Contradiction in Nestle-Aland text?

From: Michael Holmes (
Date: Thu Oct 26 1995 - 11:33:50 EDT

Re the question by Paul Watkins about Matt 10:10//Mark 6:9, to which Carl
and Rod have already responded helpfully:

The problem was recognized already in the second century, by Tatian, who
attempted to resolve the matter when he composed his Diatessaron; see:
Tj. Baarda, "A Staff Only, Not a Stick. Disharmony of the Gospels and the
Harmony of Tatian (Matthew 10.9f; Mark 6.8f; Luke 9.3 & 10.4)," in The New
Testament in Early Christianity, ed. J. M. Sevrin (BETL 86; Louvain, 1989)

Paul asked if the Majority reading might "solve" the problem; that reading
is very suspect precisely because it does appear to "solve" the problem
(although, as Carl pointed out, it really doesn't). Which is more likely:
that a scribe introduced a contradiction, or that he tried to eliminate
one? Here we have a fine example of the most basic rule in textual
criticism: the reading most likely to be original is the one which best
accounts for the origin of the others.

This same basic rule also bears on the question asked by Eric Vaughn about
Matt 20:22 and John 3:13, to which Carl and Rod have already replied in
their usual helpful way. Here the question is, what is a scribe most
likely to have done: dropped a phrase present in the text, or, influenced
by parallel passages elsewhere which do have the phrase, added it? The
answer is clearly the latter, which means that the longer reading in each
of these two cases is suspect as secondary. The NASB is simply translating
the best-attested form of the verses (i.e., it is not leaving out anything).

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