Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mark 16:9-20 - Sorting Out Some Common Mistakes

          Last week, as Easter approached, many sermon-preparing preachers pondered what to do with Mark 16:9-20. They approached their trusted commentaries and found . . . a spectacular mess. The amount of misinformation that continues to circulate about these 12 verses is staggering. Here are 12 claims about Mark 16:9-20 that should not be taken at face value.

(12) “Clement of Alexandria and Origen show no knowledge of the existence of these verses.” When Bruce Metzger first made this claim in 1964 on page 226 of the first edition of The Text of the New Testament, he wrote, “Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Eusebius show no knowledge of the existence of these verses,” but by the time Metzger wrote A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament for the United Bible Societies, he had removed the reference to Eusebius (that is, Eusebius of Caesarea, an important bishop in the early 300’s – more about him later). It would have been better to remove the sentence altogether, because it has misled many commentators (some of whom repeat Metzger’s statements almost word-for-word).
          While there is no clear quotation of Mark 16:9-20 in Clement’s writings, there is also no clear quotation from chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 15 and 16 of Mark. Aside from one large and loosely quoted citation from chapter 10, Clement hardly ever used the Gospel of Mark. Clement’s testimony does not mean anything about Mark 16:9-20 that it does not mean about 12 entire chapters of Mark.
          Origen, similarly, did not use the Gospel of Mark nearly as much as he used the other Gospels. In his major works, Origen quotes nothing from 3:19-4:11 (28 consecutive verses), from 5:2-5:43 (41 consecutive verses), from 8:7-8:29 (22 consecutive verses), or from 10:3-10:42 (39 consecutive verses), or Mark 1:36-3:16 (54 consecutive verses). So why, when Origen does not use Mark 16:9-20, should this indicate anything special? If Origen did not use Mark 16:9-20, that only means that Mark 16:9-20 has something in common with 33 other 12-verse segments of the Gospel of Mark.
          But it is possible that in Philocalia, chapter 5, Origen alluded to Mark 16:15-18. In the course of linking together a series of Scripture-citations, Origen stated, right after alluding to Luke 10:19, “Let a man observe how the apostles who were sent by Jesus to proclaim the Gospel went everywhere, and he cannot help seeing their superhuman daring in obedience to the divine command.”  While this is not a direct quotation, Origen may have been referring to the instructions to preach the gospel in Mark 16:15, and to the spread of the message everywhere in 16:20, and to the apparently daring actions described in 16:18. The thematic parallel between Luke 10:19 and Mark 16:18 renders this a real possibility.
          Considering Origen’s general tendency to neglect the Gospel of Mark, and considering that it is difficult to refute the idea that Origen alluded to Mark 16:15-20 in Philocalia, his testimony should be considered neutral.
          Since the names of Clement and Origen were thrown into the textual apparatus of both the Novum Testamentum Graece and the Greek New Testament of the United Bible Societies, as if they clearly testified against Mark 16:9-20, generations of commentators have misrepresented their non-testimony as if it is some sort of thunderous declaration.   In 2007, author Stephen Miller was spreading the completely false claim (in Barbour Publishing’s The Complete Guide to the Bible) that Clement of Alexandria had written a commentary in which he confirmed that Mark ends at 16:8.

(11) “Mark 16:9-20 is omitted by important Ethiopic codices.”  This claim can still be found in influential commentaries and apologetics-handbooks. It still circulates on page 322 of the fourth edition of The Text of the New Testament, the work of Metzger (now deceased) and his student Bart Ehrman.  The late Eugene Nida also was guilty of spreading this claim.  However, in 1980, Metzger demonstrated in a detailed essay (published as chapter 9 in a volume of New Testament Tools and Studies) thatthe statement is false.  Metzger concluded that the claim was based on a mistake made by researchers in the 1800’s regarding three Ethiopic manuscripts – all three of which really contain the passage.  To repeat: all known undamaged Ethiopic manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark include 16:9-20.
          Furthermore, research on the Ethiopic version has not stood still since 1980: the Garima Gospels, an Ethiopic manuscript which was previously thought to have been written around A.D. 1000, was tested via carbon-dating, and its production-date was reassigned to 430-540.  The Garima Gospels contains Mark 16:9-20 immediately after 16:8.

(10) “Some early manuscripts add the Freer Logion between verses 14 and 15.”  This claim used to be part of a footnote in the English Standard Version, and to this day, Tyndale House Publishers are spreading this claim in a footnote in the New Living Translation.  During Jerome’s lifetime (in the late 300’s and early 400’s), this claim was true; Jerome reported that the Freer Logion appeared in the Gospel of Mark after 16:14 “especially in Greek codices.”  However, the number of manuscripts that exist today and which are known to contain this interpolation is exactly one:   Codex Washingtoniensis, which resides at the Smithsonian Institution.

(9) The Freer Logion is another ending’ to the Gospel of Mark. James Tabor, a professor at UNC Charlotte, has written (on page 231 of his 2006 book The Jesus Dynasty) that “Two other “made-up” endings were later put into circulation, as shorter alternatives to this longer traditional ending.”  Tabor thus errs in two ways:  first, the Shorter Ending was created to round off the otherwise abrupt ending at 16:8, not with an awareness of 16:9-20.  Second, the Freer Logion is not “another ending.” It is an interpolation which never stood, and could not stand, as an ending by itself.
          A footnote in the NET Bible correctly locates the Freer Logion “between vv. 14 and 15” but erroneously describes it as “a different shorter ending.”  The late Robert Grant wrote that Codex W “contains a different ending entirely.”  Although this claim is easy to demolish by consulting Codex W, several preachers and commentators (and Bible footnote-writers!) continue to echo this legend of “various endings,” as if verses 9-20 face a host of competitors besides the Shorter Ending.

