Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Matt 6:16 ωσπερ

A few manuscripts (ℵ B D Δ f1 892 pc) have the more common ως in place of the rarer ωσπερ of most manuscripts (including Ε G K L M S U V W Γ Δ Θ Π Σ Φ Ω 0233 f13 33 1424 [Byz 1500+ mss]). On this variation, see the notes on Matt 5:48 ωσπερ and Matt 6:5 ωσπερ, which are summarized here for the sake of convenience: (1) ωσπερ is the harder reading, inasmuch as it is rarer, and scribes were naturally more prone to substitute the more common ως (450x in the NT) for its less common synonym ωσπερ (see examples below); (2) ωσπερ accords better with Matthew's style, inasmuch as it occurs at least 10 times in Matthew vs. only 7 times in Mark, Luke, John, and Acts combined); (3) scribes occasionally disliked writing the longer 5-letter word when a synonymous 2-letter word would do; (4) never in the 450 occurrances of ως in the Greek New Testament does the Alexandrian text type alter ως into ωσπερ; (5) on the other hand, in at least 10 places a minority of witnesses may be seen to alter the less common and presumably original ωσπερ of most manuscripts into the more common ως:

Matt 5:48 (ℵ B L Z Σ f1.13 33 892 1241; Cl Or)
Matt 6:5 (ℵ B D Z 33 pc)
Matt 12:40 (Or)
Matt 24:38 (ℵ B L 33 892*)
Luke 18:11 (D L Q Ψ 892 1241 pc)
John 5:21 (ℵ)
John 5:26 (ℵ* D W; Epiph)
Acts 11:15 (D)
1 Cor 10:7 (C D* K P pc)
2 Cor 1:7 (ℵ A B C D* E M P 33 pc)
Eph 5:24 (ℵ A D* F G P 33 pc; omit: B Ψ pc b)

Thus ωσπερ, supported as it is by the vast consensus of Greek manuscripts and also firmly corroborated by internal evidence, is without doubt the initial reading in Matt 6:16.

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