Mt. 6:33 & one Greek manuscript

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Bluefalcon, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. Bluefalcon

    Bluefalcon
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    I'm still interested in hearing a good defense of the text of Mt. 6:33 in a couple popular versions:

    NIV: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness..."
    NASB: "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness..."

    Notice the difference in the following versions:

    HCSB: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness..."
    NKJV: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness..."

    The NIV and NASB only have one Greek manuscript (Codex Sinaiticus) that supports their translation, while nearly all other Greek manuscripts support the HCSB and NKJV. What manuscript transmission principles allow the text of the original's multiplying descendents to have all become corrupt at this place, while a single manuscript 250-300 years after the original retains the autograph's reading?

    Usually an instance like the above indicates a reading that entered the textual transmission so late that it naturally became localized and could not produce enough descendents to impact the already growing number of manuscripts with the "correct" text. So why abandon this logic in Mt. 6:33?

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     
  2. russell55

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    I really don't know much about this particular textual issue, but here are the NET translational notes :
    Here are some from The Bible Researcher
    If I understand this right, then the presence of several different readings among those who do have "of God" weighs quite heavily in the choice to go with the reading that leaves it out, the idea being that if it were original, there probably wouldn't be so many variations of it.
     
  3. Ziggy

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    NET Bible: "the words “of God” are lacking in [Aleph] B pc sa bo Eus."

    The note claiming B in support of the preferred NET Bible reading is disingenuous. As I pointed out elsewhere, while B may not include the words "of God", B does *not* read with Aleph here, but instead reads "But seek first the righteousness and his kingdom" (the Bible Researcher does note the transposition, but fails to inform the reader that Aleph is here *singular* among Greek NT MSS).

    Despite the fact that Eusebius happens to quote the verse somewhat inexactly and without the phrase "of God," (so also Gregory of Nyssa, Didymus, Macarius/Symeon and the Speculum), it is almost passed over that there are *more* than merely "some patristic quotations" that contain the words -- those including the words are Serapion, Basil, (Didymus 1/2), Evagrius, Chrysostom(1/12), Marcus-Eremita, Cyril, Theodoret, John of Damascus, (Hilary), Chromatius, and Augustine (2/7). Other patristic writers have "the kingdom of heaven" (Justin, Clement of Alexandria, Chrysostom[7/12]); other fathers read "righteousness of God" (Cyprian, Augustine [5/7]); while elsewhere the Diatessaron, Chrysostom, and Jerome quote the verse up to "the kingdom of God" but leave off the end portion.

    Otherwise, only the Coptic national version (itself the product of recensional activity) omits the phrase, but replaces it with "his kingdom" and thus differs even from Aleph. The Bible Researcher claim regarding "some Old Latin and Vulgate MSS" is not supported by the UBS apparatus -- *only* Old Latin "it-l" actually omits the phrase, while Old Latin "it-k" reads "the righteousness of God". No dissenting Vulgate MSS are mentioned. All other versions (Old Latin, Vulgate, Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopic, Georgian, Slavonic include the phrase.

    The fact remains that -- out of the 5500+ Greek MSS -- *only* Aleph reads "Seek first the kingdom and his righteousness".

    When this Aleph-only text is presented as "original" in translations that follow this reading, what is this telling us about the text-critical quality of those translations? This is particularly so when the single MS that omits these two words is elsewhere characterized by numerous omission-based blunders.

    At least the UBS and Nestle editions are kind enough to include "of God" in their main text, albeit in brackets.

    BTW, any translations that adjust the wording to read "But seek first *his* kingdom and his righteousness" are actually following, *not* the singular reading of Aleph, but the singular reading of the 12th century minuscule 1646, which happens to parallel the wording of the Coptic national version.
     
  4. manchester

    manchester
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    What matters is which verse is the original text, not which is the most plentiful. Are you opposed to the changes made to Isaiah after the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls?
     
  5. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    The early Greek text editions and some early quotations do not have the phrase. Others quotations do include it, as do later Greek texts.

