            Anyway:  following the efforts of Julius Africanus to revive the fortunes of Nicopolis, the city became popularly identified as the site of Emmaus.  The church at Nicopolis grew so much that by the 300s, the congregation at Nicopolis was worthy of having its bishop, named Peter, attend the Council of Nicea.  When Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, wrote his Onomasticon – a sort of dictionary of the names of various locations, explaining their meanings and background (something like the Dindshenchas) – he wrote the following entry for Nicomedia:
            “Emmaous:  home of Cleopas who is mentioned in the Gospel of Luke.  It is now Nicopolis, a famous city of Palestine.”
            About a century later, the scholar Jerome mentioned Emmaus, in Epistle 108, To Eustochium, as he described the sites visited by Paula during her pilgrimage in the Holy Land:  after visiting Joppa, “Again resuming her journey, she came to Nicopolis, once called Emmaus, where the Lord became known in the breaking of bread, an action by which He dedicated the house of Cleopas as a church.”  Jerome had read Eusebius’ Onomasticon, and had translated it into Latin, so it is not surprising that he, too, identified Nicopolis as Emmaus.

           Yet, in 383, when Jerome translated the Vulgate Gospels, he retained the reference to sixty stadia rather than 160 in Luke 24:13.  Or did he?  The textual apparatus for the UBS Greek New Testament lists the Vulgate as a witness for the reading “sixty stadia,” but “Vulgate manuscripts” are also listed as support for the reading “160 stadia.”  The manuscripts referred to are no trivialities; they include
            Codex Fuldensis (produced in 546) (cf. 174r.)
            The Lindisfarne Gospels (early 700s) and
            The Echternach Gospels (800s).
            Considering that no Old Latin manuscripts support “160,” it is rather tempting to conclude that the Vulgate initially read “160” in Luke 24:13.  The Book of Birr, however, supports “sixty,” written as LX.  The Wigbald Gospels (Barb. Lat 570 at the Vatican Library) supports “sixty.”  VL 12, also known as Codex Claromontanus (the other Claromontanus, that is, Vat. Lat. 7223) reads sexaginta.  So do Vat. Lat 43, Regin. Lat. 4 at the Vatican Library, Pal. Lat. 47 at the Vatican Library (as “LX”), Lat. 262 at the National Library of France (as “LX”), Harley MS 1775 at the British Library (as “‧LX‧”), Codex Aureus (BSB Clm 14000), Cotton MS Tiberius A II at the British Library, MS 286 at Corpus Christi College, and Codex Guelf. 61 Weiss.  However, Dombibl. 13 at Köln, Germany supports centum sexaginta, although the word centum has been partially erased.

            Eusebius and Jerome both accepted the idea that Emmaus and Nicopolis were the same place.  Possibly they inherited that idea from an earlier writer, namely Origen, who assumed that the site of the Maccabean Battle of Emmaus was the same place mentioned in Luke 24:13.  This is suggested by a note that appears in the margin of minuscule 34.               
Minuscule 34
            The text of Luke 24:13 in minuscule 34 is not exceptional; once the contraction of the word “Jerusalem” is taken into account, it reads exactly like the text of the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform.  In the far left margin, though, there is a neatly written note, clearly connected to Luke 24:13 by means of a mark that appears both beside the note and about the word σταδιους in the text.  (The mark resembles an umlaut with a small jagged line below it.)  This note runs as follows:
            ἑκατὸν ἑξη
            κοντα λεκτε[ον]
            ουτω γαρ τα α
            κριβη περι εχου
            κ[αι] η τῆς Ωρ. αληθ                           
            βεβαιωσις : – 
The “Ωρ.” is written with a lighter touch than the rest of the text.  (The same abbreviation appears at various places in the margin of Codex Vaticanus.)
            The note means, “One hundred and sixty:  for this reading is in the accurate [copies] and Origen truly (figuring that “αληθ” is a contraction for αληθειας) confirms it” (or, “Origen confirms that it is true”).  A similar note appears in minuscule 194 (on fol. 188v). 

