Thursday, February 1, 2018

Matthew 2:11 and the Westminster Confession of Faith

Mt. 2:11 in the 1611 KJV.
In Matthew 2:11, in the passage where the wise men visit Jesus and present their gold, frankincense, and myrrh, there is a difference between the early English Bibles of the 1500’s and the King James Version:
            William Tyndale made his English translation from a printed Greek compilation that had been made earlier by Desiderius Erasmus.  Since Erasmus’ Greek compilation had the word ευρον (euron) here, Tyndales English text said that the wise men found the child.
            The Coverdale Bible, in 1535, also stated that the wise men found the chylde.
            The Geneva Bible, in 1557, was also based on a Greek base-text with ευρον, so it also said that the wise men found the child.
            The King James (Authorized) Version of 1611 says that the wise men saw the young child.  This implies that ειδον (eidon) was in the KJV’s Greek base-text.
            Neither reading brings the veracity of the text into question (inasmuch as the wise men found and saw the young child Jesus), but the original form of the passage cannot consist of both readings.            
The textual contest is easy, since the support for ειδον is more ancient, more widespread, and more abundant.  Practically everyone accepts ειδον as the original reading:  it is in the  Byzantine Textform; it is in the 1904 Antoniades compilation; it is in Pickering’s family-35 text; it is in the Nestle-Aland/UBS compilation
Although ευρον was printed in the 1500’s in Greek New Testaments compiled by Erasmus, Stephanus, and Beza (and this reading fits the Vulgate reading, invenerunt), it does not have strong Greek manuscript support. 
Lectionary 1599
supports "saw."
In minuscule 2 – a manuscript used by Erasmus in his initial compilation of the Greek New Testament – a page begins in Matthew 2:11 with the word ειδον.  It has ευρον written in the margin; the word is written in different ink than what was used for the main text; the word ειδον appears to have been underlined with the same ink in which the word in the margin was written. 
This little difference in the Greek base-texts and early printed English New Testaments of the Reformation era may shine some light on how subscribers to the Westminster Confession of Faith should interpret their creed’s statements about the preservation of Scripture – specifically, the part that states that the Old Testament in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek, being inspired by God, have been, “by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages.” 
A form of “Confessional Bibliology” has arisen which interprets the WCF’s reference to textual purity as a reference not only to the message of the text but to the exact form of the text, as if all text-critical questions are settled.  Since the Westminster Confession of Faith affirms that the text has been kept pure in all ages, it is proposed that this means that the Textus Receptus must be upheld as the authoritative New Testament text and that this renders investigations of manuscripts and other textual evidence superfluous; the Textus Receptus is the text. 

