Monday, September 02, 2019

Is Martha an Interpolation into John’s Gospel? Part II

Here we continue with Elizabeth Schrader's guest post in three parts concerning the textual transmission of John 11:1–12:2, specifically the presence (or absence) of the two sisters, Martha and Mary in the story. The first part was posted here and provoked a lot of reactions. I will personally try to stay out of the debate and instead add a few thoughts in a separate post when all parts have been published. In the meantime let's continue the discussion with focus on arguments (I had to delete some comments that did not).


Some have already objected to my suggestion that Martha is an interpolation into John’s Gospel. Thus far there have been both public supporters and detractors of the theory, though the case has yet to be settled. I remain open to changing my position if others can present theories that persuasively account for all of the textual phenomena I have isolated in John 11. For example, dissenting responders must explain:
  • Why Martha’s name drops out from so many verses in the manuscripts of John, while her name is stable in the manuscript transmission of Luke;
  • Why there are five continuous verses of textual instability around Martha in our oldest surviving copy of John 11, Papyrus 66, where in 11:3 the scribe clearly splits one named woman into two unnamed women (a choice that cannot be explained by P66’s scribal habits);
  • Why there is such extreme textual instability in both the order of names and who is named in John 11:5, especially in the Vetus Latina (we find an extremely rare phenomenon of the first person in the list being completely unpredictable, and neither sister is named in several important witnesses, including one Greek lemma of a Chrysostom homily);
  • Why many ancient patristic quotations attribute actions to Mary that our Bibles now attribute to Martha (e.g. Tertullian giving Mary the Christological confession at John 11:27, or Chrysostom stating that Mary said the tomb stank at John 11:39);
  • Why two of our most important manuscripts of John 11:1, P66 and Codex Alexandrinus, make the very similar change of “Maria” to “Martha,” and also use the masculine pronoun to say “his sister”;
  • Why the name “Maria” is altered to “Martha” in several witnesses, whereas not a single surveyed manuscript of John ever alters the name “Martha” to “Maria”;
  • Why the clearly accented dative feminine singular pronoun frequently pops up throughout the text transmission in John 11:4 (ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῆ), a reading that is also seems to be reflected in P66*;
  • Why Martha is placed beside Mary Magdalene in second- and third-century documents like the Epistula Apostolorum and Hippolytus’ Commentary on the Song of Songs in ways that seem to diminish Mary’s authority (at the very same time period where documents like the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, and the Gospel of Philip reveal that there were debates around Mary’s authority).
I agree that theories of the marginalization of Martha or scribal incompetence could explain (b), (d), (e), and (g). However I do not believe they adequately explain (a), (c), (f), and (h). Perhaps some scribes did drop Martha’s name at John 11:1 due to inattention; perhaps Tertullian’s (or Chrysostom’s, or Cyril of Jerusalem’s) memories of scripture were faulty when they said that Mary did things that Martha “should” do; perhaps Lazarus was occasionally moved to the top of the list in John 11:5 due to a desire to emphasize the male in the family; perhaps some scribes anticipating the anointing accidentally wrote that Mary served the supper at John 12:2, etc. etc. I realize that there is nearly always an alternate explanation for each of these problems individually; but the trouble is with the weight of these problems collectively.

This theory does not exclude the possibility that multiple phenomena may be occurring in the variations in John 11. For example, we see a bit of instability around Mary’s presence in John 11 (although this happens about five times less frequently than instability around Martha, and may simply be further evidence of a desire to emphasize Martha). Moreover, as Tommy Wasserman and Mary Rose D’Angelo have pointed out, the occasional dropping of the ἣ at Luke 10:39 can be seen as de-emphasizing Martha’s discipleship;[1] it is thus not impossible that there was a kind of “diminishment” of Martha happening at the same time as the early controversies around Mary Magdalene. Since multiple phenomena may indeed be at play in this pericope, we should do comprehensive studies of the various possibilities in each case. It may also be worthwhile to do studies of the individual scribal habits of the manuscripts displaying multiple instances of instability around Martha (beyond P66, these include Codex Alexandrinus, 357, 423, 579, 841, 884, 994, 2680, L17, VL 2, VL 6, VL 8, VL 15, and sa 5). It might be worthwhile to investigate the textual character of Chrysostom’s lemmas in Gr. Ms. 320 in St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai, the only extant Greek witness to name Lazarus first in John 11:5. However, since so many manuscripts display problems around Martha, we cannot chalk it all up to individual scribal habits. At a certain point we must ask whether the collective weight of all of the evidence might be related to the woman getting split in two in Papyrus 66 at John 11:3.