MS 274, with Mark 16:6-15 in the text,
and the Shorter Ending in the lower margin,
with explanations of the meta-text.  
(8) “Some manuscripts have the Shorter Ending after Mark 16:8, and some have verses 9-20 after 16:8.”  This is technically true, but the term “some” is so vague that it deceives the reader.  The number of Greek manuscripts that contain the Shorter Ending in any way at all is six. (A footnote in the NET gives the false impression that the number is higher – partly by listing the same manuscript twice, as 083 and as 0112.)  The number of Greek manuscripts in which 16:8 is followed by 16:9 is over 1,640. (In the medieval manuscript 274, the Shorter Ending is written in the lower margin, linked by asterisks to 16:8, which is followed in the text by 16:9 which begins on the same line on which 16:8 ends.)
          Of the five Greek manuscripts in which the Shorter Ending is between 16:8 and 16:9, Codex L and 083 have a note preceding 16:9 (to the effect of, “In other copies, the following material appears after ‘for they were afraid’”) which is also found in the Greek-Sahidic lectionary 1602.  This establishes this arrangement of the text as a localized Egyptian treatment – that is, four of the Greek manuscripts with the Shorter Ending between 16:8 and 16:9 display a distinctly Egyptian form of the text, indicating that the Shorter Ending originated in Egypt (which suggests, in turn, that only in Egypt did the text of the Gospel of Mark lack verses 9-20 in the early centuries in which the Gospel of Mark was circulated).

(7) “Codex Sigma does not contain Mark 16:9-20.”  Codex Σ, also known as Codex 042 and as the Rossano Gospels, is an important Greek manuscript of the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Mark. It was probably made for a member of the royal family of the Byzantine Empire.   It is one of the earliest illustrated manuscripts of the Gospels in existence. Bruce Metzger, in his influential book, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Palaeography, stated that Codex Σ does not contain the text of the Gospel of Mark after 14:14.  However, that error is the direct descendant of a typographical error that appeared in the third edition of F. H. A. Scrivener’s Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, in which on page 158, the Roman numerals “xvi” (that is, 16) were erroneously mixed up and “xiv” (14) was printed instead. (William Sanday mentioned this typographical error in 1885, in an article in Studia Biblica, but apparently this was not noticed by Metzger.)
          Because mistakes of this sort have not been corrected, the claim that “Mark 16:9-20 is contained only in later manuscripts” has been allowed to circulate for over 20 years in a footnote in Eugene Peterson’s The Message.  Such a claim is succinctly refuted by a consultation of the early manuscripts Alexandrinus, Bezae, Ephraemi Rescriptus, and Washingtoniensis.

(6) “Mark 16:9-20 is absent from the Old Latin manuscripts.”  This claim has been spread by commentators such as James Edwards, and by apologists such as Ron Rhodes.  In the real world, however, only one Old Latin manuscript containing its original pages of Mark 16 does not follow Mark 16:8 with 16:9: Codex Bobbiensis, the worst-copied manuscript of the Gospels ever made in any language.  In Mark 16, the copyist of Mark 16 added an interpolation between verses 3 and 4, and removed part of verse 8, before adding the Shorter Ending, but with several bad mistakes (such as writing “puero” (“child”) instead of “Petro” (Peter), and writing “from the east, even unto the east”). (The copyist of Codex Bobbiensis seems to have lacked a basic familiarity with the contents of his exemplar; even in Matthew 6:9, he mangled the Latin phrase for “Thy kingdom come.”)
          Mark 16:9-20, or part of it (sometimes parts are lost due to incidental damage), is included in the Old Latin copies Corbeiensis (ff2, from the 400’s – although most of verses 15-18 have been extensively damaged), and the combined fragmentsn and o (from the 400’s) together contain the passage up through verse 13, and then the rest, respectively.   In addition, some manuscripts of the Vulgate contain Old Latin chapter-summaries which originated as features of Old Latin manuscripts; the final entry in these chapter-summaries (which have several forms) fits the contents of Mark 16:9-20.
          The Latin manuscripts Aureus (aur, 600’s/700’s), Colbertinus (c, made in the 1200’s, but unquestionably perpetuating an early non-Vulgate text after chapter 6), Rhedigerianus (600’s/700’s), and Monacensis (q, from the 500’s or 600’s) also include Mark 16:9-20.

(5)  “The Vulgate and the Peshitta end the text of Mark at 16:8.”  This false claim was promoted by John MacArthur in a sermon he preached on June 5, 2011.   The sermon-transcript is still distributed by Grace To You.  With a straight face, immediately after telling his listeners that “Both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus end Mark at verse 8,” MacArthur mentioned that we have 8,000 copies of the Vulgate, and 350-plus copies of the Peshitta, and then said, “We have all these ancient manuscripts that when compared all say the same thing.”  MacArthur’s claim is far removed from reality:  the Vulgate Gospels (the Latin translation produced in 383-384 by Jerome, who stated that he prepared its text with the use of ancient Greek manuscripts – that is, Greek manuscripts already ancient in 383) include Mark 16:9-20 and so does the Peshitta.

