Re: Simeon's spirit

From: Thomas Kopecek (
Date: Sat Nov 29 1997 - 11:44:50 EST wrote:
> Tom K. argues that there is some question re. the authenticity of the Great
> Commision in Mat. 28:19. The basis for his argument is that Eusebius of
> Caesarea quotes this text in 3 different forms, but not in the form in which
> we have it in the Grk NT.

No, as I said, he DOES quote it in our Grk NT form but after Nicaea,
nowhere near as often as he quotes the other two forms, and, in all but
one situation, where he is either being polemical or defending himself
(he was accused, rightly I think, of being sympathetic to the so-called

>This is not a valid argument since we are not
> dependent upon Eusebius but upon the mss in which the text is found.

Well, isn't Eusebius contemporary with--and, indeed, older than--those
mss? And wasn't it the Fathers who preserved--and perhaps edited--the
mss in the first place? Maybe I'm being dense, but I don't see the force
of the objection.

> The critical apparati in both the UBS & Nestle-Aland fail to indicate any
> variants similar to Eusebius' various readings.

I am an old man, and in an edition of Nestle I used back in the 50's and
60's the Eusebius variant is printed. Aland apparently decided to leave
it out.

There are no such variants in the mss. But we are talking about
post-Nicene mss, for all the mss of Mt 28:19 are later than Eusebius.
On the other hand, the so-called "long form" (the one now present in our
texts) also occurs in Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen. The problem
facing any serious student of the Biblical text is to account for the
variants in Eusebius, who had access to a pretty good Christian library,
one of the best in antiquity. And he is for the most part an ante-Nicene
Father, not a Nicene and post-Nicene one. This is one basis of Green's
argument, who is contending that the text we now have entered the ms
tradition after the gospel was written (on the basis of baptismal
practice) but before Irenaeus, Tertullian, etc. Eusebius' library may
have happened to have an old copy which contained the more original
text: the library in Caesarea perhaps just had a conservative head
librarian who didn't want to change Biblical texts :-).

 Also, no less an authority
> than Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, fails to
> indicate any problem with this text.

Well, if one is trading authorities, the former Lady Margaret Prof of
Divinity at Oxford, Rowan Williams, now an Anglican bishop and hardly a
liberal, has expressed admiration for Green's argument. The competing
accounts of Eusebius' "shorter" versions fail to convince, for one must
explain why Eusebius would shorten the more original text: had he done
so only before Nicaea, that would be one thing, but it isn't the case.

> The witness of the Fathers is indeed important but not sufficiently so to
> allow them to replace the textual evidence.

Again, I don't see the force of this.

But this issue is not really pertinent to B-Greek. I had simply asked
Rolf about the Greek of the "spirit" passage in Peter's first sermon in

On the other hand, as far as the Greek is concerned, A. Loisy pointed to
the awkwardness of two present participles expressing successive actions
dependent on MAQHTEUSATE, which apparently does not occur anywhere else
in Mt (I hope I am using b-greek conventions properly; I can never quite
recall them). If the second Eusebius text of Mt 28:19 I posted earlier
the difficulty goes away. Moreover, a number of scholars have noted the
seeming verse structure in 28:18-20. Green is worth consulting on this,
for he finds similar 8-line verse structures elsewhere in Matthew:
11:28-30, 5:3-10 (subtracting the inclusio at 5:10; 5:11 is prose), and

Best Wishes, Tom
Thomas A. Kopecek
Religion and History
Central College
Pella, Iowa 50219

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