But this variant in Matthew 2:11 shows that to an extent, there was no “theTextus Receptus in the 1640’s, when the Westminster Confession of Faith was formulated.  There were multiple editions of the New Testament, and their contents varied in small details such as here in Matthew 2:11. 
How could anyone, reading editions of the Greek New Testament prepared by Erasmus, Stephanus, and Beza with ευρον in Matthew 2:11, and the Authorized Version that echoes ειδον instead, say that both forms of the verse are pure?  By understanding “pure” as a reference to the general character of the text, and not to every little detail.
The author of the preface to the King James Version, The Translators to the Reader, seems to have had an idea something like that in mind when he wrote the following (slightly modernized): 
“We do not deny, nay we affirm and avow, that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English, set forth by men of our profession, (for we have seen none of theirs of the whole Bible as yet) contains the word of God, nay, is the word of God.”
(Before continuing, I interrupt to explain something:  by “our profession,” the author was referring to the translators’ profession of faith, as opposed to the Roman Catholicism.  The Rheims New Testament, which Roman Catholic scholars had translated from a Latin Vulgate base, had been translated in 1582, but the complete Bible (now known as the Douay-Rheims) had not been read by the author of the KJV’s preface at the time he wrote.  This is the context in which the reference to “profession” should be understood; it is not as if professional butchers and bakers were creating new Bible translations; nor is it as if the author meant that anything with the words “Holy Bible” on the cover is the Word of God; he meant that even the least-esteemed English Bible produced by Protestants, at the time he wrote, was the Word of God.)  
A few sentences later the preface-writer continued:     
A man may be called comely and lovely, though he has some warts upon his hand, and not only freckles upon his face, but also scars.  There is no reason therefore why the word translated should be denied to be the word, or forbidden to be current, notwithstanding that some imperfections and blemishes may be noted in the setting forth of it.”
Codex K supports "saw" in Mt. 2:11,
with a spelling-related variant.
Now if a person were to say that regardless of whether an English Bible says “found” or “saw” in Matthew 2:11, it is the Word of God – and the preface-writer affirms this to be the case – then the speaker would have to be referring to the general character of the text, and not its exact form.  Both forms of the text are pure to the extent that neither one teaches an error, even though one of them must be the textual equivalent of a scar left from an injury received from an inattentive or undisciplined copyist. 
The claims of some “Confessional Bibliologists” to the effect that subscribers to the Westminster Confession of Faith are obligated to use the Textus Receptus are therefore not well-grounded.  For although it is convenient to appeal to a “settled” text, the Textus Receptus itself was not 100% settled throughout the 1500s and early 1600s.  Not only in Matthew 2:11, but in some other passages, too, there are variations in the exact form of the Greek text used in that period. 
Minuscule 700, a Gospels-MS
with many unusual readings,

supports "saw" in Mt. 2:11.
Thus, assuming that the formulators of the Westminster Confession wrote from a sufficiently informed position – that they knew about differences in printed editions of the Textus Receptus and about the differences in the English versions based upon it – it seems precarious, presumptive, and arbitrary to assume that they intended for their words to strictly refer to one and only one edition of the Greek text.  Adherents to the Westminster Confession of Faith might feel obligated to refuse to accept Greek variants which convey a meaning opposed to that of the reading of the vast majority of Greek manuscripts – but there are not many such variants. 


  1. “In the sixteenth-century controversy with Rome, the English Reformed theologians, Jewel, Whitaker, and Cartwright explained in great detail why the Scripture were the supreme authority in matters of faith and life. They emphasized not only the reasons why the Pope or the church could not be that authority, but why the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scriptures could only fulfill that role. In their arguments they stressed the providential preservation of the complete text of Scripture to the very words which God had dictated to His prophets and apostles. They did not deny that some textual decisions had to be made from the variants evident in the New Testament copies or that there were numerical and other minor blemishes in the copies. But they were confident they could be resolved by internal considerations including consulting the Old Testament. They stressed that the original language texts which had been immediately inspired by God were extant, and that they were pure. They did not mean pure in sense or in doctrine only, but in words and sentences. Moreover, they appealed to proof texts such as Matt. 5:18 to confirm the Scripture’s testimony of their religious epistemology.”

    Garnet Milne, “Has the Bible been kept pure?” (pp. 95-96)

  2. A. J. MacDonald,
    Just because an error is expressed in print by someone does not make it any less erroneous.
    Please pause and consider that Milne, it seems, was attempting to affirm that the original text of Matthew 2:11 has EURON, and that this reading was providentially preserved for church-use in every age, while in the same world the reading EIDON dominates the manuscripts in every age.

  3. Would you say the framers of the WCF considered the extant original language texts to be generally incorrupt and pure because Catholics, at the time, were arguing the opposite? Saying the extant original language texts were generally corrupt and impure?

    I think the WCF framers' polemic with Catholics of their day shaped the way they framed and stated the issue in the WCF. They weren't speaking of an abstract, metaphysical purity; they were speaking of purity, as in useful for Scripture alone as a rule for faith and life, as opposed the Catholic conception of impurity, as in we need the Roman Church as our guide for faith and life.

