Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Matt 6:7 βαττολογησητε

Although the word βαττολογησητε is spelled variously in a minority of manuscripts, the main question regards whether the letter preceding -λογησητε should read -ο- or -α-. A few manuscripts (ℵ B D2 W 13 33 pc) support -α- (i.e., βατταλογησητε), but the overwhelming consensus supports -ο- (including D* E G K L M S U Z Δ Θ Π Σ Φ Ω f1.13 565 1424). The unique spelling of D* βλαττολογησηται here is not maintained in its singular interpolation in Luke 11:2, where it reads βαττολογειτε. Griesbach prints βαττολογησητε and comments (1:67), "Uneducated scribes variously corrupted the rarely occurring word βαττολογειν." Likewise, other editors such as Lachmann, Tregelles, von Soden, etc., also follow the consensus and print βαττολογησητε.
     There is little reason why the orthographical preference for the internal -α- by a scribe here and there should be preferred to the -ο- that predominates in every Greek textual stream. Perhaps the change came about from the intentional or unintentional identification and conformation of the beginning of this NT hapax legomenon with βατταριζω, to stammer, stutter, or other Greek cognate words that begin with βατ(τ)α-. Furthermore, the very existence of such words beginning with βατ(τ)α- in Greek makes it highly improbable that so many scribes would have altered the spelling away from such; in fact, the very opposite is expected, namely, that some scribes should alter the spelling toward the -α-, as appears to have happened here. Cf. also Matt 5:1 προσηλθον for a similar localized orthographical peculiarity that need not be maintained (ℵ* B* pc: προσηλθαν).

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