Matt 11:19 and ambiguity

Larry Hurtado writes:

> 1) I don't see that one reading or the other is more "ambiguous".  Both
> readings seem in their contexts to be stylistic variations reflective
> ofthe varying stylistic tastes of scribes that are so well known to text
> critics.  That is, both variants express the idea (respectively), "Why did
> you go out?  To see a prophet?" and "What did you go out to see?  A prophet?"

I can't see how TI ECHLQATE PROFHTHN IDEIN NAI ... can mean "What did
you go out to see?  A prophet?  Yes..."  The accusative followed by the
infinitive would naturally suggest the start of a new clause, wouldn't
it?  And several commentary writers say this too, though commentaries
are not always right, as we all know.  :-)

> 2) On the principle of which reading better explains the appearance of the
> other, I opt slightly for "propheten idein".  It is the reading that is
> unparalleled in the context or in Luke, and so the other could more easily
> have arisen by a scribe trying for some stylistic consistency. 
> Larry Hurtado, Religion, U. Manitoba 

I fear that you might be right, but, on my way down to the ropes, let me

You are right, if scribes are interested in stylistic consistency of
this poetic sort--but are they?  At the expense of introducing what, I
still claim, is more ambiguity?

Against my position, note that the Majority text reads DUO instead of
DIA in Matt 11:2, and includes IMATIOIS in 11:8, both of which are
probably due to influence from the Lukan parallel.  This means that they
might be in 11:9 too.  That doesn't explain B and D agreeing with them
in 11:9, though, whereas they disagree with them in the former cases.

I think, though, that Sinaiticus' inversion of ANQRWPON and IDEIN in
11:8 has to be considered here too.  Did that scribe (or his Vorlage)
invert both 11:8 and 11:9, or was 11:8 inverted because he saw 11:9
inverted and thought that it was a good idea?

I'll bet that if Sinaiticus hadn't included this inverted order, no one
would ever have paid any attention to the minority variant.

I look forward to your followup, Larry, after you've been back at your

Sterling G. Bjorndahl, bjorndahl@Augustana.AB.CA or bjorndahl@camrose.uucp
Augustana University College, Camrose, Alberta, Canada      (403) 679-1100
  When dealing with computers, a little paranoia is usually appropriate.