Moreover, the early interpolation of Martha can answer several questions that biblical scholars have been asking for generations, such as:
  • why do Martha and Mary seem to live in Galilee or Samaria in Luke’s Gospel? (because they did not live in Bethany!)
  • why don’t Martha and Mary have a brother in Luke 10? (Because Lazarus isn’t their brother!)
  • why do Martha and Mary say the very same thing, first at John 11:21 and then again at 11:32? (because one woman was doubled!)
  • why did so many early Christians, going all the way back to the third century, identify Mary of Bethany as Mary Magdalene? (because circulating texts of the Fourth Gospel encouraged them to do so in light of obvious parallels between John 11 and John 20!)
Therefore, due to both external and internal evidence, as of now I believe that the interpolation of Martha remains the simplest thesis for explaining the combined weight of these phenomena.

[1] See Tommy Wasserman, “Bringing Sisters Back Together: Another Look at Luke 10:41–42,” JBL 137:2 (2018): 439-61, at 457; Mary Rose D’Angelo, “Women Partners in the New Testament,” JFSR 6 (1990): 65-86, at 78-79.


  1. A potential caution on supposing MM as originally so central and highly regarded in your hypothetical John text may be that that Gospel goes to great lengths to show Christ as unique. John the Baptist is nothing so great as Jesus, even if some of John the Baptist's followers may have thought otherwise. Peter is flawed. But Mary Magdalene is not?

    1. I suppose that depends on how you read John 20:16-17. Several early commentators (Eusebius, Jerome) believed that Mary was very flawed in that moment...

  2. I am very disappointed that the discussion in the comments of the last post became very disrespectful. Thank you for continuing to post your thoughts here and engage with the commentors despite the negative language.

    1. That's kind of you to say Timothy. I'm grateful to be on a forum with Tommy moderating. I also realize that this can be an emotional topic. By the way I hope you noticed that I linked to your blog above! And I tried to answer some of your points about scribal habits :)

    2. Oh yes, I did notice the link. That was kind of you to do so, though I feel bad about being a detractor ( ;-) ). I appreciate the detailed responses and answers that you have given here and on my own blog. To be honest, I haven't had the time to fully weigh everything and process your findings. I hope to do so soon. I think that your work warrants more thoughtful engagement than I have been able to grant it at the moment. Many blessings to you in your research.

    3. Elizabeth, your have done us a great service by collecting this data on variants. You and Ally Kateusz are right that there are just too many variants to allow us to entertain the possibility that we are looking only at scribal slips. Textual variants involving the personal names in the NT are actually rare. So there is certainly something going on, but, as you know, I disagree with you about exactly what it is.

      The accepted text of John 11:1 is unusual in that it defines a woman (Martha) by her relationship to a female relative (Mary) rather than by her relationship to a male relative (Lazarus). The implication is that Mary was more important than Lazarus. Similarly in John 11:5 (in the accepted text) Mary is referred to as Martha’s sister, rather than as Lazarus’s sister, implying that Martha was more important than Lazarus. Also, in this list of those whom Jesus loved, Martha and her sister are mentioned before Lazarus, and name order was important.

      There was a strong tendency for early copyists to alter texts that gave precedence to women over men. Thus D reverses the order of the names Priscilla and Aquila at Acts 18:26. The same manuscript reverses the mention of women and men at Acts 17:12. P46 resists the conclusion that Junia/Julia (a woman) was in Christ before Paul (a man) at Rom 16:7. P46 also reverses the order of the names Julia and Nereus at Rom 16:15, as discussed previously on this blog. The only woman who is given precedence over men in the NT and is not attacked by copyists is Mary the mother of Jesus (she is mentioned before Jesus’ brothers).Correct me if I have missed something.

