Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Matt 8:3 ο Ιησους

The articular proper name ο Ιησους appears before λεγων in most Greek witnesses (C2 E K L M N S U V W X Γ Δ Θ Π Σ Ω 047 0211 f35 399. 461. 565. 566. [1424]. 1500 2224), but is lacking in a few (ℵ B C* Zvid f1.13 33. 892) and is rejected by Bover, Greeven, Lachmann, Merk, Soden, Tischendorf (7th, 8th), and Vogels. Mill (Prolegomena, §1400) remarks that "Ἰησοῦς long ago had already crept into the middle [of ἥψατο αὐτοῦ and λέγων], as 600 times elsewhere, for the sake of clarity in the story."
     Griesbach (1:84) largely defends the omission: “Ο Ιησους, which a few manuscripts but those of good repute and also some versions omit, may cause some hesitation regarding which is genuine. It could have been added so that the reader, having been misled by the ambiguity of the words and having paid less attention to the following λεγων, might not refer εκτεινας to the one diseased with leprosy. For the same reason the Syriac version and Latin manuscripts transpose ο Ιησους to precede the word ηψατο. If more old witnesses had omitted the name, we would have decided that it should be removed once and for all; especially since nothing is found in the context which might have given rise to the omission.”
     However, there are indeed reasons why the presence of Jesus’ name may be authentic here. First, the initial lack of clarity regarding who was touching whom is within the realm of what the author himself might have sought to rectify (so Fritzsche, 306). Second, the placement of the name so far after the supposed ambiguity, rather than at the point of it (e.g. και ο Ιησους εκτεινας . . .), is rather odd, especially for apparently no scribes to have done, even though at just that point the same variation occurs in Mark 1:41. Third, if the ambiguity were really so pronounced, it is suspicious that a similar attempt to alter the same wording of Luke 5:13 did not arise. Fourth, the omission could be from unintentional assimilation to the wording of the previous verse, i.e., participle + finite verb + personal pronoun + λεγων. Fifth, the omission could have arisen from failure to correct a primitive error involving the nomen sacrum following the personal pronoun, i.e., ΑΥΤΟΥΟΙΣ --> ΑΥΤΟΙΣ (skipping from the first omicron to the second), in which case in a subsequent copy both the number and case of the pronoun would have been automatically corrected (although αυτοις still appears in 579); and this natural correction would not miss the loss of ο Ιησους, especially if Luke 5:13 were consulted in the correction process. See also Matt 26:52 for a similar case of confusion involving the same nomen sacrum following αυτω. Lastly, Rinck (252): "In some manuscripts ὁ Ἰησοῦς is missing on account of the parallel passage in Luke 5:13, where in turn λέγων is written in certain ones from here [in Matthew] instead of εἰπών. Therefore I refuse to doubt the correctness of the received reading, which seemed suspicious to Griesbach in both places."
     For these reasons the overwhelming external attestation for ο Ιησους in Matt 8:3 should not be overlooked.