Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Challenging the "Expansion of Piety" Theory


            Today, let’s take a look at readings in manuscripts of the Gospels which are said to be the effects of the piety of scribes.  Where the original text refers to Jesus via a pronoun, scribes sometimes inserted Jesus’ proper name; where the original text says “Jesus,” a slight expansion was made – “the Lord Jesus,” or “Jesus Christ” – as an expression of scribal piety.  Or so it has been claimed.  Here are some examples of this phenomenon, taken from the Synoptic Gospels:

Matthew

● 8:6 – In the original text, the centurion makes his request to Jesus without any introductory word.  The later manuscripts add “Lord” so as to convey a higher level of respect for Jesus.
● 8:22 – The original text does not have Jesus’ name in this verse.  Scribes inserted Jesus’ name to emphasis the focus of His call to “Follow Me.”
● 9:22 – The original text does not have Jesus’ name in this verse.  Scribes added Jesus’ name to increase the narrative’s clarity. 
● 14:16 – The original text did not have Jesus’ name in this verse.  Scribes added Jesus’ name to increase the narrative’s clarity.
● 14:27 – The original text did not have Jesus’ name in this verse.  Scribes added Jesus’ name to increase the narrative’s clarity.
● 15:1 – The original text did not have Jesus’ name in this verse.  Scribes added Jesus’ name as a way of introducing a new episode or scene.
● 15:28 – The original text did not have Jesus’ name at the beginning of the verse.  Scribes added Jesus’ name to increase the narrative’s clarity.
● 16:21 – Whereas Vaticanus and Sinaiticus simply refer to “Jesus” here, later manuscripts read “Jesus Christ.”
● 17:15 – The later manuscripts add “Lord” to introduce the man’s request, so as to convey a higher level of respect for Jesus.
● 19:8 – Some later manuscripts add Jesus’ name, increasing the clarity of the passage.
● 19:18 – Some of the oldest manuscripts do not have Jesus’ name in this verse, indicating that His name was added by scribes to increase the clarity of the passage.
● 20:23 – Byzantine scribes added Jesus’ name to the passage, perhaps to augment its usefulness as an isolated saying when memorized.
● 20:30 – Later scribes added “Lord” to introduce the man’s request, so as to convey a higher level of respect for Jesus.
● 26:50a – Later scribes added Jesus’ name at the beginning of this verse to increase the clarity of the passage. 

Mark

● 1:40 – The later manuscripts add “Lord” to introduce the man’s request, so as to convey a higher level of respect for Jesus.
● 2:4 – Some later minuscules add Jesus’ name to increase the clarity of the passage.
● 2:19 – The original text did not include Jesus’ name; it was added to increase the clarity of the passage.
● 5:13 – One very late manuscript piously expands the text so as to refer to “the Lord Jesus.” 
● 9:39 – The oldest manuscripts do not have Jesus’ name in this verse.
● 10 21 – A small group of uncials adds Jesus’ name to this verse, increasing its clarity.
● 10:42 – A small group of minuscules which appear to have been strongly influenced by lectionaries adds Jesus’ name in this verse, introducing a new episode or scene.
● 10:51 – Two ancient manuscripts do not have Jesus’ name in this verse, indicating that it was added by scribes to increase the clarity of the passage. 
● 12:29 – A small group of minuscules which appear to have been strongly influenced by lectionaries adds Jesus’ name in this verse, introducing a new episode or scene.
● 14:62 – A small group of manuscripts influenced by lectionaries adds Jesus’ name to this verse to increase clarity.

