Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Matt 4:5 ιστησιν

A few manuscripts (ℵ B C D Z f1 33 205 pc lat sa) alter the present ιστησιν into the aorist εστησεν, disturbing the representation of the narrative as present (παραλαμβανει . . . ιστησιν . . . λεγει) and borrowing the tense of the verb from the parallel passage in Luke 4:9 (so Wettstein, 1:271; Bloomfield, GNT, 23; Meyer, 92). Most manuscripts (including E K L M P S U V W Γ Δ Θ Σ Ω f13), however, preserve ιστησιν. Griesbach (1:35–6) counters that Matthew altogether should have written the present, but that he sometimes mixes the tenses such as in 4:11 (αφιησιν . . . προσηλθον . . . διηκονουν), and that εστησεν would have displeased the grammarian who would have wanted to conform the tenses. Yet in that case (Matt 4:11) the narrative is interrupted by ιδου, where, in addition, the same supposed grammarian, if legitimate, appears completely unconcerned about the mixture of tenses. Moreover, as Fritzsche (164) rightly judges, scribes were more prone accidentally to change the historic present into a past tense; and after ιστησιν was altered (probably accidentally) into εστησεν, even though εστησεν was indeed "inept," it was nevertheless tolerated because of its presence in Luke 4:9, although in that place its presence is most suitable (ηγαγεν . . . εστησεν), "for not everywhere does a variation involving tenses have reason." Indeed, it is clear that a few manuscripts in any given place are always prone to change the historic present into the aorist (e.g.: 2:13, εφανη [B sa mae1]; 2:19, εφανη [sa mae]; 4:6 ειπεν [ℵ1 W Z pc] 4:9, ειπεν [ℵ B C D Z f13 33 pc], etc.). For these reasons the reading reflected in the vast consensus of the manuscripts, namely the historic present ιστησιν, should be retained.

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