Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Matt 6:21 υμων . . . υμων

A few related witnesses and others (ℵ B 1. 372. 1582 lat co; Bas) twice have the singular personal pronoun σου instead of the plural υμων, as in the general consensus (including E G K L M S U V W Γ Δ Θ Π Σ Φ Ω 0233 [Byz 1500+ mss] f1.13 33. 565. 1424 f sy bo-pt goth). Griesbach (Commentarius, 74) advocates the minority reading since "υμων could have crept in from the parallel passage of Luke 12:34 and also could have been pleasing to scribes because Jesus in vv. 19 and 20, to which this verse is attached, had addressed the listeners in the plural number. However, in Matthew the singular often displaces the plural, and vice versa."
     But Bengel (Apparatus, 110) judges that the singular entered from the following verse, and further explains (Gnomon, 195–6): "The objects which are mentioned in ver. 22, 23 (consequentia) are in the singular, those which are mentioned in ver. 19, 20 (antecedentia), with which this verse is connected, are in the plural number. The plural therefore must stand in this verse. The singular, 'thesaurus tuus,' 'thy treasure,' easily crept into the Latin Vulgate, and was convenient to the Greeks for ascetic discourses." Wettstein (1:330) rejects the minority reading because in his judgment the witnesses for it are "not very reliable." Bloomfield (GNT, 48) says that σου "was doubtless an alteration to adapt the word better to the singular σου at the next verse; the purblind Critics failing to see that the plural υμων is as suitable to a general injunction as the singular σου is to a particular illustration, which is made such for effect's sake. Thus at v. 24 the plural form is resumed, when the language of injunction is resumed."
     The saying assumes a wide variety of forms in the church fathers:

θησαυρος . . . νους του ανθρωπου (Justin)
νους τινος . . . θησαυρος αυτου (Clement of Alexandria)
νους του ανθρωπου . . . θησαυρος αυτου (Clement of Alexandria)
θησαυρος . . . καρδια (Origen [2x]; Gregory of Nyssa; Catena in Acts; Pseudo-Macarius [2x])
θησαυρος εκαστου . . . καρδια (Origen)
θησαυρος του ανθρωπου . . . καρδια αυτου (John Chrysostom [7x]; Catena in Matthew)
θησαυρος σου . . . καρδια σου (Eusebius; Ephrem; Basil of Caesarea; Evagrius Ponticus; Catena in Luke; Pseudo-Macarius [2x])
θησαυρος σου . . . καρδια (Basil of Caesarea [2x])
θησαυρος . . . καρδια σου (Didymus; John Chrysostom; Pseudo-Macarius)
θησαυρος υμων . . . καρδια υμων (Ephrem, John of Damascus)
θησαυρος . . . καρδια υμων (Photius)

Hans Dieter Betz (The Sermon on the Mount [ed. Adela Y. Collins; Hermeneia 54; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995], 437) notes the possibility that an older proverb has been purposefully deplatonized in Matt 6:21, which Justin and Clement have replatonized. Text-critically, an original plural υμων with the singular θησαυρος and καρδια could have provoked natural alterations, such as (1) a change to the third person singular (Justin, Clement, Origen, John Chrysostom), (2) the elimination of the plural pronoun (Origen, Gregory of Nyssa), (3) a change to conform the number of the pronoun to the number of the noun (Eusebius, Ephrem, Basil of Caesarea, Evagrius Ponticus). If Betz' hunch is correct and the saying in the tradition upon which Matt 6:21 hangs had singular genitival nouns/prounouns, this also might explain the wide diversity away from the plural. Additionally, one might argue a common Caesarean origin behind those few witnesses that read soυ (ℵ B 1. 372. 1582) and certain fathers who do so (Eusebius, Basil, Evagrius), although alteration to the second person pronoun for homiletical reasons could also have been in effect.


  1. Thanks for these commentaries. I appreciate your work on this blog.


    1. Dear Casey,

      Thanks for your comment. I've been away from the Internet in an underdeveloped part of the world the last two weeks and so the delay...



  2. Dear Dr. Robinson: I know this is off topic, but I wanted to encourage you and thank you for the piece you contributed to the "Perspectives on the ending of Mark". I personally thought your article was among the strongest argued and frankly was relieved to find someone who still holds to Matthean Priority!

    I've been studying the GNT since 1993 and though starting out as a Reasoned Eclectic (mainly because that was the majority report view I was exposed to early on), yet because of your research, I've come to realize I'm truly a Majority Text man at heart. Keep up the good work!

    1. Dear Mahlon,

      Thanks for your comment! I've forwarded it to Dr. Robinson by email in case he didn't read it on the blog. I'm sure your comment will brighten his day.