Saturday, October 9, 2010

Matt 1:18 γεννησις

Although instead of γεννησις (birth) a number of old manuscripts (p1 ℵ B C P S W Z Δ Θ Σ f1 579 pc) have γενεσις (birth, origin), the greater antiquity of the former (γεννησις) is demonstrated in part by Irenaeus in the second century and Origen in the third. Grotius (1:21) flatly states that "at one time most manuscripts had γενεσις (beginning)," and that whoever wrote Dialogi adversus Macedonianos not only cites it in this way, but clearly adds, 'η γενεσις ειπεν ουχ η γεννησις' ('beginning' is read, not 'birth'), and used this argument to show οτι τον ναον του σωματος του Χριστου το Πνευμα το αγιον εκτισε (the temple of the body of Christ was built by the Holy Spirit), and once again, πρωτον γενεσιν ακουε του ναου και τοτε γεννησιν (understand first the beginning of the temple, then the birth)." Mill (Prolegomena:72 [§757]) writes: "But there are also many alterations: Ιησου η γενεσις ουτως ην in Matt 1:18, as the author of Dialogi 3 de Trin §25 says, 'η γενεσις ουχι η γεννησις': and so perhaps certain manuscripts of his time. But γενεσις crept in from the beginning of this chapter." Furthermore, in regard to Maximus the Confessor, Mill elaborates (Prolegomena:99 [§1021]): "But also elsewhere in the third Dialogi, so the orthodox one: 'η γενεσις ειπεν, ουχι η γεννησις' (Matt 1:18). But since γενεσις only existed in a certain few manuscripts and indeed appears to have been transferred from the first verse of this chapter, and as γεννησις is in all current manuscripts and is that which accords with [true] orthodoxy, it follows that this one rather than the former is to be read." Bengel (Gnomon, 110) expounds that εγεννηθη in 1:16 and γεννησις here refer mutually to each other, the latter including both the conception (γεννηθεν, 1:20) and the nativity (γεννηθεντος, 2:1). Rinck (247) suggests that this evangelist appears to establish a distinction between the ancestry of Christ (γενεσις) in verse 1 and his nativity (γεννησις) in verse 18. Wettstein (1:222–3) argues that the orthodox would use γενεσις to say that Jesus materially became mankind, that the Greeks used this word in their lectionary title for this passage, that the use of γενεσις in 1:1 signifies something different, and that Jesus, although referred to with γινομαι in Scripture (Gal 4:4; Rom 1:3; John 1:4), is nevertheless clearly referred to with γενναω in Matthew (1:20, 2:1), and for these reasons the reading that appears in the vast majority of all Greek manuscripts, namely, γεννησις, was without doubt the reading that proceeded from Matthew. Matthäi (33) argues that γεννησις was rashly changed into γενεσις from the scholia of scribes, quotes a scholium showing indifference toward distinguishing the two terms, and furthermore notes that scribes repeatedly intermingled the words γενναω and γινομαι even in other writers, just as they do βαλειν and λαβειν. Given that γεννησις is the older reading, reflects the consensus of all Greek and Old Latin manuscripts and is more consistent with Matthew's contextual literary technique (cf. 1:20 and 2:1), that γενεσις is the more classical term and was arguably more apologetically popular to the orthodox (and therefore more likely to elicit assimilation to it than away from it), that various scholia and the Greek lectionary title of the passage could have influenced the alteration of γεννησις in the text, and that the temptation to scribes would have been great to assimilate γεννησις at this place to γενεσις in 1:1 due to the presence of Ιησου Χριστου connected to the terms in both places, it is necessary to retain γεννησις as authentic. Cf. the note on Luke 1:14, where the same variation occurs, and John 8:41, where a few manuscripts alter γεγεννημεθα into γεγενημεθα (p66 N W 0250 f13 565 al). Cf. also the treatment of Burgon (Revision Revised, 119–22), who cites the following fathers in support of γεννησις: Justin, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Basil, Athanasius, Epiphanius, Gregory of Nazianzus, Cyril of Alexandria, Nestorius, Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia; Zahn (69–70), who begins his critical explanation thus: "With still greater certainty is γεννησις to be read in spite of the noble testimony for γενεσις (p1 ℵ B C P S Z Δ Σ pc)" (72); and also Lagrange (8–9). For perhaps the most thorough defense of γεννησις ever published, see Solomon Caesar Malan, A Plea for the Received Greek Text and for the Authorised Version of the New Testament (London: Hatchards, 1869), 1–31.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. I just noticed the difference in this word between the TR and the WH text. Kind of strange the modern critical text would have Jesus having an ORIGIN, as if He wasn't God.