            Thus the evidence for the reading “160 stadia” not only goes back to Sinaiticus in the mid-300s, and to Eusebius in the early 300s, but – assuming that the author of the note in minuscules 34 and 194 was not confused about the source of the statement about the reading “160 stadia” – goes back to Origen in the first half of the 200s. 
It would not be difficult at all for an interpreter such as Origen, once he was convinced that Nicopolis and Emmaus were the same location, even if he possessed exemplars that read “sixty stadia,” to leap to the conclusion that an earlier copyist had accidentally skipped over the word ἑκατὸν, and thus created the reading “sixty stadia.”  In Greek, such an error can be made due to homoioarcton (in this case, two words – κατὸν ξήκοντα – begin with the same letter); in Latin it is possible due to homoioteleuton (in this case, two words – stadiorum centum – end with the same two letters).
Some additional data comes to us from the writers Hesychius of Jerusalem, Cyril of Alexandria, Sozomen, Philip of Side, Theodosius the Archbishop, and Abba Gelasios; their testimony can be found at the meticulously researched website .   They all equate Nicopolis and Emmaus as one and the same place. 
Hesychius, in particular, seems to take for granted that it was a long way from Emmaus to Jerusalem, telling his readers that they should not be surprised that the two travelers managed to go from Jerusalem to Emmaus and then from Emmaus to Jerusalem, on the grounds that the statement that it was “toward evening” can mean (he says) that it was just one o’clock in the afternoon.  Since Hesychius resided in Jerusalem it can probably be safely assumed that he regarded Nicopolis and Emmaus as the same place – and this is why he made this additional point. 
Cyril of Alexandria, in the course of commenting on Luke 24:33, apparently felt obligated to circumvent the natural flow of the text, positing a chronological gap between the first and second halves of the verse:  “It was not at this hour that they found the eleven gathered, and that they gave them the news about the Lord Jesus, but this took place on the fortieth day after His resurrection, on which day He was taken up.”  This creative interpretation removes the need for speed on the part of the two travelers in order for them to reach Jerusalem while the main group of disciples was still gathered together.
            A comment with similar wording is recorded in Cramer’s Catena, Volume 2, on page 172, runs as follows, attached to the words “Having risen at the same hour, they returned to Jerusalem” in Luke 24:33.  It says:  “That is to say, that at the very hour that their Lord, Jesus, made Himself invisible to their eyes, they returned, not seeing Him any longer.  It was not at this hour that they found the Eleven gathered, and that they gave them the news about the Lord Jesus, but this was after a few hours, after the hours necessary for someone walking to cover the distance of 60 (or in one manuscript, 160 [at this point Cramer has ἑξήκοντα in the main text, but in a note, ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα Cod.] stadia, as all the while the Master also appeared to Simon.”    
            Although the wording of this comment is similar to Cyril’s, the idea being proposed is entirely different.  If the comment does not belong to Cyril then at least it demonstrates someone’s awareness of the “160 stadia” reading.  

Codex Bezae
Alongside all that, there is the unusual testimony of Codex Bezae to consider.  The Western text of Luke 24 is very different from other forms, mainly by its non-inclusion of several phrases and verses, such as verse 12.  Codex D includes verse 13, and refers to sixty stadia as the distance between Jerusalem and the village, but instead of naming the village Emmaus, its name, in this particular manuscript, is Oulammaous.  (Notice the verbal connection:  oul-ammaous.)
This probably represents a copyist’s guess that Emmaus was located at what is identified more commonly as Bethel.  In the Septuagint, Genesis 28:19 refers to “Oulammlous” instead of referring to Luz.  It has been suggested that this location was brought to mind because of a sort of vague correspondence between the state of mind expressed by Jacob in chapter 28 of Genesis, and the experience of the two travelers who talked unknowingly with Jesus:  “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”  Geographically, Bethel/Luz is 12 miles north of Jerusalem, too far to be 60 stadia from Jerusalem and not far enough to be 160 stadia away – but a scribe who was unaware of the geography involved could guess, based on the similarity between Emmaus and Oulammaous and Eulammaus (the name in the Latin text of Luke 24:12 in Codex D), that they were the same place.    
(Somewhere along the line, either someone miswrote Oulammaous instead of Oulammlous – writing an alpha (A) where the similar-looking lambda (Λ) belongs – or else the extant Greek copies of Genesis 28:29 have the mistake, and their lambda ought to be an alpha.  In the second century, at the end of chapter 58 of Dialogue With Trypho, as Justin Martyr quotes Genesis 28:16-19, he concludes, “And Jacob called the name of the place The House of God [i.e., Bethel], and the name of the city formerly was Ulammaus.”)
The reading ἑξήκοντα is supported by a wide array of witnesses in the early Alexandrian Text (such as P75, B, L, and 892), the Byzantine Text (Codex A and many others), the Western Text (D and the Old Latin), and the Caesarean Text (f1).  Yet the testimony for ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα also appears diverse at first glance:  Sinaiticus’ text of Luke is essentially Alexandrian; N, K, and Π are mainly Byzantine; Θ and the earliest strata of the Armenian and Georgian versions are Caesarean.     
How does one account for this?