(4)  “Many ancient manuscripts contain scribal notes to indicate that verses 9-20 were regarded as a spurious addition.”  The vague and imprecise claim by Metzger that “Not a few manuscripts which contain the passage have scribal notes stating that older Greek copies lack it” has been stretched and warped almost beyond recognition by other commentators whose research about this passage consisted mainly of reading Metzger’s A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament
            Out of over 1,640 Greek manuscripts of Mark, about 60 contain the Catena Marcum in one form or another in their margins.  This collection of patristic comments usually includes both a comment by Eusebius of Caesarea, and a response by Victor of Antioch (a fifth-century author who is sometimes credited with the compilation of the catena/commentary.  These comments, however, are really only 60 repetitions of two patristic comments.    
Fourteen Greek manuscripts are known to have special notes about Mark 16:9-20.  (That’s 14 out of over 1,640 manuscripts – less than 1%, contrary to the impression you might have gotten from Craig Evans or N. T. Wright.)  While, obviously, any manuscripts mentioned in another manuscript must be older than the manuscript that mentions them, none of the notes specify that “the older manuscripts” lack the passage.  Three of these manuscripts (20, 215, and 300) even share a note which says, regarding the end of 16:8, “The text from here to the end is not in some copies.  But in the ancient ones, it all appears intact.”  Thus instead of conveying scribal doubt, this note emphasizes the presence of the passage in ancient copies. 
Five manuscripts (1, 205, 205abs, 209, and 1582) share a note which says, before 16:9, “In some of the copies, the Gospel concludes here, and Eusebius Pamphili’s Canons also stop here.  But in many, this [i.e., verses 9-20] also appears.”  Again, the intention of the note-writer appears to have been to defend the acceptance of these 12 verses, rather than to draw them into doubt.  Another group of five manuscripts (15, 22, 1110, 1192, and 1210) shares the same note, but without the reference to the Eusebian Canons.  The wording of the note is so similar that these ten manuscripts cannot constitute independent witnesses; these notes descend from a common source, and after the Eusebian Sections were expanded, the part about the Eusebian Canons was removed.  Lastly, a note in minuscule 199 (from the 1100’s) states succinctly, “In some of the copies, this [i.e., verses 9-20] is not present, but the text stops here” (that is, at the end of 16:8). 
The testimony of the 14 manuscripts with special notes about Mark 16:9-20 (mainly of an affirming nature) boils down to two small groups:  one that shares the “Jerusalem Colophon,” and one that consists of members of the family-1 cluster of manuscripts.

(3)  “In many manuscripts of Mark without notes, the passage is marked with asterisks or obeli to convey scribal doubt about its legitimacy.”  This claim, considering that it is completely untrue, has been circulated with remarkable zeal by commentators.  There are some copies (such as minuscule 138) that feature an asterisk (or a similar symbol) which refers to reader to a comment in the margin (usually to part of the Catena Marcum).  And there are some copies which feature lectionary-related marks or rubrics between Mark 16:8 and 6:9.  But there are no manuscripts which simply contain asterisks or obeli alongside Mark 16:9-20 to convey scribal doubt.
Asterisks in MS 264 -- at Mk. 16:9,
but also at Mk. 11:12 and 14:12
            In 2007, Daniel Wallace identified five manuscripts in which, he asserted, a scribe placed an asterisk to convey doubt about the passage:  138, 264, 1221, 2346, and 2812.  However, 138, 2346, and 2812 are among the manuscripts with the Catena Marcum; they have marks at the beginning of 16:9, but these marks serve the same purpose as footnote-numbers, to notify the reader of the existence of a note about the passage further down the page (or on a following page). 
            Minuscule 264 has an asterisk alongside Mark 16:9, but this has no text-critical significance; the same symbol occurs in 264 alongside Mark 11:12, and 14:12, and elsewhere; it is part of the lectionary-apparatus. 
            Similarly, minuscule 1221 has lozenge-dots – four dots arranged in a north-south-east-west pattern –  between Mark 16:8 and 16:9, but the same symbol appears in 1221 after Mark 2:12, halfway through Mark 5:24, and at Mark 6:7.  In Luke, it appears at the beginning of 1:26, at the end of 1:56, and after 2:40.  These symbols were added for the convenience of a lector and have no text-critical significance.
            Minuscule 137, another manuscript with the Catena Marcum in its margins, is sometimes also mentioned in the list of manuscripts alleged to have asterisks accompanying Mark 16:9-20.  Good digital images of this manuscript were recently made available at the Vatican Library, and they show that the symbol between 16:8 and 16:9 is a simple superscripted red cross-mark (“+”), conveying that a note in the catena pertains to this section – and a corresponding red cross-mark appears, as expected, two pages later, at the foot of the page, accompanying the pertinent portion of the Catena Marcum.

