Friday, May 09, 2008

NA/UBS punctuation needing change at Mark 4:8, 20

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 ν τρικοντα, … ἕν ... ἕν
assuming a calque on Aramaic חד תלתין thirty-times … -times … -times.

Our fellow blogger Maurice's Majority/Byzantine text reads
ν τρικοντα, κα ν ξκοντα, κα ν κατον.
This appears sound.

This latter reading is understandable Greek, meaning "amounting to 30, 60, 100".
See BGU 970,14 ν δραχμας ννακοσαις, amounting to 900 drachma.
Luke 14:31 ν δκα χιλισιν παντσαι 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 ν τρικοντα. 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.

14 Comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting post. I especially like your remark:

"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'."

The harvest (of good fruits/works -multifarious as they are and can be) are KATA DUNHMIN (St.Matthew). The view/perspective of St Luke that irrespective of capacity/ability that harvest is viewed as 100 according to the Divine reckoning and allowance.

On the breathing issue of hEN or EN I'll have to research further.

Malcolm

Malcolm

Daniel Buck said...

Before -Aland got a hold of it, Nestle- had ἐν τριάκοντα, καὶ ἐν ἑξήκοντα, καὶ ἐν ἑκατον.

It's ironic that a feature found in probably every verse of NA/UBS, which is based on the a few early manuscripts in defiance of their differences with virtually all the late ones, is of medieval origin in general, and of 20th-century origin in a few such particulars ('Junias' being another). I speak of the prodigal use of accents--nine just in the 8 words quoted above.

Were a creature from Mars to get its tentacles on a copy of NA/UBS and read that it was based on the earliest and best manuscripts, it would have every right to assume that these manuscripts spelled out all the names of God, capitalized the first word in every sentence and all proper nouns, had spaces between every word, and accented profusely.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Daniel for venting your discontent, but if the issue of accentuation and spelling were left to the later scribes we would have EIERON for hERON and O for hO.
The classical model has been adopted (as far as we know at least). As far as capitalization is concerned the latter MSS as well as a few earlier ones has been escorted to the salon for a makeover with illuminations and ornate capitals of their own - in living color.

Come on, what erks ya? I know, the format of WH should be followed for printed editions. Then we can have IC, KC, KE, hUC TOU ANOU, hUC TOU QU, etc.

Rah, rah!

Malcolm :-)

P.S. I know your not amused.

Randall Buth said...

But the issue of accentuation WAS left to the later scribes. And they did a decent job. It was the later scribes who retro-fitted a classical, pre-Koine model. Pretty amazing.

maurice a robinson said...

Buth: Does anyone have access to a family 13 manuscript who can verify that ἕν 'one' exists in any of these miniscule manuscripts?

The printed edition of f13 in Mk does indicate these accents. Specifically, in 4:8 all f13 MSS except 69, 346, and 828 have E(N with the rough breathing. In 4:20, on the other hand, all f13 MSS except 13 have E)N with the smooth breathing (go figure).

Buth: does anyone have access to L or Θ who could verify that they indeed have a δασεῖα rough breathing?

Not L, but for Theta Gregory's 1913 edition does note any accents that are present. In 4:8 Theta has no accents on any of the EN instances; in 4:20 Theta has all three as E(N with a rough breathing.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Randall, I agree - pretty amazing. But even this isn't uniform - i.e., without exception (for whatever reason). Consequently and by way of example, we see the MNS article accented as O or hO.

BTW, I do appreciate your knowledge of both the Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek dialects and do with you understand that the Semitic mileu (esp the OT) is the source from which our understanding of Apostolic Christianity should begin. But as you also know the Greek of the NT is not translation Greek.

Perhaps the idea/nuance of -times was in the mind of the scribe Aleph/01, C/04, etc and even in the second corrector's mind of B/03when EIS (unto) was introduced in St Mark.

But the problem with reading EN as a preposition is the seeming lost distinction between the results produced that St Mark has gleaned from St Matthew and perhaps the only way to regain this is to understand EN as indicating means without the lost of the nuance of -times. If this is the case it reads more like Russian and only tolerably awkward Greek

Moving away from the literary issue for a moment, this and other parables/teachings of Jesus were more than likely repeated by Himself under various circumstances of His earthy ministry and likely were adapted to meet and serve both the audience's needs and His own purposes.

Malcolm

Anonymous said...

One other point that bounded into my mind is the fact that the date can express result, but I don't have any examples to offer with the use of the prposition.

Consequently the result or end result of "growing and increasing" is in view from a Greek syntactical perspective.

