Thursday, August 03, 2006

Jongkind on Lilies of the Field

Dr Jongkind has a long-held interest in flowers, and puts this to good effect in his article in the recent Novum Testamentum:
D. Jongkind, '"The Lilies of the Field" Reconsidered: Codex Sinaiticus and the Gospel of Thomas', NovT XLVIII (2006), 209-216.


  1. Isn't this the passage where James M. Robinson found a mistake in Q?

  2. Yes, Jongkind discusses this.

    The main new thing seems to be his discussion of the way in which Scribe A does produce singular readings which harmonise to other non-canonical literature (with a good example from 2 Clement). This suggests (to DJ anyway) that it is not implausible to think of Scribe A as influenced by the Gospel of Thomas in his wording of Matt 6.28 (this at least is more plausible than thinking that Sinaiticus somehow preserves the original Q reading 300 years late!).

  3. Yes, here it is, beginning with one of textual criticism's all time greatest lines:

    "A scribal error has turned up in Q!" So begins his HTR article (92:1 [1999] 61-77).

    He writes with all the delightful intrigue of a mystery novel (compare his investigative reporting of the Nag Hammadi and Bodmer finds in "The Discovering and Marketing of Coptic Manuscripts" ([i]The Roots of Egyptian Christianity[/i], Pearson & Goehring, eds).

    The archetype behind Matt's Q and Mark's Q "had a prehistory: the scribe who copied that archetype compied from some already existing manuscript. He may have made the scribal error himself...or the manuscript from which the scribe was copying may have made the error already... (62).

    The error is in Q 12:27. Dr. Robinson claims that the original text read that lilies do not "card" (the task which necessarily must be done to wool before spinning and weaving into cloth), rather than that lilies "[b]grow[/b], do not work, and do not spin."

    The difference is between auksanw and ou ksainei (sorry, don't know how to do Greek here).

    He then gives the (almost) spellbinding story of how we've recently corrected the original editors' reading of POxy 655 (Gospel of Thomas) from one which supports the reading of the traditional reading of Q 12:27 (auksanw) to one which supports the hypothetical reconstruction of the Q archetype reading (ou ksainei).

    With even more nail-biting recounting, he then discusses how T.C. Skeat's "newfangled gadget" (the ultraviolet lamp) revealed the vestiges of ink on Sinaiticus to indicate its original reading also bears witness to the "ou ksainei."

    From his stated thesis, he goes on to necessarily conclude that Q was orginally composed in Greek.

    So there you have it, another saga in the excavating Q enterprise. I'm sure Dr. Mark Goodacre sat on the edge of his chair with great anticipation of every word of the article.

    I'm looking forward to Jongkind's review of Robinson's argument.

    Jim Leonard
    Southwestern Pennsylvania