Is Mark 11:26 authentic?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by jonathan.borland, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. jonathan.borland

    jonathan.borland
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    "But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your sins."

    Tischendorf mentions that the passage was freely added from Matt 6:15 and thus is spurious, just as also are Matt 21:44 and the long additions after 27:35 (from John 19:24) and 27:49 (from John 19:34). I happen to agree with him that the additions in the latter two are spurious, but think that Matt 21:44 is authentic.

    Tischendorf continues: "Moreover, this passage in Mark is especially guilty of addition from Matthew as the added words have the approval of manuscript M and the rest. For after these words M and 20 other manuscripts have the added words: 'But I say to you: Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you; for everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened' (from Matt 7:7, 8)."

    At least as early as Christian Friedrich von Matthäi's Euangelium secundum Matthaeum (1788) the idea was put forward that some manuscripts omitted Mark 11:26 by means of scribal error by jumping from "your sins" at the end of 11:25 to "your sins" at the end of 11:26. This kind of thing is not uncommon. For example, just two verses later two prominent manuscripts along with some others omit the second half of Mark 11:28, presumably a similar jump from "you do these things" in the middle of the verse to the same expression (although slightly different in Greek) at the end of the verse.

    Later, Karl Friedrich August Fritzsche in his Evangelium Marci (1830) completely anticipates Tischendorf's later argument (cited above), wondering why, if Mark 11:26 is spurious, some scribe or editor copied it so much more poorly from Matt 6:15 than he did verbatim the longer and obvious interpolation added to the end of verse 26 by a minority of manuscripts. Consider the differences between the two in Greek:

    Mark 11:26...............Matt 6:15
    εἰ ... οὐκ ἀφιετε............ἐαν ... μὴ ἀφῆτε
    ὑμεῖς...........................[omit]
    [omit]..........................τοῖς ἀνθρώποις τὰ παραπτώματα αὐτῶν
    ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.........[omit]

    I think Mark 11:26 should be given reconsideration as to its authenticity.
     
  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I think this is pretty much a straight case of Alexandrian versus Byzantine-Majority. UBS doesn't include the verse, and Bruce Metzger argues against it in A Textual Commentary on the Greek NT. However, both Robinson-Pierpont's The New Testament in the Original Greek (Byzantine Text Form) and Hodges-Farstad's The Greek NT According to the Majority Text include it.
    This is a good argument for inclusion.
     
  3. Rippon

    Rippon
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    I own and appreciate Philip W. Comfort's :New Testament Text And Translation Commentary. Here's some of what he says on the subject.

    Though it could be argued that verse 26 dropped out by a scribal mistake (both 11:25 and 11:26 end with the same three words), the WH NU reading [Nestle-Atland/United Bible Society Greek New Testament edition,the Westcott-Hort Greek New Testament edition --Rip] has much better documentation than the variant. Thus, it is more likely that verse 26 is a natural scribal expansion of verse 25, borrowed from Matt 6:15, a parallel verse (cf. Matt 18:35). According to Mark's original text, Jesus was encouraging people to forgive others their trespases against them before seeking forgiveness from God for their own trespasses. The addition makes God's forgiveness conditional. The extra verse is included in TR, followed by KJV, NKJV, as well as by NASB and HCSB, which persist in maintaining the KJV tradition. It is noted in modern versions out of deference to the KJV tradition.
     
  4. jonathan.borland

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    In textual criticism difficulties or things that scribes or editors didn't like were often cause enough to prompt their removal. Equally possible, it may have been thought that the verse was redundant, prompting its removal by a mere minority of manuscripts. Also, as Albert C. Clark noted 90 years ago (The Descent of Manuscripts [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1918], vii), it is "unlikely that an interpolator would have been so cunning as to conceal his inventions by a device intended to show that their omission was palaeographically possible." Thus omission by accident, omission to remove an apparent redundancy, omission to remove an apparently difficult or unlikable doctrine, and the fact that only a few manuscripts record the omission all strongly favor the inclusion of the words on firm text-critical grounds that do not pre-assume the preeminence of any select number of manuscripts.
     
  5. Logos1560

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    Evidently at least some of Erasmus' editions of the Greek text did not include Mark 11:26 since that verse is not found in the 1526 and 1534 Tyndale's New Testament, the 1535 Coverdale's Bible, and the 1537 Matthew's Bible and Luther's 1534 German Bible.
     
  6. TCGreek

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    The bold portion is what it really comes down to.
     
  7. TCGreek

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    I've thought about investing in Comfort's. You've just given me an incentive.
     
  8. John of Japan

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    This is certainly possible. Metzger says in his textual commentary ('75 edition), "Although it might be thought that the sentence was accidentally omitted because of homoeoteleuton, its absence from early witnesses that represent all text-types makes it highly probable that the words were inserted by copyists in imitation of Mt 6.15" (p. 110). (Westcott and Hort omit the verse but have no notes on it.)