  4. Brother James Snapp,
    The TR is consistent in using εὗρον.
    the Latin in Migne PG 41 is "invenerunt"
    Yes, there is Greek Witness for εὗρον in Matthew 2:11 QUOTED BY EPIPHANIUS.
    Courage and Godspeed
    Matthew 2:11 "found" Epiphanius Salamis. Panarion. : εὗρον τὸ Βρέφος μετ̀α Μαρίας
    Book II, Tom I, Haers LI
    [Haers 31, sive 51]
    Migne PG 41, 905-906 A-B
    Κατὰ τῆς αἱρέσεως τῆς μὴ δεχομένης τὸ κατὰ Ἰωάννην εὐαγγέλιον καὶ τὴν
    αὐτοῦ Ἀποκάλυψιν
    Quae Joannis Evangelium et Apocalypsin rejicit, quam Amentium appellat, haeresis XXXI, siv LI.
    [431][9 = θ]... ἀλλὰ ὡς ἔχει τὸ Εὺαγγέλιον, ὅτι ὡδήγει, φησὶν, αὐτοὺς ὁ ἀστὴρ ἅχρι τοῦ τόπου, "οὗ ἦν ἐκεῖ τὸ παιδίον. Καὶ εἰσελθόντες εἰς τὸν οἶκον, εὗρον τὸ Βρέφος μετ̀α Μαρίας, " οὐκέτι ἐν φάτῃ, οὐκέτι ἐν σπηλαίῳ, ἀλλ’ ἐν οἴκῳ· ἵνα γνωσθῇ τῆς ἀληθείας ἡ ἀκρίβεια καὶ τοῦ χρόνου τῶν
    δύο ἐτῶν τὸ διάστημα, τουτέστιν ἐξότου ἐγεννήθη ἕως ὅτε παρεγένοντο οἱ μάγοι.
    sed, ut Evangelius narrat, stella illos ad eum locum perduxit, "ubi erat puer. Et intrantes demum invenerunt puerum cum Maria"...
    MIGNE PG 41, 905-906 A-B
    PDF: Bottom of Page 239
    The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III. De Fide.
    Second Edition.
    Translated by Frank Williams
    Brill, 2013.
    English Translation: Vol 2, p. 34-35 [also: page 662]
    6,1 Against the sect which does not accept the Gospel according to John,
    and his Revelation. 31, but 51 of the series115
    9,9 But then, after the census, everyone went back to wherever they
    lived and room was made in Bethlehem. (10) Now when < the > first year
    was over and the second year had passed, Christ’s parents came from Nazareth
    to Bethlehem as though to the original gathering—as a sort of memorial
    because of what had happened there. (11) Thus the arrival of the magi
    occurred on this occasion, and probably not during Mary’s and Joseph’s
    visit at the time of the census which Luke mentions. For the magi did not
    find Mary in the cavern where she gave birth but, as the Gospel says, "the
    star led them to the place where the young child was. (12) And they entered
    the house and found the baby with Mary" - no longer in a manger, no longer
    in a cave, but in a house—showing the exact truth and the two-year interval,
    that is, from Christ’s birth until the arrival of the magi.

  5. Brother James Snapp,
    Please Note that Fortunatiantus Latin text is the EXACT SAME AS THAT OF Epiphanius (in the Migne Edition). "Intrantes domum inveniunt puerum cum Maria"
    This would seem to indicate that the Greek used in Fortunatiantus Gospel read "εὗρον τὸ Βρέφος μετ̀α Μαρίας".
    Fortunatinanus is another Witness to the Greek Text found in the TR for Matthew 2:11.
    Courage and Godspeed.
    Fortunatianus Aquileiensis Commentary on the Gospels. CSEL 103
    M. long. III.
    Intrantes domum inveniunt puerum cum Maria matre eius et procedentes agnitum adoraverunt eum et de thensauris offerunt ei munera aurum, thus et mirram.
    Entering the house to discover a child with his mother Mary, and they bowed forward and acknowledged the treasury and offer him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
    English Translation PDF: p. 17-19

