Reading the parable of the sower synoptically can highlight what turns out to be an unnecessarily unique punctuation for all of Greek literature.
Some notes and a question (**) follow.
Mk 4:8 and 4:20 UBS/NA is ἕν τριάκοντα, … ἕν ... ἕν
assuming a calque on Aramaic חד תלתין thirty-times … -times … -times.
Our fellow blogger Maurice's Majority/Byzantine text reads
ἐν τριάκοντα, καὶ ἐν ἑξήκοντα, καὶ ἐν ἑκατον.
This appears sound.
This latter reading is understandable Greek, meaning "amounting to 30, 60, 100".
See BGU 970,14 ἐν δραχμαῖς ἐννακοσίαις, amounting to 900 drachma.
Luke 14:31 ἐν δέκα χιλιάσιν ὑπαντῆσαι to meet with 10000 [men].
Acts 7:14 ἐν ψυχαῖς ἑβδομήκοντα πέντε with 75 persons.
More interestingly, the Aramaic translations of Mark seem to have not recognized an Aramaic idiom here, or at least they do not use the available idiom in their translation. The Aramaic of the 2nd century Syriac reads בַתְלָתִין, which is equivalent to ἐν τριάκοντα. This seems to imply that the first Syriac Aramaic translation read the Greek as ἐν. Later translators followed suit.
Incidentally, the reading with εις in some manuscripts at 4:8 shares the same potential ambiguity with of εἷς 'one' εἰς 'to', though the only breathing listed by Swanson is ψιλή smooth on 28 and 700.
In addition, as far as I can tell, at least 99% of all Greek manuscripts with breathing marks have marked ἐν with ψιλή smooth "in, with, by". Swanson lists the Majority reading at 4:8 and 4:20 with a ψιλή smooth reading.
** However, at 4:8 Swanson lists the UBS reading and δασεῖα punctuation on the same line with family 13. Does anyone have access to a family 13 manuscript who can verify that ἕν 'one' exists in any of these miniscule manuscripts?
At 4:20 Swanson lists the UBS punctuation on the same line with L and Θ.
** Once again the question, does anyone have access to L or Θ who could verify that they indeed have a δασεῖα rough breathing?
Naturally, one is sceptical when a transcribed uncial group has this extra mark, and one suspects that the breathing mark may have been added to the line in Swanson in order to articulate the UBS punctuation, not to mark ancient manuscript authority. But then again, maybe a δασεῖα exists on those two uncials.
Curious minds would like to know if any Greek tradition really exists for a δασεῖα?
My textual conclusion, in any case, will not be following the potential two manuscripts above and one group, even though I have a lot of respect for 'Caesarean' readings. It appears that Nestle-Aland/UBS have unnecessarily created a unique reading in Greek literature with ἕν one.
We should probably accept the traditional punctuation as correct. Then we need to correct the NA/UBS in accord with 99-100% of Greek manuscripts which read ἐν 'in, with, by'.
On interpretation (yes, textual critical considerations can lead on to interpretation), I am interested in interpreting the minor agreement of Luke and Matthew, who both start with '100', and specifically Luke's version of only '100'. This latter seems to reflect a different literary tradition with perhaps an original midrashic allusion to Gen 26:12 where Isaac, too, has a divinely directed harvest. Luke may or may not have been aware of this allusion since he does not use the same phrase as the LXX ἑκατοστεύουσαν κριθήν "100-producing barley" [=שְׂעֹרִים]. In addition, the LXX misses this unique phrase in the Hebrew Bible מֵאָה שְׁעָרִים one hundred measures.