Sunday, November 21, 2010

Matt 4:13 Καπερναουμ

     Some manuscripts and versions (ℵ B D W* Z 0233 33 pc lat co) show preference for the spelling Καφαρναουμ, which admittedly is more similar to the Hebrew (כפר נחום). Matthäi (56) claims that Origen imported Καφαρναουμ into the text, and that Jerome followed Origen; furthermore: "Each changed particular names elsewhere according to his own judgment." This particular spelling variation may date to the very origin of the major text-types or early editions of the New Testament, since the same variation occurs everywhere (Matt 8:5; 11:23; 17:24; Mark 1:21; 2:1; 9:33; Luke 4:23, 31; 7:1; 10:15; John 2:12; 4:46; 6:17, 24, 59). While it is possible that scribes would have updated the text to reflect that name more familiar to them, it is hard to account for the fact that so many manuscripts from everywhere have Καπερναουμ. Consequently, Καφαρναουμ may reflect a critical attempt to restore a more orthographically Semitic pronunciation, a change that would have occurred very early since that spelling was used by Josephus in the first century and the Latin version depends on such a spelling (Capharnaum). Subsequently, some later occurrences of Καφαρναουμ may reflect assimilation to the predominant influence of the Latin version, or to esteemed fathers (like Origen) who frequently commented on such minutiae. The reading of most manuscripts is not without significant and diverse support (including C E K L M P S U V Wc Γ Δ Σ f1.13 [Θ: Καπαρναουμ]; Eus) and therefore cannot easily be ignored.

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