    Seeing the star, they rejoice.116 Having found that the truth was already on earth, they believed what had been foretold because they saw everything for themselves. Entering the house they find the boy with Mary his mother. Approaching and recognising him, [465] they worshipped him, and offer him gifts from their treasure chests: gold, incense and myrrh.117 Entering the house: the house is the Church, in which we obtain faith, being renewed through the baptismal font. They find the boy with his mother, meaning the Son of God, our Lord, in his Church. Approaching and recognising him, they worshipped him, knowing too that he had come in bodily form for the
    [PAGE 18]
    sake of humanity. They open their treasure chests and offer gifts: gold, incense, myrrh. It is evident that this literally happened. [470] For Isaiah had said that it would come to pass in this way at the birth of a boy: And the Lord said to me: Call his name, swiftly take away the spoils, quickly plunder, because before the boy knows how to call father or mother he will receive the power of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria against the king of the Assyrians, meaning Herod.118 As for their offering of gold, incense and myrrh, they offer him gold as an indication of kingship, incense as to a god, myrrh to show that he must suffer [475] and be buried for the salvation of humanity. Therefore, because the Magi are the figure of believers from the nations, we can bend their gifts in figures.

  6. Fortunatianus Aquileiensis
    Commentarii in evangelia
    [Commentaries on the Gospels]
    Ed. by Dorfbauer, Lukas J.
    Series:Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 103
    Latin PDF: p. 31-32
    "Videntes stellam gaudent." Inventa veritate iam *in terra praedicta credentes,
    quod coram omnia cernerent.
    "Intrantes domum inveniunt puerum cum Maria matre eius et procedentes agnitum adoraverunt eum et de thensauris offerunt ei munera aurum, thus et mirram. Intrantes 16v domum:" Domus ecclesia, in qua fidem percipimus per lavacrum renascentes. Inveniunt puerum cum matre eius, id est filium dei dominum nostrum in ecclesia sua. Et procedentes agnitum adoraverunt: Et scientes hominum causa venisse eum in corpore. Apertis thensauris offerunt munera aurum thus mirra⟨m⟩: Quae simpliciter facta manifestum est. Nam Eseias nato puero ita futurum dixerat: Et dixit dominus mihi: 470 Voca nomen eius, velociter spolia detrahe, cito praedare, quia priusquam sciat puer vocare patrem aut matrem *accipiet virtutem Damasci et spolia[e] Samariae contra regem Assyriorum, id est Herodem. Quod autem offerunt aurum, ⟨thus et mirram, aurum⟩ in significationem regni, thus ut deo, mirram ostendentes, quod pati habebat pro salute[m] hominum et sepeliri. Igitur quia magi credentium ex nationibus 475 habent figuram, munera in figuris possumus †retorquere† ex gentibus igitur credentes martyria faciunt, quae ut aurum per ignem probatur. Accepimus, *quod, qui
    [PAGE 32]
    se ipsos hostias deo praebent et ⟨ut thus⟩ efficiuntur boni odores in vitam, ⟨in⟩ mirra[m], qua se libenter pro nomine fili dei morti tradunt, sepulturae habent gratiam et dignitatem. Dicunt ergo magi 480 Ubi est, qui natus est rex Iudeorum, inventum adorant, offerunt ei munera: Ostendebat omnes nationes facilius confessuras et 17r inquisituras regem Iudeorum, Christum adoraturas et pro nomine eius martyria facturas, quam Iudeos, ad quos proprie venit ⟨et⟩ ex quibus carnem accepit, ut dicit apostolus: Ex quibus patres et ex quibus Christus, qui est benedictus deus in saecula. 485 Amen.

  7. Brother James Snapp,
    Further, I would point out that the Dort Study Bible, also reads "found". This is a very important witness since it was commissioned by the Synod of Dort and made a fresh translation (under very strict constraints) for the Dutch people. The Edition was so wonderfully done, that the Westminster Divines commissioned an English Translation by Haak.
    All the readings of the KJV were affirmed by this work.
    The council of all Protestant Churches gathered the scholars (including KJV translators and others from Geneava -- Diodati).
    Courage and Godspeed.
    Dort Study Bible : Translated by Haak
    And being come into the house, they found the young child [Otherwise, they "saw"] with Mary his mother: falling down they worshipped the same. And having opened their treasures, they brought unto him gifts; Gold, and Frankincense, and Myrrhe.

