Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Textual Criticism and Synoptics, the Case of ευθυς

On the importance of textual criticism in synoptic studies: the case of ευθυς.

I have always viewed ευθυς as a nice marker of Matthew's use of Mark. But then again, I have always been, and am currently, a textual Alexandrian, though with room for doubt. [Was there really a 4th century Byzantine redaction that purged most Alexandrian influence?]

In the Westcott-Hort text and the Moulton-Geden concordance:

Matthew uses ευθεως 10 [11] times 4.20, 22, 8.3, 13.5, [14.22], 31, 20.34, 24.29, 25.15, 26.49, 27.48.

Matthew also uses ευθυς 7 times 3.16, 13.20, 21, 14.27, 21.2, 3, 26.74.

Mark never uses ευθεως.

Mark uses ευθυς 40 [41] times 1.10, 12, 18, 20, 21, 23, 28, 29, 30, 42, 43, 2.8, 12, 3.6, 4.5, 15, 16, 17, 29, [5.2], 29, 30, 42, 42, 6.25, 27, 45, 50, 54, 7.25, 8.10, 9.15, 20, 24, 10.52, 11.2, 3, 14.43, 45, 72, 15.1.

Since ευθυς is a Marcanism, the probable conclusion is that Matthew has borrowed seven examples of ευθυς from Mark, but himself prefers ευθεως. This becomes a clear trace-element. Just what forensics want on a CSI investigation.

Let's look at the Byzantine text.

The Byzantine text has ευθεως 40 times and ευθυς 2 [Mk 1.12, and 1.28].

Neither of the examples of ευθυς in Byz Mark have an ευθυς in Matthew! Byz Mark 1.12 is parallel to a Matthean narrative-τοτε, a distinctive Mattheanism that is not picked up in Mark anywhere. Byz Mark 1.28 is 'Marcan material' that has no equivalent in Matthew [Byz or Alex].

What is remarkable, is that regarding ευθυς/ευθεως in the Byzantine text the literary flow Mark to Matthew does not exist. Yet the Alexandrian text has a clear literary flow from Mark to Matthew on this point. Alexandrians can point to ευθυς as evidence that Matthew used Mark. But that datum is only as strong as the textual theory.

This is offered to Peter Head, who will be speaking on this subject more broadly at an upcoming synoptic studies conference. For fuller discussion and data see my blog


  1. The greater question perhaps is why -- in either text tradition -- the mixed use of EUQUS or EUQEWS (or for that matter IEROUSALHM or IEROSOLUMA) appears to occur within an individual author's writings. Yet certainly the manuscript evidence points to such mixed use occurring with transmissional integrity within the respective texttypes being followed. A peculiar phenomenon, to be sure.

    I should add that in NA27/UBS4 at Mr 7:35 the bracketed [EUQEWS] appears, otherwise contrary to all other occurrences in Mark where those editions read EUQUS (WH at that point does not include either term).

  2. I'm not sure that multiple forms in one author is a greater question. It is a given. Though the Alexandrian family seems to be monolithic for Marcan ευθυς.

    Yes, Mk 7:35 is an interesting spot. There are other places where the Alex is without 'immediately' Mk 1.31, 5.36, so why the eclectic worry here? Or adding ευθεως in brackets? I would have thought it should have been an easy case of 'no immediately' here in Alexandrian/UBS/NA. WH weren't fooled. Omissions in B, א, D, L, what more would NA want?

    One suspects that p45 upset someone's apple cart. But p45 appears to reflect the Byz tradition here for Marcan ευθεως. p45 appears to prefer ευθεως elsewhere, too. According to Swanson, at Mark 5.42b it is apparently missing, which is the Byz reading, though we have 6.25 –υθυς, but 7.35, ευθεως, 9.20 ευθεως , 24 –εως. So I would simply call p45 Mark 7.35 a proto-Byzantine reading. Also interesting.

  3. On this:

    Alexandrians can point to ευθυς as evidence that Matthew used Mark. But that datum is only as strong as the textual theory.

    What is the scholarly consensus about Dr. R. Thomas' (Masters Seminary professor I think) contention that the evidence does not support any literary dependence among the Gospel writers? The percentages he gives as support seem reasonable to a lay person like me. He contends that there is not a high enough percentage of word for word agreement to support any dependence.

  4. This question and issue are complex, necessitated by the veritable fact that the Gospel narrartives are concerned about a person within an historical context and His message coupled with the fact that each of the **four** Gospel writers are authors in their own right and eye-witnesses to this historical Entity and His message.

    Another, smaller example would be the relationship between the historical entities and events reported in Jude and 2 Peter 2. The historical factors are evident as well as the authorship freedom issues while the literary dependancy issue is less certain though highly probable.


  5. Anon:

    Here's Thomas' points:

    1. Synoptic writers, when they quote the same LXX verse, have a 70 per cent agreement (word for word as you've stated).

    2. Thus, when the synoptic writers are citing a known common source, the per cent is 70.

    3. The per cent of agreement between just two of the synoptic writers, when they write on the same story in the life of Christ, is just below 40 per cent.

    4. Therefore, since we know they agree 70 per cent when a common source (LXX passage) is before them, it follows that, for example, Matthew did not have Mark's gospel before him, otherwise when Matthew recounted the same story that Mark had already written about (a common source) we should expect about a 70 per cent agreement rate, but in reality it is below 40 per cent.

    Mitch L.

  6. briefly, without getting too far away from the textual issues first raised, that would argue that where Luke-Matt are 70% they share a source. Or where Matt-Mark are 70% they share a source. but it overlooks the fact that quoting the LXX is quoting a single source while writing a gospel is to weave sources and create.