      Therefore we should fully expect that copyists would alter John 11:1-5 to give more dignity to Lazarus relative to Mary and Martha, and that is exactly what we find. Your data show that there were manuscripts that named Lazarus first at 11:5. Also that the sisters were changed to his (Lazarus’s) sisters at 11:3. The female pronoun is changed to male at 11:1 and at 11:5. At 11:1 the text becomes a little awkward when we just replace “her” with “his” to get “Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and Martha his sister”, since Lazarus and the male pronoun that refers to him are quite far apart. This may explain why the originator of the variant in A* decided to eliminate Martha from the verse to get “Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary his sister”. P66* could have been a conflation of this Martha-free reading and the accepted text, as you point out. Now, this text now fails to introduce Martha, so “the sisters” in 11:3 no longer makes sense. Therefore, it is not surprising that (sooner or later) copyists would adjust 11:3 to reduce the sisters from two to one, and to make the verb singular. Also, could the failure to introduce Martha at 11:1 explain why Martha drops out later in the story too?

      So, I think your data have uncovered important cases of scribal misogyny to add to the other cases. At least some of this sexism was very early since it existed in an exemplar of P66, and in an exemplar of P46.

      I think this addresses your points, a-f, Elizabeth. Have I missed anything? Are there important variants that are not explained by simple misogyny? I look forward to your reply and the continuing discussion. This blog is a good place for discussion of your work.

    4. Matthew M. Rose9/02/2019 5:56 pm

      Hello Richard, you state "You and Ally Kateusz are right that there are just too many variants to allow us to entertain the possibility that we are looking only at scribal slips."

      This statement is only partially true, yet it gives a totally false impression. Many/most of the key variations involved in this thesis are indeed simple scribal errors. Some editorial changes (it would seem) happened after the fact.

      Richard continues;
      "Textual variants involving the personal names in the NT are actually rare."

      According to whom? Personal names suffer at the same rate as any other vocabulary (I'm speaking generally here). One only has to scan over the two genealogical tables of our Lord to understand this. Omission, transposition, dittography and variations of spelling abound.

    5. Hello Mr. Rose - My point in the post above is that these "simple scribal errors" all have something important in common: the presence or absence of Martha. It is up to the individual text critic to acknowledge or ignore that common factor. Also, in the interests of politeness it might be fairer to say that you don't think the common factor is important (rather than saying that someone is giving a "totally false impression").

      I agree that variations of spelling abound, but not between "Maria" and "Martha" in the text transmission of Luke - it only happens in John. That needs explanation. I agree that transposition is common, but not when it comes to the FIRST person named in a list. This is much rarer and nearly always has to do with matters of authority.

    6. Mr. Fellows - thanks for your very thoughtful post. I especially appreciated what you said here: "The accepted text of John 11:1 is unusual in that it defines a woman (Martha) by her relationship to a female relative (Mary) rather than by her relationship to a male relative (Lazarus). The implication is that Mary was more important than Lazarus. Similarly in John 11:5 (in the accepted text) Mary is referred to as Martha’s sister, rather than as Lazarus’s sister, implying that Martha was more important than Lazarus. Also, in this list of those whom Jesus loved, Martha and her sister are mentioned before Lazarus, and name order was important." What you have pointed out is the complete inconsistency in the received text regarding who is presented as more important than whom, and which sibling is the person according to which other siblings are introduced. Such inconsistency, to my eye, may be a result of interference in the authorial text.

      I also wanted to thank you for providing additional instances of men being named before women. I knew some of them but hadn't known about P46 in Romans 16:15. That is fascinating!

      I agree with Mr. Burkhart that your points are compelling - and I would probably be persuaded by them if I hadn't seen the cogent one-sister textform of John 11:1-5 that can be reconstructed. I will be talking about that alternate textform in post #3 (but you can also see it on page 381 of my HTR article). In that textform, there is complete consistency regarding who is presented as more important than whom. We can talk about this more when we get to post #3. :)

    7. In reply to myself, it should be noted that if Martha was dropped from 11:1 by accident or if she was changed to Mary by accident, it would create a nonsense reading (as we get in 157) and a latter copyist would be very likely to change the ΑΥΤΗΣ to ΑΥΤΟΥ to fix it. This might account for the masculine pronoun in A and P66*.

