Thursday, December 06, 2012

Text Note: Luke 5:30

The issue:

There is an interesting and easy to overlook textual variation in Luke 5:30.

Traditional text:

But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples….”

Modern critical text:

            But the Pharisees and their scribes murmured against his disciples….”

External evidence:

The textual support falls out pretty much as we have see with other significant variations in Luke.

The traditional text is supported by Codex Alexandrinus, Theta, Psi, family 13, and the vast majority.

The modern critical text is supported by Sinaiticus (though it omits the final pronoun “their”) and Vaticanus, along with several other codices (C, L, R. W, et al).

Internal evidence:

Metzger does not bother to address this variation in his Textual Commentary.  Indeed, the variation is incidental and does not otherwise affect the content or meaning of the verse.  Either variation clearly might have arisen through scribal error in transposing the two nouns.  The traditional reading might appear the more difficult since it leads with the noun modified by the pronoun.  Might the modern critical reading represent an effort to smooth out such a rough expression?  Is this, in fact, a mark of the traditional reading’s authenticity?


Such a variation is easy to overlook in translation.  The traditional reading again has ancient support, and there is a plausible explanation as to why this reading might have been altered.  Thus, there is good reason to contend for the authenticity of the traditional text.

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