    I'm actually stand about halfway between Prof. Thomas and standard '2(4) source' theory. On stylistics I see Matthew using Mark, of which the Alexandrian datum in the blog is a kind of witness. So far like 2-source theory. But contrarily, that Luke did not use Mark but had a source larger than Mark and more Semitized than Mark. I can't find that Mark used Luke either. So I end up with Mark--Luke independent, Thomas-esque, but with at least 1 shared source, and Matthew using Mark along with one of those shared Mark-Luke sources.

    And back to the point. Textual criticism, is a necessary part of synoptic criticism, maybe more than we would like to believe, as the ευθυς data show. It's not just 'minor agreements' where the textual question raises its head.

  7. PS: The blog was shortened so as not to be an article. Two bits of information were implied but could have been explicit:
    a. All seven of Alexandrian Matthew ευθυς are parallel to Marcan 'immediately' and in contexts where wording is fairly tight.
    b. But only 7 out of 11, or 9 of 13 of the other Matthew "immediately's" are parallel to a Marcan 'immediately'.

  8. Dr. Buth,
    Is the relationship you just described representative of the Jerusalem school? I was under the impression that the Jerusalem school position was one of Matthew and Mark both using the very Gospel of Luke (or an early edition of it) as a source. Is that just a caricature?

  9. Let me open the door for one other point, without also writing an extended article:

    How about the issue of the phrase "kingdom of God" versus "kingdom of heaven" in Matthew? Certainly "kingdom of heaven" dominates in that book (36x), yet there are some 6 or 7 occurrences in Matthew of "kingdom of God" -- quite contrary to his usual practice.

    It would seem that some of the same consideraations given to EUQUS/EUQEWS would also here apply.

  10. for Maurice's question on variation with Kingdom of God:
    I think the answer is yes. I view the four/five examples in Matthew as very probably coming from outside Matthew in a couple of cases and possibly-probably coming from outside Matthew in a couple of cases. Mt [6:33?, not from Mark], 12:28 (tight, shared source with Lk, source probably had δακτυλος), 19:24 (tight, shared source with Lk-Mk), 21:31 (perhaps variation by Matt, perhaps shared source omitted by Mk and LK), 21:43 (ditto).

    Ironically, perhaps, I see Matthew's 'kingdom of heaven' as a secondary replacement of 'kingdom of God' from both shared sources and from Mark. Yet I also think that ישוע Yeshua originally said מלכות שמים malxut shamayim like a good non-Qumranian [Qumranians never said מלכות שמים malxut shamayim, NT students need to take more careful note of this.]. Why wasn't Matthew consistent with replacements? I don't know. He wasn't.

    for Eric --
    the 'Jerusalem School' has methodological principles, not one conclusion or stemma, so yes, your statement would be a caricature. My view is representative of several members, though there are at least a couple who follow Lindsey and think that Mark was rewriting Luke and even a couple who think that Luke may have had both Mark plus another major source. [[We pretty much agree that there is an iceberg under the surface that majority scholarship is unaware of because they are not tracking the Jewish cultural and linguistic clues in the texts. Researchers are especially bad in tracking Hebrew, but unfortunately mess-up Aramaic and ignore much important Greek information as well. See Buth and Kvasnica "Parable of Vineyard ..." in Notley, et al. edd, Jesus Last Week, (Brill, 2006, 53-80 and 259-317), both article and appendix, for examples of this.]]

  11. If Byzantine editor(s) changed Markan ευθυς to ευθεως, they did so massively in most of its occurrences. However, to take the two exceptions mentioned where Byz is listed as reading ευθυς: at Mark 1.12, while a fair number of mss in fact read ευθεως (especially family Π, also Scrivener's collation of minn has 8 out of 18 for ευθεως), most read ευθυς. One would naturally hypothesize that fam Π and others were going with the flow. However, at 1.28 the position is different. Various mss omit, but I have not found evidence that any at all read ευθεως. Why should that be?

  12. For a Marcan priority, that would reduce to the awkward position that Matthew, an eyewitness, used as his main source one from a non-eyewitness. Doesn't that seem strange?

    Mitch L.

  13. shalom Tony,

    YOur question is probably best put to Maurice
    "Various mss omit, but I have not found evidence that any at all read ευθεως. Why should that be?"

    One would expect that some of the Byz mss somewhere would have been copied in the afternoon after a good αριστον and voila an "ΕΥΘΕΩΣ" at 1.28.

    The question about why the protoype to the Byz family had an ευθυς is impossible to reconstruct. Either Marcan static or an early inconsisent reviser of Alexandrian or an unexplained later contamination from Alexandrian.

  14. shalom Mitch,

    The question is legitimate but assumes that apostle Matthew wrote Greek Matthew. That's possible, if Matthew wanted to use Greek exemplars while writing in a third language.

    For example, if apostle Matthew wrote the Jerusalem church's דברי האדון 'oracles of the Lord' (ala Papias) in Hebrew in the 40-50's, then he may have wanted a Greek base when writing a Greek gospel in the 70's. And so he used both Mark and a long narrative gospel source shared with Luke (including much narrative and being longer than Q).

    But it is also possible that apostle Matthew wrote a Jerusalem Hebrew gospel (now lost) and someone later wrote the Greek gospel, to which Matthew's name was added as the initiator of the tradition within that gospel. I sympathize with the first view, it's definitely possible, but consider the second more probable. I waver. What is clear to me is that the writer of Greek Matthew was trilingual. He used Greek sources for his Greek gospel, wrote Greek with an Aramaic idiosyncracy (narrative tote) and was sensitive to the Hebrew Bible. Thus, I come to a similar conclusion on Matthew as Bob Gundry 40 years ago, though from slightly different reasons.