Luke

● 2:39 – A small group of minuscules (and a few other manuscripts) which appear to have been strongly influenced by lectionaries adds Jesus’ name in this verse.
● 5:8 – The original text does not have Jesus’ name; it (or “the Lord”) is added in later manuscripts.
● 5:8 – The original text does not have “O Lord” at the end of this verse; it is added in later manuscripts (probably as a harmonization). 
● 5:19 – Minuscule 1424 substitutes Jesus’ name in place of “Him” at the end of the verse.
5:26 – A small group of manuscripts (including Codices D and W, and f13) inserts “and glorified God,” a formulaic augmentation.
7:6 – The scribe of 579 added “Lord” to preface the request, so as to convey a higher level of respect for Jesus.
● 8:46 – Codex Bezae (D) inserts Jesus’ name near the beginning of the verse.
● 9:59 – Although Vaticanus and D have the word “Lord,” P45 and P75 display the earlier form of the verse, without it.
10:1 – Minuscule 1424 adds “the Lord” to introduce a new episode or scene.
● 14:2 – A small group of minuscules which appear to have been strongly influenced by lectionaries adds Jesus’ name in this verse.
● 14:22 – D adds “Lord” to preface the servant’s statement.
16:15 – One relatively recent manuscript has “in the sight of the Lord,” a slightly more formal wording than “in the sight of God.”
● 18:19 – D adds Jesus’ name to increase the clarity of the passage.
● 18:38 – A small group of uncials adds Jesus’ name to this verse.
● 18:42 – D adds Jesus’ name near the beginning of this verse, increasing the clarity of the passage.
● 20:34 – D adds Jesus’ name near the beginning of this verse, increasing the clarity of the passage.
22:52 – D and a small group of minuscules which appear to have been strongly influenced by lectionaries insert Jesus’ name in this verse.
23:20 –A small group of minuscules which appear to have been strongly influenced by lectionaries adds Jesus’ name in this verse.
23:26 – A small group of manuscripts influenced by lectionaries adds Jesus’ name to these two verses to increase clarity.

            You can see how, over the years, copyists consistently added to the text . . . .

            Wait a second . . . something’s wrong here.  O silly me! Somehow I stated the opposite of what I should have written down in that list!  My bad.  Let’s look at the data again – this time, correctly, and in a little more detail:

Matthew

8:6À* doesn’t have “Lord” but Vaticanus (B) and the Byzantine Text (“Byz”) (and NA27) do.
8:22 – Although À and 33 do not include “Jesus,” B and Byz (and NA27) do.
9:22 – Although À and D do not include “Jesus,” B and Byz (and NA27) do.
14:16À and D do not include “Jesus,” but B and Byz (and NA27) do.
14:27À and D do not include “Jesus,” but B and Byz (and NA27) do. 
15:1 – D and f1 say “to Him” instead of “to Jesus,” but B and Byz (and NA27) support “to Jesus.”
15:28 – D does not include “Jesus” but B and Byz (and NA27) do.
16:21 – B and À have “Jesus Christ.”  Byz (and NA27) only has “Jesus.”
17:15À does not include “Lord,” but B and Byz (and NA27) do.
19:8À has “Jesus” but B and Byz (and NA27) do not.  
19:18 – B and Byz (and NA27) include “Jesus” but some much younger manuscripts (such as 1424, 788, and f13) do not. 
20:23 – D, Δ and f13 have “Jesus” but B and Byz (and NA27) do not.
20:30 – D, 118, and 157, and 565 do not have “Lord,” but B and Byz (and NA27) do.
26:50a – P37 and À do not support “”Jesus,” but B and Byz (and NA27) do.

Mark

● 1:40 – B says “Lord,” but Byz and À A D K Δ Π 33 f1 (and NA27) do not.
● 2:4 – D inserts “Jesus,” but B and Byz  (and NA27) do not.
● 2:19 – D and W do not include “Jesus” but B and Byz (and NA27) do.
● 5:13 – D has “Lord Jesus,” but Byz and A Κ Π only have “Jesus.”  B À W (and NA27) have neither.
● 9:39 – D W f1 f13 28 565 do not include “Jesus” but B À and Byz (and NA27) do.
● 10:21 –A Y K Π do not include “Jesus” but B À and Byz (and NA27) do.
● 10:42 – W and f1 do not include “Jesus” but B À and Byz (and NA27) do.
● 10:51 – Θ and 565 do not include “Jesus” but B À and Byz (and NA27) do.
● 12:29 – W and f1 do not include “Jesus” but B À and Byz (and NA27) do.
● 14:62f13 and 579 do not include “Jesus” but B À and Byz (and NA27) do.

