Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Matt 8:4 προσενεγκε

In Matt 8:4 Soden and Vogels print προσενεγκε (ℵ E K L M N S U V W X Γ Δ Θ Π Σ Ω 047 0211 f1.13.[35] 33. 399. 461. 565. 566. 892. [1424]. 1500  2224 [f35 1424: προσενεγκαι]), which appears basically everywhere, but two manuscripts predating the 10th century (out of 30+) have προσενεγκον (B C), reflecting the occasional Koine encroachment of first aorist endings on second aorist stems. The minority reading is also printed by Bover, Greeven, Lachmann, Merk, and Tischendorf (7th, 8th).

The same occasional encroachment mentioned above is evident in some witnesses elsewhere in Matthew:

Matt 4:3 ειπε (ℵc: ειπον)
Matt 22:17 ειπε (L 33 SBLGNT: ειπον)
Matt 24:3 ειπε (L S f1 33 SBLGNT: ειπον)

Interestingly, the Byzantine consensus does not show a universal aversion to first aorist endings with second aorist stems, as the following places show:

Mark 5:19 αναγ/απαγγειλον
Luke 24:29 μεινον (but 69: μειναι, i.e. μεινε)
Acts 11:13 αποστειλον
Acts 28:26 ειπον (but Y pc: ειπε)

Some places where the Majority Text might be charged with resisting the above-mentioned encroachment include:

Mark 13:4
  • ειπον (ℵ B D L W Θ Ψ f1.13 33. 565 pc)
  • ειπε (A E F G H K M S U X Y Γ Δ Π Ω f35 1424 Byz)
Luke 20:2
  • ειπον (ℵc B L R f1 33 pc)
  • ειπε (A D E G H K M N Q S U W Y Γ Δ Θ Λ Π Ψ Ω f13.35 565. 1424 Byz)
Luke 22:67
  • ειπον (ℵ B L Θ pc)
  • ειπε (A E G H K M N S U W Y Δ Λ Π Ψ Ω f1.13.35 565. 1424 Byz)
Even in these places the external evidence is not automatically decisive; indeed, the witnesses deduced in some of them are not much superior to those that are rejected by NA28 above (i.e. Matt 4:3; 22:17; 24:3).

Furthermore, since in the NT both first and second aorist endings appear with second aorist stems, a textual decision based on internal probability alone proves tenuous (note SBLGNT's acceptance of the minority readings in Matt 22:17 and 24:3, contra NA28 and almost entirely on internal grounds).

For practitioners of a Byzantine-priority hypothesis based on “reasoned transmissionalism,” however, a primary consideration for the present passage and similarly attested ones involves whether a scribal preference for Atticistic purism or the parallel passages (Mark 1:44; Luke 5:14) in favor of προσενεγκε could and almost did universally displace προσενεγκον, supposing the latter's authenticity. If not, the minimal presence of προσενεγκον, a form that should not have caused a problem for most Koine scribes (cf. Mark 5:19; Luke 24:29; Acts 11:13; 28:26 above), would reflect no more than a ripple in the vast ocean of the manuscript tradition.

Given the above discussion and slim manuscript attestation for προσενεγκον, it seems more likely that that term reflects a localized orthographical preference and was introduced into the manuscript tradition at a relatively late date (i.e., 3rd or 4th century as opposed to the initial reading from the 1st century). Finally, the possibility that the –ον ending originated by scribal accident owing to the imperative δειξον just four words prior should not be overlooked.