Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Matt 5:47 φιλους

The term φιλους of most manuscripts (including E K L M S U W Δ Θ Π Σ 33 1006 1342 1506 f h sy-h; Bas Lcf) is altered to αδελφους in some Greek manuscripts and other witnesses (ℵ B D Z f1.13 205 892 pc lat sy-c.p co; Cyp), and also the Textus Receptus, in order to provide a Judeo-Christian gloss or to give variation to what was thought tautological, namely, the correspondence of τους φιλους with τους αγαπωντας υμας (5:46). Cf. also the following note, Matt 5:47 τελωναι ουτως.
     Erasmus (2:30) notes that the Jews call each other brothers no matter their relation, and although he states that "most Greek manuscripts have τους φιλους υμων," he nevertheless prints αδελφους, which in turn was followed by nearly all editors until Wettstein (1:316) corrected it in the margin of his text. Bèze (1:41) follows Erasmus but also states that in his time τους φιλους is read "in all the old manuscripts." Grotius (1:213) suggests that φιλους arose in certain manuscripts by way of explanation. Apart from Wettstein (and later von Soden and Vogels), basically everyone supports the authenticity of the minority reading, αδελφους. Fritzsche (252) says that no one would have ever changed φιλους into αδελφους, Bloomfield (GNT, 1:39–40) says φιλους is "evidently a gloss," and even Scholz (1:13), who usually follows the majority text, reads αδελφους.
     Nevertheless, there are several reasons why the reading φιλους, which predominates in the Greek textual tradition, could have given rise to αδελφους.
     First, the meaning of φιλους already present in the preceding verse by way of τους αγαπωντας υμας could have perpetrated an annoyance on certain readers, scribes, editors, translators. For example, one of Mill's reasons for rejecting φιλους is because "mention of those who love, or friends, occurs in the preceding sentence" (14). Griesbach (1:59) likewise mentions that Christ already talks about friends in the previous verse but here wishes to address the Jews specifically; so also Kühnöl (170–1), who contends that "'friends' cannot be understood suitably in this place, since the discussion about them was in verse 46." Thus if the tautology annoyed modern minds, it must also have annoyed the ancients'.
     Second, the sheer frequency and ecclesiological significance (cf., e.g., 1 Thess 5:26) of the term αδελφος, which occurs thirty times more frequently than φιλος in Matthew, not only would have been less likely to have been altered, if original, but also would have been a likely choice to replace the less common term, especially given the similar pronunciation and spelling of φιλους and αδελφους.
     Third, the word αδελφος already occurs earlier in the chapter (5:22, 23, 24) with the same meaning that commentators give to it here, and no scribes felt a desire to alter it there; on the contrary, the very presence of the term in such near vicinity is more likely to have invited alteration toward it in the present case than, were it original, away from it.
     Fourth, seemingly tautological statements are not uncommon in Matthew, and should not be militated against unnecessarily here (cf., e.g., 5:29, 30; 6:14, 15, etc.). For these reasons φιλους, the reading in most manuscripts, may in fact be original.

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