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Addition or omission: the case of Mark 7:16

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by jonathan.borland, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. jonathan.borland

    jonathan.borland Active Member

    Nov 15, 2008
    Likes Received:
    How does one decide the whether an addition or omission is original? For example, three manuscripts before the 6th century (A D W) have Mark 7:16, and three other manuscripts before the 6th century (Aleph B 0274) don't have it.

    But when one looks at the provenance of the verse, one must conclude that earliest and most widespread areas of Christendom actually had the verse. For one may reasonably conclude this by looking at the Versions: for the Old Latin, the Vulgate, the Old Syriac, the Peshitta, and part of the Coptic, not to mention all Versions considered to have originated later than these, contain the verse.

    In fact, it appears that no Greek manuscript or manuscript of any Version outside of Egypt ever omitted the verse. In addition, it appears that only three Greek manuscripts after the 6th century omit the verse, bringing its Greek manuscript grand total to a mere six copies.

    In Greek, the wording of the verse is totally different than its counterpart in Matt 11:15, making the clause in Mark 7:16 presumably Mark's version of the clause (cf. Mark 4:23). Otherwise, one must conclude that the originator of all the Greek manuscripts but six, and of all the Versions from everywhere except parts of that Version used in Egypt (Coptic), managed to add the verse, deciding that Matthew's version of the clause (if one assumes that it was interposed here from the Matthew parallel [11:15]) was not good enough.

    To say the verse was absent from Mark brings large but not insurmountable critical problems in itself, since most assume that Mark was written first. If so, then why did Matthew choose to add his version of the clause in Matt 11:15, if it or something like it was not present in Mark 7:16? This also speaks to its original presence in Mark 7:16.

    The very fact that the lectionary system has the clause here is not evidence that the lectionary system influenced every Greek manuscript but six and every Version but parts of the Egyptian Coptic, but rather that the lectionary system may have included the clause on the grounds that it was present in manuscripts of Mark to which the originators of the lectionary system had access.
  2. jonathan.borland

    jonathan.borland Active Member

    Nov 15, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Correction: It looks like 18 manuscripts actually omit Mark 7:16, most of them "newer": Aleph B L Delta* 0274 28 30 274 512 669 1013 1342 1662 2427 2474 2508 2532 2786 (Cf. the Text und Texwert series [ANTF 27; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1998] 198).

    Manuscripts by century that omit Mark 7:16:

    Aleph: 4th
    B: 4th
    0274: 5th
    L: 8th
    Delta*: 9th
    274: 10th
    669: 10th
    1662: 10th
    28: 11th
    1013: 11th
    2474: 11th
    1342: 13th
    512: 14th
    2427: 14th
    2508: 14th
    2786: 14th
    30: 15th
    2532: 15th

    On the other hand, 1633 manuscripts contain the verse, including at least 12 from before the 10th century: A D G W Theta Sigma Phi 0211 33 565 892 1424. Of these, 5 are from the 4th (W), 5th (A D), and 6th (Sigma Phi) centuries. In contrast, only 5 manuscripts from before the 10th century omit Mark 7:16.

    Why do a dozen "newer," presumably Byzantine manuscripts omit the verse?
    #2 jonathan.borland, Mar 22, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2009