Luke

2:39 – Γ 700 f1 788 do not have “of the Lord” (Κυ) but B À and Byz (and NA27) do.
5:8 – D does not include “Jesus” but B À and Byz (and NA27) do.
5:8À does not have “Lord” at the end of the verse, but B and Byz (and NA27) do..
5:19 – B has “before them all” and 1424 has “to Him,” but À and Byz (and NA27) support “before Jesus.”
5:26 – D* M Ψ W S 124 579 118 157 f13 omit “and they glorified God.” (h.a. error)  The phrase is included by B À and Byz (and NA27).
7:6 – 579 does not have “Lord,” but B À A D L W and Byz (and NA27) do.
8:46 – D does not have “Jesus” but B À and Byz (and NA27) do.
9:59 – B* and D do not have “Lord,” but P45 P75 À and Byz do.  NA27 has it in the text within brackets.
10:1 – D and 1424 do not have “the Lord,” but P45 P75 A B À and Byz (and NA27) do.
14:2f1 does not have “Jesus,” but P45 P75 A B À and Byz (and NA27) do.
14:22 – D 1071 do not have “Lord,” but P75 A B À and Byz (and NA27) do.
16:15 – B has “the Lord,” but P75 A À D K W and Byz (and NA27) support “God.”
18:19 – D and G do not have “Jesus,” but B À and Byz (and NA27) do.
18:38 – A E K Π 579 do not have “Jesus,” but B À and Byz (and NA27) do.
18:42 – D does not include “Jesus,” but B À and Byz (and NA27) do.
20:34 – D does not include “Jesus,” but B À and Byz (and NA27) do.
22:52 – D and f1 do not include “Jesus,” but B À and Byz (and NA27) do.
23:20f1 has “Him” at the end of the verse, but P75 A B À and Byz (and NA27) support “Jesus.”
23:26f1 has “Him” at the end of the verse, but P75 A B À and Byz (and NA27) support “Jesus.”

            Here we have more than 40 example of passages in which the river of scribal piety appears to run backwards:  the Byzantine reading is shorter than a rival reading, or a later manuscript’s reference to deity is shorter than the reference in much older manuscripts.  (Many more examples could be added.)  This evidence starkly defies the theory – advanced by Dan Wallace and others – that scribes operated on the principle of “When in doubt, don’t throw it out,” as if when copyists encountered readings that seemed possibly original, they kept them in the text, causing the text to grow with each generation of recopying.  If scribes had really operated that way, the medieval Greek text would have many more conflations, and many more Western readings, than it does. 
            Instead, in the real world, we see over and over that although the scribes who transmitted the Byzantine Text were not impervious to the temptation to augment or clarify the sense of a passage, especially at the beginnings of lections (via the introduction of a proper name where a pronoun had stood in the exemplar), we do not see in the Gospels a distinct tendency to expand divine names or titles.  In addition, there was something going on – especially in manuscripts such as À and 28 and 1424 – that caused some scribes to omit some proper names.
            It is simply inadequate to list (as James White does on page 75 of The King James Only Controversy) five readings from the Gospels (or a dozen), and proceed as if the case is thus proven that Byzantine copyists typically expanded divine names and titles out of a sense of piety.  As far as the text of the Gospels is concerned, it is extremely difficult to verify such a thing; to the extent that the Byzantine Text substitutes Jesus’ name where the original text has a pronoun, this was done for clarity’s sake, rather than for piety’s sake.
            Consider the New International Version:  in Matthew chapters 1-14, the NIV reads “Jesus” 31 times where the word Ιησους is not in the NIV’s Greek base-text.  Using the yardstick that has been used to judge the Byzantine Text, shall we say that are those occurrences of Jesus’ name are “expansions of piety”?  No; the NIV’s translators simply wanted to increase the clarity of the translation.  Look at Matthew 4:18, Matthew 12:25, Mark 2:15, Mark 10:52, and Luke 24:36) in the NIV (based on the Nestle-Aland text), and you will see that the NIV has “Jesus” in English in all five verses. 


(Readers are invited to double-check the data in this post.)
                                      

3 comments:

Lucas Pagotto Tonussi said...

Systematically broke with Wallace et al.

maurice a. robinson said...

You would also have fun examing the epistles for the presumed Byzantine tendencies to expand the names and titles of Jesus or appellations given to God or the Holy Spirit.

Daniel Buck said...

So much for the theory that since Bezae tends toward expansion, any time its scribe accidently skipped a word or a line, that's a sign from heaven that it was never meant to be.