Codex Alexandrinus, New Testament fol. 41r
Here is how:  The disciple named Cleopas (identified by Hegesippus as a brother of Joseph; Epiphanius says the same thing) had a house in Nicopolis, but Emmaus – perhaps the site known today as El-Qubeibeh or another site at Abu Ghosh – was only a stop on the way there.  The two travelers’ plan had been to travel to Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and stay overnight before continuing on to Nicopolis the next day, before Jesus appeared to them. 
After the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-136), a tradition survived to the effect that Cleopas had resided in Nicopolis.  His house was still there.  In the early 200s, Julius Africanus was among those who assumed that Cleopas’ house was one and the same as the place where Jesus blessed the bread with Cleopas and his fellow-traveler.  This led to another assumption, specifically, that scribes had miscopied the number of stadia between Jerusalem and Emmaus in Luke 24:13, by skipping the first letter of ἑκατὸν and jumping to the first letter of ἑξήκοντα. 
It was not easy for Christians who were aware of the existence of Cleopas’ house in Nicopolis to defend the reading ἑξήκοντα, inasmuch as when one assumes that Emmaus and Nicopolis are the same place, ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα fits the geography much better.  For this reason, we see support for ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα in compositions by persons who lived in or near Jerusalem and Nicopolis (and in compositions by other persons familiar with those earlier compositions) – writers who would have the opportunity to see Cleopas’ house in Nicopolis.  Because they assumed that Nicopolis was Emmaus, it seemed to them that the distance recorded by Luke had to be 160 stadia.
To sum up:  in the witnesses for ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα, we see the influence of an awareness that Cleopas’ house was in Nicopolis.  This awareness had elicited the assumption (promoted in the first half of the 200s by Julius Africanus, and by Origen, who also advocated readings in Matthew 8:28 (and parallels) and John 1:28 that cleared up puzzling geographic questions) that Emmaus and Nicopolis were the same place.  Most copyists were content to mechanically copy their exemplars, but it would be difficult for copyists who had visited Jerusalem and Nicopolis, or who had read, from a respected author, that Nicopolis was Emmaus and that it was one hundred and sixty stadia away from Jerusalem, to produce manuscripts that said that Emmaus was only sixty stadia from Jerusalem. 
The scribes of Codex Sinaiticus, very probably working in Caesarea in the mid-300s, almost certainly knew Eusebius’ Onomasticon and its reference to Emmaus as Nicopolis.  In light of the marginal note in minuscules 34 and 194, it seems likely that Eusebius perpetuated rather than originated a conjecture that ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα must be the true reading – after all, there were 160 stadia between Jerusalem and Cleopas’ house in Nicopolis, not just 60. 
The reading ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα should be considered a tremor of textual instability with Eusebius’ Onomasticon (echoing Origen’s reasonable but incorrect assumption) at its epicenter.  Copyists who encountered Eusebius’ claim to the effect that Emmaus and Nicopolis were the same place – or the same claim in the writings of Jerome, Sozomen, et al – would likely be tempted to alter the text of Luke 24:13 so as to make it match up with what they thought was a geographical fact.  Most copyists, however, if they ever felt such a temptation, successfully resisted it, content to simply reproduce the text of the exemplar that was given to them.  

[Readers are encouraged to explore the links embedded in this post for additional resources.]

The Modern English Version (MEV) is Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved. 

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Mark 6:22 - Whose Daughter Danced?

             The first phrase in Mark 6:22 says different things depending on which version is read:  
Mark 6:22 (NET):  “When his daughter Herodias34 came in and danced . . .”
Mark 6:22 (NRSV):  “When his daughter Herodiasq came in and danced . . .”
Mark 6:22 (NIV):  “When the daughter ofa Herodias came in and danced . . .”
Mark 6:22 (CSB®):  “When Herodias’ own daughterp came in and danced . . .”
Mark 6:22 (ESV):  “For when Herodias’ daughter came in and danced . . .”
Mark 6:22 (KJV):  “And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced . . .”

Whose daughter danced for Herod?  Was it his own daughter, or the daughter of Herodias?  The first-century historian Josephus reports (in Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18)) that Herodias’ daughter was named Salome and that she was Herod’s grand-niece, not his daughter.  Matthew 14:6 affirms that she was Herodias’ daughter. 
          Not only was the dancer not Herod’s physical daughter; she was not Herod’s daughter under Mosaic Law, either:  her mother Herodias, after marrying Herod II (the son of Herod the Great and Mariamne II), had divorced him, and – against Jewish Law – married his brother, Herod Antipas.  As Josephus stated:  “Herodias took it upon herself to confound the laws of our country, and divorced herself from her husband while he was alive, and was married to Herod Antipas.”  It was because of this violation of Jewish law that John the Baptist, according to Matthew 14:3-4 and Mark 6:17-18, had spoken out against the unlawful marriage – with the result that Herod Antipas had John the Baptist imprisoned.

