Saturday, February 8, 2014

Matt 7:5 την δοκον εκ του οφθαλμου σου

Apparently only four largely related Greek manuscripts (ℵ B C 0281), influenced by the order of the words in 7:3, transpose την δοκον from before the prepositional phrase εκ του οφθαλμου σου to the more emphatic position following it. However, most witnesses, followed by Greeven, preserve the more common word order (E G K L M N S U V W X Δ Θ Π Σ Φ Ω 047 0211 0233 [Byz ca. 1520 mss] f1.13.35 33. 565. 892. 1424. 1500. 2224 latt sy-h; Ir-lat Chr).
     Many editors (Bover, Lachmann, Merk, Soden, Tischendorf [7th, 8th], Vogels) follow the minority  of manuscripts on the ground that all the others assimilated to the order in 7:5b or the parallel passage in Luke 6:42 (so, e.g., Alford, 1:70; Soden, 2:17). For this reason alone Soden (1:1448) remarks that the minority reading might even be the reading of the Jerusalem-Egyptian-Byzantine archetype!
     Alternatively, it seems much more likely that four related manuscripts should share a common ancestor that had the transposition, the origin of which was caused by (a) assimilation to the order of words in 7:3 (εν τω σω οφθαλμω δοκον), (b) a desire to emphasize the object δοκον, or (c) an initial accidental omission of την δοκον by homoeoteleuton error (ον...ον) which the scribe repaired by adding the skipped words after copying the prepositional phrase without doing harm either to the sense or to the beauty of the exemplar. It is hardly necessary to point out that the order εν τω οφθαλμω σου δοκον also appears in Luke 6:42, although accidental or intentional assimilation by the few related manuscripts to the nearer preceding order in 7:3 seems more likely than to the same in Luke.
     In short, due to the conflicting claims of internal evidence, the question is whether just four manuscripts of one type harmonized the text or whether all other manuscripts of all types did so. If the former scenario is not more likely, judgment on this variation may be held in suspense until the character of the few manuscripts in question might be ascertained from the examination of all other variations where a judgment is more certain.

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