    So which is probably most reflective of the actual words of Jesus? Two choices:

    1. Earliest texts, Eusebius, etc REMOVED the phrase "of God"

    2. Later texts, other anteNicene fathers, ADDED the phrase "of God"

    The obvious choice is a no brainer. But I can see why #2 happened. Read the text as it originally appeared: "But you, seek first the kingdom and His righteousness . . " When you see a "his" you look back for the antecedent to the pronoun. Rather than going back 10 words to "Father" in v 32, it clarifies in the mind of listener and reader if you just add "of God" to the kingdom (obviously understood in the whole picture) and their is a quick, easy basis for the "his".

    So the verse morphs into "But you, seek first the kindom OF GOD and HIS righteousness . . " and it does not really change a whit of doctrine or truth. Actually makes EASIER reading the way it was changed by the Eastern Orthodox monks.
     
  6. Ziggy

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    Dr Bob,

    You're still in essence defending a reading found in but *one* 4th century Greek MS (Aleph), against all others and all texttypes -- even your usually favored UBS or Nestle text *retains* the phrase, albeit in brackets.

    I fail to see why it is in any way "obvious" that Aleph -- known for minor omissions of words throughout the NT (*not* related to Alexandrian readings in general, but tabulated on the basis of singular readings of Aleph alone) -- is correct and *all* other Greek MSS (except those which change word order or read "kingdom of heaven" etc.) have supposedly "added" the phrase "of God".

    You also have to deal with at least the patristic writers that antedate Eusebius who *include* the phrase in their text (e.g. Justin, and Clem. Alex. in the 2nd century).

    Given the full scope of the evidence, it seems to me in view of these data that *indeed* "the obvious choice is a no brainer" -- except that obvious choice apparently runs counter to your own. :cool:
     
  7. Bluefalcon

    Bluefalcon
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    It should be remembered, as Ziggy pointed out, that the Nestle-Aland critical Greek New Testament, at least now, does include "of God" in the text at Mt. 6:33, although in brackets, in keeping with one of Aland's own principles (Text of the NT, p. 281):

    "7. The principle that the original reading may be found in any single manuscript or version when it stands alone or nearly alone is only a theoretical possibility. Any form of eclecticism which accepts this principle will hardly succeed in establishing the original text of the New Testament; it will only confirm the view of the text which it presupposes."

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     
  8. michelle

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    --------------------------------------------------
    Although a decision is difficult, the omission of tou' qeou' is considered most likely to be original. NA27 includes the words in brackets, indicating doubt as to their authenticity.
    --------------------------------------------------


    Boy, if this isn't very telling? Read Genesis 3.


    love in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour,
    michelle
     
  9. Ziggy

    Ziggy
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    Aland sez:: "Any form of eclecticism which accepts this principle [favoring singular readings] will hardly succeed in establishing the original text of the New Testament; it will only confirm the view of the text which it presupposes."

    Ziggy sez: “Those who rest their confidence upon readings supported by only a single Greek manuscript do so from a perspective that has presupposed a particular (and peculiar) view of the “original” text. In order to support their preference in such situations, they voluntarily ignore the remaining principles of textual criticism that run counter to their assertion.”

    Ziggy also said: “When this Aleph-only text is presented as "original" in translations that follow this reading, what is this telling us about the text-critical quality of those translations? This is particularly so when the single MS that omits these two words is elsewhere characterized by numerous omission-based blunders.”

    When K. and B. Aland speak, people listen. [​IMG]

    When Ziggy says the same thing, people ridicule, despite the fact that Ziggy learned from Aland (among others). :rolleyes:

    Amazing. :cool:
     
  10. Bluefalcon

    Bluefalcon
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    A couple more quotes are illuminating:

    "3. Criticism of the text must always begin from the evidence of the manuscript tradition and only afterward turn to a consideration of internal criteria."

    "5. The primary authority for a critical textual decision lies with the Greek manuscript tradition, with the versions and Fathers serving no more than a supplementary and corroborative function ..."

    I'd also like to say that many modern textual critics, when discussing the "prefer the harder reading" rule, often fail to qualify it with the words that used always to accompany it, CETERIS PARIBUS, or, all things being equal. If a reading breaks from the Greek manuscript tradition and is localized in one area of the world, all things are not equal, and the internal criterium of lectio difficilior potior does not stand and should not even be appealed to in such circumstances.

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     

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