This is not, of course, mandatory to view it in this fashion simply because we know the Attic model was not in the fore of the biblical authors aggenda.

Malcolm

Randall Buth said...

Maurice,
Thank you for checking f13 and Θ. That is exactly the information I needed. It means that Swanson was correct in his listing.
It means that there is a trace of Greek support out there. It may also suggest that at some point in history a Caesarean text may have had an editor that thought along Aland's lines. This would not be surprising since that area would have had Aramaic speakers available during the development and copying of that family.

As mentioned in the main post, though, the Syriac readers apparently read Greek Mark differently. And the overwhelming majority of Greek manuscripts know only the smooth reading.

There is also a sociolinguistic reason for doubting the rough breathing. All Jewish story parables in ancient rabbinic literature, whether within an Aramaic or within a Hebrew context, are preserved in Hebrew. Story parables in Jewish society appear to have been a Hebrew item by way of genre. That, coupled with the distinctive "non-Aramaic" narrative style of Mark's Semitic coloring (Mark has lots of και = ו but no narrative τοτε = אדין) leads one to suspect that Aland's "Aramaic" Greek punctuation is improbable for the parable.

While it is possible that Mark used an Aramaic calque as his own Greek idiolect superimposed on the parable tradition, there is no necessity or probable support for reading in this way and dropping the rough breathing allows us to drop an item that is otherwise unattested in Greek literature anywhere.

So I credit the Majority text with a positive point here. And it remains positive even if it was done secondarily, without an audio tradition, since it shows their understanding.

Anonymous said...

Randall,

This observation:

"There is also a sociolinguistic reason for doubting the rough breathing. All Jewish story parables in ancient rabbinic literature, whether within an Aramaic or within a Hebrew context, are preserved in Hebrew. Story parables in Jewish society appear to have been a Hebrew item by way of genre..."

Unfortunately this genre excludes Jesus. In addition, the Rabbinic literature formed subsequent to the Council at Jamnia - didn't it?

Malcolm

Randall Buth said...

shalom Malcom,

Actually, Jesus was a tora-observant Jew.
He never advocated breaking tora either. (Cf. Mt 5:17 in good rabbinic idiom, also Mk 7 and //, where he discusses halaxa about hands, bread and wine and changes in temporary purity states, not pig and giraffe. But that is a different issue.)

Rabbinic literature began as an oral literature before it was written down and has Second Temple roots. There is no known or proposed mechanism for taking story parables, and story parables only, within rabbinic literature and converting them all to Hebrew. So yes, this is a Jewish genre issue and would need very special pleading to say that it applies to first century Galilean rabbis, just not to Yeshua`.

Anonymous said...

Shalom Randal,

Yes, Jesus was observant of tora -as its author and for us its fulfillment, but not of the interpretations of the establishment.

The codification in Hebrew of the rabbinic literature/oral teachings was subsequent to and in my estimation (and of others) a demarcation from the olive colored skin of Jesus/Yeshua`.

One problem that one encounters when studying rabbinic lore is the question of origin (temporis terminus a quo)i.e., the oral teaching may have been fluid and long standing but the written interpretation is post 1st cent.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not a rabbinic scholar.

Yours remarks re St Mark 4:8 etc. were based in the OT and the semitic mileu from which Christianity originated.

Malcolm

Randall Buth said...

Malcom said:
"Yes, Jesus was observant of tora -as its author and for us its fulfillment,"

'fulfill' in Hebrew le-qayyem was an idiom for explaining the true application and teaching of tora. A person/rabbi could ask another "how do you meqayyem/fulfill this scripture? And the other would explain its application. Very much like what you see in Mt 5-6. When Yeshua` explained tora, he was meqayyem-ing it, in first century parlance.

Malcolm said:
"the oral teaching may have been fluid and long standing"

you would enjoy reading the sayings of first century teachers like Hillel, Gamaliel, Yochanan ben Zakkai, et al. Remember Mt 23:2-3.

But this leads away from the post on Mark 4:8, 20.

Anonymous said...

Randal,

I am somewhat familar (though not of late) with Hillel the Elder and Shammai, but their interpretations are representative of their schools and are oft opposing.

The understanding of St. Mt 5:17f is disclosed in the person and work of Jesus Himself (as the NT explains it). He is not simply a rabbi (teacher) like Hillel, Shammai or Gamaliel. Make no mistake.

Back to St Mark 4:8.

Malcolm

Anonymous said...

Randal,

Since I can't resist, one of the main criticism of this methodological approach to understanding Jesus is found (is it not?) in the otherwise remarkable work of HERMANN L. STRACK und PAUL BILLERBECK, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch.

Malcolm