  8. Midus Itis,
    It is indeed true that Epiphanius supports "found" in Mt. 2:11.
    Fortunatianus (whose newly discovered work was described here a while ago) echoes the Old Latin text that also supports "found."
    A few other references can be tracked down by tracing the list in Edward Miller's Textual Commentary on Matthew 1-14.
    But those references, combined, do not come close to the weight of the evidence for EIDON.

  9. It is interesting to see that Nestle-Aland 27th Edition DOES NOT have any references to Epiphanius quote. In fact, they have "474 al lat".
    I also found evidence in Irenaeus. I think that reading the fathers needs to something Christians do. Don't depend on the Eclectic Textual apparatus.
    Thanks for the tip on Edward Miller.
    Courage and Godspeed.

  10. "close to the weight of evidence for..."
    Epiphanius of Salamis died in 403 AD and his work is in Greek.
    Fortunatianus Aquileiensis wrote his commentary about 350 AD.
    Christian witness should be more weighted than manuscripts of unknown provenance.
    Let me add Codex Alexandrinus as well:
    Courage and Godspeed.

  11. Brother James,
    I owe it to you and your newsletter that I became aware Fortunatianus Aquileiensis Commentarii in evangelia.
    Much thanks for your excellent work and newsletter.
    I have also read many of your other works and watched your YouTube videos.

  12. Midus Itis,
    Codex Alexandrinus is not extant for Mt. 2 (or any of the first 25 chapters of Matthew).

    The Latin translation of Irenaeus' Book 3 of Against Heresies supports "saw" (videntes) in his reference to the passage.

  13. Brother James Snapp,
    Irenaeus has no such support for "seen". Irenaeus NO WHERE QUOTES MATTHEW 2:11.
    If you are referring to Book 3.16.4, Irenaeus talks through the passage as he does earlier in Book 3.9.2.
    Please be kind and provide a specific reference to the Father (as NA 27 gives no reference I was at a loss of where you are looking).
    However, I did the homework before I posted anything on this. Irenaeus does not quote Matthew 2:11 in any of his work _Against the Heresies_.
    Only Harvey gives a Margin cross reference "Matthew 2:11,12".
    Below are my findings.
    Irenaeus does not support the reading "saw" because he does not quote the verse. The context as in Book 3.9.2 is on "recognizing".
    Courage and Godspeed.

    Irenaeus Bk 3.16.4
    on beholding whom the shepherds glorified God; whom John, while yet in his mother's womb, and He (Christ) in that of Mary, recognising as the Lord, saluted with leaping; whom the Magi, when they had seen, adored, and offered their gifts [to Him], as I have already stated, and prostrated themselves to the eternal King, departed by another way, not now returning by the way of the Assyrians.
    Apostolic Fathers Vol 1, page 442.
    No Scripture Reference
    Harvey Edition 1857, Vol 2, page 85
    Cross Reference Margin for Matthew 2:11,12
    No Scripture Citation : No Italicized text
    Migne PG vol 7, 923-924 C
    No Scripture Citation for Matthew 2:11

  14. Brother James Snapp,
    My bad, I thought I had found a good transcription of the codex which I could read easily.
    Thanks for the headup.
    Courage and Godspeed.