           With that background in mind, we come to the textual problem.  As the superscripted numbers and letters in the NET, NRSV, NIV, and CSB suggest, the difference in these translations’ rendering of Mark 6:22 is due to a difference in manuscripts.  The footnotes in the NRSV, the NIV, and CSB are (as usual) too vague to do much more than confuse their readers.  
            Quite a bit more data is found in the NET’s textual note, in which the annotator explains that the NET’s editors chose to have their translation say that the dancer was Herod’s daughter despite the “historical difficulties” that it involves.  Or to put it another way:  even though Matthew says that Herodias was the dancer’s mother, the NET’s editors chose to adopt the reading in which Mark says otherwise, because it is the most difficult reading – difficult, because it is erroneous – and thus the reading which copyists were most likely to alter.
          (By the way:  what are the odds that the similarity between Metzger’s references to “historical and contextual difficulties” and “external attestation” in his comment on this variant-unit, and the NET annotator’s references to “historical difficulties” and “external attestation,” rather than being sheer coincidence, is the result of the NET’s annotator attempting to summarize Metzger’s comments?  Rather high I think.)

          Let’s take a look at the rival variants that are found in Mark 6:22:

● τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτου Ἡρῳδιάδος – “his daughter Herodias” – is supported by À B D L Δ 238 and 565. 

● τῆς θυγατρὸς τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος – “the daughter of Herodias” – is supported by family 1, 15 minuscules, and by four Old Latin manuscripts (aur, b, c, and f – that is, VL 15 (Codex Aureus Holmiensis, copied c. 775), VL 4 (Codex Veronensis, copied at the end of the 400s), VL 6 (Codex Colbertinus, copied in the 1100s), and VL 10 (Codex Brixianus, copied in the 500s)).  Allied with them, according to the textual apparatus in the fourth edition of the UBS Greek New Testament, are the Sinaitic Syriac manuscript, the Peshitta, the Palestinian Aramaic version, the Sahidic version, the Bohairic version, the Gothic version, the Armenian version, the Old Georgian version, and the Ethiopic version.    

● τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος – “the daughter of Herodias herself” or “the daughter of this same Herodias” – is supported by about 99% of the Greek manuscripts of Mark, including Codices A C K M N U Γ Θ Π fam-13, 33, 157, 579, 700, 892, 1010, 1195, 1241, 1424, and 2474.  Allied with this mainly (but by no means exclusively) Byzantine army of witnesses are the Harklean Syriac (produced in 616), the Vulgate (produced in 383), and Old Latin manuscripts a, d, ff2, i, l, q, and r1 – that is, VL 3 (Codex Vercellensis, copied in the late 300s), VL 5 (the Latin section of Codex Bezae, copied in the 400s or 500s), VL 8 (Codex Corbeiensis Secundus, copied in the 400s), VL 17 (Codex Vindobonensis, copied in the late 400s), VL 11 (Codex Rehdigeranus, copied in the early 700s),  Codex Monacensis, copied in the 500s or 600s), and VL 14 (Codex Usserianus Primus, copied c. 600). 

● τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος – “her daughter Herodias” – is supported by Codex W and a smattering of minuscules. 

The Byzantine reading, supported by a very wide
array of evidence, including hundreds of Greek MSS.
It should be noted that the second reading (“the daughter of Herodias”) and the third reading (“the daughter of Herodias herself”) mean basically the same thing.  Both refer to the dancer as the daughter of Herodias.  Only the first reading says that the dancer was the daughter of Herod – a claim that appears to contradict both Matthew 14:6 and Josephus’ statements.  In other words, by adopting this reading, the Nestle-Aland/UBS editors appear to have placed an erroneous statement into the text.
Why, then, did the editors of the current edition of the Nestle-Aland compilation adopt a reading which makes Mark appear to contradict his fellow-evangelist Matthew and the historical data from Josephus?  Because textual critics tend to accept the principle that the more difficult a reading is, the more likely it is to be original – which means in this case that the first reading is more likely to be original because it is the variant that copyists would be most likely to attempt to adjust.   That, at least, was the reasoning at the conclusion of the NET’s defense of the reading:  “It most likely gave rise to the other readings as scribes sought to correct it.”   (So much for the annotator’s “embarrassment of riches,” when he declares that at this point in the text, 99.9% of the coins in the treasury are most likely counterfeit!)
The "his daughter" variant in Codex 037.
Neverthless, Metzger, instead of promoting the reading with αὐτου on internal grounds, stated that the UBS Committee narrowly decided in its favor due to the external evidence, stating in his Textual Commentary, “A majority of the Committee decided, somewhat reluctantly, that the reading with αὐτου [i.e., the first reading], despite the historical and contextual difficulties, must be adopted on the strength of its external attestation.”  This illustrates that “reasoned eclectic” approach of the UBS editors is, to a very large extent, eclectic in name only, favoring the joint testimony of a very small team of manuscripts over virtually everything else.    
The Tyndale House edition of the Greek New Testament, however, reads τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος (“the daughter of Herodias herself”), and its apparatus does not even include an entry to alert readers of the existence that a textual contest exists at this point.  Many other compilations of the Greek New Testament agree with the reading in the Tyndale House edition at this point, including not only the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform, but also the Greek New Testament compilations prepared by J. M. A. Scholz (1829), by Karl Lachmann (1831), by J. M. S. Baljon (1898), by Eberhard Nestle (1904), by Alexander Souter (1910), and the 1969 edition of the Nestle-Aland compilation.
In addition, when we compare the four rival readings side-by-side –

            ● τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτου Ἡρῳδιάδος
            ● τῆς θυγατρὸς τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος
            ● τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος
            ● τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος

– it becomes clear that the second and fourth readings can be explained as the effects of momentary carelessness on the part of copyists whose exemplars contained the third reading:  the second reading was produced by a copyist who accidentally omitted αὐτῆς when his line of sight drifted from the ς at the end of θυγατρὸς, and the fourth reading was produced by a copyist who accidentally omitted τῆς when his line of sight drifted from the ς at the end of αὐτῆς to the ς at the end of τῆς.  Thus all of the witnesses for the second, third, and fourth reading may be considered allies which favor τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος, directly or indirectly.
Yet the NET’s annotator claims that this is not adequate external support.  Whatever approach is reflected by such claims, it is not really eclecticism.

Some clarity about the reliability of the main witnesses for the reading with αὐτου (“his”) in 6:22 may be gained by considering some of their readings in nearby passages. 
■ In 6:17, the copyist of Codex Vaticanus did not include the words τὴν γυναῖκα (the words are added in the margin by a corrector). 
■ In 6:22b, À B C* L Δ and 33 and a smattering of minuscules read ἤρεσεν instead of καὶ ἀρεσάσης which is supported by all other Greek manuscripts.  The editors of the Nestle-Aland/UBS compilation preferred the Alexandrian reading here – and in doing so, they rejected the testimony of Papyrus 45, the earliest manuscript of this part of the Gospel of Mark.  Although P45 is extensively damaged in chapter 6, this reading is preserved.  This constitutes an agreement between the Byzantine Text and the earliest manuscript of this part of Mark.    
■ In 6:22c, the words in the opening phrase are transposed and slightly different in Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, C* L and Δ – ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς εἶπεν – instead of the usual εἶπεν ὁ βασιλεὺς.  These manuscripts disagree with the word-order in the earliest manuscript, Papyrus 45, in which ν [the final surviving letter of εἶπεν] ὁ Ἡρώδης was written before Ἡρώδης was corrected (above the line) to βασιλεὺς.        
          In all three of these variant-units, the SBL-GNT, compiled by Michael Holmes, supports the Byzantine reading.  So does the Tyndale House GNT.  The SBLGNT also reads τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος (the daughter of Herodias herself).   Clearly not everyone is convinced that the Alexandrian witnesses are especially reliable in this particular passage.
          Having established that the support for τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτου Ἡρῳδιάδος is extremely limited, and that the supportive manuscripts seem to be less reliable than usual elsewhere in the verse, let’s turn to a couple of issued concerning the internal evidence. 
First, how would copyists start with τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος and end up with τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτου Ἡρῳδιάδος?  Such a transition is not difficult if an early copyist had an exemplar with the reading found in Codex W (τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος), and, with Herod prominent in his mind as the focus of the previous verse, inattentively wrote αὐτου instead of αὐτῆς.  The few subsequent copyists who preserved the resultant reading τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτου Ἡρῳδιάδος rationalized that Mark must have used the term “daughter” to refer to a step-daughter, and that the dancer, like several members of Herod’s extended family, shared a name with another family-member. 
Second, is it plausible that Mark wrote τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτου Ἡρῳδιάδος?  The answer is firmly no.  Introducing the dancer as Herod’s daughter, fully aware that she was Herodias’ daughter (as Mark affirms in 6:24), immediately after explaining that Herod’s marriage to Herodias was not valid, would be like saying that a man and a woman were committing adultery, and then saying that the woman’s daughter was nevertheless the daughter of the adulterer – and that she happened to have the same name as the adulteress.  It is extremely unlikely that Mark would ever drop such a statement upon his readers without explanation; it is much more likely that an early copyist made a simple mistake, which a small number of disciplined copyists perpetuated.
Third, how would copyists be likely to adjust the text if they found τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτου Ἡρῳδιάδος in their exemplars and considered such a statement (that the dancer was Herod’s daughter, and that she was named Herodias) historically erroneous?  Their first resort would be to conform the Markan text to the parallel-passage in Matthew 14:6 – but such a conformation to ἡ θυγάτηρ τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος does not seem to have been attempted by any copyists.  The only obvious scribal recklessness in Matthew 14:6 is displayed in Codex Bezae, where the text reads αὐτου (“his”) instead of τῆς, and Ἡρῳδιὰς instead of Ἡρῳδιάδος. 
          These three considerations in unison attest that the Byzantine reading at this point in Mark 6:22 is original, and that the Alexandrian reading is a mistake, albeit not quite so nonsensical that every copyist would recognize it as such.  (It might be worth mentioning the possibility, however speculative, that in an ancient exemplar, αὐτου was omitted from verse 21 after μεγιστᾶσιν (an omission attested by Codex Bezae and by MSS 1 and 1582), and after the missing word was supplied in the margin nearby, it was misinterpreted as if it was intended to replace the similar word in verse 22 rather than supplement verse 21.)            

