Sunday, November 14, 2010

Matt 4:4 ανθρωπος

Most manuscripts (including K M S Γ Ω f13) do not have the article (ο) before ανθρωπος, but the earliest surviving manuscripts do (ℵ B C D E L P U V W Z Δ Θ Σ f1 33 892 al). Wettstein (1:270), Kühnöl (93), Rinck (249), and others suggest the article was introduced from Deut 8:3 (LXX) and Luke 4:4. In Luke more manuscripts than here, but still not the consensus, have the article. The word ανθρωπος with the article appears to be a Hebraism, with which usually only a minority of manuscripts finds fault. Fritzsche (161–2) argues that the article was omitted by those who wanted to clarify that ανθρωπος was generic, whereas by the presence of the article Matthew, and even Jesus himself, meant to signify the man, i.e., the Messiah. But perhaps it was just this theologically motivated enhancement, suggested by the Hebrew האדם and the Septuagint's ο ανθρωπος at Deut 8:3, that brought about the addition of the article at this place in Matthew and in many manuscripts of Luke.
     Additionally, the circumstance that the noun ανθρωπος is usually accompanied by the definite article normally would have caused scribes to add rather than remove it, but the transcriptional possibility of accidental omission must also be considered. If most Greek manuscripts are correct, it would appear that the addition of the article was made very early and in a variety of unrelated streams of the textual tradition, either due to assimilation to the passage in the Old Testament, theological motivation, or both. Cf. also the addition of the article before ανθρωπος by a few manuscripts in John 7:23 (B N Θ 0250 33 pc).

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