      Also, we do have some evidence of scribal confusion between similar names. Junia is changed to Julia in P46, and Hermes and Hermas are confused in D (Rom 16:14).

      I imagine that if a name was not well known to a copyist, he or she might misread it as a name better known to him/her. Thus Junia is changed to Julia, as mentioned above. One would expect the better known name to replace the lesser known name more often than the other way around, and I wonder if this explains some of Elizabeth's observations concerning Martha and Mary.

  3. Elizabeth, firstly, thank you for offering us this important line of research. You've brought up some incredibly valid issues (that clearly go beyond mere scribal error), and I'm sorry you've had to deal with the trollish behavior on your last points.

    Second, I admit I find Richard Fellows' comment incredibly pursuasive and I look forward to hearing your response to him.

    Lastly, though, and the purpose of my comment is to ask for clarification regarding your hypothesis for WHY we see these changes occur. I know it's just a theory and your posts are more about showing THAT something is going on rather than determining WHY it was.

    But so I'm clear: your theory is that there were three Marys in the gospels (incl the mother of Jesus) and that early Christians were conflating Magdalene and Mary of Bethany, thus giving more and more weight and authority to Magdalene, almost on par with Peter? And then, out of fear of exalting Magdalene to that place of authority, they add Martha to Mary of Bethany mainly to help people distinguish between Marys?

    1. Hello Mr. Burkhart! My theory is mainly to do with John's Gospel. There are more than three Marys: we certainly have Jesus' mother, Mary Magdalene, Mary of Clopas, Martha's sister Mary, John Mark's mother Mary, who may or may not be the Mary of Romans 16:6 (plus Mary of James and Mary of Joses in Mark's Gospel, unless you believe them both to be Jesus' mother...).

      Rather, the theory here is that Martha and Mary, known only to Luke, are a different family than Lazarus and Mary, known only to John. The main topic under consideration is the *authorial intention of the Fourth Evangelist.* I am suggesting that it was the intention of the Fourth Evangelist to imply that Lazarus' sister Mary was Mary Magdalene - and that she was both the Christological confessor and the anointer. This may have been a "correction" of Mark's Gospel (as John seems wont to do). Perhaps John, knowing the confession and anointing to be touchy subjects, decided to refer to her only as "Mary" in John 11 - but many exact textual parallels were made with the scene in John 20, which the reader would probably only pick up on after a few readings of the Gospel. John only uses the title "Magdalene" in scenes where Mark also used it - i.e. at the cross and empty tomb.

      Thus I am suggesting that it was the Fourth Evangelist's intent to give Lazarus' sister Mary (Magdalene) approximately as much authority as Matthew gave to Peter. However early readers/editors that were uncomfortable with Mary's leadership deliberately added Martha to the text. This distorted Mary's presentation (Lazarus' sister Mary now appears to be Martha's sister Mary instead of Mary Magdalene), took the Christological confession away from her, and interfered with the intention of the Evangelist.

      I realize not everyone will be persuaded, but this is my position. There is nothing hidden except to be disclosed; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. ;)

  4. Matthew M. Rose9/02/2019 9:11 pm

    Miss Schrader, you stated "Also, in the interests of politeness it might be fairer to say that you don't think the common factor is important (rather than saying that someone is giving a "totally false impression")."

    Your straining at gnats here (take or leave the pun). Nothing I said was less than polite and I much rather prefer my wording than yours in this instance. Besides this, I was addressing the comments made by Richard and was hoping to have an exchange with him concerning these statements.

    Either way no offence taken on my side and I hope you feel the same.

    To move on...Miss Schrader wrote; "I agree that variations of spelling abound, but not between "Maria" and "Martha" in the text transmission of Luke - it only happens in John."

    Now this is the way to think! Now we have to deduce a proper interpretation of this avenue of evidence.

    Martha is present in Luke 10:38, 10:40 and 10:41 three locations in all.

    Martha is present in John 11:1,5,19,20,21,24,30,39 and 12:2 making for a total of 9 in all.

