Saturday, October 16, 2010

Matt 2:3 Ηρωδης ο βασιλευς

A few manuscripts (ℵ B D Z f1.13 157 273; b c k bo) transpose the expression to read ο βασιλευς Ηρωδης. However, in a phrase that contains a proper name and a title or other classifying word the normal order in the NT is the title followed by the name. For example, one finds Ιερεμιου του προφητου (2:17; 27:9), Ησαιου του προφητου (3:3; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17), Ιωνα του προφητου (12:39; 16:4), Δανιηλ του προφητου (24:15), Ανδρεαν τον αδελφον (4:18), Ιωαννην τον αδελφον (4:21), Ανδρεας ο αδελφος (10:2), Ηρωδιαδα την γυναικα Φιλιππου του αδελφου αυτου (14:3), Ιωαννην τον αδελφον (17:1), Ιησου χριστου (1:1, 18), Ιησους ο λεγομενος χριστος (1:16), Ιησου υιε του θεου (8:29), Ιησους ο προφητης (21:11, but a few manuscripts have ο προφητης ιησους), Ιησου του Γαλιλαιου (26:69), Ιησου του Ναζωραιου (26:71), Ιησουν τον λεγομενον χριστον (27:17, 22), Ιησους ο βασιλευς των Ιουδαιων (27:37). On the other hand, Matthew also writes της μητρος αυτου Μαριας (1:18) in contrast to Μαριας της μητρος αυτου (2:11), perhaps to draw attention to the relationship. Thus it is possible that the variant reading preposing ο βασιλευς is a critical alteration, either to give variation to the same expression that occurs in 2:1 (so Bloomfield, Annotations, 1) or to put focus on the title to highlight Herod's role as king in the narrative. Matthäi (37) mentions the omission of ο βασιλευς in six manuscripts, which, if not due to simple scribal error, probably resulted because scribes either considered the expression superfluous or sought to conform it to the places in the rest of the chapter where the title is missing (2:7, 12, 13, 15, 16, 19, 22). Especially as many early papyri were originally bilingual Greek/Latin manuscripts, it is also feasible that the title, after being omitted accidentally in some Latin manuscripts where it consists of only three letters (rex), could have contributed to the transposition upon its reintroduction to the text (e.g., it is written above the line in Codex H; 7th cent.). As for other possible causes, it is at least doubtful that the transposition could be due to assimilation to so remote a passage as Mark 6:14, where ο βασιλευς Ηρωδης is secure with only minor variation. In the end, there is little reason to reject the order Ηρωδης ο βασιλευς, which, in addition to most Greek manuscripts, has the support of four Greek manuscripts from the 6th century and earlier (C N W Σ), the oldest Old Latin manuscript (a/3 Vercellensis; 4th cent.) and the important Brixianus (f/10; 6th cent.), and also the Vulgate and Sahidic versions.

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