Presently, readers of the CSB and NIV only encounter the English echo of a scribal mistake in Mark 6:22 in their Bible’s footnotes, and ESV-readers do not encounter it at all.  But as long as these three versions are subject to constant revision, there is a very real possibility that in a future edition of the ESV or CSB or NIV, the English text of Mark 6:22 may be changed to resemble the errant text found in the NET and NRSV, corresponding to the errant text in the Nestle-Aland compilation.                                                    

Quotations designated NET are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2016 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Quotations designated NIV are from the NIV New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®  Used by permission of Zondervan.  All rights reserved worldwide. 

Quotations designated NRSV are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Quotations designated ESV are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Quotations designated CSB® are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Video: Mark 16:9-20 and the Parrot Problem

It’s not easy to make a high-quality slide-show video!  So, after several attempts, I settled for a low-quality, adequate slide-show video with music and birds.
            In three minutes, Mark 16:9-20 and the Parrot Problem explains some ways in which some commentators misrepresent the external evidence about to Mark 16:9-20. 
            You can view it on YouTube at .

Friday, July 13, 2018

What Darkened Sinaiticus?

Last year, I wrote a three-part series of posts refuting a conspiracy-claim to the effect that the famous Codex Sinaiticus is a forgery made in the 1800s.  Alas, the conspiracy theorists – particularly David W. Daniels of Chick Publications, assisted by Steven Avery – have continued to promote their theory that a man named Constantine Simonides produced the manuscript in his youth. 
Lately their website has focused on a particular question about the difference between the photographs of the portion of Codex Sinaiticus that is housed at the University of Leipzig and the portions that are housed elsewhere (mainly at the British Library, and at Saint Catherine’s Monastery):  “Why,” they ask, “are the CFA pages in Leipzig University Library white, while the remainder of the pages, described in 1845 as “white”, are stained and yellowed with age?” – the insinuation being that Constantine Tischendorf (who took most of the manuscript from Saint Catherine’s monastery during visits to Saint Catherine’s monastery in 1844 and 1859) artificially colored the second batch of pages, in an attempt to make them look ancient.  “Sinaiticus is clearly a fake,” Daniels states about Codex Sinaiticus in his book, Is the World’s Oldest Bible a Fake?, and “It is not an ancient manuscript at all.”  
The real Bible, Daniels affirms, is the King James Bible.  Much of his book has nothing to do with Codex Sinaiticus and is a presentation of KJV-Onlyist propaganda, which I shall not address here.  Instead, I shall consider today a question which Daniels raised repeatedly:  why are the pages from the first collection of pages that Tischendorf obtained in 1844 (the “Codex Frederico-Augustanus” pages housed at the University of Leipzig, in Germany) lighter in color than the rest of the pages?
Jacob W. Peterson, with a book-cradle
for manuscript photography.
            This issue about the color of the parchment seems to have been a sort of spark to Daniels’ investigations.  In his book, he describes an experience he had:  “I prayed and asked God, ‘What question should I ask?” And I heard “What color is it?”  And that was the beginning of all that you are about to read.  Please, check the facts all you want.”
            Okay.  Let’s check the facts.  To test Daniels’ claim that “someone darkened Sinaiticus,” I’ve consulted Jacob W. Peterson, a photography-specialist at the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts who has worked with almost 500 New Testament manuscripts and prepared thousands of photographs of manuscripts for CSNTM.  Here’s the conversation we had about the differences in the photographs of the different portions of Codex Sinaiticus:

Q:  Jacob, the photographs of the pages of Codex Sinaiticus at Leipzig clearly have a lighter tone than the photographs of the pages of Codex Sinaiticus at the British Library.  How do you account for this?