    Hodges-Farstad (2nd ed.) has Maj. and A as having the verse, but as we said, according to Metzger, Maj/Byz mss without the verse exist. My Scholz Greek NT (around 1850) has the verse, as does my 1842 Stephanus, though neither of these gives an apparatus for the verse.

    If only I had an Erasmus Greek NT!!
     
  9. jonathan.borland

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    In my opinion, Comfort's book, for its massive size, should at least address the past arguments against omission of an entire verse of the NT. Metzger's argument is not helpful, since there are early representatives of every texttype that include the verse as well, not to mention the vast majority of all witnesses!
     
  10. John of Japan

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    Hey, I'm with you. Being a Maj/Byz man I believe the verse was in the original. However, as I said before I think it's a straight Alexandrian vs. Byzantine argument. Now Metzger and Comfort are on the Alexandrian side, so you'll not get concessions from them in a case like this. I suspect that when Metzger says there are Byz. mss. without the verse he only means one or two minor ones.
     
  11. Logos1560

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    Since Erasmus does not seem to have included the verse in his edition, one would think that it was also not found in those Greek manuscripts of the Gospels on which he based his edition.
     
  12. pilgrim2009

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    Mark 11:26, "But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses." is omitted from Modern Versions.

    Every verse that is found in the Authorized King James Version that the modern translations have removed has strong support by the early Church witnesses and ancient manuscripts that they did exist.

    Also in his book The Last Twelve verses of Mark Professor William Farmer states: It is clear that the acceptance of the last twelve verses of Mark was widespread. Throughout the ancient church...the last twelve verses ... is impressive."


    Let God be true in all things ...and you know the rest of the verse.


    God bless in Jesus.

    Steven.
     
  13. John of Japan

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    Could be. Or maybe he just inadvertently left the verse out. I've inadvertently left out whole sentences in translating.

    But I've never added anything, which is one more reason I think Westcott & Hort's dictum of the shorter reading usually being the correct one is dead wrong.

    Have a great weekend. :saint:
     
  14. Rippon

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    In your experience you may not have added anything. But you are a translator --not a scribe.

    The dictum of the shorter reading generally being the authentic one is quite reasonable.

    Again I will quote from Philip W. Comfort's :New Testament Text And Translation Commentary. Specifically, I will cite some things from his Appendix A : Scribal Gap-Filling.

    ... no matter how meticulous or profesional, a scribe would become subjectively involved with the text and -- whether consciously or unconsciously -- at times produce a transcription that differed from his exemplar, thereby leaving a written legacy of his individual reading of the text. (p.873)

    Nonetheless, scribes were confronted with gaps or blanks that begged for imaginative filling. Many scribes, when confronted with such textual gaps, took the liberty to fill in those gaps by adding extra words or changing the wording to provide what they thought would be a more communicative text. Indeed, the entire history of New Testament textual transmission shows the text getting longer and longer due to textual interpolations -- i.e., the filling in of perceived gaps. We especially see the work of gap-filling in the substantial number of expansions in the D-text of the Gospels and Acts. Whoever edited this text had a propensity for filling in textual gaps, as he perceived them. Such gap-filling is especially pronounced in the book of Acts, where the D-reviser made countless interpolations.(p.874)
     
  15. Logos1560

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    According to what I have read, Erasmus did not actually write out or copy completely the Greek text prepared for the printers. Instead, Erasmus is said to have written in the text of one of the Greek manuscripts he used any changes that he wanted the printers to make. That makes it very unlikely that Erasmus accidentally left the verse out if the verse was already in the manuscript for the Gospels on which he wrote his changes.

    In addition, it was not the first edition of Erasmus' Greek text with its many known printing errors that was used for the translating of Martin Luther, William Tyndale, John Rogers, etc. Martin Luther is said to have used the second edition of the Greek text edited by Erasmus. William Tyndale evidently used the third edition that included 1 John 5:7 [perhaps along with the second edition].
     
  16. John of Japan

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    Very interesting! Since you didn't give a reference I looked it up myself in a couple of books, and you're right. Of course, I guess I don't blame the guy for not writing out the whole Greek NT.
    I'm sure you're right here too, as well as being very informative. :thumbsup:

    But to get back to the OP, the inclusion or exclusion of Mark 11:26 is still a simple matter of Alexandrian text type vs. Byzantine text type. If one follows Westcott and Hort's flawed methodology they'll say the verse was not in the original. If a person is Byzantine priority, he'll say the verse was in the original. As I said before, Hodges-Farstead and Robinson-Pierpont both include the verse in their Byzantine/Majority Greek NTs. So it is unquestionably original in the Byzantine text type.

    As for someone with an eclectic method of textual criticism, I suppose they're apt to come out on either side--sort of a mugwump textual critic, shot at by both sides. :smilewinkgrin:
     
    #16 John of Japan, Jul 21, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2009

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