From: Edward L. Pothier (POTHIER@neu.edu)
Date: Tue Mar 10 1998 - 20:59:40 EST
George Athas <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Phil Hildenbrandt wrote:
> > Fellow B-Greekers,
> > SUNHGMENWN OUN AUTWN EIPEN AUTOIS hO PILATOS, TINA QELETE APOLUSW hUMIN,
> > IHSOUN TON BARABBAN H IHSOUN TON LEGOMENON CRISTON?
> > Can anybody shed some light on the ommision of Barabbas given name in most
> > of the
> > English translations of Matthew 27:17?
> The earliest and best manuscripts (such as Sinaiticus and
> Alexandrinus) don't actually have Barabbas' given name (IHSOUN) either
> in v17 or in v16. However, some do. The difficulty is ascertaining
> whether it was there originally. Aland & Co assign a "C" value to the
> addition of IHSOUN to Barabbas, meaning that based on the evidence,
> they couldn't decide one way or the other as to whether it was
> originally there.
--------------- end quoted material
In the Introduction to the UBS4 there is the explanation:
" Brackets in the text indicate that the enclosed word, words, or
parts of words may be regarded as part of the text, but that in the
present state of New Testament textual scholarship this cannot be
taken as completely certain. Such passages have a C-rating in the
critical apparatus." (UBS4, p. 2*)
Normally, as explained on page 3* of the Introduction, "The letter C,
however, indicates that the Committe had difficulty in deciding which
variant to place in the text." This bracketed convention is used for
the Greek equivalent of "Jesus" in the "Jesus Barabbas" of Mt 27:16,17.
BARABBAS OR JESUS BARABBAS?
Edward Pothier March 1998
The name "Barabbas" occurs 11 times in the NT, unevenly
distributed in the Gospels; Matthew has it 5 times (Mt 27:16,
17,20,21,26), Mark 3 times (Mk 15:7,11,15), Luke only once
(Lk 23:18), and John 2 times (Jn 18:40 twice).
Only in two of the references in Matthew is there a question
of whether the double name "Jesus Barabbas" originally appeared
rather than just "Barabbas":
Mt 27:16 a notorious prisoner called [Jesus] Barabbas
Mt 27:17 "Which one do you want me to release to you, [Jesus]
Barabbas, or Jesus called Messiah?"
The standard editions of the Greek New Testament (UBS4 and
NA27) enclose the name in square brackets to indicate the
uncertainty and give footnote lists of manuscripts with the
textual variants. The external evidence (actual manuscripts) is
much stronger for the omission of Jesus, however it is much
harder to explain how the name got inserted in some early
manuscripts rather than how it might have been omitted.
Bruce Metzger's A TEXTUAL COMMENTARY ON THE GREEK NEW
TESTAMENT (London: United Bible Societies, 1971) ends its
comments on these verses:
"A majority of the Committee was of the opinion that the
original text of Matthew had the double name in both verses
and that the _Ie:soun_ was deliberately suppressed in most
witnesses for reverential considerations. In view of the
relatively slender external support for _Ie:soun_, however,
it was deemed fitting to enclose the word within square
brackets." (p. 68).
It would be nice if it was possible to always be sure of the
original text, but these verses seem to among the ones with
unanswerable questions. That is the nature of Textual Criticism.
The Revised NT of the NAB (New American Bible) which was used
above to show the verses in question follows the scholarly
critical Greek text and uses the square brackets to indicate the
uncertaity. The RSV has just the name Barabbas in the text but
with a footnote that "other ancient authorities read JESUS
BARABBAS". The NRSV uses the double name in the text with a
corresponding footnote that "other ancient authorities lack
= Edward L. Pothier email@example.com _ _ =
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