Sunday, November 21, 2010

Matt 4:13 Ναζαρετ

There is little reason to follow the primarily Egyptian orthographical preference of the few witnesses that read Ναζαρα (ℵ1 B* Z 33 k mae1; Or-pt), which was also the preference of a lone manuscript in 2:23 (P70vid). Indicative of a limited orthographical preference in conjunction with assimilation toward two popular versions (vg co), most of the manuscripts that read Ναζαρεθ here (ℵ* D E K M S U V W Θ Ω 0233 f1.13 al vg co) also read Ναζαρεθ not only in 2:23 (C K M N S W Γ Π Σ Ω 0250 f13 al lat vg [Δ f1: Ναζαραθ]) against the consensus Ναζαρετ (including ℵ B D L 33) but also in Mark 1:9 (D E F H K M U V W Θ Π f1.13 al vg co) against the consensus Ναζαρετ (including ℵ B L Γ Δ Φ a b d f; Or [Σ: Ναζαρατ]).
     Tony Pope through private email correspondence suggests the likelihood that "either it was the felt need in Greek to avoid having foreign words that end in various consonants (Greek words end only in a few possible consonants - Smyth §133), or there was a local language form of the name that influenced the orthography here." Given (1) the general unreliability of a minority of scribes in cases of orthography even in the space of two chapters, (2) the internal probability that Matthew would not have spelled "Nazareth" three different ways in as many passages (2:23; 4:13; 21:11), and (3) the chance that the spelling Ναζαρα could have come about in a minority of witnesses due to scribal attraction to the last syllable of other place names such as Ιεροσολυμα (2:1, 3; 3:5; 5:35), Ιουδα (2:6 bis), Ιουδαια (3:5), Γαλιλαια (4:15, 23), etc., in the end a preliminary preference for the majority reading Ναζαρετ is not indiscriminate.

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