    Giving us a 9-to-3 or more simply put, a 3-to-1 ratio. (8-to-2 or 4-to-1 for Mary)

    Therefore a Martha variation in John is more likely in the ratio of 3-to-1 without any other determining factors applied.

    Determining factors: The Luke account is only four verses long and the references to Martha (and Mary) are evenly spread over this small section. The John account on the other hand is fifty-eight verses long and the references to Martha within this much larger section (14-15 times larger approx.) are often separated by several verses. There is naturally going to be more scribal error detectable within this section than the previous four verses of Luke 10:38-41. The number 14.5-to-1 comes to mind. So there is indeed a much greater chance of error (generally speaking and all things being equal) being found in the John portion, than that of Luke due to it's size. The chief value of this data is only fully comprehended if one realizes that the more time and space a scribe has between similar and potentially hazardous locations within the Text, the greater the odds of a scribal error occurring. I believe this can explain partly, the random nature of variation displayed in your collation table. Random manuscripts with random dates, in random locations throughout John's narrative are guilty of random variations.

    ...But, as it were, all things are not equal. In the Lukan account Martha and Mary are never side by side. Furthermore they are not arranged in close enough proximity for parablepsis to even be a factor, with the sidebar exception of Martha Martha in vs.41 (this location should be furnished with an extensive critical apparatus). The account of John is not so. Mary and Martha are paired in 11:1 & 11:19 as well as being mentioned back and forth (and many more times I may add) through the eleventh chapter of John and concluding in ch.12:2(3). This evidence all points in one direction. Namely, we should expect much more scribal error within the account of John in regards to the Mary, Martha question.

    To take this further, I think the primary textual variations which this thesis is built upon should be evaluated. Especially considering that Mr.Snapp (who's timing was impeccable), Mr. Timothy Mitchell, Dr. Peter Williams and others (myself being the least of which) have given (or implied) scribal mishap as the most probable explanation of some-many-most of the pertinent variant units that your theory leans upon.

    1. Matthew M. Rose9/02/2019 9:28 pm

      *fifty-nine verses in John. I subtracted one thinking I was omitting the Mary reference in Jn.12:3, which for some reason has not been counted. Adding this reference would come to 60 verses (5 total verses in Luke if the Mary reference in vs.42 is counted). I was trying to focus primarily on Martha, but it can hardly be done. -MMR

    2. Hello Mr. Rose! You are suggesting that the name variants should demonstrate a 14.5 to 1 ratio between John and Luke. But the trouble is that there is *zero* scribal confusion on the names in the surveyed Greek manuscripts of Luke. In my most recent calculations, 34.5 of the 186 Greek witnesses surveyed demonstrate confusion around the names Mary and Martha (the .5 represents half of family 1). So if it is really a 14.5-to-1 ratio between the two Gospels, as you suggest, then we would expect two Lukan manuscripts to demonstrate a problem between these names (134 were surveyed in Luke). Yet not a single Greek manuscript confuses the women's names in the Third Gospel. Do you think we simply need a bigger manuscript sample?

      Also, I'm not sure that you have looked at the variants in my data table, since I haven't gotten a request from you. Have you looked at the data set?

    3. Sorry I meant to write "In my most recent calculations, 34.5 of the 186 Greek witnesses surveyed IN JOHN demonstrate confusion around the names Mary and Martha."

    4. Although Mr. Rose has made an attempt to answer point (a), he still has not addressed points (c), (f), or (h) - nor has he responded to my point that the interpolation of Martha solves several questions that biblical scholars have been asking for generations. And lastly, I reiterate: "these 'simple scribal errors' all have something important in common: the presence or absence of Martha. It is up to the individual text critic to acknowledge or ignore that common factor."

    5. Mr Rose’s 14.5-to-1 ratio appears to be a red herring since it is based on total verses in these passages, instead of the number of times one of the two women is identified.

    6. Matthew M. Rose,
      The same observations you make here, or nearly the same, are part of the point-by-point answer I provided at , where the main readings that form the foundation of Schrader's position are thoroughly examined and accounted for by factors that do not involve an early rewriting of John 11. But when someone is determined to maintain a theory, that won't matter. The main points will no longer be the main points; what were minutiae will be recast as the main points; the goal posts will be moved again and again.

