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Full text of "The Text of Luke II, 22"

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NOTES 377 

mony with what we conceive to have been the original meaning of 
the Logion. For example, Dalman's rendering of the two words, 
which makes DJN its starting-point, would suit our emendation of 
the text quite as well as it suits Dalman's own interpretation. 3 

When we remind ourselves of the frequency with which the phrase 
' the Kingdom of Heaven ' occurred in the reports of the Master's 
discourses, we realize how easy it would be for some early scribe to 
mistake a chance occurrence of words in some measure similar for 
just another instance of the great phrase that so frequently recurred. 

It is significant, as affording some corroboration of our hypothesis, 
that in Matt. 12, 29 Jesus uses the verb Apirafw of plundering the 
goods of the Strong Man — the very verb employed in our Logion, 
as we interpret it, to describe the successful onset of the new forces 
of righteousness upon the Kingdom of Satan. 



J. Hugh Michael. 



Victoria College, 
Tobonto, Canada. 



THE TEXT OF LUKE II, 22 

This verse contains a textual problem which has perplexed editors 
of the New Testament since the days of Erasmus and the Compluten- 
sian edition. The question is, What pronoun should be read after 
Kodapiafiov? — airrSw, or ahrov, or avrijs? 

hbriav is attested by NABLWTAII etc., by nearly all the minuscules, 
by the Peshitta, the Harclean, and the Palestinian Syriac, and by 
three minor ancient versions (Ethiopic, Armenian, and Gothic). 
The Arabic Diatessaron also has the plural pronoun, agreeing with 
the Peshitta at this point. Origen found ainw in his text of the Gos- 
pel, and, so far as is known, he was acquainted with no other reading 
in this place. He quotes Luke 2, 22 in his Fourteenth Homily on 
Luke, which deals with the Circumcision and Purification, and he 
discusses the difficulty involved in the plural avr&v without mention- 
ing any variant reading. If he had known of such, he would certainly 
have made some reference to it. The Homiliae in Lucam were written 
at Caesarea, after Origen's withdrawal to that city from Alexandria 
in the year 231. We may therefore assume that airruv formed part of 
Luke 2, 22 in the text current at Caesarea and Alexandria in the early 

a The Words of Jesus (English Translation), pp. 141, 142. 



378 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW 

part of the third century, and that there were no rival claimants for 
the place. It was also the Antiochian, or ' Syrian,' reading, as its 
predominance in the minuscule manuscripts proves. 

Avr&v is sometimes explained as referring to the Jews. 1 But this 
is contextually objectionable, because the subject understood of 
aviiyayov is the parents of Jesus. Moreover, this interpretation be- 
comes much more difficult, not to say impossible, if one believes, as 
the present writer does, that the first two chapters of Luke (except the 
preface) are based on a Semitic original. Some think the plural pro- 
noun is used of Mary and Jesus; 2 whilst others, with much better 
reason in view of the context, refer avruv to Joseph and Mary.* But 
both of these explanations are fraught with the difficulty that the 
Mosaic Law prescribed purification only for the mother after child- 
birth. No ceremonial impurity attached to the father or to the child. 

The feminine pronoun avrrjs is found in no Greek manuscript of the 
New Testament. 4 Its attestation is not only of inferior quality; it 
is also extremely scanty, being limited to a citation in a work wrongly 
ascribed to Athanasius, 6 to a catena on the Gospel, 6 and to Erpenius's 
edition of the Arabic published in 1616. 7 Avttjs is obviously a learned 
correction either of the reading avr&v or of the variant avrov, which is 
discussed below. It was made by some one who knew that the woman 
only according to the Jewish Law needed purification after the birth 
of a child. 

On the other hand Codex Bezae and at least eight minuscules have 
airrov after Kadapiaiiov? The Sahidic version and the Amsterdam edi- 
tion of the Armenian also have ' his cleansing ' here. 9 Eius of the 
Old Latin 10 and the Vulgate, as well as the pronominal suffix in the 
Sinaitic Syriac, 11 are ambiguous; they may be interpreted either as 
masculine or as feminine. But inasmuch as avrov is an early 'West- 
ern ' reading, being found in Codex Bezae and the Sahidic version, 
whereas abrfjs is very slightly attested and is doubtless only a learned 
correction of avruv or avrov, it seems altogether probable that avrov 
rather than afa-rjs underlies the Old Latin and the Sinaitic Syriac. 
For the Old Latin and Old Syriac versions were made from manu- 
scripts of the 'Western' type. Moreover, there is no evidence that the 
reading avrijs was in existence when either of these versions was 
made. It is quite possible, however, that many readers of the Old 
Latin and Sinaitic Syriac understood the mother of Christ to be 
meant. Avrov can only refer to Jesus, whose circumcision and naming 
are recounted in verse 21. But from the point of view of the Mosaic 
* See notes at the end of the article. 