Peterson:  There are two explanations for what is going on here between the parts of the manuscript in the two collections and their online presentation. As that sentence hints at, these differences are part actual and part visual effect. As to the actual difference, there are undoubtedly differences in the storage conditions of these two sections of the manuscripts that likely led to some of the color difference.
For instance, you can look at other portions of the Codex Sinaiticus that are currently housed at St. Catherine’s that share the same color qualities of the London leaves.  They are just as dark, if not slightly darker.  It should be obvious that the manner in which a manuscript is stored can, and does, have an effect on its color and condition. The visual effect on the images is immediately recognizable for anyone who has worked in digital reproduction and with manuscripts in particular.
We’ll get into some of the finer details in a bit, but as an introduction, the color balance for the images appears to be off and my suspicion is that the lighting in the room had adverse effects on the resulting images. What this means is that the photographs of the Leipzig portion are not entirely accurate representations of the real leaves. Storage has definitely played a role.  I’m not saying that the leaves are actually dirty brown, but rather that the leaves are not greyish-white.
Same page.  Different lighting.
Q:  Here you have supplied, as an example of the effect of subtle environmental factors, two photographs of the same manuscript page. One image looks darker than the other. Did you apply lemon juice or tea to the manuscript-page before you took the second photo, or is there some other explanation?

Peterson:  Haha, no. This is a great example of how digital photography is not as simple as pointing a camera at an object, pressing a button, and out pops a perfect reproduction of the object. These images were taken about 15 minutes apart. If I remember the day correctly, we had just bought new cameras and were trying them out. We were working in a room with yellowish walls and the color would not come out correctly no matter how hard we tried. We moved the manuscript over to another room, where the walls were white, and the image was much better. So we brought the manuscript back to the main room, turned off the overhead lights, and only used the lights on our digitization stand. The correctly colored image on the left was the result. The implication is that the overhead lights were causing enough reflection off the walls to affect the color-tones in the photograph. When possible, we now use only the lighting attached to our equipment, which is designed to emit both warm and cool tones to provide as neutral lighting as possible.

Q:  When you compared the colors of the photographs of different parts of Codex Sinaiticus, what did you observe, and what does that imply about the environments in which the photographs were taken?

Peterson:  The portion of the manuscript housed in London features the typical slight variations one would expect in a manuscript. Some pages are slightly lighter, and some are darker. This is due to which side of the parchment you’re looking at (hair or flesh) and several other factors, like different kinds of animals used as sources of parchment.
The leaves at Leipzig, on the other hand, are a consistent off-white, which I would describe as having a cool-grey tone. There are a couple of problems with this:  (1) Leaves should have a little more variation than we see here due to the factors just mentioned, and (2) Manuscripts typically don’t have a cool-grey tone. Most manuscripts I’ve seen shade toward warm-yellow tones since this is more or less the default starting tone for parchment. If I were of the conspiracy mindset and knew that the images were accurate, I would actually be more inclined to think the Leipzig leaves were bleached to make them look newer. The situation would be comparable to the guys who polish the patina off of old guns to make them appear to be in better condition, but in doing so ruin their value. But I digress.

Q:  When you compare the color-charts that accompany the pages at Leipzig to the color-charts that accompany the pages at London, do you notice any difference?

Peterson:  There are immediately recognizable differences. The color chart in the London images is visually much closer to what I would expect. The color variations between the patches are clear and sharp. There’s no mistaking the magenta for a slightly different red. Similarly, the gradient of the greyscale proceeds nicely and evenly with differences between the sections noticeable at every point.
The Leipzig color charts unfortunately have some problems. The magenta and the purple patches are clearly not correct. At times the magenta is barely distinguishable from the red and the purple almost looks black. The grey and black patches are also barely distinguishable. Similarly, the greyscale portion of the chart has barely distinguishable sections on the black end and the middle grey color ends up being in the upper third of the chart rather than in the middle. To these color differences can also be added the background color for the images. I do not know for certain that they used the same board or material, but it looks that way and would be a sensible protocol. Yet, the background color does not match in the images across locations.

Q:  Does this mean that someone has been darkening the color-charts, along with the parchment, using lemon-juice or some special chemical agent?

Peterson:  Definitely not.

Q:  What, then, does it mean?