      Opposing untenable theories such as this one really does resemble King Arthur's fight with the Black Knight: the right arm may be lying on the ground; the left arm, then, may be lost, and then one leg, and then the other -- but the theory is nevertheless maintained, for his teeth remain untouched.

      Meanwhile: is nobody going to point out what Schrader describes as "the women getting split in two in Papyrus 66 at John 11:3" is simply the correction of a mistake with the usual reading? Nobody's "split in two" there. Every time this claim is made, the theory is being restated, not supported.

    7. Matthew M. Rose9/03/2019 7:20 am

      Miss Schrader, you wrote:
      "You are suggesting that the name variants should demonstrate a 14.5 to 1 ratio between John and Luke. But the trouble is that there is *zero* scribal confusion on the names in the surveyed Greek manuscripts of Luke."

      That's not exactly what I was suggesting. The 14/15 to 1 ratio is in regards to scribal error in general. The 3 to 1 ratio is concerning the raw numbers for Martha in each respective location. These need to be weaved together in light of my explanation concerning spacing. Then you have the multiplier, which in this case would be: the pairing of MAPIAC KAI MAPθAC in John 11:1 (which consequently lead to the sub-singular omission of KAI MAPθAC via in A* & 157), the close proximity of MAPIA in vs.2 (only 19 units away), then John 11:19 presents another pairing of MAPθAN KAI MAPIAN (the singular omission of KAI MAPIAN via in ms.28 bares clear witness to the increase in posibility and/or probability of scribal error here). Another instance of close proximity would be vs.20-21 where you have MAPθA separated from MAPIA by 38 units and then another MAPθA 27 units down the line.

      These distances could give scribes much trouble when going back and forth between exemplar(s) and copying. They also are within range of lining up above-below one another depending on line length. Considering the two names are nearly identical, this could prove very problematic for scribes or copyist. Point being, all this would need to be taken into account.

      Elizabeth again states "Although Mr. Rose has made an attempt to answer point (a)..."
      Let's see if we can continue to answer this more to your satisfaction. We move on to Luke ch.10:38-43...Here I hope to shed some light on why there is no (acc. to Miss Schrader's current research) "problem with Martha" within the Textual transmission of the Greek NT. Now, MAPθA occurs in vs. 38 (and it's surrounding gives no opportunity for or hom.arc.), 54 units later in vs.39 we have MAPIA(M). This is outside the range of normal line length to be a factor in regards to parablepsis and the immediate surrounding; ...OYMENH MAPIA(M) H KAI...once again excludes & hom.arc. from the conversation. John 10:40 is the next instance of MAPθA and again it is to far down the line (59 units from the previous MAPIA) to be a factor in a possible misidentification with a nearby MAPIA. This location also gives no possibility of a scribal error via HT or HA in the surrounding letters. Next up is MAPθA MAPθA of vs.41. This would be the only location conducive to scribal error, i.e.


      Now I would not be surprised at all if there are some manuscripts which exhibit scribal error (HT or HA) in this location.-But what would it prove or add to your theory if Martha is only mentioned once (instead of twice) via scribal error in one or two manuscripts here?

      The last reference is in vs.42, where MAPIA occurs 45-50 units down from MAPθA MAPθA. Once again this is too far away for parablepsis to be a factor. It is true that some mss. read XPEIA MAPIA, some XEPIA MAPIAM, some ENOC MAPIA or ENOC MAPIAM. The XPEIA MAPIA reading could result in HT and once again I would not be surprised if some ms. or mss. display an omission of MAPIA in this location. Even so, this is a reference to Mary, not Martha so it's somewhat obsolete.

    8. Matthew M. Rose9/03/2019 7:24 am

      Ally Kateusz, you have either misread or misunderstood me.