NOTES 379 

Law it is erroneous to speak of the purification of the child. Never- 
theless, Griesbach regarded avrov as a speciosa lectio, and Zahn thinks 
that it may be the right reading in Luke 2, 22. 12 

A few authorities have no pronoun at all after Kadaputfiov. 13 The 
omission undoubtedly arose from a feeling that the Evangelist could 
not have written either avrwv or avrov in this place. This reading, 
however, has no more claim to be regarded as correct than the femi- 
nine pronoun avrrjs. 

The Complutensian editors, 14 followed by Beza and the Elzevir 
editions, adopted avrrjs; 15 but Erasmus and Stephanus printed avrwv 
in their New Testaments. 16 The Antwerp and Paris Polyglots adhere 
to the Elzevir tradition, whereas the London Polyglot reproduces 
the text of Stephanus. Avrwv is read by Griesbach, Lachmann, Tisch- 
endorf, Tregelles, Westcott and Hort, Baijon, and von Soden. No 
editor has ever adopted avrov, and none since Alter has printed avrrjs. 

The present writer believes that the first two chapters of Luke 
(except the preface) are based on a Semitic source. The Greek 
variants in Luke 2, 22 can be readily explained if one assumes, with 
Bousset, Gressmann, Plummer, and Moffatt, that the underlying 
document was written in Aramaic; and this assumption seems rea- 
sonable at least so far as the narrative parts of the chapters are 
concerned. 17 

The source in Luke 2, 22, like the Targum of Onkelos on Lev. 12, 
4 and 6, probably had rUTDn W. The suffix in nni31 was intended to 
be read as feminine, meaning ' her purification.' Luke, or whoever 
translated the source into Greek, having read in the preceding verse 
about the circumcision and naming of Jesus, took it as masculine, 
'his purification,' and translated it by Kadapuryav avrov. This was the 
original text of Luke 2, 22. But before the time of Origen it was 
perceived that avrov could not be right, and it was changed to avruv, 
which was suggested by the verb avr)yayov and seemed to improve 
the sense. In course of time avr&v became the dominant reading, 
though avrov survived in texts which preserved the ' Western ' tra- 
dition. But neither avrov nor abr&v was universally satisfactory, 
since the Mosaic Law demanded purification of the woman after 
childbirth and of her only. Accordingly avrrjs appeared as a learned 
correction, but its range was extremely limited until the appearance 
of the Complutensian edition in 1522. The adoption of avrrjs into the 
text of several early printed editions of the New Testament is due 
in part to the Vulgate eius, which was understood as a feminine 
pronoun. 



380 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW 

NOTES 

1. So Mill (Novum Testamentum, ed. Kuster, Prol. §§ 676 and 1438); van 
Hengel (Annotationes, p. 199); Edersheim (Life and Times of Jesus the 
Messiah, 8th ed., i, p. 195, n. 1). 

2. So Origen; de Wette; Winer (Grammar, tr. Thayer, p. 147); Hahn. 

3. So Meyer, Godet, Alford, Bemhard Weiss, Schanz, Plummer, E. Klos- 
termann. 

4. Codex 76, a Vienna manuscript of the twelfth or thirteenth century, 
is commonly cited as a witness for avrrjs. This, however, is an error; for 
Gregory, who examined the codex in 1887, reports that it reads airrSiv in 
Luke 2, 22 (cf. Tischendorf, Novum Testamentum Graece, III, 484). Codex 
76 is one of the manuscripts consulted by Alter. He printed avrfjs in Luke 2, 
22 without recording the reading of this codex. Griesbach inferred from 
Alter's silence that abrrjs was found in 76, and in order to indicate that the 
citation was based on inference he enclosed the number 76 in parentheses. 
It has been pointed out above that this manuscript really has abrcav; and 
Alter failed to indicate this fact through carelessness. His edition is sub- 
stantially a reprint of 218, a thirteenth century codex in the Imperial Library 
in Vienna. Professor Karl Beth, of Vienna, has kindly informed me that it 
reads abrGiv in Luke 2, 22. Alter, a Roman Catholic scholar, no doubt 
adopted afrrijs from the Complutensian-Elzevir tradition, or possibly from 
the Vulgate eius. Scholz, with characteristic inaccuracy, omitted Griesbach's 
parentheses about 76, and thenceforth avrrjs passed into the critical tradition 
as the true reading of the manuscript. 