  15. Midus Itis,
    Regarding Codex A: in some older editions of MS-transcripts it was customary to fill in gaps with the TR; that is what happened in that presentation of Codex A, it seems. The NT portion of the MS itself can be viewed online in good digital images:

    Regarding Irenaeus: see A.H. Book 3, chapter 16, par. 4:
    "whom the Magi, when they had seen, adored, and offered their gifts [to Him], as I have already stated, and prostrated themselves to the eternal King, departed by another way, not now returning by the way of the Assyrians."
    The Latin text is here (page 70):

  16. Concerning the Woide/Cowper transcription of Alexandrinus I posted before, I now see the brackets for these chapters not represented in the Alexandrinus Codex.
    Also, thanks for your posting, I corrected my Textus Receptus from the Trinity Foundation. Sad that Scrivener lost faith and changed "saw" to "found". I have to get a 1624/1633 TR clean edition from somewhere.
    As for Matthew 2:11: Irenaeus, the reference editions make it quite clear that no such "support" can be gleaned from the passage(s) in Irenaeus for the NT Greek reading "saw" of Matthew 2:11. Epiphanius of Salamis Greek Text is conclusive and irrefutable support for the reading "found" in Scripture. A direct quote of Matthew 2:11 and a Christian witness in a context (refuting critics and heretics) that cannot be questioned, dismissed, or explained away (i.e., something that the reasoned eclectic of necessity rejects in favor of its false claims of "science so-called").
    Courage and Godspeed.

  17. Correction: Scrivener changed "found" to "saw" in Matthew 2:11 when all the TRs read "found".

  18. Midus Itis,
    Yes, Epiphanius' statement is on the scales for "found."
    But I would also put Irenaeus' statement on the scales for "saw" -- again, here's the key phrase: ""whom the Magi, when they had seen, adored, and offered their gifts". Surely if Irenaeus had written, "Whom the Magi, when they had found, adored," etc., it would be considered support for EURON, so, directly or indirectly, this is imho a clear utilization of Mt. 2:11 with EIDON.
    Plus there's the other evidence, ancient and very widespread. Even Burgon, if Miller's citation is correct, favored EIDON. Pickering favors EIDON. I've seen EIDON in lectionaries (such as the Argos Lectionary, shown). And it's got huge MS-support.

  19. Brother James Snapp,
    I stick with the reference editions judgement on this. And moreover, the word "saw" is very common as opposed to "found".

  20. Brother James Snapp,
    I think you misunderstand my insistence on "found".
    1. God inspired the Reformation.
    2. The TR was a work of God purifying and cleansing the Greek text purging the text from the humanism and scholasticism of the time (even among the reformers like Erasmus).
    3. The many English translations from the original languages were a work of God (and are very much alike).
    4. The confessions that used these verses as proof texts and the divines that defended these verses (and the TR), both are a Christian witness to the work of God and to the authenticity of the text and verses. "The Scripture cannot be broken" was Whitaker's foundation Scripture Reference.
    5. The Christian witness culminated in the Synod of Dort wherein all the Protestant churches (excluding the heretics) joined together and among other decrees, commissioned a new translation based on the original languages from the greatest scholars in Europe for the Dutch people (many who were responsible for the KJV and others like Diodati from Geneva). This translation was done strictly under the direction of the Synod (which was at first intended to use the KJV translation rules, but finding them not strict enough drew up their own).
    6. The Dort Study Bible was so acclaimed that the Westminster Divines requested the English Parliament to commission an English translation for the English speaking Christians (by Haak).
    7. The Translateor of Dort study bible retained all the verses of the Reformed bibles and added their notes as well.
    In conclusion the Reformed bible became THE BIBLE for Christendom for hundreds of years and the texts used to translate it (TR and The 1525 Hebrew Masoretic Text of Jacob ben Hayyim ibn Adonijah) became the original language texts of the Reformed Christian world.
    Christian witness is necessary part of the textual variants debate, as it is in all areas of the Christian history. These facts demonstrate a great many scholars supported the text and never before has there been such men and such affirmation of the Scriptures.
    Jesus words guarantee God's Special Divine Providence has been promised to guard the Scriptures from corruption and destruction. God's witness is greater.
    Courage and Godspeed.