(2)  “Eusebius and Jerome state that these 12 verses were absent from all Greek copies known to them.”  The distorted claim made by Ben Witherington III about this is just one example of what appears to be a venerable tradition of misrepresenting the evidence from Eusebius and Jerome.  Fortunately, a definitive edition of Eusebius’ composition Ad Marinum has finally been published, and its readers can see the context of the snippets which commentators typically frame as if they are the independent affirmations of Eusebius and of Jerome. 
            At the outset of the first chapter of Ad Marinum, Eusebius tackles Marinus’ question about how Matthew’s account of the timing of Christ’s resurrection can be harmonized with Mark’s account.  Readers may be surprised to learn the details of Eusebius’ reply.  He tells Marinus that the question may be dealt with in two ways.  Someone might render the question superfluous by rejecting Mark 16:9-20 on the grounds that the passage in Mark is not found in all manuscripts, or is not in the accurate copies, or is only in a few copies, or is only in some copies.  But someone else, finding both passages in the text of his Gospels, and considering it unfitting for a faithful and pious person to pick and choose between the accounts, would accept both passages, and read Mark 16:9 with a pause, or comma, after “Having risen,” so as to express the understanding that the sentence describes the time at which Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, rather than the time of His resurrection. 
            Eusebius promotes the second option, rather than the first one.  In the course of answering Marinus’ second question, Eusebius mentioned that “It is stated in Mark, according to some copies,” that Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary Magdalene.  And while answering Marinus’ third question, Eusebius stated “According to Mark, He had cast out seven demons” from Mary Magdalene.” 
            Eusebius thus quoted Mark 16:9 three times – which is hardly how one treats a passage that one rejects.  But how should we understand what he says about the absence of Mark 16:9-20 in the accurate manuscripts, and in the great majority of manuscripts?  As things that one might say, which is precisely how Eusebius framed them.  One could only count and evaluate the manuscripts one encountered.  A writer in Egypt, for example, might say that verses 9-20 were seldom found, whereas someone in Marinus’ locale might only be familiar with manuscripts that included the passage.  The thing to see is that Eusebius did not frame this as if it was his own personal observation; neither he nor anyone else in the early 300’s had the ability to survey all the libraries in all the churches following the disruptions that were part of the Diocletian persecution in the early 300’s.  If Mark 16:9-20 had been in only a few manuscripts known to Eusebius, and Eusebius had regarded those few manuscripts as inaccurate, he would have had no reason to offer Marinus any other option besides the first one. 
            Eusebius probably changed his mind on this subject when he made the Eusebian Canons and Sections, inasmuch as the already-mentioned annotation in the family-1 cluster of manuscripts says that Eusebius did not include this passage in the canon-tables.  But when he wrote Ad Marinum, Eusebius plainly advised Marinus to retain the passage.    
            And what about Jerome?  Jerome included Mark 16:9-20 in the Vulgate Gospels in 383, and in 417, in Against the Pelagians, he cited Mark 16:14 as he explained where he had seen the Freer Logion “especially in Greek copies,” taking for granted that his readers would recognize Mark 16:14.  At no point did Jerome ever suggest that he had included Mark 16:9-20 because of pressure to do so.  So how, at a time when numerous other patristic writers were openly utilizing Mark 16:9-20, could Jerome possibly say, as he says in his lengthy Epistle to Hedibia, that Mark 16:9-20 is missing from almost all copies, particularly the Greek ones? 
            The answer is simple:  Hedibia had asked Jerome to explain the differences in the Gospels’ accounts of Jesus’ resurrection and post-resurrection appearances, and Jerome, in response, rather than go through the trouble of writing an original reply, made a loose abridged translation of portions of Ad Marinum.  It is in that part of Jerome’s Epistle to Hedibia that the pertinent statement is embedded. 
            As David Parker has observed, Jerome’s Epistle to Hedibia “is simply a translation with some slight changes of what Eusebius had written.”  To restate:  in this part of Epistle to Hedibia, we are not reading a spontaneous comment by Jerome; we are reading Jerome’s loose Latin translation of Eusebius’ statements, complete with the opening line that there are two ways to handle the question, and the concluding recommendation to retain the passage and to read Mark 16:9 with a pause after “Having risen.” 
(1)  “The earliest and most reliable manuscripts do not contain verses 9-20.”  This is very far from the whole truth.  In two (and only two) Greek manuscripts from the 300’s, the text of Mark ends at the end of 16:8.  But in one of them, Codex Vaticanus, the copyist left blank space after 16:8 – including an entire blank column – as if the passage was absent from his exemplar, but he recollected it from some other manuscript that was unavailable to him.  And in the other one, Codex Sinaiticus, four pages that were produced by the main copyist were replaced by pages which his supervisor wrote; the text of Mark 14:54-Luke 1:56 was not written by the same copyist who wrote the surrounding pages.  In addition, the person who wrote the text on these four pages made a special effort to avoid leaving a blank column – a step which implies that he was aware of a way to conclude the Gospel of Mark other than at 16:8. 
            If we deduce (in agreement with J. Rendel Harris, T. C. Skeat, and other researchers) that Sinaiticus was made at Caesarea, and if we also notice that when Eusebius of Caesarea commented about the ending of Mark, he displayed no awareness of the Shorter Ending (even when the subject invited and even demanded mention of the Shorter Ending, if it had been known), we may conclude that the alternative text in the minds of the copyists of both Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, when they produced the anomalous features at the end of Mark in their manuscripts, was verses 9-20. 
            But another factor should also be mentioned whenever the earliest manuscripts are mentioned:  the relevant patristic evidence that supports the inclusion of Mark 16:9-20, which pre-dates Vaticanus and Sinaiticus by over a century.  In the 100’s, Justin Martyr (160, in First Apology ch. 45), and the author of Epistula Apostolorum (c. 150/180), and Tatian (172, in his Diatessaron), and Irenaeus (c. 184, in Book 3, chapter 10 of Against Heresies) all utilized material from Mark 16:9-20 in one way or another.  Irenaeus quoted 16:19, specifying that he was quoting from near the end of Mark’s Gospel. 
            Granting that footnotes in Bibles must be brief, is it too much to ask that when two manuscripts from the 300’s are mentioned in a note about Mark 16:9-20, two or three patristic writers from the 100’s should be also be mentioned? 

            Summing up:  when you read a Bible-footnote about the ending of Mark, or a sermon-transcript, or a commentary or apologetics-handbook or blog, and notice that something is amiss, I encourage you to contact the publisher and the author and inform them about the relevant data.  After 100 or 200 people point out the mistake, they might do something about it, if they are not too busy. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Luke 7:31 - A Non-original Phrase in the Textus Receptus