    9. Matthew M. Rose9/03/2019 8:23 am

      Pastor Snapp, I know, I know. I'm trying my best not to step on your toes while presenting arguments that we have both come to independently. To be clear, I didn't read your blog entry until after I started posting on the earlier post (pt.1). So my initial thoughts, rebuttals and scanning of the Textual evidence (primarily in Swanson) preceded my acquaintance with your research on the topic. With that said, I've done everything I can to keep "off your lawn" while still presenting effective arguments. To be quite honest, I think many of us have come to very similar if not identical conclusions concerning the obvious (or not so obvious) scribal errors and the notable discrepancy in the respective lengths of the Luke and John sections in question. I think many of us would also agree that this is technically not Textual criticism (as you have previously stated) but more properly an excercise in higher criticism (as Dr. Robinson has pointed out).

      -And when the fact is considered that I generally agree with your position(s) on the Text and subsequently your stance(s) on most variant readings, it should come as no surprise that we are in agreement here.

      Now concerning arguments I (or others) have not made or touched on, by all means throw down the gauntlet (not that you haven't on your blog already). I'm doing my best to deal with each point one by one as they present themselves, so please feel free to bring in the cavalry.

      Sincerely -MMR

    10. Matthew,
      Just an observation, James and I rarely agree on variant readings, yet I am in complete agreement with the well reasoned and documented post on his blog reading this issue. I don’t think this is an eclectic or majority issue, but a methodological issue. Yes James, I know you advocate Equitable Eclecticism😎


    11. Matthew M. Rose9/04/2019 4:05 am

      Hi Tim, agreed!...although I think the Critical text crowd is much more comfortable with higher criticism and conjectural emmendation. Whereas one would be hard pressed to find a TR, MT or Byz supporter who does not find such things loathsome. In passing, what category do you consider yourself?

    12. Matthew M. Rose9/04/2019 4:57 pm

      Hi Elizabeth, speaking of the section in Luke you wrote "Do you think we simply need a bigger manuscript sample?"

      I would say yes. Approx. 10% of the manuscript tradition is probably not going to give you a clear view on this. Especially considering that you surveyed more mss. in John 11:1-12:2 than here.

      Elizabeth continues "Also, I'm not sure that you have looked at the variants in my data table, since I haven't gotten a request from you. Have you looked at the data set?"

      That would of been rude of me. I did look at a data set (not sure if there is more than one). The one I saw had approx. 3500 reference points for Greek mss. and approx. 4800 when the Latin, Eccl. Fathers, etc. were included (this is from memory). If you have more data, preferably a linear list of the primary verses I'd like to see it. Did you have a chance to look at my second post concerning the Luke vs John argument?

    13. Matthew,
      I follow a modified documentary approach, where early documentary evidence is given priority, internal evidence is limited to cases where the early evidence is split, much like the BP critic limits internal evidence.

    14. Matthew M. Rose9/05/2019 3:23 am

      Timothy, interesting. So a bit of Dr. Robinson and a bit of Bentley wrought together in a fashion similar to Scrivener's 6th century and below guideline. So my next question would be; do you give ear to the internal evidence in the case of the pericope de adultera?

  5. Thanks for posting and engaging here. I am undecided. I'll keep reading you and Tommy and all.
    (Very minor opinion that will not matter in the long rum: HTR may not have been the best outlet, given the GJW fiasco.)
    One aspect that may indeed matter is Brent Nongbri's dating of p66, which you do footnote but (as far as I have seen) have not seriously engaged with. He makes what appears to me a substantial case suggesting p66 dates to "early or middle fourth century." Since you are making an historical claim of a much earlier textual change, a later dating may change the calculus of how probable it could be that groups that esteemed MM highly left little (?) trace of attesting or contesting tradents about MM. Wouldn't they have scoured to locate and trumpet the putative (eventually suggested lost) early version?
    In comments on your first post you replied (about one aspect of your proposal), in part, "....As for how the textform would have been quickly and thoroughly purged, I suppose one might ask Gordon Fee how he thought all of the manuscripts of 1 Cor 14 were so quickly interpolated...."
    Comparing one uncertainty with another uncertainty, so far, may not amount to a compelling historical argument.

  6. What are we to make of the way D omits Mary Magdalene and Mary of James and Salome at Mark 16:1?

    And why does 32 omit the word ΠΡΩΤΟΝ at Mark 16:9? Was it reluctant to state that Mary Magdalene was the first to whom Jesus appeared?