Monday, November 7, 2011

Matt 5:30 βληθη εις γεενναν

Some manuscripts (ℵ B f1 33 205 892 pc [lat] sy-c [mae1] bo) alter the word order and the verb to read εις γεενναν απελθη against the reading of most manuscripts (including E G K [L] M S U V W Γ Δ Θ Π Σ 0233 f13 f vg-ms sy-p.h sa [L: βληθησει εις την γεεναν]). Matthäi (72–3), commenting on 5:29, blames the the widespread influence of Origen for the alteration of βληθη into απελθη, which is represented there in D/05, the Old Latin (a b c d g1 h), the Old Syriac (sy-s.c), and the Bohairic (bo). These same versions also in 5:30 form the major support for απελθη, which is in only two Greek manuscripts from before the ninth century (ℵ B). From this situation it is at least possible, as many early Western and Alexandrian manuscripts were bilingual, that the alteration toward απελθη in Greek in both 5:29 and in 5:30 occurred due to versional cross-contamination. Also in this connection is Codex Bobiensis (k/1), an early and influential Old Latin manuscript with strong and sometimes unique affinities with ℵ B, which has no verb at all for rendering βληθη/απελθη in either verse, a circumstance that could have prompted the introduction of a verb other than the original in any descending copies and then in those that depended on them. Alternatively, Wettstein (1:302), Griesbach (1:52–3), Fritzsche (235), Kühnöl (152), and Bloomfield (GNT, 35) all consider απελθη to be an alteration derived from Mark 9:43, where that word fits well to the context but is "less suitable" (so Griesbach) and "thoroughly inept" (so Fritzsche) at this place in Matthew, perhaps due to the subject (το σωμα). Fritzsche also suggests a solution involving error of the eye (or one should say more likely of the ear while a scribe copied by dictation), namely, that the last syllable of γεενναν before βληθη caused confusion and resulted in αβληθη, which was immediately altered by conjecture to απελθη. This solution requires the earlier transposition of words, perhaps from 3:10 or 7:19. Another passage that could have suggested απελθη is 25:46. Yet Whitney (1:66) reasons that απελθη was "originally an endeavor to avoid the harsher word βληθη," and rightly cautions that internally the dissimilarity of βληθη in 5:29 and απελθη in 5:30 should carry no weight in the decision, since Jesus' "discourses, parables, and conversations generally are distinguished for the sameness of the phraseology in which identical thoughts are expressed," noting elsewhere (1:150) Jesus' fondness for lack of variety of expression, one example being ηκουσατε οτι ερρεθη (5:21, 27, 33, 38, 43). In the end, versional influence or harmonization to Mark 9:43 seem the most likely explanations for prompting the editorial alteration.

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