MS 270 does not have "And the Lord said"
in Luke 7:31.  The verse begins a lection
and a Eusebian Section (#73/5).
          The Textus Receptus – the Greek text from which the New Testament was translated in the King James Version, the New King James Version, and the Modern English Version (and others) – contains an introductory phrase at the beginning of Luke 7:31:  “And the Lord said” (in Greek, ειπεν δε ο κυριος).  An investigation of this little phrase may have a significant impact not only on an accurate reconstruction of the text of this particular verse, but also on a larger issue involving the King James Version.
          The phrase “And the Lord said” is not in Luke 7:31 in most major recently-made translations of the New Testament.  This is not surprising, because instead of being based on the Textus Receptus, the NIV, NASB, NRSV, ESV, etc. are based primarily on the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece compilation, which relies very heavily on the Alexandrian Text – a text that is transmitted by a relatively small number of manuscripts, but which many researchers consider to be of higher quality than the Byzantine Text, which is supported by a much higher number of manuscripts.  The Alexandrian Text does not contain this phrase.
MS 10 does not have "And the Lord said" in Luke 7:31.
A "telos" in the text means that a lection ends at this point.
The lection-note in the lower margin means,
"Lection for Friday of the third week [after New Year's Day]
- begin with 'The Lord said, "To what shall I liken."'"
          The Textus Receptus usually agrees with the Byzantine Text.  In the Gospel of Luke, there are 220 disagreements between the Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Text (these sums are based on a comparison of Scrivener’s 1881 reconstruction of the Textus Receptus, and the Robinson-Pierpont 2005 Byzantine Textform).   When one sets aside variations involving the spelling of names, and the benign interchange of similarly-pronounced vowels (a kind of variant called itacism, due to the frequent interchange of the Greek vowel iota), and word-spacing, the number of disagreements shrinks to 188.  
          If one then sets aside instances of word-order differences that do not affect the meaning of the sentence in which they occur, the number of differences between the Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Text in the Gospel of Luke is reduced to 172.   In the chapters of the Gospel of Luke that come before the reading in Luke 7:31 that is our focus, 18 differences between Scrivener’s 1881 reconstruction of the Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Text occur which are capable of having an impact on translation.  They are:

1:35 – The Textus Receptus has εκ σου (of thee).  (The NKJV does not have these words; its editors used a very slightly different form of the Reformation-era text than the KJV’s translators used)
2:12 – The Textus Receptus has τη before φατνη (the manger).  (The KJV nevertheless has “a manger.”)
2:21 – The Textus Receptus has το παιδιον (the child), clarifying the Byzantine Text’s αυτον (the pronoun “him”) which is found in the Byzantine Text.
2:22 – The Textus Receptus has αυτης (her); the Byzantine Text has αυτων (their). 
3:19 – The Textus Receptus has φιλιππου (Philip), naming the brother of Herod; the Byzantine Text does not.
4:8 – The Textus Receptus has γαρ (For); the Byzantine Text does not.
4:42 – The Textus Receptus has εζητουν (sought); the Byzantine Text has επεζητουν (sought for, sought after).
5:19The Textus Receptus has δια (by); the Byzantine Text does not.
5:30The Textus Receptus does not have των (the) before τελωνων (tax collectors).
5:36 – The Textus Receptus has επιβλημα (piece) near the end of the verse, instead of just once.
6:7 – The Textus Receptus has αυτον (him) in the opening phrase.
6:9 – The Textus Receptus ends the verse with απολεσαι (destroy); the Byzantine Text has, instead, αποκτειναι (kill).  (Here the NA/UBS compilation agrees with the TR.)
6:10 – The Textus Receptus has τω ανθρωπω (the man), clarifying the Byzantine reading αυτω (him).
6:10 – The Textus Receptus has ουτως (so); the Byzantine Text does not.
6:26 – The Textus Receptus has υμιν (unto you) in the opening phrase; the Byzantine Text does not.
6:26 – The Textus Receptus has παντες (all) before οι ανθρωποι (men).  (A significant minority of manuscripts includes this word, and here the NA/UBS compilation agrees with the TR).
6:28 – The Textus Receptus has και (and) before προσευχεσθε (pray).
6:37 – The Textus Receptus does not have και (and) before μη κρινετε (you shall not be judged).  (The 1550 compilation by Stephanus, however, includes και). 

MS 490 does not have "And the Lord said"
in Luke 7:31.
          Except for the variations at Luke 1:35, 2:22, 3:19, 6:9, and 6:26, even the translatable differences in chapters 1-7 express the same ideas, just at different degrees of clarity.  This is also true of the textual variant at the beginning of Luke 7:31 – except this variant is noticeably larger, consisting of four words:  the Textus Receptus begins Luke 7:31 with the phrase, “And the Lord said” (in Greek, ειπεν δε ο κυριος).
          There is so little support for ειπεν δε ο κυριος that even though this variant is four words long, it is not listed in the UBS Greek New Testament’s apparatus, or in the Nestle-Aland-27 apparatus.  It is covered in the newly expanded 2015 edition of Wieland Willker’s Textual Commentary on the Greek Gospels.  I have not found this exact phrase in the text of any Greek manuscripts, and although my research is not exhaustive (I checked over 20 manuscripts, sampling various Byzantine sub-groups), I suspect that it may have entered the Textus Receptus as a retro-translation from the Latin phrase Ait autem Dominus, found in the Clementine edition of the Vulgate (but not found in most earlier Vulgate manuscripts such as the Book of Kells and the Moutier-Grandval Bible  although the phrase “Tunc Iesus dixit” (Then Jesus said) appears here in Codex Perusinus, a fragmentary Vulgate manuscript made in the 500s or 600s).
MS 119 does not have "And the Lord said" 
in Luke 7:31.
          This variant is one of many exceptions to the often-repeated generalization that the Textus Receptus echoes the majority of Greek manuscripts.  Jack McElroy, in the pro-KJV book, Which Bible Would Jesus Use, states that the Byzantine text “is the form found in the largest number of surviving manuscripts and underlies the Received Text” (p. 49) – but here in Luke 7:31, the inclusion of ειπεν δε ο κυριος is opposed by the vast majority of Greek manuscripts.   The 2005 Robinson-Pierpont edition of the Byzantine Textform does not include ειπεν δε ο κυριος in Luke 7:31.  Neither does Wilbur Pickering’s compilation of the family-35 text.  And neither does the 1904 compilation by Antoniades.
The words "And the Lord said" are not in 
the text of MS 2407, but a barely visible 
lection-note in the upper margin has the words 
"The Lord said" as part of an incipit-phrase.
          So why, one might ask, are these four words in the KJV, NKJV, and MEV?  Why were they included in the Textus Receptus?  They are there in order to make the meaning of the text more obvious to ordinary readers.  The preceding two verses (Luke 7:29-30) are a parenthetical statement by Luke, but without this opening phrase in verse 31, English readers – before the use of quotation-marks was widely adopted – might think that verses 29-30 are a continuation of Jesus’ words, as if Jesus thus described the people who heard John the Baptist.  Although the original text did not have ειπεν δε ο κυριος, its presence (or, in English, the presence of “And the Lord said”) helps ensure a correct understanding of the passage.
          Even without the phrase “And the Lord said,” versions such as the HCSB, NASB, NLT, 1984 NIV, and ESV make it clear that verses 29-30 are a parenthetical comment by Luke.  In these versions, verse 31 thus resumes Jesus’ words with no introductory phrase.  The transition is obvious in modern English thanks to punctuation and quotation-marks (and, in some cases, the use of parentheses).
          In ancient Greek, however, written without quotation-marks, and with only sporadic punctuation, verses 29-30 could be interpreted as part of Jesus’ discourse.  To help readers understand that verses 29-30 are not part of Jesus’ discourse, a phrase was added from the lectionary-incipits – that is, the phrases which were used to introduce passages from the Gospels when selections were read in church-services.  The phrase “ειπεν ο κυριος” was one such phrase, and it was used in the church-services to introduce Luke 7:31-35 when the passage was annually read on the third Friday after New Year’s Day.