5. Athanasius (Benedictine ed., Paris, 1698), ii, 418 f. 

6. Cf . Cramer, Catenae, ii, p. 22. Augustine's De Consensu Evangelistarum, 
ii, 17 is cited by Tischendorf as an authority for eius. The passage runs thus: 
dies purgationis matris eius (Benedictine ed., Paris, 1679-1701, iii, col. 38). 

7. The Roman edition of the Arabic has no pronoun at this point. 

8. Codd. 21, 47, 56, 61, 118, 209, 220, 254. 

9. Two Sahidic manuscripts, however, read 'their,' in agreement with 
HAB etc. The Amsterdam edition of the Armenian version (1666) is in some 
places conformed to the Latin Vulgate (cf. Conybeare in Hastings's Diction- 
ary of the Bible, i, 154). Accordingly 'his cleansing' in Luke 2, 22 may be 
due to purgationis eius of the Vulgate. Zohrab's critical edition of the New 
Testament (1789) has 'their cleansing.' 

10. The only Latin authorities known to read eorum are q and 5. 

11. The Curetonian Syriac is defective at this point. 

12. Cf. Zahn, Kommentar, p. 151, note. 

13. Cod. 435, Scrivener's x and y, Amphilochius (Migne P. G. XXXIX, 
48), the Latin translation of Irenaeus (Migne P. G. VIE, 877 f.), the Bohairic 
version (though six manuscripts have 'their'), and the Roman edition of the 
Arabic. 

14. What manuscripts the Complutensian editors used in preparing their 
edition of the New Testament is not known. It is, however, altogether im- 
probable that they had any Greek authority for avrrjs in Luke 2, 22. They 
doubtless introduced the word into their text on the strength of the Vulgate 
eius (understood as a feminine pronoun), just as they adopted 1 John 5, 7 



NOTES 381 

and 8 from the current Latin version. In support of abrrjs Mill cites the 
Lectiones Velesianae. On these readings, which were really not Greek but 
Latin, see Wettstein, Novum Testamentum, I, pp. 59 ft". 

15. 'Her purification' of the A. V. represents this tradition. The B. V. 
on the other hand reads 'their purification' in accordance with the great 
uncial manuscripts. Luther wrote 'ihrer Reinigung,' which is ambiguous; 
but Gerbelius's edition of the New Testament (1521, an Erasmian text), 
which Luther is said to have used, has aiiTuv. A similar ambiguity is found 
in the West Saxon and Northumbrian versions. 

16. According to Mill, Erasmus was acquainted with one manuscript that 
read avrov. 

17. The hymns on the other hand are Hebraic in character, and may have 
been composed in Hebrew. Cf. Torrey, in Studies in the History of Religions, 
presented to C. H. Toy, pp. 293 f. Professor Torrey thinks that the prose 
setting as well as the hymns themselves were written in Hebrew, and in sup- 
port of this view he cites the awkward phrase eis iroXtv 'lodSa in Luke 1, 39. 
This he regards as an attempt to translate the Hebrew iTTVP J1JHD PN 
into Greek. "For the Aramaic NJinD "nm would hardly have been 
rendered by eis iroKiv 'Io65a. The word TlfP could not well have been 
misunderstood; moreover, it does not look like the name of a town, nor 
would it have been transliterated by lovSa" (pp. cit, p. 292). IliT is found 
in the Aramaic sections of Ezra and Daniel, but rniiV occurs a number of 
times in the Targum on the Prophets as the name of the Southern Kingdom. 
Eis irokiv 'loiiSa may therefore represent the Aramaic miiV TIJHD? or 
miiT '"I KTIJHW. Similarly, Torrey thinks that 7rpo/36/3ij/t6res ev rats 
finkpats aiiToiv in Luke 1, 7 is a translation of DiVD'a D'NJl. But the orig- 
inal may quite as well have been Vin |!iVOV3 P?JJ. On a priori grounds 
it is more likely that a prose writing which circulated among the Jewish 
Christians of Palestine should be written in the vernacular Aramaic than in 
the sacred Hebrew, which was to most of them a lingua ignota. Certainly the 
first part of Acts is based on Aramaic, not Hebrew, sources. Cf. Torrey, 
The Date and Composition of Acts, passim. 

W. H. P. Hatch. 

The Episcopal Theological School 
Cambridge, Mass.