Peterson:  There are perfectly normal explanations for everything involved. Again, I think the storage conditions make up a significant portion of the differences, but the imaging has really altered our perception of the manuscript’s color.  At the NT Textual Criticism discussion-group on Facebook, I offered the possible explanation that the Leipzig portion was photographed under particularly cool lights (in the 6500K range). This would have given everything a cool-grey appearance so that what the photographers were seeing in the images was accurate to what they were seeing with their eyes. It would be like the difference between seeing things by the light of old yellow-tinted headlights versus new blue-tinted halogen headlights. The tone of the light you are using drastically influences your perception of the objects you’re looking at.
In such a scenario, the Leipzig crew did nothing blameworthy, and unfortunately their photographs were negatively affected by the lights of the room they were given to work in. Photographing manuscripts is not an easy task and there are so many variables, often out of your control, that can really affect the end product. My job is to critique photographs of manuscripts and you can ask teams working under me how much of a stickler I can be about getting things right. We have a shooting standard called “practical perfection” because we know that perfection is unattainable and sometimes there’s just nothing you can do or the equipment just won’t adjust quite right. At the end of the day, the Sinaiticus images are perfectly usable and I’d never advocate for re-imaging them because the minimal returns that would result would not be worth the risk of damaging the manuscript.

Q:  So, which possibility seems more likely to you: that Constantine Tischendorf deliberately darkened 347 pages of parchment, or that the photographs taken of the pages at Leipzig were taken under conditions that caused the parchment to look lighter than it actually is?

Peterson:  I definitely think the Leipzig leaves are artificially lighter in the images than in reality.  I made a technical measurement of the lightness value of the white square in the color target in one of the images at Leipzig, and it was 99, which is impossible given the type of target used and in comparison to the 95 value seen in the images at London.  This means that the image from Leipzig is washed out.  At minimum, it has what is technically called a Δ4 change.

Q:  Could you explain in a little more detail what is wrong with the approach being used by David Daniels?

Peterson:  The individuals who are claiming that Sinaiticus is a forgery are focusing on the HCL color values that were assigned to the images.  There is, no doubt, some objectivity and subjectivity to the process of assigning HCL color values when this is done without a spectrometer and averaging software.  Nevertheless, they provide a much better picture of the real color since they were done with the actual manuscript at hand. The conspiracy theorists have said the following about the color of the pages at Leipzig: 
“The colour of the CFA pages housed in Leipzig are consistently characterized by the CSP as S 1005-Y20R, while the leaves housed at the British Library are more variable.  They tend toward a NCS number of S 1010-Y or S1010-Y10R but vary all the way from S 1005-Y20R to S 1515-Y10R.”
They then offer this image [shown to right] as a sample of these NCS values.  You would have to be imbibing severe amounts of alcohol to think three of those colors even remotely describe Codex Sinaiticus. The GitHub generator they’ve used to convert the NCS code into RGB has serious deficiencies. If I had to guess, the code has inverted the yellow-red values. The S 1515-Y10R looks rather like actual NCS color S 1515-Y90R (As an aside, not recognizing such an issue casts strong doubt on SART’s description of Mark Michie as a “colour engineer expert”). Rather than using a second-hand generator, you are free to use the generator provided by the organization that came up with the NCS.
            Regarding the claims about supposedly radical differences in page color, let’s just say I am less than impressed.  I don’t have an explanation for why in Leipzig they seemed to have gone with a single descriptor code.  Perhaps they wanted to be a bit more specific with the larger sample size of leaves in London. Perhaps the Leipzig leaves are more uniform. Again, storage conditions perfectly explain the latter option if that’s the case.  Regardless of which of these is true, it is demonstrably untrue that the leaves in Leipzig are the cool-grey color that is shown in the digital images.  It is demonstrably untrue that those leaves are drastically different from those in London. The Leipzig leaves in actuality have a slight yellow tint that is exactly the same as, or very near to, the tint of some leaves in London.

Q:  So, how – with a minimum of jargon – would you answer David Daniels’ question, “Who darkened Sinaiticus?”

Peterson:  The natural passage of time, with possibly a little help from the British climate.  The options are to trust either (1) color science as demonstrated by L*A*B* and NCS color schemes, the physical assessment of the manuscript by a team of scholars, and my experience digitizing manuscripts or (2) A theologically motivated group who have never, to my knowledge, photographed, handled, worked with, or seen a manuscript except for perhaps in a museum display.

TTotG:  Thanks, Jacob.  I remind our readers that in addition to this explanation of the color-differences as basically a phantom-difference caused by different cameras’ environments, 20 more reasons why Codex Sinaiticus is not a forgery are listed in my earlier posts Ten Reasons Why Sinaiticus Was Not Made by Simonides and Ten More Reasons Why Sinaiticus Was Not Made by Simonides.  I would also like to draw reader’s attention to a 21st reason:   a newspaper report (mentioned by Dr. Tommy Wasserman in a comment in 2017) announcing that a fragment from Codex Sinaiticus (with text from Joshua 1) was discovered by researcher Nicholas Sarris in a book-binding from the 1700s.