At the end of Luke 17:9, a textual variant presents a four-way
Alexandrian Text, which ends with τα διαταχθέντα; (read by B L f1
28 157 and supported by ite and the Palestinian Syriac)
(2) the Western
Text, which ends with τα διαταχθέντα αὐτῷ; οὐ δοκῶ (read by D f13,
and a small group of minuscules, and supported by the Peshitta, the Gothic
(3) the Byzantine
Text, which ends with τα διαταχθέντα; οὐ δοκῶ
(4) Codex X and
214, 765, and 1612, which read τα διαταχθέντα αὐτῷ; (supported by Cyprian (in Treatise
12, Book 3, chapter 51), ita (= Codex Vercellensis, produced c.
370), the Sinaitic Syriac, the Curetonian Syriac, the Sahidic version and the
An anomalous reading appears in 214 and 2522; they have εκεινω
in place of τα διαταχθέντα.
Additional details are in Willker’s Textual Commentary on
the Greek Gospels, TVU 275 (page 414).
The Armenian and one layer of the Old Georgian support παντα
τα διαταχθέντα (agreeing in part with Θ 69 124 1346 and a secondary corrector
The Old Latin e (Codex
Palatinus, produced c. 400) seems to agree with B.
Except for Codex Vercellensis and Codex Palatinus, all the
rest of the Old Latin evidence, as far as I can tell, agrees with the Byzantine
Text in the inclusion of οὐ δοκῶ. The
Vulgate does, too, reading “Non puto”
arranged as the beginning of v. 10.
Nine assorted manuscripts (17, 501, 554, 594, 740, 1208,
1416, and 2127) agree with B.
The George Grey Gospels (1263) is among the small group of
(mainly) Byzantine MSS that agree with the Textus Receptus and with D, reading τα διαταχθέντα αὐτῷ; οὐ δοκῶ.
Codex Sinaiticus isn’t much help, because the copyist
accidentally skipped from the διαταχθέντα in verse 9 to the διαταχθέντα in
verse 10. The corrector – who drew his
arrows without quite connecting the shaft to the arrowhead – corrected the
copyist’s mistake by adding οὐτως και in the text (recycling the υ of υμεις)
and placing υμεις οταν ποισηται τα διαταχθέντα υμιν at the foot of the
page. (The correction, except for the itacistic
quirk, agrees with B.) Another corrector
“corrected” the correction by adding, above the line (centered over τα), παντα.
Earlier in the verse, the copyist of À omitted το δουλω, which
is added in the right margin in small letters (the τ is formed using the last
stroke of the preceding ν).
The apparatus in UBS
and 1010 as if they agreed exactly with B.
parableptic mistake is noted, and 1010 is listed as a witness for διαταχθέντα
οὐ δοκῶ. The apparatus in UBS
had a separate entry for διαταχθέντα αὐτῷ;.
Also in UBS
2, Antiochus (a monk at
the St. Saba monastery near Jerusalem
in the early 600’s) was listed as a witness for διαταχθέντα οὐ δοκῶ. In UBS
Antiochus’ name does not appear as a witness.
2, the Ethiopic version is
listed as a witness for διαταχθέντα αὐτῷ;.
In the apparatus-entry for this variant-unit in UBS
the Ethiopic version does not appear. The
apparatus in Nestle-Aland 27 lists 2542 as a witness for διαταχθέντα.
Metzger, in A Textual Commentary on the Greek New
Testament (p. 166), asserted, “There is no adequate reason which could
account for the omission of αὐτῷ or οὐ δοκῶ, if either had been present
originally.” Let’s test that claim. If οὐ δοκῶ was initially present between τα διαταχθέντα and
οὕτως (the first word in v. 10), then a simple parableptic error elicited by
homoeoteleuton accounts for the loss; when the copyist’s line of sight drifted
from the οὐ in οὐ δοκῶ to the οὕ in οὕτως. If αὐτῷ; οὐ δοκῶ was initially present between τα
διαταχθέντα and οὕτως, there is no simple mechanism to account for the loss of
all three words at once. However, οὐ
δοκῶ could be lost via a simple parableptic error, as a copyist’s line of sight
drifted from the -ῷ οὐ in αὐτῷ; οὐ δοκῶ to the -ῶ οὕ- in δοκῶ οὕτως. This would leave αὐτῷ by itself. This reading has an unusual array of
witnesses in its favor, including Cyprian (in Treatise 12, Book 3,
Here is the English translation of the entire brief chapter
from Cyprian, from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, page 547, in which
Cyprian quotes Luke 17:7-10 –
“51 - That
no one should be uplifted in his labour:
in Ecclesiasticus: ‘Extol not thyself in doing thy work.’ Also in the Gospel according to Luke: ‘Which of you, having a servant ploughing, or
a shepherd, says to him when he cometh from the field, Pass forward and
recline? But he says to him, Make ready
somewhat that I may sup, and gird thyself, and minister to me, until I eat and
drink; and afterwards thou shall eat and drink?
Does he thank that servant because he has done what was commanded
him? So also ye, when ye shall have done
that which is commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done
what we had to do.’”
As mentioned previously, the reading supported by Cyprian (in
which αὐτῷ is supported but not οὐ δοκῶ) is also found, according to the UBS4
apparatus, in ita, the Sinaitic Syriac, the Curetonian Syriac, the
Sahidic version and the Bohairic version.