In Codex M, a lection-note (highlighted in yellow)  in the outer margin 
identifies Luke 7:31-35 as the lection for the Friday of the third week 
(after New Year's Day), and provides the incipit-phrase,
"The Lord said, 'To what shall I liken.'" 
          Codex Campianus (M, 021  an important uncial from the 800s) provides an example of this.  In Luke 7:31, an asterisk in the text guides the reader to the margin, where there is a note that does two things.  First, it identified Luke 7:31 as the beginning of the lection for the Friday of the third week after New Year’s Day.  Second, it instructs the lector to begin reading the lection with the words, ειπεν ο κυριος [using the usual contraction, κς] τινι ομοιωςω, that is, “The Lord said, ‘To what shall I liken.’”  (It is worth noticing that the word therefore has been left out.)  The same instructions to the lector can be observed in the margins of minuscules 8, 10, 261, 2399, 2407, and some other manuscripts that have the Byzantine lectionary-apparatus with incipit-phrases in the margins.

A faded lection-note in the upper margin of MS 8
is similar to the note in Codex M, giving the date
for the lection that begins at Luke 7:31,
with the incipit-phrase,
"the Lord said, 'To what therefore shall I liken.'"
          What the Textus Receptus conveys via the addition of four Greek words, modern English versions (based on compilations without those four words) convey via the addition of quotation-marks and parentheses.  The 2011 NIV even resorts to the same sort of thing we see in the Textus Receptus; in the 2011 NIV, Luke 7:31 begins, “Jesus went on to say.”
          This little investigation should teach us three things. 
● First:  most of the Textus Receptus’ deviations from the Byzantine Text do not affect translation.
● Second:  in cases where the Textus Receptus’ minority-readings affect translation, they usually have a clarifying or magnifying effect, bringing the original text’s meaning into sharper focus, rather than introducing some new idea.
● Third:  the Textus Receptus does not constitute the original text in its pristine form.  Here in Luke 7:31 the Textus Receptus contains an accretion – benign and helpful though it be – which can be clearly traced to the lectionary-apparatus.  Some Christians believe that the Textus Receptus is the original text, preserved in the same form in which it was written.  Some of these individuals adhere to a creed known as the Westminster Confession, which affirms in the eighth part of its first section that the New Testament, being immediately inspired by God, has been “by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages.”  The manuscript-evidence for Luke 7:31 (and other passages) compels the conclusion that if such an affirmation is to be retained, it must be with the understanding that the purity which has been providentially maintained in the Greek New Testament is an aspect of the message of the Greek text used by the church, and not its exact verbal form.

[The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. is Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™  Used by permission of Zondervan.  All rights reserved worldwide.] 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Mark 1:41 - Why the NIV is Wrong

          If you read Mark 1:41 in an NIV printed before 2011, and in an NIV made after 2011, you will find two different statements.  The early editions of the NIV say that when a leper approached Jesus seeking to be healed, Jesus was “filled with compassion.”  In 2011, the NIV was revised in order to adopt many of the changes that had been introduced in the discontinued TNIV.  Among those changes was the introduction of a different form of Mark 1:41 which states that Jesus, rather than feeling compassion, became “indignant,” that is, angry.
Mark 1:38-42 in Greek in Codex Bezae (D).
(Verse-numbers and highlight added.)
          Those two different forms of Mark 1:41 – “filled with compassion” versus “indignant” – echo two textual variants.  It’s not as if the translators have emphasized different nuances of the same Greek text.  The Greek base-text of the 2011 NIV is different from the Greek text of the 1984 NIV at this particular point.  The 1984 NIV (and the ESV, NKJV, HCSB, and KJV) reflects the Greek word σπλαγχνισθεις, which is found in a massive majority of Greek manuscripts (including Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Alexandrinus, and about 1,600 others, plus thousands of non-Greek manuscripts).  But Codex Bezae has a different readingοργισθεις.  When we turn to the Latin manuscripts, a mountain of evidence favors misertus, which supports σπλαγχνισθεις.  However, four Old Latin manuscripts support οργισθεις.  One of those four is the Latin text which accompanies the Greek text in Codex Bezae.  Codex Bezae is not only a Greek manuscript; it is Greek-Latin; its text is arranged in alternating pages – a page of Greek text is followed by the same passage in Latin, followed by a page of Greek text, followed by the same passage in Latin, and so forth.
          The reason why the compilers of the NIV’s base-text have rejected the variant that is supported by over 99.99% of the external evidence runs as follows:  copyists were more likely to adjust the text to relieve difficulties, rather than to introduce difficulties.  Codex Bezae’s textual variant in Mark 1:41 is more difficult than its rival, and therefore (it is claimed), it should be preferred.  A typical defense of οργισθεις is built on and around this question:  Which is more likely:  that scribes would be puzzled by “filled with compassion” and would replace it with “angry,” or that scribes would be puzzled by “angry” and would replace it with “filled with compassion”?  And there the question is left, as if this consideration tips the scales.
Mark 1:38ff. in Latin in Codex Bezae (d).
Iratus (angry) is highlighted.

