Saturday, November 17, 2012

More Text Notes on the Lukan temptation narrative: Luke 4:5, 8, 5-12

I did a post recently on the textual issues relating to the phrase “but by every word of God” (included in traditional text; excluded in modern critical text) in Luke 4:4.  There are a number of related textual issues within the Lukan temptation narrative.  Here are a few comments on three:

1.      Luke 4:5:

The traditional text reads, “And the devil taking him up into an high mountain [kai anagagon auton ho diabolos eis oros hypselon]….”

The modern critical text reads simply, “and taking him [kai anagagon auton]...”

Note:  It is interesting to compare the renderings of several modern translations which typically follow the modern critical text, as they seem to incorporate here at least part of the traditional text in translation of this verse.  Examples:

Luke 4:5 (NIV):  “The devil led him up to a high place….”

Luke 4:5 (ESV):  “And the devil took him up…”

As with the Luke 4:4 variation, the traditional text is supported by codices Alexandrinus, Theta, Psi, 1012, 33 and the vast majority.  The modern critical text is supported by the original hand of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus.  Metzger does not address this variation in his Textual Commentary.

2.      Luke  4:8:

The traditional text includes this rebuke from Jesus:  “Get thee behind me Satan [hupage opiso mou satana]” while the modern critical text omits it.  No doubt it would be argued that the traditional text is a harmonization from Matthew 4:10 (hupage satana in the TR and hupage opiso mou satana in the majority; cf. Matt 16:23; Mark 8:33).

Nevertheless, the attestation is again strong with the traditional text supported by Alexandrinus, Theta, Psi, 1012, family 13, and the vast majority while the modern critical text again has the support of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus.  Once again, Metzger does not address this variation in his Textual Commentary.  Perhaps this omission comes because his interpretation of the variations in Luke 4:5, 8 would follow his analysis of Luke 4:4.

3.      4:5-12:

Metzger points out that several Old Latin manuscripts, at least one Vulgate manuscript (G) and the Church Father Ambrose transpose vv. 5-8 to follow vv. 9-12 “in order to bring Luke’s account of the Temptation into harmony with the sequence in Matthew (4.5-11)” (Textual Commentary, p. 137).

These changes do indeed represent an obvious effort to harmonize the temptation narrative in Luke with that of Matthew.  What I am struck by, however, is how different the variations in the traditional text are from such obvious efforts at harmonization.  Obviously, there were no such radical efforts at harmonization.  Could it be that the texts relied upon by the modern critical text represent intentional efforts to abbreviate the narrative or to remove elements that might have for some reason been theologically objectionable to those scribes or even unintentional omissions through scribal error?


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