Thus the oldest Latin evidence – Cyprian and Codex Vercellensis – and
the oldest Syriac evidence – the Sinaitic Syriac – agree.
Codex a – Vercellensis
– reads as follows, line by line (from Irici’s 1748 transcription):
“… Num- / quid aget gra- / tias servo / quoniam fe- / cit
quae prae- / cepta sunt / ei sic? Et / vos cum fece- / ritis quae / praecepta /
sunt dicitis / servi inuti- / les sumus / facere feci- / mus.”
The sixth line implies αὐτῷ but not οὐ δοκῶ. The Latin may be rendered something like
“Because the servant has done things that are commanded to him, shall he [i.e., the master] act
on his behalf this way? And as for you, when you have done the things which are
commanded you, you also are to say, ‘We are unprofitable servants, we have
Codex e –
Palatinus – reads as follows (from Belsheim’s 1896 transcription, page 77):
9numquid habet gratiam seruo illi quia fecit quae
imperata sunt 10sic itaque et
uos cum feceritis quae uobis fuerint imperata dicite serui superuacui sumus
quod debuimus facere fecimus.
clearly does not support οὐ δοκῶ. But it
does not absolutely rule out αὐτῷ from e’s
So: to defend the
Alexandrian reading as the original text, one has to figure that a copyist
added “οὐ δοκῶ” to answer the rhetorical
question of verse 9, and this reading was eventually adopted in the Byzantine
text-stream, and meanwhile, in a transmission-stream, or transmission-streams,
that affected the text of Cyprian and of the Sinaitic Syriac, another copyist
added “αὐτῷ” on the grounds, alleged by Metzger, that τα διαταχθέντα “seemed to
cry out for such a complement.” In
addition, at some point prior to the production of Codex D, the two expanded
forms of the text met at one table and were both adopted, resulting in the
conflated reading, τα διαταχθέντα αὐτῷ; οὐ δοκῶ.
If, however, τα διαταχθέντα; οὐ δοκῶ is original, then the
Alexandrian reading is explained as the result of a parableptic accident, and
the reading with αὐτῷ, but not οὐ δοκῶ, is explained as the combination of a
Western expansion followed by a parableptic omission.
If τα διαταχθέντα αὐτῷ; οὐ δοκῶ is original, then the reading
τα διαταχθέντα αὐτῷ is explained as the result of a parableptic accident in
which οὐ δοκῶ was lost. But there is no
obvious mechanism to account for the loss of αὐτῷ in the Alexandrian Text.
● Part of Metzger’s claim is not true. There is
an adequate mechanism which could account for the omission of οὐ δοκῶ, namely,
simply parableptic error from ΟΥ to ΟΥ-.
Metzger’s theory that οὐ δοκῶ first existed as a “marginal comment that
found its way into the Western Text” has no real-life basis. No copy in any language, as far as I know,
has these words in the margin.
● If τα διαταχθέντα αὐτῷ; οὐ δοκῶ is not original, then it
is a conflation of two earlier variants, one reading (with Cyprian) αὐτῷ and
one reading (with Byz) οὐ δοκῶ.
● The words οὐ δοκῶ do not seem like something that a
copyist would casually put into the mouth of Jesus Christ.
● Inasmuch τα διαταχθέντα αὐτῷ may proceed from τα
διαταχθέντα αὐτῷ; οὐ δοκῶ if οὐ δοκῶ is omitted via parablepsis, the apparatus
in UBS4 needs to be modified. The variant διαταχθέντα αὐτῷ; should be
given its own listing (as it was in UBS2) instead
of being listed as if it exclusively supports διαταχθέντα. If one assumes that αὐτῷ was deliberately
added, then the witnesses that support διαταχθέντα αὐτῷ indirectly support διαταχθέντα,
but if one assumes that οὐ δοκῶ was accidentally omitted, then the witnesses
that support διαταχθέντα αὐτῷ indirectly support διαταχθέντα αὐτῷ; οὐ δοκῶ.
● If the witnesses for τα διαταχθέντα αὐτῷ are combined with
the witnesses for τα διαταχθέντα; οὐ δοκῶ, and with the witnesses for
διαταχθέντα αὐτῷ; οὐ δοκῶ, the array of support is very impressive: A D W Ψ 579 700 892 1010 1071 Byz,
almost all Old Latin copies including Codex Vercellensis, Cyprian, Vulgate,
Peshitta, Sinaitic Syriac, Curetonian Syriac, the Sahidic version, the Bohairic
version, and Augustine.
● Unless MSS 17, 501,
554, 594, 740, 1208, 1416, and 2127 are supposed to echo a text more ancient
that Codices A and D, parableptic losses must have occurred somewhere in their
● The Greek support for τα διαταχθέντα is narrow.
Texts with οὐ δοκῶ or αὐτῷ; οὐ δοκῶ had very wide support in
multiple locales. It looks like the
original text read διαταχθέντα; οὐ δοκῶ.
In the Alexandrian text-stream, οὐ δοκῶ was lost via parablepsis (from
οὐ to οὕτως in v. 10). Meanwhile, early in
the Western text-stream, αὐτῷ was added, following which οὐ δοκῶ was lost, via
a different parableptic error in which a copyist’s line of sight drifted from
-ωου to -ωου.