There is, however, more to the story. 

          First, another question should be asked:  if early copyists encountered οργισθεις in their exemplars and thought it was so problematic that it must be changed, then why did they replace it with σπλαγχνισθεις instead of simply omitting the word?  In the parallel-passages in Matthew 8:2-3 and Luke 5:12-13, there is no mention of Jesus becoming filled with compassion.   If a reckless copyist was profoundly puzzled by an exemplar of Mark which read οργισθεις in Mark 1:41, his natural reaction would be to harmonize the verse to the parallel-passages by making a simple excision.  Yet instead of a finding a harmonistic omission, we see σπλαγχνισθεις dominating every Greek transmission-stream, with the exception of Codex Bezae and a few manuscripts which, as a result of harmonization, do not have σπλαγχνισθεις or οργισθεις.  (Minuscule 1358, which has been erroneously cited as support for οργισθεις, is one such manuscript.  According to Jeff Cate, the only Greek manuscripts which are known to display neither σπλαγχνισθεις nor οργισθεις in Mark 1:41 are minuscules 169, 505, 508, 1358, and lectionary 866.  In minuscule 783, an entire line was skipped at the beginning of Mark 1:41, but the error was corrected; σπλαγχνισθεις εκτεινας την χειρα αυτου appears in the margin.)
          Second, we do not encounter a consistent aversion, on the part of copyists, to the notion of Jesus being angry.  In the same manuscript in which we find οργισθεις in Mark 1:41, we even find a harmonization in which Jesus’ anger is emphasized:  in Codex Bezae, the text of Luke 6:10 is supplemented with the words εν οργη, that is, in anger, transplanted from Mark 3:5.  When we consider passages such as Mark 9:19 (where Jesus expresses exasperation), and Mark 10:14 (where Jesus is greatly displeased with His disciples’ actions), and Mark 14:6 (where Jesus curtly corrects His disciples), there is not much evidence to justify the theory that early copyists of the Gospel of Mark were averse to depictions of Jesus’ anger.
          Third, a demonstrable scribal mechanism – one for which there is abundant evidence – accounts for οργισθεις as a creation of a copyist.  As we stand in the vestibule of that subject, let’s ask a question:  how could anyone, in the course of translating the Gospel of Mark into Latin, start with σπλαγχνισθεις and end up with iratus (in anger) rather than misertus (in pity)?  Two theories have been proposed which argue that this happened due to a careless mistake. 
          In the first theory, the Latin text read, Is [i.e., Iesus, contracted as a sacred name] autem miseratus eius, and a copyist accidentally wrote “M” only once instead of twice, producing Is autem is eratus eius.  A subsequent copyist, interpreting the second occurrence of is as a superfluous repetition of Jesus’ contracted name, removed it, thus producing the sentence, Is autem eratus eius, and the shift from eratus to iratus was then merely a matter of orthography. 
          In the second theory (proposed in 1891 by J. Rendel Harris), the Latin text in Codex Bezae descended from a Latin translation which rendered σπλαγχνισθεις by the ambiguous Latin term motus, as if to say that Jesus was “stirred” or “moved.”  This ambiguous term was subsequently replaced, sometimes by misertus and sometimes – erroneously – by iratus.  Harris proceeded to propose that the Greek text in Codex Bezae was conformed to the Latin text alongside it, and that this phenomenon of retro-translation from Latin into Greek is the mechanism that produced the reading οργισθεις. 
          Harris was partly right.  As we proceed to a third (and simpler) explanation of the origin of οργισθεις, it will be worthwhile to notice some examples of the influence of the Latin text of Codex Bezae upon its Greek text.  In his 1891 article, A Study of Codex Bezae, published in Texts & Studies, Harris gave many examples of Latinization in this manuscript’s Greek text.  I will review a few of the many Latinizations that occur in Codex Bezae in the Gospel of Mark.

Mark 1:10 – The usual reading σχιζομενους (torn) is replaced by ηνυγμενους (opened), based on the Latin apertos (opened)
Mark 1:33 – The word αυτον is added, based on the Latin eius.
Mark 1:38 – The usual reading εχομενας κωμοπολεις (neighboring towns) is replaced by ενγυς κωμας και εις τας πολεις, a loose harmonization to Matthew 9:35, based on the Latin proximos vicos et civitates (nearby towns and cities).
Mark 2:25 – Codex D adds οντες (were) at the end of the verse, to correspond to the Latin erant (were).
Mark 3:5a – Instead of the usual reading πωρωσει (hardness), Codex Bezae reads νεκρωσει (deadness), based on the Latin emortua
Mark 3:5b – Codex Bezae ends the verse with ευθεως (immediately), based on the Latin statim (immediately).
Mark 3:6 – Codex Bezae, instead of stating that the Pharisees took counsel (εποιουν, the Byzantine reading), or that the Pharisees gave counsel (εδιδουν, the reading of B L 565 and a smattering of other manuscripts), says that they undertook counsel (ποιουντες), corresponding to the Latin faciebant.
Mark 6:20 – Codex Bezae adds the word ειναι (to be) at the end of the verse, corresponding to the Latin esse (to be).
Mark 6:39 – where the usual text is συμποσια συμποσια (group by group), the Latin text here is secundum contubernia (according to groups), and accordingly the Greek text in Codex Bezae is κατα την συμποσιαν.  This is manifestly a Greek translation of the Latin translation. 
Mark 7:25 – The usual Greek text has no conjunction, stating that the woman, having arrived, fell at Jesus’ feet.  But in Codex Bezae, the word και (and) has been added, expressing the word et that is found in the Latin text.
Mark 8:1-2a in Codex Bezae.
"TOUTOU" (in the yellow rectangle) was added
to correspond to the Latin parallel.