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Scrivener : Matthew 2:11
    Follow up.
    I got the Publication date for Scrivener from biblehub.
    But it looks like there may be an error on the site.
    Scrivener's Textus Receptus 1894
    καὶ ἐλθόντες εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν, εἶδον τὸ παιδίον μετὰ Μαρίας τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ, καὶ πεσόντες προσεκύνησαν αὐτῷ, καὶ ἀνοίξαντες τοὺς θησαυροὺς αὐτῶν προσήνεγκαν αὐτῷ δῶρα, χρυσὸν καὶ λίβανον καὶ σμύρναν.
    I have not found an 1894 edition.
    Further, all Scrivener's editions have εὗρον.
    Very strange.

  23. Matthew 2:11 in Scivener's Editions
    Scrivener's Greek NT, first published in 1860.
    I have these editions 1860, 1865, 1875.
    In all these editions Matthew 2:11 reads εὗρον

    1860 Scrivener NT

  24. Matthew 2:11 & Scrivener Editions
    All Scrivener's editions are published by Cantabrigiae : Deighton, Bell et soc. ; Londini : Whittaker et soc., G. Bell et filii (1860 to 1906).
    ALL THESE EDITIONS READ "found" in Matthew 2:11
    The 1894 edition of Scrivener has been changed to favor the Revised Version and published by Cambridge University Press.
    THIS EDITION READS "saw" in Matthew 2:11.
    Title: The New Testament in the Original Greek According to the text followed in the Authorised Version together with the variations adopted in the Revised Version. Edited for the Syndics of the Cambridge University press by the late F.H.A. Scrivener_. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1894.

  25. The footnote to the 1598 edition of Beza (which has in the main text ευρον) says:
    in omnibus vetustis exemplaribus scriptum legimus ειδον viderunt (we read it written in all the ancient copies ειδον they saw).
    Is this indicating that Beza aware of the fact that ευρον was not actually the correct reading?
    Stephanus 1550 also has in the margin (while having ευρον in the main text): ειδον. εν πασι (they saw in all (copies?)). Is this also an acknowledgement that ειδον is actually the correct reading being attested by all ancient copies?

  26. I wouldn't say there are no versions of the Greek New Testament with the text as we had it during the Reformation that supported the reading εἶδον in Matthew 2:11. After all, we find the word εἶδον in both the Complutensian (1520) as well as - perhaps more significantly - the Nuremberg Polyglot (1599) by Elias Hutter. The latter of these is also our probable source for where we get our John 8:6 reading (μὴ προσποιούμενος) in the Authorized Version from (where John 8:6 reads, "as though he heard them not"). The former source (Complutensian) is also a good early witness for readings such as ἔξωθεν (without) instead of "within" in Revelation 11:2, which Beza's TR also contains as well. So basically, the KJV translators could have accessed Hutter's Greek New Testament, if not the Complutensian Polyglot to get this reading in Matthew 2:11. Alternatively, they could have simply accessed the Greek manuscripts that were also used by Hutter and/or the Complutense University, which contained this (and other) reading(s).


  27. Now I would also add that it is possible that the translators for the Authorized Version were using either variant that exists in Matthew 2:11 in different TR versions, because of the fact that the meaning of the English word "saw" could conceivably have been translated from either form of the Greek in this case. The difference is arguably not to the extent that it would absolutely necessitate a change in translation, as the context of a sentence necessarily informs the translation of the word. Take the plural, "sabbaths" being translated as singular "sabbath" in Matthew 12:1 and Matthew 28:1. Or, the translation of the pronoun in Luke 2:22, where another variant in the Greek in fact does exist between Stephanus and Beza editions respecting plural and singular respectively, but the variant-unit's impact on the translation (as in the example of Matthew 12:1 and Matthew 28:1) is arguably negligible.

    There are in fact a very limited number of what are clearly impactful variants between TR editions (such as, those of Stephanus and Beza), which I would not argue to be negligible. For example, First John 3:16 containing "of God" or not. In those cases, I've seen the Authorized version follow suit in what I would consider to be the most accurate variant, where applicable.