Friday, November 11, 2011

Matt 5:32 μοιχασθαι

Due to the widespread understanding, regardless whether correct or not, that the verb μοιχαομαι was to be used for a man and μοιχευομαι (passive voice) for a woman, it is not surprising that some scribes, influenced by patristic comments or a desire for atticistic purity, altered μοιχασθαι into μοιχευθηναι (as reflected in ℵ B D W Θ f1.13 22. 33. 157. 660. 892; Cl Or Chr Theoph). The original μοιχασθαι is nevertheless preserved in most manuscripts (including E K L M S U V Δ Π Σ Ω [Byz ca. 1450 mss] 565. 579. 700. 1006. 1241. 1342. 1424. 1506; Bas). Wettstein (1:303) explains the alteration first by pointing to Theodoret and other passages where the passive verb is used for an adulteress and then by citing Thomas Magister, who cites the critical canon that "the man μοιχαται, but the woman μοιχευεται" (μοιχαται ο ανηρ, μοιχευεται δε η γυνη). "But," reasons Tischendorf (8th ed., 1:21), "this is not such a distinction that we think the evangelist neglected more than copyists, to whom μοιχασθαι, which without doubt was used in the same sense, could have seemed more suitable to be put down in conformation with μοιχαται (both here and in 19:9)." Yet, as Bloomfield (GNT, 1:36–7) states, if Mark could have neglected the distinction (cf. Mark 10:12), why not Matthew? Griesbach (1:54) provides a good summary: "μοιχασθαι is to be preferred over μοιχευθηναι. The latter was substituted in place of the former to satisfy the precepts of the grammarians, who wish to use μοιχευειν and μοιχασθαι with regard to husbands, but μοιχευεσθαι with regard to wives, and to clarify that the verb in this place should be taken in the passive sense. Hence also in 19:9 some [i.e. B C* N f1 ff1 bo] wrote ποιει αυτην μοιχευθηναι instead of μοιχαται, and already Clement of Alexandria in that very place by reason of explanation added the following to the words μοιχαται αυτην: τουτ εστιν, αναγκαζει μοιχευθηναι ["that is, he causes her to commit adultery"]. Therefore it is not at all remarkable that Origen also exhibits μοιχευθηναι in our passage.” Similarly, Meyer (303) calls μοιχευθηναι a "gloss (to be seduced to adultery) to distinguish it from μοιχαται, which follows." Hence the consensus reading should be retained.

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