Mark 8:2 – Codex Bezae adjusts the Greek text and adds the word τουτου, echoing the Latin text which includes istam.   
Mark 10:16 – Mark uses the words Και εναγκαλισαμεος αυτα to describe how Jesus took the children in His arms.  The Latin text of Codex Bezae, however, has something very different, as if the Latin translator misconstrued the meaning of εναγκαλισαμεος:  Et convocans eos (“And He summoned them,” or, “And He called them together”).  Accordingly, the Greek text in Codex Bezae has been altered to mean what the Latin mistranslation means:  instead of εναγκαλισαμεος Codex Bezae reads προσκαλεσαμενος.

          Here in Mark 10:16 we have a situation that is very similar to the one we encounter in Mark 1:41:
● Codex Bezae has a reading that no other Greek manuscript has.
● Codex Bezae’s unique Greek reading agrees with its Latin text.
● A relatively rare word is involved.
● The second half of the Greek word in Codex Bezae resembles the second half of the word that is usually found.

          I propose that the phenomenon observed in 10:16 is also at work in 1:41.  An early translator, in the course of translating the Greek text of Mark into Latin, was puzzled by the term σπλαγχνισθεις – at least, at its first occurrence in Mark.  This is understandable, inasmuch as if one were to dissect the word in search of its meaning, one might conclude that it meant that Jesus was “gut-wrenched,” or that he “reacted viscerally.”  As the translator read the surrounding verses for further insight, he found in verse 43 that Jesus gave the healed man a strict order.  So the translator concluded that in this context, σπλαγχνισθεις meant “deeply moved” and that this could validly be rendered into Latin by iratus – dismayed, perturbed, angry. 
          With iratus thus entering the Old Latin transmission-stream, it was almost inevitable that when Greek-Latin codices were made, someone who was more familiar with the Latin text than with the Greek text would adjust the Greek text of Mark 1:41 in order to make it agree with the Latin text.  The result is what we observe in Codex Bezae.    
Matthew 10:42 in Codex Bezae.  The yellow rectangle
contains the Greek word for "water"
(a retro-translation of the Latin translation).
This is not an isolated incident.  Retro-translation occurs all over Codex Bezae.  In Matthew 10:42, where the usual text is ποτηριον ψυχρου (literally, a cup of cold; the presence of a beverage in the cup being implied), Codex Bezae reads ποτηριον υδατος (a cup of water).  That is not an arbitrary paraphrase; it is a retro-translation based on the Latin text.
          When the impact of retro-translation upon the Greek text of Codex Bezae is appreciated, the likelihood that the reading οργισθεις in Mark 1:41 is original effectively falls to zero.  It echoes a mistranslation in the Latin text that accompanied the Greek text in the codex.
          When one sifts through commentaries and articles about Mark 1:41, it is not easy to find any that mention  Codex Bezae’s Latin-based variants.  The authors are, it seems, either unaware of this highly relevant feature of the Greek text in Codex Bezae, or they are afraid to mention it.  Numerous prominent writers and commentators, such as Daniel Wallace, Bart Ehrman, Bill Mounce, Mark Strauss, Ben Witherington, N. T. Wright, and Douglas Moo, have kept this feature of the manuscript (which explains many of its anomalies, including its unique reading in Mark 1:41) a tightly guarded secret.  Not one of them, as far as I can tell, has ever mentioned it in any discussion of Mark 1:41.  If it seems as if there has been some momentum among commentators to prefer the Latinized variant in Mark 1:41, using the excuse that they are preferring the variant that explains its rivals, or that they are preferring the more difficult reading, perhaps it is because there is momentum among commentators to lose touch with (or to never become acquainted with) the special characteristics of the relevant evidence.
          When the impact of retro-translation upon the Greek text of Codex Bezae is appreciated, the likelihood that the reading οργισθεις in Mark 1:41 is original effectively falls to zero.  An incorrect text-critical decision currently mars the English text in the New International Version.  The newly released Common English Bible (CEB) perpetuates the same mistake, stating in Mark 1:41 that Jesus was “Incensed.”  The New International Reader’s Version (NIRV) begins Mark 1:41 with the sentence, “Jesus became angry.”  The Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) distributed by The Bible League begins Mark 1:41 with the sentence, “These last words made Jesus angry” – a paraphrase which is not only based on an erroneous compilation, but also projects a cause-and-effect that has no basis in any Greek text.  
          I appeal to the producers and distributors of the NIV, the NIRV, the CEB, and the ERV to remedy the unfortunate (and, very probably, under-informed) decision that the compilers of their New Testament base-text made in Mark 1:41.  In the meantime, I encourage Bible-readers to detour around those versions, if better options are available, as long as they contain such a prominent mistake that conveys a meaning that is contrary to the meaning of the original text.  

[The New International Version and New International Readers Version are trademarks ® and © 2011 by Biblica, Inc.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved worldwide.]