Stylos is the blog of Jeff Riddle, a Reformed Baptist Pastor in North Garden, Virginia. The title "Stylos" is the Greek word for pillar. In 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul urges his readers to consider "how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar (stylos) and ground of the truth."
Friday, December 07, 2012
Text Note: Luke 5:39
From the top, we might note that this entire verse is omitted
in some strands of the Western tradition (D, Marcion, Irenaeus, Eusebius).It is, however, well attested and is included
in both the traditional and modern critical text as authentic.
Metzger notes:“The external
attestation for the inclusion of the verse is almost overwhelming; its omission
from several Western witnesses may be due to the influence of Marcion, who rejected
the statement because it seemed to give authority to the Old Testament” (pp.
Affirming its inclusion, we will consider two questions
within this verse:
1.Should the adverb “immediately [eutheos]” be included?
It is part of the traditional text, but it is omitted in the modern
2.Should the adjective “good [chrestos]” be in the standard or the comparative
Should it read, “For the old is good [chrestos]” (as in the modern critical text) or “For the old is
better [chrestoteros]” (as in the
Here are some translation comparisons (emphasis added):
Following traditional text:
Luke 5:39 No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.
Luke 5:39 "And no one, having drunk old wine,immediately
desires new; for he says, 'The old is better.'
Following modern critical text:
RSV/ESV Luke 5:39 And no one after drinking old
wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’
Luke 5:39 "And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for
he says, 'The old is good enough.'"
The traditional reading is supported by the usual
suspects:codices Alexandrinus, C
(second corrector), R, Theta, Psi, family 13, and the majority.
The modern critical reading is supported by p4,
Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and family 1 (among others).
Again, similarly, the traditional reading is
supported by:codices Alexandrinus, C,
R, Theta, Psi, family 1, family 13, and the majority.
The modern critical is supported by p4, Sinaiticus,
Vaticanus, B, L. W, and 1241.
Metzger does not address this variant.My guess is that modern text critics see in
its inclusion as assimilation to Markan style.Conversely and along similar lines, one might imagine that an ancient
scribe could have deemed the adverb as non-Lukan and intentionally omitted
it.Of course, it is also quite easy to
see how it might have been omitted through parablepsis.
2.For “better” versus “good”:
Metzger speculates:“The comparative degree of the adjective is probably a scribal emendation
introduced in order to make the comparison more apparent.”He then proceeds to offer a further speculation
based on a theological interpretation of the verse:“Actually, however, the point is that the
prejudiced person does not even wish to try what is new (the Gospel), for he is
satisfied that the old (the Law) is good” (p. 139).Metzger’s interpretation of the verse may or
may not be correct.The main
consideration here for our purposes is that Metzger’s preference does not
appear to be made on a purely text critical basis but an interpretive
basis.Might early scribes have acted
similarly in transforming the comparative into the standard form?
should be included in the text of Scripture.There is ancient support for the traditional text and no compelling or
decisive reason to abandon it.